End of Year Marathon

Pulp Fiction (1994)

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he last part of December went by quickly like the flashing green light on the street. End of the year is never been my choice to go on a vacation. It is high season, rainy season, and certainly would be too crowded for me. But like any other impulsive decision I made this year, life always surprises you. I got 3 days business trip to Singapore last week. Staying on star hotel in the heart of the city is never been on my bucket list. At night, I roamed the city alone, as I used to be. Eating in cheap hawker food and buying cheap souvenirs. The city still feels familiar, the warmth of solitary in the middle of hustling crowds. It was raining and as I stand waiting the train that would take me back to the airport, I told myself.

I can get used to these surprises.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

I booked a one way train ticket the day after. My first trip at New Year’s Eve. As a member of stay-home-family-at-every-new-year, I used to spend time rolling around the house, burning something, watching superheroes movie for the million times on TV, and fall asleep before the New Year’s countdown. So, I don’t expect anything less than overpriced hotel rent and crowded street. But I could use the comforting strangeness every trip could bring. Few days before the trip and I don’t even plan any place to visit. I visited the city quite often and I think I wanted to be surprised. Maybe it would be rain all day, maybe there’s traffic, maybe it was a bad idea afterall, but then I could care less.

Bring it on.

Deathproof (2007)

Like the year before, I spent this Christmas holiday at home. Wrapped up under blanket, with too many mineral water and tortilla chips beside my bed. Writing crap about how another year has went by and I might missed another train. The thoughts about how other people achieve many things this year has passed me again. Weirdly enough, it didn’t stay too long. Maybe, just maybe, I could care less about them again.

Jackie Brown (1997)

I spent a lot of amount of time watching Quentin Tarantino’s movies in bed. The Hateful Eight opens on Christmas and I thought it’d be great to re-watch all 7 movies before this (too bad I skipped Django Unchained).

Growing up, all I want to be is being a filmmaker like John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton. After watching The Virgin Suicide, I want to kick ass like Sofia Coppola. Then, after the Kill Bill era, all I want to be is Quentin Tarantino. There’s something about his movies that I find so alluring.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

No, it’s not the blood and the gore theme. It’s not the setting or the scattered timeline. It’s not about the intense scene, the colors of the movie, the soundtracks, or any magnificent shots.

Tarantino writes and directs everything he loves, he doesn’t care if there’s nobody loves it, or nobody gets it. He will still shot it. But his passion reached me, like a ray of sunshine that peeks between the curtains. In the end, all I want to do is wide open the curtains, asking for more. There’s nothing more I want than being someone like that. Being a pirate king, sailing forward. Believing in something, great enough that everybody started to believe it too.

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Tarantino always writes long lines, repeated sentences, and he’s not afraid to insert insulting or forbidden words. He believes that words should be a sharp critics in its true from.

The Hateful Eight (2015)

His latest movie, The Hateful Eight, has been shot in a glorious 70mm films, allowing him to shoot a wide panoramic shot. Funny thing is, instead of exploits this advantages, Tarantino shot most of the movie in a single claustrophobic room. Relying on dialogue and mind tricks, like his earlier limited budget flicks. Tarantino does make a point, when making a movie, all you need are a well written script and a good storytelling to move the story forward.

Django Unchained (2012)

I might forget the dreams of being a filmmaker long way ago. And I don’t know which one is sadder, the fact that I’m afraid that the career won’t make a steady job or the fact that I threw away my-almost-15-years-worth-of-dream without looking back. Then again, despite of what I do for a living now, I still want to be like Quentin Tarantino.

Hell with everybody else.

Three tomatoes are walking down the street – a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato.

Baby tomato starts lagging behind.

Poppa tomato gets angry, goes over to the baby tomato, and squishes him… and says,


Pulp Fiction (1994)

The Odd Admiration Named Barasuara

It was back on 2009 when Arctic Monkeys released Web Transmission. A 20 minutes performance of their then upcoming album Humbug. There was a chilling presence as each track revealed, a weird excitement, a bizarre amusement. That moment, I was sure I’ll be wanting to hear them more.

Today, the same odd admiration came to me. The layered sound and melody, the unusual song pattern, the word choices. The same chilling presence came back when I heard (and watched) Barasuara.

I might not be following the indie music scene too much here in Indonesia and my choice can only be limited to few bands like The Adams, Mocca, Sore, Float, Efek Rumah Kaca, and few others. Which most songs I believe I heard somewhere between the original soundtrack of some Indonesian movies. But Barasuara is an exception. I will quote Teguh Wicaksono’s foreword on the description on the video:

“Originally formulated as a one-man project, Iga’s decision to grant democracy to other members of Barasuara is spot on. With that line-up, making the rest of the member as additional players will be plain foolish. Already well-known bandmates Marco Steffiano, Gerald Situmorang, Asteriska Cabrini, Puti Chitara and TJ Kusuma are not only doing what they told to do, but also contribute substantial amount of power and clarity into the songs. Listening to the session, I am continuously awed by Marco’s smart, loud but tidy drumming. Producing the right sound, in the right time with the right volume is not a skill any drummer could do, especially faced with Barasuara’s steady but shifty approaches.

Songwriting is responsibly fresh, sound treatment is top-notch. Arrangement department is a nutritious delicacy for the hungry souls: you will recognise some Tinariwen juice, Sondre Lerche appetiser served with Jack White as Entree and some DD Dumbo as dessert. While the existence of backup singers in a band usually ended with question marks, the tranquility promised by Asteriska and Puti is far from ineffective, in fact they are the secret game changer of the whole Barasuara experience. Another thing that I noticed from Barasuara is they put real effort to avoid cliches. Right when you start to identify the pattern of the songs, suddenly they mutated into a different dimension, revitalised the songs for a moment before finally entering the punishing closure.” 

My favorite ones are Bahas Bahasa and Sendu Melagu. Afterall, it was the exact weird excitement and bizarre amusement. I know instantly that I’ll be wanting to hear them more.

PS: Barasuara’s first album, Taifun, will be released on October 16, 2015. If you are an Apple user, pre-order here at iTunes.

The Time Bender


Back in 2006, Hiro Nakamura is a cult sensation. That time, a TV series named Heroes and its tagline “Save the Cheerleader, Save The World” became widely popular. Heroes has set of interesting meta human superpowers on the show, like the cheerleader, Claire Bennet. She has the ability to regenerate herself, thus cannot be killed. Nathan Petrelli has the ability to fly. Matt Parkman can hear all the voices in the world. But Hiro Nakamura is probably the most lovable. He possess the ability to control time and space. Hiro can transfer to anytime and anywhere in the world with a blink of an eye.

It is almost ironic since nowadays people struggle with time and space. As if 24 hours would never be enough for a day. Bad economy also forces us to works 2-3 jobs and everybody seems to have a business outside their 9-5 job. But sometimes, I can’t help but wonder. We ALL have the same time frame, 24 hours. While some likes to whine about things, some people organized their 24 hours and create magic.

Becky Straw - Jody LandersSome become activists and create jobs across the globe.

Butet Manurung

Some creates education programmes for indigenous peoples of Indonesia. 

Brit Morin

Some mix technology with DIY and create an addicting website that aims to unlock woman’s creativity.

Zainab Ghadiyali & Erin Summers

Some share stories and try to break the stereotype.

Jen Gotch

Some make the most awesome brand on the universe by creating fun stuffs (which some includes pink and glitters!).


Some just kick ass, got into college at 12, got into Phd at 16, and tries to give robot a heart.


While some just happen to be PRESIDENT.

Do you realize that all of them are woman and some of them are mother?

So, how’s your 24 hours treating you?

Another June’s List


I think it is time to make another list (since it makes me really happy). By the way, this Ramadhan runs so fast. I managed to only break my fasting outside once until now (just because Ramadhan means family time). See, my greatest glory comes in form of much more blessed things. You just can’t replace family time on Ramadhan.

Now, here comes the June’s list!

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

I truly love him! John Oliver got the HBO weekly night show gig, after graduating from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. After writing quite some times for the show, some Emmys, and replacing Jon Stewart in summer 2013 (while Stewart directed a movie), HBO realized the true potential of this British comedian. Last Week Tonight airs every Sunday night, reviewing some of the news that happens from the past week. The show has tackled some important issues concerning Wage Gap, Lottery (which claims lottery benefit the society), Tobacco Addiction, Miss American Pageant (which claims themselves as the biggest scholarship for young woman), Online Harassment for Woman, and maybe the most watched episode of them all, FIFA. Also his famous Bud Light Lime chug.

The show is hilariously spotted on and entertaining. I wonder if the same method of the show will ever be on our national TV. Despite its satirical tone, the show delivers the important issue in funny acceptable way. My hope on national TV ever came in the form of Indosiar, then Metro TV, then Trans TV, only to realize time changes them all. Rating raise and fall, political interest emerge, and creativity goes awry in the form of useless show. Other hope came in the form of .NET TV which amazingly offers (almost) no commercial in between their show. Fresh sitcom and daily talk show (with line of veteran and amazing hosts). But then comes Masalembo, a complete rip off of the TV series I love dearly, LOST. Now, only time will show if .NET will become another ‘something goes bad and I cannot hold any longer’ or come as glorious alternative TV that consistently delivers high quality show.

By the way, I’d love to write my fascination towards some of late night shows someday.

Online Courses

At my 2014 year review, I said that creative workshop skyrocketed to become one of the hippest event on your weekend agenda. Not only that it gives you some knowledge and some skills of making something from scratch, it also becomes an alternative for your weekend gateway (bye bye, fancy mall. Let’s move to… fancy cafés). The hard truth about all of that, it (sometimes) costs a lot. Especially in capital city like Jakarta. The cost for this creative workshop ranges from +/- 200.000 to 1.000.000 and above. TOBUCIL, located in Bandung (which I always set my eyes on the Bookbinding workshop) sets the range cheaper on +/- 100.000 to 250.000. For your references, here are my suggested Jakarta based event organizer and/or workshop place:

INDOESTRI // Living Loving // Hello Smithies // Mau Belajar Apa

For you who doesn’t have the luxury of spending that much money or the luxury of going out in weekend, please welcome the INTERNET (sunglasses emoji, please). Youtube obviously gives you everything you need. But for you who don’t mind spending some money on your credit card, here comes Skillshare. The website is no different than any online course like Coursera (which still awesomely FREE). Coursera offers much more academic subject, partnering with top universities and highly educated lecturer.  But if you are like me, who already fed up with calculation and anything technical in your work (and really don’t want to enroll to Introduction to Programming with MATLAB), maybe Skillshare is the perfect place for you.

Skillshare believes you don’t need to have a degree when you want to teach something. You just need to be experience in that field of subject and you can teach classes. The thing is, Skillshare requires some Premium Membership to access all of their classes. Their Free Membership still let you access their limited free classes. Their Premium Membership costs $10/month and $96/year. However, if you sign up for their Premium Membership you will get 14 days free trial so you won’t be billed at that time (at my first day signing up, I enrolled to almost 23 classes, ha-ha). So if you want to get access to all the classes, just be sure to enrolled to all the classes you like and cancel your membership after the trial ends :)) But if you are interested enough to sign up for Premium Membership account, they offer 20% off across this summer. A really good bargain I must say.

Skillshare offers range of more creative approach to their workshop, from DSLR for Blogger course, Branding Yourself on Instagram, Knitting 101, Hand Lettering, SEO and E-mail Marketing Strategy, etc. I signed up for the membership just because I want to enroll to Elizabeth Olwen’s Pattern Design Worskhop :)) But after that, blown away by their range of topic. There is also another workshop that I enjoy a lot called Strategic Design The Art and Science of Branding.  The people from Lippincott teach about branding strategy with The Hyatt Place rebranding as case study.

By the way, Linkedin just acquired Lynda, which is another good online course I want to try. It costs more that Skillshare (around $25/month), but covers more topics which I interested of. For Linkedin member, they also offer 21 days free trial before signing up for Premium Membership. Another great deal. After my Skillshare free trial ends, I do want to try this :))

Other online classes from my favorite DIY blogger/website like Brit+Co usually cost $19.9 and the girls from A Beautiful Mess sets the price from $35 to $75. Since I don’t have the luxury to spend $50 for a blog branding course, I would like to recommend Skillshare for overall :)) These online course websites also have mobile apps feature if you want to access your courses offline. It is an alternative for you who commutes and stuck in traffic a lot. Instead of spending countless scroll on your social media, 10 – 15 minutes of new subject won’t hurt you.

I Wrote This for You

It took years for me to actually get this book. The book published back in 2011 and I know the website for quite sometimes, always fascinated by the words (who doesn’t?). To actually having this on my book shelves is beyond believe. By the way, this is still one of my favorite piece.

The book itself (like the blog) features Iain S. Thomas’ poems and Jon Eliss’ photographs. I enjoy the first volume a lot just because it features a lot of photographs from Japan. It is somehow enchanting and beautiful. The guys just release another book titled I Wrote This For You and Only You on March 2015.

Jurassic World

I don’t really follow the mix review of the movie, but I do want to watch it because I LOVE DINOSAUR. It’s like my favorite animal after dragon :)) Back in college, I cried alone at night when I ran out of National Geographic’s Dinosaur coverage. And to be honest, Jurassic Park is one of the three VHS I have back in the day (the other two were Beauty and The Beast & Aladdin).

A friend told me that I need to put my 10 years old inside me to get the real experience of the movie, I don’t believe it. I came as 20 something and I felt happy when I left the theater. I think the movie just served as the perfect must-watched summer movie this year. I have to admit, that there are a lot of re-used plot and re-used scenes (which still okay by the way). The movie takes homage to original movie through many Easter Eggs (which I love). Any adults (maybe the 20s mostly) will scream seeing the night goggles appearance and of course the T-REX!!! I idolize the T-rex a lot, I could die clapping my hands when he appears :)) I know the end of the story completely in the middle of the movie, just because I really want it to happen (and it does happen!). As it should always be, the T-rex needs to remind all newcomers who the reigning king really is.


Hand Lettering Artist

You know, it is really a career. The more I read and explore what these people are doing, the more I know there are various kind of hand lettering. Tough sometimes, I still cannot distinguish which one is more like calligraphy, graffiti, brush lettering, or the combination of all that; it’s still fun to see many of handmade beauty. My favorite local artist is Jamal M. Aziz from Lapantigatiga. He writes (and draws) like wizard.


(taken from Lapantigatiga’s Instagram)

There is also another hand lettering artist from Indonesia, but based in Virginia, named Feling Poh. Her works are more whimsical and modern, combining lettering and floral illustration. Her illustration works are also powerfully beautiful.

(taken from Feling’s instagram)

(taken from Feling’s website)

My favorite international artist might be Maiko Nagao and Jasmine Dowling. I love Nagao’s lettering because it is the right amount of messy that I like, and she sometimes mixes the writing and simple drawing like superheroes or animal graphic that fitted perfectly in a children’s room.

(taken from Nagao’s Instagram)

And Dowling is not only a famous letterer, she is also super fashionable. No wonder that her works include collaborations with IMG Model and Maybelline.

(taken from Dowling’s Instagram)

So, how’s life treating you lately? Hoping that you’ll always make the best of it.

Your Sunday Read

I’ve told you so many times about how Alex Turner’s words play critical part of my fondness to the band called Arctic Monkeys. One of the reason why the band is so likeable is not only how good they sound, but how their song feels like talking to you. From the catchy song of their first album called Mardy Bum that tells the story about an argument with a sulky girlfriend to the unconscious drunk dialing to your ex in Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High. There is this one time that Turner participated in his band mate Matt Helders’ DJ mixed album compilation called Late Night Tales (2008). In the album, Turner performed a spoken word track, a short story about an attempt to get the best view of a girl in the subway called A Choice of Three.

The track marked the stamp that the best of Turner is not when he struts in his guitar nor singing countless tunes. It is when he delivered a story about everyday life in witty unpredictable choices of words.

Hear the original track here. Quoting in one of the comment of the video, “The way he tells it is also so punctual and correctly paused.” Have a good Sunday, all you literacy monsters :)

 A Choice of Three

Alex Turner

In the tunnel I noticed I had a choice of three. While I thought it very kind of them to offer me this, I do wonder if they realized what a dilemma they were sending to face me.

The trouble was, if I looked at your reflection in the left window I missed the actual image of you and your reflection in the right. And if I looked in the right I had the same problem but the other way around.

At first I thought I should probably settle on one of the mirrors as they were soon to disappear, but that idea quickly wilted, and my attention was drawn back to the center, occasionally checking on either side.

I must say I did question the authenticity of your nap a few minutes before. As the train left Loughborough I suspected it could’ve been a device to avoid conversation. I’d barely considered this for a moment, however, when a heavy breath and a gulping sound that I decided would be too embarrassing to fake led me to conclude that your nap wasn’t fraudulent.

I found it difficult to concentrate on anything else as you slumped beneath your coat. Delighted that we’d waited until this hour to travel so the evening sun got its opportunity to skip across those sleeping cheeks, but unnerved by the prospect of being removed from the opposing chair to yours. I knew it was reserved but hoped that whoever had reserved it had fallen over.

It looked as if today I’d be safe. The train wasn’t too busy but I did take a moment to recall the time when I was less fortunate.

 I remembered it with a chilling vivivity we were on the way to Brighton.

I knew it was going to be his seat as soon as I saw him on the platform, unzipping, checking, zipping, and rechecking things. Something about his face suggested that he had for years had a mustache and had not long since removed it. He wasn’t going to think twice about disposing of me, especially considering then he’d get the chance to sit with you.

Though his hiking boot-march through the carriage was rather revolting, it wasn’t this that made my hands tense up into sour claws of nausea. It was the way he said it.

“You’re in my seat.”

No “excuse me,” no polite uncertainty, just the rigid, hideous fact. The thud with which it landed expelled all my preparation. Before I remembered my plans to pretend to be asleep, deaf, French, or only sat there because someone else was in my seat, I was walking to find another vacancy.

I ended up dwelling unhappily beside a girl with a boys bum. I knew that because she walked too far past when she returned to one of what I thought to be two empty seats when I sat myself there. I fidgeted until our reunion on the platform, where you brutally informed me “That man was really rather pleasant, actually.”

 Today I thought I’d better make sure that couldn’t happen again and I pulled the ticket from the top of my seat. It took a few attempts and the facade of hanging a jacket to finally complete. I was terribly cautious. There’s a threat of punishment for such deeds by fine as far as I understand, but those shackles were at the back of my mind as I crushed the reservation in my hidden fist. Folding and squeezing as if it were that beast on the way to the seaside.

 Fortunately, there was no retribution. If anything the train got quieter as the journey continued.

And so in the tunnel, unable to decide, my head flicked through this trilogy of angles, angel after angle, until we were out the other side.

My frantic twitching no doubt caused the man at the adjacent table to narrow his eyes at the very least, I imagine.

I don’t know for sure.

I didn’t have time to add him to the cycle.