Monthly Archives: March 2005

Life’s Backup Plan.

Kadang gue suka ngerasa kesel ama diri sendiri. Kadang? Seringnya sih sering!
Masalahnya sepele aja, gue sering ngga bikin rencana yang bagus buat semua apa yang gue kerjain, dan rencana yang bagus ini berarti bikin back-up plan. Kalo udah ga punya back-up plan buat satu hal yang udah terjadi, ditambah lagi dengan kebiasaan jelek yang ga ilang-ilang: never learn from mistakes in the past.

Tadi pagi, udah selesai mandi seger-seger dan siap berangkat kerja, pas mau matiin laptop, si Toshiba ini hang. OK, berarti pencet maksa tombol restart, dan apa yang terjadi?
Failure on restarting!
Si Toshiba tuwir ini stuck bermenit-menit, mati idup mati idup, scan process jalan 15% eh langsung masuk Standby mode (maaf kalo yang bukan techie, sungguh-sungguh gue pun bukan kalo ngga kepaksa!), sampe akhirnya setelah keringetan lagi sambil berdoa “God, jangan biarin computer ini crashed sebelum gue nge backup semua data!” selama hamper setengah jam, si Toshiba bias nge-boot pake Safe-Mode, trus proper shutdown.
At least that was good.
Later? Wallahualam!

Sebenernya si Toshiba ini emang udah uzur, beli 6 tahun lalu pake student loan, dan baru selesai bayar bulan Mei 2004! Nah lho, hebat tho? Beli pas kuliah semester satu, lunas bayar pas dah jadi sarjana setaun lebih. Selama 6 tahun ini emang si item dah masuk klinik berkali-kali, 2x reformat hard-disk, pernah survive kebanjiran, pernah kebanting-banting di pesawat, dan yang bertahan sampe sekarang adalah si almarhum batere yang udah mati dari sekian tahun yang lalu.

Dan kebodohan yang terjadi dalam proses reformat dulu adalah gue tidak menyiapkan back-up, sehingga banyak data2 kehidupan yang ilang! Padahal praktis computer ini jadi inseparable parts hidup gue, karena mulai dari semua assignments mata kuliah gue, surat cinta, foto-foto sampe koleksi MP3 gue yang ribuan itu, lenyap hangus menghilang tanpa jejak, dan belum lagi kehidupan jaman sekarang yang ga lepas dari computer, membuat gue merasa pas kalo di-cast jadi iklan yang pake tagline: “hari gini ga punya computer?”

Believe me, been there, done that!

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Walaupun gue bisa menghibur diri dengan bilang kalo selama masa ga ada computer itu gue bisa dengan tenang baca buku, nonton film di bioskop atau di dvd, denger musik jazz tanpa keganggu suara plang plung plang plung MSN ato Yahoo Messenger, tapi tetep ada yang hilang, ada yang aneh kalo gue ngga bisa nulis sekedar mo bikin resensi atau nulis email immediately.

Sekarang gimana?

Ada problem baru! Walaupun mau ngga mau musti beli si iBook dalam waktu deket (selaen gaya, itu yang paling murah diantara yang laen), yang bikin agak nyesek adalah, what else, money that matters, folks! Dengan beli barang mewah satu ini, berarti gue harus nahan-nahan diri buat bayar installment itu tiap bulannya, paling ngga 1-1,5 taun kedepan, yang berarti, gue ngga bisa keluar dari kerjaan gue sekarang ini, padahal, rencananya mau hibernasi dulu dari kerjaan yang super demanding ini.

So much for life’s reliance on technology.

And so much for life’s dependency over, well, tangible things.

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Posted by on 03/31/2005 in Bahasa Indonesia


/film review/ A Good Cast Makes Us Feeling Great To Be "In Good Company"

What if you have a boss that is half your age, and your boss is dating your daughter?

What kind of question is this?

For sure I can’t relate myself to the first question, but given the assumption that if such a thing does happen in an opposite point of view, then the boss should be around my age, and I can see where this judgment would be based on: the view of twenty-something yuppies whom every envied adults would like to say, “The time’s on your side, have fun!”

Indeed, Chris Weitz had a blast in mis-matching the unlikely pair of Dennis Quaid as the sacked ad salesman with Topher Grace as his ambitious younger (much younger) boss who passionately driven to achieve nothing but figures while neglecting his employees to suffer, something that Quaid’s Dan Foreman actually excels in. Add in to their bitter, jittery relationship is Scarlett Johansson’s Alex, Dan’s eldest daughter who is smitten by Grace’s Carter Dureya with all his kookiness and hidden charm. All three perform a ménage-a-trois relationship in clean slate manner enough to garner the film a PG rating although I deem Johansson’s presence is a bit overtly sexual for her character as an 18-year old fresh college student, yet the way she cuddles around Quaid proves to be a lovable look of how a father-daughter closeness should be.

However, if there’s a film whereby the performance of its one relatively-new star overwhelms the film itself, then the credit goes to Topher Grace. Having hidden for too long under the shadow of That 70’s Show ensemble, Grace gracefully embraces his role in a suave, charming manner yet enough to reveal his character’s multi-layered behaviors very well, which surely paved his way to be one reliable actor in the future. Of course, playing a character of the same age does add his effortless way to slip into the shoes of Carter Dureya’s charismatic presence, yet Grace manages to tower over Quaid’s steady-like figure and Johansson’s uneasy performance.

What if Topher Grace becomes the next leading man?

Stick to exploring his sensitivity first, please.

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Final Verdict : One would surely be ‘In Good Company’ when watching this enjoyable flick, thanks to believable, eclectic performance from its cast, particularly Topher Grace in his star-making role.

Grade : B

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Posted by on 03/29/2005 in English, Film


Merge or Crash.

When two sides of the brain begin to collide,
Or to merge to form a single thought,

There’ll be only less of emotiveness,
And there’ll be more of …




Good God!

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Posted by on 03/26/2005 in English


-scattered words (3)- Not My Films!

Nauval’s note:
-scattered words- series is a series of scattered files in the form of Notepad or Microsoft Word files that are found on my computer and were made long time ago, when blogging was never heard of, when publishing my thoughts to residents of virtual world never came across to my mind. Alas, you will see the progress in how I have evolved, to some extent, and particularly in this case, when the notes below were written sometime back in 2003, when I already started paying attention to film-review, sort of. Save your accusations for later cause, just read if you want to, no harms were done to the people working on dvd-rental stores as I always returned the dvds on time, or to the ushers of cinema halls as I politely woke up by myself after drooling on my sleeps upon watching some horrible films that were best left dreaming. Enjoy!



(not in any particular order)

reason: Wong Kar Wai at his absurdness! While it portrays Leslie Cheung and Maggie Cheung applaudable performances well, and stealing scenes from Rebecca Pan, one can’t help wondering, what Andy Lau’s character has got to do with the whole storyline? (and I suspect the same case happens to Jacky Cheung’s appearance in “Chungking Express”?)

(present reflection: Oh how Ben‘s gonna bash me for this! Hahahaha! My deep apology to all WKW’s fan, it took me a little longer to finally appreciate WKW’s gorgeousness of self-indulgent cinematic experience in which arts melts into pieces of scenes in which every angle would scream “grandeur!”, and not to mention understanding his masterful grasp of underlaying emotions of the characters through subtext of his powerful cinematographic films. Call it pretentious or overtly-stylized, yet WKW stands tall as one of the most respectable directors the modern cinema would shamelessly bow to his greatness.)

2. SOLYARIS (Solaris) (1971)
reason: Intolerably tedious w/ unnecessary scenes go lengthy! Even me and Pei Chin had to take turn sleeping (me at the end of the first part, and she at the beginning)! If you are claustrophobic, definitely this film is something I won’t recommend to you as a cure.

(present reflection: I wholeheartedly stick to my point above, despite getting enough exposure on Andrei Tarkovsky from some articles found in Sights & Sounds earlier this month. It doesn’t mean that I’m not gonna go for his other movies though, but I guess for anyone to make a 4-hour film in a slow-pace movement depicting about the life inside a space shuttle, audience may choose to go for suicidal thoughts happily rather than sacrificing themselves to be tortured mentally. Yet, some scenes in the film linger on my mind until now, particularly the traffic scene in which Andrei chose to show the image of street lights forming into linear pattern, an image impossibly made in the era when the film was made, yet the result strikes as familiar to modern audience.)

3. LA FAUSSE SUIVANTE (The False Servant)
reason: While the concept of transforming a play into a (low budget) film never works any better than this, I can’t help thinking that the lines are uttered plainly, a la French do their talking, maybe? Don’t blame me for falling asleep in the middle of crucial part, but after all, the screenplay puts a nice touch to the characterization of the roles.

(present reflection: Have you ever had an experience that you dislike a certain film so much, yet the film sticks on your memory after it has long gone? This is what I feel towards the film until now, for I can still recall the vivid “staging” the film is made, in which the whole story about the ship-wreck is staged in an entire theatre hall, and the director made it obvious! Perhaps an experiment of a not-properly-tested breakthrough, the main draw of this film lies on Isabelle Huppert’s dignified presence, yet I should’ve known that if I wanted to go for this, I would’ve chosen her other far more superb works.)

reason: Surely the film’s breathtaking cinematography match the catch-me-if-you-can
thriller Hitchcock is best known as in 1950’s, it’s just a matter of time I took when I watched this film. A lesson learned: NEVER watch any thrillers in midday! Definitely one of those films I’m gonna watch again.

(present reflection: Blame it on a heaty afternoon that made me lose my concentration in watching this enjoyable flick which is not supposedly requiring any particular attention in the first place! There you go, figure it out yourself, this is Hitchcock’s at his relaxed, playful direction like the way he did in The Trouble with Harry or even Notorious. Considering the pairing of Grace Kelly and Cary Grant is something worth watching itself, I may have to watch this film one more time before I can give my fair judgment.)

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Posted by on 03/25/2005 in English, Film


(put every label you want in this bracket)

have you ever felt being like
nobody with nothing?

i have been.

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Posted by on 03/23/2005 in English


/soundtrack of the moment/ To Make You Feel My Love

(Nauval’s prologue:
I guess it’s been quite some time for me not to post or to dedicate one blog-posting for a certain song. There you go, to quench your thirst for another session of mellow-y, melancholy moment, I present a song written by Bob Dylan, and the one that I reel most is the version sung by Garth Brooks which fills the soundtrack of Hope Floats, one of the under-rated films about romance that never seemed to rise in the minds of those self-proclaimed romantic-films junkies.
Simply put, the song’s been hanging inside my mind from this morning, it may or may not be correlated for what’s been felt by, er, my feeling. Yes, the feeling has its own existence and that’s why I pay my respect.

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When evening shadows and stars appear
And there is no one to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
Ive known it from the moment that we met
There’s no doubt in my mind where you belong

I’d go hungry I’d go black and blue
I’d go crawling down the avenue
There ain’t nothing I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love

The storms are raging on a rolling sea
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain’t see nothin’ like me yet

There ain’t nothin’ that I wouldn’t do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
Make you happy make your dreams come true
To make you feel my love

(Nauval’s epilogue:
I guess we’ve all had those kind of moment when words seem to be stuck on our throats, unable to be blurted out, or frozen inside the brains, resulted in different things coming out from the mouth. The spoken words might not be the intended intention we initially plan out.
Worry not.
Somehow love channels and reaches to its ultimate in unidentifiable manners

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Posted by on 03/22/2005 in English


-scattered words (2)-

“It’s me.”
Aku tahu.
“Well, you know …”
“It’s there.”
“You got everything …”
“Come in.”
“I guess …”
Tolong cepat pergi!.

“What can I say?”
“Not even …”
“This is it.”
“But I want to …”
“What makes you think I want it too?”
Tolong jangan ulangi lagi!

“You should have told me earlier so that I wouldn’t have to wait.”
“But you did.”
“Now you see how hard it is.”
“At least let me be part of it.”
“But you did!”
Tolong diam sekali ini!
Tolong aku supaya melupakanmu!
Tolong aku supaya bisa menamparmu!
Tolong aku supaya mengasihanimu!

“I can’t befriend you, not after this.”
“Not even making me your enemy?”
Kita menghela nafas panjang.
“How could that be?”
“Dismiss me?”
“Completely. Unless you wish to be a disposable one.”
“It’s good while it lasts?”
“It’s more than one deserves. Well, good things finish fast, don’t they?”

Kenapa kita bodoh?

(found: //nauval’s docs, dated: november 15, 2004)

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Posted by on 03/20/2005 in English



Dalam hidup, tanpa kita sadari, tingkah laku yang terbentuk dari sikap perbuatan yang kita jalani sehari-hari akan terekam dan terdata dalam bentuk hitungan statistik. Oleh karena itulah tercipta ilmu statistik yang memungkinkan terjadinya perhitungan dan analisa cermat yang dilakukan dengan menuruti kaidah-kaidah ilmiah, walaupun aplikasi ilmu ini ternyata sangat fleksibel, yang berarti penerapannya pun bisa disesuaikan dengan bentuk ataupun jenis pemakaian yang kita kehendaki.

Mari saya ajak anda untuk menelusuri halaman blog Now.Far. ini.

Setelah anda membaca judul blog, berikut apa yang saya tulis ini dan juga meninggalkan pesan di kotak sebelah kiri blog ini, cobalah arahkan mouse anda ke arah bawah, sampai anda melihat barisan angka-angka di sebelah kiri.

Coba dilihat baik-baik.


Dan jika anda lihat di sebelah angka itu, ada satu kotak kecil bergambar garis gelombang naik turun.


Oh la la!

Anda akan melihat bahwa kunjungan anda ke blog ini sekarang sedang terdata dan terekam oleh Nedstat, lengkap dengan server yang anda pakai, jenis web browser, pukul berapa anda datang kesini.

Dan inilah saudara saudari, bukti suatu kenarsisan saya yang banci tampil di blog ini, setiap saat selalu ngeliatin berapa orang yang dateng ke blog ini, sambil ngeliatin dari mana aja mereka, dan dari blog siapa mereka berkunjung!

Kadang-kadang sampe ngebentuk suatu pattern, yang akhirnya gue bisa nebak siapa aja yang dateng kesini, misalnya, kalo ada server dari Nanyang Technological University, kemungkinan besar itu Wira yang lagi kuliah S2 disana. Kalo ada tulisan Japan, kemungkinan besar Siberia alias mbak Ria, ato malah Buna juga?! Dan juga kalo ada tulisan Australia, berarti itu Eko yang lagi di Melbourne, dan tentunya Cambodia, yang berarti mas Hary lagi nongkrong disini.

Yang agak susah dari Indonesia, karena begitu beragam server yang dipake, walaupun spekulasi terbesar, kalo CBN itu berarti Kenny lagi pake iBook nya di God knows which cafe he goes to, tapi jangan ditanya kalo dah Telkom, kemungkinan besar itu warnet yang tentu aja susah dilacak!
Tapi untungnya, masih ada kantor-kantor yang punya provider tersendiri, sehingga kalo ada nama salah satu kantor akuntan publik terpercaya di dunia nongol di daftar, ga diragukan lagi bahwa itu pasti si bapak yang baru aja kesengsem ama blogging.

Anehnya juga, biar di Singapore pun, ada juga yang pake server dari United States, dan siapa lagi kalo bukan si IU dari the coolest office in the world yang kerjaannya koq ngga cool sama sekali.

Lucu juga ngeliatin balok-balok yang tersusun rapi ini setiap hari. Ada keasyikan tersendiri yang malah jadi, er, hobby (daripada gue ngomongnya obsesi?) dikala kerjaan kantor ngga menumpuk, buka blog sendiri, dan lumayan bikin tersenyum kalo ada yang lagi mampir di warung.

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Ngga ada ujung ngga perlu ada akhir, dari tulisan ga bermakna ini gue cuman pengen ngucapin: THANK YOU udah membuat gue semakin narsis lho! Hihihihihi!

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Posted by on 03/17/2005 in Bahasa Indonesia


Note of Not.

People do not cry for something
That they despise
That they dismiss.

I almost surrendered.


thank you, Komang
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Posted by on 03/15/2005 in English


Sudah Lama Aku Tidak Melihat Senja

gelembung awan berarak-arak
putih kapas mengapung di hampa udara
kerajaan awan bagai bapak melindungi anak
dari gempuran matahari menyengat menganga

dan juga hujan
yang bagi orang klangenan
berarti berkah bahagia
bisa pelukan

walaupun ngga lama lagi
matahari menyembul setitik
dan menjadi pelangi
lalu angin berhembus menepi

sudah lama aku tidak melihat senja ini
karena ketertundukan pada alam jagad fana
berbuntut kepenatan
sehingga tak pernah menengadah lagi

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Posted by on 03/15/2005 in Bahasa Indonesia


Strolling Along Java Jazz Festival

As I was about to board the plane on Thursday, intending to make a surprise visit to my beloved one, I was approached by a fellow passenger, asking if I went to Jakarta for Java Jazz Festival or not.

I was startled.

Apparently, the buzz has traveled further than anyone would think of, and it deservedly received so. This 3-day music festival had such an amazing line-up that would make any music aficionado drowned in jealousy had they missed the festival.
Angie Stone? Check.
Jeff Lorber? Check.
Tania Maria? Check.
Laura Fygi? Check.
James Brown, the Godfather of Soul? Check.
Eric Benet? Check.
George Duke? Check.
Incognito? Check.
Lizz Wright? Check.
Those are just to name a few out of many aspiring thespians, and in fact, hidden treasures being kept for too long and about to discover, again.

And that’s exactly what I have come to realize upon spending one cloudy day of that eventful Sunday at Jakarta Convention Center (JCC): discovery.
My musical wandering began at Plenary Hall to see Elfa’s Children Choir and Elfa’s Jazz & Pop Singers performing. From what had initially been a mere additional of my already-established plan turned out to be a big surprise of the day. The choir did swing the hall down!
Tipped my hat off to Elfa Secioria for maintaining his sharp intuition and magic in creating an ensemble of singers united through harmonious voices, the choir performed well despite the huge venue that would have been drowned their performance. We saw the otherwise obviously, thanks to their relaxed, sweet and demure singings that one might keep wondering, how they could maintain their cuteness as children while belting out the standards? Ask Elfa whose pride on his face is one thing he could not hide in that afternoon.

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The follow-up by the adult ones, while still good at their own terms, provide lack of fresh interpretation of pop hits they were singing. Often I could not help seeing them as typical groups performing at cafes or restaurants singing Top-40 Hits. Certainly the last song you want to hear in such a prestigious event like this would be the likes of “This Love” by Maroon 5! Worse, their effort to communicate with audience fell flat when they said in English, “Our next song is a happy song, and I hope you can find some happiness around when you listen to this song.”

They sang “Lately” from Stevie Wonder.

Exactly as somber as the original version is.

Enough of this, my next target is to catch Deodato even for one or two songs. Unfairly placed on a smaller Assembly Hall, the room was still packed with audience who were obviously put under their spell, especially in a surprisingly down-toned finale that seemed to give their whole performance that afternoon an anti-climax ending.

Next is Eric Benet.

Hardly qualified as a jazz singer though, Benet suffers from his too-much talk to audience, who were mostly women being wooed by his suave manner. However, that charming performance does not lift up a laid-back atmosphere he unintentionally created through his slow-tempo songs, and without any uplifting moves he showed on the stage, by any means it was hardly any surprise most people chose to stick to their seats to sleep, or simply, walked out to see other more interesting performances. Some came back though, when this dreary show was redeemed when he performed “India”, named after his daughter, in a quiet manner that actually left audience feeling touched.

And how contrast it was to see the next line-up: Angie Stone!

The moment she stood up on the stage wearing a bright pink blouse and skirt, she marched and commandeered the audience to groove along with her for the next 60-minute of what I’d like to call as the most energized and fully recharged performance of the day. Belting and screaming out her soulful songs, she gave a perfect control of her pitch, never gone off-key despite sweaty shakes of her body which just inspired the whole house to rock with her. We just could not get enough of her, but after an hour ends, she knew that she had to pave the stage to the highlight of the festival:

James Brown.

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So much so needed to be done to prepare his showcase, at the expense of the delay for about two hours, leaving people queuing outside Plenary Hall for a little almost two hours. Yet, the wait was worth the wait.
Already in his 70s, having recently survived surgeries of his ailing illness, one can only wonder: can he still groove?
The answer I saw was a full-pledged performance that stretched for a little over 2 hours, and while it was apparent that Brown limited his moves to minimum, yet audience was still thrilled to see the way he swung the microphone stand, the way his walks inspired Michael Jackson to create his Moonwalk, and the surprisingly entertaining band who does really excel in bringing up the mood of the whole show. Yet, some scantily-clad dancers perhaps way too much of a show, especially when I saw some kids who might be best at their first grade of junior-high attended this concert with their parents. Nice effort, folks!

There it was, “Living in America” and “I Feel Good” put a different touch of soulful tunes to this long-awaited Jazz Festival, which surely has quenched the thirst of jazz lovers throughout the region. Set aside the delays, the traffic jam, the inadequacy of some crews in handling customers’ queries, I keep looking forward to this event next year.

Alas, going for a supper of nasi uduk in Kota afterwards could not be more fruitful.

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Posted by on 03/14/2005 in English


How to Prepare a Surprise Visit


– Yourself
– Your friends
– Your lenient boss
– Your company’s well-established Human Resources (HR) system
– Your object of surprise


– Your parents’ immediate visit


– In order to make it happen, do not get surprised yourself! In other words, you can’t afford to be overwhelmed with the surprise you create on your own.
– Be sure to get the right friends of your object of surprise. Apparently, calling them at the very last minute while they were confused with the surprise plan itself might, well, cause the hectic schedule.
– Never create any hints that would evoke any suspicious assumptions from your object of surprise. If you can’t pick up the phone because you are on your way to surprise him, get a better excuse rather than saying “Sorry, dear. I was asleep, didn’t hear you call”, while the truth is that you did not get a seat on the bus all the way from Cengkareng to Blok M.


– Let the pictures speak for themselves.

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* goodness! can’t this woman just sit still when her pictures were taken? hehehe …

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* … and jembi can only do ‘nyureng’

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* the music fest that made my trip a feast

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* their so-called candid pose!

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* oh oh oh! being surrounded by these two angels who helped my arrival went, er, “smoothly” 😛


Twinnie, being my object of surprise
Imesh, for having to endure the beautiful world of Blok M Plaza
Fina, you getting married soon, hiks!
Rio, or shall I say, Rio Mercury 🙂
Kenny, being confused with ‘Clive’ and ‘Linney’
Kathy, being my kirsten DURST
Jembi, whatever made you wearing the orange shirt that evening
Esther, finally a nice ayam bakar to indulge myself in!
Heru, the silent observer
Helly, for providing such a blast to bash
John, almost silent words to talk to
Aldi, more donuts coming in, ok?!
Agus, do not sell your mobile phone yet!
Anri, the truth is revealed 🙂
Giri, after all these empty years in between.

and last but not least,

Java Jazz Organizing Committee, going home from a concert at 2 am is kinda cool!

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Posted by on 03/13/2005 in English


/film review/ Banyu Biru – A Tiresome Floating Journey that Seems Never Ending

One, that includes me, can’t help making this kind of classification unfairly given to Indonesian films in general, that is, the film either belongs to commercial market, or whether they are made (and marketed) as an art-y film, which usually associated with being screened on film festivals, locally and globally. Such treatment may not come from the opinionated-public itself, to some extent it is derived from the films themselves, which later on will prove to be some kind of major hindrance in analyzing and understanding the films, in complete.

Watching Banyu Biru is simply unable to escape the notion above.

Just like looking at its misleading poster that suggests a lightweight comedy with the use of plainly bright blue color and showing Tora Sudiro with a supposedly thoughtful, confused look around his face while holding a floating boat that turns to be merely bland innocent look, and the useless effort of maximizing general public interest by putting the name Dian Sastro right below Tora’s, the film seems to be ready to enter the market of commercial films intended to generate greater audience’s interest to flock on cinemas and making some philosophical film a hit.
Yet, the premise, metaphorically associated to the boat in the poster, only manages to float on the surface, drifting along seamlessly and leaving me wondering, what’s the film is all about?

The journey we are about to embark on watching this film refers to Banyu’s journey (Tora Sudiro) in finding his intended direction on life. Having separated from his estranged father (Slamet Rahardjo) ever since he was in high school after going through painful bringing up, now Banyu, being a lonesome depressed man of a big city pinched down to survive, determines to find out the missing link in his life that he thinks leads him to his current state of being. Along the way, he encounters different characters who help shaping his way of thinking, which eventually would lead to his relief. Or is it?

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The story of how one finds the truth about his own life may be told for numerous times, yet Teddy Soeriaatmaja, the director, failed to bring out a fresh look of this overused theme. It started strongly though, with the sequence of a couple dancing along the song ‘Juwita Malam’, which later would be played throughout the film in many different versions, and a young boy peeks at the couple who turns out to be his parents as the story progresses. The sweet scene done in soft-tone color evokes our sense of nostalgia, and as if Teddy would not want to let the sweetness go away, he seems to be trapped in gorgeous cinematography rather than concentrating on the pillar of a narrative fiction film: good storytelling. Quite a number of beautiful shots taken from unusual angles of point of view are drained to replace the exhaustiveness from the lack of coherent storytelling.
A good defense of these imagery showcases would be to make the film as surrealist as it can be. Some scenes heavily suggest this intention, the strongest would be the dancing scene in the middle of a boring meeting at Banyu’s workplace. Like a rip-off from Bjork’s music video “It’s Oh So Quiet” when all the actors suddenly breakout into dancing moves with no particular expression on their faces, the scene marks as the most relieving part of the film. Yet, this continuity of dream-like quality in the film has to be butchered when the rest of the following scenes force themselves to be filled with un-communicative words, jump directly at intended meaning instead of regular talks that may bring out the purpose of having those talks better. By then, audience’s freedom to interpret and perceive the film is annoyingly disturbed with these meaningless words.
Which also would leave the actors at their dreadfulness, trying hard to interpret the story in unconvincing ways. By any means, Teddy is the most enviable director at the moment for his ability in assembling talented cast comprises of Slamet Rahardjo, Dian Sastro, Didi Petet, HIM Damsyik, Didi Petet, Rima Melati, but surely he would be the unfortunate one who is unable to capitalize their talents. In fact, the surprise of this film is derived from one scene-stealer whose skillful acting presence lingers on my mind long after the film ends: Oscar Lawalata.

You may accuse him of merely playing as himself for the character, coincidental or not, resembles to Oscar’s own character, I believe. However, as the film clearly states at the end-credit that the whole film is fictional and no matter what the background of the actor is, Oscar does the best of all the rest of the actors here. Playing as Arif, a neglected childhood friend of Banyu, Oscar is often put under the silhouette, hiding most of his recognizable signatural feature. Yet, as good as any caliber actors can be in marking his presence without even showing, Oscar does the same through his carefully enunciated words that he delivers with superb, contented delivery, leaving Tora scratching his head for he needs to learn from this scene-stealer.

But as Oscar only does scene-stealing, moreover only one scene which surely is not enough to help the film from going downhill afterwards, what might be able to redeem is the breathtaking beauty of the film’s setting and melodious score that will surely be granted at least a nomination for this year’s Indonesian Film Festival. Too early to predict, but at least the film is saved by these two elements that surely captivated one of the reporters sitting next to me in watching the film who, after the end-credit finishes, immediately blurted out the words to the film’s publicist:
“Pemandangan alamnya bagus ya, mbak!”

I can imagine Teddy smirking.

Final Verdict: Banyu Biru works like a floating surrealism that only drifts around the surface without attempting to go deeper into the core of the story. It escapes the pretentiousness, thanks to commercially-bankable actors who play the roles of the characters here.

Grade: C+

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Posted by on 03/10/2005 in English, Film


On Faithful Characters.

I find myself often drawn to liking the kind of characters shown, or rather, performed by the f0llowing list of actors in the following films:

Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven.

Alfred Molina in Frida.

Jessica Lange in Big Fish.

Winona Ryder in The Age of Innocence.

Kerry Washington in Ray.

Tommy Lee Jones in Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Sophie Okonedo in Hotel Rwanda.

Laura Linney in Kinsey.

Donald Sutherland in Ordinary People.

Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind.

The list may just go on and on, but at this point of time, provided that you are familiar with those entries, you can draw one parallel line of similarity on those entries: they all portray faithful spouses, who devote their lives wholeheartedly to their partners. Considering that most of them are taken from the real life stories, the look couldn’t get any more interesting.

Why interesting?

Despite the spotlight often falls on the glamorous, larger-than-life characters often portrayed on the big screens, there are always sidekicks or supporting roles who in occurences beyond rarity, steal and even hijack the scenes and the films they are in. With the exception of Moore‘s placement as a leading role (not to mention that the film itself focuses on this supposedly secondary role), the other roles are put as supporting ones, God knows if it’s unknowingly or intentionally.
Certainly they fit to what Tammy Wynette sings in her infamous song “Stand By Your Man” which I shall not probe into this deeper as you may already guess from the title itself.
These characters have become something great on their own for their magical ability in supressing their ego-centrism of themselves to serve their partners dutifully, they are aware of their own choices to be put under or behind the shadows of the men or women they adore and admire. For that, it comes with a price.

Molina has to bear Hayek‘s lust over different kind of life, as to what Moore does to Quaid.
Washington chooses to stick to Charles despite his odd behaviour, while Ryder does it silently, but carefully observes every thought created within Day-Lewis‘s mind.

However, at the end of the day, the so-called suffering that they themselves may not be able to experience those actions as torture for they have embedded within their characteristical thoughts too deep, will get its own reward. To see how Crowe surrenders over Connelly‘s presence and thanks her at the Nobel Prize ceremony scene is a testament on how generosity and endurances will pay off.

Not that they are lack of their own ability or skills that the world may embrace. After all, Linney‘s character is a bright science student prior embarking on a risky life that lasts a lifetime with Neeson. Yet, the turnaround she chooses prove to be a towering platform that strenghtens and enrich herself and the couple’s life.
Or maybe at that time she thinks that she may not be able to move forward with her academic journey as a scientist, we never know. Life’s about different kinds of possibilities and choices we have to make after all.

And to end this ramblings, I can’t help myself humming along this standards that received a dramatic treatment so achingly beautiful by Barbra Streisand at the end of her career-launch pad The Funny Girl:

“oh my man i love him so / he’ll never know / all my life is just a spare / but i don’t care / when he takes me in his arms / the world is bright / alright / what’s the difference if i say / i’ll go away / when i know i’ll comeback / on my knee someday / so whatever my man is / i am his / forever more …”

Goodness! Even a gay icon would love to sing a song strong with male-chauvinism!

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Posted by on 03/09/2005 in English


Byar Pet!

Setelah diliat-liat, blog ini isinya pelem semua yah? Hahahaha! Just bear with my indulgence, pembaca yang budiman dan budimin, dan terimakasih buat semua pesan dan komentar yang udah ditinggalin di bawah. Kalau belum dibales, tentunya bukan karena males, tapi karena internetnya ini lho …

Byar pet!

Inget jaman dulu kalo mati lampu? Atau ngga usah susah-susah nginget, mungkin barusan kena mati lampu minggu lalu atau kemarin? Karena jaman sekarang udah banyak orang pake lampu listrik nan canggih, maka udah jarang juga nemu keadaan mati lampu dimana bohlam kuning pelan-pelan meredup, trus mati, jadi nya “Byar pet”, tapi gawatnya, tau-tau langsung mati! Gelap gulita bener-bener keliatan item semua!

Kalo dah gini, saya jadi inget ama pengalaman masa kecil dulu, dimana rumah saya dijadiin kos-kosan dan ada sekitar 10 orang mahasiswi kos disitu. Kebayang kalo dah lampu mati, semua mbak-mbak kos yang lagi belajar ato sekedar rumpi-rumpi di kamar langsung berteriak jejeritan keluar dari kamar, ngumpul tanpa dikomando di halaman belakang rumah, atau malah lari ke depan, liatin orang bawa obor, lumayan buat penerangan dikit-dikit. Kebetulan juga, kalo misalnya mati lampu di rumah ini, berarti satu komplek juga mati lampu, dan karena komplek rumah ini banyak kos-kosan, maka rame lah satu jalan ini ama rumpian sesama anak kost yang sama-sama ketiban sampur ga bisa belajar buat midterm test besoknya!

Akhirnya, saya ngeliat kasus mati lampu ini malah jadi ajang sosialisasi, karena orang-orang yang sibuk di dunianya sendiri-sendiri, sekarang mau ngga mau kudu keluar, dan kalo keluar berarti ketemu orang laen, dan kalo ketemu orang laen berarti ngobrol, kenalan, syukur-syukur mbak kost ini bisa kenalan ama mas kost yang rumahnya di ujung jalan itu …


Seumur-umur di Singapore, baru sekali ada kejadian lampu mati karena supply gas dari Indonesia macet, jadinya listrik ga bisa jalan! Edan tenan tanah air kelahiranku, udah sepantesnya ngalahin negeri kiasu ini!
Tapi bukan itu yang jadi ajang sosialisasi saya dan orang-orang rumah.

Sebelumnya perkenalkan para penghuni rumah ini, berdasarkan abjad nama panggilan:
Acay : pria 25 tahun lulusan akuntansi NTU yang menganggap udang dan sambel, apalagi udang sambel, adalah barang haram jadah!
Nopal : pria 26 tahun penggemar film lulusan linguistik NUS yang kegatelan kalo lewat depan Beetle Bug!
Onel : wanita 24 tahun calon ibu rumah tangga sejati berlatar belakang ekonomi NUS pen-supply t-shirt Hang Ten!
Seno : pria 23 tahun penggemar aneka game online yang lagi berkutat di depan komputer menyelesaikan Final Year Project dari jurusan electrical electronics engineering (ga bisa di-indonesia-in) NTU!
dan pernah satu makhluk bernama Donatus yang jago bisnis meskipun lulusan building & real estate NUS ini hadir di kehidupan kami selama sebulan lebih.

Dengan latar belakang dari kampus-kampus dimana internet adalah bagian dari kehidupan sehari-hari yang biasa ada, begitu keluar dari kampus pun, tanpa pikir panjang lagi, daftar buat langganan kabel internet jadi kebutuhan yang mendasar dan mendesak, ngga peduli kalo di kantor pun udah punya akses internet yang sama cepet ini.

Karena itulah, bisa dibayangin betapa hidup kami memang dihabiskan banyak di depan komputer masing-masing, dimana kalo kalian ke rumah kami, maka bisa dipastikan bahwa kami semua akan duduk manis menatap layar monitor sendiri-sendiri sambil sesekali terdengar suara klak klik klak klik keyboard ato bahkan suara The Simpsons ato Futurama punya Seno yang baru kelar di download, bahkan sekedar janjian makan ayam di bawah rumah sama Acay pun harus saya lakukan lewat Yahoo Messenger!

Kalo udah gini, apa yang menyatukan kita? Gampang aja:

Kalo internet mati!

Biasanya diawali dengan koar-koarnya Acay yang internet connection nya pake wireless yang super sensitif dengan toel-toel angin itu, keluar dari kamar ngeklaim kalo internet ga jalan. Masuk ruang tengah, ada Seno yang lagi asyik maen game, ngga ngeh kalo internetnya ngga jalan, trus lanjut dengan ketokan manis di pintu kamar gue:

“Pal, internet elo jalan ngga?”

(sambil harap-harap cemas liat download mp3 udah 75%) “Jalan aja tuh, kenapa?”

“Lagi download ngga?”

(udah 80%) “Bentar lagi kelar” (dan gebetan-gebetan di Yahoo Messenger masih blinking windowsnya)

“Ya udah, bentar lagi mo restart!”

Waduh, bye bye gebetan!

Malah lebih parah waktu ada Donatus dulu, yang komputernya bener-bener di depan ruang tamu, jadinya kalo internet mati duluan, dia koar-koar paling kenceng,

“Woooiiii!! Internetnya matiiiii!!” (dan tentu saja muka pacarnya Donatus jadi burem item karena webcam juga mati!)

Dan berhamburlah kami semua dari kediaman masing-masing menuju ruang tamu nunggu internet disambungin lagi sambil update kabar masing-masing selama 3-5 menit itu. Begitu si lampu pertanda connection udah kelap kelip, tanpa dikomando lagi, kembali ke posisi masing-masing di depan komputer, ketawa ketiwi yang lagi chatting, tereak-tereak yang lagi maen game, serius baca berita atau update blog, sampe akhirnya nanti ada yang bilang,

“Internetnya matiiii!”

Walah, byar pet tenan!

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Posted by on 03/03/2005 in Bahasa Indonesia