Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On The Road Again

After a long break in posting, I've decided to start writing in this humble little blog of mine once more. Not in any part due to fan pressure (of which there is none, I assure you), but mostly from the realisation that there's somewhat of a connection between regularly blogging and writing skill. As much as I like surfing the Internets© and goofing off, neither of those really help in writing. Or motivation, for that matter. In any case, writing helps me keep my communicative edge sharp, even if no-one really gives a damn about what I say. Savvy?

Today's entry...a return to the wilderness.

It sure doesn't feel like it, but I've been studying in this university for two years, give or take a few months from holidaying back home. That means roughly two years of (technically) living on my own, cooking for myself (most of the time), and pretty much juggling priorities and making choices without direct intervention of the parental units. It seemed pretty long the previous two years, but in retrospect it's all been a short, short period time in my life. Yet at the same time, it also felt like the longest, most agonizing stretches of time I've ever been through in certain spots.

For the most part, though, it's been quicker than I've imagined. In the span of two years, I've managed to do so many things I never acheived in high school. I joined a martial art, out of my own volition, and fell in love with it. Even when I come home in bruises and pain, I always come back on motivation I gave myself. I've managed to live more or less on my own in a foreign country, and learned how to operate in a western society. I've made friends who aren't my direct classmates, juniors, or seniors, in ways I'd never expect. I've traveled on my own up and down the country, which I definitely would not have done had I stayed home.

Oh, and I was blessed with a girlfriend. Best acheivement of 2008, I may add, and one I'm constantly thankful for. It's not always a bed of roses, what with a long-distance relationship from the start, or extremely differing upbringing between the two of us, but I figure (as I've discerned through my martial arts training) that things that take quite a lot of effort to do are usually the ones with goals worth getting. So I'll see how this goes on. Maybe it'll work in the long run, maybe it won't, but I'll be sure to take it as it comes and enjoy every moment it brings.

One thing I've noticed since I came back here; I'm different to the person that left home two years ago. People have been telling me this, but it never really registered in my mind what exactly had changed. Looks, probably. Lost some weight here and there. Perhaps gained some muscle mass. But nothing really came to my mind as being different. Until I came back and confidently walked around the campus as if it were my back yard, talking normally to the lecturers I once approached so timidly, and just being sure of myself for once.

One thing that hasn't quite changed, however, is my cooking skill. Despite having a bit of training during my year-end holiday back home, I've still managed to cook up the least appetizing and (especially in last night's case) rather stomach-unsettling. I do realise now that sometimes, it's best to start off with recipes other people have made until I'm completely sure of what I'm doing.

Just as a side note, I cooked orak-arik (green bean and carrot stirfry) last night. And it was horrible. It began normally enough, getting the spices all worked up and smelling good. It was after stirfrying the veggies that it all started to go downhill. To substitute eggs, I put in tofu. To improve taste I added two red chillies, and sweet soy sauce on top of that. Still unhappy with the taste, I somehow decided to add water and Kikkoman sauce.

I do feel it is relevant to say that after eating this concoction, my sleep was plagued by a series of nightmares, one I vividly remember being about living in a house overrun by rats, bugs, and scorpions. Lovely.

[End Transmission]

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Cave Dweller

Myself, of course.

For the last two months there are basically only two places where I've been spending my life. One is the library, the only place I can get my hands on the Economics coursebook (which for some reason I decided to not buy throughout the semester). However, the library has to close at 10 pm. And on weekends, it's only open between 11 am and 5 pm. That's it. The second place, in which I've spent probably 99.9% of my time is...

My room.

More specifically, at the desk next to heater, in front of my beloved laptop.

Now, the room is a mess. Can't be bothered to check whether I've said this before, but for the majority of this semester I went into this bad funk. Part of the funk is being indifferent to the condition of my living quarters. Add to this the exam period, so the books and papers are all over the floor and the desk. There's also this rather strange smell emanating from the room which I can't quite put a finger on. Mold? Fungal growth? The mixture of smells from my flatmates' cooking (given that I'm got the room at the farthest end of a corridor, where these scents seem to circulate and seep into my room)? Laundry? The only I can find out is if I actually clean my bloody room. I can't even remember the last time I changed my sheets. Good gravy. Actually, that's probably because it's winter and I love my flannel sheets to bits in situations such as these, but still. I probably should've invested in a second pair of flannel sheets. Some air freshener would probably be good as well. That's probably the only option short of fumigating the place. But cleaning should be the priority. My carpet feels grittier than ever (soon to match the texture of the ground cover on the other side of the windowsill), which is not a good thing when I'm trying to fold my kendogi. Not acceptable (but acceptable enough for the time being).

My habit of lurking more in the internets to the wee hours of the morning and almost never popping out of the room have gained me the status of cavemen among my flatmates, who are never quite sure whether I'm in the house or not. This does lead to many fun times, especially because I have this uncanny ability to sneak up on all of them in the kitchen quite easily.

The height of isolation occured with the dying of my handphone. The poor thing crashed and died. Or more like went into this undead mode where it turns on and off at its own bidding. Some kind of freak sentience, I suppose. It was then that I realised just how alone I could be around here (minus the company from MSN, though). My folks didn't have any other way to find out about my situation, as I'm pretty shoddy with email correspondence. End of the story is that I got it fixed...and it came back with the entire harddrive content wiped. Gone. All the numbers, photos, messages...just blank. I picked it up today and had a hard time keeping myself from laughing with the irony of it all. The reason I wanted to fix it was to backup the data in order to transfer it to a new handphone. So much for that.

Well, it's late. More...soon.

[End Transmission]

Friday, May 16, 2008


So, I woke up in the middle of the night earlier for absolutely no reason. Just did. Was suddenly awake (unlike the last three days, which have been disastrous to say the least). Spent an eternity just looking at my wooden ceiling and kaputt light.

Then I started laughing, also for no reason.

Snickering first, then chuckles, then suddenly I found myself laughing out loud. I can only hope my flatmate didn't hear that going on.

So what was I laughing about?

Beats me. One of those random moments in life where it all seems so...hilarious. The past month has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Or a sinkhole, to be more precise. Started off with not being able to put in an essay in time...which gave me some sort of excuse to start dragging my feet and feeling (or thinking that I feel) depressed. It's been a slow, slow descent, with periods of freefalling now and then. The indirect result of that being a completely messed-up sleeping and eating pattern. I've lost about 2 kg in last month, and it actually shows now. I'm roughly the size I used to be back in 2005...and even worse my pants are now almost 2 sizes too big. It's frigging ridiculous.

The good news is a) I'm not the only person who's gone through this shitestorm (pardon my language), and b) I actually found a way to help me regain myself. After consulting with various sources, notably my folks and a student counselor, I've been trying to implement some plan to get me off my self-pitying ass and working. Which has resulted in last week spent almost entirely in the library. Not pleasant...but it does get me working. Less temptations, I suppose. And for the most part, it worked for a few assignments. The challenge now is to keep it that way...or at least make sure I know what I'm working for.

Which really does lead to the (or at least the major) cause of why I've been wasting my time and not studying properly - I've lost sight on what I'm really here for. Perhaps not completely, but enough to get me sidetracked quite a distance. The difference between this and kendo is that in kendo, I can see where training will lead me. I train harder, build discipline, form instincts, and that can result in me having a chance to become a champ one day. But uni seems so different. The last month has made me think about the future...and the more I think about it, the bleaker it seems. Probably because I haven't really had any information on what happens after. Life outside of school and university seems a little...daunting. Hahaha.

Anyway, I've said too much already.

[End Transmission]

Saturday, March 8, 2008

On Presumed Dieting

Jangan2 gw cacingan.

Hm. Food for thought, that.

[End Transmission]

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Good and The Bad...

The Good News:

Iron and Wine's coming to NZ next weekend! Whoah!

The Bad News:

Iron and Wine's coming to NZ next weekend. Argh.

Why the 'argh'? I've got a 2-day mandatory fieldtrip going on that same weekend. Argh.

[End Transmission]

Monday, March 3, 2008

Pie, Wonderful Pie

Pie, pie, glorious pie. A hollow pastry filled with all the somewhat dodgy-yet-pleasurable mush and pieces of flesh masquerading as 'meat', baked to near perfection, frozen, then re-heated and sold to unsuspecting customers. If there was ever a pastry hierarchy, the pie would be the proletariat; at the bottom of the social ladder, but essential and hardy. The foundation on which all other pastries sit upon, the pillars that hold up the puffs and the pavlova's (although they're technically not pastries) and their ilk.

Oh, yes, I do love me them pies, sir.

And that's one of the things I find so attractive about this place. The pies. The sheer number of pies produced, the variety of these which may perhaps one day rival Willy Wonka's creations. I'm sure the world could use more marmalade-filled meat pies. Yes, indeedy. Feeling the munchies? Shell out a buck or two and receive, in return, one of Western civilization's finest accomplishments.

Of course, one must be a discerning customer. For even among these miracles-in-a-flour-shell there are ones far more dodgy than others (as almost all pies are dodgy...can't argue with that logic). Price is usually a good indicator; in the pie world, what you pay is often what you get. Buy that cheap steak-and-cheese sitting quietly in the dairy, prepare to face an abomination with a crust so think you end up with only a smidgen of gravy and a smattering of meaty bits. And even that won't necessarily be worth all the effort you put into chewing it. So unless you don't have the money (in which case you shouldn't be buying that pie), find it in your heart to let go of some loose change and enjoy a pie. A good pie.

And what exactly do I mean by a good pie, you ask? Well, that's something you'll have to learn for yourself, grasshopper.

In the meantime, I'll go foraging for one of those rare smoked fish pies Maketu makes...now that is a first among equals. The pastry just right, stuffed with white fish gravy (no gelatine, at least that's what the wrapper said :D), and bits of real smoked fish generously added within. It's sealed happiness, that's what it is. Words fail to describe how it tastes. Failed a test? Grab a fish pie. Getting stressed from piling deadlines? Grab a fish pie. Fish pie. Makes it all better. At least for a few hours, after which you may start regretting why you bought a pie rather than study some more.


[End Transmission]

Sunday, March 2, 2008

And So It Begins...

The first official academic week of 2008 is over.

And, well, it wasn't as epic as I'd thought it'd be. No sudden epiphanies, no sudden realization that I've just advanced one more level before my degree is over. Just more of the same...a few differences here and there, but mostly the same kind of feel last year had in store for me. And it's definitely harder. Just like life. Ha.

So, more on that in the near future. Oh, and summer school wasn't as pleasant as I thought it would be.

With the end of the summer semester, I was able to move back into the on-campus flat I was in last year. Mostly because it was cheap and close to uni, but also because it had a free wi-fi connection. It wasn't until I moved in that I realized that they had stopped the one thing all laptop-wielding returning students (and there's quite a few of us) were looking forward to utterly abuse. So now I'm paying for my internet usage. And I still have to sit out in the hallway to get any decent wifi coverage. C'est la vie. At least it works.

The good news? I'm back in my old flat, same room. Better yet, my flatmates this time around will probably be in for the whole year. A Japanese guy, a Punjabi girl, a Korean girl, and an Indonesian bloke living under the same roof...we've got a neat little foodcourt thing going on here. And a look into the kitchen confirms the fact this has become an all-Asian flat; the rice-cooker to individual ration is 1:2. Fun, fun, fun.

Uh, yes. Can't creatively think of anything else to say. Meh. Cut.

[End Transmission]