blackuniverse

Ask me anything   this is not a memoir

Welcome to the Matrix.

Welcome to the Matrix.

— 2 days ago
I wish I could just walk five minutes from home and had breakfast in a small bakery. 

Good morning, zombies. The micro climate in my house is set at an eternally 1990s Puncak Pass degree, to ensure maximum hostility towards productive activity. 

Thus, the constant craving for coffee.

I wish I could just walk five minutes from home and had breakfast in a small bakery.

Good morning, zombies. The micro climate in my house is set at an eternally 1990s Puncak Pass degree, to ensure maximum hostility towards productive activity.

Thus, the constant craving for coffee.

— 2 days ago
Now that my Schengen visa has been approved, I could finally tell my family about the trip, and actually make some serious plans for Paris. I’ve been postponing it until last night, because what’s the point of them knowing this, and wasting precious time and energy thinking about it, when everything is still uncertain? 
I don’t remember where I read it, but supposedly the concept of buying people at home souvenirs from your travels stemmed from the discomfort of leaving everyone in their daily roles and routines, of them being trapped in the inevitable present to future movement, while you’re out there in a predictably strange land, self-consciously uprooting your being from everything that is familiar.
The hardest part of taking a vacation is not the flight delays, the bad food, the crazy people you meet on the way, the months or years of salaries you’re spending, or even the occasional loneliness. The hardest part is the guilt that comes with your purchased freedom.

Now that my Schengen visa has been approved, I could finally tell my family about the trip, and actually make some serious plans for Paris. I’ve been postponing it until last night, because what’s the point of them knowing this, and wasting precious time and energy thinking about it, when everything is still uncertain? 

I don’t remember where I read it, but supposedly the concept of buying people at home souvenirs from your travels stemmed from the discomfort of leaving everyone in their daily roles and routines, of them being trapped in the inevitable present to future movement, while you’re out there in a predictably strange land, self-consciously uprooting your being from everything that is familiar.

The hardest part of taking a vacation is not the flight delays, the bad food, the crazy people you meet on the way, the months or years of salaries you’re spending, or even the occasional loneliness. The hardest part is the guilt that comes with your purchased freedom.

— 4 days ago
I called in sick and worked from home. My stomach was throwing tantrums and keeping me from leaving the house, despite numerous attempts of relieving whatever evil was boiling within me. It wasn’t the usual gastritis attack. More like diarrhea. After several fruitless attempts to cure myself, I gave up and messaged everyone at work, letting them know about my condition and asking them to email whatever work they want me to do.
Back in my writing sweater, sweat pants and socks, I was actually enjoying the work this morning. I could pretend I was writing the world’s next literary masterpiece, carving a section in human history.
If we could live forever, would we be so obsessed with legacies and eternal glory? Or would we be quiet, boring creatures, frozen in our wealth of knowledge, and the unbearable realization that nothing would surprise us anymore?

I called in sick and worked from home. My stomach was throwing tantrums and keeping me from leaving the house, despite numerous attempts of relieving whatever evil was boiling within me. It wasn’t the usual gastritis attack. More like diarrhea. After several fruitless attempts to cure myself, I gave up and messaged everyone at work, letting them know about my condition and asking them to email whatever work they want me to do.

Back in my writing sweater, sweat pants and socks, I was actually enjoying the work this morning. I could pretend I was writing the world’s next literary masterpiece, carving a section in human history.

If we could live forever, would we be so obsessed with legacies and eternal glory? Or would we be quiet, boring creatures, frozen in our wealth of knowledge, and the unbearable realization that nothing would surprise us anymore?

— 4 days ago
My passport, beautifully attached with the Schengen visa, was delivered to me at the office yesterday afternoon. Awesome. Now let’s make sure that laundry is done by next Monday, and all work  handovers are taken care of on the next day. 

Hey now, hey now.

My passport, beautifully attached with the Schengen visa, was delivered to me at the office yesterday afternoon. Awesome. Now let’s make sure that laundry is done by next Monday, and all work handovers are taken care of on the next day.

Hey now, hey now.

— 5 days ago
"His was a brief debut, in the obscurest of theatres, and he was scarcely out of the wings before he was gone again - more a prompter’s whisper than a recognizable face in the cast."

"His was a brief debut, in the obscurest of theatres, and he was scarcely out of the wings before he was gone again - more a prompter’s whisper than a recognizable face in the cast."

— 5 days ago
My concrete jungle smells of dead rats and bodies packed into a steel cage, of rotting alleys with uneven paths, of parking lots and cement courts run over by hordes of kids with filthy mouths, of alien conversations and borrowed suburban dreams.

My concrete jungle smells of dead rats and bodies packed into a steel cage, of rotting alleys with uneven paths, of parking lots and cement courts run over by hordes of kids with filthy mouths, of alien conversations and borrowed suburban dreams.

— 6 days ago
For this week’s one week one book.
"The world was new again. After a winter’s gestation in its eggshell of ice, the valley had beaked its way out into the open, moist and yellow. The new grass bided its time underground; the mountains were retreating to their hill-stations for the warm season. (In the winter, when the valley shrank under the ice, the mountains closed in and snarled like angry jaws around the city on the lake.)"
One day I will see for myself what made Rushdie described Srinagar this way. It has to be on the last days of winter, and I will have to prepare my equatorial ass for the freezing Kashmiri breeze.

For this week’s one week one book.

"The world was new again. After a winter’s gestation in its eggshell of ice, the valley had beaked its way out into the open, moist and yellow. The new grass bided its time underground; the mountains were retreating to their hill-stations for the warm season. (In the winter, when the valley shrank under the ice, the mountains closed in and snarled like angry jaws around the city on the lake.)"

One day I will see for myself what made Rushdie described Srinagar this way. It has to be on the last days of winter, and I will have to prepare my equatorial ass for the freezing Kashmiri breeze.

— 1 week ago
I loved this book so much I’m reading it slowly, cheating weeks into my one day one week paradise.
In his opening essay, ‘Imaginary Homelands’, Rushdie said, “It may be argued that the past is a country from which we have all emigrated, that its loss is part of our common humanity. Which seems to me self-evidently true; but I suggest that the writer who is out-of-country and even out-of-language may experience this loss in an intensified form. It is made more concrete for him by the physical fact of discontinuity, of his present being in a different place from  his past, of his being ‘elsewhere’. This may enable him to speak properly and concretely on a subject of universal significance and appeal.”
The key is ‘may’. Because ‘a subject of universal significance and appeal’ can be easily translated into something as basic as loss, sadness, anger, love, and alienation. One does not need to be out-of-country or out-of-language to speak properly and concretely about this. What interests me most right now is the different interpretations of a concept of loss for an out-of-country and/or out-of-language person to in-country and/or in-language person.
Two weeks ago I participated in a creativity workshop where I was asked to write down my name on a piece of paper, and to use each letter in my name as the first letter of Indonesian nouns. I have to do this fast, without thinking, and the idea was to write down the first noun I could immediately think of. My mind went blank at the letter N, and it took me five minutes before I was able to come up with a proper word.
You are so busted, you in-country, out-of-language dude. 

I loved this book so much I’m reading it slowly, cheating weeks into my one day one week paradise.

In his opening essay, ‘Imaginary Homelands’, Rushdie said, “It may be argued that the past is a country from which we have all emigrated, that its loss is part of our common humanity. Which seems to me self-evidently true; but I suggest that the writer who is out-of-country and even out-of-language may experience this loss in an intensified form. It is made more concrete for him by the physical fact of discontinuity, of his present being in a different place from  his past, of his being ‘elsewhere’. This may enable him to speak properly and concretely on a subject of universal significance and appeal.”

The key is ‘may’. Because ‘a subject of universal significance and appeal’ can be easily translated into something as basic as loss, sadness, anger, love, and alienation. One does not need to be out-of-country or out-of-language to speak properly and concretely about this. What interests me most right now is the different interpretations of a concept of loss for an out-of-country and/or out-of-language person to in-country and/or in-language person.

Two weeks ago I participated in a creativity workshop where I was asked to write down my name on a piece of paper, and to use each letter in my name as the first letter of Indonesian nouns. I have to do this fast, without thinking, and the idea was to write down the first noun I could immediately think of. My mind went blank at the letter N, and it took me five minutes before I was able to come up with a proper word.

You are so busted, you in-country, out-of-language dude. 

— 1 week ago
My flight ticket to Paris is paid, the hotel room is booked, itineraries well researched and reviewed, and now all I have to do is to wait for the visa. I still couldn’t get over the fact that everything about this is so expensive, and that I could actually use the money to buy a new laptop or a trip to another destination. But I have decided that I needed this experience, more than the warm comfort of a shiny new working machine, or security in my urban shell hole. Even if it means I’ll go broke next month.
Money, money, money. 
I don’t like myself these days, especially what the daily commute with its traffic jam has done to me. I succumbed to anger easily, and my body is starting to pay the price of spending hours trapped in a hot metal box every morning for at least one or two hours, and my mind is suffering from watching brainless apes cruising past me in the streets. 
To leave this city and live in a smaller, quieter corner of the world. How far am I from that day?

My flight ticket to Paris is paid, the hotel room is booked, itineraries well researched and reviewed, and now all I have to do is to wait for the visa. I still couldn’t get over the fact that everything about this is so expensive, and that I could actually use the money to buy a new laptop or a trip to another destination. But I have decided that I needed this experience, more than the warm comfort of a shiny new working machine, or security in my urban shell hole. Even if it means I’ll go broke next month.

Money, money, money. 

I don’t like myself these days, especially what the daily commute with its traffic jam has done to me. I succumbed to anger easily, and my body is starting to pay the price of spending hours trapped in a hot metal box every morning for at least one or two hours, and my mind is suffering from watching brainless apes cruising past me in the streets. 

To leave this city and live in a smaller, quieter corner of the world. How far am I from that day?

— 1 week ago with 1 note