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what workouts can be done to achieve such fitness level?

plank workout

There are two things you need to know about me: that I just opened the pages of an ancient book that says armed with a spear, a man fought and killed 300 others in one encounter and that I believe it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go back to my daily regimes...

happiness is...

shirt

Happiness is knowing that you're improving yourself day in, day out. Happiness is knowing people who you love are safe and sound. Happiness is donating to the need of others. Stuff that are serious like that. But, hey, a trivial thing like browsing an online shop and seeing a shirt that's similar to the one you bought for less than a quarter of the price is also happiness.

n___________n Can't stop smiling!

the downside of marriage life -- part seven

einstein's marriage

Not me, but a friend's.

The husband said, "Family is where you can be yourself, laugh at yourself and still feel happy." On a different ocassion however, the wife said: "My husband's family set three requirements for wives: wives should be able to do make-up, wives should be able to cook, and wives should be able to have children."

She continued, saying how the husband always taught her to never say no. She should learn to cook, she was not allowed to say 'I cannot cook'. She also had to produce offspring for the sake of her husband.

For the beauty, she said she's thankful to be talented enough in the field of make-up. Btw I think she's being humble here. She definitely has great talent in doing make-up -- her face is so different without it.

She concluded that she had become who she was because the moulding of her done by the husband. Remind me again what the husband said? Oh right, "Family is where you can be yourself."

it wants the d

the D

Liberty is being free from the things we don't like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.
-- Toaster's handbook; jokes, stories, and quotations --

In a kind of ironic turn of events, right after I blog about how the 'M' key on my laptop wasn't working properly, my bookcase's top row collapsed, and books came down raining onto the laptop.

Not collapsed actually, just had some loose screws... And tilted. I cannot find the exact phrase, English is not my first language.

book case
Still at its place.


Somehow the experience was surreal. I was using the laptop at that time. My brain remembers it in slow-motion. Like a scene from apocalypse or disaster movie when the ocean creates a massive wave and it reaches its tallest then starts pouring water towards the camera. Only it's books, not water in my case.

scatter
The aftermath.


I was unhurt. Not a single book touched me. Strange I know, but then I saw my laptop. The biggest, heaviest book in my possession had fallen right unto it, among other smaller books. It was a Chinese-Indonesian dictionary, all the 1233 pages of it.

chinese dictionary and peanut
No banana, peanut for scale.


With heart still pounding, I came closer (I had somehow pushed my chair backwards). The lid was in an extremely reclined position, about 150 degrees, but there's life on the screen. I removed the books and loo', the keyboard's not whole! The 'D' key was missing!

Only after cleaning the mess some more did I find the D. But the plastic thingy behind it was broken, the key cannot be reattached. Outside of that, the laptop's working fine.

So, what do I feel? Do I feel angry and betrayed and that life is pointless etc? Or do I secretly feel grateful this happened before I had the chance to bring the laptop to the service guy? You guess. ;)

of laptops and fruit juices

spilled over laptop

So really even when they say something they're essentially saying nothing at all, its a technique politicians have mastered for centuries.
-- HMM888 --

I spilled fruit juice on my laptop a while back. It cost me a few tens of bucks to have it repaired, because they needed to replace the keyboard.

However, it still doesn't work properly. The 'm' key must be pressed harder than other keys in order to produce the assigned letter.

That, and some problems in other aspects of life, made me think. How easy it is to feel angry and failing in life when you handle one problem but the result is less than satisfactory. We human wants perfection. Like when I brought my laptop to the service center, I hoped that the technicians would be able to bring it to its original glory, and when they couldn't, I got disappointed.

What should one do?

Well, fixing it seem to be an obvious choice. Or get a new laptop completely. The laptop's already aged a few years old anyway.

However! One must do it with the correct mindset. Remember what I said about what's easy? Yes it is easy to be disappointed. Yes, it is easy to feel angry. Yes indeed it is easy to feel like you're failing in life (for those who like to exaggerate things like I do).

But take a look at people who are successful in life and you'll understand they seldom (if ever) choose easy. They are not super humans. Ask them if they're tempted to choose the easy way.

So be it. As soon as I find the time I'll buy a new keyboard for the laptop or some other alternatives. With an un-angry attitude, without a heart full of disappointment, without feeling like I'm failing in life.

I choose to be successful. How about you? ;)

when the job gets the most of you...

crowd

"... this is one of the things that distinguishes us from animals and permits us to do great things, that we are not just pre-occupied with staying alive.
-- Robert Walker's answer to Why is the Dalai Lama seen as evil in China? --

I dreamt I was in an unknown place with some people I didn't know. There was a commotion on the far end, coming to my direction.

"Hurry gave it to her!" 'There she is!' "Bring it, bring it!"

Someone tried to shove a mobile phone into my hand. "This mobile phone is possessed by an evil spirit!"

what?
"Excuse me?"


I refused to receive it. Instead I asked her: "Have you tried turning it off and on again?

things i totally forgot on my second trip to china

facepalm

... And I' still kicking myself for those.

Number one is, flush before you use any toilets in China. This is the norm, unfortunately I only got it after the n-th times using their toilets. I was taking a dump when someone enters the toilet stall beside me. Right after I heard the door closed followed by the sound of toilet flushing, I heard her (or him, I don't judge) pee.

I was estatic about that, like having a revelation. That was a short visit about four years ago, and by the second year spent at my own country, I've already forgotten about it.

Again, on my second visit to China this month, I was using their toilet for the n-th times, wondering why it smelled awful, when a mother and her small kid entered the stall beside me. I overheard the mother telling her daughter something like "don't use the toilet yet, flush it first" kind of thing.

-_- I was not a smart person. And no, they generally don't flush after using the toilets. I'm sure there are Chinese people who flush after using the toilets, I just haven't encountered any.

The second thing is handbag choice. If you travel by MTR, you'd want one small compartment, secured by a zipper, accessible from the outside of the bag, not the inside.

As a visitor, you carry significantly more things around while riding a MTR. Your passport for example. And maps. And qingwen flashcards.

What? No, the compartment on the bag is not meant to store passports nor maps nor qingwen cards. You store them in your bag. In the main section of your bag where they belong. The small compartment is meant to store MTR tokens or cards. If earlier this month you saw an overweight foreigner stumbling with her bag in nearly every stations trying to find the tokens between all those documents and maps, you probably saw me.

huo pangzi for the first time

huo pangzi

I really really like this restaurant 火胖子肥肠煲 (Huǒ pàngzi féicháng bāo). It sells Sichuanese cuisine. I've actually eaten there twice during my stay in China earlier this month.

The first time I went there I ordered beef gan guo. There's a story behind this selection, but that's a story for another time, another place. I also ordered mapo tofu and stir-fried cabbages.

The next day I wasn't particularly hungry, so I only ordered seafood gan guo. Turned out to be one of the best things I've ever eaten! I ate the pot clean, even the onions, except for the chili-things.

They also have the best barley tea! It was free, and you first use it to sanitize your bowls and chopsticks. Although it is called tea, actually it is not made of tea leaves, but sesame-like grains. When I pay, I asked the cashier lady if I could buy the tea grains, I wanted to bring it back to Indonesia.

barley tea
It'll lost its color a bit after you simmer it in hot water.


When I studied my receipt later, I found out that she put it as 一桶饭 (yī tǒng fàn), one container of rice.

The service was wonderful for China restaurants standard. The waiters and waitresses were helpful and very patient to me who can barely speak Chinese. Hey, I can write Chinese, but I can't do it orally okay? And no, no Google for you in mainland China. Good luck with that.

so the day came... -- part two

genius

My friends from uni days and I have been planning to meet but didn't got the drive to do so for a long time. Until today.

We chatted about this and that, and suddenly one of them pointed out that the other had been skipping meals. She'd been having only one meal a day, usually it was dinner. I immediately expressed my concern.

"I am fine," she said: "I don't feel hunger anymore, just a little dizzy."

I closed my mouth though I didn't actually share her view. We then talked about other things.

Going home I was very disturbed. Adult life has messed with us more than we care to admit.

(And yes, there's a post that look like this.)

pakistani guys, wtf?

pakistani burnt letter

Your sisters have curfews to protect them from people like you... doesn't that make you feel bad?
--Wishal Raheel--

People ask me why I'm not too keen having anything to do with Pakistani guys. So one day I thought that it's wrong to judge people from what others say about them and decided to give the next guy a chance.

Worst. Decision. Ever. See for yourself what happened.

him 8:48:32 AM
hello <my nickname>
me 8:58:59 AM
hello <his nickname>
him 8:59:27 AM
finally, you replied me

Excuse me, finally? How many times have you said hello to me before? Just once, right? Or maybe it's a language barrier you're having... Okay, okay, moving on...

him 8:59:31 AM
lol busy?
me 8:59:43 AM
no
him 8:59:55 AM
at home or work?
me 9:01:22 AM
home
him 9:01:33 AM
add me?

Sorry, who are you again?

me 9:02:01 AM
introduce yourself
him 9:02:22 AM
i am from pakistan, but live in Canada now
him 9:02:30 AM
recently moved in Canada
me 9:05:24 AM
are you <input the name of a group here>?
him 9:05:33 AM
you are too busy
him 9:05:44 AM
what is <input the name of a group here>?
me 9:05:58 AM
sorry, i mean are you <input the name of a group here>?
me 9:06:03 AM
or <input the name of a group here>?
him 9:06:10 AM
<input the name of a group here>
him 9:06:14 AM
why you reply so late?
me 9:06:27 AM
i have other people chatting with me too
him 9:06:53 AM
ohh wow you are very famous?

What's with that "I'm VVIP" attitude man? You think I am your maid? I'm not in any way obligated to put down other people, just so I can reply to your messages right after you type them!

But, ahem. Another chance, another chance, remember? So be patient.

me 9:07:22 AM
just a little
me 9:07:33 AM
so what are you studying?
him 9:07:46 AM
about accounting
him 9:07:51 AM
so you do not want to add me?
me 9:08:48 AM
the tone of that question is rude
me 9:08:57 AM
i don't like it
me 9:09:27 AM
you won't do well in canada if you don't change your way of phrasing a question
him 9:09:50 AM
lol
him 9:10:03 AM
thanks for your advice
me 9:10:11 AM
it's OK
me 9:10:17 AM
tell me more about yourself
me 9:10:21 AM
how old are you?
him 9:10:41 AM
you did not told me anything about yourself
me 9:10:43 AM
what university do you go to?
me 9:11:24 AM
what do you want to know?
him 9:11:34 AM
everything
him 9:13:27 AM
ok..i think u do not want to tell anything
me 9:14:33 AM
now you're jumping into conclusions
me 9:14:38 AM
so how old are you?
him 9:15:17 AM
<input a certain age here> and u?
him 9:18:37 AM
same
him 9:19:25 AM
you are so rude
him 9:19:27 AM
neverming
him 9:19:29 AM
mind
him 9:19:31 AM
goodbye
me 9:22:17 AM
and what is so rude about having the same age as you do?

And he didn't reply back! Actually I look a lot younger than the age I told him, so maybe that's the reason why he wrote to me the first place.

My patience to keep replying to such a self-entitled person even when I had to keep myself from clicking the 'block user' button has been fruitful. Now I'll just refer any Pakistani guy who bothers me in the future to this post.

to-do-list

house repair

I don't know what to write. I guess I'm having writer's block. So I'll write things that need to be done to my house here instead:
。Empty the septic tank.
。Fix electric fan that is used to dry hanged laundry.
。Raise the floor. Currently front door and bathrooms are cemented to prevent flood from destroying the furnitures.
。Fix lighting on the storage room.
。Create a bigger vent for the kitchen so the smell of cooked meals don't go all over the house.

loneliness, britney, and ants

ants

If a man does not make new acquaintances, as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.
-- Samuel Johnson --

What can I do? This loneliness is killing me, Britney Spears once said. Now I say amen to that.

I drown myself in work. That didn't work (pun intended).

I try love. Exercise. Movies. Hobbies. Reading. Writing. Food. Reading. Learning languages. Nothing worked.

Well, at least I laid some posts. A couple were golden. The rest were rubbish. It's OK.

I also went nature-watching a lot. Actually I did watched fire ants today and found them marching back and forth. It's actually impossible to know whether one ant in particular's heading home or work, except if there's food involved.

(Okay I actually know what to do. It's just making new friends is not that easy.)

so the day came...

first world problem

My ex-housemate and I have been planning to meet but didn't got the chance to do so for a long time. Until today.

We chatted about this and that, and suddenly she said she hadn't seen some of our mutual friends for years. I was surprised, those were her good friends.

"Everytime they ask me to go out with them, I refuse. They have now become very rich," she said: "I feel intimidated."

I nodded though I didn't actually share her view. We then talked about other things.

Going home I was very sad. Adult life has messed with us ore than we care to admit.

malamute

malamutes

If I have a house with large lawns someday, I surely will get a malamute.

At first I couldn't differentiate between huskies and malamutes. The first time I saw a malamute was when I queued at my dentist's. His neighbour came driving and went into his own house while two big dogs looking at me through the rear car window. I was thinking, was a husky supposed to be that big? About the other dog, it was a pitbull or a boxer, his body was hidden behind his adoptive brother's, so I didn't get a clear look.

But then this breed came out under the spotlight, and then all of a sudden Youtube was full of their videos. Some were showing malamutes and huskies playing side-by-side. And the differences becae apparent.

Huskies are generally smaller than malamutes. Malamutes' fluffy tails strangely remided me of those of pomeranians', but enlarged with 5x zoom. Unlike malamutes (and pomeranians), huskies' tails do not arch above their bodies.

malamute vs husky
Like this.


While huskies have the infamous look of a dissatisfied, sour, middle-aged college teacher teaching Algebra, the expression on malamutes' faces are a lot warmer. Maybe it's due to their size. I am a sucker for large dogs. Looking at a malamute is almost like looking at a German shepherd cosplaying a husky. A fully grown up husky is about three-fourth of a malamute.

Or maybe it's due to Malamutes' faces are generally rounder than the huskies' ones.

One may also want to pay attention to the color of the eyes. If the dog's eyes are blue, it is a pure-breed husky. Malamutes' eyes are brown.

puppies!
I still can't differentiate between husky and malamute puppies, though.

when you don't dot your i's and cross your t's

cross your t's

Your pen-friend suffers. Especially if he or she's not at the same language character system with you (e.g. you're Chinese-based while your friend is alphabet-based).

ask the forum
... and had to ask a forum full of your kind.


You wouldn't fare too well if you must read some text in Hanacaraka if the writer forgets some talingtarungs and pepets, would you?

do you still think about the dreams you had as a kid?

brides and grooms

I dreamed of a pair after a pair after a pair of groom and bride walked past me, and then someone told me "Everyone has their own caret."

What the **** is a caret? It has no meaning in my mother tongue (the language that guy spoke in).

all toothache and no play makes jack a dull boy

here comes dull boy!

A worker at my office had a toothache. Although his salary is not much (he cleans the toilets), the company actually pays for our healthcare, so he could actually go to the dentist. However, seeing the awfully long queue, he gave up, went home, and took things in his own hand, quite literally.

Now you should stop reading here if you are squeamish...

decayed tooth
You've been warned.


According to his story (and I'm still cringing everytime I remember it), he laid down, lifted a wrench at arm's length, aimed, and dropped the wrench to the tooth that'd been bothering him.

He was successful, the pain disappeared with the tooth, and there was blood everywhere.

what if i wanted to grow my own chicken

baby chicken

So in the name of science, I researched Chinese recipes. Not necessarily the recipes to Chinese food, but more about the way they write those recipes in China.

So the first recipe I found called for half a chicken, ginger, salt, vinegar, and other ingredients in their respective size to make a chicken soup, Chinese style.

chinese chicken soup
Chinese chicken soup, a.k.a qīngdùn jītāng (清炖鸡汤)


The first step was to buy a chicken. Chinese people with their Confusian teaching! I didn't expect a recipe to tell me not to steal the chicken, not to rob a butcher for white meat. It could be that the broth won't turn out good if the chicken was acquired by illegal means.

you don't say
My face exactly.


Come to think of it, looking for a job should be the first step. You cannot buy chicken without money. And unless you're underage or some rich guy's mistress, you work for money. You use that salary of your job to buy chicken. Period.

you know you've progressed far in your language learning when...

do not squat on the toilet

You know how to say a word in that language, but not in English. When usually you know a word in English but not in your own mother language.

By the way, what is English for '农民'ish behaviour?

chuka

chuka

I found the Japanese equivalent of jellyfish salad that is usually served in dim sum restaurant! The name's chuka kurage.

Apparently Japanese people are known to make chuka out of other ingredients too. Chuka made from baby octopuses and seaweed are equally popular, they are called chuka idako and chuka wakame, respectively.

Chuka kanimayo, as you might have guessed, is crab + mayonaisse. I don't remember the name for chuka made from salmon skin, though.

The sauce they are mixed with are made from sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, chili oil, chili sauce, mirin and sesame seeds. One variation adds mayonnaise to the mixture. Another chopped chili. Another soy sauce. Another chopped shallot. :E Yes. I dislike the one with the shallot.

boss, i ate your admin

puppy with bone

There's this training for administrators of a particular website, held by the web's developers.

"The picture dimension for your products is X pixels high and Y pixels wide," the developer said: "Landscape." X and Y were numbers, of which exact value I didn't remember.

One of the loudest guy from the admin group exclaimed, "But I don't wanna resize the pictures! I want to upload a picture of whatever dimension I want, and it shouldn't be distorted!"

"You can't do that," the developer said, obviously boiling but trying to keep it cool. This admin had been irritating from the start. B­­ut the admin still hasn't finished yet: "I want to upload them three times the size you mentioned and I want to upload 'em portraits!"

bad company corrupts good character

toxic

I was surprised to learn that a colleague turned into someone he would've been despise a few months ago. So we were on a ride and another colleague pointed to an overweight girl and badmouthed her. She didn't know the girl, she just loved to badmouth people.

To my surprise my first colleague joined her. They were badmouthing a stranger that didn't do a single bad thing to them!

The sad thing is, I had been used to hear him saying good things about others and life in general, how you should treat others the way you want to be treated, etc. He changed after spending just a few months in close proximity with my other colleague, the one who badmouthed the overweight girl at the beginning of this story. Seeing this, I, being a paranoid girl that I am, became even more paranoid of whom I spend my time with. Must avoid by her and the like in order not be contaminated!

stupid things that stupid people do -- part two

sidoarjo city square

So someone compared vandalism of public properties to iconoclasts in Byzantium. He said that the later was eponymous and Indonesian government should have been more sensitive to the beliefs of the people when decorating public spaces.

Byzantine Iconoclasm refers to two periods in the history of the Byzantine Empire when the use of religious images or icons was opposed by religious and imperial authorities within the Eastern Church and the temporal imperial hierarchy.

He was not an Indonesian, so I told him that my example is not religious statues. Those were statues of nameless people cooking, farming, doing everyday things in general.

After all, other cities had built bigger, more famous statues since 1945 with no problems whatsoever, some even of Hindu deities, of which follower is less than 3% (according to the data he gave me earlier, I like to use people's data ;)). I said that smart Indonesian people are not intolerant. These are the majority. Small number of people, stupid ones, unfortunately are loud. And explosive.

stupid things that stupid people do

religious nuts

There's a city in Indonesia known for its religious nuts people. They covered statues that were freshly installed on city square with dark plastic bags. They also demanded the statues to be removed. The reason? They were afraid their children will worship those statues.

Educate your children, people. To NOT worship random statue they meet on the street. Instead of wasting plastic bags like that. Sometimes how stupid people can be is just beyond my comprehension.

the 5th wave

5th wave

We'd better get going. I think Evan Walker is going to blow this place out.
-- Ben Parish in The 5th Wave --

God, Evan Walker's so handsome I need to find a corner and rake dirt.
-- a friend's Path status that made me go watch The 5th Wave, ain't nobody got time to figure out what she meant --

So The 5th Wave is not a singular movie. I actually have told myself that The Hunger Games will be the last multi-part movie I watch. I've been sickened by the way movie makers shamelessly try to add piles of gold coins to their already mountainous treasure hoard.

The movie was intense but the plot was too easy to guess. The main attraction was its lead character, played by Chloe Grace-Moretz. Mainly for straight guys, I think. The great Evan Walker is not that handsome in my opinion.

The movie itself looked like Frankenstein's monster, if Dr. Frankenstein had created movies instead of monsters. Think of it this way: the opening scene was derived from 28 Weeks Later. Then flashback to the main character's high school life and partying of There's Something About Mary. Later we got a disaster movie, maybe 2012 for the first two waves. Third wave reminded me of a movie of which title I cannot recall, about a disease outbreak in a city. Fourth wave was Resident Evil. About Fifth wave... all I can tell without being a spoiler was, fifth wave's been predictable ever since the scene where Ben Parish pushed the button.

ethnicity and presidency, indonesia

map of indonesia

So, how likely is it that people of non-Javanese ethnic will be elected as President of Indonesia?

Indonesian's elected president (Habibie was not elected, he was VP turning into P) has always been a Javanese-born. It's not exactly the problem whether Indonesian people will vote for a non-Javanese ethnic to be their president, it's the road to be a candidate that's harsh.

There are two ways one can be a presidential candidate: through political party or through independent means. Political parties, however big portion they have in mind for people's greater good, can't achieve that if they don't get a seat in the government's forum (MPR, DPR, governor, you name it). The seats are supposed to be won by vote, too. Now if you, as the party's head, have an unpopular presidential candidate, that surely will affect (not in a good way) your party's probability of having many seats, if any, in the said forum.

Like I said, Indonesian's elected president has always been a Javanese-born. There's little chance political party leaders will be willing to break tradition by having someone out of Javanese ethnicity as their candidate.

As for independent path, I personally know someone who's trying to run for major in Surabaya. Basically he did that because he was a supporter for incumbent major, who would be kicked out of office if there's nobody to challenge her in the next (now past) election. Google Risma's controversy for further information, Risma is the incumbent major mentioned above.

This guy said it was hell trying to meet the requirements to run for major. If I'm not mistaken, one of the problem was collecting letters of support. He needed X amount of people willing to sign the letter of support. That was independent path for running as a major. Just imagine how much tougher the hell one must go through in order to run as president by independent path.

how to introduce yourself, the javanese way

javanese wooden statues

Javanese people seldom be straightforward, even to the point that they generally dislike to introduce themselves to other people. They prefer their new friend finds out their name during the conversation.

How? By inserting their name into a story they're telling the new friend about. I myself personally have observed this behaviour more than once.

First encounter. My masseuser. She told me that a neighbour of hers was going to move and couldn't afford to bring too much stuff to her new place. "Later my neighbour said, 'Annie, I want to sell my cupboard.'"

That time was an aha! moment for me. So my masseuser's name is Annie.

Annie is not her real name, I just used it for example.

Last encounter. A gym-goer. She was telling me how other people at the gym encouraged her to lose weight. "'Avoid fried stuff, Zaskia. And drink lemon juice.' The old Chinese guy at the gym told me."

Aha! So her name is Zaskia.

No, not really Zaskia either. Only use it as an example.

hotel keys

hotel keys

We heard people accidentally left all kinds of things in hotel rooms they're staying: mobile phone chargers, hair accessories, skin moisturizers etc, but how about the other way around?

During last Golden Week a colleague went to a nearby high land. He rent a big room together with his cousin, their spouses and children. When they checked out of the hotel, his cousin forgot to return the key of the room to the receptionist.

My colleague's cousin only realized it when they're on the way home already. It didn't make sense to drive all the way back up there just to return the key due to traffic. Golden Week, remember?

So the cousin called the hotel and explained the situation. She told the hotel she'll send the key she's holding through a post service. Luckily the hotel had spare keys to the room, so they don't have to wait before renting that room to someone else.