Saturday, June 29, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day+1: Continue?

Hey, it's been 2 weeks since I finished my little project. Today I feel like sharing, so, here we go!

Wonder what I've been doing these past two weeks?

Eating lots of snacks and playing lots of games!

"Can I get one more of that chicken wing? One more bucket I mean."

Well, I guess it comes as a no brainer for you guys, but I for one thought that maybe I would be able restrain myself more and probably hold back a bit on the light bites.

But no. I held nothing back, I eat and eat and eat.
The fact that there are lots of snacks at the office did not help at all.

Also, my life got a little boring. Before, I always try to find ideas on what to write for this blog. It drives me crazy sometimes, but to be honest, I enjoy the whole process: from finding the idea to write it down. It's like when you got tired from going to the gym, but you actually 'enjoy' that feeling of pain. Now, nothing drives me to do all that. These ideas came from time to time, but because nothing 'forces' me to put on the hard work and actually starts writing it, nothing will ever be done.

So, this experience serves as a reminder for me. I learn three things at least:

1. Old habits die hard, and just because I can restrain myself for 40 days, doesn't mean the habits will be gone after that.

2. Freedom is not always a good thing. You will need maturity to go with it. In my case, I need some boundaries so I can move to the right direction. I began to think this is the reason why religions sometimes gave a lot of rules, because frankly, human are a mess to begin with. 

3. Ideas are not everything. A hefty amount of work is still needed for the ideas to flourish. 

So, having learnt this, I decided to continue on this little project. Now, my target is 50-days of writing daily, not having snacks in between meals, and no games (all kinds of games) during the weekdays. The last thing I need right now is feeling exhausted at the office due to lack of sleep.

We'll see how far I could go this time. Enjoy the weekends and see you tomorrow!

P.S: this event will commence next week! Go register NOW!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pandji Pragiwaksono: Book Review

"What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed - fully understood - that sticks; right in there somewhere."
- Inception, 2010

The quote is appropriate when we're reviewing these three books:

NASIONAL.IS.ME, Merdeka Dalam Bercanda, Berani Mengubah.

Although each book is unique in itself, all three of them are filled with one basic idea:  that every person is responsible to make the change that he wants to see in the society. To fully appreciate the beauty of these three books, it's important that we grasp this basic idea first. 

NASIONAL.IS.ME is where everything begins, the prima causa for the rest of our story. In this almost autobiographic book, Pandji invited us to his own world. He shared his reasons for being optimistic in our nation's future. By following his journey from childhood throughout college, his experience travelling across Indonesia, and even his not-so-mainstream hip hop career *wink wink*, we will learn so much about our diverse country, and even more about the author. 

His optimism in Indonesia is not a blind one, he just sees what most of us cannot. For someone who lives in Jakarta through his whole life and rarely travels to other parts of Indonesia (like me), the book is an eye-opener. It presents a new feeling of restlessness: I'm now infected with his idea that the future of our nation lies in our hands, not in some people we called 'governments'. 

Pandji's second book, Merdeka Dalam Bercanda, is a documentary on the stand up comedy movement in Indonesia. Not everybody is fond of stand up comedy, but I think his arguments on why Indonesia needs this type of comedy is valid. As a country that has plethora of problems, we all could use some good laugh. And some critical thinking won't hurt, either.

The reason why stand up got its hype right now is because the passion of the people who introduced it, and Pandji was one of them. If you don't understand why people from stand up community reveres Pandji so much even though he bombs a lot (kidding!), you might want to check out this book.

The third and the final book, Berani Mengubah, is a call to arms from Pandji to all of his readers. If NASIONAL.IS.ME was meant to trigger our passion, this book provides guidelines for us to translate this newly-found passion into actions. 

The book provides list of things that everyone can take to help our struggling nation, one small step at a time. The list is quite exhaustive, but the point is clear. If we want to improve Indonesia, we can first start by improving ourselves. 

By upgrading our knowledge in economics, politics, and even history, we will be better equipped for making choices. Choices that might affect our future, and the future of our nation. Knowledge is power, and its importance cannot be more stressed enough in this era of information.

I hope the review doesn't bore you. I realize it might sound too good to be true. Perhaps I'm just having a low standards in literature, that's true. But even then, I can still feel the passion and the honesty in all of Pandji's books, something that's quite rare to find these days.

Pandji, if you're reading this, I'd like to say happy birthday to you! Keep infecting our youngsters with your passion. Long live!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 40: Part 2/2 Fin

Hmm, what to say?

I guess there's something special about the last day of your anything (your project, your school, etc). And 'being the last' was not it.

The project was started on a whim. I just started this blog, and I don't know what to write. I have this doubt in my mind whether I can commit on writing consistently, so I need something that can 'force' me to write. Thus, the project.

Several things that I pick up along the way:

  • Not playing games or even eating snacks are not the hardest part. Finding the will (and the topic) to write everyday, now that is hard.
  • Creating your own content and having your friends read your writings, is a satisfying experience.
  • It's hard to maintain the quality of your writings if you're not on your best condition. 
  • Having a daily deadline pushes you to be more creative in the process. 
  • The process is more important than the results. I know I know, cliche, but doesn't mean it's not true.
  • Trying something new is, indeed, fun.

In all, I'm really glad that I get to finish this project. I don't have an uncontrollable craving for snacks nor flash games, and I got into this habit of writing daily. After this, I might not post everyday, but I will still write everyday nonetheless. Stay tuned for another projects and see you soon! 

Girl-chu, Kopiah-chu, Poni-chu, Steve Jobbs-chu, Surf-chu, Ninja-chu,
Blindfold-chu,  Mugger-chu, Go home pika-chu!

Too much time at the office can get you this

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 40: Part 1/2

"Everything that has a beginning, has an end."
Today marks the 40th day of my small project. There are so many things that I wanted to write in this one post, but I simply cannot do it at this time (my plane is leaving in 3 hours and I'm still in my bedroom!). 

Therefore, the whole summarizing things will be done on the next part. In this part, I just want to say thanks for all of the readers who keep on visiting this blog during the course of this small project. Having my writings read by you guys has been an honor, much thanks for that!

Cliche but I like it

Breaking My Habit, Day 39: Awkward

Considering yesterday I didn't write much, today I'll write 2 stories for you guys. Here goes!

Story 1: Daily Commuter

I commute using buses on daily basis. When the bus stops, it's quite often that I see a passenger who doesn't intend to alight but stands near the exit, blocking everyone else who wanted to get out of the bus. It's really really annoying, especially if you are the one who's being blocked. It slows down everyone

Even more annoying is when the said person is fat, or at least bigger than 50% width of the exit. Come on lady, some of us need to pass through here! >:(

Story 2: Awkward

Awkward moments can come anytime. 

Yesterday our team was having RNA isolation kit suppliers demoing their reagents at our lab (for those who are unfamiliar with lab, omit the words 'RNA isolation'). Our lab already use another brand of RNA isolation kit, so to benchmark their kit, they asked us to use our kits in parallel to theirs, isolating RNA from the same samples. We don't have any problems with that, so ok, let's isolate the RNAs together.

Fast forward 1.5 hours, and our work was done.
The next step was to count our RNA concentration using Nano Drop (higher concentration means the kit works better). At this point, I realize something. What if our kit works better than their kit? Wouldn't it be weird for us? Because I don't mind if their kit works better than ours, that's the whole point of doing these comparison anyway.

As I thinking of that, the results came out. As I feared, our result were better than theirs. 

If you're having problems grasping why this situation is problematic, imagine this. The suppliers came to our lab to give demo of their kit. They're trying do impress us, so at the end of the day they can say: "See, our kit works better than yours. Why don't we move over there and negotiate the price?" 

But when that goal is not fulfilled, everyone feels weird. They feel weird because they cannot boast about their kit, and we feel weird because we kinda feel sorry for them. Yep, awkward indeed.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 38: All-nighter

Hei, how are you guys doing?

Today I'm going to pull an all-nighter, something that I haven't done for several years now(I'm pretty sure last time I did it was during my final years in uni). I hope I can finish it quicker, I don't think I can last without sleep :s

Well, because I cannot share more of my thoughts for today, allow me to share this link instead. The website's called Duolingo, and it's a perfect way for you to learn a new language without paying any money. Yep, it's totally free. Go check it out, and let me know how it goes.

Until then, see you later!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 37: Change of Plan

Nobody likes to change their plans.

I initially planned to watch the Stand Up Festival, but 2 days ago I was told that I would need to go to Surabaya this weekend for a meeting with our lab's client. I could choose not to, but considering the importance of this meeting (and the fact that I'm the PIC for the test that these clients would hopefully take), I finally decided to go.


There is still some hope for me to attend the festival, though. I would fly to Surabaya on Saturday and fly back the next day. If everything goes well, I should've reached Soekarno Hatta Airport by 5 PM on Sunday. And, if I'm not too exhausted from the meeting, it would still be possible for me to go straight to Senayan and catch the final show! Not too sure about this plan, but we'll see. 

Until then, see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 36: Paralysis by Analysis

I spent a lot of time thinking what to write for today's post. A bit too much, in fact. I've already made 3 different drafts, while this is the fourth. One was too serious, another too random, and the other one was too 'meh'.

It reminds me of something called "paralysis by analysis". I first heard this phrase when I was contemplating between taking a job or finding scholarship after my internship period finished (ironically, at the time I didn't get both). I forgot the exact quote, but one my colleague told me "not to over think and get paralysis by analysis."

So what is it exactly?

Analysis of paralysis is a condition where you have too many options and thus unable to make a choice. It sometimes manifests when you and your friends are hanging out at the mall, and suddenly one of you ask,"Where shall we eat?"

As stupid as it might sound, it does happen from time to time. Even more often for me, because I'm already too accustomed to following other people's decision. Getting into the habit of making my own decision and get on with it still needs some time.

So far, the only solution I can find for this problem is by being bold and just choose one of the options. It couldn't be that bad, and you can still revise the decision later on. Well, at least it works for small problems. For bigger problems, hmm, wait.. let me think about it first..

Breaking My Habit, Day 35: Minesweeper

Today I'm going to talk about minesweeper. I'm pretty sure most of you are already familiar with this little game. It's one of the oldest game in Windows operating system, featured as part of Microsoft Entertainment Pack for Windows in 1990 and had been incorporated in every Windows release ever since (thanks Wikipedia). 

Number 1 game for office slackers  since 1990

The rules of minesweeper are quite simple.  Again, from Wikipedia:
"..The goal of the game is to uncover all the squares that do not contain mines (with the left mouse button) without being "blown up" by clicking on a square with a mine underneath. The location of the mines is discovered by a process of logic. Clicking on the game board will reveal what is hidden underneath the chosen square or squares (a large number of blank squares may be revealed in one go if they are adjacent to each other). Some squares are blank but some contain numbers (1 to 8), each number being the number of mines adjacent to the uncovered square. To help avoid hitting a mine, the location of a suspected mine can be marked by flagging it with the right mouse button. The game is won once all blank squares have been uncovered without hitting a mine, any remaining mines not identified by flags being automatically flagged by the computer.."

Initially, all of the player's squares are still empty. Players are expected to click randomly for the first few turns, as they have no clues of where the mines are. After several clicks, normally you can start calculating the location of the mines. Do this consistently, and you'll win the game.

In my opinion, the game resembles much of our thought process in real life. When we first encounter a problem, we are not always equipped with enough data / facts to help us solve it. Heck, even we might not understand what's problem at all. We'll do what anybody would do: poke the problem little by little, hoping that we'll get more data by doing that.

Once we get more data, we can approach the problem more intelligently. There are certain logical ways in solving our problems. Do this, get that, it's pretty straightforward to do. This is how we mark most of our mines, by simple calculation.

But then, you couldn't expect to win your games with only this approach. Eventually, after performing all of your logical moves, you'll run out of it. What's left is the moves that requires you to take a leap of faith, because honestly, you just don't know.

Which pretty much analogues to our real life situation. After you work all of your small problems out, sometimes you will still be left with one big, final problem. And often, there's no clear logical moves to it. You cannot choose the "easy" path anymore. You either had to play it safe and do nothing (not solving the problem), or to do something riskier that you aren't 100% sure about.

Will you stay in a job, even after all the bad things you've received from it? Swap 'job' with relationships, projects, habits, mindsets, or whatever thing that bothers you. And remember, just like in the minesweeper games, the clock's always ticking. Sometimes it will just boil down to one question: Are you willing to take the risk?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 34: The Race

Ah, finally the big day.

I went to the race area with a grumbly stomach and a runny nose, not a good start for any race.
Now that I think of it, I probably should've doubled my shirt, as the running shirt that I got from the event is pretty thin. Good for running, not so much for my nose :|

Runny nose!

I'm surprised to see that there are so many people who join the race. In total, there are about 2000 runners today, 1000 of them joining the 5k! You can imagine how crowded that is, especially during the first few minutes when all the runners were still running close to each other.

The running itself was pretty normal. I tried to keep my pace but still finding myself walking from time to time. Yeah, what a noob. But running 5km was not as scary as I thought it would be. My mind didn't get the chance to wander, it was just fixated on the race (and the scenery around me). Next thing you know, it was already the finish line!

From the timers that was displayed there, it took me roughly 49 minutes to finish the race. My basic goal would be to finish the race under 60 minutes, and I'm glad that I made it under 50. 

It's worth mentioning how silly my brain is for over thinking about the race. After I finish, it was like, "Meh, anyone could do this." Damn you brain! Well, I guess this will be handy next time I'm paralyzed by fear. I can remember this event and think to myself, "It's never as bad as you'd imagined it to be."

Anyway, it's getting late and I still need some sleep. See you tomorrow, people! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 33: the Usual Saturday

Calm Saturday, as usual.

Today I read, took a light exercise, played some games on my laptop, took a nap, the usual stuffs. My mom and I discussed about three types of people according to Ayurveda, a traditional Indian medicine. It should be enough for one single post, so I'll save it for next week.

Oh, and I also cook myself some salmon steak :)

Yum yum yum
In all, a good day.

I'll be staying at my friend's place tonight so we can go together for the race in the morning. I'll update about how it goes tomorrow. 

Have a good weekends everyone, and take care!

Breaking My Habit, Day 32: LIFE

Welcome to the greatest Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game ever created! Welcome to LIFE!


Over 7 billions of active players are currently playing the game. Our only server, EarthRealm, had been around for about 4.54 billion years. It will continue to remain so until the next cataclysmic event, the Red Sun, be implemented.

Not in a billion years, at least

Several notable features of this game:

  • Non limited Player versus Player (PvP) area. You can brawl everywhere, from the dark corners of the bar to the hallowed halls of parliament building!
  • Compete with other players on all kinds of competitions. Fishing, singing, running, or even this!
  • Believe system! Choose from dozens of available religions
  • Random player distribution! From the sizzling Sahara to the chilling North Pole, you'll never know where you'd start!
  • Non-linear storyline! Each of your action will contribute to the endings you can unlock at the end of the game. 
Sign up today to receive the full benefits of being millennials!

We puke rainbows!

The list is going to be expanded as I see fit. Drop your suggestions on the comment section below :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 31: Flaws

Perfectionism is a double-edged sword: it can drive you to the limit of your abilities, but it can also damages you severely if the target is not achieved.

I believe everyone has, to some degree, a perfectionistic side in him (or her). I'll take myself as an example. While most of the time I'm a very practical / pragmatic person, there are occasions where I am a perfectionist:

- I stopped writing in my blog (the one before this) because I'm not sure what to write in it (I wanted to have it all figured out since the beginning)

- I stopped my resolution of doing pushups everyday because I missed 1 day of it (I wanted to do it 100%)

- I stopped playing FF VIII because I feel disappointed when I failed to get 1 character card (I wanted to have ALL the cards)

Damn you, Seifer!
Yeah, those are silly examples, but that's just how my perfectionistic side works. Whenever I see flaws in my project, I tend to abandon it, just because it's not perfect anymore. 

Truth be told, I actually break my own rules during these 40 days project. Three kinds of incidents, to be exact:

1. I ate a bread in between meals: my friend persuaded me by saying it's not an "unhealthy snack" but a "healthy, home-made bread" :)

2. I play 'Dragon Flight' for several days: not a flash game, but still the kind of games that I tried to stay away from, the one that rewards you with daily gifts and involves a lot of mindless grinding

3. I wrote nothing yesterday: normally I wrote something but late to finish it, yesterday I wrote none

As usual, my perfectionistic side kicks in and tell me to abandon this project. But no, I've seen this pattern occurring too many times.  This time, I stick to my project and keep moving on.

I now realize that the problem lies in my mindset. I set the bar at 100%, not allowing even 1 single mistake. When I eventually did make a mistake, the whole project become a failed one. Why pursue it further when it's already failed? There is no sense in doing something so hard when you already considered it a failure.

It's a dangerous mindset to have. I dismiss the bigger, successful portion of my project and instead focus only on the smaller flaws. Not only stupid, it's also chock-full of ego. Who am I to think that everything I do must be 100% right? Even nature makes mistakes!

Blue eyes are the products of mutated gene
I believe there is a virtue in acknowledging your flaws and try to live with them. This is also why I left this page blank. I initially intended to write something on it today, but I changed my mind. It will be a testament to any flaws that I have (or will have) done during this project.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 30: Blank

The following page is under construction, please come tomorrow for an update :) left blank for a reason

Breaking My Habit, Day 29: Preparation

My days are counted. I'm only a few days away from the running event (5 days to be exact). It seems that I have been neglecting my training: the last time I trained was last Tuesday. Last Thursday I had to stay late at the office (waiting for precious samples that turned out to arrive the day after) while during weekends I was just too lazy to do any meaningful work.

So today, I dedicated my whole gym session for running. I set the treadmill to 40 minutes 'weight loss' program, which would continuously switch the speed between 6, 7, and 9 kilometres per hour (kph).

I really felt like an old man as I was running. The speed was too much for me, so I ended up switching between 5, 7, and 8 kph. It was during this time that my fear started kicking in. What if I cannot finish the race on time? What if I was too tired to even finish the race? What if I.. And so on and so on.

When I think about it, all of those fears are meaningless actually. Human average walking speed is about 5 kph, so even if I walk the entire time, I would still finish the race in 1 hour. And if I walk slower than that, or even not finishing the race, then what's the problem? Should I feel ashamed, with all the crowds watching? Well..

Spongebob Realitypants

Yep, it might sound rough, but no one cares actually. Every average person is blessed with semi-invisibility in the crowd: you won't get noticed that easily. So, unless you're a public figure, there's no need to feel that insecure in public places.

With that realization, I managed to run unharmed and reach 4.04 km in 40 minutes. 5 km doesn't seem too far away now.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 28: A Bug's Life

When I arrived home today, I was worried that I will meet yesterday's ominous black moth in my room. To my surprise, I actually see it there, but in a state I didn't expect it to be..

Hint: it's not avatar-state

It's dead.

Huh, didn't see that coming.

Perhaps it's a sign of something. It made me realize the transformation that the moth had undergone before it could fly.
Maybe there's something more to this..

You know what? Scratch that. I intended to write about moth transformation and its relation to human transformation, but it just felt too pretentious. I don't really feel that way when I saw the moth dead. I just felt relieved :|

Not every things in life have to be about something big or grand. Sometimes, small things are just small things. It will always depend on our very subjective point of views. And this time, I don't feel that special about this particular moth. 


Monday, June 3, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 27: Lucky Number 7 / Moth

Countries that I don't even recognize :|
I took the screen capture several days ago. What a nice number, isn't it, 777? 7 Has always been my lucky number since I was a kid, so it's nice seeing it here.
Anyway, back to business. Today is Sunday, and I'm just being lazy in my house the whole day (my room, to be exact). 

Woke up at 8, switched on my laptop, browsed the internet, etc. I was still at my bed until suddenly, at around 10, a large moth flew into my room and straight to my bed! Crap! Moth and butterflies are really not my thing, and it creeped me out really bad, I just leave all my stuffs and went running outside the room.

25-year old man, terrified at a moth. You might think I'm crazy, but please oh please check this clip from spongebob squarepants. 

Yup, I'm pretty sure I wasn't afraid of butterflies / moths before watching that. Damn you Spongebob :/

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 26: Mind Trick

I've done it!

I've think about this through, and finally I've convinced myself to attend the Jakarta Startup Weekend

Hi, have we met before?
See you at the event, fellas! :)
Ok, I'll write some more just because I don't want to sound too lazy, hahaha.

I got this new trick to force myself into trying something new: by investing my money first (pay the registration money) before i really make up by mind about the thing. I already tested this for the public speaking class and now I'm trying it for the running event and the startup event. 

It works because by doing this, I'm actually preventing myself from getting a cold feet at the last minute and bail myself out. Imagine the 2 scenarios:

  • "Will I come to this event? I don't know, I think I want to come.. (but there's nothing that can stop me from not going)"
  • "Will I come to this event (which had cost me IDR 1.500.000)? Hell yeah I'm coming! It's my money we're talking about!"

Hmm, I think it just shows how shallow I am.. Well, in my defense, even the great Dragon Warrior trained by exploiting his own weakness.

"I'll do anything for this!"
Aren't I afraid that I will regret coming to [...] event? Well, not really, because I'm choosing only events where I'm interested to go but still not brave enough to attend. And if I actually not enjoying the event, that's still okay too, because at least now I know where's my limit when choosing an event.

So yeah, I know this method was less elegant than actually being brave from the start, but hey, if it works, then it works :)

Breaking My Habit, Day 25: Jakarta Startup Weekend


Blessed is the man who invented weekends!

I'm sorry I cannot publish this post yesterday. The draft hadn't been finished but I was already too exhausted to think of anything.

By the way, check this event out! 

Ta dah!
A quick summary: it's a crash course in startup making (no talk all action), where you will team up with several people to build your own "company". The event starts at Friday evening and finishes by Sunday evening. During all the time in between (54 hours +), you'll work your ass off for your project.

One of my friend, who had his own startup company and is one of the coach in the event, posted it on facebook several days ago. 
I'm really interested to join in but still gathering the courage to register. You know the feeling, the kind where you're excited to do something, but at the same time you're still hesitated? Yeah, that kind of feeling.

I don't like to come unprepared, so now I'm reading all the information, all the FAQs and the guides they can give about this event. 

I hope I could muster all by courage by the end of this weekend and register myself. In the mean time, check out this video from them, perhaps you'll get excited, too!

To all of you who is bored with your corporate life, I don't see any reason for you not to join :)