Music: Shakira’s Empire

I was a fan of Shakira when she was a Colombian lady rocker, with her long brunette hair. Think Alanis Morissette rather than Beyoncé (though strangely, I have no interest in Alanis). Shakira’s slinky, slithering self did not interest me much and I sort of half listened to her lately. She’s still great, but not my jam most of the time. Also, i think she sings better in Spanish. The last Shakira album I bought must have been Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 (2005! Gosh!).

Until I heard this. THIS is the Shakira I love! Why have I just heard this now?!

[Coz I've been Jonita Gandhied-out, that's why!]

I don’t like the video though.

Are you a Shakira fan?


Review: Revlon Wintermint Nail Polish

Revlon 'Wintermint' nail polish

Revlon ‘Wintermint’ nail polish

I am a firm believer of fate. Here’s a case in point. I’ve been wanting the Deborah Lippmann Mermaid’s Dream for ages, and when one came on sale on Luxola Singapore, proceeded to order it for delivery to my Singapore hotel. When I arrived, it wasn’t there. Turns out the payment did  not go through. Dejectedly, I threw it out of my mind. But voila! While shopping the Singapore drugtores, Revlon Wintermint came into sight. It was about $9 Singapore dollars, half the Lippmann that was already on sale! Reportedly, this is also available in Indonesia at an even lower price (about Rp50k?).

Anyway, Wintermint is GORGEOUS! I did not have base or top coats when I put these on, but the result is stunning nonetheless, though as usual my crappy picture-taking ability doesn’t do it justice. This is from the Revlon Perfumerie line  of scented nail polish, and the mint scent is nice though it disappeared by day 2. Is is a dupe for Mermaid’s Dream? I think it’s close enough that my craving is sated – though if an opportunity to grab Mermaid’s Dream at a bargain arise, I may still succumb.

Also, how do you like my hennaed hand? I really enjoyed sitting down getting this done, while munching on sweets and my belly full of yummy Indian food, watching the Deepavali 2014 crowd in Singapore’s Little India. Seriously, I’ve never seen anything so rowdy in Singapore – jaywalking and all that! :D

NOTW revlon wintermint2 NOTW revlon wintermint


[Local] Best Advertisement of All Time

My first ever full time job, even before I finished college, was in the creative department of a multinational advertising company. I was quick to decide it wasn’t intellectually challenging enough and too…. frivolous. I was there about 7 months but was involved in several pitches and campaigns. I don’t tell people, generally, and it’s not in my resume. But I’d like to think that I have a more practiced eye than most people and advertisements hold a soft spot in my  heart.

One of the best advertisements I’ve ever seen is one that’s been running for quite sometime on Youtube. It is by soapmaker Lifebuoy, about avoiding premature deaths amongst children less than 5 years old. It is very touching, naturally acted, and very precisely drive the point across. See for yourself.

I’ve been impressed by Lifebuoy for a long time. They are pretty focused with their campaigns, and their corporate social responsibility projects are right up their alley – promotion of hand washing with soap. Never discount the importance of soap when you’re hand washing my friends, your life may depend on it. And kudos for everyone at Lifebuoy for being exacting and unfrivolous. I’d have loved to work on this account.

[Local] Berita Local (or ‘the tough crowd in my household’)

Look who’s on the cover of Time! He will take the oath on 20 October 2014. Insyaallah, all will go well. Amin.
[Btw, I just notice how brown his eyes are.]

On the other hand, the sore loser is being advised not to attend. Like, we care?

The other day, Professor (!) Didik Rachbini was on one of the tv channels. JakTV I think. He went on and on about the lack of poverty reduction in the last 3 years; the bad bad state budget, etc. My Dad: ah, banyak omong! Menkonya siapa?! (Hatta Rajasa, Didik’s party leader).

Today, watching tv and the whole hoolabaloo of Rafi Ahmad’s wedding:

Dad: “Siapa dia?”

Mom: “Artis yang dulu ketangkep narkoba terus dikeluarin.”

Even the Yodha Akbar snooz fest gets more respect in my household than Didik, Hatta, Rafi. .

The Snarky Puppy (and no, he ain’t my pet)

I was about to sit down to another bout of music from My Violin Channel (if I were a musical instrument, I’d be the violin) when something caught my eye – and hallelujah to refers on the internet! Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Snarky Puppy. They’re a group of musicians playing a fusion of jazz, world music, dance. They’re Grammy Award Winners. [Why have I never heard of them??]. Check them out for your self. It’s the best group I’ve found in 2014, I must say.

Traveling: Australia!

australia 2014 canberra - Copy


I’ve been to the Australian continent a few times, and this is what I’ve done in various trips during the last eight years:

  • northeast coast: Cairns down to Townsville; Brisbane; 3-day Great Barrier Reef dive live aboard <– it was ok, but the GBR is empty compared to the thriving and busy dive spots of eastern Indonesia. If I could do it again, I’d forgo it for diving giant kelp forests of Tasmania, now fast disappearing :(
  • southeast coast: Sydney and surrounding; Sydney down the coastal roads up to Merimbula (including a night dive in Merimbula during late a late autumn night, COLD!; Tasmania (Hobart to Launceston during a long weekend); Canberra and surroundings
  • Snowy mountains: the whole perimeter of the Kosciuszko National Park, plus skiing. Skiing is expensive. The trails are nice though for a beginner or intermediate skier – lots of long trails to try. I can only compare to the northeast US though, and for me the snow is a bit lacking (they’re man-made) and the trails can be confusing as they’re not well-marked.
  • Alice Springs (Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon);  Alice Springs to Darwin, which was the last trip. I don’t usually do multi-day tours, but for this trip, I went with Mulga’s Tour, and I can’t recommend it enough. I’m glad I did not decide to drive myself across a quarter of a continent.

From where I’ve gone, my favorite so far has got to be the Kosciuszko National Park and surrounding area during the winter. It was so peaceful and green, not that cold and almost like spring to me (even though it was the depths of winter). The drive around the Park was amazing: quiet roads, lots of wildlife, very small towns with very small cafes, the most magnificent cattles I’ve ever seen, some very nice overlooks, a hot spring, and one very exciting driving in the fog with barely one meter visibility. The Snowy Hydro scheme (the dam, the museum, etc) lent this geek a technical wonder to ponder.

I didn’t do any hikes at all at the Kosciuszko National Park as all the trails seem to be too quiet – no one is ever around and my imagination got carried away with vampires and zombies lol. Actually it was quiet strange, as I’ve never been really SCARED inside a car before in my life as I recall, and I’m one who regularly stops and visits cemeteries found along back roads. But there were times the hair on my back definitely stood up as I traversed the pitch dark roads of the Park. Unfortunately no photos as I lost my cell at the end of that trip. :(

Below are photos from my most recent trips. As in previous trips, I forgo any visits to the malls except for grocery shopping. Almost everything is so damn expensive in Australia, it’s better to buy outside Australia and have it sent there, actually. What’s not too expensive are groceries; Australian produce is top quality with reasonable prices. I always eat like a king when I’m there: Angus and Wagyu steaks, Tasmanian salmon, fresh strawberries/cherries/peaches/pears whatever in season, cheeses, ice creams and chocolates galore. In fact, that’s your best bet for souvenirs to bring back home, especially if you’re going back to an Asian city: artisanal cheeses/feta, awesome dark chocolates and a cart of wines (even with the import tax, it’s still probably worth your while as good ones can be had at only $10 a bottle).

Canberra, the Australian capital

Canberra, the Australian capital

Uluru (Ayer's Rock) at sunrise

Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) at sunrise

Bush fires along the road. It was in the mid 30 Celcius if not more

Bush fires along the road to Darwin from Alice Springs. It was in the mid 30 Celsius if not more.

A refreshing stop at a hot springs to swim (it's more like 'warm' springs)

A refreshing stop at a hot spring to swim (it’s more a ‘warm’ spring)

Another stop at a lake with a little waterfall to cool off

Another swim to cool off, this time at a lake with a little waterfall and refreshingly cold water

.... in case you want to see that warning sign up close. Happy to report that no casualties resulted that day.

…. in case you want to see that warning sign up close. Happy to report that no casualties resulted that day.

Ah yes, you live dangerously in the Australian continent, ’tis true.








[Local] Daging Babi memang Enak, Jendral!

Kepala Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan (BPOM): “Kami menyesalkan bahwa Setyani Novanti dipilih menjadi pemasok daging untuk makan siang di DPR. Saudari Setyani sudah berkali-kali diperiksa oleh BPOM dalam berbagai kasus daging sapi yang bercampur daging babi dan daging celeng.”

Fahri Zoney: “Sebaiknya BPOM tidak berpendapat seperti itu, masing-masing harus fokus di bidangnya. Jadi jangan berkomentar seperti pengamat lah. Kepala BPOM sangat spekulatif dan merugikan DPR secara lembaga serta Setyani secara personal. Kita tidak mau dirugikan dengan segala macam isu yang sejauh ini juga tidak ada kebenarannya. Kalau berani tangkap saja langsung Saudari Setyani.”

Yes, daging babi memang enak, jendral! [Tapi masih lebih enak kaki kodok goreng mentega]

Catatan penulis: Ini adalah karya fiksi. Bila ada kesamaan alur cerita dan nama tokoh (misal dengan berita ini), itu hanya kebetulan belaka.