Monthly Archives: May 2014

Film Review: The Phantom Of The Opera

Standard

Title: The Phantom of The Opera
Language: English
Director: Joel Schumacher
Actors: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum

Review:
Yes you read that right. Gerard Butler in a classic musical story, is something you definitely have to watch. And he was not the only reason why.

If you have read the book or seen the play on the theatre, the story is more or less the same. It wouldn’t give you anything different. However, because it is made in a film, it would probably gives you the depth of the story you couldn’t get from the theatre version, and the singing and dancing you couldn’t get from reading the book. So yeah, if you liked the book and the play, you would like the film too… or not.

Well, I liked it.

Again, it wasn’t only because of Gerard Butler being the Phantom. It is also the fact that all the actors and actresses actually sang in the film, which means they gave their effort to actually learn how to sing, and not just lip syncing. Because lip sync sucks.

I have to give my appreciations to the artistic department. They actually captured the glam and the gloom of this little corner of France, which was exactly what this film is about. I think their work made the lack of details in the story a little forgiveable.

It’s a bit straightforward really. A good story from a good novel, good musical score by a well known Andrew Lloyd Webber, played by good actors (who’s not only can shout like a warrior but also sing like a thespian), and supported by good artistic department. Of course I would recommend this film.

After all, who wouldn’t want to witness King Leonidas sing?

Advertisements

Crochet Project: Pink Spring Blanket

Standard

Summer is coming soon, but British Summer is not the warm sunny kind of summer, it is windy and sometimes chilly. So, having a nice bright coloured blanket is kind of acceptable. you see?

I made this blanket using the maybelle granny square pattern from this website.

After making enough maybelle flowers like this:

I made 64 flowers, with 4 different colours in the shade of red and pink. Because I am using odd yarns, the size of each flower is a bit different, but that doesn’t really matter because the next step is the crucial one.

I used the same yarn to make all the square, so it ends up the same size (12cmx12cm each). I did have the photos of the squares but can’t be bothered to upload it now. But yeah, after finishing all those 64 squares, sew them together.

It was such a chore sewing them up together. I have to admit, I am not really good at it, and it took forever to get them done. Or at least it felt like it. But finally I got it finished…

It looked alright. A bit crinkly and wavy, but i reckon it was because of the uneven tension when I crocheted the squares. Next, I crocheted the edge border to make it more blankety. And this is the end result 🙂

 

Cultural Challenge: Sex Education for Kids

Standard

The JIS scandal might not longer be the headlines in Indonesia’s media. However, it has left me with so many questions and contemplations. One of them is how and what younger kids nowadays know about their sexuality.

Lately I have come across one Public Service Announcement Ads from NSPCC (National Service for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children).

Our eastern culture is one of the stumbling blocks for the sex education in our country. It is the shame which comes with the talk about the private parts that makes children wouldn’t tell anyone when they were abused.

I agree with the ads, that knowing about their private parts is one way to protect them from being sexually abused by adults. But to be able to introduce them with this idea, parents would have to fight their own “taboo” and start talking.

It is not easy, of course, because we didn’t get this knowledge when we were young. We did not know because our parents did not tell us these things. It is horrible feeling, I guess, because there is no guide book about how to teach your toddler about protecting their private parts from others, without raising the unnecessary curiosity.

Being educated and coming from a better social background apparently wouldn’t help. I remember quite vividly one of our politicians, on television, told everybody in the world what he thought about sex education. He thought it was not only unnecessary to make young children aware of their sexuality, but also dangerous.

Our culture believes that sex is dangerous and shameful. Children were taught that it is dirty and disgusting, with the expectation from the parents that they would get themselves abstinent until they are over age. But with the nowadays society, that would not work. And that definitely wouldn’t help them when they were abused.

Feeling dirty and disgusting wouldn’t encourage kids to tell their parents when they were being molested, would it?

I am not an expert in child psychology, and I don’t have kids. But I know how lacking I was in this department when I was much younger than I am today. I did not know what menstruation was, and where baby comes from. It is horrible growing up with this raging curiosity. In a way, the dial up connection helped me keep my innocence until I left home and over age.

Our culture is the challenge to solve this problem. Maybe it is not my problem now, but I think my nieces and nephews should grow up equipped with this knowledge to protect them from bad people.

 

What Did You Say About Online Shopping Again?

Standard

I would have to agree with Princess AK that online shopping is definitely one of the most dangerous activity you could do online. Forget about the security reasons, that you might have to share your credit card number to a complete stranger, and hope that the person would send you the product you expect to be perfect. Forget about the scam and the fraud, because you could just go to the respected seller from an authenticated shop that would protect you from those things. You could always use the help of paying platforms which could save you from all the other hassle.

But yet, online shopping is dangerous.

Especially when you don’t have much to do during the days, and you are drowned in your hobbies. For me particularly they are reading and needlecraft. To support my hobby I would buy things, such as books to read and yarns so that I can make something out of them. And the easiest and the cheapest way to acquire those stuff is by purchasing them online.

Oh the tempation.

While in the actual store they price of the products includes the price of marketing personnel, shop assistant, interior decoration, the building rent, etc, online shop only needs few people to package and ship the products, customer services to handle the correspondence with buyers and suppliers, IT guys, and server for their website (although in a bigger online shop they might need more than that).

As the result, most of the time the price of the products offered online is cheaper than it is offline. Of course you don’t have the luxury to touch the product, to feel how it would be in your hand, and calculate. All you could do is read the description in the internet (hoping that the online store would provide the correct description), and imagine the rest. But, after the first scary online purchasing which end up successful, you started to become a bit of an expert in it.

You could easily spot the fake seller, or selelr with bad reputation. You could easily see which product is better than the other. You become a online-shop-savvy. Compare the same product from different website, and calculate the delivery cost and compare it again by including the delivery time to the calculation.

You become awesome.

Until you realise how much it cost you. Literally.

The downside of purchasing online is that you sometimes forget how much you have already bought. When you clicked and saved, it was all about how much you might have saved compared to this and that, but not how much you actually spend. Sometimes it’s also because you did not see the product, or feel the weight of the shopping bag that somehow reminds you that you might have overspend. Sometimes it’s because you don’t take the money out of your purse, or push the pin number on the EDC machine. Sometimes it’s a little bit and pieces that you don’t do, makes you oblivious about your shopping activity.

You were browsing at one time, and end up buying something you don’t need.

How cool was that?

NOT.

Especially when you are not working. Like I am now.

Especially that you have a hobby that justifies all your shopping activity. Giving excuses that buying this and that would support me mentally because I could be bored at home and I need more yarn to make more jumper for everybody. And this hobby keeps my delicate motor skill in shape. It improves my focus, and also my mathematics skills.

It is scary.

Although, when I went to knit and natter (a knitting club — usually full with little old ladies who would talk about their knitting projects for someone else’s baby), I feel a little less weird. Apparently I am not the only one who stash yarns at home. These ladies have mountains of yarns and wools, and they are more than willing to spend more of their pension money for even more mountains of yarns. Just to cope a feel to the softness of the threads would give them the calm they needed through the day.

I can relate to that.

Anyway. I am sorry for talking nonsense. I need to keep my fingers busy, you see? Or I would end up buying more yarn now since I have got £38 in my bloody check out basket now.

HELP!!

Homosexuality, Paedophilia, Predatory, and Ignorance

Standard

I can’t believe I am writing this in 2014. I mean… I thought we have come out from the dark age. I thought, with the comfort of the digital era, the ease of acquiring free information, people are way more educated than they were decades ago.

Apparently not.

But everything has the beginning, and I think the JIS (Jakarta International School) scandal has opened the old wound and eventually made a big setback for the LGBT movement in Indonesia. Although admittedly, it shouldn’t.

JIS Scandal
JIS, or Jakarta International School is a… well… a school with an international standard in Jakarta. Most of the students are the expatriates’ children and kids from rich families in the city. Some are child celebrities, or the children of diplomats and even politicians. The high profiled school has been known to have a high level of security system — even parents couldn’t easily access the school.

However, the school reputation has been stained by the allegation made by parents of a student. They accused that their child has been sexually abused inside the school building by two men, and with the help of one woman. The female abuser helped to spot and lure the victim, while the two men would take turn abusing the toddler by sodomising.

The second allegation came up later after the first went public.

Predatory and Homosexuality
Many believes that some people grew up being a homosexual because they were (sexually) abused when they were young. Would I deny this? Sadly, no. It is true that some traumatised children who end up grow up as a homosexual, blamed their sexual experience when they were young as the trigger. It is not proven right or wrong, it’s just the phenomenon we cannot ignore.

However, sexual predatory is a completely different monster. Sexual predator preys upon others to satisfy their sexual needs. It is not necessarily little children, or homosexual, sexual predator could be found even in an adult heterosexual environment. Serial rapist for example, or even sex slavery done non-consensually by one’s own spouse/partner/lover, could be categorised as sexual predation.

So being able to differentiate both is a good start already.

Predatory and Paedophilia 
This is a bit harder to explain. I am trying to do this with an open mind. And, although I have wrote about it once, I don’t mind explaining a bit more, since I am quite aware that not many do research before speak up.

Paedophilia is basically a sexual attraction to prepubescent children. They are aroused with the sign of youth, and physical attributes that follows it. Paedophilia is categorised in the same group with Paraphilia, Necrophilia, and so on. They are sexual fetishes, and please google it if you want to know more — as they are plenty in there.

Are all paedophiles child predators? No they are not.

An act of predation is indicated by the force or the non-consensual sex, there is real victim who might be under attack, blackmail, threat or probably tricked to do what they don’t usually like to do. When paedophiles act upon their fetishes, in come country their crime is called “statutory rape”, it means the children is considered a “victim” simply because they are under age.

In some cases, kids psychological state grows up faster than their physique. In these cases it is hard to see between the blurry lines. For example: When 18 years old guy, who is considered as an adult, have sex with his girlfriend — 14 years old girl, who is considered as a minor and hasn’t got her first period (which is normal because some hasn’t even got it until they are 15), would he be considered as a paedophilia? He would definitely be charged with “statutory rape” for having sex with minor, but would he be called a sexual predator?

Ignorance
Ignorance, however is a bigger problem. It set off from a simple mind, and empowered by a backward teachings in society. Sadly, I should say that in a land where diversity is cherished, ignorance is still rooted in the heart and the mind of the people. It instilled the prejudice, even hatred to others who are not like them.

Can you imagine how people would act and speak based on ignorance?

In some countries, having sex with 10 years old girl is fine. It is called marriage, when parents gave their blessings for their 8 years old baby to marry a man 50 years her senior. Some religious bigot would say that it is fine, because it is legal in front of their religion and god. However in some country, not only the husband would be jailed for “statutory rape”, but also the parents would be imprisoned for child abuse.

The same religious bigot would be very much disgusted by two adult men in love, kissing under the rain, holding hand to each other. Because of what?

Ignorance creates bigotry. Ignorance makes these people think that 8 year old girl marrying 40 year old man is fine, while two men in love is such a disgusting act. Ignorance makes these people overlook all the facts, and only accept “science” which could corroborate their presumption that homosexuality is wrong.

So, should I conclude the long entry today to few words?

Homosexuality is a sexual orientation.

Paedophilia is a sexual fetish.

Sexual predatory is a sexual crime.

Ignorance is a bliss… for an idiot.

Finally, An Honest and (Almost) Sensible Reason To Procreate…

Standard

This topic again?

Yes, yes, I know it is boring, and I really did not want to talk about it. I have promised myself not to talk a shit about procreation until at least the next year, but this came up the other day and I could not ignore it.

So bear with me for the petty introduction.

You see, there are at least two things that kept me ranting about procreation, as you might have gathered from reading my previous posts. First, it is the idea of having an offspring. Second, people have given me the lame reasons (like this and this) *cough*excuses*cough* for why I –specifically– want to have kids (which I don’t). But I am not going to rant (much) today, because this is rather epic (at least for me).

So, I had a great discussion few days ago, over few pints of beer and lots of laughter. The topic of having and offspring and shit came up, and as usual I was open and blatantly honest about my reluctance to bear a child and become a biological mother to any other human being. I gave him what I thought as a reasonable argument why I don’t want to procreate.

He looked at me with THAT look. Not the condescending kind of look, but the “I know what you’re talking about” kind of look. But, contrary to what I saw in his attitude, he said “but you should”.

Unlike usual, I did not take it as an offence. I knew that he was not going to say the same thing people usually say to me, and the idea of the possibility of another lame excuses why human should procreate rather amused me. Remember that we took pints of beer before this even came up in the conversation?

And what came next corroborated my presumption.

“Because you have good genes,” he said.

It is not the same talking to a smart fellow, you see?

So, his argument was this: I have good genes in me. We might not want to create a superhuman (because they are friggin’ creepy, for goodness sake), but we do want to add more good genes in the gene pool. The problem is that nowadays idiots procreate more rapidly and it could speed up the extinction of the human civilisation. So, for the better future of human existence, people with good genes like me should procreate.

Which is honest. He did not make a lame excuses about the moral, the natural desire of being a parents, and what other feels when I say I don’t want friggin’ babies. He gave a scientifically backed up argument about human civilisation and the continuation of our existence.

And that was sensible. At THAT TIME. Because of the bloody pints of beer I took.

Now that I think about it again. It just ALMOST sensible, but not quite there yet. What do I care about the existence of human civilisation in the next 400 years? I am not going to be there to witness the downfall of humanity, I have seen the sign anyway. I wouldn’t be there, because I would be dead by then. And I would not be exist (because there is no hell and heaven, and no such thing as reincarnation). And nobody would remember my name, unless I suddenly become famous and was written in the history book (but no one reads history now, why would you think they will read it in the future?).

It just ALMOST sensible because I would not enjoy what I procreate today. I would only suffer what I procreate today. So why?

And FYI, human civilisation would face the extinction sooner than you think anyway, adding more people to the population would only speed up the ending of us. It means, his argument was sensible at that time because I have been drinking, and while the alcohol influence in my brain receded, so did the sensibility of the argument. So think again… now without alcohol…

Film Review: A Clockwork Orange

Standard

Title: A Clockwork Orange
Release: 1971
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Actors: Malcolm McDowell, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke

Review:
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if you couldn’t recognise any names or even the title of the film itself, considering how old the film was when I finally watched it. I would have to admit though, it was a very pleasant (although it might be a wrong word to be used to describe this film) experience.

Usually, the kind of absurdity I found in this film would put me off. It is a kind of film which was not made for general likings. I quite understood why this film was considered unusual the first time it was released. The amount of sexual and violent scene in the film, although it is probably nothing compared to nowadays film, would have been outrage some people, some good forty years ago.

I enjoyed this film. As I said, the absurdity like the one I found in this film usually put me off, so I should say that this film is not everyone’s cup of tea (like “Pulp Fiction” was not mine). However, if you haven’t watched this and you have time, you might want to try and watch this for once.

If you don’t like it, fair enough. I think it is a “love it or hate it” film, so not much I could say to change anyone’s opinion about it. But if you do end up liking it, you would thank me to recommend you one of the best thought provoking classic film.

You’re welcome.

Is Being Smart A Curse or A Gift?

Standard

And that is the question.

It does seem like a very simple question. You have been given the options and all you need to do is choose whether you think being smart is a cure or a gift. But apparently the answer is deeper than it seems.

This subject has been brought up several times by now, by more than one friends too. It makes me believe that this is a legitimate reason for me to start thinking about it even more deeply than I did before. So… How do I start?

Many years ago, one of my friends said that it is good for her to be a little bit brighter than average people because it makes things easier for her. Later on, I understood what she meant by ‘making things easier for her’. Maybe she should have rephrased it and say a bit more honestly that being a bit brighter than some people gives her an advantage to bully them without being noticed. Plus she’s also prettier than average so it doubled the trouble.

Anyway, I did not write this entry to slag anyone off, I just wanted to make a point that some people believe that being smart is an advantage. Like what she said, being brainier than some people has given her the better ability to analyse the situation, draw the better conclusion or recognise the pattern in other people’s behaviour. It is great to have this analytical skill because it means you can access people more easily, especially those with simple minds. (And I don’t have to tell you that having her looks, makes some people put their guards down. Pretty and not stupid is not a common combination).

However, some even brainier people don’t see this as the only thing about being smart. Yes, it does have its advantages. But the downsides are somehow frustrating.

Let’s say…

Being smarter than average (my friend is a mensa with IQ higher than 140, and considered smarter than 98% world population), means that most of the conversation he had is boring. He had to dumb down even to talk to people with average (or even above average) intelligence. Most of the time he has to take time to explain his logic that normal people couldn’t follow because they are not as smart as he is. And that’s tiring.

Imagine what kind of woman he could stand as a partner. He admitted that it is so hard to find a woman with whom he could have an equal conversation (apart from he has got a sign of being a misogynistic bastard. But that’s not exactly the point).

My new friend even said that it is hard to be able to have a proper discussion like what he had with me few days ago. He said to me confidently (because he said that he is not an arrogant mutherfocker), that the conversation we had is not a common discussion normal people could follow. And I should agree with him.

I am not a self proclaimed genius. I am probably not a genius at all. I just happened to pass the Mensa test and I might be lucky by being able to answer all the questions correctly. So, I am trying to be objective in this particular matter.

Do I think being smart is a gift or a burden?

I think it is a burden.

It is tiring to keep the conversation with people who looked at you with a dumb face when you are talking about something interesting. It is hard to talk to people who don’t know anything or fail to understand a simple logic of everything. It is hard to keep saying the same thing that you thought of a simple stuff, but people keep missing the point. Seriously. I don’t have patience to do that.

It is like how Sheldon Cooper trying to teach Penny physics.

I know that it is a bit exaggerated, and it is done in a very comical way, as this is a sitcom. But, I really believe that if you couldn’t understand how Sheldon feels about that, you probably not that smart after all. Sorry…

Knitting Project: Simple Jumper for Mr. Fix-It

Standard

It is my first ever attempt to make a piece of garment that is not for myself. It needs a lot of effort, you see, because you cannot keep measuring it while knitting it. The measurement is not the standard one, because my husband’s arm is a little bit longer than average man. He has a bit of trouble finding the right jacket in the shop because most of the time their sleeves are shorter than his arm.

I am glad the measurement is correct. And, after one and a half month, this is how it looks on my husband.

Hubbys JumperI have to work more on the neck line and the sewing. I am not too good at it, but maybe after few more projects I would be able to make it tidier.

It looks simple though, all you need is the 2k2p ribbing for the waistband and the sleeves, a vertical purl on the body, and a moss/rice stitch to decorate the sleeves. With 25% wool material it should be warm enough, although he might not need the jumper for awhile as the summer is coming 🙂

So, what’s my next project would be, I wonder…