on my bookshelf

I have literally thousand of books in my house, they’re everywhere, filling every shelves, cabinet, and corners of our house. I’m an avid reader, so do my two sisters and my father. Problem is, this drives my mother crazy, being the manager of the house, she finds it irritating that books are often neglected everywhere after or during reading. She finally made an ultimatum: either we sort all of the books or she’s going to give all of them as a donation to our local non-profit organization. Not that I didn’t want to contribute but the fear of losing my books are bothering me that I put book-sorting into my schedule. I put most of the manga and translated fiction books in donation boxes, and surprisingly, I only have few books that I consider worth to keep.

I tried to arrange them based on their colors, but when I showed it to my sister, she didn’t recall any color coordination whatsoever. Oh well. But I like how tidy it was.

here are some of my favorites:

  1. How The World Works, pop up children book, by Christian Dorion and illustrated byBeverley Young
  2. The Absolutely Essential Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hillary Knight
  3. All Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
  4. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  5. Children World Dictionary (the illustrations were ah-mah-zing)
  6. The Unknown Error of Our Lives by Jumpa Lahiri
  7. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
  8. The Umbrella Man by Roald Dahl
  9. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  10. Flavian De Luce series by Alan Bradley
  11. The Man In The Moon, beautifully illustrated children book by William Joyce
  12. Psych 101 by Paul Kleinman
  13. The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith
  14. How To Kill A Mockingbir by Harper Lee
  15. Tamar by Mal Peet
  16. The Daring Book For Girls by Andrea J.Buchanan
  17. The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
  18. The Marriage Plot by Jefrey Euginides
  19. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
  20. When You’re Engulfed in Flame by David Sedaris

My babies, *sigh*, I dusted my shelves and thinking I will definitely do the sorting again when I move to my new place, but that’s not until next year. The first thing that I was worried about when I had another big fight with my boyfriend was: Darn! I left my unfinished No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in his bedside table! and made mental plan how to extract the book without him around. (Thank God, we made up before I commit breaking and entering).



Darling, I think I’m a Mania.

“you,” my boyfriend pointed his finger at me, “are the most irritating person I’ve ever met in my life.”

said by the most irritating man I’ve ever met, don’t you think it was actually a compliment? But I just shrugged and gave him a mischievous smile. We were having dinner and talking about compromise in a relationship. I fully understand that I’m not easy to handle and sometimes, fully aware, I drive him to the edge. While on the subject, we tried to break down what kind of people we were when love was the subject.

Based on John Lee’s theory of love in the book  Psych101 by Paul Kleinman, he broke Love into three basic primary styles:

  1. Eros: Loving the ideal of a person both physically and emotionally
  2. Ludos: A type of love that is played like a game or conquest (and might result in many partners at one time)
  3. Storge: Love that stems from a friendship over time.

I must say our love must be the third style. Although he was a Ludos type and I was a bit of Eros.

Lee’s theory also combined each of the basic styles:

  1. Mania (Eros and Ludos), is a style of love that is obsessive, emotional highs and lows, jealousy, and very possessive feelings.
  2. Pragma (Ludos and Storge), is practical. Lovers go into the situation with the hopes of reaching their final goal. Practical and realistic.
  3. Agape (Eros and Storge) is a love that is all-encompassing and selfless

“you are absolutely a Mania,” he laughed. I ignored him. Deep, deep down I wanted to be an Agape. I wanted to be this girl who loved her partner so deeply and honest, she didn’t think about herself but her loved one. And a practical Pragma sounded even better than a possessive girlfriend, but goal in a relationship just sounded so shallow for me. Why ones needed to have ‘goal’ that had to be connected with other person? I hated the fact that the success of the goal entirely dependent on another human being.

So I need to accept the fact that yes, I’m a Mania and no, I’m not an Agape. Here’s why:

  • I don’t like my possession, my special, one-of-a-kind possession, used by someone else. I see my boyfriend as my possession and therefore, I apply the rule in my relationship. This, I analyze, is different with jealousy. I experience this irritated feeling when my fellow teacher took the overhead projector out of my class without my permission! Can you imagine how irritated I would be if it’s not the projector but my lover?
  • I’m not selfless, I love myself too much I have to be selfish. I don’t like the idea of being selfless. Would you lose yourself, your identity to somebody? My boyfriend never fails to mention how selfish I am, how demanding and how impatient I am. Often these lead to our usual rows. But I think this is where compromise plays part, right?
  • I never set goal in relationship. Think about it: what for? Why bother? If love is based on emotion, what’s the use of laying tactics to score the goal? I hate it when someone said, “so what’s your plan? Wedding next year?”. I find these kind of people sometimes very unrealistic because their life just would go ballistic when the ugly truth hits: “he just doesn’t love you anymore, darling, he’s in love with his secretary.” So yes, I think to set goal in a relationship is just a waste of time.

Well, what do you know..just when you thought buying some psychology book wouldn’t do you any harm..

Through my explanation, he sat and listened (although I suspected his mind wandered to his tamiya) and  I then realized, “oh my God, I’m an awful person.” I love myself more than I love him, I don’t want our relationship to succeed at any rate and I’m a crazy jealous bitch who compared my human boyfriend with a projector.

He laughed so hard and tried to relax me, but I was devastated. Was this the reason why I could never find a boyfriend for quite some times and why men around me kept staying the hell away from me? When I told him that, he laughed harder. It was easy for him (or maybe any men), women mostly will follow the will of their men, they have this high tolerance when it involves relationship. The need of a masculine figure in their life puts relationship in their priority, therefore being selfless, hide the traits of possessiveness and making a scheme on how to  toll the wedding bells come almost naturally. I had that kind of tolerance before, but now unfortunately, I omitted that. Why? Because when I was that kind of person, I just wasted years of my life, and my ex’s – in a relationship I knew just wouldn’t work.

“I’m sorry if I’m a bitch sometimes, it’s just that I made a promise to myself that I would never ever lie to myself again.”

He calmed me down, “it’s okay, be whoever you want to be, I don’t mind.”

“But, I’m difficult. Yes, now I have you but who else would want me?” (see points in Mania? Emotion highs and lows? Check.)

“You see, being with you, one will need a long bowel.” Just when I thought I have misheard him, he explained that  in Javanese there is an idiom that the longer the bowel is, the more patience the person is.

“You have to be with someone who has a lot of patience and a high level of intelligence, because you are right: you are difficult.” I was so touched when he mentioned ‘intelligence’ but then realized he actually complimented himself and rolled my eyes. Still, I was thankful of him. Maybe at some point where we can’t compromise further, we’ll hit bottom, but I feel that I understand myself better now and actually help him to understand me.

Well he must be, because he’s a mania too.

things I thought I would never have said or heard, but..

I’m stressed. I feel tired all the time and barely have enough energy to compose another lesson plans. Lesson plans are dreadful, you finish one, then the other pops. It’s never-ending and nerve-wracking that sometimes when I look at myself in the mirror, I want to bash the mirror. I had a nervous break-down, crying in my boyfriend’s shoulder, smothering my snot all over his shirt, saying I need a ho-li-daaay…

Truth was, I didn’t. I was tired and at the edge that I was so sure if I had a weekend gateway with my him, I would spend the whole days irritated at him. I took days off and felt better. We drove around town in his bike, I read, blogging, sleep and buy a new Kiehl’s cream and new pants. (Who needs Komodo Island when you can buy happiness in a white jar?).

Now, watching the sky getting darker and reading some hilarious blogs, I recalled some of my funny lines in my class:

1. “Hey, you left your socks in the classroom!”

I said that, forgetting that I was running down the hall and many heads were turning as I said so. Thankfully, the socks owner’s too.

2. “Do you care about the environment? Because I don’t.”

Said by my 10 years old student during a video shoot for our green-movement events. Our class interviewed the school’s teachers and staff, asked questions about their awareness in how green they were. Frankly, the reporter felt that he needed to state his point of view about the whole thing.

3. “Why? Because your writing sucks big time.”

Said by me to a bunch of cheeky 14 years old boys. Relax, they knew I was joking, they actually laughed because of my chosen words. They were nagging because they get too many writing practices. Well, you should if you got 0.5 out of 5 for your tests.

4. “Miss, I just got my heart broken.”

Said by my student, eleven year old boy who just moved to town and his sweetheart -he thought- might have already forgotten his name. Poor chap.

5. “Hey Bunny, you misbehave!!”

Said one of my student to the other – who, matter of fact, were wearing a set of pink plastic bunny ear  in his head- I told him to be the bunny patrol, who would report back to me if he saw his friends misbehave, turned out, he was the one who was misbehaving.

6. “Well, it’s because he’s an idiot.”

I said that and I was talking about my teacher-buddy, Rob. It was his fault, he ratted me to the students. He said to them that I thought their posters (which they made it with me) were rubbish (seriously, rubbish was just too polite). When the students confronted me about it, I put my best bewildered (and offended) face and said that. Then, out of guilt, I asked whether they wanted to put the posters in the class’s wall, they looked at it, and shook their head with 100% certainty.

7. “Hey, miss, what animal has 3 legs when it’s alive and 2 when it’s dead?” / “err.. I don’t know, what is it?” / “I don’t know miss, that’s why I’m asking you.”

No. you came  to the wrong class, buddy, Care of Magical Creatures  is in room no. 5. This is Muggle Studies.

Casual Vacancy, filled.

Finally. I’ve finished Casual Vacancy and yes, finally, I can put the book on my shelves and stop the depressive vibe it emitted.  When I got the book in my hand, I didn’t expect this one to be better than Potter series, I think it’s very hard to top an international super mega best selling series Rowling created, but what I was looking forward her style in writing that so rich in detail and yes, I found it.

Casual Vacancy was a story about a little town in England which had been having a conflict that lasted many years, the man that was trusted to overcome the conflict, the hero in this book, died in the first chapter. He was the parish councilor so naturally, there will be a vote to fill his vacant  seat. Many people, including his opponent side, his friends, an opportunist saw this vacant seat as something that could be beneficial for their own interests. This was the root of all the problems that kept growing in each chapter, each of the characters have their own issues and it collided in events and chances, their stories tangled in a web bigger than the first problem.

I always think that Rowling has the rare ability of storytelling. When she tells hers, it’s already finished. She knows the end -and not only that- she keeps some of the information for later, she spills enough in the right moment, and opens another surprises when we least expect it. It always makes me go, “ohh! now it makes sense..” when actually even before I open the box of surprises, the story already makes sense! She’s a genius. I could see in this new book that she pushed it, she made this little web so delicate and complex it was beautiful.

You wouldn’t find Harry here, not a trace of Gryfindor’s bravery or Slytherin’s wickedness, you wouldn’t know whose bad and whose not. There was no clear line between noble and malevolent, because you could find those in each personality of the characters. You would be in their head, knowing their steps, their thoughts, their fear, their ambitions, and their secret desire. It was crazy but in a thrilling-crazy way. You realized something when you’re in their head : they were you. those people were as real as you.

I didn’t say my ride when cruising every page was delightful, the contrary perhaps. I found the book very depressive and sad, I found it bleak and dark, and I couldn’t help but wonder as I reaching the end of it, what would be the final blow? You saw teachers, mothers, daughters and sons, each in their lowest point and you couldn’t help but just saw it as it was. How can a book be so gloomy and grim yet I managed to finish it enthusiastically? Maybe because Rowling drew the curtain and let people see what was inside, things that most people avoid to see. I guess I knew why this book was so devastating: all the problems in the world was there, in a little town called Pagford: Junkie, rebellious teenagers, heartbroken widow, abusive dad, a teacher with mental-illness, racism, self doubt, affairs, bullying, the-have versus the-not, they were blundered into one story it made me depressed that I had to took two days off from work to finish this book! LOL.

If somebody asked would I read the book again, probably I said no – aside that I rarely re-read books I’ve read- I don’t think this book tops Harry Potter series, but it’s just different kind of genre. I can see Rowling in every sentences and paragraphs, but not Harry, and I think that’s wonderful. I think the biggest enemy a great novelist should defeat wasn’t the popularity of the first book, but themselves. Yes, this book wouldn’t be as good as Harry and if this was her first, probably it wouldn’t be in the “pre-order list” my bookstore made, but still only skilled artist could produce a story as complicated and dark as Casual Vacancy.

What I Find Sexy In Men

Late at night, over two big glasses of hot tea, I listened to my boyfriend gave his argument and opinions on his job. We have two different jobs, I work in education and he works in art, though I took Art and Design for my undergraduate, I didn’t work in the field and my knowledge about art is limited. So, although we know same people or peers, we actually live in a very different world.

I work with schedule, tight schedule and he works with schedule – based on his mood. (Sometimes, I drive him crazy with being punctual, he accused me of not being able to ‘enjoy the time’, but rather I just ‘enjoy the time that I have‘). But aside from our work-differences, I enjoy the fact that we have rather the same schedule, we both start working at noon and finish at night. Then we have our late night tea and meal in our usual place, chatting about how our day was.

Then, on my way home, I was thinking what things in men that I find it sexy. You might share the same points in my list..

1. Work first, women second

Call me ungrateful, but the first reason I broke up with my ex was because he always put me first – or shall I say, his romance life first – rather than his work. It was very sweet at the beginning, but then he became unattractive. I like how my current boyfriend always put his work first before me. He clearly mentioned that he care so much about his career and many times I had to step aside so he could be in his own world. Sometimes, I watch him, his serious expression and his hands, face, shirt, black with charcoal and I find him very, very attractive.

2. He earns money

Yeah, yeah, we suppose to look at someone past all materialistic things, but come on. come on. I work my ass off, I pay for my installments, bills, needs. I demand my boyfriend to do the same thing too. I’m not talking about how much a man should make, but I’m not a fresh graduate in my 22’s anymore, I’m 28 and able to support myself, shouldn’t my man do the same? Yes. When men make money, they become confident and once they can support themselves they considered to be an adult with responsibilities. Nothing is more sexy than a man who is able to say “let me take care of that” (although of course you can take care of it yourself).

3. When I want it, I’ll get it attitude (obsession, obsession)

My boyfriend – under the sign Leo – shines with confidence (over-shine sometimes), when he sets his eyes on something and he wants it, he makes sure he will. When men show their determination on to something, they become this sexy little beast. It can get annoying, mind you, but at the same time, funny. My boyfriend latest obsession: Tamiya. He even made me one, a pink one that he self-painted and modified. He didn’t care that I actually didn’t care that much, he did it in spite of obsession.

4. He loves my mother.

When he’s away, he mentions that he misses my mother. Many times he said that he loves her like he loves his own. Isn’t that sweet? He says he feels comfortable around my mom and that my mom treated him just the way he is. When we have our rows, he sometimes worries what my mother will think of him (he didn’t really care about my opinion on him). She thinks our fights are hilarious. When men show their affection toward our mothers, we know how much they love their own mothers.

5. His confidence

Women secretly (or not), love to be bosses around. They love the fact that someone in the relationship actually takes charge. My boyfriend brims with confidence. The way he talks, walks, speaks, looks are spelled c-o-n-f-i-d-e-n-c-e in bold big red letters. He always pushes me to be more confident myself, to appreciate my skill and my work. I put my trust on him, in sea of doubt, having him near me I feel safe. Come on, which women wouldn’t fall for this kind of attitude?

6. He sees me as an equal

He said to me, I was the only woman in the world that can scold him. We began our relationship with series of unfortunate events and after we through that phase, we realized that we became buddy. I listen to him (because he knows me well) and he take my advice (because he trusts me). Sometimes when I self-doubt myself, he doesn’t console me like a good boyfriend would have done, instead he mocks me saying how inadequate I am. After that, I feel that I want to kick somebody’s ass, work harder, and yes, I stop complaining. And then when the job is done, he pats me on the back and says “I’m proud of you.” Provocateur.

7. Those little things

When I’m down, he’s the first to notice. “What’s with the face?” and although this is hard to believe, he knows the exact words I need to hear. He also does cute things like waiting for me for dinner (although he’s starving), asks how my day was before he starts telling his story, filled my gas tank when he uses my car, gives me his piece of those crispy chicken skin when we eat KFC together (priceless). Those little attention that sometimes go unnoticed, are very very charming. 🙂

Anyway, these are my definitions of sexy. What’s yours?

Skyfall, visited

Spoiler Alert! 

Last night finally we watched the new James Bond movie, Skyfall. Before Daniel Craig, I wasn’t into 007 movies. Pierce Brosnan looks surreal as a 007, I think. It just seemed unreal that an agent can still look that good in the middle of gun battle. But Daniel Craig has given me new way to look at James Bond. He just gave sexy the whole new meaning. Casino Royale blown me away, I fell in love with Bond since that movie, although I have to say Quantum Solace wasn’t really my cup of tea.

Anyway, I’d been hearing lots of buzzes about the new movie and had to wait for 5 days before we actually went and saw it, due to the absence of my boyfriend to his home town. “Skyfall” surely sounds like something terminal, like ‘this is it’, but it wasn’t like that at all. The villain in this movie, played by Javier Bardem, was a lunatic who felt betrayed by M and did everything in his power to punish M. (The reason : he spent 5 months as a prisoner in China and when he decided to kill himself, the cyanide didn’t kill him, but his jaw melted resulting his revolting look if the synthetic gum was taken out from his mouth). During his capture, he realized : wait, why nobody saved me? oh I know, M gave me up! She betrayed me! (While actually, he did something wrong to cause that).

So the aim of James’s actions is to save M. Not the world. The idea I think was to stir James’s faith as an agent, whether should he believe M as his superior or shouldn’t he. But that would be too much problem, of  course he shouldn’t doubt her, and all the way he didn’t show any doubt toward M’s decisions. He didn’t do anything annoying like having a phase of self-doubt and starting to doubt M or the government, thank God.

Daniel Craig was the agent, who didn’t doubt himself or his faith, and didn’t make the whole movie was about himself. That what agent should do right? They work in the shadows as M put it.This was a great simple movie and for once, I saw a blockbuster whose villains didn’t have ambition to own the world.

Javier Bardem was brilliant, he sure looked like a lunatic (who wouldn’t be? tortured days and nights for 5 months?) and he was one of the Bond’s villains that stood up. I think he was more suitable for Batman’s villain, he reminded me of Joker in some ways.

Another surprising thing, there was no noticeable Bond girls in this movie. If you count agent Eve and Severine  yes you get two beautiful women, but  I don’t think they have the same portion as Eva Green in Casino Royale to get the title Bond Girls. Anyway, Berenice Marlohe looked stunning in her evening gown during drinks with Bond.

I like the scene when Bond disarmed and beat his opponent, Patrice. The background was Shanghai city light and the whole scene was astonishing, it was really smart and took advantage of the city most famous for: its lighting. Another scene was when Bond and M traveled to Scotland to visit Skyfall, it was so grim and bleak, I loved it so much. Other scene was opening of the movie, with Adele’s ‘Skyfall’ and the surrealist scenes. Loved it.

No gadgets and out-of-this-world technology you can find in this movie, instead it was actually used the technology men have been using for years: radio. (I loved Q!). For you who hasn’t seen this, go for it.