Friday, January 29, 2016

Ketep Pass

After the trip to Cetho dan Sukuh Temple, we went to Ketep Pass, a volcanology-based tourism object in Ketep, Sawangan, Magelang, Central Java. This place offers a great vantage point for spectacular view for five mountains: Mt. Merapi, Mt. Merbabu, Mt. Sindoro, Mt. Sumbing and Mt. Slamet. Visitors can also view of Mt. Tidar, Mt. Andong, Mt. Pring, Menoreh Hill and Telomoyo. 

Here are some photos from the trip.

 Entrance area in Ketep Pass

 Mt. Merapi


There is a small museum on Mt. Merapi, where visitors can learn how a small mount called Mt. Bibi grew into the active Mt. Merapi. I found it very interesting.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Visiting Cetho And Sukuh Temples

Hello lovelies!

I took two days off after a work event in Solo and went around with my university-trip buddy Aneen, who is a Solo resident. Her husband was out of town until Jan. 26, so she was more than happy to drive me around the city and beyond. 

We went to Cetho and Sukuh Temples on Day 1, and the next day we went to Ketep Pass, a lookout ground where we can see six mountain peaks: Merapi, Merbabu, Sindoro, Sumbing, Telomoyo and Andong. Let's start with the trip to the temples, shall we?

Cetho Temple

Located in Karanganyar, Cetho temple is one of several temples built on the western slope of Mt. Lawu in the fifteenth century. By this time, Javanese religion and art had diverged from Indian precepts that had been so influential on temples styles during the 8-10th century. 

This area was the last significant area of temple building in Java before the island's courts were converted to Islam in the 16th century. The temples' distinctiveness and the lack of records of Javanese ceremonies and beliefs of the era make it difficult for historians to interpret the significance of these antiquities.

Cetho is a Javanese word, meaning visible. It gets its name because people can see the view of Solo from this 11-terrace temple, which stands at around 1400 meters above the sea level. 

Here are some photos of Cetho temple and its surrounding environment.
 We need to don a piece of checkered fabric around the waist before entering the temples. A small donation for the fabric guard is expected.

The view that greets the visitors upon entering the gate

 One of the turtle statues

Proceeding to the next terrace

 Details on a wooden kentongan (drum)


 View from the 11th terrace. This looks like a Hindu temple in Bali, isn't it?

Respect the temple, it's still being used for praying

The greenery around the temple

Red moss on the tree

A stream found along the way 

Kethek temple, a small temple inside the complex of Cetho temple. It kinda looks like an Aztec/Maya ruins

Sukuh Temple

Sukuh temple is a 15th-century Javanese-Hindu temple located on the western slope of Mount Lawu (elevation 910 meters). Sukuh temple has a distinctive thematic reliefs from other candi where life before birth and sexual education are its main theme. Its main monument is a simple pyramid structure with reliefs and statues in front of it, including three tortoises with flattened shells and a male figure grasping his penis. 

 At the gate

Sideway view of the gate

An eagle

A headless statue

A bas-relief

 I love this elephant bas-relief
 More animal statues. Please ignore those lovebirds in the background


Forgive the narcissism. I tried to copy the files from my camera's SD card, but it didn't work. These photos were taken by Aneen's smartphone. I tried not to post the selfies, though :).

Have a lovely day, peeps.

Updated: More photos have been added. Enjoy! :)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Thursday's Sarinah Attack Almost Brought The Piranhas To The Brink Of Extinction

Thursday morning found us, the Piranhas, listening to the news on bomb explosion outside Sarinah. We soon heard/read more terrifying news on bomb and shoot out. We checked our colleagues who were out of office for field works, on their whereabout and safety, and also informed our families that we were safe.

It was a tense day for everyone at the office as we had to follow security protocol. We weren't even allowed to leave the floor to buy lunch. Thursday 12.15 p.m., we were about to head to nearest canteen when one of the bosses gathered us and told us to stay where we were.

Our expression turned sour as the boss told us to not leave the floor for any reason, not even for lunch. We soon opened our drawers and nibbled on all kinds of food we could find in the pantry: biscuits, wafers and, may Lord forgive us, the sinfully delicious instant noodle. We're still hungry though, and we couldn't function well without rice. Hungry and angry. Apocalypse was about to take place. 

The other boss came at the crucial moment and said everything was okay outside, we could go and bought lunch downstairs. The Briton even offered to buy us lunch himself if we were too afraid to go downstairs.

"We are not afraid. We simply respect DS (the scared boss)'s request to stay put," we said.
"I was here during the 1998 riot. I went home driving the car on my own. I saw burned down buildings and everything was in chaos. But I still reached home safe and sound," the kind boss said.

The kind boss finally went downstairs and bought food for all of us. After the food arrived, peace reigned. It's amazing what food can do to calm the Piranhas. We were told to bring home our laptops and that the office would be close today.

Hope you all have a safe Friday and weekend.

PS. I read that there were two foreigners (of German nationalities) who were injured during the event. I happened to know both, one was a UNORCID official whom I invited for an event held by my former office, and the other was the husband of a colleague at a former office. My hearts and prayers go to the families of victims and everyone whose lives are impacted by the event.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

First Time Blood Donor :)

I've been gaining weight in the past 2.5 years of leaving journalism. It's either because the new job gives me more time to snack or due to the fact that getting older equals to slowing metabolism. Whichever the reason, my weight has jumped from the 48 kg during journo days to 58 kg at the moment (insert cringed emoticon here). 

Many friends told me that although my cheeks had become rounder, I still looked slim for my frame (1.57 cm). What they failed to see was the love handles around my waist and that there was no gap between my thighs. 

Instead of mourning the fact, I thought about what I could do with my new weight. I decided to donate my blood. I've been wanting to do this since high school, but my skinny self never allowed it. During high school, the weight requirement to donate blood was 45 kg, I was one kilogram shy. During university days, the required weight went up to 50 kg, and I was just around 45-46 kg. When I entered the work force, the donors should weight 55 kg, alas I was only 47-48 kg.

After having lunch today, I went to the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI)'s blood donation unit in Senayan City with two colleagues. It's located below En Dining, just go below the stairs and you'll find the direction to the small office. 

Since I was a newbie, they tested me for my blood & rhesus type (O, rhesus positive). They also checked my blood pressure, haemoglobin level and of course, my weight. I passed all with flying colors. And then came the moment of truth.

They told me to wash my fore arms up to the elbows. First, they bound my left arm and checked my vein. They were having hard times to locate my vein, because it's too delicate. "We need 350 cc of blood. If somehow the blood stopped during the process, we have to switch the needle to your right arm. Is it okay with you?" the PMI officer asked. I grimaced, but nodded anyway. 

One of the PMI officers, a gentle old lady with determination, pushed the huge needle into my left arm. The red liquid soon flowed into the plastic bag. I tried not to stare at the blood, but ended up glancing and feeling dizzy. She gave me a cotton ball with a dab of aromatherapy to ease the headache. But the process was quite quick, at least for me. I spent around 15 minutes for a bag of blood. 

One colleague spent around 30 minutes for the process because he had to relocate the needle, due to the misplaced needle by the younger PMI officer. The blood streamed down my colleague's forearm during the needle relocation process. Ouch.

Despite the horror my colleague endured, I had a great time at the blood donation unit. I intend to continue donating my blood as long as my health permits. Insya Allah.

Monday, January 11, 2016

When It Comes To Health Issues, The Piranhas Are In The Nile

There was a free health check up in the office building a few weeks ago. Of course, everything that is free would attract the Piranhas. So we headed to the event to check our sugar blood level, blood tension and cholesterol level.

Here are several funny conversation that ensues.

1. On weight issues
Situation: during the queue, the health instructor took measurement of your weight and blood tension.
Health instructor: Please step into this weight scale
A curvy woman: Engg no need. I know the weight must be a lot.
Health instructor: (-_-)"

2. Trust the best result?
RA: How nuisance! I just had my sugar blood and cholesterol level checked in the lab. If I knew there would be free check up, I'd have waited.
HW: It's ok, Bu. You can still try the free check up and trust the one with good results.
RA: Ok, I'll have lunch first then
About one hour later...
RA: This must be wrong!
SN: What happened, Bu?
RA: My cholesterol level spiked from 169 in the lab result to beyond 200.
SN: What did you have for lunch?
RA: Enggg...KFC.
All: laughing out loud 

3. On weight issues...again
Me: The weight scale at the office must be broken. I checked my weight at the office, it's 57 kg. But at the health check up event, it's 55 kg.
AA: could be due to the gravity. The closer we are to the ground, the more accurate the weight measurement is.
SN: You should measure it in the lowest basement floor then *sarcastic mode on*

Friday, January 8, 2016

Filosofi Kopi

Indonesian | 2015 | 1 hour 57 minutes | Director: Angga Dwimas Sasongko

I watched this movie for free on the last weeks of December 2015, after watching Mencari Hilal. It was a book-turn-movie, and the book was written by Dewi Lestari, who also penned the Supernova series, so it has good story line.

The movie starts with Jody (Rio Dewanto) and Ben (Chicco Jerikho) trying to run a small coffee shop called Filosofi Kopi, which emphasizes on taste, instead of trend. Unlike other coffee shops, FilKop cafe does not use wi-fi, this is one of the reasons why it only has small number of visitors.

One day, Jody and Ben got a challenge to make the best coffee from a businessman. Since the competition's first prize is a large sum of money that could cover all their debts and expenses, they both jumped to the chance. 

As predicted, they won the competition with Perfecto, a creation of Ben that later sends people to the cafe. However, the arrival of El, a blogger that specializes in coffee tasting, turns all the tables as she says that the most delicious coffee she ever tasted is Kopi Tiwus.

Jody and Ben are intrigued with her statement and decide to go taste the coffee. The journey to taste Kopi Tiwus turns out to be that fateful trip bringing both Jody and Ben to the past and set up the path for their future.

I'm happy to see more quality Indonesian movies like this one. While there are things where this movie is lacking, it makes up with the comedy (Jody and Ben should form a comedy group). Also, the main idea of Indonesia's coffee really hits home. I would recommend this movie to all my friends :).

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Recent Purchase: Food Container And Water Sprayer At IKEA

I went to IKEA Alam Sutera last Saturday with friends. I bought a set of food containers because I was thinking to bring a lunch box this year. Priced at Rp 79,000, Pruta has 17 food containers in one pack, so I think it's a good deal. The water sprayer,  well I like the design, so I bought it too. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Making Kaastengels

D has diabetes and has started to inject insulin last December. It is sad to see how much it has affected his lifestyle. To cheer him up, on my birthday I made him kastangel cookies, which do not use any sugar. I took the recipe from Nova magazine, but it recommends cheddar cheese, which resulted in a mediocre kastangel cookies. 

A high school friend Sarah, who loves baking and has been taking cakes and cookies orders told me to use the recipe from Just Try And Taste, which recommends edam cheese. And it came out almost perfect.

I took some photos during the first attempt, but too lazy to document the second attempt. It's a bit difficult to take photos in the middle of the process because I used both hands to mix the ingredients. The difference between Nova magazine and Just Try and Taste is only in the cheese. The rest are the same. Here is the recipe, a slight modification from the one in the link above.

200 grams of margarine
100 grams of unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1 egg
250 grams of edam cheese
100 grams of corn starch flour 
350 grams of flour

How to make: 

Peel the wax off the cheese and grate it. Keep about 4 table spoons for topping.

Mix flour and maizena.

Prepare mixer bowl. Put in margarine and butter, mix with low speed until they are well-mixed. Put in egg yolks and egg one by one. Make sure one egg is mixed well before putting in the next egg to prevent curdle.

Up the mixer speed into medium and mix the dough until it becomes whiter, rising and soft. 

Then put the mixer back into low speed, put in the cheese, mix well and turn off mixer. The flour is mixed using spatula. Put in the flour slowly while stirring the dough with spatula. If the dough still feels soft, add more flour until it hardens and can be mold.

Flatten the dough to about 1 cm tall and cut it into 1 x 4 cm. Place the cookies on the baking tray. Bast the top with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle grated cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until it turns golden yellow. Wait until the cookies cool down, keep them in airtight container. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

My Resolution For 2016

Found here

"I don't know how long God will let me live on Earth. But I pray to God, to make my life useful. Useful to the state, the nation, the other humans. I say the pray on every prayer. Because He is the Origin of All Things." -- Soekarno, 6 June 1957