Saturday, May 31, 2014

Adventures in Mopping

A busy bee am I today. Actually, starting last night. I had intended to wash the wife's car while she's gone to Jakarta. This is something I am always accused of not doing -- rightly enough, since I never do it. So anyway, I got to it yesterday evening. Troubles, however, from the outset. I could not get the hose to stay on the spigot to save my life. Every time I turned on the water, the hose would blast free. Not to be defeated, I stuck with it, and finally fixed the thing on the spigot with a combination of force and a rubber band. As long as the water was not turned on very strongly, the hose stayed fixed. However, by that time, it was swiftly getting dark. That happens fast, here in Bali. Darkness falls in the tropics like a drawn curtain. So, in the last light, I washed the thing as best as I could. And I note, this morning, that it does look vaguely as if it has been washed.

Onward, then, with things that I never do. My early morning task was to mop the floor. This proceeded much more smoothly than the car. After that, it was off to the ironing board, and then a trip down to Sanur for a break at JCO. Everyone, naturally, wants to know where Mike is. They are used to seeing us together, and they look a bit unhappy to see me arrive on my own.

Mana Mr. Mike?

Hmm, well ... mungkin marah, ya? Maybe angry.

Eh! Marah? Kenapa? Why? How can it be?

Ga tau. I don't know. Of course, I do know - but this would be rather more difficult to explain in Indonesian and ... well, I mean, what business is it of theirs anyway?

So I drank my coffee, ate my free doughnut and read some of the book I am currently reading - The Child. A pretty good book, so far.

Back home, now, with nothing more to wash, clean or mop.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


I'm not sure what I did today, but suddenly it's over. Goin' on 10, and I'm thinkin' bed. Maybe I was abducted by aliens for a while, and thus the loss of time. Or maybe I stared at Facebook too long and simply spaced out. Ah, but there's that key word, "space"! I remember feeling vaguely hungry around dinner time and trying to decide between nasi goreng (fried chicken and rice) down the road or a slice of real honest-to-God chocolate pie from Ruth's in Sanur. I opted for the pie. No word from Mike today. Maybe he, too, was abducted by aliens. Or by Queen Elizabeth and her shady, satanic crowd. Hopefully, he wasn't molested. I mean, apart from being abducted. Lonely? Sure. But of well, I have my books and my poetry to protect me. Am I tired? Sound like, don't it?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New Badge

Got a nifty new badge for the blog from Health Line, as you can see to the left. Took me a while to attach the thing, actually. Kept turning out so big that it covered the whole blog. This may actually be a plus for some. But, anyway, I finally succeeded in making the badge of normal size. I'm challenged, right? I have MS. That's why I got the badge.

I may do a bit more writing here than usual over the next few days, as my wife and son are going to Jakarta and I'm fresh out of money, so expect to be holed up in the house for the most part.

Unusually rainy here this week, for being dry season. Kept hoping for a break this morning so that I could put our laundry out to dry, but no such luck. Looked like a let-up around 11:30, so I made a dash for Hardy's in Sanur in order to buy some groceries for dinner. But, again, by the time I got to the lonnnnnng traffic light on the Bypass, it started to piss down rain again. Just as the light turned red. Soaked straight through my clothes. Stopped at JCO for shelter, and a chance to dry out, but the rain continued. Finally had to get a second soaking on the way to Hardy's. Sloshed through the store, got our food, and headed back home. At which point, the clouds suddenly fled, the sun came out, and it is bright now and about 210 degrees Fahrenheit. I will hang my laundry, and then myself.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sick Day

Not feeling quite well today. Started last night, really. Scratchy throat, feverish, weak and tired. So the family went off to Bedugul without me. Why Bedugul? Hm, not sure. Started raining shortly after they left the house and it's been raining off and on ever since. Not my cup a tea, especially where a road trip is involved.

So I'm just doing my own thing here, which turned out to be the pembantu thing, since there is no pembantu. Well, there is, actually. She's me. Did the laundry (but, of course, can't hang it out because of the rain). Ironed. Washed dishes. Waiting now for a break in the weather so that I can go purchase some drinking water.

No JCO coffee today either, I reckon. First off, because of the rain and, secondly, because Mike seems to be angry again about his conspiracy theories. Or, rather, angry at me for disagreeing. The latest involves some guy by the name of Kevin Arnett, a defrocked Canadian Catholic minister, who believes that the Queen of England, in concert with the Catholic Church, George Bush Senior, Henry Kissinger, etc., etc., are involved in the systematic kidnapping, molestation and murder of children from around the world.  Arnett points to "mass graves" of Indians, which can be seen, he says, by satellite imagery. At first, the Canadian government was willing to believe, but, as it turns out, they've dug and dug and can't find a thing. Additionally, the leadership of the Canadian tribes has rejected these claims and asked Arnett to leave them alone.

To me, these sorts of conspiracy theories seem like cancers that only grow and obscure. They multiply rapidly and very little seems effective in combating them. They are like the Jungian concept of the complex which grows and swallows up the ego. In short, they are not matters of logic and reason but of paranoia and fear.

The troubling thing is that I have been trying to simply change the subject with Mike, and yet, first thing I know, he's back to the conspiracies again. And it seems that just about any subject can lead to the return. For example, I had recently visited the Bali Peace Gong here in Kertalanggu. Situated around this giant gong are statues of world figures known for their efforts in the name of peace. One statue is of Barack Obama. What interested me, as I watched the people in the park, was that everyone wanted to stand by Obama to have their picture taken -- not Mother Theresa, not Mandela, not even their own Sukarno. Children and adults alike -- straight to Obama!

So I mentioned this to Mike as a point of interest, a sort of testimony to Obama's popularity among the common people of Indonesia. He nodded his head, seemed to be listening, but then piped in with the following:

"Obama, you know, is in big trouble. He's been hobbled. He's been bought by the powers that be and is nothing more than a figurehead now. He does the bidding of the illuminati. If he doesn't they'll kill his wife and children."

And so on.

Obviously, our friendship is becoming a bit difficult and uncomfortable. Which, for me, is sad.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mie Setan

Stopping by this afternoon at a place called Lylo Mart, owned by a friend of my wife's, to use the internet. We do have our own internet, but it is usually slow, and sometimes doesn't work at all. So here we are. She's downloading something lengthy, my son is playing a game, and I'm sitting here wondering what to do.

Oh! I know -- BLOG!

Went to an interesting place last night called "Mie Setan", named so, I suppose, because the noodles are devilishly hot. The interesting part, though, was how crowded it was - full inside with a line outside. It's a popular spot for young people, and young women in particular, for some reason. Something about satanically spicy noodles and females? People wait a long time for these evil noodles and generally seem to have a lot of fun. It's not really about eating, I guess. It's a place to see and be seen. Bules are considered of particular interest, since there generally are none. Strange feeling to attract the attention of about 150 pairs of female eyes all at the same time.

Frankly, though, the noodles suck. I've been there twice, and on two occasions, have ended up with a stomachache.

Got into a fairly major 'tiff' with my friend, Mike, about stupid conspiracy theories (there is no other kind). But I felt bad, apologized for my temper, and all is well now. On the positive side, the argument inspired further research into the theories, which, in turn, led to the huge body of material on the subject in the field of psychology, which seems much more interesting, to me, than the theories themselves. One can come away with a better appreciation of what's going on in the minds of these people, and may be better prepared to discuss the matter in the future (with less violent results).

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Night Vision

I swear, I gotta get my eyes fixed. Took a rare nighttime journey to Sanur tonight - about 10 minutes away - and had several near death experiences. Just can't see worth a damn. Have to rely on "the Force". Amazing, though - having reached my destination - how many people gather at JCO on a Sunday night. (That's right, folks, I took this death defying journey just for a JCO coffee). For many, if not most Indonesians, Sunday is their only day off. JCO, it appears, is a favorite gathering spot, for those who have a little money, anyway. For those who don't, Circle-K serves as the location. (It's your circle, as the ad on the window says). So you have friends and couples and children, all splurging on sweet iced coffee drinks, ice cream and, of course, the free donut that comes with every order. It's a lively spot, indeed, on a Sunday night. Most often, I and my friend, Mike, meet during the morning and we are sometimes the only ones there. So it was nice to be in a crowd for a change. Amazing, too, how people dress up to come to JCO. You'd think they were going to Hard Rock Center Stage.