Thursday, July 24, 2014

Creepy Books and Things

It's not that there's nothing to say. It's just that I'm lazy. But anyway ....

Just finished reading Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King. Quite a good book. I'd been hoping for years that he would one day write a sequel to The Shining, and, finally, he did. And did so very well. It's not quite as scary as The Shining, but maybe that's a good thing. I remember The Shining giving me nightmares, way back when. This one I read in English, which was also a bit of a treat. When you read in a foreign language (like Indonesian), there is an unfortunate barrier between the reader and the book. You cannot simply ride the current, but must continually apply another part of your mind to translation. So, you end up distanced from the story, overly aware of the words and sentences. It was also a treat because books in English here tend to be ridiculously expensive, whereas books in Indonesian are cheap. I got the book at PeriPlus, and the price was not actually that bad, as these things go. Rp. 100.000. Nonetheless, a book in Indonesian will cost half this amount (while most books in English will cost 2-4 times this amount).

So, it's off to Gramedia in another hour or so to look for a new book, in Indonesian. I most recently read the Divergent Trilogy, which was enjoyable and fairly easy to read (being geared to young audiences).

I forgot to mention the snake on our kitchen sink the other day. Creepy, like a Stephen King book. It was about 3 feet long, I reckon, and gray. It seems to have come from a hole in the wall, into which it returned after we poked it a few times. I stopped up the hole, but who knows? I suppose they can slither through lots of fissures. In any case, that was perhaps a week ago, and we've not seen it since.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Republic of Indonesia denounces Israel's attacks on Gaza, the Jakarta Post headline says. So, I look further to see the whole story. But guess what? I don't get the full story. There is no condemnation, for instance, of the rocket attacks on Israel, launched before these most recent Israel counterattacks. There is no condemnation of Hamas for the murder of three Israeli teens; although, to be sure, there is the condemnation of Israel for the revenge murder of a Palestinian teen. There is a call on Israel to stop these air assaults, though no call for Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel. Something's wrong with this picture. I'm sorry, but I'm confused.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Two Bits (of flesh) for a Haircut

I just cut my ear while shaving. Well, not my ear, but behind my ear, whatever that spot is called (behind the ear, perhaps?). That's what  happens when you have to shave your entire head and get into a rush. I mean, I don't have to shave my entire head, but I've done so for the past 7 years or so, since there's very little hair that actually grows, and what does grow is grey. But in any case, these razor cuts hurt. Sure wish I had an electric shaver. But they don't seem to have them here in Bali. Isn't that odd?

When I went to the Circle K store the other day to buy a pack of cigarettes, the girl at the counter reached for a pack, noticed that it was one of the new packs bearing a gross picture or a cancerous something or other, and then quickly reached for a pack that did not have a picture. I thought that was so sweet of her. Not that I really mind the pictures. But it just seemed such a simple, automatic regard for another person.

"Nggak suka gambar yang jelek itu ya?" I asked. (You don't like the gross picture).

"Ya Pak, nggak suka."

People here are often very polite and caring in this way. Until you put them on a motorcycle.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

More of the Cataract Saga

The cataract saga continues.

Let's rewind for a moment.

Perhaps a year ago, I went to an ophthalmologist at Kasih Ibu Hospital and was told that I had cataracts and was in need of an operation. Only then could my sight be corrected with glasses.

But there was a fly in the ointment. Kasih Ibu did not perform cataract operations and I would have to go to a different hospital. This meant that our insurance would only pay in the form of a reimbursement. We would have to pay up front. Trouble is, we didn't have the money to pay up front.

So we waited, and explored other options. Another such option did arise a few weeks ago. We discovered that we could go to a doctor at an independent clinic -- an eye expert, we were told -- who could then do the operation at any hospital covered by the insurance.

So it looked like I was close to getting cataract surgery.

But ... uh ... there was a fly in the ointment. This doctor did not find operable cataracts.

Hmm. But then -- why can't I see?

Ah, that's the question.

I'm inclined to believe this doctor. After all, he certainly has nothing to gain by telling me I don't need the operation, and he could have collected money by telling me that I did.

So where to now? Well, it's back to the optometrist to just get fitted for glasses as best as they can make them. Not normal vision, to say the least. In fact, not good vision at all. But better than no glasses at all. They will be good, at least, for reading, and also for driving at night, at which time I am practically blind.

What's wrong with my eyes? Well, they don't know. It's cataracts, the one doctor says, but apparently it isn't. It isn't cataracts, the other doctor says, but cannot say, then, what it is.

Perhaps it's MS. Very probably, I reckon.

I feel fairly certain that an American doctor could sort it out. But, I'm not in America, am I.