Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Troye Sivan - Blue Neighbourhood

Have you heard Troye Sivan? Yes? I guess I'm late to party. I found him when browsing Youtube, there I saw his Talk Me Down video clip, which, while I'm not really like the story, I quite appreciate the videography and video quality. It was good. So I download his complete album. It IS good.

First, I would recommend you to get the deluxe edition, because the included tracks are actually GOOD, not like those deluxe albums which only include filler song. I actually liked the included tracks, such as DKLA, and Blue; while BITE, THE QUITE and TOO GOOD are actually enjoyable.

This album is quite brooding and moody, kind of modern version of Lana DelRey. The tracks are dark and moody, with pulsating bass and sprinkle instruments giving them bite. It kind of reminds me to The Weeknd, crossed with grandiose of old Coldplay albums (as bad as their recent releases were, I won't deny their previous releases as good).

Fans of grittier music or bubble gum pop would best skip this album, because I don't think they would appreciate the slow, dark, brooding moody of this album atmosphere. And the lyrics too, are bog standards. Some are cheesy, albeit none of that crazy-cheesy lyrics like some of Lana's lyric, but standard nonetheless.

I like Troye Sivan voice, not too thick, with slight husky and dark tint on it. You won't find range like Sam Smith exhibit, or his control, for that matter, but the simple way he sing is enjoyable. Personally I'm quite interested on how he will sounded with more demanding song.

All in all, for music listener, I would recommend this album, it is simply GOOD.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Dota2 Reborn, Catalyst and Others

What was the last time I wrote on this blog? It was like...years ago., I think. This post was like, months and months ago saved on my draft, but I have no mood to post it. So, rather than post outdated things, I decided to put all those things into one post.

First, I got quite large internet quota from my cell provider, so I decided to (re)download Dota2 from Steam on my linux box. I was running elementaryOS (eOS) based on Ubuntu 12.04. It was several months ago. With Catalyst driver from AMD, the performance is OK, with several eye candy disabled, I can run it quite smoothly, although not as smooth as Windows 7. In Windows 7, I can enable almost all eye candy (all, except anti aliasing and V-Sync) and got smoothly running Dota2. In linux, I had to reduce it even lower. I was grumbling and grumbling and grumbling about AMD linux driver quality.
Then Valve update Dota2 to Source2 Engine.

It. Was. The. Best. Dota2. Linux. Experience. Ever.

At first I was resisting, because just like old Dota, when updating to Reborn, I wouldn't able to watch old replay. And I love me replay. And when Valve made Reborn update mandatory, I was like, WTF?!? And I was forgot to backup my old Dota2, so now I had to deleted several replay which I haven't got time to watch. Damnedest thing.

But now, after several small and big updates, I can enjoy Dota2 Reborn on my linux box (now running eOS Isis, Freya, based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS) with eye candy almost maxed (I still disabled anti aliasing and V-Sync - my Pentium dual core and Radeon R250 just can't handle it). Everything is running smoothly. Now, if only I had good and stable internet connection...

2nd thing: AMD released their newest driver called Crimson. Unfortunately, linux Crimson performance is still a big no-no. Here is the review from Phoronix guys. So I held back from updating and wait for their-hope-it's-better next release.
Please AMD, give us linux user good and stable driver....

note: no, I have no qualms about using proprietary driver / software / blobs as long as it good. You guys GNU / Open source hardcore can shut up about it.

3rd thing. I still enjoying taking photos. And learning editing using Darktable. Sometimes I look back at my earlier photos and re-edited them. Or delete them. Mostly delete. (What? Lots of the are AWFUL!)
Here are some of my pictures, I tried that cinematic looks, but I don't think I quite successful. It's all edited using split toning feature from Darktable 1.6.9.

Reed in the wind
Wind blown
What do you think? Any tips on how to achieve those cinematic looks?

Taking photos of wind blown reeds are THOUGH! I had to wait until the reeds are positioned right before press the button. And the focus. I wast like, 15 minutes adjusting it. I really need practice more.
Maybe I will post the non cinematic version. Maybe not. We'll see.
Here is my Flickr page if you want to see my other photos. I had to warn you though, my photos are not that pretty!

4th thing. Now is my 10th month living alone. Yes, alone, as in living solitary in a house by myself. Currently I'm living in a house paid by my workplace. It was like, housing for worker who temporary work here, so sometimes I got other peoples live with me. The house is quite large, although it only two rooms, one living room, one bathroom and kitchen. But the rooms are quite large and the building itself is good. So, except laundry, I do it all by myself. Cleaning house, cooking (yes, I learn how to cook! It was to reduce living cost. Eating is my biggest spending, I just can't eat any food, it had to taste good!)

I still not that good at managing house though. Sometimes I got so lazy I let the floor not swept, dirty plates and glass filling the kitchen sink. It got so bad, once or twice I saw mushroom grow on them! LOL.
And then I got into cleaning frenzy and clean everything on one sweep. I felt like house-wife sometimes! Now I understand why my mom got so mad when I let little piece of dirt inside. It was really tiring always cleaning house. Sorry Mom!

I still going to gym. Currently my weight is 65 kg, I was 57 kg when I started about 1 year ago. Success!!! Some are fats, though, so I still need to convert those fats into muscles. And those belly fats are getting thick, I need to train my stomach again. Sigh. I hate sit ups.

5th. My Aune T1 headphone jack broke I think. When I fully insert my headphone jack fully, there is no sound on left side, but when I insert the jack partially, I can hear sound from left side but not from right side. So currently I'm back to my cute little FiiO E10. I miss organic sound from my T1. sigh.

Oh, and my PC is acting again. It was quite weird, suddenly my PC unable to POST, and rebooting, again and again and again and again until I put stop from it misery by pressing the power off button 5 sec. I tried everything, even asking my friend to check my ram and GPU whether they broke. Yesterday, I just clean the metal connector using rubber eraser, put them all together and press power on. AND. ITS. WORK!!!
I have no idea why it suddenly broke and why it work again. So I just recheck all my hard drive partitions. My home partitions are corrupted and my linux unable to boot, leaving me on grub command line. Rebooting, I enter recovery mode. From there, and the power of Google, I successfully recover the partitions and boot safely into my linux desktop. Here is my linux desktop looks like: uh oh, looks like there is a bug with Catalyst and screen shot ability / features / applications! Basically, every times I tried to take screen shot, it only capture my wallpaper. Or wallpaper cache from GPU cache. Sorry guys!

6th and the last (I promise).
It's December, time to set next year goals. My 2015 goals was: improve my body and gain weight up to 65 kg (achieved! Although those acnes are as rampant as ever. Sigh), buy good camera (achieved!), get better job (not achieved yet), and got desktop amplifier for my Sennheiser HD600 (not achieved yet)
So, my 2016 goals:
1. Gaining weight up to 70 kg, mostly in muscles! (hehehehe)
2. Got new and better job (better paying, better learning experiences, better working experience)
3. Desktop amplifier (and repair my Aune T1 jack)
4. New lens(es) maybe? (hehehehe)
5. Ummmm dunno, start saving for house maybe? Yeah, lets do that...
6. Improve my connections to God (I haven't been the most religious person, I'm really naughty. Sorry God, I'll try to do better!)
7. Update this old blog more often. Oh, how I miss writing blog! There are so much things in my mind that need to let out. The thing is, if I let all it out, I will definitely sent to mental hospital. Or stoned. Or jail. Or all three. Yeah, I guess all three.
8. Going places! I want to travel!!! I want to see beautiful scenery!

Oh yeah, that list is not in order

So, until 2016 then! (maybe?)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hello world

Hello, it's me again.

Honestly, of late I have no energy left for blogging. Interacting with people are exhausting! Every night I came to home exhausted, even my beloved Sennheiser HD600 and Aune T1 didn't get as much attention as before.

This new year, I got new toy(s). It's a camera, a Sony NEX-5TL (a NEX 5T with zoom kit lens). Why am I not getting the new Alpha such as A5000, A5100 or A6000? Duh, because the money. The usual reason :D
Yes, Sony discontinued NEX series, and yes at the same price I can go for A5000, but honestly, NEX-5T will give you more than A5000. Read the comparisons on the internet, there are lots of them. I rather go for last year mid-range than this year entry level. I was going for  second hand NEX-6, but I never found one which acceptable, so I gave up and go for NEX-5T instead. I miss the viewfinder in NEX-6, but I just have to live without it. Good thing I take picture mostly in the dark. NEX-5T screen is god-damned reflective! (sorry for the french)

Why not going for DSLR? I don't like how bulky and heavy most DSLR is. For example, Nikon D3200 is about 750 grams totals, and Canon EOS 1200D is about 800 grams. My NEX-5T is just south of 500 grams. And the size! NEX-5T, being mirrorless, is just so small compared to your usual DSLR.

Anyway, I'm still learning how to take photos with it. My friend Arif (his blog is here) got into photography longer than me. He, and 2 others. They take better pictures than mine :D. It's quite fun, although it did make me have to get up at 2 am and take long, long walk in the dark just to get those stars or sunrise pictures. And I tell you, walking alone in the dark is SCARY. Good thing my current city is safe.

Anyway, here you go, my flickr (which I made long long ago in 2009):

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When the heaven shines with stars...

As Javanese descend, with Gran who love Javanese song (and Javanese poetry, myth, and poetry), my childhood days filled with song's from Waldjinah, Endang Sukoco, Gesang, and other singers and gamelan groups which name I never knew. And now, eighteen years later, any hints of classic java songs always fill me with nostalgic feelings. Of hot days spent under jambu air (Syzygium samarangense) listening to radio and the wind rustled, with chickens clucked and peeped in the background.

One of those song is "Yen ing Tawang ono Lintang"? Have you heard it? No? Hurry and search in Youtube. The Waldjinah version is a classic, while Mayangsari version bring hint's of modern touch. And if you feeling adventurous, try Ramaaipama version, which, let say, quite interesting.

I love how melancholy and romantic the lyric is. It goes like this:

Yen ing tawang ono lintang, cah ayu
Aku ngenteni tekamu
Marang mego ing angkoso, nimas
Sun takokke pawartamu

Janji-janji aku eling, cah ayu
Sumedhot rasaning ati
Lintang-lintang ngiwi-iwi, nimas
Tresnaku sundhul wiyati

Dek semono, janjiku disekseni
Mego kartiko, kairing roso tresno asih

Yen ing tawang ono lintang, cah ayu
Rungokno tangis ing ati
Binarung swaraning ratri, nimas
Ngenteni mbulan ndadari

(Repeat *)

And for you English speaker, here the translation (+):
When the heaven shines with the stars, (1) pretty girl
I'm waiting for your presence
To the clouds above the sky, milady
I ask your whereabouts

All those promises I do remember, pretty girl
Pounding inside my heart
All those stars are mocking (me), milady
(Because) My love touching the heaven

At those times, my promises were witnessed by
All the clouds above, accompanying (my feeling of) love and tenderness

When the heaven shines with the stars, pretty girl
Listen the cries of this heart
Within the sound of the night, milady

Waiting for full moon to shine

(Repeat *)

Beautiful isn't?
Most people think this song is about the singer / composer yearning for his lovers. But, you know what, actually this song is about how the composer waiting for the birth of her daughter! Yep. Her daughter. Who is not born yet. Talk about dramatic.

Most singers made little change here and there, transforming this song into lover song. And that version is the most popular. Love sells after all.

Still, this song is a classic. I love Waldjinah and Mayangsari version. Same song but bring different atmosphere. However, Waldjinah version is still the best. I just love her angelic voice. It soar effortlessly above gamelan. So clean, so powerful. Beautiful.

Try it, maybe you like it. If you by any chance stumble upon CD containing this song, especially the audiophile version, just buy it. You won't regret it.

(+):  Of course, it's not direct translation, because it always hard to capture how one language express something to other language, but I guess that translation is as close as it could be.
(1): actual translation is "when in the sky there are stars," / "when in the sky the stars are seen" but the Javanese language used is the flowery form, so I chose to romanticizing it a bit.