January 24, 2015

Taiwan's East Coast Road Trip

I have been living abroad for 8 years in total. While in Taiwan I've stayed for 1.5 yrs now. Among different trip modes in different country, I always love road trip the most. It is my favorite way to explore a new destination. With the flexibility of the open road, the adaptability to go where you need, when you need, and the opportunity to unearth towns and encounters not unlisted places in any manual trip books - well, what's not to love?

Unlike western coast of Taiwan which I have been to (or at least have passed by) 70% of it, the eastern coast of Taiwan remains mystery to me. Never reach out farther than Hualien city. So that's why when my friend asked me for Taiwan's east coast road trip, I was like fuck yeah I am in.


We begun our trip on Jan 18 (Sunday) leaving in late afternoon from Zhongli city, Taoyuan county. The weather was a bit shady as opposed to the previously crystal clear sky morning early that day. For this trip I decided to pack garments less. Additionally I purchased some Indonesian snacks (Biskuit Marie Regal and Kacang Garuda) for my hommies, just in case we happened to get lost by one means or another on the way. Yi Xuan drove the car carefully through highway 3 and highway 5. It took us 2 hrs to reach Yilan country before we arrived our first destination: Shunwen's family house. Located in the heart of Yilan, his parents welcomed us with 594051321 types of dinner courses. It was so festive as if their son was having a birthday bash or something. Dinning table was hella jammed. The warmth of Yu's family really touched my heart since it is seldom for me to be hosted by Taiwanese family here. I also understand where and how Shunwen got his dope cooking skills from, it's from his mom. Everytime she finished serving one dish, she will come again one minute later with another yummy-mummy-tummy dishes. Literally it's like rain drops of food parade. My favorite dish? Vermicelli noodle with onion and scrambled eggs. I liked how she cooked it dry but not over-done. Gawd, that brought the house down!!! So tasty, slurp!

Kudos to Shunwen's mother for cooking these foods! No one beat a mother's cook.

One hour later we headed to Hualien County which would be our first stop of the day. To be clear, the road from Yilan to Hualien is nasty. Very nasty. With many curvaceous and sharp edge of turns, this  highway 9 simply reminds me a lot to Bukit Barisan in West Sumatra, Indonesia which I always consider as a deadlock driving pathway. Normally I don't get car sick easily. But since we rolled out just right after the epic and big dinner time, I raised the white flag. Echo and I were passed out.

We arrived the lodging quite late, around 10.30pm-ish. The home stay is a quite decent four-story building with close vicinity to the beach. Each has one or two rooms. What I like about the room is its spacious bathroom, as if you can put a pingpong table within. It also has balcony in each room. Too bad the sky was cloudy, none of the stars were seen.


We woke up very early the next day. While waiting for shower, I visited the beach first under the charm of coastal breeze. A very typical morning in Hualien. There were not much people seen on the beach. We quickly logged out, got ourself breakfast, and meet up with the NCU undergrads at one of hotels in downtown. They were about to start their second day of regional Taiwan geology field-work. Since our next destination is on the same direction as theirs, four of us decided to joined the first outcrop. 

To the left: Backbone Range. To the right: Coastal Range. Middle: Siougulan River.

Spying on the fieldtrip group. Why do I look wasted here?

Situated in at Siougulan River, near the northern tip of Longitudinal Valley (LV), it took us ~2hrs to reach the first site. We listened a bit to the free-lecture given by two professors (one is my advisor) who led the field trip. The gorgeous view comprises a huge incision governed by the river adjacent to Central Range. The erosion was believed to develop along the major strike where a splay thrust fault prevail and cut two of the major formations here: Baliwan Fm and Tuluanshan Fm. Multi-sets of terrace aggradations indicating the paleo-environment and dynamics of Siougulan River

We left the group 30 minutes after and headed south along the LV (highway 9). The view here was absolutely stunning. Floored by million of rapeseed flowers, all I can see was unlimited yellow scenery along the road. We happened to stop at one of the Tropic of Cancer monument. There are (at least) three more of similar monuments in Taiwan. Funny thing is they had the horoscope astrology in wrong dates. The dates are all a month behind, so my horoscope would be Taurus instead of Aries. Hzzzttt -_____-' 

Tapestry of rapeseed flower

Tropic of Cancer monument

About 15 minutes later we arrived at a place which I have been wanting to visit, 歐亞板塊與菲律賓海板塊交界處 a.k.a the plate junction between Eurasian Plate versus Phillipine Sea Plate. Wowowowowow I was in ecstasy! Hats off to Taiwanese government for having this 'plate boundary' mark on an abandoned railway road. Just like McD says, I'm lovin it! Shortly, we visited Yuli township for quick lunch and break. Dangggg this town is very empty. Even during our short stop to Yushan Visitor Center, a dog was seen lying on the road freely, chillin' and do nothing as our car approaches. This dog gave us the just-bcoz-I-ain't-moving-don't-you-ever-think-to-pass-me-by look before finally moves. Geez.

At the plate junction

Our later stop was Dapo elementary school, in Chihshang township, Taitung county. This school has fault slipmeters being installed at few area of its park. Curious why the government hasn't removed this school considering the Chihshang fault (named after the city) is obviously active? Still in this city we also stopped by a local tea shop and bakery. The town is known for its rice-flour cake and bread. I ordered the banana cake and mulberry tea. Yumyum! Never tried a rice flour based banana cake before. The texture is certainly fluffier than what I usually bake. As the sun was getting to set, we bought riceboxes as our dinner in the next hotel.

Rice flour banana cake with mulberry tea

We ended our long day drive at a hotel named 南橫台東段‧天龍溫泉飯店 a.k.a Chief SPA Hotel. This hotel is quite popular among domestic or international tourists. Years ago the hotel is famous for its hotspring and tantalizing views. However, in 2009, Morakot typhoon knocked down Taiwan island, inducing landslides and road alterations cause the Nanbu Cross-Island Highway to be permanently closed. Even some of the landslide scarps are still can be seen from the hotel - yikes! The hotel itself is an eight-story building where our room was on 3rd floor. We decided to jump into the hotspring pool straight after dinner. It was 6 degree and raining though. Brrrr! There were no strangers joining us, so it was like having our own private pool - ha! The hotel also hosted DIY mochi session which taste a bit different compared to Hualien's mochi. Another cool thing about this hotel is  has karaoke room. Yez darling, the hotel offers karaoke for singer wannabe like me or Yi Xuan or Echo. Too bad Shunwen was too shy to even mumble one lyric. Next time we'll drag his ass down to sing for sure!!!

Our beloved hotel has hotspring and karaoke room. Oh what a wonderful world.


Initially we planned to kick of the day by joining the hotel's morning tour and explore its vicinity. However the morning was foggy and drizzle. Shunwen and I decided to have second round hotspring instead. For the first 15 minutes the pool was empty before group of people joined us. Its surrounded view was marvellous. All I see were damn high marblelicious cliffs camouflaged with plush of trees. Birds and monkeys are often seen wandering around the area. Thank God this hotel provided salad for breakfast, something which I always love to eat. After full, we decided to enjoy quick walk along Wulu River, 海端鄉. We checked out the hotel around 10.30am. Clearly the view in morning is much better than evening. I could see how big and wide Wulu river is as we approached river mouth. 

Random morning trip along Wulu river

Since we were heading back north, we decided to take the coastal highway 11 instead of cutting through LV again. We visited a recently-famous-due-to-EVA-ad village, 伯朗大道 (see video here, skip to 2:18). The three minutes ad portrays a scene where the actor is sitting under banyan tree with concrete teapot saying 'I SEE YOU' and background of beautiful rapeseed flowers. That scene was taken in this village. In 2014, the tree was smacked over by a typhoon causing the local government to revive the tree and semi paved it with cantilevers.

Imposing the original EVA ad - lol.

Forty-five minutes later we had our lunch in a sea food restaurant (八仙洞明來餐廳) owned by a NCU graduates. The signature dish of this restaurant is stir fry mackerel with tomato sauce.  One thing missing here is young coconut for beverage. Ohhh, how much I missed 'es degan' so bad, huhu. Sandwiched by Bashian cave and Pacific Ocean, its strategic location is the main allure for people to visit. Our already-graduated lab mates, 潘遵友 a.k.a PanPan, also joined our lunch. We chatted for a while about life and whatnot. He is about to leave for Ph.D study in Oz this February. Anxious and jittery were clearly seen from his dimmed eyes. Yet I know he will do just fine down there. He is a badass geologist. Jia you PanPan ~

Signature dish: stir fry mackerel with tomato sauce

PanPan is in da houz yo!

Puuuhhreeetttyy beach ~

We arrived in Hualien city in early evening. Our accommodation here is a Japanese theme style hotel named 花蓮國軍英雄館. Taiwan (esp Northen and Eastern Taiwan) was once pre-occupied by Japan. Therefore there are many cool looking building from that Japan era, just like this lodging. What I liked is it separates bathroom and toilet, which means one doesn't need to wait too long for different urgencies. The hotel also has this open style restaurant for breakfast and dinner on 1st floor, equipped with karaoke machine as well. Touché.

Lodging of the day!

I was in cloud nine to know that one of the most famous Japanese food vendors in downtown Hualien called 花本家 was our dinner destination that night. I always love Japanese food and sushi is like my top ten favourite food of all time. I ordered udon which has the size as big as my chopstick. Helluva noodle. We also ordered sashimi. Thank God these people also love raw fish food as much as I do. Weird thing is this restaurant played KPOP songs instead of JPOP songs, lol. Of course, as KPOP listeners, Echo and I just don't give a damn. We enjoyed them anyway lol.

I did not know why we decided to visit the Hualien's night market 自強夜市 after having a super full dinner? But anyhow we did. Tbh, I never consider this night market as a real night market since it's too small in my humble opinion. Also some vendors were closed during weekdays. But we ended up buying juices. I had tall sized cup of strawberry yakult juice for 50 NTD. 

Juices madness ~

Four of us woke up late. Like really late. Actually it was not too late though. Shunwen and woke up at 5.30-ish, but then sleep again - ha. After having a quick breakfast, we left the hotel and heading for food souvenir's central in downtown Hualien. First we went to this 101 kinds of traditional and typical Hualien's snack place. Good thing is they offered different kind of sweets. I picked the stone looking wafer, cheese crackers, and coffee flavour of a swirly looking buttery whatever-you-called-it dry bread. Then, we stopped by this mochi central which offered like 439481 types of mochi, including green tea mochi and strawberry mochi. Yay! My favourites are here! We also visited a nearby abandoned Japanese shrine (新城神社) which is now turned into church.
A used-to-be-a-Japanese-temple church

The trunk on final day: full of stuff!

From here the trip became a bit hustle, since Yilan would be our next haven. It means we're going to drive that nasty-and-makes-me-to-vomit highway 9 again. Oh no! But due to better weather and less traffic, the ride was smooth. We, once again, visited Shunwen's family house. His mother, again, welcomed us with many kinds of sweets and foods. Shunwen's parents babysitted two toddlers and a child, which all of them are adorable. Around 5.30pm excused ourself and went to one of the most famous all you can eat restaurant in Yilan county, 久千代海鮮百匯. OMG this place is the bomb. The food variety is off the chain. Although it is dominated by seafood, but customers may also find non-seafood dishes as well. I took many plates. When I say many, it was more than 7 - ha! Each was a  mounded food. I started the dinner with sushi and fried eel. Then I tried the steamed crab, sweet and sour crab, fried shrimp, fried tempura, freshly baked oyster, seafood pudding, seafood salad, stir fry vegetable, cakes, cokes, sweets, friend salmon, steamed tilapia, and fruits. It was epic. The four of us were barely able to move after dinner. So full!

Stemed crab versus sweet and sour crab 

Round 1

People are queueing for corn zuppa soup. Note: girl with blue shirt is Echo lol.

Baked mussel

One hour later, we dropped Shunwen and Echo in Taipei. Forty minutes later, through highway 1 Yi Xuan dropped me at apartment. It has been a wonderful short trip with my hommies. I never experienced any difficulties every time I am having road trip with Taiwanese, just like when I went to Penghu Island last time. This time we also visited 'secret' places which I am NOT allowed to write the story here since it was a bit 'illegal'. And yes, I picked up few Chinese words by listening to their nonstop 4 days almost-no-English chat (except when chat with me). Ohhh don't forget the gossip we talked about during trip. Again, I am not allowed to write it here. Perhaps I should write it in my other social media? Lol just kidding.

Tantalizing view of Taiwan's Eastern Coast

Total journey of 780 km! Even googlemaps says it is drivable within 15 hrs. Yeah, as if we gonna do that -_-

So, if you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears. It feels good to go back to reality with a recharged mindset.

October 4, 2014

Curveballs: Dust yourself off and endeavor again.

Life throws curveballs. Everyone kens this. We casually throw the term out to people suffering all the time. We realize they subsist and yet are perpetually surprised at when they transpire to us. That is what the curve ball is and in fact as described by good ol’ Webster a curveball is 
"a ball that is pitched with a snap of the wrist and a vigorous downward spin, which causes the ball to drop suddenly and deceptively veer away from home plate."

The most intriguing word in this definition is “deceptively”. Even though we know curveballs subsist when they transpire to us we incline to feel apostatized or slighted in a very personal way. That is because the curveball is designed precisely for that purport. You cerebrate you witness it coming one way and BOOM it goes another way. Suddenly you are caught of sentinel and you swing one way and you miss. You are in disbelief. You SWORE you anticipated it, you prepared for it, you swung as hard as you could and you missed. The best baseball players in the world know very well about the curveball and they prepare for it and at times can adjust to it but alas sometimes the curveball is just too rapid and, they too, miss. 

The way a baseball player deals with the curveball is pretty simple. Sometimes he hits sometimes he misses but he learns he will have another chance to hit it out of the park again. The curveball will appear to us as it does to everyone. The decision with what to do after is up to us. Prepare. Adjust. Swing with all your might. Try again the next time, but for God’s sake don’t give up. The curveballs of life do not have to be a terminus. Instead it is just a gateway to incipient commencements. Keep swinging, buddy! :)

Happy weekend & happy Eid al-Adha ~

S313, Oct 3 2014

December 9, 2013

Phosphorus Cycle: A Poem

This dawn, I was quite flabbergast myself to read a sonnet written by one of the greatest geochemists ever lived, Mr Robert Garrels. It is ain't other Sumerian or Aristoteles' types of poems. It is neither John Keats' style of writing. He scribbled his poetry from geo-ish attitude, seeking a vulnerable pathway to articulate his profound anxiety of one thing: phosphorus cycle, something that I would never thought of lay it as fashion of literary art. Eminently an opulent manner of articulating the cycles of phosphorus of Earth.

I put some phosphorus into the sea
the biomass did swell 
but settling down soon overcame
and phosphorus went down toward Hell

From purgatory soon released 
it moved up to the land
to make a perfect rose for thee
to cary in thy hand

But roses wilt and die you know
then phosphorus falls on the ground
Gobbled up as ferric phosphorus
a nasty brown compound

The world is moral still you know
and Nature's wheels do grind
put ferric phosphorus into the sea
and a rose someday you'll find

Phosphorus itself is a rock-derived nutrient, meaning that its largest repository is in Earth's interior, where it is found in any types (igneous - sedimentary - metamorphic) of rocks. It is liberated from rock through chemical weathering and becomes available to terrestrial vegetation in soils. This nutrient is extremely important for photosynthesis. Some may assume that CO2 + H2O <=> 'CH2O' + O2 is as simple as it is. Well the fact is your plant won't do so-called photosynthesis if it doesn't have any HNO3 and H3PO4. Learn your basic, kids!

October 20, 2013

Review of Mallik 2002 Gas Hydrate Research Well Program

A short review on Mallik 2002 Gas Hydrate Research Well Program :

(The video footage be seen here)
Mallik 2002 drilling was the first fruitful pilot project of gas hydrate research well program. This immense work involved different wide range partnerships from America, Japan, India, Germany, and Canada. The field itself was situated at Canada’s Mackenzie delta with the target was 113m thick of methane hydrate layer, concealed beneath a massive permafrost layer with depth around 890m – 1108m. Various intentions were bestowed under the project, including core sample recovery, borehole logging data, and methane hydrate formation characteristic analysis. But the leading goal was to acquire acquisition data related to production test.

The natural condition of the field was one of the biggest challenges prior to the beginning of project. Other than winter season, the area would become wetland. In consequence, the land roads are not accessible during the time. Thus, the program was scheduled to run within four months (December 2001 – March 2002) only. During this terse of time, there were 3 drilling wells involved in the project. Two drilling wells (3L-48 and 4L-48) were treated as observation wells with their objectives to monitor methane hydrate concentrated layer during production test. The production test well (5L-48) was located in between both wells (5L-48). The scientists installed several monitoring sensors in the observation wells, such as fiber optic temperature distribution measurement system (DTS) and elastic wave tomography sensor. Production well was drilled with depth target around 885m – 1151m. This is also the depth where a 170m-long core sample was retrieved. It was confirmed that the core sample seized methane saturation up to more than 60%.

The production test was executed in two ways: depressurization and heating. The depressurization method targeted low hydrate layer using Modular Formation Dynamic Test (MDT). It was confirmed that such method was feasible to perturb and dissociate methane hydrate stability zone. The heating method utilized high temperature (90o C) water to agitate the methane hydrate layer. Once the layer got warm, the gas would be dissociated and transported to the surface together with the injected water. The gas would be later separated from water using separator machine compartment and the water would be injected again to subsurface. This method was considered to be the most pertinent method for gas hydrate production test, period.  Nevertheless, Malik 2002 drilling program was considered a break-through technology in understanding the gas hydrate system in permafrost area. This successful program would lead towards more optimistic gas hydrate exploration project in near future.
Gosh, writing a 'scientific-attempt' review is sure not easy. But at least I've tried lol.

October 18, 2013

What Have Changed After 48 Days Living in Taiwan?

Malam ini genap menjadi malam ke-48 saya menjadi warga tidak tetap bumi Formosa, sebuah negara yang hobi banget dilanda taifun / tornado. Yoloh sumpah demi apa belum genap dua bulan disini, tapi terhitung udah ada tiga taifun wara wiri di sekitar pulau ini. Kompaknya nih, seluruh taifun ini selalu terjadi pas weekend dong ya, so swit beuds. Alhasil selama 3 minggu itu juga saya nge-gabut maksimal di dorm. Emang sih dulu pertama kali nylungsep di dorm ini dikasi tau 'kalau ada taifun/tornado jangan pergi kemana-mana ya'. And I was like, "The hell, it is only a gust. Why so serious?". Ternyata namanya kisah legenda itu emang banyak hikmahnya. Ibarat endingnya malin kundang dikutuk jadi batu, payung yang baru aja dibeli dari Kerfur seharga 350NTD (sekitar 120ribu rupiah) jebol dengan gemilangnya pada hari dimana taifun kedua eksis. Sumpah gondok banget, secara payung yang jebol itu adalah payung berukuran maha-besar yang biasa dibawa sama mbak mbak seksi buat mayungin para pereli MotoGP sebelum tanding.

dorm tercinta

Eniwei, hidup di sini sebenernya asik, orang-orangnya super ramah, banyak tempat hiburan, perpustakaan fakultasnya lengkap, public transportation-nya KEREN (America lewattt), biaya hidup bisa dibilang murah, banyak ruang publik (beda banget sama negara sendiri), banyak taman kota, dan banyak orang naik sepeda. So far so good. Kendala terbesar? Jelas bahasa. Meskipun udah ikutan les Mandarin sebelum berangkat kesini en semester ini sedang ngambil kuliah Mandarin seminggu 3 jam, tapi harus diakui belajar bahasa phonetic seperti Mandarin itu ribet. Sejauh ini uda bisa praktek Mandarin sih, misal beli buah, beli bakpau, nanya simple 'ini apaan? | zhe shi shenme? ' atau 'babi bukan? | zhe shi zhurou ma?' atau 'yah mahal amat, murahan dikit dong / hen gui, keyi pianyi yidian ma'. Gitu gitu doang sih. Harusnya diajarin cara ngegombalin cewek Taiwan ya? Mungkin besok harus rikues ke laoshi buat minta diajarin itu. Haha.

malem minggu, en tetep harus baca paper *sigh*

Ada 2 hal yang belum saya temukan di sini: tempat bowling en tempat karaoke. Untuk yang pertama sih saya yakin ada di mol mol besar Taipei, cuma belum nemu aja. Sedangkan yang nomer dua aslinya bisa dicari dengan mudah dsini. Cuma pada umumnya Taiwanese suka pergi karoke sehabis kerja, alhasil tempat karoke dsini kalau buka pasti selepas jam 5 sore en tutup jam 12 malam. Sebagai lulusan pondok pesantren hepap cabang ringrot Jogja yang kalo buka bisa sampai 15 jam sehari, tentu saya kecewa dengan kondisi ini karena tidak sesuai dengan hak asasi sahabat karoke seluruh dunia. Ngomong" tentang kehidupan dsini, ada beberapa aspek di hidup saya yang berubah, misal:

1. Pembukuan
Yup! Ibarat belajar akuntasi jaman SMA dulu, semenjak saya disini entah kenapa jadi rajin melakukan pembukuan keuangan. Ngga sampe level neraca kesetimbangan debet kredit gitu sih, sebates nyatet pengeluaran harian aja via excel. Trus tar diitung abis total berapa versus duit asli yang ada di dompet. Paling bingung duitnya selisihnya minus, yang artinya ada duit yang ilang seharusnya ngendon di dompet tapi in fact ngga ada. Biasanya sih kelupaan ditulis, semisal buat laundry seminggu sekali di dorm (jelas ga ada struk) atau beli buah / sayur di pasar tradisional (ga ada struk).

2. Selalu bawa payung.
Kenapa payung? Uda jelas ya dari insiden di paragraf pertama. Selain itu cuaca disini sangat tidak bisa ditebak. Terutama kalau lagi jalan jalan keluar kota: di Taipei cerah ceria bukan berarti di Zhongli ngga hujan. Ini perbedaan paling fundamental antara tinggal di Colorado versus di Taipei.

kecepatan internet yang turah-turah ~

3. Selalu bawa minum.
Sekitar 3 minggu pertama disini (masih masuk summer) adalah minggu-minggu perdana adapatasi biologis terberat. Lokasi geografis Taiwan yang merupakan archipelago di area subtropis plus pengaruh iklim marine-monsoonal bikin negara ini super humid. Kalau keluar ngampus bawaannya gerah maksimal. Balik ke dorm selalu mandi, mungkin sehari bisa mandi 3-4x sehari. Karena berkeringat nonstop, bawa minum hukumnya wajib dsini. Refilling the drink is not a problem either since there are plenty of water filler machine anywhere.

4. Wednesday is my cleaning day!
Terlepas dari jadwal kuliah yang padat, hari Rabu adalah hari buat bersih-bersih. Termasuk weekly laundry, ngosek WC - kamar mandi, ganti sprei kamar, beberes buku - sepatu, sampai urusan nyapu - ngepel kamar (biasanya buat terakhir ini ditambah hari Sabtu jugak).

5. Jadi lebih sering minum
Mungkin karena faktor humidity di #3 diatas, dsini justru saya jadi lebih sering minum. Mungkin sehari bisa 6 liter? Wow uda macem sapi glonggongan.

kuis kelas Mandarin perdana, bener 20/20 dong - macem albumnya JT lol

6. Jadi lebih sering makan buah
Fruits here are so yummy! Entah kenapa buah-buahan disini berasa lebih enak 17x daripada di Indonesia? Terutama anggur, apel, en mangga. Padahal harganya ya relatif sama aja. So far dsini belum buah-buahan yang aneh sih. Tapi es buah disini enak beuds!

7. I am becoming semi-vegetarian
Sebagai penganut salah satu agama minoritas di negara ini, option makan diluar kadang bisa jadi sedikit ribet. Meskipun saya bukan orang yang terlalu fanatik untuk urusan cari makan yang baik dan benar (you know what I am talking about), tapi option vegetarian terkadang selalu menjadi andalan. Sampai ada resto deket dorm yang emang cuma ngejual makanan vegetarian dimana saya kadang mampir kesitu kalau males masak. Yang paling wow adalah saya selalu pesen nasi merah buat option nasinya (ketimbang nasi putih). Jadi kebayang lah gimana sangat berseratnya porsi makan saya disini. Percernaan lantjar jaya.

remote access dari server dorm ke server lab basin group, ini lagi akses Echos Paradigm

8. Perpustakaan = dorm kedua.
Harus dikasih acungan jempol tangan en kaki nih buat perpustakaan fakultas sendiri IES (Institute of Earth Science) yang koleksinya cuma bisa disaingin sama Hogwarts Library. Koleksi jurnalnya terutama, parah banyak banget sampai bisa dibilang mengisi 70% dari luas area perpustakaannya. Selain itu suasana yang sepi bikin perpustakaan ini jadi tempat wajib nongkrong nih. Mungkin seminggu bisa 3x mampir cuma buat numpang tidur ngadem en baca baca paper.

9. Jadi lebih sering jalan kaki.
Well alesannya simple: ngga (atau belum punya) kendaraan pribadi jelas membuat kemana-mana harus serba jalan kaki. Emang sih public transportation disini ajip banget. Selain itu kalau kuliah ada shuttle bus juga. Tapi untuk beberapa opsi jalan kaki justru lebih menyenangkan.

nemu toko Indonesia dan ini yang dibeli lol

10. Jadi lebih menghargai waktu.
Mungkin ini perubahan yang paling klise. Hidup sendiri membuat kita harus punya agenda harian yang jelas. Sekarang waktunya kuliah, ntar garap pr, ntar laundry, ntar beli sayur ke pasar, ntar masak, ntar pingpong, ntar kongkow sama temen, ntar tidur dst. Meskipun ini adalah kali kedua saya hidup sendiri di negara orang lain (setelah America) tapi entah kenapa untuk yang satu ini saya justru lebih bisa mengatur diri ketimbang pengalaman hidup sendiri sebelumnya - mungkin juga karena faktor pengalaman tinggal di Colorado sebelumnya. Misal hari Senin-Jumat adalah weekdays buat kuliah, ya berarti itu adalah hari dimana semua urusan kuliah (termasuk bikin presentasi, PR) bakal digarap. Selembur mungkin kalau perlu. Sedangkan hari Sabtu-Minggu adalah hari libur, reward atas hari hari melelahkan sebelumnya. Biasanya di dua hari ini lebih banyak jalan-jalan keliling Taiwan and just being not care about school for a while.

So far living in Taiwan has been sooo damn good! Can't wait to the next journey! Woohoo...

July 29, 2013

It's getting near!

I know. Maybe it was the nearly-1-month Ramadhan which made me a bit laid back. Or maybe it has been a month after I received the admission letter from NCU which explicitly providing premature attempts (and failing, ha!) to show my personal life, health, and sanity out of the picture.

I definitely should have prodded myself again and ring a bell as the time is clacking hastily. It is only thirty-days left until my departure to the so-called Formosa Island (oh geez don't frame me for being sluggish in thumbing-over one's history). Ain't like four-years ago when I left my country for America, this time around I don't really clasp the jitters. Not saying that I am ready to take the stakes, of course I have these quivers. But compared to the last one, this time is way better. It is just so much prominent when you know you are about to leave your country, family, and friends, yet you don't have to horse trade with any monkey business around your life.

Yesterday, my dear mom knocked on my room on a crystal clear squally day. It was only 8 a.m and yet I have not resuscitated from bed. It was Sunday anyway, why would I? My Mandarin-laoshi once even guessed that I must be awaken at 11 a.m on weekend, something that I would dare to do. My mom is notably hushed over my room unless there was something salient needed to do. She was like 'It's getting near, you've gotta pack your stuff right now' in the her nasal voice. Never been in years I saw my mom got overwrought of something, except when she cooked. The kitchen is her bureau and that's the only place where I habitually see her excitement poured out.

Still under my training shorts, my brain ended up agree with her: I need to think about luggage compartment. Definitely, clothes packing is not something I relish to do. But credits to my mom (and sometimes my sister) for always avail me! By the end of afternoon, I managed to pack (only) winter clothes, undergarments, t-shirts and they have pervaded almost 70% of the luggage's size. Crap, I was not ready to buy a bigger one nor I wanted too bring to many clothes. But to deal with a four-seasons island, there is no other way to subsist unless pertinent clothing meets the purpose. Not sure whether I need to impair some of them nor I would like to purchase clothes overseas.

Thirty-days is only a blink of an eye. A-month ago I was thinking to ship my stuff (esp shoes) overseas instead of backpack it with me. Especially with the over-cramped luggage, shipping the shoes would be a better option. I planned to bring 4 types (?) of shoes: field work, gym/execise, sneakers, and formal pairs of shoes. My mom could not be overjoyed with my idea - she is my #1 complainer when it comes to buying shoes. Got to admit that I am a bit of shoes-holic so (tbh) having only 4 shoes with me overseas is (a bit) insufficient lol.

Well, the moving is nowhere of being ended, but it's getting near soon!

July 2, 2013

Testimoni Kapita Selekta B ~

So ceritanya tadi pagi saya baru aja ngirim hasil koreksi ujian akhir Kapsel B sekaligus nilai akhir ke pak Sudarmaji. Dengan demikian resmi sudah saya menghendel salah satu kelas elektif di semester genap ini. Dibandingkan jadi asisten praktikum atau asisten kuliah, kelas yang satu ini emang agak (kalo kata jeunk Siti Nurhaliza) berbeza. Perbedaan paling nyata itu adalah ketika saya memegang penuh kendali kelas ini, termasuk aturan main kelas, jenis pe er, hingga persentase penilaian akhir. Yup, bahkan Pak Aji selaku dosen tetap kelas ini ngga ikut campur! Wewenang 100% dibawah kendali saya hoho.

Ide dari ngajar di kelas ini adalah ngga lain dari keprihatinan saya ngeliat silabus Geofisika UGM yang cenderung teoritis sekali (dari jaman saya dulu jugak gitu). Bahkan sampek semester delapan minim banget kuliah aplikatifnya. Sekali lagi kuliah aplikatif lho ya, bukan praktek lapangan (kalo praktek lapangan mah Geofisika UGM paling joss hahay). Sementara kampus sebelah sudah masang Geofisika Tambang, Inversi Seismik, ato Dekomposisi Spektral sebagai mata kuliah pilihan tingkat akhirnya; kampus yang ini mah masih setia dengan Paleomagnetik, Energi, ato Geofisika Kelautan sebagai mata kuliah elektif tahun ke-empat. Ya gapapa juga sih belajar itu semua. Gitu gitu jadi tau bahwa kutub magnetik paleo bumi selalu berpindah posisi atau namanya energi alternatif itu ada atau survey offshore Geofisika itu mahal. Tapi menurut saya sih, tahun ke-empat itu (idealnya) diisi oleh mata kuliah elektif yang bersifat aplikatif. Kenapa? Karena sebagian besar (> 90%) mahasiswa habis lulus S1 pasti pengen gawe, jarang dari mereka yang bakal lanjut sekolah S2-S3. Bidang kerjaan Geofisika yang heterogen sebaiknya dikenalkan di tahun ke-empat dimana (1) kuliah dasar & kuliah metode Geofisikanya uda khatam, en (2) emang ini adalah masa galau puncak mahasiswa. Tahun ke-empat juga kesempatan mereka buat mengkonfirmasi dirinya: mo jadi geopsikis yang gimana sih saya ntar? Of course, pertanyaan ini ngga berlaku buat yang pengen jadi wiraswasta begitu kelar kuliah.

Di awal semester genap ini saya ngadep ke Pak Sis yang sekarang udah jadi ketua prodi Geofisika. Di antara semua dosen, bapak dosen yang satu inilah yang saya kalo ngobrol bisa bebas ngga canggung hahay, ya mungkin karena doski dulu dosen angkatan saya? Mana pas ketemu doi lagi (kedinginan?) make jaket angkatan GF'04 yang berwarna biru muda - biru tua itu di kantornya, so unyu! Begitu saya melemparkan ide buat ngisi Kapsel B dengan topik Unconventional Petroleum System (UPS), eh sorenya jugak pak Sis langsung nelp ngonfirmasi kalo lab Geofisika juga setuju. Agak amazed, ngga nyangka aja kalo responnya cepet gitu. Kenapa saya mengusulkan topik di atas? Karena, meskipun di Endonesa yang namanya reservoir non konvensional belum selaku albumnya Sheila On 7 di era awal 2000an, tapi untuk beberapa tahun ke depan diyakini reservoir tipe ini akan diincer. Makanya itu dia saya ngusulin topik ini. Biar mahasiswa mahasiswi kece jaman sekarang ngga keliatan bego-bego banget pas diinterview user perusahaan gitu. Meskipun aslinya ngarep pengen Pak Edi yang jadi dosen tetapnya Kapsel B, tapi akhirnya lab milih Pak Aji buat jadi dosen tetap kelas ini. Well no problem! Ini semacam comeback stage bareng Pak Aji, secara 8 tahun lalu saya jadi asisten kuliahnya Matematika Fisika 1 beliau. Hahay jadi inget trio 2005 (Chesa, Alfi, Igan) maen ke rumah cuma buat sinau Green fanksyen mpe 12 malem. Bzzzt, sekarang mah uda lupa -_-.

Guna memperkuat barikade pengajar Kapsel B, saya pun memilih duet Prittak'06 en bboy Amak'08 buat ngebantu saya eksis di kelas. Kenapa Prittak'06? Karena doi (1) adalah tangan kanan andalan geng Pamungkas, so ilmu inversi, atribut seismik, interpretasi seismiknya uda level Dewi Persik; (2) ilmu komputasinya yang joss, itu topik skripsi S1nya apa kabar? Keren banget; (3) sedang menempuh S2 Geologi, means that logika geofisika dan geologinya bakal jalan. Kenapa bboy Amak'08? Karena doi (1) punya topik skripsinya tentang pore pressure prediction, topik yang cuma ada sekali dalam sepuluh tahun di perpus GF; (2) ngerti well logs & wellbore design, sesuatu yang ngga semua geophysicist pahamMasuk ke fase berikutnya adalah sesi registrasi via portal akademika MIPA yang marmos jaya merepotkan itu. Sempet takut sih, kali aja kelas ini peminatnya < 10 mahasiswa (syarat mata kul elektif bisa jalan kalo ada minimal 10 mahasiswa milih). Kan ora lutju kalo baru aja diusulin eh ternyata ngga bisa diselenggarakan karena ngga ada peminat T_T. Alhamdulillah setelah promo ke ef be-nya 2009-2012, total peminatnya ada 23. Lintas angkatan banget. Angkatan karaoke 2007 membesut titel 'mahasiswa super senior' dengan komposisi Firsan, Ade, Faiz, en Adi. Di 2008 ada jagoan futsal'08: Dede en Ulin, plus kembaran Yudho05: Radhit. Angkatan 2009 rame banget: 13 orang, termasuk Pram, Garda, en Sandi dkk. Angkatan 2010 juga ada duo dancer spesialis K-POP, J-POP (Biah, Dinda), asisten metkom, Tejo en antek" BEM, Ade.

Hal pertama yang kami bertiga bikin selaku pengajar adalah bikin silabus mingguan. Tadinya mo dibikin  saben minggu dikasih topik beda. Minggu ini bahas shale gas berikutnya tight sand trus lanjut oil shale, heavy oil, CBM, gas hydrate, dst dst. Tapi mengingat satu semester di MIPA cuma ada 14x pertemuan en beberapa kepala (ternyata) belum ngambil Geologi Minyak Bumi / Fisika Batuan, silabus mingguannya dibikin jadi: (week 1-3) bahas GMB, Geokimia Organik, Fisbat; (week 4-11) bahas reservoir non-konvensional sebatas shale gas, CBM, gas hydrate, dan heavy oil; (week 12-13) presentasi akhir mahasiswa; (week 14) libur, karena angkatan 2009 pada fieldcamp.

Silabus minggu 1-6 (sebagian)

Pertama kali masuk kelas langsung saya kenalkan sistem penilaian akhir Kapsel B:
(1) Terinspirasi oleh kelas di CSM sono, di kelas ini saya ngga ngasi alokasi persentase nilai  akhir dari kehadiran di kelas. Mo masuk / ngga masuk? KAREPMU, (orang tua) mahasiswa uda bayar kuliah, so sekarang balik lagi ke mahasiswanya emang niat kuliah atau ngga. It's not my job to babysit the students. Tentu saja hal ini disambut gegap gempita sama angkatan tua kek Ade, Faiz, Adi, dkk yang ngga pernah hadir di kelas seumur hidup semester genap ini.
(2) Tujuh puluh persen (70%) nilai akhir ditentukan dari PR.
(3) Tiga puluh persen (30%) nilai akhir ditentukan dari UAS.
(4) Ngga ada mid-semester.

Selanjutnya adalah pekerjaan rumah (PR). Problem di kelas ini ada 2: (1) ini adalah kelas yang pengennya bersifat aplikatif, en (2) materi UPS itu luas banget, 14x pertemuan mutlak ngga cukup. Berangkat dari situ, pada akhirnya kami bertiga membuat materi PR yang bersifat aplikatif (interpretasi seismik, interpretasi well logs, interpretasi tekanan pori, prediksi daerah stabil gas hidrat, dll) plus sekaligus mewajibkan mereka buat baca paper berbau UPS yang semuanya in English biar pada bisa mengejar ketertinggalan materinya. Hahay, 5 minggu pertama jujur agak kesian sama mereka semua karena saben minggu kelas ini pasti ada PR. Bahkan Dinda (2010) bilang kalo doi en the gank dikasihani sama 1 angkatannya karena PR Kapsel B yang naudzubillah ngga brenti".  Hahay maaf Dinda, ini bukan maksud mem-bully ya :) Karena UPS adalah integrasi beberapa disiplin ilmu (macem GMB, Fisbat, Seismologi, Geodinamika, Thermodinamika, Mekbat, dll), so ngga ada cara lain buat bikin mahasiswa 'dong' selain dengan cara ngasi latian soal / baca paper. Kalo diliat dari nilainya sih mungkin PR yang paling susah itu PRnya Amak (pore pressure prediction) yang rata" nilai PRnya < 60. Trus kalo paper yang paling susah dipahami mungkin papernya Quinn Passey tentang DeltaLogR buat prediksi TOC yang draft aslinya punya 20++ halaman in English semua. Haha mabok maksimal.
Salah satu PR minggu 1: interpretasi seismik kemana migrasi sekunder, sengaja dibikin ada salt domenya ben mumet, level ***/*****
PR minggu 2: disuruh prediksi level maturasi source rock (epic drawing by Amak'08), level **/*****
PR minggu 7: gimana tau ada prospek gas hidrat dari well logs, level ****/***** 

Hal paling menantang dari kelas ini adalah gimana cara bisa mentransfer materi baru ini kepada para mahasiswa. Disini jugak jadi ngerasain gimana susahnya jadi pengajar. Uda kudu berdiri, teriak" 1.5 jam, trus belum tentu mahasiswanya ngerti pulak ~ bzzzttt. Jadi ngerasa bersalah dulu kalo kuliah malah ketiduran di kelas -____-. Tantangan lainnya di kelas ini adalah materi yang dipresentasikan ngga cuma melulu membahas aspek geofisika dan geologi dari UPS aja, tapi kami bertiga juga harus mempresentasikan teknik eksploitasinya (which is a bit out of our comfort zones).

Di minggu 1-2, karena masih bahas topik dasar maka minggu ini relatif berjalan normal sih. PRnya juga biasa aja. Di minggu 3 mulai ribet karena mulai membahas rock physics dari skala eksperiment lab, well logs, sampai ke seismik. Di sini mayoritas muka mahasiswa ndomblong maksimal. Minggu 4-5 bahas shale gas, animo ngga terlalu gede. Tapi justru di minggu ini yang PRnya susah banget hahay. Minggu 6-7 bahas gas hydrate, animo kebalikan dari sebelumnya: animo tinggi. Tingkat kesusahan PR: lumayan. Minggu 8-9 bahas CBM, animo lumayan. Tingkat kesulitan PR: gampang banget. Minggu 10-11 bahas heavy oil, animo rendah. Tingkat kesulitan PR: sedang.

PPT minggu 3: dasar rock physics, bzzzzttt ribet banget nerangin ini ~

Pada minggu 12-13, dimana ini adalah minggu" terakhir Kapsel B, saya membagi para mahasiswa menjadi 4 grup. Masing" grup ngebahas satu teknik eksploitasi reservoir nonkonvensional. Aslinya agak challenging buat mereka secara teknik eksploitasi reservoir (meskipun juga dibahas di saben minggunya) itu kan bukan bidangnya mahasiswa Geofisika. Mungkin lebih pas kalo petroleum engineering yang bahas. But, hey, who knew the results were great? Never judge a book by its price. Nyatanya mereka bisa bisa aja tuh presentasi topik ybs dengan asoinya. Trus khusus presentasi 2 minggu ini, saya juga meWAJIBkan mereka tampil rapi kece. Wajib sepatu non-keds, wajib celana/rok bahan, no polo shirt, no sendal. Di presentasi ini saya jugak ngundang angkatan non-Kapsel B buat hadir dari 2009-2012. Alhasil para penonton terbelalak maksimal liat Pram, Sandi, Irchan, dkk dandan kece rapi maksimal. Apalagi si Alfian, rambut klimis pake kacamata pulak, beuh Clark Ken lewat. Biah - Dinda pake wedges dongg hahaha tinggal joged aja tuh.
 Grup 1 on stage: KYAAA PRAMMM KYAAA ~ (teriak Tumini di barisan depan -_-)
 Grup 3 on stage: Dinda on wedges (yang kegedean) haha 
Antusiasme para penonton. Galih'04 (lagi nanya kiri sendiri) juga nonton dong. Hari itu si Prittak pake kaos kaki ijo royo royo.

Saya pengen bilang tengkyu berats untuk mahasiswa Kapsel B semester ini yang udah ngeinspirasi saya buat belajar lagi dan lagi. Maaf kalo ada salah" kata. Maaf jugak kalo ngirim materi PPTnya suka nelat haha (2x doang). Btw nilai uda masuk akademik lho, aturan sih minggu ini uda ada di portal. Semoga hasilnya memuaskan ya, itu murni hasil kerja keras kalian. Thanks berat buat bboy Amak en Prittak yang uda gotong royong berbagi ilmu. Thanks buat lab GF, pak Sis, en pak Aji yang uda memberikan kesempatan berbagi ilmu/pengalaman en memberikan keleluasaan buat bikin aturan main sendiri di kelas ini. It has a been fun 4 months class with yall! *ini macem speech Grammy* Alhamdulillah, mungkin ini gara" ngampu kelas Kapsel B kali ya, di pertengahan bulan Maret kemarin aslinya saya dapet undangan ngisi materi UPS dari kampus UPN (mana dipanggil 'Bapak' pula -_-). Too bad kala itu waktunya bentrok sama acara lain, so saya ngga bisa isi deh :( But, hey, maybe it is the beginning? Who knows. Kayak yang saya sebut di akhir penutupan kelas Kapsel, mungkin ini adalah kelas Kapsel dengan topik UPS pertama dan terakhir. Semoga aja kelas Kapsel berikut bisa diisi materi aplikatif non-mitigasi bencana lagi. Amien.
Hahay Bapak Feisal -_________-

- end :)