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J a v a J i v e :: Paradise is not all that it seems
a boy leaves everything he knows for the tropical island of java, Indonesia - soon to find that paradise is not all that it seems...

November 26, 2004  

Please visit my new (and hopefully improved) site.

posted by Brandon | 5:10 AM

November 24, 2004  


In many ways, it is the way Jakarta should be.

When I say I went to Yogya, I was actually only in the city for about 4 days. The other 4 were spent in and around the city of Magelang, north of Yogya about 45 minutes. I suppose the best way to speak of my time there would be to break it down into separate posts based upon what I was doing. This first will encompass only the city itself.

The first day I spent the morning hours searching for a card reader for my camera. Why? Because I’m retarded. I really dislike bringing my laptop around Indonesia for obvious reason of theft, but also for the sake of lugging it around, and not to mention I feel like an ass pulling it out in front of anyone. Many of the people around me would work for 3 years to afford one – I feel like a complete jerk when they see it. The simple fact remains that I had to transfer my photos to it, so I had to bring it along.

So back to me being retarded. What’s the one thing needed to connect a camera and a computer? Yes, a card reader or a USB cable – both of which I left in Jakarta. I rock. So of course the first day I arrived in Yogya I set out to find one – and of course this happened to be the Monday of Idul Fitri. Nothing was open; much less a camera shop selling equipment. Finally I found a Chinese shop still open, carrying a number of beautiful cameras, huge quantities of professional prints, and every kind of accessory you could find – EXCEPT a card reader.

“Ok, so you don’t have any card readers correct?”
“That’s right sir.”
“Ok, well how do you transfer your customer’s images to your computers?”
“With a card reader.”
“Umm. Ok. But you don’t have any card readers?”
“Well only the ones we use, sir.”
“Ahh. Ok, I’ll buy it off of you.” (he then preceded to give me that “fuckin tourist” look)

300,000 Rupiah lighter, I was the proud owner of a slightly used card reader. On to Yogya!

I’ll be completely honest, from what I first saw of Yogya, I wasn’t too impressed. It simply looked like yet another Indonesian city – a mini Jakarta. Walking down Malioboro (famous street), I felt as though I could have been standing on Jalan Surabaya or similar in Jak city. There was slightly less traffic, slightly less pollution (ok, much less), and just as many people, in my immediate vicinity.

When I started to actually travel outside of Malioboro, I was far more impressed. The city has a heart, unlike Jakarta. Culture was much more evident, and art was everywhere. I felt a friendlier vibe from the people, and was met with more curiosity than anything. I suppose the same is true in any American city – the larger metropolises contain a certain bitterness and cold nature in the eyes of some people, whereas many smaller towns are much friendlier. I thought there’d be more bule strolling around, but didn’t see too many. That’s fine with me.

The fun began when we hopped into becaks – basically a bike with a foam seat soldered to its frame and supported by two wheels in the front. I believe they’re outlawed on the streets of Jakarta for the obvious reasons of congestion. The driver/rider/tour guide was eager for our business and stayed with us for a couple of hours. It was wonderful to tour around without air conditioning, horns blaring, or the insanity that is Jakarta. Our silent journey took us past the Sultan’s Palace (closed for Idul Fitri), through the quaint side streets, past batik shops, silver dealers, and of course the t-shirt shops. I’m well aware that they receive a cut from any business they bring towards the shop owners, but I really didn’t care – if I like what the shop sells, I’ll buy; and buy I did. I found way too many “things” that I couldn’t part with.

I especially love the batik paintings – you simply cannot find these in America. The saturation of color, the painstaking detail, and the intricate designs are phenomenal. I’m actually considering loading up on a 100 of them before heading back to the States. The sad thing is that I didn’t find too many batik shops open, so my selection was limited. I hope to go back soon to pick some more up as gifts. The plane tickets only cost me a million Rupiah, so it’s quite cheap to return.

One thing I loved about Yogya was the fact that there were no skyscrapers; in fact, none of the large hotels were more than 8 stories high. Jakarta has lost much of its Asian charm in my opinion – money has become the focal point in Jakarta, sacrificing culture for cash.

All in all, the trip revitalized my opinion of Java in many ways. I did not have a chance to relax, as one would in Bali or Lombok, but the experience proved to be well worth the effort.

Yogya itself was only the beginning of my adventure. The temples, mountains, and magical landscapes around Yogya were the true reason for my enjoyment. More to come.

posted by Brandon | 6:48 PM

November 23, 2004  

Featured on Flickr

I sashayed into work this morning, and fired up my 'net, only to find that my inbox was crowded with an onslaught of "flickr" messages displaying "You are (insert themostoriginalnamewecanthinkof)'s newest contact!". I knew something must be up, so I checked out the flickr blog and sure enough there I was.

Stewart - it's very much appreciated.

posted by Brandon | 7:18 PM

November 22, 2004  

Balance and Passion

I was driving down the road to Magelang north of Yogya, when I passed a sign that stated,


It's so hard for me to hold back my jokes on this one. I'm thinking it's a kampung sperm bank or something. After some careful consideration, I realized they meant SEMEN = SEIMENS - as in the handphone company.

Do you ever feel as though your life is one long Seinfeld episode?

posted by Brandon | 6:53 PM

November 21, 2004  

Honey I'm home!

I just got in last night at 1am - needless to say, I'm beat. 900 photos have found their way through my lens, and I now have the daunting task of sorting out the crap images. I'll post as soon as I get through today and take a much needed nap.

What an amazing trip!

posted by Brandon | 10:09 PM

November 13, 2004  

Borobudur or Bust!

I'll be catching a plane in the wee hours of the morning for Yogja, central Java. I'll be there for about a week, with or without 'net access. I'm bringing my laptop, but only because I need to download the hundreds of photos taken - I'm not sure if I'll have a satellite connection in the mountains where I'll be. If I manage to get a signal, I'll be sure to upload some photos and words. It's odd that I've been here for this long without seeing this place. Better late than never, right?

While I'm away here are a few suggestions to keep you busy:

Get a free photo ipod - yes it's legit. I generally would never sign up for something like that, but being as anal as I can be, I did the research. If you would like to read more about it here's some proof.

Why are you still checkin this old rusty blog, when I have the new and (hopefully) improved javajive?

Check out my gallery - much larger images with higher quality.

Read about the time I walked into the wrong house - thinking it was my own.

Or when there was a baboon in the Benz.

You could wish Irene farewell from being hosted via thejavajive.

Check out a Singaporean in the U.K. at wurh.com

Vote for me on PhotoFriday on this week's contest "Radiant" #372

I won noteworthy last week, for this shot - thanks for voting!

See what Flickr is all about.

Check out the school where my mother is Headmaster in Cape Town. Check out my mom - under "staff" - a beautiful and amazing woman.

Leave your fingerprints in my forum.

See what my brother has been up to. Tell him to write me.

Take a tour of my sister's portfolio school. She's awesome.

See why Sabrina is so tired of bule food.

Or why Morningdew is in London.

Give Jason Kottke's monkey a name.

Or just send me a message at thejavajive(at)gmail(dot)com - telling me about your week, what you think of my writing, my photos, how you stumbled across this place, what you hope to see, what you hate to see, where you are in the world, what country I should move to next, about the design, travel, photography job you can hook me up with, if I should stay another year in Indonesia beyond June, how I should have linked to you in this post, why I'm so slow at responding, and any other points of (dis)interest you care to share with my inbox.

I hope this post finds you - and finds you well.

posted by Brandon | 6:15 AM

November 10, 2004  

Little Earthquakes

posted by Brandon | 11:21 PM

November 09, 2004  

A Change is Gonna Come

posted by Brandon | 8:19 PM

November 08, 2004  


Any guesses?

I have started taking more interest in abstract photography. Although I have actually taken many; I've displayed very few. That was more of my focus while in university and recently I've lost touch with it. I'm bored with my own work and am seeking more experimental perspectives. Here's my first example of what I'd like to continue to create (attempt at least).

I've also come across many prints from Cape Town that have never seen the 'net. I think I'll scan and share a few of the better ones. And while I'm at it, I think I'll scan in some of my black and white prints from university - to be continued.

The frigid Atlantic warmed by the welcoming earth forms a blanket of clouds from which the land will sleep. Cape Town, South Africa.

posted by Brandon | 6:25 AM

November 06, 2004  

These Colors Don't Run

Don't ask. I'm just weird sometimes.

posted by Brandon | 6:53 AM

November 05, 2004  

Well, I did something retarded last night.

After a few drinks at a staff function, instead of crashing, I decided to make some investing decisions - with a buzz?!? I can be such a jackass.

My gut feeling said my shares in Google were dropping like a turd, so I jumped out at $181 / share. I could have sold when it was $200 / share earlier this week. Oh well. I still made a little bit. That's not the retarded thing.

I then took all that cash from Google, and while watching MSNBC's stock ticker, became excited about NVDA - it was up almost 20% in one day. Did I carefully investigate, research, and patiently wait as usual? Not after vodka. The daredevil on my shoulder pushed the "enter" button on my laptop and completed a transaction that would never had been made otherwise.

All through the night I dreamed of nothing other than the MSNBC dude telling me that the stock was falling with ridiculous speed, and that I would lose all of my hard earned Benjamin's. I woke up actually dreading that it was true, only to find out that the stock didn't budge one way or another all through the night - that'll be the LAST time that I allow myself to get caught up in making trades with vodka goggles.

If anyone feels like doing me a favor, you could visit Photofriday and put in a vote for my photograph - at the top of their home page it says "cast noteworthy vote for 'still life'" I'm number 28. I always dig winning something like that.

How's that "about" page coming?

posted by Brandon | 6:44 PM

November 04, 2004  

No Way Out

This was taken in July, at Chimney Rock, North Carolina – in the States.

After visiting the majority of the tourist traps, my brother and I found this little cave off the beaten path – and it proved to be one of the most interesting parts of the place. The rush of cool air was exhilarating relief from the heat of the day. Wandering down the precarious steps, we found a floodlit stream of water trickling down through the boulders – captured in an image I posted last month. Once we turned to leave, the light filtering in through the narrow entrance was the only sign of an exit. I felt it would be better viewed in black and white.

posted by Brandon | 4:00 PM

Well that's pretty damn cool!

Today I was playing around with Flickr and a survey invitation popped up. It said that if I took a few minutes to answer some questions, I'd receive a free month of the "pro" membership.

So if you're a member of Flickr - login and see if you can do the same!

On another note:

See my "about" page in the forum and leave your opinion regarding my question.

posted by Brandon | 7:14 AM

November 02, 2004  

America's Health Crisis

Of course I altered this image in Photoshop, but I felt as if this could become a strong statement if you read into the details.

Weird? Perhaps.

It may also just be the after-effects of having watched, "Super Size Me".

Obesity is killing far more Americans than September 11, heroin, and AIDs combined. The real victims in my opinion, are the children. They are influenced into poor eating habits by their parents first and foremost - without even knowing it. Obese children are at a much higher risk for diabetes and health problems later on in life. Sad, isn't it?

Before we march off into other countries to "save the world", maybe we should take a look at our own situation.

Then again, maybe it's easier to simply kick back with a Whopper and half gallon of Coke while shouting at CNN's coverage of Iraq from the comfort of our ass imprinted Lazy Boy.

posted by Brandon | 5:09 PM

November 01, 2004  

Step Into the Ring

E – Day is upon us.

The way that I feel about this election –

To be completely honest I don’t feel as if either candidate is what America needs right now. I will not state which one I would vote for, as it’s not worth the backlash that I would receive either way.

Once again, the election has come down to harsh words, untrue statements, and childish name calling. We have to ask ourselves, “Is this really the best we can do?”, and “Are these two men the absolute best we can find to run our country?”

I’ve read Michael Moore’s material, and seen his movie. I’ve taken them all with a grain of salt – in some respects it’s fascinating to hear new perspectives and ways of viewing the situation. I do have to keep in mind that this may also not be the whole story, and that facts may be shaded on both sides. I’ll be completely honest that I don’t have much faith in Kerry either – neither one have impressed me.

I also stand from the viewpoint of living in a country that pretty much hates Bush. I’m fairly sure the majority of Indonesians are completely against what happened with Iraq.

I spoke with my ex-girlfriend of 4 years the other day (she’s still in the States and may even read this). She was voting for Bush. I simply asked what her reasons were, and she responded saying that she supported the troops in Iraq, and that Bush had a better stance on the military. Fair enough, but I’m not exactly sure if all of the troops would agree. This is my point – I’m concerned that people will make a decisive vote without having the correct information (if there is such a thing).

Regardless of who the American people choose, it will be a very close election with both sides feeling skeptical, upset, and brutally defensive when their choice does not take office. It’s unfortunate to see my country so divided – right down to the neighbor and community level.

One thing that I am excited to see: Passion.

Passion is radiating from Americans in these times. In 1996, there was such an apathetic approach to the elections that people weren’t even caring much about who would win. Voter turnout was ridiculous – I doubt that will be repeated this time. With such a close struggle, people are strongly voicing their opinions, emotions, and rights to free speech.

I will gladly take passion over apathy.

Step into the ring, fellas! No hits below the belt.

Shake hands.

Ding, Ding!

posted by Brandon | 6:34 PM
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