Is it possible to be so suddenly, so awfully bad at FIFA?

I used to be good at FIFA.

In Career mode, I play with the World Class difficulty level, winning consecutive trebles for as long as I’ve been playing. I boast my four-and-a-half stars on the multiplayer Seasons mode. I know my way around winning a match; I control possession, I accurately place my passes, winning by a 2- or 3-goal margin. I enjoy the times when I dominate so much, the opponent disconnects mid-match, adding easy “W”s to my player statistics. I go up and down in Division 1 and 2, but never below that.

Until recently, that is. I’m now struggling heavily in Division 3, having almost being relegated to Division 4 for three times in a row. I misplace my passes, I lack the ball control, I never get a clear sight of the goal. Everything’s a mess, even though I’m using my exact same winning formation as always. So it probably comes as no surprise to see that my last 5 matches’ statistics look like this:

L-L-D-D-L

And I have no ——— clue what is going on.

I’m a big fan of the FIFA series. I’ve been playing it since FIFA World Cup 2000 in the original PlayStation with my brother. (I remember slide-tackling each other’s goalkeeper with him, on purpose, just to see the most players can get red-carded in a match). Since then, I’ve been catching up with all the annual FIFA releases (except 14 and 15, where I was too busy with graduating university and working at my first professional job.)

I can confidently say that I do know my way around the game. I’m familiar with the controls, I know the evolution of the UI. I am no stranger to the weird glitches. (Which actually happen less often than you think.) And I was good at it!

It’s killing me to be losing like this. Is it possible to be so suddenly, so awfully bad at FIFA?

Has something happened to me? This thing that made me win 10 consecutive matches in Division 2 in Seasons mode has gone. Or maybe that thing is still there, but malfunctioning? Maybe it’s run out of its usefulness. It’s tired. And then that thing, whatever that thing is, tells my body telling me to stop being so obsessed by FIFA. Maybe it wants me to take a long, relaxing break from it. Maybe it’s telling me that there is more to life than wasting my time on FIFA all day.

Cerpen: Senja Itu, Kulihat Ia Dibawa Pergi

Aku tak ingin menulis cerita ini karena kurasa cerita ini tak patut dibagi. Alasannya karena aku takut cerita ini mencemari nama Danar, teman masa kecilku yang hilang di suatu senja dan tak pernah kembali.

Danar adalah salah satu dari tiga teman dekatku ketika kecil, selain Aria dan Panji. Alasan pertemanan kami cukup membosankan: karena terpaksa. Letak rumah kami berempat di komplek perumahan yang berdempetan membuat kami sering bertemu ketika berangkat sekolah dan mau tak mau kamipun berteman. Dari usia, kamipun sama—sama-sama anak sekolah dasar yang ingusan. Danar namun perawakannya terlihat lebih tua dari kami bertiga—dan ia mudah sekali dikerjai. Ia selalu jadi objek candaan kelompok kami. Suatu waktu Panji, yang paling iseng diantara kami berempat, berkomplot denganku untuk mengerjainya dengan mengatakan bahwa ada bu guru yang datang ke rumahnya untuk bertemu dengan ibunya karena Danar tertidur ketika kelas berlangsung. Kami tertawa geli ketika melihat muka tua panikannya itu terbelalak dan langsung lari terbirit-birit ke rumahnya yang letaknya berada di ujung jalan, tepat sebelum belokan menuju jalan buntu yang diakhiri dengan tembok beton.

Continue reading “Cerpen: Senja Itu, Kulihat Ia Dibawa Pergi”

Ngomongin Kindle #0: Prolog, atau, Akhirnya Punya Kindle Juga

Amazon Kindle, atau singkatnya Kindle, adalah seri perangkat pembaca buku elektronik (e-book) terdedikasi yang dibuat dan dipasarkan oleh salah satu online retailer terpopuler di dunia (yang hingga kini masih saja belum masuk ke Indonesia), Amazon. Kindle adalah perangkat elektronik eksklusif, maksudnya, karena fungsinya cuma satu, yaitu membaca buku atau dokumen yang formatnya digital (ebook, pdf, dan lain-lain). Belum lagi harganya yang tergolong tinggi, setara—atau bahkan lebih mahal—dengan smartphone kelas menengah seperti Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro atau Samsung Galaxy J5. Bisa dimengerti, lah, ketika orang berkomentar, “Mahal juga, ya. Buat apa beli gituan cuman buat baca buku doang?” (To which I would reply in confidence, “Di luar sana ada orang yang rela ngeluarin duit 3 juta ke atas cuma biar bisa ngisep uap, ngerakit mainan, atau main game, loh.”)

Continue reading “Ngomongin Kindle #0: Prolog, atau, Akhirnya Punya Kindle Juga”

On unfriending an ex

(Cross-posted on Tumblr.)

Yesterday, I wrote about being in the painful, agonizing, heartbreaking position of the “breakee”, e.g. someone who’s on the receiving end of a breakup, and how I’ve been coping with the loss of a romantic relationship. That person and I had been “friends” on virtually all popular social media out there and we used to use a few of them on a regular basis to maintain communication.

Maybe it was naiveté, or maybe immaturity, that forced me to make a promise to that person of not unfriending (or whatever the equivalent of that is) that person on social media. I said to that person that we would remain friends, both in real life and social media, after the breakup. I said, innocently, of how it would have been “foolish of me to unfriend someone worth keeping as you are. I want us to stay friends on Facebook and everywhere else.” Yes, it was ugly. Yes, I wish I had not said those words. And so, with the intention of keeping the promise, we remained “friends” on social media after the breakup and it stayed that way for months.

But now, after weighing the options, I’ve made a decision of not keeping the status of “friends”, e.g. “unfriending” or whatever its equivalent is, that person on Facebook and on other social media, with the full knowledge that I’m breaking a promise.

This decision is based on two reasons.

  1. It’s the sane thing to do. Like most breakups, and especially for the “breakee”, the urge to check on how the ex is doing is unbearable. I’ve failed so many times in that, and each time I did check on the ex, the feeling of longing kept coming back. And when that feeling came back, it would take days, or even weeks, to go away again… only to find the urge reappearing. And by then the cycle of hurt started all over again. The same applies to suddenly seeing the status update of the ex on the timeline. I just can’t see how that doesn’t drive someone crazy. So unfriending the ex on social media is the only sane thing to do. It won’t completely stop the ex from suddenly appearing, of course (because social media), but at least by unfriending that person, the probability of such an event happening is greatly reduced. Not to mention the pain of seeing a status update that says that person is seeing someone new. Oh man, now that’s a scary thought.
  2. Neither of us attempted to maintain contact anyway. At this point, there’s no other reason to contact each other than for the sake of maintaining the relationship itself. But none of us made such contact, meaning that probably the relationship is no longer worth keeping.

Yes, it’s possible that by doing this I may be seen as naive and/or immature. Yes, the person in question may be jeering at me if that person thinks that it’s naive and/or immature. And that’s okay; that person, or anyone else for that matter, can react however they want. This decision is personal, solely for my own sake. Because I believe that in order for me to completely move on from the breakup, it’s a step that I have to make.

However, I won’t deny the possibility of re-adding that person in the future. If one day I were to meet again with that person and start a new relationship—which will most likely not be of a romantic sort—then, if necessary, I’d be more than happy to reestablish social media friendship.

Breakup breakdown

If you take this blog out of the context, it might seem like that I left for Mecca and never made it back home. I could have been missing in the Indian Ocean or kidnapped by terrorists. Thankfully nonathat happened. Home I was, safe and sound. (Along with more stuff that I had when I left.) The flight took about twelve hours from here to there and vice versa, and, coming from someone who takes airplanes as his means of transport only every once in a blue moon, flying was nice. It was soothing—almost meditative—to see the fluffy white clouds from fifteen-thousand feet (or something) above the open seas. It was interesting that from such a height the skies weren’t, well, “sky blue” in color; they were in fact blue of a darker shade, probably “midnight blue”. Seriously, from up there, the midnight blue skies look terrifying. A few more thousand feet up and the skies would’ve been pitch black, like in the movie Gravity, and there would no longer be “skies”. There would only be void. What could be more frightening than being surrounded by complete emptiness?

It might not be as frightening as being enclosed in void, but breakups are scary. Breakups? What?! Well, a few months after my home touchdown, my girlfriend kind of dumped me. Yeah, the same girl toward whom I openly express my deep admiration. Breaking up was something I always feared and even though I knew it would eventually happen, I kept brushing it off, pretending like it never ever would. It was supposed to be a mutual breakup. “Supposed to be” because when she told me, “It’s not working out for me,” she kind of gave me time to sort of approve of it so it did seem like it was mutual, although I never actually wanted it. It was funny, really. I was just delaying the inevitable. Like someone being given a death sentence and the executioner is like, “Yeah, I’ll give you a couple of days to think about it. You can say no, of course. But I’m still going to chop your head off anyway. But I’ll give you a couple of days…” And indeed eventually, just short of its second year, the relationship was over.

But it wasn’t over just like that. She and I were still hanging out for the following months. She and I had lunches together, went to the movies in the afternoons. Just the two of us. Not only that, the backseat of my scooter still “belonged” to her as I kept picking her up at her place to give her a ride. I kept accompanying her to places she wanted to go. It would’ve looked like as if were dating. But, no, we weren’t. Not anymore.

From her perspective, hanging out with me was like hanging out with a close friend. From my perspective, hanging out with her was hopelessly hoping that her heart would rekindle that old flame that used to burn with seemingly endless passion.

Alas, there was no flame. There was not even a hint of a spark. Soon after, the post-breakup hang outs stopped and neither she nor I made attempt to contact each other. Then, like most people who initiated a breakup, she moved on. She even had gotten herself a new crush, someone she routinely meets in her Sunday services. How the hell did I know about that, you ask? Well, I kind of stalked her Facebook the other day (definitely not something I was proud of doing) and found out that she had put up a blog in which she wrote poems of admiration to that guy. You know, the usual stuff: a girl has a crush on a boy but she doesn’t know whether or not the boy shares the feeling. (Funnily enough she used to do the same to me. I even still remember the address. I guess it’s just something that she does when she has a feeling towards someone.) She has a job now as well, out of town. I’m probably completely out of her mind by now.

What about me? Well, to be completely honest I haven’t gotten over her, not yet. The pain isn’t as bad as it used to be, but it’s still there, healing. I’m still secretly hoping (not so secret at this point) that out of the blue she would text me and then I would reply and then a lovey-dovey conversation that lasts until the night that she and I used to do when we were together would happen again. It’s an immature thought, really. But hey, here’s a guy who’s still picking up the remains of his broken heart and glueing them back together.

I should probably get a job.

PSA

In less than twelve hours from now I will be leaving Bandung for Mecca (via Jeddah, of course) with my mother and brother as well as a couple of relatives to perform the umrah.

I will, God willing, be back at the 19th.

To my good Geng Poker friends, I will not be able to participate in any gatherings and events you may have for next week. Please pray for the safety of me and my company. To even things out I will also pray for the safety (and prosperity) of you…

…if I remember.

Just kidding.

Peace out.

A street lesson learned

I learned a lesson the hard way today.

I crashed my motorcycle. (For the second time in history, but that’s another story.) Straight onto the iron bar of the rear bumper of a stopping angkot in the rush of the afternoon rain. Not only that, thanks to my sudden fall from my bike a lady behind me, also on a motorcycle, unable to anticipate the situation, ran onto my poor, wet, fallen bike and fell as well. Some nice people helped us with our bikes as the lady mumbled at me for not concentrating on my riding. The angkot innocently moved forward, not caring and disappearing from view. The lady was fine though. We shook hands afterwards, learning our lessons for the day.

Thinking back, it was a potentially dangerous situation for me. I did scratch my leg and kind of did ruin the front side of my motorcycle (the right blinker’s kind of sticking out), but bad as it was, anything worse could have happened at that moment. When I fell, I fell to my left, towards the empty sidewalk, not to the right, towards the moving traffic. For all I know a sixteen-wheeler carrying tons of freshly cut logs could have ran over my lying, dizzied head at sixty kilometers per hour, crushing it flat on the asphalt.

(Funny story: as I stopped a few meters ahead under the awnings of a row of stores to wait for the rain to subside, I googled for “perbaikan motor nabrak” on my phone to kill time. Instead of getting results on motorcycle repairs, surprise, surprise, the first page of the search was mostly news about a motorcyclist being ran over by a truck.)

Lesson learned: the potential danger of the traffic is no joke. Being arrogant on the streets by overtaking every single vehicle ahead of you is far from wise, regardless of the situation. It’s OK to move slowly and stick to the slow lane, letting impatient, horn-honking assholes overtake you as they throw expletives at you. There are more important things in life other than caring for such kind of people (like my final thesis that is due tomorrow. Argh!), so long as you, your vehicle, and whoever goes with you get to wherever you’re going intact.

College break(down)

My trusty MacBook had it’s battery swollen like a piece of bruised flesh and so I sent it for repair and they said that it would take 7-10 days for it to finish since they had to order the battery from somewhere. It was a week ago and I still haven’t received any news from them. I hope they didn’t break it or something.

(I’m typing this secretly from my brother’s *Windows* laptop.)

I’m on a (winter?) college break now which lasts for a month or so until early February. I say “break”, not “holiday”, or liburan, as people say because it isn’t really one. When you’re having a holiday, everybody is, too. But college kids as we are, we get this special privilege of staying at home for five weeks-ish with literally nothing productive to do, until our backs become stiff and our legs limp and our brain rotten due to this prolonged idleness.

Speaking of breaks, having one of those as a college student feels completely different than having one as a high schooler. It’s definitely, infinitely more fun having a break, and also holiday, as a kid. A school kid can totally call a holiday a holiday because he can enjoy himself with whatever he wants to do. He could spend all day playing video games at home, or doing whatever things he wants to do without having to worry about anything else…

Like life. That four-letter word that I only began to think about once I carry the number 2 as a prefix in my age. Holidays can’t be spent as freely as it could in my teenage years, both in terms of mentally and physically. I’m beginning to think about the, ugh, future, like marriage, career, money, etc. (thanks, society!) and everything else. It’s become a huge pressure on my shoulders, as if I haven’t got enough pressure already from finishing college. But I probably should be thankful for this model of the society because parents still provide a roof to cover my head and money for my college tuition fee. But then, again, probably that needs to change in the future in order to renew this lazy, spoiled excuse of a society.

I’m wondering if I could get the same mental and psychological freedom again as I had as a cutesy teenager. Probably not.

help

i’ve been hospitalized for dengue fever for a couple of days this week. my time at the hospital was probably the most relaxing, worry-free time i’ve ever had: just laying down on the bed, watching tv or reading books, the nurses coming every so often to feed me, people coming to visit. all i needed to think about was recovering, and that was all.

but ever since i got out of it i feel like i’m having a huge lump in my throat. my heart feels so heavy. i’m trying to write it down, what’s wrong with me. but the thing is, it’s making me depressed. and having friends around just doesn’t seem to cut it.

well firstly, there’s family problem. mom and dad. they make me so depressed. their disagreement over everything. their stubbornness over those disagreements. neither of them even listens anymore. to anybody. to each other, to me, to my brother. each insists on solving every problem their way, leading to fights and arguments, and then contempt. communication has no value. even when communication is open it just seems so. every so often my nieces try so hard to make everything seems alright even though it isn’t. nothing is. there is no love in this house. making money is all everybody cares about. that is, making money by running businesses. i mean, really, trying too hard to run a business and expect money to roll in immediately. it’s so depressing.

and speaking of which… my future. my mom and dad don’t care much about it. as long as i get a job, whatever that may be, they’ll be fine. i think they picture me working in a bank, “following their path”. i seriously think that they don’t have anything in their minds for me except for working behind a desk in a bank. this nation works for banks anyway, right? what else is there for me except for a bank. it’s so depressing. i thought the world is wide enough to accomodate other jobs other than banks. i always assure myself that i can speak english well. well, what’s that worth anyway. everybody can speak english well. plus other employable degree. when i graduate i’ll be having a degree that shows i can read well. yeah, that’s so employable.

and then there’s college. i’ve got assignments that i completely ignore when i was being hospitalized. i made it as if i’ve done everything. there’s this subject called research methods in linguistics that’s supposed to lead to my final thesis next semester. but i haven’t done anything with it. i’m supposed to read a lot of theories to support my argument. i’ve done the basic stuff, my argument and everything, but they’re just that. baseless as a debris in the outer space.

my girlfriend who’s so busy with her assignments that she hasn’t time for us to talk. but then with all these problems that i have i’ll be just a big burden for her.

and there’s also the rest of my family. i just want them to disappear, really. sometimes they just keep poking around in another’s life and won’t go away.

even writing all of this doesn’t make me feel better. not even a bit. i don’t know what can. i’m just rambling my worries away. just want to curl up on my bed and sleep and be happy all of a sudden with all my problems solved.

help.

Helplessness

I’m feeling utterly helpless in the past few weeks. I feel empty. I find myself daydreaming on my ride home from campus.

I don’t know what causes it. I do know what triggers it, though. It is when somebody ignores me and do not give me what I expect them to. That really disappoints me and I really want to let my rage out to them. Why can’t you care more about me? I’ve been friendly towards you. I’ve done things for you. Why the fuck do you turn a blind eye to me? Do you hate me? Am I being too kind that I annoy you? I know you will talk about me behind my back, laughing about my kindness. Kindness means stupidity to you, right? You can easily use me because I am too kind. Just ask me to do something for you and I’ll do it for you. That’s right. I will. If not I would just be on my fit of rage and you will hate me forever because of it. By then you’d have your reason to avoid me for the rest of your life and that would make you happy. That’s right, isn’t it? Your life would be happier without me in your way. I’m just a big talker who acts kind to you, pretending to do shit for you with my whole heart, but behind it I just wanted to get on your good side. Guess what, you’re absolutely right. You get 100 points! Congratulations. I just want you to like me. That’s why I did all of that to you. I don’t want you to see me as a useless, socially crippled human being. But I did that to you because I can’t do shit to get myself noticed by you. By you and everyone else. I just want everyone to notice how kind I am, how nice I am, how I can do shit that nobody wouldn’t do just because I want all of you to fucking pat me on my head. To congratulate me. Tell me that I’m such a helpful individual. Oh yeah that would make me happy for sure. For sure. I can live my life happily ever after only if you notice what I’ve done. Otherwise I’d just go to my fit of rage so you guys can notice me.

What if I tell you that I’ve been living my whole life pretending to be someone that you’d like? Whoever this son of a bitch you know, this smile that he puts on his face, this polite gestures that he makes, they are all fake. This guy makes them all just to get you to like him which if you do he’d be very happy. Those writings he posted, those things he reblogs, just to get everybody to notice him. Yes, I do all of them just so you’d say, “Oh this guy has great taste in music!” “Oh, look this guy is so cool. Just look at these quote he reblogs!” And you know what I’m very, utterly happy if you say that because you noticed me at last. That’s all I care for all I know.

You may be thinking I’d got to be sick in the head. Guess what, you’re right again! 200 points! Congratulations for your judgment. I may be mad, or at least I may be someone on the verge of being mad. Oh, maybe I’ll be schizophrenic. Maybe in a year or two you’d find me on the streets, naked, with barely any piece of clothing on my filthy, mud covered body. You’d see my bare genitals hanging freely on my exposed crotch. Oh maybe that’d be better because I can then do my own fucking thing and you can laugh at me and neither of us have bad feelings. Maybe I’d fling that fucking penis at you when you saw me, I won’t even be ashamed of that because I wouldn’t even fucking care. I’m fucking mad. Crazy ass, schizophrenic hobo. Because that’s how everyone is supposed to treat mad people, people who are sick in the fucking head: by laughing your asses off at them. Yeah, you know what, maybe I deserve that. Go ahead laugh at me. Go ahead laugh at me behind my back.

I really don’t want to care anymore.