Discover more from Slouching Towards Blok M
Water bottles, haunted hydrology, wishlists
Hello! Welcome to the recommendation column of this newsletter, where I list a few things that have added joy to my life. I’m a bit late, seeing as this was supposed to go out on Friday, which turned out to be a travel day for me. Hope you enjoy these nonetheless!
The case for >1L water bottles
I may be a water bottle enthusiast (i.e. I love looking at water bottles and think about buying them all the time, and the ones I get given I can never seem to let go of, even if they’re just one of those free McDonald’s bottles), but it wasn’t until last year that I started regularly carrying a water bottle with me on a daily basis. What changed, you asked? It’s simply that I stopped carrying around 600ml bottles and pushed myself to carry double. 600ml bottles are a liability! You spend more time carrying them empty in your bag than filled, and they just end up sitting in your bag and weighing you down. My 1.2L bottle, on the other hand, sustains me all day long. Is it heavy? Yes absolutely. But there’s also the fact that it contains enough water for me to feel like I’d never run out! My days may take unexpected turns, I may suddenly find myself in places that make me nervous, but I can breathe easy knowing my bottle is most likely not empty.
This is all the more important as someone who likes her water ice cold at all times. My 1.2L bottle gives me the security of having cold water whenever. Sure you can refill your 600ml once you’ve emptied it, but you can’t always guarantee finding water at your preferred temperature wherever you go. I make sure to fill mine whenever I leave the house, with cold water — sometimes ice — straight from my fridge, and I’m good for most of the day. I’m truly a better person for it.
Spooky Lake Month
I’m not a big Halloween person. Most years, I’m oblivious to its arrival until the question “what are you going to be for Halloween?” starts getting thrown around left and right. It’s always too late for good ideas, and always feels too hot in Jakarta to be anything but my cropped-top-and-jeans-wearing self. I honestly want to be a Halloween girlie so bad my laziness always gets the best of me.
These past three years though, I finally found my Halloween-related fixation, which, while it doesn’t require dressing up, gets me in the mood. It’s this thing called Spooky Lake Month on TikTok, specifically on this account run by a lovely woman named Geo Rutherford, who, per her bio, is an artist and a teacher. Every day throughout the month of October, she publishes what she calls “haunted hydrology” a.k.a. eerie trivia about different bodies of water around the world. So far this year, she’s covered the Alaskan mud flats, Mexico’s Cenotes, spent fuel pools at nuclear reactors… all of which I didn’t know are things that exist out there in the world.
As someone who is always thinking of sharks and dead bodies when swimming in pools, following these stories doesn’t really help with these irrational thoughts, but they’re fascinating nonetheless — and you get to indulge on 31 of them all month. A fantastic way of getting in the Halloween spirit. Maybe this will motivate me enough to dress up this year?
Birthday surprise gifts are great, but have you ever told your friends what you wanted and have them come together to get you exactly that? For Avi’s birthday, Rara suggested she come up with a document that lists things in her wishlist, complete with the Tokopedia links if she wanted to, and share it with friends to use as a reference for gift giving.
“You shouldn’t just be treating yourself for your birthday. Your friends should be treating you too,” was her rationale.
Avi did come up with one, and in the weeks leading up to her birthday we started putting down our name to tag stuff on that list, “wedding inventory”-style. I love that this list didn’t just make it easy for friends to peep what it is that the birthday celebrant wants — a sort of shortcut to getting the perfect gift — but it also works as a kind of “prompt” for ideas.
Avi’s list particularly has columns for gift categories (“Cute stuff'“, “body care”, “beverage station”, to name a few"), and short notes on why she wants each item. One note says she’s been decorating her home, another notes her love for teas.
We asked Rara to do the same thing for her birthday — which is in a few minutes as I write this! October 8! Libra queen! Rara’s categories include “Books”, “Productivity”, “Appliances”. During her birthday dinner earlier this evening, it was delightful to watch Rara unbox her gifts. Some a surprise, others coming straight from her list/brief.
Perhaps sharing this list is a sign of trust, too. Trusting that friends will not judge you for your desires, and, most of all, trusting that they’ll come through once you’ve taken the vulnerable path of expressing them.
10/10 would recommend. :-)