ClickZ Asia: Innovation Among Indonesian Online Publishers

Jalan Malioboro Yogyakarta (Image via Wikipedia)

This is the start of a short piece I wrote on impressions of the start-up scene in Indonesia.

Peacock Coffee is a nice little 24-hour coffee shop on Yogyakarta’s Jalan Affandi near the universities. There are about a dozen universities in town. As someone used to toiling in Silicon Valley’s digital salt mines (aka coffee shops), the thing that strikes you about Peacock is not the quality of the coffee (very good), but the number of laptops, the speed of the Internet, and the buzz. That’s the only way to describe it. Buzz.

More on ClickZ Asia’s Publishing Channel.


Friday Night @ Gramedia Books in Jakarta

I love a bookstore.  I think it says a lot about a place, a people, a culture.

Whenever I am in a new town or even someplace I know well, I seem to eventually – usually within the first 24 hours – end up wandering the aisles of a bookstore. I don’t even need to be able to read the books.  I just love the idea that there are people there who do read the books, write the books and think about the books. Continue reading

My Morning Walk to Practice

In Bali Everything is Sacred
Originally uploaded by rsettles.

I walk along a path that leads through the rice paddies. Along the way there are always people to greet and offerings to step over. One of the most beautiful things about Bali is that everything is sacred to someone.

The bend in the stream shown here. The head of a path – every morning there is a new offering on the turn off to Kirsten and Mitchell’s. There are little shelves with offerings in every house, restaurant, shop, …

It highlights the beauty of the place that I might otherwise miss.

Last Week in Bali

Today is my last full day in Bali.  Tomorrow afternoon I head back to Singapore for a week and then on to Australia.

Life in Ubud this week has been an interesting contrast to the first two weeks.  The first two weeks were very social.  Reconnecting with old friends, meeting new people and just settling into being away from my daily routine.  Dena’s morning practice anchored the day and after that there was always some activity to join.

This week has been more solitary.  Each morning I walk through the paddies to practice at the little “villa” that Kirsten and Mitchell have rented.  This week has been a good week to integrate practice.  At most there have been 5 people in practice with both Kirsten and Mitchell giving advice, encouragement and adjustments.  I have a tendency to favor my right side and have gotten a lot of feedback on this during the week.  It is subtle feedback that is perfect for a small class lead by two senior teachers.  After practice, I have breakfast – sometimes with Kirsten and Mitchell at Madé’s in the rice paddies, sometimes back here at Ananda.

Mitchell has also made time to give some rolfing sessions.  I had one on Tuesday and will get one more session right before I head for Singapore.  It has been great timing for me, almost 9 months to the day that I finished my last treatment in the series.  So, it has been good to have Mitchell “dig” into those places where things are tight.  With the addition of the left knee, which he looked at right after I fell last year, all of the areas we have been working on are new and I think a function of a slow opening in the hips and a continued imbalance between my right and left sides.

Kirsten and Mitchell are also only here for another couple of days before they head back to the States for Burning Man and then perhaps to the Bay Area to teach in the fall.  Mitchell will be giving rolfing sessions too.  So, if you are interested, email him for a time.  The email address is under Mitchell’s name on  They are listed under Thailand.

During the week, I have planned a couple of larger excursions to places around Bali, but the combination of rain, my own inertia, and the late start (Kirsten and Mitchell start practice at 9, so I am not done until noon or later) has undermined all of these attempts.  If it hadn’t been for the persistence of the drivers at Ananda, I probably wouldn’t even have bothered planning.  Most of my time has been taken up with reading, napping, eating and wandering around town or little hikes in the rice paddies.  The first day or so the solitude was palpable and a little scary.  I kept thinking shouldn’t I be doing something, working toward something.  I have spent a lot of time in my life working toward something, generally something defined by the very society that was absent this week.  I slowly accepted this week’s solitude, but there has not been enough of it for new directions to form inside.  But, this is just the first month.

D&J: Changing Plans

Well,  I keep thinking I will sit down and write a long and amazingly insightful post about how special Dena and Jack’s retreat in Bali was.  But, something always gets in the way.  Nothing too stressful of course, but something.  Reading, eating, shopping, ….

The retreat was everything I wanted for the start of my trip.  Dena and Jack both were in fine form having just spent  a couple of months in Mysore.  She pushed a little, cajoled a little, sympathized, both in practice and in the little afternoon talks that punctuated the retreat.  For me, the afternoon talk became a mixed blessing, since I felt that D was invariably talking directly to me – sometimes about things I wasn’t really ready to talk about.  Later at dinner, I found this sentiment shared by others, each with a different twist.  Dena continued to evolve my practice (which is somewhat remarkable, since we had over 25 people in the room) in ways that left me feeling pretty ‘open’.  So much so, that I decided to use September to go and join her September workshop in Byron.  Yes, that’s right.  I am headed to Australia.   No one said that the road to Mysore was necessarily straight.

Since the shala doesn’t re-open (this according to the people who came to Bali directly from Mysore) until September 11th, I will really only miss the first few weeks.  This puts me in Mysore somewhere around the 3rd of October.

Changing plans and heading for Australia is the best endorsement I can give for Dena and Jack’s Bali retreat.  There are really three superlatives – the quality of the teaching (of course), the quality of the students (maybe because even for two weeks a trip to Bali is a real commitment) and the location (Bali, Ubud, and Ananda Cottages).  I guess I haven’t posted a longer post, because what else can you say on the subject.  Excellent.

So, if you are looking for a yoga excursion, then I would HIGHLY recommend a trip to Bali.

San Francisco is generally very well represented.  This year we had four attending, including myself.  Two years ago we had about twice that number.  So, it’s an easy flight.  Singapore is a great place to layover.  I will post later about places in Singapore to practice.

Outside of the Bali Shala

Outside of the Bali Shala
Originally uploaded by rsettles.

I have started to add some photos from the trip to my Flickr photostream.

This is the shala behind Ananda that we used each morning starting at 6:30 or so. The next post will have the interior with a sense of the view looking out. While you can’t quite get a feel for it, in the morning you can see geese and ducks in paddy, a low mist rising and the old volcano (Bali has three) in the distance.



A quick post from the Internet cafe on Jalan Raya Ubud.  After a few frenzied days in Hong Kong where I basically went through almost all of my clothes due to the heat and the a/c, a quick stop in Singapore, a scary flight from Singapore to Denpasar (mechanical problems that weren’t discovered until we had been in the air for almost an hour) , I am in Bali.

Just as I remembered it, Ubud is slowly melting a lot of stuff away – stress, anxiety, …  I am sleeping 10 hours a night AND napping everyday.  I will have to write a longer post on Dena and Jack and the workshop, but suffice to say that there is a lot going on in practice and in my head.   I can’t think of a better way to have started this trip to India than to spend  a couple of weeks here with D&J.  On top of that, Mitchell and Kirsten are just up the road, so my long-term stay in Bali seems to be working out.  Finally, several of the people in the workshop have just come from Mysore and they report that the Shala has posted that classes will begin again on the 11th.  So, all of the pieces of the trip are working out just as planned.

No pictures yet.  But I will dig the camera out tonight.


Eat, Pray, Love

Image via Wikipedia

I am a little superstitious.  I secretly check my horoscope and I am constantly reading signs into everything.  Breadcrumbs pointing to some future action or consequence.

So over the last four weeks I had heard a snippet of an interview with a woman who had written a travel memoir.  I remember the interview because of some reference to food and Italy (one of my favorite topics), then I think I saw a newspaper review of the book.  Didn’t read it, but noticed it was there.

Well about two weeks ago, I was in between meetings and walked through a bookstore in Palo Alto, and there on the counter is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love with the subhead “one woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia”.  OK, that would be considered a breadcrumb pointing to my own trip.  I am not planning to stop in Italy, but I am also not planning to be away for a year.

I read the book in three sittings one for each country.  Afterwards, I was forced to ask myself, “Why am I taking this trip, again? What exactly will I gain?” Living and working in the midst of America’s abundance, it is easy to get lost in all of the desires and expectations.  People are never really happy because they can always have something deemed by someone to be better – better clothes, a better home, …  You are always lamenting some missed opportunity or planning some way to rectify it in the future. [This becomes particularly acute in your mid-40’s]  Well, somewhere in the midst of that there should be happiness.  Not happiness as I have traditionally thought about it – the good feeling that comes from something else, probably the consumption of something else, but also the approval of someone.  Now that I think about it that is really a description of pleasure. Maybe the right word here is contentment, maybe bliss. These words suggest a timelessness that isn’t the result of the satisfaction of a momentary desire.

So, one of the goals of my practice and my trip is to pursue contentment, maybe in the next life I can work on bliss.  Looking back at Eat, Pray, Love a lot of Gilbert’s trip was about self-acceptance.  Something I am perpetually lacking.  Like a schoolboy, I am always preparing for someone’s evaluation.  Well, if at the end of the this trip I can accept some of my perceived shortcomings.  [I mean I am 46 years old.] I will consider it time well spent.

Now the part of the book that most appealed to me  – was not the eating part (Italy) or the boyfriend part (Bali) – but the ashram stay and Gilbert’s description of meditation.   I appreciated the tongue in cheek way she refered to her quest for something else.  Spirit, love, universal love, … Irony and a smile is at least what I require right now to even talk about these things without a raised eyebrow and an expectation of some polite ridicule.

So, my goal is personal acceptance and contentment (Santosha) and somehow maintaining that in a world that is built on the need to create a desire for something new to make you better, more desirable.    Balancing personal desire with a need to claim acceptance for myself is a struggle and one that I haven’t generally won.  And I am going to have to work to put this into action, to have this be more than just another mid-year correction on my perennial New Year’s Resolutions.  The best I can do now is to augment my asana practice with meditation to see if that helps solidify my direction.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to get started and stay focused, please let me drop me a comment.

Finally, if you are looking for a very human, very funny [I did actually laugh out loud a couple of times] description of a journey to “happiness”, I recommend the book.