Monday, December 26, 2005

I used to like Kuwait University

After finding this in my mailbox yesterday I came to accept that this is how things are. Whether I like it or not, our esteemed colleagues/administrators seem to think that it is the business of an academic institution to instill religious beliefs into its students. We might as well shut down the faculty of arts and transfer our students to Sharee3a.

Am I to expect a dress code soon? And will that apply to students only or does it also cover teachers?

And on a separate but related note: دعاء الركوب? Am I still at Kuwait University or is it now some religious institution? A colleague of mine was enraged because I asked my colleagues to consider the implications of these ads by leaving a note in their mailboxes. His/her argument was that I was thrusting my beliefs on them. Isn't the university administration thrusting its beliefs on students when it starts circulating religious messages in any form or shape? It's a university for god's sake, a place of learning. Can't we keep it as just that?
I have a big issue with calling our ministry of education وزارة التربية والتعليم, I don't accept strangers to be in charge of my children's 'tarbiya.'

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Fog

We didn't even have nachos or popcorn to distract us. I should've gone to see Ornina. The 3 hours spent on King Kong were much more worthy.

Saddam's trial is becoming quite a show. Funny in the beginning but getting on my nerves now. Get it done with already.

Our departmental lunch went well last Wednesday. But maybe not for the waiters at Biella. The poor souls, their service is already bad as it is, imagine having to serve a table of 6, no 10, no 24 who first asked for separate checks (you're joking ma'am, right?) then took over an hour to decide what to order. Of course yours truly totally forgot about that lunch and had lunch with her family at 2 only to have a colleague call and remind her of the department lunch at which time she helped herself with more lunch :)

So what's new in the blog world? I haven't been very blog-friendly lately. What did I miss?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Scars ... grudges ... and chicken

How long does it take for the scars of abuse to disappear? Do they ever go away? Whether it is child abuse, spouse abuse, or even strangers’ abuse, being in an abusive relation or witnessing abusive relationships seem to leave a permanent scar even if that scar is only obvious in one’s lack of inner strength, strength that usually enables us to deal with our shortcomings once we know their roots. Someone dear to me once told me I’m an adult now and should stop using childhood trauma (the term might be an exaggeration here) to justify my adult weaknesses. That person must have a deep reservoir of inner strength. I’m glad they do. But I don’t.

I am one to hold grudges. Even when I try not to, I can’t seem to help it. I have a really bad memory but when someone hurts me I can’t seem to forget. Maybe I forgive, but I almost never forget. Could that be why I don’t remember much from my childhood other than the times I was hurt? My only memory of the book fair that is held in Kuwait every year, and that I am sure was a yearly pilgrimage of my family, is of a dirty old man harassing me. I was fourteen back in the days when fourteen year old girls were actually girls. Or maybe I was just too buried in my sleazy romance novels to notice my bodily desires :). Up to this day I do not enjoy a trip to the book fair as much as I would want to. I even remember what I was wearing that day. Me. The one who wouldn’t remember what she ate for lunch yesterday or what she was wearing for work this morning.

People who lose their temper scare me. They actually scare me no matter how big or small they are. They scare me even when I know they have no intention of harming me. They scare me even when I know they can't hurt me. They scare me simply by heading towards me while they're angry. It's an instant irrational flash of fear that is/can not be explained or even contemplated. A very short glipse into darkness that is quickly chased away by my rationality. But chased away or not, it existed. For that blink of an eye it existed. Before my mind could register it my feelings took hold of it.
How chicken am I?

Monday, December 12, 2005

No Comment

I am a [female] university student ...
and my appearance suits my university.

I learn ... I discuss ... I debate
We compete in loving our university

No Comment. Hell. Please Comment. Please help me understand. Please tell me I don't work for this institution.

Both posters are displayed in Kaifan (داخل الحرم الجامعي)

Thank you cameraman N.M.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

مهرجان القرين الثقافي

Last night (Thursday night) I went to Mishrif for a night of music with Ssassa, an Oriental Gypsy band. I haven't been going to many cultural events lately and I thought it's time to get back in the game (Going to Movie Week at Kaifan doesn't count). The music was so lively that it was hard to resist the urge to dance at times. A lebanese friend who was in our group was tempted to get up and do her share of dapka on those tunes. It was an extremely festive mixture of Greek, Turkish, Kosovan, and Macedonian tunes.

I don't know how many more of these qurain events I would want to attent though. I didn't check all their schedule yet.

On a separate note, did winter cancel on us this year or what?

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Hour of Demonic Possession

So according to this movie, 3 o'clock is the hour of demonic possession as it is the demons' way of mocking the holy trinity. I wonder what our Muslim hour of demonic possession.

Not a bad movie. I expected court scenes mostly but it turns out to be a jumpy movie at times.

A group of viewers arrived 5 minutes into the movie, talking in their loudest voices, laughing and edging themselves in the seats behind us. Now their loud entrace I might have excused if they didn't also happen to be carrying a bag full of popcorns and chocolates and dragging that bag on our heads as they eased their bulky selves into their seats. OK so the girl wasn't realy fat, just big, but she really needs to learn to check her surroundings when she walks. I wonder what kind of driver she would make. And then half way into the movie (or is it at the end? I don't remember) another member of that loud group got up to probably restock on food and this time it was her bag that whacked our heads as she left.

Going out for lunch now so will cut this short.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Nice Weather Today

Amazing weather today. Took my class out again where we talked about Coleridge and Opium. (I hope no one starts having ideas)

Scattered my second grass on the lawn in Kaifan (yes we have one). One group sat on the floor and I was tempted to spend more time with them than with the other groups. That group of 5(my limit to group work) increased to 7 members, tempted by their picnic style lesson (I told them all we need now is wine and cheese, but then suggested Vimto to preserve our traditional values)

(Another Lawn. Another Place. Far Far Far Away From Kaifan)

There was a stray kitten in front of our department and I was tempted to bring it some milk. It was greatly enjoying the weather while spoiling itself on the welcoming rugs they seem to spread ourside our building whenever we have a certain function. (Could it be their idea of a welcoming red carpet? But it's 3 big 3x5 rugs??)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

تلفون خربان

Why do government employees lack the simplest levels of customer service?
Why do they assume that customers have nothing to do other than wait for them while they chat with this and that?
Why do men have a problem looking at you when you talk? And I'm not talking about those so-called religious le7ya dudes. This guy had no trouble blabbing away with his female colleagues.

I went to Surra (phone company? what do you call those places?) to get some things done and the woman servicing me didn't know what to do so she had to ask this man who appeared to be her superior. He was chatting in his loudest voice with other employees so stepped forward to quickly answer her questions then went back to his yapping. When I addressed him with my question he seemed to look right through me. Am I invisible? The woman asked him another question, and again he gave her a quick answer and moved on without waiting to see if she got it (she didn't). Why can't those people be a little more professional?

Lunch today was a three piece meal of dark chocolate shot for appetizer, fondu for the main dish, and dark chocolate truffle for desserts. You think I overdid it?

And Now I sleep.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Marooned in Iraq

Optimistic in its ending, as seen in the continuation of life through Hanareh's daughter, the film is an extremely somber type of dark comedy. The devastation of life that is evident throughout Mirza's journey, though presented lightly, gives a heartbreaking image of the life of Kurds both in Iran and Iraq.

Mirza sets out with his two sons in search of his ex-wife who sent for his help. Moving from one village to another, we become witness, through the eyes of Mirza and sons, to the degrading life suffered by those villagers. As the trio move into Iraqi borders, this poverty is made the more harsh by Saddam's constant bombing of Kurds, intensifying in the end when we hear of Hanareh's exposure to chemical weapons and the effects they had on her face and voice.

The education of children, within these harsh circumstances, is noticable in this movie. In the first 'school' scene, the student are hidden inside what seems to be an upside down crate (thought my eyes might be deceiving me). When next we meet a school of students, their lesson is taken outdoors (much like my morning lesson today though with a totally different kind of scenery). This second group of students are orphans who live in a refuge for Irani and Iraqi Kurd orphans, an orphanage quite dismall.

The movie ends in an affirmation of life and a confirmation of the Kurds' resilient nature. Life goes on in the midst of all this poverty and bombing, and the adoption of Hanareh's daugter by Mirza further symbolizes the Kurds full grasp on life.

One of the most beautiful images in the movie is one in which the students, after learning about the two types of planes, throw their paper plane off a cliff, resulting in a shot of so many white kites gliding across the mountain. Breathtaking.

This is by far my favorite movie in film week.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The English Sheik and the Yemeni Gentleman

Yemen is beautiful, or so the movie makes it look. But Yemen is also ancient, so very very ancient. And even though those old mud houses appear beautiful, I think living in them can be quite a scare. "The site of them becomes all the more attractive the more fearful it is, provided we are in a safe house." (Kant) I like my safe technology-enhanced house, so unless that country moves into the 21st century, I'd like to stay in my less sublime but oh so much more habitable house.

Kant also says "it is rather in its chaos that nature most arouses our ideas of the sublime." Chaos is surely abundant in the film's depiction of Yemen no matter how hard director Bader Ben Hirsi tried to cover it. I do not see beauty in this chaos, nor do I see sublimity.

What registered in the audience's minds, other than the beauty of the country, is the chewing of qat. Comments were initially made on tourism in Yemen, gradually developing to food in Yemen (shock at seeing the Englishman help himself to a plate of goat's head, breaking it open to eat it's tongue and brain), yet qat soon became the center of the post-movie talk.

Curious to know more. I surfed the net for qat. Here's what I found out:
Qat contains cathinone, a natural amphetamine which produces a high after prolonged chewing. In the United States, cathinone is listed as a Schedule I drug, with heroin and cocaine
The effects of qat include alertness, energy and euphoria.
Qat can also result in increased aggression and "fantasies of personal supremacy."
Long-term use may produce impotence.
Stimulation from qat can occur with in first 15 minutes of chewing, though the peak "high" is reached in the third hour. Effects from the chewing can remain up to 24 hours. Following the high, a slight depression, or melancholy, sets in and remains for a few hours.

Qat ... is a stimulant producing a feeling of exaltation, a feeling of being liberated from space and time. It may produce extreme loquacity, inane laughing, and eventually semicoma. It may also be an euphorient and used chronically can lead to a form of delirium tremens. ... Upon first chewing khat, the initial effects were unpleasant and included dizziness, lassitude, tachycardia, and sometimes epigastric pain. Gradually more pleasant feelings replaced these inaugural symptoms. The subjects had feelings of bliss, clarity of thought, and became euphoric and overly energetic. Sometimes khat produced depression, sleepiness, and then deep sleep. The chronic user tended to be euphoric continually. In rare cases the subjects became aggressive and overexcited. ... [in a study on 51 khat users] The respiratory rate and pulse rate were accelerated and the blood pressure tended to rise. The subjects also had a decrease in the functional capacity of the cardiovascular system.


Responses generated by the audience (paraphrased and condensed):

-- I’m surprised that even though the movie is feminist in its story, we see patriarchy being enforced by a woman rather than a man. It is the mother-in-law who causes the family’s demise.

-- That patriarchy is represented not through the men in the movie, but through the actions of a female, is a clear example of how the oppressed often perpetuate their own oppression.

-- Why is the husband such an angel? He is perfect.

-- It’s a fairy tale. We don’t see such characters in real life.

-- It actually is a very honest picture of middle-eastern and Irani views on marriage.

-- The husband isn’t really an angel. He is a very impotent character here, one who cannot or does not appear as a strong figure, one who does not make a stand against his mother.

-- The men here are mostly submissive: both husband and father-in-law seem unable to be part of the decision making scheme in the two families.

-- The movie is a cry for men and women both to see more in the relation between man and women than the begetting of children. The couple’s life together demonstrated their ability to create, not necessarily children, but rather a happy and productive life.

-- The movie uses color to background the feelings of the characters, moving away from the Hollywood tradition of using music for such effect.

-- The billboard that the wife hid behind in order to see the new wife had a picture of a man’s eyes, enlarged. This reminds me of The Great Gatsby where the billboard was a witness to the husband cheating on his wife.

-- The billboard’s eyes also suggest the idea of the gaze, a very recurrent theme in feminist works.

My connection was acting up so I could't post this last night.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Dreams Without Sleep

Turnout was pretty good. The room, albiet small, was packed. Unfortunately neither director Waleed Al-Awadhi nor manager of the Kuwait Cine Club Imad Al-Nouwairy were able to attend to take questions. Audience comments went from sharing an experience of heading to New York on 9/11, to a comment about the image the movie perpetuates of the Arab as constant outsider in the US, to a retaliation on that remark that clarified some of its misconceptions.

I had a good time, particularly when I ended my night by going to Chocolate Bar with a friend after being ditched by my sister. I think that was the highlight of the evening (Not my sister ditching me, but chocolate itself)

Totally irrelevant: A friend told me she heard an interview with me on Kuwait Radio tonight. I don't recall being interviewed. I'm not the kind of person who gives in to interviews. However, when she repeated what I'd supposedly said on the show it sounded completely like me. She said my name was mentioned so even when I insisted that I haven't been interviewed she insisted that I was. Could I have been hypnotized into an interview? I'm not that much of a celebrity so I doubt that. Could I have totally forgotten that I gave such interview? I doubt that too since that would've been in Arabic and I know for sure that I can't talk shop in Arabic.

Totally totally irrelevant: When a teacher, myself, didn't prepare the presentation for her class tomorrow, what does she do? After wasting time blogging, she decides to give her students a writing exercise on 'what is beautiful?'. So what do I waste time on now? Finding paintings for the 'what is beautiful?' slide-show.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

film week

the department of english language & literature presents

film week
featuring films from the gulf

12-16 november 2005, 7 pm
abdullah al-otaibi bldg., basement
kaifan campus, kuwait university
free admission

12 november 2005
dreams without sleep
directed by walid al-awadi
kuwait, 2003, 90 minutes
this documentary traces the lives of five new yorkers of diverse backgrounds immediately after the horrific events of 9/11. from his unique perspective as an arab filmmaker, al-awadi reveals how, despite the odds, dreams continue to flourish in the city that never sleeps. this film captures a sense of people's immense fragility and inexorable resilience.
13 november 2005

directed by dariush mehrjui
starring leila hatami, aUmosaffa
iran, 1996, 129 minutes
farsi with english subtitles
recently married, leila and reza are deeply in love. Their happiness is cut short when they learn leila is unable to concieve. while reza insists their love for each other is all that matters, his mother believes otherwise. She convinces her daughter-in-law that reza needs to take a second wife in order to carryon the family line. Mehrjui eloquently explores the devastating effects of tradition and the perversity of love in this moving story.
14 november 2005
the english sheik and the yemeni gentleman

directed by bader ben hirsi
yemen, 2000, 76 minutes
arabic with english subtitles
this autobiographical documentary chronicles the return to yemen of british-born director, bader ben hirsi. the son of exiled yemeni parents living in london, ben hirsi journeys to yemen to explore his lost country, its people, and their way of life. together with the eccentric English expatriate, tim makintosh-smith, who has spent the last sixteen years in sana' a, ben hirsi rediscovers his homeland. this film poetically unravels the profound significance of place and the power of unlikely friendships.
15 november 2005
marooned in iraq

directed &written by bahman ghobadi
starring shahab ebrahimi, alah-morad rashtian,
faegh mohammadi
iran, 2002, 97 minutes
kurdish with english subtitles
mirza, an iranian-kurdish musician, learns that his wife, hanareh, who left him for his best friend many years ago and ran away to sing in iraq, needs his help. with his sons, audeh and barat, mirza makes his way across the border into iraq to find her. what ensues is a madcap adventure that reveals the determined struggle of the kurdish people in the face of annihilation. ghobadi exuberantly presents music, love, education, children, and humor as an antidote to violence and war in this award-winning film.
16 november 2005
selection of shorts from the u.a.e.

signs of the dead
directed by waleed al-shehhi
starring bilal abdullah, nawaf al-janahi
2005, 26 minutes 30 seconds
directed by abdullah hassan ahmed
starring saeed obaid, nora albady
2005, 28 minutes 38 seconds
arabic with english subtitles
directed &written by fadel saeed al-muhairi
starring eisa al-eisa
2004, 38 minutes
arabic With english subtitles
silk strings
directed &written by amina ataya
starring adel ibrahim, amani, hassan yousif
2005, 35 minutes 15 seconds
arabic With english subtitles

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I had to stop reading :)

Here I am here. How I have arrived in this place at this moment on this day with this feeling history future problems life this horrible fucked-up good-for-nothing waste of a life how. Fifteen minutes ago I was holding a lifelong Criminal and cocaine Addict who spent his childhood with his Father’s dick in his mouth as he cried because he was scared to go back into the World. I ate my lunch with some kind of menacing middle-aged movie-star Look-alike and a three-strike Fugitive and a Steel Worker with torn-out hair plugs and a one-hundred-ten-pound Ghost who used to be the Champion of the World. I was given a coloring book and told it would help make me better. I watched some Judge’s stupid fucking video and I was told it would help make me better. I got sick, just like I do every other fucking day, and I am not getting better. I am twenty-three years old and I’ve been an Alcoholic for a decade and a drug Addict and Criminal for almost as long and I’m wanted in three states and I’m in a Hospital in the middle of Minnesota and I want to drink and I want to do some drugs and I can’t control myself. I’m twenty-three.
I breathe and I shake and I can feel it coming and the rage and need and confusion regret horror shame and hatred Fury the Fury and I can’t stop the come. Let it motherfucking come. The Fury has come.
I see a tree and I go after it. Screaming punching kicking clawing tearing ripping dragging pulling wrecking punching screaming punching screaming punching screaming. It is a small tree, a small Pine Tree, small enough that I can destroy it, and I rip the branches from its trunk and I tear them to pieces one by one I rip them and I tear them and I throw them to the ground and I stomp them stomp them and when there are no more branches I hear a voice and I attach the trunk and it’s thin and I break it in half and I hear a voice and I ignore it and I throw the broken trunk on top of the branches and one half of it is still on the ground I hear a voice and I want it out of the fucking ground and I grab it and pull pull pull and it doesn’t budge not an inch I hear a voice and I ignore it and I pull scream pull and it doesn’t budge this fucking tree I want to destroy it and I let go of it and there is a voice I ignore I start kicking kicking kicking and the voice says stop stop stop stop. Stop.

From A Million Little Pieces

Thursday, November 03, 2005

We are family ...

I got all my sisters with me ...
Ok so it was sisters, brothers, sons, etc, but you catch my drift.

Today was a happy family day. We went to Kuwait Towers, my least favorite place in Kuwait, the followed it with Chocolate Bar, my most favorite :)

When I go out with friends and family I almost always let them choose the place, insisting that: "it's not the food, it's the company" that matter and today proved this to me. Being around my family gives me great pleasure.

Happy Eid to you all and I hope you had an enjoyable time with yours as well.

p.s. 11:40 pm: Ending the day with my three best friends made it an even more special day to me. I think the spirit of Eid is getting to me 'cause I felt very festive today.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Because they decided to start their holiday today ...

So students at KU apparently have an agreement to miss their classes starting today. When asked, they told me it's because it's so close to the end of the month anyway and Eid is coming soon. They'd already told me Sunday that most of their teachers have decided to start their holiday Tuesday but I refused to believe that. We have an obligation to teach our 15 week schedule. If teachers decide to start their holidays 2 days before Eid then what model are we setting to our students? When are people in Kuwait going to learn to respect their jobs and be dedicated to them? I realize that many times these jobs can be unsatisfying. But this is the university for crying out loud. Is our job only to teach them what Shakespeare meant by this line and what Plato meant by his cave allegory? Don't we have a bigger moral responsibility to bring up better citizens? Many teachers have the habit of missing the first and last week of classes, claiming that students don't show up anyway. Isn't this the chicken and the egg dilema? If teachers don't commit to their classes why should students do that? I see a few teachers around me, so it's good to know that there are some dedicated ones here. But Kaifan is deserted and it's depressing and I have to stay here for my two other classes at 11 and 2.

So what do I do to kill time?


Thank you for your time ladies and gentlemen. I am now off to class, leaving you with my current msn picture:

Update: 30% attendance at 9:30, 50% at 11, and 30% again at 2.

But guess what? Classrooms were locked at 2. Kuwait University. Go figure!!!

Oh and this from Al-Qabas today: الـجلال يؤكد: لا تهاون في الغياب

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Time precious time

Tomorrow's schedule: Fu6oor with group of friends at 5, Hangout with other group of friends at 8, semi-ghabga with family at 9:30. What about Me-Time?

Been over-blogging lately. Must make more time for other things.
Been over-eating too. But do not intend to do less of that :)

Took my class out today as is my habit when the weather cools down. Weather was perfect.

I need to expand my DVD collection. Watching Big Fish.

William Bougueeau's La Tricoteuse
Her face is captivating. No?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Tagged by Waterlilie

1. Last movie you saw in a theater? Four Brothers.

2.What book are you reading? A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. A Short History of Greek Literature by Said and Trede.

3.Favorite board game? Is Twister a board game? If not, then probably Monopoly.

4.Favorite magazine? Don’t do magazines now. Used to love Ms.

5.Favorite smell? Olive oil and/or fresh baked bread if we’re talking food. Strawberry and Passion Fruits if we’re talking house aroma. Hugo Boss Deep Red if we’re talking me

6. Favorite food? Pasta Pasta Pasta

7. Favorite sound? Waves on a sandy beech

8. Worst feeling in the world? Guilt

9. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up? What are my plans for today?

10. Favorite fast food place? McDonalds

11. Future child's name? Already have 2 boys so this gotta be a girl’s name: I'm liking the name Sara these days

12. Finish this statement. If I had a lot of money: I would.... travel

13. Do you drive fast? Only occasionally

14. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? No and I don’t think I ever did: such a deprived childhood

15. Storms cool or scary? Way cool

16. What was your first car? A BMW that I revolted against and insisted on getting a Honda. Talk about being cheap

17. Favorite Drink? Mango

18. Finish this statement, "If I had the time I would…read and write

19. Do you eat the stems on broccoli? Of course, and those on mushrooms too

20. If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice? Black. Lol I love my hair color

21. Name all the different cities/ towns you have lived in? Kuwait, Raleigh North Carolina, Indiana Pennsylvania, Orlando Florida. (Also Egypt and England as a child)

22. Half empty or half full? Half full, I think

23. Favorite sports to watch? Tennis

24. One nice thing about the person who tagged you? She tagged me. She’s sweet. She eats Sushi. She's good looking. She has a blog. I don’t know enough about her to add more. Oops that’s more than one

25. Morning person, or night owl? Morning person. I'm no vampire

26. Over easy, or sunny side-up? Scrambled with tomatoes

27. Favorite place to relax? My bed

28. Favorite pie? My apple pie :D

I'm tagging Shuroq (in an effort to get her back in the game) and whoever else would like to be tagged.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Who's gay? Who's not?

Tight pants, closeted heroes. What’s hidden behind those masks? Ma 3endy salfa but we were talking about that on the way back from Villa Fayrouz.

Villa Fayrouz!!! I thought I liked the place, turns out I only like the music. We had to keep asking for the menu, keep asking to get some dates (finally 5 dates were scattered on a too big of a plate and served), keep asking to get someone to take our order, their desserts menu is a disgrace, their food is lame, and the service!!! OMG those people were dazed for sure. We had at least 4 waiters, each dumber than the next. The Ramadan spirit must really be kicking in there.

I wanna go out but it’s all too crowded. My boys refuse to wear dishdasha for Eid so I have to go shopping for decent clothes. The Horror! The Horror!

My “A Million Little Pieces” just arrived and I’m looking forward to reading a good book. I hope this one proves to be one. My last, “Five People You Meet in Heaven” was a total disappointment. It was in my car forever and I’d read it at traffic lights, waiting for doctors’ appointments, waiting for friends to get in the car, but it never seemed to finish until 2 days ago.
My bookshelves need to be organized again. I have too many children’s books that I don’t wanna throw away ‘cause my kids read them earlier, but the Dr Seuss and Disney collection doesn’t fit in my den, neither do the boys want it in their rooms. And the files upon files of papers to be organized :/

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I've recently come to realize that freedom of choice is over-rated, that you can't always trust adults to be the ones most qualified to make decisions regarding their lives. More often than not, the right thing to do is not just to be there for those you care about, but to occasionally be their decision-maker.

In general I tend to shy away from telling people what to do, or assuming I have the right to decide for them, or even to provide more than a take-it-or-leave-it advice. Even with my kids, I tend to find myself unable at times to tell them what to do; to order them, assuming that they are old enough to see right and wrong and to act upon it. I assumed that one's job is to be supportive of those she cares about, but I know now, rather late in life, that being supportive doesn't mean you allow those you care about to make decisions that might be harmful to them, or ones they might regret later on. There's nothing wrong with interferring with your loved ones' decisions, telling them what they should and/or shouldn't do, stopping them from doing or attempting to do something that might backfire later on.

I hope this isn't just talk and I actually find it in me to take a more active role in my loved ones' lives.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

London Baby (a la Joey Tribbiani)

Planning a trip to London during the Eid vacation. Haven't been there in ages. Know any good hotels? Any ones I should avoid?

What's frustrating is that I still don't know when that is. When are we gonna move into this century and have some system in our calendar? How are we supposed to plan anything with this bendy system? And what about celebrating New Year on the Saturday following New Year's day? So New Year is on the 7th of January now!!!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Say what?

He's 12. OMG I had to consult my sister to get to the bottom of this. But my main attack of course isn't on my struggle to understand it, I am willing to admit that that may be my own problem. But why all this negativity? A friend of mine keeps repeating that Islam derives from Salam; peace. So why is the second 'religious lesson' my son has to learn still talking about sins? Why does Islam, taught in our schools, mostly focus on sins and punishments?

This is dediated to Ayya who asked for another sample of that endearing Arabic text book.

I miss blogging. Between this mind-boggling daily dosage of the most endearing Arabic homework, the classes I teach, housekeeping, raising two boys who seem to be straying in the wrong direction, socializing (a necessity unfortunately) and of course shopping and going out (come on, I need an outlet :), I barely have time to read/comment on people's blogs lately. Anything new and interesting I'm missing?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

School ... Actual and Official Week 1

Following D&G's account, here's mine:

Week 1: The Official Week 1
Which I usualy set aside for casual introductions and getting to know you kinda sessions.

Sunday 18 Sept.
This is supposed to be where I just to show up, introduce myself, and handout my little let's-not-waste-paper-notecard, telling students they can get all information pertaining to their classes on the website. Go there, register, and start reading the assigned material. Knowing how students don't usually show up during the add/drop period, I choose not to prolong my introduction so as not to repeat myself after days. What I expected to be short sessions evolved a little as many students choose to stay in and chat. Cool.

All my classes are co-ed. Yippee. However, one of these classes was opened for males only and only got changed into a co-ed the last weekend before school "officialy" started. So I end up with one sole female student amidst about 7 or 8 males.

Tuesday 20 Sept. This is when we're supposed to go around introducing ourselves. I'm a teacher, so naturally talkative but the students, well, at least most of them, limited themselves to the name, major, and year intros. Of course there were come exceptions, but not many.

I need datashow for my classes. I asked for it and it was hooked up in my classrooms. It was not the best of datashow machines. Picture continued to appear and disappear during my presentation. So a room change is needed. We must find one with datashow hook-ups ready.

Week 2: The Actual Week 1
In which I begin my teaching, or at least wish to do so.

Half the population in my three classes (OK I might be exagggerating) are attending for the first time. So I had to do a quick intro, for the third time, into what needs to be done. Not enough have done the reading required for the week so discussion is limited.

The new room has datashow connected already, but I had to struggle a bit to get the sound to be loud enough.

I'm sleepy and tired. The movie was longer than I expected last night (though much better than I expected too) and I ended up sleeping at 1:30 only to wake up at 6:30 :( Not enough sleep. So I decide on a nap upon returning today. I hate naps. They pull me down when I finally do wake up.

I'm also bored and my friends are all held up at work still.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Attack, Destruction, Occupation, Enemies

From Arabic School Book, Year 7

Is it just me or is this a little aggressive, or a call to be aggressive? Is talk about enemies the best of topics for 12 year-old school kids?

I love helping my son with his Arabic language studies and homework, but the subject matter ticks me off. Among other words, I had to teach him these:


A criminal mind in the making :(

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Too noisy to work

Sound is muted under water.

In my office building, we used to have some chairs for students' use. A while back, teachers complained about the noise those students make and the chairs were removed (on the claims that it goes against our segregation policy). In reality, it is the teachers themselves who create the most annoying noise. They tend to stand in the hallway to my office and talk in the loudest voice ever.

I usually work best in crowded, noisy environments. Whenever possible, I take my work to a coffee shop where the noise people make there helps me stay attentive to my work and neither fall asleep nor wonder into my own stream of thought. This noise outside my office, however, is more than I can handle.

So now I have an hour to kill before my class starts but can't seem to concentrate enough to do anything productive.

Blogging, on the other hand, is always do-able :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Coffee, Ryan, and work

I'm sitting at Starbucks Behbehani. I thought I liked the place the first time I came as it was rather quiet. But now it's just like all the other starbucks. Maybe worse. Too many kids in here.

Why don't we have a decent coffee shop that overlooks the beach? We have such a beautiful sea (OK a sea at least, even if not so beautiful anymore) but no place to sit and enjoy it. You have to settle for those noisy Nino, Fridays, Chillis is you want a sea-view.

And why are coffee shops becoming such a typical Kuwaiti hang-out visited by that same crowd who used to pollute Sharg and has now moved to Marina? What attracts those noisy kids to Starbucks anyway? It's a coffee place for god's sake. Kids shouldn't even be drinking coffee, should they? (When I took the kids to school today, my 14 year old nephew had a coffee mug in his hand. When asked, he told me that it helps him wake up in the morning. Really? Coffee as a morning meal for a 14 year old!!!!)

Ok I'm going on and on here. About what? I don't know. I'm trying to finish editing this translation so I can begin working on my sullabi for next term. 50 pages left.

My rambling on in this blog isn't gonna help me finish the editing so I'd better say bye for now.

This post is not about The Amityville Horror. I went there needing to be scared and that movie failed. And it didn't help that my movie buddy went crazy everytime Ryan Reynolds appeared topless and deprived me from even a little scare.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

In a smashing mood

I'm hurt.
I'm angry.
I'm frustrated.
I'm terrified.
I'm confused.

Damn it I just feel like smashing something. If I were a guitarist this would be the moment I'd smash all my guitars as hard as possible.

Can't use friends to steam off. Can't use family either. I hate this feeling and my only smashing abilites are this f***ing blog.

I hate being the adult in a relationship of two adults. It sucks and I refuse to play it.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


I took up diving last summer and eventually got my license last August but haven't gone diving since. So this weekend, I decided to put that damn license to use and actualy go diving with my brothers who have been nagging on me to accompany them. I thought I needed some coaching but it's like riding a bike, you never really forget it. I had some trouble with my ear pressure going down but nothing substantial. Unfortunately the water wasn't too clear that Wednesday.

I can't say I enjoyed the dive that much. We stayed in the water around 40 minutes and I was ready to surface after the first 10 minutes or so. Feeding a Dory-look-alike was fun though, those blue fish actually come and nibble at the oyster I held for them. I doubt if it's the same species as Nemo's Dory; they look flatter and the tail's a bit different. I got a picture here but with the water being this murky, you can hardly see a thing.

Swimming wasn't that much fun either as the water was a bit hot. So after the dive, all we did was stay on the boat, eat, and listen to music. And I was so eager to go swimming last week. I don't know what happened when I actually got there.

Here's a close-up of the blue blob:

Sunday, August 28, 2005

New Look

I'm glad Katrina left Cecilia and her family untouched. I'm also glad I'm no longer in orlando to have to worry about yet another hurricane. When I asked a friend in Orlando about why he choose to move into an area flooded by hurricanes on a yearly basis, he said that the risk of hurricanes is made up for by the beautiful weather that state has year round. I didn't think it was worth it when I was there. I still don't think it's worth it. I lived in Pennsylvania for over 3 years and all the snow that they all complain about is nothing compared to the threat of hurricanes in Florida. But what do I know?

September aproaching. New school year. So why not a new template? Blue because I like blue.

The chef at Sakura managed to entertain me as though I'm a 7 year old. Food wasn't too bad either but I think I'm losing my interest in Japanese food. Their salmon crab and avocado salad is great though. I'd go again just to have that dish.

No books to report on this time. Just food. And now I'm hungry and feel like a good piece of juicy steak. Not the ones they serve in our crappy seaside restaurants. Anyone for Terrace Grill? I love their Fillet Mignon (sp!). Or maybe LeNotre for their sole. Hmmm. I'm hungry. Ciao.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Gardenias and more

The third book I read during my European Vacation was in Arabic. After my disappointment with عمارة يعقوبيان I decided to brave it again and hit another one in my mother tongue. The choice this time fell on رأيت رام الله for مريد البرغوثي . Now let me switch to Arabic for a change:

في هذه الرواية يعبر البرغوثي عن رفضه للنظرة الحالمة للمدن الفلسطينية والتي يريد منها معظم الكتاب الرجوع إلى ما كانت عليه تلك المدن في الماضي، ويرجح أن تتغير تلك المدن وتتطور نحو المستقبل كما الحال في باقي الدول. كما ينتقد أيضا إعلان الهزيمة كنصر للمهزوم. ويعبر البرغوثي عن آرائه تلك من خلال سرد لحياة مريد البرغوثي و رجوعه لبلده رام الله بعد 30 سنة من الغربة تلت نكسة 1967، افتراقه الدائم عن عائلته الكبيرة وإسرته الصغيرة. لقاءات صغيرة تجمع العائلة وتكشف عن ما يسميه البرغوثي "طرافة المأساة" حيث يمتلك أفراد الأسرة الواحدة جوازات سفر ما يزيد عن 7 دول.
من أكثر المقاطع تأثيرا كان موت أخيه في باريس بعيدا عن أهله وحيرة مريد في كيفية إبلاغ والدته دون التسبب بوفاتها.

OK back to English now. I get tired typing in Arabic. :) The book is wonderful. ALbargothy tells his story beautifully, succeeding in gaining the reader’s empathy away from the dramatic/romantic grieving of a man without a country. I recommend this book strongly.

Now to less literary matters. The weather’s improving slightly. Either that or I’m just bored limiting my self to indoor outings (I love that oxymoron) so I decided to go walking by the scientific center. It wasn’t too bad; a little humid but bearable. I don’t think I can manage jogging yet. It’s still too hot for that and I’m still not totally back in shape. Isn’t it totally annoying how easy you can fall out of shape and what a drag it is to get it back again. Age doesn’t seem to help there either. Our bodies become so stubborn as we grow older. Urgh.

Oh and I got myself a gardenia. No flowers yet. Hope it stays green. Plants tend to die in my care. :(

I think I’m gonna brave the weather again and try our mamsha in jabria now. Later amigos.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Da Vinci Code?...Really?

So what's all this fuss about? There's nothing artistic about the telling of this novel. The search for the Holy Grail reveals many secrets and hidden stories to the grand-daughter of the leader of an organization whose main aim is to preserve the real story of Jesus; his humanity, as opposed to the Church's rendition of him as son of god. My 16 year old son, currently obsessed with finding codes and conspiracies within every feature of life naturally loved the book, as a code-breaking sort of game maybe. As for a novel, this book fails miserably. It's gripping indeed and you would want to finish exposing its codes, but that's about it.

OK and now I'm sounding a lot like my dad in his reaction to our visit to the Museum Der Moderne in Salzburg: THIS IS NOT ART

Side-note: Members in my book club, dwindling in size after my abandonment of it for a year, loved this book almost as much as my son did. Go figure :s Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Portrait of the Snail

ONCE upon a time and a very good time it was there was a girl who went on a family trip for 4 weeks...

Since the highlights of my trip have already been listed here , I think my after-vacation highlights will be on the books I managed to finish during. For now anyway. I might mention the trip later on. Italy is amazing. A family trip isn't.

I finally finished reading Portrait of the Artist by James Joyce. I'd read his Ulysses in a hurry for a course in Irish literature and my boring Irish teacher turned it into a wearisome book. Either that or I was too cramped with all that I had to read that a big book of beautiful verse caused me nothing but stress in trying to decipher its many allegories. Portrait is less elusive and more coherent. It reads like a dream, naturally, in a very Joycean manner, even when it's not a dream that Stephen is recalling, and those are many. It's one of those books that I would be willing to read again (as I would Ulysses...sigh...when I can actually find the time)

The German Snail is symbolic of how slow the 4 weeks passed, though how beautiful. I suck at symbolism, which explains why I struggled with Ulysses. J Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

On Vacation...

Or soon to be on vacation. Leaving with La Familia tomorrow so will be off-blogging for about a month. You will be missed.

Still can't fit in all my pants, can't swim, can't take really long walks (as will be a must in Europe), which means I'd have to do alot of reading as La Familia intends to leave me with my book(s) while they enjoy Europe. Lot's of reading, lots of coffee.

I'm taking رأيت رام الله and Portrait of an Artist. My book club will meet over Da Vinci Code in August so must try to find a paperback in the airport. Something tells me I'd need more books.

Do people smoke less or more in Europe? S, how about we campaign against N?

Monday, July 04, 2005

Smoking and عمارة يعقوبيان

So smoking is not allowed in closed public areas in Kuwait, right? Or am I wrong? Wasn't Marina Mall smoke-free when it opened? Can't one go shopping without having to put up with arrogant selfish smokers blowing their fumes everywhere. They seem to be encouraged by the mall too since they have those huge trashcans/ashtrays scattered everywhere now. I can't enjoy sitting outside in restaurants anymore in Kuwait since sheesha's becoming a fad with everyone and it's ruining all those otherwise pleasant outdoor areas.

I just finished عمارة يعقوبيان and I don't seem to find it as interesting as everyone was telling me. Somehow when I haven't read Arabic in a while and then pick it up again, I don't seem to be able to enjoy it. I know people would argue that the language is rich and more poetic, but I can't seem to find myself into it as much as I do when I read an English book. Well, that's not always the case of course. Occasionally I do find books that are gripping and hard to let go of, but in general I think I am more receptive to English.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


So the setting was much better this time. Darker and simpler. They still insist on the school-style guitar figurines at the corners of the stage, but they're not too noticable. So Nazzal, you were partially right. It's not that we lack aesthetic appreciation. It's just that we are simply a "Don't give a damn" people, an "I don't wanna bother" nation. Music was good. Light and easy-going.

Nino's pasta was even better.

And spending time out with my sisters was even bester.
Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Syrian Rock

Last night I went to Kelna Sawa in Meshref. Cultural activity in Kuwait. Such a stretch from the Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos concerts. The music was good, but the setting is 80's school days. The majlis elwatani need to employ some people with taste to take care of presenting those artists. Why do Kuwaitis, or is it Arabs in general, pay so little attention to presentation. Whether it's our food or our music the general trend seems to be that its the content that matters. Why this lack of interest in appearance? Looks do matter. When are we gonna learn that? Our cuisine could use a great deal of improvement in that. I mean seriously, machboos or ghozi are so ugly-looking. And now our music, or the music presented in our theatres, seems to be served as un-stylistically as our food.

Am I rambling? Kaify it's my blog :)

My stitches are finally removed. I can start exercising in 10 weeks, and heavy swimming in 6. Not too bad.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Still no internet at my house so my visits to blogville are meager. Have a few hours online only and that is when I'm at my parents' house next door. Used to be online 24/7 so this is new to me. But I think I'm liking the break.

What got into my head that I can go shopping a week after a major surgery? I hate staying home so I ventured to the movies last night and that went fine. From the car to Fanar movie theatres is not much of a walk and the seats there are comfortable enough for me to relax. So today I thought I could go shopping. Nothing major. I needed trashcans, ended upp buying a desk and bookshelf for my son. I thought Landmark for a short stroll won't be too bad. WRONG. My right leg and arm hurt like hell right now. Some numbness accompanied by some muscle aches. It might be the effect of the anesthetics or maybe the blood loss.

So what to do tomorrow? Should I listen to my body and stay home? Or can I venture into a leisurely hangout at a coffee house? We'll see.

There's a planned trip to Europe in 3 weeks. I have a list of reasons why I shouldn't go. I still miss family and friends here, I have work to do, I'm on a very tight budget, I don't know if I can enjoy Europe with a body that don't seem as strong and don't know if 3 weeks is enough time to get my strength back. But how can I tell my parents I don't wanna go without upsetting them. Ever since my mom suffered from an angina attack I find it hard to do anything that upsets her even slightly.

I just added the LR3 to the list of cars I'm looking into. Still car-less, which isn't too bad since I can'd drive yet anyway and friends and family seem more than willing to drive me anywhere.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Blood Blood Blood

So if you get 400KD worth of blood in you, how much is that?
They told me 4 bags of blood and 2 of plasma. Prior to that, I was, according to the testimony of those I scared, totally bloodless, utterly white. So without those 4 bags I was totally drained. Whoever that/those people were who gave me their blood: I thank you.

Been out of blogville for a long long time. I miss my blogger neighbors so this post will be short and I am off to pay some visits.

Friday, June 03, 2005


I’m home. Finally. Lousy internet connection but I managed to read a few blogs again after having been cut off for about a week. I couldn’t post any comments as I’m still using dial-up, so I’m not totally settled yet, just enough to be able to pay a few visits.
It sure is good to be home. My first day here my phone didn’t stop ringing, and though this used to bother me before, I still miss my family and friends a lot and the constant phone calls are now a pleasure. It was a rather busy week though, or maybe not so busy Kuwaiti-style, but I’ve been in the US for the last year and am still not used to those daily nights out. Dinner party Monday, cultural activity Tuesday, dinner again Wednesday, girl’s hangout at my place Thursday over Chinese and “Kharaj Wa Lam Ya3ud” (Now that was the highlight of my week), dinner out again tonight, and so on and so on. Mornings haven’t been that quiet either.

There’s no place like home (shoes clicking three times)

VW Touareg, Lexus RX 330 or my all-time favorite Jag? Can’t decide!!!!! What else is out there?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Bye Bye Orlando

Auvers Village
Originally uploaded by noony67.
This is my last post from Orlando. Blogging will be halted for me until I settle back home. I’m anxious to get home but certain I will soon miss my little place here.

I had my farewell dinner at the house of this amazing friend/ex-teacher Cecilia over some Cuban music intersected with the playful guitar playing of the cutest 3 year old ever. Victor could only play after he finished tuning his guitar strings. He miraculously does that by grabbing each string and rubbing it. Once his guitar is ‘tuned’, Victor decided to play for us his own version of a song about a mouse and a cow. In his song the cow jumped over the sun and the dish ran away with the mouse. I’ll post his picture when I get back home and have full access to all my computer accessories.

This is such a wonderful family that even my two sons, who are usually reluctant to socialize, wanted to prolong our stay there. Unfortunately I had to leave and come back to packing. I am now officially packed and ready to head home, already missing Cecilia and her family.

In recognition of the end of my stay here, I change my name to its original, un-shortened, un-nicked version.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Field Greens at California Pizza Kitchen

I think this is my new favorite Italian. This salad comes with sugar-coated nuts and pears. I love it. Reminds me of those amazing salads my cousin makes.

I wanted to add a picture of my pizza too but didn't know how to do multiple pictures in one post and am too sleepy to bother now. Click on the picture and it'll take you to flickr where you can see the pizza. Yum.

I love playing with the little notes you can add to the picture though, as you can see :)

What's your favorite Italian in Kuwait?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Tribute to My Bike

I'd write a poem if I had any talent writing those. Having found none even after I begged for my muse to pay me a visit, I choose prose instead.

My biking days are over. Those refreshing morning trips I used to take from my place to Winter Park Starbucks, with my laptop in my backpack, my (67) cap on my head, have finally come to an official end now that my bike is given away in preparation for returning home. I now have to settle for biking around our dismal neighborhood in Kuwait with my boys, nephews and nieces before fu6oor in Ramathan. As much as I miss my Kuwaiti neighborhood and those fun little rides with the kids, Kuwaiti streets are not very bike-friendly.

Well, I guess talent writing prose I do not have either (didn't catch episode III yet but I can still mimic Yoda.) And no. I'm no Star Wars fan, I watch the new ones for Natalie Portman's beautiful presence.

Touchdown in 9 days :)

Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


My joy shall not be clouded by those crazy restrictions. Not today anyway.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Is it just me or is this a beautiful sight? Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

2 Weeks

My To-Do List:
1. Provide the boys' schools with new address to send transcripts.
2. Disconnect phone, cable, power, internet, cell phones, hotspot, blockbuster.
3. Call furniture store to pick up furniture.
4. Change address with Bank.
5. Call Kuwait Airways.
6. Arrange time and date with shipping company.
7. Return books to library.
8. Call Cecilia and Murphy to thank for their help.
9. Find buyer for car.
10. Get rid of extra furniture.

And if there's time: shop, shop, and shop. Barnes & Noble and Gap (I hate shopping for boys in Kuwait) I'm gonna miss dearly :(

Oh and of course, PACK. The horror! The horror!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Am I Faithful Am I Strong

It's 7:30. I'm getting ready to leave, and X sends an msn message. Now I haven't talked to X in ages (ages is a relative term of course, it could be one hour or 10 years, depending on the person), but I have to go. Sarah is waiting on stage, N and B in the car. How can I dismiss someone I haven't talked to for that long? Can't I give them at least 5 minutes. Sarah would still be there and N and B won't mind waiting too much. Except of course, I wanna go out and have fun and I'm worried that a conversation longer than 'hi how are you gotta go' might ruin the experience for me. I tend to obsess over my friends. I don't show it, I almost never show my true feelings. Some call me cold, some pure rude, some a snob. I think what it is is that I don't have enough confidence to say and do what I would want to say and do. Of course this might just be an excuse for someone who is really just cold, rude, and a snob. A cold-hearted bitch.

So I tell X I gotta go. I'm heading to enjoy Sarah but I know even before that msn message that I won't be in the right mood. So when she appears on stage to do a duo with The Perishers, I don't cheer with the rest, I don't see it in me, again obsessing about losing a friend. The Perishers retire and I think what I need to get in the mood is a glass of Chardonnay (sp?), and that does help a little. When Sarah says Am I faithful am I strong, I finally kick it with her, regardless of the fact that I am neither faithful nor strong. Now is it the wine or does that song actually speaks my mind? 'All your expectations bury me':
>>All my insecurities
>>Try to own my destiny
>>But I can make or break it if I choose
>>You take my words and twist them around
>>Till I'm the one who brings you down
>>Make me feel like I'm the one to blame
>>For all this
Does Sarah know me that well? And then she says:
>>I have to take myself away from you
>>Cause I can't compete
>>I can't deny
>>There's nothing that I hadn't tried
>>How did I go so wrong in loving you?
And I immediately want to sms X those words. What stops me, what stops me every single time I think I should let go, is fear of letting go. I don't wanna lose X for good.

If you know you're causing pain to someone close, if you know that your words of comfort are bringing them down, if you know they're better off without your cold-hearted friendship, do you let go?

The truth is I am neither faithful nor strong enough to do that.

 Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

A Dedication

When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,
When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on
Don’t let yourself go, everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong. now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone, hold on, hold on
If you feel like letting go, hold on
When you think you’ve had too much of this life, well hang on

’cause everybody hurts. take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts. don’t throw your hand. oh, no. don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone, no, no, no, you are not alone

If you’re on your own in this life, the days and nights are long,
When you think you’ve had too much of this life to hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes,
Everybody cries. and everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes. so, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts. you are not alone

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Goodbye Book Club

Today I said goodbye to my book club. Six meetings only, lasting two hours each, but an interesting experience while it lasted. I figured taking a picture of the books is faster than typing their names. Secret Life of Bees and Kite Runner were my favorite two. Very dramatic the way I like my novels to be :) Paradise Alley was good too but a little too depressing, reminded us all of Gangs of New York. Me Talk Pretty One Day is a fun read, The Professor and the Madman interesting in a way, The Bridge Across Forever is supposed to develop into some sort of science fiction but the first 100 pages didn't appeal to me so I stopped reading. Posted by Hello

Friday, April 29, 2005

Wanna Live In A Perfect World?

What is a perfect world? Is it the end of hunger, war, genocide, hatred, headaches? Seriously, if the killing ended, would we be complaining about how bad it is to live in a world where we have to have headaches every once in a while? Am I making sense? Well, I am, in my headache-less head. And since this is my blog, my creation, ‘my own,’ I can make as much non-sense as I want.

Paradise. Toni Morrison. Blacks created their paradise, made only of blue blacks. Worked until the kids started rephrasing Beware the Forrow of His Brow into Be the Forrow of His Brow.
Brave New World. Aldous Huxley. Suma takes away all your pain and gives you happiness. And it is 100% legal, and encouraged.
The Time Machine. HG Wells. I still remember an old movie production in which the time machine lands in a world made only of beautiful young blonds. And then the siren goes off.
The Female Man. Joanna Russ. Another time travel plot that looks at 3 (or maybe 4) futuristic worlds.
Herland. Carlottle Perkins Gilman. Amazon-like world. No men to be found. When they come, they mess it up :)
And of course what started it all: Plato’s Republic and More's Utopia.
I’m leaving out a lot. But I’m always intrigued by Utopias/Dystopias.

So. A Perfect World. You wanna?

This post is brought to you by inspiration of Hotel Rwanda.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

What troubles Africa?

Politics is not my game. But even with my level of ignorance I know that that place is havoc, one I tend to mostly forget about until I see movies that remind me that there's a dark continent somewhere on this earth that has been made into the big mess it is today because a group of blonds decided that borders have to be drawn. (OK I know that not all Europeans are blond)

I've lately been very sensitive to putting labels and defining people or actions. I don't want to theorize but it's precisely that act of defining that enables people to think they're better than others. I know that labeling is useful in many cases, but so are drugs and knives and even guns. What to do?

I remember the controversy over Alexander and how I insisted on clarifying for those who called him gay that labeling a person based on an act he or she does is a very modern way of looking into things, relatively speaking, and that at that time, Alexander was merely a man who engaged in homosexual activities, which is a long stretch from calling him gay. (I read Foucault late in life, but it was quite a read) We have labels for everything. You scream once, you're hysteric; you worry a little, you're obsessive compulsive; your mind drifts off a bit, you have ADD; and the list goes on. I know that defining helps limit the problem, contain it, and as such, treat it, but in doing all that aren't we also inflating the problem?

I don't have answers I never do. It's always questions but never answers.

I'm lecturing. My favorite pastime :) Occupational hazard so to speak.

On a lighter note: Kidman is gorgeous.
"I'll be honest with you," she says, "I don't know how honest I can be with you." Don't you just love this line? Or "vengeance is a lazy form of grief." I tell you. That woman is amazing. Yeah yeah I know she didn't write those lines, but still...

Posted by Hello

Friday, April 22, 2005

جريمة الـجهراء

This story brought tears to my eyes while reading it. And I am not one to cry easily. What is this? Reads like a Wally Lamb. How grotesque. The poor children, those who died and those who will hopefully make it. What life awaits them?

Still can't stop those tears from falling...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

وجودكِ بالبيت راحة

A Johnson&Johnson ad shows dad taking care of baby.
A Stainmaster ad shows dad trying to help baby to sleep by putting him down on the carpet.
A Cheerios ad shows dad and baby sharing cereal.
A Dairy Queen ad shows baby trying to snatch dad's ice-cream.

Media has a great effect in prescribing while supposedly describing our way of life. Our Kuwaiti TV perpetually shows images of moms as the sole caretakers of babies and dads as the sole breadwinners. No wonder sexism seems on the rise in Kuwait. If it existed before only in our heads, it's now being enforced by good sweet media.

One of the images that really get to me, still, even after almost a year spent here, is seeing dads pushing their babies' strollers while going for their morning jogs in the park. Nothing especially amazing in the image except for the fact that it will be missed when I head back home. How rare is this image in Kuwait? Does it even exist? How can it even begin to be incorporated when what meets us in the streets is a billboard reading "wejodich bilbait ra7a" (translation: Your staying home is comforting) under the picture of a woman, never a man of course? Not to mention our wonderfully educational Ramadan Kuwaiti series that add more flame to this image.
What does it even perpetuate? That women should quit their jobs and stay home for their children?

Rights to vote!!! Are you kidding me? How about the simple right to choose a life?
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Saturday, April 16, 2005

A MidApril Night's Dream

Immediately after taking this picture, this woman to the right came to tell me photography isn't allowed. So the only picture I have of Shakespeare in the park is this barren stage.

It was freezing but most enjoyable.

I leave you, dear blog, with the bard himself:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend,
If you pardon, we will mend.

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Friday, April 15, 2005

UCF Library

So my laptop's busted which makes it a great opportunity for me to go to the library. Cyber world usually distracts me from more frequent visits. I have a slight cold, but I figure a walk will do me good, especially since the sun's out and there's light breeze in the air. So I pack my bag and head to UCF Library which reminds me of my rare visits to our own library in Shuwaikh and the rows upon rows of empty shelves. The disgrace!!! Why build a library this huge when you can't fill it with books? It looks pathetic.
Anyway, back to UCF, the actual library where shelves are stacked. I finish part of my research and decide to head home to rest my cold. Two steps out of the place and it starts pouring. Now if you're not familiar with rain in Florida; it usually is a quick shower that soaks you wet, ending within a few minutes. In my case, it lasted exactly from the library to my car. By the time I get in the car, my clothes are soaked, my feet frozen, my headache worse than ever, and my cold … oh well, you catch my drift. Now any sane person would know never to leave home without an umbrella in Florida. But I'm a Kuwaiti to the bones and rain for us is not to be shielded by umbrellas, but enjoyed for its rarity. (Though from what I heard of the last heavy rainstorm in Kuwait and what it did to traffic, that might soon change)
That was yesterday. Laptop still sick, so is its owner. Yet today's visit to the library was sunnier and less painful. So I leave you and me with a picture of a place I will soon miss when I go back to KU.
Taking the family to Lake Eola's Amphitheatre later tonight for A Midsummer Nights Dream. Will fill you in later dear blog.
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