Thursday, December 28, 2006
Coelho’s Veronika was the topic of discussion in today’s book club. I’d have to say that I’m surprised at the fame this author’s getting. The book was made of one cliché after another. A group of people in a mental asylum come to enlighten us to the fact that “all of us, one way or another, are mad.” Self-help, inspirational, spiritual how to appreciate life books are boring. Where’s the juice?
Veronika decides to die. Dr. Igor steps in and shocks her into wanting to live. Now what gives a person the right to decide for others? She made her choice. Who is he to intervene?
If someone you love or care about wants to do something that you think is harmful, how far would you go to stop them? Do you have the right to interfere in other people’s lives based on your own way of deciding what’s good and bad, what’s right and wrong? What if that’s not how they see things?
Eh ... too late to continue this post.
Now I have to decide on our book for next month.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Their mother's talent shows itself here. Pecan pie was amazing. I'm craving a piece to end my day.
I like massages. Do you? Foot massages are probably my favorite (or maybe the most effective turn on ... that and hand massages. But hey, a full body massage always makes my day as well :)
What's your favorite, most erogenous body part to be massaged?
My mother's occasional heart pain frightens me :s
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Day 1: Frontiers of Dreams and Fears.
A touching movie, as all movies are that involve children struggling in a hostile world. Mona and Manar, in their open display of emotions, naturally perplexing for teenage girls, made even more so by the complexity of life in the camps, succeeded in touching the heart of every member of the audience. A dilemma in itself, as one viewer commented, since in an age when struggles between Palestine and Israel are intensifying, in an age where we are becoming brutally aware of the futility of this struggle and of the need to find a way that enables the two nations to live in peace, in an age where younger people are drawn into this unfair struggle, it is important to remember that over the past 50 years of conflict, Israel has been winning, and Palestine losing. Maybe a movie like this should touch our emotions in a more subtle way, reminding us that what these children, what all children need, is a peaceful environment.
Day 2: Rachida.
I fell in love with Rachida. Her face, her sadness, her joy, her fear… It was an overwhelming film. Being a teacher myself, films about teachers always attract me. But the attraction to this movie goes beyond Rachida being a school teacher. ‘Thugs,’ as they were aptly termed by a viewer, attack the streets randomly and with no apparent motive, with the mere intention to hurt. And they hurt. Boys with guns. What a dangerous combination. Add to that the element of despair, and the combination becomes deadly. Rachida the teacher, Rachida the woman, however, continues her life, in spite, or maybe because of, these thugs’ incessant attempt to ruin life.
Day 3: Women Who Loved Cinema.
Egypt in the 20s. Such a long time ago. Such glory it had. What happened to it all? Where did all this go? What a wonderfully enlightened place to be at, this Egypt of the 20s. Democracy, social reform, whatever you want to call it, it always damages culture. The Egypt of Kings was a more cultural, artistic, intellectual Egypt. Why does art conflict with humanity?
Day 4: The Circle.
The first reaction to this film was from an Irani woman, angered by the ugly picture the film seems to give of Iran. To her, the picture is distorted and false. To her, Iran is not a prison for its women. But to the rest of the audience, this is indeed the case with Iran as it is the case with most, if not all, Islamist countries. Women without men just can’t do. The Circle intensifies this as it presents us with women who escape prison, women who give birth in prison, women who are pregnant without a husband. There seems to be this utmost denial towards admitting that we hurt. That we might be unjustly treated. That we might be oppressed. We are a nation who refuses to ‘air our laundry’ it seems. We do not have our Oprah and our Springers (such stark comparison). We do not seem to be ready, yet, to admit our own weaknesses.
Day 5: Lebanon: Bits and Pieces.
An interesting exposition of the mentality of a few Lebanese living in the early 90s when the Civil War has just ended but people’s morale were still not very high. Optimism was still a dream. Religious identity and national identity become a debate as we meet those Lebanese men and women who do not yet know if they are Muslims or Christians. If they are Arabs or Lebanese. If they should speak Arabic or French. If they should instill Western liberal ethics in their children, or Eastern traditional ones. Identity became an interesting debate in the discussion that ensued and our film week director ended with what I thought was an insightful and challenging argument, insisting that this holding on to one’s identity needs to be questioned. This need to assert I am Lebanese, I am Kuwaiti, I am Muslim, I am Christian, should all be debated as to its purpose in a global world where we are all mestizas*.
* Gloria Andalzua’s La Frontera/Borderland is an interesting text to read around this issue.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Childhood is presented in such a fierce, possibly even grotesque light. These are children abandoned to their own whims, forced by this abandonment to grow beyond their young years. Kwita, Ali, Boubaker and Omar would touch your heart for sure. Trust me.
It's amazing what a few cans of glue does to those kids :)
Selections for our English Day are approaching and I'm already dreading having to turn a few people down :( "No" is not the easiet word for me to say.
OK now for more personal matters. If your friends repeat the same attack on your personality, does that make that attack valid? Does that mean you have to try to change? And if you do want to change, is that even possible? But then is it also possible for you to expect your friends to take you as you are (ya3ni no refunds or exchange here)?
Been craving Salzburg lately: that restaurant next to that museum up above the clouds, rain drizzling slightly, wine teasing us like that drizzling rain, and the company of my 2 favorite sisters and my 2 favorite parents (yes I only have 2 but I swear they would be my favorite still), and my Nunu:
Monday, November 13, 2006
برنامج ديوانية الأفلام
Film Diwaniyya Program
19th of November
للمخرج : هاني أبو السعد
about the film
Directed by: Hani Abu-Asaad
26th of November
للمخرج : نبيل عيوش
about the film
Directed by: Nabeel Ayoush
3rd of December
خمن من القادم للعشاء
للمخرج : ستانلي كريمر
about the film
Guess Who's Coming for Dinner
Directed by: Stanley Kramer
10th of December
للمخرج : زانج يمو
official site of the movie
Directed by: Zhang Yimou
17th of December
في الخامسة بعد الظهر
للمخرجة : سميرة مخملباف
about the film
At Five in the Afternoon
Directed by: Samira Makhmalbaf
24th of December
للمخرج : لي جيونج
about the film
Scent of Love
Directed by: Lee Jeong
So basically its every Sunday
Screening starts at 7:00pm
In Al-Qibliyya School
Schedule and links taken from 2 6 8. He also has a map of the place there if you're interested. Thanks antihero.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
رسومات إباحية في مقرر الأدب الإنكليزي في الجامعة
الفهيد يمنع كتاب الأدب الإنكليزي ويحيل مسؤولين إلى التحقيق
العنزي يدعو الطبطبائي إلى التحقق من كيفية تدريس كتاب في الجامعة يحوي تجاوزات أخلاقية
الفهيد: لا رسوم إباحية في مقرر الإنكليزي
بلقيس النجار: الإرهاب الفكري
What started as a response to individual comments in my previous post began to spread into its own post. So following up on the previous post, I choose to insert my reply here:
Action needs to be taken. But that does not diminish the effect of whining and bitching on this blog. I think whining and bitching can lead to action, or even compliment action.
With that said, I agree with the sentiment that calls for action. What would you like to do about those censors who are blind to culture?
At a time when our faculty, among other faculties, is working towards being internationally accredited, we have these forces of darkness who can and will put a stop to any progressive thought. The censoring of art is only one part of this. There is an even more dangerous censoring of thought. If we are not permitted to think freely and without fear, then the matter of banning a book because of some indecent paintings is just the start. What's next?
Kuwait university is not a shitty institution. I have met quite a few enlightened minds among my students and fellow faculty members. It is true that their voices are usually low, but that is the unfortunate result of this open-mindedness that puts me at a position of accepting the oposing thought even when this opposing thought disagrees with my basic rights. We are not quiet because we are passive. We are quiet because we are not aggressive. Politics demands aggressive action. I am not an aggressive person. And I refuse to be an aggressive person, even realizing that my apparent passivity makes my voice hard to hear. I strongly believe in allowing the other to voice their thoughts. How would I raise my voice when I know that raising my voice would shush other voices?
I know most of you disagree with this. I know that most of you think that passivity is not accepted at this stage. But I cannot change what I believe in just to win a cause, no matter how important that cause is. I might have made that mistake before, and I might make it again in the future. But I refuse to knowingly make it now.
I cannot yell and mute other voices. I cannot scream that my opinion is the only right opinion. I simply cannot do that. I have always thought that was because I didn't have enough strength to do that. But I have lately come to realize that my passivity is part of my nature, a nature that refuses to allow me to enforce my thoughts on anyone.
If you're a warrior, go ahead and grab your sword. I am no warrior.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
العنزي يدعو الطبطبائي إلى التحقق من كيفية تدريس كتاب في الجامعة يحوي تجاوزات أخلاقية
The problem is that the dean has my copy now so I can't post those pictures here :(
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
"They call me “La Agrado” … because I’ve always tried to make people’s lives agreeable. As well as being agreeable, I’m very authentic! Look at this body! All made to measure. Almond-shaped eyes – 80,000. Nose – 200,000. A waste of money. Another beating the following year left it like this. It gives me character, but if I’ve know, I wouldn’t have touched it. I’ll continue. Tits – two, because I’m no monster. 70,000 each, but I’ve more than earned that back. Silicone in – Lips, forehead, cheeks, hips and ass. A pin costs about 100,000 so you work it out, because I’ve lost count. Jaw reduction – 75,000. Computer laser depilation … because women, like men, also come from apes. 60,000 a session. It depends how hairy you are. Usually two to four sessions. But if you’re a flamenco diva, you’ll need more. Well, as I was saying … it costs a lot to be authentic, ma’am. And one can’t be stingy with these things … because you are more authentic the more you resemble what you’ve dreamed of being."
This is how Agrado, one of the many interesting characters in Almodovar's movie, captivated her audience. I fell in love with Almodovar when I watched Hable con Ella (Talk to Her) a few years back. Todre Sobre Mi Madre is another of his masterpieces.
Thank you Coquette for giving me the movie, and since ne habla espagnol, thank you also Attiya for providing me with the English version.
Friday, October 27, 2006
I'm becoming quite a TV junkie. My latest obsession is Rome. Here's one of the interesting dialogues in the show:
Titus Pullo: What are they. Stars?
Lucius Vorenus: Stars. They're holes in the celestial spheres. Holes through which the light of the heavens shine
TP: How big are these holes?
LV: They’re big. They only seem small to us because they’re hundreds of miles away.
TP: Big enough for a man to climb through?
LV: I suppose. A man would never be able to get up there in the first place.
TP: I don’t see why not?
TP: He could hold on to a giant bird.
LV: It doesn’t work like that.
TP: Why not?
LV: It’s philosophy. Hard to explain. (At which point, short for an answer, LV escapes into sleep)
Titus is becoming a favorite of mine. If nothing else, he seems to know his way around women. But that's another matter. This is Titus debating 'philosophy'
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
My Eid starts today since my students decided not to attend on Saturday. And since my Eid break begins today, my Eid greetings are sent out to you today. Have a wonderful week y'all.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
What the hell's going on?
What happened to Hurley? And what about the other survivors?
On a more delightful, yet equally puzzling note, I just ordered pizza from Papa Johns (my son recommended it as better than Hut and Domino's). Do you think I'll like it?
Have a nice weekend everyone.
Mom. Dad. Have loads of fun.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
I loved the change in the beginning; I get to stay at work longer than usual, not worrying about going home to catch lunch with the kids; Fu6oor time is less rushed than lunch and we get to hang out after we eat as opposed to everyone scattering to their rooms to rest; we are more easily satisfied with one meal aday as opposed to the breakfast, lunch and dinner of off-Ramadan days; you get to stay out real late at night which can be fun for a while ...
But bs. Kafy. Let's go back to regular schedules where you can go out for a cup of coffee in the morning (or tea, or juice, or whatever); where you can order junk food whenever you feel like it; where you don't have to have sweet sweet syrupy desserts that leave you full and heavy for the rest of the day; where you can drink water when thirsty (now isn't that just a natural thing to do: you hunger, you eat; you thirst, you drink?)
Two more weeks ... Yalla shensawee ba3ad?
Two very dear friends threw me this breakfast a while back. I miss one so very much, almost as much as I miss having breakfast :P
Happy Gergay3an everyone.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
How very much like home. But this is not the heat of our Kuwait. It is “The End of the world” as Morrison calls it, Isle des Chevaliers, the setting for her third novel Tar Baby, where “clouds and fish were convinced that the world was over;” and where “champion daisy trees …, part of the rain forest already two thousand years old and scheduled for eternity, … ignored the men and continued to rock the diamondbacks that slept in their arms. It took the river to persuade them that indeed the world was altered. That never again would rain be equal, and by the time they realized it …, it was too late. The men had already folded the earth where there had been no fold and hollowed her where there had been no hollow.”
The setting in this amazing novel is more than just vivid. It speaks louder than the characters.
The clouds looked at each other, then broke apart in confusion. Fish heard their hooves as they raced off to carry the news of the scatterbrained river to the peaks of hills and the tops of the champion daisy trees. But it was too late. The men had gnawed through the daisy trees until, wild-eyed and yelling, they broke in two and hit the ground.
This discomformity in the setting is reflected in Morrison’s main characters. Here are some of them:
Jadine: lost her mother at an early age so was raised by her uncle Sidney and his wife Ondine who work for a wealthy white man, Valerian Street. Valerian provides for Jadine’s education and other expenses, so she lives a more privileged life than most black Southern girls.
Son: escapes from a ship where he is forced to work, and lands in Valerian’s house where Valerian attempts to ‘civilize’ him. He meets Jadine but their relationship does not succeed as Jadine realizes that they come from two opposite backgrounds and the savage in Son conflicts with the more polished Jadine.
Margaret Street: married 38 year old Valerian when she was 18. She used to abuse her son Michael. Ondine told on her when Michael was an adult, during a Christmas dinner party. Margaret blames Ondine for not stopping her then, claiming she was young and needed guidance.
Sidney and Ondine: raise Jadine like their own daughter but are disappointed when in the end she does not ‘pay them back,’ to which Ondine remarks “She’s not a savings account, … You don’t get interest back.” Ondine tells Jadine that “if she never learns how to be a daughter, she can’t never learn how to be a woman.” But Jadine insists that Ondine’s definition of womanhood is not the only one available.
This is Morrison at her richest in terms of the complexity of characters. It is also one of her richest novels in terms of presenting faulty character without allowing the reader to indulge in passing judgment, a strength in all Morrison's novels, but one that is more evident here.
Read Tar Baby. It is worth your time. It is also worth the possible headache you might get in trying to put the events together.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Myop carried a short, knobby stick. She struck out at random at chickens she liked, and worked out the beat of a song on the fence around the pigpen. She felt light and good in the warm sun. She was ten, and nothing existed for her but her song, the stick clutched in her dark brown hand, and the tat-de-ta-ta-ta of accompaniment,
Turning her back on the rusty boards of her family's sharecropper cabin, Myop walked along the fence till it ran into the stream made by the spring. Around the spring, where the family got drinking water, silver ferns and wildflowers grew. Along the shallow banks pigs rooted. Myop watched the tiny white bubbles disrupt the thin black scale of soil and the water that silently rose and slid away down the stream.
She had explored the woods behind the house many times. Often, in late autumn, her mother took her to gather nuts among the fallen leaves. Today she made her own path, bouncing this way and that way, vaguely keeping an eye out for snakes. She found, in addition to various common but pretty ferns and leaves, an armful of strange blue flowers with velvety ridges and a sweet suds bush full of the brown, fragrant buds.
By twelve o'clock, her arms laden with sprigs of her findings, she was a mile or more from home. She had often been as far before, but the strangeness of the land made it not as pleasant as her usual haunts. It seemed gloomy in the little cove in which she found herself. The air was damp, the silence close and deep.
Myop began to circle back to the house, back to the peacefulness of the morning. It was then she stepped smack into his eyes. Her heel became lodged in the broken ridge between brow and nose, and she reached down quickly, unafraid, to free herself. It was only when she saw his naked grin that she gave a little yelp of surprise.
He had been a tall man. From feet to neck covered a long space. His head lay beside him. When she pushed back the leaves and layers of earth and debris Myop saw that he'd had large white teeth, all of them cracked or broken, long fingers, and very big bones. All his clothes had rotted away except some threads of blue denim from his overalls. The buckles of the overall had turned green.
Myop gazed around the spot with interest. Very near where she'd stepped into the head was a wild pink rose. As she picked it to add to her bundle she noticed a raised mound, a ring, around the rose's root. It was the rotted remains of a noose, a bit of shredding plowline, now blending benignly into the soil. Around an overhanging limb of a great spreading oak clung another piece. Frayed, rotted, bleached, and frazzled--barely there--but spinning restlessly in the breeze. Myop laid down her flowers.
And the summer was over.
Poor Myop grew up a little too soon :)
Short stories can be so packed. Can you see the little red riding hood in Myop? Can you see the big bad wolf's teeth in the skeleton's teeth? I wonder if my Intro to Lit class can see all this.
Oh and that was my too-lazy-to-blog-but-wanna-blog post. Enjoy.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
When I was studying for my Masters in Pennsylvania, there was a cozy little bookstore near campus where I found pleasure browsing through its row upon row of books scattered in a seemingly random fashion. The intimacy of this small, non-chain-style bookshop made it a frequent hub for a few students, like myself, who, though awed by places like Barnes and Noble and Walden books, nevertheless found this friendly place more appealing to the mind/eye.
A few years later Meg Ryan reminded me of that place in her own Shop around the Corner. I was again lured by the idea of a small, snug, selective bookshop that serves its customers both books and expertise on these books. A cup of tea of coffee accompanying that expertise would make it more inviting for customers too, allowing them to ‘hang out’ while looking for books.
And then Shurouq introduced me to Qurtas. Being mainly a reader of English literature, I was not previously familiar with the place. And though I went there only once or twice, I find that this store does seem to offer a more or less similar version (if in Arabic) of what I want in a bookshop as it provides a few seating arrangements for its customers. The difference is in the atmosphere that Arabic books provide, different from that of English prints.
I want my own little shop around the corner, more intimate than Virgin and Jareer, more international than Qurtas, and feeding both brains and taste buds.
This post is dedicated to Shopa who reminded me that it's time for a new post. And what better than a post about a shop for our very own Shopaholic?
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I leave the hotel at 6:20pm, arrive at JFK 7 as per the airline's instructions to be at the airport 3 hours prior to departure. Well, guess what? Our check-in line was not in the least bit crowded and we checked in in 30 minutes. Entry through the gates was also swift (another 30 minutes tops). So by 8 we're ready to board, but plane leaves at 10. We shop, eat, drink, shop some more.
7 hours to Amsterdam. I have my sleep aids and an intention to sleep the 7 hours. Next to me sits a lady heading to Cyprus. She is a talker, a snorer, a chewer, a breather, a mover ... and she does all those things continuously and loudly. Needless to say, I barely slept for 3 hours.
3 hour wait in Amsterdam. Sleepy but hungry. So we eat. Always a good way to kill time at airports. Amsterdam has a comfortable airport. I manage a 30 minute nap on the chair.
5 hours to Kuwait. Couldn't sleep at all. Those stupid personal TVs can be harmful at times. I am one who loses sleep when watching TV. I flipped chanels, watched TV, music, played, disregarding my bloodshot red eyes.
10 pm, I'm home. 12 I'm in bed. 1 I'm up again. Stay up till 5:30. Sleep till 1 (causing mommy and daddy dearest to worry when I didn't answer the phone after promising them to have breakfast with them)
Second night. I hit the sack at 11. Wake up at 3:30. Decide to watch 24 (episode 1 of season 4) to put me to sleep (knowing fully well that TV keeps me up rather than lulls me to sleep). I stay up till 6:30 when the alams goes off waking up an already wide awake me. I see the kids off to school and by 7:30 I manage to sleep hoping for a phone call from mom to wake me up around 9 (our usual breakfast time). Well, mommy dearest decides to let me sleep in today and I wake up at 10:30 on a call from NBK.
Tonight's plan. Take the damned sleeping aids again hoping they won't cause me to dream about noisy lady from Cyprus.
Long post. Don't blame me. It's my inspiration's fault.
Will you forgive me if I leave you with the soothing sound of the fountain trickling by the Lake at Central Park?
Saturday, September 02, 2006
I have to give these actors credit. They continued acting in spite of the rain. It is us, mortal subjects, who were bothered by it. Meryl Streep, needless to say, was amazingly energetic, rolling around in the mud, jumping and singing on stage. I fell in love with her all over again.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
St. Patrick's Cathedral
NY Public Library
Building from Will&Grace
Carrie Bradshaw's from Sex and the City (Perry St.)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
NY Stock Exchange
WTC (what used to be)
This post is inspired by my visit to the Zaha Hadid exhibition at the Guggenheim's yesterday.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Sorry if I haven't been replying to your comments on my previous posts.
Thanks for all who wished me a happy stay.
mini r. apollo theatre, not yet. i packed some mini replicas of some paintings from the metro. good enough?
ayya. i read your central park poem when you first published it and i thought it was quite a coincidence, or maybe القلوب عند بعضيها
white wings. mariah is half naked coz she can :P, big sale at BCBG, and here's one modern art example: Robert Rauschenberg's The Tower (1957)
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Here's my Dory story:
I packed. Said my goodbyes to some. Went back home for a nap before my flight scheduled for tonight.
I double-check the ticket to confirm just one more time ... and lo and behold ... my flight is scheduled for tomorrow, not today.
Now tell me, isn't that the clumsiest thing you have ever heard?
I think my last post is early signs of my dory-ism. A comment meant to appear in another blog, somehow became a post in my blog!!! I don't understand how that happened. But hey ... I'm Dory :/
If I wasn't always blessed with this absentminded and forgetful nature, I'd blame it on nearing my big 4-0. But alas, I can't even blame my dory-ism on age.
But then again, I can also blame it on giving myself very little time between one flight and another, getting sick the last day on my previous trip, having to do some unpleasant legal errands today, worrying about the kids' school starting while I'm gone (with my eldest a senior this year), among a list of other minor disturbances that I have been having lately. Egh, when did life become so complicated?
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
We arrived a little before 7. The room was half full at that time, mostly Chinese (or East-Asians). More people started filling in and we continued waiting for the film to begin, or for someone to explain to us the reason for the delay. Organizers were nowhere to be found, not even to assist the newcomers into finding the few empty seats.
7:35 the show begins. Or so we thought. The presenter speaks in Arabic for an audience mostly made of non-Arabs. Then he translates his words to English. 6alib Arefa3ee speaks for another 5 or 10 minutes, no translation follows, then manager of cinema club, whose name I forgot, speaks for another 5 minutes. Presenter translates his speech into English. Chinese ambassador (or was it cultural attache?) speaks for yet another 5 minutes, with his speech interrupted occasionally by the cutest Arabic translation ever in an accent I almost never heard (Chinese reading Arabic amazes me. Why can't I read Chinese?). When that's done, we assume it's time for the movie. But no. Presenter speaks again.
At this time, 8 pm already, my sister and I decide to leave ... coz ... are you kidding me? You start late. You don't apologize for making your audience wait 35 minutes. Then you give your audience a sarcastic remark about their mobiles providing background music, totally inappropriate and a little bit demeaning. Regardless of the audience's lack of consideration in keeping their mobiles on, it is uncalled for when the presenter addresses this issue in such a sarcastic tone. Just tell our audience to please turn their mobiles off. I mean they've been patiently waiting for you for 35 minutes. Give them some courtesy.
So anyway, if you happened to watch the movie, fill me in :)
Details are found here.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
من قلبي سلامٌ لبيروت و قُبلٌ للبحر و البيوت
وجه بحارٍ قديم