Tuesday, September 26, 2006

gharrid ya shibl al eeman

we've done it: arabs have taken the whole metaphor use a step too far.

for those of you who don't know, the arabic language is rich with metaphors, similes and all sorts of language complexities. it's beautiful that way, whether poetry or prose, but sometimes people just take it too far.

on my way to work (it was ramadan and religion was in the air) i was listening to the radio when the lyrics "gharrid ya shibl al eeman" caught my attention. why, you ask? let me translate it literally: "chirp o cub of faith". what on earth is wrong with the composer? first off, a "cub of faith" does not conjure images of strength or pride (or whatever else the composer was aiming for), it's just downright scary. i can't imagine a cub being anything but. but then, chirp? maybe chirp is not the correct translation. in arabic birds do not sing, they "gharrid"; there's a specific verb for birds' song. in any case, the composer used that verb specifically. not only is the cub faithful, it sings like a bird. and if that doesn't freak you out, nothing will.

seriously, what kind of song is that?!

Monday, September 25, 2006

ramadan kareem

ramadan is upon us in the muslim world. it is a spiritual time in the life of muslims, a time of forgoing earthly pleasures and focusing on supporting one's spirit and reflecting on one's life, faith, God's blessings and all things religious.

not in our countries.

ramadan for us is a time to eat and make money. it starts with the unexplained rush to supermarkets, bakeries and any other places that sell anything edible. people start buying like crazy. it's like everyone is preparing for an oncoming famine. last i checked the places that we visited before ramadan were still there after ramadan. and we can still buy food from them. really. and shop owners, in the generous spirit of the month (you know, ramadan kareem translates literally to ramadan is generous), raise their prices in preparation for the mad rush of people.

but one can look at that as economics, the balance of supply and demand. what one can't explain with any economic or social theory is the ramadan tents phenomenon. i don't think anything can explain that. you see in ramadan every place that used to sell food converts itself into a traditional-styled place with ramadan lanterns, traditional food and drinks, traditional settings and some places go as far as actually constructing a tent inside the place. not the triangular one that is inspired by cartoons, but a square arabian one with all the red colors worthy of a wedding. then very weirdly the place changes its menu, starts charging money just to sit there (why the fuck should i pay to enter a place where i used to come for free?), and up their prices. you would think that drives people away? no, the reason the prices go up is the people (remember, supply and demand). people flock to these places like they're giving away food for free. which they aren't.

of course these places usually have music, some have dancing, some have liquor, and some have fortune tellers, all the markings of a celebration of a holy islamic month. i mean, fortune tellers? if i didn't consult with fortune tellers during the normal days, what would posses me into consulting with one in the holiest times of the year? (btw, muslims consider fortune tellers the worse liars, they're down there below lawyers and politicians. in fact, they're liars even if their fortunes come true).

here's to the hypocritical, contradicting idiosyncrasies of our society. ramadan kareem everyone.

hand and whistle

note: please refer to the next post, julia bella, because i only left it on top for a day and i think it deserves more attention.

they stand there furiously blowing their whistles, in the middle of the street, waving their hands wildly, urging every able driver to hit the gas pedal and burn some rubber. and they keep on blowing. and they keep on waving. they sound like roman jail wardens forcing their slaves into the colosseum.

the reality is, they're policemen and women.

and i'm not exaggerating: they literally stand in the middle of the street (and sometimes at corners or circles or wherever), and blow their whistles and urge people to drive faster. you would think perhaps there's a royal convoy coming and people ahead of it are idling along, or an ambulance is trying to pass and it needs the cars to move faster. but they perform this mundane task when the streets are crowded or almost packed solid and everyone is trying to go as fast as they can anyway. i'm guessing in an effort to alleviate the jam? imagine jami3a street (or rather its extension) during the morning rush hour (around 9sh). i swear i saw one standing near the royal cultural center doing just that: blowing and waving. what the hell are the drivers supposed to respond with? activate their secret jets and fly over other cars? or perhaps call on their magical abilities and transport themselves somewhere else?

dear blowers: the street is packed, drivers will drive as fast as they can, take a break from your "veiled unemployment" and go fight some crime. find some robbers maybe?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

sharm 5: julia bella

this will be the last sharm-related post. as i've said, i've left the best for last.

for all of you italians out there, the title of this post means the beautiful julia. i have a tendency to over-beautify girls i like, but this particular one was really pretty.

we saw her on the snorkeling trip we took (which should be called the boat trip; our snorkels didn't work). i thought she was an american (she was dressed like one), but she had green eyes and was pretty. very pretty. beautiful even. i tried to talk to her along the trip but succeeded only in the last hour of the trip. it was worth looking at her face (especially the eyes), even though it was for a few minutes.

she is half-italian half-swiss, so she speaks english, french and italian (versus the damn russians), she has beautiful green eyes, a lovely smile, long dark hair (which isn't quite black) and well-tanned skin. her body isn't the hottest in the world, but she is attractive. of course, the european accent really helped, and her laugh was nice (and she had a good sense of humor). she was studying hospitality and hotel management and was doing her training in sharm. and in case you're thick, her name is julia.

anyway, i enjoyed my time with her. it's too bad it was our last day, i would've been able to stalk her or something afterwards. there were other guys on the boat, and they tried to talk to her, but not one established a one-on-one rapport with her like i did. wajdy says it's because i can speak english. i say it was my tanned skin, attractive physique and dashing good looks. the truth is probably that i was charming and made her laugh.

last time i was in sharm i was left with many memories. this trip was no different.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

sharm 4: wajdy

wajdy is not a cool, mysterious guy who has deep ideas and concepts. he's just a social misfit who isolates himself because he doesn't know how to act around people. are you wondering if he's introverted? check his blog for that.

as for why i think he's a social misfit, i presnt to you exhibit a: wajdy's sick saksookeh. he blow dries it.

exhibit b: his blog entry.

exhibit c: his other blog entry.

Friday, September 15, 2006

sharm 3: stupid people

although chronologically this should be the last entry, i'm saving the more recent entries for when i have more time to write.

i came face to face with two idiots as i was boarding the plane on the way home. the first idiot uttered his jewels of words after we were on the bus that will take us to the plane. the airport in sharm is rather small, and thus planes don't dock directly into gates, but use buses. anyway, after the bus we were in was full, it started moving and closing its doors, when two of a trio of what i can only assume are idiots started running towards it, like it was a public transportation bus. two barely made it in, and they looked back to see their comrade left behind (he didn't run quickly enough), and in an absolute display of idiocy (jewels of wisdom to follow, hear them well, i beg ya) they started asking the driver to wait. wtf is wrong with these people? you don't need to run to catch a bus heading to a plane, and no one will be left behind. the bus moves when it's full, and, wonders will never cease it seems, another bus takes the rest. in fact, there will be enough buses to take everyone to the plane. miraculous, i know, but such are the wonders of modern science.

the second genius was actually on the bus before our friends above. he came onto the bus while it was still half full, and when he came in he was like "is this the bus to amman?". no, einstein, this is the bus heading downtown. for God's sake, you can't get on a bus not heading to amman, even if you were stupid enough to wander. airport workers usually worry about things like safety, security and logistics, and they make every effort to help idiots like you to get where they need to and never get somewhere they're not supposed to. so yes, the bus is indeed heading to amman.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

sharm 2: communication problems

the thing about sharm is that it attracts really hot russian girls.


i mean they walk around with skimpy outfits, exposing their attractive regions. and being white originally then tanning gives the skin a look that's much sexier than being originally tan.
and natural blond hair complements the look quite well, especially with the blue eyes. i used to wonder how all the russian tennis players are so hot (i saw one wearing earrings to a game, and not small studs, but dangly ones worthy of an evening party, and add to that the sparkly top she was wearing and she was fully hot), until i realized that the fact that she's russian makes her hot by default. the tennis outfit makes them that much sexier.

now hot girls in sharm did not come without problems. first, they grow old pretty quick (old as in boring). i mean the first night there i was bewildered then the next day it was like "yeah, same old same old". second, most were with guys, and although that doesn't make them any less attractive, it does make them harder to approach (especially when the guy looks like a bouncer).

the last and final problem is this: i was at this rnb party and there were this pair of pretty girls. but one was extra pretty. i mean, long dark smooth hair, blue eyes, very nice body. hard to resist (her name is natania btw). so in that evening's spirit, i came up to her, and the conversation went something like this:

sami: "hi"

natania: "hi"

sami: "would you like to dance?"

natania: "yes"

let me tell you, i was excited about the prospect of dancing with her. but she kept on enjoying her drink like we were discussing the weather. then it hit me: she had no idea what i was saying. she said that she didn't speak english well. no shit. i tried some discussion, about if she was having fun or enjoying her time:

sami: "you enjoying your time here in sharm?"

natania: "i do not know what it means that word sharm"

slump. see? third (and most severe) problem: doesn't matter how hot she was, i might as well have been a chair or table. i wished her a pleasant evening (which was really redundant, i could've told her she looked like a monkey and smiled and she would've smiled back) and decided to leave the party.

sharm 1: spf

spf, short for sun protection factor, is a measure of how well the sunscreen will protect you relative to how fast you'd burn without sunscreen. so if my tender skin burns after 12 minutes of unprotected exposure, a sunscreen of spf 10 will protect me for 12*10=120 minutes (2 hours).

i was in sharm this last weekend, and due to my recent burning, i decided to use a sunscreen with spf 70 (although technically they now have to use spf 30+ because the higher levels don't provide much more protection). for those of you who think it's overkill, you're right.

the damn thing protected me better than a tshirt. i put some on the first day and i spent maybe an hour in the noon sun. nothing. i might as well have stayed in the hotel room. i've never seen the sun so powerless. and the sinai sun is not nicer than the jordanian one. i made the same mistake the second day, and this time i spent a few hours in the sun. again, nothing.

now spending a few days in a beach resort and not having anything to show for it was quite sad, so i decided that for the last day i would aim for first degree burns. i spent around an hour with no sunscreen whatsoever. it worked. my back and arms are burnt to a perfect degree: enough to make me look tanned but not enough to deprive me of sleep (or tshirts).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

my juliet

warning: the following entry contains high levels of vanity

i have a weak spot for oakleys. although i wouldn't say i love everything they make (some of the sunglasses they make are downright hideous), but the ones i love i love with passion.

i spent a big sum of money on the polarized juliet model. let me tell you, it was worth every girsh i spent on it. and as such, i take very good care of it. sadly, though, no matter how much care you take of it, the lenses are bound to get scratched.

lately though, as i was browsing their website (and looking at their really expensive watch) i noticed that there are lense replacements! granted they're a tad expensive, but they're definitely cheaper than buying the whole thing. sam is a happy man now!

cute girl

no, this isn't another hot chic in bikini sort of thing.

this is of tom cruise's and katie holme's baby suri. she's so damn cute!

first pics are on vanity fair.

starship troopers

this movie came out in 97.

i remember thinking it looked very cool (although i never actually watched it). and i meant to, but i didn't. i was watching tv last night and it was on movie time. i don't understand how that much crap was put into a movie in 97 and gotten away with.

first off, it features great actors like Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards and Jake Busey. there's no way to understand how painfully horrible their acting was without actually watching the movie. the acting and sound effects were worthy of a lengthy soap opera. i honestly didn't watch the rest of it, so i'm not sure what kind of plot the movie has, but the 5 minutes i did watch were surreal.

the movie is set in the future. the scene is of guys who were in a military bunk and the supposed "mailman" walks in with the "mail". he calls out names and gives out things that look suspiciously like 3.5" floppies (which are already extinct). the hero (i'm guessing), Casper, takes his and plugs it into a flat screen over his bunk. the movie he gets is of his all-eyebrow girlfriend Denise breaking up with him because she's "going career" as a pilot. i remember that in 97 we had email and the internet. if 300 years into the future you have a flat screen above your bunk, you are bound to have EMAIL. soldiers NOW have tactical gear that they carry on their backs that allow for commands to be relayed, enhanced night vision, networked communications, high-tech aiming, back massages and cyber-sex. i think the only reason they don't have internet is that they don't want the soldiers to be distracted by hot girlfriends' emails or by playing second life.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

i forgot what i wanted to post

i mean, really, i had an important thing to say.

but the thing took so long to load that i forgot what i wanted to say. and i'm really pissed that i forogt. maybe next time.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

rawdit al abtal?

that's what it's called, i swear!

i was driving one day, on my way to a restaurant when i saw the idiotic sign that advertised that they still had "openings" for new students for the year 06/07. School started 2 weeks ago and they're still advertising.

maybe the kindergarten's name has something to do with it? rawdit al abtal, which translates literally to "kindergarten of heroes". what the hell do they teach kids there? are they trained as fire-fighters? policemen? and did you ever notice something? a policeman may work through retirement without ever being called a hero (although he may be called an asshole, popo, cop, etc), but have a policeman get shot trying to save someone, then you have a hero. so are we teaching kids the value of sacrifice to become heroes?

"mom, start a fire in the kitchen and let me save you, i want to become a hero!"

i really don't understand how they choose these names.