Saturday, September 10, 2011

be happy

i was driving the other day when a billboard caught my eye. not sure what it was advertizing (looked like a clothing brand, but i couldn't tell), but the people in it were early- to mid-thirties, good looking, decked in the latest fashion, all seemed to be enjoying their lives. that and an article i read recently about people not being happy with kids, and it hit me: the source of our misery is advertisement and popular culture.

what we see in advertisements and commercials are snapshots. other than the ones that are deliberately outrageous, most portray everyday situations condensed within 30 seconds (tv) or a single page or picture (print, internet), yet they skew everything to unnatural happiness. a family is having lunch: they're all laughing and smiling. someone was at work and went home: he drove an expensive car, drove into a mansion and was greeted with a laughing beautiful wife and two lovely kids. meetings in an office: everyone happy and beaming. ordering fucking fried chicken? server smiling wide. having a smoke? look at this awesome party we're always taking part of. perfume? let me take my shirt off and jump off my yacht into the azure ocean.

how about poplar culture? sitcoms? shows? part-time waiters living a normal, rich life. everyone is either happy or laughing all the time. if not, they resolve all their problems in 48 minutes before jumping into the pool with their clothes on. movies teach you that whenever a male and female meet they end up fucking falling in love. they teach you that good guys win. they teach you that stupid guys can get the girl.

no wonder everyone is fucking miserable.

no one is happy all the time. no one is always cool and partying. happy endings are rare. in fact, it's unnatural for human beings to maintain a constant state of happiness. the normal state of human beings is misery (not to be pessimistic here, it's actually neutral). the article about people with kids talks about how older professionals expect things to be perfect, or at least fixable, but i think a part as important is this belief that life should somehow be easy.

nothing good ever comes out of easy. i think people aren't happy with kids (or anything else) is due to unrealistic expectations. 100 years ago not starving was a reasonable expectation. so what do you do all day? you work, toil, reap and sell. you survive. now it's all about me me me and my misery. well fuck, the truth of it is no amount of money or power will make you happy all the time. misery exists.

so yeah, be happy, just expect it to be temporary.

the apple legacy

steve jobs has stepped down. due to illness. it's to that end i will not say anything negative about the man. i will, however, raise my voice at the endless praise he has gotten these past few weeks. the most visionary ceo, the man with the products that impacted our lives most, the genius behind apple's strength (that last one is true).

no one can argue apple products' impact on the mobile world. they have literally transformed how we think about what a phone is or could be, about what to expect from that piece of metal and silicon in our pockets. what irks me to no end is his portrayal as someone who did something innovative (he did) that helped transform the world (he didn't). the iphone and its siblings didn't do anything to transform the world. jobs' success and apple's ridiculous profit margins are not a result of technical innovation but of shrewd marketing.

how so? what transformed the world isn't the ifamily of products; it's the innovation that was built around the family. it's the army of little developers who wanted to make a buck selling large volumes of products at very low costs. the apple legacy is the platform it created, not the "transformation" that was the result of it. i would argue that the platform democratized the world of software development.

history will judge this; take the following comparison (inspired by theonion). faxes are perceived as relics of ancient history. they are slow, clunky, require proprietary paper and/or ink and only do b&w at painfully low resolutions, yet they've survived the revolutions of the internet and mobile phones and all that by virtue of their simplicity and reliability. no one will ever claim that the fax machine was revolutionary. on the other hand, at one point in time, the hottest thing you can own was a walkman. sony transformed the music world (thankfully, it didn't claim that it changed everything again, again, whatever the fuck that means) with its personal boombox.but the cruel reality is, people will still say something like "fax me that document" and unless you work in a museum, people will never say "hey can i borrow your walkman real quick?"

my point is this: 10 years from now we'll all be walking around with devices that are not phones nor tablets nor computers, devices that let us communicate and find information and work. we don't know what these are (retina implants? thought reading gizmos? star trek style comms buttons? we can't imagine them any more than mr. graham bell coming up with the idea of a mobile phone). but we can deduce from history that what we won't be is tethered to a single product, and when apple is mentioned it will be with some nostalgia to something we all used when we were younger, sort of like that yahoo email that you still hold on to.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

everything and nothing - nothing

part two of the series. yes, still inspiring.

everything and nothing - everything

i don't usually just post movies, but this one is just mind blowing. somehow, whenever i watch one of these, i feel stupid. thank you, gauss and einstien.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

no one else freaking out about this?

it's no secret i'm a geek, but every once in a while i just get blown away by what we take for granted. i mean:
  1. not only have scientists deduced that there's anti-matter (basically matter with reverse charge that, when mixed with normal matter, combines to form pure energy), but they've artificially created it and trapped it for 15 minutes to study it. remember, this shit blows up with it touches anything
  2. on my phone, i can watch movies, find out where i am in the world then navigate my way out, find nearby restaurants or whatever else i need (hell, part time jobs!), check email, keep in touch with friends around the world, find out about news as it happens, take video and upload it to the internet, point it to the sky and find out what constellations i'm seeing, fuck - point it anywhere and see what's around.
  3. humans sent tiny objects to space 30 years ago (voyager 1 and 2). they're still "flying". they're outside the solar system. they're still sending back information. 30 years ago. 99.9% of their flights were powered by gravity - fucking mathematics! i'm still amazed by these two objects
  4. the internet. people just don't realize how fucking amazing it is. you have instantaneous access to the sum of human knowledge from anywhere. there isn't an answer that i can't get in a matter of minutes. from my fucking PHONE!

Monday, April 25, 2011

say "no" to kids

and i don't mean "no" as in "no, you can't have that candy", i mean "no" as in "no, i don't want to have kids". why?

1. i like my facebook profile picture, phone background and computer desktop to be something other than pictures of my offspring
2. i travel with minimal baggage possible. a trolly that takes 3 hours to fold to put into the scanner it not minimal. then the kid needs be carried from that point on.
3. i like my screaming to be a sign of horror or extreme excitement, not hunger or general discomfort. that applies doubly-so on airplanes
4. it's hard enough to find a place to eat. to find a place to eat that's also kid-friendly usually results in burger king
5. john. john is the name of a bank account. all money that i would spend on a kid goes into that account: education, healthcare, trolleys, you name it. in addition, john will get sick every couple of years, resulting in a single lump-sum deposit. deposits will not end when john is 18, but will probably go into his mid-to-late-20s (including his wedding, hopefully the final lump-sum deposit) unless he decides on borrowing something from his old man. john will also be my retirement egg. john has no siblings.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

event of the year

so far in 2011:
jan 14: tunisian dictator is ousted from rule after 23 years as president, following weeks of protests
jan 24: bombing in moscow airport leaves dozens dead
feb 11: egyptian dictator is forced to resign after 30 years as president, following 8 million people taking to the streets of egypt, simply asking him to leave
feb 22: earthquake strikes christchurch, australia. death toll: 182
mar 12: 8.9 earthquake strikes tokyo, followed by devastating tsunami. hundreds dead, nuclear catastrophes looming
mar 19: nato starts enforcing no-fly zone over libya using fighter jets. government suppression of freedom demonstrations claim the lives of hundreds of people
apr 29: wedding

guess which event time out dubai calls the "event of the year" on its cover.

Friday, March 04, 2011

the rule of fools

the problem with this oft over-aggrandized method of rule is that it is, by definition, the rule of the many. who the fuck thought that that's a good way to run anything? do those who want democracy not realize that the average human being is only twice removed from his more base nature of eating, fucking and literally killing the competition? so instead of entrusting rule to those smart enough to actually make decisions that will affect the lives of millions, we decide instead to entrust it to the same simpletons who make paris hilton popular. does this make sense?

democracy, for the love of god, is not the rule by that which is best for a nation, but rather the rule by what most people want. people want to engorge themselves on mcd's. people want to smoke. people need to be convinced to wear a helmet while moving at high speeds on a glorified bicycle. people obsess with reality tv. the riffraff cannot be trusted with rule, yet paradoxically we insist that listening to everyone is the best way to rule. how can someone who knows nothing of economy, history or basic science in anything be asked to vote on climate or health laws? how can they decide what the best fiscal policy for a country is?

democracy doesn't give you what you want, it only gives the chance to everyone and gives the majority what they want - right and wrong be damned. were it not for a few brave souls, we'd still have slavery and women subjugation, thanks to democracy. how about women's right to vote? saudi and kuwait are looked upon (deservedly, i may add) as backwards and oppressive due to their policies regarding women and voting, but one needs to look no further than the smug switzerland for a true showcase of democracy friendly europe: liechtenstein didn't allow women to vote until 1984.

long live democracy, the rule of fools.

update: i misread a sentence that lead me to assume that liechtenstein was part of switzerland. apologies to the the 35,000 that make the population of liechtenstein and to the swiss. switzerland is a true leader in women's rights with federal voting granted to women as early as 1971!, while appenzell ausserrhoden (a canton in switzerland) granted women the right in 1989. phew, that was close!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

the new ipad is here!

omg it has a fucking camera! i can't wait to shoot movies with my oversized iphone! and listen to this, it comes with a choice of TWO colors! omg omg omg i'm getting one now! omg i'll be the envy of all my original ipad toting loser friends!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

how to overthrow a leader

(serious note: the below is a humorous entry that does not in any way attempt to make light of the events or deaths in the region. i salute every single tunisian, egyptian, libyan, bahraini and yemeni who stood strong for their countries, and i am humbled by those who have given their lives. i wrote it because if you take the leaders' speeches before they leave, they can be copied verbatim one to the other)
1. look for a country ripe for the picking, preferably with a dictator in power for more than a decade
2. start a facebook page decrying the abuse and inequality
3. wait for 10 to 15 thousand members then announce a demonstration
4. demonstrate. make sure you tell everyone on twitter, facebook and aljazeera before you start. the internet is susceptible to insane leaders.
5. surprisingly, the government will either ignore you or try to pacify you. when that happens, find a prominent location (historically speaking, a large roundabout seems to work better than average, but that's just a fluke - a large park or open area might work as well, though squares should be strictly avoided), setup tents and basic services and pray very hard that your leader isn't insane.
6. wait for the leader to claim that you and your posse are foreigners, or drunkards, or separatists. that will increase your posse!
7. wait till the leader claims he will not leave ever and that he will eradicate you.
8. chant "leave! leave! leave!"
9. leader overthrown
1. may (will most probably) cause deaths. proceed with caution
2. the economy will suffer, but that's a short-term issue and it will recover
3. it is preferable to have an organized opposition to avoid a leadership void
4. camping may be prolonged - plan routes for provisions and medical aid

Monday, February 21, 2011

religion: pick what you like, blindly disregard the rest

so british gay couples want to get a religious wedding. a muslim one at that.

what. the. fuck.

i mean help me out here guys. i'm all for gay love - in fact i root for people to marry whoever the fuck they want. but hypocrisy just drives me up the wall. aren't same-sex relationships banned in islam? i mean, an american imam "reasons that to deny gay Muslim couples the right to a religious union, goes against teachings in the Koran". really? doesn't being homosexual go against the teaching of that same book you quote?

this religious slectivity of what we think is or isn't blessed by allah or god or yahweh or zeus makes me livid. you're either religious and follow a book, and you're not and you go what you heart and mind tell you. if you choose what part of religion you want to follow that doesn't make you religious, it just makes you a hypocrite.

Monday, February 14, 2011

customer doesn't like your service? no problem; sue them. way to go #BenihanaKUW

i am posting this to teach the idiot managing benihana kuwait that with the help of the internet, two dictators were overthrown so far; surely a lowly manager of a restaurant isn't beyond its reach? tsk tsk.

a blogger ate there and blogged his review of the restaurant. it wasn't particularly critical, but for a brand name like benihana, his experience was underwhelming to say the least.

after a few rather bizarre comments to the contrary (all ending in LOLs - seriously, are the people working there 13?), the manager decided to reveal himself and sue the blogger. fucking genius.

now as far as i know, benihana (the japanese brand name owner) hasn't done anything, apparently they don't have power to interfere with legal moves made by their franchisees. but boy oh boy is that idiot getting fired.

why am i posting this? i want justice to be served by those who were offended; free-thinking bloggers. spread the word. #BenihanaKUW

Monday, January 31, 2011

it burns because its people decided to speak up. it burns in anger and frustration and oppression.
it burns because to fix something rotten, you have to tear it down and start over. you have to kill the roots. you have to burn them.
it burns because someone stood their ground and said "enough". and another joined them. and another. and another. and everyone thought "yes, we've had enough"
it burns because there is hope still alive.
it burns because to kill a disease you have to burn it.
egypt burns, but it burns for its own good.