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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Just Don't...

Japanese ad for the Nintendo DS. Quite creative, don't you think? When I was a kid I always felt like I was a puppet in someone's dollhouse...


What would I do if I were me?

Stretch Daily is yet another "daily creative exercise". Pretty cool stuff. Saying it the Arabic way, "My tummy is open", or I want to do something like that too! I think I'm going to do one pertaining to pictures of interesting shoes I see during the day...

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Don't Let Creativity Lie Dormant!

Wow, I think I just found the perfect represntation of my art-slash-design philosophy:

"Thwart Design is an honest effort to break the mediocrity of commercial art forms. With no limitations on the design process, one is able to make or say anything, creating a visual discourse. Promoting raw creativuty opposed to refined products. A large focus is based around questioning existing norms of society, to turn things upside down, and to make some noise; we don't have the answers just an opinion. ... Don't let creativity lie dormant!"

How beautiful is that? I've been trying to make my architect professor understand the link between art and design for quite some time(to no avail), I'm going to give him this link now.

Thwart Design probably has the coolest website I've seen so far, although as they say, "the paint is still wet", so a lot of features are yet to be added and a lot of glitches need to be fixed. I love how their main page basically consists of sketches, something that I really relate to. Designers, student designers included, spend an extensive amount of time sketching, so I find the idea of incorporating an important part of the design process into a design website's main page really cool.

Their actual work, ranging from 2-D design to patterns, is impressively gorgeous. I especially love their apparel line which is very creative, and their 3-D line which has the coolest coasters I've ever seen(check out the Post-It coaster, 5th slide). As for their 2-D line, I find their "Urinal Sticker" (3rd slide) irresistible, as they it is an homage to one of my favorite artists, Marcel Du Champ, the father of the Dada movement.

Adding yet more creativity, Thwart have a section called "Design w/o Reach", which is a DIY catalogue providing cheap alternative designs to owning overpriced modern pieces. My favorite piece is "Canned Light" which uses a Campell Soup can as the shade of an old lamp. I love it! It's the ultimate Andy Warhol icon, and Warhol is definitely one of my very favorite artists.

Way to go Thwart, I'm totally in love.

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Monday, March 28, 2005


When. I. Say. That. The. Left. Side. Of. My. Brain. Doesn’t. Work.


Art and Design Can Be Friends After All

Micah Bauer's graphic journal is a personal project intended to hone Bauer's design skills. He has pretty strict rules to abide by though- one composition a day, each day, for 365 days straight. His compositions must remind him of an experience of that day, each must contain typography or be derived from typographic elements, and more. Some of the compositions are really great, and this project is certainly worth looking over.

A similar project is Miskan, a photoblog from Kuwait, where a Lebanese designer called Mark takes a picture a day, everyday, for 1 year. Some of his pictures are really cool, and I love how some of them are depictions of life in the Gulf.

There is also Duane Kieser's "A Painting a Day" project which I posted about a few months back.

I see a trend emerging. Although I'm the biggest believer that art should never be a routinely task,
I really like this trend and I can see myself trying to work on something similar.

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Sweet Home Alab... Ramallah

These are pictures of Akram Baker's performance tonight in Amman. A picture is worth a thousand words, but I'll still say this, it was fantastic! The combination of amazing guitar playing and Akram's Eddie-Vedder-style voice was the perfect way to get sucked in by the music. The show was so delightfully intense and the setting was so intimate that I left feeling rather high.
To make things even better, Akram is a charming man. I can't wait to be able to hear him play again!

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Falafel @ Jabal Il-Hussein

Don't you just love how busy falafel places are? They're always hustling and bustling with energy(click to enlarge).
This place actually has really delicious falafel...

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Friday, March 25, 2005

It's only words, and words are all I have...

Inspired by Subzero Blue:

  • Obsession: almost synonymous to "Roba". It's really my most significant habit; I get disgustingly obsessed with people, objects, activities, food, places, and ideas that I like.

  • Hyper: never give me chocolate… or let me listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers… or have me watch "Grease"… or take me on a school-trip(ay yay baneeno)…

  • Lost: yes, I admit it, I'm very lost. Most of the time, I have no idea what's happening around me. A lot of times though, its all pretending that I have no idea. It works great… people are never mad at me when I say what I'm feeling or when I don’t notice that they're upset, simple because "Roba day3a".

  • Creative: creativity is always saving my ass. My most memorable incident was in grade school, when I went to some test completely oblivious to the material, and I drew my answers instead. Hehe, believe it or not, I actually got an A! That’s when I decided to study visual arts, and creativity has become my lifeline.

  • Happy-go-lucky: I accept whatever happens and naively believe that everything happens for the best.

  • Spontaneous: I usually say whatever comes to mind, even when it's completely irrelevant to the topic. I also love doing random activities.

  • Passionate: it comes with being obsessive really, I can't help but get really passionate about the things I'm obsessed with, especially regarding art, design, people I love, etcetera.
    Like creativity, being passionate is always saving my ass. Applying to JU was one of the most spontaneous things I've ever done, it was very much a last minute decision. So that summer, completely unprepared to apply to art school, I naturally didn’t have any of my work with me. I went to the interview empty-handed except for some crap that I managed to whip up in a week.
    The dean looked at the stuff then said that she has refused people much better than me. Then she said that she will accept me simply because my eyes twinkle when I talked about art, because my face brightens at the thought of beauty, and because passion is all it takes.

  • TLC (tender loving care): actually, the proper word would be "motherly", but I'm so not writing that. I can't help but fuss over a person I care for, that’s just my way of showing love. I also have this terrible need to try to make people better, whether its in the form of correcting their spelling, offering random information, or making sure everyone knows that BLACK AND BROWN DON’T MATCH!

  • Cautious: it takes me ages to trust people and make friends. There's also no way that I can delegate responsibility. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, but believe it or not, "happy-go-luck", "lost", and "cautious" produce a surprisingly effective outcome.

  • Picky: yes, I'm extremely picky, especially when it comes to the aesthetic side of things (Ahh, the misuse of Flash, smilies, and Comic Sans!).

  • Impatient: my attention span is tiny(my reading habits consist of skim and scan), my need for speed is crippling(I talk at 20 miles a minute), and my inability to handle not being in control is disgusting(main reason I hate Flash, hate TV, and hate science). I also get extremely restless when things are stable.

Interesting Designs

Designer: Pochly Claude Bardel @ tosh-design.com This multi-functional vase/fruitbowl is unique, creative and functional.

Designer: Zac Ridgely @ ridgelystudioworks.com. It's a metal grill cube filled with river stone and a light in the middle. Functional boxed nature, it's both sculpture and night table.

Designer: Alistair Chang @ oehm.ca. Acrylic seating that actually looks delicious! I also love their website, pretty cool idea.

Designers: John Brauer, Hans Falleboe @ essey.com and @ blaudesign.jp. A paper bin made of hard plastic that looks like crumpled paper. Oxymoronic design?

Desinger: Michael Ruh @ Squid Lighting. Handblown glass, flourescent lit Squid Lighting, simple aesthetic complexity. Absolutely stunning. I really want to learn how to blow glass.

+MoCo Loco

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Passion for Dance

The Battery Dance Company performed at Jordan University this morning as a part of a series of performances in Jordan this week. Of course, my friends and I had to attend, and what can I say, it was stunning!

The dancers performed solos in a project fittingly entitled "The Solo Project", where each dancer uniquely expressed a specific emotional tone and culture. According to founder and choreographer Jonathan Hollander, the aim of the Middle East performances is to open a dialogue with students and audiences in which "cultural similarities can be discovered and differences respected."

The dancers that performed were John Byrne, Solomon Matea, Stevan Novakovich, Jane Sato, Sean Scantlebury, and Lydia Tetzlaff. All of their performances were stunning, but I must say that my favorite performance was that of Stevan Novakovich(wearing purple in left picture) whose solo was a very interesting modern dance to music from his native Yugoslavia.

After the show, we had a little discussion with the choreographer and the dancer, and several issues were discussed, including the possibility of performing dances to Middle Eastern music and technique-related bits regarding theatre spaces and training.

Then finally, right before the company packed up to get ready to perform at the Arena Hall tonight, they tried to teach us Funun students(Fatuta pictured) a few dance steps.

Yeah, as you can see, there wasn't much hope for him or anyone else for the matter. Fatuta, keep your day job my friend.

What really disappointed me though was that only a few dozen students showed up to a free show when the university has around 32000 registered students, and most of few dozen consisted of Funun. Such performances are surely unmissable, and I find the local lack of interest in the fine arts very disturbing. As Marx said, art evolves dialectically with society, and the fact that our society not only fails to produce art but also fails to appreciate it is really very sad. Cheers to Jordan University and Amman Municipality for trying to improve the public's awareness.


Sharing my love for Dara

Overlooking the heart of Amman, Darat al Funun is definitely one of my much loved places in Jordan. I find that with Dara's beautiful art exhibitions, its mesmerizing architecture, and its ancient archaeology, the legacy of Jordan in terms of development and cultural identity is so perfectly represented.

Established in 1993 as a specialized art center, Darat al Funun incorporates exhibition spaces, a research and video library, open workshops and studios, visiting artists residence and venues for the performing arts. It's also the perfect hang out :)

I feel compelled to share pictures I took of this wonderful place that I have become attached to. Check them out here.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

And with my shoes I will fly away...

Combine the famous swoosh, 25 Japanese artists, and Nike's famous "Dunk" trainers- the result? "White Dunk: Evolution o f an Icom", an exhibition of art installations by creative talents challenged to use the iconic all-white Dunk sneaker as inspiration.
All the art installations turned out to be extremely fascinating, and some of them managed to blow my mind.
Check out the picture gallery here. I also strongly recommend the video which is a behind the scenes film of Harri Peccinotti at work photographing the extraordinary exhibits in 'White Dunk: Evolution of an Icon'.

I will share my favorite installations:

‘Diva’ by Eisaku Kito

‘My Double Dunk’ by Junichi Taniguchi

‘Path to the Sky’ by Kenji Ando

Click on each image for a better view.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Falafel Palace

Did you know that 1 Jordanian Dinar(thats $1.4) buys you sixty pieces of falafel?!
I'm gonna build myself a falafel palace...

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Monday, March 21, 2005

Back Home to Amman

My 1-day trip to Riyadh is over, and it was great!

It's amazing how much I missed the excessive luxury, the pampering, the compounds, and the very purple night sky. Riyadh is a stunning city, and my memories there are even more stunning.

It was a very pleasant trip(except for the very scary security precautions, more about that later), and I managed to do a lot of the stuff I felt like doing- I shopped "till I dropped", went to Jarir Bookstore (but only bought one book), gave Sarah a hug(Aweeeeha, Allah y'7aleeki la ahlek), and best of all, I bought two pairs of glasses and one of them is red(Basem, I'm killing you if you sit on them).

Sadly however, the sensation of Riyadh is starting to feel less familiar to me, although Riyadh as a city didn't change at all- it's almost as if my 18 years as a part of the metropolis were just a wonderful dream.

The picture above is of the compound my dad lives in, look at more pictures of the compound here. It was the only place I could walk around comfortably in and take pictures. You can also look at the crappy picures I managed to snap of Riyadh while sitting in the backsteat here.

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

You Got the Whole World in Your Hand

Adidas, I reiterate, I love you.
Who else would think of making such an amazing commercial? I'm aware that it has probably been out for a while, I'm very bad at catching up with TV, but I'm going to share anyhow. I love it, love it, love it. I especially love the music.
Thanks for sharing Yasmin!

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Apache Rose Peacock

*Groupie-style screaming and jumping excitement*

I think I'm going to be celebrating the Superstar's 35th birthday all year, especially if Adidas keep commemorating the Superstar with stunning ideas.
They blew my mind with the City Ceries, and now they're blowing it all over again with the Music Series. Adidas used the creative juices of seven artists – Run DMC, Ian Brown, the Red Hot Chili Peppers(wheeee!!), Roc-a-Fella Records, Underworld, Bad Boy Records (P. Diddy) and Missy Elliott - to create this series. Each shoe designed reflects the artists’ individual style and includes personal touches.

Shoes and music- very ingenious. What can I say- I love you Adidas.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Poncho Nightmare

Yes, this really is a shoe with a poncho wrapped around it.
Although I admit that I do love ponchos, I think that it takes someone very stylish to make a poncho look good. But on sandals? Hehe. Sorry, no way.

And to make things even more odd, these sandals belong to the 'Just Out' range which is (according to them) 'Inspired by the house arrest of Martha Stewart'. The reason for the crotchet nightmare? It covers that house arrest bracelet. Disturbing in that twisted and ironic sort of way.

+Shoewawa, Spirit Fingers)

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Chronicles of Height

As I was browsing through Lomokev's album on Flickr(beautiful photography, thanks Ammar for pointing it out), I came upon this picture and found myself thinking of "The Wall" in my grandmother's house, which is basically the annual chronicling of the height growth of every child and grandchild. I can imagine us as kids, trying to stand as straight as possible as my aunt held a notebook over our heads and set that status-proclaiming dash for the summer (yes, status, height has been a very huge deal in our family for a century).
It feels pretty peculiar realizing that my brother Omar, who proudly owns the highest dash at 2 meters tall, was once that little dash way down "The Wall".
I'm jealous.

Weekend Trip to "Home"

Between the "saya3a"(spending too much time at cafes and in the car) and the cutting, gluing and stippling, I've been quite busy this term (new professor loves making us work too hard).

Yet, I'm hopefully going to go to Saudi Arabia on Saturday, and I'm very excited as I haven’t been there since we left Riyadh 2 years ago(I went for a day last year but that doesn’t count as I didn’t get to see anything-slash-anyone).

Unfortunately, I'm only going for one day, so I will have to squish a rather big list of stuff I want to do into Sunday. Basically, I need to do some serious shopping (I actually haven't shopped in a year, shopping in Amman sucks), have some Chinese food, and take an insane amount of pictures of sophisticated Riyadh. I want to go to Jarir Bookstore to buy a shitload of books, get a years supply of Pillsbury's Hot Fudge Swirl Brownie Mix, and find a pair of red glasses. I'm also hoping to get lucky and do Al-Dabkeh Al-Shamaleyeh with the Dabkeh people or have a "picnic" with the neighbors in the old compound. I'll "Aweeeeeeeha"(Arab alternative to "yahoooo!") if I manage to have a Frappaccino with either Mrs. Tasneem or good friend Sara.

On a more nostalgic note, it'll be weird to be in Riyadh and not see Rand (my shopping partner and neighbor who's in Canada at the moment), Sami (who was just always there and who's in Maryland at the moment), and my old friends (who are scattered all over the globe).

Hehe, I see an Ameenesque list forming.

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Monday, March 14, 2005

What do I want to do with my life?

Today, I came upon 43 Things via Subzero Blue. 43 Things is a website that enables you to list both long term and short term goals for yourself. You can also be cheered and helped with advice from people who have accomplished these goals or maybe cheer others yourself.
I love the idea because I grew up believing that setting goals is the way to reach them. Here are some of the short term goals I added to my list:

1. Get new glasses
2. Stop worrying
3. Get a degree in painting
4. Learn to program
5. Say 'hi' to at least one stranger each day
6. Exercise
7. Visit Paris
8. Lose 10 pounds
9. Redesign blog
10. Let my guard down
11. Be more decisive
12. Learn Flash
13. Grow my hair long and messy
14. Not be so messy
15. Paint
16. Get another piercing
17. Learn 3D Studio Max
18. Wake up when my alarm clock goes off
19. Go skydiving
20. Go to a Red Hot Chili Peppers Concert

What are your goals?

Main: AndFarAway.net

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Giant Steps

If you're in the mood to watch a colorful, jazzy and
energetic 1-minute movie then Giant Steps is for you.

It's a film by designer Michal Levy that explores a number of different art aesthetics, all while put to the music of Jazzizt John Coltrane.

The colors are gorgeous, the movement is absolutely beautiful, and the directing is stunning. Michal Levy almost beats Baz Luhrmann. A cute little movie definitely worth watching.


Clear Blue Skies

My friend Sarah took this picture when we were hanging out at Jabal Il Weibdeh during the weekend. I absolutely love the way the clouds look.
Click to enlarge.

Got Milk?

Automated milk stores that were around Tulsa in the 1960s. Plug in a few coins, push the button, listen to the mysterious robotic sounds from within, and then out drops a half-gallon carton of milk.

+Tulsa TV Memories

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Flickr, Botticelli, and Love

A plethora(ahem) of Flickr images(3528 images!) tagged with "love" created this wonderful mosaic portraying detail from Botticelli's amazing "The Birth of Venus".

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Friday, March 11, 2005

Cookie Cutter

The Jordanian kid who stole his dad's salary to vote for his favorite Star Academy student Salma Al-Ghazali was one of tonight's visitors. It was actually sort of cute.

Bashar Al-Ghazawi(to my utter surprise) was the one who got most of the votes and so he stays while Salma leaves. What can I say- Al Ordon Awalan.

On a side note, it's amazing how the Lebanese can take someone very bad looking and make them look gorgeous. Reminds me of one of my favorite songs which goes,

"A feminine human creatureSuperficial, seducing detour
I'm going to the mall for the cookie cutter, the ugly duckling will always suffer
Contaminated standards I try to fight it, I better get back to my diet"

Yes, yes, I'm aware that I'm lacking coherency today. Oh, well. Tough luck.


A table made from a single sheet of laser-cut, painted steel. How cool is this?

It belongs to a collection of furniture called "Thinology" designed by Ronen Kadushin who says, " …with a technique of forcing by hand a laser cutout of sheet steel to form a three-dimensional object, while it does not break or ‘forget’ its flat origin."

Yay, gorgeous! Look at those curves! I want one!

The Chalk Mug

Now you can personalize your mug everyday, it even comes with a chalk! Perfect for channeling your morning mood to the people around you(STAY AWAY).

I'm working on my salesman skills, I have a pen cap for sale.


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Thursday, March 10, 2005

The hills are alive...

...with the sound of music!

Although it was a very gloomy day(raining the whole time), Weibdeh was a great place to be at. The view was absolutely stunning especially with spring's green hills. It was too cold to have a picnic, so we spent the whole time cleaning the inside of my car with wet wipes.

After that, we went to MacDonalds and had chocolate/strawberry sundaes. Doesn't the ice cream look good? Who created ice cream anyhow? My favorite all time ice cream will always be Jabri's mighty bright red popsicle... Yum....

I'm hungry.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Do You?

I love my sneakers.

Murder, Media, and All That Jazz

Yeah, I know I always watch movies several years after their release, but I actually watched "Chicago" back in 2002.
The reason I feel compelled to post this now is because I am amazed at the sheer brilliance of this movie- today, I watched it for the 7th time and I still found myself gasping at how beautiful it is.
The movie - to me- is largely about the contrast between the reality of 1920's Chicago and the fantasy of 1920's Chicago as seen through the blue-tinted Jazz Age.
"Chicago" is simply brilliant. The directing is fantastic, the acting is perfect, and the choreography is stunning. I can also blabber about how great all that jazzy music is for days. Kudos to all involved.
Strongly recommended.

Spring & Rubas

Spring is finally here, reminding me of all the Arabic poetry written to praise Spring. Actually, I was named Roba(with nice round "O") from a spring poem expressing Arab pride. The poem goes, “Oh Ruba, don’t leave any blossoms and don’t let any flowers abide away from you. Syria marched over to Lebanon out of desire! So glaze the path with flora, smiles, and hymns- welcome the Arabs!”

Anyhow, this is a picture I took today at Daratul Funoon. Isn't Amman beautiful? Click on image for an enlargement.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I Always Wanted a Sister...

Did you know that Amman and Chicago are sister cities?
Oh, yeah, are the Jordanian Planet bloggers willing to start a Amman Metablog on Metroblogging? We need at least 10 bloggers to be able to start the community. It would be cool to raise awareness about Jordan, maybe do a very, very, very small part in boosting our tourism? Yes, I know I'm over-optimistic. So sue me.

If Confession is the Road to Healing...

1. My only sources of world news are Aquacool, Mental Mayhem, and SubzeroBlue(although I keep myself up to date with news related to culture and technology).

2. I'm a bad, bad, bad parker.

3. I recently learned how to spell restaurant.

4. I don’t have an anti-virus software installed on my computer.

5. I recently learned the difference between a democrat and a republican(ahem, ahem)

6. I've been submitting the same research to the same professor for the past 2 semesters.

7. I have quite a hard time distinguishing left from right.

8. I've unsuccessfully tried to learn a dictionary(and I'll probably try again eventually).

9. I think FireFox is too yellow.

10. I never bothered to learn the multiplication table and never will. There's also no way that I can add, subtract, or divide without using the marvelous calculator.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Monday, March 07, 2005

Spitballs and Identity Theft

A comment that appeared when a question about the best paper shredders around arose,

"I have a shredder, but it chokes if I try to feed it more than six pages. When I have a lot of paper I want to shred, I put it in the sink and pour some water on it, and shape it into a giant ball, kind of like a gargantuan spit wad. If an identity thief wants to try to unpack it, more power to them."

Great idea, don't you think? We have a similar policy at home- recycling all the paper that has gathered around into lovely handmade paper (the advantages of going to art school is that you learn everything there is to learn).

+MakeZine, Boing Boing

Women and Voting

I found the issue regarding womens right to vote in Kuwait very disturbing, so I will share. The first picture showing a bumper sticker with a ballot box and written above is the message "no to women". The second shows banner that says "According to Islamic Sharia, women do not have any political rights."

On a happier note, Kuwait's Islamist Ummah Party announced total backing for women's full political rights.

+Mental Mayhem

Main: AndFarAway.net

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Vampire Pumas

For those who are willing to take their vampire fascination a bit far(including myself), Puma created the ultimate sneakers- the Puma Beisser, footware with fangs.

The Beisser, which translates to 'Bites,' is the latest little experiment from Puma. 500 pairs will be made and distributed to select retailers.

+ Cool Hunting

The Magic of Our Time

"At this year's internal Techfest Microsoft Research Cambridge demonstrated a clock surprisingly similar to that on the wall of the Weasley household in the Harry Potter films. I guess it only goes to show: any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

+Boing Boing, ActiveWin

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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Would You Erase Me?

"How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd." (Alexander Pope)

After making sure we had enough of Frosti's ice-cream for the night, my friend and I managed to watch a movie I've wanted to see for a while- "The Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind".
Excellent movie, I loved it. The plot(which I greatly enjoyed) revolves around a couple (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour only to discover through the process of loss that they had so much to begin with. It tackles the philosophy behind giving things a "second chance"- is it really the lack of differences that make a relationship work? Everything deserves a second chance. A lot of people can relate to the underlying theme of love given and received and love lost.

Another thing that makes this movie worth watching is the acting, which was marvelous. Throughout the movie, I found it impossible to associate Carrey's character Joel with the rest of his rubber-faced characters like Grinch, Ace Ventura, and Mask. Bravo Carrey, you impressed me. Winslet also did a great job, much better in my opinion than in her more acclaimed roles. All in all, both Carrey and Winslet managed to pull off a great performance, abandoning the typecasts that they've been fettered with for so long.

On a Fast Track

The 25-year-old Saudi citizen Marwa Mahmoud won first place at the first international women's rally car race held in Dubai in February. Marwa, who is a resident of the UAE, has been a fan of this sport since 1997.

I think it's amazing that a young Arab woman from a country that has made it illegal for women to drive has gone ahead to become a champion. I love the UAE for giving her such an oppurtunity.

Marwa hopes that other Arab women will get involved in sports. A professional who is working in a male-dominated environment, she says that women's rights have not changed Arab men completely. "I wish they would participate in any sport they can," she says. "Anything that Arab men think women can't do, we should 'just do it.'"

Way to go Marwa, on with the feminism and the hard work. I feel proud.

+Dar Al-Hayat(Arabic)