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Monday, May 30, 2005

Sunset over Amman

Placing my Amman in the hands of the incapable...

I was very pleased when I picked up today's issue of Al-Ghad Newspaper. The front page of their "Our Life" part was dedicated to an issue that has been pestering the Jordanian high art society for the past 3 years- the sculpture "Humans and History" for Syrian artist Rabee' Al-Akhras that's placed on the Seventh Circle.

The article says that this sculpture has been attacked by Jordanian artists and critics because of its location, formation, expression, symbolism, and the insubstantiality of the material used to create it as the sculpture is already falling apart. Al-Ghad interviewed several foremost Jordanian artists who shared their opinions.

Sculptor Keram Al-Nimri says, "This work is an insult to the taste and culture of the people of Amman, and it is offensive to both the city and the cultured". Art critic Mazen Asfour agrees with Nimri stressing that this work lacks the necessary connection between space and place, the connection between motif and setting, and the proper forms of expression, and he added, "What sort of committee that has no knowledge of art aesthetics that decided on this sculpture?! As critics and artists, we were very surprised at this work and we ask Amman Municipality to discuss this issue so as to place people of specialization and experience to decide on art works displayed in public."

The whole article is available here(Arabic).

Kudos to Al-Ghad for their excellent "Our Life" section and it's ability to tackle cultural issues that Jordanian media usually overlooks.

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Freaking Out

Project due in three days and I can't find my colors!
My room is a black hole, a BLACK HOLE I'm telling you. Place something in there and it is lost forever. Forever.

Church and Mosque



This ones for Rami.
Not the best of pictues, but I absolutely love this scene, which you can see quite often in Amman.
View from the National Gallery.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Visual Noise




Get It Louder- visual noise made by young talented designers and artists around the globe. The exhibitions purpose tackles a topic that greatly interests me- to examine graphic arts and design as a lifestyle rather than a career and as an integral part of urban culture.

Several works by artists I'm not familiar with caught my eye, including those of Peng & Chen, Wang Yiyang, and Guang Yu There are also some works by Scott Rench, who's stuff I fell in love with when I first saw them back in January.

The pictures are awesome... Complete visual overload in such a delicious way! I'd absolutely love to attend such an exhibition.

I Will Never Do This Again



Having promised ourselves to do everything there is to do in Amman, the Sarahs and I decided to celebrate our day off by spenging the evening "relaxing" at Al-Pasha Turkish Bath in Jabal Amman.

Well, at least, I thought it'll be "relaxing", because it was the farthest thing from relaxing I've ever experienced in my life. Its just that, as far as I'm concerned, burning steam, a boiling jacuzzi and being massaged to death are no where near my idea of "relaxing". Actually, this package works as well as the best sedatives around- it completely knocked me out. For someone like me, being knocked out is the ultimate hell, I love being awake, thank you very much. I honestly have no idea how I drove back home, and I have no idea what I did for the next several hours. The only thing I know is I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN.

Seriously, I don't see the point. The whole idea of laying off drinking and drugs is to stay alert, and a Turkish bath strips you off everything including your alertness. At least with the other two there's a buzz involved, with a Turkish bath it's as if you're in a vegetal state. Alright, I guess some people consider that relaxing, but next time I feel like relaxing, I'm hitting a nice chilled pool.

I must give the place some credit though... It is, afterall, gorgeously designed. I absolutely love the arches, the stained glass, and the authentic Arabic feel to everything.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

AY, YAY SIR!

Guided by Iyas' sarcastic advice to try to cut down on my caffeine consumption and Sarah's desperate pleas to use sleeping pills, last night I accomplished something I have not been able to do in years- I WAS SOUND ASLEEP BEFORE 10:00 PM.

Those who know me and know of my sleeping habits will understand how huge this is, because my sleeping habits either involve vampiric routes (sleeping all day and staying awake all night, usually weekend/holiday deal) or baby naps(2 hour naps through out the day and night, usually weekday deal).

Here, here, I'm not whining, whining is against my belief system, and I actually prefer it that way because I'm more productive and more energitic after hours, but I still had to share this record breaking accomplishment(alright, I know I cheated with the sleeping pills, but regardless).

Nine Reasons to Love Jordan

Jordan's Independence Day actually finished a few minutes ago, but since the country is officially celebrating it "today", I will too.



Nine Reasons to love Jordan(ok, 9 Reasons to Love Amman, but gimme a break, I've lived here for less than two years, I'll get to the rest of Jordan eventually):


1. Her mountains. They embrace you so lovingly in their valleys and peaks. They glitter like the brightest jewels at night. They exhibit Amman in all her glory.

2. Her authenticity. The sensation-baffling sights, sounds, and smells of Downtown Amman, the beauty of Jabal Amman, Falafel Il Qods.

3. Her Highness, the White City of Stone. I love it. I love it. I love it. The compulsory white-stone covering her buildings is probably one of my favorite things in the world.

4. Her sky. You won't appreciate this unless you've lived elsewhere, the sky here is unrealistically blue!

5. Her cuisine. If ye dare condemn Mansaf thou shalt be transformed to naught. If ye dare condemn Ras-Il-Abed thou shalt be boiled with the pirates. If ye dare condemn Askimo Jabri thou shalt be thrown into a raging fire (yes, I'm strong enough).

6. Her Street System (or lack thereof). It's amazing how you can be somewhere one minute and find yourself lost in a totally different place the other.

7. One word: this song. (Jeishana jeish il wa6an sameina bismallah! Gotta rock to the beat back and forth and clap while listening to it to enjoy the full impact. I feeel likee doingg the Dabkeehhh!!! Weinkom ya dabkeh people?).

8. Her 7ara system. Similar to the street system, but this involves the entertainment of children. Ah, many a days were spent playing soccer and riding bikes in the 7ara... My generation now "plays" indoors, but the next generation replaced us in our 7ara, therefore keeping the tradition of driving Sabee7a Al-Qabee7a crazy with the noise.

9. Her "Shelens"(recently, several Shelens[5 piaster]). Many a Shelens were spent on corn-on-the-cob, sha3er il banat, machine ice-cream from Jabal Al-Hussein, and slush.

I would have had a 10th one about her people(bow), but I decided to kindly pass out advice instead- THOU SHALT NOT BE NEGATIVE.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Revisiting the National Gallery

I was really excited about the National Gallery's opening after the year-long "revamping process", so my friends and I wasted no time in going to check it out after its opened its doors to the public last week.

And I must say, quite impressive! The gallery was enlarged to include another building, thus adding more space to display more artwork. It also now includes the old playground on Hawooz Circle, now transformed into a garden for the displaying of open-air artwork.

The new building also has a great cafe overlooking the Al-Abdali area(church and mosque overlapping, I love that view!), and a very cool library that will hopefully make my researching days easier and more enjoyable. The garden is also great, and it includes a beautiful Japanese garden, a yet-to-be-installed Andalusian garden(yaaaaay!!!!), a playground, and a restaurant. Not to mention that the very yummy Motta Patisserie is right across from the garden(killer eclairs!)

I can certainly see myself spending a lot of at the revamped National Gallery. I encourage everyone to pay this national treasure a visit.

Now, my favorite portion of posts, picture time(everything grows when clicked)!


The original National Gallery



Inside the original National Gallery



The new National Gallery



Inside the new National Gallery




Inside the new National Gallery



The cafe



The garden

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Blog those shoes



Nike approached 20 of the internet's most popular bloggers "of sneaker culture" and asked them to whip up the hottest shoe. Way cool, especially since some of these bloggers have excellent blogs. Some of the designs are great, and others are shockingly horrible, check them out here. You can also vote for your favorite design.
My favorite design would be that of Josh Spear. Above is my customized version of Josh Spear's design, as you can't start the customizing from scratch.
Ah, amazing how much you can tell about a person from their shoes...

Too high on Red Bull @ 1: 33 AM



In our household, you need to attach tags that say stuff like "THIS IS NOT A DOLL!", "DON'T USE THIS KEYCHAIN FOR CLIMBING!", "THIS CD IS NOT A FRISBEE!"

And they wonder why I'm violent...

That's a HUMAN BEING you're holding, damnit!!!



And Far Away... serving as MBC FM:

Dedicated to Ameen, for the much anticipated launch of Banzeen, may its days be full of "lunse".
And yes, you told me that I told you that you will say that you told me so, so I did not and will not tell you so.
Ok... no more energy drinks for me...

Jay 3a bali mansaf, meen 3azem?

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Untitled

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Friday, May 20, 2005

If I Could Be...

If I could be a bonnie pirate, I'd outlaw the creation of stories pertaining to the sea, islands, and ships unless they had to do with pirates, and I'd make sure they added "Arr!" to the dictionary. (this one is for Gus, Sami, Sarah, and Ammar)

If I could be a pariah, I'd finally be able to scream out all of what's on my mind without worrying about being shot.

If I could be a bible archaeologist I'd set out to prove/disprove the links between the Bible, the Torah, Gilgamesh, and the Dead Sea scrolls.

If I could be an architect, I'd wipe Gardens Street off the map and rebuild in such a way that it stops being a stress inducing, unbearable stretch of horribly ugly signage and impracticality.

If I could be a linguist, I'd make Arabic a bit easier so that the idiots like me could have an easier time dealing with it.


Subzero Blue passed on this meme to me, and I will in turn pass this on to Lina, Linda, and Iyas.

Ok, here's the list:

"What follows is a list of different occupations. The reader must select at least five of them. The reader may add more if they like to the list before they pass it on (after the reader selects five of the items as it was passed to the reader). Of the five selected, the reader is to finish each phrase with what he would do as a member of that profession. Then pass it on to three other bloggers."

If [Reader] could be a scientist // If [Reader] could be a farmer
If [Reader] could be a musician // If [Reader] could be a doctor
If [Reader] could be a painter // If [Reader] could be a gardener
If [Reader] could be a missionary // If [Reader] could be a chef
If [Reader] could be an architect // If [Reader] could be a linguist
If [Reader] could be a psychologist // If [Reader] could be a librarian
If [Reader] could be an athlete // If [Reader] could be a lawyer
If [Reader] could be an innkeeper // If [Reader] could be a professor
If [Reader] could be a writer // If [Reader] could be a backup dancer
If [Reader] could be a llama-rider // If [Reader] could be a bonnie pirate
If [Reader] could be a midget stripper // If [Reader] could be a proctologist
If [Reader] could be a TV-Chat Show host // If [Reader] could be a pariah
If [Reader] could be an actor // If [Reader] could be a judge
If [Reader] could be a Jedi // If [Reader] could be a mob boss
If [Reader] could be a backup singer // If [Reader] could be a CEO
If [Reader] could be a movie reviewer // If [Reader] could be a monkey’s uncle
If [Reader] could be a bible archaeologist //If [Reader] could be a househusband
If [Reader] could be a lifeguard //If [Reader] could be a comic artist
If [Reader] could be a stockbroker//If [Reader] could be a travel writer
If [Reader] could be a food reviewer //If [Reader] could be a politician
If [Reader] could be a male underwear model //If [Reader] could be a fashion designer
If [Reader] could be an game designer // If [Reader] could be a dog-trainer
If [Reader] could be a Transformer // If [Reader] could be a computer virus
If [Reader] could be a porn star // If [Reader] could be another blogger
If [Reader] could be a grain of sand // If [Reader] could be a fly on a wall
If [Reader] could be a president // If [Reader] could be a rock star

Nada, Nada



My first humble request is to make "Ayay Baneno" the official Funoon chant.

Oh, and while we're at it, I really want a little in-department snack bar, with Ahmad from the Milk Bar as head chef. I'm getting sick of hitting the Milk Bar every time I want a roast beef sandwich...

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Bad Design KILLS, vote for creativity!(go Nada!)


Nada's campaign(How can we not vote for you Nadoodeh? You speak for all of us...)

The first time I saw what Jordan University turns into during the annual Student Council elections I really didn't know how to react. Should I feel misery because of the appalling state we have reached, or (shallow to you, meaningful to me) should I laugh at the worst case of lack of aesthetics I've seen in my life?

I will not discuss the "appalling state" because Lina already has two great posts on this horrible annual scenario occurring at JU, so I will redirect you to her "Elections Mania" and "Tell me where…".

I will though, share (a lot of) pictures of the worst case of visual pollution I've seen in my life.









And my personal *favorite*:

(I mean, seriously dude, what were you thinking?)

Doing it the "funoon" way, a la Nada:






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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Jordan Calling



I just got back from the 3rd Jordan Planet Blogger Meet-up; the most serious one we've had as yet, and probably the most prolific in terms of "community enhancing" output.
Unfortunately, and extremely disappointingly, not all the Jordan Planet bloggers currently in Jordan showed up. There was Isam, Natasha, Ammar, Lina, Nader, Ahmad, and myself, as well as two "guests".
The meeting was great (at least up until the computer talk :P), and it was great seeing Isam, Natasha, Ammar, Lina and Nader again. It was also a great pleasure meeting Ahmad, who I have been wanting to meet for a while.
Anyhow, I'm not in a blabbery mood, so I will let the pictures do the talking.







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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

[Serigraph]

In the wise words of one of my favorite artists:

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Linda, Linda, ya Linda, Linda, Linda, ya 7ayati



Linda. Blogs. On. Oh,yeah,this is life. (Yes, she blogs!)


Linda, how can we not love you?

Exciting News of the Month

"AMMAN — A revamped, refurbished, enlarged National Gallery of Fine Arts reopens its doors to the public today under the aegis of Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania.

Two opposite buildings connected by a multi-purpose park guarantee more exhibition space for the art works in the custody of this cultural place.

Around 2,000 such works will be on permanent display at the gallery built by the highest international standards. One of the most important museums in the region, it houses an extensive number of paintings, sculptures, photographs, graphic works, and ceramics.

Besides the exhibition halls, the gallery has places allocated for lectures, film screening, visual arts, library, coffee shop (called Point of View), atelier for graphics, storage space and, a fresh surprise, a gift shop.

“To raise awareness among Jordanians about art,” is one avowed aim, said Khreis, but also to acquaint foreigners (by lending works to museums abroad or those visiting the country) with Jordanian art of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The park, making a beautiful point of passage between the two buildings of the gallery, is open to all, with a playground allotted to children, and benches to rest and meditate at the beauty around. Sculptures will be on display in the park and visitors can enjoy the Japanese garden, a present of the Japanese government, and an Andalusian fountain, a present from Queen Sofia of Spain.

For a lazy morning or a sunny afternoon of recreation or education, for a quiet stroll in the park, or for an intellectual debate or simply a cup of coffee in the Art cafe and restaurant adjacent to the park, the complex of the museum is the place to go."

+Jordan Times

I'm really, really, really excited about this. The National Gallery has been in the process of rennovation since September, and we can't wait to see the results! Amman is the perfect setting for such projects, and this is a great oppurtunity to spread awareness about art. AWARENESS. I'm really upset at lack of artistic awareness.
And yay! An Andalusian fountain! I absolutely love the Andalusian arts, Andalus is definitely my favorite art epoch ever.

More: The tireless efforts of President of Royal Society of Fine Arts HRH Princess Wijdan

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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Shocking Discovery





Did you know that using an inkjet printer, you can actually print a perfect image on a piece of silk scotch-taped to paper?
And it doesn't ruin the printer!

P.S. FABRICS LEAK

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Friday, May 13, 2005

The Hooka and the Arab

I was planning to post this link as an update to the Artistic Schizophrenia post, but then I saw this picture and read Leila's caption on it and I just totally cracked up laughing. So I decided to share the picture, the caption, and Leila's new blog in a different post instead.

FIERCE ARAB STEALS HOOKA!

Those argeele (aka hooka) commercials targeting youth must be working. My sister is only six. This picture was taken at some cafe in the hotel that we stayed at at the Dead Sea.

Anyhow, I must agree, Lina's quite a fierce little kid(Leila, Jeeda is turning quite fierce herself, but so are you, so I guess its like a whole family of fierce females :P)

So Leila now has a blog, but it's still being built up. I'll be adding it under the "Art and More" sidebar.

And I smell like a Cuban cigar...



This evening, I went to see a friend who I haven't seen in a while and who I was rather missing, but I ended up watching a game of chess. People who listen to good music and still enjoy playing chess fascinate me...

Anyhow, moving on to the Cuban cigar, I won't whine about it in particular because you go to certain places knowing that the right belongs to the smokers, and anyhow (on too light a note), a Cuban cigar doesn't smell all that bad...

But seriously now, one of the worst things about living in Amman is that you can't go anywhere without coming back reeking like smoke, and it's really annoying for the secondhand smokers like me.

In Jordan, the average number inhaled by a smoker per year is 1,832 cigarettes, and no one respects "No smoking" rules as the rule-makers break their own rules. Consequently, I inhale the smoke filled air everywhere I go- in the mall, in the "nonsmokers" section of the restaurant, in public transport, heck, even at school. Smoke contains over 3,000 chemicals, at least 50 of which are known and identified carcinogens. Only 15% of smoke is inhaled by the smoker. The other 85% goes directly into the air to be inhaled by nonvoluntary nonsmokers- inhaled by me.

I really wish someone would do something about this, because if the smokers are okay with killing themselves by smoking their life away, I personally do not want to live through lung cancer and heart disease. It's really all too sad anyway, because I love a good portion of these smokers- among them are great people with great minds (hint, hint).

And for heaven's sake, don't give me that "does anything else burn itself away to please you?" argument. I'm quite sick of hearing it.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Cafe Amman

Our next(and final) project is to design a little cafe/snack bar. I'm certainly more excited for this than I was for the travel agency project, because for one thing, I can actually try to be creative, and for another thing, I am completely fascinated by the design trends of cafes, restaurants, lounges, etc. I could literally spend the rest of my life going around the world searching for cozy cafes, chic restaurants, and exotic lounges.

For the first phase of the project, we went around the much loved Amman to analyze and take pictures of some of the restaurants (those that allowed us to take pictures, anyhow).

I thought I'd share the visual results, so here they are way below(click on the thumbnail to look at photograph).

Aside from the fact that my love for these places comes from the authenticity in their design, decoration, and of course, food, almost each of these places reminds me of a person I love, a moment I treasure, or an interesting experience(ahem, ahem).

For my own design project, I think I'm going to do that whole pop art thing, in dedication to one of my favorite artists, Andy Warhol. I'm still thinking about the name though, is "Untitled"(as most of Warhol's paintings are called) too much of a cliche?


Planet Hollywood
Abdoun Circle

I'm not a huge fan of this place, their design is too crowded and too dark for my taste, but I must admit they have excellent food(spinach dip, yum, yum, and their vanilla pudding!!)


Crumz

Abdoun

I think their designer is a genius. The way he/she handled that elongated plan of the restaurant is quite impressive. I love how he used angularity to break the length, and the colors provide for a very cozy atmosphere.

Frosti Icecream
Shmesani

Frosti, where can I start… This Frosti branch is a 5 minute walk from my grandmother's house, where we spent many hours of our childhood sitting on those benches and trying out all the different ice-cream. I love the colors and the logo, and I love the wooden benches.

Noodasia
Abdoun Circle

Very sophisticated, but a bit too cold and hard with all the steal and silverness.

Moroccan Restaurant
Shmesani

I love the authentic Moroccan feel of the place, but they could have done a much better job with the design.

Coffee Time
Jabal Amman

I absolutely adore this place! It's very tiny, very cozy, people actually go there to study and read, and they have excellent coffee. Their design is also quite stunning… I hate the little chairs and table at the side, but otherwise, it's a perfect display of the cozy feel.

Starbucks
Abdoun

Their design is the standard Starbucks design, I love the prints they hang on their walls, and I love the mismatched furniture, but I'm not big on the color scheme although it does suit it quite nicely.

Jordan Wild
Jabal Amman

Gorgeous place, these pictures certainly don’t do the place justice. One of the best designed places I've ever seen, they combine the concept of recycling and conserving in a perfect mix of minimalism architecture and the reprocessing of elements such as soda cans. They have gorgeous artwork, gorgeous lightning, and absolutely stunning seating(although I must say it's not very comfortable).

Cups & Kilos
Jabal Amman

Lovely little coffee bar, very practical, very simple, and I totally dig the orange and the stools outside.

Blue Fig
Abdoun

Like Jordan Wild, I consider Blue Fig to also be one of the most beautifully designed cafes around. It has its own feel in everything, from the food, to the menu, to the architecture and the arts. I respect them for the ability to create a whole system that is theirs and only theirs.

Cafe Duinde(Lavazza)
Jabal Amman

Very cute little gallery/cafe in Jabal Amman, with a lot of handsome artwork and cute accents(who can say no to art books on coffee tables?). Unfortunately, it's not properly maintained, and they close at 7, making it very hard to go to.