.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


Main: AndFarAway.net

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Women, the future today

As translated from Al-Ghad by yours truly,

"...Females did much better than males on the Jordanian secondary school leaving test Al-Tawjihi. On a national level, they held 41 spots from the 54 top spots in both academic and skill-based courses."


Uhhh, no parle pas Francais or Lebanesais! Only Jordanie!

My Lebanese cousins are here for the weekend for the first time in almost 10 years, which is a whole lot of time, especially as they are teenagers. Anyhow, although the Lebanese have a stronghold over the Arabian media, although Lebanon is a Levantine country, and although these cousins are half Palestinian, I am finding it really hard to communicate with them.

Typically, the communication barrier is language, especially as their second language is French and not English. You'd think that adding an "-ay" to the end of every word would help them understand me and vice versa, but no, their vocabulary is a completely different set from mine. Then, when I want to explain to them what the word I just used means, for example "faye3", I can't resort to English because they don't speak a word of it and I don't speak a word of French! It happens with even simpler words, like "awa3i"(clothes). They don't know what "awa3i" means, and I'm terrible with languages, so it is literally impossible for me to remember that the Lebanese equivalent is "tyeib" (but seriously, I understand where "tyieb" comes from, but what's the etymology of "awa3i"?)

It's just really ironic how I find it so much easier to converse with my American cousins. How sad is it that I find it demanding to communicate with the Lebanese in Arabic? Lebanon, a 3 hours cruise from Jordan! The Lebanese, with their monopoly over Arabic media! Cousins, whose mother is my father's sister!

Sadder still is the case with other Arab regions, like North Africa and the Gulf. During the few times that I had the opportunity to communicate with North Africans, I could never get past hello, and although I lived in Saudi Arabia for most of my life, the Gulfian words I understand are "tsolfein", "kobri", and "ja7dah".

I know that it is too late to change anything, especially as the Arab world is vast and spread over many lands. I also can't really complain because I'm guilty of a much more drastic linguistic sin- I never had any real Arabic schooling!

Wow, I just realized I can say all of the above in 6 concise lines:

Roba says:
my aunt and her kids are here from Lebanon
Roba says:
yey 3al 7aki il lobnani
Roba says:
wala bafham 3aleihom eshi
Roba says:
and i cant explain in english..
Roba says:
cause they only speak french
Roba says:
its horrible

Main: AndFarAway.net

Friday, July 29, 2005

Planeteering across global heights

Left to right, standing row: Jad, Mohammad, Nader, Isam, Iyas, Ethan, Haitham, and Ahmad
Left to right, sitting row: Hind, Roba, Ammar

(Yes, that is the most random title in the whole wide world, but well, I'm watching a movie about airplanes, so it's random with an explaination.)

Today, dearests, was the the 5th Jordan Planet blogger meet-up. I'm sorta losing count, the arithmetic side of my brain only handles the first three numerals then "safers" back to 0.

Numbers or not, the meet-up was great and a good amount of people showed up, some of them first timers like Haitham Sabbah, Mr. and Mrs. Jameed, Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices, Egyptian blogger Mohammad Sameer, and Raida Il-Zo3bi(hello Raida). Naturally, the permanent meet-up members Isam Bayazidi, Nader Shnoudi, Ammar Ibrahim and myself also had to make a showing, and we had the pleasure of seeing Ahmad Humeid, Hind Sabanekh and Jad Madi again.

We talked about a lot of stuff, like the Global Voices project, an interest in launching blogging in remote areas of Jordan, and of course, computers, technology, and the internet.

Through the meet-up, Haitham and Iyas surprised me with a birthday tart for my upcoming birthday. That was really sweet of you guys :) I totally loved it!

First picture is of Haitham and Ethan, and yes, there really is a tree in the middle of the table. At first I thought it was cute, but now that my neck is all cranked up from trying to get a better view of Ethan and Haitham, it's sooo not a good idea anymore! Second picture is of Jad and Mohammad.

First picture, Mr. and Mrs. Jameed and Haitham, I'm not sure what Iyas was doing, he was "passionately" telling Ammar something though... Second picture, Ethan, Ahmad, and Mohammad Sameer.

First picture, Mohammad showing us some glitch in some ATM machine. Second picture, me with my surprise birthday tart. Thanks again guys :)

For more on the meet-up and more pictures:
Haitham Sabbah
Ethan Zuckerman
Ahmad Humeid
Jad Madi

"Jeishana jeish il wa6an sameina bi esm allah, ye7mi il 3alam wil wa6an we3 yoon Abdalla!" Did you know ino that song is really popular after hours?

Interested in meet-ups 1 through 4?
Jordan Planet Meet up 1
Jordan Planet Meet up 2
Jordan Planet Meet up 3
Jordan Planet Meet up 4

PS. I'm not very happy with how colorless the group picture is... Why isn't anyone wearing red..?

Main: AndFarAway.net

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bang Bang

Yes, it's 1:00 AM, but the only thing I can hear anyway is toj toj, bang bang, and beep beep. That is, to those who aren’t aware of Jordan's three rules of celebration- gunshots, fireworks, and a whole lot of very happy honking.

I am very much against the gunshots, but I'm all for celebrating in the Jordanian style, especially for Tawjihi, regardless if you think its nawari or not. Congratulations to all those who passed and did well, mabrook!

(And I will use this opportunity to diss the stupid system that is tawjihi. HOW CAN YOU PLACE THE LIFE OF A CHILD ON THE OUTCOME OF 2 MONTHS? Really, how can you? How can you place all that pressure on those kids? And how can you flunk half of them? It's just mean.)

Special, special congrats to Abeer and Rasha!!! You go girls!

Main: AndFarAway.net

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Little Lost Roba (Part III)

Yesterday, a cousin of mine told that JU did it again- they decided to go on and have a very drastic change in their system without telling anyone.

So apparently, the two semester model that has been used in JU for over a decade has now been changed back to the trimester model, and the starting date of the school year 2005/2006 has been pushed forward(backward?) from the usual October to Septemeber.

AH! Can't they decide beforehand and let the students know before they go on their respective summer vacations?! And ok, if it was an impromptu decision, can't they at least publicly declare it on their official website?! Or even deny it ya 3ami...


So, does anyone have details? Me, I'm lost.

Related lostness:
Lost Little Roba
Lost Little Roba (Part II)

I heart Amman

I came upon some really hilarious Ammanish material on the Jordanian blogosphere today and here are some of the stuff that just made my day, especially as today was particularly depressing with alerts and false alerts.

This years excessive use of fireworks is the talk of town- someone has mentioned it in almost every single conversation I've had this month, even if just in passing- "Batalo ta'7-ta'7a saro fagagee3, lazem yotrosho il nas". So when I saw this cartoon by Sha3teeli, I just cracked up!

Then there were the awesome digi-shots that Jameed posted.

As Laith said, apparently, there's a 25th hour that can only be found in Amman. I am, naturally, totally loving the idea. A TWENTY FIFTH hour that can ONLY be found in Amman! How can anyone not love Amman? The city of 25 hours(and hey, is that Bart Simpson?)...

You're also gonna have to go check out Jameed's blog to appreciate one of my very favorite signs in Amman- "New Yourk Nigt Club". It's on the way home from well, practically anywhere, so it's been and endless source of laughter throughout the years.

I'm also totally loving the last picture- who in the world would write a book titled "Be Warned- The False Messiah Takes Over the World from the Bermuda Triangle"?
That's a man I'd love to meet...

Main: AndFarAway.net

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Amman Scenario 1

Read about Scenario 1 below


Amidst the intolerable stretch of hell that is labeled as "Garden's Street", the very inconspicuous speed-bumps, and the driving skills of highway Gulfians, summer's traffic in Amman is practically intolerable.

This evening, I had to go drop my youngest brother to his friend's house, and unfortunately, this friend lives in Khalda. The shortest way to get to Khalda from Shmesani is to ride across the one of the few things in Amman that I passionately hate- Gardens Street. The street that I am LITERALLY willing to go around the WHOLE of Amman just to avoid. The street that I hope will follow a similar fate as the restaurant that it was named after.

Oh, Gardens Street, Gardens Street, where shalt I start?

Shall I start the fact that it is a thin and impossibly long stretch of infinite traffic? Or the fact that the numerous speed bumps and never-ending traffic lights are placed at such horrible intervals that the whole driving experience on that street falls along the lines of "Accelerate. Slow down. Accelerate. STOP. Accelerate. Slow down. STOP. STOP. Accelerate. Slow down. Accelerate. Slow down. Accelerate. STOP. Accelerate. Slow down. STOP. STOP. Accelerate. Slow down."

Or perhaps I should move on to the fact that it is home to some of the worst visual pollutants in Amman? The signage lining both its sides is horrendously unaesthetic(25 hours? 25 HOURS?!) Yet again, I should probably start with how random pedestrians jump into the street while apparently trying to cross, or with the insane amount of cabs randomly stopping to drop off or pick up a passenger.

And ah, how can I not give particular importance that this street seems to be a "bad driver magnet"? Today for example, I had to deal with some really old man who apparently believes that you are supposed to drive with lane dividers between the wheels of the car rather than center the car between the dividers. All my honking proved futile, although I did spend the rest of my Gardens Street drive with an 80 year old grouchy man riding my bumper, screaming at me from his window, and cutting me off at every possibility.

I also will have to mention the Gulfians, who have a really hard time adjusting to Amman's mountainous narrow streets very different from the flat highways of the Gulf. YOU CANNOT SPEED INSIDE AMMAN WITH YOUR 5000 CC ENGINES. YOU NEED TO USE YOUR MIRRORS BEFORE YOU CHANGE LANES, OUR STREETS ARE SMALL. AND THESE ARE MOUNTAINS FOR GODSSAKE, MOUNTAINS!

Today was just not a good driving day.

And while I'm at it, will someone PLEASE do something about that damn speed bump on the inner Safeway street? It is huge, it is inconspicuous, it is not very car friendly, and worst of all, I can never remember that it's there! It is going to be the end of my car, the end of my car I'm telling you!

(This post came from a positive, positive person)

More: Scenario 1 Illustrated

The ruler of the world gets a face lift

Admittedly, I love Coca-Cola's brand identity- I love the curves, the logo, the colors, the packaging, and the general feel of a can of Coke.

Coca-Cola has now taken the design a step further by focusing on an design evolution. They comissioned five young design groups from five continents to rethink their packaging with an eye towards hip urban flair. The project, named "M5," will serve as a visual rebranding aimed at discerningly creative consumers.

I really like what I see so far.

More: Cool Hunting

Main: AndFarAway.net

Monday, July 25, 2005

With or without love it's all the same to me

I really love Farooha's new cyberspace invented character, the Tagmanian Devil, who took it to hand to make sure I get tagged with the least suitable questions to ask me, but that I'm going to try to answer anyway, although I'm very, very cynical.

1- What does Love mean to you?
I believe in the feeling linked to the word "Love", whether it is towards my beloved glue-gun, Firefox, or my friend Soos. I also strongly believe in infatuation.
But the whole fairytale of "Love" and happily ever after? Get real...

2- What does Marriage mean to you?
A counterpart family- for after all, we haven't evolved enough yet to be able to function as well when not belonging to a larger supporting unit.

3- Do you believe in love at first sight?
I believe that this question depends on the people involved. If they're simple and shallow enough to judge a person on looks and aura, that's fine. For me though, "Love at first sight" has my double stamp of double BS.

4- How many children would you like?
Somewhere around 1 and 3, preferably 2.

5-If given the opportunity, what song would you sing for me on my wedding day?
Uh, Farooha babe, I don't sing, but I can dance and chant my way through the Dabkeh and the zafeh, so I'll get my dabkeh friends and make sure to inzefek bi several songs related to Palestinian and Jordanian weddings from "O lowla7i ya dalyeh", "3aladal3ona", and my very favorite, "Shu jananek la te3qali wo tetzawaji".

6- What is your favorite holiday destination?
Anywhere laid back, cultured, and WARM.

7-What are three qualities you would look for in a man?
I actually have a draft about this, because Linda at some point asked, just never got to post it. Anyway, in a nutshell, brains(to an extreme degree too), passion( I am, by nature, excessively passionate, and so I generally find it impossible to comprehend the mentalities of average-achievers, the jaded, and the smug), and being fun loving, easy going, and up to anything.

8- What are the three qualities and three bad habits that you have?
If I were to say, I'd say my good qualities fall along the lines of unwarranted passion(not in the romantic side though), extreme easy-going-ness, and excessive positivity. My bad habits are probably along the lines of sometimes being weird without meaning to(and freaking people out), getting too attached to certain individuals, and heart breaking honesty.

9-Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Working in a field I love to death and finding satisfaction in my career.

The Tagmanian Devil is tagging MMM, Oleander, Nader, and Sinan.

And red not because red is the color of lurveee, but because red is the color of life.

Only in Jordan...

Just in case you missed the tour that travelled all the way from Mormon county, across European lands, and finally into Jordan- allow me to introduce Mr. and Mrs. Jameed. Quoted from Mr. Jameed's profile, "Regarded as the epitome of Jordanian invention, jameed is primarily used for cooking "mansaf". Grumpygourmet.com describes the mansaf as "an enormous platter layered with crepe-like traditional "shraak" bread, mounds of glistening rice and chunks of lamb that have been cooked in a unique sauce made from reconstituted jameed and spices, sprinkled with golden pine nuts." To the best of my knowledge, no other nation has managed to dry yogurt."

A whole new way to enjoy "Ex-bressos".

Main: AndFarAway.net

Sunday, July 24, 2005

On weddings, fashionistic Riyadhites, and the pleasures of being a Ammanite

Summer in Amman means weddings, weddings, and yet more weddings. This weekend for example, we were invited to two weddings- A DAY. That's 4 weddings in one weekend alone and many more to come.

Hectic, hectic, especially in the closet compartment. I'm already out of stuff to wear and all the shopping sprees proved very disastrous as (hint, hint fashion designers) this season's trend makes me look like a watermelon. To make matters worse, most of these weddings involve family friends from the Riyadh days, and the people of Riyadh are so fashion conscious, something that I gladly let slip as soon as we moved to Jordan.

Yet, the fashion conscious still haunt me, for as soon as I walk into the hall full of fashionistic Riyadhite females wearing the same fashionable skirt, I am attacked with stares of horror as I am wearing something that these same females were all wearing two years ago. Me, I just smile at their stares and dance to "Different is good, comfort is good, and wearing something you actually like is even better".

(And to think, not very long ago, I was among the fashionistic Riyadhites! When we first moved here, a close friend laughed at me because I didn't own a single pair of jeans. Ha, he who laughs first laughs last- I haven't bought anything but jeans in the past couple of years, and consider yourself a lucky person if you see me in anything else!)

Now, jumping back to weddings, perhaps a little far from the topic of fashionistic Riyadhites(but not too far as these families were/are also residents of Riyadh), tonight, we went to the very first 3assi family wedding. Or ok, naturally, it wasn't the very first in the history of the 3assis, but the very first as far I'm concerned. I guess I can say that there was a gap of 3assi kids born at a certain time and we had no weddings for a little over a decade.

Anyhow, as 3assis have a reputation for being a fun loving family, and as I haven't seen some of the people present in years, it was a whole lot of fun. In fact, it was enough fun to trigger a post about Levantine weddings, but I'll leave that till later and do with little pictures I took with my mom's camera phone.

Camera phone, yes, yes, because, you know, my stupid little fashionista purse from the Riyadh days doesn't even fit my wallet! Ah, the pleasures of being a Ammanite.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Saturday, July 23, 2005


I'm still in shock about last night's Sharm Il-Sheikh bombings- two weeks after the first London bombings and a couple of days after the second, yet more innocent souls have passed away as causalities of terrorism. May God bless the souls of those who died, and help their families and loved ones.

Terrorism affects all of us, regardless of nationality and religion.

Say no to Terrorism.


Main: AndFarAway.net

Friday, July 22, 2005

Coca-Cola rules the world

Yes, it does, and literally too, at least in the product world. Valued at $67.5bn, Coca-Cola is still the world's top brand for the 4th year in a row.

The biggest non-US company was Finnish mobile phone group Nokia at number six(and me, I'm a loyal Nokia-ee). Only five UK names made it into the top 100, with banking group HSBC ranked the highest at 29. The other UK firms to make a showing were Reuters at 74, BP at 75, vodka label Smirnoff at 88, and Shell at 90.

Evidence of Asia's increasing power as a carmaker saw Japan's Toyota increase its brand value by 10% to $24.8bn.

Several new companies managed to push into the top 100, including UPS, Google, Novartis, Zara(yay), Hyundai, Bulgari and LG.


Source: BBC News

Nightstand Me

MMM tagged me with the Nightstand Meme. I tried to list the numerous objects laying happily on my bedside table, but when I got to gluestick, scotch tape, and thermometer, I decided that it is an impossible task and had to resort to my ever handy camera.

Damn, I'm a slob.

I tag Oleander(because I have a feeling he's messier), Farooha(because she's in Germany), Wa2el(because he hasn't updated in a while), Amino(because we don't know much about her yet!), and Lina(because I feel like she's going to be the opposite of this).

The Dark Side of the Rainbow

While reading an interesting article on Quentin Tarantino's scene-stealing style, I remembered a synchronicity theory that my cousin told me about last week that synchronises between Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and MGM's Wizard of Oz. Synchronicity is matching a movie to a completely unrelated album. And heck, my mind goes ga ga for both Pink Floyd and Wizard of Oz separately, so when you put them together...

The theory is only a preposition as apparently no Pink Floyd member has dubbed "The Dark Side of the Rainbow"(as the theory is called) true or false. Regardless, it is still one of the most fascinating things I've read about.

For example, Heartbeat is heard at the end of the album is Dorothy listens at the Tin Man's chest. During the 'Time' guitar solo, the fortune teller's sign is shown with the words "Past Present and Future". The lyric 'Balanced on the biggest wave' coincides with Dorothy's balancing act on the fence. Side 1 of the album is exactly as long as the black & white portion of the film! The most amazing example I read about though is how "Money" starts when Oz appears in color in all its expensive and modern glamour.

You can read about more about how to set this experiment up and the rest of the weird "coincidences" here.

So what do you think? Coincidence or tribute?

Main: AndFarAway.net

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Touring Saudi Blogs

In the past several days, I have spent a good amount of time browsing through the newly created directory of Saudi blogs. Some of the blogs listed are older blogs that have already found their way onto my list of favorite blogs around, like Farah's Sowaleef and Saudi Jeans. A few others are newer blogs that are finding their way into my list of favorite blogs around, like Jaded Saudi and Wa2el. For the most part though, most of my visits to the listed blogs were first times, and I found myself surprised at the difference in mentalities and ideas of the different Saudi bloggers.

One of the hottest topics in the Saudi blogosphere is the issue of women's driving in Saudi Arabia. As everyone knows, Saudi Arabia restricts women from driving on its streets. Naturally, not only being a feminist but also being moderately logical, I find this whole issue really depressing. Following is a translated blog post by one of the Saudi bloggers that depressed me even more. I am really shocked at the fact that people actually think like this. I will not comment further because everything I have to say is not very nice.

Quoted from a Saudi blog:

"These days, there is a lot of talk about the issue of women driving in Saudi Arabia and I am surprised that people see this as an important issue.
Outside Saudi Arabia people think we are still in the age of camels while inside it is as if a magical wand has solved all the problems of women except driving. I won't delve too deeply into this issue but I would like to point out that I noticed that many who support women's driving go support their claims by saying that millions of Saudi Riyals are being spent on foreign drivers, so if a Saudi woman drove her own car, they will cut back on a lot of costs. (...)
Argument worse than sin!
Housewives will not allow this to happen for each of them has her own appointments- Hisa is invited to X and doesn't have the time to buy bread for the children's dinner or even Indomi. Mazna is going to the coffee shop with her friends and she doesn't want to be late because the kids want to go the bookshop. Rafia has set exercise times to walk across Prince Abdullah Street so she sends her son to the dentist with the maid. Haya can't wake up early to take her children to school because she was at a late-night party in one of the rest houses outside of Riyadh and so she arrived close to dawn and "in these times, only drivers can drive".
It doesn't work out except with men. It is a man's job to drive. The driver is the one who should buy the bread, get the groceries and the children's needs from the bookshops and take them to schools and hospitals.
We will not solve the problem of the millions by allowing women to drive, on the contrary, because women will become "addicted" to driving for reason and without, and hold responsibility. Only a driver should do that, for men did it before!"

Fortunately, a different blogger posted an opposing post ridiculing the stupid rule and the even stupider logic behind it. Another blogger also ridiculed the comments posted on a news website that are along the lines of the blog post above. Saudi Girl, a different blog, posted contemplations and guess about the related issue of banning women from voting. I also really liked a blog called A Thought in the Kingdom of Lunacy. Although I didn't read beyond the main page, Jo, the blogger, has some interesting views, and I must say, I like her header- "How fortunate for leaders that men do not think..." .

I also came across several blog posts that pissed me off, like a certain quite long one telling the story of how she - God forbid - had to obey her mom and feed the maid proper food, and talk and treat her like a human; "I became a servant for a maid!"

Other blogs, like Trilancer, are rather amusing(even I never contemplated the design of toilet seats!).

It's really cool to have blog portals for the different Arab countries. Diversity is always good.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Untitled 2

Romance 01

I totally love anything a round delicate pattern, especially since it reminds of a patterning technique a friend of mine taught me a long time ago and that now covers the surface of every single thing I own. Usually though, I find it hard to find a ready-made object with a similar pattern that is neither fala7la7(unsightly) nor m3aja2(over-decorated).

So when I saw this table, called romance 01 from ona, I completely fell in love with it- the pattern is very delicate yet modern, the colors are very pure yet gusty, and the shape is very conventional yet innovative. I especially love how the laser-perforated technique was equipped to add color and mystery and yet save the table from being "too pink".

Another ona design that I found really cool is the mild bub table, a multifunctional table that can add both edge and modernity to any room. In my opinion, the designer managed to beautifully solve problems relating to space and place by allowing the table to serve both practical and aesthetic functions. Folded up, this lightweight table can be hung or propped against a wall as art, and standing, it becomes functional.

Pretty, don't you think?

Main: AndFarAway.net

Monday, July 18, 2005

Ya Mal Il Sham...

This weekend, my grandfather decided to visit Syria again for the first time in 55 years. 55 five years! That's a little more than half a century, and I'm sure everyone can imagine how drastically a country can change in 55 years. And so, with 2 of my cousins who are visiting for a week from the US, my grandfather, and my uncle, we jumped into the car and headed to Damascus.

So we spent the last couple of days there- eating their delicious food (I hold the stance that Syrians are the best cooks in the world), wandering around Souq il Hamedeyeh(one of my very favorite places in the world), and gawking at the worst case of horrible driving we've ever seen in our life(yes, the WORST! Absolutely and insanely aggressive! The cab drivers barely missed several good chances to get us killed, and we even got into a minor accident! I don't understand how people dare to say that my driving is bad! You know who you are...). My favorite thing about Syria is the unbelievable amount of Levantine culture and history in its lands.

I also discovered a good deal of really fascinating information about the Dallals, my mother's family who I went with on the trip. My grandfather was really excited about showing his grandchildren, who are both first timers to the Arab world a little family history, and so a lot of "show and tell" was done, mostly with information that I didn't know before. For example, I knew that the Dallal's are somehow related to Abed-Il-Malik Ibn Marwan, who built the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, but I had no idea that the family tree traces right back to the Caliph Muwaiya whose dynasty ruled for over 500 years. So the Dallal family is basically a branch of the Tahboobs of Hebron which is a branch of the Marwanis of Syria which is a branch of the Ummayyads of Mecca. It really is pretty cool, I mean, my ancestors built one of my very favorite places in the world- the Ummayyad Mosque and Al-Andalus of Spain.

Picture time:

Myself with cousins Karl(Paul's brother), and Andres

The mindblowing Souq Il-Hamedeyeh, an ancient bazaar in downtown Damascus, a man selling "Saber", a very Levantine fruit, outside of Souq Il-Hamedeyeh, and two view of the quite mesmerizing alleys of Damascus.

To look at the rest of the pictures and read the captions, click on each thumbnail below:

One of the funniest parts about the trip was getting invited to a restaurant to have Mansaf, the Jordanian national dish. I was quite happy and excited, for after all, it's my favorite dish and Andres and Karl didn't get to try it yet. To my surprise, when they served the "Mansaf", it was the farthest thing possible from Mansaf, basically consisting of spiced rice mixed with boiled vegetables, fried cashews and almonds, and a zebdeyeh of regular cold and solid yoghurt right out of the fridge! It also was topped with both lamb AND chicken! I can't believe they're marketing that as Mansaf! I personally thought that was a complete disgrace to authentic Jordanian Mansaf, a cncoction of white rice, pine nuts, and Jameed. Admittedly, it was excellent, but I still find it quite hilarious that they consider it Mansaf.

On our way back to home, sweet home, we were all pleasantly surprised to see that intensive remodelling has taken place in the Jordanian borders, and the once quite dreary customs is now a very bright and well designed room with marble, wood, and colors that actually match. Way to go!

Main: AndFarAway.net

Saturday, July 16, 2005


The Optimus keyboard project has totally blew my mind. I mean, seriously, can you think of anything more practical, creative, and magical than a keyboard with keys that are little LCD screens that are both configurable and application aware? I certainly cannot.

I absolutely love this century, everything is changing, and fast! One minute you can't think beyond the good-old-let's-happily-clickety-click-away-keyboard and the next you're gawking at pictures of an LCD-display-applicant-aware-hot-looking-keyboard.

Apparently, the Optimus keyboard is set to be released in 2006, it will cost "less than a good mobile phone", and Moscow is the capital of Russia. It will also be OS-independent, can support any language, and an open-source keyboard.

I'm totally digging this project, even as a concept.

The Photoshop keyboard:

Frogs! Frogs! Frogs!

"Think about all the bad qualities of this person, and then immediately think of something unrelated- like, frogs!"

I tell him that he needs to write a book, his ideas are gold! Gold! They will sell like hotcakes!

Abu Samer my friend, you are wise indeed.

Ribbit 1
Ribbit 2
Ribbit 3

Main: AndFarAway.net

Friday, July 15, 2005

Better Use of Barbies

It took me a while to decide whether I like Margaux Lange's Plastic Body Series or hate it, but then I decided I like it. It's a bit sadistic, but still extremely creative, and it looks really cool! Reminds me of my Swatch Bijoux bracelet.

And I'm branding my life away...

Brand strategy and pop culture are, simply, fascinating. Here's a list of interesting stuff I've read during the past few weeks(I know, this blog is like going through list mania):

Main: AndFarAway.net

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Idiotis with Cameras

"Roba, man, we like, took the thuggest picture! Look! LOOK! He's staring RIGHT AT THE CAMERA!"

I really should have gone, especially since I've never been there(yes, really). My excuse though is a very, very good one- IT'S TOO HOT! (And me, I have become fully Jordanian, 36 degrees Celsius is "nice weather" no more)
And so, my brothers and cousins packed themselves up and headed to the Rose City of Petra, and I feel inclined to share the pictures they snapped.

Click on image to get to view and to read caption.