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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Strawberry Flavored Water Ice

zooksies 1131

The only topic dominating the echoes echoing through the hills and valleys of the bustling city of Amman is heat. Good god- it's been hot, in the sense where my work doesn't stick together anymore because the glue keeps melting.

My favorite part about the heat is that I can pig out on popsicles. I love popsicles. Especially when its bright red. You know the cheap bright red askimo which still costs a shelen, labelled neither "askimo" nor "popsicle", but instead, "Strawberry Flavored Water Ice". It really is as good as Pepsi. And I really love Pepsi. In the past 30 minutes, I've had 4 popsicles.

The best part? Popsicles are the only thing in my world that haven't gotten more expensive. It still costs a shelen a piece. I feel like a child when I hand my Leira to the guy at the dokaneh and he gives me back a bagful of askimo. My God, can you believe that a Leira can still buy so much of one thing?! It barely gets two scoops of icecream at Frosti's. I remember a time when a scoop at Frosti's cost 20 piasters.

zooksies 1130

And so, the freezer is stocked with popsicles. And ahhh, they're the perfect solution for such a hot week. A terrible week too. MY CAR IS STILL NOT FIXED. I'm really suffering without her- I'm absolutely and horribly emotionally attached to that creature (to the extent that I picked up some of the broken pieces and hung them in my room awaiting her return). I still have 4 exams/projects to go, and I'm not in the mood to do anything at all. There's also all the damn mosquitos. But the worst bit of all is my internet connection. It has suddenly transformed to dial-up speed. I hate Batelco.

That aside, the survey thingy was apparently floating in the middle of the screen for some screens (thanks for the heads up Omar!), so I removed it. If you haven't taken the survey yet, this will be your final chance to do so before I close it this Friday and post some of the results, so please take a minute to fill it out. Thanks!


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Monday, May 29, 2006

Get your pencils out

because it's time to scribble in your ticks for the best designed blog on toot! Exciting, eh? So go ahead, cast your vote, and let the best design win.

You can vote for up to 10 blogs blogs on toot Show the love for the blogs you love!

So you’re wondering why? Well, toot is not only interested in providing the best content, but we’re also interested in making sure that this great content is represented in a visually pleasing manner- you know, eye candy! So as easy as that, we decided to run a competition to choose the best designed blogs on toot! Good luck for all blogs!

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Student of Design

... and one of the worst bits about that is creating makeshift solutions for "I'm just a student with no professional equipment" problems. Take for example a project due this Sunday- how the heck am I going to give the font on my package that shiny gellatine-y cover layer?

Genius makeshift solution: Maybelline Water Shine Nail Polish - chip resistant and super high-shine, all the while somehow managing to maintain the font's characteristics.

zooksies 1036

It doesn't show much in the picture- but seriously, it shines!

The freaky thing about all this is the fact that I just cannot get myself to sit still and listen to one hour of a movie, and yet I can sit for three hours painting type with nailpolish. And I actually enjoy it.

Time to go spray glue. Did I ever mention that I absolutely love UHU Spray Glue? Ahhh... efficiency in a bottle!

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Friday, May 26, 2006

I know you well, I know your smell


Call me sentimental (which I'm really not unless its about streets and colors and stuff), but my heart aches every time I see this (which is often, as Abdoun is a quite-often taken route)- Dowar Abdoun Moghlaq! Abdoun Circle is shut!

The drama.

From all the circles of Amman (and they are plenty), Abdoun Circle is the dearest one to my heart. It was just the thing throughout my teenage years. I wasn't old enough to drive, but my god, I can't help but smile remembering the countless times I was driven around Abdoun Circle by others just for "fun", which was always followed by an evening lingering in Galleria, MacDonalds, and Gerards. Beep, beep!

Dowar Abdoun Moghlaq. Ahh ya albi!

(me not the only one, Hala is better at having fits, enjoy!)

Abdoun Circle during her prime...

Nostalgia. I actually love this picture although it isn't much of a work of art. It was probably taken 3 years ago.

lema 596



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Thursday, May 25, 2006


Snip, snap.
Oh, damn, he's cutting it too short.
Snip, snip, snip.
I watch my strands fall off to the floor with horror.
He catches my expression, shakes his head and holds up his brush, with my hair rolled tightly on it, "How many times a week do you wash your hair?"
"Yes, I can tell. Your hair is so thin and so fragile! Ya 7ayateh you should only wash it three times a week."
"I can't. I hate the feel of it."
"But you will get used to it 7ayateh! Three times a week."
He gets out his blow dryer. I hate this part- not only does he burn my scalp, he also manages to pull my hair out of its roots, and to make matters worse, this terrible proccess is always followed with dollops and dollops of wax- "For volume 7ayateh." Ok. Volume. Volume is good, right?

I leave looking like a poodle. A GODDAMN POODLE.

In the car, I call a friend of mine, "I look like a poodle."
"Good," he told me cheerfully. "I like poodles."
Wrong answer.

Ruff. Ruff.

"Sixty Springs in Your Glory, oh, Jordan!"

zooksie 550

That's so slogan they're using to celebrate Independence Day on University Street, my literal translation of "ستين ربيعا في مجدك يا أردن".

Sixty springs- what a fascinating way to put it, especially as spring has so many symbolic meanings. Sixty years of flowery hills and clear blue skies after a winter. Sixty years of a new beginning. Sixty years of spring under the Jordanian sky.

Above is my favorite view of Amman, a representation of cultural and historical diversity, hills, and the bluest blue.

Happy Independence Day, Jordan, with much, much love.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Learning To Fly


My favorite new possession...

zooksies 1004

Ctrl + Z

Backspace. Backspace. Backspace.

Sit and wait.



(bang, bang)

As if they serve as a constant reminder that there's nothing virtual about reality. The keys don't work beyond the wires and cables.
Delete. It stays. End. There is no end. Insert. What?

Control + Alter + Delete.

No breaks.

Quote of the day

"Sure, I go around assuming they are all a-holes, and that way, when one isn't an a-hole, I am pleasantly surprised, instead of being constantly disappointed."


What are we discussing?

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

No truce yet

Jad says:
K, are you coming?
we are ordering mansaf from Jabri
K says:
yeah coming
Roba says:
2of, ana mish ma3zoomeh?
Jad says:
roba, No you are NOT
Roba says:
hehe, toz
Jad says:
3aliki, eh!
Roba says:
K says:
roba you are always welcomed... you kow that
Jad says:
K, no she is not and she knows that
K says:
you are very mistaken jad...
Jad says:
she didn't add my blog! so she is NOT
Roba says:
you know Jad, your humor is growing on me, after what.. 2 years of knowing you?
Jad says:
Roba, actually it's after two years of civil war between us

K has left the conversation.

Roba says:
hehe yeah.. civil war
Roba says:
so this is a truce?
Jad says:
Roba says:
Jad says:
anyway if you can eat with your hands you can join us
Roba says:
la2 ya3, ba2raf
Jad says:
ya3 be3enek, sho eneek high class , yo2oo yo2oo

The ugliest gadget in the world


I mean, seriously, what sort of terrible idea is that? Who said anything about mutated technology looking cool? I for one find nothing appealing in having a twig sticking out of my computer.


Just a little pinprick

I spent my first year of living in Amman in Mecca Mall. That year was a terrible year for me, having felt like I had been yanked out of my little perfect life and into one full of never-ending rain, terrible cold, moldy walls, and mean people. The mall was one of my few comforts, a little part of my previous existence, complete with marble floors, bright neon lights, and the familiar white noise produced by the patter of mall-goers, regardless of whether it was rain or shine outside its concrete walls.

Ahh... it's incredible how homogenous malls are. Regardless of where I am, whether the mall-goers are half-naked, covered up in winter coats, or barely visible with their abayas, there's this delicious familiarity in malls that makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. The brands of the world form an array of welcoming hosts, completing the familiarity, and making the world easier in any country, whether I speak the language or not.

This homogeneity and these brands were my home away from home, constants in a period where everything familiar to me had disappeared. The brands somehow turned into long-term friends- Mango with its modern classicism, Burger King with its cheap coffee, Stradivarius with its edginess. The fonts are deliciously the same as what I grew up with, the displays are what I've walked by a thousand times.

That year, I learned to appreciate the power of branding and globalization as cures for homesickness, and I, homesick, would spend hours just walking around playing pretend.

With time, I naturally became more comfortable with Amman. I also found out that I hate the "tourist Amman" that I grew up with and that I was much happier with the more relaxed and local "older Amman". So Mecca Mall, belonging to the former group, stopped being a part of my weekly routine. It became an old friend, someone I grew out of, someone I avoid seeing because it makes me so uncomfortable. I even stopped shopping, opting to have clothes picked out for me by my mother, who is so much more fashionable than I am, and delivered in a suitcase to my bedroom.


Today, my mother and I went to Mecca Mall to buy a hammock for the garden. It almost felt as if the walls of the mall were echoing "Zorooni koli sannah marrah", making me feel like running my fingertips over the marble and apologizing for being such a hypocrite.

Then I got sucked into an emotional rollercoaster of nostalgia.

Ahh... the familiar white noise which I love so much, making life prettier and better and surreal. Mango smiling at me brightly on one side of the wall, shining teeth and all. My mother and I walk in. I like this, I like that. Look, dressy shorts. Me? Wear dressy shorts? Sure. Why not. It's 'Moda'. Ok. Moda is moda. Pretty slippers. I want. Let's go get glasses too, I need glasses. Yalla. Try on frames for an hour- beige or purple? Beige wins. I was 12 when I first shopped at Mango. It was a little black skirt and I loved it to little bits and pieces.

As soon as I'm back home, I find myself staring lovingly at my gorgeous new shoes and shorts, experiencing the same form of satisfaction I've experienced a thousand times in a period of my life that feels like it almost wasn’t mine.

Cute, huh?

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Sunday, May 21, 2006


zooksies 947

It's his birthday, but instead of allowing us to celebrate him, he's celebrating us. He took my mother to the Dead Sea this weekend. He rented a car for me today. He bought the boys a new screen.

It amazes me how a person can give so much while expecting nothing in return.

I had the happiest childhood. I don’t ever remember a time when I felt like my life was missing something. Love was granted so generously. Fun was holy. Trips on holidays, even if they're only to nearby towns, make my sweetest memories.

One of my few very early memories involves him tossing me into a pond. I remember my mother would be freaking out in the background but I would only giggle and go back for more. Fast forward a few years, early 90's, before the globalization of Saudi Arabia, and I have a bagful of clothes on my bed from dad's latest trip to Holland. During my early teens, it was a habit for dad to take us to Fuddruckers for lunch every Friday, and we would just sit and laugh and talk about the past week.

When I graduated from highschool, he came with me to JU and helped me fill out the application papers, which were probably the first things I've ever had to fill out in Arabic in my entire life. That day, I applied for Fine Arts and Design, and when I went to give in my application to the registrar, he shook his head and told me with my grades, he refuses to let me apply for Fine Arts, and that he will put me in under Architecture, "Which is the same thing 3amo, but for smarter people." My dad took it from there, although he was probably the person who was the least keen on the idea of me studying what I do.

That's who he is, and that's why I am who I am. The picture above is during my 6th birthday. The pictures below are of trips during short vacations. We would drive around for hours listening to Majida il Roumi and Kathem Il Saher. We would play a game called "Shu Lon 3aroosti" and he would tell us about Nables.

Happy birthday. With much love.

sea shell chair

Sealing the 2006 Election Fiasco

Thursday. They asked for my ID at the campus gates. They never ask for my ID.

"Asef ya 3ammi, ma inti 3arfeh, intikhabat o ma bedna mashakel" (Sorry, elections, and we don't want problems)

I nod a "Ya3teek il 3afyeh" and walk into the Adaab Department only to be kicked out by campus security– "Barra, barra, ma fi il yom mo7adarat, intikhabat! Intikhabat!" (Outside, outside, there are no lectures today- elections, elections!)

I leave and get into a cab. Intikhabat. Intikhabat. In the cab, my mind went over the long discussion my mother and I had the night before about Jordan University's annual student elections.

My mother's experience and thoughts about the student elections are particularly interesting to me because she was the first female to be elected in the Faculty of Educational Sciences back in the 70's. Then, they had jam3eyehs, which apparently were what gave way to today's student council, and which replaced something more similar to the today's student council after what I believe was a turbulent period in Jordan University's history.

But the Jordan University my mother went to is very different from the Jordan University I go to today, in matters mostly related to the diversity of society, which in turn influences almost everything, including elections. The result is something terrible, for not only are these elections the perfect example of a fake democracy as the university appoints 40% of the chairs, it's also a disgustingly racist circus reeking with intolerance.

For such reasons, I am personally not involved even slightly in Jordan University's elections. Not that it matters- my wonderful department does not have a single candidate this year anyway, so the most I can do is just walk around campus amusing myself over the graphic facet of the various campaigns, the worst case of annual visual pollution I have ever seen in my life (it is even worse than the ugly lights lighting up Zahran Street this week, which I'm hoping is a temporary Independence Day decoration).

Tree Molesting:
Naturally, the biggest victims are the trees. Poor trees. As if it's not enough that JU can't spare some of the cash on investing in a different type of pesticide- I hate the way the white looks, it's hideous!
Jordan University Elections Jordan University Elections
A rose-bush of papers and look, a tree that has businesscards for leaves!

Jordan University Elections

"Interesting" marketing:
Jordan University Elections
Maybe it's just because I find geekiness attractive, but I thought that this was the most amusing slogan I saw
Jordan University Elections
A feminist man in Jordan? Ma32ool?
Jordan University Elections
Jordan University Elections
They actually passed this out. Charming. Just charming.
Jordan University Elections
7aflet chips

Visual Organization
The visual organization is amusing. How do they even think about hanging stuff up like that?
Jordan University Elections
Jordan University Electiions
Jordan University Elections
Jordan University Elections
Jordan University Elections
Jordan University Elections

Calling out to boycott the elections:
Jordan University Elections
Jordan University Elections
Jordan University Elections

Election Parties, with dabkeh et all:
Jordan University Elections
Jordan University Elections
Jordan University Elections
Jordan University Elections

Why you should never hang stuff around the funoon area:
Jordan University Elections
Jordan University Elections

And my personal favorite, even Dino celebrates and cheers:
Jordan University Elections

For more on the politics of the elections, check out the following posts by fellow Jordanians:
Batir Wardam (Arabic)
Jordanian Issues (Arabic)

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Saturday, May 20, 2006


I'm the only girl in a family of males. Even Whitey is male. And I hate it. HATE IT. HATE IT!

So the boys and I are always violently fighting.

I woke up this morning to find this on my desktop, courtsey of brother Omar, who loves stealing my glasses and making use of the fact that he's 2.00 meters tall to put them in places that I cannot reach (click to read):

(2aah, Sayed Qweider?)

And Far Away Reader Survey

I just put up a reader survey and would really appreciate it if you took a minute to fill it out. It's short and sweet and doesn't require any blabbering from your side.

You can access it by either clicking the image below or the image on the sidebar.
Mucho gracias!

(Why? Simply because I need to know the percentage of readers who understand the phrase "hishek bishek" and know what Shmesani kids are, and also for general "target audience" reasons.
I guess all those marketing classes in highschool paid off.)

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Friday, May 19, 2006

I'm a cowboy, baybee

Arguing over colors

Yes, yes, I know we're supposed to be pouring all our creative energy and supplies of glue into actually finishing the-now-piled-sky-high list of projects we have to submit by the end of the month, but isn't it more fun to make "heshek beshek" cowboy hats?

Well, believe me, it is. Especially when they turn out so cute! Now I want red cowboy boots (sort of like the infamous Jessica Simpson ones).


Noori and I

Artsy Fartsy

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Physically Augmented Reality

There is nothing digital. There is nothing projected. There is nothing virtual.
An analogue world scares me.

But this is awesome.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Me wants