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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I want this now now now now

The picture above is of a paint set and a pair of adidas trainers.
In. The. Same. Box.
Together. Sold as one! As a package! And they work together! Ahhh, I'm in love.

adidas is re-releasing the adicolor LO (originally from 1983) in a kit that includes the original plain white shoes, paints, brushes and a wooden palette. They are also releasing 36 pre-customized pairs that extend the concept beyond the original adicolor style to include Superstars, Centuries and Stan Smiths. Nice.

+Sneaker Freak

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Monday, February 27, 2006


During my first semester at the UofJ, my daily parking experience was something worse than the "Suffi, Suffi" scenario. There were actually days where I had to have friends (and ok, random people on the street) drive my car out of an extremely tight spot, and others where I would get so frustrated at the lack of proper parking spots that I'd skip school altogether and just go back home.

But yeah, that was only the first semester, because if the UofJ doesn't teach you anything at all, it will at least teach you how to successfully squeeze your car into the tightest, most inappropriate spots, while all the while practically equipping every inch of the parking lot's surface area so as to fit the most cars possible.

Let me illustrate with some images from my "Karajat il jam3a" collection, which I've actually been collecting for years:

I took this picture this morning, and although it was a heck of a freaky park, I absolutely love the chaos! It's hilarious, isn't it? Some of the cars are diagonally parked, others are horizontally parked, and you have 4 rows of cars in a parking lot that's designed for two rows.

Same parking lot, less chaos, but still quite terrible.

There aren't any two cars that are actually aligned properly, and there is no horizontal/vertical organization.

zooksie 410
A sea of cars...

Around the Science's gate, I know it doesn't appear like a terrible park in the picture, but trust me, it is.


Finish classes only to realize that some van had closed off my way out... we got my car out in the end, but it wasn't the most pleasant experience. The awesomest part about this picture is that my mother was stuck in the SAME situtation (where a van was closing off her way) and in the SAME parking spot in 1979 (but she wasn't as lucky, a group of guys had to lift her car into a diagonal position).

Again, no car alignment.

zooksie 409
Triple parkings, lack of alignment, and random parking allotment.

Now, who agrees that they seriously need to invest in some land for student parking?
مأساة il parking at Jordan University.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Table Rundown


Although I'm more into minimalist design than floweriness and stuff, I thought this Tea Forté tea infusers set was a quite interesting repackaging attempt from the regular teabag. I like the triangular shape, and the whole concept of it sitting next to the cup rather than being inside of it. It gives tea an air of importance, does it not?

On the other hand, the float tea lantern and tea cups from New World Tea are precisely what I would serve my tea with if I'm ever rich. They're absolutely beautiful, and they remove the terrible tea atittude (think Laura Ashley, zen, and yoga) and replace it with a cool and hip one. Nice.

salt+pepper big.jpg

Next, these awesome salt and Pe + (Pe)r shakers from Modern Poverty are fantastic, and the gorgeous rainbow pixelated dinnerware set from ElseWare are to die for! I think I'm in love with the plates... they're so pretty! Ahhh...


All this said, I'm a terrible hostess.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Sad Day for Islamic Architecture


Perhaps the only humbling thing about religion in my opinion is religious architecture (and here, I'm not only talking about Islamic religious architecture, but religious architecure in general). In fact, nothing has ever made me feel as spiritual as stepping into the vast openness of a great mosque, such as the Sultan Hassan mosque in Cairo or the Ummayyad Mosque in Damascus. When we visited Mecca a few years ago, the beauty of il-Haram almost brought me to tears.

So today, as I was looking at pictures of the bombed out Islamic monument the Askariya Shrine in one of the capitals of the Islamic Civilization, Samarra, I got really depressed. The dome has basically collapsed and an adjoining wall was heavily damaged.

Unbelieavably depressing! I will echo the thoughts of Tareq Kahlawi (who has a superb blog on Islamic art and architecture), "Why such architectural treasures, that should be not only Iraqi treasures but also international treasures, why should they suffer from the political struggles?!"

Read more on the Askariya Shrine here.
Also, check out this post by Prometheus(Arabic).

And while we're on this, here's a cartoon by the late Naji il-Ali (via The Damascene Blog),


-Are you Muslim or Christian? Sunni or Shiite? Druze or Alawite? Coptic or Maronite? Greek Catholic or Greek Ortho...
-I am Arab, jackass!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006



Remember when I asked you guys to help me choose a poem for a certain project back in November? Yeah, this post belongs back in December, but well, I promised I'd share the results of that project, so here's the post.

Although a lot of the suggestions offered were simply fantastic (especially the Sufi poetry), I decided in the end to go with a different type of poetry- Pink Floyd lyrics. Yeah, sure, you can launch an attack on how unappreciative I am of the finer things in life, I deserve it. I mean, I'm always telling people off for not being able to enjoy real art then I go on and do the same sort of thing. Bleh. Blame the literature teachers of my youth.

The best thing about that project that we had the creative freedom to do whatever we want as long as we only used type, which is why I decided to ditch the regular poster style and do it in a binded book form made of colored tracing paper. The purpose? Ok, let me show off my BS-ing skills (which is why I did so well in literature).

I chose Pink Floyd's "The Wall" because I could relate to it's concept much more than most of the poetry I read (and although there was a certain agnostic poem that Onzlo suggested that I really enjoyed, I didn't want to be shot in the U of J's ultra-conservative environment).

"The Wall", at least to me, portrays the fact that our lives, no matter how free we think they are, are actually surrounded by layers upon layers of controls, such as culture, society, our own education, religion, government, and conviction, just to name a few. These controls might not neccessarily be negative, quite the contrary, but I think that it is important that we are at least aware of the fact that we don't have complete freedom of will over our actions. This is a very complex issue often used to account for atheism, and I will not go into it's details here, but feel free to Google it for it will certainly provide you with something to think about.

The concept of unawareness and free will in the project were symbolized in form of layers, a trip to self discovery, the cover being the outermost layer, where a person is still ignorant to the realities of life, and the last page being a mirror, where the person on the trip comes face to face with his reflection minus all the controls. Everything in this project is composed of the various lyrics in "The Wall".

I will put pictures rather than the actual graphic files because I feel like it is more personal this way. There are many pages, most of which are not included. The icons below are put in order, and you will find some more BS-ing (phalsapheh) when you go to the image page.

Click on images in order:

IMG_1543bay 027bay 030IMG_1532
daddymotherbricksemptyspacesbay 054
bay 058IMG_1538bay 072

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Monday, February 20, 2006

The feminists

Look what we found today just outside the science's gate in the U of J, a street sign apparently vandalized by feminists. Yeah, sure, perhaps the whole feminist scenario is only in my own head, but it's so amusing to me.

It hasn't been two weeks since the semester started and I'm already swamped with work. Not that I'm complaining, I'm one of those people who needs to be busy to be happy, but just in case I don't reply to emails, messages, comments, or phonecalls, don't hate me. I will reply when I figure out "wein Allah 7atetni".

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

What the toot is happening there?

Just in case you missed this, toot has now doubled in size- more bloggers from all around the Arab world are now a part of the toot community. The increase in size pretty much means that you can now find almost anything on toot- politics, music, sports, art and design, science, and even caricatures! All unproccessed from the Arab world...

Go on, check the new blogs out, there's surely something for everyone. Show us what you like by voting for your favorite blogs. Show us your favorite content so that you see more of it. What's tootilicious baby?

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Design Rundown

Did I mention that I love MoCo Loco? It's probably my favorite design blog around- it's so deliciously modern. Some stuff that are making me itch for a pencil and a trip to a model-making supply store:


Stella's Urban Tableware, inspired by traditional delft, decorated with scenes from the 21st century. My parents have always had a good deal of Dutch friends, which pretty much means that our house has tons and tons of white Dutch delft decorated with blue windmills and cottages (something similiar to image to the left). Seeing such a beautiful medium and ancient art used to represent modernity is just absolutely fantastic.


Here's another something that blew my mind. It took me a while to believe that these are dumbells, and I'm still not sure as to their ergonomics. Not that it matters... they're so pretty that I would display them as pieces of art. Like a giant stainless steel muscle fibre they are designed by Henriette Melchiorsen.


Finally, there's these Bendable Interior Objects tables, lampshades, hangers that you pop out and bend into shape. Wow. I love it so much...

Anyway, I guess this whole paper objects, DIY thing is a trend. More examples from different designers:

I love how minimalistic this is, dubbed the Eclipse lamp and designed by
Ronen Kadushin. It's quite a smart design...


Designed by Mark Mckenna, the designer emulation kits are a fun little DIY project where users can take part in the design process to create your own "design classic" by assembling a tiny kit that resembles a famous design object.

After a trip...

My brother's car came back with a beard;

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

And you thought I was crazy?

It's no big secret that I'm very anal about language. I get pissed off when people use "u", "r", and "2" instead of "you", "are", and "too". I get offended when people don't capitalize the first letter of my name. I get upset when people can't spell properly (for the love of God, have you heard of spellchecks?) I can't stand people who replace c's with k's and s's with z's.

Point is, I'm honestly willing to bitch about the misuse of language for the next hour, listing things you probably never even thought of, like the fact that I think that people who don't bother capitalizing the pronoun "I" don't have any self respect and that I think people who get overexcited with punctuation should be shot.

Ah, God. This is making me sound like a complete control freak, which I'm not (just check out the state of my bedroom), but when it comes to what I'm reading, I can't help it! Among today's SMS messages of "helowz robz,am goin4cofee,want2cum?" and instant messages along the lines of "roobee i told u that b4!!!!!", Roba, or Roobee, or whatever you want to call me, is going absolutely crazy.

But wait, you think that's crazy? Think again, my love. Here's someone who's a lot more anal about language;

It doesn't matter whether you're reading your local rag, surfing the net or trying to make heads or tails of someone's inane blog -- the quality bar is set lower than ever, which is saying a lot considering it was never set very high to begin with. ...

Any number of my acquaintances excuse the bad writing and atrocious punctuation that proliferates in e-mail by saying, in essence, "Well, at least people are writing again." Horse droppings. People have never stopped writing, although it's reaching a point where you wish a lot of them would.

The very nature of e-mail (which, along with first cousins IM and text messaging, is an undeniably handy means of chatting) encourages sloppy "penmanship," as it were. Its speed and informality sing a siren song of incompetent communication, a virtual hooker beckoning to the drunken sailor as he staggers along the wharf.

But it's not enough to simply vomit out of your fingers. It's important to say what you mean clearly, correctly and well. It's important to maintain high standards. It's important to think before you write.

[Read all of article here]

See? I told you I'm not that crazy. Admittedly, this article made me grin, it made me grin real big (although the bits that involved dissing out technology hurt the technology lover side of me), but I'd never describe newspapers as "rags", and people's writings as "horse droppings" and "vomit out of fingers" (probably because I don't want to get hate mail).

Wein il HiGeen?

Although I'm certainly not paranoid about cleanliness, you will never see me without a good supply of wetwipes (in the trunk), sanitizer (in sachettes in my wallet), and Shout (in the glove compartment). And if a public bathroom trip is absolutely neccesary - God forbid- wetwipes start serving as gloves.
But well, apparently,the wetwipe gloves should be used more often and for different purposes, because public toilet handles and door knobs are actually cleaner twice over when compared to mice at internet cafes!
(Thinks of all the hours I spent at Al-Farouki Internet Cafe in Shmesani)

So here are the dirty half dozen, just in case your mother ever told you otherwise;

1. Shopping cart handles - 1100 CFU per 10 sq cm
2. Internet café computer mouse - 690
3. Bush hand straps - 380
4. Public toilet handles and door knobs - 340 (yeah, yeah, I bet they've never visited the bathroom on the Syrian/Jordanian borders).
5. Lift buttons at 130
6. Train hand straps - 86

[via The Age]

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The emoticon revolution

I've already ranted about how much I hate smilies- should I remind you?

Hell, whoever brought them hence forth out of the 70's and into the new millennium needs to be tossed into a yellow cell for the rest of his life. THE REST OF HIS LIFE.

Why internet smileys should be boycotted:

1. They are too yellow. Yellow. YELLOW!
2. They're too overenthusiastic.
3. They're all cross eyed.
4. They are drawn by jerks who CAN'T DRAW!
5. They are over animated in a sense that I feel like whacking them on the face with my 800-paged Lord of the Rings hardcover book.
6. They negate a phrase's meaning, turn it upside down, inside out, and leave the reader in semantic anarchy.
7. People use them instead of words, which are so much more interesting.
8. They are drawn by people with NO IMAGINATION!
9. Sometimes, they BLINK!!! Argh!
10. Their colors don’t match. At all.

Yeah, well, switch over (as in the opposite) all those reasons and you'll see why this made me grin:


danwade's new work, emoticon riffs on the personal and emotional aspects of our daily digital expression, where we've resorted to using a series of grammatical elements to communicate how we feel to others. [Cool Hunting]
Cool. I like. I seriously hope this is the start of the end of the ugly yellow smiley.

*Spoken in a calm thoughtful voice*

Here's an interesting study:

According to recent research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, I've only a 50-50 chance of ascertaining the tone of any e-mail message. The study also shows that people think they've correctly interpreted the tone of e-mails they receive 90 percent of the time.

"That's how flame wars get started," says psychologist Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago, who conducted the research with Justin Kruger of New York University. "People in our study were convinced they've accurately understood the tone of an e-mail message when in fact their odds are no better than chance," says Epley.

"People often think the tone or emotion in their messages is obvious because they 'hear' the tone they intend in their head as they write," Epley explains.

The reason for this is egocentrism, or the difficulty some people have detaching themselves from their own perspective, says Epley. In other words, people aren't that good at imagining how a message might be understood from another person's perspective.

So when you guys read my blog, you're getting my mood wrong 50% of the time. Hmm...

[Read whole artcle on Wired News, via Serdal]

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Monday, February 13, 2006

The Dark Age

I'm reading a portion of a book entitled "The Arab Heritage" by Philip Hitti, and the last paragraph of its chapter on pre-Islamic Arabia made me pause and think,
"The ancient history of Arabia is obscure.... Arabia is still archaeologically untouched. Let us hope that after this present war it will soon be opened to scientific investigation. Before that may happen, however, two things are necessary: first, that the present rulers of Arabia become so broad-minded as to undrestand the legitimacy and advantage of having their country investigated by Western scholars; and, second, that the prestige of the whole Western civilization, may not perish in a new 'Dark Age.'"
This book was published in 1944- around the time of World War II, when the "newly formed" Arab countries were fresh out of colonization.

Hmm, interesting, isn't it?
Does anyone know where I can find the book in Amman?

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Sunday, February 12, 2006


My favorite class in highschool was English class, because it was the only creative class my highschool offered, and because it was a writing class more than anything else, and Roba has always loved writing. Throughout the years, we wrote so many essays so varied in content and so different in topic; ranging from love accolades to glue and vampire fiction. In fact, the teachers were so creative with their assignments that in our senior year, we had to pretend that our best friend died and then write a euology to be read in their funeral. Sadistic, eh?

Ahh... best frieds! The worst thing about having grown up in a different country is the fact that the people that I spent most of my life loving have stopped being a part of my life. Yeah, we tried to stay in contact in this age of light, but the inevitable fact is that when everyone is scattered all across the globe with no shared points of interest, it becomes too difficult after a few years to maintain a friendship.

Today is the birthday of one of the few friends who I managed to remain friends with- my childhood/highschool best friend, Nisreen, the person I was forced to write a eulogy for in my senior year. At that time, writing eulogies for one another was horrifying, and the idea of not remaining good friends didn't make much sense to either of us.

But years pass, and with distance, one comes to realize that although the love might stay, a different form of death is inevitable. The eulogy I wrote back in senior year is below. Too nostalgic for this space, I know. But this is for Nisreen, who I know is reading this and who I haven't talked to in a long while- happy birthday.

Thank you all for coming during this time of need. Your presence, your sympathy, and your love have been a valuable contribution that has eased the intense pain of loss. God granted us the gift of life: to see and to hear; to smell and to touch; and most importantly to our deceased, to live.

In putting my thoughts together, I try to bring some order from this chaos. I try to find a simple word to make it better, yet I fail. I try to put together all the happy moments I have experienced with the deceased, yet it only leads to even more passionate pain.

During the 18 years of my life, I have not met anyone as in love with this world as Nisreen. In fact, her motto in life was “live for the moment”. She was truly a unique human being, a person who cares about all, and a bright young lady who had an optimistic future. She had such a tolerance of others, she enjoyed people for who they are and not for what she felt they should be, and maybe that’s why she had many friends. She was also extremely proud of her heritage and had the ability to smile through pain and through joy. I have shared such beautiful times with such a beautiful human, and I will cherish these times forever in my soul.

With the years I shared with Nisreen and a plethora of bitter sweet memories, I find myself sinking in this multihued sea of memories of shopping together, ruining the kitchen while trying to cook fettuccini, and pondering the meaning of life. I also find myself drowned by the times she and I held hands while we did the Dabkeh, the cake fights we had in 10th grade, and trying to teach a mutual friend how to ride a bike.

Those of you who have known Nisreen and I for a while know about our massive advancement towards maturity, and how our friendship has influenced one another. In 9th grade, we spat at people, tried to burn the school down, and ditched biology. In 10th grade, we started singing for Palestine with Ghonaim, Amin, Tameemi, and Abu-Sakher, and we had about a 100 parties. In 11th grade, we joined Arabian Sunshine and spent days-on-end practicing our dances in the school hallways and spending 14 hours a day with one another. During our last year, 12th grade, we wrote our graduation speech together and walked as one towards a greater tomorrow as we accepted our diplomas and turned our tassels.

There were days when we couldn’t stand each other, arguing about ungiven tickets and unmeant phrases. During the SAT days that seem so far away, we would sit in class and learn flashcards together, and two years later, we filled each other’s college applications. I cannot think of anything that I did not do with proud Nisreen, wild Nissy, NBO Rene, immature Mini Ninni, angry Nissy Fussy, and Roba ’s Nisreeno.

I will miss her as no one can miss a friend, because, with her charm and wit, she managed to become a part of my soul that will stay with me for as long as I live. Yes, long ago, Nisreen stopped being my friend and became the sister I never had, my partner in life, and an extension of my soul.

By reading this speech to you tonight, I realize that I am placing a seal on something I love so much, and I want to hallmark this seal with something she would have said if she were standing her tonight, “Nothing matters but the moment, there might be no tomorrow, and even there was, nobody gives a damn.”



Something Good

I was actually afraid to do a round-up of Arab reactions to the Denmark cartoon fiasco, afraid that I will get depressed at the reactions, but now that I did get to doing it, I'm actually smiling.

I will quote a few people before redirecting you to the round-up on toot's blog, starting with Haitham Sabbah:
“My answer is from within the same concept. Why do you think that ALL Muslims condemn ALL of Denmark? You see my point? ALL? You think ALL in Denmark think we ALL condemn Denmark! This is not true. This is not the case, and was not the case. What you see on TV, read in newspapers, etc… is part of the truth. Muslims and Islam don’t call for hate and violence. And those you see and hear are only part of the Muslim world.”

I will also quote Abu Aardvark:
"The cartoons crisis does not "prove" that there is a "clash of civilizations": it provides an opportunity for those on both sides who want a "clash of civilizations" to help make it come true. The appropriate response to such cynical mobilization is not to embrace it but to deflate it...I've been dismayed by how the media has handled itself on all sides. Al-Jazeera has not been particularly constructive...Even if its coverage of the story itself could be defended in purely professional terms - it is, after all, now a big story, and I haven't seen any other networks, Arab or Western, abstaining from coverage."

And the Egyptian Sandmonkey:
"Now while the arab islamic population was going crazy over the outrage created by their government's media over these cartoons, their governments was benifitting from its people's distraction. The Saudi royal Family used it to distract its people from the outrage over the Hajj stampede. The Jordanian government used it to distract its people from their new minimum wage law demanded by their labor unions. The Syrian Government used it to create secterian division in Lebanon and change the focus on the Harriri murder. And, finally, the Egyptian government is using it to distract us while it passes through the new Judiciary reforms and Social Security Bill- which will cut over $300 million dollars in benefits to some of Egypt's poorest families. But, see, the people were not paying attention, because they were too busy defending the prophet by sending out millions of e-mails and SMS-messages, boycotting cheese and Lego and burning Butter and the danish Flag."

Now, you can proceed to reading the round-up of some Arab reactions here.
If only sane logical voices can reach the international media rather than the hate fests.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Meet-up Announcements

Due to the fact that a lot of people didn't see the meet-up notice this time, we're starting up an email service where meet-up updates are sent directly to your emails as soon as anything is planned.
If you're interested in having the updates emailed to you (I won't spam I promise), please drop me a line at roba@jordanplanet.net or add a comment here with your email address.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

I told you so...

Thinking with hearts rather than with brains yields unneeded consequences.

14 °C


Less than 30 hours ago, this same porch was covered with snow. Today, it's such gorgeous weather that we decided that we will have lunch outside (khyar ma2li just in case you're wondering, Nabelsi cuisine at its best). What can I say... global warming is growing on me.

Eating outside makes me feel like I'm back in Riyadh, especially as my dad is here for the weekend. Back in Riyadh, every Friday, the neighbors would organize a pot-luck sort of lunch and everyone would gather around the common area and spend the rest of the day eating, playing water polo in the pool, and smoking argeeleh. Ammanites aren't the most social people though- aside from the Khouris across the street, I don't really know anyone in the neigborhood, although it's been "our neighborhood" for the past 30 years.

And hmm, I just realized that I now consider 14 °C "gorgeous". So much for the days when 14 °C was the chilliest part of Riyadh's desert winter.

Old picture of Friday lunch in Riyadh

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

When old age comes first...

This is awesome- the first image is a collection of Web 1.0 logos while the second image is a collection of Web 2.0 logos. The difference is absolutely amusing.

Web 1.0 Logos:

Web 2.0 logos:

The trends are so clear! In everything- fonts, colors, style. Yay.


Quite honestly, I'm amusing over how young Wael Kfouri is on TV more than anything else, but I can't do without pictures can I?

Snow over Amman:
snow amman

snow amman

zooksie 112

Cliche pictures (and something out of context- the flower pictures remind me of Mahmood);
Snow over AmmanSnow over AmmanSnow over Amman
Snow over AmmanSnow over Amman