Monday, June 25, 2007

Miami Boob

Setting: Phone conversation with a friend in Florida.

Erzulie: So did your friend move?

Friend: Yeah, she’s living in Miami Dade now.

Erzulie: *giggles*

Friend: What?

Erzulie: Nothing *giggles*

Friend: Erzulie! You’re still laughing at that!

Erzulie: Come on! It’s funny! Miami Dade! Couldn’t they have picked another name!

Friend: They don’t know what it means!

Erzulie: Well I do! *laughs* I’d be embarrassed to say it in public if I live there, it’s like, “Hi, I’m Erzulie, and I live in the land of the single boob” *snickers*

Friend: No one thinks like that. It’s just the name of the place.

Erzulie: …and what if the person is an idiot. Linguistically speaking, an idiot can also be called a “boob.” So you’d be a boob living in a boob.

Friend: You’re nuts.

Erzulie: Yes that was very sixth grade of me. But I still think it’s funny ( :P~)


MP3's...
BenjaminBates - Whole (Steve Angello's Oversized Dub)
Ferry Corsten - Fire (Radio Edit)
Deep Dish - Cocaine
Kylie Minogue - Slow (Chemical Brothers Mix)
Coca & Villa - La Noche

at 1:14 AM 14 comments

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Guessing Game: What's in Her Hijab?





A- Bowling Ball




B- Watermelon




C- Toilet Roll




D- Cat in a Bag




E- A Can of Pringles




F- Other (List Below)




MP3's...
Donna Summers - Hot Stuff
Duran Duran - Girls on Film
Stevie Wonder - She's a Bad Mamma Jamma
Tone Loc - Wild Thing
Queen - Fat Bottom Girls
Jimi Hendrix - Foxy Lady

at 12:32 AM 53 comments

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Two Loathsome Genres

Apart from profound films like Deepa Mehta’s Earth, Fire, and Water, I cannot watch Indian movies. Yes, I know that they have changed. I just do not enjoy the idea of people breaking out into a colorful dance between scenes. Their garments are lovely, the actors are beautiful, but it is a bit too cheery for me, although some dance or song scenes are done without the mandatory rain, corrupt police lurking in the background, or heroes surviving after a 100 meter cliff fall.

Once, a handful of my friends managed to drag me to an Indian movie in Kuwait. Unlike me, they are avid fans of such Indian movies. They know all the actors’ names, information about their personal life, lyrics to the songs they lip-synch, and much more. In the first half of Chalte Chalte – yes, I still remember the name - I sat there and tried to get into the movie. After cracking a few jokes (FYI: I'm not one to talk during movies but the main actress had major sweat stains during one of the dance scenes and she kept lifting her arms up...I had to say something!), I looked at my friends’ faces. Their teary eyes were transfixed on the screen. “What am I doing here?” I thought. With that, I excused myself out of the two something hour long drag of a movie and had a lovely cup of coffee outside while my friends watched the rest of the wretched movie. Never again.

Another thing that I cannot swallow is anime. How and why? Even their art turns me off. The last abnormally wide-eyed cartoon character I followed was Kabamaru, and that was a very long time ago. What I find peculiarly interesting is the amount of grown-ups who consider themselves anime buffs. I did not know about this fact until my good friend in college said, “Yeah, Billy is going to some anime movies…” I gave my friend an awkward frown, “Anime? You’re going to watch it together?” Needless to say, my mind was somewhere else.


MP3's...
Bjork - Hyperballad (Massive Attack Slow Jungle Mix)
Charles Aznavour - Formidable
Frank Zappa - Don't Eat the Yellow Snow

at 12:25 AM 7 comments

Monday, June 18, 2007

Erzulian Thoughts...

Erzulie steps into the elevator before a stranger glides inside behind her, barely making it in. Before gluing her eyes onto the metallic elevator doors before her, Erzulie casts the first and last curious glance on the gliding being who is now standing as still as she is.


Frisky Erzulie: Hot damn!

Conservative Erzulie: Now now, behave…

Frisky Erzulie: Did you look at that face!

Conservative Erzulie: For the love of God, keep your head down or keep staring at the elevator doors. POSTURE!

Frisky Erzulie: He’s quite tall…and I think I saw a nice nose…

Conservative Erzulie: You saw NOTHING! Feet together, keep that bored, slightly serious and insipid look on your face and you’ll be fine…

Frisky Erzulie: *grumbles*

Conservative Erzulie: Yes yes, grumble all you want. He’s probably married. Or he’s possibly one of those lazy bums who sit in the nearby mall’s cafés with equally arrogant, mindless friends who sip crappy, over-priced coffee whilst watching women flit around. He may be just a pretty face with a black heart. Or maybe he’s a drug dealer. Or a pedophile. Or…

Frisky Erzulie: Are you sure you’re not paranoid and neurotic Erzulie? Why are you so pessimistic? What if he’s a bright and actually good-hearted person?

Conservative Erzulie: What if he is? What are you going to do? Congratulate him?

Frisky Erzulie: Maybe just, “Congratulations on having a beautifully sculpted face.”

Conservative Erzulie: Yeah, such profound thoughts will last you long…

Frisky Erzulie: *sigh*

Elevator door opens and both Erzulie and the mysterious looker silently part ways.

Frisky Erzulie: Good bye my handsome prince! *prances around while tossing rose petals in the air*

Conservative Erzulie: Come along now and quit dawdling on outrageous assumptions and fantastical thoughts that amount to nothing…

Frisky Erzulie: Crap.

Conservative Erzulie: I heard that. We share the same space, remember?


MP3's...
A.M. - Arise [Exclusive Hammer & Funabashi Remix]
Above & Beyond - Can't Sleep (Ian Carey Vocal Mix)
Petter - These Days (Luke Chables Those Days Remix)
Gorillaz - DARE
Shah And Laruso Present Global Experience - Zanzibar
Electro Prompt - Beside Me (Gothek DC Remix)
Chemical Brothers - Hold Tight London
Way Out West - Dont Forget Me (Guy Ehmetores Remix)

at 12:27 AM 10 comments

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tigimber

On Thursday, my two brothers and I headed out towards the bare sea to hunt for crabs, squid, pearl oysters and whatever might come our way. After we wore our rubber boots and grabbed the three new fishing spears that my older brother had bought, we started our walk toward the shallow shore. Low tide was at 5 PM and our plan was to make it back as soon as it turned dark.


A while ago, we used to “engamber” (shasawi ba3ad) during nighttime. If you want some game, that is the time to go out. A few years ago, my father and eldest sister were walking back from their sea adventure at 10 PM with a baby shark in their canvas bag. We stood over the large bucket we placed it in and watched it circle around before my sister released it back into the sea. Once, I caught an “iw7ara” (now, I could Google the name in English but I’m kind of lazy…but it is a big fish) and the darn thing almost twisted my spearhead off. I had to put all my weight on it to stop it from writhing around. I ended up carrying my spear on my shoulder with the surprisingly heavy “iw7ara” still on it.

It's always fun to hear such stories during family gatherings, like the time my older brother and cousin snagged a pearl oyster that was near the deep sea. "Yeah that was me...it had five pearls in it," my older brother beamed. And the time when the oil lamp went out when my father, older brother, uncle, and two male cousins were in the middle of the sea, "The tide was coming in and the water reached our upper torso...that's when one of us got a glimpse of a little shark swimming by us and that's when all hell broke loose."



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My old rubber boots and new "kabar"




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Starting point...




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My older brother made me laugh when he said,
"Yallah, there are people here already."





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I was a little bit disappointed; there was nothing to be seen!
No crabs, pearl oysters...nada!
Then again, you have to be patient.

My brothers and I held our breath and walked closer
to the deep sea i.e. "el maya el zarga."




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"Ollahhhh! Shkither ganafiiiiiith!" My younger brother shouted.
"Akeed fi ma7ar hnee..." my older brother said,
since pearl oysters and sea urchins go hand in hand.




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It was kind of weird.
Usually, we're either lucky with sea animals

or a good bunch of pearl oysters. We spent almost an hour
without catching one single thing, with the exception of the
two pearl oysters I spotted, naturally :P



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It's so funny to see people going in for the kill. They have their
rear up and they're standing ever so still. This is where
my older brother caught a crab.



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By now, we had a my older brother's crab and
a few pearl oysters in the little plastic box we made my

little brother drag .



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"Tawa zqeer...lat'jeesa..." I told my little brother
when he directed my attention to a baby crab.



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On the edge of "el maya il zarga," the deep sea.
When I was younger, I remember waiting on the rocks or
on one of the little sandy islands as my eldest sister
dove right into the deep waters in search of pearl oysters.



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Again, there was nothing. We didn't even see the usual
stingray. It was quite disappointing, to say the least.


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We come across a sleeping squid.
My older brother promptly "woke him up,"
so to speak.
The above photograph is the ink that the squid squirted.




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"Shall we go back?" It was almost dark and our luck
wasn't getting any better. My older brother said that after
the Gulf War, sea life was not the same again.
"It was much more abundant," he recalled,
"I remember the bag we used to carry what we
caught was
unbelievably heavy, we had to take turns
because it was too much on one person to
haul it around the whole time."
I added, "I think the pollution that we helped

to create and increase is another factor to consider."



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My boots saying goodbye.





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I showed my mother the photographs I took
before posting this.
"Don't post this one. It's embarrassing,
you didn't catch a thing!"

Oh well!




MP3's...
Dave Matthews Band - The Dreaming Tree
Philip Glass - The Kiss
Weezer - The Sweater Song
Bjork - Isobel (Portishead Remix)


at 11:53 PM 9 comments

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wedding Wire

Unlike my friends who attend four a week, I do not consider myself a wedding goer. Ever since I returned to Kuwait in January, I went to a total of two weddings and that is a high, at least for me. Throughout my life, I went to traditional, women’s-only Kuwaiti weddings. I noticed that time does not change the ever-present characters in this sumptuous occasions, starting with the 72-year-old who accidentally fell asleep on the comfortable couch as scantily clad women dance before her to the deafening music to the bride’s two-year-old nephew who is carried against his will into the splendidly lit hall. But who else remains?

1- Golden Girls: I divide Kuwaiti Golden Girls into two categories: the happy-go-lucky, light-hearted women who clap their hands humbly as they encourage their granddaughters to dance a little bit more and the crabby and stiff ones who eye others’ exposed cleavage before giving them a disapproving and judgmental glare. Whenever I look at the Golden Girls who are either wrapped up in their abbaya or perched on the edge of their seat with arched and alert eyebrows, I think to myself, “What will I be like at their age?”

2- The Strippers: I am amazed at how daintily some women can dance, especially belly dancing which, I think, is extremely hard to master in terms of coordination and overall harmony starting with foot movements and ending with arm and fingertip motions. A handful of young women dance to every other song, and as my friend once said, a few do it to get noticed by a possible suitor’s mother i.e. “My my, she can dance really well. I bet she will be a great mother to my only son’s future children.” However, I have noticed that this implicit dance has turned into a hardcore attempt of desperation to get hitched. During the last wedding I attended, one lithe girl with a head full of black hair would only bounce up from her seat when an Egyptian song blares through the hall’s speakers. Because not a lot of women are skilled in the art of belly dancing, the dance floor was almost bare when tunes in that specific genre would start to play. The only people dancing along to the Egyptian song was the 15-year-old girl who shyly shook her baby fat as her chubby mother urged her to continue, the 50-something blonde who blinded the crowd with a glamorous smile while she awkwardly knocked her pelvis back and forth, and the charming 30-something year old woman, the best dancer of the group, who gracefully floated in the corner as she danced in an almost balletic manner. Tthe black-haired young girl coquettishly shook the little junk she had as she made it to the center of the long aisle. With her elbows at her waist and her limp hands hanging flimsily by her shoulders, she began to slowly rotate her hips to the song’s beat. As the song’s pace quickened, she managed to move her hips faster and faster while fluffing and shaking her already puffy hair. She would occasionally look at the crowd while her tongue visibly glided over her teeth before she pressed it hard against her inner cheek. By now, some audience members could be seen with amused expressions as they turned to their left and right, “Who’s that girl up there? What’s her name?” The black-haired mystery would shockingly silence the crowd by suddenly dropping to the floor before springing back up again. Personally, I do not see the harm in dancing about to get noticed by future mother-in-laws, but getting down and dirty is a whole other matter. What are you promising, an earthshaking sex life?

3- Kiddies: I love seeing children’s varied reactions to weddings. Some of them adore the spotlight. You usually see them – usually little girls – posing in their pseudo-Cinderella outfit before the camera’s flash. Others become seriously overwhelmed by the noise and the mass of strange faces staring at them; they just stand there looking as dumbfounded as ever. However, I’m surprised at how others children are at ease and behave like their normal selves. As they stood with the rest of the family behind the bride and groom’s decorated seating area, I noticed a young boy’s mother smacking his hand away due to his index finger being halfway up his nose. And I know it is mean, but I think it is adorable when an infant starts to cry and squirm in his/her mother’s arms when they are semi-forced to stick around until it is their turn to take a picture with the married couple.

I know I missed some people. Care to share?


MP3's...
Charles & Eddie - Would I Lie to You Baby?
U96 - Love Sees No Color
Fleetwood Mac - Landslide
Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
Journey - Loving, Touching, Squeezing

at 11:42 AM 9 comments

Saturday, June 09, 2007

My Reaction: لأجل الكويت

I recently received an email that addressed the sad state that Kuwait is in. It asked for any sort of helping hand or voice to aid in triggering our country’s betterment in any way. Personally, I think that this illustrates the deplorable disease that is gradually leading to our home’s downfall.

I thought long and hard about this topic and one of the conclusions that has burdened me on a personal basis is the absence of a national symbol other than the fluff we see splattered on billboards and walls portraying abnormally iridescent and rather fake smiles that disguise the corruption and dishonorable management of our government and land. During the 1960’s, there was a nationalistic movement that included the Arab Cause; however, in the 1970’s, hope for unity and justice faced a faction that hampered down any progressive advancement and thus, weighed down sincere efforts toward our nation’s flourish. Symbols of patriotism and pride started to vanish during this time. In the previous years, Kuwaitis used to honor and salute the Arabic Nation with enthusiasm and respect. Yet now, the Arabic Nation has disappeared and has pulled Kuwait down with it.

One of the factors that led to the loss of a national symbol of Kuwait is globalization. The spread of global culture particularly that of the West, from films, politics to all sorts of entertaining elements that foster the idyllic and quite unrealistic life that is seen being led in the movies has seduced us into believing that the essence of our mores is inferior and subordinate; it has led to the disfigurement of our culture as well as doubting the traditions of other Arab countries.

Kuwait’s national symbols were dedicated to their cause throughout the 1960’s until the 1980’s, with their efforts resulting in our home’s social and political improvement. Yet after that period, our country’s regression gradually started its backwards fall that contradicts the deep values that our country embraces, values such as decency, humbleness, honor, ambition and honesty. Now I am not going to name any names or point fingers at any members of the ruling family who hog both governmental positions that quickly reflect one’s inability to deal with integrity and righteousness or people from a specific class in society or others who abuse their family name as well as flit around town in their daily tasks that include large scale robberies and theft, but each day, we let out a distraught sigh as we read boldly printed names of individuals in our society that have not really given anything back to Kuwait. Heck, they have done quite the opposite. Unfortunately, our wise government continues to boast about the so-called good deeds of these people to such an extent that streets and schools were named after these scumbags who are also known as happy-go-lucky public figures.

I asked myself, “How can we strengthen and glorify Kuwait’s fading dignity and honor?”

1- Interlacing national symbols with the government: Let us take the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an example. Instead of placing base and thieving persons who bask in their comfortable private jets heading to God knows where, why doesn’t the government grant the title to nationalistic, enlightened and sincere individuals? There has to be some sort of attempt to battle off unprincipled and fraudulent people and assist the rise of those with a clean conscious and high ethical standards in order to guarantee a promising future for each and every Kuwaiti civilian.

2- Lessening the spread of global culture: I think it is every Kuwaitis obligation to preserve our national identity. “But doesn’t that mean that we’ll be seen as narrow-minded and not open to any sort of change?” Well my dear reader, have you ever heard of the saying “The French are very French?” For years, France has turned its back to the American culture’s captivating everything. From the upkeep of almost every historical site – starting from the conservation of its cobblestone streets and ending with world renowned structures and statues – to the constant commemoration of historical dates, individuals and occasions, France is certainly a leader in safeguarding its identity from the undistinguished mass of global culture.

3- The most significant happening that Kuwait underwent is the Iraqi invasion in 1990. However, what was learned from it? How many streets, schools and districts were named after the 600+ prisoners of war whose blood was shed for a country that now clearly does not value their worthy lives? To this day, nothing was named after the prisoner of war Faisal Al-Sane’a, who is one of the many nationalistic elements that ceased to be for the sake of Kuwait. Personally, I think that governmental institutions are doing an extremely lousy job of making everyone relive the hard times that Kuwait went through. “But why would anyone want to remember those days filled with grim death?” Let us look at our frizzy haired, crooked nosed and quite homely Jewish cousins. Whenever someone mentions World War II, one of the first things that come to mind is the Holocaust and specifically, the annihilation of the Jewish people – who were among the mentally and physically sick, elderly, gays/lesbians, gypsies and other social outcasts in the deliberate obliteration of “burdensome” people that hampered economic and social growth - who were living in Europe during that time. Although that was more than sixty years ago, almost every single Jewish individual has a firm grip on the struggles that their ancestors endured. Remembering and reviving historical events is one of the factors that makes the Jewish people determined, secure and motivated as well as an aspect that nurtures the drive to continue cultivating their distinct culture. And what has our government done? In the early 1990’s, there was a radio program called “Tales of the Invasion” (أحاديث الغزو). The program was simply a raw and real documentary that recounted first-hand interviews with Kuwaiti army officers, volunteers, family members and other Kuwaitis who told their personal stories that occurred during the Iraqi invasion. However, some people frowned in hurt, “We do not want to hear of such depressing things,” and members of the Kuwaiti government as well as those who did not want to shed light upon members of a particular family that fled and abandoned Kuwait during the start of the invasion quickly sealed off the broadcasting of genuine Kuwaiti history. Today, the 2nd of August passes by us as if it is just another day and not the first date that marks the invasion of our country. Instead of turning a blind eye to our past, we must embrace and honor it as if the war has happened yesterday in order for our country’s future generation to inherit the weight of responsibility toward themselves and in turn, toward others.

4- Establishing a strong grip on democracy since it is the only guarantee of Kuwait’s existence. Throughout history, Kuwait was identified as a liberal port open to all people and ideas no matter how contradictory they are. Our country has met with a diverse and differing amount of ideologies before and after the discovery of petroleum, starting with the Arab Cause to Marxism to fundamentalism and many more philosophies that faced global opposition. Historically speaking, Kuwait has always held onto freedom of thought and demolishing democracy threatens the very foundation of our country’s survival. Fighting and sustaining democracy in Kuwait is key.

5- The fifth element is the Kuwaiti woman, for she has provided many services that benefited our country’s good. She has played a significant role in the nationalistic movement as well as taking a part in the resistance during the Iraqi invasion where a number of women lost their lives. How has the Kuwaiti government honored the Kuwaiti woman? Has anything been dubbed under a female’s name in Kuwait? It is as if the Kuwaiti government regards its female citizen as a shameful disgrace it continually veers away from in embarrassment! There are a lot of Luluwa Al-Qatami’s in our society who continue to fight with relentless will to establish and strengthen women’s dignity and voice as well as labor in tasks that promote the overall advancement of Kuwait. The case surrounding women in society becomes a serious and crucial issue when civilizations grow and develop and when freedom of thought is secured. However, when freedom of thought is silenced and when societies are bogged down by prejudice and ignorance that worsens a civilization until the point of collapse, we notice that women’s position becomes an irrelevant issue; it slowly weakens and fades away. For that reason, we have to pay particular attention to the Kuwaiti woman’s significant role in society by advocating her rights and honoring her imperative role in our country.

And that, my friends, is a wrap. Phew!

MP3's...

James Lavelle - Revolution
Basement Jaxx - Red Alert
Delerium Ft. Sarah MacLachlan - Silence
C-Mos - 2 Million Ways (Axwell Remix)
Axwell Ft. Steve Edwards - Watch the Sunrise
Crazy Penis - You Started Something





at 2:01 AM 6 comments