Sunday, July 30, 2006

Kreepy Kids

I do not know why so many horror flicks have children as the main villain. You have Regan in “The Exorcist,” the TV girl in “The Ring,” Carrie in “Carrie,” and Damian in “The Omen.”

Being the typical nut, I always manage to involuntarily scare myself when I am tucked in my bed. Although I eventually end up on my tummy, I start my sleep laying flat on my back, holding the covers up to my chin with my right leg stretched straight and the other bent at the knee. I imagine Regan’s frizzy head bobbing at the edge of my bed, near my right foot. I imagine her suddenly pouncing on me with an “Arghhh!” with her evil, mucus-filled smile.

I sometimes give myself a fright when I imagine The Ring’s TV girl appearing behind the corner and walking towards me ever so slowly before I keel over and die (I am looking around as I am typing this). Or I might catch her standing behind my door, waiting for my reaction.

Last week I freaked out a bit because I remembered the hideous, mannish Antichrist in “The Passion of Christ.” Remember that little thing? The Devil was holding him and he had this ghastly grin. After I had that scene in my head, I imagined the little baby crawling swiftly on the ground before it jumped on my butt and bit it.

I found this clip of "The Exorcist" 's famous spider walk. It is not the one with blood pouring out of Regan's mouth but another one; I believe she has a snake's tongue in this one. Those with weak hearts should not watch this and of course, if you are underage, stay away. This was pulled straight out of the book and again, not incorporated in the final cut, which had the bloody mouth scene.

at 9:21 PM 13 comments

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mon Père

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Father on left holding my uncle.

Sometimes, I envy some of my friends who have open relationships with their fathers. They would pick up the phone and chat to their dads about personal issues such as friendships gone awry, bodily insecurities, and the like.

My father is traditional - in a cultural sense. He would come home from work, settle down in his comfortable mustard-colored chair, and pick at his salad while we flitted about, either joining his calm appetizer session or go on creating the necessary pre-lunch raucous. During our meal, the conversation is usually light and humorous.

When I think about it now, the only time I do bond with my father is primarily during weekends.

Thursday mornings. Dawn more like it. The sun hadn’t come out yet but I manage to stumble out of my warm bed and accompany my father to “Ma63am El Sharaf.” He would order a “fool” sandwich and I would munch on my scrumptious falafels. We would sit on the rickety, wooden benches outside the ageing restaurant, watching the few cars go by and the sun rise up before us.

Afterwards, we would head to the chalet. After a long Thursday night spent devouring my father’s delicious “riyash” and kabab, he would wake me up early Friday morning for our traditional stroll in the desert. Peeling tangerines in natural solitude, we would observe the sheep being herded. I sulked when we ran out of the fruit, but lo and behold! My father always manages to surprise me with a tangerine he savored in his dishdasha’s pocket.

When we return home at dusk, I would go with him to Soug il Sla7/Mbarkeya. I would wear my baggy jeans and long blouse, wrap my long hair in a bun and wash my face free of makeup. One of the things I treasure is our car rides en route. My father would talk about his days in school and university, advise me about college and managing my finances (I am still working on the latter), and recall amusing stories about his childhood and past. I love listening to his soothing voice. Whenever he tells a tale, he would end his sentences with “Ha?” and I would reply “Ee yoba” or “Mmm.” And then he would continue his story. Before we hop out of the car, he would ask, “Erzulie, 9obeelay may ma3ach” and I would reach for the heavy, metal thermos and promptly hand him a cup. I watched him as he gulped the water down before smacking his lips and motioning for me to follow.

With him, I become little Erzulie. He still holds my hand when we cross the street. When I gush over a costume-like Indian dress, he would buy it for me, knowing that I will don it in our house and strut around in it every now and then. He would introduce me as, “Erzulie, bintee il zqeera, my little daughter.” We would snag a bag of “yigi6” and enjoy it as we walk through the bustling crowd. My mother disapproves of “yigi6,” claiming that “people roll it with their feet” and that they are generally unclean. But I still love their sour milky taste.

Unlike some of my friends, I do not think I will ever discuss my disdain for my split ends with my father.

At times he seems a bit distant yet I know his affection is implicit.

And I would not trade that for anything.

Edith Piaf - Sous Le Ciel De Paris
George Brassens - Les Passantes
Del Amitri - Roll to Me (I love this song!) - FOOF!

at 5:03 AM 20 comments

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Another Weird Dream…

As I have said before, I rarely remember my dreams. But today, I woke up in the bright morning light, still worrying about my dream as if it was real. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was all in my head.

I dreamt that I was in our old house in Kuwait. I was trying to shut my eldest sister’s bedroom door. I saw her lying on her bed in the dark, her figure wrapped with flimsy sheets. But there was something blocking the door. It was not a solid object, just a foot of unyielding air. I went down the hall and called my mother. She calmly closed the door and assured me that nothing was wrong. Then I saw our aging housekeeper and she did not seem herself. She hung a small, framed charcoal sketch beside my older brother’s bedroom door. I looked at the scratchy drawing and noticed the Blair Witch symbol (a five-pointed compound symbol with a center triangle pointing down. The five lines resemble the microcosmic man with arms and legs outstretched inside a circle). I demanded why she placed it on the wall. She did not look at me but indifferently walked away. I was still holding the framed drawing and when I looked at it again, the symbol was gone. There were only scratchy, glum comics strewn on both sides of the hard cardboard. Throughout the dream, I sensed an evil, demonic presence. It was unnerving.

I told my ultra-rational, no-nonsense friend about my unpleasant trance. He said that it was probably my subconscious talking and now that I have made the dream’s elements part of my conscious thoughts, I have wasted a bit of my precious memory. Leave it to a computer engineer to systematically decipher murky dreams. Being a superstitious freak, I asserted that there must be some significant factor that makes me, someone who rarely remembers her nightly hallucinations let alone recall specific details, dream of such eerie things.

Regardless of my absurd delusion, do you think that dreams have some sort of supernatural and/or foreshadowing significance or are they merely one’s nutty subconscious babbling away? And how does a person’s faith and depth affect dreams and their realness? Historically, is faith even a factor that impacts the trueness of dreams? I wonder...

Lootpack - Attack of the Tupperware Puppets
Lootpack - Crate Diggin'
Jaylib - The Message
Madvillain - Fancy Clown

Stella Artois Commercial - Tres Funny :P~~

at 3:26 AM 9 comments

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Start

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“My mama says ‘Git back in da bed!’” Dar Dar had her hands balled up on her hips as we looked at her incredulously.

I am currently interning at a non-profit rehabilitation organization that helps women under substance abuse. Almost all of the women are of African-American descent and almost all of them have an average of four children.

While the women are at work, they drop their kids off at the organization’s playroom. When things are slow, I tiptoe down the hallway to play with the children. Deatrice, or Dar Dar, is my favorite. At six years old, she is the spunkiest in the bunch. Her voice is high-pitched but heart-warming. She is the one often found in the scruffy pair of white high heels; she places her small brown feet in the oversized soles and attempts to strut around the place, her hair’s beads clicking together as she tosses her head to and fro while she, once again, tells the staff about what her mama says.

I cannot imagine what her mother went through. Most of the women were sexually abused when they were young, by family members and/or friends. Hence, their downfall started very early in life. Whether it is their addiction to alcohol and/or crack – or cocaine as the organization puts it, to eliminate any social stereotypes – the mothers voluntarily submit themselves to treatment to become and stay clean.

During my first day there, I was sitting in the conference room watching the organization’s six minute introductory video. For the most part, I was not aware that one of the mother’s was leaning on the door’s frame, following the short documentary with me. The tape ended with the Bob Barker look-alike announcer saying, “…this organization has saved the lives of many women, children, and families.” My single company shuffled her heavy feet and sighed, “And that’s the truth.”

Major Swellings - Pole Vaulters Delight
Lindstrom - A Blast of Loser
Brennan Green - Little Ease (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix)
Tosca - Zueri (Linstrom & Prins Thomas Remix)
Six Cups of Rebel - Kontroll (The Organ Grinders Breakdown)
Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - Feel Am

at 8:29 AM 6 comments

Saturday, July 22, 2006

American Media on Crack

“Three months from now, I will pick up a gun and kill Arabs.” That phrase was quoted by an MSNBC correspondent during the nightly news. He had briefly interviewed a young Israeli woman in a night club the day before – approximately five days ago – and the two minute segment was aired on television. His question directed toward the woman was, “What is your reaction to the war between Israel and Lebanon?” She responded casually by saying that everyone is generally at ease but if the war worsened, she would join Israel’s so-called defense against terrorism.

Now, I have been used to the extremely biased nature of American media, but this is beyond normal. Most people in the United States look at the news as a legitimate source of information; whatever the announcer says must be true. But in this case, only one side has been in the spotlight and Lebanon and its people have not been represented and heard in any way. What is even more infuriating is that news reports appeal to the watchers’ emotions by only interviewing Israelis, concentrating on the family members of the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers; you see the father tearing up, the young bride speaking of her want of children, and so on. If I did not know about Lebanon’s situation, if I did not have friends currently in Lebanon, if I did not have access to other news featured on Middle Eastern, or rather, Arabic websites, I would have sympathized with the Israeli effort and I would have probably viewed Lebanon as the enemy as it is portrayed in American media.

I condemn Hezbollah for instigating Israel to launch their perfectly targeted attacks; after all, this was an opportunity for Israel. What people do not know here in the United States is that innocent Lebanese civilians are the ones who had this catastrophe fall onto their vulnerable laps and fragile homes. We are talking about women, children, the elderly and others who cannot defend themselves against the atrocious harm that is presently bombed their way in the most unjustified manner.

One may ask, “Why aren’t we hearing about this?” 'Firstly, owners of US media firms, who have business and economic interests, shape how the Middle East is portrayed in the media. Political elites in America, who also have corporate interests, are in the second rung; they have access and influence mainstream media. The third power is the Israeli government’s public relations campaign. It has image consultants for political and media campaigns in the United States. Israel is the client of many public relation firms such as Ruder Finn, Leyden Communications, WEILL Associates, NYPR, Morris Carrick & Guma, and Rubenstein’s. Nine Israeli consulates help implement these public relations campaigns by developing relationships with journalists and monitoring media action in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and D.C.

Countless private American organizations reiterate the official line and organize grassroots opposition to any coverage deemed unfavorable to Israel. The organizations include Americans for a Safe Israel, American Friends of Likud, Christian Coalition, Christian Broadcasting Network, American Jewish Congress, Christian Friends of Israel, American Israeli Friendship League, Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry Inc., Focus on Jerusalem, Jewish Voice Ministries, Intercessors for Israel, Jewish National Fund, Israel my Beloved, Labor Zionist Alliance, Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, and the most powerful foreign lobby in Washington, AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee).

On the other hand, there are progressive organizations that oppose Israel’s government policy. The organizations include American Arabs Anti-Discrimination Committee, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Churches for Middle East Peace, Not In My Name, Tikkun Community, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Global Exchange, Muslim Peace Forum, Jewish Friends of Palestine, American Muslims for Jerusalem, Peace Action, Seeds of Peace, Jewish Peace Fellowship, Foundation for Middle East Peace, Women in Black, United for Peace and Justice, Just Peace Technologies, Muslim Peace Fellowship, Jews Against the Occupation, and Americans for Peace Now. Unfortunately, these organizations and their work rarely make it through to mainstream media.

Media watchdog groups, who are on the lowest step, monitor and pressure journalists in media outlets when critical news of Israeli policy does surface. The groups are Anti-Defamation League, Palestinian Media Watch, Eye on the Port, Facts & Logic about the Middle East, Honest Reporting, and most importantly CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America).'*

What am I trying to say here? Basically, do not believe everything that is on the news. Or you know what, do your own research and sculpt your own opinion and forget the news altogether. I seriously cannot understand how reporters and journalists convey stories in the most prejudiced way possible. I know that they are under a strict contract and their lexicon is tweaked to satisfy the heads above, but I do wonder how they could sleep at night when they know about the realities of the situation.

NOMO - Divisions
James Brown - I Got Ants in My Pants
Sarah MacLachlan - Home

*Source: Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land

at 12:52 AM 14 comments

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Going Back For Good

Whenever I have a rare break from my hectic schedule, I sometimes drop my backpack on our campus’ parched grass and take a little nap in the breezy, sunny weather. During my drive back home, my windows are down and I have my music turned up. As always, I am in my little bubble, singing along with the song as my hair blows across my face. And then I think to myself, “I would never be able to do this when I go back home.”

Sounds bad doesn’t it?

I won’t be coming back home until January of next year. I miss my family everyday but I always think about the loss of freedom. Every time I return to Kuwait, I visit a few of my friends who have graduated from US universities/colleges and they all tell me the same thing, “Trust me, you’ll miss the US after you come back.” This worries me…how will I cope? Of course, I will have a daily routine composed of work and well, mostly work but what about the little things?

What about playing music with the windows down and not having anyone bat an eye?
What about sitting under a tree for a quick yet satisfying slumber?
I wonder…

Double F. & J. Dilla - Artificial Influence
Double F. & J. Dilla - Staccato
Eddie Gale - Song of Will (Jazzanova Mix)
Murs - Yesterday

Toohey's Beer - Really Funny Commercial...You can't control where your mind drifts too :P~

at 3:09 AM 12 comments

Friday, July 07, 2006

Purgatory Repents

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Note: Purgatory a.k.a. Purg is a Kuwaiti blogger who adores Edo, a sushi restaurant. This scribble has been created with his consent. He also requested that the Edo Queen should be "cute and chubby," hence the boobage.

Jazz/Acid Jazz by Medeski, Martin and Wood
Shuck it Up
The Lover
Latin Shuffle
We Are Rolling
Buster Rides Again
Improv II

at 4:58 AM 7 comments

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Concert Snippets

Last weekend, I went to a Pearl Jam & Tom Petty concert followed by a fabulous clincher, Common.

Because we got our tickets a bit late, my friend and I sat way up in the lawn area, which is just a level away from the grassy section. Pearl Jam was the surprising opening act. They played “Gone” along with other known hits like “Better Man” which was amazing. When Tom Petty came on, the crowd – about 23,000 people – went wild. Of course, he played “Free Fallin’” (MP3) and “Last Dance with Mary Jane” (MP3). Unlike Bob Dylan who now sounds like a duck on crack, Petty’s voice did not change at all.

When the sun went down, everybody had their lighters up in the air, singing along and dancing whilst standing on their seats. When we first came in, the smell of fried onions and beer was in the air. Half way through the concert, ganja ruled. It was very in-your-face. The 70’s would’ve been proud.

Eddie Vedder: Lead singer of Pearl Jam

Everybody was standing on their seat when Tom Petty started. I loved it but I had a little problem: There was a drunken high school bimbo in front of me. She continuously tapped her unresponsive date, giggled, stuck her butt out and shook it awkwardly before he looked the other way. She was absolutely out of control. She swayed backwards towards me, and most of the times, she lost her balance, causing me, my friend and a few others to topple over. I wanted to pay attention to the concert and music and not worry about this ditzy, inebriated juvenile who kept keeling over. The last time she fell on me, I kneed her in the back, “Oh be careful sweetie!” I said. She changed seats and spent the rest of the concert with her head between her legs.

We skipped out of the concert to catch Common. I went a little crazy when he played “The Light” (MP3). The DJ was amazing; he spun old school hip-hop beats and it was the best. I wished my brother was there to catch Pearl Jam with me :)

Pearl Jam - You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
Pearl Jam - Gimme Some Truth
Pearl Jam - Soldier of Love
Pearl Jam - I Believe in Miracles
Pearl Jam - Last Kiss
Pearl Jam - Crazy Mary
Pearl Jam - Rockin' in the Free World
Pearl Jam - Masters of War
Pearl Jam - Don't Be Shy
Pearl Jam - Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns
Pearl Jam - 25 Minutes to Go
Pearl Jam - Baba O'Riley
Pearl Jam - Betterman/Save it for Later
Common - Heat

at 12:20 AM 7 comments

Saturday, July 01, 2006

From the Heart

*Click on image to enlarge

Top Row - Left to Right:

- Zaydoun:Your blog exudes confidence. And I stuck an Ipod on you because you always have the music bit :)
- The Men of Sa7at El Safat: Jandeef (with your WD-40 and college get-up), Mobtad2 (with your "Nowair" and music), BoSalem, and Rasheed El Kha6ar.
- Q: I saw you once and all I remember are your dimples!
-iDip: I put that weed-looking thing in your mouth, the one that is in your display picture. Whenever I see your name, I think of Freak Nasty's song "When I dip you dip we dip You put your hand upon my hip..."

Bottom Row - Left to Right:

- Shurouq: Someone guided me to your picture that is displayed on one of the blogs. The first thing I said when I saw it was "Sh7alat'ha!" Seriously! And the saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover" suits you well because I would have never thought that a dainty young woman like you would be so ballsy! I love and admire that in you so much, that you were out there both mentally and physically.
- Bo Maryoum: I read but I am too intimidated to comment :P
- Kuwaiti Demon: Hilarious pieces. Just the right amount of sarcasm.
- Zort
- Kila Ma6goog: 7a6aitlik plaster 3ala 9a3roortik :P
- Mad M: I will always be amused at your talents. And I am curious about your serious pieces that I am sure are around here somewhere :P
*Note: Apart from Shurouq & Zaydoun, all drawn bloggers' features came out of my head and from my imagination.

I have never been interested in politics. When I think of it, I remember my parents and older siblings talking about so and so and I never batted an eye, although I do remember a few notable people that always arose in the conversation.

I just want to say that I have never seen such loyalty, commitment, pride, effort, and love directed to one’s country and its wellbeing.

After reading your blogs that combined seriousness and light comedies, I have learned so, so much. I just want to thank you for your hard work. Much, much appreciation, admiration, and mostly, respect.

To other bloggers that put in the effort, I do apologize for not placing you in the drawing. But do not think that your sweat and dedication is not appreciated and treasured not only by me, but by all.

I was in class when I received a text message from my sister that Al-Naibari did not win. I excused myself and headed to the restroom. I am thankful that nobody was there because I was tearing up. He is one of the names that I remember, the one who was always present in my parents’ conversations. I was crying because I know that my heart is not the only one that has been broken. I knew that my dear brother was out and about during this chaotic time, helping and promoting awareness, just like all of you did. Then I thought that this is just the beginning. The end will be in our hands.

Dear bloggers, you have made history.

Bob Dylan - This Land is Your Land
The Clash - Rock the Casbah
Tracy Chapman - Talkin' Bout a Revolution
Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome

at 11:29 AM 26 comments