Long time no post.
This is one photo I took back in 06. I feel better when I look at this photo.
Try this if you do have one. Turn off the lights, and watch that star field, and you will have the sensation that you are flying through space.
It's a nice feeling, and in fact reminds me of one lucid dream I had.
I say that because every show I tried watching would play a long ad before it begins, and then tell me "this show is not available for your location" or something of the sort.
Now I have no problem with content being locale sensitive. It's the right of the content owners to decide on that, but what I do have a problem with is making me sit through the whole of a number ads repeatedly and then telling me I can't watch the content.
How I am dealing with it? I watched a few more, just to see the ads, and now Dove, Oreos, and Careerbuilder are on my no-more list.
Thank you NBC for annoying the customers of your advertisers.
Update: Looks like this blogger had the same experience.
I bought the HD-DVD add-on for the XBOX 360 a while back, and got "King Kong" in the box. I also bought the documentary "Planet Earth", which is nothing short of absolutely amazing. And got "Happy Feet" for my and my family's benefit, especially my daughter who likes to skip around like Mumble.
This was about 6 months ago, and I have not been able to buy any more, and here is why.
There really isn't anything compelling enough about the movie lineup to pay $12 for a hi-def "experience", which is for most movies only marginally better than DVD.
I mean, if you see "Anchor Man" in DVD, then you've seen it in HD-DVD because the extra pixels will probably not add any more enjoyment or appreciation.
And fan boys. I am not saying that BlueRay lineup is better. It's just that the whole concept of paying $12 extra on the average for a movie that looks nearly as good on DVD is not a very attractive concept.
Come to think of it, only "Lord of the Rings" trilogy , "300" and "Ratatouille" may be worth the extra money, because they are very "visual", but I cannot think of many others that are.
Can you? Please recommend something.
And PS: I don't think the trilogy is out on HD-DVD yet.
This is my daughter Yelsmin.
I was not looking through the camera when I took this, I was talking to Yelsmin and resting the camera on my hand to get a more natural expression from Yelsmin.
It's post processed in Photoshop for a grunge effect.
I found this lying around in my e-Folders and decided to play around with it and publish it.
Beautiful song, lyrics below. Enjoy.
'Twas Halloween and the ghosts were out,
And everywhere they'd go, they'd shout,
And though I covered my eyes I knew,
They'd go away.
But fear's the only thing I saw,
And three days later 'twas clear to all,
That nothing is as scary as election day.
But the day after is darker,
And darker and darker it goes,
Who knows, maybe the plans will change,
Who knows, maybe he's not deranged.
The news men know what they know, but they,
Know even less than what they say,
And I don't know who I can trust,
For they come what may.
'cause we believed in our candidate,
But even more it's the one we hate,
I needed someone I could shake,
On election day.
But the day after is darker,
And deeper and deeper we go,
Who knows, maybe it's all a dream,
Who knows if I'll wake up and scream.
I love the things that you've given me,
I cherish you my dear country,
But sometimes I don't understand,
The way we play.
I love the things that you've given me,
And most of all that I am free,
To have a song that I can sing,
On election day
هو لحم الأضحية فله اكله واهداؤه والصدقة به ولا يجوز بيعه أو إبداله
منقول من جريدة الراية الرمضانية
PS: I hope it doesn't have much to do with the new printing laws in Jordan.
I am in Doha, and I am calling my manager at the time (Sadek) about an anomaly in the server software. But that's not the point.
The point is, it was about 1:30pm, which is lunch/rush hour, and I am cruising on the D-Ring road taking one roundabout after the other effortlessly.
Skip ahead 7 years a few months to today.
I just drove my daughter to school, and spent 50 minutes is a traffic jam. The drive in normal traffic takes about 7 minutes.
No body is happier than I am about the progress happening in Qatar. This side of the progress is depressing.
The smells I like the most are:
- Lemon Balm (ريحان)
- Burning wood (certain kinds of dry wood)
Not neccessarily in that order.
I tag no one ... I am a leaf. I am the place where tags go to die.
I had the pleasure of attending the Wainakh performance in this years Jerash festival.
Needless to say, the theater was packed, and it seemed like Sukhnah, Zarqa and Sweileh has migrated to Jerash.
It was great watching the performers do their thing. I think they are some of the best performers in the world.
And in a twist of good luck, I had the pleasure of going behind the stage and meet the performers.
Enjoy the photos, and visit the full gallery.
In any case, putting everything I love about Jordan aside now. Here are things that have deteriorated shockingly since last time I was here:
- NUMBER 1 problem: Driving. I do not know how neglectful and incompetent the new police chief is, but this is ridiculous. It doesn't seem like there are rules any more, except for the red traffic light, everything else is fair game. You get to do what every you want.
- Car prices: Cars cost an arm and a leg. It is beyond sad.
- Fuel prices: a C200 costing nearly
2934 JDs a week is a crime.
- The number of people who are sick. I have found the diherea, vomit and feaver is running rampant in Amman and Al-Salt. Just visit any clinic or hospital and you will SEE what I am talking about.
I blame you ma3roof il ba'7eet. You have failed us, and you have failed your King. I suggest you behave as responsibly as your ministers and submit your resignation and let someone who can do something take the lead.
I was surprised with this elephant in the parking lot yesterday. It was parked in the space next to my parking space.
That parking space has been empty a long while, eversince my neighbour in apartment 665 moved out.
Of course, seeing an elephant there makes you think of a few things and make a few assumptions. For instance, I assumed that the apartment next to me has been taken by someone. And I assumed that that some one is an Indian, because he drives an elephant.
Turns out I was wrong. The guy is Yemeni. He is from Yemen. I didn't know they had that model in Yemen.
I thought I would post this picture here for you to meet my new car neighbour.
I call this "Pipe dream".
One of my favorites.
I don't know which category of photography this falls under. But I'm guessing abstract is probably the closest.
What is a pipe dream?A pipe dream is a fantastic hope or plan that is generally regarded as being nearly impossible to achieve. The term derives from the opium pipe, and dates to the late nineteenth century when opium smoking was common in the United States. More specifically, the term derives from the euphoric optimism that is one of the effects of smoking high quality opium. Depending on how much opium is smoked, intoxication may last from eight to twelve hours. During this time smokers go through a period of euphoria followed by a more relaxed state of contentment and well being. Beginning in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, popular literature and music began using the term "pipe dream" to describe any idea or plan whose probable outcome would never reach initial expectations.
Source, wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_dream
Watch "The Prestige"
Guaranteed bit of fun.
I spent the hours between 11AM and 2:30PM under the sun, with degrees around 40-45c. In and out of the water, laying on my chair and floating on a mattress in the sea. Needless to say I was starting to feel a little heat beneath my skin, in the flesh, so I decided to spend sometime in the Jacuzzi, which now I know isn't a very good idea. Not that I was clueless before doing it, which puts “deliberate idiocy” above in context.
Towards the late afternoon, I moved under the shaded area near the pool which wasn't as bad. But I could feel the heat of the sun roasting my shoulders and legs through the holes in the canopy above. And though it wasn’t really doing that, but in my mind here is it what it all looked like: A blindingly bright laser penetrating through my skin and scorching the flesh and making “fizzzz” sounds as it moves slowly leaving a line of destroyed human flesh in its wake.
You would think I would make sure I was under a well shaded area, or at least retire home, which is what a normal sane person would’ve done. But not me, I was being “Deliberately idiotic”.
What I did was spend about 15 minutes between steam and sauna. My recommendation for anyone in this situation is this: DON’T DO THAT.
I blame YOU Tareq Batal. I blame you for my burns and blame you for your body's complete lack of reaction to the sun.
Of course I was so red that night that I was glowing in the dark. Literally. No Really!
I turned off the lights and I could see my body pulsating with a red glow. I was like a just-put-out match stick with that fading red glow. And I could smell steak. I’m not saying it was me. Could’ve been my neighbors cooking something, but I’m just saying.
Felt horrible, couldn't sleep at all that night. I applied a small cow’s worth of daily yogurt production on the "glowy" areas, tried burn creams from the Dr. and even regular deep moisturizers. But nothing seems to help; it took a few days before I could sleep with any comfort.
All this reminded me of the martial arts concept: "Best defense is not be there".
A comment on the post changed that.
Mr. Mohammad posted that I should come to a local photo shoot for a competition organized by members of a local online community on http://www.qatarliving.com/. I went that day, met a lot of nice people and took a few photos.
I joined the group when I went home and submitted a few of my photos, some old and some new. And surprise surprise, I won.
They gave a Pro flickr account and the responsibility to organize and judge the next competition. Which gives something to worry about outside working hours.
If any of you reading this are in Qatar. Please go to http://www.qatarliving.com/ and join the team, and lets see you in the next photo shoot. It really is not a cutthroat competition, its more of a social gathering.
This year however its a little different, I have no one leaving the country and wants live with me until then. I have no single friends who prefer to live in my house than theirs ... etc.
This means that this year I will be lonely. Alone. One is the loneliest number.
The plus side is you will be seeing a whole lot more from me in terms of photographs, blog posts and online matches (for those who know me on XBOX Live).
I need to start on a useful project to help put the time to good use. Which I know I will plan but never do, and will end up so bored before my vacation that reading the dictionary would pass as entertainment.
Please all, recommend good books.
For those of you who do not know, Jordanians (my self included) are considered to be frown-prone at all times with timid smiles appearing every once in a long while and in response occasions commanding extreme happiness (think winning the lottery).
So for this reputable institution to publish its "Gross International Happiness Study" ranking Jordan right below Sweden and above all other regional and international countries is quite surprising, if not shocking.
Apparently, the main drivers for happiness in Jordan are:
- Democracy and free speech: The "Blog without fear" initiative in Jordan "دون بلا خوف", which promises bloggers absolute freedom to speak their minds has clearly paid off and is considered a catalyst for driving uptake of "freedom of speech" in Jordan.
- Justice and equality: The abolishment of all forms of favoritism under the government sponsered program "F for Fair not Favoritism" "واو من وجع يخلع نيعك وليس من واسطه".
Apparently Jordanians want their government services without having to resort to being someone's 3rd cousin or meeting everyone in a wedding.
- Economical development: The recent economical boom driven by the adoption of R&D as a source of income and the numerous incubators the government is funding, has resulted in an influx of money and investments unparalleled and unprecedented in the region.
Unemployment rates are at an all time minimum and consumer confidence is sky rocketing especially after the reduction of Taxes and allowing cars and consumer products to come into the country with no double taxation and in some cases even no taxation at all. What a wonderful life.
- Traffic improvements: The launch of the subway train system in and between major cities in Jordan -- which is affectionately know as "the tubes" "المواسير", and the accompanying launch of the "better driving" "سوق زي العالم" campaign lead by the traffic department, which focuses for the first time on sane driving in ADDITION to wearing your seat built and driving below the speed limit.
It's been rumored that even diwan cars are subject to the new traffic law and enforcement, but that remains to be confirmed at this stage
- Finally, on the political front, the introduction of the mandatory 3 month training for representatives of the Jordanian parliament named "صحصح واوعى تنام" prior to engaging them in any real decision making. This has resulted in the reps understanding what they are there for, and was the real driver behind all of the above.
Clearly there is very little difference between competent and incompetent; in this case, only 3 months of training.
I am offered a BMW 540 2000 model for an amount of money I can afford. The car is red which I dont like and comes with Automatic gearbox which I hate.
Still undecided on whether I should take the plunge, I need your help to tell me what too look for in the car (positive or negative) that could help me take the decision.
Knowing that in Qatar, overheating and A/C condition are most important.
Please comment here or send to my email sarihiari(at)gmail.com.
I am reminded of an article on a website about a lady donating her brain because of such overload/overheat.
And here is a picture I took of a palm tree.
PS:I will start injecting this blog with some of my own photos that I particularly like. Makes it nicer to look at.
This rock is coming out of the closet, finally announcing that it is green. You know liking green more than black, IT MUST BE GREEN.
This is a picture I've taken in Singapore. I finally started developing those pics (RAW to JPEG).
The day before yesterday my car broke down and I had to go home in a Taxi.
Yesterday I called one to take me to work, but still had to pick my daughter from school and I wanted to buy a car.
I walked into the operations room, and said I need to pick Yelsmin up. My friend Awfa -- who already knew about my car breaking down, put his hand in his pocket and tossed his key across the room and looked back at his monitor. I remembered the Arabic saying "أن اللبيب من الإشارة يفهم".
His car is a brand new, fully speced Toyota Avalon 2007, he had it for about 3 days now may be 4 I cant remember.
On the road, I called a friend who I knew had bought a new car I liked, the Lexus RX. And asked if I could take it for a spin because I want to buy one. He met me outside his office building and gave me his keys.
Both cars are great, but I prefer the Avalon by a mile for its performance.
The point here is that I am trusted to just take these expensive high end cars. Clearly they think I am a responsible, trust worthy person.
I don't disagree with this, but especially when it comes to driving, I learned how to control a car spin before learning to shift gears properly. So ... I'm not so sure their trust is well placed.
Funny thing is that Awfa already knows about my driving.
The comment stated that the only thing that changes on my blog is my gamer score, and nothing else and then referenced a link for the Carpenter's Solitaire.
The sad thing is that the song applies to me completely and in every way.
So, what do I do besides gaming?
- The family social stuff which includes visiting and hosting other families in groups and individually (family wise)
- Friends-going-out-somewheres, which is a group of my friends all deciding on going to some random place. Where the bulk of the activity is arguing on where we want to go
- Gaming/movie days/nights
- Dune surfing on quad bikes and the subsequent swimming
- Bowling nights, which has been inactive for the longest time and now slowly being replaced with Basketball nights (which reminds me -- ouch my knee).
- Yelsmin's mandatory family outings which inevitably includes toy stores and fun parks
Add to that random events at work and the spontaneous eating out.So I guess I am just the socially average person. Nothing more nothing less.
I am definitely not a lonely gamer with Solitaire the only gaming in town for me. In fact, its quite the opposite, gaming is a privilege that I get to indulge myself in when I can.
Singapore is a beautiful place, but a little humid. It is very clean, the streets are hollywood-movie-black and people are very nicely dressed and behaved and very very friendly. Everyone is polite and considerate and quiet in a restaurant. I cannot imagine living here.
I am having trouble finding Halal food here, and I don't really like sea food. Waddya gonna do? I guess I will have to lose weight.
The place is quite diverse, though the majority of people are from Chinese origins. You find Malayans, Indians Filipinos in addition to the Chinese.
Looking around me in this Starbucks. Everyone is either reading a book or working on his laptop. And they do it even in groups. Looks like a lot of students.
The whether is always at 30c degrees with little variation. It's always humid. There is always chance for rain. Everything is always on time and just right.
I am guessing it will get insanely boring after a little while. I could never live here.
I live in Qatar. It is quite the diverse place here. Today I made my way into a mosque I never prayed in before. Turns out 99% of all the people who prayed there were Pakistani or Indian.
After prayer finished, one man stood up and said something in his own language which was probably Urdu. He looked poor, like most of the people around me. I assumed he was telling everyone he was having a hard time setteling a debt or paying his rent as sometimes is the case.
I looked at the Imam hoping he would explain to me what the man said, but he was busy with his after praye doaa' and tasbeeh. A man next to me was looking at me and smiling, he could clearly make out that I was puzzled.
He tried to explain to me saying in Arabic "Hatha fi Jawlah, Jawlah ... Jawlah". But I had no idea what he meant. These words don't really mean much unless you understand what he means by Jawlah which really means a "round". Another man explained to me he is asking people to come over for food.
He was not asking people for money, he was asking us to come over and share his food.
How arrogant of me and stupid to assume that everyone looking poor and addressing the people in a mosque is asking for money.
Tagged by Naryat1- If there was a fire at your house and you could save only one thing (item) what would that be?
My external hard disk. It has all my photos and personal files.
2- What is the most embarrassing situation you have been in?
I still remember it like it was two minutes ago.
1st grade. I don't remember why I went to my older brother's class but I think we'd already finished school for the day and he had one more class.
I don't know what it was, but it wasn't unusual for people to take interest in me and try to be friendly. So the teacher in Ghaith's class (Ghaith being my older brother) decided to ask me to solve a puzzle in front of the class. He asks me about who would be the owner of an egg laid by a "rooster". Would it be the owner of the rooster or the man who had the egg laid in his land.
I said the owner, because the owner was feeding the rooster. And was so angry when the teacher was laughing at my response and told me I was wrong. I remember I was red and started defending my case.
To calm me down, he told me that roosters don't lay eggs, chicken do. But I didn't hear him in my struggle to make him understand my point of view and kept arguing about who should be the owner, at which point, the whole class broke into hilarity and fits of laughter.
My brother then told me the thing with the rooster not chicken again and I was very, very embarrassed.
I still remember the teachers face, laughing uncontrollably.
3- If you can do over a part of your life, what will you change?
At the risk of sounding cliche, I really wouldn't change a thing. In retrospect, all the bad times and pains have taught me lessons that came in handy at some later part of my life.
But if I have to change something, I would change the the few minutes before and during I fell in that cursed basketball game and broke my ankle. I would change that to just finished the game and went home.
I tag ... I will decide later.
I tag TeaLover.
I colleague got sick and couldn't come to the office today, and while he said he would be available on mobile and email, it is still not the same for completing job tasks.
When he is in, I see something in my email and I want to talk to him, I pickup the phone, dial his extension and he is there. Question answered. If not, I will just walk into his office and get my answer.
And while I do get my answer through email if he is not in, it is not the same. You loose your string of thoughts and things become lazy and unresponsive and eventually you loose your momentum.
There is a certain added value in physical presence that makes sense when you need to make decisions quickly. Which I believe is 80% of daily work.
Still, if you're going to spend 2-3 days writing a document. It would actually make more sense for you to do it at home, uninterrupted.
Error code is 0102. Which basically for a while meant that its dead beyond repair.
Now however there is a number of alternative methods that may revive it. I have nothing to lose that I didn't already.
I'm starting with the eraser.
Will keep you posted.
My XBOX 360 is fixed and I went through the whole Nurnburgring on PGR3 and everything except for the fans seems to be working fine.
The fans are much louder now.
You can now go to the bigger parks in Doha and get free wireless internet access on your laptop.
A great step forward in my view and an idea that should be studied and possibly extended to cover all of Qatar and may be have the idea implemented all over the region.
The launch was a mega event, to which I was invited. I had enough time to go home from work, have lunch, rest a little and the go there with the family.
Only when I got there the police insisted on seeing the invitation card to let me go in. Only THERE WAS NO INVITATION CARD. All my attempts to explain my this fact to the thick and impolite police man were unsuccessful and I decided to forfeit the day and go do something else with the family.
I parked the car at a different part of the Doha Corniche, and Yelsmin asked if we could take a boat ride, so we did. And then I had the idea to have the boat drop us near the park where the launch taking place. Which we did and made an appearance there and everyone was happy. Especially Yelsmin as she got to take another trip on the boat on the way back to the car.
The worrying part is that I had my whole family, Yelsmin's bike and I got all of us including the bike into the launch event with out really having to think about it. What kind of security is this? I guess the police man is there only to ruin people's days as quite clearly he is not securing the place.
It is a fact of life that one idiot can ruin one or more days for one or more people. What makes it more annoying is that this can be easily avoided.
And in this case, the police man was supposed to be keeping the place safe but lost focus and turned his attention to working the car park. Thank God Qatar is a safe family place, otherwise we would've had a mess on our hands.
I was reminded yesterday while in a meeting of a fact of my daily work routine that I found especially interesting. And that is that I work in a widely diversified environment.
The aforementioned meeting was between four of us. My self a Jordanian, one South African, one German and one English man, all working on a project who's team is just as diverse.
The project is run in a division run by a Singaporean. The program manager is Qatari. The project owner is Greek but lived in Austria and married to a German (who's sun by the way speaks 5 languages fluently).
The project team contains two Nigerian/English guys, a Syrian/Iraqi/English, a Lebanese, an Australian, an Irish, an Indian and three English guys one of which speaks English so posh that you think the Queen is about to walk through the door.
When preparing for this project back in December 06, I remember a lunch we had. One Russian who lived in Brazil. The afore mentioned Greek/Austrian. One Indian, one Jordanian, one Syrian American and one German/French. All of whom are well traveled and well cultured.
You can imagine the conversations we have at lunch. We talked for 20 minutes about the different types of red meet in the world, once about pros vs cons of Sushi. One time we shared what body language means in different parts of the world. So much to learn, so little time. :)
I am fortunate for this part of my work.
I wasn't about to cry or anything, but I felt loss and couldn't understand why.
Now the weird thing (or what I suspect is weird) is I don't know Naryat. I only know the RSS feed and the collection of HTML layouts and images that are Naryat's blog. So why does it get to me so?
Me thinks I need to reconsider the true effects the internet is having on society.
To tell you the truth, if I had read this on someone else's blog I would've thought it was corny. But nevertheless, here I am.
If this works as advertised, then this should appear on my blog without me having to go to blogger.com and starting a post from there.
Which is wonderful.
Below this line is a drag-drop from the FireFox Add-ons page for Performancing.
Performancing for Firefox is a full featured blog editor that sits
right in your Firefox browser and lets you post to your blog easily.
You can drag and drop formatted text from the page you happen to be
browsing, and take notes as well as post to your blog.
Performancing for Firefox was developed by Performancing.com, the worlds largest organization of professional bloggers.
The file itself was written by Jed Brown, and coordinated by Nick Wilson, both of Performancing LLC.
Now it's me again. And based on what I see so far, Performancing is going to be the Number 2 plug-in I install for FireFox from now on.
powered by performancing firefox
I mean the guy was all on reinventing the phone, and getting excited about synchronizing your contacts with your PC and typing with your finger and getting a little picture of whoever is calling, all of which the WM5 devices have been doing out of the box for a while now. Infact, my 3 yearold Pocket PC 2003 Phone Edition has been doing it for 3 years.
The only thing I can see that is really cool is the pinching thing for zooming in, and the accurate typing with the fingers on the tiny on-screen keyboard. And I am just assuming the latter. It could be that Steve Jobs has an accurate finger.
I doubt that what you are about to learn of here is legal in Dubai, or even socially accepted, but that didn't stop the company Afraa from posting a job opportunity blatantly excluding Muslims from the job.
Details Here at Naukri Gulf site.
This was there in the job post:
Only Army Ex-defence,
Age- 40 yrs Maximum,
Good height and Health
Know Basic English
Now I understand all of these items, except for the Non-Muslim one.
I could also, understand that some jobs may be better suited for non-Muslims like bar tending or so, but this is a security guard position in a Muslim country.
A SECURITY JOB. What? do they think we spontaneously combust?!
Any body else find this shocking?? I mean wouldn't this be absolutely horrid if it said Non-Blacks, Non-Arabs, Non-Christians, Non-Asians.
Whats next? May be we'll start seeing posts for a secretary job for whores only or an accounting position for Indians only? Or may be even worse, this has already been there but no one talks about it.
بعد قراءة هذا المقال المنشور في عمون يبدو لي للأسف أن رئيس الوزراء مستمر في سياسات الحكومة الخاطئة ومنجر وراء الحاجة لارضاء الراي العام بدل...
This is my way of responding to Tags. I will not directly answer a tag, but I will provide some interesting read and I will reference the pe...
بعد قراءة هذا المقال المنشور في عمون يبدو لي للأسف أن رئيس الوزراء مستمر في سياسات الحكومة الخاطئة ومنجر وراء الحاجة لارضاء الراي العام بدل...
Israel is now using White Phosphorus in Gaza. White Phosphorus is not an illegal weapon. It is however, to be used under very strict regula...