Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Supermarket Cluedo

Did you notice how people passing by you in a Supermarket would look through your shopping cart?And not only look but sometimes stare? And the funny bit is that after checking out your cart people would always look at you. It's like playing Cluedo, first they see the items in your cart (the clues) and now they are looking at the suspect. One time I decide to mess with people a bit so I filled my cart with pickle jars (like 15 of them) and on top of those I put 2 packs of 8-roll toilet paper and man did I get some seriously confused faces :D

Sunday, March 25, 2007

300 Spartans and 1 Fesh

All blood and flying heads/arms/legs aside, 300 is a really good movie. It tells the epic story of how 300 soldiers form Sparta withstood the incoming Persian army although they were outnumbered 500:1 or 1500:1 (depending on estimates of how big the Persian army was).

Without spoiling for you the movie, there is this scene where the Persian Emperor (Xerxes I) tells the Spartan King (Leonidas I) that Sparta will be spared if he were to command his soldiers to surrender now and lay down their weapons. To this Leonidas replies: Come and Take Them! Which off course is a perfect reply by a brave king to an evil invading emperor in a Hollywood movie, but turns out that historically-speaking the Spartan king did actually say this to the Persian Emperor! More interesting is that the "Come and Take Them" statement lives till this day as the motto of the Greek First Army Corps! In Greek it is: Mol┼Źn labe!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Orwellian Side of Me.

Recently there has been a lot of debate about governments passing bills giving them the right to spy on all kinds of personal communications, be it mobile, email ..etc. Needless to say there's an uproar everywhere this is happening. For me, I don't mind the government spying on me.

If I look back, at some point it was common for people to take their own security into their hands (by carrying a sword, pistol or a rifle). Then we basically gave up this right and we delegated it to the Police. Same thing with trusting the judicial system to decide whether you're guilty or not.

I guess my point being, if we assume Big Brother (all hail the Orwellian world we live in) is good then nothing bad can come from the courts, police or the spy agencies listening in to your conversations. However, if Big Brother is corrupt then honestly I'd worry more about the Police busting me for no reason, throwing me in jail for a life-time and continuously torturing me BEFORE I'd worry about a spy agency listening to my calls to my mother.

Monday, March 19, 2007

One Year of Solitude

Yeah! It's been a year since I moved to Warsaw and started living on my own!
*Technically, I arrived in Warsaw on 31st of March and seeing that I am going back to Cairo on 28th of March (for Easter holidays yaaaaaaaaaay!) then it's not really a complete year, but for dramatic reasons we'll consider it a year, okay?
I must admit that it's a very full filling experience. From one side it's boring, as you don't have family living with you, but on the other hand your routine at home differs dramatically. I think I appreciate living alone, at least for now. An interesting side-effect of living alone is that you actually look forward for vacations with your family and you long for your noisy nieces! :)

More interestingly, as mentioned above, I'm off to elCairo next week! WOHO! ze mothership is calling me again and I must answer the call! very excited!

Oh yeah and if you think this post's title is plagiarized from Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude.....

you got me :D

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The acp Gene

Recently I found myself in a couple of corporate trainings. I was happy to mingle with other fellow Homo Corpratuses(Man The Corporate Offices Dweller) and it was also a constant reminder of how we are different.

One behavior in particular, I attribute it to the acp gene (which I discovered and it ONLY exists in Homo Corpratus DNA), is very interesting. I have noticed that since we Homo Corpratus are working daily in an organized and disciplined way, this basically impacts us and how we behave with fellow Homo Corpratuses even if we don't know them before hand.

Take for example this, for 2 days we took our lunch in the same restaurant in the hotel we were having the training in. On the third day we break for lunch and our instructors tell us lunch is at the same restaurant. We start leaving the room, in an organized line, and basically the people in the front of the line decide to walk to the other meeting room (for an unknown weird reason) and basically I find that the next 20 people are following them to the room. The next scene is the funny one, I stood back and watched as they reached the door of the meeting room, stood there and then realized basically that they were simply following the line instead of heading back to the restaurant!

Another impact of the acp gene is that we are sub-consciously figuring out the rules and sticking to them. For example, by the end of another training we were filling out the evaluation sheets, the instructors asked us to put the sheet on the table after we're done. I was sitting next to the table and the first few people placed the evaluation sheets face up, one person tried to place it face up, but the paper fell face down. All the following 30 something evaluations were put face down. The amazing thing is that no one intentionally looked at the stack of papers, you could see people approaching, not looking at the papers, then dropping it face down and leaving. The acp gene strikes again!

Oh I almost forgot, acp stands for Ant Colony Protein gene

Friday, March 09, 2007

Are you a Mermaid?

I came across this piece in a training, it's a long read, but trust me you wont regret it:

Giants, Wizards, Dwarfs and Mermaids (by Robert Fulghum) [I summarized it a bit]

Giants, wizards and dwarfs was the game to play.Being left in charge of about eighty children seven to ten years old, while their parents were off doing parenty things, I mustered my troops in the church social hall and explained the game. It's a large-scale version of Rock, Paper, and Scissors, and involves some intellectual decision making. But the real purpose of the game is to make a lot of noise and run around chasing people until nobody knows which side you are on or who won.

The excitement of the chase had reached a critical mass. I yelled out: "You have to decide now which you are--a GIANT, a WIZARD, or a DWARF! "While the groups huddled in frenzied, whispered consultation, a tug came at my pants leg. A small child stands there looking up, and asks in a small, concerned voice, "Where do the Mermaids stand?"
Where do the Mermaids stand? A long pause. A very long pause. "Where do the Mermaids stand?" says I.
"Yes. You see, I am a Mermaid."
"There are no such thing as Mermaids."
"Oh, yes, I am one!"

She did not relate to being a Giant, a Wizard, or a Dwarf. She knew her category. Mermaid. And was not about to leave the game and go over and stand against the wall where a loser would stand. She intended to participate, wherever Mermaids fit into the scheme of things. Without giving up dignity or identity. She took it for granted that there was a place for Mermaids and that I would know just where.

"The Mermaid stands right here by the King of the Sea!" says I. So we stood there hand in hand, reviewing the troops of Wizards and Giants and Dwarfs as they roiled by in wild disarray.

It is not true, by the way, that Mermaids do not exist. I know at least one personally.

I have held her hand.

Very inspiring...

Monday, March 05, 2007

My bouncer-complex

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate bouncers in general. It's just that some of them get on my nerves. It's the ones who would basically [not] select me to go into the club. What bothers me is not the fact that I was [not] selected, it's rather the stuff bouncers make up when they are basically telling you to beat it. My favorite two are:

1. "It's very busy we're not letting more people in"
HELLO? It's a CLUB .. on a SATURDAY night? It's expected to be busy? Last I checked the busier the better? Isn't this like trying to get into a Restaurant and someone telling you: Hey buddy, tonight the food is so delicious, so we aren't allowing people to come in?!

2. "Tonight is members only"
RIIIIIIGHT, and what about those 5 random half-drunk girls that showed up 10 mins ago, stood in the line and got in?! Oh, they were members, off course!

See, not only are you humiliated for not getting to get into the club, you basically feel dumb because of the stupid reasons they give you. What would happen if they just said:

1. Oh my God you look like a rapist.
2. hahahahah, seriously dude?

Now THOSE ...... I can relate too, see I'm a reasonable man.

Capetownian Weekend!

Plane ticket: $30
Night at hostel: $9

Total cost of hotel + plane for a weekend in Capetown under $40: PRICELESS!

It's TRUE! I had some meetings in Joburg during first week of Feb and I was finishing my meeting on a Friday, so a few days before I decided to go to Capetown and I searched until I was able to get a ticket on one of those Oh-My-God-I-really-hope-the-plane-actually-has-REAL-landing-gears airlines for under $30! And being a big fan of hostels, I booked a bed for $9 and I was all set!

The highlight of my trip was Robben Island, an island 30 minutes off Capetown and was the home of Nelson Mandela when he was a political prisoner. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most impressively organized sites/museums I have ever seen. It starts with a min-museum then you take the Ferry to the island. there you're greeted by a guide and you board a bus that takes you all around the island and finally drops you to the main building of the prison. There you get a new guide who actually was a prisoner! He then walks you through the whole building and returns you to the ferry.

Very, very impressive.

It makes you think why other touristic sites, like the Giza Pyramids for example, don't employ such neat organization.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Year of the Golden FESH!

Shotgun 2007!
Yup in accordance with standard shotgun rules 2007 is MINE ..MIIINNNEEEE ...MIIIINNNEEEEEEEEEEE

My precccccccccccccccccciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuussssssssssssssss!

Okay, although I don't owe you ANY explanation why it's the year of the Golden Fesh (since I rightfully shot-gunned it before ANYONE else) I will still shed some light on why I chose this year, here's the 7 reasons:

1. 7 is my lucky number
2. I was born on the 7th day of the month
3. I was born on the 7th month of the year
4. This year my birthday will be 07.07.07 (how kool is that?)
5. My blog is called Blog7
6. Beca7use I said so.
7. Because you can do NO7THING about it. Bite me.