Saturday, May 31, 2008

Let the Anal Probing Begin!

I'm sure you've heard about this. A hunter-gatherer tribe discovered that has had no contact with the outside world! Technically speaking the majority of the world was at this (and I'll use the wrong word here, for lack of a more expressive one) "evolutionary" stage before the rise of agriculture. We're talking pre-6th century BC! I'm sure anthropologists worldwide are organizing bitchin' parties now to celebrate this find, though the article says that NGOs are trying to keep those tribes uncontactable. I can understand that. Bringing them suddenly in contact with the world can threaten their way of life.

But how about if we ease them into a 'contact' with us? For example:
1. We get the best and brightest of Hollywood directors to stage a UFO landing near the tribe's camp. A silver spaceship lands at nigh and three humans descend from it claiming that they come in peace ....from the future!
2. We then experiment on how could two very different civilizations can communicate? Should we use pictures? exchange tools? music?
3. We analy probe some of them. I'm not sure why, but since aliens keep doing it to our abductees, then I'm sure it's the 'hip' thing to do now when it comes to making contact and all.
4. We offer to take their leader to our World Headquarters on the Moon. Then we release him (with his bow and arrow) in the middle of Manhattan. I'm sure that would be a killer reality show that one of the major networks would totally sponsor.
5. Finally, we destroy their camp with big laser guns! No, no... of course I'm kidding. We keep that for Iraq.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I came across this quote by Neil Gaiman:

"It does help, to be a writer, to have the sort of
crazed ego that doesn't allow for failure. The best reaction to a rejection slip is a sort of wild-eyed madness, an evil grin, and sitting yourself in front of the keyboard muttering 'Okay, you bastards. Try rejecting this!' and then writing something so unbelievably brilliant that all other writers will disembowel themselves with their pens upon reading it, because there's nothing left to write. Because the rejection slips will arrive. And, if the books are published, then you can pretty much guarantee that bad reviews will be as well. And you'll need to learn how to shrug and keep going. Or you stop, and get a real job."

This should be every writer's prayer. Writers want people to read what they have to say. They even want their writing to influence how people perceive the world around them. So it's no wonder that writers (and other creative professionals for that matter) take a lot of pride in what they do.

Personally, I must say this quote summarizes exactly how I feel after writing a good post or article. The overinflated ego, the feeling that this is the most brilliant piece of writing ever and even the evil grin! Hell, if I could afford a thunder/lightning machine, I'd install one at my place and turn it on right after posting/publishing anything and hiss:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The USofE

I've always been a fan of the EU and I continue to be impressed by the progress it has made in such a short period of time. So a few months back I started reading more about the EU and it's history. To be honest with you, I was looking for the catch. Nothing is perfect. So I came across the common things you hear in the news: expansion hiccups, domination by big nations (e.g. Germany) and no unified foreign policy (e.g. the Iraq war).

The EU constitutional treaty, a treaty that was supposed to place a common constitution in Europe and instead was rejected by French and Dutch national referendums, caught my attention. Something about it seemed fishy. Reading more about it, turns out it was pretty comprehensive, the Eurocrats wanted to go for 99.9% but that was too much so the voters rejected it. What happened next was an elaborate plan, the EU leaders signed the Lisbon treaty which is basically 80% of the constitutional treaty (calling for a permanent EU president among other things), but did it in a clever way that makes it ratifiable (if that's a word) by the national parliaments, except in Ireland, so that they don't risk another No.

Here's a story from Egypt: our constitution didn't have popular vote for the office of president. The way it worked was for the national parliament to nominate and vote for president. If the nominee didn't get a certain majority, I believe they had to repeat the procedure and if it's still the same issue then they go to popular vote. Growing-up I always saw the president getting 99.9%. In 2005, this changed due to various internal and external forces and the presidential vote became a popular one. The president won by 88%, after he had to run a campaign and explain his 6-year plan and run commercials in the TV. Something which didn't happen before.

See, it would be wrong of me to compare the EU to Egypt, clearly Egypt has a lot to learn from the EU. But it's a disturbing thought that wherever you live, even if in some of the most democratic countries in the world, all votes can be equal but some will always be more equal than others. Be it the Eurocrats or the ruling party's old guards.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wastelandees Cultural Evening

So yeah, a friend took me to a Wastelandees Cultural Evening and it was really interesting. I sat thru my first Polish movie, which was without subtitles, produced in the 70's and "funny". I know. That was like a goldmine, tiny blog postlets kept popping-up in my head every 10 seconds! But unfortunately we didn't watch the whole thing. Pity. Oh and I listened live to the Wastelands' equivalent of Led Zeppelin! They had some nice music going on, I must say. The weather wasn't that great, but overall was very interesting experience!

By the way, did you notice how virtually all 70's movies, doesn't matter where they were produced, look exactly the same? Men in pale-colored suites and those thick-rimmed eyeglasses, women with those pointy eyeglasses and the same white/black/blue Chevys? This Wastelandees movie I watched looked exactly like any Egyptian or American 70's movie I've seen. Weird, han? I don't think it's the same for say 90's movies. I don't know why.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Baker

Unlike cooking, which I knew I'd be horrible at, I somehow knew that I'd be a good baker (maybe it's because I'm addicted to the scent of freshly baked bread?). So I always wanted to try and bake bread. But in a second thought, I decided that my first baking experience should be a cake and not bread. See, with cake you could always claim that this "charcoal aftertaste" is your signature in pastries, but with bread that would be hard to sell. So after several trips to the supermarket and a lot of online articles there was only one thing to do: call my mother. My mother is my cooking guru and I'm her slowest apprentice. She is always trying to give me tips on cooking that I always forget and I end up calling her when one of my failed cooking experiments go horribly wrong. So after calling her and getting some pointers, I was ready, let the baking begin!

I give you the one, the only, the uber gingerbread cake:

...oh and in case you were wondering, it tastes as good as it looks! YEAH! Hail me, for I am The Baker*.

*I highly recommend the movie by the way!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Obama's Appeal

I'm sure this was noted elsewhere before, but today I realised why Obama is so appealing as a presidential candidate. And no it's not his message of hope, charisma or the fact that he's a historic candidate. It's what he's not.

The current president was born to a wealthy family and a father who was himself a US president. Though a privileged child, I'm going to take a wild guess and say G.W.Bush was not a bright student. Just a hunch. Also as president he led the US into an extremely unpopular war and secured a historic low for himself when it comes to approval ratings as a US president. Enter Obama who was born into a simple family, with his father as a Kenyan immigrant. Though not as privileged as elpresidente currento, Obama turned out real good. A law degree from Yale, a place in the Senate and a couple of bestselling books he authored under his belt. As a politician he is against Bush's unpopular war in Iraq and he is for dialogue with nations that the current administration decided to pretend they don't exist, something that worked real well for G.W. when he was in 4th grade and couldn't get along with a gang of Syrian, Iranian and North Korean bullies.

So in short, Obama is simply the exact opposite of the buffoon who currently resides in 1600 Pennsylvania avenue!
*Fesh pauses for his dramatic revelation to sink in with the crowd... nothing.

Okay, okay, let's try a different approach, he's the one to bring balance to the Force?
*crowd bursts into cheers.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Smalltalkers

I stopped smalltalking a long time ago. Just because we are waiting for the water to boil in a kitchenette does not justify someone asking me how my weekend was, at least for me. Of course, the smalltalkers would claim they are being nice and thoughtful and caring...bla bla bla. You know what I say? They lack self-confidence, the thought of standing there for 30 seconds with someone they don't know that much and NOT exchanging pleasantries is terrifying for them and they'll do anything to break that silence.

So, if your office swarms with the annoying smalltalkers here's the top 3 rude ways to get them to stop or at least to annoy them a bit:
1. Develop a short, cold reply for the typical smalltalk questions. Mine is: Good, Good.
2. Develop a gesture that is equivalent to 'Hi, how are you?', but since it's non-verbal it is not inviting for a conversation.
3. And that's the hardest one to do, never ask the same question back to the smalltalker. Smalltalkers, like parasites, are opportunists and if given the slightest chance for a conversation they'll jump on it and babel-on, until their coffee is ready and then they'll run of course.

Note: This post was inspired by Dipty's

Thursday, May 01, 2008


I read this story today and I had some mixed feelings about it:
  1. I was happy that environmental awareness is alive and well in Egypt.
  2. I was sad that a chemical plant was 'discovered' after the construction already started? I am sure in Egypt's bureaucracy that there's a billion and one documents to be signed, didn't anyone discover that this plant can't be built that close to the city?
  3. I was also sad of this selective environmental awareness, 90% of the cars in Damietta (I know, I was there once) leave behind them this black smoke cloud becuase their exhaust system was last checked in 1968. Why is it so easy to come out and protest others with a 'noble' message such as protecting the environment and not care about your car's impact?
  4. I was deeply disturbed that for any issue to be resolved, the head of the Egyptian Parliament (and I assume the President too) need to get involved?! Isn't there a hierarchy of 13 trillion bureaucrats under the head of the Egyptian Parliament who could defuse such issue? Has the government turned into a crying baby who has to run to mummy whenever there's an issue?
  5. I couldn't help my skepticism. Really? so Egyptians left the fact that Egypt's cities are one of the most polluted, the sectarian violence that is tearing us apart, the messed up economy, the skyrocketing unemployment, the "democratic kingdom" we have, the fact that ordinary people can't afford bread anymore and decided to marched against a petrochemical factory that's being built by a Canadian industry leader?
I'm not saying they shouldn't have come out to protest that factory, they should, they stood up for what they believe for and that's great. I'm just skeptic that the first protest I hear about from Damietta is about that and not the ever-increasing list of horrible things Egypt is facing.