Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Things to do when angry

Have you tried chocolate but it didn't work? try salty stuff (kidding). Here are a few suggestions that would definitely work:
1- Go to the supermarket and stroll between aisles. Shop if you need to, but the point is not to. Resist all the temptations, count the colors if you had to, look for expired items and ask to talk to the manager and then you get to shout at him.
2- Walk. Let's say you had a fight with your partner. Shut the door and your phone and walk. Try new streets you haven't been to before. Walk as far as you can until you are lost. Then take a taxi back home.
3- Clean the house. Focus on the areas that rarely get cleaned.
4- Call a random number and ask to talk to Sami and when they tell you that you dialed a wrong number, hang up. Then call again the same number and say: I am Sami, did anyone call me?
5- Google how to make perfect pancakes, watch the video, and then make some.
Did I ever write about PMS before? I guess I did.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sequence of randomness

People think more than they should before taking decisions or making choices. It doesn't matter if we are talking serious decisions or not. I mean how can you know what is serious and what is not. Take for example that you should decide whether to go to the Oceana beach or to the Lazy B. I mean how hard can that be? but you would still think hard before making up your mind. At first, this decision sounds unimportant. Wrong. How can you know? Maybe you decide to go to the Lazy B but someone who happens to be your long time sweetheart whom you haven't seen in years after a tragic breakup happens to be at the Oceana on that same day and maybe if you had decided Oceana, you would have had the chance to catch up a little and who knows maybe end up together and have a full life. You would never know that. You went to Lazy B, you thought you had a great day, maybe you did have a great day, but you never know what was waiting for you had you made a different choice. See? this decision seems unimportant, but maybe it was actually a life decision if you see what I mean. Now take this example. You have been having serious pain in your leg and after checkup you are told that you should have checked with a doctor earlier and now it is too late, you should either make an operation which has 50% of success only, which means you either get rid of the pain for good but you might also end up with an amputated leg. You have to make a choice. The decision here is obviously a life decision. It cannot be taken lightly. At first you might say, well, I would rather bear the pain, thank you, but then the pain gets unbearable and you think that 50% success rate is not bad compared with the hell you are in now. You make up your mind and head to the operation room. Now imagine, God forbid, that you end up with an amputated leg. You would spend the rest of your days, replaying the scene in your mind and imagining yourself saying, no I would never do the operation only to open your eyes and find out you did. You would close them and immerse deeper into your daydreaming hoping to open your eyes and find out you still had your leg. A leg with pain is after all better than no pain but also no leg. But again, it is there staring you in the face, or actually the fact that it is not there is what stares you in the face. Suddenly you hear a voice, that voice you cannot mistake for anything you would normally hear. It says: I will make you an offer. I will take you back to that moment when you took the decision to make the operation and let you decide again. Really? you say touching your ears. The voice continues: but on one condition. Anything, you say. On condition that when you go back in time to that moment you will forget everything that happened after, you will forget this moment, and all the regrets, you will forget that you had taken this decision before and had a failed operation. Of course, you say, a second chance, that's all I would ask for, even you end up making the same decision again and getting to where you are now, at least you had another shot, you think, and you might end up making the opposite decision this time, who knows. Now imaging if you sign the deal with the voice and you go back there but decide again to go for the operation and end up with no leg and regret it and hear the same voice again and make the same deal again and forgetting and then making the deal again and again and again like in Nietzsche's philosophy of eternal recurrence. Now, how can that decision be any more important than the one in the previous example? Even if it were, what makes one decision deserve any more thinking than the other. Think of it. Thinking more wont bring new insights here but merely more confusion. So then what makes any decision we make important? In such situations, thinking more is just making the regrets you will have later on harder. I am not saying that our lives are predetermined, you would wish they were, then why regret anything, no, on the contrary the fact that we have the choice is what makes our lives even more absurd. What difference is there between a life that is predetermined but you don't know what comes next and a life that is not predetermined but you still don't know what comes next? Nothing. So why think that hard before making decisions? We want to look like we are in control of our destiny, fate, lives, whatever. What we are actually doing is avoiding to face the truth and the truth is, there is a big difference between mystery and randomness, and what you call life is not a mystery, it is a well meditated sequence of randomness.

Modernos e Antigos

A friend of mine was trying to convince me to stop buying books and get myself a kindle, the Amazon book reader. I joked at first that I am still trying to figure out the difference between an Ipad and an Ipod. She had all sorts of convincing arguments but ones that did not appeal to me. She said you can take it with you when you travel, and you get to have 3000 books with you, weightless. Why on earth would anyone need 3000 books when they travel unless they booked eternity for destination! (For some reason, I find the name funny too, it's stupid but I don't know why as she was talking I was thinking: Kindle like Kindelegarden!) But then she said that kindle is more eco-friendly, the argument I hate most. I hate to be accused of being a nuisance to the environment. I do ignore Greenpeace volunteers who stop me on the road to lecture me about the environment but that does not make me environmentally unfriendly. I even participated during the weekend in a cleaning activity of a 0.00000001% surface area of 0.000001% of a hill that makes 0.00001% of a mountain which is 0.001% of a village that in turn is less than 0.0001% of the total area of Lebanon. I did that although I cleaned 0.000001% of the garbage in there. Back to the kindle. She also said that books bring cockroaches, that one made me laugh, it reminded me of Ziad Rahbani in film ameriki tawil. But that argument was strong, because I had promised her that I would only buy used books, of course I had lied, and then I found out that used books bring even more than cockroaches, they bring book worms (literally). Bookworms! Even Kindle freaks would still be called bookworms!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I always wondered, what's home? or more precisely where is home? At times, I thought that home was not a place but a time, sometimes a person, or a thought, at others home was always here and now. My home was that spot between his shoulder and his elbow, I wrote once. Home is where you want to escape to and sometimes escape from. An ocean could be home to your eyes, a book home to your mind, and that tree behind your grandpa's house could be home to your heart. Home is always where problems seem bigger than they are but smaller than everyone else thinks. Home is that key hanging on the wall but used to open a door that no longer is there. Home is that small beach house that only exists in your dream, that you might never build but keep furnishing in your thoughts and painting and repainting its walls. This small huge planet can be your home but also that small box where you hid your teenage poems, a few memories, and your first pregnancy test. Home is always where it could have been nicer only if a little bigger, smaller, a little brighter, older, a little newer. Home is where there is always something that needs to be fixed but you never do, it keeps staring at you until you stop noticing. It is that addiction to loneliness that you call peace. For once I thought that a mattress and a pillow and that dark hallway through which my feet know their way blindly to the bathroom were home. It doesn't matter what it is or where or when and maybe who, I thought, it is where you will always go when the lights go off.


The Bosphorus inspired me and somehow brought back memories of all the people I once loved and I thought that I never loved the same way. Love can be measured by depth, weight, temperature, strength, length, and maybe volume. It can be deep like an ocean, or warm like sand, or strong like metal... but the best love of all is the one that is hard to measure: a love that is as sincere as a lake.

My trip to Istanbul

I went on a short trip to Istanbul. I didn't plan it to be at the time of the parliamentary elections but so it was and I thought of asking people around who they voted for. But to my surprise, everyone took us (my two sisters and I) for Spanish and insisted to address us as such until we started saying 'Hola' right and left. At first we corrected them and said we were Lebanese until one guy answered: Oh.. lobnan... we are your Ottoman brothers! So Spanish worked better for us. With every step, we had someone asking where we are from, and it became annoying, so we started ignoring them. Then, they started guessing and one guy said with certainty: Chile! Now about my sample, I asked one guy who he voted for but he didn't understand English, so I said: Erdogan? and there he answered: Kurdish. No Erdogan! I passed by his shop everyday to say hi. Then I asked another Turkish guy and he said: Erdogan of course! And that was my sample given that for the rest of the trip, my discussion with the Turks was all about the Barcelona Football team players! Two Turkish guys also asked to know our religion, so we felt at home. Now here are the highlights of the trip, I am not in the mood for a serious documentation, so I will just jot down a few incidents that matter and what matters for me is what might make me smile and look stupid ten years from now: 1) my sister threw up in the middle of the hotel room on day 1, 2) Ataturk is a handsome guy, 3) I bought a leather jacket for 200 Dollars only to feel guilty afterwards that it was real leather (as I am trying to be animal friendly) and then I felt worse that it could be fake leather with the amount I paid! 4) Don't travel with family and expect your trip to be fight-free, and 5) of course the Aga Sofia, the blue mosque, the topcapui, bla bla bla are quite something!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


One more thing about my class. I know that I was a nerd back in school and at college though to a lesser degree (but always social, let's say a social nerd). I didn't realize back then that I was indeed a nerd, in any case, I only understood the word much later. Now I admit that I indeed was, and taking a class again, I am consciously trying to undo my nerd-ish tendencies but I realized that once a nerd, always a nerd.

Boiling point

A Lebanese guy in my Portuguese class is so idiot but thinks he is funny (the worst type of unfunny people) that he annoys the hell out of me and on top of that he is a typical f***ing racist Lebanese. There is a Filipino woman taking the class with us as she intends to go to Brasil, as she said. One day, she was telling me about some people she knows who are going to Brasil and that stupid Lebanese guy overheard the conversation (although she was not addressing him in the first place) and said: you mean the house (the family) where you work? She just said no and disregarded him. I was so annoyed but knowing how typical the judgmental question is, I too disregarded him. I could have argued but my Filipino friend would have felt embarrassed and he would not have understood anyway. Now the girl could be working as a maid for a certain family in Lebanon and could not but that's not the point. It gets worse the next day when we were learning about some common food recipes in Brasil and the Filipino woman raises her hand fervently when the teacher asked who knows what "caipirinha" is? She got it right and so the guy said with a mocking tone: You cooked that today for the family for whom you work! and he laughed at his own joke, or what he thought was a joke. On that same day we had to read out loud sentences that we made up. The Filipino woman read the following sentences: Nos somos cristaos (We are Christians) and Voce sao brancos (You are white).. She too annoyed me.
All of this doesn't look so good and I can sense that you will hear from me again soon when the racist temperature in the class reaches boiling point.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's your name again?...

I don't remember who taught me this, maybe I discovered it on my own. Funny how most of my posts start with "I don't remember". It's not a blessing, I assure you. Now back to the story. The thing is that if you look good enough at people, you would see that they resemble some animal species. This is not an insult. Look and see for yourself. Ask yourself, which animal does this person strike you as? You will get the answer right away. Not all people are monkey-like, I assure you. Some people are birds-like others are lion-like or dog-like or giraffe-like. It's funny. I don't remember when I started doing that but the farthest memory I have of doing it was with my teacher in like 4th grade. She was definitely a goat-like. I assure you if she was in some kind of herd, the goats would mistake her for one of them! I still do that sometimes. Now some people strike you as such more than others. The problem with that exercise is that when I meet someone new and I gaze to find their animal match, I miss the part where those people are telling me what their name is and what they do in life and after they leave, I am left with one thought about them, like this giraffe looking girl I met today, and suddenly, I get the feeling that her name is Lara although it could have been Lamia or Fatima or even Anabella, who cares! That's how the whole story is then stored in my head: the Giraffe looking Lara I met today. You can call me crazy but some people are named Chantal but seem more like a Sawsan or are named Albert and seem more like an Ibrahim. And by the way, even when I store the real names, Nada, Rima, and Dima are the same for me, same for Rasha and Sahar... So don't take it personal, if I have no recollection of your name. They just don't seem you. This is so frustrating... and embarrassing. My memory processes the information before storage and it has a weird storage mechanism. To be stored properly, you need to have an animal look that matches your name, otherwise, you might get mistakenly stored in the wrong file and might unfortunately end up in the recycle bin after a while and when I see you again be sure that I would either confuse your name or ask you for it again but I will surely remember that you are that squirrel-looking Dana. Of course, you would never know that!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Das experiment

So I watched this movie "The Experiment", again, which is the Hollywood version of the German film "Das experiment", which I never saw but which is supposed to be better, not only because it is the original one and not American, but I was also told by trusted friends that it is, and I believe them and when I say so, you have got to believe me although maybe you already have, before I tried to convince you. In any case, the movie I saw, that is the Hollywood version, is not bad, and I recommend it even if you find the original "Das experiment", because that's the one I am about to talk about. The movie touches on the themes of human nature and God, justice and violence, power and abuse of power, and peace and war. I combine the themes in such a way so that you get the point, but in life, and in the movie, the themes are intertwined in a more complex way; so it can be about violence and God, human nature and power, justice and war. You get the point? how about justice and God, violence and human nature, peace and power? I hope now you do. That's the best way I can explain it, because otherwise you would think I am insulting your intelligence. Induction can be a great exercise. Now if you want to know what the movie is about you can go to IMDB and if you are looking for a review, this is not the site for you. But you've got to watch the movie and learn what you have always known. Oh, and it's a prison movie, if you know what I mean. I am reading this book now "the kindly ones"* by Jonathan Littell, I am still at the beginning (and don't expect from me any commentary about it anytime soon, it's a 1000 pages!), but I remember those words from the book after watching the movie: "those who kill are humans, just like those who are killed, that's what's terrible. You can never say: I shall never kill, that's impossible, the most you can say is: I hope I shall never kill, I too hoped so", and this line from the same book: "the real danger for mankind is me, is you. And if you are not convinced of this, don't bother to read any further. You will understand nothing and you will get angry, with little profit for you or for me." I added this last quote to tell you that it goes the same for the movie. It's up to you. One more thing kept whirling in my head after the credits scrolled up, that line in the movie when someone asks: "do you still think we are not like monkeys" (not the exact words I suppose) and the other guy answers: "Yes, I still do. At least, we do something about it!"... Well, I am not sure!

*English Translation. The original French title is Les Bienveillantes.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My date 9 years later...

Nine years ago, I went on a date and in my pocket, I had 10,000 Lebanese Liras only. At the end of the date, I was embarrassed. I have to mention in passing that on that particular date I was everything except myself. I was rather the exact opposite of what I really am and one example is that I accepted that someone pays my bill. Ironically, I married that guy nine years later. If I were him, I wouldn't go out with me again ever, but for some reason and despite his shock and that he too barely had enough money, he did and ironically, he was the guy I would marry nine years later. The story doesn't end here though; on our 9th anniversary, I invited him on a "date" and I said that I will make it up to him and invite this time, but for some reason, this time too, I open my wallet and I find 10,000 Liras only, no more, no less. My eyes went square and I had a very weird smile. As my date (my husband) shook his head and reached his pocket, I realize that I have not changed, maybe, but this time around I had a credit card! Sometimes, I do worship my credit card!