Wednesday, October 26, 2005 

  • I'm flying to New York on Friday to spend the weekend with a friend, and then take off to Riyadh on Sunday night. I picked up my ticket today. I guess I'm looking forward to spending the rest of Ramadan and Eid with my family....Haven't spent Eid with my family in like 4 or 5 years, so it's going to be fun. Good times in the Kingdom of Lunacy, as my home girl, Jo, calls it. I'm also looking forward to the good food. Hell yeah. Greasy shawermas, mfa6a7 (the only way to describe this big ass "dish" is that it's a thousand pounds worth of protein...yummy) lol. fa6ayer lebnah from Mama Nourah or Ya Mal Alsham. Let's see...What else am I looking forward to... Yeah, I'm looking forward to someone recognizing my presence. What I mean by that is having my mom, or one of my siblings, wake me up in the morning. I know I'm going to be grouchy and the high temp process that goes along with that, but still, I know that someone knows that I'm there. But here , I'd probably die in my sleep and nobody would even know until the neighbors start knocking on the door, curious about the inviting smell.

    What I love about Saudi Arabia is the social aspect of it. Especially in a holiday such as Eid. You see everybody and play catch up. It's fun until they start indulging in conspiracy theories, and that's when the knuckle brawling begins. It always ends up peaceful because you're going to hear someone in background shouting "arba3ah" (means 4 which refers to Balout, the favorite past time sport for the Saudi man. Next to the beloved siesta. Balout's a real fun game, I learned how to play last year, but I'm still trying to comprehend all the bluff processes. Playing Balout, my friends, is the only setting where it's socially acceptable to swear at your "respected figure" teammate. Either your dad, or uncle or what have you. (I once heard someone call his uncle "ya thoor" for screwing up a move). Anyhoo...That's pretty much what people do in Saudi Arabia, eat like pigs, sleep like there's no tomorrow, play Balout and consume all the tea crops that India has to offer to the world. I'm speaking for the Saudi male. The Saudi female, on the other hand, pretty much engages in all the above plus shopping. It's a pretty cool, laid back, society if you ask me. Everyone functions the same way. If you're caught doing something deviant, like reading a book in a Dunkin Donuts, you're labeled a "3ilmany." You're also labeled a "3ilmany," as well, if you a carry a Ph.D. in a social science.

    My family's originally from Al-Dwadmi, (a town about 3 hours north-west of Riyadh). We still have close relatives over there so we visit on such occasions like Eid. I have so many good memories of the town. One of my favorites is when Saudi Channel 2 started broadcasting over there in the early 90's. Tells you how boring this town is.
    I'm also looking forward to meeting up with a lot of friends. Some have changed, most haven't. People say Saudi society changes rapidly. I agree. One of the main changes I observe every time I go back is the moo'9ah...the fad. It's pretty much the only thing that changes in Saudi society, and it changes fast, too. Usually, it's the latest cell phone. You'd assume that people would learn from Nokia's marketing strategies but they don't. (I'm talking about how once you buy the latest state-of-the-art model, another new one comes out the next weekend). Another fad is the car. The Saudi male is obsessed with cars. He's even obsessed with cars that don't even fit the profile of an car. (Isn't the owner of the Bat-mobile Saudi?). Hang out spots are another fad. Usually coffee shops, shopping malls, and uh...umm...that's it.

    Generally speaking, the Saudi nightlife is amazing. Especially in Riyadh where the Saudi male is involved in cruising (driving around the streets of alta5a9u9i or Thalatheen untill he runs out of gas. He might keep cruising if his acquaintances are generous enough to pay for the gas). I'm not against cruising, it's actually good for an economy depending on oil revenues. Cruising is also another way for the male to get indulged with his inner instinct; hunting. Males and females are usually on a mission in the streets of Riyadh. Supply and demand. The male supplies the "number" when the female demands it. There are a lot of means in achieving this phenomenon. The old school method is to write your number down on a little piece of paper that is so small even NASA engineers can't figure out how to come up with such precise dimensions. The other method of "socializing" is to turn your phone-bluetooth function on and start socializing. Let's face it, we're social creators and we have to abide by that laws of nature.

    I'm watching a lot of 6ash ma 6ash these days to get a quick orientation in what's new in Saudi society. (6ash ma 6ash is a Saudi sitcom that's been very favored by the hardcore conservatives....they like it so much, they even labeled the staff of the show as "3ilmanies"..or is it "infidels"?) What I love about the show is that it's a good social satire, a true frustration outlet for Saudi society, just how Married with Children was an outlet for white-trash families in America. One thing I know I will never miss from my beloved Kingdom is this.

  • One ordinary woman, one extraordinary legacy.

  • Write it down, let go, feel way better.

  • 12% of Saudi schoolchildren suffer from ADHD.

  • BBC to launch Arabic T.V. channel.
  • Saturday, October 22, 2005 

  • Looking for a put-down? Nouns beat phrases. Research suggest labels influence our views of others.

  • Study backs out of sight, out of mind theory.

  • Birmingham named nation's rudest city.

  • I found this interesting. U.N. body endorses cultural protection.

  • Some funny shit. World's longest startup sound.

  • Tariq A. Al-Maeena writes about the court system in Saudi Arabia.

  • Wednesday, October 19, 2005 

    That's What I'm Talking About..

    Originally uploaded by obscure_persona.
    Thanks for the coffee Bader. I'm going to be in Riyadh soon so I'll take you out for some shawermas from Mama Nourah, or whatever the F you guys are into these days. I received a package full of Arabic coffee from Bader today. Good man.

  • And now for some funny shit from today's comic section in Al-Riyadh (Saudi-based) newspaper by Abdelsalam Alhelayel...

  • Speaking of Saudi cartoonists, I don't know if this is old news or not but I just ran into Daryl Cagel's blog (while I was trying to find the right spelling for Al-Helayel's much for that)..Anyway.. There's a post about Al-Watan's cartoonist, Ali Al-Ghamdi, and his severe cases of plagiarism. I really found it interesting, and there was a comment in there by some teacher in Saudi Arabia who explains how plagiarism is very common in the country. Anyway, it's dated back to May 31, 2005. The title of the posted comment is Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 8:14 PM
    Subject: plagiarism in Arabia
    . Worth a look at.

  • Can't get enough of Saudi comedy? A Saudi guy walks into a bar....
    Well, most of us have heard about that stupid "Golden List" that popped up during the first municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, which took place last April. The list included names that were favored by "prominent" hardcore conservatives. It was also circulated through SMS and e-mail. To cut the story short, there's a third lawsuit that's being filed against these Bozos. No offense to anybody related to these guys but honestly, if you think the only way to win an election is to join some tea party, then you have no right to run in a nationwide election. It reminds me of the Republican Party. I'd feel sorry for Saudi Arabia if such a party gained power.
  • Tuesday, October 18, 2005 

    1, 2, 3 Soleils

  • I've been looking for this album for ages now, and was too lazy to order it from online. I finally stumbled upon it today while I was skimming through Arabic CDs over at Tower Records. This album is one of my all time favorite. A classic if you ask me. It has Didi, Abdulqader, Aicha, and Ya raye7. Cheb Khaled, Cheb Faudel, and Rashid Taha were awesome in that Paris concert. Brings back memories from that cool Cheb Khaled concert I went to when I was in New York last summer. Good times !
  • Thursday, October 13, 2005 

    Got tagged again..

  • Farah tagged me this time..
    Seven things I plan to do:
    1- Be fluent in Spanish.
    2- Get my masters.
    3- Go to Saudi in less than a month.
    4- Be a great cook for my mamasita....
    5- Find a mamasita first
    6- Travel all over (specifically southern Spain).
    7- Get a he serious? Naah, I've been checking out a lot of this tag on chick blogs.

    Seven things I can do:
    1- Justify anything that happens in order to ease myself or someone else without using that lame ass excuse that everybody seems to be carrying around these days..I'm talking about: "Everything happens for a reason."
    2- Carry out a long sentence like the one above without barely using any punctuation.
    3- Adjust to any environment. I'm like a freaking iguana, without the trippy colors of course.
    4- Argue. I'm serious. You don't believe me? What are you saying exactly? What? huh? Take that back..
    5- Party like there's no tomorrow.
    6- Make friends easily..
    7- Ditch them for other friends.

    Seven things I can't do:
    1- Speak 4 languages fluently.
    2- Continue arguing with people who have already set their mind on something and won't admit that they're wrong.
    3- Please everybody.
    4- Find success without failing.
    5- Stick to exercising.
    6- Sleep like normal people.
    7- Blow smoke out of my ears.

    Seven things I say most often:
    1- Shabikha ya rajal...(My friend was saying it a lot when he was visiting lol)
    2- You know what..that's great! (being sarcastic)
    3- How did this get on my bill?
    4- I'm not paying for that.
    5- No tomato, no onion.
    6- Coke please...huh? Pepsi's fine.
    7- ra2a9nee ya gada3...(only in 7abibi Cafe)

    Seven people I want to pass this tag to:
    1- Yousef
    2- Catch-22
    3- Hibba
    4- Jaded Saudi
    5- Erzulie
    6- DeeDee
    7- Se3loah

    Thanks Farah...

  • Wednesday, October 12, 2005 

    I've been tagged...

  • DeeDeelicious tagged me...oh goes:

    1. Last movie you saw in a theater:
    Me and You and Everyone We Know.
    2. What book are you reading?
    The Alchemist, GRE Psychology.
    3. Favorite board game?
    Monopoly of course.
    4. Favorite magazine?
    Psychology Today.
    5. Favorite smell?
    Rain...I don't know if it's the rain that smells good or just something else as a result of know what I mean.
    6. Favorite food?
    No preference.
    7. Favorite sound?
    8. Worst feeling in the world?
    Right before you throw up :p
    9. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?
    uh..going back to sleep?
    10. Favorite fast food place?
    11. Future child's name?
    I don't want to have my own children. I know I know..I'm still young and immature so stop rubbing it in.
    12. Finish this statement. If I had a lot of money:
    I'd pay off my debt, and when I'm done with that, I'll spend my money on useless crap. Then I'll get so used to doing that, I'll go back to debt again.
    13. Do you drive fast?
    14. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?
    Nope, my bed only accommodates one person. Tells you about how selfish I am.
    15. Storms, cool or scary?
    Cool until they get scary.
    16. What was your first car?
    Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T (Bora)..still my car, by the way.
    17. Favorite drink?
    18. Finish this statement, "If I had the time I would..." :
    probably waste it just like I'm doing now :p
    19. Do you eat the stems on broccoli?
    uh..doesn't everybody?
    20. If you could dey your hair any color, what would be your choice?
    I once highlighted my hair silver for a party...don't tell my parents.
    21. Name all the different cities/ towns you have lived in?
    Athens, Ohio..Riyadh..Fort Collins, Colorado..Bellingham, Washington...Boise, Idaho...Los Angeles for now.
    22. Half empty or half full?
    Reminds me of that retard working at the McDonald's drive-thru who didn't secure the lid on my drink..I'm not judging but the idiot did it twice.
    23. Favorite sports to watch?
    Football (soccer).
    24. One nice thing about the person who tagged you?
    She's pretty cool : )
    25. Morning person, or night owl?
    Night owl.
    26. Over easy, or sunny side-up?
    Scrambled please..
    27. Favorite place to relax?
    Used to be coffee shops, but now...I don't know anymore..
    28. Favorite pie?
    Cutie pie ......alllrrright !..lame.


    I tag Jaded Saudi, Leeno, Catch-22

  • Tuesday, October 11, 2005 

    A little inspiration off a Starbucks cup..

  • The Way I See It #63
    "Our lives are inspired by the dreams we have from the earliest stages of our youth. When you combine passion and hard work, then success is always possible. While no road is ever straight, dedication and persistence will always lead you to your dreams."
    - Arte Moreno
    In 2003, he became the first Hispanic owner of a major league baseball team.
  • Friday, October 07, 2005 

    My BeoBle !

  • Mohamed ElBaradei wins Nobel peace prize.

  • "It is very important for an Arab and a Muslim to get this prize at this moment — a time when the image of Arabs and Muslims is in ruins," Ezz Eldin, Egypt's ambassador to Austria, told state TV.

  • Here's a list of Los Arabes Nobel Prize winners:

    - Ahmed Zewail won the chemistry prize in 1999.

    - Naguib Mahfouz won the literature prize in 1988.

    - Late President Anwar Sadat won the peace prize in 1979.

  • Personal Footnote:
    I think it's an awesome thing to receive such an award at this specific time and place, relating to the Arab world, that is. I think these distinguished "personalities" should be documented and their biographies should be taught in Arab schools. I'm sick and tired of teachers fueling low self-esteem into students. All you hear, growing up in the Arab world, is about the dark future that everybody's going to have, lack of jobs, lack of progress, lack of hope and so on. I guess "terrorists" got an easy pass because that's all they were taught, then they took all that crap and started preaching about it. I believe these Nobel Prize winners have sent a slap to these "thugs", as Donald Rumsfield calls them. :p
    To my Arab Beoble..I love you with all my heart, keep up the good work. We need some ladies on the list, get to it..get to it...Salam.

  • Sunday, October 02, 2005 

    Hitting it Solo..

  • In an effort to crash the L.A. night life, I miserably confess to failure. I was in the mood for a little bit at some point in the night, but I lost it somehow. I ended up spending an hour at Barnes and Noble on Westwood. I had planned to get a cookbook, nothing fancy, just warming up for Ramadan, I guess. Speaking of warming up, I ordered ART just to get into the Ramadan mode. I like it so far, cheesy musalsalat, music videos, prehistoric 7aflat, and all that good stuff. The cookbook I got is called Pillsbury 30-Minute Meals. How convenient. I mean, I don't usually cook because I'm lazy for one, when I'm hungry, I want something at that moment and can't wait to cook something. I guess it's mostly because I don't have any kitchen stuff yet. I bought a few other books and thought, it's time to go.

    I drove back to Westwood Village and it got foggy all of a sudden. Parked my car and grabbed the second book I got and went to this sushi bar, it was alright. Then I went to the Starbucks close by, got my coffee fix and popped the book open. The second book I got was The Alchemist. I have heard a lot about this book and so I decided to check it out. In the introduction section, the author Paulo Coelho mentions a quote by Oscar Wild, "Each man kills the thing he loves." Then he goes on by talking about how true this quote is and how it applies to our goals and dreams. Coelho writes, "The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far." It got me thinking for a while.

    It was around 11:15 p.m. A typical scene in Westwood Village, kids hanging out in the corner, UCLA students crossing the streets and talking. Those who were solo, had their headphones hooked up. Some had this weird walk which tells you a lot about who they are. The sound of music coming from Gypsy cafe can vaguely be heard amongst all the noisy families sitting out side the Starbucks. I started to think about all the sacrifices I have made in order to get where I was. chronological sacrifices, that is. Sometimes you think you are doing all this for a good cause, a brave goal, or just curiosity. And at other times, you start questioning who you are and why you are here at this point in time and place. These are normal questions we stimulate. Sometimes as a result of an emotion, which is mostly fear. The fear of the unknown, I call it. Certain circumstances intervene and collide in your path.

    Last week, my friend was telling me about how he wants to get his MBA from the States, and so it got us talking about the sacrifices one makes in order to get what they really want. I talked about my experience and all the sacrifices I have made. It's been more than 4 years since I decided to make this huge decision that will then have an impact on who I am today, the way I will perceive things, my relations with people close or random. I have lost so much in order to get where I am today, even though I'm no where close to where I want to be. I have lost the idea of being the eldest and watching the other siblings grow up. Not to mention the big communication gap between us. I have missed being a part of the transition that my relatives and friends went through, which includes, growing up, entering the real world, getting married, and some have children now. Every time I go back to Riyadh, I can totally feel the loss, in person. The good thing is I still have my parents. They're doing good and that's what counts. I am not really shocked at all this, because I knew from the first day I made that decision, I knew it will never be the same again.

    The good thing about being human is that we have this social ability to adapt. Sometimes we are forced to adapt whether we like it or not. Evolution, if you may (I don't want any of you religious fanatics throwing fruits at me because you totally know what I'm talking about). We have to find other meaningful things in life to keep us going, other motivators that will pin us back on the path. But the crucial questions that strikes us all are, "What if I can't find what I'm looking for?" "Why am I here?" "Is all this worth it?" and so on. No matter how confident you are, or how sure of yourself you are, you'll still question yourself, question the rationality of your goals, etc.

    Hold that thought...I'm going out with friends :p

  • 100 Years Ago

    About me

    • Name: Sami
    • Location: Fort Collins, Colorado, United States
    My profile

    Photo Album