My Band

inspired by Juka 🙂

1 – Go to “wikipedia.” Hit “random”
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 – Go to “Random quotations”
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 – Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 – Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Here it is 🙂
Wave Hill Band

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Slumdog Millionaire

I am not into Indian movies. Some people like the music, the dances, the actors, but for me the only thing that can make me watch the Indian movie is the colourful schemes. I was surprised to see “Slumdog Millionaire” among the nominated movies in the Oscar, and later on winning Best Picture, Best Director along with 6 other Academy awards. First thought that crossed my mind is why wasn’t it put on the foreign movies? Then I got to know that it was directed by Danny Boyle (British) and co-directed by Loveleen Tandan (Indian). I didn’t know about a movie having a co-director, I don’t think this is similar to what we know in the egyptian cinema as مساعد مخرج, right?

The movie is based on a novel called “Q&A”, written by Vikas Swarup an Indian novelist and diplomat (currently posted in South Africa as Deputy High Commissioner, in arabic it’s called نائب رئيس البعثة). The novel was adapted into a radio play, a stage musical and the movie Slumdog Millionaire. The radio dramatisation by Ayeesha Menon, directed and produced by John Dryden on BBC Radio 4, won the Sony Radio Award for Drama 2008 and the IVCA Clarion Award 2008. (source: wikipedia). I expect that this novel will also hit the best seller lists in Egypt, hopefully soon…

Saying this, I must admit that I was not very excited about watching the movie till it won the Oscar, and I wasn’t that excited about searching for the novel till I finished the movie.

The story in a nutshell is very simple. A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers. Simple, right? ….. wrong! Through the interrogation you’ll discover a fascinating and fearful world of Mumbai that will absorb you. And what makes it more intense is how we as Egyptians can relate to it looking at all the slums surrounding and penetrating Cairo.

Talking about the movie itself. The actors were brilliant, especially the little kids, they were amazing. The director was very skillful in playing with the montage to keep your attention. And the music is simply perfect.

Here are some quotes: (source: imdb)

Middle Jamal: [seeing the Taj Mahal] Is this heaven?
Middle Salim: You’re not dead Jamal.
Middle Jamal: What is it? Some hotel?

Enjoy the movie 🙂

عن الكتابات النسائية

اعتقد أنه يمكن تسمية بعض الكتابات كنسائية, و هي تلك التي تهتم بالمشاعر و الأحاسيس و التفاصيل التي تعتبر تافهة في نظر معظم الرجال. قد لا تتحدث بالضرورة عن قصص الحب و الغرام, إن كان هذا الموضوع من المواضيع الهامة, و لكنها تهتم بالرومانسية بصفة عامة. في معظم الأوقات تأخذ شكل اليوميات أو الأفكار المتناثرة أو القصص البسيطة المأخوذة من تفاصيل واقعية.

تحضر في ذهني المصطلحات الأمريكية التي تدور في هذا الفلك* و غالبًا تكون موجهة بالأخص للنساء العاملات في الفترة العمرية من 20 إلى 40 سنة, مثل: “الجنس في المدينة”** الذي بدأ كمقالات ثم مسلسل تلفزيوني ثم فيلم, و أتوقع أن يحدث شئ مماثل ل “كل, حب, صلي”***. اقرأ هذا النوع من الروايات عندما أحس أن عقلي يحتاج لحظات من الراحة, فهي لا تتطلب مجهود عقلي يذكر, و هي مسلية إلى درجة كبيرة و لا تأخذ وقت في إنهائها. بالنسبة للبعض تعتبر من نوعية الكتب التي توضع في الحمام كوسيلة للتسلية. بالرغم من شهرة هذا النوع من الأدب و وجوده دائمًا في مقدمة لائحة أفضل المبيعات, إلا أنه ليس ما أبحث عنه عندما أحس باشتياق إلى قراءة نص “نسائي”. فعندما أبحث عن من يحدث جزء في قلبي, بل في روحي كامرأة لا أستطيع أن اقرأ نص غربي, فمهما تشابهت النساء في مشاعرهن المضطربة أحيانًا إلا أن أسلوب بنات وطني هو ما أحتاجه.

***

أتذكر منتصف ليلة بعيدة, طلعت أنا و أمي إلى سطوح بيتنا بالمعادي, معنا جهازين ووكمن فلم يكن الايبود قد تم اختراعه بعد, و معنا أغنيتين اعتبرهما شديدا الرومانسية: قارئة الفنجان لعبد الحليم حافظ, و كلمات لماجدة الرومي, كلاهما من تأليف نزار قباني, كلاهما يحملان نزعة حزينة و لكنها “تزرعنا في إحدى الغيمات”. في تلك الفترة كنت حزينة لأني لم أجد منفذ للمشاعر التي تطغى علي كفتاة في الخامسة عشر من عمري, يومها قالت لي أمي ألا أحزن و أن استمتع بتلك اللحظات, فليس بالضرورة أن أوجه المشاعر الرومانسية لشخص محدد, بل يمكنني أن أوجهها إلى الكون بأثره…

كلما احتجت إلى لحظة هدوء أتذكر تلك الليلة, حتى لو لم استطع اللجوء إلى سطوح بيتنا القديم.

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* Chick Flick & Chick Lit

** Sex in the City

*** Eat, Love, Pray

من الواضح بالطبع عدم معرفتي بكيفية كتابة الكلمات بالانجليزية في نص عربي في الووردبرس, و لذا استخدمت هذه الوسيلة البدائية لحين الوصول إلى وسائل أخرى أكثر سهولة

Singapore

What it is like:
Singapore is one of the few sovereign city-states (along with Monaco, San Marino and Vatican city ), i.e. the whole island is one city run by one government. With an area of 707.1 km2 , and a population of 4.84 million (in a 2008 report) , Singapore is the second-most densely populated independent country in the world after Monaco. I can not describe how it was like during major celebrations like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it was almost suffocating! Yet, amidst this unbelievable density and humidity, you will not face the horrific experience of body odors in the metro.

Etymology:
Singapore means in Malay means “Lion-city”, that’s why you’ll find the lion figures everywhere and very popular in the souvenirs shopping. But I heard that lions never lived there.

History:
Before the early 19th century, Singapore was just a fishing village, that’s why you will not find much remains of this period. In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles (from the British East India Company) thought it was an appropriate place to establish a port along the spice route, which was a good decision because it gained a lot of importance (commercially and military) for the British empire. You’ll easily find “Raffles” everywhere, on street names, metro station names, statues,,,, Seems like they appreciate him a lot.

For more history (source: wikipedia):
The city was occupied by the Japanese during World War II, which Winston Churchill called “Britain’s greatest defeat”. Singapore reverted to British rule immediately after the war, in 1945. Eighteen years later the city, having achieved independence from Britain, merged with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. However, less than two years later it seceded from the federation and became an independent republic on 9 August 1965. Singapore joined the United Nations on 21 September that same year. It is also a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Airport

Changi Airport is the main airport in Singapore, it has 3 terminals. The first one was opened in 1981, the second in 1990 and the third was opened last year. The people are very proud of their airport, it is a common theme for souvenirs shopping (key chains, fridge magnet, coaster,,). My flight was from the second airport, and if that’s the old one, I really can’t wait to see the new one.

Needless to say it is very clean, very organized, very diverse. I liked also the services it provided, from luxurious spa, rooms, cinema, comics stand, even Play Station 3 and Xbox stands! And the general atmosphere is very relaxing, with running water, trees, warm colours and nice music, relatively unlike other airport experiences in Europe that I faced.

Food
All the travel guides will tell you how diverse food is in Singapore, mainly because of the diverse ethnicities living there. There are all sorts of Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese food, even Burger King, Starbucks, and other main burger and pizza and coffee outlets are available. If you decided to go for a bit adventurous experience, you can go for the Asian cuisine, and if you are like me, not knowing much about it, I advise you to look at the items in the featured pictures of the menus, because this is not like Peking restaurant that we know here in Cairo. And if you were tired from the trial and error, I suggest you head for the restaurant in Marriott hotel in Orchard road (it’s the main shopping area), it blends eastern and western cuisine in a beautiful maneuver. And while you are there, you can go for an ice cream right across from the hotel, this ice cream offers 16 flavors of chocolate, 12 flavors of sorbet among others! Check out the chili chocolate, it’s pretty interesting.

Weather
As a tropical climate, there is only one season in Singapore, hot and humid. So forget about the extra jacket, and bring extra T shirts and an umbrella. The temperature ranges from 22 °C to 34 °C, and the average humidity in the morning is 90% and in the afternoon 60% , and it is said that it sometimes reaches 100% !!

Shopping
In general, shopping in Singapore is not cheap, but you can find anything you want. Orchard road is the main shopping hub with all the international brands you can imagine. You can easily find the same brand outlet repeated every couple of streets. And if you are looking for cheaper souvenirs shopping, then head for China Town, it is interesting. There are also districts for Arabs and Indians, but I didn’t have the chance to visit them.
For books lovers, check out Borders at Wheelock Place and Kinokuniya at Ngee Ann City, both on Orchard road.

Security
Security is a serious business in Singapore. I heard that spiting on the street and chewing gum are punished by law, but I didn’t notice that except in comic fridge magnets. What was evident though is the very strict drug law, in the entrance card, there is notice in large bold font saying “drug trafficking carries a mandatory death penalty”!
I also heard that overstaying your visa is punished by caning!

For more info:
http://wikitravel.org/en/Singapore

Quotes, Book Fair, and other

I have recently discovered that the criteria of books I like is the impression some of its paragraphs leave on me and to what degree I feel compelled to copy them or write them down somewhere. And when I return to a book after a couple of years, evidently I discover myself drawn to different quotes and indifference to other phrases I deemed interesting. Is this a sign that my mind if looking for answers to questions that I’m not consciously aware of? Or is it because I just liked the idea behind these phrases?

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I went to the Book Fair at last. I was afraid that I would miss my yearly tradition. Thank God I was able to go!

I went very early (@ 9:20 am), and I was happy to find them open the gate at 9:30 instead of 10 am. I didn’t make a thorough visit, just ran around with a list and the map, which is something I didn’t do before 🙂 It was a good idea cause I saved lots of time and retunred with most of what I was looking for! And YES, I found a book I was searching for for a looooong time: نداءات إلى الشباب العربي – د. زكريا إبراهيم, I heard about this book two years ago, and I was deeply intrigued with it. Here is a glimpse I shared in April 2007:

أننا نفترض سلفا صحة بعض الأفكار, ثم نعمد من بعد ذلك إلى تبريرها. و معنى هذا أننا كثيرا ما نلتمس الحجج لتبرير ما اعتقدنا -منذ البداية- أنه صحيح, و كأن كل مهمة الفكر عندنا هي إلتماس “المبررات” أو “المسوغات” لتأييد “رأي سابق” أو تبرير “فكرة مسبقة”. ….. و المشاهد في أساليبنا التربوية أنها -في العادة- تنمي لدى أطفالنا هذه الطريقة العقيمة في التفكير: لأنها تزودهم بمجموعة من “الإكليشيهات” المحفوظة التي يرددها الأطفال ترديدا ببغاويا, دون أن يكون في وسعهم التمييز بين المواقف المختلفة التي تنطبق عليها -أو لا تنطبق- مثل هذه الإكليشيهات”. و فات أهل التربية -عندنا- أنه ليس المهم -كما قال كانت- أن نلقن أطفالنا بعض الأفكار ( الجاهزة) , بل المهم أن نعلمهم كيف يفكرون.

إن شبابنا-مع الأسف- يحيا في (تسكع عقلي)، و كثيرا ما يكون (الفراغ) الذي يشكو منه شبابنا من عجزهم عن شغله، مجرد صدى لذلك (الخواء النفسي) الذي يستشعرونه في أعماق ذواتهم، و بالتالي فإنهم قد فقدوا (مبررات وجودهم) و أسباب بقائهم، و إذا كان ثمة شيء أشد هولا و أقسى مرارة على الإنسان من ان يفقد حياته، فذلك أن يفقد مسوغات حياته و أسباب وجوده

Once I read the book, I will post more of it.

The trip to the Book Fair was nice, even though I didn’t stay much. I liked how the Azbakeya area was improved. Every year hundreds of books were smudgeed with the rain and the wind, now with the rooftop that was put, it’s much better.

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Now back to the Fountainhead quotes:

“Mandatory reading for anyone aspiring to the title of intellectual.” There seemed to be a great many aspiring to that title. Readers acquired erudition without study, authority without cost, judgment without effort. p. 63

Isn’t this what happens to many best sellers?? (Note to self: be careful, don’t go this way!)

“It doesn’t say much. Only ’Howard Roark, Architect.’ But it’s like those mottoes men carved over the entrance of a castle and died for. It’s a challenge in the face of something so vast and so dark, that all the pain on earth–and do you know how much suffering there is on earth?–all the pain comes from that thing you are going to face. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know why it should be unleashed against you. I know only that it will be. And I know that if you carry these words through to the end, it will be a victory, Howard, not just for you, but for something that should win, that moves the world–and never wins acknowledgment. It will vindicate so many who have fallen before you, who have suffered as you will suffer. May God bless you–or whoever it is that is alone to see the best, the highest possible to human hearts. You’re on your way into hell, Howard.” p. 112

There were moments when something rose within him, not a thought nor a feeling, but a wave of some physical violence, and then he wanted to stop, to lean back, to feel the reality of his person heightened by the frame of steel that rose dimly about the bright, outstanding existence of his body as its center. He did not stop. He went on calmly. But his hands betrayed what he wanted to hide. His hands reached out, ran slowly down the beams and joints. The workers in the house had noticed it. They said: “That guy’s in love with the thing. He can’t keep his hands off.” p.113

He tried to explain and to convince. He knew, while he spoke, that it was useless, because his words sounded as if they were hitting a vacuum. There was no such person as Mrs. Wayne Wilmot; there was only a shell containing the opinions of her friends, the picture post cards she had seen, the novels of country squires she had read; it was this that he had to address, this immateriality which could not hear him or answer, deaf and impersonal like a wad of cotton. p.139

Will you tell me why, when it comes to a building, you don’t want it to look as if it had any sense or purpose, you want to choke it with trimmings, you want to sacrifice its purpose to its envelope–not knowing even why you want that kind of an envelope? You want it to look like a hybrid beast produced by crossing the bastards of ten different species until you get a creature without guts, without heart or brain, a creature all pelt, tail, claws and feathers? Why? You must tell me, because I’ve never been able to understand it.”
p.141

Peter Keating read the story. And because he knew that it was an action which he would never have committed, he admired it tremendously.
p. 190