Friday, December 25, 2009

Kolena Laila

This post is part of the Kolena Laila Campaign:

And you wonder who Laila is... Laila is a Lebanese girl, actually she's not sure if she should be considered a girl or a woman, she has her moments of indulging in childish behavior, with her own whims and silly laughter, which she secretly enjoys, maybe an opportunity to feel protected by others, maybe some freudian remnant, maybe just the need for innocent affection, some interdependence among a daily fight to be the liberated woman she strives to be. Yes, she also tries to be as woman as can be, sometimes in bed with the lights dimmed just so the right glow dances around her curves, sometimes she suddenly metamorphoses into a well educated young lady most probably at a family dinner to please her parents, and then at other times she's the comforting professional who deals with patients and physicians on a daily basis. Why patients you ask? Well Leila is a student in medicine, part of the reason why she hasn't been able to delve into womanhood just yet, yes she's still a student. With the anxiety of exams and grading and attendance.

Trying to define who Laila is depends on the situation she's into. Laila is not real, she's not a person, she's only the reflection of what those around her expect her to be. No she's not a hypocrite but did you honestly think that those around her were looking to understand who she is? Did you really believe that they might have thought just for a second that she might be different, that she might have her own perception of life, that even though she's talking to them, maybe right at this moment, and she seems so genuine, so accessible, so real, so transparent, she's actually still trying to find out who she really is. Yes Laila doesn't believe she fits the definition that she has come to be associated with.

So you failed to define Laila, can you at least try to find out if Laila is happy? What would make her fuzzy inside? What can measure happiness in this Lebanese life that she's leading? Laila wants to conform. Unfortunately she has come to realize that in the society she's living in, the only way to be happy is to please those around her, maybe you agree and maybe you don't. It seems like such a defeatist attitude coming from the girl who was once so independent, so free, so self-ruling. And it is. Laila has discovered that in Lebanon there's only one way to live, you're part of this herd and God forbid you try to channel your own path. And no Laila is not worried about what "people" might say, people being those complete strangers who will have something to criticize no matter the situation, Laila is mostly worried about how her actions might reflect on her immediate entourage, being her parents, her family, her friends. Laila is not an individual anymore. Laila is intrinsically unhappy. She says she's content. Why wouldn't she be? It seems that everything is going for her, her performance at Medical School, her dear friends who she has come to carefully select, her health, her parents' health. Something is wrong though. Something doesn't fit. Could it be the fact that although Laila considers herself successful, it still bothers her that at social gatherings, a histrionic, typical Lebanese woman, the one she secretly dreads to become, the overdone makeup and hair, the revealing, and in no way age appropriate, clothing, the pretentious attitude, that same woman living off her husband's money and yet putting him down in front of his own friends, that same woman comes up to Laila and tells her: "Haram, 3am ta3emleh Medicine? Nshalla nefra7 mennik..." Translation: "You poor thing, you went into Medicine? I hope you eventually find yourself a husband..."

Here it is, success measured in this society. But beware, for it is not by finding yourself just any husband. You needn't look for the love of your life, you needn't take too long at the risk of drying up your eggs, you needn't look for someone of another religion or another nationality no matter how compatible you might be. You need to look for money. Marry money. Yes, if you're a Lebanese woman, it's not enough to make your own. This can actually turn out to be a source of utmost pity. "Haram she's so career oriented, she's never going to find a husband!"

And so, with all the holidays coming up, with my closest relatives wishing me the happiest of days to come, with them genuinely wishing me a happy marriage with the so called prince charming I haven't found yet, with the only thought in the back of their mind being for me to find someone to love, with them also prohibiting me from spending these holidays with the one I might find myself happy with, with them actively seeking my own happiness thinking they're of a clearer mind. With all this, with the nefra7 mennik at every sip of wine, Laila leaves the dinner table. She tells her parents it's time for her to go meet some friends, yes it's Christmas eve but Laila wants to get away. She gets into her car and she drives, she drives up to the closest mountain, she lights up a cigarette, although she promised her parents she'll be quitting soon. Laila turns off her car lights, it's 11pm on Christmas eve, rarely does she notice anyone driving by, she opens her windows, no radio, no sound, nothing. Laila finds herself far away, she escapes. She's gone. Only the time to finish that last cigarette. Laila dances. She imagines herself dancing her life away, twirling twirling and then some more, just enough to feel dizzy, just enough to have her thoughts all mixed up with nothing left to think about, cast away with a feeling of unexplained unjustified happiness brought on by a simple physical exercise. Dance Laila Dance.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Of Rain, Wine, and Duty

--Careless Summer.

And the living is easy...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Designing Women.

When Boredom is the Mother of All Inventions and Necessity the Root of All Evil.
My hairdresser decided to get me a present seeing how I must be one of his most loyal customers. Yes Hairy Sally, I've come a long way from them' days of salon hopping (?saloon should have been more appropriate in this instance?), I have found my hair mate, my soul mate. His brush glides like no other!

So Mr. R offered me this really nice blue bracelet as a token of affection. The bracelet in question is nothing fancy, a piece of flashy rubber with a hanging 60's peace sign, which I found to be really tasteful! And so being blessed with some extra time this weekend, and those seamstress genes that come with the XX package, I decided to make my own bracelets. And all it took is a few pendants and threads of colorful fabric.

-- Hair Affair.
-- Work In Progress on an Accidental Background.

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. --Coco Chanel

Friday, November 06, 2009

What's in a WALL?

YOU, ME, Everybody Else or what's in a WALL?

Yes it's Friday night, Friday night lights, lights off. Maybe I was supposed to be sipping on that Strawberry Champagne with what I could only describe as goo at the bottom of the glass, as exhibit A of the failed attempt of that MYU Bartender to make a decent somewhat cosmopolitan drink. Maybe I was supposed to be having Dinner with close friends at Leila's. Maybe I was supposed to be talking to YOU on the Phone. And yet, I'm here, naying all above mentioned suggestions and all odds. SO what's in a WALL?

A WALL is something you build in a budding dysfunctional relationship, as part of passive aggressive behavior with your current flame, as part of the so called mating dance, more like a one step unfinished Waltz, unfinished Symphony, unfinished Sympathy of BitterSweet Symphony. (Thank you Beethoven, Thank you Massive Attack). Only to find out that the unfinished Wall will come crumbling on your uncoiffed, unadorned head of hair. Too many negations in one sentence, to let you know that NO, I will not be at MYU tonight.

A WALL is also a shield you build to protect yourself from unwelcome interactions. Only to find out that it is impossible to isolate yourself when you are part of a group. Only to find out that taking a distance DOESN'T actually entail isolating yourself or the "OTHER", taking a distance merely wants YOU to take more precautions. More of a Self Exercise. SO, be Selfish in your rapports, condition yourself to be Selfless with true friends, at least on a theoretical basis, maybe for better communication, but be Self aware of your surroundings and mostly be Self assured that you can be happier if you make those around you happy. SO, YES I'm sleeping a bit cheesier tonight, with a proud and slightly less crooked smile, but NO I will not be having dinner at Leila's. Yes, I AM taking said appropriate distance. This WALL is more of a Glass Door tonight.

A WALL is time and distance. And each day will seem like another brick laid over the previous one, cemented and strengthened by events on either side that are not visible to that other perimeter. And your field of vision narrows, even more, until I become part of your distant Imagination, and you of Mine. So, NO I will not be talking to YOU on the phone today, because, well because, I have traveled Away, because you must be sleeping, who knows in what bed, who knows in what country, who knows if that phone rang, will you be the one answering, will you have that special ringtone still assigned, will you put it on silent to let HER sleep some more?

A WALL is finally the cherished, off white four corners of my bedroom Tonight. SO, YES I shall sleep with the feeling of safety and comfort these cold pieces of lifeless, austere, 24 years old, stones bring me. Goodnight WALL.

And when they've given you their all
Some stagger and fall, after all it's not easy
Banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall.

--Outside The Wall, Pink Floyd.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Food for thought. All this Hummus talk got me Hungry.

We first invented the Alphabet. We saw it was good. And behold it was very good.
So, We invented Hummus.
And then, We invented Tabbouleh.
Nevertheless, We still can't form a government.
But hands off our Hummus and Tabbouleh or as God is our witness we shall make the biggest dish and get into Guinness for such amazing feats!
--Zeit Baladeh 2assil.

Thank You Delirious.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

True Story.

Breaking News: A 5'11" foreigner was just run over in Gemmayzeh.
So how random is random? Here I was driving back home, trying to look in all directions, ok maybe not, but driving back home nevertheless, and suddenly out of nowhere, or maybe out of the sidewalk an American lady decides to cross the street. It's Gemmayzeh, it's dark, not that I'm trying to find excuses (well maybe I am), I hit her with my car, very gently I must add since being the SAFE driver that I am, I was doing about 20mph. She starts shouting, I apologize profusely, she picks up her scattered belongings and yells yet once more: How could you not see a 5'11!!!!
I'm sorry. I am. I'm sorry for that woman I almost injured. I'm sorry for my car that she kept slamming and beating. I'm sorry for Lebanon because I'm pretty sure one less tourist will visit our country next year. I made a difference today. I changed the natural course of things. (Not that there's anything to be proud of! :)

Monday, October 05, 2009

The New Man. Four exercises in Utopian Movements.

Here it is, my new life. Well into the medical internship and comfortably installed, maybe a bit too comfortably, seeing how I have become accustomed to do nothing BUT Medicine, I decided to change. Yet again. The circle closes once more and it's about time for rebirth, or just recycle.

It's amazing how much I enjoy the simple things in life, how much I can stand at awe just observing them, describing and analyzing them, try it, NOW, just the fact that you're reading this, you're reading something somebody else was writing, can you picture them typing on the keyboard? Can you see them tilting their head to one side and then a tad backwards, as if pleased to what is coming out at their fingertips, can you see them following the typed letters one after the other and being amazed at how quick they can go, faster, faster! Anyways, Here I am, in front of the screen, this is not a laptop, not this time, this is a PC, in my room. In my field of vision lay a picture, a necklace and a book. The book in question is Pathology 3rd edition of the Board Review Series, an indication that I started studying for my steps (the Board Exam in Med School), TODAY! I read three paragraphs and decided to move on. But an indication nevertheless, something more of an incentive and so the book shall remain in my field of vision.

Just about now, a friend interrupts my line of thought, I interrupt back, there's a roll and I'm on it!

So what is this about? Other than Carpe Diem over and over again? Other than the fact that I believe that just because the wind is high it blows my mind. Other than I LOVE the Moment, this MOMENT! Taking time to observe the most futile things in life make my thoughts rush in, one after the other, and then in complete and utter chaos, I start questioning the meaning of every action, its impact on subsequent ones, its display in front of an audience if there ever was one larger than life itself, than yourself. Think of it, at the hairdresser's, during the morning rounds, when stuck in traffic, what if someone is watching the scene unfold, what if this someone is you detaching yourself and enjoying the show.

Noting people's trivial moves as if in a play, as if aiming to recount them later makes you focus more on details. She was on the phone complaining about how her maid is being demanding. How dare she ask to talk to her family back in Africa? How dare she take advantage of her extreme kindness? And so she's advised to giver her away, to return her as if exchangeable merchandise, but no she wouldn't, she has worked hard to train her like the slave she wanted her to become for 9 months, 9 months! She will not falter or break in front of mere whims and capricious behavior, goddammit she will MAKE her stay! But how dare she take advantage of her extreme kindness? How dare she put a damper on her day and her time for self indulging at the hairdresser's. Anyways...

So I amuse myself, I observe, I think, I exist :)
Why this rant? I've pulled myself together, that's why. Yes, this is me actually pulled together. I decided there are just about enough hours in the day to life live full throttle. From Medicine, to Ballet, to Friends, to everything in between, Hello World, I'm not ready to hibernate just yet!

Speaking of new things, new people, new personalities, multiple personalities, here's an event that took place tonight at the Beirut Art Center. It follows the Ligna Art Works (Focusing on the reception side of radio, LIGNA looks for ways to turn the situation of reception into a performative intervention in a place. Listening to the radio thus becomes a collective production, which bears uncontrollable results.)

So, basically each individual had a walk-man with pre-recorded instructions and short existentialist truths and questions about society, utopia and oneself. Much like an improv' everywhere scenario but a bit more philosophical as to what Utopia is, to suit the artsy antsy.

You listen to the voice in your head telling you to move across the room, to punch someone in the face, to run with fear, to lay on your back and look at the ceiling, just admiring IT. Yes, the ceiling, why the hell not? It's an exercise in conforming and non conforming, an exercise in trusting those around you and sharing new experiences with complete strangers, an exercise in letting go and finding yourself, an exercise in listening and watching.

It's a delight to go through the motions, a delight to watch the others, the ensemble, the individual. Your adrenaline is pumping by the end of the interactive play, especially that most of the participants came in without any preconception as to what awaits them. And then you end the exercise with a dance, with the lights off, under a disco ball and you party like it's 1973! So what if it's an art gallery? What if it's Monday Afternoon? What if you don't know who you're dancing with? Have you ever wondered as to why it is socially acceptable to dance in a Club? Have you ever wondered as to what the owner of said Club must be thinking? For him he created a space, he knows the space when empty, with the lights on, and then he turns them off, he puts on some music and he watches these hordes of people just dancing, moving, laughing, and then all of a sudden, flash forward and the lights are on again, no one is left but the janitor cleaning up the mess, the show is over for the night. What was that? Really, what was that?...

Synopsis of The New Man. Four Exercises in Utopian Movements:

The poet Bertolt Brecht develops the Lehrstueck for a state without classes, where gestures, social positions and by that society as a whole come into play.
The dancer Rudolf von Laban proposes Bewegungschoere, choirs of movement, in which collective vibrations disperse power itself.
The director Wsewolod Meyerhold experiments in the young Soviet Union with biomechanical exercises for his actors to renew their bodies and by that shape a new kind of subjectivity.
And the comedian Charlie Chaplin stumbles across all of these utopian visions and their promises.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Obladi Oblada.

How am I ever going to be able to explain life to my children? How am I ever going to relate these experiences that I went through at one time or another? Will I have to give up this urge to have them share existence or its background as I see it, with every event that adds to and builds on it?

How will they understand that Tante May was not always this lonely, she actually had a husband, Maroun, and boy did he love her! Did he pamper and cherish her! I could only remember them together, her with a radiant smile, him always so cheerful and playful, him who they will never get to meet.

Obladi Oblada Life Goes On!

Silence. Qu'en faire. Enfer.

Ca y est, le blog prend un tournant encore une fois, un peu plus intime comme même. Il se peut que j'efface ces mots-ci dans les jours qui viennent, mais ce soir je veux que toi tu t'exprimes. Et donc, je ne fais que copier la lettre que tu viens de m'envoyer, parce que vraiment que vais je dire? Comment devrais je répondre? Est ce que je suis supposée savoir? Est ce la vraiment ce qui manque? Est ce le silence dont tu parles? Le silence n'est beauté que parce qu'il laisse libre cours à ta propre imagination. A ton propre monologue. Et peut être c'est la raison meme pour laquelle je ne trouve plus de reponse. Et voilà alors, je te laisse inconditionné:

Je comprends le silence et sa force. La clarte de l'esprit, du corps. Dans la jungle de l'intoxication sociale, ou le poignard de l'envie est l’alter ego du fourreau de la compassion, la vie est non seulement devenu polluee mais lourde, compliquee, socio maniaquo systematique. La loi de la jungle sociale du 20eme est une religion hypnotique. Elle preche l'inconscience, l'amadouement, elle opere en silence. Quand au souvenir quand regne le silence, il possede un sentiment, une excitation, une peur, une verite, un battement honnete et pour un millieme millieme de seconde ou l'adrenaline est liberee dans ton sang, ton corps bat, ton coeur bat la chamade, l’excitation te dechire, l’adrenaline te marque, elle explore ton cerveau, elle est la... L'adrenaline marque. La peur, le sursaut, les idees irrecevables des instants de bonheur intense, chaque phenomene qui te stimule a l'adrenaline, qui te retourne a ton souvenir. Je te laisse avec ces mots; encore au silence.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Of Megane or Spectacles.

Meganekko-moe, 眼鏡っ娘萌え, "glasses-girl moe", describes a person who is attracted to fictional characters with eyeglasses...
--Kichiku and Megane.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


For example, if you order me not to die, I will not die, no matter what.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Of Jediism and Religion.

I try not to question religion or faith, I try not to disturb the almighty, myself or the seemingly natural order of things with such existentialist issues. Besides, why would I or anyone for that matter want to annoy HIM? I don't play with fire, I live in positively undeniable denial, and I'm fairly comfortable so be it.
But then I go over articles like this one, and I find myself laughing at the object of my reading. And yet, in the middle of all this rather pleasant commotion, between laughter and nodding in disbelief, I find Daniel Jones' actions bearing an uncanny resemblance to, well, my own...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Single Life.

The worst part must be the drive back home. alone...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Of Concepts And Conceptions.

How does one look like himself if he is only to be perceived by others? If his own definition, his being, are to be determined by how society conceives him? You might tell me all you care about is what you think of yourself. You might say you don't need an audience to judge you, to praise or condemn you, but what about those daily rituals that have become YOU?
Who are you to your lover? Who are you to your parents? Who are you to your grandmother? Who are you to your students? Who are YOU? Aren't you merely a mix of what those same observers think and expect? Aren't you passionate at times, respectful at others, and then cold and inaccessible all of a sudden. Aren't you going to perpetuate the stereotype because maybe just maybe if you don't conform to expectations, you will be nobody? Nobody you can define...
Don't you materialize when you project your image?...

Monday, September 07, 2009

Of Quiet Emergency Rooms.

So what happens when you decide to overnight? Nothing. Being a med student, my duties at the ER end at 9pm, but tonight was different. Tonight, I decided to spend my night at the ER, partly because I was deprived of sleepovers as a child, being the offspring of overprotective parents, partly because I wanted to get the full medical experience after focusing a bit too much on academics during Oral Exam period, and partly because he was there, granted in a different building, but he was...
And so now, at 5am, when I just figured out that my first overnight experience will be nothing more than a sleepover with a medical student, an intern, and a resident who spent the better part of it actually sleeping, while poor me, pillow and adequate space deprived, will have to spend it awake and wired. When I just figured out that the hands-on experience will have to be postponed since "fortunately?" not one single patient showed up, not even an ankle twist. When I just figured out that when he wished me easy duty at 11pm, it was because he will not show up again during the night. When I figured all this out, I decided to write this little blurb and take my car down to corniche.
I have become much more isolated and schizoid than I ever was, I have become fond of spending more and more time alone, and this is one of those rare moments where I can tell you that I am happy despite the apparently bland if not frustrating circumstances. I am happy I'm alive, I am happy I feel content. I am at peace. And I shall set sail.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

خليك بعد شوي

مش مطلوب منّي صدّق كل شي بتقول
ولا مطلوب منّك تفهم كل شي عم قول

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Having feelings for an ex-flame seems to be much more self-serving and egotistical than people might think... or else how would you explain this nostalgia that comes back only when you have been let down by present events or you've just found some empty time alone. Why is it only then that you think of a love that is no more? What about the times when they needed you and you held back for lack of interest, lack of compassion? But all what you said then and there was that it just didn't feel right. Why now?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chronicles From Between The Sheets.

It's almost 8 and I am sleepy already. Score! Ka-ching! And Wow For Now!
I got a Feeling that Tonight's gonna be a good Night!
As I look more into my REM cycle episodes I start to understand that my problem relates more to anxiety and less to insomnia per se.
And so I decide to look less.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Of Fragrance And Ventilation.

As I turn on the A.C. in my car, I breathe in your scent from the night before. And you put a smile on my face...

Lt. Col. Frank Slade: Ooh, but I still smell her.
[inhales deeply through nose]
--Scent Of A Woman.

How To Count Sheep Or My Blogging Comeback.

I can't sleep.
I even dread not being able to sleep.
It seems it could be a sign of latent anxiety that I just can't decipher. Everything seems to be going just fine, and yet I can't sleep... Yes there are things that I decided to ignore for a while, but I don't really seem bothered by them, and yet I can't sleep...
It starts around 8pm, on days where I am not overworked or particularly busy. I start thinking to myself as to how I am going to fall asleep at the appropriate time that society and my parents have put in place (around 11 pm) when everyone else in the house goes to bed.
And so on days like today, I end up taking one dose of anti-histamines for prophylaxis. To skip the anxiety episode and go straight to unconscious. And yet, it seems it's not helping anymore. I will not increase the dosage. Instead maybe I'll whine more about it here. Just enough to feel sleepy again.
Welcome World, Welcome Back.
--What's YOUR idea of a comeback?...

Sunday, August 02, 2009

W benNesbeh La Boukra Shou?

A round up of Cultural Events Sur Mesure:

These are some events during the month of August, not taking into consideration the known Festivals (aka Byblos, Baalbeck...) rather some underground concerts, some oddball exhibitions and some true Lebanese productions Baladi 2aseel.

I. Badguèr I Un événement autour de l'image/An image event:

Open Air Exhibition in Araman Factory, Bourj Hammoud (July 26 - August 12), by now you've missed the Open Air Screenings but you can still catch the Exhibition itself, and a concert on August 12 Closing Night. Don't forget to catch a bite at Mano's for authentic Soujouk. (They even have Soujouk Shawarma!)

Initiative created by a team of artists: from musicians, photographers, visual artists to film directors... throughout Amman, Beirut and Cairo.
The Beirut Schedule:
When: Sunday 2nd of August, 9:30pm
Who: Mashrou3 Leila (My personal choice, my Manly Burly Ballerinas)
Where: Jounieh Festival, Facing Jounieh Municipality
Free of Charge
When: Thursday 6th of August, 10:00pm
Who: Ressala, Aziz Maraka (Alternative Artist, Founder of Razz, Jordan), Mashrou3 Leila with Joelle Khoury (Composer-Pianist)
Where: Snatch, Gemmayze
Ticket Price: 20 000LL Cover Charge
When: Friday 7th of August, 9:30pm
Who: Ressala (One of the oldest and most established Egyptian indie bands)
Where: Jounieh Festival, Facing Jounieh Municipality
Free of Charge
When: Sunday 9th of August, 8:30 pm
Who: Mashrou3 Leila, Aziz Maraka, Ressala, feat. Ivoice
Where: Pierre Abou Khater Theatre, USJ – Damascus Road
Ticket Price: 15 000 LL
When: Monday 10th of August, 8:30 pm
Who: Ressala
Where: Shams Theatre, Tayouneh Roundabout
Ticket Price: 15 000 LL

III. Horror is Universal (The End)

A Video and Music Performance by Raed Yassin
Beirut Art Center, August 5th at 8pm. Entrance 15000 LL

This is Yassin's latest multimedia saga involving the deconstruction of Arab popular culture. The performance the 5th of August will be followed by the release party of the label Annihaya Records' very first album "The New Album".

Interestingly enough, the performance is on the background of an Exhibition by Akram Zaatari and Bernard Khoury (July 23-October 3).

Earth of Endless Secrets
Writing for a Posterior Time
A solo exhibition by
Akram Zaatari
This is about correspondence between a former Lebanese prisoner in Israel and his family)
Prisoner of War
A solo exhibition by
Bernard Khoury
This is a collection of some memorable war pictures and the proposal of a design for a contraption that can be used in war time)

This exhibition will also feature screenings by Akram Zaatari on August 12 and 26, at 8pm. Entrance 3000 LL

Wednesday August 12, 8pm:
Red Chewing Gum
Baalbeck: The Drift
How I Love You
Bathroom Naughtiness
Crazy Of You
(All screenings in Arabic)

Wednesday August 26, 8pm:
Video in Five Movements
With Rachad El Jisr
Her + Him Van Leo

IV. Sphere in an acoustic live performance for 3 nights:

August 5,6,7 at 9pm, at the Zico House. Entrance 10000 LL
Sphere is a Classic Rock Band
Line up:
- Daya Kay : Lead Vocals.
- Amadeus Awad : Lead Guitars.
- Patrick Stephan : Drums & Percussions.
- Marcelino Said : Bass Guitars.
- Charles Sawma : Keyboards

V. A L'Ombre Des Sources:

Theatrical Performance in Arabic by Mounir Abou Debs, Freikeh Festival. August 5, at 8.30 pm. Entrance 15000 LL
The setting is in a Silk Factory 10 min from Antelias.

VI. Beirut Rocks on the Moon:
Deir Al Qamar Festival, Saturday August 8 at 7pm. Entrance 10000 LL

Musical trajectory of performances in the city with Scrambled Eggs joined by Mazen Kerbaj - Sharif Sehnaoui - Abdallah Ko - Raed Yassin, Youmna Saba ft. Fadi Tabbal, The Incompetents and Mashrou3 Leila! NOT TO MISS!

VII. Saif 840:
Theatrical Perfomance paying homage to Mansour Rahbani at Byblos. August 8 to 12, 8.30pm.
Line Up: Antoine Kerbaj, Hiba Tawaji, Ghassan Saliba.

VIII. Poetry Night:
Open Poetry Night. Snatch, Gemmayzeh. August 10, 7pm.

IX. Tribute to Mahmoud Darwish:

Marcel Khalifé
& The Palestinian Youth Orchestra, August 12, Beiteddine Festival.
Pullman leaves from Starco at 7pm.

X. Momentary Flights:
Theatrical Performance, Art Lounge, August 20, 21, 22 at 8.30 pm. Entrance 15000 LL
Featuring Tamara Zeenny & Carla Dib.
It's a story that has no beginning nor end
It's a story that is suspended in time
It's you, me, and everyone in between
It's Momentary Flights
Synopsis: "It is an audio visual theatrical performance about the power of imagination"

XI. Lebanese Film Festival:
8th Edition, Empire Sofil, August 20 - August 24.
Program to Follow.
Check here.

Some Random Favorites:
-Zeina Tatbukh Prix Fixe (20000 LL) Menu, with a different eclectic cuisine, every Thursday Night at Zico House. 9pm.
-Torino Express, Gemmayzeh at around 7pm.
-Barometre, Hamra. Dinner.
-Cafe Younes, Hamra. Coffee and Betty Crocker Cakes.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Doctor Butcher. Doctor Play Nice.

I've been busy.

The General Surgery rotation is now over, and I decided to venture into a Cardio-Thoracic Surgery Elective, not because I'm Wonder Woman and I want to save the lives of those who probably need it the most but because it's about time I take my mini summer vacation, and being the planktons that we are as Med III students, the Attendings would rather excuse us from watching all the operations than having extras bothering them with their useless presence in delicate procedures. Understandable and most Welcome I say!

Looking back at the rotation I spent 6 Weeks on, I must say it's been almost perfect. True I have nothing to compare it to, but being the overzealous medical student who just started her Clinical Years and who wants to learn everything and anything I really enjoyed shadowing our Interns and Residents, learning the ins and outs of the hospital, getting special attention from the Physicians who found our group of students "cute" and worthy of bestowing information upon... Note that we are deemed "cute" because we are about 10 Girls and 2 Guys, a rarity in the medical field and especially in the Surgery Department at AUH where only one Resident is Female (although questionable) and none of the Attendings. So as one other Resident put it: you girls are gonna miss the Surgery Rotation. And if you wonder why, if you wonder how, well because we're probably going to seek that extra attention, never to find it again...

So the Surgery Department was our mini oyster, and we indulged. Does it really matter if on the last day we were dismissed in a hurry? Without the farewells and the waterworks? Does it really matter that it dawned on us that we weren't the first "cute" group to roam the 10th floor at AUH, all smiles and heels? It was good while it lasted. It was about time to move on. Yes it was...

And now you wonder, what kind of a Physician am I growing into? Is the Hospital merely a playground for this unethical, unmotivated Blogger? No. The medical and clinical practices have never felt as gratifying for me as these past few weeks. I was the student who got to the Hospital 15 minutes early to look at the chart and find out what happened overnight, I was the student who took extra shifts to admit new and interesting cases, I was the student who prepared extra talks to learn more about the Child-Pugh scale or IV bags... And I wasn't the only one. Which brings me to the eagerness of Medical Students to become Doctors, we want to learn, we want to be proactive, we want to make a difference... And so enough self gratification, there is something more important on this blogger's mind...

When do you lose this eagerness towards making a difference and replace it with a feeling of extreme and ultimate superiority, even superior to human kind? When do you start overworking yourself not for the greater good but to show off your new techniques (whether followed by complications or not) and to break your own records in the amount and speed of the operations you perform? I see it everyday: Certain Physicians using their unequivocal power to operate on patients, merely for the extra Admission to the Hospital, or the Case Report if the Operation is too risky, or the fact that another Surgeon refused to Operate and they want to prove a Point. This is what Surgery has come down to in certain clinics (and I stress not all), an Abuse of Power and Human Lives without an ounce of Regret or Conscientiousness.

Should I mention the patient whose Ejection Fraction was under 20 percent, meaning he was near a Heart Failure, who Dr. (and I'm even pondering whether I should be mentioning his name here, because he is that powerful, which makes me reflect as to how ideal of a Physician I am being here, getting sucked into the hierarchy to watch my own back...) so who Dr. X (no I will not mention his name for the time being), Dr. X admitted the patient for a symptomatic gallbladder, risking having him never come out of the operating room just because another physician refused to admit him and if the patient were to make it through, it will be recognized that Dr. X has done it again and not that it's merely the poor patient's good fortune. Not that it's become purely a game of luck and statistics with said Dr. X whose many failures are not even properly documented, and a few out of thousands of risky operations are bound to yield a favorable outcome...

So you think the barbarity would end here, that it's already unethical enough. Well you're mistaken. Because Dr. X's Obsessions do not only relate to how many Operations he can do, or how many terminal cases he can get into the Operating Room, but also and maybe even more importantly: How Fast he can finish said Operation. Yes, Dr. X is obsessed. He will never fail to mention that he can operate on a patient in Seven Minutes, and you listen in awe thinking to yourself, Wow this guy must be good, but then you go into the Operating Room, you see the amount of stress under which he puts everybody around him, and you see him at work. He does have skills I admit, but he is brutal to say the least. And taking that same operation as an example, that critical case that must have been handled with care, I can't help but re-picture him trying to get the Gallbladder out of the incision he had made, and the gallbladder, having stones in it was found to be a bit tricky to pull out, so he kept pulling and pulling and screaming, he managed to move the table and the patient towards him, having the patient at an almost 45 Degrees with the table just by pulling the gallbladder from inside his body... Can you picture the savageness? The trauma? What makes the difference between a surgeon and a cattleman?

And yet it doesn't end here, said Physician managed to have intra-op bleeding because he was in such a hurry to finish the operation, an operation that should have no complications whatsoever, and so to achieve hemostasis he decided (as it has been the norm with him) to carbonize the bleeding part and then some, ending up with a burnt liver. Because as he says anything carbonized doesn't bleed, and yes the liver can regenerate to an extent, but what about the prolonged and sub-optimal healing process post extensive burning? He just does not care because his mission ends on the Operating Table, that is where the Medical Records end too.

I'm done, this was one Case Report from a Medical Student's point of view, from a more humane point of view. I will not mention the extra operations that he convinces patients of, although they don't seem to need it necessarily, like removing the gallbladder to get heartburn relief... This might not be as risky, but it's just as immoral. And so, sometimes I wonder, being the silent observer that I am, maybe, since I am not there when patients discuss their medical issues with the physician before being admitted to the hospital, maybe they tell him things he can pick up on and then they fail to mention them to me on admission, or I am just not as experienced to notice and interpret them. Maybe he is taking the right decision after all... Maybe I am just turning a blind eye like everybody else around me, before me and coming after me. Who knows?

Monday, July 20, 2009

And If Tomorrow Never Comes.

There's something about the 20th or 20 something that just screams lucky number to my ears. Let's share this although my blogging is scarce. Today was eventful to say the least, from (and let's try to put it nicely) unprofessional teasing in front of the sickly, (I'm sorry, I shall behave), to Goodbyes, to Surprises, to Welcome Backs!

And just when I thought the highlight of my day would be saying bittersweet goodbyes, with the hug and cued in Casablanca Soundtrack in the background, I get a phone call only thirty minutes later, and I drop the cigarette. Yes, yes that cigarette I wasn't supposed to be smoking since I quit more than 2 months ago. But then and there, I said to myself what the hell, I shall indulge. So let's get back to the series of events, I drop the cigarette and I scream... Welcome Back.

Stop, Reset, Rewind, Forward.
And yet another Goodbye in 10 days.
Is it true that Lebanon is now nothing more than a pit stop?

--Casablanca, Here's looking at you Kid.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pinch Me. I'm Human.

L. was asking me about one of my previous relationships as she was trying to draw similarities between her current one and mine, in an attempt to elucidate what might become of her and her boyfriend. You see he's not Lebanese, he lives abroad where they met before she moved back to Lebanon for good, and he will be coming to see her in Beirut, in a few days. Just like you and me. Just like us, a year ago. But that's not the point. The point is, as a matter of fact, a general feeling of disbelief and jadedness as to how I could have forgotten all that happened so easily. I'm not sure why and how, I'm really not...

And as I sit and wonder, was it because it was time? Was it the distance? Was it the natural course of things that only a step back was able to achieve? Was it the fact that I got distracted by peripheral events? Was it?...

I just wonder how affectionate and sentimental of a person I can actually be if I was able to throw away four years of my life just like that, with no regrets. I'm not sure what to think of this, that exact feeling of nothingness that I felt when my grandfather passed away, that complete disregard. It scares me...

It even makes me wonder about the times when I really felt passionate and emotional enough to notice. Was it only because I wanted to attain my goal? Was it pure ambition or were there any sentiments involved whatsoever? Is that why I lost interest in some instances where I was actually capable of reaching my target? And will I ever have genuine vulnerable feelings?...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bliss on Corniche.

The Peace and Quiet of a day at the beach. This little gem, more so a diamond in the rough, is the AUB Beach. And, while in the area, this blogger had the opportunity of stealing a couple of precious hours to lay in the sun, turning from side to side, listening to music, going in for a dip, nothing out of the ordinary, just pure decadent laziness.
What's nice about the AUB beach is how accessible it is, AUB students and staff can go in anytime and they can bring guests, so keep your swimsuit in the trunk and whenever in the area go down for an hour or two.
--Beach Goers Frolicking in the Sun.
Expect to be greeted by fishermen, some foreigners (exchange students) and a few kids learning how to swim. But mostly, expect to savor the un-pretentiousness and simplicity of this place that has been able to withstand the rapid and disproportionate glamorization of Beirut. Here you come to tan, swim, fish, read. Champagne bottles not allowed.
--AUB Beach on a Background of Ain El Mreisseh.
One of the fishermen actually spent four hours on the same chair in the exact same position waiting for providence. Ah the good life. The tranquility. The Bliss.
--The AUB Fisherman.
I secretly wondered what was going through his mind.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Teaching Rounds 101.

So what have I learned about the First week of rotating in the hospital as a Third Year Medical Student?

I've learned that Interns and Residents will want to do anything to keep the hierarchy and thus will occasionally act as your superior to remind you that even though you're just as old, and maybe even slightly more informed about a particular disease or another, they can still get you in trouble if they feel like it.
On the other hand, they can just as well be extra nice and invite you over to their On Call Room when on duty, an offer you should politely decline if you don't want to end up standing awkwardly in the farthest spot you can find, giving a talk about your critically ill patient while the resident is laying on the bed, and you poor helpless medical student, you keep imagining him playing with his toes while trying desperately to withhold hysterical and uncomfortable bouts of laughter.

I've learned that you never know who your Patient will turn out to be. And even though you should treat all of them equally and professionally, you will eventually find out that you should not be using a systematic approach, and not only because of that oath of empathy and sympathy that you pledged (and earned a pin for doing so), but because they might turn out to be enriching to your social and communal network of interesting people you stumbled upon.

I've learned that Nurses seem to be doing all the work and having the most exposure with the patient, so you'd better stay on their good side. That is of course besides the fact that they know the ins and outs of the hospital, along with when and where free food is served. They will also keep your belongings safe, especially in a hospital where not even a private locker is provided to you, regardless of the hefty tuition you're coughing up.

I've learned that the Attendings are, up until today June 23 2009 at 8.17 pm, the friendliest in the food chain and the most accessible. I document this impression thoroughly and with the utmost precision, because I have a feeling this finding might change in days to come. Nevertheless, attending physicians seem to be seeking medical students to bestow upon them all the knowledge they have acquired and some extra rewards like freshly picked berries, (thank you Dr. WGF).

I've learned that in the Operating Room, anything goes. I have yet to witness the urban legends about physicians throwing scalpels at students and residents, but I have already heard them shouting for no particular reason and making sure everyone in the room understands that they are the Kings of the castle, the Lords of the domain, the Alpha and the Omega, although they will be all smiles and winks once out of their scrub suit. So if you have a beef with your resident and you're desperately seeking revenge, follow them to the Operating Room, you can be sure they will get yelled at, at least once, even if their performance is fairly appropriate, it never seems to fail.

I've learned that the constantly lauded and stressed upon Ethical Behavior seldom leaves the classroom. And the lower your rank the more conscientous you are. I will not generalize, but Yes, physicians disclose full medical and social histories in crowded elevators, with names and family members mentioned. Yes, they mistreat OutPatient Department patients (as opposed to private ones). Yes, they will keep the patient for an extra day or two in the hospital if insurance covers their stay. Yes, they will fail to adequately scrub in risking nosocomial infections during an operation. Yes, the most famous ones are the ones who might be a pure source of revenue for the hospital rather than diligent physicians. Yes, some deaths can and should be avoided especially with infection control.

I've learned that I love medicine. I love clinical practice. Heck, I even love surgical procedures although I was very skeptical about the latter to start with, seeing how I hated the Anatomy course, and my surgery summer elective in Barcelona. (Which might be explained by the lack of proper communication, since for some weird reason, Catalans have taken it upon themselves to refuse to master proper English).

I've learned that your most potent tool is People Skills, People Skills, People Skills. Whether you are communicating with the resident, the intern, the attending or the patient.

I've learned that the best communication should be among your group members to keep a unified front and a consensus regarding sharing tasks and responsibilities.

I've learned that I have yet to Learn, that this is only the Beginning, so Here's to Medical School and to a successful Medical Career. Chin Chin and Salute.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A New Episode. A New Chapter.

A New Episode:
Tomorrow night (Thursday June 18, 2009) at 7.30 pm. Catch the Flying Kebab team and their loyal (even though somewhat recent) fans at Kababji on Bliss Street in Hamra, for a screening of the Third Episode in the Kebab Saga, and a Brazilian male duo singing Fairuz? (not sure if they will deliver on that, and frankly not even sure I want them to). If you can't make it, watch the Third Episode Online.

A New Chapter:
So much to rant about! This humble blogger has moved up in the world of Medicine and is now a certified paperwork filler and filer in the American University of Beirut Medical Center (or AUH), otherwise known as a Med III Student. Ok, so let's bask in the glory, I have patients! And yes, I am part of the Medical Team that roams the corridors of a 10 stories high hospital, occasionally with high heels. I will be tackling this subject a bit more seriously in the next few days.

--Actual Depiction. True Story.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Of Listening and Lessons Learned.

When you decide to listen closer and deeper, just listen, you can't help but realize how much people actually talk about themselves and complain about everything else. And then when they ask you, two hours into the conversation, how you're doing, you can only reply with "Everything is fine"...

I am truly grateful for my blessings. And the biggest one of all: Satisfaction, Fulfillment, Contentment...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Point and Cry.

What difference does it make now to say I told you so and to gloat in poetic justice? You proved worthy of your misery!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Flying Kebab. Shooting Stars.

The Flying Kebab group is picking up on Facebook. Join to get the latest news and behind the scenes photos and updates. If you haven't watched Episodes 1 and 2 yet, what are you waiting for? Go to Flying Kebab.
For some weird reason, my instinct tells me these guys are gonna have quite the fan base in Lebanon (and Brazil?), I'm loving the idea!
Yay for more documentaries about Lebanese culture as seen in the eyes of foreigners. (Because foreigners can pick up details that Lebanese might take for granted). And yay for the collaboration with Lebanese artists who can add a true local spirit to the series.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Je T'aime...Moi Non Plus.

What's in a blog? Yes I've had my share of rants here, but when it really matters, when it's intense enough to hurt or bewilder in delight, when it enslaves me and shakes me to the core, I can't seem to be able to reproduce it in words for everyone to read, I can't seem to be able to be that transparent, and maybe I shouldn't be. But then what's the point? Is it merely the writing itch, expression fever, the communication bug?

Something happened yesterday, but I can't get myself to name the protagonists, to recreate the entrancing scene, to draw the intricate details that made it so... I can't because then I will become vulnerable, I will have to admit to what happened and what lead to it. I will have to admit to the world but even more so to myself what it really felt like, how I perceived it, risking misinterpretation and disillusionment. No. So I resort to expressing myself in these cryptic declarations. Maybe hoping for the message to go through, maybe hoping for the feelings to get transcribed, to transcend this page...

I loved every minute of it. Getting out of bed at 2 am, turning my computer on, finding you. How I love that we're not together.

Listening to:

--Je t'aime... moi non plus-- Serge Gainsbourg

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Of Miles And Stones.

What if you kiss with your eyes open?
What if you forget what it felt like?
What if you smoke on the balcony? Your eyes closed.
What if you strive for psychedelic self destruction?
Thrive in temptation, in torture.
This is not redemption, this is mutilation.

I've been free for over 5 months. It is when you stop counting that it starts counting the most...

Hey Jude, don't be afraid.
You were made to go out and get her.
The minute you let her under your skin,
Then you begin to make it better.

I've been smoke free for 12 days.

Monday, May 25, 2009

99 Luftballons.

You'd be surprised to know how many medical students actually prefer Scrubs over Grey's Anatomy. It might be the over dramatization in Grey, or the excessively goody too shoes Meredith with her woe-is-me attitude, or even the fact that watching TV is meant to escape daily tragedies and not add on to them. Ok so in a way, maybe I shouldn't be watching Scrubs either, maybe I should stick to The Nanny's endless reruns, but Scrubs is something a medical student can relate to and laugh at in the same time.

Which brings me to yesterday's episode on ShowComedy: My Interpretation Season 2, Episode 20. In this episode, J.D. is trying to communicate with a German patient, and at one point they're shown dancing in the hospital to 99 Luftballons.

This scene struck a chord. I had been introduced to 99 Luftballons a few years back and I loved it. Besides the fact that the song is catchy, the lyrics are expressive and right on the spot for a little Lebanese girl in a semi-torn country. Flash Forward to Scrubs' episode: I wasn't sure what to think, here they were parodying a song about the cold war, about a once divided country. However, they were harmless, they were including historical references in a sitcom, and even more so they were exposing a new generation of viewers to a song that they should listen to. And the verdict was in: Kudos!

In a way Scrubs seems like the South Park of medical shows. The writers are actually sending messages across, while offering a good laugh. And why the heck not?! (Ok so South Park is a tad more offensive but just as creative if you ask me.)

So here it is 99 Luftballons, a song about how 99 balloons floating in the air would trigger exaggerated military reactions in divided Germany in 1983.

Scrubs - 99 Red Balloons

99 LuftBallons, Nena. English Translation.

You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got.
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone.
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message, Something's out there.
Floating in the summer sky.
99 red balloons go by.

99 red balloons.
floating in the summer sky.
Panic bells, it's red alert.
There's something here from somewhere else.
The war machine springs to life.
Opens up one eager eye.
Focusing it on the sky.
Where 99 red balloons go by.

99 Decision Street.
99 ministers meet.
To worry, worry, super-scurry.
Call the troops out in a hurry.
This is what we've waited for.
This is it boys, this is war.
The president is on the line
As 99 red balloons go by.

Edit: As I read these last sentences I can't help but visualize the Israeli Defense Forces and their commander actually acting this out in 2006, right before they declared and launched an incredibly disproportionate war against Lebanon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Who Nose? Or The Death Of The Nose Trimmer.

Can you physically have writer's block? Do you necessarily have to know where ideas come out of before answering this question? Let's not laugh at the matter, this blogger has had her nose clogged and malfunctioning for a few days now and it seems to have prevented her from carrying out any mental activity. So do I really need my nose to think properly? What does that statement really entail? Bring out the crazy bells! Yes we've heard it before, some people think out of their asses, do I think out of my nose? Are the eyes the window to your soul and the nose the door to your psyche? Can this be an unprecedented epiphany moment?... Well, anatomically it does make sense, and this is a doctor-in-training's opinion!

I even went as far as to complain to P. that I feel like I am completely disconnected from the world, like there is this barrier, this shield that I am stuck behind and I cannot convey my thoughts. P, so lovingly, proceeded to reassure me that my nose will be fine but he couldn't say the same about my mental state. He blamed it on the pain killers. I blame it on the clog. That physical obstacle, like a roadblock. Like a Downtown sit-in in Beirut. (No I cannot compare it to an actual demonstration since there is no feeling of burning tires involved) So, No thoughts. No ideas. Nothing...

To cut the drama short, I guess I'm just trying to say that yes I have writer's block, yes I am congested, no I cannot carry a full conversation. Coincidence? Conspiracy? Constipation? One thing is for sure, nose trimmers are off my Christmas gift list, now that I suspect ideas come out of one's almighty breathing apparatus. Maybe one actually NEEDS the filtering hairs?

The secret has traveled through centuries to reach you.
Now, take good care of it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mashrou3 Leila And The Flying Kebab.

Another Mashrou3 Leila free and unsolicited plug.

The Mashrou's song Raksit Leila was featured in the second episode of Flying Kebab, which is like pure decadent bliss to my current being, at this very moment, like someone told me to eat crispy golden French Fries dipped in a sweet Molten Chocolate Fondant! Ok, let's not get carried away...

Flying Kebab is an independent internet video series featuring Nando, a photographer who passes one year searching for his inheritance in Lebanon.
Out sizing the video world, Nando’s adventure continues on his flickr and twitter, where you can receive current updates on what he’s doing around Beirut.

I'm not sure why the Flying Kebab crew chose Beirut and Lebanon as a background to their storyline, but kudos to this seemingly random marriage of cultures. It so happens I got a glimpse of Nando himself at the Peter Dorman Inauguration Concert featuring Mashrou3 Leila, on May 4 at AUB. However, I wasn't aware of said storyline or project at the time, I remember seeing that photographer with dreadlocks, he was taking some pictures, he didn't see me, and then we both carried on with our lives.
That incident wouldn't have marked me had I not read about Flying Kebab two days later, but I did and I got to connect the dots in a serendipity-like fashion, amazed at how there could be anyone and everyone around you, people who might have a truly interesting anecdote to share with you, but you just proceed, blissfully? unaware.

So let's go back to the free publicity I'm providing Mashrou3 Leila with, although they still have no idea. (Maybe I'll let them know once I start charging for my fees). This was the fourth Leila concert I attend. (Unfortunately I missed out on the biggest one of all, when they played at Basement as part of the 96.2FM competition, which they won.) Anyways, I say it again, their premise is very innovative, they sing in Lebanese Arabic with a hint of Pop-Rock and Underground Music, the lyrics, at times perplexing, convey a feeling of jadedness about relationships and the current social situation in Lebanon the younger generation has been thrown in. Check them out!

The first picture is one I took with my humble camera phone, the second is Nando's, with his Nikon D80. Amazing what a lens can do to one's outlook and perspective!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Of Uninspired Revelations.

The bigger problem is when you solely emphasize the good.
That imbalance, these delusions lead to self-destruction.
Take time to notice.
Listen closer.
Shut up.

Inspector Clouseau And The Pink Panther.

I have yet to know what these signs are about.
The projected distance leads to Wadi Abou Jmil or the Starco Area. But it doesn't seem to be in the Mission Culturelle Exhibition Space or is it?... The style is very reminiscent of Zena Al Khalil's artwork.
So here I am collecting hints and indications... Help!

--Clue Number 1 near AUB and Clue Number 2 on the street leading to Saifi from Monot, aka No Man's Land in Wartime.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Too Cool For School.

My PC crashed again. It's become the norm once every three months. This time however I decided to go back to my cherished Mac. Reminds me of a post by the sandmonkey not too long ago, he says:

...So, you are a woman, and you are co-dependent on your boyfriend Microsoft, whom you've been with for a long long time. Now, Microsoft isn't a great boyfriend, actually, he kinda sucks. He takes away your money when he can, he is flawed, he is always sick, he rarely performs well consistently, and he keeps going through phases and incarnations that are making him worse by the day (i.e. his fuck-ups increase with age). But he has been there forever, and you are used to him: You know how he operates, you don't have to expect much from him, and when you want to push him to do things, he can actually be pretty good. But really, he is a project and a headcase, and nothing to write home about.

Google [Macbook in my case] is a different boyfriend. Google is smart, Google is slick, Google knows exactly what you need and Google keeps improving day after day. Google is the helpful sweet guy that surprises you every once in a while with a very helpful gift, and he only wants your gratitude and friendship. He is pretty out there with his ideas, but he follows through with them, and is pretty much self-motivated and driven. The problem with google is that he is too good to be true: You are not really sure why he loves you, or keeps treating you well, but you suspect that there is a malicious reason behind it all: That the moment you give in totally to him, and become totally dependent on him, his real face will show itself and it will be an ugly controlling one. And while this could be due to your low-self esteem, your belief that no one will really find anything to love in you the way google seems to and skewed paranoid thinking thanks to years of abuse on the hands of Microsoft, it doesn't help that Google seems to have a serious case of hate towards Microsoft, even if it's repressed and only shows itself occasionally. Actually, it only stokes your belief that Google is waiting for the inevitable day when you leave Microsoft for him, so he can stick his tongue out in Microsoft's face while doing a lewd dance of victory. And what a horrible day that will be for Microsoft: dumped, abandoned and broke, after more than 20 years together. Would you have the heart?...

Thank you Sandmonkey, I couldn't have said it better! Ok, the problem runs deeper: I finally settled for Microsoft because it's an easier way to share files especially in Lebanon, and even though my Mac does support Windows, it just felt non kosher plus it wouldn't take my pirated Microsoft version, so there! You caught me.

Anyways, surprise surprise in my Mac's archives:

I must say I love looking back at pictures, letters and movie stubs, I'm amazed at all the silly memories one can compile.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Run In A Perfect Circle.

Because the world is round
It turns me on.

Friends moving back, friends leaving for good yet again.
Friends breaking up, friends finally confessing true love to each other.
Friends getting into physical fights, friends getting in trouble over something said.
Friends found after five years, friends no longer as such.
I sit and watch. The silent observer takes it all in, sometimes approving, sometimes not, but mostly amazed at the way things can only go round and round. Especially in a country like Lebanon, some sort of bottomless recycle bin, where everybody comes back in your life in a way or another, but never the same.
Reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld "The Opposite" where Jerry discovers that everything seems to even out in his life. Where even George becoming Elaine and vice-versa fits perfectly in the grander scheme of things where Seinfeld himself always breaks even.

Elaine : What's all this?
Jerry : Played cards last night.
Elaine : Oh yeah? How'd you do?
Jerry : Broke even.
Elaine : You always break even.
Jerry : Yeah, I know; like yesterday I lost a job, and then I got another one, and then I missed a TV show, and later on they re-ran it. And then today I missed a train, went outside and caught a bus. It never fails! I always even out!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

La Boheme.

Ah the simple pleasures in Life.
Here we were on a bright Tuesday morning, passing by AUB's main gate on our way to class, thinking to ourselves how we gave up life's diversions, gratification and indulgence by getting into Medical School, and how by now a good plan consists of having some time out while watching a DVD.
And there they were, those professional Tango dancers moving to upbeat and fiery Latin music blasting from two speakers set up right in front of College Hall. It was a scene right out of an indie movie. We sat on the stairs to take in some of this truly positive energy offered by this very unusual setting in the middle of AUB's campus.
And there among intense Latin passion, music, and moves, a feeling of elation flooded me, as if sitting on the Montmartre Stairs, in an artists gathering, living up to my Bohemian Fantasy, remembering Charles Aznavour. I was happy.
So maybe it's still possible to let go, forget class for a day, forget one's responsibilities and whatever is expected and taken for granted, just sit there, enjoy the display, and choose the background you want for your own life.
And maybe AUB should make it a habit to play some music between classes...

I was able to take some pictures with my camera phone, I edited them in ACDSee since photoshop is down. Yes, I have editing fever, even if it's unorthodox, I just love changing the color here and there and coming out with different versions.

As for the Tango Festival at AUB, you can still catch some of the activities where world-renowned musicians and performers of Argentinean Tango will perform shows and lead instructional workshops and master-classes for participants of all levels.

-- Tango In Beirut, April 2009.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Phone Uploads

Them' Cell Phone Pictures Of Mine.

--Bekaa Valley, Chateau Kefraya April 2009.

--Shadow Over Kefraya.

That last picture was taken at 7 am, on a regular Tuesday morning, a couple of weeks ago. I had arrived early at AUB. Nothing out of the ordinary. That day, however, I decided to pass on my regular hot water plus Nescafe and Coffeemate instamix, or what my beloved Kiosk Owner Fadi calls coffee.
Instead, I indulged in an overpriced Krispy Kreme American Coffee, Black No Sugar, the way God intended it. I took my car down to Corniche, and got out to look at the serene view, to spot those early morning joggers and to try to grasp some of that morning breeze that was to calm me and guide me through another hectic day.
I loved every second of it. I enjoyed it even more because I was alone, I was free to contemplate, to look into the horizon and envision how to go about the stressors in my life. Those stressors are being dealt with at the moment, and I can say that things seem under control.

I'm glad, however, that even in the midst of it all, I was able to escape and find refuge in the middle of Beirut. Who would've thought that the comfort and inspiration I was looking for were to be found only a few minutes away, in a place obscured by cars honking, fish smelling and oglers scouting? Forget Everything Around You. Give In. Seize The Day.

Listening to Susan Boyle, Dare I Say "Vintage"?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Songs 11.07 pm

-- Keane, Somewhere Only We Know.

Did you know that imeem doesn't have Mind Games by John Lennon? This was the song originally in my head.
Actually scratch that they have the video:

John Lennon - Mind Games

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mom, What's an Ecosystem?

I'm Lebanese, we don't interact with squirrels. We only read about them in books, just like this mystery sentence I kept coming across over and over again while growing up, never to understand its exact meaning:
"ALWAYS look left and right before crossing, even at a red light".
-What's that device that is the so called red light???.
Oh, but Lebanon is getting modernized as we speak! And you thought we're still a third world country? (The shock and horror on my face!) We HAVE red lights! HA! Oh, cars have to stop when said lights turn red? Why fret over such insignificant formalities? We'll work something out eventually!
And so, to get back to the essence of today's rant, it is only natural that my first encounter with an animal of the sort, a squirrel, leaves that special something something in my memory files.
He was a New Yorker, in Central Park. I was 11 years old, I caught him looking at me. I was intrigued and flattered, and just as curious as he was if not more! My books were coming to life. I was Alice in Wonderland!
That is when I snatched the camera from my mother's lap and started running after him with all the power my tiny 11 years old legs could provide me. To no avail. The cheeky little beast had mastered the skills of hide and seek.

Saturday, April 11, 2009