What are YOUR Standards?

2009 marks the end of the first decade in this century. A decade that was full of life changing experiences. Thankfully, 2009 was a successful year for me on many aspects especially on the personal level. I've talked about some of those here.

So what's next? the keywords for the next decade would be career progression and stability.
But let's start with 2010. I'll keep my resolution simple and focus on just revising my own standards. I need to draw a line and focus more what would interest me and make me comfortable rather than adapt and accept my surroundings.

Workwise – fast paced vs slow paced, systematic vs adhoc. I've been working in the same workplace for the last 2 years. Despite few mishaps here & there, I am relatively happy. I am empowered to a certain extent and I have access to a lot of resources to learn. I've learnt a lot over this period. My concern remains on my marketability in the job market and how I should always thrive to build myself without getting too comfortable and laid back in my current position. It would be pathetic if I reach a stage where I spend 8 hours daily with the only motive is receiving my paycheck at the end of the month. On the other hand, there is nothing that guarantees that any other workplace will not be worse. I could end up working in a place where you are competing with your colleagues who might attempt at succeeding in their career by riding on your shoulder and stab you in the back. That's just an example of things I haven't experienced yet and plan not to.

Friendship- shallow vs deep. You have the friends who are there just for fun, for a game of cards, or for a pool game. Their probable reaction for your expression of "this is worrying me" or "I have a problem" would be either sarcastic or "good luck". Well, the positive thing about such friendships is learning how to become independent as you keep your problems to yourself without having to rely on the influence of others. At the same time, it is sometimes a blessing when you treat others the same way without feeling obliged to be nosy on their day to day activities or problems. On the other hand, your deep & close friends are there when you least expect them. They feel your pain and would jump at any opportunity to assist you when possible. The feeling is mutual. I can't deny my joy when I feel that I've managed to assist someone in overcoming a hardship they face. Part of that depends on the community you live in. The kind of friends I had in a social community similar to the one I had in my Bachelor Degree was entirely different than the ones I had in my postgraduate degree society.

Lifestyle - Experiences are relative. A Jeddah resident's lifestyle is different than a Dubai resident's lifestyle. Someone may claim that the standard of living in London is higher and expensive than Jordan. Then maybe it is time to question your benchmark. Did it ever occur to you that if you are paying 0.60 SAR (0.16 CDN) for a litre of gas in KSA ( making it cheaper than water), compared to the 0.95 CDN per litre for gas in Canada, that you are living in a relatively cheaper place than the world's average. In a world where majority of countries impose income taxes, you should be thankful for living in a place with 0 taxes.

Few luxuries here & there make a difference. Living in a landlocked place with no access to sea vs a city on shore, living in large cities where commuting between work & home can be hours vs a small city with access to necessary areas is in minutes. During my brief time in Canada, I recall how commuting from my college to home and then rushing to finish errands before the shopes close at 7 or 8 p.m. Night life is usually concentrated in few areas and mainly on weekends. The only form of night life there would be in form of clubs or bars. On the other hand, here in the gulf, people start dining after 10 p.m. Shops don't close before midnight. Night life is always there with the addition of a little spice & extra events on weekends.

I am concerned that I might get too comfortable here that would make it hard for me to maintain the same desired lifestyle in case my situation change where I may have to relocate to somewhere new. Somewhere that I'll probably find relatively costly compared to the current situation.

While I think over those, let me ask you, what are YOUR standards?

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Woke up with this feeling.

the feeling of being Yellow.

My fruits for the day are:
1- Bananas
2- Pears
3- Yellow Apples (I don't eat those that often)

I am looking around me and seeing how this color is materializing in my life.

All my post-it notes are "Yellow".

I guess I am not the only person who ever felt that way. Ask Coldplay.

here is my personal experience with it:

and let me end with the universal color of all IM messenger smileys

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Memoirs of Sharm El Sheikh

I don't want my blog is slowly turning to a travel guide blog. This could be due to the lack of any action here in Jeddah. This time I will highlight some of the funny/awkward moments where I expressed my known discrimination and sarcasm against Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians, Russians and mostly myself. So that's another warning disclaimer to stop reading if you think I am offensive.

First Day in Hotel, morning buffet

Apparently, we are not the only ones. The hotel was being assaulted by a shami group. One of the annoying kids (who regularly features on the other events of my stay) approaches me: "3ammo 3ammo..7otelli min hadi….7otelli min hadi….katerli min hadi…7otelli hay…hadi labneh willa jebneeeh? 7otelli 3ammo" – sara3 rasi and I filled his plate with all what he wanted

Noon session after playing on the tubes:

I am waiting for my brother to go and get the money to pay while I sit waiting. Next to me, I managed to overhear An egyptian guy sitting by the beach bar attempting the following:

  • "eeeeeh…eeeh.. I am Akkountant….eeeeh…eeeh…my name iz ahmad….heh…heh…"
  • 'daa daa" –Russian girl responds with a nod
  • "eeeeh….eeeeh…wanna sleeeb on za biich?"

WHAT THE..this was just his 2nd line

  • "daa daa"

I hope she is understanding him. The rest was awkward as he/she escorted him to one of those beach beds where she introduced him to her parents and they all shook their heads.

I had to leave by then, I wish I stayed there to watch the rest of the scene

Second Day, morning buffet:

The Syrian Kids are in action again. Apparently one of them is being introduced to mushrooms for the first time. So, here we are waiting at the omelet queue, and these 2 kids are screaming at each other:

  • "Beddak feteeeeeeeeeeeeer?"
  • "shuuuuuuuuuuuuu?"
  • "Feteeeeeeeeeeeeeer feteeeeeeer"
  • "Shuuu? Shu ya3ni feteeeer?"
  • "lek feteeeeeeer feteeeeeeer, hayya honeeek"

Snatches a peace with his bare hands and shoves it down his mouth:

  • "hmmm..taybeeeeeeeh kteeeeer…yamoooooooo shooofi shu jebet ma3eeeee" and he ran away to his mom

Second Day, noon session:

This guy is talented. I will leave this video to say it all

Second Day, Night:

Sunday night, the night of the big game of Real Madrid vs Barcelona. I was sitting with my brother by the bar who was supporting his favorite team in the company of other fans who have been watching quietly……

Till we hear familiar voices:

  • "lek ta3a shooooof, lek hadi mobarat barcheloooona wi reiaaaal madriiiiiiid….shoof messi, messsiiii, MESSSSIII…..Allah Y7AYEE ASLAK YA MESSSSSIIII.."

Third Day, Diving Trip day

I had to wake up at 6:30 a.m. We were supposed to go to Tiran Island but we ended up going to Ras Mohammed. It seems that trip was scheduled yesterday but has been postponed to today because one of the divers was drunk yesterday. Damn the Russians and their vodka.

As we were passing by hotels to pick the divers, I realized that most of them were Russians. The universal conversation with all of them was something like that:

  • " dobroe utro"
  • "Dobroe utro, Daĭving ili podvodnoe plavanie…."
  • "da da…"

The Russians were heavy smokers and looked fishy. The most threatening was "Katrina" with a standing posture similar to this girl from sin city (without the gun of course)

Me and another guy from holland were the only non-russians. Communication was difficult as none of them spoke English. My heart was slowly sinking to my feet as I saw the Russian white army flag being raised on our sailing boat

4 hours later…

At lunch, I was approached by the Egyptian cook. "where yooou from?" – rush of thoughts to my head..If I disclose I am an arab, then the Egyptians workers will be all over me, if I don't, then I can't say I am European, I have curly hair…I kept talking my brain the way Homer simpson does "don't say something stupid, don't say something stupid, don't say something stupid"

  • "I am Venezuelian" - D'OH. Why did I say that??AAAAAAH

An hour later

  • "AAAAAAAAAAH WILLLLLAAAAAAAAAA…Muntaha mzabteh 7alha….tab3an maheye bint Abu Raaaamiiiii"

What the? Where am I? Last thing I recall, I was still on the boat reading "sophie's world" and watching the Russians play dominos. It looks like I slept for a bit. I look around. Oh I see, our boat is anchored next to another Palestinian-populated boat

and what's with the name MUNTAHA? I thought that name extinct with Muntaha Al RAmahi the famous news anchor

  • "inta min fein ya khalti? Kadeish 3omrak?" –speaking to someone on the other boat. I didn't dare to look and show any signs that I understand the language. I have to impersonate the "Venezuelian" identity I put myself in
  • "aaaaaah..inta beker ahlaaak?" :S, who asks this kind of questions. :S, the fact that I couldn't hear what the guy said meant that the woman was unreasonably loud
  • "martak bteqrabak?" :S :S :S. I didn't know that you would marry a relative by default. :S
  • "i7na min QALKEEEEEELYAAAAA" – no wonder…I changed my place and sat somewhere else

3rd Day at Night:

How nice..they are having a movie night outdoors with the projector and a big screen in the roman theater. They are showing "no reservations". Me & my brother were the only ones who slept by the mattresses of the big screen to watch the movie till…

  • "ta3a shoof shu bi2der sawi bi 2edayeeee " they show up and they do hand gestures over the projector so that the shadow of their deformed horse/dog shaped fingers were all over zeta jones face.

4th day morning:

I just finished my parasailing (the first I do in my life) and I pass by the beach bar, and I find the waiter talking to a familiar guy:

  • "mzabbat 2omoorak ya 3am"
  • "la2a…di il bent rekhma awi…ba2ollak eih? 3ayez tnein cocktail"
  • "min 3enaya"

On the other side near the beach, the Russian girl from the first day is still sunbathing and I wondered how the rest of the day will unfold.

4th day noon in the Zen Spa

Aroma Therapy Massage session for 50 minutes. She did every body part with the exception of arm pits and ……. Unfortunately, she wasn't very fluent in English. I wished if I could talk to her to let her explain difference between Thai and Swedish massage. We only spoke 3 times:

  • "so sir, jasmine oil, lavender oil or rose oil?"
  • 20 minutes later, "your hand and feet are softer than babies skin"
  • 10 minute later… "your bladder is full" – (of course it was, I had been served green tea by the receptionist coz you were 10 minutes late)

My response on the 3 statements was:

  • "da da"

4th day at night:

Dad was another funny troublesmaker. Throughout the days, he would unleash comments like…

  • "I like your service but you made us sad in the Algeria Egypt game"
  • " How much is this? What????But I am not Algerian"
  • "so, what's the fare to go to…..? oh ok, nevermind, I still support Egypt despite their disappointing performance in n the Egypt Algeira game"

One of the cab drivers got excited and my camera had no mercy on him. He3 he3 he3 he3

Last day, morning buffet:

  • "lek yamoooooo, 3andon fatayeeer, Allah ykhaleeki, Allah ykhaleeeki, Allah ykhaleeeki…7otteeeli donaaaaa (donuts)"

Checking out:

I was on my way to the lobby and I happen to pass by the Egyptian guy. This time he was alone. He was looking around, scanning his surroundings with the hunter eyes for his next prey while scratching his….. Kudos to the Russian girl who either is very smart or that this guy did something dumber than his lame 2nd line on the first day. Oh well, I guess we are back to square one

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Four Seasons in 10 days

In my last holiday, I have experienced an unimaginable new level of thrill. The timing, the weather, the locations, the activities and the planning were all factors that made this one of the most memorable trips of my life.

Geneva (2 days) – Spring Season (18-20 Sep)

Our first stop was in Geneva. It was very green and exceptionally colorful. Geneva is known for its great lake and for being a good city for cycling.

As you walk in the streets of Geneva, you feel its classy style, its richness, their prude care to discipline. You feel that the city is speaking to you and telling you "you are lucky to be walking my streets". Geneva is a quiet city but not a boring one. The streets are busy with people who are walking, dining, sitting in the parks or by the lake side. As I've said earlier, the best way to explore the city is by cycling as the roads are wide and it is well facilitated for that.

Personally, Geneva has a special place in my heart. It is where I learned cycling for the first time. Yea I Know I know. I was lame and I didn't know how to cycle when I was a kid. After half an hour of trying and falling, I learned how to balance myself on the bike in spite of the mockery of a group of bystanders who were waiting for me to get frustrated and return the only bike available for rent to the store. Oh well, I toured the major parks in Geneva for over 3 hours before realizing how stupid I was for dehydrating my body while fasting. Yea, my consciousness was killing me and I felt obliged to fast the remaining days of Ramadan


Interlaken (4 days) – Fall Season (21-25)

The place may not sound familiar and that is what's great about it. It's a small town in middle of Switzerland. Its residents speak German.

The best thing about this place is its location. What more can you ask for from a place that is between two lakes (on the east and the west) and between the Alps Mountains (from the North and South). They have one major central park and the views and the sceneries and the landscape you experience are among the best you might ever enjoy in your life.

Four days were barely enough for Interlaken. There was not much to do at night other than dining (such trying the infamous "cheese fondue") and relaxing, which was compensated by the variety of activities that you perform during the day that can range from skydiving, paragliding, hand gliding, canyoning and skiing. I personally did paragliding (a very relaxing and enjoyable activity. You are in the air before you even know it) and canyoning (rappelling and doing impossible jumps is not my thing. I will leave such stunts for Lara Croft. But the water was refreshing despite its temperature being 3 degrees Celsius).

Another must see site that I happened to know about when I was there was the "Mystery Park". I caught three shows there: "The Contact", "Maya", and the "Megastones". Each show is 15 minutes in general shown where they use holograms and 360 screens to narrate to you a brief and simple introductory about the history behind each story & site.


(1 day) – Winter Season (23 Sep)

It was a one day trip to the highest railway station in Europe. It is referred to as "top of Europe" with an altitude of 3471 meters. It is in one of the summits in the Alps Mountains. There are 3 basic sites to visit here. The Ice Palace – a small walk through a gallery of sculptures made of ice, The sphinx observatory – a place with a 360 panoramic view of the mountains. You will find a variety of restaurants that you can choose to cater your food appetite. Finally, the open area where you get to hike, play winter sports such as sledging and airlifting. And of course, nothing beats getting an "ice sun tan" (tan that you get from reflections of sunlight on snow..or whatever they call it)


Nice (3 days) – Summer Season

Away from the luxuries and quality life, the extreme sports, Nice is a city that target tourists with a special appetite to the sea. Like many of its sister cities, Nice's life revolves around its " Promenade des Anglais" coast. Every traveler who comes to Nice for the first time will notice the rough landing of the plane. This is mainly because of the small runaway. After all, the airport is surrounded from three directions by the sea.

Another great thing about going to Nice is that it is right in the middle between Cannes (30 minute metro ride to the West) and Monaco (30 minute ride to the East). In Cannes, we spent half a day to tour the city and be educated about the famous celebrities that visit each hotel during the Cannes Festival Ceremony. From there we took a boat cruise to the small island of Ste Honorat. Being on a small island gives you the luxury of solitary, whether it is hiking around the island or swimming by yourself.

At night, we explored the city of Monaco and Monte Carlo. I hardly classify Monte Carlo as a city as all I can see there is Casinos. The city has an exceptional road structure as the city has 3 main roads. Those 3 main roads are parallel and run above each other. While walking around, there were areas that we could only reach by using elevators from one road to another. Sometimes if you are unlucky and get lost, you might find yourself taking an escalator to a casino and exiting on the other side to go where you want.

Swimming on Nice's beach wasn't a pleasant experience. First of all, the beach is very rocky. It is hard to lie down without experiencing some sore pain in your back. Other than that, my swim didn't pass by without some distractions. For someone, like yours truly, who has been swimming in beaches in the Arab region where women bath in normal bikinis, the sight of women swimming topless was an odd one that you try to avoid. I could not deny the constant internal temptation to keep an eye on the beach in case I catch a woman who does not want to deny her twin assets their share of sun tan. Unfortunately, most of those who did were oldies who are in their 40s or 50s and the sight of their aging wrinkled boobs can be a horrifying sight that you would wish if they remained sealed. Overall, let's say that I started appreciating the value of bras.

Our other activities included a visit to Eze village – you walk in small alleys on a mountain where you are surrounded by souvenir shops all around you before reaching the top mountain to enjoy a panoramic view of Nice & Monaco. I couldn't believe my eyes when I read about a 'Cactus garden'. There they were showing you all different shapes and sizes of cactuses. Another thing worth doing is the tour of the Fragrance factory there.

For a city populated by the youth, Nice is more of a partying city with a high unemployment rate. A great activity to watch at night other than dining was the sight of roller bladders who were doing stunts around ice cream cones and dancing on musical beats. One exceptional guy was doing the moonwalk with his roller blades while dancing on Michael Jackson's "Scream". He even portrayed him with the hate and the infamous white glove. Some of the guys were really talented.

Nice 2009

[P.S: this post has been in draft version for the last one month. LOL]

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Ramadanian Thoughts II

I know that we are reaching the end of ramadan and this post might appear later but I was inspired after publishing last year's Ramadanian thoughts and this year I had few more

for the last couple of years, the radio stations in the area no longer plays songs in ramadan. They would play some of the silly 10 to 15 comic shows, and between breaks, they would play "anasheed". The Nasheed genre is a growing genre and at a certain point in time almost all arab artists have done at least a nasheed or two. But really, what's the difference between a nasheed and a song? there are 2 definitions I've heard so far:

nasheed - is a form of songs with limited use of musical instruments. Usually there are no melodies, electronica and tunes and the beats tend to be drum based only - I don't know what's the source of this but I heard of a hadith on the prophet where Aisha was celebrating Eid and there were of girls who were celebrating with only drums and the "arabic daf" - so maybe that's why those forms of instruments are accepted. I don't know if they had piano at that time, would it be allowed or not?

The other characteristic is that the topic is not about love and it should be about islam or religion.

However, over time, I saw that there are many anasheeds that are using more instruments and are covering different topics like kids, marriage and parents. So really, I can't see where do they really draw the line and the difference between a song and a 'nasheed'.

Some of the favourite anasheeds tha I like are for sami yousef "you came to me" and this one.

Another habit that some people adopt in ramadan and especially the last 10 night is the act of "i3tikaf". It was encouraged by the imam of the mosque in his last jumaa prayer. Unfortunately, when I went to pray the other day in the mosque, I was shocked by the bad smell and how dirty the mosque was. I am not against the i3tikaf but the sight of dirty laundry, smelly blankets and pillows is just not acceptable and unless there is a mechanism to keep the mosque clean, then I'd prefer that i3tikaf is not performed.

Leilet Al -Qadr is better than the prayers of a 1000 months. If you do the calculations of 1000/12 = then this is equivalent to 83.33 years, which is more than average lifetime of a person. So my idea is if you manage to catch one leilet qadr in a lifetime, then this is more than enough.

So for all the potential travel partners who use the argument of "but if we travel, we will miss Leilet El Qadr which is probably the 27th night", I confront them with my logic. Assuming that you sincerely pray on the odd night numbers of Ramadan, I guess that the chances of scoring one Leilet Al Qadr night is higher than gambling on the Roulette.

P.S: it is ironic that I convinced my travel partner to fly yesterday (i.e. before 27th night) and my inner conscience couldn't help me but to schedule my flight today after I prayed last night. Gosh, I am such a hypocrite. Oh well, he will be enjoying a day more in the Alpes Mountains before I join him. :D

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Status Update

2 months of no blogging.

I was just not in the mood

between vacations in jordan and in palestine

yep - palestine for 4 to 5 days where I roamed toul karem, beit la7m, ramallah

too bad I couldn't go to jerusalem

but at least I went to the nativity church

loved it

spent 2 weeks in jordan as well

wanted to go to syria but...

passed CFA Level I

which is bad news

this means I am now obliged to finish level II and level III to continue it.

I am planning preparation for that in November

workwise, I got promoted. :D

I am on twitter as well.

although I don't like it. you have to tweet daily and frequently otherwise, your tweets will be surpassed by other twitters

overall, I am happy with my personal achievements in year 2009

I anticipate updating my "relationship status" soon. :D

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TAG: Eight Meme

I was tagged by Asoom around one month ago. At that time, there might not have been many interesting things to talk about. So here it is:

8 Things I'm looking foward to

- finishing "Dead Space"
- arrival of the watch that was ordered over a month ago and is still touring the world.
- praying in AQSA Mosque this summer (if possible)
- meeting a "special" person. :)
- Syria Trip and possibly ziad Rahbani Concert
- "Distant Heat" ft. Armin Van Buuren
- Reform of my current organisation - to see where will I fit workwise in the new structure
- Finishing "Pillars of Earth"

8 things I did Yesterday:

- diving and seeing many new types of sea creatures
- getting sunburnt even after using SPF 25 sunblock
- testing the new features of my new cellphone - NOKIA E75
- initial packing for my trip next week
- arranging my papers and my files - mostly bills
- working on my anger management skills on responding to those mockers on facebook who made fun of italy losing to Egypt
- living for a couple of hours in the dark side as I reached the final boss in "Dead Space"
- working on a farewell party for a colleague who is leaving us

8 things I wish I could do:

- learn the jumping ropes techniques
- stop overthinking
- be photogenic
- buy a major stake in ACMilan - I am sure I'd do better than cheap arrogant berlusconi
- plan a "chlorine" bomb for someone in the office - not mentioning names
- understand and be inside the head of those people I care about
- get in touch with 4 of my classmates in primary school
- work in a radio station

8 shows I watch:

- Prison Break
- 24
-How I met your mother

8 things I love:

- AcMilan
- Mechatrinus
- My 1000 piece puzzle
- My lala land
- CampFire Mocha - from carribou coffee
- Creative marketing and uses of technology
- My insane, twisted scary mind
- the few influential people who are always there for me.

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Toronto's Miracle of Runway 24L

It has been over 2 weeks since the incident of the Air France Flight 447 that departed from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. I am sure that many of us are either following the case or at least aware that it happened.

whenever I travel, I tend to mute those 10 minutes where the flight attendant wastes her breath in describing to us about the safety procedures in case of accidents. I find it pointless to listen because if the planes gets into an accident, my chances of survival are minimal. As it was the case with the in most of Air Flight Accidents, like the recent Flight 447 incident , all of the passengers end up dead.

I said "most" coz there are few exceptions.

I still remember how 4 years ago we were sitting in our home and discussing with my dad on what date should we book our flight to Canada. I wanted to relocate 1 month prior my postgraduate school so that I can manage to settle in Canada and get used to it. My family were thinking that they might as well spend part of their vacation there as well since the weather in August tends to be amazingly interesting.

Our flight was initially booked on 2nd of August 2005. I can't recall the events that happened but for some reason, my dad decided to change the booking by one day and make it on 1st of August.

We departed early morning from jeddah. After spending a transit period of 4 hours in paris, we took the Air France flight and arrived to mississauga 1st of August afternoon Toronto time. For many of us, it was the first time that we experience a long 16 hour flight. So it would be normal that all of us would be suffering from the jetlag. I remember briefly walking around the town before I realized that all shops were closed. Apparently, it was the Civic Holiday. With nothing else to do, I went home and slept.

I remember waking up around dawn and seeing dad sitting on the tv and watching the live news of the incident of Flight 358 (ironically Air France as well). Briefly, the plane crashed at Pearson Airport the next day as it was landing under severe weather conditions. As it was landing on the runaway, it didn't reach a complete stop and evenutally hit a small ravine. A post fire started later that destroyed the plane. Luckily no one was killed. the thanks goes to the alert flight attendants that managed to get more than 309 passengers within 90 seconds only. What's more interesting is the emergency responses arrived to the crash site in less than 52 seconds.

you can always click on the link above to know more about what happened. What this incident shows is 2 things:

1- the myth behind surviving an air crash does not only exist in fictional tv series like "LOST".

2-If Air France was one of the options available to me, I'd definitely take it. At least they have a track record of one successful evacuation while the others have either none or were lucky not to experience such an accident.

in an attempt to teach me a lesson about destiny and life, my superstituous father says:

"see, i7med rabbak. We were supposed to be on this flight. Imagine what we could have gone through. But Allah protected us from this and inspired me to change the booking"

I said: "Hell no. I'd take my chances of being there. I'd experience the thrill and action of it. I'd have a cool story to tell my friends and I get to be a millionaire when I sue Air France, Airbus, and Pearson Airport for the so claimed psychological damage they would have caused me."

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Brain Implosion

My life is about moving from one obsession to another.

I am becoming recently obsessed about the preparation for CFA exam Level 1 that's coming up in exactly 6 days. I have planned well for it. I started studying since December last year. Considering that I have to read through 6 books where each book averages around 450 pages, you can understand why the CFA Institute recommends at least 250 hours of study.

The problem that you face with such exams is that as soon as you finish reading the material in book 6, you find yourself that you forgot what was in book 1 and book 2 and you tend to go back and forth. With the financial background that I have built over time, my main problem is not with complexity as much as it is with the gigantic volume that you have to absorb.

What strains my brain more is the fact that I am studying while having a full time job. So you can imagine my schedule these days as I come back from work at 5 p.m. Eat and rest till 6 p.m. and then I study for another 4 hours before I head to bed. That was my routine for the last 2 months.

consequences...? well, I am setting a new standard for nerdiness and suffering from the aftermath of "overstudying". As I am practicing more questions from the QBank available Schweser study material (over 4266 questions that I feel I am obliged to finish..lol), my performance is sloping downwards (wow, I am using mathmatical terms now) as I am overthinking questions and arriving to wrong answers where the right answer is simple and just in front of my eyes.

Despite all of that, I am trying not to let this shake my self-confidence. So far I've did well and managed to celebrate my birthday that was few days ago CFA-free. A brazilian lunch featuring grilled meat served on swords, and having a 'facial' (LOL) were few of the things I did to make it a bit special.

Few weeks ago, I received the following from the CFA institute. It was a considerate move from them that left a smile on my face. I tend to consider this the best birthday gift I got. I will leave them for you to see and enjoy

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Bewildering interruptions on the beach

I have given up. I wish I can find a peaceful place where I can enjoy reading my book. I can't read at home unless I am going to bed. We don't have many bookstores here (actually, we have only one) and if you read there, then you'd most probably be kicked out during prayers time. 

Coffee shops are full of people who either smoke or talk loudly, watch a soccer game or stare at you like you are some kind of an alien.

So, I decided to go to the beach. I'd dive, swim a bit and get a chance to read my book. 

We came a bit late, We couldn't find a shaded area to sit under. I picked a spot against the wall where there is a little bit of shadow. I open up my book. Let's see what's up with williams in "Pillars of Earth"...
"WELCOME TO HOOOOOTELL CALIFORNIAAAAA..." one of the 3 British guys next to me decided to explore his vocal talents with his horrendous voice. He sang on 3 unrecognizable songs while he was lying on the floor and tanning. 

so I changed my location and sat next to someone's umbrella under whatever shade I can have. I kept on reading. Oh man, this Alfred is such a jerk...

"yee, sheftee hayda keef 7almat bazazo wa2feh..hahahaha.." 

what the...? the voice was coming from my left..3 lebanese women are sunbathing and checking the guy who just passed by them...7elmat bzazo wa2feh...I didn't even know that girls even check this out...DAMN

Time to move somewhere else. I managed to find another spot that was empty after it has been evacuated. Ok, no lebanese women or british guys next to me.  only a jordanian family were sitting next to me. It can't get bad.

So back to the world of my novel. Poor Tom, I hope he will better luck when he goes to the castle and...
"ta3al ya 7amoudeh, ilbes" the jordanian woman calls her fully nude 3 year old son who was running around in joy after being freed by the limitations of garments.

"khalee il walad yetshamas ya mara, a7san mayfoot leilet il dakhleh mlawan..HAHAHAHHA" said the husband 

I was :|...that's it, this is the last time I'd attempt reading at a beach. I put my book down and spent the rest of the day swimming. What's different this time is that I kept checking my nipples more often.

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A moment where I wished I had Moses Staff

Few days ago, I was asked what was the most embarassing situation I was ever in. I drove on my memory lane where I passed by many (and they are alot, trust me) incidents that left me red-faced in embarassment. But nothing is comparable to what happened to me on the dawn of my 5th semester at university.

my phone rings: 
"so hamza, any plans for dinner?"
"hmm...actually not"
"ok, fine, I'll pass by you later to pick you up and your friend and we'll go out. You'll get to meet my sister for the first time too"

Yeaaa. She was the first among our group that got a car and since that day, we no longer took the University bus that took light eons to drop us at the city centre. With the car, we can even listen to the music we want and...Oh Memories.

So that night, the 4 of us decided to dine at the "Automatic" Restaurant in Sharjah near the corniche. I don't know what was so automatic about it since the dinner takes ages for it to be served. We even have doubts about the quality of oil its being used. We believe that they cook the food with "automobile" oil, thus the word "automatic". Well, I don't wanna know.

so here we were, seated. me & my friend next to each other. Her and her sister right opposite to us. Her sister has recently joined the university and as wise 3rd year students, we try to share our wisdom about the "do's" and "don'ts" and random things here and there. When I found the conversation was getting serious, I attempted breaking the ice and changing the topic:

"oh, so what's that on your necklace? is it your horoscope..I see a scorpion"

It was the trend back in the days for ppl to wear their astrological sign. It didn't occur to me that the fuming face and the grin look would outburst at me when she said: 


Time froze. 
the Earth rambled
The Heaven shattered.
I saw mateors crashing on me.
I imagined Odin being summoned and running after me to decapitate my head.

I have entered into a mental coma that triggered my tongue to activate the auto pilot program titled "endless apology". I have muttered apologetic words and phrases that I cannot recall till this day. No matter how much I justify that I never intended to offend her, I still felt bad whenever I rethink of it as it sounded so degrading. Scorpion. Damn, what was I seeing?

her older sister (and my friend) helped in justifying my position as it must have been an honest mistake coz I've never offended christians before. The drama was over after a couple of awkward minutes of silence, till my smart friend who was sitting next to me decided to question something interesting:

"the real question is...why were you looking at her chest in the first place?"

OH Earth, devour me.

Time Froze.
The Earth rumbled.
The Heaven shattered....

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As I lie...

As I lie in my bed and myself I tug
I cuddle In the cold and the pillow I hug
an ephemeral sleep induces my eyes to wither
like the flowers that hide from the chill of the winter
Soon I fly on the sea  of dreams
that reflect on its surface  our hopes in light beams
Those threads of gold  awaken  me
I rise and whisper:  “will he”?
But the dazzling wind brings me the answer
to all my doubts and I no longer wonder

I never write poems. Yet this poem is different. It was co-written with a special person back in 2006. We have worked on 2 more pieces together and yet it remains to be seen what the future hides for both of us.

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The alternate dimension of Wikipedia.

haven't you always wondered how people have the time to go and actually update wikipedia? Now wikipedia grew to be among the top and most reliable sources of information.

Well, you've seen nothing.

Go and Give Uncyclopedia a spin. It is organised by a bunch of people who have the energy the wikipedia organisers have with only one difference; absurdity.

Check out Uncyclopedia. They have some amazing articles. I loved what they wrote on : , "Lara Croft", "Caffiene", "Facebook", "Psychology", "Religion". But my favourite article is what they wrote about "Wikipedia" itself. LOL

P.S: YES...I did it..I wrote a short blog post. :D

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Slavery at its prime

I can never forget this day.

It was the first time I rent a car in Canada. I was running low on gas. I pass by the Gas Station. I waited there for half a minute before I realized "oh damn..here I have to fill gas on my own".

See, that's the problem when you live in the middle East and in the gulf for too long. You have people that are employed with the silliest job description ever. I walked to one of the restrooms in a 5 star hotel the other day and there was this guy who all he does is just hand you a dry towel to dry your hands after you are done. What amazed me is there was this local guy who shouted at him "the towels are not warm enough".

How about the guy at the gym? He sits by the stairs and monitors the people who use the treadmills. As soon as one of the runners is done, he runs with his cleaning tools to wipe out all traces of sweat and germ on treadmills. As much as I appreciate the high level standards of hygiene that the gyms abides by, it amazes me the silliness to hire a guy just for this.

So overall, how do you handle such a situation? I believed that as long as they are content with what they do and I don't abuse them, then we'd be ok.

I don't think so. Wait till you hear about my tea boy.

When I first joined the new department (around 7 months ago), the teaboy approached me and asked me if he could serve me anything. I told him that I'll make his life easy since I don't drink tea or coffee. I only drink water. On the 2nd day, he served me my water. Along with the service came an envelope saying "monthly contribution". Ok, fine. That's weird. It is like asking for tip in advance. I don't mind tipping as long as it is from my heart not being forced upon me. Anyway, I chipped in. In the following day, he served me water at room temperature which I don't like. I prefer cold water instead. So he said, he doesn't have cold water. That pissed me off, but I let it slide. Few days later, I asked for water at 3 p.m. and he shrugged his shoulders saying :"sorry, sir. I already did the dishes". What the? So if you do the dishes, you never serve others. Ok fine. Nevertheless, I kept tipping him although I don't feel he was doing his basic duties. Few months later, I went for 3 week training outside the office. During that month, I only went to the office for just 2 days. On the 2nd day, he gave me the "tipping envelope". I was furious that I wanted to piss him off. I just put one riyal in the envelope just to anticipate his reaction. As I expected, he came back to me complaining that I might have mistaken by tipping only one riyal. I couldn't help it. I lost my temper and exploded at him. Since that day, we no longer communicate and whenever I need water, I go to his kitchen and fill my own bottle without his help.

The other day I went to the cafeteria for lunch. I saw the teaboy having lunch with one of the senior managers. I was impressed that he actually bought him lunch. Later I realized that he makes the tea boy carry his bag all the way to the office. I can't believe how some people can convince themselves of abusing poor people like that.

On the other side of the spectrum, my sister came to me one day expressing her frustration:

"Hamza, I am very annoyed with the way you treat our maid."


"she keeps complaining that you never acknowledge her presence. You always arrange your bed. You always prepare your own food. You never let her do anything"

":S :S :S"

"like today. You came from work. You stayed in your room for 45 minutes. When she went to her room, you went and prepared your food. Why not just ask her..?

"but…I wasn't avoiding her. I was just in my room trying different knots with my ties. I am bored of the "Windsor" Knot. I was practicing the "St Andrew", "Victoria" and "Cavendish" knots.



Next day, I went to her and actually requested something for the first time in 7 months. "Could you iron this shirt for me?" She said "sure" with a big smile on her face.

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Making the impossible possible

That's what Israel succeeded in by waging its war in Gaza

It has been over 28 days ever since Israel decided to go all ballistic on Gaza. During the days of the war, I decided to be among those who'll be on stand by and watch what will happen. Mainly because I always believe that politics is too complicated and have infinite conspiracy theories because of the lack of truth. This could be either because of biased media or the hidden agendas that each party has. That's why I refrained from theorizing about what I don't understand and I left it for those who are more knowledgeable than me. I have to admit that the daily coverage done by Ali was among the best I've seen especially in its presentation of the case coherently and objectively.

The thanks goes to the rest of the bloggers who contributed in whatever form possible, whether it is in form of demonstrations or updates on campaigns of what could be done. As it was mentioned by many, we played the cards right by utilized the tools of Globalization. It is through facebook, blogs, you tube and emails that made our voice be heard and reach throughout the Globe. The world has not been as supportive to the Gaza Cause as much as they were during this humanitarian crisis. So thank you again.

From the beginning, I knew that this war won't last long enough for Israel to be able to break Hamas. I knew it would end when Obama steps up to the White House. Israel was just playing in what I call the 'lost time'. Israel was being a bully kid who took advantage of the absence of Big Brother (U.S) that was busy sorting out its own mess.

What has gotten to start this is something I couldn't comprehend till now. Maybe the Israel leaders were sitting in a round table discussing their achievements and their economical growth compared to what was budgeted till they arrived to their target of killing Palestinians. They realized that "Oh, we haven't killed enough. Let's start another holocaust and get rid of some 1500 filthy Palestinians". Another idiot would go like, "oh yea, we can use Hamas as a cover story. We have 25 days before Obama comes and we can even try those new weapons we have". The Brutal and loathsome attitude that Israel had towards the Palestinians was astonishing to say the least. They bombarded them with the air strikes, the Ground Defense Forces and even White Phosphorous. If Gaza was an island on its own, I bet they would not have hesitated twice before firing the nuclear. How can we ever co-exist, as called by International Community, with Zionists who has no tolerance to Palestinians.

But alas, This war is over now. Neither did Israel manage to achieve its objective nor could I say that the resistance won. The only outcome was more damage and not able to break the unity of the People of Gaza. So what's next? the Reconstruction of Gaza. The International community and the individuals have contributed a lot. They do not lack the fund as much as they lack its management. Let's take a look at for example, the 2 countries that had the biggest humanitarian aid during the war (i.e. before KSA & Kuwait & UAE's pledge after the Arab summit). They were Germany and Japan. Germany donated 15 million Euros while Japan donated over 10 million US$. The difference between those contributions is that Germans will give to a "UN-administered fund in Gaza" while Japan will give to the Palestinian Authority i.e. Fateh Administration in West Bank. Knowing the internal conflicts between Hamas and Fateh, I have my doubts over whether this money will reach those in need in Gaza or not.

We shouldn't fail to see Israel's long-term goal of starting all this mess. It all lies in the scheme for the reconstruction of Gaza. As the international community becomes more involved in the day to day operation and management of the funds (especially those given by Europe as they will be managed by an alliance of the UN and NATO), it will become harder for Hamas to operate with the same authority and control in the past. Whether this would be a good or a bad thing, nobody knows and only time could answer that.

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My Early Wintereenmas celebration

Who doesn't know about Wintereenmas? It is one of my favourite times of the year. Usually it is celebrated between 25th and 30th January. However, I decided to celebrate it early this year with my other videogaming partner who talked about my visit here.
So, I have decided to invite myself over (actually its more of colonize) KJ's place. This week was just exactly what I needed in serving many of my personal motives, including finishing the horrendous Silent Hill: Homecoming (Gosh, I still can't believe I got the UFO ending) and another mindless co-op zombie bashing game where KJ picked up the only girl character, as usual, and I picked up the black businessman (seriously, I can't comprehend the idea of fighting zombies while wearing a shirt & tie). Overall, it was fun especially when you are attacked by hurdles of zombies.

a very normal scene that our comrades had to face

there is a good reason why they call hiim the boomer

So how do I rank the hospitality? Well, my mom said after she saw me: "OMG, what happened to you? You lost weight.". KJ said as he was dropping me to the airport:
"you know hamza, this week was horrible. I didn't eat well and I didn’t have breakfast all this week"
"e7m e7m"
"oooh…sh!t…this means that you…"
'YES damn it"

Yea it was that bad. I had to go twice by myself to the gas station below his house to grab Burger King. It was unfortunate (or so he claims) that there was always something wrong. He cooked for me one of his delicious pastas but he had no parmesan cheese, so instead, he gave me some weird cheese similar to the ones that they give you on cheap flights and said: "this is your parmesan replacement".
The other day, he actually managed to convince me not to eat outside and that he'll cook me onf of rice & fish dishes. An hour later, he was like: "hmmm…I burnt the rice…I could cook again..are you willing to wait?"…I looked at him and tried not to question what happened and just submitted to my fate. An hour later, he came: "hmm…by mistake, I spilled all the spices on the rice and it ruined the meal". That's it. I couldn't take it anymore. After 3 hours of unbearable hunger, I went to Burger King for one more time.
*hamza is thinking.. I better find something good to write about KJ to appeal to the appetite of his fans*
But overall, I should be grateful for him coz despite his work schedule, he managed to have the time to take me all the way to the 7he sevens avenue to watch the friendly game of acmilan vs hamburg. which was pretty far. I appreciate his planning in leaving 3 hours in advance so that we find good seats. I was fasting that day because of Ashoura so I brought with me some food snacks and juices. At the gate, they forced me to take out all the liquids I had. The security guard was shocked when he took out a bag that I was supposed to leave at home and said:
"Shampoo & shower gel…? Why would you carry with you a shampoo & shower gel to the stadium?"
Surprisingly, the avenue was free-seated and we managed to find good seats. Although the game was not played at a high level, I enjoyed watching my favorite players of the team that I've been supporting for last 14 years live on field. This includes Beckham, Ronaldinho, Pato, Shevchenko, Maldini, Pirlo and many more. As usual, the crowd have added their own touch as our section was pivotal in arranging Mexican waves.

the stadium 2 hours before the match

the players are warming up
and here they are greeting the fans. :P

The major hassle was in the post-match traffic. It seems that it is the norm in Dubai that in such events, you will have over 5000 cars or more trying to exit the stadium at same time on only a 2 lane road. We remained stuck for more than 50 minutes in a bumper to bumper traffic where our only source of entertainment was in KJ's attempt to entertain me with synthesized non-human melodies of videogames music  like "eternal sonata" and Final Fantasy Remixed tracks. Everything was ok till the Humanitarian side of KJ kicked in when he saw a car stuck in the sand and he said:
"oh poor people..They need some help. I've always wanted to help people who get stuck in the sand.."
"dude, please don't do this."
"don't worry kupo. I trust my nyx, we helped many ppl in the past"
10 minutes later, I was with 7 other ppl trying to push "nyx" which got sand stuck instead. 50 minutes later, we were back on the streets:
"you know what? This is the first time that my car gets sand stu.."
"just shut up and drive"
"wallah I swear to Go.."
"I said, shut up and drive"
He just cannot make perfect moments
Despite all that and in highlight of the updates he has on the campaign for the Gaza Donations, I decided to entrust him to be the custodian of my donations where he'll participate with the others in the campaign for buying the food and medicines to help the victims of Gaza. Our chat the next morning was not as encouraging as I have wanted it to be:
"leeehoz…how u?"
"so far so good. So tell me, Did you manage to buy the stuff for the Gaza Relief campaign?"
"oh yea that thing….hmm, I hope that you don't mind, but I kind of used some of your money to cut my hair"
"you WHAT?"

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