A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: April 2006 (Page 1 of 3)

: I’m obsessed

“If your heart is in a dream, no request is too extreme, when you wish upon a star, as dreamers do.”
-Walt Disney

That was the opening quote I used in an essay I wrote for a class when I was 14 or 15 about what I wanted my career to be like 10 years from then. Seven years later, I find it funny that I used that particular quote- dreamers? Wishing upon a star? It should have been a more grounded quote by Walt Disney, perhaps “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

I found that essay sitting lonely in a file somewhere in my harddisk while looking for something unrelated earlier today. It’s amusing to read something I wrote so long ago, especially as I was in a completely different mindset.

No. I was in a completely different life. Does it sound like the same person?

This is my tribute to a Disney dream that is now reality. Disney has taught me something no tuition and no friend could teach; to set sights to infinity and beyond. Disney is by and large known for “Making the Magic”, and it is definitely the “dreamer who does”. Whether its dreams are hidden in the heart of a pretty sapphire-clad belle that slumbers until her prince comes or a roller coaster that is ignited to life by the shrieks of those who are soaring through the sky inside it, no one can project a masterpiece of love and dreams so stunningly.

As a child, my parents surrounded my life with the magic of Disney; I went to sleep by gazing at the murals of Snow White on my bedroom walls, I dressed up as Pocahontas to all the costume parties I went to, and I hungrily devoured every word of Disney Weekly on Thursdays. In fact, when I look back at my childhood, I realize that the best phrase to describe it would be “blurb-of-colors”. So now, as a young adult, my fantasies are tainted with falling down the rabbit hole to wind up in The Neverland or putting on the fairy-tale slippers to transform into a princess. Consequently, these tainted fantasies and a background full of animation and color lead my mind to renovate everything lackluster I see into a “how-to-make-it-more-pretty” project. After years of feathering doorknobs with fuchsia fluff and concealing paint-stained desktops with tie-dyed pillowcases, I set a life-long goal for myself. This life-long goal, also known as “beautifying”, is really nothing more than pixie-dust sprinkled across my world.

I have so far succeeded in giving small scenes in the play that is my life the ability to let my spirits ascend. The scene that is my bedroom, for example, is my candy-land. Being my creation from corner to corner, and filled with handmade uniqueness and simple creations dressed-up, I feel inspired to imagine when I’m in it.

I believe that every human deserves to have such a sanctuary to fade into, but I also believe that not everyone will enjoy inventing love with colors and creativity.
For this reason, I aspire to establish a career that will facilitate me in helping others create such a sanctuary. I want to cultivate the ability to tap into people’s deep-seated desires and to fuse age-old fairytales with brand-new originalities, while also developing my perception of the dissimilar psychological personalities of individuals. I yearn for the ability to transform a fantasy into a multihued, exciting world that individuals can move through cheerfully, touch, and enjoy. I want my hands to have the ability to create a life-sized child’s dollhouse- safe, bright, and swarming with innocent temptation. I want to manage to make poverty seem, well, charming. I want to dream, and I want my career to be the platform of my dreams.

Such fabulous work is the daily business of Imagineers, Graphic Designers, Architects along with Interior Designers, and I hope to be received into one of these professions. I know that I would love to be a part of any of these careers, giving up my heart and soul to fill others lives with beauty. I’m in love with doing such things. Actually, I’m not only in love; I’m obsessed.

Ten years is an eternity away, yet it’s also too close. Human life is sinking with prosaic ebony’s and insipid whites. It is over-involved with everyday realism and practicality to worry about simple things such as colors that harmonize and the minute details that may ember up a classroom that fails to motivate. I know that I will not be able to achieve my lifetime goal like I want it to be achieved it in such a short period, but I do desire to have access to miniature projects in vicinities that need to be sugarcoated. I also hope to accomplish innovation. I aspire to frolic with creativity. I wish that what has filled my life with inspiration and magic will spread to engulf the lives of others.

But most of all, I want to be a part of what started by obsession; I want to work for Disney.

Man, I guess I’ve been so mphalsapheh my entire life.

Made with real fruit (not)

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A few nights ago, I dreamt I was eating Pop Tarts. Pop Tarts! I haven’t had Pop Tarts since the 4th grade.

Naturally, I woke up with an extreme craving for them, and after a trip to Cozmos, I was standing in the kitchen microwaving the iced and sprinkled delicious-looking slices of pastry, stuffed with “natural” strawberry, remembering a day when I was a child sitting around the kitchen table waiting for my Pop Tart to be served. Ahh… for that precise instant, I could almost remember the sweetness of the icing (I love icing) and the juiciness of the fill.

Of course, the deliciousness of Pop Tarts turned out to be nothing more than a figment of an overfertile imagination. Or maybe Pop Tarts don’t taste the same anymore. Or maybe I’m too old for Pop Tarts. I really don’t know.

What I do know though is that they were way-too-sweet, artificially flavored to the degree that it feels like you are eating chemicals, and quite dry.

What a disappointment.

I also tried my very first Caesar salad for lunch this evening. I know, I know, Caesar salads are all over the fricking place, including refrigerated salad meals in CTown, McDonalds and salad bars in every other restaurant in the Amman. But you see, Caesar Salads usually have little cubes of chicken over them and since I’m not willing to eat anything that had contact with chicken, I’ve never had a Caesar salad. Today, my mother decided to make me a Caesar salad minus the chicken, and it was actually good! Much better than the Pop Tarts.

I feel like eating kubeh nayeh (raw ground beef paste mixed with cracked wheat, eaten with garlic, yum yum).

Oh, yeah, did I ever mention that I love soda?


Ok. Seriously. I can’t take it anymore.

Razzle Dazzle

I really am a very easily amused person. I enjoy putting words and sentences together- they’re even more magical than paint and colors. I enjoy trying to make them not make sense to anyone but me- or at least, I enjoy trying to put them together according to the colors and styles of my whims and fancies rather than try to be as clear as possible for everyone else. There is never a post here that means what it appears to mean, there are always hidden messages lingering between the lines- sometimes meant for specific people, othertimes meant for the smart.

Othertimes, I just write as if some little faery threw a bagful of pixiedust over my words, which are usually overflowing with phalsapheh, compiled of words that don’t really match together, and tailored with red beads and sprays of shimmer, soaking my words with overdecorative attachments- sparkle, sparkle.

Oh. My. God. I just realized that my writing style would be best classified as surrealism. Surrealism!

Dude, I hate surrealism. In the world of visual arts, I love what to me is the opposite of surrealism, which is too ungrounded as far as I’m concerned- I love minimalism, pop art, and modernism. I love simplicity, solid space, and grids.

It’s quite funny now that I think about it. The artists of the Arabian Gulf are famous for surrealism, and the art critics claim that this is the case due to the general opression in the Arabian Gulf. So I guess my highschool is to blame for my surrealistic writing style, because as I’ve said before, the only remotely creative class we had was English, which I soaked with my neglected and quite oppressed juices of creativity. And my very wishy-washy style of writing stuck with me, sometimes making me laugh.

Razzle dazzle.

Amman’s Aura and Jewels

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Amman, originally uploaded by Yazan Malakha.

My favorite thing about Amman her jewel-like mountains, glittering every night regardless of whether you are in the desert or not, because the mountains love to show off these jewels in the dark sky. It blows my mind.

There’s this little portion of Jordan Street that is unlit, and it directly overlooks a really tiny village with around a 100 specks white neon light, and there’s also Baq3a a little farther left. But there’s a mountain that blocks the view of Amman, and you can see her aura. Not so bright, but quite beautiful against the black mountains.

When we were back in Saudi, my dad would take us on a road trip to Sharqeyeh (the Eastern province) during short holidays. On the return journey to Riyadh, which was always quite late at night, we would just drive and drive and drive for hours in the pitch blackness of the vast Saudi desert to the music of Kathem il Saher, Majida il Roumi, and Asala.

I, lacking the ability to nod off in anything other than a bed, would spend all those hours staring out of the window and amusing over how it seemed like someone has spray painted the entire world with a black can of spray paint. I would also stare waiting for my favorite part of those trips- waiting to get closer to Riyadh to see her aura.

Riyadh, Riyadh. Riyadh has so many lights- orange lights mind you. So from the pitch black desert, you could start seeing her aura- a purplish orange haze in the distant horizon of the blackest black sky, and this aura would signal home.

The picture above, taken in Jabal Amman and overlooking downtown, represents Amman to me- jewels of light on neverending mountains.

Bent il Balad

It hasn’t even been three years since we moved to Jordan and I already see that the “Bent il Balad” traits have overcome those of “Bent il Khaleej”. People still claim that they can tell that I wasn’t raised in Jordan because of the way I dress (“you look like such a Khaleejeyeh cause you’re wearing white on white, who wears white on white?!”). Yet, my wardrobe has less razzle-dazzle and plenty more comfort, and the entire collection doesn’t change according to fashion any more.

The drive-thru guy at Burger King looked at me puzzled last week when I told him that I am Bent il Balad after he told me I’m too smiley and that I must be a tourist. Yet, a colleague at school also told me that I look mighty scary with my kashra when I’m behind the wheel.

I wasn’t killing myself over arriving 5 minutes late to a meeting a few days back, something the Gulfian Kid in me would have never done. Yet, the other 3 people who were supposed to be there too were 20 minutes late, and so in comparison, I’m still the Gulfian Kid.

But I’m really starting to get comfortable with the “Bent il Balad” persona, jeans, kashra, et all.

(Prelude to a “Banat Il Riyadh” post that should be showing its face somewhere in this space)

Tickling inspiration

(Did I ever mention that I love MoCo?)

These awesome collages are created with currency by collagist Christopher Wilde. Wilde cuts various shapes out of paper money from around the world to form collages with economic and political undertones and overlays. You can check out a gallery of his work here.

Moving over to yumminess, photographer Meredith Allen snapped shots of slowly dripping ice lollies of familiar cartoon characters set against a clear blue sky in various beach locations over a five-year period. Making me all warmy and fuzzy inside- man, I love the summer. And I love icecream. I really do. I can’t wait till the summer really starts and the minimarkets become stocked with the shelen bright red eskimo from Jabri. Yum.




Finally on the list is Ryan Bown who creates geometric forms based on chaos theory, all formed using hundreds of painted cotton swabs. Yes, cotton swabs. Is that cool or what?


The Story of a Piece of Cheese

Direction: Roba Al-Assi
Writing credits: Roba Al-Assi (story)

Genre: Mystery / Documentary
Plot Summary: After invading a cheese factory, the result of 2 hours taking pictures through a belt made of cheese (ok, leather, but let’s play pretend).

User Comments: It don’t add up
User Rating: **********__ 9.6/10 (11 votes)

Vote Here

Complete credited cast:
Roba Al-Assi’s belt (now lost), Ruba Haddad (professor), Noor Sawalha (student), Odai Nemri (student), Sultan Petro (student), Tamara El-Sheikh (student), Dina Hallaq (student), Hala Qattan (student), Raed (technician), Marah Arafat (student), Khuzama Judeh (student)

Runtime: 50 seconds
Country: Jordan
Language: Visual
Color: RGB
Sound Mix: None
Certification: None

Student1: What are we doing?
Student2: Miss! Ma binla7e2!
Professor: Roba, stop taking pictures!
Professor: 7atojlootoni

(click on a circle)

toot archaeological expedition discovers the oldest and largest pavement ever!

I cracked up when I saw this post on the tootlog documenting the finding of an unbelieavably high pavement somewhere in this wonderful city.

Man, that’s so high it’s hilarious.
George has an equally hilarious post accounting for why this pavement is so high, and I must say I like the second reason because it has kept my pants dry at JU and I’m a tall, tall girl so I have no problem getting on the pavement ;)
With such fantastic road architecture (is there such a thing?), no wonder you can always hear the cars screaming “toot! toot!” . I mean, everyone has something to say!

Summer in the city

zooksies 182

zooksies 166

zooksies 167

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