A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: August 2008 (Page 1 of 2)

On August

July came and went and there was no time to update. But here’s August. And it was a much nicer month. July sucked anyway.

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Time Flies: On March On April On May On June On July On August On September On October On November On December On January On February On March On April On May On June

Font Conference

Hahahaha. That’s really hilarious.

Hattip: The Vacillator

Hanging on: A tribute to a pair much-loved

I know they’re dying, any such pair would have been dying for years. Their color has long faded to a shade of sickly grayish-blue, and their natural curves have faded to flatness. But I am not yet ready to let go, they have been my favorite walking partners since the eighth grade, and that was back in 1998.

I remember the first time I laid my eyes on them. A new Nike store had opened in one of the malls in Riyadh, and I was going there with my mother and my brother Omar, who was looking for an American football. At the very end of the oblong store, on the very far wall adjacent to the entrance, a display of brand spanking new sneakers was covering the entire length and width of that wall.

Those years were the peak of sneaker fashion, when sneakers were still a canvas for creativity and new methods of keeping your feet comfortable. They were of many diverse colors, made out of a whole lot of materials from woven uppers to denim to pink leather. It was also the time to forget that sneakers should automatically come with shoe laces, and many of the models had alternative ways of sticking to your feet.

I had no problem picking the bright blue pair with the elastic front. They were pathetically comfortable, and they felt like they were socks. I did not know then that they would become the shoes I spent most of the time wearing in the coming ten years.


1998-2002, I wore them every single day to school. When I say every day, I really am not exaggerating. It was as basic as the alphabet; wake up, brush teeth, put uniform on, socks on, blue Nikes on, drink milk, grab back-pack, and go to school. They made funny, squeeky sounds on the rubber floors of Manarat, and I always found it funny.

2003-2007, the time spent at the University of Jordan was divided between my red Chucks and my blue Nikes, depending on whether my outfit matched blue or red. The Nikes had started to die in this period, but their death has been slow. Every year or so, I glue their soles back together with UHU, which has been keeping them alive for years.

Picture 6
I remember the day I blogged that, it’s in the archives actually. Date, January 25th, 2005.
The years have since made them my favorite pair. I mean, it’s been a while, you know?

2007-2008, my low-rise red Chucks have sort of died. Not in the same way that my Nikes are dying, where temporary cure is achieved with a dash of UHU, but the fabric itself is tearing off the Chucks. I bought a new pair, but I am mostly wearing my Nikes these days because I haven’t broken in the new pair properly and I really like shoes to be comfortable. If only Gus still shared my shoe size, he would have broken them in for me. Oh well.

The Nikes were ten years old last year, and a very fruitful ten years they were. Together, we walked the hallways of middle school, highschool, we practiced graduation ceremonies, ran around Jordan University rain and shine, learned to drive, made graduation projects, took photographs, and signed marriage documents. Together, we walked the streets of Riyadh, Amman, Damascus, Cairo, Paris, London, Beirut, Amman. This pair has been my partner, a steady element, a steady comfort, a steady reliability.

It’s not that I haven’t looked for another pair, but each pair I buy gets buried in the back of my closet, for none can laceless, be as comfortable and look as good.

And I’m still gluing them every now and then, eleven years on. Today is a gluing day. This is to another year of the blue shoes.


Medal Count

The Fourth-Place Medal has “36-facts about the Olympic medal count”, my favorites:

1) China won the most gold medals at the Beijing Games with 51. They become the first country to crack the 50-gold mark since the Soviet Union in 1988.

2) It’s the first time since 1936 that a country other than the United States or the Soviet Union has led the medal count.

3) China won more golds in Beijing (51) than they did total medals in Atlanta (50).

4) Per capita, China won one gold medal for every 25 million people in the country.
The United States’ per capita rate was one gold for every 8.5 million.
The tiny island nation of Jamaica, which won a staggering six golds in Beijing, had a per capita rate of one gold for every 450,000 residents.

5) India has 17% of the world’s population. They won 0.31% of Olympic medals.
China: 19.8% of population, 10.4% of medals.
United States: 4.6% of population, 11.5% medals.
Jamaica: 0.041% of population, 1.15% medals.

6) Six countries won their first ever Olympic medals: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Mauritius, Sudan, Tajikistan and Togo.

7) The rest of the world won seven golds in men’s swimming events. Phelps won eight.

8) Members of the former Soviet Union won a total of 173 medals in Beijing.

9) From 1980 to 2008, Jamaica won three Olympic golds. In a span of six days in Beijing, Usain Bolt won three.

10) In all, 958 medals were handed out to athletes from 87 countries, the most medals and medal receipients in Olympic history.

For the rest of the 36, check this post out.

From Wikipedia:

Jordan first participated at the Olympic Games in 1980, and has sent athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games since then. The nation has never participated in the Winter Olympic Games.

As of 2008, no Jordanian athlete has ever won an Olympic medal. However, in the 1988 Seoul Games, a Jordanian athlete did win a Bronze medal in Taekwando. As this was Taekwando’s first appearance in the Olympics it was ruled a demonstration sport not an official Olympic event.

Nadine Dawani – another Jordanian loss

The occasion: Jordan’s hope Nadine Dawani plays her first match in Beijing

The time: 5:45 am Amman Time

The chances: If Nadine beats the British player in the first round she advances to face the Chinese – the group’s favourite.
But she will still have a very good chance to compete for the bronze, even if she loses to the Chinese.

The opponent: Britain’s Sarah Stevenson – European Champion in 2005 and 2006
17th place in Athens 2004 (Nadine finished 5th in the same weight class in Athens)

5:35 Am alarm goes off – tough choice between patriotism and sloth

5:45 Navigate through handball, men’s diving, table tennis to finally find the match.

1:23 to go – first round (1-1)
After half a minute of bouncing around the players score simultaneous points 1-1 on turning kicks.
0:20 to go – first round (2-1) Stevenson
With both players spending the period bouncing around and trying to get a feel for the opponent, Stevenson scores a point by landing a kick as the round winds down.

First time out – A group of twenty Chinese people is shown waving little Jordanian flags. Good to see the Jordanian teams coming to Beijing prepared with all the essentials for a successful Olympic participation.

0:18 to go – second round (2-2)
At the end of another bouncing-only round Nadine scores on a push kick to tie the match. Followed by some shoving at the end of the round.

Second time out – The same group of Chinese people is still waving the flag, but we now we can see that they are led by two-time Olympian Zeina Shabaan who looks like she is enjoying her three-week vacation in Beijing.

1:24 to go – third round (3-2) Stevenson
After the referee urges the players to fight for the seventh time in the last two rounds, Stevenson scores on another turning kick.
1:00 to go –
The Moroccan commentator is getting nervous. “Nadine has to win”
0:30 to go –
With time winding down and Nadine continuing with her passive-defensive approach, I am starting to wonder if Taekwondo matches are played out of four rounds and not three
0:15 to go –
The Olympic dream is almost over and Nadine is still bouncing around without any serious attempts to score a tying point.
0:10 to go –
Nadine throws a few kicks, engages with the Brit, tries to push her out of bounds to force her into a penalty.
End of match
Stevenson 3 : Dawani 2

The Moroccan commentator seems confused why wouldn’t Nadine actually fight.
The Lebanese commentator believes she did fine because at least she was competitive.

And that sums up Jordan’s Olympic participation in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Objective for 2012: Make the second round in at least one sport.

Masking Tape Abuse

This reminds me of Sharpie-abuse in Saudi Arabia:

Olympic logo police workers are tasked with vigilantly going around all facilities and putting masking tape over the logos for any product where the company is not an official sponsor.

Talk about taking it too far.


The Olympic Dream

Colour Lovers has a great article on the design of the modern Olympics since they started.

It’s amazing that the Olympics moved from this:

( 1896 Athens, Greece)

to this:

(1928 Amsterdan, Netherlands)

to this:

(1968, Mexico City, Mexico)

to this:

(2012, London, UK)

This space needs some CPR

This blog has been needing CPR as I’m usually both blank and bored these days. Just a heads up in case you see posts on topics that I don’t know nothing about.

Who is this guy?

Now that we share everything, I have acquired equal shares in this space which was actually the plan all along.

(Evil laughter)

So expect a lot less artsy-fartsy pictures, and expect a lot more basketball, and of course, more nonsense…and rants.

The picture below is of al-Ahli basketball Club celebrating a title sometime in the early 1990s:

Al-Ahli basketball club amman jordan
(click to enlarge image)

After finishing in second place for 15 straight years between 1975 and 1990, al-Ahli started winning titles in 1991 when Nasser Bushnaq joined them.
Bushnaq who was playing in Kuwait, returned to Jordan in the wake of Iraq’s reacquisition of its 19th district. Ahli basketball no longer exists, since the club canceled the game after realizing they won’t be able to compete in the corporate-dominated league.

Appearing in the picture (left to write):

Top Row
Samir Morqoss
Coach Sasha (Russian coach)
Adnan Naghaway (Club president)
Yanal alKhass
Nasser Bushnaq
Kamal Hilo

Middle raw:
Youssef Zaghlool

Marwan Ma’tooq
Mitthat Nabulsi (taxi driver)
Zeid alKhass
Ramez Hammodeh
Mohammad Shamali

On Personal Space


Although not a squeamish person by nature, I really do not understand why the concept of personal space is often unfamiliar to a lot of people.

I do not appreciate it when people get in my personal space whether I am sitting or standing or crouching or jumping. The space that I am comfortable with is an arms reach away, as illustrated in the orange part of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. I mean, I most definitely do not mind if a close friend of mine or a family member doesn’t subscribe to that, for I am Arab after all, but there’s really a very fine line between a loved one and an acquaintance, a casual friend, etc.  

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