A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: September 2009 (Page 1 of 3)

Designer’s Wednesday: Issue Two

Issue Two:

Tools and Tutorials:

Stunning 3D effects in 30 minutes 
I admit it, I have a soft for kitschy light-graffiti inspired design.
The fine line between ugly and interesting is scary. But this tutorial
is fun (image above based on it).
75 Insane High Res Photoshop Brushes
Free High Res Textures for Designers and 3d Artists
Create 3D Text Photo Manipulation
Blender 3D Creation Software. FREE by you. I have recently discovered Blender, an open-source 3D Creation software.
53 Amazing Blender Tutorials. If you downloaded Blender, check out the cool tutorials.

Designing for the Web:
33 Newly Fresh Web Design Layout Tutorials
30 Tutorials Combining Both WordPress and JQuery

34 Free and Elegant Mini Pixel Fonts
Can you tell Helvetica and Arial apart?
Inspiration Match:

Negative Space: The Inside-Out Illustrations of Noma Bar
Pop-up Popcorn Awesome packaging.
1970’s Scandinavian Logo Design
Taylor Lane Typographic Pinup Calendar. Really cool, slightly ugly.

Check in next Wednesday for more useful and creative links.

Your friends will find this useful too!

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Issue one

Guys, it’s been five years.

I started AndFarAway one lonely September night in 2004. It was my first year in Amman, and I hadn’t yet found my niche.

AndFarAway was my escape, a place where I could write (and I really enjoy writing), a place where I could save awesome art (and awesome art made me happy), and a place where I could teach myself to like the new city. 

Today, five years after that lonely September, AndFarAway is lightyears beyond that escape spot. It’s home.

It’s drawers and drawers of things that need tidying, it’s memories, it’s thoughts, it’s life-changing experiences. And a lot of you were a part of that :)

This is to the people who have been in the 5 years run of blogging, perhaps celebrating their own 5 year anniversaries soon, or earlier.

This is to Lina, to Isam, to Hareega, to Naseem, to Mariam, to Natasha, to Ziad, to Iyas, to Ahmad, to Ibra, to Hala, to Khalidah, to Nader, to Ammar, to Eman, to MMM, to Sabbah, to Wael, to Tololy, to Shaden, to Kinzi, to Jad.

This is to Omar, to Farooha, to Ahmed, to Eve, to Sam, to Ziad and Hana, to OBCS, to Zeyad, to KabobFest, to Moryarti, to Omar, to Silly Bahraini Girl, to Mahmood.

The Most Controversial Magazine Covers of All Time

Webdesigner Depot put up a collection of the most controversial magazine covers of all time. There are tons, you can check them out here (naturally, there is some graphic content).

Here are my favorites:

Time Magazine, April 8, 1966: Is God Dead?

This cover has
been called the most controversial of all time. The related article
concerned the “death of god movement” that had sprung up in the 1960’s.
The cover and article enraged readers.

The New Yorker, March 29, 1976: Steinberg Map of New York

Time, April 14 1997: Ellen’s Coming-Out Issue

Wired, June 1997: 101 Ways to Save Apple

The New Yorker, Sept. 24, 2001: Twin Towers in Silhouette

Vogue, April 2008: King Kong Cover

Check out the rest here.

Do you have any favorites?

Climate is Changing

Made me smile.


Top 10 Reasons Why I Hate Winter

It’s the time of the year when everyone’s favorite conversation is “Ahhh, finally! Winter!” and “DAMN. I’m not emotionally ready to wave good-bye to the summer.”

As for me, I’m a summer person. I hate winter because:

1. It’s pitch black by 5:00. I like my sun, thank you.

2. My winter allergies are back. According to my immunologist, I’m allergic to pine trees, and they bloom in winter. Waking up every day with a stuffy nose sucks.

3. I can’t wear my skirts no more.

4. Driving with fogged up windows is just awful.

5. You are now confined to living rooms, the insides of cafes and restaurants, and other stuffy spaces.

6. Waking up in winter is a 100 times harder than waking up in the summer. Getting out of the warm air pockets of the bed is HELL.

7. My glasses constantly get fogged up.

8. The flu.

9. I grew up in the desert. 20 degrees was my winter. The 5 degree-nights of Amman are like living in Antartica as far as I’m concerned.

10. Winter clothes suck. They “inhale” all kinds of bad smells and are not as machine-washing friendly as their happy cotton summer counter parts.

Are you a summer or a winter person? If you’re a winter person, you must enlighten me with your Top 10 Reasons Why You Love Winter.

Vintage Candy

It’s awesome seeing vintage items that are still relevant today.

Unlike in Jordan, where Ras Il Abed has had the same packaging for the past century, world-class candy makers do not keep the “vint” in “vintage”. They also do not necessarily keep the same ingredients.

There’s a slideshow over at Miami New Times with that, here are my favorites, view the rest here.

Mars: The awesome illustrations (especially with how big the candy bar is!), the typography, and the colors. My favorite thing though is the highlighter gimmick behind the script typography that says “Something pleasant to do with your spare dime”. Obviously done during a recession.

Reese’s: Reese’s is one of my favorite ever chocolates. I have never tried to freeze it though. This ad reminds me so much of the very old cartoons we used to watch. The icicles are so cool.


Pez: I would have never guessed that the funnest candy in the world was initially a breathmint, with such a somber looking woman as its target audience.


Lifesavers: War era ad. I think it’s hilarious, especially if you read the copy. I guess the whole idea of concentrated flavour in artificial food was still not hard to convince people of. Or maybe it was a brand new idea. I think I might be the only person left in this world who would eat candy over the real thing any fricking day.





I recently remembered this little box with hundreds and hundreds of vocabulary flash cards from the SAT days stacked neatly side by side between its four tattered walls.

I’m not much of a neat person, but I more than make up for that with an incurable nerdiness and a straight out need for perfection. I cannot even remotely account for how many hours I spent cutting these flashcards, writing the word with a Sharpie on one side, then turning the card around and carefully writing the definitions with a biro on the other side.

And that’s only the making… because after the making came the learning, and there came a time when I would not go anywhere without a pack of fresh vocabulary flashcards sleeping restlessly in my handbag for easy access.

Aside from the hours, this box also reminds me of a friendship, because believe it or not, one of my very favorite memories has to do with this box. My friend Nisreen, who shared the same level of nerdiness, also spent hours making flashcards, and whenever we shared a class at high school, we would swap flashcards and start learning the fruits of the efforts of the other under our desks. I chuckle to myself when I see us sitting in the pink hallways of Manarat sharing tips such as “You know, because nice people always throw pics at others! Phlan-throw-pic! Philanthropic!”

Needless to say, my excessive efforts that went into learning 5,000+ vocabulary words in those years resulted in a very good score in the SAT’s verbal section and an ability to open any page in a dictionary knowing fully well that I will probably be familiar with most of the words aside from the jargon.

It also gets people to laugh at me, “Roba, you are the first person I have ever met who would use “nonchalant” in a very normal conversation.” And that came out of someone super-smart.

I think I am reaching a stage in my life through this blog where I can actually google where some of my things could be. Alas, after searching, I found a post hidden in the archives that reminded me that I ended up throwing it away.


Design Break

Just a little head’s up that Designer’s Wednesday will not be published today.

I haven’t been doing much browsing during my vacation, so I don’t have that many cool links to share.

It will be back next Wednesday though, and blogging on And Far Away should be back to regular tempo by Sunday.

Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy my time away from my screen :)

Do you skim and scan? Or not?

Speed reading was one of the skills that I learned in highschool, and I do it pretty well. I read so fast it often freaks people out. I call it skim and scan rather than “Scientific Speed Reading” though.

My brother sent me this link
(How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes)
and he claims that it helped him read faster. Check it out.

Do you skim and scan? Or not?

Pink & Blue Project

Inspired by her own daughter’s obsession with the color pink, this is quite an amazing photo project by photographer and academic JeongMee Yoon.

The pictures are slightly shocking.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with both colors equally. I painted two walls pink and another two blue, and I’d use the left over paint to paint everything else in the room, including cassette covers, jars, furniture, everything.

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