AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: July 2010 (Page 1 of 3)

Game, Vide Game Love

The ultimate game on Nintendo for our family was Super Mario Bros. Countless hours were spent in front of the TV with my sister and brothers just playing Mario, none of us wanted to stop but were forced to when it was lunch, dinner, or bedtime. I would wake up 30 minutes earlier to school than everyone else just so I can play all by myself without having to pass the hand around when I died or completed the level. My mom would however prevent me from doing that during the day and always say “il door, door… Omar 5alas doorak 2a3ti 7ada tani” (We are playing by turn, Omar yours has ended and now it’s someone else’s). The only other game I remember being addicted to when owning the Nintendo was Captain Majed(Captain Tsubasa) which was in Japanese but after playing it for several hours you get to know which button is ‘kick’ and which is ‘pass’.

An excerpt from a great post by my brother (back to blogging after a few years’ absence), inspired by this month’s upcoming #AmmanTT gaming session.

Kheshneh willa na3meh?

The person? No clue.

The t-shirt? Another brilliantly on-spot cultural reference from Jo Bedu.

Keshneh willa na3meh, which literally translates to “Do you want that coarse or soft?”, is a question along the same lines as “How are you doing?” for many people with a tie to the city of Nablus.

You see, the very idea of knafeh is a case of blatant pride; the cheese, the color, the texture, the way its flipped. It is also served in every single social occassion; graduation parties, funerals, family Fridays, weddings, weekend outings. Many dessert shops sell nothing but knafeh, competing for centuries over who is better at producing the best tasting orange dessert.

Yet, regardless of whether the knafeh is made by a villager or a city dweller, with white Nabulsi cheese or bechamel sauce, served in a sad occasion or a happy one, the phrase remains the same: “Do you want that knafeh na3meh or kheshneh?”

I’ll take that na3meh, please.

10 Places to Avoid in Amman This Summer

1. It really, really pains my heart to say this, but the number one spot to avoid is Rainbow Street.

2. Sweifieh (Duh. Now, always, forever).

3. Dawaweer Street (Otherwise known as Zahran Street, but boo at that. It’s Share3 Eldawaweer. Ask anyone).

4. Jordan University Street (thank you transportation people, we love you for thinking so far ahead, but you are making our life harder at the current moment).

5. Certain parts of Rabyeh, like the Days Inn traffic light.

6. Gardens Street after 9:00 AM.

7. The entirety of Mecca Mall.

8. Souq JARA.

9. Power Hut Gym (those damn renovations are taking too long).

What would you add for 10?

The Hello Test

Hello.

Hello.

Rediscovering Happiness

A movie has not made me happy in years. And not just any happy; the correct phrases would be heart-whistling happy, feet-tapping happy, the urge-to-dance happy.

That’s a lot of happy, if you see what I mean.

The movie… well, I bet you anything you aren’t going to guess this one.

A certain scene of it, red and blue magic flashing while making birthday cakes and beautiful dresses, is one of the earliest memories I have of pop culture. These memories are from days way before I discovered music, way before I discovered Hollywood. They are from the days when I used to sit very close to the television, with VCR tapes scattered all over the floor after a long hunt to find this particular tape.

It’s a movie from a time before Aladdin, before The Little Mermaid, and almost half a century before Disney killed their 2D department. It’s  from a time when myth and fantasy were still being mixed with the highest forms of art and culture; Charles Perrault, Tchaikovsky,  black letter typography and Byzantine miniatures.

Today, more than 15 years after the last time I watched this movie, I was suddenly the little girl again as I watched it on DVD. Yes, as a little girl, I was was enthralled by the princesses, the magic, the colors; but it wasn’t those things that enthralled me the most — it was the way Disney movies made my heart flutter with joy. Today, I remembered that joy, and I was once more that little girl whose ultimate dream was to work for Disney.

But today, in 2010, my 25th year, the Disney I knew and loved as a child no longer exists. Most people would not agree. I myself find it surprising that although my childhood coincided with the peak of Disney feature films (Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Toy Story), my interest in Disney ebbed away as the movies became wittier, less beautiful, and more 3D.

My all-time favorite Disney movies have always been the feats of 2D experimentation; Cinderlla, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,  Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, The Sword on the Stone.

Quoting my 14-year-old self:

“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.”

What is your favorite Disney movie, ever?

Tuesday: The New (Type)face of Amman

Do you like Amman?

Do you find design fascinating?

Are you amused by how vectors can be used to conceptualize a city?

Well, if you answer “yes” to any of the the questions above, then you will probably enjoy this Tuesday’s event, “The New (Type)face of Amman”, presented by Syntax and Al-Balad Theater.

Pretty blurb from 360East:

SYNTAX and Al-Balad Theater present:

“The New (Type)face of Amman”

German
type-design rising star Yanone will be telling the story of his Amman
typeface, created for the Amman Municipality’s “Amman Brand” project in
collaboration with SYNTAX.

The
result of this project is now “FF Amman”, a professional typeface
marketed worldwide by FontShop, as one of largest bilingual font
families ever.

Amman
is probably the first Arab city to get its own typeface. The Amman
typeface is now starting to appear all around Amman, on signs, posters
and ads. It will become one of the city’s recognizable visual features.

If
you’re a designer, design student, design and art lover or a Amman
enthusiast, we’d love you to join us for an interesting presentation and
discussion. Yanone will also preview the 15-minute film he has shot
during his current visit to our city.

27 July, 2010
7-9 pm
Al-Balad Theater, Jabal Amman. You can find a map to Al Balad Theater here.
Entrance is free.

Facebook page of this event is here.”

Oh, man, shut up

Although I have loved reading and writing words since I was a very little child, one of the things that I never managed to understand — even after countless hours of advanced English literature classes in highschool — is poetry.

Lame, old, annoying poetry. It makes me feel like puking.

I just don’t see the appeal of disjointed text, morbidly reeking in symbology. Nor do I enjoy the often pathetic exploration of human feelings, especially as they always ends up being even less expressive than the facial expressions of a pokerface.

Poetry reminds me of all the losers in my highschool class. The people who had absolutely no talent for anything at all, who would still somehow spend their lunch breaks sitting in the hallway furiously crafting masterpieces of crap. Dude.

Let’s speak in complete sentences, and I honestly care not for the underlying feelings “hidden” in five lines of “conceptual wisdom”. More like glorified lyrics.

Self expression is fantastic, and if you don’t feel like writing a paragraph, then take up a brush. At least a painting does not need to make sense.

This piece of prose was inspired by this post, entitled “Compendium of Horrible, Horrible Twitter Poetry“. Case in point:

A Compendium Of Horrible, Horrible Twitter Poetry

Blah.

On a parting note, this is not to say that all poetry is crap. There are some great writers with a dazzling command of words, like Robert Frost, who can even make disjointed text read well.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

What did you want to be when you grew up when you were 12?

I’m reading a conversation that I will definitely be sharing with you once the Bayt.com product I’m working on is launched (soon, super duper excited!), but a certain part of the conversation made me stop and just stare into space for a little while.

It’s about how no 12-year-old says “Baba, I want to work in marketing.”

We always want to be astronauts, or scientists, or chefs, or a part of any of the other seemingly “solid” careers with solid results that even a little child of 6 can grasp.

My earliest memories of career self-awareness (beyond wanting to be an artist) were when I was around 9 years old.

That day, I learned a new word: Designer.

And with that new word came a decision: I decided that I was going to be a designer when I grew up, right at that minute. (Like everything else in my life, you can read about how that that particular realization came to be in an 2006 post.)

In 2003, my senior year at highschool, the college applications I sent out were very eclectic, in terms of major. Some had architecture or economics, while others had computer science or journalism. I even considered medicine. None of them had design.

At the end of the year, I was officially registered in the architecture department at AUB, fees paid and all.

Then during the summer, my mother suggested I go see the newly established College of Fine Arts and Design at Jordan University, and I ended up meeting the Dean, Professor Wijdan Ali, an absolutely amazing woman who has influenced my ideas on life and art more than anyone else in my four years at Jordan University.

It was as if my childhood dream hit me hard. I wanted to be a designer, although I knew it wasn’t the most lucrative career choice. It wasn’t easy. I had little fights in my head up until the last minute, as I stood by the registrar’s desk while he looked at my like I was absolutely insane, refusing to sign the paper until my dad came and approved. “You should study medicine with these grades,” he said, completely annoyed with me. “I’ve seen people cry over a fraction, and you want to join the department with the lowest acceptable entrance grade? Fine, you want something with drawing? Do architecture. I’m not signing until I get approval from a parent”. Funnily enough, his little speech made me even more sure.

In 2007, I graduated with a BFA in Visual Communication, Design, from the University of Jordan.

Design, I have come to realize recently, is not about a career, a job, or visual tasks. As cliche as this sounds, it’s damn true: Design is a way of life.

It is ideas. It is solutions. It is being perfectly okay with having the big and final picture in only one place, your head, and knowing that you can make it come true outside of your head.

Long tangent from my main question, but I’d really to hear your stories.

What did you want to be when you grew up? And what are you now that you are grown up? :)

Banner Blindness on the Floor

Adblocktesterrrr

Funny.

Real world ad blocking via Boing Boing.

Happy Birthday Mama!

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