AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: January 2011 (Page 1 of 3)

Can you do this with your Mac?

http://shechive.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/dork-nerd-2.jpg?w=500&h=467

Funny picture that my brother shared with me through Facebook.

The current state of the Arab world

Having been born in the 80’s, I’m a part of the majority of Arabs who grew up in a world of “impossibles”.

And I am not talking Tunisia-scale revolutions.

We have never had any victories; political, social, cultural, or even with sports.

One of my earliest “revolutionary” memories is of 1990, when I was 5, and we were living in Riyadh. A group of Saudi women staged a public protest against Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving. For half an hour, they drove their cars in a convoy around the capital city of Riyadh.

I strongly remember the excitement in town, and my mother telling us that she may drive us around in a few years. Unfortunately, the women paid heavily for their actions — aside from lost jobs, they were denounced by name as immoral women out to destroy Saudi society. Two decades later, the ban is still in place.

This feeling of helplessness, of our inability to control our lives, applies to everything; the way we interact with our school, our families, our culture. My first thoughts are often along the lines of “yeah, like anything I do will ever change anything”, or “ba2os eedi law bozbot ma3hom, and you know that I am not the most conventional Arab kid.

That’s what I thought when the Tunisia story started unraveling. That’s how I still feel towards Egypt.

But my feelings about the Egypt situation are not as solid as they were during Tunisia.

The Tunisians showed me, and the world, that things are possible. Even in this Arab world of ours.

I find it suitable to quote the last paragraph of Philip Hitti’s masterpiece, “History of the Arabs”, first published in 1937:

“Originators of the third monotheistic religion, beneficiaries of the other two, co-sharers with the West of the Greco-Roman cultural tradition, holders aloft of the torch of enlightment through medieval times, generous contributors to European renaissance, the Arabic-speaking people have taken their place among the awakened, forward-marching independent nations of the modern world. With their rich heritage and unmatched natural resource of oil, they should be able to make a significant contribution to the material and spiritual progress of mankind.”

Amman Collective: Roba Goes Jo Bedu

Around a year ago, the Jo Bedu guys sent me a message on Facebook asking if I would like to participate in a communal photoshoot of their collection. Since I really like Jo Bedu, we went one Thursday to the JO photography studio, where the pictures were being shot by Joseph Zakarian.

Yesterday, Tamer sent me a Facebook message that their website is finally up.

Lo, and behold:

I look kinda scary. You have no idea how hard it was getting the shoes in the shot while ensuring that the shirt is showing. But it was fun, I must say.

Even more fun was going through the rest of the collection and looking at Ammanis I know grinning in Jo Bedu designs.

Their website is a true cultural collective; where the designs are sometimes crowd sourced, where the pop culture jokes are totally Ammani, and where the people in these shirts are your random, every day Jordanians.

Some of my favorite portrays:

Content Consumption

For the second time this month, I sit on my bed with my tablet in the dark and refresh a hashtag consistently for hours.

Our habits of consuming media and news have changed. Of course, the fact that traditional media is shooting itself in the foot by not covering one of the biggest events to affect Arabs in the past 10 years seriously does not help.

Getting the information from other Web users also makes everything much more real. I feel it more with Egypt than I did with Tunisia, because the Egyptians are expressing themselves in English and in Arabic, as opposed to French.

I’ve been refreshing hashtags for the past 5 hours, doing nothing more. I can’t get myself to stop, or go to sleep. I tried watching some of the news on AlJazeera, but they’re posting videos and images I saw in the morning online. Plus, they blab.

It’s the end of the world as we know it. Not politically, that is too early to tell. In terms of content consumption though, and I know I am not telling you anything new, it’s just fricking amazing.

Bilady, bilady, bilady, laki 7obbi wa fo2adi.

Unfunny girl

I am more than comfortable to admit that I am not a very funny person. I mean, I don’t even attempt to try, a natural reaction to too many funny people around me. But would you rate me as a 1 out of 10 when it comes to humor? Seriously? Come on, I’m not THAT bad.

The Funny
Daily evening scene at the Assi’s

It all started when mom came to me a couple of days ago with a playful look on her face. “Roba,” she said. “I feel I have to tell you. Last night we ranked everyone’s humor in the family and the boys all gave you a ONE of 10, 0 being the least funny. That’s even lower than they gave Amr. I’d beat them up if I were you.”

Of course, I freaked out. It’s true that I’m not funny, but there is no way in hell that I am only a 1 out of 10. A ONE? I’m at least a 3! And there’s no way in double hell that I’m less funny than Amr. Amr is the epitome of unfunny.

Internet, am I really that lame?

The Funny

After ensuring that the boys are properly scared of giving me ones, we decided to do proper family voting, with polling tabs printed out and all. All the family was involved, and when I say family I also mean my brothers’ several friends who basically live at our house, you’ve met them before here: “Vote for the funniest looking boy”.

On the bright side, I scored second least funny after revoting, after Amr. I would like to think that terrorizing them was not a part of the rating’s increase.

Here is the final scoring sheet:

The Funny

And the boys gathering around Omar to see who won (and lost):

The Funny

The Funny

My favorite joke EVER (and you have to respect that it’s been my favorite joke since I was 5):
مرة واحد تفرج عسيعتو لقاها وحده راح باسها

How would you rate yourself with humor? :)

How to make a rainbow cake

How to make a rainbow cake

Colors have the power to make me really, really, really happy. And making rainbow cake is really easy. And really fun. And really messy.

Doesn’t really need much:

1. Fix ready-to-go cake batter.
2. Mix different bowls of batter with different food colors.
3. Lay the differently colored batter randomly over each other, while adding a coat of flour between each.
4. Bake
5. Enjoy

How to make a rainbow cake

How to make a rainbow cake

How to make a rainbow cake

How to make a rainbow cake

How to make a rainbow cake

How to make a rainbow cake

How to make a rainbow cake

How to make a rainbow cake

How to make a rainbow cake

How to make a rainbow cake

Entrepre-zeft

If I hear the word “Entrepreneurship” one more time I’m going to shoot someone.

The funny thing is you would think that I’d learn to spell that bitch of a word after seeing it sprinkled all over the world during the past year.

On Emotional Abuse in Jordanian Schools

From The Black Iris:

“The video supposedly shows a first grader at a Jordanian public school being verbally and even physically abused by a “teacher” during a math class when he is unable to write a number on the chalkboard. He is seen begging the teacher and the person filming for protection. Chuckling can be heard in the background. While the video speaks for itself as to the event, I know next to nothing about its details even though it seems to be spreading through the Jordanian online sphere. I was tempted to write something but knowing none of the details other than it appearing to be a Jordanian public school and an abused child who is in tears – I feel the most responsible course of action is to bring this to the attention of any one who has any information and/or details about this video, its origin, where the school is, who filmed it, etc. This information is necessary to verify what happened and hold people accountable.

On a side note, I’m wondering if all public schools in Jordan should be equipped with cameras.”

Read the rest here

Photocopier Romance

My heart goes ga ga when I see technology mixed with lovey-dovey rock. It does the same thing to me that Nancy Ajram manages to do to others.

Look how cute:

And damn ads work. Now I want those glasses, though I know that sunglasses don’t suit me.

(RayBan’s “Photocopier Romance” video)

Food help in Amman: Turkish Pide

One of my favorite foods growing up was Turkish pide, which is a kind of pastry that is very similar to our own safayeh, but it’s much thinner and crispier.

It looks like this:

Cheese Pide


I have been craving it for years, but I have never seen it in Amman, no matter how hard I look. I remember having it once as a kid in Amman, but I was so young and my uncle has absolutely no recollection of the incident.

If anyone can direct me to a yummy Turkis pide-making place, I will be forever grateful.

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