A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: February 2011

Oscars Outfit Frenzy, 2011 Edition

Guess what. It’s the Oscars! YAY!

My confessions, as in previous years:

1)  I didn’t watch a single movie from the 2011 Oscar-nominated bunch, and for the most part, I hadn’t heard of 95% of them either.
2)  I have never ever watched the Oscars in my life, yesterday’s show included.
3)  I never check out the winners because frankly, I couldn’t care less.
4)  I don’t give three shits about fashion.

And finally:

5) I spend all year waiting for the Oscars, just because I love looking at what they wear (Previous bashing and loving: Oscars Outfit Frenzy 2007, Oscars Outfits Frenzy 2008, Oscars Outfit Frenzy 2009, Oscars Outfit Frenzy 2010)

Makes the dress bashing all the more objective, doesn’t it? Don’t forget to share your own opinions, which dress would you put in what category? Give me one for each of the groups!

And now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for, Hollywood’s plastic wonder people. Presenting:

The Went-to-the-Oscars-Drunk Group:

Helena: Not only did Helena Bonham Carter go to the Oscars drunk, she was also high. Probably on fairy dust. Or pirate barf. Or something odd like that. Having said that, I think she looks absolutely AWESOME.

Oscars Badly Dressed

The flag is not the only part, look, she even has a FAN. A REAL ONE.

Oscars Badly Dressed

Gayle: Okay, let’s get one thing clear. Unless it’s a perfectly picked, beautiful, bluish-green color, STAY AWAY FROM GREEN EVENING DRESSES. Unless you’re bridesmaid from hell. Or worse, the green monster. It definitely should not be shiny. Or have weird drape-y action going on. I really can’t get over the color of this one.

Oscars Badly Dressed

Hailee: This young lady is called Hailee Steinfeld, and she’s not on this list because her dress is ugly. She’s on this list because she’s FOURTEEN. One, fricking, four. She shouldn’t be looking like that. She should be wearing pink shorts and yellow t-shirts and running in around in flip flops as she plays with another 14 year old kid.

Oscars Badly Dressed

What makes it all worse? She looks like this in the movie she was nominated for:

Oscars Badly Dressed

What makes it double worse?

This: Justin Bieber thinks he’s too old for her. “She’s young,” Bieber said. “She’s like 14.” Awww.

Nicole: What could possibly be more heart breaking than the most beautiful woman in the whole wide world looking this ugly? And when is Nicole Kidman gonna find herself a tall guy?

Oscars Badly Dressed

Penelope: This is really sad because Penelope Cruz is always on the best dressed list. You, Penelope, Alaa Saad called and he wants you to join the cast of the Burtuqala showgirl crew.

Oscars Badly Dressed

Wife of Wolverine: CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT WOLVERINE IS MARRIED TO THIS WOMAN? What the freakin’ hell happened to the world? I can’t figure out why she’s wearing something straight out of Cruella de Vil’s closet. Worse, LOOK AT HER SHOES.

Oh, the horror.

Oscars Badly Dressed

Wife of hot guy: Another wife I’m totally horrified with. It’s not just because she’s dressed for a freak show, it’s also because this dress is really freaking weird. I feel like it should be used in some sort of science experiment using copper.

Oscars Badly Dressed

And wait. It has tassels.

Oscars Badly Dressed

Celine: Celine Dion proves that she thinks she belongs in a tomb. It’s quite sad really, given that she’s really young and all. Why has she been 50 for the past 30 years?

Oscars Badly Dressed

Oscars Badly Dressed

Jessica: Ugly now has a color. It’s a mix of silver, white, gold, and bronze. And it’s hole-y.

Oscars Badly Dressed

The Fire-Your-Stylist Group:

Anne: Poor Anne Hathaway. She usually looks so pretty. I don’t know how they got her to wear a red lobster suit to the Oscars, but I’d sue if I were her.

Oscars Badly Dressed

Michelle:Notice the sci-fi theme in this years outfitting? I’m not sure if Michelle was going for the large-headed alien look, but well, she was very successful with that. And she doesn’t look too bad either. Definitely needs to fire the stylist though.

Oscars Badly Dressed

Some lady:Is it just me, or is this dress actually a more conservative version of a swimsuit?

Fire Your Stylist at Oscars

Another lady: Monotony at its most-heartbreakingly brutal. Brown monotony too. Yawn.

Fire Your Stylist at Oscars

Halle: How can someone who looks like that look like she was just squished by a massive giant? And what’s with the pieces of clinging fabric at the bottom of the dress? Ouch.

Fire Your Stylist at Oscars

Amy: She looks so old. So, so, so old. And so frumpy.

Fire Your Stylist at Oscars

Scarlet: I really hate it when beautiful, stylish women make such terrible outfit decisions. And the hair. Seriously?

Fire Your Stylist at Oscars

Oprah: Oprah, Oprah, Oprah. We all know that you don’t have the body of young model, but why stuff yourself in a dress WAY TOO SMALL? It makes you look like Ursula (I’m telling you it’s a sci-fi theme).

Fire Your Stylist at Oscars

Gorgeous Ladies Group:

Cate: This is by far my favorite Oscar look this year. Cate Blanchett looks STUNNING. Not only is her dress very creative, she also looks as ethereally beautiful as she did in The Lord of the Rings.


Oscars Beautiful

Mandy: I can’t believe I have this dress in this group, but after much thinking, I decided that she looks really pretty. Her palish skintone and the palish dress and the sequins sewed onto chiffon and the trailing thing and everything make it definitely a do.

Oscars Beautiful

Mila: I like this a lot. Kinda. The color is interesting, and the design is also interesting. Overall, she looks good.

Oscars Beautiful

Natalie: Can you believe she’s pregnant and she looks this good? Wow. The color is my favorite part about this dress. How classy and elegant!

Oscars Beautiful

Bieber’s Girl: This isn’t at the Oscars (it’s at an Oscars after party), but man, does this kid look gorgeous or what? The red dress is absolutely perfect in every single way. The shade, the style, the girl herself. Stunning.

Oscars Beautiful

(On a side note, it’s Bieber’s 17th birthday today. When is this kid gonna start looking like a man? And what will happen when he does?)

Quick note: Since I look forward to this post ALL YEAR ROUND, I am so happy that several people have tweeted, emailed, and Facebooked reminding me to wear my Vogue hat. Thanks for reminder! :)

Shoes + web = love

Wow. Beddi.

Which would you get?

I’d get the Firefox one :)

Hattip: The awesome Oula Farawati


Bottlecap theory: Kill all babies

B (calm): I have a great theory on how to evolve the human race. Stop making safety bottle caps. That way, all the stupid babies will die after swallowing medicine and stuff and we’d become smarter in the future.


Y (amused): Yeah, that is very stupid, cause it’s the parents that are stupid.

AG (more enraged): SHE’S CRAZY.

B (still calm): But that’s the other side of the coin. Stupid parents would keep killing their babies and they won’t be able to breed stupid kids.

AG (still enraged): But that way you’re not killing the right babies, you’ll be killing the CURIOUS babies! We don’t want to kill the curious babies. We want to keep these future Einsteins and get rid of the real idiots.


Just a quick note for those of you who are wondering that it’s probably gonna be one busy week. Blogging will be intermittent. Sorry if I didn’t reply to any emails, I promise I’ll get back to you soon.

Over and out.

How to get away with anything while driving in Jordan

It’s hard to find a society with three tested and patented ways that will help you get away with being an asshole on the road.

World, I present you with these three tricks. 

1. The hand is your friend.
Your hand is like a magician’s wand. Stick it out of the window and the whole street is suddenly happily waiting to be subjected to your holy idiocy.

It gives you the right to cut the line of cars waiting to u-turn and go first. It gives you the right to sharply swerve and endanger the lives of others because you are late to work. It gives you the right to do something really stupid that is made okay with your handly apology.

Well, I have a newsflash for you. I don’t know what sort of twisted logic goes through your head, but your handly apology does NOT FRICKIN’ MAKE IT RIGHT.

2. Flashers take you out of the space-time continuum.
This trick is my favorite. It is even better than the magician’s hand.

I bet you had no idea that that red button with the triangle can actually make your car disappear. Seriously! Hazard lights somehow take your car out of the space-time continuum, allowing you to do all sorts of amazingly dumb things like parking in the middle of the freakin’ street. Or driving at 0 miles per hour because you’re on the phone. Or reversing on a main road.


3. Annoy the crap out of people and you will get your way.
It’s hard to describe this trick without getting enraged. If you tailgate me, I WILL NOT MOVE INTO THE WRONG LANE cause your holiness is enjoying going over speed limit. If you honk your ass off, I will not somehow find myself parked perfectly. If you park in front of my garage, I will not take a cab.

Being annoying is just annoying.


I absolutely refuse to give up my right on the street. If it is my turn, then screw you, wait for yours.

This is my request to everyone to not give up your rights either. It only makes things worse.

Benihana Kuwait: Bloggers for one, one for all



My Benihana Experience

A few days back I posted about Benihana opening up at the Avenues and yesterday night I decided to pass by with Nat and try it out. The service wasnt too bad for a restaurant that’s just been open for a few days and the staff were really friendly. The restaurant itself is made up of islands and bars with a grill in the middle of each one. You sit around the grill and the chef will come to your table and prepare the food right in front of you which makes things entertaining. It’s actually why I prefer sitting at the bar in Japanese restaurants in general, since you can talk to the chef and watch them put your dish together. The problem with my experience last night though was with the food, it was disappointing to say the least.

We ordered beef negimayaki for starters followed by an Orange Blossom maki and a Hibachi Chicken. The negimaki arrived looking good and was probably the best thing we had there even though I prefer Maki’s negimaki which has a richer teriyaki sauce. The Orange Blossom was very ordinary, wouldn’t order it again. Now the Hibachi chicken which is basically grilled chicken, that was the worst. The chicken was very chewy (I could swear it was undercooked if not raw) and tasted terrible. Even after I had the chef add some more teriyaki sauce in hopes of improving the taste it didn’t work. I tried to dip it into the sauces that came with the chicken but it was hard to figure out if they were actually making things worse or not. Nat only ate one piece of chicken and left the rest while I needed my protein since I’m on a strict diet and forced myself to eat my whole plate (I can do that) but the after taste was really bad. Even the rice and the veggies that came with it tasted bad AND were under cooked. Once we left I considered picking up a frozen yogurt from Pinkberry even though I hate frozen yogurts but I just needed something to get rid of the aftertaste. A few moments later we ended up at Chocolate Bar ordering the gooey chocolate cake (bye bye diet).

I shot the two videos [video one and video two] above of the chef preparing our meal. Benihana are known for the live shows they perform when preparing your dish so I was expecting to see [This] but ended up with the above. Would I go back to Benihana? No I wouldn’t. Their sashimi and makis are pretty cheap (KD1.5 for 5 pieces of Salmon sashimi for example) but there are two other Japanese restaurants at the Avenues, Wasabi and Maki, and I would prefer either one of those to Benihana.

The above post is a reproduction of Mark Makhoul’s original post on his blog 2:48AM. Mark, a blogger living in Kuwait, is now the subject of a $18,000 lawsuit filed by the Kuwaiti franchisee of global Japanese restaurant chain Benihana. Mark’s crime? Posting a mildly critical restaurant review on his blog, 2:48AM. A frank but even-handed review, even if negative, does not warrant legal action and that this is not how global brands like Benihana should engage with bloggers.

Despite a massive outcry on blogs, social and mainstream media, both Benihana in Kuwait and Benihana of Tokyo, the New-York based franchisor, have steadfastly refused comment and the court case is, as of the time of writing, still set to commence on 8 March 2011.

Benihana in Kuwait first deleted critical comments from its Facebook page and then blocked anyone who had been outspoken against them. Benihana of Tokyo has not replied to a single request made using the contact form on its website, despite a promise to return comments within 24 hours. Neither has it responded to calls on this from bloggers and journalists.

We are defending bloggers’ rights to freedom of expression.

We believe that suing a consumer for expressing an opinion is totally unacceptable. We believe that a company arrogant enough to ignore the very real expressed concerns of thousands of consumers is arrogant enough to think it can press ahead with this suit – one which would set a very worrying precedent for Middle East bloggers. We want to send a clear message out – that today’s consumer has the right to express an opinion online – whether that be satisfaction or dissatisfaction – without fear of bullying and litigation from companies.

Consequently, today, 14 February 2011, bloggers are posting a copy of Mark’s original My Benihana Experience post to their own blogs and Facebook pages.

In an effort to highlight both Mark’s predicament and Benihana’s apparent keenness to sue bloggers, friends of Mark and fellow bloggers around the world can join us in re-posting a copy of Mark’s original Benihana post today. They sued him – will they sue all of us?

It’s not too late to join us! The day is young…

You can follow the hashtag #BenihanaKUW on Twitter and Like the Boycott Benihana Kuwait page on Facebook.

‘Tis the end of software as we know it
(Remember when it was a million disks to install a 10MB program?)

Today, I had to use four DVDs to install the latest version of Adobe Photoshop on my desktop computer at work. My screen read: “Insert disk 1, and please turn off all programs currently running in the background, browsers included”. The DVD ran for a good 15 minutes as I patiently waited for the installer to ask me to install disk 2, followed by disks 3 and 4.

The entire process took a little over an hour, during which I was unable to check my emails, work on any other design software, or even browse Twitter on TweetDeck, a third part Twitter app.

A few months ago, the same software, Adobe Photoshop, was launched on the iTunes App Store for mobile usage. I downloaded, installed, and was working on it on my iPad in under three minutes. Granted, the app is an extremely “lite” version of desktop Photoshop, but that does not ease the frustration. After all, thanks to Apple, it’s a world of apps. All you need to do is develop a need, easily find an “appy” solution for your need, then install the solution within minutes with a tap of a finger.

The way was paved for an appy world during an Apple keynote in June 2007. That day, Steve Jobs wowed the crowd at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) like no one else can. He informed the audience that the iPhone, announced a month prior, would support third-party “web apps,” in which any developer could develop native applications then sell them on the Apple-managed App Store. Developers were free to set any price for these apps, and would receive 70% of the profits.

Although the iPhone introduced impressive hardware and software innovation, it was this App Store that changed the essence of consumer technology by creating a new method of digital content distribution. It went on to not only influence other phone manufacturers, who launched similar stores, but even more conventional gadgets like television sets, as the new Google TV proves. This month, the influence of the App Store has finally reached the personal computer.

From, describing their yet-to-be-released operation system, Lion: “We took our best thinking from Mac OS X and brought it to the iPhone. Then we took our best thinking from the iPhone and brought it to iPad. And now were bringing it all back to the Mac.”

One element that definitely falls under the “best thinking” category is the concept of aggregating third-party software, now available on Mac desktops and laptops, and dubbed the “Mac App Store”. Not only is software made more affordable, it’s also easier for consumers to handle. After 24 hours of release, Apple announced that there was a total of more than one million downloads. As is the case with existing apps, the average prices on the Mac App Store range from completely free to $20. Apple is selling its own iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand media apps for $14.99 each. Other developers are releasing apps around this very affordable price point, too. Just click once, and your new app is downloaded, installed, and ready to go.

This is good news for almost all parties involved.

From the consumer side, the App Store provides an amazingly rich and accessible platform. As it is a multitude of companies and individual developers supplying apps, there is an endless variety of potential new applications ranging from the niche to the absurd. It is the essence of the Long Tail, where consumer needs will drive the market as opposed to mass appeal. I am personally very excited to see the end of CDs.

mac app store
For developers and companies, partaking in the software industry is suddenly as easy as developing a website. The Mac App Store means that they don’t have to worry about securing payment methods, running their own servers, or spending huge amounts of money marketing themselves to ensure that consumers can find their software. Apple serves the files and handles payments. The interface categorizes apps based on need in one central location. The potential for applications will explode again when service providers begin offering cross-platform mobile apps.

The Mac App Store changes everything we know about software and how it is used, distributed, made, and shared. What Apple has done is raise the bar on the entire model of software distribution. At the heart though, it all boils down to one thing: the new Mac App Store represents a new era of integration. Your apps and all the data on them will be in sync, whether on your phone, tablet, or desktop computer. It’s time to embrace that. And probably get a Mac. They’re better machines, anyway.

[Originally published in Venture, January 2011. Written by Roba Al-Assi.]

More Hyperlink articles:
Its Time to Learn How to Surf
Its Real Time
Start a Blog is NOT a Social Media Strategy
Advertising on the Information Highway
Social is the Word
The iPad Will Change the World
Does the Internet Now Speak Arabic?
Google You: Your Professional Brand Online
Left that Copy
Virtual Goods: A Dollars Worth of Pixels
Dial the Web
It’s a Wiki Wiki World


This is the funniest video ever: Tamer Hosni crying his eyes out after being booed out of Tahrir.

Mashrou Leila: Revolution Generation

The great Mashrou Leila just released a Clint Eastwood cover called “Ghadan Yawmon Afdal”, a dedication to today’s Arab youth.


مبسوط، ما بني شي
مخبى الشمس بكرشي
مالي عازه، بس مش مطول

غداً يومٌ أفضل يومٌ أفضل، يومٌ أفضل…

بقى جاي يحكيني إبن الكلب
عن كل قضايا العالم
يا رح تتصفف بجانبه،
يا أما انك ظالم

بقى تتعلم تتفادى أحاديث
بعمرها بتوديش

لا رح تنقذ أهلك
ولا رح بتغير عالم،
شنا الناس دايماً بتنتقم
وعمرها ما بتحبش

قوم بلاش ما تنفصم
أشرفلك بس تطنش،
حتسيبك بوعظات جاي
من عمارات من عاج،
حكيتهم خيي بتستاهل
وإلا بس طعاج

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