A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: August 2012 (Page 2 of 5)

Spanish fresco “restored”

I. Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

From the BBC:

An elderly parishioner has stunned Spanish cultural officials with an alarming and unauthorised attempt to restore a prized Jesus Christ fresco.

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) by Elias Garcia Martinez has held pride of place in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza for more than 100 years.

The woman took her brush to it after years of deterioration due to moisture.

Cultural officials said she had the best intentions and hoped it could be properly restored. The woman, in her 80s, was reportedly upset at the way the fresco had deteriorated and took it on herself to “restore” the image.

BBC Europe correspondent Christian Fraser says the delicate brush strokes of Elias Garcia Martinez have been buried under a haphazard splattering of paint.

An Unexpected Turn on Rainbow: AlQuds “Rebranding”

As Hinewia commented on the Instgram, it appears like AlQuds has started selling scoops of flavored falafel.

It is awe inspiring how quickly “The King of Falafel” changes his store. Some times the walls are lime green, some times they’re beige. The sign has changed over five times in the past ten years.

Now, I’m all for change, but what freaks me out about change happening in Falafel AlQuds is that many of the other things around it seem to treat AlQuds as a trend setter.

Is this neon/psuedo-60s/soda-shop trend next? I’ve noticed that there are some other places that already carry it over, including a burger joint in the beginning of Rainbow with a huge vertical neon sign in Comic Sans or something similar.

On the bright side, 60s-style branding is so much more in line with the historical spirit of Rainbow street than “village style“. It is also less visually horrifying. I do wish it was at least in Arabic though.

Or maybe, just maybe, this country will one day start hiring real designers. Consider this my wish upon a pink logo.

Ah… the next few months are going to be interesting.

Previously on top of the falafel stall:

I couldn’t find anything older. Who has a picture of the ancient green one from the early 2000’s?

Take It Easy; We’re Just Holograms After All

From “The Grand Design” by Stephen Hawkinh:

Classical science is based on the belief that there exists a real external world whose properties are definite and independent of the observer who perceives them. In philosophy that belief is called realism.

Though realism may be a tempting viewpoint, as we’ll see later, what we know about modern physics makes it a difficult one to defend. For example, according to the principles of quantum physics, which is an accurate description of nature, a particle has neither a definite position nor a definite velocity unless and until those quantities are measured by an observer. It is therefore not correct to say that a measurement gives a certain result because the quantity being measured had that value at the time of the measurement. In fact, in some cases individual objects don’t even have an independent existence but rather exist only as part of an ensemble of many. And if a theory called the holographic principle proves correct, we and our four-dimensional world may be shadows on the boundary of a larger, five-dimensional space-time.

Turtle Green Routine: What It’s Like to Go to the Same Place Every Day

Go to Turtle Green after work, every single day.

Buy a pitcher of Herbal Red Heaven.

Walk up the stairs and say hello to the regulars — in this place, everyone is a regular.

Share a couch with the friends who are as regular as you. Amuse yourself with the notion that you end up there with them on that couch on a daily basis, and never with previous planning. No one ever calls to ask “Hello, are you going to be at Turtle Green?” Twice though, it did happen that a message that said “SHU! I didn’t see you today at Turtle Green” was sent.

Read for a few hours. Work a bit. Chat with other regulars and the guys who work there. Take pictures with your phone every day. Let the month pass.

But August is ending, and with the end of August, this routine is done. You’ll go back to only visiting Turtle Green a couple of times a month, usually on Saturday morning. At least, till July comes again.

Meanwhile, your friends and daily routine will move to Negresco.

turtle green amman

August is Ending

With the summer vacation marking the start of a new school year, it is hard to not associate the end of a phase with the end of August.

The summer ends, and the heat starts to fade. The city becomes less crowded and goes back to its normal routine. The leaves start to fall. September is a month of newness.

Khalas. The summer is ending.

A new year thus starts.

Can do magic


See lanterns flying over the Citadel. Decide to get some for a friend’s birthday. Choose a spot in l’Weibdeh to fly them. Tell all your friends. Have them actually come. Discover that a musician has somehow chosen the same exact spot to shoot a video with his guitar during the same exact time. Shoot using the night mode on your phone. Post them on Instagram. Remember that the best things in life are moments as simple as flying a lantern that somehow didn’t catch on fire. It actually flew. Somehow.

Today at #AmmanFeRamadan: Hani Mitwasi #Jo

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Some Writing Advice from Clarion 2012

It is hard to not enjoy the list of writing advice compiled by a recent graduate of Clarion’s Writer Workshop, from the workshops themselves.

Here are my favorites:

“One of the most important things I’ve learned here is that the shit should always hit the fan. THROW SHIT AT THE FAN.”

“Start with the goose bumps.”

“There’s all kinds of possibilities with a dead body.”

“I want your stories to kill people.”

“One really great strategy of fiction is to find the thing that a character absolutely will not do, and make the story force him to do that.”

“Dialogue is always a negotiation. Someone has more power than the other, or has something the other person wants, or loves the other more.”

“I rarely quote Hemingway, but he said ‘start the story where it starts, or halfway through.’”

“Readers create the character from the outside, not the inside. The writer does the opposite.”

“Reading stuff you don’t understand the first time is really good for you. Reading something you don’t like can teach you more about writing than something you love and vanish into like a warm bath.”


“Whenever you think you’re going to create a really strong character by putting “I” at the beginning of every sentence, you’re digging yourself a hole. It’s actually harder to bring “I” to life.”

HOW TO MAKE THINGS FUNNY. 1: Deadpan. People inside the joke aren’t laughing. 2: Distance. Charlie Chaplin said life seen in close-up is a tragedy, in long shot it’s a divine comedy. 3: Not too caring! Don’t make the characters too sympathetic. 4. Opposites Go Boom. 5: Piling on. 6: Everyone Has an Agenda. 7: Repetition. 8: Every moment of dignity should be punctured.

“To make a setting come alive for the reader, invoke at least 3 of the 5 senses. Taste and smell are the most vivid.”

“In-cluing, AKA Heinleining, is when you don’t infodump, you just show the tech or whatever working.”

“There are four reasons people commit crimes, in fiction: Love, Lust, Lucre, Loathing.”

General Romance Progression: Meet Cue. Acknowledgement of Feelings. Deeper Moment. Dark Moment. Resolution.

“In a short story, you get ONE of the following three things to be complex: structure, character, world. Unless you’re [FAMOUS AUTHOR]. [FAMOUS AUTHOR gets two.”

“Stories about death are always stories about life.”

“Shit can always get shitter.”

“I love stories about sinners who discover themselves by going in the wrong direction.”

“Loving someone and showing weakness/hesitation are the best ways to get a reader to connect to a character. Giving someone attitude is the best way to show activity (vs. passivity).”

“The moment that a character learns that magic is part of their world, when it was not widely known before, has to have a solid reaction—and it has to feel fresh.”

“Your character can go to heaven, but he brings his baggage with him.”

Today at #AmmanFeRamadan: Mawaheb Semi-final #Jo

If you’ve missed the talent show at Amman Fe Ramadan, tonight is your night to catch it live.

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