AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: May 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

On May

The summer has come. Happy, beautiful, sunny summer. The weather is warm. My bones are warm. The ice cream tastes better than ever. Sitting outside all day, all night, all month. The smell of jasmines. The sound of poplar trees. The crowded streets. The good spirits.

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Can you really archive time?

2007: On March | On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2008: On January | On February | On March | On April | On May | On June | On August On September | On October | On November

2009: On July  | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2010: On January | On February | On March | On April | On May | On June | A Captioned July An UnCaptioned August  | On September  | On October | On November | On December

2011: On January  |  On February   |   On March   |  On April  |  On May  |   On July

2012: On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2013: On January | On Februaury | On March | On April | On May

Salalem and Toot Ard Performing Tonight at DumTak

Don’t miss out on Salalem’s performance tonight at the DumTak Festival. You can buy tickets online here.

Those of you who regularly read this space know how obsessed I am with Salalem. That’s not to mention how much I love these guys as people. Jimi = <3

Also performing tonight are Toot Ard, also one of my favorite Arab bands.

Seriously, don’t miss out. Get your tickets NOW!

Dum Tak awesomeness this week!

Exciting! :)

For more: DUM TAK.

Things that piss me off

Not just piss me off. Rage. Inability to function. ANGER.

1. A slow Internet connection.
2. A laggy computer.
3. Buffering YouTube videos.
4. People who speak in a low voice (also, inaudible noise thanks to a broken headset).
5. Bad kerning.
6. Terrible re-designs.
7. Bad user experience.
8. Run-on sentences.

Shut Down the Press

In Jordan, the press is stupid.

In Jordan, the press stupidifies the public.

In Jordan, the press needs to be shut down. They do much more harm than good, and even as someone who likes to be in the know, I’d rather have no information at all than shitloads of bad information.

Shut down the press.

Maybe you can only fight stupidity with stupidity.

Shut down the press.

Futurism in the age of Google

When my Gmail asked me if I wanted to try out the new Hangout widget in place of the regular GChat one, I clicked yes, of course. I always click yes, because I’m a webbie, a technologist, a wannabe futurist.

Fast forward a few hours later, when my Android phone buzzes that a friend is inviting me to a hangout. I click accept, and lo and behold, there is my friend on my phone’s screen. At the same time, since I was sitting on my cameraless desktop, he was also on my desktop computer. He saw me through my phone. I saw him through his desktop’s camera. He was chatting through his phone. I could hear him on my headset.

It was like magic, the seamless connectivity between my phone and my desktop. The seamless conversation. The trippiness of two mediums for one point of contact. It’s insane, actually. I’m a technologist. This is what I do all day. Yet, here I am, sitting on my desktop, amused to death by the magic of it all. Futurism in the age of Google isn’t about the future. It’s about now. Shit, I’m so tripped out.

Shit, does the fact that I recognize the magic mean that I am becoming really old?

I think I’m in love

One of my favorite Bowie songs. By one of the world’s (Universes’?) coolest people. On the job. IN ACTUAL SPACE.

Ohmygod. My heart can’t take this.

Chris Hadfield, I love you.

How creepy is it that this what Jerry Seinfeld looks like today

So I somehow came over a recent picture of Jerry Seinfeld.

He looks like this today:

At first, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Is that really him? The Jerry of my youth?

So I googled pictures of him.

And shit, he really does look like your next door 3amo.

Growing up is creepy, brother.

What Being a Person Trained to See Feels Like

Trained eyes don’t function like untrained eyes, because they are trained to see more. It is never simply a chair, a website, a ketchup bottle, or a printed word. It is grids and geometry. It is a series of decisions made by someone else. It is technical limitations in a world that inherently hates limitations.

Visual training is a strange process with no expiration date. You are not born with the ability to see. Yes, your system perceives shapes and colors around you, because your biology is built that way. Inherently though, you are blind, because your brain fills in what it wants to see, ignoring everything else.

Growing up with an artist and an art educator for a mother helped me develop my visual skills from a young age. I don’t remember when I started drawing, and I took my first advanced painting class at the age of 13. I would spend days trying to imitate the light play taking place on the faceted surface of a crystal water vase.

Yet, even with that, when I was a freshman art student, I sat in the studio of Jordan University horrified at my own blindness. I could see that the surface of the Venus I was trying to replicate on paper was more curved at the bottom because of the light and shade, but my eye perceived it as straight, because the actual sculpture was straight. I yelled at my brain a lot that semester, going into conversations with myself about the insanity of how humans are built. The brain imagines the way things look based on per-conceived notions, and it’s hard to unimagine. Drawing is actually really easy when you convince your stupid brain to stop seeing on its own. It took a while, but I was eventually successful.

You are not born with the ability to see. Your eyes don’t see anything. Your brain is the one working.

I am lucky to be able to see how the beveled shadows beneath modal boxes on websites give an impression of depth. I am lucky to be able to see how the serifs on that sign make it more legible from a distance. I am lucky to be able to see that that color isn’t orange at all, it’s actually a combination of cyan, white, and magenta.

Being able to see is poetic. Life becomes much more beautiful, and much more ugly. Start training yourself, because you could be blind right now.

The best way to start training is to add a layer of “why?” to your thought process. Of course, not everything around you is built with intent, but many things are, especially in nature, thanks to evolution. Why is the tree curved like that? Why is the website based on three columns? Why is the poster using that particular typeface? Why does the shadow look like it’s curved?

Why?

When I die

Awesome poet unknown

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