Sunday, December 28, 2008

Festive Fiascos

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Current Mood: Really sluggish....

Current Song: Happy Holidays from the Simpsons

Well, it's been a bit of a gong show getting the turkey dinner out and on to the table. Seriously, not even funny what's been happening the last few days. For one, it snowed like it was going out of fashion. It's the type of thing that we're not used to dealing with here on the lower mainland and it caused all manner of havoc.
One small example of that was turkey dinner. We prepared it with much forethought. there was strategic planning around the turkey and all of the fixings (I was in charge of pouring the ice-water...they don't trust me around these parts to do anything remotely helpful. Mind you, I'm an excellent cook, but not when Queen Bossies are in the kitchen). In any case, the dinner was set to occur Friday at 3 PM. Our family made it about a block down from our house, and got stuck in the snow. Due to the fact that there were two grandmothers in the car, they couldn't very well hike the block. So we were stuck with a 15lb turkey and many fixings.
The dinner didn't happen yesterday either. So it's today, with 2 day old turkey. I don't even want to look at it. In the first place, i'm not a big "meat" person...let alone large poultry. In any case, we'll suck it up and make the best of it.
Making the turkey itself was a chore. We don't eat bland food around here, so there are enough spices in that turkey to set your eyes on fire. It was in the oven forever. And because we washed it more thoroughly than anything, around hour 3, an area of warm pressure developed over the turkey and it was liquid bonanza. With fear of over fire, we were switching this and that to try to keep the whole thing from exploding. The kitchen looked like a scene from ER.

Needless to say, it's been a massive chore. But there has been a bit of boxing day shopping in the course (mind you that almost didn't happen because of the slush that now reaches your calves). SIGH!

This is why i don't celebrate. Too much hassle...and for what? I'm glad that holiday season is coming to an end. We need some semblance of normalcy around here, that is not punctuated by giant poultry and too much sugar.

Well, this is the last blog of the year (I'm spending a couple of days out and I won't write until the new year). In honour, I've done a small Meme, summarizing the year: I call it 40 Things of 2008

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Graduated with an MA and visited Paris, Did a blogathon and hung at out Pubs a lot (I don't drink, but it's good fun to be with friends)
2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any so I won't be keeping them or making them for next year. I find them too pointless. Though I would like to continue on my training as a powerbitch
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not that I can remember...and if they did, I guess their baby just wasn't that important to me :P
4. Did anyone close to you die?
All depends on your definition of close
5. What countries did you visit?
France and UK, and parts of Canada
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
- A job I absolutely love
7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory?
- July 18th - the deadline for my MA thesis
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Again, the MA thesis
9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't think there were any major failures because I didn't take many risks
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope, just a bad ear infection...thank god
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I didn't buy it, but the Nikon D40 camera that i got as a grad present...forever amusing
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
MAISers for powering through, my sister for her very busy schedule...
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
I can't say much in this arena, but at some points, maturity is the best method of handling things and we need to be vigilant of people's boundaries. That's all.
14. Where did most of your money go?
- school fees, a sad but very true statement.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The national choir I think...it was a great opportunity to sing with a talented group of people, and to travel. Also Blogathon, which was a lot of fun to do and I got to make some great contacts.
16. What song/album will always remind you of 2008?
Viva La Vida, hands down
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
happier or sadder? happier
thinner or fatter? the same, surprisingly
richer or poorer? Materially, about the same (I'm very careful with money) and in every other aspect, richer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Written for fun
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
checked facebook....seriously...this is sick
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
probably with family, and a big dinner, which didn't happen
21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
- mum, and HJ...but I'm not a phone person
22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Not so much my thing...
23. What do you not want to carry with you to the New year?
Risk aversion. I want to take more risks next year, so when I'm 50 I'm not regretting my life.
24. What was your favourite TV program?
Greys and the various others. I recently got into Corrie Street
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
mmmm...no not really...i do from time to time reprioritize certain people...it's not really their fault...
26. What was the best book(s) you read?
Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb and the Memory keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards...both amazing books...
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
- Ryan Scott
28. What did you want and get?
Almost everything...i have been lucky to get whatever I wanted in time...this year was no different...
29. What did you want and not get?
My dream job...but all in time...that's the focus for next year
30. What were your favourite films of this year?
- Wow, I soo don't remember...I think Get Smart was good....other than that, I don't remember what I saw....oh yes, Atonement
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 26, and as usual, I asked for no fuss...then i went to london the following day....oh yes, and for some reason I cried...
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
immeasurably? hmmm...nothing...everything is good the way it was
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
The usual....classic...pretty monochromatic....longer hair this year
34. What kept you sane?
- My many new friends, and blogging...and singing and family
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Strombo of course...
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Hm....I don't think there was one particular one...but the US elections were fascinating to watch...also the many shocking horrible atrocities that I view as part of my life's work...
37. Who did you miss?
I've gotten over missing people in the old sense. I think the most important people in your life are around you when you need them. Anyone that really deserves to be missed is there.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
All of the MAISers who bring incredible skill, talent and humour to everything they do...
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Everything happens in time....when it's your time, things happen for you. You just gotta wait it out...
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
"Change is gonna come" by Seal

Alright, my dears. Have a good safe New Year and we shall be talking in 2009 :) Ciao!

Monday, December 22, 2008

'Tis The Season Blah Blah

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Current Mood: Sneezy (another mini-cold coming on. woke up feeling not so hot)

Current Song: That Christmas Theme Song from "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown"
You know that it's officially christmas when Zoyah has managed to drag you into the abyss that is the kitchen never to be let out again, in an exercise she calls "Christmas Baking". We'd been baking for days this last week. DAYS! Mind you everything turned out just the way it should: delicious and fatty. So really, it's all good. I was in charge of all difficult things including smashing the candy canes for the peppermint bark, and also breaking up the bark (which hurt my wrist). I am also in charge every year of making butter tarts. thanks to a recipe from an old coworker Jill, they turn out predictably the same every year. Not a change to be had at all. However, because I was so helpful, Zoyah now owes me two cheescakes and her first-born. Also related to the jubilee related favours that I did for her.

As you might all know, we have one christmas enthusiast in the house, so all things center around her activities and such. The tree has also been put up for now. It gets busier every year. This year it has lights on it as well. It's very nice.

I for one, am not a christmas fan. I think it's too much fuss for something that technically I don't even celebrate. It's also too much money on a good day. Sigh. Oh well. You do what you can for those you love.
In other news, it's snowed about 20 cm since yesterday. Another big system coming in for wednesday. Not sure how that turkey-related festivities will go. I also hate being the man of the house (I need a husband out of convenience really. To dig me out of snow and to reach the top shelves for me). I will shortly be banished out into the tundra in order to dig my civic out of the snow and clean up the side of the house. But on the bright side, I really don't have to work out today and I'll have stellar arms this week (painful, but stellar).

Pictures below. One of the baking bonanza that ensued and the other of a stylized christmas shot. Baking includes (from top left and clockwise): Sugar cookies, Leibkuchen, Butter Tarts, Peppermint Bark, Chocolate chip zuccini cupcakes, Almond Jam bars, Butterscotch Bars. Will be writing last blog of the year sometime next week. Until then, happy snow cake and egg nog everyone!
PS: to those of you who like to comment on the blog, please do so in the comments section. you don't need to email me. I still read the comments :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Paris 2008 Adventures

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Current Mood: Revelling

Current Song: I love Paris in the Springtime (by no coincidence!)

So I've been back from Paris for a couple of days now. It's actually very nice to be home, with the craziness and the hubbub of that city. I did say that I would give a play by play on it, so here goes....go get yourself a cup of tea and settle in for the blog of the century!

The Flight Over the Atlantic

I had to first go to Calgary to pick up my aunt and cousin. From Calgary we departed for Montreal at 5 on a very chilly morning...very very chilly. It wasn't all that bad. It was about a 4 hour flight over. The 7 hour layover was okay, but the additional 5 hour delay did not make me happy. I was just about ready to catch the next flight over to Vancouver. Why the delay? It turns out that a giant ice storm hit montreal bringing with it, at first, snow, and then rain. This meant that the cargo carriers outside couldn't manouever their way over to our plane to load the luggage. This took nearly 4 hours to do. After that, the plane had to be de-iced, which took another while because the combination of solutions did nothing. We finally left Montreal when we should have been landing in Paris. It was long. And hard. Made harder by the fact that we had dinner at sometime around dawn...which is not a good time to be eating neon red chicken and rice (yuck).

When we landed at CDG, we got our bags and headed to the cabs to get to our hotel. The driver had no idea where our hotel was and asked me if I had a map or directions. At this point, I was quite agitated. We finally just ended up taking the train.

Having been on the road for about 2 days I was looking forward to taking a nice bath. Much to my dismay our room was the size of a closet. Compounded by the fact that there was no phone, the jubilee celebrations were the following day and I was dead tired, I nearly started to cry. We decided we'd stay at the hole in the wall for about 2 days and transfer over to a decent hotel for the rest of our visit. It was a hard 2 days.

The Jubilee Celebrations

We got ready early in the morning and set out to a buffet breakfast nearby. If you ever go to France, take plenty of money because Paris is expensive! Also, eat your fill in croissants...you may as well make it a worthwhile trip. A nice family from Avignon gave us a ride to the Paris Nord Exhibition Centre where the jubilee was being held. We were supposed to meet family from London there, but after about an hour and a half, we decided we'd just see them later since they hadn't shown yet. We headed for the already long lineup and stood waiting to be ushered in. The whole process of getting into the hall was exhausting. I felt like cattle. But in the end, we got in just fine, and settled into our spots. I went off for a little walk and ran into HJ (at this moment, it was the highlight of my trip). Whilst walking back to my spot, I saw that my aunts had found eachother...warm hugs all around...and the excitement grew. We sat through waiting for HH to show up. To our surprise, he brought his entire family...a complete treat! The celebrations continued into the night.

Sight Seeing Day 1: The Eiffel Tower...So This is It, Eh?

Day 3, we packed up our things and moved to a decent hotel, the Novotel in Le Bourget...which was not all that expensive, but came with soap...and a phone...imagine! the luxuries! We set out on the bus and then on the RER to get to Champs Elysees. We had lunch at the McDonalds filled with Ismailis. I treated myself to a Mocha from McCafe, a small separate part of the McDonalds that sells gourmet coffee and dessert (an idea, I think, we need to import). Check out the lemon tarts pic!


We took a lovely walk down the Champs and also took pictures in front of the Arc De Triomphe, which is beautiful. In our wonder at where the Eiffel tower was, we asked some nice french ladies to point us kindly in the direction, which they did (well, they told me, since I was the only one that spoke french in the 8 family members present). We took the metro to Trocadero and walked past the Museum of Man (Musee De L'Homme) and lo and behold there was the Eiffel Tower. Forgive me for saying this, but it's a bit of a disappointment. All I could think is, So that's it eh? For those ever headed in the direction of France, there is so much more to see....go see the Eiffel Tower, but don't make it the highlight of your visit. France is absolutely beautiful in its own regard; a metal tower is the least of those representations of beauty.

We also took an hour long boat ride down the Seine river. It was my drive by shooting type of tourism since I knew I wouldn't have enough time to see much of what we saw on this tour. I caught quick glimpses of sights like the Obelisk, the Notre Dame, the Louvre and the many palaces and bridges that dot the Parisian cityscape. Thank god for quick shutter speeds!
We said goodbye to our family from London at the end of the day and had dinner at the hotel (which came with restaurant). Fresh bread, a salad and some fries...good times...we settled into bed after that...a good night's sleep finally falling on us.

Salgirah Khushiali
This day was dedicated to the birthday of the Aga Khan so we spent a good chunk of it at the Exhibition Hall, eating, watching movies, dancing. I met a cute boy from Houston. He was impressed by me, and more by the fact that I could speak english fluently I think. A look of utter relief graced his face when I said "I'm well, how are you?" rather than "Pardon-moi?" Who can blame him? The language barrier is significant for the best of us. It was a long day, and I kept running into Vancouverites, which was rather nice. Having pieces of home is always pleasant.

Sightseeing Day 2


This day was a slower and longer sightseeing day. We headed over to the Opera area of Paris. As we left the Metro, I turned around to see the opulent and stunning Academie de la Musique. This building in itself is a masterpiece. Picture included! We toured around the Opera area, heading toward Lafayette Galleries...which makes Harrods look miniscule and insignificant. The three story christmas tree inside of the Lafayette was some indication of the calibre of product available. We came face to face with Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and so many more. It was a little bit of an overload quite frankly. We then headed over to the Palais Royale and the Louvre. I did of course, get a picture outside the famous pyramids built by IM Pei. How Da Vinci of me. It's a fantastic building and I will have to make a trip down again to go inside. there just is never enough time when you've got 2 days to view an entire civilisation. But now I have something to look forward to. After another visit to the Champs Elysees, we headed home to pack.

Au Revoir, Paris!

We headed back to the balmy -17 degree temperatures of Calgary after a short stop in Toronto. To my irritation, the following day I missed my flight back to Vancouver. Luckily I caught the next one...and good thing too, because it just crapped snow on us and most flights out of Calgary were cancelled or delayed.

Things I've learned from Paris.

I like things timely. I like to be on time and I like to get as much as I can out of my trips. Life is too short to dilly dally sometimes because you never know what will happen tomorrow.

I've tempered my expectations. I'm pretty good at it. It keeps me from not being so disappointed. Case in point: the Eiffel tower. sure it's nice, but meh.

My french sucks. I could get around, ask for directions, order meals and ask if they had a garbage can, but we need to get cracking on those french lessons in some formal way. It's a handy thing to have, so I might as well get on it.

There really is no place like home. After a total of 4 days on the plane, I breathed a sigh of relief as I saw us approaching Vancouver international. This was the first time I actually thought "I'm home." Most of you know that I've moved a lot in my life. Now I finally feel like I have roots.
There is no cap on the number of pounds a pigeon can weigh. You think the pigeons in Trafalgar square are fat. Well, just to wait. You can use the pigeons in paris as public transit. Forget buying a day pass, just strap yourself onto the pigeon and get going!

You can never have enough croissants. Ask the pouch I've developed. He'll tell you.

Well that's it for now. Enjoy the photos. A small sampling of course...and those of you who are my facebook friends, you can see the rest. Well, that's it for me! I shall write again soon. Take care of yourselves out there in the snow!

Friday, December 5, 2008

I, For One, Wish To Partake!

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Current Mood: Pretty phlegmy and hacky (I know those aren't words...Prorogue shouldn't be either)

Current Song: Migrations by Nitin Sawhney

Remember that time I said I would blog if something interesting ever happened? Well something did. I am going to Paris in 4 days. That's right, the one in France. I'm accompanying my aunt for the last leg of the Aga Khan's visit and will be there for about a week. It happened very fast and I spent practically all of tuesday and wednesday trying to secure flights and places to stay and researching how far we are from what and how much everything costs. Europe is expensive. But then again, you only have one life so you might as well live it, n'est ce pas?
I fly to Calgary on monday and then to Paris tuesday. I get back on the 16th. It'll be interesting. I'm hoping good things come out of it.
I keep thinking it's highly undeserved though on my end. Here I am, having accomplished not so much, and suddenly I'm going on vacation.

Speaking of accomplishments, I did end up getting bound copies of my thesis this week! wee! I'm not going to read it though partly because it makes me very sad that I'm not there anymore. Partly because I'm afraid I'm going to find a typo and embarrass myself. The dedication page made my mother tear up. It was either that or the awful red coloured shell that it has...ew....

So you've probably heard that our country is going to hit a wall if you don't live here. Parliament has been "prorogued" meaning suspended until January. This delays the nonconfidence vote and the possibility of a coalition government. I could swear these are things that should be happened in emerging democracies with autocratic roots. What the hell is going on? Might as well declare Marshall Law. Good grief. Well, at least the system is stumbling along something close to functionality. Mind you this is not a good time to be squabbling, given the impending financial blowup. On the plus side, gas is now cheaper! Start your engines everyone! vroom!

Okay, enough of this nonsense. I have to start packing, or at least pretend to look for things that I have to take along on the trip. Passport ...check. Flat iron...check. Sense of adventure...check!
I shall try and blog again before I actually leave on Monday....but if not, expect a full rundown when i get back. and of course, pictures :)
Au revoir mes amis.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stuff...And Things.

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Current Mood: A bit under the weather...so woozy...

Current Song: Better together by Jack Johnson (I'm so over him now...)

It's been largely uneventful after the Golden Jubilee Hullabaloo this week. Things got off to a roaring start at the beginning of the week and now we've come to a screeching halt. Which is fine, really, because I think we could all use the rest now. Though, not for long, because the joy that is Christmas is now coming up (can you tell I'm thrilled?). Sigh. So today, I decided to write about some bits and pieces over the last week.

Mating Calls:
My sister and I were talking at a street corner some evening last week (i realise i made us both sound like hookers. But we were waiting for the Aga Khan to roll on by), and we were discussing big cars. She has an affinity for gas guzzlers that are practically the city version of monster trucks. She said it's kind of like a mating call. Birds have great plumage, deer have big antlers and Men have giant cars. Though I must admit, trucks have their sex appeal. Never would I actually drive one. I'll stick to my good ole reliable honda, thank you. Yet another useless conversation. Refer to the smurfs one below. You'll see where we're going with this.

I am thinking more about a shiney scalp. I like bald men recently (not balding...there's a difference). It's hot. Whatever.

Books:
I am somewhere through a third of the "Witch of Portobello" by Paulo Coelho. At times, it's cripplingly esoteric (He did after all write the Alchemist and the Zahir) but he writes with magnificent fluency. He's somewhat like an old friend that's really eay to talk to. Though, probably someone you don't want to hang out with too much because they might start to make you crazy. You know the kind.

My next project is "Can you Hear the Nightbird Call?" by Anita Rau Badami (author of Tamarind Mem, which i haven't read as yet). I accidentally bought it at Coles the other day. What? I had a gift certificate left over, so I happily added to my collection. You know I can't keep away for long...

Maintenance Phases:
I've probably said this before, and it's probably truer than ever. My family seems to be into maintaining friendships with people. I mean maintaining in the sense that you might a car or a pair of leather boots. Once in a while, we hang out, but I don't think I'll ever be one of those people who needs to see a particular person every single week. I start to shut down if it's too much. I think my closest friends know this. Surprisingly a lot of them are extroverts. Another weird thing I discovered from the Meyers Briggs. Wonder what they see in me (Probably my good looks).

Well I think that was all the thought that's happened this week. I shall write again if anything else happens in my life, though doubts are high. Okay picture of the week. I took it at a skytain station and changed the colours. I'm hoping they're getting better.

Please comment and let me know if they are or aren't and if you like them or you think I should stop assaulting your eyes.

Ciao for niao!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My First Guest Post!

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Current Mood: My voice is gone, I'm dehydrated, I'm exhausted, All my muscles hurt, but I've never been happier!

Current Song: A hacking cough by My Lungs.

Check out my guest post this week on Isabella Mori's Blog!

Lots of thanks to Isabella for the space on her blog. I'm happy I have a guest post at last! Now I'm a blogger (before I was a rambler).

Picture of the week: the three flags all Canadian Ismailis had in their hands, as we lined the streets of downtown vancouver a couple of days ago to welcome the Aga Khan to Vancouver! This particular gloved hand belongs to my younger sister :)


Monday, November 17, 2008

Everyday Faith

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Current Mood: Slightly lighter than that complete meltdown last week

Current Song: Something Indian

So I decided to photoblog it this time around. I got wind of the Golden Jubilee Banners downtown in Vancouver to commemorate the GJ of His Highness the Aga Khan, the leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims (of which I am one). So I went on a two-hour traipse through downtown vancouver and took some photos. They are below!
This particular one is from the Georgia Street onramp. I like that it's right beside that giant banner that says we're all canucks. I think it's so fitting. Because afterall, we really are! It's rather conveniently located right next to the Hockey Mecca of Vancouver too so it's particularly appropriate.


This next shot is taken from Robson street. I dangerously ran onto the crosswalk to get the shot. Yes, that's right. I live in the danger zone (okay, not really, the walk light was on)

This last one is from the Burrard Street Bridge. I didn't have the heart to walk the entire bridge but i did get on the pedestrian walk to snap this shot.
After this fun but tiring ordeal, I sufficiently have the right to say that I have done my week's exercise. No more! Now only eating! Okay, I'll work out again probably in a day or two. In the meanwhile I'm going to continue to enjoy the rest of this time. Watch out for a blog coming next week!
Adios!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Two Step Blog

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Current Mood: could be better, and definitely could be worse.

Current Song: Love Lockdown by Kanye (really good song! go listen! now!)

So, I have a two part blog today, because the topics are really more unrelated than they usually are (you never thought that would be possible did you?)

Part 1: Conversation with the Biology Student

Me: Hey, if smurfs choke, what colour would they turn.

Zoyah (in deep thought): Well, what colour is their blood?

Me: What am I, a smurf biologist? How the hell would I know?

Zoyah: Well do they blush?

Me (looking impish): ....uhm

Zoyah: Well, do they??

Me: Yes, I guess they do

Zoyah: So that means their blood is red, which would mean they would probably turn like a greyish blue....

Me: Thanks for clearing that up....

Why we even bother talking to each other is beyond me. Such garbage we concoct. I mean who would put this much effort into answering a stupid question like this? On the other hand, now I can impress my friends at parties. Popularity, here I come!

Part 2: I'm an arrogant bastard and I know it.

So I took something called the Meyers-Briggs typology index, which is a psychological personality test that asesses you on four different personality dimensions. My personality was coded INTJ (Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking and Judging). In a nutshell, my personality type makes up about 1% of the population, so we're pretty rare. It's also been coded as The Mastermind, the Scientist and some other thought and process oriented words. It's actually very accurate. It explains my general disregard for authority because apparently I don't care who it comes from, if it doesn't make sense, I'm ready to trash the idea. It also explains why I'm not a big fan of social mores. As one of my close friends said, I bore easily. Apparently, if you haven't managed to captivate my attention in the first 5 minutes. I'm out. Don't be offended, it's just that you're dull. That's all. It also says that I'm process oriented and I love systems. If it can't be analysed I don't want anything to do with it (that also explains the whole I-don't-believe-in-love-at-first-sight thing). And Finally, I am self confident, and slightly aloof (or as another personality profile put it, I'm an arrogant bastard and I know it). You can read my profile here. Should explain a lot about me.
You can also take the test here. Perhaps that'll be a nice change for your friends and family who are sick and tired of trying to understand you! Mine seem to have given up on me, and good for them, cuz this cookie doesn't crumble for anything!

Okay, very long blog entry this one. I shall be off. I'm sure i can find something to do :)
Until after le weekend!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm So Over It.

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Current Mood: a bit irritable. story to follow

Current Song: Benny Lava (stupid benny lava!)
So, I've had an interesting few days. It seems to be official that the Aga Khan is visiting us in the next couple of weeks. This means that everything has gone into high gear when it comes to getting ready for the events and essentially the rest of my life might have to be put aside to accommodate it. It seems to already be happening. An event that I was performing at now happens to fall on the same night that I have tickets to the Just for Laughs Comedy Tour. Tickets I've had for weeks! So guess who's not going anymore. I'm feeling teary just thinking about it. I nearly cried last night. It's by far the worst luck that you could have. Something good better come out of that evening or else nobody will have seen the wrath that is about to ensue. I swear it.
The meetings too are now the bane of my existence. I've always hated meetings. People essentially get together to confuse eachother and talk about what's not been done. They seem to be less productive than if someone just gave me a list of things to do and told me to get on with it. I would have no problems with that. But i guess the good thing is that I can incite the fear of God in people with my leadership style. Apparently that's a level 1 leadership style. Whatever that means. If I ever figure it out, I'll let you know. In the meanwhile, everything has turned to utter chaos. You might be seeing a lot of cranky for the next few days. Or maybe I'll just submit to the will of whatever is out to get me in this universe. You know how it goes.

Anyway, I better get on with it. I'm going on a cleaning spree today because the house is driving me nuts. I've got some things to do. Here's a picture!
PS: It appears that someone in Columbus, Ohio has become a Strawberry Ghetto frequenter. I'm always curious about who's reading the blog. Would be nice if you folks left a comment sometime....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Red, White and Bubbly

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Current Mood: surprised at how hard it is to type with nailpolish on

Current Song: Who's gonna Save my Soul by Gnarls Barkley

I am doing something that I have not done in a decade. I am painting my nails a garish colour...it's called succulent. I haven't actually painted my nails in about 8 years. I was never the girly type to start with and the last time i actually sat still to do this was first year of undergrad, when you're still optimistic about the world. The whole thing goes downhill from there. In any case, they will be succulent for about 2 or 3 days. I have also discovered I can't paint my left hand. Another odd ambidextrous thing...how strange.

I have recently rediscovered my public library. I just went through 3 books last month (not quite a record, but i'm back on the reading horse). I took out 3 novels. I'm comfortable a third of the way through the first one. This should be easy to do. The one i am currently reading is actually by an Ismaili author, Anar Ali. The book is a series of short stories and is called Baby Khaki's Wings. I'm not sure i'm impressed yet, though the stories are quite rivetting at times. Simple use of language. Will let you know what I think of it. I have started writing again as well. It's quite nice. I think tragedy gives me my writing roots. I was always one to write teen angst poetry (thank god, most of it is tucked safely away on the book shelf). I think tragedy makes you question your own being and re-evaluate yourself. I do that through writing. Plus it helps you make up tragic scenarios for the future.

One last comment i guess would have to be on the recent presidential election in the USA. I think that the Americans certainly made the expected choice. There were a few surprising victories in there. Now to see what will happen on the world stage, and more importantly, how the conservative Canadian government will relate to our now liberal neighbours down south. Mind you they are moderately liberal from what i'm hearing, but who knows. I'm interested to see how the next 4 years will pan out. For now, we're sitting pretty I think. Kudos to the States. The rest is to be seen.

Alright, i'm going to do some things now, perhaps some of it might actually be work. I might surprise ya! ciao for niao!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Wilderness

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Current Mood: meh

Current Song: Better in Time by Leona Lewis

So the halloween has come and gone. We had some pretty awesome looking pumpkins. Mind you, not a lot of children came up for candy. More for me. I somehow managed to avoid the massive crowds of sugared up children by making Zoyah get the door and then I didn't have to smile and pretend I liked anyone's costumes. It was good times. However, my stomach can no longer handle the junkfood I used to be able to eat. I guess that's probably a good thing innit?
This weekend we also went to a sample shoe sale. My mother and I are both lucky enough to have size 6 feet (stop laughing...they may be small but I kick hard). Women are like vultures. Vultures I tells ya. There was much scratching and snatching and eye gouging (okay, not so much the eye gouging). But there were some women that didn't waste time, holding one shoe in their hand and walking around with one foot bare trying on shoes as they saw them. it was a mad house and a good social experiment. Like animals. There were even a few that circled you like hyenas. the moment you put that purple sling back down they jumped on it, sometimes taking your hand with them. Completely insane and much fun. I finally did get the red coloured shoes that i've longed for all my life. Now I think my shoe life is complete. Which of course means, that I will be going back for more. Oh happy days.

Anyway, that brings us to the end of my weekend adventures. Here's a picture of the pumpkins we carved. One has a spider on its face and is having somewhat of a panic attack (that's Zoyah)...and the other one is throwing up (also Zoyah). Enjoy. We shall commiserate soon!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Copacetic

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Current Mood: Okay. I kept waking up in the middle of the night, so not sure how i'm doing yet...

Current Song: Momma's Boy by Chromeo

Yes, i'm a little late writing the blog, but have been caught up in some other things that have been taking up my time. Meetings and such. I remember the good old days of choir where I didn't mind having meetings all the time, and was constantly on some call or another. I find that the older I get, the more my patience for them wanes. Which sucks, because I know that I'm going to have tons of meetings at work and that. But perhaps it's just the off-topicness that I hate. If we stick to an agenda and get it all done in the allotted time, I'm happy as a clam. If not, I think that's where my qualms come in about that.

I think I have found two of my favourite spots in the city. This last week I had to go take a graduate recruitment test at UBC (I forgot to take a camera, as I should have!). And there is a great peaceful outpost by the Chan Centre that has the most dazzling view of the water and the mountains. That's spot number 2. Spot number 3 is the Lonsdale Quay where I met a friend for coffee this monday. Only the unemployed could meet for coffee in the middle of a weekday. But I didn't feel bad about it. Plus I got to go to a great little coffee shop called Bean Around the World, where a little old man served us. It was great and very kitschy. And I took my camera so I got some nice shots in. You'll notice the one beside the posts. that's one. Another one is below.

Vancouverites forget how lucky they are. I for one, and I know I've said it before, love the water. I love being near it. I am kind of a firey person so it keeps me calm and grounded and there is something so infinite about it, that it's undeniable. While it's now snowing in the East, we've been blessed with some wonderful weather, which is only now turning to rain. So you really can't complain. Well you can, but you'd be the weirdo.

Anyway, that's it for now. Enjoy the picture below. Next week, you'll get my halloween walk shot. A plus tard!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I Was Probably a White Man in My Previous Life

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Current Mood: meh...can't complain. Well I can, but nobody's here to listen

Current Song: Spinning by The Cranberries (I wish they had new music...sigh)

Well somebody has been complaining about my infrequent blogging (MOM!), so I decided to blog today, though I must say, I haven't any exciting news at all. I discovered that when I'm not busy, I'm even less motivated to be busy. I need to have my days crammed with things to do in order to get any energy. It's extremely bizarre, but hey, that's the way I roll.

I'm reading this book called " A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. Not sure if I mentioned it before. I think I might have. It's sort of new age-y about how to live your best life or something like that. He's got some good points, but it's one of those books, that when you're trained to use your head as an academic, it doesn't work. In a past life, I think I might have been a middle-aged white man who liked to stick to the status quo. Some of it, I really can't seem to buy at all. Other stuff makes perfect sense. But basically the whole premise is to be aware of yourself in the present and let go of the past and the future. But I think we all knew that somewhere inside...or did we....well...no use dwelling on it now.

I think perhaps if this whole international development thing doesn't work out, I might move to prague or something and become a writer (afterall, people keep telling me that I should write a novel or something). I might actually do that. It's one of those things that on my list of things to do before I die. Okay, well I'm going to start planning for that future instead of this other one with all its "work" and stuff. Who needs that. Once I become a best-selling author, I'm set!

Alright, on I get with my day. Later gaters!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Worst Fear ...

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Current Mood: really tired from running around all bloody day

Current Song: Lemon Tree by Fool's Garden

So, I have realised what my very worst fear is. Seriously, I think I've ground my teeth down worrying about it for a while now. My very worst fear is to write a novel...and have it turn out to sound like Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight". Seriously. No joke.

Okay, I'm exagerrating just a little bit. But I can think of several reasons why I don't like it. For one, it's ungodly in its redundancy. How many times can a look of fear/disdain/sorrow flit through someone's eyes anyway! Good heavens. It needs some major new vocabulary. It does, however do what it is meant to do, in that it keeps little ones entertained. The action doesn't start until far too much into the book. If I edited that book, it would probably be about a quarter its original size (this is why I don't edit...yet...I only rip apart the work of close friends). And lastly, and perhaps this was just a personal thing, the vampire Edward reminds me far too much of someone I knew. In some scenes I felt like I was back in my past (mind you the person I knew was not a vampire in the authentic sense of the word). And perhaps that's what was most disconcerting. It hit a little too close to home...eck!

Well anyway, I read it, and I'll never get that time back, so I might as well move the hell on. Okay next topic. We have a conservative government. That's over with. Okay next topic.

I went galavanting through the park this week because the weather was just too nice to resist. I have been outside a lot this week (which explains why my damn knees hurt!). But I took this photograph....have fun! I have to get going, so I'll keep it short. More news to come I'm sure :)

Ciao for Niao!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: The Subtle Face of Poverty

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Current Mood: Awake despite a late night

Current Song: Walking on Air by Kerli (it's a very weird song)

As you know, today is Blog Action Day 2008. All blogs that are signed up at http://www.blogactionday.org/ are taking part in the conversation on poverty. So I thought I would write a bit about what one of the most valuable lessons for people in my generation could be when it comes to the poverty issue.

As you know (or don't), I just finished a Master's degree in international studies. Most of my class, including myself, have great aspirations for solving problems of poverty around the world. We're of course, sorely tempted by those adverts on the television of happy looking Africans who are planting their farms or the South Americans who are happily investing away in their new indigenous crafts projects. Nothing wrong with that. There are of course, a tonne of good organisations that are doing their part in helping the world's most poor better their lot.

The one lesson I did learn about poverty is that we so often ignore our own problems and instead look outward into the world. My economics professor made us all acutely aware of the deplorable conditions that are facing First Nations people in this country. Many of them live in sub-standard housing where all the basics don't run: water, heating. Education doesn't meet the average Canadian rate. So then we have to question ourselves on why that really is.

I'm simultaneously disturbed and admiring of the new generation of youth who want to travel to developing countries and lend a hand. For those of you who live around me, you'll notice a Habitat for Humanity building complex not very far off. You'll also notice that the Food Bank is facing a major shortage and will probably not be able to serve many families during the holiday season. These are the subtle faces of poverty. They are the ones that don't show up on the television that often. They are the faces of poverty that are not exoticised. That doesn't mean that they are any less important.

So, what should we do? Well, before we buy our plane tickets to Masaka, Uganda, let's have a look at our own communities and try to make a difference here. We may be known as the developed world, but in some cases, we don't really live up to that name. I, for one, pledge to make more of a difference in my own community from now on. I haven't exactly been the most active. But I think it's time we have a good hard look at Canada and make as good an effort of looking inward, as we do outward.

To start making a difference, see the links below:

Canadian Association of Food Banks

Union Gospel Mission

Canadian Feed the Children

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pomp and Circumstance (Or Not)

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Current Mood: Headachey for the last 2 days (it's almost migrainey in nature. very unpleasant)


Current Song: Brick House by whoever way before my time.


So I graduated! yay! It was a very cold day, but a lovely sunny sunny day. And I was so glad to have my family there with me. I have to say I felt a lot better this time around. Partially probably because at my bachelors degree graduation, I had to take the day off work to graduate which really just took the mickey out of it. So this time around, it paid to be unemployed! Also, because the Master's degree students went first, I was surrounded by people from my program (program always makes it sound like I was in rehab). And so it was lovely to sit with them and share the day with my fellow peers and intellectuals. Once again, if it wasn't for my family, I don't know where I would be (probably not walking that stage again!)


Other than that, it's been back to looking for work. I am hoping something really wonderful comes along. At some point though, I think I better start looking into writing that novel that I so desperately want to write. Now, to come up with a story. Maybe I'll write about a boy wizard! no...wait, that's already been done....hmmmm


Finished Kiran Desai's "The Inheritance of Loss". It is simply amazing how much her style resembles her mother's style of writing...not my favourite style I must say. It was an interesting book and I can see how it might have won the prize. I wasn't bowled over by it. But perhaps I'm the only one...hmmm. On to the next project which is a combination of Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" and Zoyah's highly recommended "Twilight", after which apparently no book will ever live up to the standard so I might as well blow my eyeballs up.


Okay, one more thing. I'm taking part in Blog Action Day on October 15. The theme of this year's Blog Action Day is Poverty. So all participating blogs will be contributing to the conversation on poverty. And no it's not like Blogathon. You have to post at least 1 post on poverty and that's it. No energy-drink fuelled delirium at 4 in the morning. Check out the video!


Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

And of course, this is the picture you would expect! So enjoy it. And no, I won't be done until you can address me as Doctor at some point in the future. I'm just taking a life break (better start thinking about real estate, a vehicle and possibly a life partner. Can't hide out on campus all my life...or can i....)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I Promised No Flowers

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Current Mood: Headachey

Current Song: Black Black Heart by David Usher

This week has been long. Really really long, and uneventful for the most part. I'm hitting that brick wall again and it's not pretty. I did have a chance to see my friends from graduate school, and wallow with them in our unemployedness. That was fun. I for some reason feel like I have been unemployed for most of my life (well I guess if you count my childhood, then yes! I have!)

The world is not a nice place for recent graduates (**prepare for the rant**). You have all the background, but nobody is willing to give you a job without experience. But how are you going to get experience without a job? It's unpleasant and I feel like I have already had some experience and I shouldn't really have to start at the bottom of the ladder all over again. Not that I really expect to make exorbitant amounts of money or something (I'm not a pimp, remember?) Oh well. Here's crossing fingers that something good comes along soon. Or else I'm going to start climbing walls and this headache will probaby evolve into a full grown migraine.

In any case, picture of the week below. I took it accidentally. It's a picture of my sister's hands. They're cool, nah? Ah, accidents. Where would we be without them. Alright, time to get on with it. See you later!


Monday, September 29, 2008

Late Summer

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Current Mood: Sleepy
Current Song: Talking to the Walls by Finger Eleven

Just enjoying the last of summer now. We've had some incredible weather the last little while. It's felt like summer. I'm hoping that the streak continues through until October. It would be very nice to have that.

Yesterday, I went to Word on the Street with a friend of mine (a fellow lover of books). It's a nice festival, and quite small actually. But spending a few hours around some books never hurt anyone. Plus it was nice to be downtown again. I miss the water and I miss the general energy of the place. Though I have to say, we probably have the quietest downtown area in the world. At one point, my friend and I might have been the only people wandering the street. I could swear it. I'm thinking the festivals and downtowns in Toronto and Montreal are probably far more lively than over here. Although, Vancouver is a lovely city, I have to say.

Also watched a movie called Jodhaa Akbar over the weekend. It was one of those epic stories by Bollywood. The movie literally lasted 4 hours (and then you wonder where I get my stamina to sit through things). It was actually one of the best movies that I have seen in a while. Great on-screen chemistry. The story is basically about the great-grandfather of the guy who built the Taj Mahal (Shah Jahan) and his Hindu wife Jodhaa. Great story. Some people apparently hated it. Too many elephants, they said. You can never have enough elephants. In fact, I think that should be a prerequisite for all movies. At least one elephant. In any case, it was a great movie. Here's a song, if you're so inclined.

Picture of the week. I swear next week it won't be flowers, but I was trying the whole blurry foreground thing. I think it worked....


Okay folks, off to begin (or continue the rest of my day). Ciao for niao!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Uncompromising

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Current Mood: Happy to have had my haircut (thank you Crystal!)

Current Song: Shine by Coldplay

This week was our all night prayer, and yesterday I was sufficiently knackered, but seemed to have recovered rather well today. I also had my refill of ismaili so I can go about sinning until next ramadan. Ah, institutionalised religion...where would I be without you.

It's a funny thing, this autumn. I start to reminisce when it gets to about this time of year. When all the leaves and dying and the rain is coming down in sheets, there's some last ember of something that brings back some memories. Maybe it's the smell of coming winter or how the mall starts to smell and look different. Dunno. But I start to wish for some of those past memories. Today, however has been a bit different. I woke up with that "wouldn't it be just great if...." feeling. But have suddenly been reminded of my own growth

I think women face a hard choice in the world these days, especially when it comes to relationships. I think that we have to give up a lot and resign ourselves a bit more. Sometimes we even think that we know what we want, but don't really realise that we are capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for. I'm one of those prime examples and I know all too many women who make up the rest of the examples. I think the biggest lesson we can learn is to be uncompromising in our strength. I am who I am, so deal with it, short hair, glasses and the whole package. Why shouldn't we be appreciated for who we are?

All this, came from a morning of getting my hair cut. I've also noticed something else. I'm getting far more looks now with longer hair than I ever did with shorter. I wonder what that's all about. Men are a strange breed. Who created them anyway? oh...right....that guy...../

Anyway, I've rambled on long enough. Grey's Anatomy tonight! wee! I'll report back soon. A bientot!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Starlight Starbright

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Current Mood: Sad that summer is over, but happy because Halloween is close!

Current Song: The Latest Craze

It's been a productive week in a lot of ways. It was much less boring than other weeks that I've had which I was really grateful for. Although I have to say it's very unmotivating this whole sitting around thing.

This week I went to a talk that was put on by the School for International Studies on the identity formation of American Muslims. It was an extremely interesting talk on the Americanisation of Muslim identity and this split between good Muslim and bad Muslim. I don't want to go into the nitty gritties because I would probably misrepresent the talk if I did. It was nice to think again though, and think in that capacity again. I loved being an academic and I missed that banter that we used to have. The world is so much bigger than us! Phew!

Yesterday I went to the Lantern Festival at Deer Lake Park which was a ton of fun as well. I had never been, so it was good. I tried to take some shots with the new camera (which I appear to be guarding with my life), and they all weren't very good because I really haven't figured out how to use it at its very best. Nonetheless, I certainly tried. it was a very nice overcast evening and I went with one of my best friends. I miss city events sometimes and I hope I get to go to a few more of them before the work life kicks in for good. So below are a couple of shots from last night. One is a woman with a glowstick hula hoop and the other is a path of a bunch of candles that they formed that you could walk through. Enjoy! I shall write again soon!



Sunday, September 14, 2008

Superwomen

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Current Mood: Warm

Current Song: Gloomy Sunday by Billie Holliday

Two blogs in a row! What are the odds?! Well I have a story to tell on this one today. My sister told it to me yesterday and actually ACTUALLY had me in tears for about 20 minutes.

My sister works at a fabric store downtown around here and she works every saturday. Yesterday was just a saturday like any other. A woman came in with her two children; the older one was about early highschool age and the younger one was well, younger than that. The two girls decided to go and get some fabrics and things cut without informing their mother, while she was looking around the store and buying her own things.

When it came time to pay, the woman came up to the cash to pay and her daughters showed up with their stuff. And according to my sister, it was quite a bit of stuff (fabric and trims and such add up very quickly.) The mother looked like she was in a right panic. She told her kids that she wouldn't be able to afford it all as she was only working part time. Her oldest said to her that it was all for school and the mother replied that hers was also for school (perhaps she was taking classes for fashion design...one can only speculate). The mother also said that if the girls needed money, they should ask their father, given that she was in such dire financial straits

The older girl had a fit and walked out on her mother (all this was happening at the cash counter where my sister was the cashier). The younger one asked her mother why she wouldn't buy the goods and her mother obviously said that she couldn't afford it. To which, the little girl called her mother a bitch and walked out as well. The mother at this point looked like she was on the verge of tears. The lineup was building and the managers told her she had to pay. But she simply did not have the money. So she said she would have to figure something out and come back.

(are you crying yet?)

A few minutes later, the woman came back with a man who frequents the store quite often (he's a fashion designer I think). He had obviously seen the woman outside and it appeared as though she might have been crying (for very obvious reasons). He decided to help her out and pay for all of her daughter's things. The woman said she couldn't let him do that but he insisted. The tab came to about $60 (think of it as a week's worth of groceries, or perhaps a day's worth of pay for someone who works part time). The woman apologised profusely to my sister for the big scene. Her children were of course still outside along with their sense of entitlement.

A few observations I can comment on personally from the story. One: whoever that man was that paid that tab is going to get some serious blessings from that woman and has probably done one of the most charitable things ever in the entire world. There are still good people in this world.
Two: I completely give this woman credit for being in school and actually trying to better her lot. It's one of the hardest things to do (speaking personally), and if she's a single parent with no support, all the more difficult to keep two girls fed and clothed and try to keep a roof over their heads. I sincerely pray and hope that she sees better days in the future.
Three: I'm not sure how lucky children (such as my generation) really know they are. Yes, you can't always have all the cool things everyone has, but be grateful that you're not going to school hungry. Unfortunately this is the case with too many people in this world. Forget fabric for school projects, think about the food that's on your table and be grateful that it's there. You could be one of the many who doesn't even have that privilege.

We really can't judge people on their circumstances. I do completely applaud and appreciate women who try this hard, and really have to muster up every ounce of strength to make it through another day. It's a tough world out there, and it's a tougher world out there for women. I think our communities still don't do enough to encourage women to become the best they can. We still don't pay them enough wages and there are still very few concessions for them. Once in a while we need to take a hard look at the underbelly of our society and really see what's going on. Are we really doing enough to ensure that the women of today can retire in peace? Are we doing enough to ensure that the women of tomorrow have every opportunity afforded to them to be better people?

It makes you think. I for one, am grateful every day. It's been a hard road for my own family (imagine 3 women)...but it seems that we are turning out okay. It does boggle the mind just to consider it for a moment. I know how lucky I am. Do you know how lucky you are?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Relocating My Motivation

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Current Mood: Fairly composed for before 9 in the morning on a saturday

Current Song: Fortunate fool by Jack Johnson

Well it's been a rather uneventful week again. I'm starting to miss the banter of school and the stress severely. Yes, I generally do miss stress when I haven't got it around. It keeps me on my feet, and I like that. I am getting the opportunity to write a bit more. And I've taken to watching British housing shows like "Relocation Relocation". So I'm learning a lot about housing. It's sad. I know. I really do feel like a Hausfrau, but I'm sure it won't be a lasting state. However, if I was ever to buy a flat in Parsons Green I would know exactly what to look for! (and lemme tell ya, 300,000 quid buys you nothing!)
I do wonder how those women who choose not to work keep themselves occupied. Granted, I don't have any children running around the house that I have to chase after to wipe noses and throw up. I wonder if I've always been one to throw myself into work. I think I have. It does offer a bit of solace. So even when I'm really upset, if I just concentrate on work, I feel a lot better. Hmm...

I am also going to start learning french seriously now. I've just been reading things in French but need to go to the library and get some books out so I can actually concentrate on formally learning the grammar and all that fun boring stuff. If anyone wants to take a french class with me, give me a holla!

Okay, picture of the week! I was out last week galavanting with my new camera and I cam across this bush of button roses (or what have you). So I was just fiddling around with the aperture and the ISO and accidentally shot this lovely photo! And I promise next week I won't put up a pink picture. But this one was too good to pass up! Alright, enjoy the sites, and I shall converse with thee anon!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oooooooooooooh! Purty!

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Current Mood: pretty calm (waiting for storm)

Current Song: System by Seal

Been a decent week. A bit busy for someone who's not really doing much these days, but nevertheless it was alright. My fantastic wonderful awesome family got me my graduation present this week. It's a lovely Nikon D40 SLR camera. It's so great to work with. It even has new car smell, I feel! It's got amazing picture quality and it's so fun to play around with. So in honour of honing in my rather mediocre photography skills, I'm adding a "picture of the week" phenomenon to my blog, so I can put up my best pictures for you to rave about and admire. I think it'll be fun. Feel free to comment on them (I take criticism pretty well...after I stop sobbing...kidding!). Sooo, see below for photograph and I'll write a mini caption about where the inspiration for it came from. I think it'll add some intelligence to my erratic photo-taking

Also, just wanted to say thank you to my Mum and Zoyah for being such amazing people. I have said before that I generally get what I want (sometimes it takes some time to get it, but it's eventually mine). If it wasn't for them, I would have no support in all the things that I've done and all the mistakes I've made. They are unconditional for me and I'm forever indebted to them. That's the meaning of family. They stick by you no matter how much you screw up or how difficult you are to live with. And trust me, I'm not the consistency of room-temp butter when it comes to living with me (sometimes my mother says, she may as well as given birth to a stone)...So thank you. You two are awesome...*tear*

Okay picture time! yay!

So this little picture, I call "Between Faith and Science" You'll see a "tasbih" (prayer beads) and a pair of protective lab goggles (or whatever you call them). Both found in my sister's room, so she's the inspiration because she balances her love for science and her religion better than I ever did at her age. And for those who know or care to know about Ismailism, there is no contention between the two. Science is a way of discovering more of creation, so Ismaili scholars through the ages have been able to consolidate the two quite well. More info available in the many sources at the Insitute for Ismaili Studies and http://www.theismaili.org/

Okay done today! later days folks!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Forever in Transition

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Current Mood: Hanging in there

Current Song: Khwaja mere Khwaja (Movie: Jodha Akbar, Language: Hindi)

Well, after having a week where everything hit me like a ton of bricks, I've discovered many many things about myself. I think my generation will forever be in transition in some ways. For one, I feel like I will always be "In transit". Most of you will already be aware that I'm somewhat of a middle-grounder in most ways. For one, I'm a cuspian, and a tough one at that. Having to mix fire and earth is certainly an interesting challenge. Parts of me want to charge ahead and fly off with ideas, but the earthen part of me always likes to micromanage, look at every detail and move deliberately. Sometimes I find myself in a right pickle because I won't let myself move ahead. There's one middle ground for you.

The second middle ground as I quietly discovered this week is that I'm a Type A and Type B personality mix. I'm a workaholic. I love nothing better than a 50 hour week to keep me going. When i have to sit around for this long with nothing to do, I slowly start to lose my mind, and get very lethargic and depressed. I can have the eternal patience of a saint with some people (ask some of my more emotional friends), and I can be quick on my feet in a get-crap-done kind of way. I'm not sure why, but somehow I've been assigned to be forever in transition. I'm never "there" with nowhere to go. There's always a next step.

God certainly decided to play this one up with me didn't he? Let's confuse her, I'm sure he said to everyone. I find my path in life will likely be cumulative in the end. I'll somehow have to fuse all of the outliers together to make my own destiny. It's going to be an interesting journey. It's funny that when you have so much time to think, you come up with all of these things.

I'm not directionless, I just have a long way to go in one direction. But afterall it's really always the journey that counts right?
Okay, it's freezing cold, so i'm going to go hang out somewhere warm, I think. Ciao for niao!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rag Tag Reunions

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Current Mood: Satiated

Current Song: Strawberry Swing by Coldplay (not my favourite, but Chris Martin makes up for it!)

Life after grad school has been very empty I have to say. The initial excitement of having accomplished something is finally wearing down and now I feel like I have nothing. I'm sure that the feeling will fade soon, but I was really looking forward to the heavens parting and some kind of fanfare (none of which seems to have happened. Where is my damn party!). In any case, I'm slowly getting used to it, but I shan't make a habit of it, because i've got to get on with it really at this point.

I also seem to be busy as usual, without meaning to be. This week seems very cramped up with things that I have to get done all over the place. You think there would be some respite. I have decided to take it easy next week and settle into a routine of sorts. It's been a bit sporadic and frankly a bit stressful still. Or perhaps the stress is in not having enough stress. All you Type A's know what I'm talking about right?

I just got back from a rag tag reunion of cousins from the mother's side. We've never had a free-standing dinner with no parental units in sight. I was a bit apprehensive about going, but it was a lot of fun. Not because I don't like my cousins (I like them all), but because we're generally a bunch of people who are vastly different. Let's just say you wouldn't stick us in the same social groups in high school: We've got jocks, intellectuals, punks, student body president-types. It's very ecclectic for a family where all the parents are creepily alike. Oh well. For now it's a dynamic that works. Another reason growing up is good. Plus potato thins at Boston Pizza are worth the trip alone!

Anyway, i feel like I have lot to do tomorrow. Not sure why. But that'll be it. I shall blog again soon. I'm sure there's exciting things coming up. Talk soon all!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cosmic Laughs

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Current Mood: sigh. weird actually. perhaps it's the sore throat

Current Song: Hip Hop is Dead by Nas

It already feels like it's been a long week and it's only tuesday. Oh well. I guess that's alright. Eventful weekend with family dinner. Also watched Dark Knight on sunday. Great movie! Very psychologically unsettling, and much more gritty than any of the past Batman movies. The character of Joker and Two-Face were both amazingly portrayed. Joker was very different from the one played by Jack Nicholson back in the day, less farce, more killer. Interesting movie, and highly recommended.

Yesterday was the beginning of the new season for The Hills, so my thesis-emptied life finally feels like it's got some meaning. It's going to be an interesting season I tells ya. If I ever move away to some remote part of the world for work, I think I'll miss reality TV the most (aside from family of course).

Also, I got home from coffee with a friend (who I appreciate more and more everytime we meet up...details to be spared at present time), and I watched some horrible show called "Millionaire Matchmaker". Basically it's about a woman who matches up trophy wives with millionaire men who were once awkward around women but now have the money so they can afford to be awkward. One guy yesterday flew his date to Vegas and then proposed to her...on the first date! Who does that?! Apparently in Judaism there is the concept of soul mates. No matter what race, age, colour etc, people can meet someone and know right away that's the person made for them: It's called a Bashert. And people are compelled to find theirs.
I'm personally starting to think that this whole pairing of men and women as mates is a giant farce, a big cosmic joke. Seriously, who puts two completely different creatures on the same earth? sheesh. I'm seriously waiting to be proved wrong here.

Anyway, must go do some things. Off to a violin recital of a highschool friend tonite. Will report soon! adios tacos!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Applying for What?!

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Current Mood: Sneezy (I haven't fully recovered from my cold, I don't think)

Current Song: 12:59 Lullaby by Bedouin Soundclash

Wowee! I handed in my thesis! Everyone congratulate me! We had a bit of trouble with the table of contents which went slightly wonky, but it's all good. After I handed'er in, we went to Jericho Beach for drinks, munchies and sunshine. It was an absolutely ideal day. Cannot complain one bit about it. There weren't many people on the beach. Who goes on a monday afternoon except for kindergartners and seniors. It feels nice to have accomplished yet another thing, but I always get a bit introspective afterwards as I plan my next moves. I wonder where I'll be next.

It's been one of those rocky years for me, a la 2006, where the good is exceptionally good and the bad, is exceptionally bad too. But mostly I think as I grow up, I grow into who I really am as a person and pretty much each day is a blessing. We often forget how lucky we are to be alive and well and we have to take advantage of the fact that we've got it made in so many ways. I guess being in international development and realising that some people face the perilous task of going to get potable water whilst avoiding landmines really puts things into perspective as I sit here rather comfortably. What a way. I wish more people would consider this as we whine about gas prices and how hot it is, and how our bathing suits need to be replaced.

Ooh! I applied for graduation this morning. Feel a bit ill. I will be walking the stage...again! I wonder if I get a funny hat this time or whether I'm going to have to wait until the doctorate. hmmmm. interesting prospects. I'm asking my mum and sister for a new SLR camera for graduation instead of jewellry so I can take up some photography. It would be nice to have that experience if I travel (which I plan to do). Any suggestions on good types of cameras would be appreciated. Digital preferred. Must do research on it!

Alright, I'm going to drag my groggy ass out for a run on a gorgeous summer day. I shall report back soon! Adios Nachos!

PS: just to make you jealous, wherever in the world you are, a shot of downtown vancouver from Jericho Beach yesterday

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Everything I Know About Life, I Learned in Choir

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Current Mood: Illuminated

Current Song: A ghazal, very fittingly

I am back from a whirlwind trip to Montreal and Ottawa with the Canadian Ismaili Muslim Youth Choir. This is probably one of my favourite trips in the last few years. It was completely exhausting, at times frustrating and challenging, but well worth it! We went to bed no earlier than half past one on most days, and were due down for breakfast no later than 9 or 10 AM on most days. The schedule was as follows: sing, eat, sing, eat, sing, eat...well...you get the point.

Favourite Highlights:

Montreal: Oreo Cheesecake at D'Luxe Patisserie, the juicebar in the shape of a giant orange across the hotel, taking the Via Rail to Ottawa

Ottawa: Visiting the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, visiting the Centre for Pluralism, Singing at Centrepointe theatre again (home of Yaqzan) and the amazing hospitality, the Honeymoon Suite that I had to share with a fellow soprano...picture below.
Overall: Singing and working with HJ, meeting some amazingly talented singers from across Canada and of course spending some time elsewhere doing what I love to do.
Things I learned this trip:

I need a new camera and some photography lessons so my pictures don't suck so badly

I need to learn french, because it's cool and functional

I'm moving to Ottawa at some point in my life

I really should never stop singing because it's very hard to start again.

I had better improve my sight-reading skills or else...

I am officially old because some of the people on the tour were born in the 90's. Imagine!

There is nothing wrong with checking in online...in fact it's probably a lot faster and easier.

Vancouver will always be home
I am not eating a donair or any kind of meat on a stick for the next six to twelve months...
See some pics belowThis was our honeymoon suite bedroom in Ottawa (they ran out of doubles at the hotel...some boys didn't even get a roll out bed). Obviously invented by a dude because the Jacuzzi and the bedroom were not really separated. We even had bathrobes, champaigne glasses and one of those fancy ice buckets...Other highlights were the roll out bed in couch and the sliding door that opened right out into the parking lot. I know what you're thinking...classy joint...right?

This is the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat building that is being built on Sussex Drive in Ottawa. The Atrium is made of rock crystal and this whole compound will be home to the residences of the Aga Khan and visiting dignitaries as well as insitutional offices. Also included inside is a charbagh (4 garden) area open to the public and resource centres etc. The building is nearing completion and should be open late this year. You can learn more about it at http://www.theismaili.org/


And of course, a shot of the sunset on the way home. How lovely...

Anyway...it is technically time to get up and do some putting away of things. I shall blog again soon-ish....ciao for niao!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Last and Final One! (Entry 49)

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Oh my god! I made it! yay! wooooo!

Thank you everyone for tuning in throughout the day and keeping me company.

Big props to Rebecca Bollwitt for your fantastic work in putting together this blogathon. Really a great idea.
Thank you to fellow bloggers who dropped in and out with words of encouragement periodically. Thanks also to friends and family who kept me going with various offerings of food and/or ideas.

Remember, it's never to late to give to AFABC. Just go to http://www.bcadoption.com/ and click on "donate" on the left hand side at the very bottom.
I hope that this cause has been a worthwhile one. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of such a great group. To those bloggers who are continuing on until tomorrow, best of luck!

I shall be gone to Montreal as of Tuesday, and so i won't blog until I'm back in August (Plus nearly 50 blogs almost compels me to never blog again! but you'd miss me).
Happy Blogging and reading! Later days :)

In An Ideal World (Entry 48)

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People often ask me what career I would want in an ideal world.

Well aside from what I'm doing right now which I love? I think in an ideal world I would love to pursue writing. I would love to be a novelist. Don't have to be the next Khalid Hosseini, but would love a shot at some published work. Perhaps it won't be an ideal world situation. I do have a goal of one day being able to write a novel and having it published, and we shall see how that ends up working out for me.

My mother often says to me, "you should write a book, you stupid". I think she means that with love and thinks that there is potential somewhere in here. I really admire the work of David Sedaris, a regular writer for the New Yorker. He has that wry kind of sense of humour that I can appreciate. Although technically to be like him, a lot of weird stuff would have to happen to me on a regular basis. Let's face it, I'm just not that exciting frankly. But there is hope yet! I have a long life ahead of me to muck about. I'll keep you posted on that whole book shenanigan!

Love at First Sight? (Entry 47)

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I'm taking a page from fellow blogger Hummingbird604, who asks about the joys and perils of the dating world and the dating skill set. I quickly acknowledge that there is no such thing as the perfect relationship. If there was, then really I wouldn't be blogging at all.

I keep getting asked whether I actually believe in Love at first sight. Hm. Can't say I actually do. It's too idealistic for a cynic like me to believe in something that is fairly improbable. I've found anyway that the people that do claim to believe in it always end up a bit more disappointed than the rest of us.
I think notions like LAFS open up the door to phenomena such as being in love with someone because you believe that you can somehow change them, or loving the idea of the person, but not actually the person. There's too many unknowns in ideas like that. I prefer to be a realist and perhaps a bit on the cautionary side and fall for the practical.
But Mehnaz, they say, love can't be logicked away like that. I'd like to argue that there are certain facets even in emotional things like love that can be made rational and practical. Not to take the romance out of the whole thing, but really we all end up coming back down to earth sooner or later anyway. May as well start off there.

If or when I ever fall in love, I'm hoping there will be some sense of reality I can grip on to. I don't do terribly well with heights and don't like pedestals very much :)

Hollywood North Africa (Entry 46)

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NPR reports that Algeria is reviving its cinema industry after years of war and destruction. This I guess gives me a quick chance to talk about the fact that Africa is an up and comer. Many people have believed that it was a lost case with the prevalence of AIDS, civil war, poverty and resource issues. However, there has been consistent growth in African countries for some years now. It would be absurd of course to expect metropolitan miracles to take place over a short period of time. But given about 50 years, there is a possibility of real progress. Just look at China and India. They were fairly lost cases.

For quick reads on Globalisation, anything by Joseph Stiglitz and even William Easterly should set you on the path to understand past events and future trends. Africa will turn into the land of opportunity some time in the future. In the meanwhile, let's start by watching some Algerian films :)

Your Name is What?! (Entry 45)

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I'm pretty sure that I remember writing about ridiculous names that people give their children, but this one tops off anything I've ever read about. Read about "Talula Does the Hula in Hawaii"

Not even kidding you.

Don't forget to read the comments below. There is a guy named Russell Sprout.

Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery (Post 44)

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I think I have actually passed on. Really. I think I am dead. I'm seeing twinkly white lights and voices have this kind of echoey quality to them. I went to pick up my sister. By car. Yeah, that was interesting. I actually closed my eyes when I was parked and didn't see her coming down the stairs and woke up with rather a start.

Being awake for over 30 hours is probably not very good, let alone driving in the condition. I promise to stay off the road. This was a necessary trip. I keep going through phases where I'm completely wired and then I'm sliding into that coma again...

Heesh. almost there guys, almost there! Another rivetting post coming up in half!

Definitions of "Normal" (Entry 43)

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I'm addicted to reality TV as we all know. So obviously I'll watch "How to Look Good Naked". I think that the premise of the show (the british one, not the rip-off by Carson Cresley) is brilliant in that it teaches perfectly normal women to love themselves without having to go under the knife.
Though I do question the mixed messages that we send to our kids. There are so many shows on with top models and how to be a model. Even shows like American Idol seldom actually pick someone who is on the larger side size-wise. So I wonder what the mixed messages are doing to the self-esteem of children and especially of girls.

I'm especially peeved at people like Tyra Banks who are so adamant about being able to be whatever size they want. So much so that she worse the same bikini that she was wearing when she was photographed by the paparazzi, on her television show. Yet it surprises me that she has never had a season ANTM where all the models are plus-size. What kind of message does that send?

I've never been thin, but I've always had an issue with my curves. Until a few years ago, I was one of those never happy looking at the scale or in the mirror. Now it's not an issue. I love my curves...and frankly so do others..

Though there is a movement towards campaigns such as Dove's and shows such as "How to Look Good Naked", the effort is probably not enough to change the perceptions of those most vulnerable to the media. Perhaps it's time some kind of change happened in that arena.

Great Expectations (Entry 42)

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This idea comes from Noshin, a good dear friend of mine, who has religiously been supporting and reading this entire day (despite having better things to do). Thanks Nosh! you're great!

The question is why are we compelled to live up to others' expectations? Are women or men more prone to this? What purpose does it fulfill in the great scheme of things?

I think in the traditionalist societies that many immigrant families come from, honour is a big thing. And with honour comes the burden (and perhaps the blessing of expectation). Fast track to modern society, and we've got a merit-based system. It can get kind of ugly out there and expectations serve as a kind of motivation. Perhaps though, there is a limit to the whole system.

As someone who has always been a touch rebellious, the only expectations I ever chose to meet were my very own. Much to the ire of others, family included, I was pretty much my own person right from the start. This is also what we've tried to impart on my sister. You are your own competition and if you can exceed your own expectations, then that's what counts. It's hard when others in the family achieve so much and all eyes are on you to do the same. But there are many obedient folks out there who are living someone else's life. It all hearkens back to happiness and the post I wrote on it earlier...To be happy, we need to be fulfilled, and to be fulfilled, we should live up to ourselves and really not others. I think that's probably the key. Everyone else can go boil their heads :P
Almost there folks...just a few more hours!

Books Going Extinct? (Entry 41)

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We have all seen the giant mega bookstores and the continuous stream of print media that comes out regularly. But in our digitised world, where even books are now available on little reader devices and easily downloadable, is the book going to go extinct? Are environmental movements towards saving trees adding pressure to the book industry?

According to this article in the Surrey Leader, no they're not. It happens to be that the scope and diversity of print material is increasing, and that books remain as popular as ever.

I am a big collector of books. I love the smell of them, the way they feel in my hand and the sheer weight of carrying around a novel in my bag. Most of my friends know that I generally have a novel in my purse (in case i get bored of their company, I can just tune them out...kidding!). But with over 100 books, I'm not one to stop collecting them.

As a child and before our move to Vancouver, I had about 75 books from when I was just a little wee one until the age of 10. Books have been a part of my life in a huge way and I expect that they always will be. So this whole retention of the book industry is very good news to me. I'm old fashioned in many ways. I like paper. What can I say?

We're at the Big 4-0!

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Yaaaay! Sleep is that much closer!

This is officially blog number 40. I went downstairs for a drink. My sweet, crazy dear sister brought me some sugar overload from Superstore including a bottled starbucks mocha, marshmallow ice cream cones and bagels and cream cheese for the extra energy. I gave myself major brainfreeze by drinking that mocha too fast.

I'm a little wired but the moment I sit down, I kind of pass out. It's sad times I tell you. It's getting harder to come up with stuff to write about now, so I'm going to give you a link to this commercial, which is too funny in case you haven't seen it.

I Wish This Was True (Entry 39)

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Check out this article on Grammar Police



I really do wish that there was a law enforcement team that took care of grammar and spelling mistakes. There are just some really appalling ones. I'm guilty of a few myself, but mainly because I refuse to edit my work out of sheer laziness. I'm always shocked by how many people actually mix up your and you're. I'm not sure where the confusion lies as one is obviously a contraction of two words. I have never understood it myself.

On our trip to England last spring, we happened to be on a double decker when we saw the sign below. What would a trip be without a glaring mistake like this one. We just had to take a picture. Mind you, if there ever was a Grammar Police I would ask to be on the force.


Youtube is God! (Entry 38)

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I have noticed a pattern. When I get tired I turn a bit childlike and end up pulling a Freudian 180 and heading towards childhood (boy those psychology classes came in handy).

I found episodes of Gravedale High on Youtube! Wee! I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who has ever heard of or watched Gravedale High as a child. I doubt anyone else ever did, except for the guy who put up the videos. In my fascination with the morbid always, it became one of those things that I always remembered the theme song to. Oddly enough.

The cartoon itself is not very good at all. Rick Moranis lent his voice to the show (I'm not saying that's why it failed). But it's one of those things that really sucked, but you had to watch it. Wonder if I can find old episodes of Home and Away on here too!

This is what happens when i run out of topics to talk about. Leave me a comment sometime would ya?

Remember also, that I'm supporting AFABC. I've got a little more than a quarter of the time left to go, so help me out, and donate to AFABC.

We're Officially Sleep Deprived (Entry 37)

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I'm at that stage where I'm officially feeling the effects of sleep deprivation...namely the bad headache.
As a child I was always susceptible to these things. I remember one time we had a religious awareness week where all the children were invited to attend morning prayers for a whole week. By morning I don't mean 9 AM following by a light breakfast. I mean 4 in the morning. If you went for all the days, you got a medal or some kind of prize.

I went for three days, after which on the 4th day I promptly vomitted. Sleep deprivation has never been one of my favourites. That's probably why i could never make a good medical professional. I hear horror stories of 36 hour shifts and such. Not for me. I like my nine to five. That way I can keep the food down and avoid the massive headaches that set in.

Thank jeebus this isn't a 24 hour relay. I would have vomitted in hour 5. Eugh!