Friday, December 31, 2010

A lot of time on my hands

The purchasing of Netflix may have been the best and the worst decision I made during this break. Sure, now I am caught up on all the film/t.v. I could ever want to follow but more specifically I got caught up on all the great Arabic films Netflix has to offer. "Paradise Now" is and will always be my favorite Arabic film. They show it in all the MESA classes and I am sure it is offered as extra credit in some other classes too. The film is simply amazing. I mostly love to listen to the Shami Arabic in it. I love the film because it portrays the reality that faces many young disillusioned Arab youth in the region. Suicide bombing is a product of its environment. I would never condone the act but I recognize the patterns and understand the emotions behind it. "Paradise Now" conveys those emotions perfectly. This post was not suppose to get me talking about big issues like suicide bombing. The source of the post is much more superficial. It began with me watching the movie on my computer and just thinking about how great Kasi Nashef is. Is he not the most beautiful man? I hope that every person( interested in the Middle East or not) will watch this movie.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Legos aren't just for kids

this is my personal favorite.

Name that show/film.
Alex Eylar uses his love of legos and pop culture to create art. To see more great moments in film/lego history click here.
This post was inspired by Sarai's Snape lego man.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pretty girl, fancy nails.

The best niece in the world. Her Jordanian Arabic is coming along swimmingly.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Freaks and Geekathon

IFC in all of their infinite wisdom put on a weekend long Freaks and Geeks marathon just to keep me company during my couch-strickening seasonal cold. The hours of entertainment could not  have come at a better time. I was also happy to spy with my little eye a guest role played by Jason Schwartzman as the skeezy fake ID guy. I been left in quite the predicament in trying to decide which character I love more. The quirky and sensitive Bill or the wise sage Harris? I just cannot choose.

Friday, December 24, 2010

There is HOPE.

Meet Mavis.

Do you remember back in elementary school when your teacher led your class to the computer lab twice a week to practice your typing with some fun basketball speed typing game? Well, I went to every one of those lessons and I enjoyed every game. The only problem is I was a cheater. I always looked at my fingers and I never fully mastered the home key finger positions. The ugly truth is I am a 21 year old non-typer. I have been pecking away at class papers, Gchat convos, and blog posts for years. This is something of an embarrassment when it comes to typing in front of people. This last summer, I was among fellow peckers in the computer class I taught. I learned a very valuable lesson from working with the women in my class. I learned life is about growing, learning, and improving one's self. One women who helped me realize this was named Intisaar. Her name in Arabic means triumph and that is exactly what she did everyday. Intisaar was in her late 40's and she was always so excited to learn. She helped me realize that you are never too old to learn.

This is where a certain Christmas gift from Hayley comes in. Hay has laughed at me forever about my meager attempts at speedy typing. She thoughtfully with a little tongue and cheek gave me Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing cd for her annual Xmas gift. So, I think I found my new project for Christmas Break. Thanks for the present, Hayface.

Monday, December 20, 2010

a trivial war.

The same seasonal breaks from BYU that allow me to relinquish my scholarly duties for a few weeks also allow me to pick up a friendly game of Trivial Pursuit with the old high school crowd. Over the years, the level of excitement and anticipation for this game of trivia has fluctuated but the level of competition has remained the same. The original roster of players has changed over time but we have been able to hold on to many of the genuine competitors. The intent of the game is purely for entertainment purposes yet the night always seems to escalate and end in tears, raised voices, and challenges for another trivial match. I have a feeling tonight's game will not be any different from past games. Perfect Jordan will win and Katie will be so mad. It is sure to be war.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

So this is what it feels like........

I have been awake for 36hrs straight.
I just lied in bed for an hour but I can't sleep.
Too much to cram before my last three finals end.
Oh the joy of nervous butterflies in the stomach.
No dancing sugar plums in my dreams tonight. Just Google docs full of information about marsh Arabs in Iraq and the function of kizelbashes during the Ottoman empire.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Art amidst the conflict

Even though I should be studying and not blogging, I could not help but share these amazing images I came across while "studying." The elusive and prolific British graffiti artist Banksy knows how to make a statement. His political and satirical works can be seen even in the Middle East. The works above are all from the Israeli concrete barrier that sections off much of the West Bank. This wall serves as one of the greatest "barriers" to reaching any kind of peaceful resolution between Palestine and Israel. With every concrete section erected, the lesser the likelihood of Palestine participating in peace talks with the Israelis. Israel uses the wall as a protective measure but it is also strategic as it continues to take up Arab land and force Palestinians out of their ancestral homes. Though Banksy is a foreigner, he successfully captures the prospective and the hope of every Palestinian living behind the wall.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Meeting Mister Heavenly

I shook Micheal Cera's hand tonight. I shook his hand and told him that his band did a really great job. He was exactly what I thought he would be like. He was a snarky prepubescent looking bass player. So, he was basically like all the characters he has ever played in film and t.v.

The general atmosphere of Kilby Court was a little agitated tonight. Everyone knew why everyone else was there. I don't think anyone really cared about the opening bands or even Mister Heavenly's music. Micheal Cera literally stole the show away from everyone. I can't help but imagine the tour bus talk after each show. I am sure all the guys sit around laughing about all the incredibly witty comments yelled at them between song transitions. "Hey, George Micheal" was my favorite for this evening. I enjoyed the musical performance of all the band members but I cannot honestly say that I went to the show for the collective group. I, like everyone else tonight, went to go see the endearing awkward George Micheal personality of Micheal Cera.

I felt sort of foolish just walking up to him and fawning over him like the others but I don't regret cutting off this crazy blonde girl telling(not politely asking) Micheal Cera that he should take a picture with her and her friends. He was sassy to her and I appreciated that. It was a good night of friends, music, and celebrity encounters.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yes, a post about finals.....

I wish the stacks of books I have to read looked this good.

To the average college student, finals is a word that is more taboo than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's name.
You know finals week has hit when you find your self asking people how they are more than once in a single conversation. A common mistake that I make occasionally with quick passings but more consistently during my scattered days of final studying. Many kids are lucky and get to experience the joy of finals weeks. The week before finals always seems to be my busiest time in a semester. But I thought I would try and post a little something before the true craziness marks me with its black X.

There are perks to finals week that I think go unrecognized.
My favorite things about the last week of school:
1. The HBLL's extended hours with the closing songs that play. Last night, I got to exit the library with a ear full of some cheery Christmas music. Seriously, the library is a place I save for special occasions and that is what keeps my bitterness at bay about spending hours upon hours in the dark underbelly of the Hublib.(trying out my new name for the lib)
2. Book buy backs.....extra cash to spend on that special someone.
3. The enjoyment of working super hard and stressing out so much to have it all be over in a matter of three hours.

It will be all over soon enough. That's the greatest perk.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Everything going my way

The break from school is now over and it's crunch time.
Luckily all my professors have been very agreeable and have extended several paper deadlines.
Saints, all of them. Well, at least this proves they are all human beings. Whatever the case, it is very much appreciated.
The subsequent effects of the past few inclement weather days has also produced reduced stress and has increased the legitimacy of excuses.
Thank you Mother Nature.
Also, I saw my paycheck from work. I got like 94 bucks for just writing emails and talking about my summer in Jordan.
Not too shabby. I gonna buy some groceries.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bang Bang

Thanksgiving means eating and then spending the rest of the day watching movies. I showed The Brothers Bloom to my papa. He thinks its weird but he loves the little details strategically placed in every scene. I just love looking at Adrien Brody and I aspire to be just like Bang Bang when I grow up.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Inclement weather

Hayley, thanks for letting me crash on your couch last night!
I hate driving in blizzard-like conditions and am not happy about the ominous preview to Northern Utah winter elements I received last night. I realize that it wasn't that bad but I am not even a good driver in the best possible weather conditions. So, I was glad I didn't have to attempt a suicide mission back to Provo at 11 at night. I was glad I got to spend some time with hayley even though during that time I got lost in the snow, was a brat to one of her fellow Relief Society presidency member, and I appeared a little flustered and erratic to your friends and room mates.

Things that were great about last night:
1. I got to see hayley's classy face.
2. I ate delicious pie.....and some gross burnt pie in attempt to form a peace treaty with that girl I was rude to in the bathroom.
3. I snuggled with Hayley during She's Just Not That Into You.
4. I saw hayley's new and improved apartment decor. (Your pictures are gorgeous!) I think of Don Quixote every time I see your windmill photo.
5. Slept on a semi-comfy couch and listened to hay talk about cereal at 8 in the morning.

I am content. I hope that I will be able to spend some more quality time with hay soon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coming down to the wire

I have been working my tail off trying to get the information out on the Jordan Internship for this summer. Now truth be told, I have not been the greatest advertiser but my unorthodox methods have proven sufficient( I mostly wait for people to ask me about it). I have talked to about 15 kids about the opportunity. The boss man says we can only take 6-8. I thought I was doing great. I was meeting with kids every day, setting up appointments, and emailing like a stay at home mom who just discovered chain mail.

Well, the deadline for applications is Friday and guess how many future developers of the world have actually put the effort into getting their applications done? Two, dos, إتنين, duex, dois, две.......!!!!!
I have sent out email reminders and I am hoping people are just good ol' fashion procrastinators. All I can do is sit and update the web page. Unfortunately, I have not met with any prospective interns like the ideal young man above but I have met with some good eggs. Hopefully, a boy like this will wander into the office sometime tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tis the season......

The Turkey Day feast is not even in its tupper ware( in fact, the turkey has yet to be bought for my family's feast) and the 24/7 Christmas music station is up and blaring.

Where did this semester go?

It is almost Christmas but that does not mean I am not going to take my sweet time finishing this semester. I have way to much to do for it to be the end already. I am hoping that my mom puts up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. I love to untangle all the lights. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment that is unmatched by any other task.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Numb Days

I was cooped up in the house all day yesterday.
It was just one of those lethargic days.
I hate those days that pass by so fast. The days where you did nothing but not in a therapeutic way. The days where you just go numb and the hours of the day tick-tock there way down to nothing.

I remedied this feeling of no feeling by walking. I have developed an affinity for taking walks. This isn't very logical given the season it is but the weather does not inhibit me.

I am convinced walking can solve any problem. Some problems take longer walks but eventually tangled thoughts become untangled and restless legs become tired in a good way.

I think I have found a cure for my numb days.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pretty little things

Bon jour mon amour!
I saw these delicate sweets on Gossip Girl this week and am now on the hunt for macaroons.
Macaroons of today have come a long way from our parent's generation of sweets. These little morsels come in a variety of colors and flavors. I have been perusing recipes and I am thinking of trying some of the different styles out.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Living is Learning

This might be the cheesiest post in the world but I was thinking about this topic and well the purpose of this blog is for me to channel my randomness into something productive and less socially awkward.

Here we go.

Kids say the darndest things, right?

Well, the other day I was in Costco and I heard this little boy ask his dad what this word( that is escaping my may have been perservative) meant and it got me thinking about my study of Arabic. The studying of other languages allows people to return to their once child-like curiosity of new words and meanings. I have been feeling kind of down and out with my Arabic studies. I have the greatest room mates and they are always teaching me the best stuff to say in Arabic but I can't help but feel my averageness kick in from time to time.

I want to be great at Arabic right now and it is hard for me to swallow the reality that with every new verb, grammatical concept, and cultural idiom I learn, I discover how much I really don't know. I think self-discouraging habits are what keep many from completing Arabic and consequently sucker people into giving up. My good friend Sami al-Jamal is one of these kids. Fact: Arabic is hard.
Fact: The pressure of actually making to the study abroad almost makes you want to puke.
Fact: Arabic is an obstacle like any other and it is completely mental.

I want to achieve and I want Sami to achieve. We both just need to start believing in ourselves.

Sami, stay in Arabic! Go to Egypt. Please.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


The resemblance between Zira from Planet of the Apes and Micheal Fielding's character Naboo from the hit Brit tv comedy The Mighty Boosh is eerily uncanny. I mean come on. What adds to the familiarity during the show is Naboo is followed around by his trusty sidekick primate. The show is great. I love British shows and this Boosh takes the cake.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oh the monotony

What do you do when every blog you look at seems to be blogging about all the same things?
What if your blog is one of those blogs?
I guess blogging is not an original idea and should not be expected to be anything new and cutting edge.
I kind of feel like Natalie Portman in the movie Garden State in this capacity.
So, How might you remedy this monotonous situation?
Well, whenever Natalie's character feels unoriginal she tries to do something completely original so that she can feel unique again.
I like what the poster above says. I can just see this hanging in a high school near student's lockers and students after reading this swear under their breath and walk away with disdain. Who thinks of this stuff?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Casimir Pulaski Day

This last Monday, I saw Mr. Sufjan Stevens perform in Salt Lake and it was utterly fantastic. He is incredibly charismatic, eccentric, and the most handsomest young man ever! I enjoyed the show immensely but was disappointed by Sufjan's non-playing of Casimir Pulaski. Do not mistake me by any means.....the show was glorious and he did satisfy me with his collaborative show of new and old songs. The opportunity to hear Age od Adz live warmed me up more to the idea of his new futuristic sound. Sufjan was everything and more I thought he would be.

Anyways, I claim Casimir Pulaski to be my favorite song yet I uncharacteristically never googled information about the song. I was fickling around on today and found a live recording of my beloved song and Sufjan told me all I need to know about the song. Casimir Pulaski was a famous general in the civil war and every year the state of Illinois recognizes this great man and does not hold school the first Monday of every March out of respect. Just thought I would share this little factoid with you all. Sorry to everyone who knew this already. I am behind the times.

Friday, October 29, 2010

cheer me up.

I kind of had a terrible day today. It was just one on "those" days. It all started with it being suggested that I might have ADHD and from there it just escalated. I hate when I just don't feel good about things. I can feel myself pushing people away and not being able to react rationally to how I feel. Luckily, God created Adrien Brody and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Nothing makes me happier than watching Mr. Brody being his ruggedly adorable self on my home television screen and tis the season to stuff one's self with seasonal treats like cookies with pumpkin in them. I feel better already but enough deflecting. I need to make some changes. I need to feel better for reals.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


too hectic.
too sick.
too cold.
too busy.
too many choices.
too many people.
too many things to do.
too exhausted to walk down stairs to turn off the beeping alarm clock.
too hungry, not enough energy to make anything.
too much, too fast.
not enough time, energy, or caffeine in the world.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Connecting with old friends

This is Dar al-Wefaq. The women's shelter I taught in during the summer and the home to some incredible women.
This week, I got a friend request on Facebook from someone I thought was a stranger. Since Jordan, I have become accustomed to receiving odd friend requests from random Arabs. Fact: Arabs are the most interesting FB friends. They love to chat randomly and they love posting odd quizzes and gifts from games on their friend's wall. After awhile I stopped adding the random people who had found me on Facebook But this new request was different from the others.

The request was from an Iraqi refugee whom I had worked with while volunteering at the women's shelter she was staying at. I had a group of 4 Iraqi women at the shelter who treated me like I was one of their own. These four women were different from the other beneficiaries at the shelter because they were the longterm residents. All of them were waiting to be moved by the UNHCR to America or any country where they could start their lives over again. Daily life at Dar al Wefaq is not easy. The women who live their have no means of educational resources or ways of passing their time productively. Last summer, I was there only source of entertainment and outside communication. The grief, pain, and hopelessness the women feel while biding their time plunges every one of them into deeper states of unhappiness. Dalia was different. She was always so apt to learn and to try the activities I planned. She was one of my most diligent English students because she very much wanted to live in the U.S. I could not believe it when she chatted with me on Facebook last night. After over 9 months of living in this shelter she finally made it to the U.S. She isn't too far from me either. She is living in her own apartment in Arizona. She is incredible but I can't imagine how hard the transition has been on her. She has no job as of recently but I am sure their are organizations helping her with job placement.

A few weeks ago, I went to Salt Lake to go to a refugee mentor orientation. The exposure and experience I had with Iraqi refugees made me want to help them while in my own country. Unfortunately, I couldn't volunteer this semester because of schedule conflicts but hopefully my school schedule will not bear me down too much next semester. When I went to the IRC offices, I was overwhelmed with memories and feelings of awe towards the organizations our country has for refugees from all over the world. I just hope that maybe there will be a student or a volunteer who will help Dalia in her times of need. I can't imagine what it would be like to be so far away from your family and everything you know and just start over. She is an amzing woman and I am so happy she was able to find me. We have each other's number so I hope to stay close to this person who cared for me while I was in a foreign and sometimes scary place.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

And the winner is..........

My sister was diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago and her life has been drastically different ever since. She submitted this picture to a photo contest for a diabetes group and she won. She is quite the wit. The blood is a little gross but it is a a daily reality for my kk. I love you, sissy.

being a grown up is hard

Recently, I have been receiving strange calls at odd hours in the day from some Oregonian number. I finally call the suspicious number to see what the people on the other line have to say and I discovered it was the bank calling. Wells Fargo to be more specific. Every grown ups worse nightmare is having the money peoples after them. The money peoples told me that I had over 100 dollars that I owed on my Wells Fargo credit card. I had a hard time accepting this reality since I never received a death sentence in the form of a card that can both build your credit or obliterate it in one foul swoop so headed to the place where all the money is kept to find someone to talk to about this issue. So, I spoke with Kim, a friendly accounts manager, and she helped me work things out but unfortunately working things out meant I had to dish out 98 bucks to pay some dumb overdraft charges. I learned the lesson of money management today like a real grown up.

Another added pleasure was getting a call my dad saying that my mother is worried about me getting married. She doesn't want me to a be a spinster like my older brother. She is worried I might pick a professional life over a family life.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

You are so hip Justin Gish

I took the time to listen and look at the handsome faces that make the music I love today while cramming for a certain midterm. In my perusal of pictures of Zach Condon from Beirut, I stumbled upon a familiar looking eastern European hat. Mr. Condon was sporting the same Soviet cap that my pal Justin Gish also wore for a photo opportunity. Funny coincidence.
The most uncanny resemblance my professionally bearded friend makes is to the indie sensation Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. The flannel, beard, and ginger red hair never lies. Justin Gish, I think you might have a future as a quirky indie musician/performer.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Feeling Cute

Gap was having a Bajillion Dollar Off Sale Extravaganza and I purchased this blouse for 10 bucks! They only had extra large left but the shirt functions well as a dress over leggings. I felt real dressy today even though my leggings usually only function as bed wear. I didn't have a class till 1:30 so I was able to put my contacts in and do my hair. Every time I do my hair for school, people always ask if I got a hair cut. I have not cut my hair in over 5 months. I think my hair shrinks more than it grows.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Missing Ma'louba

I talked to my host mom on Facebook today and she said they were eating Ma'louba for dinner. Ma'louba translates to mean upside down. The meal is exactly that. You layer the ingredients in a huge pan and then when it is all cooked you flip it over onto a giant platter. the main veggies in Ma'louba can be interchangeable. The dish consists of rice as the base, chicken, fried potatoes, eggplant, and carrots. Top with yogurt and you have the most delicious Arab comfort food.

It was one of my first Middle Eastern dishes and although it is a very simple dish, it is my favorite food. It should have its own food group.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Star Struck by Surfer Blood

I am still smirking from last night's concert at the Urban Lounge. This would be my first show at this venue and  I found the atmosphere light and the crowd friendly. It was 12:30 when Surfer Blood finally hit the stage. Their performance was great. I had never listened to them before and I thought they were interesting performers. I was front and center for the whole show and I didn't take my eyes off of the lead singer and guitarist, John Paul Pitts.

I seriously stared at him through all of his songs and he kept looking at me. I even made him smile a few times during the songs. I am not much of a dancer at shows. I much prefer really observing the performers and the little details of a live show( hence the staring). When they were done I reached out and asked for the guitar pick that he had been using all night. I was trying to get it so I could one up my friend who got the drum sticks from the earlier band. He then looked directly at me and with a knowing look, smiled, and then proceeded to walk off stage............

Encore time:
Mr. lead vocals and guitarist was called back on stage and he played a few of his slower ballad-type songs. I continued to stare just to see if he would keep staring.................

then......the shows ends. My friend is trying very hard to get something from John Paul. John Paul leans down and untapes the set list from the sweat stained stage. Then, he places the set list in my hand, leans over and whispers in my ear, "can I buy you a drink?"


I was so surprised and tickled by the invitation but reality hit hard when I realized that I was not going to be able to hang out with the baby-faced musician since I was there on a date. After the show, the people closest to me in the crowd asked me what he had said. I told the girl closest to me what he had said and she gave me a large pat on the back. I also tried to look to my friends and date for advice on my next mode of action. My friend Christian asked me to get his autograph for him. So, I went up and chit-chatted (everyone who knows me, knows how I do that.) and I told him that I wouldn't be able to get that drink with him. He said that we could just hang out for a bit. I then threw in the fact that I had a midterm that morning and gave him one last "you were really great and so cute" and then left with the boy I came with.

Even though I am sure that the guy just wanted some after concert action, I do wish that I would have been able to grab that drink with him.....the bar might've had a dr. pepper somewhere. A few days later he added me on facebook and told me that maybe we could hang the next time the band comes to Salt Lake. Who knows? Maybe we will get that drink sometime.