December 31, 2008

Hitting too close to home

New York Magazine runs a weekly column of New Yorkers diary documenting their relationship successes and mishaps. Apparently I wrote this week's column without knowing...

7:32 a.m.: As punishment for not trying to see me between then and now, I decide to tease him with a killer outfit. Looking perfect would be too obvious, but I leave the apartment pretty pleased with myself.

11:30 a.m.: Last time I cared how a specific guy thought I looked was for a frat boy my junior year of college. Usually I make a point of deleting guys' phone numbers at the smallest sign they're not perfect; co-worker is shockingly still in my contact list. This must be love.

11:47 a.m.: Remind myself not to let my crazy out just yet … want him to feel the same way about me first.
1:30 p.m.: Arrive at company meeting. He sits behind me, so I make whispered jokes to girl co-workers so he knows I am not only sexy but hilarious as well.

This last entry is something I would totally do. Is this something I shouldn't be admitting?

December 29, 2008

Out with the Old

Goodbye 2008! With the year coming to an end, it only seems right to make a list of New Year's resolutions. Haven't put much thought into this, but off the top of my head, I'd say my list consists of:

1. Finding a new job. (STAT)
2. Doing some volunteer work. Preferably with kids. And music.
3. Being more cultured. I had hoped to see at least one show/concert/play a month in 2008, but I failed monumentally.
4. Making five new friends. (Too ambitious?)
5. Traveling to at least two countries I've never been to before. (Or at least haven't been to in the past five years).
6. Sleeping less, exercise more.

Okay, the last one's a lie. Just thought I'd throw it in there for good measure. After rereading this, 2009 sounds like a lot of work. Who ever said being a lazy bum that contributes little to society was a bad thing?

December 28, 2008

Hello Early '90s. Nice to See You Again.

As if going back to work in the morning after a week off wasn't painful enough, I've been told that my car license has not been renewed, rendering Napoleon useless for a few days. I'll be using my aunt's car to schlep my rear around - a car whose radio refuses to work (GASP!). I'm a big fan of listening to the eff-ery that pollutes the airwaves - mainly as a source for extreme mockery and eye rolling - so I have no idea what tomorrow has in store. London Cousin, trying to help, made a few suggestions. See conversation:

London Cousin: Well, there's a tape deck. Do you have any tapes lying around?
Me: Seriously? Did you just hear the words that came out of your mouth?

True, he only JUST joined Facebook yesterday, but has he no clue that the world has progressed beyond the audio cassette? I don't know whether to spend the drive to work cursing the evil French men and women that made this joke of a car, or make mental notes of progresses our fine planet has seen in the past roughly twenty years or so. Who knows if I'll have enough energy left to do my job afterward.

December 27, 2008


I'm back, Internet! Sorry to have abandoned you for a few days, but I was off gallivanting in rainy Lebanon for a family event. Beirut in the winter isn't anything to write home about, but it's always good to get out of Cairo for a while.

Highlights from the trip include a three-minute dance party in our pajamas to Sean Paul's 'Temperature,' my cousin being told she'd get "Facebooked" (the guy could have at least bought her dinner first!), and making gun pointing gestures and yelling "BOOM!" at every witty pun.

Back to the grind now, and will resume regular posting (from work, of course). Good to not be living out of a suitcase and sharing a bathroom with two other females. Now if only my cousin would get his grimy paws off my laptop...

December 17, 2008

Career Counseling by Forsoothsayer

In the course of my chat with Forsoothsayer today, she mentioned that while lathering up in the shower, she thought of the ideal job for me (who doesn't know that the best thinking happens in the bathroom, really?). Read:

vj on mtv

Me: YES! has been dream for ages!

Forsoothsayer: involves working with kids, bad black music, and doing dance moves

My interests, perfectly summed up into one, incomplete sentence. If your cousin's sister's husband's dealer's grandmother knows anyone with the hook up, let me know.

December 16, 2008

Sitting in a Tree

O Internet, how I love thee.

The power went out at work for nearly two hours today, making the world without the Internet feel dull, lifeless and decrepit. What were people doing before the Internet? What was I doing before the Internet? Was life even worth living?

I hope my next internet-less experience is far, far off. I don't know if my weak heart can handle another episode so soon.

December 14, 2008

Service with a Smile (and much annoyance)

My hunt for new glasses came to a successful end on Friday, when Female J and Male J (of Guinea Pig fame!) helped me pick out cute little Michael Kors frames. After discussing everything under the sun with the salesman - including my "excellent" Arabic (!) - I was told that my glasses would be ready for pick up the next day. Seeing as how I was in an area of town that I rarely frequent, and sure as heck wasn't going to go to two days in a row, I asked him to please send them to the branch closer to my home. This, I was told, would not be a problem.

Today, two days later, I phoned the branch close to home to inquire if my new baby had arrived. Not surprisingly, they hadn't. A series of phone calls later, it was established that my glasses had in fact arrived from the workshop, but there was a "problem with the delivery man." I think this roughly translates into "Crap, I forgot to tell the factory to send your order to Branch X." Not wanting to pick a fight (shocking!), I told the sales rep from Friday that all was fine, but I needed the glasses no later than Tuesday because I was traveling the next day (so I lied a little...sue me. [Please don't, actually.]). He assured me that I could pick up my glasses tomorrow, "begad," (seriously) after 3 pm.

No more than two minutes later, I received another phone call saying that AT THE LATEST, "begad," my glasses would be ready on Tuesday night. GAH! Fine, fine. Pick your battles, right?

This, however, was the icing on the cake. At the end of the conversation, the salesman says:

Ahem 7aga matiz3aleesh minny. (The most important thing is that you aren't upset with me).

NO! The most important thing is that I get my glasses, DAMMIT! Crippling customer service is nothing new to this country, but this is just getting ridiculous. Maybe I need to go around yelling all the time. This seems to work for other people. The fact that I look eight probably won't help though.

December 11, 2008

Do It. Call Me 'Big Papa'

Apologies for the quality of this video, but this is a must-see ("must-see" being a relative term). I haven't for a while, but I used to tell people about this movie ALL THE TIME. If you can get over Keanu Reeve's shiz acting "skills," this movie is amazing - no doubt due to the little kiddies that make up the inner city baseball team.

Miles, the team's pitcher, can only throw strikes if he's listening to Biggie Smalls' "Big Papa." When the opposing team's coach calls him out on it, Miles' teammates break into their own version of the song - complete with dance moves!

Watch the kid at 2:38. How does one get a pre-teen to do that? Did Keanu Reeves have to demonstrate? More importantly, is there a YouTube video of it?

Must find a way to get friends to reenact this scene with me. I'll be the boy from 2:38.

December 10, 2008

Sometimes You Just Can't Win

Conversation with my mother earlier today while shopping for new glasses:

Mom: So, do you NEED to wear your glasses all the time?

Me (feeling confident): Yeah, pretty much. I mean, it's just too much of a hassle to take them on and off again at different times over the course of the day.

Mom: Well, hmm, okay. If you don't need to wear your glasses all the time, you can go for something out there.

Me: I don't really understand what you mean. And I just told you I need to wear them all the time.

Mom: Okay, then you need to look for something where we can see more of your face. Something that isn't so striking. Something where we don't look at you and only see GLASSES.

Me (not so confident): So, what you're saying is that you'd like me to pick out something without black frames.

Mom: Yes, exactly.

Me: This conversation could have lasted about four minutes less than it just did...

December 5, 2008

Happy Sheep Eating!

Happy Eid, suckers. Blog you in a few days.

December 4, 2008

U R A Dummy

Someone should really write a how-to book on text messaging. When e-mailing because the modus operandi of communication, we learned that WRITING IN CAPS WAS PROBABLY NOT THE BEST WAY TO TELL YOUR BOSS THAT YOU NEEDED TO TAKE THE DAY OFF BECAUSE YOUR GRANDMA ETHEL WAS HAVING A HYSTERECTOMY, extensive :) and ?!?!?! usage was downright annoying, and little girls in Mogadishu would not grow a third arm while simultaneously being attacked by gorillas if we didn't forward a message to eighty-six people we knew.

People have been writing whole books on how to compose the perfect e-mail for years now. We all know how to write a subject line that most clearly gets our message across in eight words or less, can tell the difference between "Regards" and "Best," and know that e-mailing your best friend about your coworker's halitosis probably should be reviewed several times to make sure it doesn't get mailed out company-wide.

Nowhere, however, has anybody told me how to develop a text message that not only depicts how incredibly witty, laid-back and easy going I am, without seeming overly anxious to actually have my phone vibrate. I need a 'Text Messaging for Dummys' book, stat.

Questions that this guide should answer include:

1. What's the appropriate length of a text message? When you run over the limit of characters allotted to the message (1), should you stop? If you have more to say than that, should you instead be making a phone call?
2. Do you always have to address the person you're texting, or can you just lead with your statement/question?
3. If you're dodging a phone call and would rather text than pick up, how long should you wait so the other person buys that you were actually away from your phone?
4. If you're trying to play it cool, how long should you wait between receiving a text and replying?
5. If someone says goodnight at the end of their text, must you reply?

Someone out there must know the answers to these questions. Help. My social life is in danger.

December 2, 2008

Long Term Goals

I've come to the conclusion that I need one of two things: a) a talent, or b) a hobby. Whichever comes first really. I'm going to a "concert" (maybe more of a show?) tonight and it has me thinking that I need to be doing something where people can say, "Hey, you know her? She's GREAT at [insert something awesome here]." I'm quite good at eating, but you never heard anyone say, "Wow, you should SEE how she twirls that spaghetti!" Suggestions welcome and encouraged.

Also, if you look to the right, you'll see that I've now started using Twitter. In addition to having this blog to distract me from doing my actual job, I have this little service to thank for keeping me up at night thinking of witty one-liners. As much as I'd like to believe though, I'm pretty sure this won't qualify as my hobby.

December 1, 2008


I wish I could ctrl + Z my agreement to translate this document.

Hot and Cold

My biggest problem this morning was figuring out how to simultaneously keep my hands under warm water while using cold water to rinse the toothpaste out of my mouth. I came disturbingly close to putting my head under the faucet.

Winter and I do not get along.

November 30, 2008

Listen Here

Just finished the music review I wrote about here. Meeting with the band was great, but I probably won't ever agree to do something along the lines of critiquing other people's work again. Writing my master's dissertation was easier than this.

Who knows if my writing's any good, but check out Wighit Nazar's tracks on their MySpace page. Let me know if you like their music - I'll pass the compliments along.

November 29, 2008

Deep Thought

Should I be so embarrassed that I'm tempted to erase a Facebook wall post that outs me for liking Gossip Girl?

How Long Have You Known Me?

Conversation while walking around Maadi this morning:

Female J: O! Look how pretty these birds are!
Me: I have a very intense fear of birds, so no, I will not be looking at how pretty those birds are. Please keep walking.

November 28, 2008


My cousin had a baby last night! I don't know when we'll get to see the little guy in person, but here he is looking awesome. What a pimp!

What does this make me? A second aunt? A cousin once removed? A monkey's uncle?

November 26, 2008

In Over My Head

I've agreed to write a music review of a local Arabic rap group for the entertainment section of Forsoothsayer's magazine. For some reason, I've decided that it would be smart (smart?!) to meet with the group as a supplement to my thoughts on their music. This is problematic for a number of reasons:

a) I've never written a music review before
b) I barely speak English, let alone a second language
c) One of the band members only speaks Arabic

This is shaping up to be the biggest flop in the history of music reviews. Pray for me.

(In other news, I ran/did stairs again last night. Who am I?!)

November 22, 2008

Well, That Didn't Go Well

Went to the gym. Got my measurements taken. Was mildly humiliated. Decided I won't go back.

Think I'll start running a track and think about a different gym. It's unfortunate - there could have been some amusing stories that came out of this whole 'exercise' idea.

November 21, 2008

Having Doubts

My 'no-going-out-on-Thursday-night' policy has been severely violated lately, and I have nothing good to show for it. Yesterday, I enjoyed some quality time with two former coworkers and a few of their friends. In between watching one couple smoke in their two year old's face (while helping him hold up his sippy cup full of soda, AT MIDNIGHT!), I listened in horror as Kiwi retold stories of her days as a physical therapist in New Zealand.

There were no less than seven stories about overly excited athletes engaging in extreme(-ly insane and stupid) sports, resulting in life threatening injuries and long term rehabilitation. This conversation could not have come at a worse time. Tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen, I am joining a gym. For 25 years, I have fought the evil exercise gods and have rested my laurels on an incredible metabolism (which has, unfortunately, begun to slow to the pace of a hundred year-old Galapagos Island tortoise). All I can think of is slipping off a treadmill and breaking my teeth, lifting dumb weights only to have them drop on one of my human hooves, or straining my opposable thumbs so bad that typing becomes impossible.

Who invented exercise, anyway? No one ever broke their neck while lying down on their couch.

November 19, 2008

Deep Thought

Is it possible my ears are shrinking? Is that why my headphones hurt so bad all of a sudden?

November 18, 2008

Deep Thought

I had some cinnamon tea this morning, and all day my desk has smelled like Christmas. Life would be complete if I had a bowl of warm oatmeal to go along with it.

November 17, 2008

Food, Not So Glorious Food

Lunch time in the office is pretty much the best part of my day - 5:00 p.m. not included. I usually bring leftovers from home and have 3am Awesome or Man Whose Name Cannot Be Said, Only Yelled pick me up some yogurt. Today, as it turns out, one of my coworkers and I had brought the same thing, stuffed cabbage. Not typically your ideal meal when you need to be awake more than thirty seconds after consumption, but delicious regardless.

Without commenting on HER stuffed cabbage (gross, though), let me take a minute to reflect on what was touching the stuffed cabbage. Ma7shy mombar - stuffed beef sausage, or chitterlings if you will (you shouldn't). Chitterlings, as per trusty Wikipedia, are "the intestines and rectum of a pig that have been prepared as food. They are a type of offal." I think it's safe to say that these chitterlings were beef, but that's neither here nor there. Offal, as it would so be, is the entrails and internal organs of a butchered animal. Yum.

No one held a gun to my head, and I commented on my weak stomach, but I was forced to try the sorry excuse for food nonetheless. Let's just say if I had read up on mombar before lunch time, I would NOT have tried it. Note:

Care must be taken when preparing chitterlings, due to the possibility of disease being spread when they have not been cleaned or cooked properly. These diseases/bacteria include E. ColiYersinia enterocolitica, as well as Salmonella. Chitterlings must be soaked and rinsed thoroughly in several different cycles of cool water, and repeatedly picked clean by hand, removing extra fat and specks of fecal matter because the part of the pig the 'chitlins' come from includes intestinal polyps and the last few inches before the pig's rectum.

I've already had Salmonella, thank you very much. And I usually prefer dill to fecal matter (!) when garnishing my food. Office, you're killing me. And it isn't just figuratively anymore.

November 16, 2008

Quality Conversation

*While doing homework...

Little One: EW! Don't breathe through your butt!
Me: Who?
Little One: Sea cucumbers!

(Was 'who' really the best pronoun I could come up with?)


Little One: Gross. Sometimes crabs live in the butt lungs.

We're pretty charming in person, but by this conversation, you'd never guess she's skipped a grade and I have a Master's degree. It's true, though. I swear. We have references.

Deep Thought

What's the point of a real job when my true happiness comes from browsing the Internet in my pajamas?

No Thanks!

Feeling guilty about leaving my yogurt-ridden spoon in the sink for our 60-year-old "office 'boy'" to clean, I picked up the weird, too green for comfort, sponge and began the two-second job. One second in, 3am Awesome and I had the following discussion:

3am Awesome: Sebeeha! Sebeeha! Ana ha3millo. (O! Don't worry about that! I'll do it.)
Me: Heya m3ala2a wa7da. Mish moshkila. (It's only one spoon. It's not a problem.)
3am Awesome: Ah, 7asabt innik bitikhsili 7aga 3aleha molokhiya. (O, I thought you were washing something that had molokhiya on it).
Me: La2, la2, howa zabadi bas. Wa bakrah il molokhiya. (No, no, it's just yogurt. And I hate molokhiya).
3am Awesome: Tab, bamya? (Hmm, okra?)
Me: Yaa3. 7aram 3aleik! (Gross! What are you doing to me?)
3am Awesome: *winks like a crazy person* Tab, kaware3? (Hmm, trotters?)

Exhibit A of a conversation that went south SUPER fast. What makes it even worse is that I can't picture joint eating without hearing the sucking noises people make when their lips are all over those puppies. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

November 15, 2008


If I lived in a country where it got cold enough to wear Uggs, would I? It's possible.

November 14, 2008

Current Mood: Crabby Patty

Tonight's plans got flushed down the toilet before I even got a chance to say, "Let me in, you big dummy!" to the bouncer outside After 8 (while this probably would have been more entertaining with the bouncers in London, I've been meaning to try it out here for some time. Surely my size and stature would at least make for an interesting exchange). To ease the pain of yet another failed social excursion, I donned my pjs, snuggled up to a warm cup of Green Tea and Apple in my Cheeky Monkey mug (thanks, Q8 Dumas!), and YouTubed some 'So You Think You Can Dance.' Yes, I have a problem.

Eight routines and an hour later, my inner Missy Elliott was itching to pop and lock her way in front of the mirror and (half-assedly) re-create some of the moves from the episode. Little Miss was too preoccupied with her own YouTube-ing to really feel the chemistry and dance with her eyes with me, so I shut the door and turned up some music that would audibly offend roughly 95% of my closest friends. And by 95%, I really mean 100%.

What ensued was dangerously close to the One Minute Dance Party Tina Fey and her writing staff have on '30 Rock' to get their creative juices flowing. Tina Fey busts out some smooth white girl moves to Chamillionaire's 'Ridin' Dirty' while Alec Baldwin looks on in what can only be described as disgust/dismay. For the past 30 minutes, I've been trying to find this comedic masterpiece, but have come up shorter than He PingPing. For reasons unknown to humankind, the brilliance that IS '30 Rock' has not caught on with the rest of the world, and I wanted to share a clip of this particular scene, but the FOOLS out there uploading crap on the internet are idiots. Here's an idea - stop uploading photos of your kitten in stupid outfits and post things that really matter!

November 12, 2008

Number 1 Reason I'm Glad I Didn't Star in 'The Parent Trap' Remake

Because then I'd probably be going around saying things like this:

"It was really exciting. It's an amazing feeling. It's our first colored president." —Lindsay Lohan, in an interview with Access Hollywood.

November 10, 2008

TV Phone Home

I can't remember the last time I watched full length shows on the actual television in my house (beside So You Think You Can Dance, of course), but there's something incredibly unsettling about staring at a broken TV. For two days now, my TV has been playing a nasty joke on me and the residents of my household by refusing to work. The Showtime gods are probably having a good laugh, but this is worse than Guantanamo.

Rather than, I don't know, pick up a book, I chose to spend my evening like this:

Me: Little Onnnnnnnne, why doesn't the TV work?
Little One (reading her school newspaper): I don't know. I'm busy.
Me: Ugh. Fine.

Thirty seconds later...

Me: Little Onnnnnnnne, why doesn't the TV work?
Little One: STOP! I'm trying to read!
Me: Fine! I just want to know why the TV doesn't work.
Little One: I don't know! Stop talking to me!

Thirty seconds later...

Me: Little Onnnnnnnne, why doesn't the TV work?

The electrician's scheduled to fix the satellite dish at some point today. Let's hope for my well being, and Little One's sanity, he doesn't bail.

November 9, 2008

Just a Bit Awkward

Last night, Mouse and I picked up two copies (one for him, one for me - he's such a gentleman) of a magazine that featured a photo spread of a wedding we attended a couple weeks back. I was not anticipating viewing these pictures as I knew I had made a weird face in the photo. The problem with professional photographs is that you can't screen the digital versions and only upload your money shots.

Against my insisting otherwise, we brought the magazine out to dinner with us. Mouse wanted to show off how great he, and his suit, looked in the photo to our friends. The magazine was passed around the table, and this was the conversation that followed:

Bizzaro Elvis: O, Mouse! You DO look great in this photo!
Mouse: Yeah man!
Bizarro Elvis (to me): And so, you were also at this wedding?
Me: Umm, yes. I'm standing right next to Mouse, actually.
Bizarro Elvis: WHAT?! WHERE?! THAT ISN'T YOU!
Me: Umm, yes, it is.
Bizarro Elvis: O my gosh! I didn't even recognize you! This doesn't look like you at all!

The magazine was then passed around the table again so the group could get a second look. The general consensus is that with straight hair and no glasses, I'm much more attractive. Also, note to self: purse lips a la the Olsen twins and look like someone's poked you in the backside for that perfect "O, what, this look? It's effortless!" pose.

November 5, 2008

'Race' Relations

All morning I've been talking about the potential implications Barack Obama's presidency may have on race relations not only in the United States, but the world over. While I have a problem with the term 'race' as a concept, this is a fantastic article on what it means to be Black in America today, and just how far change may go.

The article also mentions this text message that's being circulated around the country:

"Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Barack could run. Barack is running so our children can fly."



Congratulations and thank you, Barack Obama. I feel very proud to be an Arab-American today. I like to think that the four Pennsylvania swing state votes sent in by my family helped with this too:

Pennsylvania went for Obama. It had done so for Gore and Kerry too, but it was very close. Looking at the projected percentages it looks like Obama will get over 60% of the state (according to CNN). (Link)

One highlight from Obama's victory speech:

"This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change."

November 4, 2008


This morning, the goons on the radio asked Cairo what the first song they remembered liking was. Immediately, and without a doubt, 'Step By Step' by New Kids on the Block came to mind.

I remember sitting in the car after school in Pittsburgh, furiously unwrapping the new NKOTB tapes my mom had bought. Twice, she stood in line the first day the albums were released, just to see my face when she presented them to me (I can't imagine she did it because she particularly enjoyed having her eardrums damaged by the excited shrieks of a 7-year-old, side-ponytailed, retainer-wearer).

To my joy, one of the texts received by the station included the NKOTB song in question. To my even greater joy, the buffoons decided to play the song. This resulted in another great display of air microphones and top-of-my-lungs singing. It's a shame Office Savior wasn't in the car this morning.

Doing a quick search for this video, I came across several other NKOTB gems that I'd forgotten about, like this and this and even this! It's amazing how quickly song lyrics can come back to you after so many years. These lyrics, from 'Cover Girl,' are particularly profound:

It's alright
Oh, yeah, it's out of sight
Let me say it's alright
Ah, yeah!

I "hear" (this is me playing it cool and casual) the boys have made a comeback. Judging by the smooth moves in these videos, the kids on So You Think You Can Dance should best watch out.

November 2, 2008

Month 216

Happy 18th birthday, Little One!

Today you can officially:

a) Vote (which you did)
b) Donate your body to science
c) Drive without a permit
d) Legally buy marijuana in the Netherlands

Based on past conversations, I reckon (c) will be the one thing you'll never get around to doing. Sorry Dad, but it looks like you'll be getting smacked in the face by branches every time Little's One's behind the wheel.

November 1, 2008

Christmas Come Early

My cat turned four years old last month. I'm not sure what this means in people years, but you'd think that in cat years, one would know how to use a litter box by then. You'd think.

Coco is, to say the least, difficult. We got her when she was only a few weeks old and apparently raised her, in absolute terms, wrong. She doesn't sit in our laps, doesn't like to be pet for more than a minute, and insists that we stand next to her when she's eating. The first two characteristics are mildly acceptable. As a family, we've come to terms with the fact that we got a defective feline, and now cherish every morsel of what limited affection Coco chooses to show us. The last characteristic, however, is WICKED annoying. She will meow at us until someone gets up and accompanies her to the kitchen. If we walk out in the middle of her meal, she'll follow us and meow incessantly until we walk back with her. This is more annoying than you could ever imagine, but with wireless internet and a chair in the kitchen, it has become remotely acceptable.

Yesterday, after much nagging, I walked to the kitchen with Coco and waited patiently for her to finish her meal. She popped into her litter box after she was done, but HIGH TAILED (pun intended) out of it after Little One dropped something outside and made a huge ruckus. As I left the kitchen to see why the little bugger was whining, I stepped in a little surprise that was probably intended for the litter box. There, in the middle of the hall, was a fresh piece of you know what, and half of it was on the bottom of my you know what.

Now, some of you may not know this (because you've been living under a rock), but I am the biggest podophobe known to man. Any activity involving those things attached to one's ankles sends me into a panic attack complete with heart palpitations and high pitched shrieks. So, having to wash CRAP off my singular footses was excruciatingly disturbing. My family, and cat, will never recover from the "EW! EW! EW!"s that lasted for about seventeen and a half minutes following the initial contact.

And to think I wanted to stay home instead of going to a Halloween party last night. My hatred for costumes is pretty high on my list of neuroses, but I'm thinking suffering through some ludicrous get ups would have been better than spending my evening disinfecting my ankle accessories.

October 29, 2008

Ooo, I Wanna Dance With Somebody

One of my biggest vices is watching television shows and movies that center around dance. I'm a sucker for scenarios that involve:

a) inner city kids that think their problems will disappear if they raise enough money to enter the underground dance-off in an abandoned warehouse

b) juvenile delinquents that have to enroll in their school's dance program as retribution for their deviant acts

c) girls that hide their passion for dance because they're buried under mounds of guilt because their mothers died en route to their Julliard auditions.

Most recently, this obsession has taken the form of the reality show So You Think You Can Dance. My sister and I wait patiently for months until our cable TV station decides to grace us with a new season of this masterpiece. The poor, misguided souls trying out to be "America's favorite dancer" go through grueling auditions and call backs and if they're lucky enough, get to perform choreographed dances in front of a live, studio audience.

Every night the show is on, our house is silent, save for our parents' sighs (and eye-rolls, if eye rolling was audible). At the end of the hour, with my adrenaline pumping, I find myself trying out dance moves I've seen on the show in the mirror. I've been told, and feel myself, that I'm a pretty good dancer, but my attempts are usually met with little success, and looks of disgust by my sister. Maybe if I had more space to really bust a move I'd look like less of a dork? Probably not.

In any case, I've only tried out the hip-hop and crumping moves. Maybe if I try to get the Little One to reenact the Viennese Waltz with me, she'll change her mind and see me for the brilliant dancer that I am.

October 28, 2008

Free Consultation

I work with three doctors - all of whom I've consulted with for various ailments. My wrist pain has not gone away, and may in fact have gotten worse, so this morning I enlisted the advice of one of the three. I pointed to wear it hurt, and Boss Man, who happened to be standing next to the doctor, immediately perked up like me in a candy store.

Boss Man seems to think the pain is a result of the air condition vent in my car that points directly at my wrist while I'm driving. This makes sense in theory as I drive with my left hand at the top of the steering wheel. He says that if I angle the vent in the opposite direction, I'll be good as new in three days.

Does this make sense? Could it be as simple as this? I've been driving for ages - how has this not happened before? This was definitely not on the WebMD list!

October 27, 2008

Looking GangstER

I get cold incredibly quickly, and as the temperature inside my office is usually set to "Arctic Tundra," long-sleeved garments are much appreciated and required. It's a shame that hoodies are not entirely appropriate for the workplace, because New York Magazine is running an article on Stylish Hoodies for In-Between Weather. Upon closer look, however, maybe I shouldn't be taking tips from NYMag. For example:

I don't need to spend $228 for people's attention to be drawn to this particular area:

Also, M.I.A. may be skilled at making music, but at designing clothes she's not:

Again, no need to spend $190 to look like a ragamuffin.

Maybe Sarah Palin can lend me some of her wardrobe budget so I can go out and buy classy skirt suits and thigh-high boots instead.

October 26, 2008

Why You Shouldn't Self-Diagnose

For the past two days, my left wrist hasn't been feeling so swell. Simple movements send shooting pains around the area and my wrist has been rendered pretty motionless. My sister seems to think the pain is due to my constant need to be on the computer, but I throw my head back and laugh at this ridiculousness. Plus, it would make more sense if it was my right wrist that was hurting. Seeing as how this ailment is affecting pretty much every aspect of my daily life (and most importantly, my at-office chatting), I've taken to the internet for help.

My sister stumbled upon this website a little while back - a heaven for hypochondriacs. The site allows you to enter your symptoms (on a naked human replica!) and suggests possible conditions you may (but probably don't) have. The site has successfully instilled fear in both of us, but we continue to race to it the minute we feel a little scratchiness in our throats. You can imagine the heyday we had trying to diagnose my salmonella.

I've revisited the site this morning to try to wrap my head around this wrist pain, and the results aren't good. See below:

20 possible conditions? Really? From some measly wrist pain? And what - not even a "don't worry - it's just a little overuse" condition? There are some serious diseases in here! Sarcoidosis (also known as Schaumann's Disease [right, because that helps]), Lyme disease, Crohn's disease, SHINGLES?!

It's official. I'm dying.

October 23, 2008

Hardly Rocket Science

My office(mates) gives me much fodder for this blog - sometimes good, mostly bad. My only hope is that I don't get Dooced, because reporting on the antics that happen in our tiny workspace keeps me relatively sane and out of the "batty bin" (thanks, Eureka). There are many, many disturbances to discuss, but there's one thing that really gets to me. The one thing about this office that perpetually confuses me and makes me scratch my head (without messing up my hair, of course) is why the toilet in the ladies' washroom never gets flushed.

There are three potential washrooms the women in the office can use. One in its own, enclosed space, and two open-top stalls. One of the open-top stalls rarely gets used, as there is a constant puddle of brown slosh on the floor around the base of the toilet. Presumably this is the result of prayer preparations, but how so much water makes it onto the floor is beyond me. Plus, simultaneously maneuvering both squatting and holding your pant legs up off the ground is just a little more exercise than I like to partake in. The other stall sees the bulk of bathroom usage and NEVER gets flushed. I've heard, on several occasions, that due to poor plumbing in this country, people are taught to throw their used toilet paper in the bin rather than flush it down. I find this pretty disgusting, but fine. If you have something against the plumber (not Joe), the least you can do is flush down the other toilet paper-less remnants! Do a public service, coworkers!

I'm pretty serious about washroom rituals. I've never been particularly fond of the phrase "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down,"and even go so far as to (watch out boys, this will be a doozy!) put the toilet LID down before I flush (after every go). Toilet bowl splatter can travel up to 6 *shudder* feet, and really, who wants that on their toothbrush? Not me. It's bad enough I have to stare at my laptop for eight hours a day. The times I get up to go to the bathroom and get a little reprieve should not have to include staring at your waste.

Inappropriate Much?

This new project has not gotten off on the right...hmm... Let's actually try different phrasing. This new project just isn't going well. First there was the YGE that wanted to know where I was from and why my Arabic sounded like dump trucks in a blender. Yesterday, however, the inappropriateness was taken to a new level.

I was on the phone for a few minutes with one of our externally contracted employees who I've met with about four times now. After talking logistics, he ended the conversation with "merci ya gameel" ("thanks, beautiful"). The thought going through your head right now should vaguely resemble something like this: !?!?!?!?! (Milkshake now knows what people must mean when they end sentences with "?!" because apparently that is what my speaking voice sounds like.)

Under other circumstances, I probably would have greeted this comment with an "aww," (actually, maybe not), but this was just wrong! Where has professionalism gone? And while yes, he is right about my physical appearance, there's no room for this in the workplace! It's bad enough I've endured comments about my height, weight and posterior attributes from other coworkers. Now we're outsourcing them?! This job will be the death of me.

October 21, 2008

Running on Empty

I'm feeling less than maverick-y today. The past few days have been a whirlwind of events - some better than others. Two friends got married in the span of about 24 hours and with the pre-party, actual weddings and work deadlines, I'm shattered. Not too shattered to pick out some pretty hilarious excerpts from this Washington Post article on India's recent implementation of a smoking ban though. The article suggests that protests in the country are about as common as finding an Indian anywhere else in the world, and efforts to curb "anti-social behaviors" have been pretty useless. Take, for example:

"Although hotel bars of a certain size are permitted to designate smoking rooms, smokers at this bar trickled onto the dance floor and up to the bar, all the while ordering cigarettes off the menu and lighting up. "

Eh, nothing special there. I've seen people smoking in bars in London after they implemented their smoking ban.

The following are the real zingers:

"Last year, an attempt to ban public urination proved so fruitless that a popular newspaper started a shame campaign, publishing photos of violators in the middle of the act. It sold papers. But the men relieving themselves curbside seemed unbothered."

I've never seen more public urination than I did in India. My friend's grandmother went so far as to build the wall around her house at a slant so that potential pissers would be deterred, but I'm not sure to what extent this was successful. Also, I took these photos while stopped at a red light. The total time between the four photos was about ten seconds.

And then you have this:

"Scooters and motorcycles constitute a majority of the vehicles on Indian roads, and a helmet law is technically in place. But many women refuse to wear them, arguing that it messes up their hair. The law is also not enforceable for Sikhs, who wear turbans. "

Umm, it messes up your hair? Have you SEEN your hair?! It's straight. Give me a break.

And finally:

"Last week, New Delhi's government announced that it would start enforcing parking rules in a city where cars are often left on sidewalks or atop grassy knolls. But police protested, saying that only a handful of metal boots were available, and that they were too heavy to haul around in the hot weather. "

Because, God forbid, you actually did your job. And really, in a country of a billion people, there are only a handful of metal boots? This is a far cry from proper urban planning.

In other news, I think the pomegranates I left in the fridge at work last week have fermented. Is that even possible? I brought them in to work on Wednesday, was home sick on Thursday, and was too busy Sunday and Monday to have lunch. This mid-morning snack has definitely brightened my day! Here's hoping I'm not dead (or blind) by this evening.

October 16, 2008

Thought I Was Getting Better

I've just been named the go-to communications person for the new project I'm working on. This has meant, essentially, doing things my grad school professors would be utterly ashamed of. For the past three days, I've been liaising between my team and our external partners, swapping background documents over e-mail and arranging meetings. I thought this would have been complicated by my "cute" but "gutturally challenged" (thanks Forsooth) Arabic, but after positive consultation with an officemate, I was pretty confident about the task ahead of me.

I couldn't have been more wrong. One of today's many phone calls (in Arabic, obvy) went a little like this:

Me: So...*details, details, details* Great, Monday at 4 then.
Young, government employee: Okay. Can I ask you a question?
Me: Yes, go ahead.
YGE: Where are you from?
Me: Here.
YGE: No, really.
Me: Umm, really.
YGE: Oh...
Me: Yeah, I grew up abroad. My Arabic isn't great, but it gets me by.
YGE: Oh, not really. I thought I was going crazy, but it's just you.

Boo. Maybe it is YOU, you goon. Cannot say I'm looking forward to this work relationship.

October 15, 2008

The Elephant in the Room... sitting on my head. Or at least that's what it feels like. My immune system has been playing games with me for the past few days - ever since my coworker came in to the office practically on her death bed (death office ergonomic chair?). For two days, she consistently sneezed, blew her nose, and breathed her germs over our common work space. I tried to limit my in-office phone use, so as not to come in direct contact with her bacteria, but I seem to have failed.

Office Savior and I discussed our various symptoms over the course of the day yesterday, recounting tales of sore throats and itchy eyeballs (not just a symptom of salmonella - which I've had!). Mysteriously, but not so mysteriously, we both seemed to pep up when we left the office. It's almost as if the office was psychosomatically making us feel worse. Go figure! All seemed well on the home front until I woke up this morning with a clogged nostril and a headache the size of Kim Kardashian's rear. Four Advils in the span of an hour later, I still felt like crap and had a giant report waiting for me to take out back and get pregnant - with data.

Left work a few hours early and tried to sweat this infection out (by napping, not actually doing exercise - please!). Needless to say, I don't feel any better this evening, but my report has a warm glow to it.

October 14, 2008

Out of Place

For 25 years, I've been fighting the curse of curly hair. When you're young and don't have the hand-eye coordination to simultaneously smooth down all the baby hairs in the front, hold your hair back and wrap a scrunchie around the pony tail, you sit down, shut up and go along with whatever hairstyle your mother thinks is appropriate. For me, this meant years of side ponies, hideous headbands, and serious lamenting of my grade school peers.

Throughout high school, I thought I had things under control, but looking back, boy was I sorely mistaken. My hair was too long, too flat on top, and all-around unflattering. Having limited access to products in the various, backwards countries I was living in didn't help. It wasn't until half-way through college that my cousin introduced me to a curly-haired girl's best friend - a serum that's only available over the internet. Since then, my hair has been various lengths (most recently, 'baby sheep'), but the curls have been pretty consistent in their volume and structure.

A bad hair day is not only a waste of products, but it throws off my whole day. A few minutes out of the shower, I can tell whether my wet rat look will air dry into movie star curls, or whether I'll be the butt of "Look! She put her hair in the blender!"-type remarks. This morning, I was a bit too excited about watching the episode of 'Entourage' that had downloaded overnight, so rather than use my precious time to caress my curls, I did my hair and raced out of the house to make it to my morning meeting on time. You can imagine my shock and horror when I excused myself ten minutes into the meeting to look in the mirror (as all curly-haired girls do about 49023789743 times a day) and found that several curl bunches decided to be STRAIGHT. STRAIGHT! Head, who are you trying to kid?!

For the rest of the day, all I could think about was twisting the straight bits around my finger to encourage the curl. I found myself pretending to be deep in thought, with my hands rested on my head, so as to ward off curious glances. Tomorrow I'll probably wear my hair up just to avoid a repeat performance of today's monstrosity. I may think about doing my job in the middle of all this. I'm pretty distressed though, so it's highly unlikely.

October 13, 2008

Et Tu, YouTube?

I've been lampooned by many for my musical preference, but this is just getting ridiculous. I attempted to download some music last night, but it would seem that others who share my "taste" in music have some sort of moral code that has prevented them from uploading entire albums for my pleasure. Needing to get my fix, I signed in to YouTube a few minutes ago to search for some music to pass the never-ending work hours with, and this is what appeared:

Recommended for You
Ini Kamoze - Here Comes The Hotstepper

While I do love this song (please refrain from throwing tomatoes - or rocks- at your monitor), I'm not sure how I feel about YouTube knowing this information. Here's hoping the profound lyrics that can be found in this song (see below) are no indication of the quality of work I'll produce today.

Nah, na na na nah, na na na nah, na na nah,
na na nah, na na na nah
It's how we do it man
Nah, na na na nah, na na na nah, na na nah,
na na nah, na na na nah

October 12, 2008

Vote for Pedro

The Washington Post has a three page article, 'From Indie Chic to Indie, Sheesh,' out today that suggests indie movies bow their heads, roll over and play dead, and make room for "old school classicism." I say, "Don't do it indies! Show them how it's done!"

Without some of the great films Ann Hornaday references, where would we get our doses of "indie face: grim, expressionless and almost always accompanied by an equally affectless speech pattern," pop culture throwbacks like hamburger phones and tube socks, and a general reprieve from the garbage that's flooding our newspapers? Sorry financial world, but you're just not as funny as a dune buggy-riding, llama-breeding grandmother or an overweight, pre-pubescent girl road tripping with her family across America in a Scooby Doo-esque Mystery Machine.

Hornaday goes so far as to criticize "Napoleon Dynamite," only one of the greatest movies of the 21st century. She writes:

Perhaps the worst offender in copping a derivative indie 'tude is "Napoleon Dynamite." The 2004 film starred a then-unknown Jon Heder as the title character, an awkward, adolescent super-geek with an adenoidal bleat for a voice and a penchant for tetherball. "Napoleon Dynamite," which was another crossover hit, packed in detail after cloyingly "indie" detail: Trapper Keepers, moon boots, a nonstop cavalcade of progressively more eccentric characters, the bleak, featureless backdrop of American exurbia. The film, a self-conscious compendium of "idiosyncratic" stunts and "quirky" set pieces, took indie irony to its cruelest extreme, expressing thinly veiled ridicule and contempt for its subjects and, by extension, its audience.

For shame. I have no words for this woman. I went so far as to name my car after this masterpiece. Jon Heder's portrayal of the title character was so spot on that an ardent TV watcher like myself would GLADLY toss "Gossip Girl" aside for a repeat viewing. This is incredibly disappointing. Where have the days of respectable journalism gone?

October 10, 2008

With Friends Like This...

My (perfectly legitimate) phobias (birds and the things connected to your ankles) have been the subject of much discussion and ridicule among my family and friends. One such friend has literally profited from my two biggest fears by documenting them in her weekly column at the Croc. Mosey on over and have a read. She likes comments too, so comment away!

Forsoothsayer needs to get out more

October 9, 2008

From the Mouth of Babes

My sister discovered Gchat a few minutes ago, and now I have even more people to waste my work hours away with. She's been known to have a few original thoughts up her sleeve (she skipped the fourth grade, people!), and I thought picking her brain about today's blog topic would be a good idea. Little did I know that her smartypants would come back with this:

Little One: whatevs
too bad nothing interesting happens to you


It wouldn't hurt so bad if she wasn't completely on the mark. I now have two options: a) write her off completely, or b) get a life. The latter will probably require getting up off the sofa and abandoning my tv shows, so it's a really toss-up at this point.

October 8, 2008

How to Annoy Your Family

Bring home guinea pigs.

Two friends had been in the possession of Mac and Cheese, two furry, but not so friendly, guinea pigs after one thought they'd be a cute birthday present for the other. For days, I heard about how annoying the guinea pigs were, how they didn't like to cuddle (they're INCHES long, what cuddling?!), and how they liked to eat their own poop. Reaching the end of their wits, they decided to give the guinea pigs away.

MJ and FJ asked me if I thought my former students would benefit from having the buggers around. The kids are in a physical rehabilitative center, and I thought the little critters would be fun class pets. It would teach the kids responsibility, give them something to look at, and provide general happiness across the board. And I was right! The first day went smoothly, with a success rate of about two out of twelve kids showing interest in the guinea pigs. What I didn't remember though, was that the next day was a long holiday and the pigs would need a home for the break.

Being the sucker that I am, I brought them to my abode. My sister and I quickly renamed them Fatty and Horse Face, and were generally amused with the guys for about half an hour. They're quite cute animals, if you can get over their insane leg span and disturbingly sharp claws. We put them in the guest bathroom, hoping they'd go unnoticed, but not wanting to induce heart attacks in any family members, we admitted their presence that night.

Over the course of the next seven days, Fatty and Horse Face were the topic of much conversation and rage. They were ridiculously messy, moving their floor lining everywhere except inside their cage. Their high-pitched squeaks were audible from miles away, indicating that they were hungry. (They fit in my palm - they don't need that much lettuce!) Their poop was everywhere, they truly didn't like to cuddle, and they were giving our cat heart palpitations. We finally gave them back yesterday, and the house has never been quieter. I didn't think I was a fan of animal testing, but after last week, I'm radically reevaluating my moral stance.

Campaign for Good

The diamond trade has been claiming the limbs and lives of women and children for over ten years. Largely affecting those caught up in the Charles Taylor led-conflict in Sierra Leone, children have been left mutilated, tortured and orphaned. Do your part - ask if your diamonds are conflict free and request to see their Kimberly certificates.

October 4, 2008

High School Musical - Without the Music

Last night I met up with five friends, two of whom I've known for fourteen years now, Poo and Big Lips, and one of whom I've known for ten, T.I. While my current friends come close to being the best things since sliced bread, this evening rivaled many current outings of late.

Poo and I have had our ups and downs, from going to prom together in the 11th grade (and nursing T.I. after a cigar-induced stomach ache) and not speaking the whole of 12th, to rekindling our friendship in college. We rarely see each other - usually only when Big Lips or T.I. are in town - even though we work on the same street. Big Lips was my rock in college, moving into the dorms on the same day as me so I wouldn't be lonely, and driving me to the mall so I could buy markers to decorate my door. I was one of the first kids to talk to T.I. when he transfered to our high school in 10th grade. I overlooked his odd-shaped head and his love for all things London (oh how I've learned!), and we've been tight ever since. I haven't seen much of him since leaving the city we both lived in when I was in grad school, so his short trips here are much loved.

While inhaling delicious, albeit insanely overpriced sushi, I realized that our communal friendship had matured beyond sophomoric, surface relations. The boys have this natural bond stemming from their shared Y-chromosomes, and I've always wondered how well I've fit in. In the past, our conversations revolved around our high school friends that got knocked up approximately three minutes after graduation, our classmate that would find ways to turn off our pre-cal teacher's hearing aid, the reasons we got sent to the principal's office, and other various school-related shenanigans. Last night though, we had real conversations about our jobs, our futures, our familiar pressure to find the right guy/girl and settle down, and other adult-like topics. This growth in our friendship made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and made me wish we made more time for each other. Poo, Big Lips and T.I. - you have no idea this blog exists, but I love you.

Also, Mouse was in a horrible car accident yesterday. He's badly bruised and cut up, but it could have been much, much worse. Mouse, don't know what I would have done if anything happened to you. Thanking my lucky stars you're okay.

September 28, 2008

Out of Control

Traffic in this city is getting ridiculously out of control. You think you finally get the hang of simultaneously honking at the idiot on the motorcycle with a pot rather than a helmet on his head, avoiding crushing the donkey next to you's hoofs, restraining from flipping the microbus driver the bird, and texting for directions when you're knocked right back to the start.

As I drove to work this morning, my mother (who works down the street from me) and I were complaining about how bad the traffic was. I noted that it's particularly bad on Sundays, but there must have been something wrong today. When we came to a complete stop at the bottom of a bridge and noticed drivers on the other side of the street cranking their heads in unimaginable positions, we suspected there had been an accident. Twenty minutes later, we saw the culprit - a broken down, public bus.

Under any other circumstances, this would have been a normal occurrence and yes, traffic would have moved slowly, but it would have moved. What made today oh so special was the fact that six - SIX - policemen were standing next to the bus apparently "directing traffic." We're on a's two isn't rocket science. The presence of these policemen made matters so much worse, as people expected to see guts poured out on the street, or at least attribute the delay to a checkpoint.

Things didn't end there though. Just as traffic started to clear up and we made our way past the rickety bus, this came RACING, racing I tell you!, at us. Down our side of the street, in my lane, full speed ahead. I have no words for this (at the time, I had some expletives, but that's neither here nor there). I really will never understand this country.

September 25, 2008

Dangerously Close to a 'Titanic' Reference

This morning, the awful goons at Nile FM posed this question to the capital - "What's your favorite cheesy song?" I wish I had known this before Eiffel 65's 'Blue (Da Ba Dee)' came on, because I wouldn't have yanked the power cord out of the socket so hard.

The drive to work picked up when all sorts of people with nothing better to do than text the radio started sending in song titles. There were some crazy throwbacks, best of all being Inner Circle's 'Sweat (A La La La La Long)'.

I had the music cranked up louder than ever before and threw all care to the wind (air condition?) when bopping along to this masterpiece of lyricism and musicality. To anyone who saw this 3 minutes and 46 second display, my apologies. I immediately switched to a CD after the song ended so as not to ruin my morning with other musical filth that was sure to filter through. You KNOW they were going to throw in some Celine Dion and hearts going on in there somewhere.

Hot Dawg Update

There were hot dogs. And burgers if my eyes didn't deceive me. I will engage in serious hot dog eating at Friday's game. And it will be delicious.

September 19, 2008

Crisis Averted!

I thought I was going to a softball game today. I got way too excited about the thought of eating hot dogs at the "stadium" until I was informed that the game was at 4. A whole two hours before iftar. CRISIS! What's the point of going to watch my friend's husband run around trying to catch a ball if I can't feed my belly? I was secretly (but not so secretly) hoping someone would take a hit in the gut to make up for it.

I've just been informed, though, that the game's been rescheduled to Monday at 7. After iftar! Wohoo! Maybe there will be pickles too. O Monday...when will you come?

In other news, I was voted MVP of my high school softball team. Recognize.

September 15, 2008

Labor Pains

Mom: Ahh...what a trip.
Me: What trip would that be in reference to, Mom?
Mom: Life.

This exchange happened a few weeks ago on a relatively normal evening in with my family. Clearly my mother's social, personal and professional life is leaps ahead of mine. You'd think conversations like this were few and far between in my household - what with Egyptian born and raised parents (and their disappointing-uber Western children) - but unfortunately (fortunately?), such is not the case. I have now made it my duty to share these, and other things on my mind grapes, with those who happen to be so brave as to continue reading.

This blog has been a long time coming. Well, long as in a couple weeks. Ideas have been prancing around in my mind like little sugar plum fairies (mostly at 2 am when I'm laying awake in bed unable to sleep on account of the minute levels of caffeine in the green tea I had six hours earlier), and they're finally seeing the light. Whether these ideas will be of any interest to anyone on the Interwebs is questionable, but I don't know if I'm ready to face the harsh reality of that just yet. Humor me (but don't hold your breath) and pretend you're interested. It may get better.

N.B. My sister has been objecting to this post, complaining that she isn't a "disappointment." You'd think in her wise, almost-18 years, she would have figured out that I tend to exaggerate. A lot. Sorry sissy-poo.