Monday, November 28, 2005

Time Off

It has been four months since I started this now. I was lazy lately but I want to take a slight vacation from writing, maybe for a week or so. So apologies for those looking for updates.
Love you all...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Small Profits

I figured there is an easy way for generating income people have. I was paying a water bill the other day and found out that the employer can make good profits on a monthly basis. And the reason is that no one anymore deals with anything less than five Syrian Pounds, as a rule. So this employer will have bills like 223 SP, 367 SP, and 146 Sp and he would bill them as 225, 370, and 150 respectively. So every bill is rounded to the next factor of 5. At the end of the day he will have to report an amount that matches the sum of the bills paid, and he gets the rest.
So to do a bit of calculation, if he works 9 hours a day 5 days a week: that is roughly 180 hours a month. If we assume an average of 3 SP extra per bill, and serving 20 people per hour: that is 60 SP per hour. If we multiply by 180 that is 10800 SP per month. Of course the poor officer probably deserves more than that, and the number I cam up with may be smaller than the real one.
Same thing applies to beggars. If they bother 50-60 people per hour and they get 4 to give them 5-10 SP, and average of 7.5 SP that means 30 SP per hour. This is multiplied by 300 hours per month (as beggar don't have a union or a weekend they can work 10 hours a day for 30 days a month) and the sum is 9000 SP per month. That is better than a lot of salaries in the government. I am not sure whether I am exaggerating but because of this I refuse to pay beggars and wish they find a decent work to do and at least earn the money.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Accident, Almost 2

I think I have not touched wood enough and kept congratulating myself on not getting myself involved in any traffic accident so far. It is still the case but this time it was too close.
I am driving to Safita with my mother to spend a couple of days. Not long after leaving Damascus we were talking about various things when, all of sudden, it seemed that a couple of IGNORANT BASTARDS decided to cross the highway regardless of the traffic. I was driving at 75-80 Mph at the time. I had two cars in front of me (it could be only one though) and the first had to really brake and try to avoid running over the people crossing (in retrospect they may have deserved it). So naturally the one behind it (in front of me) also applied the brake but swerved a bit to avoid collapse. And naturally too I did the same but had to swerve at a sharper angle, and I must have kept some brake at the beginning of swerving; there was a bus stopping near the shoulder and I had to swerve sharply in the opposite direction (in all this the car was sliding). Then I had the option of swerving again or hitting the median separator (the one the IGNORANT BASTARDS were trying to cross). It seems that I chose the first and swerved again this time making a 180 degree turn and starting to move backwards after that, at the time I managed to park it on the shoulder facing the coming traffic. I don’t remember how the gear was put on neutral but I think that may have helped a bit in the backward movement.
No cars were damaged and no one was hurt (although I wished it for a couple!!!).
We stayed in the car and, to my surprise my mom has said nothing during the whole thing. Poor her, I believe the scare was too much for her to speak up. We both calmed down and the guy in the car in front of us has already stopped ahead of us and came down to make sure all are alright. After he apologized (although not his fault) and made sure nothing happened, my mom asked him:
“Aren’t you Mouhannad?”
“Yes, I am Mouhannad Mshalla7” he said. But he didn’t make and suggestion that he recognized my mom, which kind of upset me more than the accident itself.
Then he thanked goodness for the safety of all and left.
After he left another guy came to make sure that everything was fine, and he told us to calm down before continuing to drive. It was then that I made a comment of wanting to shoot the people responsible for this, as I saw no reason for me to calm down.
Then I asked my mom about the “Mouhannad guy” and how come he didn’t know or remember her. So she explained to me that he was one of the “Superstar” candidates last year (the Arabic version of American Idol).
The rest of the trip was uneventful, but the adventure is still unforgettable.
I tried to draw a sketch of what happened below…

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Miscellaneous Events

The past three days were full of hard work. And hard work is not exercising, and is not working in a clinic… but is paper work. My cousin from Latakia arrived in several errands to do, and as the currently-doing-nothing cousin I helped in the process. There is no need to go in details about what was to be done. But it was fun.
One thing I discovered when I was accompanying her is the reason I had some trouble at first… I am not a girl. My cousin is very pretty and cute that even female clerks would love to smooth her business, and that, as I like to believe, helps a lot. There is a line for women that is very, really very, short and they step in front of everybody else. Guy employees would gladly offer help or be understanding, they would even book a seat on a bus that is not going to leave with a broad smile (at the same situation I would be frowned upon) – but they couldn't make the bus leave, hehehe.
So I was debating with myself whether all these privileges are worth having a monthly "accident". I decided after all that peeing standing is still better than all that.
It was all like a flashback, or deja-vus. The same process I had to go through with my brother I did it again. And for a reason or another I seem to do things for others better than I do it for myself.
Driving was horrible, all these cars coming from I don't know where. And the slow driving drives me nut. In fact this would be the only situation that I would be really out of norm and transform into a filthy citizen (linguistically). I don't know how taxi drivers do it. And most if not all of their cars are stick shift driven and very old. They must all have some ligament problems and knee pain, especially the left one. I think they should ban importing cars that are not automatic to Damascus at least.
And for one reason or another it seems that every time I farewell someone, a tragic scene happens (if anyone remembers the car accident entry). So today at the time of arrival to the كراجات الانطلاق we were met by a crowd that is going in the direction of a noise. And then there we saw a fellow (definitely not human) who was walking rapidly inside the bus station area with a long what-seemed-to-be-a-sword (or maybe a cleaver) and it looked as if there was blood on it. I wish I had a camera or video with me. Anyway the guy was furious and was walking as if wanting to attack someone. And that was very scary; we weren't too far away from him. And then all of a sudden he started waving the "weapon" (and I still can't figure how he came in through the police and security), and people were around him. No one seemed to get hurt at that time, but no one was able to calm him down too, or do anything about him. It is insane how people here out of curiosity just follow a madman to wherever even if that meant they may get hurt. We were told later that he is a kin of someone who was stabbed outside by another person. There was something incomplete about the story, but I wish I knew it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Military Exam

As I said earlier I was on my way to the military hospital when I saw the sign below. I had an eye exam which qualifies me for "stationary service خدمة ثابتة". This means I can waive my service for a paid fee. So for those who were wondering and asking... looks like things are well. But of course, unless it is on paper nothing is certain from my point of view.

تقبل التهاني في منزل العروسين في أيام.....


I saw this funny thing today as I was going to be checked by the military eye doctor. The road to the hospital is full of speed bumps. It was then when I saw this sign (I had to draw it as in a military place I can't take pictures, and here is what is says:

The writing in Arabic translates into "Beware, speed bumps ahead!"
The writing in English, though can be correct, but can also translate into something else, LOL... Any guesses??? Only sick minded people like me would have noticed...
Anyway I could only imagine two people doing something at the post :op

Accident, Almost

I went to pick a cousin of mine from our beloved "interstate bus station" مركز كراجات البولمان (which I have to write about someday). During the process of getting her to where she is staying we met, or rather were met, with a parade of cars with young people holding the Syrian flag and patrolling the city. In fact they were patrolling the way I wanted to take. They drove slowly and made a traffic jam that cannot be encountered at noon on a Sunday. That was of course annoying, to me at least and to thousand other drives at most. And although I do not exactly know the direct effect of such a parade, but here comes one of the indirect ones :p
Anyway, I was coming from Mazzeh and preparing to enter the tunnel (there is a new tunnel there that links the Mazzeh and Al-Ma3rad Streets). And traffic was reaching the middle of the tunnel, which was a bit unusual. I came to a halt and waited there, patiently I may add. Behind me was an ancient pickup of the famous سوزوكي type. And as there wasn't really anything happening in front of me, I was staring in the rear view mirror. All of a sudden a white car coming fast whose driver apparently was, as I like to believe, not aware of such a halt and tried to apply the brakes unsuccessfully. So he ran into the Suzuki car and finished the trip by kissing the median separator. It seemed weird as the normal behavior would have been he would come to hit the car behind me, then me, then the one in front and so forth. But the tunnel make a right turn (90 degrees) so there are two possibilities here, or three. The first that he was on the right lane (I was on the left) and tried to avoid hitting a car there so he swerved to the left. The second is that he didn't know there was a turn and thought it a straight road. And the third that he is drunk and didn't know what he was doing.
I have to thank the gentleman in the car that was supposed to be in my place before the accident as he chickened out and started to get backward from the tunnel thinking that he will never move from his place. Little did he know. And if it wasn't for this act of stupidity I would have been right now still fighting with the asshole who ran into me (but now fighting with the Suzuki guy).

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Shall We Dance

So finally I watched the "shall we dance" by Richard Gere and J. Lo (the American version). And for those who do not know it is after a Japanese movie holding the same name about a shy white collar worker who finds joy in dancing. I can almost bet that very few have seen the original movie (I did, before the American of course).
I have to admit that I expected it to be worse, but I still prefer the Japanese version more. It has more authenticity. The story line and events are pretty much the same (I can't tell about the conversation as I didn't memorize it). But what struck me most is that they didn't explain the reason behind "Paullina" leaving her partner and the thing with the fall on the dance floor (as happened again in the competition with Gere), which I thought was very important and also a matter of dancing ethics. The original movie is more believable and has more depth in the relationship and expression of feelings. The sadness that overwhelms the main female character is indescribable in the Japanese version, to the point that J Lo's interpretation of it seems more like smiling.
Anyway, I have to make a couple of comments here. If anyone is interested in watching a real dancing movie with a plot around dancing and its passion, this is not the one… this is made to be a blockbuster (for box-office) having the once "sexiest" man and the most expensive ass (and legs) in one movie. My suggestion is: go after the movie "Strictly Ballroom", a real masterpiece I believe. It is directed by Baz Luhrmann (I hope I spelled it right), an Australian (and so the movie) who is well known for "Moulin Rouge".
The second comment is that I hate remakes, 95% of remakes are crap and do not rise to the level of original (except in visual effects maybe). And that includes adaptations from foreign movies or local movies.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Road To Lattakia

I was away from writing as I was out for few days, earned days I thought after all the do-nothing I was involved in. In fact this visit was overdue. I left three days ago to Lattakia, driving. I passed by Homs without stopping in it this time, and got (verbally) beaten for not doing so. But I was planning to get to my destination that same day for lunch. As I drove by the shore, the weather was by the way so beautiful I couldn't ask for more on such a break, so I was driving and the sea was as blue as the cloudless sky, as calm as a graveyard, and as level as a platform. It looked so pretty I wanted to drink it all, or jump in it in my car (of which I did neither).
The lunch was a deliciously made rabbit meat; it was my first and liked it a lot, viva rabbits. My dad's aunt cooked the rabbit, and she is despite her 85 so years still cooking and in a very good mental capacity. She is the last to remind with my late grandmother, as they all had the same behavior style, and hair style, and look, etc…
I spent most of the time with my favorite cousin (once removed) Lana. So finally we meet here for a while after it looked that we only had to meet abroad (UK, USA). We have both spent a similar amount of years outside Syria, so I think we understand lot of things, or have it in common (especially the previously debated privacy entry: singles win LOL). The rest of time (and meals) were at my favorite (and only) paternal aunt. She is more like a friend than an aunt and she has lots of stories and comments to make. She made me Couscous مغربية, one of my favorite dishes too, one that I haven't had in like 10 years.
In addition I saw some relative studying at the university and old friends (who got married). In general, we were just having good innocent fun and plenty of food. I think I screwed everything I had accomplished through going to the gym.
The way back was more hectic as I took off early and had to stop by Safita to check on few things and then leave again to meet a deadline for lunch in Damascus, which I did very well, I thought.
It is boring to drive alone as no one to chat with (and for those who may think of speaking, NO, I am not taking any roommate or anything of the sort on such a trip). But it is a good thing Pioneer existed. And if anyone is interested in the new Ricky Martin CD, I think it will please those who like him; I thought it is mediocre with 2 good songs. But at least it occupied a good one hour of the way.
I am so pissed that I had my camera with me without using it even once. I could have gotten some very nice views.
Hopefully more news is to be published in the near future (as soon as I see something to make fun of). Maybe tattoos…

Monday, November 07, 2005


Is precious, and mine, as well as many others', is lost somehow here. Living in a family requires compromises, and despite the fact that most of us are used to that and cope with it in one way or another, but the transition from one situation where you are the king of your world to another where you are not is not easy.
Leaving all the luxury of not being nosed on and check out even at the very early hours in the morning is something to be missed; the luxury to do whatever I wish for and whenever in the realm of privacy; the luxury of going in and out without having to report to someone, not because you don't want them to know, sometimes, but because you have to as a part of a unit; the luxury to not be bothered by neighbors and their tittle-tattle. All of these are things that are a part of the norm, the usual life here, but a part that is easily forgotten and forsaken outside the unit when someone goes abroad (at least most of the time).
I hated roommates. And I had few in my life; there presence would be nice at the beginning, but after the first 3-4 weeks it becomes nerve-racking. That privacy and solitude is lost again. I would get angry, frustrated, short tempered, and annoyed (except for my last one, whom I should give credit to, as we seldom met at home). There departure would usually bring a sigh of content and the influx of a new fresh air. I could be messy, jump around, walk about naked, bang my head on the wall, and just be my real self (which is not pretty at times, LOL).
So far one of the best times for me here was last week as I spent 5-6 days alone while my folks where abroad. I did what I wanted and slept outside and messed up the whole place, etc (of course I restored everything to its original state before they arrive). If I wanted I wouldn't answer the phone, enjoy the loneliness I missed and decided not to go anywhere where I would know people and be expected to stay at their company, and just enjoy the time for myself.
Mind you I dearly love my folks and my relatives or anyone I may be staying with or at. But that thing they cannot but take away from me; it is healthy to have it every now and then so the craziness inside unleashes and settles down to start a new cycle.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

أول غنية

تعقيباً على التأليف الكلامي الغنائي، أحب أن أدلي بدلوي في الانحطاط المعنوي (من معنى) وأورد هذه "القصيدة" لمن يريد تلحينها من الفنانين الناشئين (علماً أن جميع الحقوق محفوظة)
ورجائي الحار أن تتابعوا زيارة الموقع، LOL

ابعتلي شي إيميل
أنت نسيتني عن جد
وانت خصرك بيميل
في ليالي الويك إند
يا حرام، يا سلام، غدرت فيّا الأيام
قطقوطة، الحدوتة دي، راح الغرام
اتذكرني يا غليظ
لوحتى بـ sms
هي ما بدها هز طيز
بدها إصبع وبس
يا حرام، يا سلام، غدرت فيّا الأيام
قطقوطة، الحدوتة دي، راح الغرام
رنلّي شي تلفون
إرفع السماعة
أو ابعتلي إهداء
على شي إذاعة
يا حرام، يا سلام .......

أعتقد لازم يلحنها ريكو أو عصام كاريكا أو ما شابه :P

Saturday, November 05, 2005

سؤال اليوم 10

سؤال اليوم هو:
ما الفرق بين الفرس، الحصان، المهر، الجواد، الخيل، والحجر؟

الفرس: هو الحيوان الذي نركبه، وهو قد يكون أياً من الجنسين
الحصان: هو الذكر
الحِجْر: هو الأنثى
المهر: هو ولد الفرس (فرس صغير يعني)
الجواد: هي صفة للفرس وتعني سريع الجري وتستعمل مجازاً للحصان (ويمكن استعمالها لغيره)
أما الخيل: فهو لفظ مفرد بمعنى الجمع (جماعة الأفراس) لا مفرد له، وجمعه خيول

Friday, November 04, 2005


I think I was tagged on this, so I will give it a go:

01. What is your favorite word?
Thank you

02. What is your least favorite word?
الحقيقة ;) nowadays

03. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Rock music, challenge, pretty faces...

04. What turns you off?
Nagging, lots of questions.

05. What is your favorite curse word?
كـ... أخت الطبيعة

06. What sound or noise do you love?
Waves breaking on beach at night

07. What sound or noise do you hate?

08. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Musician (provided I had the talent)

09. What profession would you not like to do?

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"No kidding!!" LOL

Anyone is welcome to be tagged. I did this out of three by gray-fox as it is the shortest.
The last one seemed like an interrogation, LOL. I may do the second someday.

The Food List

I spoke of food things I missed abroad, and while some (like Gray-fox ;) ) thought this is a cooking list maybe, it is not. These are things that are so simple and almost unique, and here goes the list, but it may not be complete:

1- جنرلك
2- فول نابت
3- أكدنيا
4- صعتر
5- كستناء على الصوبيا
6- لقمة الحلوة
7- معجوقة
8- قربان
9- رطبات أبو الحسن في باب توما (خشاف - تمر هندي - جلاب - ليمون وغيرها)
10- شاورما لحمة (من عند الرحمة في الغساني)
11- حمبلاس
12- عجة بيض (نوع من الحلوى وليس بيضاً مخفوقاً)
13- حمص أخضر
14- عرانيس مشوية
15- بريوش
16- حلاوة جبن
17- قرمشية
18- عوجا

وأكيد في غيرها كثير ولكن هذه بداية

La Casa

Finally, after few months of being here and more of knowing her I got to meet Dania, a friend that I met online few years back through one of the discussion rooms on a Syrian website. Although I knew of people who get friends like that, and even got married, I didn't figure that this can happen to me (not talking about the marriage part of course). I am not going to spend plenty of time dissecting the meeting and the inside and outside of her (of which both were up to expectations), it was a nice meeting and I hope a start of, not a new friendship, but another aspect of it.
What I wanted to describe is the restaurant, called La Casa (I hope I got the name right), in Abu-Rummaneh (or maybe more like Al-Malki). It is a ground level, street overlooking, and very neat. It is formed in the fashion of a home. So tables are distributed in "rooms" of different part of the house. And I wish I had my camera with me, but I will describe it instead.
The door opens to what should be a street area, on both sides can be seen doors to houses (that, of course, open on nothing, in fact they don't open. It is just a decoration) and to what should be a floral shop and things like that. After you enter the "house" door, on your right there lays the W.C and next to it there is a table made over a bathtub (an old one) with glass in the middle that shows water and other things in it. The W.C in itself is nice and fashioned after some old sinks in the shape of big bowls.
To the left there is a living room where some seats are actually sofas. And in a different part of the restaurant lays the dining area, with a big table of course, for larger parties. And at the end there is a bed room, and the seating is in the area of a bed that was split in the middle to fit a table, and sitting is on both side of the bed (facing inward of course). There is also a garden (I think they can open the roof in the summer time).
The weather was cold and rainy. I hate rain, especially when I have to get out.
Anyway, I know there is nothing fancy in this, and some know these details very well, as they live here in the city, but I am mainly writing this for those friends abroad who have not been here for so long, or never been here. I hope both enjoy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

عيد فطر سعيد

To all those celebrating today, I wish you success and happiness.
From Bassam... in Syria

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

كيف تصنع أغنية عربية من طقطق للسلام عليكم في ثلاثة أيام

تقديم: أكثر ما يغيظني في الأغنية العربية هو وحدة الموضوع، وعدم أهميته والبساطة المدقعة لكلماتها. إذ لا يوجد أي بعد فلسفي لأي أغنية ولا أي وجود لتجارب نفسية أو حالات نفسية (دون أن تكون لها علاقة بالحب). وذلك حسب تقديري يعود إلى أن 98% من فنانينا، كلّ على حسب مصرياته، ما عليه إلا أن يشتري كلاماً ولحناً وفيديو كليب وأن يغنيها (أسهل ما في الموضوع، حسب تقديري الشخصي. إذ ياما أغاني طالعة أحلى مع مغنيين آخرين غير الأصليين).

-أولاً: الكلمات
لا يوجد داعي للتعقيد والبلاغات الأدبية (إلا إذا كان المطلوب شعراً لنزار قباني). وتتم العملية على الشكل التالي:
موضوع الكلام: عليه أن يكون سخيف بعض الشيء، لكن يفضل أن تكون سخافة غير مطروقة قبلاً. المنحى العام لقصة الأغنية يجب أن تكون في سياق قصة حب (أي موضوع آخر يعتبر "مفزلك" وتقليداً لزياد الرحباني). ويجب أن يكون هناك عذاب، هجر، فراق، خيانة، قهر، ضرب، نصب، بعد، عدم اهتمام من الطرف الآخر، بكاء، نحيب، عويل، وداع، ملامة،أو عتاب، وإن أردت التنويع على أمور لم تطرق من قبل فيمكن استخدام مواضيع مثل موت، انتحار، ذم وقدح، إرهاب، حرق، تشويه، تقطيع أطراف... يعني بالمختصر المفيد موضوع لا يسر القلب.
كلام الموضوع: سهل جداً. لا بد أن يوجد في مكان ما قاموس بالكلمات التي تأخذ نفس الوزن، وإن لم يوجد فأنا أكثر من سعيد بوضعه. ومعظمها معروف مسبقاً والأمثلة على ذلك كثيرة، هذه المفردات تلائم بعضها مثلاُ:
كلام وسلام وغرام وهيام
قمر وسهر وشجر
أي كلمة تنتهي بـِ "ـان"
قلب وحب
أحباب وأصحاب وعتاب (وكلاب، إن أريد التنويع)
ليلي وويلي
بص ونص
أي كلمة تنتهي بـِ "ـني"
وقس على هذا المنوال، واللائحة ليست طويلة إذ أن 90% من كلمات كل الأغاني مجتمعة لاتزيد عن 150 كلمة (باستثناء أحرف الجر). وللتكوين البلاغي للكلام، يسمح بأحرف الجر بين الكلمات.
من أين تأتي بالكلام (تدعى قصائد على سبيل الدعابة أحياناً): إما تشترى من الشعراء (أو تسرق)، أو من مؤلفي الأغاني (ويدعون شعراء أحياناً، أيضاً على سبيل الدعابة)، وطبعاً بما أن معظم فنانينا ليس عندهم حس فني، لا يمكن لأحدهم أن يأتي بقصيدة أو أغنية تعبر عنه بل يعتمد على غيره.
لهجة الأغنية: يفضل أن تكون بغير لهجة الفنان (إلا إذا كان مصرياً أو مصرية). لأن القاعدة أن لهجتك الأم لا تطعم خبزاً ولا تأتي بجمهور. وإن لم تبدأ كذلك... ستنتهي كذلك.
ملاحظة: إذا كانت الأغنية ستكون دلعاً وطقطقة لا تهم اللهجة ما دام إفراز التستوسترون مضموناً

-ثانياً: اللحن
كقاعدة عامة، يوجد 5 أو 6 فنانين عرب يعرفون التأليف الموسيقي. ولهم أنحني. أما الباقي عليه أن يشتري لحناً أيضاً.
السرقة الأدبية مسموحة بل يبدو أنها محبذة كثيراً من الأحيان. والله يخليلنا الأتراك واليونان والاسبان.
إذا طلع معك لحناً جميلاً، ما عليك إلا أن تدخل عليه تعديلات بسيطة كي تطلع معك باقي الألحان (مثل من يلحن لنجوى كرم).

ثالثاً: الفيديو كليب
تحدثت عنه من قبل. وهناك عدة قواعد للفيديو كليب الناجح
المكان: لا تصور في بلدك، كلما ابتعدت كان أحسن (يعني اليونان، تايلاند، ماليزيا، أوروبا...) وكلما كان البلد أغرب كان أحسن (لسه ما حدا راح على مدغشقر أو بوتسوانا).
القصة: لازم يكون في حبكة درامية تشد المشاهد كي ينسى (بالمعية) أو يتغاضى عن الصوت أو الكلمات أو اللحن.
المؤثرات البصرية: بنات، بنات، بنات، ومزيد من البنات. أي شيء يتعلق بالبنات (خاصة من الرقبة للركبة). هز الخصر... بالحقيقة هز أي شيء. قليلاً من القماش للثياب والكثير من السيليكون (لغير أشياء).
المغني: ذقن نصف حليقة، وشعر طويل أو قصير، وبما أن الشب غير مغري لوحده يجب إحاطته بالمغريات.
المغنية: يجب أن تكون ذات استدارات كثيرة ومتناظرة. ومرة أخرى نكرر... قليلاً من القماش والكثير من السيليكون. هز الخصر أيضاً والادعاء أنها تستطيع أن تقوم بـ "كوريوغرافي". نعوصة الصوت ضرورية في معظم الحالات.
الاكسسوارات: سيارات غالية جداً. فنادق ويخوت وطيارات. موبايلات. حمامات (بشد الميم) وبانيوهات. وغيرها

رابعاً: الانتاج
روتانا أو روتانا.