February, 2008

All-in-One Reply to Tags

Sorry for the delay in response, but I can’t have 7 replies to book-meme and 298176 to “things to do before you’re 18″. So here is my all-in-one response.

Book-Meme

The book is “Fraud of the Rings by M. R. Moogtein”

5th sentence:
Henceforth Dildo Baggings castrated himself, for great Sauron he slaught.

Next sentences:
And Frodo castheth himself onto molten oblivion, the ring he hath sought.
Betwixt his fingers and the ring there were, a dodo that hath flought.
That caughteth the ring in its claws, a new lord the ring has brought.
Frodo felleth beneath the red of greed, a hero now he is naught.
And Dodo took flight invincible against arrows, or so it hath thought.

Billion Things To Do Before 18

1. Raid the fridge.
100. Have an online romantic relationship.
500. Yell at your parents and get grounded, then escape through the window.
1,000. Destroy your sister’s Barbie doll collection.
8,277. Walk in on your parents during The Act. You need to be prepared for life and if you survive this ordeal you can survive anything.
19,398. Run down the beach naked whilst peeing.
3,482,991. Take your girlfriend/boyfriend to the beach and break up there. This ensures a bad memory every time they take their new partners to the beach.
21,938,283. Go on top of a table in a party and vomit.
34,719,127. Vomit during a rollecoaster ride.
46,171,638. Vomit when asked “do I look nice?”
183,882,937. Give your girlfriend/boyfriend/parents a wake up call by slapping them.
283,271,871. Run over a cat/pigeon/rodent whilest driving then sue the government for not putting up animal crossing signs.
456,276,181. While yo’re at it, sue Angelina Jolie for not adopting you.
728,176,163. Bunjee jump.
832,761,753. Cause a catastrophe in the chemistry lab.
899,171,873. Put your father’s tie in a shredder.
910,910,091. Vandalize an enemy’s car.
950,004,000. Defacate on doorsteps, ring the bell and run.
999,999,990. Return a sandwich in Burger King/Mc Donald’s and claim something is wrong with the taste. The horrific look on other customer’s faces is priceless (tested myself)
999,999,999. Experience papercuts.
1,000,000,000. Create, receive, and forward spam email / tags :P :P :P

Children of the 80s: Are You Living Your Age?

Children of the 80s: Are You Living Your Age?

Am I the only one who feels like I am not living my age? Are YOU living your age?

The only ages I think I “lived” are the times I spent in Syria during my school years and the time I spent in university.

Born and raised most of my life in Saudi, I had minimal human interaction. Partly because of my character (I was extremely shy and passive), partly because of where we lived (independent villa vs a compound) and largely because of the actual life style of the kingdom.

My family had lots of friends and my only forms of friendships came from whatever kids they brought along. Interactions were confined only to weekends, and until I met Hamza in 7th (or was it 8th?) grade I didn’t quite have any friends outside school.

Anyway, school was over and I was shipped to uni in a different country. It scared the hell out of me because at the age of 17 I didn’t actually KNOW how to interact with other people. However when it comes to other things, I was self-sufficient and quite the “housewife”. For quite some time I actually had to throw up before I went out to classes and the sort. To be exposed to a few people for 17 years and suddenly dropped into an alien world of 3000 students at the time was something out of the ordinary.

But I came through, in an odd fashion I might add.

Fast forward a bit now, and here I am in a corporate office. I am the youngest person in the current workforce (as far as I know). What does it feel like?

It feels good and it feels like shit.

It feels good to be able to make money and be independent and try to live and learn. It feels good to learn independence from the age of 17 and find my way through life. It feels good to be and act like a man.

But it also feels like SHIT. It feels like shit to miss out on fun days. It feels like shit that I have to pay for a car, pay for rent, pay for bills, work for 8-10 hours, drive for 3 hours and study for another 5-6 hours. It feels like shit that I have the illusion of not having support (I know my parents will jump in if absolutely necessary). It feels like shit to deal with corporate crap, prejudice, discrimination, unfairness, weird and demented people. It feels like shit that I have to justify myself to both religious and non-religious people (thank you philosophy and psychology).

It feels like shit that I have to do that at the age of 22 (now 23).

Question: What SHOULD be someone doing at the age of 22/23? Heck, my parents were in college! Times have changed, yes. Like the other Kinan expertly pointed out on my Maslow’s post, we, the 80s generation, are the guinea pigs of a global experiment. An experiment of industrialization, and experiment of a shift in morals. An experiment of shift in values, expectations, lifestyles, technology, adaptation, and the like.

So here I stand and say I AM SICK OF IT. I want to go out CAMPING with FRIENDS (and NO not on WEEKENDS). I want to go and PLAY and goof off and do all sorts of stupid stuff (because I am ENTITLED to be doing stupid stuff at my age – just not at my age in 2008). I want to go out take photos, experience nature, breathe fresh CLEAN air (not industrial by-products in the atmosphere, which Dubai has a serious issue of).

What do I do? Do I go with the flow, or do I rebel? What happens to rebellious lab rats? Get killed? What does this translate to in this day and age? Fall so far behind I become a no-body? Those who did read the book, isn’t this life becoming like Brave New World?

“But that’s what holidays are for” the boss would say. “That’s what you should do when you retire”. Oh my, how SAVAGE of me to have asked!

Since when are these things now designated for “holidays” and “retirement”!!!

I will end this post by quoting the priceless words of the other Kinan:

The pressure of being “someone” in this new “global village” that the world has become is one of the most important reasons behind people wanting to be ahead of their cognitive-development cycles. The world has become very fast, demanding, cruel, competitive, and insecure. Any one is susceptible to becoming a commodity at any moment until and unless they maintain a rate of growth of that of their surrounding economies. In other words, as a professional your job security is dependent on how easily replaceable you are. Hence, you are pressured to continuously make sure your skills and experiences are up-to-date and conforming with what the world demands. This is an added responsibility that our parents did not face. It’s a one-generation gallop between leading a content life and one that is overwhelmingly demanding.
It’s a whole new world that we deal with. The underpinning truth that no one seems to be realizing is that we are the generation that plays the role of the lab rats in this new system. Our parents lived in a day and time that was much more relaxed. In the 80′s all of that changed and it is us, being the generation of the 80′s, that are left to suffer the consequences of a globalized economy and an exponentially developing technology; both are components to a dynamically changing reality.

Stress, depression, ADD, SAD, Insomnia, and a multitude of other psychological disorders have become the defining factors of our new reality.

 

Oddball of a World vol.8 – On Shocks, Fish, Snail Mail, Belgium, Autopsies and Baby Names

Remember that the titles are links! (so is everything orange).

Also please vote on the poll on the right which duration I have extended for another week!

SHOCKED THIEF

With the rise of copper on the rise, it is only natural to invest your spare time in stealing some copper, right? Try not to steal copper from live 11,000 V cables.

FISH ARE TIME CAPSULES

Remember that satellite released with a time capsule containing Earth’s inhabitant’s letters for the 50,000-years-in-the-future inhabitants of our planet? You don’t need no expensive satellites as a 15 year old letter from a Japanese girl was finally returned to her…. by a fish.

SPEAKING OF WHICH…

A fish may take 15 years to return your letter, but to have it delivered it looks like Snail Mail is literally SLOWER than snails themselves. Read this experiment to find out how.

KINGDOM FOR SALE

If you can spare 10 million Euros, you can buy Belgium off eBay.

WAIT! I AM STILL ALIVE!!!

From what I’ve heard (don’t ask how), dying is a terrible experience. More terrible is waking up while you’re being autopsied on.

THE BATTLE FOR BABY NAMES CONTINUE…

So yeah, the battle didn’t end… after another couple got rejected for their baby’s name “4Real” (because the system doesn’t accept numbers, not because it is ridiculous), the couple are appealing to court threatning that it is either “4Real” or “Superman”.


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Movie Review: The Mist

Movie Review: The Mist

When it comes to horror movies it is difficult to come up with a concept that delivers a truly horrifying experience. While The Ring and Silent Hill succeeded in making psychological-horror films (in my opinion), others rely on the gradual increase of disturbing violin which ends in some window breaking or a werewolf leaping out from the closet.

The Mist is a Stephen King novella adaptation which fails miserably. I am sure that the novella is a good read, because the story is obviously deeper than what is provided in the movie. But the movie itself is just a sad affair from beginning to right-before-the-end.

The Mist

As the name implies, a pretty little town is shrouded in mysterious mist which – surprise surprise – kills anyone who dares to venture outside in a bloody mess. Our cast of main characters and over 30 supporting characters are all trapped in a supermarket whilst they think over the best way out.

Given the premise, you’d be surprised how little scare the actual mist provides, since most of the movie is shot inside the supermarket. What is even sadder is when the things in the mist start to appear and you’d realize the absurdity of the movie. The fog in Silent Hill is used into good effect and the creatures were disturbing. Here, the mist is just there to limit the shooting scenes to the supermarket and the nearby pharmacy when our heroes do eventually decide to take the risk.

Strangely, most of the focus on the story isn’t really about surviving what the mist dishes out against the occupants of the supermarket, but rather about the relationship between the people there. While the premise is good, pitting a religious fanatic and the newly converts against the “logical” group tries to explore the fundamentals of politics and religion and human behaviour, the film adaptation fails in fleshing these concepts out well.
The Mist
In fact, it can get bad enough that these human interaction segments provide a comic relief from the rest of the movie. On ink and paper, the conversations and ideas could have been good but didn’t translate well. In the theatre, people – including us – were actually laughing during some conversations and some predictable demise and dismemberment of some characters.
What is worse than the script is the acting, save for the religious preacher (Marcia Gay Harden) who does a great job being serious and preachy. Equally bad is the 3D CGI of some elements, which quality is inconsistent during the course of the movie. The opening scene begins with a storm rendered all wrong – which I find surprising because a regular storm-seen-through-a-window is a no-brainer in movies. Whatever is in the mist is not rendered in a realistic way as well. Creatures appears a bit too plastic or too rubbery. The animation itself is OK but the character designs are just ridiculous and ripped out of any Dungeons & Dragons-based video game.
The Mist

Don’t let me start on the music… the little of it that is there anyway.

What IS good about the movie though, is the final sections and especially the ending. Too bad they’re not really worth sitting the movie for.
A Maslow to Reconsider: Expectancy-Response

A Maslow to Reconsider: Expectancy-Response

Following up from my previous post, I got some really interesting answers on whether or not you guys are happy despite having what the woman in the image appears to not have.What you should ask yourself however is this: Have you answered that you are not happy, to whatever extent, because you are genuinely unhappy or because this is what you thought I expected you to say?

An old funny fellow by the name of Abraham Maslow came up with a “hierarchy of needs”, a system by which people would climb up the ladder on their road to ultimate happiness. Without lots of psychology lingo, you have to fulfill the requirements of the lower levels to proceed to the upper levels. However, if something in the lower level has not been met, it doesn’t mean you cannot progress, but rather, the “deficiency” will disturb you enough for you to reprioritize your goals temporarily.

While the hierarchy of needs is more or less satisfactory, given the fact it isn’t entirely rigid, what we are seeing in this day and age is a shift in paradigms. Although the physiological and security are always critical, in this day and age, a good portion of the Earth’s population don’t really have to worry about those needs – especially if we are ones who live in a consumer based society.

Now that some of the needs are automatically covered, more or less, we tend to immediately focus on the upper-level needs. While in theory this is a good thing, it doesn’t usually pass on as a good idea because the automation process of securing the lower levels means that whatever dependencies you would have otherwise gained from them won’t evolve to help you with the higher ones.

For instance, those of us who live in bigger cities always face a social identity crisis. Either us being expats or just seemingly alienated from the rest, we seek to “belong” to some other group and conform to their ideas and norms.

When this happens, you fulfill the need of belonging by sacrificing the need of individual independence – in other words your desperation to belong somewhere turns you into a no-body.

The problem here is that the highest levels of self-actualization require you to be YOU – that is, it needs you to be spontaneous, creative, self-accepting, accepting of others and of life, moral and ethical independently, and appreciating of yourself, people, life, family, friends, spouse etc.

With our fast paced ways of life, for those of us in the bigger cities anyway, the focal point is always on a bigger piece than we can chew. We tend to achieve the higher levels without thinking about the fulfillment of the lower levels – and then we complain about it.

We focus so much on the high-cognitive abilities and invest so much time “to get rid of everything”, and in the process you get rid of friends, loved ones, social relationships and meaningful sexual intimacies.

So, what does this all mean? Changing your expectations changes your responses. Although I am not saying you should not be ambitious, but you should be accepting of the facts around you – the unchangeable ones and the currently-unchangeable ones – and focus on fulfilling your other lower needs.

Focus on friends, focus on families, focus on building intimacies. If, in some way possible, you are to become the best creative thinker and philosopher in the universe and the wealthiest person alive, how sad will it be if you have no one to share all of this with?

Simplicity and a step-by-step approach are the keys here. The woman in the image is happy because she has what she needs. She has a house, some clothes, married with kids and has lots of friends and supporting family. Why shouldn’t she be happy? She doesn’t have to drive a Maybach to be happy.

The only thing you ultimately take with you to your grave is your smile, and the only thing you leave for the living is a good memory.

PS: I didn’t want to over-elaborate and make this longer than it already is. If you want, I can write up more posts on the topic, you can vote on (check the poll on the right sidebar).

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