March, 2010

A Small Post From Amman

A Small Post From Amman

When my notebook is not with me it’s my tradition to write my thoughts on the iPhone notes and probably copy them later when I have the chance. This time I decided to share mY thoughts with you. Fresh, raw, unedited.

It’s very hard to describe what I am feeling right now. It’s a mixture of happiness and sadness and bitterness and loathing and compassion and excitement and regret to name a very few.

My trip to Amman has been cut short, but at one point it was going to be cancelled before it even began. The circumstances were all pointing to the Dont Walk signal. But for once, i felt the need to ignore logic and go with instincts.

I needed to go.

I’ve met many wonderful people, bloggers and the blokes on Twitter. Sadly I haven’t seen them all, and their schedules with my failed plans made logtistics impossible to meet eveyone. But I am coming back in July. And I have to joke about the weather, at least the July heat is something i am very familiar with as a Dubai resident.

I’m leaving to Syria tomorrow, Tuesday. I’m going to go see my grandma, and my dad. I’m also going there as an incentive for mom to fly over to Damascus so we can treat her back pain she has been enduring. I’m very sensitive to pain, especially mom’s and granny’s and it’s mentally exhausting and brings me to tears just thinking about it. I tried my best to cheer mom up on mother’s day, and her birthday, but there’s very little you can do to a woman getting shots in her spine and is in pain. I can only fight my own tears as she spills hers and I console her by telling her I love her and that I am very happy.

Happy days have been few these days, making little triumphs seem like epic achievements. Nevertheless I haven’t been this content for some very long time. It feels strange and alien. In fact it even seems inappropriate. But I will embrace it. It’s a small gift from the universe I cannot be modest about and reject.

Cutting to the chase I guess all I really wanted is to thank Khaled (@shusmo). He lift a heavy burden off of my shoulders whilst I was there. I feel lighter now, just enough for me to push myself forward. Thank you Khaled.

The Harmony in Dissonance

The Harmony in Dissonance

The month of March has witnessed many transformations in my personality, most notably in the self confidence department, a far cry from what I have been experiencing for the latter quarter of the past year of unemployment (a post to celebrate that is due 1st April, stay tuned!). March has been, for the most part, the biggest harvest of the first wave of labour I have put into becoming an extrovert (though, deep down, I am still good ol’ shy me) and extending my social circle and exposing myself to the more uncomfortable situations I would normally try to avoid.

Except clubbing.

Enjoying my 15 minutes of fame aside, back home I have been battered repeatedly due to my decisions, or lack thereof in some regards. On one hand I have the source of two lifetimes of wisdom – my parents – advising me on what to do (rather, what not to do) or pursue. On the other hand, as I told my unofficial therapist (more of a confidant really, as there is little therapy involved): “I have been give this one chance in life with the perfect set of circumstances to do and exploit anything I want. Yes, I will run out of money pretty soon. Yes, I might look back and say I should have done things differently. But what scares me the most is in the future looking back at my time now and say I have missed out. I am unemployed, I am studying, I am not married, not committed to a girlfriend, and the only two things I can utterly lose is money and an old personality I have been trying hard to get rid of but have never had the chance. So yes, it’s the stupidest thing I might do in my life, but chances are the next time I am unemployed and have the time to do things, I would have other variables bringing me to a halt.”

And she nodded in agreement (adding, of course, that I am one really odd person).

Now that part of my rationality is set, though whether or not it is a manifestation of other underlying problems is another post (and yes, there is truth in that).

The other part of my rationality pods along the same way of thinking as my parents’: The one that says KJ, tuck your hallucinations under your bed and wake up to the reality of 2010.

And here is where the confusion is: Both arguments are equally powerful in my head, being the genius of a thinker that I am. And as human nature says, when such cognitive dissonance exists you try to rationalize and justify. Think of it as the ego defense, when, if you get a good grade, it means you’re a terrific genius, and if you got a bad grade, then the exam is unfair. You pep talk yourself so your brain can calm down. Now try to apply that line of thinking into what I have been talking about. If you’re becoming schizophrenic just thinking about it, you’re a step closer to where I am now.

But I have come to accept it. Now it’s up to others to accept I am crazy and wanna do what I do in life!

Movie Review: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

Movie Review: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

I was very excited when I stumbled upon the trailer by accident on YouTube. One of my all time favourite Disney films, finally remastered into 3D, with Depp as one of the main characters.

But I was in for some surprises.

The movie is not a re-imagination of the story, and though as much as Tim claims it is not a sequel, it’s not a self-contained story either. It’s taken for granted that any human being who is likely to go watch the movie has prior knowledge of Alice and all the characters that are involved in the story, so the 2010 film does very little in re-introducing the characters and does even less in character development, except for Alice, the Red Queen, and the Hatter.

Alice in Wonderland

As far as the story goes, Alice this time around is older and, odd marriage theme aside, has to slay the Red Queen’s pet the Jabberwocky and return the crown to the White Queen. It’s literally as simple as that, but the journey is still entertaining though there are some questionable design elements. The gore, specifically, is an odd addition to the story. Though there is no blood, you will get to see chopped heads, chopped fingers, and pins thrust into eyeballs – several times. These elements contrast heavily with the humour derived from the former Disney’s flick as well as the┬áhumorous character designs.

The new Underland is a wasteland of its former self, but the art direction is truly fantastic. It’s quite clear that the overall tone of the film is more mature than the cartoon, especially the Red Queen’s struggle of being ugly but has the need to be loved. In all honesty I felt terribly sorry for her, and the story goes all the way of punishing her for that (but of course she was doing it in the wrong way).

Alice in Wonderland

The movie, however, is a bit better than the sum of its parts, and while some elements don’t really add up, it’s taken for granted that the familiarity with the characters, the nostalgia, the art direction and seeing Cheshire Cat’s grin again is what you will likely be taking with you out of the movie by the time it ends.