Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New 2011

New Year count down is about to begin. Here's sending my choicest blessing of cheers and joys galore and wishing you a wonderful year 2011.
New Year promises fresh start and fill every heart with hopes and aspirations. Here's sending my wishes of love and laughter this day and forever.
New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. As the new year takes the flying start, may it brings peace of heaven to your house and fills your heart with grace and glory. Wishing you 365 days of unstop laughter and good cheers.

p.s I'll try to edit this post later (or add a new post) with my highlights of 2010.

Happy new year again, fellas!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Stressed at work

It's 2:00 pm and I'm here at work behind my desk in the office. My head is feeling numb and dizzy. The job is stressful and it is not that rewarding. I'm working as a network engineer in some ISP (Internet Service Provider) company. However, the company I am working for sucks major ass. Two annoying bosses, low-budget expenditures, one day weekend, a lousy salary, and our net service is a joke. I'm waiting till it is 3:00 pm so that I can leave for home. Home! I am not talking with my father for more than a week. Meh... I'm really feeling stressed out.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Eid in Baghdad

Happy eid, everyone! Today is Eid al-Fitir! It marks the end of Ramadan, muslim's fasting month. Early in the morning on the day of Eid, muslims wake up to the sound of Allah Akbar – “God is the greatest” — from the minarets of nearby mosques. They go to the mosques for the Eid prayer which is followed by short speech "khutba" by the imam. After that, people meet, greet, and wish each other the best.
Since it is Eid and the end of Ramadan, breakfast is really important on that day. People go to buy kahi wa gaimer— a very delicious kind of pastry that Iraqis eat on special occasions. The pastry shop where you get kahi gets really crowded on Eid. You can wait for a while until you finally get your order — but is really worth it! Traditionally, parents give their children eideya — that’s a gift of money. Now comes the family gathering time. People throw on their new outfits. Relatives visit with one another — they talk, get nostalgic, laugh, discuss life, and listen eid songs. They drink tea and eat klecha — that’s a type of cookie baked especially for Eid.
Kids run around with their new Eid clothes — complete with shiny shoes — and they laugh and play. Usually thier parents take them to parks and restaurants. Al-Zawra'a Park & Zoo in Al-Mansour Area and almost in a central location of Baghdad is the destination of hundreds of baghdadi families during the days of eid. It’s located in Damascus Street. You can find lots of amusements here: children games, a zoo, exhibitions, a tourist’s map, am open-air theater, fountains, sculptures, lakes, coffee-shops, restaurants, sandwich kiosks, the Zawra Olympic Pool, the Zawra Tower ( a 54-meter tower with an Islamic dome with a round veranda under the dome that serves as an observation platform and yields a magnificent view of Baghdad).

On the top of the tower there is a level with a cafeteria and a level with a restaurant; the tower has an elevator. Zawra Park, a sprawling, 250-acre public park in central Baghdad, is one of the few open spaces left in the capital. It's seeing a resurgence of visitors, thanks to improved security in central Baghdad. In eid, where families still gather for picnics, teenage boys kick around soccer balls, young couples canoodle furtively under trees and children bury their faces in cotton candy.
Slowly, Zawra is coming back to life. Here are some pics of Eid Al fitir I wanna share them with you.

Happy eid, everyone!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

50 meters

Fifty meters was the distance between me and inevitable death.
I was trying to get a bus to go back home after a short day of work. I was walking in Mamoon street (Yarmouk neighborhood in western Baghdad) heading to Al Nissour Sq. in order to get a bus from there and go back home. It takes me 10 minutes by foot to get to that square. I pass by a state-run bank which is called The Trade Bank of Iraq, and also beside it, there is an office of Iraq's interior ministry where Iraqis apply for their national ID cards. It was about 11:00 am local time and usually this area at that hour as it was today is so crowded with people visiting both the bank and the office to get their stuff done. I kept walking and trying to lessen the terrible heat of our burning sun with a bottle of water and a wet handkerchief. Then, I felt like my ears were about explode and my lungs were jumping out of my chest. I then realized it was a heavy blast. I looked behind and I saw nothing but fire smoke and dust. Immediately, a rain of shattered stones and metal pieces were falling over. I stood amazed there for a minute but I was awakened by some bullets were fired by the Iraqi police and quickly I started to escape the bloody scene to a safer place. Another loud explosion occurred, leaving a huge giant of fire and a rain of flying pieces of iron falling from the sky. I raised my head above and I saw a large piece of a car's wheel flying in the air on the other side of the street. Then I sped up again and went to take shelter behind a few trees just to catch a breath. I couldn't believe what just happened. If I was 50 meters back or 2 minutes late, I could be dead. People were running in all directions. And ambulances and fire trucks invaded the scene. I looked back to check on the bloody scene but the smoke was killing my visibility. Anyway, I guessed that the explosions were targeting the Trade bank and the office of Iraq's interior ministry. Later, I heard on tv that each car was loaded with 80 kilogrammes (180 pounds ) of ammonium nitrate. A recent update mentioned that 33 people were killed and 52 others were injured. Five guards of the bank were among the dead and six others were wounded. While many of the victims from that blast targeting the interior ministry office were women, according to the Iraqi army. That truly is painful. Till this moment I do not forget how a man burst into tears as he was running towards the explosions. I'm sure many families have lost their beloved ones today and my family could have been one of those. I ask what is the guilt perpetrated by the poor families to face a horrible fate like that? What those innocent women and children did? Won't the violence and bloodshed stop in Iraq? Should ordinary Iraqis pay the political struggle in Baghdad? Can't those poor Iraqi families live in peace? Is there any light at the end of this long dark bloody tunnel?

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Hurt Locker vs Avatar

Avatar and The Hurt Locker are going to go head to head next month for the Best Picture and the Best Director in what looks to be one of the most interesting Oscar battles. In one corner we have the box office dominating, big budget Avatar and in the other the gritty and critically acclaimed The Hurt Locker. The Hurt Locker is nominated for 9 Oscars, won Best Director and
Best Picture LAFCA Award and Critics Choice Award while Avatar is nominated for 9 Oscars,
won 6 Critics Choice Awards and 2 Golden Globe Awards. And let's not forget that filmmakers James Cameron, the director of Avatar, and Kathryn Bigelow, the director of The Hurt Locker, were once married, which makes it even more interesting!

I think this is my first time that I post something about movies and cinematic works here in my blog and as far as I am concerned I have seen the two films recently and, to be honest, I liked The Hurt Locker more because it is more related to me and my world than that Sci-fi movie. Despite liking Avatar my feet are firmly in the The Hurt Locker camp as it was the best movie of 2009 in my opinion. The Hurt Locker the best American feature film yet made about the war in Iraq. Finally some genuine Iraqi actors as Iraqis instead of Indians and Egyptians. Kathryn Bigelow met some Iraqi refugees when shooting the film in Amman and she casted refugees who had theatrical backgrounds "SPOILER ALERT" such as Suhail Aldabbach, who plays the role of a forced suicide bomber at the end of the film. And because the movie was shot in Jordan within miles of Iraqi borders, the scenery is more alike to that in Iraq.

Avatar is deserving of all the praise that it has gotten but I'm of the opinion that, while it deserves to be nominated for Best Picture, it doesnt deserve to win due to the formulaic nature of its story and bizzare characters. They were very one-dimensional. The men in The Hurt Locker have a lot more depth to them, in my opinion which elevates the movie to a higher
place than Avatar. Avatar, once stripped of its visual splendors, is only several steps above a film like transformers 2 in the cinematic food chain. If The Hurt Locker wins, then it will definitely make the Oscars much more exciting. In the past few years, the award has gone to smaller indie films (i.e. Slumdog Millionaire, Crash, No Country for Old Men) so I think The Hurt Locker has a pretty good chance of winning. However, the only way that will happen is if Avatar wins everything else (technical awards, director, etc.) and then they might give The Hurt Locker the big prize. Anyway, the winners will be announced 7th March so let's wait and see who will win the best picture award this year.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's barbaric, but hey, it's home!

I love this song! :)

Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place
Where the caravan camels roam
Where they cut off your ear
If they don't like your face
It's barbaric, but hey, it's home
When the wind's from the east
And the sun's from the west
And the sand in the glass is right
Come on down
Stop on by
Hop a carpet and fly
To another Arabian night
Arabian nights
Like Arabian days
More often than not
Are hotter than hot
In a lot of good ways
Arabian nights
'Neath Arabian moons
A fool off his guard
Could fall and fall hard
Out there on the dunes

Sunday, January 03, 2010

My Broken Foot

Is there a better way than to welcome the first days of the year with a broken? That's what I got here! A broken left foot!

I was playing football with friends when one of them tried to tackle me so bad and I wanted to avoid that tackle by jumping over. unluckily, I fell on the left side of my left foot. I felt a terrible pain and I knew I broke some bone there but I tried to deny that and stand again on my feet. I pulled myself together and stood again but I couldn't hold it to stand on my injured foot. I quietly went to the side of the field hopping with one leg. A friend drove me back home and I convinced myself it's only a bruise and I will get better in the next day but I was wrong.
I woke up in the morning and my left foot was swollen. Nobody was home though; my father was at work, my brother and sisters were at college and my mother went shopping. Anyway, I could handle it with one leg and I brought some ointment and put some on my swollen foot and then I bandaged it. Later, my mother found out about my foot and went crazy of course but I assured her that I was ok. But she decided that I have to see a doc and she hurried to get me a taxi and drag me to the hospital.
As soon as we got there, a paramedic hurried to me with a wheelchair and asked me to sit down on it.. "No! Thank you! I can manage!" I said. but the Paramedic replied: "but your foot is injued, boy!". I didn't pay to him any attention as my mother brought me a crutch. Later, I was examined by a doc who said that I have a fracture in my instep and he sent me to an orthopaedic to splint it. The orthopaedic was very nice as he told me he's been in this field for more than 25 years. He told me that in the same year I was born, he did his 1st operation in his career. "It was terrible at those days because we were in Al Qadisiya war" he meant the Iraqi-Iranian war. "I had to splint about 20 to 30 people a day" he added. Then, he told me to come and see him again in five days. I went out to find my mother was crying! She called my father and she couldn't hold it and she cried... "What the.. Mother?! What are you doing?!" I felt ashamed and sorry for being such a clumsy son! It's my 1st time that I break some bone of me.
Anyway... Here are couple of photos: