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Monthly Archives: July 2003

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Yay! Alhamdulillah, I finally managed to post the supremely beautiful layout that Excalibur made me. Excalibur rules!

-ahem- But I’ve made a boo-boo, and I can’t find the comments box anymore. Somebody…help?

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog…

At least three or four times a week I kick myself for not taking the digital camera with me everywhere I go. Today alone I kicked myself twice.

The first time was for the photo opportunity I missed at the intersection of Margalla Road and uh…I forget the name of the other street. But right in the middle of the intersection was an accident. A Honda Civic broadsided a Pajero (luxury SUV) and you know what? The front end of the Civic (called an Accord in the States I think) was crumpled, and the Pajero wasn’t even dented! The driver of the civic was crouching down and trying to extricate his bumper from inside of the Pajero’s wheel casing but the Pajero was unscathed. That’s what I wanted to show in the picture. It was really amazing. (No, I’m not totally callus, Alhamdulillah, both parties from the accident were ok. They were all standing around and glaring at each other in the presence of a cop when I got there.)

When I told Aniraz of what I saw, she laughed and said, ‘Are you sure that wasn’t (name censored)’s SUV? Mr.Name Censored, we will call him Joe, is a friend of the family who works for the Embassy of (Name of country withheld). Oh wait, Joe is from uh…Transylvania. Yes. Anyway, Transylvanian Joe’s SUV is armor-plated and the glass is bullet proof. When we saw it for the first time we were like, Hey Joe, nice SUV! And Joe said, “Yeah, it’s nice to look at, but hell to drive. It weighs over a ton with the armor plating and it’s got no pick-up. And once it gets started, I have to floor the brakes half a kilometer in advance if I want it to stop. It’s like driving a semi.”

Transylvanian Joe is a healthy guy, and he says even he can barely pull the door open, and woe to whoever leaves a finger or hand in the way when it slams shut! An armor-plated SUV is not a family vehicle, not unless your family has fingers to spare. I’m content with my silly pop-can-on-wheels compact car. It zips! It zooms! It out-maneuvers Pajeros! (It has a superiority complex! It thinks it’s a formula one racer! Mwahaha!!!)

What was I saying? Oh yeah, I pity the fool who crashes into Transylvanian Joe’s car. They should aim for something softer, like a brick wall.

What was the other photo I missed? Oh yeah, an old chawkidar (security guard) in uniform, with a white beard, praying barefoot in the grass beneath a red hibiscus tree with his shotgun laying neatly at the head of his prayer rug. I love that about Pakistan, when it’s time for prayer (Maghrib especially) you see people praying all over the place, on the side of the road, in cricket fields, in small groups outside of shopping plazas…It’s nice.

You know back in the States, one semester I had an evening class in college that started ten minutes after Maghrib began. So I would sneak around the halls looking for an empty room to pray in before class. Once I was praying in an empty room (the Qiblah faced the door) and just as I said Takbeer, a Sudani man from my class (who I didn’t even know to be Muslim) walked in with a prayer rug on his arm, saw me, made a nervous squeaky noise, and then walked out of the room backwards.

He always gave me salaams after that. 🙂 A nice brother, MashaAllah. And now, an informal poll: What’s the weirdest place you ever prayed in? Or the weirdest experience you’ve had with praying in a public place?

When I think of every path

Where I’ve ever trod

I laugh at all the crazy spots

I stopped to worship God…

-Dawud Wharnsby Ali

Elf Ears and Evil-Eyed Safety Pins

In case you’ve ever wondered whether elf-ears (cute little pointy ones) are ever naturally occurring in the human race, then I am pleased to inform you that they do. One of my new students, a woman, has the epitome of elf-ish ears. They form a definite point, they’re not at all rounded at the top, they’re sloped and pointy. Very cute, and very interesting. It’s a pity that I can’t take a picture. She really just has the most interesting ears. She also has very interesting safety pins.

I confess, I failed to live up to my duties as a hijabi and be in possession of at least three safety pins and two straight pins at any given point in time (in the event of just such an emergency), so when I lost a straight pin the other day, I was in trouble. I made it to my class with my scarf slipping backwards and asked my student if she had a straight pin. She did a little searching around her house, and came back and handed me…a tiny blue eyeball. It was attached to a tiny gold safety pin, to ward off evil I suppose.

I’ve noticed that all of my Turkish students have blue eye-balls hanging on things, in all their cars, above their front doors, hundreds of tiny ones in a bowl on the dining table. It’s not such a leap to suppose they’d have one on a safety pin, though I’m not sure whether the eye was there to protect the pin or whether the pin was there to secure the eye.

In either case, I had to use the tiny safety pin with its glaring blue eye-ball to pin the main fold of my scarf down. The safety pin laid flat, but being round, the eyeball didn’t and it sat primly and conspicuously on the very top of my head. I thanked her and then went off to pick Aniraz up from her office, from where we were supposed to go off and run some errands after work.

“Don’t worry about the eyeball,” Aniraz told me, “It’s not like anyone we meet can even see over the top of your head.”

Good point. A funny point though, considering that in the US, Aniraz and I are just average height, but here we’re the first and second tallest women (respectively) in our entire Khandaan. (extended family) It’s really a kick, going from being an almost-short person to an almost tall one. The average height in the US for women is about 5’6 I think. Here it’s 5 foot one or two. The younger generation is coming out taller though, but without hormone-enhanced food (like they have in the US) they have a long way to grow…err…go.

There’s a new pic on the fotolog, but it’s not the one I wanted to post. I wanted to post a picture of the evil-eye safety pin, but I forgot, and posted a pic of…of…well go see the pic and try to guess what it is before you read the caption.

I’m posting from an internet cafe with a sticky keyboard (ewwww) so I gotta be brief. Life is good, the weather is humind, and I have a question.

Q: Do I seem like the type of person that you would gift with a bottle of wine?

No? Does it seem to go against the very grain of my (attempted) Islamicness? Could you ever see me (hijabi) swirling liquor around in a fluted wineglass? No? That’s what I thought too. But then a lunch guest brought me a bottle of wine and was very surprised that I would refuse it.

“And your father doesn’t drink either?” they asked incredulously.

“No, my father doesn’t drink.”

“Then keep it for your mother,” they say, holding the bottle out towards me, “Isn’t she a Christian?”

“Yes,” I sez, stepping back and trying not to look to terribly repulsed, “But she’s the really strict kind. She doesn’t drink or smoke, she won’t even drink coffee.”

Oh well then. The bottle went home with the guests. Silly me. And to think that all this time I was wearing my religious inclinations on my sleeve (or head) and no one would even notice. Sheesh.

And am I living in a Muslim country? Yes, but here the moronical gov’t has liquor legal for foreigners and non-Muslims, and of course, it filters into the general populace from that point.

Aniraz thinks I should’ve accepted the bottle just to be able to smash it against something, or maybe launched it off the roof. Our most popular way of disposing unwanted comestibles (things that are edible, not that alcohol is edible but you know what I mean) is to give them a running launch off of the roof-top. We disposed of about a hundred rotten hamburgers (the freezer quit on us) that way in the wee-hours of one morning, frisbeeing them at the wild dogs who were roaming the streets as usual. Boy were they some happy dogs…

But I digress, yeah, we shoulda taken the bottle and launched it off the roof and watched it smash into a million pieces in the street below. That would’ve been fun. Irresponsible (someone could’ve got cut on all the broken glass) but fun.

Fortunately, the guests brought a back-up gift, some imported coffee (YAY!)which more than made up for the wine fiasco.

Ok, I’m running out of time and this chair is REALLY uncomfortable. I’ve taken my computer into the shop, and it’ll be back soon, InshaAllah. Then I can go back to posting longer and more absurd things.

Peace! -Sensei

Sensei has written a new blog, but Sensei is out of internet hours at home so it’s stuck there till more can be purchased. In the mean time, Sensei has written a short story, her very first short story to be published (online or otherwise) and is eagerly awaiting your critique.

Nervously Yours-

Sensei

(New pic on the fotolog. 🙂 )

Another rarity: competent computer dudes. In my part of the city at least. A month ago I sent my computer in because it kept freezing and it was running slowly. It came back and ran ok for a day, and after that it’s been complete chaos. Not only does it freeze, but it no longer acknowledges either of the CD drives (reader or burner), won’t run certain programs without going into a frenzy of error messages, and files corrupt themselves on a daily basis. I’ve had to reinstall my anti-virus program three times because I get on and find it is no longer functioning. “McAfee’s files have been tampered with and the program can no longer run. Please reinstall…”

The obvious problem would be that I have a nasty virus, right? Well, apparently this is beyond my computer dude to fix. He’s even reformatted my PC, and the virus stayed. Well, I think the thing to do would be to scan DOS for viruses, right? But the computer guy thinks I’m nuts for suggesting this, and he won’t even tell me why the idea is so crazy! Sheesh! So maybe I’m not a computer whiz, but I can’t learn if no one will teach me!

:::huff huff huff:::

So yeah, does anyone know of a GOOD computer repair guy in Islamabad? Someone who won’t cheat me or try to steal the computer’s components when I’m not looking? Don’t laugh, I sent a laptop in for repair and it came back with the motherboard missing. (!!! I think that’s what my brother called it) I was an inexperienced non-techie then, because I didn’t have a complete mental list of everything that the laptop had to begin with to compare what it came back with. So I had no way of knowing or proving things had been taken except that my computer then took ten minutes to open a single screen. It got very, very, very frustrating, so I sent it back to the US where my big brother is a computer dude. He sent me an email basically laughing his head off. Hey man, it’s not my fault that the computer dude was crooked. (loser)

My new computer dudes aren’t crooked, I think they’re just incompetent. I sent the computer in with one problem and it came back with ten. I don’t think they’re trying to cheat me, because every time I bring the computer back they “fix” it for free, and I now know what my computer has in its guts (Pentium III, DVD Rom, CD Burner, Lucent Modem…) so they can’t really steal it. I even get to write my name on the print cartridge when I send my printer in so that I know I’m getting the same one back. Ok, they did fix the printer, and they also fixed the digital camera. You’d think that the digital camera would be more difficult to fix than a simple pc problem.

I complain to my brother via IM and he says to me, look, you can replace the modem yourself, just take the cover off and unscrew the… That’s when I run screaming away from the computer. I’m not sticking my hand into the computer’s guts. That way if it breaks they can’t blame me. I know that my brother was a self-taught techie before he went and got all his certifications, but I also know that he broke more computers than he fixed for a long time. I also know that he lost dozens of files I could never replace and caused me illimitable anguish for the same reason. I could sue him for emotional distress, but I’m not going to because he sends me video games 😀

Me and technology. We just don’t get along. This is another reason why you need brothers. Sometimes they pick useful jobs and then their services are free. Plus, they make excellent garbage disposal units. The cons of having brothers are overweighed by the pros they bring when they get older. Oh, and best of all, they beat people up for you. Once I had my brother pull a loser into the boys bathroom and pound some sense into him. And then there was the time my brother trashed a drunk guy who took a swing at my father. Ah, memories…

I am pleased to report that there are no birds in the laundry today, or on top of the bookshelf. Let’s see them peck their way through duct tape! Ha! Oh yeah, and one new pic on the fotolog.

-ahem-

I am now going to make Aniraz mad at me by complaining about something that I probably shouldn’t discuss on my blog. Too bad. Aniraz is taking a nap and I’ve been left to my own devices.

So today I was at a tea-party when a friend of mine (she’s too old to be called baaji and too well-groomed to be called aunty) walks up to me and says hi. Then she launches into the typical aunty-interrogation, albeit in a more tactful way than most. How old are you. And your sister? You’re not the younger one? Really! Are you working. Did you get your degree here or in the US. What are you plans for the future, do they include marriage. I know a religious family in London looking for a hijabi…etc etc.

Here’s the part where I start complaining.

Why can’t there be any religious families in my part of the world? Why London? I don’t want to go to London! I just left the non-Muslim world, I’m not about to go back. And where are all the religious families in Pakistan? Why do I have to turn to the non-Muslim world to find practicing Muslims? Is it because in a kafir society there is almost no middle ground? Faced with such opposition to Islam, you either take it entirely or leave it entirely, and the ones who take it entirely are the ones so hard-pressed for hijabis that they look for them back in the home country. (Gallup poll: Nine out of ten Muslim women in the US do not practice any form of hijab.-CNN Abez Observation: The ones that do are usually lifers.)

Or maybe the practicing guys aren’t just abroad, maybe there are practicing Muslims here who just have such an easy time finding hijabis that they don’t even bothering looking very hard. Everyone knows at least five or six here, so I think the situation here is that we have a surplus of hijabis who are looking for nice Muslim guys.

You know, for a Muslim country, Pakistan is kinda short on nice Muslim guys. There are lots of culturally Muslim guys, but apparently not many who make Islam a conscious and practiced way of life, who consider faith a logical choice instead of a cultural obligation. Maybe that just isn’t Pakistan though, maybe this is how it is all over the world. Lots of people never do any independent thinking about their faith. Some of them go with the flow of whatever river they’re swimming in. If it’s the river of a Muslim country, they’ll go to Juma when everyone else does and they’ll practice whatever modesty everyone else does. If they suddenly change rivers/countries/communities, they change their directions accordingly. (When in Rome…) Do I know of a Muslim named George? Yes I know of a Muslim named George. You know why he changed his name? So his girlfriend’s father wouldn’t think his daughter was living with a terrorist…

And I know it isn’t just the guys. I know the brothers probably have the same complaints about the sisters. Ten years ago it was shocking to see a grown woman in no sleeves. We, as a Pakistani society, were collectively appalled. Now it’s normal to see even old ladies wearing sheer shirts with sleeveless undershirts. They might as well be wearing no sleeves, but we, the same community, don’t consider it immodest anymore. The rules of Islam haven’t changed, but the river has started flowing in a different direction, and we’re just floating. I think the phrase in Urdu is ‘darya ki pujaray’, worshippers of the river. This is compared to worshippers of God.

Same with shorts. Grown men are wearing shorts here. Short ones. Last I checked, though there were some differences about whether a man’s awrah included the knee or only extended until the knee (a minor point), there was a consensus about thighs. Thighs are most definitely awrah. Nobody’s thighs are supposed to be on public display, but men here wear shorts that do exactly that and more, especially when they sit down. (You know what my grandmother always said? If you can’t sit like a lady, then don’t wear a skirt.) This is culturally ok though.

But like I said, this probably isn’t just in Pakistan. River-worship is an international cult. It has followers from different faiths, people of all sorts who hold popular opinion to be the final word on what’s acceptable. (Low-riding jeans? Who cares! It’s in fashion! Your son’s a homosexual? No problem, our civilization has moved beyond such distinctions. Yay aaj kal kiya jaraha hay)

Hmmph.

You know what I’m looking for? A rock. A big ole rock sitting in the middle of the river, letting the waves pass over them but not budge them a single inch. A person whose moral/ethical position is solid no matter which way the river is flowing. Someone whose belief is founded on faith, whose faith is founded on logic, whose logic cannot be swayed by mere force of popular opinion.

Who knew rocks were such a rarity?

Sensei is melting. Semi-solid even under the best of circumstances, Sensei is now reduced to a gelatinous slime due to heat and sleep deprivation. There she goes. She’s trickled out of her chair and onto the floor. She went to bed at 5 am last night/morning after Fajr and woke up at 9 am and went to work. She’s just come home at 4 and can’t think of what to write as she lays collecting in a puddle on the floor. She would like to write something that is at least amusing. She could tell you guys about the taxi with tv antennas she saw today. She often kicks herself for not taking the digital camera with her everywhere she goes.

But wait, she’s not staying to type. The gooey puddle on the floor is oozing towards the sofa where it plans to spend the next week in stasis. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

1:45 am. Ok, I’m extremely awake now, which I don’t suppose is a good thing based on what time it is. (Work in the morning? What work? Where am I?) I feel like bouncing up and down in my chair and going YAY!!! But there’s no one to bounce with me because (duh) it’s almost two in the morning and everyone else is asleep. Hmmph.

Tomorrow/today is the last day of the semester at the school where I’m teaching English, and I think I’m giddier than my students are. I’m not going to give that away by losing control and racing around my desk in circles (as one of my more energetic students is apt to do both before and after class) but I do want to do something nice for my students. In my house, the family tradition has always been ice-cream on the first and last days of school. Not grocery-store ice cream from a bucket, but real ice-cream, as many scoops as you wanted on your waffle cone with one topping from Baskin Robbins. We weren’t loaded growing up, so Baskin Robbins was a big treat.

Ooops, I’ve been caught. My dad just got up and asked me if I was crazy, and now he’s told me to turn the computer off and go to bed. Nuts.

4:30 pm: Yay! Work was fun. I figured out what to get my students. I got them neat pens that each had a 3-D maze built inside of it. You turn the pen and try to get the little metal balls through the maze from one end of the pen to the other. I myself have several of these pens, lemme tell you it’s not easy. You have to work with all three of the little metal balls at once. Will wonders of modern technology never cease!

Oh yeah, yesterday I walked into my room and noticed that there was a shaft of light shining through the packing between the air conditioner and the wall. Did I say packing? I meant Styrofoam, there’s Styrofoam crammed into the space to close it off, and behind the Styrofoam is a bird’s nest. So yesterday I noticed that the birds, who had steadily been poking feathering into my room through the cracks, had finally pecked a large hole through the foam and forced a mess of feathers and straw through it. (Tweet tweet. Hey honey, did you know this nest had an attached bed and bath?)

So I went downstairs and grabbed a roll of duct tape (nothing a roll of duct tape can’t fix) and a cutting blade and came back up with the intention of closing the hole. I climbed the bookshelf (thank God for sturdy carpentry!) with tape in my hand and the blade between my teeth and was highly shocked to hear the top of the bookshelf chirping. Turns out a baby bird had climbed through the hole and fallen a foot to the top of the bookshelf. So I carefully scooped the bird up and nearly gave myself an aneurysm trying to put it back into the hole using only one hand without hurting it. (the other hand was holding me to the bookshelf!) What can I say? Baby birds are very uncooperative. I had to double the size of the hole before I could get the bird back in and then tape the hole over.

That was yesterday. Today the dirty laundry was chirping.

It was another baby bird, buried under a towel. I don’t know whether it fell down yesterday, same time as the other, and had been overlooked by me, or whether it was the same brilliant bird trying to commandeer my bedroom one dirty towel at a time. This time, I had the foresight to bring the digital camera up and take a pic before putting the bird back. I just finished gently cramming the bird back into its nest and taping the hole up again. If anyone thinks baby birds are cute, I invite them to look at the one that fell into my part of the house. (the birds only own the outside, the inside is mine)

I also have pictures of the storm that’s coming up on us right now, and a few other things I’ve snapped around Islamabad. I’ll put them up if fotolog lets me, if not I’ll just have to post them one a day. CHEEZE!

I haven’t been a bad blogistani, really I haven’t, it’s just that we haven’t had a working phone line for days. I dutifully typed it, I just couldn’t post it. Here it is.

Funny that He-Man should come up in the comments on my last post, because I actually saw an episode the other day and I almost died laughing. Lemme just say it was more impressive when I was a child.

Sensei Presents: Mortally wound yourself while attempting two complex tasks, such as walking and talking, at the same time.

Remember kids, don’t try this at home.

In this instance, park your car under a shady tree on a hot day and step out. Upon exiting, discover that a man is asking you whether or not you want your car washed. Politely say no thank you and close the car door. Start walking (here’s where it gets complicated) away from the car, and turn your head to tell the insistent man that you really don’t want your car washed. (filth is a deterrent to finicky thieves) By turning your head, you have taken your eyes off of the space in front of you, which actually contains a stout and very pokey tree branch. So bang the side of your turned head on the tree branch and hear a loud –gong- noise go off inside of the rapidly deflating ball that was once your skull.

You know, when you’re a kid, you get all excited at the prospect of hitting your head on something and actually drawing blood, just like on TV or in every Desi film. It’s especially easy to draw blood from a head wound in Desi films, the heroine trips and falls and hits her head on the dirt and the director yells ‘CUT!’ and they break out the gauze and the ketchup. As a kid, every time I hit my head (which was often, which explains a lot) after I got over the initial shock, I always had to check if it was bleeding. To find out that the pain I had inflicted on myself wasn’t bloody-wound-worthy was a big disappointment, all that pain and nothing to show for it. A head-wound was a battle scar, a badge of honor, something to take to show and tell and gross your classmates out with the next day. But Alas, (Alhamdulillah!) I never got one as a kid.

I spent lunch that day with one hand working my lunch and the other rubbing my head. Aniraz kept asking, what, it hurts that much? What’s wrong with you?

I dunno, I answered, it just feels like I punctured my head. And I DID, now when I’m a boring old adult with a black stain-resistant head scarf, NOW I get a bloody head wound and I don’t even KNOW about it till I get home. And now I have no one to show it to, except Aniraz, who thinks I’m a doofus for attacking a poor defenseless tree with my hard old head. (that tree had it coming I sez!) All that pain for nothing. Hmmph.

All the things I thought I wanted as a kid aren’t turning out the way I thought they would. I wanted a big scar, just like a pirate, and now I have one from having my appendix out and I can’t show that to anyone either. I wanted a parrot (I liked pirates, ok?) and when I finally got one a few years ago it was the most vile, malicious, hateful creature on God’s green earth that I ever had the displeasure of meeting. Officially she was named Sweetpea. Actually, she was called The Green Menace, Spit’n’Vinegar, Craven Raven, and She Who Bites The Hand Who Feeds Her. She was such an unholy terror that when she escaped her cage and flew the coop one day, we actually rejoiced.

Oh well. The kids at the school where I’m subbing had a class pet today. I say today because it is unlikely that they will have it tomorrow. Sitting prominently on the teacher’s desk, in a small water-bottle lined lovingly with pink tissue and pencil shavings lives Hanori (sp?) the class’s beloved…drum roll please…bottle fly. Get it? The bottle fly lives in a bottle. He. He. He.

In a tribute to the mental inadequacy of flies, Hanori the fly is trapped in an open bottle. He crawled in through the top and can’t seem to remember where the exit is. He spends his time walking around in circles and staring at me with the trillions of facets on his beady little eyes. His hobbies include climbing, licking the ground upon which he stands, and rubbing his hind legs together pensively.

Methinks that Hanori will not be with us for very long. Class pets live short, harried lives as it is, but I think this one may die sooner rather than later. Especially since his diet consists solely of pencil shavings.

Sensei Presents: THE FASTEST BLOG IN THE WORLD!

Current time 11:20 am. Time of departure for work: 11:40. Time in which to blog? TEN MINUTES TOTAL!



(cue William Tell Overture)

The phone line was down for two days because it’s been rainy. Two of my students are going back to Turkey in a month, which means I get a little change of pace with some new students, InshaAllah. I spilled hot coffee on my foot in a most novel way which I don’t have time to type up at the moment. I have two bruises on my right knee, a Fajr bruise and an Asr bruise. At Fajr I (sleepily) banged my knee while bringing my foot UP to the sink for wudu. At Asr I (sleepily again) banged it on the way OUT of the sink. North and South bruises. All I need is East and West to complete the look.

Aaack! Five minutes left! What DOES one type in under five minutes? A vignette. Here I sit in a pastel green shalwar qameez (it was a gift, the khandaan is always gifting me with pastels…hmmph) drinking non-Turkish coffee. There are oly two kinds of coffee you know, Turkish and non-Turkish. To the North of me is the ironing board, to the East, a pile of books and CD’s I pretend to use (only the video games really are). To the south, a dirty dining table covered in grammar books and flash cards and lessons. Apparently my briefcase has suffered some sort of local explosion and its contents were scattered all over the place. Or maybe I’m just a slob. The world will never know. Quiet, Aniraz. To the West is the refrigerator. Lotta good that does me, it still has the same stuff in it it had two months ago, just condiments and 60 pounds of restaurant grade mozzarella cheese. They ran out of storage space at Chez Daddy. Time up! Here’s Thursday’s blog too.

***Thursday’s Blog***

For the first time in a long time I sat down and watched afternoon cartoons today on K-World (South African kid TV). All I can say is, cartoons ain’t what they used to be. Case in point:

The Miss Mallard Mysteries: A bunch of ducks with shirts and no pants solving mysteries. Miss Mallard appears to be an indirect rip-off of Ms.Marple, the famous fluffy old British lady detective by Agatha Christie. In today’s episode, Ms.Mallard and her nephew go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. While scuba diving, Ms.Mallard notices that an entire section of the coral reef is dead, and warm to the touch. She swims back up the boat (after narrowly escaping a shark) and tells her nephew of her findings. Together they go off to find their friend who’s a marine biologist, the duck-version of Jacque Cousteau (sp?). He brings his boat and crew, and they all dive down together to check it out.

While down there, they find a metal gear (hehe..Metal Gear. Snake? Snake? Snake!) with a company name on it and at this point in the episode, it is assumed [by unassuming viewers like me] that Ms.Mallard is an environmentally conscientious duck and this cartoon has an environmentally-friendly theme, not unlike Captain Planet. (the dweeb)

They swim back up to the boat to share their discovery, but while Ms.Mallard is climbing into the boat the gear is dropped back into the water. So she dives in by herself to retrieve it, and then the same shark chases her again. She doesn’t get the gear, but one of the shark’s teeth does fall out and Ms.Mallard brings that up with her instead. She hands it to her nephew and says, What do you think of this? And the nephew of course goes, Why, it’s plastic! (Duh, a plastic shark. Why didn’t I think of that?)

So the nephew is told to get on the internet to find whatever company in Australia makes…plastic sharks. (Boy, you can find anything on the internet these days!) In the mean time, Ms.Mallard and Duck Cousteau go down to the reef yet again, and while there, inexplicably get sucked into a vortex, which leads into an underground city, Duckopolis. It is learned (after about thirty seconds of investigation) that Duckopolis is ruled …not by an evil industrialist whose company is killing the reef with pollution, nor a profiteer who’s selling off the reef to tourists, but the evil Dr.Decoy whose plan is… drum roll please… to take over the world by destroying all the barrier reefs.

One thing leads to another, and Duckopolis collapses, everyone swims to safety where the police boats are waiting. The evil Dr.Decoy is arrested and we all live happily ever after. Yay.

I know that cartoons are made for children, I just wasn’t aware that they were also written by children. Sheesh. Now you say, Abez, you non-genius, if you want intelligent programming, why are you watching kid shows? You know, there are shows for really young kids that are done well enough for me to watch. Like Little Bill, and Sesame Street. They’re both meant for six-year olds, but at least they’re not an insult to your intelligence. (unlike Barney, :::shudders:::)

You know, back in my day, the ThunderCats and the SilverHawks and GI Joe and the Transformers battled absolute evil to save the world/galaxy/universe/dimension. And if I remember correctly, they were decently written and animated according to the standards of the time. Even before animation was good, there were still well-written cartoons like George of the Jungle and SuperChicken, even Bugs Bunny, cartoons that had the cheeky sense to poke fun at themselves and throw in some jokes that kids weren’t meant to get. (Gotta love the Biker Mice from Mars, hehe)

There are still good cartoons now, like the CGI Transformers Series (can’t remember what it’s called), Batman, Superman, and for comedy the Angry Beavers do a pretty good job. And Tick! How could I forget Tick? Nuts, even Spongebob Squarepants has more crea

tive writing put into his porous, yellow toe than all the cartoons I watched today: Kong (as in Kong, King Kong), Billy the Cat, Ms.Mallard Mysteries.

Now I’ve aired a bit of my brain that perhaps shouldn’t be aired.

Yeah, I’m a grown-up and teacher, but I still like my cartoons! (and video games, and novelty toys from gumball machines and sugary breakfast cereals…)

Hmmph!

Ps: One new pic on the fotolog.

(ThunderCats, HoooOOOOooooOOO!)

It rained! Alhamdulillah! The weather is like ten degrees cooler, and it feels loverly. Simply loverly…sigh.

The weather is so cool that I actually feel like doing stuff! (when it’s too hot, all you feel like doing is drinking and sleeping). So far I’ve cleaned off the dining table and computer table, and if I’m still feeling productive after typing this blog, I may sew a pair of pants or something. But not bake. No more baking. The coffee fudge cake I made last week is STILL there. I told my father to take it to Chez Daddy and feed it to the staff, and he’s consistently forgotten to do so for the last three days. So yesterday I had to check if it was still good, which of course involved eating a piece…

You know, on Friday morning I was talking to a friend of mine on IM, and she was like, so, what are you going to for today? I said have breakfast, go to work, come home, have lunch, clean house, play video games. What else?

And she was like, hello, don’t you know what the date is? I said yeah, It’s Friday. July 4th. So what? She was like yes, the fourth of July. I said yes, and the day after that is the fifth.

Then it hit me, ah, the FOURTH OF JULY, American Independence Day. He he. So then I changed my answer to include eating a burger and singing that Lee Greenwood song, ‘I’m Proud To Be An American.’ I don’t think she realized I wasn’t serious. I may be speeching here well American and having a blue passport, but I’m just as allergic to American patriotism as I am to Pakistan patriotism. Nationalism too. Patriotism and nationalism are both psuedo-religions, in the name of which anything goes, however contrary to logic and morality. But I’m not going to go off on a tangent about that, first of all, because not everyone is interested in reading it, and second of all, because it makes me sound like an anarchist.

ANARCHY!!!! :::sets curtains on fire, gnaws on table leg, rages against the establishment…:::

I think I’m gonna go have cup of coffee 3# and pray Zuhr and then do some sewing. Y’all may have noticed that my blogs are getting shorter. I think it’s because without my momma around, Aniraz and I don’t get out as much as we used to and therefore have less to blog about. We did get out yesterday, and I could blog about the twenty minutes we spent in Chez Daddy listening to a bunch of losers call each other on their cell phones and talk to each other even though they were sitting in the same booth. But that would be pointless, however amusing. Gotta go. Coffee’s calling.

Monsoon season is supposed to officially start sometime tonight, after which it is predicted to rain for three days straight. Yay! Man, if I had one of those weather-pixie things, mine would be melted. Today was 44 C (110-ish F) with nauseating humidity levels. The air is absolutely stagnant, there is no wind, nothing but a heavy, moist, heat sitting on the city. You know, I wouldn’t normally admit to sweating, but today it’s been pouring offa me like my skin has sprung a leak.

My daddy-dearest, who always seems to sweat enough for the rest of us combined, has been sopping wet all day. Poor him. And poor our dog! She’s been hiding in a shady corner in the driveway panting in fast forward and doing her best not to move a single inch. It’s tough enough having to wear a scarf in this weather, can’t imagine wearing a dog-skin coat while I’m at it…

So I’m hoping that this nasty, fermented atmosphere is the precursor to whopping storm, and yet I’m hoping that we won’t lose electricity. Ha ha. (Never hurts to hope, no matter how outlandish your hopes are.) That’s why I’m trying to blog before the storm hits and the power lines fall down and our phone line gets flooded and goes to sleep with the fishes and the autobots battle the deceptacons and some of the transformers get blown up. (Optimus, look out!)

Good News: the digital cam is back from Al-Mustashfa and pretty soon I’ll be posting tons of photos of tons of things you never wanted to see. Mwahahhahaaaaa! Don’t go to my fotolog yet though, I’ll let y’all know when I make an addition. In the mean time, please continue to let me know what you’d take with you to a desert island.

Abez Brain Sector A: Umm, a spoon?

Abez Brain Sector B: I desert, not dessert you moron!

Abez Brain A: (socks brain B in the cortex) Have at you!

Abez Brain B: Ouch! Just deserts!

Abez Brain A: Serves you right for not keeping the Sabbath holy…

Well, for the first time in three days, we’ve got both electricity and a phone line at the same time. Such is the precursor to monsoon season. We’ll have a few whopping storms that come a little early (they’re the pre-monsoon monsoon) that knock down electricity poles and make transformers blow up. (here’s a question, are they autobots or deceptacons?) We lost electricity even this morning, even though the storm was a few days ago because apparently it takes a few days to properly fix the bijli (electrixity!) in the far-out sectors like where we live.

Well, Aniraz and I are filling the void our momma left with baked goods. Lots of them. Just this week we’ve made Russian tea-cakes, chocolate-walnut torte, coffee-fudge cake and strawberries and cream pie. The worst thing about this is, there’s no one to eat this junk but us! WE ARE GOING TO GET FAT!!!!

Seriously, the cookies we made just before my mom left are still in the freezer, and we only finished one coffee-fudge cake by inviting guests over to eat it. (one down, one to go. I think I’ll send it to the staff at Chez Daddy)

Now I’m starting to miss my brothers. Aside from their value as humans, they also make great garbage-disposal units/food-processors. It used to be that a cake never saw the light of a second day in my house because we would all take a piece, and then give the rest of it to my little brother. He would take a fork after it and be done in under half an hour, he could eat a whole cake by himself. I’ve seen him. Same with ice-cream. He used to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if we had it. If Aniraz or I wanted ice-cream, we had to take ours before he did, otherwise we wouldn’t get a second chance. It’s not like he was trying to eat us out of house and home, it’s just that big guys eat big amounts of food, it was his policy to begin at the beginning of something and not stop until the end.

I’m not going to rail against fate and genetics and the will of Allah for giving my brother the metabolism of a nuclear-powered submarine, I’m just going to marvel at it. Dude’s not even fat! Me, if I ate one fourth of the food he did I could run away to the circus and be the fat lady in their sideshow.

Well, what else is up? Flying ants are in fashion. They live for only a day after it rains, but they make up for their short lives by being very annoying in a very short amount of time. I’ve had to turn out the lights on the front of the house, otherwise they swarm around them by the thousands (party-sharty!) doing whatever it is that flying ants do.

Last year, when our dog was younger and stupid than she is now (yes! She can be stupider! He he…) she et them by the thousands and was a very happy puppy indeed. Of course, it made her sick. Dogs aren’t too bright. There’s a good reason why even in spite of their physical prowess and keen senses, dogs are not the dominant species of the earth. (yes, even aside from not having opposable thumbs)

Speaking of thumbs, do baboons have thumbs? I think so. I was watching a documentary on life in the deserts of Africa. One thing they showed (in the Kalahari) struck me as being particularly ingenious. When the bush-men go hunting in areas where water is scarce (that would be everywhere) they have a brilliant way of discovering where the secret water sources are. (Remember kids, don’t try this at home.)

Step 1. Carve a small hole into a termite mound, only about two inches across. You must do this in full view of a baboon.

Step 2: Stuff the hole with wild melon seeds and walk away, leaving the baboon burning with curiosity over what the heck you’ve stuffed in the hole.

Step 3: Wait. After a while, curiosity will get the best of it, and the baboon will run up to the hole, reach in, and close his fist around a handful of melon seeds. Now the baboon is stuck. Honestly. With its fingers closed around the seeds, the baboon’s hand is now too big to pull out of the hole. The baboon will go nuts, but still won’t let go of the seeds.

Step 4. Put a leash around the baboon’s neck and get its hand out of the hole. Then tie it to a tree.

Step 5. Give the baboon a handful of rock-salt! Go and relax. Compose a poem. Contemplate the sky. Wait for the baboon to eat all the salt and then get REALLY thirsty. This takes a whole night.

Step 6. Wake up and untie the frantically thirsty baboon. The baboon will run for water, and all you do is follow it. Amazing, hunh?

I’ve also learned how to make a monitor lizard trap just in case I’m ever shipwrecked on a desert island in the Phillipines. (Ray Mears Extreme Survival, BBC World. At least I think that’s his name) I must confess though, I’ve yet to learn why I would WANT to trap the oversized reptile to begin with. Surely not to eat! *dies*

Aniraz and I watched that show (how to survive!) and of course, the question came up, “If you were going to be shipwrecked on a desert island, and you could take one thing with you, what would it be?”

The typical corny answer is: a tall blonde.

Now my answer. At first I thought I’d take a machete. On second thought, I had a better idea. I’d take Ray Mears, and he could take a machete. He’s a useful fellow you know, he does this survival show, and he really just wanders off into the wilderness somewhere for days with nothing but the video camera and a machete. Dude’s got skills!

But it’s up to you, dear fellow Blogistanis, what one thing would you take with you on a desert island? Your answers are to exclude the following:

1. A boat upon which to leave.

2. A working radio with which to call for help.

3. Ray Mears

4. A tall blonde.