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Monthly Archives: September 2003

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Uh oh, guess which techno-twit has been messing with the gorgeous template that someone else made them…(raises hand.)

Shame on me. All I can say in my defense is:

As a rule

Man is fool

When it’s hot

He wants it cool

When it’s cool

He wants is hot

Always wanting

What is not.

So I’m ready for a change in my blog, mostly because I haven’t been able to get any of the pics, textures, or buttons on my page to load for about a month. All I see when I open it is the bare-bones structure, and a few empty boxes with red X’s in them where buttons or pictures failed to load. I’m thinking of getting rid of all the buttons that no longer load and leaving text-links instead.

It occurred to me that perhaps the problem was with my computer, not my blog. So I wandered down to Aniraz’s office, where they have DSL, and nothing loaded there either.

One might ask, why not just figure out how to get the things to load? To this I would refer one to the first sentence of this blog. You see where it says ‘techno-twit’? I raised my hand.

I just wanted to warn y’all that I might be causing some chaos soon. I won’t have meant to, but there’s a good chance that I’ll mess things up rather foolishly before reverting back to my old template. :::teeth:::

____

“If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize to all the widows and orphans, the tortured and impoverished, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. Then I would announce, in all sincerity, to every corner of the world, that America’s global interventions have come to an end, and inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the USA but now — oddly enough — a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims. There would be more than enough money. One year’s military budget of 330 billion dollars is equal to more than $18,000 an hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born. That’s what I’d do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I’d be assassinated.”

-William Blum from Propagandhi, lifted from Uzer’s blog.

All praise is due to Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Gracious.

I now have TWO, count em, TWO nephews, MWAHAAAAA! Lookit what I got in my mail box! Alhamdulillah!

To All,

It is with the blessings from God Almighty that I am able to make this wonderful announcement. On 9/28/03 about 7:00am weighing in at 8lbs 14oz (2oz short of 9lbs) and 21″ tall Faris-Ur-Rehman Khan (Faris=Knight; Rehman=compassionate, merciful) was born to F****** and Z****** Khan. Baby and mother are in good health. Pictures to be coming soon.

Thank You,

Z****

La la la! It’s Saturday and I’m excited about what possibilities the weekend may hold.

First of all, there’s a can of blueberry pie-filling in the fridge, which is beauteous in and of itself. Second, the car is clean and has a full tank of gas. Third, I’m wearing a pink shalwar qameez. This is also exciting, though slightly gaudy.

I figure that a combination of all three of these factors should make for an interesting weekend. All I have to do is figure out which combination will get the maximum entertainment value. I could eat pie filling while driving around town in my pink shalwar qameez, but methinks that would be way too blasé. It would be more exciting to:

* Tie the can of pie filling to the end of my pink dupatta and fashion (or the lack thereof) a make-shift flail/mace/weapon thingie. I could then test my weapons skills on the goats who invade our front lawn, though I think it might be a waste of blueberries.

* Spill pie filling on my pink qameez, drive down to Shifa hospital and fake a ‘death by blueberries’ death scene. I do have connections (one of the ER doctors is married to a friend of mine) so I might not get in TOO much trouble. But still. Hmmm.

* Tie one end of the dupatta around my head and the other to the bumper of my car. It would be interesting to see how far I could pull it (very Punjabi of me, no?). It’s a Mehran, a miniature car with less CC than the average American lawnmower. I bet I could get as far as Blue Area with nothing to sustain me but the blueberry pie filling.

* Remove all the removable bits from the engine of my car, ingeniously fit them instead into the empty can (having eaten the pie filling) and then drive the can-cum-car down the street and wave to my adoring public. While wearing the pink shalwar qameez of course.

* Knot the ends of the dupatta together to form a small pocket. Fill the pocket with pie-filling and then, giving it a mighty swing, slap it down onto the hood of the car. *SPLAT* Give it a name and call it modern art. Publicize, schedule an exhibition at the Pakistan National Council for the Arts and make millions.

Like I said here people, the possibilities are endless. Any suggestions?

Happy Friday everybody. 🙂 Happy indeed. Today is the day when men congregate around masjids with their sleeves and pant legs rolled up and their faces dripping. Makes me happy. So happy that instead of blogging I’m going to go run off and bake something. Here, have a few laughs. They’re on the house.

Frivolous Lawsuits By Inmates (Only in America, eh Crayon?)

A Virginia inmate tried to sue himself for $5 million on the grounds that he had gotten drunk and caused himself to violate his religious beliefs by committing a crime. Because he had no money, he wanted the state to pay the $5 million.

A convicted New York rapist sued the state, claiming he lost sleep and suffered headaches and chest pains after being given a “defective haircut” by an unqualified barber.

A Nevada inmate sued when he ordered two jars of chunky peanut butter at the Nevada State Prison canteen and received one chunky and one creamy.

A San Quentin death row inmate sued California, claiming his civil rights were violated because his packages were sent via UPS rather than the U.S. Postal Service.

An Oklahoma inmate alleged his religious freedoms were violated but could not say just how, because the main tenet of his faith was that all its practices were secret.

An Arizona inmate sued when he was not invited to a pizza party that prison employees held for a guard leaving his job.

An Indiana prisoner sued because he wanted to obtain Rogaine for his baldness.

An Ohio inmate sued for being denied possession of soap on a rope.

An Oklahoma inmate sued because he was forced to listen to country music.

A Colorado con sued for early release because “everyone knows a con only serves about three years of a 10-year sentence.”

***

And guess who’s been taking silly internet quizzes? :p


What Flavour Are You? Cor blimey, I taste like Tea.Cor blimey, I taste like Tea.

I am a subtle flavour, quiet and polite, gentle, almost ambient. My presence in crowds will often go unnoticed. Best not to spill me on your clothes though, I can leave a nasty stain. What Flavour Are You?

***

Right Brain, Left Brain, Toes

Right Brain: I’m cold, turn the fan off.

Left Brain: I’m freezing cold too.

Right Brain: Then we agree. So get up and turn the fan off.

Left Brain: We can’t. If we turn off the fan then the mosquitoes will get us.

Right Brain : I’m not sure they want us. We taste like lard.

(pause)

Left Brain: Look, our toes are blue.

Right Brain: Then why are we wearing sandals?

Left Brain: Our toes are freedom-loving people who won’t tolerate oppression. Any attempt to curb their liberties will result in an all-out uprising.

Right Brain: Then what happens?

Left Brain: They forge an unholy alliance with the shins and all hell breaks loose. You know how these things are. Besides, all of the socks are still in winter storage.

Right Brain: Wasn’t it 38 degrees last week?

Left Brain: Last week was summer. It’s winter now.

Right Brain: It wasn’t winter this morning.

Left Brain: Winter started after Maghrib.

(pause)

Right Brain: So we’re not going to turn the fan off?

Left Brain: No.

Right Brain: And we’re not going to find any socks?

Left Brain: No.

Right Brain: Then what are we going to do?

Left Brain: Complain. And blog. Complainingly.

The fridge is a dangerous place and I blame my Grey Crayon for it, sending me home with party leftovers, chocolate-peanut butter pie, breadsticks, yummy rice, and bon-bons. Bon-bons for corn’s sakes! Sheesh! I think I left the party with more food than I brought.

But hey, I sneaked some of the food she was trying to send me home with back into her refrigerator while she wasn’t looking, so at least I haven’t brought home any Panini. And somehow, she’s ended up with my watch. It’s all very complicated folks, party politics usually is.

I’m going back to her house to negotiate the release of my watch tomorrow and to return one of her backgammon pieces and I’m worried that she might try to send me home with her first-born child. Crazy, lovely, generous people.

I had a friend in the states that was SOOOOOO sweet that if you complimented anything at all she was wearing, she would try to take it off and give it to you. Absolutely anything really, earrings, watch, clothing if she thought they would fit you. She gave away one of her favorite rings to a stranger once, just because she told her it was pretty. She was just so totally nice. And whenever I think of her I remember all the stories you hear about people converting to Islam just because of the generosity of a Muslim stranger.

I read the account of a woman who complimented a shirt that a hijabi on her train was taking out of her shopping bag, and the hijabi just gave it to her, absolutely insisted she have it. Of course the woman tried to refuse, then tried to pay her for it, and in the end she was made to take the shirt home and then wonder about what kind of religion made people who just gave stuff away to perfect strangers. Of course that wondering led her to Islam, and Alhamdulillah, she converted.

(drops breadstick on floor)

I’m also reminded of one of my cousin’s uncles. (who was also my uncle by Pakistani standards, or maybe he was my brother, you never really know) He frequently bought out the entire stock of whatever a child-vendor was selling on the street (child-vendors are very common in Pakistan) and then brought it home and passed it out to the horde of cousins. Sometimes it was flowers, sometimes it was plastic toys. In doing so he made the child-vendor’s day and made his pack of nephews and nieces deliriously happy at the same time. Another crazy, lovely generous person. He died a few years ago, of cancer. No one even knew he had it, he just passed out one day from the effects of an unchecked brain-tumor and that was it. Inna lillahi wa inna ileihi rajioon.

Allah has said: “…so let each of you protect himself against Hell-fire, be it with even half of a date (worth of charity)- and if he find it not, then with a kind word.”

-Hadith Qudsi 13 of 40, narrated by Adiyy Ibn Hatim on the authority of Bukhari.

Not Teenage Ramblings.

Our Umrah plans have been cancelled. The uncle that we were supposed to go with has become seriously ill and he’s in no state to travel. I’d appreciate it if you guys put my uncle on the Blogistani Dua exchange. He’s a genuinely good man who I love like a father.

It’s interesting what a difference love makes. The death of a person you don’t love is barely a footnote in your life, but when a person you love dies it’s a whole sad chapter. You feel hurt by it, even though love is intangible, it has a physical effect on your body. I don’t just mean tears, I mean a sudden pang in your stomach or chest, a head-ache, or nausea just from even thinking about it.

I know that it’s a typical angstful teenager thing to go, “If you don’t love someone they can’t hurt you.” (I think that may be an actually quote from Squall Leonheart in FFVIII, the quintessential angstful teenage hero) That’s true, but it isn’t a very useful theory. First of all, because once you love someone it’s nearly impossible to un-love them, even if you start hating them. Then you just love and hate them simultaneously.

I think that love and hate must not be opposites, because otherwise they wouldn’t be able to exist in the same place. Like light and dark. One thing cannot be both light and dark at the same time, one number cannot be both positive and negative at the same time, but one heart can hold love and hate in equal quantities without them canceling each other out.

It’s not that I’m feeling particularly angstful, (angstful is our made-up word of the day kids) or teenagery. I’m long past my teenage years. (gasp!) I was just thinking about what it would be like if my uncle died, and how sad that would make me. I shouldn’t be sad though, because I know that Islamically speaking, I should hope to be reunited with the good people I love in the next world (provided I don’t act like a Cursed Infidel, he he) but it still makes me sad. Humans are programmed to be that way. If they weren’t saddened by the deaths of their family members, then that would mean they didn’t love one another. If they didn’t love one another, then, well, I think the whole world would go to hell in a handbasket faster than it already is. Much faster.

See, this is what happens when I blog when I’m tired. My brain leaks out, and it’s made of second-rate materials. It might leave a stain. Better go clean it up.

Who are you?

Fill this form out people. You know you want to. Come on, you can trust me. :::teeth:::

Well, I’m getting slovenly again. I’ve just had breakfast at noon after watching an hour of morning cartoons. It’s all part of the ceremony of enjoying Sunday properly. But now even my brain is on hiatus and now I don’t know what to type. Errrr…maybe some Turkish coffee will help. Turkish delight would be better though. Yum.

Speaking of all things Turkish, all of my Turkish students depress me. Obviously as employees of the foreign office (I teach English to embassy staff) they are the pro-government, secular type, and with me being a flaming, scarfified FUNdu, we have some interesting discussions.

First we start talking about hijab, and then it inevitably moves on to enforced religiousness, Taliban-style, stuff like that. And once we conclude that forced religiousness is a bad thing, I point out that enforced secularism is just as bad or worse (I think it’s worse, but to be polite I give the ‘just as bad’ option as well). Here I’m making an indirect reference to the ban on hijab in public places in Turkey, which they usually catch, and respond with, “Well, there have to be laws, to protect us from terrorism.”

Modesty is a terrorist tendency, I’m sure. It’s important that women be forbidden from covering their heads because otherwise all those scarves might be a fire hazard or something. You never know when all that religious fervor and polyester might ignite. Naturally.

The hijab ban in Turkey is so ludicrously severe that hijab is forbidden in public universities, and so the hijabis have to take their scarves off at the gates and replace them with wigs. Good grief, what does that achieve? The way I see it, banning hijab is more likely to create unhappy sentiment (unhappy sentiment being a precursor to terrorism, no one bombs a government they like) and is therefore more, and not less, likely to cause terrorism. Yes? (losers)

Anyway. At least their coffee’s still good.

I’m trying to type a new blog. I’ve sat down at the computer table, but I keep getting distracted. See, I finally clean off the computer table, and without the usual piles of junk, I feel disoriented. Is this really my computer? (Where am I?) But here we go, FREE SHEEP FOR EVERYONE! YAY!

Unhealthy sheep may be given to Pakistan

KARACHI, Sept 17: The acting high commissioner of Australia, wanting the government to accept 57,000 sheep stranded at sea for weeks after being rejected by Saudi Arabia , will discuss the issue with Agriculture Minister Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind on Thursday, an official said.

“The minister will discuss the issue with Australia’s (acting) high commissioner” the agriculture, food and livestock ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia rejected the sheep on Aug 28 on the grounds that six per cent of them had scabby mouth disease, more than an agreed five per cent maximum. The Australian government said only 0.35 per cent were infected with the low grade disease.

Some of the sheep are dying after almost six weeks at sea in up to 40 degrees Celsius and, as the concern of animal welfare groups mounts, Canberra has been trying hard to find an alternative destination for the animals.

A spokesman for the Australian high commission confirmed that his country’s acting ambassador would meet the minister this week but did not give details.

The official said the ministry had suggested that the government should “politely refuse” the Australian envoy’s likely offer of “free sheep”. “But diplomacy has now been involved, so I just cannot say what will be the outcome of the meeting,” the official said and added: “The Australians are pursuing this issue at very high level…it will be a tough decision for us to refuse them.”

A spokesman for the ministry, Mohammad Hanif, earlier said the sheep would probably not be allowed to land in Pakistan.

“We have well-defined regulations and rules on imports of livestock and any cargo which is contagious or infected cannot be released,” he said.

The official said the ministry had told the government that any proposal to transport diseased sheep to Afghanistan through Pakistan would also pose a threat to the country’s livestock.

“We are very sure that the sheep are unhealthy so we should not take any risk,” the official said.-Reuters



(good thing I don’t like mutton anyway.)

I finally did it. I finally fulfilled a life-long dream and caught one of the lizards that runs around the ceiling. Please, sit down, no need for applause. Ok, maybe a little applause, and you may lavish me with your credit card numbers as well. 😉

Future Lizard-Wranglers of tomorrow may wonder how I managed to trap and then photograph a reptile that normally runs on the 10-foot ceiling or somewhere near it. I am a kind Lizard-Wrangling man, I will give them instructions.

Step One: Walk into your bedroom and turn on the lights.

Step Two: Notice an unusually large lizard at roughly eye-level very near to the light switch you just flipped.

Step Three: Shriek and run out of the room.

But wait, there’s more!

Step Four: Return to your room with a fish bowl and a vengeance.

Step Five: Chase the lizard all over the room, willy-nilly, being careful not to drop the glass fishbowl, or yourself as you leap from bed to bed to chair. (lizards prefer the higher latitudes you know)

Step Six: Carefully creep up to the lizard (once you’ve tuckered the poor thing out by chasing it all over creation and into a corner) and put the glass bowl neatly over it.

Step Seven: Rejoice.

Ha ha! Captured lizard photo HERE!

no lizards were hurt in the making of this blog.


Sensei Presents: The Freeware Review!

A short, inconclusive and highly subjective list of freeware games that you should download if you’re bored. Or cheap like me. (he he)

Now, before we being, you might ask, “Why on Earth are you playing freeware?” Well the answer is two-fold. First fold: Freeware is FREE! Second fold: Sensei believes strongly in intellectual property rights and will not buy bootleg/pirated software. Since there is nearly nothing in Pakistan other than pirated software, Sensei has resorted to freeware. Some of them are actually quite good. For example:

Fracas: (strategy) Fracas is my hero. The graphics are hideous, and I don’t think there’s any sound, but the game is great! It’s a fairly straight-forward strategy game that allows up to six human or AI players, and the rules can be customized. Two burnt thumbs up! (I’ve been baking again.) LINK! (you’ll have to scroll through the list to find the download link, it’s on this page.)

Diabolika: (puzzle) Contrary to its name, this game has nothing to do with THE Devil so much as it has to do with many little-bitty ones. The object is to blow them up using a chain-reaction that you must set up using a limited number of turns. It’s actually rather entertaining, and harder than it sounds, and since it’s less than 1 mb to download, I recommend it for some quick, mindless fun. One and a half burnt thumbs up. LINK! (you’ll have to scroll through the list to find the download link, it’s on this page.)

Scorched Earth: (strategy) A classic. No graphics to speak of and absurd sound effects, but you do get to buy a teeny-tiny tank and drive around blowing up other teeny-tiny tanks in a turn-based strategy game. Plus, the tanks sass each other. (“Your mother was a hamster!”) They also swear, but you can turn that off. One and a half burnt thumbs up. Great for playing against your siblings. (bombs away!) LINK!

Nethack, Falcon’s Eye: (RPG/strategy) This game would get three thumbs if I had that many. And they would all be happy thumbs with little smiley faces drawn on them. This game has decent graphics, and very complex gameplay (you have to read the manual before you start, there’s no way around it). It’s more than your basic ‘dude-in-a-dungeon’ game, it’s potentially addictive, and every time you play the rounds are randomly generated. It’s never the same twice. I would be addicted to it if I could get it to download. 🙁 I had it once and then lost it when I had to reboot my computer. Since then every time I download it the ZIP file somehow comes out corrupt. Woe is me. LINK!

Well, that’s today’s substandard blog. I’m going to try and download Nethack again…

(he he)

Multilingual Madness.

You never know when you’re going to need pre-fab phrases in other languages, things you memorize phonetically and keep in your mental list of important things to know. Like, “I need a doctor,” “Please call the police,” and “Please call my embassy.” I can say all of these phrases in English and Urdu easily enough, though if I ever traveled through the Middle East I suppose I would have to learn them in Arabic. Otherwise, in the event of an emergency I’d just have to pull the sleeves of passers-by and plaintively ask, “Anta Tabib?”* (Tabibi, Tabibi, Tabibi ya nurul ain…)

You know, one of my students got into an accident just two weeks after coming to Pakistan, and he injured his head rather badly. (driving on the wrong side of the road. It happens to all the foreigners in the beginning.) He tried to ask people passing by for directions to the hospital, but he couldn’t make himself understood, on top of that, the driver of the other car that he had collided with was hopping mad and also injured. It was turning into a nasty situation, and it was just by chance that one of his coworkers from his embassy drove by and saw him and then rushed him to the hospital. He was ok, Alhamdulillah, after they stitched his forehead back in place. And that was when he decided that learning a language other than Turkish might be helpful.

So, in an attempt to enrich my life through the enrichment of my language skills, I am collecting useful phrases in other languages. For example:



relacher mon chameau
(release my camel)

jamais (never!)

I tried to get this useful dialogue in Russian, but I don’t know how reliable my source was. I don’t have it in German, (Yaz, a little help here?). I do, however, have the following:

Du bist ein aufrichten shlingel. (you are a mealy-mouthed scoundrel)

Of course, I had to look up ‘mealy-mouth’ first, because I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant if your mouth was full of meal. Incidentally, a mealy-mouthed person is one who does not state facts in simple, direct words, who speaks insincerely. Right. Ok, I feel smarter now, and more likely to use that phrase at the appropriate time. I’ll keep it handy if I ever find myself conversing with any badly-behaved and insincere Germans in the future. All of the Germans I know are very nice people though. How disappointing.

Anyway, feel free to fill my comments box with useful phrases. Usman, I’m relying on you to release my camel in Turkish. Yaz, you can do the German. Anyone out there speak Russian, Hyderabadi or Japanese? Colloquial Arabic?

-Tamma-

* You doctor?

Well, today was the anniversary of September the 11th. I vowed not to turn on the TV because I knew all I would find would be all WTC, all the time. Yes, it’s a tragedy and an inexcusable crime what happened at the World Trade Center, but ten times more Iraqis and Afghanis have died since then, and no one on TV gives a hoot. And CNN and the US gov’t just won’t let go of it, they’re trying to keep the emotion fresh. They keep reopening the same wound just so they can use the perpetual fear and anger to justify continuing the war (pick either one, Afghanistan or Iraq).

I’m reminded of one sentence I saw written in the corner of a Bizarro comic. The focus of the one-panel cartoon had nothing to do with war, but one of the cartoon characters was wearing a t-shirt that said, “They need your fear.” Smart guy, that Dan Piraro.

I wonder, how long will they continue to dredge up the terror and hatred that the WTC created? How much longer will they use it as carte blanche to retaliate on the Muslim world? If the undying attention paid to the Holocaust (Holo-kitsch) is any example, then fifty years later we’ll still be getting coverage of Sept. 11 like it was yesterday. Yes, the Holocaust was a human tragedy, an example of simply evil and unjustifiable malice towards innocent people, but it doesn’t justify what’s going on in Israel. Every time someone points the finger towards Israel for human-rights abuses, extra-judicial killings, political assassinations and their dodgy (at best) claim to someone else’s land, they point a finger back fifty years ago to the Holocaust and go, “But look what happened to us!”

Well yeah, the Holocaust was horrible. No one should have to go through such evil, but the only lesson that we seem to have learned from this is that it is better to give than it is to receive. In order to prevent another Holocaust from ever happening, it’s important to herd Palestinians into slums that could easily be called ghettos and prison camps that differ only slightly from concentration camps. You could say that at least they’re not shoving them into gas-chambers, but that’s just one method of killing. There are other ways, like preventing seriously ill people from reaching hospitals and just letting them die on their own, or firing rocket launchers into traffic to pass execution on people without a trial, or running down refugees with tanks, or just firing into groups of civilians as usual. Occasionally you could pick off pedestrians and school-children with a sniper rifle. Gas is boring anyway.

Pro-Israeli Jews (and there are anti-Israeli Jews, in case you’re wondering. They’re good people) will continue to use what happened to them over fifty years ago so we’re shocked/guilted/horrified into letting them do whatever they deem necessary to prevent something like that from ever happening again. And here is where we’ve come full circle. To prevent crime they are committing crime. They prevent killing they are killing. To prevent oppression they are oppressing, and they have succeeded in doing this for so long because they keep the emotions raw. That’s what the US is trying to do, keeping us all in a state of anger so that they can continue to act (seemingly) out of anger. The US is always in ‘crisis’ mode, and that way they can continue to take (seemingly) spur of the moment, aggressive action. They’re always retaliating.

-grrr-

“Every soul with taste of death. You will be paid on the Day of Resurrection only that which you have fairly earned. Whoever is removed from the Fire and is made to enter Paradise, he is indeed triumphant. The life of this world is but the comfort of illusion.” The Holy Qur’an, 3:185

-sigh-

And verily in remembering Allah do hearts find rest.

I’ve decided that communication is important. Exceedingly so. Proper communication prevents problems and reduces the possibility of unnecessary weirdness. For example, this morning, if my father had communicated with me, if he just had said, “Beta, before you go to work, please take the bag of beef out of the trunk,” then we wouldn’t be in this situation. I wouldn’t have driven around all day with a bag of beef in my car, and it wouldn’t have fermented and my car wouldn’t smell like…like…something died in the hatch. (I drive a hatch-back, so the back is called a hatch, right?)

The bag of beef managed to stay hidden in the trunk all day, from seven this morning to eight o’clock this evening, so it’s had plenty of time to decompose. The smell is appalling. I don’t know how to describe it. TO get the full effect I recommend that you leave a bag of beef in your own trunk in the summer heat for at least twelve hours and see what happens.

(Da Momma sez: sprinkle offensively rank things {fermented beef juice stains, the inside of your cousin’s shoes} liberally with baking soda and leave overnight for best results.)

This isn’t the first time that something really stinky has happened due to a lapse in family communication. A few years back, my brother got married and we decided to throw a Valima. (day-after-wedding party) My father, who is an avid cook, decided to do some of the catering himself, so he spent ALL day cooking Qorma (beef in savory sauce, yum) for 200 people. It was a massive pot of Qorma, you could’ve stood in it up to your knees. Time came to distribute all the food into the family’s various cars and drive to the wedding hall, and then it was time to leave.

I got dressed and got into my car, and sped off towards the party. Ok, I may not have sped, but let me say, I don’t drive like an old lady. I like taking corners at a tilt. I take genuine pleasure in peeling out from stoplights. I believe that speed-bumps are a constant source of excitement and puddles are meant to be driven through. I don’t drive like this all the time though, and I certainly wouldn’t have driven this way if someone had just told me there was a huge pot of Qorma in my back seat. But incidentally, no one told me, and I didn’t get father than a block from the house before there was a huge crash and a beefy-smelly splash in the back seat of my car.

*dies*

You can imagine the effect this had on my dad when I drove back and told him what had happened. His reaction registered at least a 6 on the Richter scale. See, it takes hours and hours to cook Qorma properly, and now the whole thing was ruined with just an hour to go before the party.

I think what followed afterwards would’ve made it into the Guinness World Book of Records if there had been anyone there to see it. My dad actually re-made the entire pot of Qorma in under two hours, and thus went down as a hero in family culinary history, though we didn’t think it to be too historically exciting then, because at the time it was a crisis, not an adventure.

I cleaned my car out as best as I could, but the smell was still powerfully strong. Qorma smells really good though, so we didn’t mind, except that you always left the car feeling hungry and fiending for Pakistani food. That was just the first few days though, after that everything went downhill. The Qorma started to ferment, and the smell was vile. Really. Like driving around in the garbage bin of a Pakistani restaurant on Devon. (beep beep! *gag*)

I tried washing the seats and carpets, but the oil was just too much. The floor mats had soaked up enough ghee to butter a hundred Qorma-flavored parathas, and on top of that, riding in the back seat always left the soles of your shoes greasy. After that my car became known as the Qorma-mobile, or the curry-car, and I had to keep a bag of baking soda in the trunk to re-sprinkle the backseat whenever the smell got to be too much. I don’t know whether or not the car still smells. I sold it and moved to Pakistan about six months after the Qorma incident, and it was still stinking then. For all I know it probably smells as bad. .

And the moral of this story is: communication is an essential tool in the maintenance of peaceful families and pleasant-smelling vehicles. Thank you, good night.

PS: Various new things on the Fotolog. Click here!

Click THIS LINK to read a really amazing and powerful piece of writing that a sister (not me, Thank God!) posted on the Muslim Writers Society. You must go. Sensei sez so.

***

Mortally Wound Yourself in a Musical Way –or- Killing me softly, with pineapple.

I didn’t know if I should bother telling people about this, because it may make me seem stupider than I actually am, but then I remembered, it’s impossible to make me seem any more foolish. Have I not already punctured my head on a tree-branch, jumped down the stairs and broken my ankle, burned my knuckles in a fist-fight with the oven and torn my thumb open on the dryer? Yes, I have. (surf the archives, I don’t have permalinks)

Well, lemme just say that I shouldn’t dance, especially while drinking pineapple juice. It’s a bad idea. See, last night Aniraz decided that we had never tried to dance, specifically:



The Robot

The Hustle

The Funky Chicken

The Macarena

So we tried. It wasn’t pretty. We almost killed ourselves laughing at each other’s horrid lack of physical coordination, and it was during one of these laughing and dancing fits that I took a swig of pineapple juice. A big one. You know what happens when you’re trying to laugh and swallow at the same time? You reach critical mass or explosion point or cold fusion or nuclear fission or something technical like that, and it’s a disaster. I was doing a good job of not spraying anyone with pineapple juice, and I was almost able to swallow when Aniraz goes, “Whoa, Pineapple Cannon!”

And that was when I died. I inhaled the entire mouthful of pineapple juice, not just a little, but all the way down into my lungs. Really man, I should’ve been drinking milk, it’s less acidic. It burned, my eyes were watering, my voice was strangulated and I was coughing and doing a good impersonation of a rat drowned in a pina colada. (alcohol free, of course.) Yeah, I died. And half an hour later I was still coughing up pineapple juice. The End.

It’s sad that after all that pineappley suffering, we still can’t dance:

The Robot

The Hustle

The Funky Chicken

The Macarena

We can, however, do:

The Gag

The Choke

The Cough

The Pineapple Cannon.

***********

I must take a moment here to give props were props are due. Since our recent adventures with the PTCL walas and our broken phone lines and the bribery and all that, we’ve discovered at least one nice man. PTCL-wala Irshad (unlike Sadaqat D. Loser) fixed our phone line the first day we reported it to him, and when, out of sincere gratitude, he was offered a cup of tea or something, he turned it down. He doesn’t take anything for doing his job. No money, no mithai, no tea. The End.

It’s always such a pleasant surprise to find honest people. May Allah bless him and keep him in an ever-increasing state of Iman. Ameen.

Mortein vs. Rocket Bug

Phone line? We don’t need no stinkin phone line!

Oh wait, yes we do. And we would like to have one, but as my Turkish students would say, “It isn’t in the Kismet.”

Adventures in Abezistan: Struth, I have vanquished the mighty foe!

Lots of my adventures begin with me standing on a prayer rug. This either means that I’m easily distracted from the prayer rug, or that the prayer-rug is really just an action-packed place. But anyway, this story actually began last night, when I was upstairs watching BBC, and I heard a piercing shriek.

(“Eeeek!” yelleth Aniraz, as she clambered hastily up yonder stair.)

Aniraz came rushing up the stairs a second later and informed me that a mighty and many-legged beast was rocketing around the living room downstairs. Only one kind of bug actually rockets, and that’s a giant spring-loaded, high-powered grasshopper. They’re four inches long and yellow with black stripes. They shoot around erratically and crash into things, like your eye. So, Aniraz and I hid our cowardly selves upstairs until we forgot there was an insect menace downstairs, and we saw nothing of it for the rest of the evening.

(The beast lay hidden, and night fell upon an uneasy peace in the land of Abezistan.)

This afternoon (and here I am on the prayer rug again) I was about to say takbeer when I noticed that something seemed very weird about the dish of potpourri on the coffee table just in front of me. I stared at it for a second, and realized that one of the leafy-bits had really, really long legs. I mean really long legs. Most of the time a grasshopper keeps its legs doubled, and it only springs them when it wants to rocket off into space vertically again, so you have no idea how long they are, but when it’s walking slowly around in a bowl of potpourri, it extends its legs, you can see they’re grossly long, almost as long as this sentence. (he he)

I was feeling courageous, so I went for the digital camera, thinking I would get a neat pic for my fotolog. Well, sorry folks, the digital cam couldn’t be found. I did, however, locate a can of pleasantly orange-scented bug spray. I tiptoed up to the grasshopper and gave a squirt, and then I screamed (preemptively) and ran away.

(And a mighty cry rang through the field of battle.)

When I came back later, the stupid dheet bug was still sitting in the same place, just rubbing its legs together, probably enjoying that pleasant orangey-smell. (it’s nice, really. If it wasn’t toxic I’d use it as air freshener). So I tiptoed in for another shot. See, it’s a tribute to the huge size of this bug that when I blasted it with the bug spray it didn’t even flinch. If you shoot this stuff at ants, the pressure makes them fly in all directions. If you shoot a mosquito, it gets knocked off course. If you shoot a roach it gets blown sideways, but if you shoot a giant grasshopper, nothing happens.

The only thing that happened after the second shot was that the grasshopper started to do laps around the edge of the bowl of potpourri. But, when I came closer for a third shot, the grasshopper went off. It shot vertically into the air, struck the ceiling and came down too near my head. I screamed (naturally) and ran away with my prayer rug, and I stood behind the dining room wall watching the grasshopper ricochet around the room like a bullet.

(And thus was vanquished a mighty foe.)

The first moral of this story is that this is what brothers are for, in theory at least. Maybe not my elder brother though, because once I asked him to kill a roach for me, and he did, and then he chased me around the house with its carcass till I cried. (I was 12, ok?) Additionally, Buddhists also make terrible bug-killers. My father’s driver in the states was formerly a Buddhist monk, and though he was no longer in the orange robes, he was still sticking to many of the rules. Once a two-inch centipede made an appearance near his head, and I said, “Aaak! Mojo! A centipede! Kill it!”

And he very happily told me that if I asked him to kiss the centipede, he would, but he would never kill it, because he would never harm any living thing. He’s lucky I didn’t call his bluff. I really wonder if he would’ve have kissed the centipede, that is, if the centipede would consent to being kissed.

Well anyway, I’ve discovered that Mortein High Performance Surface Bug Spray is ineffective on anything larger than three inches. I sprayed the dog once (it was an accident, I swear) and she just turned to me with a look in her eyes that was like, “What the hell?” So yeah, bug spray doesn’t work on dogs. Nor does it work on Aniraz, whose feet I once misted (with that pleasant orangey smell!) when I was trying to get some ants on the floor instead. Surprisingly, she didn’t die either, but she did give me the same look that the dog did.

And then she ricocheted off the ceiling.