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Monthly Archives: June 2004

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My mother told us she wanted she wanted a parrot for her birthday. She didn’t specify what color it should be, or whether or not it should be edible…The devilish looking horns were added on after the party btw, just for effect. 🙂 Posted by Hello

Sensei Presents: An exciting day and a boring blog

Everyone has a limit. Mine is 3 am. Precisely. The laws of Abezistan clearly state that I only have to lay in bed in the dark pretending to be asleep until 3 am. After 3 am night is over and any extra-bed excursion count as ‘waking up really early’ instead of ‘staying up really late.’

So today I’m up really early (it’s 3 am), typing in the dark and enjoying the basement ambience. Today was my momma’s birthday and we had an adventure. The basement flooded and then a pipe busted and there was boiling hot water squirting up to the ceiling and soaking into the electrical converters, which then started smoking. A very bad habit it is too, causes cancer & stuff. So then we had to tie the pipe up with a nylon. Then we had to turn the water off to the basement. Then we had no water in the basement. Then all the leaking water flooded the septic system and my bathroom flooded. Then there was panic and much gnashing of teeth as smelly water backed onto my bedroom floor and prevented access to basically everything in the bedroom. Boy was that exciting…

After the plumber came over and contained the emergency (I say contained, not fixed) we jazzed up the upstairs part of the house, wrapped my momma’s gifts and had us a party-sharty. There was drinks (milk), hot chicks (I was sweating), dancing (my mom did a one-man congo line around the table) and groovy tunes.

We also went out to KFC for dinner, not because we’ve bought in to the absurd trend that KFC in Pakistan counts as fine dining, but because we said, “Hey mom, what do you want for dinner on your birthday?” and she answered, “Fried Chicken!”

Certain local bloggers are invited over for leftover birthday cake. You know who you are. I’ll just go slice you guys some pieces. Not that I’m eating leftover birthday cake late at night. Oh no, I’m eating it early in the morning.

I’m sorry folks, I found this bumper sticker in a book store the other day and I couldn’t resist. I had to have it for my very own. 😀 Seen anything weird lately?

Today is a hamster day, a day for me to brood malevolently in my cedar chip and wonder who keeps moving it around and why people keep reaching into the cage to poke me. Ok, so maybe ‘malevolently brooding’ means watching the Discovery Channel and eating gingerbread cookies, but I’m not leaving this cedar chip, gosh darnit!

Well, ok maybe I’ll leave the cedar chip later, but right now I feel hot and disinclined towards activity- a bad combination for someone who’s supposed to be both busy and productive. I think it’s my clothes actually. They’re making me feel sleepy. That might be my fault, since I haven’t changed out of my pajamas and it’s now 5:30. Speaking of clothes, my tailor (the competent one) is out of town for a week and Aniraz & I have already booked our tickets so there isn’t much time to spare. I don’t have any problems with my current clothes (I especially like these pajamas) but since they’re mostly wrinkly lawn shalwar-qameez in varying shades of pink (they were gifts) I think I should find some alternatives. Other than neon yellow. :p

Help me out here you guys, what’s in fashion for the scarf wearing fundus? (say that five times fast!)

Have a Hamster-Flavored Day

A mangy looking guy goes into a restaurant and orders a hamburger. The waiter shakes his head and says, “No way. I don’t think you can pay for it.”

The guy says, “You’re right. I don’t have any money, but if I show you something you have never seen before, will you give me the food?”

“Deal!”

The guy reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a hamster and puts it on the counter. The hamster runs to the end of the counter, across the room, and up the piano. He jumps on the keyboard and starts playing Gershwin tunes.

The waiter says, “Wow, you’re right. I’ve never seen anything like that before. That hamster is a really good piano player.”

He brings the man a hamburger, which he promptly eats and asks for another.

“Money or another miracle,” says the waiter.

The guy reaches into his coat again and pulls out a frog. He puts the frog on the counter, and the frog starts to sing. He has a marvelous voice and great pitch. A fine singer. A stranger from the other end of the counter runs over to the guy and offers him $300 for the frog.

The guy says, “It’s a deal.” He takes the money. The stranger takes the frog and runs out of the restaurant.

The waiter says. “Are you crazy? You sold a singing frog for $300? It must have been worth millions.”

“Nah,” says the guy. “The hamster is also a ventriloquist.”

*****

A carpet-layer finishes installing a wall-to-wall carpet at a woman’s house and reaches into his pocket for a cigarette. They’re not there. He looks around the room and sees a small bump in the middle of the newly-installed carpet.

‘Damn,’ he thinks, ‘I don’t want to have to tear the whole carpet out just to get the cigarettes.’

He looks at his hammer and gets an idea. He pounds the bump until it is flat and the carpet is smooth once again. Just then the lady of the house walks in holding a pack of cigarettes.

‘I found these on the dining table,’ she says handing them to him. ‘By the way, have you seen my pet hamster?’

woohoo!

It’s 10 pm, and having alternately eaten, lounged, chilled and then eaten again (lather, rinse, repeat) since 5, I am so stuffed/lethargic/tired that this is all I can manage for a blog right now. But I wanna say a big huge JazakAllahuKheiran for the dua’s and to ask to keep ’em coming. In the mean time, I have got to lie down… arrgg…

Short of sounding really dramatic, could you guys dua for me? There are times when a brotha (or sista) could really, really use a dua. This is one of those times.

I’m not half the man my mother is.

My momma is my hero. She is the ideal to which I strive. She is the vanquisher of metronome dogs.

This morning the Mother of All Evils and her three loud puppies were serenading the neighbourhood from our back yard again. I buried my head in my pillow and did my best to sleep through it. My mother, however, did not take it lying down. She threw dirt clods at them. She scored several direct hits. When that failed to drive the dogs away she took further action.

She marched across the backyard Dirtscape (it’s under construction), grabbed the puppies by the scruffs of their necks and tossed them on their merry ways. This while the mother dog was cringing across the creek. One of the puppies had poked its head into a crack in the boundary wall. After a good tug it came out with a audible –pop- and a yelp (much like a barking wine-cork) and sent packing.

My mother, being the brave and slightly nutty woman that she is, then kicked the dog’s new burrow in and threw a few more dirt clods for good measure.

My hero. I’m not half the man my mother is…

Abezistan in Real Time

Introducing self to someone at party- “Excuse me, but I think I’m your mother.”

making pleasant conversation– “Your grandson just bit me in the head.”

How work was today?- “There were mangos and burgers flying all over the place!”

How did it go?- “He shot me with a grenade launcher several times.”


sold on an as-is, where-is basis.  Posted by Hello

Damaged goods for sale.

It’s 4:45 am and I’ve run out of rocks. I started out with exactly 28 of them, my first batch being 13 decently-sized chunks and the second being 15 lesser rocks and greater dirt crumbs that weren’t so ideal for throwing but they would have to do anyway. The distance was (and still is) 110 feet, a frustrating and infuriating 110 feet when there are 11 dogs communally howling behind your house at 4:45 am and you have no way of making them be quiet.

I did hit one. One. One dog got a glorified pebble in the flank and slunk away from the pack as my victory cry rose to the dawn sky. Two dogs learned from their comrade’s mistake (don’t stand within 90 feet of that crazy lady’s house, she has rocks…) and left along with him.

A few more dogs took offense at the bad vibes I directed towards them and trotted away towards the soccer field. Three other dogs got wet when I slung a water-bag (like a water balloon, but much more serious) at them and scored a hit at their feet. They backed away and disappeared into the creek behind our house. That’s when I ran out of ammunition. Two dogs remained- the Statue Dog, which sat unmoving in our back yard even under the occasional barrage of my badly-aimed projectiles, and the Mother of all Evils, a small white dog with three loud puppies who prides herself on being the metronome of the wild dog world. When she barks, it’s to a steady 3-3 time.

Bark two three

Bark two three

Bark two three

Bark two three

Though the dogs are over 100 feet away, their shrill cacophony carries far in the clear morning and reverberates in the cement basement where my bedroom is. By the time the sounds get to my sleeping ear they are a series of metallic scratching noises, or bursts of dog-themed noise often in a chorus of five or more. I would like to go back to bed, but the Mother of All Evils and the Statue Dog are still there, sitting and howling on the unfinished boundary wall that marks the end of our backyard. I’m out of rocks and they’re just out of my range for flying bags of water.

I figured something out this morning as I stood outside the backdoor in my pajamas throwing rocks in all the wrong directions, and it has nothing to do with patience. It has to do with aim. And choosing the right rocks. And finding Aniraz’s slingshot.

Aniraz & I are planning a trip back to the US for the first time in four years. We also have to get the camp book together. We also have to buy gifts & clothes. We also have to figure out who we’re staying with and for how long. I’m sure I’m forgetting something…. Ah yes, my pile of unanswered email is getting deeper and staler. I received an offer for a job that I’m not sure I want to take, and it’s been a week since that email arrived. I have started and not finished four different blog layouts for four different people, all of whom have been waiting entirely too long. And plus, the dishes are dirty.

Did you ever notice that the more you have to do, the less likely you are to do something? It’s the same way that too many people trying to fit through one doorway become stuck and then no one can get through. That’s how I feel right now. There were too many things trying to get through the door at once, so I closed it. Not that closing the door will make them go away, it will just make them grumble as they stand in line, occasionally looking at their watches and wondering if it looks like rain and whether they’ll get in before it starts.

If only I could get them to stand in line, and then let them in one at a time and deal with them in the order that they came, but no. They all came at the same time and they all demand attention now, they all share the same deadline and they must all be finished before the second week of July.

I’d like to believe that I handle stress well. I still think I do, because I have never lost control of myself or my life, even in stressful situations, but man…I just cannot deal with long to-do lists. I never learned how to juggle, and now I’ve gone and dropped everything on the floor.

*sigh*

Camp Book

Ok bloggers and bloggerettes, here’s the deal. Every year, the super-shiny Muslim summer camp where Aniraz and I were campers (and then counsellors) puts out a camp book. It’s a collection of articles geared towards readers about 14 years and up. The book covers the basics of Islam and also includes crazy quizzes, jokes, poems, and general goofiness.

Though there is no shortage of Islamic articles circulating online and in print, the problem is that they are usually written way above or way below the teenage level. And very few of them are humorous or written in a way that will command attention from a 14 year old. The challenge is to write concise, interesting, and sometimes funny articles that simplify things without insulting the reader’s intelligence. That’s where Aniraz and I need help. If you can write, or have read any article that would fit the above requirements, please, please, please email Aniraz or myself. Or, if you have any questions, leave them in the comment box. We have 60 pages and three weeks so gentleman, start your engines…

In the mean time, here’s a sample article from one of the camp books from a few years back. If it seems sort of odd, remember it was written for young girls, published in a book that was distributed only for girls.

Myths, misconceptions &

blatant ignorance about Hijab: A Dialogue

What is hijab? That thing on your head?

Well, that’s called a scarf, but a lot of people do call it a hijab. Hijab means modesty, and hijab is the clothes you wear and a way of speaking and behaving in public.

So you never, ever take that off, right? Not even at home?

No, of course not. It’s been welded to my head using a state-of the art grafting system. I even shower with it!

People who ask that question are silly. The hijab is worn only in front of non-immediate-family member males, whether they be outside, at school, at home, or in the shower.

Can you hear what I am saying?

Huh? I can’t hear you, I have my scarf tucked into my ears.

If I can answer, then I can hear. Yes I hear you. The scarf goes over your ears, not in them. Sometimes I tuck my scarf behind my ears, even if it does make me look like dumbo…

Do you stop wearing that off when you get married?

No, a married woman’s beauty is private property (not the husband’s property, hers) as much as a non-married woman’s. The Hijab isn’t worn out of obedience to men, it’s worn out of modesty and obedience to God.

Are you already called for?

Yes. When I was born my father traded me for three goats and a chicken that gives sour milk.

Ok, Not really. Getting ‘called for’ early on is not the most recommendable practice in the world. First off- you choose who you marry. Your parents can suggest people, but forcing you is completely non-Islamic. The whole idea with Muslim girls being passed off as goods the moment they are marriageable is a bit of an ignorant stereotype. Although it may happen in some cultures, it is not part of Muslim belief, which clearly states that a woman can only be married according to her choice and free will.

Have you been forced to wear that?

Not anymore than I am forced to put pants on before I walk out the door. Without a hijab, I consider myself naked, well, head-naked is the appropriate term.

Does wearing a scarf mean you’ll go to heaven?

I don’t know about myself personally, since only God can judge, but as a practice, no. Wearing a scarf does not guarantee a fun after life any more than wearing a cross or a yarmulke. Looking religious is only part of the deal. You can’t just look pious, you have to be pious.

Why hide your hair and beauty? God gave them to you, so why be ashamed?

I am not hiding, I am protecting. You don’t desire what you can’t see…hint hint. About being ashamed, I am not ashamed. I have enough respect for myself to keep my dignity. I have no intention of turning myself into a walking sex-symbol. Now that’s shameful.

So wait, the whole purpose is to make yourself ugly?

I am not ugly!

Are too.

Shuddap! Ugly are the women with fake faces and clothes they need poured into. They represent the degrading of women all over the world. Even business women wear short skirts. You can’t even be successful unless you’re half nekkid! Women go along with this, and that is what’s ugly.

Hijab does not make you ugly! It focuses on your inner beauty, and there is no visual standard that you could possibly come up with. Hijab represents the dignity and strength that come with being a good Muslim woman, not ugliness. The most beautiful Muslim women don’t need make-up, they have Noor.

So if the Muslim God said women have to cover their hair, how come not all Muslims do?

Does every Christian go to church? Do all Jews eat Kosher? Does every Hindu stay vegetarian?

I’m glad I’m Christian. I don’t have to cover my hair.

Oh yeah? Read 1 Corinthains 11:3-10. The bible calls covering the head a mark of respect.

What color is your hair?

What color are my eyebrows?

Why can’t you just tell me what color your hair is?

That would ruin the whole purpose of wearing the scarf. That’d be like wearing a loose shirt and then telling everybody your waist and hip measurements.

So, what are your waist and hip measurements?

How would you like your remains displayed?

So, what are you doing on Saturday night?

Kicking your butt.


It got better… Posted by Hello

This photo by request and request. I apologize for the cheap photo quality. Or well, actually, I don’t, because if I was really sorry I would’ve taken the trouble to hook my digital cam up instead of being lazy and using the webcam instead.

Well, I’ve got a busy few weeks ahead of me, and I have a rather large project which you guys might be able to help me with, you beautiful bloggers, you. I’ll post how you guys can help me out (Yes, you!) tomorrow. In the mean time, enjoy my first mortal wound picture.


bloggerbot test pic. Testing, testing, check Hammie, one two three.. Posted by Hello

Well, I’m being bad today. And there’s watermelon in my lap. It leapt off my fork. *geronimo!* After a long and boring wait for my mother at the dentist’s office this morning, I sped off to Chai’s house to chill with literaunty and ismo. (oh, and you too Chai). I came home at a reasonable time but I brought Ismo with me, and we played about two solid hours of video games while eating shameful amounts of gingersnaps. After dropping Ismo off, Aniraz and I went to the tailor and then went shopping, where we bought:

cloth

thread

a pair of shoes

No french fries (boy was I disappointed)

After coming home at 9:30 we had dinner and I have been lounging about the house ever since. Lounging isn’t a morally reprehensible act in and of itself, but when you consider how steeped I am in old emails, pressing housework and dirty laundry, such laziness could be counted as major domestic sin.

So I’ve done absolutely nothing productive today. Maybe I should take the watermelon out of my lap. Or maybe not.

Arf arf arf

Real-time in Abezistan

Me: answers doorbell

Man: Is your upper portion for rent?

Me: No, not at the moment, but it may be within two-three months.

Man: Oh, I heard it was going to be empty soon.

Me: It isn’t yet. (turning away from gate)

Man: Hey!

Me: Wha?

Man: (having a Eureka kinda moment) You’re not Pakistani, are you?

Scrabble-Babble

(the following are actual quotes from our nightly Scrabble Games. I’ve been collecting them on the score-sheets)

Mom, you know you’re just a trophy wife. –Aniraz

Arf arf arf, go eat dog barf. –Mom

The sanity train has left the station. –Aniraz

Dad, you are *such* a cheat. – Abez

Look, I made a seven-letter word, GGROCER. That’s a grocer with a stuttering problem, ha ha! -Dad

I almost made the mistake of putting the bag of chips next to mom, ha ha. -Abez

And I know, I know, this isn’t the bestest blog in the world, but man, first I ran out of DSL and now I’m out of brain power, and I have a list of emails a mile-high to reply to and this was the best I could come up with. Maybe tomorrow folks. Right now I’m gonna go crash.

TROGDOR!!!

Some blogs are easier to write than others. Take, for example, a mortal wound blog. All I have to do is hurt myself and a great story is born. Last week I mortally wounded myself while washing the car, but because I was over-busy with my momma’s arrival, I didn’t get the chance to write it up. It woulda been a good one too, considering how I sliced my pinky off on the razor-sharp edge of the license plate. Well, I thought I sliced my pinky off anyway. I had been just kind of sloppily moving a wet rag over the front fender of the car when suddenly there was pain and blood. I checked to see if my finger had fallen into the puddle of brown water on the floor, but it was still attached to my hand. It was a good thing too. I don’t know if I would’ve wanted a dirty pinky sewed back on anyway.

Complaining about things is always a fun blog, although not necessarily a good blog. Blowing off steam about things helps, especially in dealing with the heat. Yesterday it was so hot that I melted and trickled out of my chair. I tried to re-solidify but I the best I could manage was a skilful imitation of a wet rag draped over the sofa. Then I had a nap.

Or I could blog about food. Well, I could if I had eaten any, but as it is, all I’ve had today is ice cream and breadsticks. Alternately. For breakfast I had a breadstick. For lunch I had ice cream. For tea I had a breadstick. For dinner I had ice cream. It’s too hot to cook and it’s too hot to eat anything that someone else may cook.

Maybe it’s just too hot to do anything in general. Maybe I should just lurk in the cool basement and watch Strong Bad cartoons. Oh wait, I’ve been doing that already…

Oh well.

TROGDOR!!!!!

There

There

There is a nagging gnawing on the inside of my self

It’s the feeling of my body giving up before its time.

In the quiet twilight hours between one prayer and another

Once I prayed for health

Now I pray for peace.

There is a writhing moaning in the deepness of my heart

It’s the devil down within me who wants me to complain.

But I have built a fortress with the patience of my faith

And I will shelter there

However harsh the pain.

There is a desperate longing in the reach of my embrace

For life and love and happiness and gentle many years

But I shall fold my arms around the comfort of my prayer

And I may often cry

But never bitter tears.

You’re standing in front of a tall Tower. You reach out and feel the foundation, it’s real enough. You rap against it with your knuckles and the solidness of it kind of hurts, send shivers into your hand. You pass your palm along the wall and it is smooth, flawless. There is no question at all about whether the Tower exists. You smile to yourself and lean against the building whistling a happy tune.

Then someone comes along and looks at your Tower. They pay no attention to the nice, strong foundation, but they look up to the sky where the top of the Tower vanishes and ask, “So, what color is the roof?”

You’re a little confused. “The color?” you ask, “I don’t know. I’ve never been that high up. I don’t know about the roof. Some one else around here might…”

“How about the windows? Does this Tower have windows?”

“I’m not sure,” you admit, “Maybe-“

“Hey, who built this Tower anyways?” the person cuts in, “And what’s it made of? I’ve heard it’s nothing but matchsticks, and it could come crashing down at any second.”

Questions come at you rapid-fire, so many questions that you don’t have answers to- about cornices on the tenth floor that you’ve never seen, about building permits you know nothing about, about carpets in halls and rules about living there that you didn’t know existed. You shake your head, bewildered. Seeing you distressed, the person smugly smiles and then wanders off.

You sit down on the ground and put your head in your hands, thinking. It seems as though you know so little about the Tower. You were so sure about it, and then this person comes along and shows you how little you know after all. I mean, does the Tower even have windows? What color is the roof?

You thought you knew it all. But now you’re not sure. So much is unknown to you, and from where you stand at the bottom of the Tower you have no way of finding out. You try to see the top of the Tower but it curves away from you, high into the clouds. You look for a long time, straining to see the windows, wondering about the roof. You finally start walking around the base of the Tower, looking for answers. It’s tremendously wide, and along the walls you find people leaning against it that you never knew were there. You ask one of them, “So, what color is the roof?”

“The roof?” the man says, “It’s blue. And anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t deserve to lean against the Tower like we do.” A few people who are leaning on the wall beside him nod. Then you hear a voice coming from a few feet up the wall.

“Blue shmue!” someone cries. “The roof is green!”

The man and his followers call back, “Blue!”

An argument begins that you have no desire to hear. You walk away. Still walking, you come upon a group of women who have their backs turned to the Tower. They see you coming and roll their eyes.

“Excuse me,” you venture, “But I was wondering if you knew whether the Tower had any windows…”

“Windows!” a woman shrieks, “Did you know that in this Tower women are not allowed to look out of the windows!”

“But how do we know?” you mutter. “We don’t even know if the Tower has windows. No one has mentioned them.”

“I’ve heard that the windows are round,” another woman says, “But very high from the floor.”

“Oh don’t be silly,” the first woman says, “If there are windows they’re square. The saint in my village told me so.”

The women start bickering.

“Round!”

“Square!”

“Round!”

“Square!”

The women’s voices are strident and harsh, they seem to grate against your nerves. You back away from them and start running, trying to put as much distance between you and the fighting as possible. In your haste, you bump into a simple old man who had been standing with his forehead on the Tower. He falls to the ground.

“I’m so sorry!” you say, bending over to pick him up.

“Oh don’t worry,” he smiles, standing up and dusting himself off. “You were running quite fast there, everything alright?”

In the distance the women are screaming at each other and you’re pretty sure you can hear the word ‘kafir’ being thrown about. Your knee is bleeding. Or maybe it’s the old man’s blood. You might have hurt him when you knocked him over. You look at your palms. They’re scraped and there are little rocks embedded your skin, and they burn. You feel tears come to your eyes. No, everything’s not alright. You shake your head and feel a build-up of frustration that is bursting to come out. Just as you open your mouth to speak you see a movement out of the corner of your eye. It’s the first man, the one who had asked about the Tower. He waves.

“You again?” the old man says without warmth in his voice.

The other man nods and smiles. “So,” he says, “Ever figure out what color the roof on your so-called Tower is?”

You look to the old man. He shakes his head. “You know that I don’t care what color the roof is.”

“Come on,” the other man challenges, “How can you pretend to believe in this Tower when you don’t even know about the roof. I bet you never figured out the windows either.”

“You’re right,” the old man says calmly. “And I’ve often wondered but frankly it’s not that important. The Tower stands whether or not there are windows. The Tower is strong no matter what color the roof.”

The other man looks irritated. You look at the old man. He doesn’t seem at all frustrated or confused by his lack of knowledge.

“Hmmph!” the other man says, walking away.

“Strange man…” the old man mutters, leaning against the wall again. He seems completely peaceful, content with how he stands.

“But the roof,” you whisper, “How is it that we know nothing about the roof?”

The man turns so that he is facing you, and he leans with his shoulder instead of his forehead.

“Well,” he says, “You and I have never seen the roof, right?”

You nod.

“And we’ve never seen the windows.”

You nod again.

“So what?” he shrugs, “I say so what! I have learned all I can about the foundation of the Tower. I have learned that it is smooth, it is flawless. It is built on logic and cemented with wisdom. No one can deny the foundation.”

You drop your hand to one side and let your fingers graze the foundation. It’s still there, firm and cool to the touch.

“So someone comes along and asks you about the windows. You say you don’t know. Someone asks you about the roof. You don’t know.”

You think.

“I have never known what shape the windows are, and I have never known whether organ donation is allowed in Islam, and whether the Fida’een are wrong and I have never been sure about why Allah made the Tower exactly the way that He did, but that doesn’t mean that it is not real.”

“Your faith is built on logic the same way that a walls are built on a foundation, and so long as you remember the strength and perfection of the foundation, your walls can never be shaken.” The old man looks at you gently and then points to the sky, “You are standing at the base of a great and majestic Tower, and just because you can’t see the roof, doesn’t mean that the Tower does not exist.”

You nod and smile.

You lean against the wall.

You whistle a happy tune.