>I Write Like

>So I was surfing the web, not out of lack of  things to do –just quite the opposite actually, where I came across this ” I Write Like ” gadget.
The idea is simple and quite appealing to someone looking for pointless self-inflating fun.
You insert a snippet of your writing and it gives you a badge telling you who you supposedly mimic in your pathetic attempts of being a writer.
So, I reluctantly chose a piece, cut and paste it, press enter and wait the results:

hah! I thought. So my sentences are choppy, my syntax is rudimentary, and my story line is horrendously spiraling!!
But unlike Mr. Brown, I am not about to diss the Church, or the mosque, or the synagogue for that matter in my novel. So I think that my chances of turning my book into a world wide phenomenon are , ahem, well , next to nil!

>When Radio Silence Is All You Need

>Yes, it’s true! Radio silence has been broken and I’m out and about again.

I can’t tell you how thankful I am for all the wonderfull people who emailed/texted/twittered me to ask whether everything is fine. It is nice to feel like you are not alone in cyberspace!

It’s not just that I’ve been extra super busy lately.
I also felt really down since that freedom flotilla incident. I felt like the world is generally a very depressing place; a place where writing and words have very little meaning if you do not own a lobby that controls the media ( hint..hint).

So I will steer clear of politics as of now– I don’t feel like sinking into the deep pits of depression just yet.

Next posts will be more on the light-and-breezy side!

>Read A Book And Stop Watching Tom and Jerry

>The verdict has been out for eons people… Tom and Jerry is NOT a kids cartoon! It is too violent, too mischievous, and too downright pointless–hey, it’s not even politically correct!!

You would not let your kids watch “South Park”, so why let them watch Tom and Jerry?

What I can’t understand though is the Egyptian obsession with Tom and Jerry. It’s like a cult ’round here. People tell me :”C’mon we all grew up with that stuff!!” No we didn’t, not all of us anyway. Some people were watching the cuter, but much less entertaining I admit, Mickey Mouse.

And then again, why do we have to watch anything at all? Whatever happened to the idea of snuggling up cozily with a good book? Nobody seems to do that anymore…

I wanted to start a book club–I was sneered at whenever I suggested the idea to people I know. “We just don’t have the time for that sort of thing.” They’d argue; but these same busy bees follow religiously at least THREE different TV shows.

I do read for my own pleasure, of course. But I miss discussing books, and analyzing poems.
 The way you revel in the subtleties and finess of a book you are reading with a willing companion is a pleasure I have been denied for so many years now. The moment I stepped into Med school actually. The literary artsy types are not exactly a dime a dozen over there. Sure there are some–but I was part of the elite” awal el dofa” gang –ie.top of the class. So mark-hogging was all we cared about; not exactly the setting for discussing our literary inclinations!
I wonder if there could be an “online book club” of some sort– I’ll look into that. *making a mental note*

This was meant to be a post about not watching violent cartoons, like Tom and Jerry, and maybe instilling the love of reading in your children; but we got a little side-tracked…yeah just a little *wink*

>The Herd Theory: When to Follow and When to Lead


My bestfriend and I used to spend countless happy hours at the water fountain on campus contemplating what we thought was our ‘herd theory.’ We marvelled at the seemingly endless capacity of our fellow medical colleagues to  just follow the herd and stick with the crowd.
There is a total reliance among university students on word of mouth. They follow in the footsteps of those who came before them: which ‘notes’ to study from, which private lessons to take, whether to skip class and not give a damn or attempt to bribe to bribe the person in charge of attendance. Do you know why they do it? They are not necessarily dumb or uncreative. They do it because they know it works.
There is no room for textbook reading, note-taking, or even deducing facts from information. There is no room to try to be different, or approach things differently. If you want success, you have to follow the herd.
This is by no means applicable only to medical students. This scenario is the basis for our whole ‘higher’ education system. And, of course, it goes beyond education. You are also expected to follow the herd as you move on with your life. If you want to be accepted by society, you have to live as they do, marry whom they approve of, and follow the career path laid out in front of you.
Don’t believe me? Just look at anyone who wants to get married to someone out of the norm. It is considered ok for Egyptian men to marry ‘foreigners’ as long as of course they are white. What if one decides to marry a far Easten/Asian, or a black woman? What about Egyptian gals?  Marriage Herd theories here allow them only to marry younger Egyptian men: marrying a guy from another culture–even if Muslim– is generally not acceptable, neither is marrying a younger guy.

I am not claiming this phenomenon to be purely Egyptian, au contraire. It is charateristic of the human condition: straying away from the pack is dangerous for the pack, therefore, it is frowned upon.

But honestly, who cares about the pack??? Following the herd sure is a lot easier than exploring the undiscovered paths out there in life. But you know what? It’s a lot less fun; and less rewarding. Happiness and achievements stem from putting yourself in challenging situations and conquering that challenge, and ,again, conquering INACTION.

So next time you want to stray away from the herd (make a wild career leap or  try out something new) by all means do so. The world is a better place because of those who innovate, not those who copy.

>Only Fools Rush In: How To Find The Courage To Be

>Yes, the wise men said it. Elvis said it. And everybody knows it: only fools rush in!

We are programmed as children, by our parents and our society, to avoid hastiness. We are always told to ‘take our time’ and to ‘think about things carefully’. As we grow older schools, universities, and even our employers want us to assess and reassess every decision before we take it. We are asked to relentlessly think about our decisions. We are required to contemplate, ponder and ruminate lest we take a wrong decision or say something we shouldn’t have.

You may wonder, what’s the harm?

Well, let me quote my alter ego,  Hamlet, on this:

“And thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.—”

Dangers do lurk everywhere. It is our consciousness, our awareness of these dreads that makes us coward. When the ultimate indecisive tragic hero Hamlet says that our thoughts cast a ‘sickly’ shadow over our resolution, his wisdom does transcend the ages.

Please, try to humor me and forget for a second that he was actually contemplating suicide . Notice how resolution is referred to as ‘native’. It is innate; we are resolute by nature. If an infant had dwelled over his first step, nobody would have walked the face of the earth!!!

Want another modern day example?

Brainstorming! The reason brainstorming is so effective in generating good, creative ideas is the way the process flows, without much interference from the conscious mind. You don’t think, you just “do”.

Inaction makes your life turn ‘awry‘.
Take my word on it, sometimes you need to rush in, just dive in and let what is meant to be happen. Over calculation sure makes life safer, but you risk being trapped in your own head, shackled by your own inertia while the rest of the world goes round.

>Reverse psychology, or how to beat a devout feminist.

“You are not the boss of me now! You are not the boss of me now! You are not the boss of me now, and you’re not sooo big!” from the Malcom in the Middle
theme song was my favorite chant for years. Me, the rebel, likes having absolutely no boss. I like taking my own decisions, playing my own game, and dealing with the consequences for better or for worse.
Many men in my life didn’t like that, mostly my dad and grandfather. Mom saw it as a sign of lack of discipline as a child, but in all truth, it was character.
So how do you beat a woman with character you might ask? Well, it’s easy, tell her that you don’t care what she does either way, and that it is TOTALLY her choice!
Better yet, tell her that you’d like her to do the exact opposite of what you want (yes, the old ‘reverse psychology’ trick). My DH swears by it!
I have an interesting job proposition and I feel hesitant because my baby boy is still tiny-so what does hubby do? “You really should take that job. It’s a wonderful opportunity. We could use the money..etc..etc”
Outcome: I want to stay home with the baby. I’ll be damned if I let someone decide for me >>>>>Grrrrrr! J Actually no, since he tells me that I am my own boss, and lets me be myself, and accepts me for who I am and what I am not.
I tell him that he’s the boss of me!

>Copy me this, Copy me that

Aaaaaahh! You poor saps!
Lacking imagination and creative power is really plaguing the Egyptian society. And that is why we have ‘trends’ that wax and wane in almost EVERYTHING: baby names (you have generations that are called Sara, Dina, Imane and Rasha, now it’s Yussef, Loujy, and Malak), going to university (for some time the ‘it’ thing was ‘seyaha w fenade2’ (ie. Tourism and Hotel services) to be replaced years later by ‘tegara English’ and ‘7o2ou2 English’ (commerce and law schools—English department), and of course shops and businesses.
Back in the eighties, you had a video rental shop at EVERY corner. It starts by some random guy starting the business, it’s a success, so about 10 or 20 other guys in the neighborhood say : ‘ yeah, what the heck! If it worked for him, it is bound to make me rich too!!’ so in a matter of a few months, you have a street with 5 rent-a-video shops on it and no supermarkets! This was later replaced by Net Cafés, and then by playstation venues, and of course mobile (Cell Phone) shops!!The funny thing is it is always the SAME shop-owners that keep changing activities, always on the look-out for the next hip-and-happening thing.
I check-out a few cool businesses on Face Book; gift-making and the like. Well, I am sure that within a few months many people will have ‘borrowed’ the idea and didn’t think of particularly adding any new twist to it.
Honestly, people, GET A LIFE!!!!!!