Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hotness of the Dolby

Tonight I developed a small crush on (old and married) Thomas Dolby, who is not only brilliant, creative, stylish, and pleasingly nerdy, but also amazingly charismatic in person. Oh, and he's a great musician. And... truth be told, the man has been lifting weights over the past 15 years... Thomas Dolby is built!

Mmmhmm... thumbs up to you, Mr. Dolby!

Papers and Thomas Dolby

Me + Final Papers = Miserably Busy

I am actually taking school seriously for the first time this semester and realize what a freaking crapload of work I have left to do on my final papers. So if I don't write on here every day for the next week or two, now you know why. I sat in the department all day today doing research for my Saudi media paper, and I was up until 2am last night putting together a presentation for the same class. I hate myself right now for procrastinating because I am just a bit stressed.

On a positive note, I am going to a Thomas Dolby concert tonight ("She Blinded Me With Science!") who is playing here with BT... another great electronic artist.

Here's a Thomas Dolby video, if you actually don't know who he is (scandalous!)...

... with one of his better 80s songs, "Europa and the Pirate Twins"
(good thing I wear glasses!)

Hilariously, my Iraqi Arabic teacher (visiting here for the year from Baghdad) asked to come with me. He's never heard of a synthesizer and has no idea what techno music is, but he said he wants to see what American people listen to and see a live concert. Little does he know I'm one of the only weirdos in the US and A who listens to 80s synthpop such as Thomas Dolby. Bwwwahhahahaha!

Thomas Dolby, the Machine.

Anyway, I may be in for a long night as his constant questions can get rather annoying... for example, he asked me if he could bring food to the concert. I told him no, but he repeated the question again about five minutes later. I asked him what kind of food he was talking about. I was fearful that he was planning to smuggle in some shwarma or a boiled egg, but he told me he wants to bring a pocketful of peanuts. I told him that seemed reasonable enough. (OMG, peanuts?)

Lindsey calls him Encino Man because it's almost like talking to someone from another planet or century sometimes.

Sadly, however, he looks nothing like Brandon Fraser.

And on that note, I'm out of here...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Check this out...

For more childhood/teenage hair disaster stories, read this blog entry by Lola. It had me laughing so hard I was crying this evening. And moreover, it made me feel just a little bit better about myself.

World's Most Confusing E-Mail

Here is an e-mail I received on Saturday evening from a rather bookish girl in my "Quranic Thought" class. She and I shared a reading and had to do a joint presentation on this Syrian guy's theological ideas (which, as you can see, were totally confusing.)

Anyway, sometimes I think I'm functionally smart... but then I receive notes like this and I feel like a real tard...

Hey! I don't know if you've gotten around to reading our chapter on Shahrour yet, but when you do, please tell me if you have this same problem:

On Page 275:

"Shahrour assigns to the fourth form *anzala* the delivery of a message by which its reception by all intended addressees is uncertain, while its reception is categorically implied with the usage of the second form *nazzala*."

So: al-inzal (form four) would designate transmitted but not-necessarily-received messages, and al-tanzil (form two) would designate transmitted and necessarily received messages. Right?


On Page 276:

The uses of al-tanzil ("outside human senses") and al-inzal ("perceivable") in the figure is the other way around.

"The term *al-tanzil* is assigned to the process of objective, other-human communication (reception by human beings is uncertain...)... while the term *al-inzal* reflects the 'process of changing a matter outside the human mind from something unperceived to something perceived.'"

Am I reading this wrong? Or is the article contradicting itself? I'm only bothering you about it b/c I don't want to point out in class that Christmann must have messed his verbs up, when it's really just me being and idiot. :)

Anyway. I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. See you on Monday!

OK, aside from the first and last sentences, WTF did that say?

I had to re-read it about eight times before I even had a clue a
s to what she was asking me. That didn't help much, especially since I hadn't so much as glanced at the reading as of Saturday (I mean, hey, it's Saturday night... why would I be reading this crap on a Saturday night?). However, I loved that she wondered if I was having the same problem. Hahahaha!

"So you're sayin' I've got a chance!"

In an effort to be a good colleague, I did pull out the reading, and after 20 minutes of staring at this crazy guy's diagrams and language charts, I thought I understood it a tiny bit better, but even then I wasn't prepared to give this girl a response.

In the end, I erred on the side of caution and just told her I thought she was right, but I referred her to a couple of Arabic teachers, who hopefully understand this shit a little better than I do.

The moral of this story? It just made me realize (yet again) that I am in no way shape or form cut out for academia.

Guess I should start job hunting soon. Ugggghhh...

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Ogilvie Home Perm Disaster

I was watching the Today show while sipping coffee before Arabic class this morning, when a segment aired about a website called Get Mortified.

It's the hilarious idea of this nerdy 30-something guy who came across his teenage diary (to which he wrote to "Mr. Belvedere") and decided to post the entries online. Over time, the site has gained momentum, and people continue to add their embarrassing diary pages and photos from their teen years in a mid-life attempt to look back on their hideous adolescence with humor and self-mockery. Although I was running dangerously late for class, I couldn't peel my eyes away from the story because it touched a certain chord in me... I too shared a relatively mortifying teenage life.

It also reminded me that over the weekend, I was reading my friend Lola's blog, and discovered this hilarious entry about her questionable ninth grade fashion choices.

For whatever reason, she thinks she looks bad in this old photo...

OK, so it's slightly Elvira-esque, and the lipstick is a touch vampy, but overall, I think she looks pretty good for 1990.

As a comparison, I present you with this absolutely dreadful school photo from my 8th grade year... the fall of 1987:

Dork city. OMG... MY HAIR! I am so ashamed.

And I blame it entirely on my mother...

Why? Well, this was the late 80s/early 90s when perms were the hottest look in town (unless you retained some sense of sanity like my friend Lo above), and I wanted to fit in with the other Forenza-wearing, Outback Red-loving tweens in school. So I told my mom I wanted a spiral perm.

Her idea? Why pay for a salon when People's Drug Store sells Ogilvie home perms?

As I certainly wasn't pulling in any sort of income to afford a real salon perm myself (or even argue for her to take me to one... I was a rather obedient child), I had no other choice but to curtsy to my mother's rather appalling suggestion and go with it. However, as you can see from the result above, it wasn't a pretty outcome. I have unnaturally thick hair -- considered dangerous for even a trained cosmetician -- and my mother (AKA "my personal hairdresser") fell prey to the potential for the frizzed out mushroom top. Not to mention, I hadn't a clue as to how to take care of it (these being the days before decent "product" was easily available), and I believe I actually owned a pick with which I attempted to "comb" it.

I probably would have just forgotten about this hideous perm if it weren't for two things: 1) this school photo serves as a constant reminder of the blunder, and 2) the lingering memory of a nasty note intercepted in Mr. Robertson's social studies class that mortifies me still...

Here I was, with my massive and unruly frizz cap, sitting in Mr. Robertson's class. I sat near my two close friends, Jenny & Vicki. As 13-year olds are apt to do, they were passing a note back and forth. For whatever reason, I somehow was passed the note to pass on to Vicki and noticed my friend Jenny's handwriting and decided to take a peek.

It was then that my heart dropped and my eyes teared as I faced the horror of teenage judgment...

J: What do you think of K's perm?

V: It's soooo ugly! I think it looks even worse than Chrissy L.'s hair!

J: Oh my god, I know, it sucks.

This was a death sentence.

Let me tell you that Chrissy L. was the school dork. Every school has one. Although I might sound like a "mean girl," I have to say she had absolutely no friends, as she was considered spastic, nerdy, dippy, weird, and unsocial, all of which made her totally avoidable. And... she was highly unfashionable with orange-toned, frizzed out hair. (which, I might add, could be gorgeous now if she is properly using product on it).

In my eyes, being called, in any form, "worse than Chrissy L." by one of my closest friends (and behind my back!) was akin to a quick and swift kick to the gut. Truly, a devastating moment...

In time (like, after a year of hair hell), I convinced my mother to take me to a salon for a real spiral perm, and I recall her gladly willing to pay the big bucks the second time around.

So I wasn't a frizz-bot my entire high school career...

Here I am... the Rave* queen of 11th grade...

Salon spiral perm, rayon blouse buttoned to neck, and frosty pink lipstick courtesy of 1990's bad fashion choices.

Thank god I discovered tweezers in college.

* = Rave hairspray, of course, which magically molded my bangs into lacquered hair claws.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Very Non-Ultra Experience

I have a weak spot for the Dollar Store. I know, it's white trashy and somewhat dirty and full of scary customers with snotty nosed children and fake rip-off brands and cheap silk flowers, but their gift wrap section is fabulous, which is the primary reason I go.

I was at the Dollar Store a couple weeks ago and was browsing around, testing the waters beyond the safety zone of the gift wrap area, when I encountered the cleaning supply shelf and realized I could get some great deals on household cleansers! So I picked up a bottle of Joy dishwashing soap (which I use frequently, seeing as I have no dishwasher) and patted myself on the back for a bargain well found... dishwashing liquid for a dollar?!?!? What a steal!

Last week, it was time to break out the new dishwashing soap that I had temporarily hidden under the sink. I pulled it out, opened the cap, and poured what appeared to be soapy water onto my dishes.

I wondered what was wrong... and then I looked at the label...

Please note the all important words... "non-ultra" Joy.

This is synonymous with "sucky" Joy, "cheap" Joy, and "don't waste your time using me because I am little better than water" Joy. In sum, I found its label's honesty to be rather amusing. It shouted out to me... there's a reason I was in the Dollar Store, you ninny!

So, I am now using non-ultra Joy, which is so thin and runny that I have used half the bottle in less than a week's time. But it does appear to be cleaning my dishes well enough...

However maybe that's just because I'm an ultra talented dish washer.

Which sounds very lame. Yes, very very lame.

Speaking of lame... I have to get back to my school work now. I hate grad school. Goodbye.

Spandau Ballet's "Gold"... love it!!!

I was in the midst of writing my paper tonight, when this song came on my computer's random shuffle...

"Gold" by Spandau Ballet (I used to have this cassette tape!)

Wow, I forgot how much I love this song. I hit "repeat" a few times to listen to it again, and then I decided I should find the video on YouTube because I don't feel like working on my paper.

Since I'm in the midst of writing about the Quranic hadith "gold for gold and silver for silver," I figure I'm at least still slightly on topic.

Now back to hellish research...

PS - Sid & Nancy just had very audible sex next door, and I feel like some creepy voyeur... it's one of the reasons I turned up the volume on "Gold" (which frankly I would recommend doing anyway, even if one is not in a creepy voyeur situation, just because it's a great song!!!).

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Exciting Thanksgiving Weekend

Tonight is a short post because I'm in the midst of writing my final paper for my Quranic Thought class (entitled "Islamic views of riba... usury and interest" --- thrilling, I know). I've been distracted all day by online Christmas shopping, and then researching costs for a trip to Montreal for Miguel's b-day (he's hitting a big milestone this year). So all in all, I haven't gotten much done on my paper, and that's a bad thing because I have a lot of work left to do. Ugggh... I'm so ready to be finished with school!

However, my Thanksgiving jaunt to Phoenix was a very nice break. I drove up on Thursday around noon, and due to heavy traffic and loads of accidents along the road, I didn't make it there until around 2:30... just in time for dinner!

Here are the only two photos I took at the dinner hosted by my mom's cousin Joanne (I guess that makes her my first-cousin-once-removed?). It ended up being just her, her sister (and my mom's cousin also) Ardith, and me at Joanne's house in Scottsdale...

Here's the table...

Very quaint indeed.

And - in contrast - here is Ardy ripping apart the turkey carcass after dinner...

The medieval side of Thanksgiving.

We chatted for quite a while after dinner, drinking coffee & wine, and nibbling on pumpkin pie. Then Ardy and I went back to her house in central Phoenix, where I spent the night.

I should also mention that I did go bowling the night before Thanksgiving (on Wednesday) here in Tucson, and I did shock and awe the clientele at Camino Seco Bowling Lanes... with my incredibly low score and massive amounts of gutter balls. God, I suck at bowling.

Here are some of my bowling friends:

Barry (bowling team captain), Ben, and Jill

And Barb, Anna, & Alex:

Alex, Barb, and I got the three lowest scores. C'est la vie.

Now it's time to return to reading "an overview of the Sharia'a prohibition of riba" in my Islamic economics primer.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Although I am sure no one will be reading this on Turkey Day... just wanted to shout out a HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone!!!

I'm drivin
g up to Phoenix Thursday morning to spend the day with my mom's two cousins (Ardith and Joanne)... who are both in their 70s. Wild times, I tell you, wild times.

As for this evening, I am heading out with my friend Anna and her bowling team to shock and awe Tucson with my killer striking skills. Then we're heading over to Ben's for his weekly Bloody Mary and Cigar Night...

Finally, just a shout out to my friend Paola to officially say CONGRATS on her engagement! I just got a text message (while in the dressing room at Target trying on gym
clothes) letting me know her boyfriend, Dan, proposed to her.

She also sent this photo
of the beauty...

P... did you start text messaging at the freaking dinner table?

I guess this means that I'm officially the last one standing... so it's time to go meet my friends for beers!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yet Another Flat Tire

Allow me to reiterate something mentioned in my blog over a year ago... I am a flat tire magnet.

Here is photographic proof of the latest annoyance...

One full inch of nail (total length undetermined) sticking out of my sidewall.

I don't know why tires hate me, but I'm sure starting to hate them.

So in my final recap of two weekends ago, I must now recount the mildly tragic story that occurred two Sundays ago...

Approximately three months ago, I made reservations to go stargazing at the observation laboratory on Kitt Peak. I was really psyched about it because: a) reservations are very hard to get, b) November has perfect weather conditions for astronomy-related adventures, and c) I've always wanted to know what the hell I was looking at when I stared at the stars, and Kitt Peak is staffed with genuine experts. Since Miguel was visiting, it seemed like a great activity. The football game and the air museum were primarily his kind of thing, but stargazing was something I really wanted to do.

Right here...

... at the elusive Kitt Peak...

We received a call from the Kitt Peak visitor's center at noon on Sunday saying the weather was perfect and that we were to report in at the observatory (about one and half hours west of Tucson) no later than 4:15pm. I was thrilled that the day had finally arrived and the weather was cooperating, having watched the forecast for weeks ahead of time and crossing my fingers that no cloudy anomaly would ruin the evening.

We killed some time driving around Tucson neighborhoods and admiring the creative architecture and landscaping... and might I add that I also killed a pigeon with my car... it was sitting on the road smack in front of me, and when I realized it wasn't going to move in time, I attempted to hit my brakes, at which point it flew straight up into my grill with a loud thunk...

(Pigeon's last moments...)
...and then came awkwardly catapulting in pieces along the driver's side of the car. As my window was fully open, I feared that chunks of pigeon flesh... or worse, a squawking pigeon head... were going to come flying onto my lap. This caused me to scream with a fairly hearty amount of gusto and duck to the right below the dashboard, all while driving approximately 30 miles per hour on a four lane road, during which Miguel frantically grabbed at the steering wheel.

After that drama abated, and my adrenaline ceased and desisted, we shared some lunch. Then it was nearly time to get on the road to Kitt Peak!!! Miguel insisted that we check the tire pressure and get air in the tires for the drive. Although I thought that seemed a bit silly seeing that I had just put air in my tires the month before, I gave in and agreed to err on the side of caution. I let Miguel pull out the tire gauge as I began daydreaming about the wonders of the constellations and my potential skills as an astronomer. And that's when I heard, "Uh Oh..."

And so it was... a nail in my tire on a Sunday afternoon at 2:15pm. We could leave Tucson no later than 2:45 in order to make it to Kitt Peak in time. I was frantic to find a tire repair shop that could fix the tire in less than 30 minutes. However, after 30 minutes of dejected driving around Tucson, with only one tire repair shop open (and a 45-minute wait), we were screwed.

And this is how I felt inside...

... so bummed.

I was mega-disappointed. Miguel said I was acting like a baby, but I told him to leave me alone and allow me to mourn in peace for a bit. I needed to deal with the grand let-down... a flat tire stymied me yet again! Of course, Miguel pointed out that we could have been driving 80 mph in the middle of the desert en route to Kitt Peak and had a tire blow-out, and then we both could have died, and that made me feel better. I realized it was, in fact, a good thing that we'd discovered the dreaded nail, although I still hate the fact that I get more flat tires per year than anyone else in America.

Weirdly though, the tire never actually went flat (I drove around on it... slowly... for the next couple days until I could get it into a repair shop).

As it turned out, instead of stargazing, Miguel and I went to see "Borat" at the last remaining drive-in theater in Tucson (or maybe America, for that matter) and had a great time...

We were both guffawing out loud throughout the whole movie -- my favorite part being the Jewish Bed & Breakfast scene where the innkeeper lady forces him to eat a sandwich before bed...

And speaking of bed, it's about that time... last day of classes tomorrow before Thanksgiving break!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Loads of Fun at Pima Air & Space Museum

There are some major perks to being in a relationship. However, there are also sacrifices.

For men like Miguel, this might mean having to watch "Dancing With the Stars" with me on Tuesday nights or suffering through boutique shopping while on vacation. For women like me, this means spending a Saturday afternoon at a football game staring at a catatonic mascot, while Miguel rattles off every NCAA football statistic that anyone could ever care to know as I listlessly nod with half-hearted interest.

It also means waking up early on a school vacation day (last Monday, September 13) in order to be his tour companion at the Pima Air and Space Museum and Davis-Monthan Air Base bone yard (airplane graveyard).

You might think to yourself, "That's not a sacrifice... weren't you in the Air Force? You must love planes!" The answer to that is no. I do not like them. I've never liked them, and the only thing I really appreciate about them is that they get me from Point A to Point B very quickly. The Air Force was, frankly, a bit of a conflicted and misguided adventure on my part... a way to see the world, get paid, gain valuable job experience (haha!), and to be honest, my last resort since Army and Navy weren't accepting ROTC candidates my junior year of college, and I had no idea what else I should do with my linguistics degree.

But alas, enough of that nonsense... you get the picture... I don't like planes, and even after four years inundated amongst them, I can still barely tell the difference between an F-16 and a British Tornado. (Miguel was aghast at some of my aircraft recognition errors...) Now, give me a surface-to-air missile, and I might be able to tell you something, but airplanes... errrr, no, not really...

Anyway, we paid our fees for the "bone yard" tour at the museum and boarded a large coach bus. Miguel, me, a crusty old tour leader, and about 25 camera-clad and giddy middle-aged and elderly men (most of whom were either alone or with geeked-out male friends).

The bus made its way a few miles to the local Air Force base, which is home to this airplane graveyard of hundreds of old military jets. I personally was hoping to see some rusty commercial airliners as well, but apparently AirTran has already bought all of them (that's a joke).

Miguel was positively ebullient...

... here he is on the other side of the bus aisle in an empty row so he could get a better look at the hundreds of planes on the opposite side of the bus from where he should have been sitting (with me).

He took no fewer than 76 photos of these old planes... here is a sample of his work...

... I kept asking, "what are you going to do with all of these boring pictures?"

I was a good sport in the beginning, but after the 9,455th plane, I started getting a bit weary...

... listening to our guide drone on about things like, "this Canberra twin-engined jet has a wing span of 120 feet, which is the exact distance flown by the Wright Brothers in Kitty Hawk... does anyone know which Wright Brother had a mustache?" Zzzzzzzzz....

Once we finally finished the "bone yard" tour, the bus took us back to the museum, where we (or should I say Miguel) wandered the grounds (with me following) from 10:30am until 2:30pm. That equals four hours (not including the bus trip)... four hours!

Here is my photo journal of our day...

First and foremost... JFK's personal crapper...

... aboard his private Presidential jet. Cool.


Miguel and a MiG-21 (yes, I know this one...)

The best picture of the day.

I was enthused about pretending to drive the luggage truck...

... in what could possibly be the world's dorkiest picture ever taken.


This plane looked like a pregnant whale, and so it interested me...

Apparently NASA used it to transport large shuttle pieces.


But I started losing my luster after the fourth airplane hangar...

Fake smile.

However, Miguel loved every minute...

I think this is that damn Canberra plane again.


I call this my Terri Schiavo moment...

... where all life ceased to exist and a vegetative state emerged.

And all for love...

Look how happy Miguel is here in front of the Mickey Mouse plane.

As for me, I revived in the car en route to lunch.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Homecoming & Football Game

Since I'm stuck on the subject of sports lately... or to be specific, football... I might as well keep the ball rolling by sharing photos from last Saturday (November 11).

It was Homecoming here at UA, and Miguel and I had tickets to the UA vs. Cal Berkeley football game so we partook a bit in all the pre-game tailgate festivities. Unfortunately, we didn't know anyone hosting a private party (although I did try to sneak into the Kappa tent to steal a muffin) so we just wandered around for a few hours watching everyone else drink themselves into oblivion in the 80 degree heat.

Here was the scene on the center of campus...

I really do revel in playing the fashion paparazzi (for whatever bizarro reason) so I took lots of photos of ridiculous UA women's outfits...

This is a t-shirt cut into a strapless top...

...and paired with wedgie shorts.

As you can see the strapless tee is a hot look...

... along with the Lindsey Lohan hat & big glasses.

Here are some skirts made of tissue paper...

... and Van sneaker come-backs!

But this is the best look...

A cut t-shirt TIED into knots in the back and worn as a dress!!!

More strapless t-shirt dresses...

... the girl on the left is just about to lose an ass cheek.

Of course, Miguel loved it...

Look at that ridiculous grin.

After ogling at the total carnage in the fraternity/sorority tent section, we moved onto to the nerdier side of the tailgating festivities and encountered the band.

This might be my favorite photo of the day...

That trombonist is just. so. proud. And the sax player looks like Newman.

Miguel also noticed that the band members all had the same shoes. Men and women, big and small. They were wearing black Keds. They may have even been Capezios. They were not very masculine. But then again, look at the spangles.

The real band was followed by the alumni homecoming band...

Full of pot-bellies and slightly off-key.

Here's my second favorite photo of the day... the femullet...

This was a middle aged woman in jean shorts. I wish the photo better captured the massive amount of Sun-In bleaching and feathery layering in the front.

Once we got to the game, I found myself rather disinterested in the details of the sport. I was more interested in watching the Cal mascot in front of us, who was possibly the most lifeless honey bear and cheer leader I've ever seen in my life

I'm not kidding when I say that this was all he did the entire game... that is, he just stood there.

He never raised his arms or danced or tried to rile the Cal crowd (which unfortunately was sitting directly next to us... how would I know that I bought tickets two seats away from the Cal section?). He was like a large lump of beeswax with a sagging, mopey head and oversized sneakers. The guy inside was probably boiling alive.

Here we are at half-time... (see the red fans on the other side of the stadium)

I actually found it amusing to watch the Cal fans as their team began losing the game. There was one very overweight man who was actually turning purple. That probably isn't very funny though.

In case you didn't know (and I don't expect you to), UA -- which sucks -- beat Cal in a big upset...

Here's the scoreboard with less than a minute left.

And here is a video I took of the UA students rushing the field after the win...

At the end, you can hear my lingering obsession with watching the rival fans...

Finally, here we are post game as the students still swamped the field...

That traitor Miguel didn't put on his visor until it was clear that UA was going to win. Talk about a fair weather fan.

Anyway, that was the day.

Then we got a little drunk with my friends here...

Here I am feeling pensive with Ben at Heart Five after techno dancing for a couple hours.

Then we ate tater tots, jalapeno poppers and pizza because it seemed like the right thing to do. And of course, it wasn't. But it didn't matter because we weren't thinking straight.

The End.