Unemployment is awesome!

I am heading to Miami in a few hours, for 4 days. After that I am heading to Boston. If you are in either one of those cities, give me a holla @ sandmonkey at gmail dot com.

Have a nice one!

Sandmonkey rules for the day!

1) Just as a general rule: If a movie has a dog as a central character in it, it will either have a shitty story, or the dog will die, or both. Oh, and even though the lead actress will always probably be hot, she will never get naked in the film, ever. So suck on that, heterosexual men who paid money to go see Marley and Me.

2)When you start getting older, and you realize that you haven't accomplished any of your goals yet and else has failed, have a baby. It's a fantastic excuse, and it distracts people. For example: "Hey, late twenties/ early thirties dude, accomplished any of your goals or dreams yet?" " Ehh, well, no, but I had a baby. Isn't it cute?" "Aww..yes it is. Can I play with it for a while and not talk to you about anything important?" "Knock yourself out!".. Works every time!

3) Thinking that reading James Joyce' Ulysses will be such an easy task that you could accomplish it on the plane ride is…hehe…yeah…totally WRONG. Joyce, you Irish bastard. I will get past page 10, even if it kills me!

4) The older a person gets, the more prone to gathering clutter he/she will be, and will refuse to throw away anything. My Dad, who turned 65, has 10 big empty Nescafe jars in his room. When I asked him why he keeps them, he replied that we might need them one day. I squeezed my mind trying to come up with the emergency scenario where we would need 10 empty Jars of Coffee..and yeah..totally blank.

5) My God can beat up your God. Like, totally beat up. Just a friendly reminder!

Coming to Abu Dhabi tomorrow

I am coming to the land of the UAE tomorrow afternoon for 5 days of spending time with my two nephews (yes, I do have direct influence on young impressionable souls. Why do you think my sister moved to a different country?) and watching Dubai as it continues to burn to ash and cinder. If you are in town, please drop me a line at sandmonkey@gmail.com and let's meet up.

Have a lovely day! 

On Playfulness

Many people, over the years in which I have written in this blog, have accused me of being a callous and insensitive human being. The reason behind such accusation, they would tell me, that I seem to find the humor in the most horrifying of things and events. This has increased lately, due to the whole Ghaza conflict thing, with many e-mails accusing me of many many things, like undermining the gravity of Egypt's "Betrayal of the palestinain cause", or calling bullshit on theor doncpsiracy theories regarding the "real reason behind the Ghaza offensive" (Alaa, the person who started pushing that idea around, refused to debate me on the merit of his argument and called me a "subhuman", and then deletd any comments I made challenging that claim. An open-minded champion of freedom of speech that Alaa, I tell ya!) or for not focusing my blogging to shed more light on the suffering inflicted on Ghaza's children and families, etc… My humor, my so called snarky outlook on the whole deal, is a testemant to how disconnected I am from the seriousness of such life and death matters. I am even more guilty, I am told, because my audience takes me seriously, so by making light of the whole thing, I am undermining in their collective consciounsess the severity of what's going on in the region. I have to make a choice, whether I want to be serious, or just "peddeling my idea of funny"!

Yes, people, I am a bad bad man, apparently.

Now, usually I would ignore such comments or accusations out of the sheer redicliousness of their scope. As arrogant as I am, I don't think I am capable of undermining the collective consicouness of a bed bug to such a degree that they would look at the Ghaza situation and go "Mehh". I really doubt I have this kind of power over anybody. And if there is someone whom I can affect to such a degree, I really don't think I should be held responsible for how their thought process works. I didn't make them this way, God did. Take it up with the man upstairs.

However, if there is one thing that I would agree with them on, one thing I am guilty of, it's definitely my insistence on not being serious most of the time, and trying to find the funny in the world. There are a couple of reasons behind that, the first of which is the fact that this conflict, and the world at large, doesn't need to be taken more seriously by anybody. I would argue that the main reason and impetus of conflict and misery in this world is due to too many people taking too much too seriously, and are willing to fight till the end of the earth for it. Anybody who committed any atrocious act in the past 100 years, from the world wars to the cold wars, to the middle-east wars and terrorists attacks, those are people who, for lack of a better way to put it, have no sense of humor. Humor is a weapon whose effectiveness is more powerful than most people think or believe, and the fact that it isn't deployed more often against the atrocious as often as we are willing to deploy our guns, is the reason why the world is such a shitplace today. I am willing to bet you, that had the people in the pubs of Berlin laughed at Adolf Hitler during his drunken speeches instead of taking him seriously, there probably wouldn't have been a second world war, or a holocaust. If you would ask me what trait seperates the humans from the other animals on the planet, the first one that would come to my mind would have to be humor. They too, kill each other, fuck each other and have communities and relationships and even battles and wars, but they have no sense of humor. Had they had any, they would've spent their time pointing at us and laughing. The only exception to this fact are the dolphins, who definitely have a sense of humor and laugh at us all the time. Maybe that's why we like them and they like us so much.

The second reason behind my so called Playful view of the world is in my utter belief that if there is a God, then he is really not as serious as we people believe him to be. Evidence of that exists everywhere in nature, from his creation of the Penguin to the way he made men's nutsacks, but no bigger evidence exist than the way the world he made functions. Yes, the world is full of tragedies, but it's also an incredibly hilarious place, and I suspect that God made it this way for a reason. Or maybe he just couldn't make up his mind about it, so why should I make up my own mind before he makes up his? How can you read the newspapers every day or watch TV news and not see that the world is simultaneously most tragically serious and ridiculously funny? If I have learned anything in my somewhat short life, it is that there is no wisdom without playfulness. The Children know this very well, they, in their hearts, more than anybody, know that the world is a playground and that we should have fun while we are here. They know this, until we beat it out of them with our "seriousness", and fears and insecurities and bigotries. And then they become us. Responsible serious adults. Grown-ups. Hey, grown-up serious readers of mine. How has being a grown-up been working out for you so far? Be honest!

And finally, I never persumed to tell you or anybody how to fix the world. I am not any kind of leader, nor would I wish to become the kind of asshole who craves the subservience and following of men of lesser minds. I am, at best, a court jester. I exist to remind everybody that the world is a joke, and while it's not a very good joke most of the time, it sometimes exhibits flashes of comedic genius, which is visible from the middle east than from anywhere else in the world. I am the one who reminds you that suffering is not a virtue, and those who make their entire life about the removal or remedying of suffering are doomed to become addicted to it and a reflection of it. Their life is validated through all of their "good work" in letting the world know what a miserable little shithole it can be most of the time, and they see themselves as saints for it. Their's is a very popular worldview and many people share their opinion, but not me. To me this whole thing is silly, because Misery and suffering are usually the end product of serious minds, and the same kind of thinking that produced something can not possibly be the same kind of thinking used to negate it. If one was truly serious about saving the world, I persume that the first step would have to be for you to stop taking your leaders seriously, and, whenever possible, stop them from taking "serious decisions" that will require you to "sacrifise" your quality of life in order to remedy the problems other serious leaders made with their serious decisions. Remind them that you only get one life where the choices you make do matter, and you chose not to make life a serious orderly little place, while it could be a celebration of life with all its sweet dirty festive nasty possibilities. And laugh at them. Always laugh at them. From Haniya, to Olmert, to Mubarak, to Aassad, to Nasrallah (especially Nasrallah- he really takes himself seriously). Remind them that they are men, and they are not greater than Life. Because nothing is greater than Life. And maybe once we stop forgetting that and not get caught up in whatever miserable horrible shit that is about to happen somewhere on this planet instead of actually enjoying what little sweet time we have on this big blue ball, we might actually evolve. But that's me, the court jester, the monkey, talking. And what do I know?

So, please, don't come here if you are looking for seriousness all the time. I might indulge in being serious once every now and then, but most of the time I will just point at the world and laugh. So don't take me, or the world, but especially me, so seriously. Cause even I don't.

Have a nice day.

From the Playlist

*I am posting this, because even I need a break from Ghaza*

I'm the opposite of moderate, immaculately polished.
with the spirit of a hustler and the swagger of a college kid.
Allergic to the counterfeit, impartial to the politics.
Articulate but still would grab a nigga by the collar quick.
Whoever having problems with, their record sales just holla tip.
If that don't work and all else fails, then turn around and follow me.
I got love for the game but I'm not in love with all of it.
I do without the fame and the rappers nowadays are comedy.
The hootin' and the hollerin', back and forth with the arguing.
Where you from, who you know, what you make and what kind of car you in.
Seems as though you lost sight of what’s important with deposting
All them checks into your bank account and you up out of poverty.
Your values is in disarray, prioritizing horribly.
You happy with your bitch cause she's piss poor morally.
Ignoring all prior advice and all the fore warning.
We mighty full of ourselves all of a sudden aren't we?

T.I., Live your Life

In advance

I know we are not there yet, but Happy New year, people, may the next one not suck as hard as this one did.. Also, this blog is now officially 4 years old (and like 4 days). So yeah, happy blogeversery to the Sandmonkey blog as well. It's been awesome so far. :)

Merry Christmas, people!

My your Holidays be filled with fatty foods, alcohol and passing out!

Dying in Austin

Guys, I have been having the worst case of body flu ever contracted, and it sucks that it happens to me when I finally get to Texas, which in my humble opinion, kicks New York's ass. My mind is working, but I have to say that my body is feeble, and I have no idea what to do. If any of you is a doctor, and can give me an idea of what kind of Over the Counter medication I could take to combat this, let me know. We are talking temperature rise, cold sweats, hellucination in sleep (I had a dream where I was part of a competition, where democrats had to roll me like a bucket down hills or else I will get worse. I know, my brain is a scary place!), alternations between feeling cold and hot and a bronchital cough, not to mention an upset stomach.  I have been living off of Dayquil so far. Any ideas, recommendations or home remedies welcome.

Let me know! 

The need for Soul!

It's been staring at me for a week now. The fuckin inevitable job offer from Dubai, offering me more money, a better career, and country that's a little more alcohol and party friendly than the one I am in. Everything a young Egyptian single man dreams of, especially one as money-driven as I am. They will pay for the housing, pay for the car, pay for everything. The perfect job offer. I should be happy. I should take this. If so, why haven't I so far?

______________________________

"You should take it. This Country will eat you alive. There is no future here. Trust me on this one."

My Father

______________________________

The thing is, I don't have any practical reason not to. Most of my friends are leaving the country in droves, whether heading towards greener pastures (mostly Dubai) or going home to their countries. The people that are left here, well, let's just say that the majority of the good ones I already know, and unless they are married with kids and entrenched within their jobs, they are also becoming a shrinking minority. And in terms of activism, well, activism is primarily dead for now. The Old Guard of the Egyptian blogsphere are either enamored with their jobs and don't have the time or the passion to do anything anymore or they are still trying to make something out of themselves, holding in the meantime random jobs between programming and being fixers for foreign journalists. The country itself? Pretty much still sliding downwards. The people who are getting squeezed the most are too scared to face those who should be held accountable, opting instead to take it out on one another. Religious rights aren't getting any better, women rights ditto, and everybody with half a brain is looking for a place to migrate to.

______________________________

"Dude, at least with your girls it's easy. Not all of them want to leave. Every single Christian girl I know wants to immigrate out of this country. And you know what? I don't. I like it here. I see no reason for me leaving, me or any other Christian. What's the worst that could happen? The Muslim Brotherhood slaughters us all? Fuck them. Let them try. And until they succeed I ain't going anywhere."

S. , a christian male friend of mine.

_____________________________

Career-wise, I have reached a plateau, and I am already bored with it. I am sick and tired of dealing with self-important idiots, who instead of focusing on deals and bottom-lines, seem to be more interested in doing idiotic things that waste everybody's time and effort. I can't remember which was worse: My old job, where our beard-totting web developers required a fatwa from Al Azhar in order to work on a banner for Valentine's day, for which we paid off a Sheikh (Ahh..the first time you bribe a man of god. Nothing like it!), or the new job, where they won't hire female programmers because- and I quote- "as any programmer who knows his stuff will tell you, girls can't program for shit!", nor will they hire programmers from Private Universities because the head of programming didn't come from one and has an inferiority complex about it. And let's not forget finishing up the new headquarters that suddenly became my responsibility- alongside with Business Development, Sales, Financial Management, and running HR- in the area of dealing with the contractor and his constant whining and excuses, or the completely inept Interior Decorator, whom I had to fire last Thursday because he ditched a meeting with a Partner. And the thing is, I know these are not exceptions. I know that this is- unless your gods love you and bestowed upon you decent professional people- as good as it gets around here. And honestly, I don't think I can handle this kind of frustration for the rest of my life. And let's not even mention the traffic, or the heat, or whatever the islamist retards will come up with next, or the relatives that need favors, or the ones that try to run your life and all the other bullshit that just comes with the territory of simply being born in this country. In my hearts of hearts, I am craving change, any change at this point. I have even contemplated (gasp) marriage at this point. I have become that desperate.

_____________________________

" You should totally accept that Job offer. This way we could be both in the same country. Me in Abu Dhabi, you in Dubai. How cool would that be?"

My sister.

———————————————

And therein lies the dilemma, that there really shouldn't be one. If we take an objective point for point comparison between the two countries, especially when it comes to the career choice or quality of life, Dubai wins over Cairo in almost every category, except for the weather. The humidity there is lethal, and I wear glasses. Maybe it's time to get me contact lenses, something to go with the token Russian whore girlfriend that I will surely get the moment I arrive there. Oh, I forgot, there is one area in which Egypt wins hand down the comparison game with Dubai, and it's the primary reason why I don't want to go there:

Dubai has no Soul!

It doesn't. I am sorry, but Dubai- with all its glitz and glamour and cool outings and sweet financing deals and all of this crap- is soulless. There is nothing real about it. And that's the one thing that Egypt has on Dubai. Egypt, on the other hand, with its problems and corruption and dirt and pollution and its easily emotionally manipulated people, has nothing but soul. Hell, we even have some to spare.

———————————————

"I hate people who tell me that Dubai is soulless. It's pretty, OK? There is money and hot women here. What more could you need?"

Wesam, a Dubai enthusiast friend of mine

____________________________

To be honest though, the fact that Dubai has no soul, well It's not really their fault. It's simply a trait that befalls every single gulf country with the exceptions of Bahrain- who actually does have a history and culture of its own- and the Saudis – whose country does have a soul, but that of a misogynistic bigoted Sociopath- because they are really made-up countries. Lands of Sand occupied by tribes of nomadic people with no culture, who discovered the concept of houses the moment they discovered they had oil- somewhere around the middle of this last century. Don't get me wrong, what they did with it was impressive, Oh, I mean what we and the Europeans and the Americans did to their countries with the money that the oil generated from their land is impressive. They just didn't really fuck it up. And kudos to them for that. But Beyond that, I am not really impressed. Not the least bit.

I actually cringe whenever I watch the Dubai Channel, and hear them talk about the new cultural events that are happening in Dubai, mainly because I think the term is misleading. Those are not cultural events, those are grotesque examples of emptiness. The events don't highlight the culture of the people of Dubai; they are simply showcase opportunities for people from other countries to come to Dubai and display their own culture on Dubai's soil. That is all. Hell, you can even argue that American culture is vastly superior to that of modern-day Dubai because, while its an amalgam of foreign cultures of people who moved there, it's one where the people making it felt ties and attachments to their new home, the USA. Not a single person who works in the culture scene in Dubai can make such a claim about his/her City of Gold and Oil. You want another example? How about Arabic rap? Now that's a purely foreign American cultural medium of self expression, and recently a new entry in the middle-east cultural discourse. Now, anyone who has been following up on the Arab rap scene, whether through that horrible Hip Hop show on MTV Arabia or through downloading the music through their websites and forums, it becomes abundantly clear which countries have anything to offer in terms of art in that medium. Without exception, there isn't a single decent Arabic rapper from the gulf. There are, however, from Algeria, Morocco, Palestine and Lebanon, with Egypt being a late-but hot- newcomer. These days you can literally take a seat and watch as the Egyptian rap scene slowly evolves into something respectable, addressing our issues and adding something of value to the social narrative. You can't say the same about any of the gulf countries. Hell, their best rappers are all expats from Palestine and Lebanon, because really, what do gulfies have to rap about? The Desert? The Camels? The Oil? What are their issues? What do they have to complain about? The Lexus dealership ran out of Cars?

What is there to talk about/fight for/love in their countries?

I always believed the degree someone's love for their country is whether or not they leave-if they have a choice- when the times get tough. We've had centuries of war and colonization in Egypt, so we know a little something about tough times, and yet you will find us very reluctant to leave. The same masochistic love for the country can also be found amongst Palestinians and the Lebanese, and god knows those people have had enough external and internal incentive to just jump ship and go somewhere else a long time ago. Yet they still stick it out. That's attachment to the country you live in. Can anyone who currently lives and works in Dubai make a similar claim about their city? And if they try to make such a claim, can you please remind them that they can't make such a claim, because they have never been tested? They have experienced nothing so far but economic growth for the past 20 years and the reason why everybody goes there is simply the money and the good life, which is why things in Dubai will become very interesting the moment an economic downturn hits. If your attachment to your country of residence is all about how much money you can get out of it, then this is not your home and never will be. The moment a recession hits, all the rats will abandon ship.

The epitome of the Dubai dream: To build careers, buy houses and start families with no emotional ties to the land or to the country. Maybe you can live like that. Maybe that's good enough for you. But it isn't for me.

As frustrating as Egypt is, there are still things to fight for here, even if the majority of those who usually fight are battle-weary. There is nothing but potential here. So much work to be done. So many wrongs to fix. So many battles to fight. Loving Dubai is about convenience, loving Egypt is about passion. And it's worth it, even if it takes that love you give it and punishes you for it. It's hard to make you understand it, so let me try to give you an analogy of what that's like that you might relate to: It's the loser boyfriend who you know will never amount to anything but you stick by him anyway, because you believe in him regardless of what people may tell you. It's that lost girl filled with potential that stirs the savior complex in you, and keeps you hanging on to her despite her endless mistakes and repeated self-destructive behavior. It's that Person you love so much but they seem so intent on putting walls and distance between the two of you that when you finally break through and connect with them- even for a brief second- they give you this smile that just warms up your soul and makes you feel as if all the torment and the pain was worth it, and more. It's that abusive relationship that you stay in because loving that person, despite everything, makes you feel more alive than you ever felt in your life and you are not ready to trade that in for the safety of a so-called-healthy relationship with no problems. Loving Egypt makes no sense and perfect sense at the same time, and yet you don't care that you are living a contradiction. At least it makes you feel something. Take it from a so-called human rights activist in an oppressive autocratic police-state: there isn't a better feeling in the world than the one you get when you win a battle you fought for, no matter how small or immediately inconsequential your victory is. There is simply nothing like it. Now, remind me again: What is there to fight for in Dubai? A bigger Bonus? Thanks but no Thanks. I like my victories to actually mean something.

When you come from a divorced family, you are always enamored with the concept of having a "Home". A single place you can go to and lay down your burdens. And unfortunately, to my dismay, Dubai can never be that home, as much as I would love it to be, because I do love me a culture where people party, where the women have no hang-ups when it comes to sex, and where you can make as much money as your ambition allows you. I love all that, but the place I choose as my home has to have a Soul, and Dubai is found lacking. If the fantastic rulers of Dubai manage somehow to find a way to purchase a soul and install it in their country, then you just might find me on the next flight there. But that hasn't happened yet, and I doubt it will happen anytime soon.

I am not saying it will never happen. It might be inevitable. The day may come when I am forced to hold my nose and move there, and prepare myself of a life where I work my ass off during the week, so I can spend it all partying during the weekend, and wondering where my money goes or why I feel so empty. Yeah, maybe that will happen one day.

Today, though, is simply not that day.

So I guess that offer will continue to stare me in the face, until the day the acceptance deadline expires, reminding me of the choice I made, of how I chose frustration and pain over the easy life and the easy way out, because of my need for soul. I might kick myself in the ass later for doing so, but right now, nothing could feel more right.

And that's all that matters!

A grinch, moi?

So a few days ago I was invited to a friend's engagement party at the Mohamed Ali Club. I usually avoid such occasions, but this one could not be avoided, primarily because he was a part of a group of friends of mine who passed through a trial-by-fire a couple of years ago that left us all as brothers, more or less. So, even though he isn't even in my "see once a month" list of friends, I had to attend his engagement party. There was simply no way around it. Two problems presented themselves immediately: the heat, and the fact that the party was a dry one. NO ALCOHOL ANYWHERE. Knowing that the first was unavoidable, I filled my pink flask (It was a gift…and it had birdies on it…don't ask! Damn you Jem!) with whiskey and headed out. 

Upon our arrival to the location of the party, one thing became abundantly clear to me: The flask doesn't close well. It became clear because the damn thing spilled all over my jacket and the car seat. The alcohol was no more. I decided not to panic, assuring myself that surely we can hit the bar there for drinks. Keep hope alive, you know? I should've taken the flask incident as a sign, a harbinger for a horrible evening, but I ignored the voice in the back of my head and decided to give the night at chance….that is until we walked into the party, and far in a distance, past all the guests in the open space and the dance floor…and saw the huge mural on the wall marking the end of the open space.

Ok, imagine a 40 feet mural with the following caricature on it: The bride, looking blissful and in love, looking up to the sky, to the image of her groom, who is only wearing pants and sporting 2 angelic wings, bearing down towards her, while holding a flowers in his hand. Did you imagine that? Yeah, ok, we had that facing us the whole night. What else was facing was was the throng of girls who came to this wedding specifically to find a husband. You know them by the way they dress: Their dresses are not pretty, nor do they come in any kind of likable color. They only have one quality: They show off the girls' breasts. It was like we died and went to boob heaven. They were all there alone, always looking around, a couple making sure to pace back and forth for no other reason but to be seen by everyone at the party. While I didn't admire their tactics, I did admire their dedication. It takes serious effort to look this desperate.

So, anyway, we decide to hit the bar and see what's up, to find that the morning bartender is gone and replacing him was this girl who I think is responsible for orange juice making (she was making orange juice when we spoke to her) and asked her if she had any Vodka. She perked up, and with a glint in her eyes said "Yes, I do!" and proceeded to give us a bottle of wine. When we pointed out to her that this isn't Vodka, she frowned and said "THAT'S ALL WE HAVE!", so we each grabbed a beer and braced ourselves to a long and harrowing evening. 

After being cooked in heat for two hours (that's what it felt like) the bride and groom finally decided to start the festivities. The DJ took the mice and said "Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for tonight's surprise: (The bride's name)". We weren't sure what was surprising about her name exactly( it was written on the invitations), but whatever. She appears at the enterance, the DJ plays the sound of imperial trumpets, and puts the spotlight on her, and she poses, and 10 men in suits appear behind her. She slowly descends the stairs, the 10 men in tow, as she slowly walks to the dance floor. She stands in the middle of it, with the 10 men standing in front of her facing the enterance, so you expect the groom to come from there. But noo…they were too smart for that. The groom didn't come from the enterance at all. The groom came from behind the dance floor…

…riding a motorcycle…

…while wearing a suit and a cowboy hat.

I shit you not!

He gets off the motorcycle, and he starts approaching the bride, but the 10 men stop him. He tries to storm in. They block him off again. He tries to jump over them, they stop him again. So he waves with his hands as if telling them that "He will show them" and then heads to wards the entrance and whistles, and suddenly, 10 girls appear, and start descending down the stairs towards the groom, while the DJ starts playing "Oh sexy lady" by Shaggy. Oh, please don't roll your eyes yet. It gets worse.

The groom starts walking towards the dance floor, with his posse of "sexy ladies" in tow. He reaches the dance floor and points towards the 10 guys, so each one of the girls goes to one of the guys, grabs him by the tie and takes him away, clearing the way for the groom to finally reach his bride. He steps up to her, takes her in his arm, and they start dancing to- help me god- Bryan Adams' "when a man loves a woman"!

Yeah!

And , I repeat, there was no alcohol. I wasn't on drugs either. There was no escape. 

And to make matters worse, everyone else but me thought that this whole thing "was very cute and very romantic". And it was at that moment, ladies and gentlemen, that I realized that I will never be mainstream, because that shit doesn't work on me. I don't find this cute. I find this tacky. I wasn't sighing in "aww's", I wanted to shoot people who were. Those motherfuckers, it's the engagement party and they are doing this? What the fuck will they do at the wedding? A three act play?

Thankfully I found a fellow grinch who thought that subjecting us to this shit, in this heat, without proper alcoholic refreshment was a cruel and unusal punishment, and we bolted a half hour later, during which we were grabbed at least 3 times by girls to go dance on the dance floor. Single egyptian girls are vicious, man. I have to go with a date next time. Only she might find this spectacle- or something similar- cute, and then I would have to dump her ass.

Life is just not fair!

Live Free or Die

(This isn’t an Ode to New Hampshire nor that shitty 4th Die Hard movie, sorry if you came here thinking it was, although if it was for the last Die Hard movie, you should be ashamed of yourself for wanting to read about this gratuitous PG-13 piece of trash. John Mclaine without saying “yuppie Ka yae Motherfucker”? You kidding me?)

“Being Comfortable is the scariest feeling in the world”, she said to me in that breathy voice of hers.

She was right of course. She is always right.

****

People who have been reading me have noticed that things around this blog have significantly changed over the course of the past year: the ranting has become more and more infrequent, the posting, which used to be 8 or 9 times a day every day of the week now takes a vacation from Thursday to Sunday, and an almost nagging feeling that the passion behind the writing is gone, replaced simply with detached cynicism and the every now and then glimpse of anger that have defined this blog for so long. If you’ve noticed all of this, you are not alone and you are not imagining things. One of the curses of writing is that your writing ability is always affected by your emotional state, and my emotional state has been kind of ..ehh.. well, numb isn’t the right word, but it’s the first that comes to mind. Oh, I know, stoic. I have been stoic for exactly 14 months now, ever since I moved to my new neighborhood.

You see, before I moved to where I am living now, I was supposed to be moving back to the States, where I would work in a DC NGO. Needless to say the situation got complicated when I found out that I am dealing with very shady people, and not wanting to associate myself with them, I cut loose al ties, with it the job and the Visa, and they in turn started a war against me in DC. But that was then, and it’s all history now. Anyway, faced with what to do next, I decided to take all the money I’ve saved and move to the posh expensive neighborhood that’s filled with foreigners and fellow anglophile egyptians in which I now reside. Once settled in, I started creating my own comfort zone, my own reality of Egypt. With the new place new friends came, and new parties, and girls, and more girls and more parties and inane discussions over hash smoking and the pursuit for the perfect alcohol collection and the nights out in overpriced bars and restaurants and the never-ending social life 7 nights a week. It was hedonism in Egyptian eyes, which meant that it was in its most boring and repetitive of forms, but hedonism it was nonetheless. It was great fun. And as the fun increased, the less angry I became, the less I cared about what was going on. I was slowly but surely becoming apathetic and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Now, as most of you know, this Lifestyle naturally commanded a hefty price, i.e. it needed constant financing. That meant finding a job that paid the bills, and that job kind of found me. Suddenly I found myself working for a company with an extremely Egyptian work culture, with the petty politics and heavy islamist influences and the kind of frozen mentality that makes you wish to bash your head into the wall. I knew it was wrong for me, but I stayed there nonetheless, because everyone told me that it was time I grew up. That it was time to build my career, and maybe save some money for a rainy day, instead of my constant traveling and never-ending quest for instant gratification. And I listened. And naturally a few months later I couldn’t take it anymore and I left with mutual agreement of my superior. I now work for another company, doing the same thing. It’s slightly more exciting than the previous job, but I am not giving it my all. The sense of apathy that followed me from the first job still followed me here, and I can’t shake it off for the life of me.

I was oblivious to this problem until very recently, when I came across a career path that ignited a spark in a place that’s been dark for so long inside me, and now that’s all I could think of doing. It has everything that I wanted to do and more, and it eventually pays very well, so even my monetary needs will be satisfied. However, in order for me to get to that point I will need to start from the bottom of the ladder to get the tricks of the trade right, and that will mean bottom of the ladder money for at least the next 2 years. And that’s where the problem lies.

You see, I am turning 27 in a month, and right now, where I am at in life, I am actually ahead of the curve in what I do. I now work in upper-management of companies that do some seriously interesting work in terms of Information Technology. I have a very high expected salary. I have a Lifestyle that needs maintaining, a social life that is both demanding and expensive, and an apartment whose rent eats up a good chunk of my money. I am spoiled and comfortable, and the idea of giving all of that up, of all that I’ve accomplished, in the sake of fulfilling what I now deem to be my career of choice, well, that just leaves me frozen up in terror.

I can’t figure out for the life of me when I’ve allowed fear to take over such a huge part in my decision making, and yet here we are, with me unable to pursue what I want to do because of it. I turned to my friends for encouragement and guidance, to find them all frozen in terror like me, pursuing careers that they don’t like, ignoring their passions or possibly indulging in them on the weekend, and refusing to give up the careers they hate for ones they would actually enjoy, because, well, they have invested so much in this so far, and they can’t possibly throw it all away. Not to mention, in the “let’s always compare our penis size” culture of the social class I so happen to belong to, there is no space for you to be an indulger of your passions without doing it in a very grandiose way. You want to a screenwriter, let daddy finance a movie production company, You wanna become an artist, let mommy open up a gallery for you. Achievements in the realm of passion, that are 100% yours, are not heard of. Starting from the bottom of the ladder is neither allowed nor acceptable where I come from, especially if are over the age of 25. That’s when you are supposed to be all grown up, and by grown up we mean you should be doing some kind of job that you don’t like to purchase stuff that you probably could live without but makes you comfortable in order to justify your misery.

The more and more I think about it, the more I realize that If I really want to do what I want to do, then what I am doing right now has to stop. In order for me to evolve, I have to shed my skin and go all the way. I have to give up all the ties that bind me to a life of hollow achievement and miserable professional advancement. I have to do what I want to do, now, not in a year or two years or after I save some money or any of those endless tips of caution given to me by “grown-ups” who have been living in misery- that they alleviate with the occasional trip to the beach or attending the annual “Spring fling” or “Fuck me I am famous” parties where they spend fortunes partying with the same people they always party with and wonder who made it to the pages of the disgustingly self-indulgent “Scene and Heard” blog- for years and know it, yet refuse to escape it. They tell me to go after my dreams but do it rationally, unable to notice that they are talking about caution and not rationality. That rationality dictates that of you are young, with few attachments and responsibilities, and you are unhappy with something in your life, then change it immediately, before you become old and stuck in your life. Before this moment of opportunity passes you by.

And to make things even more confusing, some of those same friends who are stuck in careers they hate, are the ones who are encouraging me to do this, while they themselves are too chickenshit to attempt the same. You want to take their advice, you would really love to, but it’s hard to take them seriously when they themselves don’t follow it. When you point this out, they tell you it’s not about them, it’s about you, and when you press them on it, they confess that they are too terrified to make the same move, and would probably never take their own advice. What sounds like encouragement starts sounding like a set-up, and you realize, once again, that your friends are useless, and that, as always, you are in this alone.

There is, however, a part of me, that keeps screaming at it to just say “screw it” and do what I want to do. To give up the career, the apartment, the life and even the friends and go for it. That my love for them, the level of comfort they create in my life, is trapping me from doing what I need to do, and therefore they must go. Give it all up. Start over. That even if I failed, then it will be a glorious failure, because I will never look back to this time of my life when I am older in regret and say “If I only I wasn’t such a coward”. To destroy who I made myself become to save who I am. To Live Free or Die!

I can do this. I know I can. Yet here I am , in the office, pretending to work while I write this.

I am not scared, I am not…

…. but I can’t move!

On the litte Bastards

People who know me know that I don't like children. Don't hate them, but highly dislike them, to the point where I contemplate daily if I want to have children at all. I mean the headaches, the expenses, the loss of freedom, the responsibility, the ungratefulness that will most likely ensue, not to mention the increasingly volatile and fucked up world all around us. Anyone who has kids these days must either be crazy, irresponsible, or both!

And then I see this , and all of those thoughts melt away, and I think it can't be that bad. It can't be that bad at all!

What a sell-out I am!

Insanity is relative

My Father just called me from Dubai.

He informed me that yesterday he went to the Celine Dion Live Concert, with Queen Rania and Mona Gamal Abdel Nasser.

There were so many things wrong with that statement, I didn't know what to do but to hang up and spend the past 2 hours crouched in a corner, holding myself and shivering. 

Through a rough patch

Dear readers, 

Been going through a rough patch lately. Trouble at work and at home, death in work colleagues, and complications in my personal life as well, which are all leaving me unable to blog. I am so dispirited, I didn't even enjoy the "Good riddance Fidel" carnival that went on yesterday. But that's probably because I would've liked to see him deposed, but divine justice continues to allude this bastard. Anyway…

So yeah, wish me luck and that I get out of this funk soon enough. And I hope that all is well with all of you.

Got the snifles

For the past 3 days. I hate cold season.

Where is the snow?

This is not fair. It's freezing here yet there is snow. Where is the freaking snow?

I suggest that we egyptians plan a trip to Lebanon or Jordan, because if we are gonna freeze our butts off, we might as well have some snow to play in! 

Razor

To touch me is to bleed.

I will leave my marks all over your soul, for your body means nothing to me.

I am a razor.

I’ve been sharpened by your appetite. The destruction I inflict has no bearing to me, for a weapon has no emotions. Just a purpose. To serve in your cause of self-destruction.

You’ve conjured up all the demons, thinking they would eat me, and you forgot that I am their father.

How soon you forget.

I tried to warn you, I even gave you a head start but you were so caught up in the maelstrom that you didn’t listen. But you never did anyway.

I stomped up and down because treading lightly just does not get your attention.

The lights of the Ferris wheel are off, but it still runs, and I thought I would take you for a ride, but you had a roadmap and I but a notion. No wonder you lost me again.

I am resurrected now. Don’t mind the wounds; it’s the price of going through your grind. They will heal in time, just as long as you don’t lick them.

I am the Vampire who wanted to taste your blood, so you injected it with poison..

I am the parasite that needs to feed off of you to live, only to find you but a shell of who you seem to be.

I am the Zombie that reminds you that you are still alive. God knows you never remember.

You will not survive my love, for my kisses burn your velvety skin like acid, leaving scars that remind you that the past was real.

There will be no illusions between us, as I take you for a dive into the sun, and hold you tightly as we burn together as we fall. You make a wish as I whisper in your ear that you were always my shining star.

It won’t last long, but to shine there with you, even for a minute, is worth a million times the certain death that comes afterwards.

Me..January 12th, 2008

Lamentations

I've not been feeling well. 2008 has not been very good to me so far. Been having a number of crisises (or is it crisees? whats the Plural of crisis?) and I haven't been able to deal with them and write here at the same time. It has gotten so bad I had to take a week off of work and I am not even close to solving 40% of them. And to top it all off, Hillary freakin wins New Hampshire, showcasing that women in the democratic party do fall for the idea that voting for Obama is sexist, and that one should hand a candidate victory because she almost chocked up during an interview.

I am trying to get those problems fixed as soon as possible. Hopefully it won;t take more than another 2 days!

Been gone for a few days

I know, I suck. But It's totally my job's fault. Financially support me and I will quit tomorrow, I promise!

Oh, and Happy New Year while you are at it!

Yesterday

I was at a Christmas party yesterday, hosted by a muslim friend of mine. The party's invitees were mostly christians, a couple of which are Christmas orphans (foreigners studying in egypt with nowhere to go on christmas eve), and we had a tree to decorate and everything. The boss of one of our christian female friends and attendees apparently just got back from Hajj, and got her a gift: a full islamic Abayah and head covering (hint hint). So our friend came over, wearing the abayah, the hijab, and big ass cross on her chest, clearly visible. Everybody thought it was hilarious and they started to take pictures of her and asking her to pose for them, going all " But make the cross visible. Can you make it more visible? Can you hold it? Can I take another picture?" for a good five minutes. Me and the other muslim friend are just sitting there next to each other, watching all of this taking place. Then, without even looking at him, I say:

"You ever get the feeling that we are hanging out with a persecuted minority?"

"Uh-hum", he smilingly replies, nodding his head. 

I take a sip of my glass of wine and say: "Yeah, me too!" 

Merry Christmas everybody!