Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cutest Couple

Saw the cutest couple today. They were in GAP, looking for clothes I guess. They were holding hands and looked so happy. But the thing that was unusual was that each of them was about three feet tall. It was really cool though. I'm sure life for them is very difficult - people treat you different, can't find clothes, everything is made on a larger scale (staircases, cars, buses, offices, etc.). But imagine how good it must be to find someone just like you.

Posted by illogicist at 1:23 PM 2 comments

Hamas winning the PA election could be the best result for Israel after all

NP - Dark Tranquillity - Character [2005]

Think about it. Hamas didn't actually want to win the election, they wanted to be the backseat drivers. Not form a government, perhaps because they knew they didn't have the right people (and perhaps because they feared exactly this), but to have a controlling role in any future government.

Too bad for them, they won.

Now we have an organisation that the US and the EU consider a terrorist organisation in charge of one side of the most sensitive conflict in the world. The PA is heavily dependent on international aid to take care of the Palestinian people. Hamas, as an organisation fighting for Palestinian rights and as the group now responsible for the Palestinian people, have a huge burden on them. The conditions for aid? Renounce violence and accept the existance of Israel. This seems like the perfect solution for Israel. Hamas must voluntarily be pacified, else they betray the Palestinian people by denying them international aid they so desperately need. For Hamas, its a no-win situation (in their view). Refuse, their people suffer. Accept, and they seriously compromise their ideals.

And what happens if they refuse? What are the consequences to Israel? Aid gets cut off, the Palestinian people spiral into degradation, Hamas continues to attack Israel. Clearly Israel doesn't win, and neither do the Palestinian people. Perhaps Hamas knows this, and will accept the conditions. Perhaps they wont, in which case perhaps the conditions will be changed. Its an interesting - if dire - scenario.

Posted by illogicist at 1:08 PM 1 comments

Freedom

In my last post I said I'd blog about the burqa, and about harassment next. Im not really in the mood right now, although they're both topics I'd like to blog about sometime in the near future. Maybe tonight. Right now I'm just enjoying this feeling of freedom...finished my exams, just cleaned the house, and I have the whole day ahead of me. I might go to town and buy some stuff, I want a new shirt, and I need to buy some presents for some people. Nobody wants to go with me, which kinda sucks, but maybe I'll be able to convince someone. I hate going out alone.

Oh, and btw, Happy New Year all! =D (hijri and chinese, thats beyond cool, I must say...reminds me of the time eid, x-mas and hanukka were all at the same time. I love those kind of overlaps)

Posted by illogicist at 4:30 AM 3 comments

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Multi-post

NP - Dark Tranquillity - My Negation

My friends back home (well...all around the world now I guess) think I'm gonna be some big social activist or environmentalist or something like that. Someone who'll give it all for some altruistic cause. But my friends here at uni dont see me as that. They all think I'm gonna be some successful (and ruthless) businessman. Why is that?

I reckon its cause university sucks. Yep, it all sucks. My degree is money-related, therefore I will be a businessman. Theres no room for any other possiblities...because theres no time to pursue other interests! First year was like, okay, I was free to do stuff, I had free time even though I was working hard. This year its practically impossible to do anything but worry about the next assignment, or get the reading done for the next tutorial class. Even your thinking gets weird. You start getting interested in stuff to do with your degree,, and less interested in stuff that isnt. Uni kills your creativity. It makes you drop everything you had going and leaves you in a mad rush to keep up. You can only hope that, once things settle down again, you'll have the desire - and the time - to pick em all up again. Like the other day - I was having a creativity attack. A flash of inspiration, shall we say. So I pick up my guitar, turn off all the lights and try to cut out all sources of distraction, in the hope of getting something creative done. Normally, I would have come up with something, something tangible and useful, but this time nothing, nothing at all.

I blame the work-load, I blame the cold, I blame the corporate environment of my degree, and my uni, and probably all unis, which brainwashes us into thinking that the ultimate goal in life is to get picked up by some multinational corporation, accept their ideals and goals and adopt them as our own, and dedicate our lives to voluntary bondage by the wage.

Ethics? Is there any ethics in any degrees that any of us study? Im sure theres the ghost of ethics, maybe the suggestion of it, in all degrees. Personally I cant think of how ethics would be taught in Electronic Engineering, but lets say Law. Im not doing a Law degree, but Im sure theres some rhetoric about how upholding the law is your moral duty and all that. Bullshit. You aren't becoming a lawyer to uphold some law you probably don't believe in nor agree with, you're becoming a lawyer for the megabucks. I reckon theres something similar in all degrees. Ultimately its about the money, which is understandable, considering in today's world you need two working parents working two jobs just to stay afloat, pretty much.

Ethics in Economics? A certain degree, probably not or less than in any other profession. But people always mistake Economics with business studies, when actually they're completely different, even from an 'ethical' point of view. Economics is all about people (its classed as a social-science, after all). The big idea is basically how to get as much money to as many people as possible. How to make the pie as big as possible, and divide it as evenly as possible (ultimately there comes a point where you have to decide whether its more important to make the pie bigger, or divide it more evenly).

Business, on the other hand, is about persons. In Business, you dont give a rats ass about 'people' (oh sure, they try to integrate ethics into it, but ultimately its always about fattening your wallet). A friend of mine once said 'Business is art of being your own emperor', which is fairly accurate I reckon.



I wanted to put some more stuff into this blog post, but it'll have to wait. Mental reminder, I need to blog about 'Burqas' and 'Harassment' next (yeah got it all planned out, the library can get really boring! =P).

Posted by illogicist at 12:20 AM 3 comments

Friday, January 27, 2006

Snap

Np - Arctic Monkeys - Scummy

You know in the movies when sometimes takes too much sh*t from someone for too long? Where they tolerate stuff from people time and time again, and dont say anything? And then one day they explode, and tell that person exactly how they feel, down to the smallest detail? And afterwards they feel great?

Yeah. That doesn't work for me. I just end up feeling a little guilty. I'm not sure why - if something isn't my fault - clearly I have the right to say exactly what I want, to tell that person what I feel exactly how it is. But everytime I do that I feel that somehow its my fault afterwards. Like for example last night my housemates disconnected my internet last night, because they wanted to download something. In the morning when I woke up, I snapped. I suppose it must've been a funny site, me with all that stuff in my eyes, pillow marks on my face and in my PJs telling em off, but I was a bit rude. And afterwards it was like =\. They apologised and I told em not to worry about it, cause I was feeling like I was unfair - even though I wasn't.

Not to say this always happens of course. Sometimes I can tell people off and feel absolutely nothing, nothing at all. I've done it before, and the fact that I dont feel anything is what bothers me when that happens. But those other times, when you feel like you shouldn't have done what you did - why? And what're you supposed to do when you want WANT to blow up at someone, and know you SHOULD otherwise things'll just get worse, ad you KNOW you're perfectly within your rights to do so? Because to be perfectly frank, theres somebody I've wanted to explode at for a while now, but haven't had the chance - and didn't know whether I should.

Opinions please =p

Posted by illogicist at 3:48 PM 3 comments

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Curse you, laundry!

NP - Devin Townsend Band - Hypergeek

Dammit!

I just got my clothes out of the dryer...my favourite grey socks are pink. Pink! I washed my coloured clothes, and I washed them with this red jumper which hasnt leaked colour before. So I thought it was safe. Think again! Its always like this, stuff waits till the right time, then screws you. Now my favourite socks are pink. Not only that, my Nightmare Before Christmas t-shirt seems to have all this fluff stuff on it. But I KNOW I cleaned out the fluff filter before I used the dryer!

Im pretty annoyed about those socks though, and the worst part is that one is pinker than the other :s

Dammit, I just noticed, my socks arent the only things that are pink. A pair of boxers that has white on them is now pink-tinged. That is the LAST time I wash red with anything.

EDIT: to be fair, that red jumper thing is awesome, I love it. Its just so red. I dont usually like wearing red, but...its just such a rich colour. :p

Posted by illogicist at 4:52 AM 8 comments

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Desperation in the Form of Pot Noodles

I've always been a pot noodles fan. I like how they're so simple and easy to make, yet taste so good, and make you feel all warm inside. And afterwards, when theres nothing but water left, you can drink that and its full of flavour. Mmmm...

Anyway, when I came to the UK, I bought pot noodes. They were yuck. They tasted like rubber, and they werent those long, dangly noodles you get back home. Its like someone cut them up into little pieces. I was so disheartened and disappointed, I didnt buy pot noodles in the UK again.

Yesterday, out of desperation, I bought pot noodles. Same brand, same flavour. Now, I dont know if the pot noodles in the UK are better, the rubber here tastes better, or it was just me being so hungry, but those noodles were delicious. Something about them...they were the same noodles, but for some reason I loved them!

Posted by illogicist at 3:37 PM 8 comments

Lost

NP - James Brown - The Payback

Ok, maybe Im behind, but I just watched the season finale of Lost (first season). Im angry! They cant do this! They cant leave us on a cliffhanger like that! *pulls hair out* Luckily I already have the first 10 episodes of season 2 :D but I wanna kind of pace myself...otherwise I'll watch all ten episodes today. Besides, I have one more exam left, on monday, so I need to study for that...

...but they cant do this!! :s

Posted by illogicist at 9:43 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Quick Update

NP - Foo Fighters - Times Like These (acoustic)

Just a quick update, im in the thick of exams...two down, two to go. Should be finished on monday, and I cant WAIT! Wont get results for another 6 weeks or so though, so I just gotta live with that. I remember last year, it was like we couldnt really rest even when the exams were finished until we got our results...so I wont be resting just yet!

OBA up and running, first round vote now. I haven't quite decided who I'm going to vote for, but I'll probably feature Muscati, Lym, A. Woman in Black, Samyah, Soul Rebel, Wardat il Khaleej...clearly not all of them, three of them. Just cant decide which yet.

Heres the link, show illogicist some love, vote for me!

http://oba2005.blogspot.com/

Good luck to everyone featured there.

Posted by illogicist at 2:33 PM 8 comments

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Do you ever sometimes feel that you want to be placed in a situation where theres no hope of, well, i dont know. Something which is so radically different from you're current environment that its - literally - sink of swim? Ever feel like you want to be challenged with something new, something you've never been in before, because you feel that inside you theres a part of you thats untouched, and needs release? A challenge, I suppose, but a challenge thats so new and different that its impossible to prepare for, because it cant be predicted?

Sometimes I feel that.

Posted by illogicist at 4:23 PM 7 comments

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Dating in the Arab World

NP - Natacha Atlas - Ya Weledi

I was reading a thread on www.englishsabla.com about relationships, and it got me thinking (very cynically, as I can be) about dating in the Arab World. To those who dont know, dating in the ME is a relatively new phenomenon. Its a break from our traditional culture and that. But we havent quite got the specifics down. Theres a number of ways it can work, heres a few:

1) Boy sees girl in mall
2) Boy throws phone number at girl
3) Girl calls boy, they talk
4) Girl gets attached, they decide to meet up
5) Boy finds girl revolting, girl finds boy irresistable
6) Boy finds new girl, girl is heartbroken

Alternatively, this one is more likely in mixed private schools, where kids scorn at the whole 'throw your number' idea:

1) Boy finds girl in same class 'hot'
2) Boy boasts to all his friends about how much of a pimp he is and how he can get that girl
3) Boy shows girl attention, girl instantly falls in love
4) Boy and girl start to talk on the phone
5) Boy starts paying girls phone bills, even though he starts to dread phone calls because girl does nothing but complain about how crap her life is, how her driver is always on holiday, etc.
6) Boy and girl meet up, in groups with friends
7) Boy starts dating girl's best friend, girl starts dating boy's best friend, none of them know
8) Someone finds out, break-up. Strangely, both parties are innocent

All this takes place in about 2 weeks. Not once in any of these scenarios does a 'date' actually occur.

There was a forward I got, one of the few I actually found funny, its about dating, I'd like to post it here. Some may find it offensive, but its nothing you havent seen before. I like the last one especially :p Here it is:

WHITE WOMEN:
First date: You get to kiss her goodnight.
Second date: You get to grope all over and make out a bit.
Third date: You get to have sex but only in the missionary position.

IRISH WOMEN:
First Date: You both get blind drunk and have sex.
Second Date: You both get blind drunk and have sex.
20th Anniversary: You both get blind drunk and have sex.

ITALIAN WOMEN:
First Date: You take her to a play and an expensive restaurant.
Second Date:
You meet her parents and her Mom makes spaghetti & meatballs.
Third Date: You have sex, she wants to marry you & insists on a 3-carat ring.
5th Anniversary: You already have 5 kids together & hate the thought of having sex.
6th Anniversary: You find yourself a Mistress.

JEWISH WOMEN:
First Date: You get terrific head.
Second Date: You get even more great head.
Third Date: You tell her you'll marry her and never get head again.

CHINESE WOMEN:
First date: You get to buy her an expensive dinner but nothing happens.
Second date: You buy her an even more expensive dinner. Nothing happens again.
Third date: You don't even get to the third date and you've already realized nothing is ever going to happen.

INDIAN WOMEN:
First date: Meet her parents.
Second date: Set the date of the wedding.
Third date: Wedding night.

BLACK WOMEN:
First Date: You get to buy her a real expensive dinner.
Second Date: You get to buy her and her girlfriends a real expensive dinner.
Third Date: You get to pay her rent.
Tenth Date: She's pregnant by someone other than you.

MEXICAN WOMEN:
First Date: You buy her an expensive dinner, get drunk on Tequila, and have sex in the back of her car.
Second Date: She's pregnant.
Third Date: She moves in. One week later, her mother, father, his
girlfriend, her two sisters, her brother, all of their kids, her grandma, her father’s girlfriend's mother, her two cousins, her sister's Boyfriend and his three kids move in and you live on
rice and beans for the rest of your life in your home that used to be nice, but now looks like a home along the Tijuana strip.

ARAB WOMEN:
First Date: Mother, Father, Brothers, Sisters, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Friends and entire Arab community finds out.
Second Date: You are shot dead.
No third date.

Posted by illogicist at 1:30 PM 10 comments

Saturday, January 14, 2006

You Say Potato, I Say Potato

NP - Cult Of Luna - Vague Illusions

Seven people were killed and five were hurt in an explosion in a coal mine in Romania.

Its a tragedy of course. And In this post I dont mean to belittle any of these tragedies, but normally I wouldnt comment on them in my blog. But I want to make a comparison to the recent event in the US where something like 13 miners were killed in a mine.

In that tragedy, there was a media circus. All the english-speaking news channels had it as headline news, American miners killed! There was letters to the families (something I believe should have been kept private), and all sorts of analysis and what not. This Romanian tragedy, on the other hand, isnt even in the top 5 stories on my BBC.com news feed thingy.

Why not? Why should one story get so much attention, and the other a brief mention? What makes the lives of Romanians cheaper than the lives of Americans?

Nothing, probably, but apparently the lives of Romanians are a lot less interesting, at least to the media. And until we get some fair media coverage of these kind of things, the media will never really be trusted. Thats my point. Unless theres some integrity about whats being reported, how can we trust the media? This kind of thing seems to happen a lot in Africa and China - these mining accidents and similar stuff; why do they get brief mentions only?

Posted by illogicist at 11:47 AM 4 comments

The Nature Of Apologies

NP - Cult Of Luna - Echoes

While in one of my more cynically philosophical moods, many months back, I pondered the nature of apologies. Why do people apologise when they fudge up? As I said, I was in a cynical mood, so excuse the negativity you're gonna read. But to me, even though I dont accept the following explanation, I still think it makes sense.

Apologies are purely selfish actions, that have little to do with 'making it up' to the person on the receiving end. We apologise, not because we genuinely wish what happened did not happen, but because we want the other party to forgive us. See, its all about us. Many of us can't stand to have others mad at us, or people to think bad about us (even if we deny it). It ruins our image, both of ourselves and the image we project to the world. So if I do something stupid, like cheat on a girl for example (something pretty inexcusable), and she finds out, I apologise to her not because I'm really sorry for what I did, but because I want her to redeem me. Me. So that I can go on living and not think twice about what I did.

If I use my housemate's milk, and finish it the day before he needs it, I apologise, but I'd still do it again if I was in that situation again maybe! So whats the point of an apology, I'm clearly not really sorry. Only rarely do apologies actually come from the heart. So why bother with them?

I've been in so many situations where people do something pretty bad, and then apologise when confronted. Had they not been confronted, they wouldnt have apologised. Had they not been confronted, they probably wouldnt have felt the need to apologise either. So when someone wrongs me and comes to apologise, why should I accept it? Why should I not, instead, be even angrier, because they're trying to get forgiveness out of me for purely selfish reasons?

Probably because I cant think of an alternative to an apology. I mean, apart from actual deeds done voluntarily to make up for it, what replaces an apology? If someone has an answer for that I'd love to know, so that I can stop accepting apologies, but rather favours (or money!) :D

Seriously though, it IS cynical thinking, and I choose to accept apologies, mainly because, while selfish, they do show a bit of, whats the word, humility? Humility on their part. That they're willing to admit they were wrong, sacrifice a bit of pride and apologise, well, sometimes its enough to make things right.

Posted by illogicist at 11:37 AM 1 comments

Friday, January 13, 2006

'You Havent Changed'

You go back home in the summer or in the winter, and your family tells you how much you've changed. Then you chill out with your good friends, and you go to the same places, tell the same jokes, and do the same things, and you all laugh about, even though its been 2 or 3 years, none of you have changed.

But you all know that you have changed. In uni, you don't do the same stuff. You're forced to change, even if you dont want to. Its only when you go back you revert to how you were. Because you want to relive those years, with those guys, as best as you can. You have changed, and you know it, but you dont necessarily like it.

Posted by illogicist at 1:15 AM 3 comments

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Eid Mubarak!

Without going too much into why I felt compelled to make a Merry Xmas post but not an Eid Mubarak post, I'm just going to say Eid Mubarak to everyone now. Im a bit late, I know, but as someone I know recently said to me, better late than never :)

Eid Mubarak everyone :D

Z/illogicist

Posted by illogicist at 3:28 PM 4 comments

Monday, January 09, 2006

Europe at 38000 Feet

At the time of writing, I am 38000 feet above Bonn, Germany. Its about 11:30pm Oman time (I would usually be online at this time), and I feel compelled to pull out my laptop and type up this post.

I've been blessed with a window seat, and a fantastic view of the city below. All the cities we've passed over, in fact: it seems theres not a cloud over Europe tonight. Since passing over Turkey, and moving over Prague, Budapest, Frankfurt, Bonn and soon Aachen among others, not a single cloud has obstructed my view of the lights of the cities below. Brussels was particularly amazing, sprawling for miles in all directions. It really is something spectacular.

However, I wish I could say the entire flight was this good. To start with, the seat I'm in is broken: it doesnt go back, and the footrest doesnt go down. Only one of the earphones works (well, I got it replaced) and one of the bathrooms is out of order. All this I can live with: what I cant live with is the abhorrently bad service and the spectacular mess that was made with the entire booking and confirmation system.

Update: Leaving mainland Europe and getting into the UK, my view was immediately obstructed by clouds, clouds and more clouds. At times I couldnt even see the airplane's wing. I suppose thats typical of the UK! :)

Posted by illogicist at 1:54 PM 5 comments

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Are Democracy and Capitalism Synonymous?

NP - Royskopp - What Else Is There

I asked two of my friends this question, here were their replies:

(friend 1) says:
Akeed ['of course' in arabic]

JZL says:
hell fuckin no ... if anything, theyre incompatible

Both of these people know their politics quite well, although they clearly have differing opinions on this matter. I guess it depends which way you lean. If you lean to the right, you see capitalism as the natural extension of democracy perhaps, something inevitable. As we progress as a society, naturally we would look towards free-trade solutions, where the ultimate fairness is obtained through the free movement of the dollar. Its not necessarily equal, but life's like that. If you lean towards the left, capitalism is not necessarily the natural evolution of a democratic society. Its the will of the political or corporate elite, an unfair system that may breed equity, but has no guarantee of equality (indeed, by its very nature, will continue to expand the difference between the rich and the poor).

I'll admit I'm a left-leaner. I like to believe that democracy does not necessarily mean capitalism.

Looking up dictionary definitions, initially it seems theres no link between them:

de·moc·ra·cy Audio pronunciation of "democracy" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (d-mkr-s)
n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies
  1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
  2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
  3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
  4. Majority rule.
  5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.
cap·i·tal·ism Audio pronunciation of "capitalism" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (kp-tl-zm)
n.
An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.
(source: www.dictionary.com)

However, if we were to take real life examples of 'successful' democracies, we'd see that most of them are capitalistic societies. Look at the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, etc. Successful democracies (by some counts), capitalist states. Look at Cuba - dictatorship, far from capitalist, far from successful economically.

But I doubt, personally, the relationship is that simple. I'm more interested that political theory, not current events and that (although I realise that current events are probably more important than mere theory). In theory, theres nothing tying democracy to capitalism. It just seems to be the trend in today's world. But theres examples of democracies that reject capitalism and free-market policies. Look at Venezuela and Bolivia. Both of these countries are democracies (theres a bit of talk about Venezuela, but I'm not sure about that). Bolivia's president-elect Evo Morales won something like 54% of the vote, the highest majority in quite a while, apparently. And he, like Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, has rejected US-sponsored free-trade policies.

In the end, I don't know whether democracy=capitalism. I like to think it doesnt: I like to think that our happiness is ultimately measured by how many widescreen TVs we have, or how many Starbucks Frappucinos we can buy a week. I read a book once, called Cloud Atlas, where there was this society which was I guess what you could call a pure capitalist society: he called it a 'corprocracy'. 'Coffee' was called 'Starbuck'. TVs were called 'Sonys'. Everyone had a certain amount of their income that they HAD to spend. I thought it was a very fascinating description of what society could become.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Some useful links on both, for you to decide :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy
http://www.democracyforamerica.com/
http://www.opendemocracy.net/home/index.jsp

http://www.capitalism.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism
http://www.aynrand.org/

And heres something new to me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism sounds...interesting.

Posted by illogicist at 12:24 PM 12 comments

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Public Service Announcement | Traffic!

I've made it so that anyone can post here, not just registered members. Theres still the word verification, though.

Traffic has been such a pain these past 2 days. Yesterday was the rain: took me an hour to get somewhere it normally takes 15 minutes. Today was Baba Qaboos moving from one place to another. I ain't complainin': a brutha's gotta get places, and plus it rarely happens. What bugs me is the horrible behaviour of other drivers. People using hard shoulders, bad driving, staring when theres an accident, etc. It all slows down the road, and stresses us all out. Yesterday there was this absolutely mad guy driving this 18 wheeler on the highway. This retard was acting like he was driving a Porsche: powering down the highway, overtaking from the right, zipping between lanes: he almost freakin killed me. People who drive on the hard shoulder: We're ALL in a hurry dammit. We ALL need to get places. Just be patient. Driving on the hardshoulder slows everyone down cause it creates bottlenecks. Plus, it blocks the roads when an ambulance or a police car is trying to get thru: like what happened yesterday. Jeez, seriously, having bad drivers around takes all the fun out of driving...

Posted by illogicist at 1:11 PM 6 comments

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