Thursday, 30 May 2019

Tamarack Over Jack




Tamarack goes back
To the time before Jack
You know that quack wack
Who lack a Big Mac
And does nothin’ but rack?

There’s no rainbow in there
If crack is a snack
There’s no rainbow out there
if it’s either white or black
All through the pack: Hi Jack is Hijack!

Now scuza moi as I fire back
Time for a lumberjack counterattack
Time for a hack by this mad Silverback
As usual, dearest Stevo, appreciate your feedback

*Rolling in silence like a haystack.



Signed: 4 Times a 1/4 Back


*Poem dedicated to two old-time drummers at the Venice Beach Drum Circle.

ALSO VIEW:

  قصيدة تسلم الأيادي ... لو كانت نضيفة
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Friday, 24 May 2019

John Wicky — Absurd Review of the Icky Sticky




John Wick - Keanu Reeves

Everybody seems to love Keanu Reeves. Right? Online, he is that unsung hero who in many viral social media posts is depicted helping the homeless, secretly financing hospitals for orphans and sick kids, setting up a foundation for cancer, and also paying for stranded travelers from his own pockets.
He is also known to live in a simple flat, regularly take the subway, and is an overall kind and decent human being. Lots of good, karmic deeds. Who really wouldn’t love such feel-good realness from a Hollywood high-paid star. I mean, he is a live example that not all celebrities are self-centered marionettes after all.

Now, with that in mind, one Saturday evening in October of 2014, I was residing at my aunt’s house in the Valley area in Los Angeles. That was a time when I was looking for a place in Venice Beach, yet still couldn’t find anything affordable. With not much to do in the area, I decided to one day treat meself to a sushi dinner followed by going to the nearby theater to watch a movie. 

Little did I know that almost five years later the flick I chose to watch that night would have a part 3. Yeah. Looks like after the Matrix, this trilogy act became a signature of Keanu Reeves. The following article was written after watching the first John Wick, to which this introduction has been added as of today in May of 2019.

As many of you have probably reckoned by now, I rarely, if ever, write about any mainstream topics, or cover the latest movie or news, or indulge in reaction writing. But let us say this brief and humorous review just happened as a direct consequence of going to the movies and watching John Wicky. Because you also probably know that I like to lighten up on you, my dear readers, as well as on myself. So here it is.



Every purple moon I go to the movies seeking some distraction. Last night there was Ouija playing, I checked it on IMBD, but found it rated 4.3. I checked John Wick and it was 8.3 — where it was described as: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that killed his dog and took everything from him. Oooh. It’s also Keanu Reeves and Willem Dafoe, so... it should be OKayish. Or so I thought.


This is sort of a spoiler, a deliberate one, so if you still want to watch that movie stop reading. There is a variety of different topics to delve into on One Lucky Soul. Just check one of the many labels and take it from there.


Alright, the action/crime/thriller story starts with memories of Keanu’s young wife tragic, untimely death. He’s then seen in a gas station where one of three guys offered to buy his sport 1969 Mustang, but he refused.

Everything is for sale, Bitch,” said the stranger — in Russian.

Next scene, the three guys break into his cool home, beat the shit out of him, kill the cute puppy his late wife had given him [the bastards]. And, they steal the prized car. That’s it.

The father of one of said guys happens to be a Russian mafioso who also happens to know Keanu from older times. He called him up, trying to tell him “not to follow his instincts”. But it was too late for Krazy Keanu who flipped out and lost it for one full hour — unleashing his wrath like there is no tomorrow. Yet, like, there is a part 3 in the making.

Being a former assassin, he was fully loaded. It was like a “Commando-going-to-save-his-daughter-in-1985” sort of affair; utter revenge and non-stop destruction, often shown in the form of CGId bloody gun battles.

Here, though, there was no one to save... his car maybe, but I’m not even sure he got it back. Perhaps save himself? By killing. Spirit Of Times? Zeitgeist?


At some point through the movie, I tried to put myself in John Wick’s shoes. You know, to see if any of this could be slightly realistic. If I were freshly-widowed and someone had done that to Caramella my late Cocker Spaniel — and I loved her more than my unborn kids — would I go hunt them down while killing a few hundred people in the process, I found myself wondering for one brief moment. Bearing in mind that I’m no real hitman, but three quarter of a second later, I thought NO. Absolutely not. Even though my love for her was notoriously unconditional but I will not carry a bazooka and blow up people and cars in response. Even if my wife had just died. Not really my shtick. Because, how would that solve anything? how would that help me heal?

But hey, that’s just me: After all, I am crazy Bohemian Hippie at heart who is all for peace and love. Weird. 

By that time all these thoughts about the flick were invading my mind while [apparently] entertaining me more than the actual flick, it had been about 70 minutes. I had already dosed off twice, and, seriously, couldn’t take it anymore, so I got up and left, wondering what the hell is wrong with the mainstream... and humanity. Is it the people, the culture, America, or, is it me? Can some people find such a shallow, substanceless “action thriller” story captivating? Apparently yes: It is entertaining to spend one and a half hour of our lives watching some angry guy killing people to avenge his dead dog. Maybe these waves of mixed emotions will make the viewers feel better about themselves and their own lives. Remembering they are not John Wick and that they do not have to avenge their dead dog by going on a killing spree.

How about Wick flying to Nepal or something to heal from his uncontrollable anger and to learn the power of forgiveness. He can meditate on the summit of a mountain while getting another pup, too. Mayhap a stray runt doggo who will just magically pop up on one of his mountainous hikes there. Or that wouldn’t sell, huh. Then again, I am starting to think Keanu Reeves can only play those Matrix-like robotic roles with minimal dialogue — nothing deeper. 

Still, in real life the man seems to be a genuinely wonderful human being. We do need more of him in this absurd rotating rock we all live and breathe on.


So yes I did get distracted this Saturday night but I certainly wasn’t impressed nor entertained.


When five years later I heard about the John Wick 3 coming out, I instantly wondered when, how, and why did John Wick 2 even came into existence. It actually implies that the sequel did alright. 

In Box-Office numbers, with an estimated $20,000,000 in budget, the first John Wick (2014) grossed $43,037,835 in the U.S, and a staggering $130,888,901 in Cumulative Worldwide Gross. Impressive, one would nevertheless say.

As for John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017), the budget has doubled to $40,000,000; grossing in the US Box Office $92,029,184, while hitting $158,216,655 in in C.W.G.

Interestingly, now that I had to dig the above info about the sequel, I remembered a friend mentioning “John Wick” on Facebook at around the same time. I even recall adding this very article — well, the first version of it —  in a comment on his status. Now it makes sense he meant the second rather than the first which had been 3 year old by then. I also recall not sharing this article more than once ever since I first wrote it in 2014. I think because I consider this “movie-review” to be non-serious writing. As previously mentioned, I choose to write about simple, lighthearted topics every once in a while because my usual interest is deeply seated in psychology, philosophy, metaphysics, and mysticism among others. So one must lighten up to counterbalance the seriousness.  

Oh well. I hope you enjoyed reading my critique in this lampoon of an article as much as I enjoyed writing it then rewriting it five years later to welcome the unexpected arrival of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. I wonder how many villains and extras will he annihilate this time. 

The numbers, once again, spell success. This new addition went even higher than the previous two with an estimated budget of $55,000,000. Released May 19 of 2019, it has already brought in $73,177,579 in the U.S in a matter of one week.

Judging from the above digits, maybe it us true that such action/crime/thriller flicks are precisely what the audience of today’s world needs.


Sorry, Drifters, some of us so care... especially when we’re dateless


*Article originally published on 26 October 2014.
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Saturday, 4 May 2019

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: Affair With an Older Married Woman





Following another brief hiatus, the erotic adventures are back once again [for the renegade master]!

During his early 20s my buddy met an older American woman, D, at the gym. Being around 30 years of age, she was 8-10 years older. One day they exchanged phone numbers and on that same night she called him up, pretending to be returning the call. When he explained that he never called her home phone or left a message — along his first name — to whoever answered, she asked if he wanted to pass by her.

Hm. He had just taken his then-girlfriend home; in fact, he was on the way back in the car. Without much thinking, he agreed before going home to get ready then headed there.



One thing he recalls is that D didn’t want the porter to see him going up. This is a common thing foreign or expat single women worry about in Egypt among Arab countries. More so 20 years ago than it is today. So as she suggested, he snuck into the building and went up the stairs rather than use the elevator. 



Another thing he clearly recalls is her huge boobs. And by huge, he means Samantha Fox HUGE, when the bra cup size belongs to the rarely used category of letters such as GG or something. For that reason — or so he thought — when things progressed between them she would never take her top off, even when everything else including the bra were gone. She also had long, curly blonde hair that complemented her angelic face.

On that memorable night in her flat, one thing led to the next, ending up in the bedroom. Following the passionate kissing and stimulating foreplay, they went all the way. Like for many other guys, doing an older woman had always been a raunchy fantasy for the young chap. As he matured it became somewhat of a preference as you can deduct from all the other articles part of the Memoirs series previously shared. So when it finally happened he gave it [her] his all. Literally. The sex was so steamy, it lasted for hours.

Eventually when done they were laying on the bed when D said: “I want you to know that I’m married.” Apparently she was afraid he would mind. The guy, however, didn’t. “I have a girlfriend,” he responded right back at her. Aha. So the situation was equal for both.

It is worth noting that the cheeky guy sort of knew about her being married. That is because right after they first met he happened to take a glimpse at her gym membership application, in which was written that she was indeed married. He sure appreciated her honesty on that first encounter and [hence] was encouraged to come clean as well. 

After the  pillow-talk confessions they did it again. Mayhap they both felt a tad lighter. It seemed to my bud that she hadn’t had sex in a while, because she was a beast in bed. And he meant that in a good way — great way, actually. Finally, after all was said and done by 3:00 am he kissed her goodbye before leaving, also through the stairs. Once again, he stealthily exited the building without being detected... à la MacGyver.    



The next day his young girlfriend was at his place when she tried to approach him with shagging shown all over her face. Thing is, his joystick was extremely sore from the previous night. It was the kind of pain one gets after jumping for hours, then some more hours. That’s in addition to all the muscle pain throughout his entire body. Apparently, the soreness and irritation were visible, rendering his shlong quite red. So without much thinking, my buddy went on to tell her how the day before he managed to hurt his manhood while zipping his pants; this was something he had endured in real before, so he knew. He also took it out for her to inspect.

Oohh, poor you.” 


No doubts, whatsoever. 


Mission accomplished.

My buddy and D went on to meet a few times, in secret. Once, he recalls, he had sex with both, his then-girlfriend and D, just hours apart. The very idea that he was inside one woman right after being inside another different woman was obviously such an ego boost for the young, mischievous chap. Nevertheless, he still had a whole lot to learn about life, women, relationships, and Truth. After a while, my buddy and D vanished from each other’s lives, leaving behind only but a sweet and sexy memory.


As always, whenever the stories said bud shares with me involve cheating, I feel compelled to clarify that it is not as cool as our younger selves used to think. It took us, however, more years and experimentation to reach such insight. I hold that we cheated because we could, rather than because we were not satisfied in our relationships. For all the thrill and excitement and rush and adrenaline resulting from doing something [dangerous] we shouldn’t be doing. Despite the fact that we never went to look for such adventures they still, somehow, occurred.

Truth is, if you’re not happy in a relationship, just leave; either remain single in the first place and enjoy the freedom or find someone else. As simple as that. It is certainly much healthier than remaining in dysfunctional relationships — for oneself as well as for the partner(s).



Until the next adventure of my incognito friend.



ALSO VIEW:

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: The Italian Belly Dancer

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: The Stain on the Levi’s Shirt

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: The Girl Who Came

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: The Nine-Months-Pregnant Woman

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: Reliving a One-Night Stand...13 Years Later

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: The 17-Year-Old Lebanese Belly Dancer

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: Three Girls, One Perfume

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: The Sex Party

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: Threesome With Two Virgins

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: A Woman, Her Girlfriend, and the Girlfriends Friend

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: The Mother of Six Who Drove for 50 Hours

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: Another Sex Party 

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: Ten Days with a Charming Older Woman

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: The Neighbour’s Lustful Guest

Memoirs of an Incognito Friend: 22 Years Later — Once Teenagers Now Adults 
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Sunday, 28 April 2019

Connecting the Dots — a Storyteller Way of Seeing the Big Picture



Alan Watts

Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, sometimes a wide array of seemingly random dots connect and organise themselves in certain ways to form the cornerstone structure of a story. The process of seeing a bigger picture could take hours or it could take years. For a storyteller psychonaut, this completion, this closure is nothing but la créme de la créme of the art of writing. That is, if one is fortunate enough to go through such experiences during their lifetime.

You see, some people rarely ever connect the dots in life. Others do connect them but end up being overwhelmed by the amount of information. Then there are those who simultaneously connect the dots and are able to make sense, and use, out of them. For the latter group, patterns become the real Guru which help them understand the relationship between different ideas and experiences. Hence perceive the Big Picture while enjoying the more broad, overall view it offers us. 

The more knowledge, the more points to possibly connect. Since everything is interconnected, keen awareness remains all that is needed.

One example is the following introspective, theory-of-mind type of Post I
ve recently written about the essence of being a storyteller; about how I use my stories in a way that could — hopefully — inspire others. Wittily, mind you, or so I like to think. Yet, without sounding preachy, authoritative, or like a know-it-all pretentious dude; as also without forcing my way of seeing things unto others. Why? Well, keep reading. 

To be able to write said words I had to dig down deep inside my mind and soul. I had to take a step further away from my autonomic existence, a leap more likely, just to be able to catch myself in the act” before analysing the findings. This is when altered states of consciousness come in handy. And to a significant degree this time I had been successful. Truth is, frequently playing Observing the Observer, one gets better with time. The result are the below words shared along an image with the John Lennon quote: 

My role in society, or any artists or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

   
This is the original:

When we care about people we naturally feel inclined to help them through any troubles they may face. Some, however, are not ready to be helped, and their reasons vary.

Through the years, the Messiah Complex I’m plagued by has developed indirect ways to be of assistance in such situations. To convey the message said folks are not ready to receive I create a story out of it; in which I incorporate the message in a story form that is easier to digest. This way avoiding any defensive reactions which may arise if they were to sense that you are addressing or “lecturing” them directly. Obviously I have been there enough times to be able to establish a pattern. 


Now, by incepting the thought on the go in such a way you play the role of the facilitator, allowing them to connect the dots by themselves and figure it out. This is a more efficient and convincing way to reach a solution or truth than for it to be revealed or taught by someone else. It is also more empowering. Because the discovery becomes part of their own inner truth — while in many cases remaining oblivious to the fact that the thought was initially planted in their minds by someone else.


Oftentimes, the subject of the story is myself. Simply because I found out that it is easier, let alone much more genuine. So let’s say the person I’m trying to reach has a drinking problem: I open up about how I was hooked on heroin for years and how I overcame it. Also how the experience has been the most enlightening of my life; since “You overcome yourself and [hence] become fearless”. And that is that. This is all the empathy and hopefully inspiration I offer the troubled, without haranguing or telling them how to live their own lives.

While I acknowledge their willpower and ability to make the right choices — when their time comes — I treat them as such; as free, capable individuals. I also do not use “You need to, you must or should” among other authoritative ways of communicating. Rather, I seek connecting with them on a more intimate, empathetic level. Through showing them that I relate to their sufferings because I, too, have suffered; that essentially we are all each other’s reflections. From then on, how they may or may not decipher the story along the message it contains depends on them alone.

Period. A few Instagram hashtags followed the words, including artist, poet, inception, storytelling, psychology, philosophy, TheoryOfMind and published it was. And that was it, right until... last night. 



Another piece to the puzzle

As previously shared, I indulge in occasional sleepless productive all-nighters which leave me looking like a Picasso the next morning. Several months after said post I was enjoying the quietude of one such nights, working on editing my book and surfing the net looking for novelty and inspiration and downright ridiculously weird things. Then, Lo and Behold, I see the featured caricature of none other than one of the wisest cats on the block whom I deeply cherish, Alan Watts, dropping that additional piece of the puzzle like freakin’ Salt Bae. I had to rub my eyes and reread the sentence to make sure my sleepless mind wasnt playing some kind of subconscious confirmation-bias trick.

“The best way to convince someone is by making him realize that what you speak came from his own mind.”


Wait! So Alan Watts thinks the same thing I had already deducted on my own? I may not be that full lunatic after all, huh. Now take that, society. This was certainly a sobering reminder that all ideas are indeed second-hand as Mark Twain wrote in 1903 to his amiga Helen Keller when she was accused of plagiarism.

The following puzzle piece came from the mouth of wily Jiddu Krishnamurti, who said:
When it becomes necessary for humanity to receive in a new form the ancient wisdom, someone whose duty it is to repeat these truths is incarnated.” Well Aha!

Speaking of, do you have an idea that Jiddu ( جدو ) means grandfather in Arabic? As you can see, one must remain careful not to follow too many dots all over the place. Because some of us can keep going ad infinitum. Then when too many branches are drifting out of the frame like they are trying to escape your mad mind, it
s not a story anymore, mon cher ami. But rather, it starts to appear and sound like the ravings, rantings, and ramblings of a non compos mentis who has too many browser tabs open. Focus, therefore, remains key.
 

The natural consequence of having the jigsaw puzzle extended just out of the blue was to create another fuller, richer story, which will incorporate the latest nugget of truth
piece from the Zen Head himself. In addition to few other pieces that happened to free-associate themselves into this body of writing.

Subsequently, just as I finalised the article you’re reading herein, another dot just materialised out of thin air right there in the midst of my mind’s eye. This time, a reflection of mine which conveniently came at the right time, brilliantly fitting the narrative:

If you are doing your best while not seeking approval or validation, affirmation will still come to you in different forms. Oftentimes when you least expect it.

When Alan Watts expresses that which you already
— somewhat ‘originally had in mind, you know your philosophical thinking as well as logical reasoning are doing alright. For me, there is nothing more fulfilling than this type of affirmation. 


To more dot-connecting, pattern-decyphering, and the ability to always see the bigger picture for all of us. There is always one. At least.



ALSO VIEW:

The Intertwining of Genius and Insanity

Who Are We?

For The Love Of Storytelling

Different Shades of Passion

My Journey Towards Self-Transcendence

How Do We Know We Are Good at Something?

Why I Share Stuff

Artists Between Mindset and Motivation

The Writing Process and the Creative Block

The LSD Experiments of the 1950s and 60s [Videos & Documentaries]

Out-of-Body Experience and Ego Death on a “Heroic Dose” of Mushrooms

Surviving the Madness of Sakarana — Hyoscyamus muticus

The Intertwining of Music and Sexuality ― A Djembefola’s Tale 
 
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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Eleven



1. Accent Nails


While on the way to the Toronto Freedom Festival (4-20) of 2012 I noticed a 20-something-year-old girl on the subway. It was my first time to see this “accent nail” — the ring finger nail polish which is different than the rest on both hands. Today we recognise it as an international trend, but back then it was totally new. ⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
There are many theories trying to explain if there is a certain meaning or symbolism behind the accent nail: From wanting to draw attention to the ring worn on that finger; to nail art which will be too much hard work, too expensive, or too overwhelming if done on all fingers; to breaking the monotony of one colour/shape; even as “flagging” for women who are into women. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
There is, however, no agreed-upon explanation. But there is a full article by Racked titled An Oral History of the Accent Nail, in which six manicure experts weigh in on how a painted ring finger became nail art. ⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
One fun theory is to subconsciously draw the attention of the lover to that ringless “ring” finger so that they may put a ring on it. Like, look at my cute finger: How about you add a ring to it? Ha.


As one can see today, not only are ring fingers painted with a different colour, but some are different by sporting elaborate designs, like adding glitter or tiny gems. As with almost every other fad, certain women overdo it. By that I mean: Really overdo it; with all ten nails, mind you. But hey, to each his and her own. ⠀

Back to that sunny Toronto day on the subway, I had the camera because I was heading to Freedom Festival. The girl’s nails were so novel and “different”, at least for me, I found the idea to be pretty cool — I still do. So I just went over and asked if I could snap a photo, obviously after complimenting her. Then ClicK it was!

And now we know.



2. Mariachi

“Mariachi” refers to a traditional Mexican style of music and musical group performance dating back to at least the 18th century. Ever since it has evolved over time in the countryside of various regions on the western parts of the country. Mariachi has a distinctive instrumentation, musical genre, performance and singing styles, and clothing — called charro suit. ⠀

Consisting of an embroidered jacket, pants, and vest, the attire is a style of dress based on the clothing of a type of horseman, the charro. The short coat, however, is worn by men and women alike. The origins of the charro outfit may be traced back to the city of Salamanca in Western Spain; as the Spanish conquistadors brought this type of clothing with them to Mexico.

Usually, the small ensemble strolls from one place to another while playing their music.

The term “Mariachi” is also used to describe the individual performer(s) of mariachi music as well as for the music itself.



3.
White Squirrels 
One day beginning of September of 2011 while at a park in Montreal I spotted this little guy — a first to see a white squirrel. I had my camera, so obviously ended up snapping several shots. I knew he wasn’t albino, as those have red eyes, though had no idea how rare white squirrels are, or not. Google it is then.

So, this is a tree squirrel named the Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) or Grey Squirrel. Native to eastern North America, there are two reasons why they could be white in appearance; Either albinos — must have red eyes — or like the one in the photo here those who exhibit a rare white fur colouration known as leucism, which is as a result of a recessive gene found within certain animals within the species. While in the wild the white makes them an easy target for predators like falcons, the gene seems to have lived on. 

A fun thing I found is that there is an ongoing research initiative in North America by Untamed Science about white squirrels. Once on their site, you can fill a short form in which you share what did you see, when, and where before you submit your info. Likewise, there exists a list of white squirrel sightings around the world, maintained by the White Squirrel Research Institute, a group based in Brevard, North Carolina.

Another thing is that white squirrels are a common sight in Parc La Fontaine in Montreal. There are actual Canadian articles about them — like one on MtlBlog.

An additional find is that white squirrels are a “Local Pride” is certain areas in North America. Olney, Illinois, for instance, is known as the “White Squirrel Capital of the World”. True story, Brah. For to is home of the world’s largest known white squirrel colony. Like cows in India, these squirrels apparently have the right of way on all streets in the town, with a $500 fine for hitting one. The Olney Police Department features the image of a white squirrel on its officers’ uniform patches. Serious stuff!






4. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Last time I went to a physiotherapist was 25 years ago because of a bad shoulder then a bad knee. I was really into weight training at the time, and apparently squating with 180 Kg (400 lbs) was a tad too much for a 17 year old. Thing is, I was surrounded by guys who only trained the upper half, which made them look cartoonish, and I sure didn’t want any of that. So intensive leg training was the solution. I did eventually heal and I owe it to Dr. Rawya the physiotherapist. ⠀

A couple of months back I noticed that my small finger and the ring one from my left hand become colder than the rest of the fingers. A week or two later, they began looking yellow whenever cold — showing that blood didn’t circulate properly. Hm. A month through, the same two fingers began to feel numb. Hmm. At the very same time, my neck was hurting, making yearn for a massage. Eventually I Googled it and it turned out it’s something called Ulnar Nerve Entrapment at the Elbow (Cubital Tunnel Syndrome). ⠀

I knew of carpel tunnel, but this is a cousin. One of the causes was using computer for long hours. After knowing what it was I finally went to a physiotherapist — who just happens to be in the building next door. How utterly amazing. Not just that, but Dr. Ramez is an “ancient Jésuitien”, as I found out from my father who also went to the same school. Today was our first session and I feel better already. ⠀

The reason I’m telling you all this is mainly to share why — I think — I got what I did. Now, the chair I’ve been using for the laptop is armless. This forces me to rest both my forearms on the edge of the desk. For 11-13 hours a day! Add to that sleeping a few times with a twisted neck and the nerves become entrapped. Now it makes sense that desk chairs all have arms, so you rest on them. It may seem obvious, but now we know what could happen. Stay Healthy! ⠀



5.  So Who Is Santa Monica Anyway?

Santa Monica is a prominent coastal city in Los Angeles with an environment of mountains, canyons, rolling hills, valley, and ocean. The area was previously inhabited by the Tongva people and was called “Kecheek” in the Tongva language. The first non-indigenous group to set foot in Kecheek was the party of explorer Gaspar de Portolà, who camped near the present-day intersection of Barrington and Ohio Avenues on August 3, 1769. 




Saint Monica (AD 322–387), also known as Monica of Hippo, was an early Christian saint and the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. On the basis of her name, it is assumed she was born in Thagaste (present-day Souk Ahras, Algeria) and believed to have been a Berber.



Saint Monica is remembered and honoured in most Christian denominations — albeit on different feast days — for her outstanding Christian virtues, particularly the suffering caused by her husband’s adultery; also for her prayerful life dedicated to the reformation of her son, who wrote extensively of her pious acts and life with her in his Confessions. Popular Christian legends recall Saint Monica weeping every night for her son Augustine. 



There exists two accounts of how the city’s name came to be: The first, in honour of the feast day of Saint Monica, despite her feast day being May 4. According to the second version, it was named by Juan Crespí on account of a pair of springs, the Kuruvungna Springs (Serra Springs), which were reminiscent of the tears Saint Monica shed over her son’s early impiety.



I knew of Augustine of Hippo from his philosophical quotes I sometimes share. The last of which is: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” However, the connection was only made when I got curious about who that Westside neighbourhood was named after.


And now we know.



ALSO VIEW:





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Saturday, 13 April 2019

Words I Made Up — The Seventeenth





  • Connedsumer (n): One who is tricked into purchasing things they do not need.

  • Barracruda (n): A large, ferocious ray-finned fish known for being offensively rude and unrefined.

  • Ohmelette (n): A dish of beaten eggs that leaves one tremendously surprised right upon eating it.

  • Doobious (adj): Hesitant and unsure due to smoking a joint.

  • Melansonge (n): Une combinaison de plusieurs contrevérités.

  • Lurepack (name): A brand of butter used by criminals to entice and allure certain groups of people.

  • Cuntstable (n): A police rank designated for exceptionally contemptible and obnoxious officers.

  • Outvention (n): An invention made outdoors.

  • Instigator (n): Ancient reptile that likes to start things.    

  • Diaphragram (n): A simple drawing or sketch of a muscular partition separating between the lungs and the stomach of mammals.  



“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human
voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”
Maya Angelou





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Sunday, 31 March 2019

OLS Reflections 67



 

  • Man’s true greatness lies in two things: Seeing the greatness in others, especially when they don’t see it themselves; and how humble he can be, especially when he “makes it”.

  • The only way to deal with evil in this world is to accept it. That’s the only way to set ourselves free from the darkness and reach the Light. Simply because darkness will never vanish; for that’s how the cosmos is balanced.

  • May you all find Peace in your hearts and Love in your lives.

  • Have you ever noticed how certain people become extra nice to you after they had wronged someone who is dear to you?

  • Those who try to convince you that doing nothing is equivalent to wasting time have not yet understood what living in the Here and Now is actually one the benefits this life philosophy entails.

  • Never mistake my unlove of drama for unlove of those who cause it. More or less, you see, I love everyone. It’s their toxic drama I choose to stay away from. Do I have plenty of friends or a booming social life? No — never had nor wished to have. They have always been just a few real, close ones; and solitude is something I’ve learned to cherish deeply. As John Lennon once said: “Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.”

  • When you’re one of those who feel deeply and is — simultaneously — blessed and cursed to have a keen awareness to the pain of your fellow brethren, you must be selective when it comes to channeling your energy... and sensitivity. Simply to protect yourself from not going mad by overwhelm.

  • Now more than ever, the Egyptian collective conscious — and unconscious — are in dire need of a therapist to help the nation heal.

  • Many people make money doing what they’re told. Others make even more money just by turning blind eyes. 

  • Once you stop following the news and “World Affairs” with all their negativity you’ll have energy and time to create your own headlines — your own reality. Unfollow the crowd; and the crowd may eventually follow you.
 


ALSO VIEW:
 

OLS Reflections

OLS Reflections Deux

OLS Reflections Vier

OLS Reflections Khamsa

OLS Reeflections Yedi

OLS Reflections 八

OLS Reflections Ten

OLS Reflections Onze

OLS Reflections 13

OLS Reflections Quince

OLS Reflections Sixteen

OLS Reflections Dix-Huit

OLS Reflections تسعة عشر

OLS Reflections Veinte Uno

OLS Reflections 22

OLS Reflections Dreiundzwanzig

OLS Reflections Twenty-Four

OLS Reflections Vingt-Six

OLS Reflections Ventisette

OLS Reflections Veintinueve
 
OLS Reflections 30

OLS Reflections Einunddreißig

OLS Reflections  إثنان وثلاثون

OLS Reflections Thirty-Three

OLS Reflections Trentaquattro

OLS Reflections 37

OLS Reflections Trente-Neuf

OLS Reflections Forty  

OLS Reflections Einundvierzig

OLS Reflections — The Spiritual Edition 

OLS Reflections Cuarenta y Cuatro

OLS Reflections 45

OLS Reflections Quarantasette

OLS Reflections — The Unpublished Edition

OLS Reflections Forty-Nine

OLS Reflections 50 

OLS Reflections Cincuenta y Dos

OLS Reflections Cinquantaquattro

OLS Reflections पचपन 

OLS Reflections 57

OLS Reflections Cinquante-Neuf
 

OLS Reflections Sesenta y Uno
 

OLS Reflections ثلاثة وستون 

OLS Reflections Soixante-Cinq
 
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Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Surviving a Fire in the Building




Last night when I went up to my cousin to give Dahab back no one opened the door. So I assumed they must have slept and went back with the doggo to my place to get ready to sleep. A few hours later while mid sleeping, Dahab began barking, which woke me up. At the same time I found my phone ringing. I do keep it on silent during the night, yet could see the light blinking. Hm. This was about 3 am. I picked up to find my cousin saying: “There is a fire in the building. Come out. NOW! Oh.



I got dressed, took my backpack with a few essentials, Dahab, and opened the door to go down the stairs. There was smoke coming out, yet we proceeded to go down. On the floor below the smoke was coming out of my other cousin’s flat. Lots and lots of smoke. At the time, there was only one neighbour standing there then the doorman joined in. I finally understood that the fire is coming from in there and that my cousin is locked inside, somehow. 



Survival mode kicked in as I began ringing the bell and knocking while shouting her name. I didn’t know if she was asleep or awake, or even alive! Then I heard her call back, which was a relief. Another minute and the firefighters arrived. Three at start then more came in. So there we were Dahab and I standing in the smoke surrounded by at least 10 firemen. 



I wanted to help yet my hands were tied with Dahab. So I ran down the stairs to the outside of the building where his owners were standing. Apparently they were out rather than sleeping, and found the fire on their way back home. I left him and ran back up. Total survival mode, without much thinking. I needed to get my cousin and her Pug Princess out of the fire. 

The smoke was getting heavier, making it harder to breathe. Also the heat coming out of the flat was astounding.

Once up, I found that they had successfully broken the door and thankfully my cousin came out, utterly shocked and with an all black face. Yet she was unharmed. I took her down the stairs then remembered Princess. I asked her if she’s inside and if there anyone else, to which she said yes about the doggo and no she was alone. I’m sure it was quite the shock for her. 

So still in survival mode, still not much thinking, I went back up again, shouting to the firemen: “There is a dog inside! There is a dog inside!” Then at one moment I wondered how come the firemen are fine with me, a civilian, being inside the fire. Literally. This was my first time to be so close to such raging flames. But, I wasn’t going anywhere without Princess. 

Since the fire was electricity related, the flat was dark. The only lights was coming from the firemen’s flashlights.

By that time, using the hose had already put the fire out. Yet the smoke was still filling the area. Finally the fireman I was following into the bedroom came out with Princess. Phew. Poor girl was shaking and covered in black and was wet. I then held her in my arms and went down one more time to let her owner — who was about to leave in an ambulance — know that she was fine. I told her I’ll keep the doggo with me then left her close to Dahab so he comforts her.

Dahab didn’t stop barking when we were all down there

Then, my sense of responsibility compelled me to go up one more time as I didn’t want the firefighters — and the cops who eventually showed up — to be all alone up there. I also wanted to try to save her phone and wallet… maybe. I think the adrenaline rush due to survival mode was still there. I found the phone next to where the fire had started, but it was totally bunt as you can see in the photo below. I kept it, hopefully to save the sim card.

Being the only one up there, the cops and firefighters began asking me some basic questions: My cousin’s name, her age, and occupation, and all that. We tried to find her bag and wallet to get her ID, but it was nowhere to be found. Today in the light my mother did find the bag. It was burned as well, though a few IDs were saved.  

Kaput

About an hour through, all residents started to go up one by one. So did Princess and I. But not before thanking the firefighters and the policemen for their help and professionalism. “Five more minutes inside and she would have been dead,” one of them told me. I believe him.

Once up, I had to give Princess a shower before trying to go back to sleep. During the shower and afterwards, she was licking my hands and legs like I am some sort of peanut butter jar. She had licked my hands before on multiple occasions, but once or twice at a time. Maybe it was her way of saying thank you. It was around 6 am by then.

First, I put her on the couch where Dahab often sleeps, but she kept moving around the bed, trying to get up. She’s too short to do it by herself, and I thought that she was probably still in shock, so I got her on the bed. A few minutes and she moved right by my legs. Cute.
Look at that face. Her tongue is usually sticking out all ridiculously but not in this capture.

Oh boy. What a night!

Two things to learn from this incident. First, doggos are angels. As without Dahab barking due to hearing the bell, I would have probably kept sleeping. If the fire had reached my flat I could have been seriously harmed.

The second thing is not to silent my phone at night. Because things do happen.

After waking up today I took Princess for a walk instead of Dahab who was out with his owners. She’s quite tiny and it’s probably my first time to walk such a small dog. I noticed that I had to walk slower than how I do with Dahab. I also got lots of funny looks. When a couple of street vendors buddies asked me: What is this? I jokingly replied that I put Dahab in the washing machine and he shrank!

Man. Grateful that we all made it safely.
4 firetrucks, 3 police vehicles that blocked both ends of the street, and an ambulance.
Great job, guys


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