I rant you risten

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ramadan: Day 29 or 30, depending...

It's been a while.. a little under the weather (thanks for asking) and then been busy preparing for an upcoming expedition into an undiscovered land. We're on day 30 of Ramadan and this is the final stretch.. This year (year three on br if you were wondering) in my holy month posting, I thought I'd wait till the end to digest everything and reflect. A discussion over some sheeshas brought about these points..

The importance of being a lemon.. juice, particularly lemon, is a staple beverage during this holy month. Different houses prepare their lemon juice according to their specific taste. Drinking lemon juice in Ramadan is like playing Russian Roulette, you’re never sure what it’s going to taste like. There's nothing like taking that first sip of juice and finding out the person who made it was fasting and didn't test the level of sweetness.. Starving yourself all day to fill your mouth with a nice sip of bitter lemon, mmm.. Sometimes the juice is either too diluted or too spiked with the zesty citrus burst of sour shock.. There's lemon with mint, even a lemon lime combination is not unheard of. Some people prefer to go packaged, although it's not how I roll, I'm not one to complain too much..

Eating was SO out this Ramadan.. A common occurrence at the meal table, no one's eating anything anymore.. I'm not doing any rice, I'm trying this hydate first eat later routine, I don't have an appetite after starving myself all day, I don't like to eat heavy to start, it’s a low carb holy diet, the list just goes on and on. As opposed to the regularly scheduled gluttonous massacres of the lamb carcass, people are opting for a soup salad combo… what has happened to us? All of a sudden, it's not cool to pig out for iftar.. Instead of packing on the pounds with fried tidbits, Muslims are slimming down with meditative fastation.

Everyone was about animation this Ramadan… this month is the equivalent of our sweeps season on tv.. Advertisers scramble for a slot, while production studios push out their soap operas, religious, historical, and comedy shows. There’s usually some Kuwaiti serial / quiz show / sitcom about pop culture and the happenings of today’s world that grabs everyone’s attention. But this year, it was all about Animation, people wanted to get on that faster than 2 for 1 Tuesdays at the Striporama. If you weren't, then you should've been watching the Bahraini animated comedy sitcom (Arab Road).. a neighborhood with characters from all over the Arab world, each from a different country filling out an obvious stereotype. A lot of subtle tongue in cheek humor poking fun at ourselves along with our trials and tribulations.

21st century Ramadan tents.. Maybe I haven’t been out too much, but they're so hi-tech now.. apart from the really nice new matching cushions and little foot rests the tent also boasts an air conditioner if you please. The colored lamps have been lit and are all hanging giving off that ramadany feel to it. Wireless internet is complimentary and the macchiatos are especially good.. the only thing they need to work on is justifying the cover charge. You will have to sort out a tent so book in advance cause the host is swaggering about looking only to seat the beautiful people. Minimum table order is a magnum of karkadai, you know how it is..

Freaky Eids.. A common occurrence in the Arab world because after 29 days of Ramadan, the moon watching panel (not sure who they are, but I’m willing to bet some old men with limited eyesight) come out on a roof to see if the moon’s making a cameo. I’m not knocking anything, but there have been cases of freaky eids where you think you’ve got one extra day of Ramadan and then all of a sudden someone spots the moon and you’re scrambling to get your last minute shopping in. do they use telescopes or is just them and their eyesight? Does anyone know? The other thing about moon watching panels around the Arab world, is that they sometimes have conflicting announcements. It is a little weird sometimes getting news about different countries announcing eid while others don’t,“Egypt still has Ramadan tomorrow, Kuwait have announced Eid, Saudi not yet, and we’re still waiting on Bhutan to get back to us..”

Well that’s what’s been on our minds this Ramadan.. What was on yours?

To everyone reading this, Happy Eid.. I’m off to spend a couple of days in a strange land, trying not to believe the hallucinations from the malaria pills..

Saturday, October 07, 2006

pulling a mak.tv

"does anyone know what this is?"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

cd binge therapy

If you've been paying attention to anything I've written (it's ok, I don't pay attention to what I write either) then you'd already know that I am a music junkie in the most absolute "in need of help" sense.

Critically requiring some retail therapy to ease my pain and suffering, I run off to flirt with those lovely folks at cduniverse. I started off this spree with the need to pick up the new hot chip and futureheads album (just some stuff I've missed out on buying).. Soon after I pick up those two, a neurotic high pitched alarm goes off in my head launching me into an exercise of trying to remember names of bands and albums I want. Wait wait wait what was the new band from the 'death from above 1979' guy called again? Mstrkrft, oh yeah, that.. click click click click click.. this goes on for a bit, click click click click.. then like that full feeling you get from gulping down a big glass of water, my cart swells up to the point of it breaking into the eligible for free shipping territory..

Loosening my belt and undoing the top button on my jeans, I continue on with my clicking.. hey I wonder if yo la tengo have anything new.. hmm.. indeed they do.. click click click have les savvy fav done anything? No, damn.. my quest adjusts itself into buying what I feel like listening to… I could use something electronic and chilled out and I really feel like some good new soulful music.. research research research, the new zero 7, sure why not.. click click click.. something soulful, Anthony david? Click click click.. since I’m here I should beef up the French house collection.. De Crecy’s back? He never left? Dang.. click click click..

Before I know it, I'm arranging payment and delivery for 32 cds I cannot live without out, that I would die without, that my life would mean nothing without.. I need them, I want them, I love them.. Finalizing my transaction and then almost immediately kicking myself, I start remembering some more albums I've been meaning to get.. Scribbled down for my upcoming purchase.

Then comes the hard part, the waiting.. I try to listen to my current cds, but the impatient feeling lingering around in the back of my head is making me disregard the good music piping through the speakers, and i long for something else.. a day or two later I get notification that everything's shipped to my international courier po box – yes yes yes, not long now.. this dj kicks compilation sounds so stale right now, and if I throw on another wacky tune from islands I think I'm going to start fantasizing about the muppets and miss piggy. a couple of days more, I get notification that my stuff's arrived in Bahrain and I can go and pick it up.. yakpot..

Trying to keep a lid on the bubbling excitement at the international courier’s establishment, they check my number and bring forth the larger than normal brown cardboard box.. b-i-fuqin-g-o.. yeah you ring me up, I'll just check up on my cds, ohh you need to look at the tag on the box? i just want to make sure they're all, one sec.. kkkhrrrriiissshhhhh. Before the person behind the counter has a chance to look at the box, and the people in line behind, I’ve got my suit jacket draped across the counter, I've sunk the teeth of my car keys into the masking tape and have pulled the flaps open.. at first sight, I do nothing but let out a satisfied haarruummphhh.. the ferociousness of Hernán Cortés burns through me, as I hoard my box and lay claim to this Aztec gold.. the sight of these cds all neatly accounted for in this box crack a grin on my face and a chubb in my pants…

What to listen to? which ones to pick? My fingers dance along the cd cases, my eyes dart across the cover art, my tongue licks my lips, I’m just about ready... the possibility of unearthing the next big tune in my “top all time tunes list ever” makes this purchase, the wait, the everything, all worth it.. In the middle of this rush, I lose myself in between paying for the delivery and dazedly walking back to la voiture. Once in the car, I begin tearing off the plastic wrappers off my cds, a task I no longer consider frustrating... I have perfected this method in which I tear off the wrapper with expert guile (never timed myself, but I’m pretty sure I can remove a cd from a plastic wrapped case in less than 5 seconds) , roll it into a ball, and then using the tape bit from the cd to keep it all securely balled up.. making for a quick headers and volleys tournament...

Based solely on the cover artwork, I pick 6 cds to load into my changer. I start my open ear and hope to bear fruit from my shot in the dark cd binge session. So far so good, the French house beef up has been successful, the sophomore albums purchased have not disappointed. The mstrkrft has been pretty amazing, the frames cool too, and I’m really digging the new yo la tengo. fuqme, retail therapy really does work..

Just so we’re all on the same page, receiving new cds means you can forget about asking to borrow them. I will not lend them to my friends, I will not lend them to my kin I will certainly not lend them to green eggs and ham – not until I’ve had my fill of them. Andy Ward taught me that it’s totally fine to hoard your library and be an ogre about it, that’s how he still has all his cds. If you meet certain criteria in my book then I will possibly make you a copy or you could fall into the list of people with borrowing privileges (highly coveted). A certain someone never bothered to return my sasha & digweed northern exposures 3 (the impossible to find European version that had one extra track from the American edition, the original remixed “silence” tune from Delirium, not the one you can easily find on some bullshit compilation, the original progressive track, that no one can find anymore except illegally downloaded), and since then, I’ve put my guard up – I just couldn’t let it slide...

You don’t even want to know what happens to me at a record store…