- If a boy is aloof, stand-offish, ignores you or is just plain rude, it is because he is secretly in love with you — and you are the point of his existence.
- Secrets are good — especially life-threatening ones.
- It’s OK for a potential romantic interest to be dimwitted, violent and vengeful — as long as he has great abs.
- If a boy tells you to stay away from him because he is dangerous and may even kill you, he must be the love of your life. You should stay with him since he will keep you safe forever.
- If a boy leaves you, especially suddenly (while telling you he will never see you again), it is because he loves you so much he will suffer just to keep you safe.
- When a boy leaves you, going into shock, losing all your friends and enduring night terrors are completely acceptable occurrences — as long as you keep your grades up.
- It is extremely romantic to put yourself in dangerous situations in order to see your ex-boyfriend again. It’s even more romantic to remember the sound of his voice when he yelled at you.
- Boys who leave you always come back.
- Because they come back, you should hold out, waiting for them for months, even when completely acceptable and less-abusive alternative males present themselves.
- Even though you have no intention of dating an alternative male who expresses interest in you, it is fine to string the young man along for months. Also, you should use him to fix things for you. Maybe he’ll even buy you something.
- You should use said male to fix things because girls are incapable of anything mechanical or technical.
- Lying to your parents is fine. Lying to your parents while you run away to save your suicidal boyfriend is an extremely good idea that shows your strength and maturity. Also, it is what you must do.
- Car theft in the service of love is acceptable.
- If the boy you are in love with causes you (even indirectly) to be so badly beaten you end up in the hospital, you should tell the doctors and your family that you “fell down the steps” becauseyou are such a silly, clumsy girl. That false explanation always works well for abused women.
- Men can be changed for the better if you sacrifice everything you are and devote yourself to their need for change.
- Young women should make no effort to improve their social skills or emotional state. Instead, they should seek out potential mates that share their morose deficiencies and emotional illnesses.
- Girls shouldn’t always read a book series just because everyone else has.
- When writing a book series, it’s acceptable to lift seminal source material and bastardize it with tired, overwrought teenage angst.
- When making or watching a major feature film, you should gleefully embrace the 20 minutes of plot it provides in between extended segments of vacant-eyed silence and self-indulgent, moaning banter.
- Vampires — once among the great villains of literature and motion pictures — are no longer scary. In fact, they’re every bit as whiny, self-absorbed and impotent as any human being.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Ah, that's a good lookin' slab
I think the estimated time of completing this first package of reconstruction is late next year. It's going to be exciting watching it all go up.
Last night, Pierre was named Young Australian of the Year for the Australian Capital Territory!!
I am so unbelievably proud of Pierre and his team. In the past 18 months alone, they've delivered their special brand of development to over 8.500 children and donated over $15,000 worth of equipment and resources toIn the past 18 months the BIG BANGS have catered to over 8,500 children and donated more than $15,000 worth of equipment and resources to deserving charities, orphanages and school aimed at youth.
Congratulations Pierre, so proud!!!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
It Made My Day is another great website that always brings a smile; it's self explanatory really, go and check it out.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Philippine poll attack toll rises with shallow graves
At least 24 bodies have been found in the southern Philippines and police say they have found more in shallow graves.
The bodies are from a 40-strong group of politicians and journalists which was seized in an attack blamed on clan warfare ahead of next year's elections.
The government has declared a state of emergency in two provinces, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato city. Read the full article at the BBC.
Preparations, scheming and positioning was already happening for the elections next year when I was in Mindanao. Many skirmishes were blamed on "clan warfare" in Mindanao, and many of them certainly were. But to blame the murders of so many innocent outsiders on clan warfare is a bit of a stretch. This was a dispicable act that will make the daily lives of Maguindanoans and Sultan Kudaratis, along with my old colleagues, much more restricted.
When I wrote on my old blog two years ago about how I didn't know how I'd get through certain hurdles alone, I mentioned a few specific things:
- Who do I bore with my mundane complaints about my work?
Answer: the most wonderful housemates I've had so far. Lesson: it pays to have housemates who are intelligent, funny and fantastic women, so shout outs to Tania, Lily, Cathy, Monica, Emma, Nicole and Yassmin (Ahmed only gets a small mention because he's not an awesome woman and he doesn't like hearing me bitch about work).
- Who will help me with my tax?
Answer: no one, I've been quite capable of doing it all on my own and getting actual tax returns for a change! Lesson: barring the question "what is your occupation" e-tax isn't that scary.
- Who will make the cheese sauce for the lasagna?
Answer: it's not always perfect, but I've managed to whip up a bechamel sauce once or twice.
These little examples pretty much sum up how the single life has changed me. I know what I'm capable of, I know what I want from life as an individual. Since I've only had myself to worry about, I've worked in three countries, I've visited 17 countries (and about to add an 18th), I've made amazing new friends, and I've attempted to learn two languages (I did quite well with Bangla, we'll see how the Arabic goes...). Throughout all this, there have been certain moments where I've been struck how fantastic life is when you make the most of it on your own, and when you do the things you've always wanted to do, the way you want to do them.
Of course, I'm not saying that you can't do these things when you're in a relationship, but there's a certain freedom about being single that I've embraced and relished in. When I think back to this day two years ago and remember how absolutely retched I was, how absolutely pitiful I was, I can only hold my head higher and think how it's made me the stronger person I am today.
So, a special shout out to me, for recognising my strengths (and weaknesses) and embracing what life has to offer.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
On our shopping expedition to the souk yesterday (found boots, a beanie, and long socks for winter, yea!) Yassmin had to ask a couple of different CD sellers, and finally we found a guy who had Nancy's new album and assured us that Mashi Haddi was on it.
I was so excited to get home and copy it onto my computer, hoping against hope that I'd like the whole song, even the whole album. Mission accomplished! It's a very catchy song, that will put a spring in my step on my ipod.
The video is really cute too (except for the advertising that pops up). Enjoy!
These are the translated lyrics (in case you didn't pick it up from the clip!
Walking next to me, and with your eyes your melting everyone around you
Looking around you and winking
And you forgot that I get jealous, especially if they smile back
And you become happy, they melt your heart
And others wish to go out with me
Not like you, you prefer to play around over having me, confused me
And if a robber waves for you, you follow her and leave me behind
Walking next to me, and with your eyes your melting everyone around you
Looking around you and winking
and if by coincidence I see a friend on the road and say hi to him
Right away you make a report, question me
Who? Where? How? and Why? you're friends for how long
Friday, November 20, 2009
Slow and steady may win the race, but I'm sure the residents of NBC would prefer more of a hare's pace.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I like the names that some of the letters have, like "wow", "lamb" and "yeah". That's how the names sound, they may (probably) not be spelled like that. I think it's going to be a very interesting experience...I just wish there was an alphabet song I could learn..."alef, bah, tah, thah jzeem" doesn't quite have the same ring
I succumbed and read the series a while ago, and I will grant that Stephanie Meyer, like Dan Brown, has discovered a winning formula that makes these books page turners. That being said, they are terribly written and she only has about three adjectives in her vocabulary. I'm not a big book critic, usually I can read anything and enjoy it for what it is and not really take in whether the writing is good or bad, but these books really stood out as being bad writing. (And the reason I can criticize here is because I don't purport to be a writer!)
That's problem one. The series is badly written. The second, greater problem I have is the character of Edward Cullen and the insane attraction of grown women towards this character. I keep seeing facebook updates and quiz results of people I call friends who are "in love" with Edward, and want a man "just like Edward."
Ladies, in a nutshell, Edward is a stalking, over-protective, co-dependent, cradle robbing serial killer. Um, I'm not seeing the attraction. The whole Edward/Bella relationship also frustrates me, as now an entire generation of girls thinks a romantic relationship is based on having a man over 100 years old watching you sleep, follow you around and declare his undying love for you after about a month...oh and this is after he's repeatedly approached you to tell you that he's bad news. And you're underage.*breath*
That about sums up my issues with the Twilight series. This was inspired by watching the movie on tv last night. Yassmin and Ahmed hadn't seen it before, and what we decided by the end of the movie was:
Kristen Stewart looks exactly like Jughead.
Robert Pattinson (who compared to Kristen Stewart has an abnormally large head) reminded us of the main character of an old Cher movie that was on recently, called "Mask".
I'd like to include here a message that Dr J left on my facebook wall, I'm sure she won't mind me sharing her opinion:
"I thought Twilight was hilariously funny, although I am not sure that is the reaction they were aiming for. I did like the tone of the beginning before she met Cedric Diggory, in terms of being a well-constructed set-up filled with foreboding, but it all went downhill from there. Plus, Bella starts out being quite capable of looking after herself and then along comes the sparkly vampire and suddenly she needs him to rescue her all the time. I find that particular message to be a tad objectionable."
Big ups to Dr J for the Diggory reference, and also the point of Bella becoming (more of) a whiny incapable damsel in distress. Another point of annoyance for me.
To conclude, an interesting article, Buffy the Gay Vampire Lover has been published that provides an explanation of the popularity of Twilight: women desire sex with gay men. It sure as hell makes more sense that desiring a co-dependent stalker...
I thought it highly appropriate to post the most unflattering photograph of him. Don't worry James, apparently 30 is the new 29 (but I wouldn't know about that, because that's really quite old...I jest, I jest)! Hope it's a good one.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Which causes me to realise that a big something else happened around this time two years ago, but I think I'll reflect on that in a few days time.
Well, I'm taking the much belated first step of learning Arabic with my first lesson tomorrow evening. Yea! I will not, however, be doing my best to dress like the locals here...even in Tripoli, a conservative city, (or in Nahr el-Bared) most of the young women I see around here wear skin tight pants and equally tight tops. And those who wear the veil tend to match their brightly coloured clothing to their veils. So, language learning yes, clothing no.
Monday, November 16, 2009
This is the (zoomed in) view from the front of the UN compound....
So here is the list (potentially not exhaustive - it's still early) of Arabic words I've picked up through osmosis so far...
Mahabar - Hello
Shukran - Thank you
Tikalafi - Thank you (literally means something along the lines of thank God for giving you the ability to work)
Afwan - Excuse me
Ki feq? Ki fiq? - How are you? (men/women)
Alhamdula - Good
Fatah - Here you go (used when handing over money to cab drivers)
Wahad - 1
Alf - 1000 lire
Nien - 2
Moustachfe - Hospital
Dowra - circle (roundabout)
Abu - father
Ibn - son
Kelb - dog (the only curse I've learned is Ibn kelb - son of a dog)
Anjad - really
Walah - I swear
Yanni - a filler word that people use when thinking, like "I mean"
Durkadurkamohammedjihad - ok, I may have picked that one up from Team America...
This week, I'm going to learn to count to twenty...
Saturday, November 14, 2009
So here's one that is inspired by a certain neighbourhood hoon....
There was a boy who thought he was Top Gear
Whose loud music was something to fear
While dreaming in bed
I threw a rock at his head
And woke up and thought "what an idea!"
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
So anyway, I'm super duper excited about spending 3 days in Istanbul, the 4th day will be spent travelling back to Tripoli. It's still a couple of weeks away yet, but it's nice to have something new to look forward to. If any of you have any tips I'd love to hear them!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
"In Lebanon," says Khaled, leaning back and spreading his arms out in an expansive fashion, "we have everything. We have the Mediterranean. We have classical ruins. We have..."
"Religious extremists," I say. "Armed militiamen."
"Exactly. If you want religious extremists, we have religious extremists. If you want mountains, we have mountains. If you want lingerie shows on the ski slopes of Mount Lebanon, we have lingerie shows. We have everything. Everything."
Check out this fantastic article by Carole Cadwalladr in The Guardian.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Carrot cake, Apricot tart, fresh fruit and juices, spinach and ham (!!!!) quiche....*homer drool*
Tomato soup perhaps?
Nay, Bloody Marys (eeeeeewwwww), which were very popular and brought smiles to all those who partook.
My contribution was a banoffee pie...of course, after all the other wonderful sweets and savoury treats we were all extremely full and lazy, so only a tiny bit more was eaten than shown in the photo.
But that means we get to enjoy it for the rest of the week...mmmmm, delicious!
First we had to kick out the wedding reception, with a very young groom and bride who looked like she was struggling under her ginormous dress.
I was wrong about the kids playing. Well, there was a young rapper who was pretty cool
but otherwise it was the Danes putting on a show...3 guys on 6 turntables. It was awesome storytelling, and unfortunately cut short by the leadership.
The kids seemed to enjoy it though.
I was very impressed with the hairstyles in the audiences
and how really really ridiculously good looking some people were! :-)
Saturday, November 7, 2009
While "chasing carly" and "chasingscarly.blogspot" (to the 58 visits that did this - you could just type that into your address bar instead of google and find me a lot quicker!) remain the top two search terms, the third place is a bit of a concern.
3 people have visited the site (or perhaps it's the same person three times) after searching for "cannibal jazzercise classes".
Sure enough, if you type that into google, this blog is indeed the first one to appear. Now I'm wondering why on earth these words would be searched for together, and am imagining a very interesting jazzercise class...
For example, today I sat in my container and did such important and life saving things as:
- finally getting the last submission for our monthly report to the Beirut office (which I should have received last Friday) so I could finish off the report
- finding out exactly how many staff work at the NBC Clinic II and how many days each person works per week - (for someone in the Beirut office - why this person couldn't make a simple phone call and find out for themselves I can't understand. I would love to see what would happen if I asked someone there to do my work for me!)
- going through the comments made by a nitpicking HQ person on a report I submitted before I went on leave, most of which he would have realised were completely redundant had he actually looked at the budget breakdown I'd already provided, wasting someone else's time as well as my own. This is after the financial statement I'd specifically requested to be dated to 14 October as that's when I'd done all my calculations was issued to the 30th of October, so I had to redo all my financial stuff.
- played with the kitties...a lot
I was surprised to read that Sony is planning to release a movie based on the classic boardgame. How on earth will they turn such a variable (indeed, the first non-linear boardgame) game into a movie? Will it be an epic tale of warfare, following many armies as they gamble their lives to take new territories, or will it be an American-centric gung-ho adventure? Or perhaps a Jumanji-esque undertaking? Will they base it on the traditional game, or go for one of the spin-offs like Lord of the Rings Risk (which I played in a hostel in New Orleans this time last year)
...they could just cut and paste bits that have already been filmed and save some money!
Hmmmm, we'll just have to wait and see.
Friday, November 6, 2009
and ended up looking like Madeline Allbright...
To celebrate this milestone, I thought I'd share the latest official and important news from the UN compound in Tripoli:
There are three little kitties hiding under the prefabs between UNDP and our M&E unit (Ingebjorg can look out her window at them all day) and they're very adorable.
Now, you see this tray of milk and automatically think that that was all me right? Not this time kiddos, one of the architects has taken a real shine to them and plans on taking at least one of them home in a few weeks.
They make for a very entertaining break time. The runt is surprisingly the least scared and runs around, sun bathes and plays with stuff...with the crap work I'm dealing with at the moment (two reports due for the EC and one for Japan this month plus the two from last month that are still going back and forth), it's nice to just take a few minutes to watch something cute and happy.
It's very much a case of TGIF today. Yassmin and I took Julz down to the airport late last night, which was very sad. In another hilarious instance of mistaking my name, our taxi driver last night thought my name was "Skala." It then became "Skarly." We didn't get home till 2:30am and then my grand plans of getting in early and achieving the greater part of my workload for today by 9:30am were dashed with the discovery that the server was down. Le sigh.
I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend, cleaning up my room after Hurricane Julie, perhaps going to the camp tomorrow night to see some kids DJ (we've got a DJ spending the day with them teaching them how to mix) and then a brunch on Sunday. TGIF people, TGIF!!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
David Tennant is to make his US television debut as the lead role in a pilot for a comedy legal drama.
The former Doctor Who will star as a top Chicago lawyer who suffers from panic attacks and coaches his clients to represent themselves in court.
The NBC hour-long show is titled Rex Is Not Your Lawyer...
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I got a mention on this post at Tales from the Hood...I must say, it's an honour to be considered a "Doom III" aid worker, and to share line space with Pyjama Samsara and Itinerant and Indigent!! (If you haven't checked out these blogs yet you really should!)
Did you know that Zimbabwe's 79,600,000,000% per month inflation rate was not the highest ever? According to this Marginal Revolution article that record belongs to Hungary (1945-1946) at 41,900,000,000,000,000% per month. I can't say that I actually comprehend what that actually meant for Hungarians at the time (though I'm imagining old Renauts filled with paper bills, because at 41.9 quadrillion percent I think you'd need more than a wheelbarrow full of notes to go to the supermarket) but I'd say it was pretty extreme.
Poll: I get a loooong weekend (4 days) at the end of the month for Eid.
Should I go to:
(d) Somewhere even cooler that you'll suggest (that won't be cold and rainy like it is here)
Leave your suggestions please!!
Photos weren't allowed inside the cave, so the photos below were stolen from around the interwebs. It was a truly incredible place, I think it's made it to second place behind Petra in the coolest, most awesomest places I've ever been!
It was hard to believe that it was actually real, it could have been a Hollywood set, from The Goonies or something! And it just went on and on and on. The bottom two pictures are from the lower grotto, so I'll have to go back in summer to get the full experience.
We'd made really good time up to that point, and headed further towards Beirut to make the turnoff to Baalbeck. Unfortunately, our day was marred by a carload of stupid boys that ran into us.
There goes the security deposit. :-(
The drive to Baalbeck was hair raising to say the least. At one point there was a total white out and we could barely see more than a couple of metres in front of us. But we made it safe and sound, and Baalbeck is just as impressive in the day time as it is in the evening.
and the weather even cleared up while we were there.
We also made really good time coming back over the mountain and it was a happy, but exhausted trio that got home in one piece (or three pieces).
After all this excitement I really, really don't want to go back to work tomorrow!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
We stopped a bit further down the road to take in the scenery...
Since it was still only the early afternoon we decided to cross off another thing on the list of things we wanted to see, the Jeita Grotto. So we drove and drove most of the way to Beirut and made our way down another amazing valley to the grotto. To find that it was closed on Mondays. AAAARGH!!!
Since there was still a little bit of daylight, we decided to salvage the day with a cruise through Byblos, an extremely old city full of ancient ruins.
On a warm summer's day, Byblos would be fabulous to wander around, unfortunately it was cold and rainy and miserable, but the view of the ocean was still pretty cool:
Even though our grand plans didn't quite work out today, we all agreed that it was an awesome day. And hopefully tomorrow we can actually achieve our grand plans (taking a different route of course)!!
Oh, and Julie says, "hello to the world!"