free stats Carmen's Web: April 2006
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Stupid things
I say really stupid things when I'm tired. REALLY stupid. Things so stupid that they'd make Jessica Simpson's "Chicken of the Sea" comment sound brilliant. (My brother was nice enough to withold my name when commenting on said stupidity, though.)

BTW ladies, he's single, cute, super funny, SUPERSMART, and almost a fourth year medical student! ;)

Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:26 AM
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Saturday, April 29, 2006
Clooney for President!!

Yes, I would do it. If George Clooney were ever running for President of the United States, I would vote for him. Twice if I could. Why, you ask? Does he have a good platform? Well, as a matter of fact I'm SURE he does. But I'll be honest...I would vote for Clooney because he is the most beautiful man on the planet; the Gregory Peck of our generation. Moronic and immature reason to vote for a President? Probably. But other presidents in this country have been elected for far more flimsy reasons.

I was watching Clooney on Bill Maher this weekend. He was entrancing. Spoke a little about his trip to Darfur, why no one knows or care about Darfur, and the state of politics in general. George Clooney SHOULD run for something. He has strong opinions, he's got a good platform, he's active. In short, he's a hero. Where are all the heros today? The men and women who actually stand for something? Stand for their conscience? Politics is nothing but posturing, nothing but sound bites. You don't stand for what you believe in anymore and today's media just aggravates this.

I studied Political Science in college. I wanted to learn how this world worked in order to be able to do something to change it. I ached to be able to make a difference. There was just so much ugliness out there. The more I learned, though, the more I realized JUST how ugly it was. And how impotent I was in the face of it all. It's a pessimistic view, I know.

I never followed through with PoliSci. I did my M.A. in Liberal Studies, tried to get my foot in the door with a number of non-profits, only to realize how ugly they were too. I'm finally happy with the work that I do (teaching). It's a way for me to feel like I'm actually making an impact.

But back to Clooney. Dreamy Clooney. The only man I'd ever cheat on my man with. I used to watch him on the Facts of Life when he first made his appearance on the screen, which is more than any other fan on this planet can say.

V-O-T-E for CLOONEY!
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 8:12 AM
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Friday, April 28, 2006
25 things
1. Where were your parents born?
Cairo

2. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer?
Nina Simone's "Funkier than a Mosquito's Tweeter"--this woman is a GODDESS. THIS is what music is all about.

3. What's your favorite restaurant?
Boca Chica, 1st and Houston in Manhattan. The service is top-notch, the food scrumptous.

4. Last time you swam in a pool?
Nearly two summers ago in Dominican Republic, but bathed in the beaches of Spain last year.

5. Have you ever been in a school play?
Yup. I even played the piano once FOR a school play; Chatanooga Choo Choo.

6. How many kids do you want?
I used to want six when I was younger. Then I wanted NONE because who would want to bring kids into this nasty, unsympathetic world? My life was hard enough (hence the title of this blog), but I've gotten over it. I'm convinced they'll never have to go through the same struggles, and if they do, I'll help 'em.

7. Type of music you dislike most?
House. Trance. Anything related to that.

8. Do you have cable?
DVR baby! The greatest invention EVER. I wish life were more like DVR--pause live conversations, fast forward boring ones, erase nonsensical ones.

9. Have you ever ridden on a moped?
No, but when I was in Paris I got on a Vespa parked in the street, just to take a picture. It was exhilarating. Must get me one of those one day...

10. Ever prank call anybody?
When I was in high school. Called some deli owned by an FOB Egyptian and asked him (in a panting voice) if he sold any condoms. Stupid. But I was in high school and one of our (my friends and I) favorite pastimes was irritating Egyptians.

11. Ever get a parking ticket?
No. Speeding yes.

12. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?
God no. I don't have the heart for it.

13. Furthest place you ever traveled (from NY).
Lebanon.

14. Do you have a garden?
No. I wish I could have a garden and plant Jasmines (my favorite flower) and other pretty flowers, but I hate worms. I'd probably need to hire a gardener.

15. What's your favorite comic strip?
Calvin and Hobbes.

16. Bath or Shower, morning or night?
Shower, usually evenings, always after the gym. I used to treat myself to a bath once a week when I was in training, but haven't taken a bath in ages.

17. Best movie you've seen in the past month?
"Shirley Valentine"

18. Favorite pizza topping?
Pineapples

19. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine?
Treated my brother to a birthday dinner at Cafe Henri in Long Island City.

20. Favorite type chocolate bar?
Anything white.

21. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work?
Nope. I did have to wear one for six years while I was in Catholic school.

22. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy?
Pads

23. Ever throw up in public?
Once :( I had a little too much to drink at the resort in DR that I was staying in. I was by the pool, a little depressed (long story), had four Yellow Birds. The sun was beating down on me, the water made me feel like I was floating in space, and as I was being led back to my room I tried my best to hold it down, but I couldn't :( Managed to wait till I was away from people though. It was quite a struggle holding it in. It's good to know that even when I'm intoxicated I remain in control of me.

24. What message is on your answering machine?
I've got the default T-mobile message. I hate the sound of my own voice.

25. What is in your purse?
2 wallets, cell phone, mp3 player, pens, lip gloss, keys, and one week's worth of papers that I still need to grade.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 10:49 AM
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Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Shameless plug
My friend's brother is in a band and he's really good. They present themselves as the best band to come out of Egypt, and I wholly agree (the fact that I don't know ANY band to come out of Egypt might be influencing my opinion...)

Check him out. I guarantee you'll like what you hear:

http://www.myspace.com/marbleheads
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:21 AM
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006
"You like Russian woman..."
Our washer has been broken for the past month. We've had to wash our clothes either at our next door neighbors' (we're tight like that) or at a laundromat. I came home from work not too long ago and heard a strange man's voice coming from downstairs. My mother finally called Sears and they sent someone over to fix our machine.

My mother was downstairs with him, feeding him (like all good Egyptian women do). She had made him some tea and given him some treats. He was a talker, this man. Nice, old Russian man who was telling a million stories and offering unsolicited advice. Anyhow, I digress.

When he finished, he started to push the washer back against the wall and my mother ran to help him. He started chuckling and said, "You like Russian woman! Russian woman strong, they always help husband!"

My mother has always been a strong woman, and I don't mean just physically. She's always been the rock of this family. She's had to put up with being taken away from her country, her family, her life. She's had to adjust to countries where she knew she didn't belong, where her accent was ridiculed, where she was never able to find her voice. She moved our family from apartment to apartment, from house to house, carrying the heaviest of boxes, lifting the bulkiest of boxes, without ever uttering a complaint, without ever making my father feel like a loser for having uprooted her entire life.

My mother is like Russian woman.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:19 PM
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Story of a curl, part II
I had an appointment at noon at Devachan and arrived at the salon at 11:30am (I told you, I lack patience). It was quite impressive and not as ostentatious as one would think a Soho salon would be. The one thing that differed between Devachan and my usual hair places were the curly haired women. I was surrounded by the most gorgeous curls! Everyone, from the stylists to the clients, had curls. I didn't hear one blowdryer, didn't see one stylist try to straighten someone's hair. I have never seen so much gorgeous hair in one place. Ever.

I met my stylist after being given a golden silk gown to wear. He welcomed me on my first visit and asked me exactly what I wanted.

One of the biggest problems I've had in life is that I've never known exactly what I want. When I DO know, I'm almost militant about it. I've always been much, much better at recognizing and identifying the things that I don't want and start to work my way through there. With regards to my hair I knew that I wanted to keep it long, but I needed it to behave and have some kind of style; not just rest like a mop on my head.

I tell my stylist this and he starts cutting my hair while it's still dry according to Devachan policy, which I think is great. At least that way you can see what your curly hair will look like.

He's snipping. And snipping. And snipping. And before I know it, he's snipped my back. I keep my mouth shut. He must know what he's doing, I think. I mean, he PROMISED not to cut my back. Snips later I stare at myself in the mirror CURSING the fact that the hair I've been trying to grow out is now the same length it was back in September. I decided to hold any complaints until I saw the final product. After all, I can't really do anything about this now.

The next step was actually washing my hair and I can say without exaggeration that it was nearly orgasmic. The shampoo chairs were more like beds. You lay flat on your back on a reclining leather chair surrounded by a white mosquito net, your hair flowing into the sink. The assistants go beyond the usual nice salon shampoo experience and you get a full-on neck and shoulder massage. The aroma of the conditioner, the fingers massaging my scalp...all worked together to completely dull all of my bad senses and enhance all the wonderfully good ones.

I was led back to my stylist with dripping wet hair, gelled up, and put under a hi-tech air dryer. It only released subtle heat to get my hair to dry quicker. It took about twenty minutes and when it was all done I can honestly admit that I had never seen my curls look better. It was the most amazing thing in my life. I couldn't imagine that they'd be so bouncy, frizz-free, and just...pretty! My curls were INCREDIBLE.

The whole 'do, on the other hand, wasn't the greatest. I mean, it's fine. It's just much shorter than I wished it would it be. I tell you this though...once my hair grows out it'll look amazing.

("Why is this woman writing about a haircut?" you ask. Well, if you don't have curly hair, you'll never understand. If you DO have curly hair, I know you wouldn't even ask that question. (for my curly haired peeps...I will write, in another post, how you can get curlalicious hair using the Devachan method).

All in all, I left Devachan $175 poorer, but feel like I've discovered a long kept NY secret. I'm ready to join the cult.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 10:48 PM
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Story of a curl, part I
Nearly a month or so ago I asked Toots what he thought about me getting my curly locks permanently straightened (one of those Japanese thermal reconditioning processes). I had been having unbelievably bad hair days for months and was getting frustrated at my unruly curls. He quickly talked me out of it, reminding me that my curls were my signature. I decided to try and control my curls, but I still couldn't get them to behave.

My last haircut was back in September. Although my stylist gave me a great cut, he cut it way too short. And it only looked nice when it was straight. I never went back to him only because I've been trying to grow my hair out. I figured I'd rather have unruliness rule until I got past the length I wanted. That way, when I went back for a cut and asked for a slight trim, I wouldn't be horrified when inches came off. I'd still have the length I wanted.

So here we are, seven months later. Uncurling my curls is not an option, going to just any stylist is not an option. So I did what I do best...research. I searched high and low for curl experts. I had heard of Ouidad last year and have been using her products for the same amount of time, but resisted going to such a high priced salon. I've never paid more than 40 bucks for a haircut. Ouidad's hundred-plus dollar price tag disturbed my sensibilities. The more desperate I got, however, the more I started veering towards it. This past Monday I left my house early and decided to go into the salon to at least make an appointment. I completely FORGOT that salons are closed Mondays.

When I came home after work I decided to do some more research online. I went into all the group messages on Google and MSN and learned that there were TWO salons in NY specializing in curly hair...Ouidad and Devachan. Both cost the same, both have a strong cult following of loyal clients. I had never heard of Devachan, so I did more research into it and liked what I read. Surprisingly, my brother knew ALL about Devachan. Apparently his roommate swears by it. (Or swore by it till they cut her hair short).

So I made the decision to go to Devachan. I called them up to try to make an appointment for next week only to learn that in order to see their most famous stylist one would have to make an appointment five weeks in advance. All other stylists require at least 2-3 weeks.

Now, I have the patience of a dog in heat. When given Christmas presents, I'll open them IMMEDIATELY. When, two days before my birthday, my brother tells me he's already bought my present I want it IMMEDIATELY. I suppose I can control my patience if I needed to, but please don't ask me too. 5 weeks was totally out of the question for me. 2-3 weeks would try the patience that I don't have.

I asked the receptionist if she had anything earlier and she said I could come in today at noon. I'd be seeing a junior stylist. What's wrong with junior stylist, I thought? Nothing. At least he/she wouldn't be pretentious. And I was positive that they'd be just as good...
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:24 PM
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Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Expiration Dates
I've always believed that parents should have some sort of expiration date. Like milk, for instance, without the rancid odor. As a matter of fact, Toots and I were going to write a book whose title borders vaguely on waiting for our parents' death so we can actually begin living. Stop being so shocked. We DON'T WANT our parents to die; we just want to be unshackled. We want to live life without the conditions they've imposed on us. I've always thought parents should be parents until, say, the age of 18 or 19...I'll even give them up to 21 if need be...but after that they lose their title ("parents"). They can become our noble confidantes, or esteemed elders. I don't care what they become, but they're not allowed to have that kind of hold on us anymore after a certain age. That's the kind of expiration date I mean, not the morbid kind that most people think of when I first inform them of this notion.

So you can imagine what I must have felt like when my father informed us last night that he was going to have open heart surgery early next month. The idea of the expiration date, no matter how lacking it is in malevolence, just looks ugly when faced with your father's mortality.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 8:33 AM
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Saturday, April 15, 2006
Friends indeed
I tend to hibernate over the winter. I never leave my house except to either go to work or make my way to the gym (sometimes). I don't see my friends, I rarely (if ever) get my lazy ass off my couch. I do DO things. And it's not that I'm anti-social. It's just that I get REALLY lazy in the winters. I put on weight, stop fitting in my clothes, and hate going out as a result.

So when Toots called me this morning to go to Union Square, my first instinct was to say no. But then I realized that I hadn't seen him in over a month, which is pathetic considering how close we work to each other. And today was also the first beautiful day of the year. The temperatures were high, the sky was clear, the sun was out...I decided to STOP BEING LAZY and actually go out into the world with one of my best friends.

And it was a GREAT day. We went to Forbidden Planet and browsed through the newest comic books, spent HOURS in Union Square just sitting and talking (well...we weren't really sitting...I made him stand. See, I hate rats. And the last time I lounged around on the grass in Union Square I was approached by two rats. So I REFUSE to do it anymore. He wanted to sit on the grass, like all other fellow New Yorkers were doing. I refused. I won.)

When his ass couldn't take leaning on the railing for another second (I, of course, don't have this problem), we started walking and ended up in the Lower East Side before heading on home. We met at 4pm and left at 10pm, not even realizing how quickly time passed.

Friends are the greatest thing in the world.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 11:56 PM
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My ABC's
Accent: Typical Arabic - It creeps up on me when I least expect it! My "P's" become "B's", my "th's" turn into "z's". Sad, but true.

Booze: Haven't developed the taste for it. When I was younger, I thought all alcohol tasted like Kids Tylenol Cough Syrup; you know, the kind that came in a pink bottle. I LOVED the taste and was convinced that if I drank too much of it I would become drunk. If alcohol tasted like that cough syrup I'd be all over it.

Chore I Hate: Cleaning the bathroom. I hate cleaning the bathroom.

Dog or Cat: Dogs are faithful, cats are sneaky and care only for themselves. Here's one of my favorites cartoons:



Essential Electronics:
My iBook, MP3 player, digital camera, and Maxiglide straightening iron.

Favorite Perfume: Chanel's Mademoiselle, followed closely by Lolita Lempika and L'Esential.

Gold or Silver:
Silver. Platinum, really.

Hometown: NYC

Insomnia: Only when I'm stressed.

Job Title
: Changer of the world, one student at a time.

Kids: One day, I hope. Don't care if they're my blood or adopted.

Living arrangements: Roommates with the parents.

Most admirable trait: I am fiercely loyal.

Nastiest habit, past of present: When I was younger I had a nasty habit of picking my nose and eating my boogers. Oh stop feigning disgust...you know you probably tasted your boogers too.

Overnight hospital stays: Spent the night once with my grandmother when she was in the hospital fighting cancer.

Phobias: SNAKES! I FEAR SNAKES. And RATS.

Quote:
The squeeky wheel gets the grease.

Religion:
Trust in God, but tie up your camel.

Siblings:
1 brother. My mother always wanted to have a big family though :(

Time I wake up:
Usually 8.

Unusual talent or skill:
I can put anything together.

Vegetable I refuse to eat:
Okra. I hate okra.

Worst habit:
Taking care of people.

X-rays: X-rayed my breasts and had an ultrasound to find kidney stones.

Yummy foods I make: Stuffed chicken.

Zodiac sign: Capricorn, the best!
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 11:56 PM
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Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I knew I was perfect :)
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

In the Bible's Book of Exodus 34:14, God says His name is "Jealous." Literally. Why isn't this fact more widely discussed by people who care about religion? In his book *50 Things You're Not Supposed to Know,* Russ Kick says it's because America's Pledge of Allegiance would have to be altered to say, "one nation, under Jealous," and would lead to a redesign of U.S. currency, in which the motto "In God we Trust" became "In Jealous we trust." Your assignment, Capricorn, is to withdraw your support for any deity that calls himself or herself "Jealous"--even as you also renounce any impulse in you that indulges in jealousy. It's time to drive home to yourself how insane it is to compare your life to anyone else's. You're perfect the way you are.

(Courtesy of Rob Brezsny)
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 11:52 AM
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Pavlov's experiment
"You know about the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, who discovered the conditioned reflex. In his famous experiment, he trained laboratory dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. You may not have heard, though, about the story's surprise ending. The dogs were programmed for weeks with such rigor that their behavior became as predictable as machines. Then one day a flood inundated the lab. In the confusion, the dogs forgot all their training instantly."
(Source: Raoul Vaneigem, *The Revolution of Everyday Life*)
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 11:50 AM
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Thursday, April 06, 2006
"You want go on my boat?"


My new favorite movie is "Shirley Valentine". It's been added to my list of the best films ever.

The movie's about Shirley, a middle-aged British housewife who goes on vacation with her closest girlfriend to Mykonos. Said friend meets a "walking groin" on the flight to Athens and abandons Shirley, leaving her to fend for herself. So Shirley starts spending some valuable alone time. One late afternoon she walks into a tavern and asks the owner, Castos, if it would be possible for him to take one of the tables and place it on the beach so she could watch the sun set. The exchange that follows had me on the floor:

"You want I move table for you? You say my bar ugly?" Castos says, very abruptly, the angry Greek way...as if he's looking for a fight.

"No, no. It's just always been my dream to drink Greek wine watching the sun set".

"So you say I move table, I make for you dream come true?"

Shirley says yes and Castos takes the table out to face the beach, telling her that he's happy to make dream come true.

Later as she's ready to leave he invites her the next day to go sailing with him on his brother's boat. She's a little hesitant and he can sense it. So he says,

"Come with me on boat. It is nice boat."

"No, I don't think I should..."

"Why you not come? You afraid?"

"No, I'm not afraid...it's just that..."

"Yes. You afraid. You afraid I want make fuck with you, yes?"

She starts laughing. He continues to say, "I no want make fuck with you. I want take you on brother's boat. Boat is boat. Fuck is fuck. I no make fuck with you. You beautiful woman, but I no want make fuck".

Ah, my upcoming trip to Greece should be fun!
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:53 PM
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Who: Carmen

Mini-Bio:
xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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