Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Global Freeeeeeeezing (or at least Ottawa)

Some pics I took in the ABSOLUTELY FREEZING COLD of last week (and I mean it when I say freezing cold. I was wearing three layers under my down-filled jacket, heavy mitts, scarf, and hat, and still couldn't feel my extremities. But coming home at sunset often results in being inspired, and I figured if I was already frost-bitten, what would really be the difference in three more minutes of outside exposure to capture the moment. Let me just say I don't envy the construction guys who are still working on the houses in the street behind ours...)

Morning shot near the bus stop

Plaza two blocks from home. Someone decided to take the Loeb shopping cart halfway home, I guess

The finished houses a block away from us

and the "not-finished" houses. Poor Poor Construction Guys!

Monday, January 29, 2007

If you work in IT...

This should make you want to both laugh and cry simultaneously... click on the pic to enlarge... and read ... and weep...

How do they get the graffiti up there exactly?

Wow, it's been ages since I've posted with any consistency (at least my new year's resolution wan't to make the blog more interactive or anything, that would have been a hoot!)

Just a pic that has caused me great amusement over the last few weeks, that I wanted to share with whoever actually looks at this blog:

I took this from the 7th floor of a ridiculously expensive parking garage downtown (arrived at noon. Left at 5 p.m. Damage done to my wallet = $15. This, along with the ability to sleep on the bus and the fact that gas is ridiculous and the world is warming up too quickly for anyone's comfort, is another reason for taking public transit most days...)

But seriously, how did the "artist" in question manage to get that grafitti at the top of the SunLife building? You have to figure it was an angry contractor hired to do some work on the roof, non?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Thousand Words...

I haven't posted for the last two weeks because life has been busy, and I spent a good 4 days of this week being sick with the stomach flu that has taken over pretty much everyone I know in Eastern Canada at some point this winter (Hey, if it's good enough for the Montreal Canadiens, it's good enough for me!)
If I haven't said it before, it needs to be said that I love the New Yorker. The reasons for this are endless, but the one I'd like to point out right now is the cover of one of their recent issues from last November. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I couldn't agree more, so here's the best way, without launching into a rant of that length, to describe Dubya's 6 years in office so far...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm being stalked!

It's shocking, I don't quite know how to deal with it. I've heard about stalkers and how being stalked throws you off and does crazy things to you psychologically, but until it happens to you, you can't imagine...
My stalker is about 2 feet tall and weighs less than 50 pounds. She follows me around, waddling after me wherever I go within her vicinity waving her hands at me and calling out "mama" "nanna" and, mostly "uppa uppa uppa" (which is Arabic baby talk for "carry me"). "Mama" is mostly what my stalker calls her mother, but there are moments where she uses the term with her grandmother and aunt, and "nanna" is the closest she comes to saying my name.
My stalker is a year and two months old, and I think she's addicted to me mainly because I agree to carry her more often than I should, but it's really very hard to resist.
I'm not calling the authorities; I actually quite enjoy this arrangement :D

Monday, January 08, 2007

Exercise Ball?

By now everyone's seen these things. I use them at the gym as part of workouts, but more and more, I've seen people around the office use them as chairs while they work, and I'm seriously considering it myself.

They're supposed to force you into good posture, something I majorly struggle with. I'm only 24, and I've had back and neck issues for a while (more on dislocating my ribs in a future post). I figure they're only going to get worse as I get older and spend more and more of my working life hunched over a desk (I've been working full--time for almost two years now, and before that I spent my waking hours hunched over computers and text books at SITE at the U of O, so not a lot of "good" sitting happening here).

My justification for getting it is that I figure I sit for so long at work that no matter what good ergonomic chair I have, I end up slouching. I end up doing at 40 hours of slouching a week, which is not cool, but if this ball was my chair, and I slouched, I'd just fall over, thus forcing me not to get complacent with my posture once I got caught up in some diagram or document or report. And if the experiment fails miserably, I'll just go back to my chair and take the exercise ball home for my modest home gym...

So, opinions? Do you think I should even try this, or is it an unworthy failed experiment?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Skateboard Park

I'm digging into my archive for pics because I realize that I actually haven't taken anything new for a while (read: 10 days). I promise to be better, it's just that the "unpretty" weather isn't inspiring me to photograph. In the meantime, enjoy shots from a skateboard park taken in September on my walk home through the old neighbourhood.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Muslims in the Mainstream

A couple of things that really got my interest in politics / pop-culture this week:

  • Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to U.S. Congress started work this week, by using a Quran that used to belong to Thomas Jefferson at his swearing-in. This makes me very, very happy, on so many levels. First, it's great that there's a Muslim in Congress, participating in the political process on a daily basis, making his voice known, and proving that Muslims can be active partners in running a county like the U.S., whose history and culture is so often incorrectly seen as clashing with Muslim values and culture, that this clash is too big to overcome, etc, etc.. Second, the fact that he used a Quran for his swearing-in is a beautiful symbolic gesture of his identity as an American AND a Muslim, and the fact that that Quran at one point belonged in Thomas Jefferson's personal library shows that a founding father of the States was not afraid of other, different religions. (A neat quote from Jefferson to prove this point: "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.") I find it laughable but sad that Virgil Goode, a Congressman, tried to tie this to stricter immigration laws, so because you know, otherwise the Muslims will take over the U.S. and they'll ALL want to be sworn in with Qurans instead of Bibles! Oh Horrors! The funniest part of this is that Ellison was born Catholic and converted to Islam in college. For further reading, here's a great article point out Goode's excruciatingly flawed logic, better written than anything I can come up with...
  • The other neat thing, north of the border, is the upcoming premiere of a
  • comedy called Little Mosque on the Prairie. This is a CBC television show about a small fictional Canadian town with a growing Muslim population and the ensuing hilarity of conflicts of understanding and culture that take place between them and the rest of the population. All I've seen thus far are teaser clips on the website and on TV, but right now, I've got a good feeling about this. I don't mind laughing at ourselves at all (see Allah Made Me Funny), and I encourage a more prominent Muslim presence in the mainstream media, after all, how do we expect people to relate to us if they don't have the first clue what we're actually like? I'm just hoping the show is fair, and doesn't go for too many low blows. There's enough negativity out there about Muslims in the mainstream media as it is... For more on the Little Mosque hype, see this.

Oh, yes, and on a totally unrelated note, I should point out that I'm feeling quite a bit better today in terms of the cold. I'm still not totally out of the woods, but my head's no longer in a complete fog, and by around 2 pm today, I was able to breath through my nose again. But the improvement sadly took place only after my sister caught it from me :(


Team Canada's Junior Men's Hockey team won their third straight world title today, 4-2 over Russia in Sweden. A very proud moment for this country (or at least the hockey fanatics in the country). As the game was being played in a time zone 6 hours ahead of us, the game was happening at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and my office was split between those who cared and were following either by radio or on TSN's live tracker, and those who weren't in the least bit interested.
A tidbit of the conversation from those who cared: "2-0!" "4-0!" "4-1. Oh no, they're mounting a comeback" "Can you get radio where you're sitting?"
A tidbit of the conversation between myself and those who didn't care:
Me (passing a colleague in the hall): 4-2 with 20 minutes left. Let's hope we can pull this off.
Colleague: Blank stare
Me: You know, the Junior Hockey Championships? The final? Right now?
Colleague: Oh, that.
Me: If we win, it's three in a row.
Colleague: disinterested look
Me: You don't follow hockey?
Colleague: Nope
Me: You don't care at all?
Colleague: Nope
Me: Not even from a "Canada's really good at something and that's kind of nice" perspective?
Colleague: Nope.

and so I'm left to shake my head and return to conversation with those who do care. Otherwise it's just kind of anti-climactic, and that's a let down, you know?

Anyway, so I'm thrilled about the victory, and also thrilled that the tournament was such a success for so many Montreal Canadiens' prospects representing many countries. Canada's goalie, Carey Price, is Montreal draft pick and had a tremendous tournament. So did Montreal's prospects on Russia, Belarus, and Slovakia. The future is looking bright, my fellow Habs fans. Smile...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cold / Flu

It's not going away right now; in fact, it's turned into one of the close-your-mouth-and-you-won't-be-able-to-breathe-anymore variety... We're talking sore throat, runny nose, stiff muscles...
Lots of garlic, lots of vinegar (more homeopathic solutions for sinus-clearing, and garlic is actually a natural anti-biotic), lots of sleep. I didn't get up until about 11 this morning, and that was me peeling myself out of bed.

Here are a couple of pics taken on my commute home (and a walk around downtown at lunch) in healthier times...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Party! (family, friends, and forbidden food)

Yesterday was M and I's official engagement party. We had it right here at home, with his and my immediate family, as well as all of the extended family I have that's near by enough to attend (aka, Ottawans and Montrealers). Lots of fun, and lots of picture taking, and lots of normally-not-allowed-food-eating. Let's see:
-Ferrero Rocher chocolates (2 yesterday, and probably 5 or 6 today)
-Ice Cream (chocolate and vanilla. It's been SO long... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....)
-A honkin' slice of vanilla and strawberry cake (With "Congratulations Mohamed and Noha" written on the front)
-Cheese slices (cheddar, to be specific, over breakfast and as well as on nachos while watching a movie today)
-Grapes (but this doesn't count because I always "cheat" with grapes)
-Some pita bread in a traditional Egyptian dish called "Fatta" (With "Congratulations Noha and Mohamed" written on top in Arabic with Fatta sauce by my Daddy :D)

All in all, I'm shocked my system was able to handle it so well. I really expected I'd be sick in bed today what with all my cheating, but instead I was up and about and consuming more chocolate. I do have my first cold of the season, however, and I'm swearing by the homeopathic remedies of oregano oil and ginger tea. Like Buckley's, they taste awful, but they work.

Most of the crowd left last night to head home. My sister, brother-in-law, and M took off a couple of hours ago and should be back in Montreal any minute now. Tomorrow it's back to the office for me...

My New Year's Resolution

There's a beautiful hadeeth (saying / teaching) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) on the topic of patience, which says:

"How wonderful is the case of the believer; there is good for him in everything he does, and this applies only to the believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to God and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him".
My new year's resolution is to implement this gratitude and patience in my life on a daily basis, whether with blessings or disappointments, both big and small. Those of you who know me know I wear my heart on my sleeve, which in itself is not a problem, but which of course has the sometimes-effect of higher-highs and lower-lows than necessary for life's everyday happenings. If you see me getting out of hand, remind me to be good. Please and Thank you.