Monday, January 22, 2007

I've Moved

to If you have me on your blogroll, please update the link! See you there!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Pak-Jordan Trip Part 2: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

As for the plane rides, well you know I always wish I hadn't forgotten my trusty blow-gun with the tranquilizer darts. Think I could have gotten it on the plane? As for airplane food, Emirates Air wins, hands down. Their food is actually pretty good. Watched a lot of movies and did a lot of puzzles since I can't sleep too much on the plane.
1. Barnyard: Hilarious. Excellent movie. I'd been wanting to see it for awhile.
2. Lady in the Water: I liked that too. I heard it didn't do well at the box office, but I thought it was an excellent story and very well done. Except those wolfy creatures gave me nightmares.
3. Invincible: Good. I'm not a big sports fan, but it's hard not to get excited for the main character's success (based on a true story, not sure how accurately).
4. Scoop: Weird. Woody Allen is annoying, but I enjoyed the way he made a comedy out of a situation that's definitely not too funny. And I like Scarlett Johanssen.
5. The Queen: Well, what I saw of it was good. I was pretty sleepy at that time. I will have to watch it again.

Trains. Well, a train. From Islamabad to Lahore. Very nice, we got to take a break from the road traffic for a train ride, so I was able to enjoy the scenery without worrying about getting killed on the highway.

Automobiles. The fun part. Especially the ride back to Islamabad from Lahore, via the village, taking some "shortcuts" through several villages and village-sized potholes. And everywhere getting mooed and baaed at by the psychedelically painted Eid cows and goats. Well, I had a lot of fun. I'm not sure about the drivers or the cars' shocks and tires!

Next up, wildlife! Including forms of transportation that don't have engines.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mmmmmac N' Cheese

For some reason, whenever I've been having a lot of Pakistani food, I start craving a big bowl of Macaroni and Cheese. Good stuff.
Fat Bulldog

One of my neighbors has the fattest bulldog I've ever seen. It's hilarious. Seriously, his belly hangs so low that his back curves in at the middle. He has this tiny head that's only about a third the width of his body. I was driving by and had to stop the car to stare. And he was staring back (you know that bad-as-I-wanna-be bulldog look) like "you got a problem with corpulent canines?"

By the way, the transition to wordpress is underway. I'll make the move and post the new address as soon as I get the new page the way I like it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

An Old Arab

An old Arab lived close to New York City for over 40 years. He would have loved to plant potatoes in his garden, but is too old to dig it up. His son is in college in Paris, so the old man sends him an email:

"Beloved son,
I am very sad because I can't plant potatoes in my garden. I am sure, if only you were here, you would help and dig up the garden for me.
I love you, Your Father."

The following day, the old man receives a reply from his son:

"Beloved Father,
Please don't touch the garden.
It's there that I have hidden 'the THING.'
I love you too, Ahmed."

At 4pm the US Army, the Marines, the FBI, the CIA, and the Rangers visit the house of the old man, take the whole garden apart, search every inch, but can't find anything. Disappointed, they leave the house.

A day later, the old man receives another email from his son:

"Beloved Father,
I hope the garden is dug up by now and you can plant your potatoes.
That's all I could do for you from here.
I love you, Ahmed."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made some vegan chocolate chip cookies this weekend. They turned out better than my regular cookies! And since there are no eggs, you can eat all the cookie dough you want!

2 - 2 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup margarine, softened (do not melt)
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup extra firm tofu, pureed
1 tb vanilla extract
2 tsp imitation vanilla (I substituted some orange oil for half of this. It was pretty good)
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (make sure they're dairy-free if you want to go all vegan)

Preheat oven 350. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. Mix sugars in another bowl. Cream margarine with an electric mixture, then add sugars and mix well. Add tofu until well blended. Add vanillas. Add flour mixture, one cup at a time. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop in one-inch globs on cookie sheet (I line mine with parchment paper, it helps a lot). Bake about 15 minutes.

By the way, check out this press release: Muslim Women Leaders Launch Global Movement to Empower Muslim Women.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Favorite Songs and Translation Issues

Ramadan Mubarak! (Well, in a few hours anyways). I hope you all have a wonderful and successuful Ramadan and are able to fully take advantage of the blessings available this month.

My current favorite song is "Parvaneyeh Man" by Fereidoun Foroughi. You can hear it on this site. There are some other good songs of his posted there too. "Parvaneyeh Man" roughly translates as "My Butterfly," which sounds a bit trite in English. I printed out the lyrics online to translate them, as i find that this is a good way to practice languages. Print out the lyrics to a favorite song in that language, translate it, and then listen to the song again after you have found out what all the words mean. Or maybe i'm just a nerd. You can do the same thing with news articles and stories, but it doesn't have the same effect since you most likely never heard them spoken and if you did, are not as likely to hear them again as a song you like.

Anyways, the song is incredibly beautiful in the original Farsi but sounds really silly translated into English. It doesn't help that Farsi is an agglutinative language, and the resulting English translations have at least twice the syllables and length of the original, so it really messes up the flow. I can understand how Rumi translators have so much trouble keeping the flow and feel of the original. That still doesn't let Coleman Barks off the hook for solving the problem by mistranslating for the sake of the "original feel," but i can see their plight.

What's your current favorite song? Do you have favorite songs in other languages that you don't know well or are learning? Do you know what they mean?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

ISNA Overview

Yes, I’ve been back for over a week and am just getting to it now. Anyways, we had a good time. We got to hear former Iranian President Khatami, new ISNA President Ingrid Mattson, and other speakers such as Robert Fisk, Hamza Yusuf, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Ameena Jandali, Sherman Jackson, Zaid Shakir, Suhaib Webb, and Mokhtar Maghraoui. Lots of stuff in the bazaar too, but I didn’t shop much this year. I wish I had taken my trusty IRiver with me to more lectures. Soon we can check out ISNA TV for the main hall sessions, but I wish I had recorded the sessions I went to that were not in the main hall; they were very good and I know I have probably forgotten 80% of the information I got. Read below for some “props” and promotions:

CHOCOLATE!! (got your attention, didn’t I?): Chef Uzma Sharif, owner of Love in Disguise, is the granddaughter of a prominent pastry chef in Pakistan. She has studied at Colorado Mountain Culinary Institute and the French Pastry School in Chicago. She is now a chocolatier and makes delicious chocolates and TRUFFLES! She was selling some of her truffles in the bazaar, and my favorites were fresh mint and dark chocolate. When I got home and checked out her website, I found out that she also makes several exotic truffles that she hadn’t brought with her, such as Sweet Basil, two-layer Pistachio and Cardamon, Spanish Saffron, Earl Grey, Tasmanian Honey, and White Chocolate Cardamom. Sounds good and can't wait to try all of them! If you like to order chocolate online, I highly encourage you to support this chef and give her truffles a try next time you buy. And remember, MANY PEOPLE LIKE TO RECEIVE CHOCOLATE AS A GIFT! ;-) Ramadan and Eid are also coming up, so remember to stock up for when you receive invitations to peoples’ homes.

Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah’s new book, A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb. From what I’ve heard so far, it is an interesting read about one of the first Muslim converts in the Americas. It’s next in line for me to read. And as usual, i have to promote this CD set too, which Chai got me a couple years ago!

Magazines: Islamica, Emel, and Azizah. Islamica Magazine is fairly new, and its articles focus on the issues faced by Muslims all over the world. I’ve read the last couple issues, and it’s very good, informative, and entertaining. Islamica is now available in many Barnes and Noble bookstores; if it is not available in your local store, ask for it! And then buy it when it comes in so B&N knows you meant it. Emel is published in England, and focuses on the lifestyles of modern Muslims, mostly Western Muslims. Along with current events, it includes features on fashion, food, family, and sports. We bought a few issues, which I haven’t read yet, but I enjoyed the Emel issues I have read before. Islamic Horizons you’re probably all familiar with; it is published by ISNA and focuses mainly on current events, although it does contain some human interest stories as well. You receive it for free if you become a member of ISNA. Azizah magazine shouldn’t really be on here since it wasn’t at ISNA, but I am mentioning it because it’s one of my favorites! It is a magazine for Muslim women, and it is very contemporary and “hip,” and discusses issues relevant to Muslim women and the community. Check it out!

Nema Halal Meat and Cheese: Their sausage is tasty! I’m not sure if the animals they get are organic, but they feed them only natural grains once they acquire them, and they hand-slaughter them and drain the blood. They do the slaughtering and the packaging themselves. I’ll probably write to them to see if the animals they get are organic. Try the Sudjouk, a ring bologna available in mild or spicy.

Got to see Izzy Mo and her artwork in person! Check it out on her site. Looks like she's also got a link to an ISNA slideshow on there. I just found out from reading her post that Morgan Spurlock was there! I didn't see him, but that's really cool.

Sharah Clothing: Their collection is not up on their site yet; it says it will be up for Ramadan. Their clothing is made of natural fibers and it looks and feels very nice. Keep an eye out for when it is available online.