Monday, November 28, 2005

'Going over to Michael's house...'

The title of this blog's a slightly different take on the lyrics of an Eel's song called 'Susan's house' because I just happened to remember it and thought I'd rip off the name of the song, a most excellent song in my opinion.

So anyways I've sort of been bumming around at home moreso since the sister left for Connecticut last Saturday. So I thought since I'm not working today - nor does it look like I'll get any work before I leave in the next two days, I might as well go up to see an old school friend in a place called Horsham which is about an hour's train ride from london, its basically in the English countryside in the county of Sussex.

Michael's the only person I know with too much free time on his hands just like me, so any time is a good time to visit him and while away the hours in each other's company.

So he picked me up from Horsham station and we just went to his place to chill out and listen to some funny odd music (and pretty random music in my opinion, although he'll hate me for saying that). Especially music by the Bonzo Dog band, a rather bohemian sounding 60's British band....I really have nothing more to say about them. We messed about on his PC and I helped him install a P2P file-sharing software that I've used....yay!

After all that strenuous activity we decided to go and grab a pizza at Pizza Hut and then watch a movie. Once we sat down to our table and ordered our pizza I decided to have a bowl of salad so I went down to the salad bar and I suddenly felt like the only brown person in the whole of Horsham as my paranoia got the best of me and made me think that all the white customers were looking at me. I wonder what gave me away, was it my disheveled look combined with brown skin and the standard issue military skrim warm neck band that looked a bit like a skimask? I'll let you be the judge of that, observe:

Do I look like a threat to society? Note: I just took this picture now for authenticity

Horsham's a very white area but NOT bigotted but nevertheless I felt a sudden chill in the air. Again I can be very suceptible to bouts of paranoia so don't take any notice of what I just said, infact look at it as filler if anything.

So after we had a few interesting short debates over media consiparcy theories and the other social ills in the world over our pizza, we made a bee line for the cinema across the car park and watched a gem of a film called 'The Constant Gardener'. Its an independent film directed by Fernando Meirelles who also directed City of God - a film I've yet to see, but its right up there with Lord of War and Crash in my opinion and will probably be up there with Syriana when that comes out here in March. The film is an amazing present-day thriller with a real axe-to-grind storyline about the corruption of drug companies and how they abuse the third world by paying western rich governments to turn a blind eye. Its the kind of all-encompassing universally hard hitting message that really attracts me to films of this genre.

It really makes a change from the Hollywood crap we must endure, and if it gets people thinking and taking positive action against the status quo then all the better! I don't intend to sit around working for bluechip companies for the rest of my life thereby making the rich richer and the poor poorer in some indirect way. Once I get my immediate priorities straightened out I'm going to at least make an active effort to do something more worthwhile with the little time I have on earth, I think we all should.

This isn't me ranting on about some obscure humanitarian cause and it sure as hell aint a passing fad or phase. There's far too much wrong with the world for this to be JUST a 'phase'! Don't get me wrong, this isn't my ultimate mission statement its purely how I've been feeling about the world that I've found myself growing up in over the past 10 years.

(Sigh...) I'm going to have to shelve these thoughts of peace and justice for now and get my life back on track, besides I need to catch some serious Z's.

But before I go, I've been meaning to give a mention to fellow blogger and school friend Nafie aka 'random culture' for a long time now. His mother died of cancer a few months ago now and I'd like to think that he still checks my blog and knows that my heartfelt prayers are with him Inshallah! Take care bro and I hope you've come to the conclusion that this is simply a part of life as that should help to ease the pain for everyone in your family.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Da Sistah's in da house

Yay, my big sister's come over from Connecticut for a week's break which is nice especially since we found out she's expecting and hasn't been feeling 100% lately so its nice having her around! She's my only sibling so we make the most of each other's company especially since we only see each other about once a year these days. I must say I first met the news with a pretty lukewarm response because she never struck me as the maternal type, also the fact that I'm an uncle to so many other of my cousins' children sorta wore out the novelty ages ago. Nevertheless this little 'jellybean' (I came to that conclusion on viewing the latest ultrasound snaps) is my 'own' flesh and bone moreso than all the other kids I'm an uncle to, so that in it self is probably cool.

I must say the most surreal thing about it all is knowing that the little jellybean shaped being is actually in her at this very moment in time, I mean think about it, its just really amazing how the body can accommodate something like that. Oh well its all uncharted territory for me so thanks for bearing with me so far.

Anyways I'll be leaving for Dubai next Thursday with the folks and start furnishing the apartment we just bought on a shoestring/Ikea budget of around £1000 which my sister arrived at while putting her pretty dormant interior design skills to work. It'll be interesting to see how far we stretch that in reality but I'm sure mom's going to find a few bargains here and there, I mean its Dubai - The Hong Kong of the Middle East, we're bound to find some good stuff up for haggling.

I'm still working on getting through to my man Mo in Melbourne to find out if he's going to be there when I go because he's one of the very few good old school friends from my Doha days I still keep in touch with and I'd like to keep it that way.

Right well I've more or less exhausted my mental faculties for tonight and I'd like to think I have more interesting less self-obsessed things to talk about in the next entry.....hang on this is a blog is it not?!! If I can be self-centered here where the hell can I be!!! Ok I'm tired now. Laterz y'all!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Supermarket tunes

Is it just me or are supermarkets getting more in-yer-face when it comes to self-promotion? My local superstore is Tesco (for the benefit of all non-UK residents Tesco is the biggest supermarket retailer in the country) and on every aisle there's at least one little LCD screen looming above from the top shelf. Their seemingly soft low-volume non-threatning jingles playing alongside promotional spots for the latest Pot noodles just drives me nuts hours - sometimes even days after my last visit!

They stick to your brain like shit to a blanket its unbelievable! Talk about product placement! Subliminal doesn't even begin to describe how obscenely ingenious these marketing people are. Who needs cold callers while you're in the shower when you got annoying jingles to remind you of an omnipresent supermarket chain subtley encroaching on your buying habits if not your nearest national heritage site.

I'm no anarchist, not by a long shot (I'm far too lazy for that) but this thing we call 'Globalization' really is sucking the soul out of communities by killing off smaller businesses and services e.g. local pharamacies, coffee shops, grocery stores etc. Maybe this the trade off for the global population explosion we've been experiencing over the past century or so and its only natural that the powers that be come up with a solution to satisfy the masses. Except as far as I can see the masses who need to benefit the most from globalization are the biggest losers and in juxtaposition these very people are the biggest contributers to lining the pockets of fat cat company bosses who in turn lobby the most powerful governments in the world to partake in some of the most heinous acts against humanity and the planet.

Yes that Big Mac really does come from rather unsavoury cow parts and the cattle graze on increasingly large areas of once-virgin Amazonian rainforest, all so you can get a normal hamburger for 99p and get another totally free and rest assured that your favourite fastfood joint is 'giving back to the community'. Mmmm I'm Lovin' it!

Well thats one extra thing to think about when you're waiting in line for your latte at your 'friendly neighbourhood' Starbucks whilst listening to the latest Bob Dylan album playing in the background.

I know where I'll be shopping next week, thats right Tesco because they wield the power of economies of scale and I, like my fellow beings in this rat race love getting my £1.20 loaf of bread for 70p at 7pm. Having said that I haven't bought Marks and Spencer stuff for years and have sworn off Burger King and McDonalds not only because I hate their hypocrytic work ethics and everthing they stand for but I'm trying my best not to have a corornary at the age of 22.

Ok so the moral of my rightfully placed angst-ridden observation is: Think about how you caught yourself humming a completely ridiculous tune in front of the computer at work or at home.