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Preview: And Far Away...

And Far Away...

Roba writing from Jordan about art, design, and random personal thoughts.

Updated: 2014-10-28T14:09:36.145+03:00


Gone. Really. Completely.


It's a sad yet exciting experience moving to a new home. It's still not completely furnished, there a few paintings that still need hanging, many boxes that need unpacking, and a few plugs that don't work yet. But it's in livable condition- there's fresh content as often as I can serve, and warm water. So come on over and don't forget the housewarming cookies (I love cookies).

This has been home for the past two years, and I have grown to love Blogger. It saw growth, love, fights, stupidity, and a whole ton of art. Unfortunately, I'm afraid it doesn't fit my things anymore, and I found myself having to move out. This house will stay open, but it will get dusty with the days.

There are new keys, your old keys will open an old house now.

Please update your address books, it's rude to lead people to an empty house!

ey mambo, mambo italiano


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You would have thought that you were in Rome if you watched the game in Amman tonight. Ex-HardRockCafe was as crowded as heck with people who cheered for Italy. Personally, I was neutral yet leaning towards the Italian side (dude, they're hot). It was a good game other than for the bit with Zeidane, which annoyed me. What a sad end to a great player.

So, oh, my god, the World Cup is done? Life is gonna have to go back to normal routine?

Leaving you with a few horrible picture of Italian Amman.

(image) (image) (image)

M for... mathematical ability


Yazan says:
Check this... "European researchers have created neuro-chips that fuse together brain cells and microprocessors.
Yazan says:
Around 16,000 transistors are glued to neurons in such a way that they can pass electrical signals to the chip." Sweet ey?
Yazan says:
We could add a math and navigation unit to your brain
Roobee says:
Yazan says:
u'd be able to count and tell left from right
Roobee says:
i know i suck at math but i have good navigation ya zeft




Today I had the chance to watch "V for Vendetta", a movie that I didn't expect to enjoy much. But as usual, I always end up enjoying the comic-book classics even though I never think I will. The story is too Orwellian and the directing reminded me too much of the famous 1984 Macintosh advertisement, but what the heck, I guess you can't really go wrong with 1984 and comic books as far as this person is concerned.

The directing was excellent, I want a Guy Fawkes mask. I was also of course greatly entertained by all the anti-conservative details of the movie, as well as the punches at the US's current "War on Terror".

Fair and... not so lovely


NOTHING annoys me more than the unbelievably annoying, sexist, shallow, and stereotypical commercials of "natural fairness cream" Fair&Lovely. No. It doesn't annoy me, it downright pisses me off.

A typical Fair&Lovely commercial scenario starts with a little dark skinned Arab girl dreaming of being a television star (add singing into combs and dressing up in mommy's heels). Fast forward a few years, the girl is in her early 20's and isn't getting anywhere in regards to her dreams, and so mommy decides to whip up the magical bottle of Fair&Lovely that not only supposedly makes the girl prettier, but also drastically improves her personality and lands her a fantastic job followed by a wonderful career.

The last scene in the commercial that particularly pissed me off ends with the now-a-big-star-thanks-to-fair-and-lovely-girl giving a little speech on how Fair&Lovely changed her life, "I discovered that my skills, my college degree, and my personality are not enough to obtain the success I wanted in life- I have to be also beautiful. Thanks Fair&Lovely for making me beautiful."


Fair&Lovely, you are evil for enforcing the stereotype that with fairness comes beauty, as I'm sure a lot of the girls watching your stupid commercials actually fall for your claims and start feeling bad about their gorgeous olive-skinned complexions. Just because you want to sell your product.

Fair&Lovely, you are offensive for advertising your product with the stereotype that women have to be beautiful to be successful, rather than putting down the great qualities of wit, knowledge, self-confidence, and various other personality traits that we should encourage rather than dispel.

Advertisements could be such a dangerous weapon when it makes an impact on a young mind. The effect of such bullshit advertising on the mind of a young girl trying hard to make a career for herself while all the while being constantly bombarded by ads on TV showing that personal skills and wits are just a secondary add on to looks.

It is not that I am against whitening creams, although as someone who spends hours tanning, I do not understand the fixation with fairness. I mean, whatever makes a person happy and comfortable is good, whether it is bleached hair, tan-in-a-bottle (my guilty pleasure), or a nose job. But I am very much against stupid advertising that works on girls' self-esteem to sell a product.

Bleh! So you think MBC would give a bull's crap if we send letters and emails asking them to not show the stupid ads?

Death of an Artist


My heart ached when I read this morning that leading Palestinian artist Ismael Shammout had passed away on July 4th. Shammout committed his life's work to Palestine, it's culture, it's people, and to the art of liberation.

self portrait of the artist

Shammout was seventeen when on July 13, 1948, he was evicted from his home along with the majority of the population of Al Lydd, after which he ended up in the refugee camp of Khan Younis where he painted the suffering of women and children. Shammout organized his first exhibit in 1950 in this very refugee camp.

Shammout's career as an artist and popular hero of Palestine began with his 1953 exhibition of oil paintings in Gaza of the catastrophic march through wilderness, on his death, the world was suffering news of the latest attacks on Shammout's Gaza.

What a loss to the art world, what a loss to Palestine.

My sincere condolences to his wife, Palestinian artist Tamam Il-Akhal.

+ Shammout
+ Kabob Fest
+ Electronic Intifada










Little yellow duckie floating in a blue ocean and pale blue skies in a MOUSE? (link)

Meanwhile, this is sorta interesting:


Blankness Speaking



passing (july).
hating (sometimes).
sitting (car, seat, floor).
screaming (no).
wishing (cry).
loving (most times).
cussing (him).
dreaming (future, past, present).
yelling (piss off).
cheering (goal).
worrying (late).
smiling (superman).
thinking (yeah?).
spending (too much).
aching (gaza).
waiting (finish, come, when).


Allez les bleus



And so the samba troupe dance their way out of the World Cup, and the roosters cock-a-doodle-dooed their way into the semi-finals. Weeeheee! It's not that I'm on the French side, but man, I'm so glad Brazil is out.

We're such a Brazilian country though- where we watched the game, there were literally around 8 people on the French side (including 3 on our table- hi Hala, mwah) and everyone else was Brazilian, flags, shirts and the whole works.

World Cup Mania


The Jordanian way...

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... and for God's sake don't sit and have piss fits at how this is not "Jordanian" but rather Western Ammani fakeness- it's definitely Jordanian, ok? Regardless of whether it's Western Ammani Bag3awi or even Tafili. JUST DON'T HAVE PISSFITS AT ME.

That aside, here are a few pictures and a video I took today of my brothers and friends getting ready to go watch the Argentina-Germany match.

You would think that they are Germans or Argentinians from all the passion- alas, the Arabs fada7oona in the World Cup and the Jordanian team has a long way to go before they show their sweaty calve muscles at the World Cup so whatever, eh?

I say, "Go Germany!", friend sitting next to me yanks my hair and tries to type "Go Argentina!"







And Argentina just got a goal. NOOOOO!

Kill her. Dead. End of brand.


As a child, the only toy that ever proved satisfying to my creative needs was Barbie, and not in the girly-girly "Yayyy, dollll!" type-of-way. I loved Barbie because it provided a creative outlet I didn't find in videogames, sports, and boardgames. I could design her house, give her haircuts, glue fabric to make her clothes, create complicated plots starring my very big Barbie collection, and even sit her drown on my bed and draw her in my little sketchbooks.

Looking back, as funny as this sounds, Barbie's impact on my life was drastic.

It was during all those hours bending over my dollhouse changing the colors of the walls, arranging the intricately designed furniture, and making my dolls clothes that I decided I want to be a designer, and although I was so young, it is one of my most vivid memories. I was spending the day with a childhood friend of mine, Aseel, and while we were sitting on the floor glueing beads and fabric to make dresses and spraying glitter on tiny chairs, the conversation moved to what we wanted to be when we grew up. That day I learned a new word from Aseel- "designer", a job where we can almost play with furniture and clothes forever! We both loved the idea so much that we decided then and there that that was what we were going to be when we grew up.

The next many years saw Aseel and I preparing for our dream. We poured our effort into taking art classes together, sitting for hours with scissors and paper exchanging tactics we learned, making cards, dying our hair bright blue to look "artistic", sitting on her family computer pouring over 'MS. Paint', and we even took painting and ceramics classes.

I lost contact with Aseel when I was around 16, then I saw her in the mall last year and we chatted for a few minutes, and to my delight, I found out that she was also studying design at some university in Dubai.

I find it amusing that we both got what we wanted, we both became designers, but Barbie, our childhood muse, is seeing red.

I've been reading about her decline for years now and witnessing it as my baby cousins replace Barbie's graceful beauty with the aesthetic ugliness of Bratz. Today, a radical idea is being proposed: Kill her. Dead. End of brand.

Could it really be? Is Barbie really dying? Has she stopped providing creative energy to little girls?

Detour City



How to encourage students to think for themselves


"There are three things which you may never write about in your essays for this class."
That was the first thing I heard yesterday in my first writing class on the first day of the summer semester.
The professor walked up to the chalkboard and wrote the following three words:

1. Religion
2. Politics
3. Sex

An hour later in my second class, Military Science, the officer introduced himself and then told us that there is one thing that will never be discussed in this class, and which we are not allowed to ask any questions about - politics.

Snippets from the website of Jordan University,

The adoption of the principle of democracy in the education and decision-making processes.

... it is by such activity that the university would become a main center of enquiry into the physical and social problems of the country. Within its precincts, there could grow up succeeding generations of students with an understanding of the sociological and technical problems of their country, and, as practical experience was added to their theoretical knowledge, these scholars would be in a position to make an outstanding contribution towards their solution.

How depressing.

For the love of...



Warhol :)

Have I ever mentioned that I absolutely adore Andy Warhol? Like absolutely. To bits and little tiny pieces.


Anyway, I've been having this intense craving for mushroom soup every single day of the past week, and aside from lunch at a friends house today and breakfast at Wild Jordan yesterday, mushroom soup is pretty much the only thing I ate all week.

I love Campbell's.


Colorless green ideas sleep furiously


colorless green--> drab green(bright)

ideas --> creative thoughts

sleep --> are dormant

furiously --> opressed, fighting to get out

A drab idea that would have otherwise had creative potential lies opressed and struggling for release in the brains of idiots who refuse to accept that anything can make perfect and fantastic sense with a dallop of an effort inclusive of thinking.

100% full of sense.




When it was spring, every time I'd get on the phone with my parents, they'd ask about the plants. Did the flowers bloom? What colors are the tulips? Is the gardener taking care of the herbs? Naturally, I don't know anything about plants, so I generally just take pictures and show them later.

This morning, while walking to my car, I couldn't help but let out of squeel of delight when I saw a tree blooming outside in the garden. When my mother came after spring, she was really disappointed to see that this particular tree wasn't blooming at all. I hate the fact that she's missing it, especially as it is so big and pretty, so I just thought I'd blog this picture to show her (hi mommy).

Yay or nay?


Worked on this for a school project, not sure I like it enough. What do you guys think?



Happy 24th of June to all Jordanians.

Road Rage


I'm often accused of being too aggressive a driver ("people like you cause road rage!"), and admittedly, I do use driving as anger management every now and then. Although I'm usually a nice calm person, piss me off while I'm driving and I have no problem rolling down my window and having a cow (hi zooks).


Isn't this awesome? Driv-emocion gives drivers the ability to express themselves traffically without getting too extreme. Your standard :) and :( are options while text such as "back off" and "thanks" offer a more direct expression. I'm not sure it's expressive enough for me, but I love it anyway.

Beep. Beep.

+ Core77

How, em, politically correct



This is a print ad the guys over at Room 116 found in a magazine in the Dominican Republic.
I think its amusing, on many different levels.



An awesome and really creative formula:

Blank white billboard:

Graffiti artists have some (legal) fun:

Adidas people cover the graffiti with stencils:

Awesome, eh?

Another cool billboard that caught my eye:


Walls of Gaza


"Target" by Palestinian artist Laila Shawa, of a boy whose face is in the cross hairs of a rifle.

Shawa uses photographs of the ‘raw dialogue of graffiti’ on the walls of her hometown, Gaza, to bear witness to the brutalisation of lives, and in particular the impact of the ongoing conflict on children.


Closed for Redecoration



The other day I felt like having a Doolab sandwich, basically kabab done the shawerma way in this tiny place in a hidden alley in Sweifieh. To my surprise, I found a big banner that loudly said "Closed for redecoration".

Today, I went to have shawerma at my favorite shawerma place, a cheap Turkish stall in Jabal il-Hussein. I looked and looked for the store among the plentitude of stalls, then I saw a small white paper glued to the only closed stall. Closed for redecoration. WHATTT?

Why is Amman becoming more design conscious all at the same time?!

It sort of reminds me of Tom & Jerry, a little hamburger place that was down the street from my grandmother's house growing up, and probably my favorite diner in the world at that point. One summer, we came to Amman to find the front door of Tom & Jerry sporting a "Closed for redecoration" sign. It hung there for a very long time. Tom & Jerry never got through to redecorating and the place never opened again.

World Cup Fever


Is that the most cliche post title or what? Oh, well, a fever dictates some things and that title is a part of the package I guess.

I haven't blogged in what seems like a while to me (actually, the last post I poured Robenergy into was on the 12th, so there goes), and mainly, it's been the World Cup. Although it's not the first time I watch and yell at TV during the FIFA season, I think it's the first time I understand what the World Cup is all about; man... all these countries, all these people, all these cultures, exchanging a sweaty tshirt at the end of a match. It's the most fascinating experience (so is it too weird to be so easily amused at stuff that most people don't even notice?)

Anyway, I know that that sentence isn't enough to explain what I'm feeling, but whatever, I'm really not in the mood to explain, I'm too high on football. It really is plenty of fun. It's fun to watch people react to the games. It's fun to see the way the players react to each other. It's fun to scream and yell and get all angry at a ball being tossed around. It's fun to look at all the hotties. I also absolutely love Amman during this time, the streets are empty if a game is playing (especially Brazil, man, we're so passionate about Brazilian football that we should be given passports), and then during the time that it's not, there's such a crowd! It's awesome.

The funnest part though? The four years between each World Cup. My first memories of the World Cup are of 1994, but the first World Cup I actively watched was that of 1998. Then 2002, which I mostly watched in Amman with my fellow Jordanians-living-in-Riyadh. We went back to Riyadh as soon as it finished, and I still had a year to go in highshcool. I can't believe 2002 was four years ago, and I can't believe the next World Cup will be 4 years away!

What will happen in 4 years? Where will I be? What will I be doing? Who will I be with? Who will I watch most of it with? Questions, questions, and the answers will only come upon with another World Cup. In four years.

Yeah, I know this one has just started, and I think I'm rooting for the Spanish. I don't know yet.

Stealing a page from the past...


Before the advent of a hot cellphone market, there was "Alo".
"Alo" is no more, but a lot of "Alo" phonebooths remain standing as a rather humorous tribute to the ephermerality of time- "Yeah, we don't work no more and we haven't worked for years, and most of us are as banged up as hell, but hey, look, we stay."