2009 Highlights

To me, this year was filled with happiness, joy, sadness, grief, success and failure. The above were the main highlights of the year. Also, it was about reading, reading and then again, reading. I’ve read lots of books that I stopped counting. Books that are on top of my head that I enjoyed reading the most are,

Thanks to those who believed in me, and most importantly, myself, I was able to break my meaningless habit of procrastinating (not fully, of course) and to that, I’m grateful. I got to achieve most of my last year’s resolutions, and some of which I’d work hard on achieving.

One thing I learned this year, ‘As long as you put your heart and mind into what you believe in, you’ll eventually reach there’

With the spirit of a new year, I, for the first time, chose a new layout with colours instead of the same old, same old black/grey. Sometimes, even I could go with the flow, and decide to adjust with the 'change'. [I still got to work on it, though]

May God accept all your good deeds, and happy new near.

One Religion?

While watching Saturday’s episode of Dare to Ask on Peace TV, presented by Dr.Zakir Naik, one of the audience asked a similar question to this,

Why isn’t there a one religion? Clearly, Islam is the religion we’re all supposed to follow, so as to stop the conflicts and confusions, why hasn’t there been one religion delivered by the different messengers of God?
His answer revolved around the same point, which was none other than (as far as I understood): God sent the messengers –Peace Be Upon Them- to spread out the exact same message of believing in one God, or in other words, proving His existence.

Anyone else has a better explanation? Since the one I got is incomplete.

Why Don't We Read?

Based on the article I read yesterday with the title of 'Ma waraa2 3uzoof el3arab 3an el8era2a' (The reasons behind Arabs neglecting reading) [?] on Al Khaleej newspaper, I found out many points and I'd like to hear your own take on this.

Some of the reasons were,

Political instability; according to what people think and emphasize on, due to lack of trust some Arab government has on its authority, they resort to the policy of obscurantism, in order to stop their own people from reading and enlightenment.

Other than this, the rest of the article talked about poverty being the main reason.

Do you agree/disagree, and what, in your opinion, are the reasons why we, Arabs, don’t have that habit of reading?

Planning Techniques?

Here’s the thing, when I start working on a story or something similar, an idea pops up in my mind. Minutes later, I’d find myself scribbling it down like a lunatic. It’s like a sudden urge comes out of nowhere and forces me to write, even though it was the last thing I had in mind.

After this crazy 30 to 45 minutes of being absent-minded completely on what the hell is wrong with me, I stop. Just like that, As though my mission is finally over. That much is understandable. Later, when I want to complete what I started, I just feel…blank. I would have no idea about the letter of the next word. And that is why I stop in the middle of things; because, at the time, I feel totally clueless and ironically stupid.

My question here is, once an idea comes to my wacko mind, should I scribble it down as points only, then sit down and arrange the whole story line and its plots? Or write the whole thing from the beginning?
Is it okay for a writer to be clueless on what the next chapter is all about?

Enlighten me, fellow readers.

My Sister's Keeper

Jodi’s style of writing is very captivating, I loved how she usually brings back old memories and how each character has a somehow different way of expressing him/her self depending on their social status and age.

The ending was unpredictable, to be honest, but I can’t deny the fact that I flipped open the last few pages to get what happens, yes, Anna dies, but how? I was under the impression that she’ll actually die in the process of transplanting her kidney to Kate, but then what really happened got me by surprise. I’d give it a 9 out of 10.

People, this is one of those books you wouldn’t want to miss reading. Give it a shot!

There are many statements that I liked, so I’ll quote a few:

If you have a sister and she dies, do you stop saying you have one? Or are you always a sister, even when the other half of the equation is gone?’ ~ Anna, page 168.

Water never stops moving. Rain falls, and runs down a mountain into a river. The river finds its way to the ocean. It evaporates, like a soul, into the clouds. And then, like everything else, it starts all over again’ ~ Anna, page 474.

There should be a statue of limitation of grief’ ~ Kate, page 497.

+ I'm currently reading Before We Say Goodbye by Louise Candlish.

Enlightening Experience

[First off, I had to write this in a hurry seeing as how I'm away from home at the moment, and yes, this post lacks of photos. I'll upload them once I get the chance to]

The 7th was the first day of the 1st Muscat Youth Summit. Students were separated into three different groups depending on their ages as soon as they reached AlNahda Resort and Spa:

• Red group (Age 14-16)
• Yellow group (Age 17-19)
• Orange group (Age 20-21)

* Day one’s theme was about Sustainability and Climate Change, divided into three sessions: CO2 Management, Energy Security & Diversity and Energy Efficiency, presented by Asim Gusbi, Qais Al-Zakwani and Ahmed Al-Jahdami.

After the three sessions, we had a panel discussion where each student from different schools gets to go on stage and become a panelist. The idea was meant for the participants to share the most important points mentioned at the previous 3 sessions and to note how they’re all linked together under the topic Energy in a presentation form.

Before dinner, Ibraim Al-Busaidi, an Omani Photographer, presented a presentation about Photography.

** Day two’s theme was about Creative Oman, divided into four sessions: A Tradition of Innovation, Exploring Innovation, iGeneration and Creativity Now! Presented by Hany Bayaa, Nourhan Beyrouti, Russell Barczyk, Jamal Al-Asimi.

Personally, the second day’s sessions and workshops interested me the most. I enjoyed the Creativity Now and Exploring Innovation sessions, and iGeneration workshop at the afternoon.

Day 2’s surprise guest: Ahmed AlHarthy, an Omani racer.

After dinner, one of the organizers arranged a last-night-celebration dancing party that included participants dancing and enjoying their last night at the lawn.

*** Day 3’s theme was about City Living, divided into four sessions: Urban Transition in a Global Perspective, Developing Products for Oman’s Tourism Industry, A Passion for Plants, Carbon Critical Design presented by Nikolaus Knebal, Dana Sarhan, Dareen Mehdi, and Richard Smith.

Whereas the day’s workshops were arranged as field trips to different areas depending on the topics students chose earlier. I went to Oman Botanic Garden at AlKoudh for Sustainable Oman - Future Thinking. Dareen Mehdi, Sarah and Craig were the presenters.

We went along with Mr. Craig who introduced the under-construction heritage center and explained that the aim of this project is to keep the environment safe and clean for the plants.

Ms. Sarah showed us the whole project’s sample and asked for our ideas in order to attract people of our age as the Oman youth represents 50% of the Omani population. The participants came up with interesting ideas and Ms. Sarah showed interest in listening to each and every one of them and note down the suggestions for later consideration with the whole team.

Visiting the nursery with Ms. Dareen was fascinating. We got to actually see the plants kept in special nurseries and conditions. The plants were all Omani in origin.

The trip ended and we went back to AlNahda Resort and Spa to meet up with the rest of the participants and have a final closing session with the organizers, supervisors and H H Faisal bin Turki al Said, chief executive officer of Brand Oman Management Unit.

To conclude this, it was one of those unforgettable events. I’m sure each and every one of the participants enjoyed their time to the max and most importantly, benefited from the experienced and educated speakers. Not to forget the amazing accommodation and treatment given by the organizers and supervisors. It was all about having fun, voicing opinions and learning in the same process.

Her Fairytale [3]

Am I really that bored to have posted 3 posts in 3 days? Hell, yes. Since I’m very techno-challenged, it took me almost ages to figure out how to edit the template’s HTML in order to change/delete the already existing pages.

Thanks to Deluxe templates, I have this Natural Gloom look even though it doesn’t exactly fit my blog, for some odd reason. (Don’t tell me otherwise). Also, I added the About Me page.

Another thing I’ve been ignoring for a while now is my draft chapters [For the story, Her Fairytale] which I posted earlier. (Chapters: 1, 2, 3) I got stuck at chapter 3 as it just got boring, literally. That or I simply lost interest in it. Here’s the whole-updated chapter.

Chapter 3
Her thoughts went back to when she was a kid of 9, when she looked up on him and admired his achievements. Watching him working used to amuse her. Every word he used to utter were words of wisdom according to Linda, and she made sure to follow his footsteps; become an important person in the society without having to lose your ethics and values, most importantly, not to forget those who love you. Looking back at these pleasant memories, Linda dreaded her haunting past.

Two hours passed by, while Linda’s smiling and grinning on her dad’s silly jokes and comments made her feel uncomfortable. She didn’t want to believe everything would be the same, because she knows for a fact that it won’t.

At exactly 3:00 PM, she wondered if she could stop the loud tick...tocks of the gigantic clock on the living room’s wall. It was so loud that for a second, Linda could have sworn she’d just heard her own heartbeats.

She’d always thought that after graduation, her life would get settled. As by then, she would have gotten into a scholarship and left her family’s problems behind. But things never went well while she was at school either. She needed an inspiration, a motive to aim for the best, and unfortunately, there was none available at the time. Now, she has to take care of her siblings, and her own mom to being with. The thing about the whole divorce situation Linda wasn’t so sure about was the reaction of her mom. Will she be able to handle it, alone? Will she ever return to her old self again? Will her family ever be that same one like it used to be once upon a time? Linda couldn’t bring herself to answer the questions which kept her insomniac for long nights. No matter how hard she tried, she was perfectly aware of her soon-to-come failure.

All day long, Linda tried getting herself busy, both physically and mentally, afraid of the thoughts that’ll make their way through her mind again.
Now, I know that my promise was a very long chapter, but what can I say? I’m a lazyass, and excuse me for that. Oh, and I called the story Her Fairytale. Thanks for those who voted and others who wasted their time on reading and commenting.

Kitty, The Procrastinator

The 9-days holiday is coming to an end without me realizing it. I’ve spent most of it in shopping, packing and unpacking. I reached to a point where I had no idea that today’s the second of Dec. The plan was to start working on the Harry Potter FanFiction, but other distractions took place making me forget all about it; Reading the new books I’ve recently bought, for instance. I finished off Girls Of Riyadh in a matter of two days when I was supposed to be writing the epilogue. 2 Paragraphs were all I came up with. Is this procrastination or laziness, I don’t know.

Remember the first time we met, on this very exact station?’ He asked his wife, ‘Mhmmm’ she murmured with tears streaming down on her cheeks. Harry rubbed off Ginny’s tears with a soft, soothing finger. The proud parents walked on King Cross’ station sidewalk while remembering their own magical moments at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardy.

That’s all, but what I had in mind was completely different. And it’s not even an ‘epilogue’, more like, the first few lines of Chapter 1.

Something I scribbled down, which has nothing to do with Harry Potter, just me wanting to waste more time,

Sense of euphoria weren’t of help anymore, it’s like her own brand of heroin effect’s came to an end bringing back symptoms of withdrawals. She’d clutch to it till the end, and now she lays there clueless as to what’s the next step she should take to at least enter the maze of her life.

Other than this, I’m still reading My Sister’s Keeper. The author’s style of writing is very impressive and interesting. I liked the story line so much and I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen in the upcoming chapters.

Writing this blog post while my eyes are halfway to closing shut explains the disjointed points.

Enjoy the remaining days of the holiday, peeps.