Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ramadan Mubarak

Twenty days late but I guess it's better than never. Ramadan Mubarak everyone :)

Done with exams until finals. That should keep my sane for a while. I'm bothered about certain assignment. It's for Knowledge Management class. We're supposed to share knowledge through Storytelling. I tend to tell long stories and even pointless ones for fun but now it's time to get serious and find me something interesting to share. Would be about war, history, education, society. Still clueless.

I'm not watching, reading, or listening to any news lately. Everything is frustrating regarding news. Fights, blasts, cholera, threats, "negotiation", let alone Floods, tornadoes, and natural disasters. The US election yet has another season of this never-ending series.

I don't know what's with Sharjah and fires. Every now and then the sky is clouded with smoke. I took several photos but not that good zoom.

I guess it's time to write "that's all for now"

So... That's all for now



Blogger khalid jarrar said...

Let me tell you a story..

once upon the time, i used to live in the dorms.

the Dorm was a long long mamar with doors on both sides, my room was the last of them.

as you know, i like to go out late, food hunting :D so i used to go out at 12, 1 or 2 am to go find out which restaurant is still open and visit the nearby internet cafe to check mail and stuff.

The dorm was interesting, different kinds of people lived there, different ages and different fields of studies as you would expect, and different backgrounds too, one of the guys i often ran into in the hallway, or in the dorm-keeper room, was a blind student. naturally, due to my horrible memory as you also know, i dont remember his name. I remember he was very well educated and had many talents, i don't recall well now, and i think he was an honor student with very high marks. was he studying Arabic language? my vague memory says so, but only God knows for sure!

In my night-raids, if you would like to call them, in my way out, i pass by one of the rooms, it has a piece of paper pinned to the door, in a beautiful hand writing, an artist hand created the calligraphy of Bismillah Arrahman Arraheem, in Arabic of course (thats: in the name of God, the most merciful). it was small, but beautiful. but as i saw it everyday something was bugging me: all the letters are hollow, the artist didnt bother filling them with ink, left them hollow, just drew the borders of these letters and left them like that... with a whole lot of blank in them.. left them naked, starting at me every night, every time i pass by.

After a while, i happened to have a pin when i passed by it. so i took out my pin, made sure nobody was looking (haha) and filled the first letter or two, took extra care to do it well, and not to do any noise that would drag the attention of the room owner. and then i sort of ran away haha, partially satisfied that i filled some of the blank on that little paper, and partially feeling evil, you can imagine.

since i got away with it :P i did it again the next night maybe, and some few nights later on. probabyl everytime i passed by while having a pen on me. And always would imagine how the room owner must be going crazy over this, imagine: everyday he wakes up to find a new letter has been filled with care, when, who, remains anonymous! i started to imagine that one of the nights, while i practice my wicked hobby, he would be waiting there for me to come, setting a trap to catch the criminal, i would expect that the door will open suddenly while i approach it. but none of that ever happened. night by night, i think i got the job done, not only filled all the letters and the dots, but also managed to not get caught, escaped all the traps that he has been planning, i got away with it, totally, no more naked letters staring at me, the piece looks much better now, its a win-win situation, for me! :D

Few days later, I discovered that the owner of the room was the blind guy.

9/23/2008 8:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

Attawie, I have been looking up stories on the net. There are a great many to choose from! Are there any parameters that you are trying to satisfy? For example, doe the story need to teach a moral lesson, as many stories told to children do? Or, as another example, does the story need to describe the proper way of doing an important task? Should the story be one that an Arabic speaking audience is familiar with, or can the story be from a completely different part of the world? If you can give me some boundary guidelines, I would be happy to help you look for stories. :)

I am almost afraid to listen to news here these days. We are currently in the midst of a gigantic financial meltdown that I do not even understand. America is in a huge mess! I am so hoping that Barak Obama can get elected President!

What do you think is burning in Sharjah? Do you have any forests near you? Perhaps some people are burning big piles of trash.

Good luck with the remainder of Ramadan!

P.S. I'm glad you found my dream interesting. :)

Khalid, when I want to fill in letters, I use a big magic marker. That way, I can do all the letters in a few minutes. ;)

So, did the blind guy ever find out you had filled in his letters? Did he draw them himself?

9/23/2008 9:20 AM  
Blogger khalid jarrar said...

i never asked him, apparently he never discovered.

dont blow up the story its cool with its mysterious yet obvious end :D

the moral of the story, we sometimes over-estimate the effects of our plans and acts on others, we could be building castles of sands, thinking that we are erecting real houses!


9/23/2008 11:55 AM  
Blogger attawie said...

Khalid, this story tells more than a lot about you! I think the moral of the story: Khalid is evil, food-lover, a night person, and has a really bad memory.

Just kidding. It is true that sometimes we over-estimate the effects of our plans and acts on others. But if I'm to tell such a story for a business class it would implement a negative tone for planning :D

but how lucky you are to get away for that. Imagine if someone caught you knowing that this is the blind's room! You'd be walking around the campus and people point at you and say "that's the guy who mess with the blind guy"

David, at first the assignment was without any limitations or categories. Any story that you can use for sharing knowledge. Student kept asking question every session and now it must be "personal, related to what you do, includes lies and exaggeration (as spices).

The story-narration is in English of course and it doesn't have to relate to any certain background. it's a multi-national class :)

I still have two weeks and I'm thinking of twisting a story from my experience at the institute of arts. something relates to sharing knowledge and how that save us time and resources.. a lot of redoing the work is in the institute! plus the information dissemination is not there at all.

9/23/2008 4:18 PM  
Blogger khalid jarrar said...

**floods the room with tears**

9/23/2008 6:53 PM  
Blogger attawie said...


9/23/2008 7:26 PM  
Blogger David said...

I am surprised that your story should include lies and exaggerations! Your story telling assignment has evolved into a "Tall Tale". ;) The Tall Tale is a famous form of storytelling in America. As an example, a farmer who had killed a fox that was eating his chickens might exaggerate the story in his local tavern and say that he had killed a giant grizzly bear instead. Lets say also that the farmer found the remains of an old bear that had died. He took the claws from the dead bear and carried them around with him. In the tavern he would tell his Tall Tale and then show the bear claws and say here are the claws of the bear I killed!

So, what kind of Tall Tale can you tell about the Institute of Arts?

How about this for a story? I hope you like it. :)

You desired to enter a collection of works into a contest at the Institute of Arts, but you have been so busy with other school responsibilities and studying that you haven't had time to work on a display for the exhibition. The Arts Festival is the very next day and you feel very sad that you will not be able to participate.

In the Institute there was an exhibit of ancient figurines. Before going home for the day, you were looking closely at the figures and one of them, in the form of a small fat boy with a crooked smile, winked at you. You were astonished that the ancient figure moved! You rubbed your eyes thinking you had imagined what you saw. You looked again more closely and the figure bowed to you. You became frightened and ran to your studio room. You looked back at the open door to the studio and you see the figure peering at you from around the door frame. You feel terrified and back away into a corner. The figure jumps onto your sculpting table, takes a small piece of clay into its hands, and begins to work it. He forms a tiny but perfect replica of a dog. He steps back, gestures to the clay dog and bows to you once again. You are intrigued and cautiously approach the sculpting table. The tiny dog is amazing. It looks like it is happily playing. Its motionless tail gives the suggestion of wagging in pleasure. You look at the fat smiling boy figure with astonishment and awe. You timidly ask if he can make another sculpture. He bows and takes a larger piece of clay. He moves his hands almost faster than you can see, then places a wonderful replica of a bird in flight upon the table. Once again, he steps back, gestures to his creation and bows. You look at the tiny bird and it seems to be soaring high in the air and chirping with delight as it dances with the clouds. You look again to the small fat boy figure. His expression seems to be asking you what more he can do. You ask if he can form sculptures of people. He bows and smiles broadly. You say that you would like to create an exhibition of figurines to be displayed the next day at the annual Institute Festival of the Arts. You elaborate that you would like the figurines to represent ordinary people living, working, and enjoying family life. The small fat boy figure assumes a posture reminiscent of deep thought for a moment, then he looks up at you and nods his head. He points to the large lump of clay on the table and then gestures with a come here motion with one arm and then counts to eight with his fingers. You think you understand his meaning and ask if he would like eight more lumps of clay. He bows and smiles. So, you provide the additional lumps from a storage closet and he begins to work. You watch in fascination as he rapidly sculpts a blacksmith working over an anvil with a hammer in one hand and a partially formed cooking ladle in the other. Next, the small fat wonder forms a bricklayer bent to his task of forming a wall. As the magic continues with a farmer plowing his field, you look at your watch and are shocked that you are an hour late for dinner. You worry that your parents will be angry. So, you tell the blur of creative motion that you need to go, but you will return in the morning. The small fat boy pauses and bows to you, then he blurs again and returns to his labor.

You reach your home and your parents are very cross at your tardiness. They were both worried that you were late and didn't call. You apologize, but when they ask what you have been doing, you decide it would be for the best not to mention the magical sculpting figurine. Instead you say that you were working on an important assignment for a class. You feel guilt for not telling the truth, but you feel it was necessary as they would think you were crazy if you told them what had actually happened. You eat your dinner and go to bed early. You are almost too excited to sleep, thinking over and over about the wondrous little boy figure and his beautiful sculptures. Eventually, you fall asleep and dream of a child laughing and playing in a park with his brothers and sisters as a mother and father watch nearby with love and satisfaction in their eyes.

You wake early, eat a hurried breakfast, and rush back to the Institute. You are not sure if everything you remember from the previous evening was real or a dream. You arrive at the Institute and on your way in you glance at the display of ancient figurines. You are surprised to see the figurine of the small fat boy back amongst the display. You rush forward and look closely at the little boy. He is perfectly still and the sharp features that you remember from his expressive face are no longer present. The face looks crude, as if it were hurriedly formed by a rather unskilled artisan. You back away from the display searching your memories of the previous day and wondering if anything that you saw was real. You enter the studio expecting to see nothing but unformed lumps of clay on the sculpting table. However, to your astonishment, you find the table completely filled by intricate sculptures of men, women, children. You see the blacksmith, the bricklayer, and the farmer, and then dozens of other figures of men and women engaged in a great variety of tasks. You gently lift the figure of the blacksmith and examine it closely. The detail of the sculpture is almost breathtaking and you are amazed to find that the figure has been fired. You carefully place the figure back on the table and look about at the others once again. There are children reading books and playing various games with toys that resemble the labors of the adults. In the very center of the table, though, you see something that makes your eyes open wide. You raise your hand to cover your open mouth. In the center of the table you see the children and parents from your dream. They look exactly as you imagined them as you slept. You feel your knees weaken and you move to sit in a nearby chair.

You close your eyes for a few moments and then open them once again. The figures are still there. They are real. This is no dream. You realize that there is no way you can enter these figures into the contest and claim them as your own. You know you have the skill to make one of the figures and to even give them a similar sense of life and purpose, but it would take you months or maybe even years to create such a scene, a virtual village of people working and playing, living and loving. Something has happened that you cannot comprehend. It is as if a miracle has occurred. You decide to show the figures to the Head of the Institute of Arts. You will say that you simply found them on the table this morning when you arrived. As you walk to the Head man's office, you once again pass the display of ancient figurines. You are not sure, but the crudely formed still and frozen face of the fat little boy seems to be winking and smiling.

9/23/2008 11:09 PM  
Blogger aNarki-13 said...

Atta: well, Good luck with your mission! am not much for storytelling, real or otherwise :)

Khalid: you vandal you! :) nah i guess he would appreciate the effort you did, perhaps he couldnt fill in the letters himself and all..

David: nice! seriously! dunno, Lewis Carrol, Roald Dahl, i dont know which author this story brings to mind!

so how is everybody here?

oh and happy eid :P :P

10/05/2008 3:32 PM  
Blogger attawie said...

oh I forgot to update you people :)

No more worries about the storytelling project :D yep, I'm so lucky that the teacher of Knowledge Mgt is not giving us this lecture. My favorite professor in the uni is giving us the lecture. He's much much better than the previous one. He's been teaching the subject for 16 years i think, or was it 25 :D

thanks for your effort in here.

David, i wrote a long comment after your comment and I just discovered that it's not there at all! maybe bad connection and got disconnected and forgot to repost it.

anyways, it's interesting but at certain points i thought "when am i gonna wake up" it sounded like a dream.

13, thanks :)
as you see not much going on in here. slow traffic :) I'm not posting much lately. dunno if it's laziness or busi-ness :D

10/05/2008 3:43 PM  
Blogger David said...

Hey Anarki, glad you liked the story! :) I like some of the works of Carrol and Dahl, but I have a long way to go before I am in their league. ;)

Attawie, thanks for your comment. I was beginning to worry that my story had somehow offended you as you hadn't said anything about it. I'm glad you found the story interesting. :) I am not able to write something like that everyday. But, occasionally I seem to be able to tap into a sort of dreamlike state of consciousness and creative ideas just flow into my mind. Does that ever happen to you when you are painting or sculpting?

So, the storytelling project is canceled? Or, will your favorite professor change the assignment to something that you like more?

10/06/2008 11:36 AM  

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