The Chronicles of Yore: A Midsummer Night Dream!
Our Midsummer Night Dream book cover had a similar picture to the one above, but ours portrayed more sexual acts, which till this day, I am sure, we all remember with utmost fondness!
Before I jump into the story at hand today, let me first introduce this new series on the Mafia blog. The introduction will focus on the raison d’etre for this series – why we really need yet another one – and its somewhat familiar name, not to forget a quick set of rules for anyone wishing to contribute to the series, which more likely than not will never be adhered to.
The Mafia has had three distinct phases of history thus far. In the first phase – starting in 2006 and lasting around 3 or 4 years – it served as a medium for communication. See, the Mafia members were for the first time scattered across different geographic extents, and this blog was the means by which they kept in touch, but not at a personal level. Our members have a history of intellectual debates – along with the occasional collective brain fart – that predates web 2.0. To honor and carry this tradition forward, the Mafia was created.
Severus, the founding father of the blog, opted to give it the headline of “The Chronicles of the Survivors”. Shortly after a series of posts titled “The Chronicles of a Survivor”, emerged, by none other than our nihilist existentialist of the times, Elune (AKA I.Q.). The series would see the occasional contribution from Severus himself too, but the theme of it all was vague, philosophical and, well, nihilist!
Then came the first hiatus. The blog was offline for a year, when yours truly got in touch with Severus to resurrect it! And so it was. This time, a new series by Elune again, titled “Tales of Yore”, emerged. This series was much more light-hearted and focused on documenting events in our history, starting from the first day we all came to know each other – some good 9 years before by then – at a special place called the Jubilee School, in Amman, Jordan. But this second phase ended three years later, and the blog was nothing more than a text dump held somewhere out of reach by Severus.
The third phase was in the making for a while now. It all started with me trying to get the birthday of each and every member of the gang, so that we can celebrate that on our whatsapp group – see how life regresses? We went from the glorious days of IRC, MSN, and WordPress, to Whatsapp like mere mortals. As I was gathering the needed information, I couldn’t help but notice the ambiguity surrounding the birthday of Severus. I got a wide range of potential birthdays, none of which agreed on anything besides the month. With my real intentions hidden, I reached out to Severus asking him for the website dump, and he, as always, happily obliged.
At first, I had no intention of reviving the blog. I wanted to mine it with some regex expressions for sentences containing the word “birthday” and nothing more. And indeed, using that method, I was able to find the correct birthday of our founding father! But, as I was going through the extracts on my dull and black shell session, something changed in my mind, and I decided that I need to share this with everyone else in our group. And what better way is there to achieve this than publish the blog again? Still, I thought maybe this time it will be a static copy, for us to revisit every once in a while.
But reading through the old blogs, I came to believe that a third phase needs to be more than just a static revival for posterity. And while I believe that most of what Elune has posted is already common knowledge amongst us, there will come a time when we will find it harder and harder to recall such events and memories, not to mention that the old “Tales of Yore” series hardly scratches the tip of the proverbial iceberg, when it comes to our rich history of eccentricities and peculiarities. There will also be our collective physical demise in the end, and acting from a purely egocentric principle, I thought, well, at least let this be our collective shout into history, through which our echoes might survive long after we have left the face of this world!
With that in mind, I thought that a third series is in order. If you haven’t noticed so far, its name pays tribute to its aforementioned predecessor series. We are all welcomed to contribute, but the rule of title numbering adopted by the previous series will be dropped, as a headline will suffice. Also, let’s make this a first person account series mainly. I do fully understand that a bit of hearsay is unavoidable, but let’s at least make sure that this is highlighted somewhere in the post.
With the above done and dusted, let’s delve into our first story!
It was the end of our year 11 at school. During the second and last term of said year, we had to read “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as part of the requirements for our English literature class. As a form of assessment we were asked to divide ourselves into groups and enact whichever part of it we liked. Our group naturally consisted in every last one of the legendary I.7. gang, save for I.T. who was a natural ladies’ man, or to put it less politely عبّيد كساس, and so he left us for a group that most probably contained a chick or two he was courting. I am not sure about that ofc, but I suspect it was the case. Either way, for putting hoes before bros, he ended up missing on one of the most epic incidents in the history of the entire school, dare I say!
In addition to the legendary group members (i.e. I.P., I.Q., I.B. and I.M.), we also had two unfortunate female classmates, whom we shall call M and A. Of all the potential scenes in the play, we decided to enact the play inside the play, in which two lovers (a man and a woman) sneak up in the middle of the night, every night, to talk through a hole in the wall separating their houses from one another
But that was not entirely a random choice. See, teacher N explained to us that in Shakespeare’s days, women were not allowed to act! And so, any role that had a female character, was enacted by a man, acting like a woman! Being the masters of irony we were, we decided to give these two roles to M and A, who, again, were females.
Another funny part she told us about, was that certain objects on the stage were also enacted by men, like walls for instance, and that in that particular play, the man enacting the wall role, would imitate a hole in it by making the ok sign – in which the thumb and the forefinger are curled together. If you haven’t guessed it yet, we ended up giving the wall a central role in the play. According to our version of the story, it was fully sentient, and was mighty pissed that the two forlorn lovers were talking through it late every evening when it was trying to fall asleep.
I still remember the day before the play. We spent a lot of time creating the “costumes”, if we can call them that. We were outside, in the area between the school’s main building and the sports complex. For our female actresses, the costumes were merely two paper bags, one of which had a mustache drawn on it. The whole thing probably had so many innuendos from our side. Again, I am not sure about that from this current point in time, but if I know these assholes, and I was one of these assholes, and still proudly am, then yeah, I think there were some hints in those paper bags. Something that has to do with a face and a base!
For the wall, the costume was simply two white cardboards attached by translucent tape. We spent a considerable amount of time filling it with graffiti signs. These too were full to the brim with innuendos, in addition to insider jokes and whatnot. I am pretty sure we had a “Wadha heart Zlikha” there among other lesbian references. Back in the days, we were all like Joey and Chandler! Obsessed with homosexual acts, that strictly contain one type of gender, so long as at least one girl was involved! There also was the word “Adyga” on that wall costume, which for some reason made I.P. go full social justice warrior on us, way back before it was hip and cool to be an S.J.W.
And then the day of the play came. Everything was going smoothly until we stepped onto the stage and started. See, teacher N, forgot to provide us with a vital piece of information, or perhaps she had no idea about it until it was too late, but the minister of education in Jordan – or some sort of high level government official – was attending our play that day, to her and everyone else’s detriment.
The plot of our play was very simple. I was the wall, and my master evil plan was to stone the two lovers to death, by telling silly jokes! Well, if you don’t speak our slang – Jordanian Arabic of the early noughties in particular – it is really hard to get that reference. But to help you appreciate it, imagine that hearing silly jokes is like being hit by stones. I.B. played the role of the moon. He had the stones to be thrown, one for every silly joke I say at the end. Him playing the moon, was yet another hidden reference, for he was the blondie of our class!
The play starts and as I look into the audience I notice a couple of bitches, curling their hands like I was and making funny faces, as if they were imitating me (remember how people used to enact objects back in Shakespeare’s days?). In a bid to control my anger, I try to look elsewhere, but miserably fail. The play progresses, and M and A execute what is arguably the most audacious scene in the history of the school to date, or at least I wager as such! The two lovers lean forward for a french kiss, when M, all out of a sudden, but in a very faithful enactment of our version of the story, spits inside the mouth of A. Remember, this was not a real spit. They had bags on their heads throughout the entire play. Still though, I can’t forget the look on teacher’s N face! In the course of mere seconds, her facial expressions covered the full spectrum of grieve stages.
Not too long after, I.Q. and I.P. who were playing the fathers of the two lovers, find out about the secret affair, and get into a physical fight by throwing stuff at each other. It was all supposed to be choreographed, to the extent that a bunch of 16 year olds can manage. But I.Q. might have triggered I.P. with an intentional hard hit, which sent this latter into a frenzy, and what the audience might have perceived to be acting was in all reality real life battering, under the very nose of the minister of education himself! Name a single group in the history of humanity, besides us, who could have pulled that and got away with it? Though to be fair, there is a slight probability that the audience might have figured out the situation all along, but wisely opted not to act on it, because back in those days, I.P. was a force of nature, and nothing much could have been done about that anyway! I.Q. should have known better, or maybe he was masochistic all along, and was trying to claim to his credit the first BDSM scene in the history of the school. Eitherway, we will never know what his true motives were to commit such folly.
Nevertheless, in the midst of it all, I was now locked into a staring match with the bitches in the back seats, and in a fit of anger, I took off the cardboards I had on me, and threw them as hard as possible out of the stage and stormed out! Mind you, the play hadn’t even finished by then, and to date, I have no idea how it ended.
But I clearly remember we spent the next few hours hiding away from teacher N, merely delaying the inevitable, for she was, by her own confession, a black rider from the lord of the rings, and when she found us, we were scolded like the little bitches that we were! It might have been an intense few minutes, but for the list of achievements we unlocked that day, it was more than worth it.
Still, sometimes I wonder though, if this really happened, or was it all just a dream?
Who is Salvador Limones
This post is a dedication to the awesome Salvador Limones which I chose my nickname after (Slvador Limonis)
Salvador is a character in a 1998 computer video game titled “Grim Fandango” (I can’t believe it has been 14 years since that glorious game was released). Following I will explain Salvador Limones story which will contain spoilers from the game
Salvador is the founder and leader of an underground organization called “Lost Souls Alliance (LSA)”. The alliance goal is investigating and flushing out the corruption in the Department of Death (DoD). Salvador believes that people in the DoD are stealing the Golden Tickets of good souls. This causing the good souls to embark on the dangerous and scary journey through the land of dead for 4 years even though, their hard earned (by living a pious life) and stolen golden tickets qualifies them to go through the whole journey on the luxurious Number Nine Train which takes a comfortable 4 minutes in stead 4 years to reach heaven.
During the game you control a character called “manny Calavera” who works as a salesman in the DoD. After some commotion with your boss you agree to help Salvador and the LSA in their cause in exchange to Salvador’s help in leaving the city “El Marrow”. While Manny away, Salvador would send sporadically simple letters with updates about the LSA and the city. After 3 years away from the city the character you control ” Manny Calavera” comes back to El Marrow just to find out it has been fully controlled by the evil mastermind “Hector LeMans”. The LSA has grown significantly as well and they help Manny to hide from Hector’s security. In the fight against Hector’s gang and through the betrayal of the double agent “Olivia”, Salvador loses his body and only his head stays alive (the whole game setting is after life, so people can live with half bodies). As his last bravery feat, Salvador bites on a small poisonous capsule attached to his teeth to sacrifice himself and kill the traitor Olivia. Shortly after this incident, Manny discovers that Salvador lived a very good and pious previous life qualifying him for a Golden Ticket on the Number Nine Train but it was stolen from him and the ticket was only found after his death.
I loved the Salvador Limones character because he was a shining example of a person with great charisma and convictions as well being a great leader and a loyal friend. His famous line, which he usually ends every conversation with, is “Viva La Revolucion!”. I recall the moment where it was shown that Salvador deserved a golden ticket is the moment my fall for him was complete thus using his misspelled name for the next 14 years (and probably in the future as well) everywhere including my username, forum nicknames and several high school exams and homeworks.
I do realize people’s dismissal view about taking a fictional video game character as a role model, however I do believe the characteristics which existed in Salvador Limones is worth pursuing and imitating.
The misspelling of the name started by mistake due to my inability to remember spellings well, but the misspelling has been adopted as the offical nickname after it became obvious that due to the misspelling I was able to use the nickname “Slvador” to register on almost every single site I needed to register on since the original spelling of the world is widely used making it widely unavailable and the misspelled version is almost always available. I still do face troubles dictating the nickname to others since it is hard to pronounce a misspelled word clearly to others
Viva la Revolucion!
Tokyo: The view from my window
Can you critique the King’s book??
I am King Abdullah’s Book “Our last best chance”. I am barely 1/5 of it at the moment, but as most people, when reading a book, i keep thinking of weak and strong points the book try to make. I thought about writing a review about these points here, but then I started to think, AM I ALLOWED to critique the king’s writing? would that blacklist me? Would i go to jail for that? is critiquing the king’s writing considered an insult to the ruling family which i think is a felony?
Anyway, i ended up deciding not to write the critique because i don’t want to find out the answers to these question the hard way.
But that by itself is very sad. We live in such a fear that we can’t speak our mind, even though we are not trying to oppose or insult anyone. I usually consider myself as someone who pushes such limits and yet for this limit i felt it is too dangerous to cross.
Am I wrong to be afraid to write a book critique in a public place? or our country would actually prosecute someone who does that? If it does, should it change? would it change?
Coming back to facebook
After four years from deactivation facebook (oct-2007), last week i decided to come back to facebook for multiple reasons. But what surprised me is how bad the interface of facebook is. While i am still learning how to navigate facebook, it is very disappointing how un-evloved and how unfriendly the interface is. here are the list of problems i faced in a week.
1) Some people posted on my walls, so i went to my walls to check it, but instead of only seeing what people wrote on my post, i saw every news that relates to me, like if people tagged me or accept my invitation, that info is on my wall. that;s stupid. i don;t need that on my wall. it made it very hard to look at the ACTUAL wall posts
2) What’s up with profile and home. why there are two different pages for very similar pages. there are some differences between the two pages, but the differences didn’t make sense. it is supier stupid to keep switching between these two pages to navigate information about one person.
3) As stupid as i might sound, i expected to edit my friends from the friends page. instead i have to go to profile-edit friends. that’s stupid, why can’t i change friends from the friends page.
4) i clicked on some old friends page, and discovered i don’;t really know them, but i discovered as well I CAN”T DEFRIEND THEM from their own page. that’s stupid, super stupid.
5)when i defriend some people, i still see their name when i show all friends. even though when i try to redefriend them they tell me i already did that, yet it keep showing those defriended people.
6) I checked the notification settings and i saw many many details that i can change about my EMAIL notifications. WHAT ABOUT THE STUPID NEWS FEED. why can’t i change what to be added on my stupid news feed. like if my friends got new friends, why should i care. it is stupid that i can’t remove that stupid notification. i can only hide all news about specific friend, but that’s too coarse.
7)why can’t i change the layout/appearance of my home page? i used to be able to do that before i quit (4 years ago)
but on the other hand, the privacy settings are very good and they r detailed enough for people get exactly what they want.
It was very sad to see facebook this bad. it was 4 years and still they didn’t evolve to a better site. i feel they are taking advantage of the fact that users and the world won’t quit facebook and they decided to stop improving it. this site is definitely not worth its reputation.
Celebrating Towel day in Morocco
Yes, in Morocco, and in the background is the famous Hassan Tower.
Where did you celebrate yours ?
Don’t Panic Towel Day: May 25th
Just a reminder, Towel day is this Wednesday May 25th, grab your “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” copy, and make sure your towel is around your neck, and Don’t Panic
ساكن جنب الدوار
“الشعب يريد حل البرلمان”
هذا اول شيء سمعته يوم الخميس ساعه 1 الظهر لما روحت على البيت, كنت سامع قبل بيوم انه في اعتصام رح يكون على دوار الداخلية بس ما كنت متأكد منه. طبعا انا ساكن جنب الدوار و بيني وبينه اقل من دقيقة مشي. رحت اشوف ايش في لقيت الشباب صارت متجمعه وبلشت تصيح, روحت وتغديت وصوتهم مع زمامير السيارات واصل للسما.
رجعت على شغلي وانا متأكد انهم على هيك جو ساعة زمن وبهزقوا. رجعت طلعت ساعة 7 ومريت من الدوار وتفاجأت بالازمة الخرافية وانهم لساتهم موجودين. بعد 20 دقيقة عشان اطلع من الدوار انتبهت عليهم لما مريت من جنبهم لقيت الدخنه طالعة من عندهم , طلعوا الشباب جايبين معهم مشاوي وعم بشوا , كان الي ثلثين الخاطر انزل اعتصم معهم بلكي طلعلي سيخ لحمه.
كان يوم خميس وتأخرت مع اصحابي , روحت الساعة 1:30 بعد نص الليل, اكتشفت انه الطريق من دوار المدينه لدوار الداخليه مغلق, كملت على شارع الاردن واجيت من شارع الاستقلال (على اساس حدق) ,لقيتهم مسكرينه ولازم انزل من النفق ,قلت خلص ما الي غير ارجعلوا من اتجاه جبل عمان ,وانا طالع من انفق لقيتهم مسكرينه من الجهه الثانية. لفيت على الشميساني وقررت اطلع من جنب الماريوت و كنت متأكد انهم مسكرينه كمان بس قلت خليني اجرب. طبعا طلعوا مسكرينه بس الشرطي سمحلي اطلع من فوق الجسر لما عرف اني ساكن هناك.
نمت وصوت السماعات بضرب براسي, كان الي نفس انزل اكسرها وارجع انام. صحيت يوم الجمعة على الساعة تسعة من صوتهم, غسلت, افطرت, وقررت اروح على النادي وموقعه بالشميساني. ما كان عندي خيار وخفت يصير زي ما صار مبارح وما اعرف ارجع على البيت بالسيارة فقرر اروح مشي, وانا اصلا طالع العب رياضه فما كان في مشكله. كانت الساعة حواي 11:00 ظهر, مريت من جنب المتظاهرين وكان كل اشي هادئ وعم بحضروا حالهم للصلاه والامور تمام. طبعا الدوار مسكر على السيارات.
روحت على البيت ساعه 4:30 لاني رحت بعد النادي عند صاحبي, قرر انه يوصلني على اقرب نقطة على الدوار وكانت من جهت شارع الاستقلال, وانا كملت مشي , طول الطريق سيارات جاي حامله علام وصور وباصات عم بنزل منها اشكال جد بتخوف و في صوت خرافي جاي من الدوار. كلهم شباب تحت العشرين معهم عصي من الواضح انها مش عصي خشب عادية, ماده من مشتقات البلاستك, خفيفه و قاسية, زي الخيزران بالحجم, لونها اسود وعدد الشباب الحاملينا كثير عشان يكون جابوها لحالهم, كانها طلبية مصنع, أكيد حدا وزعهم عليهم.
رحت اشوف كيف الوضع ,لقيت الدرك محاصرين الدوار وعم بمنعوا الكل من الدخول, ناس عم ترمي حجار, ناس عم بتسب كلام اول مره بسمع بمصطلحاته (اشي بخزي), حسيت لولا الدرك موجودين كان المعتصمين راحوا سحل بالشوارع. بعد فتره صار الجو كثير مشحون والامور رح تصفي على مجزره, فقررت اتابع من البيت على الانترنت والتلفزيون, والبلكون مع انه الرؤيه منه محدوده نسبيا.
ما طولت الامور كثير, كم الناس الهائل الي اجو من مسيره الحدائق ما سمح للدرك السيطره على الوضع اكثر من هيك وصاروا يفكوا الاعتصام بالطريق الي شفناها على التلفزيون. طبعأ صوت سيارات الاسعف والاطفاء والشرطه كان بكل مكان, حسيت حالي بحرب.
بعد نص ساعة من فك الاعتصام رجعت نزلت اشوف كيف صار الوضع على الارض, اقيت الدرك مسكر الدوار مره ثانية, ممنوع حد يقرب عليه, ناس عم بحتفلوا تحت الجسر من جهة جبل الحسين. ونفس الاشكال بالعصي عم بمشوا بالشوارع.
رجعت نزلت بعد ساعة من النزله الاولى كان الدوار صار مفتوح للناس مغلق للسيارات, والناس عم تحتفل عليه.
ظل صوت المحتفلين موجود لساعة 3:00 الفجر .لما نزلت يوم السبت على الدوام كان كل اشي خالص و الدوار فاضي. وخلص فلم اعتصام الداخليه.
هذه كانت يومياتي يوم الخميس و الجمعة ( نهاية الاسبوع) 24-25/اذار/2011 بغض النظر عن المحتوى السياسي بس حابب احكي رأي بالطرفين.
جماعة 24 اذار كان اختيارهم للمكان خطأ, انا مع حقهم بالتظاهر بس كان في كثير خيارات افضل. (كراج العبدلي, ساحة راس العين…) على الاقل ما كان خسروا تأيدد الناس المتضرره من تسكيير دوار الداخليه (نص اهالي عمان).
جماعة (ضد 24 اذار) كان اسلوبهم “بلطجي” بامتياز ,في البداية كانوا ناس مسالمين لحد مساء الخميس, اول ما طفو ضوء على المعتصمين بدء رمي الحجار قبل تسكير الدوار, (وهنا سؤال كيف صار التنسيق بين طفي الضوء ورمي الحجار في العتمه؟).
انا مع انه المعتصمين والبلطجية كانوا حجار شطرنج, في النهاية المعتصمين مجهزيين ومدعوميين وهذا شيء غير مستغرب لانهم اغلبهم من احزاب المعارضه والتي جبه العمل الاسلامي جزء منها, وهذا الاشي مش جريمة ان اكون حزبي.
اما البلطجية فكانوا معبئين بطريق غير طبيعية, كان من الواضح من حجم الناس الموجود انه في جهة تكفلت بالمواصلات و العصي الموحده و مسح الادمغة للشباب والتنسيق معهم وبوقت كثير قصير (اقل من 24 ساعة) , كانوا اشبة بالقطيع الهائج (مع اني ضد وصف الناس بصيغة الحيوانات). انا ما بعرف كيف بشتغل جهاز المخابرات بس كنت بتقدر تشوف انه موجود بكثره بسهوله (تلفونات غريبه, سيارات بتفوت الدوار مع انه ممنوع, ناس واقفه بس نتجحر فيك…)
في النهاية الهتافات والزمامير المزعجة الي سمعته يوم الخميس بالليل وما سمحتلي انام كانت نفس الهتافات والزمامير يوم الجمعة مع فارق في المستوى الحضاري. كلنا بنهتف باسم الملك والوطن. بس في ناس كانت تهتف “خاوه” في الاخر.
My visit to Jordan
It was ok…