Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Severe weather warning in Southern Ontario.


So we've been seeing the thunderstom warning for a couple of days now. After class, my friends and I went to hang out at the grad house. We were sitting at the patio, making fun of the coming storm that we can see in the distance. Then a light drizzle started, so some friends decided to head back to class. I waited with others for one who didn't finish her food yet. After she was done, they decided to wait until the rain subsides because they were going to walk all the way to the parking lot. But I was going back to class, so I said goodbye and headed to class

Here is a map to give you an idea

So I was going from GH to NH, while the others to parking lot A...

How foolish of I was walking as cute as a girl can be under the refereshing rain, with my Burberry umbrella, in less than 2 minutes, suddenly, OUT OF NOWHERE, it starts POURING! not just pouring, but huuuuge gusts of wind blew me away and thunder was ROARING. My cute umbrella BROKE of course. That flimsy peice of uselessness! So, I threw elegance aside and ran into building TC.

Ahem. TC building is where all the students get interviewed for their co-op jobs. So, you have this hall of students in suits sitting watching me behind the glass and I stumble inside the lobby and starts squeezing water out of my skirt! nuh-uh. not fashionable at all.

I drag my sorry ass to the washroom and discover that I cut my finger and my hair was disheveled. I give my friend with the car a call to see if she can pick me up from TC and give me a ride home. no answer.

The wind lightens up. I don't bother with an umbrella as I walk back to class. A guy from class asks:" Hey, was there a wet t-shirt contest at the grad house or what?"


I looked like a drowned RAT. Thank god I wore a tank top under my shirt though. Sheeeeeesh. I drop the stupid paper I wanted to drop and starting heading back out to home. ( I live a 10 minute walk from campus - grrrreat location!). When I step out, guess what happens?

Sun is shining! Birds are chirping! People walking NOTHING happened. Of course, I look extremely funny all wet, dripping and muddy sandals.


I turn on the weather channel back home: Tornado warning. niiiiice.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I want my team back

I miss playing balot.
The team was always Dad & Bother vs. Sister & Me. And my mom always in the background blaming dad for distracting us from studying (hehehe). My dad is an awesome player. People always want to play his partner, except me :P. You know why? Because the fun for me is trying to beat him (never happened - maybe once? He felt sorry for me :P) I miss the fun, laughter, fights and banter. Apparently, my *younger* sister felt it was ok in the game to forget that i am her *older* sister and critisized EVERY SINGLE hand I played.
Playing online is not the same.
I tried to teach my friends in Canada how to play it :P They taught me Texas hold 'em Poker instead!

Sunday, May 28, 2006's so sexy

Quote that is paraphrased from a wise friend called DLo:
" It is so hard to find a humble engineer. I married the first smart, successful, humble engineer I met cuz you know what? Humility is so sexy"

It's so true. Once you remove yourself from the circle of the shallow and the dumb, you get in another trap, you get surrounded by the pompous and the arrogant. Whether in the engineering, the medical or the BUSINESS field, you will always find those who are too cocky for their own good. Living for a year in a competitive, business school environment only made me more aware and more capable of differentiating between the flowers and the weeds.

You cannot identify the weeds from the truly successful right away, but once you get too close, their stink repels you quicker than you can say "ewww!". Here are some hints: They are rude. They never listen and it's always 'me!me!me!' and the only way they feel superior is by putting you down.

I know what most of you are thinking.
Well, it's obvious PSYC 101. This arrogance is a sign of weakness. A beacon of insecurity. A proof of falsity.
And I agree...

On one hand, you have the smart, the hard-working, the competent and the proud. On the other, you have the pretenders, the ass-kissers, the stickers and the low-class. The easiest way to distinguish between the two groups is humility.

Humility...that is the key indicator of true success.

The Humble man does not need to speak of his achievements, his achievements speak for him.
The Humble, Accomplished man does not need to 'drop names' to show status, his status draws people to him.
The Humble, Accomplished, Esteemed man does not attack people to put them in thier place and passess it off as a 'joke', he welcomes and listens people because he knows how stupid is it to underestimate people or of if he really has something to say, he doesn't hide behind the armor of humor.

ولا لأ يا بو الشباب؟

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A lot on my plate

So, again, I'm at a cross-roads in my life. However, everytime I'm at a crossroads, the stakes seem to get higher and higher.
This time my options are as follows:
1- a job at a software high-tech start-up in Waterloo, Canada (already involved with them through MBET, little money, LOTS of experiences, awesome people to work with!)
2- a job at an established software company in Canada (good money, good experience, great entrepreneur, I can stay in Waterloo!)
3- PhD in Information Systems at UW (passionate about the field, lukewarm about my supervisor, don't want to spend another year alone until my brother joins me)
4- a job at CISCO (I don't know about the money, good experience, but parents are not too excited about me spending a year in Amsterdam)
5- Go back to Jeddah and dedicate mytime 100% to our start-up company with K,N, and R. (This is what I want, what I really, really want :( I have a lot of faith in the idea and my team, It's not so bad that we will have to spend some time in Japan too!)
6- A bunch of semi-interesting jobs in Jeddah (Tamer, NCB, P&G, Unilever, Zahid...etc)

So, I got a lot on my plate right now. It seems logical to stay another year in Waterloo to keep my apartment so my brother can get it next year when he comes (great, great location). But, that is definately not enough reason. I knew I will go on for a PhD not because of my grades, but because I love academia and research... however, MBET gave strength to the entrepreneur in me. I don't really want to go back, but the market in the ME is just wide-open... My father is on my side, if I choose to stay, but not for Amsterdam. My mom is against both! She wants me back... Don't tell me that I shouldn't listen to my parents and I should do what I really want. I know it's my life, but that is not how I run my life.

Good corporate governance policies require transparent communication between the CEO and board members. If I run my life the way I would like to run a company, then I would be the CEO and my parents are board memebers. I must take their insight and recommendation into consideration.


On side note, I don't feel like writing my review of The Divinci Code just yet, but my verdict on the movie is: B.

Friday, May 26, 2006

make up your own opinion about this

I just felt wierd when a child prays for forgiveness from his sins and the evils in his soul :s....umm, honey, you're six years old!

I wanted to give this preacher an objective review, so I listened to his speech. To begin with, I am generally not susceptible to this style of preaching. The shout-at-the-top-of-your-lungs, spew-all-kinds-of-cliches style of preaching. From what I could understand - his speech is not very easy to understand - he didn't bring anything new to the table (how controversial can you be when you are SIX). Verdict: D+

He basically memorized a speech. I don't see how this will help people. To be fair, maybe different people find inspiration in different things, right? I hope his efforts (or his parents, or his master shiekh, or whoever took the time to train this child) will do more good to whoever listens to him than damage to the child.

Generally, it is not recommended to brainwash children at such a young age...
Thanks to Didi for bringing this to my attention

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What is happening to Egypt

I spent a couple of summers at the AAST in Alexandria, Egypt. The reason is that my family was spending the summer there and I wanted to finish some credits for my undergraduate degree (as well as avoid taking any class with the accounting prof at my school!). So, I enrolled as a summer student for two years and took up to four courses. I must say it was a different experience.

Saudi Arabia is supposedly the most intolerant of all the Arabic/Islamic countries. Rules are strict and all must adhere. Egypt, was always known as the most tolerant because of the relatively high percentage of different faiths practiced there as well as it being a popular tourist destination.

Obviously, as with the rest of the Islamic world, the new wave of extremitism has caught on. In my opinion, I think Alexandria's situation is worse than Cairo. In addition to my first-hand experience there, this observation is clearly exemplified in the recent church attacks there.

What is worse is the news about condemning statues (such as pharonic sculptures) that we heard a couple of weeks ago. I sincerely hope that someone up there in Eygpt would put an end to this madness. I hope they do not do the same mistake of destroying precious acheological sites like KSA did.

So, why am I writing this?
Well, because my family is going again to this summer. My grandmother loves Egypt and she insists on going there every summer. What is different now is that I honestly don't want to go. Neither do my little sisters. It is strange change from a number of years ago, when Egypt was our second home. It was truly the most fun place I could imagine. The movie theatres, the culture, the beaches...everything. We weren't one of those terrible tourists that visited Egypt just for its 'nightlife'. My parents both attended university there. So, we were very much integrated into society there. We spoke the dialect, knew the places to go and cared about Egypt's economy and politics.

What changed is that Egypt is no longer the lovely picture that I have in mind. At least in Saudi, rules are clear and obvious. We have learned how to live with and around them. There is a certain degree of enforced tolerance between the extremists, the moderates and the liberals. Not so in Egypt.

It is uncomfortable now to walk in the streets of Alexandira. No matter how covered or uncovered you are...I don't know...there is a tight, upset tension. You no longer can have safe, balanced fun. It's either you are a 'bad' girl or you go attend those redundant religious lectures. There is no 'medium'. It is even SCARY now to even think about a quick trip to Sharm Al-Shiek.

I can articulate the change and talk about it. But, my little sisters couldn't. They just said: "Egypt?" ... and a sad face...
Even those little angels can sense the tension and frustration in the streets.

I love "Umm el Dunya" and I hope it changes to the better...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Diversity on Steroids!

When my Orthodox Serbian friend asked me about my opinion of the war on Iraq while I was hanging out with my Catholic Spanish friend, my Syberian(yes, Syberia!) friend and my Jewsih friend, I was also text messaging my Vietnamese friend. It was then I realized how different my set of friends have become.

What I never realized before was how sheltered I was in Saudi Arabia. I'm not talking about being sheltered from life challenges, on the contrary, my parents always made sure that I had my fair share of challenges. I am talking about a different kind of shelter. A shelter from diversity.

No matter how different the people I knew in KSA, we are all basically in the same social circle. We are really all the same. The little differences between us in personality and opinions are negligible. There isn't enough diversity. You just can't meet new people.

But here in Canada...omg. diversity on steroids. The sheer velocity of meeting new people is over-whelming! I feel sorry for what I missed out on in the past. No matter how much you read or learn, it's not like the real thing. When you literally rub shoulders with people who are worlds apart from you. It's a very different and enriching experience - if you approach it the right way.

I have met people from different cultures and religions before, but not like this. I am living with an amazing number of different people day after day. I suddenly became aware of how different I am. I also became aware how some comments or opinions that I used to voice so naturally, have to be 'diplomatized' or neuralized because of the environment I am currently in.

Meeting new and different people is so addictive. You get into the most awesome conversations and debates. I learned so, so much, I can almost feel it physically!

I think the lack of diversity of probably one of the reasons why our Arabic countries are not innovative. We are stuck in Groupthink. Yea, we all took the advantages of diversity in Management 101, but who really applies it there?

Throw yourself in the wild! If you live abroad, don't completely stick with your own kind. Step out of your comfort zone with an open mind. Trust me, you won't regret it!

Saturday, May 20, 2006


I was in TO celebrating a friend's birthday. It was nice to get out for a while from the work bubble.

Smoke-filled room,
with an amber glow.

Whispers in your ear,
while you're moving slow.

Shadows dance,
all across the wall.

Reflections of a revival.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Oww %-\

Pain :( whimper....
Wisdom tooth acting up again.
I don't have the time to deal with it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Self-Made Norah Vincent

Self-Made man is a book about a woman who completely immersed herself in a role of a man named Ned. The writer, Norah Vincent, lived as Ned for 18 months. To make sure that she lives the role right, not only did she enlist the help of professional make-up artists, she also built up her upper body and took voice lesson and tips on make cues. She took into consideration all the little details that really differeniates men from women. Then, she started off her adventure and talked about the friendships, career, relationship and other aspects of Ned.

At the beginning I had my own doubt about this book. I am have nothing against transvistites or other orientations. I'm cool with whatever rocks your boat. But, I was encouraged to read this book because she took this on as a journalist, not as a personal adventure. What I loved most is that she provides her own psychological and sociological analysis of the different situations she faces.

I must say I learned a lot about how men live and think. I am sure men will appreciate the credit that is given to them in this book, how they have it 'harder'. Men must live to the high expectations of thier bosses, wives (women in general) and society. I never believed in traditional feminism and always held men in high esteem. However, this book puts things in clear perspective =)

Rating: B+

I warn you, she is a lesbian. LOL but in the end of the book, she says that she missed and appreciated her feminanity more than ever. Therefore, I recommend reading this book but with an open and focused mind!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

La Traviata

Although I was supposed to go to Toronto this weekend, I stayed to work on - non other than - TAX. YES :S Again. Hopefully, this is the last assignment for Tax I ever have to do.

On Sunday a group from my class were invited to attend La Traviata. I decided it would be a nice break, since this weekend was a write-off anyways. I have a distinct taste for opera so, I wasn't sure about going. I have went to really upscale opera before and it would be hard to impress me. I checked out the program before going. It didn't look too bad =) So, I ended up going...

The story is based on the play “La Dame aux Camelias” by Alexandre Dumas. I recognized it because the second song in the first act is one of my father's favorites. My father has compilations of favorite opera pieces that he listens to in his car. I like that particular song, however, the opera is not one of my favorites.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. Rating: C

It is not one of my favorites because it is quiet sad. My favorites are more cheerful and have more dance scenes. I also gave it a C because the stage background was on the cheap side. Costumes, on the other hand, were well-made. I did appreciate the english subtitles (this particular opera was sung in Italian) but I didn't like the location of the projected subtitles. It was waaay up high above the stage. This was annoying because our seats were right upfront by the orchestra. Normally, these would be awesome seats, but since we kept looking up to the subtitles, the dress circle seats would have been a better choice.

I think I will join my father in learning Italian, just to be able to enjoy tradiational opera more.

It was a nice way to spend a sunday =)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Good News! but I'm also jealous.

Arabic Internet users rejoice!
At last a dedicated, more sophisticaed Arabic search engine will be available.

When I first read a quick article at
New Scientest
, I quickly did a brief research to know who is the smart company that seized this opportunity.

I found at this source that the venture is collaboration between Seekport from Germany (ha..interesting..) and MITSCO from Dubai (as usual.). However when I researched MITSCO, I found that it was Egyptian (ic.). Anybody got the real facts, please tell me.

and yes, jealous. I'm jealous because it's a high-tech venture and it's not in Saudi Arabia. I know in good ol' KSA oil & gas gas is our 'thing'. However, that is NOT really our 'thing' because it's NOT our freakin' oil :S. A handful - that is on one hand - own the @#$%*&^ oil. And what is worse, they don't really care about our economy and its sustainbility, dey care about da moneyyyy. And what's the easiest, fasted way to make money? SELL CRUDE BABY.

Now humor me for a second. I will invite you to my very own Utopia. Imagine - if you will - a country abundant with the hottest commidity of the centuary. Also, imagine it in the hands of real scientists and engineers, in the hands of visionary businessmen and entrepreneurs and operating in an unregulated, uncorrupted free market.

What are the possibilities?
What could have the results been?
Where could we have been on the map of world economy, instead of popping up in the map of War on Terror on Fox?
in the words of my third-grade Arabic teacher: s**** 5ano, ween ra7 mo55ik? Rakzi benti, rakzi.
Yea, I have always been a daydreamer.
if-scenarios belong in documents filed in the strategic planning department at Chevron and ExxonMobil, not in a wishful post on some young girl's blog.
SO, that's why i'm jealous. We don't have any other natural resources, we don't have cheap labor NOR skilled labor and we still got a loooong way before tourism becomes a viable industry in KSA. Technology is our only hope.
However, networking has already been dominated by FDIs, don't even mention semi-coducters and the enterprise solutions market is impossible to enter. Therefore, software IS THE ONLY WAY. I know, I know, that's still ambitious. However, with the advent of skilled labor in multimedia and graphics, software development is on the way. With right investment, management, and incentives, it's possible!
Call me a f****** dreamer, but I'm dedicated to this dream!
and dedication is the first indicator of success!!
Why the f*** did a german company develop an Arabic search engine instead of us?
GGGRRRrrrrrrrhhhhhhhh >:-<

Monday, May 08, 2006

When your life is in 'Chaos'

Let's start by the question - What is chaos?

"systems governed by non-linear differential equations"*

How do you deal with chaos?

"The principal managerial implication of chaos theory is that small changes or shocks to the system can have major impacts"*

Therefore, to be able to manage chaos, minimize 'shocks' and 'changes' before bringing some order to this chaos.

Why am I writing this?

Granted, it is always hard to take major, life-changing decisions in your life. However, it is harder when you feel your life is in 'chaos'. The reason is the outcome of each alternative is ambigious and the probability of taking the right decision decreases significantly.

On the other hand, if your life is not chaos and hence, it is a system which is governed by linear equations, you can reasonabley predict the outcome of each decision (i.e. if you take decision x the result will be y)

So, I am writing this as a mini self-help guide for those who feel that their life is in 'chaos'


If you can reasonably predict the outcome of each alterntive infront of you, then rest assured, your life is not in 'chaos'. Embellishing will worsen your situation. Take a deep breath, relax and gather your courage to take a decision and taking responsibilities for the consequences.

If you have reached to the conclusion that your life IS in chaos, then stop there. DO NOT take any decisions now. Do not introduce new variables to the chaos of your life.
- If you are not sure if you should leave your job.
- If you are not sure he is the right one.
- If you are not sure if you should apply for another degree.

These are a sample of decisions you must make. Don't make any decisions if your life right now is not stable enough to visualize a graph.

Bring order to your life first, then plot the different points and THEN take an informed decision.

Don't give in to chaos.

*source:“Competing on the Entrepreneurial Edge”, Eisenhardt, Brown & Neck, Entrepreneurship as Strategy: Competing on the Entrepreneurial Edge, Meyer & Heppard, 2000, pages 49-62.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

You know what I'm going to go? I'm going to take a BIG, FAT AXE and then go knock ever-so-softly on my next door neighbor. Of course, he won't hear me because of all THAT NOISE, so I will have to knock HARDER. When he FINALLY opens the door, he will be surprised of course to see a nice girl in a pink t-shirt with her hands behind her back. So, he will get into his joey-how-you-doin-;) mode while I flash a charming, disarming smile =). Then, I will peak around to satisfy my curiousity and THEN I WILL LET HIM HAVE IT.

I don't know what the hell he is building there, but I'm pretty sure it's a treehouse or something INSIDE THE FREAKIN APARTMENT. sawing, hammering, dropping, sliding, drilling... I identified 12 different sounds from his apartment.

It's Saturday, for GOD's Sakes!

hmm...maybe I'll try asking him nicely first and then do the axe thingie.


Anytime is a good time to make fun of American presidents :P

Check out Frank Calienda

Here is the url in case the link doesn't work on my post.


grrr...I can't figure out how to post a video link. I'll fix it later.

friday night ... can't sleep

damn those undergrads. don't they know some of are GRADUATE students who wake up early on Saturday mornings to work? I'm too tired to go to the floor above me and give the chinese *&^%$ a peice of my mind. They go quiet for a while, then start up again with the banging and swishing. It's not only that, I can hear the party from the NEXT BUILDING. What the hell am I going to do about that? One of these days, they will turn me into one of those party-poopers who will CALL THE *&^%$#@ police.

sigh. maybe i just wish i was partying instead of trying to sleep?

Friday, May 05, 2006

My Reflections on Freakonomics

If you know me, you would know I normally don't read the 'mainstream' books. Unless a best-seller is truly unique, best-sellers are usually on the bottom of my reading list. It's not from the principle "خالف تعرف", on the contrary, no one usually knows what I'm reading. The point I am trying to make that sometimes, there are true treasures which have been missed by the media. And sometimes, the media overhypes a book which is not that impressive.

Freakonomics is an example of that. An interesting book with potential that has been over-hyped by the media. I resisted buying it for while because my list of books to read - although has a quick turnover - is always long. A book has to be really, reallyyy special to skip the queue :P

After a while, I gave in. I bought Freakonomics after I read several reviews. When I finally got my hands on it, I started devouring it. I must admit, it's very catching in the beginning. However, as I reached the middle, I started getting uncomfortable.

ehhh... I like a book - especially non-fiction - that is not only entertaining but has valuable content. Valuable content is measure by the use of the information I gain. It is interesting to understand what school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common or how the inner workings of a drug gang operate. Fortunately, I learned how to read and think critically. Critical thinking makes you absorb and synthesize information then interpret it to understand what is the author really saying. I must say, I am a bit disappointed. Not completely disappointed, but just a bit. I cannot confidently say that I have learned something truly valuable. For example, one chapter tries to answer the question: Why do drug-dealers live with their mother. The short answer: they don't make that much money. The other chapters are very different in topics but similar in the type of questions that 'no one ever thought of asking before'. I guess that is what makes the book unique, but it's frustrating in the way it deals with each 'problem'.

I can see the use of measuring teachers' cheating, but it stops there. Or, it veers into a direction that is anything BUT how to solve this problem. Maybe I am a person who likes depth rather than breadth. If you read the book, I strongly suggest that you read the introduction. The introduction works more like a disclaimer for the book. He explains how it doesn't have a unifying theme. LOL. He pretty much summed up all the possible criticism in those two words. I also understood why he made a point to mention the praise he got from some harvard professors on his book. He probably needed that to establish credibility. Harvard professor or not, I like a book with more focus than this. Then again, this is not an academic book, it is a 'best-seller' and to create a best-seller, you might have to sacrifice something to make it more interesting. Verdict: B-. I expected more.

If you are a true avid reader, I recommend that you DO NOT stick to only the well-known and popular books. You're knowledge is going to be limited and as useful 95% other readers in the world. I believe a person should specialize in a specific field, before he or she can cross-specialize and become truly knowledgable. If you read one day a book about politics, make a conscious effort to make the next book you read also about politics. Treat the bibliography as a suggested readings list. This is how you will make your knowledge a little less fragmented.

Of course, I am not completely condemning being a balanced, wholesome person by reading about different subjects. I am the first one to plead guilty of this! All I am saying is that choose the books you read intelligently. Fiction aside, don't read a book just because it is the next big thing. Make sure you have a clear path that is in line with your interests and select the books that will really add value.

Freakonomics is obviously the result of someone who read too little about a lot!

This is not an attack - just my own reflections =)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Kissing Hank's Ass

I loved it! If you don't get it right away, it's ok. It took me while too to understand what the hell they are talking about.

hint: think who has promised you millions but you never saw him?