mandag 21. november 2011

They eat dogs in China, right?

Spending three weeks in china during the summer will teach you a thing or two

1. Learn how to eat with chopsticks

Because despite the economic growth the country has been experiencing and despite the fact that it hosted the 2008 Olympics and the 2011 expo, china, a country of nearly 1.6 billion people does not encourage its citizens to speak English. Ok maybe that’s too harsh, but they certainly don’t speak the language. This would result in one going to any restaurant, fancy or not and not being able to ask the waiter to bring you a FORK instead of the mandatory chopsticks that are already on the table. Now personally this isn’t an issue for me, as I like to think of myself as a skilled chopstick user, however it did provide some great entertainment, watching my mother, with one chopstick in each hand, trying to get food in her mouth.

2. They don’t actually eat dogs on China

Ok so I can neither confirm or deny that. However I didn’t see any dog dishes during those three weeks. I did however see donkey meat (I didn’t try it) and at one point there was also an incident where the shady restaurateur couldn’t understand English and my father couldn’t understand what the items on the menu were, took my dad to the corner of the main dining hall, Removed the lid off of a large bucket only to reveal a very large toad. Apparently that’s what my father was pointing at on the menu. Needless to say we didn’t order that. Aside from those incidences and a couple of others where various beaks, talons and other bird-body-parts would show up on our table, China for me, was one of the greatest culinary experiences I’ve had in my life. Noodles and rice dishes of great quality, at fancy as well as shady restaurants, it beats the hell out of the sludge they pawn off as Chinese food here in Europe. A million different ways to make noodles, hundreds of ways to make chicken, and duck, oh the duck, the most delicious duck in the world. Even if they do eat dogs in China, I forgive them for the duck alone

søndag 30. oktober 2011

Thoughts on vampires

You know what I just realized. Its gonna sound really stupid. Like really really stupid. But I’m a big fan of pop culture vampires. This was before twilight and the vampire diaries were even thoughts in the authors mind (or should I say dreams); I like the mystery and the gore of it all, the whole creatures of the night thing. I was a BIG fan of Buffy and subsequently angel. Back when vampires really couldn’t walk in the sun. Anne Rice, Bram Stoker was the dominant vampire know-it-alls. And as far as I know they weren’t inspired by dreams about vampires in sunny meadows.

TV shows such as the vampire diaries and movie franchises such as twilight will have you believe that vampires truly can walk in the sun. In twilight they just glitter in the sun, apparently humans are too stupid and so the mistake the vampire glittering in the sun for the vampire actually being burned by the sun. And in the vampire diaries, most of the vampires can walk in the sun because of fancy rings (Damon, Stefan and Caroline all have bewitched rings) and the rest; well most of them are super freaky originals so it doesn’t matter to them apparently.

As I watch older episodes of Buffy and of the vampire diaries one thing struck me, how come vampires don’t need to be invited anymore??? One of the major rules to protect oneself from vampires is that they have to be invited in to be able to wander around your house. But apparently, in addition to making vampires glitter, Miss Meyer now thinks that any idiot vampire can just waltz into anyone’s house without being invited in, case and point the situation of vampire Reily who was roaming around Bella's house (leaving behind his scent). If only Miss Meyer had just upheld the vampire LAW, Bella wouldn’t have been in the predicament that she and the Cullen’s and the werewolves ultimately ended up in, in the third installment of the highly ludicrous and overrated franchise that is The Twilight Saga.

Don’t get it twisted; these are the most important vampire rules:

1. Never EVER invite a vampire in(unless he is your boyfriend i.e. Angel, Edward or Stefan)
2. Holy water and wooden stakes DO work! Just remember to aim for the heart.
3. Daylight WILL make a vampire burn (not glitter!!)
4. Fangs are a MUST, if you see k9s that look bigger than what k9s should look like, then run for cover!!!
5. A vampire will feed on human blood. Any vampire that chooses not to feed on humans but to ignore its animalistic nature can’t really be called a vampire (vegetarian vampires don’t exist, i.e. the ones that glitter and wear fancy rings aren’t vampires, just shadows of their true self)
6. To become a vampire, one must feed on a vampire. Just a bite will not do.
7. Vampire CAN’T have babies! Come on people, that’s just ridiculous! Seriously, say it out loud, you’ll understand how stupid it sounds….

lørdag 29. oktober 2011

The Hunger Games

The posters for The Hunger Games came out the other day. Am eagerly anticipating the release for this movie, out in March next year (4 days b4 my birthday woohoo) I read the books this summer, swallowed all three of them in the span of three days. They were amazing, which is why I can’t wait to see what Lionsgate has done with the adaptation.

The posters, individual ones of some of the characters are profiles of the characters on a black background. The faces are illuminated with light, and in certain pictures some of the features are more accentuated with a hint of some color. Such as the one of Effie (played by Elisabeth Banks), however my personal favorites is the one of Cinna (played by the handsome Lenny Kravitz). I think this was my absolute favorite casting choice out of all the cast. I think Kravitz will do an amazing job as the sympathetic but subdued and private Cinna, and I absolutely LOVE his poster. The yellow eyelashes are absolutely GORGEOUS!!!!!!

Lenny Kravitz is a beautiful man as he is, but those lashes!!! Be still my heart!!
I can't wait for this movie!!!

mandag 10. oktober 2011

A place that is important to me.

To begin with the words “I’ve been so many places in my life and time” would be a cliché to say the least, but it would be the appropriate way to start of an homage too one of my favorite places in the world.

It’s not a grand place. There are less than a million people living within the city limits. If we were to include the outer suburbs that number would rise to a little over a million. It has time and time again won several categories, best capital city in the world, worst capital in the world, friendliest people, most expensive. But to me it is the city I call home. It is the city I grew up in, the place most important to me. I've spent 24 years of my life here, now I spend every summer there; I spend every May 17th there. I have a bad habit of defending it, even if no one is actually saying anything against it. To me there is no place like Oslo, Norway

I don’t know why I feel such a connection to it. I like to say that I know the city like the back of my hand, but truth be told I don’t. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to though. It’s just such a large place. Every summer I make a plan “this year I’m gonna learn all about my city” and every year I do learn something new or find something I never knew about. But there are still many things about my city I still haven’t discovered yet, and to me that’s a good thing. It’s keeping me on my toes.

This summer something horrific happened to it, shook it to it's core, which to be honest only made me love it even more. It made me appreciate the sights, the people, the buildings, and its fragileness. I love how the people came together, to show how they weren’t going to let one mans action define them. To let one mans action tear them apart.

I cried for my city, I shed tears for the lives lost. I cried because of the injustice that this person had come here and tried to destroy something so sacred to me. This was my city, my home town, how dare he think he could pollute it, the way it was governed, the way the people in it chose to live their lives. Who did he think he was? This lone ranger on his own personal crusade, using all the wrong means to convince people of his own cause.

But my city showed me the reasons why I loved it in the first place. It came together. It shunned this mans ideals. It stood up and showed the world that no one mans ideals could crack a country, or a city. My home town showed me why it is so important to me, because when it had the chance to fall apart, it still stood up and faced the bitter music. it shoed so much strenght, the whole world was left standing, in awe, shocked over how we reacted. This summer changed everything.

So now I can’t wait for next summer, when I get to discover it in a whole new way. This summer didnt change my city completely, but we all know that things wont be the same again. I like to think that even though things wont be the same, my city will learn to live with it's scars and prosper.

tirsdag 4. oktober 2011

The life and lies of Hibatul Moin Rushda Binte Awn Syed


I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, some of them nice, some of them very nice and some not so nice. And most of the time its fine, I don’t really give a crap what people say. But after moving to Ireland I’ve been accused one too many times of actually being a freaking liar.
There are several ways of determining where a person is (technically) from, throughout the course of my life, I’ve learned three of them:

1. You’re from where you were raised
2. You’re form where you’re parents are from
3. You’re from where you were born

I grew up in the Scandinavian country of Norway. It was a great childhood, nice summers, and winter wonderland Christmases. I’ve been taking part in birthday celebrations of my classmates since kinder garden; I celebrated the Norwegian national day of May 17th since before I can remember. To this day I cannot imagine celebrating this day any other place than my beloved Oslo. I like to say that I know the city of Oslo like the back of my hand, but I don’t, I know it averagely, every summer I discover something new about the city(mostly cuz I wasn’t looking for it the previous summer). I speak, read and write the language; to me my first language would be Norwegian. It’s the only language (aside from English) that I know the grammatical rules to; I’ve been speaking it since the first day of kinder garden. I know the culture, I know the people. I’ve always identified myself with being Norwegian, sure there are some things I technically can’t do cuz of the religion I was raised in, but hat never really mattered. I was still Norwegian. I was raised there so I must be.

But according to definition number 2 and my dark skin I would have to be Pakistani. My parents are originally from Pakistan, so obviously, no matter how Norwegian I feel, I’m always going to look like I’m not from the country of Vikings. But here is my issue with this definition. Though I have no trouble saying I am Pakistani, and I grew up speaking Urdu at home and was raised on Pakistani cuisine since my mother took me off mother’s milk. I have no affiliation with the country. I’ve never lived there nor do I ever plan on living there. My parents left 26 years ago and as far as I know they have no plans of returning either. So am I Pakistani by definition? Can I call myself a citizen of a country I’ve only visited 5 times in my life (never more than three weeks) and whose citizenship I’ve never even held? Personally I don’t think so. Though I’m fluent in the language, and my family is from there I have no connection to this country. But if we’re going by this definition then my parents aren’t Pakistani as their parents were all (4) born in the India portion of the empire of India (before the partition in 1947) making them Indian and me by default also Indian. Now I don’t have a problem being Indian, none what so ever (I can’t say the same about my parents and/or grandparents) but the definition opens up for an endless discussion about the origin of man, which is, to be honest, not only tiring but also pointless.

So I move toward the last definition number 3. Now this is the concluding reason as to why people might think of me as a liar. You see I was born at St. James’ hospital in the city of Dublin in March 1986. My parents were living here as students, my mother had travelled in her 8th month of pregnancy, from Pakistan, and joined my father as he was taking some courses at rcsi. My parents lived in a tini tiny little bedsit on south circular road for the next 3 month after I was born. After a couple of months in Scotland my parents moved to the cold country of Norway and have made their home there ever since.

This would be the reason why I hold an Irish citizenship, but don’t really have a relationship to Ireland otherwise. Up until the age of 23 I hadn’t stepped foot in Ireland since my birth, and last year I moved here for my studies. Though my classmates might call me Irish for the hell of it and pretend that that I am one of them, other than the citizenship, again there is no relationship to the country. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love it here. I love the people, I love the atmosphere. But at the end of the day I don’t see myself staying here for the rest of my life, even if I do have a citizenship.

And then over to the second part of why people perceive me as a liar.

I’ve always be honest about where I’m from. When people ask me I say “Norway” I flip my hair, flutter my eyes and say “can’t you tell by my blonde hair and blue eyes” obviously, there is a hint of sarcasm in there, but I always say it with a smile. The problem is the accent I say it in. I happen to have a very American accent and because of this I’ve been time and time again accused of being a liar. I’ve been told I have a hint of Canadian in my accent. I’ve been accused of lying (about being from Norway) and actually being from California. And time and time ageing I’ve been told that I can’t be anything other than American. Which, again, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind. I have no problem with people thinking I’m Indian, American, Irish, Sri Lankan, Pakistani, and Norwegian. It really doesn’t matter where people think I’m from. Problem is that when I tell them, they think I’m lying :(

onsdag 28. september 2011

for the love of all music!!

When the realization of not doing anything or going anywhere for the summer of 2009 kicked in I realized that I had to make the most of the summer spent at home in Norway. Sure I was spending the summer working (as I always do) and the impending visit of my grandmother, who had never been to Norway before, was super exciting. But I wanted a different experience. So when I heard Neil young, nick cave, Duffy and keane were coming to the Norwegian wood music festival. I put my words into action.

Norwegian wood is an annual music festival held in the heart of Oslo every year for the past 20 years. Named after the Beatle song it attracts almost 8000 people (per day) a year.

Tickets for the event(s) aren’t the cheapest, the cheapest I’ve seen were 500 Norwegian kr, and that wasn't even for the more known acts performing during the concert. So I found a way for me to see the concerts for free, how? You might ask. well you see the Norwegian wood festivals is put together first and foremost but the students at Oslo university, and second as they try to spend as little money as possible on the workers and more bringing in the best acts ever, the employ volunteer labor, from all the teeny boppers, hipsters and cool kids in Oslo. And in return they get free passes, which is a great way of earning your ticket.

Now this summer I had the privilege of working 4 out of 5 days at Norwegian wood. For me it wasn’t just a return to the festival I’ve been volunteering and attending for the past three years, but also the chance to see some of the greatest acts EVER.

The roster for this year included the legendary Eric Clapton, Patti Smith, Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band and the always delightful Eagles. The experience of watching all those "old-times" was one of the greatest I’ve ever had in my life.

Watching Clapton play a 6 string, singing about his best friend’s girl and how he's slowly but steadily falling for her, is something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. I mean when else am I ever going to see one of the yardbirds rock out about cocaine and him telling me that I look wonderful tonight: P

Eric Clapton has been playing guitar since the age of 15 and been performing since 1962. At the age of 66 he is still rocking out. One would have no idea that this ultimate legend is pushing 70, the way he played that six string.

The evening with Clapton (and 7999 others) was one of the most magical evenings I’ve ever had in my life. And it didn’t even cost me a dime: D

onsdag 23. mars 2011

My first (self)published book!!!

i always thought i would write a novel or a collection of really sappy shortstories, or a collection of articles i had written as my first published anything. but what do you know, life has other things in mind.

torsdag 10. mars 2011

Showing School Spirit!!

On Wednesday march 2nd, the DBS men basketball team played the team from Cork Institute of Technology at the Irish Colleges Basketball League division 2 all-Ireland finals at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght. It would be easy to give you a play by play of what happened during the game, who played, who’s defense was stronger and who had a better offence or who made the winning shot or whether or not the game was decided on the buzzer. 

It would be easy for those who were actually present.
The road down to Tallaght is long, and getting to the national basketball arena is no easy feat, even by public transportation, which is why DBS College arranged for a bus to leave from the Aungier street building. For those students who actually made the bus, it left at 100 a.m. for those who didn’t make it, rumor had it that the 65b bus was the one that would get you as near as you could get (from O’Connell street.
Because of a class trip scheduled at 1015 on the morning of the same Wednesday, a couple of students decided that to catch the game, they would make their own way down to Tallaght, after their excursion was over.

After enquiring with 5 different bus drivers, the common consensus was that the 65b truly was the bus to get down to Tallaght, the bus driver even went as far to say t hat he would let them know when to get off. The two students were, according to their own calculations, somewhat late. They got on the 65b around 1215(15 minutes after the game in Tallaght had already started) and spent the next 45-50 minutes riding through the suburbs of south Dublin wondering whether they would make the game or not.

When the bus approached the arena, the driver let the students know that their stop was near, and the students got off and began walking in the direction the driver had told them that the arena would be. The walk it turned out wasn’t an easy one, as it involved walking around large estates, and the “driveway” up to the Arena, in heels. They spent a very long time, what seemed like an eternity, only to show up at the back of the arena, which looked completely abandoned. Not losing faith, one of the suggested they try checking out the other side, and walk around the building.

There they saw, what can only be described as a sight for sore feet. The main entrance of the arena was packed with other students holding DBS supporter flags. The time was around half one and they could conclude that the there was a big chance that they might, just might have missed the game. They had already agreed that in ANY CASE they would not be walking back to the bus stop, but hitch a ride back on the Bus that the college had provided. After having confirmed that the match indeed was over and learned the outcome of the game, the two got on the bus and let their feet rest. Their getting on the bus may or may not have resulted in half the team having to take a taxi back. However the new reigning 2nd division champions looked like they would handle that just fine.

by Rushda Syed & Rob Kearney