Archive for October, 2003

An ode to yourself

Friday, October 31st, 2003

Sometimes, all you need to hear is a good voice.
Then again, sometimes, all you need to hear is your own voice. A self thought said out loud, a reassurance you didn’t think you needed till you heard it. From your own self. A letter mailed out blindly, unknowingly. Received surprisingly, thankfully.
Sometimes, all you need is to believe in yourself.

Speak to yourself. And try to listen for once.

* Results may vary

One dinner table for all

Wednesday, October 29th, 2003

On Tuesday evenings, the Catholic Campus Ministry offers Dollar Dinner; dinner, for a dollar, cooked by some local fraternity or sorority, whichever one is picked for redemption that week. We the student body oblige, cautiously.

I open my fast at 5:09PM, sitting in the department lounge on the old earl green couch. I’ve spent many a night crashing on this couch, late night sessions here. AP sits on the nearby table studying for her exam.
I have but a sip of water, and a fast hopefully accepted. I try to make some dua’s but my raised hands seem to capture so little, my begging hands empty of a cup to hold mercies in.
I wonder how much I just missed there.

We walk down the hill to church for dinner, me and AP. The cold crisp air feels sharper on an empty stomach, the sights louder, the sounds muted a little bit. It’s an interesting perception. Father Al greets us and his dog comes bounding out, a mad little Lassie. We have a strange relationship. I come by, I always raise my hand to pet her. My hand still unmoved, she bounds off. It’s a tradition. I love her from such a distance.

The taco salad is served by the organization of the week. They have no idea how to serve, we have no idea how to be served. Father Al pops in and out, dishing out advise on top each serving. He’s great. I’m supposed to finish reading Karen Armstrong’s History of God and discuss it with him. I’m still on the first chapter, the book lying on my side table next to Puzo’s Omerta and a cigar given as a gift. I’ve only touched one of them.

At dinner, I sit next to woman from Haiti, with her two daughters aged two and three. Playfully, I trick them into eating their veggies. Their silent half smiles, in awe of friendly strangers, I take as loud giggles unheard. It’s a secret language that everybody speaks.

“Where are you from?” the mother asks me.
I never have answer for this question. I always have to think of one. And I’m never satisfied with each new one.
“Virginia”, I finally answer after almost a minute of pregnant pause.
She looks at me, her eyebrows raised slightly, amusement flushing in and out.
“Where are you from. Originally.”
Ah. Caught. Stuck. Headlights on low intensity. I smile a little uncomfortably, knowing very well the answer expected of me and realizing that I will not give it. I tell her where my parents currently reside in the world, and leave it at that.

Throughout this entire ordeal, AP sits quietly next to me, her grin questioning but not asking. This identity, this background, this cultural baggage luggage that everyone else so easily tags with themselves, I wrestle with face to face, not letting it be my back|ground. I’m not in a rush to find the answer, no. I flex, and I will make it flex with me, whether it likes it or not. Insha-allah.

I’m more concerned about what she said to herself during dinner:
“No, this isn’t their plate. This one is. This one has the meat in it…”

I almost choked on my dinner then.

and outside, it’s still raining

Monday, October 27th, 2003

Grab crudely a black bic. Scratch madly on paper yellow, legal.
For words must come with a reason. Write notes to self scribbled. Tear them out, hide them in various different pockets for later discoveries.

Scatter infront a handful of envelopes. Thoughtlessly, spit out all known street addresses. First thought, haywired or not, black ink scrawls out.
Fold paper blindly, stuff envelop and seal immediately.

To be mailed without concern.

To all those interested, email/comment me and I’ll give you my street address for the notes.

Response back guaranteed.

Weekend Fun

Friday, October 24th, 2003

As they say…all work and no play…time for the weekend to relax and “sharpen the saw” as they say. While Waleed and his group will not have time to relax. The major assignment is due Monday 9:00 am sharp. Not a minute late. Hopefully, his group will complete the assignment early and be able to relax…I’m afraid, however, that most groups will not accomplish the task much before Sunday….

Getting a group all focused in the same direction is difficult… can be done but requires a common vision, mission and purpose….can it be done with Waleed’s group….I’ll keep you posted.

Dr. K

PS. Have a relaxing weekend and do something to promote personnel growth.

Crying Mothers

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2003

From CAIR newsletter today:

“It’s preferable for Palestinian mothers to cry than Israeli mothers.”
-Israeli Military Intelligence commander Major General Aharon Ze’evi,
Haaretz (Israeli newspaper), 10/22/03

Damn all oppressors, damn all tyrants, damn all you fools murderers killers.
May God treat you as you treated the weak.
May God reward you as He sees best.

May God have mercy on your soul.

Daytime thief

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2003

Dr Karl won’t let me have his pen.
He’s such a hard professor at times, I swear.

It’s not as if I’m going to steal his new Accord car keys. True, I have made several attempts to smuggle them out of his office for a joy ride but I’ve never been successful and that’s what counts in real life.
Not how many times I’ve almost done it, rather how many times I have done it.

I walk by his office daily, hourly almost and peek inside to see if he’s around. If he’s not, I hastily glance through his office, looking for his car keys for a quick one. And it’s not a stealthy project either; Dr Karl is fully aware of all my attempts in this arena, especially since I tell him of them explicitly:-

Me: “I’m going to steal your car keys when you’re not looking you know. Just sneak in here, distract you, grab them and run off for a quick one”
Doc: “Oh right you are. That’s why I never leave my office without them now”
Me: “You just watch. Before I graduate Doc, muhahahahah!”

I don’t say muhahahahah. I just do my evil laugh.

It’s not my fault that I try this. He started it.
He wouldn’t let me have his new car. Just like his pen.
Not fair.


Tuesday, October 21st, 2003

As we think about our lives…aren’t they one project after another, do we not have to manage projects daily, weekly, hourly. We have a project to get dressed…we have projects to fix our car or wash our car…projects to arrange a party…meet with friends, these projects can weigh us down or pick us up…they can slow us down or speed us along.

We are in control…the projects are not in control…we can overcome these projects, meet the deadlines and move on…accomplished, satisfied…triumphiant.

Without completing projects…there is not feeling of closure….we must work to complete projects on time and within budget to reach a higher state.

for all the strong ones out there

Tuesday, October 21st, 2003

titled ‘advice from the defeated’
if a person is acting as though they’ve been defeated, try to be a team player and ask them how they’re doing instead of making them feel like an even bigger loser. chances are, they’ve actually been defeated a few times recently and could probably use a little pep talk before heading back into the game.
-maybe I am

The secrets of project management are many but simple.
The opportunities are few, but complex.
They always are.

Baby I’m afraid of you

Sunday, October 19th, 2003

Despair. The clutches of a weak man.
Hopelessness. The ropes of a man finished.
Depression. The anchors of a spiritless man.
Guilt self induced. The skin covered rash of a mad man.
Apathy. The suicide of a sane mind.
Thinking no more. The portrait of a sad man.
Jaded. The reflection of a faded man.

I didn’t understand immediately. He tells me that Islam says, to ensure you’re not a hypocrite, you must make sure you’re not a hypocrite. I sat there puzzled, outside his office in the hallway trying to make sense of this. The air breathed cool, the grey walls patient, sound itself molding to encourage me. Nobody noticed me on the bench in the hall, doing nothing but breathing slowly, still, eyes darting slowly, as a mathematician inside analyzed this proof indestructable. The dots slowly appeared, the lines constructed in bits and pieces, the base stablilized…

Hypocrisy. The hissing forked tongue of a man cursing his own soul.

Guest Blog

Thursday, October 16th, 2003

Hello all, Waleed is busy working on an assignment for my class…yes, I am his professor and he has been neglecting his work…therefore, I offered to blog while he catches up on the assignment…its a big one too!

So please direct any and all blogish comments to me! I will try to carry on in Waleed’s style, tone and interests but I think they are all wrong…so we shall see. At least Waleed will be entertained by the exchange of blogs…however, I am not sure when he will have time to read them.

Dr. Karl