Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Egypt: Torrential Rainstorms

Article first published as Egypt: Torrential Rainstorms on

2010 is off to a disastrous start in many areas of the globe.
You have disasters of colossal magnitude, like that of Haiti, and you have other ,less monstrous, yet with equally important repercussions such as the torrential rainstorms that struck some of Egypt's already poor and underserved cities in the Sinai Peninsula, and upper Egypt. Starting on January 18 and lasting for four days, flash floods in Egypt have left thousands homeless and starving, many injured and an uncertain number dead. It is worth noting that Gaza has also been struck by the downpour.
Egyptian authorities have allocated 25,000 L.E. (about 4,400 U.S.D) as a compensation for each family that has lost a home. Two blankets were also promised; the catch is that those stricken by the disaster have to present their national identity cards, which have been washed away along with all their belongings, to receive food and blankets!
The affected communities are outraged by the inefficiency of the relief efforts, and the delay in response. One of the heavily criticized issues is that building licenses were granted in areas around riverbeds known to be at peril in case of heavy rains and flood. The citizens are also concerned at the possibility of further damage if the  Rawafe' dam succumbs to a next wave of heavy rains.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Philips Avent Express Steam Sterilizer Review

No matter how long a woman breastfeeds, eventually, you start bottle-feeding. Everyone knows that bottle sanitation is essential, but everyone dreads the 'let's fish the teats from the boiling pot scene.' It looks rather prehistorical—not to mention that it is very time consuming.
If you make up you mind to buy a steam sterilizer, the Avent express is an excellent choice. As its name suggests, it's fast. It is also very user-friendly, you don't even need to read the manual to operate it.
It takes six Avent bottles, and comes equipped with two of them, and depending on the package you need, you can get it complete with a breast pump. They even took care of the residue building up in the steamer by providing sachets for de-scaling (along with instructions.)
Is it worth the price? Yes, every penny!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Copy me this, Copy me that

Aaaaaahh! You poor saps!
Lacking imagination and creative power is really plaguing the Egyptian society. And that is why we have 'trends' that wax and wane in almost EVERYTHING: baby names (you have generations that are called Sara, Dina, Imane and Rasha, now it's Yussef, Loujy, and Malak), going to university (for some time the 'it' thing was 'seyaha w fenade2' (ie. Tourism and Hotel services) to be replaced years later by 'tegara English' and '7o2ou2 English' (commerce and law schools—English department), and of course shops and businesses.
Back in the eighties, you had a video rental shop at EVERY corner. It starts by some random guy starting the business, it's a success, so about 10 or 20 other guys in the neighborhood say : ' yeah, what the heck! If it worked for him, it is bound to make me rich too!!' so in a matter of a few months, you have a street with 5 rent-a-video shops on it and no supermarkets! This was later replaced by Net Cafés, and then by playstation venues, and of course mobile (Cell Phone) shops!!The funny thing is it is always the SAME shop-owners that keep changing activities, always on the look-out for the next hip-and-happening thing.
I check-out a few cool businesses on Face Book; gift-making and the like. Well, I am sure that within a few months many people will have 'borrowed' the idea and didn't think of particularly adding any new twist to it.
Honestly, people, GET A LIFE!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Girl power ! "mais maman je veux être une princesse, moi !"

To my dismay, my 5-year-old daughter made the above statement in reply to why she doesn't like Kim possible, and she prefers watching Spiderman!
MY daughter-me the bona fide feminist!-prefers to be the damsel in distress. She doesn't want to be the savior. She wants to be the little helpless princess locked up in the tower waiting for prince charming. That is her idea of romance. Where did I go wrong? How did society get her? She says she prefers when boys defend girls, and that she hopes that she marries a guy with a nice house! She says her baby brother shouldn't play with dolls and should not wear any color remotely related to pink!!!!!!!
Good God! How did that happen? And more importantly, how can it be fixed?
I am definitely going to gather up some ammo to attack this backward thinking. I will be vigorously searching for books, movies, and story ideas in counteract the patriarchal pop culture rearing its ugly at us every minute of the day.
Maybe I will never get her to take that Karate class, but at least I can teach her to stand up for herself; and that knights in shining armor are just a figment of men's imagination to keep females hidden and locked away, never achieving their true potential.

Avatar: an uplink into nature

Article first published as Avatar: an uplink into nature on

In this age of technology, we are increasingly isolated from nature. As we sit here, behind our flat screens and laptops, we use Avatars to represent us in our 'virtual' lives. We uplink ourselves into the World Wide Web to lead a parallel life. A cold, barren, life. We have abandoned our physical selves to lead a parallel 'dream' life.
"They have killed their mother," said Neytiri. And she is right. As the human 'invaders' were leaving Pandora, they were hailed off as "returning to their dying world."
This narration in the final scene has sent shivers down my spine and brought tears to my eyes. Indeed, the whole movie has created insatiable yearning to reconnect with nature, a desire to weep over the lost rain forests and the extinct species everywhere.
This is really what sets Avatar apart from all other 'epic' movies set in parallel worlds. It is that poetic sweetness and romantic connection back to the 'roots'.
I could write an essay analyzing all the quest elements in the movie that could make my grade 12 English teacher proud! Avatar has definitely got something for everyone: the graphic lovers, the romance seekers, and even action fans. You can even view it as a literary masterpiece emblazoned with clever allegories and vivid symbols.
Bottom line: Don't miss it !!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Appropriate, inappropriate, or just downright crazy: how freedom of expression can change the world

Deciding whether you want your virtual persona to be appropriate, or to let it be a representation of the wilder side of you is a tough decision.

Keeping on the safe side of things is, well, safe but certainly not rewarding. It is not that expressing yourself freely gives you an adrenaline rush, or that bordering on the risqué in and of itself puts you under the spotlight. The problem is that all creative, innovative, ideas are at first 'crazy'. If you do not let your ideas roam freely, you can never change your reality, solve your problems, or --if you are an idealist visionary --change the world.

Somehow, 'inappropriate' and 'out-there' ideas become automatically equated with the profane. People vigilantly censor themselves lest they break a cultural taboo. But sadly, in doing so they lock their potential away; and live as mindless followers in a pitiful herd.

When I say 'wilder side', I am not referring to taking your shirt off for a stranger in front of a webcam! I am referring to these thoughts that come to mind and you just brush them off because they are 'unconventional', or maybe you file them under the 'never going to happen' tab.

So before you censor yourself, trust it. Trust that you are genuinely good and that you have genuinely good ideas. Don't believe what the pessimists say. We humans are not dirty nasty creatures operating on basic instincts--our Cerebral cortex does, sometimes, take the upper hand!

You might change yourself, your community, or even your world if you just let yourself truly BE.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Do I know you?"

Everybody is on Facebook now, even my own mama!
This has odd social ramifications that many people are yet to realize.

So you keep adding friends, sending gifts and exchanging superpokes, matching up with them on various quizzes--some not so innocent might I add!

But are they REALLY your friends?

Looking at the hypothetical situation where there is this person that you 'know' on facebook ,a friend of a friend of a friend.  You fertilize their crop on FarmVille, you are a 99% match on movie quizzes, you frequently engage in Vampire fights...etc.
You know their birthday, their work history, their relationship status and even where they spent their vacation!
And one day you see them in a party. What do you do? 
Do you just go:'Hiiiii!! it's me, u know, from facebook?!' or do you pretendthat you've never seen them before?

Awkward , isn't it?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Twilight: new moon" and the case of the disappearing ratings

Where I come from "saga" is good!
But apparently that is not the case worldwide!!!

Let me explain... On a beautiful afternoon, DH and I were set out to watch Avatar, but the 3-D machine wasn't working in the Golden Stars Cinema. So we were left with either 2012, awlad el am "the cousins", or t twilight new moon. Since I've sworn off arabic films, and hubby has sworn off disaster Apocalypse movies, we were left with Twilight. I remembered reading "the Twilight saga" somewhere; so I thought that it might be interesting.

Little did I know, we were about to watch a ridiculous, boring, kiddy, cartoon-like depiction of a pathetic story! The only reason anyone can sit through it is if you find that vampire dude hot; and well let's just say you'd either be a pedophile or really really young.

This movies should come with a warning for adults, much like the rated R is meant to deter the youngesters; there really should be a rating of NFA16 (Not for anyone over 16)!

DVD player

So my DH and I finally got that Philips  DVD3260k so that we can watch movies on the couch instead of sitting on the PC......
But guess what, we can't play any of our DVDs *wrong region code*! Well, guess it doesn't pay off to be a goody-two-shoes and buy original CDs. I was quite upset. After all that anti-piracy preaching, how dissappointing!

So, I just kept the faith and searched the glorious world wide web and TATA: Found the answer here:

ALL in ALL: It's a great little user-friendly player, but remember you gotta break the region code!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hairdressers in Zayed

This is it in a nutshell:

a) The so-called "La Fayette": They charge too much for a shabby job. The best out there is called 'Hala' , not too bad, just not for what they charge.
ADVANTAGE: Veiled section, not too crowded
DISADVANTAGE: pas tres "a la mode", you can't get the latest hip and happening cut there--yet they charge as much as the salons that do
RATING: 2/10 (unless you're veiled then it becomes a 6)

b)"Zakaria Ghoneim":
ADVANTAGE: conveniently located in Dandy mall--get a manicure right before shopping! SOME--and i repeat some-- of the staff are very friendly and they really know what they're doing.
Also, a 'veiled' section is available.
DISADVANTAGE: Very high staff turnover. As you start to feel comfortable with a certain person over there, they just disappear on you!  Can be packed at times, and you can not reserve ahead.
RATING: 6/10

c)  Kriss:
That's the real 10/10 round here. Very professional excellent cutting, colouring, styling. You can reserve ahead. Only downside is that there is no veiled women section.

So there you have it... my 5 cent worth on dressers in my neighborhood

L'oreal Professional Vitamino Color

For all you "unnatural" red-heads out there!!
The verdict is definitely out>>>> the Vitamino Color from the L'oreal expert series is the answer to the fading color. I've always hated how my gorgeous red highlights fade after 4 to 5 washes.
The shampoo and the hydro-resist "masque" are really a god send.
It's true that they are quite pricey, but still cheaper than getting your hair redyed every 4 weeks.

Rating?  Definitely 10/10

Velcome dear friends

No, it's not a typo!
"Velcome to my castle dear friends" in my best deep hypnotic vlad-the-impaler like voice.
SO... Now that I am finished setting the mood, on to more serious matters:-

Q) Why read my blog?
a) coz it's fun :)

Q) What's it all about?
a) Reviews, comments, and tidbits about things I come across: life in Cairo/Egypt,products on the market, books/movies/music. I will throw in the odd post here and there about women's rights and gender stuff, parenting/kids stuff, and maybe even some health medical/stuff *yeah, yuck, I know