Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Inside America

I feel like a broken record by now but again, pardon the brief absence. Last week, I traveled back to the States for college, and from the moment I landed, things got crazier by the minute. I’m not going to divulge much further than this but to sum things up, all I’ve got to say:

  • Comcast, you suck ass. I hope you get bankrupted very soon.
  • Xcel Energy, you suck major ass. I hope solar energy get discovered so you’d be out of business.
  • Dr. Asirvatham, you suck extravaganza of major ass. I hope you get the most obnoxious students in your class from now on.

Well, now that’s out of my system. I shall commence my blogging activity once again.

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The 5 Annoying People You Meet In Starbucks

We all love Starbucks, and that’s a fact. However, once in every damn second there, you always have to encounter an annoying person that set you ballistic, even though they might not interact with you directly. They are the people they make you cringe with detest, commit suicide in the spot, or simply, give you the urge to beat the crap out of them. I summarize my ranting as follow:

  • The Writer Who Wants You to Know He’s a Writer

Yes, we all know that writing is a fascinating occupation, but unfortunately, unlike hookers and crack dealers, you cannot simply point them out by looking at them. However, when a person has to tell you that he’s a writer (intentionally), then writing suddenly becomes less impressive. Those kind of people usually go to the busiest Starbucks in town and pop open their Macs, making sure that the shining Apple logo is on display for everyone to see. Then they pretend to write, sigh, and brainstorm their thoughts. However, the most annoying behavior they exhibit that makes you want to go GTA on their asses is when they sit in a table that is usually reserved for four people.

  • The Guy Who Hates Starbucks But Goes There Anyway

The world is packed with shitheads and nobody can deny that, but there are those who realize they are complete shitheads, and yet, brag about it. I’m taking about that certain someone who won’t shut up about how crappy Starbucks is, and forget the fact he is ranting while waiting in line inside Starbucks. Then, they become more annoying when they super customized their coffee and inquire combination that doesn’t even exist at the menu, and then ask for Splenda instead of regular sugar. Those people deserve to be vanished from the face of the Earth, clear and simple.

  • Study Groups

Why go to a proper school library that is filled with textbooks, resources, and free computers when you have the most crowded Starbucks in the area. It definitely makes more sense to go to a place where noise is a popular demanding song, has tables that barely support an encyclopedia, and a crowd that’s yelling for a proper frappuccino. It’s like Turkish prison, except less gay sex and slightly better coffee.

  • Manager Who Refuses to Recognize the Words Small, Medium, and Large

Dear Starbucks Manager,

I understand, you’re a corporate guy and thus must abide by company policies by calling the different sizes by their Starbucks Christian names of Venti, Grande, et. But if I ask you for a small, don’t act like I’m speaking to you in that Native American language as if we were in war where coded messages were delivered. You’re familiar with the sizes small, medium and large, and if you’re not, then you might want to change underwear because there’s a good chance that you are wearing a Venti size boxer that isn’t big enough for your shit that you failed to wipe/wash from defecating at your customers.

Sincerely,

A bitter consumer

  • The Person Who Peruses the DVD/Music Section As If He Might Purchase Something

It’s really great when you’re waiting in line behind somebody only to realize that they’re not in line, but instead deciding whether or not they want to purchase “Akeelah and the Bee” DVD, which I am positively sure that no one ever bought. Yes, we know that you want to shed the stereotypes that white people don’t watch Black movies, but if that particular Black movie sucks, then we understand the reason that you didn’t see it in theaters. Now, would you please stop reading the back cover of the DVD case and order freaking coffee before I kick the crap out of you? Thanks.

The French Way Of Life

I have expressed several times in my blog about my fascination regarding France and the French people. As a matter of fact, when I come across the Travel section in any bookstore I visit, I always scan the bookshelves for France’s travel guides. Sometimes however, I think I’m more fascinated with the French than France in general. Throughout my readings regarding the French, and watching the countless French movies, they are certain charms and habits that you cannot help but to notice. Not to be positively or negativity stereotypical, I condense my thoughts as follow:

  • The People of Paradoxes

Ask mostly anyone which country they consider the most “European,” and they’ll probably answer France. Thomas Jefferson knew France well, dubbing it “every man’s second fatherland.” Why, in view of these tributes, does one hear unflattering things about the French: that they’re rude, unfriendly, impatient, and even promiscuous? Every visitor shares this bewilderment, and I shall reserve my judgment until I go there and meet them myself.

  • L’esprit Critique

You’ll spot the characteristic shrug of the shoulders, which is the Frenchman’s reaction to all startling news. Some might call it cynicism, but a better phrase is the one the French use themselves: l’esprit critique. It’s not something negative; it’s simply the way the French use their common sense. A Frenchman can’t describe something without adding his own judgment of value, that is, he wants to know if it’s good or bad for him.

  • The Cold Treatment

French indifference and coldness to outsiders is really another virtue seen from the wrong end. If a Frenchman seems cold to outsiders, it’s because he reserves his affections for his family and close friends. Family life in France is one of the closest in Europe: it affords the French the small pleasures (like the evening meal), which they value above all else. Apparently, The French consider instant friendliness a sign of insincerity. Thus, a sign of banjour might be a rare expression (among the French and the outsiders) than you might think.

  • In Unity We Trust

For all their individualism and eccentricity, the French still have bonds, which keep them together as a nation. One is pride in their nation and its language. France is, after all, the oldest unified country in Europe of any size. For centuries, the French language dominated European diplomacy and royal courts. Another bond that unifies them is the Frenchman’s respect for intellectual distinction in general. The French probably read more than any other people. The leading intellectual figures of the day receive the same media coverage that movie stars, politicians, or sports heroes do in the U.S. However, this also means that sometimes the French lose sight of a problem in the endless analysis of its details, especially when the experts disagree.

Conclusion?

If you were seeking a conclusive statement after reading all of that, then I’m sorry to tell you that I don’t have one. I cannot deduce something that I didn’t have the chance to essentially investigate and observe. However, I can firmly assert that I have at least scratched the surface of the French way of life. In the end, I invite you to watch this movie and experience a little taste of my all time favorite city, Paris. It might lighten up your weekend.

The Secret Of Mona Lisa’s Smile

For hundreds of years, art critics have mused over why the Mona Lisa‘s smile seems so mysterious. Now the Harvard neurobiologist Margaret Livingstone has a fascinating answer: It’s because Da Vinci painted her face in colors that play tricks on the eye.

Livingstone’s work has long examined the way that different cells in the visual system process different types of information, such as form, color, depth and movement. When she analyzed the Mona Lisa, she found that Da Vinci painted her smile almost completely in low spatial frequencies, and these are best picked up in your peripheral vision. The result, as she notes on her web site, is a nifty illusion:

These three images — [pictured above!] — show her face filtered to show selectively lowest (left) low (middle) and high (right) spatial frequencies.

So when you look at her eyes or the background, you see a smile like the one on the left, or in the middle, and you think she is smiling. But when you look directly at her mouth, it looks more like the panel on the right, and her smile seems to vanish. The fact that the degree of her smile varies so much with gaze angle makes her expression dynamic, and the fact that her smile vanishes when you look directly at it, makes it seem elusive.

Interesting, yes?

Pieter Bruegel Artwork

An informative documentary on the European master painter Pieter Bruegel. The level of detail in his paintings has always astounded me and this episode pointed out some details that I had not been aware of. Something nice and laid back to start off your Wednesday for those who live in Kuwait, or simply to anyone who appreciates fine art.

Vodpod videos no longer available. 

Frenzy Masturbation!

Now just before you shy red after reading the title, or switch to another blog or inform the government to regulate my blog (good luck on that by the way), I ask you to hold your horses. First, we cannot deny that masturbation has tremendous benefits for the health, especially for men. For example, masturbating four times a week can reduce the chance of getting prostrate cancer by 25%. However, there are sometimes when little habits can go overboard.

I was reading a novel called “The Average American Male” that tells a story about your average American male (duh!) and in one of the chapters, the protagonist of the story has masturbated 4 times just before he went on a date. Now, I realize this is a fiction; however, after reading the readers’ reviews and how they confirmed the reality of the novel, I thought this is the real deal: that American guys masturbate more than 4 times a day.

In order to feed the social psychologist in me, I ventured into a quest to find the real answer, and who is a better person to ask than your beloved American colleague. I started with James, who is famous for being a total playboy in the psychology department in my university.

Me: Say James, you do date a lot of women don’t you?

James flashed his white teeth, brushed his golden blond hair, adjusted his fitted t-shirt that was so tight on his 2% body fat frame, and displayed his cheek dimples. He was brimming with confidence.

James: Yes, I declare that I am guilty at charge.

Me: Well, I was reading this novel, and in one of the chapters, the protagonist undergoes frenzy masturbation four times just before he went on a date. Do you confirm that’s a regular habit you commit yourself?

James didn’t take too much time thinking. With a big grin on his face, he answered.

James: I can definitely assert that I often masturbate 4 times a day but I never did it that many times before I went on a date. I think you gave me an idea for a great challenge to beat my friend.

Although I didn’t get the exact answer I wanted to hear, but it was a positive start.

Me: Gee, thanks James.

James: No problem, my average looking friend.

Unsatisfied with the results that I obtained, I thought that I should ask my nerdy friend (and lab partner) Andrew if he can chip his two cents to the subject. You don’t know, looks can be deceiving, I thought.

Me: Say Andrew, how often do you jerk off on a daily basis?

Andrew squirted his iced mocha all over the place.

Andrew: Say what?

Me: Oh sorry. How often do you ejaculate on a daily basis?

Andrew: I understood it the first time you idiot. What kinda question is that?

I explained thoroughly to Andrew my story. He looked at me bitterly.

Andrew: How should I know? I rarely get out of the lab that I cannot even afford to wonder on my own fantasies. Although…

Andrew suddenly grew excited.

Andrew: Once I was alone in the lab, I masturbated on a refractive lens and inspected it under the microscope. Dude, it’s so cool. I finally got to see my boys alive and kicking.

I revolted. Picturing him doing that made me punch his face until he fainted. A single uppercut punch was enough to do that.

I wondered in the food court, trying to achieve some results for my hypothesis. I noticed a bunch of my female friends sitting in one of the tables. Even though my question deals with men, I thought I should ask them the same question and if they masturbate that often. Filled with confidence, I hippity hopped toward them with my burning question.

Me: Hi girls!

All: Hi Angelo!

Me: Say girls, I’m kinda conducing a survey in social psychology and I was wondering how often do you…

I couldn’t ask the question. They are girls, and you don’t ask this kind of question to girls. My integrity as a gentleman would be diminished. I thought to ask them a different innocent question.

Me: Do you go shopping on weekends?

Audrey, the leader of the group, raised from her chair looked at me with raging fire burning in her eyes.

Audrey: What kinda sexist question is that? What, do you think just because we are girls, all we care about shopping and sales? Men are such pigs.

Me: But I…

Audrey: And you know what? Thank God we love shopping. At least we get to work our bodies and burn some calories. All you men do is just jerking off like 4 times a day. You suck.

Audrey, all angered and agitated, left the table with her friends to the nearby junk store and bought dozens of double chocolate brownie to ease her stress. Despite I was declared a pig, she kind of answered my question in her ravishing, ultra feminist rant.

I halted my search for the day and decided to give it a rest for a while. Shortly after, my Kuwaiti friend called me over the cellphone and we started exchanging stories. I told him what I was doing that day. He made his hyper Kuwaiti laugh and without any hesitation, he replayed:

“Yam3aowad (I have no idea how translate that word to English), I masturbate like 5 times alone just when I take a shower”.

Utter silence ensued…

The Finals Finale

Huzzah! I’m finally done with this semester and all the nightmares it brought along. I can gladly confirm that I’ve done well with the finales so no need to worry about that. Of course, waiting for the grades to be posted is probably one of the most stomach-churning experiences a student has to go through in life. For the time being, I just want to relax and take some time to rejuvenate my brain and body. Right now, I’m waiting for my ticket allowance so I can book a ticket to return to Kuwait for the summer. I also have tons of graduation ceremonies I have to attend this year and that’s something to be excited about.

I guess…