Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
“It’s Confusing These Days” is a video with a static frame showing an orange couch, a green pillow and a pomegranate with a knife on a steel plate. The action starts when an intruder wearing black sits and starts to peel the fruit. Throughout the video, we cannot see the face of the intruder and we cannot hear his voice. All we see is the intruder interacting with the fruit. After it is peeled, the intruder leaves the frame and leaves the peeled fruit with the plate and knife on the couch. Five minutes later, the intruder returns and starts consuming the pomegranate. When the fruit does not bare any meat, he leaves with the plate and leaves nothing. The video continues, showing the couch and the green cushion. After five minutes of no motion, the intruder comes appears again and leaves this time an apple instead of the pomegranate and exits the screen.
The use of music was also very powerful in the video. Romantic and smooth piano was played during the times when the intruder was not present in the screen, specifically, when the observer is alone and contemplating either the fruit, or the peeled fruit, or the couch with no fruit. Music is an effective tool that the artist uses to move people’s emotions at certain time intervals. But also, it exposes the objective of the artist and his message.
Through the association of the changes in music to the actions of the intruder, it becomes apparent that there is a sexual and romantic connotation to his message. I believe that Boutros’s objective is to underline how people’s sexual desires can blind them of the nature of the object they are wanting. This is most apparent in the use of the pomegranate which has many religious symbolisms. In the Quran, the pomegranate is mentioned twice as one of the good things God has created and also that it grows in heaven. This creates this preset notion of desire for this fruit of perfection: A desire for something transcendent and holy.
When the fruit is left on the couch, music plays the role of seducing the observer and creating this romantic atmosphere. The observer is then shocked when the music stops and the intruder who suddenly walks in, and starts peeling then eating the fruit, as if someone else has consumed that pleasure, and the observer cannot participate. Notice that only the body of the intruder shows and the plate is put in a way to cover his genitalia. The action where the intruder was consuming the fruit, reaching his hand to his genitalia, retrieving the fruit and consuming it, exposes the need to consume and achieve pleasure. The area where the fruit is placed, hiding the croch, evokes the idea of sexual desire and the consumption of the fruit also underlines acting upon sexual needs and satisfying them.
When the fruit is consumed and removed, music is off and we have a moment of silence. There is no fruit and there is no romance. However, the intruder enters the frame again and this time places a green apple in the place of the pomegranate. The apple pushes a new religious symbol: the Adam and Eve complex. This is Boutros’ powerful punch line. The music is back on again, the romance is created, the sex is evoked but this time, it’s a different fruit that the observer is gazing at. Yet the desire is still there, the artist was able to blind the observer of the nature of the object by captivating him by desire, romance and sex.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
- YallaStartup is an NGO founded by three inspiring entrepreneurs: Elie Khoury, Habib Haddad and Sami Shalabi. They all founded their diffrent companies like Woopra and Yamli. YallaStartup focuses on helping startups. And last weekend, on November 12, they brought to the Middle East
which is a global event that happens in cities all around the world where developers, businessmen, graphic artists, entrepreneurs, engineers... etc. meet up and build a working prototype of their ideas in 54 hours (1 weekend). For the first time, it happened here, in the Middle East, Lebanon. More specifically at
- Berytech's amazing center in Mansouriyeh, right outside of Beirut. Berytech is a Lebanon-based incubator for SME as well as startups.
Now I could narrate how 300 hundred people from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Syria met, pitched their ideas, made teams, worked with people they've never seen before and presented a WORKING PROTOTYPE of their ideas in 54 hours... But I'm going to let you watch it instead
Check out the picture on Flicker on: this
And watch the whole thing here, on the video below! (Beware, its two hours long!)
As to what I did, I worked as a designer for Kazdoor by Hassan Baydoun. I designed the iPhone App that will allow people to have all of their loyalty card on their phone. On the video above, you can see me presenting at: 1:50:00. More about Kazdoor coming up
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Rifflex is a web startup by my friend Abdallah Absi. He's eighteen years old and this is his first year at AUB. Regardless, he fully developed his company (he has many other companies by the way) and just released a new feature.
Rifflex is all about turning the internet into your tool. Basically, you can easily make an app that does practically anything on Rifflex then use it. The process looks a lot like making mind maps.
BUT! The new feature, which is a side bar that you can fully customize and can include apps that you made or you want to use. RSS feeds, notes, MTC balance, chat.... All of it just shows up when you click a small arrow on the right of your browser.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sir Ken Robinson is a leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources. Here he talks about how school makes the world a less creative place.
2. Jill Bolte Taylor: Stroke of Insight
Jill Bolte Taylor is a neurologist that suffered a stroke and survived. Her deep understanding of what happened to her and how allows her to really explain to us what it means to reach the end of your mind.
3. Sugata Mitra: Can Children Teach Themselves?
Sugata Mitra is one of the world's most ingenious education scientists. From India to Italy, his educational experiments showed how education can be flipped on its head and become a system of learning that is based on the child learning rather than the teacher teaching.
4. Dan Pink: Surprising Science of Motivation + RSA Animate
Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories and maybe, a way forward.
5. Jeremy Rifkin: The Empathetic Civilisation + RSA Animate
Bestselling author, political adviser and social and ethical genius, Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society. You will learn a lot from this lecture about why you live your life right now.
I think it's amazing that he is now the teacher. What Ahmad did is make a blog about the elective class I teach at the International College. He posts the main idea that was discussed in class. He now can share everything with his friends and I can learn from his blog too, to see what stuck and what didn't.
*Better Than a Millionaire is an elective class I teach at the International College of Ras Beirut. The class is about Entrepreneurship as a mind-set.
And here is a video he posted as a homework.
Friday, November 5, 2010
A website I've been working on for a while and I just launched it in Beta version. It's a website that shows all new updates on most fashion blogs. It's my first personally financed website and i want to know what you think of it.
What do you think?
Everything grows. Things evolve and become better at what they do. The condom is no exception. The same way TVs were discovered and became coloured then thinner and thinner, condoms have done the same, almost. Its purpose? To stop STDs, sperm, and the "forces of evil".
Once upon a condom, lube and latex didn't exist and people used to use a multitude of interesting measures to protect themselves from the “evil sperm”. Some women used the wax from a donkey's ears, whereas other women ingested weird concoctions as contraceptive measures. Condoms before the 19th century were made of animal intestines or bladders, oil dipped silk, or even horns. But fortunately in 1839, Charles Goodyear discovered how to make elastic, durable and waterproof condoms (he is linked to the tire company if you are wondering). Since then, the condom has become more and more efficient at keeping the evil sperm where it should be: swiming with the fish.
Love is not enough. Usually, sperm causes pregnancy and sexual activities causes STDs. Wearing one condom at a time is a good way to decrease your chances of getting an STD or getting someone pregnant. Wearing two condoms does not mean your chances are lower. When you do so, it becomes more likely that the condoms will fail. In Lebanon, buying or owning condoms is not illegal, but a married man from a certain sect can forbid his wife from using contraceptives.
You have the choice. There is a condom for every man: the big, the small, the audacious, the safe, the fast and the sophisticated. Mainly, Durex is the market leading brand which offers such variety. To know more about their products, you can be daring and visit your local pharmacy, or you can visit their website.
"Safe sex is great sex, better vwear a latex 'cause you don't want that late text, that "I think I'm late" text" - Lil Wayne
*title inspired by Fight Club
Thursday, November 4, 2010
It's a pill, a magic pill, that protects you from having children. Well, it's not that easy. Birth control pills are hormonal doses of one or two types of magic hormones that stop you from being fertile. It's all thanks to my hormones friends: estrogen and progestin, they'll make sure you're special place is secure.
Things are hard. It was only till the 1960s that the US approved the pill and made it real. It was the first time that women were given the chance to control their fertility and still have sex. Birth control pills not only gave new powers to women but they help in so many other ways. Birth control pills regulates and decreases the heaviness of the period. So if you are suffering from those incredibly painful ones, taking BC pills will make your period more survivable. Nor only that but they also decrease acne when you keep up with the treatment, and decrease the symptoms of endomitriosis and other evil things.
Did someone say cancer? Taking Birth control pills for a period of five years decreases your chances of having ovarian cancer by 50%. I never heard of a condom do that. Now everything comes at a price. If you want to enjoy the benefit of the magic pills, you must take it everyday, at the same time. If you miss two pills or so, your protection goes down by around 18%.
Libido is important. The pills increase libido for some and decrease it for others. A birth control pill user told me that she felt an increase in: Nausea, dizziness, sleepiness, moodiness, lightheadedness. Yet none of these are major side-effects. Only the minority of users get side effects, and their boobs might get bigger too.
Birth control pills are not about sex, it's about health. They make people's lives better and healthier. However, that's not the case for the rest of us on this planet. Recent spikes in estrogen are making things really bad for some fish. They too are becoming infertile because of the estrogen that trickles down to them... And guess where that came from.
PS: if you smoke while you are on the pill, you might get a stroke.
- Samer Karam, founder of Sequence, will be going from Beirut to China in 2012 in 2 Jeeps and 2 Bikes. He will take Marco Polo's tradition and make it high-tech. Samer and his team will travel to China by hardcore blogging their way through the tundra!
- @JimRamK spoke about our AUB Online Collaborative and how we will be having the Blogger's online convention soon.
- The lovely Naeema spoke about YallaStartup Weekend and how we will rock and battle against othe Startup Weekends.
- Shankabout spoke about shankabout and how they're shankabouting all over the place.
- A guy from beirut.com told me to go on beirut.com
- Antoine Online said it's cool to be a geek.
- Lynn el Bizry introduced us to the wonderful world of photography and that there is a club that meets every Tuesday to take photos and experiment in photography.
- LE Gustave, a french bakery that will conquer every mankouche joint in Lebanon.
- Octavia Nasr thanked all of her fans. She googled "How to give a speach to Geeks".
- East Marketing spoke about their success, almaza, doritos and videos being dragged in 3D space. They said something about something, I forgot what it was called.
- A girl spoke about mozaic-ashrafiyeh.com where you take pictures of ashrafiyeh and then you might win a 8,000$ camera.
I am now purchasing www.fashionfeeds.me. Will let you know what that is soon. Real soon.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
-Internship possibilities for one of our competitions,
-Mentors for the other competition
-Antoine Abou Samra's confirmation that he will speak at our December 9 launching event and
-the answer to the question:"where can we get sponsorship?"
We got answers to all of our questions and it was good. We are now waiting for Rana Shmaitely's confirmation that she will speak at our lecture
|Note: Beard will be white during Christmas|
You can help:
1) donate gifts or donations by calling 03/082338.
2) grow your beard and get donations! To participate, call 03/082338.
3) check out the Facebook Event.
On Chirstmas day, Tarek and I will color their beards white and go to the orphanage to distribute the gifts.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
(A crowdmap is a web-based map that visualizes people's reports and testimonies. I will telling you more about this later)
You sweat a lot when you are under the spot lights. And I got late to my class. Ms. Khishin called me and I told her to forgive me and she did. Ms. Rima Khishin is IC's elective co-ordinator and teacher and mentor and inspiration, among other things. My student's homework was to put a video on YouTube. Half of them did. Half didn't. So I decided to explain why I gave them that homework.
Rory spoke and they listened.
The moral of that talk was: small things are what counts and they are the ones that sometimes have the biggest impact. When they put a youtube video, they are contributing to the collective knowledge of the global community with small donations. And that doing good will bring to them good: google ads, fame, positive image, etc.
I hope I can sweat the small stuff.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Creative Brief: two women are stuck in an elevator. its hot and they want to go out she s a psychologist and wants to go out of her mind. The other is a lesbian and finds the psychologist attractive. Both of them want to go out of the elevator. The readers are not told that it's in an elevator.
Short story #1
It's so fucking hot and this girl can't stop talking. I was glad we still had that light bulb still on, but now i want it to go off. Maybe she'll shut up! Actually, I'm glad she's talking, we would have gone mad if we both just stood here. I think its natural that awkwardness ended or maybe she's just really charismatic. After all, she is an attractive woman, I don't know why she didn't end up doing fashion or modeling. She could have been a good actress too, she has the brains. "Amanda Massoud, a superstar," it even sounds good. Fuck. Why can't I just get out of here!
"Do you think other people get stuck here too?" she asked me through her blond hair.
"I don't know, but it's really getting hot. Did you get any signal?"
"There is no signal here. I'm going to take my clothes off. Do you mind?"
I didn't expect that to come from her. We've been stuck here for a long long time. It's really fucking hot! I wouldn't blame her.
"No, I think I'll do it too."
We both took off our heals first. Then she took off her shirt and I followed her lead. She actually does have a very attractive body. We sat on the floor. I shouldn't have worn a thong today. The floor is dirty and I felt those little dusty things cling to my butt like sand on the beach. I felt better that she was wearing a thong too. What bra is she wearing?
"Is that La Senza?"
That was too blunt. Whatever, she's been talking about her problems and her patients problems for three hours, we're close now. She laughed in that cute blond way. They're from H&M. She is sweating a lot, I feel really hot but I'm not sweating as much as she is. Her chest is wet and it's sparkling. Her arms too. They're really bronze now.
October 27, 2:45pm, Rima D., 45.
"I feel disappointed and sad all the time. I can feel something important is going to happen to me but nothing is. I just can't wait anymore... Maybe I'm a failure... Maybe I'll die alone with nothing. Do you think that too doctor?"
Note: patient cried for 15 minutes. patient shows signs of depression. Advise with Xanax.
November 2, 10:15am, George S., 37.
"He used to give me this toy soldier every time he came back. He told me to hold on to it because it's important. And then once I never saw him again... I miss him so much, I still have those toy soldiers... All I have is these toy soldiers."
Note: patient had a toy soldier in his closed fist. Patient didn't release his fist. Observe anger patterns.
December 28, 11:15am, Maya R., 9.
"Momi and Daddy told me it's wrong but I like it. Sometimes I walk out in the hallway and it feels cool then in the house it feels warm. I like also when the neighbor looks at me and smiles, but then momi yells at tells me to put my clothes on."
Note: patient took off her shoes during the session. Possible sexual assault at younger age. Advise parents.
Four hours they waited and all she could think about were her patients, and their never ending problems. What about her problems? What about this problem now? She can't believe she is stuck here, alone with Reem. Her schedule was packed today, she couldn't even have here usual Caesar salad because Imad J. just cheated on his wife again and he wanted to talk about it urgently.
As a psychologist, she recognizes that she is uncomfortable and anxious. She recognizes that her body is poring with sweat because her mind is agitated but her body is idle and wet. The cabin is small and dime. The marble floor is dirty and cold. She looks up and sees Reem looking at her through the mirrored ceiling.
"Are you married or anything?" asks Reem while her eyes are fixed and her jaw slightly open.
"No, I never really liked men that much... Couldn't find anything special." Responded Amanda with an uncomfortable smile.
Reem's face lights up and she smiles. She lowers her head to see Amanda directly. The psychologist keeps her head up while Reem admires her smooth neck, long and stretched. She stands up and sits next to her, her cold skin slightly touching hers.
She looks up to meet her eyes in the mirror. Why isn't she saying anything? Will she be like the rest of them and ignore her until it's five o'clock when the maintenance guy turns the everything on?
Amanda turns her head and looks into Reem's need of affection and empathy. She sees Sam M., Aline K., Nada A. and all of the rest looking through her kind eyes, strongly moving her to tears. She closes her eyes and tries to take in all of their pain so that she can be freed, but they do not give in.
Reem is surprised by Amanda's crying. She grabs her head and brings her lips to hers. But Amanda pushes her away and explodes into tears. She screams and hits the door with all of her might, but she knows no one can hear her.
She cries and screams. It's already 5:30 and Amanda's tears do not stop.
--- end ---
November 1st. Sherif maktabi