Saturday, May 25, 2013

SnapShots: Cement Cranes and Moons, Dokki

taken around 2:45AM  2013/05/24 after a night out of billards with E and a nice talk with some Syrians at the new shawerma Syriana place on tahrir street.

The noisy work continues on Okba street.

It looked very nice in real life.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

SnapShots: ginormous bugs of Dokki

They don't look that big in these photos, but man they were huge! Big enough to make a 6 foot guy jump from his seat!

Cockroach at the stella bar . 
did you know? 8. Cockroaches are fast!
Anyone who shares their home with cockroaches will tell you how fast they scurry for cover when you flip on the light switch. But when I say they're fast, I mean measurably fast. Cockroaches detect approaching threats by sensing changes in air currents. The fastest start time clocked by a cockroach was just 8.2 milliseconds after it sensed a puff of air on its rear end. Once all six legs are in motion, a cockroach can sprint at speeds of 80 centimeters per second. And they're elusive, too, with the ability to turn on a dime while in full stride.
Tarantula in Basha Sabry street. It wouldn't budge even though I kicked a few pebbles towards it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

SnapShot: Giant Cement Pump

Last night in Dokki, cement being pumped up to continue construction. This building is really rising! I hope it has parking so that all of its inhabitants don't clog up Tahrir street.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Photos: Basha Sabry Street

Two photos from various situations along various points on Abd el Rehim Basha Sabry Street:

Thanks to AC for these:
Police protecting the Wafd Party when it got attacked in December 2012. Much obliged.

Getting a shave for 10 LE

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Quarenta y Tres

This is the best drink ever. 
So strong, but it goes down with ease. I discovered this at a party a few weeks ago and am looking forward to the next time I can find it. 
That's not to say that I'm not enjoying the nice bottle of porto my flatmate recently brought back for me.

Friday, May 10, 2013

eat your veggies

A Useful Little Guide to help you shop!

With a helpful transliteration of the Arabic pronunciation and the dietary contents of each one.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Trentemøller: The Last Resort...

I've been listening lately...

This is an amazing album, full of "wow" moments.
And probably an amazing album to listen to while having sex.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Memories of SexEd from fb's precursor: Bolt

This memory came back to me after a recent conversation with a French friend about various sex techniques.

So, I'm not sure if that many people will remember this, but when I was between the age of ten and, maybe 14, there was this social network called "bolt". I found out about it from a commercial on tv while watching batman, or spiderman cartoons or something.
Facebook was not the first of its kind.

Bolt kicked ass, it was where I got most of my sexual education. Perhaps this is a bad thing.

"In many ways was ahead of its time. It was among the first social networking sites to appear on the Internet. It offered a wide range of unique services including a dailyhoroscopechat roomsmessage boards, tagbooks (a knowledge market feature), photo albums, internet radio,browser gamesblogse-cards, an instant messenger service, a clubs feature (giving people with similar interests a common message board), and badges (a system of awards for user profiles). "

Anyway, back to the sex ed part. There was this profile by someone called "crack69monkey". It was simply amazing, as others might attest –a treasure trove for a horny twelve-year-old.

Sadly, bolt is no longer in operation. I tried searching for archives of crack69monkey's blog, but only found this link, and it doesn't seem to work for me.
Does anyone share some of these same memories or know what I'm talking about?
I would really like to thank whoever crack69monkey was/is.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Photo: Attaba's Tissue Spies

nothing too special, although there's a story behind each photo
This is after closing time at the Sudanese restaurant down a shady alley. TV on.

This was this HUGE stack of tissues packages. I mean maybe 5m2 of them. so I thought it was cool enough to take a photo. And this guy in the street thought he should put his arm up and block the view, as if taking photos of kleenex is like stealing national secrets.
Tissue spies.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Synagogue On Adly Street in Cairo, Egypt

These were taken on April 18th, 2013.

Click here: for other related photos of the burial.

This is a synagogue on Adly street in downtown Cairo, Egypt.

Pasha Cattaui, founder of this place

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Thoughts on God, Dreams, Perception, and Reality

Lately, I've made a few connections between god, dreams, perception, and reality.
Hopefully I'll be able to articulate these ideas well enough to get them across, enough to give you something to think about.

First, let me take you back to sometime in late 2008 in downtown Cairo. I was helping an Egyptian friend cram for an English exam. That same day, about thirty minutes before his exam, we started making our way to his school. We passed in front of a mosque along the way, and he asked me if I could wait a few minutes while he went inside to pray.

When he was finished, he explained that praying brings him total inner peace, relaxes him completely, and that with that, he was in the perfect mindset to take his exam. That thought stuck with me until a few years later when I was asking another friend about what praying does for him. He said, that praying makes him feel like he's in the presence of god, with similar feedback on feeling relaxed and zen.

Another thought that recently struck a chord with me came when I was watching a movie called "Waking Life" (which I highly recommend). This movie can be viewed here, and the particular scene that I'm interested in is at minute 47:30 of that Vimeo video. Basically, the important idea is mentioned at the very end of his rant:
"...see, this allows dreams to appear real while preventing competition from other perceptual processes. This is why dreams are mistaken for reality. To the functional system of neural activity that creates our world, there is no difference between dreaming a perception and an action, and actually the waking perception and action."

Basically, what this means to me, is that, in our brains, there is no chemical difference between what I perceive in my dreams, and what I perceive when I'm awake.

This makes me think about what makes things "real". If the chemical processes in my brain are the same when I'm dreaming of diving in the Red Sea, and when I'm actually diving in the Red Sea, then what's the difference? For my brain and the way it processes perception, both were neurologically the same. (this is why I find dreams so entertaining, and why I'm fascinated with the possibility of controlling my dreams).

Yea, so with that in mind, let's come back to the idea of praying and being "in the presence of god". I think the link I'm about to make should already be pretty clear; If we follow the aforementioned logic of perceptions that originate inside the brain (i.e. dreams, or feelings of being with god) are just as real as perception that originate outside of the brain (i.e. when we're conscious, perception that we get from our 5 senses), then a neurological perception of "being in the presence of god" achieved through prayer is just as real as an actual perception of god in "real life". Right?

Obviously, very few people have ever perceived god with their five senses (most of us do it through prayer). And, if you were to perceive god while you're "awake" (i.e. with your 5 senses) then you'd probably be considered a prophet.

But anyway, I'm not saying that god does or doesn't exist. I would just like to draw some attention to way we "perceive" god, or in other words, achieve some kind of connection to god. 

May 4th, 2013

ten years...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Photo: Ahuagi

Perched Ahuagi from the coffee house close to my place. Mona Lisa-like smile on him.

Also, Here's a really good article about the history of Coffee in the Arab world. Really, it's a great article. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thoughts on Perception and Brain Capacity


              if  (0)
our brains don't operate at anywhere near their full capacity

              and  (1)
the organs we use to perceive sensation are independent/different than the perception (of the brain) itself

              and  (2)
as we get older, the organs we use to perceive sensation get more and more dull (eyesight, hearing, etc...)

maybe the brain can increase its capacity (0) for perception as we get older in order to compensate for (1) the reduction in "sharpness" (2) of our perceptive organs.

Obviously, this becomes interesting when you try to increase brain capacity for perception before your sensory organs go dull. (here I'm inspired by texts on Da Vinci's ideas on sensazione).

sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, increased awareness, 6th sense?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Photos: Rubble of Dokki

A big pile of beet roots. YUmmy. "beet" in Arabic sounds like "bonjour"

This is an old table that Safy and I want to steal to turn into contemporary furniture.
It now stands on the rubble of a theatre, whose stage it used to decorate (other props on the left).

Porcelain. Are you missing the love of your kin?

Needle. Are you wasting away in your skin?