Saturday, October 09, 2010

Slob log 15081 - a boredom so spectacular

Remy used a couple of my old blog posts as regular feature in a literary magazine he published in Canada two years ago. A couple of nights ago, we met down in Hamra street and went to the bar on the other side of the hotel. Hamra street is a bit surreal, while Remy expressed his worries about the future near future of the country, the street was packed with students and young professionals out to fill the new bars and cafes that have cropped out of the dark alleys surrounding the street.

Baghdad's buzzing too. The streets are now full of traffic during the day and the night as well. The temperature still reaches 40 Celsius centigrade. Despite of everything, I can see with my own eyes that families are going out for dinners, a sign that sign that means to me that they're not as afraid to go out as before and that they want to and are enjoying their lives even if for the span of a meal in a nice restaurant.

Here in Bath however, it's cold. My mum decided to visit Baghdad just before I arrived here. It's surprising that this is the first time I have to take care of the house. I'm keeping up with the dishes, but still haven't figured out how to use the recycle bins. It's nice here, so peaceful. I'm hungry so I'm going to make myself something to eat.... I have no idea how long I'll be staying here but I'll be trying to make the most of it.

You might be wondering what's going on with some of the people that I've mentioned throughout my blog. Od's still in Baghdad waiting for his marriage immigration papers to finalize to move to America. Maz got engaged. K had a baby boy. Kiki's still stuck in Malaysia and India in Sweden. Sav along with his mates are opening a Turkish franchise ice-cream shop in Baghdad. Nahida and Fozzy have been taking care of the plantation ever since I left it.

This is my last post. It doesn't make sense for me to go on with it since I'm hoping to settle down outside Iraq for a while. I want to thank the people who enjoyed reading it and those who left comments (I tried making a list, but it was too long). You readers have been the best.

To everyone else that's reading this blog for the first time: I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

My Iraq Rant

I've got a big white board in my room. On it I write my to-do list. Right now it's got things like "Sell Car (pending Nahida's return from Shamiya)" and "Buy/Get a Padlock" (for my luggage). and then there's one that says "End Log" (which means: end this blog).

It feels as though the story of this blog is coming to a close. My life here in Iraq is nearly over. I've given up on this country. Never mind the security situation, the economic situation is in an even worse state and it's not just an infrastructure problem and I don't think society is inherently at fault either. The problems lay in the corrupt institutions of state, mostly because it's still trying to deliver a socialist system to the people in a free-market world, which ultimately puts everyone in a framework where in to get by you have to do a crooked job out of anything you want to do and honest work is unrewarded.

In Iraq, there are two sets of rules. The first set which are stated by the state and the second set which are the real rules that are formed as a result of the first set all of which involve stealing the rights of others, cheating, using bribes and incentives to deliver inferior products. For example, red tape is designed so that you have to personally visit as many civil servants that can block or delay your paperwork and pay them off in bribes and thus spreading the wealth.

Another abusive use of red-tape was described to me a few days ago by Sav. Him and his friends are opening a men's clothing store. They were hoping to open in time for Eid but another shop a few steps along the street had officials sent to him saying that the refurbishment license he had would not do and that he needed a construction license. Sav bribed the officials to go away, but then came some others and the shop was pad-locked for two months until they got the construction license. Now Sav and his friends are behind schedule and won't make it in time for Eid (the commercial equivalent of Christmas) to establish themselves in the market.

It haunts me that during last year's drought, I was growing water-intensive rice whilst people further south were dying of thirst. Not only that, but I sold the rice to the state at heavily subsidized prices. Those subsidies could of gone to much better use to feed the poorest people.

Things may turn around here. Maybe the spread of satellite TV and the internet may save the country through some kind of enlightenment. I'm not totally pessimistic about this country's future, but evil states have existed in the past and will continue to exist for a long time. Unluckily for Iraq, few lands are more fertile for corruption.

Iraq is an evil state, evil towards itself before all else. It's evil because it's incompetent.

On a more personal level, one of the big reasons I've given up on living in Iraq is that I've been here for eight years and haven't found a girl I truly like. I have however recently come to the realization that I'd obsess or preoccupy myself about a girl for a year and then after a year passes I would switch to another. There was that medicine girl that looked great in pictures but awful on the two or three occasions I saw her in person. Before her there was that girl at university who I met online and whose identity was a mystery until I caught her at university with a cold and got her to give me the clues to confirm who she was over the phone.

There was also another girl, that I don't think I ever mentioned in my blog. Her name's Soona, we've kept in touch for about four years now. Last night, she sneaked out of the house and I met her at her gate. I gave her a gift that I brought her from England and she gave me a kiss on the cheek. She looked good too, she had black straight hair and eyes wide open looking out for any people in the street. She was dressed in a hat may have been a black and white floral body-top (I don't know what they're called exactly) and jeans. Unfortunately she's not my type, she studies English and she keeps trying to get me to do her homework for her.

I think I have an idea of what kind of girl I should be looking out for now and I know for sure that I'm not going to find her in Iraq.

The power just went out again. Impressively, it stayed on for about two hours this time.

It's a bit sad knowing I'm going to end this blog.

The next post will be the last.

Monday, June 28, 2010

From Beirut

Od and I arrived in Beirut a few days ago and will be leaving back to Baghdad tomorrow. We've met up with some old friends and have had the best time we possibly could here. Right now, I'm sitting in the lobby waiting for the guys to come down for the hotel room so that we get ourselves on our way to spend a night in town. We've been going out to drink and eat, we've gone jet-skiing a few times times. It's been a great holiday. Here they are... I'm dreading going back to Baghdad.

[the latter was added on the 3rd of July from Baghdad]

Later that night, we went to a rooftop restaurant/bar above the Hard Rock Cafe. I keep forgetting the name. C-Lounge perhaps. Remy (who sometimes shows up in the comments sections) came and I was so glad to see to him that on the other end of the table, people were laughing at how they hadn't seen me so lively during the past few days as when I was talking to Remy. We had been friends in our days in AUB and we both dropped out from there. We've kept in touch on and off. It might have been nine years since we've seen each other. We reminisced about our days in AUB. Going through our morning routine which involved him being dropped early to university by his dad and handing me a manousheh through the little window by my bed to wake me up and open the door and then he'd open the drawer and start rolling up a joint and never making it to that first class.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where To Go?

I spent last night in Falluja with Od at the hospital he's been working in this year. Falluja's not such a bad looking place as compared to other cities I've seen. At least they have famous kebab restaurants one of which I insisted we go to and where because some sheikh recognized one of Od's doctor friends, we had a free meal.

A few days after arriving in Baghdad, I'm finally spending a night at home. I had to stay at Od's because the electricity from the neighbourhood generator supplier wasn't working my little air-conditioner. It's been ages since I've had enough peace of mind to sit down to type. I've been high most of the time.

In England, I discovered that I could probably pull off a career as an accountant. I didn't apply for any jobs, not even temping. It didn't make sense to knowing that I was planning to come back here. Over there I decided that I've been missing out on too much and that life here in Iraq is a lot worse than I had realised.

Also, it turns out that one of my brother's son is somewhat autistic. One of my sister's sons is also autistic but in a bad way. Discussing it with my brother and his wife, it might be the case that my brother and I are a bit on the autistic spectrum too. It does help make sense of some things if it were true.

I still haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do as soon as I sell my car here. I do want to go back to England but the truth is that my brother's a bad influence on me, he smokes more than I do and when we're together it's all gets too much. Which for him is fine since he's content on tugging along doing the minimum in his life.

A couple days after I arrived here I got sent an application form through the Iraqi government's scholarship program office for a scholarship to do a master's degree in agri-economics or something like that paid for by the US government. I need to e-mail them about the conditions after completion of the degree.

A scholarship is a great opportunity to travel to America and get a master's degree, but why does it feel like fate keeps trying to drag me back to Shamiya or to Iraq. What am I to do with a degree in agri-economics. It might be expected that I become some kind of powerless government expert later down the line or maybe perhaps I'd get to work for a multi-national in which case that would be great.

If all works out I'm off to Lebanon with Od in a week to meet up with people from school. Finger's crossed on that. Od and I still haven't bought tickets. Power cut!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Before the Munchies

I haven't been making much sense of anything lately. My idea of cutting down on cigarettes has got me smoking other stuff. It's been five weeks since I've moved to my mum's place in Bath.

I was going to vote for the general elections here. I registered and got a polling card through the mail. Then on the day of the elections my brother kept me from voting as part of a prank. It didn't matter the guy I wasn't going to vote for won anyway, but not the case for my brother's wife who wanted to vote for another. I'll do it by mail next time.It's ridiculous the amount of mail people have to go through here. The Baghdad comparison is a bad joke.

I need to change my address, living with mum's unbearable in that it puts me in such a familiar comfort zone of childhood sloth and gluttony. I'm in bad shape. About two weeks after arriving here I started getting migraines and then they went away and got replaced with piles last week and that got better and then I got a cold which I'm now recovering from.

I'm stuck on the CV. Last week or the week before I went to see a career counselor about how to go about choosing and getting a job. She took a look at my CV and told me that I needed to fill in it with stuff about my personality, my skills and my tasks at the plantation. I'm struggling to get it done, I got myself involved in personality tests trying to make sense of my personality and potential skills. Finding equivalents of the tasks that I performed at the plantation is challenging.

I think the piles are back, and I'm a bit worried that it doesn't itch as much as it usually does. I hope it gets better on its own, because the chemist said to use the medicine for no more than a number of days. What number? How many days did I use it? I don't know!

It's time for some snacks... mum got back from the supermarket, so there are lots about the house now. Salt & Vinegar crisps. It's already time for dinner, I really ought to plan my meals better.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Doing This

I've been lazy. Very lazy. I've stuck myself into a comfort zone. I should be looking for a job. I will look for a job right after I finish fixing my CV like the career counselor suggested and check all the websites she told me to.

It's been a month that I'm here, so it is important I make some notes of how I'm doing. Piles, or the early signs of one at least. I noticed some pain yesterday and got mum to fetch me something from the pharmacy.

A doctor told me that the estrodiol thing was nonsense and that my issues are part of my personality. While going through sites looking for tips on how to pick a job, I found that I might just be an introvert.

Having piles is a sure sign that I'm eating too much and spending too much time being very stationary. I'm aware that I need to start moving now. Yesterday, I spent over an hour walking and today I did half an hour. It's too early for me to run at this stage.

The good thing about having piles is that I'm only doing number 2 once a day now as compared to five times a day for the past month. My butt deserves the break.

I'm smoking a lot of skunk. I've got three small different batches right now. Got to cut down on that. I'm getting slowly accustomed to not smoking cigarettes for several hours which for me is a new skill.

Last weekend, I went to London to visit my ex-neighbour. There he showed me why London is so much better than Bath. There's lots of fun people, lots of yummy food, a heavenly bidet and a nightclub you can smoke in.

Got to stop being lazy, I'm getting better, I did type this.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Back in Bath

I've made it back to Bath. It's been four years since I've been here on a visit. Mum convinced me to come here after the new manager at the company I was hoping to work at decided to stop hiring new people. My dad's paying for my visit so that I get some therapy because I'm so angry around him.

The idea was that I go stay in my dad's apartment, but he's changed his mind about that and my brother's pointed out that it's too far from town anyway. My dad also suggested he give me a 150 pound allowance a week but that's dropped to 80 from which 30 will go to my mum for food.

It's my brother's birthday today, which makes my arrival good timing. We're probably going to go to a nightclub tonight. He loves the cheap thrill of rubbing against all the girls at the clubs. His two kids have grown up. The elder one's smart and not as materialistic as I remember him last. The younger one's still a little attention seeking devil but is smart and kind-hearted if he wasn't so naughty.

It's a shock being here, but so far everyone's treating me like a good old rural boy from some foreign land, which I guess is what I've become. As soon as we arrived mum wanted me to chat up a girl standing by us while we were waiting for my brother to pick us up. I don't know how to chat up girls. There might have been a time when I could do it without trying but I know I've totally lost whatever game I had ages ago.

I'm hoping to try to find a job here somehow, but as my brother explains to me, the prospects of getting anything other than manual labour are very slim. I'll just try doing as many different avenues as possible. Hopefully temping will work out for me somehow. I don't want to stay idle, so I'll try giving volunteer work a go too in the likely-hood that I won't get a job. Also having failed to fully integrate in Iraq, I want to prove to myself that I can do so here.

On the bright side, it's raining here and it's bleeding hot in Baghdad from what I hear.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fwd: On The Coach

I'm on the coach with my mum heading to Syria right now. Wish I had bought a cheap mp3 player or brought that ancient walkman that
appeared a few days ago.
Oh good, it's only been over an hour since we've been on the road and the urge to pee is slight and I'm getting sleepy. Maybe I should have brought a pillow with me.
Earlier today, together with nahida and mum went out for a drive to pick up some documents from the car showroom and to visit grandma one
more time. But on the way they saw a big commotion outside Allawi's
headquarters and insisted they go congratulate him.
Mum and got me to do a radio yay Allawi thing before entering (I
regret not mentioning more freedom for the people and press). We then
sat waiting in a hall for a press conference in which he was to
appear. It all seemed to be going normal until the drum guys appeared
and did their anthems. By the time Allawi arrived, nearly everyone was
singing or clapping to the songs and half the room was standing on the
tables. Nahida disappeared past the crowd while my mum stayed behind
seated with me with our views with people and press that wouldn't get
off the tables and we weren't able to hear anything that was said
because the drumming and the singing was still going on behind us.
After the event we found nahida all happy that she got to speak to
allawi after he got off the stage. She even gave him a kiss. Both her and my mum then went to look for some guy so that they could write letters for a favour from Allawi. Nahida asked for a job for her sister and my mum one for me.
Damn no smoking coach. I know I'm supposed to quit but we're still in Iraq! I think my mum's lying about the no smoking rule and about the
man smoking behind me.
It's been four years since I've left Iraq. I've completely forgotten
how troublesome travelling is. It's only been four hours since we've
been on the road, sorry two hours that feel like four. It's a ten hour
drive according to mum. Will my phone survive the way to the borders?
I'm going to try to nap till the next stop.

Monday, March 22, 2010

High Estrodil

I popped the zit in my ear, but it's not draining! Why? I was going to talk about how fear is the root of all evil and if you ask what the cause of something bad in the world is enought times by asking "why?" enough times that it'll eventually come down to simple fear. But why isn't the zit draining? Maybe the zit isn't evil, or maybe the acme's afraid to come out.

Looking back on these 'philosophies' of mine. It looks like they tend to be very Buddhist-like thoughts. I'm not convinced of the whole re-incarnation thing (are they vegetarian too?), but otherwise I've always found Buddhism the most attractive of religions. I once went to a local Buddhist club thing in Bath which was cool. There were only four or five of us there, but during the chants one of them made the most unworldly sounds.

My lab results came back in. Turns out I've got too much estrodil which I think indicates I've got too much estrogen. The jokes on that keep rolling in. I've been taking medication for a few days, and haven't noticed much of a difference except for a better boner or maybe that's because of the sweet porno I downloaded the other day. Oh and I think I had a wet dream the first night I took the medicine too. What was crazy about it is that I woke up in the dream and then I woke up for real. I thought that kind of thing only happens in movies.

I'm at the farm again and going back to Baghdad tomorrow. I finally did the thing that I've been wanting to do for ages and that's give the local deaf kid a laptop. Hopefully, he'll figure it out, get a net connection and maybe then I could communicate with him and also if he learns how to use Microsoft Excel he could help me out with the farm records in the future. I'm counting a lot on the fact that he's probably a lot smarter than most since he's deaf.

Oh no, Nahida went to sleep and I wanted her to make me some tea. Fozzy and her are obligated to help out my dad with the plantation and the rice mill now that I've withdrawn myself from it all. I wonder if he'll put some new people in charge to help out when he gets here in a couple of weeks. I never did check what the difference between what arrived in our store rooms which is about 370 tonnes of rice and how much we ended up selling to the government. There usually is a difference because of moisture, filth and theft. I think anything above 5-6% is considered moisture maybe and the rest is theft.

I know what I want to do next year, I want to on one of those Buddhist vacations to the far east. Remy might be up for that, he did kung-fu and he buys into the meditation thing in a big way. He did say the hard part was not masturbating though. It is something to look forward to however and I think it's worthy to be on my list of things I would say I wanted to do before I die.

What's up with my dealer? I wanted to take a break from getting high, but it's been over a month he hasn't been able to hook Od and I up with some stash.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

All That's Down There

Baghdad's hot again! It didn't take long. I've got the air conditioning running in the car and in my room when electricity permits. We're in mid-March, you'd think that would be a bit too early for hot sweaty weather. It's going to be a hot summer this year from the looks of it.

Grooming's always been one of those things I'm no good at. I was the last one in high school to figure out that the deodorant can that I had bought in England just before coming to Iraq wasn't something to be used only on occasion. The majority of Iraqis at the times seemed not to use deodorant during those sanction days and the most horrible thing about going to a busy government office was putting up with the smell of armpits.

A while back, my friend and I got a couple of prostitutes. I keep telling myself that it'll be the last time. It always ends up being a bad experience. This one oddly insisted that I join her in the shower before going to sleep, not a pretty site. But before that, in the bedroom, the girl told me that I should shave my pubic hair, showing off her own private area which to me looked like a whole lot of stubble. I personally think that porn stars look best when they have their pubic hair neatly trimmed. Totally hairless, is of course better, but that stubble's going to re-appear after the movie's over isn't.

The thought of shaving my pubic hair stuck in my mind. Maybe it's those things that everyone does. I remember one of my religious friends told me it was the Islamic thing to do. Islam's big on being clean, shame they don't preach more about it and on how to keep your city clean. At home, mum mentioned how men use hair removal products to rid themselves of their body hair these days. So bored at my Nais's house, I did a quick search about it, didn't find much material. One article mentioned using a clipper to remove armpit hair. Never tried removing my arm pit hair either. The article said it keeps the body cooler and saves on deodorant.

So I gave it a shot, I used a clipper to remove my arm pit and pubic hairs. First thing I noticed was that the skin folding under my armpits was a bit sticky, quickly solved with a t-shirt, and then I realised that shaving one's pubic hair takes out all the fun out of putting one's hand down his pants. There was also a sense of emptiness down there too, the cushioning fluff was gone. I'm not totally convinced that I'm going to save on deodorant however, I think I'm using more now as a result.

It took me a while to get used to having my pubic hair gone in the sense that I didn't masturbate for a while. I'm over that now and I'm downloading some porn with lots of shaved pussy. There's also No More Heroes 2 to play too.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Glorious TGV

This morning, I went to take a blood test. I thought it might be a good idea to make sure that all my hormones are in order and not the cause of some mental unease.

Later in the day, I went to visit a woman relative's house, her husband the director general of one of the state companies and is some kind of a genius. I might have mentioned my last visit to their house because of their very cute daughter. Didn't get a chance to play Wii with her this time unfortunately, but her eldest sister was there. Her eldest sister's looking good, and she has a two and a half year old son that's adorably living in his own world. I had only planned to go there for an hour or so to drop off some Wii discs, but their dad kept me talking.

Then when I got back home, I felt down. I'm not sure why maybe because the guy there expressed how he too wished for me to maintain a presence at the farm (a lot of people keep doing that to me). So after mucking around with my classic guitar for a while, I poured myself a good old TGV with the Tequila that Maz brought over, the often missing gin that I bought last night as well as the bottle of Smirnoff that Od brought over last night. The TGV, in case you don't know is Shaggy's trademark drink, followed with a beer provides the most perfect intoxication.

Sitting in my room drinking with my TGV, I could hear my mum recount my early childhood to Nahida. How when I was eight she had left England and went to Iraq for a reason that I couldn't make out and during which my father maneuvered his lawyer to take custody over me and then moved me with him to Paris where after a couple of years he left me in the care of a nanny and then with my brother and then my sister and then a Morrocan guy. I used to fly planes on my own between England and France when I was younger than twelve years old.

Followed by a couple years living in Baghdad, came the time I spent in Lebanon where my father left me in a desolate mountain hotel to finish my last two years of high school. The last year of which I spent broke in a dormitory because my money got stolen twice and I was too ashamed to tell my dad who in turn punished me by cutting my allowance because of my apparent mismanagement of money.

In the end, I think it might be foolish of me to think that my hormones are the cause of the mess in my head and that it all just comes down to the messed up childhood I had.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Of Heaven and Hell

Continuing with my personal philosophies of life and stuff. Today it's going to be my version of what heaven and hell means to me.

To me, an afterlife doesn't exist. A heaven and hell in the afterlife is a good way to try to keep the masses from doing evil and to encourage them to be good, but I don't think it's so effective in making people do good or make people encourage others to do good. To be good would be to not to do anything bad. To do good would be to help others for example. To encourage others to do good, that would be to encourage other people to do good things for others. 

That's not to say that I don't believe that heaven and hell exist at all. For me, heaven and hell exist in the now, within us and maybe around us. I expect good people to be happier and that good things may come to them easier or at least the ability to appreciate things would be greater, ultimately they're happier. Bad people, even though they may not consciously bear any feelings of guilt will feel unhappy.

That's not a very elaborate description of the idea, but that's all there is to it. The simpler the better.

Monday, March 01, 2010

To Want

Yeah so, this blogging thing is getting pretty lame now. A few days ago, I came across this option to get a soft cover print copy of it and it came out to over 400 pages long and would cost me about 150 dollars, there's a file version for 7 dollars which is very tempting. I've been packing up all my stuff for the past month. Now, I'm considering giving this blog a wrap, not that it's the first time I think of it. Before I do though, I'm thinking that it would be nice to put down my philosophies of life here.

I remember one thing from Disney's animated version of Alladin, the last animated Disney movie I enjoyed. The part I remember is that of the genie explaining the rules of the three wishes to Alladin and one of those rules was that he couldn't get anyone to love him.

I believe that if I want anything enough, that I can get it. Of course, to get what I want, I'd have to put the required effort and time. For example, if I wanted to become a doctor, I could. It would just require me to spend so many years to become one. If I wanted to get rid of my belly enough, I'd do sit-ups until it's gone, but I'm too lazy.

There are other constraints too, if all I wanted was just one thing then I could probably achieve it, but I don't want just one thing. I can't become a doctor and back pack Asia at the same time. I can't make 30,000 dollars in a year working a government job or get a decent university degree and get high off the finest skunk everyday.

Just like in the story, wishes can backfire. One of the reasons that I left Iraq and moved to Lebanon was because the girl I had a crush on was moving there. The other reason was that everybody seemed to want to leave Iraq, and when offered the chance I took it. It was just my luck that she ended up going back to Iraq and I ended up getting stuck there in Lebanon.

The best part of all this is that in retrospect, it's easier this way to blame yourself and only yourself for everything in your life and even the things that are larger than yourself because it's futile to blame others. Sometimes you might want something but not want to admit it to yourself or just simply to ignorant to know better. I can blame myself for the invasion of Iraq. When 9/11 happened, I was working in my brother's grocery shop in Bath and a friendly customer who had come to live with her English husband came in with her eyes full of tears and I didn't have it in me to tell her that I was sorry.

There is just one thing that drives me crazy and that disproves this whole philosophy for me, is that for years I've been trying to learn how to play the guitar, but it's impossible. I can't get my head around it, no matter how much I try but I still do even though I'm tone-deaf and have no sense of rhythm.

Friday, February 26, 2010

one last joint

but it's never the last. mum's visiting. i've been tentatively packing my stuff because i'm supposed to get a job outside of baghdad some time in the coming weeks. it seems i'll be around for the elections. this time around, i should make my mind up ahead of time. so why not go over this now.

1. maliki and the state of law coalition. my dad's cousin is in this party and i don't like him. when people in shamiya ask me for a favour from him i tell them that when i was living alone as a teenager in lebanon he was my only relative in the country and he never even called to ask how i was doing. as far as achievements go, even though they've brought upon a relative improvement to the security situation, which i think they bear some responsibility of causing in the first place, there's not much else to show for.

2. sciiri (Iraqi National Movement). their leader's dead. what i've heard and from more than one source is that al-hakim's offices have not been allowing people to sell their properties in karada and offering to buy them at a discounted price. and where the hell are they getting their money? that's something that pisses me off about iraqis, they don't seem to ask where the money comes from, they do sometimes wonder where some of it went however. my personal opinion is that the state shouldn't give any money to the clerics and that the clerics should be able to support themselves on donations or in exchange for services such as readings.

3. the kurdish parties (Kurdistani List). i honestly do like these guys. talabani looks like a barrel of love doesn't he? sure they seem to operate like mafia families trying to go legal up there in kurdistan. a little shady here and there, but on the whole, i believe they've succeeded in making the people of kurdistan pround and happy. but i'm not going to vote for them even though that their behaviour has a lot of positive energy they don't really do anything for the people south of their border. they just keep to themselves.

4. sunni parties(Iraqi Accord Front and Iraqi Unity). they used to have a funny shaky guy with a cool hat. i haven't really had any interaction with them or any of their influence. i do however get the impression that they've kept things running smoother and operate a lot more competently in their areas than the others have with the exception of the kurds. they're pissed off all the time, and in all fairness i think they've got the right to be pissed off and they deserve to be listened to. the problem with them is that they've got themselves so involved in getting angry that they seem to have lost any kind of vision for the country.

there are more parties aren't there... trying to remember them...

5. allawi's (Iraqi National Movement). they have nice campaign billboards with nice smiles that brighten up your day. that party is a big bunch of really nice people and allawi's was dead cool when he went out there into the street right where a bunch of car bombs had just gone off to see things for himself when he was acting prime-minister or something. but they seem to have no grassroots support. their lack of support i believe is their distance to the people, they don't want to get their dirty. i don't think any of them are really up to the job. a lot of them have been living in abroad in england or wherever for a very long time and i think they've lost touch with today's iraq and its people.

oh another came to mind a moment ago...shouldn't there be a bbc list...

6. the commies. these guys are always good for a laugh. a bunch of geezers that pretend that communism doesn't include atheism. these guys have good hearts, in denial that communism failed and that no one's going to buy it anymore. they're the least corrupt of them all, it would be hard to imagine these guys stealing money from the state or doing anything dodgy. but on the other hand, they're so out-dated, all of their policies would fail and the country would starve itself to death. these old guys are just hanging around, keeping themselves busy in their retirement who of course have pockets of support everywhere among all the other over aged pensioners.

this is taking forever! there's a bunch of other guys but i'm not sure... wow! i found a wikipedia article! it's got the names of the parties that i'll put in brackets... oh i finished! i thought there were more. there was no mention of the commies in the article. i think the best thing to do is to just vote for a minority's party.

Post continued five days later...

I spoke to a Christian classmate to ask him who he was voting for so that I vote with him, but he was encouraging at all telling me to pick the hottest one, who according to the posters is a Fairuz Hatim. But after a google image search it turns out she's very fat. He told me to give him word if I saw anyone else that's cute. I also tried to dig out some info on the Christian parties and the candidates don't seem to be in any way spectacular. They get provisional seats anyway.

Another friend recommended the Ahrar party, a party led by a rather young guy that was previously with the Allawi list. My friend tells me that even though he's got a cleric's turban, the guy's very keen to make the most of help from abroad in the form of foreign advisors as well as foreign companies.

The party didn't get mentioned in the Wikipedia article I had read, so that qualifies them for that underdog quality and today I saw a poster for one member who is third on the list. Her name's Qortaba, she's got a degree in political science from Germany and looks cute enough.

And the post is continued on the day of the vote...

Sorry Qortaba, I'm not voting for someone that doesn't return a single Google result other than the one on her party's website especially if she's supposed to have studied in Germany because that's plain dodgy. Neither do I want to get a puzzled look when I tell people who I voted for. I'm succumbing to peer pressure and choose to vote for Allawi's list.

A couple days later...

I voted for Allawi :) No regrets so far. Did feel bad for not voting for the Ahrar party, I hope they do well and do better next time around. There's something that does get on my nerves. There are loads of people that didn't vote and if they didn't complain or care about the past four years about the country then that's fine but those that did, those that went on complaining about the state of things, they tick me off.

The way I see it, most of the people that didn't vote (about 40% of the electorate maybe) are those that are the most unhappy with the way things are whilst the guys that are voting for the punks that are pissing the unhappy abstainers as well me off are having fun knowing they're going to win.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Do Love a Good Steak

I spent the day trying to sort out my online existence because I can't seem to get the hang of social networking. Today's a been a try to get things in order, but so far it just looks like a bigger mess. I now have 5 e-mail addresses. The idea is that one e-mail address will be used for my blog and to communicate with friends on facebook and another for formal and family with another facebook account. Oh and of course there'll still be a need one for signing up to forums and other sites.

I was losing weight during the month of January, somehow my weight has bounced back up this month. Something I wouldn't know had I hadn't been playing Wii Fit. I ate so much when trying to quit cigarettes. I'm still upset that trip to the plantation messed that all up. There are still things that need to be taken care of there, such as getting all the socks that can't be found when in Baghdad.

My blog's pictures might disappear. Having changed the e-mail address to sign in with, if the other one is deleted the pictures might go along with the account. Not to worry, the pictures are backed up but it'll be a hassle to get them back on in the right places. Facebook, Picasa and Blogger are awfully hard to understand how to get to work together. There's a rising suspicion within me that they simply don't work together.

Went to Erbil with Od for a couple of nights and came back the day before yesterday. It was fun road tripping to there. We smoked up all the way up the highway to there. We'd wait till we pass checkpoints to spark up and several time we came up to another one before the joint was done. We stayed at my cousins', those two cousins are two big bags of crazy.

Od didn't get to see much of the town on this first visit of his, we spent our whole time in four places, the Speedway Center, Ain Kawa, Bakery & More and my cousins'. He liked the place a lot and during a brain storming session at Bakery & More we made a flowchart with his choices for the future ahead of him until he gets his immigration papers to move to the United States where his dear fiance is waiting for him. He's now considering moving up there to get a job.

My stash is nearly done and hopefully won't be replenished. Yes it's sad that it looks like it's coming to an end. but it's time for us to go our separate paths again and to long for the day that we meet again. It's the time apart that makes you realise you want it.

Today's Maz's birthday! That guy's been foaming on me since yesterday when he dragged me with him to the tire market. He took us to the airport to a little cabin restaurant run by an American. The food was good. Nais had a good steak, like the one Od had at the Speedway Center in Erbil. Iraqi restaurants are terrible at steaks, they're always too dry and taste like cardboard.

The weather's been great these past few days. It feels as though there's a gentle warm peace in the air which might be because it's a bit humid rather than the usual dry. It's only February however, and that can only mean that it's going to get hot even sooner this year.

I'm now going to go roll myself some of the stash that I had kept in a bottle of vodka to see if there's any goodness left in it after most of it should have been absorbed by the booze.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

At The Farm Again!

I'm here at the farm again. Hopefully this will be the last time for a long time. I've brought my new camera with me too. So hopefully, there'll be lots of pictures to post.

I was certain that I had things to mention here on this blog, but nothing's coming to mind right now. It's also been about two hours that I've had this page open to type something in it.

My visit here is limited to tying up some loose-ends that I've left behind and then I'll take back Nahida and Fozzy to Baghdad. I'll get Nahida to help me out sort out my junk.

Cigarettes are so boring. I should have brought my stash with me. I'm trying to quit smoking and so far I've doing pretty well, getting myself stuck at home without any lying around. Except that today, I find myself with a stockpile of cigarettes from my last visit.

My health's not doing so great. The other day, I took a generic Viagra gel thing and got myself a proper boner and not the half hearted kind that I have been getting of late. That was fun. Quitting cigarettes should help achieve the same effect. On the other hand, I've been eating like a pig and should watch out for diabetes.

Mentally, I'm doing alright. I'm not sure if I've got the patience to deal with farmer complaints tomorrow but hopefully I'll be able to deal with them using the repertoire developed over the time dealing with them.

I was supposed to figure out why I'm afraid to go back to the U.K.. In summary, the reasons are that I worry that I might not survive there, that my life there will be lonelier than the life I have here and that I probably will find it hard to secure a career considering my lack of skills and experience.

It's getting late and my phone's about to die.

Jobs In Baghdad

So I've been looking for a job and I've found a few links to job postings that might be useful to other Iraqis that have a good working knowledge in English and fluent Arabic (what I don't have).

American Embassy They seem to come up with new stuff every week. Busy people!

USAID: Assistance for Iraq Probably also worth checking regularly.

British Embassy in Baghdad... I haven't seen anything posted here, but who knows maybe someday.

If I come across others I'll try to remember posting them up and if anyone has any suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Karada Market

Waking up in the middle day, that's a luxury! I just woke up and had my dump with a cigarette. Fixed up my Zippo, the one that my friends in Lebanon gave me about ten years ago for my Birthday.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I hadn't many pictures taken in 2009. So I bought a new camera. Taking pictures is hard or something, because most of the ones I take come out bad. I also keep messing around with the settings which is my fault.

A few days ago, Od and I went to Karada and I brought the camera with me to take pictures. We were both uncomfortable about carrying a camera and taking pictures in the street with it. People might think that we're planning a terrorist attack or something and it can't be helped that there are soldiers nearly everywhere. Fortunately, nobody gave us any trouble. What I do want to do is go take photos with my uncle whose house is a museum. Maybe I could learn a trick or two from him.

Looking at my pictures however, made me realize how bad my body looks. It looks as though I've got man-titties. I must get back to playing tennis, which I can do since I'm no longer waking up so late in the afternoon as I have been doing the past couple of weeks.

Oh crap! I just realised that I have a couple of errands to do before I go to the plantation tomorrow for the very last time. I'll make sure I get as many pictures as possible, and maybe with the 10x zoom on this new camera, I'll finally get a good picture of those colourful birds that hang around the plantation.

Here are the pics that didn't come out blurry...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

400 Posts or Why I'm Afraid To Go Back To The UK

Having a British passport and staying in Iraq is one of those things that people find strange in Iraq. Nearly everyone's asked me why do I stay. I've come up with a million different excuses to tell people some maybe true, most of them probably not. I'm not even sure which ones are true anymore.

The matter does come up now since I have very little to keep me in Iraq anymore, which for the past were college and then the running of the plantation.

I just spent spent the last 10 minutes making a table mapping what I've been doing since moving back to Baghdad in 2002. I've been here for 8 years. Things have changed in the world and so have I.

I really can't keep up with all the messed up reasons why I'm so afraid to go back. Typing this post is hard. Hard to choose one to start off with. I'll try doing a meditation breathing exercise for a minute.

Oh no! I just gave myself a head-rush. I figure out how to do the breathing exercise on the Wii Fit: that I must clench my tummy when exhaling and relaxing my belly when inhaling. Doing the opposite that I'm accustomed to: sucking in my tummy to inhale and relaxing to exhale might be good sometimes too, (smoking cigarettes might have encouraged this way of breathing).

Perhaps I need to make a mind map. I'm not going to get to the bottom of this matter in this post. I've given up already. The truth is that I don't know why I'm afraid to go back. I need to answer myself first which is another great thing to-do to put on my white board.

In a few hours, I'm supposed to head to a bank's share-holders meeting, but I've left my stock certificates back in the plantation. So I'm not even sure if I'm going to be let in or allowed to vote.

Laptop batteries are about to die.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Get a Job?

My dad let me have some money, not much compared to what I was expecting from our agreement that he's chosen to ignore. As a result, I don't feel myself obligated to the plantation any longer. And so, I'm supposed to be looking for a job now and a whole bunch of other things such as, the trouble is that I'm high. Right now I am.

I've never really taken the initiative to get a job. It's also the kind of thing I've always (and still do) imagined would just work itself somehow when the time comes. I'm not struggling or worrying too much about it thinking that the time will come when it will somehow sort itself out. But it's not going to happen like that, I'll start getting serious about it soon.

For the meantime, I'm making an effort to enjoy myself. Nahida got left behind at the plantation which is a bonus too. I wake up to a calm house that stays calm. My days start with a simple breakfast: some butter on toast with some tea and a joint. I try to stay at home quite a deal. My Ramadan stockpile of beer got finished by my friends. But I still have a small variety of spirits as well as a little bottle of green dragon (but mine's gold) that's waiting to be tried out.

I've also been trying to get a bit more serious with getting healthy. I've made a couple of salads and with some help they're coming out alright. I'm making it a point to play more Wii Fit as well, which I think has helped me avoid back pains. Occasionally, I get to play tennis, but then pain in my wrist sets in after half an hour of playing and I have to give up for a couple of days. I'm also hoping to go swimming soon too.

My sexual frustration has been taken care of too. She wasn't that pretty, but all in all it was a surprisingly better experience than I've had the last couple of times. The sex wasn't much fun, but to be relieved of pent up sexual frustration is something to be enjoyed.

Sav gave me the number of a pimp and I did all the rest all on my own, which is something I'm proud of. Some things did go wrong with the pick-up. The guard of a building that I'm acquainted with smiled at me as I walked past him and off with the girl to my car. I had made it so obvious what was going on that everyone on the street knew what was going on.

It's odd but I get the impression that there's something wrong with my perception of what it is that I can do as well as those things that I have achieved. I think I successfully managed the plantation, increasing production and making it more profitable, I made a big effort and I spent a whole big deal of my time but yet I feel I didn't do anything and achieved nothing for myself. In the end, I don't see myself as being any much more able a person.

I'm an able person however, I made salad. I'm slowly tidying up my home too. I'm noticing that there's a lot of junk in the house that's managed to blend into the house. It's difficult getting rid of junk simply because it's been there for so long, and so I'm doing it very slowly and it's making a difference. Having less junk cluttering up home is nice and I'm slowly adding things that are worth having around. Such as a vegetable peeler and curtains for my room. I didn't imagine they'd make such a big difference to the room's atmosphere.

So for now, I just want to keep reminding myself to enjoy myself something that I didn't feel I could do when I had to burden responsibilities back at the plantation. I want to focus more on enjoying myself for a while longer rather than getting a job. And if I make getting a job fun then all the better.