DateJanuary 20, 2009

your neighbour’s house – part 4

But from where we were, we have all this crap going on around us. We kind of, sort of care, but not quite enough to do something about it. Letter writing is nice, but it’s like calling a non-functional fire department. That truck will not come around. So what do you do?

You still need to put the fire out. We know that you can’t do it alone. So you have to get help. You need other people. A collective, if you will, or a ‘collective will’. I think we lack this collective will.

It’s not that small actions don’t matter. They somewhat matter. But they need to have the potential to snowball into something larger. Like when a snowball rolls down a hill, it gets larger and stronger. A snowflake alone, even though it has a pretty pattern, isn’t quite enough.

We can complain that “special interest groups” and lobbyists have control of the laws and decisions that are made. To me this means that the collective will of the special interest groups and the lobbyists is stronger. We lack a relentless collective will.

But how do you build a relentless collective will? How do you sustain it? What actions come of this will?

Regardless of whether you’re right leaning or left leaning, I think we can agree that there need to be better measures for government accountability. That voting is not enough a measure. Also, I think this concept that “you can’t complain if you didn’t vote” is bullshit. Because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter which party is in power. This is the ground I live on, and this is the air I breathe, if I have something to say you had damn better listen, and I will do the same.

But what are these measures? How do we get them into place?

At some point in 2003 I really stopped caring. At least I ignored the news, so that I didn’t have to listen to everything that was going on. I didn’t have to follow the Israel-Palestinian issue, I didn’t have to know how many people were starving in the city. I just did my school thing, then the working thing and trying to live in ignorance. But that’s like abstaining, similar to how the European countries (or the US) abstained from voting on UN resolutions. How can you abstain? How the fuck can you abstain? That’s absurd.

Abstaining is bullshit.


I have been tagged.


Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 16 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 16 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

  1. I love the Internet, though it was not love at first sign-on. It kinda just grew. I really like HTTP and am fascinated by TCP. It’s amazing how certainty and order (TCP) is built over uncertainty and chaos (IP). The fact that it all just works is amazing. And then you have HTML, CSS, Javascript and the lot. The growth of entities like Wikipedia, the spread of open source software, communities like Flickr and all. It’s unreal.

  2. University years: I did not participate in a single extra-curricular activity during my university years. In fact, I barely attended lectures and only one of my professors knew me by name. I graduated from Computer Engineering, but didn’t actually get in to it. I got into Mechanical engineering and switched the year after. Oddly enough, I had a rep of being somewhat clever. For the record, my highest mark in a course was 95 (in my first year) and lowest was 51 (last year).

  3. I started magic when I was 23. I get envious of people who started when they were 9 or 12. They got over a decade more time with magic than I did. I want to make a video of me doing magic for random people, except that I need to get over my shyness in those situations. (I also need a person to operate the camera). Someday I want to do magic professionally.

  4. I still wear shirts I wore in high school (I graduated from high school in 2001).

  5. Swimming makes me dizzy.
    5a. I once killed a frog with my bare hands.

  6. Work: I once co-wrote and performed a skit at a company Christmas party after which people came up to me, shook my hand and said “that was a great resignation letter”, and “well, it’s been nice knowing you”. At another time, in order to make a point, I came into work and started to clean my desk and did no work the entire day.

  7. In high school, after having been shown a video on the “top influential people of the millennium” in physics class I argued with the teacher whether Shakespeare should have been that up high. The next day my English teacher asked me, “what was it that you said about Shakespeare?”. My English teacher and physics teacher were married.

  8. I don’t like complimenting people, so if I do it, I really mean it.

  9. This is the first time I’ve been tagged, or have tagged anyone else in an Internet meme.

  10. Living in Saudi, I used to think that “betrol” was the proper spelling and that “petrol” was a typo.

  11. I have seen every episode of Grey’s Anatomy (minus the latest episode).

  12. I spent over a month in Mumbai in 2007 and did not go sightseeing even once. I am an idiot. I did, however, go to visit family in Hyderabad for one day. We went to visit approximately ten houses that day. My stomach was sick for the next week and a half.

  13. A lady at Subway (sandwich/subs) once asked me if I was Australian.

  14. I was in the Boy Scouts of America when I was in Saudi. We used to go camping and tie knots and things. I still have shark teeth that I once found during a camping trip.

  15. I regret not having taken drama in high school.

  16. I want to write a children’s book that will make children cry.

I don’t know 16 people and Iffat already tagged most of the people I would have tagged.

I tag: Basit, Faiqa, Sophister, and Waleed.

Also, 5a is not true.

in the dirt

out on my daily grind
in the dirt a puzzling find
two round buttons in the grass
the choice to make, to take or pass?

what do i do with the buttons in the dirt,
do i needle and sew, and mend my shirt?
or do i stick the buttons on my eyes and put cotton in my ears,
and drown out the maddening cries and hold back my tears?

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