Posted by: nazli | May 2, 2008

what i know …

a father is defined by action and deeds, and not by biology and genes

my character is who i am when no one is watching

i am ordinary – perhaps unique – but ordinary all the same – and i am glad to be

the rules of logical propositions always apply to Discrete Math but not always to humanity

it’s mostly my perspective that defines my world

blood may be thicker than water – but blood is mostly water

if i do not see God in nature, i am blind

true love conquers all

Posted by: nazli | May 2, 2008

Chincoteague

in red …
in blue …in green …

Posted by: nazli | May 2, 2008

Cornus florida

Cornus flordia: same species – different colours
Homo sapiens: same species – different colours

Posted by: nazli | May 2, 2008

The Alchemist

“Continue in the direction of the Pyramids”, said the alchemist. “And continue to pay heed to the omens. Your heart is still capable of showing you where the treasure is.”

“Is that the one thing I still need to know?”

“No”, the alchemist answered. “What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’

“Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”

Posted by: nazli | March 11, 2008

Babangida Boogie as modified by Mugabe

The Babangida Boogie is “one step forward, two steps back”: George Ayittey

Now it is modified for greater impact by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in the Fibonacci sequence – one step back, one step back, two steps back, three steps back, five steps back …

Posted by: nazli | February 13, 2008

V-Day

Saudi Arabia has done it again: stunned the world! Banning all things Valentine and all things red! No red roses, no gifts, lest they encourage “immoral relations between the umarrieds.” One may argue that is the rule of the country and all who live under that sky must abide. But this is a country where a girl who has been gang-raped is lashed, where a woman is punished for being any more than a subservient property – what moral code are we talking about? This is like saying, in segregated America, that the rule of separating black and white should have been followed because that is the law of the land. Wrong is wrong – there is no justification. Not to say that Valentine is a necessary day – because any day can be a day for love – so spread the love to our fellow man!

Talking of fellowship, I have warmed toward Australia, which has joined a handful of governments in history who have apologized to the indigenous inhabitants of lands they took over. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized in parliament to all Aborigines for laws and policies that “inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss“, singling out the “stolen generation.”

Onto Denmark where newspapers are reprinting the “offensive” Mohammed cartoons. Yes it their right, but what is the point of recreating the ire of millions of people when it has already led to turmoil and deaths? But equally seriously, Muslims should see this for what it is and not consider a threat to their faith – if anything denounce the people who allegedly were plotting a “terror-related assassination” of Kurt Westergaard!Spielberg has withdrawn his services from the Beijing Olympics as a show of support to Darfur. China feels this direct implication of their impotence against the injustice in Darfur is unfair. Actually what is really unfair is the fact that hundreds of thousands of our fellow man in Darfur have been massacred, raped, and left for dead while we celebrate the greatness of the human race at the Olympics.
I sound like a bleeding heart liberal – but what I am is just as mortal and just as human as my brother and sister human anywhere in the world. No label can strip away the frailty of life.

Posted by: nazli | February 13, 2008

Touché

I used to think that touché was in reference to someone being “touchy” about a comment. Actually it means “well done, old chap, bravo, good for you, that was a witty come back.” Well something like that. The word stem is the French verb, “toucher”, to touch, and is used in fencing to acknowledge when one has been hit or touched.


Talking of old chaps, I am reminded of one of my most favorite fictional characters, Reginald
Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse. Jeeves, a gentleman’s gentleman, is a title character of the likes of “Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves” and “Well Done, Jeeves”, amongst many other thoroughly charming books. In fact, the name of the search engine “Ask Jeeves”, is inspired by the original Jeeves. And in the midst of a heavy semester, across an ocean from Totleigh Towers in Berkshire, I can still dive into a Jeeves book and laugh in guiltless delight. And truly the world does seem lighter.

We watched “Atonement” this weekend. It was fine, but expectedly, the book is richer in words, feelings, and alignment of characters. We also watched “Meet the Spartans” last week and there is nothing to which to compare this movie.

English is not my first language – as I conveniently remind people when I am at a literary loss, literally – but it is the language which allows me to express the thoughts within me. It is in expressing thoughts, especially the ones deep within, that we are able to understand ourselves, to form ideas, and expand the horizon of our perspectives.

“Oh jolly good,” Jeeves might say, “if I may express myself, perhaps you should expand your horizons by resuming your work day.”
“Touché. Yes indeed, rather, my good man. Hand me my hat would you? Thank you.”

Posted by: nazli | February 6, 2008

Busby Babes

The Munich Air Disaster of Feb 6, 1958 rips the heart out of Manchester United with 8 of its brightest young things perishing in the twisted metal of the plane crash“. They were known as the Busby Babes, incredibly talented and incredibly young – an incredible loss to be felt by all United Fans across the world, for years to come.


Currently, there are three books on my reading radar:
Ornament of the World – how the Muslims, Jews and Christians created a culture of tolerance in Medieval Spain: by Maria Rosa Menocal
Atonement– about perceptions, misunderstanding, consequences – and endless love: by the Booker Prize winner, Ian McEwan
Brick Lane – a Bangladeshi woman in a foreign land coming to her own: by Booker Prize nominee, Monica Ali

Both “Atonement” and “Brick Lane” are fiction and have been made into movies recently. “Ornament of the World” is non-fiction, if only it was current reality.

Posted by: nazli | February 5, 2008

Fastnacht, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras … Super Tuesday!

Mardi Gras: “the last opportunity to feast and have fun, before 40 days of self-denial“. The name sounds exotic, but it means “Fat Tuesday” in French.The most famous celbrations are in Nice (France), Cologne (Germany), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and New Orleans (USA). The official colours for Mardi Gras are purple (to represent justice), green (stands for faith) and gold (which symbolizes power).

In Venice,
the practice of wearing masks for disguise reached its pinnacle in the 18th Century, when Venetians of different social classes used Carnival as an excuse to mingle.
Not to be outdone, there are also fastnacht parades in Germany. Also not to forget Pennsylvania, where the PA Dutch celebrate Fastnacht by using up all the fat in the house by making fastnacht pastries. Try some recipes.
Others call this pre-Lenten Tuesday (before Ash Wednesday), carnival – in Latin root, “kiss your flesh goodbye.”

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. gets its name from the ritual of “shriving” that Christians used to undergo in the past. In shriving, a person confesses their sins and receives absolution for them. In fact, over 1000 years ago a monk wrote in the Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical Institutes, “in the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him.

“Dear Confessor, I danced in the carnival, hid myself behind a mask, ate lots of pancakes and I feel fat this Tuesday. Please shrive me so I may strive to turn into a new leaf in the next 40 days.”

In Olney, UK, Shrove Tuesday is celebrated with a Pancake Day Race – which, as the tales have it – started in 1445 when an unknown woman, cooking pancakes, heard the shriving bell summoning her to confession. In haste, she ran to church wearing her apron and still holding her frying pan and thus, this English Rose started a charming tradition. Try some. Also there is a tradition of having semla on Shrove Tuesday.
OH – and I nearly forgot with all this carnival hoopla! It’s Super Tuesday 2008! Barack and Hilary in dead heat. McCain moving forward. Romney feeling the love from “conservatives“, the likes of Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and the party of one, Ann Coulter.

Posted by: nazli | February 5, 2008

The Perks of Perkiness …

Last Friday I heard, through the proverbial grapevine, that a couple of ladies (whom I had considered to be smart and friendly colleagues) had been saying how “lively” and “perky” I always was, even at 8:00 AM – and how it annoyed them! That hurt me. In fact, one of them had recently remarked, in what I had thought was a friendly, genuine conversation, “Nazli, you are always so happy”. And I replied delightedly, “yes, I am so happy to be alive”.

Now, gentle readers, my life is no better than yours – believe me. I have my own share of hurt that have cut to the core, and sets of obstacles that constantly need to be overcome. However, I am happy, for example, for my eye sight, for the use of my arms and legs, for being able to breathe, for my basic brain functions, and for what I value most – I am so happy for love! So yes I am generally very happy and excited – even at 8:00 AM in the morning. I am not a morning person, mind you – but I am bloody happy to be alive – any morning.These 2 women don’t like me much because they think I am always “perky”. At first I felt sad – then a few minutes later, I looked up “perky”, and here are the synonyms: “lively”, “vivacious”, “playful”, energetic”. I’ll take a dose of “perky” any time, thank you very much. Incidentally, the antonym is “lethargic”. I’ll pass thank you.

But I have faced this issue before, people thinking that my friendly nature is to be eyed with suspicion because how could someone always be genuinely “perky”. Well, certainly if the depth of my character is undermined due to my friendliness, there is nothing I am willing to sacrifice – except the company of such skeptics.

Ok – I am not hurt anymore – I woke up just as happy and excited. But coincidentally, I saw one of the ladies this morning at a coffee shop. Other than the mild “good morning”, I had little to say because I certainly did not want to “annoy” her. But it felt odd, not to be “genuine” and bubbly. Suddenly an elderly gentleman walked in with a Manchester United” cap; I forgot my melancholy act and with the exuberance I felt inside, I greeted my fellow man and talked about the best team in the world! It was as though Life was reminding me to be exactly who I am, and not to cater to the doldrums of negative opinions. What a boost to feel like Life is on your side.Here’s to all you happy, perky people out there! Here’s to the Giants for winning Superbowl 42 (Roman Numerals need not apply). And here’s to the hilarious “what is love” Pepsi Max ad, and the unibrow Planters ad. Talk about perky😉

Posted by: nazli | January 31, 2008

chimichanga

the next time, you forget a word – you know the “whatchamacallit” type, just say, “chimichanga”. Apparently, in Mexican Spanish, that is the derivation of “chimichanga” – a burrito food item.chimichanga

in no relation to that, the dolphins of Bangladesh are in danger due to over-population of man. Bangladesh dolphinSeriously the concept that “man has dominion over earth” is criminal. Why would such a flawed, emotionally-charged species be given dominion over other species? Because we have “thought” and “conscience” and “intelligence“? Oh chimichanga! A tree is far more capable than me – what, with making it’s own food, depleting pollution,tree covered in snow regenerating its own limbs, providing shelter and food to many – and looking fashionable any time of year without the help of designers.

a company called Pangea Organics sell their soaps in a biodegradable fiber box that are infused with seeds and will grow amaranth and sweet basil. Environmental capitalism, I say.

palm treeLao Tzu says: “he who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still”. Now I am not going to try to contradict Lao, but from my perspective, “one who controls others is severely insecure and does not appreciate the inherent worth of all people” – and “one who masters oneself appears rather self-centric”.

having said that, it is lunch time here and I would so love a, uumm, what do call it … a chimichanga!

ciao chimi

Posted by: nazli | July 14, 2007

… precarious …

. my drink of choice is diet coke with lime … thus I was carrying one into the office in preparation for a long day of paper writing. The can fell and the bottom bulged out. It will not stand, so the open can is perched against the wall and speaker, ready to fall and soak my desk of papers any moment! … precarious

… chocolate covered orange peel sets my blood on fire … that is precarious for the blood, wouldn’t you say? There is a love poem in every packet – if you ask me, it’s a bit off – even precarious to one who is reciting it
… went running yesterday, 5 miles on trail, along a lake, through fields of wild flowers and steep hills – nothing precarious about that – however, afterwards, due to lack of cool water in the vicinty, I indulged in 2 sips of non-alchoholic beer … now that was bloody precarious! the Beckhams are in town. David was dead to me when he left Manchester United. And apparantly Victoria is a load of laughs … perhaps not quite precarious, but certainly hilarious …

… media mogul Conrad Black convicted … whoa … notorious …!

North Korea wants to talk to “belligerent US” … yikes … egregious …?

… bangawoyo! That’s the friendly greeting in Korean. Talking of which, did you know that “mung mung” is the Korean equivalent to “woof woof”? .. curious …

… and OH! Friday the 13th! … my how nefarious! …

Posted by: nazli | July 14, 2007

The Deficiencies of I …

My deficiencies are considerable – I could state at least one for every day I have lived. The major one is my ego – the part of me which needs and feeds to no end. And ironically for no purpose. It just needs to need. I can look back at many entries on this blog and clearly see my ego at work. I needed to regroup my Being.

Some years ago, when I was working on my doctorate and trying to make ends meet, I felt so stressed that one day I had enough. I read of books by sages of the world. It was a miracle for me. I surrendered to the universe and nature – if the universe can run in perfect order, there is reason for me to worry. I became so humble and so centered and so happy. I stopped worrying – and I won scholarships, and my world just fell into place. I don’t how – but it is true.

Then I became absorbed again. In finding the right job, in trying to assert my own independence, in trying to prove myself right. Humility and surrender were replaced by my impatience at wanting everything my way at my time. I do not think I was a bad person – but I was hardly fearless, hardly ambitious (at least not for the right things), hardly bold. I was unaware.

But the universe reminded me with ferocity – so after many moons here I am – a work in progress – in absolute humility, with total faith in love, such awe of the universe, unrelenting hope that I live the fearlessness of my fantasies.

Oh, how have you been fearless bloggers? It’s been awhile – but I am excited be back in the blog mix with my bloggers! Did you know there is a place called “Truth or Consequnces” in New Mexico? Isn’t that grand? This summer I am teaching one class and working with some students. And this summer is going to be the best summer of my life – because whatever happens, my ego is denied. I am alive – and oh so grateful. “Dear Ego – you are hereby relieved, love Nazli.”

Caco and Maliha have written some beauteous things to me in their comments – I don’t know what they see in me – but in reading them, I can only strive to be. Thank you!

See you tomorrow.

With much warmth,

Nazli

This is a picture of Chickies Rock (click to enlarge) – I love the stars and the moons and skies – but the beauty this earth leaves me breathless!

Posted by: nazli | July 14, 2007

This is Zimbabwe

Have you heard of the phrase – TIA – This is Africa?

From the age of 5 to 17, I grew up in Zimbabwe. It was beautiful (it still is), prosperous, vibrant – a heaven on earth. Zimbabwe is a former British colony which gained its independence in 1980 and at that time the gallant freedom fighter and new leader, Comrade Mugabe, inspired its people to live together, black and white and brown, as one people. And then after a decade of paradise (incidentally just as I left to study abroad) power and greed seeped into every core of Mugabe. He, along with his blood thirsty inhumane cronies, destroyed the country by falsely promoting the notion of “land redistribution”. They practised racism, inhumanity, and injustice at their heights. And the world watched – but let’s not blame the West only. How about other African countries? They gave Mugabe their silent support. In particular, the South African premier, Mbeki, he who does not believe in AIDS, seems to empathize with Mugabe. (cartooon from: http://www.sokwanele.com)

The group Dispatch is holding a 3 day concert at Madison Square Garden this weekend for Zimbabwe. Here is a 4 minute documentary on the current state of Zimbabwe. It is worth watching – heartbreaking and breathtaking.

On Tuesday I went running with the running club. There was a 3 mile and 7 mile run; naturally I went with the 3 mile route. I thought I was doing just fine until a lady with a limp and a 67 year old man overtook me. Here is a picture of part of the route – hey at least I kept under the sped limit.

In humanity and humilty,

Nazli

There is a reason why some animals hibernate. The weather should not affect my mood, but there is some chemical reaction to the sun and warm breezes that exhilarates me. Currently we are on Spring Break and yesterday I went for a drive along a stream. The sun was shining, the sky clear blue, the air nonchalant. I stopped at a bank to survey the land and to breathe. There was a bevy of cows and a flock of birds (homage to my English teachers in Zimbabwe) who ignored me as I almost burst into tears in gratitude for being alive (cry baby).  

Last week I was at the SIGCSE conference in sunny Kentucky. The conference focused on Computer Science education; I participated in panels and sessions focusing on computer security, programming discrete mathematics and other applications. I left the conference feeling absolutely rejuvenated and excited about being a Computer Scientist.

Minus the option of purchasing a horse or carrying KFC, I bought some coffee beans in a whiskey bottle (Kentucky is known for their bourbon), along with their famous sauce and bottled cherries. I check in, take off my boots, jacket, laptop, go through that “air-emitting device” that magically checks the body for who knows what. I exit to retrieve my belongings, when a burly grey haired TSA agent stops me and says with grave importance, “ma’am we have a problem.”

I don’t respond because I can’t imagine what the problem could be, other than the book of global warming in my bag.

“You cannot carry liquid; federal regulations”

Still I say nothing, because I remain clueless as to what he is implying.

“You cannot take whiskey onto the flight”, TSA agent repeats.

“Ok,” I offer trying not to appear as uninterested as I actually feel.

TSA agent takes out the whiskey bottle with the coffee beans. It is wrapped in tissue to prevent it from breaking.

“It’s coffee,” I explain, trying to undo the tissue from the bottle to show him

“Ma’am, I know what this is and you cannot take this on the flight. It is illegal,” he pushes my hand away from the bottle.

“It’s coffee,” I am still calm.

“I know exactly what it is and it is illegal because it is liquid.”

“Alright, throw it away, but before you do I want clarification as to how you categorize that as liquid.” I reach out to undo the tissue again.

“Ma’am,” he starts warningly brushing my hands away again.

“I want clarification,” now I am ready to take it on.

He undoes the tissue, sees the “solid” coffee beans and exclaims, “well I’ll be darned.”

Long story short, he still made me check in the bottle of sauce and cherries. So I had to be escorted out, check in a little bag and then go through the whole security process again. When I walked through to the gates to board my flight, I saw bottles of the sauce at the concession stands ready for passengers to purchase and take onto the flight. To make my day, when I landed in Philadelphia, I smelt my little bag before I saw it since the bottle of cherries had smashed into pieces.

Hello Fearless Bloggers! …How I have missed my blog! See you tomorrow.

Nazli

Posted by: nazli | January 18, 2007

This Time This Year

This time last year was undoubtedly the most heart-wrenching time of my life – everything that was comfortable and sacred and safe – everything I counted on unconditionally melted into moments that left me in disbelief. Perhaps in retrospect I shall consider it a part of being born in a culture where choices and freedom are nothing compared to the consensus of a family ruled by the medieval notion of patriarchic power and might. But certainly I had to take my stand against the very person who taught me to be fearless and ambitious and bold. He surely thought I was the Frankenstein monster – his product who rebelled against his absolute control using the tools with which he equipped me.

My dearest friend reminded me that having the courage to be true to myself is true fearlessness. I gleaned through world news to find camaraderie with the world around me.
My heart was filled with empathy for every injustice anywhere – the final transformation to the rest of my life. I realized that my life was indeed beautiful because at least I could exert my right to live on my own terms – while many others have ceased to be alive because they are ‘casualties of war’. Blogging engaged my mind and kept my spirit intact because it gave me perspective and forced me to be deeply self-reflective. Also I found that in being sincerely concerned for humanity and being genuine and warm to everyone only lights my heart to heights from which I will not fall. In the end, what I discovered made 2006 the best year of my life – and you the fearless blog list enhanced my understanding and perspective. Thank you.

This time, this year let me say that I am truly grateful and glad to have come across you – Caco, Maliha, Mr. Angry, Tom, Cristiana, Joe, Zee, Jeff, Lo … because even through the coldest medium, your words touched my heart. Wishing you the happiest 2007 ever! How was your Christmas and New Year? Mine was wonderful – in fact the best ever. The Winter break from school was spent working on a grant proposal and then preparing for the new semester. This semester I am teaching computer security and discrete mathematics. In addition, I am going to take on some ambitious projects that I have neglected. It is GREAT to see you again!

Oh – what is with Big Brother UK – Shilpa vs. Jane? Racism or a cultural conflict? Either way – I am happy to see it being addressed. Have you heard of the discovery of a lost civilization in Peru?

Recommended Movies:

Apocalypto – brilliant visuals, gory, underlying love story, hidden messages

Blood Diamond – if there is one movie to watch from 2006, this would be it

Casino Royale – the best James Bond movie ever – and I have watched all of them!

Recommended Music: (on my iTunes, in my car, at the office)

“Say it Right” Nelly Furtado

“Irreplaceable” – Beyonce

“Eurydice” – Sleepthief featuring Jody Quine

“Beds are Burning” – Midnight Oil

Posted by: nazli | December 1, 2006

World Aids Day 2006 – Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise


the World Health Organization report the world AIDS epidemic continues to grow, with an estimated 39.5 million people living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS

this means every eight seconds somebody in the world is infected with HIV, resulting in 11,000 people becoming newly infected every day

approximately 4.3 million became newly infected with HIV and 2.9 million died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2006according to the World AIDS Campaign, sub-Saharan Africa remains the epicenter of the AIDS pandemic, but no country is unaffected, and incidence rates are rising in a number of developed countries

India (5 million people affected – the largest number in any one country – the AIDS epidemic is fastest growing in Asia) Eastern Europe (many are IV drug users)USA (about 1 million people affected, 25 % don’t know)

AIDS is a 100% preventable

new strategies for overcoming the pandemic of AIDS 

2006 slogan: Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise

Posted by: nazli | November 30, 2006

Thursdays That Thrill The Thoughts!

“The great secret … is not having bad manners or good manners … but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another.” – George Bernard ShawThis quote warmed my heart – to me it the epitome of humanity and compassion. And then I challenged myself – lest I become complacent or self-righteous in my own humanity. When it comes to my friends and the person with whom I choose to spend the rest of my life – I am very particular. In other words, in my relelntless pursuit of being alive, I allow only people I consider to be beautiful within & warm & loving into my life and I categorically keep out any that I consider to be a negative. So does that mean that I do not consider all souls as being good as another? Or that in considering all to be equal, can I not be discriminate in the company I keep? I am thinking about it – meanwhile …

… there are 2 more weeks left in the semester and I tell you it has been the busiest but the best semester! Lately, I find myself more relaxed than ever. Ultimately I feel that I know 100 more people who chisel me into what I am meant to be. Yes – I consider every single one of the students to be equal souls (who would I be not to), despite their varying academic performance.

Dr. Ahmadinejad sent a letter to the American people : should the Americans a) read it or b) return to sender c) mark it as spam and delete it?

A $2 million dollar apology for a man wrongly accused of terrorism. Is this the only “wrongful” case? Will we ever know or is not knowing the price of freedom. I certainly don’t know.

Manchester United – the bestest team in the world – maintaining it’s lead in the English Premiership.

Here is an article from TIME Magazine that lists, “The Five Fatal Mistakes of Bush’s Mideast Policy“.

“It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserves a repulic” – Thomas Jefferson (I must say that contrary to popular opinion, Americans are some of the warmest and spirited people I have ever met – genuine warmth beats cool proper manners)

“Rudeness is a weak man’s imitation of strength” – Eric Hoffer (agreed – personally I think good manners are a mark of high self-respect)

I have been rude recently – by being passively aggressive – that’s terrible and unbecoming. Never again! Also I have found that I remember strangers who have been rude to me (not too many) because they leave a raw and jarring imprint on me. I am resolved to never be rude to anyone at all – ever – from now till the end of time – especially to those I love.

Hope this is the best Thursday of the week for you! Peace and Warmth and Good Manners to your soul that is certainly second to none!

Have you heard people complaining that there is such pressure by society to be thin. Young girls depressingly thin, models dying of anorexia, women suffering the chemical imblance of bulimia – because of “society’s pressures”. But if you bow down to the pressures of society – it’s on you. It’s your life, it’s your responsibility to think for yourself, to know what is healthy for you. Exercise, have fun, be nice to a stranger, read up on world news, help an orphan and you will find that society’s so called pressures may soon be meaningless.

The greatest lessons in life have been thrust upon me in the last few years. If I may share one with you; “nothing is all about me”. When I think it’s all about me, I will be hyper-sensitive, on the defense, too fragile to enjoy life. When I do not take anything personally, there is greater confidence in my gait, I feel free, I am at ease with the world and thus I can put the world at ease with me. The world existed and night became day before me, and certainly it will do so long after me. Society’s pressures? Gimme a break – you have your own life to lead!

I was reading an article about “overhelpers”. People who think it is their responsibility to save the world and to save you. And should you not accept & appreciate them as your saviour, they will take it personally and feel scorned. They may mean well but the final imapct is that they irritate people and are considered to be meddlesome and intrusive and judgmental. It is their way of feeling important and needed. Relax, the world does not ride on your shoulders, live your own life, enjoy it🙂 and let others live theirs.

Parents can be like that sometimes. Parents who feel it is their birthright to overhelp/rule their grown children just because they are genetically linked. Why not enjoy your own life and allow your grown children to do the same🙂

Borrowing from dear Oprah, who graces her own magazine with her own dazzling picture every single month, “live your best life”. These days living my best life involves knowing I am leading my own life on my own terms. That is the basic happiness that shoots through my heart. So how about all those in the world who do not have a choice to live their own lives but must live by “society’s pressures” and are ruled by prehistoric laws, and controling fathers and husbands, and gossiping neighbors, and economic burden? Well at least they should remind us that “society’s pressures” to be thin and beautiful is pretty petty.

Here’s to you and your own life – you are so beautiful – on your own terms! Much happiness to you!

Posted by: nazli | November 28, 2006

Burkahs, Happiness, The Pope & I

The Dutch Interior Minister Rita Verdonk, has proposed banning the burkha. Verdonk is a hardliner who has introduced a series of anti-immigration measures. She has been quoted as saying the ‘time for cosy tea-drinking’ with Muslim groups was over. Verdonk’s proposal followed a request from right-wing MP Geert Wilders, who claimed the burkha was a threat to security.

Ok – let’s get to the point – the time for sugar-coating anti-Islam is over. In my opinion, this measure by the right-wing Dutch party is indeed anti-Islamic. HOWEVER a burkha is not inherently Islamic – it is inherently a cultural imposition – a cruel one. I even understand the fear of some European countries against this type of culture dominating their liberal way of life. But they must not be patronizing and mask their anti-Islamic leanings in the name of “security”.

As a woman – no as a human – my face is a part of my physical identity. It is not a matter of beauty at all – because that is subjective. But the expression of my eyes when I smile, when I laugh, when I see the world around me through a 3 dimensional periphery – these are all a part of my identity and my connection to the world.


It is a violation of human rights to force a
woman to cover herself from head to toe in a shapeless dark cloth! This inhumanity is propogated by fathers, brothers, husbands, imams, politicians, and by other women, who paint the burkha as a necessity for pious Islamic behaviour. One might argue that some women choose to wear the burkha. Ok – but most of these women who “choose” to cover themselves completely have not been brought up with the freedom to think otherwise. A woman must be allowed her the birthright to celebrate her physical womanhood by dressing in elegant, beautiful outfits and lighting the world with her smiles. And yes, I know there is poverty and war in the world – but wearing a burkha will not stop that.

The Pope is taking a stance on Islam – even though he already has a lot on his plate – what with those child molesting priests.


There was a recent study that connects the genuine smiles in year book pictures to enduring happiness.
Those who had genuine (Duchenne) smiles were seen to have led happier lives, while those with fake (Pan American) smiles were found to have led less fulfilled lives. So I would say keep smiling, keep smiling, keep smiling!! Show off your dazzling smile – at a stranger, at the one you love – if just to say “I am so glad that you are alive!”

As for the burkha – denying a handful of women the right to wear the burkha will NOT make the world safer. In fact being anti-Islamic is as much a secuirty threat as it is anti-human. Same applies to anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity. And forcing women to wear the burkha is no ticket to heaven.

Posted by: nazli | November 28, 2006

Wednesday Wanderings on the scale of things …

Earth is approximately 5 billion years old – give or take some millions of years. The creation of the Earth was in tandem with many other massive formations. As we all generally know our solar system is an invisible spot in our galaxy, and our galaxy is but a small part of the universe. We fight over a piece of land. I am convinced God doesn’t care about that particular piece of land much, given his current real estate.

That’s not the central theme today, however. I came across a professor who makes his class take a calculator roll – about 5 meters – and draw up a time scale of the Earth’s existence with respect to human existence – and with respect to the birth of the great prophets of the world. Guess what, in the scale of things, they are barely a pencil mark. That gave me such perspective.

Nuns are on the rise – and they have playlists and blogs too – who knew?

South Africa is the first country in Africa to legalize gay marriage – the thing about South Africa is that when they were racists, they were racists openly. When they decided to come out of the dark ages of inhumanity, they came out in full force. How many other countries can share this accolade?

Manchester United (the best team in the world) is number 1 in the Premiership!

My computer crashed last night at 12:30 AM as I was finishing up an exam for my class at 9:00 AM today – I couldn’t disappoint the cherubs by postponing the exam, so I walked into the office at the crack of dawn to rewrite the exam again – 3 versions.

Posted by: nazli | November 14, 2006

Saluting Veteran’s Day …

… to fearless defenders of freedom … everywhere

Posted by: nazli | November 14, 2006

At least it’s not terrorism …

On Wednesday November 8, 2006, at least 18 Palestinians civilians were killed and 40 wounded by Israeli tank fire in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. Anywhere else, this massive violation against humanity would have been decried as TERRORISM – but of-course these are not acts of terrorism because it is just sleeping Palestinians who are killed by uniformed armed soldiers in armored tanks who were hunting for the “real terrorists”.

People all over the place are offering words in their worldly wisdom …

UK Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett offers a very well-mannered rebuke (one has to be courteous), “it is hard to see what this action was meant to achieve and how it can be justified… Israel must respect its obligation to avoid harming civilians.”

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said the strike, which hit a civilian area, was the result of a “technical failure”. He also added, “I’m very uncomfortable with this event. I’m very distressed. I checked it and I verified it. This is not the policy.”

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter told Israeli radio that the deaths were the result of an “operational mishap”. But he insisted that Israel’s military activities in Gaza were justified against a backdrop of continuing rocket attacks by Palestinian militants against Israeli towns.

In the US, the White House and the state department called for restraint from Palestinians, and President George Bush expressed his sadness at the deaths .

UN Special Co-ordinator for Mid-East Peace Process, Alvaro De Soto: “I’m appalled and shocked. It’s really condemnable. This has just gone too far. So [Israelis] need to take a long hard and very professional look at it. And also they need I think to step back, suspend this operation and look at the policy. This is not the way to stop Palestinian rocket fire. And to the Palestinians I have to say firing rockets is not the way to get the Israelis to stop this onslaught against them.”

In Palestine one man claims that if the blood shed in Beit Hanoun were wine spilled in the salons of the political Arab elite, then the anger would have been great and protest marches would have been organised. The shedding of Palestinian blood has become something only noted in passing, something which does not trouble the Arab and international conscience.UN Special Rapporteur, John Dugard: “This brutal collective punishment of a people, not a government, has passed largely unnoticed by the international community. The Quartet… has done little to halt Israel’s attacks. An Israeli lady contends, “a regrettable mistake, past and present politicians and army officers said yesterday. This is not a mistake. This is a disaster. A regrettable mistake is when you step on someone’s foot, not when you kill 11 members of one family. Someone has to stop this madness.”

Another Israeli reaction, “someone has to tell the people of Beit Hanoun, the citizens of the Gaza Strip, the Arabs of the occupied territories, the whole world, the one simple, poignant truth: He who fires thousands of Qassam rockets at the civilian [Israeli] population for years; he who hoards thousands of tons of explosive materials for months, should understand that it is impossible to hide behind women and children. Such behaviour has a price tag.”

source of the above: BBC.com

Click here for an editorial from Haaretz

*************************************
247 fatalities in Gaza from June 28 to October 27
155 civilian deaths
57 deaths of children
996 wounded, including 337 children (34%)
Source: Physicians for Human Rights

… but hey, at least it’s not “terrorism” …

 

Posted by: nazli | October 27, 2006

Miami Mon Ami

Miami at Dawn

Miami at Dusk

Miami at Night

Miami Mi Amigo!

Posted by: nazli | October 19, 2006

Wednesdays Wanderings … light & lovely things

Shout out to Beautiful Maliha, and the Fearless Mr. Angry, dear Caco🙂, Totally Tom, Before Sunrise, Lovely Louise, Beth, Oh Joe!, Jeff, Fer, Candancim, the folks at Culture for All, Zee Ya! and of-course the Incomparable Dr. Sasquatch.

Red is my favourite colour! And ya’all know that I am a girly girl who believes that being fashionable is as important as being bold & intellectual in the art of fearlessness🙂 Every Sunday, I scan through my closet and mentally plan my wardrobe for the week ahead. Often I forget my list and find myself putting together the outfit 30 minutes before I have to leave. Oh yes, dressing up delights me! Then there is matching jewelry (limited) and make-up (light) – oh I love being a girl!🙂

So imagine my happipness in being able to purchase a red t-shirt, knowing that half of the profits go to Aids in Africa – and it is inscribed with “INSPI(RED)”. Tomorrow I teach lab sections of my class and it’s the day I dress casually to work. So I am going to wear my “inspi(red)” t-shirt ! With blue pants with turquoise necklace and earrings … ? Or with brown dress pants and red & brown necklace …? Such important decisions. Heels of-course. Gosh, I am so inspi(red) to wake up tomorrow🙂

Hope you are laughing with me at my frivolties🙂

Can’t wait to wear my gorgeous new CBGB limited edition – thank you, Baby!

Movie Recommendations: ‘The Lake House” – romantic movie that made me cry and sigh in relief at the endlessness and timelessness of true love

Music Recomendations: “Oh L’Amour” : Erasure – keeping with the love theme – why not😉
The album “A Posteriori”: Enigma – I donwloaded this last night and it is simply enigmatic

from Fernando – (Jamiaca) “The Skatalites”: Occupation, “Joya Landis”: Midnight Lover, “The Clarendonians & Augustus”: Ruddie Bam bam, (Angola) “Bonga” Mulemba Xangola

Book Recommendations: “The O’Reilly Factor”: Bill O’Reilly (all in the spirit of fairness & balance ;-))
“The Truth”: Al Franken (the truth shall set you free, I hear)
“War on the Middle Class”: Lou Dobbs (let me know how it is, apparantly if your e-mail to Lou Dobbs is read out during his show, you will receive a free copy. I am composing a note right now)

Posted by: nazli | October 18, 2006

Tuesday Thoughts … on the human syndrome

I feel most alive when I remember that tomorrow is not promised to me. I feel most human when I remember that no politician, no law, no culture, no job, no religion can save me from mortality. I feel most free when I am myself.

But I am not alone, I have not made it alone. There have been people standing by my side, loving me, lending me their hand when I certainly would have fallen. I feel most grateful, most human, most vulnerable, most free, most me, when I remember that.

You know there is no redemption to war. None whatsoever. We can try to justify it. Yes wars have gained “freedom” – but why was that freedom ever taken away in the first place? I adhere to New Hamshire’s spirit – “live free or die”. Many of us are not free at all. We are worried about our own future, Lou Dobbs of CNN is worried about “the Middle Class of America“, dear old Bill O’Reily of FoxNews is worried about the leftist media and retaining America’s moral imperilaism, people are worried about jobs going overseas to those Indians. Hey – they are human, those Indians. Smart, savvy, and ready to take the challenge to survive. How inhuman some of us can be, how self-righteous and boring! It breaks me to see that people are treated as lessers because of the longitude/latitude under which they are born.

Thank goodness that Al Gore is worried about the environment, thank goodness that Zainab Salbi is worried about women who are victims of war, thank goodness Mohammed younus is worried about enabling people living in poverty – thank goodness for doctors without borders, thank goodness for mothers who love without limit, thank goodness for people who are for people.

People quabble about how many Iraqis died – hey even one human death is one too many. What if it was you? Palestinians use desperation as an excuse to be suicide bombers. There is no excuse for murder! Heaven does not wait for you. Israelis think they are the chosen ones – what exactly did God choose you for? Why do any of us think we are one iota more special than the next person, than the person across the ocean? We are all as mortal, as human, as vulnerable, as anyone else. Some extreme groups in the Indian subcontinent keep their women under lock and key and some fathers believe in honor killings of their daughters. I don’t know what god they worhsip.

Don’t you see it does not matter, Indians, Israelis, Americans, Zimbabweans. In defining ourselves by nations, we allow ourselves to be defined by man-made boundaries. Mad created these maps of boundaries – but they should not define us. My family used to be in despair when I refused to acknowledge my country of origin and declared myself a citizen of the world. I am not denying my race or heritage – I am defying man-made boundaries. The wold belongs to me – as it does to you. If an Iraqi dies, if an American dies, if an Israeli dies, if a Palestinian dies – it is no different from me dying. Another human, another citizen of the world leaving, hopefully for a better place.

Do you see – you are no different from me – and I am no different from you? Do you see? Our view points or places of birth or locations don’t make us different, or better. We share the same human syndrome of mortality.

The French lower house of parliament passed a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks after WWI. In retaliation, the Turkish parliament is drafting a bill to make it illegal to deny that the French committed genocide in Algeria. People are up in arms spending time and money passing bills about PAST genocides, when nothing has been done about the CURRENT cases of rape and murder and cold-blooded genocide in Darfur? There is massive genocide and violation of human rights – right now! Infuruating!

If I were to die tomorrow, I would not give a damn about being right or wrong, or about which land belongs to whom, or about the left or the right or center – I would just want to express to the people in my world that they mean the world to me. I would want them to know that they shaped my life, that they made me feel so much, that they made my day, any day – that I am so grateful to them. I don’t plan to die tomorrow, I plan to really live and love tomorrow – and today!

This is an original water color I purchased recently from a living artist, feisty delightful 85 year old Margaret Hart.

“Laugh to forget, but don’t forget to laugh” – Arnold Glasgow

Posted by: nazli | October 18, 2006

Sunday Sunderings … all cried out

Once a year, in involuntary introspection and self-evaluation, my mind rejuvenates itself. It heeds no other command from me but takes me through a reflective process that I cannot deny. Thus was my last several days. 180 degrees (well maybe 145 degrees) change in perspective. On Wednesday I was writing about the frivolous topic of “you must be kidding me” when by chance, I came across a documentary on Aids in Africa. Everyday there are deaths equivalent to 2 World Trade Centers – everyday. Just children who don’t have a chance to live because they do not have access to the few dollars that I use so carelessly to buy a soda. Then a documentary on the rape and killing in Darfur. I spent hours crying over Aids and Darfur – but crying is useless, it is action that matters.

Fearless! Ambitious! Bold! I like to think I am fearless, but it was essential for me to acknowledge that which frightens me the most. I did so these last days. I acknowledge what I fear most – and there is nothing that can erase that fear – except to be fearless. How helpful. Thank you for that introspective edge.

There is a debate and denial over whether or not 655,000 Iraqis died. That is the debate? Bloody Hell! (yes I am swearing – in anguish and disgust!) You have got to be kidding me! Ok – let’s halve the number, no let’s diminish that number by a factor of 100, in fact let’s cut the number down to 1 and let’s not even consider the nationality – and that would be a bloody loss of 1 human life too many!

My models for fearlessness are the following – my goodness – they define FEARLESSNESS!:

Bono: (Red) products – no politics just humanity

Zainab Salbi: beautiful woman helping one woman at a time and changing the world – no politics just humanity

Mohammed Younus from Bangladesh: Noble Nobel Peace Laureate 2006 – no politics just humanity

Anna Politkovskaya: fearless Russian journalist murdered on October 7, 2006

Red Cross: for reaching out to the “inhabitants” of Guantanamo – no politics just humanity

Watched a movie this weekend called “Water”. It is set in 1937 India, about the lives of widows, who according to Hindu customs had to live a rejected life in seclusion. This life-denying custom, along with the deplorable caste system still exists. Yes, I cried heartily while watching it.

Also this weekend we had a bachelorette party for my friend Jenny – and to be perfectly honest, I forgot all about world affairs and crying and such, and just had much fun with a bunch of crazy girls.

Fearless Movie Recommendation: “Water” by Deepa Mehta – this movie was made by the fearless Director, despite massive protests by extremists groups who were afraid that their deplorable customs of widowhood would be highlighted. Go Deepa!

Fearless Product Recommendation: “(Red)” – so I rushed to Gap and bought a t-shirt, half of whose profits could go to help a mother buy medicine for her children. My t-shirt reads “inspi(red)”. Oh, I am so inspired! There are also other t-shirts like “empow(red)”, “desi(red)”, “admi(red)” and get this “bo(red)”, “hamme(red)”🙂

Fearless Music Recommendation: “Nothing In My Way” by Keane – the words say it all
“All Cried Out” by Allure – the words say it all
“Já sei namorar” by Tribalistas – recommended by my fearless friend, Caco

this is where we went canoeing in Upstate New York

this is where we went rafting in West Virginia

So tonight I was invited to an Interfaith banquet. There were people from all faiths who started with the celebration of the breaking of the fast. I sat at a random table with Christians, Jews and Muslims, before which I had flitted about introducing myself to perfectly lovely strangers.


After dinner, which was a splendid affair, there were 4 speakers: the Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim perspective. This was then followed by representives of the 2 Senatorial candidates, Bob Casey and Rick Santorum. Oi vey, Religion and Politics …

The Jewish perspective mentioned that Islam borrowed the tradition of fasting from the Jewish people and made reference to the Day of Atonement – this to show the similarities of the 2 religions. He then chided the general populace for not causing an uproar against the pronoucements of Dr. Ahemedinejad.

The Muslim perspective agreed that indeed Islam was an extension, in many ways, of Judiasm and Christianity.

The Christian perspective spoke of brotherhood and love – and referenced the support after the recent tragic shootings in the Amish town.

The speaker I applauded the most – because it encompassed the concept of interfaith & humanity – was the Hindu perspective. He spoke about what was close to my heart. We should not “tolerate” diversity – we should “value” diversity. He uses the example; what if you returned to your room mate who said to you, “I tolerate you”, how would you feel? He also referenced Mahatma Ghandi who when asked by Christians what he would have them do replied to the effect, “help the Muslims be better Muslims, help the Hindus be better Hindus, help the Jews be better Jews, and we will help you be better Christians”.

Lovely night, lovely food, lovely talks, lovely people – but do you know what I came back with? The affirmation with which my parents had brought me up, “God-created man is greater than man-created religion”. It’s humanity that matters. I feel more than ever that life is short, so short, and I just want to live while I am alive – a happy, simple, lovely life with people who matter to me. So much to do, so much to see … what a wonderful world! I really am so happy to be alive.

Oh and I also tried to colour my hair – spontaneous decision in the middle of the afternoon. Perhaps I was inspired but the Autumn colours. Let’s put it this way, the results of “Brazilian Brown Prismatic Color” is such that my dark hair is as dark as ever! No one will notice any change and therefore I will have to tell people, “excuse me, I know you cannot tell, but I did colour my hair, prismatically in fact, thanks.”

Music Recommendations: anything Brazlian (Caco, Cristiana ?) …🙂
Movie Recommendations: “City of God”: set in Brazil on Brazilian gang life – so vivid that you can feel actually feel the heat and the desperation and the life …

Posted by: nazli | October 4, 2006

Picturesque Mondays … say anything

During the premiership soccer season, I live for Manchester United games without logic or reason. I soar in delight for every wining goal, and for a loss, no words can console. The team makes me happy

…talking of happy, when my brother was 8 he wrote a poem and the last two lines were, “the dragon was happy, still in his nappy”. It still makes me laugh out aloud

…talking about laughing out aloud, I have this awful habit of remembering funny things at inappropriate times. For example, someone might be talking about their car problems at tedium and suddenly I will think about the happy dragon in the nappy and then have to fight the urge to not burst out laughing

…as for fighting urges, the month of Ramadhan is a testament to discipline and will power and committment. Imagine not ingesting anything at all, including water, from dawn to dusk. It’s formidable and the degree of introspection is incomparable. It is especially a time for kindness and warmth and friendship

… another shout out for my frriends at the Campaign for Kindness ! Just be kind. Why Not? To anyone, anytime, anywhere – be kind. Why not? But be especially kind to those who care about you. They deserve your kindness more than everyone … show them you care even more!

… in a lovely show of caring, during each of the last 3 years, 3 separate friends had fasted with me for a day each. One friend “fasted” all day after having a business breakfast … another “fasted” but had water during meeting presentations … and the third one apparantly “fasted” twice in one day, since he had lunch in the middle of day …🙂 The thoughtfulness touched my heart

… talking about thoughtfulness and heart, last week, I received some flowers in a fleaker – they meant a lot to me and it was the sweetest start to my Autumn season…

… talking of season, hey here is to Manchester United’s winning season, for I support them with no logic or reason!

Yesterday we went to a presentation at the University by Dr. Jobe Martin on “The Big Bang or the Big God”. While I am eager to learn different viewpoints, I was rather taken back at the way he handled the Q&A session. He made some good points for creationism, using science where it suited the argument, yet dismissing science when it countered his argument. A small example; he deems that dinosaurs existed along with man – because according to Genesis (as accepted by Jews, Christians, Muslims), God created the world within 6 days. One of the students asked why there have been no human skeletal remains found within carnivorous dinosaurs. Good question, but no good answer.

Another asked why he was relying on a changing book to explain the natural world. Because it is the word of God and it has not changed, was his general answer.

Chris, who has a doctorate in Biology (evolutionary), kindly excused several inconsistencies in the presentation and only noted politely that Darwin wrote at the end of his “The Origin of Species …” that he believed in God. Dr. Martin retorted that Darwin did not really believe in God and “salvation”. Obviously he knew Darwin personally. I inquired about the geocentric claims of the Bible, as opposed to the heliocentricity of our solar system. He basically implied that perhaps from the outer galaxies, the sun could be revolving around the Earth.

Dr. Martin did say that according to the Bible, there is only one race – the human race. I respect that very much. I am open to Science and Academia, and Faith, and Feeling, and Intuition, and the Holy Books etc. I am open to the fact that I do not know much, but I am not open to blind close-mindedness.

There is nothing that can define the Creator of the Universe by any formula. Faith is distinct from self-righteous definitions. I think defining God by any book or by the word of man, limits God. What does man know, anyway? We cannot even stop fighting wars during a temporary time on Earth, let alone define the Creator of the unending universe. There is indeed something between Heaven and Earth – in fact there is a whole universe of galaxies and stars and unimaginable unknowns. The possibilities are endless and so exciting! The Creator of the Universe, is magnificent beyond the limiting description of man. So Big Bang or Big God – why does one preclude the other? Both require faith, and actually, as humans, we don’t really know, therefore, in a sense we all are reyling on the application of some faith in something.

Here is to the relentless pursuit of knowledge… !

Quote Recommendation on the pursuit of Knowledge:
“The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.” “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.” “The best form of worship is the pursuit of knowledge.” “Scholars should endeavor to spread knowledge and provide education to people who have been deprived of it. For, where knowledge is hidden it disappears.”: Prophet Mohammed

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”: Albert Einstein

Further quotes on the pursuit of knowlege

Music Recommendation: “Suspicious Minds” – Elvis Presley, “Woman” – John Lennon, “I’ve Been Thinking About You” – Damae & Londonbeat

Posted by: nazli | September 24, 2006

Sunday Sunderings … on the Kindness of my Parents …

The Campaign for Kindness touches my heart.

2006 has been a defining year for me; in particular because I now define myself … but it will never erase what has defined my past. In my relentless pursuit of being alive on my own terms, I will not forget the credit that belongs to my parents.

My parents taught me about kindness – through consistent and constant example.

My father was very strict about certain things with respect to me – only A’s in class and no boys😉. He spent hours studying my school books so that I could ask him any question on any subject. At university I would fax him engineering problems and we would solve them together. Formidable Father-Daughter Team. My father was so so kind & loving to me. So kind that I could not see beyond him. The most handsome, smartest man I had ever met – and I certainly the apple of his eye. For my overflowing confidence, the credit belongs to my father.

One Friday evening, an employee of his made a very costly mistake. My father was understandably angry. But after a few minutes he said to my mother, “I am feeling bad; everyone makes mistakes. I am so happy and lucky to have my family to come home to.” He then took the bunch of flowers he had bought for my mother and gave it to the stunned employee, wishing him a wonderful weekend and telling him not to worry about anything. My hero.

My mother’s priority were my manners. I regret to say that in my younger years, I confused my burgeoning confidence with self-importance. My father indulged me, because I was his little girl – but not my mother. She made me include unpopular girls in my group, to my absolute chagrin. She once made me apologize publicly to some irritating girl who had started crying because I would not talk to her. My mother told me that wht matters in life is heart and compassion. I did not believe her then. My mother cried with anyone who was hurt, and laughed with anyone who was happy. I have never ever met a kinder, lovelier person than my mother. I am that lucky girl to have been brought up by her.

In my relentless pursuit of being alive, I pray for boundless blessings to my parents. I am forever grateful for their kindness. As for that which broke my heart – they have brought up with enough kindness to remember that heros are human too …

…besides, my heart cannot really break … it overflows with happiness and confidence … what can be against me, when the Creator of The Universe is with me …?

… ooh and I found a dress in the specified green colour …🙂

Posted by: nazli | September 22, 2006

Wednesday Wanderings … what teaching has taught me

… during my first year of doctoral studies, I had started teaching at a university – I was so excited about the opportunity – but oh I had so much to learn! My father had given me the good advice of emulating all the good things I loved about my favourite professors. In primary school, we could not use the word, “nice” because it was over-used and not descriptive enough. But I have found that being nice is what really matters. I am not always nice – sometimes I am irrational, inconsiderate and unsympathetic – my ego takes over and I think of only myself. But luckily academe grounds me and over the last several years, teaching has taught me that:

  • Say something with sincere sunny smiles – and you are winning the room!

  • Say anything with a raised voice in anger and irritation – you are so losing the room

  • The most aggravating irritating unpleasant person can be turned around – with empathy. The power in the words, “I can see your perspective, but here is another one …” is tremendous🙂 You never know what the person is going through, but just giving them the respect of empathy, could melt them.

  • The ability to say, “I don’t know the answer to your question, but let’s look into it” is honourable and people respond to it with respect – I learnt this from Cristobal

  • Being judgmental and self-righteous are ineffective and unattractive – in fact it’s idiotic. I remember what a colleague on Wall Street often told me, “Nazli, get over yourself!”😉

  • Sincere charm disarms adversaries and makes friends happy to have you as their friend! And actually it is lovely to be in your own company when you are charming.

  • Being irritated and short-tempered does absolutely no good to anyone – it increases your blood pressure, ruins your mood and your day, you make other people feel awful, the bad day follows you around – you don’t solve anything …! On the other hand, being sincerely pleasant puts others at ease, your mood remains sunny, somehow life seems fantastic – and people work with you

  • Being hard does not equate to strength – sometimes the nicest, kindest people you will ever meet are the most resilient and self-assured

  • Appearance sometimes counts for nothing

  • People can sense sincerity – or the lack of

  • Underestimating people is folly

  • Remembering a name makes a big difference

  • When people count on you – it inspires you to never let them down

  • You cannot always make everyone happy – and that’s just fine!

To sum it up, a winning smile and a dazzling laugh can win a day!

This leads me to “Campaign for Kindness” initiated by the Beautiful Maliha. I LOVE it! So ecxited! Let’s got for it. Be nice, be kind, be happy, be dazzling – it only makes you beautiful to be around!

Peace and sunny smiles and dazzling dreams to you!

Music Recommendation: Clay Aiken’s new CD – listen to it for free

Callas on La Wally Aria, Ebben, Ne andrò lontana’ recommended by Caco

Movie Recommendation: “Little Miss Sunshine” – sunny, crazy, ecclectic – but not ecclesiastic

“O Brother Where Art Thou” recommended by Caco

“Roma” (Spain/Argentina production) – super nice film, “Malena” – a very good one, “Cinema Paradiso” – well we know.. recommended by Fernando

“High Fidelity” recommended by Beth

Posted by: nazli | September 19, 2006

Sunday Sunderings … on Bluegrass and Greenhouses

Having grown up on the concept that “God-created man is greater than man-created religion”, I firmly believe in humanity – irrespective of colour or culture or creed or religion. We all live, we all die – we are all bonded by the human gene.

From the ascension to his papacy, I had thought that Pope Benedict XVI skirted some anti-Islamic tendencies. His opinions are wholly irrelevant to me. What do I care of the opinions of any mortal man, when the Creator of the Universe created me and gives me the opportunity to be alive and to experience this beautiful world? What do I care when the world belongs to me – as it does to you, equally? But to hurt 1 billion people is no good.

However, I find an advantage in the Pope’s recent unfortunate comments. It gives the opportunity for Muslim scholars to present dialogue and discourse that clarifies understanding of the religion by stating the beauty of Islam, e.g. the Koran states to the effect – there is to be no compulsion in religion, true direction is in fact distinct from error …, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alteration of the night and day are the signs for those at heart.., when even one person is killed, God judges that it is all of humanity that has been killed…, etc.


I was at a planetarium recently, looking at moving images of stars, the galaxies and the possible worlds beyond. My soul soared and I felt invincible because I too am a part of that magnificent creation.


At the beginning of this year, I had written that Venezuela and Iran were countries to watch carefully and that underestimating Dr. Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez as “just crazy, idiotic guys”, was dangerous. Better to overestimate and over-reach, than to underestimate and lose.

This weekend was absolutely fantastic! We met Kelly at the bluegrass event, after which we went to a happening spot in town. The man in the Union Jack skirt and plastic spikes on his head with a sticker on his head proclaiming, “I will destroy you” was equally spectacular as the impromptu dance from the girl at the next table. So much laughter and fun; Kelly and Cris bonded till the early morning, which delighted me. Saturday was an all-girls day – dinner, movies and girly-girl stuff and of-course the gorgeous greenhouse.

This summer Cris taught me the magic of panoramic photography; pictures are taken and then pixilated together to create one photo.

A panoramic view of Kelly and me and some unknown man who was determined to stay in the middle of our shot

A panoramic view with my beautiful friend, Kelly

Posted by: nazli | September 19, 2006

Still the Fearless, Still the Fabulous … Friday

Perhaps I could consider this to be the worst year of my life because the losses are irrecoverable, and the sources of disappointment continually unbelievable. But in fact it is simply the best year of my life, because I discovered what is worth everything in the world to me. That’s pretty sexy!

The lessons are too many. But a most critical one being that my instincts are unbendingly supreme. I second guessed myself, conceded to the illusions, ignored the obvious signs, believed the self-righteousness defensiveness disguised in goodness. But alas I see now … Isolated it would matter not, but in context, smashed my rose tinted glasses and the heart.

Perhaps I could consider that I am a fool – and I am sometimes – but so what … ? I am a fool for myself, and that’s sexy!

On a more essential note, have I mentioned the 3-day Human Rights Symposium we are organizing at the University? In particular I work with the team responsible for the politics and ethics of intervention in human rights – can you imagine how thrilled I am?

Classes are fantastic! Some of the newer students, not familiar with academic protocol, refer to me as “Miss”. Normally I would expect “Dr” at the very least, but given that this is obviously the year of reckoning for me, I realize how unimportant protocol and perception is in the face of basic humanness. I walk out of class on such a delighted high. What does a title matter to the elation of earned respect?

So today is my Fearless Friday again and I am going to win it – rain or shine, mortal or divine.
I could give up on anything in the world, but never on my relentless pursuit of being alive. What a year. What? You say it’s only September?

… and of-course my best friend from college, Kelly, is coming to visit for the weekend. Friday is bluegrass (do you know what bluegrass is ? :-)), Sunday is golfing, Saturday is anything revolving! Please do have a wonderful weekend!

Music Recommendation
:
“Cosi” by Vittorio Grigolo: it reaches me
“Sun Zara Soniye” by Sonu Nigam

Movie Recommendation:
Can’t think of any, off-hand – feel free to suggest🙂

Picturesque AnyDay:

My ‘artistic’ panoramic rendition of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Posted by: nazli | August 31, 2006

Wednesday Wanderings … on beauty

For me, the definition of beauty is simplicity, vivacity, graceful confidence – and warmth! Perhaps lively, perhaps serene … but always warmth of character and freshness in outlook. I find flowers beautiful and in fact I remember reading a quote to the effect that a daisy is beautiful in its own right, it does not try to be a rose; it is just a beautiful daisy …

There is beauty everywhere … beautiful people, beautiful smiles, beautiful places, beautiful ideas … just beautiful in their own way.

When I was 21, naive and straight out of college, in the work place for the first time (a trading desk in NYC), I had a calendar which on Feb 3 had the quote, “peace within is beauty without”. It stayed Feb 3, on my desk, all year.

On Monday, I was about to be late to my first class of the semester (yes the 75-student one) because I could not find a parking spot; so I parked my car illegally, took off my heels, ran across a soccer field, made it just in time for class to hand out my syllabus which includes the class policy: “please do not be late to your favourite class.”

After class, I sprinted back through the soccer field (sans heels), retrieved my car (sans ticket) and thus started my Fall semester!

Hope your week is simply wonderful so far!! Wishing you beauty in bounty! Cheers!

Weekly Recommendations:

from Caco

The movie: “Kinsey – let’s talk about sex”. How open discussion can broaden our knowledge – a bit too far sometimes. Despite the fact that the movie focus on Liam Neeson’s character, I guess it is Laura Linney the one who actually shines.

The drink: “Porto Ruby”. Elegant yet fearless sail across the oceans with the Portuguese.

The radio: “Virgin Radio UK”. Listen to online to the Geoff Show Spot the ‘drunk or stoned’ contest.

From Moi

The movie: “My Wife, Maurice” – the funniest movie I have watched this year. Hilarious, frivilous, light … yummy!

Posted by: nazli | August 27, 2006

Saturday Sunderings … waspy fashionistas

There is a wasp in my apartment. It has flown about since last Wednesday. It even sat on my shoulder today for a few seconds before flying onto my laptop screen where it crawled leisurely, stopping, only to critique the spelling mistakes underlined in red. I have a wasp for a pet. I am not sure what to feed it, and it seems too polite to help itself. The next step will be to name it.

Manchester United won 2-1 against Watford, keeping my beloved team at the top of the charts!

I was skimming through my monthly dose of fashion magazines littered with glittering girls and one of the adverts for a perfume claimed, “lovely on the inside”. Wow, these magazines have a sense of style and humour too!

The Fall colours, according to InStyle are as follows:
fair skin – “monochromatic palette of steely blues & city grays illuminated with dusty lavenders”
olive skin – “smoky, haunting, poetic forest of grays, plums and mosses”
dark skin – “punctuate fall’s deep romantic hues with pieces in black”

This semester, starting Monday, I teach a class of 75 students for the first time. Usually it is 25-35 students – so I am naively excited😉😉

The most unlikely person reminded me of what I had instinctively known on magnetism and market value – I must remember it.

Received an e-mail today about this dashing, lively young man of 37 who was pursuing his personal passion of marine biology; he perished in the waters off the coast of Melbourne Beach while diving to capture the greatly elusive sea turtle. Reading about him was simultaneously heart-breaking and uplifting.

Who said the following:
“Whenever there is the possibility of an invasion, people unite and forget about their political criticism. I am sure you cannot impose human rights through falling bombs.”

Posted by: nazli | August 27, 2006

Wednesday Wanderings … on Tell Me Why?

when i was 10, i was gifted a book for my birthday called, “The Big Book of Tell Me Why”. i read it day and night; it posed and answered quesitons like: “what does a sponge eat?” “how are seashells formed?”, “what is pellagra?”, “how is fshion decided?”, “why is a four-leaf clover considered lucky?”

i would then pose these questions to my 4 year old brother, and since he did not know the answers, i took great care to explain them to him in my best professor voice.

though my small library is now replaced with computer science books and other seemingly grown up cultured material, I wish there was a big book to tell me why:

  • diet coke with lime tastes better than diet pepsi with lime? (drink water, you unhealthy girl)
  • all my favourite foods are fattening? (try living in Bangladesh or Rwanda)
  • i can’t have exactly what i want all the time when i want it? (yeah whatever, cry us a river, Nazli)
  • a new planet was not named, Nazli, after me – what kind of name is 2003 UB313 anyway ? (ok, you actually do have a point there)
  • will my hair not grow faster? (now you are just being over-indulgent)
  • does my neighbour Ron, with an 8th grade education, understand what Harvard/Yale educated politicians cannot? (since when do you equate education with intelligence and empathy, Nazli?)
  • the phrase, “i couldn’t care less” does not mean, “I care so much that I could not care any less”? (we really couldn’t care less, Nazli)
  • it is acceptable to have “black/ asian” magazines and “black/ asian” fraternities and “black/asian” clubs when “white” equivalents would be mired as racism? (now you treading on dangerous ground, you brown girl you)
  • when the “royals” of Saudi Arabia die they are buried as “ordinary” people in an unmarked grave – why humility in death but extravagance in life? (oh Nazli, you are too ordinary to understand royal affairs)
  • do people value the words of dead people who lived thousands of years ago, over the basic needs of poor people who are alive today? (you ask too many questions, Nazli, go braid your hair or weave a basket)

Eye in the Sky – Tell Me Why

Movie Recommendations:
The Green Butchers: Danish movie
with subtitles about 2 butchers who have a “secret” formula for success – healthy sense of humour required😉

Music Recommendations:
From Fernando: “Lost Cause” by Beck and “There She Goes” by Bob Marley (great and simple songs)
From Beth: “Whole Other Bottle of Whiskey” by John Corbett

“Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap (good for any mood)

“What Hurts the Most” and “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts (country music at its best)

“Kabhi Khabie” by Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh (timeless Indian love song)

“Eye in the Sky” by The Alan Parsons Project (I’ve finally discovered this 80’s sensation)

Posted by: nazli | August 22, 2006

Picturesque Monday – under the same blue sky …

On my way to my office, I looked up at the sky – and it took my breath away
Panoramic view of the blue blue sky from two angles
An American sky … exactly the same sky over every other point on Earth …

Oh and bit of “brown” news .

“Suspicious” pair were taken off a plane – no details of their “suspicious” behaviour were revealed (oh come on don’t mind our feelings, admit it – their browness made them suspicious)


Family turned away from London Eye for speaking Arabic
(oh yes, you see terrorists only speak Arabic)

but on the contrapositive note, the 11 people charged in the alleged transatlantic terror plot are indeed brown

and by the way, i went back to the same post office today and was faced with a postal worker sporting a mullet; she was distinctly rude to me and only me out of the 6 people in the line. i stopped smiling and became cold & curt, but then i thought, “how could i allow her erase my smile and warm manners?” (the word is getting around, there is a brown girl in our all-white town)

Posted by: nazli | August 22, 2006

Sunday Sunderings … A to Z

An oil

Bomb

Could ruin a

Democracy

Evolution, Adam & Eve

Fate or faith or the will of

God?

Human Rights

In

Jeopardy

Khabie Khabie, mere dil mein, khayal aata hai …
(sometimes the thought crosses my mind …)

“Live like you are dying”

Manchester United!

Nella fantasia
(in my fantasy)

Ordinary people rise against

Police state

Que?😉

Reach out with warmest wishes and

Sparkling Smiles

To anyone, anywhere, anytime, anyplace … it’s easy

Ultra

Violence Rays

We’re all someone’s daughter, we’re all someone’s son” – so why

Xenophobia when

You are but a temporary guest of this Earth

Zimbabwe is ruled by a murderous racist dictator called Mugabe …

(or have an middle eastern name) … don’t …

1. question the clerk – on Tuesday I went to post a flash drive to the UK but I was not allowed to, in case it had “sensitive” material. People in front of me were sending sealed boxes but I was stopped on my tracks. The postal clerk said, “how do we know you are not sending dangerous documents in this thing?” I told him him to check for the content of the disk (which was all in English) and also asked to see the documentation of items that can be shipped. He said to me, “don’t you people know we are on terror alert? We have to protect our citizens.”
Imagine the headline if I had lost my temper: “foiled: woman with degree in chemical engineering caught in major computer terrorism US-UK ring”

2. carry or buy more than one cell phone – oops I guess I have to cut down on efficieny between my Palm Treo for business and the Sony Ericsson camera phone for pleasure

3. photograph bridges, buildings, beaches, buses, basics … best not to take photographs of anything because anything could be a terror target …

4. travel …or go on vacation ... in fact don’t leave home if you are brown

5. have any documents in Arabic – they look “dangerous”

6. mention peaceful words like ‘insh’allah’ or ‘salaam walaaikum’ – they sound “dangerous”

7. air your opinions about the Arab-Israeli war, as humanitarian and unbiased as they may be

8. ask for a glass of water or any liquid on a plane – what? you are flying? no – remember – stay at home

9. lighten your hair in an attempt to blend in – you still look brown, dear – but do try a British accent, it distracts people from the browness

10. sun tan in the hopes of becoming darker – that opens up another barrage of problems

11. think your rich personal cultures of thousands of years matter – what culture? you are brown and thus a possible terrorist and that’s that

12. stand around in groups talking in non-English – you may make others uncomfortable (because hindi/ bengali/ arabic/ urdu are all the same and “dangerous”)

13. get degrees in chemical engineering or computer science (oh, why did I not pursue my childhood dream of becoming a superstar?)

14. wear an hermes scarf of a particular print and be mistaken for you know who

15. wear long coats – even in winter – freeze rather than be mistaken for a you know what

16. change your currently ‘brown” surname of Ahamed/Ali/ Azim etc. to Brown (come on now, that’s just silly ;-))

17. recite the Koran on the NYC subways – look, just because that guy in white recites the Bible and damns you to hell while you are trying to catch your morning nap on the train, does not mean you too will receive the same indifferent sleepy reaction from the passengers on reciting Sura Al-Fatiha

(18-20 contributed by Maliha)
18. Dare to have an opinion contrary to the official version of Truth from the FOX NEWS table

19. Express your opinion in a public place; like a rally: (the last time we went people yelled “if you don’t like it here: GO HOME!”; we ARE at home idiots; and protesting/dissent is as American as you can get.)

20. Walk around in a Hijab/Scarf for a woman/ bearded for a man (worse still is being a couple) and daring to display your Muslim-ness in public.

these apply heavily to male browns – while female browns can sometimes counteract the impact of being brown by being pretty, smiling and appearing docile and simple

Movie Recommendation: An Inconvenient Truth – Al Gore presents scientific research articulately using effective graphics. I am inspired to do my part (even as inconveniently brown as I am)

Music Recommendation:
My Universe“: Minerve – the music takes me on – in my car, office, ipod, laptop, my universe
Ae Mere Humsafar“: Alka Yagnik & Udit Narayan – popular Indian anthem of some of the brown people from the movie “Qayamat se Qayamat Tak”, takes my breath away (English Translation)

Best Regards,
Nazli (Brownyn for the day)

Posted by: nazli | August 15, 2006

picturesque monday … this unforgettable summer

as the summer ends and the Fall semester starts, i resume my professional life with deadlines and “to do” lists … yes, yes – i can hear your collective sighs of symapthy for me😉

but before i begin even item 1 (of 291) of my “to do” list, i must reflect on the first half of this year leading to unforgettable my summer. there were a some raw days of disbelief, but then there were days that made me soar in complete happiness (how human). it changed something irretrievably for me, this unforgettable summer … and i am so grateful to Life.

this summer has rendered me feeling more alive, more fearless, more relentless, more true to myself … in my relentless pursuit of being alive …
Summer of ’06: panoramic view of our summer river

Angels of Heaven & Earth: memorial for the men and women of Pennsylvania Rail, who gave their lives during WWII (angel holding a fallen hero)

Intersection of Culture: an Amish buggy trying to make a left turn at an intersection … do you see it?😉

Posted by: nazli | August 14, 2006

weekends wandering … the Amish

We went on an Amish village tour. It consisted of groups of foreigners, notably a loud German gal and her quieter boyfriend, Americans, Latin Americans, and of-course us – international citizens of the world😉

The Amish culture was born in Europe as a reulst of Jacob Amman breaking away from the Mennonites; he felt they did not adhere to their rules strictly enough. There is much to know about this static community within kinetic United States.

The tour guide took us around a typical Amish house: the front room that is used for prayer services which are held every other Sundays is furnished with a few rows of wooden benches . Then we went into the kitchen. The first thing that caught my eye was a mixer since I had heard the Amish do not use electricity … mmmhh

According to the guide, most Amish do not use electricity because the don’t want to be connected with the world. However they can buy convenience like ovens, washing machines and mixers – but instead of running it on electricity, they can use natural gas … how many of you think electricity is not natural?

They make their own clothes using sewing machines – the German gal inquired: “did they bring their sewing machines from Europe, this machine is a Singer?” The American woman countered, “you can buy sewing machines in America!”

The women wear outfits that are held together with pins. Married men have beards because they don’t wear rings – their word in front of God is enough. The girls have a lovely “hope chest” in which they collect household items for their future homes.

The Amish do not have anything in their homes for which there is no purpose … so no wall paintings. However, the necessary items can be colourful and ornate, so e.g. a scissor holder is sewn with colourful patches … I suppose fashion houses would probably classify scissor holders necessary items too

They don’t have pictures taken as that is seen as a graven image, which is not permissible. The Amish hang their clothes to dry so the Italian lady asked, “what happens when it is raining?”… seriously

posted by Dr. Nazli @ Saturday, August 12, 2006

Posted by: nazli | August 11, 2006

Fearless Friday…

during the cold war, people who questioned the authority were considered “communists” and were blackballed and ostracised

the same on the other side – people were killed for their desire to live a life of free choices

what is different today in the “modern” age for people who question the authority? what is freedom with fear?

talking of fearlessness – the terror tip of the transatlantic flights came from a muslim – despite my misgivings about institutionalized religion, this is an example of fearlessness in peace


while I believe in no religion except that of my own conscience, i question the value of further alienating moderate muslims – better they be friends in peace than “bristling” with insult ….

true freedom comes with fearlessness from within – do you agree? grace, fearlessness, compassion, intelligence, consideration, humanity, civil rights, respect for all life, understanding, heart … freedom …

good to see you! wishing you a fearless friday! 😉

Posted by: nazli | August 11, 2006

wednesday wanderings … opinings …

What in the world do socialites do?

Pose at parties in the name of charity, gossip about this and that, and hope that their pictures show up in magazines …

What made my so happy?
Swam in this river. Oh yes! Made friends with 6 year old Edrie and his 4 year old little sister, Millie – such gorgeous kids! Edrie insisted on swimming with us in the current and nearly drowned but JB gallantly saved him! Made my day and my heart swelled in pride.

What websites caused me pause?
http://www.newamericancentury.org
http://www.politicalcortex.com

Lamont vs. Lieberman?
Lamont won the primaries as the democratic candidate for Senator of Connecticut; Lieberman will run as an Independent – splitting the Democratic vote and potentially handing CT to the Republicans

A minor thing that matters?
Space

A realization that matters?
Some things just don’t matter anymore, and some things matter forever

My thought for this week?
House of cards, Castles in the sky, Shattered to shards, Some fall some fly

Iran is exerting its presence – from Lebanon to Iraq. What is the message?
The author Vali Nasr has an idea…

Music Recommendation:

“Why Does my Heart Feel So Bad?”: Moby (courtesy of my friends, Caco and Before Sunrise)

“Sometimes My Heart”: DJ Rock – currently hot on my playlist

“Alive (Chai)”: Ofra Haza (Israeli singer who believed in humanity)

“Movement VII”: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Ofra Haza (the 2 worlds as one)

“B-Boys Fly Girls”: Lictenfels – for all the B-boys and the fly girls out there😉

Movie Recommendation:

“The Gods Must be Crazy”: incomparable, simple, beautiful – set in South Africa

Posted by: nazli | August 2, 2006

Poetry in Motion …

Susquehanna River

… ok, I am going to spend exactly 5 minutes (I promise) and write a random poem for my “fearless blog” friends:

Somewhere, anywhere, where I would be
If only you could see, what I can see
If only you could know what it feels to be me
Perhaps of this cruel intolerance we could be free

But who knows when, where, how or why
In this lifetime that belongs to you and to I
Why we don’t see eye to eye
Because really, I could be you, and you I

(12:53 to 12:56)

Music Recommendation: “Anthem” by Moby from Miami Vice soundtrack
Movie Recomenndation: “Chocolat” – Juliette Binoche & Johnny Depp – magical, beautiful, uplifing, lovely

Posted by: nazli | August 2, 2006

hot! hot! hot!

t is so hot today in the East Coast of the United States!

And also PM Blair talks about modernizing within Islam: I wonder – how about the tandem modernizing of other institutionalized religions too?

People ask, “how do you know when you are in love?” My answer, “when you don’t even need to ask the question.” What do you think?😉

Posted by: nazli | August 1, 2006

Picturesque Monday … colour the world!

Hearts of Colour – from Caco, with a heart of gold

Malawian Day Flower – from botanist extraordinaire, Cristóbal

see the bridge …? see the colours of the rainbow …? see the connection …?:-)

Posted by: nazli | July 31, 2006

Sunday Sunderings … “getting to yes”

Critics say a root cause of the continued Middle East bloodshed conflict is that one side is given free reign to do as they need to protect and defend themselves … while the other side is branded as terrorists. In my humble opinion, because i have the luxury of thought from an ocean away, under those terms and definition, there will never be any peace at all.

The best way to reach a sustainable argreement to truly understand the other viewpoint. The book, “Getting to Yes”, postulates to this effect. Understanding the other perspective is not as selfless or as altruistic as you may think. When one party (A) tries to understand the viewpoint of the other party (B):

1. B will recognize and appreciate the efforts of A and will then be more open to understanding B’s point of view
2. in recognizing and understanding B, A may have a renewed/ enlightened/ empathetic feeling towards the situation
3. now we have both sides who are open and willing to work towards a mutually beneficialy (and human) solution because each has a level of trust that they are both working towards a common and fair goal.

Currently there is obvious bias in the Middle East crisis and this only fuels the hatred and intolerance. Favouring one side, without concern for the massive loss of human lives, will never bring about “lasting peace”. Instead it will rally the forces.

I am no diplomat and my dealings with Israelies and Arabs are minimal, but I simply refuse to see people as Israeli/Jewish or Arab/ Muslim. They are humans, just like me, and I grieve for any loss of innocent life – irrespective of the side – because the ground in which they are buried doesn’t know the difference between black/ white or Muslim/ Jew/ Christian/ Sabian or man/ woman/ child. Truly I grieve.

(the pictures appear disturbing – but it is the inhumanity of the situation that is, in fact, disturbing)

Posted by: nazli | July 29, 2006

Fearless Fridays … and Fearless Tuesdays Too

It is hot and about to rain and thunderstorm here in the East Coast of the United States. This afternoon I was having lunch overlooking an open golf course and the wind was so strong it blew potato chips from my plate onto that of my colleague. I was not sure whether to aplogize since I actually have no control over the wind. Additionally, I thought it may be rude to take back the chips, which I did not want anyway, so I simply smiled and commented with studied nonchalence, on the state of world affairs.Now, if you recall, I mentioned that I only have one superstition; I do not wear red on Tuesdays. This terrible tradition began 10 years ago when I an awful day. I had been wearng red, my favourite colour. If I think about it carefully, it was actually a Monday, and not a Tuesday. So why develop a mad “no red Tuesday supersition”? Beats me. So this week, because I am “fearless”😉, I decided to be brave and wear a red summer dress on Tuesday and free myself of this travesty! Yes I did! I waited all day, in my red summer dress – and other than the few compliments I received, nothing happened. So I am finally free! Yes I am free!

Al Qaeda and Madonna have something crucial in common. No, I don’t mean choice of odd outfits or love of media attention – though those similarities cannot be denied. They redefine themselves to suit their current cause. E.g. Al Qaeda exploits every opportunity to appear to take on the cause of the underdog Arab, redefining itself as the liberators of oppression. The current Israel/ Hezbollah offensive will be a cause for them. Do you disagree?


Purple is underrated. But what in the world does “purple rain” mean?

Posted by: nazli | July 29, 2006

Wednesday Wanderings … on the 4 Agreements

Cristiana! Parabens pelo seu aniversario! Happy Happy Birthday Beautiful Girl! All the best wishes in the world to you!

I watched Amelie as per the recommendation – it was simply delightful!

It’s raining and thundering here. Delightful

Have been reading up on Feng Shui – according to their charts I am “fire” so there are certain things that bring harmony to my environment. In any case, while I was shopping for a table, I came across a vase of bamboo shoots. I do not know if they are harmonious to the fire of a gal like me, but they looked feisty enough. To complement them, I also bought pink and orange roses. Yes, and I did acquire the table too😉

A teenage sniper began to shoot randomly because he was angry – and an unlucky passerby was killed as a result. No, there are some things that just don’t make sense. Some years ago, I read “The 4 Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, which postulates that you cannot take anything anyone else does personally at all. In that way, you are liberated.

Actually, talking of the 4 Agreements, they are as follows:

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you wonít be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

All simple, basic truths that fall under the category of “live your best life, on your own terms, be happy, take on the world that belongs to you and win it, be happy, be free, don’t worry about the opinion of others, be accountable to your own conscience, be happy”. Voila – the recipe for happiness. Now if only I could follow as simple recipe for making peach cobbler, life would be just peachy!

Today is my favourite day of the year.

For Sunday Sunderings, I am keeping it light … oh yes, I watched the Miss Universe contest every year – for reasons only a girly girl could understand😉. Predictably South Americas, India, USA make it to the top 15 most years and then after that I am not at all sure on what criteria the winner is chosen because most of the answers appear scripted and unbelievable but they all look incredibly beautiful. Miss Universe 2000 and Miss Universe 1997, Lara Dutt and Brooke Lee, respectively, were exceptional; articulate,dazzlling, confident, elegant and certainly beautiful.


The Miss USA contestant said her weakness was carrying her heart on her shoulders and caring too much about others … The top 3 contestant were Switzerland, Japan, and Puerto Rico and I was convinced that Miss Japan would win since she was articulate, could speak several languages and was very confident. But Miss Puerto Rico won and I am losing no sleep over it. The best part of this year’s Miss Universe competition were the musical performers: Vittorio Grigolo and Chelo.

Floyd Landis is the winner of Tour de France 2006. What a spectacular achievement! He hails from Eastern Pennsylvania and comes from a Menonite family – they have strict values and he broke from that at the age of 20 to be who he wanted to be. Read the SI article for further insight. A church member said of him: “We are disappointed with the lifestyle he lives, but I love him as a friend and care about him.”

Disappointed??? Floyd Landis chose the lifestyle of a winner – he trained hard for half his life to be where he is today – on his own terms. He touches and inspires millions of people worldwide – so how exactly is he disappointing?
And my perspective on a question posed below: I have been absorbing BBC History magazine lately, and it appears that often it is blind religious fervour and undue self-righteousness, at the expense of doing the right thing, that renders a superpower, powerless. This is true of people on an indivual scale too, n’est pas?

Wishing you a winning week ahead!

Posted by: nazli | July 24, 2006

Questions

(I suspect we all have our own answers to these questions)

Why does English have to be the official language of the USA?

Why are the civilian deaths of some countries more devastating and important than the mounting civilian deaths of other countries? What if it was you and yours?

Iran/ Syria/ South Korea are cited as the axis of evil – what exacly is the definition of ‘evil’?

If you read history – Mesopotamia, the land between the 2 rivers – (currently known as Iraq) has been called the ‘cradle of civilization’ because agriculture, animal herding and domestication developed there earlier than anywhere else, almost 8,000 years ago. And by 3,000 BC, the Mesopotamians had already invented the wheel, developed writing, and created the world’s first cities and monumental architecture. So the question is – whose civilization is it anyway?

Preemption is legal and self-defence is legal – as long as you are on the “right” side – because preemption is actually illegal and self-defence is actually illegal – if you are on the wrong side. Yes?

What can render a superpower, powerless?

What can convert a worhsipped champion to a cold & cruel, yet pathetic & ineffective bully?

Why can some not pronounce ‘Nazli’? Two syllables: ‘naz’ and ‘lee’. Easier than ‘Penelope’ or ‘Shaniqua’ or ‘Hyacinth’ or “Mary-LouAnn’ or ‘Siobahn’… (yes I am laughing)

Why can I not always remember that tomorrow is not promised to me, and today is my time to be alive?

Posted by: nazli | July 24, 2006

Minor Things That Matter

When I was growing up in Zimababwe, there was a lovely tale that ladybirds are good luck and my little friends and I would run about the playground looking for them. This morning I was sitting upstairs and from nowhere I know, there was a ladybird on the carpet next to me. It is a minor thing – but it matters … as do:

The Fanta advert – “wanna fanta, don’t you wanna fanta”? – have you watched this advert? It’s minor, but it matters because it makes me laugh

Amnesty International- it’s “minor” but it matters majorly

This wish bracelet I am wearing – my friend bought it in Buffalo – when the bracelet falls off, my wish will come true. What did I wish for?😉 Something minor, but it matters to me

10:00 PM Summer evening that feel like 6:00 PM – lifts my heart

Warmth in words from worlds away

Cotton summer dresses … matching heels … pretty earrings … (I did say minor things that matter ;-))

Reading ‘History Magazine’ on the porch
posted

Posted by: nazli | July 24, 2006

Illusion or Ignorance or Idiocy


This is a poster I saw last week at Philadelphia International Airport and I apparently blocked traffic as I took the photo. “Excuse me ma’am, you are impeding passengers from reaching their gates”.

Current iTunes Playlist includes:
“Extraordinary Ways”: Conjure One – this song is about having an priceless gift …
“Just Be”: DJ Tiesto – the title says it all
“Olo Lipis”: Despina Vandi – Greek superhit
“Promiscuous”: Nelly Furtado & Timbaland – hey it’s all in the beat!
“Bohemian Rhapsody”: Queen – Galilleo, Figaro, Magnifico. Incomparable!
“Faith”: George Michael – my friends and I used to sing along to this in high school and I had no idea what the words meant – sounded reasonable to me though – ‘ you gotta have faith’, right😉

Current DVDs on sight:
“Love Actually” – atually I watched this when it was first released – and I loved it, actually
“The Libertine” – anything implying liberty is worth watching

Posted by: nazli | July 15, 2006

Buffalo & the Reunion

July 4 – Independence Day – “it’s independence day, I’m free”

All American Day. The flight was late, so I spent an hour reading through the history o the American flag – simply fascinating.

I could see a 12 seater propeller plane from the gates. There was a family of 4 nearby, the mother was so afraid to walk into the small plane and was causing a small commotion – lucky for her it was not our plane. Ours was a 8 seater propeller plane behind it. I was travelling with some special flowers i had received the Friday prior. Sat next to a casanova in training – he was a sophomore in College. Very amusing kid and I wished him all the best in his budding career.

My best pal was meeting me at Buffalo international Airport: I told her that in case she could not recognize me in the crowd, I would be the beautiful brown girl.

Independence Day Party – too much fun – fierce fireworks. Met artist Margaret Harte. She is 85, feisty, has, “proud to be a Democrat” sticker on her card, and had lots of truths to espouse. Bought a first original painting from her.

July 5

Niagara Falls. Maid of the Mist (boat trip to the edge of the Falls)! Simply spectacular! We had to wear hooded blue raincoats – very fashnionable. I did opt for the wet hair look – it’s the water off the Niagara Falls after all!

July 6

Boating on Lake Erie/ Niagara River. And yes, yours truly steered over waves, through the International Bridge, Peace Bridge, and Grand Island Bridge. I had the best time! Oh and given that we were next to the Canadian border, someone made the ‘joke’ to the effect, “Nazli, they are looking out for terrorists/ illegal immigrants”. Later he said, “Nazli you are so cool that you don’t get upset at these jokes.” He misunderstood – I never find racism/ ignorance funny … but out of respect to my friend/ host, I hold back from commenting on this.

Anyway, in the evening we went to the Blue Room Bar – a local Buffalo joint. I was warned that the locals were not very open-minded (no!) But it was actually a lovely place, I was with my good friends and one of the “locals” even announced that I was the classiest woman he had ever met and he was falling in love with me (girls, it’s raining men in Buffalo).

The people in Buffalo are real nice folks. Can’t wait to visit the second largest city in NY state again.

July 7

Drove up for the university reunion with my best pal, singing to a tape made 10 years ago (“i gotta a man”, “rhythm of love”, “all cried out”, spanish version of “i’m too sexy” …) And the special flowers were still with me.

July 8

Reunion with college pals! Thousand Islands, New York.
There is an island called Heart Island on which is the unfinished Boldt Castle. George Boldt was having it built for his wife, Louise. But she died and he had all construction stopped, heart broken. Personally, I would settle for emeralds for now😉.

Class picnic next to the building where I had senior Engineering lab with people I had known when they had been as green as me (ok, I was the greenest of the bunch).

And then downtown – acquainting, reacquainting – I’ll leave it at that

Oh and there was one guy who was in utter disbelief that I actually had a doctorate – but then he also had one eye brow shaven off while we were in school. Which reminds me that I had mistakenly carried a shaving thing and nail clippers in my carry-on beauty bag on the flight. But no one said anything – probably they had not received the memo on brown people being terrorists/ illegal immigrants .

July 9 – Oh Zizou, we still love you!
Campus, downtown, bicentennial fair celebration, bubble tea, stocked up on alumni gear.

While at a store I saw a lady with 3 small children. She looked familiar. She left the store and then came back to exchange her purchase while I was waiting at the register.

“You look familiar”
“I know, so do you – I know you. I cut your hair”
“Oh – 11 years ago! I am so excited to see you! How are you? I remember you were just married then”
“I recognized your voice and I knew I knew you. I am good! These are my kids”

My heart was so touched. We took pictures and her 10 year old daughter and I are now pen pals.

Downtown for another night out. There was a girl with a particular Arabic tattoo on the back of her neck. I asked her if she knew what it meant and why she had it marked on her neck. Her response; “yes and because it’s cool”. I would have settled for, “it’s my prerogative to have a bulls eye on my neck”

July 10

Went boating again on Lake Erie/ Niagara River – 2 shades tanner but no terrorist jokes this time. Great company.

Birthday party, old friends, chatted with the best pal till 2:30 AM and up at 5:00 AM for 8:00 AM flight.

July 11

Oh you will not believe this, but on the flight back, I came across a college Senior who was also brushing up on his casanova skills. I laughed. There must have been a casanova convention somewhere or clearly men like the “brown terrorist/ illegal immigrant” look.

July 12

Battle of the Boyne – N. Ireland, 1690

Posted by: nazli | June 9, 2006

Let the Beautiful Game Begin!

Posted by: nazli | June 5, 2006

Beautiful Places

Traveling has been good for me because it allowed me to see beyond my imagination. There are so many such places and I hope to add to the repertoire.

For example, New York City holds a special place in my life because it was responsible for opening my eyes and my mind in such a concentrated time span, that toughened yet humanized me – the education, the professional experience, the personal confidence that NYC has engendered in me has been life-changing.

Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe stays with me always. My family and I spent many a summer there and that will remain a highlight of my life. Victoria Falls was discovered by David Livingstone and named after Queen Victoria. But in fact this mighty falls existed before any discovery and was called “Mosi Oa Tunya” by the locals, meaning, “the smoke that thunders”. And it thunders, spraying mists of water for miles – feels like you are in the middle of a rainforest! It is the most powerful natural falls in the world and yet remains virtually untouched despite it’s tourism draw; powerful and perfect in its raw existence, never bowing to anything external…such inspiration! The significance of Mosi Oa Tunya/ Victoria Falls is personal and powerful to me – but actually it is simply beautiful and that is enough to be one of the most memorable place I have visited.

Côte d'Azur is dazzling! It has the irreplaceable quality of being both glamorous and serenely beautiful. The countryside is absolutely breathtaking and warm and natural with century old cobble-stoned pathways and lush green fields and vineyards – but go towards the beach and you are in for unmatched glamour and high flying spirit. Oh to have a serene and warm and sincere inner, and a glamorous outer.

What other locales should I add to my list of places I must visit? Turkey (Istanbul)? Brazil? Spain (Granada)? Maryland (Chesapeake Bay)? … ??🙂


Ciao, Arividerci, Aufwiedersehen, Hasta Pronto – see you when I return!
(… till then, what are places that you have found beautiful? … )

Posted by: nazli | May 20, 2006

Flora Friday

As some of you have gathered, I am an avid academic. I really did love every day of high school🙂 , and graduate school made me the person I am mean to be. So today when I had the opportunity to have a live lecture from a professor with an expertise on Plant Systematics & Phylogenetics, well I was right fascinated!

This is what I learnt:

(I picked up some exhibits – one must follow some scientific process afterall)
Exhibit A: birch leaf – the branch tastes like wintergreen – used to make birch beer

Exhibit B: notice the different shapes of the leaves from the same stem – one, two (like oven mittens), three. This is sassafras: smells delicious. It is of the same family as the avocado tress, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Interestingly cinnamon is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, whereas sassafras is indigenous to North America

Exhibit C: honeysuckle – just a sweet pretty plant – my most beautiful fragrance

Exhibit D: wild roses – indigenous to Asia – and so pretty

Exhibit E: princess tree/ empress tree. Pretty purple flowers, light smell. The wood is white and very valuable

Exhibit F: black locust – beautiful fragrance, has thorns, grows on high trees, our ertswhile expert climbed the tree for this sample

wild grape vines are indigenous to North America (picture below is wild grape vine growing on tulip trees)
green plants actually have many colors, but the chlorophyll overpowers the other colors and thus we see the green. However, in the Autumn, when the chlorophyll is stripped away we see the other colors like red, orange, yellow

mangoes and poison ivy are from the same family – therefore some people are allergic to mangoes (not me – I love mangoes)

tulip trees are from the same family as magnolia and are indigenous to North America

tulip tree (to the left)
ma

Posted by: nazli | May 20, 2006

sometimes …

… my day is unbelievable
but I read somewhere, conceivable
it's the right way, the wrong way, or it's my way
unbelievable days inspire me to choose "my way", every day

Posted by: nazli | May 12, 2006

Technorati Profile

Posted by: nazli | May 10, 2006

United … Forever!


While you are on this blog – you are an automatic fan of Manchester United!

We played the last game of the season – and won 4-0 against Charlton! Bit worried about Ruud – but then United is never defined by any one player – Beckham and Keano being recent proof. Besides Saha shows he is worthy.

So we are second on the Premeriship, two years in a row behind Chelsea – and that is heart-breaking – but only for a moment because I just love Manchester United! The only way is up! See you next season!

Posted by: nazli | May 4, 2006

perfect shade

there is something about the perfect shade of lipstick that sets the tone of my day …

while Cheney reprimands Putin for being led astray by oil, and women become Muslim preachers, and the civilized world rallies against Persia, I ponder for a bit on what color will make my day today …

berry-licious (light burgundy)
appeal (mauve burgundy)
boysen-berry (burgundy)
shimmer glimmer (light burgundy with glimmer)
monlight rumour (light burgundy)
pink ice nice (pink with light glitter, and a hint of burgundy)
ruby rose (velvet burgundy)
dvine wine (sheer burgundy)
exotika (pure burgundy)
burgundy (maroon)

I think I will go with the ….

Posted by: nazli | April 30, 2006

Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe of Zimbabwe…


… too bad for the murdered non-idigenous white farmers and poor starving people of Zimbabwe, that Mugabe does not fit the “profile”

Posted by: nazli | April 21, 2006

walking in my own shoes

Looking good is important – and feeling good is even more important – but to aid that desirable aim, it is necessary to dress the part and act the part and feel the part ….

All good … so today is Friday, a perfect day to sport a summer dress: brown and teal summer dress. I matched it wtih teal earrings and teal bracelet … all good … now the shoes – I thought why not a brownish number?

all good … then at 2:00 PM after a busy morning at the office I was preparing to go to the next meeting when I casually glanced at my feet … my right foot had shoes that matched my outfit – my left foot had shoes that matched my outfit – all good … except that the left and right shoes were not matching.

I stared in utter disbelief and mild shock at the two mismatched shoes – until I just had to burst out laughing! Hey looking good is great but feeling good is everything!

Do have a fantastic weekend!

Posted by: nazli | April 11, 2006

There is no tip … like a stock tip

So today, the FBI arrested Eugene Plotkin, 26, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst, and his friend from college, Stanislav Shpigelman, 23, an analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.’s mergers and acquisitions division – for a $6.7 million insider trading conspiracy. The FBI also arrested Juan Renteria, a 20-year-old Milwaukee resident accused of working as a forklift operator at Quad/Graphics Inc. so he could steal early copies of Business Week magazine before it was released to the public. The insider trading case was discovered by regulators who noticed unusually high trading volume before a merger announcement. A closer look showed that a 63-year-old retired seamstress in Croatia — the aunt of one of the defendants — had made more than $2 million.

Oh seamstressing and stocks! And I thought sea shells was a profitable business!

And relatives of a militant on death row for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings have told prosecutors they will not seek clemency on his behalf, clearing the way for the state to execute him, because Imam Samudra has already said he wants to die. Idiot! Why did he not want to die before murdering those 202 people? Bloody conscienceless idiot!

By the way – talking of shells and conscience, I have decided to re-engineer my blogging ways – i.e. create separate and organized blogs instead of one brimming in unorganized eccleticisms … will keep you posted – and good to see you as always!🙂

Fantastic day here – sunny, breezy, beautiful!

Cheers,

Posted by: nazli | February 16, 2006

Child’s Play…

Fill in the grid so that every row, every column, and every 3×3 box contains the digits 1 through 9

I completed mine in 1minute – because I am so brilliant…and I had the answers in front of me

source: Sudoku

Posted by: nazli | February 16, 2006

Stargazer…


words could never express
what on hearts stars impress

Posted by: nazli | February 16, 2006

Meetings

The other day I was in a two hour meeting where two of the participants spent half an hour discussing whether or not they should even discuss a particular topic. And the topic had not even been on the agenda!

So you can see why I appreciate this quote:

“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings.”

Posted by: nazli | February 16, 2006

The snapshot of my relentless pursuit of being alive…


courtesy of snapshirts

Posted by: nazli | February 13, 2006

National Geographic on Love

The National Geographic is a must-read every month, despite the Internet’s reach of information, mostly because I am enchanted to read of cultures and countries from a people-perspective. And I pore through the maps of the universe and skies and the waters in sheer wonder.

So this month I was mildly surprise to see that their feature story was on Love – though it is February after all. The article was good – however, the note from the Editor, Chris Jones, caught my attention:

“To be madly in love could be exactly that – madness….People experiencing romantic love, it turns out, have a chemical profile in their brains similar to people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Love blurs the line between mental health and psychopathology.

Still, we can’t resist the siren’s song, and science has an explanation for that too. Love, it seems lights up certain areas of the brain and releases chemicals that provoke hyperactivity, recklessness and exhilaration. That’s why, spellbound lovers stay up all night to see the sunrise, take extraordinary risks to see each other or, as Britain’s Edward VIII did, throw a whole country aside for “the woman I love.” Love can be dangerous.

A counterweight to the heavy sorrows of the world, love is a joyful part of life…Science can explain how love affects the brain – but not the mystery of how it affects the heart.”

I respect the brilliance of science & research, the power of logic & reasoning, the beauty of the classics & poetry…but they are all simply out-matched…

Posted by: nazli | February 13, 2006

Torino 2006 – Medals Table ( Feb 13)

USA vs Norway: quality vs quantity? 😉 (Switzerland will take either)

Posted by: nazli | February 13, 2006

Winterings

Today in my relentless pursuit of being alive, I had decided to rectify my lack of love for winter. To me the cold, the wind and the slippery snow has never compared to the warm, breezy summer green. However, one must try – so I took a deep breath and tried to see the pristine beauty of the snow.

The deep breath was cold, I saw the empty bench, the stark leafless tree and the frozen pond beyond….

I suppose I should just not compare summer to the winter. Summer is summer and the winter is winter. Gosh! Philosophically I can win any argument, even with myself – but doesn’t mean I am convinced!

Posted by: nazli | February 13, 2006

Locks of Love

This morning I came across a girl who had cut her long hair short – it looked fashionable and lovely and I complimented it such.

Since I too had cut my hair recently, I felt a certain camaraderie. But then she mentioned that that she had donated her hair to “locks of love“. And in fact she grew her hair to do just this – and had done so 3 times.

This lovely young girl made my day – what a fantastic gal to have such a lovely, big heart – to have such compassion for others and to act accordingly. And of-course it reminded to me of what I clearly needed to remember…

In my relentless pursuit of being alive – I have been appropriately reminded – by the actions of a warm, comapssion, sweet, lovely person with a heart of gold.

Posted by: nazli | February 12, 2006

Kerberos


Kerberos is the 3-headed dog in Greek Mythology that guarded Hades

It occurs to me that this blog has been much about my thoughts on social states and on the world at large. So in the interest of representing the scope of my relentless pursuit of being alive, here is the object of my current professional interest – information and network securities.

Something basic but extremely relevant is “kerberos” which is an effective authentication service for computer networks. Authentication is the verification of the identity of a party. In fact information/network securities is very much based on the “old world” spy/social/criminal securties. I would have to argue that we have superceded the masters since network securities is more complex and savvier infrastructurally – I mean how exactly would the world run without network securities? Unimaginable.

Let me attempt to explain how Kerberos works.
Three players:
1. The Client (or the Principal)
2. The Server (or the Verifier)
3. The Authentication Server (AS)

1 needs to communicate with 2

2 first wants to verify that 1 is who 1 says 1 is (follow?)

1 thus will contact 3 who is the trusted authenticator (note – both 1 and 2 are registered with 3)

3 verifies 1 and serves a Kerberos “ticket” which simplistically consists of a session key and a certificate. The certificate is like a driver’s license and has specific information about 1 and also an expiration time. This ticket is encrypted by a server key

Only 2 and 3 have the server key, so 1 cannot change any information in the ticket

1 then presents 2 with this encrypted ticket – and 2 can decrypt this ticket

Once 2 decrypts the key and is satisfied, then communications will ensue between 1 and 2

For each different 2 that 1 wishes to communicate, 1 must acquire a new ticket from 3

Now if you understood all this then – you already knew how Kerberos worked or you are brilliant as I am and thus can follow me, or you are just misleading yourself.

See! How would the world function without computer scientists? Saving the world one day at a time.

Posted by: nazli | February 11, 2006

Torino 2006 (Day 1)

precious colors: Gold, Silver, Bronze – Day 1

Saluting Norway
Royal Motto: Alt for Norge (All for Norway)
1814 Eidsvoll oath: Enig og tro til Dovre faller (United and Loyal until the Dovre Mountains fall)
Anthem: Ja, vi elsker dette landet (Yes, we love this land)

enthusiasm: Canadian fans cheering on freestyle ladies’ moguls, Jennifer Heil


fearless: ski jumping qualifiers

Posted by: nazli | February 10, 2006

Passion Lives Here!


I am so excited about the Olympics!

Though I believe that man-made borders are a sham in a world that belongs to me (and you), there is something incredibly magical and moving about those athletes who come with such hope in representing & competing for their countries. And also a world united for a while in the spirit of sport – now that is fearless & fun!

Torino 2006

Posted by: nazli | February 8, 2006

My friend Bonnie

Bonnie is the Secretary in the Department of Computer Science – and in my opinion, what she has is of greater value than all the doctorates of the Department combined.

She epitomizes human qualities that are priceless – she is true to her word, she is true to herself, she is true to her children and husband, true to her work. She is100% solid!

She is not complicated – and that is the loveliest quality. She works hard from 8-4 and then it’s her time with her family. She is kind and thoughtful in words to students, strangers, and professors alike – she feels what others miss…and she rides a Harley Davidson.

So in my relentless pursuit of being alive, I salute my friend Bonnie, who reminds me that when you know who you are, when you know what makes you happy, when you know what you are made of – that is the foundation of being truly alive!

Posted by: nazli | February 7, 2006

shoe update

…during the meeting, the heel snapped again through the tape. Fortunately I was wearing a long skirt, and I casually slipped it back into place and kept the firm smile on my face without drawing any attention to the dilemma at foot. So – it remains our secret…till the next episode, of the inevitable snapping heel!

Still smiling, still exhilerated, still the most adored🙂

Posted by: nazli | February 7, 2006

my shoe broke!

The high heel snapped in half as I was speaking to a colleague. What is a fashionista to do, with meetings all day, and a ego to save?

Cellotape and lots of laughter to the rescue!

When I inquired about glue – the Computer Science Department had only paper glue and even wood glue, but no all purpose super glue. I was even helpfully offered a stapler and also a rope. The rope had me in knots of laughter. Ultimately the cellotape in my office bound the sorry facade of a heel.

I remember at my first job out of university – at an international bank – my heel snapped in half on the second day – but thankfully I had sport shoes in my gym bag, Posh suit and sport shoes – at least I made an impresion

Then once I was out with friends, and thinking I was the queen of the world, and my heel snapped in half – quick detour into the the store before the restaurant – and I was queen of the world again

And at the beach one summer, the heel snapped on the train, for no reason

Not to mention the time I was 10 and at a birthday party and thinking I was the princess of the world (starts early), and my heel broke and I sat with my dad all afternoon

And a few years ago, I was presenting an event at Madison Square Garden in NYC – and – you guessed it, my heel broke

(all these are different shoes by the way)

So given this heely history one would think I would have an extra pair of foot wear in my car, office, handbag, pocket etc. Alas, no – so off the meeting I go, with a cellotaped heel but still plenty of appeal!

Laughing at myself: shoe broken – but heart exhilerated in sheer joy & completely adored – what more does a girl really need?

Posted by: nazli | February 6, 2006

if…

if radical clerics have the freedom of speech to spew hatred against other humans, then should the same freedom of speech should apply to a cartoonist trying to make a point?

if impassioned people can protest “blasphemous” cartoons, then why not also protest the siege of their religion by terrorists – with the same fervour?

if impassioned people can protest “blasphemous” cartoons, then why not protest the gross violation of human rights, especially on defenseless women – with the same fervour?

if words or pictures shake the foundation of faith – should the foundation not be studied from within?

if words or pictures wound a billion people so deeply – why wound them?

if the law of the land applies to the NSA, then why not abide by them?

if the west is so enlightened, why does it allow genocides, violation of human rights, corporate corruption, dictatorships, slavery, glass ceilings, racism…?

if the east is so cultured, then why is it not more accepting and more introspective?

if the religion is for peace, then why kill?

if the quest is freedom, then why such myopia and xenophobia?

if the quest is democracy, then why bemoan the results?

if I can ask so many questions, let me ask myself – am I also not guilty of the judgments above?

in my relentless pursuit of being alive – I want to smile, be dazzling, successful, and happy & I want everything best for the defender of my heart – but what if I were subjugated by some tradition and some law of land that did not allow me to ask, ” what if…?”

Posted by: nazli | February 6, 2006

Smile…


… & the World Smiles with You

I once read something that drew my attention – but now I know it from experience and wanted to document it on my blog:

The Value of a Smile…
1. it costs nothing, but creates much
2. it happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever
3. none are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits
4. it creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is the countersign of friends
5. it is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and Natures best antidote for trouble
6. yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something of no earthly good until it is given away

(my own smiley notes)

7. you look better when you smile – what compares to a dazzling smile?
8. it’s contagious
9. it burns calories to exercise those muscles🙂
10. what is the alternative? actually, the only acceptable alternative to a smile is a pout – but to be used very selectively and only specifically😉

I am smiling, are you?

Posted by: nazli | February 5, 2006

yellowings

I am not inspired by the colour yellow – yet the sunlight and the moonlight and the starlight make me very happy…

Propositional logic dictates that this means either I actually am inspired by yellow OR light is not yellow

mhhhhh – now if I just add to this illogical fray, that I rather really like the song “yellow” by coldplay


this is clearly too much yellowing when I have 2 presentations to prepare in the next 2 hours

Posted by: nazli | February 5, 2006

Some simple words…

…could break a heart…or dazzle a life…or fuel such anger…or inspire such greatness…could ruin a day…could ignite a smile

so in my relentless pursuit of being alive, I will remember this – and if I cannot dazzle life or inspire greatness (within me) or light a smile – let me at least not shatter a heart or fuel any anger or ruin a day

easier said than done!! still, a girl has to dream big in her relentless pursuit of being alive!

cheers for now🙂

Posted by: nazli | February 4, 2006

Age of Aquarius

Never have I taken astrology seriously – unless of-course, I like what I read. It makes little sense to me, because it is inconceivable that everyone born during a certain time of the year could be aligned the same way. Is the Creator not more creative?

However, if I recall, in my relentless pursuit of being alive, I am resolved to be open-minded…so here goes the “aquarius profile” from inStyle Magazine:

“You are quirky, outgoing, creative, and practically immune to peer pressure… (so far so good, except for the “quirky” bit)…on the other hand…focusing so intensely on your pet projects can leave loved ones feeling neglected (mmmhhh)…Stellar style, daring and original, you have a knack for creating your own look…others admire your playfulness and confidence…(probably)…Flirting comes naturally to bold Aquarians, but when faced with divulging true feelings, you use extreme caution (a “bold’ Aquarian? sounds familiar) Beware you don’t come off as too aloof while trying to guard your fragile heart from harm” (fragile heart? never! besides it is dearly safe).” Stars who are also Aquarians (other than me, I presume), Mischa Barton, Sheryl Crow, the formidable Oprah Winfrey (wow), and Paris Hilton (you see what I mean?)

Interestingly enough, apparantly, Aquarians are adored by Leos, Sagitarians, and Geminis – and for these 4 signs in particular, inStyle predicts a lovely day on the 17th. Mark your calendars!


Upon further research (I am a scientist after all), it seems that Leos especially have the greatest affinity for Aquarians, simply because they balance each other perfectly – this according to esteemed astrologers who study the stars and planets – I am only reporting. No scientific reason was given for this affinity, but perhaps it is because they are on the exact opposite end of this zodiac cycle?…Probably too much logic being expended in my minor exercise in open-mindedness.

signing off from the stars *** so long for now ***😉

Posted by: nazli | February 4, 2006

breezy, beautiful, cover girl thoughts…

…to start off with – Manchester United won 4-2 against Fulham today!


…the sushi was delectable

…I was a vision in green – sight unseen – ocean between

…I know I meant to think breezy thoughts – but I simply must note what I read today. Around 1947 India/ Pakistan gained Independence from the British, a total of at least 12 million people, consisting of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs were displaced – the largest number in history. In addition, there were several brutals massacres. And how could I ever afford to complain about minor inconveniences or apparant setbacks? How could I? How temporary human life on earth, to be so inhuman. And as for me, how myopic of me to ever be self-pitying, in my relentless pursuit of being alive!

…back to breezy, beautiful, cover girl thoughts….

did you know that plasma is the 4th state of matter – the other 3 being of-course, solid, liquid & gas?…indeed!

…picked up a fashion magazine and opened to a random page. Let me share the sage advise: purple eye shadow is the rage and so are ponytails…how’s that for breezy cover girls thoughts?

ciao for now

Posted by: nazli | February 3, 2006

spam, wham, sham

Alright, to rambunctious core of readers (whom I can count on my two fingers, including myself), I promised to keep it light, breezy, beautiful, cover girl…here goes..

light thoughts in my head – currently in my e-mail account, I have spam from the following entities:
Christian Singles (what, sabians need not apply?)
wind storm vacuum (what??)
Christian Loan Advise (I am going to call to see what they are offering)
Thicker Hair Genie (yikes???)
Gorgeous Elbows (now you are talking)
Christian dating (there’s a definite theme here)
Ponderosa R. W. Smith (bless)
Beautiful Babe (I may not be modest, but I am no luddite)
Dr Hittotomasinert (whatever his cure, I am afraid)
Do you have Thunder (Thunder? I don’t know…??)
Redeem-R-Us (oh heavens!)

Off for a spot of brunch now – more later on beautiful cover girl thoughts…

Posted by: nazli | February 3, 2006

February!


The month of:

Feb
cold winter nights
blue skies & moonlights
snow etched trees
sleeping bees
slips
leaps
4*7
in Fiji it’s heaven
valentine
fine, dine, time, mine, divine
blue
true
fearless

Posted by: nazli | February 3, 2006

words…


…are only as powerful as you allow them to be…words are other people’s expression of their inner reality – so they are only as effective as you allow them to be…

…I tried an orange creme kitkat; it was yummy

…I received the sweetest sweetest words of note…:-)

…in my relentless pursuit of being alive, today I learnt, that there are some things which will never change, and some which must. My family will love me fiercely till the end of time – that will never change. As for that which inevitable changes…well…only for the better…right?!

What a beautiful, gorgeous day!! Tomorrow, no deep thoughts – only light, breezy, beautiful cover girl types of thoughts – (c’est moi). Can’t wait!

Posted by: nazli | February 2, 2006

Today…

…was unimaginable

…whether or not, life is temporal or eternal, the fact remains that it has to lived – on one’s own terms, by one’s own conscience. People think one way is either right or it is wrong – but that is not true – everyone has their own way, every way is a way, every life is a means that serves a purpose- whether or not it is clear to us

…certainly this is from no scripture – (for culture, religion, and tradition are the roots of many wars) – but what I firmly belive more than ever

…human emotion is so strong that it drives a man to be ruthless and cruel on earth to find happiness in eternity. Why hell on earth, for heaven in eternity? They cease to see the reality, that no one human has any right over another – at all

…whenever something does not make sense, I remember that history is filled with stories of human suffering and triumph, or rebellion, and hate, and love – it is the way it is. Tomorrow is not promised – and today – I am inspired to live the life given to me on this earth – because if heaven is eternal, then it can wait

Posted by: nazli | February 1, 2006

That Which Shapes the World (good, bad, right, wrong…)

beautiful people , Donald Trump’s hair, anti-semitism, Islama phobia, fathers daughters, crazy rhetoric, human rights activists, cartoons casulties of war, raw emotions that overcome logic, the fuel for fame, the promise of heaven, Oscar buzz & outfits, “freedom”, big brother, families, Soccer World Cup, faith , race, fear, drugs, $, Oprah’s opinion, the other part of your heart, confidence, conscience …&…the lack of, truth …&…the lack of, bristling beliefs, making ends meet, education …vs…indoctrination, NYSE, foreign policies, the heart, pride & prejudice, jk rowling, oil, astrology…kismet(?)

Posted by: nazli | February 1, 2006

That Which Baffles Me

definition of democracy
the off-side rule
Manchester United losing against lesser sides😦
internet gremlins
scarecrows
swiss cheese
switzerland
russian roulette
russia
chineses cherries
china
danish
french fries
france
indian ink
cowboy boots
zimbabwe
jute
the ties that bind

Posted by: nazli | February 1, 2006

Places We Must Go…

South of France
Victoria Falls
Istanbul
Seville
Bogota
Philadelphia Planeterium
Penn’s Landing
The Eye

Posted by: nazli | February 1, 2006

That For Which I Am Grateful…

JAK
my toes and fingers (very useful)

Posted by: nazli | February 1, 2006

That Which Moves My Heart…

Thoughtfulness
Being True to Myself
Songs that mean something
Best friendships
JAKJAKJAK
postcards…
words

Posted by: nazli | February 1, 2006

That Which Inspires Me

“the Iron”
some music…some days
rainy days
an island in the sun

Posted by: nazli | February 1, 2006

That Which Amuses Me…

I have no teaspoons

Posted by: nazli | February 1, 2006

That Which Surprises Me…

my hair!
Belafonte
self-fulfilling prophesies
instinct…and the lack of

Posted by: nazli | February 1, 2006

Who Knews

Christiane Amanpour
Bill O’Reilly
Wolf Blitzer

Posted by: nazli | February 1, 2006

That Which Irks My Ire

paperwork
mispronunciation of my name – come on now!
blind refs biased against Manchester United
spam mail for medical cures of disease I have neve heard!
awful drivers talking on their cell phones
watermelon/cucumber lotion
cold

Posted by: nazli | February 1, 2006

Minor Things that Matter


pretty earrings
the view from here
the constant thought
tea and biscuits
convenient stores
self-service gas stations
dance music
something silly
heartext
ladybirds
fresh flowers
laughing at myself
remembering someone’s name and not forgetting their face
“missy” days
a new lipstick – just that right shade

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