I’m Ba-ack!

Holy shit. I haven’t updated this blog in a whole year. That is UNACCEPTABLE.

But I doubt people read this anyway, so meh, it don’t matter.

In my defense though, it has been a very busy year. I was in my final year of my BSW, I was applying to grad schools, my practicum was a long commute away and by the time I got back from work and finished my school work and tried to squeeze in what little social life I could afford myself, I just wanted to lay down and die from exhaustion.

A tad dramatic yes and maybe an ever so slight exaggeration but I was tired I tell you! Anyway, it’s all over and done with now. That chapter of my life has come to a close and now I’m moving yet again – to Toronto!

YAAAASSSSSSSS. Finally! I cannot tell you how long I’ve waited for this moment. Back to city-life! I’m not looking forward to the move itself but I am looking forward to bumping into people on crowded streets, getting pushed and shoved in the subway, throwing rude gestures at assholes, waiting in traffic, getting lost in sketchy neighborhoods, complaining about air pollution. The list goes on. And no, there’s isn’t an ounce of sarcasm in anything I’ve said so far – I’m genuinely looking forward to doing that shit. Also, Indian food. Pav bhaji, pani puri, thali, vada sambar, dosa – get at me!

So long Halifax! It’s been a slice.

——————————————–

“The fact that over 50 per cent of the residents of Toronto are not from Canada, that is always a good thing, creatively, and for food especially. That is easily a city’s biggest strength, and it is Toronto’s unique strength”

- Anthony Bourdain

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NYC Day 4

We didn’t have much planned out for today’s itinerary since we kinda wanted to take it slow. We also realized that there was absolutely no point in waking up early and getting an early start to the day because the blistering heat would only tire us out and make us snappy. So we decided to stay in until lunch time and wait for the weather to cool down enough for us to venture out. We were trying to think of where to go to eat, so of course we went with Indian food.

I have found that whenever I go out to eat Indian food, I always overdo it. And then I feel bloated and lethargic and I swear to myself that I’ll never repeat this again but somehow or the other, I always find myself doing the exact same thing over and over again. Nevertheless, this food was soo good. Salty lassi, sweet lassi, pani puri, butter chicken, garlic naan, palak paneer, rumali roti, lamb curry….. LAAWWWDD! This is why I love being Indian.

The next stop was to go up the Empire State Building and see NYC’s gorgeous skyline. And was it ever gorgeous:

I didn’t join Shona and Arun for this part of the tour since I had already been up Rockefeller Center and yees, before I get lectured on how different the views are from these respective roof tops, I am fully aware of it already and I didn’t join in because I wanted to conserve whatever money I could. Instead, I headed back to the apartment with Anu where I has a blissful nap with her two dogs cuddled close.

At around 8ish, we decided to head down to The Village to grab drinks and then see if we could grab a show at the Comedy Cellar for 9pm.

It seemed like we were too late to get tickets to the show but they put us down on the wait-list and amazingly, (I say amazingly because there were five of us that needed in and that wait-list was hella long) we were able to score seats and amazingly still, they were able to seat us so close to the stage!

The show was fantastic! I wish I could recall who the comedians were but oh well. We assumed the comedy show would be about two hours long, but nope, it went on until 2 in the am. I was wondering why at some point during the night, my cheeks hurt from laughing and then when I checked my phone it all made sense. Longest comedy show ever, holy shit.

—————————————————————

“A hundred times have I thought New York is a catastrophe, and fifty times: It is a beautiful catastrophe.”

- Le Corbusier

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYC Day 3

We had a nice long agenda of events planned for today but things didn’t exactly go according to plan. Arun went to park the car at a spot that wouldn’t earn us a ticket, but surprise, the car was no where to be found! So of course we jumped to conclusions and thought the car had been stolen owing to the fact that we had parked it in a bit of a sketchy location. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. After some poking around, Anu found out from a clerk at the grocery store opposite to where our car was parked last that it had been towed away earlier in the morning. So our next course of action was to make our way to the station where our car was being held. Yay!

The journey there was long, tedious and hot. It would have been fine if we were going to see something touristy-like but the tow station is not something particularly exciting. But the three of us find ways to entertain ourselves you see.

This photo gives me the giggles. Most people wouldn’t find this entire affair hilarious but of course Shona and I did. Kudos to the cop who was kind enough to oblige us. After this little adventure, we went back to Anu and Suyog’s place, found a safe parking area to leave the car at and then headed over to see the United Nations building. Unfortunately we didn’t make it in time to see the flags raised but the pictures are nice nonetheless:

After this, we met up with Anu and Suyog at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. There was such a looooooong line and I remember thinking that the food isn’t going to taste as good to me because of how long I’ve had to wait, but ermahgerrdd  I was so wrong. Maybe I was super hungry, but that burger and fries were absolutely DELICIOUS. I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs right now; salivating at the mere thought of it.

We walked around for quite a bit after this to shake off how full we felt, and along the way we came across these two iconic buildings: The Empire State Building and the Flat Iron Building

Our next stop was to head back to Grand Central Station a second time, and this time around Shona was of sound mind to be fully aware of actually being here.

Isn’t it gorgeous? I can’t get over how immense this place is.

So let me explain the picture on the right. This is Shona and Arun testing out the Whispering Gallery at Grand Central Station. So basically, the acoustics of the low ceramic arches can cause a whisper to sound like a shout. It sounds impossible but we tested it out by standing in opposite corners of the arched entryway. Then we faced the corner and whispered. It took a while for us to grasp how the concept worked but eventually we were able to hear each others voices as if we were right next to the person, not whispering into a far-away corner. It was pretty cool!

After this, the five of us headed home. Sure it wasn’t an entirely eventful day, but after the events that transpired in the morning, we were more than happy to call it a day.

—————————————————————————————–

“One of the big things I miss about New York is not my friends so much; it’s Shake Shack, the burger place. I miss Shake Shack.”

- Aziz Ansari

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYC Day 2

You gotta love my luck. The one week we decide to go to NYC is the one week there’s a crazy heat wave. And y’know, you’d think I’d be alrite, be in my zone and all considering how I’ve lived in Dubai for 17 years and all, but nope! It was HOT man. And not just hot, but disgustingly humid too. One step outside Anu and Suyog’s cooly air conditioned apartment and you feel like you’re going to melt and become nothing but a frothy puddle on the sidewalk.

And no, I am not exaggerating.

Anyway! We woke up early and decided to walk a few blocks down to get ourselves bagels from a restaurant that boasted a variety of unique and unusual spreads. This would have been delicious if we were able to sit inside the restaurant but unfortunately we had to be sit outside on a bench in the heat. Nonetheless, it was pretty good minus the fact that we had to strategically hold it in a way that avoided the dripping beads of sweat off our faces. Hah, deeelicious.

Today’s itinerary included Rockerfellar Center, the Lego store, the Museum of Sex and Times Square.

L to R: Me, Anu, Shona and Suyog

Rockefeller center is always nice to see. It’s not as breathtaking as it might be during Christmas time but it’s still pretty to look at.  There were so many people here though so we had to squirm our way in so that we could take this picture.

We stopped by the Lego Store after this. My younger self might have greatly enjoyed being here but my 24-year old self was not exactly thrilled. I did enjoy being out of the heat though, lol. Anyway, I was able to snag the above picture and if you can’t make it out, that’s the entire Rockerfeller Center recreated in lego’s. It must have been a painstakingly long task but look how cool!

After this we went to the Museum of Sex

… and I have to say I was pretty disappointed. Ok, so I don’t know what exactly I envisioned this museum to be but somehow I expected more than what I saw. It was mostly just a bunch of information, graphics and nudies pasted on the walls with the occasional video depicting some sexy times. I suppose I was expecting a bit more on the history of sex and more art stuff and less cut and paste y’know? It wasn’t a complete disappointment but it’s not going to be on my list of NYC recommendations for sure.

Anyway, while on our way to Times Square, we stopped by St Bart’s Church (what a change from our previous destination, hah)

So the church wasn’t particularly magnificent to see but the mural was pretty impressive. There was so much detail and intricate work done on it; the picture doesn’t half capture how beautiful it was.

Next stop, Times Square!

Times Square is always amazing to see. It is more eyecatching at night though and pictures are always better when the streets are lit with the lights from so many screens. This place definitely attracts all kinds of people and you couldn’t possibly get bored here what with all the things happening all at once. We also saw our first celebrity sighting here too – Heidi Klum! The last time we were in NYC, we saw Diane Keaton at Grand Central Station. Let’s see who I can check off next while I’m in the city :D

That was it for the touristy-part of the day. Before we went to get some food though, we (ok, just me) found ourselves goading Arun to get his first ever tarot card reading. 20 minutes later and there was no particular grand unveiling of  “the things to come” in Arun’s life but what the hell right?

Our next stop was at an Irish bar, the name of which I forget, possibly due to my serious hunger craze or because this is where the five of us got extremely buzzed and delirious. Shona was soo out of it that she had no recollection of taking the below picture or of stepping into Grand Central Station itself. Check out the guys behind them. So not impressed, hah.

Grand Central Station is always amazing to see. It’s so BIG. We had to come back here again though because most of it was a blur. To wrap up the events of the day (and to sober us up), Anu and Suyog took us to an Ethiopian restaurant since I said I had never eaten Ethipoian food before. They’re huge fans of Awash so that’s where we stumbled off to.

The food had a very desi-style about it. I loved that you could pick it right off the platter and eat it just as you would rice and chicken curry. We stayed here until they practically had to kick us out, lol. Anyway, we headed straight home after this. It had been a looong day, and it was the first time in a long time when I fell right asleep after hitting the sack. I can’t remember the last time that happened!

———————————————————————————–

“Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual.”

- Angela Carter

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

NYC: Day 1

The journey to NYC was actually nice and painless. I mean, besides being cramped and having to sit in a car for several hours, it was a pretty relaxing drive to the city. Shona and I didn’t even have to drive since Arun was more than willing to take the wheel all the way there. By the time we reached Brooklyn, it was around 4:30ish and even though Shona and I did zilch, the three of us were pretty bushed. So what do tired-from-the-long-road people do once they reach their destination? Eat. Eat like they’ve never seen food before. And then catch up with their gracious hosts and talk into the wee hours of the night before falling asleep from absolute exhaustion.

To cool us off, Anu and Suyog concocted this frikkin delicious drink made from Pimms, strawberries, oranges and cucumbers. I usually don’t like sweet drinks but this was SO incredibly refreshing. And what made it even more better was the fact that the alcohol was barely noticeable. That’s always good news to me since I usually find the taste of alcohol revolting,

So I wasn’t able to get a collective picture of all the food (probably because I was too busy foaming at the mouth from frenzied hunger) but all I can say is that Anu and Suyog most certainly know how to work a grill. My stomach was very satisfied.

We took it easy today so as to prep ourselves for the madness of touring starting bright and early tomorrow morning. I just hope my feet will cooperate with me and that I don’t get too many blisters :D

—————————————————————————-

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”

- Tom Wolfe

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYC Round 2

I’m leaving for New York City today!!

This summer I was supposed to make a trip to some place I haven’t been before (I’m dying to go to Greece) with my two besties from Dubai but shit happened and our grand schemes never panned out. Oh well. Here’s hoping next summer will bring a different story.

Anyway, my sister and her hubby are going to visit their friends in Brooklyn so I decided to be the fifth wheel and make something out of my summer this year besides the usual crap I’ve been doing… which has so far been playing PS3 and watching Netflix. Can someone makeover my life please?

Moving on; the last time I made a trip to NYC we were there for a measly 3 days but this time around, we’re going for a week! :D

So what’s on the agenda? Have a looksie:

- Rockerfellar center
– The New York Public Library
– Grand Central Station
– Empire State Building
– Chrysler Building
– The UN Building
– Flat Iron Building
– Times Square
– The Charging Bull
– Freedom Tower
– China Town
– SoHo
– Little Italy
– Central Park
– National Museum of the American Indian
– Museum of Modern Art
– Metropolitan Museum  of Art
– Museum of Sex
– Water taxi to see the Statue of Liberty
–  Go for a Drag Show
–  See the NYC Gay Pride March

That’s it for now! If we have more time and our able to get up off our asses early every morning then we should be able to squeeze in less touristy things and more New Yorky things. I’m still amazed that NYC is only 10 hours away from Saint John! How crazy is that?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Reverse Racism”

There is no such thing.

When discussing racial slurs or anything race-related, the question of whether you can be racist towards white people is often raised. After all, terms like  “honky” or “cracker,” are frequently used to degrade whites so why don’t more people get as upset over it as they would when white people use words like “nigger.”

Ok so slurs against white people are quite obviously inappropriate and offensive, and people really should refrain from being assholes as much as possible but really, these words are so just so damn silly, so utterly pathetic that they hardly qualify as racial slurs at all, let alone slurs on a par with those that have been historically deployed against people of color. POC have little or no power over white people institutionally; we haven’t ever defined the terms of their existence, we haven’t ever limited their opportunities, and so white folks don’t need to worry much about the use of a slur to describe them since, in all likelihood, the slur is as far as it’s going to go.

So whereas “nigger” was and is a term used by whites to dehumanize blacks, to imply their inferiority, to “put them in their place” if you will, the same cannot be said of honky: after all, you can’t put white people in their place when they own the place to begin with. People argue this point by saying that racism is discriminating against someone because of their race, but this is where they’re fundamentally wrong. Prejudice is one person discriminating against another person because of their race (and or other factors). Racism is the systemic discrimination against and oppression of people of color by white people. No such systemic oppression of white people by people of color exists. So ‘racism’ against white people cannot logically be a thing.

The day that someone produces a newspaper ad that reads: “Twenty honkies for sale today: good condition, best offer accepted,” or “Cracker to be lynched tonight: whistled at black woman,” maybe then I’ll consider the concept of “reverse racism”. When white churches start getting burned down by militant blacks and browns who spray paint “kill the honkies” on the sidewalks outside, then maybe I’ll take seriously these concerns over “reverse racism.” Until then, that shit don’t exist.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blue Valentine

So this post is very late on the band wagon but I finally got around to watching this movie. I wasn’t feeling the story-line too much but honestly, I watched it so I could examine it’s “controversial” scene and understand why exactly the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) wanted to stick it with a NC-17 rating. By the way, this scene is a single scene depicting a woman receiving oral sex. And watch it I did…. and I have to say I’m flabbergasted. There was absolutely nothing “extreme” about it. You don’t see anything of anything. All you really see is a couple enjoying thoroughly enjoying themselves while fully clothed. Now what is so wrong with that?

It’s stuff like this that’s really hypocritical. There’s movies upon movies of men receiving oral sex from women, and they just get an R rating and sometimes even a PG-13, but the few times it’s the other way around, oral sex on women is seen as pornographic in nature. Double standard much?

If you don’t understand why ratings are important, Ryan Gosling explains it perfectly: “A lot of people think, ‘What’s the big deal if it’s NC-17, the kids under 17 can’t see it,’ but that’s not true. What it really means is it can’t play in a major theatre chain and you can’t have ads for the film on television. It stigmatizes the movie in a big way. What we’re really saying is not that our kids can’t see this movie but nobody can see this movie unless you live in a big city and there’s an arthouse theatre.” Anyway, Harvey Weinstein’s fought against the MPAA and was able to reduce the rating to R so all was made well again. Right?

Wrong. Keep your eyes open the next time you watch a flick involving violence. It can be anything – action, horror, thriller, comedy etc and almost always, you will notice that a movie that has gratuitous violence can easily skip past high MPAA ratings but a movie depicting sex get’s slapped with a NC-17 rating. Saw 3D has a woman bisected by a buzzsaw. Blue Valentine has a woman orgasm by oral sex. Which movie do you think teens were allowed to see?

We live in a culture in which violence, and especially violence towards women, is tolerated to the point that it becomes white noise. Meanwhile, sex remains a taboo topic. What it comes down to is this: media’s representation of people enjoying sex is so skewed towards men that it’s immediately considered problematic when women are portrayed as sexual beings. A woman’s naked body gives a film an R-rating, but a woman (even clothed) enjoying sex can land a film in the no man’s land that is NC-17. How messed up is that? It’s high time our media reflects reality, and allows women to be fully-fleshed, sexual beings instead of the sexualized object the MPAA clearly prefers.

“For the last three decades many Americans have puzzled over a system that gives an R to a movie in which a women is carved up by a chainsaw and an NC-17 to one that shows a woman sexually pleasured. From such ratings one might conclude that sexual violence against women is OK for American teenagers to see, but that they must be 18 to see consensual sex. What message does this send to the kids the MPAA presumably means to protect?”

- Carrie Rickey

“You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.”

-Ryan Gosling on the controversy around the rating of his film ‘Blue Valentine’

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Conversation

Cultural Appropriation: A conversation by Sanaa Hamid

This body of work is an exploration of the extent of cultural appropriation and encourages a discussion about it. I give the appropriator and the appropriated the opportunity to defend themselves and create a dialogue between them, while maintaining a neutral stance myself. I am not attacking those who appropriate, merely educating and creating awareness. Neutrality is key in this series, as i remove myself from my political and social status and opinions, stripping the problem to the most basic issue; taking an item that means a great deal to somebody and corrupting it.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cause and Effect

The person who posted this did so to demonstrate the misogyny present in two major religious texts. Now there’s no denying thatthere is misogyny present in most religious texts, and that people often use religion as a justification for sexism. However  I dislike this graphic because it seems to imply that religion is the reason for sexism.

Religion can be used to justify sexism, but religion isn’t the root cause of sexism. Religion, like everything else, was created in a patriarchal culture. Thus, religion will be influenced by patriarchal norms. Religion isn’t inherently sexist, it only becomes sexist when the society that created it is sexist in the first place.

So really, we need to stop blaming religion for bigotry that is the result of the greater society as a whole, and atheists need to remember that being non-religious doesn’t automatically make them less sexist than someone who is.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 100 other followers