The things you learn when you’re bored

Morse Code

I was reading this article about the prisoner of war in Vietnam who blinked T-O-R-T-U-R-E in morse code during a TV interview and I thought it was seriously cool (fine I saw it on imgur).

I’d already been fascinated by morse code since Alias (k, She Spies) and thought it was some sort of magic language that was not to be learned by a dumb commoner, but it turned out to be pretty freakin simple.

If you feel like procrastinating:

Step 1: Say “Dit” & “Dah” a few times in your head. Dit dit dah dit dit dah dah diiiiiit ♪ ♫

Step 2: Learn that every letter from the alphabet is a combination of Dits and Dahs. Dit and Dah are the sounds you will hear when you’re communicating in morse code.

Step 3: Since we’re doing this shiz visually (you’re at work.) learn that Dit is a circle and Dah is a rectangle that could fit 3 circles inside it.

Boom. Visuals.

Boom. Visuals.

Step 4: memorize all a diiiis.

You're fucked.

You’re fucked.

Handy for when you get kidnapped: SOS is …   _ _ _   … (dididit   dadadah   dididit)

Step 5: My god, you my friend are a bored one. Ok, here’s what i did to memorize them:

What the internet tells you (these are cool):
This is exactly how i would draw a headache.

This is exactly how i would draw a headache.

Or

The coolest! - Doesnt work for some letters though.

The coolest! – Doesnt work for some letters though.

Or

This makes no sense but the sheer ridiculousness (?)  of it makes you memorise it.

This makes no sense but the sheer ridiculousness (?) of it makes you memorize it.

Still ridiculous.

Still ridiculous.

The rest is here.

What I did (I think I fancy myself an expert now):

Learned my name: Y A R A (wrote each letter in a row on my notebook)
Y _ . _ _    Memorised this mnemonically
A . _         Ax: I wanted this to look like an ax but it seriously doesn’t, but it does look like the long rectangle is an axe hitting the tiny human that is the dot.
R . _ .       Couldn’t find a way to memorize it so I was stunned. Stunned . _ .
A . _         Ax! Ax! Ax!

i did this on photoshop.

I did this on photoshop.

 

Every letter has a different logic in my head using different methods, find your preferred way and stick to it or mix them all together. Start with your name though, then your last name and go from there.

Step 6: Start practicing and turning sentences into dits and dahs and google audio morse code and translate it on paper. Try doing hello world (solution below)

Step 7: Learn how numbers work and how to capitalise and proper spacing (I had lost interest at that point and thought numbers were too mathy for my taste.)

Point is it’s sort of not rocket science, and I’m in marketing fyi.

* hello world
didididit dit ditdahditdit ditdahditdit dahdahdah   ditdahdah dahdahdah ditdahdit ditdahditdit dahditdit
….   .   ._..   ._..   _ _ _ _    ._ _   _ _ _   ._.   ._..   _..
(if it’s wrong it’s not my fault) 

@yaraklaimi8

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Here’s why we handled the Internet outage (that never was) very badly

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[source]

Today I woke up to news that there will be an Internet outage tomorrow, November 3rd. Or maybe it’ll be so slow we’ll rip our heads off. My thoughts were in the following order:

  • Outrage. Enno walaw?
  • Here’s an excuse to not study today since hek w hek mafi internet boukra I might as well do it tomorrow. #procrastinationYo
  • Let’s check out people’s reactions.

I’m non-political, so I was mostly searching for funny tweets like:

Bet ballish hek, boukra bi sir yon2oti3 el internet kel yom 3al se3a 12 w yerja3 3al se3a 6 w tsir l ossa 3ade metl el kahraba

— Nino Zoghbi (@NinoZoghbi) November 2, 2013

But I couldn’t help but notice how fast the finger pointing started. The sheer number of people bashing others who they thought to be fully responsible for this problem was outstanding. I’m all for placing blame (it’s one of my most dominant characteristics) but it would’ve been good to see the majority take a second to breathe first and give the subject a thought before publicizing their opinion. Objectively a mass-jump to conclusions is a disturbing thing to witness. It’s understandable that every blogger wanted to be the first to write their anti-government post or tweet and I’m all for free speech, but couldn’t we wait until we had all the facts before starting our (very much in their place) rants?

As it turns out Mr. Sehnaoui (Someone I’m very neutral about) was quick to share what was going on and announced on twitter the following:

Have an Important Announcement

— Nicolas Sehnaoui (@NicolaSehnaoui) November 2, 2013

IMEWE payment problem solved thanks to a successful coordination between the Minister of Finance and myself.

— Nicolas Sehnaoui (@NicolaSehnaoui) November 2, 2013

Payment was sent today at 11am.

— Nicolas Sehnaoui (@NicolaSehnaoui) November 2, 2013

Is it embarrassing that the Ministry of telecommunications had to announce, on social media of all places, that they paid their bills? Yes. But as I previously stated in the Tripoli post, embarrassment is a non-issue for our government.

Is it embarrassing that we even have problems like these in the first place? Yes. We’re a country for God sakes. “La Republique Libanaise” remember? I guess we’ve thought of ourselves as ‘Sha3eb m3attar’ for too long to remember that a country should be able to very easily pay 1.5 million dollars (or whichever the sum was).

But it’s also extremely embarrassing that we, the people, were so quick to take out our keyboards and type without waiting for all the facts just because we were taught that it’s all about being the quickest of the slew.

Solving the Internet problem is not a heroic act; it should not be applauded because it should not have been a problem in the first place. But at the same time, belittling the fact that the problem was solved is just as bad. Aren’t we fighting day in and day out to get solutions? It’s immensely hypocritical of us to ask for fixes and then be publicly offended when they come.

But hey what do I know, maybe the only reason the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Telecommunications decided to pay was because of the huge backlash. Maybe that’s how it works, maybe that’s why they waited for the absolute last second. But I stand by my opinion: We should always be grateful for a problem fixed.

Tripoli LB

tripoli collage

[old] [New]

My family doesn’t live in Tripoli, they live in a town adjacent to it. And if I didn’t come from there I probably wouldn’t care much about #tripoli_lb either.

It would be an insult to your intelligence if I wrote an in depth analysis of what’s going on in Tripoli. It would be an insult to your intelligence if I pretended to offer solutions or placed blame on specific political moves. I’m definitely not the big political connoisseur everybody in the country seems to be. I know nothing except the fact that my family is considered collateral damage to horribly short sighted people who have chosen to participate in a war that not only affects the people with bombs going off outside their childhood homes but also the people who can no longer reach the city to get to their schools and jobs.

My cousins have missed about a million school days this year. Days they should have spent whining about homework and having to wake up at 6am like normal kids they’ve spent hiding at home not wanting to risk being a casualty. Last summer my eldest cousin was taking her brevet exam under literal gunfire. Need I talk about the irony of taking a history test when it was basically repeating itself outside your window?

She got those four stupid points for إعراب while her parents waited for her at the school gate right downstairs ready to snatch her up and run the minute all hell broke loose. (Some might argue it was already hell, but for them its definition has expanded) The least of their worries was her getting a Très Bien, they were more concerned about her colliding with a rsasa taycheh. So they stood there all week long, making friends with the army men and their tanks and, in typical lebanese fashion, making the best out of a situation that in any normal country would only be described as psychologically damaging.

There’s also the tiny little issue regrading the brutality of destroying the financial heart of an entire region. People have been missing work days left and right. Businesses are burning to the ground. Basic long term thinking would suggest a hellish few years to come for the unlucky few who have decided to set up shop in lebanon’s second capital.

Most people I know work in growing (easily spoiled) produce and distributing it on the Tripoli Souk, a market they couldn’t reach this week. Sweat, blood, money and manpower all wasted.

Some people risk it though. Some need to visit the stores they’ve built with their own two hands to see if they’re destroyed or not. Some need to see if they can squeeze in a few sells to not make their week a complete failure. And some people get shot doing so. It doesn’t just happen to strangers who consciously put themselves in harm’s way like my ignorant mind always thought. Not in a million years would I have imagined a family member of mine getting shot. But he did.

If we were living in a more civilized country – considering any of this were to happen in the first place – we’d shame the government into paying attention to a city that’s covered in blood shed. We’d shame it for disregarding our kids’ education, for ruining people’s chances at comfortable lives year after year, we’d shame it for not doing its job and being so incredibly weak. Unfortunately, our beloved government is so used to being an embarrassment to itself that nothing can shake it. We cannot expect it to rally up a few brains to figure out how to get us out of this mess. It’s so closed off that  looking like the good guy is at the bottom of its priority list. Its callousness is so deeply rooted that even destroying its second capital isn’t a wake up call. I doubt anything is at this point. It’s not even pretending to care about us anymore. Its only strength is being a champion at the art of waiting for the storm to pass. We deserve so much better than this junk.  We’re caught between a rock, a hard place, a bulldozer, a mountain, a train, a wall and an ogre. I’d much rather see this guy, this guy and this guy run this shit hole instead, at least they’ve managed to remind a few people of what’s been going on. At least we’d laugh with them not at them.

Tteklo 3a allah ya jame3a. Counting only one death per day doesn’t mean that countless lives haven’t been ruined too. Let’s just think. We’re obviously smarter than our leaders, maybe one of us will figure something out.

Please stop whining, please stop whining: A guide

Let me start off by saying: Many apologies for the hypocrisy. Ok, let’s do this.

What I reply with: “I’m good, and you?” What people hear: “Tell me everything about your life, do not miss any single detail!”

— Cⁿ (@Ckay0) October 9, 2013

I’m a firm believer that whining is what makes the world go round. I myself am an active complainer and I can pull the “yeah she’s totally a bitch, no you handled it perfectly!” routine in my sleep. But the more I attempt to break into good ol’ adulthood (lol) the less tolerant I’m becoming towards the overly dramatic gents out there. You really don’t need to be a starving kid in Africa to get a taste of sweet sweet nagging but sometimes, you really need to take a step back and assess just how much complaining one problem deserves.

So, i present you with 4 examples of unacceptable conduct that hopefully will serve as a stepping stone to help you help us not murder you, since clearly the whole “Your problems are bigger in your head” thing has completely lost all meaning.

#1 The post party depression

You went to a party you were pretty excited about. In a rather predictable turn of events it turned out to be a bust. It was just so bad. There was barely any room to stand. The DJ played basic garbage. Kenit kella wled!!

Sigh.

Why would you ever think I’d be in any way interested in a sorted list of everything that disappointed you? Unless we specifically request a list of everything that went bad we hold the right to walk out on the conversation. I can literally turn around and walk away. I refuse to hear anything more about how much l vodka kenit madroubeh.

#2 The Cliché

It’s really simple: Whenever you feel overworked, overbooked, running out of time or like you have too much on your plate: Give up instead of talking about it.  If  that sounds like an awful solution: Work instead of talking about it. This is a universal problem, you’re really not the unique little snowflake you think you are. (Just the messenger!)

#3 The Rachel

It’s unacceptable to whine about your new haircut. “He ruined my hair! That asshole cut it too short, too medium, too average, too weird”. Do you feel the need to slouch your way through life now sobbing and basically fainting at the mention of “Bonne Coupe”?

Honestly, it’s pretty much solely your fault it crapped out. Neither I, nor society, can accept incessant whining about something that could have been easily avoidable had you been more in control of the situation. We’re all familiar with the salon-syndrome. We all know coiffeurs are physically incapable of honoring the simple “Please ma t2asserle” request. If you still haven’t caught on to that and still don’t go equipped with a Powerpoint presentation and micromanage every snap of those scissors then frankly you deserve awful hair. I do not feel bad for you. I hope you end up with the Rachel. (Just kidding, Rachel is god)

#4 The Cherry

Last but not least, this gem:

You’re an hour into listening to someone talk about a seemingly big problem of theirs. They’ve told the story so vividly and articulately that you’re now captivated by the plot and completely invested in their problem, you don’t mind their whining anymore. Poor thing, their sky is falling! They’re allowed to whine as much as they want. Ne22eh habibteh, ne22eh.

So, after an appropriate amount of time, out of the kindness of your heart (call the vatikan!) you go inquire about that over dwelled upon, often told and retold problem, the one they’ve made you care so much about and feel so bad for. But you end up standing there mouth agape and staring at them when they say: “Huh? Oh yeah that! No no it’s all fixed, turns out it was nothing.” Pause and count to ten. Son of a. You made it look like such a big deal! Did you whine-trick me? That’s just super.

Bonus: The solution

Put a whining limit for yourself. Call it something cute like señor FluffyNag. Start with allowing yourself 2 hours of whining per day. Literally time yourself. And day by day lower that limit until we hit a socially acceptable amount.

I really hope we’ve all learned some valuable lessons here. Ok, I’ll go be a hypocrite somewhere else now.

 PS: Best BEST friends don’t count, nagging is part of the deal. 

The 5 stages of grief manifested in a lebanese 2 hour traffic jam

Denial:
[The first 15min]

We’ve always had traffic in Lebanon. This is nothing new; the government has always had epic timing when it came to fixing roads, Blog baladi has a very good theory as to why that is. We were born with traffic, we were molded by it (I always wanted to make that joke!). Regardless of how awful this one might look I vow to remain calm. I’m sending a text to work informing them I might be a bit late, I’m turning the radio volume up, I’m checking out twitter, i’m checking out the pictures people uploaded about their newly downloaded ios7. Life’s good, it’s good, it’s so good.

Anger:
[We’ve just hit the 40 minutes mark of standing still in our non-moving vehicles]

Someone will crack first. You always have a sense of who it’ll be. Yes, you may call it a superpower. There will always be a lady who will put her sunglasses up on top of her head, get out of her car and for god knows why yell her lungs out at the guy in front of her ta ‘y2adim ba2a!!’ She’ll thrust her fists up in the air, she’ll curse the country and its people, she’ll get back to her car and still be mumbling curse words from her window. She is in a state of complete rage. The guy she’s yelling at will look at her in utter disdain but he’ll remain calm; we’re all in this together. It’s us against the traffic.

Bargaining:
[During the second half of the first hour]

The bargainer is the jackass, pardon my french. Life threw him a hurdle? He’s going to live by the words of the great Tim Gunn and ‘Make it work!’
He will do anything just to move forward a few spots, he’ll negotiate with the cop, if there is one, to remove the orange cone that’s blocking his way. He’ll compromise by cutting you in line. He’ll run over your screaming body and not give a single fuck. He has a big car and he knows it, he considers himself the king of streets, he will not be defeated. And sadly, despite everything we’ve been taught about life, that jerk will get to work first. The nice guy who lets people get past him will finish last. Good luck with things sweet child.

Depression:
[During the first half of the second hour]

Exhausted is the best way to describe this fine gentleman. He’ll be seen desperately wiping the sweat off his head, trying to contain his anger. He’s late; he’s been late before he can’t use this jam as an excuse. His mind is not in the traffic, it’s in the aftermath. What’s going to happen to him? How much will the cons of this situation weigh him down? He’s stuck, literally and figuratively. It’s making him claustrophobic; he’s calculating just how much this will cost him. All he can do is let his mind wander, taking him to a dark consequential future. He has nowhere to go. He already lost. It’s poetic really – if you’re into that shit.

Acceptance:
[An hour and 30 minutes have passed]

Your back aches, you’re numb, bored, you’re feeling beaten down. You’re still standing there watching everybody feeling the seasons change but now you catch yourself counting your blessings. You’re thanking your lucky stars that:
a- You had enough fuel,
b- Nobody you care about was in any state of medical emergency because they would not have made it,
c- The songs on the radio this morning were not as awful as they usually are.

Thanks dawle.
Kisses.

The ‘meh’ theory

Hi there friend! Did you know your insecurities are justified and rational because they’re based on very real facts?

You rate your personality based on observations right? You do dumb shit sometimes, and that scares you. Hence the feeling that you might be the dumbest in your group. Your fears are not bigger in your head, they’re the appropriate size because they’re based on very real facts.

But you don’t really care that much do you?

Well, I’m with ya buddy! There’s a lot of comfort in knowing we’re all equally scared about our future, we’re all scared we might not find out what our dreams are or worse miss out on them. But the thing is, most of us are not sitting in our corners crying our insecure little eyes out. We’re very aware of our faults but we’re comfortable with them because we know everybody else is aware of their own too. You’re a rational person, if you’re not satisfied with your performance in life you just fix it and make yourself proud. And if you’re content well then congratulations, you’re happy!

I live under a glass dome I’ve created where everybody’s happy-go-lucky, where we all laugh at ourselves and bond over our mutual self-awareness and think life is pretty silly. Under it we all believe everything is as big of a deal as you make it out to be. So we go with the flow and only when we stop liking the flow or when we think we’re becoming too comfortably satisfied with it that we take action and fix things. My life philosophy goes like this: ‘Meh.’

But like everything else in this precious little life of ours, it’s not that easy living the meh lifestyle. Or more specifically, it’s not always easy to remember it and that’s because we don’t always play with like-minded people.

I dare you to remember you’re happy with yourself when you’re drowning in self-awareness and there’s a person standing in front of you who believes they’re god’s gift to the world. I dare you not to be convinced you’re inferior when you’re reminded that some person sincerely thinks they are better than you, and they might just be right. Their assumptions regarding themselves were based on observations just like yours. Their egos were probably validated on numerous occasions rendering them pretty freakin huge. Hell if they couldn’t even find their own weaknesses what chance do I have in finding them? How could their happy patronizing confidence not kill me?

Notice the crack in my pretty glass dome? Cue the downward spiral.

You start thinking you’ve been underestimating yourself all these years. You start the process you call in your silly little head: “bettering yourself” But it’s not the kind that helps you learn and grow, it’s the kind that makes you feel more and more emotionally hollow because you’re trying to achieve something and it’s someone else’s idea of what a something should be. You start killing yourself just to prove your worth and win some imaginary ego contest you created in your head.

And all those awesome qualities that came from your self-awareness like empathy and kindness drive off into the sunset together. Suddenly you’re judging people and being a condescending hypocrite. ‘Look you guys if I just put in a little more effort I can be so much better than you I just haven’t been showing you what I’m capable of!’ Your self-worth becomes completely tied to how you want to be perceived. You forget all about how an hour ago you were content. You forget all about those articles you read on how everybody’s idea of happiness is different. You start finding comfort in comparing yourself to the people you assume are worse than you. Like those idiots who post selfies of themselves all day.

And this is all because some random person put their best foot forward and nonchalantly changed your entire perspective. You were unwittingly convinced you needed to prove your worth and you have no idea how to do it because you’ll find nothing at the tip of your tongue. You forgot what you liked about yourself because you’re not used to talking about it. Just like you never dwelled on the bad, you never dwelled on the good either.

It’s easier to reduce the amount of fucks you give on paper. Having internal peace is easier when you think we’re all equal but the aftermath of putting yourself in front of a person with ego stamped across their forehead is grueling.

No point in getting frustrated though, let those kids have their moments, let them enjoy their awesomeness; let them be what they are. Try to view their skills as learning opportunities, that’s what I do. Surround yourself with people able to laugh at their own stupidity and you’re set.

Remember the saying that’s old as time: ‘Meh’.

The online popularity trigger

Want me to make your business look popular bro? All you gotta do is ask!

Happy thought of the day: Most of us aren’t that popular and we’ll probably never be universally beloved.

That’s the truth we learned to lazily accept and live with. Most of us really do suck at socializing with people outside our little groups. We mostly build networks through convenient introductions and we find new connections out of sheer strokes of luck.

Sadly for us, being social means that your word has a better chance of being heard. It means you have a better chance of being sponsored by your peers. Shying away from social encouters will make people less likely to gravitate towards you and by the same logic they probably won’t, out of the kindness of their hearts, champion your product.

Unless you ask them to.

Marketing is all about creating the illusion of popularity. And it can get quite tricky because most people need a push to publicise the fact that they are fans of your product or service. You can’t force them to do it, can you? Nope, probably not.
So how do you ask someone to promote your work without feeling like a complete idiot?

I believe, and i’m speaking from the customer’s perspective here, that the only way you can make yourself look less desperate for the market’s attention is in fact by desperately asking your friends and family to endorse your product. At least in the early stages of its life. What I mean by this is you have to ask them to digitally proclaim their approval of your work through likes, follows and shares. Consequently, despite not being the most popular person ever, you’re giving the impression that your word is valued thus inviting more and more people to listen to it.

The tricky part here is this: You’re trying to create something of your own and honestly most people won’t actively be rooting for you. And that’s the reason why they need the push.

Yes we’re diving into psychology now (I promise I’m not that pretentious in real life!)

This does not mean your friends won’t be happy for you, or encourage you, or check out the product or service you’re offering. It only means they’ll probably shy away from taking the initiative to endorse your business publicly all on their own. And I get that!

Why would any of your acquaintances willingly and without being asked help you? They have ambitions just like you so why would they help you win if they’re getting nothing out of it? And yes we all associate tiny Facebook likes with winning, let’s not lie.

Think of it this way, how many times have you checked out someone else’s shared article on twitter, enjoyed it, closed it and kept scrolling without so much as a retweet? How many times have you liked someone’s Instagram picture without actually pressing the like button? A retweet and a ‘like’ cost us nothing but it would give the other person the illusion of a following, and why would I contribute to the rise of your popularity?
That’s really how most of us think and there’s no changing it, we’re looking out for number one and it’s our right.

So how would you work around this hurdle of selfishness to promote your product in its early stages?

Here’s where personalised requests swoop in and save the day. Basic psychology says: You ask people for their help, they feel needed, they help you. Simple. But that feeling of being needed has to be triggered by a personalized touch. That means you don’t send mass messages starting with ‘Hey guys’ or ‘Dear all’, you definitely don’t spam your friends with a million request and you most definitely don’t have Facebook send them notifications to like your page. You send a personal message, using wit and charm. And If you’re not naturally adorable you learn how to be. You just keep practicing charm until you’ve got the world hanging by your little finger. Because guess what? Everybody liking your product in silence has zero value. You kind of need to get off your butt and ask people to get off theirs and endorse your work by tailoring witty endorsement requests based on your usual relationship with the person.

I’m a customer and I’m telling you if ask me to be part of your audience I will be. Just do it in a charming way. Trust me I’ve succumbed to this technique countless times even if I’m very aware of what’s going on.

So yeah, you need to feel the embarrassment of asking friends to digitally speak up about your product. You need to feel like an idiot by asking them to help you create the illusion of a following in order to attract more people.

You need to ask for attention in order to get it.

We can’t all be popular, some of us need to work at it, and that goes for businesses too.

You need to start somewhere. So start, by asking.

Competitions scare the shit out of me. There society, i said it!

Most schools are very fond of competitions. I was taught that saying you hate competitions meant that you knew you were going to lose, it meant that you lack ambition and that you’re probably going to fail at life in general. It was the most demoralizing thing for people with few victories under their belts.

When I was a kid they made us play a game during PE called “Drapeau”. If you don’t know the basics here’s how it goes: Our class was divided into two teams with the same number of students. The teams would stand facing each other forming two parallel lines with the teacher in the middle holding a flag (hence, drapeau). Every student from Team 1 was assigned a number between 1 and 10, and so were the students from team 2. The teacher proceeds to blow a whistle and shout a number, let’s say 3, and the two kids from each team assigned the number 3 were to run to the teacher and snatch the flag out of his hand before the other team does. It was my personal hell.

My poor running skills were being put on full display. I was going to be ridiculed for being slower than the uncoolest kid in class, i was going to look like the biggest loser; those were things that mattered to us back then remember? My solution to this conundrum was to make one ridiculous excuse after the other to get out of playing that satanic game. I chickened out and just quit trying.

My wariness towards competitions such as this stemmed from my personal conviction that I am completely and utterly unable to win this game. I was weaker than the rest and was obviously going to lose. It made me unhappy, so i saw no point in playing. Competitions like this did not teach me to ask for help or to keep trying, it only taught me to hate the game.

Being in a race, literally or figuratively, is terrifying unless you know you’re winning, unless you have some sort of advantage over the rest. Competitions are tasks we have to endure because working together is apparently frowned upon. It’s generally accepted that only working against each other brings the best outcome. Personally, being in a competitive environment didn’t encourage or motivate me to be the best I can be, it only made it clear to me that no matter how much I tried I will still suck by comparison. It encouraged me to quit.

It amazes me that we’re still being taught to work against each other instead of together. Why are we still choosing to demotivate the 99% in order to congratulate the 1%? No wonder we’re all growing up to be such stubborn control freaks. By the time we hit our twenties we’re so used to only thinking about ourselves, we’re used to judging the people who ask for a hand because we equate it with co-dependency, we think of them as deadbeats. We want everybody else to fail because according to us the winner is the one who’s better by comparison, we covet that superiority, that ‘better than’ feeling. We itch to be that last man standing when in fact we can achieve so much more if only that winner helps the loser, otherwise known as the average kid.

Bottom line is no I’m not going to race you, I won’t run to get that flag before you, and I won’t compare myself to you. But I would love to run next to you. Maybe you could teach me how to run faster? I’ll hold your water bottle in the meantime.

I text and drive, I’m an idiot.

Let’s blame it on society.

I drive and answer texts and when I look up I miss hitting the other car by a single millimetre. Why the hell did he stop so abruptly anyway? Idiot.

I drive and feel my car veering to the side by itself, and I know any minute I’m going to hit the car next to me but I consciously decide to continue texting and only steer it back to its right direction at the last possible second. Because come on I have to finish my text. What? My friends already saw I was online! What if they thought i was avoiding them? We wouldn’t want that…

I drive and see a guy waiting to cross the street about 20 meters away, I assume he wouldn’t do it, continue texting and risk killing him. Hey, it’s worked so far! Two years, zero murders. Congratulations, self! But if anything should happen, I reassure myself with the fact that it’ll be completely his fault for jumping in front of me. His dead self will probably pay for my therapy bills when I go into shock.

I’m standing in traffic, texting of course, and don’t notice the cars in front of me have already moved. The cars behind me annoyingly honk because I made them late for their work, schools, appointments, etc, etc. Bitches, am I right?

I drive by an officer, and continue texting; he’s never going to stop me. Let’s be honest, I’m a girl the risk of him giving me a ticket is zero to none. Plus he obviously doesn’t care, so why should I? I’m definitely not endangering myself or anybody. Maybe I’d reconsider it if they stopped me, but since they’re not going to I might as well enjoy myself. Why should I follow a law nobody cares about? It’s not like I have anything to gain from this. I’m no idiot you know.

I don’t want anybody getting the impression that I only send texts and never receive any! Actually I have an epic trick for reading messages in your moving car, check it out: I heighten the brightness and fit the phone on the dashboard in front of me right below eye level so that it looks like I’m driving and looking straight ahead when I’m actually just reading stuff off my phone. That way the people with sticks up their asses in the cars next to me won’t judge me. Smart huh? I’m a genius.

This one might be a little bad: so I’m driving with cars all around me and notice a turn up ahead, I have the phone in one hand (and have no intention of putting it down) and the other hand is on the steering wheel. I don’t have the best upper body strength and my hands are pretty weak so I can’t really steer the wheel enough with one hand for it to turn all the way along the curve, so I just twist it as much as I can (30% mostly) and quickly remove my hand from the wheel and re-put it just as fast and continue twisting it thus turning it the remaining 70% of the way. At this point the car has lost its balance multiple times and has stopped or twisted left or right enough times to risk hitting the cars at my sides or the ones behind me. But I didn’t drop my 700$ phone. Yay.

You do stuff like that too don’t you? It’s okay we can admit it to each other, we’re all the same. Look at this rate, I give it 5 years before we’ve either killed someone or have been killed. But it’s fine, it’s completely okay. If the government won’t do anything more severe to put a stop to it I’m not either, and you shouldn’t too. Whatever you do, do not under any circumstance try to be the change you want to see in the world.

Text my idiot friend, text.

What we’re really gaining from the C Flow offer

By now most of Lebanon probably knows about the C Flow offer: Ladies go in between 9 and 11 am, they get in free of charge. This is an awesome offer that generated a lot of buzz and made the beach resort the place to be these past couple of months. Most of us are trying to analyze their marketing strategy, we love to sit around speculating and asking questions like: what exactly are they gaining from this? If all the girls are coming in for free, where’s the income coming from? Is the restaurant fee and the expected revenue produced by the increase of the number of guys who are bound to show up enough to make them a reasonable profit? We’re all obviously very worried about how C Flow will generate revenue. We’re forgetting to ask one fundamental question: what are we gaining from this?

A tiny recap of the lebanese economical history goes like this: Every year the big guys sitting on the money thrown raise their companies’ prices and every year we reluctantly accept those increases because it’s out of our control. We think we’re not allowed to expect anything else. We’ve grown accustomed to these increases so much so that we now adjust our expenses around them, we all know they’re coming, every year, like clock work. We like to live by the “badna nonbosit b sayfiyetna” philosophy that states that it’s okay to pay 40.000LL for beach access because we want to enjoy ourselves and it just so happens that the cost of happiness and semi-good service in Lebanon is a hefty sum.

This summer a little something changed; the C Flow offer gave us a tiny spark of hope. It reminded us that it’s absolutely okay and completely rational to expect lower charges for the same value.

Last year C flow had a marketing strategy like every other resort, it went a little like this: “We offer a great beach experience with solid service and quality.” It was the default tagline for most lebanese beaches. This summer they’re saying: “Look we know you can’t pay a ton of L.L. every time you want to go to the beach, we get it, we understand you, we believe what you believe and we’re actively trying to help. Also did we mention we’re still offering the same customer service quality? You basically have nothing to lose.” They’re appealing to the masses and it’s working. By switching their strategy to price domination while maintaining the same quality of services they changed the rules of the Lebanese resort game and shifted it to our advantage. If the other beaches now see C Flow as the big bad competitor they will attempt to do something to regain their strength and attempt to win our trust and loyalty. And right now appealing to us only means price reduction with great value. By introducing it as a viable option C Flow broke the barrier and made cost reduction an attainable possibility, it made it the only thing we’re interested in and made it rational to expect it.

If we have companies fighting to please us we, the Lebanese people, will regain the power and we will benefit the most. Remember what virgin radio did with having whatsapp instead of sms? The other stations were so terrified of virgin’s competitive advantage that they started offering a whatsapp number for their audience also. Companies are here to please us and we keep forgetting it. Paying large amounts of money for okay value is not acceptable. It’s unfair. It should not be habit, we should not expect it and we definitely shouldn’t condone it. It’s only by refusing to pay for the unfair and expecting good value for reasonable pricing that we can move forward.

I’m sure we’re all sick and tired of being haunted by the terrifying screams of our wallets and bank accounts, I’m sure It’s time for a change.

Disclaimer: I don’t really care about C Flow and i have nothing to do with it, it’s an example you guys

Why you should care about what other people think

Since I started this tiny who-the-hell-cares-about-it blog, I thought I’d gather up some feedback to see how I can make it better. This is what most people do right? They release things in beta, ask for feedback, analyse the results and make the appropriate adjustments based on people’s critiques. I’m taking people’s opinion into consideration. No matter how many times I tell myself I’m writing for me I’m still 60% of the time writing for other people aka for social validation, a reason why we’re all on so many social media platforms we’ve lost count. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Caring about what other people think is nothing to be ashamed of.

Now of course I’m not telling anybody to sit in a corner riddled with insecurities, I’m not talking about extremes here. I’m saying that the marching-to-my-own-drum-fuck-the-world attitude is not always the best one. Allow me to explain through a personal example of mine: For five years running now I’ve woken up at 5:30am sharp every single day. To straighten my hair. Yeah. Don’t judge me.
Does that make me shallow? Probably. Does it mean I care about what other people think? Absolutely yes. Does it mean I haven’t given up on life? Yes, and this is what I’m getting at. Caring means you’re still playing this little life game, it means you’re still trying. Getting up to run every morning to look and feel better should be applauded because you’re taking a conscious decision to keep bettering yourself. It’s awe inspiring. If your friend proclaims: “I want to go run 3al marina every day starting today” your response should never be: “do you really have time for that?” or “eh mbala, men chouf 2addeh rah ydal hal 7ames ba3ed jem3a”. Your response should always be encouraging, if you see them giving up you push them forward because we are in desperate need of motivation, especially in our precious little country.
In my opinion that’s the reason why all those celebrities stay gorgeous when they hit their 40s. They have a reputation to uphold, if they have a healthy body the media, or more specifically their fans, will celebrate it, they’ll applaud it. If they let go, if they walk around with greasy hair all the time they will be mocked. So they stay healthy and beautiful and attempt to do the right things all the time for the sake of being idolized, because they will be validated, because they will get a return on their self investment, because they are their own best assets. This is a privilege that we, mere mortals, do not have. We have no one who will erect a statue in our honor if we stop eating junk food, we have no one putting “gorgeous outfit omg!” in the comment section of our photos plastered all over justjared if we put a little more effort into looking good, there’s no one encouraging us, pushing us.
So the simple solution is to be each other’s sponsors, to give each other compliments, to encourage each other to keep trying. Constructive criticism is amazingly helpful, even if you think people are just doing it to sound smart or superior. More often than not caring about what other people think makes you better, it gives you self awareness and discipline, it helps you lead the best life you can lead.

So yalla I’ll care with you if you care with me!

Thoughts on championing emigration

If you’re in any position of power, if you’re capable of influencing people, if your opinion is valued among your peers or if at least your friends go with your restaurant suggestion from time to time then please think about the following theory and take it into consideration the next time you feel like divulging in a rant about why we should all flee our country.

Let’s never advertise the idea that our country is not worth living in, no matter how right this might be. If you want to leave the country leave it! it’s up to you. You think there are better opportunities out there? fair enough, you’re right, just don’t go around endorsing the ‘if you know what’s best for you you should emigrate’ idea. You’re smart, you’re thinking with your brain, you want to go live somewhere where you at least get to go about your day with your dignity intact, you want to live in a place where ambition is valued not mocked, where moving up the imaginary ladder of success we’re all so obsessed with is achieved by doing good work not through nepotism, i’m all for it. You bring up very valid points on our living situation but just think for a second about how demotivating this is for the people who are staying. Imagine for a second if everyone in your age group left, what would happen to your country then? A country can’t function without its youth. You say you don’t care? fine, what would happen to that grandma, mother father, uncle, aunt etc you left behind who we all know would refuse to leave? You’re leaving them in the midst of a corrupted country and gave them absolutely no fighting chance. By mainstreaming and sponsoring the ‘let’s all leave’ mentality you’ve doomed them.

People are impressionable, stop encouraging them to get on that plane stop discouraging them from attempting to achieve greatness right here. Ridiculing the people who have no intention of leaving is disgraceful, you have every right to pack up and go just don’t condemn the people who stay because they, like you, are doing a very smart thing in the long run.

Side note: If anybody reading this has any wasta at the american embassy feel free to contact me asap.

When did software engineers become such great philosophers?

It’s strange to think that the best articles i’ve read this year, the ones that have motivated and inspired me the most, were often written by techies. Right now being a promising developer, programmer, entrepreneur hell even being a VC, means you must have a blog and are regularly documenting your thoughts. It means you must be crafting your online image.

Is it now expected to document your progress in order to succeed?

I must’ve missed something. How did writing become associated with sales? When did copywriting become one of the most powerful marketing tools? When did tech and writing get so chummy? And most importantly how are all those tech people coming up with such greatcontent?

Most of the time they talk about how busy they are, how hectic an entrepreneur’s life is, how chaotic it is; Yet they still manage to delve deep into a subject, to write about productivity, to teach us new skills, to write about their progress. Basically everyone that matters in the startup world is a writer now. The weirdly amazing thing is, everyone comes baring great value, everyone has a story to share, everyone is proud of their downfalls, everyone sees mistakes as learning opportunities. It’s as if they’ve all adopted the same philosophy: to learn and keep learning, to teach and keep teaching, even if you have very little to teach. And we love reading about it! they leave out the boring bits in their diary-esque writing style but give us just enough excitement, just enough free lessons and just enough tweetable quotes to keep us hooked. They have a lot to gain from this obviously, but so do we. It’s the perfect example of a win win situation.

I personally am not in the tech world, i am just standing on the sidelines reading and it’s amazing to see what the people in this field are doing.

The tech bubble will burst soon, the software roller coaster can only go up for so long, but i think the sheer coolness of what they’ve created is timeless.

I realise writing is also being used in other fields to strengthen brands, but i think it’s worth noting that, in my opinion, the most inspirational story tellers at the moment are, surprisingly, software folks.

Don’t remember the bad only when bad things happen

You want the lebanese ‘organized chaos’ lifestyle to end? You and me both kid.

I don’t think we should keep saying ‘l cha3eb 7mar l 7a2 3layna’. I don’t think we should keep calling ourselves sheep. I don’t think people who are one minute talking about how all the country’s leaders “badoun 7are2″, but run to their political corner the minute any sort of turbulence happens are sane.

I saw kids at my college beat the shit out of each other because the night before something happened in our precious country that reminded them they are not united. Hoping for the best doesn’t cut it anymore.

I believe the power of the spoken or written word is still vastly underrated. I think that even if we think it’s cheesy we should always promote love, we should always fight racism homophobia and extremism. I think that if only a few of us right now started promoting these ideas, the ones about love and humanity, we can progress and make people move forward with us. Call it history repeating itself, call it whatever you want i’m saying it anyway (like millions said it before me) and you should too:

We are the new generation, we can change things.

Stop listening to your parents’ politics, you’re educated people have your own opinions. Look carefully, notice how we live in a country where absolutely no political leader is looking out for our best interest. Kindly remember this throughout the year. Look at the people who kill each other because they have different points of view, help them. You know better, they don’t. Don’t unite in the name of patriotism only when someone writes a bad article about your country, stand together because yes we’re in this together and yes we have each other’s backs. Don’t think one political leader’s shameful behavior makes his opponents’ any better, they are the same. We live in a country where the 1% needs at least 10% of the population to remain poor in order to stay rich. Our history has a recurring theme that begins and ends with political aspirations, but we’re no one’s puppet. Learn to separate the good from the bad, have opinions and for the love of everything you believe inkeep your religion to yourself. Religion is not the big bad evil everyone is making it out to be. Extremism is. Your religion is private, discussions in a civilized matter can be amazingly enlightening, forcing people to believe what you believe is not.

I don’t think remembering we hate the situation in our country the moment a bomb goes off is the answer, try to remember the heartache all year round. Make it your mission to fix things and don’t give up because you and I? we’re meant to fix things, we’re meant to find solutions. Don’t let go of what you believe is right because of laziness and habit. This is not ‘it’ for us, our country can be better, we can be better. Don’t label this as childish optimism, we could all benefit of some child-like optimism around here, we could benefit from ideas, from brainstorming sessions, from sitting around and coming up with solutions for a change. This at least is better than what most of us are doing which is curse the country, say we want to leave the minute something bad happens and when the situation stabilizes we forget. We get back to our collective routines of cursing traffic and watching our dads angrily stare at the supermarket bills. We get back to working to pay for gas, and paying for gas to keep working.

Speak against the people who want to physically or mentally hurt you. Don’t get riled up because someone has different opinions. Choose the high road, lead by example. Those are clichés for a reason. Let go of silly pride, pride is nothing, pride is meaningless, pride is an idea encrypted in our heads by men and women who like to pick fights. If someone bad-mouths my religion it’s not the end of the world. Is it disrespectful? hell yes. Is it vulgar? You bet. But it’s not worth having blood on my hands. Defending the honor of a religion that’s older than me is just not the most important thing. Why? because religion is between me and my god, it’s private, it is here to keep us grounded and sane, to give our lives meaning. It’s not worth it to violently defend the god i believe in, who, judging by the number of his worshipers, does not particularly need my protection. And if believing in nothing makes you happy then by all means, believe in nothing! be your own moral compass, be an extraordinarily good human.

Some people are bad, some people like to fight, some people are bored, some like to rebel; We like freedom we like organization, we like opinions, we’re anti war, we’re pro humanity, we believe life is too silly and too ridiculously awesome to be spent fighting.

We believe in the power of ‘let’s talk things out’.

Advice from a potential customer

I’m sorry but no i don’t want to buy the book you wrote and promoted in your twitter bio. It looks desperate, you look like a narcissist who assumes i’ll buy his book but also really scared i wont. Chances are, no matter how well your online reputation is, if i visit your page and see shameless self promoting, i’ll forget you within the next minute. i will not bother following you, or clicking on your blog entries, and in my head it’s not a big deal because i’ve already categorized you as someone not interested in writing a good piece but in selling and promoting his book. And it’s not your fault. you wrote a damn book, you worked your ass off and now you want to sell it, you want a reward, a return on investment, the investment being your hours and hours spent on your computer screen.

The thing is i, the potential buyer, want something too, i want to fall in love with your writing through tweets and blog posts, i want to find you relatable, and witty and knowledgeable. i want each 140 character sentence of yours to make me wiser, to entertain me, to teach me a skill , to be a learning opportunity for me. Most importantly, no matter how irrational this is, i want to discover your book or any of your other non free products by complete and utter accident.

I’ll be so excited about it, you won’t even need to market it for me because i would be the discoverer of content.

Do you remember that feeling you had when you finished the book? it was amazing huh? your words are going to impact the world, what a rush! well, the same thrill comes for us non writers when we discover great content. We see you writers as the people we will never be, but still we’re educated people, we may not be great writers but we are great readers. We know good writing when we see it, we can tell the bad from the good, the fakes from the reals and we feel we deserve the credit for the find. We are your marketers now.

In our quest to take the credit for this discovery, to show the world that despite not being able to produce great content we are still able to find it, we will speak highly of you, and your words because it’ll reflect greatly on us, because we want to show that we are awesome enough to find people like you between the piles and piles of internet garbage.

We are attention seekers who want to not only learn, but also show everybody that we are learning. That’s what makes us, the discoverers, the best marketers.

This is my point of view, I realise I’ve created more problems than solutions but hopefully I or someone else sharing my pov will come up with some answer to this dilemma with time.

Writing jitters

I am uncomfortable with writing. i feel pressured into coming up with ideas and my mind just blanks, i can’t think of a single one.

They say we need to hone our writing skills, practice makes perfect. It shouldn’t be this hard, i’m a reader for god sakes. A good chunk of my life has been spent with a book in my hands, whether french or english. But for the life of me i can’t sit and write one semi interesting paragraph. I do however jot down notes, ideas i think would make great subjects throughout the day, but by the end of the day i’m beat and can’t find the strength or the mental power to expand on this subject to dig deeper and write about it, i go with my ‘meh’ attitude and just drop it.

Well this is a process. I’ll start with this and hopefully by the end of the month and through writing one post per week i can see my progress.

Although i have to ask, is this pointless? The real honest no bullshit reason i want to start writing is to strengthen my online image. I’m a 20 year old accountant, i have no powerful online presence, no influence on the digital community whatsoever and i’m envious of those who do. The big bloggers and writers, those who can whip up a post in a mere two hours say that they write for themselves, that they are only journaling their lives and if someone happens to get value from it then it’s a bonus. But i’m not successful yet, i’m not influential yet, i’m not in any position of power, i am not giving anybody any added value. I’m not promoting my product, i have no product yet, Out of all my friends i can only count 4 as legitimate contacts that can be helpful to me in my journey to become successful. What they’re saying might be construed as humble brags, but i’m adopting their method anyway: I am writing for my future self, i’m writing for my sanity. I think i just discovered what my writing theme will be: My progress. Many people waste their lives not progressing not moving forward and there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s their prerogative, it’s just not me. I want to learn more, acquire more skills, at least become an expert* at something before i die. So this, this is my learning journey.

*Spare me the “there are no experts” speech, the “10 000 hours” speech and the “practice makes perfect” speech, by expert i mean find my passion, be so good at solving problems and creating solutions in a narrow field that i would feel confident enough to give advice on it, that i would be of use to others in said field.