Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
500 Days of Summer- 2 broccoli sprouts
Dear God. This movie was so bad. You like the Smiths? Me too! OMG. Fate! You are an unconventionally pretty girl that thinks I should be an architect? And you yell penis in a park? OMG. You are so eccentric and unique. Puke, puke, puke.
The movies take on love was idiotic. The characters are incredibly unsympathetic and you pray unbelievable because it makes me sad to think that people like that really exist.
I wouldn’t even recommend this movie as a ‘totally chill want nothing from a movie movie’ night. What were you thinking Joseph Gordon-Levitt? After seeing some of your recent GQ spreads I expected so much more from you!
Inglorious Bastards- 3 chocolate digestives
Fantastic! So well done, clever and engaging. Brad Pitt nailed his character and the scene in which they are in the basement bar draws you in so much that you completely forget the world around you. Isn’t that what we look for when we watch a movie??
This movie has humor, revenge, and a classic Quentin Tarantino ‘happy ending.’ Just when you think you can’t watch one more WWII movie, QT proves that you can.
My Sister’s Keeper- 3 potato boreks
After Hena saw this movie she started saying that I was Abigail Breslin’s twin. After watching it, I am sure that Hena was on some serious drugs when she saw the movie, but I am also sure that I would agree that it was a fantastic film.
It is a simple story. Really not much more than a lifetime movie with an all star cast. But that’s why these guys get the big bucks, no? Alec Baldwin and Breslin contribute significantly to the movie’s success but the casting across the board is on target. I question the inclusion of Cameron Diaz but even her one horrific outburst scene doesn’t ruin the movie.
I appreciate the moral dilemma the movie tackles and hope another movie will try to address it again, perhaps more successfully. The main theme of the movie hinges on the question of what right a person has to make choices about their own body and life. In this movie, that question takes a back seat to a more cliché story line that focuses on family dysfunction and giving Diaz too much screen time.
Even with that said, I cried throughout the movie. I thought of my own sister and how difficult it would be to see her go through something like that. The bravery it would take to do what Breslin’s character does. I clutched onto Feraz thanking God that despite our little hurdles of being apart, that he is in good health and that we have not been tested in such a difficult way.
I recommend watching this with someone you love, especially if you are feeling some distance between yourselves. It will glue you right back together!
Paranormal Activity – 1 gummy bear
After all the hype about this movie I was looking forward to being scared!
After eleven minutes into the movie I started wishing that something bad would happen to both people because they were so incredibly annoying. At this point I still thought the movie was real. It brought back flashbacks of Into the Wild where I kept thinking, do such stupid and pretentious people really exist? I even said to Feraz, this has to be real footage because there is no way you can act that annoying. In fact the movie would have actually been really scary if it was real.
Seeing that it wasn’t, it was a bit cumbersome to sit through a lot of it. I couldn’t understand how Micah could be so stupid as to keep trying to invoke the spirit. Are men really that pig headed and desperate to prove their manhood?? Why did Katie need his permission to call the demonologist? Are you more scared of your semi-retarded boyfriend or of a demon that can f*** you up?
I have to admit that the last three minutes were pretty redeeming and were pretty scary. Especially since I still thought the movie might be real footage. As scary movies go, it was better than most but that is just saying more about how bad most scary movies are than how good this one was.
Away We Go – 2 gummy bears
Feraz and I stopped watching this movie about five minutes into it because it seemed so stupid. After Feraz left, I gave it another go and I think its safe to say that they packed the worst five minutes into the very beginning of the movie.
It wasn’t the greatest but as someone who has been a wandering nomad for what seems like my whole life, I could relate to the idea of searching for a place that you can call home. Er, something, something. I am sleepy now. Goodnight.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
I am in yet another new apartment. Moving day is always strange. You bring your familiar belongings and plop them all down in this foreign space which is supposed to be home.
I look around at my tiny apartment remembering that I agreed to live here for the month mostly out of desperation. Ugh. Although my friends in Istanbul have been incredibly great and insisted that I could stay with them until I found a place I really liked, I felt terrible imposing and also just wanted a place that was mine.
For that reason I also opted not to have a roommate this go. I have had incredibly good luck with my roommates. I have no particular horror stories to tell. But for the past few years I have always felt like an intruder in someone else’s space. I want a place where I can leave my clothes on the sofa if I feel like, where I can do the dishes on my own schedule, where I can wake up at 3 am and take a shower without feeling guilty. They are simple, stupid things but they are the desires that are born from constantly living with other people.
So, this will be the first time in my life that I will be living alone and tonight will be my first night alone in this apartment. Feraz helped me move in and get settled but he just left for the airport back to London. In all the months and years we have spent apart, you would think that time would make it easier to say goodbye. But each time it feels harder than the last. Each time I think, I can’t wait until it is the last time we have to be apart for so long. I think it is the strongest testament of love that a person who craves independence as much as I do just wants to settle down, wants someone who nags when I come home from work late and who’s schedule I have to consider when I make my plans.
But I digress. I came home just now and was met by my landlord. He is an overweight, mute man who smells like strong, strong onions mixed with body odor. Yesterday, he approached Feraz and I outside of our apartment and tried to speak to us. Of course he can only grunt and make broken sounds. He was able to communicate that he is basically mute and seemed to be implying that he is our landlord.
We were hesitant to let him in to the apartment because we had never met him before and the agent who I had rented from had said that she would personally introduce me to the landlord. Feraz and I were unsure of what to do as this man kept making sounds and gesturing for us to let him into the building.
Finally, we asked him to use his keys to get into the apartment if he was the landlord. He couldn’t find any keys. Shady, shady we thought. But then he pulls out a showerhead attachment. That was his golden ticket. I knew that the landlord was supposed to come install that yesterday so I let him in.
He followed us into the apartment, breathing heavily the whole time. He sat down by the futon and with his overweight body and smelly odor and proceeded to breathe heavily all over my apartment. He then started taking out some extra dishes he brought. He unwrapped each one. One by one by one with his big clumsy hands. Feraz and I looked at each other wondering if this was really happening.
The landlord then went into the bathroom to try to fix the showerhead but was unsuccessful. This whole time he is trying to talk to us which is just heartbreaking because there is no way in hell that we are going to be able to make out what he is saying. We keep shrugging our shoulders and responding bilimyorum which means I don’t know.
He finally leaves and Feraz says, “That has to be up there with one of the weirdest things that has ever happened to me.”
“Thank God you were with me at least,” I responded.
Imagine coming home in the dark to a huge man who can’t talk and insists on being let into your apartment. After I dropped Feraz off, I came back to the man waiting for me. He asked to be let upstairs and I let him in. Today, he brought me more dishes, which he also unwrapped one by one and some new towels. He is coming back in half an hour to fix the shower. I don’t think I will be requesting anymore repairs or things for the apartment…
Another new place, another new adventure.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Last week as my friend’s and I were entering their apartment, a Turkish woman came screaming and ran past us into the apartment. At first we are not sure what was going on.
She told us that her sister’s husband was hurting her and there was a six- month old baby in the home. She was crying and shaking and totally out of it. We wanted to call the police but they don’t get involved in ‘private’ matters. We called the compound security and they assured us they would take care of it.
According to recent statistics, 4 out of every 10 married women in Turkey have been physically or sexually abused by their husbands. From the stories I hear, it seems that this is a gross underestimate. When we lived at our old apartment I remember hearing horrifying fights between a neighboring couple. When the fear seeps in under your door and into your night, should it still be a private matter? When you can almost feel the pain the woman must be going through, should you still not call the police?
Two days later there are some beautiful purple orchids at the door. Attached is a note in poor handwriting saying, “I am very sorry to disturb you and your family on Saturday. It connected to alcohol. When my husband drunk to get angry. Thank you so much.”
When we read the note, I wanted to cry. Here, the woman who is already being abused feels the need to protect the image and reputation of her husband. She attributes the behavior to the alcohol instead of to her husband. She takes the blame by being the one to apologize for the disturbance. She thanks us for… what? Understanding? Not saying anything or calling the police? For not being upset with her?
The first issue here is the matter of domestic violence being a ‘private’ issue. The compound is hesitant to involve the police because these are their residents and more likely than not, the husband is paying the outrageous rent that comes with this address. Are they not getting involved to protect the sanctity of the family’s private sphere or to assure that they have a happy customer who can beat his wife with the protective shroud of the compound’s policy in place?
Do the police not get involved because they really feel this is a private matter? Or is it because most of these men who make up the police force have a vested interest in maintaining a status quo that permits the abuse and oppression of women? Or is it because the men who do want to speak up are afraid to do so in the face of their colleagues and a society who still quite openly subscribe to a machismo and misogynist culture.
No society should take the stand that domestic violence is a private matter. It never was and never should be The general safety of an individual is a responsibility that should be born by the whole of society. In this instance, what happens in the private sphere significantly impacts the public sphere. Society’s that condone the abuse of women and allow children to be raised in such environments suffer economically, politically and on a multitude of other levels. Most importantly they carry the shame of these abused women. The blood of the women hurt by abusive men is on every member of society who turns a blind eye and keeps their mouth shut.
What can we do in this particular situation? We write a note that says “No problem at all. We just want you to know that our door is always open.” We make sure the husband doesn’t see it. But when the institutions in place don’t protect women, who do we call? What do we really do to help?
Last night I was taking the dog out for a walk and the elevator door was open. The sister and another man were there. The lady got really frightened and started screaming ‘I am scared of dogs.’ So I pull the dog close to me and say go ahead making room for them. They are over five feet away from me so they can easily pass, and the dog is being calm anyways so they have nothing to be scared of. This guy starts Screaming at me. He yells ‘Go away!! Get away!! GO GO GO!!” I thought he was going to hit me. His veins were popping out of his head.
I was quite shaken by the incident but the thing that struck me the most was that this woman was willingly standing in the elevator with this seeming monster and she is more scared of a dog that has never done a thing to her. Who is the real beast anyway.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
By: Frank McCourt
Made in America
By: Sam Walton
My Life in Action
By: Jackie Chan
My friend Leonard
By: James Frey
Thursday, October 22, 2009
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
It was a frustrating day at work. I was having a hard time fasting. I was sick of the apathy of all the Muslims around me. I am in a Muslim country. I want to feel like I am in a Muslim country. Sorry, if that makes me suck. But most, most of all, I don’t want to feel like I am defending my choice to fast every day. So, as I make my way home, I feel exhausted on many levels. I am eager to get to my apartment, to lay down and find that peaceful place that will help re-center me.
I get to my door and start the five-minute treasure hunt in my purse to find my keys. Five minutes pass. No keys. I sit down on the stoop and take everything out one by one. No keys. I hear the azaan in the background and I am desperate to open my fast. I reach into my purse to find my wallet so I can go buy some food. No wallet. I call my roommate to see if she will be home any time soon. Of course not.
I dig in my purse and find a few liras at the bottom and go and buy a “Le Cola Light” and a pide (a round bread that is sold here in Ramadan). I eat this glamorous dinner on my stoop where several of my neighbors question what I am doing.
Realizing that I can’t sit on my stoop all night, I call my friend and ask if I can spend the night. As always, she saves me. I head out to catch the bus to her house. As I walk to the bus stop I start to notice the Besiktas jerseys everywhere. It is game day. Soon the streets are swarming with Besiktas fans.
Usually this is a sight that makes me happy. But today I only see their drunkenness and how stupid they all seem. The air smells of cigarettes, filth, alcohol and machismo.
It is Laylat al Qadr in Istanbul.
Ramadan is the holiest month for Mulsims and Laylat al Qadr is the most special and holy of nights for a Muslim. On this night all the angels come down to Earth. It is the night on which the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhummad. It is a night that is considered to be better than a thousand months. Whoever prays with sincerity on this night will have all their past sins forgiven.
Around me all the drunk people stumbled around. Their cheers and chants were deafening. In front of me a huge fight broke out between the police and a bunch of belligerent drunks. I felt the chaos would swallow me before I could even reach my friend.
I longed for the homes of the Salmans, Jukakus and Fahmys; these families that I have always loved and admired and had always opened their homes on this special night. I longed for my own family and Feraz and for the peace and discovery that always comes on this night. I felt so helpless that I just sat down on a bench and cried.
Eventually, I made it to my friend’s house. She restored me with lentil soup, tea and Nutella. She made me lay down and take a nap to erase all the bad thoughts in my mind. Her other friend joined us and we made our way to a place where we could stay up all night and pray and worship.
In this random room in Fatih I found the peace that comes from sincerely seeking Allah. Among these complete strangers I felt my frustrations melt away. I realized that you don’t have to be in your town, in your musjid or your own home to experience the power of these last ten days. Allah’s love and mercy is so strong that it can find us across the world, through booze filled streets, and even past our own hardened hearts.
“Oh Allah who removes worry, the one who eliminates grief, the grantor of the prayers of the helpless, oh most merciful and compassionate of all in this world and in the hereafter, only You will show mercy on me; give such mercy to me that I do not need the mercy of anyone except you.”
Friday, September 11, 2009
Seconds into the ride, the passengers are yelling at the driver. Although they are speaking in Turkish I am confident they are saying something along the lines of "You jerk! Why are you driving like a maniac?!" If you know anything about riding in taxis or dolmuses in Turkey, you know that the default is really crappy driving. So, you can imagine how bad this guy had to be driving to get a bunch of Turks riled up.