Showing posts from 2007

Remembering Jordan

Khobezeh, originally uploaded by LotusGem. Long time no post.

This is one photo I took back in 06. I feel better when I look at this photo.

Drifting in space

I changed my screen saver to star field on my XP machine, which has a descent size LCD.

Try this if you do have one. Turn off the lights, and watch that star field, and you will have the sensation that you are flying through space.

It's a nice feeling, and in fact reminds me of one lucid dream I had.

NBC Direct service and ads

I was just looking at the recently launched NBC direct service, which is a YouTube equivalent of NBC's shows, only really annoying.

I say that because every show I tried watching would play a long ad before it begins, and then tell me "this show is not available for your location" or something of the sort.

Now I have no problem with content being locale sensitive. It's the right of the content owners to decide on that, but what I do have a problem with is making me sit through the whole of a number ads repeatedly and then telling me I can't watch the content.

How I am dealing with it? I watched a few more, just to see the ads, and now Dove, Oreos, and Careerbuilder are on my no-more list.

Thank you NBC for annoying the customers of your advertisers.

Update: Looks like this blogger had the same experience.

Mother's Day

I just discovered these guys.

As far as I am concerned, these guys are the funniest thing to watch on the net.

Why I'm not buying HD movies

I bought the HD-DVD add-on for the XBOX 360 a while back, and got "King Kong" in the box. I also bought the documentary "Planet Earth", which is nothing short of absolutely amazing. And got "Happy Feet" for my and my family's benefit, especially my daughter who likes to skip around like Mumble.

This was about 6 months ago, and I have not been able to buy any more, and here is why.

There really isn't anything compelling enough about the movie lineup to pay $12 for a hi-def "experience", which is for most movies only marginally better than DVD.

I mean, if you see "Anchor Man" in DVD, then you've seen it in HD-DVD because the extra pixels will probably not add any more enjoyment or appreciation.

And fan boys. I am not saying that BlueRay lineup is better. It's just that the whole concept of paying $12 extra on the average for a movie that looks nearly as good on DVD is not a very attractive concept.

Come to think of it, only &q…

Yelsmin Grunge

Yelsmin Grunge, originally uploaded by LotusGem. This is my daughter Yelsmin.

I was not looking through the camera when I took this, I was talking to Yelsmin and resting the camera on my hand to get a more natural expression from Yelsmin.

It's post processed in Photoshop for a grunge effect.

I found this lying around in my e-Folders and decided to play around with it and publish it.I got the frame a number of tips from

Norah Jones - My Dear Country

Beautiful song, lyrics below. Enjoy.

'Twas Halloween and the ghosts were out,
And everywhere they'd go, they'd shout,
And though I covered my eyes I knew,
They'd go away.

But fear's the only thing I saw,
And three days later 'twas clear to all,
That nothing is as scary as election day.

But the day after is darker,
And darker and darker it goes,
Who knows, maybe the plans will change,
Who knows, maybe he's not deranged.

The news men know what they know, but they,
Know even less than what they say,
And I don't know who I can trust,
For they come what may.

'cause we believed in our candidate,
But even more it's the one we hate,
I needed someone I could shake,
On election day.

But the day after is darker,
And deeper and deeper we go,
Who knows, maybe it's all a dream,
Who knows if I'll wake up and scream.

I love the things that you've given me,
I cherish you my dear country,
But sometimes I don't understand,
The way we play.

I love the things that you've gi…

Doha 2016 Bid fireworks (PICS)

A flickr toys mosaic of the set, originally uploaded by LotusGem. These are four of the pictures I took last night while enjoying the Fireworks.

This was during the unveiling ceremony of Doha's logo for the 2016 Olympics bid.

I read it. THERE IS NO WAY!

Just pissed at some work people.

How can someone claim to have read 10 technical documents between 30-100 pages each in one work day?!!

ITS NOT A NEWSPAPER!! You need to understand what you are reading!!

Robot Chicken 1776 Spoof on 300

Brilliant, enjoy.

Just something to keep the blog alive (PIC)

Difficult red, originally uploaded by LotusGem.

5 minutes introduction to islam

Naryat wrote this on my wall in Facebook.

Thank you.

أغرب الفتاوى - 21 رمضان 1428

س: ماذا تقول في رجل أصاب ملابسه شىء طاهر والزمناه بغسله؟ هذا في حق المحرم يلزمه ان يغسل ما يقع على ملابس إحرامه من طيب

س: ما تقول في شيء طاهر يجوز أكله ولا يجوز بيعه؟ هو لحم الأضحية فله اكله واهداؤه والصدقة به ولا يجوز بيعه أو إبداله

منقول من جريدة الراية الرمضانية

Blogsphere is sleeping

The Jordanian blogging community seems to be asleep. I am hoping that this is good news and that bloggers are seeing time spent on worship in Ramadan to be more useful than time spent blogging.

PS: I hope it doesn't have much to do with the new printing laws in Jordan.

7 minute drive in 50

It's summer of 2000. June in fact.

I am in Doha, and I am calling my manager at the time (Sadek) about an anomaly in the server software. But that's not the point.

The point is, it was about 1:30pm, which is lunch/rush hour, and I am cruising on the D-Ring road taking one roundabout after the other effortlessly.

Skip ahead 7 years a few months to today.

I just drove my daughter to school, and spent 50 minutes is a traffic jam. The drive in normal traffic takes about 7 minutes.

No body is happier than I am about the progress happening in Qatar. This side of the progress is depressing.

Answering a Tag from Gardenia

The smells I like the most are:Lemon Balm (ريحان)Jasmine Lemons Mint Babies Burning wood (certain kinds of dry wood)Not neccessarily in that order. I tag no one ... I am a leaf. I am the place where tags go to die.

Outlandish - Callin' U (2007)

Not sure why I like this song. I really do.

Wainakh in Jerash 2007

Wainakh 2007, originally uploaded by LotusGem. I had the pleasure of attending the Wainakh performance in this years Jerash festival.

Needless to say, the theater was packed, and it seemed like Sukhnah, Zarqa and Sweileh has migrated to Jerash.

It was great watching the performers do their thing. I think they are some of the best performers in the world.

And in a twist of good luck, I had the pleasure of going behind the stage and meet the performers.

Enjoy the photos, and visit the full gallery.

The best Chechen dancer in existence

I found this great Chechen dancer. I expect great things to come.


Sari in Da House, and he dont like it!

I arrived in a Jordan a couple of days back, and was immediately immersed in post election celebrations (btw, my father won).

In any case, putting everything I love about Jordan aside now. Here are things that have deteriorated shockingly since last time I was here:

NUMBER 1 problem: Driving. I do not know how neglectful and incompetent the new police chief is, but this is ridiculous. It doesn't seem like there are rules any more, except for the red traffic light, everything else is fair game. You get to do what every you want.Car prices: Cars cost an arm and a leg. It is beyond sad.Fuel prices: a C200 costing nearly 2934 JDs a week is a crime.The number of people who are sick. I have found the diherea, vomit and feaver is running rampant in Amman and Al-Salt. Just visit any clinic or hospital and you will SEE what I am talking about.I blame you ma3roof il ba'7eet. You have failed us, and you have failed your King. I suggest you behave as responsibly as your ministers and submit…

Picture I took of The Elephant

Elephant, originally uploaded by LotusGem. I was surprised with this elephant in the parking lot yesterday. It was parked in the space next to my parking space.

That parking space has been empty a long while, eversince my neighbour in apartment 665 moved out.

Of course, seeing an elephant there makes you think of a few things and make a few assumptions. For instance, I assumed that the apartment next to me has been taken by someone. And I assumed that that some one is an Indian, because he drives an elephant.Turns out I was wrong. The guy is Yemeni. He is from Yemen. I didn't know they had that model in Yemen.I thought I would post this picture here for you to meet my new car neighbour.

A picture I took of

Pipe dream, originally uploaded by LotusGem. Pipes.

I call this "Pipe dream".

One of my favorites.

I don't know which category of photography this falls under. But I'm guessing abstract is probably the closest.UPDATEWhat is a pipe dream?A pipe dream is a fantastic hope or plan that is generally regarded as being nearly impossible to achieve. The term derives from the opium pipe, and dates to the late nineteenth century when opium smoking was common in the United States. More specifically, the term derives from the euphoric optimism that is one of the effects of smoking high quality opium. Depending on how much opium is smoked, intoxication may last from eight to twelve hours. During this time smokers go through a period of euphoria followed by a more relaxed state of contentment and well being. Beginning in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, popular literature and music began using the term "pipe dream" to describe any idea or plan whose probabl…

The Prestige

If you love movies that make you think through out. If you enjoy finding out that you were wrong that you had figured out this movie, and was pleasantly surprise. If you like the last moment of the movie to shock you and keep you staring at the scrolling credits for minutes.

Watch "The Prestige"

Guaranteed bit of fun.

Burned up

I spent last Saturday having all sorts of aquatic fun in the Sheraton with a friend, and I did a very stupid thing. In fact, I did a series of things that edge on total deliberate idiocy.

I spent the hours between 11AM and 2:30PM under the sun, with degrees around 40-45c. In and out of the water, laying on my chair and floating on a mattress in the sea. Needless to say I was starting to feel a little heat beneath my skin, in the flesh, so I decided to spend sometime in the Jacuzzi, which now I know isn't a very good idea. Not that I was clueless before doing it, which puts “deliberate idiocy” above in context.

Towards the late afternoon, I moved under the shaded area near the pool which wasn't as bad. But I could feel the heat of the sun roasting my shoulders and legs through the holes in the canopy above. And though it wasn’t really doing that, but in my mind here is it what it all looked like: A blindingly bright laser penetrating through my skin and scorching the flesh and ma…

The Photography competition I won

In a previous post I complained about not having much to do this summer and that it will be a lonely and boring time. This turned out to be untrue.

A comment on the post changed that.

Mr. Mohammad posted that I should come to a local photo shoot for a competition organized by members of a local online community on I went that day, met a lot of nice people and took a few photos.

I joined the group when I went home and submitted a few of my photos, some old and some new. And surprise surprise, I won.

They gave a Pro flickr account and the responsibility to organize and judge the next competition. Which gives something to worry about outside working hours.

If any of you reading this are in Qatar. Please go to and join the team, and lets see you in the next photo shoot. It really is not a cutthroat competition, its more of a social gathering.

Here we go again

This is the time of year people flee for vacations. My family will go to Jordan before me as usual. Which means I will have significantly more time on my hands.

This year however its a little different, I have no one leaving the country and wants live with me until then. I have no single friends who prefer to live in my house than theirs ... etc.

This means that this year I will be lonely. Alone. One is the loneliest number.

The plus side is you will be seeing a whole lot more from me in terms of photographs, blog posts and online matches (for those who know me on XBOX Live).

I need to start on a useful project to help put the time to good use. Which I know I will plan but never do, and will end up so bored before my vacation that reading the dictionary would pass as entertainment.

Please all, recommend good books.

Jordanian's are among the happeist?!!

In a recent study published June 6th 2007, the Jordanian people were found to be among the happiest people in the world. Which contradicts the general stereo type Jordanians are filed under.

For those of you who do not know, Jordanians (my self included) are considered to be frown-prone at all times with timid smiles appearing every once in a long while and in response occasions commanding extreme happiness (think winning the lottery).

So for this reputable institution to publish its "Gross International Happiness Study" ranking Jordan right below Sweden and above all other regional and international countries is quite surprising, if not shocking.

Apparently, the main drivers for happiness in Jordan are:
Democracy and free speech: The "Blog without fear" initiative in Jordan "دون بلا خوف", which promises bloggers absolute freedom to speak their minds has clearly paid off and is considered a catalyst for driving uptake of "freedom of speech" in Jorda…

BMW 540 2000 - Need advice

To every one reading this comment. I need help. I am hoping for someone with experience in BMWs.

I am offered a BMW 540 2000 model for an amount of money I can afford. The car is red which I dont like and comes with Automatic gearbox which I hate.

Still undecided on whether I should take the plunge, I need your help to tell me what too look for in the car (positive or negative) that could help me take the decision.

Knowing that in Qatar, overheating and A/C condition are most important.

Please comment here or send to my email sarihiari(at)


My brain is burning. I am playing project manager and content owner in one project, and project technical lead in another. At the same time, I am still worrying about my line functions and people's vacation timing.


I am reminded of an article on a website about a lady donating her brain because of such overload/overheat.

And here is a picture I took of a palm tree.

PS:I will start injecting this blog with some of my own photos that I particularly like. Makes it nicer to look at.

Delightfully pinkish

Delightfully pinkish, originally uploaded by LotusGem. This flower grows on a tree. It requires flexibility to reach and take a photo of.

Difficult Red

Out of place, originally uploaded by LotusGem. This rock is coming out of the closet, finally announcing that it is green. You know liking green more than black, IT MUST BE GREEN.

Difficult Red, originally uploaded by LotusGem. This is a picture I've taken in Singapore. I finally started developing those pics (RAW to JPEG).

The trust I am afforded flatters me

Apparently I am a trust worthy person.

The day before yesterday my car broke down and I had to go home in a Taxi.

Yesterday I called one to take me to work, but still had to pick my daughter from school and I wanted to buy a car.

I walked into the operations room, and said I need to pick Yelsmin up. My friend Awfa -- who already knew about my car breaking down, put his hand in his pocket and tossed his key across the room and looked back at his monitor. I remembered the Arabic saying "أن اللبيب من الإشارة يفهم".

His car is a brand new, fully speced Toyota Avalon 2007, he had it for about 3 days now may be 4 I cant remember.

On the road, I called a friend who I knew had bought a new car I liked, the Lexus RX. And asked if I could take it for a spin because I want to buy one. He met me outside his office building and gave me his keys.

Both cars are great, but I prefer the Avalon by a mile for its performance.

The point here is that I am trusted to just take these expensive high end c…

My days

A comment on an earlier post under the name Anonymous is the main reason for this.

The comment stated that the only thing that changes on my blog is my gamer score, and nothing else and then referenced a link for the Carpenter's Solitaire.

The sad thing is that the song applies to me completely and in every way.


So, what do I do besides gaming?
The family social stuff which includes visiting and hosting other families in groups and individually (family wise)Friends-going-out-somewheres, which is a group of my friends all deciding on going to some random place. Where the bulk of the activity is arguing on where we want to goGaming/movie days/nightsDune surfing on quad bikes and the subsequent swimmingBowling nights, which has been inactive for the longest time and now slowly being replaced with Basketball nights (which reminds me -- ouch my knee).Yelsmin's mandatory family outings which inevitably includes toy stores and fun parksAdd to that random events at work and the sponta…

Back from Singapore

Well. After spending 6 work intensive days in Singapore. I feel compelled to run this again.

Arrived in Singapore

It's my second day in Singapore. I am in a starbucks drinking a hazelnut falvoredAmericano and enjoying this free wireless connection to the internet. All I had to do is fill a form and they gave me this. I can pay $7 (Seven US Dollars) and get 512kbps for a month.

Singapore is a beautiful place, but a little humid. It is very clean, the streets are hollywood-movie-black and people are very nicely dressed and behaved and very very friendly. Everyone is polite and considerate and quiet in a restaurant. I cannot imagine living here.

I am having trouble finding Halal food here, and I don't really like sea food. Waddya gonna do? I guess I will have to lose weight.

The place is quite diverse, though the majority of people are from Chinese origins. You find Malayans, Indians Filipinos in addition to the Chinese.

Looking around me in this Starbucks. Everyone is either reading a book or working on his laptop. And they do it even in groups. Looks like a lot of students.

The whether is alway…

I am an arrogant idiot

This is a quickie...

I live in Qatar. It is quite the diverse place here. Today I made my way into a mosque I never prayed in before. Turns out 99% of all the people who prayed there were Pakistani or Indian.

After prayer finished, one man stood up and said something in his own language which was probably Urdu. He looked poor, like most of the people around me. I assumed he was telling everyone he was having a hard time setteling a debt or paying his rent as sometimes is the case.

I looked at the Imam hoping he would explain to me what the man said, but he was busy with his after praye doaa' and tasbeeh. A man next to me was looking at me and smiling, he could clearly make out that I was puzzled.

He tried to explain to me saying in Arabic "Hatha fi Jawlah, Jawlah ... Jawlah". But I had no idea what he meant. These words don't really mean much unless you understand what he means by Jawlah which really means a "round". Another man explained to me he is asking peo…

3 in 1 tag

Tagged by Naryat1- If there was a fire at your house and you could save only one thing (item) what would that be?

My external hard disk. It has all my photos and personal files.

2- What is the most embarrassing situation you have been in?
I still remember it like it was two minutes ago.

1st grade. I don't remember why I went to my older brother's class but I think we'd already finished school for the day and he had one more class.

I don't know what it was, but it wasn't unusual for people to take interest in me and try to be friendly. So the teacher in Ghaith's class (Ghaith being my older brother) decided to ask me to solve a puzzle in front of the class. He asks me about who would be the owner of an egg laid by a "rooster". Would it be the owner of the rooster or the man who had the egg laid in his land.

I said the owner, because the owner was feeding the rooster. And was so angry when the teacher was laughing at my response and told me I was wrong. I rem…

Why working at home isn't for everyone

I just had an epiphany. I know now why working from home doesn't work.

I colleague got sick and couldn't come to the office today, and while he said he would be available on mobile and email, it is still not the same for completing job tasks.

When he is in, I see something in my email and I want to talk to him, I pickup the phone, dial his extension and he is there. Question answered. If not, I will just walk into his office and get my answer.

And while I do get my answer through email if he is not in, it is not the same. You loose your string of thoughts and things become lazy and unresponsive and eventually you loose your momentum.

There is a certain added value in physical presence that makes sense when you need to make decisions quickly. Which I believe is 80% of daily work.

Still, if you're going to spend 2-3 days writing a document. It would actually make more sense for you to do it at home, uninterrupted.

3-Rings-of-Light on my 360

After a while of crashing and freezing, expectedly, my XBOX 360 has finally given me the 3 finger salute known as 3RL (3 Rings of Light).

Error code is 0102. Which basically for a while meant that its dead beyond repair.

Now however there is a number of alternative methods that may revive it. I have nothing to lose that I didn't already.

I'm starting with the eraser.

Will keep you posted.


My XBOX 360 is fixed and I went through the whole Nurnburgring on PGR3 and everything except for the fans seems to be working fine.

The fans are much louder now.

iPark or/حدائق الانترنت

I was surprised to see this today. My friend Ali Al-Suwaidi sent me a link to this video today. This is about the iPark that I talked about in a previous post.


Idiots can ruin your iPark day

ictQATAR, the place where I work, has cooperated with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture in Qatar to bring about the iPark.

You can now go to the bigger parks in Doha and get free wireless internet access on your laptop.

A great step forward in my view and an idea that should be studied and possibly extended to cover all of Qatar and may be have the idea implemented all over the region.

The launch was a mega event, to which I was invited. I had enough time to go home from work, have lunch, rest a little and the go there with the family.

Only when I got there the police insisted on seeing the invitation card to let me go in. Only THERE WAS NO INVITATION CARD. All my attempts to explain my this fact to the thick and impolite police man were unsuccessful and I decided to forfeit the day and go do something else with the family.

I parked the car at a different part of the Doha Corniche, and Yelsmin asked if we could take a boat ride, so we did. And then I had the idea to have …

Diversity in my work place

I just have to write about this.

I was reminded yesterday while in a meeting of a fact of my daily work routine that I found especially interesting. And that is that I work in a widely diversified environment.

The aforementioned meeting was between four of us. My self a Jordanian, one South African, one German and one English man, all working on a project who's team is just as diverse.

The project is run in a division run by a Singaporean. The program manager is Qatari. The project owner is Greek but lived in Austria and married to a German (who's sun by the way speaks 5 languages fluently).

The project team contains two Nigerian/English guys, a Syrian/Iraqi/English, a Lebanese, an Australian, an Irish, an Indian and three English guys one of which speaks English so posh that you think the Queen is about to walk through the door.

When preparing for this project back in December 06, I remember a lunch we had. One Russian who lived in Brazil. The afore mentioned Greek/Austrian. One I…

Is it weird that I am sad?

I was reading Naryat's message on mala2e6's blog 3almanshar and I felt a real sense of loss and sadness.

I wasn't about to cry or anything, but I felt loss and couldn't understand why.

Now the weird thing (or what I suspect is weird) is I don't know Naryat. I only know the RSS feed and the collection of HTML layouts and images that are Naryat's blog. So why does it get to me so?

Me thinks I need to reconsider the true effects the internet is having on society.

To tell you the truth, if I had read this on someone else's blog I would've thought it was corny. But nevertheless, here I am.

Blogging with Performancing

This blog post is more of a test for the "Performancing" plug-in for FireFox.

If this works as advertised, then this should appear on my blog without me having to go to and starting a post from there.

Which is wonderful.

Below this line is a drag-drop from the FireFox Add-ons page for Performancing.


by Performancing

More previews…

Performancing for Firefox is a full featured blog editor that sits
right in your Firefox browser and lets you post to your blog easily.
You can drag and drop formatted text from the page you happen to be
browsing, and take notes as well as post to your blog.

Performancing for Firefox was developed by, the worlds largest organization of professional bloggers.

The file itself was written by Jed Brown, and coordinated by Nick Wilson, both of Performancing LLC.

Now it's me again. And based on what I see so far, Performancing is going to be the Number 2 plug-in I install for FireFox from now on.

powered by…

A Picture I've taken of

Souq, originally uploaded by LotusGem. A Souq in Doha.

Other Souq Photo, originally uploaded by LotusGem. Other souq

Again on the iPhone


Crackdown on the 360

I just finished one more round playing the Crackdown demo on the XBOX360. I just want to say that this game is going to be BIG!

Mime interpretation

WARNING!! Mature.

This is hilarious. Enjoy.

Mime interpretation

The new Apple iPhone

I saw the Apple key note in CES 2007. I must say, it seems Mr. Jobs has never used Windows Mobile 5.0 device.

I mean the guy was all on reinventing the phone, and getting excited about synchronizing your contacts with your PC and typing with your finger and getting a little picture of whoever is calling, all of which the WM5 devices have been doing out of the box for a while now. Infact, my 3 yearold Pocket PC 2003 Phone Edition has been doing it for 3 years.

The only thing I can see that is really cool is the pinching thing for zooming in, and the accurate typing with the fingers on the tiny on-screen keyboard. And I am just assuming the latter. It could be that Steve Jobs has an accurate finger.

Discrimination in Dubai?

I doubt that what you are about to learn of here is legal in Dubai, or even socially accepted, but that didn't stop the company Afraa from posting a job opportunity blatantly excluding Muslims from the job.

Details Here at Naukri Gulf site.

This was there in the job post:
Only Army Ex-defence,
Age- 40 yrs Maximum,
Only Non-Muslim
Good height and Health
Know Basic English

Now I understand all of these items, except for the Non-Muslim one.

I could also, understand that some jobs may be better suited for non-Muslims like bar tending or so, but this is a security guard position in a Muslim country. A SECURITY JOB. What? do they think we spontaneouslycombust?!

Any body else find this shocking?? I mean wouldn't this be absolutely horrid if it said Non-Blacks, Non-Arabs, Non-Christians, Non-Asians.

Whats next? May be we'll start seeing posts for a secretary job for whores only or an accounting position for Indians only? Or may be even worse, this has already been there but no one talks abo…