Razan Khatib's commentary on life on/off the web

Archive for the 'Life & Living' Category

You're No One If You're Not On Twitter! 0

A hilarious song by Ben Walker about the evolution of the web up until Twitter!

check it out at: http://5090.fawm.org/songs.php?id=2303

(Click play on the player on top of the page!)


You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter
And if you aren’t there already you’ve missed it
If you haven’t been bookmarked, retweeted and blogged
You might as well not have existed

In the old days it was all about achievements
Collecting all your trophies in a shrine
Then everybody came across the internet
And suddenly you had to be online

A home page was all you really needed
To seem like a success but not a geek
As long as you updated semi-annually
And checked your email once or twice a week

You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter…

Technology was moving rather quickly
And the next thing you needed was a blog
With intimate and detailed press releases
And now and then a photo of your dog

More recently the students brought us Facebook
And everybody has a hundred friends
The parties in the photos look amazing
They’re not so great but everyone pretends

You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter…

Now you need to publish every movement
And every single thought to cross your mind
I’m told the Twitterverse is full of rubbish
But most of us are actually quite refined

We validate each other’s insecurities
And brag about the gadgets that we’ve bought
We laugh out loud at every hint of jolliness
And try to self-promote without being caught

You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter…

On the future of books 2

I have stumbled upon two new developments that tackle the future of books and of course the two have the web at the center of the experience.

The first is Amazon’s Kindle, the wireless reading device is more like the iPod for books, where you can buy a book at a cheaper price and get it delivered wirelessly to the device it self so you can read it.  You can also read magazines and newspapers.

The second is the Unbook experiment by Jay Cross and Dave Gray (who I know of), the concept lies in trying to make books into living objects and not timestamped into versions that become obsolete when the next one comes along. Books that evolve.

The concept is explained better in this slide show:
[slideshare id=569866&doc=theunbook0012003-1219747524880688-9&w=425]

(Jay’s book is called “Learnscape Architecture“)

The Kindle enables me to take as many books as I want anywhere without worrying about weight I have to carry. mmmmm but i love the feel of real books, turning the pages…

While the Unbook enables me -the reader- who’s interested in the subject help bring the next version through discussion over blogs and still be able to read the paperback version!

Anyway, being the web 2.0 geek I am, I had to Google “Books 2.0″, and found a blog -shockingly- called The book is dead with a post about Books 2.0! Turned out to be the online blog associated with a book called “The book is dead” by Sherman Young. The post is about an article on BusinessWeek called Book Publishers: Learn From Digg, Yelp—Even Gawker where the author talks about how publishers need to embrace Web 2.0 concepts.

Guess I am going to buy Jay’s and Sherman’s books before I go and say anything more on this subject!

Cups and Kilos at the heart of supporting local businesses 5

I’ve been noticing that whenever someone talks about globalization and its effects on Jordan and Amman, Cups and Kilo’s gets mentioned. Whenever, a decent local business that can compete with a global brand on our soil is discussed, then Cups and Kilos gets mentioned. Even when they had problems of being shut down in Abdoun months ago, a facebook group was created in their defense and support! Ok, I know that there is a facebook group for every little things these days, but again I think i have a point :)

It appears to me as if the threat of global businesses with strong brands like Starbucks gets Jordanians hot blooded even if some don’t think that global Starbucks are owned by Zionists. I don’t remember that being the case when MacDonalds and BurgerKing opened. People don’t even mention BlueFig, as the incumbent.

Even Fastlink tried to sell on that concept when it created its “minna ou fina” (from us and within us) slogan yet I don’t think it was as successful as the case with Cups and Kilos. It was more of a joke between fastlinkers!

Way to go Cups and Kilos! and a big cheer to all local business owners (including me :D ) that are doing their best to create world-class brands and customer experiences. And no they didn’t pay me to post this!

"Up Close" original, crazy and brilliant 0

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Those were the words exchanged between visitors at the opening of Alma Khasawnih’s first solo exhibition “Up Close” on June 1st at LeCentre (French Cultural Center)

“Up Close” original, crazy and brilliant

The art pieces presented did need a closer look to be able to see the magnificent details, actually the artist included a handy magnifier almost with each piece to allow visitors this closer look.

The exhibition included two main types of pieces; paintings and sculptures/installations…something very different and original.

I encourage you to go and take your up close look @ the French Cultural Center in Jabal Elweibdeh, Paris Circle and you will notice more than half of the pieces are sold out!

Here are some photos taken by Rafiq Nasereddin from Makan

See the details??? Yes, crazy brilliant is my friend and business partner Alma, he also just gifted me some glow in the dark garden pebbles which I completely fell in love with :-)

over 18 female in Jordan?…sorry you are half an adult! 7

I was shocked and scared the other day when a friend of mine told me that a 25 year old woman who was hanging out with friends at Books@Cafe; was forced against her will by the police to go back to her parents place which it seems she fled few weeks ago!

Seemingly, if you are a woman in Jordan, your father OWNS you until he transfers the ownership to your future husband. Care to have a life of your own? Nope. You are not an adult, there will always be some male in your family responsible for you. No sorry, if you kill someone, steal something you still will go to Jail, your male family friend can’t be responsible about those actions.


We don’t know anything about the girl in question, only that against all tries of the owners of the cafe, the police still took her while she was screaming and saying “I don’t want to live with you” to her family. Destination of course is a hospital to check her virginity. Failed attempts to check if they killed her or not. As it seems there is nothing anyone can do.

SAD SAD people are Jordanians, me included. Here I am a 33 year old, a career woman, a business owner but no, according to the Jordanian law, i have to have, “waly amer” to control my life. Where was my “waly amer” when I registered my company? or applied for a new passport? What the hell is this?


Are we that mute? 1

The following is something I wrote 5 years ago, around the Israeli invasion of the West Bank in 2002. Reflecting on the disaster in GAZA I just had to say the words to myself again…


They got you “Mute”,

the “how” and the “why” are loads of theories

you can’t choose from,

but you sense it mute along with the rest of you.


Saddened by your state, you bleed silently from within,

your wounds are growing and you sense more of the pain, the pain of despair.

You cling to hope yet when you give it another thought you know that hope is not the next thing in line.

Hope is there for you to survive and who says you can’t?

The expectations of a better tomorrow become dreams with no vision;

since you think you have no control…then again you are on mute.

Proud of others down in the line of fire,

is all that you think you can do who does this help? Only you.


You do care, you care so much to the degree of despair

But what more do you need to see, to happen

for you to scream, to rebel to finally act and be LOUD?


Are you that “Mute”?

Predictions for 2008 0

I am copying and pasting my answer to kim’s Quest on Questler

So here are my predictions for 2008:

1. Lebanon will have a new president (do they have one already???)

2. George Bush will give us another disaster decision before leaving office.

3. It will be more and more expensive to live in Amman.

4. People will start having negative feelings about Google.

5. Republicans and Hillary will lose the presidential race.

6. Questler will hit big everywhere (ok, this is wishful thinking:) )

7. Microsoft will announce that office 2010 will be completely a web app!

8. New search engines will become more popular (Spock, Riya…etc)

9. Palestinian occupied territories will still be called the same.

10. last but not least, real estate prices in Jordan will start declining by end of year. (Wishful thinking?)

Children Museum: Sorry you are too old to enter! 0

A fried of mine passed by today and told me that she was so disappointed that they wouldn’t allow her and her brother to enter the Children’s Museum today because they didn’t have a child 13 or younger with them! Read her post at When Your Inner Child Doesn’t Count by Shalabieh

This is outrageous,  I mean why can’t adults be allowed to enter? A public space built by our tax money and you can’t enter?!!!

Neighborhood Monster 4

I just finished Wa7sh el 7ara, the personal visual commentary about the Jordan Gate buildings in Um Otheina, Amman. They do disturb me still, at night more than day. It has polluted my visual outlook while driving in my neighborhood. I wanted to do this for more than 6 months, so I happy i got to do it before the end of the year!

Thanks to Lubna for the sound design, perfect music to fit the story board.

So watch and enjoy! and of course do tell me what you think :-)

Airports are boring, where are you scotty? 2

I’m at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, its boring. Even when there is wireless its still boring. Traveling is great only if we could skip the airports, airplanes, check in, passport all of it.

Really, when will someone create the transporter, i am constantly thinking “beam me up scotty”.

Had to rant a bit before i start my looong trip to Canada.

My nephew Omar 2

Please be introduced to baby Omar! who was born a week ago – on Oct 15th , the first grandchild of the Jamil & Entissar family  -making him another libra in the family :D

I decided years ago that I will not be a breeder, so I want them to do all the breeding; I want a lot of nephews and nices, as much as my two brothers and one sister can provide!while I can enjoy being the cool aunt everyone runs to when they are having trouble with their parents :D

On a more serious note, the closest I might get to parenthood is being the aunt. So baby Omar made an aunt out of me.
Omar Khatib

He’s sooo adorable isn’t he?

double 3, an overdose 0

Yep, it happened, against all my efforts to extend my youth, I am out of it now. I’ve been 33 an hour and thirty seven minuets ago!

The funniest thing about today, is that i went to bed very late and woke up at 13:20 to find around 10 missed calls and 4 text messages. Wow, i am popular this year! Started thinking should i reply to the sms or start calling back? but, who should I call? First missed call or Last missed call? I called the last.

A. , replies and says immediately “Razan? wow great. Ok you need to call d. immediatly because rh was so worried you were not answering and started to panic, so as we. d. is on her way to your house!”

Wow, I laughed so hard. I thank you my friends for giving such a good laugh today :-) I think you really can’t disappear on your birthday without giving notice.

Now, what’s special about 33? these are some cool stuff I found on Wikipedia with a whole page dedicated to the number 33:

  • Many people claim that they see, witness, or experience the number 33 in unusual circumstances or at a frequency that defies statistical likelihood. A popular website is dedicated to this digit
  • 33 is a street code name for Cocaine.
  •  The Sun will rise at the exact same spot on the horizon every 33 years [Sun, Moon and Earth  by Robin Heath, 1999].

Now my own calculation:

2+0+1+0+2+0+0+7 = 12

1+2 = 3!!

Silliness is an art :D

Another "brick in the wall" of freedom of expression in Jordan 0

I just got the news that the Jordanian government represented by the Print & Publishing Department will extend its sad and frustrating laws onto online websites, most probably the vast amount of web-based blogs and press sites. Very frustrating, I don’t know if my blog on hosted on WordPress will be included as well but it doesn’t look like it. So this is a downer for all Jordanian blog based services like Maktoob and others.

From reading the article in today’s Al Dustoor, a number of people are threatening legal action if the government starts to actually implement this.

In my opinion, this is a weak ‘s man try at controlling something that is obviously out of their control. Insecure and totally ridiculous to even talk about. How will Jordan be able to actually advance economically, socially and technologically ever if we prohibit people to think and express freely!

From not allowing atv to air yet, to this. I think we have two big forces fighting for our future, one wants to take us back to stone ages and one wants to take us forward.

unlearn. changing perceptions 0

2 years ago, I was at Pride Toronto, and i noticed this booth with the word “unlearn” I was totally intregued at first sight.

I went and browsed through the items on display, one T-Shirt had the word “تصحيح مفاهيم” with a boy’s face smiling, the other had different skin colors representing the diversity of the human race, one with two women and two men, challenging the man-woman heterosexual perception and another had a plug with two pins shown against three other types of plugs, again to show diversity.

Very creative design. You can browse through their products at http://www.unlearn.com/

30 something colors 3

As my 33rd birthday is approaching, its that time of year where I reflect, ok i always reflect, but this time is a reflection and a projection!


1. I know that age is just a number, that youth is in the heart and mind bla bla bla

2. Some people will experience things 1-2 years before or after

3. THIS IS FOR FUN, don’t start having weird thoughts!

Here is how i see the 30′s in colors:

30-31, Yellow, fresh. thinking you are finally there, things should make sense now and if they don’t then you think they ought to be! work, family, friends, money and love/sex life (not in any preferred order, but i did keep the best for last!)

32- Green, -a bit darker. You’re still happy to be in your 30′s, the 40′s are still too far away. You start thinking “stability” and obsess about it all through work, family, friends, money and love/sex life.

33-Orange.You can’t be more 30 something than 33, double dosage! This is the year where being 40 is only 7 years away, it starts hitting, because you vividly remember where you were and what you were doing 7 years ago. It was yesterday. Shit. You start thinking, I need to accelerate on the big 4 work, family, friends and love/sex life.

I am speculating from now on…

34-35-36-Purple. You have hit the so called mid-thirties, you are mature, if not then you should be! If you haven’t gone into a life altering change yet, then this is the time where it starts. The first time you start thinking the big question WHAT HAVE I DONE! You keep asking that question over and over again, stuck in different shades of purple.

37- Red, you are flaming hot by now. Mature, sexy, accomplished. That’s when you start thinking people in their twenties are damn hot. And you might date a couple just to be sure they think you are hot still!

38- Gray, obvious, the gray hairs are not so few and cute like they used to be and you have to decide whether you will dye your hair onwards or celebrate it gray all the way! Wrinkles start showing, but sexy still. Everything becomes so gray, like really gray. The madness start, you will do things you never thought you would.

39- Rainbow, its your toughest year to come. If you are already with someone, you will think, are they the right person for me? If you are not with someone, then you think, should i have stuck to someone by now? Your madness accelerates and you continue to do things you never thought you would.

Circles of shame 0

Our obsession with normality is just unbelievable sometimes.

This shame of being different in a very diverse universe just amazes me! and when all major philosophers have talked and talked about how “change is the only constant” you must agree that the boundaries of human “tolerance” have been broken over and over again all through time, yet why do we get stuck, why do we take a long time to submit to this change, be it whatever. Why do we go to wars for it? Why do we have to be shocked about something or the other?

Moreover, what’s with this shame?

All levels of it, the inner shame, then out of that first circle into friends, then parents & siblings then relatives, then friends of the above, then the whole community, then the whole city, state, country, region and world at large.

Just pick one of the issues, and you will see its somehow stuck at one of those circles!

Sadly, I think we are caught in one circle for any given subject at any given time in our lives.

Just let there time to comprehend, let there be freedom to state your objection, opinion and thought on a subject, just tolerate when you can’t understand nor comprehend.

We are all part of this web called life, and we are all trying to live happily just this once!

conversations 0

Don’t you just love conversations?

Any format, any subject, they are a big part of joy in life!

I just can’t get enough, I almost evaluate my day by how many good conversations I had, people are amazing and when we talk we are extra amazing.

Conversations should get an award or something of value, their contribution to human knowledge is unmeasurable to say the least.

Think of this loop, you think of something, your read more about it, then you talk to someone and then think some more, read some more and talk to someone else…

Your perception changes, your perspective changes and your whole thought takes a life of its own.

And the web, like nothing else before gives us a new vision into the conversations out there, a physical formation of some sort to capture those conversations in a new never ending ever evolving format.

I just had great conversations today!

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