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A Random Note From The Random Universe

With my graduate school applications out of the way, and the waiting period starting, all I have now are a bunch of exams, my senior seminar (which at the moment is lacking direction), and a lot of following up with high school students to prepare and finish for before I graduate in June.

I’ve also started job hunting because according to my parents, I should always have a plan to fall back on- especially that being my unconventional self, I didn’t apply to graduate school at AUB (where I’m a current student) because the program doesn’t seem to be to my liking. 

Well, it’s not that easy finding a job for an Environmental/Public Health specialist in a country where everyone is groomed to be the next doctor, engineer, or businessman- things I’ll never be, things I never wanted to be.

I’m on the verge of graduating and I still get the “look” from people when I tell them about my major, my future plans, and my long-term ambitions. 

But there’s nothing wrong with not sticking to conventions- at least in mind, there’s nothing wrong with it.

It’s been a long time coming, and a lot of unwarranted criticism,  but I think I’m ready for this new period of my life. 

30 Seconds to Mars are my latest favorite rock band (even though Jared Leto seems to be intent on being the male Lady Gaga, when it comes to fashion)-with most of that likeness attributed to Hurricane and the amazingly well-structured album: This is War. 

So consider my dismay when I knew they were going to be playing in Abu Dhabi on March 11- a concert that I cannot go to simply because I live in Beirut!

*Insert Jared-Leto-style-scream here* 

I can bitch for days and days about how here in Lebanon, we only get the crappiest  groups to play because the general population here seems to think that raves and electronic beats are music. I can bitch for days on end about how even when the above-mentioned events happen, they’re mostly unorganized, drink-infested, with no control over minors/legal age of drinking.

But perhaps my biggest gripe with these events is the ridiculous costs they charge! I know that a lot of hard work and effort goes into these events and the artists themselves only get a meager portion of the earnings. That’s very reasonable and understandable.  

The thing is though, we don’t need to have all those flashy strobe-lights, the loud sound system, and all the other things that the concert promoters throw in to make the concert an “experience.

PLEASE! 

No one believes that the above-mentioned experience could simply be the audience and the artist sharing their connection and love for music in a completely simplified setting, which would a- decrease the costs of tickets and b- make the whole event unforgettable. 

Back to the 30 Seconds to Mars concert. General admittance tickets are being sold for 150 AED- roughly converting to 40 USD. For double that, you can be in the fan pit! That’s still less than 100 USD. 

Let’s see what 40 bucks will let you do at a normal event in Lebanon?!

Tom and Tal: Once more?

In June 2010, I started a little project called TnT: A Blog About Life And Everything In Between with someone very near and dear to my heart. We decided to blog under our nicknames (even though Tom is as far away from that person’s given name as possible) and just write about what we know best. 

In my case, it was mostly all about music and “fun” lists, while he blogged about sports and such. 

It seemed to be working out for us- this little arrangement. It taught us a lot about ourselves and one another, as well as the online world. 

People actually liked what we had to offer- this was a great boost for our self-esteems, and for me, a great affirmation that I could still write after all those years of not doing so. 

Somewhere along the line, we just started making excuses for our lack of blogging and left it in a sort of dead state.

Today, Tom informed me that even though we haven’t done any new changes in around two months, we’re still averaging about 30 views a day- an amazing feat. He also proposed we go back to blogging there. 

I honestly don’t know. TnT is a Wordpress blog and I don’t really feel comfortable blogging on such a rigid medium- unlike Tumblr which allows me to be as random and “flow” as I am in reality. 

I also started feeling incredibly bored of not revealing anything about myself. While I don’t want the entire world knowing my business (there’s Facebook for that), I still didn’t like distancing my blogger persona from who I actually am. 

Another reason that discouraged(s) me from returning to the old blog is because of expectations. It’s undeniable that the Lebanese blogging scene is booming- and just about anyone with an opinion is writing. In that huge world, I know I’m still a tiny fish with very little expertise- something I need to build by discovering and making mistakes. Living up to people’s expectations and having to constantly deliver (taking into account that I am not a full-time blogger either) has led me to be completely apathetic and just write here whenever I can, whatever I want to. 

So back to the main point.

I’m not at all sure if I should go back to blogging with Tom- especially given how much I enjoy writing here. 

The response to the question in the title has to be- I guess- “It depends” (as the utilitarians in my ethics course would have said). 

One of the most random things I have ever done in my life
After day 1 of the Bicharaf Leadership Camp ended and the students headed up to their rooms to “sleep,” I went for a walk with several of my colleagues to the Our Lady of Lebanon shrine and statue. Having never been there, I was very excited to see the panoramic view that everyone enthuses about.
Did I mention that this particular walk happened at around 12 am? 
I was very content seeing the panoramic view from the base of the statue- it was very clear and I felt completely enchanted (after all, I am slightly terrified of heights). Yet, several of my coworkers insisted I go up with them, especially since this was my first time.
And so I did! 
It took my breath away. 
There is nothing more beautiful than seeing my beloved city all lit up and welcoming- the true city of blinding lights. 

One of the most random things I have ever done in my life

After day 1 of the Bicharaf Leadership Camp ended and the students headed up to their rooms to “sleep,” I went for a walk with several of my colleagues to the Our Lady of Lebanon shrine and statue. Having never been there, I was very excited to see the panoramic view that everyone enthuses about.

Did I mention that this particular walk happened at around 12 am? 

I was very content seeing the panoramic view from the base of the statue- it was very clear and I felt completely enchanted (after all, I am slightly terrified of heights). Yet, several of my coworkers insisted I go up with them, especially since this was my first time.

And so I did! 

It took my breath away. 

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing my beloved city all lit up and welcoming- the true city of blinding lights. 

Truly, Madly, Deeply- Savage Garden

I’ll say this straight away: no other song has been able to move me the way this has.  Despite my love for anything with a wicked guitar solo and an addicting drum beat, this classic from 1997 remains my favorite song of all time. I also have a great time singing it. 

Even though Valentine’s Day is something I don’t celebrate- and I belittle its importance, I spent the better part of yesterday humming this to myself, remembering just why I love it so much.

The truth is, I’ve based so many images of romance and love upon the lyrics and video of this very song. I’ve always imagined myself swaying along with a loved one to the smooth melody or having someone sing it to me. I don’t know how realistic I was but I’d like to think that this is me showing my otherwise non-existent romantic side. 

Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones were an unbeatable duo in the 90s, and I don’t think they did anything wrong during their time as Savage Garden. It’s hard to manage composing, writing, and singing all together, so maybe thats the reason they ended this partnership- but that’s beside the point.

The best part of the entire song is the slowed down verse (in the video, it’s where Darren walks into the cafe, sits down, and watches Daniel play) and the hushed “I Love You” that you can detect if you’re listening to it on earphones.

An truly incredible song that I find incomparable to anything else out there. 

For me, this video (and the performances by John Mayer, Norah Jones, Keith Urban, and Mick Jagger) was the highlight of the Grammy Awards ceremony which was otherwise just a whole load of blah. 

I’ve always loved Letterman’s lists, especially when they’re straight to point and relevant just like this one is. In 90 seconds, he manages to poke fun at everything in current music: Bieber, Gaga, Lohan, Mayer, and even one very obvious thing last night, the lack of awards being handed out (thus poking fun at everything coming together in one category).

Of course this came right before the charming performance by Mumford and Sons, the Avett Brothers, and Bob Dylan 

Anonymous asked
Dear Tala,

many thanks for your interesting reply. Can imagine that it is difficult to finish your work, if you depend so much on the internet.

Howerver, I found you thoughts about your block also very interesting. As I understand, you are lacking of helpful feedback and inspiration. I can imagine your situation. It is quite difficult to proceed with my writing without any personal interaction. So, may I ask what inspires you? Is there something, what stimulates your thinking, e.g. reading, experiencing, discussing, talking? For myself, I like to talk to condense my thoughts. But this differs from person to person.

Of course, it is very admirable, if somebody is creative and can write texts and poems. Did you have common topic throughout your work? Is there something integrating or is this just creative stuff?

Best

Johannes

Hey Johannes,

I am enjoying answering your questions- It’s good to think about writing and all that after such a long time and it’s helping me put things into perspective.

It’s difficult to say what inspires me because it’s not one specific thing but rather an observation of all that’s going on and what I’m going through at the moment. Maybe I haven’t been writing so much lately because my life has been in this uneventful state for a while now. 

I do tend to read a lot and I absolutely love discussing thoughts and ideas with people to have a complete perspective on things because I hate to just have a block unchanging view on things. 

What do you mean by condensing your thoughts? How do you do that?

As for a theme, there was always two things recurring-and I really loved writing about them: change and the need for help, but I never just sat down and told myself I’m going to write about either one, they just came to be the way they are, so I’d say this all just creative stuff that came to be what they are today. Then again, it’s up to the reader to discover if there is a recurrence or not. 

All the best :)

Tala