Sunday, 21 April 2013

dedicated to the favourite blogger

For the writer, the runner, the feedback giver, the editor, and the friend—Lord Aymz.

You've done and achieved so much just during the two years I've known you: launched MyBloogle and the Q8 Foot Soldiers, had several articles published, were interviewed by a newspaper and a magazine, ran a freaking 42K in record time! I've met more than a dozen equally amazing people through you, half of whom I'm glad to call my friends.

I admire your commitment to betterment in all that you delve into, and especially admire your fearlessness in expressing your beliefs and your refusal to sit back and accept injustice. 

You inspire me to be a confident and consistent blogger, a determined runner, and a better Muslim. I can honestly say that my life in Kuwait has been enriched since I recognized your email that day at Better Books—so thankful I did!

Happy Birthday A! I wish you every happiness today, and plenty more in the years to come. May you achieve all that you strive for, inshallah. 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

2013 Resolutions: The First Quarterly Audit

I promised myself I'd keep track of my resolutions every quarter and come closer to achieving my goals this year.

Writing Resolutions:

1. Post at least once a week.
When I miss a week, I squelch my conscience by making two posts the following week.

2. Start reviewing books on Goodreads.
Started! I've linked the Goodreads widget to the blog.

3. Give some thought to converting this blog into a website.
I'm still weighing out the pros and cons of shifting to Wordpress. The cons are currently winning.

4. Send articles to publications every month and build a writing portfolio. Rewrite and edit the unfinished write-ups from last year.
Got rejected, then had a piece published! It appeared in the April issue of bazaar magazine. Working on old and new ideas.

5. Have a tryst with Fiction.
I had an awesome dream a week or so after New Year. It was vivid, heart-rending and is going to be the foundation for my first novel. Except for scribbling down a few notes on the protagonists and a couple of scenes (that appeared in my dream), I haven't really begun writing it yet, although I replay said scenes in my mind everyday. It'll be challenging, will require a ton of research, and the novel if completed may never be published, but I foresee it as a journey I must embark upon.

6. Make a wholehearted attempt at writing a screenplay.
Watching more plays and encountering Max Landis at the Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai last week (write-up coming soon) has only impassioned me further on writing one, but I haven't come up with anything decent yet.

7. Continue recording dreams. Skim through past records for potential material.
See 5. Haven't done any skimming yet.

8. Add to the vocabulary arsenal and draw from it.
In progress. Wodehouse and Doyle are assisting me. 

9. Get in touch with like-minded bloggers and writers; read and comment on their work.
In progress, but I don't comment as much as I should. I will.

10. If the words start flowing, put them on paper/Notes app/Kleenex/currency notes/what have you IMMEDIATELY.
Long live the trusty Notes app! It's been an indispensable tool for when the words are aroused.

I haven't really been working on my Reading or Continuing Education resolutions (only read five books so far), except for turning to Wodehouse when in dire need of mirth, and attempting to pick up more Arabic.

What are your resolutions or goals for 2013? Are you keeping track of your progress or is your list lying forgotten in a drawer? Pick it up, blow the dust off and get a move on.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Disney Dialogues: Things Imma Tell My Kids

Disney has been a huge part of my childhood. When I was five or six, my dad would get me a new Disney film every other evening and we’d all watch it together. Animated films like Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story, The Fox and the Hound, Finding Nemo, Pocahontas, Bambi, Robin Hood, Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, Peter Pan, Aladdin etc. teach a kid so much about friendship, morals, love, teamwork, choices, dreams, growing up, the importance of kindness and life in general. If I ever have children, I would love to share this part of my life with them and ensure they take with them the same lessons.

But besides the endearing story, striking animation and lovable characters, it's the songs and dialogues that appeal to me. I've spent countless hours watching Disney films (repeatedly), and have developed an art of quoting the right Disney dialogue at the right moment. So much so, I realized that a number of them can be used as retorts to unruly children and overbearing teenagers, or as encouraging words when a kid needs some motivation. I set about compiling a list of dialogues I’d deliver to my kids if/when the relevant situation came up, complete with YouTube videos for tone and inflection, including the songs I’d break into at the appropriate moments.

Disney-inspired things I'm going to tell my kids if they:

      1.     Are getting ready for their first day of school:
      “Listen to your teacher and no fighting. Play nice with the other kids. Unless of course, one of the other kids wanna fight, then you have to kick the other kid's butt.” — Mushu, Mulan

      2.     Face peer pressure:
“Now remember, beee yourself.” — Genie, Aladdin

      3.     Make a mess:
“What kind of primitive beasts are responsible for this mess..?” - Terk, Tarzan

4.  Grumble about being taken them somewhere they didn’t think would be fun:
“Adventure is out there!” — Ellie, Up

      5.     Ask for a geography lesson (on South America):
“South America. It's like America. But south.” — Ellie, Up

      6.     Complain about the mundaneness of house chores:
“In every job that must be done, 
there is an element of fun. 
You find the fun and...
SNAP! The job's a game!” — Mary Poppins 

      7.     Ever suffer from low self-esteem:
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh

      8.     Are on the verge of giving up a task at hand:
“Giving up is for rookies.” — Phil, Hercules (couldn't find a video)

      9.     Lie:
     “A lie keeps growing and growing until it's as plain as the nose on your face.” — The Blue Fairy, Pinocchio

    10.  Disobey me in a hyperactive fit or didn't study:
    “I know that your powers of retention
Are as wet as a warthog's back side. 
But thick as you are, pay attention!
My words are a matter of pride.

It's clear from your vacant expressions,
The lights are not all on upstairs...” — Scar, The Lion King

    11.  Can't empathize:
“If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, 

you'll learn things you never knew
you never knew.” — Pocahontas

12.  Feel low or unhappy about something:
“Look for the bare necessities, 
the simple bare necessities, 
forget about your worries and your strife!” — Baloo, The Jungle Book

    13.  Find themselves in a moral conundrum:
“Always let your conscience be your guide.” — The Blue Fairy/Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio

    14.  Didn't like what was for dinner:
     “A dinner here is never second best!” — Lumière, Beauty and the Beast

     15.  Try to bribe me into letting them have their own way:
“I don't make deals with peasants!” — Kuzco, The Emperor’s New Groove


16.     Said or did something incredibly stupid:
      “I’m surrounded by idiots.” — Scar, The Lion King

17.     Need to hear some inspiring words:
“Set your sights,
Upon the heights,
Don't be a mediocrity.
Don't just wait
and trust to Fate
and say that's how it's meant to be.
It's upto you, how far you go,
if you don't try you'll never know.
And so my lad, as I've explained.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained!” — Merlin, The Sword in the Stone

Of course, there are innumerable quotable gems in non-Disney movies that deserve their own lists, but I couldn’t resist adding a couple from The Lord of the Rings to my arsenal. If my kids:

- Were late for the school bus:
“Fly you fools!” — Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

- Refused to study:
“YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” — Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

Oh yeahhh. My kids are gonna be awesome.