Bits and Pieces from Here and There

Iranian Nowrooz celebrated in June 12 instead of March 21

Iranian Nowrooz celebrated in June instead of March

Typical decorations

Typical decorations

Iranian Music and Dance

Iranian Music and Dance

June, the Month of Supporting Gay and Lesbian Rights

June, the Month of Supporting Gay and Lesbian Rights

Duke the Lizard; 11 Weeks

Duke the Lizard; 11 Weeks

Duke the Lion; 11 Weeks

Duke the Lion; 11 Weeks

Duke the Teddy Bear; 10 weeks

Duke the Teddy Bear; 10 weeks

JD; my daughter’s Pomeranian who loves cigarettes

JD; my daughter’s Pomeranian who loves cigarettes

And finally a film that is worth watching both in English and Arabic versions.

Note: If you’re not able to watch the film here click the links at the bottom


Happy Birthday Sweethearts

Few weeks ago was my twin’s birthday, and what could be better than giving them a birthday gift of entertainment fit for grownups but a trip to the city that does not go to sleep


The trip was more than 9 hours drive, but the road was smooth for most of the distance and filled with beautiful sceneries.





The Stratosphere hotel was also a treat for a good deal, there was no need to go outside when the hotel had everything one needs just in the lobby.


And the real treat was

mamma.jpg in Mandalay Bay Hoteldsc02792.jpg


More pictures from the magnificent city

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Click on the pics for a better view

Only one setback was that I had to drive back at 3AM the same day we attended the play to catch up with other errands we had back in Mountain View. It wasn’t as bad as I thought though, the highways were mostly empty and I slept like a baby as soon as I got back home.
This trip officially ended my summer vacation, this summer was full of excitements for me, family and friends came at different times and filled my time as well as my apartment, we took short trips together and had lots of fun, and now that everyone is gone I feel melancholic, I already miss them so much. Life here is nice, the weather is beautiful, but it was much nicer with loved ones around.
This occasion also coincides with my blog that I started three years back with blogspot, and exactly one year back with wordpress. Remember when I wrote about the time for change? Well September always brings changes, and always to the better. There is a major change in my life of which its first threads are beginning to materialize, not time to talk about it though, but I will soon enough.
Happy birthday sweethearts and may you always have better times in future.


A Trip to L.A. Via Highway 101 South

Pismo Beach




Solvang (Danish town amidst CA)



Old Pasadena




Venice Beach


Beverly Hills



My First Visit to Cantor Center for Visual Arts

Thursday may 17, 2007, I was invited to attend one of my son’s Art classes, not in his college, but in Cantor Art Center of Stanford University, or what used to be called Stanford Art Museum.

The museum had a puzzling air about it; it was not exactly a museum, nor it was an art gallery. Stanford family, the founders of the University bearing the family name in the heart of Silicon Valley, laid the first cornerstones of the museum they built to house the art they collected from around the world, of which some ancient and priceless ones were bought directly from excavators. Then the museum grew to be more of an art gallery housing abstract and modern paintings side-by-side with the ancient, after surviving earthquakes and periods of neglect.

The Gates of Hell, 1880–1900

Stones gathered from the previous museum building that did not survive the earthquake. A groove that was caused by the earth-shake outside of the building was filled with some fillings and the remains of those stones. Notice how the groove zigzags.

So the first impression I had inside the museum was “a combination of an ancient world of museums co-existing with the modern or contemporary art gallery!!!”….. Not an easy combination for the interior decorator of the building, or the ones responsible for arranging such pieces to give the feeling of transition from the two diverse dimension of ancient past to the chaotic modern life. But I can see that this was well taken care of, and the color combination used to paint the interiors in each quarter, in addition to light-shade distribution in the building, added majesty to the place and helped in creating the right atmosphere, where such transitions became very smooth and that by itself is an art.

It was a real exciting experience for me that differed from any other experience I had in visiting museums or art galleries in the past. I have always appreciated arts. To me art is a creation, a discovery process of civilizations. And it always amazed me how some experts could get a lot of information from a small piece of broken ceramic found in the rubbles, or a canvas that may even tell the story of a whole civilization.

Museum visitations always carried a special joy in my heart, as if taking me out of my reality, and placing me in other dimensions, other people’s shoes, so that I could better understand my own reality. To me art is meditative, and that’s why I usually like to be left alone when I’m in a museum. Tour guides bore me with lots of information of which I won’t even remember much when the tour is over, and end up with a headache. I’d rather be left in my solitude to discover the jewels of a museum on my own.

But this visitation was not a regular tour in a museum, it was a class conducted inside the museum, in other words; it was a docent-tour. And to me it was a unique experience that I did not expect. The class assignment to student at the end of the quarter is to choose one realistic painting (not abstract) of the museum to write a report about. Now “how to write such a report, and what element you should look for in a canvas when writing the report” was the purpose of conducting this class session in the museum I suppose .

The class was supposed to group analyze a painting. So habitually I ran to the description label of that painting even before checking out the piece. Well, it is true that 99% of the times I don’t even remember the name of the artist, but I enjoy the effect the piece cast on me at that instant, especially after reading the label to know the theme. But unexpectedly, the instructor stopped me. She said something that sounded like; we will try to read the painting through the painting itself and not through the written words of the label!! In other words; no label reading!!!!

First we started by giving general description of what we saw in the canvas as outsiders; color, light-shade, identifying the objects in the painting and so forth. Then we got in the canvas and tried to figure out what is going on inside that framed boundary, and what impact that painting has on us while we’re there; like what senses is provoked? And what feelings?

Stories started popping out; all wild guesses. Then the majority agreed on a unified interpretation. And then we read the label to find out how close we were in our speculation. Exactly like learning how to read the ABC of a new language. And this to me was a new beneficial experience that I immensely enjoyed. How many times I’ve been to museums. Never for once I tried to see deeply into any piece of art before reading the descriptive label beside it.

The other thing that grabbed my attention was the building itself. The architecture resembled that of the Renaissance buildings with open halls and high ceilings. And lots of arches and beams gives a feeling of abundance and huge breathing spaces. But the Interior decorating in general was modern and it appeared to be based on researched affect each corner is supposed to cast on the visitors. Which was another irony that blended very well.
This is my general impression about the building. I did not get to check it properly since visiting hours were over only ten minutes after class ended. But, for sure I will have more visits and will take the class assignment seriously if the instructor does not mind checking it for me. And I’m sure that my son would be deligted to have my company on his next trip to the museum… 😉
LOL, it feel like a student again, only this time I don’t have to worry about my grade, and can have all my time to write that report, and I also have the option to choose not to hand in the assignment….sorry students, but pun was intended, I’m jealous 😛

Ok now; let’s take a look at some of the things I liked the most in the museum.

“The Horse”, no that’s not the official title of the piece, unfortunately I did not have the time to read the label…. :p. I didn’t even get the name of the artist, but I have made a mental note to check it out next time I visit and will update this post accordingly.
The thing about the horse is that it’s made of bronze. The details of the groves on the piece were so awesome that even with a very close look you could almost swear that it’s natural wood. The piece also had this three dimensional perfection about it; from whatever angle you look at it, you can hardly spot a fault, and the piece becomes more convincing.

Breastfeeding, African personification and “The Kiss” were also my favorites:

Click here if you want to see more pics, and enjoy.

Christmas Eve Ramblings

Ok what to do on Christmas Eve when all banks are closed and, well I’m waiting for some transactions, and today is Sunday, tomorrow is Christmas day, and nothing is open and my business has to wait till Tuesday 😦


So we decided, me and the boys, just to get lost, no, not exactly, we decide to walk on the streets and discover new places. The streets were practically empty, and that’s understandable, since almost every one is having a Christmas occasion with family, but hey, there was this place which was open, it’s called New Age. Wow, New Age is my place, actually, this is the place I call the treasure, I’m fond of candles and spiritual books and CD’s as well as DVD’s.

And here is what I got after spending almost two hours in there with the boys outside waiting (poor guys); some CD’s (eight of them) that I’ve been hunting through the Net for a long time, as well as a book 🙂


Then we strolled a bit more in the cold weather and saw this Irish Bar, what a treat, a place to have a drink and to warm up ha?
They were kind enough to let the boys in; one of them is underage. They have this pool room where the boys found their delight. As for me; I sat in a corner on a high stool. In front of me a Marlow glass on a high table, and further on, a bunch of people, loud but not to my attention, since I had my iPod playing my Enigma and Buddha bar music. But a couple of lovebirds were kissing right in front of me. Being the Kuwaiti I am, I could not resist ogling, they were not young, most probably in their forties, not good looking like movie stars either, but they looked beautiful. Something I’m not used to seeing back home, do you blame me for being a curious cat?


The atmosphere was very Christmassy; but I was too sober to notice at first, so I crossed my legs on the high stool and started reading my new book (on my lap). What a nice feeling, nobody paid attention; imagine if I did this in Kuwait, LOL


The decoration was like that of the old taverns; wooden walls mixed with brown bricks and oak wood walls and ceiling. Halve of the ceiling was open to the sky for fresh air since this was the smoking area, but there were heaters hanging to the ceiling, and with those and the effect of the Marlow, and of course the warm smiles of the people around, I did not feel the cold. And it amazed me that my youngest was winning all the pool games played in the room next to me. When did he learn that? hmmm. Another guy sitting next to me, unaware of my presence , as he was watching the NFL on TV. Time passed, between my book and occasional chatting with the people inside the bar. Everyone seemed happy and careless; did they know about the ministry of Sho2on banning guys from working in women’s stores? Nah… why do I have to think about that now?
On our way back I was a bit tipsy, so I raced the guys back to the hotel, and guess what, I won 😀


No, we did not get back to the hotel yet, we discovered this Indian bakery that was still open and decided to get some fattining goodies for breakfast tomorrow. And to my astonishment I found my favorite Rasmalai and Taramasso with rum, hmmm the original Taramasso, ok, when it comes to Taramasso I’m a beast. So I couldn’t wait for breakfast; I had a few and I’m so full and fulfilled, good night guys till tomorrow.

An update
A dedication from Soud to me and from me to all of you :*

Tis the Season to be Jolly tala lala la