20 Songs, 20 Memories*

*and the albums were downloaded as one track so they will be counted as a “song” since they were listened to as such. Except Lupe, but he’s awesome and will not be limited to one song.

1. Last Night – P. Diddy ft Keyshia Cole
It was the first time I ever went to a pub at age 19. I parked my first car (still a month old…to me) in the small parking lot on Monot St – the first one on your right hand side that you barely notice. “The place is called 37, in the small alley facing the huge parking lot.” I ordered a nonalcoholic Angelina Jolie and had way too many stale tortilla chips.

2. Blue – Eiffel 65
In mom’s car, coming back from LaserTag on my 10th birthday after getting soaked because my friends and I rode the Supreme Scream ride in the pouring rain…twice. That was the first time I realized that I wasn’t a wimp and enjoyed rollercoasters. And that I’m trigger happy when in the virtual world; I shot 150 rounds in 20 minutes. BUT I WON.

3. Workout – J. Cole
Angry Monkey, Gemmayzeh, last few days of 2011. One of those nights you wish you could bottle up and save for later because they seem temporary and fleeting. Part of you thinks there’s no way things could be like this, as good as they are in this moment. Suddenly it’s an out-of-body experience: you want to freeze time, just break the pause button, grab everyone and never let go so they don’t leave again. The exact people with whom I always want to spend my nights, the perfect whispers, the perfect music, the perfect I-kicked-your-ass-at-bowling buzz. The perfect everything buzz.

4. Closer – Kings of Leon
Sitting on the floor of the balcony in the middle of the night, watching the paper of my first-ever cigarillo burn while trying to make the smoke last longer as it twirls through the balustrade. The whole time I was thinking, “this is so repulsive and I’m going to smell like this all night.” That and “I wonder what would happen if my neighbor’s underwear lit on fire if a spark fell on the clothesline.” Now, I can taste cigarillos whenever I hear this song.

5. Butterfly – Crazy Town
Getting on the bus to go on the 8th grade field trip to the Tanmia Chicken Farms. I had two mixed CDs specially made at the sketchy music place around the corner. The dude looked like a younger version of the roach in Thumbelina but I needed tunes for my Discman and Napster had died. This song had been added because he couldn’t find 1 of the 20 I had requested even though I put backups.

6. Florence & the Machine Concert at Royal Albert Hall
Two consecutive late nights alone at the office. No headphones, just me, Florence, and Adobe CS6.

7. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Live on KEXP
Last week of my last semester doing 3 all-nighters for a senior project with this beauty on repeat. No one appreciated this song THEN. I got so pumped on caffeine while running on empty that I managed to slam dunk my phone in my coffee at 8 am, the morning of my final jury. A Ziploc bag of rice, $120, and left in the freezer for 15 minutes: she’s alive! Who needs a functioning flash anyway. It ruins pictures and I navigate through the dark with a lighter. Old school.

8. Lasers Album – Lupe Fiasco
6-month period of working two jobs and being a full-time student but ey, I had to get out of my head and ’till I got there, the show went on. There were a couple of I’m-Jennifer-Beal-from-Flashdance-and-I’m-going-to-get-into-Julliard dance routines while going up the AUB Chem stairs. I mean in spirit, not choreography because only Sembello’s Maniac works for that and I don’t weld.

9. Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion
Breaking down in tears in our minivan because I said the song reminded me of my grandma so mom had to pull over on PCH to cry with me.

10. To Forever (Moonbeam Remix) – Rachel Starr
Starting at 59s in the vid above, this was a special ringtone on my old Nokia 6500. I still have the giddy residual reaction of looking for it just to pick up. Then I remember it’s 2013 and I have an iPhone with no flash.

11. Aquarium Full Album- Aqua
In the car-ride to Las Vegas at the age of 9 with only this cassette tape to listen to for 4 hours straight. I know every song, side A & B. I’m pretty sure we were all singing it once we crossed the state line of Nevada. Dad was in another car otherwise this probably never would’ve happened. And even back then, I’m going to say that this was my younger sister’s fault.

12. In Between 2007 Set – Paul Van Dyk
MCAT. MCAT. MCAT. Practice Test after Practice Test. September 3, 2008. 1:30 pm. Safe.

13. Take Care Album – Drake
I was stuck on this album for 9 months a year after it came out. Late bloomer. But only the first 40 min and then minute 44-62, 88-95, 103-113. You know, not the whole album. I never bothered with the rest.

14. California Love – Tupac
Leaving Mulligan’s in Hamra after it getting way too crowded. I kept leaning up against a barrel that wasn’t bolted to the ground. I was dancing with myself mostly but we decided to leave when there were too many people salsa dancing around us. Then this jam came on and we danced the whole way down the stairs. No one believed we were sober.

15. Get Right – Jennifer Lopez
Full day rehearsal at Spring Hills for the annual high school beauty pageant/banquet/dinner/event/whyamicakedinmakeup. I wasn’t a contestant, I was the drill sergeant with a megaphone. “AGAIN. FROM THE TOP…WHAT THE HELL? WHY DIDN’T YOU USE SUNSCREEN?”

16. Climax – Usher
Upon plans of going to the hotel bar falling through, I found myself singing along to this in the middle of a London McDonalds at 1 in the morning with a half eaten Big Mac in one hand and a a single French fry in the other that rhythmically goes up and down when I’d hit the high notes. My friend sat and watched…and eventually joined in. The beauty of being in a foreign land and not caring if you seem like an insane drunkard when, in reality, you’ve just had a lot of BBQ sauce.

17. Sunny Tales (Chill Version) – Sunlounger
I was walking through AUB campus one afternoon after a long meeting with my boss. I decided to just sit on a bench behind Jaffet and listen to this song that randomly came up on shuffle. I don’t know why but ever since I first listened to this song, it takes me somewhere and it always makes me very sad. But I can’t not listen to it.

18. Always on Time – Ja Rule ft Ashanti
9th grade, riding home from school cramped in an ancient Mercedes with way too many cousins. The roof leaked and the driver had an unexplainable love for Najwa Karam, yellow Chiclets, and complimentary glass cups from the gas stations.

19. I’m On – Nas ft DJ Khaled
The treadmill. All I remember is the treadmill.

20. Show Me What You Got – Jay-Z
Zooming across the bay in the speedboat, hair going crazy, tan so golden brown with champagne flooding the deck because we can’t control the way were bouncing off the waves, all that’s crossing my mind is “Damn, he’s fine.” Yeah, that never happened. BUT IT COULD.


Kfarmatta’s Abandoned Silk Mill


Kfarmatta, located near Souk El Ghareb on the way to Aley, is home to an old abandoned silk mill. Quite appropriate being 15 minutes away from the Silk Museum, this structure is left standing in the wilderness.

The mill is still in pretty good shape considering it’s completely forgotten. All of the shattered red shingles are still there in piles surrounding the sandstone walls, trees have overtaken the interior, most of the upper floor has crumbled, and the entire roof has collapsed. Silk mills are where machines are used to make silk into thread. Based on what I’ve read, most mills used water wheels to create a power source for the spinning machines that were set up in a large space. The main room of this particular silk mill seems to be where the working stations were. The well is not that far off and there is some form of piping/irrigation system that leads back to the large room. I will find out more about this upon my visit to the Silk Museum in Bsous.

IMG_8693 IMG_8694



Floor plans and other architectural renderings of the mill (dated 1975) can be accessed on the AUB website here.

Oddly enough, when googled, the land comes up on a property website for $7.2 million ($200/sqm). I don’t see that sale happening anytime soon, but honestly that makes me very happy because it’s quite the site to see. Just look at the view from the artesian well:


Goodvertising: Coca Cola

“Goodvertising”, a term coming from Thomas Kolster’s book of the same title, is about how advertising can be used towards the good of mankind. Agencies and charities have come up with fantastic ideas that can make a difference, even in the most subtle and simple way. You can find out more about him and the book by watching this interview here.
One brand I want to focus on in this post is Coca Cola. Although they have not solved world hunger or started the One Laptop Per Child NGO, they are using their product and their brand to spread something that all people want and need: happiness. This year alone, Coke came up with innovative ways to push the envelope through unconventional media and technology, hashtagging it all as #workthatmatters.


1. Small World Machines

Through the use of their vending machines, Coke used basic video-calling technology and wide-angle cameras to be able to connect neighboring countries that are barred off from each other due to political conflict. Using simple gestures and tasks, they created connections between people who never get the chance to interact.

2. Sharing Can

Another spin on their product’s design, Coke created the ideal way to share a can: literally splitting it in two. The Sharing Can, brainchild of Ogilvy Singapore & France, was launched in Singapore in March but I have yet to find any info on the cans being distributed anywhere else since then. Leonardo O’Grady, director of integrated marketing communications, Coca-Cola ASEAN, related the mechanism to breaking a loaf of bread and that’s pretty accurate because it can be seen as the modern day loaf-sharing. *Aladdin and Abu* Plus, it’s a keepsake for those who admire product design (someone please send me one).
3. Smile Back

Most of the time, if a stranger smiles at you, you freak out and think the weirdo wants to kidnap you and wear your skin. No? Anyway, this shows how spreading smiles may not be as harmful as you think and when you take the chance to smile back, the universe rewards you. That was so Paulo Coelho, I’m sorry. Watch the vid though, it’s good stuff.

One that should be reproduced in Lebanon due to our disappearing parks:

And similar to BGP’s Green Your Lunch Break, Picnic 2013 as part of their “Let’s Eat Together” Happiness Table initiative:

So it’s no surprise that Coca Cola was named Creative Marketer of the Year at the 2013 Cannes Festival of Creativity.

Other cool Coke stuff:

Coke Remix Bottle
All Coke Submissions at Cannes




7 Useless Realizations at 25

1. You suffer from Low Battery Anxiety at least once a week. Usually it’s your cellphone at 12% at 9am with no electricity at home. You’ve always got the USB cable, or spare battery case, or car charger on you like it’s your First Aid Kit. God forbid it die and then you have to communicate like you did in the 90s which was through…carrier pigeon? Beyond that, you have a completely natural phobia of getting locked in in public bathrooms so you always take your cellphone with you. Plus, sometimes they have really cool soaps/signage/decor and you have to take a picture. And if you’re a guy, you probably take pics of other lovely-smelling things.

2. Leonardo DiCaprio has a net worth of a bazillion dollars, test-drives supermodels, hangs out with Scorsese, and is the embodiment of the fountain of youth. But he doesn’t know how to wear a watch. You slave away all day and then realize there’s a 14 year old somewhere learning how to DJ who’s going to be richer than you by next year because he named himself after some kind of pasta sauce and only wears solid colored V necks. Welcome to the working world.

3. Labneh sandwiches always taste better when your parents make them. You may be able to make risotto, herbed chicken, or koussa mehshe and outcook your parents in every other dish. Not with labneh. If you can make a better sandwich then you may have an illegitimate child running around (and about to be signed by the Disney channel) because only those who have been reproductively active have the white cream gift. Bazinga!

4. Putting your status as “busy” on any form of digital communication doesn’t work anymore. You used to use it to discourage bored people from reaching out to you for entertainment. They left you thinking, “why did I ever ADD this human being?! Shu labsa. I KNOW! I’ll appear busy…FOREVER.” We can all see through that and it’s ineffective. Now, you just have to be an adult about it. Translation: block, delete, or be a flat-out asshole and ignore them.

5. Your Facebook Newsfeed is going to be flooded with engagements and nuptials for the next 7-10 years. Supposedly, it’s not that weird for this to be happening more frequently even though your brain is not being able to fathom it all. I mean, one second your riding a skateboard like a toboggan down the incline by your friend’s house, tearing your neon shorts in the process of your smooth brake at the driveway. You blink and everyone’s having babies. Don’t panic, keep uploading pictures of your cat, it’s fine.

6. Youhavenoideawhatyouredoingbutyouregoingtowingitlikeaboss because you’ve got it all totally figured out, dude can you pass the mustard? I love chilled afternoons when I’ve got nothing to do. #hotdogs #thegoodlife #holyshitimwastingsomuchtimerightnow

7. You need to let go and move on. That letter from Hogwarts is never coming.

Educate Thyselves.

Three new albums for hip-hop. Thanks to the awesomeness that is Youtube and people who upload everything online so we can illegally download them, I have provided links to the full albums too. Download them while you can. If you like them, that is.

1. “Yeezus”, Kanye West

Oh Kanye, Kanye, Kanye. 808’s & Heartbreak, College Dropout, Kim Kardashian. He does crazy things. “Yeezus” is freaking weird but it should be listened to. More than once because the first time around is just going to leave you flabbergasted. Although he is certifiably insane, there is an incredible draw to someone who will take creative risks – the only snag is that he doesn’t believe they’re risks. Kanye has what is known as a God Complex. (Seriously, even CNN wrote a feature on it.) When someone thinks they are a god, they don’t see what they’re doing as a risk. They see it as a gift that is bestowed on the serfs of the mortal world. His woman may dress up like garage-sale-furniture, he may have weird erotic dreams involving mythical birds, and he’s probably going to have children in all directions in the next 10 years. But he is a god and you will take his golden nuggets of truth. You hate him but you love him because he keeps things interesting.

“Ye, you wanna do something for the release of your new single? But what?”

Why? Because Kanye, that’s why.

2. “Magna Carta Holy Grail”, Jay-Z

On a business level, that Samsung deal was smooth. Props, Jay. MCHG’s alright but honestly, with the hype and excitement that arose from the promo video, I am a tad disappointed. Rick Ross was born to rap those words but what the hell was that Nirvana thing you pulled with JT? I still can’t decide if I like it because I hated your version of “Jolene” at first but it grew on me. I’m still undecided and very attached to the Black Album. There’s just too much emotion here. I’m so confused, excuse me, I need a moment of clarity.

3. “Born Sinner”, J.Cole

This is just good. That is all.

If you’re not into this kinda shiz, listen to the Great Gatsby OST, subscribe to Teh Dubstep Channel or just go sing along to Selena Gomez.