Wednesday, November 30, 2005

End of month quiz

Since I like quizzes, I thought it might be fun to host a little one on here myself. So I have prepared the following sketch which has been inspired by one of this month’s news. It was big news here and my guess is that it was probably big news everywhere else as well.
Anyone who can tell me what the real news behind this sketch is, will receive a one of a kind handmade Christmas card made by the Grinch of the blogging world herself, Shirin (yeah baby) along with a little present (a cheapo thing no doubt but I’m guessing something fun :-) I haven’t given much thought to that yet but I’m sure something will come to me)
You can leave comments on here but if you know for sure what the answer is and you don’t want others to copy you, please email me on (basically I’m just saying this because I don’t want to have to give out too many prizes. God willing though, enshallah, none of you will get it and I’ll be alright)
The winners will be announced on Saturday 3rd of December

Man NO1: ‘Do you remember the other night we were walking through those back alleys and we saw that blind guy that looked a bit lost?’

Man NO2: ‘Yeah.’

Man NO1: ‘And then even though you saw him and his guide dog going past, once they had turned round the corner and you saw only their shadow on the wall you became convinced that it was a two headed monster?’

Man NO2: ‘Yeah’

Man NO1: ‘And then do you remember how you crept up behind him and hit him so hard on the back of his neck that he fell flat on his face?’

Man NO2: ‘Yeah’

Man NO1: ‘And then when he tried to get up you kicked him in the mouth and two of his teeth fell out and then you scared away his dog and threw away his stick and gave him another kick but this time in the stomach?’

Man NO2: ‘Yeah’

Man NO1: ‘And then while he was spitting his broken teeth out, you went through his pockets and took his phone because although by then you knew that it wasn’t a two headed monster you were fighting, you had remembered that once a blind man had stepped on your big toe and had caused you a lot of pain and even though you couldn’t be sure that it was this exact same blind man, you insisted that it was ok to take his phone because all blind men were somehow linked together…’

Man NO2: ‘Yeah I remember all that but what’s your point.’

Man NO1: ‘Well the thing is I never thought any of these things that you were doing were right but still I didn’t say anything because we’re friends and friends stick together and also when you said two headed monster, even though I was absolutely certain that it wasn’t, I still somehow managed to convince myself that it was! And then in a strange way I can understand why you did all the things that you did. With the first kick for example, well…you thought he was a two headed monster then so that was ok. Then you scared away his dog and I thought that was good too because as I said before, he was looking a bit lost when we first saw him which means his guide dog must have been pretty useless and he was probably better off without it. You also had good reason for throwing away his stick because this blind guy didn’t really look like he had appreciated all the nice things you had done for him up until that point and there was a chance that he would have hit you with that stick in the near future if you had not taken it from him.
The other kicks were just self defence I guess and we all know the reason for you taking his phone and since I was personally with you that day when that blind man stepped on your toe and I saw how much pain and suffering he caused you, I’m totally with you on taking the phone and showing these blind men that their actions are not without reactions.
So it was all ok up until this point but then suddenly you went and did something so horrible and so totally unacceptable that I can’t even bring myself to repeat it. [Man NO1 takes a deep breath and continues] As you were walking off [another deep breath] you walked into a puddle and splashed muddy water all over the blind guy that had passed out on the pavement. Why oh why did you have to do that? That was totally uncalled for. Did you even have a reason for doing that? And tell me, had we not sworn that no matter what, we would never splash people with muddy water? Why did you…’

Man No2: ‘Get a life.’ [walks off]


Monday, November 28, 2005

This whole business with all these different kind of charities has always really annoyed me. Maybe I’m just cold-hearted or something but whenever I see one of those guys with a clipboard approaching me in the street going, ‘Can I take a minute of your time?’ (which really means ‘Just give me your credit card you moron.’), my first instinct is to punch them right on the nose. I don’t do it but this is definitely what my heart tells me to do.
I had always been sceptical of all these charities that are popping up all over the place like poisonous mushrooms, but then all my cynicism was confirmed when this friend of mine started going out into the street, collecting money for a charity because (and I’m quoting her here) ‘There was good money in it.’ It wasn’t great money. It was like working in McDonald’s or something like that but the way she saw it, being outside or in a shopping centre and just shaking a box in front of people’s faces and being able to take a break whenever she liked, was much nicer than running around and sweating away all day in a McDonald’s or Burger King’s.
So what happened was she would collect money for a few hours, then she would go back to the charity place and there they would count the money and give her her wages. She told me that often after taking her money, there wasn’t anything left for the charity at all! Who would have thought it, hey? So when you’re feeling a bit generous and you go and put a pound in a box to help children who have difficulty identifying different kind of flowers or men who feel left out because they don’t like drinking larger or squirrels who are allergic to nuts, what you are actually doing is funding an art student through college! A very good deed of course but probably not what you’d had in mind.
The guys with clipboards are different. I’m sure some of them work for nothing but the rest take a commission every time they manage to emotionally blackmail someone into giving them their money.
This poor friend of mine who has recently come over from Iran became a victim of one of these charities. Some sort of children’s charity I think it is and he gives them three pounds a week now.
He was talking to me about this a few weeks ago saying that although three pounds a week is quite a bit of money, he is willing to give it if he knows that he is making a difference in some children’s lives, but what was really annoying him was all these letters that he was now receiving from the charity. He said that once a week he gets a letter from them thanking him for his help and it’s not even a letter that says we’ve done this and that, it’s just the same letter every time with a picture of a cute kid on it that says thank you. Then at least twice a month he gets other letters inviting him to buy tickets to charity events or letters that come from other charities linked to this one that also want his money. He said now he never even opens any of them and just throws them in the bin.
I could really understand why he was so bothered about this. I mean nobody likes junk mail but I’m sure you would hate it even more if you knew that what paid for this annoying junk mail was your hard-earned cash that you were giving to some charity thinking that you were helping kids in need or something. To top it off now you have to worry about destroying the environment as well since if you hadn’t agreed to give your three pounds a week to this charity you could have saved all that paper for those six letters and six envelopes that you are now throwing in the bin every month.
The way I see it though the problem is that a lot of us give money to charity just to make ourselves feel better and most of us don’t really care what happens to our money afterwards. It makes us feel like we’ve done something good and so we don’t want to hear anything else. But then every now and again something like the Cheri Blair thing (basically she spoke at a charity event where they raised £81,700 of which £74,900 paid for the dinner and guest speakers, leaving only £6,729 for the children’s cancer charity that it was supposed to be raising money for) or the Make Poverty History wristbands thing (that were allegedly made in sweatshops in China) and forces you to think about where it is that our money is actually going to.
Maybe I’m being a bit too negative about this whole thing but the way I see it most of this money for charities is given by people like us (who are not really that well off at all) and is taken by people who are actually not in need. Basically it’s just the old rich get richer and the poor get poorer story again.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I won’t write much because I’m still trying to recover from my hangover and looking at the screen doesn’t really make me feel too good. But I thought it was only fair to write and let you know that I seem to have been quite hasty in assuming that my drinking days were over and that I had grown up and become sensible and all that stuff (Monday, October 03, 2005). As it turns out, if let loose in a party, I can still drink half a bottle of vodka plus any other alcoholic liquor that is put in my hand when my glass is empty. Only now I can do all that in heels which I think is very impressive. Anyway the party was great and I wasn’t too bad actually and got back home safe and sound and I can remember everything that happened and none of it is embarrassing which is very good.
I’m going to love you and leave you now but I’m just going to post this little thing on here as well before I go. This is something that I wrote some months ago after a wedding I had gone to. I’m really proud of this piece as I wrote it just after I woke up the next day with one of the worst hangovers of my life (and if I remember correctly I was sick soon after I had written it ;-) just a little fun side-note that I thought you might appreciate). If this doesn’t show how committed I am to writing, frankly I don’t know what does.

My head feels like it’s about to explode. Open my eyes, very slowly. Can see light coming through the curtains. Try focusing on the clock. This is almost impossible to do with two eyes so I put my hand over one eye, 8:25 am. All this reading proves too much for the right eyeball. Now it starts hurting. Had never felt my eyeball so vividly in my skull before. Must go back to sleep but I also really need to pee. Luckily the bathroom is about five steps away from the bed. Sit up. Everything starts spinning. O, bad move. Really need to lie down again. But No, first I need to go to the toilet.
I leave the lights off and sit down; chin on knees, looking down at my toes. Ten, good, they’re all there. My left shoulder feels painful. I rub it with my fingers and a sharp pain goes all down my arm. I get a sudden fuzzy image of myself, trying to come out of the toilets and whacking my shoulder against the side of the door. O not now please. I don’t want to remember now. I just want to go back to bed and sleep off my hangover. But the floodgates have opened now and in come the flashbacks; my cousin and I on the dance floor, doing a very silly dance, me tripping over the front of my dress and crashing into some poor guy who goes flying into a table. O god. Now my heart starts racing very fast and I’m wide awake. Please no, no more remembering. I have the rest of my life to remember stuff from last night and get embarrassed about them. But I have no control over my thoughts. It’s as if my brain is taking revenge.
Hundreds of virtual snapshots from the night before come rushing in; a glass of Champaign, my plate of food piled up with ham, green salad, Coleslaw (this image has a sound file attached to it. The chef, ‘White coleslaw’ My friend whispering in my ear, ‘Posh Coleslaw’ We both giggling hysterically and moving on down the table) Roasted vegetables, more Champaign, eating and complaining to my cousin about my uncle calling me out of the blue a few hours before and asking ‘what’s new?’ and then getting angry when I said nothing. ‘So NOTHING is new?’ I’d repeated what he’d said in the same tone. My cousin, ‘That’s weird.’ Speeches. More Champaign and then white wine. Things going blurry.
O no please, I don’t want to remember all this now. I try distracting my brain with other thoughts. Alice in Wonderland. Why? I have no idea. It’s just the first thing that pops into my head. I’m Alice running after the white rabbit. Good, it’s actually working. Another flashback; hearing my own drunken voice going on and on at the best man about how great his speech was. No, I’m not listening, just focus on the rabbit. Yes that’s better running through the forest, jumping into the rabbit hole and sliding down. It’s dark. I can see shadowy faces. They look familiar. Most are wearing the same expression; the one we all have on when a drunken person corners us and goes on and on about stuff we can’t make any sense of.
Well I give up. I don’t seem to be able to stop this flood of disturbing information. So bring it on then brain. Let’s see what you’ve got. More images and sounds; a lot of shouting (that explains the soar throat) in people’s ears or trying to sing along with the songs. Stepping on someone’s toe with my high heels, ouch. A lot of, ‘Have I ever told you this man…’s and ‘…I think you’re great.’s. Flashes going off. O no I’d forgotten about the photos. I have that to look forward to as well now. Pictures of me with eyes half shut, body tilted to one side, talking at my various victims whilst pointing at them with my unusually long fingers. Finally, the lights are being turned off and the groom’s father is herding the confused drunks out of the building.
Shoulder still hurts, eyeball is trying to pop out, head is about to explode. Must be sick now.
Never again.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Seeing that the last post was all about the Iranian television, I thought I would write this little thing here as well.
There was this girl at our school that fancied that presenter guy that read the poems on Fridays afternoons. It took us a while to work out who she was talking about even when she first told us this because she was using his proper name while we all just knew him as the annoying presenter guy. That killed me. She must have really fancied him if she had even gone through all the trouble of finding out what his name was and everything.
Apparently his name was Mustafa something (something that I never learnt but it was ok because) straight away we all started using the nickname that this girl had very affectionately made up for him, Mosi. It was quite sad really and we used to make fun of her every time she showed us another picture of Mosi that she had so lovingly cut out from some magazine or when she told us gossip about his family life and everything. But the truth was that I was kind of jealous as well. The rest of us had crushes too but ours were on foreign movie stars or pop stars that seemed to live in a completely different world to us; people that we would probably never ever meet in our lives whereas hers was on a real person that was on our television screens every night and spoke the same language as us. Sure he was terribly annoying, pretty unattractive, wore lime-green suites with white collarless shirts and had bad hair that was cut into a bit of a mullet, but he was real and if she waited outside the Jameh Jam television building in Valiasr Street long enough (as she often did) she would be able to satisfy herself by catching a glimpse of him as he drove into work in his white Peykan.
That I thought was really something. The only time I had ever done any celebrity spotting in my whole life was once when my friends and I waited for about an hour in the hot sun to see the president of Mozambique or Tanzania or something like that go past. And he hadn’t even stopped or waved or anything. He had just shot through Tadjrish in a black Mercedes with an escort of four police cars. Thinking about it now, there is a big chance that this poor president of wherever had taken all this the wrong way and had thought that we were demonstrating against him or something. I mean I doubt this president of Mozambique or Tanzania or something had ever dreamt of getting this kind of reception in his own country even, let alone Iran. There must have been nearly a thousand people standing in Tajrish that day waiting for him to arrive.
Yes back in those days there was a serious shortage of celebrities in Iran. I mean there were some people who weren’t terrible-looking (like that horsey-looking guy that read the news and always looked like some people had taken his family hostage and had told him that they would shoot one of them every time he showed even the slightest bit of emotion) but no one you would want to idolise or throw your knickers at.
That is until the sudden appearance of Ahmadreza Abedzadeh, the Iranian football team’s invincible goalkeeper that blocked all those penalties against Saudi Arabia (I think it was). I was about thirteen then and I think every girl in our school had a crush on him.
I just want to say, ‘Thank you Abedzadeh for making the beginning of my teenage years that much more exciting.’

Monday, November 21, 2005

This was the view out of our window yesterday. I had a lovely time standing there and watching this for ages. Then I took some pictures of it as well just because it looked so pretty. But then as soon as I put the pictures into the computer this morning and looked that them on the monitor, I felt a bit depressed. This surprised me as yesterday morning watching this exact same thing from the window had been very pleasing to me and it had even given me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
But then just now I suddenly worked out what it was (which made me seriously happy because I absolutely hate it when I suddenly feel depressed like this over something and don’t even know why).

If like me, you grew up in Iran as well, there is a big chance that you also felt a bit sad when you saw this picture. Now let me take you back a few years. Imagine it’s a cold winter Friday afternoon. You’re a kid and your age can be from six all the way up to thirteen or even fourteen or even eighteen actually. Anyhow you go to school.
You’ve messed about all day and have put off doing your homework. Then you’ve had lunch. Then you’ve watched the especially rubbish children’s programme that very especially on Fridays starts at two O’clock which means you’ve spent a whole hour listening to some silly old girl with a bad case of acne calling you her little friends and lecturing you (in a badly-disguised-as-friendly patronising voice) about the benefits of fasting and praying, just so you could watch another episode or a rerun of yet another depressing Japanese cartoon series about an orphan girl or a boy or a bee, all looking for their mothers which they will never find.
Now it’s about half three-ish and the sun is going to go down soon and you still haven’t done your homework and you’re going back to school tomorrow and so you’re feeling quite depressed. But you still don’t want to do you’re homework so you stick around by the television some more to see what the special Friday afternoon film is going to be (knowing very well that it’s probably going to be some depressing foreign black and white war film or a depressing Iranian war film but still hoping that maybe the television man in charge of choosing the films had something good happen to him that weekend and so he will want to put a comedy on).
Then this presenter guy comes on who is either in a really over the top sad mood (if it is a religious mourning day of some sort) or in a very over the top happy mood (on the rare occasions that it is not a religious mourning day of some sort) and reads this very long poem in this very unnecessarily expressionistic way either in a sombre or a happy tone depending on what his mood is supposed to be.
Now it’s about four and the sun has gone down and you still haven’t done your homework and instead you’re watching an ancient black and white Second World War movie and feeling very sorry for yourself and thinking about how you could maybe runaway and go and live in the mountains with a pack of stray dogs so you don’t have to go to school anymore.
And then the ancient movie is suddenly cut off (on account of it being so bloody old and practically a museum piece) and then while the people in the television building are looking for a bit of tape to stick their antique movie together, what comes on your television screen? Yes, the above picture.
And that’s when you remember how cold it is outside and so even if you did runaway, you would probably die of pneumonia before you even find that pack stray dogs that you wanted make friends with. Yes kick a child when it’s down why don’t you, IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting).
In true Chandler from Friends fashion, ‘Can it be anymore depressing?’

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Our computer had a bit of a stroke this morning. It’s working now but something tells me that very soon it’s going to die on us again. So if I’m not around much from now on, that will be the reason.
I will leave you with these inspiring words from our lord Jesus Christ whose birthday (that I so thoughtlessly dissed earlier this year) is coming up soon. Tell you what though, now that it’s getting properly cold and everywhere is frosty in the mornings, even I’m starting to feel a bit Christmasy :-)

PS I’ve invented a new sign-face thingy, ‘,:-\
It’s Roger Moore in it?

Friday, November 18, 2005

The way I see it, there are three possibilities as to who was responsible for designing our bathroom sink’s mixer-tap.
NO1 Dr Evil (the evil genius) who is our prime suspect at the moment.
NO2 A clown, fresh out of Clown Tap Design School.
NO3 A complete moron.
Now the story: As you know (if you have been following this blog) we recently gave our shabby bathroom a bit of a makeover in the form of a new shower and pump. While we were doing that we thought why not just change our cracked bathroom sink as well and put in a new one complete with a (luxury of all the British luxuries) mixer-tap as appose to these annoying separate hot and cold tab jobbies.

Thus Kamyar went out and bought a brand new sink with a shiny new mixer-tap. Beautiful. We were over the moon about this as since moving to England neither of us had ever been fortunate enough to live in a place where when washing we had any other choices but either freezing cold water or boiling hot. O how we rejoiced over this new delight in our lives and O how naïve we were for having done so.
As it turned out, in our search for a beautiful new mixer-tap for our bathroom, we had accidentally stumbled upon a very unique product: A mixer-tap that went as far as being a mixer tap as possible, without actually being one!

Exhibit A

Yes it looks very much like a mixer-tap.

Exhibit B

Yes it definitely looks like it should work like a mixer-tap too but I can assure you that it does not. In reality the water that comes from the left side is still boiling hot (to the point of third degree burns and blisters) while the right side is (frostbite kind of) freezing cold!

After the first usage of the sink, I could swear that the person responsible for designing our tap was the Moron. However after a few more goes (especially when being a bit tipsy or watching the reaction of our guests as they came out of the bathroom) I did begin to see the funny side of this which made me start thinking that the person responsible could also have been the clown fresh out of the Clown Tap Design School.
But then some nights ago I realised that there could be a third possibility as well: Doctor Evil (the evil genius).
I know it sounds a bit farfetched but here’s my theory on this. You can read it and then make your own mind up about it.
The theory: The way I see it the Brits were not too happy about the fact that foreigners could just come into their country, buy a home and then replace their taps and live happily ever after. ‘No why should they?’ thought the Brits, ‘Whatever happened to ‘When in Rome’? These foreigners are getting away with not doing anything the British way; they don’t know how to queue, they don’t say please nearly as often as they should, they put showers in their bathrooms; they are completely destroying all our British traditions! No we can’t let them change the separate hot and cold taps into mixer taps too. At least now when they mess up our queues or ask for things without saying please, we can make ourselves feel better by laughing at all the blisters and frostbites on their hands, it will be horrible if we can’t even do that.’
And so began the quest for the person who could design a mixer-tap that goes as far as being a mixer-tap as possible, without actually being one. They approached many designers but none of them agreed to take part in this project saying that they thought this was too evil. Of course nothing is ever too evil for the evil genius himself, Doctor Evil, right? And this is why at the moment he is our number one suspect. Let me show you some more evidence as to why I think this design is so evil.

Exhibit C

Cold water

Exhibit D

Hot water

Exhibit E

Sigh :-(
Need I say more?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Winter has now officially entered the Adl household. Today I finally brought out the winter clothes and put away the summery ones. This is always a sad occasion for me as it also means, Goodbye nice frilly colourful stuff and hello big thick dull things. But what can you do, winter is here and that is that. I guess one plus point of this season is that there can be a lot less hair removal sessions.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The New part of the comic ‘Hen Night Kit’ is here.
Read the new part.
Read from the beginning.

13 November 10:40:50
Aydin and Gazankhan have very kindly let me know that the above links do not work. I’m very sorry if you are not able to open them either. I don’t know what the problem is yet but I’m going to try uploading them again to see if that will help.

It’s working now. I’m very sorry about that. I blame Kamyar for that and you can blame him too if you like ;-) I think it’s best if I don’t say anymore about this.
The moral of this story: 'Never ask your tipsy husband to make html pages for you on Saturday night.'

Friday, November 11, 2005

I’m having a bit of trouble with putting the comic online. But the good news is that I think I might have found a name for it, ‘Hen Night Kit’ after the first spam comment I got on my last post. It doesn’t mean anything but I thought, why not let these spam comments do something good for once and so for now that is the name I’m going for :-) I might try and weave it into the story somehow as well so that it is not totally meaningless anymore.

Meanwhile here is the latest instalment of the Write Club for those of you who have been following it. The last three parts can be found on a.k.g’s blog.

Moments later when Aila came to, she was walking with one hand in grandpa’s hand and the other in Negar’s. She had not passed out like that time uncle Asad had done at the wedding of another uncle (after he had gone off for a few minutes with that guy Abbas AKA the Mar) or that time her Aunty Shirin had completely blacked out and had really scared everybody (after she had guzzled down a whole bucket of yogurt on her own).
No Aila had definitely not passed out. But for those few minutes that they had walked from the beach to Negar’s garden, her mind had wandered so far faraway from that unfamiliar place, that she had not seen or heard anything that had gone on around her.
They say seconds before we die, our whole life passes before our eyes. But Aila’s death having come to her all those years ago while she slept and it having been so quick and not like in films where people lay in the arms of their friends and while coughing up blood say things like, ‘Tell Linda I love her (cough cough blood blood) and that…(cough blood cough) I’m sorry (death).’, she had missed out on the whole ‘life flashing before one’s eye’ thing. In those few minutes however, while they had walked on the (first wet and then dry) sand and then the shingles of Negar’s garden path, while Negar and granddad had talked, her mind had travelled back in time and finally it had happened, with a delay of a good few years, she had been presented with a summery of her life. And then she was thrown back in the arms of reality, as quickly and as suddenly she had left it.
‘You know at this moment in time, Prince Charles and I, are the only two people in the world who have been able to successfully grow these plants in our gardens. We both have our own secrets for how we do this that we don’t ever tell anyone about.’ Negar was saying very enthusiastically, ‘Not even each other.’ For some reason this remark was followed by a loud, hearty laugh.
Aila did not know why this was funny or what had Negar finally said to Granddad to convince him to go to her house with her but what she did know now (thanks to her flashbacks) was exactly what had gone on since she had emerged from the tunnels that day after seeing granddad for the first time, to the moment she had been killed by her own sister, as she slept.
She had a strange feeling as this newfound knowledge both disturbed her and made her feel a bit giddy.

There was definitely something moving in the bushes in front of them. Even Ngear who had been talking constantly like an overenthusiastic tour-guide, since they had left the beach, was quite now and the three of them were staring straight ahead waiting for whatever it was that was coming towards them to emerge from the bushes. Suddenly the noise and the movement stopped. They waited to see if it would start again but nothing happened. It made Aila feel uneasy as she felt that something or someone was watching her.
‘Who’s there?’ Negar finally called out very loudly in her overconfident voice. It didn’t sound like she was scared but then again maybe she was but she was just very good at hiding it. When her first question was left unanswered, sounding somewhat irritated, she called out again, ‘Come out here at once.’

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The new part of the comic is coming along very nicely. I’ve done five pages this time and the story is now at the end of chapter one. I will try and get them posted tomorrow. The weird thing is that I still can't think of a name for it! Any suggestions?

Monday, November 07, 2005

I’m not one of those people that get embarrassed buying a box of condoms. I mean what’s there to get embarrassed about really? In this society where the level of one’s success is usually measured by how much sex one is having, the way I see it, buying a packet of condoms is definitely something to be proud of. However as I found out some time ago, there is a fine line here that when crossed, can take my feelings toward this matter, from pride straight to down shame.

It all started when one day I went to our local Family Planning Clinic (which was about five minutes down the road from us) to find that it had been moved to the other side of town! When I say the other side of town, I mean about forty minutes walk or twenty minutes on the bus, so the place hadn’t really moved that far when you think about it but by Oxford standards, that is pretty far.
After finding the place closed, instead of simply going to the new clinic to get our free supply, Kamyar and I decided to go and splash out on some posh condoms down at our local supermarket. We were pretty excited about this since at the clinic (understandably) they are more into the protection side of things than the pleasure side.
At the supermarket our first shock came when we noticed that condoms were in fact a lot more expensive than we had anticipated. On average they were about 12.99, 14.99 for a packet of twelve! So expensive that our cheapo local supermarket had tagged each of them with some kind of little electronic thingy that would supposedly go off if you tried to sneak one out without paying for it. They have these only on their most expensive items like some spirits. But with these they had gone even one step further than that and had put each box of condoms inside another see-through impenetrable protective box, three times bigger than the original box itself! I’m guessing so if for example James Bond was doing a bit of shoplifting, even if he did manage to decode the electronic tag, he would still have the problem of having to walk out of the shop with that huge box and not be noticed by anyone.

As we packed away our shopping at the till, the cashier fiddled about with the protective box to open it. It was just after half past five which means the supermarket was at its busiest time of the day. The cashier girl continued to rub her fingers around the box looking for some kind of gap to insert her fingernails in and the line on our till got longer and longer. She had already called for help but no one was coming. Meanwhile Kamyar spotted a Lebanese guy that he works with standing in the queue and went over to say hello to him.
The girl was getting very frustrated and kept saying that no one had ever shown her how to get these boxes open. She tried to scan the barcode so that we could pay and just go and wait somewhere else (I’m guessing for the resident demolition expert) but the protective shield was stopping the scanning thingy from working and therefore we continued to wait.
As the other shoppers stretched their necks to see what was going on, the girl spotted the manager helping a cashier, four tills up from us.
‘I need some help here.’ Shouted the girl over the hustle and bustle of dinnertime shopping. ‘What’s wrong?’ the manger shouted back. Picking up the box and waving it in the air as high as she could, our cashier replied, ‘I can’t get this box of condoms open.’ I guess there was one good thing about this act and it was that the other shoppers could now satisfy their curiosity without straining their necks by overstretching them.
Instead of coming over to help, the manager narrowed her eyes asking, ‘What does it say on it?’ Now I don’t know what kind of answer she was hoping to get, but this is what she got from our cashier shouting back at her, ‘It just says the brand name and then ‘Protection blah blah’ Oh and ‘Extra thin’ and…’
I don’t know what they were trying to find out from this. The only thing I can think of is that they believed the information on the packet was in fact a kind of riddle that would help them in some way to open the box.
This was getting very embarrassing but I was still counting my blessings for not picking up the one that said ‘Ribbed for your pleasure.’
It was then when another supermarket employee walked past the manager. Quickly she grabbed him and pointed him in our direction. It seemed like things were going from bad to worse. I’m not saying this guy that was now coming to help us was retarded or anything but…well let me just describe him to you and you can make your own mind up about him.
He is quite tall and pretty skinny with a head that looks far too small for his body. On top of his head sits a mop of greasy hair, cut into a short fringe at the front. Being that tall I suppose it must be hard for him to find trousers that fit him properly, although this is not helped by that fact that his favourite style seems to be pulling his trousers up as high as they go and then belting them up very tightly so they won’t ever have the chance to, god forbid, come down a bit and cover the ankles. What you have got to love about this person though is his sheer enthusiasm. Every time I see him working around the supermarket he looks like whatever it is that he is doing (be it stacking up tins of baked beans or helping an old lady pack her shopping) is the most important thing in the world.

True to from, he rushed over to us asking, ‘How can I help?’ After thoroughly examining the box he announced that he knew exactly what to do but he just needed to go and get something. By this time Kamyar had come back from his chat with his workmate as well which was nice but it also meant that every so often he had to acknowledge him again by throwing another look and smile his way and making some sort of sorry-about-this gesture.
Finally I heard the sound of big feet running and as I turned round I saw our guy running towards us, waving a mallet in the air! Needless to say I was horrified. Upon arrival at our till, pretty out of breath, he ordered us all to stand back and then went on to strike the box repeatedly with his weapon of choice. The box was unbelievably strong. At first it looked as though even hammering it down wasn’t going to work, but thanks to this guy’s pure determination, cracks finally started to appear and then with the last blow, the whole box shattered.
Unfortunately the protective shield had not been the only thing to suffer from these lethal blows. In the process, our box of 12.99£ condoms (yes, we had gone for the cheaper option) had also been flattened and torn on the side.
By the end of it the cashier girl looked like she was in a state of shock and the rest of the people in the line were all staring at us with open mouths. I think I can safely say that all the people who were at the supermarket that day would have to undergo serious therapy before they were ever again even able to hold a packet of condoms, let alone buy one.

Now properly out of breath, the guy fished out our box from the wreckage and proudly presented it to us. He looked chuffed. The whole experience had been pretty bizarre and extremely unpleasant but to look on the bright side, without a doubt, we had made this guy’s day.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Amusing quotes from people I know or have come across at some time in my life, part 2.

Kamyar calls the emergency cervices, ‘Our neighbours have had a fight. The woman is hiding in our flat. She is covered in blood. Her drunk boyfriend has beaten her, trashed their place and now he is shouting outside our flat, trying to kick our door down. Please send some people quick.’
The woman on the other side of the phone very calmly asks, ‘Ok sir, would you consider this to be an emergency?’

The company ‘Mode Iran’ comes up with an ingenious idea after being accused of having a western word (mode) in their name. They put the two words together making ‘Modiran’ and just so there won't be any more confusions in the future, they add a little explanation underneath the name, on all their labels. It reads, ‘Modiran is the plural of Modir ('manager’ in Farsi)’

Dokhi asks Shadi if she wants a Lucky Dip Lottery ticket.
Dokhi’s little daughter asks, ‘Mum, what’s lucky dick?’

Babajoon (my granddad) explaining why he is not angry at the thief who had hit their house, ‘He is just doing his job.’

Me not being aware of the other meaning of the word, ‘ass’ and being told to illustrate a few scenes from the Midsummer night’s dream and then having drawn a picture with Helena hugging and kissing a big round bum, saying to a friend, ‘How weird of Shakespeare to write something like this.’

A little four year old Keivan looks at the framed pictures in his mum’s bedroom. In all the pictures there are always a few people smiling and generally looking very happy (as people often do in family snapshots) except the one of just Keivan, playing on his own in the garden with a hosepipe. Glumly Keivan says, ‘Me, here, all alone, with the hosepipe.’

My Aunt, ‘I can’t get through; there are too many pars carked here.’

Me, ‘What did you get?’
Kamyar, ‘Just a packet of those disgusting cereal bars.’
Me, ‘If they’re disgusting why do you buy them?’
Kamyar, ‘Because it says they have a lot of calcium in them.’
Me, ‘You know it’s very hard for your body to absorb calcium on its own.’
Kamyar, ‘It seems to go down pretty well with tea.’

A Friend at college asks his friend (who he hasn’t seen for a while) if he has found himself a girlfriend yet. ‘No’ says the friend, ‘I’m still wan*ing like a twelve year old.’

My mum’s grandmother (also known as ‘Booh nana’ which was her favourite saying and which loosely translates as, ‘O Mother’ or ‘O dear’) spits out a segment of orange and while twisting her mouth in disgust, offers the rest of the orange to her grandchildren saying, ‘Booh nana, this is horrible; you have it.’

PS Read the latest part of the Write Club story on Amanda’s blog, ‘measuring time by longitude lines’

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The first rule of Write Club is that you can talk about Write Club.
The second is that you have to finish your part within 3 days or you lose your chance.
The third part is that you have to cc everyone else who has contributed to the write club story.
The fourth part is that only one person can add to write club at a time.
The fifth part is that you and only you get to pick the next person to write in write club.

In the first part Asad told us the story of a seven year old boy Ali. Ali is supposed to be watching his little sister, Negar but instead his curiosity takes him down some dark underground passages that in the old days were used for storing drinking water and had now been left unused for decades after the arrival of pipes.
Read the complete version here.

In the second and third parts of the story written by Negar and Linda, as Ali is distracted by a dazzling light at the end of one of the tunnels, we learn that this house was bought by Ali’s great-grandfather who had made his money by selling tobacco to the British. We are also told that these tunnels are in fact underground passages that used to connect the many mansions that stood on these grounds many years ago and were occupied by Qajar princes and princesses.
The dazzling light turns out to be the spirit of Ali’s long dead grandfather who is surprised to see a little boy in front of him since his son Jooya (also dead) had told him (up there) that he had two girls. This is when we realise that Ali is in fact Aila (and very much a girl) who says, ‘I am Ali for now, at least until things are safe around here once again.’
After this Aila makes a deal with granddad, she is allowed to ask him ten questions, in exchange for letting him go at 3 o’clock because he needs to be somewhere.
This is where it ends,
…I am your grandpa, you can count on me.
‘But my father said he never liked you.’
‘Is that your first question?’

And this is where I came in. And as usual got a bit carried away! Sorry I think I wrote a bit too much. Again. O well, never mind.

‘Technically’ replied Aila, ‘that was not a question. I was just saying he didn’t like you.'
‘Ahuh’ said granddad quite excitedly ‘but don’t you want to know why?’
She was pretty interested to know why this was, although not interested enough to want to waste one of her precious questions on it. But then she looked into that lovely wrinkled face with that large uneven-surfaced droopy nose which completely covered the top lip and some of the bottom lip even (on the rare occasions that the old man’s mouth was closed) and the lovely hair and beard resembling cotton candy (the white type of course and ‘not pink like grandma’s’ Aila thought, ‘that time she had decided to give herself a makeover with those dodgy hair dyes she had bought from Kolsoom khanoom with the gold tooth and the weird growth by the side of her nose.’) and those eyes (peering through badly-in-need-of-a-trim eyebrows) gone misty by…what was it? Love? Affection? Cataract? She didn’t know what it was. All she knew was that she would do anything to make this little old man happy and if it meant wasting one of her questions on him, so be it.
‘Yes Grandpa’ she said, as cutesy as she could (which meant really concentrating and working hard at it since she wasn’t really a very girly girl), ‘I think I would like to know why.’
Grandpa shook his head in an all-knowing manner and with his index finger he invited Aila to come closer. ‘You know what?’ He whispered, ‘I haven’t a Scooby.’
‘Excuse me?’
‘You know, Scooby doo = clue. It’s cockney rhyming slang. Get with the programme kid. Now I think you will find it’s one down, nine to go. Yeah baby.’ This was followed by a series of strange, football goal-scorer type celebrations with no end to them in sight. ‘He is quite agile for an old man of his age.’ Aila thought to herself. She also thought she was starting to understand why her father didn’t like him; this old man was extremely annoying. By this time granddad was doing what vaguely resembled the Maori’s Haka Taparahi dance, made even more special by a few ‘Saturday night fever’ type moves thrown in.
Aila applauded. ‘Bravo granddad’ She said sarcastically, ‘you managed to cheat me out of one of my questions.’ Granddad stopped his antics for a (very well deserved) breather. Aila continued, ‘But you know what? It doesn’t really matter because unknowingly you already answered one of my other questions so I haven’t really lost anything now.’
A bit out of breath, the old man asked, ‘What was that then?’
‘I was gonna ask you if you watch us from up there all the time, even when we’re in the bathroom and stuff.’
‘And?’ Granddad asked warily.
‘Well now I know that you don’t because you knew I was girl only because my dad had told you. Had you always watched me, even when I was in the bathroom, you would know for a fact that I was a girl…’
‘Who do you think I am kid?’ grandpa said angrily, ‘Some kind of crazy pervert who gets his kicks from watching little boys…or girls… Allh-o Akbar’ (He looked absolutely furious) ‘How dare you say things like that to me? How very dare you?’ At this point he realised that he was perhaps getting a bit overexcited and tried to calm himself down by taking a few very deep breaths.
‘I’m sorry.’ Aila said sheepishly a few moments later, ‘I really didn’t mean to upset you.’
‘It’s ok’ Said granddad (who had calmed down a bit by then). ‘Just promise me from now on before asking a stupid question like that, you will think about it a little first. I mean a bit of logic never killed anyone, did it? just think about it, why on earth would I want to watch you in the shower when I can watch Pamela Anderson bouncing up and down on a trampoline or Catherine Zeta Jones taking a bath or a drunk Angelina Jolie skinny-dipping in her swimming pool, huh? You think I’m crazy? Is that what you think?’
‘No sir.’ Aila whispered, looking down at her feet. She didn’t have the faintest idea what granddad was on about.
‘Don’t worry about it.’ said granddad absentmindedly as he concentrated on his finger having a good rummage around his ear hole. When he seemed to have found what he was after, he smiled, squinted to have a good look at it and then flicked it away, turning round to Aila. ‘Well kid, it was nice meeting you. Have a great life and I’ll see you again when you’re dead. Ok? Cheerio… O yeah and be good to your Mum and Grandma and blah blah… O yeah and brush your teeth every night…and day maybe…O and please remember to tell your grandmother to stop using those cheapo hair dyes she buys from that dodgy Kolsoom khanoom with the gold tooth. Doesn’t she know what she is doing to my reputation up there? I’m the laughingstock of all the spirit world.’ Having gotten a bit agitated about this last bit, he seemed to have forgotten what he was going to say next but after thinking for a few minutes he decided that it could not have been very important anyway and so he just said, ‘See you then kid.’ And started to walk towards one of the dark tunnels.
‘Wait’ Aila shouted, ‘Aren’t you forgetting something?’
‘Oh yeah’ said granddad quickly turning back and picking up a bag from the floor. ‘My lunch’ he said enthusiastically, ‘Thanks for reminding me. I would have had to go hungry all day if I’d forgotten this.’ Then with a newfound spring in his step he walked off, humming some sort of tune that Aila identified as Madonna’s ‘Like a virgin’.
‘Wait’ she shouted again, ‘What about our deal?’
‘Deal, Shmeal.’ Said granddad, ‘Look kid, I don’t have time for all these childish games and Twenty one questions and all that. I’ve got stuff to do. Ok? Now run along and go do some kiddy stuff, whatever they are.’
‘But I was the one who brought you back.’
‘And I thank you for that. And what’s more I feel indebted to you for the rest of my life. But guess what; I’m dead which means no life, which equals no sense of gratefulness.’
Aila was so angry she wanted to reach up and pull on the old man’s nose until it drooped down to his feet and tripped him over every time he went to take a step. This old man was mean and to top it off he was dead and so didn’t respond to any sort of threat. But then suddenly she remembered something that brought a very big smile to her face.
She ran towards the old man who was disappearing down the end of the tunnel. ‘What are you doing?’ He said irritably when she had caught up with him, ‘Just go back home kid. Can’t you take a hint?’
‘I’m going with you.’ Said Aila very confidently, ‘I’m going with you and there’s nothing you can do about it.’
‘Excuse me?’ Said a surprised granddad who had now stopped to take a good look at this pesky kid.
‘Let’s just say that if you don’t let me come, from now on, like clock work, every three weeks, there is going to be a knock at grandma’s door and she will be presented with a lovely parcel that contains only the mothers of all the dodgy hair dyes of the world, mixed together especially by the beautiful Kolsoom khanoom.’

Amanda has the next part.