Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Horrors of Gmail

Over two weeks ago, I lost my Gmail account. Suddenly I couldn't sign in anymore. No warnings, no signs. Simply the horrible notion of not being able to access the email account I've been depending solely on for almost the last two years!

My Gmail Horror Story has made the news. ZD Net UK 's Ingrid Marson wrote a piece on the mysterious account deletion phenomenon that hit Google Mail. Read the piece, and please if anyone has had similar problems and glitches with Gmail, come forward and speak up.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bad Bad You, Bad Bad Me

To begin with, I would like to thank everyone who turned up for the reading at Al Riwaq Art Gallery on Monday. Even though there were few of you, the evening to me was a success, simply having the opportunity to meet with you and talk a bit of literature.

Considering this was only my second reading, I feel I did alright, apart from a few glitches here and there. I think the setting and the audience helped calm my nerves, it was an intimate evening. I hope you all had a good time and thank you once again.

Cheers to Gary (and wife) for showing interest in my work, cheers to Art for making sure the event was documented (always with his trusty camera), cheers to Tanya and Hashim, I enjoyed our conversations and to Marriette for the sweet complements. And most importantly thanks to the marvelous Bayan Kanoo, owner of the gallery, and Sara, her assistant.

You can read what Tooners over at Hypnotic Verses had to say about the evening. (pix to come)

Today, for the first time in two months, I attempted to write something. Of course nothing came out, but I sat and went through Buried, trying to figure out how the plot is going to develop over the next few chapters. I’ve not written anything for a very long time and I miss just sitting down, my warm cup of coffee next to me, typing away.

A couple of events coming next month that I will be announcing soon, meanwhile I better focus on completing Models of Success: The Book within the next nine days!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Brighter Than Sunshine

I am completely washed out, spent, knackered, exhausted, and physically incapable of carrying my own weight (ok that last bit was a little exaggeration but the rest is true).

Last night’s premier went smoothly and pleasantly. We all had a good (busy) time but at the end of it, it was smiles all round. There were no less than 150 people in the theatre who all seemed genuinely intrigued by the film… I’m talking about Models of Success here, yes.

To everyone else, that was that, but to us we’re halfway there. The film still needs a lot of work in terms of adding more material and fine-tuning but yesterdays screening was the first opportunity to measure the reaction of the general public towards the production.

The screening was followed by a roll call and an interesting short Q&A session that included a young lady’s extremely enthusiastic appraisal for the film, the ladies in it and those involved in making it, which was quite a rewarding moment for all of us.

So to that young lady whose name I never got, thank you for the kind, encouraging words and glad the film’s message reached you.

Following that, we (production crew) had a little post-premier dinner party at Rendezvous restaurant right next to the Seef Cineplex and had a lovely time. I’ll try to put up some photos from the premier as soon as they are uploaded.

From tomorrow we will pick up where we left on the MoS book and website, both of which we want to be ready for launch no latter than the first half of April. It might be worthy to note that the film is receiving encouraging interest fro numerous parties including networks and film festivals. More on that shortly.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a reading in a couple of hours.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I Need Some Fine Wine & You Need To Relax

Finally, I'm a Cerebral Celebrity!!!! (whatever that is)

The "long-awaited" Cerebral Waste interview is up and you can indulge in it by visiting CerebralWaste blog. It was a fun interview to do and I thank our own Psycho Shawarma Lover for picking me as one of his eccentric interviewees.

Don't forget to leave a comment on the website, otherwise poor old Shawarma-boy will get really upset.

A little piece announcing the reading on Monday was also in today's Akhbar Al Khaleej. If you didn't know about it before, now you do and I won't except whatever excuse you might think of between now and the end of eternity for not showing up. (unless of course you live on another planet, or have a Lamaze class)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bring on the Red Carpet!

The premier of the Models of Success film is set for March 19 at the Seef Cineplex. Details are to be announced at a special press conference held tomorrow (Wednesday, March 15) at the Mercure Grand Hotel.

I'll be at the hotel from 4pm. Anyone who'd like to meet up and talk about the project and stuff feel free to drop by.

Lots of loose ends that need to be tightened. No one – apart from the director and editor – has seen the entire piece of film so far. But we are all dead excited about it. And hopefully hours following the premier I will be able to get back to focusing on the book as well as the website.

There was an article in today's GDN (which was supposed to be published like a week ago!) which you can read here.

Also, visit the Oman Observer to read the feature written by Ziana Qaiser on March 12.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Together's Better

Date: Monday, March 20th, 2006
Time: From 7pm
Venue: Al Riwaq Art Gallery, Adliya
Event: Reading

So there you go. Take a note. Put it down in your diary. You better be there.

I will be reading (gulp!) excerpts from QuixotiQ, signing copies of the book and talking briefly about writing. There will probably also be an opportunity for a short Q&A session. And if you’re lucky (and time permits) I’ll even throw in a short story right at the end of it all!

Looking forward to it (he says nervously).

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Four To The Floor

Plenty of cultural activities going around the country at the moment. The Spring of Culture, a month long activities of culture, literature art and music started a few days ago and there are several events worth attendting.

Yesterday I visited the photography exhibition Focus: Women & Modern Identity, by young and talented Bahraini artist Waheeda Mallulah and Canadia photographer Haleh Anvari. Some of the photos are extraordinary and captivating.

Visit the Spring of Culture website to get details of the programm and its various activities.

There are a number of other activities that I am involved with that will be taking place in the next two to three weeks. I will be posting the details as soon as they are finalised, but I can tell you that there will be a reading at Al Riwaq Art Gallery in the very near future.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Speak Up... Write

A few days ago, I received an email from Roheet Shah of the American Islamic Congress, letting me know about a unique and fascinating project called HAMSA (Hands Across the Mideast Support Alliance).

I write to inform you about a new essay contest launched by the American Islamic Congress on civil rights in the Middle East. Anyone under the age of 26 can enter, and finalists can win up to $2,000 in cash prizes.

The "Dream Deferred Essay Contest" (see*/) challenges young Americans and young Middle Easterners to express constructive ideas for individual rights in the world's least-free region.Judges for the essay contest include Gloria Steinem (founder of Ms. Magazine), the Cato Institute's Tom Palmer, Azar Nafisi (author of Reading Lolita in Tehran), as well as noted Middle Eastern bloggers Ammar Abdulhamid of Syria and Mahmoud Al-Yousif from Bahrain.

We are hoping to awaken young Americans to the reform efforts of indigenous Middle Eastern progressives and to engage them in this discussion. Several hundred Americans have already submitted essays, but we would like to reach out to students on campus so you can enter before our deadline, on March 31st, 2006.We hope you consider submitting an essay, and please feel free contact me at with any questions or concerns.

Thank you,--Roheet Shah

I think this is a unique opportunity for youths out there to make their voices be heard, to speak their minds and share their opinions with the rest of the world, on a very very important topic. It’s also a great way of showcasing your writing abilities. This is, after all, in essence, a writing contest. So get them keyboards clickin’!

Also, take a moment to visit the website and learn more about the project, the essay contest and the organization’s various activities.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

For The Restless

Last night, I along with Enas were hosted on the Channel 55 Highlight show, presented by the lovely Ahdeya Ahmed. I wasn’t supposed to go on, but unfortunately Doa, our PA, had to back down due to illness and I filled in her shoes.

The show was a joy and both Enas and I had a wonderful time, all thanks to Ahdeya, who was, as usual, the star of the show. For those who missed the episode of Highlight, a repeat will be broadcast on Friday at 7.30pm on Channel 55. Be sure to catch it.

A number of events are being finalized as we speak, two of which are related to my own writing (a reading/book signing and a talk) and the other two are related to the Models of Success project. I will post all the details right here as soon as they are confirmed.

Gotta go, lots of footy to watch today.

ps. Check out the latest update on the MoS Photo Diary