Lupe Fiasco / Chicago Arabesque

This weekend has been pretty fun.  On Friday, Annan & I went to see Lupe Fiasco in concert.  It was great, especially (and I mean ESPECIALLY) during his performance of “Superstar” because towards the end, the music stopped as he pointed the mic to the audience and we all sang,

If you are what you say you are, a superstar
Then have no fear, the camera’s here
And the microphones
And they wanna know-ow-ow-ow
If you are what you say you are, a superstar
Then have no fear, the crowd is here
And the lights are on
And they wanna show-ow-ow-ow

It sounded amazing.  I was surprised at how in sync and melodious everyone was.  I wanna go back in time to relive THAT moment.  By the end of the night, my voice was sore and pretty much gone from all the singing along and shouting.

So, the day after the concert (yesterday) was also the last day of Chicago Arabesque (the third annual Arab Chicago Festival).  I headed down there with Alia and we met up with a bunch of relatives.  As always, it was a ton of fun.  I love seeing people who aren’t Arab at these events.  I appreciate people who take interest in cultures other than their own.  Oh, and… the Chicken Shawerma was as tasty as ever.  YUM.  OHHHHHH, and the Coconut icecream from Bellagio cafe was really delicious, also.  Too bad their only location is in Libertyville.

The musical performances were a pleasure, as always.  Mohammed from P.R. came all the way from Palestine to rap and perform several hot rhymes.  The only disappointment I had was that the Raj3een Palestinian Debke group was going to get to the event a lot later than I have anticipated, so we weren’t able to see them.

Below you’ll find a video I created with a few performances from the event.  I just uploaded it so it’s still processing and the quality isn’t as good as it will be once processing is complete. I apologize for all the shakiness.  My hand was apparently really unsteady during all the recordings (which I guess is to be expected when you’re not using a tripod). Enjoy:

p.s. GO SOX! We won yesterday and looks like we are on our way to another victory today! 3-0 Good Guys!

Michael Jackson’s Untimely Departure

I was shocked to hear about the sudden death of Michael Jackson.  Over the years he has come to influence and inspire so many of today’s talent.  He was definitely an amazing performer, innovator, and trendsetter.  I was never a huge fan of his, but I have always felt that he was a legend whose talent broke down boundaries.  He also seemed like a very genuine person and my heart always went out to him during the ridiculous, disgusting, horrible and, most importantly, untrue accusations that plagued his career.

Michael Jackson has said time and time again that he loves children in a NON-SEXUAL way, and saying it once is all he should have had to do.  It’s a shame that the media tried to paint him in a picture that wasn’t who he truly was.  It’s a shame that he had to live with a fractured heart- yes, fractured.  He tried to do something as pure and innocent as opening his home to kids because he loved them, and parents of these children took advantage of his efforts and decided to spread false allegations as an attempt to milk the cash cow.  Of course, these accusations were painful, and that pain is something he should have never had to deal with.

My heart truly goes out to him and his family during this difficult time.  I’ve never realized how much pain he had to endure, but watching various specials on ABC & MTV, and seeing how he had to go through that period of accusations, I’m just now realizing the extent of his pain.  His words of “I’m human too” and  “I have a heart”  and “It’s not nice” keep circulating in my mind as sadness engulfs me.  It’s a shame that he had to go through all of that, but at least he no longer has to deal with that garbage.  

Michael’s death wasn’t just a shock to me, but it came as a complete shock to everybody.  He just got a physical not too long ago in preparation for his sold out tour in England and he was healthy.  This just proves that tomorrow is not promised to anybody.  Hopefully those who accused, ridiculed, harassed, and hurt him will take this into account.  May it serve as a lesson and an eye opener to not only them, but to us all.  Perhaps now people will realize the severity of their errs and repent.

Michael Jackson- rest in peace and may God have mercy on us all.

12:28 PM

I’m currently at work and the phone has been ringing off the hook.  Also, I’ve had walk-in after walk-in.  I feel like, for a Tuesday (and a Tuesday in the summer), these occurrences are very uncharacteristic.  Not sure what’s going on, but we don’t have any deadlines approaching since the summer deadline for transfer & non-degree was 06/15 and the fall deadline for transfer & non-degree students isn’t until 08/01.

With that said, I can’t believe it’s only a little past 12 PM.  Usually the busier you are, the faster time flies by.  I guess I’ve finally proven that theory wrong, since I’ve only been here for around 3.5 hours and it seems like 8.

Well, that’s all. I thought I’d take a moment to document this crazy day. Oh, Speak of the devil!  The phone is ringing.  Gotta take the call and yield another satisfied customer…err..I mean, prospect :)

Sick on a Sunny Day

Today seems to be one of the first (if not THE first) day in June where it’s not raining.  It’s beautiful and sunny, but alas, I cannot enjoy it because I am sick.  This nonsense always happens.  That is, I always get sick at the worst possible times.  One of the worst times I’ve gotten sick was during my HS graduation.  What was even worse about that situtation was that I was to give a speech to the Class of 2005.  Thank God I didn’t fall off the stage.

I’m just hoping for a speedy recovery because I’ve been sleeping practically all day.  Thankfully my amazing mom has squeezed a deliciously fresh glass of orange juice to help me on my road to recovery.  Also, she gave me a big bowl of ice cream to help soothe my sore throat. YUM!

Anyway, I’m hungry.  I only ate a little at around 12:00 PM because nothing is appetizing when you are ill.  I guess I’ll go eat a bowl of chicken soup.

But before I do that, let me express the fact that I’m pretty excited to be going to the Lupe concert this coming Friday.  Thanks, Annan, for telling me about it.

Alright, time for SOUP!

Words are Weapons

In the past, I’ve said some things I wish I hadn’t and have done some things I wish I didn’t. When I am angry, I express this anger through words. Sometimes these words are extremely harsh and hurtful. They have the ability to not only shock, but dice and slice you emotionally where, eventually, you will drown in the despair caused by these weapons.

The problem is that I react quickly. When I feel like I’m being attacked, I attack back, but I attack tenfold- in a manner where I know it’ll reach the core. I have said some things to people that I love (and have loved) that I always end up regretting, almost instantaneously. At the end of every day, I reminisce about all the occurrences that have transpired that day. If it happens to be “one of those days” where I know I used my words to bring someone down, I’m near the brink of tears.

I’m writing this entry not only as a means to cleanse my soul, but as an apology. I apologize to anybody I may have hurt over the years, not only through words, but also through actions. I know the list is lengthy, and I have many names in mind, but for the sake of your confidentiality, I won’t list them.

I also apologize to anybody that may have taken offense to anything I may have done inadvertently. I know my words and actions are often misconstrued even when I mean positive, but regardless, I apologize anyway.

I don’t want people feeling they need to watch what they say or do around me. I don’t want people thinking I dislike them. I don’t want people having a preconceived notion that I’m a mean person. I just want people to be able to get to know me and draw their own conclusions based on their personal interactions with me.

I know personally that it’s hard to overcome the pain that is rendered when you are hurt emotionally. When you are cut with a knife, one eventually heals, but the scar remains, always reminding you of what once was. The same is true with words. Because I can’t turn back time and take the pain away, please let us start new. To everyone I hurt, my penitence is sincere. I will try my hardest to stop this vicious cycle.

Please accept my deepest apology.

Real World

I am officially a college alumnus and with this title comes a great feeling.  I’ve worked very hard and it’s paid off. Graduating as magna cum laude was a great feat for me despite the fact that the ‘magna’ was forgotten in the commencement program. :( (I know, I know…. It’s only been 2 days since my graduation and I mentioned this mistake over a trillion times, but I can’t get over it! How can someone make such a mistake?!?!?!)

On another note, with graduation comes another feeling–a feeling of uncertainty.  What happens next? I’m starting grad school this fall, but at the end of the summer, if I don’t get another job, I will be jobless.  THIS IS THE SCARY PART.  I don’t like the possibility of not having a job.  I’ve had a job since my freshman year of high school, and ever since, I can’t fathom living without one. The recession we are in is not helping the situation, either.  I see everyone in my surroundings getting turned down for jobs that a person would usually never get turned down for.  Man, this economy is horrible.  I can barely stand to write about it.

But, one must always stay positive. It’s time that I actually give this theory a try.

Tomorrow is…. GRADUATION DAY!

Despite having to wake up at the crack of dawn to get to Allstate Arena by 7:00 AM tomorrow, I am so happy and thankful to God for allowing me to finish in a timely manner. I’ve worked so hard to get where I am today and am grateful to all the amazing people who have graced me with their presence over the years.

Unfortunately, all of my CDM friends graduated last year since I took all of my major classes with the Class of 2008, but it doesn’t matter anyway since the arena is mammoth and you don’t have the ability to interact with friends for more than a couple of minutes before the ceremony.

To the couple of communication majors that I know that I’ll be graduating with- CONGRATULATIONS and I hope to see you tomorrow!

Congratulations CLASS OF 2009!

It’s been a while

It has been a long time since my last blog entry, but I’m definitely going to start writing more frequently. (I know, I said this before, but I mean it this time).

Today was officially my last class as an undergrad. I turned in my final Art paper and, afterwards, my friends and I headed to what is known to be my absolute favorite restaurant of all time- The Cheesecake Factory. I have been there (what seems to be) over 100 times in my lifetime and, for the most part, have enjoyed every minute of it. My favorite dish is the Chicken Piccata (w/no capers) and my favorite cheesecake is the Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheesecake. When I’m hungry and not in the mood to try anything new, I know that my hunger will always be satisfied by these two treats.

After lunch, we went to see “The Hangover.” I wasn’t much of a fan. The commercials pretty much showed the funniest parts of the movie. It was lacking in humor and I found myself antsy and waiting for it to end. It was the same, cliche story line about a fun day gone wrong (not remembering what happened the day before and partaking in actions that you wouldn’t normally partake in when sober). It consisted of a trio of that weird in-law, the immature, “cool” guy (or what the media has constructed to be cool), and the smart one who doesn’t really fit the criteria of the other friends in the group. It wasn’t horrible, but it definitely isn’t the type of movie I’d see again.

It is currently 12 in the morning and I’m not tired at all. I had an exhausting week and it all caught up to me today. After coming home from the movies, I fell asleep at around 8:30 and didn’t wake up until 30 minutes ago. I guess now I’ll just take a shower and watch TV.

I’ll leave you with a trailer of “The Hangover.” I’ll let you be the judge.