Sunday, May 28, 2006

The TMI Files. Today I Saw A Rainbow.

It's been a hectic, exciting time. I started the new job last Monday, Magilla is in daycare during business hours for 5 days a week now, and I also had a film shoot this weekend just gone.

I've been flat out like a lizard drinking, and I've had to cut back on reading and blogging. It's been difficult, but I'll find the balance yet!

More on the job later, and the shoot was fantastic. We got some great stuff with a crew I love working with, so I'm looking forward to the finished product. The Broken Hill stuff is still in editing, so I'm not fussed if this one takes a while to finish. It's just the way low budget things work.

But today was something special.

I was up before the sun was - bleh - and staggered through the usual ablutions. I am so not a morning person.

I couldn't blame Magilla because she was away for the weekend. Depending on what I'm working on, she sometimes comes on set with me, but usually not. I don't do a lot of film work as she's come first; a few shorts a year with an indy feature thrown in for fun. I also seem to have developed a bit of a rep as someone who likes to do some of the strange and sick stuff.

Actually, I have a lot of a rep for that. I know this because I get calls from people looking for makeup, and apologising if there is no blood or effects in the script. Or I get the phone call asking if I do 'normal' makeup. I do, it's just that the fx are much more fun. Hehe.

But back to rainbows...

I was kitted up, opened the front door and was totally gobsmacked. I regret that I didn't have the camera handy, but you get that at that time of the a.m. Especially from me.

I stood on the front porch in awe. It was overcast, the sun was coming up but not yet visible, and there was a bit of light drizzle.

The sky was yellow. Not canary yellow, of course, but this amazing warm colour that blew me away.

Red sky at night, shepherds' delight.
Red sky at morning, shepherds take warning.

That old rhyme sprang to mind, but the sky was nothing resembling red at all.

I don't know what caused it, and I don't really care. It was an amazing sight.

It gets better though.

As I took off for work today, I reversed out of the driveway thinking about not going to church this morning. I do miss it when we don't go, but I also know that God is not going to flog me for it.

I turned west out of my street and the sky was grey again, but just in front of me, so close it seemed within reach, was a huge rainbow.

I looked behind me to the golden sky with the sun peeking above the houses, then to the front again and the most beautiful weather formation ever.

When I was a child I always wanted to find the end of a rainbow for the pot of gold that was apparently waiting for me, and here I could see the end of this one. It was only a dozen houses away.

I've seen a lot of rainbows, but there was something about this that moved me to tears. It was so close, a perfect arc across the road ahead, and I was exulted.

It's days like today when I give thanks to God for this amazing world we live in.

It's perfect moments like contrasting the sunrise and the rainbow, like a promise of eternal beauty, that reassure me that life is the most amazing gift, and if I was struck blind tomorrow, nothing could ever take that sight from my eyes.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Another Look At Syriana.

Mike Jericho is one of my essential blogs to read, as he makes for both challenging and entertaining reading. Okay, the subject matter can be depressing (he is, after all, liveblogging the second fall of western civilization), but it's never dull.

He reported on the George Clooney vehicle, Syriana.

Well, I've not seen Syriana, nor do I intend too. Life is far too short for a George Clooney film to be allowed through the doorway.


I've just now discovered The Editing Room and the Powers-That-Be have very kindly provided an edited screenplay of Syriana.

I can heartily recommend it for those looking for nuance in their scriptwriting, and to pique your interest, I am copying and pasting for your information:


By Rod Hilton



CHRIS COOPER meets with a bunch of OIL TYCOONS and LAWYER

I am very upset because our company
has been shut out of drilling for
oil in a Middle East country, which
has led to our company being forced
to acquire a smaller company that
has the rights to drill in
Kazakhstan. Unfortunately for my
shareholders, this merger represents
a potential monopoly, so now the
government has to investigate us and
approve! How infuriating!

Wow, that lengthy expository
monologue seemed awfully forced and

Trust me, twenty minutes from now
you'll be yearning for shit like

Your homework: Read the rest.

Friday, May 12, 2006

When Death Beasts Attack.

One of the biggest challenges today is not just getting the political rainbow to communicate meaningfully, but also getting the different religious schools of thought to also communicate meaningfully.

This is especially so when we are talking about the So-Called-War-On-Terror.

If we read sites like JihadWatch or LGF we get a lot of the rightwing rhetoric from a judeo-christian standpoint. With a few additions from hindus, the occasional buddhist and the avowed atheists.

If we read Larvatus Prodeo or Daily Kos you get another perspective altogether, which is practically a polar opposite.

As a card-carrying Right Wing Death Beast, I like to read sites that provide me with opposing views. I may not comment, but that doesn't mean I don't take discount other opinions.

An interesting trait I've noted over the last year is that in general 'right-wing' blogs tend to be more fact-driven, with demands to back up arguments and reduce emotionalism. The 'left-wing' blogs seem to be more unbalanced with more appeals to emotion and with less call for reason.

On both sides of the fence, comments can get very insulting at times, and my mind boggles to read such vitriol towards other posters.

I generally don't take umbrage, though, because it is my choice to participate in a discussion or not, and there have been times when I've felt like sinking the boot into a poster I strenuously disagree with.

Regular readers will notice that I try to keep my blog nice. The only time I've ever removed a comment is when it was spam trying to seel me a business idea or some drivel. I'm too lazy to moderate, and I don't think it's my role to tell people what they should be thinking.

Those I email with would be aware that I am more than capable of launching rabid attacks; I just choose not too here.

There is no excuse for bad manners.

So where is all this leading?

My regular morning reading list consists of Tim Blair, the aforementioned JihadWatch, Gates of Vienna, Mike Jericho and AWH.

From there, I like to see where the links lead me, and I've found some good blogs to learn more from. The Religious Policeman is a Saudi muslim living in Britain (I think), and he is always an informative and often entertaining read.

From Gates of Vienna, I have been introduced to Eteraz.

Eteraz is a moderate and modest muslim voice crying out in the cacophany of our turmoil.

I have not read much of his work, due to all sorts of things, but mainly time and not prioritising him. When I finally update my blogroll, he will be the first new addition.

I read this morning that he has removed himself from the Infidel Bloggers Alliance. This is a dreadful shame, because he has received much abuse from so-called 'christians' and rational people. He has posted his own reasons here on his blog.

With all of our (rightwing, judeo-christian tradition et al ) smug superiority about how we are better than the lefties, the moonbats, the muslims/jihadis/pick your insulting nomenclature, it looks like we can be just as shallow and immature.

Not to mention downright bloody rude.

When people blog about their lives or their opinions or knowledge, they are leaving themselves naked in the eyes of the world.

We can't see the person, but their words often tell us more about them than a photograph can in any case. Especially when you read enough of a person's words; then you can look beneath the surface and get a fuller picture.

(This does not discount blogs or websites set up for fictional characters, of course. We can still get an idea of how someone's mind works from those, too.)

There are many times that RWDBs label the 'moderate muslim' a unicorn.

With the vitriol directed at Eteraz, are we ensuing that they really do become a figment of our imagination?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Review Of Flight 93

Found over at JihadWatch.

‘United 93’ Incites Rage, Vengeance
“United 93” is the type of movie that evokes emotion in audiences. Along with feelings of shock, sadness and hurt comes a strong sentiment of anger and hate. When something as major as an attack on your country happens, generally, two things are bound to happen.

First, people develop a strong sense of patriotism and unity toward the rest of their fellow citizens. Next, people develop a thirst for revenge toward the perpetrators. In this case, the way this film portrays the antagonists would be those who fit the Muslim profile.

It seems Paul Greengrass’ intent was to create a sense of unity among his audience when directing his film “United 93,” and united we were.

Like everyone else, I relived the moments of that life-altering moment. And even though, I, like the rest of the audience, was American, I left the theatre with a strong sense of discomfort and isolation from everyone.

I am an American-born Muslim and I find it hard to be comfortable and patriotic in this country when overhearing comments such as “I can’t believe those Muslim people” or “this movie makes me really mad at those Muslims.”

It’s unfortunate that I overheard two people represent the beliefs of many people in the United States. The amount of ignorance and intolerance against Muslims can be largely attributed to media such as “United 93.”

When the opening scene portrays a terrorist praying to God for strength and guidance to carry out a suicide mission while screaming “God is great” in Arabic (Allahu Akbar) and terrorizing passengers, it is easy to see how people would associate the religion of Islam to a religion that preaches terrorism.

When people are emotional, they have the tendency to be extremely irrational. You would think the absurdity of the idea of a major religion preaching violence and terrorism in the name of God is common sense, but many people seem to forget that terrorism is a religion of its own.

While terrorists responsible for the devastating occurrence of Sept. 11 identify themselves as devout Muslims on a religious crusade, the Quran specifically states, “Whoever kills a soul, it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one, it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” But many Islamic nations, excluding Iraq, has sympathized with the United States’ situation.

According to an article by James Beverly printed in Christianity Today, “Iran has vehemently condemned the suicidal terrorist attacks in the United States,” and printed a story in Iran Today expressed their sorrow and sympathy for America.

The issue of ignorance is already a big issue in the United States with the news attaching the word “Islamic” with the word “extremist” and/or “terrorists,” and ignorantly throwing around words like “Jihad” and “Shari’a” without knowing their true meaning.

The power of the media has been severely underestimated. When the Twin Towers fell, the media replayed images of the incident, the mind-numbing devastation that resulted and the importance of showing unity and displaying patriotism.

The media puts strong emphasis on the Patriot Act as a weapon against the war on terrorism, which is translated into patriotism as a weapon in the war on Islam.

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, hate crimes against Muslims went up from 4 percent (pre-9/11) to 9 percent in 2003.

On April 24, 2004, a woman in Pennsylvania was a victim of verbal harassment when a woman yelled at her in a parking lot saying that the American troops were in Iraq and Afghanistan so that women wouldn’t have to dress like her.

She then proceeded to repeatedly hit her with her shopping cart. The Muslim woman requested employees to call security, but they refused.

It’s absolutely ridiculous that a small faction of people have come to represent the followers of an entire faith.

Despite the continuous reinforcement of certain misconceptions, there is no justification for committing hate crimes.

Violence inflicted on innocent people in the name of patriotism is the very definition of terrorism.

Because of the amount of time Greengrass put into focusing on religion, the message of unity and patriotism is lost in feelings of anger and resentment.

What could have been a valuable movie is just another source of media fueling ignorance into an already ignorant nation.

Fiza Najeeb can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (909) 869-3531.

Right about now, I am offically speechless.

If I can pick up my shattered jaw and scattered thoughts, I'll comment later.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The TMI Files. Who Said There Was High Unemployment?

Well, it took only two and a half to three weeks, but I am now employed.

I sent out a score of resumes, had a few interviews for a few jobs, and got the one I want last friday.

Not bad for someone who has officially been out of the workforce for four years, so I'm pretty please with myself.

The fun begins in another couple of weeks, and I'm looking forward to it. It will be a huge challenge for all of us. That includes the cats, as they are also used to people being around near 24/7, but if it means we can feed them the seriously expensive food, then it'll be worth it.

For those who added me to their prayers or just sent warm fuzzies my way, many, many thanks.

The TMI Files. Dead Again.

It doesn't matter how you shelter kids, they still discover the fun in playing with guns and swords and killing each other.

Or me, in this instance.

I keep a close watch on Magilla's viewing habits, but I'm not monitoring her 24/7. She's got a hazy idea of the concept of death, which is to be expected at her age, and occasionally she likes to kill me.

I don't stress on this, because I've got friends with children the same age, and they are even more pedantic about what their ruggies are exposed to than I am, and their son has killed my daughter more times than I can count. C'est la vie.

Today was a bit different, however.

This afternoon, the little green mouse in his rocket (green mouse is one of the cats' toys, the rocket is a toilet roll) killed me with his sword (a straw).

I had to lay down on the floor because I was dead.

If I moved, I got told off. I was, after all, still dead.

And then it got interesting.....

As I lay there being dead, Magilla got one of the cutout dinosaurs she'd make in day care last week, and it proceeded to eat me.

Yes, I became dinosaur dinner.

I (barely) managed to keep a straight face, and I've no idea where that came from - the only real dinosaur show she has seen is Dinotopia, which doesn't really play on humans being chewed up by huge lizards.

Maybe, just maybe, this fun with dinosaurs eating people is genetic.

I wonder where she got that from?

Monday, May 01, 2006

The TMI Files. Permission Granted.

I'm looking for fulltime work at the moment, and while it's going along swimmingly so far, it will still take a bit of time.

The tricky part of all of this has been Magilla. She has had me on call and to hand for her entire life so far (give or take a few film shoots where I was away on location).

She knows about working, as I do actually do a bit each week, and other people in her life also work.

But full time work for mummy is not quite the same thing, so we had a bit of a chat last week about this new concept.

Nilk: Magilla, you know how (insert name here) has to work and we can't see them all the time?

Magilla: Yes.

Nilk: Well, I have to get a job and go to work too. It means you get to spend more time with Mrs Carer.

Magilla: Nooooo. You're not allowed to.

Nilk: Magilla, I need to get a job and do some more work. We need more money.

Magilla: No we don't. We have money.

Nilk: We need more money. If we have more money we can do more things. You know how when we go shopping, you give the lady your money and she lets you have the chocolate? Well we need more of that money.

Magilla: No we don't! You're not allowed! You can't!

Nilk: I have to, Magilla. If we have more money we can do (this) and (this) and (that), and we can also buy more clothes and (stuff).

Magilla: Don't need clothes! Don't want (stuff).

Nilk: If I get a job and go to work more, and we get more money, we'll be able to afford a dog.

Magilla: A puppy?

Nilk: Yes. We can't afford one at the moment. We need more money.

Magilla: Okay. You can go to work.

Just as well I want a dog.