Happy Again!

Off the grid is a goal I can never seem to be able to achieve…

I can’t afford being off the grid. Family responsibilities, work issues, catching up with friends, and various social interactions that for a while are inevitable…

Aside from sleeping time, I was offline for a total of 14¬†hours last six months. All were forced (12h on-flights, 1h internet cutoff and roaming problems abroad, and 1h battery death). But what exactly I mean when I say offline? Glad you asked…

(actually, since I am my only reader, I’m glad I askedūüėÄ )

Offline is the state of me not having any cellular, landline, or internet connection to my tier-1¬†people. The state of not being able to hear the Mayday from people who would direct their emergency call for me. Most of the time I love to silence all communications around me, but I never close the gate for my tier-1 people. I even have another number named the mayday number, which I change whenever someone calls me there for a non emergency issue, and never give it to him ever again.. But, that’s another topic…

The tier-1 people. My people. Those whom I answer for their urgent needs. The number at any given time of those never goes beyond ten. Those I welcome 24/7 and won’t ever be offline for (ehm, except for that 0.31% downtime!). How are people who are there, are there? ¬†That’s usually by birth. But some people got there without sharing any name with me, and they can testify that’s not a privilege at allūüėÄ

I had a business trip last week. I wanted to add to the offline hours of mine. The plan was: get to the movies, airplane mode, and just enjoy those 2 hours (or four if you watch two movies in a row) of cinema art with no worries, no checking for any thing. Just you, the screen, and your thoughts. I couldn’t for various reasons, but only the thought of it made me happy. I am totally alone. And boy have I missed that!

It’s only when you travel alone could you realize how crowded it is. It’s only there where you realize how much chaos you’ve been into. How much you’ve swayed from your path. How much you hate your current life that you would prefer cutting all ropes relating you to it at any chance. It’s only my tier-1 people that keeps me tied to that life, and would cut it all together if not.

And yeah, It’s only when you’re alone that you remember how happy you are when you are alone…

 

 

 

The New Old

Cold outside. It’s not like it’s freezing, but that’s well above average for this country. Just the way I like it. I’m in a good mood…

Slid the screen to unlock. Social media? let’s surf. All those minds out there¬†that¬†I can talk to without talking to. Imagine being able to know all about someone without recognizing him/her if you meet! That’s social interaction the way I like it, and I’m in a good mood.

Let’s skip the small talk and talk about her. Do you know her? Oh poor you. She is what every poet ever tried to say, what every rock band ever rocked and rolled and screamed for. She is where those beautiful piano notes take you. The land of ever-sunset and ocean beach. The muse, hermosa.. Helen of Troy.. The face that launch’d a thousand ships, and burnt the topless towers of Ilium. You know her. Everybody know her. She’s all your happiness and all the lovely moments of your life. Your sweetest dreams, your light in the end of the tunnel. She is just the way I like it, and I’m in an awesome mood…

The sweetest are the beginnings, they say. But she’s different. Starting to know me, she was afraid of me, disgusted of me, and pretty much felt a trap in me. I never blamed her. That’s exactly how I felt when I knew me. Actually I never had that look of regret on her face the first time she saw me, but it’s alright. I never liked me too.. That’s one more common thing between us (Yay!). But let’s not talk about what happened between us, and focus on her. I can sing all poems about her all day everyday.. My favorite topic indeed, so let me pour myself a good cup of tea just the way I like it, and continue talking about her cuz¬†today I’m in a good mood.

Who was she?
I could tell you everything about her.
Who she was, how we met.
The color of her eyes, and the shape of her nose.
I can see her, right in front of me.
She’s more real than you are.

Everyone tell her how beautiful her smile is. She knows it damn well. How do you tell a girl with a beautiful smile that her smile is beautiful? That’s a bit tricky. Let me guide you through this. You’re lucky cuz I’m an expert -I got to tell the one with the most beautiful smile how beautiful her smile was. You start small by knowing yourself: Are you telling her that to make her fall for you? to make her recognize you? Think again buddy. If so, you better off not telling her that because every.single.guy in the planet already said that to her. Are you telling her that for yourself -because you love saying nice things about people? Not good enough. Are you saying that because Oh God that’s a beautiful smile? Now we’re talking! Her smile actually didn’t give you the luxury of why and how to say what, words just come out of your mouth. But let me warn you: if she’s in a good mood, if she likes you (lucky you!), or if she is feeling generous that day, she’ll give you a wide smile when you tell her that, and oh boy does she heal a broken soul! Be ready to witness the greatness, the definition of beauty, the awesomeness that can’t be put to words, and the recalling of the feelings you had in all fabulous moments in your entire life. Her smile and you, that’s the entire universe right now. Just the way I like it, and I’m in a good mood today…

So why don’t we just play pretend
Like we’re not scared of what is coming next
Or scared of having nothing left

Look, don’t get me wrong
I know there is no tomorrow

A pretty smile isn’t only about the lips, it’s all about the eyes. You remember that old rainy summer night, with the after-rain fresh air, roaming around with your best friends? You remember how the sky cleared and you saw the stars, and you sat down and whispered glory to God the Almighty.. You remember the serenity and holiness? That’s her eyes.. Remember your last night in Beirut, when you ditched your boring travel mates and went to Hamra cafe, ordered a chocolate cake and a splendid cup of tea, and sat towards the street, looking to those group of young people and making up stories to all of them: the tough looking guy that has a crush on the red dressed that seem to like the shy one to the right that only looks to his MacBook and smiles when they say stupid things. He seems good looking but doesn’t dress well, so he is overlooked and all the attention is on the third one with glasses who says the meanest things about his family and I can swear knows nothing about “Why American business took over the world” thing that he’s been yapping all night about… You take out your phone and send her the “I miss you” text that your carrier refuses to let through, and go on with your chocolate cake and the waitress’s kind flirting.. The amount of peace you felt that night, my friend, is her eyes. The happiness you felt on your parents faces the day of your exam results, that’s her eyes. Utter happiness and complete beauty.. Only talking about them makes me remember that feeling that I totally missed. Another cup of tea? You know how I like it.. And I’m in a great mood today…

If this is my last night with you
Hold me like I’m more than just a friend
Give me a memory I can use
Take me by the hand while we do what lovers do
It matters how this ends
‘Cause what if I never love again?

Then life happens…

And by life I mean a lot of things. Crappy decisions, damaged souls, wrong countries, realizations of how I am not making her happy enough, financial issues, family issues, ¬†screenshots, ordinary misters (screw you, mister!), statues, terrible first impressions to parents, and lies that cannot be recovered…

“Didn’t I tell you not to talk about what happened?”

Here comes my trust issues kicking..

I’d forgive anything but lies.

I’d forget anything but betrayals..

Except her eyes…

But when I see those eyes look to some other mister the way I saw them, I curse the day I saw them at all…

You think, twice and thrice.. But it boils down to only one thought that you can never shake off your mind..

I thought I was special!

I thought it was me whom you’re interested in, not the state of being with me..

But oh boy was I wrong…

Still in a good mood? No? that’s exactly how I like you from now on…

Hold me like I’m more than just a friend
Give me a memory I can use
Take me by the hand while we do what lovers do
It matters how this ends

 

The new reality is your life as it is now. You damaged that beyond repair and now all you can do is to be nostalgic. It’s all memories now. This is the new old…

 

 

 

About her: The Blood of My Blood!

To the lovely gathering, the tireless hours we spend talking, chit-chatting, and moving thoughts around…

To the smile of the little baby, the pure laugh of her, and the joy she spreads around the place..

To the brother whom is one of the few I love unconditionally without sharing a last name..

To mom’s smile when you’re around.

And to her.. My world is a better place with you..

You’re gonna be missed, a lot.. May ALLAH be always with you.. yi3dilha 3laik m7l ma tgabbili halool…

You are never alone, never far away from our hearts…

About her: The Drama Queen Child

I have been struggling with some childish behavior lately.. I really dunno how to deal with such behavior, and it seems every step I take, every word I say, and every word I don’t say would trigger some stranger behavior..

Ever been in similar situations?? Walk away and never look back.. Trust me, you’ll regret every single moment you struggle with this craziness.. And however hard you try, you will never be rewarded.. Don’t you ever fool yourself that you’ve got it under control. You are never in control of drama queens.. Drama queens cannot be tamed.. They are forever in drama, and they love it.. They will never let you take that from them however hard you try, however lovely and sweet world you make for them.. It’s either you live in their drama and fuel it, or you step outta their lives.. There’s no staying in their lives without getting ignited with drama flames..

Just walk away, pal…

About her: The SUAS

We all have that stupid friend, the one who is on the other side of the world with the word smart..

We all have that ugly friend.. The one who looks like hell however good she tries. Actually trying makes things worse..

We all have that arrogant piece of %$$^, who thinks the world not only revolves around her, but the world is her..

And we all have that smug in our circles, even if we do not choose her, some close friend would do and maintain her in the damn close circle.. And we will bear with that..

The SUAS as you would’ve guessed, is the Stupid, Ugly, Arrogant, Smug her.. She who is right in front of me right now writing these lines.. I’d give her the credit of catching ’em all, no one in my life caught all four letters before..¬†The type of girls that thinks of herself as wanted and love-able, and thinks all people (esp. men) do what they do craving her attention and wanting her approval, and the entire universe is designed to satisfy her, and that she is too damn tired of all the important things she does that makes her too.damn.busy… Now, not that I do not sympathize with her (fyi: I don’t!) or I discourage self confidence ideas, but at least have the minimum amount of worthiness to claim that huge worth..

Nowadays, all the world is virtually in one place.. And all people claim they deserve better that they got. I never found anybody (except for that one person) that doesn’t claim he/she deserves way better that his life.. It seems odd to me how we think, but not too much to make me claim that we don’t… I can’t claim that children born and raised in South Sudan, Darfur, Nuba Mountains, Sudan (generally), deserved all that misery and those born and raised in LA or Sweden deserved better.. A general rule is hard to maintain, but generally I hate people who have average lives always nagging about how they deserve better if there was justice in the world. Most people I see that way deserve less that what they got, in my opinion and all of those I trust.. And she’s worth less than any low I can ever imagine..

Whenever I see her talking to anyone, I never fail to guess: it’s either gossip about her female coworkers, or how much she is awesome and doing all the impossible things in life.. So let’s be worse than her and talk some more bad of her.. Her life achievements? Being born to a vastly rich family, graduating from the worst college I’ve seen (and probably in the earth), actually getting married, and purchasing a car with less than quarter the price from her brother with money paid by her husband. And oh, she was awarded the queen of the workplace drama.. Her relationship scheme is so complicated that she cannot remember who is her friends (currently) and who are worth making some scenes with.. Her professional track records? Makes me look good! How people around her think of her? I typed 522 words so far all in hate of her…And the worst part, she thinks she is worth it!!!!!

Out of all things I cannot understand, I cannot get how there was some guy who actually liked that, and actually got married to her.. I’d like to have a picture of him and hang it on the wall with a caption: There is hell on earth!

About him: The Invisible

There’s something in his eyes.. Something that made him stand out of the crowd, made him distinguishable among the¬†361,366 people in this city.. I asked him to do something simple. Now the trick about simple things is that people often¬†treat it the same as non-important things, and they suck at it.. But not that dude, he nailed it.. Then he posed couple of answers to my unasked questions.. I didn’t get the expression wrong as he poses answers the same way you would pose a question. And his simple 42 answered my ultimate question of life, universe, and everything else…

I kinda have a rule not to identify the about-him/her’s, but Bilal stands out.. His work is to be invisible, and his life is invisible to people.. Yet somewhere, some blog post is all about you man.. And to some random guy whom is invisible to you, you stood out..

You Do Not Have To Take My Word. Seriously.

From the very first days of your life, you knew that is how life works. You trust people to interact with your life in ways that might break it, and they hopefully don’t break it. The doctor that pulls you out of warmth and comfort to the cold uncertainty, and the nurse that doesn’t drop you, and then your parents with absolutely everything. But you don’t really have a choice in that, do you? Then the story goes on: your early school friends with your secrets, your siblings with your [top] secrets, your lover with your heart (Spoiler: they will break it!), your boss with not screwing you up (but he will!), and your children with your name, reputation, and walletūüėÄ and your leaders with your big issues. And they all do the same to you. There’s nothing you can do to stop any of them screwing you up, yet the common human decency prevents that and frowns upon those who do. This is how we act, this is how we are wired to be like, and this is how we design things…

And here comes the early days of web. People having all that things they wanna share. Mr. Lee puts up a way to do so, and it’s on like it was never before in the human history.. At some point, people decides it would become handy if there’s a way to share some secrets without others knowing, and mathematicians come forward with some tricks and a cool name to call it: cryptography! In theory, that was a great solution, but here practicality kicked in pretty awfully. People responsible for making a practical way for that came up with a pretty good model (read: protocol) that addressed the crypto part of it well, but when it comes to authentication, they really, really sucked!

To clear it up a bit, let me go more about the last part. Let’s say I want to tell you a secret, over the web (seriously, I do!). If I just tell you what I want to tell you, people may hear it on the way to you, people may stop it, and¬†aggressive¬†people may change it. I can use the crypto trick: I put my secrets into the box (=algorithm) and lock it with a key, and send it to you. Now nobody knows what’s in the box, nobody can change some of it, and nobody can filter¬†it based on¬†contents (because he cannot see its contents!). The new problem is: how can the other party open that box? He needs the key! If I send him the key, they key itself could be intercepted and the box can now be opened. Put the key in another box? C’mon, you’re smarter than that! The new new key needs to be exchanged as well.. Now that’s a stall! We have to exchange keys in another secure (or at least separate) channel, where no intercepting party can get it.. That would be acceptable when talking about handing a USB thumb to my friend next door with the key inside, but scaling up and contacting a totally stranger in the other side of the world with no available channel than the internet is totally … what’s the word? insane! (let’s face it: if we had another channel of communications with strangers in the other side of the world, we wouldn’t have invented the internet!)…

So the magicians came up with another crypto trick: PKI. The same box, only with two keys. If closed with key 1, it cannot be opened except with key 2, and vice versa. So now, keep one key to yourself (let’s name it Private Key) and publish¬†the other (let’s call it Public Key). Now anyone wanna say something private to you can place it in a box and lock it with your public key, and he’ll rest assured that nobody else can see it but you. You can reply to him and he’ll know that’s you because if he could open it with his public key that means it must’ve been locked with the private key that nobody has but you (supposedly). Combine your keys and his, lock a box encrypted with your private key into a box with his public key and you now have a private channel! Now that’s perfect right? Really?!

Think of that: How to publish your public key? Anyone can tell you: Here, that’s your friend public key, and you cannot prove him right or wrong. Remember the key exchange problem in the third paragraph? Let’s call it the Trust problem, and here you are, my friend, falling for it again. You cannot get the meta data about the secure connection securely without a secure connection. Now people from Netscape faced that problem when designing SSL, and their solution was a lousy one: let’s ship the apps that wanna speak in private with the public keys! But you cannot have all public keys in the world, so they chose to create¬†another billion dollar business in the world: let’s trust some businessmen, have their¬†keys shipped with apps, and let them sell keys to people verified by them. Now when speaking to your friend, your friend gives you a key that he claims his, that key must be signed with another key that is a private key of a company that their public key is shipped with your browser. This sentence is designed to confuse you, and if it didn’t, that’s because I didn’t try so hard, the protocol is messed up like that! Let’s now put some naming in place: Public keys are replaced with Certificates ( = public key and some more info), the billion dollar companies¬†are¬†Certificate Authorities (CAs), and the app is the app (a browser is a common example). Now the design flow results in the following: Whoever claims to be ABC¬†must present a certificate of ABC¬†signed by a CA, and whoever presents a CA signed certificate for ABC¬†is¬†ABC. We completely trust the CAs that our browsers comes with, and not just browsers, all apps and operating systems. We trust them to verify that ABC is ABC, and that they will never lie or sell us. We trust them not to be jerks, and we trust them to know what they’re doing. And as with all huge trust relationships, they do prove they are worthless…

DigiNotar, Comodo, even VeriSign screwed up. CNNIC sold us, and modern OSes and browsers stacked them CAs up with endless chains that made it impossible to revoke the trust of any cert or CA. Hong Kong Post Office is a trusted CA, for God’s sake! This thing is messed up.

It might be forgiven for those who designed the protocol, they were working in a famously stressful workplace, but it is obvious that there are many who benefit from the way things are and they would kill to keep it that way: CAs whose business is going to dust if things changed, security companies invested in that, and most of all: intelligence and governmental facilities whose work got much easier this way: any legit CA cert from any (already shipped) CA and they can easily intercept the hell out of conversations (I’m looking at you, MCS Holdings and CNNIC!). Things like the Basic Constraint bug tells you that they don’t wanna know. They don’t wanna hear how messed up this whole thing up, cuz they like it so…

There is that thing, whenever you argue with someone who’s really really befitting from something ugly, he breaks the lines of: what’s the alternative? CAs are deeply embedded in our life and the way we do things now. How can we change that? That’s a legit question indeed! And that’s another topic!

You don’t trust me? you have Google, and a million resources in the wild west and tamed east.. As my man Bruno tells ya: Don’t believe me just watch!