Category Archives: Blogistan and the Wide World of Webs

Whisper codes under the hush sky

What a mess (ii), originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

Things I Have Wikipediaed in the Last Couple of Weeks (in No Particular Order):

-Amadou et Mariam
-Dera Ismail Khan
-inside baseball
-Ashleigh Brilliant

-Amanda Plummer
-Hasan Abdal
-Girl in a Coma

-Amel Larrieux
-Whatever, Martha

-Ganga Jamuna
-Amir Khusro
-electric slide
-The Hold Steady

-Sandra Day O’Connor
-Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye

-Serenity (Firefly episode)
-technocultural studies
-Ahmed Faraz
-Michael Ignatieff

-Regina v. Dudley and Stephens
-August: Osage County
-public ivy
-Jai Ho
-Kunal Kapoor

-Nirvana (Elbosco song)
-Rub el Hizb


What about you? Is your list as strange and scattered and amusing (to me, at least)?

By the way/I saw your friends today and they all said you’re great

Tangerines!, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

Hi, is this thing still on?

I know. It’s been a long while.

Owl has tried shaming me with harassment tactics, and H (“Yasmin Without an E”) has probably resignedly reverted to reading about immunoglobulins, and Baji’s still holding out hope, and Hashim has given up altogether.

I like when I beat Hashim in things, so I’d say this is as good a time as any to make a grand return.

Not to mention the fact that M wrote on my facebook wall a few weeks ago,

“My son, Ilyas, would like me to convey this message to you:
Update the weblog, or the highfives will stop. I kid not.”

Now that is the sort of threat that makes me quake in my stabbingdagger-pointed shoes. I hope you all are taking notes and picking up lessons from M here. No more highfives from adorablicious toddlers?! That would be just blasphemy.

Hashim accused me a few weeks ago of being “clearly in blog violation.” This, coming from the dude who professes to neither understand nor read weblogs. This is why it’s even more mind-boggling that he apparently subscribes to the RSS feed for my tumblr, mistook it for my real-deal weblog, and observed a while back,

“It looks like all you are doing is copy/pasting stuff from others. You do realize if that’s what I wanted to view, I’d RSS their sites instead. I think you are failing to understand how this is supposed to work.”

Point duly noted. I’m trying to relearn “how this is supposed to work.” Shall we try again?

Here are some updates from my end:

There are tangerine peels in my jacket pocket, and half-a-dozen tangerines piled on a corner of my desk. This is because I’m coming down with a cold, and need all the Vitamin C I can get. Standing on the train platform this morning, I soaked up the (unexpected) sunshine, and munched on tangerines from my backyard, in the hope that they’d bring back my usual 8-year-old boy with a stuffy nose voice (as opposed to the 13-year-old boy undergoing puberty who swallowed gravel voice I currently possess).

I’ve also just finished eating a red velvet cupcake with cream-cheese frosting and I do believe it was amazing.

I’m almost done reading Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith. He’s a rockstar, and he gives smashing highfives, and he writes beautifully – whether in his book, or his essays on activism, cooperation, and pluralism over at the WashingtonPost. (He’s also an extremely articulate speaker.) A couple of weeks ago, I was amused one morning to find that while I was immersed in Reza Aslan’s No god but God, the woman sitting next to me on the train was reading Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

I turned 28 on March 1st, and I still feel like I’m really just 8 years old. It being a Sunday, I celebrated at home with my family and a dozen or so of my closest friends. After an entire year away, the Lovely L Lady was back in town for the week, which offered up just the perfect excuse to gather together the All-Star Crackstar Squad and celebrate with our full entourage. Two items of note on the menu deserve a super-special shout-out: We had 1. CHAPLI KABOB! and 2. CUPCAKES! In fact, the following conversation with the parents ensued when I’d returned from grocery-shopping the evening before:

Ummy: Cake mix? You’re going to make your own cake for your birthday?
Yasmine: No, actually, I’m going to make cupcakes.
Ummy: You don’t want to just buy a cake?
Daddy-o: Cupcakes? Cupcakes are for CHILDREN.
Yasmine: Exactly!

My cousins made me a colorful rockstar guitar for my birthday, out of cardstock and construction paper and GLITTER and ribbons and photographs. Did I mention lots of glitter? It’s AMAA-ZING, and makes me laugh so much.

I work in Berkeley now, and take BART (the train) to and from work everyday. Those of you who know me as the self-professed Commuter Child Extraordinaire will understand why my (still new-seeming) train commute makes me so gleeful. I don’t have to waste time in traffic! I read books again! (See above.) Life is so much less draining this way. And the office is right downtown, a mere block away from Gelateria Naia, which means I could run down the street and grab gelato every single freakin’ day, if I felt so compelled. (I do not feel compelled to do so every single day, for the record, but it’s nice to have that option.)

And my colleagues call me “Rockstar” every day. This is even better than nice.


I’m sure there must be other things I could continue rambling on about, but I can’t think of them at the moment. As Hanife commented so well recently, “The whole world has changed since you last wrote here…” It has, hasn’t it? I have lots to say about the world, too, but I’ll get to that later.

Meanwhile, let’s hear from you, Rockstars Who are Reading This. Any news, dramas, plans, updates you want to let me in on? How are you, and how goes the life, and what are you up to these days?

Kung-fu filum stars eat ice cream, too

sent to 2Scoops...
Sent to 2Scoops, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

[Read the front of the card in large-size.]

This was originally posted to flickr, but, again, really belongs here, because Blogistan is where it started. Also, I need to stop blogging on flickr. It’s getting ridiculous.


September 2008

2Scoops is one of my favorite crackstars in the entire world – and was, in fact, the one to initially come up with the ‘All-Star Crackstar Squad’ moniker for me and my rockstar entourage. [The story of his nickname, by the way, has been documented by Baji on flickr, here, in her inimitable story-telling way.]

I bought this card YEARS ago, soon after 2Scoops guest-posted an audioblog on Chai’s veblog. I wish I had saved that mp3 file, because it was brilliant. Years later, all I remember now is kung-fu references, and 2Scoops’ throwdown to his ‘ARCH-NEMESIS CHAI.’

Anyway, I came across the card years ago, laughed, bought it…and then never sent it to 2Scoops, because he’s slightly topsecret about sharing his birthday date. But I think it’s August. We haven’t played our usual phonetag/5minutevoicemails drama for a while, so I missed the crackhead and decided it was about time he finally got his card.

I didn’t get around to sending it out in August after all (surprise!), so mid-September had to do. And he got it!


Upon finding out that 2Scoops’ birthday was actually more along the lines of late September (saved! whew!), I posted the following:

Once more, with conviction

It appears to be "Celebrate 2Scoops" Week ’round here on flickr lately, so let’s carry on with this for a couple of more days.

[Preferable topics of rambling conversation include but are not limited to: Ice cream, shawarmas, swing-jump championships, the making-up-of words, Calvin&Hobbes, avocados vs. cucumbers, extolling the virtues of San Diego, explaining the concept of "quaint" in British accents in Berkeley bookstores (while getting yelled at by the saleswoman for videotaping the scene), apple pie a la mode, and the usage of "duu-huuu-huuude!" in any and all contexts.]

At the grocery store the other day (never a smart errand to run while fasting), I came across these cartons of strawberry cheesecake ice cream, and they made me laugh and think of 2Scoops. In college, I used to call him from campus and leave excited, 5-minute-long voicemails about the fact that, "They have strawberry cheesecake ice cream today – a whole cup for a dollar – and it’s AWESOME!" Last night, I had dreyer’s Apple Pie ice cream (yes! there is indeed such a flavor!), and it was just as SPECTACULARICIOUS as I had remembered.

Recently, I was cleaning out my room and came across a post-it, on which I had scribbled the following:

-electric-blue parka/snowboarding jacket
-strawberry cheesecake ice cream
-blue slurpee
-chicken shawarma
-gyro: ‘geero’? ‘jyro’?

I don’t remember quite what this was about, but I guess I’d been taking notes while listening to 2Scoops’ rambling voicemail. This must have been around the time when I was going to Ottawa last December, and I’d asked him how (HOW!) the heck a guy from San Diego managed to survive DC winters. The convoluted explanation of an ‘electric-blue parka’ that zipped all the way up to his chin was part of his hilarious answer.

Happy birthday to my Baji of the dagger-chappals

Happy birthday, Baji! (the belated, flickr edition)
Happy birthday, Baji! (the belated, flickr edition), originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

This was originally posted to flickr, but truly belongs here. Although Baji and I have both been hanging out a lot more on flickr these days, Blogistan is where it all started, after all.


September 25, 2008

My wrinkly pirate t-shirt and I would like to shout, ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY!’ to our MOST FAVORITE (robot monkey pirate and) BAJI IN THE WORLD. (with caps-lock and multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!)

Thank you, BajiBaj, for taking care of my friends, for busting out with inside jokes and witty repartee and banter at a moment’s notice, for making me mix CDs, for holding sunshine playlists in stock for me and gifting me NINETY Wilco songs, for chauffeuring my sorry ass around DC, even when I spent too long chitchatting with S at Mama Ayesha’s, the Lebanese restaurant, and you had to sleepily text-message me to sweetly ask if I would be done soon so you could pick me up before you went to bed. Also, for introducing me to the concept of both dagger chappals and cannoli – although I’ve yet to have any cannoli, besides in gelato form – and for never tiring of ice cream- and gelato-related conversations. And for so good-naturedly (and hilariously) sharing your rockstar family with us.

There are so many things I love about you. May this year bring you all that is good and beautiful and blessed, inshaAllah, and may you have bajillions of even more rocking rockstar years to come!

Smashing HIGHFIVE and squeezy, bone-crushing hugs!


The t-shirt is from the pirate store in San Francisco, at 826 Valencia.

Everything here is a reflective surface, even dirt, even fire, even skin

Not mitthai
Not mitthai, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

I’ve spent the last month or so on what we flickr rockstars have all, in regards to our respective deadlines and dramas and to-do lists, been referring to as Getting Important Things DONE. What this means, of course, is that I’ve been distracting myself by spending far too much time browsing the internetS and overburdening my firefox browser with the number of tabs I keep open at one time. (The other day, I had 86 tabs open in one window. It was slightly ridiculous.)

I would share all those links and things with you here on the weblog – as I do once in a while – except I’m half-afraid Ayan will come along and call it “fake updates,” as he is wont to do. Plus, I don’t like cluttering the main column with links (that’s what the writing’s for), and I can’t figure out a way to properly share it all on the sidebar without jacking up the careful placement of everything else that’s already there.

SO. I’ve created an account for sweepthesunshine on tumblr, which shall be my repository for rockstar links&things. Go check it out! It’s linked right at the top of this website, so you can find it again. There’s an RSS feed for it, too, so you can keep track of the mish-mash I’m keeping track of. So far, there are lots of images and quotes and music, and things that intrigue me and make me happy. It’s all shiny and glittery and colorful. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. This thing is quite addictive, dude.


(Post title is a line from Leslie Harpold’s piece on California, some of my most favorite writing. Check out more about that here.)

It’s spelled like this – and they call me ‘yaznotjaz’ for a reason

Rockstar & sunshine & scribbles
Rockstar & sunshine & scribbles, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

The past couple of months, I kept getting emails reminding me that the domain needed to be renewed by February 17. So, I took care of that – on Valentine’s Day, no less, because I really do lowve you, internetS, and especially Blogistan – and we’re covered all through 2009 now. So, I guess this would be a good time to update, yes?

I’ve missed you, Blogistan, but I’m a fickle one and have been spending too much time hitting “refresh” on flickr. (I really should stop with that. It’s killing off my productivity.)

I’m back now, though, and will get started on publishing all those posts sitting around in my Drafts folder. I should tell you about Ottawa (and Philadelphia and DC, and those blue slurpees I found at the airport in Dallas), and Toronto, and why I hated January, and what I’m doing with my life these days. So much to catch you up on, Blogistan. Seriously, you’re totally outta the loop.

First, a couple of things to get out of the way:

1. For the person who found my weblog through a Google search for jussmeen, you make me upset. Why’d you have to go and spell it with a J? Only one beautiful person was ever allowed to pronounce my name like that. She’s not around anymore, and I miss her dearly, but that doesn’t mean you can step into her shoes. Stop it. (Also, it’s pronounced like this: yahss-MEEN. With a Y. I won’t mind too much if you mess up the rest of it, as long as you start it off with a Y. The J is blasphemous. I’m just sayin’.)

2. For the person who found this weblog through a Google search for utilizing nap time, you made me laugh. You might appreciate this old post about my undergrad days. I would have graduated with a degree in napping, if I could have. If you want to get all technical about it, I followed that Google search and found an article entitled, How To Design The Perfect Nap. The author takes six well-timed naps per day, can you believe it?

There were a bunch of other things I was going to discuss with you, but it takes a lot of effort to get back into the swing of updating a weblog after two months of being away. This is tiring stuff, Blogistan. I think I need a nap now.

Had something else to say but it must have slipped my mind

From Pearls Before Swine

My friend just sent me this link – Entire Blogosphere Stunned By Blogger’s Special Weekend Post:

NEW YORK—In what is being called a seminal moment in Internet history, a rare weekend post by 25-year-old blogger Ben Tiedemann on his website rocked the 50 million-member blogosphere this Saturday. […]

“Wow, what a special treat this was for all of us,” said Talking Points Memo head blogger Joshua Micah Marshal, who, along with all other bloggers, checks Tiedemann’s site every day just in case something monumental occurs. “I thought I was going to have to wait until Monday to find out if Ben decided to put [the shelf] in his bedroom or the living room. The pictures were great, too.”

What silly folks we bloggers are, eh? And, yet, it’s so addictive.

Brass Crescent Awards 2007

By the way, did you know that the nominations stage for the Fourth Annual Brass Crescent Awards is going on right now? Yeah, I’m kind of outta the loop these days, too.

It goes like this:
“The Awards will take place in two phases. First is the nominations phase, where readers nominate their favorite blogs in each of several categories. All submitted nominations will then be narrowed down to a maximum of five nominees per category, as selected by [Brass Crescent Awards] judges. We will then have the final voting round on [the Brass Crescent] site.”

* Nominations open Friday, October 26 to Friday, November 9, 2007 [that means tomorrow is the deadline for nominations]
* Polls open Friday, November 16 to Friday, November 30, 2007

Nomination categories:

– Best Blog
– Best Non-Muslim Blog
– Best Design
– Best Post of Series
– Best Ijtihad
– Best Female Blog
– Best Writer
– Most Deserving of Wider Recognition
– Best Group Blog
– Best MidEast/Central Asian & Best South/Southeast Asian Bloggers

You don’t have to be Muslim to nominate or vote. Check out the website for a detailed description of each of the categories. And then nominate your favorite weblogs. There are lots of rockstars out there.

Only half the lights are out

Things to write in: ROCKING, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

I don’t even know why I’m doing this to myself, since I hate deadlines and writing under pressure, but I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon and try my hand at this one-post-a-day drama for the entire month of November. And just look at me and my references to drama – I’m already feeling disgruntled about this whole thing. Not only that, it’s already eleven minutes to my first deadline. Clearly, the next twenty-nine days are going to be filled with much fist-shaking and gnashing of teeth. But I realized today how much I miss this lovely, clean space of mine, and what a waste it is to mentally compose weblog entries while brushing my teeth or driving to work but never post them, and how ridiculous it is that I now consider it perfectly normal to post every 1.5-2 months or so, when, years ago, I’d apologize for four days’ silence.

I remember Maria once mentioned making time for the things one enjoys doing, so here’s my attempt. To make it easy on myself, the length may vary (three sentences! two paragraphs!), and the accompanying photos we’ve all become so used to will actually be optional. The focus, it seems, will be on words and their regularity, not so much on subject matter. Quality may suffer, I foresee, but who knows, I may yet surprise myself. Stick around, though, please – we’ve got lots of catching up to do. You bring the gelato, I’ll provide the sunshine, and why don’t you tell me what you’ve been up to lately? I’m a bit out of the loop these days.

This is my November 1st placeholder post. Stay tuned, rockstars.