Category Archives: NaBloPoMo2007

On the verge of something wonderful

From Pearls Before Swine

I’m in the midst of making lists and running errands, and my brother just sent me a text-message:

Keep the twenty dollars, I’m taking your sunglasses. :) muahaha!

He’s referring to the orange-brown aviator sunglasses that the Lovely L Lady convinced to buy (for eight dollars, for the record) from an accessories stand on Durant, in Berkeley. It’s always difficult for me to find sunglasses I like, but it made me smile to know we have the same taste, and so I’m letting him keep them. While oversized on my face, they fit him perfectly.


I fly out tomorrow night for my Hindku-speaking love N‘s wedding in Ottawa, where I get to meet the rockstar Maha on Sunday, too! And then, a quick swing by DC to stalk the DC contingent of the All-Star Crackstar Squad, Baji and SI and 2Scoops, for a couple of days.

It shall be grand – except for that little thing called WINTER in Places Where it Snows. My little California self cannot bear to wear shoes (or boots!) for prolonged periods of time, and so this entire trip worries me a bit. But, I figure if I can manage to survive December in Ottawa and DC, I can do anything.

Meanwhile, if you have any tips and tricks for How to Be a Rockstar & Navigate Cold Places Without Catching Hypothermia, please do let me know. I need all the help I can get. So far, my little post-it list contains things like:

-Black BOOTS
-Green shoes
-Red shoes
-Black coat

Of, course, I could always go with Hashim‘s advice: Personally, yaar, just stay indoors when you are there.


I am looking out the front window while typing this post. A UPS truck just parked at the foot of our driveway. A man got down from the truck, reached over the black wrought-iron gate, picked a persimmon or two off our brilliantly-colored tree, then got back in the truck and drove away. My neighborhood makes me smile so much, and so do my parents, who have cultivated this open-handed generosity for decades, so that all who pass by know they are welcome to the ripe fruit off our trees, without needing to formally ask.

It’s so beautifully sunny here. Lovely California, what ever will I do without you for nearly a week?

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.

Driving in your car with the windows down and a beat up stereo

And then the sun came out
And then the sun came out, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

Clearly, I am highly useless at this one-post-a-day drama.


Now that this ridiculous work-week is over, I can breathe more easily. I drove to the office this morning while squinting against the sunshine, wearing the orange-brown aviator sunglasses the Lovely L Lady recently approved and made me buy on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue. Clad in my favorite dress with the strings (“Why can’t you cut them off?” says the Daddy-o, exasperated) and flared jeans and flip-flops and greenish-black nailpolish, music from my favorite singer turned up high and no pressing deadlines for the day (well…), I felt much happier than I had felt all week. My favorite doughnuts were sold out at the Safeway bakery, and the lines were so long that I put my selected bearclaw danish back on the shelf and walked out of the store, and I didn’t even get to eat lunch today because work caught up with me again…but at least I drove home in the evening drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream, and that helped put things to right, too.


Yesterday, my new Darren Hayes CDs came in the mail (a two-CD set! 25 brand-new, spiffy tracks!), along with the Brett Dennen album, because promised me free shipping if I ordered another $10 worth of something, and I am nothing if not open to the idea of spending money to save money.

Once upon a time, I was quite obsessed with Darren Hayes, in case you didn’t know. I was just skimming through sent-emails from the old account I never use anymore – yaznotjaz at yahoo, if you must know – and came across the following, dated November 9, 2001:

I’m supposed to be doing my freakin’ English paper, and here I am sending you guys this email and drooling at this hot picture of Darren Hayes, which, incidentally, I’m attaching to this email, so we can all drool together! The guy is HOT!! I’m seriously gonna marry this guy. All I have to do first is track him down, and then I’ll ask him to marry me, and of course he’ll say “yes,” and then he’ll wake me up every morning by singing to me with that sexy Australian accent of his.

Attachment filename: TheManImGonnaMarry. Too funny.

The worst part is, apparently I was also a fan of multiple exclamation points back in 2001. I can’t believe it.

Of course, I thought Darren Hayes was much hotter before I realized the black hair on the cover of the Affirmation album was dyed and he’s a natural blonde. Still, I’m an unabashed Savage Garden fan (really, what could beat the breathless brilliance of the “Chic-a-Cherry-Cola song”?). They’re the only band for which I know all the words to all the songs, and, although it’s hard, in my opinion, to beat the Savage Garden lyrics, there’s not a song so far that I don’t like on the latest solo offering, either. I have no shame – I love pop tunes, and catchy hooks, and especially Darren Hayes’ voice. The end.

A Conversation with God was a particularly apposite song for this week, so I played that and another new favorite on repeat today. Check out the following, and enjoy!

A Conversation with God
How to Build a Time Machine


I am sitting next to my father now, as he reads The New Yorker and pauses to share excerpts of various articles with me, including one about Kosovo: “This is war, and injustice, and cruelty,” he says. My own life, petty drama notwithstanding, seems so simple and carefree by comparison. I have no right to whine, when I’ve not even been up-to-date in following the latest news from Pakistan these last couple of days.


Here is a beautiful photograph by horse.hugger. I found it via Artemis, and, at the end of this long, exhausting week, it refreshes my eyes and brings me much joy:

Green Plums, originally uploaded by horse.hugger.


Tell me what music you’re listening to these days, and how your days are going, and what you’re doing to relax and unwind.

Fuckle your safety belt and welcome to the Purple Zone

Welcome to the Purple Zone
“Welcome to the Purple Zone”, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

The last time Z and I shared a meal, it was a year ago. He had switched, just a couple of months before, from being my co-worker to working in Palo Alto, and I drove up from San Jose to join him for jummah at Stanford and lunch. Or was jummah during a different visit? Regardless, there was food involved – we ate at a diner that, much to my excitement, served cranberry juice and Belgian waffles and french fries, and all I could possibly need in order to ensure I would never be hungry again.

It was only a few days after his attempted “ATTAAAAAACK” on the secretary’s chocolate stash, and, in sympathy, I presented him with a ziplock bag filled with some of my own leftover Halloween candy.

Walking out of the diner together, we stopped to laugh at the street sign under which I had parked my car: WELCOME TO THE PURPLE ZONE.

Months later, references to the “purple zone” (and our favorite inside-joke word: MUTHAFUCKLE) still grant us hilarity. A conversation as recently as August went like this:

Yasminay: we should write a book together some day, you and i
it shall be called – ready? ready?
Mutha Fuckles in the Purple Zone!
Z: what will it be about?
Yasminay: our escapades and general all-around crackheadedness
and tips and tricks on how to be as crackheadedly cool as us (but of course, no one would ever be)
Z: well, it could be advice on how to try
and not fuckle it up too bad :-)

Like all great words, MUTHAFUCKLE was born of typos. FICKLE became FUCKLE (became BUCKLE) became MUTHAFUCKLE, and a new addition to the all-star crackstar vocabulary was created.

Despite nearly-daily GMail conversations and the fact that he’s now down the street from where I work, we hadn’t managed to sit down and chit-chat in person in nearly a year. So, on Monday, Z and I finally met up for dinner at our favorite Desi restaurant, where we devoured…well, everything.

Thanks to daily instant-messaging, it felt like hanging out with a good friend (which he is) whom I see all the time (which I do not). Conversation flowed smoothly through topics including family, mutual friends, Pakistan, law suckool, cars, work, and – of course – food.

Driving home at the end of the evening, I was disappointed to realize I had forgotten to pass along some of this year’s leftover Halloween candy.

Meanwhile, though, I am still laughing at conversations like the following:

Yasminay: s/he uses convoluted jargon to sound all essmahrt
Z: haha
it’s funny cuz lawyers (like other technical fields) are supposed to write clearly to get the point across
everything you need, nothing you don’t
but there’s just some concepts you can’t express except with words that other professions don’t use
so, in conclusion, it is invariably a stereotype that those in the profession of conveying legal services, write or otherwise communicate in a convoluted fashion, to sound ishmart.
Yasminay: that’s RIGHT. INVARIABLY!
why you gotta obfuscate for
Z: incontrovertible
Yasminay: what does that mean?
Z: it means incontestible
Yasminay: ooh
nice word
Z: you and i have to play scrabulous on facebook

I don’t know how to properly end this post, except to say that the world is trying to convince me to play scrabble on facebook, and I will continue resisting and refusing. STOP IT, MUTHAFUCKLES.

I don’t know why I say the things I say, but I say them anyway

Let's go home
Let’s go home, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

By Tuesday or so, I had already realized this week needed to be over. My GMail status:

Dear God: Please make it be Saturday already, because this week kind of sucks. Thank you.
Love, Yasminay

The responses were hilarious:

Anjum, channeling God:

Dear Yasminay,
*sigh*, I get this request every week from you.
and every week from about 64% of the world.
If I jump to Saturday for you,
what about when Anjum here (who is channeling Me) asks for teh same thing?
*the (yes, God makes typos.)
So Yasminay
all I can do is give you a big hug
and perhaps some chocolate
and that should keep you going til Saturday.
chin up, buddy boy.
Love, God.

ZMan, channeling God’s executive assistant:

Z: God doesn’t care about your week, okay
he told me he doesn’t
Yasminay: hahaha shut up!
Z: you’re actually telling God to shut up
which he clearly doesn’t have to do
he could make you shut up if he wanted
like in the matrix
just delete your mouth

HijabMan, with prayers of his own:

Dear God: Please let yasminay send me some questions
before saturday
so i have something to write about
HM :)

And, in sort of related conversation with Z again:

Z: you know what i was just thinking
it’s really good that I have internet here
and it’s working (most of the time)
’cause a lot of my studying is online
makes me realize that God’s not such a bad guy after all
Yasminay: god is awesome
Z: in fact God is pretty freakin sweet
Yasminay: i got my new darren hayes cds from amazon
and there’s a song called ‘conversation with god’
i like!
Z: is there a lot of cussing?
Yasminay: not that i heard
clearly, that’s not your or my conversation
Z: f*ck no it isn’t

The things He has to put up with from us… Good thing God has a sense of humor.

So, I’m taking the Mister from out in front of your name

From the Textures & Textiles set, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

I’m sitting outside the Nordstrom’s fitting rooms – impatiently checking my watch, hating the idea of being in that specific store, and waiting for my friend, N – when a guy settles into the armchair next to me with a loud, long-suffering sigh. I look over in amusement.

He catches my glance, and shakes his head. “These are the most uncomfortable chairs I’ve ever sat in.”

I shift in my chair, and reply, “You know, I just might have to agree with you on that one.”

“What do you think this fabric is?” he asks, pinching the armrest distastefully.

“Fake velvet?” I venture.

He guffaws. “It’s FELVET!” He shifts around uncomfortably in the unyielding chairs, then throws up his hands. “That’s it, I’m writing to Mr. Nordstrom about this! There must be a Mr. and Mrs. Nordstrom somewhere. Excuse me, Mister Nordstrom…

…Your chairs SUCK. You let me know how that goes,” I say dryly.

“I need to lodge a complaint with Mr. Nordstrom about these felvet chairs,” he says loudly, angling his head at the saleslady in the vicinity. She looks at him coldly, then returns to assisting her customers.

A woman I take to be his girlfriend comes out of the fitting room, wearing a long green skirt with ruffles at the hem. “That’s the most unNicole-like thing I’ve ever seen!” he says disparagingly. “You sure you want to get that? If you take it off and throw it on the bedroom floor, you’ll never see it again. It’s CAMOUFLAGE!”

After she leaves, he leans over conspiratorially and whispers, “What did you think of her skirt?”

“Not bad, actually. Better than the velvet any day.”

He nods approvingly, then flags down a woman passing by. “Excuse me, we’re talking about these chairs. They’re covered in…in…fake velvet. FELVET! What do you think of that? It’s ridiculous, don’t you think?”

The lady laughs, shaking her head. Other women peer over the nearby clothes racks, and chuckle at his loud proclamations as well. Even the frosty saleslady actually cracks a smile.

The girlfriend exits the fitting room, no green skirt in sight. The guy springs up, glad to be rid of the chair. He waves at us all, then swoops off with his girl, talking to her excitedly. His exiting shot, as we hear it: “It was FELVET!”

While I was trying to condense everything that I meant in a minute or less

Not "HOT," apparently
“Smug expression on the slightly bow-legged bull in center front,” originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

While taking photos at Oakland’s Lake Merritt one gray afternoon, I zoomed in on this pier because I thought someone had spray-painted the word “HOT” on there, which I thought was the funniest thing in the world. Only when uploading the photos later did I realize that it actually says “AOT,” and I have no idea what the hell that means. Thanks a whole LOT for ruining my amusement, whoever you were.


The phone: Oh, how I hate it. But while I often cringe at having to call people, I love text-messaging as a form of communication. However, as Rockstar Extraordinaire, I have had to expand my phone’s vocabulary and add certain words to its repertoire, so that I don’t have to completely type them out every single time. Once, I tried typing CRACKHEAD, and the phone spit out SECONDODBTINO. Yeah, I don’t know either. Another day (and this mistake doesn’t even make sense), I tried to type GOES, and the cell phone came up with HEMP. Clearly, my phone is beginning to understand drug references.

Recently, I had to opt for “Add word:DAMN,” because I’ve been using it so often in text messages (for example, in regards to work-related evening meetings: “They damn well better have food there, is all I’m saying.”). I guess “damn” is an R-rated word for my phone.


How’s your phone’s vocabulary? Also, am I the only person who (besides my lapses into fobby-Desi vocabularly and sentence structure, of course) text-messages with perfect spelling and grammar, complete with precisely-placed commas (because to do otherwise would kill me)?

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.

Infiltration and brainwashing: You have a thousand serious moves

Chessboard (ii)
A chessboard awaits potential players in an Oakland park, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

The Lovely L Lady asked me this evening, “So, what do you do during this meditation?”

“Well. I just close my eyes and concentrate on dua [supplications] and dhikr and any other prayers I have memorized.”

“Oh, good,” she said in mock relief. “I thought maybe you’d gone and joined a cult, or something.”


How funny is it that, just a few days after I posted about my dinner/meeting at the Tandoori Cafe, I ran into one of the women at the Wednesday gathering tonight? They’re even infiltrating my meditation sessions now! The best part is, I couldn’t even be exasperated or annoyed. All I could do was throw my hands up in surrender, and laugh. Thanks, God; I always knew You had a sense of humor. Clearly, you’re the one winning in this sublime chess game we’ve got going on.