My 2 cents on Inception

--No Spoilers--

Let's face the facts; this movie is one of the most hyped movies in the past year or two. Hoards of people came rushing at me recommending the movie, insisting that I should watch it, so naturally I would enter the theater and expect to watch a movie that would blow me away. We'll Inception didn't quite live up to its high expectations, but still it's a great movie none the less, if only I watched it before so many people went crazy about it.

The first thought that came to mind when the movie ended was; Perfect! Inception didn’t have a single flawed, not one moment where I was like “oooh you know what, they should’ve done that”. It started great and ended it with a knock out. The directing was out of this world, the acting was sick, visuals were astounding and the story line itself was not just something new, but also worthwhile.

Being a young child and having to sit through an eternity to finish titanic was a nuisance. So as a kid a grew a small hatred towards Leonardo Dicaprio, but as the years went by and I saw such movies as Catch me if you can, Gangs of New York and The Departed. I kind of grew fond of him and became a fan of his acting; as he is one hell of an actor. In Inception, Leonardo Dicaprio nailed the part, he acted each and every scene extremely well, and at some point I was so drawn to the movie I felt part of it. The rest of the cast also did a great job doing what they had to do, making this an enjoyable movie to sit and watch.

I just hope this review didn’t raise the bar even higher than it already was. All in all, Inception is definitely a movie to be seen and recommended. However keep in mind before watching, that it’s one of those movies that you enjoy watching a couple of times but it just doesn’t click that switch deep within, well at least not for me it didn’t. Let me know what you thought of the movie.

How AmmanTT and Video Games made me write my longest post ever!

I myself am a passionate gamer, always been and know I always will be. The news that next week’s Amman Tech Tuesday is going to be centered around gaming, released the gamer within me. At first glance I instantly compared it to the globally renowned E3 Expo held yearly in the states but then reality kicked in and I came to my senses. This week’s AmmanTT is surely going to be a blast, nothing to the caliber of the E3 itself of course, but none the less; it’s still a huge step forward for the gaming industry in Jordan and even the Arab region itself. This has brought much memorabilia rushing back and much nostalgia towards the game consoles we once owned.

My first game console was the age old Atari 2600. The Atari itself was a brick to say the least, graphics were non-existing, the so called joystick was literally a stick with a button and game play... well; let’s just say that the kids of today won’t last a good 10 seconds, to say the least. I loved the Atari; Space invaders, Tetris, Pac-man, Donkey Kong, even Pong, they were all remarkably fun to play (I even want to stencil Space Invaders on my bedroom wall).

A couple of years later, we upgraded to the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom). This was a huge upgrade cause not only did the Nintendo have exceedingly better graphics, but it also had a joystick with more than one button! This alone gave the player the ability to actually excel in the game itself rather than just have good timing; as in the Atari. The ultimate game on Nintendo for our family was Super Mario Bros. Countless hours were spent in front of the TV with my sister and brothers just playing Mario, none of us wanted to stop but were forced to when it was lunch, dinner, or bedtime. I would wake up 30 minutes earlier to school than everyone else just so I can play all by myself without having to pass the hand around when I died or completed the level. My mom would however prevent me from doing that during the day and always say “il door, door… Omar 5alas doorak 2a3ti 7ada tani” (We are playing by turn, Omar yours has ended and now it’s someone else’s). The only other game I remember being addicted to when owning the Nintendo was Captain Majed(Captain Tsubasa) which was in Japanese but after playing it for several hours you get to know which button is ‘kick’ and which is ‘pass’.

Our Obsession with the Nintendo ended once our dad bought us a Windows pc in ’94, and the reason for that is because it hand Fifa 94 on it and that game beat the now obsolete Nintendo in every aspect comparable. I think that was the last time I saw our Nintendo as it was stashed away somewhere, just like the Atari once was. Not only did the computer have games we enjoyed more, but it also had other programs, things that although we still didn’t understand but were still fascinated by.

Our fixation with gaming on the pc was short lived, less than 2 years later; we were introduced to the ground breaking PlayStation. The PlayStation raised gaming to a whole new level with its superior graphics, outstanding game-play and a just better all around design. The first game to catch our eye on the PS was Crash Bandicoot, which we happen to see as a demo in a game store. That game instantly became the substitute for our once dead Mario obsession. My sister, who wasn’t very involved with Fifa ’94, came back to the gaming scene and, to my annoyance, turns were once again shared. The summer would come and we would take Crash along with us to Amman and introduce him to our cousins. The infinite hours once wasted on Mario, are now spent on Crash. Believe it or not, my frustration with sharing doubled because instead of sharing the handle between 4 people, now it has increased to 7, which means that it would take almost double the time for me to catch a bit of the action. My sister made things worse when she started her own save with our cousin and no one was allowed to play with them two (I really don’t know how that slipped past my mother). So hours would pass by, with me just waiting for my sister and cousin to stop playing and pass the joystick to some other hungry soul. Other games enjoyed on the PlayStation were Metal Gear Solid, Tekken 2 and Fifa (don’t remember which year it was).

This time, the PlayStation held its ground the longest, not until 2001 I think did we upgrade to the PlayStation 2, which obviously is the successor to our beloved PS. By this point we have already had internet access for a couple of years, and my sister left the gaming scene once and for all and became part of the then small online society. The PS2 provided superior game-play, enhanced graphics and a better multiplayer. Not much can be said about the PS2 as it was very similar to the original PlayStation except for the mentioned differences. The PS2 was a huge part of my life growing up, basketball and American football were made familiar through playing them on the PS2, though rules were still vague, I was still able to grasp the main idea behind them. That burning fire of being gripped by a game wasn’t present in the PS2 games as they once were, and as the years went by, my older brother Hisham also left the gaming scene. As mean as that sounds, I was fine with that, if not pleased. That meant I could spend more time playing which ever game I wanted to play. My younger brother Ghassan was the only one, besides me, who was still playing and enjoying video games, and he I did not mind as he provided someone to play with/against when I felt most like it.

My latest video game console is the Xbox 360. It took a lot from me to make that leap from Sony’s PlayStation, which I now supported for over 12 years, to Microsoft’s Xbox line. It is a change that I grew to like and whenever anyone asks me which console I advise, I don’t hesitate when I recommend the Xbox. Truth be told, they’re not very different from one another and either choice you go with, most of the games you end up playing are available on both consoles. The new Kinect by Microsoft is almost out, that should give the Xbox a slight edge over the other consoles, more on that in another post once it’s released.

My sister has recently lit up that video game fire she once possessed by getting, what else, a Nintendo Wii. Once again, Super Mario has come back to life and not just in her, but also within all of us, including my mother and many of our friends who never were that into Mario. After some of that fire was extinguished, I bought Super Mario Galaxy 2 and handed it to her as a birthday present. Now whenever I come back home, I find loads of people sitting in the living room, sharing turns (:S), playing Mario.

I left out much, like the Counter Strike and the Strategy games Era, but enough about games for one day. That is more or less how video games have always been a part of my life, I grew up with them and whenever anyone asks me I always tell them that I'd rather be living 50 years from now just because video games would be a great deal better then. This is just me saying that when Amman TT announced that the next meeting is about gaming, all that rushed back to mind.

Sports you grow into.

I've always loved the game of tennis, it's such a fabulous sport. You can call it the game of the elites or it might as well be the game where you give a bunch of kids a couple of rackets and let them smash away at spongy yellow balls. No matter what, I really find it difficult that anyone can hate this game.

My whole family has somewhat been involved in tennis. As young kids, my parents enrolled us into summer tennis camps, well not camps per say but more like intense daily tennis lessons. I remember being so young when I first started that I owned one of those juniors' tennis rackets and it still felt enormous. Not until I grew up a bit and bought the normal sized one, did I realize that I was holding on to an undersized racket. The first summer passed by and we all fell in love, going back to Saudi, we planned on taking more tennis lessons. We kept at the habit of taking courses for around the next 5 years, that's until it kinda phased out and died. My mom and sister continued taking lessons for the next year or two, but sooner or later they were bound to give it up as well.

10 years later I find myself and avid tennis fan. Whenever I find a tennis match that's worth watching on TV, I just sit down and get consumed by it for countless hours. My favorite habit was watching the Wimbledon's tennis championship as not only is it the thing to watch, but it also ran through an exam plagued period, so back then I'd rather slack of and watch the games instead of hitting the books, can't say I've changed much.

Recently, a friend of mine asked me if I would like to play tennis one day. 30 minutes later I find myself in shorts in the middle of the tennis court holding my 13 year old racket. Needless to say, I sucked more than anyone on the court that day. 5 years of training have apparently worn out and the correct postures and moves have been replaced by 'noobish' hits and slams that have nothing to do with the game itself.

Today was my third attempt at playing tennis again and I'm glad that it feels like I'm remembering some of the basics bit by bit. The thing is even though I truly love my age old companion of a racket, but time has taken its toll on it. The strings are all lose, the grip is anything but and you can see the dints and scars of a little kid's attempt at hitting a ball of the ground. Dare I say I may need a new one.

Baby steps they say. But I ask you, how can someone so tall take steps so small, when it feels like as if yesterday he was running with all his might.

What sport/habit have you regret stopping and would like to go back to?

Back to the Beginning.

After a long 3 year break, I have decide to go back to blogging. So much changes in 3 years and the web isn't slightly as friendly as it was back then. Blogs aren't what they once were, I don't really quite know what happened to the blogs I followed or was linked by, nor do I know of what happened to the friends I made while blogging, none the less I'm prepared to give it a second chance.

I first started blogging back in 2006 largely influenced by my older sister, Roba Assi, who I recently found out is huge online "celebrity" or at least in the Jordanian online community. She is the reason I started this blog in the first place and partially the reason I stopped blogging all together (even though she doesn't know that). You see back then she posted new posts on a daily bases, if not twice a day. I tried my best to match her performance but was out-done by the mere number of her posts and their quality. Being the competitor I am, I use to see everything as a competition, rather than an opportunity. Later on I realized I was no match for her, so I ended giving up and decided to shutdown.

3 years later I come back with a fresh view towards blogging, partially influenced by Lina's 1:9:90 comment when she went up to speak in Amman Tech Tuesday. I lot can change in a person in a single year, yet alone 3. A hope my new outlook towards life and blogging itself would provide a slight maturity in my posts when compared to my old ones, who were a bit immature and out of place.

As for matching the performance of my sister's website, I have realized that doing that should not have been my target all along. Instead of living in the shadow of her success, I would rather travel along side her. I don't plan on becoming a world renown blogger, nor do I plan on posting on a daily basis and feed my blog. Rather my posts will be, as they always should have been, whenever I feel I need to express my thoughts be it on a daily basis or less, on a serious issue or something so stupid and immature that only I think it's worth posting.

Let's hope I last at least a month more than I did last time.