Category Archives: Glorious mundanity

anywhere you go, it’s the same cry/money worries

please send money

Aaaand…here’s a screenshot from my getting-taxes-done process! It felt good to get this done early this morning. Yeah, yeah, I was one of those who waited until the last minute…and then fell asleep over my laptop at 1am right in the middle of working on the tax dramas the night before the deadline. Anyway, it’s done and DONE – and I have a REFUND coming soon! Dudes, what should I do with it!?

Gelato and french fries and blue raspberry slurpees are already on the list, it goes without saying. I could also buy stuff from my Amazon wishlist (which consists mainly of books, of course), or my Favorites section on Etsy – half of which items have already been sold or have mysteriously disappeared, as you can see. Reeeeeediculous. I should also invest in a dSLR this year, maybe. And travel somewhere suitably rockstarish. (And the next smartass who harasses me with comments like, “A dSLR and traveling? But why would you want to do that, if no one ever gets to see the photos anyway?” is going to get stabbed with a plastic fork. Plastic forks take longer, and hurt more. Just so you know.)

I said, Hey you, get out of my fog

Serenity at Santa Cruz (ii), originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

Some friends and I are going to be in Santa Cruz this Sunday, hanging out in the sunshine (and there damn well had better be sunshine, or I shall be pissed). I sent out a reminder email a few days ago with the following Highly Important Questions:



K has already promised to bring me homemade boulani, which makes me giddy like you wouldn’t believe.

A couple of years ago, I wrote:

That’s it. When spring is here for sure and the weather stays consistently warm, I’m heading down to Santa Cruz for some sunshine and sand.

It’s that time of the year again, and I know I must have been in Santa Cruz a couple of times since then, but I can’t recall – which is as good enough a reason as any to go back to play on the beach. And I just bought two new memory cards this evening (that brings the grand total to six now, I believe, which seems kinda ridiculous), which means I shall spend the next few days taking photos again, too. It’s been a while. (Note: It’s never a good idea to go to any electronics store the day after you’ve been paid. Flush with money, it’s so hard to resist the lure of those sleek and gorgeous dSLRs, and their solid weight in your small hands. Maybe if you stop spending all your money on boulani and gelato, you, too, could be the proud rockstar owner of a fancy-schmancy digicam. Something to think about.)

What are the rest of you rockstars doing this weekend?


The original caption on this photograph, when it was posted to flickr over 2.5 years ago, in August 2006:

This photo (and the previous one I posted from the same day) makes me so happy.

Today I:

1. whined all morning about how hungry I was
2. asked my "fake internet friend" in Toronto about Bob Marley recommendations for Hashim
3. decided my TO friend was awesome because he never fails to pass along advice and recommendations (and so good-naturedly, too: "Anything for a Pathan girl from the West Coast I’ve never met" – who wouldn’t want to be friends with this kid?)
4. whined to my TO friend about how hungry I was, which resulted in him sending me links for Silicon Valley and suggestions like, "Cheese pizza? Grilled cheese sandwich? [*looking at the link*] You could go to Red Kwali, that new Malaysian/Thai place that opened up."

5. went to lunch, chauffeured by my buddy, Z, in his spiffy brand-new car with the new-car smell
6. sat around and ate lunch and talked about our lives and watched the co-workers make chai and refused all offers of chai (Z: "You could just smell mine") and pretended to get back to work, and agreed when Z said, "I wish I could just do this for the rest of my life."
7. got off work at 3.30pm! and drove all the way home with the sunroof open, because it was such a beautiful day

8. stopped by the bank, and laughed when the teller asked me, "Do you know Asad? He has the same last name as you do, and he comes in here all the time." [Clearly, she doesn't understand what a common last name I have.]
"No, but I wish I had enough money, that I could afford to come in here all the time!"

9. had two women curiously ask me, during two separate occasions, how I tie my headwrap, and I had to explain and gesture with one hand because (both times) the other hand was full.

10. stopped by the 7-Eleven I used to frequent as a child (for cherry slurpees) and as a college student (for energy drinks and Pringles, right before hitting the road to commute to suckool), because I wanted to see if – miracle of miracles – they had blue raspberry slurpees in stock. But they didn’t, damn it! How difficult could it BE?! Freakin’ hell.

It’s okay, though. Right now, I’m heading out for a dinner with a friend, and an open-mic poetry session in Oakland.

Also, did I mention this photo makes me happy?

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?

An unexpected light

Waiting, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

Sometimes, I run away and lie around in the park all afternoon, reading books and listening to music and taking photographs. Sometimes, I even skip around on my jump-rope (but I discovered early on that that works better on concrete than on grass), and my new goal in life is to buy hula-hoops. Somehow, I’ve convinced myself that if I could get back into hula-hooping – as I did when I was a kid – I’d be much more coordinated and comfortable in moving my body, and then I’d even learn how to dance. It’d be amazing!

Last week, I did cartwheels in the park for the first time since childhood. Needless to say, I completely sucked (that part about extending your legs in the air is kinda tricky), but I couldn’t stop laughing along with Princess Pretty Pants and Beanay, and I didn’t even feel ridiculous for attempting something at which I knew I would fail. That’s progress.

(PPP captured all the laughter and cheering and my attempted cartwheels on camera, and they just might be coming your way soon via facebook-video, if we’re friends over there on that addictive, timesuck of a social-networking site. Also, via wikipedia, I found a nice little tutorial on cartwheeling. You didn’t doubt me, did you, when I mentioned “reading something on wikipedia once”? I look up everything.)

An Unexpected Light

Speaking of parks and lounging around and reading on the grass, I just posted this on flickr, and then I remember how much you Blogistan folks love books, too, so I’m sharing this here as well:

I’m currently almost done reading Jason Elliot’s An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan, quite possibly one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. It’s nonfiction (as are most of the books I like).

An Unexpected Light is poignant, and unexpectedly funny, and perceptive. There are lots of references to chapli kabob and chai and Pathans and Sufi parables and open-armed unconditional hospitality, for those of you who are fans of such things. (As well as an equal number of references to guns and landmines and destruction and the mujahideen and Taliban and meddling/useless foreign nations, for that matter.)

What struck me most as I was reading this was Elliot’s respect and compassion for the Afghans. "He just has so much love and compassion for the people," I told [K] recently. "I love how he writes about them. Everyone is handsome or beautiful to him, I noticed. He never mentions people being ugly." Yet the Afghans are never exoticized or Other-ized here. Elliot sees them as dignified and beautiful, inside and out, because, for him, they are first and foremost profoundly human.

I don’t often make book recommendations (to each his own, eh?), and I’m too lazy to write books reviews.

But you should read this one.

That is all.


K and I had a lovely conversation about this book weeks (months?) ago, and it made me so happy to know someone else had read it. You can check out an excerpt of the Prologue on amazon.

(Also, don’t give me drama about those folded-over pages. I always dog-ear book pages while reading! Sacrilegious, I know.)