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Losing My Father In Law 8

I have been walking around with a lump in my stomach. My father-in-law, my husband’s father, Ali Radwan Hassan has passed away two weeks ago. At age 82, in the town of Mash-had located outside of Nazareth in Israel. There were health problems, so I can’t say that this event […]

Google Map

The Secret Life of Trees

Last summer I kept noticing how each tree has an individual character. It’s like each one is saying something This one screams in anguish: “I can’t take it anymore!” This one has dedicated its life to scarring little children Can you feel the parental guidance in this one? This one […]

This one screams in anguish: "I can't take it anymore!"

Woman in Elevaor Shaft

Before Coffee

 

We were shopping for Halloween  costumes for the kids when I saw this frantic woman dummy screaming in a made up elevator shaft and I was touched with the depth of her anguish. I decided to video tape her and put her in this video.


Indie Author Day at the Vancouver Public Library

3 most unique things @ Indie Author Day 1

As if the Vancouver Public Library wasn’t already the best and coolest public library in the world. This year they decided to host an Indie Author Day which I participated in. Here are there unique things that caught my attention while at the event. The Man With The Unique Tie […]


Paper cut-out stop motion animation

This is my very first paper cut-out stop motion animation. I had no idea what I was doing. Now that I had done it once I can see the many mistakes I made.

In preparation for this I started cutting out some of the basic shapes I was planning to use. In the end this wasn’t sufficient and I ended cutting out further things as I was taking photographs. Clearly I planned this poorly.

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Paper cut-outs for the video

Here is the setup I had for taking pictures. I arranged things so that I was looking at things upside down which made it difficult for me. Another mistake I will avoid next time.

Stop motion animation setup

Stop motion animation setup

The video features the narration of Mary Knapp Parlange. She is a fantastic writer. You can visit her website here.

This was lots of work but felt satisfying. Plus I made mental notes on what to do differently next time.

Graffiti Hack as a dragon

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Rocks in a Mayonnaise Jar :: illustrated story 4

This story has been circulating around the internet for years. Nobody knows who actually wrote it. I re-wrote it a little to suit my own nefarious purposes.

One of life’s important lessons is to place most important things first. This story is about how to transform your actions to match your priorities. Or maybe you should just eat more mayo. I don’t know. You decide what this story means.

Whenever I eat fresh figs, I get the sense that I have entered heaven. They are hard to come by in Vancouver. When they appear in the grocery store they are priced out of reach. However we know a friend who miraculously managed to grow a tree in his backyard. Every year he shares the harvest with us. Boy! do we feel lucky. So when a large box of them arrived last week, my over enthusiasm seeped into the video I was working on.

You can look up my Russian salad recipe, featured in the video, here.


Winking Tree

The Tree of Ignorance is Beautiful

You can read the full text of the narration here. This video was an experimentation in using the compositing feature in my video editing tool. I can see that this will come in handy in future videos There is this tree in the park where I frequently take a walk. […]


The Champion

The Champion is a short documentary about an Iraqi boxing athlete who creates a new life for himself in the US. The 18 minute film is featured on www.shortoftheweek.com and you can watch it here. The movie revolves around Estaifan Shilaita – A man who radiates charisma and positivity, you […]

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Nobody Knows Anything 1

Work hard. Aim for the stars. Be the absolute best that you can be. Others will tell you: Be practical. Baby steps. Keep your feet hugging the ground. Your head clear. That is the way to be. Go with the flow. No! Make your own destiny. Cultivate peace inside. No! […]


Pillars of Light (Book Review) 2

A seriously good novel. Serious because it clearly was well researched down to most meticulous details. Good because it retains the intimacy of what treads through the human heart. Akka or Acre is under siege by the christian crusaders. On one hand you have the residents of the beleaguered city […]

Pillars of Light (Book Review)

ChocolateLove

Towards 2016

After drinking a cup of hot chocolate last night, I found this at the bottom of it. I predict a 2016 full of love. I wish you all a year where you find yourself busy doing what you adore, surround by people your heart delights in their company. I hope […]


Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka : Book Review 2

This review contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Metamorphosis yet, don’t read on. When I lived in Scotland, I was introduced to a unique brand of humor. The type that is clever yet hard to get. The more a joke is hard to decipher the more valuable it is considered. […]

Metamorphosis by Kafka is Funny

Heartburn by Nora Ephron and mashed potato

book review: Heartburn by Nora Ephron 7

“Merry me and you will never have to pretend you know the difference between Iran and Iraq.” A man declares in a lavish expression of love in the novel. The main character is married to a journalist that covers politics in Washington DC. Rachel constantly feels out of her depth […]


Book Review :: My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante left me desiring. New shoes I wanted. Forth I sprung like a warrior with a credit card on a mission to find matching footwear for a story. For how could you write a novel that involves shoe making yet not describe the shoes. What […]

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Farrante

Eyrie by Tim Winton

Book Review :: Eyrie

Words explode into the air, leaving behind velocity rings worthy of your favorite Pikachu. The force of the acrobatics is contradicted with gentility of the landing. Soft as a feather. Soft is the feather of these words. Soft and cuddly, I want caress the sentences. I reread lines and luxuriate […]


Frankenstein in Baghdad :: Book Review 1

Frankenstein in Baghdad is novel by Iraqi author Ahmad Saadawi. It tells the story of everyday day life of modern Baghdad through a nameless Frankenstein like creature. A seller of old furniture and other used objects, assembles that torn body parts of victims of a terrorist attack into a unified […]

Frankenstein in Baghdad

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell book review

North and South :: Book Review

Every once in a while I read something that is so good it makes my heart pound with excitement. I find myself resisting the urge to stand on top of a roof top and yell “This Novel is Amazing, Read it Right Now”. In 2014, I read many good books, […]


The Story of a New Name – Book Review 3

What is it that happened to me since visiting Italy last summer? Something got under my skin. What I eat, how I see and even what I write has been influenced in sometimes subtle and other times bold fashion. Once in a while I find the strangest thought bubble up […]

Hotdog Socks

Burano Italy

Top 10 Magical Moments from my Europe Trip 2

Click in the image to see a bigger one. 10. Rainbow over the Alps 9. Train Football To pass time on many train rides, inspired by FIFA matches, my son invented train football (soccer for north americans). It starts by scrunching paper tissue into a ball. Using the side tables […]


Switzerland’s Obesession with Polka dots

I have been in Switzerland for a few weeks and everywhere I look I see polka dots. Let me illustrate with a few examples. A Polka dot park at EPFL in Lausanne Polka dot fountain spotted at Pierre Gianadda Foundation in Martigny. This one moved in circular motion while squirting […]

polka dot park

How to Name a Novel 1

After months of agonizing search for the right name for my novel, the answer comes from a most unexpected source. Here is a list of dreadful names that my novel nearly got called: Maladjusted Realism Hyphenated Realism Amalgamated Realism Hyphenated at the Seams Maladjusted at the Seams Same but Different […]

How to Name a Novel

Elen Ghulam storytelling

Storytelling and Writing

Long long time ago in the Middle East, before there was TV or Radio, men would go to the coffee shop to listen to the storyteller. These professional storytellers knew how to stretch a tale into multi-evening events that kept their audience captivated night after night. Since Graffiti Hack is […]


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Gratitude :: The story behind my book launch party

Since I published Graffiti Hack, incidents of serendipity have been popping up in my life. Things that fall in my lap on their own that had I planned for I would have never attained. Most of these are on the personal side and I can’t reveal too much, but this […]