The latest and hottest selfie trend has been used heavily by teenagers, and has slowly taken over the rest of social media. Now the big companies are following suite and trying to ride the new trend waves that are coming out! I’ve seen many hipster companies promote selfie campaigns and take selfies of their products, but the most creative of all of these are the Gmail Shelfies, brought to life by the Google Themes option.

The process is simple:

  • Select a selfie image (Fresh or otherwise)
  • Click OK
  • Selfie appears as Gmail Inbox background.
  • Welcome to your customized Shelfie:)

And no, it is not an April Fool’s joke, regardless of the April 1st Launch date.

Quoted from Google’s blog:
“And we think it’s a tragedy that your handsome hair, luscious lashes and beautiful brows have been trapped in your own inbox. Until now, that is. Today, we’re proud to free your selfies by launching Gmail Shelfie, the SHareable sELFIE.”

 

 

Gmail rides the wave of Selfies with Shelfies

Image  —  Posted: 01/04/2014 in Google+, Social Media
Tags: ,


I offer a truce that will bring balance and peace to the Yin-Yang of the Singles vs Couples annual war! In Roman history and mythology, some researchers found that the Lupercalia festival which was linked to the Lakaia  of Arkadia is actually the source of Valentine’s Day.

Lupa

The Yin, The Singles:

These Lakaian wolves lived in the highlands of the Peloponnese in ancient Greece, and the most famous of them was Lupa, foster mother of Rome’s founders Romulus & Remus whom she suckled as infants.

Somewhere along the line, the month of February got its name from Februa (Roman ritual purification festival), which was later adopted into Lupercalia and set during the Ides of February. Usually between the 13th and 15th, a fixed date was finally set by the Catholic Church in the year 496AD, specifically by Pope Gelasius the 1st. The only record of any saint linked to that date was St. Valentine, hence the Cupid-shot lords and ladies of that time wrote it into history.

Faunus

The horned deity Faunus had an unclear role in this entire scenario, but as the highly fertile God of the shepherds, he was thought to have crossed paths with Lupa, and his goatskin-clad priests who worshiped him during the 5th century where the subject of the attention of the Church, even without the support or interest of Mark Antony. The pagan rituals of goat and dog sacrifices were later only practiced during the Lupercalian festivities, but were soon shutdown by Pope Gelasius I.

This mythological cocktail that Valentine’s Day originated from  Lupercalia was sought after by researchers such as Kellog and Cox, but somehow there is no (known) existing record of Pope Gelasius I terminating the Lupercalian pagan festivities by enforcing the dominant purification ritual of Februa,  nor was there any notion that Lupercalia festival was replaced by Valentine’s Day.

Hence, the Yins can find solace in the fact that the entire Valentine’s Day is just a byproduct of Lupercalian and try to shoot back at the dangerous fat flying Cupid.

The Yang, The Couples:

But even as the forlorn Yin Singles may take refuge in this mythological and historical cocktail, their smirking at the deluded and lustful Yang’s of the world will go largely unnoticed by the lovey-dovey couples who keep only one notion in mind: Valentine Gifts!

While the New York version dictates fancy restaurants, high observation decks, and cruise boats, the Beirut version is rather mellow in comparison. Even though our diverse and contradictory society narrates certain boundaries, it does not limit the amount of creativity and effort necessary for a metaphorical “I Love You”. Roses, chocolates, dates, cards, surprises, and romantic sneak-away vacations are all part of the package, and our constantly evolving community has come up with even more creative, custom-made, Lebanese ideas.

Last year’s theme was mainly public ornaments and car decorations (correct me if I’m wrong), and our generation has largely accepted this into our culture (Despite religious figures blatant disapproval) going all out and spending countless hours and hundreds of dollars trying to please this year’s soul-mate into a mushy soup of love. Well, this year certainly looks even more promising.

The Yangs have struck the Yins with a deadly blow: Bouquets! Not roses nor violets, but yummy chocolates. Yes, Bouqe’ Sucre’ offers chocolate bouqets, custom made for your better half (Or something like that). Found first on Instagram, then moved across different platforms, I think they’ll have their hands full this week.

Chocolate Bouquets

Honestly, I want to buy myself a bouquet and indulge, but my narcissistic ego will just have to be fed by the fact that I’m an Aquarius who’s watching the scale.

Onmyōdō: The Way Of the Yin and The Yang.

Despite the lure of the Yang’s chocolate, I find myself trying to side with the Yin’s this year. All the history behind Valentine’s Day just makes it seem so fake. But somehow my better better judgement takes over, and I realize that it’s human nature to look for compassion. It’s the fuel for an ultimate flame, to have someone witness the rest of your life. I’ve always said that we should change ourselves and try to affect our community in a positive and constructive way. This is the only way that we can reach unity as a humane society, without forcing our beliefs on others.

Just love yourself.


During the recent garbage crisis in Beirut, people have turned to Social Media to find out what the cause of their misery was. Most of them found 14 and 8 debate going on, and for some reason there was an attack on the blue party.For those who dug deeper, the closing of the Nehme road by the Close Landfill Naameh group obviously explained the reason why there was a pileup.

After a few days of stench, the CLN group issued a statement that they would allow Sukleen trucks to pass, in order to avoid having a health crisis in Beirut, but only for 48 hours. This was a very humane and politically shrewd move, gaining the appeal and understanding of the entire Lebanese community. Another issue to discuss is that why is Sukleen still permitted to dump in Nehme landfill for 17 years, while the original lifetime of that landfill was only for 6?

To avoid the cliche of blaming the government for everything, I accuse both Sukleen management and the parties involved within the government in a corruption conspiracy where it’s a win-win situation for both, and the only loser is the environment and the people living in it. I fully support the closure of this landfill, and urge the government to find another location to dispose of the waste.

Sukleen has even gone digital! You can find them on twitter.com/SukleenOfficial and facebook.com/SukleenOfficial/ . The funny thing is that this is the first time they actually communicate with the general public! But somehow the impact of seeing Sukleen using these platforms was lost on me when I saw that all their posts were just blaming the government. It just goes to show you that even the devil will run to social media if he needs to clear his name. I’m not saying Sukleen is the devil, but come on, all our politicians are digital now, and have ironically bought hundred of thousands likes and followers. sukleen twitter

 

CLN now urges all citizens to start recycling. Yes, recycle. It’s a new concept the the general public has never bothered to discuss. But with this new garbage crisis, Sukleen has also suggested this in an official statement “We urge you all to try to rethink your waste habits, reuse materials whenever possible and reduce the amount of waste to keep your city clean.”

It has often been joked about that the only company that works in Lebanon is Sukleen. “We can live ten months without a politician, but not two days without a garbage man”. And despite the lingering stench in everyone’s nostrils, people still love Sukleen, myself included. I appreciate that they clean up what we litter from our car windows, and that they collect tons of waste from some really remote locations. They should take care not to affect the environment though, by cleaning up one city, and destroying another community by doing so.

The CLN group is formed of the active community in Nehme, Bawerty, Aabey, Aramoun, Kfarmatta, and surrounding affected areas. What makes this group unique is that they have no political backing whatsoever. Just a group of people who decided to take a corporation backed by a corrupt government head on, and escalated a decades long problem through non-violence and social media coverage. The owned media had more pleasure discussing the political side of the story, while the Lebanese community discussed the humane side. CLN listened closely to everyone who spoke to them, and responded with allowing a reasonable urgent two day clean up when living conditions got unbearable in Beirut. Everyone now wants to hear what CLN says.

 

Isn’t it amazing how a small group of people can change a community, which in turn can battle a corporation backed by a corrupt government? Lebanon’s number one billionaire and current illegitimate PM , issued a statement requesting that Sukleen collect all the garbage regardless of the status of Nehme landfill, to a destination that the government will later decide.(1)

So in short, the government wants to solve this entire scenario by forcing Sukleen to be So-Clean and  hold the garbage in limbo. I still haven’t heard any viable solutions offered the government, nor seen any action taken to solve the health crisis happening in Nehme and surrounding areas, nor seen anyone challenge the 17 year old contract.

 

Some comments on the CLN facebook page worth reading:

كل حدن ساكت عن فساد سوكلين ومن وراءها شريك بالمسؤولية….
وكل حدن طنش عن هل الموضوع رغم معرفته شريك…
وكل حدن ساهم بإضعاف الحركة البيئية شريك….

مطمر الناعمة اخطر قضية بيئية واجهها لبنان عامةً وغرب عاليه خاصةً… وبالارقام يستقبل هذا المطمر منذ 16 عاماً 2000 طناً من النفايات اي اكثر من نصف نفايات الوطن… الكميات الحالية اكثر من 13 مليون طن من النفايات… مئات الوف الامتار المكعبة من غاز الميتان المسبب للاحتباس الحراري والذي يلوث سماء لبنان والمنطقة… هناك مساحات جديدة استحدثت لمزيد من النفايات وهذا خطير… الحاجز بين النفايات والارض عمره 20 عاماً وتلوث التربة سيصبح لا يحتمل… الامراض والسرطانات ضربت المنطقة بشكل اثبتته الاحصائيات… الحل الوحيد الاوحد اقفال المطمر وفوراً ؟! ومن ثمّ معالجة المطمر؟! واعطاء التعويضات للبلديات… ملف بهذا الحجم لم يع يحتمل التسويف… اننا نشد على ايادي المعتصمين وندعمهم…

 

كيف يمكن لإعتصام صغير أمام مطمر الناعمة، يضم عشرات من المواطنين المتضرّرين والناشطين البيئيين المتضامنين أن يملأ طرقات بيروت وجبل لبنان بجبال من أكياس النفايات؟ وهل يجوز لشركة خاصة وقّعت عقداً مع الدولة اللبنانية أن تخل بشروط العقد بحجة إعتصام أمام أحد المطامر الأساسية المعتمدة من قبلها؟
كيف يمكن أصلاً ان تمتنع شركة عن جمع النفايات ردّاً على إعتصام؟ من أعطاها هذا الحقّ؟ ألم يكن بمقدورها أن تتخذ تدبيراً إستثنائياً ومؤقتاً لتجميع النفايات في مطمر ثانٍ ريثما تحل مشكلة مطمر الناعمة؟ ألم يكن بمقدور الحكومة ان تطالب الشركة بإتخاذ تدبير إستثنائي لمشكلة إستثنائية؟

 

نجحنا من خﻻل 3 أيام إنو نحرك قضية مطمر الناعمة وجعلنا الحكومة تتحرك وتتسمع ﻹلنا ولمطالبنا . البلد ما تحمل يومين تسكير للمطمر، طاف بالزبالة وهيدا اكبر دليل على كميات الزبالة الكبيرة يلي عم تنطمر عنا تحت بيوتنا. بهاليومين صارت الناس تعرف شو يعني مطمر بين البيوت ، شو يعني زبالة من روائح كريهة لمناظر بشعة وﻷمراض كتيرة.. ونحن بفتح الطريق للشاحنات حتى ترجع تمر هو من باب اﻹحساس بالمعاناة يلي عم يعيشوها باقي المناطق بسبب تكديس الزبالة. هﻷ صار الوقت انو هني يحسو معنا كمان ﻷن نحن عنا زبالة 15 سنة مش بس يومين. وهيدي الزبالة يلي عم تنشال من قدام بيوتكن حتى تبقى بيئتكن نضيفة عم تيجي لعنا حتى تقتلنا…
آخر مهلة لكب الزبالة عنا هي بكره الساعة 6 مساء. اﻹعتصام مستمر وسيتم إعادة تسكير المطمر غدا إذا لم توجد الحلول المناسبة والجذرية. نطلب من جميع المناطق اللبنانية المشاركة غدا وبكثافة وخاصة أهالي الضيع المجاورة للمطمر..

Lebanese memes has the best of the images out there

 

Kudos to Close Landfill Nehme group! I hope you succeed in replanting the forest, and with your future recycling projects:) Thank you for changing your community.

Change

Posted: 18/01/2014 in Lebanon, Random Ravings

Revolution is coming. Are you a part of it?

Let the politicians play their sectarian hand,
let the extremists perfect the art of car bombing,
let the global community dictate their foreign policies and local puppets.

We will take things back into our own hands, take back control of our country, and reclaim what our parents generation lost during the 80′s civil war, the 90′s power struggle, and the 2000′s sectarian civil cold war.

The road to revolution cannot be through violence! We won’t use guns, bombs, or physical force.

We can take back control of our country by using technology, social media platforms, our ill-used education, our expats pockets, our blogs, our voices, or ideas, and our pens.

“They” have already assassinated our top thinkers and revolutionists. Their martyr blood has already paved the way for a new breed of revolutionists who use their ideas to change the environment that surrounds them.

(“They”: Referring to the force that fears good change.)

I’m not saying we’ll create Utopia this month. I’m not saying it will happen this decade. I’m not saying we will overthrow the government. I’m not saying we should interfere in global politics. I’m not saying that we should get rid of the political parties. I’m not saying we should get remove the power from the zu3ama’s hands. I’m not taking sides with 8 or 14. I’m not saying we should get rid of all the things we dislike.

What I AM saying is that you should educate yourself in the methods of community governance, and attempt to enlighten the environment around you while taking control of your destiny and the future of your country. Change what you can, starting with yourself and your peers. Change your perspective on Life. Act on your patriotism. Evolve as a citizen.

Didn’t we recently score a success with Civil Marriage? Didn’t we recently have better Internet and 4G? Didn’t the memes recently blow the farce of the Ikhraj El2ed? I swear I even saw someone actually STOPPING on a red light the other day!

Use your Blog.
Use Entrepreneurship.
Use Social Media and Technology.
Use your Pen.
Use the voice God granted you.

But most importantly, use your brain.

I support the concept of “”United As A Country”, but believe that the only two things that we need are Respect and Tolerance.

I use English to communicate online, but am still very proud of my Arabic and Phoenician lineage.

I am AntiSectarian, but still proud of my relationship with God on my own terms. My personal beliefs do not affect my view and perspective of all my Lebanese brothers.

I am Lebanese, even though I was not able to survive the corrupted economy and business ethics.
I believe that we can make a change.

That’s a lot of I’s. What are YOU going to do?