F1 Montreal with my brother!

I went to F1 Montreal this summer with my brother and we had a blast! 

Here is a link to all the pictures.

Congrats JackCards!

Today, JackCards.com, a company founded by my friends Kim Dowds and Katherine Santer got a great review in the Wall Street Journal. Here are some excerpts from the article:

….Jack Cards did introduce me to some clever and original material that I never would’ve seen in my CVS….

….I think its system would be welcomed by many people looking for good-quality, well-designed cards that catch the eye. It saves users the hassle of last-minute trips to the card store, and still lets greeting cards keep their personal touch, which is what makes them such a permanent fixture in our lives.

I wanted to pass on the great news, and say CONGRATS! Their hard work is definitely paying off!

I personally love the service! The service has exposed me to some very unique and high quality cards at prices competitive with my local CVS. If you are in the habit of exchanging cards, like my wife Randa is, it is the best service I have seen in this space!

Personal stories in history…

Just finished reading “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini. It is a very touching story about life and tragedy in Afghanistan. A beautifully written account of the lives of 2 women, Mariam and Laila, and the challenges they faced living in a very difficult era of Afghan history.

The story I feel gives an important perspective on history. Though fictional, it felt like a real account. It made me think that many periods of recent history are not well documented in this personal way. I love reading stories like this, because they add a vivid touch to the facts.

Another story I read a while ago was, “In Search of Fatima” by Ghada Karmi. It is her memoirs while she lived in Jerusalem and then London during the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. As far as I know, there are very few Palestinian memoirs from that era and this story is a small step to fill a critical hole needed to understand the Palestinian perspective. On a funny note, as I was reading “In Search of Fatima“, the book talked about people I knew. I later discovered that Ghada was my mom’s cousin. Small world!

Borat introduces Flock… clever!

Hassan Al-Karmi: A great family member passes

My great grand uncle, Hassan Al-Karmi, passed away last night at the age of 101. He was a great man that I am very proud to be related to. He was an incredible author, thinker, poet, speaker, educator, and father to us all.

His most impressive writing include 14 dictionaries of which 8 were published. His BBC program “Qawl al Qawl” (“Saying Upon Saying”) was heard across the entire Arab world and was known to be a favorite among many Arab leaders.

I recall when visiting him as child that he would frequently have me write a little essay that he would critique while explaining the origins of some of the words I wrote. Even in his 90s he was sharp. I remember seeing him recite long verses of old Arabic poetry at the drop of a hat.

My thoughts and prayers go out to him and all the people he touched. May he rest in peace!

Some articles about the passing of Hassan Al-Karmi:

Whose fault is it?

My mom told me this wonderful little story that I would like to share.

It starts with someone asking the devil about how he is able to create problems in the world. The devil decides to show his friend how he does it. He goes into a beautiful bakery that has a lot of cakes on display. He puts his finger into some syrup and then dabs the syrup onto a glass widow near a beautiful cake display. An insect sees the syrup and flies towards it. A man with a dog walks into the bakery to buy a cake. The dog notices the insect and gets excited jumping towards the insect. As the dog jumps, he spills over the beautiful display of cakes. The store owner gets upset that the display has been destroyed and starts beating the dog. The dog owner jumps in to defend his dog and fights the store owner. Local youth in the area see the fight in the store and run in to help their friend the shop owner. By the end of the process, the whole store gets destroyed.

Now if you look at this story, whose fault is it? Is it the devil, insect, dog, dog owner, shop keeper, or the local youth. The lesson is that people end up behaving badly as a result of a downstream series of events not in their control. We as people (individuals to organizations to governments) need to first think about the consequences of our actions, and try to understand the root cause of the problems we see and try to fix the root!

JS, CSS Editor for eclipse

I have been using Aptana (open source extension to eclipse) for a few weeks now and really like it. Javascript dev is usually a pain in eclipse since testing needs to happen in the browser. This gets most of the syntax issues as you are writing the code.

via Ian Connor

The Prince is home now!

We are now back home. Baby Amir and mom passed all their medical tests with flying colors. Since Randa did a c-section, her recovery is slow and will take a few weeks. However, everything appears to be moving as expected. Amir is still figuring out his rhythm and clearly adjusting ours to match his :) .

Throughout our lives there have been a few moments that we both recall to be life changing in a grand way. People have told us that seeing your child for the first time is an amazing experience, but words can not describe how much joy he has brought into our lives. We both wept when we first saw him. The toughness of Randa’s pregnancy was instantly forgotten at this moment.

Now the fun begins and we both pray that we will be great parents for the new bundle of joy that has entered our life.

Sami & Randa

Amir Shalabi

Dear friends and family,

We are very happy to announce the arrival of our pride and joy Amir Shalabi on April 9th 2007 at 4:22pm. He weighs 6 pounds and 6 ounces (3kg). His height is 19.5′ (50cm).

Thank God Mom Randa, baby, and Dad are doing well, and will be leaving the hospital in a few days.

With love,

Sami Shalabi “DAD” :-)

Physics legend on getting creative ideas

Came across this talk by physics legend Murray Gell-Mann. He is a very impressive man! The talk builds a framework for getting to creative ideas. He explains his ideas through observations he saw and collected from science. An inspiring talk that can be applied to any field. The QA at the end has some funny moments.


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