Friday, September 28, 2012

Is Losing Your Job a Death Sentence?


Just this past week, news broke of a man in Minneapolis, Minnesota walking into a Sign store and shooting and killing four people including the owner of the store. Who was he? A disgruntled former employer who was fired not too long before he decided to start bustin' caps. After drawing a swarm of police and SWAT teams to the scene of the crime to confront him, the man turned the gun on himself, dying before the police could apprehend him.

The sad thing is, stuff like this is happening way too often. Ex-employers fired for one reason or another vowing revenge on the boss who handed them the pink slip, students grabbing guns and blasting away professors who gave them a failing grade. Patience and preseverence are a thing of the past. Accountability is now an ancient concept. Blame the economy and the curriculum all you want but in the end it's all on your own head.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Be Afraid...Be Very Afraid": A Horror Movie about Jinn?

"You ain't never had a friend like me!" Uh...no.
Like many movie-goers, I love a good horror flick. Unfortunately in Hollywood, a halfway decent one is few and far between. Some border on goofy campy horror (The Leprachaun series, Nightmare on Elm StreetCabin in the Woods) while others rely heavily on special effects and an unneccessarily copious amount of gore (28 Days Later, Hostel) and label that as horror. Some start out promising but then are dragged out into convuluted, contrived pieces of trash (The SAW Series, Paranormal Activity.)

A good Horror movie ideally is supposed to take the viewer out of the comfort of watching as a third party and pull you inside the film into the same helpless situation of the hero. It's supposed to make you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable without the need for cheap gags like the overuse of blood or a quick swishing camera cut. Horror movies, even if the premise or elements involved are fictional, should at least feel real; if the plot of the film can realistically happen or have actually occurred in real life, it makes it even better. If a movie gives you nightmares where you wake up in cold sweats and makes you ponder the situation long after the credits roll, it has succeeded!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

YOLO? No Bro!



I Dare Ya!

Don't you love popular sayings? I'm particularly fond of expressions like "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", "Laughter is the best medicine", "A Picture is worth a thousand words" and who could forget this one:


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However, one that is gaining a lot of traction is the expression ,"You only live once" (aka. "YOLO" to the youngsters). YOLO has taken pop culture by storm ever since the phrase was coined in a song by rapper/singer Drake. Now it's all over people's Facebook pages, on people's T-Shirts, flooding up the Twitterfeeds (#YOLO) and is regurgitating out from the mouths of the simple-minded masses.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dang it Feels Good To Be A Muslim

A movie that has fast become one of my all-time favorites after the catching it on Netflix is Office Space. I had always heard good things about the movie and how it had become a cult classic but for years since it's release in 1999, I slept on it. Boy was I missing out on some hilarity! An outstanding element from this hysterical comedy is it's soundtrack, which uncharacteristic of conventional comedy movies, features an abundance of gangsta rap music. Office Space pulls it off brilliantly. The awesome thing is the use of hardcore rap songs actually enhances the comedy. One notable scene is the main character goofing around the office and doing whatever he dang well pleased to the tune of, "Damn, it Feels Good To Be A Gangsta." 

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Block: Documentary "The West" Gives People a Gritty Dose of Life in Southwest Houston


Happy Friday readers.

In my recent efforts to enrich myself and broaden my knowledge, I made a promise to myself to watch at least 1 documentary a week on any particular subject. This past week I stumbled upon one which hits really close to home and that's because the documentary was about and filmed in the area of Houston I called home from middle school all the way through college: Alief, Texas (aka SWAT; South West Alief Texas). 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Birthday Reflections


Yesterday was not only the memorial of the 9/11 tragedy which took place 11 years ago but it was my birthday. I turned the big 2-5. While reaching the quarter century mark in life may be seen as a grand milestone for some, I beg to differ.  Sure you get birthday shout-outs from friends, acquaintances, co-workers and well-wishers--and while the kind words are much appreciated-- honestly, what's there to celebrate? You're one year closer to dying, congratulations! 

It's just another day if you ask me. Now back when I was younger, totally different story. In my childhood years, I thought of my birthday as my own personal christmas and would go into crying fits when all I receive is home-cooked biryani from my mom. In retrospect, I should've appreciated and been grateful for my mother's loving gesture of cooking my favorite Pakistani dish. Instead, I slammed doors, and repeatedly shouted "This is the worst birthday ever!" because I didn't get some extravagant toy or video game system I had been drooling over. Fast forward to today, if that's all I received for my birthday, I'd be fully content.

A funny tidbit I'd like to ruminate on though is what I've been offered on my birthday and turned down. The customary birthday treats for an American man by friends or colleagues is typically a beer and a trip to a strip club, at least that's how it's viewed in my workplace apparently. My guy coworker friends would've offered me these very things but didn't after I enlightened them on my beliefs. I did take pleasure in a chuckle or two from their playful jokes about it on the day of my birthday: "So no strip club at lunch time? The offer's still on the table, man!" "Haha, no thanks. No booby bars for me", I replied. Unfortunately, after you rule out those two things, a man has no idea what to give another man in this culture, so they give nothing.

Now I'm not deliberately trying to be morbid or cynical nor am I butt-hurt that my birthday didn't resemble something out of MTV's "My Super Sweet 16" TV show. The way I see it is: why celebrate something you had no control over? You didn't have any say in when you were going to pop out of your mother's vag. It's not some phenomenal accomplishment of yours. If anyone should be given a cake and a present on your birthday it should be mommy dearest for all that pain and pushing she did in labor trying to get you out of her!

I'm not going to get into the argument of whether celebrating birthdays is Islamically correct or forbidden or what have you. I'm not a scholar on the matter but I do believe it's permissible. Celebrating your birthday with some friends, or your spouse or kids, close family isn't some deplorable act but I feel making it a grand anticipated, lets-go-nuts jubilee is questionable. Sure go have a little fun and eat some cake but also use your birthday as a reminder that while your age is counting up, your life is counting down. It has been since you popped out the womb. Usually a birthday is an excuse to just free your mind and let loose and thinking about something like your mortality is a downer. 

Rather than getting yourself all depressed from thinking this way, harness this reality and channel it in a productive manner. Evaluate your life and prioritize on what's really important if you haven't already. Ponder the purpose of why you are living and reinforce those God-ordained duties back into your life. I feel that is the best way to benefit from your birthday.

Monday, September 10, 2012

You Just Got Knocked the Fajr out!

It's the start of a new work week, so rather than dive into my usual PhilAsifical soliloquies, I thought we go a little bit light-hearted today. I just had to share this video that I got a kick out of (pun very much intended) from the world of Mixed Martial Arts. 

Though regarded as a brutal sport by critics, MMA rakes in a ton of dough in ticket sales and PPV buyrates, in large due to the hype of fighters verbally jabbing one another before getting down to real fisticuffs. The masses are suckered in plopping down the cash when the fighters hold press conferences which are merely highly publicized smack-talking sessions. Despite this, fighters usually show a great deal of respect and sportsmanship when the final bell is rung. You usually see guys who seemingly hated eachother with such passion and fervor, shaking hands, hugging and sharing laughs mainly because win or lose, they got PAIIIIID son! Dollar dollar bill ya'll!

However, a line never to be crossed in the world of ultimate fighting, maybe because committing such an act is so abominably idiotic, is taunting IN THE MIDDLE of the fight. As this video below shows, you do not taunt during fights unless you wanna get knocked the Fajr out! Talk trash about my skills, put down my family and my training regimen, throw everything and the kitchen sink at me before the fight and in pre-match interviews but if you dare do the "Come at me, bro!" taunt to me during the fight, you're gonna be on the ground faster than a sinner on the Night of Power baby! Shai Lindsey learned this the hard way.

PhilAsify 101 Featured on MuslimMatters!

Salams and Hello to my loyal readers which at the moment may only be myself and my wife (and that's usually only when I force her to read my blogs). Now PhilAsify 101 has only been around for only a few months and already it's been a rollercoaster ride in terms of my enthusiasm, creative and consistency in keeping up with the being a new blogger.

I've had my fair share of ups and downs. Some weeks I was on a roll, churning out ideas and tapping away on the keyboard. Other days, laziness kicked in and I was spending more time hanging out on Yahoo's Frontpage than logging in hours on my posts. Ideas were hard to come by. Other times, life got in the way and I couldn't put the world on pause to go sit and put my thoughts into paragraphs. It's even more difficult and deflating when you don't think anyone's reading your stuff, so in turn no one is anticipating anything and thus there is no pressure to please the masses. But I don't want to make excuses.

I'm not writing for the $$Dollar Signs$$ though if some green were to come into play and allow me to leave my day job, that's fine with me. It is crucial that I continue reminding myself that PhilAsify 101 first and foremost is for myself, the "Writer who doesn't write", to break from my self-appointed title and get back in a creative groove. I'm not writing for the glory of recognition or a paycheck, I'm writing so I can be more of a producer and less of a consumer. And apparentl--as I recently have discovered--people enjoy what I have dished out so far when my posts are visible to a wider audience, as was the case when my blog "Top 10 Traits of a Real Man (Muslim Style)" was posted on MuslimMatters.org.

I was surprised to say the least when I noticed that my article started trending and was shared and tweeted up to 5,000 times. There was also an array of feedback both positive and negative, which doesn't bother me as opposed to no comments being posted at all. All I could say to myself was "Wow, people are actually reading and reacting to my stuff!" There were even personal messages sent to me telling me how excellent a reminder this was to them and duas being made for me to keep up the good work.

It's safe to say this buzz about something I myself had written and the fact that it helped people and triggered thought and discussion made me excited and gave me an invigorating power boost. I am determined to improve and come out with more material. All praises are due to Allah for this initiative and I hope with His help to continue my blogging journey and help myself and others along the way.

Til next time, this has been your friendly neighborhood PhilAsifer.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Modern Media Brain Busters and How Islam Solves Them

Do you remember Brain busters (also known as brain teasers)? And no I'm not talking about the awesome finishing move former pro wrestler Bill Goldberg used to do. These were nauseating logic puzzles and riddles which you had to do in elementary school from time to time. For the geniuses and those with access to the answer key, it was typically a stress-free activity. However, for the normal human population, they were sheer torture designed to question your sanity. I'm talking about the brain busters which made you cringe and had the power to burst your blood vessels, doubt your intelligence and purpose in life to the point where you'd wither into a corner of the room, curl up in the fetal position and rock back and forth in agony.

If you're still a little hazy on what I'm referring to, take a look at the example below. (Note: For those that do figure out the words or phrases suggested, good for you! But couldn't you have rather done without the mental anguish your brain went through to find the answers?)