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Dear God,

I have a simple and petty question plus a kind request–I’m sure you get these all the time. I was considering leaving a sticky note, but wasn’t sure where to place it…and I imagine your email inbox is full.

So, I hereby present my question via my blog and facebook:
Why on earth did you create a 24 hour day?

Can you extend it to, say, 30, or maybe 56 hours without severely realigning the planets or causing a wholesale global armageddon? That, or grant me superhuman powers to complete my to-do list?

Sincerely,

An ungrateful soul/workaholic/caffeine addict who would love to complete her to-do list.

P.S. Tell Ibn Khaldun, Socrates, and Vincent van Gogh I say hi.

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Hear ye hear ye! I have a new blog! That’s right, to the skeptics who didn’t believe in my capacity to create blogs, I have news for you: change has come to the blogopshere!

Ok, it’s 10am on a friggin Sunday morning…I needed some type of cliche hook-in.

Ah, but for those wondering, why the crazy name Sayida Siyasa of Arabia?Well, what blog is a blog without a fun origins-of-the-name story? Here goes: twas a late Saturday night (more like 2am) and amidst my caffeine-powered brainstorming for my PhD programs personal statement, the following idea came to mind: why not set aside time for a weekly blog? Excuses immediately came to mind: I have no time for it! It’s a conformist thing to do! (and facebook isn’t?). I’ll get seriously distracted from my grad-school applications!

A few seconds later, being the spontaneous spirit that I am, I made every practical excuse to start one: I spend just as much time on facebook and could link the two…..hmmmmm……..ok….I can have fun with GRE vocab prep and write blog posts about my academic readings if need be……hmmmmm……ok, and….and….I can post Arabic translation exercises of BBC news items–People will still look at my blog just because they think it’s cool to see anything with Arabic writing on it even if it makes no damn sense.This is sounding more appealing as the caffeine wears off and my head fills with crazy ambitious schemes….oh what the hell! I’m in!

As the wee hours of the morning began to set in and I ventured into a euphoric realm of caffeine deprivation, I decided it was high time to create a blog name. A short summary of the process occurred as follows:

2am: I initially thought: how about something snarky and witty?

I know! The Angry Arab!…..oh wait, that one’s taken. Damnit.

3am: With a cup of tea, I continued with my noble task. Ah, I’ve got it! How about taking some haphazard miscombobulation of English words, translate them into Arabic, and produce some outrageous title that sounds 10x cooler? Since people in the Middle East refer to people as either Umm (mother) or Abu (father) of something, let’s try Bait Al-Afkar Umm Al Siyasa…or, roughly translated, Mother of Politics House of Ideas!Wow, I just seriously mistranslated that and misused the idafa structure. Damnit squared!

4am: Ok ok, gettin serious here…let me think….once upon a time when I did a blog a few years back, I used the term LadyPolitik because I thought it was a clever feminist spin on the IR term realpolitik. In retrospect, it was horribly cheesy, but seemed to make a great AIM Id. So, how about I take that word, try to translate that into Arabic, make it sound 20x cooler, and then tell an absolute fabricated lie of a story in the morning to entertain my would-be readers?

Alright, I’ll take it.

Voila! Sayida Siyasa was born! Sayida means ‘lady’ and Siyasa of course means ‘politics’. I don’t believe the term ‘politik’ has an equivalent translation in Arabic, so I adopted the word closest to it.Take that Lawrence of Arabia–here comes another East-meets-West force to reckon with! …..just not in the deserts of Wadi Rum, but instead in the blogosphere!

**Caveat disclaimer: To my geeky Arabic speaking friends, no I did not adhere to perfect formal Arabic grammar since Al-Siyasa is the proper word which means politics (yes, I dropped the definite article to make my blog name sound less awkward.) Secondly, sayida is used in colloquial, not formal Arabic, for both single and married women. The formal Arabic word ‘anisa’ (for Ms.) would have also sounded awkward. Just run with my crazy imaginative blog name will ya? :-)**

In another life, I would have been an interior designer, and quite an anal-retentive one. I realized this today as I glanced at my first real blog (http://sayidasiyasaofarabia.blogspot.com/) and found it irksome. At 7am this morning, I flipped open my PC (and I vow to get a mac because PCs really are that terrible) and took another look at the good ol’ blog. There was just something….something terribly annoying about it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks. My blog needed a makeover. Not just any makeover. We’re not talking the equivalent of tummy tucks in terms of changing font sizes or facelifts involving repositioning my archived posts and widgets. We’re talking about a real full-blown makeover here.

I could just see Ty Pennington, the host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, seizing my laptop, opening my blog page and saying, “Goooooood morn………Pfffftt! (Out goes the coffee and in comes the drama). Giirrrrrlfriend this is just wrong! Wrong! Wrong! So wrong! I mean…wow…..look here–the tan-hershey brown-beige color combination you’ve got going here just screams sand! sand! sand! I mean, we’re not trying to reproduce the Sahara here on your blog page, we want this to just shout you all over it! You’ve got to own this baby! And that photo you’ve got there of Alhambra, so 14th century….”

I, of course, look slightly mortified and slowly but surely try to reclaim my laptop, “Uh..Mr. Pennington….that is from the 14th century.”

“Whatever. Your size 16 Verdana bold font is atrocious, and the page layout does not do this space justice. We need to open up and create more space! Light hun! Blog pages are all about the lighting! We need an extreme makeover!”

Clearly my imagination runs wild most mornings and especially on the N4 bus to Farragut Square.

So, taking my imaginary Mr. Pennington’s advice, I decided to switch to wordpress because blogger offers very limited blog design options with little aesthetic appeal. Secondly, I plan to blog about a wide range of issues, but admittedly would like to focus on Middle Eastern and Islam related news items and tid-bits from time to time. For that reason, I put up a collage (which I proudly claim I designed myself 😉 up of Islamic architecture on my wordpress page. However, I tried to lighten up the overall design so that it looks more contemporary and receptive as a venue for a wide range of blog posts.

At some point, I would looooooove to write an extended post on how art, color, and imagery reflect and help articulate personal identity. Yes, this blog will be loaded with posts concerned with questions of identity (namely identity-politics and the issues taken up by the likes of Charles Tilly and other famed social scientists). For now, I think two goofy posts are sufficient until I get some serious material going.
On that note, if anyone obsesses with aesthetic function and appeal as much as I do, feel free to give me your feedback on my new blog design.