mercredi, janvier 04, 2012

SOS! A statistical emergency!

I usually take vacation during unusual periods of the year. My last vacation was during October, to compete in the national cycling championships. As a result, I have no more leave days left for this year, therefore, no Christmas vacation for me. The upside is that the workplace will be much quieter and I’ll have the chance to focus on some work I’ve been neglecting for lack of time.
At work, we have a certain arrangement during long vacations. For every profession, we should have at least one person present at work, to ensure permanence for all studies, so if something urgent comes up, the statistician should have to deal with it.
I was wondering the other day, as sipping coffee with MMMMMMMMM at Starbucks Cappucines in Paris, what a statistical emergency could be.
Is it an urgent sample size calculation for an urgent recruitment of patients in an urgent project, studying concepts and aspects of public health that no one cares about, except the eventual authors, to be published in a high impact factor medical journal?
Or is it a p-value that gone missing.
The point is that, in research, things move in a very slow pace and changes don’t really occur on a daily basis but rather monthly.
That was actually some sort of a shock for me when I started working in that area, especially after I spent about 4 months in 2006 working in the humanitarian field in an emergency context, where I had the chance to test my qualities as “baroudeurs”.One of the differences between working in emergency and working in research is that, for the latter, the impact on society is not directly tangible and is more for the longer term. Therefore, one might feel his/her work is not necessarily useful nor rewarding because it’s important, whenever we achieve a certain job, to be able to see the end product, which is not always the case in research.

dimanche, décembre 25, 2011

Losing grip

It’s been two months since my last vacation in Lebanon. It’s usually enough time for me to start missing it there. But I’m not. I’m not happy where I am neither. I might have lost an important feature of a human being.

Human emotions.

I’ve become apathetic about everything around me. I go to work everyday like a zombie. I don’t even need music for my way to and back from work. Each song is merely a succession of notes, not an entity.

I watch my favorite shows but they don’t entertain me as before.

I eat my favorite dishes, they seem tasteless to me.

Bike rides are just series of pedal strokes and wheel revolutions.

I lost my motivation.

I’m getting all sorts of criticism and judgment at work, but that’s not even affecting me one bit.

Stress is a complete stranger to me.

Nothing thrills me but nothing bugs me neither.

I have become numb, mentally and emotionally.

I’m wandering in those slippery paths of life. They seem too clean and empty to me.

Am I losing grip on reality?

mardi, décembre 20, 2011

To leave the comfort zone

Why do we have to suffer when we have the choice not to?
Why do we have to take the bumpy roads and endure more risks when we can take the highway?
Why, instead of taking the shortcuts, we take the longest possible way from A to B?
Why do we not listen to people close to me and always make the decisions that make me comfortable, hence make my life more complicated. You get the point.

Life is a path traced by the succession of decisions that we make out of a myriad of choices. At each crossroads, we have to make a choice. I usually make the wrong decisions, maybe most of the time based on the current moment, rather in an emotional than a rational way. I might have to learn long-term thinking, to have a vision behind the decisions I make and forget about my comfort zone that I tend to hold on to like grim death.

Each wrong decision is followed by a chain of actions aimed at rectifying that original one, wasting time, energy, motivation and losing perspective on what I was aiming for in the first place.

Lessons of the day (or rather the year, based on the frequency of my posts lately): Act rational. Always have a vision

mardi, août 25, 2009

The "tale" of a smoking pregnant woman who can't wait in a line

So I guess it needs an important event for me to break the silence. Well listen to this. I was in the supermarket, doing my weekly shopping, to fill my always empty fridge. Well the reason for my empty fridge, is that, no matter how hungry i amor how much food there is, I always manage to devour everything, to the last crum. So back to my story, as I was waiting in the line and getting ready to put my items on the counter, as I was stopped by a pregnant woman, asking if this is the priority counter for pregnant women and handicapped. Well, it wasn't the case, but they let her anyway. I had no problem with that, although I hate waiting like any other normal person in the world (I think i know people who like the waiting, weird). Then came my turn, I paid and headed to the exit only to see our pregnant woman standing outside, and guess what she was doing? SMOKING! Well I accuse this woman (Yeah, i have the right, in this blog i have all the power I need) of abuse to the system, but this is still a minor issue, compared to the abuse of her own health. So she can't wait in a line because this is detrimental for her health, however self introducing to her body nicotine, tar and other chemical substances has no harm on her. Last but not least, if she doesn't care about her own health, how about some responsibility towards a new life to be born?

vendredi, février 06, 2009

There is a thin line between individualism and selfishness

Last week, I had my first metro accident. As if it's normal to have at least one in your life.
Anyway, I was on my way to work. The subway was over-crowded because of some technical problems that I always mysterious.
We stopped at a station, it wasn't mine yet, but i was stepping out of the train, by courtesy, to let the passengers pass and at that moment, my leg caught the space between the train and the edge of the subway platform, wide enough for my leg.
It actually turned out that being thin has its disadvantages afterall.
Then i managed to pull off my leg very quickly, in extreme pain. I checked my leg to see the damages. Two big contusions, one on the thigh and the other, below the knee, more serious.

Then, when I tried to get in the train, it was already full. Nobody cared about a guy hurting because he was trying to let them pass. Anyway, I'm with being individualistic. Actually, i adopt this lifestyle. But I strongly beleive that there is a thin line between being individualistic and being selfish.

vendredi, janvier 16, 2009

Overdue Updates

Well, I think that I broke a record here. The longest period of silence after the last post, in fact it's 1 full year, or 363 to be more accurate. I think several reasons were behind this, it's however not being busy, because no matter how busy a person can be, it's always possible to find time for anything, as long as the motivation as there. Well yes, exactly, it is the motivation, the engine that pushing us to achieve any set objective.

One full year has passed and since, many changes have been witnessed in the world. The election of the first African-American as present of the USA, the financial crisis and locally the election of a Lebanese President after more than 6 months of wait... Anyway, this is not the place to review the main events of the year, I’m no expert in this and there are sites for that. I'm more interested in reviewing the events on the individual and personal level. In January 2008, I was in Lebanon, working in the university and a company along with some freelance jobs, mainly in statistical analysis and trying, at the same time, alongside this relatively hectic schedule, to maintain and improve my fitness level, mainly in running and road cycling, which has been my passion since a young age. This had been that way until august 2008, a turning point for me in that year, when I decided that it's time for me to leave Lebanon, at least for a short period of time, and trying to pursue my career in Europe and France in particular. It all went well since that time, I got accepted in a Masters program in Paris and got granted a Visa (It's an important detail for us, because in other countries, traveling is like taking the bus, it doesn't need months of preparation, and long and stressful waits for the verdict. So, it's been 3 months and a half that I’m settled in Paris (in Vincennes to be more accurate) in a 21 m2 studio (nothing compared to my 60m2 hobbit hole in Beirut :P) The only common thing is that both are on the ground floor, but at least I have access to sunlight in that one.
On the sentimental level, no big changes, no stable relationships and none in prospects. I think it’s hard to find a girl sharing the same interests, (i.e cycling, running) however, if met, I believe it might lead to a more stable mutual relationship and more stable life for me. So I guess, finding a woman athlete has become my current obsession.

Finally about the blog and the direction that it might takes. It will continue to revolve around my daily life, some thoughts and diaries, but will be more dedicated to my cycling training and fitness as well.

vendredi, janvier 18, 2008


Nougat says:
leik leish ma 3am tektob bel blog/
nobilis tobilis says:
la2anno metel mannek cheyfé
nobilis tobilis says:
ma fi wa2et
Nougat says:
u can post an spss data set if u want or a paper
Nougat says:
:D :D :D
Nougat says:
or an msn conversation
Billy says:
Nougat says:
u can post this one : i give u a green light

jeudi, novembre 22, 2007

My last feast

Unveil yourself, you mighty force
You left me facing my hex
Hampered my spur, killed my impetus
Disparaged my lost pride

Come to me mischievous sprite
Save me from my eternal fight
Drag me down to your deepest abyss
I don’t deserve to enjoy the light

Dismember me, dissect my flesh
Suck up the last drop of my soul
Slice me and dice me then serve me fresh
In the next demons’ feast

Decorate your demoniacal banquet
Top it up with my soulless face
Hand round my freshest red
A dressing for my human chops

mardi, novembre 13, 2007

No! Shower Gels are not only for Women!

When I usually take a shower or prepare pasta (since it's one of the few meals I can actually "cook"), I like to spend some time reading the notice on the box or pack. What has always stricken me is the fact that the Arabic instructions are always addressed to females. I always ask myself why? Am I using the wrong shower gel? It's not indicated that it's only for females and I didn't notice any unusual changes in my body. Or this implies that men are supposed to bathe in their own filth? Or am I conquering female territories by preparing food? (You call it food, it's a lousy pasta, and I'm not even preparing the sauce, I'm buying a ready one).
I think we are facing here a double discrimination. A discrimination against women, by limiting them to the sole housework duties (I didn't mention the instructions notice on the Detergents, etc) and by assuming that men don't care about their personal health and hygiene and won't use "delicate" shower gel or shampoos. I think we do need them since we may be more exposed to life hazards and to baldness, obviously.

mardi, septembre 25, 2007


To make things more interactive, I’m going to reply to a post by poshlemon by stating my fears because as ella said, we all have fears but few of us have the guts to face them. My fears can also be as silly as MMMMMMMMM’s (according to him)

I’m afraid of walking on the borders of the sidewalk.
I’m afraid of sudden changes in my life. I like things to be stable, therefore I hate when I get used to someone or something, to end it radically.
I’m afraid of cockroaches as much as I prefer not to kill them. (Refer to a previous post of mine)
I’m afraid of the crowd as much as I adore loneliness.
I’m afraid to reread my exam after I’m done with it.
I’m afraid of meeting new people.
I’m afraid of being misunderstood, which happens often.
I’m afraid to look at people straight in the eyes. (However, I do it often seeking for eye contact with girls on the street)
I’m afraid of disclosing what I really feel about someone or something.
I’m afraid to share my emotions.
I’m afraid to reveal my identity.
I’m afraid of being judged and criticized, although I know it’s very healthy.
I’m afraid of light as much as I worship the dark.
I’m afraid of the truth, therefore, as a first remedy, tell me openly, what you think of me.

lundi, septembre 17, 2007

nobilis tobilis the Phoenician

I had this strange feeling when I’ve been told that I’m of Phoenician origins. This was in a study conducted in collaboration with National Geographic, the Genographic project. I felt overwhelmed with mixed emotions of joy and pride, to be of Phoenician origins, one of the greatest and most ancient civilizations, which once invented the alphabet.
It’s a shame how people are behind the rise of one civilization, whereas now, in Lebanon, people are behind its downfall.

vendredi, septembre 07, 2007

Work out after Blood Donation

Just a question. Yesterday, I ran for 10K 2 hours after the regular 500 ml blood donation. But it wasn't bad. I didn't feel anything wrong.
Is it bad?
The reason behind this is because I'm edgy by nature and like to take things to the extreme. I think that this is what spices up one's life.

lundi, septembre 03, 2007


Un grand hommage à notre armée libanaise, qui a payé tant de sacrifices et de sang pour défendre notre nation et nous épargner la catastrophe.

Un dernier hommage à tous les soldats blessés et martyrs, notamment au Lieutenant Maroun Litani , que j’ai connu pendant ma première année d’études de Maîtrise mais s’est choisi un différent destin, celui de défendre la fierté et la dignité de notre nation et a payé de sa vie pour préserver notre entité libanaise.

mercredi, août 29, 2007

Sophisticated Food

I really can’t understand why food should be sophisticated. I can understand all forms of arts to be sophisticated, but why food. And what’s with the food decoration, the flower-shaped cucumbers or tomatoes and even the green salad that is served as separate items because it’s seen as more exquisite if served that way. (Who told you that a tomato wants to look like a flower; in fact it was a flower and will become a flower, following the natural cycle of nature, not the cycle of the kitchen, following the will of the Chef). Thank god they don’t provide the full vegetables with a knife and we’ll have to slice it and dice. After all, that’s what we call participatory approach that all NGOs and GOs are promoting.

I like to separate things. Food is one thing and art is a completely different thing. Don’t mix them together. Gastronomy has never been an art and will never. It’s one of the most primitive and instinctive, survival-driven side.

To tell you the truth, I would prefer to eat all my food after mixing the whole in a Moulinex blender and eat the resulting paste. After all, it’s going to devolve to another form of paste with the similar texture. People can be of two types. Those who live to eat and others who eat to live. I classify myself among the latter ones.

Is it because the Chef has some artistic tendencies and this is the sole way to express them. I don’t see people taking pictures with their respective plates each time they go to the restaurants? I’ve never done it, although you can’t take me as a reference since I’m not into photos and the never ending photo shoot process. Or is it to compensate the fact that the only fate for food is to be, after being inhaled and going through a long process of deglutition, degradation, peristaltic movements, mixing with other body fluids and enzymes then again other peristaltic movements to finally being defecated as the most repugnant, stinking, brownish paste, similar to the fact that the dead are being dressed from head to toe when being buried or condemned are treated the deluxe way and granted three genie wishes right before their execution?

jeudi, août 23, 2007

The pursuit of Happyness

I sometimes ask myself. What fo we want from life. Where are we going? What is the purpose of existence? Let's say there is no purpose. There is no goal, no continuity. Well then it's better to live life to the full, happy and problem-free. The problem is that i can't find the right combination that yields to a sustainable happyness. We lead a very busy life, with lots of commitments, relationships, meetings, gatherings, ceremonies, celebrations, workshops, roundtables, vacations and the list goes on and on and on and you think it will stop someday, but it won't.
And we find out suddenly that you've been neglecting the real you, that has been trying hopelessly for care and attention, sending signals without catching the simplest of glimpses.
Therefore, for those who have deciphered the combination,let me please know it.

vendredi, août 03, 2007

"We're Upgrading" "Under construction" "Under maintenance"

I'm also amazed by all these messages that you can find on some websites such as "We're Upgrading" "Under construction" "Under maintenance". You'll have the impression that these guys are really working hard on improving and sustaining the site. Well, I'll tell my opinion. I think that Webmasters leave these messages when they screw up some codes. Some of you may have also encounter websites where they stay for months, even years "under construction". I really wonder what type of raw materials and what procedures are they using because they take time enough to build the whole planet Mars.

vendredi, juillet 20, 2007

And you say you wanna change the world and help the people?

I'm really amazed by people that declare themselves as "thinkers" and "rebellious", involving in never-ending conversations about how we should change the world to a better one, where all humans should live in peace, dignity and freedom, about the importance that all should be equal in rights and duties.
I'll tell you what! The first duty that you will have to do is to throw this cigarette and give me the right to breath some fresh air. Beleive me! In that way, you will be of greater help to the Earth and Humanity instead of polluting my air with your meaningless blablabla.

vendredi, mai 18, 2007

Spontaneous Volunteer Movement during the July war on Lebanon:

Here is a descriptive study that we did (a colleague and I) during the July war while volunteering in a Relief Center in Beirut (SRC), I wanted to share it with you. The origin of the study was very spontaneous and consisted of collecting data from the volunteers working there. I'll leave you with the first part of it. (follow the link for the full PDF article and the graphs)

12 July 2006, a sudden Israeli aggression displaced within weeks 1.000.000 Lebanese people. Terrorized by the shower of bombs and rockets, populations of South Lebanon and of the Southern suburb of Beirut took shelter in empty schools and other public buildings of the capital. As soon as the first refugees had arrived to these safer areas, NGO-s, influential political parties, and civil society mobilized their personnel and militants and switched their plans of actions to dedicate all their resources into relief efforts targeting the Internally Displaced Population (IDP). At the same time spontaneous relief operations took birth. Those centers had to improvise the logistics of operations since relief was not their core competency. Nevertheless they have been holding the greatest burden of IDPs relief responsibility as late as 3 weeks after the arrival of first refugees. One of the first spontaneous and independent centers was born meters away from the Sanayeh public garden, in the so-called Zico House. It is the Sanayeh Relief Center (SRC) – Samedoon which carried the bulk of the relief operation in 24 refugees' centers.
Before the war, Zico House was a socio-artistic phenomenon in Beirut. It hosts several venues: Beirut Street Festival and other avant-garde art festivals and serves as hostel for artists. It was also the home of diverse NGOs such as Green Line, Lebanese Association for Democracy of Elections, Helem, and Women in IT in addition to the artsy cafe-bar "Samra". With the arrival of the first refugees to the near-by Sanayeh Park, people who used to attend Zico House for this or that reason gathered in its café to discuss the actual situation. Naturally, the initiative of organizing a relief operation came about. The premises of Zico House quickly transformed to providing five directions of relief to IDPs: 1-essential needs provision, 2-hygienic needs provision, 3-medical care, 4-children animation, and 5-psycho-social support. All the work there was planned and carried out by volunteers who were not remunerated. Relief work was supported by NGOs like Physicians Without Borders, Oxfam, Red Cross, ARI and others. The guidance and organization of the work were kindly provided by Professors and members from the Faculty of Health Sciences of the American University of Beirut, who volunteered to promote scientific references of relief work.
We were interested to find out who are these people who decided to join a non-affiliated relief center while they could have joined a multitude of others, belonging to political parties or to religious welfare institutions, which are richer and more organized. We took a random sample of 80 among the 220 who were subscribed the 21th of July or the 7th day of hostilities. (Read more)

mardi, avril 17, 2007


I know I know, vous allez me dire qu'à chaque fois il va nous chanter la même chanson. I'm back, bla bla bla, I'm happy to be back, bla bla bla, I'm not dead, bla bla bla. I really missed everyone of you, Krys, M*9, khawwta, AM, Delirious, Maya, Tilda, Traffic, etc (I hope that I haven't put many in the etc ;) Anyway, it's gloomy today, although it's hot, I didin't shave, I'm losing my hair, I have allergy and too much work. So, I'm heading back to work and catch up with you later.

mercredi, mars 07, 2007

My weekly bike ride from Beirut to Jbeil

After a hard week of work, what’s better than enjoying the gorgeous panorama along the Lebanese coastline, on a sunny Sunday? As almost every Sunday, especially after I recovered from the knee injure and the week quadriceps, we went along with Otter and Arne for a road bike ride from Beirut to almost Jbeil and back, after few flat tires, of course. I’ll leave you with some of the pictures from the ride.
Here is my woman! "Tommaso" bike (Or Tomato, as Otter likes to call it)

This is me back to Beirut (I think I was near Zouk Mikael)

I think these 2 pics were taken in Jounieh

near the sea road, trying to catch up with Arne.

Near Halat, after a couple of flat tires!

(From left to right: Arne and his Raleigh bike, Me and my Tommaso bike

and Otter's "Seven" bike (Otter was taking the pictures,

Many thanks to him)