The end- almost


I had to pack up two years worth of stuff in my studio space today because our program is painting/remodeling the space. I didn’t want to have to do this until the actual end of my stay here, but I guess I should really start adjusting to the fact that even though I will be in Doha for roughly six more months I’m really just in a place of transition.. wrapping up the space helped me identify some of the more meaningful things I have collected during my stay. I was even pleasantly surprised when the flowers I pressed more than a year ago fell out of one of the textbooks I was packing into a box.. I pressed them because they are the same blossoms I grew up with in Kuwait.

I know most people don’t need tangible manifestations of their experiences with people and places to retain a sense of them, but I do.. and its incredibly important to me to hold onto these things as witnesses of my life narrative, or something like that ūüėČ

peace, love, and cupcakes,






I’m happy with the way this turned out in pencil. Thank god I thought of photocopying it to color it in.. because I don’t like the way that turned out. Honestly I did it really messy because it was a photocopy, but I also don’t feel confident using my Prismacolor pens yet.. I get that people feel its gory and weird.. I don’t really care.

Processing and Twitter

Screen shot 2013-03-06 at 1.06.42 AM

Recently I’ve been looking into creating some design that is heavily reliant on code and coding. I’m absolutely amazed by all the people out there willing to post the entire code of their sketches, or post regularly to help forums.. I don’t think I’d be able to get through an inch of the world of code without all these amazing and helpful people. Which got me to thinking that perhaps in return when I stumble on things that work I should also share my learning with people so they can gain from it too.

So, this week I was interested in collecting data off of twitter through processing. I found a really straight forward tutorial by Jer Thorp and through tinkering for a few hours I was able to get the sketch to function and collect tweets #Tasmeem.

This is the link to the original post, where you can find all the steps. I am only going to be writing about the things I needed to tweak to get it to run for me, and where I found those tweaks online:

Regarding the twitter oAuth process there are a few steps that are different, but its not something you can’t just messing around and figure out. Don’t forget you need all four codes for this to run.

To import the twitter4j library you can’t just simply drag and drop the file into the sketch as is it mentioned on Jer’s blog. You need to manually install the library following the steps listed here:

Here is an image, all the highlighted text had to be edited after I unzipped the twitter4j file, and placed into my sketch folder.

Screen shot 2013-03-07 at 12.16.51 AM

Over and over again I got the error “Cannot find a class or type named Tweet”. I found two really helpfully links:

Which made me add the following code:

import twitter4j.*;

import twitter4j.conf.*;

And switch out the lines of code about Tweet t = (tweet).. to:

Status t=(Status) tweets.get(i);
User u=(User) t.getUser();
String user=u.getName();

[If you are getting an error about setRpp the last link above had a solution to that also, I didn't]

Here is the edited code:

import twitter4j.*;

import twitter4j.conf.*;

import java.util.List;

//Build an ArrayList to hold all of the words that we get from the imported tweets
ArrayList<String> words = new ArrayList();

void setup() {
  //Set the size of the stage, and the background to black.

  ConfigurationBuilder cb = new ConfigurationBuilder();

  //Make the twitter object and prepare the query
  Twitter twitter = new TwitterFactory(;
  Query query = new Query("#tasmeem");

  //Try making the query request.
  try {
    QueryResult result =;
    ArrayList tweets = (ArrayList) result.getTweets();

    for (int i = 0; i < tweets.size(); i++) {
Status t=(Status) tweets.get(i);
User u=(User) t.getUser();
String user=u.getName();
      String msg = t.getText();
      Date d = t.getCreatedAt();
      println("Tweet by " + user + " at " + d + ": " + msg);
      //Break the tweet into words
      String[] input = msg.split(" ");
      for (int j = 0;  j < input.length; j++) {
       //Put each word into the words ArrayList
  catch (TwitterException te) {
    println("Couldn't connect: " + te);

void draw() {
  //Draw a faint black rectangle over what is currently on the stage so it fades over time.

  //Draw a word from the list of words that we've built
  int i = (frameCount % words.size());
  String word = words.get(i);

  //Put it somewhere random on the stage, with a random size and colour
  text(word, random(width), random(height));



There is nothing like coming to the realization that the class you are sitting in is the class you will have nightmares about years into the future. I really enjoy our business class, but I honestly never know when I’m getting it and when I am totally lost.

Good morning

The dream had been so pleasant that Mariam woke with a smile on her face and a heart filled with love. She could hear Ahmed turning the water on and off as he prepared himself for another days work. She slowly urged herself to leave the comfort of her bed. She then made her way to the toilet, where she carefully peaked around the corner of the open door to find her husband admiring his newly grown beard. She loved the way he was almost child like sometimes; admiring his own beauty as if it were the first time he had seen himself in a mirror. She moved into the room without a word and lovingly used her fingers to trace from his ear lobe to his shoulder blade, looking up once to catch the smile she expected to see. If only she had been more observant of his mood, if only she had seen the signs; she could have returned to the arms of the man in her dreams and avoided this man all together. The very second Mariams eyes met Ahmeds in the mirror she knew; she knew exactly what was coming, but it was too late to do anything about it. In a way that was more animal than human Ahmed reached around and in one hand he gripped her fingers, crushing the hand that was just lovingly touching his skin, and with the other hand he landed a punch so hard on her face that she could feel his knuckles grating across her teeth. This was not a good morning.

I will not move until you find me

The little girl sits at the counter; her eyes so wet they have soaked the locks that protectively hug her face. I am sitting next to her.”What is your name?” I ask; but fear has taken over, and she is does not reply. Moments pass like hours; her tears a steady flow. I see she’s begun to shiver, I offer an embrace but she rejects my hold. We start to watch the people pass, for a moment I am distracted. I look down at my watch, the numbers are a blur, the hands are spinning wildly out of control; I am confused. “Don’t worry, you’re just dreaming” startled by her voice I raise my eyes to meet the little girls gaze.There is something about this face, something very familiar.. “Those eyes..” I begin to say “my eyes..” but I am cut off by the words of my father as he pushes past me to embrace this girl so tightly “Where have you been??” he demands, you can tell that he had been crying too. “I was here.” She replies “I told them I would not move until you found me.”

I am awake now. I hear her voice so clearly; I hear my voice so clearly “I will not move until you find me.”

Traveling Tap 2


Ghadah Alkandari is one of my favorite artists of all time, and she happens to be Kuwaiti. Today I got a chance to participate in a project she is working on called The Traveling Tap. Basically each person who gets a hold of one of the 5 traveling taps she painted gets to take a photo of it, and then upload that image to Instagram with specific hash-tags and location information. I think its a wonderful project, I love how her taps are traveling the world and living a life of their own. I’m honored to have been allowed to take a photo for the project.


1 21

Over the past few months I’ve gotten really close to a fellow grad student. She has become my confidant and partner in crime. I don’t think I’ll ever share the same kind of relationship with another person.. I just wanted to make sure my rarely used blog has this moment in its archives, so when after grad school I’m blessed again with the luxury of time I can go back and explain more how great it is to have a true friend like her.

Today is the is the 6th day of the 3rd week of our last semester (Inshallah). Its ticking away so quickly..


I’ve decided to work backwards and fill in a few of the biggest events of the past two months..

For now.. an excerpt from an email to my best friend, dated October 13th: “The amount of personal growth required from me this year is causing some painful ripping and tearing in various parts of my heart and soul.”

Call for Submissions

To anyone who has ever taken ownership of an artifact of great personal and/or sentimental meaning. to all of you who have taken objects with you on the journey that is your life. To anyone interested in knowing others and being known. This is a call for participation.
Guidelines for Participation:

1. An artifact is an object that is man made, or has in some way been affected by interactions with man. For this call, we would like to exclude all gifts,

 trophies, and photographs. The artifact should be low in economic value, while high in personal/sentimental meaning.
2. To participate, send a high resolution image of an artifact you have collected to the email address: ma7sain [@] Each participant is able to submit as many images as they would like.
3. In addition to the image, please fill in the following sentences describing your artifact: ‚ÄúThis is not __[NOUN]__, this is __[ADJECTIVE/VERB/abstract NOUN]__. Collected on __[approximate DATE]__, in __[LOCATION]__. It is now kept __[LOCATION]__.‚ÄĚ Send the completed sentence with your image to the email above.
4. Deadline for submissions is midnight on Wednesday, Oct 10th, 2012

Design Crossing


Clearly I haven’t kept up with my 60 days sketch project; I got really sucked into reading on my topic.. Oh well..

Our semester started yesterday, and I can tell that with all the work ahead its going to fly by (thankfully). We started our first design project today (during orientation!), which is a group proposal for the Tasmeem design conference. Working in groups is¬†extremely difficult, but it seemed so much easier with the¬†guidance¬†of¬†our new associate director. We brainstormed for a while, put all our ideas on a board and then as a group we clustered those ideas into meaningful proposals. I was the only one to break out and put my own cluster together, and it was accepted. So tomorrow we are taking our four new directions and “exploding them” as Paolo likes to say. I’m supper excited because that means I have a one in four chance of having my idea being chosen by the group as our proposal.. But even if it doesnt get chosen I’ll be just as happy to exhibit work in the conference within the scope of the other proposals since they are all looking really interesting at the moment.

Day 15 – Mootay Herrah

I know this is rough, but its the first time I’ve ever used my new Genius tablet.. its really nice actually.. and its only a sketch of an idea, not the actualization of it.

The idea I got today was physical gestures as means of communication and connection. If you make a small circle movement using the upper hand on the lower hand this Arab hand gesture means “die of envy!”.. as you can imagine small little Arab girls use this often, and it is one of the first gestures I ever learned as a kid..