Brass Crescent Awards 2005

The voting for the 2nd Brass Crescent Awards for the Islamic blogosphere has started. I am nominated for best blog. Go and vote.

It is time for the Brass Crescent Awards again.

In recognition of the growing talent and creativity of the Islamic blogosphere, alt.muslim and City of Brass are hosting the Second Annual Brass Crescent Awards. The Brass Crescent Awards are named for the Story of the City of Brass in the Thousand and One Nights.

Last year, I was nominated for too many categories and ended up being a runner-up in three.

Here is how I voted:

  • Best Middle-East/Asian Blogger: Cha’nad Bahraini.
  • Best Group Blog: Hu despite the fact that they don’t post often enough.
  • Most Deserving of Wider Recognition: Akram’s Razor which I discovered recently.
  • Best Thinker: Thebit of towards God is our journey whose posts are always thoughtful and thought-provoking and usually demand a second read.
  • Best Female Blog: Koonj. What can I say, I am addicted to blogs that talk about pregnancy, dissertation, baby names, etc.
  • Best Post or Series: That Terror Thing by Chapati Mystery.
  • Best Non-Muslim Blog: Velveteen Rabbi.
  • Best Blog: um, myself.

So go ahead and vote.

Meme of Four

Another meme, this one about listing 4 jobs, movies, places, tv shows, websites, foods, etc.

I have been tagged by wayfarer who owes us an Eid party (or does she?)

Four Jobs I’ve Had in My Life

  1. Design Engineer
  2. Intern
  3. Research Assistant
  4. Teaching Assistant

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over

  1. Lord of the Rings
  2. Star Wars
  3. Moulin Rouge
  4. Spider-Man 1 & 2

And a lot more. However, some of the best movies I have watched are a little too depressing to be seen over and over (for example, Hotel Rwanda).

Four Places I Have Lived

  1. Atlanta
  2. Wah Cantt
  3. Tripoli
  4. Piscataway

And a few more.

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch

The only one I watch regularly is the first one, but I am putting a few more that I catch at times nowadays.

  1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  2. Firefly (watching on DVD)
  3. Good Eats
  4. Coupling (watched a season or two)

Four Places I Have Been On Vacation

  1. France
  2. Germany
  3. Istanbul
  4. England

Four Websites I Visit Daily

  1. Urdu Mehfil
  2. Urdu Planet
  3. The Head Heeb
  4. At least a few other blogs and news sites on my blogroll

Four Favorite Foods

  1. BBQ ribs
  2. Roast lamb the Balochi way
  3. Rabbit
  4. Ras Malai

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now

  1. Playing with the kid
  2. Hiking the Appalachian
  3. Sleeping
  4. Italy where we have been planning to go since before Michelle was born

Four People Whom I Tag Next

Whoever wants to pick it up

Half A Million Visits

Yesterday, this weblog had its 500,000th visitor. This has happened in about 3 years and 2 months of this blog being public. I take stock by talking about the search queries getting people here, where the visitors are coming from, etc.

Yesterday, this weblog had its 500,000th visitor. This has happened in about 3 years and 2 months of this blog being public.

As my blog has become popular and as blogging has become popular in general, spamming has become very common. Spambots try to leave comments and send trackbacks with all kinds of shopping, porn or other links. Last month, there were attempts to post 1,100 spam comments and 5,900 trackbacks. I say attempts because apart from a few (in single digits), none ever appeared on this site. So I guess I can say that I have effective anti-spam measures installed. For now.

Let’s take a look at some of the search results which lead random web visitors to my weblog. Here is how Google describes these search queries:

Top search query clicks are the top queries to Google that directed traffic to your site (based on the number of clicks to your pages in our search results).

And here are top search query clicks from Google to this blog.

  1. arranged marriages
  2. arranged marriage
  3. harun yahya
  4. level 2 ultrasound
  5. arrange marriages
  6. gays sex
  7. procrastination
  8. indian arranged marriages
  9. am i having a boy or girl
  10. urdu typing
  11. am i having a boy or a girl
  12. freedom at midnight
  13. crvo
  14. arrange marriage
  15. boy or girl quiz
  16. deals gap
  17. gender prediction tests
  18. baby gender quiz
  19. pregnancy pics
  20. kashmir pictures

I guess arranged marriage is quite a popular query for my blog. My post on the topic has consistently been one of the most popular here for a while. The posts relating to our pregnancy and Michelle’s birth are also popular topics.

My traffic is actually down nowadays from its peak in the months of April/May 2005. But I am still getting a decent 500 visits per day.

Here is a world map with the countries I have had visitors from shown in red.

Visitor Countries Map

The list of 167 countries follows:

Continue reading “Half A Million Visits”

North Georgia

North Georgia has some nice scenery and hikes as well as curvy roads (example: Snake Run) for my G35. Here are some photos of De Soto Falls, Brasstown Bald, Dukes Creek Falls, Anna Ruby Falls and Red Top Mountain State Park.

Since Michelle has gotten a bit older, we have been trying to visit North Georgia for short to medium hikes on a fairly regular basis. Another reason to drive there is my G35 and the curvy roads. For example, we have driven the Snake Run (if that link isn’t working, try this) multiple times. It is a lot of fun.

Here are some photographs taken over the last few months.

These images are from De Soto Falls Trail.

De Soto Falls
De Soto Falls
De Soto Falls
 

Brasstown Bald is the highest peak in Georgia at 4,784 feet (1,458 m).

Michelle and me at the trailhead
View from the summit
Looking 500 ft down at the parking lot
 

Dukes Creek Falls Trail is close to Helen, GA.

Michelle, Amber and me
Dukes Creek
Dukes Creek Falls
 

Anna Ruby Falls are a set of double falls in the same area.

On the trail
Michelle and me
Double falls
 

Red Top Mountain State Park is not really a mountain or even a hill. But it is not too far from home and a good relaxing hike (an easy 5.5 miles) with views of Allatoona Lake.

Michelle and I at the trailhead
Allatoona Lake
Michelle hiking again
 

As the weather has been mild here recently, we might head north again one of these weekends.

Sideways

Sideways didn’t turn out to be as good as it was purported to be. I rate it 6/10.

Sideways is a movie about two friends who go on a wine-tasting trip before one of them is getting married.

The movie starts out a little boring, picks up a bit later but didn’t get very interesting over its length. The whole wine-tasting thing was interesting but I am ignorant about it and it just seemed a bit of a thin reed to build the movie around.

Overall, I would rate this movie 6 out of 10.

Chaudhry Muhammad Asum

My father-in-law, Chaudhry Muhammad Asum, passed away today around 5:30pm at his home in Wah Cantt, Pakistan. May his soul rest in peace.

My father-in-law, Chaudhry Muhammad Asum, passed away today around 5:30pm at his home in Wah Cantt, Pakistan. May his soul rest in peace.

He was born in 1936 in Gurdaspur, India and moved to Pakistan in 1947 after partition. He lost his parents as a child. He was a self-made man who never shied away from doing all his own work. Even on the day of his death, Eid day, he slaughtered and prepared the meat of two goats himself. He was chopping meat when he had a heart attack and breathed his last on the way to the hospital.

I will never forget that whenever we talked he asked us two things without fail. One was if we needed anything and the other was when we were returning from the United States. He used to say that he had married his daughter within the same town and somehow she had ended up so far away.

He was a kind father and grandfather. He was very attached to his two grandsons who lived with him. He played with them all day and took them out on walks. Even Michelle went out for a walk with him one day when we were there.

He is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter (Amber) and four grandchildren.

بکرا عید مبارک

آپ سب کوحج اور عید مبارک۔

آپ سب کو عید مبارک ہو۔ جی مجھے معلوم ہے کہ اس عید کا نام عید الاضحی یا بقر عید ہے مگر کیا کریں پاکستان میں تو یہ بکرا عید ہی ہے۔ خیر ہمارا اس عید پر بکرے سے رشتہ ٹوٹ گیا ہے۔ پچھلے کئی سال سے ہم خود قربانی کرنے کی بجائے ایدھی فاؤنڈیشن کو قربانی کے پیسے بھیج دیتے ہیں۔ لہذا اس عید پر بکرے کے گوشت کی بجائے سوٹزرلینڈ کی چاکلیٹ پر گزارہ کرنا پڑے گا۔

Haj and Eid felicitations, everyone. In Pakistan, we call this Eid the “goat Eid” since goats and cows are slaughtered on this religious festival. However, we send a donation to Edhi Foundation instead. Without the slaughter meat, we’ll have to survive on Swiss chocolate this Eid day.

Back in Atlanta

I am back home, but very tired right now. Regular blogging to resume soon.

I am back home, but very tired right now as I have been up since 6am Zurich time (UTC+1). So an accounting of my trip will have to wait for later.

Flying Home

It is time to head back home. Our flight is tonight. We have a 1 day stay in Zurich on the way.

It’s time to head back home tonight. We will be stopping over in Zurich for a day on the way. My blogging about Pakistan will have to wait until I am relaxing at home in Atlanta in a couple of days.

نیا سال مبارک

نیا سال مبارک۔ یہ وقت ہے کہ سوچیں کہ گزرا سال کیسا رہا۔

آپ سب کو نیا سال مبارک ہو۔ امید ہے 2006 آپ کے لئے اچھا ثابت ہو گا۔

Happy new year, everyone. Hope you will have a great year.

This is a time to take stock of 2005. I started 2005 with a new year resolution to reduce my weight and improve my fitness. Let’s see how I fared:

Measure In Jan 2005 Target In Dec 2005
Weight 168 lbs (76.2 kg) 165 lbs (74.8 kg) 158 lbs (71.7 kg)
Body Fat 20.5% 15% 17%
Rest Heart Rate 51 45 48
Waist 35.5 in (90.2 cm) 32 in (81.3 cm) 33 in (83.8)

I am now completely comfortable with my weight and would not mind if it increased a couple of pounds. My rest heart rate has won praise from my doctor. However, I still need to shed about 4-5 lbs of body fat.