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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Awaken Your Inner Engineer

I want you to imagine yourself walking around your apartment, and as you walk, point out all the things about it that you don't like...
Before you read this post I would like you to take a look around you. I say this hoping you're sitting in the comfort of your own home, but I'm well aware that you may be reading this to take a break from work at the office. I want you to imagine yourself walking around your apartment, and as you walk, point out all the things about it that you don't like. All details are important, from that wall whose existence you cannot for the life of you justify and would've liked nothing better than to just knock it down, to the messy things that never seem to find their way back to whatever shelf they are supposed to be on. Now use your imagination..

Let's pretend you could have whatever you want with a flick of a switch, as long as it is something that would improve your living space, what would you change (no Cinderella dreams please, I know I said use your imagination, but let's stay somewhat realistic here) ? It's not easy to figure out, I know.. I'll go first:

I like to have music playing in the shower, and loud, so I can sing with it. Yes, you heard me, I sing in the shower. The problem is, what I usually do is take my laptop into the bathroom with me. A couple electrocutions later, I figured my laptop wasn't exactly a big fan of the idea. But I'm a stubborn fellow, and I would definitely hate to give up my singing under the shower, after all where else can I blast a few good Metallica or Pain of Salvation songs and sing like a rock star ? You see what I need is a waterproof sound system. Something that would play music while I'm under the shower, and allows me to fiddle around with the playlist, the volume.. just like a real stereo, except that it wouldn't try to kill me if my hands were wet.

Here's the problem: They don't make those, and if they did it I wouldn't want to imagine the cost.

Most things are like that. Your clothes, for instance. Ever noticed how we're all supposed to fit in S, M, L, XL sizes ? Also, the sizes are never quite the same across stores. Then when you do find your size, it's never quite the right color, or the right motif. What happens when you can't find the kitchen of your dreams in an IKEA catalog ? Yes, there are other catalogs, but you get the picture. It shouldn't be enough that you can mix and match between a set of predefined designs. Your identity as a person, expressed through your clothes, furniture, etc.. should not be a collage of catalog scraps. What happens when you have an idea that is not in a catalog ? Do you wait for someone to make it, or just forget it altogether ?

How about making it yourself ?

I bet three thoughts just went through your head. The first was probably excitement: You were reminded that there is this additional choice that we all seem to forget about. Which was probably followed by this thought: "I'm useless with my hands, I'll need to look up how I can do this, see where I can buy the material, make some space, free up some time..". Freeze! And your third thought kicked in right here: "But I don't have time for this.. forget it".

Let me take a step back to the beginning of this post. Close your eyes, and picture yourself walking around in your apartment, only instead of your actual apartment, I'd like you to change a few things you don't like (only a few) and replace them with things you think you can make yourself. I'm betting you either had a smile on your face when you realized that you should make time for this after all, or you didn't smile at all, realizing that you didn't change much about your apartment because there is very little you think you can make with your own hands. If that's the case, don't worry about it, the fun starts when you make mistakes. Getting it right the first time is just boring.

Recommended Media:
- DoItYourself, Instructables, Dummies ("Do It Yourself" sites). I hope these sites get your imagination (and more) rolling. If you know more sites worth checking out please share them in the comments!
- Home Improvement (Video). Yes, the Tim Allen comedy series. Watch the video, you'll feel great about your handyman skills.

Speaking of DIY, Life with Subtitles is featured at the AltMedia Experience this week in Hamra, Lebanon. If you haven't heard about this incredible get together of talents, make sure to check out the schedule of the many workshops taking place. The organizers have put a lot of effort into creating a creative space for people interested in alternative media (yes they put the whole thing together themselves), make sure to check it out !


July 26, 2011 at 10:19 AM Liliane

That shower stereo.. you know, maybe we can make it with voice recognition, the microphone will be the shower handle itself :P

July 26, 2011 at 1:53 PM Chantal

I would like to have shelves on the walls to put some books in my room...maybe I can do that!!!

July 26, 2011 at 4:49 PM Fluffy


July 26, 2011 at 4:58 PM Fadi

@Liliane: I love you :)
@Chantal: If you do I'd love to share some pics in a follow-up post
@Fluffy: No that's just gay :P Give me something with tools, something with "more power" ! (kidding)

July 26, 2011 at 8:02 PM Argumenthol

Really cool article Fadi. I was going to touch on the Maker/Hacker movement in the third article of the ideas series. You kind of beat me to it ;). Check out the Maker magazine website and look up Makerspaces in your area. DIY is cool but Doing it with others (DIWO?) is even cooler (and cheaper, and you learn faster). Also look into Fab Labs (mostly electronics) from MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms.

July 27, 2011 at 12:10 AM bassam

Ohh Sweets!!!
The Bathroom stereo is available on the market! But it comes with the hand shower and stand.
I was actually thinking about getting one in my apartment! Thank you for reminding me!! :D

August 19, 2011 at 1:35 AM Natalie

you are an amazing writer! i came across your blog through someone else's blog . . . have it bookmarked :)

August 19, 2011 at 2:01 PM Fadi

Thank you Natalie, glad you like it here :)

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