Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Microsoft: Laughing all the Way to the Bank

I like to mess around with digital graphics. And I'm a little bit of a computer program geek. Granted, I don't know much - just a little of this, and a little of that - enough to have fun with various programs.

This is why a program manual is a necessity for me.

In the past few years, I have noticed that fewer and fewer program manufacturers give the customer an actual printed manual. The trend has moved to online manuals and tutorials.

But now, some of the manufacturers are not even doing that!!!

They have a new scheme. Forcing the customers to muddle their way through and figure it out for themselves, or even worse, forcing them to resort to buying a printed manual.

This is a great scheme folks. These people are laughing all the way to the bank, I tell you!

Yesterday, I broke down and bought Microsoft Office Publisher 2007.

Yea me! Lucky me! Just think of all the neat stuff I can do now!

Well, yes, if I knew how. Publisher does not have an online manual included with the program. They do have a few online tutorials, but heck, there's nothing like a hard copy manual with an index.

So, I went to Amazon and looked to see if they had a "For Dummies" for Publisher. Yes, they do:

$16.49 brand new.

But, ah ha - look what else they have for $16.49:

So, here's the missing manual!

Microsoft is smart. They see the Dummies folks making money on the manual writing business. So, they figured they'd compete.

They now have a Microsoft Press, and it publishes the Step by Step series for all of its products!!!

Microsoft - you suck.

You know what I'm going to do?

I'm going to let everyone I know put the software I bought on their computer.

Heck, I might even sell it for a nice discounted price :)

Image from

Okay readers. I'm off to Amazon to buy the Dummies manual. I refuse on principle to buy any manual from Microsoft Press.

I'll put my new Publisher manual on my bookshelf next to this one:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pelee Mum


"...though I spilled my store of ink, you need not trouble to send more, as one of the men has shown me an ingenious receipt for a serviceable substitute made from the season's last blackberries. So am I able to send 'sweet words' to you!" ("March" by Geraldine Brooks)

Greetings of Peace Dear Readers:

Eid Mubarak and sweet words to you all/Ameen.

... The season's last berries.

In my area of Pennsylvania, our early summer was cool. My tomatoes didn't turn red until late August due to lack of hot, humid days and nights.

My berries bushes that I planted last fall didn't give me berries right away either. Since I just planted the bushes last year, I figured I wouldn't get many berries until next year.

But, just as the tomatoes were at their last, an infusion of berries appeared. I have been getting a pint or so every other day. Insha Allah next year will be a real huge harvest!

Here are this year's:


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Many Poetic Voices, One Faith

As the 2009-2010 director of the Islamic Writers Alliance (IWA), I am proud to present our new anthology, Many Poetic Voices, One Faith which was just released!

I have also contributed two poems to this anthology: The Last Sermon - Ninth Day of Dhul-Hijjah, 10 A.H. and Far From the Family Fold.

Okay, enough bragging, Masha Allah. About the anthology (from its back cover):

"Many Poetric Voices, One Faith is your window into the world of Islam through poetry! Come on in and find out what's waiting here for you inside the attractive cover designed by talented IWA member artist, Nazaahah Amin. The award-winning poems written by Karen English, Marwa Elnaggar, Camilla Sayf, Corey Habbas, Julinar Diab, and additional poems written by 31 IWA member poets are enlightening, entertaining, and rich in a diversity of topics from a point-by-point description of a soul mate to a sonnet-ode dedicated to a loving and missed mother; from vivid reminders and poetic verse awakening us all to the evils of domestic violence to heart-wrenching reminiscences of the plight of the Muslim convert; from beautiful English renditions of the traditional and ancient Arabic ghazal to the plight of eighteenth centry slaves; from a thought-provoking rendition of life from birth to the grave and beyond; from a thoughtful insight into the signifiance of a single raindrop to a very moving and heart-warming dedication of life from a long-gone friend. All this and much more is waiting for you when you read the poetry of our IWA poets' many voices and their one faith, Islam."

Title: Many Poetic Voices, One Faith
Author: Islamic Writers Alliance
Pages: 118
Format: 6 x 9 paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9819770-0-3
Reading Levels: Teen and Adult
List Price: $8.95

If you would like a copy for an Eid gift or just for your own pleasure, you can order it from me. Send a check or money order for $8.95 to me at:

S. E. Jihad Levine, Director
Islamic Writers Alliance
P.O. Box 299
Sunbury, PA 17801

US Orders Only
Shipping and Handling is On Me!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Oh Joy - Here's a Bright Idea - Family I'tikaaf Night

I received this in my inbox:

From: Muhammad Alshareef
Subject: Idea: Family I'tikaaf night ...
To: "Safiyyah"
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2009, 5:01 AM

Safiyyah, Idea: Family I'tikaaf night!

Why not head out to the Masjid tonight as a family and spend the whole night worshipping Allah?

If you have younger family members, just make sure they are by your side and not disturbing anyone and you should be alright.

In sha Allah, it'll be an unforgettable family experience, and may be so enjoyable that everyone may wish to do it again and again!

With best wishes to see you succeed at the highest level!
- Muhammad Alshareef Institute, 1 stafford Rd, Ottawa, ON K2H 1B9, Canada

Now - Brother Muhammad: I love you dearly for the sake of Allah (swt) and enjoy your emails in my inbox. And may Allah (swt) reward you for publishing what you deem to be a great suggestion/Ameen. But -


If Jumuah and Eid prayer are indicators that sisters will keep their children by their sides so that they do not disturb others while they are trying to worship ... well, joy, I'll bet we all look forward to being tortured by these kids the whole night while trying to worship in the last 10 days of the month of Ramadan.

And don't anyone try to claim that they will fall asleep!

And how is it a "family" i'tikaaf night when the little darlings will not be with BOTH mommy and daddy, as a family, but will in fact probably be in the women's section? And if the darlings do run around and end up in the men's section, they will probably be chased back to the women's section.

Jeez - it used to be that even sisters didn't go to the masjid to do i'tikaaf. We used to bring food to the men while they were there.

I know. I know. I'm a Ramadan Grinch!

Okay, Brooke - tag, you're it!!! loool.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Canna Lillies

Sister Zakiyyah, my dear friend, gave me some canna lilly bulbs this past spring. I waited and waited for the bulbs to come up. Nothing. Then, almost overnight, look what happened (kind of remind you of the green tomates post, lol?)!

Here are some of the blooms up close. I have coral, pink, and yellow ones. The yellow one with the tiger-looking pattern kind of reminds me of orchids a little bit!

Jazaka Allahu Khayrn dear Zakiyyah. You were right: they are breathtaking, Alhamdulillah!