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Category Archives: Slice of Life

They’re Creepy and they’re Cooky, the Hoarding Family!

After watching one of the recent episodes of House MD, I realized an unfortunate truth which I should’ve known about years ago; my Dad has hoarding-like features. Let’s reference Wikipedia, shall we?

Compulsive hoarding (or pathological hoarding or disposophobia)[1] is the excessive acquisition of possessions (and failure to use or discard them), even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. Compulsive hoarding impairs mobility and interferes with basic activities, including cooking, cleaning, showering, and sleeping.

It is not clear whether compulsive hoarding is an isolated disorder, or rather a symptom of another condition, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.

While there is no clear definition of compulsive hoarding in accepted diagnostic criteria (such as the current DSM), Frost and Hartl (1996) provide the following defining features:[3]

  • The acquisition of and failure to discard a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value
  • Living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed
  • Significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding
  • Reluctance or inability to return borrowed items; as boundaries blur, impulsive acquisitiveness could sometimes lead to stealing or kleptomania

Thankfully, my dad only has the first two of the aforementioned defining features. I have to admit, there are times in which his hoarding patterns may be useful (a collection of batteries, light sources, and candles for when the power goes out), yet most of the time it’s just a lot of useless old stuff which he values for some reason. His tendency is to keep them wrapped in plastic bags, which are scattered in drawers, the top of his closest, and under his bed. When you confront him about it, he gets really defensive. Last last week a found bags of smelly old spices stuffed in a drawer, some of which had a colony of ants snacking within. I immediately through all that away without his permission. Thank God he doesn’t even notice that my mom and I do some spring cleaning from time to time. It would’ve been a disaster if he constantly checked up on his stuff.

It’s just frustrating to see him like that. I have no idea how to break his bad habit. Confrontation only makes things worse, and I don’t want to upset him. Don’t get me wrong; he’s a really cool dad, but it seems to be that he inherited this hoarding-like signs from my grandfather (God bless his soul)…and as they always say, old habits die hard. He does have an attitude of pushing illnesses away though, constantly in denial about his high cholesterol and torn knee meniscus. I try to act like a Doctor, but he just won’t let me in.

Sadly, I also found out that my brother is a hoarder, too….featuring the first two criteria as well in addition to reluctance to return borrowed items. How did I find this out, you ask? Well…he recently traveled abroad to continue his studies, and that’s when my “spring cleaning” itch came in handy. We share the same room so I obviously have to go through everything…and lo and behold, I find a pack of empty shoe boxes, unused pharmacy meds which are way past their expiration dates, a weird spice in the bathroom, useless papers, shoes, sandals, and clothes…and the list goes on! Again, I knew that he kept a lot of stuff, yet confronting him about the boxes didn’t help at all. Gathered all the shoes and clothes he won’t ever use so that I could donate them or something. My dad kindly offered to help out…but not before his hoarding instincts kicked in, deciding to go through all the old stuff and see which ones he would keep for himself. I tried reasoning with him, but to no avail.

I have a tendency to hoard at times, but my habit is out of laziness and the desire to be a collector…because every time I “spring clean”, I’m not reluctant to throw useless stuff away. Just a few months back I got rid of my old videogame packaging boxes (n64, PSP 1000, n64 controller, GameCube, PS2, PS3) since I won’t be using them for  anything anytime soon. I threw out my outdated medical books and papers as well. I wonder if there’s a fine line between collecting and hoarding though? ’cause I’m very protective of my videogame collection which dates back to the SNES days. I have a lot of mint condition PS2 and GameCube games it just looks silly. Same case with the next-gen console games. I find them to be valuable, yet the logic of the passerby may think otherwise and frame me as a hoarder.

Any advice from the internet on how to deal with family members who hoard? Have you been in the same situation with friends and/or family? I want to hear your story!


A Week of Rest and Relaxation!

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Man, I’ve got to clean this blog up. Lots of dust and spider webs are flooding this place.

To tell you the truth, the only reason I haven’t been blogging here much is that I’ve been contributing to our official Project COE wordpress blog with as much game-related news as I can. That and nothing much has been going on these days.

I just came back from a week-long summer vacation with my family. I haven’t travelled with them in years so it was well worth the nostalgia. We went to a tropical city called Sharm Al-Sheikh in Egypt. Haven’t been there in years. Really nice place to bum around and simply relax on the beach. And that’s what we did basically. Sadly, my mom got sunburned. Yes, it is extremely hot around these parts during the summer. I was careful to put sunblock and hit the beach at the afternoon when the sun is just right…so I didn’t get much of a tan.

If you know the right places, the food over there is pretty amazing, too. We went to old town Sharm…two great restaurants were there; a Seafood place called “Al-Faris” and a BBQ one called “Al-Masriyeen”. We also managed to catch two hilarious Egyptian flicks. Sadly, English movies aren’t available there for some reason.

It was great hanging out with the family after so long. My dad’s the type of guy who likes to “organize” trips. I’m always reminded by my younger days when I look at him ordering my younger brothers around with various tasks and nitpicking on certain things. I used to get annoyed by it, but now it makes me laugh. You just can’t change dad.

Finally, I managed to catch up with my reading during this week. There’s nothing like reading after a dip in the ocean. I finished an amazing novel called “The Time Traveller’s Wife”. I’m a sucker for anything that has time travel, and this author managed to weave this concept with a romantic plot quite well. The movie based on it should be out soon…I’m wondering how well will they adapt the novel as this “type” of time travel is hard to replicate on the silver screen. After finishing up that, I began reading a pulp novel called “Battle Royale” written by some Japanese author whose name I can’t pronounce or spell…translated in English obviously. Aside from a few grammatical errors and Japanese-style impulsive sentences and descriptions, the book isn’t bad thus far. Very violent and suspenseful…now I know where games like No More Heroes and MadWorld came from. It’s so obvious that this book inspired the developers.

I may write more detailed impressions/reviews on these books in my free time. Later days.

PS: I brought the DS and PSP with me and surprisingly did not use them at all. Wow.

Impressions of LOL Comedy Tour: Jeddah!

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Believe it or not, we actually have something here to do other than going to friends’ houses and restaurants in our free time!

Yes, stand-up comedy…in Saudi Arabia. Who would’ve thunk it? One of the most awesome experiences ever. And to think this was a last-minute plan that I caught up in last Wednesday…

So here’s the whole story from what I hear. Axis of Evil founders Ahmed Ahmed and Moaz Jobrani decide to tour the Middle East. Along the way, they’ve found local amateur talent in each country, including a few Saudis. Additionally, they’re filming a documentary called “Smile KSA” that’ll show the world how hilarious things can be here.

I know that they’ve done comedy shows multiple times here, yet this is the first time I go to one. All in all, it was a great experience. The only negative I found is that it was held out in the open and they didn’t think that the heat’ll get to us. Let me tell you; it was extremely hot and humid that night…which is typical toward summer time. Even Moaz joked about it on stage. Moreover, what’s with being around 2 hours late? Ironically, the comedians made fun of “local Saudi time” in which 15 minutes means an hour to us Saudis…oh so true, indeed.

As for the performances themselves, great stuff all around. With some acts I busted out laughing. Really needed it after my exams. Sadly, can’t remember who’s who so I’ll list out the names of the local talent for you:

Omar Hussein
Omar Ramzi
Hessain Mohammed
Rami Salami
Thamer Al Hamzi

One thing that these people have in common is that they’re extremely confident of themselves. Gotta give them props for that at least. The only one I didn’t like at all was one of the Saudis who was too raunchy for my tastes…I mean extremely raunchy. It’s like he’s desperate for sex or something. The other Saudi I didn’t get into was the opening act…the girls like this type of guy since he’s a “hopelessly romantic” person with this really flirty tone of voice that annoys me in general. I loved his closing joke, though. The Lebanese wasn’t half-bad. The “whitest Sudani ever” was really cool and it’s sad that he didn’t get a lot of laughs. The final “amateur” act of the day was AAA stuff…a Saudi with complete understanding of our culture and really integrated that into his jokes. Nice impersonations of various Saudi accents, and hilarious sense of humor all around. Whoever that was, I can say that he’s no amateur…he’s as close as one could get to pros like Ahmed Ahmed and Moaz.

Speaking of which, Ahmed was the host…and he was hilarious. Good job in managing stuff all around. The final act was Moaz, which is obviously the funniest without question. People say that he repeated a couple of jokes, but as someone who doesn’t really watch much of his work I didn’t mind. I did love the fact that he parodied some of the stuff in our culture as well.

Great stuff all around, guys. Please come again. Can’t wait to watch that documentary!

PS: If these comedians are reading this, I’d like to request more info on the local acts like a small bio on each with a pic. Your website currently doesn’t offer much.

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