Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Sometimes, just sometimes, I get really angry and depressed at how 'wrong' things are and that I am totally powerless to actually do anything about them. Perhaps I just shouldn't care about the 'big' issues that way I wouldn't worry. But, when the 'wrong' is emanating from the worlds largest 'democracy', it's hard to avoid.

Exhibit A: The US health system.
Exhibit B: The President plan to make it better.
Exhibit C: The Republicans aka the 'right'.
Exhibit D: The medical insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies and hospitals making big money.
Exhibit E: Money, wealth, access and power.
Exhibit F: Misinformation.

It gives me a sore head. It really does.

I can't for the life of me /ironic, huh?/ understand why people are blocking all the attempts to have health care for their fellow Americaner's. Perhaps I'm taking a simplistic view here. I just don't get it.

Would I be right to say that Senators are being essentially bribed by companies to oppose the new reforms? Is that democracy? Is that legal? Money talks and it really is that simple. Oh and misinformation. Is wanting to help other people really akin to being a communist?

Sorry but the land of the free is the land where some people are more free than others. And it's disgusting. I don't think I'm alone in thinking that. Feel free to castigate me for thinking that way. Go on you right wing whingers, take a shot. Justify it.

Monday, September 28, 2009


When I was living in Korea, at 10pm Monday to Friday, CSI would be on the TV. The original CSI that is, not the imposters. I used to often watch it whilst in my bed. I also used to get a bit annoyed if I missed it. I know that may sound a bit sad but when you've gone 2 years without much TV at all having something like that to look forward is wonderful.

Fast forward a few years to now. Each evening ER is on. I used to watch that on and off back in Scotland. The ER that is on now, is the very first season. In fact, the pilot episode was on not that long ago - the one in which Carol tries to top herself. Carter arrives for his first day as a med student for goodness sake. Visually, it hinted at what was to come but it wasn't as past paced as it became. It was more 'middle of the road' which in many respects it had to be initially. As it stands on Dubai Tv, Carol is engaged to Tag, Carter is gutted because some bloke jumped off a roof, Greene's wife wants to leave Chicago but he doesn't, Ross is totally into Carol but can't have her, Benton didn't get the Surgery thingy, Susan is dating this mental Psychologist, Gerry is still the man, Morganstein is still a bit dittery. In last nights episode there was a big blizzard and the ER was really quiet then all of a sudden there was a car pile up and it was manic. Quality Tv.

Eh, ok I'll shut up now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Who's been annoying me this week?

My plant has. O.K. granted, it's not a person but it has been annoying me. The reason for this annoyance is that it has steadfastly refused to live. I think it's just decided to shed all it's leaves and die to spite me. I've watered it, I've fed it, I have put it in a good spot and I play good music to it. What more could it possibly want? But no, it has to look all sick and pathetic. Well matey, there is only going to be one winner here.

This Roman what's-his-name director bloke is. Or, perhaps I should say his 'supporters'. He got busted when he traveled to Switzerland. The way in which he got busted wasn't necessarily the best way to go down but I have difficulty with all these 'supporters' saying that he should be released or that he didn't do anything - Whoopi Goldberg being one, hahah Whoopi, you're an ass. Of course, I don't exactly know what happened the night in question. However, no one should be above the law and the fact that he is 'a director' is meaningless. The facts, apparently, are that he did some rather dubious things with a child. Irrespective of whether she was 'mature' or whatever, you don't go giving 13 year old girls champagne and 'pills' and cavorting with them in hot tub's. In no way is that kind of behaviour acceptable in any country. He shouldn't have done it, end of. He can have no complaints about it, after all, he has been living lavishly ever since and not in prison as some say he should be.

Drivers are annoying me but then that isn't a big surprise.

My street. Usually it's alright. Relatively quiet but around 5/6pm it's a nightmare. Too many cars and too many idiots /see above/ pulling out in front of you. Size matters here. A small car doesn't give you the respect of others on the road. A small means that you, in a bigger car, can pull out, overtake, intimidate and attempt to bully. Well, us small car owners are fighting back. Watch out.

That's all I have to complain about for now.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


When I lived in Scotland, I used to never see any of the Scottish football games as they were always on either Setanta or Sky. I never really bothered that much with them anyway. Five minutes of highlights was good enough for me.

It's ironic however that now that I don't live in Scotland I actually do watch Scottish games now. In fact, it's now part of my Saturday routine (bearing in mind that my Saturday is everyone else's Sunday since Middle Eastern weekends are on different days). Often I get the early game on Abu Dhabi sports at 3.30pm which is 'normal' football time anyway!

They only problem is that the commentary is in Arabic. It's very obvious that the commentator is stuck in some studio and talking over the live feed and his knowledge of the Scottish game is crap from what I can gather as he still mentions 'Barry Ferguson' when Rangers are playing. Perhaps he's an Arabic Jim White who laments the fact that he no longer plays for them but it's more likely that he still thinks he plays for Rangers. But, football is football and it does the job even if I only get Hibs against Falkirk!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I quite like it when I go into a shop and they are playing a song that I have on my i-pod. This time it was Yuksek. Not only was it playing in the first shop I was in but the exact same song was playing in the shop right next door. A shared sound system?

Conversely, if there is a song on in a shop that I think is crap then I do the honourable thing and attack the shop assistant, beat him or her up, then calmly locate the offending music player by unplugging it and viciously stamping on it until it's broken. Or perhaps not.


I've been a relatively good driver over the past year. I tend not to get honked at these days. In fact, I don't really recall the last time I was honked at for doing something 'bad'. I get honked at for not moving out of a t-junction when there is a car coming which isn't 'bad', is about not getting involved in a crash because some impatient ass behind is irritated by my refusal to move when he or she wants me to. I also put that down to the fact that I drive a small car. Nothing like a bully boy in his big car now, y'all. It's the equivalent of those who sit behind a computer and mouth off, where no one can hurt them.

I digress however.

I did though have a near miss. When I drive to work, I have to park in a multi-storey car park adjacent to the airport and 2 minutes from the 'gate' I go in to get to the office. I put my card in to activate the barrier and in I drove. Generally, there are no free available parking spaces on the ground floor so I don't wait like others for one to become available /what's the point in waiting - get off your ass and walk down from the 1st floor!/. I have to drive the length of the ground floor then do a kind of u-turn at the end, then up to the next floor. Well, I was driving towards the u-turn, slowly, and kind of looking to my side to see if perhaps a free space was there. This takes a second, if that. I quickly did this but when my attention was focused again in front of me. When I had refocussed this local guy was in the middle of the road. Less than 6 feet away. In a panic, I swerved to the right to avoid him. Thankfully, I missed him. I kept on driving but in something of a shocked state.

I've no idea where he came from but wonder why he was in the middle of the road when there was my car coming and a car behind me. What's he playing at? Had he been at the side of the road, then I could perhaps say he had just stepped onto the road for a 'look' but he wasn't. He had taken a few strides to get to the point where I saw him. Plus, I wasn't going fast. He must have seen me but thought he could go on regardless. I've seen this kind of thing before - I'm not sure if it's a cultural 'thing' or not but I have seen local men and women just cross the road and expect the cars to stop and let them pass. It happens in the airport as well. Surely, size and weight would dictate that you don't go stepping onto the road when cars are coming. It's just stupid and asking for trouble.

Needless to say, it wasn't the best start to my day. No real harm done thankfully but there could have been.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I take a lot of things with a pinch of salt. Particularly 'stuff' I hear or read in the 'media'. Take the 'Jackass' West. He interrupted that other singers speech after she had one video of the year or something equally mundane. Set up job?

This is especially true when I read the local press here. Apparently everything is rosy and wonderful in Dubai-land. Everybody loves it, there are no issues, the Metro is great blah blah blah.

A colleague of mine however 'heard' the following story which was in the 'news'. He told me that a few Chinese men who were working here in Dubai fell ill with stomach upsets or something so went to the hospital. The doctors did tests to find out what had happened. Seemingly the men had been eating raw meat which appeared to be the cause. On closer inspection, it was revealed that the meat in question was not one of the 'usual' meats like beef or chicken; rather, it was human and more specifically it was from a child. The 'story' goes that these Chinese men had abducted a child who lived nearby, killed him and ate the child. Raw.

'It's true' I was told.


It's totally amazing what people believe. I'm not saying that this incident could not have happened but I find it highly unlikely. Another instance of people believing 'stuff' was from last year. A picture had been released from the very top of the Burj Tower - the soon to be tallest building in the world. Now, the way in which the picture was taken, showed curved edges which looked as if you could see the curvature of the earth from the top. This is a camera 'trick' and is used for effect. It's relatively common. However, I had more than a few people tell me that you can actually see the earth's curvature from the top of the tower! It's that tall!

Again, whatever.

I'm not always the sharpest tool in the toolbox but some people are truly thick. Believing everything they see and read. It seems in this day and age, it's very easy to convince people regardless of how outrageous the story. Don't be fooled!

Monday, September 21, 2009


I've got this one bloke at work who is constantly coming to visit my office. Now, the office in which I'm located as has 10 PC's which are used exclusively for staff to do E-learning modules. He tends to come in and log onto the PC's. He then does 'something' on them, but then this is just the 'foreplay'. He always seems to stop for some reason to come over and speak to me about 'English' related stuff. The first few times I was happy to help and point him in the right direction. But now, it's every time and I can't be bothered with it. I just want to tell him 'p*ss off' but I'm much to polite for that and I suspect that has been my downfall. Had I not spoken to him on the first couple of occasions then I wouldn't be in this situation.

Plus, he seems quite docile but at times, he does something of says something that actually makes me think that he might be a bit dangerous if you get on his wrong side. He asks too many questions. Plus, he was in one of my English tests not long ago. We were in the middle of the speaking section which is essentially a one-to-one interview. I asked him a question as part of this test. As I did so he seemed to kind of recoil as if he had just experienced an 'ice-cream' headache. He made this funny sound as well. I almost thought he was having a mini-fit. Not in my classroom thank you very much. I do wonder if that was perhaps one of his 'other' personalities momentarily kicking in? He did get himself 'back' and we finished the test. From that point on however, I've been wary.

If I'm off this for any length of time and it's not due to being on holiday then worry.


The joys of having a cold beer for the first in a month. The first sip is always the worst. It's not something that can be described as pleasurable. In fact, drinking beer in general could not be described as pleasurable. It's just something to be done from time to time. Ramadan had put paid to the hope of having a beer sooner actually. I don't even recall having one when I was back in Scotland or in Paris. I just didn't really fancy one. I like to think that is because I'm all sophisticated but I'd be lying if I said that. It's more likely to do with not really drinking in general but I can when I want, which isn't all that often. It's bad for you. I've heard.

But, back to work tomorrow. Sadly. I could get used to having 4 days off a week. I wouldn't want it all the time as I'd get bored but it's still good! At least I can have a tea or my lunch without fear of being busted by others. Yes, Ramadan is over. For anther year.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The decade is nearly up.

And what follows are very early contenders for singles of the afore mentioned decade. Of course, it's subjective, contains singles only and can be altered and edited at any point forthwith. In no particular order. Let the debate begin.

Yeah! - Usher (2004)
In for the Kills - La Roux (2009)
Golden Touch - Razorlight (2004)
Mad World - Gary Jules (2003)
What you waiting for - Gwen Stefani (2004)
Standing in the way of control - Gossip (2006)
Can't stand me now - The Libertines (2004)
1 Thing - Amerie (2005)
Over and Over - Hot Chip (2006)
American Idiot - Green Day (2004)
American Boy - Estelle (2008)
One more time - Daft Punk (2000)
Golden Skans - The Klaxons (2007)
Seven Days - Craig David (2000)
Babylon - David Gray (2000)
THE MODERN AGE - The Strokes (2001)
Mr. Brightside - The Killers (2004)
Take me out - Franz Ferdinand (2004)
Hey ya - Outkast (2003)
Can't get you out of my head - Kylie (2001)
Hurt - Johnny Cash (2002)
I bet you look good on the dancefloor - Arctic Monkeys (2005)
The way I are - Timbaland (2007)

Friday, September 18, 2009


Oh dear.
I got this big Ficus plant from my room about 2 months ago.
Generally, I'm good with plants. I don't kill them and water them often. I've got a palm which has been looking good for about a year now. It continues to thrive. The Ficus however. I'm trying to think about what to do as per the advice in all the house plant books I've come across but nothing seems to be doing the trick. At first I just thought that it was because I had moved it from the shop to my place. It can lose leaves because of it. Then the leaves continued to fall. And fall. I repotted it. I feed it. I water and misted it. Still, nothing is working. The leaves continue to look unhealthy. It does have new growth in parts which give me hope but in other areas, it's looking decidely dodgy. I'll give it another week or so but it just looks like it's giving up the ghost.



This Iranian President bloke makes me laugh. But not in a good way. He's been on Tv making the end of Ramadan speech reiterating his belief that the Holocaust did not actually occur and that it was all a bit of a hoax so that Israel could get a country for themselves. He really is thick. If you believe that, then fine that's your business but going on national Tv and making such remarks is just plain stupid and show's him up for what he really is, namely a taxi driver in disguise who got very lucky.

Why doesn't the German Chancellor or whoever call his bluff by actually going public and saying OK then Mr. Taxi driver in disguise President, here's an open invitation to you and your cronies to come and visit Auschwhitz for the day. Have the authorities close it for the day, just for him. No camera, no photographers, just let them wander around and see what they think.

Do you think he'd go? Would he now't. He doesn't have the courage. He has the courage only to spout to his countrymen and from what it appears, even they are getting tired of it.

GO on mate, I dare you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Last week saw the opening of the all new, completely driverless, fully automated Dubai Metro. The city threw a big party with the Shiekh buying the first ticket. Like he had 2 Dirhams spare in his pocket to do that. I use the word 'open' liberally. It's not open completely. It's not even half open. In all there are about 30 stations with 9 currently up and running and operational. I'm not even sure you can class that as a skeleton service?

In many ways, I'm happy to have a metro. It will certainly help getting around. Whether it will reduce the awful traffic jams, I'm not so sure. Perhaps when it's fully up and running it will but that is some time off. I just wonder why they opened it when they did. It clearly isn't ready and by all accounts the ticketing system isn't fully integrated, the doors at the platform and the doors of the carriages aren't opening in sync and there have been a number of defects which have resulted in trains not moving from stations.

Again with Dubai, I think it's been a case of trying to project itself in a good light to neighbouring countries and the world as a whole. They did so with the opening night festivities but once the spotlight had moved off, the problems began. A lack of foresight, organisation and a case of wanting everything done 'now' me thinks.

I know that I'll not be going on it for a while. I'll need a lot of reassurance that it is working properly, on time and with the possibility of breaking down. Plus, it would be good to have stations that I might want to travel to, open. The 2 stations at the airport being a prime example - oh, and I heard you're not allowed on the metro with heavy luggage. There goes that idea.

Let's see.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


So, I listen to a lot of music from the French music label Kitsune Maison. Mostly, they release indie-electronic compilation albums; imaginatively called Kitsune Maison Vol. 1, 2 etc. Some of the music on the compilations are fantastic particularly some of the remixes. Gossip's 'standing in the way of control by Soulwax was first found on one of the compilations. On the other Vols. were remixes of Bloc Party, Wolfmother, Klaxons, Feist and Phoenix. Whisper it - better than the originals.

They are all albums that I come back to because of there eclectic range. I like that these days. I do find it quite difficult to take an album by said artist and listen to it all in it's entirety over and over again. I'm not quite sure why that is.

They have a boutique in Paris. Actually, they were and still are a fashion-label. On this recent trip to Paris, I decided to try and hunt the boutique out. I've never really been that 'sad' before. I mean, it's just a shop. But on this occasion I just thought I would. And I did. It's not far from the Louvre. It's not particularly well signposted and lacks a big sign out the front. I almost walked past it. The exterior is jet black with a plague next to the door announcing 'Kitsune Maison'. It was a bit weird to have found it. I was almost a bit too timid to go in. I mean, here was the place that makes and releases all these CD's that I've bought. Why would it be any different from going to HMV of Fopp for example? Well, it just was. It's like finding the real life lighthouse from Fragile Rock. It's an 'oooh' moment, isn't it?

In I went. It was pretty much all clothes. Expensive ones. In the shop was a lone woman sitting at a computer which dueled as the cash desk. I guess she was just like any shop assistant. I was hoping for something more though. Like Gildas or Masaya to be there working in the record label that they built. Would I have spoken to them? Or just got kind of embarrassed? In the end, they weren't so it didn't matter but I was a bit deflated.

Straight infront of me was a leather sofa and to the left of that were CD's. I headed straight for them and quickly went through them marveling at what was on offer and trying to think which ones I had and which ones I potentially wanted. I saw one that I definitely wanted. It was Kitsune Tabloid mixed by Phoenix. I picked it up and didn't let go of it. There were a couple of others that I saw. In the end, I got 'Paris' mixed by Gildas and Masaya. It was one that I wasn't familiar with and I'd never seen before. I had to get it. I went to pay for them with a giddiness that I hadn't really experienced for a while. These days, you don't buy CD's, you click away. It's a different experience. I paid the money, got my change and receipt. And I left.

I got outside and was in some kind of shock. I made to go but thought 'hold on. I've come this far and that's it?' I got my camera out and slyly took a photo of the outside. How pathetic. I should have marched right back in and got a few other photos. I should have got one of me on the leather sofa at the very least. Incredibly sad and childish but still. My moment had gone though.

All I was left with were the CD's. Might I say, that is not a bad thing as they are excellent. The Paris Cd bristles with beats. 'Stuck (Hot Chip Remix)' by Little Boots is an unexpected joy. The Phoenix one is something else. It's music that inspired them and it is very eclectic indeed with the Theme from Kiss opening the album. Kiss?! It's easy to see their influences through this album and that is worth the entrance money in itself.

Some people are easily pleased. If only everyone was so easily pleased.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I got a little telephone call the other day. From the Vice President of all people. That was a first. And probably the last.

I had complained about being lied to and a certain airline changing my seat. Did I mention that before?

Seemingly, I must have hit a raw nerve or something as the VP was not on the phone to offer me an explanation or to ask what the problem was or even to chat about how things are. No. He wasn't. He was on the phone to use bully boy tactics to 'persuade' me not to continue on with my 'quest' to find out what had happened and get a suitable explanation. Instead, he said bellowed 'case closed' and accused me of 'harassing' his staff. He continued by saying that he would report me to my Boss and the Boss of the company if I didn't stop.

Needless to say, I was shocked by this. Is this how 'we' do things? Threatening their staff! Bullying! Intimidating! VP's do this! The irony is that I was just sent on a conflict resolution and negotiation course as part of the Management Trainee program!

Not exactly a great advert and this VP certainly has not covered himself in glory.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Well, that's that then.

No Scotland in South Africa.

When the draw was made and the names Holland, Norway, Macedonia and Iceland were pulled out of the hat I bet you alot of people fancied our chances of at least coming second. Perhaps even first with a bit of luck. Second would have seen us qualify for a play off place with another group's 2nd team. In fact, the Manager even said that was the minimum.

18 months later, we didn't even make 2nd. 3rd was the best we could do. What a farce. Let's not try to paint it in a decent light. We were crap. We played well in a game and a half - the last game and a half at that. The 'last chance' saloon is when we turned up and competed.

How the hell can we go to Norway and get stuffed 4-0? What about losing with a fight in Macedonia, not to mention 'that' miss from 3 yards against Norway. 3 yards. An open goal. That was the moment that we knew we weren't going to South Africa.

Not only was it the performances but it was the fact that a number of players 'retired' either forcibly or by their own volition. Players shouldn't be turning their back on Scotland but they did. 'That' miss caused perhaps the biggest retirement. The Manager brings on 2 players with about 5 caps between them and about 1 goal between with the game goalless. In doing so, he left the top scorer in Scotland for the past few years on the bench. The 'miss' ensued and the game ended goalless. I'd be raging if I was left on the bench.

We have now not qualified for any competition since 1998 with little sense of hope for the next competition in 2014. That'll be 16 years. Half my life.

Monday, September 07, 2009


And that was the holiday.

7 days. Not long enough and now something of a depression being back in Dubai. I'm not sure I want to deal with all that each and every time I come 'home'.

I was so excited going to the Airport. I had checked in online and had an aisle seat near the back which was fine. I went to drop my bags at the desk only to be told that my seat had been changed. To a middle seat in the middle seat of 4. And excitement suddenly left the building. I was clearly told that there had been a change in aircraft and that the new aircraft did not have the same number of rows. Because of that, I had been moved. Though very disappointed, I thought that it was a plausible reason. To my horror, I found that there was the same number of rows and had originally 'advertised'. Needless to say, I was less than impressed and felt that I had been lied to. The 'new' aircraft was the same size!

Not the best way to start my week off. I did complain about it.

But, this post in not meant to be a moan about the airline I work for, instead it's meant to be a celebration of my week off. A week that was fantastic for so many reasons. The first was due to seeing a certain young lady and whisking her off to Paris for 4 days. It was the best trip I've had to the French capital and she certainly played the single most important reason why it was so fantastic.

Art galleries were visited - Monet's impressionism proved the highlight, the Sacre Coer and the surrounding square were unknown delights, the walk from the Eiffel Tour, to the Arc d'Triomphe, to the Elysee Palace was hot and punishing on the feet but what a walk. Kitsune was visited and CD's bought. Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter and Versallies all proved to be worthwhile. Meanwhile, the food and particularly the wine flowed. It was 4 days that I really didn't want to end.

It did however. But, the final few days in Edinburgh were equally good, for different reasons. The Mitchellville was home for instance.

Alas, back in Dubai and questioning whether or not this is the place I'd like to be. Time will tell on that front. But, for know I'll bask the warmth that was the past week.