Sunday, November 27, 2005

letter of appreciation

dear kacst isu overlords,

thank you for your efforts in keeping our minds pure and thoughts virtuous. our blessed land would not be blessed were it not for your relentless pursuit of going around the web and blocking naughty sites. were it not for you we would not be able to sleep at night with our doors unlocked, we would not be able to drink tap water without getting kidney stones nor would we be able to walk the streets wearing assless pants in total safety.

thank you for removing blogspot from your naughty list, i'm sure it will go back soon enough. please don't expect me to request that it be returned, because frankly i could care less and i don't want to contribute to your megalomania. may i suggest that in the future you just block everything under http://. and put us out of our misery. i'm sure when that happens birds will start singing again, rainbows will shine brightly once more, and peace, prosperity and goodwill among mankind will spread the earth.

hugs and kisses,


Friday, November 25, 2005

those deep sighs, the ones that seem to come from the bottom of your heart. why do people think it means that you're in love and thinking of your special someone? why can't it mean that you're just fatigued and tired of everything around you? when you cant get to sleep because of the insomnia, cant stay asleep because of the apnea. every activity develops a masochistic tone to it. you get in a car hoping you'll crash. you hope the building you're in will collapse. hell, you'd even be happy with a stray meteorite taking you out. your pitiful existence is totally useless, in fact other people's lives might actually improve if it wasn't for you. everything hurts, life is nothing more than a sequence of painful events tied together with less painful events. so no, its not *heart* *heart*.

Friday, November 18, 2005

my needs

i need to talk to sane people
upon running out of contact lenses i go to the neighborhood "glasses shop". i ask for acuvue lenses in my prescription, after rummaging around for a bit, he announces they're not available *but* they have this other generic brand which is better than acuvue because "they're bigger".

i need a break
my boss is a great guy, but he has this habit of calling me an hour before work is over, conversation goes along these lines:
boss: ed, remember that so and so project you were working on last month?
ed: um yeah *oh god, not that project, it took days just to process the input*
boss: could you please update it, we need to present it to higher management tomorrow morning
ed: sure thing *this has all-nighter written all over it*

i need temporary asylum saturday night
a post-it stuck to the living room tv announces that there is a layla mourad special on rotana zaman this saturday evening. last time that happened the house shook from the volume being raised so loud.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

this is for eating that stinky food in the office

i found the perfect background for my office computer:

my conspiracy theory (america is behind it all.. blah blah) office mate will love it! bwahaha.. dont forget to check out the plane's registration ;)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

ever get that feeling?

ever get that feeling where it seems as if you have become too complacent, too boring, too integrated into the "establishment".. you feel that you need to do something totally out of the ordinary, something exciting and unique in order to prove to yourself that you are living and not just surviving? hmmmm..

Friday, November 11, 2005

newest member of the wto

i thought i would never see the day, saudi arabia being accepted as a member of the wto! this really means that local industry has to shape up or go bust. i like it, to be world class you have to compete with the world's best. closed protectionist economies are a thing of the past. lousy services that survived simply because they were guaranteed protection will hopefully be the first to go.

while all the world's wto protesters were complaining about the possibility of lost jobs and poor working conditions due to to cut throat competition (which are very real and legitimate concerns). our folks out here, namely the holymen were concerned about losing our cultural identity, i mean next thing you know, prostitutes will walk the streets and booze will flow freely. yeah right. i love how growing a beard and wearing short clothes allows you to become an expert on everything.. much more about this later.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

5 questions that need answering

i have some questions.. maybe interesting, maybe stupid, maybe just plain rambo.. but they all need answering so here you go..

who killed the term non-profit?
organizations used to be known as non-profit, now they are all not-for-profit, although probably more accurate it doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

what is wrong with the world today?
chickens have the flu, cows are raging mad, sheep have west nile disease and vegetables are covered in toxic pesticides. if that doesn't get you then watch out for a tsunami, hurricane or earthquake. if that doesn't get you then watch out for some wacko with a deathwish trying to declare holy war on you.

where did all the pagers go?
until very recently almost every single person (except me of course :P) carried around a pager. although they were truly useless devices except in very limited circumstances, their total disappearance is quite mystifying.

why would anyone in their right mind eat sushi in saudi arabia?
i don't care if it's in a 5-star hotel or the priciest restaurant in town, we have extreme climatic conditions, extreme incompetence in enforcing hygienic standards, and no accountability towards restaurants or chefs. you are just asking for trouble!

how can you sit on a public toilet seat without looking?
the guy who sued bestbuy because someone put superglue on the toilet seat and he got stuck. dude if you see a clear gel-like substance anywhere in a mens public bathroom you should run out screaming.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

can you spot the hidden post?

you gotta love local music stores, not only is there this 6-9 month lag behind the rest of the world, but they also hold on to their merchandise for years and years. this is good news for 90's music fans like myself who are part of the statistically insignificant minority that actually buy original music cds.

one of my favorite tracks of all time is "hey jealousy" by the gin blossoms, hearing it takes me back to my college days listening to studio one fm while working on problem sets. it had this depressing yet optimistic vibe to it, which really summed up my mood around that time:

Tell me do you think it'd be alright
If I could Just crash here tonight
As you see I'm in no shape for drivin'
And any way I 've got no place to go
And you know it might not be that bad
You were the best I ever had
I hadn't blown the whole thing years ago
I might not be alone
Tomorrow we can drive around this town
And let the cops chase us around
The past is gone but something might be found to take it's place
Hey jealousy
Hey jealousy
Hey Jealousy
Hey Jealousy
You can trust me not to drink
And not to sleep around
And if you don't expect too much from me
You might not be let down
Cos all I really want's to be with you
And feel like I matter too
If I didn't blow the whole thing years ago
I might be here with you
Tomorrow we can drive around this town
And let the cops chase us around
The past is gone but something might be found to take it's place
Hey jealousy
Hey jealousy
Hey jealousy
Hey jealousy
Tomorrow we can drive around this town
And let the cops chase us around
The past is gone but something might be found to take it's place
Hey Jealousy
Hey Jealousy
Hey Jealousy
Hey Jealousy
Listen to my heart
There's only one thing I can start

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

you meet the most interesting people

i work in an office building located in a really affluent part of town. what that means is that everyone thinks you're totally loaded whenever you're seen in or around the neighborhood. following true examples:

  1. i exit the building and some middle aged guy approaches me, shakes my hand (really hate that) tells me he has a degree in commerce and asks if i can give him a job or if he can get a job with my dad. *yeah, lemme make some phonecalls*
  2. once again i leave the building at 1:30am (hence the short fuse) and two guys approach me, shake hands (uggggh!) and ask for a handout. i give them the standard reply (allah kareem) but they keep nagging (newbies) after the third time i finally yell at them to go away.
  3. today i'm crossing the parking lot and this girl (mid 20's) is on the other side. i keep changing directions to avoid the inevitable, but she's totally homed in. "brother, i am sick could you please help me" *since you are "sick", thank you for not trying to shake my hand, now go away*

Monday, November 07, 2005

hell froze over

i totally sold out and got a cell phone. i am now infinitesimally closer to being a stereotypical saudi dude. the thing is, i am at work for most of the day and i'm really reluctant to use the office phone for non-work related calls. also i reached my "phone-buy" criteria of having three people i actually want to talk to (hopefully they'll occasionaly reply), it gets sadder and more pathetic too (if thats possible).. none of those three people are even within a thousand miles of where i live :P

Sunday, November 06, 2005

phew! it's over..

the four days of eid are finally over. four days of social hypocracy, over-dressing and sloth are done with. as the ebenezer scrooge of eid "bah, humbug!" i'm glad it's over. by the way, i'm referring to our modern "noveau" eid and what it has become.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

for 80's children only!

the 80's was an interesting time in saudi arabia, a massive increase in expendable income, opening up to new cultures, and an increasingly consumer-oriented (although still clueless) populace. this all meant that it was boom-time for marketers of various gadgets and knick-knacks. among the loads of useless junk during that time a few products really managed to infiltrate saudi households in the 80's:

1. furniture with built-in car radios
everything from sofas to beds had to have a built-in car radio. for the super-swanky the radio also had a cassette player.

2. upright iron
this was supposed to be a home version of those giant steam presses used by laundromats.the idea behind this was that it would reduce ironing times for thobes and stuff. unfortunately no one could really figure out how to get it to work properly.

3. blood-red tissues
the good people at fine tissue company decided that blood-red tissues, that smelled funky and left red fibers all over everything would sell like hot cakes. they were right, of course it was only used for those oh-so special occasions.

4. homemade bench press
ok this was a bit out of necessity but still relevant.gyms were almost non existent so what was a teenage dude to do? get a 3/4" metal water pipe and attach two giant nido cans filled with cement at both ends. voila! instant gym!

5. sharp wood grain tv
everyone had to have this same model tv. with its unique feather touch buttons and its support for a whopping 10 channels. oh man, the day channel 2 went on air people actually had to change the channel. they later came out with this chunky remote control to help flip between those two channels.

6. national/panasonic radio with leather cover
every self-respecting man of the house had to have this radio. it could get all those hard to get radio stations and had super loud speakers.

7. aluminum and glass tables
art-deco makes a freak appearance. the single item that single-handily made people have ugly looking homes.

8. handheld crumb sweeper
used in fine restaurants to remove tablecloth crumbs. these little gadgets were abused to death and were used pretty much as handheld vacuums.

9. mini red and white food grinder
this little grinder with its black suction cup feet was amazingly versatile, no kitchen could be without it. probably what launched a thousand infomercials.

10. juice in steel cans
remember at this time everything was imported. juice came in these tiny rusted steel cans. most notable was the popularly known "mitsubishi juice" (3 diamonds mixed fruit juice).

remember anything else? (remember it has to be from the 80's, in saudi arabia, and you must have seen it in at least 3 homes) list it in the comments!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

global tv culture

do tv programs really reflect the culture of their home country? i mean you have the us-based law/police/hospital dramas, the totally zany off the wall japanese shows, the boring as dirt british stuff, the oh-so-naughty european shows, and then you have kuwaiti dramas.. ok i've known quite a few kuwaitis in my time and they've all been great people, but what is up with their dramas? the brother makes off with the family inheritence, the wife gets beaten, the mother dies in childbirth, the father dies from a heart attack, the kids die in a traffic accident.. and thats all in the first episode, is life that depressing? or is like an alternate reality where life is so wonderful that all their depressing issues are only shown on tv?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

serenaded by um-kalthoom (again)

Well today, as with most days when I dont have work in the morning I woke up to the *delightful* singing (aka cow-moaning) of um-kalthoom on the damn tv. My dad is a huge mega fan of hers (he even attended one of her concerts in his youth) and when she's on the volume's gotta be cranked up. People what is the deal with this talentless whench? Now watch me get crucified for uttering such blasphemy about her holyness um-kalthoom. They even have tv channels dedicated to her. Not one, not two but three! (rotana-tarab, rotana-zaman, rotana-cinema) Ok, ok I know they dont play her crap 24/7 but she's on like 95% of the time (the other 5% is for other talentless folks trying to copy her). In the morning, afternoon, night.. it's that horrible voice blasting around the house. As some have said the lyrics are what makes her music.. I dont care, the lyrics are as sucky as her moaning. On the question of looks, despite the gratuitous display of cleavage she's a "zero" on that front too. Maybe people were really deprived of entertainemnt back then and she was just alive during the right time and got lucky? I dont know..