Monday, December 28, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
- What is it with the total assholes that work the immigration desk in the US? Just Once I would like to arrive in the US, hand them my passport, and hear "Welcome Home Suburban!" . Instead, every single time, I get some asshole who feels like interrogating me for fifteen minutes because I'm not a "Genuine" American. I mean, would you guys just fuck off and let me come home? Is there a factory somewhere in Washington that cranks out these dour, soulless Ass-wipes who are everyone's first point of contact with the United states?
- Interestingly, the only Assholes we met during our entire week in the US were the US immigration authorities. Everyone else, even the crackheads and homeless people were the very personification of charm.
- We had the pleasure of eating twice at the Best BBQ place in the city, SLOWS It's three minutes out of downtown, in the corktown neighbourhood, directly across from the beautiful and decrepit abandoned train station. They have absolutely fantastic food, the fried catfish was so good I could eat if every day for the rest of my life. They also have an amazing selection of Micro-brews all sorts of outrageous porters, wheats, lagers, cask conditioned ales, and more.
- Our (straight) Realtor and some (non straight) friends took us to an awesome gay bar one night. (How Awesome is our Realtor?) For a 2 dollar cover charge you get a giant mason jar of Pabst Blue Ribbon, some really really really famous DJ's spinning, graphic homosexual art on the walls, guys danging around in leather, and a genuinely friendly crowd, even to boring straight people like me and Stone. I wish I could remember the names of the DJ's because the music was so fantastic.
- We went out to dinner at this place Called the Harbor House, which serves Alaskan Snow Crab. It is insanely delicious stuff. for 18 RO (Including tip) Stone and I could eat Two pounds of Snow crab with drawn butter, a really gourmet salad, fries, baguette and cinnamon butter, and have two Micro-brew beers each. That is Value Bitches.
Yes, that is a real crab. Yes, they are really delicious.
- The guy from the rental car company picked us up in an Brand New Dodge Ram Pickup. I was all, Dude, this is a Sweet Ride! and he was all "Hi Five!" His name was Anton, and he was hilarious. Instead of the crappy tiny pickup we were planning on renting, he upgraded us to the giant, Red Ram for free. Look for a review here soon.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
- A Three page questionnaire covering everything from where I was born, to who my immediate family members are.
- A copy of my Passport, and any relevant residency visas.
- My Omani Driving license, International driving licence and american driving licence.
- My Omani Iqamma.
- Ten million passport photos on a white background.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Muscat ATC SSK said... 1)if you are talking about human error i am with you but Omani technicians aren't exempted (most important thing they've to learn through) Similar problem happen in Melbourne and Ireland according to our radar sys manufacture company.2)if you talking about covering up ,every country has own policies( I've never came across of air miss happen in States or N. Zealand ! and as a passenger you have no right to question the country of what happen that day ,you can only ask the airline you have traveled with . Sure they'll have an answer if they have filled a report.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
- Strange internet people are really nice.
- I like Pizza from Pizza Inn
- That apparently, many people think I am Omani. What a complement!
- I did not need to down two giant galsses of Wine in order to calm my nerves
- I did not to drink a further two glasses of wine to facilitate my ability to talk to strangers.
- That I really have some opinions on Omanisation, and that maybe I had better put into a blog post, if only to spare everyone from another hour long rant on the fobiles of the government.
- That I can fearlessly host a larger Bloggger / twitter gathering, and not have a nervous breakdown at the prospect of facing so many scary unknown people.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
- Call your freelance graphic designer, and get the stuff designed
- Burn it to a bunch of disks, and take it to the printers
- Finalise the layout, and approve the proofs
- Ask how long it will take
- Be told that it depends on Ministry of Information approval, and Muscat Municipality Approval.
- And it costs 10 bucks per design
- Tell them it's for overseas distribution, you shouldn't need approvals
- Be told that it does not matter, everything printed in the whole goddamn country needs approval.
- Tell them to go ahead and get the approvals then.
- Be told they need a letter on company letterhead, with the company stamp, and a copy of the company's commercial registration document to procede.
- Spend a day in the office sorting out everything, finding the C.R. paper, and extracting the stamp from the grimy claws of the accountant.
- drive from Ruwi to Qurm and back to get an authourised signature for the letter.
- Return to the printers with all the stuff.
- Be told the letter must be in arabic.
- try not to scream, or rip your eyeballs from thier sockets.
- fail on the first count.
- Re type the letter in arabic, stamp it when nobody is looking, sign it yourself.
- Hand it all in to be taken for approval.
- Go home and pour yourself a triple gin and tonic.
- Next afternoon receive a call from the printers. Your proofs have been rejected because they are only in English. All flyers must be bilingual.
- Wail, gnash teeth. explain that they are for overseas distribution. In like, Europe.
- Printer says he will send somebody back with a new proof and try to get it passed the next day by a different guy at the ministry.
- Ministry #1 approves all your proofs next day.
- hear nothing for 3 days.
- Receive a call from the printers that Ministry #2 will not approve the flyers because your business falls under the auspices of a different Ministry (ministry #3).
- Explain that you don't fall under the auspices of ANY ministry, since the government, as far as you are aware, does not own your company.
- Printer says he will send somebody back with a new proof and try to get it passed the next day by a different guy at the ministry.
- Receive a call from the printers that Ministry #2 will not approve the flyers because your business falls under the auspices of Ministry#3 . Ministry#3 must approve your flyers before ministry #2 will approve your flyers.
- Tell printers to go see Ministry #3 and try to get someone there to stamp the proofs.
- Printer guy goes to see Ministry #3 four seperate times trying to get someone in the ministry to stamp the proofs.
- Despite the fact that you are a legitimate business known to everyone in Ministry #3, Noone in Ministry #3 is willing to stamp the proofs since they have never been asked to do so before.
- With the deadline looming, Call in a favor, Apply Wasta, Cry, and drink yourself to a stupor.
- Ministry #3 finally acknowleges your existance. Send printer to get approval from Ministry #2
- Ministry #2 rejects your proofs because they are not bi-lingual and Arabic, only English.
- Ask the printers if they could just please print the notally non-objectional shit you need without seeking any approval.
- Printers say no. There are really heavy fines for unauthourised printing.
- Give up.
- Send Ro 800 in business that could have supported Omani companies to Dubai, and have the printing done there.
- Pay an extortionate amount to have it delivered here.
- Beat your head against a nearby wall until you bleed profusely. Apply bandages.
- Repeat twice a year.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Following a rather heated
- The new neighbourhood is like something out of a norman Rockwell painting.
- I now have a job, which gives me things I enjoy doing, and also gives me things to bitch about that are relitavely minor, and which I am empowered change instead of wanting freak out and kill a neighbour over something major that I have little or no control over.
- I only took the pills for a week or two, though I still use sleeping pills occasionally so I can sleep through the night. I never realised how much I need sleep in order to be a functioning, rational person.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
- Are they homeless street urchins or orphans upon whom I should take pity?
- Are they part of a Begging family, and mom and dad are nearby begging too?
- Are they part of an organised Begging cartel, masterminded by evil adults?
- Are they Demonstrating commendable entreprenurial Zeal? and Should I help them set up a lemonaide stand?
- Or what?
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
Watch it from beginning to end, and keep in mind that Rallying is effectively unknown in the United States. If sponsors here were as proactive as DC shoes and sportswear, we wouldn't see the likes of Ahmed Al Harthy, Hamed al Wahaibi, and Nizar Shanfari suffering for lack of funds, and we'd have a lot more top-class racers coming up through the ranks.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday Morning, Tariq stopped by with a hard-to-find spare part and an invitation to come up to the family farm next week.
I went to the ROP in Qurm yesterday, and was called by name by everyone I dealt with. I got a hug from Aisha, the teller in the Ladies line. I completed the last details for the color-change for one of the company cars in under 15 minutes.
I took the baby down to the ocean today, and she and I swam in bathwater-warm water and rolling waves for an hour. Then we chased crabs and climed around the cliffs by the water's edge.
When we got home, Khalifa, our company PRO stopped by for a coffee and a chat. He made me laugh so hard I almost peed on myself.
It's days like this that make me so happy to live here, and so lucky to have such wonderful people around me.
Crankyness and bitching to resume tomorrow.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Hope life treat u good,,
I'm half Omani man :-).. I lived most of my life outside Oman,,,,i'm
back now 2 Muscat.. I love everything beautiful in this life, accepting life in
all its glory and despair., Live for Love and die for it... I like to enjoy
every second of my life and make it the best moment if i could.. i'm single and
looking for a place for my heart :-).
I would like to know u and hope if we can be in touch..
Don't get me wrong, it's a sweet note, very respectful. I note the generally good spelling, something your correspondant could attempt herself of more often. But... Spell check or not, this is not a successfull strategy for picking up chicks.
- because I don't know you, at all.
- Because the only thing you know about me, apparently, is that I am female.
- If your only criteria for a potential girlfriend is that she has a vagina, your standards are worryingly low.
- Because if you have to resort to messaging random women who you don't know in order to get a date, you're likely not worth dating.
So, Mr, Lonley, If you want to get a nice and smart girlfriend, one who will stick around, and might eventually sleep with you or become your wife and have your babies, read on...
First you need a car. The car should not have any teddy bears or inflatable hearts on the parcel shelf or hanging from the rearview mirror. Likewise, your car should not have any stickers depicting calvin pissing on anything, or badly spelled slogans across the back "Bad Bayyyzz" "Rasing Teem Oman" etc...
Second, Buy and use an analog wrist watch. Practice being on time. Being on time is sexy.
Next, you need to start by looking in the paces girls are, and in environments where you can talk to them in the course of doing your job without coming across as a desperate weirdo.
- Take your little cousins to the park to play on the playground, model good behavior.
- Take riding lessons, hang around the stables.
- Get a job or an internship in retail somewhere that the kind of girls you are interested in hang out. Bowling alley, grocery store, Porche service department, Chinese Massage joint etc..
- Be a Volunteer Organizer at beach cleanups, fundrisers, charity walks, etc..
Now that you have strategically positioned yourself in the vicinity of your sort of girls, try to be the sort of guy you would want your sister to date. Seriously, if you wouldn't be ok with your mom or your sister checking out a guy who is acting / dressing like you, then you are doing it wrong.
- Don't spend too much time on your hair, we don't want a man who takes longer than we do to get ready.
- Don't wear one of those stupid-ass fedoras / bowlers that are so popular with the Shabab these days.
- Don't wear a super tight Tshirt / jeans to show off your muscles / package. We like modesty in a man. And it's just gross.
- Don't show off your flash Iphone, or other gadget.
- No Posing. We can tell. You're working / organising / riding, remember?
OK, so you're in the right place, doing something that gives you an excuse to speak to girls, and looking like the sort of guy we might want to see naked. Now you have to act like the sort of guy we might want to get naked with. This is the hard part. Whatever you do, don't appear to eager / keen / desperate. You'll scare us off straight away.
- Make Eye Contact, when you speak to us.
- Give a Big, Genuine smile. Practice in front of the mirror so it doesn't look creepy.
- When you speak to girls, especially here, your early interactions really really really need to be strictly business. "Welcome to McDonalds, Can I take your order?" or "Here is a trash bag for the beach clean up, do you have enough water?" or "I see your porche has a scratch, would you like that repaired as well?"
- Smile, and without giving them any creepy lingering stares, shut the fuck up and move on to the next thing, be that fetching a cheeseburger, untacking your horse, or driving thier car away for an oil change.
- Stay busy with whatever it is you are supposedly doing. You are a busy and confident guy, so act like it.
- Don't ask our name, our number, or anything else the first time you see us. We'll be back if we like you.
- You'll be able to tell if we are interested, procede with caution.
OK, so now you sort of know some women. You see them once or twice a week at work or social things, you have something in common, she thinks you are cute, and you have given her your phone number or she's given you yours.
- Women are creeped out by guys who come on to strong. So don't act like a stalker and call us all the time, don't send 20,000 forwarded text messages
- If she doesn't call you back, after you have called once and sent one text message, forget it and move on.
- Don't buy us a gift on the first date. It's sweet, but desperate.
- Don't ever buy stupid stuffed teddy bears.
- Do pay for dinner or juice.
- Let her meet your family. The best first date I ever went on I met up with the guy and a bunch of his cousins and siblings (Male and Female) for fattayer at Mermaid. Fifth date I met his Mom, tenth date we kissed.
- Do interesting stuff on dates, take her fishing, take her to the indoor rock climbing, take her ice skating, Take her to Cafe Cermique'.
If none of this works, remember that you are in Oman, and Dating is hard and not part of the culture here. Also, if your friends or family wouldn't approve of who you are dating, you shouldn't be doing it because they won't let you marry her either. Trust me.
OK. I'm bored with this. Additional advice is welcomed and encouraged in the comments section. More from here as it happens.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Because it's summer, and because clearly, God hates me, we are having some car troubles. I understand car problems are not quite as bad as say, coming down with a nasty case of AIDS, or suffering from simultaneous famine and plague, but still, automotive woes are something of a bummer for me.
Three weeks ago, the front left wishbone on Stone's sports car snapped while he was driving it. We've never been so happy to have a catastrophic failure of a critical suspension component. The wishbone snapped at low speed, a mere 2 kms after two hours of high speed driving on a crowded highway. So we were pretty lucky.
Stone rang the dealership, and they dutifully came and picked it up, but sadly don't have a replacement part in stock. Three weeks later, they still don't have the replacement part in stock, and Stone's baby is sitting in the workshop alone and forgotten slowly being covered with a layer of dust two inches thick. My only guess to the hold up is that the new wishbones are being handcrafted by virgins out of pure unobtanium in the NASA R&D workshop. Hope they'll be worth the wait when we get them.
Next, we have my car "Big Foot". For the last couple of weeks, whenever I park Big Foot or return home after a long drive, there is the unmistakable smell of Petrol wafting around my car. I love the smell of petrol, so I didn't really think much of it, assuming the petrol cap was a little loose, or the engine was running a tad rich, or maybe the fuel injection breather needed replacing. (I have no idea if there is even something called a fuel injection breather, but it sounds good)
But the smell kept getting stronger, to the point that other people would comment on it. So today, when I was in Wadi Kabir looking at the progress on the company car re-spray, I asked the guys have a look and see if we could isolate where the smell was coming from. Having checked everything under the hood, and the gas cap, we decided to check out things underneath. With much flailing of arms and swearing, we got Big Foot positioned over the pits, and climbed down, torches in hand to have a look.
My fuel tank is leaking. A lot. Thank god the engineers designed the exhaust to run paralell down the other side of the car, and not under, or across the fuel tank. Again, we are very lucky.
So I rang the dealership, and after hassling with the brainless fucktards that answer the phones for the better part of 45 minutes trying to be connected to " BRAND NAME SERVICE DEPARTMENT", I was indeed connected to the service department guys, who recognised my voice, asked me to stop crying, told me everything would be ok, and promised to take extra special care of me and the car when I bring it in tomorrow morning. They'll even let me go into the workshop when they put it on the hoist, and I can help take the fuel tank out if I want. Which is so sweet, really.
More on this, and other stuff, tomorrow.
Monday, June 1, 2009
On today's adventure, I was accompanied by none other than the legendary Tariq Al Kiyumi, who is the closest thing Wadi Kair has to a local Sheikh. Tariq runs a spare parts business selling genuine Toyota, Lexus, and Nissan spare parts , which I've written a little about before, Here . While we were collecting widgets and haggling over the price for a custom respray, Tariq caught me up on the latest news from his his corner of Muscat. I'm happy to report that the business is thriving, despite repeated attmepts by Bahwan Toyota to put him out of business.
Tariq only realised that this is my blog recently, something which really cracked me up. I'm going to Interview Tariq here in a couple of weeks, so he can tell the story of being an independent Omani entrepreneur, going up against the Bahwan Monopoly, and various Anecdotes about day-to-day life in Wadi Kabir. Tariq is a really funny, witty, and knowlegable guy, so If any of you have any questions you'd like to ask Tariq, Put them in the comments section, or email them to me Otheroman@gmail.com
Back to Wadi Kabir, places with a million little shops and junk everywhere fill me with insane ideas for what I could have fabricated there. Like how about a new bed with a powder coated steel frame and a headboard made of Galvanised steel with little gears form old transmissions all over it? I am inspired by al the weird old cars piled up and the possibilities for a new and interesting custom Hot-Rod.
When I go to Wadi Kabir, Stone literally feels ill with dread at the thought that I might find and purchase another automotive project. I have already spent next month's salary on some custom enhancements for Big Foot, but failed to secure the purchase of a Conversion Van.
Because wouldn't that just be Bitching???
Or how about this one?
Which has a dining table in the back!
Fabulous, Right? I neeed one.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
CATS AND DOGS AND BUGS
- About three weeks before we moved, our cat Velcro went missing. We were all pretty sad about it. Although he wasn't a very good cat, he was the cat we had.
- As of last week, we have a new cat. She's small, cute, friendly, and really really soft. She just showed up on our back porch one day. We have named her Spandex. That cracks me up.
- Driving through Qurum, near the Crowne Plaza a few nights ago, we saw a pack of at least 20 Wadi Dogs cross the road. I'm sure they're harmless, but I was glad I was in the car and not walking.
- We found a giant scorpion crawling along the back porch wall last week. Giant as in 4 inches head to tail, and totally creepy and disgusting. Stone trapped it, but then we didn't know what to do next so we stuck it in the freezer overnight. We were pretty sure it was dead the next morning, but decided better safe than sorry so we ran it through the garbage disposal in case it came back to life and attacked us in our sleep or something.
WILDLIFE WHO LIVE IN MY HOUSE
- The toddler has an ear infection. No fun.
- One of the teenagers continues to be a completely outrageous pain in the ass. She has a right to privacy so I'll spare her the embarrassment of having her behavior published here. But she's a pain in the ass.
- I think it's time that the ROP or Ministry of Creating Stupid-Ass Rules (MCSAR) repealed the law about expats owning pickups. If you have to resort to attempting to control the Labor market by making laws like that, maybe someone else should be in charge.
- While we're at it, perhaps MCSAR could alter the law that you need permission from the ROP before you can paint your car a different color.
- And also the law that you need approval from both the Ministry of Information and the Muscat Municipality before you can have anything printed, even if it's for distribution overseas. In the end, I had most of the stuff printed in Dubai.
More from here soon, and sorry for the Lame-O post.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Today like every other time I shop there, I saw:
- Frozen foods not frozen
- Moldy, soggy vegitables
- Spoiled meat
- canned goods waaaaay beyond thier sell-by date
- And the Deli Offerings.... Words Fail me.
Have a look at the picture below: What you are seeing is a bowl of Artichoke hearts, completley covered in mould, with the ones at the bottom beginning to decompose in a bubbling froth of bacteria. When I was in the store yesterday, the artichokes were the same, and the spoon was in exactly the same location, with exactly the same smear of artichoke shmutz on it. Unbeliveable, and Dangerous.
The Seafood salad wasn't fairing much better, and the olives were mouldy too.
Trying to buy anything from the deli makes me want to reach across the counter and strangle the idiotic, lazy, rude girls behind the counter. I stood for five minutes in front of the Deli cabinet, hoping to tell them about the Artichokes, while they gossiped, toaked on thier phones, and flirted, pausing twice to lecture the Indian Baker on something or other. Can someone tell me where they find girls like this? Under rocks? Beauty School Drop outs? I finally tracked down the manager, who was kind and receptive to my feedback on the mold matter.
So, Spinneys? Al Fair? Want to hire a consultant? I'll work for 10% of the money I can save you if you'll let me restructure your ordering, stock rotation, and train your absolutley usless staff. If you give me free reign, I'll also increase your sales, reduce employee turnover, and lessen the odds that you'll kill someone through gross neglence. Sounds like a good deal to me.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Essa Al Zadjali, (Editor in Chief, and Owner of the Times of Oman) has excercized his right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press by publishing what is, quite possibly, his craziest "Viewpoint" article yet.
According to Essa, This whole Piracy nonsense was set up by the Jews to shut down the shipping lanes through the Suez Canal, thereby Financially Choking an already poor Egypt, and destabilizing THE ENTIRE ARAB WORLD!!!!!
The Editor in Chief of the Biggest English Language Newspaper Belives that Somali Pirates are actually part of a greater conspiracy by the Evil, Zionist Jews and the Evil Western Media. Why didn't I think of that? It's so obvious!
Israel is the main culprit behind piracy
Essa bin Mohammed Al Zedjali
A GREAT number of Arab writers and political analysts have not only accused Israel of sponsoring piracy activities that have recently been on the rise along the coast of Somalia but have also expressed their fears about the role of world powers in dramatising and internationalising the issue of security on the Red Sea in a way that gives Israel ample scope to further its own interests in the region.
The truth is that the Horn of Africa has not just been afflicted by the attacks of a few disparate marauders who surface randomly and try to make a fast buck through ransom. They are, in fact, orchestrated according to a definite strategy to control the navigation on the Red Sea.
The Western media has worked flat out trying to make us believe that a motley bunch of lawbreakers are behind the piracy activities and their aim is nothing beyond getting ransom.
The events on the Somali waters point to an Israeli hand, especially in globalising the issue of security of the Red Sea. The apprehensions raised to this effect are indeed legitimate, particularly when we take into account the theory of Israeli
security which is predicated on the idea of a Greater Israel extending from River Nile to the Euphrates as mentioned in the Protocols of Zion. This pernicious idea preoccupies the mind of each and every Israeli politician regardless of his party or the official statements he makes. Israeli politicians still believe in this theory and dream of making it a reality one day.....
Interested readers can read the rest of the tirade on the times of Oman Website, HERE
I want you all to Join me in applauding Essa Al Zedjali, Editor in Chief of the Times of Oman, for using front page space, on World Press Freedom Day to help spread ingnornace and hatred throughout the world with his Crazed, Psychotic, Paranoid rant on the evils of Israeli/Somali Piracy.
If he can write and publish these sort of lies and conspiracy on the front page of his newspaper here, then we really do have some astounding press freedoms.
What an ass.
I also want to know how anybody manages to meet him at a conference / dinner and shake his hand with a straight face. I couldn't.
Thanks to Muscati and Pinaki for the Link
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Because they have the most amazing playground I have ever seen in my entire life. Seriously, I like it as much as most of the kids playing there. The slides are terrifying, I thought I was going to die going down them.
We are going in the early evenings, and occasionally mid day, whe we sneak in via the stables in the park. We sometimes take a few table scraps to feed to the ten billion fish that are inhabiting the pond in the middle, and some carrots for the horses.
If you don't live near the Qurum Park, no worries! There are similar playgrounds near Mattrah in Riyam Park, Near Wadi Kabir, up the road from the Friday Market, and In Seeb at the big park near City Center.
Bravo Muscat Municipaplity, and Thank you!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
MODELS TESTED: 1990, 1995, 1988
This one will be a quick review. They suck. The transmission, clutch and drive train feel like driving a Mac Truck without a trailer attached. The Air-con leaves much to be desired, and I have never ridden in one that did not smell like petrol.
How landrover could make and sell such total heaps of shit for like, 20+ years amazes me. Ours was in the ship more often than it was out of it. They are ugly, uncomfortable, and hideously expensive to repair. They come equipped from the factory, at no extra charge, with bizarre electrical poltergeists. Ours actually caught fire, twice.
On the rare occasions when they are running, they are a hell of a lot of fun, with balls of steel and troque to spare. Since you have hopefully n ot paid very much for your disco, you can beat the hell out of it and not be too sad when you have to abandon it in the middle of the empty Quarter.
If you have one you can trust not to break down (or a convoy), they are great for family camping due to the acres of cargo space and excellent ground clearance. The visibility from the driver's side is pretty good, lessening the chances of running over your own children, or a Daihatsu Cappuccino.
But really, they suck.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
MODELS TESTED: SWB DEISEL 2006 LWB PETROL 1995
When they were issuing cars at work a few years ago, one of the cars on offer was a Shorty Deisel Defender. I had to have it. I tackled a guy twice my size, sat on his chest, and threatened to hock a huge loogie in his hair if he didn't give me the keys to That Awesome Truck This Very Minute. I got the keys, amazed at how quickly he handed them over.
My brain, awash in visions of being Laura Croft, Badass Woman of the Desert, Defender Driving Sex Godess, was far too stupid to notice that everyone was laughing at me, not with me. The next morning, starting at 04:00 we had to drive 1,000 kilometeres. It was about 100 kms into the trip that I understood why everybody was laughing.
A frequent and heated topic of discussion in regional Service Parks, Bars and Pit Garages recently has been the reasoning behind calling the Chevy Lumina, a Lumina.
Say it with me. Luuuminah. Lewminuh. Luhmina. Lumina. WTF?
What does Lumina mean? How many Hairdressers actually drive one? Could the bad name be the reason it has yet to take America by storm? The thing is insanely Popular in Australia, badged as a Holden Commodore. It has our vote for Most Effiminate Name for a car, Ever.
We beseech you, in your wisdom, to enlighten us on the reason for giving such a horrible name to an otherwise Balls-Out car.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I love my job, I love my coworkers, and I love that each day brings a new adventure and that I can flex my skills in so many different areas. However, I did 60 hours last week at my "part time" job, and I'm looking at aother 60 hours this week.
I am suposed to be a mother to the kids, a best friend and lover to my husband, and a helpful daughter to my parents, but the only ting I have time to do right now is work, and beg my family to help out with both the housework and fend for themselves.
We've been thinking about hiring some (2-3) people to help out with the new arm of the business, as well as to take some pressure off of me and the boss on the day-to-day adventures of the main business.
Lots of friends (internet and non) have expressed interest in the jobs, and all of these people are eminently qualified. As an added bonus, because they are clearly smart, hardworking folks, they would not be total screw-ups, or the sort of lazy, mouth-breathing morons who seem to show up to every interview I have ever conducted here.
The thing is, I'm not entirely sure I want to expose my friends to my co-workers. I love my co-workers, and really enjoy working with / for them. But there is this one guy who is Bat-Shit Crazy, and a total asshole. A raging, screaming, nut-job asshole. And I don't really know if anyone wants to take the kind of abuse he dishes out without running to the labour courts, as happens with almost every single new recurit we have hired and a number of complete strangers with whom he has had altercations. Thus, I worry that my friends would not be my friends anymore after experiencing even one total mental meltdown from him.
Don't get me wrong, I adore Bat-shit-crazy guy, and like working for him! He is really, really really good at what he does. Also, having spent most of my chef career working for a deranged and drug addled psychopath, this is business as usual for me. But I don't know if anybody else would be willing to take the crap he dishes out.
But I neeeed to work less. argh. The solution, is to hire a total stranger, I guess, and keep cycling through new recruits until we find someone tough enough to deal with the day to day crazyness.
OK. clearly if I have anough time to write this blog post, i am not as busy as I would like to imagine. I'm such a knob sometimes. Gotta go.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
As the song began it's 13th round on the PA system, I went to the counter and asked them if they could turn it down, or at least switch the song after every five repeat plays. And the guy behind the counter looked at me, shocked, and said "You don't like it??.. Whaaa?" He looked crushed.
What is the deal with the McDonalds playing 80's Power Ballads over and over and over again, at top volume, while the staff sings along?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
This week we are reviewing 5 popular SUV's favoured by expat wives in MQ and Qurum. The Toyota Prado, The Jeep Wrangler, The Jeep Cherokee, the Landrover DIscovery, and the LR 3. Strappy top, Oversized handbag, and snotty attitude optional, but encouraged.
Today, The pervasive and bland Toyota Prado.
The Toyota Prados I test drove were 1998, 2002, and 2003 base models. 2 stick shifts, 1 automatic transmission, all in pretty good shape and dealer maintained.
A Toyota Prado is the first car people will reccomend that you should buy when you move here. And why not? They are reliable, economical, great on graded roads and in the sand, and have an excellent resale value. They are also boring and ugly.
I really enjoyed driving the prado, despite it's hideous looks and the fact that it made me feel like a total gomer. Good power, prompt takeoff, easy to park, and excellent air conditioning. The Gearbox on both the stickshifts felt a little loose to me, but slipped into gear easily both up and down, allowing me to engine break my way down some very frightening roads.
The turning radious and visual feild is great, meaning that I could always get into and out of parking spots, regardless of how the ass-clown in the next space over is parked. The brakes are sharp and responsive, but the steering feedback leaves something to be desired.
All three models had gone through a few clutches, something toyota R&D might be interestied to know about. All three were also beginning to loose some of the rubber trim around the doors and wheel wells.
Inside, it seats 2 in front, and 3 in the back, and another two in fold-down seats in the way-back. Life is pretty luxurious for front seat passengers, but I thought the back seats were very cramped. The prado claims a carrying capacity of 7 passengers, but 7 adults would be deeply unhappy crammed into the deceptively small interior space. And lord almighty, it's boring to drive and look at.
The cargo capacity is ok for getting groceries and short camping trips, but not for moving say, furniture or a washing machine. A Nissan Pathfinder has better, and more usable cargo space in my experience. The controls on the dash are simple, easy to understand, and sturdy.
Getting your Prado serviced means taking it to Bahwan Toyota in Wattiyah, which is the closest thing I can imagine to the seventh circle of hell. Seriously, it is Craaaaazzzzy there. I highly reccomend that you, yourself, double check that they have done everything they claim to have done, as we have occasionally received a half-serviced car back. The guys who do the servicing and washing have somewhat sticky fingers, so don't leave anything you want to see again in the car when you take it for service. Given the thousands of cars serviced there daily, they usually manage to keep track of your cars, and have only lost (temporarily) two of mine.
Bahwan Toyota also maintains the database from which there is no escape. I once took a friend's car in for electrical work there, and to this day I still get calls from them asking if I would like to buy a toyota, and reminding me that it's time to bring my friend's car in for an oil change. Bahwan Toyota usually has any part you can imagine in Stock. Because they seem to have a good system for inventory control they can find your part within say, half an hour.
Tomorrow, Two Jeeps. After the weekend, Two Landrovers, and later next week, A tale of Two Chevys.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Scene: In the coffee room, with various associates, Stone enters, and overhears two of his more religous coworkers chatting. Coffee in hand Stone wanders over to say hello.
Long beard (LB): So I didn't have it ready for 09:00 But she didn't seem that upset!
Short Dish-Dash (SDD): But she has to present to the board this afternoon!
LB: I know, I thought I really messed up... Why is everybody so happy this morning?
Stone: Hey Guys, how's it going?
SDD: Stone, have you noticed everyone is really happy today?
Stone: Yeah, it's valentines day.
LB and SDD: So?
Stone: Well... you know...Valentines Day?
SDD: No... Um...
Stone: Well, Did you notice almost everybody was late arriving this morning?
LB and SDD: Yeah!
Stone: That's because usually on Valentines Morning you spend extra time with your wife.... You know, In Bed.
LB and SDD: Oooohhhh! <uncomfortable silence>
Stone: Makes you feel a little weird looking at your coworkers...
- I note that construction on the Minister of Tourisim's new house seems to have been halted. Is it realted to the investigation of OMRAN? Related to how she obtained the land? Related to the costs of construction and availability of qualified electricians? I have no idea.
- Stone suggested that we spend a romantic valentine's evening at the pub watching rugby. Despite this, I love him dearly.
- I am such an awesome wife, that I volunteered to cook the kids dinner and put them to bed so he could go watch rugby with the boys at the pub. .
- I got all four cars reinsured 3rd party. Stone's small, light 3.2 litre sports car cost RO170. My 6.0 liter, 2.5 ton extra-wide, extra-long tank which could take out a schoolbus if I let my attention wander for even a second, cost RO 65. WTF?
More soon, I really do want to publish a few used car reviews, but just have not had time.
Friday, February 6, 2009
We were invited to attend a lovely party last night. The great and the good of Muscat were attending, and I was super excited to go and put my best foot forward.
The theme for the party was black and white. I agonized all day about what sort of costume to wear. Should I go as a Domino? A Zebra? A bride? Ultimately, I decided to go as a Chef.
I Whipped out my lovely Chef's Jacket with my name embroidered on the front, I found some black pinstriped trousers, a super sexy long black apron with red accents, and put a black sharpie marker in the pocket for the final flourish.
Stone said I looked gorgeous, and truth be told I did look really pretty.
To my great horror and profound embarassment, It wasn't a Costume party. Everyone else was in black or white Ballgowns.