Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Abu Dhabi Baby!

How about a Quickie?

Not that kind you perverts...

A quickie post. I'm in the UAE for work for the next two weeks. Work will be flat out, so this blog will be dead until April, I expect.

See you in April!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy

I am so happy that I wonder if I am on drugs. Really really excellent drugs.

What is making me so happy? My new neighbourhood is beyond awesome. It's like dying and going to heaven, only better.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Things to do with kids in Muscat, from the Ordinary files.

Oh My God. Have you guys been to Qurum Park? Have you been there recently?

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

Land Rover Discovery Review

THE LANDROVER DISCOVERY
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

Landrover Defender Review

Today, by popular request, what I am hoping will be a quick review of a Landrover Defender.

THE LAND ROVER DEFENDER
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.
Sexy or not, I would rather ride a bicycle 1,000 kms than do that drive in that truck again. I don't know if it had a turbo, but I expect not, since the lag was unreal. It took 5 seconds after I pushed the gas for the engine to respond with a whine, as we gradually accelerated up to a whopping top speed of 150 kms per hour. Downhill, with a tailwind. Foot jammed to the floor for 7 hours, it was the next day before I could feel my toes again. Not kidding, it was really painfull.
The internal controls have not changed in the last 40 years, which is nice. Everything inside the cockpit is easy to reach, hard to break, and no bullshit like radios or sat nav to distract you from the endless roar of the engine, as mile after mile of totally deserted road drags under your wheels, and your ass slowly goes from searing pain to blissfull numbness.

Offroad, and on the sand, both the SWB and LWB were great to drive. Fun, with strong feedback, and a great sound to the engine, you could run them up anything. I might be mistaken, but I think that Defenders are made with an aluminum body, so are light on the ground and they don't rust out. If true, that would be a serious boon in the Sabkhas of the Um As Sameem, or around here, since the salt seems to get into everything.

Another really great thing about the Defenders, is that they are simple, intuitave cars and thus really easy to work on, or repair with whatever shit is lying around where you break down. There's no Computer, No power seats, No button labled "Suck it" and no other crap that will break as soon as the warranty expires.

I have to admit, that despite the awfulness of a Defender, I did feel and look pretty cool. And I love a Deisel Engine. If I never had to drive more than 50 kms at a time, and if it cost less than RO2,500 I would buy one tomorrow.

An open Letter to Chevy

Dear Chevy Marketing Team,

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.

Best Regards,
Suburban Muscat

Monday, March 2, 2009

Briefly

Sorry for no the lack of promised updates / car reviews! I am really, really busy.

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.

:)