Monday, October 30, 2006


When I was still in high school, I used to live for books. I used to devour books. I used to read one book after the other. I'd read at night, in my bed, under the covers, with a flashlight. And whenever my father wanted to punish me, believe it or not, he'd forbid me from reading books.

No, I wasn't a nerd, but I just loved reading anything and everything.

Oh how things have changed! I now barely read, and although I try to make the effort to read a book once in a while, and while I do enjoy going to bookstores and buying books, I have gotten into the horrible habit of starting books and never finishing them...

It first started in university, where a busier social life, and the pressure of 5 courses a semester meant that I didn't read as often as I wanted to.

But then, when I started work in Montreal, having to commute around 40 minutes every day meant that I had the perfect opportunity to catch up on some reading in the metro and on the bus . This has obviously all changed here now that I drive myself to work.

I also blame the Internet for my lack of reading. I browse through so many websites and articles during the day, that I really don't have the energy and don't feel the need to read books at all...

And let's not forget blogging....oh my...blogging has opened up a whole new can of worms! Now that I've become a blog addict, I spend a LOT of time I could have spent on a good book catching up on the many blogs I enjoy reading instead.

And I am somewhat of a TV fan too....I just like coming home from work, and doing something that doesn't require any more of my brain cells...And with my recent obsession of series DVD's, I'd much rather fall asleep to an episode of 24 than to a book.

It's really sad, when you think of it....I have learned so much from books and it's in part thanks to books that was able to become fluent in French and English. And there are so many amazing books out there, I really feel like I'm missing out.

So...with the resolution of making more of an effort to read more books, here's a question to my (few) readers out there: if you were to recommend one book, just one all-time favourite book of yours, the kind of book you'd want to have with you if were stranded on a desert island, which book would it be?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My blog page...

My main blog page is not loading completely for some reason. There should be about 6-8 posts showing on the first page, but right now, there are only 2 of them showing, and the 2nd one is not even loading completely....

Also, some of my links are sometimes missing....why is that?

Are you experiencing the same thing on my blog? Could it be my new template that's wreaking havoc with my posts? Or is it a blogger issue?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

You can make a difference - Tip 7

A quick update on the last You can make a difference tip before we tackle this month's issue:

Cleaning up the oil slick on the Lebanese coast could only start after Israel began lifting its sea and air blockade (September 8). To date, less than 3500 of the estimated 110,000 barrels of oil that flowed from the Jiyeh power station's storage tanks have been recovered. The delay has caused much of the oil to settle on the ocean bed.

And now for this month's tip, courtesty of my friend S. : if we don't buy, they won't die!

When on holiday, you may come across tempting wildlife souvenirs that you have just got to keep off your shopping list!! Some are illegal to bring back, but more importantly, buying them contributes to the specie’s extinction and brutal killing.

One such item is ivory, the substance that makes up elephant tusks. Although CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) has banned ivory trade, elephant poaching is still rampant in both Africa and Asia to supply the huge demand for ivory products. Ivory is often carved into jewelry, chopsticks, hair slides, and ornaments.

Because ivory is sold so openly in some countries, you may not realize it is illegal to buy it.


A tusk is a living tooth; its extraction from a live elephant without putting it down is a very difficult procedure that requires medical expertise.

Before the CITES ban in 1989, poachers, in Africa alone, were slaughtering some 100,000 elephants a year.

The tagua nut, a type of hard nut, is gaining popularity as a replacement for ivory.

By killing only tusked elephants, poachers are allowing more tuskless elephants to mate. “Tusklessness”, once a very rare genetic abnormality, has become a widespread hereditary trait.

There used to be elephants in…Syria!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Feeling violated

An interesting article in today's 6Days, where a female reporter writes about her experience on a Dubai public beach during Eid (oh how brave she is!).

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about being able to walk without feeling like we are being undressed by some stranger's eyes. Well, now it seems women can't swim in peace either, with hundreds of men standing there, staring blatantly at half naked women, trying to brush against them and even trying to talk to them....

When asked why they behave this way, some men admitted to going to the beaches purely to gawk at women: "I regularly stroll around the open beach. I like to see beautiful women [...] I only look at them from far and if I really find them attractive, I go near them. There is some sort of satisfaction when I look at them" said Khalid Khan, a 36 year old married man.

That's why I never go to public beaches. I go to a beach to be able to relax and enjoy the sun, sea and sand....I would definitely not be able to relax if there are dozens of men walking around searching for the next victim of visual harassment. So, instead, I am stuck having to pay for a pricey membership fee at a hotel (or a pricey daily entrance fee of Dhs 150 or above on average), when I could be enjoying a perfectly beautiful, free public beach instead!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pink - U & Ur Hand

One of my favourite songs currently....and a great video too!

Eid Mubarak

Eid mubarak and warmest wishes to everyone!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Goodbye old, dreary template...

...hello new, light, airy template...

I decided it was high time I updated my template. My blog is almost a year old now, which is a great excuse for a makeover.

The old template was classy, but a bit too dark and serious for my taste. This one is not amazing, but it's lighter, more cheerful, and definitely more me. Plus, I love apple green :)

I wish I could be more HTML savvy, so I could add all sorts of bells and whistles to my blog, but this will have to do for now.

So what do you guys think?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

On a break....

The day after I posted my previous post about when Eid is happening, my company management announced that we would be getting Sunday/Monday off, regardless of when Eid is, and we'll also get Tuesday off if Eid is on Monday. So here's to hoping Eid is on Monday :)

...which, apparently, it should be according to this article.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

So when's it happening?

The question on everyone's lips today is: "when is Eid happening?".

People working in the public sector don't really care, they're getting most of next week off.

But for us private sector people, the question is an important one. Are we getting a 4 day weekend, or a butchered workweek?

The possibilities are as follows:

- Eid could be on Sunday, which means that we'll get Sunday and Monday off (hence the 4-day weekend, Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon)

- Eid could be on Monday, which means we'll get a butchered workweek (Fri-Sat off, work on Sunday, then Mon-Tue off)

- My company could decide to generously give us 3 days off (which is what my sister is getting...I'm so jealous!)

Surely, there must be a better way to decide when Eid is, other than waiting for the moon to make up its mind. I can't believe that with all the technology we have, the satellites and the telescopes, we can't find out when Eid really is?

It makes planning a long weekend so difficult....Sure, I could take Sunday off, regardless...but work commitments do not allow me to do that. This really sucks....

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It's gone again

Remember when I said winter was here?

Well, I guess it was just here for a short visit, because, we're back to hot, humid and sticky weather. Whyyyyy???

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


What on earth is Ruwaad? For the past couple of months, I've been seeing billboards and taxis with nothing but a logo (red and black) and the name Ruwaad.

I've searched the net, and couldn't find anything. Is it a company? A product?

My thoughts are it's another real estate company... But enough with the teasing already! A teaser that's there for 2 months is no longer a teaser! It's old news by now and by the time they reveal what it is, no one will be interested anymore.

Update: As an anonymous blogger pointed out, they have now added a line below the logo: "Iconic property developments". Huh? What does that mean? And honestly, couldn't they have come up with something better than adding a line below the logo? Maybe I had my hopes up too high...what could I expect from a company that had their logo plastered everywhere for a 2-month teaser campaign?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Emirates Toady

When Emirates Today (ET) was first published a year ago, I used to enjoy (and even look forward to) reading it. I enjoyed the format: short and straight to the point, more features, and more news written by locally-based reporters, rather than just syndicated columns from American and British papers.

I also used to enjoy the blog bytes column that used to be published every Friday.

Then, something happened around 6 months ago, and now, ET gets on my nerves. The articles have become uninteresting (case in point: this article), the format changed, the business section appears out of nowhere smack in the middle of the newspaper, and they no longer publish blog bytes (kudos to Gulf News for having started to publish blog bytes every Tuesday!). Their website sucked a year ago and it still sucks now.

An article in this month's edition of Communicate (I really enjoy Communicate by the should all read it) sheds some light as to why ET is going down the drain (they don't present it under such a pessimistic light by the way....that's just my take on the future of ET):

"One former Emirates Today editorial staffer says as many as 20 of the initial 45 newsroom employees have quit the paper since its launch one year ago. [...] Launch editor Jason leavy left in April due to a well-publicised clash with management over issues of censorship. Staffers there currently say things are considerably different under his successor, Heyam Abdul Hamid.

A few months after Abdul Hamid took over, a senior journalist inquired as to why a particular story was being canned. "She replied: 'it makes Dubai look bad'" says one person present at the meeting. [...]

Staffers have become complacent, says one current senior employee. "Why work on writing, subbing and designing a page three when you know that it will probably end up spiked? [...]

Claims of self-sensorship relate to a number of stories that received widespread coverage in other publications over the past year, including a piece on a taxi driver strike, the arrest of American rap producer Dallas Austin (despite an Emirates Today reporter allegedly having secured a jailhouse interview with the prisoner) and a story on an Egyptian property developer who left investors in the lurch with a failed property in Dubai Marina."

It makes Dubai look bad??? Are they publishing a tourist guide or a daily newspaper that's supposed to be presenting a balanced view of what's happening in the UAE? How will Dubai ever improve if no one reports about its mediocre side? What credibiliy do they expect to have if they keep writing about "fluffy" subjects, and ignore the ones that could really make a difference in our lives?

What a shame...It really started out as a promising publication...and now, it's promising to be just another boring, uninteresting, unreadable piece of poo poo.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

For when you have nothing to do at work....

....or if you're chilling at home on a Saturday afternoon, here are 2 cool, time-wasting and frustrating links:

I am still missing around 4 of them, despite my best efforts to search the net (can anyone guess what the green M&M with the purple dress is?)

And here's another one:

See how far you can go...I got to the halfway mark, then had to give up. But I have all the answers now :)


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blogger questions

I need your help please :)

How do I know to which post someone posted a comment, if it's a comment that doesn't refer to the subject of the post? When I get the comments on my e-mail, it doesn't tell me which post came on?

And what's the difference between regular blogger and beta blogger?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Will you just let me walk in peace?

An interesting article in today's Gulf News about sexual assault in the UAE.

I grew up in the UAE, and it's kind of sad when you realise that most girls end up growing accustomed to getting stared at, no matter what they are wearing. This behaviour, as despicable as it is, is a fact of life here in the Emirates. But what's even more despicable is when the staring turns into acts of lewdness. I have witnessed and heard so many's sickening really!

Consider these:

- We were walking out of a restaurant one evening, my sister, a couple of female friends, and myself. A car slows down, the man rolls down his window, his friend is sitting next to him. They start waving a stack of bills in front of us, asking "how much". I went nuts, and started screaming at them, in Arabic. You should have seen the shock on their faces when they found out we were Arabs. They drove away quickly.
Along the same lines, my sister, a friend and I were waiting for a taxi on Hamdan street in Abu Dhabi, and some guys pass by in front of us asking "fee shoghol" (meaning are you working?). Again, we scream at them...they walk away from us quickly.

- My sister was waiting for my dad to pick her up in front of her friend's house. She sees a man across the street, who starts touching himself, right then and there, in broad daylight. My sister freaks out of course, and goes running back inside the house.

- My friend, who had just arrived in Dubai, asks a taxi driver if she can smoke in the car. He says yes, but only if you sit in the front seat. She naively accepts. The driver starts telling her how beautiful she is, and starts touching himself. My poor traumatised friend could not do anything. The guy was driving on Sheikh Zayed road and she could not stop anywhere. She just called a friend, and stayed on the phone until she reached her destination. She threw the money at the cab driver and ran out. I wouldn't have even paid the guy, and I defintely would have taken his license place number and reported him....but she was too shocked to think of doing any of this.

- When we were in high school, the school bus would drop us off a couple of meters away from the house. On several occasions, a man would be lurking around, waiting for my sister to come home. He tried talking to her several times. My sister told my father, who then started waiting for my sister to walk her home. He saw the guy once, and threatened to call the police if he kept harassing her. He stopped coming.

- Just a couple of nights ago, as I was walking from my car to our building, a car slows down, the man rolls down his window, and he starts yelling his phone number repeatedly, telling me "you are most beautiful woman". I just ignored him and kept on walking.

And so on and so forth...the list is endless! It's really sickening.