Friday, March 31, 2006
Anyway....have you ever seen the waiters and waitresses dance? Today was the first time I ever experienced that, and it was hilarious!
At one point, the music stops and they start playing some Bee Gee's tunes (Stayin' Alive, and I forgot what the other one was), and they dance! A choreagraphed dance! It's really funny.
I have been to the Johnny Rockets at Dubai Marina several times and never saw any dancing there. Is it something that happens in all branches or just at the MOE one?
Update: OK I should have checked out their website before asking any questions. It seems the song and dance thing happens everywhere. On their "Careers" section, they also ask the question: "When was the last time you found yourself singing and dancing at work?". So that answers the question.
I often get "junk mail" at my doorstep. This usually consists of flyers for restaurants or cleaning/babysitting services.
Last night, I found a leaflet, with a fridge magnet, promoting the services of the Cedars Jebel Ali International Hospital. Fine. No problem.
But something grabbed my attention. The leaflet's headline says "Mother's Day Specials". Umm...Mother's day? A bit late, don't you think, considering Mother's day was 10 days ago?
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
I don't know if you've seen it. It's an ad for Sony Ericsson's walkman phone. And I cannot stand it. Every time I see it, it makes me cringe!
The headline says "No place will ever be boring again". It shows a guy, behind bars, listening to music on his walkman phone.
There are so many things wrong with this ad, I don't even know where to begin!
For one, the whole concept of "Sony Ericsson will keep you entertained, even if you are behind bars" is simply bad. Honestly.
Secondly, you don't need to be a genius to know that no prison in the world will let you use a phone if you are behind bars. Trust me.
Thirdly, the guy in the ad annoys me. He is definitely not dressed in what I would consider to be "prison attire", rather, he looks like he just came back from the gym or something. It looks like he's trying really hard to show us his big, buff muscles.
I also have serious doubts that anyone who's behind bars would be smiling like that. Even if you gave them a Sony Ericsson walkman phone.
Yes, the UAE is way behind when it comes to creativity in advertising, yes, sometimes clients are difficult to deal with, yes, agencies should push clients to think outside the box, but seriously...this is just a bad, bad, baaaaad concept.
Monday, March 27, 2006
I finally watched Brokeback Mountain. I was really curious to watch it simply because of all the hype surrounding it. I still don't know whether the movie will be aired here in the UAE. The censor department or whatever they are called have not made up their minds yet, but if they do decide to show it here, then some "physical contact" and "boobies" scenes will definitely be deleted.
I liked the movie. It's not a "wow, what a wonderful, amazing" movie, but it's a good movie. The scenery is breathtaking, the score is superb, and the acting is very convincing. It must not have been an easy task for Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger to play these roles, but they were good.
The only critique I have is that I actually had a hard time understanding a lot of the dialogue. The heavy southern accent and the almost inaudible mumbling (especially from Heath Ledger...it often sounded like he was talking with cotton balls in his mouth!) made a lot of the movie difficult to understand. Maybe it was the quality of the DVD I had (and no, the English subtitle option was not available).
The most startling part of the movie was seeing Anne Hathaway, of The Princess Diaries fame, actually starring in her first non-miss-goodie-two-shoes role. She really went from one extreme to the other, with a very grown up scene with Jake Gyllenhaal's character (if you know what I mean....refer to the boobies comment above).
Overall, I would recommend this movie, if only for the stunning filmography. And although I usually hate reading a book after watching the movie, I think I'd really like to read Annie Proulx's book. That's if I can find it here.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Just like my father and my sister, I really believe a day at the beach is more therapeutic than anything else in the world.
I am really just trying to make all my Canadian friends (and yes, you too Habz) jealous :)
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Is there any regulation here against selling tobacco to people under the age of 18? And if there is one, is it actually implemented?
The reason I ask is because I was grocery shopping at Choitram's one day, and two teenage boys (probably around 14 years old) were buying cigarettes. The man standing behind these 2 boys actually asked the oblivious cashier "are you allowed to sell cigarettes to underage kids?", at which point the cashier asked the 2 boys "who are these for?", to which one of the boys replied "it's for my father".
Now, maybe, just maybe, the boy was actually telling the truth, but we'll never know. He could have been buying the cigarettes so he and his friend can go hide behind a building to smoke...
In the US and in Canada, if the cashier has some doubts about your age, then he/she has the right (or actually, is obligated) to ask for your ID. If he/she is caught selling cigarettes to an underage person, then he/she is awarded a hefty fine.
All this to say, a very serious awareness campaign needs to take place to educate all shopkeepers (everyone, from hypermarkets, to the smallest of bakalas) about not selling tobacco to anyone under the age of 18. Not an easy task, to say the least.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Jossy Cardoza, 30 years old, died on Sheikh Zayed Road while changing a tyre. He was hit by a car, speeding on the hard shoulder, trying to overtake another car. Jossy had only been married 4 months, and his young wife is now a widow because of some idiot, moron, loser, murderer...whatever you want to call him.
Ben Mulligan, 31 years old, was pushing a car, in which he was a passenger, towards a gas station after running out of gas. He was on Sheikh Rashid road, and got rammed into by a Bulgarian man who was speeding, and who is suspected of having been under the influence of alcohol.
Such a horrible, stupid way to die. Why? Because some idiots decide it's OK to endanger other people's lives?
Some advertising agencies and TV production houses are actually getting together to produce a commercial to help raise awareness about the issue, and will ask Dubai TV to air it. While this is commendable, it's just not enough.
If anything, I blame the police. No matter how much awareness is raised about reckless driving, no matter how much people complain about this, no matter how many innocent lives are taken, nothing will change unless the police are out there punishing the idiots who don't know how to drive. Fine them, deduct points, revoke their licenses, whatever! Just do something about it! Why aren't police cars out there patrolling the streets, making sure this sort of thing does not happen? Enough is enough!
Last night wasn't all that bad though, but still...I'd much rather go to a nice bar, with a bunch of friends, have a nice drink, talk, laugh....Or go to the movies....or invite people over for dinner....or be invited to dinner (I miss those actually....I used to love going to dinner at my friends' place when I was in Montreal. Ned, Chazoo, Jones, Catou, if you're reading this, you know I am talking about you, right?).
Anyway, that's besides the point.
I realised yesterday that men really do outnumber women in this country. There were probably 5 men to every woman at the club yesterday. Is it because there are really a lot less women here? Or because most young women are not allowed to go out because of strict parents? I don't know. But what I do know is that although the men outnumber the women in quantity, I am not so sure this is also true when it comes to quality.
I know there are decent, smart young men out there with a good head on their shoulders and some sort of a sense of humour. They must exist. I just haven't met them yet. Where are they hiding?
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
I hate all-day meetings. Clients expect things to move as fast as usual when we are away for a full day (and usually they are with us at those full-day meetings). How can this be feasible? Yes I do work with a team that I can delegate to, but half the team was in yesterday's and today's all-day meetings....and it's not fair to just dump all the work on the other half of the team (who already have enough of their own work!). Plus, it's just not the same when I am not there to push for things to happen. So I basically spent a lot of time SMSing people, and taking urgent calls, during my meetings! (not cool I know...I usually frown upon people who are glued to their cell phone, but I really could not do anything about this). Thank God Blackberry's are not used here! I can only imagine what it would be like otherwise.
But, on a more positive note, I actually feel more energetic today. I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe it's because the major project that has been consuming my days (and nights) is almost finished (although I'll hold my breath until next week when it will really be finished). But this is just an artificial light anyway, because I am already thinking of the 5 pending projects I haven't had the time to concentrate on.
Regardless, I am finally beginning to feel normal again.. Moving away from my "out of touch" mode. Going back to being "in touch". It feels good to be back :)
Monday, March 20, 2006
I have been averaging 13-14 hour work days. I feel like I am out of touch with the world because I wake up, get dressed (looking like a zombie), go to work, put out fires, follow up with incompetent people, do 3 things at once, attend meetings, constantly update a never-ending to-do list, reply to what seems like a billion e-mails, brainstorm, motivate, delegate, then I get home around 13 hours later, starving, prepare something to eat, lose my appetite while doing so, shower, read around 3 lines of a book or a magazine before dozing off.
I barely have time to do anything else, let alone read a newspaper...so I have no idea what's going on in the world. I barely have time to talk to my family, I am not seeing any friends, and am not partaking in any social activities. My room is a mess, but I have no desire or energy to fix it up.
I know I am complaining....I just needed to vent. I know there are always ups and downs and that this is an "up" phase that will pass. I'm just hoping it will pass sooner rather than later.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
I also wrote about seeing a horrific accident on Sunday morning while on my way from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. I had not seen much of what had happened (I am not a rubbernecker!), but I did see a badly smashed up mini-van, which made me feel queasy and bothered. Well, that very same accident has been featured in today's "Accident of the week". And it's really disturbing.
With idiots who believe that it's OK to tailgate a car, or to not leave enough room between themselves and the car in front of them when driving on a highway at breakneck speeds, this sort of thing is bound to happen.
Unfortunately, I am sure that these idiots do not even read Gulf News to begin with, so they don't even get to see all these horrific accidents.
Friday, March 17, 2006
It seems the Red Bull Air Race which was supposed to happen on the Corniche in Abu Dhabi this afternoon has been cancelled. The weather has simply been too horrible for them to be able to conduct the race.
Not only is it cloudy and extremely windy, it even started to rain a little bit now, so a decision has been made to cancel the race.
People have been waiting on the Corniche since 3PM, which was when the race was supposed to start (I can see them from my window). And the traffic on the Corniche actually equals the traffic you sometimes see in Dubai, believe it or not!
The one time something different happens in Abu Dhabi and it gets cancelled!!!
Oh, and by the way, happy St Paddy's day to everyone out there...Irish and non-Irish :)
Update: It seems the race was postponed until tomorrow (Saturday), 3PM.
Our pool is open!!!
I had posted about a month ago about Emaar re-opening the pools. I just didn't think it would take this long. Emaar initially decided to close all pools beginning February. So, a month and a half later, our pools are back. I'll have to go check it out to see what ammendment Emaar brought to the pools to make them safer, if any.
I don't see any pool supervisors, but I don't have a the best view of the pool, so maybe there is one but I just can't see him.
Regardless, the pools are open again...and not a moment too soon!
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
It's been one hell of a week at work. In fact I am still at work (10:21PM...I am waiting for someone to finish something so I can send it to someone else...yes, yes, I can just see it now, Sky posting a comment saying "maybe if you didn't waste your time blogging, you'd be home by now). I am just exhausted physically and emotionally. It feels like I am in constant battle with my clients (with one in particular).
I am a big believer in treating people the way I want to be treated. So I don't understand how someone you don't know very well decides it's OK to scream at you, or speak to you in a condescending manner, or threatens to pull a project from you if you do not deliver on time. That's really the wrong way to go about doing things in my opinion.
I have noticed that in general, things work out much better when everyone treats each other with respect, or when there is a genuine effort to reach a solution that will satisfy all parties involved. I, for one, do not mind going the extra mile (or the extra 10 miles for that matter) for clients who actually respect me, treat me nicely, and appreciate the effort I put in to help them out. And I do not feel any desire to help out a client who thinks he can boss me around or talk down at me.
I just refuse to have someone raise their voice at me, or talk to me in an unacceptable manner. Even my very own father does not do that, so who the hell do these people think they are to actually talk to me like that?
Things go so much better when there is real teamwork and partnership. Why can't clients understand that?
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Monday, March 13, 2006
They had apparently spent weeks chatting online, even discussing "racy" subjects. They finally realized they were mother and son when they decided to meet on a beach one night.
I walked out on that dark beach thinking I was going to hook up with the girl of my dreams. But when I got close... we both got the shock of our lives... All I could think was, Oh my God! It's Mama!"
Ahhhh...the beauty of internet dating. You never know who you'll end up meeting.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
But Abu Dhabi still has some really old buildings that are practically falling apart. Some are really ugly too and clash with the new, modern buildings that are a few meters away. One of these buildings has a shop on the ground floor called "Butt Sweet House", and every time I drive by, I can't help but smile at the name. Who on earth thought of calling a place "Butt Sweet House"? Hilarious! Here's a picture for your viewing pleasure...Oh and check out the jaguar!
Friday, March 10, 2006
Kool and the Gang were at the Dubai International Jazz Festival today. And they rocked! Woohoo!
They did such an amazing job, there was not a single person there who wasn't on their feet, dancing the night away. And the place was absolutely packed! There were definitely more people than last night.
The band delighted us for about an hour and a half with classics such as Fresh, Get Down on It, and Celebration. I loved it!!
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Just came back from the Jazz Festival.
It's the fourth edition of the festival, and the first time I attend. I must admit that I am pretty impressed.
The Jazz Fest is happening outdoors in Dubai Media City, which is great for me because it's right across from my work, so we just walked there. It's also great that some of our clients are sponsors, so we got to get in for free, and sit in one of the exclusive lounges that have a great view of the stage, and nice comfy couches (and free drinks!).
The music was purely Jazz (not surprising you might add, as this is the Dubai International Jazz Festival)...well, I am saying this because the Jazz Festival in Montreal also welcomes non-jazz musicians, so you get a bit of everything, including Latin, African and Arabic music.
Back to the Dubai Jazz Fest: the only negative aspect is that I felt that the event was a bit too commercial. Everywhere you looked, there was a logo, or a promoter handing out a flyer...I understand that such events need sponsors, but I felt that there was a bit of an overkill with all the branding that was happening.
But all in all, it was a pleasant and different experience. And the weather is simply perfect for such an event. So if you get the chance to, head over to Media City and check it out. Friday is the last day of the festival.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I don't get why they don't try to make the Oscars shorter, more fun, more dynamic. They could have easily shaved an hour off the ceremony, by removing all those long edits of old movies, or by removing the speech made by the president of Academy Awards association or whoever he is...
Anyway, here is the list of all the nominees and winners. And here is a very cool blog dedicated to criticizing what stars wear. Of course, the Oscars are the perfect place to gather juicy material about the stars and their sometimes questionable fashion sense.
Jon Stewart, host of the Daily Show, hosted the ceremony for the first time, and did a pretty decent job. The best joke of the night:
"Bjork couldn't be here tonight. She was trying on her dress and Dick Cheney shot her", in reference to the swan-like outfit she once wore to the Oscars. What the hell was she thinking?
Sunday, March 05, 2006
My friend S. was delighted when she found out her environmentally-friendly tip got so much exposure after part of my post about not leaving the water running got published last Friday in Emirates Today.
So here is Tip 2:
Topic: Plastic bags
Problem: Take up to 20-1000 years to degrade. Escape and float easily in air and water, travel long distances.
Result: Each year, one trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide (over one million per minute) and an estimated 100,000 birds, dolphins, seals and turtles die by mistaking them with food. Not to mention the eyesore as litter.
Tip of the month: Refuse, reuse or recycle! Refuse when buying items small enough to carry by hand, take out, shopping blabla. Reuse for garbage, carrying stuff. Definitely best to use a jute/hemp bag. The perfect accessory for the granny look - I hear it already.
Facts: A turtle mistakes a bag for jellyfish (its primary food source), chokes on it/gets intestines blocked. Interestingly, the dead body biodegrades, the plastic bag doesn't. Instead, it roams around again, tempting another turtle. A serial killer I tell you.
Plastic bags are banned in Bangladesh! (main culprit of 2 severe floodings)
A tax on plastic bags has been introduced in Ireland; consumption has plummeted 90 %.
Again, my oh so wise friend S. made me think. Why is it that we don't have paper bags here? Every time I go shopping at Choitram's, I end up coming home with 4 or plastic bags, big and small. Of course I do not throw them away, I keep them and re-use them, but I now have enough plastic bags to last me a lifetime!
Why don't grocery stores at least give the option to its customers to either pick plastic or paper bags. That could be a first step. And if anything, it would make plastic bag users think about switching to paper bags.
Anyway, from now on, I will try to avoid asking for a plastic bag when I only have a couple of items to carry. I already re-use plastic bags. I don't know about the jute/hemp bag....not because of a fashion statement, mostly because I doubt I'll remember to carry a hemp/jute bag with me when I go grocery shopping.
But I'll try S. I promise.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
The Oscars are taking place tomorrow, at around 8PM eastern time. And MBC4 is airing them live.
While I commend MBC4 for airing the ceremony the same day it's happening in the US, will anyone really be watching it? It'll be 5AM UAE time!!! What's the point?
I usually enjoy watching the Oscars, mostly because I like to see what the stars are wearing...the awards themselves are somewhat boring, and way too long! I've never watched an Oscars ceremony that lasted less than 3 hours at least.
Anyway, here's a list of the nominees. I haven't watched many of the movies that were nominated, except for Pride and Prejudice, Walk the Line, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Crash. All excellent movies (Walk the line was my favorite among all the ones I just mentioned).
It'll be interesting to see if Paradise Now wins. The movie about two Palestinian childhood friends who are recruited for a suicide bombing has caused a lot of controversy, mainly because it's been identified as a Palestinian movie by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Many Israelis have lobbied to have that label changed to Palestinian Authority.
More controversy was caused by the film Munich, directed by Steven Spielberg. This movie has also been accused by pro-Israeli groups of being too "pro-Palestinian", and of portraying Israeli security policies under a negative light.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Friday, March 03, 2006
Were the pools closed at the Meadows? I thought all Emaar-run properties were closed in order to make the pools safer. If this is the case then why weren't the Meadows pools closed?
By the way, our pool has not re-opened yet. Some pools in the Greens were emptied out, ours was not. There was simply yellow tape placed all around it, but people can still go to the pool area to tan if they want to. I am sure that this new drowning accident will only cause more delays in re-opening the pools.
The month of February saw an increase in the number of unique visitors that came to my blog: 2,681 visitors, compared to 2,176 in January. My number of hits has reached more than 4,300, compared to 2,900 less than a month ago, meaning more than 1,400 hits in just over 20 days.
Pretty cool :) Keep visiting!
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Four jobs that I’ve had:
- Computer consultant (at my university computer lab. Basically helped people with computer/printer issues)
- PR coordinator (my first "real" job was in PR....I didn't mind PR, but I hated the company I worked for)
- Account executive (at an ad agency in Montreal)
- Account Supervisor (at a magazine publishing company in Montreal)
Four movies that I could watch over and over (OK this one's really hard!):
- Bridget Jones' Diary (the first one)
- Love Actually
- Gone with the Wind
- Disney's Aladdin
Four places where I’ve lived:
- Beirut, Lebanon (well I was born there and left when I was 4....but it's still considered living there I guess)
- Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Montreal, Canada
- Dubai, UAE
Four TV shows that I like:
- Friends (I still watch re-runs)
Four places where I’ve vacationed:
- Paris, France
- Limassol, Cyprus
- Vienna, Austria
- Mayan Riviera, Mexico
Four of my favourite dishes:
- Seafood (yummy)
- Kibbeh (cracked wheat and meat dish)
- My pasta & olives dish
Four sites that I visit daily:
- Gulf News
- Statcounter (to check my web stats)
- UAE Community Blog
Four Books that I’ve read this year (seriously! NZM is right....It's just March. I haven't had the time to read 4 books this year yet, but here are the last 4 I have read):
- Deception Point, Dan Brown
- I, the divine: A novel in first chapters, Rabih Alameddine
- While I was gone, Sue Miller
- 99 Francs, Frédéric Beigbeder (OK I am cheating. Haven't read this one yet but it's next on my list after I finish the book I am currently reading)
Four Bloggers that I’m going to tag with this (there's no one left to tag! Who am I supposed to tag now??):
- Natalie & Robert
- I really can't think of a 4th one...sorry! But any non-bloggers who feel like answering this one, please do so in the comments :)
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
My friend S. has started a really cool thing. She has noticed (rightly so) that we do not do enough to help protect our environment. This is not news, but we all know the UAE is not an environmentaly-friendly place, what with all the building construction, car fumes, destroying natural habitats in order to build islands in the middle of the sea, etc.
She also realized that not everyone has the time, energy or passion to go out there and become an environmentaly-friendly activist....but that we can still all make a difference, no matter how small it is.
So, once a month, all of S.'s friends (including yours truly) get a newsletter highlighting a small tip that we can all apply in our daily lives. And I decided to share S.'s tips with you (S. I hope you don't mind!), because I think that although we might already know about some of the facts she states, it can't hurt to think about them again, and realise that each and every one of us can, in fact, make a difference.
So here is the first "You can make a difference" tip:
- When shaving or brushing your teeth, if the water is running: 15 litres get wasted for the teeth (10 bottles of water).
- Another 40 litres for shaving (26 bottles)
- A little math: 5L per min of running water. If it takes 3 min to brush, twice a day, every day for one year only, that's 10 950 litres - 7 300 bottles. For teeth only. ONE person.
- If the tap is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, expect to waste 10 220 liters of water per year.
So....next time you brush your teeth or shave, make sure you turn the water off. And make sure that tap is not dripping!
Oh and S., happy early birthday! Have fun tomorrow!
This article was published in today's (March 5th) Emirates Today. It's as if they read my comment about Nakheel's PR publicising their efforts to maintain and improve marine life!
Development giant Nakheel is to employ Japanese technology in an attempt to enhance the marine environment near its man-made islands in Dubai.
Abdul Rahman Kalantar, General Manager of Nakheel Planning, Infrastructure and Utilities Division, announced the venture after a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Taisei Corporation.
“Introducing seagrass plantation technologies can further enhance [marine life near the Palm Jebel Ali], providing a rich ecological marine environment in which fish and other sea life can thrive,” Kalantar said.
Seagrass is a crucial nursery for young fish and provides shelter to smaller marine organisms. It is also the primary source of food for the dugong, an endangered marine mammal that is known to inhabit UAE waters.
The marine system is vulnerable to changes in its environment, particularly when the amount of sunlight that reaches the sub-surface vegetation is reduced by sediment and dredging, as has been seen around the island projects.
The Japanese company and Nakheel will study suitable locations for transplantation trials on the sea floor around The Palm Jebel Ali. A similar project has already been undertaken at The Palm Jumeirah, which is reportedly doing well.
“Before The Palm Jumeirah site was developed, there were virtually no signs of life – 95 per cent of the grid survey points during the ecological investigations fell on bare sand or mud. Currently, abundant life is generating as a result of our marine projects,” Kalantar said.
However, Environmentalists have taken exception to Nakheel’s claims that its islands were built in previously bare areas.
“The Palm Jebel Ali... was built on a marine reserve that had some of the most diverse coral in the entire Gulf region,” said Dr Aaron Bartholomew, a marine biologist at the American University of Sharjah.“Nothing artificial can compare to what was lost. It is a drop in the bucket,” he added.