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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Customer Satisfaction – Pizza-2-Go know it

Finally, someone understands the concept of customer satisfaction!

Here I am sitting at work, attending a training session, and wondering what to have for lunch. We decided earlier on Pizza and were going to go with Domino’s, but I suggested Pizza-2-Go (for obvious cost-saving reasons in that they have a 2-for-1 special all week, unlike Domino’s who only do that on Monday, bastards).

So, I sat down with my posse and we started dissecting the menu to see what we will be having for lunch. Unfortunately, they don’t have buffalo wings 🙁

I made a note of my overly large order (keep in mind we’re 12 hungry heffers), and took to the phone to place it.

(PS the pic was pitch black but I found a nifty prog that does photo edits!)

Please bear in mind that to this date, Papa Johns do not deliver all over Kuwait! Despite their being in the market for quite some time, they do not deliver to Shuwaikh.

Back to the topic; the guy on the other side was extremely pleasant, and joked about the abundance of spice-heavy pizza’s in the order. We took two of their economic meals along with a few extras. Overall, we’d ordered 4 large pizzas + 2 medium, 4 pastas + 2 bolognese and 1 fettucini, 2 orders of wedges and garlic bread, 2 cokes, + 2 Caesar salads and 2 regular salads. The grand total was KD29.750, well within the daily budget.

Now the order has been made, and I asked for a one o’clock delivery. They called up to verify my address, again, a pleasant voice on the phone, courteous and polite.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the following message on my phone a while later:

“Sir, again this is pizza 2 go reggai we send you extra 2 bottle sprite and 1 slice of cake for you. Thank you”

Now if that is not customer satisfaction, I DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS!

They are downstairs as we speak, and my mouth is watering.

Courtesy of KuwaitPaperDump, here is the menu. Do enjoy the pizza, it is light, and will not leave you feeling stuffed, unless ofcourse you stuff yourself, then you will be stuffed.

 

Linkin Park – The Catalyst

Linkin Park… FTW
God Bless us Everyone
We’re a Broken People Living Under Loaded Gun
And it cant be Outfought, it Cant be Outdone
It cant be Outmatched, It cant be Outrun
God Save us Everyone
When we Burn Inside the Fires of a Thousand Suns
For the Sins of our Hands, the Sins of our Tongues
the Sins of our Father, the Sins of our Young

Skype Vs. Nymgo – Which to Choose

I remember way back in the day, when mobiles were non-existent, and methods of communication were limited to phone calls on a land-line, the golden age of personal time, as now your mobile phone, which is as close to you as your internal organs, rarely leaves your hand, and it is highly possible to find a guy in the john and on the phone at the same time! We used to record tape messages for our relatives back home and send them via any travelling friend! Talk about out-dated information! Although it is rather cool to play those tapes now and hear how I used to sound 14 years ago!

Voice over Internet Protocol, that is the future of telecom today.

Is VoIP costing the Ministry of Communications? Yes. But, I believe in Laissez-Faire, a free market economy, survival of the fittest, and if VoIP provides me with the same quality of calls at a mere fraction of the price, then it has my full support.

But, which to choose? The two leading ones currently, in my honest opinion, are Skype and Nymgo.

A couple of things off the bat, these are not free. They are also not like PC-2-Phone or Net-2-Phone where you go out, buy a card, scratch, dial etc. (i.e. a neanderthal experience, and highly wasteful in time and energy).

So, before you choose a provider, make sure you have the resources to charge your account. Nymgo is now blocked in Kuwait, yet there are ways to bypass that block (not http://www.hidemyass.com/ , but a more professional method, follow me if interested to know 😛 ) and recharge it. I have a story about that which I will share in a moment.

So, the best way to charge your account is via Internet shopping card (better received through NBK banks as opposed to Gulf, because with NBK you charge it only with the amount you need to make a purchase, as opposed to Gulf requiring a minimum balance be maintained, I have another rant against The Gulf Bank, which is the worst bank in the Middle East, but I am saving that for another time). Using an internet shopping card is safer than using your VISA (Internet Shopping Card is a Visa Virtuon), in the unlikely case your transaction is hacked, the most the culprit can hope to steal is whatever meager amount you have in it, and via online banking and currency conversion, you can always put just the right amount for your particular transaction.

I digress.

Now, Skype Vs Nymgo.

Both sites are blocked in Kuwait, but to the internet savvy, no block can remain impenetrable.

Lets start with Skype. When I started using Skype, it was ok, I miss the opening theme to making a call, it was funny. However, more often than not, I would hear no audible sound from the other side, whilst the meter was running, meaning the call was connected, but the audio was not working. It happened on several occasions. And that was the main reason I decided to jump ship from Skype to Nymgo. Plus, Skype took a long time to connect the call, as in to hear the dial tone, and at times, the dial tone was not heard, and the call was picked up. So overall, it was messed up. Whether they fixed this issue or not is beyond me.

Phishers unfortunately prey on the helpless, and have moved to Skype as well, being a social platform. I did get one woman claim to be the girlfriend of my long lost relative who shares my same name (who incidently also shared my uncles name!), and had passed away, leaving a huge inheritance with no heir apparent. YAWN.

However, one thing I do miss about Skype is the SMS. See, with Skype you could link your phone number to your calling account, meaning when you made international calls your number would show up to your recipient. This worked with SMS as well. You could TXT someone for example, and if they simply clicked REPLY, it would reply to your phone directly (i.e. you do not look like a cheapskate sending messages from a website; and you end up saving on the cost of interational TXTs, a double entente).

Now, Nymgo. Nymgo surpasses where Skype fails, and fails where Skype surpasses. The calls are much faster, the dial tone is instantaneous. Its rates are less than Skype, by almost half, purportedly.
However, the txt messages show as being received from http://www.nymgo.com/, hence, your recipient would have to identify you, go out of message reading mode, and into message sending mode, find your name, type a response, send. Then, lather, rinse, repeat. A rather tedious process.
Now, Customer service at Nymgo is terrible. I recently had a problem with my payments. Reason being, I believe, the fact that my payments were coming in to their system through a Germany Router, via Kuwaiti credit card. They must have suspected theft. And they asked me for a copy of my passport, bank statment and credit card.
There responses are automated, and lacking of proper customer service techniques, of showing you a persons name, so as to atleast refer to that person on any future complications regarding the same issue.
Now, as to which to choose, the choice is yours, and yours alone.
Enjoy.

Special High Intensity Training – Do you qualify?

This memo will be sent out to all employees soon:

TO: ALL EMPLOYEES

FR: MANAGEMENT

RE: SPECIAL HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING

In order to assure the highest levels of quality work and productivity from employees, it will be our policy to keep all employees well trained through our program of SPECIAL HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING (S.H.I.T.). We are trying to give employees more S.H.I.T. than anyone else.

If you feel that you do not receive your share of S.H.I.T. on the job, please see your manager. You will be immediately placed at the top of the S.H.I.T. list, and our managers are especially skilled at seeing that you get all the S.H.I.T. you can handle.

Employees who don’t take their S.H.I.T. will be placed in DEPARTMENTAL EMPLOYEE EVALUATION PROGRAMS (D.E.E.P. S.H.I.T.). Those who fail to take D.E.E.P. S.H.I.T. seriously will have to go to EMPLOYEE ATTITUDE TRAINING (E.A.T. S.H.I.T.). Since our managers took S.H.I.T. before they were promoted, they don’t have to do S.H.I.T. anymore, and are all full of S.H.I.T. already.

If you are full of S.H.I.T., you may be interested in a job training others. We can add your name to our BASIC UNDERSTANDING LECTURE LIST (B.U.L.L. S.H.I.T.). Those who are full of B.U.L.L. S.H.I.T. will get the S.H.I.T. jobs, and can apply for promotion to DIRECTOR OF INTENSITY PROGRAMMING (D.I.P. S.H.I.T.).

If you have further questions, please direct them to our HEAD OF TRAINING, SPECIAL HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING (H.O.T. S.H.I.T.).

Thank you,

BOSS IN GENERAL

SPECIAL HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING

(B.I.G. S.H.I.T.)

Why India does not have Professional Wrestling

This is the unholy love child when Bollywood meets World Wrestling Entertainment, can you imagine sitting through an hour of this every week on TV?

I grew up watching Wrestling, despite the disclaimers, me and my brothers always tried this at home, a couple of years of chokeslams helped my younger brother be taller!

Our parents would leave us sitting with a crowd watching Wrestling outside the shopping centers in Kuwait City, we would even make a dinner of it and get Shawerma from a nearby shop, it was classic.

The sound effects are ………………….. (fill in the blanks)

Religion Vs. Science: Who is Winning?

Computers show how wind could have parted Red Sea

New computer simulations have shown how the parting of the Red Sea, as described in the Bible and the Quran, could have been a phenomenon caused by strong winds.

Seriously? Timing is everything, was it a mere coincidence that this event just so happened to coincide with the Israelites plight from the Pharoah? That must be when they conned the phrase “In the nick of time”.

63mph winds from the east could have pushed the water back at an ancient river bend

The LHC, thats Large Haldron Collider for those of you who have not read Angels & Demons, attempts to create “The God Particle“.

Two beams of particles will race in opposite directions around the tunnel, which forms an underground ring 17 miles in circumference. The particles will be guided by more than a thousand cylindrical, supercooled magnets, linked like sausages. At four locations the beams will converge, sending the particles crashing into each other at nearly the speed of light. If all goes right, matter will be transformed by the violent collisions into wads of energy, which will in turn condense back into various intriguing types of particles, some of them never seen before. That’s the essence of experimental particle physics: You smash stuff together and see what other stuff comes out.

 

Next thing you know, Science will be calling religious texts “Great works of Fiction”.

It is unfortunate that the Human Condition dictates to tear down one ideology for another. The state of peaceful co-existence is but a Utopian Dream, for in reality, we live in a massly Secular world, that prefers Facts over Faith and Blasphemy over Beliefs.

The Church tried to dispell science as witchcraft and wizardry in the Middle Ages only to have science come with Avengence this day in age, Ironic.

The phrase “heading to a hell in a handbag”, comes to mind.

In the war of the media, guess who is winning? As religions are too busy battling each other, they are unaware of the growing masses of those who believe in Science, or simply do not believe in God.

What is Wrong with the Arab World?

Like the carbon paper in a notebook, the Arab world has tried to be but a mere carbon copy of its Western counterpart, and failed miserably, blindly emulating ideologies without fully understanding them.

There are a myriad of cases to further commiserate the truth behind this claim; celebrities, local media, law enforcement etc. let us explore some of those now.

Celebrities and The Media; In the Arab world, we strive so hard to emulate our Hollywood counterparts, yet we fail miserably. Our “cinema” is a joke. Our “celebrities” and I use the term loosely, spit out a movie every public holiday, whereas in Hollywood, a film can be teased 3 years prior to its release.

There is no sense of Social Responsibility, with our “celebrities” lending their endorsements to food items and junk, where their Hollywood counterparts are actually taking interest in global events. Fundraisers, concerts, charities for those victims in Haiti, Pakistan, Katrina etc. When was the last time you heard of an Arab celebrity taking interest in the less fortunate? Giving up their free time to help those in need?

Never, all we hear about is their scandals and tax evasions, failed marriages and failure soap operas.

Angelina Jolie, the UN Ambassador of Goodwill, takes her job seriously. You can find pictures of her in Afghanistan, taking an interest in the plight of women there. What do we have? Haifa Wahbi is thinking about donning a veil. Adel Emam is or used to be an “ambassador of goodwill”, what did he ever do?

I believe the only person we can be proud of is Egyptian Actor Hussein Fahmi, who resigned that post [Ambassador of Goodwill] in protest of the UN’s inaction to halt the Israeli aggression against innocent civilians in Lebanon, especially the most recent heart wrenching Qana bombings that kill over 60 civilians, mostly women and children.

The movie World Trade Center (starring Nicholas Cage) was recently playing on MBC 2. Director Oliver Stone took the tragic events of that fateful day and molded them into a movie that is meant to inspire hope, and show the world exactly how hard the USA was hit.

Is it any wonder why they hate us? Children will watch this movie, watch how “helpless” the US was against these foreign harbingers of terror and destruction. In a nutshell, it elicits sympathy and empathy from the world. What of the thousands who die in Iraq as a result of those same harbingers? Afghanistan? Gaza? Are they not victims too?

The veil of secrecy and decency is pulled over our eyes, and we see not but failed, slapstick comedies or attempted thrillers. No one ever discusses the important issues. Our attempt at humor is dry and ill-mannered at best, and attempts to raise social awareness are so apparent in the scripts they come off as idiotic, if not moronic and completely out of character, with the actors going as far as to gaze off into the distant horizon, as if at some distant yet unreachable Utopia.

I believe the latest issue of the proposed burning of the holy quran is testament to my point. The entire western community condemned the acts of this lunatic; Public Relations at its best. Representatives of other Religions, other Government Agencies, NATO, the Pope, Secretaries of States, the President even! They quickly disassociated themselves from this madman. Had the Arab world, either as a whole, or separately, risen up to condemn the acts of those vile, wretched harbingers of terror, immediately after the happenings of that tragic day, maybe we Arabs would not be viewed as evil today.

Nut how could we? Would it not be hypocritical for a government to condemn the acts of such villains, whilst at the same time arresting a “wizard” and planning his execution? Or inquiring whether a doctor would be able to medically paralyze a person as a result of them paralyzing another individual in a fit of rage at one point in time? Or sentencing a 75 year old woman to lashing as a result of her entertaining unrelated male guests in her house?

Take for example the recent incident in Arizona regarding the legislation that would allow law enforcers to randomly stop anyone in the street and ask for their identification documents. They viewed it as a breach of civil liberties, and let us face the facts, when it comes to illegal aliens residing within a country, I believe the USA trumps all the Arab world.

Here in Kuwait for example, is it not commonplace for a police officer to stop anyone in the streets and ask for their civil ID? Or stop a bus at random and check that everyone has their civil ID? At times I would live in fear of going to the grocery store right across the street, for I would need to carry my civil ID with me, and losing it is a whole other hassle.

One time, me, both my brothers and a friend we hadn’t seen in ages were sitting outside our building near a shop that is adjacent to it. I was probably 12 or 13 at the time, it was late and we lost track of time, a patrol car passed by us and stopped, asking for IDs. Now, I was standing right infront of my building, but the officer wouldn’t allow me, a child, to run upstairs and fetch my ID. He even went as far as saying he could pin a felony on us and say we were attempting to break into the shop we were standing by.

Civil liberties?

Human rights?

Are these terms virtually nonexistent in the State of Kuwait?

Here is another example, also recently, a blogger posted a picture of a garbage dump near their house, and how a bulldozer would come in to take the trash away. Mere days after its posting, the trench is cleared out and filled, and the Governorate sends him a thank you note. Good, right? Something is being done? What of the residents of a building whose owner went as far as pouring CEMENT into the sewer system, causing houses to flood with filth, in an effort to get them to move out?

I believe the key word I am looking for is DUALITY. The existence of duality in the Arab world. The hunger of those who have to stand in lines for hours on end just to buy a loaf of bread that is subsidized by the government, which is not fit for consumption by swine, much less people? Whilst others host wedding receptions for their daughters by flying in catering from Europe. Unbelievable? Believe it. It is true.

We in the Arab world do not value human life. Is it not commonplace to find laborers on a building site with no hard hats? Forget about that, what about welders, handling flames that cut through steel cables, at an intensity of hundreds of degrees, with no proper eye gear, with those steel filings flying like a plethora of fire-flies around them?

There was a great show during Ramadan on MBC1 called 5awa6er, or خواطر for those who wish to view it on Youtube, and I was so shocked at the comparison of muslims in the arab world to their counterparts in Indonesia and Malaysia. We take Islam for granted; it is our historical heritage as opposed to actual way of life. Is it also not commonplace here to find a dictator of a CEO who cuts costs by underpaying employees and is extremely rude to his subordinates, prostrated on a prayer mat begging for mercy and wealth?

It has reached such a point as to people actually invoking the name of god and the idea of whatever is fated to happen will happen. Ask any foreigner in Kuwait what does the term “inshallah” mean. They will respond, “it is another way of saying you have a snowballs chance in hell.” Where in actuality, it means insha’a إنشاء “if wills”, allah الله “god”, if god wills. It is a more covert way of saying no. On 5awa6er, when restaurant cooks were asked why they do not wear gloves or hair nets when handling food, they simply answered leave your health to god, instead of the more logical, to me at least, explanation of them not making enough to cover the costs of these utensils. A moot point, yes indeed, but atleast it is more relevant than simply saying leave it to god.

I apologize, there has been and there are incidents of social and moral responsibility awareness through media, the very case I just mentioned was shown on TV, along with a woman who disrespects and torments her maid, not to mention the current ones showing how locals believe they can trample over the rights of expats. However, these are not endorsed by “celebrities”, and are shown in merely one venue. More needs to be done; it is not a hopeless case, but an uphill battle that with the proper determination and drive, can be overcome.

We need a dose or reality, social and moral responsibility. We must take a look in the mirror and see the problem, not ignore it.

In the Holy Quran:
[.. إن الله لايغير مابقوم حتى يغيروا مابأنفسهم وإذا أراد الله بقومٍ سوءً فلا مرد له ومالهم من دونه من والٍ ﴾[ الرعد:11)

[Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls) But when (once) Allah willeth a people’s punishment, there can be no turning it back, nor will they find, besides Him any to protect.] Ar-Ra’d: 11

So the question now is, are we blessed, or cursed?

We are all addicts, we just don’t know it

The 21st century is an amazing time to be alive, don’t you agree?

You have no choice but to agree. Think about it, remember those history lessons that taught how people used to live ages ago? Forget ages, let us examine a mere 50 years, in cosmic terms, less than peanuts. What did our fathers do to keep themselves entertained? They actively participated in sports. Why should we do that when we have the luxury of gaming consoles? All the excitement and adrenaline rush of an actual game, with less than 1% of the actual effort! And what is best is you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own air-conditioned house or plump couch!

What else did they used to do? Go out to restaurants. We can order in now! Why bother dressing up and hauling butt?

Meet friends through casual acquaintances and go out to parties etc. We have social media now, you can be sitting, again, in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by all the lovely gadgets and what not’s that make your life simple, and be conversing with someone all the way on the other side of the globe. A simple click of a button and a perfect stranger is not privy to all the information you wish to share, and then some.

Our fathers used to write letters and go to post offices? We have email and DHL, call them up and they come a runnin’. Whereas an actual letter is such a wonderful thing to receive, to keep, to cherish, to lock away in a box of memories, all we do now is type words on a screen and transmit that to anyone and everyone, it makes no difference.

That is basically it. McDonaldisation and Desensitization of the masses as a result of technology. We no longer have the capacity to engage in actual human contact, personal, one-on-one. Case-in-point, the Asian couple that let their newborn baby girl DIE, yes DIE, as a result of gross negligence as they were too immersed in playing an online game.

I have tried online gaming. It was an addiction. I would stay up for hours on end, bearing in mind that I taunted and poked fun at my friend who introduced me to it initially, calling it a lousy waste of time for the lazy masses. I was soon to join them.
Chatrooms. Big trend back when the internet came out, especially Yahoo! Chatrooms, those were amazing. I still remember my “alias”, my “alter-ego”, my “suave smooth operator”. I was 12 pretending to be 18 and getting away with it.
I joined facebook initially to reconnect with all my classmates whom had travelled to their respective parts of the world, as you know, Kuwait is a transient society, here today, gone tomorrow is the motto. But then it spiraled to those applications, the games, making friends with strangers, even meeting those strangers. Remember the case of the 20-year old Australian girl who met and subsequently was murdered by someone she befriended on Facebook, who claimed to be someone he was not? Does that deter us? No. You still have the masses on Farmville, Gangsters or what not. Is it a good way to spend a few minutes? Absolutely. However, those minutes have turned to hours, those hours into days, until you find yourself completely and utterly immersed in a world that is not your own.
We no longer talk to people verbally. Ever since the invention of the mobile, the vocal connection has died out, replaced instead by 160 characters or more. Which is understandable when talking text messaging, as more letters means more messages meaning more money, however, is it necessary to follow those same speech patterns when typing up an email? I no longer am able to distinguish whether people are just abbreviating words or whether they are plain ignorant, substituting there for their, they’re, your for you’re and your, even poses and pauses! Are we really in that much of a hurry, in our daily lives, have they spun so hectically out of control that we do not have the millisecond required to type properly? The worst part is, some people believe this is the language of the 21st century, and insist on using it in their everyday lives, even, say, when submitting a paper to a professor in university! I saw this with my own two eyes, the numbers replacing letters, the Zs instead of Ss.

But hey, it’s the 21st century right? Get with it or get out, succumb to the mass disillusionment and conform to the new system. Embrace the machine, forget about the red pill.

Wrong.

Would you believe that there are people now, who are making a living by deleting your online persona for you? And even counseling those who have lost precious data that is irrecoverable? Yes, they are making money out of it. They do what you cannot, they delete your facebook, your twitter, your blog. Have a look:

Based in the Netherlands, the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is a website that logs into your accounts and deletes all of your data, friend-by-friend and post-by-post.

We have dug ourselves into a ditch, and cannot get out of it. I admit, I am an email addict, I check my email maybe a dozen or more times a day. But I cured my online gaming addiction myself, and have never relapsed, despite the temptation.

Have you ever googled yourself? Pardon the humor in the question, but contemplate the reality of it. How much of yourself is literally out there for everyone to know? Despite its intentions, LinkedIN is literally a gateway into your autobiography. You detail every aspect of your professional life, in hopes of landing that dream job, oblivious to the fact that the information you share can be used for identity theft.
After all, the man in France who hacked Obama’s facebook or email did not do it through brute force, but rather common sense. He read Obama’s profile and guessed his password. How many of us use passwords that are a combination of our birthdays and nicknames, or worse, merely our mobile numbers? Or childrens names, or birthdays, or maiden names. The list is endless, and given enough patience, I believe all passwords are crackable as a result of googling ourselves.

How many posts do you make on the internet using one single nickname? You can find out so much about a person by doing that.

Not to mention the shamelessness-ness of people online. You may like S&M, that’s your personal choice, no one can hold it against you, except maybe in a court of law, but do you have to like the page “S&M” on facebook?

They even had a study on how people select their display pictures for their online profiles. We are literally studying ourselves as we move into this uncharted territory of humanless emotion and quick fixes.

We are the cure, we are the disease.

This will be my last post for a while, hope you enjoyed it. I believe I have left enough material to keep you entertained in my absence.

The Future of Gaming

As a child, I went through the normal progression of gaming consoles, started off with the trust ol’ Atari and its joysticks, playing that jungle boy game, the car races, and the the planes one too! My favorite was the hide-and-seek game.

 

Then, it was time for the old nintendo console, with the games on its memory and the brightly colored cartridges:

 

Funny story, I once let a friend borrow mine, and the idiot had to go and play mechanic with it, I have no idea what possessed him to melt the plastic above the power supply, where you would plug the funny cross-shaped adapter head with the several different shapes. But he did. So he was calling me up one time and my little brother answered so I told him “tell the guy to piss off and hang up on him”, and what does my young brother do? He literally tells the guy “Aymz said piss off and hang up on him”, neglecting the fact that the last portion of that sentence was an action, not a statement!

Then ofcourse, came the Sega! Enter Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Streets of Rage and most importantly, Sonic The Hedgehog!

 

Remember the different gamepads that came with the Sega? They had the extra XYZ buttons, as well as a control for quickness via six knobs on the gamepad. Good times. Simple times.

Then, it was time to move on to the PS1, with the first taste of Analogue and 3D gaming. I remember my first game was Resident Evil III, and I stayed up for hours playing that game, until my eyes literally, literally saw the whole word in pixelated form! I was addicted.

I stopped @ the PS2 for the sheer quickness at which games were developing. Now we have the Dreamcast, the Wii, the XBox, the PS3.

Now games are incorporating more than just gamepads, they have tennis raquets, boxing gloves, exercise mats, guitars, drum kits, dance pads etc etc.

What will the future be?

Heres a peak:

A buddy of mine who writes for Rated Gamer Gear pointed me to this wonderful website, which serves as a great way to vent and have a laugh at the same time! Please note that I do not publish websites haphazardly, and doubly check whether any link I show is tainted or not. I’m not the kinda guy who’ll send you to a website with a Trojan on it or something.

Without further adieu, the website is as follows:

http://shtukoviny.ru/orchestrion/

 

This is the website, just “touch” the scenery

For those of you too chicken to try it, let me explain: the website accesses your camera, and you are shown yourself amidst a plethora of objects around you. Your movement is translated into music, an orchestra (hence the word orchestrion), you can tap the clouds and make it rain, you can bash the drums and make them go BOOM, you can move everything on the screen, without using a gamepad!

So is it any wonder that, as a young tike back when the internet was first booming, and digital cameras were a luxury commodity, and the chatrooms were exploding with people wanting to share your world and see you irl, that I feel for the “your monitor is a camera” gag, and actually smiled as the monitor flashed and the picture of an orangutan showed up? I’m sure I wasnt the only one who fell for it! Probably the only fool to admit it though!

Imagine if the next console is basically just that, a console with a camera installed on it, and you are free to interact with the game in whatever which way you choose. Pushing aside curtains, punching villains, high kicks, scaling walls, the ultimate 4D gaming experience.

The future is now!

Toy Stores, The Missing Link

In this world, there are few places that make one feel at peace. Where your inner child is allowed to run rampant, and a trip down memory lane brings back all the nostalgic feelings that are the side-effect of growing up.

To me, that feeling of intent and calmness, so far, happens in two shop types: Toy Stores & Stationary Shops (Including Bookstores).

Salmiya Highstreet has two such toy stores remaining, remnants of the old block that used to house Baskin Robbins, Hardees and Tikka on the side, as well as the Family Bookshop on the opposite side, where I purchased my first Garfield book – Does Pookey Need You? After winning a discount ticket at the School Bazaar.

To me, these have always been a place of magic and wonder, where I would go to pick out action figures (lets just call them toys shall we?)  as a child. They always had more toys that I had pocket money to spend! It was such a treat to be greeted by a familar figure from a cartoon you were just watching.

The Mario Brothers Costumes!!

It is my sad duty to inform the masses tha Al Manara Bookshop on the other side of Salmiya near Wataniya Complex is no more. They have finally closed shop. There, where I spent countless hours pouring over magazines, comics, reading book jackets and once, buying Spiderman Trading Cards.

There was another equally great bookstore that was just across from Tikka in Old Salmiya, but it also died out too soon. I bought many a Valentines Day Card from there.

Memories are the sweet residue of history, left in our minds to remind us of how beautifully simple the world used to be, and how happiness could be found in a store, much like the Wonder Imporium.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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