Hark denizens, expats and locals! This blog is specifically for you! Kuwait's one-stop-shop for Intriguing titles that MEASURE up to the content. From social gatherings to local news, this blog has it all. The main aim of MyBloogle is to give you a good read, leave you with a smile, and hopefully have you tune in once again as a regular reader! Home to the Q8FootSoldiers running initiative in Kuwait!

Monthly Archives: January 2011

Bloggers Unite – for the Right to Freedom of Online Speech

Please pardon the quotation “Mark”s (geddit?) I am not fluent in legalese but have to word things very sensitively as a JiC.

*This is purely a work of fiction and has no relation to any events, past or present, real or fake*

(there we go, all nice and “fictional”)
It came to me in a dream once that a “Well known and respected blogger”, if not the most known, was being taken to court over a review written on their Blog.

A little Googling goes a long way, check out what pops up for the search string suing bloggers for reviews:

Four Questions To Ask Before Suing Bloggers
1) Are you prepared for negative coverage?

2) Is it really a problem?

3) Will legal action solve the problem?

4) Can you work with them rather than against them?

The whole idea of suing someone for having an opinion is ridiculous and lame, regardless of where it is implemented, and a sign of some Legal depts having way too much free time on their hands.

Now, said blogger would be gearing up to appear in court, from my limited but thorough experience with Law, thank you John Grisham for all those wonderful novels, I believe “they” will base their case on the sole fact that a video was made of the food preparation and that somehow violates their rights as an establishment, privacy laws etc. They will not be attacking the review itself because, it is just that, a review.

Kuwait does not have a resident critic, and they cannot be angered at one person voicing his opinion.

Given the recent events that are taking place, with emancipations and voicing of opinions to the highest levels, it seems a likely idea for people to follow suit, hypothetically.

This “hypothetical” watchdog that is planning to sue this “hypothetical” blogger in a completely “hypothetical” situation, should be informed by the blogging community at large, under their real names and not aliases, that such behavior is widely unacceptable and has already resulted in irreparable dammage to their brand identity, as one of the main concerns of establishments operating in the 21st century is customer feedback.

Have you never heard of the phrase, “the customer is always right?”

I believe that this country has a wide network of interconnected blogs, we are a community of sorts, of differents shapes and sizes, races and religions, tastes and preferences; this is a blow to the community as a whole.

So, as a community as a whole, a “hypothetical” action is required, of voicing discontent in a civil manner, by writing to the “hypothetical” watchdog and informing them of our “distaste” for the justice dish they are serving… No pun intended, honest!

The term “class action” comes to mind, a class action voicing of opinion, separately or in, groups? Together or at separate times?

A weekend is a great time to go to the mall, isn’t it? To get some fresh air, and get some things off your chest (and out of your wallet too, but that is another story).

Imagine if you will, a “hypothetical” situation, in which bloggers were able to identify with each other via, caps? t-shirts? similar color scheme? Who knows, and each would take it upon themselves to walk in line, single file, at regular intervals, into the focal point for the matter-at-hand, and voice their opinion, in a civil manner, to the intended person (not just anyone).

Wouldn’t that make the world a better place?

“That was, Cold Blooded… UNITY”

Spirit Real Estate Co. Dispirited – Goes Belly Up

You had to have been living under a rock during the March-May 2010 period not to have heard of, nor seen ads for, Spirit Real Estate.

It took the world by surprise; a company with an IPO open to all nationalities, not just Kuwaiti’s (for the less-financially inclined, IPO is Initial Public Offering, and that is the first selling of shares to the general public by a company at its par value [i.e. technically the cheapest price for the stock]).

The media influence was phenomenal; Linda was talking about it on the breakfast show, the papers ran several ads calling upon investors, street signs etc. the works. They went all out with media exposure.

It was also being audited by KPMG, one of the big four audit firms of the world. What could go wrong?

Sadly, everything turned out to be a bunch of bull-manure.

They were promising a 15% cash dividend on the first year of investment. It is now January 2011, I foolishly joined in May 2010, and the company lacks the proper funding to go through. I believe they overstreched their budget in terms of marketing.

At first I thought it must have been a scam; the website was rarely ever updated, the emails never responded and the telephones never picked up.

Fortunately, they are offering everyone their money back.

However, being the financially savvy person I pretend to be, I have to wonder, what about my cash dividends? I gave up the money I put into this scheme, and my opportunity cost could have been an investment elsewhere, but lets look at the risk-free rate of return, what banks would have offered, meagre as it may be, it was still an income.

I am also inclined to consider, what if they put all the money they collected as paid-in capital into an interest bearing account, or invested it through banks in the short-term, and kept the interest for themselves? Imagine, lets say for arguments sake that 1,000 people paid 500KD each to be shareholders; thats 500,000KD. According to the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, this amount would have netted them KD5,547.946 as a deposit in the Bank, risk free.

Whatever the case may be, they are offering all investors their money back:

They are situated in the Free Trade Zone, sharing an office with the Commercial Markets Complex.

Call them up at 22251856, show up with your civil ID, and reclaim your investment.

Conspiracy Sports – The Economics of Football part II

Last July I wrote a post entitled Conspiracy Sports – The Economics of Football (here) pointing out the fact that through-out history, victories have been attained by those who had just overcome adversity.

I will not repeat it, if anyone wants to read it, the link is mentioned above.

The thing is; I was going over this “Conspiracy Theory” with a colleague and they gave me their 2 Cents which I appreciated; maybe at times of adversity, said teams are more motivated to attain victory for their respective countries, and hence perform spectacularly in order to achieve victory.

The current sport in question is the Asia Football Confederation Cup, contested in Qatar, and the finals are to be between Japan, the Samurai’s, and Australia, the Kangaroo’s.

Personally, I’m hoping the Samurai’s grill up some Kangaroo’s, and that Saki triumphs over Fosters. Not for any particular reason other than the fact that I love the Japanese warrior sounding names, and feel they are a great team, and that Kawashima is a great goal-keeper, who has been doing his homework since their loss to Paraguay in the Round of 16 penalties.

BUT, BUT, BUT…

If my conspiracy theory is to hold true and prove correct, this is the pivotal make-or-break junction to it, Australia MUST win the match, given the recent tragedies that have occured with the floods.

So, now we watch, and wonder.

What will happen?

Statistics:
Japan has previously won the Cup on 3 occasions (1992, 2000, 2004), making them one of the Top 3 to achieve this (the other two are Saudi Arabia and Iran).

Australia has NEVER won the cup before, never even reaching the finals before, or even the semi’s.

More useful programs; WordWeb – The FREE Dictionary/ Thesaurus

Ever get the feeling when cruising the WWW that grammar and vocabulary tragically passed away when the internet became mainstream?

It has gotten so bad that Ministers etc (as I said before, I’m not really following that scene, I just steal the occasional glance at a newspaper) are debating the death of linguistics, and requesting that companies stop using the Franco-Arabic language in advertisements (thats the 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 amidst English lettering).

To be honest, I dont understand that language half the time, and end up feeling like a redneck hillbilly with 0 enunciation skills, I posted a while ago a picture I took on the 2nd Ring Road, and I had no idea what it read (thanks to the readers for pointing it out).

Also, there are a bunch of people who tend to over-articulate; instead of saying something like my stomach hurts, they’d say I have pains in my intestines, stuff like that.

Maybe I’m being all high and mighty, but there should be a common ground between those two. I detest reading things like “ur welcum” (obvious reasons), and the abbreviation of good into “gud” is just plain ignorant, and highly stupid. Good = 4 letters, Gud = 3 letters, is that REALLY an abbreviation? I’d accept gd even!

I digress, as always.

The program I wish to share this time (this coming after my announcement of wanting to be the Sports Page of Kuwait, now I am PC User Magazine) is WordWeb, a free (emphasis on free, i love freeware, I stopped using cracked software a long time ago for reasons that are not clear to me [zonealarm]) PC-based dictionary/thesaurus that is the solution to all your vocabulary woes (its even compatible with the iPhone!).
WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia. Features of the free version include:

Definitions and synonyms
Related words
5000 audio pronunciations
65 000 text pronunciations
150 000 root words
120 000 synonym sets
Look up words in almost any program

Once its installed (from here) all you need to do is hit Ctrl+Alt+W on any word you are wanting to understand better or even spell properly (you can highlight it or just keep the blinking word cursor near it) and WordWeb will translate/ correct it for you in a separate window. It even has the option of enunciation, showing you how to properly pronounce the word in question.

I use it alot, so much so that when I am on a friends PC and come across a word I do not understand, I immediately hit Ctrl+Alt+W and wait, only to realise that WordWeb is not installed there.

😀

Cleaning out the Clutter -removing duplicate PC files easily

Long story short: this article is about a program I recently found out about called Duplicate Cleaner (download link) a freeware program that scans your drives and picks out all the duplicate files, giving you the option of deleting them.
•The fastest free way to find duplicate files

•Award Winning
•Deep scan music tags – includes MP3, iTunes types and more.
•Delete, move or hard link duplicate files. Save disc space!
•Multiple language support.
•For Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
•This Duplicate File Cleaner is Freeware!

Now, my Story for those so inclined to want to read it:
I am not, nor have I ever been or will ever be, a tech-expert. I did not go to the Faculty of Computer Science or Info Tech, I am what you might call a tech-savvy user.

In a nutshell, I google.

Like most out there, I’ve been bit by the download bug, and have downloaded GBs upon GBs of movies, series, music, programs etc. It has come to the point where I have downloaded so much that I need external storage. And worse! When it comes to music, I cant remember where I saved whatever I want to listen to, so I end up downloading it again!

Eureka have a great offer atm; a sexy, 1TB “plug-&-play” external hard-disk, for 28KD!

P&P means it does not need an external power supply, as the first generation of TB HDs did.

I say sexy coz the one I picked up was red, and it comes with a nice satchel to put the HD in, and it reminds me of Iron-Man (that red!) so I called the Drive “Jarvis”.

Anyhoo, I digress.

My problem was when I put all my current clutter from my PC to my Jarvis, I found several duplicate files and was mentally taking note of where they were so I can delete em and save some space (coz trust me, 1TB is NOT a lot when it comes to me).

Whilst beginning this seemingly archaic method of file separation, i thought to myself, well isnt there a program that can do this for me? And go through my files and highlight the duplicates, instead of me doing it manually?

Ask and you shall receive! Thank you google.
Another nice program that cleans the arteries of your PC is CCleaner:
CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure. Easy to use and a small, fast download.

My Target Niche – to become Kuwaits Sports & Activities Blog

Last thursday I had the pleasure of receiving a tour of The 3 Club’s facility in Shuwaikh, which inspired me to take the initiative to focus this blog onto more sports related activities regarding Kuwait.

1) What I saw @ The 3 Club
The 3 Club is part of Extreme Sports. At their new premises located in Shuwaikh’s Al-Tilal Center, the vast space is put to good use, as an area is sectioned off for The 3 Club members (who enjoy a 15% discount on all items at Extreme Sports)

AL-Tilal Complex, Shuwaikh

Phone: 25755898/ 22254567
http://www.q8extreme.com/

You can get in touch with the co-founder Rabaa Al-Hajri via: rabaa@the3club.com



Extreme Sports is the one-stop shop for all cyclists
they even offer tailored bikes, as in to your specifications!
(I only recently found out about bikes being correct sizes)

What does The 3 Club offer?
If ever there was a case of you reap what you sow, this is it. The 3 Club is built on YOUR goals, and alligning those goals to their vision. It is a lifetime commitment to being healthy, as you are not partaking in one, or two, but three physical sports that challenge both the mind as well as the body.

Upon registration, your measurements are taken (some medical tests are required prior to screening) and recorded for historical purposes, much like “The Biggest Loser” (which I referenced, and Rabaa rebutted), it gives you the ability to map your progress and transformation. And transform you shall.

Not only are you supervised in each activity by a licensed professional from abroad, but you are also suggested a foot regiment based on your daily intake (none of that 0.5grams of cheese nonsense; real quantities that you can follow) that will help you achieve your target.

All classes are capped at 25 persons, to ensure that each person is properly attended to during sessions.

This requires a commitment as the group has morning meetings during the week, as in early morning, for runs etc. Time management is a trait you will adopt, free-of-charge!

One of their most nifty gadgets that really caught my attention was the tread-cycler (I will call it that as I do not know its proper name).

What it is; a brace for the backwheel of your street bike (thin tyres), it comes in two forms: basic and complex. Basic runs about 148KD, whilst complex is 248KD.

Why?

With the complex brace, you can plug it into your PC, and upon purchasing special DVDs available at the store (16KDish), you can virutally partake in any of the international cycling races such as the Tour de France etc. With the tread-cycler mimicing terrain and resistance to give you the feeling of being right there (now imagine this coupled with a big-screen TV, and you have your daily workouts!)

Plus, Extreme Sports is the place to go to sign up for this The Kuwait Charity Run

(I really wish they’d change that marsupial, it looks like its, well, pooping out the title!)

Second: AYMSTRONG;
Lead by the appropriated monikered “Kuwait’s Fitness Warrior” Yousef Al-Qanai, who shall partake in the Marathon De Sables, a six day marathon across the Sahara Desert in Morocco. He’s also spending his tuesday evenings helping make the Populace here a little bit more active.

Third; Gaelic Football.

A new sport being brought to Kuwait, which combines all of the following sports into one neat package: football, basketball, handball, rugby.

Don’t believe me? Watch this:

The group, newly formed (2 weeks old so far) meets every friday from 2 ~ 3 at the Kuwait University Football pitch on their Shuwaikh campus. The sport is A LOT of fun, and very worthwhile in terms of fitness.

After the gaelic football finishes at 3, another group take over the pitch and play regular football, everyone is welcome to that too.

I want my blog to be dedicated to such similar activities and events.

I want to be The Sports/ Activities page of Kuwait; not so much a reviewer of stuff like local football/ basketball matches, but a source for all the sports-inclined to check in with to find out how to occupy themselves from a fitness perspective.

Thats my Goal 🙂

Islamist MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei preaches Equality



my choice of images is limited by my imagination
and google search
as i am not a photoshop genius



KUWAIT CITY, Jan 19: Islamist MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei requested private sector companies on Wednesday to grant all non-Kuwaitis under their employment a bonus amounting to one month’s salary on the occasion of the national and liberation day anniversaries. (link)

To all the naysayers.

It has been proposed, so whether or not it is followed through is up to the Private sector companies.

However as we say in Islam الأعمال بالنيات
So for those who earn KD1,000+ a month, and are working for a DECENT company, congratulations you are getting treated like a Kuwaiti!

How to get Spyware Doctor for FREE – Legally!

Viruses are a thing of the past, at least if you are as diligent as I in not downloading executional files from questionable websites.

However, the internet has evolved, and now the aim is not to destroy your computer, but to constantly track and monitor your online behavior, to show you the relevant pop-ups, and to entice you enough to click on them (clicks = $$$).

So, what is Adware?
 Adware is software that loads itself onto a computer and tracks the user’s browsing habits or pops up advertisements while the computer is in use. Adware and spyware disrupt your privacy and can slow down your computer as well as contaminate your operating system or data files.

What about Spyware (think James Bond)
Spyware is a type of malware that can be installed on PCs, and collects small pieces of information about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user, and can be difficult to detect. Spyware is secretly installed on the user’s PC. Sometimes, however, spywares such as keyloggers are installed by the owner of a shared, corporate, or public computer on purpose in order to secretly monitor other users.

Think of Spy/Ad-ware as the lipids that block the arteries of your internet-heart, making it slow and unbearable.

You know those websites that offer to run a free virus check, and then upon finding a gazillion viruses on your PC they tell you to buy their software to get rid of it?

Gone are those days mein freunds!

Spyware Doctor is one of THE BEST programs out there. It constantly scans and updates, then deletes all forms of malicious cookies etc.
HOWEVER, if you simply go to PCTools and download the program, it will install perfectly, and scan, but then it will refuse to delete the contaminants unless you buy the full version.

Sucks right?

As they say, the best things in life are free, so follow this simple step:
go to http://pack.google.com/ (or just type google pack in google), and follow the instructions.

I had 2 threats and 50 infections on my first scan; my dads PC had 6 threts and 145 infections (@ 75% complete, I left it alone at that point).

FYI forums are a cesspool of spy/adware!

And remember; you heard it on iBlooogle 🙂

Addressing the 1,000 Pink Elephants in the Room

Being the astute student of current events that I am, it is impossible for me to turn a blind eye to the Kunation’s current juicy, topic of discussion. It is time to address the pink elephant in the room, the proverbial sword of Damocles hanging over everyone’s head.

The granting of KD1,000 as a gift from his highness, The Amir, to the Kuwaiti people. Rumor has it this amount is to be augmented by a further KD750 from one other official (The Crown Prince? I am totally unaware of the system after the Amir to be honest) and KD500 from another.

A purported grand-total of KD2,250, or roughly $8,000.

Now, let us begin the dissection.

First, it is a grand show of solidarity on behalf of the Kuwaiti populace. This tiny, minute country on the Arabian Gulf which boasts the world’s strongest currency.

What deeply saddens me though, is the reaction of the people.

No doubt many of you read the “other” blog (hehe, cheeky devil I am) and must have seen that the post dated January 17, 2011 has generated an overwhelming response from Kuwaiti citizens and Expats alike. There are several mixed views, from both sides ironically. Some expats are congratulatory, some are cautionary, others are speculative and wondering, “well where is our share?”. Perhaps most intriguing is the reaction of Kuwaiti Citizens who believe this further personifies Kuwaitis as being “lazy” and getting money for nothing, whilst others were quite receptive of the amount, vowing to spend it wisely, whilst others will blow it on accessories and what not. Perhaps the most disturbing comments are those of citizens attacking the complaining expats; there have been words tossed around such as “second class citizens”, and the most used line was “if you don’t like it, leave, you have no rights”.

It saddens me to read such comments, from both sides mind you, expats and citizens alike.

The problem is, the comments of the few which are spiteful, are always taken to be the general consensus of that particular faction, as they say in Arabic الحســنة تخــص والســيئة تــعم (please feel free to correct my spelling if I am mistaken). Those few expats who complain about their “dues” will reflect upon the entirety, as well as those few Kuwaiti citizens who brag, boast and complain as to how they will spend the money (albeit they may be joking), and the other few who took accusatory stances and condemned all expats as money-hungry blood-suckers who should go back to their own countries if they are not happy here.

I will not start with the cliché argument of “we are all one” and “flower power”. What I will say is, why do people take things so personally?

It shames me to believe that in this country that has come so far, this mentality of inequality still remains. And let me tell you, from the stories I have been told, it has come far:

My grandmother, god rest her soul, and grandfather, god rest his soul, came to Kuwait to work in the medical and educational fields respectively. I remember my grandmother telling me stories of how Kuwait was a barren desert-land, infested with mice and rats, with no running water in some areas. Stories about receiving postal letters, transportation, attending functions etc. really, Kuwait has come quite far.

Another view from the eyes of an expat; I have spent the better part of my 24 years of age here, I was born here, I was raised here, I went to school here, and I now work here. Kuwait has changed. The golden age would have been the 90’s, when rents were reasonable and apartments were spacious. Key in the construction bubble, and all the buildings of old which were 4 stories at best, 4 apartments to a floor, were razed and replaced with their gargantuan doubles, with half the space and double the rent. True, there are no taxes, but the cost of living in Kuwait has been steadily rising with salaries held stable, stale comes to mind.

An expat employee in the ministry of electricity has received the same salary, from before the Gulf war, till quite recently when the Cabinet approved their overdue increments.

Can you imagine that?

So, not all expats are living a high life of luxury, some of them are struggling, but that is not the concern of the Kuwaiti citizens (unless they add to that burden).

Expats are here in Kuwait by choice, not by force. We are all transients, so at one point of time or the other, we are all destined to leave this country or be buried here (as opposed to having our mortal remains expatriated). Whether it is living conditions, climate, education, work prospects etc. that keeps us here, it is unilaterally by choice. There is NOTHING wrong with going to where you get the most benefits. Not one place is perfect, so like they said, Kuwait is a paradise compared to other places, even nations such as the USA or UK. In the end, it is all relative.

On the other hand, not all Kuwaiti citizens are filthy rich and rolling in it, as many expats are inclined to believe.

The media has painted Kuwaiti citizens as being lavish live-style leaders, who spend more than they earn, take out loans to go on vacation, drive fast cars and live in large mansions.

“Cradle-to-Grave” benefits is a term used to describe all Kuwaitis.

However, even this seemingly perfect system has had unfortunate individuals fall through the cracks, as is apparent in the “other” blogs follow-up.

To some, that grant will be a welcomed respite, a breath of fresh air, a loosening of the strangle-hold of debt and impoverishment.

So why should the expats complain when the likes of these unfortunates receive this grant?

The minority (who represent the majority) will always feel like they’re efforts are unrecognized. The majority (who are a minority) i.e. the citizens should not take such feelings personally, as it leads to the breeding of animosity.

The reason I stopped viewing CNN.com was due to their bias reporting, and the fact that every ignorant hick who felt the need to parade their idiocy online were left unrestrained; it lead to several, disgusting comments attacking Islam, to which I said no more.

As a society, we are in need of restrictions, and guidelines. For without them, without authority, there will be chaos, as is evident by the overwhelming responses to that particular post.

Let not the deluded perception of a few tarnish the thoughts of the many.

In closing, a few passages from the holy quran:

{وَعَسَى أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ وَعَسَى أَنْ تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ} [البقرة: 216]}
        ( إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ )
قال رسول الله عليه الصلاة والسلام(كلكم راعى وكلكم مسؤولن عن رعيته) فيجب ان يعلم هؤلأ انهم سيوسألون عن تلك الاموال يوم القيامه فماذا ستكون إجابتهم أمام الله عز وجل قال تعالى
 (اليوم نختم على افوههم وتكلمنا ايدهم وتشهد ارجلهم بما كانو يكسبون)

And on another, completely unrelated note, The Ministry of Electricity and Water issued the following statement; 2013 power shortage imminent.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Live long and AYMSTRONG

Tuesday evening just got healthier!

Visionaries are those who etch the path for the rest to follow. They are the ones that climb the mountains and build the bridges for others to cross.

In that regard, Yousef Al-Qanai is a Visionary.

Having recently fulfilled his dream of securing a sponsorship from Nike (Ali Abdulwahab Sons & Co.) to represent not only the Nike brand, not only Kuwait, not only the Arab Nation but everyone who dared to dream, to aspire, in the Marathon Des Sables, a six-day marathon across the Sahara Desert in Morocco, Yousef is also giving back to the community.

Every tuesday.

Join his Weekly Workout by registering here.

Read a little bit more about previous Weekly Workouts here.

Let Twenty-One-One (the OFFICIAL Aymz descriptive term for the year 2011) be a year of healthy FUN.

FYI biologically speaking, our bodies will be more inclined to pass on this FREE weekly event, as the cold climate puts us all in a suspended hibernation mode, even worse, in an attempt to keep us warm, our body will be storing more fats. So we will get HEAVIER even if we eat the same normal rations, due to biology and lack of movement.

Sign up, and await further instructions.
Yousef will be there. Will YOU?
Two Hundredth Post 🙂

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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