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!

Yearly Archives: 2015

Instagram – The Selfish Kid on the Social Playground

download

Once upon a time, I remember waking up and suddenly finding a flood of “memes” on my Facebook page.

Soon after, all social media seemed to integrate, with overlaps all over the cyberverse. Click a link on Facebook and it transfers you to Twitter, and vice versa. And then there was Instagram.

And people thought it was good. Share pictures, write essays, use hashtags. It was a golden age.

Until we realize that Instagram is a very, very, very selfish app.

Unlike its peers, Instagram, or Insta as the cool kids are calling it these days, does not allow you to embed links, anywhere, except on your profile as “your website”, you try to enter a link in the description or comments on a photo, nothing happens. No blue font, no blue underline, seriously, it’s like someone killed the Smurfs.

Ergo, this leads me to conclude that in terms of a call-to-action app, Insta is thoroughly lacking.

Case-in-point, I am attempting to organize an event for next year, I did my due diligence, gathered data, created a registration survey, people signed up when asked via email or Facebook, however, on Insta, despite several reposts and “likes” on those reposts, nothing materialized in terms of new registrants for the event (free) or even likes on the events FB page.

The most people are willing to do on Insta is double tap the screen, other than that, it’s an instant waste of time.

For more information on our event, please click here

We are a group of socially active global citizens in Kuwait hoping to raise the awareness of the masses to embrace a more active lifestyle, and hopefully inspire them to in turn motivate others to take the “Sustainable Youth Pledge”, a document that will be circulated soon representing a promise from you to yourself to become more physically active, and what better time than at the turn of the New Year, Resolution season?!

This is our project, which will culminate in a never-been-done-before kind of run in Kuwait. The timing of which will hopefully be within the first quarter of 2016.
So sign up to participate in our campaign to raise awareness regarding the link between Mental & Physical health, community integration and fostering of global citizenry. Spaces are limited, sign up now!

To take part, please click here

The All-seeing eye of Facebook

all_seeing_eye

For the past 4 weeks, I have been spending 4 hours of my Sunday and Monday evenings at a program to encourage active citizenship.

The initial hype of nearly 20+ participants boiled down to 12 (of whom I already knew 3 previously) with 4 ideas to encourage active citizenship.

The topic of this post however lies not with the concept, but… the all seeing eye.

The eye of Facebook to be exact.

images

No sooner did I start attending this course, that the people in the course started popping up on my “Suggested Friends” list on Facebook, despite not interacting with them on any social media except,,, Whatsapp…

A dim bulb brightens…

Now do you see Alice, how far down the rabbit hole goes?

Coincidence? I think not.

Teetotal Kuwait – The Least Drinking Nation in the World

In a bizarre article recently published by BBC aptly entitled “Booze Calculator – what is your drinking nationality?” (link), Kuwait surprisingly pulled in at a good LAST PLACE making it the least drunk country in the world – even beating out Strict Saudi Arabia, which came in SECOND LAST!

Here are the statistics that favor Kuwait:

Kuwait drinking

According to survey data published by the WHO, about 1% of men in Kuwait had drunk heavily on at least one occasion in month before the survey, compared with about 0% of women. The global average is 12.3% for men and 2.9% for women.

The researchers also investigate abstention rates: 90% of those surveyed in Kuwait reported that they had not touched a drop of alcohol in the previous 12 months. The global average is 61.7%.

Kuwait drinking graph

How do we compare to neighboring Saudi?

Saudi Drinking

According to survey data published by the WHO, about 0% of men in Saudi Arabia had drunk heavily on at least one occasion in month before the survey, compared with about0% of women. The global average is 12.3% for men and 2.9% for women.

The researchers also investigate abstention rates: 94% of those surveyed in Saudi Arabia reported that they had not touched a drop of alcohol in the previous 12 months. The global average is 61.7%.

This is a delightful turn of events from Kuwait being named as one of the fattest nations on the planet (actually 9th – but Fattest in the Arab States):

Fat

click on table for full list

It is also interesting to note how some stereotypes turn out to be false. For example, the French are not the largest consumers of wine (with some stories purporting that it is even available in McDonald’s with meals), nor are the Russians the largest consumers of Spirits, and the USA are not the largest consumers of beer. See for yourselves:

top 5 drinkers

And there you have it! Although, a quick read of the Arab Times Crimes section shows a remarkable trend of moonshine makers and drunkards, however, compared to the global populace, Kuwait is still way behind in the curve.

Russel Peters NOT coming to Kuwait @vibrantinco @therealrussellp

*At least not officially*

Social media in Kuwait has been abuzz with the news that Russel Peters, the Red, White & Brown star that gives new meaning to self-deprecating, is coming to Kuwait:

Russel Peters In Kuwait

However, being someone who is skeptical by virtue of my profession, and judging by the amendment on the poster above (which quite frankly does seem a tad tacky even if it is meant to be a gesture of comedy), I took to the internet to check the comedian’s official schedule. Lo and behold:

Capture

As you can see, Kuwait is no where to be seen.

A few explanations come to mind, each worse than the next; either that Kuwait has yet to be updated on the official schedule, or that it did not warrant mention on the official tour as it is viewed as a pit stop before UAE.

Now, it seems pertinent to remind people that the organizers are the same as those that promised to bring Black Theama to Kuwait back in June, the event was postponed to August.

Since I got my refund back from the last event, I went ahead and booked tickets for this one as well, but I am not holding my breath.

UPDATE:

since the posting of this post, the website has now been amended to show Kuwait dates.

Whatsapp now allows Single Chat Mute

“There is no denying the power of peoples complaints in large numbers”.

Before we stood up in unison and said no to the constant barrage of tings and chirps brought about by multiple messages in groups, Whatsapp responded by silencing for a week, and now we have the power to silence these groups for an entire year.

Now, Whatsapp further benefit the masses by giving us the ability to silence certain chats, and not necessarily for malicious purposes – you could silence the chat with your BFF so as not to keep getting pings as you are already checking your phone for their response.

Whatsapp Mute

Traffic Fines on Speeding update in Kuwait

It has come to my attention in a previous post that traffic cameras around Kuwait are being “tampered with”, i.e. opened and examined frequently by authorized personnel from the MOI. It was happening too frequently to be malfunction repair. Just recently I came to the deduction of what was happening.

The threshold for speeding has been reduced and updated in all these cameras manually.

Case-in-point:

Traffic Fine

My latest transgression prior to renewing my car registration.

Location: 6th Ring Road

Speed: 136

Limit: 120

Fine: KD 20 for exceeding by no more than 20

Initially, I was under the impression that so long as you do not exceed 140, you are OK, and I have been doing this ages.

Now tho, it seems that the speed to not exceed is either 130 or 135.

You have been warned.

PS “اقوال المتهم” or “Statement of the felon” makes me feel like a murderer :S

Review of @Runq8Official 10KM run @ForwardInspire

The day has come, and gone, the most eagerly anticipated race on the Kuwait Calendar, boasting almost 2,000 active participants… RunQ8

From their humble beginning in 2010, where they started from the Scientific center, we were there, and now, 5 years later, we are still here, kicking tush and taking names.

From the archives of 2010

From the archives of 2010

 

Another archived shot (what the heck was I doing)

Another archived shot (what the heck was I doing)

So, with us, this race is personal. Its a commitment to always going the distance, no matter what. To high fiving/thumbs upping friends and strangers, to pushing ourselves beyond our purposed mortal limits, and to generally have a great time.

Now, the race was hyped up with the new organizer through various social media platforms, so the expectations were high. Day by day as race-day inched closer in our calendars, more and more announcements were made regarding sponsors, gifts in the goody bag etc.

As is our duty and motto, here is the review of the race:

Firstly – the cons:

a) Late start: last year (link), the race started at 9AM, this year it was 8:30AM, a step in the right direction however still not early enough as the organizers seem to be disenchanted with the effects of global warming. Temperatures are getting hotter. Accept it! Work around it! Start at 8AM – the universal early-bird time.

b) Short distance: by that we mean the distance fell short by 100M, last year it was overshot by 250M, which is ok. Falling short means that avid runners do not get to set a new PR on their GPS devices.

c) Water stations: runners need water to hydrate. We accept that. However, there are two sizes that are available – 500ML and 330ML, the later is more opportune as it doesn’t lead to water wastage. We understand that the sponsors provide the water but next time ensure they are informed to bring smaller bottles, most of the bottles discarded on the floor were 80% full. I even saw one volunteer throw a bottle towards a runner that had passed him. Quite dangerous.

d) The roundabout: at the roundabout near the final stretch of 300M to the finish line, there was no clear demarcation as to where runners were supposed to go, which caused me to crash into another runner as we dashed for the finish line.

e) The fairground: it was great that the organizers got more land this time around, however the stalls were too widely spaced (being down the side), the traditional circle encampment would have worked wonders.

f) Medical facilities: I foolishly injured my back attempting to entertain the people at the finish line. Alas, once more I was denied my opportunity to jump over the finish line and reclaim former glory from 2012, so I opted for a forward roll reminiscent of KCR half marathon:

can't find the actual rolling picture; didn't make an album of facebook, searched through all pictures back to 2012 and found this, sorry.

can’t find the actual rolling picture; didn’t make an album of facebook, searched through all pictures back to 2012 and found this, sorry.

However, I slammed my lower back onto concrete. When I went to get medical assistance, at the FSRI tent, I was told to stretch, put some ice on it, take ibrufen at home. You would think such pills would be available at the event, let alone redirect me to the ambulance if you do not have authority to pass out pills.

g) Finishers pack: one of the things that had me really giddy to run the race was this post by the organizer:

Capture

Personally, I was very excited about the bandana, and would have been quite satisfied if that alone was in my finishers pack. I do not care much for the baseball cap, I have rarely seen anyone wear it at any time during the year, I have the same water bottle from last year and only wished to have the bandana.

Unfortunately, the sponsor only made a few of each of the bandana, the water bottle and the thermal mug (not pictured above). So when it came time to divvy up the goodies, the bags became different. Maybe I am being childish, but I believe you should not advertise something that does not end up in every bag. In addition, sorry to say, to the organizer that added the pedometer, in the 21st century we use GPS and phones to calculate distance, not step counters.

So message to the sponsors, please make sure your “goodies” are relevant to the time period we are in, and don’t repeat things every year, there are only so many baseball caps we can leave in the lobby of our building before we are thrown out for littering.

h) The medal: by far the greatest pet peeve of the race has to be the medal. RunQ8 have made us grown accustomed to their innovative and “shiny” medal designs over the past few years, sparing no detail. This year however, the medal can be described as “Dull”. The ribbon itself was already fraying at the sides, and the reason behind white and navy blue ribbons is beyond me.

The medal is what remains 20 or 30 years in the future when the t-shirt is nothing more than a tattered rag we use to clean the kitchen table tops. It serves as a reminder of a glorious age and day when we ran for a cause.

Pro’s:

a) Return run was awesome – the 5K back: last year there was no organization whatsoever with regards to the return run, with walkers and strollers taking up 90% of the road, this year however, the police were on high alert and gave runners full access to the entire road most of the time, which was excellent.

b) Awesome shirt!

The finish line theatrics in all their glory

The finish line theatrics in all their glory

 

source of my power (plus notice the jump rope from the previous post)

source of my power (plus notice the jump rope from the previous post)

 

In case you did not know, your legs SHOULD NOT be in this position at the finish line!

In case you did not know, your legs SHOULD NOT be in this position at the finish line!

Special mention goes to:

  1. Greg Ziembinski – for continuously thrashing his previous years Personal Record and landing on 1st Place atop the podium. You gotta tell us your secret!
  2. Wendy Davies – the wildcard who’s back all the way from Saudi to run the race then fly home in time to kick up on the couch, grade papers and watch whatever it is teachers in Saudi watch on TV!
  3. Abdulaziz Al-Khamis – who not only ran the race IN COSTUME, he did so and ran back for his mom, who finished the 10KM (congratulations Mrs. Al-K), whilst pulling a quick wardrobe change and donning a shirt that read “World’s Best Mother #1044”.
  4. The “Faithful One” for setting a new PR!

 

Wearing your Jump on your Sleeve in Kuwait

Let’s face it; Winter is coming, and much like the searing temperatures drive residents of Kuwait into their Airconditioned homes, so to does Winter drive people towards radiators.

download (5)

A few elite warriors will choose to utilize this time however to expend their energy via exercise, most will choose running as their preferred poison, however there is another form of cardio that is great at burning calories, keeping you warm and scorching away your midsection to give you the chiseled abdominals you’ve always dreamed of!

How was my trainer pitch? Good? Bad? Ugly?

That exercise is jump rope. You can read more about the comparison between jumping rope and running here. But the gist of it is:

Jumping rope is a great calorie-burner. You’d have to run an eight-minute mile to work off more calories than you’d burn jumping rope.

Now, Mybloogle is NOT paid to advertise so we shall refrain from mentioning the name of the place DIRECTLY, however due to the extreme helpfulness and friendliness of the cashier-ette yesterday in taking my number to contact me when a product is available in more sizes, we’ll drop hints about their name. So, as I was passing by a Sports shop, which I Direct your attention to, I walked in and purchased a speed rope.

After a painstaking attempt to remove the rope from the shackles of its bondage to its packaging, I decided to strap the rope to my wrist like so:

DSC_4817

The thought of Lion-O, Lord of the Thundercats comes to mind

images (2)

Of course we will be sans the Sword of Omens, lest we wish to be deported for running with a concealed weapon…

Although…

tr401atg-w800h800z1-18193-dont-need-a-permit-for-these-guns__25519_zoom

Let’s Jump (lol) start the new running (lol) revolution.

Adding jump rope to your running routine can definitely end up making you a better runner, targeting different muscle sets.

Where the dead don’t know they’re dead yet – Kuwait City

The crisp morning breeze billows across the street. People go about their daily affairs, some grabbing breakfast, others anxiously awaiting their bus for their daily commute to work. An array of smells invade your nostrils as you walk amongst the tombstones, between the living and the dead, where the dead don’t know they’re dead yet.

Derelict buildings stand the test of time and trial, whereby some have given up and moved to greener pastures, leaving behind the remnants of their former selves, a shop sign, fixtures within the store, some even contain merchandise left behind in the flurry of relocation.

a dead fashion,,,

a dead fashion,,,

City of Ghosts (10)

Structural skeleton

Decrepit, with some deserted, others brazenly remain steadfast in their resolve to not relocate. Given the condition of the building, I shudder to think how the amenities operate. In their stead, I would knock down walls to my left and right, expanding my reach to grab other land, as it seems the building is almost completely forgotten by the owner.

City of Ghosts (7)

City of Ghosts (6)

Back in the day, when open space was a right to everyone and not a privilege. When parking spots were open and not designated.

City of Ghosts (5)

A conflicting tapestry of travesty, with the modern, the new, the living, rising high towards the clouds, interspersed amongst the decaying and dying.

City of Ghosts (2)

These hallowed streets, once paved with memories, now lie in ruin.

The Panasonic shop where we bought our first Sega Mega Drive II in the 90's

The Panasonic shop where we bought our first Sega Mega Drive II in the 90’s

From the distance, the towering giants stare down, eagerly anticipating the day of their demise, for from their ashes, their brothers and sisters shall rise.

It is only a matter of time,,,

It is only a matter of time,,,

@Gulf_bank 642 Marathon Review @ExtremeSportsKw @q8sportsevents @gulfbank642

It was a glorious day. The second 642 Marathon to be held in Kuwait, for everyone that doesn’t recall, on this very same day last year I wrote the review on the last 642 Marathon (link).

As many of you readers are aware, I will inject a bit of my own personal story with the marathon amidst my review, as well as put in the opinions of my fellow runners on things I did not witness (but they do sound great).

For any race to truly improve, the thoughts and troubles of the participants have to be taken into consideration; our observations last year can be summarized as follows:

First: start time of the Marathon (42KM).  NOT FIXED.

Second: usage of cones to properly segregate the full-side of the road. PARTIALLY FIXED

Third: GPS Signal inside Mubarakiya. RESOLVED

Fourth: the re-run of distances for the 42KM. NOT FIXED.

Fifth: Sharp turn atop bridge on return run. RESOLVED.

Sixth: Energy Gels. NOT AVAILABLE AT ALL.

Seventh: Roads Opened. NA

So here we go:

The Con’s:

FIRST: Everyone was expecting the race to start at 7:30AM, whereas the FB event had the run starting at 8AM, we started at 7:57AM.

SECOND: LAVATORIES! For the love of all things holy, we are NOT CAMELS! I can run 21KM without needing sustenance or nourishment, anything past 27 and I would need water. Those running 42KM, and especially those coming from abroad to take part in an official marathon in Kuwait, expect the creature-comfort of porta-potties along the road. I saw many a runner stop and enter the nearest landmark in desperate search of relief. Cabins along the way are a necessity especially for the full-marathon runners.

THIRD: demarcation. I was relieved (not that type of relieved from the point above) to see that the turn-around towards Mubarakiya at the roundabout was split with cones to show people where to go and separate those running toward Mubarakiya and those running back. However, when all the runners finished the stretch in Mubarakiya (where GPS signal remained strong btw) and were running back toward the roundabout, there was a clash of sorts between those heading towards and those heading away, I had to clap and shout to get walkers to not cross in front of me, as I was veering left toward KPC.

FOURTH: overeager volunteers. It is great to give up your time to help others out, but if I am trying to run, please do not stand in a cluster or in my path to give me water; stand to the side, I spent most of my time running past stations shaking my finger that, thank you, I do not need nourishment.

FIFTH: road condition. A friend of mine ran the half marathon barefoot. I shudder to think what he went through, given that I, depsite wearing shoes, felt uncomfortable on the road, the stretch from after Souq Sharq all the way down to KFC, due to the fact that the tarmac was not flat in all cases – it was jagged. Given that this event gives so much revenue to the organizers, is it not possible for them to request the government to ensure the road is properly taken care of? (You can disallow this as a complaint on the race itself as it has more to do with the government).

SIXTH: no energy gels. Period. Not even at the half marathon loop around.

SEVENTH: Marathon start time. I noticed that as the first of the marathoners returned, the stands off giveaways and food were almost depleted (keep in mind the first to cross the finish line for the marathon took 2hrs47mins, whereas some took longer than 5hrs). THE MARATHONERS NEED TO START EARLIER! The organizers are interested in a giant crowd for the sake of the media, but if we look at the numbers:

5K – 380 males, 394 females (TOTAL: 774)

10K – 421 males, 205 females (TOTAL: 626)

21K – 245 males, 81 females (TOTAL: 326)

42K – 57 males, 11 females (TOTAL: 68)

GRAND TOTAL: 1,794

The marathoners represent 3.8% of the total participants, even if you ask them to run on the sidewalk if the police do not allow you to close of the roads from say, 6:30AM, have them start ahead of the crowd! It is extremely unfair that those that pay the highest fees end up getting nothing in the end in terms of food and beverage. In addition, at the beginning there is a huge crowd at the finish line to motivate runners, those that need the most motivation (having run 41.9KM by the time they reach close to the finish line) had little to no support! And speaking of nothing, we look at …

EIGHTH: the goody-bag. Last year there was none, not even a shirt. This year, a shirt, a small sandwich, coupons (seriously?) and that’s it. I believe the organizer needs to work hard on their ability to “give back” part of the fees as gifts to the participants (case-in-point – RunQ8 – they’re giving a pedometer this year,

NINTH: the medal. The medal has a great design, and this year the colors were changed so that the medals do not repeat last year. Those that did half and full marathons have the option to put their time on the medal itself. Last year stickers were given to the finishers. This year however, no stickers were available. I asked at the finish line and was told to go to registration, I went to registration and was told to go to the finish line.

TENTH: T-shirt sizes. When we registered, we were asked to select a shirt size, which puts us under the impression that said shirt in said size will definitely be claimed by us as prize. Once the runners started pouring in, the later you came the less likely you were to find your selected size. Which is kind of strange, should it not have been placed in my goody-bag, with my bib number as a way to identify that it is my selection?

ELEVENTH: location, location, location. Sure, the bridge makes for a great starting line picture, even good to start going downhill, but after a long run, be it 10, 21, or 42, running uphill is severely exhausting. In addition, whilst participating in the RAK half marathon in 2012, I remember reading a magazine about how the race is recognized by the world as an official half-marathon, and it stated certain prerequisites for the race to categorized in the world, one of which I believe was that the path should be scenic for the participants and the elevation should not exceed 5M. Especially given the fact that the race can always start on top of the bridge and end on the other side (where the fish market is). It boasts an expanse of flat land.

TWELFTH: trash. After reaching Souq Sharq once more, runners had to navigate around the walkers and strollers, and also avoid slipping on the array of plastic containers strewn haphazardly all over the ground. One particularly disturbing scene was after a water station, the amount of trash was unbelievable. There were only a few scattered cleaners attempting to pick things up. Firstly, organizers should place bins strategically along the race to prevent runners from chucking their garbage on the street. Secondly, participants should NOT litter. Third, if both first and second options fail, then the volunteers should attempt to keep the trash on the side of the road.

The Pro’s

FIRST: the changing of the map. Last year, something strange happened. The date selected for the run coincided with the walk for Diabetes, which started at the Yacht Club and moved towards Souq Sharq, whereas we runners were going the other way (towards McDonald’s), this lead to a very perilous situation whereby the walkers had occupied the entire road + sidewalk, forcing runners to maneuver through them. This was mitigated this year by having the long distance runners head toward KPC for a good stretch, making our run towards Salmiya only until Friday’s, circumventing any clashes. Good job!

SECOND: medical attention; a friend of mine told me how his shins/calves had been acting up on the run, when he informed the peeps at the water stations, one was kind enough to provide a spray that quelled the pain. So again, good job!

My story:

12242196_10156315303360604_191485580_n

Ever since I was diagnosed with “splay foot” I dialed back my running. I still signed up the half marathon in an attempt to motivate myself to reclaim my former glory. My practice runs were abysmal to say the least; when running a distance in excess of 15KM; the first time I tired out at 12KM and spent the rest walking, the second time I made it up to 16KM and trotted the rest. One week before the race however I attempted to do 18KM and trotted after 7KM. All my times were around 2hrs10mins. When push came to shove though however, on race day, I found myself scoring the distance at 1hr47min45secs. Last year, I was at 1hr46mins44secs.

12231178_10156315303330604_2059148173_n

So congratulations to everyone that ran that day, regardless of distance or time. You won!

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
error: Sorry, Ctrl+C/V disabled; if you wish to use this content please contact us :)
%d bloggers like this: