Category Archives: musings

The Greatest Race I ever Ran @TMFoundation

It seems fitting to get back into the habit with a regular post I would create, albeit this one is almost a year late.

Lots has happened over the past year, it took the rejection of an article by a magazine to send me in a downward spiral of self-doubt, however, the rut is finally over!

So, allow me to take you back a year, September 2016.

The location: New York City!

I had just recently taken part in my first ever ROC race (Ridiculous Obstacle Course). And on my first voyage across the Atlantic, what better way to mark arriving on a continent for the first time than by adding to my (growing) gaggle of Medals? I sealed the deal with two back-to-back races, the ROC race, and a 5K race called The Heroes Run.

Now, this post is about the latter, not the former, but the full story cannot be understood without a small visit to the first race.

Obviously, it wasn’t a “race” per se, it A LOT OF WATER, and sightings of Power Rangers, superheroes and team participants from the Legends of the Hidden Temple gameshow way-back-when.

Moral of the story, I got really wet, including my ONLY PAIR of running sneakers, but it was super fun!

Fortunately, our hotel stocked ad rags at the front desk, being the well read runner I am, I quickly placed rolled up papers inside the shoes, to aid the drying process.

Race day was quite eventful, it was the day before Eid-Al-Adha, where Abraham envisioned slaughtering his son, so I was fasting. I had checked out how to get to the race location via subway, however damn the New York transit system, I found myself lost. And with no internet whatsoever. Fortunately, I found myself on a road that showed promise of an open wifi connection, I quickly used it to call an Uber (which worked with my current cashless status).

I’d selected this race after countless emails back and forth, the first race I had booked turned out to not give “finisher medals” which was a huge no-no for me, as everyone knows, runners are bling whores, we need our metal baby. So I googled “heroes run medals” and saw a few, so I assumed they were finisher medals.

Boy was I wrong.

I’d also been trying in vain to pay online for the race, using every means at my disposal, 3 different mastercards including a US issued one, all to no avail.

I made it to the race, on an empty stomach, and much to my chagrin, was informed that the run would not have finisher medals, rather placement medals, for 1, 2 and 3, in each category (runners in Kuwait know that the categories are male and female only).

I kept praying to God to be in the top 3…

At the sound of the whistle (or gun, I honestly can’t remember from the adrenaline), I was off, for 1/5KM I was in the lead, I thought YAY! my prayers were answered. Little did I realize I celebrated too soon. No sooner had I thought (this is in the bag) was I disturbed by a surpassing runner. I agreed to secede for second place. No sooner had I thought that, runner #2 took over, all in all, 4 men passed me, and 2 women.

On the run back to the finish line, I was almost caught by two others, at this point I decided to throw down the gauntlet and run like I never ran before. So I did.

The finishers were being congratulated with water and refreshments, I was further downtrodden as I couldn’t even enjoy those (because of the fasting). Atleast the t-shirt looked amazing I thought.

The race distance and timing system were measured and timed by a true pro, who had Olympic events under his belt. Runners walked up to his tent and got a printed receipt with their exact time. I figured, why not. Might as well. No sooner had I received my paper did my eyes bulge out in excitement, for right there next to my name was the number 2!

I was Second in my age category!

Which resulted in this awesome piece of bling-age:

It also helped a lot that the medal had a Super Cool Design!

Sniffing out my faults

To err is human, to blame it on others shows true management potential.

That was a quote FB reminded me I had shared a few years ago, that possibly holds true in the following anecdotal scenario with a twist and a lesson to be learnt. So, let us commence with the story telling!

Yesterday, I found myself in a rare euphoric state of knowing my own mistake and laughing hilariously at the fallacy of my assumptions. You know what they say, when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me, me being myself. I mean, it is possible to mistake bad BO with the smell of rotting flesh right? Right?!

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It started off like any other day really, but to know the full extent of the story, we must go back a few days, just a few mind you, I will not bore you with the story of my birth.

(Trust me, everything is interrelated, and will come full circle at the end).

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My house electricity had been acting up, switching off completely at the most inopportune times. At first I dismissed this as the governments way of reducing the electricity bill, however later events would prove I was the only one being affected. (Story #1)

Earlier last year, having only lived in my apartment for a few short months, I came to discover a shocking revelation; the guest bathroom ceiling was leaking. Water leaking onto plaster makes for a vile combination of rot and decay.

illustrative purposes (not my actual ceiling)

illustrative purposes (not my actual ceiling)

The ceiling was completely demolished and left barren for the better part of 9 months, where I had to endure frightening sounds from above whilst attending the call of nature. Several visits from the plumber later, and our only option was to wait it out, for apparently my upstairs neighbor was renovating his bathroom which caused leakage through my ceiling. Fast forward to 2016, and a new aluminum ceiling was installed. With a light bulb in the middle. (Story #2)

Last week I had gone on a short trip to the motherland, the house was completely empty as my wife also traveled. Luckily (for her) I returned first, and was greeted with a smell most grotesque. Having gone through a ritual of watching horror movies with my visiting brother and his wife, the telltale signs of a haunting is the smell of rotting flesh. Which is what my house smelled like upon my return!

Fortunately for me, it was neigh a matter of demonic manifestation, but a simple power outage, that resulted in a power failure in the entire household, causing the fridge to thaw out. Word to the wise, never, ever, ever, EVER buy and keep chicken liver! My wife was fascinated by a recipe she learnt from a friend, and I would later learn that the blood content of liver is quite high.

Feeling nauseous, I set about the task of throwing out pounds and pounds of thawed out meats of all kinds, from bovine to poultry and aquatic. That left the simple matter of cleaning up the freezer, which I set to with Dittol in one hand and a handkerchief in the other. I thought my gruesome task was complete. I thought wrong.

Simultaneously, and quite unrelated (or so I thought), the bathroom had begun to leak again. Remember how I said the ceiling was aluminized? Well, the water flowed down to the middle, where it found a light bulb, and began dripping down said light bulb. Electricity, water…

electricity_water

So I called the hares, and he showed up with his assistant. Now upon entry into my casa, I registered BO. Naturally. There are acceptable levels of BO, and then there is the Seinfeld BO:

Now in my house, the kitchen (where my fridge is) is directly opposite the bathroom (where the leaky ceiling is). So the hares and his assistant were standing in the middle. Upon deliberation, they noted that there was nothing to be done in my apartment, and went upstairs and never returned.

I was left to my own devices, now every time I walked in the hallway between the kitchen and the bathroom, my nasal passage was assaulted an odor so ripe it can only be likened to the odor above. Beyond that, it resembled a rotting corpse. I went into a soliloquy about how one can be so unaware of ones odor, and even complained to my wife a few times. The smell seemed to center right between the kitchen and the bathroom. A brain-dead zombie-like spectre haunted the hallways, spewing its vile stench into any nostril that dare cross the threshold.

I kept looking around for any telltale signs that might have been left behind, a ragged cloth, a wet footprint, anything. To no avail.

At that point, my inner blood hound took over and I began furiously sniffing around the area, to detect the source of the malicious odor. I found myself sniffing behind the fridge. A faint scent! I sniffed down lower, lower, and lo and behold, I found the source of the discomfort!

When the fridge had thawed, all that blood and muck had to go somewhere. I was under the impression it remained stagnant on the bottom shelf. However, I discovered that the fridge had a drainage system, and a tiny, removable receptacle in the back that fills up with whatever enters that drainage. Now mostly it should be water. However in this rare occasion, it was in fact, blood.

I removed the receptacle and washed it profusely with Dittol, and even poured some down where I believe the drainage system to be to flush out any remnants in the pipeline.

And that is the story of how I falsely accused a haris and his assistant of smelling like rotten corpses, and discovered that fridges have a drainage system.

Now you know too.

Flipping the Bird in Kuwait

More often than not, we’ll find ourselves on the receiving end of a one finger salute, a flipping of the bird, a middle finger…

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When driving back home, I make sure to let any offender know exactly what I think of them (especially on crowded streets) should they have the misfortune of transgressing upon me.

Here however, I keep my windows rolled up and my fingers inside the car, so as to avoid landing on the wrong side of the law should the insultee take offence and attempt to press charges.

Believe it or not, insulting someone whilst driving is a punishable offence. It happened to me today (I refuse to call it Karma) and I did what any warm blooded person would do, I noted the car licence plate number and decided to attempt to press charges.

Went to the closest police station (walking distance) and recounted my terrible ordeal to the police officer, who asked me to wait for the Station Officer, who was not there. So I waited a little while then left, and returned later, adamant to see justice run its course.

The shift had changed and a friendly officer was seated at reception. I recounted my ordeal to him. His first reaction was to find out exactly where it occurred, so as to slide me off to a different police station (jurisdiction) but when I insisted he had it wrong, he told me that I could press charges, then a case would be filed, and I would have to go back and recount what happened, and they’d call the transgressor in for questioning, at which point he could say that it was in fact I who had done that to him!

I asked what he would do if he were in my place, he said if he were not in his uniform, he’d just ignore it and move on.

So I took a page out of his playbook and decided to let this matter go.

A word of warning though the owner of the vehicle with the registration 10-79134

الحياة خيارة، يوم في يدك، ويوم،،،،

cumber682_1129835a

(Do not attempt translation with Google – instead, ask you nearest Arabic speaking friend to explain)

How the internet helped preserve my Man-Card

Let’s face it, “man-card” is much more author pleasing than “manhood”, so here is the harrowing tale on how technology helped me save my dignity at the time of chivalry.

It all started one lazy afternoon, I was driving home from work where all of the sudden, I was met with a huge traffic jam. Frequent in Kuwait, so as always, whilst passing by the culprit, a rather bulky Hyundai SUV, I noticed two things:

a) there was a woman driving it

b) she had a flat tire, shredded was more like it.

Noticing her distress, and the fact that no one else was stopping to help her, and that she was alone. I parked a few feet away, removed my suit jacket, rolled up my sleeves and walked towards her, palms out to signal I meant no harm.

She rolls down her window, smiling. I ask if she has a spare tire (trick question) to which she replies, I don’t know.

(Now ladies, all new cards come with spare tires. It is not an option you can select or ignore, it is standard).

So I asked if I could check in the back, I go to the trunk and notice the first thing, the hydraulic system that keeps it up is broken. Crapfest.

Then I see that she does indeed have the tools for fixing a flat, so I rush to tell her that. The back area was bedecked with children’s bicycles (X2), school books and the cover for the back area, which I thought would work well to sit on whilst changing the tire.

So after clearing out the trunk, I lift it up to notice that, it’s an extra seat, and not in fact, a cover for the spare tire. I began to feel distressed, how would I tell this lady that I was wrong, and that there was in fact no spare tire in the car?

For some reason, I decided to inspect the undercarriage, and sure enough, there it was, all bedecked in dust and grime, the spare tire, hanging beneath the car. Of all the STUPID places to put a SPARE tire, the underbelly of the car has to be THE STUPIDEST! It is completely at the mercy of the elements! It can get punctured, torn, violated etc. and you would never know until it was too late.

Now came the conundrum however; how to REMOVE the spare tire.

This was NOT my first spare tire rodeo, I have changed countless tires, mostly for myself, but never was I presented with one beneath the car. I went about my neanderthal-like ways of trying to pull at it, to no avail. Then I consulted the oracle, the oracle known as Google.

Sure enough, there was a very smart way to remove the tire, which knowing now, makes me 10% less mad at the idea of a spare tire on the undercarriage. 5%. 2%. It still sucks.

I went about changing the tire, which was very difficult to do bedecked in shirt and tie, but I did it anyway. All the while the lady was on her phone, smiling.

As I suspected, the spare tire was deflated quite a bit. Not only that, it was MUCH SMALLER THAN THE REGULAR TIRE. The car would definitely drive lopsided. So after it was changed, I told the lady she needs to drive slow, no more than 50KMH, to the nearest tire place. She even helped hold up the back of the car as I started piling her stuff back into the back.

Going the extra mile, I noticed the suspension on which the spare tire was was now dangling like a pair of… from the back. So I tightened the screw to bring them back up, away from the road.

And that is the story of how the internet helped me save my man-card amidst a chivalrous act.

PS If you see a lady with a flat tire, help out. She may not have someone else she can depend on.

PSS If you’re a dude that cannot change a flat tire, hand in your man-card NOW.

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,,,

Happy Marty McFly Day! #BTTF

Today is the day! Any wishing to feel “forever young” might want to look elsewhere on the interwebs, as this post is bound to stroke the age strings from as far back as 26 years ago!

We are talking about the greatest trilogy (in this writers humble opinion) of all TIME, that inspired a cartoon series as well as rose to become a pop culture – Back to the Future!

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It all started when Doc. Emmett Brown invented a time machine. It was powered by a nuclear device he built after acquiring “plutonium” from a bunch of Libyan Terrorists (first prediction!) under the guise of creating a bomb for them. They find out they were duped, go back and kill him, Marty jumps in the “car” (aka time machine) and travels to the first time destination set by the Doc (after his wanting to visit “the birth of Christ” – yes my memory is that good) – the day he fell on his head in the bathroom and came up with the design for the Flux Capacitor, which makes time travel possible.

Fast forward to the end of Part 1, and we are left with a cliff hanger – McFly is going to the future, Back to the Future with Doc, who tells him, “something’s gotta be done about your kids!”

That date, set way back in 1989 when the film came out and set as 1985 in the movies timeline, is TODAY – October 21, 2015 – 30 years in the future!

bttf2_3478174a

We owned the trilogy on VHS back then; despite our chronological order, part III was mine, II belonged to my elder brother and the young one got part I. My favorite part was II because I always enjoyed seeing what the future would look like; I was under the impression that all of the sudden, in the blink of an eye, cars would fly, buildings would turn to metal, aliens would appear etc. Year by year I was disappointed, especially at the turn of the 21st century, the year 2000, I was expecting an end to all confrontations and the ushering in of peace and harmony, how naive I was, so, back to back to the future 😛

Now, why is everyone creating such a huge buzz around this? Simply put, this is one of the earliest pulp fiction fantasy time travel movies where we actually get to see the date they predicted back when! All other futuristic movies derive their plots from dates that are in the high millenniums such as 2300, 2600 etc.

This excitement is a mimicry of anyone that read George Orwell’s novel 1984, which was the authors prediction of life in 1984, written in 1949 (of course something great did happen in 1984 – my elder brother was born <3 )!

Another reason why everyone is going gaga over BTTF is that the writers, sharp as they were, ended up predicting some actual trends in 2015 – fancy that!

What I do not understand however is why the stickless segways are being billed as hover boards inspired by BTTF! I call BS…

That is  a tale, for another time, for now, we leave you with some of the greatest hits of BTTF:

And yes, the songs are in chronological order from part 1!

PS this post is issued 2 hours after the arrival of Doc & Marty from 1985!

Who still watches Music Videos?

Let’s face it, the house that MTV built was only good up to the 90’s.

We were all there (hopefully), we saw the height of video clips, with shows such as “the making of…” that always ended with “the world premier of …”, it was dramatic, it was art, it was brought to the limelight with performers like Michael Jackson (Thriller, need I say more?):

This was a movie in itself! Not a music video!

And who can forget “Remember the time” starring the Eddie Murphy as the Pharoah?

Nowadays however, most people mostly search for music on Youtube with the “lyrics” string in order to minimize its bandwidth usage, plus who has the time to watch video clips nowadays anyways?

Well, during a usual morning of streaming music with the “up next” feature switched on, and as I was flipping through my many open tabs I accidentally came upon the video of the song that was playing, now I’d definitely heard it before on the radio, but seeing it, my mind was like… wtf am I watching?

Seriously, WTAF is going on here?!

Hero or Villain? Coporate A**holery – The Origin Story

Corporate a**holery, a term I coined last month in this post, is the act of being a corporate A**hole, or refusing to brush things off as a one time thing and insisting on getting your just comeuppance.

I tried to wonder when my path towards corporate a**holery began, what was my trigger event that set me upon the path of demanding I receive my rights as a consumer. I thought long and hard, and finally, in a whimsical moment, the answer was revealed to me.

Eureka

It all started in 2006, when a young me ventured towards the Vodafone branch in City Stars Mall, Cairo, Egypt. I was but a wee stud of 20, almost upon graduation from university, with a dream in my heart and hope in my eyes. I stopped by Vodafone to pick up a recharge card. As I was short of change, I paid the man a LE100 note for a LE50 recharge, expecting LE50 in change. The CSR, a woman, asked if I had change, which I did not. She then proceeded to ask her colleagues for assistance. A shady looking character, bedecked in their uniform, came forth and produced notes that seemed to have been wrestled by him from the nether regions of street mongrel.

Not being a stranger to living in Egypt, where shop keepers have the right to refuse acceptance of notes deemed unfit for human consumption, a right they enjoy exercising with reckless abandon, I refused to accept the tattered toilet paper and insisted on fresher currency. My CSR, the woman, again looked distraught, to which point the shady individual comes back and asks me what I purchased, I told him it was a LE50 card, he asks for it back, then gives me back my LE100.

My initial reaction was shock. I walked out of the branch, by the time I got to the first left turn something snapped within my mind, and a path appeared. This was my calling. I would become the corporate a**hole and standup for the little guys like myself who get shunned from purchases by annoyed CSRs.

I turned in my tracks and marched back into the branch, demanding that Shady (lets call him that) reveal himself to me, I took a look at his name tag, made a mental note, then dialed customer service to lodge my first (of many to follow) corporate complaint.

A hero was born…

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Or was I a villain?

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You decide.

Kardastrophe – Why do we empower imbeciles like @khloekardashian?

The world craze of “following faux-lebrities” i.e the following of people without an ounce of talent or brains by people without an ounce of sense has taken a sharp turn (upward) since the invention of social media.

At the high of this tidal wave or tomfoolery is the latest sensation – Khloe Kardashian, whose number of faux-pa’s over the past few months has been staggering to say the least, earning her a top spot in “faux-lebrity f*ckup”.

Firstly we begin with Exhibit A – the Khloe Kardashian “Diet”, which entails no exercise or clean eating, unless you consider cleaning your food with windex to be clean eating. The diet consists of her eating what she can, then spraying the rest with window cleaner so as to prevent herself from eating more. Not only did she believe this “fad” to be something that can catch on, she goes and spreads news about it, with the entire world coming together to inform little Ms. My-Only-Claim-To-Fame-Is-My-Sisters-Porno-&-My-Dads-Vagina that half the world is living in hunger whilst she deliberately poisons food. Hey, how about wrapping it up “to go” and giving it to a homeless person on the street? Would that not be a better diet? (link)

Next up on her trail of blunder-dom is a bit closer to home, specifically the Arab World, whereby she posts a photo on instagram with her “Arabian Prince” with the caption “‘Happy halloween! We getting Arab money tonight,”, in addition to a not-so-savory comment about her “beau-sheikh”:

kardashian stupidity

(link)

The latest two are again in our neighborhood, specifically the UAE, and they have to do with:

a) Her posting a picture in a niqqab(link)

which in all honesty, is not so offensive as people are making it out to be – ergo we’re on the fence about this one.

b) Her selfie with endangered animals (link)

which should be viewed as both her fault as well as shed light on the exotic animal industry thriving in the region. Blame the root of the problem, not the outcome.

The very fact that her actions are making such reverberations around the world is proof that we have lost the will to read into “real news” and instead pamper ourselves with faux-news.

Here is hoping to see the day when media-outlets stop giving airtime to airheaded wannabes who add no value to humanity, instead continue to remind us that celebrity is a gift bestowed upon the untalented with reckless abandon.

And the real hypocrisy is that I am writing about this…

Slow week.

Happy Sunday.

Over & Out.

@The_Avenues – where Fast Food is Not So Fast!

Once upon a time ago I came to the abrupt realization that, despite its namesake, fast food is really not that fast.

To avoid giving anyone, as my good friend Noor would say, butthurt, we will refrain from posting a picture, and instead rely on words to paint this lexiconic portrait.

Picture if you will the following scene; you are hungry and feel the hankering for something greasy, fried and fast. You head to the food court at the Avenues Mall, the one near the Grand Avenues extension. You look to your right and find your chosen poison, and GREAT! no line! You think you will be done in record time, and mentally begin enjoying your meal, unwrapping your sandwich, tasting those succulent fries…

Your order is placed and the tray comes out, in record time you are given a smile by the cashier and your meal is ready to be carried away to be consumed. You turn around and…

You stop abruptly, your mental manger (Francais) erased as you realize the chaotic scene before you; tables strewn haphazardly across the area, chairs unceremoniously picked and grabbed and placed elsewhere, tables bedecked with leftovers and not a chair in sight, attacked by a different type of vulture – the chair stealer.

Yes, to anyone that has been to the Avenues food court, finding seating is a painstaking, time consuming task. Firstly, the area is underutilized with great expanses of open areas with no tables in them. Secondly, the seating issue is abysmal – there are never enough chairs.

At times you think you find salvation in the form of a table and chair in the corner, you rush there with hope in your eyes and saliva accumulating in your mouth at the thought of finally getting to enjoy your food which is slowly turning cold, soggy, lackluster… only to discover that this is the reject area, with broken tables and chairs placed precariously together feigning seating. For a half second, you contemplate shifting your weight to your right butt cheek in order to balance on the chair and placing your tray in your lap in order to consume your now cold meal.

And there in lies the trade off; for to go to the food court is to select quickness and variety, as well as bring relief to your purse strings by not being too expensive. However, the time factor during peak times almost makes the venture abundantly useless. Whereas on the other hand, if you opt for gourmet restraunts, seating is immediate – the selection is limited to their offering, and the price is up to your appetite.

However, you do settle the business of finding seating.

So what will you choose?

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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