I rant you risten

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

K9 Conversations

1. On the topic of capital punishment that took a little twist:

You know I feel that capital punishment is ok for pedophiles..

Yeah I can see that, that’s fine with me, they can die by lethal injection.

Know what’s weird? How come most pedophiles are men? you rarely hear about a woman molesting children.. That’s psychological gender difference right? Most of the cases you hear about involve a man molesting children… but it’s never like a woman would go and grab her stepson or her daughter and do wicked things to them..

Well how about these sexy 23 year old female teachers molesting their male students in junior high and high school.. how about them? Are they fair game under capital punishment laws?

That’s not molesting.. You’re just cockblocking.. Don’t playa-hate on the little man.. ‘nuf said..

I think so..

2. Conversations with our resident MD back for a week:

So what’s new in the world of medicine.. How’s the hospital?

I just finished doing rectal surgery, I’m done with assholes..

Amen brother, amen..

I had this one case where the ER doctor tried to pin an impacted patient on me.

What the hell is that?

Well it’s basically when a patient gets way too constipated and even enemas don’t work.. We call it impacted (backed up), meaning a manual extraction of excrement is required..

Wait you mean?

Yeah, rubber gloves, insert hands into the rectum and extract whatever’s blocked up in the lower intestines.. they tried to pin it on me, but I sidestepped that one..

That’s a relief, what do you have next?

Breasts, I’m doing breasts next… no more assholes for me..

Looking forward to hearing about mammaries and areolas..

3. A slightly inebriated afternoon conversation after walking into a friend’s living room:

Look, look at him passed out on the couch in front of the TV.. we should do something to him.

What do you want to do?

Go get some tissue paper and some moisturizer. And leave it next to him..

Then what?

Then we flip the channel to hardcore gay porn and hide the remote control, minus the batteries. Either he wakes up and freaks out looking for the remote control, or his pregnant wife walks in on him passed out from masturbating to porn. Whatever the outcome, we win either way.

Yeah lets do it.. wwwaaaiitt.. just a minute.. all fun and games aside, he is the revenge specialist. Remember what happened to ustaz. He’ll get you back when you least expect it. He lives for revenge, we’re basically giving him the opportunity to let his twisted revenge oriented brain run free. If we cross this line, there’s no turning back.

Vodka tonic before we mull over our fate?

Now you’re talking

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Our Man Davis Part 4

go back and read the beginning part 1, part 2, & part 3...

Three drinks ago Davis and Viv met up with Hanson at the bar of the centro restaurant, a swanky rat pack inspired joint with black and white pictures of dead mobsters adorning the walls. It was quite obvious to Davis, three drinks ago, that Hanson has a thing for Viv. In fact, it was also quite obvious to Davis that Hanson not only has a thing for Viv, but that there was also some sort sordid history shared between the two.. Standing tall with his footballer’s physique, stories about smuggling Cuban cigars into Miami by high speed motor boats, bar room brawls in Bangkok with juiced up trannies, wrestling dwarfs for money in mexico city – Hanson played the part of the archetypical male that Viv would fall for – not your average Joe. It was through this insecure discomfort that Davis found himself on his third glass of Speyside single malt; and with hints of jealousy brooding his thoughts he orders his fourth.

Hanson knew what was going on with this granola looking tree hugger. After their acrimonious breakup, viv wanted something easy, something predictable, something she could control, and that’s why she’s dating this… this guy. From his mannerisms and small talk, Hans quickly singled him out as a phish listening pot smoking homemade bread-baking ex-hippie who probably made his own compost with all the fruit peels and biodegradable garbage in his house, or some shit like that. The fact was, and still remains that this guy has no idea what he’s gotten himself into with Viv, but Hanson knew only too well. His whirlwind romance with viv led them both onto a path of wild jaunts, strange brews, mind-altering drugs, and forged press passes. In the two years that they were a couple, they gate crashed some ridiculously insane parties; made wild animal love at sunset, atop the observation deck of a skyscraper; hauled lobster traps to see how tedious of a job it really was; get arrested a couple of times; and get a number of stitches to just name a few.. good times he thought.. real good times..

Not wanting to keep Davis feeling uncomfortable with Hanson’s brutish talk, Viv Interrupts his daydreaming with the tapping of her watch, and the three pay off their tab and set out on their way. Grabbing hold of Davis’ arm, Viv flashes him her pearly whites and he suddenly feels a little better.. no matter what, she was here with him, that guy may have the stories and scars to prove he’s her type, but she’s here with him, and that suited him just fine, for now.. Hans also notices the grins shared between the two and does little to hide the disappointed look on his face..

Three blocks down Regent Street, the trio makes a right down to southland square and end up at a nondescript door with a small sign reading “Savon Masculin”. The “gentlemen only” sign hung outside this unknown, but extremely well hidden establishment. The little door is opened by a sharply cut man in uniform who eyes the three up and down before leading them down a hallway to what they assume to be the dining room.

Savon Masculin” has been an institutional gentlemen’s club in the city for almost two hundred years now. Originally begun as a card room and opium den for the wealthy French denizens of the city, the club had taken a number of transformations, including a private speakeasy during the prohibition, and a a hush-hush burlesque cabaret with dancers shipped in from Paris. Maintaining its highbrow membership tracing back generations, “Savon Masculin” remained one of the best-kept secrets of the city, until now. The name is supposed to have been decided over a game of cards in which the winner, an entrepreneur in the soap business, went with a name to continue his legacy. The secret exclusivity of this place was felt as the three followed their guide walking past the grand foyer, closed doors, historical paintings, and shifty eyes, although they had every right to have their meal in their establishment, they certainly weren’t welcome.

‘ello ow may I ‘elp you? Yes, my name is hanson adams, I have a reservation for the degustation. Ah yes monsieur adams, I see you are three peepole, mais, the reservation is for two, you are aware that tonight eez a set dinner for a specific number of guests. You cannot expect the chef to accommodate you for not fully understanding ze strict regulations of tonight’s meal.. I ‘ave ‘alf a nerve to send you ‘ome.. I completely understand, but they will be eating, I will just seat myself with them at the table, if that’s all right with you and this friend of mine printed on this piece of paper the rest of the population accepts as legal tender. Well I suppose the torture of watching your meal eaten by someone else should compensate.. I will arrange it. Thank you for accommodating me..

Sliding up to Hanson, Viv starts questioning his motives and what his intentions really were. She couldn’t help but feel this was a deranged attempt by Hans to get into her good graces. Hans retorted with the most innocent of excuses offering his seat so the two could enjoy the meal, after all, she was more excited about tonight’s dinner than anyone of the three.. Davis, feeling awkward about being a spectator in a squabble that extended before his arrival into viv’s life, kept his mouth shut waiting in the wings. His suggestion to sit this meal out, was met with a firm no from Hanson, who insisted that his intentions remain as white as the linens on their table. In fact this would give him the opportunity to get to know Davis a little better and make up for the messy breakup and the drama that followed.

The dining room is not lavish for lavish sake, but still more than what you would normally consider rich in its settings with remaining functional and organized. The staff, standing around ready to pounce on the needs of any of the diners are stressed in their sharp uniformed Japanese designed outfits; they methodically pull chairs out, place napkins and bring forth the water.. Seating the trio at their table, the waiters orderly scurry off through their assigned walkways and flit and flutter in and out of the kitchen.. One of the well dressed crew approaches the table decanting some glasses of what looks to be a very promising new world vintage from a place you’d never consider visiting.. Another well-dressed attendant arrives to the table and begins to elucidate the experience soon to begin.

Good evening. My name is not necessary; neither are the names of the other servers. In fact we are all insignificant lemmings put in this room for one purpose, to be at your service. All you need to do is think about lifting an eyebrow and we will telepathically know you need something. In fact we will probably know, telepathically, what it is that you need before you actually voice it out. Please feel free to be as demanding and unnoticing of our effort as you please, after all, this is your experience, not ours. Tonight’s tasting will come in the form of 6 courses in no particular order except that of what the chef chooses and consists of a cheese, vegetable, fish, pheasant, essence and dessert. I hope you truly enjoy your meal and relish this opportunity to eat from the crafted hand of Chef Antoine, because chances are, you will never sample his fare again.

And with that, the enthusiasm from the diners fills the air as the other servers finish from their monologues and scurry off to the kitchen at the sound of a barrage of little bells ringing.. calling the waitstaff back to the kitchen 60 little bells resonate loudly enough through the room to announce the beginning of the first course...

The mini bells all ringing in a disorganized unison give off a parochial feel to the moment, too bad for Davis, he didn’t feel very spiritual about the whole experience to begin with. Everything happening with Viv was just turning into the sweetest love story of modern times, yet, the carnivorous exploits he had been on were enough to butcher his soul and force him down a path of bludgeoned character. One after the other, different types of meat, the taste, the idea of consuming a living being, just going up against everything he had ever been taught and known. The shame, the remorse, such strong emotions so quickly substituted with the joy and satisfaction with the presence of the beautiful companion he found in this amazing woman. Life, love, happiness, all have been enjoyed and felt on levels Davis never even knew existed.. Although too early to tell, Davis did know that this was a person he could actually see himself with, a lover he could never tire of, this relationship was quickly picking the steamy moniker of “it” – a tag that seemed to echo inside viv… With thoughts of his beloved shooing away his vegetarian conscious, she nudges Davis under the table and gives him an “I’m so excited!!” look and helps ready him for his next brush with his now shaky principles.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My latest disappointment.. HOGs

Growing up, Harley Davidson, symbolized the modern outlaw in my meaningless book of characters. The name struck a rebel chord in me, that just settled perfectly in my psyche. Driving around the States, you’d pull up along a cluster of riders and they all looked mean, unkept, probably hungover and smelly, and that was just the women. I knew I found something that I could connect with; I liked their brazen attitude and short-term goals: booze, birds and bees. I felt solid in the 9th grade wearing my black classic harness steel toe boots with my school uniform.. I wanted a fatboy, in fact I was hoping to one day to visit the Harley Davidson head office, show them akira, the manga, and have them design me a Harley fatboy based on the bike in Akira.. the dog’s bullocks I tell you, the dog’s bullocks..

I couldn’t help but admire the carefree attitude and mischief as a group of hogs would ride through a narrow street setting all off the alarms on all the parked cars.. And then, you’d see them crack a smile as they were ready to rumble with anyone who crossed their path.. I had friends that used to ride all the way up to New Hampshire just to ditch the helmet laws and live free and maybe even die.. Stories about biker beaches bullying the Japanese super bikes off their turf made me respect their authority.. All these traits, and keeping up with my fascination for Captain America (reference, look it up), really had me sold.. On the weekends, you’d see the now-reformed ex-bikers, current VPs of large corporations who’s faces showed the scars of their illustrious bar fights and scary substance abuse, still getting in touch with their previous life.

And then, I moved back to the Middle East..

I spent a weekend with my beloved at a secluded mountain resort. Well it was us and a local Harley Chapter, who I’m sorry to say were the saddest bunch of outlaws my eyes have ever laid on.. I’m not going to interfere with the whole thrill of being on a bike and riding - that’s a special bond everyone makes between their machine and the road.. but for me, the persona was completely lost. The Rock of Foghat was replaced by the high pitched ballads of Air Supply, painful, very painful.. my qualms are as follows..

Marketing suckers..
These folk not only were trying too hard to look like they were part of a biker gang, but they actually sat there and bought every single piece of Harley Davidson merchandise they could get their hands on.. with all the little badges and patches and dumb stickers.. I can’t stand these little bumper stickers people put on their helmets. I’d normally give you the one finger salute but I’m on my ride (WHAT?? that’s the best you can come up with? That’s the sticker you’ve got on your helmet? That’s your level of how badass you are?? Why couldn’t it have been something like I call this hog your mother, she loves getting between my legs for a ride. At least I can respect that) Stickers are ok for a gag, but for your bad ass ride with your biker gang? Doesn’t say much about your biker gang Wyatt.. and what’s with the patches, what the hell are we the boy scouts?

And the merchandise… Que paso hombre? Did you lose your balls to the QVC channel? I can understand, the boots, the padded jacket, and maybe a couple of knick knacks.. but zippo lighters, t-shirts, jeans, socks, shot glasses, bed spreads, hanging racks.. I partially blame the Harley Davidson organization for this merchandising.. They created such a die hard loyal customer base, that they could sell bottled water and a lot of these bikers would buy cases of it.. don’t deny it..

Ohh and deary, those leather pants and bandana might have looked good on you when you were 23, but those days are long gone.. just cause Samantha Fox pulled the look off in the 80s, doesn’t mean you can too.. my poor retinas have been scarred for life..

This just didn’t settle right with me.. first off you’re a biker gang, albeit a tame biker gang, but for this weekend, you’re abiding by the rules of the road, live them.. Upon checkout, I was stranded at the front desk with a couple of these “ruffians”.. All joking about, ready for a laugh – they seemed like a jovial bunch, no one complaining about their headaches, but everyone talking about how much alcohol they consumed and who got a little frisky with who.. now I’ve had to make my fair share of late checkouts because of wild antics the night before, I have never in my life looked as fresh and just ready as this bunch..

The icing on my cake was when a couple of the crew were arguing with the hotel staff how they didn’t have anything from the minibar.. wait what? and might I add that these complaints were coming from the one guy who looked like the baddest of the bunch.. Vehemently denying how he touched the minibar – needless to say, I was shocked, you’re all talking about how boozed up you got, but everyone looked fresh to me.. you all talked about how pissed up you got, but no one reeked of alcohol. And then no one had a mishap with the minibar? Vivid imagery of some burly biker lifting up the minibar over his head and letting all the little plastic bottles fall into his mouth were quickly dispelled.. shame.. I was hoping at least the Harley crew would cause a little trouble.. just a bit would’ve been fine..

Disney World is a family vacation, a picnic out in the desert is a family vacation, a water park – family vacation.. bringing your annoying like snot of a kid with you on your ride? What are you thinking? A bunch of these people there need to just unwind, get boozed up, maybe a little promiscuous casual roll between the sheets, that’s all part of a weekend away.. but bring your child? This must have been the most annoying little 4 year old I had ever seen.. high on what looked like a little much sugar this brat decided to run around and give everyone a makeshift raspberry, including me, the casual bystander just looking to close out his bill.. I was ready to punt the little git, before I saw his mother attempting to discipline her son.. Come to think of it, the son’s disrespect for authority was probably the only real bad ass thing about that crew – and it had to come from a 4 year old.. tisk tisk..

To Harley Davidson, I’m disappointed in how you’ve managed to merchandise everything and turn your customers into walking adverts..

To real bikers, there’s a bunch of people giving you a bad rep, a really bad rep..

I’m off to drool over a Triumph, at least their branding and customer loyalty is still at an early stage..

Monday, December 04, 2006

Our Man Davis Part 3

if you didn't read Part 1, here it is
and if you didn't read Part 2, here it is

Viv, I know it’s been a while, but this is kinda important, so just hear me out.. Remember how we both agreed that if and when Chef Antoine makes a stateside appearance, we promised ourselves that we weren’t going to miss it? Well It seems good fortune took a very nice dump on us. After registering an interest on his forum six months ago, I got a mysterious email last week about a reservation for the day after tomorrow. It seems the master is back in town and we’ve got tickets to the show. Now I know, you might be still be a little upset about what happened with your cat, I mean it was wrong and stupid of me to try and break into your apartment, and then inadvertently stomp and kill your cat in the whole mess, I can see why you’d be upset. There really was no excuse for my actions. But I am past that period in my life and after countless hours of therapy, medication and a lot of soul searching and soul answering, I am completely over the whole situation, I really feel fine and want us to get back to being friends again. I just got a call this morning confirming the reservation, actually it felt more like it was being dictated to me, but hey it’s Antoine, I’m not arguing.. I agreed over the phone and the amount was immediately deducted – so I’ve committed us to dinner. I know whatever you’re thinking, and let me ease your worries by dispelling those thoughts from your head, I’m calling because this is Chef Antoine, not just some decorated 3 star chef, this is the underbelly of haute cuisine. Daring, and unperturbed by any morsel, this is the ultimate adventure in our culinary exploits – we will walk the tightrope of fine dining and gastronomical anomalies.. I feel like a babbling idiot for having drawn this message out so long, give me a call and lets enjoy this experience together, as friends of course..

Hanson, wow, I really wasn’t expecting to hear from you, really. I mean, I thought we agreed I wouldn’t press charges as long as you left me alone… You tried to break into my apartment, then climbed up the fire escape, broke my window and cut yourself in the process, stomped and murdered my cat, and bled all over my floor. I walked into my apartment and found you laying there unconscious bleeding all over my carpet. I had to call the paramedics and then carpet cleaners immediately – do you know how difficult it is to clean human and feline bloodstains? I know about the therapy and the medication, I spoke to your mother and although I can empathize with her reasoning and attempts to convince me that you weren’t a cretin. It was very nice of you to think of me with the reservations and all, considering it was me who first introduced you to the epicurean realm of Antoine – and it was me who said that I’d gladly lop off and give away your left nut for an 8 course degustation by the chef.. All that said, I admit I am impressed that you managed to score a reservation, the last time he was in town, tables were being scalped for a couple of thousand dollars a pop – hats off, really.. Unfortunately, I can’t make it for a couple of reasons, the obvious one being that I still think you’re capable of going postal on me, and, I’m trying to think of the best way of saying this, but the words aren’t forming so I’ll just come out and say it: I’m seeing someone... I’m seeing someone, and I’m happy with him, and I don’t know how comfortable he’d feel with me going out to dinner with you. So thanks for the invite, but I’m seeing someone and I just can’t do dinner with you behind his back, and I don’t feel like explaining everything to him about us, so it’s just too messy.. Enjoy the meal

Listen viv, I totally understand why you’d refuse the invitation, considering everything that’s happened between us the last couple of months, but I really did call you as a friend. It really is insulting that you’d think of me wanting to try and win you back – or that I haven’t healed completely in regards to our relationship. I’m a different person now, and I have started seeing someone myself, but she’s just not that into food, and I would’ve invited a buddy of mine, but you were the only one who’d really appreciate the meal and the effort that went into it. If it would make you feel better, why don’t you invite your boyfriend. I just called and squeezed a table for the three of us, if he’s interested.. Everything is so secretive, I won’t know the destination till a couple of hours before the meal.. maybe we should all meet up for a drink before dinner and then head out there.. I’ll give you a call..

Hey it’s me, just wanted to say hi and see if you’re were free and interested in having the most exclusive / exquisite meal in town tonight.. dare I say it? maybe even this year... spoke to a friend of mine, well he’s more of an acquaintance and it seems chef Antoine de Baussy, umpteen star rated chef is in town and is looking to really cook up a storm. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him, but Antione’s meals are always unconventional, strange and incredibly delicious. Having studied under the greatest of masters, his eccentricity has always gotten him kicked out of kitchens and restaurants – but he has a faithful following that will do whatever to taste his creations. He spends four months a year traveling the world sampling some of the most peculiar fare and exclusively preparing meals for those that can afford it. Eating a dish prepared by him is up there with drinking absinthe and taking art classes with van gogh. To be honest with you, I would die to eat his food, but I don’t like the person pushing out the invite too much. I mentioned having a boyfriend and you were immediately invited. I know it doesn’t mean much to you, but it does to me, and having you there would really make this special meal more memorable.. so what do you say? Wanna help a cute girl out? I promise to make it worth your while..

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

topics on my menu

A little bit of random information for you on a very popular fish: Chilean Seabass is actually called Patagonian Toothfish. Some 30 years ago, Augusto “I’ll show you Junta” Pinochet opened up Chile’s waters to foreign fisheries, and it didn’t take long for the competition to heat up and fishing grounds to dry up. Local fishermen were forced to venture out into deeper more dangerous unchartered waters in which they pulled out an ugly looking, but very meaty whitefish (an anomaly of evolution). The meat was oily, meaning that it was very difficult to overcook and it worked with just about any way you’d prepare it, plus more meat meant more money. In order to market the fish, a snazzier name than the Patagonian toothfish was needed, so they went with the exotic yet sophisticated choice - Chilean Seabass. The popularity of this fish went through the roof and was in such high demand around tables all over the world that fishermen started to overfish those waters. Piracy and illegal fishing of the Chilean Seabass became a serious problem; prompting Government imposed restrictions to calm the frenzy, harboring worries that our craving for this delicious fish would lead to its extinction. With all the negative media involved around the illegal fishing of Chilean Seabass, restaurants have moved on to the next big whitefish… and it be called, barramundi, or Australian Seabass. Although the barramundi is quite popular in Australia, it’s only now starting to cause waves in North America and Europe. Now you know.

Another bit of food related talk: stemming from a conversation with my girl, which got us discussing a product I’m not too crazy about but popular in the Middle East, camel milk. The benefits from camel milk are supposed to outweigh regular cow milk with a much higher fat content and more proteins, but I just can’t seem to get myself to drink it. I read recently that a UAE camel farm in Al-Ain has teamed up with an Australian Company and they’ve developed ultra fine Camel Milk Chocolates. Now I’m not that into camel flavored chocolates, but I think it’s one of those gourmet weird foods that I could understand. I do like the direction that’s been taken with the camel milk chocolates and I’m thinking we should push more of the products from our region out there to different palettes. Camel milk could be the beginning: Chocolate flavored camel milk, Vanilla Camel Milk Shakes, cookies n camel cream ice cream.. the thought does merit further research doesn’t it? Are you listening ben & jerry’s? the end is near..

Since I can’t seem to get off the food subject.. After reading and thoroughly enjoying Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, I learned something very interesting about people in restaurants that order their steaks well done. In my previous life, I used to cringe at my fellow diners when we’d go to a good steakhouse and they’d order their meat well done. I had visions of the chef flipping out over the customers' demands for overly cooked meat, sucked of all juices and flavor. I secretly hoped the chef would come bursting out of the kitchen, brandishing a cleaver , ready to give whomever a verbal lashing about the quality of the meat and how they were tainting the reputation of the dish by wanting it cooked well done. The truth is, chefs love people that order their steaks well done. A well done steak gives the chef the opportunity to get rid of his/her most horrible cut of meat, or the one that doesn’t look too good.. since you, the diner, don’t give a damn about the flavor of the meat and how well it’s been aged, the chef doesn’t have to worry about grilling it perfectly. Instead the chef can afford to give you whatever’s at the bottom of the meat bin, the stuff that’s going to expire soon.. Next time you order your steak well done, think about that.

And Finally, there’s a huge Vodka debate going on.. On one side of the argument, you’ve got Poland, Finland and Sweden arguing that if you’re going to call it Vodka, then you should distill the hooch from potatoes or certain grains. While France, Italy, Netherlands and other non-baltic states claim that you can use grapes or maple syrup to make vodka. The potato/grain-vodka is made a certain way argument is citing examples of how unless the cheese is made in Greece then you can’t call it feta (much to the disappointment of Danish and French white cheese producers). Another example is that unless it comes from the northeast region of France, it’s called sparkling wine, not Champagne. So the countries that produce Vodka the way it’s traditionally been produced should have the right to call their spirit Vodka right? The counter argument is that Vodka can be distilled a number of different ways, and that there are recipes to produce vodka that go back hundreds of years, that use a number of different ingredients: potato, certain grains, apples, plums, molasses, etc. The copout counter argument is that vodka is mainly consumed to be mixed with something else and that it has no distinct flavor, so who cares what it’s made with… It’s all very interesting, for you drinkers, how do you feel about this issue? Should Vodka, distilled from potatoes or grain be called Vodka and everyone else need to find another name? I’m a little torn..

Hope that’s some food for thought, or maybe thought for food..

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

juicebox lovebox

I grew up in a very autocratic household when it came to what you were allowed to drink at lunch or during snack time. Smuggling soda into the house was always a dangerous game involving sliding the can into your backpack and transporting it into the house, you’d think we were transporting plutonium. If my mother, or anyone else on the snitch payroll found us with a can of soda/pop/cola, trouble would soon ensue with lectures about the rotting of teeth, exploding stomachs, and sugar-high driven crime sprees. The Draconian laws of my household weren’t just extended to carbonated beverages, minimum real juice in your juice box was regulated at 30%, anything below that, or any juice that began with sugar on the ingredients list was immediately deemed unacceptable.

One of the illegal and banned substances in my house was Sun Top, a regionally produced (with the help of the Danes) juicebox that came in a multitude of flavors containing: sugar, water, a dash of vitamins and about 10% actual juice or juice concentrate. Since the juice didn’t meet the minimum juice requirement, it was immediately placed on the embargoed super market shopping list. Now here’s the juicy bit: Sun Top’s marketing team came up with peelable stickers on the sides of every single juicebox involving a zany polar bear on all sorts of adventures (skiing, extreme sports, driving a sports car, roaming the desert, etc). They even took it a step further by releasing sticker albums for you to collect all the little stickers involving the Sun Top bear and his corresponding adventures. All the kids in school were drinking Sun Top and were able to fill up their sticker books and cover their folders on a daily basis. Flaunting their multicolored little albums, the stickers and their books became a widely accepted form of legal tender in the schoolyard. My protests to get Sun Top on the “safe list” in my house were met with a firm “no” and retorted with suggestions to take freshly squeezed orange juice instead. When I explained the nature of the stickers and how I needed them, I was directed to the death stare from depths of hades. To flirt with the illegality of it all, I took my Sun Top substance abuse to frightening levels – nothing was going to get in the way of little elementary school me filling up those sticker books. Whenever away from the prying eyes of any adult, I would guzzle juicebox after juicebox – filling my body up with all that bad sugar water, but also filling up my sticker book with the highly coveted polar bear walking the tightrope, him competing in the karate competition, and the hard to find Olympics series. Under the covers, in the bathroom, in supermarket aisles, the car, and any chance I got, I forced myself to drink Sun Top. In hindsight, the house rules were justified, I should’ve stuck with the healthy stuff; and the stickers, I don’t even remember what happened to them, probably trashed’em.

Thankfully, KDD (Kuwait Danish Dairy) juice was on the safe list at home, and we freely dabbled in the luscious nectar of mango and passion fruit. I don’t know how to put it without stroking anyone’s already over inflated ego, but KDD mango just might be the best mango juicebox on this planet. If you think I’m joking, then go out and buy yourself one, and see for yourself.. it’s not called mango nectar for nothing.. Some of my closest kiwi friends in Boston would get cases and cases of the stuff, that we carefully rationed out till the next shipment. The “vip kdd mango” status I enjoyed was greatly appreciated because of a number of things #1 nostalgia factor #2 cure for homesickness (being in boston in the winter, a little bit of home went a long way) #3 deliciousness #4 I could bend the ration ruling and drink as many as I wanted. Paal paaal paaal. It was called Mango Nectar, cause it was so thick and just tasted so nourishing... My ultimate KDD flavors in order: Mango, Passion Fruit, Fruit cocktail, Guava, Apple, Grape, and Grapefruit.. (not a big fan of the orange)..

Since returning to Bahrain, I’ve remained loyal to the KDD juices and work doesn’t feel right without a juicebox or two. Nothing says aaaaaah, like a nice cold slurp of passion fruit.. drinking this stuff really takes me back..

A big thank you goes out to Chan'ad for letting me swipe the suntop sticker picture off his blog.. cheers mate..

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Our Man Davis Part 2

if you didn't read part 1 here it is

With his vision shifting tricks on him, Davis woke up tussled in a strange bed of a strange room in a strange apartment. To add more confusion to his aching head, blurry vision and parched mouth, he was stripped down to his boxers. Fearing the worst, Davis wondered how many drinks he had? Did he do something stupid? What was the outcome of the evening with viv? He wondered if this was her Egon Scheile print staring back at him. Noticing his pants, Davis struggles out of bed and almost knocks over the wastebasket smelling of dried vomit and things not too ticklish to tell. This was bad, he thought, going home with viv and then just when the mood for animal sex is set, he ends up throwing up in her apartment in front of her.. What an impression, what grief, what a horrible smell. The events of last night flashed in front of his eyes, bringing a sharp stabbing pain gushing fake blood all over the floor. He ate meat.. he ate a fellow living animal.. he propagated the idea that cannibalism was ok.. The cold air above the covers sends shivers through his guilt-riddled body, and then he smells something all too familiar infiltrating his nostrils, something that reminds him of home. Fresh pumpernickel bread..

Exiting the room, Davis encounters his two best friends and resident couple of their group of pals, Jake and Rain. It was sometime during senior year in college that Jake and Rain hooked up and they haven’t looked back since. It was a beautiful summer day in which the constitution of the vegan icing held up, the experimental indie band “broken taillights lead to love” folked it up on the dance floor, and their wedding cake was consumed by all. Although Davis sometimes feels like a third wheel hanging out with them, they see things completely different.. Handing over the fresh bread and some softened almond butter to help settle his stomach, Rain begins with the grilling.

Well it looks like our upchucking troubled romeo is up, care to explain yourself nicknolte? You look like a train wreck, what the hell happened to you? Mustering an embarrassed smile, Davis approaches his friends and begins to mouth an apology for his antics, whatever they were.. Secretly, he was thankful he wasn’t doing this walk of shame in front of Viv.. His shrugged shoulders invited his friends to relate to him the events of their evening. After a scrumptious dinner of Jake’s famous vegetarian spinach and mushroom lasagna followed by a movie, the duo is awakened by the drunken cheers and jeers of someone out their window. Lo and behold, the drunken sot just so happens to be their dear friend Davis, who is looking like he desperately needs to sober up.. once helped inside their until just recently quiet abode, Davis regales to his friends the marvelous encounter with viv and how this is the happiest he’s been in years. He tells them of the wonderful laughs they shared, the interests in common, the connection, and most importantly the way her hand fit in his.. it all felt so natural.. and then, in an emotional train wreck his mannerisms take a 180 degree turn from his very drunk and happy self, to the manic depressive they never knew him to be.. Squawking on about not being able to live with himself, the hypocrisy, his wicked soul, the despicable despicability of his evening.. It was soon after announcing how disgusted he was with himself that his awareness began to flee his body. Feeling the slump, Davis ends up passed out in Jake’s lap.. the gurgles and burbles jake felt in his lap prompted a swift response leading to the disposal of their inebriated friend in their newly redecorated second bedroom.. Davis kept the peace disturbed for the rest of the night alternating between concert acoustical projectile vomiting and loud snoring.. Rain did mention that the only thing that kept her from throwing her friend out on the street was the hilarious early morning drunken rendition of “we built this city” by starship, in which Davis awoke, threw up, belted out a couple of lines hanging on the “rock and rollll” bit and then fell back asleep.. Davis, embarrassed, but slightly pleased that it wasn’t viv he was explaining himself to, apologized to his friends and chalked up the evening up to the foolproof defense of lots and lots of alcohol, and probably some unwashed vegetables.

*Cell phone ringing*
Davis fumbles through his pockets and produces his cellular phone which has “viv” blinking all over it.. the screen is showing off a picture of viv, taken last night with her lips puckered up.. good sign, at least she’s puckered up. Answering the call, the air suddenly feels cleaner.. the sound of her hello launches our man Davis back into a lull of serenity.. the pounding headache is soon a distant memory as the laughs and connections from the previous night are quickly brought back into the forefront.

Dropping the rules and dating standards of the late 90s and early naughties, Viv abandons the 2-3 day callback rule or whatever that silly movie pop culture inference was. She felt like talking to him and wanted to see if he felt the same, so she called. On this day, this very particular day, she wasn’t prepared to sit there and wonder what if. After all, it felt very right with Davis, in fact, it felt more right with him than anyone else in a longtime.. the idea of everything all happening too suddenly did strike her like a blunt object upside her head, or was that her own hangover? It didn’t matter because whether it was too early or too sudden, it wasn’t really registering in her head, she will do what she wants.. Viv composed herself and was just calling to see if he was suffering from a hangover like her, and if he’d like to continue their date aided by the perfect hangover cure…

Stepping into a puddle of sunshine, Davis couldn’t believe his luck - another date with the dame - this time lunch… viv asks for a little time to look somewhat presentable, a request happily agreed upon by the crusty looking dried vomit breath granola.. a quick trip back home, shower change and then meet up outside her building - very promising..

Staying in radio, they reconvene from their previous evening outside her delightful rennovated brownstone. Strolling down the neighborhood, a hodgepodge of identities.. Colombian flags hanging out the bodegas, the Pakistani curry palace and butcher shop, the bike messenger gangs, artists lugging their supplies, junkies passed out on the sidewalk, yuppies and their puppies, a lot of hodging and quite a bit of podging too. Taking a turn down summers they arrive at their destination… little defe.. The clientele and staff in the main room are all glued to the TV bolted to the ceiling, the number one Hispanic soap opera in terms of viewer-ship, Esmeralda.

Pedro greets his regular Saturday lunch crowd with much love, because they are like family, and that’s how the burly man does business, on a familial level. On Saturdays, they come for one thing and that’s his Menudo fin de semana. People drag themselves from all over both sides of the river for his famous hangover special. Today was turning into a soso day he thought, guess it was a tame weekend for many, an opinion soon altered once he spotted one of his regulars, who smiles back as she drags a companion in tow. Borracha, Cómo estás? I’m fine thanks, can we get a table for two? Jaayys of course, la casa de pedro es tu casa. Y tu novio? Yeah we just had a little to much to drink last night.. need a little recovery.. vamos, take that table there and I send someone. Gracias Gordo. borracha..

Viv’s two finger raise sends the waiter off with the mental order – he knows what to bring and soon scurries back with two orange sodas, and then scampers off again as the straws begin to bob up the bottles … back to their date, the two fall back into that easygoing conversation that just seems to work wonders for them. On the right foot, they have enough in common and enough not in common to make the whole polar opposite and parallel concepts seem more than just promising. She finds out about his parents and their organic tendencies, while he pictures her descriptions of spending her summers growing up at the beach. Prompted by his inquisitive looks around the restaurant, Viv does a little introduction to la casa de pedro, your own slice of little defe, Mexico city.. Pedro, originally from Guadalajara, came here and spent many years as a dishwasher, working his way up as a line cook at a fancy restaurant until he managed to save up some cash and open up a little piece of home here on foreign soil.. Incorporating the recipes of his mother and grandmothers, they make a mean mole (pronounced mohlay) and real Mexican food, none of that texmex mexas mumbo gumbo.. briefly touching on last night, they both admit to not remembering much other than that it was a great night, one to be relived again. Their level of comfort with each other, a clear indication that they’re more than just clicking together has them thinking all sorts of interesting thoughts lacing their conversations in the sexiest of talk. Davis mentioned the alcohol and how he really couldn’t stomach the idea of meat this midmorning, truth be told, he couldn’t stomach the guilt again and wanted to forget the carnivorous events of the previous night.. Viv told him to sit back and relax, she’s already ordered the dish with the magical hangover healing properties.. meat or no meat, this was the only thing on this planet that will cure their pain..

Strolling over in his checks and chef whites, pedro carries two steaming bowls over to their table. Although he now spent more time at the counter watching the Mexican soaps, Pedro still liked to dress up in his chef getup - just incase he had to teach those incompetent cousins of his a thing or two about real Mexican cuisine. Pedro noticed table six were suffering from a bad presentation of Guillermo and his shabby tamales, pendejo. The Menudo was all him though, aided by his wife Begoña, Pedro picks the choicest cuts of unwanted meat for this traditional soup and starts up from early Saturday morning to prepare for the breakfast/brunch/lunch/afternoon Menudo rush. Placing the two bowls of reddish soup in front of his customers he plants a crafty aluminium foil basket containing some warm tortillas, chopped onion, dried oregano, freshly chopped cilantro, and a couple of lime wedges on their crowded table.. bon provencho borracha. Gracias gordo.

The aroma wafting from the bowl up Davis’ nose was definitely foreign – yet alluring at the same time. There was a sun kissed touch of funk, a chilli citrus scent which excited his nostrils – but it all seemed to calm the throbbing pain in his head. His admittance of never having tried Menudo, prompted a Try it first and let me know what you think. Dutifully listening to his siren, Davis sprinkles some oregano, cilantro and chopped white onion into his soup.. a squeeze of lime followed by a stir of his spoon and prepares himself for his first bite.. his spoon reveals a number of little tidbits: some onion, chillies, hominy, but one thing’s for sure there’s meat in there..

A lifetime spent without ever having meat grace his lips and he’s forced into a situation twice in less than 24 hours.. Davis shudders looking at his date tuck into her soup and immediately notices a change in the demeanour in her face.. nothing kills a hangover like Menudo.. he nods off and stares at his spoon.. Although her company was enough to put his mind off the dehydrating effects of the alcohol consumed last night, the slice of pumpernickel and almond butter did very little for soaking up the pains in his stomach and his head.. The smell was starting to invade and convince him that a spoon would be worth it.. maybe he didn’t have to try the meat.. just a quick slurp of broth, little taste for curiosity’s sake. another little taste later, and the spicy chilliness of the broth with a crunchy sliced white onion and zesty lime juice combined for an incredibly tangy and nourishing taste in his mouth.. it didn’t just go down well, it went down great.. another spoonful of the broth tasted even better, wow, pedro really knows his Menudo.. Maybe it was time to try the meat he thought.. his body was telling him something, that whatever he was feeding it was working and he was actually feeling better.. quickly closing his eyes, Davis shoved a spoonful of soup into his mouth, this time with a little bit of meat. The wavy texture of the meat releasing tangy bits of soup onto his tongue carried a multitude of flavours.. the chilli, lime, onion, tang and a little bit of funk worked great. Feeling foreign in his mouth, the meat rubbed against his tastebuds and pushed a little bit of funk into his mouth.. the chew was slightly easy and slightly rubbery.. Going down his throat the wavy texture went down easier than he thought..

You like it? A question Davis replied with a serious nod and another spoonful.. I don’t like telling people what Menudo is until people have tried it. Keeping information from people isn’t the best way to have a meal of something you don’t know. Pedro probably has the best one in town and I just wanted you to have a taste see if you can handle the soup and then see if you’re man enough to handle the truth. Of course he is man enough, Davis and his sundried tomato and grilled zucchini panini sandwiches are definitely man enough, the fact that he’s shoved his principles to the back of his throat is proof he’s man enough, but she doesn’t know that.. Perturbed at how his wonderful date has been constantly surprising his morality, Davis remembers the caveat to this quandary: he never mentioned his vegetarian ways, no fault of hers – how can he fault her, she’s just acting on the information he’s given her.. I just thought it was latin america’s homage to Puerto Rican boy bands.. to remain polite, viv employs recycled laughter track 23..

Really enjoying her soup, she gets underway in her explanation of the time-honoured tradition of global peasant food. In the days long gone, the Patrons of the haciendas used to get the choicest cuts of meat from the animals, leaving the offals and waste parts to the peasants. It was through slow cooking and experimentation, that led some cook to the discovery of the edible and deliciousness of this unwanted bit of animal meat. I mean who would’ve though that the honeycomb pocket texture of a slow cooked cow’s stomach would be the best method to deliver the tangy spicy broth onto the diners palette. She explained that beef tripe soup was almost a national dish in Mexico and is known to have magical healing effects on alcohol beaten bodies - a replenishing quality Davis was feeling throughout his body.. Menudo normally takes a long time to prepare, with the meat being so tough and all, and is normally served after a wedding or new-years eve to help with people’s hangovers. Halfway through her explanation, Davis comes to an impasse, his hangover is calling for more of this funky cow stomach soup, while his head is telling him he might as well go out and try freebasing cocaine while he’s at it. The evil bastard that he is has just disappointed everyone close to him, from his parents to his friends to his ideals and to the animals, the poor little animals... Luckily or unluckily for his conscience, the irresistible charms of viv have helped ease his guilt and push his principles at the bottom of his worry pile.

I know I should’ve told you earlier on about Menudo, but I just wanted you to try it, and if you were as hung-over as I was then maybe this helped. Some people can’t handle the fact that they’re eating the stomach, but then they turn around and eat different cuts of meat off the animal.. to me, I say, if they’re going to butcher the animal to begin with, then we might as well eat everything we can. And with that, Davis finds a rope of logic in her words leading him to another spoonful of the soup and wavy honeycombed meat once known as a buttercup’s belly..

Thursday, November 16, 2006

thoughts of the day

Something that I never really thought about up until recently, but have decided that I do not care for too much is the surf and turf concept at many restaurants. I just don’t understand the idea of meat and fish on the same plate. I can understand one course being a meat and the other seafood, but together on the same plate? Why would you want to mix two types of meat right there and then? This one of those things where mixing and matching just doesn’t seem to work, but people still seem to find grilled shrimp layered on top of your sirloin real classy. I bet these are the same people that order their steaks well done. Dumb Advert inviting me for “Reef and Beef” night at one of the upscale hotels in Dubai got me thinking about this.. Typical stupidity by a dumber than they seem marketing team.. but I’m sure people will go and eat, cause it’s a special.. Don’t get me started on specials..

We have discovered a new game based on keepie uppie, at the men’s restroom on my floor, and we’re calling it peepee uppie (if you have a better suggestion, I’m all ears..). We’ve got these little disinfectant cakes in the urinals at work; in fact they’re so little that they’re small enough to move around with a constant stream of pee. With careful aim and precision, you can move the little cake around the urinal with your pee and even float it up. The trick is to restrict yourself from a trip to the loo until you’re about to burst, then time yourself as you try to keep the little urinal cake floating up. It’s actually a lot more difficult than it sounds. It’s become a big secret tournament for those who pee at the Urinal (some weird arab thing, but some men just can’t seem to use a urinal). You female readers may think this is just absolutely asinine, but for the men reading this, my record is 7 seconds..

Over the past 6 months or so, I have been working on a secret camera phone project entitled, “pictures in elevators” (you were expecting something grand and elaborate weren’t you?). Anytime I’d have to take a trip up or down the elevator, I’d tow my cell phone with it’s magnificent 2-mega-pixel camera and then, using the mirror or some weird angle, try to take an interesting picture. I had my timing down perfectly: the elevator door opens up, no one’s inside, I slide my camera phone on and immediately start scouring for an angle.. I basically had enough time to snap a photo before I got to my floor or someone else walked into the elevator. I’ve got some blurry pictures, but even some of them turned out really cool. I even tried taking a shot with someone else in the elevator with me, but that got a little awkward when they noticed me trying to take the shot through the mirror. I’m telling you this because, one of my main studios, the office elevator, is being remodeled and they’ve removed the mirror. I’m a little disappointed that my project is coming to an end. The new elevator does look like a subzero fridge though, which is kinda cool and there is a little reflective space that I’m going to try out.. I’ll keep you posted..

With the weather changing for the better, getting your flu shot is the latest most talked about topic on the island. You think you might be coming down with something.. you should go to a clinic and get your flu shot for the year. I’m not saying the Flu shot doesn’t work when you’re coming down with something, but whatever happened to Echinacea and other natural remedies? People here on the island are so quick to get jabbed or take the advice of a doctor or pharmacist, before reading up about what they can do. A couple of weeks ago I came down with the flu, the result of a couple of inoculations. I decided to head over to the pharmacy and see what I can pick to make me feel better. The pharmacist hands me my flu medicine, which contains Pseudoephedrine (PSE), and I make a quick joke about “isn’t this now considered very dangerous?” She looked at me funny, so I tried to explain that medication with PSE is now highly monitored in the US because people cook up Methamphetamine (crystal meth) from it, forcing pharmacists to ask you all sorts of questions and limiting you to 3 packages for every 24-hour period. Her “deer caught in my headlights” look really put my mind to ease about trusting your pharmacist cause they know something about the medication they give you. I’m just thrilled that my pharmacist is keeping up with what’s happening in their field.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Our Man Davis Part 1

Just a little introduction: a idea hatched that has quickly manifested into a multi-part short story. If you like it, there's a part 2, and if you like that, well lets not get too carried away. Anyways, without any further delay...

Amidst the laughing and loud exchanges of the restaurant's main dining room, the server comes around with his powerfully bleached white shirt carrying two oversized extremely heavy plates, weaving in and out of earshot conversations, pirouetting around table 7 with great ease. It was the type of eatery that tried to loudly insinuate its class and fine dining experience by weighing down their tables with those huge oversized extremely heavy plates.. Rudolpho was enjoying serving the diners at table 7, his sixth sense felt a first date, and from what he could tell, things were going well. Muy Bien Rudolpho thought, Muy Bien indeed..

So far, dinner with Vivienne had gone off magnificently, Davis still couldn't believe his luck at how well he was connecting with this girl.. From their chance encounter at the coffee shop, where he fell victim to her smoke scarred voice box and oversized black sunglasses ordering her black coffee, to this dinner in which her cigarette smoke made her look even more mysterious and alluring like in a old black and white film.. What she saw in his Birkenstock shuffling self, he'll never know, but as they say, fortune favors the brave, and on that specific morning, our man Davis took his chances.. in all honestly, it wasn't Davis who took his chances, Viv noticed the neat little granola bar trying to check her out and she decided he was a pretty nice on the eyes.. After a quick quip, they were soon chuckling about the extravagant drawn out orders at these overpriced coffeehouses, a joke Davis snorted at while he hid his grande decaf saffron chai tea latte with no fat skimmed soymilk and refugee free raw cane brown sugar from her inquisitive eyes. The persistent ticking on their wristwatches ushered them both to rush off to their respective places of employment, leaving a short pause in the air soon followed by plans for dinner. Davis suggested the time and Viv suggested the place.

Throughout the time at the bar waiting for their table, Viv, found out more about her mysterious granola bar over a number of quickly drunk martinis.. She could sense his uneasy relaxed manner as he shuddered at her thing for athletes and retorted with his accuracy at bocce, a joke or not, she still wasn't sure.. He did have some funny stories with his travels around the world and his animal stories, like the snake slithering incident while relieving himself out on an ancient burial ground in the dense jungle during his time in South America with the Peace Corps. Round after round of drinks, they laughed away the nervousness one would experience from a first date with someone they were attracted to.. swill after sip they invited the comfort bubble to encompass them both..

The server made his way to the table and kerplunked the plates with a smile in front of the two hitting it off.. Davis really paid no attention to what he was ordering, a quick I'll have whatever you're having, resulted in an incomprehensible order with a wink from the server.. Since pre-dinner drinks had gone so well, he thought this would be the perfect mantra to carry him through the evening, a little bit of blind faith and trust in his companion's order. With an instructed air of pomposity, Rudolpho, calls on the attention of the diners at table 7 for something resembling a pre-meal shuffle, in which he presents a sliver of his incredible knowledge of the Bolero. The onus is on him to dazzle the diners with his dance moves and foot shuffling – this could make or break the date, he thinks, best give them the big finale making it all so memorable. He finishes off his moves with a suppressed but definitely personalized stamp and then directs their eyes to the two plates of sirloin steak in front of them..

In a spell resembling a touch of vertigo, Davis sat there frozen and shocked. He remained traumatized staring at the plate of chopped up meat of a fellow living being grilled to the point of visible markings.. Aghast at what he got himself into, somewhere in the middle of having drinks with the woman who has occupied his dreams of recent, our man here forgot to mention he is a strict vegetarian. Actually not just a strict vegetarian, an austere vegetarian. Davis founded the Vegan movement in college, in which he petitioned to get organic vegetarian food served at all the food outlets on campus. He led the line at the "great meat massacre" in '04, a very nicely staged protest against the illegal slaughtering of the pink spotted calves of western Greenland. He participated in the farmer’s market sit in, demanding minimum wage for the cheap labor lettuce pickers. How could he have forgotten to mention to his date that he does not eat meat? Damning the martinis under his breath, his eyes drifted to a place where the poor little steak was un-cooked, un-hacked, re-fused, re-skinned, and re-animated. Not exactly sure on what he should be doing, the fork rests difficultly in his hands.

Meanwhile, Viv turns to her date and proceeds to explain her love of meat and how being a carnivore is all she's ever known, a chord that struck a cringe in Davis.. in fact she wouldn't know what to do with vegetables if they didn't come with a side order of meat, a gag that drew out a panicky laugh from our man. She proceeded to tell him that this Sirloin presented for his epicurean pleasure was actual Kobe beef.. You can only call it Kobe beef if the cow was slaughtered in Kobe, Japan – otherwise it's Kobe Style (not the real thing). The special thing about this meal is that the meat has been specially flown in from Japan, giving them the "real deal", making this experience even more exclusive than he thought. Viv knows the head chef, and thought it would be a fitting surprise for what's turning into a great first date. She went on for a bit about the diet of beer and sake makes a world of difference with the marbling and how you can really tell the difference between Kobe and Kobe style.. the fat melts just perfectly helping the meat sear from the outside..

Little beads of sweat began dotting Davis' forehead as his level of comfort crashes through the floor.. Since the backdrop of this meal was a special occasion, he found it difficult to admit his abhorrence of cooked meat to his date. He thought about the situation.. Him being a strict vegetarian, meeting someone who could potentially be the woman of his dreams, and having her invite him to an exquisite meal. What was he to do? He thought about his parents, the former radicals and now organic farmers that vandalize local farms that use pesticides and unnatural growing processes on weekends with spray paint. He thought about how he spent his entire life having never tasted any kind of meat thanks to his mom's homemade veggie burgers and tofurkey. He considered their disappointment at their proud vegelete actually indulging in the one thing they tried so hard to teach him was wrong. The plate stared back at him as he pondered his options.. This poor defenseless animal was fed alcohol, massaged and then slaughtered and flown across the globe to be hacked into pieces by a mad machete wielding butcher, cooked, sizzled, eaten and digested by Viv and himself.. Then again, he had never tried steak before, and if he was going to indulge in the ultimate of sins, he might as well consider Prized Kobe Wagyu Beef a good place to start..

Slicing through her cut of dead cow, Viv shows off the undercooked cooked raw meat pink center surrounded by the expertly marked grilled crust. Making contact with the succulent morsel, her taste buds are awash in a sensation best described as the best perfectly cooked piece of meat she has ever had. There was the slightest inkling of displeasure knowing that the animal was raised with such care for the sole purpose of being killed - cooked - eaten - and passed. However, said displeasure was placated by the incredible softness of the meat, melting on her tongue sending her ideals off for a night of dancing. Amidst the orgasmic sounds reflecting her opinion and possible events to come, she notices a strange air about her companion - who although is really pushing her “no sex on a first date” rule, has gone a little quiet. Her date was sitting across inspecting his plate... Just as he begins to look slightly like melting into his seat, he shakes his head and begins to tackle his meal. She then watches him and his little oddities around the steak, which inadvertently reveal him to be the connoisseur as he carefully slices into his steak and inspect the doneness of the meat with a certain smidgen of skepticism.

After beating logic at his own game, Davis decided that it’s best to know what meat tastes like in order to appreciate his vegetarian ways further. His mind was made up.. just this once and only this once he was going to bend the rules a little, and shelve his ethics for a slice of love pie. After all, this was the best date he’d been on in years; there was no way he was going to make the whole situation uncomfortable now. No one has to know about this, he was just going to sample this exquisite fare and then he’ll know.. he stabbed the chunk of meat he just sliced through and began to raise the fork to his mouth.. His lips trembled with the idea of committing the definitive of sins in his leftwing doctrine of life, but a smile from Viv seemed to remind him of why he was doing this, why he was going to eat this banned meat and why he was going to prevail. With a revived drive, Davis sunk his fork into his mouth and began his dance with the devil, the meat devil that is.. At first, the texture of the meat fooled him, there was no crunch, it was soft, yet there was a certain resistance from the crust of the steak, the bite carried the same consistency that Davis envisioned meat would. The flavor released on his taste buds carried the salt and pepper used to rub the meat, a twinge of smokiness due to the grilling process. The meat in itself rolled around his tongue and with each bite, the juices were freed into his mouth releasing a certain melt away quality. The chewing continued, the meat gave away with every bite releasing more and more flavor into his mouth. And then with the first swallow, Davis decided that once you put the thought of eating a once living being, Kobe Beef actually tasted pretty good.. A smile eased its way back onto Davis’ face, another bite was eaten, and the conversation came flowing back.. he soon thought less and less of the defenseless cow that was slaughtered and more about the deliciousness of the cooked meat and the wonderful evening he was having with Viv.

Thinking about his actions, about his big secret, Davis thought it would be best if he kept his mouth shut about his evening, after all no one knew he was a vegetarian…

Monday, November 06, 2006

Movie Trivia for the Trivial

1. What’s the name of the sword in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon?

2. What was the recipe Clemenza taught Michael in the Godfather?

3. Why did George Lazenby only do one James Bond flick?

4. What was the name of the falcon in the Royal Tenenbaums?

5. How many people did Rambo kill in Rambo 2?

6. Who was the cab driver in the MTV movie 200 cigarettes?

7. If you had to have sex with milla jovovich, would it be fifth element milla? resident evil milla? or return to the blue lagoon milla?

8. In the Transformers movie, who did the voice for hotrod? The original Transformers animated movie..

9. How long does Johnny Depp live in his premiere for Nightmare on Elm Street?

10. Name three movies Delroy Lindo has done..

11. In what 80s movie did the main character wear an iconic t-shirt saying “I heart toxic waste”?

12. What was the official title of Lando Calrissian on cloud city?

13. In Y tu mama tambien, what did they call themselves (diego luna and gael garcia bernal)?

14. What was the powder in the Princess Bride?

15. Where did this line come from “Emmmillliiooo , Emmmillliiooo!!”

16. Who was dom deluise’s alter ego in the Cannonball Run?

17. In the final scene of Boyz n the Hood, what is ricky baker holding when he gets shot?

18. What was the name of Turkish’s first boxer in Snatch?

19. In what movie did Tony Hawk first hit the silver screen?

20. Who did the lead villain in Commando remind you of?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It began in Africa

While sipping on a Ramadany after futoor pick me up, a mutual thought stemming from a brainstorming conversation, leading to a communal conclusion on our destination: Zanzibar it shall be.. We needed some adventure, we needed some spice, and I needed to get jabbed a couple of times in the arm to fight off yellow fever, meningitis, and the flu… the following excerpts of wisdom are what I brought back with me..

Touching down in Dar es Salaam airport, our goal was to get our visas, get though passport control, pull our luggage, pay for and catch our connecting flight all within a somewhat reasonable time frame. I was a little hesitant we’d be able to pull all this off, and in hindsight, my anxiety was warranted. After an exhaustive and confusing muddle getting our visas, we arrive at the transfer desk only to find out that we have been barred from making our flight. Thinking I’ll use some of my college education and airline email confirmation logic, I am soon standing outside the window talking to an apathetic airline sales rep who’d rather tear off the appendages of her dot matrix printout than listen to me. My pleading and attempts to push my normally well-received US dollars through the window slot was of no use. The combination of flashing US dollars and disheartening situation was drawing attention from some very unwanted tick-like conmen. One of these enterprising peddling gentlemen interrupts my negotiations to inform me that we will not make this flight, but,, he knows of another flight at another airport which is taking off very soon,, but,, we don’t have much time and that me and my very beautiful companion needed to follow and leave with him.. Angrily brushing the papasi off, I find out that we can take a flight in 3 hours and resign myself to waiting it out in the Flamingo Café at the airport. 3 Kilimanjaro beers later, I accept my defeat and wait for my flight, cursing my luck. Arriving in Zanzibar, we are exhausted and just looking to get to our hotel, flirting with rain once more, our car barely makes it to our destination. She tells me that after keeping her cool the entire time, if the car broke down on that dusty road in the middle of the night on the way to the hotel, she would’ve completely lost it. I finally learn to chill the fuck out and just enjoy my time - hakuna matata, it really means no worries..

Public figures and taking coffee.. Although Zanzibar is much better off than other parts of Africa, they still take coffee there (gifts, bribes, bakhsheesh).. people need to survive, and anyplace you can find it you take it.. a lesson quickly learned is that you will hemorrhage cash for the stupidest of reasons, and sometimes you’ll hate the way it’s sucked out of you (not the fact that it’s sucked out, the way).. Qassim, our guide, and local public figure brings a flask of coffee with him on his drives for when he gets stopped by the police – when they ask to sit down for some coffee he can always offer them a cup..

I never thought I was a Safari kinda guy, turns out I am.. Being in an environment in which there are so many incredible animals moving around really picks at your curiosity.. whether it was carefully trying not to make eye contact with the primates jumping about on my walk to get some breakfast, the lizards and salamanders on my stroll down to the beach, incredible white crabs on the beach, barracudas freaking the schools of fish out, or the bountiful urchins and lovely starfish, I was fascinated by all the creatures that came across my way.. There was something very strange about being right next to a bunch of monkeys and realizing that there is no cage, there is no one to help you out, and that I am the one invading their space. Coming from an arid climate, that’s somewhat of a concrete jungle, you don’t really see much for animals except alley cats, stray dogs, and some desert geckos. Dreamt about elephants duking it out, she discussed the weirdness of giraffes as animals. Need to satisfy this new felt hunger for a Safari.. it could happen to you too..

In a place where so much pain has been felt, people still find the time to smile.. Zanzibar was the trade port of East Africa, with traffic in, spices, ivory and humans. The Europeans may have pillaged the western coast of Africa for slaves, but it was the Arabs that did East Africa in. Recounting the horror stories would truly shake you to your core, with the air about the cells and chains hanging heavy on your conscience… The atrocities were shameful with painful scars as reminders of a painful past, yet amidst all this traumatizing history, the people have moved on and have chosen to educate rather than castigate about their past. Another eye opener was the devastating effect AIDS has had on people’s lives and touching acts of humanity.. A six year old girl orphaned because of the disease and her adoption by a family that could afford to give her a loving household but not much else.. Really makes our life of lattes and internet connections seem like a meaningless sack of horseshit..

Although we had to eventually return to our lives, it was on Zanzibar that we purposefully left our hearts. With a promise to return, Africa remains where it all began..

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ramadan: Day 29 or 30, depending...

It's been a while.. a little under the weather (thanks for asking) and then been busy preparing for an upcoming expedition into an undiscovered land. We're on day 30 of Ramadan and this is the final stretch.. This year (year three on br if you were wondering) in my holy month posting, I thought I'd wait till the end to digest everything and reflect. A discussion over some sheeshas brought about these points..

The importance of being a lemon.. juice, particularly lemon, is a staple beverage during this holy month. Different houses prepare their lemon juice according to their specific taste. Drinking lemon juice in Ramadan is like playing Russian Roulette, you’re never sure what it’s going to taste like. There's nothing like taking that first sip of juice and finding out the person who made it was fasting and didn't test the level of sweetness.. Starving yourself all day to fill your mouth with a nice sip of bitter lemon, mmm.. Sometimes the juice is either too diluted or too spiked with the zesty citrus burst of sour shock.. There's lemon with mint, even a lemon lime combination is not unheard of. Some people prefer to go packaged, although it's not how I roll, I'm not one to complain too much..

Eating was SO out this Ramadan.. A common occurrence at the meal table, no one's eating anything anymore.. I'm not doing any rice, I'm trying this hydate first eat later routine, I don't have an appetite after starving myself all day, I don't like to eat heavy to start, it’s a low carb holy diet, the list just goes on and on. As opposed to the regularly scheduled gluttonous massacres of the lamb carcass, people are opting for a soup salad combo… what has happened to us? All of a sudden, it's not cool to pig out for iftar.. Instead of packing on the pounds with fried tidbits, Muslims are slimming down with meditative fastation.

Everyone was about animation this Ramadan… this month is the equivalent of our sweeps season on tv.. Advertisers scramble for a slot, while production studios push out their soap operas, religious, historical, and comedy shows. There’s usually some Kuwaiti serial / quiz show / sitcom about pop culture and the happenings of today’s world that grabs everyone’s attention. But this year, it was all about Animation, people wanted to get on that faster than 2 for 1 Tuesdays at the Striporama. If you weren't, then you should've been watching the Bahraini animated comedy sitcom (Arab Road).. a neighborhood with characters from all over the Arab world, each from a different country filling out an obvious stereotype. A lot of subtle tongue in cheek humor poking fun at ourselves along with our trials and tribulations.

21st century Ramadan tents.. Maybe I haven’t been out too much, but they're so hi-tech now.. apart from the really nice new matching cushions and little foot rests the tent also boasts an air conditioner if you please. The colored lamps have been lit and are all hanging giving off that ramadany feel to it. Wireless internet is complimentary and the macchiatos are especially good.. the only thing they need to work on is justifying the cover charge. You will have to sort out a tent so book in advance cause the host is swaggering about looking only to seat the beautiful people. Minimum table order is a magnum of karkadai, you know how it is..

Freaky Eids.. A common occurrence in the Arab world because after 29 days of Ramadan, the moon watching panel (not sure who they are, but I’m willing to bet some old men with limited eyesight) come out on a roof to see if the moon’s making a cameo. I’m not knocking anything, but there have been cases of freaky eids where you think you’ve got one extra day of Ramadan and then all of a sudden someone spots the moon and you’re scrambling to get your last minute shopping in. do they use telescopes or is just them and their eyesight? Does anyone know? The other thing about moon watching panels around the Arab world, is that they sometimes have conflicting announcements. It is a little weird sometimes getting news about different countries announcing eid while others don’t,“Egypt still has Ramadan tomorrow, Kuwait have announced Eid, Saudi not yet, and we’re still waiting on Bhutan to get back to us..”

Well that’s what’s been on our minds this Ramadan.. What was on yours?

To everyone reading this, Happy Eid.. I’m off to spend a couple of days in a strange land, trying not to believe the hallucinations from the malaria pills..

Saturday, October 07, 2006

pulling a mak.tv

"does anyone know what this is?"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

cd binge therapy

If you've been paying attention to anything I've written (it's ok, I don't pay attention to what I write either) then you'd already know that I am a music junkie in the most absolute "in need of help" sense.

Critically requiring some retail therapy to ease my pain and suffering, I run off to flirt with those lovely folks at cduniverse. I started off this spree with the need to pick up the new hot chip and futureheads album (just some stuff I've missed out on buying).. Soon after I pick up those two, a neurotic high pitched alarm goes off in my head launching me into an exercise of trying to remember names of bands and albums I want. Wait wait wait what was the new band from the 'death from above 1979' guy called again? Mstrkrft, oh yeah, that.. click click click click click.. this goes on for a bit, click click click click.. then like that full feeling you get from gulping down a big glass of water, my cart swells up to the point of it breaking into the eligible for free shipping territory..

Loosening my belt and undoing the top button on my jeans, I continue on with my clicking.. hey I wonder if yo la tengo have anything new.. hmm.. indeed they do.. click click click have les savvy fav done anything? No, damn.. my quest adjusts itself into buying what I feel like listening to… I could use something electronic and chilled out and I really feel like some good new soulful music.. research research research, the new zero 7, sure why not.. click click click.. something soulful, Anthony david? Click click click.. since I’m here I should beef up the French house collection.. De Crecy’s back? He never left? Dang.. click click click..

Before I know it, I'm arranging payment and delivery for 32 cds I cannot live without out, that I would die without, that my life would mean nothing without.. I need them, I want them, I love them.. Finalizing my transaction and then almost immediately kicking myself, I start remembering some more albums I've been meaning to get.. Scribbled down for my upcoming purchase.

Then comes the hard part, the waiting.. I try to listen to my current cds, but the impatient feeling lingering around in the back of my head is making me disregard the good music piping through the speakers, and i long for something else.. a day or two later I get notification that everything's shipped to my international courier po box – yes yes yes, not long now.. this dj kicks compilation sounds so stale right now, and if I throw on another wacky tune from islands I think I'm going to start fantasizing about the muppets and miss piggy. a couple of days more, I get notification that my stuff's arrived in Bahrain and I can go and pick it up.. yakpot..

Trying to keep a lid on the bubbling excitement at the international courier’s establishment, they check my number and bring forth the larger than normal brown cardboard box.. b-i-fuqin-g-o.. yeah you ring me up, I'll just check up on my cds, ohh you need to look at the tag on the box? i just want to make sure they're all, one sec.. kkkhrrrriiissshhhhh. Before the person behind the counter has a chance to look at the box, and the people in line behind, I’ve got my suit jacket draped across the counter, I've sunk the teeth of my car keys into the masking tape and have pulled the flaps open.. at first sight, I do nothing but let out a satisfied haarruummphhh.. the ferociousness of Hernán Cortés burns through me, as I hoard my box and lay claim to this Aztec gold.. the sight of these cds all neatly accounted for in this box crack a grin on my face and a chubb in my pants…

What to listen to? which ones to pick? My fingers dance along the cd cases, my eyes dart across the cover art, my tongue licks my lips, I’m just about ready... the possibility of unearthing the next big tune in my “top all time tunes list ever” makes this purchase, the wait, the everything, all worth it.. In the middle of this rush, I lose myself in between paying for the delivery and dazedly walking back to la voiture. Once in the car, I begin tearing off the plastic wrappers off my cds, a task I no longer consider frustrating... I have perfected this method in which I tear off the wrapper with expert guile (never timed myself, but I’m pretty sure I can remove a cd from a plastic wrapped case in less than 5 seconds) , roll it into a ball, and then using the tape bit from the cd to keep it all securely balled up.. making for a quick headers and volleys tournament...

Based solely on the cover artwork, I pick 6 cds to load into my changer. I start my open ear and hope to bear fruit from my shot in the dark cd binge session. So far so good, the French house beef up has been successful, the sophomore albums purchased have not disappointed. The mstrkrft has been pretty amazing, the frames cool too, and I’m really digging the new yo la tengo. fuqme, retail therapy really does work..

Just so we’re all on the same page, receiving new cds means you can forget about asking to borrow them. I will not lend them to my friends, I will not lend them to my kin I will certainly not lend them to green eggs and ham – not until I’ve had my fill of them. Andy Ward taught me that it’s totally fine to hoard your library and be an ogre about it, that’s how he still has all his cds. If you meet certain criteria in my book then I will possibly make you a copy or you could fall into the list of people with borrowing privileges (highly coveted). A certain someone never bothered to return my sasha & digweed northern exposures 3 (the impossible to find European version that had one extra track from the American edition, the original remixed “silence” tune from Delirium, not the one you can easily find on some bullshit compilation, the original progressive track, that no one can find anymore except illegally downloaded), and since then, I’ve put my guard up – I just couldn’t let it slide...

You don’t even want to know what happens to me at a record store…

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


We all grow up with dreams.. Some want to be racecar drivers, female astronauts, footballers, ambassadors, businessmen, ninjas, I wanted to be a fire truck (disappointed from a very young age).. My good friend Hassan had a dream just like everyone one of us.. His dream involved music, rock n roll to be more precise.. While we were all contemplating that greedy feeling burning inside of us, Hassan was actually thinking about performing in front of a sea of people.. He was cracking smiles to the eventual sound of the audience singing his music back to him.. the reveries we all have..

During his time away from home in a very far away place where people didn’t care where he was from or what his last name was, he decided to delve headfirst into music. He started singing any chance he got, and eventually joined up with some guys to form a band. Eventually, his time away from Bahrain was up and Hassan came back, but this time, he came back with recordings.

Since my return to Bahrain, just over three years ago, we all spent countless hours fooling about microphones, recording, jamming, banging on the drums, writing silly music, yelling for more cowbell and heading into the staww-dio for a secret listen.. Andy believed in Hassan’s music and put his career in London on hold to come and help with the mixing.. After countless hours and hours of mixes, takes and more takes, and convincing the band to come to Bahrain to rerecord the work - there was an even more polished sound.. this was definitely something to shop around.. I remember Hassan dragging me into the studio, and playing what they’ve been working on, and me thinking this is fucking amazing. I was actually listening to the birth of this music, I was around when he was scribbling some words together and now those words and music are blasting through the speakers and sounding epic.

I don’t know if you can actually imagine what kind of effort is required to cut an album, and what it takes to do it from the Middle East. Allow me to sum it up for you: it’s damn near impossible – forget about the relationships you are forced to sever, the friendships that can’t stand the stress, business and the opinions you need to shelve, the continual feeling that it’s just you facing this monumental task of realizing this dream.. Cutting an album, having it produced, and then pushing out to a market that has never really heard an Arab fronting a rock n roll band? That is some serious weight to deal with, but my friend soldiered on..

It was the music, 80s Ian and Hassan that convinced Simon Napier-Bell out of semi-retirement and to take on this project.. Through Simon’s guidance the band was properly put together, pushed into a studio and the music was reworked.. this time the music sounded different, this time, the people producing the music were the same people that have produced a lot of the records that we all have in our cd libraries. This time, the buzz was getting bigger.. This time Hassan was moved to London, where the band continued their music, where they performed at clubs, and where the record labels took serious notice..

And what now? I am so proud to actually let you know that brothermandude’s first music video is available for your viewing pleasure on youtube. Directed by Kevin Godley (from Godley and Crème fame) who’s directed a whole plethora of U2 and Sting videos. He’s most recently directed what WAS my favorite new video “is it any wonder” by keane – (the one with the camera on a minirollercoaster track – very cool indeed).. watch it..

Watching the video last night on youtube solidified a lot of things for me: that feeling I got when I sat in the studio with Hassan while he played back his music, the days when your friend would turn to you for your opinion no matter how honest you were, the pride and “hell yeahs” screamed into the phone when he’d call us to share good news from London.. this was all coming together.. all of it.. and we’re all here pumping our fists in the air cheering on our friend and his dream, to make some fucking amazing music…

brothermandude, check it out.. watch the music video, preorder the cd…

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

terima kasih

After an extensive and lonely sojourn from you, I’ve come back from my vacation reinvigorated and ready to write again.. On my travels with a tulip, we encountered many new faces, familiar faces and each other’s faces. The stories, events, meals, conversations, and experiences were fantastic. We got to see so much, do so much, and still find time to party the right parties.. Just some thoughts scribbled down..

“Malaria’s not so bad” he tells me, in a “tumbler with some ice cubes, soda and a squeeze of lime.” I hesitantly laugh while my fingers continue to scratch away at the welts pussing mosquito puss from my skin. I have been in Bali for three days and have already invited the burgeoning insect populace to feast on my blood, skin, scent, whatever it is those bastards find so appealing in me.. The tulip accompanying me swears in her sweet sounding language, cursing their antennas, legs, pincers and whatever makes them, them.. Rubbing me down in Citronella she consoles me to brave the tropical air and enjoy my time.. I reign in my anxiety, polish off the glass of ethyl and ice, bid our conversation goodbye and thank modern medicine for the soothing effects of anti-anxiety medication.

Although pleased with our neighborhood eateries and nightlife, we take a shabby recommendation from a shabby cab driver, and saunter over to inspect the harassing vendors, taxi drivers, questionable warungs, pushers and pimps by Kuta beach.. The economy is recovering from the recent tragic events but the numbers are still hurting – a fact evident in the aggressiveness of the vendors we stroll by.. “psst hey, somesit?” we continue to walk, a little shocked at how beautiful parts of this island are and how crowded and toursitically depressing this bit is.. You do what you have to do, and if it’s roping in the dumb tourists and making 5 times profit on a sale, then so be it. “Yes?? Transport? Taxi? Somesit?” what the hell is he saying? Ibu heads into stores and by touch distinguishes the cotton sarongs from the blends, but our bargaining skills have not yet developed. “Hello you buy? Sarong? T-shirt? Dvd? You come you look you buy, I give very special price, you come, you handsome, you come and look, you buy pretty girl pretty sarong, only 250 thousand rupiah”. Getting frustrated by the congested streets we soldier on looking for something to attract our eyes.. “heycoolguy, somesit?” I stop and turn, what the hell is he saying? Finally it dawns upon me, this shady looking fellow is trying to see if I’d like to procure some (“some shit”) in this dark and dodgy alley he’s directing me to.. Politely turning down his offer i march on. We were not happy being lumped in with the same category of tourists snapping their photos standing on streets and getting eyed by the local sellers – however, we never once felt our safety being compromised in any way or form.. Thankfully, finding a recognizable internationally branded star bucks did make the trip worthwhile; Gulping our afternoon pickmeups in our cab ride back, we were very pleased with our quaint and hip Seminyak.

After our flirtations with a Batik factory, stalls of “justloooking,” shot in the dark lunches, and feastings on the strangest of nuts - crackers – seeds – legumes - drupes and capsules, we make our way to the mountain village of Sidemen. The drive moved us away from the more developed towns through little townships and then farm country. Through the windiest of roads, stomach curling ups and downs and narrow paths Mr. Putu gets us to our little hotel, a charming little project blessed with breathtaking views of the valley, rice paddies, the mountains and the sea on a clear day. I lament the lack of air conditioning or fan in our room, worry continuously over the abundance of insects in here and yet still enjoy the view, the fresh air and where I am. Our traveling companions (2 New Yorkers harboring the same apprehensions about insect bites as me), ibu and myself embark on a trek with a guide through the rice paddies in which I get my entire foot stuck in a muddy paddy. Trying not to think on what I just stepped in, the guide led me down to the river where I washed my foot… Coming from an arid climate, it felt good standing on some rocks, submerging my foot in the rushing waters of the Unda river. The whole experience just reminded me of a lot of different scenarios of washing by the river, mainly a story my dad used to tell us when we were kids. Waking up the morning after a couple of bintangs, a vegetarian dinner and a whole lot of mosquito coil smoke filling the room felt even groggier than your traditional hangover – mosquito coil smoke is tough on the noggin.

Traveling with a photographer was an experience and a lesson.. Ibu whipped out her 8 mega-pixel monster and shoved it in the faces of the locals happily snapping away. In an attempt to ease my fears, she would contest “They are extremely camera friendly, don’t worry” to which my reply would be molded around a possible scenario of some very agrarian locals living in the most basic of huts on a rice paddy wielding their machetes because some foreigner got in their faces.. Breaking away from our hike I would have to trek back and onto someone’s farm while she stood their taking national geographic photos of farmers going about their day.. or when I’d have to give the school teacher an apologetic nod because ibu was being mobbed by all these school kids who wanted their photo taken “HELLO!!PHOTO!!” Although I did share some of the photo taking duties, I was constantly reprimanded for my misuse of light.. All that aside, without her incessant searching for the perfect picture or possible future project, I don’t think I would’ve come home with so many great shots, and for the record, I did take some nice pictures – especially the ruins at the Ujung palace – I manipulated the light and bitch slapped it into the perfect shot...

I became the proud father of two frogs that lived in our outdoor bathroom.. I even named them, Hamzah and Mamdooh.. We had such a great time together, greeting me every time I went to take a leak or shower, those two swimming around, croaking about – I even sang to them while I took a shower and for the most part they liked my voice. Then when the weekend came around I cut them some slack and extended their curfew, but Hamza never came home, I started getting really worried by Saturday evening.. Then come Sunday morning and Mamdooh was nowhere to be seen either, his favorite spot was bare.. Let me tell you, trying to raise two frogs right is a full time job.. you do your best, then one day you wake up and find out that they never came home from the night before probably out drinking with the frogs from the cale villa, I never liked that bunch to begin with. I knew they would eventually outgrow the peeing on the lillypads and tadpole insecurities, but it was just so sudden, just so sudden,,, sigh..

snippets: Learning the requisite lingo before you go really helps with the locals, don’t worry if you don’t remember much, end of the day, we all speak the same language: futbol. The best way to eat strange fruit is to have a local show you how to cut it up and what to eat and what not to eat. The best way to overcome the shyness of traveling with someone you’re intimately involved with but haven’t really crossed that line, you both need to experience a little Bali Belly together. You should never feel too bad about wanting something familiar while you’re on holiday, especially if it’s from an overpriced global coffee chain. When you learn how to say I don’t want chili in my food in the local language, they actually listen (“Saya Tidak Mau Cabe”), most of the time.

all in all, a wonderful time