Sunday, December 14, 2008

Homework - From a Childs Perspective

As one of a group of keen but unskilled and learning photographers in Dubai have decided to set ourselves "homework" every fortnight to keep us snapping. This sessions topic is "From a Childs Perspective". Here are my offerings for Critique/slander:

(f22 1/20 ISO 100)

"We've got a ceiling like this"
(f6.3 1/10 ISO1600)

"No, don't touch its hot"
(f3.8 1/8 ISO800)

Please feel free to add comments via the comments facility on the blog, all non-offensive criticism shall be welcomed. Offensive stuff will result in retaliation so be warned Bailey!!

Pedstrian Crossing Fail!!

A while back, during my last trip to the UK my brother Rhubarb introduced me to an excellent blogg called Fail! This is basically a collection of photos of things that are just plain wrong in ways that could only ever have been the work of complete idiots.

Now in Dubai there are any number of examples of this but I thought I'd share with you two classic exmples of pedestrian crossing fails!!

Need I say more? If you can't spot the error then maybe you are the sort of person who will eventualy end up producing a Fail entry.

A cat owners guide to packing

While packing for the Grand Australian Adventure I was fortunate enough to enjoy the assistance of Sam the cat, who apparently is an expert in these matters and with a simple sniff and a meow can confirm that this are correct and in order.

I therefore decided that I would put together some "instruction for use" for the benefit of less experienced cat owners who may not yet realise the full value of cat assisted packing:
  1. Open cupboard and take out suitcase
  2. close cupboard
  3. take suitcase to bedroom
  4. return to cupboard and remove meowing cat form cupboard
  5. Return to suit case, unlock and open
  6. Remove cat from open suitcase
  7. Move to wardrobe and inspect clothes
  8. battle with cat in the vain attempt to stop him clawing clothes
  9. select clothes you want to take and load up arms;carry to suitcase
  10. shoo cat out of suitcase with your foot, stamp feet and wave clothes ladened arms at cat
  11. Put clothes on bed while you remove cat from suitcase, grab clothes and return to case
  12. kick cat out, who has already returned to case before you
  13. drop clothes in case while the cat has good rummage through your selection of clothes, checking that you have everything and that it all smells right.
  14. Return to cupboard to get shoes, knickers and other paraphernalia, remove cat from cupboard, turn and throw paraphernalia in to case on top of cat,
  15. remove cat from under clothes in suitcase
  16. close case and search for keys to case
  17. chase cat across the house while he bats the keys across the room because they have a fluffy key ring
  18. retrieve keys return to case, quickly open one last time to check you have everything, close case and lock
  19. Unlock case remove cat, curse and swear, take clothes back out and re-launder them all to remove cat hair, removing cat from washing basket, washing machine and tumble dryer in the process
  20. Reload case, remove that bloody cat, lock case.
  21. carry heavy case down stairs with no hint of assistance from the bloody cat
  22. get the rest of your stuff ready and call taxi, wondering where the heck that damn cat is, probably sulking somewhere
  23. Taxi arrives, pick up case and detect the faint tell tail shifting of wait in the case
  24. Find case keys, apologize to taxi driver, fumble with case, get it unlocked, promise the taxi driver you will only be two minutes, open case, remove very disgruntled hell cat from case, close case, lock and run free from the house
  25. Trip over cat on the steps and wonder how the hell he got out of the house.
  26. Remove bloody god forsaken cat from Taxi, return to the house, deposit cat in house, lock up and leave
  27. Get in taxi, and apologize once again for making him wait
  28. Glance back at house to see that cat on windowsill looking victorious......with all your hair bands in his mouth which he stole from your case.
  29. Consider going back but decide it just ain't worth it. That bloody cat!
  30. Thank your lucky stars you are a cat lover and not a dog lover......after all a dog lover would leave you feeling guilty that you left them behind....but not a bloody cat!!

We're coming to a Land Down Under

As any of you who know us beyond the rambling of this Blog will know, the co-pilot and I are off to Australia this week for two weeks of "walk about". We are flying to Mebourne, going to spend a few days there before hiring a camper van and heading North(ish) to Sydney to meet up with Jan and Carole to take a look aroudn there too. The ultimate aim (for me) of this trip is to convince the co-pilot that we should quit the sand pit and head to somewhere more civilized.....and where in the world could be more civilised that Australia.......answers on a post card.

Anyway. Through a mix up on booking days off work I managed to have the day before we set off and spent the day relaxing, unwinding and generally getting myself ready for my holiday. Part of this included packing of course which, being a boy, I have of course left until last minute. As I was getting my stuff together and laying it out on the bed I got to thinking about all the other trips I have taken with the Co-pilot and how, invariably, it results in mountains of luggage - her being a girl after all (yes apparently four pairs of flip flops simply are essential). Anyway, I decided to take a photo of a boys needs for two weeks in a camper van:

Kit includes: five T shirts, three shirts, three shorts, 2 trousers, shoes, undies, socks, tripod, laptop, camera, ipod, few books and sunnies. No, the cat was not part of the packing, he was just there to inspect and make sure I had everything.

Anyway, I then packed all this into a small bag and waited to see what the co-pilot needed. When she returned home from work she began the disgorging of the contents of her wardrobe into a flotilla on suitcases.....honestly it would have been easier to just bolt a suitcase handle onto the side of the cupboard and take that. At the end of the packing up we ended up a lot more than a boy would have taken:

but I am reliably informed that it is ALL needed and ALL essential.....for two weeks.....roughing it in a camper van. I would hate to see what we ended up with had we not decided to go minimalist and travel light ;0)

Movember - The grand finale

Movember is finally over and I am able to now liberate my chin from the torment of the prickly woolybear catapillar that has been living on my top lip and chin.

So it is with great pleasure I give to you the three steps to liberation:

And now I am once again a happy baby faced softy, and all the better for it!!

While wondering around our local Incontinent Hypermarket I did come across the following helpful looking Movember ender product:

Although given the brand name I wonder if it is facial hair it is really intended to remove (makes you eye's water jsut thinking about it doesn't it!!)

Cooking Facilities

Since moving to the Sand Pit Cell Block out in AssWakka the co-pilot and I have found our cooking options severely limited. Upon moving in we realized that there was in fact no oven in the kitchen. Now you might think this to be something you would notice when looking around, but when it is something you automatically expect from a "fully fitted kitchen" you don't think to check. I mean, when did you ever look around a flat and check there where toilets or walls for example?

Anyway, we raised this omission with the landlord who's response was

"but its normal not to have an oven, nobody has them in this part of the world"

We can only assume that "this part of the world" referred exclusivey to our block, because I have yet to find another flat or house which benifits from its kitchen not being cluttered up with this clearly unnecessary appliance.

Through further inquiry it transpires that Rigsby had decided to save money and just not fit them, and also saved further pennies by not fitting a high enough rated fuse box, SMDB, MDB or tranformer room in the building to cope with ovens in the appartments!! Up shot being that even if we decided to pay for it oursleves, we can't have an oven fitted.

As a result we now have only two cooking options: One electric ring (the other three rings are gas, and we are not allowed to fit the gas as its unsafe!!) and the microwave.

We are slowly getting better at the microwave cooking and the co-pilot even managed to make one of my favourate dishes one evening - PIES!! Yes pies in a microwave!!

We have also learn't to live with eating meals that only requires one ring such as chilly or spag boll (microwave for rice/pasta). However, the co-pilot was foolish enough one evening to entrust the preparation of popcorn to yours truly.

Now if you know me you'll know I have quite a short attention span and can never resist a "what would happen if...." scenario when it pops into my head. Well, while making the popcorn the time between adding corn to pan of hot butter and the popping starting was just too long and I got to thinking....the packet say add enough corn to the pan to just cover the bottom. Well......what would happen if you ignored this wise advise and just hoofed a load extra in there. Well for those interested, this is what happens:

Oh that, and you get banded from making popcorn ever again.

Dubai Rugby Seven's - Day 2

The Second day of the sevens saw me joining he hallowed ranks of the VIP corporate sponsored stands at the very kind invitation of the lads over at United Utilities (Thanks to Paul, Jim and Brian). The upshot of this being that I got to sit in a great location right in the half way line, enjoyed free bacon butties and breakfast and hot and cold running beer. It was good!!

And the excellent vantage point almost exactly on the halfway line gave me more opportunities to try and get the "blurred action" shot of the game. My favourite of the day came courtesy of the All Blacks who made a break against the Kenyans:

Of course being the caring sharing type I am I didn't abandon the copilot and leave her at home....Oh no, what kind of man do you take me for. I got her a ticket of her own and deposited her in the public stand, making sure she could see me in my VIP seat - I didn't want her to feel unloved after all. We did an ingenious technique for sneaking her into the VIP area whithout a wrist band but sadly I didn't work:

That said, after the first set of "good games" finished and it it moved
on to the wheezers and puffers rugby (vetrans and master class) I did
go for a wander around and met up with Amy, Jeramy and the Co-pilot for
more beers and sun bathing.

While wondering around the visitors from over seas and the first timers in Dubai got an extra treat when a sand storm whipped and blew everybody around for about 15 mins and it was at this point you could spot those who hadn't been in Dubai long as they all started packing up and looking like they would head home. However the seasoned Dubai expats, the rugby addicts and the pi$$ed weren't put off by a bit of grit assisted wind and just hankered down and waited for it to blow threw, which it did.

And throughout the storm the fair maidens of the Aggreko Dynamos where on hand as ever to keep us all do they get there legs that high!!

However in the end sunbathing, beer and excitement of the rugby was all a little too much for poor Amy, who we
had to take home early because she was feeling dizzy and
pucky......which was of course because of the sun and not the beer.Although this did give us chance to test out the improved transport facilities and sure enough, as promised by the even organizers there where indeed plenty of taxis and buses, and the buses had been set up to go to multiple destinations across Dubai, rather than just the Double Decker pub like last year.

All in all I have to say I have been quite impressed by the sevens this year, the organizers seem to have learn't from past short commings in terms of the transport facilities etc and there was plenty of everything so you didn't end up with huge queues for absolutly everything.....which of course leaves me with only one complaint......I have nothing to complain about!!