Thursday, July 22, 2010

Novel uses for a Flip video camera

I was going to make a journalism post today. But, you know, the weekend is almost here, and with it, at least 24 hours of (mostly indoors) relaxation and recreation. So let's look at something... a little more fun.

Remember how I'm an aviation dork? Being the guy holding the camera here would make me the happiest aviation dork on the planet.

Notice that no one tries a split-S below 2,000 feet. Looking at you, here, Adam.

You know, even the takeoff roll is fun to watch. The precise (and tiny) gaps between the plane are goosebump-inducing. The way the formations turn as a single unit is impressive. And all of it makes you forget how much kerosene they burned during the course of the show.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer: It's Not That Boring!

It's not that nothing has happened, it's that I haven't had any way of illustrating it. And because it's my blog, and not the newsroom, I can't just talk to the miracle-workers on the photo desk about fixing it.

First off, the World Cup turned into a karate match.

Your kung-fu... is better... than his.

Mrs. Blog arrived back in the UAE, just in time for a few 115-degree days and a major sandstorm. On the plus side, though, there was a backlog of people wanting to hang out with her, and we indulged them with a birthday bowling bash at the Abu Dhabi Country Club.

That was great fun, and I wish I had some pictures on me to post. Not only did we own that place for like five hours--confusing the staff, who apparently had never seen people enjoy bowling before--but thanks to Direct Supervisee of the Blog Matt, we had some great music to listen to.

Then we went and played poker. I lost Dh50; Mrs. Blog won Dh54. A great night indeed.

Last summer, things seemed to slow down quite a bit. This year, there is a lot going on--including planning for our annual joint pilgrimage to the homeland. That's good. I don't want the hot months to just dissolve into a doldrums of Etisalat battles, overpriced hotel meals and air conditioning.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy America's Birthday Day

It's that time of year again. Two hundred and something something years ago, the United States went from being a backwater colony to a backwater nation.

Since then, many great innovations have been innovated and progresses have been progressed. Electricity. The cotton gin. Jazz. The airplane. Space pens.

And, of course... the Muppets.

Happy Fourth of July. (and yes, I think this is going to be a tradition.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

World Cup, now available at Marina Mall

As I wait for Mrs. Blog to return from her trip the Land of Fun, I will once again return to the well of international soccer for inspiration for a blog post.

Big upset yesterday: Holland smote Brazil, the favorites (as they are just about every year) to embarrass the field. And as luck would have it, I happened to run into a Dutch guy while meeting a friend for a Friday night drink. This guy--we'll call him Dmitri, because that's what he told me his name was--is working as a programmer and trying to set up shop here in the 'Dhabs. He admitted that arriving in the summer wasn't the best timing, but pointed out that airfare and hotels were roughly half price. Save a few dirhams, lose a few gallons of sweat. Not a bad trade.

Holland got ahead of Brazil. Get it? Get it? OK, sorry.

Anyway, he was excited about the victory. But not overly so. The reason? Most of the players (he said) came from a club team in Holland that he hated. I guess every nation has its New York Yankees.

This wasn't the first encounter with the Brazil-Holland game I had that day, though. Earlier, whilst in the mall doing some mall-related activities, my friend Sarah and I noticed massive crowds gathering on the mall's second level. Everyone was staring down at a cafe on the first floor. The reason?

Soccerfootball. The cafe's two TVs were showing the match, and literally hundreds of people--most of whom probably couldn't afford to watch the game in their own home or labor accommodations--were taking advantage. This proved true all over the mall, at restaurants, cafes and anyplace else that had paid for the World Cup package.

What is the takeaway here? I guess there should be some grand, sweeping conclusion. But really, the only things I can say with certainty is that people here love soccerfootball and malls – and both facts cut right across social strata.