Saturday, September 29, 2007
Liz's Grandpa Don was the featured obituary today in the Portland Press Herald.
Portland Press Herald logo

He also has a more extensive obit on another page - here.

A very fascinating man, for sure.
 
posted by Josh at 8:43 PM | 0 comments
Boston Red Sox logoThe old saying in New England, well, at least among the Boston Red Sox fans, is "My two favorite teams are the Red Sox and whoever's playing the Yankees."

Last night my second favorite team in baseball was the Baltimore Orioles, and they came through, beating the Evil Empire 10-9 in 10 innings at Baltimore. An hour earlier the Sox beat the Twins, and with that combination of wins and losses, the Red Sox are the American League East champions for the first time since 1995.

Of course, the Yankees aren't out - they're the wild-card team.

The Sox will host the <grumble> Los Angeles </grumble> Angels of Anaheim in the best-of-five ALDS, starting either Wednesday or Thursday at Fenway Park.

And then there's the home field advantage - The magic number to clinch home field throughout the playoffs is two over the Indians, as right now each time has a 95-65 record. The Red Sox hold the tie-breaker, based on a 5-2 head-to-head advantage.

Reminds me a little bit of that movie Baseketball:

          KENNY MAYNE
      So, with last night's victory
      over Boston, next week the Beers
      must beat Indianapolis in order
      to advance to Charlotte. That's
      in an effort to reduce their magic
      number down to three.


          DAN PATRICK
      Right, and then... the Beers can
      advance to the National Eastern
      Division North to play Tampa.


          KENNY MAYNE
      So if the Beers beat Detroit and
      Denver beats Atlanta in the
      American Southwestern Division
      East Northern, then Milwaukee goes
      to the Denslow Cup. Unless
      Baltimore can upset Buffalo and
      Charlotte ties Toronto, then
      Oakland would play L.A. and
      Pittsburgh in a blind choice round
      robin. And if no clear winner
      emerges from all this, a two-man
      sack race will be held on
      consecutive Sundays until a
      champion is crowned.


          DAN PATRICK
      Right.


But don't get worried, because Jacoby Ellsbury and Coco Crisp would be fantastic in a sack race.
 
posted by Josh at 11:14 AM | 0 comments
Friday, September 28, 2007
Hard Rock Cafe LogoLast night we went to the Hard Rock for dinner and had a little surprise.

See, it's the Islamic holy month of Ramadan right now, and the most prominent event in Ramadan is the daytime fasting. At sundown Muslims break their fast with a dinner called Iftar. They're generally big buffets under large tents, kind of a huge social event every night.

We went to an Iftar on Wednesday, and the tent was about three times bigger than the tent at our wedding. Seriously.

Anyway, it's at Iftar that all of the restaurants in Dubai are finally able to open for the day. So right now the sun goes down about 6:11 pm, so Iftar would be at 6:11 pm.

However the Hard Rock is exempt from all of this. They're part of a hotel, which is also the reason they can sell alcohol. Thus they're open for lunch during Ramadan.

But we learned something new last night at 5:45 pm. The Hard Rock doesn't sell alcohol during Ramadan until 7 pm.

Argh.
 
posted by Josh at 6:18 PM | 2 comments
I took this photo the other day on Beach Road:
truck of rocks

Yes, I was driving at the time. (Sorry Mom!)

Anyway, it's more than a little disconcerting to see a flatbed full of rocks heading towards the Palm Jumeirah exit.

Isn't that thing supposed to be done and habitable?

Seeing the truck reminded me of the great episode of the Discovery Channel's Mega Builders about the construction of the Palm Jebel Ali. They use these giant boulders as the base of the land, then cover them with sand dredged from the bottom of The Gulf.

The thing is, we don't have any quarries in Dubai, so they have to truck the rocks in from Ras al-Khaimah, one of the other seven emirates in the UAE that's actually a couple of hours away from Dubai.

If you ever drive between Dubai and RAK, you'll no doubt see tons of these trucks. It's crazy.

Discovery Science ChannelThat episode of Mega Builders is really great, I highly recommend that you watch it. For the Americans out there, I've actually done the research for you - the next time the episode "Fantasy Islands" plays in the USA is on October 11 at 7 pm on Discovery Science Channel.

If you get the channel you should totally watch it, or at least DVR it.

Only in Dubai ...
 
posted by Josh at 10:15 AM | 1 comments
Most of you aren't going to care about this, sorry.

For the last week or so I've been on a family tree kick. My paternal grandmother left a very good family tree, but she passed away in the early 1990s - you know, before the internet - so nowadays building a tree is easier and faster.

I've been putting one together on ancestry.com, but my free trial is almost up, and I really don't want to pay the $150 yearly fee for the site.

So far I've looked at a few family tree-generating programs for the Macintosh, but none have struck my fancy.

    GEDitCOM seems way too clunky and too OS9 - and totally not worth $50.

    Genealogy Pro 2.0 is only $20, but seems like a standard Excel spreadsheet. Plus I think a three-year-old drew it's logo. Not that I'm picking software based on logos, but c'mon, put a little effort into it.

    Family 2.0.2 is too basic - almost for a child. Is this what people think what Mac users want? So not worth $29.

    iFamily for Tiger (with both the stupidest name and icon) seems to be useful, and it's $30.

    MacFamilyTree seems powerful enough, but the interface isn't really pretty, and it's $50.

    TreeTracker, for $22, is a little weak, and doesn't seem to be able to import my ancestry.com files.

    Reunion 9 is supposed to be good, but it's $99 pricetag has be gasping before I even downloaded the demo.


It seems to me that these seven are my choices. Well, eight, if I count ancestry.com.

Does anyone use any of these? Any suggestions?

I'm going to go try them out some more, maybe one will catch my fancy on a second look ...
 
posted by Josh at 10:01 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, September 27, 2007
2007927_aljazeera120.png
Over the summer our satellite cable provider, Orbit, rejiggered all of our channels. When we got back we discovered that every channel was in a new spot. It's seriously taken us a month and a half to find our Cartoon Network and favorite movie channel - they're now up in the mid-500s.

(No, we don't actually have 500 channels, there are lots of radio channels in there, and a bunch of blank ones, too).

Anyway, like I said, this week we discovered the mid-500s. You know what's in there? Al Jazeera International - the 24-hour all-news channel.

Now, I know what some of you might be thinking, and no, it's not 24-hours a day of Osama bin Laden videos, nor is it an al-Qaeda propaganda machine. That'd be like saying Fox News is the George W. Bush channel because they show his press conferences.

Okay, bad example.

Seriously though, Al Jazeera International is actually quite a bit like CNN's Headline News, where the same stories play every 30 minutes. But it has a more international feel to it. Yesterday the stories were about the GM/UAW strike, the Buddhist monks protesting the military regime in Myanmar and a 27,000 worker strike at one of Egypt's largest textile mills.

Nothing too revolutionary about that.

In fact, it's a little refreshing to watch 30 minutes of news that's not Larry Craig, Barry Bonds, OJ Simpson or Hilary Clinton.

I'm still not sure if this is the same channel as Al Jazeera English that started last fall. Does anyone even get that on their cable back home?

Either way, it's our new favorite channel. If only they could get the Middle East broadcast rights to Meet the Press with Tim Russert and Countdown with Keith Olbermann (who are both currently on Orbit News) then Al Jazeera International would be perfect ...
 
posted by Josh at 1:01 PM | 0 comments
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
So this is just bizarre. Today Liz's maternal grandfather, Grandpa Don, passed away.

You remember that last Monday Liz's paternal grandmother passed away.

Perhaps the saddest part - today was Grandpa Don's birthday.

We're more than a little in shock here right now ...
 
posted by Josh at 11:04 PM | 1 comments
The internet in our building has been out since Saturday, so I haven't been able to write, sorry. But it's finally back now, so I feel connected to the outside world again.

I guess I could've written something from the computers in the library, where I went to check my emails once over the weekend. But the lab there is a ten by ten room with about fifteen students all wearing a gallon of fifteen different kinds of cologne.

Oh, sorry. "Each wearing 3.75 liters of cologne".

Needless to say, I can only hold my breath long enough to write three or four emails before I pass out.

Thus I have a bunch of things I wanted to talk about, too, so I'll quickly rip through them. Here goes ...

First off, I've read three or four articles about the whole NASDAQ / Dubai thing, and I still don't get it.

NASDAQ logo


So apparently Borse Dubai, the government-controlled holding company for Dubai Financial Market and Dubai International Financial Exchange, has been in a bidding war with American stock market NASDAQ to buy the Swedish stock exchange OMX.

I get that.

So now Borse Dubai is going to buy OMX for $4 billion, but transfer ownership to NASDAQ. They in turn will give Borse Dubai $1.7 billion, a 19.9% stake in NASDAQ and a 28% stake in the London Stock Exchange.

Then Borse Dubai will give NASDAQ a stake in the Dubai International Financial Exchange, which will take NASDAQ’s brand.

Huh?

Then there's our neighbors up the Gulf, the government of Qatar. I guess recently they've been pursuing a purchase of the London Stock Exchange, and yesterday said they already own 20% of the LSE, and almost 10% of OMX. And they're against the Dubai / NASDAQ deal.

Don't worry, I bet the whole thing will be moot when all of the Americans politicians raise a stink about this, a la the Dubai Ports World deal last year.

Can't have a bunch of Arabs owning American stuff. Nope, not at all. Asians, yes, Europeans, without a doubt, but no Arabs.

Ugh.

Canadian Dollar CoinIn other financial news - how about that Canadian dollar?

Right now the Canadian dollar is virtually equal to the US dollar for the first time since November 25, 1976.

Growing up it always seemed around their dollar was only worth $1.50 or $1.30. (Living in New England the Canadian dollar was my sole exposure to foreign currency.)

Now, of course, I have to convert money in my head every single day. The Dirham is pegged to the US Dollar at a fixed exchange rate - 1 dollar = 3.67259546 dirham.

And, as I talked about in the spring, our friends in Dubai being paid in dirhams but translating it to Euros, Pounds or other non-dollar-based currencies are getting screwed (see Special Drawing Rights).

But you know who wins in this? The Canadians in Dubai.

Yay for Canadians!

Maybe we'll let them buy some American stuff with their newfound riches. Hey, do you like Stock Exchanges, perhaps?

Lost logoLastly, with the lack of internet the last few days, we finally polished off the final few episodes of season 3 of Lost. We're now officially 100% caught up with the rest of the world.

Which sadly means we have to wait until February for new episodes.

Lost cast from season 3


The good news? Mom, we can finally talk about the show now! I know it's been tough to keep quiet, but next time we skype let's discuss all of the characters and where this is going and everyone's backstories and everything.

Okay, that's all for now. More tomorrow, Insha'Allah ...
 
posted by Josh at 1:41 PM | 0 comments
Friday, September 21, 2007
As I mentioned yesterday, Liz's Grandma Polly passed away in Brunswick, Maine on Monday. Liz didn't go into work Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, but today she stopped in to check-in and to print a few things for the little service we planned for this afternoon in Dubai.

In our mailbox at work was a letter from Grandma Polly.

Holy shit.

She mailed the note on September 10th, a thank you for a photo album of wedding photos we gave her this summer. She said she'd see us this summer, "and beyond".

Huh.
 
posted by Josh at 10:14 PM | 2 comments
a/k/a Oh joy, Dubai is getting another mall

Wow, I don't know how this one slipped by me - I just heard about Souk Al Bahar, a new shopping, dining and entertainment "destination" at Downtown Burj Dubai (which is the area at the base of our friendly neighborhood 'world's tallest freestanding structure on land' - the Burj Dubai).

Souk Al Bahar Concept Artwork
Artist rendering of Souk Al Bahar


The souk (which is Arabic for "market") will have 130 stores and a waterfront promenade - the water in this case being the Burj Dubai Lake, of course. Actually the entire mall will be set on an island in the lake - the Old Town Island - which will be constructed to look like a traditional Arabic village.

And apparently we won't have to wait long to check this place out, Souk Al Bahar will open in December.

Incidentally the souk won't be the only mall in Downtown Burj Dubai. Around the corner will be Dubai Mall, which, naturally, will be the largest mall in the world when completed in late 2008.

Downtown Burj Dubai Concept Artwork
Artist rendering of Downtown Burj Dubai
 
posted by Josh at 10:16 AM | 0 comments
So we haven't had a crazy look into Dubai's future lately. Let's fix that right now. Here's a concept hotel I saw on the web the other day.

Apeiron island hotel visual development


The Apeiron will be, if built, a $500 million dollar hotel on an island almost a thousand feet (300 meters) into The Gulf. The only way to get there? Yacht or helicopter.

Yeah, exclusive.

Designed by Sybarite, the Apeiron will be 600 feet tall and feature 350 suites. The official site says that it's "the definitive James Bond retreat boasting its own private lagoon, beaches, restaurants, art gallery, retail shopping, cinemas, spas and conference facilities. Its dramatic silhouette on the horizon creates a completely unique architectural icon that will be instantly recognised worldwide."

They also call it a "seven star" hotel. Hmm. Shades of the Burj Al Arab much?

So maybe this will be built, or maybe it'll be another Hydropolis ...
 
posted by Josh at 10:10 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Sorry for going missing the last few days, it's been a rough week. Sadly Liz's grandmother passed away back in Maine on Monday.

There are probably so many things to say, but I just don't have the words right now. I'll point you towards two obituaries, from the Brackett Funeral Home website and the Portland Press Herald.

Portland Press Herald logo


Thank you.
 
posted by Josh at 9:22 AM | 0 comments
Monday, September 17, 2007
20070916_smoking.pngSo this was a big one that I forgot to mention - on Friday all shopping malls in Dubai banned smoking.

It's pretty clever, really, to start the smoking ban during Ramadan - when it's already illegal to smoke during the day. It's possible that people will just get used to not smoking during the day, and keep it up once the holy month is over.

Of course, it's unclear whether the malls will enforce the ban, which I kind of doubt. I also haven't seen what their smoking sections look like - it could just be a plexiglass wall with no roof, a la the smoking sections in Gatwick and Heathrow Airports.

But any way you slice it, anything's an improvement ...
 
posted by Josh at 10:24 AM | 0 comments
20070915_remote.jpgThis won't be of much use to most of you guys, but if I can just help one person out there, then this will be worth it.

No, it's nothing that serious, in fact, it's really goofy.

You know how I was telling you that we hooked our iPod to our television via an Apple Universal Dock?

Well, oddly enough, we found that using the Apple Remote to pause the show we were watching ended up turning on our iMac. Yep, the iMac (which is in the same room, obviously) also has an infrared receiver.

Talk about technology amuck - the first time it happened the TV is going and all of a sudden from behind us iTunes is blasting. At first I thought the iMac might have gained sentience, like HAL from 2001.

As much as I like computers, I'm glad that's not the case. I like being the one in charge.

Anyway, this has been a pain in our necks for almost a month now, but the other day I finally found an Apple Support Document that helped - Pairing your Apple Remote with your computer. Here's an excerpt:

    Turning off infrared reception

    You can use the Security pane in System Preferences to turn the infrared ("IR") reception on your Mac off (or back on). To do this:

      1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
      2. Click Security to display the pane.
      3. Select the "Disable remote control infrared receiver" checkbox.
 
posted by Josh at 10:21 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Aw jeesh, last night's Boston Red Sox game is on my Orbit ESPN right now.

So do I watch it or not?

Or maybe watch until the 8th inning, then go do something else?

Jeesh!
 
posted by Josh at 4:38 PM | 0 comments
20070915_emg3.pngThere's a war brewing in Portland, Maine. A war of event marketing companies. (Hey, I didn't say it'd be a interesting war).

The Portland Press Herald just ran this article about emg3, who were the main competitors of the last company I worked for in Portland, Pierce Promotions.

Even if you don't care about Portland, event marketing or retailtainment this article is a wonderful case study into the bad-blood that can arise in business.

(And for the record, I'm not taking sides in this war. I want my employment pool to be as large as possible when we move back to Maine in July ...)
 
posted by Josh at 9:02 AM | 0 comments
20070915_sox.pngSo this isn't good - I just read the Boston Globe in-game blog from last night's Red Sox / Yankees baseball game. Okajima and Papelbon gave up six runs in the eighth inning and the Yankees won 8-7. Oh, and it was the second longest nine inning game in major league history.

My Orbit ESPN said they were showing live MLB this morning at 3 am - I assume that it was the Sox / Yankees. Of course, we all know what happened the last time I got up in the middle of the night for what Orbit ESPN said was live baseball (see That's not Baseball ...).

Guess I'm glad I skipped this one.
 
posted by Josh at 8:05 AM | 0 comments
Friday, September 14, 2007
I read an interesting tidbit in today's Friday paper (the equivalent of a Sunday paper at home). Dubai's population grew almost 26% last year, from 1.13 million at the beginning of the year to 1.42 million at the end of December. (This according to Dubai's Statistics Department).

That's the equivalent of 24,333 moving here each month.

Scarily enough, the article was about the Energy and Water Authority's urgent need to expand.

Oh boy, and I thought the rolling blackouts in Southern California four years ago were fun ...
 
posted by Josh at 3:37 PM | 0 comments
Thursday, September 13, 2007
So this is news! Yesterday our resident supertall skyscraper, the Burj Dubai became the world's tallest free-standing structure on land!

Illustration of Burj Dubai


The former titleholder was the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which is 1,815 feet, 5 inches (553.33 meters) tall.

Notice the fun wording here, though. It's the tallest "free standing" structure "on land".

The flat-out tallest structure in the world is the KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota at 2063 feet (628.8 meters). But it's supported by guy-wires, so it's not "free-standing". And it's an antenna, and not a habitable building.

The Petronius Platform oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico is 2,001 feet (609.9 meters) and habitable but most of the rig is underwater, hence the "on land" part.

It's all semantics. (This is where my buddy Mike would say, "I'll show you some antics!" and do a little dance. Get it? It's actually much funnier in person then when I type it.)

Anyway, long story short, the Burj is way tall, and it's only getting taller.
 
posted by Josh at 6:42 PM | 0 comments
20070913_usa_rugby.pngTo keep you up-to-date on the Rugby World Cup, our American team lost to Tonga yesterday.

Still, it sounds like they had a good game. I think. The article below is a little tough to comprehend though, honestly. I mean, apparently the American player Paul Emerick was suspended in the last game for "a spear tackle on English fly half Olly Barkley".

Okay, let's break that sentence down.
    A spear is a weapon with a long shaft and pointy tip.

    A tackle is probably like football, where one stops the player with the ball and knocks them to the ground. But it's also fishing equipment. Hmmm. Spear fishing, perhaps?

    English is of or relating to England or its people or language. That's easy.

    Fly is an insect, or the opening at the crotch of a pair of pants.

    Half is either of two equal parts into which something can be divided.

    Olly is a skateboarding jump performed without the aid of a takeoff ramp.

    And Barkley is a retired American professional basketball player, commonly nicknamed "Sir Charles" or "The Round Mound of Rebound".


So what does that add up to?

Perhaps this Paul Emerick character speared someone who had possession of the ball in an effort to knock him down, the player in question hailed from England and perhaps was drinking tea at the time. Sadly he had also been half-transmogrified into a fly creature, not unlike the 1986 Jeff Goldblum motion picture. Lastly either the fly creature or Paul Emerick (the wording is rather opaque) jumped a skateboard over a former basketball all-star and author of the book "Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?".

Yeah, that has to be it ...

    The Associated Press
    Tonga outmuscles United States to win 25-15 at Rugby World Cup
    September 12, 2007

    MONTPELLIER, France (AP) — Finau Maka scored a try 71 seconds into his debut for Tonga and the Pacific islanders outlasted the United States to win an error-strewn but entertaining Rugby World Cup match 25-15 Wednesday.

    It was the second defeat in five days for the United States, which lost to defending world champion England on Saturday, and only the Tongans' third ever victory at a World Cup.

    Maka dived over from close range after the Tongan pack formed a rolling maul following a lineout conceded by the Americans.

    Winger Joseph Vaka added the second try in the 59th minute and substitute Viliami Vaki scored a great individual effort with 10 minutes to go to put the Group A game out of the Americans' reach.

    The victory put the Tongans one point behind group leader South Africa and level with England. The Americans have no points from two games and, with only two more group matches to go, now have little chance of reaching the quarter-final.

    The U.S. team was playing without centre Paul Emerick, who was suspended for five weeks on Tuesday for a spear tackle on English fly half Olly Barkley in the Eagles' opening match.

    Tonga is ranked 14th in the world - one spot higher than the United States - by the International Rugby Board.

    After Maka's early try, the Pacific islanders again looked like scoring from the kickoff when centre Sukanaivalu Hufanga intercepted the ball and ran half the length of the pitch before the American defenders pulled him down.

    The shaken Americans didn't threaten until the 14th minute when winger Takudzwa Ngwenya broke through the line before being tackled by Hufanga.

    They had a chance to peg back the Tongans in the 17th minute but fly half Mike Hercus missed a straightforward penalty. Pierre Hola then stretched Tonga's lead to 13-0 with his second penalty after the Americans failed to release the ball in a ruck.

    Hercus found his range in the 33rd minute with a penalty to put the Americans on the board at 13-3.

    As the first half wore on, the Tongans began to wilt in the heat of Montpellier's Stade de la Mosson and the American backs started creating chances.

    Fullback Chris Wyles burst out of defence deep in his own half and cut through the Tongan backs before passing to flanker Todd Clever who took the ball into Tonga's half. As the Americans continued to pour forward, winger Ngwenya broke through and looked like scoring until fullback Vungakoto Lilo felled him with a try-saving tackle in the 38th minute.

    In the second half, the American pack began beating Tonga at its own muscular game.

    Five minutes after the break, the U.S. forwards drove the ball to the Tongan line and Australian referee Stuart Dickinson went to the video referee Mark Lawrence who ruled the no try.

    The pressure finally paid off for the Americans in the 47th minute when man-of-the-match Mike MacDonald drove over in the corner to cut Tonga's lead to 13-8.

    The Americans brought on Tongan-born prop Matekitonga Moeakiola shortly after their try and used him as a midfield battering ram while keeping the ball close to the pack in an apparent attempt to cut down on handling errors.

    But it was the Tongans who scored next as captain Nili Latu broke free and passed to fullback Lilo. He was tackled just short of the American line but managed to flick the ball up to winger Joseph Waka to touch down.

    Showing the same fighting spirit they demonstrated against England, the Americans again battled back, with fly half Hercus making a strong line break in the 63rd minute and passing to Chad Erskine who was stopped just short of the line with Tonga conceding a penalty from the next ruck.

    The United States kicked for touch instead of trying for three points. They won a scrum from the lineout and then a penalty which flanker Louis Stanfill took quickly and dived over the line, with video ref Lawrence this time awarding a try. Hercus kicked the conversion to cut Tonga's lead to three points.

    But substitute Vaki immediately hit back, beating five tackles to put the ball down under the posts to give Hola an easy conversion. That gave the Tongans a 10-point cushion which they held onto for the final 10 minutes of the match before going on a lap of honour after the final whistle.

    © The Associated Press
 
posted by Josh at 6:38 PM | 0 comments
Wow, do I have a massive headache right now.

I've had one sip of water in the the last six and a half hours. It's 104 degrees out. And I just spent 45 minutes in traffic.

I don't care how much air conditioning you have, a car in bumper-to-bumper traffic that's been out in the sun all day never cools off. Not physically possible. Of course it helps that it's half-way to boiling out, too.

Anyway, to back up, today is the first day of the Holy month of Ramdan where Muslims fast during the daylight hours. And since Dubai is an Islamic nation, it's illegal to eat, drink, smoke or even chew gum out in the daylight for the next month. That includes in your car as well as inside say, a classroom if one was subbing all day at a local high school.

I know, I know, it could be worse, I could be one of the poor construction workers out in the 104 degree heat without water, but I'm not and I never would be so your argument is moot.

I have to go lie down in a dark room now. More later.
 
posted by Josh at 2:47 PM | 3 comments
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Finally.

The other night I went to Safestway for a few American groceries. Grape Nuts, B&M Baked Beans and Captain Crunch Crunchberries.

Now I can make my favorite Captain Crunch Chicken.

You laugh. You scoff. But this is a real recipe, from a real restaurant that ... well, sure has gone bankrupt, um ... twice, but still, there are like eighteen Planet Hollywood's left. So it's real.

And it tastes great, too. The Captain Crunch gives the chicken a sweet taste, and the creole mustard sauce is a little spicy - they work well together.

I've been meaning to make this since about this time last year (see Grocery Shopping in Dubai) and man, was it worth the wait!

For the record, I took the "berries" out and only used the "crunch" bits, but if live in a place that has ready access to regular Captain Crunch, well, I envy you.

Oh, and from the original recipe I doubled the amounts of Captain Crunch and Corn Flakes (so if you see this recipe elsewhere and wonder why it's different, that's why).

Lastly, I bake the chicken instead of fry it. It's better for me that way.

Enjoy!


Planet Hollywood's Captain Crunch Chicken

Chicken:
4 c Captain Crunch Cereal
3 c Corn Flakes
1 Egg
1 c Milk
1 c All-Purpose Flour
1 t Onion powder
1 t Garlic powder
1 t Black pepper
2 lbs Chicken breasts, cut into strips

Creole Mustard Sauce:
1 c Mayonnaise
1/4 c Dijon Mustard
1 T Yellow mustard
1 T Horseradish
1/2 t Cider Vinegar
dash Worcestershire sauce
1 t Red wine vinegar
1 t Water
1/2 t Cayenne pepper
1/2 t Salt
1 t Green onions
1 t Crushed garlic
1 t Green pepper
1 t Celery
1 t Onion

Prepare creole mustard sauce by combining the above-listed ingredients. Set aside in refrigerator.

Coarsely grind or crush the Captain Crush and Corn Flakes. Set aside. Beat the egg with the milk. Set aside. Stir together the flour, onion and garlic powders, and black pepper. Set aside.

Dip the chicken pieces into the seasoned flour. Move around to coat well, then shake off excess flour. Dip into the egg wash, coating well, then dip into the Captain Crunch/Corn Flake mixture, coating well.

Heat Oil in a large heavy skillet to 325 degrees F. Drop coated chicken carefully into the hot oil and cook until golden brown and fully cooked (3 to 5 minutes depending on the size of the chicken pieces).

Drain and serve immediately with the creole mustard sauce.
 
posted by Josh at 10:01 AM | 1 comments
So I really wasn't going to get into the whole September 11th thing, I think we have more than enough politicians running for President in the US who'll want nothing better to talk everyones' ears off regarding the events from six years ago.

But last night I was looking for something in my Pictures folder on my computer and I came across my rather large collection of travel posters. You know those old railway or airline posters that advertise a city or geographic region? Yeah, I love those.

So as I was flipping through, I found this image which I didn't even remember. I have it attributed to an artist named Bern Hill, who apparently doesn't even have a wikipedia entry. Poor guy, I thought everyone had one of those. Heck, I have two or three! (Not really).

Anyway, I do know that Bern Hill did lots of art for American Airlines, Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and Chicago and North Western Railway. Not sure when or why he painted this, but I thought it was fitting to share.

Bern Hilll painting of the World Trade Center
 
posted by Josh at 9:56 AM | 2 comments
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I'm going to forego the traditional September 11th remembrances and wish my Father a happy birthday today.

I won't reveal his age exactly, other than say that yesterday he was Jonathan Papelbon and in two years he'll be Clay Buchholz. You do the math.

Anyway my Dad is a great guy, for those of you who don't know him. He has infinite patience, literally - he taught Middle School Science for 30-something years. I substitute taught Middle School Science this spring and after thirty minutes I was at the end of my rope! I don't know how he did it.

In all honesty though, over the past year in my newly-married life I can't tell you how many times I've found myself doing something in the same way that my Dad would. Subconsciously copying the way that he's a husband, emulating his husband-atude, if you will.

I guess it makes sense, I'm new at being a husband, and my my dad possess the qualities that I would like to have as a husband, so I'm just wholesale ripping him off.

It's tough, I'm trying to think of specific reasons and examples to support my position (yes, I learned the writing thing from my English teacher Mom, but we'll talk about her on October 18th) but I'm not coming up with much. I guess the first time I noticed was last summer, right around the wedding. Liz and I were staying at my parents' house where I grew up, while my folks were up at our cottage on the lake. We were coming home from somewhere (probably shopping for the wedding) and I did this jog-shuffle up the stairs to the house, the exact same jog-shuffle that my Dad does.

It sounds silly, I know, but it was a truthful moment of revelation.

It's not just that, though. There are tons of little things, cooking in the kitchen, the way that we talk to each other - every week there are a couple of times when I either consciously or subconsciously where I find myself mimicking my Dad.

So hopefully he'll be flattered with all of this sincere imitation.

Happy Birthday Dad!
 
posted by Josh at 10:32 AM | 1 comments
I don't know why this amazes me so, maybe because I'm just so very American? But amazingly enough Electronic Arts makes a Rugby video game - Rugby 08.

EA Rugby 08 box


I haven't been this amazed since I learned they made a cricket video game (see EA Cricket 07).

I wonder if it's any good?
 
posted by Josh at 12:07 AM | 0 comments
Monday, September 10, 2007
So football started yesterday. Well, guess I should say "American" football.

New England Patriots helmet illustration


My New England Patriots won yesterday, which is all nice and good, but I just don't have the time for them yet.

I mean, sure I wore my Patriots tee shirt when I went grocery shopping, but nobody stopped me and went, "Whoo-hoo, Patriots!"

(Not that I really want anyone to "whoo-hoo" me when I'm in Carrefour, really, but still, a 'guy nod' to acknowledge the shirt wouldn't be bad.)

Anyway, the reason that I don't have time for the Patriots is simple - there are just too many sports going on right now. Chiefly on my mind, baseball and the Boston Red Sox.

Boston Red Sox logo


They've got what, only seventeen or eighteen games left in the season? And who are they playing Friday, Saturday and Sunday? The dreaded New York Yankees.

Speaking of which, two of those games are on ESPN back in the States, so I'm hoping that our fakey Orbit ESPN finds it in their hearts to show a game, maybe even live?

Lastly, and this one's a little out of left field, is the Rugby World Cup.

2007 Rugby World Cup Logo


Yeah, I'm not really a rugby fan, but I'm trying to get into it. Broaden my horizons. I mean, shoot, these guys don't even wear pads, the least I can do is watch them! And the World Cup is a big deal, their quadrennial championship. It just started on Friday and goes until October 20th.

And, as I talked about earlier, amazingly enough America has a team!

True, they lost to England on Saturday, but hey, they're trying. Their next game is against Tonga on Wednesday.

This wikipedia page explains the Pool stage of the World Cup. Check it out if you're at all interested.

So this is all good and busy, but wait until we get to October. The Red Sox will (hopefully) be in the post-season, which starts Thursday, October 4. But guess what starts their regular season on the first Wednesday in October?

The National Hockey League.

Oh man ... too many sports ...
 
posted by Josh at 10:26 AM | 0 comments
Friday, September 7, 2007
This week I read that our neighbor Qatar (which is pronounced almost like "cutter" but with a harder "K" sound) is vying for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Olympic rings


Now, I don't know specifically the temperatures in Doha, Qatar in the summer, but as it's just up The Gulf from Dubai, I think I have a pretty good idea.

HOT.

And as far as I know, the summer games are always in August, right? I mean, they probably wouldn't delay them until November.

Maybe all of the events would be indoors?

Yeah, I've got nothing. This sounds a little crazy to me.

Other cities in the running for the Olympics are Chicago; Tokyo; Prague, Czech Republic, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Madrid, Spain.

The International Olympic Committee will select the winning city in 2009.
 
posted by Josh at 10:38 AM | 3 comments
Dang. You might have just missed out on a good joke there.

Yesterday I wrote an entry about blinking green lights here in Dubai, and I tried to be clever in using the old <BLINK> HTML element so the green title would blink.

Get it?

I wrote the entry, then checked it on my Mozilla Firefox browser and it was blinking away. Annoying, but clever.

I'm so funny.

Then today I found out that Apple's Safari and Microsoft's Internet Explorer don't even support <BLINK> anymore.

Huh.

Our friends at BlogCounter.com tell me that 66.5% of you use Internet Explorer, 21.5% use Mozilla, 11.2% use Netscape and 0.6% of you use Opera. Does Netscape even exist anymore? And where's Safari? I know I've looked at the page in Safari. Anyway, at least 6 out of 10 of you didn't get the joke. Bummer.
 
posted by Josh at 10:08 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Wow, I'm just a posting-monkey today, aren't I?

This one I had to get out onto the internet tubes before Jay Leno picks it up and makes a joke out of it. I mean, a bad, Jay Lenoesque joke about it.

Apparently the fire department here in Dubai has purchased themselves a Corvette so they can get to fires faster.

Yes, let me repeat that: the fire department in Dubai has a Corvette so they can get to fires faster.

Seriously. You think I could make this stuff up?

Dubai Civil Defence Corvette


Yeah, somehow the car being "small, light and fast" helps it beat traffic. As opposed to all of the Porsches, Audis and other Corvettes that are too large, heavy and slow that get stuck in Dubai traffic?

I really do wonder, though, how much "hydraulic equipment" and "firefighting equipment" they can fit in there.

Oh well, it has to be cheaper than, you know, building more fire stations.

Sexier, too ...

    Gulf News
    Blazing wheels to fight fires on Dubai roads
    By Staff Report
    September 05, 2007

    Dubai: A sports car will now help put out fires - beating traffic with its small size and fast performance, a senior official said.

    Brigadier Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, Director of Dubai Civil Defence, said the civil defence will soon start using a customised Corvette car to attend to fires quickly, to prevent them spreading.

    He said the car is a small, light and fast car which can beat traffic and contains highly-effective firefighting and prevention systems in addition to rescue equipment in cases where people are trapped in cars.

    Equipment in the car includes a portable fire extinguisher, hydraulic equipment, firefighting equipment and first aid equipment.

    Brigadier Al Matroushi who suggested the idea of developing a sports car and followed up its development daily, said one of the reasons behind a fire getting worse was the distance between civil defence centres and accident locations. The large size of civil defence vehicles makes it difficult to arrive quickly at the scene, therefore the need arose to develop a fast car.

    Captain Sulaiman Abdulkareem, Director of Civil Defence Technical Affairs, said the developing of the car took two months by four members.

    The car is currently being exhibited at an exhibition in Qatar.

    © Al Nisr Publishing LLC
 
posted by Josh at 4:12 PM | 1 comments
We've noticed since we've been back a new trend here in Dubai - blinking green lights. A few different lights on Beach Road now green before they turn yellow, then red.

Why not just make the yellow light longer?

It's odd.
 
posted by Josh at 1:44 PM | 1 comments
Okay, this'll be the last post about P!nk for some time, probably.

So last night was the P!nk concert at Dubai Media City, right outside our apartment. Well, we couldn't see the show but we could definitely hear it.

First off, it only started twenty minutes after ten, where it was supposed to start at ten. I bet that they'd be forty-five minutes late, Liz thought they'd be forty-six. That's the old The Price is Right strategy, bid just one higher than the other guy. Saldy we both went over. I think they call that a "double overbid" on the show.

Anyway, she started with some song I don't know, which I assume is her newest hit. After her second song (which I think was "Like a Pill") she had a little banter with the crowd, something along the lines of, "I was cute just a little bit ago" in reference to the no doubt sweaty grossness she probably was after running around on stage for just seven or eight minutes. Can I tell you how ridiculous the heat and humidity were yesterday? It was obscene. That's the only way to describe it.

Oh, speaking of obscene, for the record it sounded to us like she hit every swear-word and blasphemous phrase in all of her songs. Wonder how the religious authorities will feel about that?

The oddest part of the show were the cover songs she performed near the end. Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" was first, and then 4 Non Blondes' "Whats Going On?".

Well I guess the second isn't too weird, as Linda Perry of 4 Non Blondes wrote and produced "Get the Party Started", which was obviously the encore.

All-in-all it was a good show, especially since we didn't have to pay, we had a mostly air conditioned room to listen from (we had the sliding door to the balcony opened a crack) and we didn't have to fight traffic going home, as we already were home.

Wonder when the next show will be?
 
posted by Josh at 1:29 PM | 2 comments
Did you hear the news? Apple has revamped their line of iPod music players.

new iPods

The big news is that the iPod nano now plays video on a 2.0-inch display. The resolution is 320 x 240 pixels.

The iPod as we know it is now the iPod classic. It now has an all-metal enclosure, and comes in a new 160GB model. That's as much memory as my whole dang computer!! The 80GB model is thinner than my fifth generation iPod I bought this summer, too. The screen is still 2.5-inches, the same as mine, though.

And then there's the iPod touch. Pretty much the iPhone without the phone, it has a 3.5-inch widescreen display, Wi-Fi web browsing and a Wi-Fi iTunes Store, where you can buy songs. Oddly it only comes in 8GB and 16GB models.

Just for the record, I love my iMac and my iPod that we just bought two months ago (see Adjusting to life in the States and iPod, TV and Me), even if both are both outdated now. I've never felt the need to have all of the newest, shiny things in life.

And I have been more than psyched to have the iPod for the last three weeks to play downloaded shows on the television. Virtually every time that we use it, I say to Liz, "I am so excited that this works!"

Technology is so fun ...
 
posted by Josh at 1:01 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
So the P!nk concert is a mere hour and a half away. And it's still warm outside.

Weather.com says that currently it's 95 degrees, but feels like 111.

You have to wonder when they sign these big acts to come here how much those acts know about Dubai - especially the weather.

Because I can't imagine P!nk being excited to perform a concert at 10 pm when it's over 110 degrees out.
 
posted by Josh at 8:44 PM | 1 comments
Oh man!!

I didn't even know about this until today! Apparently last night the third season of the reality boxing show The Contender started on ESPN!
The Contender Logo
I know it sounds foolish, but back in 2005 a bunch of us used to watch it religiously. It was a good show - Mark Burnett produced it, Sugar Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone were the hosts. What? You'd rather him make more lame sequels to his hit movies?

Oh yeah, you can't forget the theme music. Maybe, and I say this with very little trepidation, but just maybe Hans Zimmer's theme was the best television theme ever.

Man, these are the things I miss by living overseas. Well, yeah sure, I mean these ... as well as my family.

Manfredo!
 
posted by Josh at 8:26 PM | 1 comments
I think for dinner tonight I'm going to make White Chili. This recipe is a little different, as I kind of made it up myself.

Well, I didn't get the idea myself, the dish is one of my favorites from this place in Los Angeles named Kate Mantilini.

(Actually the restaurant is technically in Beverly Hills, but how snooty does that sound saying, "I got the idea for this recipe from a little place in Beverly Hills"??)

Anyway, I've tried to approximate it to the best of my abilities, which obviously took many, many years. So please don't expect to go to Kate Mantilini and get a dish nearly half as good as this.

(ha-ha)

Unfortunately I haven't found white corn in this corner of the world, so I just use plain yellow kernels, which sadly isn't as good, but hey, what are you going to do?

Josh's White Chili


1 lb Boneless Chicken Breast, or Thighs, or pieces
1 Onion, chopped
2 cubes Chicken Broth
2 cloves Garlic
15 oz can Garbanzo Beans
15 oz can Pinto Beans
15 oz can White Corn
1 t Oregano
1 t Chili Powder
1 t Ground Cumin
Tabasco

Sprinkle chicken with chili powder and cumin. Cook chicken in a skillet until 3/4 done. Set aside.

In a large pot heat garbanzo beans, pinto beans, white corn and onion. Add oregano and chicken broth cubes. Stir until the cubes have dissolved.

Add chicken and simmer.

Lastly, thrown in a dash or two or three of Tabasco.

 
posted by Josh at 10:49 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
So hey, I can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet ... the singer Pink is playing in Dubai tomorrow.

PINK

Yep, Pink (or is it "P!nk"?) is the talk of the town right now. But the best (or worst) part is that the show is in Media City, right behind our house.

Dubai Media City logo

So we'll be able to hear the show ... for free! That's a pretty good deal. Well, as long as the show doesn't go too late, that is. Sometimes shows there go until 1 am, which is rough, especially on school nights. Especially especially if it's a band / kind of music you don't like.

Then it's a little like torture.

But not P!nk. Everyone likes her.

So let's get this party started ...
 
posted by Josh at 2:41 PM | 1 comments
Monday, September 3, 2007
Welcome to Year Two of Newlywed in Dubai. Like it says over to the right, apparently the "Newlywed Game" says anyone married fewer than two years still counts as a newlywed.

That's a big relief, really, as I was wracking my brain trying to think of something to call the new site. "Expatriate in Dubai"? "Americans in Dubai"? "Almost-Newlyweds in Dubai"? Nothing sounded good. So we're keeping the name, and just changing the art.

When I designed the website last summer, I was going for a late 1970s / early 1980s look with the orange, yellow and brown. I wanted to share a few of my influences with you guys right now. This first photo is from a family vacation from 1984, we flew to Florida on People Express (or is it PEOPLExpress?):

People Express

One of the first things I ever bought on eBay was a license plate from the opening of EPCOT Center.

EPCOT Center license plate

If you combine these two, well, that's pretty much the colors of the website!

For the typeface, I'm using a font family based on the Walt Disney World 1971-1995 logo called Florida Project. As you can see above, I'm keeping that with the new redesign.

Also factoring in to the scheme were the classic San Diego Padres uniforms. Ironically this June when they played against the Red Sox the Padres wore their 1982 uniforms in honor of Hall of Fame electee Tony Gwynn's big league debut:

1982 San Diego Padres uniform
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

of course Taco Bell had a little to do with it, too:

Taco Bell Logo

Anyway, it's a little sad to retire those colors, but I'm psyched to have a new look. The colors, by the way, are from the UAE flag, which helps this new logo feels much more like Dubai.

Anyway, I'm keeping the other site online as I'm sure I'll be referencing it often, but all of the new posts will show up here. So update your bookmarks! Thanks!

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posted by Josh at 3:42 PM | 0 comments