Thursday, July 31, 2008
At 7:30 pm tonight in Dubai the temperature was 95 degrees with 75 percent humidity - so it felt like 118 degrees - with my favorite meteorological condition: "widespread dust".

At 11:30 am in Naples, Maine it's 66 degrees with 94 percent humidity - rain - so it feels like 66 degrees.

I just would like to point out that the difference is 52 degrees.

Wow.
 
posted by Josh at 7:45 PM | 0 comments
I'm not trying to be a punk here, and I'm not trying to be political. But look at these two articles from the last 24 hours:

Big prices for oil, record 2Q profits at Shell

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Yet Americans still wonder why gas prices are so high?

Durrr ...

Had I been smart when Bush was elected President (and had I any extra money in November of 2000) I would have invested in every oil company I could find.

Then right now I'd be wearing a top hat, monocle, and three piece suit while lighting Cuban cigars with $100 bills.
 
posted by Josh at 7:31 PM | 3 comments
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Disney's put up the first animation for the upcoming traditionally animated film The Princess and the Frog.

The film, which will be released December 25, 2009, is directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, who also directed The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules and Treasure Planet.

Man I love traditional animation.
 
posted by Josh at 8:46 PM | 1 comments
I guess it could have been worse.

I know that's a crummy thing to say after seeing a Boston Red Sox baseball game, but it's true. It wasn't until this morning that I heard about the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim trade for super-slugger Mark Teixeira. Yikes! If he had been in Boston yesterday it could have been, well, worse.

The Angels already have the best record in Major League Baseball, and last night completed their seventh straight win against the Red Sox. There's little doubt in my mind we're going to see these guys again in the post-season. And something tells me that it won't be a sweep like in 2004 or in 2007.

In fact, Angels pitcher John Lackey came ridiculously close to a no-hitter last night. It wasn't until the ninth inning that Dustin Pedroia finally belted a single.

Fun fact: Pedroia's at-bat song is Dr. Dre's "F-- Wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')". Huh. Not really what you'd expect from a 5'7" white kid from the Central Coast of California.

Another fun fact? By my calculations the 25-year old second baseman was nine when that album came out.

Anyway, after Pedroia messed with Lackey's day (and everybody celebrated) Kevin Youkilis hit a towering homer off the AAA billboard above the Green Monster.

But it was too little, too late. 6-2 Angels.

Oddly enough it was Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz who had a no-hitter last September. Not last night, though. Last night he gave up six hits, three walks, and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings. We did, however, get to see good innings by Craig Hansen, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon.

We also had Mike Lowell drama last night, too - he made an error in the third. I'll repeat, Mike Lowell made an error. The collective "wha?" from the crowd would have been comical, had it not been against Lowell. He's a good guy.

Naturally we had some Manny Ramírez drama, too. In the seventh Manny slowly jogged out a potential single, which of course was poorly thrown to first. Had Manny hustled, he would have been safe. Luckily a good chunk of the 38,110 fans in attendance let him know how they felt about that. When he threw his helmet in front of the dugout I figured he heard our boos.

My one clever thought last night? With 81 home games at about 38,000 fans a pop, you get in the ballpark of an attendance of 3 million per season. Divide Manny's $20 million salary by 3 million - if the Red Sox decline to sign Manny in 2009 they could reduce every single paid ticket to Fenway Park by at least $6.50.

That'd cause some goodwill in old Red Sox Nation. "As we have declined to sign Manny Ramírez this year the Red Sox can now afford to lower your ticket price this year. Enjoy the season."

Not likely.

Anyway, it was a blast to see the game, to see Youk's home run, to be in Fenway Park. It would have been nice if they'd won, but it really wasn't that important. It was still a good night.

(Wonder if Mark Teixeira is going to show up tonight? Yikes!)
 
posted by Josh at 6:02 PM | 2 comments
Monday, July 28, 2008
Boston Red Sox logoTwo baseball notes today. First off, this Thursday is the trade deadline for Major League Baseball. Second I'm going to the Red Sox game on Tuesday night!!

Why do I mention the trade deadline in what should be a psychotically excited missive about me going to see my favorite baseball team play in possibly the most hallowed sporting field in the United States?

Because somehow I always seem to end up down in Boston when big things happen to the Red Sox.

For example, on July 31, 2004 I was in Boston visiting with college friends. That was the historic day that Nomar Garciaparra was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Orlando Cabrera and Doug Min-- ... Doug Mienk-- ... Doug Mientkiewit-- ... aw, you know the guy who kept the ball from the final out of the 2004 World Series and now all of Boston hates. That guy.

I actually cursed the Sox that day, and said loudly and publicly that I'd root for the Cubs to win the World Series in 2004. And we all know how that turned out.

Fast forward a year and a half to December 21, 2005. I was in Boston picking up Liz from the airport (back when she was in Dubai and I was in Maine, hey, kind of like how it is right now). That was the day when center fielder / second-coming Johnny Damon signed with the rival New York Yankees. I usually love hotels who leave newspapers on your doorstep. Not that day, with Johnny all cleancut in a pinstriped suit on the front page. The image is seared into my brain forever.

This next one is a little stretch, but I was in Boston and it was a big trade ... in my head. On July 31, 2007 Liz and I were staying in a hotel in Boston to catch an early flight in the morning to Los Angeles to visit my peoples. Also that day relief pitcher Eric Gagné came to the Red Sox for pitcher Kason Gabbard and minor league outfielders David Murphy and Engel Beltre. Sure, Gagné didn't do so hot for Boston, but he was a hell of an insurance policy in case something happened to Papelbon. Seriously. I'm still a huge fan of his, but I've told you that over and over (see I am honestly going to miss Eric Gagne and Eric Gagné and I Jinxed Gagné).

Anyway, this is my thought. So I'm going to be in Boston, trade deadline approaching, and I apparently am some kind of token / idol / charm for screwy Red Sox trades. Hmm. Watch the paper. Maybe we'll trade Manny for Brett Favre or something. Anything's possible ...
 
posted by Josh at 10:26 PM | 0 comments
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Hi gang,

Sorry it's been so long since a real update. But hey, since it's Sunday morning in Dubai right now what better way to start the work week than some photos and stories from Maine? Besides, it's a short one, what with Thursday off!

Up until yesterday the weather here has been pretty cloudy and rainy, so I had a good chance to catch up on some fantastic movies (The Dark Knight and WALL-E) and one that, well - let's just say calling it "less than stellar" would be very kind (The X-Files 2).

Oh, and dude, the trailers! I really love movie trailers. Especially big-budget summer movie trailers. You know that most likely the movie is going to be horrible, but for one quick minute the movie seems like it's going to be awesome. The right shots, the right edits, the right music and you quickly think to yourself, "Awww, why I wish I was going to watch that movie today instead of the crummy one I just paid for!"

Yes, I might be the only person to openly admit it, but there's some truth to Burn Hollywood Burn.

Case in point - the teaser for next summer's Terminator Salvation. It's going to be lame (especially without Arnold), but holy crap using the Terminator music as static is just about the most brilliant cinematic move I've seen in the last year.

Oddly enough I'm more excited for next year's Watchmen (based on the Alan Moore comic book). But that's because trailer left me cold. The Smashing Pumpkins? Really? Is it 1995 or something?

More of a crapshoot is the trailer for The Spirit. The movie's directed by the guy who came up with "300" and "Sin City", and rips off the Sin City movie feel quite well - but will the movie be any good? Who knows.

Lastly there's the trailer for Bolt. Hmm. I really can't say anything bad about it as I know about a hundred people who worked on it. Heck, my buddy Chris directed it - although a long time ago it was going to be directed by the genius Chris Sanders of Lilo & Stitch fame - but we all know what happened to him (see Chris Sanders Fired.). So let's leave it at that.

Anyway, beyond movies I've been job hunting, which is frustrating and exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. I'll tell more of those stories later, hopefully after I get a sweet gig.

Oh, I've been reading, too. Fareed Zakaria's new book The Post-American World has really given me quite a bit to think about. I'm only half-way into it, but I highly recommend it.

Sadly I can't say as much for Greg Hunt's They Saddle Dogs. It was too hedonistic and British laddy-magazine for me, frankly, and quite clunkily written as well. Good thing it's only available in Dubai and not the wider world.

Lastly - color.

Now, I don't want to knock Dubai, but the whole month of June and the first week of July felt ... beige. Tan. Just a little too gray.

I assume it was the "widespread dust" that muted every color in Dubai to it's most low-contrast possibility, but there's a certain point in which a hint of blue in the sky would be more welcome than relief from the scalding heat. Even the ever-azure Gulf was pale.

Which makes driving the back roads of rural Maine such a treat. Color. Vibrant greens. Blue sky. Puffy white clouds. Oh, it's a joy.

Don't believe me?





And that's all that I did today - floated in the lake.

Yep, it's good to be home ...
 
posted by Josh at 7:40 AM | 2 comments
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I know updates have been few and far between lately, but an hour ago we hit our 25,000th page view since September 3 of last year. So we're going to have to talk about that.

Who are all of these people and how did they find us? Well, it appears that we've had visitors from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, US Armed Forces and (most scarily) US Governmental Entities.

Hola, amigos. And to my governmental spook friends, you'll kindly notice I'm not counting down the days until 01.20.09 - although that's mostly because I don't count things down (see Countdown).

Anyway, the individual entry with the most hits was by far Too many sports, which is a bit odd, as I don't really have anything informative or even substantial to say in the entire post. I do name drop the Sox, the Patriots, rugby and hockey, though.

Next up was Dubai Celebrity Stuff. People must have been either really interested in George Clooney at the Dubai International Film Festival ... or my brother and my making fun of Lindsey Alley and other former Mousketeers in the comments section.

The top ten search engine keywords people used to find this page were:

orbit espn
captain crunch chicken
gas prices in dubai
gas price in dubai
newlyweds in dubai
iphone in dubai
iphone dubai
dubai gas prices
legoland dubai
ea rugby 09

Later on down the list we have:

gas price uae
fuel prices in dubai
dubai gas price
gas price in uae

Hmm, I'm noticing a trend. Guess my Dad wasn't the only one who found the petrol prices interesting (see Gas Prices in Dubai).

Lastly, because I'm sure somebody cares, 40% of visitors have a screen resolution of 1024x768 and 80% have 32 Bit color.

But seriously, to all who come to this happy place - welcome. Newlywed in Dubai is your website. Here age relives fond memories of the past and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Newlywed in Dubai is dedicated to the ideals, dreams and the hard facts that have created the internet ... with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.
 
posted by Josh at 8:51 PM | 1 comments
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Here's a photo from a week ago - the last dinner I cooked in Dubai was Rogan Josh, purchased purely because it has an awesome name.


Didn't taste bad, either, although Liz thought it was a little spicy.

And for the record, we used chicken and not lamb.
 
posted by Josh at 5:22 PM | 1 comments
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I'm not sure if anyone was concerned that Kitty was jet lagged from the flight from Dubai (see Yes, cats get jetlagged, too).

Well, don't worry, he's over it.

After last night's longest All-Star Game in Major League Baseball history, Kitty decided to wake me up at 5:30 am ... for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

He's back to his old tricks.

Speaking of, I haven't seen the little rugrat in the last few minutes. He'd better not be sleeping, or I'm going to wake him up, too.

Two can play at this game ...
 
posted by Josh at 3:56 PM | 0 comments
My wife is a Buddhist, and is always working on non-attachment. In Buddhism attachment is seen as the root of suffering, so it's wise to not be attached to things (luckily husbands and cats are exempt from this axiom).

I, on the other hand, don't really have a religion. The closest thing that I have is my relationship to Disney.

(You laugh ... unless you know me.)

Pilgrimages to Orlando and Anaheim, studying the holy texts, shoot, we even have our own apostles!

Think about it, religion provides comfort, peace, a sense of community, moral values ... these are all things I take from Disney.

Plus if you invest in Disney stock, you can make a few bucks, too.

But I'm actually being serious here.

Anyway, growing up I always wanted to work at Walt Disney World and Walt Disney Feature Animation (now Walt Disney Animation Studios), but the closest thing I had was my local Disney Store in the Maine Mall. Eighteen days after my eighteenth birthday I applied for a job there. April 17, 1994. The start of the summer of The Lion King.

(I'm blanking on a religious reference for that. Let's just say the burning bush. No, no, the parting of the Red Sea. Yeah, there were more people at that. Did you ever wonder if the survivors had reunions? What would happen if two survivors ran into each other? "You were at the Red Sea? Dude, so was I! High Five!")

So the Disney Store is my temple.

No matter where I live, no matter what I'm doing, I can stop in to the Maine Mall Disney Store and chat with the manager Beth - Beth who helped me get my first job at Walt Disney World back in 1996. (It's a long drawn out story that involved me being a screwball missing my bus to the interview - and this was in the days before cell phones. Beth, working at a different Disney Store at the time, played the role of messenger and drove to meet my parents at the bus station in New Hampshire to tell them the news.)

Anyway, yesterday I went to the Maine Mall.

The Disney Store gone.

Now, I realize that 98 Disney Stores closed last month - but I never thought that the Maine Mall store would close.

I felt a little like Martin Blank in Grosse Pointe Blank (another Disney movie) when he goes home after ten years and finds an Ultimart convenience store where his house should be.

Not having Dr. Oatman's phone number I called my brother instead.

I know I shouldn't be attached to a store - it's just a store - and I know that my thing with Disney is more than a little odd. But that Disney Store has been such a constant in my life for the last two decades. And now it's gone.

In the cruel irony category, as I was leaving the mall (after a lunch of Taco Bell! Mmmmm!) the Elton John version of the song "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King came on over the PA.

    Some of us fall by the wayside,
    And some of us soar to the stars,
    And some of us sail through our troubles,
    And some have to live with the scars.

    There's far too much to take in here,
    More to find than can ever be found.
    But the sun rolling high through the sapphire sky,
    Keeps great and small on the endless round.


The circle of life indeed.
 
posted by Josh at 3:41 PM |
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Yesterday was the first time I got gas since I've been back in the States. Our 2003 Jetta was pretty much empty, so it cost $53.

Fifty-three dollars! To fill the Jetta!

Gas here in Maine is $4.09 per gallon, and my little car needed 13 of them.

(For those of you overseas, a gallon is 0.833 of an imperial gallon or 3.785 liters, and a dollar is slightly less than a Mexican Peso or the Ruble immediately following the Soviet collapse).

Dang, I swear when I got the car it was only $20 to fill it.

But that was five whole years ago, I guess, which apparently was a key five years in the energy sector ...
 
posted by Josh at 3:45 PM | 5 comments
So I went to a Burger King yesterday in Maine. Okay, actually New Hampshire. But still - the USA.

When I was there I found something that would make Liz very jealous, homesick and hungry all at the same time - the Burger King Cheesy Bacon BK Wrapper.

It's a new breakfast item that's apparently full of eggs, bacon, hash browns and cheese, all wrapped in a flour tortilla.

See, Liz loves breakfast, it's her favorite meal of the day. And breakfast wraps just might be her favorite item from her favorite meal.

Sadly I was there for lunch, so I had a Whopper Jr.

But I think the Cheesy Bacon BK Wrapper is in my future someday soon.

(Just don't tell Liz!)
 
posted by Josh at 3:39 PM | 0 comments
Monday, July 14, 2008
Here's one that Liz noticed at our vet's office in Dubai. The 5 gallon water bubbler (cooler, bottle, whatever) is from a company named Palm Spring.

The thing is, their logo is almost exactly like Poland Spring from Poland, Maine (a few towns over from where we grew up). Poland Spring water is big in New England and New York.

And I checked, this water isn't part of Nestle, the parent company of Poland Spring. It's just a very odd ripoff.

Here's a photo of the bubbler:



And here's the Poland Spring logo. Notice the little indents in the "P" and the "S" are exactly the same!

 
posted by Josh at 9:31 PM | 1 comments
So, in the last two days I've gotten emails from some of the all stars of friendship: Amy, Deb, Margaret, and, after way too many years of us being out of touch, Divya. Thank God (and anyone else who'll listen) for these women. And for all female friends. Tell me, all you people out there, what would we do without those friendships we hold so dear? Deb, who inspires me with her compassion and passion; Amy, who dares to dive into the deep end of life's pool; Margaret who keeps me smiling by sending fun messages about math or international dancing men; and Divya-"amazing" doesn't even begin to cover it--who may just end up being a neighbor when I move home. Seriously, every time I've checked my email lately, the name of another amazing women has appeared. It's been truly awesome.

Something that hasn't been so awesome? My new, crappy cell phone. After an incident involving a friend and a glass of wine, my beautiful fuchsia phone is no longer working. Since I'm only going to be in Dubai another six weeks, there was no way I was spending any more money than was absolutely necessary, and so when I went into our Wal-Mart/Target equivalent, Geant, I was like, "I'd like the cheapest phone you've got." Seeing a Western woman (read: woman who could afford more than the cheapest phone), the sales guy was not impressed with my request or his potential commission. "Madam, I think maybe you prefer this one." It was 1200 AED ($325). "Or this one, on promotion for Dubai Summer Surprise. Has camera, has..." I interrupted him, "How 'bout this one," I pointed, "for 159 dirhams [$43]?" "This one, only 200 dirhams, much better quality." Still annoyed about my fuchsia phone, I just wanted to get this other phone and get out of there. "I want the one for 159." With a relenting head gesture to the side, "As you wish, madam."

I was pretty pleased--not going to lie--that I was able to snag a mobile phone for the equivalent of $43. So pleased was I with my bargain that as I passed a shoe store with Dubai Summer Surprise sales, I felt like I could drop a few dirhams on a new pair of shoes. My outfit was a little drab, and I hadn't bought a new pair of shoes in a while. (My husband, as he is reading this, is currently unimpressed with my economic logic.) With a new pair of shoes on my feet, and a new cell phone in my bag, it had been a good day and it was only 10:30 am.

Fast forward 24 hours.

Turns out this phone was 159 AED because it really wasn't worth much more than that. It's hard to hear when you're talking on it. I can't figure out how to text--the most reliable way to chat with Josh. And the more I look at it, the more ugly it is. It's so NOT fuchsia. Thinking back, would it have killed me to shell out another 41 dirhams ($11) for a phone that was sleek and silver, had a camera, and presumably didn't suck?

Instead, I have a crappy, un-cute phone.

But I do have a pair of kick ass shoes.

And doesn't that really make it all okay?
 
posted by Liz at 7:49 PM | 4 comments
Sunday, July 13, 2008
(a/k/a DXB to ATL to PWM in 23 1/2 hours is rough on felines and humans)

Hello from Maine! This is going to be brief because I'm surfing the 'net on a hijacked wireless signal and I don't know how long it'll last. Yes, I'm "borrowing" the internet from some neighbor. Don't worry, I'll give it back soon, good as new.

So right now in Maine it's 8 am Eastern Standard Time on Sunday morning, although Kitty the Cat thinks it's time for his mid-afternoon nap. Yes, cats get jetlagged too. Who knew?

I can't fault him in any way at all, though, he's been a rockstar cat this whole trip. The fifteen and a half hour flight from Dubai to Atlanta was rough on both of us, naturally, but he did the trip with only one sleeping pill. I gave him another during the two and a half hour layover in Hotlanta, so he was still loopy as heck when we got home. It was funny, yet sad at the same time.

I mean, can you imagine being taken out of the Middle East against your will, drugged, flown across the world with a bag over your head, and then dropped in a completely foreign country? That's not fit for man nor beast!

Oops. Nevermind.

The other thing that Liz realized as we were driving to the airport was that the coldest temperatures Kitty has ever seen is when we drop the air conditioning down to 70 degrees. Yes, he's in for a rude awakening.

But we're here now and we're doing fine. Yesterday at dawn (we were both up) Kitty discovered that we have all manner of birds in Maine. And with screens instead of hermetically sealed green-mirrored windows you can hear the birds. Probably smell them, too.

If I had been wise enough to get out the video camera his running about from window to window would be a shoo-in for some award on that “America's Funniest Animals” show on Animal Planet.

The best part of the trip, though, is how completely useless the two different health certificates we got for him were. Which reminds me, I've got to write the Dubai Cargo Village story. That was pure Dubai.

Well, I'm going to go see what food I have around here - it's about time for my mid-afternoon snack.

Liz, I miss you and will talk to you soon!!
 
posted by Josh at 4:07 PM | 0 comments
Friday, July 11, 2008
The flight from Dubai to Portland, Maine is so long that in the time Josh and Kitty have been flying I have: gotten a full night's sleep, gone out to breakfast at the Lime Tree Cafe (delicious), done some shopping, cleaned up around the house (it was a mess), done laundry, watched Knight Rider (I can't believe I just admitted that) and CSI Miami, read a chunk of "The Girls of Riyadh" (check it out if you have a chance--the girls remind me of some of my students here), looked on line for jobs back in Maine, read the Gulf News, made dinner and written this little blog...and the poor duo doesn't land at PWM for another hour!

Don't ever let anyone tell you that trip isn't rough. Glad I've only got one more in the foreseeable future. And happy for Josh that his last one is almost done.
 
posted by Liz at 7:03 PM | 1 comments
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Today has been a day of comings and goings. This morning, I got word that my dear friends Katie and Christy are the proud parents of baby girl named Maisie. What a miracle that tiny little life is! I've never seen Katie looking more beautiful or more happy. So, here's a newlywedindubai shout out all the way to Seattle to two lucky moms and one super lucky baby girl.

Today has also been a day of goings: Josh and Kitty-Kitton are, as I write, on an airplane headed to Atlanta and the house is very, very quiet. Just me and Lily (our other cat) and the sound of my fingers on the keyboard. Very strange. Poor Josh: just as he was getting used to killer flight from Dubai back home, he gets to take our crazy cat on board with him, our crazy LOUD cat. Yes, we did try drugging him (the cat, not Josh) but he was still warbling when I left them at the airport. And the subsequent texts I've gotten from Josh reveal that Kitty has kept up the noise--through security, passport control, and to the gate. Perhaps I should have drugged Josh, too. Hopefully they'll both be able to get some rest somewhere over Europe or the Atlantic.

Lily is looking at me, confused and seemingly pleased that it's back to the two girls. She has never really taken a liking to Kitty, though Josh has slowly grown on her.

That guy has grown on me, too, and it's hard to imagine six weeks without him.
 
posted by Liz at 11:47 PM | 0 comments
So my flight home leaves in something like six hours. Oh course, I'm not completely packed (the laundry is still spinning) but that's a good metaphor for this journal. I'm not quite done here yet.

As you know, Liz is staying around town for another six weeks, then coming home. And in that time is our second wedding anniversary.

By then we won't be newlyweds and won't be in Dubai, so that's when I think this'll cease.

Until then I still have a few more stories and photos to share.

Heck, taking the crazy boy cat with me in the cabin tonight will probably yield a few good laughs in itself ...

So I'll see you on the flip side!
 
posted by Josh at 5:28 PM | 1 comments
With my somewhat sporadic posting here you might think I've been busy packing, or busy taking our cat to Dubai Cargo Village, or maybe just lazy.

Actually it's been all three (yes, look for the Dubai Cargo Village story soon).

But yesterday I also helped a pal out - our good friend Justin Ellis from our hometown Portland Press Herald.

You might recall that Justin wrote a newspaper article about us back in November (see Portland Press Herald).

As Justin is also the PPH's resident blogger, he also wrote a bit about us there, too (see Another Press Herald Blurb).

Well this week Justin is over to UC Berkeley doing a fellowship, and, not wanting his blog to languish sans posts, he asked me to fill in.

"Guest blog", if you will.

My post went up yesterday, you can check out Missing Maine Summers.

But please read the comments, as I totally forgot the Portland Sea Dogs on my list!

And no, I don't know why all of the "X"es turned up as "%"s and the "7"s as "'"s.

Oh, those crazy internet tubes.
 
posted by Josh at 9:01 AM | 2 comments
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Wow, so here's one to file under the ol' "Newlywed" banner (a banner which we're going to have to replace in the next few weeks!)

Three years ago tonight was the wedding that started Liz and I on the path to romance.

On the one hand that doesn't seem like so long ago, but on the other hand I couldn't today imagine my life without Liz.

Granted, I wouldn't be in Dubai without Liz, but that's kind of besides the point ...

Either way, happy anniversary my dear!
 
posted by Josh at 4:47 PM | 0 comments
Here's one of the downright weirdest things I found in Dubai. Hopefully you'll think it's at least a little bit odd, too.

So as you all know, in the United States we don't do the Metric System much at all. The most ubiquitous use of a metric measurement has to be the two liter bottle of soda.

As you can imagine I was stunned to move to metric-loving Dubai ... and find that soda comes in everything but two liter bottles.

The two mass-quantity sizes we have are the 1.5 liter and 2.25 liter bottles.

Don't believe me? Check the photo:

20080709_2liter.jpg

1.5 liter and 2.25 liter bottles of Coca-Cola Light
 
posted by Josh at 4:46 PM | 2 comments
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Ferrari logoBusy day today gettin' things done for the big move, but I have another fun Dubai car story.

Driving around today I saw a Ferrari on Sheikh Zayed Road, a Ferrari I've never seen before.

Just looked it up online - it was a 612 Scaglietti.

Apparently it has a V12 engine. A V12. Engine.

Dang.

Apparently they also cost about a quarter of a million dollars.

Not sure if I've mentioned it here before, but our neighboring emirate of Abu Dhabi is building a Ferrari World theme park, too.

Here's the car:

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti
 
posted by Josh at 7:47 PM | 0 comments
Monday, July 7, 2008
So I just ran outside for a few minutes, and now I'm sweating like all get out.

Weather.com says that at 8 pm it was 93 degrees with humidity of 71%, so it feels like 113 degrees.

113 degrees at 8 pm. That's insane.
 
posted by Josh at 8:10 PM | 0 comments
How much do you want to bet that this seafood restaurant on Sheikh Zayed Road changes its name before a certain oceanic theme park opens here in 2012 (see Shamu Moves to Dubai)?

Sea World Seafood Restaurant


And yes, it's in the same building as Safestway (see Safestway).
 
posted by Josh at 11:22 AM | 0 comments
Cleaning out the fridge this weekend I found a forgotten stash of ketchup packets.

Hellmann's Real Ketchup packets.

Who knew that Hellmann's even made ketchup?! Do they in the States?

The reason why we have so many is almost as good as the brand - we got them when we ordered pizza for our end of the year party a few weeks ago.

Yes, Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, and every other pizza joint in Dubai gives you ketchup with your pizza.

Hellmann's Real Ketchup
 
posted by Josh at 11:20 AM | 3 comments
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Disneyland Resort ParisCan you believe that it was one year ago today that Liz and I were at Disneyland Resort Paris?

I know it sounds geeky, but that's been one of my dream destination since before it opened.

I remember watching the opening day special (hosted by Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith!!) back in 1992 and thinking "I'll probably never get to go there."

Well I did! And it was fantastic.

Here are my photos of the park and (much geekier) my photos of the hotels. (Hotel New York, Newport Bay Club, Sequoia Lodge, Hotel Cheyenne, Hotel Santa Fe and, of course, the Disneyland Hotel).

Disneyland Resort Paris Castle
 
posted by Josh at 2:35 PM | 0 comments
Friday, July 4, 2008
Sam the Eagle, but not the Muppet OneGood morning, and Happy Fourth of July!

I know it's not even Friday yet in the States, but I'm awake and on the computer at 4:30 am.

Yes, just a few minutes ago one of our lovely neighbors was down on the street, yelling at his taxi driver in Arabic for about five minutes straight.

Needless to say, it was loud enough to wake me up. One of the cats too.

Liz never budged.

Don't worry, the cat has since gone back to sleep.

But not me, I'm awake enough to ponder Dubai for Independence Day. I bet nobody even notices. I read somewhere there are only something like 25,000 or 26,000 Americans in this city. That's hardly a blip! I bet there are more people from one city in India than there are Americans in Dubai.

And it's not like we even have patriotic gear to wear - not like the Germans and their country's soccer jersey. I guess I could wear my Boston Red Sox hat ... that's kind of like its own nation ...

Last year for Fourth of July, you might remember, we were on our way back to the States, but stopped in Paris for a few days.

Yes, one year ago today we were at the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées and Musée d'Orsay.

But where will we be next Fourth of July? Maybe I can go back to bed and dream about that.

Good night, and Happy Fourth of July!
 
posted by Josh at 4:38 AM | 2 comments
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Today the movers come!

Yep, today we ship everything that's not going to fit into our suitcases on the plane. Which amazingly, is quite a bit of stuff, considering we're not taking any furniture, dishes, cookware, or appliances.

We do however, have tons of books and photographs, a few paintings, quite a few clothes, and some other random junk.

The school pays up until a certain point, which is cool, but that number was written in Liz's contract from three years ago, and apparently shipping costs have increased since then. Something about fuel prices rocketing up into the ionosphere?

So we're trying to make it as compact as possible. Since it's sea freight we're going off of volume and not weight.

Anyway, that's why I'm up so early. I hate moving, even when I'm hardly doing anything.
 
posted by Josh at 6:23 AM | 0 comments
Discovery Channel logoOur Discovery Channel that we have in Dubai pretty much has the same shows as in the States. The only difference? They're dubbed.

Into British.

I'm not kidding.

Shows such as American Chopper, MythBusters, How It's Made are all re-narrated by British dudes.

The only reason I can see, other than giving the United Kingdom voice-actors more work, is to change imperial measures into metric and change words like "truck" into "lorry" and "windshield" into "windscreen".

It probably just sounds too American when the MythBusters tell us how many pounds their truck weighs.

But now Discovery Channel has taken it to a new level. You know that show Dirty Jobs that's hosted by Mike Rowe? (Who ironically narrates most of the American versions of those above shows?)

Well now they're remaking the entire show.

A former European soccer player named Peter Schmeichel is starring in his own season of Dirty Jobs with Peter Schmeichel.

How weird is that?
 
posted by Josh at 6:20 AM | 2 comments
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Aston Martin LogoI know one thing I'll miss about Dubai - the cars.

Now, I'm not a big car guy. But Dubai is sick with cars.

Maseratis at every corner, more Rolls-Royces that you can shake a stick at, Porsches chasing each other down Sheikh Zayed Road ... and then there are the cars that you don't even recognize.

A few months ago I wrote about the Dubai Motor Show and the Maybach 62 Landaulet (see Maybach 62 Landaulet).

Have you ever seen a Maybach?

I still haven't.

But yesterday we were stuck in traffic (of course) and we were behind some expensive looking car with a logo I didn't recognize. I meant to look it up when we got home, but instead I went to Toyota.com to see what colors the Camry comes in. We're thinking a used Camry will be our second car when we get home. That's what speed we are. We're hoping to find a 2007 with low miles in the "Magnetic Gray Metallic" color. (That's Toyotaspeak for "dark gray").

Anyway, later last night I saw that the trailer for the new James Bond movie Quantum Of Solace is online so I had to fire it up. Love the Bond.

As I'm watching, I recognize the logo from earlier in the day.

We were behind an Aston Martin DB9.

This thing costs $180,000 and goes from zero to sixty in 4.6 seconds.

Huh.

But does it come in "Magnetic Gray Metallic"?
 
posted by Josh at 9:42 AM | 1 comments
New Asia Bar LogoIn our Time Out Dubai magazine the other week I read about a new bar called the New Asia Bar.

It's in Wafi City - the mall / hotel that's shaped like a pyramid.

(Seriously).

From the review the bar sounds a little upscale / trendy for this boy, but the magazine had a great photo of the giant stone head behind the bar.

It's awesome. The coolest bar ever.

Here's the only photo I've been able to find so far, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for a better one ...

New Asia Bar


And here's the mall ...

Wafi City
 
posted by Josh at 9:42 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I've read quite a few stupid comments about the upcoming Presidential election, but this article takes the cake:

Because it's asinine, that's why.
 
posted by Josh at 8:34 PM | 1 comments
CanadaHappy Canada Day everyone!

I know we're not Canadian, but sometimes we sure wish we were! And today's one of those days!

What's Canada Day, and how do we celebrate? I think wikipedia says it best:
    Celebrations Fireworks, parades, drinking

Just don't do all three at the same time, eh?
 
posted by Josh at 2:19 PM | 0 comments
Disney's Ice GatorYesterday I told you guys about the waterslide at the new Atlantis hotel that ends in a shark lagoon (see Waterslides and Sharks).

I want to point out that I don't find the height of that slide particularly scary - just the sharks.

Their slide is only 90 feet tall while Summit Plummet at Disney's Blizzard Beach is the highest free fall slide in the world at 120 feet.

I think it's high time Disney ups the ante and drops a slide into a pool of dyed-blue aligators.

Now that would be scary.
 
posted by Josh at 2:12 PM | 0 comments