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5:14 p.m. - 2008-10-02
'Asr Time

Lyra had a play date so Julie and I looked for a cheap place for lunch. After driving and searching for over half an hour, we settled on our second choice; a place called Pak Ghazi. We were pointed to the door to the left of the main entrance to go to what are called something like: Family Room or Deluxe Dining Hall. They're away from the main eating area which only have regular guys dining there; a separation of the sexes thing.

Julie and I shared one vegetable Jalfrezi, one "Chop Fry" (reminded me of the meat in a good burrito) a chana dal dish and two roti. Great tasting food but it was between lunch and dinner so there were many things not being offered. Still, we were happy with what we had. Grand total for our lunch which was basic but better than that place on Farwell (Maharajah?): $8.44. And that included two bottled water and a Pepsi.

As we were enjoying our food, the waiter came up and asked if he could bring us anything else. We said no thank you and he proceeded to spread out his prayer mat and, facing Mecca, prayed for about five minutes. It was slow, a good time for 'Asr.


7:22 a.m. - 2008-09-30
Around The Older Sections Of Dubai

Yesterday, Lyra and I went to meet Julie for lunch. Our first choice of restaurant was closed as Ramadan was still on so we went to a favourite; Wagamama. That place, I think, started in England. It has communal seating and offers loads of various Asian dishes. It's really good. Lyra snacked on two kinds of dumplings and edamame, Julie had a sweeter than hot vegetarian dish and I had a Thai inspired chicken curry.

Lyra and I hung out on that side of town waiting for her ballet class to begin. I needed to send some important mail to The States but the Post Office closed early. So, having time to kill, we went to the dive shop where we purchased a mask and snorkel for Lyra.

I finally signed up for a dive in Fujeirah which will take place on October 11th. I inquired about diving in Musandam, Oman and was bummed to learn that one needs about 20 dives with my certification to go on that one due to strong currents. I was told that for 1,850 AED ($504.00!) I could take an "Advanced Open Water" certification course and be able to go on that kind of outing right after. That would be the cheaper way to go actually.

I really need to go more often and it would not hurt to join a dive club. I remember during the video classes they recommended to get your own equipment to encourage oneself to dive more frequently. I can understand having "some" stuff. I'm starting to look at shorty wet suits, boots, gloves, fins, mask and snorkel, I think those are the minimum things one should have. I am hopeful that maybe the holidays might prove fruitful.

Dear Santa,

I've been a good boy. I seldom yell at my daughter. Please get me a wetsuit that does not have brightly coloured logos all over it and is nearly all black. There is one made by O'Neill that might be a good starting point for your elves.

Also, while on that side of town, we went to "plant street" in Al Satwa to get some vegetables and look at the pet shops.

With the beautiful winter weather just around the corner, I really want to explore that old neighbourhood a bit more before it's leveled to make room for "luxury flats" and other soulless buildings. It's a hodgepodge of little shops and restaurants. I'll probably go there for tires when the time comes. It's also where I go to have spare keys made or to watch barefoot cooks stirring curries.

Fortunately, her late starting class start and our short foray in Satwa didn't make me too late for a planned jam session with our neighbour Neil.

Yes. Finally after discussing it for over a year we got together at our house. I made gigantic gin and tonics (size more than strength) and we sounded good enough for me to write down some titles so we can learn a bit more.

He has a good voice and an amp just like mine BUT with reverb. His came with a Celestion speaker (lucky duck!) unlike mine where I replaced the crap stock H-H with a Jensen. His has a touchy main volume same as mine. At 1 there is no volume and at 2.5 it's too loud for close quarters and above that, those little Laneys become total tone monsters!

I loaned him The Sonics "Boom" and the first Detroit Cobras disc so we can learn "Putty (In Your Hands)".

I'm hopeful that we'll play once a week together.


6:10 p.m. - 2008-09-26
I'm A Winner!

Last night we went to a charity event with our neighbours. It benefited Sri Lankan charities and netted them about $4,000.00. It was a night of "horse racing" where the races were videos of English hurdles from who knows when.

You could "purchase" horses for 100AED and if you won, you'd get 300AED. Of the six races, I won three and our friends won one. You could also bet the "tote" which is pari-mutual. As an owner you could go into "the enclosure" and drink cheap sparkling wine.

Being the lucky guy that I am, I was puzzled by Julie's looks of admonishment as I placed my bets. She has a certain amount of "vice timidity".

I read that if you filter the cheapest vodka through a Brita filter four times, it becomes as good as Gordon's ("Smoothest, Most Mixable"). I am going to try and filter some one day. This makes sense as vodka is not much besides alcohol and water and the better brands are filtered through carbon / charcoal filters. Cook's Illustrated comes through again.


1:51 p.m. - 2008-09-25
In The USA, She'd Probably Go By \"Becky\"

Lyra has been making friends in her new class. We're the only USA family in her class as far as I can tell. I think there are European, African, perhaps Canadian and most certainly local or regional families.

She seems to have cottoned toward one girl in particular whose name I'm still unsure how to pronounce even though I've heard it from Lyra's mouth at least ten times.

It takes a good amount of phlegm-ie ckgx's to say it I think. The name of the girl (I think) is Beckhxkhahckxk. Um, that would be two syllables.

The roast was a perfect medium last night.


10:13 a.m. - 2008-09-24
Butcher, Taylor, No Candlestick Maker

I'm going to make a boneless rib roast tonight so I'm looking at different roasting techniques and am considering the smoky 500 degree for first 15-25 minutes method.

The other day I made some dal that totally sucked and I'm not sure why. Julie thinks I overdid the Garam Masala but I'm wondering if it was the dried peas. They were a little different than the yellow split "chana dal" that I normally purchase, and, I did it without using onions carrots or other aromatics. I don't know. It was bitter! I didn't scorch it but it's a total failure and must be chucked out. Oh well. That's free-form cooking for you.

I used tools today to repair the snap closure on Lyra's "better quality" jeans.

The bucktail on the rivet that backs the "male" part of the snap was not sufficiently deformed. I've learned the proper term is "upset". I needed to shrink that part, carefully squeezing it with the non-knurled part of a longnose pliers. Then I was able to thread it back into place, nestled it into the snap and used graduated sizes of nail sets as a punch, to mushroom it so it would stay in place.

I found out that the jeans were loused up because Lyra had put the rivet into a balloon and was blowing it up which caused me to hastily explain the possible dangers of that "game" and almost caused a lengthy discussion of the Heimlich manoevre. Fortunately, the snap part was still connected to it's female counterpart.

No, I didn't spell tailor incorrectly in the heading. It's just that we're going to see Queen at the end of October and Roger Taylor is the drummer. I've never seen that band but will try to steal some licks from Brian "He REALLY needs a new hairstyle, like, for the last two decades" May. Call it a partial success in our "See 'Em Before They're Dead Tour" where Johnny Cash and James Brown were the first two headliners.

I think that Paul Rogers might be doing the Freddie Mercury part which makes me wonder how many dinosaur songs from Free and Bad Company will be performed. I can't believe that this will be the closest I'll ever get to seeing Mott The Hoople, and believe me, that's a BIG stretch.

Don't worry if you don't get that last paragraph. It's not important how MANY understand, it's WHO understands.

A stylish mom of one of Lyra's classmates was wearing shoes where her toes were hanging off the front by about 1.5cm. I hate that and worry for them. I suppose the 5cm platform and 20cm heels help to keep the toes from dragging. I think this is the first time that I've used metric to describe CFM shoes.


7:58 a.m. - 2008-09-21

Made some paella. I've never made it before but it turned out VERY well even substituting arborio for the bomba rice and our guests ate heartily. And this was after they gorged themselves on the tapas that Julie and Lyra slaved over all morning. Nothing like Spanish food, sangria and cigarettes with friends. We'll have to do that menu again and again.

We're recycling. Recycling here is not that convenient. There's a school nearby that one can take plastic, cardboard and cans but it's a bit of a pain. I had been, in the past doing it from time to time but I believe to actually make those trips isn't very carbon neutral. Now that Lyra's school offers this, I can combine the drop off to the bins there -- it's on the way. They don't do glass for some reason.

This morning, I made my first dump. It seems that most people bag up their recyclables. I don't. The cage that one puts them into was overflowing so there was quite the clatter of beer cans announcing our arrival. "There THEY are! Drinking during Ramadan! Tsk tsk!"

We're going to a wedding and I've been in communication with the bride. I was asked if there would be a problem were a gentlemen's club (like that description makes it classy) be in the offing for the bachelor party. I said to not worry about that and then we touched on the pro's and con's of them.

She said she has a look but don't touch policy; "I'm such a good girlfriend!" to which I replied that a "good girlfriend goes with her boyfriend and tips the dancers handsomely using her teeth." And I told her that any guy that makes a habit out of going to those should be dumped like a bad habit. Believe me. There's nothing quite as tedious as a bunch of generic hotties in thongs hustling for drinks. It's one step above Hooters in the sleaze department but the food is usually better.

Unless it's all nude WITH full alcohol service, colour me bored.

My blog can be a little funny at times but then I read something like this and I feel the need to compose a bit more thoughtfully:


2:06 p.m. - 2008-09-18
Kind Of Funny
Here's yesterdays entry translated from English to Arabic to Traditional Chinese to Danish, to Croatian and back to English, using Google translator. This came about because a cousin from France phoned Milwaukee relatives and I tried to email her using a translator (that wasn't Google) and it sounded funny.

Lyra to meet Julie at the U. S. Consulate. We need to be added to the page of my passport Lyra, and made the letter public. whadda Lotta safety!

好的. I would be certain to be dangerous "things:" In the lift to take special 'I looks before and after entering access. Gul also warned me, and I will not be able to do my mobile while they remain in the car. I know that the car keys also be prohibited. I think that it can be used as a tool to ignite, but I could not bring. I was asked to leave their investment in Julie, this is still in the basement.

Well, we have forgotten the key in the wallet and said, Lyra and I am actually in the near future to return to the front as he knew, and not with us. After that we had to go to the post of Julie. This is a cool breeze Xixi, but still very hot, as well as Lyra kind of red, whingey face.

This security is not possible. It is not in his office, but has a portfolio. Keys, and can be downloaded from the University of the portfolio we want. (It is not covered by the provisions of the stairs ")

Although I do not intend to go back and Lyra find hagged, so we went to Vermont and again Sochi. I tried to order beer, but unsuccesful. I was not a great need for Sapporo, they do not work during the day, because it is Ramadan, but I drank a bottle of water and nearly four large pieces of Sochi for a lot.

Fed is not enough, we have a very good wandering back in the car, but also tired, for shopping, I know that the Lyra. Jolie will happen when I go home. Maybe we'll make a night, Ramadan and examine what is in store nearby.

I Shisha in the mood for love. hubbly bubbly!


4:56 p.m. - 2008-09-17
Rig A Ma (spicy tuna) Roll

Lyra and I went to meet Julie at the U.S. Consulate. We went to have pages added to Lyra's and my passports and to have a letter notarised. Whadda lotta security!

Ok. How am I going to get some hazardous "anything" while taking a dedicated elevator? I was searched before getting on and after getting off. Jules forewarned me that I would not be able to take my mobile so I left it in the car. I was unaware that car keys are also forbidden. I suppose they could be used as a triggering device but what could I have triggered. I was told to leave them in Julie's purse which remained downstairs.

Well, we forgot the keys in her purse and Lyra and I already short walked it back to the car before we realised that they were not with us. Then, we had to walk to Julie's office. It was breezy but still quite hot and Lyra became kind of red faced and whingey.

No such security at her work. She wasn't in her office but her purse was. We took the keys and could have taken the whole purse had we wanted. (Does she HAVE a lockable drawer?)

Even I wasn't ready for the walk back and Lyra was looking hagged so we went to The Fairmont, again, for sushi. I tried to order a beer but was unsuccesful. I didn't need the large Sapporo that they were not serving during the day due to Ramadan, but I drank nearly a whole large bottle of water and had four pieces of sushi too many.

Sufficiently fueled, we had a pleasant stroll back to the car but am now too tuckered to go shopping and I know that Lyra is as well. I'll go after Julie gets home. Maybe we'll make a night of it and check out the Ramadan things they have going near the shops.

I'm in the mood for a shisha. Hubbly Bubbly!


8:24 p.m. - 2008-09-13
Vegan News

Cheffin' news: I made a curried buckwheat salad inspired by a recipe on the back of the Bob Somebodyorother buckwheat package. It's really good but takes a good amount of salt. Also, I "made" Amy's brand Texas BBQ flavoured organic vegie burgers. They get my seal of approval and are dead easy to heat and eat. Try them. Smaznego!

Lyra and Julie rented this fantasy DVD that had this poor farm boy get chosen to become a "dragon rider" and it was fairly entertaining family entertainment. Yes, a magician was lanced by an arrow into his forehead but it didn't kill him so I don't think that qualified for being too violent.

It's hard for me not to get all Mystery Science Theater 3000 (in my mind) when watching some of these flicks with the family: "Archers! Prepare!" Me: "But wait until the krazillion enemy soldiers (whose numbers are thicker than the hair on Jennifer Aniston's bikini wax tape) are amongst our forces lancing them for a good minute before firing." What, they don't have spares in their quivers?

Lyra decided that she needed to buy bandages even though we have a huge supply of really expensive, and cool plasters that have cool prints on them. We have some that are pirate themed with Jolly Rogers all over them. We have some that look like bacon. Cowboys, lips, eggs; but what does she get? DISNEY! She knew that it would make me "crazy" as she was whispering to Julie while getting them from the shelf. She wants to rent Barbie vids and I've always said no but Julie has told her that we could but we don't like it when a girl is shown as being weak or needing a boy. I don't like that stuff! I need to start to use some reverse psychology on her but I think it's already too late. I am "the best baba" but if I am, why does she want to get lame stuff?

Julie's back in town. Yay!

I'm in the mood to go to Amsterdam. Don't know how much flights are now that it's Autumn. Who wants to join me?


6:44 a.m. - 2008-09-12
Pussy's Delicate Constitution

Peter's been having runny "movements" and vomiting a bit here and there. Our vet, the likable and animated Dr. Aziz, went against our belief and said that they should only have hard food if it's softened with water. At our brown tabby's advanced age, he thinks tartar build up keeps him from chewing his food completely.

He's not dehydrated and seems himself. If there's any worry, he's MORE affectionate! Things are getting better now though.

Dr. Aziz gave me a recipe that I might try. It's what he prefers over store bought pet feed. It's like 1/3 cooked rice or cereal or pasta, 1/3 UN-cooked vegetables, and 1/3 meat or fish or a combination all ground up and seasoned with olive oil and salt. It'll be like making baby food again, if I do it.

Perhaps Madison Avenue has made me believe that the vitamins needed are in the chow. Then again, I begin to wonder, how much crap goes into the stuff that is pet food and what the quality control is like.

We tend to feed our pets the "high quality" product and still may, but the stuff available here is less than back home. Have not seen Eukanuba but have seen Royal Canin which is what we've been "forcing" them to eat. Back home we were even buying the organic, "weird Judeo / hippie / Christian sayings on the package which has a special hi-tech bag" stuff from our Co-Op.

Jet Girl, who is the binge and purge type and always has been is NOT going through the same thing so I don't think it's tainted food. Pete was like this since being boarded at the cattery while we were away.

I'm chalking it up to advanced age and WILL try to make some of that food up for him. His teeth, though being fed crunchy dry 99.99% of the time do have nasty old tartar on the back. So much for ads that show animated tartar being flecked off while a line drawn animal chews the featured product in a non-hinged, square jawed movement.

TV'll warp your mind.

However, THIS is cool. There are only TWO things keeping me from owning this. It costs 35,000 quid to tune up and I have not won a lottery. Enjoy:


6:52 p.m. - 2008-09-08
I Pulled A Couple Of Boners

And gave a sea horse mouth to anus resuscitation.

But before I get to THAT "first" of my life:

I've added all kinds of alarms on my day planner / phone for when to wake, when to leave for school, when to pick up, holidays, dance and theatre classes -- everything, EXCEPT Ramadan hours!

For this month, school ends at 1300 hours NOT 1610! I'm watching video when I get the call and booked it at 120 kph most of the way. It was ok though. Lyra was just puzzled, not pissed. Hey, when I'm your dad, certain things happen.

Yesterday, Lyra purchased with her own money, an inflatable pool toy (I lobbied for the dragon, therefore, she chooses the pink sea horse). We used our electric mattress pump to inflate it and after she mounted it she immediately falls off the top heavy fantasy beast.

It turned out that there was a little internal pocket at the bottom that I didn't notice but soon realised was for ballast.

As the thing was already inflated and we were IN the pool, it was Lyra who came up with the idea of taking water into my mouth and blowing it into the "pouch" of the obviously female sea horse. I went "up" on that girl a whole heck of a lot, pinching off her orifice lest she squirted.


8:11 a.m. - 2008-09-08
First Day At New School Surprise

So Lyra and I nipped off to the playground after putting her backpack in her cubby. and she goes (or as she likes to say "go'd") on the apparatus. She's playin' around and as she comes through the tunnel, she has a cheeky grin on her face while looking at a boy who finally turned toward her.

It turns out it's Ghalib from her previous class / school. So off they went. She also said she saw Bashir. Don't know if either of them are in her classroom but have heard that a few from Gulf Montessori are enrolled at UAS.

Now that I'm free, I think I'll go to da club and maybe sign up for a dive outing for this weekend. But first, I need to add a new video to the top of this page.


10:54 a.m. - 2008-09-06
Format Change

I'm going to add less "new" pages to the blog just letting them run on maybe adding a new page every month or so. I'll still post entries with the same (ir)regularity though.

So now you'll just scroll down rather than hitting "previous".

This is in response to somebody saying it's a pain to go back to look at all the riveting things I say.

If you wonder what you've missed go to the "older" link on the left side to see an index of entries.



6:09 p.m. - 2008-09-05

The 2004 Madfish Shiraz (Western Australia) is tasty. Screw top makes it easy to open.

Almost bought some Italian boots today but they didn't have my size.

I miss wearing out or outgrowing clothing because I get stuck with a lot of stuff that's a bit out of fashion even though I don't buy trends. I have a lot of shoes if anybody wants size "little bitch" 10.5 with a mid to late 90's thing going on.

Made steak tonight and am listening to The Chicken Shack on


6:46 p.m. - 2008-09-02
Dear Old Dad.

Lyra begins school on Sunday and orientation is on Thursday. This will be her first full day Kindergarten 2. It'll be good to get her in school. She'll be less bored hanging with me; not that I'm not fun but I don't "play" that well. Also, I'm bored sitting around with her.

She cramps my gee-tar style. Yes, we do fun stuff, not that her 5.625 year old mind remembers all the stuff we DO do. We had an argument that ended in tears on the way home from eating sushi (at The Fairmont no less! What five year old can't appreciate THAT? AND during Ramadan!).

She asked, simply, if she could watch Bugs Bunny and I said something to the effect of: "I don't know." She retorted; "But I 'let you watch TV all of yesterday!" I said, "What about that movie we watched together?" She yelled, "That was the other day of yesterday (her way of saying the day before yesterday which was damn cute). "No" I said, "It was yesterday." Anger, on her part ensued, and I expressed my controlled (really!) frustration and she began to cry. "Why are you getting angry?" "You ALWAYS make me that way (or some such) ALL THE TIME!"

(Minor 'discussion' occurs here)

As things calmed slightly, and we discussed our yesterday. She had me begin to wonder if I in fact lost a day somewhere.

"Baba. You don't remember that because you're OLD!"

I have to laugh about that and hope that she WILL come through when it's time to change my diapers later in life.


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