Yes of course I can help you… Let me put you on the list…

In this part of the world there are two types of people, one who can work anywhere in the world and get the job done, the other are people who can’t get jobs anywhere else in the world and are stuck here.

This event has had me wondering which category I fall into and at the moment I’m worried I’m in the latter half.  I know better, but this is really one messed up event and there are some serious issues with teams that I see the solutions for but I’m not in charge of those teams so I can’t affect the change.

I’ve had three phone lines on my mobile, the two land lines and my radio chattering all at the same time.  It’s on like donkey kong and I can’t wait for the event to be over!

I’ve been given the gift of staying in Doha until the end of February… While I appreciate the offer and the extra pay, considering the banking issues I’ve been dealing with, I still think I would have liked to have gone home at the end of January.  I have multiple reasons for wanting to get home, some are far more important than others… 

Brain Dump

What to say, I’ve been at a loss for words recently and I’m not quite sure why…  I’ve been busy as hell, but I just don’t have much to say I guess since its really just the same things I’ve been doing since I got back to the sandbox.

It seems I have a routine, Sunday I get up and go to work thinking “this is a new week and it   better than last week”, then by Tuesday I’ve given up that it’s a new week and I’m really just dealing with the same bullshit as I have been dealing with since I got here, only the stress level has gone up because we’re getting closer and closer to the event.

Way back during the EID holiday I discovered I have a travel ban here in Qatar, which in lay mans terms means I can’t leave the country due to legal reasons.  The simplest explanation is someone committed credit card fraud against me and now I have to pay the bill from 2007.  Something that I didn’t have a hand in, but I’m the one left holding the bill.  I’ve negotiated a settlement with the bank in question and am trying to pay it off before the end of December so I can get the f’ing hell out of this country.  I’m not going to say I’ll never come back, but I will think twice before I take a gig here again.

I was told the “good news” last week that my contract has been extended until the end of February…  I see it as a balance of news, both good and bad.  The good part is I can have two months of pay that is full pay and not being spent on paying off a credit card bill that isn’t mine.  The bad part is that’s another month I’m away from home…

I had started making plans for February and was looking forward to maybe getting some snowboarding in before the end of the season.  With all that is happening to me here, I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to get any snowboarding in this season, which is kind of depressing to think about.  It’s been a huge part of my life for the last few winters and it’s been a great way for me to get out of the house during the winter, which until 2008 has really consisted of me gaining weight and complaining about the weather.  Fuck it…  I’m going to get some snowboarding in this season by hook or by crook!  I need the outdoors and I really need to eat some snow!  I will find a way to get to the mountain, any mountain really will do as long as the runs are long and the powder is fresh!

“Looks like someone has a case of the Monday’s”

Coming back from a holiday is always hard, but when you have a task like I had this morning it’s even harder.  I came to the desert for a challenge and I’ve found it.  My good friend and colleague brought me here to help with the project at hand.  It seemed like a good challenge when I was offered the position.  Now the friend who got me here has resigned his position and gone home to deal with some very personal problems that have cropped up.  Given the situation he faces at home I can’t blame him for resigning the position.  It doesn’t make it any easier on this end though.  I was looking forward to working with him on this gig and now that he’s gone, I’m stuck.

Being who I am I want to do the best job I can, and I will succeed at this project if it kills me.   I like to think I’m good at what I do, but no matter how good I am it seems as though the deck is stacked against me on this one.

I will kick this events ass!

Honey… Honey… No really you want honey?

Sooo eating at one of my favorite restaurants here in the Sandbox I had the oddest thing happen to me…  We were finishing up with dinner of some Shish Tawooq sandwiches and this guy whom I’ve seen there a few times slides up to our table and starts miming something in front of his belly in the rough shape of a jar and then it gets weird, he starts asking if I like honey…  Now normally I’m not into guys or honey, but this was a moment in time you can’t just make a flash decision and go with the norm.  The dude was offering me honey!  So I did what any normal human would do when presented with a dude miming a jar of honey in front of himself, I said "no I’m ok?"  Which roughly translates into "Yes, I would like you to bring me a jar of contraband honey and shove it into my shopping bag."  He then proceeded to shove the jar into my bag and I gave him some QAR and we went out the door with my contraband honey…

I’ll have to report later if the honey is any good or if I’ve been arrested for buying contraband honey…

A great list…

If you want to enrage a conservative, I suggest saying the following:

1. A Socialist wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. Jesus healed the sick and helped the poor, for free. […]
6. The Founding Fathers were liberals.
7. Fascism is a right-wing trait. […]
10. Reagan raised taxes eleven times as President.
11. Reagan legalized abortion as Governor of California.
12. Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency.
13. Ronald Reagan supported gun control. […]
24. Hate is not a Christian virtue. […]
26. Republicans spend MORE money than Democrats. […]
29. The Constitution is the law, NOT the Bible.
30. Sharia law doesn’t exist in America.
31. The President is NOT a Muslim.
32. Corporations are NOT people. People are people.
33. Fox News isn’t real news, it’s just a racist, sexist, hateful, right-wing propaganda machine.
34. The Federal Reserve was a Republican idea.
35. Women are equal citizens who deserve equal rights. […]
37. Abortion is a relevant medical procedure, just ask Rick Santorum.
38. Please use spell check.
39. It’s “pundit”, not “pundint”.
40. Social Security is solvent through 2038. […]
42. Roe v. Wade was a bipartisan ruling made by a conservative leaning Supreme Court. […]
45. Barack Obama ordered the killing of Osama Bin Laden. It took him two and half years to do what Bush couldn’t do in eight. […]
47. 9/11 happened on George W. Bush’s watch, therefore he did NOT keep America safe. […]
49. Separation of church and state is in the Constitution, it’s called the First Amendment.
50. Muslims are protected by the Constitution, just as much as Christians. […]
53. America is a nation of immigrants, therefore we are all anchor babies.
54. The white race isn’t disappearing, it’s evolving. […]
56. Evolution is real.
57. The Earth is 4.54 billion years old, not 6,000.
58. The Founding Fathers did not free the slaves.
59. The Revolution was NOT fought over slavery.
60. Paul Revere warned the Americans, NOT the British.
61. Federal law trumps state law.
62. The Civil War was about slavery, NOT state’s rights.
63. Corporations care more about profits than they do about people.
64. Getting out of a recession requires government spending.
65. Glenn Beck is a nut-job. […]
67. Republicans don’t want to pay for your birth control, but they want you to pay for their Viagra.
68. Republicans actually NEED Viagra.
69. Fox News is owned by an Australian and has a Saudi prince as an investor.
70. Republicans complain about immigrants taking American jobs, then freely give American jobs to foreigners overseas. […]
72. Labor unions built this country. […]
77. Republicans only care about children BEFORE they are born. […]
82. Churches should stay out of politics, or be taxed. […]
88. The current corporate tax rate is the lowest in 60 years, so stop whining about it being too high. […]
98. Republicans say teachers are union thugs, then proceed to rape and mug the entire middle class on behalf of corporations.
99. Republicans think rape isn’t a crime, but miscarriages are.
[…]

Bottom line? If you want to anger a conservative, tell them the truth.

Recipes

A friend made this for me the other night, and holy crap it’s awesome!

  • 5 – Shallots
  • 5-10 Red chilly (depending on how hot you want it)
  • 10 Big red / green chilies
  • Lemon Grass sticks
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Chop / Blend the shallots, red chilies, big chilies and turmeric together.  Smash the lemon grass, stir all the blended ingredients (till it smells good).

This sauce is good with beef, shrimp or chicken.  You cook everything together in a large pot and add water as needed.

And the list goes on….

Being back in the sandbox has been interesting…  It’s only been three weeks and I already think I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  I have a green crew, with a few that have some good experience that will hopefully be able to help the others along.  There are other issues at hand in the wide world of work, but nothing I can really talk about, just that they have potential to blow up in my face.

With all the work stuff, I’m still happy to be back in the sandbox!  The weather isn’t as bad as I remember, it’s hot, but not unreasonable.  The apartment we’ve moved into is completely ridiculous, it’s massive with two floors and four bedrooms.  The kitchen is of a good size and the bedrooms are setup in a way that makes them pretty private.  They were nice enough to give me the "master" which really just means I have enough space to play squash, while still having enough space left over to have a batting cage.  The rent is on the high side, but it’s all inclusive so that makes life so much easier, and anything that makes my life easier in the sandbox is fine by me.

I’ve not taken the time to shoot a whole lot of photos since I got here, but the one’s I’ve taken are all on my Flickr account.  Pretty much will just keep updating the Doha 2011 set while I’m here!  http://www.flickr.com/photos/subactive/sets/72157627161598231/.

Doha – Part Deux

Well, I’m back…  I never thought I would set foot into the sandbox again and yet here I am, enticed by a friend to come here to work on the Pan Arab Games.  The last time I was here I was running from things back in the states, this time I’m looking for a challenge and I think I may have found it.  The Games are a little behind in planning, not by any fault of anyone here, just a lack of experience it seems.  That’s ok, everyone has to start somewhere and it’s best to start somewhere like Doha, where you get the support of your team to help you find the best ways to get things done!

When my friend asked me to be a part of these games I was interested, the challenge this time is being the head of competition venues for logistics.  It’s a huge step for me, and I hope I’m up for the challenge.  I’m writing this on what is supposed to be my first day, I’m already awake at 4:30 AM, not because I’m nervous, it’s more a lack of sleep on the flight here, coupled with the 10 hour time difference from home…

Last time I was running, this time a challenge, and part of that challenge is being in touch with someone back home.  I’m looking forward to the work challenge, the keeping in touch is going to be hard with the lack of holidays.  I will get a brief one at the beginning of September, but it looks like based on the amount of work that needs to be done and the short time it needs to be done in, my leaving for any part of my holiday is not going to happen…  Maybe I can entice the certain someone onto a plane for 19 hours to come visit me…

Again…

I’ve applied for more than 300 jobs in the last year and I’ve interviewed for about 25 of those I’ve applied for and I thought I would share my favorite excuses for why they don’t want to hire me.

  1. We can’t afford you (And yet they don’t even offer me a salary so how do they know they can’t afford me)

  2. You have too much experience (Gee thanks, that’s awful nice of you to say that, but hire me anyways)

  3. You bounce between employers too often (usually this comes when I am trying to win a contract position)

  4. You don’t have a college degree (This is almost always coupled with number 2, which always makes me laugh my ass off when they pull this one out.

  5. You’ve lived overseas…  (I don’t even know why this is an excuse, but it makes me laugh when I see it)

Mass transit

Mass transit…
My experiments in mass transit have left me wondering why I’m doing it… It’s not to save the environment; it’s to save money. A car is a bottomless money pit of which you get no return on. All you do is throw your money down the tubes to own a piece of machinery that will eventually fail and you’ll have to start all over again with another. So here I am riding on public transit to save money and my sanity.

So far I’ve waited 3 hours for a bus that’s supposed to arrive every 20 minutes, saw guy whacked out on some form of drug playing with himself (mental note to never ride that bus ever again), it’s taken me 2 hours to go less than 2 miles and to cap it all off I’ve had to smell some of the less savory people of king county.

But I will persevere! I will win this self-imposed challenge of not owning a car while living in Seattle. I would like to make some recommendations on the mass transit of the area after my experiment…