Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meet Pruane

I’m having a blah day, and this kid always puts a smile on my face. His movie and video game reviews are legendary. Here’s a classic-- Pruane shares his thoughts on Seinfeld.

**Spoiler Alert** Pruane thinks Seinfeld sucks. This isn’t a big deal. He basically thinks everything, besides the Watchmen SUCKS.

Politiking

The Arab League Summit was held in Doha yesterday. There was an abundance of political leaders and VVIPs in town. Among them, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, “wanted” Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, the Kings/Presidents/Prime Ministers of Libya, Saudi Arabia, UAE and a whole whack more. The Summit was held very close to where we live, so our building was flanked by huge military guards all week. They were effective (scary).

Their cars were especially effective (scary).

Have you ever seen a convoy of secret service-type cars safeguarding an especially important looking vehicle? It is crazy. Guards stop traffic and clear the roads so a political entourage can fly down the street. This morning, we were a few minutes ahead of one of the convoys and all of the roads were emptied. Racing along on normally deadlocked streets is freaking cool. I got to work in six minutes this morning. That’s a record.
It is invigorating being so close to some of the world's most influential men. I mean, a big sandwich is a big sandwich, but the Arab League Summit right next door is awesomesauce. This kind of stuff only happens in Doha. The closest I came to political royalty in Canada was when Michael Ignatieff held the door for me that one time. We lived in the same building. He wore the most beautiful coats.

Speaking of important Canadians (or their clothes, whatever), please tell me you read the Globe and Mail article about Conrad Black’s correspondence from jail? He has a pen pal!

I live for Conrad Black jail stories. They paint an incredible mental picture. He’s been locked up for 18 months now and seems to be having a nice go of it. One report said that he hired another inmate to be his butler. He works in the jail library, where he has access to newspapers and e-mail. Sounds….awesome?

So Conrad’s been writing letters to this dude up in Ottawa, discussing politics, the economy, sandwiches. You know, guy stuff. Anyway his thoughts on Canada’s leaders are hilarious! From the Globe:

Joe Clark was a “joke,” he observes. Brian Mulroney was “no great conservative, and was certainly less conservative than [former Liberal prime minister Louis] St. Laurent.” Stéphane Dion is “hopeless.” As for Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Lord Black characterizes her as a “frumpy, noisy, ill-favoured, half-deranged windbag.”

That was written before Dion was ousted and as we all know, the man is totally hopeless.

Have I mentioned Black only signs his name in caps? ‘Tis true.

From CONRAD.

Amazing. He’s like the Kanye West of criminals. Why can’t he have a daily column in the Post? WHY? We all know he’s got heaps of free time to write.
The greatest thing about CONRAD is his first rate way with words. He respects the English language, as we all should. Sure, he’s often guilty of using flowery words, when a much simpler phrase will suffice (you won’t see him labelling his lunch lamesauce, like a certain part-time blogger we know) but that’s CONRAD for you. He’s an elitist! Of course he’s going to use words only 1% of the population understands. He’s not speaking to the uneducated. He won’t waste his expensive time dumbing things down for the masses. God, he’s such an ass. I love him.

Do you think if we wrote to CONRAD in jail, he would write back? Maybe I could score Hack the Bone’s first bloggerview. Yes, I aim high. He could chide my grammar and belittle me over the Interwebz. Be still my heart.

Until the next time the Globe acts as CONRAD’S mouthpiece (could be a while, these articles pop up every three months or so), please enjoy this photo of CONRAD loafing and luffing from prison grounds.

Monday, March 30, 2009

This is how I judge you.

People fascinate me. Sure, there's an absurd amount of animal photos on this site, but really, people are where it’s at. I could people watch for hours. You know you do it too. People are weird! And amazing! Of course you're going to watch them.

Toronto is the best place for creeping on strangers. There’s one particularly juicy bench in Yorkville, that's ideal for watching the expensive looking ladies of Toronto walk their tiny dogs.
After my stint in Yorkville, I lived in the decidedly seedier neighbourhood West Queen West and people watched from Starbucks at Queen and Dovercourt. I would stare at the hung-over hipsters, smoking and walking their slightly larger dogs. This is not a stereotype, this is what they do.
Speaking of stereotyping, if you haven’t seen the Hipster Olympics, please watch. It will be of great enjoyment to Torontonians. Gord told me to watch it last year, when I lived in the throws of Queen West, and was continuously getting snubbed at the Beaconsfield for not being dirty or indie enough. Hipster Olympics is my revenge. I’ve watched it about seven times.
I say we all embrace our judging as a positive thing. Humans, we're a curious bunch. It is natural to be interested in what the other weird, creative, or good looking people around you are doing.

Is that a stretch?
No. We've established judging people is fun and a really good thing despite everything else you've ever heard. Now it's time to talk about the best way to judge people without them ever knowing.

Judge people through iTunes.
Profound, right? Pfffft.

Everyone I know has an iTunes collection. Music is seriously personal. And the songs we listen to when we’re alone reveal a lot.

Any Tom Dick or Harry can scan through a friend’s library, see a mish mash of hip hop and folk, a little pop, maybe some classical (to look smart) and decide this person has a well-rounded and impressive taste in music. What I immediately skip to is the 25 Most Played Playlist. This playlist does not lie. DKM argues that his 25 most played isn’t accurate because the shuffle button skews his tastes. For someone like me, who plays my iTunes constantly, my 25 most played list is telling.

For the sake of argument, we'll say this playlist thing only works if the songs have been played 50 times or more.

I’m always excited to creep the 25 Most Played List. Most of the time, the person will surprise you. Take my friend Elisha. She is one of the nine followers on this blog. You can see her picture over there. Right…over….there. No! Scroll up, stupid! When I looked at Elisha'slist, her number one song was by Miley Cyrus. Hahahah. I can’t remember the name of the song because I am not 14, but she had played it over 100 times. I never made fun of her for it….until now. Did I mention her photo is right next to this article?
Elisha + Hannah Montana. Still funny, one year later.

So yea, if you’ve find yourself with access to someone’s iTunes, check their 25 most played. This will work fantastically on a date. If your potential love partner's number 1 song is Ice, Ice, Baby, followed by Michael Buble and something from the Gilmore Girls soundtrack, well you’ve got time to get the hell out of there. You can thank me later.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Now here's something everyone can enjoy

More photos of really big and really small things because I had so much fun doing it earlier.

World's smallest horse

Smallest dog (hahahahah).

Another contender for world's biggest dog.

OH MY GOD, WHAT DID YOU FEED THAT BUNNY?!

Ummm.....I think this pooch wins it.

This fool....



...really grinds my gears. Funny video from Richfofo.

My near brush with greatness

When news broke that an organization in Qatar was attempting to break two Guinness World Records yesterday, I was pretty excited.

When announced the records were that of longest sandwich and biggest bowl of pasta, I freaked out.

The world’s biggest sandwich!? The glutton in me was overjoyed.

I know what it takes to make a successful sandwich. I sat back and let my imagination run wild. So many questions! Would it be long? Tall? Layered or fat? What kind of meat would they use? Turkey, right? It would probably be turkey.
The biggest bowl of pasta didn’t interest me as much, but I was still excited to be in the presence of greatness. How many of you have seen world record breaking food? Probably, like none. A glimpse of the world's biggest sandwich would make me more experienced than all of you, at looking at big food and stuff.

The newspaper said the event would be held at the Doha Gold Club. The Doha Gold Club doesn’t exist (unless there is a secret gold club here for really rich people, you never know) but that’s just details. What they meant to say was Doha Golf Club. There was no time published in the paper either (PR fail), so we called the Club to inquire about the details. The receptionist told us it would begin at 10 a.m.

We partied like idiot rock stars the night before, so even though we were hurting in the worst way, we crawled out of bed to bask in the glow of big sandwich city. I wanted some of the big sandwich’s powers to rub off on me.

After a trip to Hardee’s (which neither of us ate) and a near-vomit emergency, we went to the club to find….nothing. There was a really long, empty table and a HUGE empty pasta bowl.

Turns out, the event didn’t start until 5 p.m. We’d been fed a bad tip. Losers. I took a few pictures of the empty table and bowl, but they are too sad to post. We didn’t go back later, our egos bruised and feelings hurt.

*****
Turns out, they did break both records. I’m not going to say who sponsored the event because their PR people did a terrible job of organizing and they don’t deserve a plug from this blog and exposure to my umm….twenty or so readers. So there.

To cheer everyone up, here are some photos of other really big things. Enjoy.
Biggest babies

Biggest dog

Biggest mozzarella stick

Biggest cat?

Biggest cat!

Doha's sandwich was bigger.

World's biggest pizza

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So you want to move to Qatar

Yesterday, a friend e-mailed to ask about (*maybe* *possibly* *likely not going to happen*) moving to Doha. It got me thinking about the opportunities that exist for young people here. Qatar is not for everyone, but if you're ready for a change, and want to make something of yourself, it's probably the best country in the world for you.

Here are some pros and cons of life in Qatar. This is not propaganda, even though I love this place and am actively recruiting friends to start a new life here.

Here's a vision of Doha, from the perspective of a female, Canadian ex-pat. My Doha is starkly different from most residents. I work in a creative office. I live in a nice place. I’m a lucky fool-- but you can be a lucky fool too!
Doha the Good

1) Security. The first and most obvious thing drawing people to Qatar is the economic climate. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but we’re kind of in a recession. Wait wait...you might be in a recession, but in Qatar? We be straight chilling.

Qatar boasts the fastest growing and most stable economy in the world. Things are so good, in fact, that Qatar is looking to post an $8 billion surplus at year end. The country's long term growth looks good too -- Qatar isn’t making like Dubai and throwing all of its weight behind tourism or something fleeting. Qatar is the largest liquefied natural gas supplier in the world, an energy source that's seriously in demand. Our banks are solid. We are awesome. Don't take my word for it, do a little Googling. Start here.

2) Jobs. More and more creative, skilled labour and hospitality jobs are popping up every day. There is a serious need for talent. Doha desperately needs skilled eachers, engineers and doctors. There’s a shitload of hotels opening in the next year, presently recruiting passionate and clever people. This country is starving for people who can write well and edit copy quickly and accurately. The opportunities are endless.

3) Good jobs. Qatar is a fantastic place to launch a career. I know this because it’s happening to me right now. Since I started my job three weeks ago, I’ve seen my words in three newspapers on five separate days, I’ve written speeches for VIPs, had my writing translated to Arabic to reach an even broader audience and attended meetings with executives who are fifteen years my senior, or more. Call it a big fish, small pond scenario. This experience is putting me years ahead of my peers, and I’m being paid well to do it.

4) Culture. The country is booming economically and culturally. As I’ve said before on this blog, the royal couple is committed to making Qatar a better place to live. There are new schools, hospitals and museums popping up every year. Political and intellectual leaders meet here for panels, lectures and symposiums. And since it’s still relatively small, there are all kinds of opportunities for people to attend important events and feed your brain. Doha has lots of brain food.

5) Fun. Brain food is good, of course, but what about the night life? You can only drink booze in hotels, and the drinks ain’t cheap. This is restricting, but the party scene is kind of amazing. We have clubs, pubs and lounges where you can get silly.

6) Events. Since I’ve been here I’ve been to the Qatar Open (tennis…Roger Federer yum), Qatar Masters (Adam Scott, oh hai), watched the Orchestra, and attended a Diving World Series, to name a few. It seems like there's some huge event every weekend and they're all either free or dirt cheap.

7) Travel. Qatar's location is sweet. It’s about a seven hour flight to the UK, eight to Asia, and an hour or less to the surrounding Gulf countries, which are definitely worth a visit.

8) Other ex-pats. The ex-pat community rocks. Most people come to Doha knowing one, two, maybe a handful of people. Maybe no one. If you come here by yourself, this strange city can be a lonely place. I would recommend coming with someone you love, or at least knowing one person who can show you the ropes, but that’s just me. The beauty of this place is that if you do come alone, there are thousands of people in the same position. It might sound cheesy, but almost everyone is open to making new friends. It isn’t weird to approach someone at a bar or an event that looks around the same age, and ask them to join you for a drink. I met one of my friends through Twitter. Something I’d do in Toronto? Fuck no. Doha? In a second. The ex-pat community has deep roots here, and holds hundreds of social events for people in that exact position.

9) Moolitcooltoorism. One more thing about people in Qatar – they allow you to expand your horizons. In Toronto, I’d consider my friend wordly if they grew up east of Yonge. In Doha, I’ve met interesting folks from Germany, Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait, the UK and countless other countries. You meet the whole world in Doha. I know when we all leave this crazy place, that I will have friends to call on in almost any country I visit. To me, this is awesome.

10) Climate. Water and sand and year round heat.

11) More money. Tax free living.

Doha the Bad

1) Compromise. Be prepared to make sacrifices. For one thing, you can’t get pork here (legally).

I know lots of Canadians who love pot and other drugs, which are out of the question in Doha. Possession is highly punished. It’s booze or bust, my friends. And when you do drink, you can’t get loaded and run around the streets.

Though there are many fun loving westerners who call Doha home, Qatar is still a Muslim country. You must respect the beliefs and traditions of the locals and not generally act like an ahole in public.

2) Cars. You must drive everywhere. That isn't a choice. This isn’t a transition for some people, but I am a big walker. I only walk five minutes up the street for lunch every day and when I do this alone, I feel threatened. I don’t feel unsafe, just uncomfortable because of the leers and heckles sent my way. Granted, you never can guess which language someone will cat call you in, which is kind of cool. Ladies, if you’re a natural flirt...tone it down. Even subtle eye contact can be an invitation for unwanted attention.

3) Distance from home. 8,000 miles is a long way from Canada. In case of emergencies, or serious bouts of homesickness, you can’t just hop on a plane and visit for an afternoon. Trips must be planned out well in advance. Sometimes you can feel a little trapped.

4) Stifling heat. I haven’t lived here long enough to know, but apparently the summer is deadly. Most people leave the country because they can’t stand it. You spend all of your time in air conditioning. All of it.

Who Belongs in Doha?

1.) Someone who is adaptable. You are going to have to be flexible. If you must have things a certain way, Doha isn’t for you. Plans change on a dime and time constraints aren’t set in stone. If you can roll with the punches, fly by the seat of your pants, and not throw up at my constant clichés, you will be fine.

2.) Respectful. Can you tolerate people with different beliefs than you? No? Stay where you are, we don't want you.

3.) Extroverted. Must be willing to socialize and meet others.

That's all I've got right now. I know this post was a departure from my usual sewage, but I hope it was helpful. Join me, friends. Beat the recession in Qatar.

**Update** I wrote DKM looking for his thoughts on this post. This is what he added.

Your driving part was more about you getting whistled at and less about the 43 million idiot drivers and the lack of available parking, particularly if you don’t have a 4x4 with which to hop on curbs. Whatever, its all good.

Personally I’d say the food is a pro.

Lack of post bar food is a con.

I really like food.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fox News Aftermath

Last night at dinner, I drank two beers and got legitimately drunk. Who is this girl?


I’m so mad that my tolerance won't hang out with me any more. When I decided to move to Qatar, my formerly awesome tolerance was all, “We’re going to the desert? For serious? Fuck that! I’m staying in Toronto to party.” And then we went our separate ways.

Anyway, after my two HUGE beers, I posted that Fox News clip, which is absolutely burning up the Interwebs. I thought posting it would be therapeutic, but my anger wasn't satiated through blogging. I then pulled a Lohan and went on a cracked out twitter rampage, targeting my insane tweets at Bill Schulz and the gang at Fox News.


There was an army of pissed off Canadians doing the exact same thing last night. Honestly, I was inspired to be a part of a viral movement like that. I watched people mobilize within a matter of hours-- all standing up for Canada and our brave troops. It was great. I hope Schulz et al. have learned their lesson – do not belittle Canadians because we will get drunk and assault you over the Internet. Take that!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Feeling angry?

No? Let me fix that for you. Watch this clip and join me in some old fashioned FOX News bashing.

I know FOX News is the worst, but holy fuck.

On behalf of my family members who served for Canada, and for the noble Canadians fighting right now, may I just say FUCKKKK YOUUUUU FOX NEWS!!

Idiots.

**UPDATE**
I've calmed down a little. Ottawa demands Fox apology for 'despicable comments' [Globe and Mail]

Also, you can tell that Bill Schulz guy to fuck off yourself, if you're on Twitter, of course.

Busted!

When I started writing this blog in January, I didn’t think of where it might lead. I wrote a few posts, chuckled at my hilarity and sent it out to select friends via their Facebook inbox. My wonderful people sent great feed back and encouraged me to keep it up. Motivated, I continued writing. After I published a solid block of posts, I posted a link to Hack the Bone on my main Facebook page. As soon as I hit publish, I felt a twinge of anxiety. My Facebook friends number around six hundred and change and through posting I laid myself out to the masses for public judgment. I figured most people would ignore the link, like I usually do, but hoped a few people would catch on and give me a reason to keep writing.

Once Hack the Bone was on Facebook, it was only a matter of time before my family in Nova Scotia found me out. I learned the other day, by word of a hilarious message on Facebook that my cousin Erin reads my blog and has shared it with my cousin Susan and Aunt Jeannie (my mom’s sister.) I should have expected this – Erin is too web savvy NOT to find me. In fact, I’m stoked that she’s reading and that my site inspired my aunt to voice her…amorous feelings for George Strombo. These are conversations that need to take place in Canada and I'm proud to initiate them.

The thing that worries me now, is that it is only a matter of time before my mother is introduced to Hack the Bone. She usually loves my writing, but I think the content I publish here would burn the eyes right out of her head. I can only hope that when she does find it, she will quickly skim the site photos, see a freakish amount of dogs and be blinded by cuteness. I could take initiative and direct her to the post about our inbred puppies. She might stop there and miss my ramblings about the non-existent porn scene in Doha.
Ah, I said porn! Here's another picture of a dog to distract my mother.

Read on, I’m going somewhere with this.

Despite the fact that I like to think my site exists in a corner of the Internet where no one treads, the reality is that I have to consider who reads my site and, more importantly, why they are reading it. Take a look at this article about a woman who lost her job because of a seemingly innocent comment on Twitter.

Essentially, this woman found a job, and used her Twitter account as an outlet to wrestle with whether or not she should take it. Her tweet read as such, “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

This woman’s first mistake was to actually name the company. That was dumb sauce. She would definitely get found out if the company has a decent PR team. If a public relations team does its job correctly (and Cisco's did), they will read everything said about their company, and they will do it instantly. At my last job, working in entertainment, I signed up for daily Google alerts on Ben Mulroney. If any one said anything about him online, I knew about it. Even if it was a hateful comment on a blog that nobody reads, I was there and responded accordingly. People don’t really like Ben Mulroney, so it was a big job. And if the person doing that task now is any good, they will be reading this post too. Holla!

Whether we like it or not, people are accountable for what they say and do online. I read an article yesterday about some dude whose private Facebook profile was made public in court and it totally fucked him. Just because we restrict ourselves, doesn’t mean our asses are safe.

This issue with the woman from Cisco is interesting to me. As DKM pointed out last night, I’m not sure that this woman’s tweet warrants a firing.

DKM believes that if a person shows up to their job on time and does it well, that it shouldn’t matter whether she enjoys herself or not.

He also proclaimed that, “the Internet sucks.”

I agree with him, to an extent. I feel for this lady, who thought out loud on a social networking site linked to millions of people. It is one thing to muse over whether or not to accept a crappy job; it is another to draw negative attention to the company this way.

All of this talk of firing and accountability scares me. When I chose a career in public relations, some would say that I gave up my voice. As a communications professional, it’s not responsible to rant and rave about just anything on the Internet. It is difficult to be a critical observer of the world around you, when you are accountable to your agency, your clients and your boss.

My thing is that I really like my job and the people I work with, I don't have to talk shit about them. BUT even if I wasn’t happy at my place of employment, I wouldn’t slag it on the Internet. I know better. However, there are many things in this world that I don’t like—things that might not have anything to do with my company directly, but will offend some critical people who read it.

Dare I risk offending in the name of entertainment?
As a communications professional, am I even allowed the luxury of an objective voice?
Am I being a paranoid ninny?

I can’t decide if I should reel in the profanity and vulgar content, or just stop writing altogether. Then again, I might change my mind tomorrow and carry on as usual. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Feel free to contact me via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, or the comments page. Someone, please stop me from shutting this operation down.

Stupid twitter -- making me stupid paranoid.

If that post wasn’t a boner shrinker, I don’t know what is.

Desperately seeking entertainment

We finished the fifth and final season of The Wire a few weeks ago. I haven’t watched a DVD since because nothing can follow the Wire.

Wait, I lie -- I have watched *one* DVD. I watched Disc 1 of Schindler’s List, but it was painful. I haven’t gotten around to watching disc 2 yet. I would have turned off the first half early, but I fear the wrath of Spielberg. He’s a very powerful man.

My question to you-- which series, if any, is good enough to follow the Wire? Surely I can’t wait for David Simon’s new show, (set in post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans holy fucking awesome) to debut whenever it does. I need something to entertain me now, when I’m too tired at night to think, or sustain an intelligent conversation.

I need a new show and I will try and find that new addition to my life and popular culture repertoire here, today. I say try, because it’s a big commitment to invest in a DVD series. One can’t watch any old pile of suck for hours on end.

Keep in mind I have to get DKM to on board and watch it with me, as we kind of spend every night together. The show must be boy and girl friendly. This is the only reason you won’t see My Super Sweet Sixteen on this list. I can watch that by myself on vacation anyway.

Here are my options for future DVD viewing,

Friday Night Lights
I’ve already watched this series. But it is sooooo good that I’m happy to watch it through again. This way, I can watch as DKM resists his urge to love it, only to be won over and subsequently drown in a ball of man tears……

The crying part would never happen. I’d settle for an ambivalent “shmeh”, I simply want him to watch the first few episodes with me. That was his tactic with The Wire and good God, did that ever work.

I think FNL is an excellent show we can enjoy together. He can enjoy Minka Kelly and the underage blonde girl, while I enjoy Taylor Kitsch and the underage blonde guy. It’s perfect. Oh hai.

House
I have never seen an episode of House. Hugh Laurie is supposedly a riot but I’m wary of medical dramas. I used to watch Chicago Hope with the delightful Mandy Patinkin, like, 15 years ago but haven’t seen anything good since. Sure, I watched season two of Grey’s Anatomy like every other white girl evar, but I was fully aware that the show is total ass. I knew it sucked but I liked to torture myself so, I continued to watch.

Here’s my thing with Grey’s Anatomy. Why would anyone write a series that actively tries to make its audience cry every week? Every single week, some devastating medical disaster or breakup or death occurs and the show closes with an awful montage of sad people and sadder music. Every single week.

And who invited that awful Meredith (haha Meredith) woman on to my television screen? And McDreamy? Not even hot. I watched one episode last season where Izzy was having sex with her dead boyfriend. I’m glad I read somewhere that she has a brain tumour because that is the ONLY way to justify something so stupid. Grey’s makes me angry, and I do not support any show that doesn’t hire hot actors and clearly wants its audience to be fucking miserable. Gah.
Get that finger out of my face you awful, awful woman.

Where was I? Oh yeah. House. Everyone says it’s awesome but I can’t bring myself to care. I will probably skip this one and it’s all Grey’s fault.

Heroes
I’m including Heroes because it’s another show people seem to like. I don’t know anything about Heroes (except that it stars that pedophile-y fellow), but am guessing by the name involves science-fiction and or action. Sounds lame. I learned my lesson with Lost, and don’t want to be terrorized again so thank you for your interest Heroes, but I will pass.

How I met your Mother
A comedy—yes! I downloaded the first few episodes of HIMYM and liked it, but got distracted by liquor and never picked it up again. I did, of course, watch the two episodes with my girlfriend Britney Spears (she was a star, by the way) last year, but that’s about it. I should be a huge fan of this show because adore Neil Patrick Harris. HIMYM is an obvious choice. The problem? DKM says it sucks. I don’t think he’s seen more than one episode but he will still veto this one…hard. Next!

Mad Men
No, I haven’t seen Mad Men. Calm down. I can almost hear the audible gasps from Doha. . I plan to watch, someday. If I ever see the DVDs, I will buy them. I am in no way anti-Mad Men. This is yet another show that DKM vetoed, because he is fucking hard to please. I will watch Mad Men by myself in the years to come and be enlightened, I’m sure.

That’s all I’m working with. Honestly, I’m not excited by any of those new shows. I need help. Is there something I’m truly missing out on? Is Heroes actually the best show ever? Will Hugh Laurie’s masked English charm help me forget about Grey’s? Don’t even suggest I watch Prison Break, because I will fight you, silly cow.

It took time to get on the Wire band wagon, but damnit, that wonderful show has ruined me for life. What could possibly satisfy the way The Wire can? It is an extremely tough act to follow. I’m still having dreams about it. Last week, I hooked up with Marlo Stanfield. I know, right!? Dream sex with the scary dude = awesome

Forgets Marley and Me. It's all about Marlo and me. My stars, I'm clever.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lil Wayne: not welcome in Doha

Exactly one week ago, I heard some exciting news. APPARENTLY, Lil Wayne was scheduled to come to Doha and play a beach concert a la DJ Tiesto (!!!). To me, this event in the making was sooo hilariously random. I was stoked just to see what kind of crowd would attend.

You can imagine how excited DKM was too. He seemed to think that this was the final step in christening Qatar as the ideal place to live, for the moment. The country has steadily progressed for the better in the past decade. We have incredible royalty and political leaders here, who are truly invested in making Doha thrive.

That said, the kind of guests these leaders want to attract are a little different from Mr. Wayne.

Since I moved here almost three months ago, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Sergio Garcia, Richard Branson, DJ Tiesto (I thought I told you to shutttt up), Nancy Pelosi, Mahmou Ahmadinejad and a bunch of other random people have visited Doha. My creepy older crush, Bill Clinton will be here in a few weeks. There is a lot going on.

Needless to say, Lil Wayne doesn't fit neatly on that list. He sticks out like....a drug addicted rapper in Doha. I was shocked to hear he'd perform here and immediately thought that someone hadn't thought that through.

Turns out I was right. Lil Wayne won't be spotted walking along the corniche just yet. His concert was cancelled yesterday, after the marijuana loving rapper was flagged by Interpol (!!!). I received this message, from the event organizers in my Facebook inbox:

We have been informed by the Ministry of the Interior that they will NOT be permitting Dewayne Michael Carter AKA lil Wayne To enter or perform in Qatar and that's due to him being recently flagged by Interpol.We operate under the laws of the State of Qatar and we would not like to tarnish the state's image in any way or form. We have informed the artist's management that we will not be proceeding with the event scheduled to take place on the 16th of April at the Intercontinental Qatar and they communicated that they are disappointed that they could not fulfil their commitment to all the fans in Qatar. We are still on for the 16th with a Mega Star, Look out for the flyer.Thanks for your support.

I wonder who the Mega Star will be. DKM seems to think it's Bryan Adams. I think it will be local DJ Joe Mitri.

I'm not slagging the Ministry for cancelling the event. I'm siding with the government on this one. Lil Wayne basically embodies everything that this country is not. He's a wonderful fit for the West, but Qatar just isn't there yet. Did you see his interview with Katie Couric? The guy wouldn't survive overnight in a Muslim country. For fuck's sake, VH1 is resurrecting its show to make a Behind the Music special about him. Behind the Music hasn't been on in years. He's kind of controversial.

I know the youth of Doha want the city to become a current, happening place, and while it would be great in theory, I think the right decision was made not to invest in the singer. The Emir and Her Highness (also known as the greatest royal couple EVER) have spent the last decade investing in education, culture, science and the arts and have worked too hard at establishing Qatar as a leader in these fields to have a visit from a popular rapper overshadow that.

Yes, I realize how lame I sound. Partying at a Lil. Wayne concert would be ridiculous. But Doha has bigger and better things to accomplish. I'd rather Qatar make international headlines for the fact they will open one University a year until 2012, or for the Science and Technology Park last week, and not for the fact that Lil Wayne came to Doha, only to be arrested for vulgarity. Predicting his visit would be a disaster is one of the smartest things the government could ever do.

Now bring on Slick Willy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A female take on March Madness

Let's see how long it takes me to stray from basketball and throw in a Gossip Girl reference, shall we?
****
We were out of coffee mugs this morning. Instead of washing one, I used a measuring cup. It’s the weekend bitches!

It’s March Madness again. I love March Madness, it’s so much fun. I think that watching and enjoying the NCAA tournament is essential to maintaining relationship with DKM. I swear that he weeds out women without a vested interest in sports. Whatever. Girls who like sports are hot.

DKM's imaginary dating ad: Male, straight, 24. Sports fan seeking female possessing above average knowledge of sports, but must NOT know more than him. If you are super hot, a waning interest will suffice. No Red Sox fans need apply. You are dumb.

DKM is a Duke fan. A HUGE Duke fan. It’s a big part of his identity and he's quite nerdy about it. His Duke fandom makes him an easy harping target, especially for his friends who like teams with better luck.

FLASHBACK: Mentions of Duke and DKM takes me back to first year university. Half of his wardrobe had a Duke logo on it. He's since matured to finer things, which is nice. DKM was a piece of work in first year. Through the intitial week we met, DKM had no leg hair. He lost a bet and was forced to shave his legs. They were so smooth, I kind of liked it. I also learned, in our first week together, that Sinbad’s Houseguest is his favourite movie. Shaved legs and Sinbad? Ordinarily I would have run screaming away, very fast. I would have headed back to residence to tell my friends that I accidentally hooked up with a huge d-bag and discuss how best to avoid him in the cafeteria. Luckily, DKM has plenty of positive attributes that cancel out Sinbad.

You know, I shouldn’t really talk. In first year, I liked to sit at my computer, put on headphones and sing out loud to Bonnie Raitt, praying my roommate wouldn’t walk in. She did once, laughed and then left. It was awkward.

Bonnie Raitt. The original Hot Ginge.

Back to basketball.

Duke played last night at 9 p.m. EST. Matching my dedication to all things Oscar, DKM woke up at five in the morning to watch a shitty, slow-buffering feed from espn.com. You can't say we're not passionate.

Anyway, I usually join a bunch of pools, whether on Facebook or with my friends, but this year I didn’t get into it. I am a desert dwelling hermit -- so fucking out of touch. That said, I asked DKM to print out a bracket and we decided to play against each other. The winner will receive an abundance of sexual favours, or something. It's all about competition.

DKM is really concerned about the logistics of this sexual favours thing. “How is that going to work, exactly? Is there a point system? Do underdog wins count for more? How many favours does the winner receive?” Etc…

Details, details.

Once he realizes that I’m beating him, he will stop asking questions (I took Western Kentucky over Illinois. Ha!) and be cool.

I also picked Cornell, who plays tonight. I picked them in honour of Andy Bernard. My favourite character on the Office.

I went to Cornell. You heard of it?

The rest of my picks were based solely on the hilarity of the school's name. Purdue, Butler, Siena, Marquette, Gonzaga all have to make it to the next round or I'm toast.

I think that's a clever way to win. I''ll let you know how it all works out for us.

Shit, No Gossip Girl reference.TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Crazy Ears Hates Me

Big news everyone.

I hopped into my cab this morning and was met with the surprise return of Crazy Ears!

It was a welcome reunion on my part – after staring at photos of cauliflowered ears for 15 minutes on Google the other day, my driver's appearance no longer offends me. We are obviously meant to be, though he was not at all pleased to see me. I was all, “oh I lost your phone number,” and he was all, “go stuff yourself, lying scab.” He might not want anything to do with me but I’m determined to make it work. I’ll wear him down eventually; I’ve done it before and will do it again. His car is just so clean – he still has the plastic wrapping on the seatbelts.

God, these cab stories are lame. My weekend begins in two hours, I promise to do something embarrassing and worthy of this degenerate blog.

I'm open to suggestion, friends.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thoughts from the queue

Picture unrelated to post. Doesn't matter because it is AWESOME.
Here, have another.

I'm a little shaky today. My cab driver this morning was a total lunatic. Yelling at other drivers and laying on the horn every 100 ft. I miss crazy ears already.

Another terrible cab ride survived, I spent a ridiculous morning at the Ministry of Health.

Congratulations to me -- I'm one step closer to becoming a permanent resident of Qatar. It barely cost me anything...only 100 riyals and my fucking decency. The Ministry of Health is where pending residents go to complete a mandatory health check. They check your blood, and take a chest x-ray. No people with AIDS or TB allowed! So yea, I completed the process, with the other several hundred cattle disguised as women.

Every month there are more and more people entering Qatar. Last month, the population grew by 5%. Insane. And each day, they must process over 1000 female medical checks. You are prodded along by exceptionally large women, have blood drawn, take an x-ray and get the fuck out of there. It’s a dirty, unpleasant experience that leaves you hating everyone and everything about the country. Its funny how my lowest moment in Doha came just as I applied to stay here for a couple of years.

Oh well.
*****
To my Canadian friends…how was your St. Patrick’s Day? Mine was lame sauce. Gone are the days when I would wake up at 9 a.m. to get shitfaced. At 9 a.m. yesterday, I was in the first hour of a four hour meeting with one of the Universities. When we broke for lunch, nobody offered me green beer. Selfsih.

I used to get really into st. Patty’s. My roommates were a festive bunch. This is what we wore in our last year at UWO.
Hey, nice bowtie. Morons.

Please notice my friend Cath’s epic bruise (third from left). The girl is a peach. I don’t think one week went by in University that Cath WASN’T sporting a giant welt on her leg or arm or somewhere unseen. I used to punch her and watch the mark instantly appear. I’d punch her and then I’d laugh…and laugh.

It was Cath’s birthday the other day. Happy birthday Cathy.


You are evil Homer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My ongoing quest to find the perfect cab driver

Driving in Doha is the worst (but not as bad as Dubai --bitches). Whether you own your own car, rent a loaner or are chauffeured, you will spend hours in a vehicle every week.

I am 23 years-old and I do not have a driver’s license. Take your pot shots now. How sad and pathetic.

That's enough. I used to think I was smart, surviving without a license and all, but it turns out I totally fucked myself in refusing to get a G1.

Back story: In Canada, I lived in the golden metropolis of Toronto (save my time spent in the KKK capital of the world, London, Ontario) so I didn't need a car. I lived downtown and thanks to Toronto’s world-class transit system, the clean and efficient TTC (are you listening Adam Giambrone? I love you) I got by without a car. I had a very small carbon footprint. I was awesome.

Adam Giambrone -- TTC Chair and spokesperson. Dream boat.

Plus, those years spent on public transit gave me a wealth of dually hilarious and horrible stories that I can whip out at parties. Speaking of whipping things out, how many times have YOU been flashed on the subway? I’m at three and counting….

ANYWAY. Via TTC you can get just about anywhere in Toronto in twenty - thirty minutes. You don’t need a car. In Doha…things aren’t as simple.

Doha doesn’t have a transit system. There are plans to build one, but that’s eons away.

People in Qatar can't survive without a license. Residents drive everywhere. It is clear I will need to adapt and become a mature licensed drivers, and soon. I *plan* to start lessons, but the thought of driving in this city makes me a little ill.
The temporary (permanent) solution is to find a trustworthy taxi driver and buy him out for a monthly fee.

Sounds simple, right? WRONG! Finding a driver who doesn’t freak me out or make me hate him has proved my greatest challenge in Doha-- greater than living without Clamato and even greater than life without my inbred puppy.

Here are my criteria for finding the lucky man, destined to become my personal chauffeur.

Ranked in order of importance:

1) no body odor
2) drives a clean car
3) has a firm grasp of the English language
4) no side eyes ( staring at me through the rear view mirror, fucking creep)


So far, I have met 15 or so cab driver that just will not do.I'd rather ride with this guy.

Last week, I met one driver who I thought lived up to my standards. He took me to work every day last week, and we got along fine. He was polite and quiet, his car was spectacularly clean and he was always ten minutes early.

He was almost perfect.

Yesterday on our drive to work, I was preparing to ask him to be my full-time driver. I was nervous and excited to commit to my new friend. What if he said no? Maybe he won’t like me! Are my palms sweating?

As we drove, I caught myself staring at his ears. They were really big. And really ugly. And they got bigger and uglier the farther we went. His ears were gigantic, with serious cauliflowering. Aren’t cauliflower ears the sign of a boxer? A man who BEATS PEOPLE UP for a living?
Heavens. Try staring at that before you've had your morning coffee.

I started envisioning my cabbie in a boxing ring, showing no mercy on opponents and generally being very violent.

We arrived at my work one minute later. When he asked if he should come at the same time the next day, all I could muster was a panicked, “Noooo” before I lunged out of the car.

This is going to be a brutal selection process.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Visiting old friends

Know who I was just thinking about? Monica Lewinsky.

Whatever happened to her? I cannot believe that woman actually managed to slink away into obscurity, after cigar-gate, dress-gate, stain-gate...whatever. She was firmly wedged in the international conscience for years, but once the whole scandal blew over, she all but fell off the face of the earth.

After the Clinton fiasco, I remember Lewinsky's hugely-anticipated interview with Barbara Walters. The most important detail women took away from that exchange was where Lewinsky buys her lip gloss. She also designed and sold a line of handbags (with stain proof lining for accidents...zing), that I’m sure went nowhere.

Monica Lewinsky has been off my radar for years, and I'm the type of person who actively looks for trainwrecks like her. But it really seems she's gone. Finally! A woman, caught in a national scandal doesn't whore herself out to reality television. This is almost unheard of. In this sense, Monica Lewinsky is better than Tonya Harding and Florence Henderson and everyone else on the Surreal Life. Crazy.

Let’s check in with Ms. Lewinsky and see what she’s up to (I bet it’s semi-respectable).

*researching*

So…it turns out Lewinsky hosted a reality dating show called Mr. Personality (hahaha) and is still making ugly handbags. She claims she can’t get a “real job,” even though she graduated from the London School of Economics, because the Clinton connections run too deep; employers are scared to hire her.

Lewinsky, thanks for making me look stupid! OF COURSE you hosted a reality TV DATING show. Sure, you have a fancy degree from a prestigious school, but I'm going to ignore that part.

Everyone signs on to a fucking reality TV show eventually. Reality television refuses to let us forget society’s biggest bags of garbage. I don’t know why I brought up that sloobag Lewinsky anyway. Clearly, I need to catch up with the rest of my peers and talk about the recession or Lindsay Lohan's arrest warrant (nevermind, that topic is always timely). I'm sorry I dredged up the past. because I really had high hopes for the world's most famous home wrecker.

Check back tomorrow for more timely posts, like:

1.) Who is hotter? Freddie Prinze Jr. or Ryan Phillippe?
2.) Do you really think Ja Rule and Ashanti are doing it?
3.) It’s BUSH…not BUSH X!
Please pay attention to us. We are still young, hip and totally relevant.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I haven't made fun of DKM in a while...

DKM likes M&Ms, but I didn’t know how much he really loves them until yesterday. In grade nine, DKM used to rip off the labels from his M&M packages and save them. He had about 40 or so. He put them in his wallet carried them everywhere.

Hahahahah that is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever heard. How he did not get his ass kicked is beyond me. Seriously, DKM is a really cool guy. He wasn’t teased as a child, isn’t psychologically warped because of bullying or molestation or anything. He is relatively normal. But that whole M&M thing I can’t understand. What a fucking weirdo.

It’s probably a miracle he didn’t grow up to be this guy:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I have a crush on a stranger

We briefly conversed outside a shopping centre today. He was a young, distinguished looking Qatari dude. I’ll transcribe our brief interaction, when I felt like a street merchant next to his beauty.

Qatari: (waving his VISA around, looking for a bank machine) do you know where?
Me: Yes, try over there.
(We walk a few paces beside each other)
Qatari: You work here?
Me: Yes (Pause). You?
Qatari: (shocked) me? Ha-ha no.
Me: Ah.
Qatari (finds bank): Thank you.
Me: (swooning) Bye bye.

I felt like such a plebian, I almost asked him for money. Maybe next time.

****

No surprise here. Lego makes the coolest business cards in the league.
http://positivesharing.com/2009/02/coolest-business-card-ever/

Arabic for dumb white people

Marhaba Habibi!

Before I moved to Doha, I decided I was going to learn Arabic. I was realistic, knowing there was no way I would become fluent, but that I’d could easily grasp conversational language. Sure, I’ve picked up words here and there, but as it turns out, almost everyone speaks English in Qatar.

It makes sense, I suppose. Ex-patriots outnumber Qatari nationals by a wide margin here. English is the dominant “business language.” Even so, this is a Muslim country and the locals speak Arabic. Shouldn't the rest of us at least try?

I went to my first business meeting the other day. I was in a conference room with about 12 Qatari men, four white dudes and three white women, myself included. The meeting was conducted in English. There was only *one* Qatari who didn’t speak English, and his buddy next to him translated the two hour meeting for his benefit.

It’s bizarre how a meeting hosting more Arabic speakers than English speakers was held in English. Westerners aren't expected to know the language, no one thinks less of us for it, but I feel like a total ass.

Anyways, sitting in an English meeting in an Arabic country made me want to learn the language even more. It is definitely tough, but beautiful too.

Here are the crucial Arabic words I’ve learned so far. Excuse any improper spelling:

Wasta – power, influence
Bizzarpt – exactly
Marhaba – welcome
Bukrah – tomorrow
Shokran – thank you
Halla- enough
Yella – go go go
La – no no no
Naam – yes
Min fadlik – please
Mabrouk – congratulations

I’m obsessed with Arabic numbers. License plates have arabic and english numbers, so it's much easier to pick them up than the alphabet. Peep this:
Alphabet here:
I know the easiest way to pick up a lanague is to immerse yourself in the culture, but how am I supposed to learn Arabic when I don't have to? It ain't right.