A riproaring rollercoaster of a journey through time, space and that side road just over there...

Watching the World

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on November 3rd, 2009 @ 14:33:23 , using 395 words,
Posted in Blogosphere antics

It's becoming clearer to me that I need to keep my Moleskine closer to hand these days - normally it sits in my camera bag, which doubles as my air travel carry-on (you can get loads in it, but it weighs a ton). Too often, these days I find myself thinking of the perfect little word confection to tempt you with, only to find that by the time I'm anywhere near the keyboard, other distractions have torn the thought away like a breeze through an autumn branch. Something else I've noticed, is how many of these thoughts I've accumulated recently. Not too sure why, but more things occur that might be fitting matter for these parts.

I wonder, would you have me describe what I see in this part of the world? Would it be too dull for your tastes perhaps, it's generally too dull for mine, but then I may have been here too long. You however are unlikely ever to see what I see. Do you need to know about the highway along which regularly traipse an endless stream of 4x4's and fuel wagons? If the sky were blue, I'd tell you, but as always, it's shrouded in a fine mist of dust particles which smother and ingratiate their way into everything - Johnson's will never go out of business here. It's a little on the breezy side today, which means an extra helping of dust is to be served up to us.

For the most part you know, Saudi Arabia is not a very exciting place. It lacks cinemas (see earlier post regarding my views on film watching), it's often too hot to be outside, did I mention the dust? It hosts a plethora of shopping centres (Mall's for the 'Muricans), but these are usually home to endless numbers of womens and childrens clothing shops, plus the obligatory fast food joints. Book shops, hifi stores, bars, music stores and much else of any interest are absent, at least from MallWorld. You can find stuff of course, but the chances are that it will be out of the way, poorly stocked, or closed for prayer when you get there. This is not a place to inspire passion in your soul, but then again if you were to judge by the exploding population of the country, then perhaps that's about all it does.

My SEO Smells of Roses

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on November 2nd, 2009 @ 23:30:42 , using 91 words,
Posted in Blogosphere antics

Or so it would seem, not that I've done much to be honest. It would though seem that my Google rank on the search term "Izdihar" is now up to #2 - Google search for Izdihar. Now, how to get that top spot I wonder?

Edit: Just did a search on "Chris of Arabia" too. If you include the quotation marks in the search, I seem to occupy at least the first three pages of the Google search results - perhaps now would be a good time to go into witness protection...

That Blog List

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on November 2nd, 2009 @ 22:30:44 , using 1110 words,
Posted in Blogosphere antics

The more I look around other people's blogs, the more I find a propensity for creating lists of salient (and not so salient) facts and figures about the blogee. As one who can rarely resist a trend and probably because I doubt I ever had an original thought in my life, I may as well start one here. The prime reason for this I must add, is that I've not said an awful lot in these parts of late. For my inspiration this evening, I give you a list courtesy of sex blogger in-Chief, Ms Margolis - her list. I should add that there are aspects of her list I will not be attempting to match - I'll leave you to work out what those are for yourselves...

  • I was born in the 60's and can even claim to remember parts of this
  • I have lived and worked in the Middle East for the last 10 years
  • I spent some 9 years in the Royal Air Force
  • I love music above any other art form, even more so if it contains big raunchy guitar sounds
  • I have noticed that everything on this list begins with the letter "I"
  • I own and play quite a few guitars
  • I am something of a fidget, and can't sit still in front of a film, this is an art form that's never really grabbed me
  • Probably my favourite song is Rush's Limelight from their 'Moving Pictures' album. I use the first 11 seconds of this song as my mobile phone ringtone
  • The irony of the conjunction of the last two items has not escaped me...
  • I can account now for two marriages (2nd one reaches its 10th anniversary next July), so you could say it's an institution I'm comfortable with
  • It's probably fair to say I'm fascinated by web-tech stuff, but I never feel I know enough to do anything productive in that vein
  • My other significant art form interest is photography, something readily confirmed by a quick browse here within
  • I do tend to get bored rather easily and engage with, drift away from and pick-up again, a wide range of interests
  • Currently, I'm trying to work out how to write something that might stand some sort of test of time
  • I will of course tire of the notion at some point over the next 48 hours
  • Reading is another place you can find me, this may be one the few interests I have that I never tire of
  • Despite my best efforts, I almost always become emotionally involved with the story line and its characters
  • ...I should at this juncture state that the above was not strictly true for "A Brief History of Time", sorry Stephen
  • I have a deep seated dislike of exercise, as much as I know it's good for me
  • One three and half year old coronary stent later, there is perhaps the suggestion that I ought to deal with the above
  • The less said about golf the better - I have history...
  • I've never been to Agent Provocateur
  • I tend to view food as something of a chore, though I can cook perfectly well - I tend to think in terms of knitting patterns here, just follow the instructions
  • I abhor boorish behaviour and will actively seek to avoid it
  • Mornings are to be avoided at all costs, unless they are approached from midnight onwards
  • I'm not what you would call a big drinker, though I do enjoy a pint of Guinness and a descent bottle of vino collapso
  • I am of the firm belief that the mouth and the ears should be used in direct proportion to which they are provided
  • I 'get' Twitter (though not yet the new lists feature)
  • I miss Pownce - damn you Messrs Rose, Burka and Ms Culver - will SixApart ever resurrect it I wonder? I hope so...
  • I have no interest in clothing or fashion - shopping in this area is an in and out job, there is much more to life
  • Unless of course it is any form of technical clothing related to a sporting or recreational activity
  • I am a proud season ticket holding Stoke City fan, even if it does currently mean that a home game is a 6,000 mile round trip
  • The old Victoria Ground was no more than 100 yards from the house I inhabited for the first 8 years of my life - it infected me righteously
  • Dentists are to be feared and preferably avoided unless essential maintenance deems their services unavoidable
  • I detest green and runner beans in all their forms - I spent many a miserable hour at the Sunday dinner table in their presence, however the battle of wills on their account was always settled in my favour
  • I prefer buying CDs to downloading inferior quality MP3 or other compressed format media
  • As a direct consequence of the above, it has taken an awful lot of time to get the 6,600 tracks I have on my iPod processed through iTunes
  • I am not overly concerned by the presence of chemicals in my diet, or the use of prescription drugs where required
  • I would though, actively avoid the latter where there intent is to somehow alter my mood, even where prescribed for addressing sleep pattern deficiencies
  • You are unlikely to change my opinion, though I will not press them upon you
  • Likewise, I have no real desire to have you proselytise your opinion on me - let's agree to disagree now and save any aggravation later
  • ...how many is that?
  • I have no use for religion and would generally consider blind faith in the absence of empirical evidence to be nonsensical. Where empirical evidence is not available, I have no desire to ascribe any untested or manifestly unusual behaviour or observation to any given choice of deity - in this regard, I subscribe firmly to the Adams school to whit "Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"
  • Anyone who believes that the concept that "all men are created equal" can be put into practice needs to visit the Middle East
  • I firmly believe that no one reads this blog and that the b2evolution stats pages are auto-generated to make me feel better about the time their software steals from me
  • Were I to start tomorrow, I would produce a different list
  • I have almost certainly gone on for too long, though surprisingly the spelling and grammar appears to have held up really well

I am hopeful that I have done the list meme proud, but only you can say for sure...

Lists

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on November 2nd, 2009 @ 22:13:46 , using 75 words,
Posted in General

I thought that today I would do a list, everyone else does them after all, so why should my readers miss out on all the fun. Not sure where these came from, but they somewhat inexplicably popped into my head today. So for now then, here we go:

  • lazy
  • self-serving
  • incompetent
  • corrupt
  • nepotism
  • racist
  • missing
  • contemptible
  • spineless
  • arrogant

Yep, I think that's it. A good list that one, even if I do say so myself

Blog Secrets

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on November 1st, 2009 @ 19:58:27 , using 99 words,
Posted in Blogosphere antics

What's hidden behind the publicly visible blogger pages I wonder? How many unfinished, or possibly finished, posts still languish behind a 'Draft' status, publish button un-pressed? What's hidden there? Perhaps the blogger got cold feet, subject matter too raw to be allowed into the light of day perhaps, or maybe they just realised the realisation of their literary masterpiece just wasn't.

Whatever the reasoning, they are still there, sitting in database records, needing only a single click of mouse to release it out into the wild. What's out there, what's being hidden from view, wouldn't you like to know?

The Start of Something...

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on October 25th, 2009 @ 13:35:00 , using 291 words,
Posted in Travel

As we start the descent into Dubai, the Saudia non-stop promotional roller-coaster is regaling us with 'Monsters vs Aliens' and men in white dresses sat astride black horses, striding heroically across fields of green. I wonder about the latter, as I've not seen a green field over here - must be related to the previous ad, grass by DreamWorks Animation.

We're off to Dubai (boss & I) for some business (we need a system), and some golf, we intend to come back with the trophy again (we won it last year too). Hopes are high that we can do a repeat, though our battlefield of choice has just a little too much in the way of water hazards for most of our motley band of high handicappers. Playing off 26, I'm primarily interested in keeping the number of lost balls for the three days below that figure. One should always have an objective in mind at such events.

We do seem to be in the early stages of our descent, but rather oddly, the smell of freshly toasted teacakes is wafting round the cabin. Wonder if that's a frisson of excitement surrounding the animated conversation in front of me - extra from MIB meets Filipino air stewardess, or are they called something else these days - whatever, something is warming up nicely. We're on a 747 today, bit of overkill considering that I doubt there are 50 people on board - must have seen the size of the golf bags we checked in with and realised something more substantial than the scheduled MD90 was called for. We're doing well time-wise, 20 miles to go and we may still get to the hotel in time for the Liverpool vs Manchester United kick-off. Beach-balls at the ready...

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