Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blogs of Blogs and Blogs of Blogging About Blogs of Blogs and Other Stuff Blogged About

After what I've read of your posts so far, if I were to describe you as a dish, it would be like - Hilarious with a pinch of sarcasm, mixed in with Kuwaiti spices but cooked the American way.“  
Bloggy 6/18/12

I don’t  think I have ever heard a review of my writing that compared it to food;  but I like this one.  
In keeping with that theme, today’s entry will be like CORN night (Clean Out the Refrigerator Night) as it will cover several things -- including some ads to previous posts, rather than just one.  So, enjoy the stew and try to keep up so you don’t get lost along the way.

There are, I have found out, several really good Blogs in Kuwait that are written in English.  Some by Americans and some not.  Here are a few that I have started to read regularly:

Mark’s blog is a twofer.  The B Side is funny and interesting stuff found on the web,  the A Side is hard hitting news with analysis and other stuff.  Well, actually the A Side is only more other stuff,  observations and local info and stories.  Well, not really all local because there are movie reviews and I learned how to dougie from a link provided there.  Now that I have categorized and defined the site,  I will say that I enjoy it but never at 2:48AM.  I kinda wonder what would happened if I did read it at that exact time – one of those mysteries like what might happen if you kept your eyes open when you sneezed,  you know deep down it will be okay; but somehow you just can’t bring yourself to do it because you might shoot your eyes across the room.

Kind of a cross between news about local shopping and whatever the blogger thought was cool that day.  I would never have seen Death on a tricycle or found about an alien spaceship that looks like the Millennium Falcon sitting at the bottom of the Baltic Sea without this site.   What can I say,  I like stuff like that.

I will admit it – the fact that the Blogger wears a Jeanie outfit was the reason why I started to read the blog; after all it does claim to be the Cutest Blog on the Block.  I like the information she provides and it was when I started to read her blog that I realized how much was going on here.  At least enough to fill up a dozen or so blogs.  She even has a Who’s Who of American Bloggers, which included me.  I am still in the process of checking out all the blogs listed.

The blog says it is a Blog aggregator; which I have determined means it is a Blog that is made up of bits of blog from other blogs to create a newer blog.  I like it because it is bits of blog from blogs that I have never seen before and I am always about discovery.
The Dog Formerly Known as Yet to be Named Dog, is now Dog Still Yet to be Named.  It is still on my To Do list, just been busy.  He is a lot of fun to watch and play with and he seems to be getting acclimated just fine.

Two other things I have learned,  but failed to previously discuss:

-  If you plug a 110v appliance into a 220v outlet and turn it on, the magic smoke that makes it work will escape and  you will need to replace it with a new appliance of similar function that is either dual voltage or 220v.  Almost everything seems to be dual voltage these days,  but there are still a few 100v only devices I use – so far I have managed to keep the magic smoke sealed in all of them.
-  If you leave your dental floss in your car before bringing it in to use, put it in the freezer for a bit before you use it.  The wax on floss gets “melty” in the heat and if you use it that way the wax comes off between your teeth and for the next few hours your whole mouth feels like you have chewing on a mint flavored birthday candle.    

And finally, for a bit for shameless self-promotion…

I have now published my first book, which was written right here in Kuwait:

From the stuff I put on the book’s jacket:

Evan Davis is a writer, or at least he would be if he could finish his first book. Because the book has languished unfinished, Davis finds himself presented with an ultimatum by his agent: Take a three month assignment as a press imbed in Afghanistan or risk losing his book contract. Since the job does have a salary attached he takes it, but before departing, a friend hands Davis a hastily gathered good luck charm: three paperclips. Over the months in country he gets to know the men of a small team of US soldiers that he is deployed with and rediscovers his muse writing about their experiences in Southwest Asia for a truth hungry American public. Davis also finds use for each of his talismans, as they save his life and those of the men he comes to regard as his team; the men who promised each other that they would all make it home in one piece.

If you want to read the book, you can find it here:  Link 

Until next week….


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Yet To Be Named Dog

Dogs are some of the most selfless animals on the planet.  Few humans are worthy of the unquestioning adoration and love that a dog is willing to give them.  However, for some folks the treatment of these loyal companions goes beyond mere indifference and into the realm of deliberate cruelty.

A recent article in Kuwait Times discusses one incident. [Link]

Karen,  the woman in the article, contacted me recently to offer me a chance to be a rescuer of a dog that had been abandoned.

I spoke before about the issues I had run into once before in dealing with dogs here, but this dog was a Maltese and not on the "no export" list.  I then received a flurry of pictures from Jean who was taking care of the dog in the interim.  The before pix was a little troubling, and my initial opinion was that it was not a dog at all but an angry, dirty mop.

The dog had been on the streets for at least a week, but was in relatively good condition.  His fur was matted and had to be sheared off which  gave the animal a totally different appearance.    Jean took him to a vet for an exam, got him shots and had him chipped, once it was verified he did not already have one.   

I went to see him a few days after rescue and was greeted by an excited and friendly puppy who was ready to go home with me right then and there.  His face was happy and he enjoyed being petted and handled.  It was obvious that the animal had been part of a family at some point and was probably abandoned when his owner either left or went on summer vacation.

Anyway, Yet To Be Named Dog gets along fine with bigger dogs, as Jean already had a dog when she took him off the streets and rescued .  So he is now mine and when I go back to the States the little guy will be coming with me. MacBeth will get a little brother to hang out with and he is good around smaller dogs as he plays with them at puppy school. 

As for me, I get some company and the non-judgmental acceptance, adoration, and comfort that only a dog can give - after a long day that is a very good thing.  I hope I can live up to Yet To Be Named Dog's expectations.  Oh, and I do I get free entertainment too, as Yet To Be Named Dog plays a mean guitar.

Yet To Be Named Dog will move in Monday night.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

100 Days & I Done Did Learned a Few Things

Now that I have been here 100 days,  I am now seen as a bit of a veteran and sage to be looked up to and as a passer-on of information to new arrivals,  here are a few truisms I have discovered:

1.  If you break two plastic forks trying to eat the meatloaf at the Dining Facility (DFAC), do not try a third.  Just give up and go for the chicken nuggets.

2.  When the temperature gets over 105°,  the wind makes it worse not better.

Try this at home:  Take a blow dryer and turn the heat on high with the fan on low and hold it one inch from your nose for 10 minutes;  then try it with the heat on high and the fan on high for the same 10 minutes.  Which felt cooler?  

Warning:  Be prepared to explain the second degree burns on your nose to co-workers on Monday.

3.  The days do eventually all run together,  but some unique experiences will present themselves from time to time that help make things better.  Yes,  driving a tank is as much fun as it looks, but not enough that I would reenlist to do it for a living.

4.  Always check the expiration date, it will keep you from buying things that were put on the shelf during Gulf War I.
5.  If you never wash your coffee mug out, and the office runs out pouring plain hot water into the mug might extract enough coffee from the stains to help you get through a morning.  I saw this and was amazed and disgusted.
6.  If you order a hat via mail order that is not in the BX, everyone on base will ask you where you bought it.   I had the only one like it for almost 2 weeks.

7.  "That guy" is here too.  If you don't think so,  you are probably him.
8.  Things may seem dark some days,  but everything is survivable.  A positive attitude is necessary for survival.
Willie Tyler, Lester & Me
9.  Remember that act you saw on the Ed Sullivan show when you were a kid?  Yeah, that act - ever wonder what happened to it?  It's here doing a USO show.  Not every show is Lt Dan or Gabriel Iglesis, but they are all welcome.
10.  I heard someone did the calculations once,  and based on averages you will inhale a full pound of Kuwaiti sand during a normal tour here.  If you were to spread that out and consider it land it would be worth about 170 KD ($629).  Nobody brags about it because the Kuwaiti government might find a way to charge you for it and the US Government would find a way to tax it as income.
11.  If you get a package of cookies and you open them in the office, you will be expected to share.  Same holds true for bubble wrap -- so be prepared to share the popping.

12.  Chuck Norris is and always will be a hero here.                           

13.  If it is not a cat, it is probably a rat.  If the rat is that big,  you now know what happened to the missing cat.

14.  Amazon ROCKS!   They have great prices, deliver to APOs, and usually ship within hours of ordering.  I had something show up 2 days after I ordered it - scary fast.
15.  The guy at the bizarre who is trying to sell you the genuine statue taken from Saddam's Palace and offering to throw in a free Ronex watch,  is the same guy who sent you the email about the $1 million that you inherited from the Nigerian Prince.  BTW he will not take payment out of the $1 Million for anything at his stand,  I tried.

Finally,  everyone on base who has been here longer than a month can tell you how much longer they have on their current tour and will usually be within 2 days  -- As a matter of fact, it is now 264 days, thanks for asking.

After last week's missive on Camels,  I laughed out loud when I saw this, the CAMbulance:


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Have I Got a Deal for You, on a Slightly Used Camel

Last week the temperature for most days was above 111° at the high point and just below 90° late at night. Due to the nature of my job, I generally don't spend a lot of time outside; more or less just the time it takes me to get from one air-conditioned building to the next. This week was a bit different when the air conditioning in my building went out for the first three days. The first two days were just uncomfortable as the temperatures went above 90° inside; on the third day we topped 100°. This of course was made worse by the amount of computer equipment that sits in the office with us. But, by Thursday morning it had been fixed just in time for a huge dust storm that started that night and this continued on through today. Gotta love the weather in Kuwait; ‘cause it don’t love you.

On Thursday afternoon, before the sandstorm really got to it, I was heading off base and near the gate I saw a Bedouin man with a couple of camels standing there just off the road. He had set up a small area and was inviting the Americans who were leaving work for the day to pull over and get photographed with his camels. You've got to admire anyone who in this heat could still show an entrepreneurial spirit. Seeing him brought to mind the Bedouin folk here who deal with this heat nine months out of the year for their entire life. I pulled over briefly, even though I didn't have my camera with me, just to meet the man for future reference.

He wore a tribal Shemagh rather than the typical white headdress that most Kuwaitis wear, and a long robe rather than a dishdash.  His face was dark and the skin almost looked like tanned leather but with deep wrinkles from spending years in the sun. He smiled quite a bit and was very animated when he talked about his camels and the fact that everyone should own one.  His English was much better than my six phrases of Arabic, so we spoke in English.  He shook my hand and invited me to be photographed with the animal, but I explained I didn't have a camera with me that day. He made me promise to stop by the next time I had my camera so that he and his camels could pose with me for only 2 KD (about $7.40).  He then whispered that if I brought a friend who had his picture taken as well, he would lower the price to 1 KD for me.  Shrewd businessman.

When you consider that he and his relatives have lived for centuries out in the sands of this inhospitable climate and have managed to thrive despite its harshness and dangerousness I have to give them my respect for being able to do so. When you compare dealing with the heat for just three days to living in a tent in the open desert, I'm sure I would not be cut out for such a life.  Heck, I don't even own a single camel, but I do now a guy who might be willing to sell me one.

I saw this in the paper this week and found it amusing.

'Mermaid hunter' at Messilah Beach?

A man was taken to the Psychiatric Hospital after coastguards plucked him out of the sea where he had been, reportedly, looking for mermaid. Coastguards reported to the scene, near the Messilah Beach, following reports of a man walking into the sea with his clothes on in what passersby thought was a suicide attempt. After the man was located and rescued, he told officers that he was simply looking for a mermaid he believes to be in the area. After failing to convince the adamant man out of his plans, the officers offered to help him go to another beach and search for mermaids there. Their ploy worked and they instead escorted the man to the mental facility.

I have not seen a single mermaid since I've been here, although I really can't say that for sure. Think about it, wouldn't a mermaid in Kuwait wear a burqua or an abaya?  With that on, how could you see her tail?

I've got to get me one of those before the next sandstorm.

Until next week.