Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Most Elegant Event on Earth

The Brownlow Medal

If you’ve ever lamented the passing of Audrey Hepburn and with it the end of chic then do not despair. The Brownlow Medal is here to demonstrate that true elegance is not dead! The Emmy’s have NOTHING on these beauties!

So that you are not overcome with glamour I have divided the dresses into sections for your viewing pleasure.

All images are ripped-off directly from www.theage.com.au

We will start with the colour that best shows of the fake tan – White.  It’s also useful because you can re-use your deb dress.  See – economy!

WHITE

Pass the cake knife...

Pass the cake knife...

This reminds me of the Italian-Australian girl I used to go to school with you had a knockout body but wore the tackiest shit imaginable.

This reminds me of the Italian-Australian girl I used to go to school with you had a knockout body but wore the tackiest shit imaginable.

This lady with the enviable physique wins the award for the Most Frightening Fake Tan of the Evening.

This lady with the enviable physique wins the award for the Most Frightening Fake Tan of the Evening. But I'm glad she wore White to show it to its full glory!

A strange mixture of rock chic studs, grecian bodice and drop-waisted full skirt. Choose one style and stick to it.

A strange mixture of rock chic studs, Grecian bodice and drop-waisted full skirt. Ick!

The Post-Modern

I assume this dress is statement about the obsolescence of the media... my TV used to look like this right before it blew a tube.

I assume this dress is statement about the obsolescence of the media... my TV used to look like this right before it blew a tube.

Celebrity-Inspired

Very often the tabloids are the places where we get the ideas for our dress-up moments.  Tip: If you decide get inspired by a celebrity look – check to see if everyone thought it was rubbish the first time around.  Chances are you will not improve upon it.

If you're going to copy a celebrity look then don't copy the latest skanky ho.  Particularly when that ho is Megan Fox who is going to look WAYYY hotter than you are.

If you're going to copy a celebrity look then don't copy the latest skanky ho. Particularly when that ho is Megan Fox who is going to look WAYYY hotter than you are.

Megan Fox wearing the original.

Megan Fox wearing the original.

What in God's name? can someone please explain to me why some women think it is cute to dress up like Dakota Fanning before she hit puberty? Somehow this horror reminds me of a cross between the Oscar dresses worn by Lara Flynn-Boyle and Gwyneth Paltrow. We hated them too!

What in God's name? can someone please explain to me why some women think it is cute to dress up like Dakota Fanning before she hit puberty? Somehow this horror reminds me of a cross between the Oscar dresses worn by Lara Flynn-Boyle and Gwyneth Paltrow. We hated them too!

lara-flynn-boyle-ballerinaGwyneth-Paltrow_l

The Almosts and the Pretty Good

I can see what she's trying to do here. I really can.  There are too many tapes for a dress that is cut to the thigh.  Maybe it looked better when she let it hang down long?

I can see what she's trying to do here. I really can. There are too many tapes for a dress that is cut to the thigh. Maybe it looked better when she let it hang down long?

Apart from the 'Carry On' hair do - this look could have worked.  It's too shapeless for her though.  If she threw a belt on it wouldn't swamp her so much.

Apart from the 'Carry On' hair do - this look could have worked. It's too shapeless for her though. If she threw a belt on it wouldn't swamp her so much.

I think this woman looks great!  Perhaps a slightly less wide belt might have helped but this is definitely one of the evening's winners!

I think this woman looks great! Perhaps a slightly less wide belt might have helped but this is definitely one of the evening's winners!

Okay - a little too girly for my personal taste but this dress is cut to perfection and she wears it perfectly.

Okay - a little too girly for my personal taste but this dress is cut to perfection and she wears it perfectly.

EMBELLISHED

These flowers were copied from a Hallmark Card that she gave to her Gran for her 75th Birthday. Shame we can't see the back. I have high hopes for a poem!

These flowers were copied from a Hallmark Card that she gave to her Gran for her 75th Birthday. Shame we can't see the back. I have high hopes for a poem!

Image Source: www.theage.com.au

Black and White - you can't go wrong! Right?

Celebrity doctor Geoffrey Edelston and his fiance Brian.

Celebrity doctor Geoffrey Edelston and his fiance Brian.

Did her 80 year old catholic grandmother chose it?
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Bouncing Cheques

As my cheque bounced, so did my heart

Rym Ghazal

Last Updated: September 16. 2009 7:47PM UAE / September 16. 2009 3:47PM GMT

From The National

Earlier this week, I got “that” phone call. It is now one of the most dreaded messages anyone can receive: “Ma’am, your cheque has bounced.”

I actually heard my heart give a loud thud. With all the horror stories about people being dragged to jail for a single bounced cheque, I really can’t explain my feelings after my landlord’s office called me.

“What? It couldn’t be, I have sufficient funds in my account,” I heard myself explaining in one breath, already on the defensive.

Not listening to me, the accountant told me to show up at the office “immediately” with next month’s rent “in cash” or the landlord would escalate the matter with the “proper authorities”.

There was no room for negotiation, for excuses or anything else. The accusatory tone was unmistakable and, with it, I could feel the humiliation and stress building.

There are plenty of stories about the cutthroat actions of lenders since the economic crisis.

“If you have the money, good, if not, goodbye,” is pretty much the way of the world these days. Perhaps it has always been like that but people used to give you more breathing space because their own finances were better off.

I headed straight to my bank to find out what had happened with my postdated cheque after a quick online perusal of my account revealed that, indeed, the cheque went through, the money was debited and then redeposited after the cheque was returned.

Unless it has happened to you personally, I don’t think anyone realises how quickly the service at a bank changes and their attitude becomes more passively hostile at the mention of a “bounced cheque”. It was a true eye-opener for me.

After a long wait, I went to the designated counter with a heavy feeling in my chest. I explained to the customer service officer my problem, and how the cheque bounced even though I had sufficient funds.

“You sure you had enough money?” he asked me. I said yes, and told him to open the account and look for himself.

After a few minutes of browsing my account, his stern features actually broke into a smile.

“Oh, it was bounced based on incompatible signatures. OK then, no problem,” he said beaming.

And just like that, I was out of the red and a “valued customer” at the bank after almost losing the privilege. What a change of manner and service that piece of information caused.

It seems if you are in a jam and short of some funds, you will be treated like a criminal. I know I felt like one until the banking officer smiled. Actually it turned out that my signature was fine, but because bank tellers make the judgment, sometimes “mistakes are made” I was told.

But what a costly mistake this was, in terms of nerves and reputation – for everybody involved. “Everyone now hates the banks,” the now-friendly customer service representative confided to me.

I was not impressed with the change of attitude, and told him so. He simply laughed it off and said: “A bounced cheque is a very black spot on your financial record these days.” I guess I should consider myself lucky that the experience will not stain my so-called record, even though I did nothing wrong.

I did receive a much friendlier reception at my landlord’s office. “Oh, just a signature problem? No problem, no problem,” said the head accountant at the office. He even said I could bring in cash at “my own convenience” after initially having told me to bring in the full amount immediately.

Honestly, the whole experience left me shaken. It is not enough that you feel horrible and ashamed like you did something wrong, but the added social stigma of being looked down upon and treated like a criminal makes an already uncomfortable situation even worse.

I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for people who are supporting a family to lose a job and sink into debt. The creditors are merciless, and no one is your friend in financial “services” when you are down on your luck.
As an act of charity, people are actually paying off others’ debts to keep them out of jail. It is uncommon, of course, but what a great way to help people out.

In the end, everything worked out well, but now I am going to be extra vigilant with my financial transactions, so that there is no risk of anything – a cheque or my peace of mind – “bouncing” again.

Outrage at Traffic Jams

Boy do people get steamed up when they drive here!

I notice a big difference between the Netherlands (or Australia) and here in Dubai when it comes to this.  A lot of drivers here seem to have great difficulty coping emotionally with the constraints of big city traffic.

I’m not sure why this is the case… are traffic jams actually new to most of the people driving here? I would have though traffic jams were just as common in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan et al as they are here??

Why do people seem to have such difficulty adjusting to the impact traffic has on their lives?

I often get the impression that people are shocked that traffic jams exist in the first place, and are somehow unable to calculate extra time into their journeys to accommodate them so they are not late.

This article below highlights the frustration levels of local residents of The Greens (which is where we live).

The traffic ALWAYS sucks here.  True.

It needs to be improved. True.

But since it always sucks is it hard to anticipate a delay? Not really, no.

Solution? Leave earlier.

I dunno. Maybe I am being too simplistic.  There must be a logical reason why this causes people so much pain here.

Drivers take the illegal road

Tim Brooks

Last Updated: September 16. 2009 1:37PM UAE / September 16. 2009 9:37AM GMT

The Greens Flyover - Image Source: Paulo Vecina / The National

The Greens Flyover - Image Source: Paulo Vecina / The National

DUBAI // Motorists are taking an illegal shortcut over a flyover that has not yet been opened to avoid ongoing traffic at The Greens.

Drivers, frustrated by heavy congestion at the traffic hot spot, are moving barriers and cones to access a bridge over Sheikh Zayed Road that will link the area to Internet City, Media City and the Marina, residents say.

Sandra Glover, 33, an Australian resident at The Greens who witnessed the reckless driving yesterday morning, said drivers were so angry at the delays to road developments that they were flouting the law and taking great risks.

“I had been queuing for around 20 minutes when I saw that a driver was getting agitated and waving his arms in anger,” she said.

“Then he just pulled his car over to the side of the road, pushed the barrier blocking the entrance to the flyover aside and sped into the distance. He was so angry that I’m not sure he cared whether it was completed or not.”

She added: “Traffic in The Greens has been an issue for over a year, and there have been so many delays that people’s patience is at breaking point. It has caused this reckless and irresponsible behaviour.”

The Roads and Transport Authority and the police were unavailable to comment.

Entering a prohibited road and entering a road dangerously are both violations, punishable with a fine of Dh600 (US$160) and four black points.

Shanwar Shamshudeen, an official with Emaar, the developer responsible for The Greens, said security guards had witnessed the flyover being used and had notified the police.

A large sign was put up yesterday at the entrance to the bridge saying that no unauthorised personnel should proceed beyond that point.

“The flyover has been completed for three weeks but has not been opened due to delays in payment of the construction company,” he said. “The flyover cannot be used until signage is erected and traffic lights on the approach to the bridge have been activated.

“We are aware of the problems our residents face with traffic congestion. Originally the development was built with only a single lane access to Sheikh Zayed Road. We recognised that this was insufficient and have been pressuring the RTA for an additional lane for over a year.”

The flyover, intended to clear congestion by providing direct access to Media City and the Marina, was meant to be completed in March.

Kevin Poyntor, 27, an Irish resident of The Greens, said: “It is not acceptable that this problem still hasn’t been solved when work began in 2006.

“People are late for work and children are late for school because of this. Solving it should have been a priority. While I don’t condone what these drivers are doing, I admit that it must be tempting to use an empty stretch of road rather than be stuck in traffic. People pay a lot of money to live in this area and deserve better infrastructure.”

Last Ramadan the traffic situation became so bad, with drivers facing queues of more than an hour just to exit the area, that The Greens residents’ committee launched an online petition to force Emaar into action.

The residents’ committee has repeatedly demanded that Emaar provide access to Sheikh Zayed Road through the company’s business park, which can be accessed only by using an electronic pass issued to staff. The requests have been denied.

In the past six months the problem has been exacerbated by the sharp rise in residents in the neighbouring Tecom district, which shares the same access roads, and by taxi drivers seeking to avoid Al Barsha Salik gate by taking a detour through the area.

Their anger has been vented through the online petition, which now has 539 signatories, and a noticeboard.

One forum member, Markus Wischy, wrote that plans and a timetable of the road improvements should have been made public and that properties should not have been sold without sufficient roads.

The longtime committee member and campaigner CK Prasad, 55, an Indian resident at the Green, said traffic problems had marred the reputation of the area, forcing prices down and causing many people to leave.

“The traffic issue is significant,” he said. “Many people have left the area due to it and it has had an impact on the reduction of house prices. What is the incentive for people to stay when they can get a flat in another area, without the traffic problems?

“I have lived here for five years and it has still not been resolved. Emaar and the RTA should have worked together on this issue, then perhaps it would have been solved by now.”

Spot the Stray Cat – UPDATE

Spot’s adoptive home didn’t work out.  Not because of Spot – but for other reasons.

So he is back at the vet along with four other kittehs.  Strangely, all five kittens are ginger.  Although Spot has been voted Mr Congeniality by the vet staff, for having the best personality.

We went to visit him and he gave me the biggest cuddle. And a smooch!

I truly hope someone will give him a home!  They will be most fortunate to happen on an adoptive cat that is so full of personality and affection.

Spot: Litter trained and ready for smooching!

Spot: Litter trained and ready for smooching!

Bahrain

Richard recently visited Bahrain for a couple of days business.

Here are some of the photos he took.

Al Budayyi Street View.

Al Budayyi Street View.

Streetscape, Al Gabbayyi.

Streetscape, Al Budayyi,

Street View, Bahrain.

Street View, Al Budayyi.

Sun setting over beach, Bahrain.

Sun setting over beach, Al Budayyi.

Waterfront homes of Al Budayyi, Bahrain.

Waterfront homes of Al Budayyi.

Abandoned Cars

Abandoned, the dream cars of Dubai

Hugh Naylor

From The National http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090906/NATIONAL/709059834/0/YOURVIEW

Last Updated: September 06. 2009 12:16PM UAE / September 6. 2009 8:16AM GMT
A BMW Z3 sports car wasting away on a side street in Dubai Marina area. Jeffery E Biteng / The National

Dubai // A few months ago, any one of them probably would have turned heads. Today, few people give them a second glance except, perhaps, to read the latest graffiti scrawled in the thick dust that has obliterated their lustre.

They are the abandoned cars of Dubai, among them Porsches, Mercedes and BMWs. Each was once someone’s dream, but now they are unloved, unwanted and making a poor job of fending for themselves on the streets of the city.

Take the BMW Z3 wasting away on a side street in Dubai Marina. There is little sadder than the sight of a once proud sports car slumped in the gutter, its top down, tyres all but flat and its gleaming black paint job lost beneath an ever-thickening layer of dust.

But in many parts of the city, such a spectacle is a common sight, and just another reminder that we are living through hard times.

“I just think this fellow got hit by the recession, did a runner and left the car behind,” says Tom Otton, 27, a Briton who works in marketing and walks past the neglected vehicle each day.

There is something about dust-covered cars that brings out the graffiti artist in some people. “Police please wash me,” says the message on one of the car’s filthy windows.

“This one’s been here for a few months,” Mr Otton says. “I saw the police taking a look at it a few months go, but nothing since. It’s a bit of a mess, really. They’ve got to get rid of these things.”

“These things” can be found throughout the city, scores of abandoned vehicles some only for the summer, perhaps, but others clearly forever and among them a surprisingly high number of expensive models.

Just down the road from the bereft BMW is a once-golden Volkswagen Bora, slumped in dust-blown contrast to the smart entrance of the Dubai Marina Yacht Club. The scrawlers have done their best to lower the tone even further, drawing lewd images in the dust.

Nearby, an Audi A6 stands in a similar condition. In addition to the mildly offensive drawings, one dust-dauber has anointed the now distinctly unattractive Audi “Sexiest car of the year”.

“It looks really ugly, it just looks really bad, you know,” says Mohammed el Newishy, the administration manager at the yacht club.

He is frustrated by the situation. “It’s a problem for the image, because you come to the yacht club and you see these dusty cars in front,” he says.

The club has called the police to have cars removed, but is still waiting for several to be towed away.

“Basically,” he says, “if a car is in front of the club for more than a couple of days, we report it to the police.”

Like stray dogs, some cars do find their way to police pounds. In one police lot partially hidden behind trees and billboards opposite the Mall of the Emirates, several thousand corralled cars can be glimpsed, waiting in ranks.

Abandoned cars can be found almost anywhere. A tour of car parks in Dubai Marina, Downtown Burj Dubai, Tecom, The Greens and the free parking areas behind DIFC turns up more than 60 neglected and apparently abandoned vehicles.

A check on some of the number plates on the Roads and Transport Authority website reveals that many cars have been abandoned after their owners racked up thousands of dirhams in traffic fines; 19 of the 63 vehicles account for 144 fines, to a total of Dh20,879 (US$5,685).

The worst offender is a white Mercedes E320 that has been parked for months near The Residences, Downtown Burj Dubai. In addition to collecting a lot of dust, since 2005 it has accumulated 79 fines totalling Dh11,390.

The remains of a notice from the Dubai Municipality Waste Management Department still cling tenaciously to the windshield. Although most of the writing has been worn away by the elements, this statement survives: “Under the authority of local order No 11 of 2003 you are hereby requested to remove the vehicle/machine as it is disfiguring the public view and beauty of the city. Kindly ensure that necessary action is taken within ( ) from the date of the notice.”

A few spaces away in the same car park stands another white Mercedes, a C200 Kompressor, in a similarly derelict state. Its owner has three oustanding fines from last year, totalling Dh430. The ever-present, if not particularly inspired, artists have struck: “Please wash me don’t have money” adorns the dusty back window.

Dubai Police declined to comment, but it seems probable that many of the cars were left by people who walked away after losing their jobs, unable to pay off outstanding loans or find a buyer. Used-car dealers say a wave of unwanted vehicles has flooded the market since the financial crisis struck last year, causing prices to plummet.

One issue facing the police is how to decide whether a vehicle has been abandoned, as opposed to having been simply left for some time in one place. Dubai CID is believed to have a unit dedicated to tracking down cars after being alerted by banks.

Nevertheless, Chris Caley, 28, a Briton who lives in Tecom, wonders why one particular silver BMW M3 has gone for half a year without being towed away.

“It’s just been left there,” he says. Over the months, bits of the car, such as the petrol tank cap, have disappeared. “As you can see, it’s been raided for parts.”

His theory is that the authorities may have overlooked the car because it has foreign number plates. A couple of other cars were taken by the police not long ago, he says. “Maybe they’re not taking this one because it’s a Saudi plate.”

The Golden Rule

Number One golden rule in the UAE:

Do not fuck with the locals!

It seems an Iraqi woman forgot this recently when she decided to get into an Emirati’s car and move it from where it was blocking her own car.

Note: Leaving cars unlocked – and sometimes running –  in the UAE is not uncommon. Vehicle theft is extremely rare and gas is cheap!

Why would you risk deportation in order to get out of a car park? What was she thinking?

I will be watching the newspaper to see if the outcome of this trial is published.

Dentist accused of driving woman’s car in parking lot

From Gulf News

http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Police_and_The_Courts/10346573.html

By Bassam Za’za’, Senior Reporter
Published: September 05, 2009, 22:57

Dubai: A dentist has admitted that she drove another woman’s vehicle that blocked her way in a parking lot.

The 35-year-old Iraqi pleaded guilty before the Dubai Court of Misdemeanour on the charge of driving the 30-year-old Emirati woman’s vehicle.

The dentist also denied the charge of assaulting the 30-year-old and strongly denied what she described as the Emirati’s baseless allegations that she pushed her twice.

Defending the dentist, lawyer Uday Al Qazwini said: “The incident happened in a mall’s one-direction driveway& the Emirati parked her car in a provocative manner and she intended to block my client’s way and prevent her from driving through.

“She fabricated the assault charge against the defendant, who didn’t even touch her during the incident. During questioning, the Emirati gave an inconsistent statement.”

The Public Prosecution charged the Iraqi with pushing the Emirati twice and driving the latter’s vehicle without her permission.

Al Qazwini said his client is innocent and didn’t have any criminal intention when she drove the woman’s car, “but she did so because the Emirati had intentionally blocked her way”.

“The court should acquit my client according to article 64 of the Federal Penal Code which stipulates that a suspect who is coerced or provoked, physically or emotionally, to commit an offence should not be held liable & In our case, the dentist is the real victim because the Emirati refused to move away her own vehicle, hence she blocked the way and prevented the dentist from driving her car through.”

The Emirati testified: “She beeped her horn repeatedly and flashed her lights for me to unblock the way& I signalled for her to wait until I park. She pushed me before she drove my car. I alerted the police.”

The dentist stated: “She didn’t give me any attention and persistently and provocatively left her car blocking the way that I had to drive her car out of my way& I didn’t touch her and she’s the one who pushed me out of her car.”

A verdict will be heard next week.