Friday, 24 August 2012

Driving In Dubai

On a regualar basis our local press give us a story about the antics of drivers in Dubai and what the police are doing to address the problem.  Here is the latest offering. 7 days and below.

A motorist has been busted after tearing around Dubai in a souped-up 4x4 that had been altered to run on aircraft fuel.

It is illegal to modify a vehicle in the emirate without permission from transport authorities, but that did not stop the young Emirati from ramping up his SUV so that it could reach a staggering 350kph - the same speed as a Formula One car.
As well as being fitted with a tank of jet fuel, the 4x4 was also kitted out with a special computer and gas cylinders.
Wacky racer who modified his motor to hit 350kph is caught
  1. ​Wacky racer who modified his motor to hit 350kph is caught

The driver was arrested by Dubai Traffic Police after they spotted him racing through the city at night and gave chase.
General Mohammad Saif Al Zafeen, head of Dubai Traffic Police, said: “The car was speeding like crazy and was a danger to other road users. It was also making a lot of noise and disturbing residents.”
He added: “The driver was racing against another vehicle.”
Al Zafeen said the wacky racer was first seen on Al Khawaneej Road, adding that the driver slowed down as he approached a roundabout and police tried to pull the car over.
However, Al Zafeen said the driver turned off his headlights and sped off.
Officers saw the vehicle pull into the driveway of a villa in Al Mizhar, where they arrested the driver.
“The owner of the villa was surprised, telling us he didn’t know the driver and hadn’t given him permission to come onto his property,” Al Zafeen said. “He asked us to take the vehicle away.”
The motorist claimed the modifications were worth Dhs250,000 but a garage in Dubai had done them for free. “The garage did it to attract customers,” said Al Zafeen.
The case has been referred to Dubai Traffic Prosecution. The fine for illegally modifying a car is Dhs400.

Get the same story  from a more reputable paper gulfnews -hollywood style chase leads to racers arrest
Stunt Driving in Dubai

Not knowing much about stunt driving and whilst not wanting to condone this behaviour on our public roads there must be a high level of skill involved. Not that the skill level makes the behaviour any less dangerous. Just saying...

This clip takes place on my route home from work. youtube - Stunt driving in Dubai

A story about stunt driving from a couple of months ago: Crazy-stunt-drivers-

Police send out strong warning against stunt driving after deaths in Saudi Arabia
Two years ago footage of drivers performing stunts on Sheikh Zayed Road surfaced on YouTube sheikh Zayed Road Stunt Driving

This is the latest.......
The police warn students about Car stunts to celebrate the end of term

           ​Students who perform dangerous car and motorbike stunts to celebrate the end of the school year will have their vehicles confiscated, Abu Dhabi Police has warned
Students who perform dangerous car and motorbike stunts to celebrate the end of the school year will have their vehicles confiscated, Abu Dhabi Police has warned


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A Lazy day with a recipe at the end. ( muchroom rosotto)

A few weeks ago ( well longer actually) I started this post and then sort of did not finish it. So here it is finished:
Bryan was Cairo. I did not know when he was coming home because he left his phone in Muscat, Oman . Oh here I go I cannot tell the short story because well then it is not a story it is a series of tiny events that end in a tiny end.  So let me start at the beginning. Bryan went to Muscat for business and when his business was over he went to visit his Aunt Erica. He left his phone in her car when he was dropped off at the airport for his trip home.  He was due back in Dubai and then was going on to Cairo the next day. His flight was delayed so Bryan got home after midnight and had to catch a plane early the next morning to go to Cairo. Rush, rush, etc and off  Bryan went at 5-ish in the morning. He had a new sim card but he did not give me the number (rush, rush you see) and it did not occur to me that he OBVIOUSLY got a replacement sim so would have the same number...... DUH.
So there I was  with the day stretching ahead of me and not knowing if I should make plans and head out or hang around waiting for him to arrive back from his trip.
I decided that I would stay home and have a lazy pampering day "in house" I woke up late. Yay. I made a pot of tea and lay in bed (turning over occasionally) reading Nora Efrons I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman (2006).  HEAVEN. This is a "gobbled up book". It is a delightful, quirky, funny, self deprecating book that I really did not want to put  down 'til I had finished it. And that is why when I finally  rolled out of bed  it was so late in the day that I can't even tell you what time it was - for shame.
After having  a revitalising shower, I had an attack of energy that had me in a flurry of grooming. I scrubbed my feet and my hands and slathered on this cream and that unguent. I filed and buffed and clipped and polished my nails till they looked like they had spent the morning at a spa. And then I pondered how stupid it all was. Not that I will henceforth cease to groom toes and fingers. It sounds silly just reading that sentence doesn't it?
I was still feeling energetic and I remembered (suddenly - as one does) that my friend Michelle had bogged on her blog (eons ago)  that she made risotto and I really liked the idea of cauliflower risotto. So cooking rice had been floating about in my mind for some weeks and I thought "ah ha I will make a cauliflower risotto." But I didn't  have any cauliflower in the house so I made Mushroom risotto instead.

Mushroom Risotto
Risotto is one of those dishes that I am always suspicious of. The balance between porridge goop and subtle ecstatic flavour is a very fine one. As it happened the dish was lovely. So I will share the recipe. Simple really.
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups flavorful mushrooms such as shiitake, chanterelle, or oyster mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into half inch to inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup brandy, vermouth, or dry white wine
  • 5-6 cups chicken stock ( I always have my own home made  in the freezer and think this makes a big difference)
  • 1/3 cup of peeled and minced shallots (OR 1/3 cup of yellow or white onion, finely chopped)
  • 1 3/4 cups  risotto rice
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or chives
1 Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
2 Melt the butter in a deep, heavy, medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallots and sauté about 5 minutes till soft and glassy. Add the rice and stir to combine.

You need a bit of patience as it can take up to 25 minutes of careful stirring, and every few minutes adding  hot stock to the rice, as the rice slowly absorbs the liquid it's in. TA DA.

I tidied up the kitchen. I looked at the clock. Evening was approaching. Still no Bryan. I ate the risotto. Still no Bryan. I watched a bit of TV and started reading my next book. Still no Bryan. I went to bed. Bryan arrived home way late. So it goes.

How big (and small) is EVERYTHING!

Once a year - at least- it is a good idea to check out THE WONDER OF IT ALL. It is great to be reminded of  how big stuff is and how small stuff is.

The below, first clip, dates back to the 70's and is great because the power of 10 is shown through out the film on the screen. The size is amazing. I can wonder at it and get what it conveys in essence - but (to quote Winne the Poo)  "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me." or in this case long numbers, so I am simply impressed and blown away.

Power of ten (big and small) This will take up 10 minutes of your year.

If you liked that and want more info on the same here you go :

The clip below is lovely to listen to. It is in a similar vain as the first but is shorter ( 5 minutes) and goes macro but not micro. Cosmic voyage - the power of ten - Morgan Freeman's voice

Now if you have reached this far. You deserve a drink. Here is the power of 10 Mojito!!!!!!! My favourite alcoholic beverage as you have never seen it before: A Mojito for the nerd in you.

And this just because it is so pretty and awesome and stuff. Hubble Telescope - space journey another 10 minutes of your day. But worth it - really truly it is.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Brave - The Cartoon Movie

So, have you all taken you daughters to see Brave? Were you horrified?

Did you hear that it was  a Girl Power movie about a feisty heroine. Her "old-as-time" love hate relationship with her mother. The problem of what society expected for and of her and how she overcomes it all?

Well it was all of that. But it also sent such a mixed message that I would think twice about showing it to impressionable children who might  fall for the codswallop actually portrayed.

I am, as you know, a fan of mindless entertainment. Bring on the senseless violence of Manly Movies,  the simpering Chick Flicks, the Cute Cartoons and all the rest. I enjoy them all  enormously without judging or caring about silly things like gaps in logic, rational or character development. It is, after all, entertainment. But Brave  got me all bent out of shape. The story at best was mildly entertaining and at worst sent a dangerous message.

Our heroine is a beautiful feisty tomboy. Her father , The King is a bit of a dolt, "ask your mother" overgrown Man Boy sort, good ol' guy. Mum is serene and in charge and strong. Her brothers  are cute brats. The rest of the cast are predictably one dimensional bla, bla, bla.

Tradition expects a wedding.  Our Heroine is not happy,  she is cross with her mum. "Why mum?" She might ask. Because she clearly rules the roost darlings. Lovingly and condescendingly.

The prospective beaus arrive. Enter three simpering twerps in three guises. The Arrogant, The Lump of Meat and the Clumsy Klutz.

So far the gals are looking strong and in control and the guy's...... well sorry chaps you are a bunch of losers. Even those of you who aren't losers sort of really are.

The message I got was that our heroine was a typical teen on a sulk (okay with that) she did not want to marry yet, although I got the idea that maybe if one of those beaus had been enough of a "Knight in Shining Armour type" she would have given up her independence in a flash.  You know the bit when she meets her prospective grooms... Well our heroine was not shown one man that was not an idiot. If I was presented with a bunch of fools, by my fool of a father and his foolish friends I would also want to be single forever. What  dreadful characterisations this film created of men. Another idea that niggled was that - maybe if one of the potential bridegrooms ticked all the right Prince Charming boxes then the arranged marraige would be just fine. Maybe that is why no reasonably attractive fella was on offer? Is it that girls only need Girl Power when there is an absence of Boy Power? Why can't our feisty Princess stand shoulder to shoulder with a feisty Prince  or two without having to marry him? If the point is about choosing your destiny and breaking with tradition then that should not be dependent on the quality of the men on offer.

Our heroines relationship with her mother was hackneyed, of course, and hey that is okay for this sort of entertainment.Sadly that combined with the charmingly grim presentation of how utterly hopeless  the men in her world are our heroine is doomed to the exact fate as her mother. Ergo, she would absolutely land up marrying some ass to get away from her lovingly controlling mother  and perpetuate another generation of women who politely disdain and tolerate  men. 

That is obviously not what happened  in the cartoon but really by the time I had realised with jaw dropping astonishment  what sad characterisations  are deemed okay for a Girl Power movie  I was beyond caring. In any case the plot was pretty weak. I am  sure your three and four year olds will love it and no harm done. But if you want your sons to respect girls and your daughters to respect boys don't take children of school going age  to see this cartoon unless that child has a  sophisticated enough palate for irony.

Having thoroughly slated the movie - the graphics are very good. But  the overall prettiness and easy story  do not overcome my discomfort.  And really I am not often niggled by the "message" in a movie. I take them at face value generally.

Bryan watched the movie too. He was not bothered.