Thursday, March 27, 2008

catch 22

This week we had a senior individual from the London office visit NYC. Over the years I've know him, I've always been sorta evasive shaking hands (or anything which involved direct contact) just given the fact he flushes at the men's room and often walks straight out the door - to me, that's just nasty.

In an observational study sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and The Soap and Detergent Association, slightly over three-quarters of men and women (77%) washed their hands in public restrooms – a six percent decline from a similar study conducted in 2005.

I seriously cannot understand why people DON'T wash their hands. For those of you who do, just remember these people touch the door on the way out. Am particular about cleanliness & hygiene - am not a germophobe and neither do I believe, the only good reason to wash your hands after doing your business, is to wash away things you've been collecting on your hands thru the day.

And this isn't just men. Girlfriends say, the amount of women who come out of the toilet, brush their hair, apply their lippy and then walk out is equally appalling. I suspect such folks are a step lower on the evolutionary chain than most of us or something?

Anyway, the senior dude came around to say goodbye since he was returning to London this evening (and retiring next month). Whilst leaving, he extended a handshake - I was caught in a catch 22.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

taxed out

It is that time of the year - time to file your taxes.

Having grown up pretty much oblivious to taxes, including the very concept of taxes, often, am in a bit of shock & agony, each time I see a shopping bill or a paycheck.

Don't get me wrong, after about 7 years of living in a tax paying nation – and paying taxes, I understand tax monies help run towns, cities and a nation. However, I sort of feel rather appalled Uncle Sam can pretty much walk away with say about 40%of my income (almost 50% if a bonus). Tax cuts are often promised, however, given the tax cut jargon politicians dish out an election season, the only nation (that I know of) who actually cut taxes in recent years, is Canada.

Being single doesn't help, 'cause, single people, get taxed at the highest bracket. The government doesn't care being single is perhaps hard enough, nope - they've got to make you pay up just for being single - or perhaps it's Uncle Sam's message to singletons - shack up or pay up. What can hurt as well, is if you are in the middle income sect, 'cause the rich, relatively, is taxed less – the low income doesn’t get taxed much or at all.

Often, I find myself asking - where all the tax monies go? And perhaps this is sort of opening Pandora’s Box of nasty questions. For instance, Social Security in the United States is a form of tax, which is used as a source of pension income for retires, as an anti-poverty program, a widow's survivor benefit, a disability check and so on (never mind it also rewards married couples more than single people, yup! sucker for being single again). However what gets my goat, is that people who are well & healthy enough to work and make a living, drive a Lexus towards the social security office and collect benefits – go figure?

Anyway, I filed my tax returns today. Fortunately I didn't owe any more, in fact had a modest refund. So am quite happy about that, never mind the sizeable chunk that's missing.

Have you filed your taxes yet?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

easter & spring

It was Easter today. A few friends and I attended Easter sermon, at a community church in the City - the church was packed. Am not a heavy church goer, truthfully, I barely follow or understand the sermon. However, from what little I follow, Easter service is a bit different from the usual, as in prior to the usual murmur before the service, there was silence, only the soft quell of cathedral music and a slowly transitioning slideshow with simple words to focus the mind on the significance of the day. As kids, mom would push us into attending church and significance of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday - again, most of which, I didn't follow much. In fact, at home, mom's the only one who follows Lent - topics perhaps for another day.

Easter at home, is something I've always treasured. Mom cooks up her Easter brunch and cakes. Back in the days, friends in the neighbourhood would look forward to her Easter (and Christmas) fruit cakes. Subsequent to Easter morning sermon, guests (most often close friends and family) would arrive home for Easter brunch. Mom would whip up her specialties - that of an Easter Turkey, Buttermilk hot cross buns, Easter pancakes and Chicken Stew (personal favourite). She decorates the dinning table with some edible flowers, easter eggs, cookies and some fruits so the table is bursting with spring cheer and all. The weather in the UAE is almost perfect for such gathering - it's neither too hot, nor too cold.

Back in the city. I had Easter brunch with friends at a Brazilian restaurant, Plataforma, in Tribeca, downtown. Brunch was great - Brazilian food has a lot of meat - we liked the food and ambiance. After brunch, headed for coffee at a cafe nearby, met up with a newly married couple from the UAE. I was now, becoming tired and a bit sleepy, hence took off after a while and walked home. Called mom, dad picked up, had a chat - mom came on the phone, filled me with Easter events at home and neighbourhood gossip. I could hear my nephew, and some guests at the background -sure seems like a typical Easter evening, and I do miss it all.

Happy Easter to you all.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Boney M

I have always been a diehard fan of Boney M and their infectious charm & craft of memorable 70's disco tunes. For those in the dark - Boney M used to be a 4 member pop & disco band in the 1970's. The group members were from the Caribbean Islands and consisted of Bobby Farrell, Liz Mitchell, Maizie Williams and Marcia Barrett.

The group didn't hit the music scene with a bang, in fact initial response was lukewarm if anything - hence performed at various clubs & discos across Americas and parts of Europe. With time, and word of mouth their melodious beats and brilliant vocals, brought fame across the Middle East, parts of Africa, Asia and the former Soviet Union. Along with Swedish pop group ABBA, Boney M is perhaps most widely known '70s Western music acts in these regions, though globally, ABBA and the Bee Gees ruled the 70's and perhaps thru to this day.

Rasputin and Rivers of Babylon are the more successful songs - though the former was banned in ex-Soviet Union, given obvious lyrics. Tracks like - Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-Holiday, Brown girl in the Ring, Daddy Cool and Ma Baker are such quintessential 70's disco beats, whilst the lyrics & vocals of Mary’s Boy Child and The Rivers of Babylon get festive when they hit the airwaves every Christmas.

When I was just about 3, dad introduced me to Boney M, via an audio cassette he brought along from his travels. I vaguely remember, the very first time he played the tape at one of our parties at home - few guests and dad, dancing to the beats of Rasputin. Each time I listen, these songs bring tons of memories. In my opinion, 70's disco was indeed a class apart. Thanks to blog friend, BuJ for bringing back memoirs, given his recent post of Rasputin.

These days, on rare occasions, Boney M hold concerts at select cities. Here's an early Christmas wish for a Boney M concert in the UAE :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

eternal sunshine of my thoughtless mind

BuJ said - "rosh dude, give us a proper post man."

The mind is blank as a cloudless sunny sky :) I am trying, there is stuff I wish to express / share / vent, however at this point, it's blank inside out! I feel nothing, well almost nothing. I have little nothings to rant or talk about. I'm not sad, mad or overtly happy about anything in particular, which is good. However, I did pen a few nothings given the eternal sunshine of my thoughtless mind.

Hey, you asked for a post! :)

I ALMOST clubbed a Diva in the bus home this evening. Here's why, I offered my seat to an elderly man. The diva, felt it was her god give right to take that seat. So, she uninvitedly moved at the speed of light, took up the seat I offered the elderly man. With no apology or care forthcoming, a heated exchange set in. She gave in, not before, screaming (presumably) Chinese curses back and flashing the proverbial finger. Anyway, screw her. I won that battle, ha!

Even, earlier in the day, I refused to partake in a debate at work, re: the Elliot Spitzer saga. For those in the dark - Spitzer, the now ex-NYC governor, who cleaned up some greed at Wall Street and brought about added accountability, resigned, because he hired services of a call girl, which is illegal in America. I prefer to see the good in people, and not judge given personal sexescapades (though in his case, Spitzer had it coming, because he was just too arrogant for his own good)whilst some friends felt he broke the law, and he deserved what he got.

Anyway, prior to that conversation, I went out for lunch with an ex-colleague who was recently made redundant. A single mom, struggling to keep her son and her lives afloat. Life is hard for her, but she is the most positive, cheerful person I know in this city of make believe divas. She's always smiling, and helping people, some virtues quite rare in this city. It's when I'm with people like her, I'm inspired, thankful and humbled at the core, because anyway I look at it, life isn't bad, I have tons to smile about.

With those thoughts, I'm saying my prayers and hitting the sack.

Nightly night people.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

sin-a-song quiz

My "sin" quotient has been measured. Happily sin profile leaves room for forgiveness, meaning, I "have" a chance to make it to heaven - Whoo hoo!

Take the sin quiz people, and avoid hell :) If you disagree with results, go HERE nahahaa! :)

Wrath:Very Low
Envy:Very Low
Lust:Very Low

Discover Your Sins - Click Here

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

drivers, weather and accidents

"At least six people have been killed after a series of horrific accidents on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway near Ghantoot on Tuesday morning.

Police have said around 200 cars were involved in the crash, which happened in heavy fog, with 25 cars catching fire. "

More here

Bad weather/fog is to blame. Even though, (personally) I feel it's quite unbelievable, something of this magnitude could happen in the UAE - am not surprised.

Realize a lot of people are moving into the country, and since driving largely, is perhaps the only option of transport, there are more cars on UAE highways. However, personally, I feel it is way time driving culture in the UAE is educated & disciplined. I have witnessed some of the silliest, careless & appalling ways of driving across the UAE.

Given the weather today, it is almost appalling why drivers weren't more careful or paid added attention - I just don't get that? World class highways, flashy cars, traffic points or fines alone, shall not prevent accidents and save lives - sane & sensible driving culture is so important, can't stress that enough.

These pictures perhaps extend a glimpse of the horrific carnage. May the souls lost rest in peace.

Update: read more here and here

Friday, March 07, 2008

tag 2

Tagged again, this time it’s Kaya-g. I find this one quite interesting - it's about 6 actions or achievements one should try and accomplish, before turning 18.

1. Post these rules before presenting your list
2. List 6 actions or achievements you think every person should accomplish before turning 18.
3. There are no conditions on what can be included on the list.
4. At the end of your blog, choose 6, or less, people to get tagged and list their names.
5. The tagged peeps write their own blog entry with their 6 suggestions.
6. Leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged.

Here goes:
(i) Pick a sport you are good at, try and have a career going at it. Do not be swayed given society's sentiments.
(ii) Always make an opportunity to travel, and see beyond. Heart, often is where the home is, however, travels help grow the mind & perceptions - and most importantly help, meet people.
(iii) Develop a few genuine friendships for life: souls, who shall remain your support system, childhood thru adult life.
(iv) Partly accept & listen to your folks: they have walked the "path" - hence, most often, mom & dad know what they are talking.
(v) Develop one's own personality/identity: just because everyone favours the flavour, doesn't mean you have to. Stay true to your views & honest thoughts.
(vi) Second chances: (this one is personal and perhaps a bit heavy) - being 18 or younger, may not guarantee second chances in life. Always remain thoughtful and caring to loved ones, saying goodbye isn't guranteed - maturing this thought, is important.

Hmmmm, tag, 6 or less peeps
1. the real nick (muhahaha nick, we wanna hear it from ya! feel free to list it on this blog if you prefer :)
2. BuJ (realize i* has tagged you, am sorta supporting her tag - spill it brotha :)
3. Ammaro - ditto, please give it a try :)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

royal tag

Saaoo, I've been tagged by princess. It's got to do with reading a book and extending a brief review of sorts. Here goes:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages):
'The DaVinci Code' - Dan Brown
(Al, please don't draw that sword )

2. Open the book to page 123:
*flipping pages* - OK, am there.

3. Find the fifth sentence.
Hmmm, page 123 does not have 5 sentences, hence flipping over to the 5th on page 124.

"Sophie," Langdon said, "the Priory's tradition of perpetuating goddess worship is based on a belief that powerful men in the early Christian Church 'conned' the world by propagating lies that devalued the female and tipped the scales in favour of the masculine."

4. Post the next three sentences.
Sophie remained silent, staring at the words.

"The Priory believes that Constantine and his male successors successfully converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity by waging a campaign of propaganda that demonized the sacred feminine, obliterating the goddess from modern religion forever."

Sophie's expression remained uncertain. "My grandfather sent me to this spot to find this. He must be trying to tell me more than that."

Tag 5 people: (links to their blogs are on the right)
Al Sinjab
United Blogging (Blog Sheikh)
The Emirates Economist
Movie Mania