My Apology

Dear All bloggers,


Some of you may have noticed that I have not been very active lately in reading posts/commenting or even writing. I wanna apologize and I hope that none of you misunderstand it as lack of interest in your blogs. Its just I have been a bit preoccupied workwise and lifewise and I barely have the time to check blogs.

Another reason that contributed is the fact that I have become "laptopless". My laptop has welcomed my return to jeddah with its retirement. It no longer works. The diagnosis states that the motherboard is dead. So thank you Toshiba Tecra S1 for wonderful 44 months that we shared many ups & downs.




So now I am on the hunt for new laptops. What I want is a lightweight, prefarably with long battery life, 12 or 13 inch screen, an acceptable gfx card, and S-video output. I am pretty intersted in the SONY VAIO series. So far, I am shortlisting those 3 laptops:

SONY VAIO VGN-FZ35M

Pros: 200 GB hardisk, Nvidia GEFORCE 8400, 2.10 core 2 duo processor, 2 GB ram, cheap relative t other prices, 3 year warranty

Cons: 15.4 inch screen, 2.7 kg laptop (which pretty does not mean 2 of my 3 reqs)



SONY VAIO SZ740

Pros: 2.4 core 2 duo, 13.1 inch screen, s-video, 2 GB ram
Cons: 1 year warranty from the shop. Sony Vaio are support center are not willing to sell me additonal 3 year warranty because this pertains to SONY US which is apparently different than sony middle East. so if anything happens after 1 year, I am royally screwed.





SONY VAIO CR35M

Pros: best choice. 2.10 ghz core 2 duo, 14.1 inch ( what I want), 3 hours battery life, 200 GB hardisk, 2 GB ram...its just what I need

Cons: its PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINK...aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.



On the other hand, sometimes i think that I shouldn't rush in buying a laptop. I already have a desktop pc at home (disadvantage is that its not always available for me) & I am promised a new DELL laptop for work. Nevertheless, I feel I will need a laptop for personal use. I had toshiba for 3 years and i am sick of them. ACER are the cheapest option and I heard they became better but they remain inferior to rest of brands. HP is another good option but its too common and many ppl have HPs. to tell you the truth, I like to look different (not show-off, just different). So, sony vaio would remain my best option.

UNLESS...

I go for MACs.....but the question is...am I ready for the switch? am I ready to embrace those super bright white machines? Sometimes I think, if Angels have laptops, they'd carry MACs.. So am i ready to become an angel? a handicapped angel that works with only one click? :P

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The horrible incident at Sharjah Airport

Thanks to the hype caused by KJ, many of you are aware that I have come to Dubai for a weekend. A trip that extended from Thursday to Sunday afternoon. That meant that I had to skip work for Saturday & Sunday…(for those who don't know, KSA is one of the few countries who still has the weekend on Thursday & Friday). ooh speaking of that, I need to get a sick note to justify my absence for those 2 days…*adds it to his to do list*

So, my plane was scheduled to arrive at around 7:30 p.m UAE time, which gives me enough time to fit something to do at night. But if I knew how I'll end up spending the next 4 hours, I would have thought twice before booking with this airline, and despite the traffic congestion, Dubai's airport would have been much better.

I arrive to the airport and start filling the necessary forms needed to apply for the Visit Visa before I was asked by one of the officers to go and join the queue.

But what I saw was definitely far from a queue. The queue was too long that it was impossible for it to remain a straight line without blocking entrance to the whole airport. The queue was like a snake growing from its tail. A queue that had at least 400 unfortunate passengers like, yours truly, who are waiting to let their eyeballs be submitted to the retina scanning devices.

Under normal conditions, you'd have 5 retina scanning devices that are processing the applicants in parallel. Unfortunately for us, four of them has magically announced a technical strike and stopped functioning at same time.

The queue kept getting longer and longer.

10 minutes pass and I haven't moved a block.

15 more minutes pass and I can see that the people in front of me have started to give up. They sat and stretched their legs as if they are about to sleep…What the…? I cannot handle this anymore

I get out of the queue and walk to the front. I skip around 100 people and try to scan the area around me. I spot two people trying to create a disturbance with one of the officers and trying to get into the queue at an earlier stage. I join them in their rally but we failed, the officer scolds us. He sets up an additional barricade and we end up being punished to go to the back of the queue.

I am not willing to give up. At this rate, I won't finish till morning. I wait 10 more minutes before I try once more but I had to think of an intervening strategy. I happen to notice that many of the women has started to give up and were sitting on the floor. Two of the people who were standing in the queue were bashing the authorities for their lack of planning in emergency situations. I join them with my loud voice by pointing to the sitting women as one of the effects of this disorganization saying "Where is the respect to women?"

The chief officer eyeballs me and shouts: ""DIDN'T I ORDER YOU NOT TO COME BACK? DON'T OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND SAY SOMETHING YOU'LL REGRET". Oh great, that's the last thing I need..to be grey-listed in another airport.

Nevertheless, he felt a bit guilty and he organized two queues. A women queue and a men queue. The officer is now sitting at the additional barricade set up earlier selecting random people to filter to the main queue. His preference was more inclined to the poor women of course. Great, more delay for us the guys.

I am still outside the queue. I was checking how much money I have. I have dollars, Qatari riyals (from my previous mission), Saudi riyals and UAE dirhams. I contemplated the idea of bribery for a second before I realized how insane and risky it is, especially if that two-starred officer sees me once again.

Few of the new male passengers arriving who are oblivious to the rule of the 2 queues end up waiting in the women queue. After half an hour, the officer spots them and commands them to leave the queue. They start another hassle on the excuse that they were not informed and many of them try to blend themselves in the male queue. I took the chance and push myself with them. The situation is getting uglier and I am still pushing. The officers are losing control. The two-starred officer arrives to the scene. I immediately duck taking the position of tying my shoe laces before he witnesses me for the 3rd time. The situation is resolved in few seconds and he end up escorting 12 people to the back of the queue. Luckily, I was not one of them. YES, at least I made a progress. I skipped past at least 65 people standing in front of me.

10 minutes pass..and we move 2 blocks

15 minute pass..and we move only one block

Half an hour pass…and we are standing still.

A rumor is spread around that the only functioning retina scanning machine has announced its early retirement.

The situation has become unbelievably unbearable. Its 10:30 p.m. already and I've spent around 3 pointless hours in the airport.

Finally, the authorities gave up and they were a bit discriminatory in giving temporary access to all the arabs waiting in the queue (we represented 10% of the queue population) leaving the Indians/ Bangalis and other Far Eastern nationalities on hold till further notice. That was a favorable situation for us and after that, I managed to complete and clear my papers in the next 20 minutes.

But this was definitely one of the worst airport experiences I ever had. To know how things were on the other side, Check it out here.

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Speaking out of Bitterness

As I was thinking for the last 2 days on this, I couldn't help myself from releasing few tears that represent only a fraction of the frustration and bitterness I have. It is the bitterness feeling I am having with a very special close person who has inspired me lately. It is the return of a feeling that have shattered my heart with 2 of my close friends

On one of the days, I walked to a bar. One of the guys I knew pissed me off when I denied his offer for a drink as I don't drink. He said: "why would you go to a bar if you don't drink?". While he might be relatively right, I don't believe that the ONLY way to have fun in a bar is in being drunk. Ok, I am a person who does not smoke sheesha, or drink coffee (you'll find here all the things I don't do). Does this mean that I should ban myself from entering caf├ęs or coffee shops. Can't I enjoy the food, cocktails, desserts or even the ambient decorations of the place?

As I've stated before, I am personally never fond of potential addictive material (my list goes here)… I personally NEVER ever tried them. And it was not out of religious reasons as much as out of personal reasons of knowing how weak I'll become. I am known for my high addictiveness and possessiveness level. And if I like any of the above (and I know I will), then I could easily get hooked and extremely become dependent on them. And if I try to quit and fail, then I'll become extremely depressed especially since I am extremely harsh on myself when it comes to self-criticism.

Don't misunderstand me. I am not one of those who call for a campaign to ban drugs, alcohol, sheesha, or cigarettes. On the contrary, I respect my uncle who smokes his cigarettes only on occasions. He would go for days or even weeks not smoking one. And he'll only smoke if there is a celebration, a birthday party, anniversary or an Eid. I admire one of my friends who only smoke his cigars when he is in the mood. He would organize his room to make it more like a jazz lounge and just sit there to read a book, enjoy the music and smoke his classy cigars.

I am just against the way how some use them as stress-relievers, or because of peer pressure, or just for the sake of doing something "crazy" or unusual. If they are used for any of the above reasons, then the person who start by saying: "only a puff. I'll never smoke one by myself" to "only one. Not more" to "only few. But I'll never buy a pack" to the extreme end of "wait..Why am I not holding one in my hand?". I just despise those who fall to the dependency webs of those addictiveness pleasures that can be a source of joy rather than as means of lying to themselves that it lessens the stress.

I have witnessed two of my best friends slip away liked that. As I said, it started with both of them saying "trust me, I know what I am doing. I am doing it for fun. I won't get hooked". As the days passed, I witnessed how they slowly changed and how they began losing their core values and became prisoners of their new addictive habits.

So hamza, I ask myself, don't you think you are exaggerating? I might be. All I need is one successful story of a person who managed to free him/herself from those devouring tentacles and became the one in control rather than be controlled.

This is just a sample of the disappointments I have witnessed in my life. I feel I can no longer trust people. "I believe in you" is such an over-rated phrase. I am losing my faith in humans. In fact, I shall perish being ashamed to be belonging to this idiotic species. I don't know what it will take to restore my faith in humanity, if it exists…

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Random Qatar/ Doha Moments

Fancy Pointless Words:

Biggest example is the title of the conference I attended. The conference was about "knowledge parks". In other words, its basically a conference about knowledge management and hot to utilize, disseminate and share knowledge especially in development of ICT (Communication & Technology) sectors in countries. So the concept is simple. But they love using fancy words

e-schoolbags – another fancy word referring to a project of providing laptops for students at schools.

Tropical tolerant software – it refers to developing software that can be run on old computers that are mostly widespread all over Africa. This means that the software can be run on old Pentium PCs, doesn't require a lot of space or RAM, has auto-recovery features, and is offline (independent on online connectivity)

Other than the usual Human & Financial Capital,
there are new words like Intellectual Capital and Market Capital. Words such as policies and processes are now referred to as "Management Capital". Talk about pointless terms

The Heels

"man, those are the slimmest heels I've seen in my life. How can she walk with those?"

My friend shakes his head in disappointment "ya 7aram ya Hamza, you've been in Saudi Arabia for too long. Looks like you are used to looking at the floor when you pass by women. Man, go and entertain your eyes and appreciate womens' body beauty."

Suit Skin Care:

On one of the boring lectures in the conference, I fumble with the pockets of my suit and discover this. Point no.2 is so hilarious that I was having a hard time stopping from giggling in the middle of the presentation:

Pedestrian Sign:



This has to be smartest & most confusing pedestrian sign ever. I feel it captures both genders. My friend saw it as a guy crossing the street. I saw it as a lady crossing the street.

The Hot Girl:

So we go and explore one of the malls. Our walking pace is interrupted by the sight of a gorgeous girl who brushes by us. We are dazzled by her beauty.

"man, she is sooo beautiful. She is the most beautiful woman I've seen in my life."

"I gotta agree, she has to be the 2nd or 3rd gorgeous girl I've seen in my life"

15 minutes later, and we run into her again but she was with her family.

"Oh man…oh man..she can't be human. She must be an angel. I wanna talk to her. I want to know her"

"Well, her parents are with her. You can always ask them. ;)"

"you know what? You are right. I am talking to her parents."

"DUDE, you crazy? I was joking.."

"no no, you are right. I will never see someone like her. I can't waste my chance." And starts walking away

"Come back, you lunatic…."

They were sitting in a coffee shop and her father was away talking to the cashier and I guess was ordering drinks for the family. My friend approach him and started talking..What the? He is actually talking to her dad…a minute later, the dad calls the mom..woo, what's going on here? I look at the girl. She is alarmed. She looks at me..I smile at her. She smiles back…and we turn our heads to the 3 who are having the conversation. 2 minutes later, my friend comes back disappointed: "too young"

I find it kind of awkward. I never see myself doing such a move.

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