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Realistically idealistic daydreamer, seasoned procrastinator, atheist and monarchist with a secret agenda and a slight inclination towards voodoo practices.
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    Tennis
    29 December 2005
    It's all in the hat

















    'Tis the season of Christmas carols, fruitcake and morning frost.... No, no, no, this is all wrong. Haven't heard any carols, don't like fruitcake and since we are in Qatar - no morning frost, only morning fog. But one thing Christmassy we have in abundance - Santa Hats! Shop assistants, bank clerks (believe me), hair stylists and plain clothes Xmas agents are all sporting Santa hats! But do you know that these hats remind me of a hot summer a while ago? And it wasn't in Qatar..
    I was in the subway, going home for lunch. It was sometime in late July, and the heat was as unbearable as it gets. Europe can be very hot too. I found a seat and all but dozed off to the sound of the train, when lo and behold, the weirdest couple walks in! A woman in a pretty summer dress, flustered and looking rather desperate, and a boy, clearly her son, maybe 6 years old or so, wearing shorts, t shirt, sandals and a huge Russian winter hat! And I mean something like this:
    The eyes of all the people on the train were transfixed on the pair. The woman moved swiftly inside the carriage, pulling the boy behind her. She stared ahead adamantly and pretended to ignore the quizzical looks of the fellow passengers. The boy was beetroot red, either from embarrassment or the heat (and I bet the hat didn't help!) and never looked up at all. After a couple of short stops some people stood up and walked out, and the woman and a boy took the empty seats. Now they were right opposite me, and I couldn't help it - I stared at them, too! The woman looked painfully determined, and tugged at the boy every now and then. He appeared to have difficulties holding his head up, and leaned onto his mother who scolded him quietly each time he did so. I could see the poor kid did his best to sit straight and take as little space on the seat as he could. He clearly wished for the hole in the train floor to open up and swallow him whole. Or at least he looked like it.
    And that was it, I thought. A strange and rather hilarious encounter in public transport. But no, the story took an unpredictable twist with the arrival of yet another passenger... An old and respectable looking lady, all blue curls and sparkling little eyes. She walked inside the carriage and stopped right in front of me. Then she turned and saw the woman and the boy in the hat. It didn't take her a split second to react to the sight! "Ha! Are you STUPID??" she cackled at the woman. "It's JULY for goodness sake! You know, HOT! What did you put this hat on the kid for?? No, definitely you must be stupid. People, don't you see..." and I bet she would have continued if not for the swift reaction from the victim of her verbal attack. "Me? STUPID?? Look, look what we have here!"
    And with these words she jumped up from her seat and pulled the hat off the boy's head...
    Silence. Complete silence in the carriage, even ta tam ta dee of the train seemed muted by the silence of the passengers. The boy had a vase firmly planted onto his head. It was a round crystal vase, and it fit his head perfectly. I could see his red ears squeezed inside the vase. What I didn't see was a way this vase could come off without a chainsaw. Or something similar. As any crystal vase, it was a heavy bottomed solid quality product, and it was definitely very heavy. I understood why the poor kid couldn't keep his head up...
    The old lady was cut short in her tirade. She stared at the kid in disbelief, then at the woman, and then she attacked. She lounged at the kid with her arms outstretched, uttering something along the "lemmetakethisthingoffyounow" lines. At this the woman screamed and jumped in front of the boy trying to fence the old lady off, while the boy covered his head with both hands and started whimpering. I finally understood what had happened. Poor kid had somehow managed to get his head stuck in this heavy vase! After countless (no doubt, judging by the state and colour of his ears) attempts to free his head, his mother had given up and was taking him to the clinic (or garage??) to have the vase removed by a doctor (or a mechanic). It just seemed more appropriate to cover the boy's head with that massive Russian hat... given the circumstances. The carriage promptly exploded in commiserations and reminiscences of countless similar experiences with numerous family members and probable solutions. The mother was however unwilling to try anything, and simply thanked the well wishers and put the hat back on her son's much suffered head. After that she finally allowed him to rest his head on her shoulder and smiled just a little... The old lady was already sitting beside her and seemed to have given up her attempts to free the "poor bairn" from his ordeal.
    And then it was my stop.
    posted by Bravecat @ 12:40 am   12 comments
    28 December 2005
    Blog-a-tag
    Part 1.

    Post the pic of my foot.

    OK I've kept a few people waiting (wink at Kaza) .. but finally I got round to doing it!

    Here are my feet all dressed up:

















    And here in the foot equivalent of a bikini!





    Part 2.

    I was tagged by Rumbling NRI with the following (rather weird) tag:

    Choose 6 bloggers who I would invite for Dinner, and explain why them?

    Let me tell you why I find this tag weird, and not the first one. First of all, blogging is all about anonymity of sorts. If I needed more real life friends.. well, I'd go out make some. I would rather my online friends remained that: online friends. I have a mental picture of what they are, I like this picture, and I want to keep it this way. Of course there are exceptions, and I've met plenty great people through the net, but this is beside the point. What I try to explain here is that it takes time for an online friendship to develop and evolve into real life friendship. And I just don't see it happening this way! Why dinner?? I don't cook! Why invite people I've never even seen to my house for dinner?
    I guess I could rephrase the tag and choose 6 bloggers I would like to meet... but if I meet 6, I will have to meet the rest of them because it's just not fair. How can I meet Kaza but not Warda, for instance? Or meet McA but not Gigi? Entity but not Maha? Nami but not Violet? Can I choose between CD and Jan6a? Just can't see it happening! It's all or nothing, baby. Got to decline the tag, sorry! :^)

    =^..^=
    posted by Bravecat @ 4:33 pm   19 comments
    22 December 2005
    Cat's Christmas Carol


















    **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** ****

    So what if it’s not snowing, so what if it’s still hot
    And there is no Santa and I don’t know what not,
    I still insist it’s Christmas, and I demand my tree
    I’ll hang the pretty baubles on it for all to see

    For I am now in Doha, and Doha’s in Qatar
    It doesn’t snow here, or hasn’t so far…
    But really who cares? And there’s no cause for tears
    The guys all look like Santas with their white thobs and beards

    And all the sand around, it really looks like snow
    But if you’re not in Doha I guess you’ll never know
    That 4x4 Landcruiser can be a sleigh in need…
    If Santa’s in a hurry, he simply flies in it!
    posted by Bravecat @ 10:26 am   27 comments
    21 December 2005
    Paws & Claws
    Tagged by my pal Kaza :^)

    I am to post a pic of my hand... and foot.
    Lets start with the hand first. Foot tomorrow!





    I hereby tag Unknown Entity... after she's done writing the Christmas story for me.

    Mieow!
    posted by Bravecat @ 9:32 pm   22 comments
    16 December 2005
    Cat’s “I want for Christmas” List


    1. A weekend at Burj Al Arab

    2. Minibreak in Europe to watch Riverdance show

    3. IPod whatsit thingy to play my tunes on FM in the car

    4. VAIO

    5. A decent planner for 2006 – the one I have is 2003!

    6. Drive a Hummer for a day to figure out whether I love it or hate it (among other things).

    7. Lobster!


    And what I am apparently getting (courtesy of Blogthings):


    Your Christmas Stocking Will Be Filled With Little Wrapped Presents

    You've made Santa a very happy fellow this year.
    Don't worry - what happens at the North Pole stays at the North Pole!

    posted by Bravecat @ 3:44 pm   17 comments
    15 December 2005
    A little bit of politics on my mind...
    I’ve been toying around with the idea of writing a political (!) piece for a while now, and I guess the time has come. Why now? Mostly because I have nothing else to write about at the moment, and also because I was greatly amused by two articles I have just read. First article is about Iranian leader claiming Holocaust was a hoax. Wow. You don’t have to be super smart to know that statements like that will not go down well. Now I wasn’t around to witness first hand whether there was Holocaust or not, but then again, neither was he. Between the two of us, HE is the one to claim there wasn’t any such thing. Woo hoo, by definition that makes me WAY smarter than Iranian leader! Duh...
    Second article is an interview out of Marie Claire (thanks H for bringing the glossies to the poor hospitalised cat… I finally got round to reading them all!). The interview in question is with a British Muslim girl (forgive me for not including her name here, you can find the whole piece in UK edition of MC, October 2005) who claims quite adamantly that Quran was used as … wait, let me go get it so I could write the exact words… OK here goes: “It’s just ignorant to assume that the Quran cannot be used to justify terrorism, because it can and it has been”. And more: “I heard quite a lot of Muslims saying that the [terrorist] attacks had nothing to do with Islam, but that’s just not true. They have everything to do with Islam, because the people who carried it out did it in the name of Islam”. Now here is another shining example of an outspoken person with an opinion. Just please don’t ask me what I think about it, I am merely describing something that caught my attention.
    So back to my political post. As I live in the Middle East I will concentrate my observations on Qatar and its next door neighbours… Enjoy!

    Examples of the political systems:

    SOCIALISM:
    You have 2 cows and you give one to your neighbour.

    COMMUNISM:
    You have 2 cows; the Government takes both and gives you some milk.

    NAZISM:
    You have 2 cows. The Government takes both and shoots you.

    CAPITALISM:
    You have 2 cows. You sell one, invest the money in the top notch milking equipment for the other, and spend most of the profit on tax to keep all the immigrants fed.


    How it works in the Middle East:

    DUBAI SYSTEM:
    You have two cows. You create a website for them and advertise them in all magazines. You create a Cow City or Milk Town for them. You sell off their milk before the cows have even been milked to both legitimate and shady investors who hope to sell the non-existent milk for a 100% profit in two years time. You bring Tiger Woods to milk the cows first to attract attention.

    QATAR SYSTEM:
    You have two cows. They've been sitting there for decades and no one realizes that cows can produce milk. You see what Dubai is doing; you go crazy and start milking the heck out of the cows’ boobs in the shortest time possible. Then you realize no one wanted the milk in the first place.

    BAHRAIN SYSTEM:
    You have two cows. Some high government official steals one, milks it, sells the milk and pockets the profit. The government tells you there is just one cow and not enough milk for the people. The people riot and scream death to the government and carry Iranian flags. The Parliament, after thinking for 11 months, decides to employ ten Bahrainis to milk the cow at the same time to cut back on unemployment.

    SAUDI SYSTEM:
    Since milking the cow involves nipples the government decides to ban all cows in public. The only method to milk a cow is to have a cow on one side of the curtain and the guy milking the cow on the other.

    =^..^=
    posted by Bravecat @ 7:22 pm   22 comments
    13 December 2005
    Cat's Health Question & Answer Session

    Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?
    A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
    A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system.
    Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
    A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
    A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
    A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
    A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
    A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
    A: Are you crazy? HELLO ...... Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!!It's the best feel-good food around!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
    A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
    A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets. And remember: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, What a Ride!"
    =^..^=
    posted by Bravecat @ 12:05 pm   7 comments
    12 December 2005
    My Desktop
    Tagged by Unknown Entity!





    Nothing too interesting here, I am afraid, guys. That's what I usually get trying to Google out anything interesting. Long live Qtel! Thanks for protecting me... from the endless vice of the WWW! What would I do without your neverending care and concern? Hmmm let me see... the last time I got this kind response from you I was trying to seach for new Darwin Awards!

    :^)

    And oh well, I am supposed to tag someone, right? Here they are:

    Son of a Dot - As long as it won't give me "Blocked by Qtel" response trying to view it!

    Namika - expect some Anime here!

    =^..^=

    posted by Bravecat @ 5:17 pm   5 comments
    11 December 2005
    Are you bored?





    Download Metacafe for a free daily dose of hilarious entertainment!

    And YOU who got me hooked - thanks!

    =^..^=

    posted by Bravecat @ 6:50 pm   1 comments
    10 December 2005
    What's in a nameday?
    OK so I got you all (almost all) totally confused as to what nameday is and why it is that mine is on December 9th... I guess I owe you an explanation! I didn't realise that this concept is virtually unheard of in the Middle East. Oh, the fabulous ignorance of the West!
    Chrisitanity thrives on Saints. Trust me, we have more Saints than we need or can possibly know, recognise or remember. Every day of the year is a festival of some Saint. I am sure you have heard about religious processions in Latin America and Italy? A village or town will have a certain Saint as its patron and protector, and celebrate his/her day with a procession, fireworks, cookoffs, games and whatever else the people fancy, once a year on that day. For a sample of a nameday calendar go there.
    In earlier times newborn kids were named after the Saints whose festival is on the day the kid was born. Thanks goodness we are (almost) over it by now. You do get an odd Helen born on the St. Helen's day, but now it's more of fun than necessity. You name your kid whatever you like, and look up the calendar when it's the St. Whatever day. For example, Christmas is the Christ day, so Christine's and Chris' nameday is December 25th. Easy!
    I got a few questions as to when YOUR namedays are. Many Arabs are Christians, therefore I am sure there are Arabic nameday calendars too, only I don't know where to find them. Alternatively, you can pick any odd day you like, announce that it is your nameday, and celebrate! Don't forget to let me know! :^)
    =^..^=


    PS. I may not be religious, but I do like my nameday!
    posted by Bravecat @ 3:14 pm   4 comments
    Muscat by Cat - part II




    posted by Bravecat @ 12:38 pm   7 comments
    9 December 2005
    And today is....
    My nameday! Happy NAMEDAY to me!
    Yay!
    =^..^=
    posted by Bravecat @ 4:24 pm   9 comments
    6 December 2005
    Cat in Mus-Cat
    And so I went to Oman...

    What a silly way to start the post about something that I enjoyed so much! But really, I am not in a creative eloquent state of mind at the moment. I just want to go back there! Does me saying so sum it all up? I hope it does. As I really want to close my eyes, snap my fingers, and find myself standing by the Qurm beach. I heard about Omani magic, and that Omanis can fly... thanks to the blogs I read, lol. Well, sadly, European Cat I remain, thus my flying capabilities are rather limited to those more conventional methods of transportation. I close my eyes, snap my fingers, make a wish, hold my breath, open my eyes....

    Same office. A nice one, no complaints, but it's definitely not Shatti Al-Qurm.

    I flew to Oman for a weekend. I left Qatar on Thursday morning and was back here on Saturday evening. 50 hours was all it took me to fall in love with the country. Oman is what I expected Arabia would (and should) be. As a little girl, I used to read Arabic fairytales and I had this idea in my head of beautiful lush oasis with palm trees, colourful fabrics, rich scents of the markets, fishing boats by the sea... I know it's not a very traditional image of Arabia, but that is what I was expecting when I first came to the Gulf. After a short spell in Bahrain and a longer one in Qatar, as well as few trips to the UAE, I finally found the place where my childhood images came alive.

    Oman.

    I can't begin to explain what it is that has drawn me so much. Be it the natural beauty of the country in winter, nice people, amazing scenery and architecture, good manners of Omani drivers and lack of traffic jams... everything fell into place and created a beautiful country.

    Yes of course I know I didn't see much in these two days, but I liked all I saw. I stayed in a beautiful Grand Hyatt hotel. If you happen to be there - look at the piano in the lobby! I've never seen anything like that...

    Few things that are now forever etched in my memory:

    Breakfast coffee in Hyatt
    Water train ride in the amusement park
    Barefoot man in the most beautiful mosque
    Little Omani boy posing for my camera
    Sunset on the road to Barka
    Mountains mountains mountains
    D'Arcy's Kitchen table mats
    The date and coffee guy at Al Bustan
    Hand drawn map of Muscat area

    I will come back one day soon and I am so looking forward to it. There is much to see in Oman, and I want to see it all. Suggestions welcome!

    =^..^=

    PS. Pictures coming up later on today!

    posted by Bravecat @ 12:12 pm   22 comments
    Longing



    When life and love have torn apart your heart, where do the shattered pieces lie?
    posted by Bravecat @ 9:43 am   2 comments
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