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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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    28 June 2006
    Malta pics (Saudi friendly)
    I realised that the pics hosted by Blogger and Imageshack are blocked in Saudi. So here is a gallery of pics I took in Madina, ancient city of Malta, and I hope that everyone can see the pics now. Please let me know if you can't!

    Oh, and the last two pics in the gallery show the celebrations on the streets after the Italian victory in the World Cup few days ago :^)
    posted by Bravecat @ 10:13 am   4 comments
    23 June 2006
    More Malta
    Here are some more pictures I took over the last couple of days. Click on them for a better view.

    Republic Street, Valletta

    Caffe Raffael terrace, Spinola Bay

    Westin Dragonara resort/casino

    Bedouin Bar, Dragonara ;-)

    World Cup fever, Vittoriosa

    Vittoriosa street note

    Horse "parking", Valletta

    Locals resting by the church, Vittoriosa

    Malta is very beautiful, full of history and amazing architecture (and people seem to have many more legs than they do in the Middle East, lol). Enjoy the pictures! I might post some more later if you want me to.

    posted by Bravecat @ 3:43 pm   15 comments
    18 June 2006

    View from the hotel lounge

    Portomaso Marina

    Spinola Bay


    Portomaso restaurants

    Sunday procession in Valletta

    Battle re-enactment in St. Elmo fort, Valletta

    Valletta street

    Valletta from the ferry

    As you can see, we've already been around ;-) Malta is beautiful and has lots to offer to history and architecture buffs such as myself. It's nice to be back. Not many changes since my last visit, but it's definitely very different in the summer. Girls in barely there clothes and guys in just shorts are everywhere! So many runners, weird hairdos, mixed crowds of teenagers wandering around - something I don't get to see in the Middle East. The deli meat selection at breakfast is all pork! All cafes have alcohol on the menu.

    I already have a stupid t shirt tan by the way...

    Oh, tennis finals on telly. Laters!

    posted by Bravecat @ 5:30 pm   23 comments
    14 June 2006
    Leaving best for last
    This is my last post before I go on holiday. Coincidentally, this is also my first post that I dedicate to someone I don't know although I would love to meet this someone. And the meeting wouldn't be pretty.

    So here goes:

    This is to you, whoever you are (I have a clear mental picture of you) who damaged my car in the basement parking yesterday.

    I have few words of friendly advice to you:

    1. Do not drive. Clearly, you lack the skill. There is enough space in the parking to maneuver even if you drive a Hummer (which I doubt), leave alone a regular sized SUV (which I think is what you drove, according to the damage you left on my car). If you can't make it in THIS parking, you are a danger behind a wheel and should stick to Karwa.

    2. If you do drive, as after all not all of us are blessed with a talent of estimating our abilities, stay away from narrow streets and basement parking lots, and if you have to park somewhere - just leave your car outside. I understand that it's very hot and your sorry ass will have to sweat and suffer for a couple of minutes until the A/C kicks in, but you know what? Suck it up and leave your car on the street. Just do it.

    3. If despite all this you happen to park in the basement and dent another car (which you will do, no doubt) - leave your phone number under the car's wiper. I checked around my car and I didn't find your note anywhere. Maybe you left it somewhere else for me to find - but as yet I haven't seen it. I gave up hoping you would come and take responsibility, apparently you are not only a bad driver, you are also an asshole. Congratulations.

    And just so you know, the damage on my car is much less than on yours. You must have dented your car's entire side, judging by the damage on mine. That feels good. I have already got the paper from the traffic police saying that I can go and fix my car. The police believed that it was damaged by another car in the parking (it was quite obvious). You will have a much harder time trying to prove to the police that you had nothing to do with the damage on yours, and unless you manage - you won't have your car repaired.

    I am going on holidays tomorrow and while I am away my car will be fixed. As soon as I get back I will trade it in for a new car I've been coveting for a year and which is now waiting for me with my name on it. You, in all likelihood, will be stuck with your damaged car for a while yet. That feels even better.

    I can go around dissing you all I want (I have done enough of that yesterday) and you have only yourself to blame. Ha ha.


    posted by Bravecat @ 10:34 am   19 comments
    11 June 2006
    Rafa, you Rock!

    I didn't have any doubts. And those who had them - well, Rafa proved them wrong once again. In an epic final Rafa shattered Federer's dreams of winning four Grand Slams in a row and defended his Roland Garros crown with a beautiful game. He truly is the King of Clay! Vive le Roi!

    Roger - you are still the greatest. Better luck next time!

    What about the girls? No surprises there, Justine Henin-Hardenne remains the best player when it comes to red dirt so naturally she won. Well done Justine, and well done Svetlana Kuznetsova for reaching her first Roland Garros finals.
    posted by Bravecat @ 8:46 pm   10 comments
    9 June 2006
    Roland Garros - Finals!



    The fans' dreams came true as top seeds are ready to fight once more. Will Federer find a way to beat Nadal? Will Nadal extend his winning streak on clay to a whopping 60? Sunday will show.


    Kuznetsova and Henin-Hardenne getting ready for tomorrow. Who will get the trophy? My money is on the Belgian, but my hopes are with the Russian!

    Quarters and Semis:


    1. Federer (SUI) vs. Ancic (CRO)
    2. Nalbandian (ARG) vs. Davydenko (RUS)
    3. Benneteau (FRA) vs. Ljubicic (CRO)
    4. Djokovic (SCG) vs. Nadal (ESP)


    1. Vaidisova (CZE) vs. Williams (USA)
    2. Safina (RUS) vs. Kuznetsova (RUS)
    3. Henin-Hardenne (BEL) vs. Groenefeld (GER)
    4. Hingis (SUI) vs. Clijsters (BEL)

    On the men’s side (ATP), of course Federer, Nadal, Ljubicic and Nalbandian are strong favourites. I root for Nadal, Davydenko, Benneteau and Ancic, though. I think that the favourites will all make it to the semifinals. Sigh.

    On the girls’ side (WTA), the hot favourites are Williams, Kuznetsova, Hardenne and Clijsters. I hope that Safina, Hingis, Groenefeld and Vaidisova win instead! Actually, I think that Vaidisova and Safina are very likely to get through to the semis, but Hardenne and Clijsters are the most likely winners of the other two matches.

    Lets wait and see!

    I am sure you are all looking forward to the next update, which will have the list of the semifinalists :P

    UPDATE 1 (WTA):

    The girls' quarterfinals are over, and here are the semifinalists:

    Vaidisova, Kuznetsova, Hardenne and Clijsters. Hardenne and Clijsters came as no surprise, Kuznetsova was also a favourite, but Vaidisova pulled off a spectacular upset! Well done!

    Update 2 (ATP):

    Federer and Nalbandian in the semis. Yawn. The good thing is that they will play each other in the semis, hehe. So one of them is SO not going to be in the final! I do want Federer to win, so that he could play Nadal (should Nadal get through to the semis, and then to the final). The other two semifinalists will be decided to day, and I hope it's Nadal and Benneteau!

    Update 3 (ATP):

    It's been a while since the top four seeds all got through to the semis at Roland Garros. And so the remaining semifinal places go to... Nadal and Ljubicic. Predictable.

    posted by Bravecat @ 11:10 pm   20 comments
    5 June 2006
    Roland Garros

    And you all thought I was going to let it slide? Oh no way! You will be treated to a tennis post :p

    Roland Garros is the name of the French Open tennis tournament, one of the four most important tennis tournaments. The other three are US Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon. They are also known as "Grand Slam", like Grand Slam in bridge, if you like. Winning a Grand Slam tournament is the greatest achievement for a tennis player. Ok so of course you could win multiple Grand Slams and build up from there, but I am trying to keep it simple, so forgive me, all the tennis fans out there (yeah all three of you). Roland Garros is also the only Grand Slam tournament that is played on a clay surface. The significance of it is that the ball leaves a mark on the surface where it hits thus allowing to see whether the ball is "out" (player who hit the ball loses the point in this case) or "in".

    Roland Garros is at its second week now, and today is the last day of the fourth round games. Those who make it through will be in the quarterfinals of the French Open - a great achievement in itself. The ATP (men's tour) guys who already made it through are: Roger Federer, from Switzerland, the greatest player of this century and the number one in the world; Mario Ancic, a Croat with the craziest eyes on tour (pretty handsome guy, lol) currently ranked 12th in the world; Nikolay Davydenko, Russian, perhaps the least famous of all in the top ten; and David Nalbandian, Argentine, who I don't really like, but who plays well. The other quarterfinalists are yet to be determined as eight guys take to the courts today to fight for the four remaining places. The guys that I think will make it are: Rafa Nadal, who is the defending champion of the tournament, and the only one who can beat Federer (if all goes well, they will meet in the final); Gael Monfils - a French teenager who is enjoying his dream run in the Grand Slam; Ivan Ljubicic, an ace-hitting Croat, number 4 in the world; and as for the last one - I have no idea, I don't know much about Benneteau and Martin to make a prediction. I hope Benneteau wins as he is a French guy and it will be cool if he wins in front of his home crowd, especially since...

    ...Amelie Mauresmo, French, number one in the world on WTA (women's tour), crashed out of the tournament yesterday, losing rather badly to Nicole Vaidisova of Czech Republic. So she is not in the quarterfinals. Great for Nicole, 17 year old, who reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. The rest of the quarterfinalists on the girls' side are: Venus Williams, the last remaining American in this tournament, she's back on tour after slumbering for quite a while with various injuries; Dinara Safina (who beat Maria Sharapova yesterday), she is climbing up the ranks steadily and clearly enjoying it; Sveta Kuznetsova, another Russian, and since she will play Safina in the quarters - one Russian will definitely make it to the semis; Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium who I don't like much, defending champion and a favourite to win this time around as well; Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany, a gutsy determined blonde; and Kim Clijsters of Belgium, number 2 in the world. The last remaining quarterfinalst will be decided today between Martina Hingis and Shahar Peer of Israel. I hope it's Hingis!

    So complain all you like, but I will be writing about the progress of the players to the very end of the tournament! :P

    posted by Bravecat @ 10:30 am   11 comments
    1 June 2006
    What is fun and where to find it?

    Somehow lately I noticed that my life is totally devoid of all things fun (no offence to all the fun people I socialise with - that can be considered as fun, of course, but it is not my personal achievement).

    Fun things happen to someone else, somewhere else, I am always a little too late (too early) or too far (too blind?) to even catch a glimpse of anything that can be remotely considered as FUN.

    Maybe I am just getting old?

    See for yourself: these are the things (in no particular order) that happened to me in May.

    Stomach parasite. Now, one can argue that spending 10 days (and nights!) within 5m radius of the toilet can be fun just because it sounds funny - but trust me, fun it isn't.

    Toyota Prado. You might remember that this is the car I covet. I took my own car to the garage for service, and borrowed the Prado from someone who actually trusted me with it. You can say that this is fun - being able to drive my dream car for a few days. Ha ha. It was HELL. I was paranoid! I had nightmares that something might happen to the car, that I would have an accident, I didn't get any sleep, I feared the worst, I drove it for a grand total of 24 km (to work and back, ONCE) and sighed with relief when I returned it back. Bottom line - it was NOT fun at all. I hate borrowing stuff!

    Tennis. So you know I am a tennis junkie. I don't really play, I just watch. I have favourite players and players that I don't like, I watch some hoping they'd win, I watch others hoping they'd lose. I root for my country players (I have like 5 countries I consider "mine" so that's quite a long list), and there are few countries that I root against (for no special reason). If a player I like loses, or if a player I don't like wins, I am not a happy bunny. When I watch tennis I get too hyper, too nervous, I fidget, I binge, I am incommunicado to the rest of the world, I twist and break things, I snap at people, I am probably fun to watch - but is it really FUN? No, I don't think so. It's a condition, and probably there are some meds I could take. THANK YOU MOMMY AND DADDY FOR FORCING ME TO COME WITH YOU TO QATAR OPEN! I was as indifferent to tennis as all normal people, and now I am hooked and I can't help it.

    Internet. With the weather in Doha taking a sharp turn towards HELL sign, outdoor activities are pretty much limited to running to and from the airconditioned car in and out of airconditioned indoors. Indoors in my case mean home and work as I am not a shopping fan. Home and work mean internet access. Internet, by definition, is fun. But it is vicious, vile and contagious, and I have developed certain (not funny) symptoms of an internet addict - I actually said "LOL" to someone the other day. I can't write - I can only type. I find it difficult to talk to people, I don't know where to look, I don't know where to put my hands, I'd much rather there was a screen and a keyboard in front of me than a person, it makes the whole communication thing much easier. Does it sound fun to you? Me neither.

    (Much hyped) Doha Trade Fair. I went with a friend, and believe me when I say to you it was the worst event I've ever been to (first meeting with the prospective in-laws, which firmly occupied this position for 8 odd years, is the runner-up). Imagine stall after stall filled with cheap knockoffs and fake designer goods, isle after isle filled with screaming, running children and pushing, arrogant men and women and you will have an idea. Trade Fair a la Asia. The only thing I brought home with me was a nasty eye infection and sore feet. In other words, never again, not for any fun in the world.

    The list goes on and on.

    And now my boss announced that the deadline for the project I'm working on is shifted to the end of THIS week (instead of the last working week before my holiday). I am sure he's just being funny ;-)

    posted by Bravecat @ 11:51 am   18 comments
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