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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
    31 August 2006
    US Open
    US Open is in full swing!

    And now the post (all 3 of) you were waiting for! I am sure you were wondering why it comes so late - 3rd day into the tournament. The answer is that I was neither in the mood nor have I watched enough games to be able to say anything about it until now. And now that I saw a few matches and got myself sorted out I can finally yak about tennis ;-)

    1. Cast. This year US Open features the best of the best. Check this out:
    ATP: Agassi (this is his last career tournament), Federer, Nadal, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Baghdatis (who only plays well in Grand Slams for some reason, lol), Roddick, Safin et al, no major player absent.
    Youngsters to watch out for: Andy Murray (who beat Federer recently and got scared of the fact, lol) and Gael Monfils (love the 'fro!).
    Oldies to recon with: Henman, Agassi and Grosjean.
    WTA: Mauresmo, Hardenne, Sharapova, Hingis (seeded 8th!), Davenport, Pierce et al. Notably absent is Kim Clijsters. I won't miss her.
    Youngsters capable of major upsets: Radwanska, Azarenka (dispatched Myskina in 1st round, way to go!!), Vaidisova, Mirza.
    Oldies who can do substantial damage: Pierce, S. Williams, Hingis.

    2. Weather
    . Day 2 of the tournament was completely washed out, allowing only about 40 minutes play all in all. This of course caused havoc in the schedule and instead of getting a day on day off kind of routine everything is now squashed to catch up on the lost day. Fun fun fun!

    3. Outfits
    . Woo hoo! White and blue are boring, boring, snore... This year it's all about red and black, and thumbs up to that. The outfits are fab. Especially Nike. Check out Sharapova and Nadal for the sexiest ever tennis clothes. Federer is true to his signature blue "airconditioned" shirt. No comment.

    4. Challenges.
    These have got to be the most exciting news in the tennis world. Now if the players disagree with the line judge/umpire, they are allowed to watch the replay of the point on a huge screen - and make sure the decision was correct. It's not exactly new technology, it has been around for few (selected) tournaments, but I am still excited every time the player decides to challenge the call. It allows for more public interaction and interest. A player is allowed 2 challenges every set, losing them if the call was correct, carrying them on should the call be overruled by the replay. Players get one additional challenge in the tie break but they cannot carry them over to the next set.

    5. Who I root for:
    ATP: Baghdatis, Nadal, Agassi, Safin, Tursunov, Murray, Davydenko.
    WTA: Sharapova, Ivanovic, Safina, Daniilidou, Schiavone.

    6. Who will win? I have no idea. With this cast you can never be sure. Federer has a good chance to win this year again, unless Nadal stops him. Women? It would be too good to be true if Shara got the title. Hardenne and Mauresmo look pretty solid. I will come up with quarterfinalists after the next round. Watch this space!

    7. Special note. Tursunov, the undisputed King of ATP blogs, has agreed to become a resident ATP blogger. Yay! Check it out for the most hilarious insider's view on the world of professional tennis.

    Aren't you all excited I'll be talking tennis for the next couple of weeks?

    ;-)

    posted by Bravecat @ 12:42 pm   12 comments
    29 August 2006
    How are you today?
    I was asked that question and I just switched off for a moment there. Oh I got back to my senses soon enough to avoid further inquiries by saying "Fine, fine.." but it got me thinking. How am I today, really? Fine? Not so fine? Fine but could be better? Never been better? Miserable but I've felt worse? Happy, sad, undecided? Very complicated. So I decided to try and figure out how I really am, right now. I know there can't be a simple answer to this question but I will do my best to analyse myself. My friend Susanne (author of a fab blog Better than Cheesecake) has a nice feature that she posts regularly: 5 things that made me happy today. I will expand on it a little and post 5 things that made me happy and 5 things that made me sad in the last 24 hours. And then I will probably be able to answer (at least on my blog, I doubt I'll come up with anything I could actually use in a real life conversation) how I am today.

    5 things that made me happy in the last 24 hours:

    1. Baghdatis and Agassi winning their first round matches at the US Open
    2. Meeting Midget and Fish for a coffee yesterday evening
    3. Getting enough sleep for the first time in a few days
    4. My accountant presented me with a beautiful beaded shirt (early birthday gift I suppose) - totally uncalled for!
    5. An sms late in the evening

    5 things that made me sad in the last 24 hours:

    1. Finding out that Baghdatis will play Agassi in the second round of US Open. I don't want either of them to lose so early in the tournament!
    2. Getting sick.
    3. Reading "The Little Prince" and "Scarlet Sails"
    4. Mad driver in an SUV nearly killing me off
    5. No sms this morning

    I still don't know how I am today. I am fine, fine... A little sad, perhaps. A little ill. Lucky and unlucky. Happy, smiling, laughing in the office with my boss, crying in the toilet. Working, blogging, meeting deadlines. Thinking, trying not to think, failing that, thinking. Looking forward to the weekend. Dreading the weekend. Craving ice cream (chocolate & orange, please) - too early for PMS, lol. What's my excuse?

    So tell me, how are you today?
    posted by Bravecat @ 10:15 am   19 comments
    27 August 2006
    The Little Prince and me


    So many thoughts running in my head today that I simply had to find something to concentrate on. I decided to re-read "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It was one of my favourite books as a kid and it's been too long since I last walked the Sahara with the little prince who loved his flower.

    Please walk with me...


    Chapter 21.


    "Good morning," said the fox.

    "Good morning," the little prince responded politely, although when he turned around he saw nothing.

    "I am right here," the voice said, "under the apple tree."

    "Who are you?" asked the little prince, and added, "You are very pretty to look at."

    "I am a fox," said the fox.

    "Come and play with me," proposed the little prince.

    "I am so unhappy." "I cannot play with you," the fox said. "I am not tamed."

    "Ah! Please excuse me," said the little prince. But, after some thought, he added: "What does that mean, 'tame'?"

    "You do not live here," said the fox. "What is it that you are looking for?"

    "I am looking for men," said the little prince. "What does that mean, 'tame'?"

    "Men," said the fox. "They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?"

    "No," said the little prince. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean, 'tame'?"

    "It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. It means to establish ties."

    "'To establish ties'?"

    "Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world..."

    "I am beginning to understand," said the little prince. "There is a flower... I think that she has tamed me..."

    "It is possible," said the fox. "On the Earth one sees all sorts of things."

    "Oh, but this is not on the Earth!" said the little prince. The fox seemed perplexed, and very curious.

    "On another planet?"

    "Yes."

    "Are there hunters on this planet?"

    "No."

    "Ah, that is interesting! Are there chickens?"

    "No."

    "Nothing is perfect," sighed the fox. But he came back to his idea. "My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the colour of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat..." The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time. "Please, tame me!" he said.

    "I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."

    "One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me..."

    "What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.

    "You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me, like that, in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day..."

    The next day the little prince came back.

    "It would have been better to come back at the same hour," said the fox. "If, for example, you come at four o'clock in the afternoon, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o'clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you... One must observe the proper rites..."

    "What is a rite?" asked the little prince.

    "Those also are actions too often neglected," said the fox. "They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all."

    So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near...

    "Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."

    "It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you..."

    "Yes, that is so," said the fox.

    "But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.

    "Yes, that is so," said the fox.

    "Then it has done you no good at all!"

    "It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields." And then he added: "Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret."

    The little prince went away, to look again at the roses. "You are not at all like my rose," he said to them. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world." And the roses were very much embarrassed. "You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you, the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.

    And he went back to meet the fox. "Goodbye," he said.

    "Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

    "What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

    "It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important."

    "It is the time I have wasted for my rose..." said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

    "Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose..."

    "I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
    posted by Bravecat @ 11:37 pm   20 comments
    26 August 2006
    Matter of choice.
    posted by Bravecat @ 11:00 pm  
    24 August 2006
    The truth revealed :-/
    Your Ideal Pet is a Cat

    You're both aloof, introverted, and moody.
    And your friends secretly wish that you were declawed!
    posted by Bravecat @ 11:19 am   13 comments
    22 August 2006
    Birthday gift list - updated


















    I think I will make this a regular special occasions feature on my blog :P My Xmas wish list was a success (I did actually get some of those!) and my mood needs an uplift. I am at work and desk bound and the only thing I can do besides work is dream of all things shiny and expensive. Yes, I am shallow. I guess I am taking window shopping to the next level - dream shopping. A little rich coming from a girl who doesn't like shopping (oops!) but what do you know. So here it is, the dream gift list for my 31st birthday. By the way I think it is my 32nd birthday although I am turning 31. Does the first birthday when people are actually born count as a first birthday? Oh, blah.

    Enjoy!

    1. Diamonds (insert evil laughter here). OK now there is no need to even mention diamonds, this is like the ultimate gift idea, great for any and all occasions. Diamonds are girls' best friends. Men take notice! LOL
    Bling factor: 10/10
    Budget factor: 10/10

    2. Ritz Spa vouchers (lots and lots of them). Small print: Only if they come with the complimentary limo&driver, it's just too far from where I live! :P
    Bling factor: 0%
    Budget factor: 50%

    3. Tickets & 5 star accommodation somewhere nice, Jumeirah Beach Hotel for example, for a weekend away with my girlfriends. I am not too demanding, see? I could have said Florence!
    Bling factor: 0%
    Budget factor: 100%

    4. A bunch of hair scrunchies. I lost my favourite one recently and I am still in mourning. It will be missed, *sob*.
    Bling factor: anything goes
    Budget factor: 2%

    5. Somebody take me to the Diplomatic Club already! I've been living in Doha for more than 4 years and I've never even been there yet. I heard the fish restaurant is particularly good :^)
    Bling factor: 0%
    Budget factor: 25%

    6. I was kind of toying with an idea of getting a new mobile but I am absolutely in love with the one I have and there's nothing wrong with it apart from the fact that I've had it for nearly 2 years, so it will be cheating, right? Well if I HAD to choose I'd probably go for the one U.E. has. I am a copycat! I got a chance to play with it a little yesterday, and it's awesome. It's Nokia N73. I looked at the other ones I thought I liked and I don't like them anymore. N73 rocks though.
    Bling factor: 75%
    Budget factor: 75%

    7. I am short of ideas. Truth is, I've got pretty much everything I want so I'll leave this one open. Just check the bling&budget factors for reference if in doubt! :D
    Bling factor: 50-100%
    Budget factor: 50-100%

    Or, if I don't get a phone maybe I could at least get a hands free thingy? The most common boring one just so I don't have to pay fines - I talk whenever I drive.


    :P


    posted by Bravecat @ 10:10 am   32 comments
    16 August 2006
    Lets talk about sex
    I promised a fun post after slumbering for a while. I also promised I wouldn't talk about religion and politics. The wholy trinity of fun blog topics is well known: 1. Religion 2. Politics 3. Sex. As you can see, that didn't leave me with much to choose from :P

    My (only slightly) sexually frustrated friend Midget (Dohagirl) has just posted this little warning to the guys who don't perform up to standards. Although I might disagree when it comes to personal preferences, I do believe that she has a good point there: a man who knows what he is doing is definitely worth his weight in precious stones, and this is what I find really strange. I mean, how difficult can it be to please a girl?? Provided, of course, that the girl is not some frigid prude or a lazy diva who probably doesn't know herself what she wants but still expects the man to do all the work.

    At this point I should probably remind you that this blog belongs to an uninhibited Western girl and if you are offended by any or all of its contents, you should probably just leave.

    So what does it really take to rock our world? Apart from the obvious things that come to mind (personal hygiene, bedroom etiquette, physique, technique and stamina) there are lots of other highly personal elements that can be crucial to the achievement of the ultimate goal.

    And at this point I should probably reassure you that this is NOT the way I usually sound but I do have a nagging suspicion that not all those people who should have left my blog by now have done so. Therefore I better sound idiotically scientific than whorrific. Yes I know how to spell, thank you.

    Anyway, back to the point. It is no secret that the key to please your girl is to spend enough time with her to figure out, often by trial and error method, what she does and does not like. Usually in the beginning of the relationship general excitement of being together would take care of the minor glitches, but a few weeks into it a man should have a pretty solid idea of what is expected of him. (Here I was hoping to post some statistics for your review, but Qtel takes good care of us by blocking all the relevant sites so you'll have to do without).

    One of the most common bedroom faux pas men are guilty of is selfishness. I guess it's pretty self explanatory. Since we no longer believe that the sole purpose of sex is conceiving a child, since we already know that women can climax and since there is so much educational material available (well maybe not in Qatar), it is unforgivable that some men still believe it's OK to ignore girls' needs. A man may not succeed (some women can't climax at all, by the way, and here I was going to post more statistics but alas) but he has to do his very best to give us what we need. We will appreciate that.

    Another mistake is failing to tune in. It is truth universally acknowledged that women are complicated creatures, much more so than men. We have moods, we have our moments, we have our emotional needs, we have periods, cramps and PMS, sometimes we are not into it, sometimes we can't get enough, sometimes we want you to be rough and demanding while we happily submit, other times we want you to take it easy, or let us take the lead. If something worked for you one day it doesn't mean you should stick to it forever expecting the same result or get mad when it just doesn't do it the other day. Try different things, try to match your technique to our mood, experiment with different ideas. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, nothing is going to work, it's the fact of life. We are designed this way, it's not our fault, and the sooner you understand it and learn to cope with it the better for you :P

    Also, don't expect a girl to do a brazilian just because your ex did. If you think that she should - go have one yourself first and then come back and talk about it. If she wants to do it - that's her own personal choice. If she doesn't - let it be. You can voice your preferences of course, but you can't enforce them.

    3anooda mentioned something about faking in the comments. I don't know as to how common it is, and to be honest I can't understand why girls even bother. Is it to make the guy feel better, while missing out herself? Is it to let him know she's had enough and it's time to wrap it up? I've got no clue. Ideas, anyone?? I mean, it's relatively easy to tell if she's faking but I won't tell how on my blog, the girls might kill me!

    Fish has a valid point. Saliva may not be everyone's thing. While most people don't mind it, some people do. Guys, invest in lube. You may not need it (if you are that good or if your girl is that into you), but if you do you better have it. Otherwise you risk putting your girl out of business for a while. Especially if you're not lacking...

    Pillow talk. This can be a huge turn on and it can also ruin pretty much everything so tread lightly. As you can see in the comments there are few examples of what Fish, for instance, doesn't like to hear :P We do like to hear nice stuff, and at the same time we might be naughtier than you expect. Try something more or less neutral and see what happens. Don't think that the girl will be impressed by an X-rated monologue for starters!

    Latest addition: things out of the "beaten path". Be nice and work your way slowly. If she is not up to it - don't push it. Remember that this is not exactly "natural", and can hurt as hell. Give the girl time to be totally comfortable with you, make her confident that she can trust you with her body, and watch the results.
    Apparently lots of lube and little persuasion might do it. After all what wouldn't girls do for guys if guys know which buttons to push? Then again, some girls don't, period. Respect it. (I would like to bring to your attention that this part was submitted over a phone by a female friend who refused to be named here.)

    Hijacked addition: check the update on Midget's little warning post with regards to BJ. All I can add is this: the more - the better, and it goes both ways. If you want it, you've got to give it. And another very important point: experimenting is good, but once you manage to get the rythm (you'll know when that happens) stick to it and leave the experiments for later.

    Fish has also said something about comfort level. Some girls are ok with anything, some are the "lights off" type. I guess most girls are a little shy to begin with (I said most, not all, Midget) and it takes some time to get them comfortable enough to relax and just go with the flow. I think it applies for both parties, by the way.

    :^)
    posted by Bravecat @ 11:24 am   64 comments
    15 August 2006
    Better days...
    ... came and went.
    posted by Bravecat @ 4:03 pm   12 comments
    9 August 2006
    Waiting for a better day
    Yesterday:

    - my boss finally arrived but the long awaited workload relief didn't arrive with the boss who went home to sleep (the whole day)
    - my neighbour dented my (shiny, beautiful, new, expensive, doted on) car. Beyoooooootch
    - my dentist nearly knocked me out with 5 (!!!!!) injections after which I couldn't move my jaw to complain anymore but was still in unbearable pain as my tears ran into my mouth
    - my lunch at 12 (a very light one, mind it) was the only meal I got all day
    - my friend told me how much she makes a month (no, not you, Midget) and now I hate her
    - my other friend must have sat on her mobile phone, unknowingly (I hope) dialling my number too late in the evening 3 times in a row and letting me listen to her chatting with a bunch of (undoubtedly cool, handsome and interesting) male friends somewhere in an undoubtedly cool and trendy place out in town
    - my jaw still hurt at midnight

    Today:

    - my alarm went off at 6.30am
    - my boss was already in the office when I arrived even though I'd planned to be there before him
    - my workload only increased with his arrival
    - my working hours increased (read: doubled) with his arrival
    - for the first time in my life I forgot to put the actual coffee grounds in the coffee maker and proceeded to brew a perfect pot of steaming water
    - my friend won't be having lunch with me (this time it's you, Midget)
    - my other friend in Kuwait will have a great night out and I won't be there
    - my jaw still hurts and it's already 11am
    - my phone is too silent for my liking

    :"-(

    posted by Bravecat @ 11:44 am   15 comments
    6 August 2006
    Sex offenders in Qatar - girls take notice!
    My friend was attacked at the Centre parking today by a pervert who then chased her in the car all the way to her office. She called me from the safety of her office building, in tears. I was so angry! What makes men do that to girls? What kind of sick satisfaction can they get out of it? She reported the incident to the police and hopefully they will catch and deal with this man according to the law here, which is way better when it comes to punishing criminals and sex offenders than our laws in the West. At least here the judge won't listen to the perv's lawyer saying how the perv was sexually abused as a child, how he has a hard time making it here in Qatar and how he therefore needs love and care instead of punishment. Love and care, my FOOT! Lashes and "time" and a fine and deportation, I say. I got even angrier when she told me that according to the police, exact same thing had happened at the exact same place a day before!

    Girls, if you are in such situation, don't freak out. If you are in or near your car - get in, lock the doors from inside, drive to the busy area and call a friend. If you are outside - run to the first available shop/office, and alert the security or call a friend. I assume that if you are anywhere in the Middle East you won't be standing outside far from your car and NOT in the vicinity of any public buildings. Do not under any circumstances drive home, or to your office, or to your friend's house so as to not give the attacker any information where you live, work, etc. If you know a police station - drive straight there. Note the attacker's car licence and write it down, key it in your mobile or ask a friend on the phone to write it down. It always helps to call someone. I wish my friend called me from her car instead of driving to her office! The attackers thrive on the victim's fear and shock and if they see that they aren't succeeding at scaring the victim they usually back off, especially here.

    I know it's easy to say "Shout, alert people around you" but it's much easier said than done. I know that I couldn't shout to save my life. When a similar thing happened to me (ok so it wasn't THAT bad, but still...) all I had to do was wave my phone in front of the man and tell him that I am going to call the police. It worked.

    Be wise, be careful. I know that Qatar is a safe country, as is GCC area in general, but things happen. Think Western, think street smart. Have an emergency/police number stored in your phone. It's much easier to find it in the contact list than remember the number when you are in such situation. Don't freak out and panic. It's easier to attack someone who's in a state of a shock than someone who fights back. Never, ever give in! Resistance drives the attacker away.

    And if something like this happens to you - try to remember as many details as you can, and always, ALWAYS report it to the police. A lot of girls feel shy and embarrased to talk about it, but there is nothing to be ashamed of. The attackers should be ashamed (lashed, castrated, imprisoned, executed, etc), and NOT YOU! If you don't report, the pervert will go on attacking other girls.

    Another thing: here in the Middle East be prepared to be questioned by the police and answer all sorts of weird questions. My friend was asked whether she is single or married, and as she is single the police officer wondered how she knew what penis looked like! Be polite and answer the questions as they come without getting agitated and hostile. I know it's not easy given the circumstances, but the police are there to help you and since you are in this country you will therefore have to deal with the cultural differences.

    I hope nothing like this will happen to you or anyone else. I also hope that if it does you will be alert and smart and if we all start fighting back - these pervs will think twice before messing with us, girls!
    posted by Bravecat @ 9:32 pm   20 comments
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