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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
    30 September 2006
    Living in Qatar: Love or Hate?
    It is strange that I never blogged about my most interesting relationship of all. I am talking about my love/hate relationship with Qatar, of course.

    I've been living here for four years and therefore I am entitled to all the conclusions and generalisations. If u happen to disagree with me - fine, I don't pretend to be universally correct. What I hate you might love, but please don't feel the need to fight tooth and nail for it. You won't change my opinion just because yours is different. I would like to hear what you think, not why you think I am wrong.

    Part One - LOVE

    First and foremost - I love Qatar. I don't hate it. Unlike perhaps most expats I am not here to make money and go home. I live here because I choose to, not because I have no choice. Here is why:

    Qatar is a safe, clean and small country. I like small foreign countries :^) You tend to feel at home wherever you go. I feel safer here than pretty much everywhere else except back home.

    I love Qatar's multinational character. I meet people from all over the world. I don't necessarily have to get along with all these people, but I like the fact that they are here. I believe being multinational is one of Qatar's best features. My friends come from five different continents and it's quite amazing.

    I love that Qatar is a young country and that I can watch it grow at an unbelievable pace. I have the photographs of the Corniche of 4 years ago and I have a lot of fun comparing them with today's Corniche. People who know Doha will know what I am talking about ;-)

    Qatar ATP and WTA tournaments. As a tennis junkie I feel really blessed that I can go and watch the greatest players of the world play the greatest game in the world - for free. Incredible.

    Great experience career-wise. International corporation I work for looks great on my CV. Woot!

    Arabian horses that I even got a chance to ride. They are amazing. I love all the equestrian events in Qatar and I am glad I had an opportunity to take part in some of them, including the marathon.

    I like being exposed to local culture and traditions. Everything is so interesting! Yes so I might not agree with or understand it all, but it's so fascinating! I love Arabic food... I was thinking of putting the food in a separate category but I am on diet so I won't go ranting about the food - it'll make me hungry.

    Hotels and shopping malls. Yes I do like them. And I like the restaurants in the hotels, too. I also like being able to shop for absolutely everything under one roof. I love the service in the hotels and malls.

    I absolutely love the fact that I can afford certain luxuries which I couldn't afford back home. I don't have to do almost any housework here - it's such a blessing! I hate housework. It costs almost nothing to have your house cleaned and your clothes ironed. Paradise for a lazy cat!

    Qatar is very conveniently located. It's so close to everywhere! Travelling almost anywhere from Qatar is quite easy. Of course America and Australia are still far but hey, these places are far from absolutely everywhere! And Australia is definitely closer than it used to be, lol. I want to go there sometime soon.

    I love the weather in winter. From October to May the weather is fantastic. Summer heat is compensated by wonderful mild winters. I don't have any winter clothes anymore, yay! I hate rain and thankfully there isn't much of that here. I think last year it rained less than 5 times. Awesome.

    Our new forum, Qatar Blah Blah. I love it!

    Petrol in Qatar is cheaper than water. I love driving and I love my car, so cheap petrol comes handy. Cars are way more affordable here as well, great.

    I made a lot of friends here. Met a lot of great people. You know who you are. Qatar brought us together and for that I am grateful.

    My minion Penguin. He's Qatari so he reminded me that I have to put him on the list! <3


    To be continued... I still have to write about what I hate :P
    posted by Bravecat @ 6:20 pm   25 comments
    22 September 2006
    What do you mean I am not blogging?


    And what am I doing right now, uh? I'm blogging! As in writing a new blog post. Get off my back already!! :-P

    Those who miss me so much that they can't wait for four (!!!) days for a new post - look me up on our new forum aptly named Qatar Blah Blah (QBB).

    I wanted to write about many things. I wanted to write about the Pope incident. I even thought of a title, "To Pope or not to Pope", preferably pronounced with a French accent. Then I realised that I couldn't be objective, and there was no way I could possibly write a post like that without pissing a lot of people off... and I just wasn't in the mood for an argument. So I didn't write about the Pope.
    Then I wanted to write about Ramadan and how to survive it, but I delegated the task to someone else who will do it much better, so come back for an update and the link.
    I thought of writing a whole post dedicated to the place I live in, and why I like living here, and I didn't find any reasons why not - so I probably will, very soon. Maybe in my very next post. Yeah I guess that will be it - a post dedicated to Qatar and Doha.

    But for now I am a little busy with many things on my agenda. I am not really used to being absolutely swamped at work and staying late almost every day. It does kick me off balance and when I come home all I want to do is curl on the sofa and doze off while watching some irrelevant stuff on telly. I hope I will tune in this new schedule and become my usual cheery and sarcastic self. My friends are already wondering why I stopped writing controversial posts!! Like, huh?

    Current mood: dreamy
    Listening to: Dima Bilan "Never Let You Go"
    *Winking at Clayfuture - no, I didn't pick up your tune this time :P
    posted by Bravecat @ 12:15 pm   9 comments
    18 September 2006
    I want to be a gay man
    Here is a conversation I had with my friend Midge on Yahoo messenger few minutes ago. I thought I'd share it.

    Cat: http://corporealdream.blogspot.com/

    Cat: scroll to "Ah Crap"

    Midget: ok

    Cat: and read the boyfriend's answer too

    Cat: I want a gay boyfriend

    Cat: they have feelings

    Midget: ok

    Midget: Really

    Cat: read!!

    Cat: they WORRY what their partner thinks of them!

    Cat: they are so sweet

    Midget: AHHHHH!

    Cat: I have to be a gay man then I can have one of these guys!

    Cat: or someone just like them

    Midget: I know

    Cat: read their comments to each other?

    Midget: I am

    Midget: I want to be a gay man

    Cat: I want to be a gay man

    Cat: lets be gay men

    Midget: Ok

    Midget: How do we start?

    Cat: leave the country

    Midget: I guess so

    Cat: this here place isn't gay friendly

    Cat: we go to Canada

    Midget: That's true

    Midget: We could!

    Cat: yes

    Midget: There we can be gay and proud

    Cat: there we could meet other uninhibited, unrepressed gay men

    Cat: yes

    Cat: like these two

    Midget: That would be fantastic

    Cat: I wouldn't date you tho

    Midget: Well than we would just be lesbians

    Cat: brings back too many repressive memories

    Cat: exactly

    Midget: I want to be a gay man

    Cat: I don't want to be a lesbian

    Midget: Neither do I

    Midget: I want to be a gay man

    Cat: ok I am off writing a gay man post

    Midget: Me too

    Midget: Whats the link again

    Cat: what is the title of your post?

    Midget: I want to be a Gay man

    Cat: www.MidgeIsaDork.com

    Cat: that was supposed to be my title!

    Cat: http://corporealdream.blogspot.com/


    ;-)

    PS. Check out Midge's post on the same subject.
    posted by Bravecat @ 11:48 am   22 comments
    17 September 2006
    Ole Μάρκος Παγδατής!!


    Marcos Baghdatis has just won his first career title! Baghdatis is the only tennis player from Cyprus EVER to become a pro and win an ATP title! If all goes well he has good chances of playing in the Masters Cup. Only the best 8 players of the year get a chance to compete in the Masters Cup. So far only Rafa and Roger are certain to be among the 8. Marcos is currently ranked 9th in the world.


    "It's my first title, it's very, very cool," said Baghdatis. "I played a great match today. It's amazing I'm very happy."

    Yay! Marcos you make us proud!
    posted by Bravecat @ 8:57 pm   11 comments
    13 September 2006
    New Place


    Following a rather nasty conflict on QatarLiving a bunch of us oldies decided it was time to part our ways.

    I used to like QatarLiving. Qatari (that's his actual nickname), the owner of the site, is very talented and built up a fantastic place. After a few months there it felt like home, some place you could just take your shoes off, relax and leave your worries at the door. I guess we got a bit too comfortable and forgot that it was, after all, a "community resourse". We stretched the boundaries. We had fun. We shared insider jokes and played pranks. We talked dirty at times and we hijacked threads out of pure boredom. The other users of the forum decided that we were too much for them. We agreed, apologised, got into our shoes and left.

    Now we can be found in a new place called Qatar Blah Blah. It's still under construction, we just got our proper domain Qatarblahblah registered and we will be busy working on it for a while ;-) All thanks to Her Fishyness!

    What is Qatar Blah Blah? I am not so sure yet as today was it's birthday. September 13, I like that. September is my favourite month and 13 is one hell of a number. Yay! One thing I am sure of is that it is not a "community resourse" nor is it a "family website". It is a website for people with sense of humour and a will to communicate. For people who have stories and jokes to tell. For people living in Qatar and people who've never been here. People with a relaxed attitude and people who won't be offended and annoyed by our behaviour. All are welcome. Come, have a look, see if the environment suits you. If it does - make yourself comfortable. If not - no hard feelings.
    posted by Bravecat @ 9:31 pm   11 comments
    11 September 2006
    What exactly do you mean by that?
    Yesterday I decided to take advantage of my ridiculously expensive club membership and actually go use it for once. I went to the beach at the Intercontinental. Now the club there is quite nice. There are better, but Intercon is more than adequate. Good facilities, good service, new fluffy towels. Gym, sauna, not a bad pool and a beach. People who are lazying by the pool or on the beach can usually be seen in swimwear. They get in the water, swim around a little bit, jump up and down, or maybe even sit on the bar chair half immersed in the water and have a drink. In order to enjoy a splash in the pool people would normally change their clothes in the changing room. Like, you know, take off the jeans and put on a bikini. That's what changing rooms are there for. Right? Changing rooms are naturally separate, one for ladies, one for gentlemen. Intercon is no exception. Imagine my surprise when I walked in and saw THAT on the wall of the changing room:





    That made me think. I mean I don't want to offend any local customs with my Western infidel ignorance. So here are the options I came up with for ladies who wish to use the Intercon pool and beach.

    1. Don't go to the Intercon beach. By frolicking in your bikini on the beach you already offend local customs. Play safe and go swim in your bathtub instead.
    2. If you absolutely have to go to the beach, fine, but keep your clothes on (very popular option here by the way). There is also no need to get in the water. It's probably just as hot as air anyway.
    3. If the fully clothed option doesn't cut it for you - fine, wear your swimming suit, but put it on at home. The drawback is that you'll either have to wait till your bikini dries out before you dress up and leave, or you drive home dripping wet. I suggest you nick one of those fluffy towels to put on your car seat.
    4. You may also change in the total privacy of the toilet cubicle. Of course your stuff may end up IN the toilet but that's a minor drawback - at least you're not offending any local customs. And you don't want to mess with local customs, trust me.
    5. Now if you still insist on using the changing room to change your clothes, make sure that you are the only one there. It's ok if there are other foreign ladies in it as long as they are not wearing abayas/headscarves. Abaya is a dead giveaway that the lady may have customs which will be offended by your blatant display of body parts.
    6. In the presence of abaya clad ladies you'll have to discover the muscles in your body you never knew existed. Why? Try taking your underwear off and putting your bikini on fully clothed.

    7. Or maybe the ladies with sensitive customs could simply TURN THE OTHER WAY?? That's what we do when someone else is changing in the same room. How hard is that?

    Then of course maybe that's exactly what the notice means? That we shouldn't stare? Somehow I don't think so, but I'll give it a benefit of a doubt ;-)
    posted by Bravecat @ 5:47 pm   20 comments
    10 September 2006
    Tennis update for Midget
    So she proved once again that she's not just a pretty face. And she walked away with US$ 1.7 million in prize money. She's got the looks, she's got the style and she's got the game. That's more than enough reasons to hate Shara. But how can you hate a girl who comes up with this at a press conference following her US Open triumph? -

    "I believe, at the end of the day, personally, my life is not about a banana."

    ;-)


    As for the guys, tonight there will be a dream final clash between Federer and Roddick. Roddick, himself a champion in New York in 2003, is rumoured to be romantically involved with Shara. Thus the joke: "Doing another Grand Slam winner is like winning another Grand Slam". Both Shara and Roddick refuse to talk about their private lives though, so I can't really blame people for coming up with corny jokes. I hope Roddick wins tonight.

    Speaking of tennis jokes, there is a good reason why I love tennis press conferences. Enjoy!

    Q: Why do you think you didn’t win today?
    Rafael Nadal: Because I lost.

    Q: I wasn’t here the other night but you lost that set 6 Love to…
    Amelie Mauresmo: I don’t know what you are talking about.
    Q: People who I was sitting with were saying, “Oh, gosh, it’s the same old Mauresmo.” I know that’s insulting.
    Amelie Mauresmo: I still don’t know what you are talking about.

    Q: You’re pretty good friends with James. Do you guys really do anything in between tournaments, anything that’s extreme? I know Andy likes to go skydiving.
    Mardy Fish: Yeah, we don’t do that.

    Q: Who would win a boxing match between you and Nadal?
    Roger Federer: We’re not physical, the tennis players. We don’t like to touch each other.

    Q: Do you feel relief that playing Agassi is not going to happen?
    Andy Roddick: Obviously you want to play against your idols, but then again you don’t want to be the guy who shot Bambi.

    Q: Can you describe what you felt in the locker room?
    Andy Roddick: Was that before or after you guys knocked down the door to get in?

    Q:
    You look pretty happy.
    Andy Roddick:
    I am happy.
    Q:
    How is it a different way of playing?
    Andy Roddick:
    You guys are the analysts, you tell me.
    Q:
    You’re the player. We like to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
    Andy Roddick:
    That’s all right. Go buy a horse.
    posted by Bravecat @ 10:14 am   10 comments
    6 September 2006
    I hate rain!


    I generally don't like rain, but now I absolutely hate it! There was no tennis as it was completely washed out. Only one match was completed, that of Dementieva vs. Jankovic, and as I feared Dementieva didn't manage to hold on and lost ALL of her service games, with Jankovic marching on to the semis. Well done!

    So today the matches of Davydenko vs. Murray and Haas vs. Safin are to be completed, plus the rest of the round 4 ATP matches, 2 QF ATP matches, and 3 remaining WTA QF matches.

    Looks like Davydenko is going to win and Safin leads with a break in the first set. Goood going, boys! :D

    The first ATP quarterfinals are the matches of Nadal vs. Youzhny and Roddick vs. Hewitt. I say Nadal and Roddick, 4 sets each. Time will show ;-)

    P.S. Davydenko has in fact just won his match against Murray. Sorry Andy, better luck next year :P

    Results update: Nadal lost to Youzhny! Whoah! Way to go Mikhail! As much as I like Nadal - this is something pleasantly unexpected, and now I hope Youzhny goes to take out someone else as well before the final! Federer was in excellent form and won although Gicquel did make him run for a while. And Safin is an idiot. However, Shara won as expected, and in straight sets, good girl. She will play Mauresmo next, this match could go the distance and end either way. Fingers crossed the French will be watching the final on TV! Of course Henin-Hardenne won in straight sets as well. This one just doesn't go down.



    posted by Bravecat @ 7:41 pm   5 comments
    5 September 2006
    US Open - heating up!
    What a fabulous mess the US Open is this year! Major upsets and unbelievable victories. Some of them expected, some came as major surprises. Unseeded Russians Marat Safin (ex world #1, now ranked 104) and Mikhail Youzhny (ranked 54) upset Oliver Rochus (seeded 26) and Tommy Robredo (seeded 6) respectively and advanced to the fourth round (Safin) and quarters (Youzhny). Jelena Jankovic (19th seed) sent Kuznetsova (6th seed) packing, while Mauresmo finally lifted her "Williams jinx" and emerged victorious at the end of a loopsided three-setter, both winners advancing to the quarterfinals.

    WTA:

    All women quarterfinalists are now known, with two pairs clashing tonight for the places in the semis. All four top seeds made it to the quarters. Here are the magnificent four and their worthy opponents:

    Mauresmo(1) vs. Safina(12)
    Henin-Hardenne(2) vs. Davenport(10)
    Sharapova(3) vs. Golovin(27)
    Dementieva(4) vs. Jankovic(19)

    I am wary of predicting the outcomes of those matches, but I will do my best. With Russian players in 3 out of 4 quarters it easy to say who I will be supporting! ;-)

    1. Mauresmo looks more solid than Safina and has a winning record against her, but I wouldn't underestimate the Russian. Mauresmo is prone to panicking on court while Safina is capable of putting her fears behind her and just grinding on and getting out of hopeless situations. However, Mauresmo has been doing extremely well lately and her top ranking is well deserved. My money is definitely on the French woman but I'll be rooting for the Russian (of course).

    2. Henin vs. Davenport - now this is something to chuckle about. I dislike both immensely (for my own reasons which have little to do with their game), and I am happy they are pitted against each other. I will be happy when one of them goes down, and I hope it's Henin. Although this is highly unlikely and my bet is on her moving on to semis, especially knowing that the Belgian won their last 6 encounters. I will root for Davenport because she gets the crowds going and is putting a fantastic show for the fans in the USA. It is great that an American woman is in the quarters of the US Open, especially now after Agassi's departure.

    3. Sharapova and Golovin are two teenagers who are very capable; although Shara leads with three wins to none their last clash could have gone either way if the French hadn't retired in the third set. Shara is definitely the stronger of the two and she is in a great form right now. I would think it unlikely that she will lose to Golovin, and I root for Shara all the way! Hope she wears her little black sparkly number, she's an eye candy as well as an awesome player. Eat your heart out, Kournikova!

    4. Dementieva and Jankovic... oh my, oh my. If Dementieva sorts her serve out then Jankovic will be sent home early. Unfortunately, Dementieva is uncapable of serving and this match can go either way. Jankovic already took out a couple of top ten players on her way to the quarters, and I won't be surprised if Dementieva falls. I root for the Russian, I bet on the Serb.

    ATP:

    Not all fourth round games have been completed, and today's matches (weather permitting) will determine the remaining four quarterfinalists. Therefore I will leave the quarterfinals predictions for tomorrow and talk a little about the remaining fourth round hopefuls.

    1. Federer(1) vs. Gicquel. Federer will deliver the goods. I root for the underdog!
    2. Berdych(12) vs. Blake(5) - I really like Berdych and his game is improving rapidly. I can't make up my mind on Blake though, as I have said earlier it's great to have American players at this stage of the tournament, and with the crowd backing Blake I think he should take the quarters spot. I root for the Czech.
    3. Murray(17) vs. Davydenko(7). The British hope pitted against the most understated and least known top ten guy in ATP. This will be an interesting match, and I like both players therefore I won't root against any, and I will be happy whoever makes it to the quarters. Murray has the vibe, Davydenko has the nerve. Lets see ;-)
    4. Haas(14) vs. Safin. Wow. Haas has come out on top after a blockbuster match with Ginepri yesterday, a five setter that ended in a tiebreak (and heartbreak for Ginepri camp). With Ginepri's departure there are only 3 Americans (there's also Roddick) left standing. Haas will be tired and sore, and he wasn't feeling great by the end of the match so I don't think he can outplay the Russian who is getting his game back. Safin beat his nemesis Rochus in straight sets to get to the fourth round, and I think it will take a better opponent than Haas to stop him in his tracks. A little unfair on Haas, but then hey, I can be wrong! I root for Safin all the way.

    The guys who made it to the quarters already are Roddick(9) & Hewitt(15) who will play each other tomorrow, and Youzhny & Nadal(2). The ATP quarterfinals review and predictions coming up tomorrow.

    And I don't care who says what :P :P
    posted by Bravecat @ 10:44 am   13 comments
    3 September 2006
    Happy Birthday to Me - updated



    You should have seen me in an enormous Mexican hat with an ice cream dessert in front of me, skinny single candle sticking out of it, and serenaded by a very loud band of Latin singers.... THANK YOU Midget! I'll get you for it, you just wait!!

    UPDATE:

    I can't believe I didn't get any scrunchies! And just to think that 3 (that's THREE) people promised that they would get me some. This is simply unacceptable :P :P

    Instead I got a whopping 2 items out of the suggested gift list! Namely, a dinner at the Diplomatic Club (thanks!!) and a funky Bluetooth headset thingy - it rocks, thank you!

    I did NOT get a diamond incrusted mobile (tsk tsk tsk), and I didn't get a trip anywhere. I did however get a goodie bag from Lush - now the whole upper floor of my villa smells like strawberries, yum!

    =^..^=
    posted by Bravecat @ 11:07 am   28 comments
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