Q8 Bookstore Mural

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

In honor of Q8 Bookstores one year anniversary, graffiti artist Monstariam created a mural for the store. The video above is the making of that mural. If you haven’t been to the Q8 Bookstore before or don’t know what it is, check out this [Link]

q8booksmural


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Long term parking at the airport

Posted by Mark

longtermparking

I’m heading to Beirut for the weekend for my younger brothers wedding and I feel pretty lucky since I managed to park in the long term parking lot.

The lot was actually full but like I usually do I just waited outside the parking entrance and hoped that someone would leave so I could take their spot. I wasn’t expecting to find parking today and was planning to park in the short term parking as plan B but, the parking attendant came and told me he had a spot in the back but I would have to park on the curb. I didn’t have an issue with that and so he removed the temporary barriers blocking the parking entrance and once I was in led the way to the back. I was planning to just climb the curb and park but it seems they wanted to utilize that space properly so he made me park to one side so there would still be a spot on the curb for someone else. The more cars he can help park, the more tips he will make.

According to the parking attendant the long term parking has been full for the past three days so if you’re planning to park your car at the airport expect to find the long term parking full. Your alternatives are the short term parking lot (I think it’s KD4 a day) or the cargo terminal parking lot which is free but a pretty long walk.

Note: Photo captured from my snapchat


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Auditions: Cinderella – A Family Pantomime

Posted by Mark

cinderella

Staged in Kuwait are having rehearsals for their first scripted show of the season. If you’re interested in auditioning, check out the info below:

Our family favourite, the Christmas panto is back at the fabulous 400 seater, Performing Arts Centre, TES, Salmiya this December. (Dec. 3rd – 6th)

We are looking for a host of characters to bring this glittering story to life. Are you an utterly Ugly Sister, a charming Prince, a sinfully sweet Cinderella, a bumbling Baron, or a beastly Baroness? Maybe a fluffy fairy or a dashing duke?

We have a wide array of parts on offer for men and women of all ages (18+) and just need you to come and show us what you’ve got! We also need an ensemble of singers/dancers so if you don’t feel ready to step into a speaking role don’t be shy – come and try out for the chorus.

Whether you have performed in a panto before or not, we guarantee that SIK pantos are always a huge amount of fun, both in rehearsal and in performance. Come and try out this week!

When: Wednesday October 1st: 7pm – 9pm
Location: The SIK Studio, Fintas (Details and map)

What should I prepare?
You don’t need to prepare anything but please come ready to learn a few simple dance steps (comfy clothes) and sing. Those wishing to audition for principal parts will be asked to read scenes from the script.

More details [Here]


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Meet the Rally Fighter

Posted by Mark

rallyfighter1

The Rally Fighter is a badass looking car designed and built by the US company Local Motors. It was recently featured in the latest Transformers movie, in Jay Leno’s Garage, Top Gear and it’s also in Forza Horizon 2 which comes out today on the Xbox One. It’s a very rare car and we are lucky to have two in Kuwait (same owner). I first found out about the Rally Fighters coming to Kuwait by mistake, back at the end of 2013 Local Motors posted a video on YouTube in which they mentioned they were building two cars for a client in Kuwait and then in a second video they mentioned that Rally Fighter cars might end up being built in Kuwait as well. I posted those two videos and luckily for me the owner of the two cars also happens to read my blog. He contacted me right after I posted the first video and told me he’d let me in on the whole story as well as let me take one of the cars out for a spin once they arrived. Fast forward to last week and I finally got the call to take one of the cars out.

rallyfighter2

The Rally Fighter isn’t a mass produced car, it’s kind of a kit car but not really and there is nothing on the road that looks like it. The Rally Fighter looks like a car from Mad Max or a car that was built out of other cars right after a world apocalypse. Calling it badass is really an understatement. The car is pretty high off the ground and has large tires so if you’re not tall, getting into it will be an accomplishment. When I first got in the first thing I noticed was how poor the visibility was. Right in front of me I had the front left car pillar which would usually be located further left and out of my direct line of sight. Because the pillar was right in front of me it made the car feel claustrophobic and the whole seating position didn’t help either. The foot pedals were really far away and I had to move the seat pretty close to the steering wheel to be able to touch them and I’m 6’1 so shorter people would definitely have issues. The steering wheel also wasn’t very adjustable and in my seating position I couldn’t see the speedometer because the steering wheel was covering it. This proved to be an issue on the highway when I was struggling not to speed and get caught by the cameras. The foot pedals were also pretty far apart so the natural way to drive the car is one foot on the brake and the other on the gas like a proper rally driver.

rallyfighter3

I picked up the car from Starbucks in Bida’a and headed from there out towards my favorite spot in the desert so I could take some photos. The Rally Fighter has a V8 6.2L 430HP engine so trying to keep it from exceeding 120km/h on the highway was difficult. What made the task even harder was that I couldn’t really see how fast I was going because the steering wheel was covering the speedometer. The ride to my spot was long and this is definitely not a car I would want to take on long highway trips. It was a hot day and the AC couldn’t keep up so it was pretty warm in the car, I would hate to be driving this in the middle of July. The interior is pretty barebones and feels cheap. They ordered a carbon fiber trim but that turned out to be carbon fiber stickers which were haphazardly stuck on the dashboard. The leather trim on top of the dashboard had already separated from the dashboard because of the heat and the windows left a gap at the top which not only let in hot air from the outside but would also let in rain come winter. The interior felt like a kit car even though the car isn’t priced like one (more on that later). While the car looked great from the outside the interior was so bland that I had trouble trying to capture a nice shot of it. The car is a two door but it does have rear seats although it’s made for kids since any adult sitting the back would either hit their head on the rear window or the roll cage.

rallyfighter4

I’ve driven quite a few interesting cars and been in even more but I’ve never driven one or been in one that garnered as much attention as the Rally Fighter. Cars were literally hovering around me from every angle on the highway trying to record video or take photos of it. I’m fairly positive there is a video of me on YouTube driving the car. It sticks out on the road like a soar thumb and no one has any idea what the hell it is. This brings me to the next subject on why I think the price is crazy yet not so crazy as well. The base price of the car starts at around $100,000. With the options, shipping and registration in Kuwait you’ll end up paying around KD40,000. For that price you could pick up both a Porsche Cayman and a Ford Raptor (which is just as capable off-road) so yeah I do think 40K is over priced. But, there is another way to look at this as well. This isn’t an everyday car, this isn’t a car you’ll trade in your comfy saloon for, this is a car built with a specific task and so it’s a rich mans toy, it’s your third or forth car. I don’t know of any other car at this price range or less that captures as much attention as this, maybe the KTM Xbow or the Aerial Atom but there really aren’t that many. In a market where no one gives a Ferrari or McLaren a second glance, the Rally Fighter with all the attention is gets seems like good value at 40K. But, the owner seems to think the car isn’t ready for the GCC market just yet which is why he’s abandoned plans of opening a Rally Fighter factory in Kuwait.


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Emu roaming the streets

Posted by Mark

So random. [YouTube]

ostrich

Thanks Fajer


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How much do instagrammers get paid?

Posted by Mark

instagramcelebs

Ever been curious to know how much local instagrammers get paid to post adverts on their accounts? Well then here are a few of the most popular ones and how much they charge per post:

@7amadqalam (323,250 followers) KD400
@abdullahboftain (75,180 followers) KD450
@ahmad_asb (134,700 followers) KD450
@alimubarak1 (68,152 followers) KD450
@ameralshaibani (204,455 followers) KD450
@ascia_akf (1,005,559 followers) KD850
@azizbader (497,708 followers) KD850
@basharnoo (342,316 followers) KD400
@batoul_alkandari (224,233 followers) KD450
@bb_alabdulmohsen (59,123 followers) KD350
@dalalid (866,687 followers) KD850
@daneeda_t (358,396 followers) KD450
@dr_shammat (887,156 followers) KD750
@elham_alfedhalah74 (1,758,795 followers) KD900
@faisalalbasri (474,132 followers) KD850
@fawaz_alfahad (111,874 followers) KD400
@groupwanasah_ (444,647 followers) KD350
@hayaalshuaibi_79 (814,972 followers) KD700
@kaftanusman (516,835 followers) KD500
@nohastyleicon (811,541 followers) KD850
@omaralothman (92,482 followers) KD500
@thedietninja (351,952 followers) KD550
@therealfouz (216,096 followers) KD500
@theveeview (631,973 followers) KD500
@yousif_alblooshi (171,520 followers) KD350
@ygolsharifi (238,247 followers) KD450
@zori_ashkanani (327,100 followers) KD400


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A Letter from my Dad

Posted by Mark

letterfromdadsmall

A girl called Grace has shared a letter from her dad written during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Items from the 1990 invasion always interest me but this specific letter offers a little glimpse of life of an American trapped in Kuwait during that time.

Check out the letter in a larger format [Here]


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My iPhone 6 Review

Posted by Mark

iphone6-2

I got a surprise phone call from Geant earlier in the month. At first I thought it might have something to do with the comments under my post from the previous day on customer service in Kuwait but it turned out to be unrelated. Instead, someone over the phone wanted to give me an iPhone 6 to review for the blog and the timing couldn’t have been better since I was thinking of pre-ordering one the following day from the Apple store website. At first I thought it was a bit odd that Geant was the one calling me up this year to review the iPhone since the previous years have always been electronics stores but then again, I’ve bought countless electronics from Geant myself without realizing it, my TV, two printers, a scanner and a bunch of external hard drives and memory sticks. So once they got the phones last week, I passed by their 360 Mall branch and picked up my unit.

I’m not going to go into the specifics of the phone since there are a million websites out there who have reviewed the phone thoroughly. Not only that but I don’t think majority of the people care if the battery lasts an extra hour or if the screen is slightly sharper or at least I don’t. The improvements year by year aren’t as drastic as they once were and I was perfectly happy with my iPhone 5 (not even an S) even though it was scratched up, dented and one of the volume buttons did’t work. The only reason I wanted to upgrade my phone was because the app 1Password would now unlock using my fingerprint and that would save me so much time instead of having to type out my very long and complicated master password.

iphone6-3

When I first picked up the iPhone 6 last week my first reaction was oh no, they accidentally gave me the larger iPhone 6 Plus. Compared to the iPhone 5, the iPhone 6 looks and feels huge. I liked the size of the iPhone 5 and I really don’t need a larger screen and I definitely don’t need a larger phone. Even though I’ve gotten used to the size of the phone now I still think Apple should have kept the previous screen size. Navigating the phone with one hand is a lot more difficult now even though you can double tap the home key and have the whole screen shift down closer to your thumb. That’s an extra step I didn’t need before. My biggest concern though was if it would fit in my shorts. My running and cycling shorts have a small pocket in the back where I put my iPhone in so I could listen to music while exercising. It was already a pretty tight fit with the iPhone 5 so I was worried the iPhone 6 wouldn’t fit and that would be a deal breaker for me #firstworldproblems. Luckily, my shorts use a stretchy material for the pocket so the iPhone 6 fit without issues.

Size aside everything else is fairly similar. The camera is slightly better the screen is a bit sharper, the battery life a bit better and compared to my iPhone 5, the phone definitely feels a lot faster. The only other major difference compared to the previous iPhone is the way it looks. It’s a much more slicker looking iPhone this year, it’s curvy and more comfortable to hold in your hands but I also feels it looks very generic and lacks the character of the previous generations. As I mentioned earlier, my iPhone 5 is just covered in dents and scratches, it had taken a lot of abuse from me and somehow I only cracked the screen once. I’m not very sure how much abuse the new iPhone will take, my gut tells me I’m going to end up cracking the screen very soon but hopefully that’s not the case.

iphone6-1

Do I like the iPhone 6?
Yes I do, I do wish it was smaller but I’m getting used to this size. On the main home screen I’ve moved the apps I use the most to the lower half of the screen for easy access and I’m getting the hang of the double tap for reachability feature.

Should you upgrade from an iPhone 5S?
No, you don’t need to. The biggest feature I’m using with my iPhone 6 is the fingerprint scanner and the 5S has that.

Should you upgrade from an iPhone 5?
No, you don’t need to, not unless you need the fingerprint scanner.

Should you upgrade if you own anything older than an iPhone 5?
You don’t but you probably should, the speed difference is considerable, the newer cameras are much better, your battery is probably getting old by now and not holding a charge like it once used to and iOS8 needs one of the newer phones to run reasonably well.

Geant are selling the iPhone 6 starting at KD269.990 for the 16GB, KD299.990 for the 64Gb and KD369.990 for the 128GB. I think 64GB is the best size, 16GB is just too small and 128GB too big unless you’re never deleting your photos and videos from your phone. The iPhone 6 Plus is more expensive, they start at KD399.990 for the 16GB, KD449.990 for the 64Gb and KD489.990 for the 128GB. No one under the age of 60 should be getting an iPhone 6 Plus, if you want a tablet get an iPad mini and if you want a phone then get the iPhone 6.


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Police abusing a detainee on video

Posted by Mark

A short video has been circulating showing a police officer abusing a detainee at what looks to be a police station. The police officer is forcing the detainee to perform pushups before hitting him on his back and then kicking his stomach.

This isn’t the first time a video has popped up showing a cop abusing a detainee but it does come soon after the recent video of the cop insulting an expat woman on camera so the cop behind this might be made an example of. [YouTube]

policeabuse


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Excavator crashes through roof

Posted by Mark

excavator

A reader sent me a picture they took yesterday in Al Riggae in which an excavator that was demolishing a building from the roof down ended up falling through the building. No idea what happened to the operator of the excavator.

Demolishing buildings by placing an excavator on the roof is a common method in Kuwait and it obviously isn’t safe. But, there doesn’t seem to be a law against it and I’m sure the operators aren’t paid much to risk their lives. Below is a picture I had previously taken of an excavator demolishing a building from the roof just to give you a clearer idea of what I’m talking about.

excavatoronroof

Thanks Riba


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