Photos of the Red Arrows in Kuwait

Post by Mark


The RAF Red Arrows put on a show near the Kuwait Towers this past Monday and I saw some great photos yesterday taken by Dherar Al-Rashoud. The one above is my favorite of the bunch but you can check out all his pictures [Here]

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What it’s like owning a classic car

Post by Mark


I’ve been getting a lot of people asking me if owning an old car is a pain in the ass. Like how difficult is it to maintain? Is it reliable? How practical it is as a daily driver? I got my Datsun back in April and I’ve been driving it every day since, so I think I’m now qualified enough to answer some of those questions.

Classic Cars Expectations
First thing you need to do is manage your expectations with the car. You’re not buying a brand new car off the dealership lot so you need know that the car won’t be perfect. My car for example has a bunch of quirks if I can put it nicely, here are some of them:

– I need a new gearbox, right now my gears jump to neutral randomly when in 1st, 3rd or 5th gear. New gearbox with installation will cost me just KD150, but I’m not in the mood to get it done because end of the day my gearbox is working fine, it’s just a bit annoying. I’ve got a temp fix right now which is, whenever I am in one of those gears, I just keep my hand on the gear knob so it doesn’t jump out of place and it works. Simple.

– When I close my drivers door it automatically locks. So I ALWAYS make sure the keys are with me before exiting the car.

– When I fill up gas I spend the rest of the day inhaling gas fumes in the car.

– Speaking of fumes, if I have one window open, the cars internal air pressure changes and starts pulling in exhaust fumes from the rear. So I need to either have both windows rolled up or both windows down. So if a passenger rolls down their window I roll down mine, if they roll there’s up, I roll mine up. No biggie.

– When I go through a drive-thru car wash I get soaked a little while sitting inside the car. It leaks water from on top of the door and it’s not because of the rubber seals which I’ve already replaced. The car is just so old that the body has warped a bit and so the doors and rear hatch don’t properly seal.

– It’s really loud, old cars had no sound insulation and I can’t really converse with anyone inside the car. The sound of the road, wind, engine and exhaust just doesn’t make it possible.

These are just some of the “quirks” and I’ve got a bunch more. So when you get an old car expect there to be weird issues. My car is 43 years old and I’ve accepted all the issues that came with it and they don’t bother me at all.

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Flying Drones Over Homes Now Illegal

Post by Mark


Governments all over the world are still trying to figure out how to control the use of drones due to their rising popularity, and Kuwait is no different. Early this year I shared a proposal by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on limiting the use of drones in Kuwait. One of their proposals was to ban the use of drones over congested areas or private properties and it seems this is now officially a law. According to a new article on the MOI website, they state that it’s now against the law to fly drones over homes or other private properties which don’t belong to you. Violating this law will result in either a prison sentence of up to 3 years, a KD3,000 fine, or both.

Personally, I have mixed feelings against this law. I can certainly understand where they’re coming from, it would be fairly easy to spy on people using drones and I’m sure a lot of “voyuerists” are already doing this. But, I don’t really like the idea of banning everyone from flying drones because some people are misusing it. That would be like banning all telescopes because some people use it to spy on their neighbors. I would prefer they punish abusers severely and let everybody else continue to fly drones wherever they want. But since this is Kuwait and law enforcement isn’t that great, then it makes sense to just ban everyone since that would be easier option of the two to enforce.

The article on the MOI website is only available in Arabic and I haven’t been able to find an English version of it yet. The english articles on the MOI website haven’t been updated since May for some reason, so if you can’t read Arabic you’re going to have use Google Translate like I did. Here is the [Link]

Thanks Adly!

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Coffee Corner: What makes good coffee good?

Post by Grant Mouton


In my previous articles (“My coffee is cold” and “This coffee is too expensive”), I touched base on how temperature affects your perception of flavour as well as pointing out that coffee is in fact under–priced. Today I’ll be taking all of you avid coffee drinkers a little bit deeper by answering a simple question: “What constitutes a good cup of coffee?”

Coffee seems to be a simple thing – but I can assure you that there is a whole lot happening behind the scenes that many are unaware of. To try and keep you, the readers, enthralled; I will divide this segment into the following:

• What makes a one coffee bean better than the rest
• What sets baristas apart
• How can I tell if my coffee was good?


What makes one coffee bean better than the rest:
Plants are funny things, temperamental at the best times. Now, I am no botanist, but I have had my fair share of veggie patches as well as a once glorious Bonsai collection in the past.

Let us begin with the anatomy of the coffee tree. The coffee “bean” as we all call it is in fact a seed. This seed is no different to other plants’ seeds in that it is responsible for the plants reproduction. Plants do a wonderful thing when they are stressed due to lack of rainfall or thin air as a result of high altitudes or other stressful situations. Plants, when under certain stressors put extra energy into producing more, stronger seeds. The reason for this is that is the mother plant wants their offspring to be stronger and healthier with a better chance of survival, perhaps for them to even flourish. This touching act that is written into the DNA of the plant ends up benefitting the ever consuming human -it results in a mother plant putting extra energy into its fruits and seeds which results in a better coffee experience for us. This phenomenon is not exclusive to coffee – it has long been observed in grapes. Another thing that helps is biodiversity. As with all plants, the higher the biodiversity, the more effective pollination occurs which also results in better fruits.

So we now know that weather conditions can affect the coffee and that some of the best coffee is grown at high altitudes. There is also a trend in bean flavours that shows the higher the coffee is grown, the fruitier and more floral the taste will be. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule. Many other factors can contribute to the flavour of coffee, i.e. What sub-varietal is the plant? What was the processing method?

I want to highlight the importance of processing. This is the method whereby the seeds are removed from the cherry and dried. It is crucial to the quality of the bean that utmost care is taken at this step to avoid rot, leaching of flavours and the removal of defects.

So you are looking for a tree grown on the correct slope (sunlight) in a biodiverse area that is high enough above sea level and also processed correctly. Not asking for much, right? If a bean doesn’t tick all the boxes, it won’t taste good.


What sets baristas apart?
A good barista has attention to detail that is borderline OCD. The reason for this is that when you are working with the temperatures and pressures they do, it is easy to ruin a cup of coffee by extracting for 1 second too long or too short. Making sure the coffee grind size is not too coarse or too fine, they need to be consistent with tamping (packing the coffee into the portafilter) and rinsing the machine’s groupheads etc..

There is so much going on that the barista needs to pay careful attention using all of their senses during each step of making the coffee, or you’ll be left quite literally with a bitter taste in your mouth.

They are on the frontline of the early morning assault on tiredness. Getting up before you do to ready the shop – calibrating machines before you’ve even had your first stretch! These champions of coffee use all their senses for each cup to ensure a great end product for you. I am forever grateful for them.

How can I tell if my coffee is good?
This is probably the simplest topic I will discuss. Your coffee is good if you enjoyed it. Sometimes it’s just a matter of taste – and tastes differ. Sometimes you want more, you what to strike a conversation or bask in the ambience of the store. It all boils down to your enjoyment. If you enjoyed it, then it was good!

Keep sipping!

Post by Grant Mouton
Self–proclaimed coffee guru, coffee education addict, SCAA/SCAE accredited.
Brand manager at % Arabica.

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Oh no, another rat

Post by Mark

This video was taken yesterday…


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My Abandoned Apple Store Photos are Popular Again

Post by Mark


Back before the iPod came out and Apple became popular, there was an Apple store located across the street from Salhiya. As a teenager I used to walk by the store and dream about owning a Power Mac which I thought back then was one of the hottest looking computers on the market. Fast forward around a decade later and that Apple store was abandoned. I ended up taking some photos of it in that abandoned state and published them online as part of my Miskan project. The photos got picked up by the likes of Engadget and Gizmodo since the store was like a time capsule. After my 15 seconds of fame that was it.. until this week.

Somehow the photos have started making their rounds around the internet again, they first got posted on reddit and then the popular YouTuber EverythingApplePro who has like 3 million subscribers shared the photos in his latest video. Gotta love the internet. My pictures make it in his video above at the 2:10 mark but you can check out all the photos I had taken back then [Here]


I eventually ended up getting the vinyl ‘Think Different’ campaign banners that are in the photos. I still have them tucked away in my closet and from what I’ve been able to gather, they’re now worth a nice penny or two.

Thanks Salah!

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Home Cooking Made Easy with PantryBee

Post by Mark


PantryBee is a new local business that just soft launched over the weekend. It belongs to a friend of mine and it’s a concept similar to the popular Blue Apron except of course, its local. PantryBee is for people who love to cook or want to cook but aren’t that great at it (like myself). Every week they have a bunch of new meals available which you can order from and they’ll send you all the ingredients required for that meal in the exact quantity along with a step by step guide to help you make it.


They’re still in a soft launch phase so the menu is currently limited to just a few meals but nevertheless I love the idea. So check out their website [Here]

Update: Was just informed that they’ll always have 4 meals to choose from and they’ll eventually change every week, but currently they’ll change every two weeks while they work on improving operations and fixing kinks.

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Listen to This: Vote for FARI

Post by Amin Fari


With all the media hype over the elections on the streets of Kuwait and all the rage over president-elect Trump, I thought I’d take a crack at being a devious politician, too. With each one of the candidates making promising ideas and creating alliances for votes, I thought about sharing with you what I would promise if I were to run for office (in terms of music). I’ve been working in the Music industry since 2002, and feel like I’m at the very least, credible enough to have an opinion. So, if I were to run for the head of Culture & Arts to get my shot at the oval office, my campaign slogan would be: “We are going to bring back music and we are going to build a wall around it”. Even though it sounds outlandish and vague, unlike my other candidates, I am going to show you my plan.

First thing I would do in Office is to locate or create, a credible Art Fund that was financially generous when it came to experimenting with new ideas, like having musicians play at airports on arrival? Sure, why not. This Art Fund, think of it like a Bank, would see itself as the stimulus towards creating a music culture. Art Funds are not a new concept, there are plenty all over the world, but unlike them I would outsource media and events creation to third party companies. Because this is where Art Funds go bad. “But, why Amin?” you might ask, “Why not just keep it all in-house?” Because Art Funds often underestimate the amount of work and field experience that goes into properly executing Public Relations and Event Production. For example, the head secretary should not work as the ticket seller and host on the mic, too. Not outsourcing is usually what determines where an event falls on the fine line between what I like to call “small firework shows” (successful, fun events that bring in crowds, but don’t really go anywhere past that point) and symbolic strategic shows that are impactful or open to stimulate the economic growth of an industry. So, yes, outsource PR and Event Production to third party companies, and throw in a Talent Agency to collaborate with the PR and Event Production companies, and let the Art Fund focus on curating and investing in the Arts.

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My Favorite Podcasts

Post by Mark


Since its starting off as a very slow news week, I figured I’d post a list of my favorite podcasts to keep things moving. So here are my favorite podcasts in alphabetical order:

Car Talk
This is a show where two car mechanics get calls from people asking for car advice. A caller for example would call in and tell them my car is making a screeching sound when going down hill what could it be? And the two car mechanics try to figure out what the problem might be and give them advice on it. It’s a fun show if you’re into cars and I enjoy always trying to figure out the car issue myself and I have to say, I’m generally pretty good at it.

Chequered Flag Formula 1
There are only two sports I enjoy watching, Formula 1 and UFC and this single podcast fulfills all my F1 needs. It’s by the BBC and every race tends to have two podcasts per race, a preview of the race and then a review of it. The episodes are short and the hosts are fantastic but sadly, yesterday was the last F1 race of the season (and what an intense race it was) so this podcast is going to be dormant until the next season starts again.

Kill Tony (pictured on top)
By far my favorite podcast of the bunch. Kill Tony is a comedy show run by the comedian Tony Hinchcliffe. In the show, Tony randomly selects a name of an audience member from a hat (the audience members are young striving comedians) and they have to come up and do a stand up set for 60 seconds in front of Tony and his guests. Although many of the stand ups aren’t that funny, the show is ridiculously funny since Tony and his guests (who are popular comedians) roast the stand ups. Super funny stuff, like I laugh out loud while driving funny.

The Joe Rogan Experience
JRE I think was the first podcast I ever started listening to. Joe Rogan is a standup comedian (his new special is great), an actor (remember NewsRadio?), ex host of the Fear Factor, a UFC commentator and an ex Taekwondo champion. Like his life, his show covers various topics and so each episode he invites an interesting guest where they talk about different things. If you’re a UFC fan, Joe also hosts “Fight Companions” where he invites some friends over and they all sit and watch the UFC fights together while podcasting live.

The MMA Beat
The MMA Beat is my favorite MMA show. On the show they discuss all the current MMA related news and give their opinions on them. The show is usually composted of four journalists including my two favorites, Ariel Helwani and Luke Thomas.

The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani
This is probably the most popular MMA show, it comes out once a week and usually features interviews with fighters who are currently in the news or have a fight coming up or just had one.

I also follow a bunch of other podcasts but generally only listen to them if I have nothing else. They are:
Double Jump
It’s Time with Bruce Buffer
Luke Thomas Podcasts
The Church of What’s Happening Now with Joey Diaz
The Fighter & The Kid
UFC Unfiltered with Jim Norton and Matt Serra
You’re Welcome! with Chael Sonnen

What podcasts do you listen to?

I use the Overcast app to listen to my podcasts. Two things I like about it, the first is that it works with my CarPlay head unit, the second is that I can set how many seconds I want the seek back and seek forward buttons to be. So I have it set to go back 15 seconds when I click the rewind button and skip forward 60 seconds when I click the forward button.

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The Kuwait Business Center Works!

Post by Mark


This is just a quick follow up on my previous post on KBC. Back in October I posted about the new initiative by the Ministry of Commerce called Kuwait Business Center (KBC). They setup KBC to make it easy for individuals to establish a company in Kuwait by allowing them to apply for one online, and then just visit their offices once to sign some papers. Since I posted about KBC I’ve had two friends set up businesses using their services and they’ve lived up to their promise.

In both cases, setting up a company took around 10 days and just one visit to their main office in Ishbilia. The KBC staff according to my friends were also very nice and helpful. So if you’re planning to open up a company in Kuwait, this is currently the most efficient way to do so. Check out the KBC website [Here]

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