New at Al Shaheed Park

Post by Mark

Three new projects have opened up at Al Shaheed Park so I figured I’d list them all under one post (Their names below will take you to their instagram accounts):

lebres

Fayrouzeyat
The fine dining Lebanese restaurant Fayrouzeyat now have a location at Al Shaheed Park.They’re open from 10AM to 10PM daily.

readingroom

The Reading Room
The Reading Room is a gift shop and community work space brought to you by the creative ladies behind The Yard. They’re open daily from 9AM to 9PM except on Fridays when they’re open from 1PM to 8PM.

three
Photo by Inspired Edibles

Three & Barista
Finally, Three & Barista is a new coffee shop that will be opening next month. By the looks of their instagram they’ll also be serving food.


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Five Guys Opening this Sunday

Post by Mark

I just got confirmation that Five Guys will be opening this coming Sunday (May 22nd). Their first location in Kuwait is in Al Tijaria Tower right across from Al Shaheed Park. If you don’t know where that is, here is a link to [Google Maps]


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Claudio “Hannibal” Silva Will Represent Kuwait at UFC 201

Post by Mark

claudio2

I’m a huge UFC fan so I was excited to find out that Claudio Silva, the head coach at the local training facility Combat Athletics will be fighting on the UFC 201 card this coming July. Claudio is currently on an 11 fight win streak with the last two wins taking place in the UFC. Due to a bit of bad luck last year (he broke both his feet), he had to take a break from fighting so that he could recover. Now that he’s healed up he’s heading back to the UFC and will be facing off against the tough Siyar Bahadurzada.

silva

Claudio is currently in London until the end of the month before he heads to Miami for his 8 week fight camp with American Top Team. ATT is one of the top MMA camps that currently trains a bunch of popular fighters like current UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler as well as UFC fighters Hector Lombard, Junior Dos Santos and Glover Teixeira amongst a ton of others.

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Now the cool part about all of this is that Claudio will be carrying the Kuwaiti flag with him at the weigh-ins and during his walkout to the cage on fight night. If he wins I’m assuming he’ll also have it on him during the winners announcement. Should be a great fight and I’m looking forward to seeing Claudio walkout with the Kuwaiti flag while Joe Rogan tries to guess which country it’s from. UFC 201 will be held on July 30th and I’ll be posting a reminder a day or two before. If you’d like to support Claudio you can do so by following him on instagram where he’ll be sharing pictures and videos from his fight camp @claudiohannibalsilva


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Is your package ready to pick up at the post office? Find out online

Post by Mark

For those of you who’ve ever ordered anything by regular mail you know that once it arrives to Kuwait you can’t track it anymore. Usually you wait a few days and then head to the office to check and see if they’ve received it yet, if not you then have to come back again another time. Well thanks to a reader I found out that you can now track your package once it arrives to Kuwait via a web application that is intended only for MOC use. Here is the [Link]

Hopefully this website won’t get disabled now that its public. It makes life easier.


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Game Review: Doom

Post by Patrick

DOOM-B

Doom was one of those games that I wasn’t allowed to play when I was a kid but I did anyways. It was dark, atmospheric and kind of scary. The games were unique at that time and basically laid the foundation for future first person shooters. Since then Id software tried to recapture that magic with various other games like Doom 3 and RAGE but were never really were able to reach the heights of Doom I and II…until now.

There was some hesitation from fans when the new Doom was announced since the market was oversaturated with first person shooters and it would take something special for the new Doom to make a dent. The development history of the game was troublesome, Id Software had completed a Doom game, didn’t like what they had created and then restarted the development process from the beginning. So there were a lot of questions that needed answering, would the new developers be able to design levels as good as John Romero and co.? Would the new developers be able to create the same fast-paced action that were present in those original games? Would they try to create a more immersive narrative even though those older games didn’t really rely on one? Even then, would a first person shooter with a reliance on gameplay over narrative even succeed nowadays when narrative seems important to the consumer and the players?

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I was able to get my hands on Doom a few days before its official release and even though the multiplayer beta was disappointing, I was really looking forward to the single player campaign. As the games release date got closer, it was revealed that no review copies were sent out to any of the major websites so many people were expecting the worst. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I put the game in, I hoped for the best though. Thankfully what I got was nothing short of incredible. The game has incredible visuals and art direction, the environments look great, the monsters look extremely detailed and the animation is top notch. The music and the sound design are also fantastic and suit the game perfectly. Another aspect of the game that adds to its value is it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The developers built a ridiculous and amusing lore surrounding Doom-guy. They took this generic guy and turned him into this legendary warrior that demons fear. He has a personality even though he doesn’t say a word, it’s all in his actions. The game plays fast, it’s brutal and the music accompanying the action is memorable. The way the game starts is brilliant and probably one of the most memorable introduction to any game I’ve played.

The developers were successful at modernizing Doom in a couple of ways. First off is you can now upgrade your weapons, thankfully it’s not convoluted. Each weapon has two upgrade paths and the manner in which they’re presented is simple and straight forward. Your armor can be upgraded as well and like your weapons, the process is simple. You can also upgrade the amount of health, armor and ammo you can carry. You’ll also come across demonic runes that present a challenge and if you complete the challenge you’ll unlock a rune that you can equip that will also help you out in some way.

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Other ways the developers were able to modernize Doom is the games level design. The original Doom games had complex level designs that were maze like and contained plenty of secrets to discover. The developers were able to take that feel and successfully modernize it. Levels have a lot of verticality to them and you’ll be jumping around quite a bit. It sort of feels like a Metroidvania kind of game in some ways. You’ll get lost in the levels the same way players did in the original game. The levels have secrets and even when you know where they’re located, some secrets are still tricky and challenging to get to.

The game also features two other modes besides the single player campaign mode which are multiplayer and Snapmap modes. Multiplayer is self-explanatory and I haven’t really touched it since release because I’ve been spending all my time playing through the campaign while the Snapmap mode is where all the user-created content will be. Snapmap lets you create and share your own levels and challenges. I’m actually impressed by how much content Doom has to offer.

Its been a while since I’ve enjoyed a first person shooter as much as I’ve enjoyed Doom. It might just be the best single player first person shooter I’ve played. It’s memorable, it’s fun and it’s very violent. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fast-paced action game that doesn’t take itself very seriously. I’m relieved it turned out this good since I chose to play Doom before Uncharted 4. I don’t like giving out perfect scores (I’ve only given 5 games perfect scores), but Doom deserves it.

Score:

Post by Patrick


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Become an Organ Donor

Post by Mark

donarcard

Did you know you could become an organ donor in Kuwait? I didn’t until I found out from an Emirati friend oddly. If you want to become an organ donor you can register for a donor card online via the Kuwait Transplant Society website [Here]

donarcards2


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The KOC Archive: Ahmadi Drive-In Theater

Post by Mark

drive-in

These are the last photos I have from the KOC archive and they’re of the Ahmadi Drive-In Theater before it opened. In the photos the drive-in construction had been completed and looks like they were installing the AC system and setting up the projectors.

If you want to see how the theater looks like today, I passed by back in 2012 and took some photos. You can check that post [Here]. Not sure what the state of the theater is today, there were rumblings that it was going to get demolished to build a new mall. I know it sounds like I’m joking but I’m not, thats actually what I had heard.

To check out all the photos I’ve shared so far from the KOC archive, click [Here]


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Ordering Video Games Online in Kuwait

Post by Mark

videogames

Last Thursday I felt like playing a new video game but didn’t feel like heading to Hawalli to pick up a new game. So I decided to order a game online but wanted a place that would deliver in an hour. I mean if you can order food, have it prepared and delivered in under hour, I figured it shouldn’t be difficult to find a place that would have a game delivered that fast as well. Turns out nobody delivers video games in an hour and with some places like Blink who offer express delivery, they charge you a premium for it and you need to order before a certain time. Plus by express delivery they mean under 4 hours which is just too long. I was losing hope until I remembered a reader telling me about an instagram account called @alfuhod. They sell games for prices cheaper than the rest of the market and they offer free delivery. So I called them up and ordered Uncharted 4, they told me they’d deliver it within 2 hours. It was 7:50 when I placed the order so I was expecting to get it by 10PM.

A friend ended up coming over to watch a movie and time flew by and I completely forgot I had ordered a video game until I get a phone call at 11:44PM from a driver asking directions for my house. Nearly 4 hours since I placed the order so obviously I was upset and told the driver I didn’t want the game anymore since it was too late. Next day I got a message from them asking me if I received my game, I told them no I canceled it because the driver was 2 hours late. They didn’t apologize or even respond to me so I’m not ordering from them again.

Which brings me to my question, where do you guys order your games from and who has the quickest delivery time? I’m gonna create a list of all the online places you can order video games from and this is what I have so far:

3Rood Q8
Blink
Digumz
Digumz Store (not related to Digumz)
Game Center
GamesQ8
Mr Babu
ProGaming
Q8 Complex
Taw9eel
Tawsel AlFuhod
VG Gurus
X4 Games
Xcite


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The Lotus Evora 400

Post by Mark

evora1

Like the Lotus Exige S which I recently wrote about on the blog, theres a lot to love and hate in the Evora 400. I actually ended up having the car over two weekends so I got to spend a pretty good amount of time with the car. I’ll get all the good stuff out of the way first, then talk about a few negatives points before telling you what I think.

When I first got into the Evora 400 and drove off I was really surprised at how civil the car was. Unlike the Exige S, getting into the car didn’t require any acrobatics since it’s like a normal car, you just open the door and get in. The interior was also a lot more fancier looking with leather all around, beautiful center console with controls for the AC and gear box, and with seats there were super comfy. The Evora has a Supercharged 3.5L V6 producing 400hp but you wouldn’t be able to tell when the car is in regular touring mode. I thought the Evora was too quiet, like nearly electric car quiet since all you couldn’t hear the engine or exhaust, just the whine of the supercharger. The car felt too civil which was starting to feel disappointing since the reason I’m in a Lotus is because it’s a sports car and so I wanted it to sound like one. Luckily, the Evora has a cool trick up its sleeve. On regular touring mode, the car doesn’t sound any louder than a Toyota Camry, but as soon as you hit the exhaust button on the dashboard, everything changes. The Evora suddenly comes to life and the sound becomes brutal and so violent. If you’re in an indoor parking lot and roll down your windows, oh wow you won’t believe how beautiful the Evora can sound.

evora2

I think that was my favorite aspect of the Evora, it can be super silent and an unassuming daily driver (just don’t go with bright orange), or it can be the loud in your face track car. Daily driver is how I kept describing the car to my friends whenever they asked me what I thought of it. Then you have the looks, god damn it’s a super hot looking car. Like the Exige S, everywhere I went people wouldn’t stop staring, it’s such an eye catcher.

lotusinside

But, not all is great. As I mentioned earlier in the post, I had the Evora 400 over two weekends. The reason for that is the first weekend I ran into issues with the gearbox. Something was wrong with the programming and so when I would give the car a hard kick down, the car would sometimes shift from 1st gear to 2nd to 3rd and then just get stuck there instead of continuing to shift up. On one occasion it even got stuck on 2nd gear. Then one night on my way back home, the gearbox, engine and traction control lights all came on and the car wouldn’t shift anymore and just stayed stuck on 3rd gear. I dropped the car off back to Lotus the next morning and got it back again this past weekend. I guess they reset the software or something but all the issues I had with the gearbox the previous weekend disappeared. Putting that bit of bad luck aside though I did have more issues with the car, ones that a software update couldn’t fix. One of my issues with the Exige S was the lack of storage space, not sure how it’s possible but the Evora has even less space. There is a small pocket on the door that might or might not hold your wallet depending on how big it is, and there is also a small glove compartment that can hold your sunglasses, but other than that there is nothing. I had to keep my phone in between my legs or on the passenger seat because there was no room to put my phone. I should mention there is a back seat in this car that supposedly can hold two passengers, but unless those passengers don’t have any legs I’m not sure how they’ll fit there. The back of my seat literally touches the rear seat so there’s no way anyone can sit behind me thats for sure. Finally the last issue with the car is one that I find mind boggling. I took the car to get it washed and it leaked in water from both doors in the exact same location. If it was one side you could say it might have been a defect or whatever, but both sides? Thats just poor design which is why I don’t understand how Lotus didn’t catch this.

The Evora 400 starts at KD34,000 which puts it right in the Porsche 911 turf. But the question then becomes, do you want a car that everyone has? Or do you want a car that is less common and unique? If I’m paying that much money, I don’t want to blend in so then it becomes about how much issues can I put up with. Personally, with all the issues I had with the more affordable Exige S, I’m in love with that car. Maybe if I ask nicely they’ll let me take the Exige S back out for another weekend.

If you’re interested in test driving a Lotus then pass by them, they have both the Exige S and Evora 400 available. Here is a link to their instagram account @alghanimlotuskw


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New Queue System at Airport Passport Control

Post by Mark

airportline2

Last night when I got back to Kuwait from a quick trip to Doha I noticed they changed the queue system at passport control.

When I came down the escalators I noticed majority of the immigration counters were practically empty which was a relief since I really didn’t want to spend an hour in line. But then as I got closer I noticed something odd. On the far left was a large crowd of expats, when I looked carefully I noticed all the empty counters were for GCC nationals and that expats needed to enter a queue on the far left.

airportline1

So I got into the queue which truthfully was moving fast. It was one long queue that served all the expat counters which is something I prefer over having individual queues for each counter. It’s actually been proven to be more efficient which is why it’s used in other countries. There was an officer at the end of the end of the queue who was directing the expats to available counters as they free up. It’s like finally, a proper system.

But, I had a major issue was with the visual appearance of the passport control area (put aside the floor tiles that wouldn’t look out of place in a bathroom). My big issue was how they had the large wide open space for GCC nationals and then had all the expats squeezed into the far left corner like cattle (check below illustration for an overhead look).

queue

I don’t mind there be more counters for GCC nationals over expats, but at least have the expats queue wider and take up more space. Right now the expats are squeezed into 25% of the space while the other 75% is left open for GCC nationals. It really looked degrading the way we were all squeezed off to the side and it’s definitely not a great first impression for visitors on arrival.


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