Amigos now open

Post by Mark

Back in July I posted about Amigos that was going to open in place of Arby’s at Avenues. Well they’re now open and as you can guess they serve Mexican food like nachos, burritos, fajitas and tacos. They’re located in the Avenues food court opposite Choowy Goowy.


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USB in your car

Post by Mark

I had seen a few adapters that convert the car lighter into a powered USB port but they were all ugly looking or too bulky. Then I read about the Belkin Micro USB adapter on Gizmodo and decided to order one from Amazon.

Because its tiny it fits perfectly into the car lighter without sticking out so it actually gives the impression that it came built in from the factory. I am currently using it to charge my iPhone and BlackBerry but you could use it to charge other devices. Very practical.

It costs KD5.750 and comes with an iPhone cable. [Amazon Link]

Update: Changed picture to a better one

Update2: According to a reader its available at Alghanim X-cite for KD8


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Pinkberry Location

Post by Mark

Back in May I posted that Alshaya was opening up Pinkberry at the Avenues. Looks like the location is going to be opposite Dean & Deluca in Avenues Phase 2.


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The Phantom HD Camera

Post by Mark

Last week when I was in Beirut I was there for work shooting a commercial for Wataniya Airways. One of the cool things about the shoot was that we were using the Phantom HD camera. The Phantom HD is a digital camera that can shoot up to 1500 frames per second (fps) at 720p resolution or 1000fps at 1080p.

I think we were one of the first people in the region to use this camera if not the first. Anyway just to explain what shooting at high speed means or does. Generally video runs at around 24fps. So that means if you shoot 1 second of footage at the speed of 1000fps, when you play it back at regular speed of 24fps, that 1 second of footage will last around 40 seconds. What this does is allow you to capture a lot of detail in that 1 second. It’s similar to the camera used on the Discovery Show, Time Warp. If you shoot a bullet in front of a high speed camera you will be able to see it flying through the air when played back. The camera slows down time.

Since the commercial is going to get released soon I was able to get permission to post one of my favorite takes. It’s a scene of a guy dressed in a dishdasha falling back onto the bed. What I liked about this shot is the way the dishdasha moves while in the air and also how the bed ripples when the guy lands. This scene is going to be in the final commercial except we will only be using around 2 seconds of this 47 second clip. [YouTube]

Note: I am trying to get my hands on a higher resolution footage, once I get that will update this post with it.

Update: I’ve updated the video with the higher quality version. Also added the picture below of the camera on set.


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8-bit trip

Post by Mark

A guy spent 1,500 hours putting together this Lego stop motion. There are some really amazing moments in this video. [YouTube]


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Event: Oum Kalthoum Exhibit

Post by Mark

I know this is a bit late but I just passed by the Oum Kalthoum exhibit at the 360 Mall over the weekend and thats why I decided I would post about it. I am not a big Oum Kalthoum fan neither do I know much about her but the exhibition is definitely worth visiting. The exhibition space is huge. I was expecting a small room but it turned out to be gigantic. Its also very nicely put together, very tasteful and there are a lot of things to see. There is even a small cinema like section with a large projector where you can sit and watch Oum Kalthoum perform on screen. If you haven’t passed by the exhibit yet you should. Its free and its located on the ground floor of the 360 Mall.


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Apple Pie by Me

Post by Mark

The Hummingbird Bakery is one of my favorite dessert places in London so when I heard they released a cookbook I ordered one right away from Amazon. Since I have a lot of free time during Ramadan I will be baking a lot more and today I started off with an Apple Pie.

I passed by Sultan Center to pick up my ingredients around 3PM but it was a huge mistake. The supermarket was packed and everyone there was shopping in large quantities. My favorite line I overheard today was a daughter telling her dad “but that’s a lot, we don’t need that much” and then the dad replying “it’s Ramadan so it’s fine”. That’s why the 10 items or less line was practically empty and why I was able to leave so quickly without waiting in the humongous lines with people who had carts filled to the brim with food.

Anyway back to baking. The cookbook has a lot of pretty pictures and instructions for baking but they really don’t take you in great detail through the process. Since I hadn’t baked an Apple Pie before I used a Betty Crocker cookbook from the 70’s that had step by step pictures which helped out a bit specially when it came to putting the bottom crust in the pan without ripping it (you fold it twice so its a triangle and then you put it in the pan and unfold back into a circle).

According to the cookbook you’re supposed to bake the pie at 170degrees celcius for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. It took me 1 hour and 30 minutes to get the crust golden brown! Next time I will be increasing the temp up to 180 to try and speed things up a bit. The result though was an extremely delicious tasting pie. I had only one minor issue and that was with the bottom crust and top crust separate while baking on one side of the pie but its a minor quibble which I should be able to solve next time.

So far the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook looks to be working. If you want to order it, it’s available on Amazon for around KD5. [Amazon Link]

Previously: My favorite cookie recipe


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New KFC sandwich, the Double Down

Post by Mark

The picture above is of the new KFC sandwich that’s just been released in the US which uses two fried chicken fillets instead of bread to hold the sandwich together. The sandwich contains pepper jack cheese, Swiss cheese, and bacon smothered in the Colonel’s Sauce. [Link]


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Aston Martin Rapide Testing in Kuwait

Post by Mark

I posted a video of the Aston Martin Rapide in Kuwait before but here is better footage. I can imagine they would have a hard time explaining to hotel security what the box with all the wires in the trunk is for. [YouTube]

Update: Here is an article to go with the video above that talks about the testing that went on in Kuwait. [Link]

With the hottest part of the day approaching and temperatures now exceeding 50 deg C, the next test involved leaving the car parked outside in the intense midday sun for an hour – typical of an everyday lunch stop.

Sixty minutes later, the team measured what’s called the solar load placed on the car during the break using a device on the roof. To give an idea of how hot the sun in the Middle East can get, a typical solar test in a factory is usually limited to 1,000kW/h, as values higher than this rarely occur in habitable climates.

But after returning from lunch, the laptop was reading a peak value of 1,100kW/h! [Source]

Thanks AndyQ8


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Don’t smoke? You suck.

Post by Mark

I really hate how the no smoking sections in restaurants here in Kuwait are usually tiny and located all the way in the back near the bathrooms. Restaurants should encourage people to cut down on smoking by having the prime seating locations allocated to non smokers not the other way around.

Update: For some humor watch the following three clips in order from the IT Crowd that are related to smoking:
Smoking was fun
Too Soviet
New smoking area


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