Monthly Archives: November 2006

Dubai Craziness

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My sister and her family are currently living in Ethiopia. She has an awesome husband and three beautiful kids (two boys and a girl). I get these great emails from them fairly regularly discussing their adventures as a family, as parents and as young kids growing up in Ethiopia.

Recently, two of them went on a trip to Dubai for some fairly routine medical testing and sent me an email expressing how amazing Dubai was. Now, if you know my sister, you know she wasn’t caught up in the consumerism of the whole deal, but purely amazed at the engineering and wealth around a city smack dab in the middle of unsettled nations in the Middle East.

Here is an excerpt from her letter to me, and for the kids, cause hopefully they will go to this page and read this entry, I am going to post pictures of some of the amazing structures the witnessed from the ground.

She wrote:
What an interesting place–although it is set on the Gulf in and amidst nations which have difficulty”, it is a sea of “westernized” consumption. I have NEVER in my life seen anything quite like it–a beautiful skyline on a fine sand shoreline–yet more traffic and fine cars than I have ever seen. The population is roughly 20% Emiratee, and the rest are immigrant. It’s insane how much wealth exists. They are building the world’s tallest building, nearby one of the supermalls with an indoor ski slope (which I saw and gawked at mostly), as well as the 7 star hotel (whose name I can’t pronounce but is Al something), which sits out on the Gulf in the water, designed in the shape of a sailboat. Apparently, there are two stories of “underwater” rooms and each room has its own butler, etc. There are a minimum of 8 supermalls in Dubai itself with oil money bringing in names like, Saks etc. There are even a series of islands that have been built offshore in crazy shapes, like Palm trees, where you can buy your own island. . . Wow, overwhelming. Even a visit to the grocery store was a bit overwhelming after leaving our market selection of veggies in Bahir Dar. The types of clothing worn were amazing, and beautiful, many representing both different countries and religions (lots of women in full black garb–burqas, some across the whole face with a veil over the eyes, some with just a head scarf. The men varied in their dress from extreme western to full head to toe white pants and dress, with checkered head cloths, etc. Very odd to see the women trailing behind the men (several wives often to one man).

The Hotel you couldnt pronounce is called “Burj Al Arab”…here is the picture as well as pictures of The World, Palm Jebel and the Ski Resort so you can show everyone that wasn’t there what you guys saw!.

Picture of Burj Al Arab

This building, whose name literally translates to “Tower of the Arabs” and boasts being the tallest building in the world that is used exclusively as a hotel. Construction of this hotel began in 1994 and took 5 years to build finishing its construction in 1999. The hotel stands over 900 feet tall. The architect of this “symbol” was WS Atkins PLC.

Picture of Palm Jebel
Picture of Palm Jebel

This area is currently being developed and upon completion will be one of the worlds 3 largest artificial islands. It was a project created to help with Dubai’s growing tourist industry that will take 100’s of millions of cubic meters of rock and sand to complete. There is still room for development on these islands…

Picture of The World in Dubai
Picture of The World in Dubai

The world is large group of islands that from above will appear to be shaped like the world. It will consist, upon completion in 2008, of over 250 small islands for sale to private investors ranging in size from 5-20 acres each.

Picture of outside of the Indoor Ski Slope in Dubai
Picture of the Indoor Ski Slope
Picture of Dubai Lift Line
Picture of lift line at the Dubai Ski Area

This Ski area smack dab in the middle of the desert is in the Dubai Emerates Mall. It is currently the worlds largest indoor ski slope measuring 1200 feet long (400 meters) using upwards of 600 tons of snow!

Alright kids, enough of the geography and engineering lesson for the day…I hope you all enjoyed all this being in one spot. These really are amazing…

Attack of the Potato Bug

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First off, last night was by far the coldest night in San Diego since the turn of the century. Maybe since last winter, but it was so cold it must have broken records. The low last night was 43 degree’s…come on! I know you, and you don’t think 43 degrees when you think of southern california, you think of convertable porches and lamborghini’s…I think about that David Lee Roth video, Girls Girls Girls…and all those chics had bikinis on so it couldn’t have been 43 degrees(i am a twisted result of a childhood in the 80’s)!

Anyway, it was so cold last night it drove the bugs into our house (although our house has no heat so I don’t know what they were thinking). I woke up looking for a hoody but first noticed that summer was attacked by a potato bug once again! Now, she sleeps in much later than I do so she didn’t tell me personally, but I woke up to this note in the hallway…

Captured Potato Bug

Luckily for all of us, she survived the attach. I imagine she was doing dishes and whipped this bowl over into the hallway like a fearless ninja capturing the vicious potatoe bug…then left the carnage for me to dispose of.

He’s definately still alive, I here him calling in back up..little guys’ probably cold in there…..

Quick Healthy Shrimp Dinner

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Summer and I were super hungry the other night and wanted to make something that would be really quick. I threw together a healthy meal that took 25 minutes with prep time and almost no clean up. Look past the picture for the simple recipe.

Grilled Shrimp and Vegatable Kabobs
with rice and beans

Ingredients for Lowfat Shrimp and Vegetable Kabobs:

  • Trader Joes Peel Uncooked Tail on Frozen Shrimp
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Seasame Seeds
  • Microwavable Minute Rice
  • Canned Whole Balack Beans
  • Wooden Spears
  • Newmans Own Lowfat Sesame Seed Dressing
  • Gas Grill


  • Chop the onions and bell peppers the same size squares
  • Pierce the Cherry tomatoes alternately with the onions and bell peppers
  • Pierce the Shrimp onto the kabobs
    don’t crunch them tight, they need room to cook)
  • Pour Seasame Seed Dressing all over the shrimp
  • Pour Seasame Seed Dressing all over the veggies
  • Add to hot grill (on high)
  • Should be ready after cooking for under 8 minutes
  • Microwave Beans and Rice for two minutes togehter

    Not exactly a gourmet meal, but it sure turns out great for such a cheap, quick low fat meal meal. We were stoked. As you can see from the picture, we ate it family style off or my old bamboo cutting board with a “party size” glass of red wine (probably a cabernet).

  • The Striped Mug Revolt

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    Warning: Striped mugs have been attacking innocent people. See this recent finger attack from North of England (probably ordered by the queen majesty) in Glasgow. I heard mine rumbling at me this morning while pouring in boiling hot water from my french press.

    Luckily, I got the upper hand and took care of the mug just before it burst into pieces. See wounded/dying mug in my trash can.

    Die You Fuckin Mug


    (Gobble Gobble Gobble)

    42 Inch Plasma Vizio HDTV

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    If you want my one sentence review of the 42 inch plasma vizio tv, skip to the last paragraph

    I feel the need to post about my new Television. I bought my 42 Inch Plasma Vizio HDTV about 4 months ago from Costco. Now, I need to preface that I have never owned an expensive TV, and I always thought that it was absolutely ridiculous to spend a couple thousand dollars on a TV when I don’t even own a home yet! So, with that said, I compromised…and I decided to buy a lower end Flat Panel. Still a splurge thought…

    I went to Costco and bought my Vizio when it had a $400 off coupon and I got a great deal on my plasma. At first, I was stoked! I got rid of my giant box that took up an entire corner of my living room and now I had a flat panel. It might be a guys thing…but I had one. Here it is…

    42 Inch Plasma Vizio

    Now, as a sales person I know this. Buyers remorse sucks…and you just don’t need to do it to yourself. If you spent the money on something, it is gone, done time to enjoy and stop thinking about it. Well, I was fine with that until my tv starting acting up. Every once and a while it would just turn off by itself. Now, this is annoying, but it didn’t seem worth taking it back to costco. Now, recently, 3 months after purchase, a black box is appearing on the center of the screen…but only on some stations. It is weird…regardless…it is time to take this television set back to Costco to get my money back or a store credit. Check out what some of my channels look like all the time now..

    My 42 Inch Vizio from Costco

    42 inch Plasma Vizio Review

    If you are a gamblin’ man and get a good one, you got yourself a moderately priced Plasma at Costco…but if you get a bad one, it is a huge hassel and not worth good price you get it for. All electronic name brands may be like that, but I don’t remember any sony or philips TV blowing out like this after 3 months. The two things that make me give this Tv a bad review are the facts that the power goes out by itself all the time and a big black square box appears in the center of some channels randomly. The black box blocks the center of the television (see above) which is enough to make you go mad if you are watching sports…

    Weak TV.

    Edit: Today, November 27th 2006, I came home from work…I went to turn on my TV and it is not reacting. It wont turn on. I purchased this TV less than 6 months ago. Lets see how good costcos return policy. I have no reciept (aside from my Amex and proof on my membership) and dont have the original box it came in, but really, where I am I going to store that giant box?