I am a Professional Photographer

In this blog's most exciting news since the great Instalanche of '07, one of the photos that originally appeared here has now been published in AramcoWorld, "the award-winning bimonthly magazine inspiring discovery of interconnections among Arab, Islamic and global cultures." The publishers were writing a story about dowry chests and wanted to use one of my photos of the now demolished Mandoos Roundabout.
You can see the article here, on page 24, and the photo appears on page 31.


Customer Service, a Continuing Series

A couple of weeks ago, I was called by one of the companies that provides an essential service to my home. I don't really want to name the specific service, since this story could really be about any of them, but you might be able to guess as I tell my sad story. Anyway, they said that a certain piece of equipment that I was using to access their service is old and needs to be replaced and that they would contact me soon to set up an appointment.

Then yesterday I got a text from them asking me to send an SMS to a four digit number so that this switch out could be scheduled. But, when I try to send this SMS, it doesn't work. I would assume that it doesn't work because said service assumes that everyone who uses their services is using one of the telecommunications companies, but I am using the other.

No problem, I figure, I'll just visit their website and have a chat with them to straighten this all out. Needless to say, 20 minutes of chatting later has done nothing to solve the problem. So I try calling instead, thinking that maybe I might find someone who could help.

Me: Yes, a couple of weeks ago I got a call from you all to replace [equipment]. Then today I got an SMS asking me to reply via SMS to schedule this. But I cannot send the SMS to the requested number.

Him: I do not see any requests for service in your account sir.

Me: Yes, I didn't request this, you all contacted me via phone and SMS.

Him: But I do not see any request for replacement that you have made.

Me: Yes, I know. I was contacted by you. I'm following up on the contact that you initiated. What should I do about the call and SMS that you sent?

Him: Oh, I would just ignore that sir.

Me: ....

Me: Really?

Him: Oh, yes sir, you should ignore that.

Me: Does your company normally send out information to their customers that they should ignore? [At this point I am exerting everything I can to not ask if I can ignore the bills I get from them too.]

Him: I don't see any request for replacement in your account sir.

A bit later:

Him: If you need your equipment replaced, you just need to call us and tell us and we will schedule a service call and replacement if needed.

Me: OK, my equipment isn't working properly and would like to have it checked out.

Him: OK, so just call us and tell us that.

Me: What number?

Him: This one.

Me: You mean like I'm doing now?

Him: Yes.

Me: OK, I'm calling to report that I need a service call.

Him: Yes, sir, just call this number and report it and we will get a service call scheduled.

So, this afternoon it is off to the local branch. Maybe if I show a person the actual SMS something will change. But I doubt it.


Wednesday Camel is Ticklish

I never knew that camels were tickish. Apparently they are.



Over Eid in Al Ain, a Toyota Landcruiser that was parked on the sidewalk was nearly swallowed by a sinkhole.

A person who saw this story and felt that it was somehow fitting that someone who was parked illegally had this happen to them would be experiencing schadenfreude. Many people think that if you experience schadenfreude, then you should feel shame for feeling that way.

I don't think that there is a word to describe the feeling that it is unfortunate that this happened to one such person and not to all sidewalk parkers.


So, we are back

Yes, we are back in the UAE. But now we are living in Abu Dhabi. And we have started a new blog. So, if you want to read about our adventures in Abu Dhabi, point your browser here: http://www.returntocamelland.com/


How Unique?

The article states that this is a "unique practice" to UAE Pro-League clubs. But, I know that the Premier League has this rule too, Rule V.7.2: "during the period of the Temporary Transfer of his contract registration a Player shall not play against the Transferor Club;".
So, obviously this is not unique. But is it limited or widespread? Any experts on {football/soccer} transfer rules?

Tastefully Done

So I was reading an article in a UAE media, and at the bottom, in the related article section, was this:
I especially love the last photo. Quite tasteful.


R at the Chinese Restaurant

Another demonstration of the amazing ability of small children to sleep anywhere.


Best soccer defender ever - Updated

Thanks for pointing out the video was taken down kochumanavalan. I found a different version.



Flight Paths

Today, just for fun, I sat down and listed all the flights that I took during the three years that I lived in Al Ain: 49 flights in 19 trips (involving 18 airports). Since it almost always took three flights to get from the Emirates to home (and then three back), they added up quickly.

Then I got curious as to how many miles were involved. So I put all 49 of those flights into the Great Circle Mapper: 115,000 miles (or 184,000 kms). The great thing about that site is that it not only displays the distance but a map of the routes that you enter. So the flight paths of all the flights that I took look like this: