Saturday, December 29, 2007

Downtown Toronto!!!

We spent all day downtown thanks to Avi and Eva who thoughtfully gifted the girls tickets to the "High School Musical - Ice Tour". Drove to Yorkdale Mall, where we parked the car and took the Subway the rest of the way.

The show was really great and we were thoroughly entertained. After that we took the Subway to Eaton Centre where we marvelled at the Svarovski Tree and the decorations in "The Bay" windows.

All in, a very nice day and so many thanks to Eva and Avi for getting us out of Suburbia for the day.

We've decided to make Downtown a 'Once-a-month' family affair. There is truly so much to see and do!!!!!

A Whack of Indian Culture

Nothing spectacular!

Just a 5 pound Indian carving that fell on my head!!!

I was Culture Shocked, but thankfully not concussed!!!!!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Nice Rack!!!!!

I have wanted to do this for the longest time. There is nothing more amazing than having a wall full of equipment, but recessed into the wall. This is only the first draft and I will photograph the entire wall in relation to the rack later.
The rack will be painted white so as to minimise impact on the room. The equipment is merely on the shelf right now and not hooked up to anything. Once I get the LCD on the adjacent wall, I will work out routing the connections.
As with everything that I do, there will be no visible wiring anywhere.
More to follow.

He Schutz - He Scores

Lynda and I had declared a moratorium on blogging after Avi's diagnosis of the tumor. The 18th came soon enough and after being operated on by Dr. Schutz and a team of 5 surgeons, Avi is well, walking, talking and more importantly joking!!!
Dr. Schutz is the Medical Director of the Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga and by the attending surgeons' own admission - among the 5 top neurosurgeons in North America.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Rainbow Orchid

In the same 'Graphic Novel' vein, an online strip entitled 'Rainbow Orchid' by Garen Ewing has now been published in a limited edition run of 50 copies. Yours Truly is getting one!!!

It's a nice strip that chronicles the adventures of one Julius Chancer in his quest for the elusive Rainbow Orchid.

Written in the European 'Ligne Claire, Bande Desinee' style similar to Herge, Bob de Moor etc.

Looking forward to getting my hands on it come December.

Take a look at the strip online at

Artemis Fowl - The Graphic Novel

After becoming (by my own admission) the first 38 year old to finish reading every Artemis Fowl novel within the first two months of 2007, I was quite pleased to that Eoin Colfer had released a Graphic Novel of the very first 'Arty' book.

While it's not as detailed as the novel, it's a great effort and really nice to see Eoin's rendition of the characters.

Now that Harry Potter is complete, Artemis Fowl is a nice distraction to look forward to!!
Bring on book No. 6, Mr. Colfer

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Next project on the 'Wishlist'

While there is still so much to do on the house, I cannot help myself but dream about all the 'NON ESSENTIAL' projects that I want to do.

Next on the list is back lit house numbers. Not your standard sized house numbers, but at least a 18 inches in height, black anodized aluminium mounted on a Plexiglas substrate that will contain a multitude of tricolored led's, essentially enabling me to obtain the complete visible spectrum. So I can have Orange for Halloween, Red for Canada Day, Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness, Red/Green/Blue for Christmas etc. etc.

After agonizing over how I was to achieve the color control, I found this great instructable from Dan that seems to suit my purpose to a T. Here's the link and look forward to us wearing our heart on our porch.

Truly 'Cordless'

I'm back! No explanations for my brief departure. Been busy. Doing things!!!

So I got myself this cordless wonder that has 4 handsets enabling us to have extensions all over and more importantly without running wires all over the place. Unfortunately the main unit needed the incomer from the phone line as well as the power from the transformer. And it looked something like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This would not fly. So I set about making the phone truly cordless. The phone line was already run from the basement to the wall jack on which the phone sat. All I had to do was run the power line through the floor and up to the wall jack. After putting it off for a while, I realised that the phone line in place was a 2 pair, with just one pair utilised for the phone. I then proceeded to chop up the transformer cord in half, splice one end to the top two spare wires and the transformer with cord down in the crawl space. Put it all back together, and Lo and Behold - 'Cordless' Cordless Phone!!!!!

It's a good thing!

Measuring Output Voltage across the spare wires. Unsure what 1 Volt can actually do!

Wires stripped and ready

Jack hanging out of the Wall Plate (Apologies to Bauer)

Power socket in the crawl space for the PSU. Telephone line is visible going through the floor.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Days 1 through 5 - Amsterdam in Pictures

I've just been informed by Lynda and Belle that my numbering system is skewed!!! Apparently I had not counted the day that we arrived, so we're actually on day 5 - 3 more to go!!!!

Unloading all the spare change from Lynda's voyages at Schipol

Blogging from the Coffee Shop at the Moevenpick whilst waiting for our room

Layla feeding the pigeons at Dam Square

Belle & Aaliyah at the HeinyExpy

Asleep (or trying) at the Museumplein

Layla feeding the ducks at the Vondelpark

Lynda and the girls in from of a DHL TukTuk

Day 4 - Amsterdamn this is a long holiday!!!

Today was mostly walkies. We took in the 9 Streets. It was cold and Aaliyah had not dressed herself suitably. So enroute to a shopping area we chanced upon a Vintage clothing store where we (the girls and I) all got ourselves Jean Jackets for 40 Euros total.

We had a nice sit down lunch this afternoon in stark contrast to other lunches which were mostly mobile.

Then mostly walking through the shopping areas where the girls vanished through stacks of clothes and I took off for a vintage map store across the street. Did not find anything that I liked but I did not spend too much time there. Turns out the girls were not exactly waiting for me.

Lynda scored herself a pair of Cowboy boots at 50 Euros. Really nice buy. I wanted one as well, but explain this to me - How come Ladies boots on Sale start at 40 EUR and Men's boots on Sale start at 150 EUR???

I believe that men will get the better deal in heaven!!!!

Day 3 - Amsterdam

Did so much yesterday. We took the tram to the Rijkmuseum. We had to make a changeover of trams. It was pouring and we were just across from the Old Heineken Brewery. We made a snap decision to take in the Heiniken Experience in honour of all the Alco's in my life, namely Dinesh, Shane & Marc. The experience was really neat and there were 3 beers per person included in the entry fee. Sorry guys, but at the end of the tour, we returned 4 unused tokens!!!!!!

By the time the Heinyexpy was over, the rain had stopped and we walked over to the Reijkmuseum. The stuff was really neat and Rembrandt's 'Night Watch' is etched in my mind's eye forever.

From the Reijkmuseum, we stopped at the Museumplein for Sandwiches and Ice Cream. I fell asleep by the water and the girls dipped their legs in the water.

Then on to the Van Gogh Museum. Now I know that Vincent's works are to die for, but Lynda does paint better!!! So!!! Vincent apparently shot himself at age 37. Me thinks he finally corrected his vision and saw his paintings!!!!!

From there we took the tram to Albert Heijn supermarket, where we picked up wines breezers and other acroutments for dinner.

The sky was really overcast by the time we got to the hotel and we were treated to a downpour the likes we would only see in India. It was great!!!!
Slept early as we were all knackered!!!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Day 3 - Amsterdam

Belle awoke earlier than us this morning - Had breakfast early and set out for NEMO, the science exhibition just a stone's throw from the Movenpick.

After that we set off for the Spui area where there was to be a Sunday Artist Market. Enroute we passed some nice streets with even better houses and chanced upon the Sunday Flea Market at Nieuwmarkt. Picked up some excellent LP's at a Euro each.

Finally found the Spui and the Art Market.

For dinner we packed up some sausages, cheese and wine and sat at the dock.

The sun sets at 10.10 - Nice.

Wish everyone could be here - Amsterdam is tolerant - No one judges you for what you are or what life choices you've made.

Amsterdam still remains our no. 1 city to visit.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Day 2 - Amsterdam

Very tiring - We ended up setting up a small refugee camp in the Coffee Shop. Amhed, the bartender was very understanding and he plyed us with tea, chips and juices. We finally got into the room by 11 and I could take a warm shower.

Belle's plane was late taking off and therefore late coming in!!! We finally got out at 4. The city was crowded but quite an eyeful with OMGWWSW, DSDITD, PDA & WTFWT.
Translation (Oh My God What Was She Wearing, Did She Dress in the Dark, Public Display of Affection & What the F**k Was That)

Anyways, Aaliyah was a bit unwell and lynda returned home early. She had a mild fever attributed to an extremely busy Thursday with no sleep or rest. She's better now.

Today we hit some of the sales in the market and also take a Canal cruise. By evening we try to get ourselves to the Vondelpark.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th - Amsterdam

Day 1 - Movenpick Amsterdam

Just arrived at the hotel. Requested an early check in and we have to wait a couple of hours b4 they get the room ready.

The train ride from the airport was nice. It's so great to see all the greenery around. The movenpick is a stone's throw from the City Centre. We wait for our room, dump our stuff, wait for Belle, nap and then hit the Town with a vengeance.

More updates to follow.

We're West baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

And Talking about 'Pace'!!!!

Our lead packer is named 'Momentum'

enough said!!!

And so it Starts.....

A month ago we set a ball in motion that is now rolling at an incredible pace.

I along with Lynda resigned our posts and set about the process to finally immigrate to YYZ. The decision was not easy, as I believe most are not!

We're at D-7 and counting....

The packers are in today and are in the process of decimating what took 2.5 years to put together. Our house was always WIP and if we stayed here for another 5, the work would still not be complete.

We are now entrusting the contents of our lives to a group of packers and I have to watch like a hawk to ensure that all goes well. At some time this month, the very things that have defined us, will be in a 40' container, one of thousands, on a vessel, most probably repaired by Goltens, manned by cadets and the like waiting for the next port of call to get their rocks off, engineered by a clueless Chief Engineer and piloted by a half-drunk Captain.

And yet I'm confident that all will be well.

Faith is a funny thing. It's gotten us this far in life with the very best of experiences, acquaintances, friends and of course family. I'm a lucky guy. Hey - I've got a gap between my front teeth to prove it. The other gap, I've been told, is between my ears.

And so, my friends, it starts....

Captain's log. Star Date 5th July, 2007 - Bahrain - Earth

Monday, June 18, 2007

Been Too Long.......

I'm baaaaack!!!

It's been too long. far too much going on in my life. This does not seem to have affected Lynda as she continues to post unaffected.

In a nutshell.
I resigned my post on the 25th of June
It was hectic getting to grips with giving up a respectable (??) position in an established company and a guaranteed income.
But it's been done - no regrets. we leave Bahrain on the 12th for a short (7 day) stint in Amsterdam. Joining us will be my cousin Christabelle from Bombay.
We touch down Toronto on the 20th of July 2007. Mark that on a diary somewhere. I believe it will be memorable!!!!

We spent the weekend in Dubai and had some enjoyable (and one not so enjoyable) lunches & dinners with old friends and family.

Met up with my boss and went over to the workshop to bid everyone a fond farewell. 15 years in one company leaves you with a lot of memories.

Jita gave me some cool gear that I plan to integrate into the Vintage Murphy Radio below. Unsure whether I can complete this prior to our departure, but will attempt to make the most of our time here on the island.

More to follow!!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Murphy Radio Rebuild

My Neighbour and Godfather Charles Dango dabbles in vintage stuff. I remember querying him in December regarding an old Grundig radio that used to sit in his hall. However it had long since been sold.

This time when I went down, he presented me with this Murphy Radiogram. I was quite thrilled and began processing many options for this nice retro looking unit. On returning to Bahrain, I soon found that while the vacuum tubes all worked, I could not coax a single note out of the radio. I have not got a clue regarding vintage electronics, so am unable to repair the radio.
I've decided to replace the original guts with a cheap car stereo powering my old creative computer speakers. That should work for a while until I finally get the original unit repaired.
The case has been dismantled and is now being re glued together prior to sending for refinishing.
More on the progress of this later.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Marine Memorabilia!!!!

When you've worked for a Marine Organisation for 15 years, you tend to come across a lot of stuff being thrown out or being replaced... Then you collect all of that junk and decorate your house with the stuff!!!!!

Clockwise from Top Right

Nunotani Keiki Seisakusho - Engine Order Telegraph
I actually rescued this off the top of a heap of stuff that was being thrown out from Goltens Fujairah. Not much done to it with the exception of rewiring it to accept 220V lamps. The face lights up and would make a great conversation piece in a foyer or in Marine themed room. All the original electrics are still intact and will someday attempt to get the handle to probably control.... maybe room lighting??????

Danforth Constellation - Magnetic Compass
Removed from Mohd. Sayed Al Kamda's yacht in 1992 on which I was working as a helper. Sayed Al Kamda is Goltens sponsor in Dubai and the Yacht was undergoing a complete refurbishment and I got to keep the Barometer/Chronometer/Hygrometer as well.

Wartsila - Name Plate
Removed from engine block in Goltens prior to it being scrapped. Polished the alloy, and filled in the recesses with Red Enamel paint which I then baked in the oven for a hard finish. Forgot about it and the entire house was smelling of burnt paint. Thankfully the smell cleared prior to Lynda coming home.

Freiberger Prazisionsmechanik - Sextant
Acquired when one of our managers moved to Singapore. I found this box lying in the corner and 'lo & behold' it contained a working Sextant. Incidentally this is East German and has been listed on the Internet for sale @ USD 500.00

Gone Postal!!!!

This amazing pane of stamps is to be issued this year by the United States Postal Service.
I am very much a Star Wars fans, and very clearly remember going to Star Wars in Town (Bombay). There was a lot of hype surrounding the movie and one of the 'Suiting & Shirting' manufacturers was sponsoring the launch.
All over the place were banners that proclaimed 'Dinesh - May the Force be with You'. This quite excited Dinesh whom I believe, believed that they were referring to him!!!!
Like I said before - He's my brother and we love him!!!!!
Anyways, methinks someone at the USPS has hit upon a stellar way of boosting sales in what we all know as a fading product!!!
Last year they issued the DC Super Heroes Series and this year they will issue the Marvel Super Heroes Series. The DC Super Heroes has already been ordered and is with Sam.
Can't wait to get my hands on them!!!!!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Vintage Radio Media Jukebox

I've decided that it no longer makes any sense to hold on to my 400 CD player. ever since I moved to Bahrain, I've not really had the time nor the inclination to load the unit up. It worse now as I have 400+ Cds.

I flirted with a Rack Mount Player and even had Lynda carry a 4U Rack Mount case from Malaysia. I finally traded in that in for a 320GB drive when I upgraded my PC.

I'm now flirting with the option of integrating a Media Centre within one of these console radios from the Fifties. I located a really neat software at and is amazing as it supports touchscreen operations. I imagine the LCD monitor to be located in the lid and the hardware beneath it.

I already have an old Celeron c/w 512MB Memory on and Intel Motherboard. Now to get the console.

Anyone know someone who has any of these non-functional units lying around??????

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

As it was in the Beginning.... Is not how it is in the end!!!!!

You know what they say about a Picture being worth a Thousand words........

That's All Jack!!!!!!!

This picture cannot begin to describe the transformation from what was a piece of furniture destined for the scrap heap to what now takes pride of place in my home.

Still very much a 'Work in Progress', I am yet to complete the 'swing out' faucet that would have been used by priests to wash their hands prior to going to the Altar to celebrate the Mass.

I trolled the Manama market to get the cup handles and vinod scavenged the smaller handles for me.

It looks rather impressive.

Memories of the customs officers at Mina Salman post laughing at my 'imports' come to mind right now.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Piano Stool Project

This just in from a shop whose name that I have forgotten. Run by a Pakistani in Adliya, this is a quaint little shop that needs visiting once in a month to see whats new (or rather, old)

I have wanted a Piano Stool for Lynda & Aaliyah ever since they lost the ability to return the dining chairs back to their original place.

Paid BHD 15.000 for it but it needs to be redone. So tomorrow I take it down to Vinod & gang for some stiffening of the joints and a few minor repairs. After that into the spray booth for a semi-gloss finish in black to match the Casio.

The top of the stool is to be taken to Ahmed Sharif for refinishing in a B&W print to sort of match the chosen palette. Look out for pics in the near future. This one should get completed fast!!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Buy this CD!!!!!!

Lynda and I have always been Daughtry fans, especially since he had refused to compromise on American Idol. We were both shocked and saddened by what we felt to be his very early exit from the show. I harbour a Conspiracy Theory that it was Chris himself through his fans that orchestrated his exit in order to save himself from the drivel that the American Idol songwriters turn out for the winners. I believe that Lynda may have shed tears at his sudden exit, but we will not go into that here.

This album was the best seller since it came out, a feat that no AI participant has achieved with the exception of Carrie Underwood. He is still #6 on Amazon's Best Seller list.

This is a great album and though you can download badly converted songs from Limewire and Kazaa, This guy deserves your money. God knows - He's earned it.

Track 3 - Home - Spectacular track!!!!

National Day - British School of Bahrain

Today was National Day at the BSBh. Aaliyah had been waiting for this day for weeks, planning her outfit, changing her mind, selecting the accessories...... So today Lynda and I dropped them off to school in Solidarityesque fashion dressed up in Indian gear as well.

The school was a riot of colour!!! Most of the kids there were dressed up in their national costumes. Those that I recognised - Indian/Pakistan, Sri Lankan, Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, Arab, Dutch (clogs), German/Swiss/Austrian (Lederhosen). It was all so nice.

Some were plain confused about what their National costumes were. Soccer uniforms anyone??? Cowboys???

This is one of times that I'm prouder than most that I am Indian and that we have such a strong heritage and culture to delve into. We don't just have A National Dress, we have so many!!!!! especially if you're a girl!!!!

Of course to Aaliyah this is just another day of fun at school and would probably not see things as cynically as I do.

It really is so amazing to be a child!!!! Hope they remain that way for a longer time.......

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Watch this Space!!! Lavabo Repair Diary

My last incomplete project finally takes shape. This is a very very early 20th Century piece of furniture that used to stand in the Vestry and was used by priests when ablution was still practiced. This was of course before running water became commonplace.

This was salvaged from Mt. Mary's Basilica by U. Hayley.

So much work has gone into resurrecting this very rare and unique piece of history. The base had rotted away due to water damage, the bottom doors had to be partially rebuilt, the doors at the top had to be repaired. The reservoir, collector and collector funnel had to be rebuilt out of stainless steel. I'm not sure if I will ever fill water in the system, but I got the wetted parts made anyways.

I still need to source some hardware for this and will target ACE hardware on my next Dubai run.

This is now being lacquered and should be completed before we go down to Mumbai. I want to carry pictures of this to U.H. as a thank you for the salvage effort.

This is very much on the way to becoming a family heirloom!!!!

The Curiously Strong Foot Mouse!!!

Lynda bought this Altoids Tin on account of the packing. As a true geek I realised that this had no place in her purse and set upon it to convert it for my mouse.

I used my diamond (yes you did read that right) files to get the cutout just right for the USB port.

All Hail to the God of the Day!!!!

My brother, the very handsome Dinesh D'Souza has jumped on to the blogwagon.

Visit him at

In the picture in his third post he is seated fourth from the right.

Dinesh is a year older to me and essentially walked out with all the height and good looks that my mother had to offer!!! I on the other hand seeing that those two were gone, filled my pockets with charm, intelligence, innovation, rhythm,wit & wisdom!!!!!

But he's my brother and we all love him!!!!!

From the _____ of Babes - Part IV

So Aaliyah came home the other day (so long ago) and tried to explain to us about Lent.
She informed us that we were all to give up something for the next 40 days as a sacrifice.

Lynda said that she would give up Chocolate
I said that I would not scold them for the next 40 days (that only lasted for two)
And Layla....

..... said that she would give up Farting..... and then she lets a loud one rip!!!!!!!!!!!!1

No one can clear a room faster than Layla.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Necessity is the Mother of Invention!!


I took up the Clarinet earlier this year just to see if I could actually carry a tune.

I can!!!!

Anyways, the practice CD required me to click the play button to get the midi file started. Then a quick juggle of the clarinet to get my fingers in place before the track started.

This was so not working out. I needed to come up with something that allowed me to activate the left mouse button without removing my fingers from the Clarinet.

Why not a Foot Switch?????

I cannibalized one of the many spare USB mice that I have lying in my box of wires, a foot switch from my unused Table Saw and some spare cable from other damaged components.

Now all I have to do is position the cursor using the regular mouse and step on the foot switch to activate.

It's a good thing!!!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's Nice to Know that Romance is not Dead

I was speaking to a friend yesterday and heard about the most incredible thing that he did for his girl's b'day.
They went to the place where they first hooked up and he got down on one knee and proposed to her with a diamond ring!!!!
Right! That isn't really uncommon. Bear with me. This guy and girl are already engaged and were looking at reception venues last year. So why this? Why now?
Turns out that he could not scratch together enough last year, so he did it on the anniversary instead.
It's really nice to know that there are romantics out there after all.
Kudos to you my friend. May she make a decent person out of you!!!!!!!

It's all about priorities Man!!! Enjoy the journey and rest assured that the Destination will be great!!!!

Mushroom Treatment

I've managed to convince the girls that watching 'How it's Made' on Discovery Science is a productive waste of an hour.
And so the three of us sit and watch the programme faithfully.
Lynda could not be bothered about how things are made just so long as it does not need service and can fill the petrol tank by itself!!!!!
Anyhooo. The last episode showed how mushrooms were cultivated. And everything went downhill from there. I'm not sure if it was the growth medium made of Horses Dung..... or the Chicken Poo added later for enrichment.... that spelt doom for our culinary choices. Rest assured however that Mushrooms may never be consumed by the girls again.
Isn't it cool that as a parent we have the ability to completely and utterly screw up our kids????
I hope somewhere in the distant future when they're flipping patties in a Burger King outlet trying to pay their way through college, they don't hurl at the person ordering 'mushroom &

Monday, February 19, 2007

100 Years of Herge

2007 marks the Centenary year of Georges Remi whom under the assumed name of Herge created "The Adventures of Tintin & Snowy"

To commemorate what would have been Herge's 100th birthday, the Belgian Postal Authorities will be releasing a First Day Sheet of all 24 covers of the Tintin Adventures inclusive of the unfinished Alph-Art and one of the man himself.

Of course I have already prealerted my Belgian contact to acquire one set on my behalf!!!

Want it!! Need it!!

I already have the First Day Sheet of "Tintin et la Lune" framed and hanging on my wall. This was issued in 2004 to commemorate 35 years since man first walked the face of the Moon.

Incidentally Tintin had done this 15 years before with a Ship's Captain, his dog Snowy and 2 bumbling detectives in tow!!!!!!

I already have every Tintin album issued and the first five facsimile issues in B&W. The balance will be acquired as they go to press!!!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Creative Lying 101

It's Performance Commentary time. Unfortunately this time the lies are just not flowing as well as they've done in the past years.....
I'm expected to give this report by tomorrow. A report which to me can be equated to the "State of the Union" address - which is also a bunch of lies!!!!
We've had a poor start to this year. Luckily we built up our reserves at the end of last year so I'm still posting profits... However once that runs out, I'm screwed. I need lies and I need them fast!!!!

Anyone has Bush's speechwriter on their speed dial?????

From the Mouths of Babes - Part III

In what I might one day look back on as a fit of madness, I got Layla a drumset. They came in on Thursday and we spent the next few days assembling the set. They are a new compact style of drums - but the noise that they make is no less than a full blown set.

Anyways..... I got Layla tapping out some rhythms on the drums just to get her used to the kit before the practice book and CD get in.

So she kept messing up and finally blurted "Oh maaaaan!!! I'm never going to be a rock star!!!!!"

Ah. Isn't that what every father dreams for his five year old, shorts wearing, dress hating, converse loving, gun toting daughter????? NOT!!!!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

From the Mouths of Babes - Part II

This morning enroute to Piano class

Layla: Mama why is the sun always following us
Aaliyah: The sun is following us because the world is turning
Layla: The world is turning??
Aaliyah: Yes. It is turning clockwise.
Layla: The world is a clock?? Tick Tock Tick Tock????

From the Mouths of Babes - Part I

I have the privilege, nay, the pleasure of driving my two Einsteins to school almost everyday. During this short trip I am privvy to discussions between these two budding Aristotles that I feel I must document for the sake of History!!
At the Pearl Roundabout in Bahrain, there is a Dhow propped on the side for the purpose of repairs.

Me (in a bid to stimulate conversation): Hey Ally, there's a boat outside the water!
Ally (in drab wonderment at the pre-requisites to be a father): All boats are built out of water!!
Layla (being Layla): Some boats are made of wood!
Ally (wondering what she did to deserve this family): Layla!! All boats are made 'out of the' water!!!!
Layla: Yes!! But!! Some boats ARE made 'out of the' wood!!!

We couldn't have reached school sooner!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Blogfather's Blogspot!!

This is my space. A space that I single-handedly conceived conceptualised, constructed, configured & customised.

You're thinking 'What a conceited Bastard' - Guilty as charged!!! No doubt about it!!

Anyways, I earmarked this space on the 12th of November when I saw this house for all of 5 minutes and decided that this was where we wanted to stay for the next 2.5 years that we anticipated staying on the island.

I went about purchasing the 4 metal whiteboards from Ikea prior to our move (alas there is no Ikea on the island) The top shelves are recycled from the old house and one of them had to be trimmed to fit. The lower shelf was the first project that I entrusted to Vinod (My personal God of Wood) and when he understood what I wanted, I felt the heavens open up and a chorus of angels start to sing.

I digress!!!

The entire assembly floats away from the main wall by using a lattice of pine slats kindly donated to me by my ex-boss and great comrade Hassan. It used to be his kids bunk beds. Sometimes the voices of Samir & Rami call out to me as I blog late into the wee hours of the morning.

But I digress again!! Flu can do that to the best of people.

The floating assembly enables me to route power cables, RJ-45's, RJ-11's, Audio & Speaker Cables from the PC's to the various units on the upper shelf.

For Power, I have 4 extension strips under the main shelf with 6 multiconfiguration sockets (any plug in the world) giving me a sum total of 24 outlets. Why did I ever think that that would be enough? I ran out of sockets in the first year itself!!!

So all in, it's a great place to sit (or stand) and blog, check mail, browse the net and download music illegally.

4 stations for a family of 4. No one will ever have to fight for a PC in my house!!!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

St. Hallmark's Day

I'm still unwell, and it's Valentine's Day.

No gift this time Baby!!! Sorry!!

However let me say 'Thank You' for agreeing to go out with a boy 14 years ago on New Year's Eve.

A boy with barely a Dirham in his pocket, who wore your Father's Jacket & drove your Uncle's car to the Farm Party in Aweer.

Let me assure you however that the love that I professed for you that day, was all my own!!! That day will always remain the high point of my life!!! Marrying you was my 'Magnum Opus' and I only hope that I measure up to even a miniscule percentile of your expectations.

Thank you for the love, commitment and caring that you've provided me for all of these years!!!

Yours Forever!!!!!


Happy Valentine's Day to all who've been fortunate enough to find that 'special someone', and to those who've remained single in order to hold out for that someone, somewhere!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Of Sales & Bargainwhoreism

Last Friday marked the end of the winter sales in Bahrain.

Good citizens that we are, Lynda and I decided that once again it was up to us to singlehandedly save Bahrain's economy.

As always with all good sales, there was only rubbish on the racks and we did the customary tour of Debenhams/BHS/M&S/Mango & Zara

We all took our usual roles. Lynda - Spotting everything way too expensive and not on sale
Me - Bargain Whore!!
Aaliyah - Pest
Layla - Bigger Pest

Well, we did not get anything good except for my mother, whom I believe is probably the most fashionable Lady in the Women's Sodality!!! Any Sodality!!!!

On to Zara and I (yes - Me, not Lynda) wound up buying a Black Linen Suit. It must have looked good on me telling from Lynda's lustful looks. (Hey a man can dream!!!) Anyways. Liked it so much that I bought the one in Beige (Wheat??) as well. This I believe to be the biggest indulgence ever and I was quite guilty after that. For about 5 minutes.

OK. Will no longer do Gay posts. Promise.

Oh. Oh. Oh. Got two shirts one with tiny skulls & crossbones and the other Tuxedo style in black.

God!!! That was so Gay!!!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Sounds Good

Yet another of my hobbies (read as addiction) is listening to music.
Now I'm sure that most of you out there would go 'ya! so?' So, let me clarify my position. I do not like listening to music through some tinny boombox that has had the music passed through so many filters that all you can hear is Heart Starting Bass and Screeching Treble.
No. I'd like to hear the music reproduced in the same way that the Recording Engineer mastered it. So here for your delectation (and I hope, envy) is a System Map of my Audio System.
I have 2 Rotel Power Amplifiers giving me a staggering 1 kW of power. That is 1000 watts of music. Now some of you are thinking - Hey I've got a Sony boombox that has a sticker that says 2800 watts PMPO. Please - Leave this blog at once, and the Internet as well while you're at it!!!! What is PMPO - Far too icky for me to even have my RSD wracked fingers type
My main speakers are Mordaunt Short MS-908. These will have to do until I win the MashreqMillionaire and upgrade to Martin Logan electrostatics. Hey don't you have to invest in Mashreqbank to be eligible to win??? Technicalities, Technicalities!!!!
So why do I need so much power?? Do I like listening to loud music??? No. The reason for having so much power is that the amps do not even break a sweat when playing at normal listening levels for hours on end. Of course with three women in the house, 'hours on end' is merely a pipe dream. Yet another Catch 22 situation.
On the computer I output my sound through a Sound Blaster Platinum sound card and then
through a Rotel RA-931 and finally to Tannoy speakers. Yes - it does sound good.
I will be building a Music Server soon. That is as soon as I can afford some serious storage in order for me to build a 5 Terrabyte RAID. Which means that I will not have to use lossy compression and will be able to store the files as .wav

American Idle

OK. So there's nothing more worse than all those people who audition for AI, believing that they're God's gift to the recording industry.

Or is there??

Lynda and I spend most of the year waiting for AI to start and when it does, we schedule everything else around it. We've even got the girls doing mock auditions with us playin Randy and Paula!!!!

Having said that, AI carried us through those first agonising months in Bahrain. Faced with options like the Absolute B**ch from next door and the Nazi who allowed me to apologise for my dog killing 'her' cat that I later found out to be stray, AI was still the better deal.

Go AI! Go Bo! Go Taylor!

BTW, the Neurotic B**ch has since moved to AUH. Should you run into her... please run into her!!!!

Stuff that I've Yet To Do Part I

This is a 'Lavabo' - Also circa 1905 - Lavabo - Latin for 'to wash'

This was used by priests to wash their hands before celebrating the mass in the times prior to running water.

This is a very unique piece of furniture and will be quite a challenge to get up to spec. I managed to take apart the complete unit and it is partially assembled. There is some brass hardware that I will need to get cast. I have to look for a period sink to match the year as well as make up new resevoirs and splashbacks from GI sheet (maybe aluminium???)

There are even hidden towel racks recessed into the top unit with full extension sliding dovetails. Very clever for it's time.

I hope to complete this prior to the 'Big Move' and will update as and when I have something new.

More Stuff that I've Done Part IV

Typeface Cabinet

This is a typeface cabinet that I salvaged from my Dad's printing press in Dadar. It was being sold to the scrap dealer (Jari Puranawala seems so much more romantic)

It is made from Burma Teak as was everything from our Colonial past and is quite heavy.

Had it redone, refinished and it now holds all manner of odds and ends. I picked up yet another smaller one which Lynda now uses to keep her art materials.

For those wondering what a Typeface is and are too lazy or inept to Wiki it, I will try to explain.

In the days prior to Offset Printing (go Wiki that yourself), words, lines and paragraphs were composed from lead 'types' or 'sorts' that were painstakingly set into a compositor stick before being transferred to the machine for printing. These cabinet held those lead types.

I even managed to get a brass Compositors Stick, but it needs to be polished and I will post it when it's done.

I is a Indian

Shout out here to Neil, who diplomatically informed me of the typos in my blog.

What Neil does not realise is that I am blogging in a foreign language!!

Following posts to be in Hindi!!

Jai Hind!!!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Very Large Solitaire Board Project

Just made this Large Solitaire Board. It was in testing phase today with my 2 Crash Test Dummies

Why? - I wanted to redefine the term 'Playing with yourself'
Really, Why?? - Quite simply because I could!!!

The board is made of .75" MDF with 1.75" holes cutout for the balls. Holes were chamfered with a router. Finally a gutter has been routed on the periphery for balls out of play.

I had this idea for some time now, but could not source balls of a suitable size to make this with. Natural stone balls were out of my budget and would have never been able to stand up to the rigours of the Test Personnell that I have resident in my house.

Anyways, it finally struck me that Pool balls were the best bet as they were made to withstand abuse at the hands of half drunk individuals in pubs. Having said that, I realise that my brother and brother-in-law fit right into that genre!!!

Here a top view agonisingly laid out by Aaliyah & myself!!!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Stuff that I've Done Part III

This is my Grandfather's chair.

I remember him seated at this chair filling in his diary.

Good times - seems like a lifetime away!!!

When my Grandmother's house was sold to property developers, the furniture was divided among the siblings. I essentially took all that was considered scrap.

I carted this with me to Dubai and then to Bahrain where I managed to restore the chair. Unfortunately it's pair is in a worse state and can not be restored.

Stuff that I've Done Part II

This is my Grandmother's Showcase.
Did a lot of work on this piece.
I had the wooden shelves retired, replaced by glass ones. Removed the wooden shelf supports and put adjustable brass rails.
The bevelled mirrors in the recessed panels at the rear really made this unit pop.
Pride of place still goes to my Grandfather's books which my mother kindly gave for me to pass on to future generations.
I have a picture of the full showcase somewhere. Will post it later

Stuff that I've Done Part I

This is a Prie-Dieu (Pray to God - in French) salvaged from Mount Mary's Basilica in Bandra, Mumbai.

It was being thrown out before U. H saved it for me. It is circa 1905.

Was is a terrible state when I got it, but saw it's potential and rightly enough.

It sits below our Altar Box holding one of Lynda's painting books.

I just love ecclesiastical furniture

Shout out here to Vinod - My carpenter, who interprets my madness for perfection down to the letter.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

A Brief Introduction to Me

So I thought that I'd snap off something witty, but witticisms are hard to come by when you really want to be witty.

Who am I - 38 years of age, married for 11, 2 kids aged 5 & 7.

It's a wonder that I found the time to start up a blog between dropping the kids off to school and sometimes collecting them.

And oh yes - I manage a small company. But only because I need the money to indulge in my hobbies of which I have so many.

BTW the keyboard on my laptop has lost it's F key. So in case you find any Typos. UCK O!!
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