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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