Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My kingdom for a decent Internet connection!

This morning it was down to the Shuwaikh Authentication department once again, got there 15 minutes early as I was told quite forcefully yesterday that they were only open from 8-9. Then I proceeded to wait til 9:55 when finally the group of us waiting all converged on the guy who showed up. Everyone else handed him their stuff, and then I explained what I needed. He spoke very little english but seemed to understand what needed to be done. He took the stack of papers and beckoned me to follow him upstairs. There he took my papers, made some stamps on them, then copied them, and handed them back to me, keeping the copies. These I am told have been faxed as of 12 noon today to the Los Angeles Kuwaiti Consulate.

I was finally able to get a hold of Kerri and get her the information of the consulate and ask her to contact them and see what can be done while she is in LA. We'll see what comes of that.

Having started the day off so well, I did some sightseeing and drove up north to Doha. I thought I'd drop in on Entertainment City, but it is closed til around 4pm apparently. I kept driving til I ran into the gulf and turned around.

Decided to swing by IKEA so I could buy some mugs (150 fils each) as yesterday I bought some kitchen items including a coffee maker and hot water boiler. Oh and a microwave. Anyway, this morning I made coffee and when it was done I realized I had nothing to drink it in. So I made do with an empty water bottle, but still, mugs are nice. While there of course I picked up a few other things, including a present for Kerri that I know she will like. Of course I was there for the shawarmas which I have to say are some of the best in town. The huge bottles of tahini are what really cinch the deal. Also my free coffee that I get due to my IKEA card is going to run out at the end of the year.

IKEA is attached to the Avenues mall so afterward I went over there to see if there were any movies worth watching. I'd heard a lot about The Golden Compass and wanted to try out the theater experience here, so I bought a ticket (2.5KD). One odd aspect is that the front 5 or 6 rows are reserved for families only. So you have to pick the seat you want when you buy your ticket. Anyone who knows me and movies knows I like to sit about the 4th row back in the center, so I was a bit worried, but the place I ended up sitting was just fine. The theater was immaculate, no smell of popcorn or children (somehow those two things always seem to go together). The seats were quite comfortable too. The movie itself was interesting enough, though very rushed, especially towards the end, and there were just too many improbable occurances that just strained my credulity too much. By the end I was rolling my eyes and any suspension of disbelief was impossible, especially given the main thrust of the movie. The kid with the main role did very well acting wise, though I have to say I didn't actually like her character. Still, I have to compliment the direction for refusing to sweeten it too much, which is all too common these days. There were some great characters throughout the story, but again each got so little time to develop and interact that I felt a bit cheated. As for all the controversy, yes it's clear where all this is headed. I do wish Pullman had kept his attack to general religiosity which I loathe about as much as he probably does. But to associate all Christianity (though he claims it is all religions he opposes) with a very one-dimensional portrayal of some of its worst aspects hardly smacks of a fair fight. Then again, I'm sure that's precisely the point I'm sure. I am interested to read the books someday.

Also finally bought a new internet solution today. The one available through the apartments was not sufficient to hold a skype conversation, let alone download the TV we are accustomed to watching. The cell companies here (ZAIN and Wataniya) both offer aircard solutions, and since I was already with Wataniya and had good coverage in the apartment I went with them. Also there is an end of year deal (everything is on sale at the end of the year) where got the USB aircard for 35KD instead of 65KD, and the monthly rate is 28KD. Pretty spendy, but it's the only option left. It's also a 6 month commitment or we pay back the difference. Oh well...

After I got home I set about setting the thing up, and more importantly figuring out how to get my Wii to utilize the darn thing. They claimied I could not share it out...but they were only half right! For some reason, I cannot share it out when using my wireless card in my computer. But when I disable my wireless card and plug directly in with the wired network card, I can share the aircard out no problem. Weird... So my wii can now use it just fine! And I'm downloading the latest episode of Denno Coil which is almost 3/4 done already. Took me 4 days at Al Manshar.

Can't recall if I mentioned it yesterday, but I also opened a bank account at NBK. I had the rent money on hand so went down to see if I could use it to open an account. Ended up getting a savings account that requires at least 100KD in order to avoid charges (2KD a month). I had 500KD so I put that in there and will get another 100KD in soon so when I pay rent there will still be 100KD in there. The main reasons to do this are 2 fold: 1) The KNET card (debit) that I get will allow me to pay rent without walking around with wads of cash in my pocket, and 2) I will be able to deposit some of my paycheck directly in the account which will be much much easier than doing the withdrawal dance on base which takes many days and is tough to remember to do. Also (3) if we need to transfer a large sum of money from the states it is much easier and faster to do a wire.

Ok, that's all the news. I'm gonna go out on the porch and smoke a cigar before heading to bed. Gnight all!


Andy said...

Heya JC,

I'm actually reading the Golden Compass books right now. If you're not put off by the controversy they're pretty good books. Though if you think they didn't lull the move a LOT you're in for quite a shock from the books.

Linda and I personally hated the movie, basically for the reasons you mentioned (too fast, substandard character development, etc) but will be curious to see if the other 2 books get made into movies as well.

Glad to see you're still alive and kickin'.

JC said...

I've heard a lot about the books, so I think I know what to expect. I will try to read them eventually.