Saturday, 28 November 2009

winter of change

Before I start, there are new photos on Jack's website.

It's now on average, here in Doha, Qatar about 20-23C in the morning. Cold. I have found myself wearing a sweater (jumper for the English) if the temperature is below 30C. Insane? Well, not really:

In August when we landed it was nearing 50C .. Difference between 47C and 50C is what exactly? Not much. Stinking hot is stinking hot once you go past a point. Much like winter. Difference between -20C and -25C? Who cares.

Given that our 'winter' has arrived, the difference between summer and now is almost 30C! That's a big variance.

Compare this with Toronto: 30C in the summer going down to 0C for November. A 30C difference.

Ignoring the geography for a moment, when there is a 30C difference, and you are on the low end of this, putting a sweater on should be normal. Our bodies aren't built for such a big variance. Yeah, if it goes colder I wont be able to cope...but that's OK. If it was Toronto, no one would be able to cope as it neared on 50C....

So our bodies have adjusted to this desert climate. It's neat. How will Jack cope when we take him to Europe or North America? He'll be a little frozen jack'cicle.

December 1 the in-laws arrive for 28 days. We enjoy having visitors...!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Satellite View -- 275 West Porto Drive, The Pearl, Qatar

View Larger Map

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

72 hours ago...

72 hours ago I was on my way out to look at new cars to purchase. Kia, Hyundai, etc. are all fairly reliable and cheap. I can buy two of them for one Audi Q5 or Q7 ...

Now, it's important to stress that Doha isn't that big and suffers from terrible traffic congestion. That similar to London or Toronto during manic rush hour. Here I haven't figured out what times it happens. Just seems to happen all of the time.

Anyways ... 72 hours ago Lucy called because she was bleeding again. Two weeks ago today she was hospitalized for the same problem. The concern has always been for baby first and Lucy second. After sitting here for 3 days they discharged Lucy for bed rest until November 12 (when Jack would have been born by c-section). Lucy was rushed to the hospital on October 24 and Jack was hatched a few hours later.

It has all happened quite quickly and I'll be honest ... not fully prepared. I had joked that morning that I would go out and buy a big bag of flour to walk around with for the next few days and pretend it was a baby ... heh. Now we have Jack. We're very happy and proud to have him ...

All the updates about Jack can be found on his website: ... All photos are posted to the Picasa albums I have...

Next post, and this is the exciting one ... what to do in Qatar when you need to get a birth certificate for a newborn!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Monday, 19 October 2009

quick update....

It's been a little bit hectic for the past few weeks. Realizing now that I've neglected the blog for almost two months. Well, 1.5 months ...! Where to start.

  1. Bean & Lucy are doing well. We had quite the scare last week and have had to make some adjustments for a quicker then expected arrival. Bean will be delivered, by an army of storks (provided they can find where we live in Doha .... no postal addresses in this country!) no later then November 12. The doctor gave us this date today, and well, I was shocked. My Grandfather, Mack, passed away in the early hours of November 13. We had discussed in the past names, and if the baby is a boy, and happens to be born on the date of my Grandfather's passing, we'd have an obligation to call the baby Mack. So, let's see how things progress. Lucy is confined to bed rest now until delivery.
  2. The apartment is now fully furnished and feels like home. The nursery is completed, car seat for baby is purchased (green is a gender neutral colour ....). The bugaboo is assembled and ready to go....!
  3. Still haven't purchased a car. To be honest, have been waiting to see how 90 days worked out and more importantly, use 90 days to assess the market over here in terms of what cars are good, reliable, have a nice resale value, etc... Have I decided? Not yet. What I do know is that it should have a fairly strong engine that enables me to get into the roundabout before any other car. That's the secret here. First in = safer
  4. Ice Hockey is fun. I'm happy I've gotten into it again. It has been a long long time since I put on skates. February 2009 I suppose. I am playing in the QIIHL and have had a few points already this season. As you can see from the webpage, it's not a huge league. The important part is that it is ice hockey! The folks on the team I play on are very nice and it makes a huge world of difference....The new warrior sticks I bought are also pretty sweet. Still, I think they have a small problem ... Not scoring enough goals.
  5. Fall has arrived in Doha. Yep, it's a very cold 31C out today. If it's below 40C it's COLD! It's odd how we miss the clouds, the rain and the garbage weather from everywhere else we've lived in the past few years. I have to say, I'm sick of perfect weather.
  6. Batman: Arkham Asylum for the PS3 is one of the best games I've ever played. So good, Lucy got into the game ... as it plays out like a movie. She was content to sit there and enjoy the story as it evolved. It's a shame that it ends so quickly...
  7. Work? Work is great. Challenges every day. I'm constantly thinking and that's a very good thing. New people keep starting and they are all very very interesting people. Diverse backgrounds, interests and strengths. Quite the foundation for a company that is on the verge of exploding throughout the Middle East & North Africa (MENA). Check out MEEZA ...
  8. Bought a Samsung HT-SB1 speaker to go with the Bravia ... Never again do I look at lots of speakers for the living room (well, atleast until children are old enough to understand the value of speakers....) ... the sound is perfect for us.
So that's about it...

Friday, 4 September 2009

275 West Porto Drive, The Pearl

We are now residents of The Pearl and enjoying all it has to offer. Master bedroom, living room, dining room and kitchen have been furnished.

Guest bedroom and nursery are next on the list. Oh yeah, and the most important place, the balcony! If only I could figure out how to get muskoka chairs here .... that would be pretty sweet. That and margarita mix.

Here's what I now know about the pearl through rumour or what not. Each unit across the entire complex receives a 1 gigabit feed. The gigabit feed provides IPTV (digital television), VoiP (telephone) and internet.

IPTV is provided through a software service called Minerva. If only I could figure out how to get VLC to connect to the Minerva service, that would be mint. Each unit is only provided 1 Scientific Atlanta IPTV decoder for the television. This kinda sucks when you have a 3 bedroom place and a pregnant wife that may want to relax in bed one day and watch tv....

Work is going well. The main goal I wanted was to re-expose myself to technology. After being specialized for the past few years ... it's nice to reach out again.

Ah! I almost forgot. In Switzerland I bought an HP C7280 printer. It's nice, can print photos, scan, all the fancy shmancy stuff. So ... it's out of ink. Lucy is a printer freak. No idea what she prints but she goes through ink very very quickly.... Went to the "best" computer store here in Doha the other night to buy more ink. I brought the little HP ink card with me saying that the cartridges I need to buy are "363" ....

No one in doha carries this .... after speaking to people and looking at their compatibility guide it soon became clear that if the technology was manufactured after 2007 (for printers....) then it doesn't exist in this country ....! So, Aramex to the rescue again....

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Moving to The Pearl, Qatar

The Pearl Qatar

Now, before you click on the link, some people have complained about the site and that it could open up lots and lots of web pages. Lucy, Bean, and Myself will move into our new place at The Pearl on September 1, 2009.

Lucy has been super busy during the day researching the different shops for furniture, televisions and everything else. I thought a dinner service was a reference for when you sit down to dinner at a fancy restaurant. Turns out that in some fancy place, it means plates and cutlery and all that...

So, the apartment. What is it? Well, it is a 3 bedroom apartment situated 5 floors above the amenities and parking. In terms back home, it would be equivalent to the 10th floor, but over here, it's on the 5th floor. 4 parking floors, 1 floor with swminning pool and then 5 floors up is us.

Why did we select The Pearl? Well, other then the wow factor, and how similar the view provides what we were used to in Montreux, Switzerland ... when Bean is born, even if it's 50C outside, Lucy will be able to take the elevator down to the shopping level and walk throughout the entire shopping environment without having to go outside.

Above are some photographs I took while we were in the other day inspecting the place. Once we are settled, and internet is better (connections are that great at the moment) the two of us will start to be more active with posts and keeping up to date with things.

Some interior shots:

A few photographs of where we currently live: Ezdan Towers

Ahhh .... and I am now proud to say that I suffered a serious bout of Doha Diarrhea that lasted about 5 days and one visit to the hospital....

Friday, 7 August 2009

1 week in

A week ago Lucy and I had just arrived at our new home for the next few months. Time has flown by. Lucy has been a busy little bee running around looking at housing. I've been working. I get the easy job...

Temporary Qatari drivers license is now in hand ... along with the most fantastic mitsubishi car. It doesn't have a model. It's white. It should have lots of gears, but really, it only has two....and that's if you are brave enough to see the RPM's hit 9000 .... which is mega -red line. Still, 30 QAR to fill up was ok. I think it works out at the pump to 0.08.40 QAR / litre. My urine is more expensive.

All of our stuff has arrived from the UK ... including that bugaboo. Was fun putting it together and playing with it. I hadn't had an opportunity to actually see it until now. It's cool. Breezy

Food has been nice. Not had a bad meal so far. Yes, Camel is on the menu at some places. Again, like Switzerland and Horse, i'm not adverse to trying it. What I am a bit stand-off'ish about are 'brains' on the menu. Don't think it would sit well with we're going to avoid ordering anything with "mixed meat" or "special meat" ... because well, we don't need more brains!

Don't forget Bean....


Saturday, 1 August 2009

Starsky and Hutch

Before Lucy and I left for Doha, we had watched the new Starsky & Hutch movie. The best part, I think .... was at the end when they are in disguise and the one fella puts on a voice and says:

"Do it. ..... Do it."

Well, throughout the past 72 hours or so, we've amused ourselves to no end saying just that. Do it.
So here we are now. All 2.4 of us. Living in what will now be our home for no more then 100 days. Work will start in about 7 hours from now ... and of course, I can't sleep. Snorebert can.

The goal over the next few weeks is fairly simple. Residence Permit, Drivers Licenses, Hospital registration for bean ... buy a few cars and find a permanent place to live. Easy, eh?

Thankfully it hasn't been too hot the past few days. I think today it got up to 43C ... there have been sandstorms and when we flew in on Friday evening, there was next to no visibility. As someone commented to me on facebook, here they call it 'fog'. Suppose because they've never seen actual fog and the effect that is happening is fog-like. Anyways...

A few things I've noticed. Here and in the hotel I was at a few weeks ago in Doha ... the toilet paper isn't normal 'western' size. the squares are smaller ...

translations to english in menus and magazines are funny. we could have ordered "tree scoops of ice cream" for desert tonight.

ya man

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

ciao, toronto.

flew in thursday and in accordance with the pre-set normality that are my trips to toronto, four/five days was all i was there for. the city is evolving and i'm happy to see that in 5 years there will be a train system that will run beneath eglinton avenue. nice.

the garbage strike was ending on the day i left....still, toronto stunk.

I was able to spend a few moments with Lauren, Jake my Father and Grandmother, bought some new ice hockey sticks and saw Bruno.

Not much exciting to report...except maybe the upgrades both ways on the British Airways flights. That was nice. Allowed me to get some sleep and show up relaxed and refreshed ready to go. I think this is their cunning plan to get me addicted to business class.....

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

New scan photos

Lucy wandered, like the king penguin she walks....up to the hospital for the 20 week scan. Some new photos of the genderless, nameless wonder can be found at

Thursday, 2 July 2009

2009 is a little crazy

December 22, 2008, I proposed to Lucy.

  • Celebrated New Years Eve in Las Vegas
  • Finished job in Switzerland
  • Flew to Toronto in March and suggested July 1 as wedding date
  • 48 hours later Lucy had it all booked..........................
  • Relocated to England
  • Found new job and relocated to London
  • Found out that we are expecting: the next Dolgy
  • Married July 1, 2009
2009 still promises to deliver another relocation and a baby.

Crazy and wild ride.

A bit about the wedding for those that could not travel, etc.

We were married at The Bluebird, in Chelsea, down here in London. We had 28 1/2 visitors and the abmiance was incredible. Very warm and friendly.

Lucy and I are now on a list of firsts.

We are the first couple to be married at The Bluebird.

Prior to today, all newly weds would head to The Bluebird after they have been married elsewhere, for their reception.

Following the ceremony and afternoon lunch (which was fantastic. highly recommend the food) we bundled everyone into taxis and headed down to Trafalgar Square for Canada Day in London.

Was a great way to end the evening ...

the dolgy's

Saturday, 27 June 2009

first facebook application

so a while back i saw that facebook had opened things up to allow developers to write their own thing. i went, i looked and i started...only to give up because i really had nothing much to do ... who cares, what's the point, blah blah blah.

so anyways, today i got to thinking ... as if anyone can think about anything other then mr. jackson ... i thought what really is the best song he's ever done? what is the consensus? sure i'm sure i could find a site somewhere and create a poll, or even call up somewhere...but in the end i thought, boy, why not try to do a facebook application. maybe it'll be easy, hard...who knows.

so with a little motivation and a tiny idea ... Michael Jackson .. Rate It .. My first facebook application. Yeah it's pretty crappy ... but the principles are neat.

I started down the road of using the facebook data app ... but in the end it's just a bit too much for what i wanted to throw together. That and I couldn't easily get it working in my brain ... which is another subject all together.

Anyways...what do you think the best MJ song of all time is? I think it's Scream...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Now, normally I'm not a whore for technology...but I have to tell you, this is pretty damn cool:

Saturday, 20 June 2009

the days, how they grow long...

so let's see. 20 days into being 30. no differences yet. summer is not quite in full gear here in London town ... but soon, i hope.

July 1, only 11 days from now. Canada Day, Wednesday, and the Wedding. Not in that order of course. Must be honest, I'm looking forward to it. Small, quiet and simple. Much like me. Ha!

The past weekend was spent in Cracovia....Krakow, Poland. The stag-do to end all single boys out having fun do's....Four days of well, not a lot. I don't like big groups of people, I don't like to party and I don't like to it was a nice chilled out four day weekend. The penultimate (check out that word!) day in Krakow, we spent (four of us ... lost one due to passport problems ...) Auschwitz and Birkenau concetration camps. Not quite what one would expect with a stag-do...but then, I'm a little odd and unique. Need to have some culture, history and something to remind us just how fragile we all are.

I suspect the nex post will involve a lot of "S", "W" and "X" due to a heavier then normal ringer finger...

Monday, 1 June 2009

30, now what?

my back doesn't hurt, i can get up in the morning and the air still smells the same.  
the ride on the tube doesn't make my nostrils any blacker then they already are.  
2 decades gone, the new one, well, should be interesting.  the past 10 months, 10 days and even 10 hours have been a roller coaster.  don't see much that will change the next 10 hours, days, months and years...

it's exciting.  <-- that's me being excited.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

London Life: Borough Market

Living in London do has it's benefits. Sure there are a lot of things you can pick at but overall, I think if you can find the neat things to do, it ain't all that bad.

Borough Market is London's oldest food market. This morning Lucy and I took a stroll over to have a nose around. After a walk around for a bit, we purchased some amazing vegetables and I ended up picking up a nice jar of dill pickles and sushi grade tuna. That to me is very very cool and the variety and quality of products is much much better then the Sainsbury's local!


Friday, 15 May 2009

here piggy piggy, the big digit and other housekeeping

swine flu you say?  H1N1?  will it trigger a global crisis?  Lord of the Flies?  here piggy piggy...

at first thought i think of oinking, The League of Gentlemen and rolling around in feces.  global epidemic that will create a special town for special folk.  

then it clicks in.  this is for real.  now that we're living in London and I'm working in the City, i need to take the tube daily and it's not uncommon to shake armpits with fellow travellers, let alone pick up flu germs from poles and other hard surfaces. 

so i put on my visionary hat and here is what i have come up with:

Visionary point #1:

My ice hockey gear has anti-bacterial gel all over so that it doesn't stink.  that's the benefit and what sold me on it.  why not coat the entire tube and other surfaces with this anti-bacterial gel?  it's long lasting and then maybe the tube would smell better?

After living through SARS in Toronto I have my anti-bacterial hand gel with me all the time.  Not taking chances. 

30 is just around the corner.  May 31 

Now as you can see from Wikipedia, I'm not cool enough to warrant any mention, yet.  Brings me to my next thought.  Who determines who should be and who shouldn't be on Wikipedia?  Everyone has a story and everyone contributes to history.  

His-Story ... this is the only real fact that has stuck with me since high school.  Whoever lived, whoever won the war, whoever was allowed to write his story, defines history.  In the time and present that is now ... shouldn't wikipedia be a bit more savvy and not exclude people from history?  

Visionary point #2:

Wikipedia is great but needs to evolve into something much more organic fusing historical facts relating to everything and everyone.  Everything records our daily behaviour on the internet now, why can't we start recording our daily life and define our history?  Blogs are a great way to do it, but they don't quite slot everything together properly.  

They will.  That's my prediction.  Give it a few years, you'll see history and blogs blend together more...

Finally, the wedding.  July 1, 2009.  Small and quaint here in London.  Will be a bit odd.  Some mixed emotions, although they are all good.  Afterwards we will make our way down to Trafalgar Square to Celebrate Canada Day.

Visionary point #3:  

Get married on a national holiday in a foreign country.  When you move back 'home' you'll have your anniversary as a satutory holiday every year.  


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

more hadoop

well, in the end i had to hurt myself to understand that i have to keep things simple. in the end, hadoop gives you the ability to have a single file system that appears to your java program as a FileSystem. Once i understood this things started to fly and i'm back on track to understanding how all of this new fancy shmancy stuff works...

Monday, 4 May 2009

continued education

in an effort to keep ahead, or at least, on top of the curve, i have been making attempts to get up to speed on technologies: Hadoop, HBase, Lucene, etc. I tell you, nothing I have come across so far bends my brain as much. maybe i over complicate, maybe i'm not complicated enough. reminds me of when i was trying to 'figure out' java. took a long time for some of the concepts to snap.

been reading lots and lots of posts out there. i like how some suggest that if you have a background with RDBMS then you need to unlearn. no one says how exactly ; )

oh well. bank holiday monday here in the uk. quiet, overcast ... just like i remember they used to be.


Friday, 1 May 2009

New Job, New City, New Pandemic

Been a while. It's been a little hectic, up and down, etc. That and well, didn't really have much to write about.

New Job: Working for Thomson Reuters now on a short contract. Large company. As large as Nestle in some respects. Just like Nestle, never knew how big it is until I showed up...!

New City: Living in London now for the next little while (short term for the moment) a few blocks south of Tower Bridge. Nice area to be in and not as expensive as I would have thought. I'll get some photos of the flat and put them online at some point.

New Pandemic: This is all a little familiar. SARS anyone? If people wash their hands ... can't we stop a lot of illness? Although, having said that, normal flu kills lots of people every year.

So what's up now? Well, 30 is just around the corner. Lucy and I have also set a wedding date. More information about that at a later point in time...


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Monday, 23 February 2009

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


This morning that another baseball player has confessed to taking performance enhancing drugs.

Who cares.

Taking these things helps you to grow big and strong. It also helps to shrink your testicles. Do they help your brain to work faster, better? No.

Steroids help to make you more unstable. Have you ever tried to hit a baseball coming at you 90mph? 100mph? You can't just close your eyes and whack it. It takes a high degree of skill and concentration to hit the ball.

Ok, if you're juiced and you hit the ball, it should go further. That's physics and science.

In the end, it all comes down to your technique. Steroids wont affect that, so who cares. Maybe the old greats were juiced too. Just because they are dead doesn't mean we can't doubt them. If science today could test the heroes of yester-year, do you think maybe we'd find a few skeletons?

Hard to believe we couldn't.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

The Countdown. Popcorn. Snow. House.

Seems that my facebook status set off a few weird thoughts in some people. So to clarify what I was counting down...but first: Weather update:

Over the past 24 hours, much of the ski hills in the region where I am currently living has received about 1 meter of fresh snow. Cool eh? I don't have that much at the house. Only about half a foot.

Now, the countdown: Sitting on the couch doing nothing all weekend. Lucy flew back to the UK for the weekend....and me? It allowed me to revert back to uber couch potato or... to go back through my blog histories, a hermit. It has been quite a while since I have dedicated a weekend to doing absolutely nothing. Now it is Sunday. I can reflect back and understand that I have accomplished quite a bit.

House. While in vegas we accidentally watched House, M.D., the Fox TV show. Never really gave it a chance when it first came out. I liked E.R.. Anyways, I have spent all weekend finishing up Season 3, Season 4 and now part way through Season 5.

Better still, another accomplishment? Popcorn. I have been craving popcorn for weeks. Every time we head out to buy groceries, it just kinda fades from my mind. After watching House, I can come up with about 10 different neurological diseases which would justify why I don't remember. I suppose that I am just lazy and it was never a necessity, like milk. I forgot.

Yesterday, I bought popcorn kernels.

After deciphering the French, German and Italian instructions I dove in and cooked up a batch.


It has been a long time since I have tried something new. It was rewarding. I know it seems simple...but seriously.

How many times have you pan fried popcorn kernels?

I grew up with jiffy stove top pop and then microwave popcorn. Hot air popcorn machines.

Never in my life had i ever needed to pop my own kernels. I can now add to my list this new accomplishment.

If you haven't tried it, give it a try. It's a hoot!

Friday, 9 January 2009

2650km later...

the big drive, both of them are done. happy to report, no issues. in a previous post i had a map of the drive i was going to do with Lucy from here in Switzerland to the UK. on the way there, we managed to hit absolutely no traffic and made it to her parents house in 12.5hrs (including the chunnel). on the way back we hit no traffic again and managed to do the drive (slightly modified) in 11hrs.

for 9 of the days, we were in vegas. it wasn't hot and the 500,000 people on the strip partying we missed. jet lag killed us and we were in bed at 9pm out like a light!

there's a new addition to the family. i purchased a sony tg3 camcorder. it's tiny, durable and nifty. first time five years that i've bought a camera and i think i'm happy with it. only time will tell.

for now, we're sick of travelling and wont be doing any until february at the earliest (hopefully).

on the outward trip, our flight from london heathrow to dallas was upgraded from "premimum economy" to business class. that was nice. i wouldn't pay for premium economy again...but the business class made the price justifiable.

happy new year and all the best for 2009.