Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Fesh: Defeated

You attend that many corporate trainings and this introduction piece (name, current assignment, hometown, expectations and one unique thing) becomes fairly easy. I have developed my standard answers for those and for the unique thing I usually say:

My passion is traveling...*pause for dramatic purposes* far I have visited 36 countries out of my personal target of visiting a 100.

It has always worked for me, usually I get some interesting comments... until today. The trainer, a dude in his early 50ies, looked at me and said: How many countries?

I smiled and said in a confident tone:

He replied in a cold tone:

.....I have been defeated in my own game.
*Fesh dies.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My 7-Minute Meditation

As a spin-off of my last post, here's an interesting habit that I developed due to my travels. I can now rate how easy/hard it is to get into a country (i.e. the immigration part). So on a scale of 1 to 10, here goes:

The Swiss (1/10)
They don't even look at my passport, they just look at my residency card and let me go, one of the few countries in the world that doesn't even stamp my passport. Me likey.

The Schiengen States (Germany, France, Italy ..etc) (3/10)
They usually ask one question: How long are you planing to stay? I always like to confuse them by answering: I'm leaving next Thursday. I then pause and watch the officer trying to do some quick math to understand how many days is Thursday from today. It's very entertaining.

The Americans (6/10)
Very detailed, lots of questions: Why are you here, how long, where are you staying...etc. They are however very professional and the whole process takes under 3 minutes. I don't joke there, not after 9-11.

The Polish (9/10)
The mother of them all, basically I live and work there but still anytime I am entering OR exiting Poland I go thru a 10-minute process. This is how it usually goes: after the initial exchange of documents and Good Mornings, the immigration officer would then type in EVERY single detail of my passport and residency card into the Communist-era computer system. Then comes the dreaded 7-minutes of awkward silence, during that time the immigration officer would be mindlessly tapping on the keyboard until the Orwellian Central System would blurp an ACCEPTED or REJECTED on the screen. I haven't seen the screen but I'm assuming they'd go with the cliche big red/green bold letters.

Initially (the first dozen or so times) I was extremely annoyed by this wait, but later I started to appreciate this wait, it started to be my own little time where I meditate. It's as close to an Out of Body experience as I have ever gotten. Every single time I am waiting I am imaging the different scenarios of how I'm gonna go koko on the one immigration officer's ass who's going to make the fatal mistake of stopping me from passing based on a glitch in this crappy Communist-era system. Oh I pity that fool.

Friday, June 22, 2007

99 Cities in 36 Countries

As the end of the Fiscal year approaches, I am restating my balance sheet of countries visited. Previously, I was using a list of all the countries that I got off a website and based on that I had visited 37 countries. Now I found this ultimate Facebook gadget from TripAdviser that uses Google Maps and let's you put little pins on the cities you've visited and then it automatically calculates how many cities/countries. Based on this one, I have 99 cities in 36 countries.

My personal target for countries visited by retirement stays as 100 (amazingly tough, I know :S) but the interesting thing is that I never either counted the cities or had a target for them. Statistically, I've visited 3 cities per country. But practically a lot of those cities are either in the bigger countries I've been to (e.g. US) or Egypt, where 2 years of working with our Distributor network took me to the final frontiers of Egypt. So I have decided to set my target for cities at 200.

This means 64 countries and 101 cities to go, which is 1.8 new countries and 2.9 new cities per year as of this year and till I'm 60...... and yes I have put a lot of thought into this.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My Name

So I have my "special deal" comedy club tickets, right? It's the same night I got booed, in case you're a die hard fan. Turns out those tickets basically make you sit in the first row, or as it later became known to me: The you'll-definitely-be-picked-on-doesn't-mater-how-hard-you-try row.

It all happened so quickly, suddenly the guy started to ask all the people siting in the first row about their names and what they do. He then picked out something and made fun of them. So here I'm sitting there waiting for my turn to be picked on, my mind racing on how not to give him any leads to pick on. This turned out to be harder than I expected:
1. I'm Big (shut up)
2. I'm Arab (...*ahm*....and proud of it?)

So I'm thinking: do I really want to tell him my full first name and add a 3rd reason for him to pick on me? .... too little time, he's approaching .. I panic... and I hear:

What's your name?
*I'm sweating..
ahh... Al...

... So he ignores the fact that I'm big (maybe it's not that noticeable :D) or that I'm Arab (who am I kidding :S) and he exactly knew what I was doing with my name .... damn those telepathic stand up comics, he went on and on on how I was giving a short name because I am thinking if I give my full name, no one will understand anything and the whole club was laughing at me.

You might have won this battle Random Stand Up Comic Guy, but your time will come.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Max Weight: 1000 KG

What's with the obnoxious "Maximum Weight" signs that are in every elevator? And why do they always mention the maximum KGs and then translate this to how many persons? Isn't this in a way the elevator telling me that to be counted as one person here you need to have an average weight of 76.9KG!

And why do we need the maximum number of persons on the sign? Did you ever see 2 people walk into an elevator that usually fits 8 people and the elevator's overweight buzzer went on? Doesn't the buzzer always go on as soon as one last person squeezes into the elevator? So maybe, just maybe that weight and volume are linked somehow? I know it's a crazy idea, but hear me out: if an elevator is designed to take the WEIGHT of 8 people then by the laws of Physics it's more likely to have enough VOLUME for 8 people, right? Because even if you have people who are taking more than their share of weight, they are doing the same to the volume!

That said, I hereby demand that all the evil elevator corporations increase their weight / volume ratio and therefore remove the offensive Max Weight signs from all elevators. Let's however keep the overweight buzzer, it can come in handy if you are transporting your Gold bars in the elevator.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Missed Call MoU

I think we all have the right to not pick-up our mobile phones whenever we want to and regardless of whomever is calling. This right however is largely neglected, so I propose a Missed Call MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to be put in place immediately. This can be distributed with new mobile phones if necessary:

The Missed Call MoU
The party that is making the call shall be hereafter referred to as Silencee, The party that is avoiding the call shall be hereafter referred to as the Silencer.

Article I: The Silencer has the right to silence any calls without the prior written or oral consent of the Silencee.
Article II: In the likely event of a silencing, the Silencee is encouraged to accept this gracefully and is instructed to hate the game, but not the player.
Article III: If the Silencee has some urgent information that he needs to pass to the Silencer, instead of continuing to mindlessly call back, the Silencee is instructed to text the Silencer with the information.
Article IV: As a Silencer if you receive urgent information from the Silencee via a text message, it is acceptable that you call the Silencee immediately after receiving the text.
Article V: As a common code of curtsy the Silencee is not supposed to make an reference to the Silencing. Only the Silencer is allowed to bring it up and use a lame excuse of why he couldn't answer, such lame excuses as "I didn't hear the phone" or "I was asleep" are recommended.

1. The Silencer
2. The Silencee

Saturday, June 02, 2007

My Bed

After I broke my bed, I decided to do some thinking and build-up my stories, I have two leading stories. I'll share them with you and you tell me which is more believable:

Plot A:
Usually on Friday's I head to the hottest club in town. As I was sitting there enjoying my time with my friend Jack(tm), this Swedish Goddess approaches me and she's like: Wassup? I'm like: Nothin'. After a couple of trials from her side, I finally decide to entertain a conversation with her. Before I could notice it, my charm has overwhelmed her and we were in a taxi to my place. As soon as we get in, we head to my bedroom. There and before things get blurry she mentioned that she was an Olympic Gold medalist..........and that's how I broke my bed.

Plot B:
I am such a nerd, that on Friday nights I spend it Hoovering the bookshelves in my bedroom. Seeing that I am an uberNerd, I have multiple shelves in my bedroom and therefore to Hoover the top one I need to stand up on a chair that is positioned on top of my bed. Having my Hoover on one shoulder and trying to clean the shelve I suddenly lost my balance and *BAM* hit the bed with the Hoover ontop of me. As soon as I hit the bed and after the -literal- dust settled I heard a low creaking noise and *BAM*.... and that's how I broke my bed.

So let's get the voting going, which is more believable?