Tuesday June 05, 2007
now playing: New Groove Armada

June and July are always good months for surfing on the Indian Ocean - just before the monsoon season starts you consistently get swells rolling up from the south, and combined with the fact that the weather in the gulf region and subcontinent is on the wrong side of 40 degrees C, places like Salalah along the south coast of Oman are ideal surfing getaways.

I've been keeping an eye on the weather systems all week, but then out of nowhere what looked like just a nice tropical depression turned into a full-blown category 5 cyclone. Now this weekend instead of looking for the beaches with the biggest surf, we'll be going out of our way to find somewhere more sheltered where the waves will only be a lot less than the 40 foot plus monsters that they're predicting all up and down the Omani coast.

foook me

Indian Ocean surf spots on google maps

US Navy Wave Reports

Cyclone Gonu to hit land

Muscat: Oman's weather officials said that the centre of cyclone Gonu will hit the eastern coast of the country on Wednesday morning and that it remained a category five storm.

Speaking to Gulf News, Ahmed Al Harthy, Director at the Department of Meteorology Department said: "The speed of the cyclone has accelerated and is expected to land at the east coast after 1am (Wednesday)"

He added that the tropical cyclonic storm was just 100km from Oman's turtle nesting site at Ras Al Hadd and moving at 14kmh.

The cyclone is heading towards Muscat along the coast. "We expect Gonu's impact over Muscat at around 4pm on Wednesday," he said.

Dr Kamal Bhatt, a Senior Specialist Surgeon at the Sur Hospital in the east said that the impact of cyclone was being felt from late evening.

"Strong wind and heavy rain started coming down by 7pm and we also struggled to catch television signals even as the intensity of wind kept increasing," he said.

The Royal Oman Police (ROP) last night issued a statement urging residents to stay indoors for the next two to three days or until the impact of cyclone recedes. "We have lifted the alert level to maximum," a statement from ROP said last night.

"The wind speed will range between 212 to 260 km/h and waves could rise up to 25 metres on the east coast," warned the ROP statement.

All ports in the country were closed and larger ships were ordered off to anchorage to avoid any possible damage to berths during high waves.

Oman's oil and gas producing companies also briefly shut operations with Oman LNG in Sur shutting their operations until cyclone passes while Petroleum Development Oman suspended all loadings at their Mina Al Fahal facility in Muscat.

Omifco in Sur also shut their operations and sent all staff home.

posted by Jason Boyer at 10:45 PM EST | permalink | 0 Comments
Wednesday April 25, 2007
now playing: Bad wedding singers

Tired of your old DJ setup? Gardner Post is now selling its Baby Grand Master. The "piano" is equipped with some serious hardware: two Pioneer DVJ-X1 DVD players, Edirol V-4 Video Mixer, Allen &Heath Xone:92 Mixer and three Marshal LCD Monitors. As far as speakers, there's a dual 15" Subwoofers, 18" Subwoofer, 12" Subwoofer, 3 Bullet Tweeters and AB 1100 Watt Power Amplifier.

In case you're wondering what to get me for my next birthday, this would do nicely.
posted by Jason Boyer at 09:04 PM EST | permalink | 0 Comments
Monday April 16, 2007
now playing: Stravinsky - Rite of Spring

Yeah, I'm talkin' to you ... the dumbass camel who stood in my way while I was innocently on my way to Barracuda* to pick up 1400 dirhams worth of tax-free alcohol.

I honked my horn ... you just stood there. I rolled down my window and cranked up Andrew WK on my stereo ... still you didn't budge. I got out of my car to yell and madly wave my arms ... you charged me.

Ahmed ... what can I say? If your life wasn't worth more than mine in this country I probably would've run you over.

Don't ever leave the UAE.

* For those of you not from these parts, the Barracuda is a booze can about 70km north of Dubai in an emirate called Umm Al Quwain. Unlike Dubai, where expats need a special license just for the privilege of purchasing overpriced alcohol with a 30% tax across the top just for good measure, you can buy whatever you want at the Barracuda, 24/7, no license, no I.D., nothing. Consequently, on weekends it's always packed with Dubai expats.
posted by Jason Boyer at 09:13 PM EST | permalink | 0 Comments
Wednesday April 04, 2007
now playing: Nothin'
For my return trip from Canada two weeks ago I had the pleasure of flying Etihad Airlines business class direct from Toronto to Dubai. A 16 hour flight is both cruel and unusual, but the fully-reclining chair/beds did mean you could at least sleep away much of the time. The state-of-the-art entertainment system on the seat in front with tons of new-release flicks also made a big difference.

Then sometime during hour # 13, while mindlessly flipping channels, I found this:

Don't you hate it when you're stuck on a plan and don't know which way it is to Mecca?
posted by Jason Boyer at 09:35 PM EST | permalink | 0 Comments
Wednesday April 04, 2007
now playing: Nothin'

Though there wasn't much time to relax during our stay in Toronto two weeks ago, we did at least manage to have a few Proud-to-be-Canadian moments. We may live in the sand, but we still bleed blue ... and did I mention they bring beer right to your seats?
posted by Jason Boyer at 09:39 PM EST | permalink | 0 Comments
Sunday April 01, 2007
now playing: Nothin'

Sadly the auction has just finished, but eBay item #320091605269 is amazing - a bass speaker from King Tubby's legendary late '60s Hometown Hi-Fi sound system. The history of dub has more about Hometown Hi-Fi: "He took it to a dance and played the vocal, which everybody knew, then played the dub plate of this rhythm track and people couldn't believe it." According to the auction, it was "Recently found at a yard in Water House, (Near to Tubby's studio [at 38 St Lucia Road]), by one of our record hunters" The speaker box sold for $617, apparently to a dub 7" collector from my home town of Bristol, who's now going to have to pay $400+ to ship it over.
posted by Jason Boyer at 09:05 PM EST | permalink | 0 Comments
Saturday March 31, 2007
now playing: 10,000 days on constant repeat
Dubai can sometimes be a tough city for musicians, audiophiles, and the otherwise musically-obsessed. When planning releases, record labels tend to lump the Middle East together with Asia and other bootleg capitals (did I ever mention my DVD lady that meets me in a parking lot with a suitcase full of new release films that all mysteriously have Russian subtitles???), hence new albums don't show up on our shelves as long as two months later than in Europe or North America. Coupled with the fact that Virgin records is the only place worth shopping, we sometimes need to resort to drastic measures. Enter the music blogs.

Over the past couple of months I've come across some pinnacle sites that not only review new music but also post most of it right there for you to download. No more spending hours trying to download torrents of some artist's new album only to find out that the file is actually an audio track to some bad porno flick, this is the only way to go.


Good Weather for Airstrikes - Great reviews and everything from MSTRKRFT to Bloc Party to Indie Rock with a little electronic thrown in for good measure.
Filter 27 - All electronic, all the time. Especially good for new Essential Mixes, and other DJ stuff.
On the Download - Rock, and more Rock.
Bring the Beats - Eclectic mix of various electronic and rock.

Pinnacle Remixes:

LCD Mixed LCD Soundsystem Remix album
Flip the Switch - Chemical Brothers album remixed
Prodigy Mixed - Prodigy remix album
posted by Jason Boyer at 02:00 AM EST | permalink | 0 Comments
Friday March 30, 2007
now playing: Tool - Right in Two

Grand Theft Auto IV

Only shame of it is that this doesn't get released until October (Insha'Allah). So then what do they expect us to do here for entertainment whilst avoiding the 45+ C summer heat?
posted by Jason Boyer at 06:05 PM EST | permalink | 0 Comments
Wednesday March 28, 2007
now playing: Nothin'
Okay, this is starting to make me a little nervous ...

MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran's borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.

"The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran," the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran "that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost."

He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said last week that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran's military infrastructure in the near future.

A new U.S. carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf.

The USS John C. Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006.

The U.S. is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.

In case your middle east geography isn't what it used to be - Dubai less than 200km away from the southern-most part of Iran.
posted by Jason Boyer at 10:16 PM EST | permalink | 0 Comments
Saturday March 24, 2007
now playing: Groove Armada - Essential Mix '07
It's official. For those that haven't heard, Halliburton - the inventors of neocon U.S. foreign policy, parking tickets, Monday mornings, crying babies, sagging tits, Richard Simmons, and just about everything else evil under the sun - is moving to Dubai. Even better, their new shiny headquarters will be located in one of the freezones where I happen to spend a good portion of my working hours. It's like living down the hall from Ghengis Khan ... only different.

"There's big news involving Vice President Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton -- the one that issued him a $34 million severance package. They're taking their over $10 billion in no-bid government contracts and moving their headquarters from Houston to Dubai -- a Middle Eastern city that's home to the world's largest shopping mall, the world's tallest hotel, an indoor ski resort with real snow, and an artificial archipelago where you can live on a man-made island in the shape of continents. And the guest workers there - civil rights free. How do they do it all while still being a plotting ground for the 9/11 hijackers? Well, let's just say that's what happens when Las Vegas and Saudi Arabia have a baby."
--Jon Stewart
posted by Jason Boyer at 08:11 PM EST | permalink | 0 Comments