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Monday, October 31, 2011

Mixed Signals: Trafflic Lights at Kuwait City


Driving on the 1st Ring Road towards Road 50 at the Ice Skating Rink, you can clearly see that the car signals are green, yet the pedestrian signal is green too.

Now I wonder what would happen in an accident... technically both are correct to cross the signals... talk about loopholes!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Need Assistance to Keep KPTC Buses Safe!


This morning, one of my employeess came to my office and informed me his son's phone was stolen from him inside a KPTC bus last night near Jleeb Al-Shyoukh.

This is sickening to listen to; public buses are meant to be easy, low cost and safe way for transporting the population to work, school, and other places.

If there is anything I can do to help this from happening in the future please provide some advice; I have already sent an email to KPTC (today is Saturday as they are closed to give a phone call).

Please keep Kuwait safe!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Video of the Week: "Arietis" - Freddie Hubbard


Here's some more hard boppin' jazz for ya; this time trumpeter Freddie Hubbard off his album "Ready for Freddie" in 1961. The track, and album, features sax great Wayne Shorter too.

Have a good weekend!

Don't Sit Here Goddammit.


For the lack of proper translation, the photo reads:

"Tea boy/Servant chair. Please do not sit."

This photo was taken at Palace of Justice in Al-Riggae.

So now you know. Don't be disrespecting the tea boy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ubisoft Opening Game Studio in Abu Dhabi



[SOURCE]

First gaming development company in the Gulf countries, in association with twofour54! There's a lot of talent in the region, and something like this is highly applauded!

I hope they don't focus on crap social games though >_>

Simpsons Graffiti in Kuwait: Jebus


At Salwa park, on the big parking lot side, there's an electric power station.

And on that, there's some hilarious graffiti; if you are familiar with that Simpson's episode, here is the reference. Seems like there are some funny out there in Kuwait!

Giant Lego Man Washed Ashore in Florida


In some extreme random news, from boingboing.net, a giant Lego man was washed ashore in Florida.

No one really knows WTF is going on; however this could be a sign of a Legoman invasion.

Be Vigilant.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kind of Bloop: An 8-bit Tribute to Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue"


Remember the old Nintendo games? The Super Mario theme playing while you bounced off turtles and ate mushrooms?

Well, Andy Baio has reconstructed the entirety of Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" album, the best-selling jazz record of all time, in 8-bit glory.

It only costs $5 to buy it digitally. I did and am overwhelmed by the sounds; if you know the album you already know what is coming... but the 8-bit elements just blow you away.

Have a sample at the official Kind of Bloop website and you can read the story of how this came to be over there too.

Friday, October 21, 2011

RIP George "Mojo" Buford


On October 11, blues harmonica player George "Mojo" Buford passed away at the age of 81.

He is most well known for playing with Muddy Waters' band for a while in the 60's and 70's.

He started his own band and released several albums in his name.

Here's two videos; one of Buford playing harp with Muddy's band, the other solo performing "Sweet Home Chicago". RIP George.





[SOURCE]

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kuwait's Labor Blues; a Sample Story


I read this story on Kuwait Times online today, about a Bangladishi worker unable to leave Kuwait due to a labor dispute, and his company will not pay his dues, Shoon will not help, his labor ministry at home won't help.

Basically he's stranded, because he wants to stay and get his dues. but since his residence is expired, he can potentially be caught and deported without any of his indemnity taken.

After 14 years of working, stuff like this happens and can happen to anyone.

Measures against unfair labor practices should be enforced otherwise the company is off the hook and the worker is stuck, even though he wants to leave.

Full Story here:

[SOURCE]

Video of the Week: "Mean Old Frisco" - Arthur Crudup

Are you ready for some Delta Blues?

Arthur Crudup is one of the most prolific, influential and respected delta / country blues singers and guitarists; he has set several standards that everyone has covered until today.

One of the blues standards he penned in 1942 was "Mean Old Frisco", a train that ran back in the day, which took his baby away.


Blues music is taken from day to day life; and this song is no exception.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Brief History of the Blues


My friends at All About Jazz have an old article which is well worth reading if you are just getting into the Blues.

It has a brief history as well as the various styles, origins, and notable artists of the genre.

Go have a look-see!

[SOURCE]

Old Camel Cigarette Ads: How Things Changed

Back in the 40's through the 70's, Camel cigarettes (among other manufacturers) had so much freedom to advertise their products.

Winston did an ad during the Flintstones show, where Fred and Barney would be shown smoking and praising the taste... and this was a kid's show (more or less).

Even Camel TV ads claimed that doctors smoked Camel's more than any other brand:



I love Camel... seriously underrated in this part of the world. In Kuwait you get the non-US variety (very clean look, no Turkish tobacco) and only comes in standard, mild, and lights, which is made in Germany or Switzerland and not the USA.

I thought sharing old Camel ads would be a nice retro look at an industry that's had so much controversy:




Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Camel Beauty Pageant in Abu Dhabi


I dunno about you... but damn that one camel there looks stunning.

[SOURCE]

Monday, October 17, 2011

On this Day: Al Capone convicted for Tax Evasion


"I am like any other man. All I do is supply a demand."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

US Firm to Supply Electric Patrol Cars to Kuwait


ESV you say? It means Electric Standup Vehicle.

Now personally... in crowded spaces where a you want to chase a criminal, it might not be practical.

However the company, T3 Motion, is apparently working with other countries in the Arab region for these toys high performance patrol vehicles.

I wonder if it has a radio... or AC?

[SOURCE]

The Crap that is iTunes.


I got an iPhone a few months back as a gift. I have always been reluctant with Apple products; I just HATE iTunes so much. It's a restrictive software and all the DRM crap is just overboard.

I had an iPod before (80gb classic; got stolen. Since then I got a Sony Walkman), and using iTunes for music isn't such a big issue, even if you plugged into another computer and used a friends iTunes etc.

But now, with the iPhone, even though I can authorize it up to 5 computers, it won't allow me to copy apps purchased from another authorized computer. My old PC at work got fried and I lost all my iTunes data (partially my fault for not backing up); I could not update the phone to iOS 5 at home, since I apparently have to copy all the apps there first prior to upgrading, and the usual "you did not purchase those apps from this computer, data will be erased" crap.

Since I don't like smashing phones against a wall, I decided not to upgrade until I find out what the bloody hell is the right procedure. I'm not a super-technical guy... I just wanna use the phone and enjoy the few apps I have (which are probably much less than everyone else out there). So any help would be appreciated.

I just miss the days when a phone was a phone. It's true what they say... to make life easier you have to make things more complex.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On this Day in Concert Accidents

I read an article at The Morton Report which I felt will be a nice little read for y'all.

I have yet to be in such stage disasters, apart from a broken guitar string.

This Day in Music, October 12: Accidents Will Happen

4 Classic Jazz Albums for KD 2.750!

My parents were in Dubai last week and I asked them to buy me a John Coltrane CD (they have huge jazz and blues collections at Virgin Megastores in UAE).

So my dad randomly picked up this album for me :


It's a two-CD compilation of 4 acclaimed hard-bop albums by John Coltrane & Wilbur Harden, all released in 1958. They are:

1 - Tanganyika Strut
2 - Jazz Way Out
3 - Stardust
4 - Mainstream

all this for AED 35! or about KD 2.750.

The "jazz/blues" collection in Kuwait's Virgin is pitiful; thank the lord for Amazon and Dubai!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Sad State of Music in Kuwait


As a musician of 11 years, been in several bands including local Lounging Criminals (Best Band in Kuwait 2008, KuwaitStock) and the Mojolaters Blues Band (first blues band in Kuwait), and an avid music lover, Kuwait is a sad place to be in to perform, watch, and enjoy music.

Dubai is hosting what seems to be their biggest year in international concerts; Janet Jackson, Michael Bolton, Metallica, Usher, Richard Ashcroft, Ministry of Sound, various DJ's and other stars. Not to mention all the local band events and festivals.

Concerts and the like boosts the economy and attracts tourism (I went to Dubai to watch Roger Waters in 2007, and took my wife this year to watch Usher among other things, like the Dubai Desert Rock Festival). Having such events creates an atmosphere where people can meet up and socialize, learn new concepts and listen to their favorite artists without having to wish to go to Europe or the States.

There has been a local initiative with Kuwait Music launching and it has single-handedly grouped all the local talent with news and a space to interact. I met all the great people and musicians through this website... it forms a sort of comradery.

What is the way to go about this? I dunno, it's too complicated. But I do think it's a matter of supply and demand. If no one shows interest or looks at music as just background music or a shitty hobby then we are going no where.

Customs (and other) Strike Blues

[Background: NY Times]


The last few weeks there have been strikes by government employees in various ministries in Kuwait, and most recently the strikes have stepped up their game, with yesterdays Customs strike costing the country around 30 million dinars in losses, and continued today. It also delayed my company's delivery of materials to an important government project.

Somehow I feel things are not going too well these days; members of parliament stopping development, government laziness/slow reaction, bad economic scene, impossible traffic... get with it people!

Imagine if lower income / level employees, such as cleaners, laborers, drivers etc start striking too? The country could come to a standstill.

Until then I'll just sit there and sing:

"Early in the mornin', can't pay my dues
Yes sir, I got nothin' but the blues"

Mojolaters Gig Pics Up!!


The Mojolaters Blues Band's pictures of the Rock Night on the 6th of October are up!

You can see the pics either on the band's FB page , OR go to Kuwait-Music.com's article and check em out!

Happy Birthday Art Blakey!


Today is the birthday of legendary jazz drummer and bandleader, Art Blakey, on Oct. 11, 1919.

He was a pioneer in the hard bop style of jazz, and for 30 years was the leader of the supergroup Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers who continued to shift lineups across the years, and many artists grew up to be successful solo artists from that group, such as trumpeteer Lee Morgan.

The album, and specifically the title track, "Moanin'" remains one of the greatest jazz recordings of all time, which was released in 1958 on Blue Note Records (in which Blakey would record most of his music).

Art Blakey's drumming style and selection of players was influential in the world of jazz, and he remained active until his death on Oct. 16, 1990.

Blakey was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame (in 1982), the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 2001), and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

Here's a selected track by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers... happy birthday Blake!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Concert on Thursday was a Blast!



Me in a John Coltrane pose


The event on Thursday, 6th October at the Rotana Fahaheel was a great success and we enjoyed the hell out of that night.

We, the Mojolaters, performed a wide selection of blues and classic rock tracks, including Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love", Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water", Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze", and other favorites. Not to mention of course blues standards by Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, Albert King, and our own material.

Just wanted to thank everyone who made it, and Rotana for making it happen. Hope to post some more pics soon. Check the band's official page for those :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Stevie Ray Vaughan


On October 3, 1954, Texas Blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan (SRV) was born.

His legacy stands as being one of the best guitarists of all time, and single-handedly revived the blues in the 80's.

He tragically died in a helicopter crash in 1990.

Remembering SRV with one of his greatest songs, and one many aspiring guitarists try to learn:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Crappucino comes to Kuwait!


Yes ladies and gents, for the first time you can savor the delicious taste of crap, now with extra foam!

And here's something to remind us about crappucino:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

First Rock Gig in Afghanistan in 30 Years

[SOURCE]


Now that is big news!

We hope you support your local bands, and remember that the Mojolaters Blues Band gig is on the 6th of October... check our website for more info.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pigeon Executed Under my Office.

I wonder what his crime was.

Perhaps he pooped his last poop. RIP, nameless warrior.

Spider-Man IS DEAD! (Photo Evidence)

He was found drowned face-down in Salwa area, Kuwait, on 30/09/2011.

What kind of villain is powerful enough to destroy Spidey!