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Sunday Afternoon February 11, 2007

Posted by O.J. in Chatter, Humour.
3 comments

An accurate depiction of how I feel every Sunday afternoon…

Garfield

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Understanding Your Body Fat Percentage January 21, 2007

Posted by O.J. in Chatter, Sports & Fitness.
4 comments

 

I’ve been regularly attending a private gym since September 2006.  I have a personal trainer who structured a challenging work-out program for me with the aim of losing body fat, toning my body, and improving my fitness. 

Last week, after completing just over 3 months of strenuous training, it came time for a fitness exam.  They tested my VO2 Max (which is the volume of oxygen you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity), my body fat percentage, and my flexibility.  The results of my fitness exam were very satisfying; but what stood out most was my body fat percentage of 18%.  Now, I’m a pretty thin guy, and I’ve been working out religiously for the last 3-4 months.  I never expected to have so much fat in my body! Well, considering the many food articles I’ve posted on ‘The Theme’, its pretty obvious I’m not a very healthy eater…

Anyhow, I found my body fat percentage to be quite shocking, so I did a little research and decided to share the results with you.

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Christmas Time…Turkey Time! December 25, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Chatter, Food.
5 comments

It’s that time of year when households across the globe serve up a large succulent turkey, filled with a delicious blend of stuffing, complimented with a wide array of scrumptious side dishes.

Unlike regular folks, the four words that come to my mind whenever Christmas roles around each year:  turkey, stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes.

I usually watch eyes wide open, mesmerized, as someone grabs a large knife and carefully slices the turkey open, only to reveal a treasure chest of stuffing within.  When asked whether I’d prefer red or white meat, I always request white.  The large, white, tender piece of turkey breast is placed on my plate, which is then topped with spoonfuls of stuffing and mashed potatoes, and finally flooded with mouth-watering gravy.  I may add some vegetables if the space on my plate permits.

Serving after serving, until ironically, the turkey stuffing eventually stuffs me!

Wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas! 

Picnic By The Bridge December 15, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Amman, Chatter, Jordan.
7 comments

I decided to take a relaxing Friday afternoon drive and maybe even get a glimpse of the recently inaugurated Wadi Abdoun Suspension Bridge in braod daylight.

What a crazy sight it was!!  Dozens of cars parked alongside the bridge, people snapping group photos, children playing, families taking a stroll along the small pathway…it won’t be long before they start bringing grills for a BBQ by the bridge!!

For a Friday afternoon, when the streets of Amman are usually empty, Jordan’s new landmark was packed with pedestrians and inconsiderate motorists who caused traffic by literally parking ON the bridge, completely blocking off one of only two lanes.  They would then jump over the large concrete railings to get to the pathway for a cigarette or photo, then jump back over to get into their cars.  Frickin’ insane!!!

I completely understand the excitement and the curiosity.  Amman residents have waited almost 4 years for the bridge to be completed.  Nevertheless, it’s a bridge people…not a damn amusement park! 

Official: Abdoun Bridge Open To Motorists December 14, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Amman, Chatter, Jordan.
8 comments

On my way back from work this evening, driving towards the 4th Circle from Shmeisani, I noticed the detour sign blocking entry into the tunnel leading to the Abdoun Suspension Bridge, was removed.  So, I decided to drive through…

I had no idea what to expect.  The tunnel curved slightly to the left, and as I drove out of the tunnel, a beautifully lit bridge appeared before me.  Wow!

I drove across the bridge, then through the tunnel underneath Abdoun Circle.  I made a u-turn at Starbucks and Blue Fig and went back along the same route.  The bridge is quite a sight!  Click the link below to see a few of the pictures I took with my phone.

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The Rebirth Of A Circle December 13, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Amman, Chatter, Jordan.
1 comment so far

Mood:  Pleased 

No more detours, no more dust, no more construction, and no more traffic.   

I would like to genuinely applaud and commend the planners, designers, developers and implementers of the ‘new’ 4th Circle.  It is evident that the designers and planners diligently studied traffic and congestion routes prior to laying the groundwork. 

 Some may think I am being sarcastic with my praises.  Although sarcasm comprises a large part of my character, this time, my praises are sincere.  I am truly pleased with the design of the 4th Circle tunnels and the round-about itself. 

The 4th to 3rd Circle tunnel is wide (two clearly laid out lanes), unlike the 5th Circle tunnel.  The planners solved the 4th Circle – Shmeisani – Duwwar El Dakhiliyah traffic with a convenient yet dodgy exit within the tunnel, which merges with the Abdoun Suspension Bridge traffic going in the same direction.  So, while going to work in the morning, rather than stopping at the round-about and making a left towards Shmeisani, I simply drive under the bridge and curve into Queen Noor Street. Quite nifty… 

I’m thrilled to say that my drive to work now only takes 4 minutes…with traffic!!  I timed myself this morning.  It might take an extra few seconds when the Abdoun Suspension Bridge opens and I have to carefully merge into the traffic coming from that direction.   

The round-about itself looks very modern and well organized.  Rather than erect a weird looking structure (like that of the 7th Circle), or an over-exaggerated fountain with no water, the 4th Circle sports a simple, neat, and contemporary design.

In a nutshell, I feel the urban planners responsible for resolving the chaotic and congested 4th Circle area, have done so in a thorough and efficient manner.  Hats off.

10% “Selfish” Charge December 10, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Amman, Chatter, Food.
3 comments

Mood:  Infuriated 

I’m sure many of you have ordered home delivery through Aramex@home or Sabeel or some other home delivery service.  Do you always check the bill accurately?  If not, I suggest you do. 

I’ve only recently noticed that certain restaurants are charging an obligatory 10% service charge despite the fact that your order is take-out.  I fully accept and understand the mandatory 10% service charge added to my bill when I actually dine in the restaurant itself.  But when it comes to take-out or home delivery, what “service” has the restaurant provided me with (other than preparing my food, which I’m paying for)? I am paying the delivery service, whether it be Aramex or Sabeel, a fee for actually delivering the food, but I should not have to pay the restaurant a 10% service charge!!! What for?!

Last week, I was craving Champions’ delicious, tasty, and almost authentic Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.  So, I called them up and made the order.  Seeing how close Champions is to my office, we decided to pick up the food rather than have have one of the delivery services do so.  We easily save a good 30-minutes by doing it picking the food up ourselves.  Anyway, when my colleague returned with the food, I took a look at the bill too see how much I owed.  I couldn’t help but notice that a 10% service charge was added to the bill.  We are the ones who picked up the food!!  Champions should PAY US the bloody 10%!!!

Anyhow, I phoned Champions and asked the man who picked up why we were charged an additional 10% service charge to our bill when we had received no service whatsoever.  As expected, there is always someone higher up on the chain you have to speak to, so I was transferred to the “Manager”.  I asked the manager the same question and his simple, straight-forward answer was:  “restaurant policy”.  However, I wanted to understand why it was restaurant policy.  Why would a restaurant risk pissing off its customers by adding a service charge on take-out orders?  Well, I never got an answer, an explanation, or an apology. The manager simply defended and justified this sneaky, immoral, and deceitful act by calling it “restaurant policy”.  Policy my ass!  If a policy is going to make you lose customers, then you change it.  We were seven people that had ordered from Champions, and each swore not to order take-out from Champions again.  Their loss not ours.  Screw the 10%!  It’s a matter of principle.  The restaurant made 10% on a 70 JD bill by doing zilch!!

*Now don’t get me wrong, this incident will in no way stop me from going to Champions and enjoying the best Philly Cheese Steak this country has to offer*

Another restaurant I know that pulls a similar stunt is Shaman.   The same thing happened over a year ago and I haven’t ordered take-out from them since.  Something for all of you to think about next time you order take-out or home-delivery. 

So…So…So…Mansafied! December 7, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Chatter, Food, Jordan.
7 comments

You stare down at the huge pyramid of rice that lay beneath you.  Chunky, tender pieces of lamb rest succulently on top, with roasted pine nuts scattered across the platter.  You dip the large serving spoon into the big bowl of boiling dried yoghurt (jameed), and carefully pour it onto the selected areas, which each person at the table has proudly established for themselves with their very own invisible borders. 

You clutch a juicy piece of lamb. Your hand then courageously plunges into the pile of steaming rice and jameed.  Despite the burning sensation, your fingers skillfully mold a sphere-shaped mixture of rice, jameed, and meat, which you then hungrily chuck into your mouth.  Mmmmmmm…Your eyes gleam as you look back down at the abundance of “Mansaf” left for you to wipe out. As if immune to the scorching jameed, your hand continues for a second plunge, and another, and another, until the section which was quarantined for yourself is completely obliterated. 

Common post-Mansaf action:  Loosening of the belt.

Common post-Mansaf status:  Motionless, speechless, light-headed, worn out, stuffed…yet very satisfied! 😀

Mansaf Urdoni

Longing For Winter December 3, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Chatter, Jordan.
4 comments

 Winter

The picture above was taken two days ago (Friday – December 1, 2006) at the Lake Shore drive in Chicago.  A huge snowstorm blustered across the Midwest on Friday leaving millions in the area without electricity, stranding airline passengers, and closing schools and businesses.

While I in no way wish for this to happen in Jordan; and while I, like many others, am certainly enjoying and appreciating the beautiful, sunny, warm weather we’ve been experiencing lately; I must admit that I miss and am longing for “real” Winter weather.  Dark clouds, gloomy skies, fog, rain, hail, snow…I want it to feel like December rather than March.

Every morning, I wake up and pull the curtains aside hoping to see powerful gusts of wind whirling trees around.  Every morning, I peek through the window hoping to see heavy and healthy rainfall engulf our streets, gardens, rooftops and arid lands.  Soon, I’ll be hoping to wake up in the morning to white skies, below zero temperatures, and snowfall. 

But lately, all I’ve been waking up to is clear, blue, sunny skies, mild winds, and temperatures ranging between 9 and 16 degrees Celcius on a given day.

Put the birds, skyscrapers, and the lake aside in the above photo.  Everything else still remaing (not much I guess), is the image I would like to see when I look out my window tomorrow morning.  That is the weather I want to experience for the next two/three months.   Its’ been one hell of a long Autumn folks….its time for Winter to step in and take over for a while.

Karma’s A B!%&$ch November 27, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Chatter.
5 comments

Mood:  Dumbfounded

Circumstance:  A colleague of mine had a flat tire the other day while her car was safely parked outside our offices.  I laughed, teased, joked, and poked fun at the situation.  I even snapped a few photos with my 3.2 megapixel phone camera.  The next morning, I greeted her by printing the photos I took of her flat tire and placing them on her desk.

That afternoon, while driving to pick up some food for lunch (with her in the passenger seat), I drove over a sharp object in the middle of the road and heard a loud “bang” (sort of like a large balloon popping), followed by a soft, long “ssssssssshhhhhhhhh” sound (like when a group of people shush you up in a theatre).

Did she chuckle, laugh, tease, or poke fun at the situation while I was changing my tire and getting my suit all dirty? No she didn’t.

Lesson Learned:  Some people don’t know when opportunity hits them smack dab in the face.  This was her chance to get me back for all the pranks I’ve pulled and jokes I’ve played over the last 2-years. 

Real Lesson Learned:  When karma kicks you in the ass, it frickin’ hurts!!!

Q&A:  Do I still have the picture I took of her flat tire?  Heeeeeeeeeeell no!!  I deleted all copies of the picture on the spot.  Karma my friends…karma…