I like animals. I like dogs. I can even stand dogs that misbehaive now and then. But the dogs in the yard in my building in Cairo are out of control.

Much like JWZ's fratboys, these dogs are driving me insane.

They bark. Continuously. All freakin' night.

It goes something like this:

woof woof woof. woof woof woof woof woof woof. woof woof. woof woof woof. woof woof woof. woof.

hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwl woof woof woof woof woof woof. woof. woof.

woof woof woof woof woof woof. woof woof. woof woof. woof woof woof. woof woof woof.

woof woof woof woof. woof woof woof. woof. woof woof woof. howwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwll. woof. woof woof.

It starts at about 10am, and goes until about 4am. I drift of to sleep not knowing if they are still barking, or if it is in my dream, or just echoing in my ears.

I threw a tomatos at them – but it didn't help.

Jesus and the FDA

Well, it didn't take the moron long, did it:

A quiet battle is raging over the Bush Administration's plan to appoint a scantily credentialed doctor, whose writings include a book titled As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now, to head an influential Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel on women's health policy. Sources tell Time that the agency's choice for the advisory panel is Dr. W. David Hager, an obstetrician-gynecologist who also wrote, with his wife Linda, Stress and the Woman's Body, which puts “an emphasis on the restorative power of Jesus Christ in one's life” and recommends specific Scripture readings and prayers for such ailments as headaches and premenstrual syndrome. Though his resume describes Hager as a University of Kentucky professor, a university official says Hager's appointment is part time and voluntary and involves working with interns at Lexington's Central Baptist Hospital, not the university itself. In his private practice, two sources familiar with it say, Hager refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women. Hager did not return several calls for comment.

Jesus and the FDA

Why I Like Ramadan

I decided to work late tonight.  I walked into the control center just as the operators were breaking their fast.  They asked me if I was going to eat anything and I said “no thanks, just finishing up some things”.

Next thing you know, they've ordered in a serving from the cafe for me, and placed in front of me.  I couldn't refuse, and it was very nice actually.

Then, I get home, and tune into the only TV station I have (the other one is not working anymore) and they have back to back sitcoms: Mad About You, The Bernie Mac Show, Becker, Friends and Frasier.  What's not to love?

Tourist vs. Resident: How a country can seem very different.

Egypt through a travellers eyes is very different than through the eyes of an expat living and working here.  Cousin Jake, Nicole and Bec have been here for 2 nights, and are getting ready to leave.

As people take advantage of the free long distance calls, I get to listen in on this side of the conversation.  They all talk about the craziness as “fun to see”, “great to watch it happen”.  I talk of the craziness as “typical” and “not surprising”.

The arab culture is something you can't fight; not that you should fight any culture your emersed in, but since this one seems to be the most different, you have to do more to accept it.  So you end up working their hours (8am to 3pm – no lunch) except during Ramadan, when they leave an hour early.  And since they dont take lunch, there are no lunch places close by, so it takes an hour and a half to get lunch.  Add this all up, and if you tried to work like a Westener, you'd only get 4.5 hours with them each day, one hour less during Ramadan.

Getting a phpBB into work

Email From Work:
I apologize for the spam, but I have not been able to find anyone who can tell what the following Databasic error means and what I can do to fix it. If anyone has any thoughts or has any questions please contact me.

So I decided to try and gain interest from senior management about phpBB.  I sent this email to the “business developer”:

What if there were some training budget set aside to pay for a few hours each day for senior technical people to answer this kind of thing? A forum environment would work great (like http://srvhus/forum/ [internal link only]). People post questions and answers. Given a few hours set aside, the senior people could make sure that all questions got answered, or at least forwarded on so that it would be.

She shouldn't have to email to all after the big bad email to all warning came out. I'd bet she doesn't know which email specialty group to go to. A forum environment has proven to be one of the best ways to manage information coming in from alot of people. A quick search of google also shows that it might be a good place to learn new skills too.

I'm really wondering if this might help get a bit of the open source spirit into the company.  I reckon that open source might be mentally healthy for a company.  It helps to reinforce the idea of community.  This is what really makes those silicon valley companies look good.  Its not the material benifets, but the sense of comunity they seem to have.

Clearing up my Inbox….

“When people posing as experts write books heralding a study that was never done in support of GUNS, they are hailed as a patriot. When they are caught lying, the liars call the critics liars. Their pay-rolled lackey “scholars” declare, as the voice of God, 98% of all crime would be exterminated if everyone carried a gun.”

Guns, fear, hate, and profit – the true American way

You've seen this by now I'm sure: This Land, by JibJab

Yerba Mate. I've been drinking this instead of coffee for 2 months now, and I feel better for it. Generally, my caffine intake has gone way down, and I haven't had a 3pm crash for a long time (unless I was up till 3am the night before =).

Dont play in the cockpit kiddies.