A bit of shameless plug, but you know you all love MJ. Get his new album hours before the rest of the world on www.UrFilez.com now!
14 December 2010
2 December 2010
Yes, it's official and was announced just minutes ago by Fifa! After stressful days and weeks of pushing together to make this happen, the five contenders left to bid on the 2022 World Cup were the USA, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Qatar.
A country that wasn't independent 40 years ago, and hardly anyone had heard of until a few years back was now a contender to some of the World's most powerful/biggest nations? What is this Qatar they speak of? No one knew Qatar. In fact, Qatar was portrayed in the major Hollywood blockbuster, Transformers, as a desert where Bedouins live in tiny broken houses, and store their phones in locked boxes. What is Qatar, really?
A small country with big aspirations. With a vision. With a dream. And with enough cash surplus to take over the World; within the past few years it's gone from a little known nation in the Middle East, to having the highest income per capita, to building universities and schools, to being a mediator of peace in the Middle East, and much more. And the legacy grows.
And then the bid presentation came in, and Qatar displayed with elegance, with class, with vision, and blew everyone's minds away. Was that the really the Qatar we would know 12 years from now?
Dubai was a little known town back in the 1990's. It now sits in as one of the most well known spots in the World, and it did that in just over a decade. Qatar has a plan, and is chasing it, and will probably do what Dubai did in less time, if the work of the past 3 years is anything to judge by.
And then the day of the 2022 decision came, and people were on their toes. Millions around the World gathered to watch the announcement; this wasn't just for Qatar. This was for the GCC. This was for the Middle East. This was for all the Arabs. And as the envelope with the decision was slowly opened, you could feel the tension rip through everyone.. Until it was announced.. The 2022 World Cup will be held in...
Tension. So sharp you could cut someone's throat with it...
...QATAR! And millions rejoiced, some shouted, some cried, some laughed.. And for the first time, the World Cup was brought to the Middle East...
And the rest, is to be for the history books...
HH Shk Moza Speech:
Qatar 2022 World Cup Video:
Link to the full Bid Presentation (35 minutes long, but worth watching)
30 November 2010
So this was interesting.
I flew into Abu Dhabi a couple of days ago for some meetings, and drove down to Dubai for a few unscheduled ones. Not being sure what my exact plans were and when my meetings would be, I left my return flight open. Anyhow; finished everything I needed to do and took a cab over to Dubai Airport.
As it goes, I asked the cab to head to Terminal 1. Pretty much everyone that I know has only had to deal with Terminal 1; we didn't even know where that second terminal was, and the only thing that gave proof of it's existence was a couple of signs on the main road saying "Terminal 2". I mean, even last year, the airport was expanded through the building of the super-massive Terminal 3. After you go through passport control, you can actually walk from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3. But where is Terminal 2? No one knows.
So as it goes, I walked into Terminal 1 and asked for a the next available flight to Bahrain, on whatever airline was available. The information desk mentioned FlyDubai had a flight in about 90 minutes. "Great stuff, where can I get a ticket?" and this is where I was directed to head to Terminal 2.
Now even though i've never physically been there, I figured Terminal 2 was a couple of minutes away, considering Terminal 3 is less than a few mins away. Took a cab, asked for Terminal 2, and the guy kept driving. Driving. Driving. We got on the main road, and he kept going.
I said, "Umm, I meant DUBAI Terminal 2 by the way, not some other random airport" to the taxi driver, who explained to me it was almost 25 minutes away.
Huh? Okay then...
Just under half an hour later, we got to Terminal 2 and I rushed to the FlyDubai counter to get my ticket, and ran to make it just in time before check-in closed. Passed immigration control, and this is pretty much when I started to notice weird things. Well honestly, they were quite amusing at first till I figured out what was actually going on;
First thing I actually noticed was the Indian traveler loading his bags into the scanner; this was the one he was to carry with him on the plane. It was a big see-through plastic bag, filled with a large piece of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, some other vegetables, and what appeared to be some very random items of clothing. I mean, you'd usually expect to see people putting the weirdest items into cargo, rather than take them as carry-on's, but whatever.
Getting in to the waiting area, everything seemed normal; the regular Duty Free shops, your standard Costa Cafe, etc. But then there was a police officer walking by with two tall black males in handcuffs. There was also a long line of South Asian immigrant, who wouldn't look too out of place in that 'Slumdog Millionaire' movie, with the rags they were dressed in and their luggage, all carried in either huge plastic bags, or cardboard boxes. Then a group of African guys who looked like they could be warlords from Somalia or Congo (minus the guns). And then some Al-Qaeda looking characters. On top of that, to totally break the scenery, a group of three tall white Americans, dressed in what looked like as kevlar body armor; obviously some sort of soldiers.
When you see one or two of these sorts of characters in any given place, you don't really think about it too much. Stopping to see every shady character stereotype from the region in one place, however, makes you stop and think. Where am I again?
This definitely wasn't your typical airport; the background and scenery looked normal, but then, there weren't any of those familar businessmen in their suits on their laptops. I didn't see the typical tanned European tourist in bermuda shorts and slippers. None of your ordinary, average-joe type travelers, no. They were all hijacked and replaced with what seemed to be the damned of the Earth. Take the poorest of India, Afghanistan's most wanted, and the warlords of Africa, and add in some Amercian mercenaries. Put them in one place, and you've got the makings of Terminal 2. Besides the new FlyDubai, all other airlines were ones i've never heard of, and most destinations were totally unfamiliar territory:
Geshm, Kish, Arlanda, Abadan. Where are these places? Apparently my geography wasn't as good as I thought it was. I found my gate on FlyDubai - the people here seemed a little more normal-looking; and I did a bit of a search on the terminal. Turns out this place was built for flights to the 'worst' destinations in the region; stuff that you wouldn't really want to mix in with the glamor of Dubai's Terminal 1 and 3. Many flights go out to Afghanistan, Djibouti, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran. You have Head hunters, American soldiers and mercenaries. You have the Slumdog Millionaire and Hotel Rwanda movies cast right out infront of you. All of this together is pretty good reason Dubai Airport (well, Terminal 2 specifically) was labeled "the most dangerous airport in the World". Definitely the makings of a movie here.
It's not hard to see why FlyDubai decided to base their HQ here; they are a budget airline, and i'm guessing Dubai airport doesn't charge a whole lot in comparison to the glamorous T1 & T3. I guess that has partly had something to do with the full renovation of the Terminal last year, and in comparison it doesn't look bad at all, less the passengers. Further readings show that this place was a total mess before-hand. Now, it looks nice and glossy at first, until you see who you're surrounded with; a bit of an oxymoron, kind of like the city of Dubai itself. I wish I could have seen this place a few years back; might have been a lot more 'authentic'. I don't think I would have been surprised to see passengers carrying chickens in with them. Actually considering all I saw yesterday, I don't think that would have looked too out of place.
This definitely warrants another visit back. If just to take photos, at least.
Not an actual pic from the airport, but it felt like it kinda looked like this
If the concept got you interested, here's a few more posts I found on Terminal 2:
25 November 2010
Just because its ur right to be stupid doesnt mean u should be. - "ammaro"
The first in a series of #ammarowisdom thingies. With Twitter compressing everything we need to say into under 140 characters, the whole concept of blogging seems partially irrelevant at times. That isn't to say I won't be 'blogging' per se, just not doing as much of it (as has been obvious from my off and on posts over the past few months). For those that don't follow me on Twitter, i'm @ammar456.
On another note, i'll be revamping the whole site; this will turn into the hub for ammaro productions, mainly covering video, music, events etc. The blog will stay embedded on the right side of the page though (or left side, who knows, I haven't thought of a design yet).
On a final note, get ready for a big new project coming out next weekend; watch on this space.
7 November 2010
Just finished work on the music video for Flipp's Hold Up; it's been a lot of work putting this whole thing together, but we got it down, repping Bahraini talent & repping our island! Check it out (click the video and go direct to YouTube and click 720 to view the whole thing in HD rather than the small res here on the page)
If you're reading this post direct from Facebook or some other feed and the video isn't showing up, the direct link for it is http://youtu.be/o4iBqToib28
19 October 2010
Finally, the elections are over, and those darn awfully ugly posters are going down, thank god. But let's be be real for a second. Did you SEE half of those people out there asking for your voice? If their proposed policies are to be judged by these posters, then ill just have to say we're doomed. Let's take a look at some...
Ok so let's start with this guy. Seriously? Did you actually look at your poster before deciding it was a good idea to print hundreds of them and hang them all over the country? Was it difficult for you to smile? Actually wait cross that, a smile here might be even more frightening. I would be very wary about letting any children near this guy, let alone vote for him. Hmm. Ok next:
Modern day Romeo, I would say. I love how the photo has been given a pink purple background, and his sexy smile has been photoshopped with a bit of a glamourous blur, fade and glow, just to make him that more attractive. Methinks he's depending on the female votes. Not that his strategy seems to have worked... Alright, neeexxxttt...
I like how this guy has a ribbon wrapped around him. Yes, it is me, I am your parliamentary gift, vote for me. Love it. Err, no vote.
This guy is the best. He has a tiger in his poster. How many candidates do you know who have a bloody tiger? This guy must rock. Or not.
Another creative guy. This time, this dude decided to opt for a more realistic looking poster. Hey check me out, i'm walking down the street, i'm a real person, unlike those other candidates who post their photos on plain colored backgrounds. Yeh. Okay.
I found this one hilarious. Couldn't find any funds for bigger posters? Yeah i'll be sure to remember your name when it comes to election time. What was it again? Oh, I couldn't read it cuz it was too frickin tiny!
Her slogan is hand in hand for a better life. I must agree - it shows that her life can't really get much worse; she's not exactly smiling much here.
And just as a bonus, here's one of the candidates' tent.
These guys make it so hard to take voting seriously...
29 August 2010
So here I was on the morning of the first day of the week, thinking, wow, that weekend was definitely not long enough, and so I posted: "I'm going to start my own country where weekends are 3 days and the weekdays are 4. Whose with me?" Apparently the concept was too exciting for people to handle, and a flood of replies later, my 'country' was established with a population of five people (that took about 5 minutes). I declared that citizens can suggest legislation for the country, but considering it is my own country, it will be a pure dictatorship and final decisions regarding anything are up to me.
This didn't seem to fly well with a few citizens who started retaliating by burning tires (and here), and stuff. Of course I wasn't going to let that happen so I started hiring people to head up the Ministries; with security being the prime issue at hand, the Minister of Security was hired (who was later fired for being inadequate and demoted to Minister of Barbie Dolls).
With riots and fires, we set the name of the country to the 'Democratic Empire of ammarolands' (kinda like Netherlands), and the Minister of Finance was hired, whose first job was to provide a budget to build shopping malls (to stimulate the economy) and jails (to keep those causing trouble locked away). So with 10% of the population in jail (drastic measures for the safety of the country) I, the emperor, went on to hire more people to fill in the important positions within the country. Eventually, the following posts/roles were filled:
@ammar456: The Emperor
@afnansz: Minister of Security, later demoted to Minister of Barbie Dolls
@HasanZainal: Minister of Finance, who has cabinet meetings in Sharm Al Shaikh
@rashid_AG: Minister of Adult Entertainment
@Fahad_: Minister of Twitter
@Neenooh: Minister of Defense who is skilled in the art of torture
@NaseemF: Headed the riots and escaped the country. The Bin Laden of #ammaroland
@mssenos: Minister of Health; originally had no assigned budget so was stuck with giving out Panadol Extra's to the sick
Of course, in any new country, there are always the opportunists, and these were the lovely @FahadFakhro and @h9290, who decided to make their money through liquor and prostitution (not of themselves). Obviously in #ammaroland religion and state are completely separate and therefore morality is subjective, and so those businesses were allowed to run. Plus they generate good money so we can't say no to that...
A few more people joined in important positions as the weeks went on:
@maymalk: Runs the Apple Store in #ammaroland
@loay555: The new cold-hearted Minister of Security
And even with all the money we were generating, we were still running a little on the edge of bankruptcy (imagine, a whole country bankrupt). Luckily for us, we got a donation by @RamiJamal for 500 trillion ammarollars (equivalent to about 10 trillion million billion US dollars), and that allowed us to give the whole country 3 days off in non-stop party celebrations.
Of course, it was only upwards from there. We developed the economy, society was prosperous, and we started building the World's tallest tower (456 floors with the emperors palace on the top floor) while importing the labor from Italy & Spain (models only). @NoorAlHaji was hired as Minister of Social Development and @Yasmineelcharif as Minister of PR, who also made sure that each citizens gets an iPad, iPhone4 or/and Blackberry, and a personal concierge.
Onwards, we had discussions with N.Korea on a partnership to create clean energy, decided the passport would be black with Platinum print and encrusted diamonds, we opened a halal casino too, and even created a Ministry of Twitter.
Next came discussions with the UN, taking over nearby countries, growing farms and producing crops for the entire world, etc.. So far it's been a good 10 years (about 5 hours in TwitterTime) at #ammaroland, and now it's probably time to start waking up and either doing it in real life or going back to doing nothing particularly useful all day.
22 August 2010
No seriously, this is the face of our Parliament? Are you kidding me? If its not a beard on their chin, its a 3mama on their head.
Where are the doctors, the engineers, the bankers, the teachers, the businessmen, who are supposed to give us a well rounded Parliament that represents all aspects of our developing economy? Why just the extremist religious nuts who have only enough education to think economy is just the cheaper option when buying a plane ticket?
God, another four years of legislation to do with banning anything not related to bringing us back to the 12th century? I'm so looking forward to this (please sense my sarcasm).
And then you ask why Bahrain is hardly moving forward?
Thanks to Mahmood for the image.
14 August 2010
What's Ramadhan without a glass of ice cold Vimto? Here's a short movie I produced about what would happen when we run out of Vimto; filmed the whole thing in under an hour, and edited in another hour or so. Pretty quick, and yes it's a bit silly, but did it for the hell of it.. (Click the video for the higher res version) - Enjoy:
Produced/Edited by; ammaro
Actors; Manaf (aka The RedBelt) and Basharo
1st Track: by The Recipe - 3 MC's
2nd Track: Damian Marley/Nas - As We Enter
11 August 2010
Wow, it's been a long two weeks. I haven't updated the site in a while, but again, i've been on holiday in Beijing, Kyoto & Tokyo. Weird how I ended up there actually; the original plan was to fly to UK and a few places around Europe, the visas ended up getting delayed because of the summer rush (typical ammaro, leave everything to the last minute), and I wasn't too excited about Europe anyway since i've pretty much seen it all before (well, Italy, France, Holland etc).
Decided it might be time to check out somewhere new. Thailand? No, done it before. China? Hmm, maybe, but it doesn't really hold that much appeal on it's own. Tokyo???? Hmmm, now we're talking.
I've kinda been fascinated with Tokyo for years and years. The appeal of a country that does half of it's work via robots, is completely foreign to the rest of the world in terms of language and habits, comes out with the craziest styles, etc etc. Gotta see it first hand.
So, planned the trip, ended up planning a visit to Kyoto too since everyone I know from Japan recommended it, and added a few days in Beijing to see the Great Wall, Tianananananamen Square (I never know when to stop with the nana's here), etc. I'm working on a short video blog of the whole thing which i'll probably post up tomorrow or so, but for now enjoy some of the pix.
Ended up flying into Beijing first; funny thing there is that nothing is in English, and almost no one there knows how to speak it, so you better be armed with at least some basic vocabulary. Landing in the airport and getting a taxi to your hotel means writing down your hotel's name in Chinese, otherwise, good luck trying to get there :p
It was pretty fun though, everything from getting lost in translation to trying to explain things to people, trying to figure out what certain signs mean, unsafe 2km high cable cars, climbing up the great wall, to finding live edible scorpions on a stick. China is nuts.
Kyoto was next, although the Air China flight that was supposed to arrive in Osaka Airport at 9pm was delayed by around 3 hours. Ended up arriving at Osaka at midnight, and guess what? Everything was closed. That includes ATM machines and no more trains to take you to Kyoto (taking a taxi would have cost around 200 dinars). There was nothing in the vicinity of the airport since it was built on it's own man-made island, with the exception of a tiny hotel (which was fully booked), and a small supermarket. Great, homeless on my first day in Japan. With no ATM machines, no Japanese cash (they didn't accept my lovely dollars), I finally found a supermarket that accepted my visa card. Ended up buying a coke, some chips and some biscuits, which totaled around 10 dinars =o
Welcome to the reality of how expensive this place is ammaro :p
Anyway, had to wait till about 5am when everything opened up, got on a train and headed for Kyoto. Kyoto is amazing; it's like a small town, not too built up, but advanced as hell. And a good 20 minutes walk will take you out to green mountains, rivers, old classic geisha neighborhoods, century old shrines and temples. Some scenes looked like something out of Kill Bill. Wonderful. And the Japanese are great; they're totally organized, they follow all the rules, everything is in some sort of order, from people crossing the street, to eating, to to to... Nuts.
A few days in Kyoto and it was off the to the great Tokyo! Took a Shinkansen 350km/hr supertrain and ended there in less than 3 hours, passing by the ridiculously amazing Mt Fuji. Place looks like something out of a movie.
Arriving in Tokyo and navigating their overly complex Subway system to get to the hotel wasn't as difficult as I thought; luckily their stations are all labeled in English. Coming out of the station straight into Shibuya Intersection (basically Japan's version of Times Square) was an overload of noise, lights and people. The place was crazy, and the without a doubt the best examples of organized chaos i've seen. In Times Square, Picadilly Circus etc there are people walking all over the place, all the time. Here, they all stop for the lights, and gather gather gather up until it turns green, and then within a few seconds they're all let loose on the intersection. It's a pretty cool sight (i'll post it up in the video).
The hotel was right above Shibuya intersection; just the view alone was ridiculous. Here, take a look:
Wow. Of course, with Tokyo considered one of the three command centers for the modern world economy (along with New York and London), this place is pretty damn big. It feels more like a bunch of collected cities than just one single one, each with it's own personality. Akihabara was geek town, full of gadgets, electronics, anime and manga shops. Roppongi held the shady side of town, with seedy night clubs and adult outlets, Shinjuku with it's crazy dressed weirdo's, and so on it goes. Spending a week in Tokyo was nowhere near enough to take it all in, but sadly, that's all I had. But another visit is due, soon!
I've got a ton of photos up on my FB page, so if you're interested in taking a look at more higher res images, check out the Beijing album here and the Tokyo/Kyoto ones here! And don't forget to check back for a short vlog of the trip in a day or two!
24 July 2010
17 July 2010
I haven't done a 'movie review' in a while, basically because we've had quite a lot of rubbish recently. Well, either rubbish, or cliches. Gone are the day's of the 90's, with great movies that were actually intelligent, like Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, Sixth Sense, and so on. Now all we seem to get is more of the same dumbed down movies, over and over again, and so on for the past decade (sure, there have been a few good movies here and there, but that's all they are, a 'few').
This year seems to have made a comeback, though; is this decade going to be a good one for movies? Shutter's Island at the beginning of the year with it's crazy multiple psychological twist, trailers for Salt showing a clever WTF plotline, and just yesterday, Inception.
Wow. It's not often I sit and watch a movie in the cinema gripping the edge of my seat, dreadfully anticipating the next few seconds. Not often that a movie ends and everyone in the cinema starts clapping.
So what is this Inception business? Well, to actually review the movie without spoilers is kinda tough, and even though it's kind of immune to spoilers (telling you the ending would not take away from the story, as it's the point of 'how they got there', and even if I tell you 'how they got there' it would probably make you more confused) so if you haven't watched it yet, read until the ---Spoilers--- tag below. The movie has a cast that basically drove it to perfection; Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Lewitt, Marion Cotillard, and stars the lovely Leonardo DiCaprio, who got famous from the cheesy "I'm the King of the World" scene in Titanic (well, that and getting it on with Kate Winslet in the back of a steamy car). Let's just say back then he was a little, what's the word, soft (Arabic word would be فرخ).
But over the years, he's gone from some young and pansy romantic actor into my top 10 list (along with Al Pacino, De Niro, Brad Pitt, etc), and again that's partly through his mind blowing performances in movies that again, blow your mind; from Gangs of New York, to The Departed, to the recent Shutter's Island, and now this? I must say, we're far off from that little kid back in Titanic.
Inception is basically about dreams, how you can actually enter someone's dreams (through a physical connection while you both sleep), and from there steal hidden ideas and thoughts from their subconscious. DiCaprio plays an expert thief at that game, and along the way is forced to take a pretty tough mission (details of which I can't discuss, see spoiler part below).
The acting was high quality, graphics amazing without making it seem over-done, and the plot-line way above anything you've seen in theatres over the past few years. This being said, it's not a movie most people won't get, but if you are a dumb viewer who can't grasp more than your typical straightforward storyline, don't bother watching this. I counted at least 8 people leaving the cinema half way through the movie. Many others would probably want to watch this a second time due to the complexity and number of levels this movie hits.
I've always had a fascination with dreams, and how the dream world works in comparison to the real world; dreams within dreams, the time aspect of it, controlling your own dreams, or even being aware that you're actually in a dream - I wrote about this a while back, read it here.
It does raise multiple questions about your life, dreams, what is real and what isn't. I would go as far as say that it brings about that same feeling you get when you first watched 'The Matrix'. Everything in the real world seems kind of blurry for a while. And this movie makes you think, oh yes it makes you think. I couldn't find much to fault with it, except that even though the whole thing lasts about two and a half hours, I felt a few parts were rushed, and probably needed a little more development, while others dragged on a little. Overall, this didn't deter much from the enjoyment, I give this a 9/10, a definite must watch and so far the best movie of the year!
Okay, now let's get down to the real business! The whole thing was genius; dreams within dreams are concepts that have been explored in movies and cartoons, but the technicalities of getting there, and getting out, such as the kick (feeling of falling) to wake you up, and actually getting someone to sleep in a dream to go into a deeper level of dream, are amazing details thrown in by Nolan. And then the concept of time; i'm sure most of us have realized that a period of time sleeping equals a longer period while dreaming, but the fact that it gets multiplied to years as you go down into a deeper level of dream alone just stopped me there in awe. Wow. The details about dreams in the movie, that Nolan took to a whole new level, were unbelievable.
The details of the scenes was beyond magnificent. Everything to put you in a dream state, from checkered floors (think Alice in Wonderland?), to the Chinese fortress scene, Serbian winter-storm, to the final crumbling city on the beach scene and so on, were perfect to build that whole dream feel.
The architecture of the dreams was unreal. To actually know you can do anything with dreams is one thing, but to go ahead put ideas and labels on that; the hotel scene without gravity, because the higher level of dream was in a falling car, that was genius (I keep using this word, but I have to say, it's the perfect word for this), and then how the music (pre-kick) goes through all the dream levels, and then finally how it goes back and forth between the dream levels, showing you how much time has passed between one, and then between the next. And after going down three dream levels and the shock of saying, let's go down another level? And then another? I really can keep going on and on.
Oh, and on another level (pun?) I loved the quote: "We need to buy all the first class seats" "Oh, okay, I bought the whole airline". Hilarious stuff.
Nolan has created a masterpiece here. Let's just say this is probably the smartest movie to come out of Hollywood for a while now, and with all it's complexities, let's hope to see more of the same. Can this decade bring a new fresh wave of movies back into the cinema? I sure hope so.
3 July 2010
Well, I must say, it's been a pretty unexpected one this year. Now i'm not really much of a football fan generally, and I don't follow all those English/Spanish/Whatever leagues that everyone else seems to be into. But then again, once every 4 years, the game captures my attention (and seemingly everyone else in the world), including the USA who actually think football is a game you play with your hands (weirdos).
The games didn't start off really great this year though; standards didn't seem very high and the first few matches were pretty uninteresting. And then the heat started, and things started to take off, and something weird started happening. The big teams; the ones you'd expect to see play around the final matches, started being eliminated. Italy, out. France, out. England (ok, objectionable :p), out. And today; BRAZIL. Out. And we're still in quarter finals.
I'm not really a big supporter of the big regular teams that always win. They're predictable, they're kinda boring. I prefer the underdogs. With this year, S. Africa being the host, I wished they would get somewhere, but again they played like crap. The hope for Africa, however, was Ghana, who seemed to do better and better each game. I was rooting for them for a while now, and they've made their way up, even kicking the US out.
The game with Uruguay today was pretty intense, and sadly they lost at the last minute on penalties. Penalties! And there goes the hopes of Africa to win the cup.. Sigh.. For me they represented a nation that's been beaten down time and time again, and a win would have brought the whole continent joy, and maybe even hope. I'm still heartbroken.
Anyway, moving on.. The last few games are on, and with a few more days, who knows who the cup will go to? This year, things don't seem to be what you'd expect. A few more days left till the fever is over, let's watch and see...
23 June 2010
It's sad to see the state of Arab film production in general; Egypt caters for a lot of it, and unfortunately almost every movie that comes out of there is a comedy that speaks absolutely no message. Gulf movies, on the other hand, if any, come out with deep dramas that are basically extended version of the TV episodes we see in the Gulf; they all seem to deal with loss of morals, divorces, rising property prices, and someone always seems to die in the end. Coupled with a ton of crying & fake make-up.
Over the past two years or so, while working on whatever projects i've been involved in, i've been working more and more on video productions. As a kid i've always been into filming stuff, I was the guy who walked around with the video camera in our family, and I even managed to film a short movie (no real script, and not exactly a high budget feature film, but it existed) when I was 10 or so. It's always been my area of interest, and slowly, i've been putting more thought into producing videos/films that take whatever local topics we have in the Middle East and pushing them out with a globalized edge. It's almost hopeless expecting anybody else to do it, until City of Life came along.
I managed to hear about this movie a little under a year ago from a friend of mine who lives in Dubai. He mentioned his friend who "produced" City of Life. Didn't really pay much attention to it since we were involved in a much more heated discussion about something else, but eventually more and more was being said about it.
Turns out City of Life is a full feature movie filmed right out of Dubai, with an Emirati director/producer. Great. Then I saw the trailer, and I must say, very few trailers I see would actually make me stare in awe. See for yourselves:
Yes, it seems we've finally managed to put out something that could easily be pushed to cinemas around the world. This is a paradigm shift right here, and it has just moved the standards of film making in this region to another level. The movie was released in UAE about 2 months ago, and is out in Bahrain, Oman & Qatar starting on the 24th of June, make sure to catch it, and support Arab talent. For more details on release in Bahrain, as well as links and more info about the the movie, click here.
16 June 2010
Whew what a week; in between rushing for a Social Media conference in Dubai, launching the June issue of the magazine, and a bunch of other projects, i've been working on filming and editing a music video for a hiphop artist out of Kuwait.
Remember Army of One, the first artist group out of the Middle East who actually had the first professional non-conventional music video aired on TV? This video was basically filmed with one of the members (Dub G), although pretty much the whole crew was somewhere or the other in the video. I drove to Kuwait with a few ppl to do the shoot, and they all ended up being in the video.
Anyway, the video was pretty much filmed on no budget, so considering that, take a look at let me know what you think. Most of the scenes were pretty straightforward except the pitbull scene; almost got severely bitten a few times but the actual shot was worth it :p There are a bunch of other 'ammaro Productions' video projects coming up very very soon though, so keep your eyes open!
(Video is embedded here in a compressed size, if you're looking for a better quality version click it and go directly to YouTube, and for even higher quality see the 480p version)
1 June 2010
Subway's always been a great place to get a sandwich. Turkey subs, grilled chicken, roast beef, etc etc, all in a healthy light package (assuming you don't fill the whole thing up with a load of mayonnaise of course).
The one thing that ticks me off about Subway though, (Second Warning: If you're a regular reader of ammaro.com and you're used to my intelligent, witty and clever analysis of major global issues, you probably want to skip this post) is how they lay their cheese down on the sandwich. Subway cheese is, to put it very simply, cut into triangles. Laying triangles opposite each other means that you can literally cover the whole body of the sandwich in cheese, without leaving empty spaces.
Does Subway do that? Noooo. They place all the triangles facing the same way, meaning you get some areas doused in extra cheese, while some are depressingly left without any cheese on at all. (If you have no idea what i'm talking about, keep reading for explanation below. Or stop reading, because this post really is a waste of time). Total Subway #Fail.
I thought I was alone in this depressing realization, but sigh as I may, nothing was to change. I did some online research about why Subway would do such a horrendous thing, and what could be done to persuade the dark corporation that serves healthy meals to change their policy, and I managed to come across this cartoon that made me feel like I, well, belong (and explains very well the situation I was in):
Oh wow, what a day! It turns out that there was actually a group of people who shared the same concerns, and that the Subway cheese problem was actually a global epidemic. Further research came up with conspiracy theories about Subway doing this to get you to spend more...
And even t-shirts that commanded the attention of the situation:
It always feels great to belong.. But.. The situation with Subway didn't change, and as the days, weeks, and months passed, our cause was slowly forgotten.
Until yesterday, when I went into Subway to order a sandwich and I saw this:
It was happening! There was some sort of paradigm shift in the universe, that has caused this Subway to put the cheese on the right way around! :o
What was happening? Are aliens taking over? Was judgment day close and this was a sign of the end? What's the deal???
I decided to quickly do some research to find out, and I came across a bit of fresh air; Yes! Subway have finally submitted, and decided to fix up their sandwich making process, to put the cheese around the right way!! Hurray!!
Life is now much better, things are a lot happier, and I see rainbows again. Thank you to all those who protested the subject and helped make this a reality. On to the next cause, and why KFC doesn't fill their coleslaw containers to the top.
(If you've managed to make it this far, congratulations. Those 5 minutes you could have spent saving the dolphins or whatever are long lost in the midst of time, and you can never, ever have them back. I warned you. Twice.)
25 May 2010
I haven't been terribly active over the past few months; a post once in a while complaining about stupid MP's etc.. There will be quite a dramatic change to the site pretty soon though, and I think i'll probably start writing a lot more **sound of everyone rejoicing** so what better way to start off than with a happy topic? Sure, the world has managed to go through a full financial crisis, people lost jobs, huge companies collapsed, people went bankrupt, etc. One entity that has managed to benefit through the turmoil, however, is our neighboring state, Abu Dhabi.
Yup, with Dubai out of the picture, enough oil to ensure constant cash liquidity throughout the crisis, and one of the biggest sovereign funds in the world, they've managed to reach a point where even global powers such as the UK were begging them for money. Lovely.
With Abu Dhabi having so much wealth, what better way to prove it than by giving it's residents an even more opulent way to get their cash? Enter the Gold ATM. Yeh, umm, I don't mean an ATM that's just covered in gold. No, I mean this baby is for those who think withdrawing your regular 200 or 500 dirham note is a bit, you know, lower class. This baby actually gives you.. *drum roll* actual gold. **pause for dramatic effect**
Why anyone would actually need to go and withdraw gold, however, is beyond me. You can withdraw gold coins and bars, all in pure 24 carats, and if really up your alley, you can even print a logo or something on them. Apparently the first run of gold ran out pretty damn quickly.
It's good to know there are people with so much money that any form of common sense is stripped from their mental state; this just means we can probably rip them off easily with another bogus project. Coming up next, the Ammaro Diamond Dispensing ATM, and here's how I would price it:
Actual price of diamond - $200
Ammaro markup - $800
Ammaro Tax - 20%
Service Fee - $150
Stupid Tax - $150
Total paid by millionaire for a $200 diamond - $1500
Of course, to make it more appealing, millionaires love to show off how rich they are, so each person who withdraws a diamond gets to have their video taken while withdrawal, and uploaded to YouTube, the AmmaroDiamondATM site, and a few others, to show everyone how rich (stupid) they are. That option, of course, requires an extra $500 online service fee to be added, but hey, it's worth it if you could keep that memory forever, right?
The things too much money can make you do eh?
4 May 2010
A short and to the point fun post for today:
- Alcohol is allowed in Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman. It is not allowed in Saudi or Kuwait.
- During an MP session, it was a majority vote to ban alcohol.
- The MP's are up for re-election this year.
- The decision is to be raised to King Hamad on the 10th of May for a final binding decision.
- Alcohol to be served only to those who are non-muslim. All of this in the name of Islam, of course.
- See above. Because Islam is about choice; if you have no choice, you're just a sheep and therefore whether you do good or otherwise has nothing to do with your conscience, it's just you doing what you do. Second of all, if a 'muslim' person sends his non-muslim friend, maid, etc to go get alcohol, you're still in the same dilemma. Third, black markets exist; examples are in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, where a bottle of Black Label has a higher street price than almost anywhere else in the World.
- Let's ban MP's.
- Walked into a Zain Shop today, and they had a large Wheel. Asked them what it was for and they said, pay BD4 and spin the wheel to win. Great. Alcohol is on the verge of being banned and people are already opening casinos. Nice.
8 April 2010
I haven't blogged in a while, and not planning on doing it for a while to come.. My "blogging" has shifted to mostly random babbling on twitter, and with decreased spans of attention in people, 140 characters seems about as long as you can keep a persons interested before they drift somewhere else (probably to a photo of a cute kitten or some random YouTube video of something being destroyed).
There are things that tick me off so much with this country, however, that the rage must come out. What is UP with Bahrain? Seriously? So much for a country all about promoting freedom of speech, right to say whatever you want, and so on. But no, after numerous arrests of reporters, the crackdown on websites (no, it's not just a porn crackdown, it's tons of political content too), shutting down a newspaper for a couple of days last year after an 'unpatriotic article', and so on, now they're trying to stick their hands into blackberry messenger groups.
There's been a group started a few months ago called خبر عاجل which translates into 'breaking news'. This basically gives you an update of all news that the newspapers are planning to print tomorrow, today, and also covers some fun stuff such as what movies were released in the cinema, etc. The service is free; as long as you have a blackberry, you can add the service and receive the news updates, wherever you are. This service was started by a single individual who wanted to provide a useful service to the country. He's not profiting from it, and all resources to broadcast the service are financed by him. Subscribers to the service reached approx 12,000 as of yesterday.
But yesterday, the service stopped.
What happened, we asked?
And we got the reply; apparently the Ministry of Culture has decided that this service never got official permission from them to broadcast the news messages, and can thus cause chaos and confusion.
Excuse me, what?
Why the hell does a broadcast message need to get official permission from you? I just sent out a dirty joke via BBM to about 100 people, wanna come and regulate that as well? What a way to say thank you to someone whose just trying to help, and the thing is, he was just sending out news which is meant to be published the next day through "official" publications anyway.
Seems our Ministry of Culture wants to control all messages being sent out via people to people. You will NEVER be able to control information; it goes through email, text messages, word of mouth, Facebook fanpages, twitter, and services you don't even know of let alone understand. It's news articles like this that just gives me a bitter after taste every time I remember the Bahrain National Action Charter:
Fourth - Freedom of expression and publishing
Every citizen shall have the right to express himself orally, in writing or in any other way of expression of personal opinion or creativity. Under this law, freedom of scientific research, publishing, press and printing are ensured within the scope specified by law.
And here's what actually happened:
In a statement carried by the Bahrain News Agency (BANA), Abdullah Yateem, assistant undersecretary for press and publication at the Ministry of Culture and Information, attributed the decision to the "chaos and confusion" of unauthorized news postings.
"In view of the impact that such news create among the public by causing chaos and confusion, especially since the source is individuals and agencies which have failed to obtain official permission by the ministry prior to engaging in such activities, we have summoned those individuals and will be taking legal action against the offenders who broke the regulations and laws," Yateem said.
Way to go Bahrain...
27 January 2010
News in this region is generally more entertaining than informative, mainly because we have a ton of idiots living in this region. They are fun to read about, such as the below: I know we have a lot of desperate and bold people, but not like this lot.
First guy (let's call him Abood) has a BD500 phone bill, and doesn't have the cash to pay it. Instead of going out and getting a job like regular people, he decides there are tons of ways to make money on the internet.
He goes online and finds someone to chat with (let's call him Hamood). So Abood talks to Hamood and tells him he needs him to pay his bill, but the twist is, he actually tells Hamood he's a girl. And he's actually willing to send Hamood nude pix of her (him) if he does pay her (his) bill.
Hamood, being a total naive jackass, decides, yes, I can get nude pix just by paying someone's bill! Here the mistake is made because 1- there's a ton of free porn online and 2- for BD500 you can actually get a little more than a photo, and get it a few times over as well. Not that I endorse either.
Anyhow, now Abood thinks he's pretty clever right? Well, Hamood decides he's gonna be even cleverer, and instead of spending his own cash for a photo, he decides to steal a credit card from someone (let's call him Khalood), and use that to pay Abood's bill.
Now, here's where it backfires. Khalood discovers BD500 missing from his credit card, calls the cops, who see that card was used to pay a specific phone number. They look up the owner of the phone, and guess who they find? Abood! Now obviously the phone company has all of Aboods details, so they go to his house and arrest him.
Abood says he's not guilty, and tells them about Hamood. Now he doesn't really know anything about Hamood, so him, along with the cops, chat with Hamood and says that he wants to 'meet him' at a shady spot in Hamala, and also gets him arrested. Now they're both on trial... Here's how I feel about this whole situation:
No further comments. Here's the original article from the GDN.
Credit card fraud denied
AN alleged Internet scam in which one man posed as a woman to convince another to pay his phone bills has backfired - after his supposed target apparently used stolen credit card information to settle the balance.
Both appeared in the High Criminal Court yesterday where they denied charges of fraud and theft. The 21-year-old first defendant is said to have created an online persona called "Manal" before meeting the other man, 25, in an online chatroom.
Prosecutors claim he offered to show the second defendant pictures of "Manal's" body every time he paid the bill. However, police were called when the 25-year-old allegedly paid a BD500 bill with stolen credit card details that he took from a website.
Both are standing trial in the High Criminal Court, where they pleaded not guilty to fraud and theft. The Bahraini victim whose credit card was used to pay the bills was due to testify during yesterday's hearing, but failed to appear.
Judges issued a warrant ordering him to appear at the next hearing, which was set for February 23. Police first arrested the 21-year-old, who then led officers to the second defendant after arranging a meeting near a restaurant in Hamala last April.
Lol. Just, Lol.
Yes, we're hours away from the big announcement that has supposedly been a huge secret with rumors flying everywhere, has techie geeks wetting their beds, driving people nuts trying to figure out what it is and what it looks like, etc..
But here, we have the first official look at the first Apple Tablet image, ready?
According to what we've heard, this tablet looks sleeker and nicer than other tablets and comes in minimal stylish compact packaging, and costs about 3 times as much, and does pretty much the same any other tablet does.
No seriously though, so this Apple Tablet is supposedly the Amazon Kindle's competition. In other words, it's a big E-Book, where you can download novels, books, etc. Might help getting people back into reading because it's "cool".
Lets see.. A few more hours to go!
Okay, they've just made the announcement anddddd...
It's called the iPad!
Crap, what a rubbish name! Here's what I think when I hear the word iPad:
But honestly, it's just a big iPhone, without the phone part. Dammit, I still want one though.
25 January 2010
I don't post much because, well, time is pretty tight and there isn't an abundance of stupidity (which always makes a great topic). Well, actually there is but i'm not keeping up with it.
But I managed to keep up with some today, check this out:
Bidding 'war' over project
TWO developers are bidding for a project to turn a prime Manama site into a massive multi-tower office and shopping complex. Manama Municipal Council is studying the bids.
The site is currently a car park attached to buildings occupied by the Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Ministry, the council and the municipality, just off the King Faisal Highway. All three would occupy offices in the new complex.
Council chairman Majeed Millad Al Jazeeri said: "We are looking for ways to best utilise municipal lands and it is a waste to have this land, which overlooks the King Faisal Highway, being used as a car park" he said.
Err, excuse me? Waste? Have you BEEN to the area recently? Cars are parked on top of each other and there is NO VACANT PARKING space at ALL, and that's WITH a parking complex in the area. You want to take that out, and put an office building to bring in even MORE people and cars? What are you frickin' stupid?
Seriously, do people in charge of stuff here just do things without any common sense? You're SUPPOSED to rip down some of those buildings and place more car parks, before thinking of any more buildings, you jackass.
Some people just tick me off.
9 January 2010
2009 has been a year of major #fail. What with global meltdowns and a ton of other #fail going on, we try and make the best and bring you some of the funnier fails of 2009, in video form. Save a few minutes of your day and have a bit of a laugh at other people's expense, and remember, if you've had it bad, you probably don't have it as bad as this lot:
4 January 2010
Burj Dubai's grand opening is TODAY! Construction was initiated in the midst of a financial boom, one that catapulted Dubai from little unknown Arabian city to a global hub known all around the world. Today Dubai (and the rest of the world, infact) are in the middle of the crisis, and many people questioned the building being finished... But here we are, anticipating the grand opening today, 4th of January.. Mabrook Dubai!
Here are some little known facts about the Burj Dubai that you can tell friends:
- Burj Dubai is so high that when you are standing at the top, you can actually see the curvature of the earth's surface
- Burj Dubai is so high, that with the creation of a non-moving entity that far up in the sky, it caused the magnetic fields of the north and south pole to shift a little bit
- It is so high that a person on the top floor and bottom floor are on two different time zones
- Burj Dubai is so high that if you drop your watch from the top, you can take the lift to the bottom and catch it before it reaches the ground
- If you stood on top of the Empire State Building, New York, on a clear day, you can actually see the tip of the Burj Dubai
Okay, so maybe they're not true, but they're still cool to tell people and see the reactions on their faces. Mabrook again Dubai!