Sunday, March 01, 2009

Is There Anybody Out There?

If anyone were to stop by this ole blog, which would admittedly be highly unexpected, I just wanted you to know that there is a shiny new blog over at

As a matter of fact, it's really not all that new, or even shiny at all (but if you squint it'd be fuzzy). I actually created the site about two years ago as an impetus to kick-start my flagging blogging ways.  I figured that if I had a website I was paying for it would ensure that I got back into the writing groove.  Yeah, turns out, not so much. 

The point is, I'm going to try to start posting my random musings again.  I've gotta give it one last shot... So, if you're interested, you know where to find me.

Yeah... so let's see how this goes.

No promises.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Something is a foot...

Ah, the ever faithful blog enthusiasts... I must commend you for your patience. It is true that every time I say I'm coming back with a vengeance, I do no such thing. Sure I've been busy. Sure, I don't have internet at home. But it's no excuse. It seems I am the "bad boyfriend" of the blogging world.

And yes, despite knock-knock jokes in the comment-zone at my expense, I do want to assure you that I haven't forgotten the blog. Neglected, yes. So much to write about, so little time.

In the meantime, however, let me let you in on a little secret. Something is a foot... Now, my grandfather would have said, "Something is a foot... and it stinks," but in this case, that which is afoot should rock the Kasba. Indeed, the astute among you will deduce the answer in no time flat. Let's just say there's a gonna be some changes 'round here. Once everything is ready... well, then I will be back with a vengeance!

I swear!

Man, it sure is hard to type with your fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Picture It...

Imagine my surprise to find that in my absence from the blogging world, Blogger has made it immensely simpler to post photographs. As we used to say back in the Navy: Huzzah!

And so, I have made a decision. It is time to change my profile photograph. The old one, commonly known as "The Best Picture of Dave Ford Ever" (BPDFE), has had its day and served me well. But, truth be told, that was taken years ago... I'd even guess that it might have been taken last century in fact. Don't get me wrong, I can still tell it's me. I personally don't see the problem, but the beard seems to confuse people. Are you that guy that has the articles in that magazine? Yes. But you have a beard. Yes. The picture doesn't have a beard. No.... Honestly, I don't really get it. The article title is Desi-David - GlobeTrotter, there's a white guy with long hair in the picture, there are amusing anecdotes about an inside-outsider view of Pakistan... but yet when they meet me, a white, Canadian writer with long hair, the beard throws them for a loop. Okay, it may not look exactly like me, but it sure as hell doesn't look like anyone else round these parts.

So here's to you Best Picture of Dave Ford Ever, it's been a snap.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce, "Raja and Dave." One of my favourite pictures recently, it is also the primary reason for the bizarre rumour in Canada that I purchased a camel at an auction. Works for me. Welcome to the blog.


Hey... Hey Blog... Wake up. Vacation's over.

Oh, you're back are you? It's about damn time.

Give me a break, I've been across the world and back.

And you couldn't take a break from your busy holiday schedule to write something?

Well, you know, I was busy and ah, didn't have Internet access all the time. And I'm...

Incredibly lazy?

Yeah, that too I guess.

Whatever. People have been asking about you.


Yeah. I told them you were dead.

Thanks, I appreciate that.

Thought so. You ready to get started again or what?

Yeah, back in the Land of the Pure, back to work, settling in.

Is that even a sentence?

Shut it, Blog.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Khurram Bhai

Well folks, I’m extremely happy to report that Khurram is on the road to recovery. I decided to wait for a while before posting, because I wanted a report on his recuperation from a reliable source. And since my lingual abilities are still lacking, it was tough to get close to the source. However, today I found out that he is definitely on the mend. He is at home with his family, and is now able to go out in a wheelchair. He is speaking and responsive, and slowly regaining function and mobility. Of course, Khurram still has a long way to go, with many broken bones and other injuries that will take a lot of time to heal. Still, he has certainly come a long way from the last time I saw him. Considering the fall he took, I think we can safely rate this fairly high in the amazing recovery book. Let’s hope he makes it back to his feet soon.

Thanks to everyone for their support, prayers and donations. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts, as they still have a long way to go yet.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Chill Winston...

The last few days have been so damn hot that I finally went on the internet to find out just how hot it really was. As of 7:00 PM it was still 34 degrees Celsius (stinkin’ hot, Fahrenheit). Now, that’s not so bad for the middle of a desert, but I think the 56% humidity might have something to do with the drenching, life-force draining atmosphere of the last few days. After all, everyone and their dog will tell you that “It’s not the heat… it’s the humidity.” This maxim is so prevalent that it has completely obliterated “It’s not heavy… just awkward” in the Annual Clichéd Adage competition. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I complained of the heat to an aborigine in the depth of the Australian Outback and he replied, “It’s not the heat… it’s the humidity,” and then proceeded to spread the message across the hills via didgeridoo (I am pleasantly surprised, however, that didgeridoo is in the MS Word dictionary; Crocodile Dundee be proud.).

Anyway, what quite confused me about this Internet weather report was that although the temperature was clearly given as 34 degrees, a little further down, the temperature was adjusted to 40 degrees with Wind Chill. Come again? Wind Chill?

Explain that one to me.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Italian Plumbers...

I know that this isn't the type of blog to have embedded video. And I know that you need a pretty speedy connection for this to work properly. But still, I wanted to see if this would work, and it's by far one of the most brilliant things I've seen this week. Ah, sweet nostalgia.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Balls to the Wall...

Well, this is a new one on me.

A while back, I was at the local veterinarian’s office with the Soph-Star. She had rescued a tiny, abandoned kitten from the middle of the road, and I had tagged along to ask about my animal-magnetism, which seemed to be flagging of late. The vet assured us that the kitten, whom we had already labelled “Flea Willikers,” was strong and needed only near constant care and frequent eye-dropperings of milk. She informed me that, unfortunately, my animal-magnetism had reversed polarity, which I found distressing. Sadly, the stalwart Flea mewed his way off this mortal coil that very night. Poor little, short-lived Flea. Hopefully we showed him the best day and a half of his little life.

So, all in all, an upsetting trip to the Vet. However, as we were waiting in line, I was flipping through one of those pet-type magazines, which I can only imagine Veterinarian offices subscribing to, when I came upon a small advert that caught my attention. It was a blank white square with only the word “Neuticles” in blue font, and the catch phrase, “Testicular Implantation for Pets.” I was intrigued. I was well aware of the principle of reverse-vasectomies, but I also knew that pets are completely castrated like a sixteenth-century soprano. How the heck do you reverse that? Thankfully, the website, was supplied at the bottom of the ad. My head swam with comedic potential. There was no way I wasn’t going to go home and look that up immediately….

….A month and a half later, I sat in front of my computer desperately trying to think of something to look up on the web in order to maintain my achieved level of procrastination. Like a flash from the blue (or a kick to the nuts) I suddenly remembered… Neuticles! Better late than never. And boy was it worth it. A simple flash animation of a bouncing blue ball that sprouts atomic electron orbits and proclaims “Neuticles – The Revolutionary Testicular Implant Procedure for Pets,” led me into the site.

I soon discovered that what I had stumbled upon was not, in fact, a means to reload your puppy’s pistol, but a complete cosmetic surgery. Yes, this patented technique allows proud pet-owners to implant silicon testicles during the neutering process which apparently allows your pet to “retain his natural look, self-esteem and aids in the trauma associated with neutering” for both pet and owner. In fact, the website proudly proclaims that, “With Neuticles – It’s like nothing ever changed!” Yeah, right… nothing has changed at all.

After I had stopped laughing and wiped the tears from my eyes, I dug a little deeper. The “Most Asked Questions” (an MAQ apparently) explains that “Neuticles eliminates ‘neuter hesitant’ concerns.” Neuticles is doing Bob Barker proud by allowing pet-owners to castrate their pets without hesitation and thus saving the world from thousands of homeless strays. The site emphasises that, “We feel the removal of a God given body part – leaving a male pet looking unwhole after the traditional form of neutering, is not only unethical but unnatural.”

Right. I just don’t buy it. I mean, come on. If you’re going to harp on about God-given body parts, then don’t remove them in the first place. It’s unethical to knacker your pet, but it’s not if the pet doesn’t notice the difference? So apparently, if you cut off my hand, but keep a handy prosthetic nearby, you’re in the clear. Another question asks whether a dog would actually miss anything anyway. The site affirms their unfettered insight into the Canine mind by stating in no uncertain terms that

people know their beloved pet. Their pet can tell them when they are hungry, want to play, don’t feel well, hide when approaching the vet’s office or will get excited when driving by or going to the park – why wouldn’t the pet know a familiar body part is missing Would he know if his foot was cut off? Of course he would – its only common sense.

Yeah, common sense, that’s what that is. Chances are, if your dog’s self-esteem is in danger by lopping off his breeding jewels, then he’ll most likely suspect a little something with his “Neuticles.” Hmmm, this is New… and it Tickles.

Someone else asks, “Do Neuticles come in different models?” Despite the hilarious choice of words in that query, the answer is even better. “Neuticles are available in three models: Neuticle-Originals (rigid firmness), Neuticle-Natural (natural firmness) and Neuticles UltraPLUS.” They range in price from $73 to $839, and are curiously sold in pairs and singly (explain that one to me). Each are made from FDA medically approved (“for human use”) materials that “replicate the animal’s testicle in size, shape, weight and feel.” Now forgetting about the image of someone feeling their dog’s equipment, this leads to the predictable, yet hilarious, question, “Can Neuticles be implanted in People?” Absolutely not. Poor Lance Armstrong.

Of course, the site also has the requisite Testimonials Page (I would have gone with “Testes-Moanials”), with statements like: “I’ve put off neutering ‘Crooked Joe’ for months and when I found out about Neuticles and spoke to them it made me feel better about neutering. Joe not only looks the same now – but doesn’t know he’s missing anything.” To me, the most unethical aspect here, is naming your dog “Crooked Joe.” Lane from Louisiana states, “He’s a guy and I wanted him to remain looking like one.”

Now, these testimonials make me curious. Are there that many pet-owners that sit around staring at their dog’s balls? That sounds like a fantastic way to spend Friday night. “He looks the same!” Sure, but who’s looking? “Look Honey, he’s licking them again! He thinks they’re real!” And I bet these are the same type of people who chop off a dog’s ears, or lop off the tails because it supposedly looks better.

To top it all off, there’s even a press section, where Rush Limbaugh states, “Neuticles are just plain neat!” But to be fair, he was probably hopped up on goof-balls and hoping for some sort of Bill Clinton application.

I find myself wondering what my grandfather, who was a veterinarian his whole life (except for the beginning and ending parts) would think of the Neuticles Revolution. I’m reminded of how he would talk about castrating sheep until someone would inevitably ask him how you go about doing that. “Well, it’s pretty simple really,” he would say, “first you take an elastic band and wrap it around and around the scrotum nice and tight. Then you find two big rocks…” Here, he would weigh the imaginary rocks in his hands. “And then, *SMACK*” he would clap his hands together, “it’s done.” Some startled observer would inevitably ask, “My God! Doesn’t that hurt?” My grandfather would look at them like it was the most ridiculous question he’d ever heard, before answering, “Not at all, you just have to make sure to keep your fingers clear.”

So yeah, I think I know what my grandfather would say about Neuticles. He’d shake his head and say, “That’s Nuts.”

Friday, May 05, 2006

... And Nary a Drop to Drink...

You know, one thing we all take for granted in Canada is the ole, life-sustaining double-Hydrogen-single-Oxygen cocktail. Our massive, snowbound country has 60% of the world’s fresh water, although our determined efforts are certainly straining the definition of “fresh” these days. I can almost guarantee that anyone who pours a glass of water straight from the tap, and gulps it down on a hot, sunny day (yes, we have those in Canada) never thinks twice about it. Nor do we really consider the wealth of fresh water circling the drain while we brush our teeth or scrape our whiskers off. And have you ever plugged the tub and seen just how much water you use during a long relaxing shower? (I tend to do this quite often given my affinity for long, lustrous locks, and my adversity to cleaning out the drain). Yes, I think it’s safe to say that all of us take water for granted.

In fact, in my beautiful little town in New Brunswick (which I like to say, puts the “ain’t” in “quaint”) the signboard on the highway for years stated: “Welcome to St. George, Home of the Best Drinking Water in Canada.” Now, after decades, that sign has since been changed, partially, I think, for the sake of new tourism priorities, but also because I think the claim was fairly dubious to begin with. Regardless, since there is no such thing as “irregardless,” the water was very tasty. In fact, to my knowledge, it still is. But the reason I choose to supply you with this little tidbit of small-town trivia, is to relate the story of my cousin’s husband, D’Oyen.

Carol and D’Oyen moved to our little town straight from Toronto. D’Oyen was born in Jamaica, but since he was a young boy, his main experience of Canada had been the big city. I think that he was a little taken aback at the substantial shift in the pace of life in our town, which would be something akin to shifting from fourth into reverse. It would often take D’Oyen hours to run an errand, because he was baffled by the number of people who would actually stop to talk to him along the way. Anyway, it was after one of these afternoon-long errands that D’Oyen wheeled into our driveway, ran up the stairs, poured a glass of water and gulped it down. I happened to be in the kitchen and said, “So D’Oyen, a little thirsty?” (I was sarcastic even as a teenager). “No, not really,” he said between gulps. I was slightly confused. He finished the glass, held it up approvingly, and said, “Wow, that is good.” I was still confused, “D’Oyen, you’ve been living here for a year. You’ve never tried the water?” He looked a little sheepish, “Well, yeah, but I just noticed that sign on the highway for the first time today, so I had to come in and check,” Which just goes to show you that you don’t know what you’ve got until somebody tells you… or writes it in block letters on a billboard.

Consequently, you really don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. And I’ll tell you, one thing I miss everyday in Karachi is that sparkling, clear St. George water. Even living as I do, in one of the most expensive areas of the city, water comes through the lines Monday and Friday at 4:00, for one hour. At which point, you have to run outside and plug in the pump to try and fill the tank buried under your lawn. Now, to be fair, it is now coming into the hotter months and water is harder to come by, but even in the winter, the water gushes forth only once a day – no matter how many times I strike it with my staff.

The timing of the water flow is a complete mystery to me. I leave it up to my man Paul, who always tries to explain, “Today – no water, tomorrow –half hour of salty water, next day – one hour of dirty water, next day – one hour of ‘Sweet’ water.” Of the three water categories, dirty, salty and sweet, the last one, surprisingly enough, is definitely the one you’re aiming for. Now, how Paul figures all this out, I have no idea. There seems to be some secret network of servants in the neighbourhood that figures out when and what quality of water will be coming. I usually just shake my head and say, “Ok, whatever.” Now, since one hour of water doesn’t do much to fill a 5000 gallon tank, especially if you have a housemate who tends to take 3 to 5 showers a day, your tank will go dry at some point. In my experience, this usually happens on holidays, weekends and during transport strikes. Then you have to call up a tanker service, who will tell you that a truck will be there within the hour. An average of six hours later, a tanker truck will arrive and pump, hopefully, sweet water into your tank. Add to this that all of the tanker trucks are part of a mafia that control the prices and supply of the water, and you’ll start to get an idea of the irritation involved.

I feel a little ashamed of complaining about this, since my troubles are obviously insubstantial compared to the countless thousands that survive with next to no water at all. However, believe it or not, all of this rambling has all been leading up to one single story. You can really tell I haven’t been blogging in a while, since my writing is running on like a trip to the toilet after some spicy street food. All this blah, blah, blah about the drip, drip, drip has been to say that my housemate and I decided to sign up for drinking water delivery. We had tried boiling and filtering the “sweet” water, but it just wasn’t cutting it. And since you never know what micro-bugs are swimming around in there, we decided we would play it safe and call Ava or Culligan’s.

However, we left this to a friend to set up for us, who, for whatever reason, decided to save us 20 Ruppees a bottle and instead of ordering a recognised brand of drinking water, signed us up for “Winsip Drink.” No-Name, President’s Choice water. Winsip (which sounds like a windows application I downloaded recently) seemed extremely pleased to have our business. In fact, we soon received the following letter:

Dear Sir,

It is indeed heartening for us to find your great name among our valuable clientele. While we express our thanks for giving us an opportunity to serve you, we congratulate you for selecting a quality drinking water of course water is a catalyst for making body active and hence the choice of water is of high essence.

We have developed and offered WINSIP with all humbleness to be of service to human kind which been engulfed a whirl of complexities of tough life-style, requires special attention on health issues.

Commercial aspects apart, our focus is the satisfaction of WINSIP users and the effect of WINSIP drinking water on their health. Not at all contended with the efforts put in developing WINSIP, we are quiet eager to gain from your valuable suggestion and views to further improve quality and services to what ever extent possible and feasible. We will feel privilege to get enlightened with your valuable comments that would definitely push us making further improvement in our product.

Signed by CEO.

Now, as soon as we received this letter, I was a became a big fan of WINSIP. Grammatical and syntactical errors aside (and I assure you, I copied it word for word) my favourite part is the last paragraph. I love how they say, “Commercial aspects apart, our focus is your satisfaction and health.” It’s great to see a company with a little honesty. Other than our profits, we care about you the most. Fantastic. And I’m also glad to see that they tacked on that “feasible” just to make sure that they won’t be held to any outlandish suggestions.

Unfortunately for me, I won’t be receiving anymore WINSIP letters, because soon after we started drinking it, my housemate and I both admitted to a feeling of lethargy and apathy. Since this is often a common state of mind for me, I didn’t think much of it, but my housemate was convinced it was the water. I wonder if we would have come to that conclusion if it hadn’t been 20 Rupees cheaper. The mind plays amazing tricks. In any case, we have now switched to the Ava service and things are flowing nicely now. Most importantly, it is pleasantly palatable when mixed with contraband Scotch.

One thing’s for sure, as soon as I get home this summer, I’m going to walk in the door and poor myself a nice tall glass… right from the tap.

Monday, March 27, 2006

No News is Bad News...

First of all, thanks to all of you who sent messages of support and prayer over the last few weeks. It's been trying, but as usual, time marches on and I suppose it's time to pick things up again.

In a way, I suppose I was hoping that I could come back to the blog with a triumphant message of good news about Khurram Bhai's condition. Unfortunately, not much has changed. Physically, he has continued to stabilize, but he remains in a coma and in this case, no news is definitely not good news. Miracles have been known to happen, but with every passing day, my hope dwindles.

Once again, I find myself battling with the fact that anything I have earnestly prayed for has never come to pass. I guess I'm supposed to tell myself that it is therefore God's will. But the cynic within me wonders what the point of praying is in the first place if such pessimistic predertimination rules the day. If it's all part of God's plan, then I'm glad it's beyond my understanding, because, frankly, I don't want to know.

Sorry about the theological ruminations, I go through more phases than the Karachi Electric Supply Company. I have recently contributed some money to Khurram's family, and hope to give more soon, as they are in dire need of funds. To make matters worse, I understand that his wife is expecting. Joy cloaked in sorrow. If anyone feels moved to contribute, let me know and I can supply a bank account number for the family.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Explain this to me...

Another hindrance to my blogging last week was my inability to access my own blog. I thought it was my own connection, but then friends started reporting the same problem. I later went on to discover that had been blocked by Pakistani ISPs. Word on the street is that the Supreme Court decided that any site publishing the blasphemous cartoons (you know, the Danish ones? You may have heard of them) should be blocked. As various bloggers in the blogspot world had published them on their sites, someone had the bright idea to block the whole of Brilliant.

It took me some research to figure this all out, and then, lo and behold, the next day there is a story on the BBC which would have saved me a lot of trouble.

Now, if all this is true, then can one of you techies out there please tell me why I can access blogspot sites at night? Last night I came downstairs because I couldn't sleep and I opened a number of blogspots... this morning... nothing.

Also, while I'm at it. Why is it that with a WorldCall supposedly broadband connection I can only rarely post to the blog? The connection times out over and over and then, as added fun and games, it sometimes says it times out but actually publishes the post, thus resulting in nine posts in a row, which you guys love to make fun of me for. If I walk upstairs, plug in a phone line (which I'm doing now) and connect through a scratch card (even at 19.2 kps) I can post just fine. Is the upstream to worldcall that restricted that I can't even get a blog post through? And is there anything I can do about this?

Someone enlighten me.

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