Archive | February 2012

This is so great! I am definitely going to download that app when I get the market version of Windows 8. WordPress looks good on Windows 8, doesn’t it?


Sandstorms: Mission Impossible Got It Right

Since coming to Riyadh in January, my stay here has been quite event-less, nature-wise. The chilling cold is the only thing to note when it came to Riyadh weather in winter. As Riyadh approaches higher temperatures, weird things happen. One day it was cold and the next hot and then cold again. But the most weirdest thing is the sandstorm.

I was playing a game on TV at that time and things were normal. It was the 25th of February. Outside, it was sunny and peaceful. Nothing out of the ordinary. I turn around one second and the next thing I knew, darkness ascended. I’m being hyperbolic, I know but I can’t describe it any other way. I did see some heavy winds outside but for a sandstorm to hit Riyadh? I didn’t expect that.

The outside of my home during the sandstorm...

...and the outside of my home before the sandstorm. Different, right?

I know that Riyadh is not Dubai. The title of my blog post says ‘Mission Impossible Got It Right’ despite MI4 was filmed in Dubai. But Dubai and Riyadh are quite close. By car, you’ll get there in less than half a day. So I assume that the weather will be similar. Look at the images below. Looks kinda like in MI4 during the sandstorm chase, doesn’t it?

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Portal 2 by Valve Corporations

I am actually not someone who is fond of games. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing games, maybe as much as I love reading. What I am not fond of are games that waste my time and have ridiculous plot lines that I don’t even have fun playing. For Portal 2, it is neither time-wasting as everything is fast-paced and the plot is exquisite, especially the ending.

In Portal 2, gamers take control of Chell (her name is not even mentioned once in Portal 2), a test subject at an abandoned Aperture Science Innovators Lab. Having survived the first games after destroying GLaDOS, the ‘controller’ of the Lab, she wakes up again in a room at Aperture and after accidentally causing GLaDOS to wake up again, she must once again survive the tests and kill GLaDOS for a second time.

GLaDOS, as she appears in Portal 2

To me, what is most important in a game is the story. A good game has a good story and because of that, people keep playing. With Portal 2, I just had to keep playing. The mystery and the twists especially after Chell defeated GLaDOS was pure class. Another robot, one that helped Chell kill GLaDOS no less was the one who took over. And the mysteries surrounding the origins of GLaDOS was also something to ponder about.

I bet that some gamer just hate this game because of the puzzles. This game is not a game for people who only feel fun playing a game that kills people or monsters. This is a game of brains. A physics game no less. To beat the game, the mind must be sharp and the eyes must be minute. Every detail is important. That detail may just get you out of Aperture alive.

Old entrance of the Aperture Science Innovators

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Dangerous Creek For Balls / Chapter Three: Just Marston

English: Between Long Marston & Rufforth. This...

Marston walked among the plants cautiously, making sure he did not step on any plants unnecessarily. The forest was a scary place. He had heard time and time again of stories about missing children and of monsters lurking here from friends at school. Yet, he did not know why he didn’t insist on not going. Probably because he was guilty of causing Robert’s ball to end up here.

Why didn’t I say no? Marston thought, shaking his head in the process. This is a bad idea.

Marston flinched, hearing a growl nearby. He was sweating furiously now. Another growl nearby. What is it? Marston imagined the monsters. This is scary. He was seriously scared right now.

Marston shrugged off the thoughts and kept walking in the direction of the ball. After walking about 45 minutes, it became apparent to Marston that the ball was lost. There would be no more use searching for it. He might as well go back now.

Marston turned around and let out a gasp. Behind him, there were only plants. There was no path. He did not know which direction to take. He walked nonetheless but after ten minutes of excruciating walking, he realized he was lost in the forests of Chisolm’s Creek.

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Janadriyah Festival: 40-acres of Saudi Culture and Heritage

Dessert is mostly what you get to see on the way to Janadriyah

The first time I heard of Janadriyah was when my father invited me to visit there with two of his friends. At that time, I was totally clueless about Janadriyah. In fact, my father didn’t even say the word ‘Festival’ in it which made me wonder and wonder what Janadriyah truly was. In my mind, I imagined it to be a museum that showcase Saudi history in one building. I was close but was also far.

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To Janadriyah

I am currently on the way to Janadriyah, site of this year’s Festival of Culture and Heritage of Saudi Arabia. This is my second time going there this year. The first had been with my dad and some of his friends. This time its with my family.

I hope the festival is still there because I have heard rumours saying that the festival is already over last week but some also say that today is the last day. Anyways, I,ll put up a post on this blog when I get back along with some pictures. Right now, I’m looking at sand. Going to Janadriyah takes about an hour and a half and you have to pass by sandy desserts to get there. I’ll post pictures of those desserts too.

From al-Nakhil to Batha: The Laborers’ Den

Large houses in Riyadh near the al-Nakhil area, a show of the wealth of the people of Riyadh

In Saudi Arabia, I live in an area called al-Nakhil on Prince Turki Road. That place is somewhat close to the city center of Riyadh. To go to the center only takes about

Along the way to Batha Center, building are being built for the sake of modernity

ten minutes. If I had only traveled around this area, I would think that everyone in Saudi are rich and loaded to the brim. But looking at the city center of Riyadh only doesn’t tell the whole story of Saudi because the further away from the center, the smaller the buildings and the tougher the living.

The parking lot of Batha Center that has a very un-modern feel to it

The place I went to today for the second time since my arrival is called Batha Center (pronounced Ba-ta-ha). This is a place quite far from the city center of Riyadh and takes about twenty minutes to reach from my home. Batha Center is a place I like to call the Laborers’ Den due to the demography of the people and the environment. The people who live around Batha Center and work in Batha Center are people who have to work hard for a living. They are laborers and thus, you can see there are less Saudi natives here and a lot of Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistan and prominently Filipinos.

The marketplace of Batha Center, radiating a very different feel to the city center of Riyadh

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