Sunday, January 07, 2007

KitKat - Globalisation's Victim

Not feeling so great, I think I've eaten too much and haven't eaten enough fruits. It's moments like these that I remember that I decided to limit myself to water and fruits whenever I get the munchies. But of course I didn't have the munchies today, got no weed to do that. I was just pigging out.

I'm sure I must've once mentioned a year or two ago how great KitKats are, I mean were. Because for me Bounty bars are now the my favourite chocolate bar. I think I ate four or five of them today. They must be the healthiest of the common lot. It contains something real: coconuts. 21% desiccated coconuts is what it says on the wrapper. I'm thinking that there's less guilt associated with a Bounty than a Mars bar.

Oh and the subject, beware of the Chinese made KitKats that are appearing in the shops these days. They're disgusting and a travesty to Mr. Rowntree's legacy.

Yesterday I got a new generator. It's smaller than the old one that's got a damaged piston ring. The new one is super cool. It's got a remote to turn on and off the engine. The remote ON function is a bit stupid since one still has to bend over next to it to turn the choke on and then off as it starts. But it's nifty when one just wants to turn it off without having to nip out in the cold in the middle of the night.

Tomorrow I'm going to get my new phone. Just a couple more shops were open today, and one of them had the phone I wanted. But I insisted on going back to the other shop across the street where I found it during the holidays just because he had the decency to open during the holidays. But that guy said he had sold a couple days ago and that he could get it for me tomorrow. Well I've been waiting for a week, I could wait another day, besides he's offering to sell it for cheaper and he doesn't look so dodgy.

I didn't go to college today. Most of the roads leading out of the neighbourhood were blocked off, leaving all the cars to go through my usual route and creating a one hour jam just like the one that nearly led me to a nervous breakdown a couple weeks ago. So I just drove home and thought this would be a good opportunity to get that studying that I was supposed to have been doing for the past couple of weeks.

Last night, I actually got down for nearly an hour trying to understand a photocopied handout from a textbook in English that a teacher gave me to explain some mathematical kind of material that I missed in class. It's amazing how the teacher manages to dumb down the material for us, because even though the stuff was in English, I struggled to make any sense out of it.

So because I didn't go to college today, I was supposed to get some studying done? I've even got a test tomorrow. No I haven't studied anything today. A few hours ago, Nahida came down to tell me that tomorrow will be a day-off. I was so relieved. She came down an hour ago again, to tell me that the prime minister spoke and said that only a bunch of provinces in the south will have a day-off tomorrow.

I've been playing poker on my DS a lot lately (been stuck at the same level for a couple days now). And it's an interesting game and one day will lead me to victory the next time I play poker with Hans. I never began to imagine how Texas hold 'em can pit you against yourself whilst trying to decide whether to call or to fold. Well as far as studying is concerned I'm calling. I might just win if the teacher doesn't show up tomorrow which is quite likely if there's a jam such as today's. On the other hand, I just wouldn't mind getting the bad mark and have it done with. I need a bad mark to put me in my place.

I installed OpenOffice on my laptop today. It looks nice, it's free, legal and opens MS office files too. I don't need it but I don't have Microsoft Office and there are many times when I wish I did have Word. And I don't want to put any dodgy pirated Office on my laptop since I do have an original copy of Windows installed. I've had my laptop for nearly a year maybe and I haven't had to format it once, something that's pretty unheard of in Iraq since that's the most common solution to a faulty PC. A solution that often leads to a modem not working because the drivers went missing.

Two weeks I've been without a drink. I'm definitely getting some tomorrow on my way back from college tomorrow. I've been coming to the conclusion that it's my lack of booze that's driving my productivity down. There's a positive correlation between alcohol consumption and productivity isn't there?

Ati's coming down the stairs very slowly. Could he be bringing me some tea and being careful not spill it? Oh my! Yes he is, lovely jubely. And he comes bearing a message from Nahida: "Study and go to sleep early". Right.

Laptops are such a blessing in the cold. They're the most functional lap warmer ever conceived. Oh but I now I need to take a dump. It's so painful using a bidet pouring ice-cold water.


Sang J. Moon said...

You openly talk about weed but worry more about violating Microsoft's license? You probably have more to worry from Islamic fanatics punishing you for drugs than Microsoft coming into dangerous Iraq for violating their license.
I love KitKats too. I love Twix bars just as much. I don't think the coconut is good for you cholesterol level, but as long as you exercise, it should offset any long term problems.

snafoo said...

There is Chinese KitKat? Is it a similar product with a different brand name, or is it counterfeit?
Do you have Nestlé Lion? That's the one I'd like to have right now.

I don't think violating the license is the problem, Sang. It's about keeping your collection in mint condition. The first scratch bothers you much more than the second.
Fear of punishment usually isn't what keeps people from breaking the law. And if you try to think like an Islamist, the time to scan this blog and attempt to track Shaggy down would be better invested in beating up a few dozen women for leaving the house without a hijab or maybe even building some IEDs. It seems they are quite busy these days.

Oh, and yeah, Twix is great, too. But so is Bounty. They all have something for them, it's just a matter of mood.

Shaggy, I'm curious about pot in Iraq. Was there pot under Saddam? Is it completely gone now, or just rare? Do people smoke joints or sheesha?
I just had one for you while I wrote this, BTW. :)

Shaggy said...

Thank you ever so much Snafoo for having the patience to answer Sang. You're right that it's about keeping the collection in mint condition.

I'm also sure I read somewhere that Microsoft doesn't give 'all' the updates available if it detects a pirated copy of its software.

About the Chinese KitKats, I don't have one on me right now to check the fine print but it looks like a normal bar of KitKat but just a little smaller. It's red and has KitKat printed in English. It looks like a genuinely licensed product to me.

Yeah there's Nestlé Lion here, we get most of the popular chocolates that are sold in Europe.

One thing that pissed me off is that there's no peppermint flavoured Aero here. Which I guess is because Arabs don't seem to like peppermint. Iraqis for reasons beyond me describe mint as a hot flavour.

And in regards to pot, no there wasn't any pot during Saddam and the same could be said today. Having said that, doesn't mean it didn't exist at all.

I had my first taste of weed here in Iraq when I was fourteen, good days :). Some person I knew brought some seeds with him from Africa and gave them to another guy who had a farm who then grew the stuff.

But to get to the point of how rare it was and still is: I'd estimate that only 0.00000001 (or some ridiculous number like that) of Iraqis could identify a cannabis plant or the smell of pot burning.

Why so rare? it might have to do with the punishment for being caught with drugs which was and I'm assuming still is the death penalty. But it's pretty hard to get caught if the cops don't know what it looks or smells like.

Sheesha is just wasteful isn't it? I roll joints, but the trouble here was getting your hands on some decent rolling paper.

Back when in the day, I'd empty a cigarette and suck in some dried and crushed weed or make a pipe out of a can of Coca-Cola if I was smoking bud.

One time I came back with some hash from Lebanon and all I had was some cheap Syrian made rolling paper that doesn't have any gum, a real pain in the ass.

These days with a bit of effort one can find some acceptable rolling paper at a tobacconist that has a box of the stuff collecting dust.

Now I'm going to spend the next hour thinking about weed and how nice it would be to have a joint now. Life's so slow here that it makes it such a nice place to smoke up.

Anonymous said...

Hey Shaggy man!

I was going through this blog for the first time and was slowly relating the character writing to you until I read the names Nahida and Atia! hehe
I hope all is good and its really nice to read your blog and see how my neighbour and neighbourhood is doing back in Baghdad, at least your making use of your time, blogging, studying and buying some new phone...and aww yeh please stay away from that crap and stop thinking about it again.. I know I sound like your dad now, but havent we all been like your dad at some point?!!

Take care dude..take care of yourself, eat healthy (bounty) as part of your new year resolution and hope to see you soon this summer again!
Regards to Nahida and Fuzy bear!hehe

Anonymous said...

I remember when you came back from Lebanon with that hash Shaggy! We had some in my balcony and homer's roof for the first time and still had no effect! It wasted my future cos my family thought I started doing hard drugs cos of you!
What that about Coca Cola cans?Since when did you start to innovate? We always heard about your ideas but this is new!

snafoo said...

IIRC Microsoft wanted to block updates for cracked Windows, but gave up on the idea because that would only result in those then (even more) insecure systems to be turned into zombies, spread worms, send spam and be used in DDoS attacks. In other words, their paying customers have a strong interest in those copies to be patched, too.

Shame about those KitKats. I just wish I could have been there when they came up with the idea to get into the fake chocolate bar business. Imagine somebody telling you that "this is gonna make us rich: We'll fake KitKats!" Ridiculous.
They could have at least put some effort into it and make them taste good.

So no pot in Iraq. If you like to smoke it out of cans it's probably better you can't get your hands on any. We used to do that, too -- bend the can, bend up he sides where it folds, punch in some holes, put the weed there and light up. After a while we figured that burning and smoking the paint can't be healthy. We scratched it off from then on but I guess it's still bad. Of all the ways to improvise a pipe this must be the worst.
I don't know if sheeshas are wasteful, they're just very comfortable to smoke and even the crappiest weed tastes good. But then, you're probably are better off just smoking it in a joint and having a normal sheesha afterwards (with that apple tobacco, of course).

I happen to be a big fan of rolling paper without glue. OK, it's not good for joints, but for cigarettes it's great. Unfortunately there is only one shop which has them here, and they're twice the price of normal ones. Also, they're not as good as the Lebanese ones I came across once and that I couldn't find again since then. They have an "order online" section on their website (, but it's been blank for years.

I don't know if you came across them when you were in the UK, but the latest in (joint-) rolling papers over here are transparent (!) papers. I don't mean super thin see through papers, those really are transparent. They look like cellophane and stick everywhere. Weird stuff.

I've just watched Bush's speech. I think it can be reduced to "Send more troops, shift blame on Iraq", with an emphasis on the latter.

Shaggy said...

Neighbour! :), hehehe you caught me red handed. Nahida sends her regards to you too. Yeah I'm sorry about leading your parents to think that you take hardcore drugs hehehe. The can thing is really old i.e. before you had moved here.

Snafoo, I think you're right in saying the can method isn't healthy. And it's good you said so for others to know not to do it. I'm afraid I didn't come across those transparent papers.

During the sanctions cigarettes were too expensive for a lot of rural folk. There'd be shops that sell tobacco out of sacks. Not the nice rolling tobacco you'd find in Europe but the dry kind that you'd find in a cigarette. And there were plenty of different brands of rolling paper without gum, but none with gum.

And my neighbour's right, I shouldn't be thinking about how wonderful pot is. As much as I like weed, unlike others, I'm unable to pursue my life with it.