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I Am Not Your Gay Best Friend

Posted on 24-03-2015

I will sit with you in class and doodle on your notepad while the professor drones on about some subject that neither of us really cares about. I will daydream with you about our future lives and giggle when the cute boys pass us by in the hallway. I will chat far too loudly with you in the library until we are asked to leave, which between you and me is just fine because that place smells of old things and sweaty feet. I will spend long hours with you poring over dead textbooks as we fruitlessly cram hours before our final exams, with notes and half-eaten dinners strewn around us. I will smile back at you as you climb on stage in front of our peers, addressing us all for one last time before we make it on our own in the world.

But I am not your Gay Best Friend.

I will roll my eyes when you tell me that you’ve found ‘The One’ and remind you again how many times you’ve said this in the past. I will smile and be polite when I meet him, saving my judgement for when we’re back at my apartment and I can safely confide in you over a bottle of wine or two.

But I am not your Gay Best Friend.

I will gracefully decline your invitation to join your bachelorette party, much to your dismay, despite trying to entice me with promises of my own exciting lap dance. I will calm you down on your big day and remind you how lucky you are and how beautiful you look – and by god you will look beautiful. I will stand in the front row at your wedding and watch as you walk down the aisle towards the man you love, and later raise a toast to the girl I met years ago who grew into the woman I know today.

But I am not your Gay Best Friend.

What Happens During A Sandstorm

Posted on 21-02-2015

People tend to forget that Dubai is essentially a desert. So when a sandstorm hits the city and blinds us all in its fury, people are all like:

01

I mean there’s sand everywhere, wind howling around you, trees potentially ready to fall on you, BUT FIRST:

Okay, with the #SandstormSelfie out of the way, here are some real things that happen when a sandstorm hits Dubai:

You realize that your day of tanning at the beach is ruined: 02

Or worse still, your outdoor brunch has to be moved indoors: 03

You’ve washed your hair and blown it to perfection but Mother Nature had zero fucks to give: 04

This familiar sight will greet you in your balcony:

Meanwhile, your car looks like this:

car

And driving around will be like this:

Oh and if you’ve ‘accidentally’ left your laundry out to dry: 05

So yes, a sandstorm may end up ruining your day a bit: mi4-cruise-run

But calm the fuck down people. It’ll all blow over.

When Someone Cute Sits Next To You On A Plane

Posted on 02-02-2015

I spent the past weekend in London, and of course on my flight back home I silently chanted my mantra of “please let an attractive guy sit next to me on the plane” while lazing around the departure lounge because I was four fucking hours early for my flight. This is one of the only reasons why I enjoy flying economy – you’re forced to sit in close proximity to other people, and every so often when the gods are kind, you might get to sit next to someone remotely interesting and/or attractive. Now striking up a conversation with that person is a whole other dangerous game, which I’ll no doubt explain in another blog post. But back to this weekend – after casually checking the departures screen for my flight details several times as the hours ticked by, I suddenly noticed to my absolute horror that there was a “Gate Closing” notice next to my flight number. What in the actual fuck was happening I didn’t know or care, but I shot across the departure lounge to the gate with terrible images of my fellow passengers judging me as I boarded the flight last.

Thankfully I did make it on the flight, and there were no shady looks from any of the staff, which was a blessing. Wheeling my flaming pink carry-on suitcase down the aisle, I rocked up to my aisle seat and locked eyes with Surfer Dude who was sitting in the window seat. Now of course this guy’s name wasn’t actually Surfer Dude, but he fitted the bill perfectly. Steely blue eyes, casually tousled hair, and a jawline that you could cut glass with. I smiled a little, and he proceeded to completely fuck up my hormone levels by taking off his bulky grey sweater to reveal chiseled arms, a broad chest, and a t-shirt that was of course too small to contain all his Surfer awesomeness. I slid into my seat and tried to ignore the fact that he was playing Candy Crush on his phone with the concentration and facial expression that one would usually reserve for solving differential equations.

But as with most people who fly (myself included), he put on his headphones and continued his Candy Crush marathon while occasionally stopping to partially devour a bag of Cadbury’s Chocolate Buttons. And with it being a night flight, my body of course demanded sleep, however it did not take into consideration that a 6ft person like me would need the flexibility of a Cirque du Soleil contortionist in order to comfortably fall asleep in an economy class seat. Nevertheless, I dozed off for a while, and when I woke a scant twenty minutes later, I was facing Surfer Dude with my mouth very much prominently open, probably my body’s natural method of ‘peacocking’ my best assets. Look at this mouth and think of all the forbidden things it can do…

Surfer Dude had pretty much noticed me awaken from my slumber (the quite audible sound of me snapping my mouth shut may have alerted him), and he turned towards me. I, however, was still quite haphazardly squeezed in my chair, and just stared back at him. At which point he slid off his headphones, ran his hand through his hair, and leaned in closer to me. My headphones were still pretty much wedged into my head, and Calvin Harris’ Sweet Nothing was aptly blaring in my ear drums. Surfer Dude began to say something, and of course I couldn’t hear shit, so I yanked out my headphones as gracefully as I could and uttered a feeble “Yes?” at him. He leaned in close again, locked eyes with me and gently whispered in that recognizable Australian twang,

“Mate, ya mind if I squeeze past ya and get to the toilet?”

I’m looking at a June wedding.

You Know That “Recall” Option In Your Email?

Posted on 15-01-2015

You know the feeling – you’ve spent the past hour composing an email, filling everyone into the BCC, attaching the right documents, and then you hit Send. Except you then notice a spelling mistake, or there’s an “XXXXXX” where there should be a quote from your client.

head-desk-bartlett

Now ordinarily at this point you would have cleared your desk, formatted your PC, dropped your tacky souvenir holiday items into a box and quit your job.

BUT WAIT TECHNOLOGY TO THE RESCUE OMFG.

Someone in IT once told you that if you ever fucked up an email, you could magically pray to the Internet gods and they would disperse their minions to the corners of the earth to delete that faulty email from people’s inboxes. That magical prayer was called “Recall Message”, and looked like this:

PR

So of course, you breathe a sigh of relief, click the button, and think that everything is right with the world.

Except, it’s not.

The ‘Recall Message’ (specifically for those who use Outlook), doesn’t work the way you think it does. The Recall Message ONLY works for internal emails, so if for example you send your coworker an email calling her a fat whore and then regret it, you can hit the Recall Message to automagically delete the email from her Inbox (if she hasn’t opened it already). Crisis averted, all is right with the world, and you can go back to being fake BFFs at work.

But for the rest of the world, i.e everyone else in your address book, this recall function doesn’t work. In fact, it makes things even more messed up because when you click the “Recall Message” button, people will get ANOTHER email from you saying that “XXXXX wants to recall the message”, which then makes us pore over your original message EVEN MORE trying to figure out why you didn’t want us to open it.

A simpler solution? Just send a new email with “Correction” or something like that in the subject. We understand email fuck-ups will happen, but if you’re one of those people who thinks that the Recall Message is the solution, well I just have one thing to say:

53789435

(Cheers Aby)

I Read A Women’s Magazine – And It Totally Fucked Me Up

Posted on 02-01-2015

A few weeks ago I found myself doing something that I hadn’t done since I was about 12 – reading a women’s magazine. Don’t get me wrong, I still have fond memories of sneaking into my sister’s room to read issues of Femina India and track down the shirtless men in each issue, but the reason I was reading a women’s magazine now was for a particular segment of the apparent hottest bachelors in the city. (Side note, happy that two exes are on the list, not so happy that one of them sent me a text message looking for a shoulder to cry on when he didn’t win. I told him to fuck off.)

The perilous thing of course is that after I had finished reading the section I wanted, I was stuck with the rest of the magazine. And did I mention I was catching a flight? So I sort of shrugged and read through the entire magazine to pass the time. By the time I finished it, I was a little taken aback. Do women actually read these things? Some of the articles in it were good, but a majority of them made me feel a little shitty. But being the super-sleuth that I am, I decided that this needed further investigation before I could come to a rational decision. So on the flight back home I picked up four more women’s magazines – both local versions and international – and proceeded to pore over each one the next day. There almost seemed to be a pattern to the advice and  content that I found in each magazine, so I decided it would be super-helpful to decode some of these common articles.

MEN: Find out what they REALLY want to say: it wouldn’t be a women’s magazine without some sort of article attempting to decode what men say, and while this is horribly sexist of me to say, it makes for an easy article and an equally entertaining read. How you can translate “You look different” as “You’re getting fatter” is beyond me, but I did make a mental note that if any guy said that to me, I’d bitch-slap him into next week with my copy of Vogue.

Cellulite: this seems to be a topic that can be discussed at great length. What is cellulite. How to get ride of cellulite. Staying sexy with cellulite. Why you shouldn’t panic if you have cellulite. It’s almost as if you’re having a cellulite party and everyone’s fucking invited. Granted this may actually be an issue for women the world over, but the way this one magazine was describing it was as if you needed to amputate parts of yourself.

[Insert Celebrity name] shows us how she juggles motherhood and a career! Bitch please. If you believe that any celeb is going to sit her ass down and pour her heart out into a magazine about how she tackles motherhood, you’ve been smoking some epic shit. Walk around your neighborhood and talk to a bunch of real women who are coping with motherhood and they’ll tell you a thing or two. That Photoshopped celeb mum on the cover won’t be telling you how to get vomit out of a new Chanel dress, let me tell you that.

How you can be the best version of YOU: if there was an award for the most cryptic article title, this would be it. I mean seriously – women seem to be in some sort of eternal battle against each other, and these articles further fuel the fire. One of the genius tips was to “always be aware” – no shit Sherlock, if you weren’t aware you’d walk straight into that fucking street lamp. WELL DONE YOU ARE NOW 75% A BETTER WOMAN!

Keep him coming back again (and again, and again): Men looove sex (or objects they can thrust into at least) so sex tips are aplenty in most magazines. Of course you don’t outright call them sex tips, but something more candy-coated so your readers can giggle like schoolgirls. Also in this column are the typical “How to lose / get over / shoot / stalk / unfriend the ex” nuggets of advice which every woman needs in order to navigate the perils of dating.

Look your best at [insert age]: these pieces border between being useful and downright bizarre. One article said to “increase your consumption of maca root powder” – what in the eternal universe is maca root powder? Another article listed “Drink red wine” since it contains powerful antioxidants. So you get to be drunk off your ass all in the name of science and good health. Where do I sign up?

Make 2015 the Year of Youwith the New Year comes a slew of these shitty ‘New Year New You’ articles,  often accompanied by a photo of some skinny bitch in yoga pants holding an avocado (or laughing while she eats a salad). These articles are probably the most irritating to read, so if you value your sanity, read something else instead (like this wonderful blog).

Got more tidbits of awesome advice or articles you’ve read in a women’s magazine? Share them in the comments!

Grief

Posted on 14-11-2014

Grief
is
a vine
that you
prune
and weave
into a thing
of beauty
but it chokes
light
steals
the joy
instead.

Grief
cares not
for
color
wealth
innocence
cares not
how
you would
rid
of it
if you
could.

Grief
is in
your
heart
mind
soul
down to
the
marrow
of
your bone.

Ten people who don’t quite understand what #foodporn is

Posted on 20-10-2014

I’m fairly new to the Instagram party, having only really gotten into using it in the past year or so. Of course on Instagram it’s all about putting the right tags for your pictures, and since my Instagram feed is 80% about food, I will on occasion, use the “#foodporn” tag. But there are people on Instagram who haven’t quite worked out what this tag means. Generally, “food porn” refers to food that looks absolutely mouth-watering, that has been presented with finesse and an incredible attention to detail. Something like this:

Loading

#chocolate #cake #raspberry #dessertco #dessertporn #dessert #food #foodporn #foodstagram #instafood #followme #everyonelikesanicetart

View on Instagram

Yum.

But sadly, there are people who don’t quite follow this rule, and either tag the most pitiful looking dishes or just tag a random photo because they felt like it. And so I proudly present, ten people who don’t quite understand what #foodporn is:

Things people in PR do that demand a time-out

Posted on 03-10-2014

A few weeks ago, @fida wrote this brief piece about the relationship between PR people and journalists. For the longest time I imagined the relationship between PR and journalists as being like a Nutella sandwich. The pieces of bread represent the journalist and the client, and the lovely sweet sticky Nutella in the middle is the PR, helping to keep everything happy and together. But over the years I’ve discovered that this is a terrible lie and in fact the Nutella is actually a thick layer of Vegemite.

The only reason for my “sandwich-turned-sour” analogy is because I’ve had such a mixed experience with PR people in my life. There are some wonderful, truly magical days where the stars are aligned and I can have a truly wonderful day interacting with PR and facing absolutely no issues at all. But on those other not-so-glamorous days, I’m left pounding my head on my keyboard in frustration until QWERTY is permanently etched in my forehead. I’m certainly no PR expert myself, but there are certain things that just keep cropping up on an almost weekly basis that I just had to write about them in the hopes that someone else can shed some light on them.

So here boys and girls, is my list of totally baffling PR things:

“Save the date” emails: I know that PR people feel that journalists are super-busy (most of the time we are) and need to know in advance of when an event is happening, but these “save the date” emails are getting a bit old. Your client isn’t getting married, so telling me to block out a date in my calendar without actually telling me what the event is for is going to just get you a blank look. “No sorry, I can’t share any more details or the timings or client name, but it’s going to be a super exciting event and we are sure that you will love it!” (an actual reply from a PR company)

Not knowing who I actually work for: I get it. PR people are overworked and deal with a million clients and journalists on a daily basis. But if we’ve emailed each other before and met at least once, I would think that you would at least try to remember which company I work for, instead of introducing me to your client at an event and proudly saying I work for company X, when I have to correct you right in front of your client. Resting Bitch Face? Nailed it.

Calls after emails: I’d like to think that email was invented so we wouldn’t actually have to go through pointless phone calls. Just drop over a quick email and wait for a reply – that’s it. But what seems to be an alarming norm is to receive a phone call from a PR person to check if I got their email or not. If your email didn’t bounce back, then there’s a 99% chance that it got delivered and is sitting in my Inbox, waiting for me to get to it. If it’s an email that I don’t find useful or appropriate, I will either delete it or shoot a quick one-line saying “no thanks”. If you call me, I will then spend the next eight minutes on the phone with you describing exactly why this press release isn’t going to be published. Your call.

Round-robin the office: If I email you back to say that I’m not interested in a particular press release, that doesn’t mean you then email or call my other colleagues to try and wrangle them into publishing it instead. Chances are that the answer will be the same, but if you’ve got time to kill then go crazy.

Mail Merge: Sending a personalized email to each and every journalist would be a huge task, so the easiest and  most effective way to email a press release is of course via BCC or a mail merge. While I am completely fine with this, at least put my name in the body of the email. For the record, my name is not “,” or “$FIRST_N”. And don’t try using that “Recall” option in Outlook – it doesn’t work.

Rescheduling: For everyone, time is precious. So if you call me to arrange an interview with your client and I accept, I expect it to happen on that date and time. What I don’t expect is for you to call me 45 minutes before our appointment to try and reschedule. What’s even worse is when I agree to the reschedule, you call again on that day to fix a new date. Sorry, but two strikes and you’re out – get your client to sit their ass down in one place for fifteen minutes and then give me a call.

Sending useless releases: There are PR people who email press releases based on their target audience, just because they know that there’s a greater likelihood of it being read or published if it’s something that publication can use. On the other hand, there are other people who email out press releases for no particular reason at all. A new power strip that has USB ports? Send a press release! Client participating in an upcoming tech exhibition? Send a press release! Sales increased by 0.000009% from last year? Send a press release!

Sending emails about upcoming press releases: If you’re going to email me to let me know that a press release is coming next week – don’t.

Using me as a body count: This is something that has been happening a bit too often with me – I receive an invitation to an event that I’m not really interested in going to, and when I politely decline, the PR person says “Oh that’s okay, just come along anyway and fill up a seat. Are you bringing a +1?” I AM A PERSON, NOT A MANNEQUIN.

 

However before I end this post, a disclaimer. There are some truly amazing PR people out there who work their asses off trying to pacify clients who have no real idea or clue about PR. There are also I’m sure some journalists out there who drive PR people crazy as hell, so if you’ve got a PR or journalist story to tell, post it in the comments below!

<3

I’m not a DJ, but…

Posted on 23-09-2014

…I cobbled together a mix.

This is what happens when you’re editing fifteen videos in the office and you need a break. I decided to drop two songs into Adobe Premiere and fiddle around a bit and spit out the mp3 – and here’s what came out. Yes, it’s terribly out of sync at times, but I don’t give a flying fuck because I’m not a professional at this, so if you can do better feel free to post a more polished mix.

Have a listen below and leave a comment at how crap my mixing skills are! <3

We Found Love In A Sky Full Of Stars

10 Ways Twitter Pisses Me Off

Posted on 17-09-2014

Ah Twitter, how do I love thee? I jumped on this social media bandwagon back in September 2009, not really knowing (or caring) about what I was doing. Today I feel pretty much the same way on Twitter, however the 3,000 people that I’ve seemed to have amassed over the years keep me entertained. And they occasionally send me DMs about shady weight-loss programs, which is always useful.

But for all the years that I’ve spent on Twitter, there are still some things that piss me off about it. Some of them may seem trivial, while others will have you nodding in agreement and waving pitchforks and burning torches in the air.

1. The auto-DM: I followed someone a few weeks ago, and after about 20 minutes they sent me three direct messages. It was basically one long-ass message that they had broken down with links to their website and a generic ‘thank you’ for following them. Seriously? I don’t give a flying fuck if you follow me back or DM me to say thanks – I follow you because I want to keep up with your tweets. If you think this is a great marketing idea to make your new followers more welcome, it’s not.

2. Trying to find your Twitter worth: I’ve been seeing this crop up recently, where people will randomly tweet out “My Twitter account is worth $3,194.40 What’s Yours worth?” and all you can think of is “Can you shove that money up your ass and shut up?“. Seriously, why on earth would you want to try and find the value of your Twitter account? Not only is it annoying to see on your timeline, you can really get depressed when you finally realize that you can’t write to Twitter asking for a cashier’s cheque for said amount.

3. Tweeting how many people unfollowed you: This is another irritating service that people love to sign up to. OMG YOU JUST UNFOLLOWED ME WHAT DID I DO WRONG YOU ARE SUCH AN EVIL PERSON THIS IS BEYOND FORGIVENESS etc. We’re eternally grateful to see that 12 people unfollowed you and 19 people followed you. We’re also eternally grateful for the Mute button on TweetDeck.

4. Tweeting your horoscope: Yet another baffling thing that people sign up to. If you want to put your faith in the stars, that’s fine, but please be aware that the sugar-coated horoscope that you just automatically tweeted was also simultaneously sent out to about a quarter of a million people. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? MAYBE YOU’RE IN RETROGRADE.

5. Anyone who still uses paper.li: Stop it. Just stop it.

6. People who have private accounts: what in the holy hell are you tweeting about that you don’t want the world to see? This is the Internet – why are you on Twitter if you want to keep your thoughts to yourself? THE WORLD MUST KNOW HOW AWESOME YOUR LUNCH WAS. Also, private accounts are a bitch to retweet, so just come out of the Twitter closet already.

7. People who think Twitter = Google: There are certain times where asking a question on Twitter is a good thing. Something like “Does anyone know where I can get organic flax seed oil to massage my dog with?” would probably get a few replies. Asking something like “Does anyone know what time the stores in Dubai Mall close tonite plz?” is not.

8. Commemorative tweets / followers: YAY! You hit 400 followers / 12,000 tweets – have a fucking cookie.

9. Brands that act like people: Hi, we’re a brand and we’re not quite sure how this social media thing works but we’re going to go ahead and jump into it anyway and assign someone to talk to people on Twitter like we’re BFFs and braid each other’s hair on the weekends. It’s incredibly creepy when I’m chatting to someone on Twitter and I’m suddenly elbowed in the ribs by an over-friendly brand that is trying to be a part of the conversation.

10. Verified accounts: you verified people sitting there looking so smug with your blue tick marks…