I spent most of last week at the very sexy (I lie - very boring) US military contracting conference given by the Defense Acquisition University. (And yes, they did have it all – including Fat Bastard!) The DAU isn’t an accredited institution; it is owned by the US Government and it is all about US contracting. Anyhoooo… you can see how 3 days of this might grate on your nerves (exceptin’ for it was held at the new Bidaa Movenpick with free lunches/dinners -- compliments of US tax payers). A new (as in approximately 5 months) Grand Poohbah of Camp Arifjan contracting command, LTC Kiser (say it in English or in Arabic) stated to a room full of jaded contractors, “I believe in my heart that the Cockerham case was an isolated incident.” (Direct quote from his lips to my/room-full-of-peoples ears.) followed by something very similar to, “There is no corruption in contracting at Arifjan.” Dude! WTF kinda hooey is that???? How is it possible to make that statement? The last commander of contracting at Arifjan, Col. John Alexander (a full bird, no less) stated in an American Business Council meeting full of equally-as-pessimistic military contractors, something to the effect of (and I can’t quote him verbatum, but this is what he said): I was at Arifjan for 10 days when my legal counsel came into my office and told me, “Sir, we have a problem.” The next day, I called every auditor in the US I could to get them here and check the books. What’s with the about-face? Hmmmmmmm.
Now, I don’t blame the folks giving the conference, per se. They don’t know anything about Kuwait and were flying in/flying out to complete a particular task; giving the general State-side version of contracting. However, there are several points about it that I didn’t like: 1) It should have taken place around the same time as Bechtel held their contractors meeting at the Sheraton in 2003; when no one in Kuwait knew much about how to work with the US military and everybody-and-their-brother had something to sell them. 2) It should have been tailored to the unique circumstances in Kuwait (for example – Kuwait labor practices vs. the US military’s new hype about trafficking in humans). 3) Whoever was covering invitations could have done a much better job: There was only 1/3 capacity in the room. 4) Defense Acquisition University dudes could have asked any one of the American contractors doing business in Kuwait what their problems are and how they would like to have had them addressed at the conference. But nooooooooooo, once again, the UASS Embassy has chosen to ignore the entire American business community. (We're heeeeeeeeere!) Guess they are still too busy giving parties for any other nationalities (that’s another story). I do have hope for a new and improved US embassy, however. Female Ambassador, female Commercial Counselor, Filipino-American (don't know his title) muckity-muck. Maybe they can get rid of several butt-kissing posers they have working there now who only remember who you are if they think you are important (one of whom stared so hard at my diamond ring that I thought my finger was on fire). (More stories….) Anyhoo, the US government dudes were so cold that even at the buffet line (paid for by US tax payers), they wouldn’t speak or make small talk at all; as if they were afraid of everyone. Boo!!! Dudes - TALK to people on the ground and know what’s up. Typical. The US government pays for these events, but truly doesn’t have a handle on the real situation. Furthermore, if contracting/procurement officials at Arifjan change every 18 months/2 years, how can ANYONE have a handle on the real contracting circumstances in Kuwait? That’s just wrong.
Anyways, the Chairhole sent me to the conference after we had a "disagreement" over the per diem rate (YO! I'm not Discount Girl!) I should have received on his mandated trip to Dubai (that I didn't take); and I got to be out of his face for 3 whole days. Does that make sense (said like I care)?
Now, on to stories from my mundane existence:
Thursday night, The Romanian and I went out with the Bentley Boyz (2 guys, 2007 Bentley). Posers. It is probably a rental (not that I really care). The problem with posers is that they think that all the little (and not-so-little) ajaneb (foreign) women know nothing at all. I think we freak them out (especially with the PC-uncorrect versions of Kuwaiti jokes you'd hear at the diwaniya). They invited us out on “their” yacht the next day. I asked how big the boat was (blank stare), “Uh, 3 bedrooms.” Yeah well, my friend with a 27’ Scarab has 3 bedrooms (that translates to 2 benches and another sleeping bag in the middle). Then, from the table, I called my Kuwaiti Boating Guru, Wahabi, who said that the weather would be windy. Posers are so stupid. Plus, Bentley Poser Boyz wanted to leave the marina at 4 pm to go to Kubbar. WTF??? Anyhoo, we ditched them and went looking for better trouble. Got a few Kabd invitations, but I just haven’t felt like driving up there lately.
I took The Romanian on a brief jaunt around the Movenpick (we were at Le Lounge at Bidaa with the Boyz and she hadn’t been to the hotel before). Romanian’s reaction to the Move-and-Prick was, “OMG gorgeous, but why Kuwait? I mean, if I was going to open a hotel like this… not Kuwait.” It is definitely a red-wine-sippin-in-the-lobby- lounge kind of place. Why Kuwait? I got a strange SMS from Purgy after we left, asking if we had been at the Movenpick. Incase anyone was wondering, Purgatory is a stalker. He stalks my blog and now this. He immediately knew that he would be fodder for a blog post and has probably been checking here every day since Friday morning to see if he’s included. Are you happy now?
I hate really big…
Crowds! Dirty-thinkers! I was debating whether or not to go to the Redbull Flutag thingy last Friday and I talked myself out of it because of the crowd. I’ve never been a person who likes traffic or crowds (unless it is a Chipendales convention or something). The Romanian and I talked about going, but then decided that there might be too many of the scary boy-mobs there, so we didn’t go. Mark’s blog made it look fun and retarded at the same time. Were there a lot of women there? How was the crowd?
The rest of my weekend was spent on recycled guys. I am now going through a “devil you know” phase where I know why I’ve rejected them in the past, but they are still better than some of the weird-o’s I’ve only recently met. I’m also going through a phase where I only meet puppies (the kind of young guys who follow you everywhere with wide, pathetic eyes, hoping you’ll throw them a biscuit). I’m so not impressed. Generally, I've found puppies to be (as a metaphor) similar to a Corolla driver given a Ferrari: They have gorgeous equipment, but they just don't know how to handle it. Zoom, zoom, zoom baby.
I have been a workaholic lately anyways. I don’t have much time. When I do, I would rather spend it with me girls or good friends who I know won’t try to grope/molest me at the first given opportunity (like you, Maz!). I don't know where the Jailbird (aka Psychic Bedu) is lately. While he was in jail, he was calling me and professing his undying love and telling me that he wanted to marry me and all that bullshit. Alas, it was all prison-bitch chat. Il est disparu (or whatever the F in French).
And now... for something completely different....
Comfort Foods: I had the pumpkin cheesecake at The One Café this week (speaking of groping). Holy shit that is good stuff! They only have it around November and December. The “wild cheesecake” at Lorenzino café also rocks. Almost got molested at our table at Lorenzino: Dude who walked by 5 times trying to give me his phone number (in competition with his BROTHER also trying to give me his phone number) came and sat down at our table to give me his number. WTF! These guys are getting pretty bold. Haven’t any of these cheapass amateurs ever heard of The Cake Maneuver (where you send the object of interest a piece of cake with your card/number?). It has been 2 years since I was on the receiving end of a cake maneuver…
Speaking of comfort foods…. I am flying back to the States for Thanksgiving for 5 days. Why? Because I can. I haven’t been with my family for Thanksgiving in 11 years and I think its time. I’m also going back for Christmas (I know – I’m retarded, right?).
Has anyone noticed that their MTC bills are higher now that the company changed their name to Zain? Are we, their customers, paying for their globalization and re-branding? What’s up with that? My bill is a lot higher and I’m not liking it.
This week is going to be crazy-busy yet again and thankfully, our DG/Romanian/Slapperella weekend has already been booked. Yippeeee!