Archive for Abu Dhabi

A Fine Farewell

Drawing of leaving faculty

A teacher often wonders if the work they do actually helps their students in life. At least I do. That question was answered a little bit yesterday when a group of my students gathered together to give me and the other faculty of the Art Department and farewell party. They had a cake with the above image (can you guess which one is me?) on the top and these cards that they all signed. It was great to know that they all learned something from me and will miss me when I am gone.

The drawing was done by a student named Kulood who goes by KiKi. Left to right is Michael Rodriguez, Terence Dowse, me and Sean Hottois.


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The State Fair Sheiks

Airbrshed Sheikhs

All of the public schools in the UAE put images on the walls that surround the grounds. One of the schools down the street recently switched to a boys middle school and have been putting up new pictures. This one caught my eye because it looks like it is an airbrush image that you would find in an orange and red tent at the state fair. Maybe even a prize if you can pop three balloons with the darts. People in the US want Elvis, people in the UAE want Sheik Zayed (right) and Sheik Kalifa (left). Too bad it’s not on black velvet.

When I have access to Flickr I plan to create a photo group that highlights the images from Emirati public school walls.

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Proof of Ownership

tinted window in the UAE

Here in the UAE there is a custom that many people follow after purchasing a new car. They leave all of the import and pricing stickers on the windows and also all of the plastic on the seats. I have heard different reasons for this, one is to improve the resale value of the car and the other is the status symbol of having just bought a new car. Whatever the reason it is really strange to see brand new Range Rovers, Mercedes and BMWs worth upwards of $90,000 running around town with imports stickers on the windows and plastic on the seats. But the picture above illustrates something I had not seen before today. This person actually had the window film cut to go around the import sticker. Look at this detail image:

window tint detail

It is a bad tint job, but still amazing in that the owner wanted to show that this is a new car AND still black out the windows. Amazing.

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Camel Market Panorama

Panoramic image of a camel market in Abu Dhabi

The girls had a half day of School on Wednesday so we decided to go watch some camel races. It was a good (but hot and dusty) time. On the way out I was struck by the size of the camel market and wanted to take a picture. Inspired by the beautiful panorama photographs of the Great Salt Lake by Michael Slade and the ease of stitching together photos in CS3 I snapped some pics and stitched them together. I think the overall image is not bad. Click here to get a larger version and see some of the details better.

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Incongruities and Observations

7 Days is a daily tabloid that comes to us every day from the humming metropolis of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. They are kind enough to have put a stand where faculty, staff and students can grab a copy as we are moving about campus. I have noticed a trend in the way they design the cover of this publication: shocking headline on the left, light hearted slice-of-life photo on the right. I have wanted to write about this and show an example for quite a while and today I had the time and 7 Days provided the opportunity.

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Observation Three

Last summer I noticed some new license plates driving around Abu Dhabi and liked the look of them. The first thing I noticed was the use of a new typeface for the numbers. It had a very distinctive gap in the 9 and 0 and a bent leg on the 7. I was curious about the typeface but didn’t do any research on it. Then last month I came across this post on about the new typeface being used on German license plates and clicked on the link which led me to the answers to all of the questions I had about this new typeface.According to Erik Spiekerman (whom I am inclined to believe because he is both German and a Typomaniac) the type face is called FE Mittelschrift and was designed to thwart forged plates. I have to admit it does have an interesting look.The original typeface was designed by Karlgeorg Hoefer in 1970’s and has been in use for German plates since November of 2000. And thanks to the fine folks over at Fountain for only $49.00 you can have your very own version too.

On a side note, I wonder if the designer of the new Red 5 series of Abu Dhabi plates is a Star Wars fan?

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The Jets vs. The Sharks

So when I get home from work today Kristin tells me that Cailin got bit at school. By what, you may ask? A bug? A small animal? Nope. Another kid. A fourth grader.

As it turns out my two darling little girls started a gang fight at school today. Third graders against the fourth graders. All out warfare on the playground and a trip to the principles office. Madelyn insists it was all a big misunderstanding. One or two kids pushing or yelling is a misunderstanding. Gang warfare between grades is on a whole different level.

Oh well, at least they are leaders and not followers.

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