Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sunrise Photos

As you can see, this is near the water. I just thought it was funny. The Indian Emabssy is apprently just a sign.

It's beginning to look a lot like...Summer?

Christmas in the Middle East? It's not cold. Everyone is Islamic. It's their Eid Holiday. Didn't really feel like Christmas. At least there is a LARGE ex-pat community that has parties and such and tries to make it feel like home. All of my staff called or wrote to wish me a Merry Christmas, so that was very nice especially since 98% of them are Muslim. Here is a very short summary:

Christmas Eve:

Went to work. Since it was Eid no one was around. Since it was Christmas Eve, even less Ex-Pats were. Had a full day of paperwork, cleaning out old files, prepping some upcoming classes. Actually the day went pretty quick. That evening, I headed to Connie's and Jacque's for Christmas Eve Dinner. In addition to them it was Myself, Kevin, Kevin's Mom, John, Richard, and Carol. I brought the Nog which was attacked quickly. Jacque is a VERY good cook. They started this tradition years ago, but they have Spanish Tapas on Christmas Eve. It was very cool. Small plates, a wide variety of food from meatballs, mushrooms, shrimp, etc. It was so good. After food and socializing, we headed home about 10:00ish.


Once again it was a work day. Now you guys in the states will probably complain...Why was I working on a day that I could have taken off. (We get US holidays) Well the easiest way to put it is this.
1) This is like being on a Military Deployment. If you are not actually going to leave or go out and do something, you might as well go to work. It makes the day go faster and gives you something to do.
2) Economics. If I work a normal day, I accrue Vacation time of about .1 FTE per workday (or something like that). If I work a holiday, I accrue Vacation time of 1.0 FTE per workday. So, by working Christmas eve I get to take say 2 hours off sometime in the future (like when I come home), by working Christmas I get to take 8 hours off sometime in the future. See how that works?
Since I am here anyway, I might as well work. Plus, Vacation time I do not use I get to cash in. That is something I would like to do at this rate!
So after work, we had a 'Pittsburgh" party. Our project director had a huge buffet at her house and everyone was invited. We drank, had turkey and all the trimmings. I of course brought egg nog. Our Filipino secretaries once again brought the Karaoke machine, so we sang late into the night. We also had a Yankee gift swap. This is where everyone brings a present, then you draw numbers, and open presents. You also have the option of taking someone else's present instead of opening your own. Anyway, this is was a very fun part of the evening and I think everyone had a good time. It was a good Christmas Party.


So after a long night on the 25th, I was planning on having a quiet night at home. That was all well and good until about 7:30ish. Mitch's kids were in town and they are all College Age. He has 3 and one brought a friend. I told them that if they wanted to get out of the house sometime during the visit to just stop by and we could have a few beers or something. Well, the 4 of them showed up and stayed until about 10:30. I had to be up early the next day, so I had to kick them out. It was fun, even though one of them was going to Pitt.


I got up super early to assist with training at our hospital in the north. It is about 30 miles north of here and I had to be there at 6:30. I went up and assisted our nursing staff with class and then headed back to deal with our ever present radio issues. Somehow, I was not tired so I didn't take a nap that afternoon, even though I got up early. John and I headed to our now weekly Thursday night poker game and had a blast. There was 15 people in and John and I both ended up in the money. I came in 4th and John 2nd. Last time I was just under the money line, so this was nice. It was a great time, and since they play 8 minute blinds, the game goes quick.
I was home early and in bed.


Since I got up so Early the day before. I decided to do the same thing on Friday (our day off). I have been wanting to do this for a while, just to say I did and it was pretty cool. I got up early and went to the waterfront. I got to watch the sunrise over the Persian gulf. It was a cool experience and one that not many from our parts get to experience. It was something different and not really something I would normally do. Probably won't do it again soon...

Today, I slept in like crazy. 4 straight days of late nights and/or early mornings took its toll on me. Today is going to be a lay around day, laundry day, get back into workout day, (I have miss 3 days and I am going crazy!) etc. Talk to you later!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

You thought I was lying about the nog?

Egg Shortage by fan_ni_sarap

CONSUMERS looking for eggs in hypermarkets around town are still searching in vain as the shortage caused by a ban on poultry from Saudi Arabia has not eased. Although a ban on eggs from India, the cheapest available before the embargo, has recently been lifted and large consignments are on their way to Doha, it will be another couple of days before they are available, industry sources said. A Gulf Times survey of five major hypermarkets yesterday revealed a bleak picture of no eggs whatsoever and no idea when they will be arriving. The eggs available at small grocery shops were going for QR1 each. "We received a few trays of eggs four days ago, from the UAE and a local farm, but the stock ran out within hours", said a manager at an Al Meera outlet.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bahrain Photos Two

Hard Rock Cafe, Bahrain

Very interesting building. I took this while driving by.

Senor Paco's. They made us wear those hats to take our pictures.

You guys in the states will not appreciate this as much as me, but that is a true breakfast. Pork Bacon, Sausage, and Sausage Gravy; something you cannot get in the Middle East or any Islamic Country (Except Bahrain and Dubai)

Bahrain Pictures

The Grand Mosque. Over 7000 people can pray here at once.

Carol in the Grand Mosque. Women had to wear a complete abaya and hijab to be allowed to enter. Doesn't she look happy in full costume?

Camels in the Desert.

The Tree of Life

Carol and I at the Tree of Life. Notice the graffitti and trash. Somehow, with all the kids around we were able to keep them out of the picture. That was just luck.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


The 14th involved another round of the US Embassy Marine Party. The party was rocking early, however the all of a sudden the place died at like 11:15. We were the only ones left along with some Marines while we sat on the porch and waited for our driver who was supposed to pick us up at 12:00. Oh well…the next day felt better.

Our EMS Director had a small get together before the big Marine Bash. I would have stayed at that party all night, but we were meeting Pittsburgh people at the Embassy. It was a nice time with Nog (no where near as good as the Weyen version), a selection of food, etc. She is not the pre-planner, which is odd since she works EMS. She forgot to put to meat in the oven until the beginning of the party. Needless to say, I didn’t get to eat any food there. It was good hanging out with all the Australian Medics and people from work and around. These Australian and South African guys must really have the mojo. There wives were amazingly beautiful, seemed way out of their league. If you wanted to put it in perspective, like Cam marrying Jennifer Aniston, would be a good example.

As a small thought, do you ever realize that with all the Celebrating we do, everything that is related to Christmas and the holidays, is related to the Middle East? Camels, wise men, Mary and Joseph (who are wearing traditional desert dress…which I see everyday), sand, starry nights, etc. So, we think about the desert every year. Isn’t it funny how the cradle of civilization is contested? Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, etc…it just amazes me. The funny thing is, much of the middle east does not celebrate Christmas, it sure does not feel like it over here. A few of my supervisors called me today to wish me Merry Christmas, but none even turned a head when I came in to work Christmas day. They think it is odd that I am working when it’s the Eid holiday, not because it is Christmas. By the way, its 65-70 degrees and sunny, with a slight wind. Not Christmas-y weather.

So, Last weekend Carol and I headed to Bahrain. I needed a travel partner, and I think I picked a good one. The first story will probably give you all the proof you need.

So, instead of coming the night before and having to spend another night in a hotel, we got up early and took the 8:30 flight to Bahrain. It was a whopping 26 minute flight, and we were out of the airport by 9:15. We had just carry on bags, so it was smooth sailing.
We headed to the hotel and neither her or my room was ready. We knew it was a long shot, but we thought we would ask anyway. She told us that check in time was 1:00, but that if wanted, she could have us both our rooms by 11:00am. Since it was only about an hour away, we thought we would wait and decide on a gameplan for the day/weekend.

We headed to the lounge and the waitress came around. I was looking at the menu thinking about getting a diet coke and a snack. The waitress asked Carol first what she would like, and she asked what they had on tap. I dropped my menu and looked at her in disbelief. She smiled and said “We are on vacation, let’s act like it”. I immediately put down my menu and ordered a beer as well. I knew this was going to be a great weekend with a good friend.

After a couple of beers our rooms were ready. We with the cheap option, so both her and my room had 2 twin beds in it (twin, not double), very European. We stayed at a Movenpick, which is a Swiss hotel and the room had that feel. It was a 5 star place, but really nice and affordable. All the amenities. I was a little disappointed by the TV selection, because they have the same TV I have at home. I was hoping to have some Sportscenter to watch live instead of on my computer. Oh well, we didn’t spend much time in the rooms anyway.

After moving into our rooms, and our couple of drinks, what better way to pass the time than to head to the Grand Mosque? This is a HUGE Mosque in the center of town where over 7000 people can pray at once. It was huge and beautiful. Unlike other Mosques, they are open to non-Muslims and actually give tours. You have to dress conservative as a man, (pants, shirt, etc.) but as a woman you have to cover completely. This is part of the reason that I wanted to go there, just to make Carol put on a complete Abaya with Hijab. You also have to take off your shoes when you go in, and the tour guide gave us a look around, answered questions, talked about the prayer times, what they do when they pray, facing MECCA, all the good stuff. The even give you informational brochures when you leave (I would call it propaganda). These praying rituals are just about as bad as the Catholics…way too much exercise in a service.

After the Mosque we headed to the Hard Rock. Since we came on one of the first days of the Eid Holiday, certain things were hit and miss to be open. The Hard Rock was so we went to have a late lunch and of course some more tasty beverages. Service was good, you would be surprised at the amount of Military guys in there, but this is “Vegas” of the Middle East.

After our lunch, we were going to head to the Souqs, which we were assured were open. After driving around them and seeing nobody with a shop open, we decided to head back to the hotel. We both needed to take a quick nap, especially since I had to get up so early to get to the airport. I am not used to a 5:00-5:30am wake up. We headed off to our rooms and planned to meet up a little while later for dinner. After about an hour and a half we decided to head to the restaurant bar/lounge. We had dinner and then a small band was setting up. Since we had no luck anywhere else today, and cabs were expensive. We decided to just drink in the Hotel bar and try our luck the next day. We stayed out till about 10:30 – 11:00. I fell quickly asleep that night.

The next morning she calls me as she is getting ready for breakfast. As I was dressing, there was a knock at the door. It was Carol. I am not used to traveling with a girl that gets ready as fast or faster than I do. Then I remembered that she is ex/current military, so quick showers and efficiency must come second nature to her. I quickly dressed and was out the door in a couple of minutes. We ate at the hotel’s lunch buffet which had a good selection of European food (cold cuts, etc.) and made to order waffles and omelets. Pretty good start.

Since cabs were so expensive. We found a deal where we could have exclusive rights to a driver for 3 hours for about $60 bucks. So we planned our days after that in 3 hour bursts and bar stops in between.

So we headed out of town about 20km to head to the Harley Shop. I am destined to find some cool destination stuff wherever I go now. However, once again, it was closed. They would be open tomorrow, so not all was lost. We then headed to “The Tree of Life”. It was about 20 km out of town the other way and our driver had no idea of how to get there. We were able to help him with our map and guide book and we did find it. It was one of those feelings that you just cannot explain. On one hand, here is this tree over 400 years old growing in the middle of the desert with no known water source. Then as you get closer it looks like a high school hang out. Graffiti everywhere, branches torn off, there is a small fence around it, but there are kids climbing all over it, trash everywhere. It is really sad. We were able to get some good pictures, but still not as exciting as I would have hoped. Stuff like that really makes you appreciate things like the park service and the national register of historic places. I am glad I got a picture of it, cause I know one day I will see on MSNBC that the tree of life has suddenly died…due to overuse or contamination. I did get some cool pictures of a herd of camels that was near the tree. (Is that what they are called?)

After that, we decided to head back to the Souqs. Well, guess what. Closed. Again. We decided that it was not in the cards for us to hit the souqs this trip, so we would just deal with not experiencing them.

Thanks to a colleague from Pittsburgh, she recommended a GREAT Mexican restaurant that WAS open. Thank goodness. We got there at 2:30, however they were closing at 3 and opening again at 6:30. They did tell us to come in, eat and stay as long as we wanted. Well, 2 pitchers later and after dinner, it was just our waiter left and the night shift was showing up to work when we left. He got a great tip. Senor Paco’s if you are ever in the area. Great place. This is sad, but it made me think of Mom…you all know why.

Afterwards, we headed to the Sheraton because it was supposed to be the party place. They had a 6 piece band and they did pretty well with American and International songs. It was rocking. We stayed and had a great time till about 11:00 or 12:00.

The next morning we decided to move our flight up from 9:30pm till 4:00pm. We had a new staff member coming to town and Carol told her that she would meet her when she got here. Luckily, we have a good staff so they met her and we were going to head back early so she could spend the evening with her.

We were still trying to find the illustrious Pork so thanks finding a Restaurant that we also have here in Doha that serves just about a good a breakfast as you can get without pork, we headed there. We were like kids at Christmas looking at the menu. I ordered Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, and Sausage Gravy. I was in heaven. It was so good. I can’t wait to have mom cook some when I get home.

Afterwards, we headed to the Harley Shop which was open this time and was able to get a few mementos and items. They only had 2 bikes to sell, all of their other just arrived models were sold. These Gulf Arabs and their money….it burns a hole in the pocket of their thobe.

After getting our fill, we still had enough time to spend a few hours at the Bahrain National Museum. It was not the best place on earth, but pretty impressive when you understand how they do things in this part of the world. It had to be set up by a westerner, that is for sure. They had a lot of things in there about death, dying, the burial sites, how the bodies were found. Also…Arab culture and history, traditions, just to name a few. Some of the displays and the flow of the place did not seem to make sense at times, but we got through it all and I enjoyed it.

We headed back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and headed to the airport. We breezed through security and immigration, so we did what anyone else would have done, headed to the restaurant. We had small lunch with of course a tasty beverage. The flight back was so much longer, I mean 28 minutes…that is crazy.

It was definitely an experience, probably not somewhere I will go back to. Since I was here, I had to see it especially since it is only a hop, skip, and a jump away.
I will update you on my Christmas soon!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

No Nog? You Kidding?

There was almost a crisis in Doha today. Major issue, however thanks to Carol all was alleviated. I was planning on trying to make egg nog this evening. I have been scoping out the ingredients since I got here and I knew where to find everything. I got the “good stuff” last week, other than a change on the type of rum I am good to go. Today I went out to borrow a mixer off a friend and then head to the stores…(you cannot find everything at one store in this country). I went to one and got the whipping crème, plus some other groceries that I needed. However, they were out of eggs…so no worries, I will get them at the next store. Arriving at the second store, there was a sign that said ‘out of eggs’…crap this is getting bad. I got the rest of my supplies, minus the main ingredient, and headed to 2 other stores. NOTHING. THERE IS CURRENTLY A RUN ON EGGS IN QATAR. Are you kidding me? So I called Carol who I knew was going to another area of town to do her grocery shopping, I told her my dilemma and she promised to keep an eye out. About an hour later after I got home there was a knock at the door and there she was with 30 eggs in the carton. She stopped at a few mom & pop stores on her way home and found one that had eggs. Thank Goodness! Whew. She just secured her place on the nog list. So, the cooking will commence this evening.

Oh, small aside…when I came home from the store my kitchen was flooded with water from my dishwasher. (FYI- there is a drain cover in the middle of my kitchen floor, that is where it came from) I immediately called our manager and they got someone here in like 20 minutes. Fastest response time in Doha. He got the drain unclogged and then informed me that he was surprised that it has not happened sooner. Apparently, there was an issues with the concrete guy coming after the plumber while they were building and there is a lot of extra concrete piled up in the drain pipes. There is also speculation that they put too small of drain lines in. They are coming tomorrow to re-route my kitchen drains to the pipe out the rear of my villa instead of the one in the kitchen. Hopefully, no more floods!

So, once again I have a bunch of crap to talk about and I want to make it interesting, but I don’t want to do in depth on all of this. So some of it will be so I remember it later.
We had our Administrative Manager come from Pittsburgh and stay with us 2 weeks. We all had to have a 1 on 1 meeting with her. All I can say is wow. Carol, Connie, and I named her Hypertalker. This girl says so much in such a short period of time. Wow. Plus its very ADDish…she is all over the place with her thoughts and comments. She is definitely a blonde, however. We were talking one day and one of us said it was ‘hump’ day. She stopped the conversation and asked what the heck we were talking about. She did not know if it was a reference to something or a sexual innuendo of some sort. She had no idea that the rest of the world calls the middle of the work week hump day…I didn’t even know how to respond. Luckily, she did calm down a little week 2 and was much more tolerable. If I had to put a reference on it for you all, Imagine hanging out with a slightly less intelligent Marcie (Gore-Clinton-McClintic-Coats-Kerry-Edwards),that provides the same level of work, but on speed and with ADD. Very high energy…
So, our Executive VP of my division came over for a board meeting. They fly over once a quarter for these things. It is hard to believe that they are in town for about 24-48 hours…that is not long enough to even figure out where you are. However, they had a nice lunch for us when they got here and we all got to hang out with them. He informed us all that our division is rapidly expanding. They are looking at opening hospitals in Ireland, Cyrus, Italy, maybe even some more in the Middle East not to mention some things they have going on in the states. He said that great opportunities would be available to good employees in the coming years. The Ireland project is going to need a lot of administrative help, so that excited me. I could probably do Ireland. I never thought I would like international assignments, but if I found one where it is not sunny and 70 degrees everyday and there is stuff to do, I might consider it. Plus I am really starting to look at a Project Manager position (The person on location that runs the project) as an opportunity down the road. Many things to look forward to. I would probably still like the opportunity to fix a certain service in West Virginia, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

On to work. Our medical director who works with our project has recently re-wrote the protocols and now we are doing a full staff protocol rollout. When you have over 700 staff, this takes a few months. They are getting new skills and drugs, and they are also losing some skills and drugs. They did the EMTs first and everything went pretty well. Now he is onto the Paramedic I’s. Those of you that are confused, Paramedic Is are kind of like the US equivalent of an EMT-I. Actually, they are like an EMT-B with more responsibility and not much more training. A dangerous mix. Most of them are Tunisian anesthesia technicians that were supposed to be good at intubation. Through our new random chart audit, we learned that not only can they not intubate, they do not realize when it is out, or what to do to fix it in a timely manner. So, now these guys can only intubate dead people (in cardiac arrest). Everyone else is getting a King airway, which is kind of like a Combitube-basically idiot proof. Well needless to say these boys are irate that they took skills away from them. However, evidence does not lie. They started arguing that they are skilled in this and they should not take this away. We basically got them down to “Our job description says you are a Paramedic I. Paramedic Is do not intubate. If you do want to intubate, you can probably find a job that will let you” (We didn’t actually say that, but we did) They are really mad, cause the EMTs can now do the same skill. Ahh…the joys of consulting. If you have not figured out we are phasing out Paramedic Is. Soon everyone will be trained to an EMT-I level or they will drop to and EMT level if they cannot pass the course. This will really help the system evolve.

I finally found a poker game. I met a guy at a party and he got me into this game. Tournament style hold ‘em every Thursday. It was the most multinational, random game I have ever played. The house was HUGE. There were 4 bedrooms on the first floor. A living room, foyer, a poker room the size of mom and dad’s living and dining room (which included a bar and a bathroom), a pool room, and the kitchen was detached from the house in the maid’s quarters. It was impressive. The hosts were a very nice older Texas couple, that you can say were very Texan. The husband I think works in the oil business, so no wonder why he has such a big house. They have food, alcohol, etc. I brought a bottle of Jack to give and they told me not to bring any more alcohol, to just drink theirs. They would not take any money for food. The kicker is, they do this every week. Great people. Anyway the poker room has a bar, couches all around, 3 tables set up, TV, music, a snack table, very cool. I played with guys and girls from China, Lebanese, Syria, Texas, Arkansas, New York, Maylaysia, and South Africa. 4 of them were Muslim (obviously, not very devout) Very cool group. The guy from Arkansas used to be a Medic in the states in the early 80’s. He was shot while on duty and his wife made him find a new job. So he went to work for a natural gas company and now makes more money than I could probably count doing medical and safety consulting. He has worked all over the world. They play extremely fast. 8 minute blinds, they have a lot of levels, but once you get to a certain level those blinds skyrocket. I was doing well early caught rockets a couple of times and had some big pairs, and hit the flops but could never get any bites. I made a few scores even when I had the nuts some of these boys would pay to the river and then fold…thanks a bunch. Anyway, I came in 5th out of 13 for my first trip not too bad. They usually pay out top 4, but since they only had 13 they paid out top 3. So, either way I was on the wrong side of the money line. Looking forward to playing with them again. I think some of my hesitation was that we were playing so fast and it has been a while since I rounded. Oh well, I get back in the swing of things.

To follow the previous paragraph, what would be better to tell you that the next day after poker I went to church? I did. There is a place here called the Grace Fellowship and I was looking for someplace that had a Christmas Eve service that I could attend. I wanted to check it out beforehand, so I went with a couple that I work with. It was Ok. It was held in a Villa that the group bought and they are trying pretty hard. It was actually pretty packed. They do not have a resident preacher (it’s non-denominational) so when there is not someone in town, people sign up to do certain Sundays. This guy that talked today was OK, but after his message he kept rambling. I saw more than a few people doing the head bob. It would be so much fun for one of the preachers that I know and love to make the trip over for a few weeks…(hint, hint…you know you have a place to stay). The couple that I went with have about a one year old girl and they invited me to lunch afterwards. Well…wow. There were 4 other couples that went to lunch with us and they all had kids ranged 0-4. 4 sets of families, 6 kids. 2 on the way. Me. That was an interesting lunch. The conversation was good and it is really nice to see some of these kids going to church and experiencing that plus, it is nice to see them so well mannered. It was a little of an overload for me, but I did well. I didn’t drop any of the kids that I held or that wanted to sit in my lap, so that is a start. Luckily I have Nick and Porter to thank for that training (well actually just Nick). I still have yet to meet my other boy.

I am getting longwinded, so I will continue this later. Have a great day. HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Body Blast?

Ok guys, so here we go. A little update on the Middle East… First of all…it is really hard to get in the holiday spirit. It’s freaking 70-80 degrees during the day and mid 60’s at night. Guys are wearing their coats, which is hilarious, but still no help. Today was a day you are glad you are in the middle east. If it was like today for a longer period of the year, this might not be a bad place to live. It was around 72 degrees, dry (of course), clear, sunny, occasional slight breeze. It felt wonderful. No humidity. I actually went running last week (DO NOT tell my athletic trainer) and it felt awesome (and my knee only hurt a little the next day…although I did try to run on the dirt/sand instead of the payment to help with impact).
So, this last weekend was a busy one. I attended a Traditional Arabic get together at a friend’s house. She is an Arabic teacher and invited her class over for dinner and socializing. I walked in and it was like a Junior High Dance. Men on one side of the room, women on the other. (This is typical Arab culture.) There was very little movement between the groups. They had a huge feast which included cooked Pigeons, luckily by the time we got to the pigeons, I was stuffed. This of course was followed by sweets, which is another Arab necessity. However, it was cool as far as the guys that I met. I met people from China, Indonesia, Senegal, Kenya, Philippines, Egypt, and South Africa. What a collection at a party.
So after, I was invited to another party. The random West Virginia girl I met a month or so ago was having a birthday/Christmas party at her place and called to invite me. I am always up for a party, so I headed that way. Of course I drug Nurse C along with me in case the rest of the people at the party were weird. We tried to get there fashionably late, but we were the first ones there which was slightly awkward. However, we mingled and more started arriving. I met people from all over the US, South Africa, and 1 German! They were all teachers at the American School, Qatar Academy, or in Education City. It was nice to hear about problems that were education related and not Hospital related. However, some of their problems are similar (They get Inshalla-ed frequently as well) I also found out that teachers make crap around the world. Many of these people make about what they make in the states or a little more. The best part is that they do not pay taxes and they have no housing expenses. Crazy. Support your Teachers!
Saturday, I started out my day with what was called “Body Blast” a hell of a workout that uses light weights and high reps. Good workout…very tiring. That afternoon, I followed that up with a scheduled Massage at some Chinese Massage Parlor. All massages are gender specific (because of the country) so to answer some of your questions, NO. Afterwards, I headed to Connie and John’s because they invited Me, Another John, his wife (who was leaving the next day), and Carol to dinner. It was fantastic. That Scottish guy really knows how to cook. We had some Mushroom soup, Ham (yes. Really. It’s like moonshine, don’t ask) covered in a white wine sauce, veggies, homemade bread, followed by ice cream for dessert. Needless to say after that day, I was dead. It was good getting to hang out with everyone. Those 5 people are probably the most sane people on the project, so it is nice to hang out with them.
I truly felt like a consultant this week. Malcolm, who is EMS’s assistant director of Operations pulled me into his office (I am there frequently) to ask me about the status of the organization. He asked me about his management style, what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong. I got to be very open and honest, which I enjoy. I was flattered because I think Malcolm and I are on the same wavelength, and actually I kind of feel like his equal. That being said, I really like throwing wrenches into their Executive Meetings, but I think they are glad when they realize that certain ideas needed some work. Malcolm, Penny (Executive Director), Shaun (Asst. Dir. Of Training), and Dr. Marc (UPMC Medical Director) and myself actually have a really good business relationship. We close the door and knock each other out, but we come to a solution and go forward with it. It is actually pretty cool.
So, on to work. I have moved to the communications center as my primary location of work. I am starting to shake things up there a bit. I have very little experience in communications, but luckily all that time hanging out at MECCA made me a little more intelligent. Plus, they are so far behind I look like an expert. I am trying baby steps now. Trying to get staff to type and talk at the same time, wear headsets, not use the portable radios or mobile radios on your desk, because you have a CAD system in front of you that works fine. Basic crap. I had a problem with the supervisor not using their pod and hanging out at another computer all shift. This gave him no idea what was going on in the country. To fix this, we disabled their passwords on that computer so they have to sit at the pod to work. Ahh, the little things in life. I am sure I will have much more for you on this.
I did start writing my Research proposal, I am hoping to get a little bit done every night so I can get it submitted to the IRBs (Yes I have to submit to 2. Qatar and Pittsburgh.) I am really anxious to get published and I think this study will show some results. We will see. I am going to go type that now, so I get off of here. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Performance Issues?

Hello again. I know it has been a while, but somehow it got crazy busy. I bulled my way through the EMS policies and got them approved. They have been sitting on the desk of the approval department since June, and we needed them. So I went in, had a few meetings and got all but one approved.

Then, the Director of EMS over here (who I basically consult for) wanted to teach these supervisors Performance Management. I agreed and was designing a class for them. Well, she wanted it done before the Eid holiday which starts Dec. 17 (it doesn't relate to Christmas, just happened to fall on it this year. So her and I went and met with the director of Performance Management. We decided that we would teach 2 day long classes to all of my supervisors and department heads Dec. 5 and Dec 6. (We just scheduled this last week) So, they usually team teach it and she was going to do the Lecture part of it, and I was doing to do the group work and exercise part of it. She called me on Monday and due to some corporate problems, she could not teach this Wednesday and Thursday. She asked if she could give me the entire lecture and I present it. So, I agreed. This brought out 2 things. One...I cannot believe that the hospital would allow me to teach a corporate class that I have never taken to a group of supervisors. 2nd...holy crap...I have one day to review slides and get my talking points straight. I hate reading from a powerpoint, I like when I teach to know my slides and know what is coming so I do not have to refer, but today was a little different. I had to make passes by the podium to see what was coming and to see if I was getting all the stuff they wanted covered. Needless to say, it was a headache and difficult to get organized, but I did it and I think the guys liked it. I have been told by numerous sources that I have a lot of credibility with these guys, so I hope to keep that up.

Other than that, not too much else to do since the 'rents left town. I don't want to talk about it...but I am glad that the WVU program is at a point where we are disappointed when we don't go to the National Championship Game. A BCS bowl is crap (yeah right!). It is nice that our program is at that level. My last one in the country this year has stopped us. We have no one to blame but us.

On that note:
TARA NA MAMUMUNDOK - This is Tagalog (Filipino) for Let's Go Mountaineers...I love working with such a diverse staff.

Short Update: Since I have been in Doha I have been able to really read much more than I get to at home. Here is my list for the first 5 months: (In no order)

Qatar-Business Traveller's Handbook - David Chaddock
Ghost Soldiers - Hampton Sides
Islam for Dummies - Malcolm Clark
Living and Working in the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia - Bob Hughes and Graeme Chesters
Don't they know it's Friday? - Jeremy Williams
First, Break All the Rules - Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman
Who moved my cheese? - Spencer Johnson
The Qatar Edge - Joey Osslan
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Leadership - Rudy Giuliani
All the President's Spin - Ben Fritz, Bryan Keefer, Brendan Nyhan
Paramedic to the Prince - Patrick Notesine
Tales from the West Virginia Sideline - Don Nehlen
Digital Fortress - Dan Brown

Thats all for now...I will talk to you later! Cheers!