Tuesday, 24 November 2009
We went mainly because my brother and his roommate Jaime were throwing a party, but also because it was "Classic Weekend" here in Orlando and we do not really support that. Anything to get out of Orlando, though.
All in all it was a good weekend but we cannot forget the drama, what with brother unlucky included and all.
The party was supposed to be kept at a Vietnamese restaurant called Chop Stiks. Up until two days before the event, after fliers and Cd's were made advertising that venue, the manager, whom we will call Teetee, decided to cancel. She claimed she had a "family reunion to attend, and that she had forgotten about it."
Despite brother unlucky and Jaime's efforts to work out some sort of agreement in order to avoid a last minute change, they were still forced to do exactly that. Teetee came to them with a sob story about how badly she felt that she had to come out at the last minute, and said they could use another place she owns instead. This was a hispanic restaurant called El Norteno and it was just down the road.
The manager of El Norteno was a man named Martin, who was more than willing to work with them for the event. He was very cool and they came to an agreement that they would pay $400 ahead of time for the venue and then at the end of the night they would split the money made at the bar 45/55 - giving him the 55 percent. The verbal agreement was made, amongst brother unlucky, Jaime, and two other people from UF Caribsa, who were also helping out with the event.
With this, Martin and his bartenders were supposed to clear out the venue before the party started at 11 o'clock. Since it was a restaurant, the party had to begin after closing which was at 10 30, and he therefore agreed to allow the party to go until 4am. (Usual G-ville parties end at 2.) This gave them a 30 minute grace period to begin cleaning out and my brother and his friends were willing to help.
Sure enough, when we got there - after 10 30- nothing had been moved. We got phone calls that Martin was sitting around for the past half an hour watching Novelas and drinking beer.
Upsetting incident number one.
We already had folks waiting to get in when we arrived. The music at that point was not even on as yet, and we now had to quickly move around the furniture before we had too big a line outside.
My prima esposa and I worked the door for most of the night. We collected the money from everyone who entered - minus the 500 people some girls from the CSA e-board decided to let in for free. Their main concern at the beginning of the party was to take pictures. Hence, we decided to take over their positions and we did not mind it one bit. After all, we would much rather greet our supporters as opposed to halitosis who was sure to send them right back home the moment she opened her mouth and whispered "ten dollars."
Before the end of the night, prima esposa and I had counted more than $1300 in 20's alone and let the CSA girls replace us for like the last 30 minutes. By 3 a.m., Martin was turning on the lights, and by 3:15 a.m., the party was basically cleared out.
Upsetting incident number two.
Of course we were the last people left in the party, and at that time the DJ played songs like "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus, just for fun. After which, he played my favourite song - fireflies. This made my night; but only until dark lord Martin completely turned the success of night 180degrees.
When it was time to count the money in the cash register at the bar, cool guy Martin had turned into a monster. Amongst him and his workers, it was complaint after complaint.
Complaint number 1: "The bartenders never got any tip."
Complaint number 2: "Two of the flimsy little tables are broken."
Sidenote: He wanted us to pay $350 for each table. So we were supposed to pay $700 for two tables that were not broken, and we only paid $400 for the entire place? And the tables were not even supposed to be in there when we arrived? The guy is clearly not dealing with a full deck.
He never even understood that we were going to tip them for good business and were willing to pay for the tables, but just wanted to split the money first. Out the window after the following events.
After his and the bartenders' bitching for far too long, he finally agreed to allow us to count up the receipts. He handed over a handful of them and watched as Peter counted them up. There were $200 in receipts. But that only accounted for the drinks that were bought with credit card, and my brother and his friends alone spent more than that at the bar. Nevertheless, he sat there with a smirk on his face as he agreed to let Jaime open the register and take out the money.
There was $12 in the cash register.
Upsetting incident number three!
Martin had already went in the register, took out, and pocketed all of the money that was made at the bar. As if that was not shady enough, he knew there was nothing in there but still allowed Jaime to count up receipts and go in the cash register as if it was some sort of joke.
Little did I know, Teetee had showed up at the party at some point in the night, went to Martin, and told him not to give us any of the bar money. The same Teetee that was supposed to be out of town for the alleged "family reunion" which was why we could not have used her venue for the party.
I had to hold back three angry Jamaican men at one point or another. But after much cussing, anger, hotheadedness, whispering in Spanish, and shadiness, we decided to cut our losses and just take the 45% out of that 200.
Thereafter, Martin pulled out a large stack of money and gave us $90. Ninety dollars! Unheard of. There were more than 150 people in that party, and he wanted us to believe that only $200 was spent at the bar?
As if that was not bad enough, the money Jaime counted from the cash register that I was working was $1000 exactly - and that includes 1's, 5's and 10's. That means that on top of taking out the money from the bar, Martin had at some point taken out and pocketed some money from the register in the front as well.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
On behalf of Jamaicans, I will be happy to clarify what we mean by this; I would also like to mention that this problem only occurs by United States standards - the most backward nation by far in my opinion.
From observation, I realise that skin colour matters the most in America. Those little "ethnicity" surveys are not really about where you are from, they are about your skin tone. (They only put ethnicity because putting "race" or "colour" would be far too controversial.)
I disagree with everyone who would look at dark skinned Americans and seriously call them black - or worse African-American. African? Really? How many "African Americans" do you know who have actually been to Africa? Or know for a fact which part of Africa their ancestors came from? I am going to jump out here and say that probably 97% of the people that this nation regards to as "African Americans" have absolutely no link to the culture, language, or anything else besides skin tone and features of Africa.
But if the U.S can look at them and call them Africans, then why can't the U.S look at white Americans and call them Europeans?
Black is not a race. It is not an ethnicity. It is not a nationality. Black is not even a colour -- and neither is white. This is why Jamaicans who have migrated have a problem with being "black."
(By the way, everyone who is not an American Indian is a migrant. That includes the majority of the population of the US.)
No one is denouncing the African influence of our Caribbean culture. In fact, majority of the population is African; but for those of you who have never been, not all Jamaicans have African in them -- the same goes for other Caribbean countries. We believe, as do other countries in the world, that nationality is most important -- not skin colour -- and we were never trained to look at people and determine what they are, or who they are, because our motto is "Out of many, one people" -- and we are just all Jamaican.
If you ask me what I am, being Jamaican should be good enough. The fact that I am 1/5th African should not just automatically outweigh the 4 other cultures that created me. And even then, the only culture I am tied to is the Jamaican culture -- which happens to influenced by Hispanic, Indian, Chinese, European, and African peoples.
Africa has "white" looking people too, you know. Does it make them any less of an African? No it does not: because for generations and generations they have been living in Africa and the African way of life is the only one they know.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
I have more than once told myself that I have plenty of issues and baggage, but it is nothing I am dwelling on; and as my friend told me, we are not going to call them "issues." We are going to call them "characteristics," because if I give them the power of being "issues" then they have more power to mess with me.
I am a very strong individual. I have proved that to myself and those who know me best countless times. I do not think I have anything left to prove.
But enough about myself. I just read a blog from my fellow blogger, wherein her father just found out he has Leukemia. This deeply, deeply saddened me. I cannot fathom how I would be able to manage something like that, and I hope you can pray with me for her and her family.
It was just this morning I was thinking about the times when I lost people I was close to.
Over the weekend I had gotten my hands on a CD that I have not been able to listen to for the past four years. It reminded me of a time I try to forget, but am never successful. A time when someone was taken from me every month. A time when I thought I had cried out my God given share of tears. It reminded me of how very much it hurt me that I never got to say goodbye.
This brings me to a quote that I have always kept in the back of my mind: "Life is short and time is precious;" because you just never know what tomorrow brings.
Be thankful for every day and every blessing.
Monday, 16 November 2009
As I mentioned in my last blog, my family came into town this weekend. Needless to say, there was plenty of food to go around, and I still have leftovers in my refrigerator. This is going to be a good week.
Speaking of this week, it is my last full week of school before Thanksgiving holiday, after which I only have one full week left. Now that I have a full class schedule next semester I can be excited for this one to be over.
My grades are looking lovely, minus this statistics class of course. Never would I have pictured myself to be content with a C on anything much less as a class grade, until now. Getting a C in that class would mean I would not have to succumb myself to taking it again next semester. That satisfies me.
In regards to this weekend, I am starting to wonder if maybe the name "brother unlucky" was a curse. It has been a while since I have written about him, with the exception of my last blog. Why is it a curse?
On his way down here, brother unlucky struck again. His front right tyre blew out while he was driving. It was night and he had to pull over on the highway in the middle of nowhere. With experience from all of his other unlucky life experiences, he was able to successfully change that tyre by himself and drive 50mph on a donut until he arrived safely in Orlando.
This meant that he was late - as usual - and that at some point during the weekend we had to find ourselves at tyre kingdom with a couple hundred dollars.
I got a 98 on my last grammar paper analysing the content of another blog, by Patricia O'Connor, called "Grammarphobia." It is a delightful read for anyone who is interested in the change of the English language over the years.
Friday, 13 November 2009
I say this because I gave my schedule a rest over Veterans' Day, and got up yesterday to try again. Funny enough, all the classes magically appeared, mostly with one spot left. I now have 12 credits, three classes of which are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and one that is online.
To me, this sounds like a very loose schedule. Quite possibly I can have some very fascinating and nomadic weekends. On the other side of the spectrum, I might also spend plenty of time being extremely bored. Either way, I think I will have far more motivation to make something of my college life.
Most definitely, I am most excited to do Water Polo in the spring. Finally I can get off my lazy ass and do some physical activity.
Somehow, perhaps due to the excessive walking I have been indulging in, I managed to lose a few more pounds; bringing me back to a delightful 112. When was the last time I was that small? High school !
Speaking of getting off my lazy ass, I have been quite the productive student these past few days. I finally put my application essay for the School of Journalism together, as well as my portfolio of high school newspaper articles. I plan to bring the paper to my grammar teacher on Monday before I turn it in next week. Can you say anxiety? I can.
Though I have successfully managed to get smacked by my classroom door, and burnt on the eyelid by the egg I was cooking this morning, I am still having a pretty awesome week.
This is delightful.
P.S. This weekend is UCF homecoming, so I think I should enjoy another weekend! Not to mention, mother dearest and brother unlucky are both joining me in Orlando. Two good weekends in a row? I think God is with me now more than ever. What more can I ask for.
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
I have been sitting here for the past 2 hours trying to register for classes and I have yet to find even one! Either they are full or they are "non-existent." What is up with that? I'll tell you; UCF is severely understaffed for being one of the nation's largest student bodies. They shove 200+ people into one classroom because they only have one teacher available for the course that half of the students are required to take.
Fine, that is acceptable for general education classes; but when time comes for me to get into those 3000 and 4000 level classes directed towards a specific field, why am I still having issues?
My major is Journalism, as you all know, and I cannot take any classes in regards to that until I have been inducted into the "secret society" of 25 students who are accepted into the program each semester. Thus, they require us to have minors so we can have something to do while we wait. As I previously stated, I declared a minor in International and Global Relations. I am sitting with the course catalogue in front of me, bearing 31 classes of which I only need 6 to complete the minor. Why then, am I unable to find even ONE to register for?
Do the classes not exist? Am I doing something wrong? I cannot take this pressure. It upsets me that my registration date was so late, but I got over it because I never thought I would have issues with these upper level courses. The classes in my minor cannot be that incredibly competitive that all 31 of them are full. This is unheard of.
Florida needs to stop with these budget cuts when their public institutions clearly need more professors. They are pushing people to choose between out-of-state-fees and community colleges - which are now also becoming over-populated. Society should be happy that its students want to fulfill higher levels of education and they should have the gates open for the opportunity; instead of discouraging the masses by having seniors who are 2 or 3 classes away from graduation waste their time spreading those classes out over 2 and 3 semesters because they are not all available in one.
That is unacceptable!
Sunday, 8 November 2009
I decided from mid-week that I will enjoy a weekend in Orlando if it killed me. (Actually, I did not want to stay in Orlando this weekend. I was more interested in going to Tampa or Gainesville but that never happened.)
On Friday I opted to leave my room and head to campus, though I had absolutely no purpose in being there. I walked around aimlessly after sporadically declaring a minor in International and Global Relations so that I will have some classes to take next semester since I have yet to apply for and get accepted into the school of Communication. After dawdling for a bit I ran into Miss CaribSa President, Caribbean Student Association that is, and we began a conversation that led to - "Oh no, you're bored? Let me save you! Come to my place."
At that I decided I really had nothing better to do, and we headed over to her place. Upon arriving, aside from noticing that their pool has a section where I can do laps, I also realised that I have a few other friends who live in that neighbourhood. (The lap pool is by far more exciting though, and I will be shuttling it over there far more often. Ever since UCF got rid of it's lap pool I have been very deprived.)
Anyway, as the night went on we all came up with the idea of going to a club, only because Renaissance (all the way from Jamaica) would be Dj-ing. How could we miss Renaissance! It is very rare that Orlando clubs have a Dj who knows how to transition from one song or genre to another. In the end, I think I can safely say that was the most fun I have had at any club in Orlando since I have been here - granted I do not go out often, but I know myself enough to not waste my time at non-entertaining events.
The next day my prima esposa forced me out of bed at 5pm, yes I do enjoy my sleep time on Saturdays and Sundays, and we ten-toe-turbo-ed it to a Chinese restaurant and had the most amazing General Tsao Shrimp and yogurt that tasted like Devon House ice cream - the best ice cream in Jamaica. Then we proceeded to go to the movies and finally watch This is It! It was amazing and we are both ultimate MJ fans - I wore my "Off the Wall" shirt and everything. (And in case you are wondering, yes, we cried like babies - her more than me.)
On the contrary to my enjoyable weekend, the highlight of today will be taking a shower, but I have no complaints. My dry pockets might have a different song to sing, but if you have been keeping up with my blogs, you will know that money and I do not get along anyway.
Have a great week.
Friday, 6 November 2009
I feel as though I have opened myself up to information that perhaps I am not ready to handle; information that I would have to take in doses, time being the middle man.
This all slightly reverted me back to my childhood. Whenever I had moments where I was afraid of life and infinite knowledge, I needed to have someone with me. You see, I was always afraid of loneliness - a fact that I still cannot rebuke.
I used to trick my brother into staying in the bathroom with me while I took a shower. I tried coming up with all sorts of things to converse about if ever he came in to brush his teeth. I am not sure if he ever realised, but this was all due to fear of being alone. (I never really cared about whatever it was that I coughed up to keep him around.)
My prima esposa almost had to be my big brother on Wednesday night. Perhaps because I overdosed on information and needed a distraction. Still, it has not stopped me from continuing my research.
In fact, I have now opened up conversation on the topic with several other people, including my prima esposa who is now almost as fascinated by it as I am.
What is it, you ask? Well, you'll just have to read my last blog to find out, for I will write about its details no longer.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
I tend to believe in, or rather not completely dismiss, all conspiracy theories and all kinds of esoteric agenda's amongst those in power as long as there is a documentary or well-written and supported article to back it up. Maybe it is because I truly believe that all power corrupts.
Who better to partake in secrecy than those who have the power to keep it that way?
Though I have no intentions of plowing the fields as an investigative journalist, I am leaning more towards being an editor, I still sometimes go out of my way educate myself on certain things that perhaps I should not be so eager to delve into. I am even a bit wary to write about it. Nonetheless, I will. (Typical journalist, no?)
Remember those videos I told you I was introduced to by a friend? Well, I still have not gotten around to watch the last few, and to be honest I believe I have purposely shoved the idea of doing so to the very back of my mind. But today, I was reminded of them and their content by a friend whom I least expected to be wary of it. (Come to think of it, I am not sure I remember how the conversation even came up.)
It all started the night of the MTV Video Music Awards. I am not sure where my head was at when I first watched it, but what I can tell you is that I practically changed the channel after the Michael Jackson tribute.
I cannot say I regret not seeing the entire award show, but I almost feel like I should have at least seen Gaga's performance. From my understanding, she had blood on her? I am not sure how this award show did not get crazy publicity for her performance, other than the diversion of the staged controversy between Kanye West and Taylor Swift.
I know I am super late on writing about this, but forgive me. I just happened upon the article today. Read it with an open mind. Ciao
And if that didn't give you goosebumps, or at least something to think about, maybe these will.
Illuminati Part 1
Monday, 2 November 2009
On another topic, I thought I would share with you a delightful piece that made me smile. It is called Notes on Punctuation by Lewis Thomas. (Yes, he is very much amazing.)
"There are no precise rules about punctuation (Fowler lays out some general advice (as best he can under the complex circumstances of English prose (he points out, for example, that we possess only four stops (the comma, the semicolon, the colon and the period (the question mark and exclamation point are not, strictly speaking, stops; they are indicators of tone (oddly enough, the Greeks employed the semicolon for their question mark (it produces a strange sensation to read a Greek sentence which is a straightforward question: Why weepest thou; (instead of Why weepest thou? (and, of course, there are parentheses (which are surely a kind of punctuation making this whole matter much more complicated by having to count up the left-handed parentheses in order to be sure of closing with the right number (but if the parentheses were left out, with nothing to work with but the stops we would have considerably more flexibility in the deploying of layers of meaning than if we tried to separate all the clauses by physical barriers (and in the latter case, while we might have more precision and exactitude for our meaning, we would lose the essential flavor of language, which is its wonderful ambiguity )))))))))))).
The commas are the most useful and usable of all the stops. It is highly important to put them in place as you go along. If you try to come back after doing a paragraph and stick them in the various spots that tempt you you will discover that they tend to swarm like minnows in all sorts of crevices whose existence you hadn't realized and before you know it the whole long sentence becomes immobilized and lashed up squirming in commas. Better to use them sparingly, and with affection, precisely when the need for each one arises, nicely, by itself.
I have grown fond of semicolons in recent years. The semicolon tells you that there is still some question about the preceding full sentence; something needs to be added; it reminds you sometimes of the Greek usage. It is almost always a greater pleasure to come across a semicolon than a period. The period tells you that that is that; if you didn't get all the meaning you wanted or expected, anyway you got all the writer intended to parcel out and now you have to move along. But with a semicolon there you get a pleasant little feeling of expectancy; there is more to come; to read on; it will get clearer.
Colons are a lot less attractive for several reasons: firstly, they give you the feeling of being rather ordered around, or at least having your nose pointed in a direction you might not be inclined to take if left to yourself, and, secondly, you suspect you're in for one of those sentences that will be labeling the points to be made: firstly, secondly and so forth, with the implication that you haven't sense enough to keep track of a sequence of notions without having them numbered. Also, many writers use this system loosely and incompletely, starting out with number one and number two as though counting off on their fingers but then going on and on without the succession of labels you've been led to expect, leaving you floundering about searching for the ninethly or seventeenthly that ought to be there but isn't.
Exclamation points are the most irritating of all. Look! they say, look at what I just said! How amazing is my thought! It is like being forced to watch someone else's small child jumping up and down crazily in the center of the living room shouting to attract attention. If a sentence really has something of importance to say, something quite remarkable, it doesn't need a mark to point it out. And if it is really, after all, a banal sentence needing more zing, the exclamation point simply emphasizes its banality!
Quotation marks should be used honestly and sparingly, when there is a genuine quotation at hand, and it is necessary to be very rigorous about the words enclosed by the marks. If something is to be quoted, the exact words must be used. If part of it must be left out because of space limitations, it is good manners to insert three dots to indicate the omission, but it is unethical to do this if it means connecting two thoughts which the original author did not intend to have tied together. Above all, quotation marks should not be used for ideas that you'd like to disown, things in the air so to speak. Nor should they be put in place around clichés; if you want to use a cliché you must take full responsibility for it yourself and not try to fob it off on anon., or on society. The most objectionable misuse of quotation marks, but one which illustrates the danger of misuse in ordinary prose, is seen in advertising, especially in advertisements for small restaurants, for example "just around the corner," or "a good place to eat." No single, identifiable, citable person ever really said, for the record, "just around the corner," much less "a good place to eat," least likely of all for restaurants of the type that use this type of prose.
The dash is a handy device, informal and essentially playful, telling you that you're about to take off on a different tack but still in some way connected with the present course - only you have to remember that the dash is there, and either put a second dash at the end of the notion to let the reader know that he's back on course, or else end the sentence, as here, with a period.
The greatest danger in punctuation is for poetry. Here it is necessary to be as economical and parsimonious with commas and periods as with the words themselves, and any marks that seem to carry their own subtle meanings, like dashes and little rows of periods, even semicolons and question marks, should be left out altogether rather than inserted to clog up the thing with ambiguity. A single exclamation point in a poem, no matter what else the poem has to say, is enough to destroy the whole work.
The things I like best in T.S. Eliot's poetry, especially in the Four Quartets, are the semicolons. You cannot hear them, but they are there, laying out the connections between the images and the ideas. Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines farther on, and it is like climbing a steep path through woods and seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.
Commas can't do this sort of thing; they can only tell you how the different parts of a complicated thought are to be fitted together, but you can't sit, not even to take a breath, just because of a comma,"