Wednesday, 15 December 2010

It's That Time of Year

Yesterday was one of the smoothest days I've had for traveling in a while. (Well all except for the lady in the airport who tried to make a scene because we left our check-in bags at the front of the line since there were 6 bags and only two of us. Oh, and the tragic accident that caused my dad and my hubby's mum to be about half an hour late to pick us up.)

We had to wake up at 4 a.m. to catch the 8 o'clock flight. It sounds drastic I know but blame that on the check-in-2-hours-before-departure-for-international-flights policy. The best part of waking up so early--note my sarcasm--was the 20 degree weather. (The 18 degree windchill helped too.)

Like the adapter I am, I decided, perhaps foolishly, that I'd just rough the cold from my apartment to the car in whatever I felt was appropriate to wear in Jamaica. (I didn't want to get off the plane looking like an eskimo and an idiot in boots, gloves, and a coat.) That meant open-toed shoes, a sleeveless, and a light jacket.

Not the best idea.

Going back and forth and up and down the stairs to carry all six bags took way longer than expected. And I must have forgotten that I was still recovering from the flu. I hope those few minutes of freeze won't cause my sickness to come running back and ruin my first week here. (Deja vu anyone?)

The cold I can deal with; but the 20 mph winds were less than thrilling. Surprisingly though, my body was fine with the light jacket. But I think I was one minute away from catching frostbite in my toes.

As for the actual flight and timing and such, I was quite satisfied. Jetblue made a pretty good first impression. The hubby and I got to watch Despicable Me (the cutest movie ever) which lasted the entire flight. A much better way to cuddle up and enjoy our first trip together than one with headphones and one asleep.

When we first got on board I was quite worried about the size of the air plane. I'd never traveled on a 24-row international flight before and it certainly made me feel uneasy. Thankfully, though, the aircraft did its job. Barely any turbulence and about an hour and a half later and I was home and happy.

And everything was smooth after we disembarked. No line for customs, no lie for immigration. The most we waited was for our rides meanwhile hearing of the Corolla that turned into a convertible which caused a traffic jam from one side of town to the other.

Since I've been home I've gotten plenty of jokes. Jamaicans never cease to amaze me.

My first request was a meal deal from KFC after I was picked up, as usual. I've been longing for a barbecue meal deal since the day I left. But this being Jamaica, or more specifically MoBay, I didn't get my hopes up. It's a regular thing to go and have them tell you there's no chicken. (Yes!! I just said KFC has no chicken.)

Only in Jamaica.

So said, so done. They didn't have the breast in barbecue, nor original. Just spicy. They also didn't have barbecue for the famous bowl.

Fail.

My day was still a success though, in terms of eating especially. I had a Jamaican-style jerk panini, my uncle's famous jerk chicken, peppered shrimp, curried shrimp, and roast yam and saltfish. I expect to, though not desiredly, gain back every single pound I've lost.

But it's okay because I don't plan on turning down anything.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Desiderata

For those of you who are wondering where I've been, I'd say somewhere between a
book, a bed and a classroom. Granted, I'd surely find time to make a post given the circumstance that I have some inspiration. Until then, I thought I'd at least share somethings I quite enjoy. Here's to hoping you will enjoy it too.

- Meisha


"Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy."

- Max Ehrmann.

Monday, 15 November 2010

I Lost Myself Somewhere in There

I've been having a hard time with my career choice this semester.

What article I don't fail gets published and I'm not proud. What article I am proud of before publishing gets reworded, restructured or oversimplified.

All my creativity and personality gets drained out as if straining a pot of noodles over the sink. What good is a plate of food with no seasoning? What good is a rabbit with no fur?

What good is a writer with no personality?

It seems the only place I can be myself is right here, where no one cares...

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Meisha on Politics

In my Mass Media class we read about political campaigns and the changes that have taken place. More fitting, we read about the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of negative advertisements. Then, we wrote about it.

Here is what I said:

I have to say, I am very happy and excited to be able to express my opinion on this matter--especially considering the current election period in Florida.

Negative political advertisements are, for lack of a better word, annoying. They are just as annoying as the thousands of signs put out by polling stations and the sporadic push poll phone calls made by PR specialists. Whose bright idea was it to turn telemarketers into political PRs anyway? It only makes me want to stop answering my phone if I don't recognise the number--which is a hard decision for me considering the amount of important unidentified phone calls I get from Jamaica on a regular basis. At the very least, it does not encourage me to support any of the candidates, let alone participate in the election. 

These things debase the candidacy and the entire political campaign, in my opinion. How can political advertising even remotely be equated to product advertising? Since when is running for governor the same as choosing which shampoo to use on my dog's hair? Only ignorant, naive or uninterested people can really be swayed from a simple phone call or 2-minute commercial; so how effective can the methods really be? If I really wanted to find out about a candidate's goods and bads there are much more efficient ways for me to do so than waiting around on the opponent to put out an "informative" hate ad.

Although propaganda has long been a method of swaying public opinion, negative commercials on television take it way too far. You are running for President of the United States, not head cheerleader. (Leave all that nonsense for people with nothing better to do.) That form of campaigning does less of accurately informing the public and more of trying to see who is the most popular and willing to stoop the lowest. But a presidential election is not supposed to be based on popularity and ability to "connect" with the public, it should be based on the merit of the individual running and on his or her governmental policies solely. So what if Romney is a Mormon, or Lincoln is awkward and Taft is fat? They could end up being the best president we have ever had; meanwhile you are a handsome anglo-saxon protestant idiot who won the election only because you exploited the image of your opponent through the use of false judgement. (Oh crap, I won. Now what?)

Simply put, telling me that John believes in racial segregation does not tell me what you believe. It only undermines your campaign and more accurately tells me that you are inherently unprofessional and therefore not fit to serve in a political office. 

Taliban Dan... Really?

I wish there was a way to go back to the traditional methods where information was only available through reading articles or listening to debates. This whole rat-race phenomenon--congruent to the "mean girl" rallying up high school popularity votes--is ridiculous. 

Politicians need to get it together.

While I agree that these ads grab our attention I still find them inappropriate. Sure they are completely effective at capturing the public's attention, but at the expense of what? What do we learn from your hate ad other than the fact that you think Dan is a Taliban? Absolutely nothing.

Political debates are where politicians should fight it out. Not in between episodes of Hannah Montana.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Failure

I failed my first article today.

I say that in the most modest and disappointed tone--hoping that maybe a few years down the line I can look back on this post and be proud of how far I've come.

As I mentioned in my first blog of the school year, one factual error and you fail. (This includes spelling a person's name wrong.) It does not exactly mean a zero but an F is an F is an F. And I got my first one of my college career--in the one class I should not be getting it in.

This further adds to my conclusion that hard news stories are not my beat. The more I write these to-the-point factual stories, the more I feel the creativity draining out of me. Granted, alternative leads give me more leeway to be creative, but for some reason when I sit to write news stories I only think facts. Then my stories become drab and boring and do not even sound like me. They are just blah.

My high school articles were better.

I hate making up excuses, though. After all, if I want to be a journalist I should be able to write all kinds of stories--and up until this class I thought I could. But I realise that hiding behind my problems will always affect my work.

I just haven't been very proud of any of my articles and it sure does not help that they can forever be found on some online websites. I have not been very proud of any of my blogs or recent essays either. Actually, I havent been proud of anything I have done this semester. My wordplay is dwindling and my motivation for anything school-related (or anything at all for that matter) is hanging by a very thin thread that blows in the dry central Florida wind.

Where is my head? Am I losing my talent at the expense of trying to better my social life and college experience? Am I allowing my problems to get the best of me?

I'd hate to think so. Junior year is no year to be screwing up.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Let Me See Your I.D

For a while I have been battling with the idea of being independent and what makes an adult an adult.

If ever I decide to rely on the law of this land to tell me, it always comes back to one thing: capitalism.

How do I draw that connection?

It's very simple. Everything in this country is based on making money. (And when I say everything, trust me, I mean everything.) The milestone ages we reach are mostly set by the government for their own benefit the benefit of the "economy." Of course it doesn't hurt that we like and willingly partake in the little teasers along the way. Oh, you're 15? You can drive legally now--with an adult in the passenger seat. Sixteen? Here's your license and your first job. No driving past 1 a.m., though, so don't take a night shift. Eighteen; you can smoke your way to lung cancer, party, vote, and are considered an adult. Twenty-one; hooray for legally being able to destroy your liver.

None of these things really prove independency or adulthood, except for culturally--which doesn't help much outside of your house. It might be nice to tell your parents, hey I'm 16 now I'm grown, but big brother does not want to hear it.

The fact of the matter is, if you are still in school and looking for somewhere to live you need a guarantor to sign for you saying that, in case of anything, they will be able to pay your rent. Companies need to know that the money will be paid at all costs. Being a full-time student does not give you enough time to work a well-paying job, and being out of school and within the 18-24 age group probably means that wherever you do work probably does not pay you enough for them to take your name and signature only. That makes you a dependent. If you want to rent a car, hotel room, or go on a cruise, you need to be over 21, or at least have a friend who is. Sorry, being 18+ does not mean a thing. You still need a babysitter.

The one that gets me the most, which I just recently discovered, is that if you are applying for school and claiming residency you cannot put yourself as independent. Even if you survive on your own, you are still considered a dependent as long as you are under 24 and single. In a way, I guess it can be a good incentive for you to maintain a good relationship with your parents, but it does not help when you do not and therefore cannot get their information. It simply gives them the power to control whether or not you get to school and that is unfortunate. It is sad to say, but not all parents are good to their children and I find it very unfair that they can still have so much power, especially if they use it to negatively affect their child, even after we are termed to legally be adults.

At 18, though we can vote and determine who heads our country, there are too many other things we cannot do. And though we will put thousands of other drivers and ourselves at risk, at 16 we are deemed fully capable of operating a motor vehicle on our own. Driving a car is a big deal. If we wait until we are 18 though, there is no need for a practise permit. It is assumed that by then you would have magically learned how to drive by illegally practising watching others around you.

It is all just for the money. Being on the road at 16 just means that we need cars sooner than later. God forbid you have an accident, that's more money to insurance and fixing the car; and the more you are on the road the higher your risk to be in an accident, so why not start from young. Being able to party at 18 means that we need money. We have to look nice, pay for gas, parking and cover when we get there. Being able to legally drink, well that one should be obvious.

So since money makes the world go around, is that what makes us adults? Is our level of independence and ability to be classified as an adult measured by the amount of money in our bank account, not by our age or ability to drive, vote, drink or smoke?

Looks like it.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Woes of a College Student

When I grow up I want to be just like Sam.

In a continuation from yesterday's blog, this morning she was taken into the four hour surgery, half of her head shaved, and she went in like a champion. The surgery was performed, the tumor removed, and she woke up thereafter. Now she is back to being sarcastic and enduring the pain with very little to say.

I think it is funny how these stories end. Have you ever noticed that such tragedies always seem to befall on those who know how to carry it well?

I truly admire her strength.

As for me, I feel like I am slowly losing my sanity. I am overwhelmed, to say the least, by all the things I am faced with. Though I know I could be dealing with much more pain than this, it's the daily struggles that seem to get the best of me. To contradict my blog from yesterday, I quote "Any idiot can face a crisis. It's day-to-day living that wears you out."

To an extent, I certainly agree. In fact, I have even managed to come up with my own diagnosis.

Though I have never lived through any other generation, I think I am entitled to saying that our generation of thinkers is under the most intense pressure of them all. This competitively driven world has us all convinced that if we can't pull off a music or modeling career, or go to school for the first 20 plus years of our lives then we will not be successful. We'd end up struggling to make ends meet for the rest of our lives--working as the manager at a retail store or fast food restaurant, or doing some other unfulfilling and underpaid job.

If you think about it though, 20 plus years in school is really excessive.

In generations past, if you lived until 40 you were lucky. To say that we spend more than half of our lives in school just preparing for life would sound very insane. Is it that because our life expetancy has been raised, someone decided that we could waste a quarter of it in preparation for what is to come? (Assuming nothing tragic happens to hinder that progress.)

In my opinion, we waste way too much time doing absolutely nothing but waking up too early to go and socialise at school; until we get to college and realise that we probably should have taken a bit more from high school, and that we still have four years or more left only to then enter into a world where everyone seems to have a problem finding a stable or worthwhile job at all let alone in the field they spent their last two years of college learning about anyway.

It is a mouthful, I know. But that is how I feel. Like an entirely too long and   confusing run-on sentence that has been continuing for so long that I have forgotten where it even begins and what the point of it was in the first place.

Simply put, I want to be done with school. I want to get rid of this thousand pound elephant that is on top of me telling me that I won't be able to find a job that can support the lifestyle I ultimately want to live. I no longer want to have to worry about what deadline I am missing, or if I've done all the work I was supposed to do for each of my five classes or how much aid I am going to get next semester or how long it is going to take me to pay back these loans.

I'll be damned if I spend over 20 years in school and still have to struggle to maintain for the rest of my life. And I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Reality Check

I have been laying in bed all day trying to figure out a way to appropriately describe how I am feeling--which I am not sure has been much of a success--without sounding like I am complaining or being negative.

Last night I was reminded just how precious and absolutely unpredictable life is, at the expense of what little sanity I have left.

In my life I have never been shown otherwise. If it is not one thing that tells me to drop all my trivial worries and miniscule problems, it is something else. If you remember the incident with my cousin last year April, it still weighs on my head. Every now and then I realise that he truly is not around anymore for no other reason than the simple fact that his mental disability was overlooked and ill-treated. Though I am grateful he is alive and healthy, it still drives me up the wall knowing he will be locked away until someone with some kind of sense realises he does not belong there.

As for what happened last night, one of my good friends--who I don't see nearly enough these days--has a younger sister who passed out and suffered a seizure. She was just going about her day as we all do, and the next thing she new she was in a hospital bed.

They did an MRI this morning to figure out the cause and found a benign tumour in her head that needs to come out or it will continue to induce seizures. I can't imagine someone younger than me lying in a hospital bed knowing that in a few hours Doctors are going to cut my head open. It makes me weak just thinking about it.

Can you imagine?

One day you wake up and everything is fine, and the next day you don't. You could be as strong as an ox and as healthy as ever one minute, and the next you lose feeling in your legs, get brain damage, go blind, or discover you have cancer.

These things happen to the best of us, the worst of us, and those in between. Most times it hits us by such surprise that we don't know whether to cry, scream or go back to sleep and hope it was all just a dream. It is because of this why I have never been the type of person to hold a grudge or bad feelings toward anyone who was once a part of my life. Not only is it a perfect waste of happiness, it is also a waste of time. Nothing hurts more than to find out someone you share memories with is no longer alive and you did not get the opportunity to tell them you are sorry. By then the problem you had seems so insignificant and you feel nothing short of completely regretful and absolutely ridiculous for making it ruin your relationship in the first place.

I learned years ago not to wait until it is too late. Granted, we never know when it will be, so that just means you shouldn't take too much time to realise that pride has no place in matters of the heart.

My biggest problem now is that I am all the way over here.

In times like these I have no problem getting rid of all rationality and booking the next flight out so I can be right there in the hospital. I'd be completely willing to skip all three of my classes tomorrow and spend the little money I have to do that. With a mother like mine, though, that all seems ludicrous. As usual, it is always about money and budgets and thinking with your brain. But "money" and rationality don't belong in times of an emergency. That is how I know I need to be successful and well-paid, so that when necessary I can book that flight before it is too late and I spend my life regretting it.

If I had one dollar left I would spend that one dollar to go and be there for my friend and her family. Money comes and goes. Always.

I just want to be there for them. Literally. Because that is what my heart and mind are telling me to do. My teachers will understand; and if my grades suffer, so be it. What difference does it make if I stay here and can't concentrate anyway?

On a regular day in this city I lose my mind. Now, when something bigger is happening than petty drama and nonsense, I just feel like a walking zombie who is going to pass out at any minute. I almost had a heart attack during spinning today and I'm not sure if that is due to the fact that I couldn't focus, or that I am so terribly out of shape. (I'm thinking it is both.) But from right here in my lonely room, I feel completely useless.

Sometimes words are just not enough.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Cyber-Stalk

I am going to try my best to not sound like a broken record, but I am sure we have all heard about the dangers of living life through the internet.

You never realise how real it is until it happens to you.

On Sunday someone decided to act like a 12-year-old and create a fake Facebook profile of my novia. On said profile they stole pictures, (some that I took and were in) put up nasty captions, and wrote an "About me" composed almost entirely of slanderous lyrics from rap songs. (I think this calls for a really long moment of silence.)

.................................................................................................


Really? Until this incident I was completely unaware that college students would have the time or desire to take part in such petty and childish events. Who makes fake profiles anymore? That was so Myspace.

On a more serious note, however, it got me to thinking--seriously thinking about the repercussions of this newly adopted cyber lifestyle. If you are not careful about who you accept as your friend on Facebook, or who you make enemies with, your face could end up on the wrong web page with the wrong connotation. Even if the pictures on your Facebook are completely appropriate, who's to say that someone won't get on your page, save them, and use them for something that is not so appropriate. Next thing you know you're at a job interview and your potential boss brings out a print screen image of the website that says you're a liar and a thief and what can you say, pictures are worth a thousand words.

Remember, maturity is a choice. No matter how old we get, there will always be someone who is conniving and tasteless and you just never know what can trigger someone to turn on you. One minute you are good and the next minute you hear that they are tweeting about you on Twitter. It may not seem like much of an issue, but students aren't the only ones on Facebook and Twitter and you can't be too sure that your information is really as private as you think it is.

It is a crazy world we live in. Face-to-face confrontations may be a thing of the past when reputations can be much more damaged through the computer. And once it goes on the internet it doesn't go away.

Be careful.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Birth-Aversary

Yesterday I turned 20.

I foresee it taking me quite some time to adjust to no longer being 19 since I always seem to forget my age. Nonetheless, I am now no longer a teenager. (Yes! That means teenage statistics no longer apply.)

I figured I could take some time to write about what I've learned in this past year, and then I thought about my blog. (The one titled Life Lessons.) I realize that I have expressed myself quite appropriately through this blog and I am grateful to Trinidad for being the driving force behind its creation. Granted, I thought I would have had more to say each month, but I am not discrediting the fact that at least I have been able to maintain it for a year, and hopefully many more to come.

There are many things I have chosen not to write about, and others that I should but haven't gotten around to doing. Like the fact that I spent my weekend in Gatorland with Brother unlucky, my cousin and some friends to "celebrate my birthday." It always takes Brother unlucky to give me a good story.

Here goes.

As you know from my sentiments, any weekend I get away from Borelando is a good weekend.

On Thursday I sent my friend Tal a happy birthday message, to which she responded, "I wish you could be here to celebrate." Light bulb. So I made it happen. By Friday afternoon, my cousin and I were off to the Ville. That night, as part of her birthday celebrations we went to a party at a Hookah Bar thrown by the one and only Fingaz, brother unlucky's roommate and partner in crime. I know, I know, my new year's resolution. Remember, I gave myself room for special occasions. I still hate partying. But what can I say, peer pressure!

Saturday was a better day. It was more "Meisha." We all went to a spring just outside of the Ville and had an amazing time. A carefree local retiree named Bob decided to turn his acres of property into a fun-filled park--free of charge. He set up picnic tables, slides, a zip-line, a volleyball court and some ropes, most of them leading to the wide river in his backyard.

The ropes were by far the craziest part. (That's crazy in a good way.) There were some large trees right on the bank of the river from which about 5 ropes were hanging--some higher up and more insane than others. The ropes were tied in a huge knot at the bottom and a series of smaller knots where your hands would go if you're sitting on the big one. Bob also set up some wood planks in the tree to stand on and ultimately swing from after grabbing the rope and holding tightly.

If you know me at all you know I was a mermaid in my past life. I absolutely love the water and anything that has to do with it. However, I have to admit that upon first glance, I was extremely terrified of swinging from the rope into the water. Perhaps it was from all the "warnings" I received just before I went that made me feel like maybe I should give it a second thought. Eventually, though, I snapped back into tomboy mode and let go of all my fears. And can I tell you, it was amazing! The free-fall after letting go of the rope was definitely the best part.

As for the slides, they were okay. I only went on one of them, one time, considering the fact that after emulating Tarzan with the ropes, the thrill of a slide was just not as exciting. Brother unlucky and everyone else did the slide a few more times than I did and some of them came back with battle scars from hitting the water in all the wrong ways.

Other than this random nature adventure, there wasn't much more to the weekend. When it was time to go, I was quite distraught to see the gas needle in my car below E, aside from already not wanting to leave. How could that be when I did not drive Fabian all weekend and I left him with a little over a 3/4 tank. Did someone steal my gas? Did I have a leak?

I had no idea.

All I knew was that it was about to ruin my weekend. As if gas prices are not high enough already, who wants to know that the money spent on gas--premium at that--was in vain.

Fortunately, it wasn't. Turns out my gas needle was just being retarded at the moment.

What a relief.

As for my actual birthday, I got a pretty self-made cake from an unexpected friend and a spur of the moment dinner reservation from my novia at an Asian restaurant nearby. ( Asian is only my favourite kind of food!)


That on top of the millions of messages, facebook posts, status dedications and phone calls were all I needed to feel loved and appreciated.

I am forever grateful.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Closer to My Dreams

My first college article was published last week Sunday in my University's Newspaper.

Prior to seeing my name underneath the headline "Chindia Rising" I was extremely anxious. I even insisted on keeping the prospect of getting my article published to myself, just to avoid possible negativity from people who wish me bad things behind closed doors.

Ultimately, it was published and at first glance I was very excited. Imagine my surprise when I found that my little article was able to get a full page, accompanied by a cute little picture of Mr. China and Mr. India at the bottom shaking hands. It was on the second page of the paper and there was even a little teaser at the top of the front page.

Granted, it is only the school paper but we all have to start somewhere.

After reading the article--about China and India becoming the future world powers--I was overwhelmed with mixed feelings. Part of me still had that initial excitement, and part of me was disappointed. The first thing I noted was a typo at the end that was not there in my original article. It wasn't until after I left school that I had the time to actually compare the other information in the published version with mine. That is when it all went downhill.

I have to say that I am in no way proud of my article. (And my News writing class the following day that talked about what not to do was no help.) Oddly enough, my high school articles were much better. Perhaps it was the rigid and no-nonsense demeanor of my Journalism teacher, perhaps it was the fact that my grade was on the line, or perhaps I was just extremely nervous and anxious, but my high school articles were much more "me."

That class was like our newsroom, and because of how quickly I caught on, I became an editor by the second semester. I was so used to editing my own article and the articles of others that I assumed I was going to get a chance to do it again. I submitted it long before deadline and waited patiently for the editor to tell me "this is what u need to change."

That never happened. Instead, things were changed and I was never notified.

I was just as shocked to see the final article as anyone else. It wasn't until this incident, though, that I truly realised the path I want to take, and the influence others can have on my article. (No one likes to be misquoted right?) I blame no one but myself.--I should have mastered the first draft before sending it in. And now whenever someone googles my name, the article is one of the first things to show.

In the end, I just know that simply being a reporter is not my ultimate dream--though I still enjoy it and will probably continue writing for the school paper. But the idea that someone else will get that last look, and last say, in my article with my byline is not for me. Editing is definitely where my heart is at.

But we live and we learn, right?

Friday, 3 September 2010

Multi-tasking in Digi-Nation

I wrote an "essay" for my Intro to Mass Media class after watching a show on Frontline called "Digital Nation." I don't want to exhaust the topic of technology, but I thought I would share it nonetheless.

------------

The concept of multi-tasking has become more and more important as technologies have become more and more advanced. It used to be that we had no choice but to sit in class and listen—or at least pretend to listen—to the teacher as he or she lectured. We never had to choose between going on Facebook or going on Webcourses; and as the book notes, phone mobility has given us the opportunity to communicate anywhere and anytime in a more “spur-of-the-moment” fashion. The technological convergence that has created digital media and social networking websites has successfully managed to distract much of today’s students, who seemingly erroneously believe that they have become skilful multi-taskers.

Chances are we probably all fall into the category of being digitally charged, as I like to call it. Many of us are so dependent on technology, simply because it has become a part of the mundane, that we could not function without our cell phones, computers, and High-Definition televisions. With so many mediums to choose from, and so many opportunities for distraction, I have never had a problem admitting that I have a short attention span and am a terrible multi-tasker; and I do not believe that doing it more often will make me any better at it. I think the Stanford research is a good starting point for proving that we are not as positively adapted as we think we are, and I agree. It has to be detrimental to our mental capacity to be doing so many different things at once. I, for one, have a terrible memory, and am glad I finally have a reasonable explanation for it.

Still, I believe that a few years from now humans will evolve and multi-tasking will become the norm. In a sense, I view it as a form of “survival of the fittest” as humans are continuously changing and have little problems adjusting to the new and exciting—as  USC professor Henry Jenkins says, we have already adapted to and survived the information overload. The changes we have made in the past three decades have been tremendous, and it is no wonder MIT teachers who are 25 years into their profession have to revamp the entire structure of their courses in order to feed the thirsty minds of their easily distracted students. If I were a teacher, I don’t think I would allow cellular phones or computers in my classroom, as barbaric as that may sound. From the eyes of a student, I can confidently say that everyone with a computer in class has at least two windows, or tabs, open in addition to Microsoft Word where they take down notes they do not comprehend. It’s no doubt that we now type faster than we write, but that’s nothing a little practice couldn’t fix. It may prove an arduous task, but I’d hope to refresh the memory of my students who probably by then have completely forgotten how to write. Furthermore, the more a student uses a computer the shorter their attention spans get; and who wants to teach someone who can’t pay attention for longer than two minutes.

I have often written and discussed the influence of digital media with many of my peers. It is dually noted that some readily accept the new technologies meanwhile others—who probably were not as exposed to the latest toys as children—hesitate a little. The video stated that technology is “changing what it means to be human” and I cannot say I completely disagree. What makes a human is the ability to physically interact and verbally communicate with other humans; it’s what separates us from the rest of the earth’s species. Granted, we have not severed the lines of communication over the years, however our real life conversational skills have been compromised at the expense of social networking and instant messaging.

In the midst of all the madness, I managed to catch myself as I unknowingly and unwillingly slipped into the worlds of Blackberry Messenger and Facebook and decided that enough was enough. I wanted to stick to using them only when necessary—or when I have no other obligations. I cannot stand the thought of having 600 Facebook friends and three in real life, or attending a social event where everyone’s nose is in their smart phone. For what it is worth, we can all just stay home and text. I am all about interpersonal communication that does not take place through a medium. I spent the better half of my childhood in a country where most of my free time was spent running around outside with neighbourhood friends, although I had the luxury of owning a Sega Genesis. I’ve seen both extremes—too much technology and too little—and because of it I feel like I am quite grounded. I have a little of what my parents experienced growing up and a little of what is now the “digital era.” This inevitably makes me vastly different and much more exposed than my parents’ generation, although I am not an enthusiastic adapter of the next best thing.

Still, had it not been for the place I call home, I think I would have been sucked into the cyber world just as badly and as quickly as the next guy.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

FML

Yesterday afternoon I was by my computer when I looked over on my Journalism papers and realised I am registered for all the wrong classes.

Imagine my surprise, after a whole week of going to classes and my already stressing out about the assignments. (I even wrote a blog about it.) Right after discovering this factor, I immediately went onto the school website in an effort to try and switch some things around. Ultimately, I found out that the last day to drop a class was in fact Thursday, and because I am already registered for 15 credits, I would need an override to add anything else.

In the midst of my haste, I managed to drop--or what I thought was drop--my Mass Media class only to look at my schedule and grades to see a nice big W. Although it "does not" affect my GPA, I was informed that a W in a class means you are still required to pay for it. Needless to say, I had a fit. I grabbed my things, put on my clothes, and headed straight to campus.

Not only was yesterday the last day to add a class, but it was also the last day to use the school's Finaid opt-in program to buy books at the bookstore. After my 9 am class I went to the bookstore and got all the books I needed. (Two of them were not there so I had to special order them.) Would you like to take a guess which book was the only one I actually got? Mass Media. Therefore, in my frenzy, I also grabbed the book and the receipt just in case I had to take another trip to the bookstore to return it. (It also happened to be the last day to return books. Go figure.)

For such a big campus, I am slightly annoyed that we are only given four days to buy and return books and switch around our classes. I literally broke down in tears as I stood before the woman in the Registrar's Office and tried to explain what happened. She had a bit more sympathy than the woman upstairs who kept telling me what I already knew. ("Swapping classes ended yesterday.") I cried my way from Milican, where I was sent to reverse the Withdrawal, all the way back to Communications. By the time I returned to my Journalism advisor, my nose and eyes were red, and my schedule looked the same as it did when I first walked in--minus the W of course. (She was the most comforting, as she handed me a tissue and printed out my Degree Audit to show me that it is not that bad.)

This is what happened.

After I was admitted into the Journalism program the curriculum changed. It used to be that you had to choose a specialisation, for which I decided upon Editing. I attended a meeting last Spring where I was informed that since I have not started taking classes yet, I can still switch over to the new curriculum, which is just a general Journalism program--no specialising. At the meeting I was given three papers. The papers told me which classes to take for editing, which to take for news writing, and which to take for the new curriculum.

Shortly after said meeting, I registered for my classes. (Yes, I have been registered since April.) The basic idea behind our Journalism program is that you cannot take more than 40 credits of JOU-related classes. The standard requirements for both the new and old curriculum are 18 core credits. If you decide to specialise you also have to take 12 credits that are specific to that major and then you get to choose two 3-credit electives. Under the new one, aside from the 18-credit requirement, you get to choose the other 18-credits from a list that they give--which is basically a list of all the Journalism-related classes that are offered. (In essence it is the same amount of credits for either curriculum, but the new one gives you more freedom to choose the classes you want to take.)

Silly me, I thought the standard 18-credit requirements were the same no matter what. It just so happens that I was using the new curriculum guide to choose my classes, and three of the four JOU classes I am taking this semester are from the pool of electives. They do not count towards my editing core. Hence, I feel like I am wasting my semester. Granted, I would have had to choose two electives eventually anyway, but I only took these classes under the misconception that they were required. If I had the choice, I would much rather have taken a Magazine class or two.

The frustrating part is that four out of the six required classes for editing are also required for the new curriculum. This means, I only had a one in three chance of choosing an elective instead of a required class, which is exactly what I did--twice.

FML.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Once and For All

Courtesy of P.J Fray
Don't take it too seriously.
Based on recent events in my life, I find that it is totally appropriate to address this ever-annoying debate about where I am from, and inevitably, who I am.

Let me begin by saying no I was not born in Jamaica. Twenty years ago, my mother and father were up here visiting with my grandmother. Mother dearest went into labour and had me at South Miami Hospital. (Yes! That makes me an American citizen.) After I was born, we went back to Jamaica and lived in Montego Bay. I attended Mrs. Weatherburn's pre-school--where I met my best friend--and then Mount Alvernia Preparatory school, also known as Al V. I went through Kindergarten, Intermediate, and grade one at Al V, after which we migrated to Florida. (I love Mr. Mac!)

I ask my parents all the time why they chose to leave so early, but it makes no sense arguing over spilt milk. At the end of the day, brother unlucky and I are first generation Americans.

Nonetheless, I still claim Montego Bay as my own, and for those of you who know me I go back every chance I get. Most of my family members and friends live in Jamaica and I simply love it there. Throughout my childhood, I spent plenty of time in Westmoreland and Saint Ann (Ochi). Now that I am older, I still make time to go to Westmoreland whenever I am in town, and I also frequent Trelawny and Hanover--not so much Ochi anymore. Most of my time in Ja is spent in Cornwall, but on occasion I go to Saint E and enjoy the delicious Pepper Shrimp from Middlequarters, as well as the Lobster from Little Ochi in Alligator Pond Manchester. (My father and brother unlucky do plenty more exploring than I do when they participate in Bird Bush activities.)

On another note, no I do not go to Kingston. Have I been there? Of course. We don't ride asses in MoBay. Do I make it a priority to go? No, I don't. When I am in Jamaica, I expect to see people who I miss--from MoBay--not the same old faces from the parties in SoFla. Furthermore, Kingston has nothing new to offer me. In fact, it is overly annoying having to defend myself whenever I tell a Kingstonian where I represent. Why should there be a big issue anyway? Is it intimidating or something? If you want MoBay to be "country" that badly then fine; it is country. That certainly does not make it any less great.

For future reference, though, please keep your anti-MoBay comments to yourself. I've heard them all already. (And they only make you sound like those ignorant people who believe we still live in trees.) We are all Jamaican, and as the slogan rightfully says, "Out of Many, One People."

Perhaps the most noteworthy and amusing recent event was my being informed that I "push" that I am Jamaican because I am "really not." This blog goes for all of you who thought I was an illegal immigrant, a resident,  or here on a visa. My birth certificate says Miami, Florida. Both of my parents, who were born in Montego Bay, are American Citizens as well, and my brother and I also have dual-citizenship for Jamaica. I am thankful that my parents thought ahead and decided to have us here, because it saves me a lot of the problems I see other's having. Because of it, I was able to travel all across the world during my childhood, and back. Not to mention I can go to Jamaica as often as I want for as long as I want. (And the lines at the airport are so much shorter for US citizens.)

Indubitably, I have absolutely nothing to prove to anyone and I will continue to represent for Jamaica all the days of my life. If that part of me bothers you then I apologise on behalf of your ignorance.

Monday, 23 August 2010

You Have to Start Somewhere

After my first day of class, I can confidently say that there is a huge difference between the first two years of college and the last two.

All the lectures I received in high school by teachers who swear that college classes are the most difficult classes ever come in to play right now. I have decided to take five classes this semester in an effort to ensure I graduate in Spring 2012, and they are not the easiest classes in the bunch. (Those of you who know me know that is a huge sacrifice for someone who absolutely loves free time for sleeping and going to the gym.)

Nonetheless, I felt slightly undermined by the freshman M&M major who I interviewed today. His excitement to be taking 16 credits was overflowing.

Speaking of interview, I thought I would share my stress with you. Since I am finally in the Journalism school, that means I am officially taking Journalism classes. (Yay!) However, the first class on the list is what I would like to call the "Weed-whacking" class. (And I am not the only one to notice this.) The teachers are especially hard on students in this class because they want you to get it. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. There is no room for error. One spelling mistake and you fail. Factual error? Forget about it. Misquote? Just drop the class now.

We are required to write six articles, one of which must be published in a local newspaper, and we will attend several Writers' Meetings for said newspaper. In all honesty, that is far less articles than I had anticipated--but I am not complaining.

On another note, I am all moved in and settled into my new apartment. My roommates are delightful and my place has come together quite nicely. There is still room for one more person upstairs, but all the merrier if no one shows. I also have to mention that the staff at this place is awesome. They are extremely accommodating and friendly--coming from my old apartment that is quite refreshing.

If you are wondering about the people I was supposed to live with--Prima Esposa and Applebee--they have both decided to do what is best for them. Kudos to them for doing so because I know they are both happy, and that is all that matters. There are no hard feelings, just a bit of sadness in regards to Prima Esposa who has left the school all together. She transferred to a school back home and moved back in with her family. When I visited her over the summer she was glowing, and I am happy for her, but I cannot say I won't miss her quite a lot this year. In fact, it is her room that is empty right now. It is open and waiting for you, for now, if by any chance you change your mind. =)

Despite the pressure from the weed out Journalism class, and the 8-10 page paper  required for Diplomacy, I feel very good about this semester. I feel like I am heading on the right path and that I will gain some very valuable life skills from all the tasks I plan to take on.

And one more thing; no more room for sadness. Happy days ahead!

You can quote me on that.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Technologic

This is my formal renunciation of my Blackberry phone.

I got the wake up call a few weeks ago when I went to watch Grown Ups. The two little boys who played Adam Sandler's children were stuck up technology-dependent brats who knew nothing about the outside besides the fact that the grass is green. They used their phones to call people who were in the same house as them just so they were not forced to get up off their asses behinds and talk to the person face-to-face. (It did not help much that they were too busy playing video games to take a moment to pause.)

If you ask me, that was a hidden message--and I am almost certain not everyone caught it. I've yapped about it before and will continue to as long as it keeps getting worse. These new generations are too anti-social. I wish someone could send a worldwide memo to let people know that social networking sites are not equivalent to having an actual social life--with real people. These days you go out to a social event or party and everyone is looking down at their phone screens. Since when do we go out to use cell phones? For what it's worth you can certainly stay home and do that. When you are out, you are out; put the phone away!

I wish my "Rules for Blackberries" came with every new purchase of the phone. I wonder if I can make an agreement with T-mobile and Cingular?

What's funniest to me is that my brother used to tease me about my cell phone and how often I sent text messages and now he has gotten so annoyingly addicted to his Blackberry that it drives me insane. Whether he is driving, sleeping, eating, cleaning or showering matters not. The blackberry has become a part of his vitality.

Being a blackberry veteran I can safely say the BB craze has gotten completely out of control. I was always unique when it came to my phones and now I go out and everyone has the same phone and is trying to add me to their list. (Not that they have any intention of ever speaking to me on it or anything.) I started out with but five people on my Blackberry Pearl two years ago and now I have well over 60--and that's because I delete people as often as I can.

I can't keep up.

I really wish I could go back to a Nokia 3310, but to find one of those now and make that transition would be horrendous. So where do I find my middle ground?

Well, considering the fact that email has taken over, it would only make sense to get a phone with internet. Which one you say? Just to go out with a BANG, i'm thinking I will cross over to the dark side and get myself an iPhone.

Call me a sell out if it pleases you, but as soon as the kinks are worked out, that iphone 4 is MINE!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Life Lessons

I've learned that you can't blame your location for the circumstances in your life. It's not where you live that is the problem, it's how you live.

I've learned that if you keep covering your wounds they will never heal. It's just like a band-aid, you see. Just the same a cut will never dry up if you keep plastering it with creams and band-aids, an emotional bruise won't heal if you keep hiding it and pretending it never happened. As humans, we scar; but they are not there for us to mess with, they just serve as reminders that through it all, we are still alive. I've learned that talking about painful things only helps if you are ready to talk about them and if the person you are talking to is ready to listen. I've learned that being kind to everyone has its disadvantages; but karma will be a better teacher than I could ever be. I've learned that there is nothing wrong with crying. If that is what makes you feel better then cry your heart out. Tears never run out so they can never be wasted.

I've learned that although it is natural to think highly of your elderly relatives you have to remember that before they are your parents or aunts and uncles, they are human. We all make mistakes and you can bet it's those same mistakes that make them who they are today. I've learned that keeping walls up does less of keeping others out and more of keeping you in. In order to get you first have to learn to give. No one is going to teach you how to love if you don't let them get close enough. I've learned that heartbreak and depression hurt more than broken bones and bruises. Where a bone breaks it heals itself; where a heart breaks will forever leave a mark. I've learned that sometimes it is okay to give up. It does not mean you are too weak to keep going; it means you are strong enough to let go. No one knows what is best for you except you.

I've learned that if you love half-heartedly then that is what you are going to get in return. You can't put in minimal effort and expect it to yield maximum reward. I've learned that you can't love someone who continuously hurts you. As hard as it seems, you just have to let go and think about yourself. Not everyone deserves to have someone. I've learned that having expectations for people only leads to disappointment. No one will ever live up to the person you think they are. We all have secrets and regrets. I've learned that I love you does not always make everything better; sometimes it hurts more. We have to remember "love" is more of an action than a word. It is supposed to be a verb too, not just a noun.

I've learned that some things are better left unsaid, unread, and undone. Don't go out of your way to break your own heart. Everything will reveal itself in due time; don't go searching for it. I've learned that tomorrow does not always come and you should appreciate the present. But it's not every day you wake up you will be strong enough to slap on a smile. Sometimes life kicks you in the ass and it's okay to take a little time to get back up. I've learned that greed and commitment are like oil and water. You can't commit yourself to anyone or anything if you are always wanting more. I've learned that you can't allow outside things and people to control what's inside of you. You have to be in control of yourself and your emotions at all times.

I've learned that if you keep looking back, you will miss what is standing right in front of you. You can't look behind you and walk forward at the same time. Once that figurative door closes and those emotional wounds heal, they no longer have relevance. Lock that door, throw away the key, leave everything behind it, and never look back.

I've learned that there is nothing wrong with changing for someone you love who loves you back. No one knows you as good as the one you're with, and if they are trying to help you to become a better person then let them. It's something that can benefit the both of you in the long run. I've learned that we are supposed to listen twice as much as we speak, but shouldn't believe half of what we hear. Not everyone has your best interest at heart and not everyone has the right to speak into your life. I've learned that you can't follow someone who is going nowhere. Pick your companions wisely.

I've learned that complaining about something does not change the fact nor does it make you feel better. The complaints just spew out like brain sewage and in the end you find yourself in the same position you were in before your oral diarrhea. If you don't like something, change it. I've learned that it's okay to be scared. We don't always have all the answers--and we're not supposed to. I've learned that there's no greater joy than being with someone who cares as much about you as you do about them. Neither love nor happiness can be forced; and there is no mistaking either of them. Either you feel it or you don't.

I've learned that life is as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. All you have to do is choose. But at the end of it all--whether we are happy, sad, or in between--none of us are going to survive it.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Shit Ranting with an Angry Heart

Is the road to deception really paved with good intentions?

I think not.

I have always wondered to myself about people who live a lie, especially those who go to church every Sunday and spend their lives teaching their children how to live a Christian life. How am I supposed to take you seriously when you have three different families with children all the same age and a wife? Or when you spend half your time here and half your time elsewhere living the life of a bachelor when you clearly have a family to support?

Some people are so twisted.

I cannot even live with myself after I lie about going to watch Despicable Me when I really plan on watching Grown Ups. How can someone look at him or herself in the mirror meanwhile leading two lives? How can you look at your wife's child in the morning and your other woman in the evening?

I figure after a while, people grow up and out of their "I'm young free and uncommitted" phase and learn to settle their ass down and be the best person they can be. I've been mistaken. All my life I've given people the benefit of the doubt. I am friends with everyone and anyone and I am quicker to forgive than to forget someone. I've always been the person who convinces people to just let it go; after all I've been disappointed a million times, by a billion different people and I'm still alive.

But this one hurts.

It's one thing to forgive someone's lie when you see that person but once every holiday, and it's one thing when someone only lies to you about something or someone. But what happens when they are the lie. What happens when you find out that the sweet little girl next door, who you thought was your friend, is not so sweet, spends too much time with the boys next door -- or should I say, all the boys in the neighbourhood -- and is not truly your friend at all. Granted it is not my place to judge anyone by their choices, if it's the neighbourhood that makes you happy then by all means circle it, twice if it's better the second time around. But don't drag me into your little lie. If you're a bitch you better be a bitch when I meet you and every day thereafter. You're not allowed to change your entire being halfway through our friendship.

Yeah, I said it. And believe me, I mean it.

What's more, I hate finding out about something through the grape vine. If you have something to say then tell me. All five feet two inches of me can handle it. (Sounds intimidating doesn't it?) I promise that though I may have the urge to slap you across the face, chances are I probably won't. But the important part is that I will forever appreciate your honesty.

I have a lot of anger and resentment in my heart. So much that I am almost certain it is unsafe. I found out too many things in one day, and my opinion on some important people and largely life itself took a turn for the worst. In the end, I find, a male-female relationship is no different from a friend-friend relationship -- not that I ever thought it was.

No matter how careful you are at picking your friends or significant other, you never really know their long-term intentions; but one thing you can always be sure of is that people always have ulterior motives.

The good part? Sometimes those motives are good. Sometimes, they can benefit you too. You just have to choose wisely.

Very wisely.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Love & Marriage

Growing up in a family full of men, I was never the type to fantasize about a fairy-tale relationship with a breath-taking wedding and a happily ever after.

Sure I read the books and saw the movies: I know all about the beautiful princesses who kissed the frog and lived under the sea, the evil witches who handed out poisonous fruit and sleeping spells, the stepmother who turned her stepdaughter into a maid, and their subsequent happy endings. All of that was nice to think about and good to read, but let's face it, stories are just stories--and that is all they will ever be.

These days we are so far from fairy-tales that I don't even think people still teach their kids about Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or Rapunzel. It is hard enough for a child to observe a healthy and stable home life without both parents, what good would it do to teach them about something that you as a parent have not even been able to find.

I don't think we remember how important it is to have a mother and father present at home. It's more than just a picturesque faรงade; it provides your child with proper stability, morals, and understanding of the value of a family unit. I know I recently said that "do as I say not as I do" makes sense; but when it comes to basic childhood moulding, what you see is much more impressionable than what you hear. And although those first few years of life are what create each of us, it does not mean that it is okay to walk out on a teenager or adolescent.

Relationships at home are insight to the relationships we will eventually have. You might never have heard it in this context but what you see is certainly what you get--unless of course you make a serious effort to change that.

This blog is not dedicated to bashing humanity, though I am sure I could go on for days. I was inspired by a friend of mine, not much older than I am, who recently married the love of his life. I knew he was crazy about her but I never expected him to take that next step. Still, I cannot say how proud I am that he did. I am so used to being disappointed by people's relationships, whether it's because they break up or because one of them exercises bad judgement, but it always hurts me when I see a promising young couple break-up. As weird as that sounds, I know I am not the only hopeless romantic who looks on to other couple's hoping they make it through this rough world.

I've always felt like if you truly love someone there's no limit to the things you will do to maintain a relationship with that person. The little things that people allow to break them up after so long are not supposed to be that powerful. People are too quick to jump up and talk about independency and the death of chivalry, but no one is willing to compromise anymore. Women seem to have something to prove by paying for their own meal or opening their own door, and then they want to complain when a guy does not do it for them. Well, what do you expect when we don't teach them how to do things like that anymore or appreciate the very few who do?

I think the world is confused. We no longer know what we want from others or what is acceptable. Something so conventional as marriage now seems like a foreign concept. Gays and lesbians are fighting for it more than the traditional couples. No one believes in the sanctity of marriage anymore; in fighting to keep families together. No one believes in love. No one believes in forever.

But who do you think created that monster?

We did; that's who.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Ranch Adventures

I spent the past year blaming Orlando for my shitty, for lack of a better word, circumstances but I am just now realising that it has nothing to do with where I am. It's just Life teaching me how to be alone.

Let me clarify, though, this blog is not a complaint. I might be alone but I am never lonely--due in part to my supportive nuclear family, my many friends and acquaintances, and my wonderful boyfriend. It has been far too long since brother unlucky has given me something to write about, mostly because it has been a while since I visited the land of alligators. I am wondering if that is actually a good thing, though, considering his nickname lends itself to describing the unfortunate events he encounters. Anyway, I have indeed had my own adventures.

Last Sunday there was a day party called Perfect X to which I had all intentions of attending--during the day. Due to unforeseen circumstances chiney tings and I arrived at 10 30 p.m., only about half an hour before the party was scheduled to end. (Oh, the things that ceases to be important when a party is free.) Nevertheless, the real adventure was the driving to and fro.

To begin, the party was on a ranch only about a few minutes away from where I live. I suppose if we had arrived there during the day as the party-keepers intended, the dark and lonely road would have been far less dark and not nearly as lonely. It is no secret that the home-owners in those areas are accustomed to and perhaps greatly enjoy the darkness that befalls when the sun goes down. Oftentimes I wonder to myself if I would enjoy living in a big house on plenty of land in the middle of nowhere with no street lights. Needless to say, I don't think I would. (Not in the US anyway.) With all that money what does it take to invest in a street light or two. I'd much prefer that option as opposed to seeing cars drive by with their bright lights pointed right at my house.

It makes you wonder as you drive by if maybe there is someone inside one of the houses who is watching you as you pollute their area with your lights. After all, don't we as humans always notice the unusual? They probably know how many cars, on average, venture into their neighbourhood and which cars belong to which house. Other than that, you'd be surprised to know that they are peeking at you through their extensive drapery as you try to figure out where you are going.

I know you might be thinking, my imagination is far too wild, but what would you say if I told you I am speaking from experience?

During my senior year, bonafide, trinidad, and I decided out of boredom that we would take an adventure over into the dark areas of Griffin Road and Southwest Ranches. My cousin who lives over there told me about a haunted house with a moat that he and his friends had visited before and that sounded perfect. Considering the fact that scary movies were amongst my favourites at that time in my life, a nice haunted house adventure sounded like something I would thoroughly enjoy. We got no directions, though, and spent the night driving around looking for something very hard to find. But don't be discouraged; it was adventure we wanted and adventure we got.

Upon searching for somewhere dark and desolate to pull over and use the bathroom (I am Jamaican, don't look so surprised) we encountered perhaps the most unexplained event of the night. After turning down an alley, trinidad and I hopped out towards the bushes. The first thing we saw when we walked up ahead was a huge brownish red stain in the road. Immediately we stopped and looked at each other as if to make sure both of us were seeing the same thing--dried up blood.

Since it was in the middle of the road, we figured it was a dead animal. We ran back to my car and turned on my lights and went back to look. No dead animal; but the stain was certainly blood. We looked at each other again and the next thing we knew we heard soft Carnival music in the distance. (For all my fellow Caribes, I don't mean Soca music.) It was the kind of music you hear when you're on a merry go-round, and coming from the middle of nowhere we could not believe it. We immediately went right back to the car, turned it around, and headed back to the main road. With my lights shining up ahead, bonafide pointed out a huge poster-sized portrait of a native american woman just ahead. The picture was surrounded by flowers and candles and none of us had noticed it before. To not get carried away, we ruled it out as one of those RIP things that the family of the deceased put up in memory of their loved one.

Like true scary movie participants, we decided to keep looking for trouble. On that search I sure did notice people peeking through curtains as we drove by. There was one person whose shadow was printed out in its entirety on the window pane. I stopped to intensify the mood until I saw the door open. This was no stranger than the car that appeared out of nowhere with the bright blue light that seemed to trail it. It was just as strange when that same car started to follow me.

Needless to say, we never found the house. Maybe one day I'll go looking again. A good adventure with my friends is never anything short of entertaining.

Just like the unintentional wrong-side-of-the-road-driving that had me and chiney ting dying with laughter after the "day party" last Sunday.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

What is your Equation?

I've heard the quote "do as I say not as I do" and often thought to myself "well isn't that hypocritical." In retrospect, and now that I am older of course, it makes a whole lot of sense.

Sometimes you just can't help your situation, but that doesn't mean you'd wish it on even your worst enemy. More often than not our brains and emotions work against each other. Half of you tells you to do this, meanwhile the other half begs you to do that. Naturally, I think it is safe to say that we are not always in control. (Although as the highest life-forms on the planet none of us like to be told we are not in full control at any given time.)

The truth is, it's easier to hand out poetic advice than to swallow it yourself. It is also easier--for most people anyway--to listen to another person's situation than to talk about his or her own.

I've always been good at being poetic--after all I am a writer. As for figuring out what to do with my own life, most of the times that seems to escape me. And in the midst of my emotional and perhaps overly dramatic charades I always have a moment to myself where I think "Wow. Are you the biggest bullshitter liar on the planet or what." For someone who preaches The Secret and you-get-what-you-give-so-send-the-universe-the-right-message, what the hell is wrong with my universe? By all accounts my life is supposed to be something of a Utopia. Yet for some reason perfection is as far away from existence as flying unicorns and leprechauns at the end of rainbows. (What's a math teacher who is no good at math?)

Unfortunately for us, life is nothing like mathematics. In math, two plus two always equals four; there is no way around it. For every word problem there is a solution; all it takes is a little memorization but the equation is there--and it never changes. In life, there is no equation but the one you decide to make on your own. Whichever equation you think fits your word problem best is the one you use. Needless to say, the right solution is never a sure thing. It is never definite. Two people who use the same equation almost never get the same result.

Of all the living creatures on this planet, I'm starting to think we are the most dormant and confused. Even the little turtles my units discovered in our backyard this evening have it all figured out. Granted, they usually head to the water at nighttime, but upon inadvertently digging up the nest they built in our garden, their natural instinct kicked into gear. These little turtles with no help, no instruction, no guidance, and shells soft enough to be stepped on and cracked into pieces, were caught unaware and still managed to get it together. (Talk about making lemonade with the lemons being thrown at you.) They are born with the inherent inclination that if nothing else, they need to get to the water. Everything after that is a learning experience that teaches them how to survive the odds.

Seems to me that we just might be the only "animals" who have yet to figure out what mother nature intended for us. We seem to have forgotten that all we really should be doing is fighting for basic survival--just like the turtles, the birds, the fish, the lizards, and well... every thing else in the world.

The last time I checked, emotions don't kill. They serve as nothing else but a damned distraction.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

I was reading through some of my older blogs and came across one about the seemingly never-ending apartment hunting I did earlier this year.

It talked about how excited I was to be living with 3 friends instead of unknown hermits, and how we could share the fridge not just with designated spaces but also with content. I cook today; you cook tomorrow. I'll wash the dishes next day and you clean the kitchen the day after. One milk, one butter, one loaf of bread, one happy family.

It's too bad in life things rarely ever happen the way you want them to. People don't practise to put your needs before their own--and why should they. At the end of the day, we live in a lonely and selfish I'm-independent-so-I-don't-need-you-as-much-as-you-think-I-need-you world filled with people who scramble around everyday of their life only so they can compare their material things that make them so happy at the week's end.

I can't say how happy I am that I've realised this so early. It could have taken half my energy, all of my tears, and a lifetime of failed attempts at trying to accommodate others. It doesn't mean I'm going to live a selfish life too, and I will never agree that that is the key to happiness. If you ask me, the solution lies within the things we are teaching each other. We don't teach people how to care anymore; we teach them how to be careful. You're supposed to get what you give so why not give love. What better a gift than to know you're not alone--than to know that there are a handful of people who can be held accountable for the blessing of companionship in your life. Everyone needs someone.


Lucky for me I have more than a handful. And maybe where I went wrong was trying to fill more hands than what I was born with. It's like adding water to a cup that is already three quarters full. Eventually the water starts spilling over and soon you can hardly tell which is new and which is old because at some point the contents of the cup got mixed and for all you know some of the old water spilled out in the overflow and you're left with a cup full of water you no longer recognise.

I can't afford for my cup of good water to spill over or be mixed. If anything, i'll just have to find another cup: there is plenty more love for me to share and plenty of people whom I have yet to meet & befriend.

If even my second cup is being stubborn, then i'll just have to find another way to change the world.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

One Year Later

I had every intention to write a blog on my one year anniversary even if I had absolutely nothing to say. But the day has passed and I am just getting around to writing.

If you want to know what I have been doing...Well, it is really not much of anything. I don't think I have a viable excuse for missing out on it--although training with the boyfriend has kept me quite busy lately. I am afraid that when he is gone I am going to miss having something to do on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays on top of already missing him. On the positive side...Umm, I'll get back to that.

As for reflecting on my first year as a blogger, I have mixed emotions. (In my life right now I have mixed emotions so maybe that is indirectly playing its part.) I kind of figured that by this time I would have a larger following and would have written my every life experience. I certainly never expected to skip so many days, and only post once or twice a month. What with my life being so boring you would think I have enough time to simply sit down and write.

I've never ever really had a problem coming up with something to write about. It seems as though all I really need to do is log in, press "new post" and voila! I'd have a page-long of utter rubbish--entertaining rubbish but rubbish indeed. Would you believe me if I told you that 90 percent of my blogs came straight from my head in a you-better-sit-down-and-type-whatever-comes-to-mind-because-you-have-skipped-out-on-enough-blog-days kind of way. People have seen me do it, and it always gets me thinking when they turn to me and say "How do you do it? I wish I could just sit down and write like that" because it's something that just comes so naturally to me.

So why don't I write more often, you say? Ah, well I knew that was coming but still do not have an answer. I guess the answer lies somewhere in between me not wanting to turn on the computer at all and my phone suddenly not being able to properly access this blogger website. I find that last summer when my phone allowed me to post I was typing more blogs than BBMs. Now, I sit on the phone too often yet blog too little.

I have plenty of time to fix that, though. And today is just as good a day to fix it as any.

Happy one year!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Rough Seas

Ever since the day we went fishing my stomach has not been the same.

Last Friday during our vacation, the units, brother unluckyTrinidad, the boyfriend and I went out on a fishing boat. It wasn't the boat we always go on but what is a trip to the Keys without a trip on the seas. We always come back boasting coolers (and yes I meant to pluralise that) full of fish, and this trip was not supposed to be any different.

We weren't so lucky.

I think all of us would rather blame the location--and maybe even the oil spill--for the small amount of fish we caught, but it was mother nature who took us on that night because the fish were present.

The week was super relaxing, though we spent most of it watching football and planning all other events around the matches. When everyone supports a different team it just means dedicating more time to watching than just one day. (Note to self: Do not plan a trip with men during the World Cup.)

The weather was perfect, the people were friendly, and the island breeze felt good when relaxing by the pool, walking around town, and laying out at the beach. Who doesn't like a nice breeze mixed in with some heavy sunshine?

About half the boat; that's who.

We chose what we thought was the least windy of our days to head out to sea. We even decided to go at night to escape the tremendous heat. But it seems as if the trip was doomed from the start.

As a precaution, mother dearest, the boyfriend and I decided to take the seasick pill considering the fact that we are somewhat prone to it. (Sure you can take a moment to gasp. Yes; the mermaid gets seasick. Jaw-dropping shocker I know.) I definitely felt like that was the night I was going to get sick. In a sick and twisted turn of events--no pun intended--I was the only one in the group who didn't.

The boat left the dock around 7pm and we sailed for about an hour and 20 minutes before finding the perfect location. By 9 o clock, half an hour later, about 20 of the boat's approximately 30 passengers were hurling their guts overboard. All around me all I could hear--besides the splish-splash of the water on the side of the boat--was urghhh and aghhh and blechh. You would think that after a while of that you would want to throw up yourself. I didn't. But everyone else caught on. It was something like an epidemic. One by one everyone slowly stopped fishing.

I won't take credit for being the only soldier on the boat though, as there were a few completely weird normal people in the bow who fished the entire night as if the right-side-up-ness of the boat was not being threatened with every mini-tsunami. That impressed me. I certainly couldn't fish the whole time, what with the wind blowing throw up in my face from all sides. Eventually, only about five people out of the whole boat were still fishing, and I was not one of them. I took the time to lay down and ensure that I kept what was in my stomach, in my stomach.

It took a lot of concentration.

Speaking of soldier, I have to hand it to the boyfriend who caught the biggest fish in our group. He will never be able to live down the fact that he was throwing up and reeling in fish simultaneously. Had all of us kept fishing no doubt we would have filled our buckets as we usually do; but the last thing on anyone's mind were fish (They were too busy counting down the hours until the boat would start moving at 11 30.)

Looking back, everyone can laugh about it. (And the throw up really made for good chum. That's why the lady in the back who fished all night ended up pulling in a massive gray snapper a few minutes after the boyfriend's runner-up.) I know there were many prayers going around and many people yearning to go back to dry land where they can finally stay still.

The worst part of it all, though, is that the fish were certainly out--and boy were they biting.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Did You Miss Me?

I am going to blame my most recent and longest hiatus on two things; World Cup and summer school. The latter, and perhaps most annoying, will no longer work as an excuse though. As of Friday, June 25, summer classes finished.

Truth be told I was only taking two classes, but they were online, and not nearly as exciting as the classes I took last summer. One of them, though, was "Magazine Writing" which--needless to say--I did very much enjoy. Toward the end of the class we were instructed to write an article of any topic and actually submit it to a real magazine for publication. Exciting or what?

Since then I have been debating whether or not I should publish the article on my blog, or if I should even discuss the topic. For some reason, I feel like it should not be published here before it is published in a magazine. (Crosses fingers.) Makes sense, right?

Anyway, on to the controversial history-making month long greatest show on the planet--World Cup 2010: Live from South Africa. I have barely missed a match since it started three weeks ago, mostly because the boyfriend and Pops are here. In true Me-Him style, we are cheering for two different sides; him against my side and mine against his. (Viva Espana!!) His team, Brasil, is the team that arguably 80% of Jamaicans cheer for. How boring! Where is the competition when everyone is cheering for the same team? The funniest part to me is that im sure Brasil does not love Jamaica half as much as Jamaica loves them.

Still, there are many things about the World Cup that have caused controversy. The USA got cheated out of two goals by Refs claiming off-side, meanwhile England didn't get a goal that clearly should have been counted. And who can ever forget the embarassing 7 nil that Portugal gave North Korea. (Did Spain really lose to Switzerland!?)

The team that has done the worst, in my eyes, is France. (But England is giving them a run for their money.) Did they even score one goal? From what I can remember, Anelka was too busy cussing off the Coach who was too busy not shaking the other Coach's hand after his team lost. Evidently, FIFA can ban them for shit things like that. Shame on the French.

Brasil plays Chile in half an hour and I hope it is a better match than the one they played against Portugal. No doubt that match fell into the top 5 most boring of the season. (And I cannot stand Cristiano Ronaldo, who seems to think the team is named after him. Selfish much?) There I was thinking it was going to be one of the best matches thus far.

The surprises never end.

Friday, 28 May 2010

In Other News

Today begins the highly anticipated "Memorial Weekend."

Since my last post many rumours have been circulating concerning America's presence in the Caribbean country of Jamaica, as people wonder why one man--Christopher Coke--is worthy of so much trouble and media attention. Being as open as I am, I can say that some of these theories are harder to believe than others.

Still, I am not writing today about the situation at hand, though I am sure you can understand that since the event is right in my backyard I am very much affected by it. Nonetheless, those who are abroad can only watch and wait as the events unfold. In the meanwhile, I will update accordingly. (I'm a little happy about it because it gave me something interesting to write about.)

This weekend I have all intentions of enjoying myself fully. Many of my friends are coming in town for the holiday weekend and most of them intend to party, party, and party some more. Of course, as my new year's post indicated, partying nonstop is not my favourite thing to do. I much prefer to take advantage of the fact that everyone is in one place and have some sort of game or kalooki night and maybe spend a day at the beach if the weather permits.

I've noticed that the weather has been insanely bipolar all of this week, but I am hoping the rain can hold up for the weekend. Last night we had a mini-hurricane which started very sporadically after an otherwise sunny blue-sky day. Just the same, after dimsum with my cousin the day before, we decided to waste some time by walking around in the mall a little.

When it was time to leave we noticed that the great flood was outside. Being the badass person that I am, though, I vowed to go and get the car for her since we left the umbrella in there. Needless to say, I was soaked; and my poor little feet slopped through the inches of water beneath me.

I was never one to be afraid of water though, after all I am a swimmer.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Exhaustion of The Subject

Evidently there's still much controversy about whether or not the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) should be fighting this war in Kingston. However, buses that were sent into Tivoli Gardens yesterday for "innocent" people came out empty. Instead, the people adamantly displayed their phones--which were allegedly taken from them by gunmen as ransom--and expressed the fact that they were not held as hostages in the community.

U.S. broadcasts showed even a dog with a cardboard sign saying "We will die for Dudus" as people stood around and demonstrated, comparing Coke to Jesus Christ. I personally believe that JDF is doing a good job. So far the numbers show 25 dead and 211 detained--women & children alike. To some it may sound like too much, to others too little; but at the end of the day history shows that out of revolution comes change.

Unfortunately, innocent people almost always get caught in a war. Many wars have been fought across the planet and some Jamaicans are advocating aggressively because 25 gunmen died? Wake up! They have all collaborated to fight against the security forces, so I say kill them all. As one person wrote, we cannot afford for them to regroup. Perimeters should be set outside of the hot spots in an effort to capture those who have escaped the onslaught. JDF should also have an unlimited access to weaponry and ammunition; it is absolutely unacceptable that these men should be running out of bullets in the middle of a war.

Bloodshed is never something to be proud of, but it is important that we remember that all those who remain in the battle are there by choice--worst those who are firing back at the security forces. The "innocent" who were given the opportunity to leave the area, vowed to stay there and defend Coke until the end. So be it.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Seriously Though?

I am appalled at what is going on in my home country and the international attention is detrimental to our tourism sector, which is all that the previous political party has left us with.

Ever since the extradition papers were signed by the Prime Minister (PM) for Christopher "Dudus" Coke, Kingston and Saint Andrew residents and onlookers have been on the edge of their seats.

The entire Kingston area was put on lock down sometime last week for "precautionary reasons." Everyone was sent home and all businesses closed. Yesterday the US navy arrived off the coast of Jamaica meanwhile JDF and JCF headed to Tivoli Gardens to face a stand-off that has extended into today. About an hour ago the Government declared a state of emergency for both Kingston and St. Andrew. Evidently, all gunmen have barricaded themselves inside Tivoli Gardens, joined forces against the police, and are planning to launch coordinating attacks against security forces.

Would you believe all of this is over one man? The blatant and embarrassing ignorance of majority of the people in my country never ceases to amaze me. To know that they are willing to take down the entire country just for one man is disgusting!

If you ask me, they should just blow up all of Tivoli Gardens. It may sound cruel, but logically thinking I can assume that all who remain there are either foolish beyond my understanding, or are a part of the entire ordeal. What better opportunity than now to kill all of the high-risk gunmen in the country at once?

Furthermore, it will give the upcoming gunmen a chance to think twice about the life they want to live and which path they decide to travel.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

That Never Happened

I wish there was a way to just get rid of a memory or an event that you'd rather not remember.

I've been trying to think up ways to get over a regret or a mistake by learning from it and then immediately clearing it from memory. I feel like I've made many mistakes and have done many things I am not proud of. Often times I found myself putting other people's wants, needs, and interests before mine only to feel used and worthless in the end. If I could go back, there are so many things I would have done differently. But I can't; and they happened.

Now I spend plenty of time thinking about what I have done. I think of all the things I have said, all the people I have hurt, all the people who have hurt me, and I don't know where to put it. I've been told that I need to learn to let go, and I made it a priority to do just that. I spent most of my day yesterday clearing out my sentimental drawers. I threw away things I was holding and keeping for no reason; got rid of pictures and reminders I shouldn't have had so long to begin with. Yet still, I don't feel any lighter. The weight of the past still brings me down.

I think a lot about what would happen if I became rich and famous. Would all the scum from my past resurface? Would people from all over come out & say things to bring me down? I wonder why I even have skeletons to worry about in the first place. As human beings we live to sin and make mistakes. Why am I ashamed of the life I've lived? Why did I spend so much time doing things I never truly wanted to do? When did Meisha's happiness come in to play?

I need to learn to love me before I can love & be loved. I've spent years trying to convince people that self-confidence is key, and ironically enough I have none. I don't feel wholesome in myself & my accomplishments; in my relationships & my achievements. I always feel like I fall short of my goals and intentions and have no one but myself to blame. The sad part is that I've never had a problem accepting the role I play in any and everything if I had one, and I'm always the first one to take the blame.

I'm thinking maybe there are plenty of pluses to getting amnesia and I wish there was a way to induce it. What I would do to be able to forget some of the people I've met, the things I've done, and the feelings I've felt. I had hoped that by ridding myself of all physical manifestation of an event or time period I'd also rid myself of the emotional baggage. Life doesn't work like that though. It's up to you to learn what you need to from an experience and then leave it in the past where it belongs.

The universe has yet to create a reset button.