Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Can I Go to the Doctor Yet?

Evidently the new health care bill was passed by Congress the day before yesterday, so I am assuming that you have been expecting a blog.

I had all intentions of writing about this yesterday, but I never found the time. Still, a part of me feels one-sided for even having an opinion because I have no idea what the bill truly entails. (Excuse me if I do my research meanwhile writing this blog.)

I have, however, read a few articles on the matter, all with very ambiguous references to what the bill is actually describing. What stood out far more than the implications of the bill itself, were the 34 comments I almost died reading. The American people have proven themselves to be wholeheartedly selfish, yet again. I read about this bill being the beginning of socialism and communism, to hearing about the NWO and the plans for a North American Union, to "Obummer and his vermin," "Hussein and his cronies," "the Democrats from hell," the "Washington Wolf-pack," and "Oblahblah the Antichrist." Evidently, the founding fathers are "turning in their graves" and "we the people" need to make a stand.

What a joke.

To refrain from putting my foot in my mouth, I will neither be for nor against this bill until I have read it myself. I do not know what all will truly be affected, and in all honesty, I am not sure any of us do. As usual, Congress managed to leave out the voice of the general public and keep the details of the bill largely esoteric. (If you have not realised as yet, we don't have nearly as much power, if any at all, as we think we do by writing or voicing opinions, petitioning, or voting.) As evidenced by history, revolutions are the only methods that help us to get our voices heard.

Still, I am not fully convinced that this bill is the death of America the "free" and I am still trying to find out what is so "horrendous" about a North American Union. (Other than the Almighty America not being able to stand alone and bully the world anymore. Oh no! Say it ain't so.)

In my opinion, a reform is absolutely necessary. I have always believed that if free health care can be effective in other developed countries then there is no reason why it could not work here in the US. Albeit, not everything that works overseas can work here, I do believe that if Congress had our best interest in mind, something could come out of this entire debate that would benefit not just the sick, but the working class as well --even if it is not universal health care.

What bothers me and seems to be at the forefront of the anti-health reform debate is the amount of power we will be giving to the government in reference to our health. (Of course it would not be as easy as giving us the freedom to choose whether or not we want to go to the doctor every year for a general check-up.) The conspiracy theory within me believes that this is an easy way for the Government to mandate the use of certain drugs and the distribution of vaccinations, much like what is already done now for college and high school students.

The idea behind free health care is good; but can we handle it? Can we trust that the government will leave us with our own choices when it comes to getting surgery, medicines, or chemotherapy? Will Doctors still maintain pride in their profession and vow to give their patients the best treatment possible despite their payroll?

I am afraid the failure of our country to provide its citizens with even simply affordable health care is due to the extensively capitalistic and greedy nature of this society. Upper class Americans would much prefer to leave the power in the hands of private corporations than in the general public--and with good reason. The Government has effortlessly continued to limit what we know about specific policies and programs, all with the underlying desire to maintain the corruption they have so long been dependent on, and keep the people largely ignorant and believing in whatever conspiracy he or she sees fit.

I have been told by my high school government teacher that officials do not get elected to instill "change;" they are elected to keep everything the same. One and a half years later, and with a different approach to presidency, Obama and his entire administration is being cursed and condemned for their effort to do something different. But the cliche "if it is not broken do not fix it" cannot apply to a system that is not working. If the average middle class homeowner cannot afford to be sick then something seriously needs to be fixed--and it's not just their health.

It is not okay to remove a family from its house because the mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and the medical bills piled up and drove them to bankruptcy. I will never be too rich to understand the concept of empathy and compassion.

My advice to you, the general public, is that before you go about forming opinions about America becoming socialist, fascist, or communist, please be advised that in many respects, we already are a combination of all three. Why are you worrying about the government having access to your finances, when just a regular bank can clean out your account if you owe them money? I, an average citizen, can go online and find out where you live, what you do for a living, what you drive, where you work, how many people live with you, and what properties you own. Do not be fooled into thinking that anything much will change. If anything, this bill should open your eyes to what is already out.

The biggest problem with this bill is CAPITALISM. Not socialism, not fascism, not communism. Those who can already afford to be sick simply refuse to pay taxes for anyone else to be. The big protest has NOTHING TO DO with too much governmental control. No one has a problem if a private company tells you that they cannot cover your current medical bill because you did not file for it before you got into the car accident. No one has a problem with the company telling you that you had a root canal five years ago so now that you have a heart problem you cannot claim it on your insurance. No one has a problem with the plethora of diseases that MediCare will not cover.

So what is the difference?

There is a chance that the bill can work out. Jobs will be provided, and in due time the average pay check will be higher. There is always room for improvement and sometimes a change is necessary. But you have to drop the pebble in the water before it can move.

I promise you Mr. Big Business, that one less Maserati will not send you to the emergency room. And if it does, what is left of your 10-digit pay check should be able to cover the fees, if any, from that minor heart attack.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Gaza vs Gully

For those of you who know me, you know I am never afraid to say, or write, whatever is on my mind; and this is long overdue.

About a year ago there was a rift between two Dancehall artistes Mavado and Vybz Kartel. (If you are Jamaican then you know them both; if not you probably just know Mavado.) Before the rift the two men made a few songs together. Afterward, they made songs about each other.

You see, an unfortunate aspect of Dancehall music is intense rivalry and, for lack of a better word, hatred. The artistes are never afraid to let it be known that they do not like someone, which happens very often and usually because of something jovial. In fact, the music they create about each other circulates very well around the island. I was never one to support songs that talk very vividly and angrily about violence and murder, but it is practically inescapable.

This whole "Gully vs Gaza" thing really began as Mavado, representing the Gullyside, versus Kartel, representing the Gaza. (Based on the violent Gaza strip in the Middle East.) The two men appeared at an annual concert in Jamaica called "Sting" during the Christmas break of 2008, where they battled each other through song, allowing the crowd to choose their favourite entertainer in the end.

Eventually, Kartel began building the "Portmore Empire" meanwhile Vado worked with the "Alliance," which has also expanded. The two G's divided Jamaica even more than it already was (which I did not know was possible). All the ignorant people ran around and fought with each other over who supported what and why. In the end, almost everyone took a stance, based on which artist was their favourite.

I chose to support the Gaza. I always had a strong love for Kartel's music, and I believe that he is extremely talented. I also had a strange feeling about Mavado. (I will admit I was every bit afraid of him. Especially after seeing him in person and getting the "evil eye.")

Unfortunately, for every belief there are extremists, which in this case applies to both the fans and even the musicians themselves. They have all succeeded in dividing my beautiful country with the one thing that is supposed to bring the whole world together; music.

Even after an alleged "make-up" between Kartel and Mavado, there is still tension. People are still running around and doing stupid things because of who they support and who they do not. After another artiste, Black Ryno, decided to leave the Gaza, his house was burnt down, and shots have been allegedly fired at his family home. Just the same it is alleged that another member was beat up after being kicked out. This whole "Gaza" thing is starting to sound more like a gang than a music label or group of musicians.

This is where I draw the line. It is one thing to make music with clever lyrics, but it is another to take those lyrics to action. Considering the crime rate in Jamaica, I am not even sure why violent music has not yet been banned. And when I say banned, I mean not allowed to even be recorded yet alone played on any radio station, CD, or even at a party. It might sound quite barbaric, but I do think it is necessary.

What really prompted me to dedicate an entire blog to the ignorance of the situation, is the fact that even the producers are being targeted with threats. The last time I checked, all they do is make the music. They do not write the song, nor should they even pick a side. Furthermore, the entire argument—from the very beginning— is irrelevent, childish, ignorant, and laughable at best. I actually feel quite embarrassed that this is the type of music coming from my country and that such talented people are so damned ignorant.

The Gaza is just continuing to disappoint me, meanwhile Mavado is doing more positive things for Dancehall music. (I have to admit I was very proud the morning I turned on VH1 and saw Mavado. He was in a music video with Wycleff Jean singing about Haiti and the earthquake.)

Maybe it is because I know one of those targeted producers personally, but I have decided to renounce my support of Kartel and the Gaza. This is my official renunciation.

For all those who can understand, hillside mi seh!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Microwave Generation

Upon sitting in my terrorism class this morning, I heard my teacher make reference to our generation as the "microwave generation." Even though I was not fully paying attention, those two words struck a nerve in my mind.

Let's think about this. Re-wind to the days before the microwave was invented. That gets rid of all of those microwaveable instant foods like Chef Boyardee and Cup Soup. Imagine everyday life without a microwave. We would have to rely on the stove top & the oven for everything; even if we just want a cup of warm milk to drink before bed. Leftovers would require a pot and a lot of patience, not to mention we would have to cook or buy restaurant food much more often. I'm not sure if our generation could handle it, although it may sound quite trivial and easy to manage.

We have been told many times that our generation is moving at a fast-pace. I have observed some of the changes from my lifetime alone, and often wonder what to expect for the next few years. I have lived through radios with only a few stations, to tape players, CD players, MP3s, and iPods. (Microsoft Word does not even correct those anymore.) I have gone from watching black & white shows of I Love Lucy to High-Definition TV that can be paused and re-wound. If I decide to have children, showing them a VHS, a CD player, a Nokia flashlight phone with no camera that can only make & receive calls or text messages, or a television that is bigger in the back than the remote is, would leave them in sheer amazement and probably with a few laughs. We have gone from video recorders and cameras without screens, to touch screen cameras that can take and show both pictures and videos. (My father is currently fighting a losing battle in an effort to convert our old VHS tapes to DVD's so we can replay some of our old family videos; there is nothing in our house that can play a tape from an “ancient” video recorder.)

And this is all just in my two-decade lifetime. I cannot imagine how my elders feel about all of the rapid changes that they have seen take place over the past few years, coming from record players and televisions with only a handful of channels. (I've heard talk of a future with pause-&-play touch screen televisions that not even I can begin to fathom.) We have all taken advantage of these luxuries, and have gotten quite comfortable with their convenience. Even I am guilty of it as I sit here and write this blog from my cellular telephone. But it certainly leaves me to wonder; when is it going to be too much? Will it ever get to a point when such advancements will have gone overboard?

This brings me back to the statement my professor made; He called us "the microwave generation" because we want things now. We never want to wait for anything. We want express lines at Disney, we want to fast-forward through commercials, we want to see the pictures we took right away, we want to get online as soon as we turn on the computer, we want to reheat our food in less than two minutes, we want to hear the song right now...

Remember America Online? Where you had to connect to the internet through use of dial-up? The sounds of the computer dialling a number & trying to establish a connection seem so ancient now.

Still, I am not sure I can say I ever missed out on much of life by sitting at the desk and waiting an extra few minutes for my computer to connect. What is the rush anyway? We only fast-forward through the commercials to then sit in front of the television all day. As fast as the internet connects, we still spend hours online pretending what we are doing is important. The only example I've used that makes any sense to me is the concept of the microwave. (Food is my weakness.) Other than satisfying hunger, what are we in such a hurry to do?

As far as I am concerned, the slow dial-up was quite the deterrent. It made me think twice about sitting in front of a computer screen—which is a great thing. I spent far more time socialising with people of whom I could actually see and feel, as opposed to a picture or name in a chat room or instant message.

Do not get me wrong, I'm sure technology has helped to reunite and rekindle friendships all across the world, and I am certainly not knocking that. I just think we should slow it down a little and take more time to be with our families, or go outside and take a walk and observe whatever is left of the land on which we live. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on the new flat screen or cellular telephone, take a trip with your significant other to a place you've never been. (It quite possibly could save your otherwise fast-paced and unsuccessful marriage.) Tour a museum. Learn how to swim, or how to ride a horse. Go on a road trip to visit distant relatives; those few hours in the car make for good bonding time and irreplaceable memories.

There is so much more to this world we live in than just gadgets and gizmos.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Beach, Park, Range

I had never seen as many people at the beach as I did on Wednesday afternoon.

It was the one day this week that was both warm and sunny and the entire Florida population of spring breakers made their way to South Beach for a much needed beach day.

When I approached the beach in the mid-afternoon I saw so many people that I swore there was some kind of concert. It reminded me of ATI in Negril Jamaica because that is the only time I am accustomed to such a large crowd gathering on the beach.

At first, the day was very confused. It seemed like the closer we got to the beach the cloudier it became. (Not to mention the high winds that were blowing away Fabian.) Right before we got on the bridge to cross over onto the islands, we were held up in a traffic jam. It was a convoy of two cars and the person behind us, whiplash, was following for directions. All of a sudden, she got a hunch and decided to take a "detour" in order to avoid the traffic.

I knew right away the detour would be a failure because there is only one bridge, but we decided to go along for the adventure since she was so convinced her GPS was telling her where to go. (I have a thing against GPS systems because I feel like people rely on them so much that they will never truly learn how to get around.)

In the end, after whiplash got lost, panicked, and waited for us to find her, we finally made it back on the bridge for traffic that lasted all of about 10 minutes, if that much.

Eventually, by the time we arrived, even the clouds went away and we were all able to feel like the beach was a good idea after all. The wind never really died down and the water was extremely cold, but being the mermaid I am, I had to go in there anyway and it started to feel really good after a while. My prima esposa was the only one with enough balls to brave the cold along with me and we acted like little children trying to jump over and dive through the never-ending waves.

Wednesday was a good day.

Yesterday was a little less eventful until about 4 o clock when father and mother dearest decided we should all go in the park and cook dinner. It reminded me of my high school days when we looked for any reason to have a family day in the park.

Applebee and I went on the swing, the parentals cooked and talked with some friends we coincidentally happened upon, and the boys played football. When the sign was given that dinner was ready, everyone dropped what they were doing and gathered around the grille and picnic table. By this time the sun had set and we had a "phone-light dinner" by the lake. After dinner, we headed over to the shotgun range where father, brother unlucky, Lue, and I all proved to be extremely rusty and in dire need of practise.

Still, it was all in good fun. At least now I know what I can dedicate myself to when I come home for summer vacation.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Out of My Mind

I spent today trying to get my mind off what has made me lose 3 pounds in two days.

I am down to 108. When was the last time I weighed that little? I have no idea. Don't get me wrong, my aim is 105. But I had no intentions of losing the weight like this. What can I say though. I brought this upon myself by making the most ridiculous mistake that I am not sure I can live with.

I woke up extremely early today again because I am having trouble sleeping. (Not even my favourite hobby is enough to keep me out of my head.) I stayed up until the afternoon when I decided to get up and get ready for a dim sum day with my friends, as opposed to laying in bed all day as I have been doing. Dim sum has unofficially been established as our little "thing," however this time we decided to switch it up a little. We went to a new place that was recommended by stingy chin, who is Jamaican Chinese, and we all agreed to test it out.

The food was very good. I actually ate, for the first time since the week started, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The jokes and laughs were enough to keep me sane throughout our two hour dining experience. At the end, when it was time to part, the frown returned to my face. I was back in my head again; but not for long.

After dim sum, brother unlucky, applebee, another Jamaican Chiney--Lue--, and I went to visit granny. We spent the next few hours there chatting and eating ice cream until now as I am back home and back to sulking. I actually broke my Lenten sacrifice and went on Facebook. I did not check notifications, friend requests, event invitations or anything. I was on for less than a minute, only to see something from yesterday that completely broke my heart. Right there at the top of my news feed.

I guess that is what I get for breaking my sacrifice.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Something I Need

In contrast to my previous blog, and just to show how much of a roller coaster life is, last night going into this morning was probably the worst night I have had in years. I cannot even begin to explain how I feel, nor do I even want to. But here is something that I always read whenever life hits me with a punch.

I actually got it from my 8th grade advanced math teacher Ms. Arnold on my last day in junior high school. She was certainly not a favourite teacher of mine, but I automatically fell in love with it, as I read it together with a friend, it bringing tears to both of our eyes. It always makes me feel even just a little bit better in times of turmoil, so I thought I would share it with you all.

Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they are meant to be there, to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or help you figure out who you are or what you want to become. You never know who these people may be; your roommate, neighbor, professor, long lost friend, lover or even a complete stranger who when you lock eyes with them you know that at every moment that they will affect your life in some profound way. And sometimes things happen to you at the time that may seem horrible, painful and unfair, but in reflection you realized your potential, strength, will power, or heart. EvErYtHiNg happens for a reason.

Nothing happens by chance or by means of good luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments or true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests, if they be EvEnTs illnesses or relationships; life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.

The people you meet who affect your life and the successes and downfalls you experience, CREATE who you are, and even the bad experiences can be learned from. In fact, they are probably the most poignant and important ones. If someone hurts you, betrays you or breaks your heart, forgive them for they have helped you LEARN more about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart. If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, NOT ONLY because they love you, but because they are teaching you to love and opening your heart and eyes to things.

Make everyday count. Appreciate every moment and take from it everythingyou possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again. Talk to people you have never talked to before & actually listen, let yourself fall in love, break free and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself for if not, no one else will believe in you either. You can make of your life anything you wish. create your own life and then GO OUT and live it.

Friday, 5 March 2010


This is going to be a short blog, but I thought I'd share my excitement with you all today.

I woke up this morning to an email from the Journalism Area Coordinator with a subject line that read "Welcome to the UCF Journalism Programme." Upon opening the email, the first line read "Congratulations!" Needless to say, this made my day. It is amazing what setting goals, writing them down, and thinking positively can do for your life.

I could not think of any other way to have started my spring break. And yes, I will be celebrating tonight!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Goodbye Scary, Hello Redundant

After two workouts yesterday I swore that I was going to sleep like a hibernating polar bear last night; but that was certainly not the case. In fact, I actually found myself tossing and turning for quite sometime.

The 4 15 spinning class was very intense. I am not a huge fan of working out any time after midday, let alone in the evening, but I weighed out the pros and cons and decided it was better than nothing. (I was actually so tired this morning that I went to the 4 15 class today too.)

I still had that feeling of being on top of the world after the workout, only to come home, shower, and then go to the movies. (Yes, I finally went and saw The Crazies, but that had nothing to do with my not being able to sleep.)

In reference to the movie, I have to say I was quite disappointed. I have always been a scary movie kind of girl. To me, they are always more amusing than they are scary, but I still enjoy the dark scenes and thrilling music.

Unfortunately, after the movie last night I am now left to worry that my beloved scary movies have also surrendered themselves to this overly used theme of "the ending of the world."

Being a slight conspiracy theorist, I find it strange that I am actually becoming quite annoyed of these scare attempts at convincing the general public that the Government is going to "depopulate" the planet through use of contamination or that the world is going to end in a sudden giant tsunami, earthquake, fire, hurricane, or any other natural event I have forgotten. Whether that is true or not (which is something I am starting to care less about every day) is one thing, but to succumb me to that type of mind frame when I just want to be innocently scared out of my underwear is appalling, for lack of a better word.

Am I going to have to start watching those stupid chick flicks in order to get away from these themes? I thought I was safe by staying away from science fiction movies and those that boast some sort of "natural disaster as the end of life as we know it" in its previews. I mean how bad is it to just ask for a classic scary movie that entails ghosts, psychopaths, murderers, or crazy little Asian babies. I want something that pops out of the screen, or kills that one white girl who decided to wander through to the mysteriously opened doorway; and I don't want the end to conclude that it has anything at all to do with a planned operation by government officials or by God himself!

What a drag. Hollywood is disappointing me movie after movie. Maybe the real reason I could not sleep is because I was so annoyed--partly because of the unexciting movie and partly because of my inability to move my body parts too quickly without divulging an unattractive groan accredited to my extremely sore leg, back, arm and abdomen muscles.

At least now I know I have something else to look forward to that wont disappoint me nearly as much as that movie did--spinning.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Exercise, Anticipation, & Time Acceleration

Hello March! How long have I awaited thee.. (Okay not really. But for the shortest month of the year, February sure felt super long.)

On the contrary, though, this past weekend went by very quickly. It actually caught me slightly off guard because usually anticipation seems to slow down time. That factor urges me to try and find something to look forward to and not look forward to all in the same breath. In the case of the mysterious "last weekend in February," I am both looking forward to Spring break next week and not looking forward to a presentation I have to do this Wednesday. This must be why the weekend flew by as quickly as it did.

Either way, I will list out the events of my weekend for you.

On Thursday night I went bowling with a few friends and applebee. She is a new character on my blog world. Some of you might know who she is and some might not. Either way, you know me; I do not use names on my blog. So fellow bloggers and readers, meet applebee. She lives in my neighbourhood, her father and mine went to high school together back in Jamaica, and she is also my future roommate. So you will be hearing more. (I always knew my nicknaming skills would come in handy one of these days. If you don't have a nickname from me then you should worry. Otherwise one is coming very soon...)

After bowling, of which I am terribly inconsistent, I came up with the bright idea to head to the movies for the midnight showing of The Crazies, which was scheduled to come out that Friday. I looked it up on my handy dandy Blackberry and found that the premiering time on Friday was 12 30am. When we got there, the movie theatre looked terribly empty. Still, being optimistic, we walked up to the doors only to find that it was closed. Continuing to be persistent, we lightly knocked banged on the door until we caught the attention of the man behind the desk. He came out to let us know that the website was incorrect because "the only one [they] endorse is Fandango. So all the other sites do not get updated. You actually aren't the first ones to come over tonight and try to watch that movie."

Question mark.

So as not to be a complete waste and with a little white lie that we "came all the way from out of town for this" we managed to get 4 free passes to go back and watch any movie we would like. I guess that makes it all better.

After that slight disappointment, we were left with nothing to do besides what every group of drunk or bored persons in college does after midnight—go to Denny's. (What is funny to me is that I have been there so many times since freshman year and I absolutely do not like the food.)

Still, the best part of these early morning restaurant visits are the laughs, so for those who don't exactly like to eat, just sit back and observe and you will surely be entertained. Applebee and I laughed so much and so hard that the whole restaurant thought we were high. Why high and not drunk? I'm not sure. My guess is that when you are high everything is funny ? Either way, if anything, we were just high off life and definitely not drunk. Nonetheless, it was a fun night.

On Friday I managed to wake up early enough to catch my 12 15 spinning class. I felt great afterward and spent the rest of the day doing all my homework; which included projects, essays, quizzes, and online activities. Later in the night CaribSa had a lock-in, of which I was hesitant about attending, but am very happy I did. I played games that made me feel like a child again and managed to work up a sweat and wake up super sore the next morning. Who knew freeze tag and red light green light were such a workout!

Through my soreness on Saturday, I still managed to pull it together and head to the outlets for more walking around. What was even more amazing was that I managed to not spend more money than I needed to. I went for jeans and came home with jeans. Unfortunately, the jeans were not purchased at the outlet mall. So what did I go there for? Well, I left with three new gym tights. I saw jeans but luckily made a much better buy with some clearance jeans from American Eagle. I still call that a success.

To end my weekend off right, I went to church on Sunday morning and then went to visit my uncle. I brought my cousin (eek, she has yet to be nicknamed!) and applebee. We ate, I slept, woke up, and ate again. Having family nearby is the best; and so was the food.

Now for another intense week of spinning, right before I get to go home to more family and more food. I missed the spinning class this morning because by the time I got there it was too full. (Filled with all the girls who think one week of spinning will prepare their bodies for spring break bikinis.) They forced me to go to a pilates class instead; but that class is for girls. So I have decided to go back to spinning at 4 15; even though I am still sore from Friday.

One thing is certain, this time I will make sure to be early.