Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Keyboard Critics

There's an occurrence, for lack of a better word, that I have been noticing for a while now and I am finally making time to address it.

You have all seen it, at one point or another. You're on your computer or smart phone, scrolling through Chris Brown's instagram photos or Demi Lovato's Twitter mentions or looking at some random Youtuber's video, when you come across the comments. Those comments. The ones that, though they may initially make you laugh, should also make you shake your head in embarrassment.

Those comments.

They say nothing positive or constructive, are rather cruel and malicious, and serve no purpose really, other than to temporarily dull the pain of the commenter's inner insecurity. I often find myself shuddering in disgust when I browse Youtube videos and see what some people decide to say when the fear of being identified or punished is not there. For no obvious reason, and perhaps only due to an inherent human quality to point out the one bad flower in a field full of beautiful ones, people seem to have the worst kind of verbal diarrhea on social media websites.

Granted, I'm not saying that we should all hold hands and sing the Barney "I Love You" song and tell each other all the time how wonderful we are and how everything we do is perfect. But seriously. Commenting on Rebecca Black's music video for that extremely annoying song "Friday" and saying she should "go slit her wrist" is a bit much, don't you think?

Think about how you would feel if you were Kim K and someone commented on your instagram photo saying "b----h all you do is suck d--k for a living" or "you look like a blurry blob". Would you tell your friend that? Even if they did look like a blurry blob? Or are you doing it because no one knows who you are and you can still go about your every day life as though you never made that comment in the first place?

It makes you wonder, what are humans really like naturally, without society and its rules. How many of us would truly have any kind of integrity if there were no rules and no one around to enforce them?

Would you steal from your favourite designer store if the door was open, no one was around and there was no security measure in place?

My bet is that, unless you practice lying to yourself, your answer to that was probably a yes.

The truth is, as civilized and independent as we think we are as human beings, it's nothing more than an image we uphold in the presence of our neighbours. We would not be civilised if there were no rules around to tell us what is acceptable and what is condemned. Society and religion control us. We act the way we act because society, or God, tells us to. Because our fellow inhabitants of the world keep us in line. Because that is what everyone else is doing. Because we fear being castigated.

Some of us, at least.

But for those who find that social media is their escape, their opportunity to be as cruel and disgusting as their heart sees fit just because maybe they want to rebel against what little decency society has created for mankind. Who feel they should blur the line between "honest" and "obnoxious." Who never learned the golden rule. This blog is for you.

I only hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Sun Burns

Last weekend we made our annual trip to the Keys, but this trip was anything but usual.

For one, I was actually old enough to go out and drink -- and I had every intention of enjoying what the nightlife had to offer, even if that meant sitting around chatting and drinking non-virgin Pina Coladas.

It was also solely a girl's trip this time around, with just me, mother dearest, Kit Kat and TK, as the boys traded it in to hunt birds in Jamaica. It was a trip we all needed, though, and we had every intention of enjoying every second of what could only be a weekend trip. (The joys of being a full-time worker. No more long vacations.) The plan was to sit back and relax with a good book by the pool, go to the beach, and of course go fishing.

But the only thing on that itinerary that we actually did was fish. And even that almost did not happen because Captain John did not have enough people sign up. Instead, the trip turned into a YOLO and #teamnosleep rendezvous really quickly.

After the initial disappointment that we couldn't go out on Captain John, we spent our time that morning driving around from Pier to Pier on the small island looking for the Tortuga, which was another fishing charter boat that was recommended to us by John's wife. Eventually, we found it and realised we had a few minutes to kill before they went out for their afternoon trip. So we bought a poolside, by the poolside, and then went walking downtown.

That's when we met our friends at the T-shirt shop, who initially thought we were teenagers, (go figure), and were hesitant to tell us where we could go party that night until they found out our real ages.

We pretty much found the shore store of Key West that day, and little did we know it would set the tone for the rest of our weekend. (Everything happens for a reason, eh?)

The fishing trip was an experience in itself, as always, but this time the seas were much nicer to us. Still, a combination of seasickness and being squeamish kept mother dearest and Kat off the fishing rods for basically the entire trip. (Though mum did manage to catch a non-eating unicorn fish that changed its colour before being thrown back in.)

But thanks to me, we still had dinner for the night. I caught about 6 snapper, some yellowtail, some red, and a mangrove, which was more than enough for the four of us. I also reeled in a non-eating black-striped angelfish that gave me a pretty solid fight coming up. I wouldn't say it was a successful day of fishing entirely, but certainly for me, it was good enough.

And if being in the sun for the half-day fishing trip was not enough to keep us in bed that night, we decided to suck it up and hit Duval Street. We met up with our shore store friends at Fat Tuesdays, where the rum was running and the vibes were nice, and it was all just pure clean fun. (Even mother dearest was on the dance floor with us.) The worry-free aura was reminiscent of Jamaica, which may be why we loved it so much.

Did I already mention that everyone in Key West loves Jamaicans?

The next day we went on the "Ultimate Adventure", which was a trip that took us parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking, rock-climbing (in the water) and snorkeling. And we literally got to do all of that.

Hence, ultimate adventure. 

Needless to say for a girl who loves the water, it was perfect. I somehow managed to convince mother dearest, who is deathly afraid of heights, to parasail with me. And she also held on tightly to my life jacket as a maxed out the speed on the jet ski. The snorkeling was fun too, even though it did not really compare to the snorkel I did at the Great Barrier Reef, but who expects that anyway.

We made more friends on the trip too, and arrangements to go out that night to listen to some live music by a local band. All was good until we got back to the hotel and realised we all got unbelievably burnt -- all except for TK, that is, who kept reapplying her sunblock as I guess you are supposed to.

For the rest of us, though. The burn was real. (And I don't mean the one we felt in our arms from kayaking or our legs from swimming.)

I literally felt like I was caught in a house fire. My skin burned for the rest of the trip, so much so that we didn't get to rent scooters on Sunday and ride around the island like we had planned. The sun that day was my worst enemy. Even the slightest and shortest exposure brought about the most intense burning sensation. I swear everyone could look at me and see the steam slowly pouring out of my pores.

Now, a few days later, and after an amazing and much-needed trip, I am slowly recovering. My skin already began peeling, and I can barely feel the heat anymore from my super-cold-for-absolutely-no-reason office.

And even though we barely did any relaxing, I can't say I mind. The trip was definitely worth a few hours less of sleep.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Another Day, Another Move.

I was just getting adjusted and comfortable in my new job when we up and moved the entire office yesterday.

Everyone knows I love a change of scenery, but I'd at least like to look at the painting I got just barely a month ago before it is taken away forever.

The office was old, yes. And we were probably the only brick building left on Brickell, but I was definitely getting used to the downtown lifestyle. It made me feel like a part of the city's livelihood.

I'd begun developing some habits too.

During my lunch break I often took a walk around the city, where there were restaurants and parks and places to sit and eat. I frequented Pizza Rústica, mostly for Pepsi than pizza, and the coffee shop for a cup of ice. I practiced going right across the street every week to deposit my paycheck almost immediately after I got it.

I enjoyed stepping out randomly to catch some fresh sea breeze too, which usually smelled of a combination of salt and fish that makes me want to be on a boat somewhere, and looking out my window to admire the high-rises and expensive cars that drove by.

Though a newer, cleaner home is always appealing, it's not easy walking away from what you got used to -- especially if it means driving further south every morning and no longer having a window in front of your desk to save you from the four walls. Not to mention the new building is not just for us anymore and the only place around here worth walking to is the gas station across the street.

I will adjust to the change, though, as I always do. And the in-house Cuban café is certainly going to help.

But until then, it's business as usual.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

What's New

Aside from the obvious change in design, there are a few other changes I have made to my blog for what I am going to call its rebirth.

But before I point them out, I would first like to welcome any new readers I may have gotten from Twitter or Instagram, and thank my tried and true original readers for sticking with me.

As you will learn very quickly, I am 5 feet of pure sarcasm and random-osity. (Remember that one?)

I started this blog in July 2009 because people kept telling me that this is where I belong -- and it served me quite well to document whatever college life I did have. It is like a diary -- but better. Mostly because I can entertain and relate to people with my unedited and unfiltered thoughts. Fortunately for you all, I have never been one to be overly emotional or sappy. (And whenever I do have those random moments that remind me that I am, in fact, a woman, I never really get to sharing them in this public manner.)

So again, I say, welcome.

I switched around my profile and my blog posts, which you will now find on the left. I have also added two tabs up top: This Week's Favourite and Life Through My Lens. The first of the two I will dedicate to one of my older blog posts, one I wrote perhaps when no one was following or reading. I find it quite entertaining to go back and read some of the things I wrote when I was younger, and that page is to hoping you will as well.

The latter of the two is where I will post photos, mostly of nature, that I take with my iPhone. (Oh come on, you knew I was going to switch sooner or later. But I won't ever speak badly about my Blackberry, though, as many a blog were written in my Notes at the very moment I got inspiration.)

Most of the photos I post there will be my unedited property, unless otherwise stated. So please, look but don't take.

For this week, my favourite blog post is a light-hearted post from July 2009.

I hope you enjoy.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Pride and Celebration

As if we needed another reason to be extremely proud of our little island paradise, Jamaicans all across the world spent the weekend celebrating and rejoicing with a pride unmatched, perhaps, by any other country.

Over the weekend we celebrated two gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the Summer Olympics -- all from track and field. (And for just two events, I would say that's quite a sweep.)

Today we celebrate 50 years of independence, and if there was ever a time when I felt like I was hugely missing out, it does not compare one bit to how I feel now, and how I felt over the weekend as I watched Bolt, Fraser-Pryce, Campbell-Brown and Blake make Jamaica's presence known at the 2012 London Olympics.

I can just imagine the immensity of the celebrations on the island as the entire population paused yesterday to see Bolt break the Olympic Record he set four years ago. I pictured how Negril put ATI and Dream Weekend on a full pause, as all the drunken party-goers sat around the nearest TV together to watch history. I thought about my country, coming together, to be proud supporters and vicarious cheerleaders of another island-bred legend -- meanwhile the US diaspora had to wait upward of 8 hours to see the broadcast on NBC.

Be not mistaken, though. Neither Twitter, BBM nor FaceBook was my informant yesterday, as brother unlucky, mother dearest, Dino-myte, Kat and I sat around a live stream on the computer and watched the races in real time, in conjunction with our home country - and every one else around the world.

And the celebrations ensued in Jamaica after the 9.63 seconds of pure brilliance, to continue into tomorrow, I'm sure, for the country's independence. To celebrate 50 years of being the likkle, but tallawah, island nation that breeds some of the most diverse, warm and prideful people, bears some of the sweetest and nicest produce, and boasts some of the most beautiful land.

The celebrations continued in my house, too, as brother unlucky turned 24 yesterday and we had the family over to cut cake. Though delayed, we did get to gather around the TV with our family to watch the broadcast of races, again, and be proud of our country from the comfort of our living room.

But not being in Jamaica for the Olympics and the 50th Independence at the same time is definitely a double box across the face.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Pause, Playback, Rewind.

And just like that, it is August already.

No one told me when I graduated from high school that the creator was going to press the magic fast-forward button of life to make the next few years zoom by like trees on the side of the highway. You can see them, and if you wind your window down you may be able to smell them, but the sad and scary fact is that they pass by so quickly that though you know they are there, know what they look like, and know you saw them, you don't really get the chance to look at the individual leaves and parts that make the beautiful whole unless you make a valiant effort to ... stop ... moving.

That is how I feel about my life for the past four years.

I went through college in what seemed like an accelerated vacuum, and though I don't think I have enough hindsight just yet to say "those were the best times of my life", I can't say I went away and did anything too out of the ordinary or insane. Part of this, I suppose, is due to the fact that I spent a good 80 percent of that time in a long-distance relationship, which by nature kept me from really wanting to go anywhere or do anything that didn't involve seeing my significant other. (And I surely don't regret that, by the way.) But the other part, the part that most people found quite abnormal, was that I spent a lot of that time going back home to mummy and going out of town to visit my brother.

Those four years away from home did nothing more than make me closer to the people I thought I left behind.

Needless to say, this is something I am very proud to state. (Maybe not so much the fact that I moved back home, but hey. We all know writers don't get paid much unless they murdered -- but not really -- someone and decided to write a book about how they did it, even though they didn't.)

Though I look forward to my independence and certainly value my alone time, I am glad I have a little time, and certainly the opportunity, to slow down and figure out where this life is going to take me next. And if it's one thing I can say I am extremely happy I experienced, going to Australia for a little less than two months last summer was perhaps the best thing I could have ever done in college, besides pass of course.

Knowing that you can do something is always a good feeling. But knowing that you did it, well, there is nothing quite as self-actualizing.

I have big dreams, you know. And most of them consist of living at least a few years of my now "adult-life" by being a globetrotter -- ideally one who gets paid to write about her sightings and experiences.

But even if I don't get paid, you can surely expect to see those writings right here on this blog where I have pitched my tent and made my home.