Archive for July, 2008

July 29, 2008

Weeding out

 

 

On a recent drive I happened upon the pictured specimen of the cannabis sativa plant. It was a wee little fledgling but I have never seen one before and I was amazed at how pretty it is. Frankly, they should legalize the thing just for those beautiful serrated leaves. Sad to know that it will probably be weeded out and tossed in the garbage lest the long hand of the law reach out to touch the person on whose property it apparently decided to spontaneously populate. 

 

I have always felt the battle against weed/cannabis/ganja was a foolish one. I personally hate the smell of it when it is burned but anything that can be grown easily is not a good candidate for eradication especially when so many people are keen on using it. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that alcohol and cigarettes probably kill more people and have far worse long term effects. It is human nature to want to escape which explains nicely why virtually every culture has developed  alcohol at some point.

 

I only tried weed once when I was much younger but  it didn’t really appeal to me. Maybe I am just too much of an elitist and think that a Pernod and water has far more cachet but I defend the right of others to get tipsy in whatever way they choose. Also, it should be noted, marijuana has quite a few medical benefits while Pernod only serves  to prime me for early diabetes. I say legalize the thing and let’s just learn to deal with people with red eyes munching Pringles ( remember they are not crisps) and sporting silly t-shirts.

 

News was great today and despite having to read news when I really didn’t want to I ended the day at 8:30pm quite satisfied. Every day lately I have been noticing what an amazing group of news people I have working with me. They are all totally unique and yet we work really well together and have fun doing it?  

 

The personal life continues to shine so I shall reserve comment on that except to say that there is a lovely Trinidad expression “to put goat mouth on something”. It basically means to jinx something by talking about it . So if you say your career is going really well and then you get fired you can say you put goat mouth on yourself. I am not a superstitious sort but one never knows. It brings to mind the famous atheists prayer….Oh God, if there is a God. Save my soul if I have a soul ( attributed to Ernest Renan) . I believe that pretty well says it all. And thanks to Bun for the advice to speak in generalities.

July 27, 2008

I love a rainy night.

Well here we are a week after my last blog entry with lots of news and personal water under that oh so strained proverbial bridge. Let’s start with the weather as we are now well into the rainy season which is my favourite especially since, unlike winter in other places, you don’t die if you walk outside in swim trunks. We are at the very edge of the hurricane belt so we don’t really ever experience the worst of the inter tropical convergence zone but we have had some pretty spectacular weather this past week. On Saturday I got scared out of my skin when Cascade got hit by what felt like a microburst with the sudden arrival of torrential ran and winds so high they toppled a few trees and blew my dining table on the balcony back two feet.  Still is there anything better than being at home in the rain or listening to the sound of raindrops on nearby galvanized iron roofs?

 

I shall ignore the serious business of news for the time and pledge more of an effort to blog this week and move on other things. My personal life has taken a huge swerve into better waters and I have been feeling really great about things this past week. Being me, however, I am just waiting for the iceberg to slam into my hull. Ah well, if it does maybe I might have a few good clinging onto a board moments.

 

The trick for me is learning to at least step a foot out of my comfort zone. As Steve rightly pointed out there isn’t much chance of anything if my life consists entirely of my place, work and the supermarket with almost zero detours. Good Lord! I just realized Steve said something that makes sense. I guess the whole world really has gone mad.

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July 18, 2008

Of zabocas and quenks.

 

It was a mixed day today so let’s start with the positive which is that avocado season has started and soon junkies such as myself will have our fill. Known here as zaboca by all but the most uppity nosed types from Westmoorings, our version is somewhat different to the puny Haas variety normally found at the fruit and veg stands in North America and Europe. Ours are bigger and with a lighter texture and can get decidedly large. Because we do not import avocados from other regions it is very much a seasonal treat that is much anticipated. While other cultures come up with clever ways to use the avocado in creative dishes here in T&T we like ours served just the way it is – either just sliced and served or eaten with local crackers.

 

I shall start this next bit by explaining that a quenk is a wild pig that lives in this part of the world. After work I dragged myself to the gym in a torrential downpour and made my way up the steps to the gym with my $5 in my hand for my traditional bottled water. There was a newish young lady at the desk so I smiled and asked for a bottle of water offering my money. Getting the water and continuing with my normal routine with Clyphil would have been far too simple a scenario though. Oh no. The wretched woman at the desk asked me where my membership card was. I politely explained that because I always lose mine it is kept at the front desk and pointed to where it was. This wasn’t good enough for her as she insisted I take it with me. I told her that for all my time at the gym this had not been a problem for anyone before and, in fact, it was reception who suggested I leave my card there. This too wasn’t enough for her as she asked if I could not read the sign on the door saying that all members show their card. I politely expressed surprise that she was able to read the sign on the door and that I was showing her my card by telling her it was on her desk. She went on to say that she was following procedure which prompted me to suggest she should have sought employment at Dachau instead. 

 

By this point in the proceedings i was starting to nose breathe and was on the verge of going into full verbal assault mode. I  told her that whatever floated her boat was fine with me but I was not changing my plan to leave the card at the front desk. Did she go into customer care mode? Nope. She proceeded to tell me that her boat was floating just fine which led me to inform her it must be a pretty strong boat since it was obviously carrying a lot of extra cargo. Sadly, at that point Clyphil heard the ruckus and told her he would hold my card  for me – though even that led her to keep babbling something about  procedure as the two of us walked away into the gym proper.

 

It turns out that the other four guys in the gym at that time had also had problems at the desk that day and one of them was actually fit to be tied. Why do some people work in jobs that clearly don’t suit them. I am sure there was a prison guard position she could have filled. I would never dream of doing something outside my range of abilities like coal mining or teaching daycare. We need to get back to the state where customer service really falls on the shoulders of those who are able and trained to handle it. Good luck with that I guess. I would probably have better luck if I went outside and prayed for 1957 Chateau Lafite to fall from the sky.

July 14, 2008

It had to be me.com

 

 

Some of you may be wondering how you got here. I say this because globewriter.com normally directs to my site hosted on Apple’s .Mac servers and built using the IWeb application ( brimming with beach ball goodness) but I have been forced to redirect that domain here. Why? Well a while back I expressed my abject horror that Apple was transitioning from Mac.com to the icky and silly sounding mobileme.com service. This was all in order to appeal to the hordes of iPhone owners who needed the latest buzz term called “cloud computing”. Fine…though in my mind there was nothing wrong with the Mac.com domain. That transition started last week Thursday and, not to put too fine a point on it, has been an experience comparable to the launch of the Titanic. Actually, at least the Titanic had the courtesy to put people out of their misery fairly quickly, so scratch that comparison.

The 4 hour transition has turned into a days long screwup with many parts such as the web site hosting still not working properly. The whole mobileme site was not working properly until the weekend and even then only sporadically but the web sites were fine. Now, it seems the sites are not showing up properly and my blog seems to have vanished although it still seems to be working via RSS. This wouldn’t be so bad except that I pay for the service that provides me with email, web hosting and my online idisk. 

Thankfully, when .Mac was being difficult a few months ago I cleverly decided to mirror it here on wordpress a decision that reveals i had the wisdom of Solomon for at least a few minutes. Had I not made that decision I would be sitting here frustrated that my blog  and almost a year of writing might be lost and I would have great difficulty reposting close to 300 entries using cut and paste. It also turns out that people read the wordpress version more by a factor of 10 so I guess if anything the .Mac site is now  the mirror. If it ever comes back up I may redirect back to it or you can add it at http://web.mac.com/globewriter/Site/Blog/Blog.html  

Other than that trauma the PNM Convention happened this past weekend and the PM announced that he will be pushing for constitutional reform. He noted that the changes ( when finalized) would require a special majority of parliament to pass and that he was sure the opposition would not support it. In that eventuality, he blustered to the throng of admiring fans, he will “go directly to the people”. As soon as someone explains to me how that makes sense in the context of a parliamentary democracy I will be a much happier person.

July 13, 2008

Things that make you go hmmm.

Hot on the heels of Russia and China vetoing a Security Council motion to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe the BBC’s Panorama programme has uncovered incontrovertible evidence that China is complicit in supplying arms and training to Sudanese forces in Dafur. Isn’t that the same China that the government here is so cozy with? The one that is getting billions to build tall buildings everywhere? I guess doing business with a government that is assisting genocide is A-OK.It is only Africa after all.  I see that China has also forgiven millions in debt owed by Sudan and donated millions to building a new Presidential Palace all in return for energy…that was really nice of them. Oh wait! Who provided the PM’s palace here again? Nah…that can’t be a pattern.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7503428.stm

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July 9, 2008

The robot that broke my heart

I finally gave in to my urge to see Pixar’s latest film – WALL·E. Having already said that Pixar seldom puts a foot wrong when it comes to film I was still a bit worried that their latest effort would not match up to all the critical hype. I am happy to report i was wrong. I will not fall into the trap of saying it is one of the best movies of the year as the year is only half done but I can safely say it is one of the best  animated films I have seen in the last decade and I see a lot of films.

I am not going to spoil the fun by giving the whole plot away but I should at least give a quick summary in ( oh yay…haven’t done this in a while) point form.

  1. Humans have left the earth after rampant consumerism has left it as a huge garbage heap.

  2. WALL·E is a lonely little trash compactor robot left behind that someone forgot to turn off.

  3. He spends his days compacting trash and his nights watching a tape of Hello Dolly with a cockroach for a friend.

  4. He has also developed a personality somehow and collects a vast array of trinkets that keep him amused including a small plant that has emerged from the garbage.

  5. A robot probe called EVE arrives from the human space outpost looking for signs of life.

  6. WALL·E falls in love with EVE.

It is basically that simple and yet so much more complex. I will ignore the space trip they take and their interaction with humans who have become fat and lazy and unable to walk as they depend on computers for everything. That message is important and key to the plot but ultimately this is a love story and a truly effective one at that. Amazingly, Pixar carries the story elegantly and perfectly with hardly any dialogue and with only WALL·E’s binocular eyes to convey emotion. How they did this is anyone’s guess but i was pulled in and completely forgot I was watching an animated film. I also failed to notice there was no dialogue other than beeps for the first 30 minutes. What I experienced was the sort of magic Chaplain used in the silent era..where a simple movement could convey a universe of meaning.

Pixar has set a new benchmark for animation. Frankly, the early scenes on earth were so realistically rendered ( imperfections and all) that i was convinced I was watching either the best stop motion I had ever seen or an actual robot. Even more cleverly the humans are rendered much less realistically making the world of the machines more real than our own. It takes a special touch to make me cry when two robots hold hands.

In one of the early dialogue free scenes we see WALL·E bringing home some of the special items he has collected and carefully putting them away using his filing system. He pulls out a ubiquitous spork – that awful invention of the modern age – and looks at his shelf that contains a cup of forks and a cup of spoons. His eyes move between the two puzzled and eventually he places the item between the two cups. That sort of humour shows what Pixar is all about and what makes them rise high above most other companies making films. It is all in the details and details are what Pixar understands only too well.

This is most definitely not a kids movie ( though they may well enjoy it) it is , quite simply, a great movie. Funny that it takes a little lonely robot with a huge heart to help us understand what it truly means to be human.

P.S. Did I mention that when WALL*E boots up he plays a Mac startup chime? Now that is cool.

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July 8, 2008

Gosh this made me cry.

July 8, 2008

Life in the fast lane.

 

 

Interesting day today what with feeling like crap and working. Actually, I was a bit tired of my hypochondriac self and proceeded with my day as normal. My 1pm interview with Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj was cancelled when he called at 7:30 to say he had to attend parliament. I have been doing this for a long time but even I have to defer to the business of the nation. My second interview with Kevin Ratiram was intact.

 

I did the makeup thing I hate and went down to the interview when I was called and informed he had arrived. It was interesting to say the least. Ratiram is a compatriot of Ramlogan and the entire COP crew but in my research I noted he is also an attorney/actor/model and and the new President of the Rotary Club of Penal. He has led some interesting cases that caught the news and he obviously lost in contesting the seat for the COP as they failed to gain a single seat. I was, however, astounded by his optimism and enthusiasm. Here is a young guy who is also a lawyer who sees the underside of T&T society and yet, if we are to believe him, he really feels he can make a change.  I am a natural cynic but I give him credit for being quite convincing  about his plans for the Rotary Club in Penal. The fact he looked like he came from Bollywood only made the whole experience more bizarre. But I say good for him and if his plans for change are really honest I wish him all the best.

 

I have been thinking a lot about what Bunny wrote in his blog. I would have never guessed a few years ago that reading something on the net would be a big deal in my life but apparently times have changed. The choice of changing jobs and, by definition, changing friends and environment. can be a serious thing. I  am now, as they say, carefully guided.

July 5, 2008

A brick short of a load.

 

I seem to be getting into a once a week entry habit. I hope this is not a sign of blogitis setting in although I am aware my entries do not in any way enhance the planet.I suppose we all pass through ebb and flow periods in terms of communication so , as with all things in life, I will wait and see how it plays out. I am now handily heading out of depression territory but still not feeling all that great physically – I hope it is nothing trivial so I can have a legitimate reason for thinking gyms and personal trainers are a waste of time. When I think of how much I spend on the gym I cringe and since I can see no improvement I am led to wonder about my own sanity. Thankfully, as I have mentioned before, I am living in a country where sanity is not really an asset.

This week was the usual assortment of murders and political intrigue keeping the newsroom buzzing. Melissa Williams managed an exclusive on Thursday when I was producing news so that added a bit of excitement. T&T is currently without a permanent Police Commissioner as the previous one retired ( early) and the service commission given the task of finding a replacement had the ruling party turn down their candidate in parliament. The man chosen was Senior Superintendent Stephen Williams who has spent his life in the police. He is 47 and by all accounts a highly competent individual. Unfortunately for him he was not the man the PM wanted in the post so despite rigorous interviews and passing the polygraph test ( which some of his competitors did not) he was doomed from the outset. Mind you, he probably didn’t help his case by speaking to the papers after his name was announced as the chosen candidate by the PSC and he declared that his ambition was to own a BMW X5….note to future candidates…say “world peace”.

 

On a side note I am rather shocked to notice that my blog has crossed 14,000 hits. Since I assume I am writing to an audience of just North of zero even that modest figure rather shocks me. Even more puzzling I had occasion to search for the headquarters for the ruling PNM the other day at work and noticed that my blog comes up as the second hit on Google…right after the official web site for the PNM.  I have no idea how that happened but if you have come here after searching for Balisier House on Google looking for a positive experience….I apologize.