December 31, 2008
While I am a believer in the words expressed by U2 that “nothing changes on New Year’s Day” I still harbour the hope that whatever awaits us around the corner is better than what we had before.
Today we put together a perfect newscast, had fun as a news team, I worked with Shiraz the editor to ensure that we finished the Year In Review segments in time, strung them together and got them on the air. Like every media house it is always a scramble to get that sucker on the air and with our Top 10 approach to the year and having to ensure everything fits into a 59:45 min package it is even more of a pain. Nobody who has not co-ordinated such a project can appreciate that it is a creature that is designed to come together at the last minute and, despite the fact it looks like complete chaos the thing will always get on the air on time. If I have to hear one more person suggest that “maybe you should start it earlier so it can be done 2 weeks before time?” I will hurl. I want to say “you try effing doing it and tell me what happens” but I usually hold my tongue.
After reading news and producing Giselle reading the 7:30 newscast I checked to see that our Year In Review was on the air and then came home where I now sit. The air is filled with the sound of yahoos setting off fireworks and scaring pets and strains of music are filtering through normally peaceful Cascade. I am not sure what I will do in time for midnight I may ring in the new year by myself with champagne or I may end up with company. I know I am happy I am not surrounded by a mob of loud drunken people and music I can’t stand.
As this year ends there is one thing I am certain of. I spent the year in the company of great friends and worked with a crew of journalists and editors I love like family and consider the most talented people in the business…that will not change. So no matter what else happens I know I will be spending the next year with some incredible people.
To all my blog readers I thank you for your support, for tolerating my frequent typos and my even more frequent rants and I wish you all the best for 2009.
December 28, 2008
Sadly I have no plans of espousing on the subject of raindrops on roses or, indeed, on facial hair of diminutive felines. Instead I am going to indulge myself by sharing a few of my favourite thinsg on the internet and on youtube in particular. Feel free to click if you want…or not.
My favourite band has been The Smiths from the moment I saw Morrissey bend his arm over his coifed hair and croon all my teenage angst from his mouth. I may have added a few years but whenever I hear him sing with Johnny Marr’s jangling guitar in the background I feel I am back to being a teenager.
Paula Poundstone is not the star she once was on the US comedy circuit but she still makes me laugh as we have similar senses of humour. Here is her first mayor TV appearance after being forced by the courts to go to rehab for alcohol addiction.
I admire Anderson Cooper as a journalist very much and during the Katrina crisis he showed a side of himself that I think most journalists such as myself can relate to. Frustration and anger at politicians talking rubbish in the face of human suffering:
Those of us who work on TV and realise that SNAFUs are a part of life often relax by watching the suffering of others working in our medium.
And finally , we suffered through 8 years of him being in office so why not kick back and relax over a few minutes of realising what a complete fool he is:
December 25, 2008
It is raining gently on an eerily quiet Xmas night in Cascade and I am happy to be home. I am stil working every day without a break and writing for Fodor’s at night and frankly I am almost at breaking point. I worked today at the station and read news but the bonhomie and fun nature of the staff meant that it was actually not a bad choice of places to be so that at least put me in a good mood.
Yesterday was a different picture as i woke with that lovely anachronistic affliction called ague. I was shivering under the covers followed by sweating and with waves of nausea flowing over me for good measure. No chance of staying home so I finally cobbled my senses together with the help of handfuls of medication and went in. I made it through the day but it was also the evening of Alvie’s Xmas Eve get-together and i knew I was not in fit shape to make the drive. That was before I remembered what Alvie is like. I got the requisite call threatening me death should I not show up ( and that was the mildest of the threats) and I was informed that i would be advised to “get your sick ass here”.
Fortunately, Sam came to meet me at the station and assured me that should I faint he would drive the rest of the way and in any case fainting was better than imminent death. We made it and I saw that Alvie had laid out his usual spread and all I had to do was cook the 2 lbs of escargot. And really, what is Xmas without the traditional gastropod?
Thankfully, I had finally taken the plunge and done all my Xmas shopping in 21 minutes the day before at Stetchers ( T&T’s equivalent of the perfume and cosmetics section of Bergdorf’s ). By simply spending enough money to keep a small family alive for 2 months I was able to get all 4 gifts that i needed. Alvie got a hamper of Clarins Men’s face products though he wanted Clinique ( sadly Stetchers does not do downmarket) which was a bit pricey but he is certainly worth it. Thankfully I didn’t decide to get him a book because he presented me with a framed Boscoe Holder original sketch. Whew! That was close!
So now I am home on Xmas evening glad to be quiet and uploading this little blog entry. The simple things in life are always the nicest.
December 21, 2008
I had a wonderful birthday quite above my expectations. Firstly I am really grateful to all the people who took the time to just wish me a happy birthday. Some did it on Facebook, some via text message, many called ( thankfully not too early) , people like Milo and my brother Vic who wrote me on this blog and, of course, my colleagues at work and my friends who spent time with me last evening. I don’t like my birthdays and my Mum tells me as a child I once had a crying fit and refused to attend my own birthday party – that explains many things.
As much as I hate the sign of another step towards the graveyard ( not that I have any fear of death – I don’t – I am a journalist) the thought that anyone would be sweet enough to send me a greeting makes me rather misty.
I read and produced news on my birthday and it was nice being around colleagues I love. Earlier on I ran to the supermarket and bought a lot of liquor and after the news I ordered a ridiculous amount of Chinese food considering I only expected about 8 people to show up. Who knew that a 1/4 portion served two? I now have a fridge full of leftover food. My few close friends and other came over and we had a few short but bonhomie and wine filled hours. Alvin had to open Sky so he and Binky had to leave at 10:30 but it was still wonderful having them. After that, because I had to work the next day, all the rest dispersed but one The two of us ended up popping into Sky as Alvin had forgotten his float at my place so we spent a quiet hour there before leaving.
All in all a really wonderful birthday and a reminded that growing older is not in itself a bad thing. I have made many great friends over the years and I seem to have the capacity to add another one to the list every now and then. Pity I can’t look like I did when the photo for this entry was taken.
And Milo thanks for the referral on my WALL-E review from your blog. I was wondering why I saw a big spike in hits. May I return the favour by suggesting everyone learn something about honesty in blogging and read your blog … The Year Zero.
I admire his willingness to bare his soul. It pleases my journalistic heart.
December 20, 2008
My plan today is to host a small cocktail reception at the Lapeyrouse Cemetery..why not confront the inevitable right in the face? In the meantime I will go to work, enjoy the company of my wonderful colleagues and then come home and see what happens. This will not be a bad anniversary as things are looking up and it seems 2009 will be an interesting year in which I may find myself home alone less often.
To all my blog readers I promise I will try to at least upload a real entry soon.
December 15, 2008
I miss blogging but with working every day till 8pm and no days off until January there is little time. Writing Fodors in the hours from 8pm to bed time isn’t helping either. I will try to upload an entry today but no guarantees.
December 5, 2008
Trusging away on my Fodor’s 2010 assignment I remember, as i always do, how I hate this part of the work. The constant fact checking as I go, searching through reams of paper for that brochure I know I saved and trying to figure out all the publisher’s codes that seem to change each year. They all conspire to turn my brain to mush. Television interviews seem like a walk in the park compared to this. I guess the good thing is that in between bouts of grumbling and sometimes outright cursing I have flashes of the islands and the wonderful people there.
Now that My flu symptoms are fading I was looking forward to the three interviews at the station today but a sewage problem in the building meant that we had to cancel all of them. It was a pity but probably a better choice than having me and a series of guests gagging on camera.
I am convinced now that I am on the verge of cementing my reputation as a housebound hermit. With Xmas season a time of much bonhomie and frivolity on this island the invitations are pouring in but given my day job and now night job I fear i may not be able to attend more than a handful without bringing down the wrath of Random House.
My only diversions these days are the occassional couple of pages of a book, facebook, and feeding my addiction to my favourite TV shows : Fringe and NCIS. Ah well, it wasn’t like I was doing much more exciting stuff before. Not going out in Trinidad these days is probably a good way of extending one’s life.
December 1, 2008
As the title of this entry implies I have been suffering from a rather unpleasant bout of the flu for the last couple of days and have not found shivering and headache conducive to blogging. I suspect it took a turn for the worse when I was subjected to watching the PM’s address to the nation on the current financial crisis last night. I swear i felt the aches and pains getting worse as his mouth formed words that made little sense to me.
As we watch economies around the world scramble to hunker down for the fallout of a developing financial meltdown we are being assured that we will be ok. Frankly, the explanations and math are not really working for me. Despite oil and gas being down around 15-20% and presumably VAT receipts likely to fall with a loss of consumer confidence the government thinks cutting out $5.6 billion from their $50 billion budget will be enough. I can only guess that they intend to not put anything into the Heritage Fund since that rainy day has already arrived. The PM says that after painful soul searching they have decided to cut back on building hospitals, new schools and affordable housing. Thank heavens he got his own palatial digs finished in time so he can stay in the lap of comfort. We also seem to still be hosting the Summit of the Americas and the Commonwealth Heads of Government at a cost of millions and there was no mention of the multi-billion dollar transit system being shelved.
The thing that annoys me the most when the PM and his people speak is that they speak of how well they have managed the economy. If they actually believe what they are saying then the state of delusion in government is frightening. Bragging that we now have $2 billion US in the Heritage Fund as if it is an achievement when we could have billions more had they taken a more measured approach to spending our money. But I guess it is all just money under the bridge.
In other news in this part of the world we have basically now hit the 500 homicide mark give or take the odd body or two. Nicholas Laughlin has a marvelously sardonic column on the matter in his blog. As I have said before the fact the the Nat. Security Minister is incompetent and ineffectual is not really shocking such things happen – the truly shocking thing is that he has not had the shame to step down after failing so ostensibly and more shockingly the PM keeps him in the position. I suppose it is easy to not worry about being killed when you are surrounded by security at all times and driven to work in a motorcade. Little or anything effective is being done about the crime situation and those that say it is not the government committing the crimes seem to forget that they are spending billions of our money to allegedly protect us. What has this resulted in? Well, in one shining example, my friend Peter S saw prowlers outside his apartment last night and called 999 telling them he was fearing for his life and they were right outside his door. He has yet to see a police vehicle show up at his place and he lives in Port of Spain. That, to me, is not just shameful it is simply scandalous.