Archive for ‘mondeo’

February 28, 2008

I sing the body electric

It is somewhat amazing that despite the wealth of human experience available to us the process of aging seems to take most of us by surprise.One day you are sort of comfortable with your body and everything is working as it should and the next you try and get up from sitting and your knees sound like an Iraqi sniper attack.The other troubling development most of us are forced to confront is the transition of our stomachs from a happy place to bounce pennies on or to scrub your socks while lying in the tub to something that threatens to obstruct your view of your lower digits. Age brings many benefits such as wisdom, the ability to look down on younger people and lower car insurance premiums but with the good we must also take the bad.

I have managed by sheer willpower and a keen eye on my budget to avoid many of the pitfalls of getting older. I am still driving a Mondeo and have not hocked my organs to purchase a vintage Jaguar E Type both of which i think are highly commendable on my part. I would like to say I have not dated people many years younger but we will just leave that one alone for the time being.

What I have been attempting to do is to reduce the battle of the small bulge I have been noticing. Sure, I am basically slim but that just means any little bit shows. Thus far I am pleased to say my results at the gym coupled with a low calorie diet and zero alcoholic beverages has been quite successful in only 3 weeks ( less really). So as far as I see it the trick is do everything that you hate and give up everything that you enjoy and you can look much better. Mind you it sort of removes the point of life and worst of all it means you will probably live longer to suffer with the deprivation. So let’s summarize. Taking all of the fun out of life means you will have many more years to regret not having any fun and enjoying life means you will die wishing you had more time to do whatever it was you were doing.

God I would kill for a triple martini and a baked potato with a half pound of butter.



February 17, 2008

Night Off

Just got back in after being with friends for an evening after work. It is now 1:55am and I have work in the morning so I shall dismiss any attempt to post an actual entry and summarize my day today in point form.

  •  Planned to go to the gym this morning but woke up late because of the sleeping pills.
  • Called the office to check on things, had several coffees and then drove to work.
  • Scrounged for stories and added a story about the Boissiere House to the lineup.
  • Managed to get a hold of Nicholas Laughlin via Facebook and assigned the story.
  • Thought of the house being torn down and got quite irate.
  • Returned a DVD to the store, got two more and drive back to work ( total elapsed time: 15 minutes).
  • Newscast was completed by 5:00pm
  • Giselle and Wong went home and I killed time before reading the news by reading news on the internet and trying to figure out what my editor in New York meant by “planner”.
  • Put on jacket and makeup and went into studio to read the news at 6:20pm.
  • Heard my cue, watched the monitor for the news opening and saw only black.
  • Muttered ” i am not seeing anything” through the talkback.
  • heard Director say “oh shit!” and sat there looking at my script.
  • Much scrambling in my earpiece and then was told we have a computer problem.
  • Told the Director to call the tech person and then sat there hearing lots of noises in my earpiece.
  • Finally heard the Director ask me if we should start the news at 7pm should we get things fixed and could I please call the CEO and the IT guys ( which I assumed correctly  meant I could get out of the chair).
  • Tried to reach the luck…got the IT guy though
  • Went downstairs to see the Director under the console looking desparate at which point the IT guy seized control of the system by remote access and fixed whatever it was.
  • Told the Director that I refused to answer another viewer calling on the phone to ask when our news was going to start and we were going to start as soon as I threw myself back in the chair.
  • Threw myself back in the chair and started the newscast at 6:53pm.
  • Finished the news and drove home to relax..arrived home at 7:58pm.
  • Sit down. Grab a dinner of leftovers. Phone rings. It is Robin saying our friend Alvin II who is visiting from the US would be in town in 1/2 hour. 
  • Asked what that had to do with me.
  • Was told we ( Peter, Naz, Robin, Alvin II and myself) were going to dinner at The Verandah for 9pm before the kitchen closes..
  • Cursed on the phone and told Robin I hate this kind of mad rush and I would let him know.
  • Despite myself I was in the Mondeo and heading to pick up Robin by 8:40pm.
  • Picked up Robin and continued to The Verandah.
  • Sat waiting a few minutes for everyone else to arrive.
  • Drank 2 diet cokes.
  • They arrive and we are seated. I already ate so I just order another diet coke and a bowl of soup.
  • Grab a ciggy outside with Alvin II ( nice to see him again btw).
  • Dinner is almost over and Peter starts to feel ill and heads to the bar to lie down.
  • We continue to eat until we remember he is ill. Naz checks on him then me.
  • I encourage him to go and lie down in his car outside. Dinner is hastily ended and Naz and Peter head home to convalesce.
  • I ask A II if he would like to go out befor eI drop him back to P&N’s where he is overnighting before returning to his family in Fyzabad. He says yes. Amazingly, Robin says he will come along ( like he has a choice since I drove).
  • Call Binky to find out that he and Alvin I are at Alvin I’s we head there.
  • The five of us stand there chatting for a couple of hours while I drink diet cokes. I discover that spraying Listerine pocket fresh in my mouth before sipping is almost like having a rum and coke.
  • Alvin II, Robin and I look at each other and determine that at 1am it is time to leave.
  • We get in the Mondeo and I drop Alvin II up to Ft. George followed by Robin back to Maraval. 
  • Leaving Robin’s place I run into a 4-way police checkpoint.
  • The officer is  very polite and as I show them my Insurance and DP he reminds me that my insurance is expiring next week. I tell him that I know and just had my car undergo the useless inspection so i can renew it.
  • He says “enjoy your night sir” and off I go.
  • Continue on to Cascade where I park the car and come upstairs still wired from diet coke.
  • Open the laptop to write an entry despite my better judgment.
  • Omar is online so we chat for a bit and I tell him that his company was missed this evening though I understand he is drained.
  • Get bored of typing to him. Call on the phone. Tell him I may skip the blog entry tonight. He says “well, the world won’t end”.
  • I agree and ring off.
  • I proceed to type the last 902 words. 
  • It is now 2.19 am and I have work in the morning. 
I just realized I like this sort of machine gun entry but I recognize it must be annoying to read. Suits the way my mind works though.
Nite nite. 
February 16, 2008

Free at last, Free at last

Finally, at exactly 2:22pm today I finished the Curacao chapter of Fodor’s 2009 and uploaded the file for my editor. I also sent off the invoice immediately even though there is some smaller stuff left to do such as the planners and maps. Finally, an end to feeling guilty every evening and ending up hunkered down till all hours trying to make a dent. Not to say I will suddenly have a wild and crazy social life it is a few years too late for that but at least I could if I wanted to. 

I had to drive around a bit today to get my taillight bulb changed and to have my car inspected so it can get reinsured next week when the insurance expires. I did this not out of any concern for safety on the roads or my own personal safety but purely because the insurance company asked me to do it. The requirement for an inspection certificate, like so many things in this country, is a system that is only half finished and stuck in limbo. The necessary legislation to add any consequences has never been passed properly and thus if you are pulled over with a car that has an inspection sticker for..ooohhh..let’s say 2004… there is no penalty. The police officer can glance at your jalopy but there isn’t a single thing he can do. Why do these things end up half done? It may have to do with the national tendency to want to start things and then run off to do something else. A culture of distraction. More likely, it could be just a case of incompetent legislators who are unable to handle the strain of multitasking. So my car, which is in tip-top shape now has a sticker saying it is okay till 2010. In the interim my brakes could go wonky, my exhaust might develop a hacking cough and my wipers may stop working…but it is fine I have my useless and toothless sticker. 

This is just one of probably hundreds of bits of well-intentioned legislation that have been introduced in T&T which have failed to reach the stage of full implementation. The most egregious offenses in this area are probably the never ending ( and I mean years) struggle to introduce both the breathalyser and traffic radar. In a country where road fatalities are well over 200 annually these would seem to be no-brainers but, in fact, that description seems better applied to those responsible for passing the necessary legislation and actually obtaining the required equipment. Every so often we get a little glimmer of hope such as late last year when Works and Transport Minister Colm Imbert assured all and sundry that the breathalyser would be in place in time for Carnival 2008. Of course, Carnival came and went with many a driver weaving on the road steering with one hand and  hoisting a glass of Johnny Black with the other. Good luck with the radar if they ever get around to it as the traffic officer is sure to be mowed down by one of the dozens of motorists racing on the shoulder. As I look at downtown Port of Spain and the rush to erect tall buildings as some sort of simpleminded attempt to create a developed country on the surface when the reality is otherwise, I wonder about the misplacement of priorities.

 Since I am on facebook I suffer the usual deluge of invitations to join this or that group not to mention the slew of inane quiz invitations. While it is easy to dismiss the Blank wants you to take the test ”what kind of furry marsupial are you?” there are a few that genuinely grab my interest. Today, for example, I noticed Peter Sheppard had  joined the “save the Boissiere House” group. The Boissiere House is a miraculous little gingerbread gem of a home located around the Queen’s Park Savannah at the top of Cipriani Boulevard. It never fails to capture my eye as I drive by it every day on the way to work mainly because, as they say, they just don’t make them like that anymore. Unfortunately the prevailing culture of this country is that old things are bad and tall and shiny things are good. It is, to be sure, a childish mentality that somehow dismisses the national heritage as a colonial travesty that is best erased. I have written about this before and observed that Barbados and Jamaica have a more mature mentality about older buildings recognizing them as part of the built heritage and, therefore, important. I am glad to see that people such as Nicholas Laughlin and Georgia Popplewell are working to change the status quo.

I also noticed that three of my friends joined a group called “Same sex tolerance in T&T”. I am not so sure about that one. I know T&T has laws that date to the Victorian era and proscribe any sort of male-male same sex activity a fact that is beyond comprehension to anyone living in the developed world. It is a situation that is beyond silly and positively reprehensible to anyone with a brain but it is a reality. The Government ( whichever one it happens to be) will continue to bend to the perceived or real pressure placed on it by the religious hypocrites and nothing will change in the foreseeable future.  I am a realist but I truly hope that this will not be the case. Besides that, though, I really don’t see how much impact a Facebook group will have in effecting change. Perhaps it is more of a support group. 



 I have a concern with the use of the word “tolerance”. In any aspect of my life I would prefer to be hated outright than tolerated. We tolerate the fact our neighbour is an out of control drug user or  we tolerate the screaming brat in the coffee shop. On the other hand we accept other races and we accept the fact the all have different opinions. The fact is there are a lot of gay people in Trinidad, and presumably Tobago, and, by and large, the community is tolerated. Thankfully we didn’t see the Black Community in the US marching to Washington in the 1960s loudly chanting they wanted to be tolerated. They marched so the larger society would come to terms with and accept them as part of normal American life and deserving of rights.  In the case of that Facebook group it reeks of that antiquated bit of religious twaddle one hears from time to time , “love the sinner, hate the sin” .Funny how some things get me riled.

 Off to bed with my little riled self now.


February 1, 2008

Nose Breathing

Generally speaking, my reflections on work are of a happy nature full of musings about bonhomie and getting news out on time. Today I had one of the worst days I have ever had at work and it is in no way related to the newsroom staff. Given I have been producing news since Moses was in nappies I am not in the habit of taking criticisms of my judgement lightly and I am especially not fond of being found essentially faultless but having to now face the prospect of working even longer hours in my indefinite 7 day a week work schedule. Were I living in an option free world i might be in an even worse mental state than I have been in since earlier this evening. I will not give the details of my experience here but, while I recognize that others may be under stress, there is no need to spread the stress to innocent bystanders. Enough said…I am a professional and will handle my problems in a professional manner.

Moving on to other subjects. I am now counting the hours for Carnival to end and get the hell out of my face. The traffic, steelpans parked in the roadways, flocks of JCBs ( just come backs) and hordes of tourists clogging my HiLo is driving me crazy. I almost want to say “welcome to Trinidad now hurry up, sleep around and go the hell back where you came from”! I have been feeling a bit down this evening because of the aforementioned and my general mood lately so I think a list would do me good. Let’s talk about my list of things I don’t need in my life of is Vern’s list of things not needed on the voyage:

  1. 1. Condoms or anything even remotely related to sex.

  2. 2.More soca music

  3. 3. Another peep from the Mondeo

  4. 4. Anybody new in my life under the age of 30. I am still dealing with the slew I have.

  5. 5.More junk in my condo.

  6. 6.Drama of any sort not related to a film or theatrical production.

  7. 7.People who think that pondering what fete to attend is really an intellectual pursuit.

  8. 8. Freeloaders.

  9. 9. Jesus freaks explaining to me why I have to be saved.

  10. 10.More work.

That has me feeling much better already. Someone should write a book on “Blogging as Catharsis”.

Other than that in news of  friends … Robin is off to Guyana and Brazil for Carnival ( the Amazon not  Rio), Omar/Grommit is in Tribe fete, Astrid is in bed, Binky and Muz are home ( I assume), Steve is also in Tribe fete and Peter and Naz are in places unknown..though they are in Las Vegas for Carnival.

I hope tomorrow is a better day and i must say thanks to my cuz Peggy for making more sense than I have seen in a long time.



January 25, 2008

Dark night of my soul.

It was not a good day today. I am not always the most chipper person on the planet and view exceptionally happy people with grave suspicion but I have not been plagued by too many bouts of depression recently. I am not talking about those occasional down moments we all have when things seem bleak or when Britney threatens to release another album – I  am speaking of the real thing the bottomless pit in the deepest hell of the mind. I awoke this morning feeling a little better from the flu but with a nagging sensation in the pit of my stomach that seemed to be radiating to the rest of my body. Coffee didn’t help and smoking made me feel even worse. I showered, got dressed and fixed my hair at which point i was feeling like crying for no reason whatsoever. I pulled myself together and got in the Mondeo and headed to work. By the time I got there the feeling was like a heavy weight on me and I was barely able to sit and keep myself together. The sense of loss, overwhelming sadness and despair got to the point it was just short of  pushing me over the edge. Eventually the required numbness set in saving me from having to hide any sharp objects. It was a terrible feeling and one I haven’t experienced in some time. I don’t think people who have never experienced severe depression can truly understand how horrible it is to be locked screaming in the dungeon of one’s own mind with no one able to hear or help. I know that clinical depression runs in both sides of my family so I assume there is a genetic component to the whole thing. When I was younger I had more frequent bouts of depression often triggered my something situational such as a bad relationship or family troubles. I have done the paxil/zoloft thing and even ended up in a medical institution as a result of too friendly an acquaintance  with a bottle of prescription pills…but those experiences were years ago. I thought my bouts of severe depression had been banished following my dealings with a psychologist years ago. It seems that is not the case. At least today’s experience was only a 6 hour ordeal. After the depression started to lift I tried to think about a cause since situations often trigger me and I am still working on it. I can rule out work because I know I love that and it probably saved me from testing my amperage tolerance today. I know my social/love/intellectual life is a mess lately in that I need to focus more on getting my life to where I want it. Right now I have taken rather a Forrest Gump approach to dealing with the non-work areas of my life.  I have been hanging out with different people lately but i know it is not really helping keep me on the track I want to be on as amusing as it may be. In terms of love I realize that my idea of love is apparently an anachronistic concept in this day an age and I fear I am in danger of giving up on the whole concept. I called Mum yesterday and that sounded like a disaster with Mum sounding frantic, my brother complaining about his divorce, kids screaming and my poor stepdad trying to sound calm in the middle of everything. Perhaps it is a good thing i don’t call too often and can spend the rest of the time pretending I have a stable and rock solid family somewhere.I think this should be the year to focus on getting my life in order and making it what i want it to be. Maybe it is too much to want a great job, wonderful and supportive friends and someone in my life who can enhance it and make me believe in a true bond that can weather any storm. I might even try stopping smoking…nahhhhh..let’s work on the other things first then maybe I may not even want to smoke.In the meantime I have people like Binky, Alvin and Robin to rely on for comfort..or in Alvin’s case constructive abuse. And i seem to have at least one other shining soul working their way into my life so I guess things are not so bad. Tomorrow is a new day and I hope the dark cloud dissipates and the silver lining remains.  vern4.jpg 

January 22, 2008

Getting out of gear

Well it finally happened me and The Hearse are finally reunited after a month apart. I must say after paying the mechanics and taking control of her again it was a very strange experience getting used to her feel. Whereas the Suzuki is light and nimble getting the Mondeo onto the road felt like steering my living room. I was immediately conscious that I was guiding 2 tons of metal on the road.  Turning required minutes of planning and trying to estimate the back of the car which is about 18 feet long almost requires a navigator. The low driving position also took a while to get used to. It is funny how quickly one can get used to a different vehicle. It is nice having the comfortable suspension and  automatic shift though so I am getting used to her again. I was still sick today, sicker if anything, but I had agreed to produce the news today for Vashtee and figured I would just sit there fevered until the planned news meeting at 8pm.  The news was almost done and I dashed off in the Suzuki ( wasn’t comfortable with the Mondeo yet) to pick up Grommit and drop him to the Cascadia Hotel since he had no other way of getting there. Got back in time to see Giselle had her newscast and take more pills as my fever was ramping up again. Somewhere in there Tony decided that there was no point having a news meeting if Vash wasn’t there and we had two cameramen out so we postponed it till next week. Typical of us. That meant I could return the Toco keys to Robin and pick up Grommit at the hotel to drop him to catch his taxi as the hotel is only a couple of minutes from my place. Sitting here now wondering what will happen if I let the  fever keep building..will I spontaneously combust? Perhaps I will melt into my chaise? I suppose it is best not to explore some possibilities as brain damage seems a more likely outcome. I find fevers fascinating as I invariably think back to other fevers i have had in my life. There is something disturbing yet oddly fascinating about the jangly nerves and the galvanic skin response that fevers induce. I find there is an almost sexual quality to the feeling..not quite …but there is a definite nexus. Sad to see that actor Heath Ledger apparently committed suicide today at the age of 28. Even in the most apparently charmed of lives there  may be demons lurking.100_4263.jpg

January 15, 2008

When Friends Meet

It was an interesting day at work and afterwards today. I went to work do an interview with someone from the Schools Soca Monarch competition. It was one of those interviews that you just know will be painful to stretch to 1/2 hour but such is the nature of our programme. Predictably, it was painful and it took all I could muster to stretch it to 26 minutes. After work I was thrilled to head out to meet Reshma at the Crowne Plaza. We haven’t seen each other in about 7 years as she now lives in London and has a big job with BG.  When she arrived it was as if we had never been separated. In our heyday we were as thick as thieves and I often think we are twins separated at birth. She reminded me that we could have had the best looking kids on the planet but I ignored the window of opportunity. In short..she was the Reshma of old. She says she has mellowed but I think I saw several glimmers of the old Reshma. She is still as determined about her life plan and career as ever and it was really great to see someone who knows exactly where they want to be at each stage of their life. I guess five degrees doesn’t hurt. Thinking about it, we would have had great looking kids but we are so selfish neither of us would want to deal with them. I also reminded her that I don’t think Demerol is allowed from day one to nine months but if she wanted I could arrange a FedEx package to London. I will tackle the Aruba chapter tomorrow as it is already largely done. I have never been this late with a writing assignment before…but then again…I have never had so many other things going on. Tomorrow I will deal with Aruba and then head out to a birthday party for my pal Bunny who I haven’t seen in almost a year. Maureen called and said we are to meet for his surprise party at 8:30 in South and then we will head to his new club…Space – La Nouba for the party. God help me. Past the lighthouse again. Bunny’s new club is really quite amazing though and the interior was designed by Brian MacFarlane so I am interested to see it. I was supposed to be the manager but ieTV came in between and that is my true love. I guess I better arrange someone to go with me tomorrow…I hate driving alone. Where the hell did a social life come from? I haven’t had one in years. And good news Jameer says I may have the Mondeo back very soon.img_4234.jpg  

January 15, 2008

Missing the Mondeo

Those of you with too much time on your hands who have been following this blog may have noticed that a week before Xmas I mentioned that my dearest Ford Mondeo aka The Hearse had to check in for some repairs after a  fan sensor broke. With the holidays happening etc. it is now the middle of January and she is still not fixed. Today I was sent on an errand by the garage to go to my pal Jai at Ford to get a head something or the other and the aforementioned sensor. Is it me or should I not have to walk away with some heavy objects after spending $1000 on parts? The sensor looked the size of a matchbox and didn’t seem too complicated to my eyes and the head thingie was a flat thing wrapped in cardboard.The total weight of my thousand dollar purchase must have been about 200 grammes. As I was leaving Jai said I really should change the something belt and the water pump at the same time. Not wishing to feel the pain of spending money again I told him I would check with the mechanic and get back to him. Needless to say the mechanic thought it might be a good idea too and now I have to spend another $2500 . These new parts better weigh something or I will be apoplectic. I know computers and gadgets really well but when it comes to cars my normal reaction is to just keep throwing money at the problem until it goes away.

Other than that I have made some progress on Fodor’s as my young friends were back at University today and with a remarkable lack of Wii-ing and watching America’s Next Top Model I was able to get a fair amount done. Not to say I don’t miss the two crazies they add a weird new dimension to my life and give me a different perspective. I become so wrapped up in my work world and forget what it was like to be at university and watching my pennies yet pursuing as much fun as possible. The late night discussions and liver challenging booze consumption is a bit out of my league now though. One must recognize one’s limitations.

Alvin popped in for dinner this evening so he could avoid the traffic and it was lovely having him here. When you are friends with someone for so long words do not have to be exchanged the company is enough. We had a lovely braised pork tenderloin served on a bed of reduced onions with mashed potatoes with caramelised onions and some buttered peas. Simple but perfect for two hungry friends.

On the subject of booze I was mightily impressed that Iggy was able to belt down 11 shots of Stoli and remain standing…for a while at least.