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Monthly Archives: November 2009

Soar


On October 14th 2009, I got invited to see a Dress Rehearsal for a Dance piece my friend Dave Williams was doing for the Contemporary Choreographers Collective (Coco) 2009 at Queens Hall. Naturally I grab my camera and was determined to take some pictures as the lighting in Queens Hall is Amazing!!!.

I took over 200 pictures. Most were of the 3 part piece he did called "SCAN" and some were from the opening performance by a girl called Makeda Thomas.

I hope you like them……

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 19, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Addiction


“Hi Everyone.”

“My name is Stefan and….. sigh….”(silence)

(The Crowd around me starts to prompt – “Go On” “Say it” “Say It!!!”)

“I’m a……”

“I’m a Farmville Addict”

(YAAY!!! Crowd screams and claps all around)

 

This, my friends, is how I expect my first meeting for “Addicts Anonymous” would go after I decide to quit playing these ridiculous games online. Yes, I know they are ridiculous but as of right now, I am not ready to quit. What I can do is admit that I have a problem. And boy do I have one!!

 

I have always known about my problem for a long time. Someone would introduce me to a song/game/book/tv series etc and all of a sudden I’m hooked. Hooked in a very unhealthy way. Hooked in a way that I long to know every detail, fact, trivia, picture etc that I can find on the particular topic.

 

But as with every addiction, there comes a point when you no longer get the high you initially got and all attempts at regaining that high are just never the same. Alas you keep on using, just so that one day, just one sweet day, that initial high will return. It never does. I am there and I still can’t stop. It has gotten so bad that I cut a date short on Wednesday because I knew that I had crops that were maturing shortly and didn’t want to risk them dying or me not being able to move up a level before midnight.

 

I was not meant to play Farmville. I had decided a long time ago that after my love affair with Bejeweled Blitz had consumed me, that I would no longer be a slave to any game.  It is so bad that  I MUST to get a score over 100,000 points before I am to be able to turn in for the night. Heroes Ability, Pirates, Fight Club, Hexic, Uno, Jungle Jewels and many others; they all had me at one time or another and I continued to play then even after they stopped making sense. Bejeweled Blitz however got me real BAD primarily because it deals with scoring a certain as many points as possible in one minute. You can have a series of good games, then a series of low scoring ones, but because the game ends in one minute you end up playing over 100 games in any one sitting and then when you look up and realize that your car is still in the road and it is 1am in the morning and you haven’t gotten off your bed since you got home. Oh and you are hungry too!!

 

I knew that I couldn’t handle another game like this one at all.

 

Then, one little innocent visit to Chaguanas to see my goddaughter, turned me into a person that scours other people’s farms in an attempt to see if I can get an Experience Point (XP) for chasing away raccoon, foxes gophers etc.

 

This is how it all began.

 

On Sunday November 8, 2009 2:00pm, I logged onto Facebook, accepted a friend’s Farmville request, planted some strawberries that would bear fruit in 4 hours and walked away. Then while watching a movie a couple hours later, it dawned on me that I would not have access to a computer when harvesting had to begin, so I needed to stay in Chaguanas a little longer than expected. I left there at 8pm and had moved up two levels already.

 

Cut to Monday 16, November 5:45pm, where I have just advanced to level 17 and am now closing in on some people that have been playing the game for more than three weeks (Really? what were they doing for so long? Did their crops die? What were they planting to take so long to advance?). The game however is getting harder and I require more XP points to advance each time and people are not fertilizing my crops as much as I am fertilizing theirs. Selfish BASTARDS!!!!

 

Confused? I am sure you are, but I can try my best to explain my addiction but it really stems from a need to beat EVERYONE in any game that I play.  Now this need doesn’t extend to any sport involves me being outdoors, in sneakers and sweating, but it is in the same context.  I am not any kind of savant or MENSA member but I just have this inherent need to be on top or at least be ahead of people I consider inferior to me in some respect. I know that is bad to write but hey guess what? I didn’t call any names.

 

I was going to spend time and explain the game but let me just list some of the problems/issues I am having with it.

 

·         Why the hell do they limit the number of FREE gifts I can send out to people when I don’t get any XP for doing so?

·         If I use the Free Gift table, all of a sudden I can send request to another Farmville friend to add me as a neighbor. What is up with that?

·         I don’t like to BEG. For ANYTHING!!! And this game creates a dependency on people. You need to send out a request to your friends so that they fertilize your crops. If they don’t, you don’t get XP points when it is time to harvest!!! I really don’t like this feature.  Being dependent on people is a serious game flaw, as there are too many selfish people around. Can I not use my coins to buy fertilizer?

·         Twenty Four hours? Really? That is how long I have to wait before I can fertilize someone’s farm again or send a gift?

·         I can only fertilize 5 blocks/plots? Really? Do you know how many people I have to be dependent on now to get all my crops fertilized? This is a crappy feature!!!!

·         Why do people keep sending me chickens?

·         Why do animals keep wandering off other farms and why do I have to find a home for them? Can’t I keep them if they wander onto my farm?

·         When an animal matures you can collect stuff from them, but ummm….  Brown Cow=Chocolate Milk? Pink Cow=Strawberry Milk? Cat-Yarn? Pig= Truffles? Light Green Cow=???? Pistachio?

·         Why are there no dogs on the farm? Why are all the cats black? Why are there turtles on the farm? Elephants?

·         These ribbons things come at weird times. I feel bad to call my friend Cindy in the middle of the night to tell her that I am about to post bonus point for another winning another ribbon. What must her family think of me during these times?

·         I am glad there is no crop disease or pestilence in this farm universe but if foxes appear on your farm, how come they never slaughter on the animals on it?

·         Why do I need a bird bath, a park bench, a topiary (What the hell is that?) or even silo when NONE of these things will be of use to me other than being a decoration on the farm.

·         I suck at landscaping/designing etc. Why can’t the game give you options as to how your farm should look?  Some people’s farms look amazing while others look like mine (In need of divine/supernatural intervention before their farm can look remotely presentable).

 

I can write more, but frankly, I am just ashamed of myself for still being hung up on this game. Right now I have set most of my crops to mature around 7pm tonight and hopefully that would mean I get to move up another level during that time.  However, I am faced with the situation that over the course of the week I have placed animals on my farm at different times of the day, so that when they mature I may not be available in a timely manner to collect. Believe or not, this worries me and if I had access to Facebook at work, I would be sorting this stuff out now!!!

 

The weird thing is that I always come across people who leave their farms with fallow ground and just go on with their lives. How do they do it? I guess they actually have a life or some semblance of one. Either way I am promising myself to make a concerted effort not to let this game control me.

 

The problem however occurs when I get home and I am trying to rack up XP points all around me before my crop matures. This ends up taking a long time and I don’t notice the hours fly by. The missed calls and voicemails on my phone signal that I forgot to take my phone off of “silent mode” when I got home and therefore I missed all opportunities for human contact or interaction.

 

Oh well, let’s see if I can get a reasonable high score on Bejeweled Blitz while I wait for Farmville to refresh itself.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Karma


I am wondering if I just have a lot of bad karma. As you have seen through many of my blogs, the strangest things continually happen to me and only me while many others go unscathed. I remember once telling a friend to call me “Seepaul” after the local saying Gopaul luck aint Seepaul luck.  He didn’t see the humor in my discourse as he is one for positive energy , universe  “TheSecret” blah blah blah nonsense.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I have had my share of good luck and blessings beyond measure and comparison and for that I am extremely grateful. However, there comes a point in time when begins to wonder if these things happen to me on purpose or some divine force is trying to teach me lessons that I keep missing.

 

I used to think that in a former life I was one evil S.O.B and that to correct that life, karma has spilt the correction process over into this one.  I mean how does one explain incidents where I seemed to get picked on out of the blue. Judge for yourself as I present recent experiences that make me wonder:

 

AIRPORTS

I love to travel but I don’t think travel likes me. Actually, travel throughout the Caribbean I should say. I have started to Web Check-in everytime I travel on Caribbean Airlines for the expressed reason that no matter how I am dressed (and I usually dress plain so as not to draw attention to myself), I seem to be the one that ALWAYS gets searched. They claim it is random searching but how does one get searched every inch of the way.

 

CASE: On October 25th, 2009, I entered the Piarco airport with hopes of having a smooth flight to Antigua, on my way to St. Kitts. I get to the Caribbean Airlines counter and there is no one in sight. Lines are empty. I go to the Web Check In counter because I don’t need to be in the general area. Then out of the corner of my eye I see “him” coming. “Him” being the person who asks me if I can step to the side and subject myself to a random search. I sigh and walk with my bag there. I tell him that this search is definitely not random as I always seem to get called. Then he says that I just happen to be the only person in line so that is why he called me. Lo and behold, while searching my bag a busload of Guyanese enter the line with tons of suitcases and sail straight to the counter while he searches through mine. Seepaul….

 

I leave there, go through immigration and decided to have a bite in Rituals before proceeding to my Gate. I lose track of time ( because I was chatting with my friend Nisha) and now there is a long line of people to go through the scanner. I spend like 25 to 30 minutes slowly inching up the line only to be told to take my shoes, belt etc off (crap I am wearing my favorite socks with holes). I get through this stage easily then get called back because some officer didn’t know what an external hard drive is. I am doubly late for the flight and I hear my name being called for the third time.  I rush to the gate only to have another random search person pull me aside.

 

You can’t be f*%$ing serious. I just got searched and they calling my name over the intercom”

“Sir, please stop using profanity and just place your bag on the table.”

I pitch my bag on the table

“ Here!!! Search it. Tell me what you find that security didn’t check three mf seconds ago!! Un-F&^%ing believable!!!!!”

“Sir please stop using foul language. This is my job”

“You aint done yet?”

 

He searches through the bag, pulls out my external hard drive case, examines it, looks puzzled and seems to want to call someone (Jesus!!!). He changes his mind. I grab my bag and storm onto the plane where everyone is staring at me for keeping back the flight.

 

 

RESTAURANTS

Everyone knows my love of food and there can be no end to the number of restaurants I go to and now there are a number of them that I just don’t patronize anymore.

 

I must preface this by saying that I am not a snob when I enter a restaurant. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and I am always smiling and courteous to all who serve me. However that doesn’t mean that I will not still get horrible service or just be ignored.

 

There have been too many times that servers come to a table with me on it and assume that the other party on the table is the dominant person and therefore shower them with affection and service my drink order is barely remembered or my request that no nuts be present in the salad is forgotten. I like this approach. It helps me better decide what NOT to tip them.

 

I love to see the faces of the servers when they come to drop the bill and they place it on the side of the person not paying and when I take it up, they always look mortified.

 

Why am I always the one that gets their order messed up when I am ordering straight off the menu and the other person told them to hold the lettuce, croutons and change rice to fries etc etc etc (trust me I could go on).

 

So what if I don’t have time to chat up the servers, umm I am there for a meal not to make a new friend on Facebook!!!!

 

Service should not be geared towards whom you think is paying but should be universally good (if that make sense).

 

 

PEOPLE

Apparently my parents stuck me with a face that reminds EVERYONE I meet of someone they know from another country or from the gym, park, AA meetings, Church, Camp, library, fish market, DMV, a restaurant server (sigh) , or just from anywhere USA. It gets tiring after awhile.

 

While the other two areas described above would have you believe that I am not approachable and therefore rub people the wrong way, I present this section to prove how wrong that assumption is.

 

Strangers love to talk to me. As a matter of fact, while in New York recently with my older brother, we were constantly stopped by all and sundry asking for direction etc. We just couldn’t understand it. It was as if we just looked friendly and local? We laughed a lot at some of the questions asked.

 

No matter where in world I am, strangers come up to me to ask questions and some even smile at me on airplanes, buses, subways and even across a lane of cars and ALL try to engage me in conversation. It is a curse, I know. There have been so many times that I have had an I pod in my ear, and a book on my lap and suddenly I feel the person next to me or across the aisle, just staring at me trying to make contact.  Don’t they see that my body posture indicates hostility? Nope they are totally unaware of it.

 

Alas, it is who I am. I am a recognizable face from Ghana, Nigeria , Surinam, Antigua, Maryland, Houston, Atlanta, Berne, Bristol, Cork (yes Cork), St. Kitts, Durban, Guyana, London, Paris, Wales, Berlin and Ivory Coast ( to name a few places). You just name it. Wherever a black person resides, there is someone that looks or resembles me and apparently they are all friendly people. Hmm might explain why I am so hostile sometimes as all these people get the goodness.

 

My recent seating companion ( old lady who didn’t smell) on board a LIAT flight to Barbados told me I looked like a boy from Dominica who works in a bank. I laughed to myself at this and just told her that I don’t live in Dominica. She however forgot this statement 2 minutes later when she started to talk about how she think I might have short changed her on her pension cheque a few months back. She then called her son from another seat to tell him the same thing. If he had a window seat I would’ve changed with him but I need a window seat on flight.

 

There once was this guy who saw me in line at the bank and proceeded to talk to me about cricket. BAD idea (anyone who knows me knows that I loathe cricket). When he found my responses were short at best, he just started another topic he thought I might be interested in. This one turned out to be relationships and sex.  Turning to him and saying that I was uncomfortable with the conversation he was trying to have with me didn’t phase him. He asked for a drop to town afterwards.  Why do the crazies gravitate to me?

 

I’ve been proposed to by both men and women on trains, buses and even outside a urinal in Hamburg (not a pleasant experience).

 

Even at work, where I am sometimes regarded as being rather impersonal, there are some people who see no problem in walking up to me or entering my cubicle and just invading my personal space just to ask me an irrelevant question. Once insulted they seem to come back for more.

 

 

I could go on and on about this Karma thing but in writing this I hoped that by the end of it I would’ve gotten some breakthrough as to why these things happen to me. I am still clueless.

 

My mother once told me that I was the only person she knew that a stranger within seconds of meeting me would either try to kiss or hit me. 10 to1 they would always end up hitting me. Not a strike but someone a slightly not-too playful choke or a blow to the arm.  She says I bring out latent hostility in the gentle soul. 

 

What’s your take on that? Do I do that? After meeting me, have you ever wanted to strike me for some reason or another?

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Miles To Go


Here is a recap of my travel from St. Kitts back to Trinidad yesterday. My assistant booked me to return to Trinidad on LIAT (Note to self: Need to get her performance appraisal reviewed).

 

My flight Itinerary looked like this:

 

ARRIVE – St. Kitts (SKB) to Trinidad (POS)

Wednesday, 04 Nov 2009

 

Flight LI 503                  Depart St Kitts at 8:20am.          Arrive: Antigua at 8:50am

Flight LI 521                  Depart Antigua at 9:20am.          Arrive Barbados at 10:50am

Flight LI 727                  Depart Barbados at 11:45am.      Arrive Trinidad at 1:35pm*

 

* – There is a stop in Grenada to drop off passengers that I was unaware of but everyone else seemed to know about.

 

So it will take me roughly FIVE (5) hours to get from St. Kitts to Trinidad.  It could take less but apparently no Caribbean Airlines flights were available back to Trinidad from Antigua that early in the morning.  I also didn’t want to spend another waking minute in St. Kitts. Ten days on a workshop for securities licensing followed by a six and half (6 ½) hour exam. I have had enough of this island!!!!!

 

So let’s begin:

 

6:00am            

Alarm goes off. I turn on TV to VH1 while I get ready.

 

6:30am            

Realize that suitcase is mad heavy due to the Herculaneum binder of info from the workshop.

 

6:45am            

In Hotel Lobby confirming no additional charges on my hotel bill. (I paid it the night before.)

 

7:00am            

At airport, no on else in line. Attendant looks at scale and declares I have US$40 for her due to being 4 lbs over-weight. Actually

She said:          You wah remove anyting from insidah dey?

Me:                   Why?

She:                 Yuh 4 lbs overweight. Dat is 40 US Dollars.(rolling her eyes)

Me:                   Ok I’ll pay it. I’m not taking anything out of the bag.

She                  Ok but if they stop you in Antigua that is not my fault.

Me:                   I’m paying you so you tag my bags all the way to Trinidad

She:                 Oh is dat where yuh going? I taught it was to St. Lucia. Leh meh change it.

 

7:10am            

On my way up to the Departure Gate, a woman stops me let me know that I need to go pay Departure Tax of US$22.00. Jeez US$62 in less than ten minutes.

 

7:12am            

I walk to the Emigration desk (as it says in front of the officer). She looks at me and tells me to go get something to drink as she needs to go to the bathroom.

 

7:19am            

She returns and processes me. I pass through scanner after this and get felt up by female officer there even though I did not beep while going through the machine. (I am just too sexy for my own good)

 

7:45am            

Call to assemble is announced for the flight. Already?  How strange!!!  Woman who searched me just waved at me. (Why did I look up?)

 

7:47am            

Call to board flight is announced. (Huh I thought the flight leaves at 8:20am?)

 

7:50am            

On flight (Mia Mottley is on board too)

 

7:55am            

We take off

 

8:15am            

We arrive in Antigua

 

8:20am            

Still in the “Intransit line” as the sweaty LIAT guy is talking on his phone and trying to check-in passengers.

 

8:30am            

In departure lounge in Antigua. I buy a Jamaican Patty and some juice. Apparently Kenny Anthony was also on my flight. No crazy woman singing “Party in the USA” like the first time I was there

 

9:00am            

On board flight to Barbados. I spot a pasty looking white lady eyeing the seat next to me but for some reason she sits in the opposite aisle.

 

9:10am            

Granny next to me still can’t put on her belt. Thank goodness she doesn’t smell. The white lady is revealed to be a Russian and on her way to Guyana to meet her new fiancé that she met online.

 

Russian lady spoke all the way to Barbados. ALL THE WAY. Non-stop Chatter. I slept and got up and she was still talking. She even asked for coffee, a small juice packet and two packs of Ovaltine biscuits when refreshments were served. (hmm somebody is hungry) She had most of the people around her asking her questions about her new fiancé and why is she traveling so far to meet him. She said she was happy to do it because she felt a connection to him. I just got the impression that she was a prostitute going to a new job assignment. Why would someone pay for you to travel on LIAT to Guyana when there are more direct ways to get there? One would only do that if one is avoiding certain check-points. Hmmm but then again I am suspicious of most people. Lord she is still talking. Apparently her friends told her not to go to a third world country or she would be sold into slavery. Ha Ha Ha Ha. Her English is very good. Me no think she travel from Russia recently.

 

10:45am          

Plane arrives in Barbados. We have to disembark and enter the LIAT In-transit Terminal. Here we are met with another round of scanners and metal detectors. Umm why do we need to go through this process again when we just left another country where we were searched before we could enter the Departure Lounge? I am confused at this process totally.

 

Russian lady sits alone trying to make eye contact with me to talk, but my Ipod is in my ear and my laptop is open. There will be no conversation being had at this point.  I am so not a sociable animal anymore.

 

A fat guy who was on my flight comes over and asks me if I am going to Grenada as well and if I can help him with some stuff he has to carry.  …………… Silence ………  He just walks away. WTH!!!!

 

11:15am                      

Wait a minute did he say Grenada!!!! So this is not a direct flight from Barbados

 

11:16am                      

Spoke with Airline Ground Rep. Son of a BITCH!!! We really do stop in Grenada first!!1

 

11:35am

I board the plane to realize that it is the same one I just got off of with the same flight attendant. I asked her why I couldn’t have just stayed on.

 

“Sir, this is not Caribbean Airlines!!!”

 

She answered my  question with that.

 

11:37am

 I don’t have a window seat and the guy next to me is holding his T&T arrival form as if it is an exam sheet. Jeez he is so gonna ask me to help him fill it out.

12:15pm

Arrive in Grenada. Fat guy comes off and gives me a last nod. Ipod is still in so I pretend I didn’t notice his greeting as I am staring into blank space.

 

12:45pm

“Yuh have a pen ah cyan borrow?”

“Sure”

“you heading to Treenidad right?”

“That’s why I’m still on the flight”

“Oh ok”

 

1:00pm

While in flight. He has only written his name in the last ten minutes and keeps putting the paper close to his face. It is coming. I can feel it.

 

1:10pm

Flight attendant distributes Arrival forms throughout the cabin. I get mine and finish it in no time. He took an extra form from the attendant.

 

“Here nah, de lighting bad and meh eyesight not good at all.”

“Yuh could help me fill this out?”

“Sure!!” (I say with a smile on my face)

 

He then pulls out a US Passport and my face changes?

WAIT A MINUTE!!!!

He can’t read and he has a US Passport!!!!!!

Life is soooooooooo unfair.

 

1:25pm

Touchdown in Trinidad. I am so happy to be home. LIAT actually came in a little earlier than expected. Hmmm I know this is not a normal thing but I am grateful.

 

My fellow row passenger says goodbye and proceeds to immigration where he chats up the immigration officer.

 

1:50pm

After a long wait, the Customs Officer takes my form.

“You bringing back any fruits from St Kitts?”

“NO!!!” ( perplexed look on my face)

“Why were you there so long?”

“I was on a training course at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank”

“Are you a Trini?”

“Umm Yes” (shows him passport but ready to cuss right now for that statement)

“Ok go ahead”

 

2:45pm

Purchased a CD:  “This is It” by Michael Jackson. Just to calm my nerves from the long day.

 

3:35pm

Home…….

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 5, 2009 in Travel, Uncategorized