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As Good As It Gets!


I was honestly going to let it slide but since my brain can’t let things rest until I have aired it outside of my head, here goes…….

Late Sunday night, I got a Facebook alert telling me someone had mentioned me in a comment. Curious as to why I am being mentioned (plus I like the attention) I looked;

Here is the result:

keron-1
Umm I was shocked at the detail he went into and how personally he took every aspect of the movie. Many things sprung to mind the day after this Facebook post and here are a couple thoughts (some were expressed to him on his page).

• It is a freaking Zombie movie! What part of reality is this based?
• Someone takes my reviews seriously?
• Were there no positive racial tones in the movie? Wait! it’s a FREAKING movie about ZOMBIES!!! WHO CARES?

I read all the comments on his page and only one conclusion came to mind.

People actually take my movie reviews seriously?

I mean, come now, I post three to four sentence dribbles about movies I have seen on my Flixster account and some of those comments may appear on my Facebook page but I really don’t make much out of it. I just see it as one human ranting succinctly on stuff. However, to think that there are people out there who value my opinion on something…well… I feel….honored…even though my opinion is always just that.
MY OPINION! Ebert & Roeper I’m certainly not!

I have been known to be wrong on some occasions, not many, but just a few occasions.

I love movies! Always have, always will. I am one of those children that didn’t play outside much. It’s not that children didn’t want to play with me, there was just so much going on, on TV, in books and in the Cinema!!! Who wants to get sweaty when you can lie down with a good book and a pack of Crix or be in front of the TV with a bag of “Rough Tops” or “Shirley” biscuits, or at the movies with my usual staple: A Large popcorn and a bottle of water! Sigh…the simple pleasures

I just relish what I see on screen and transport myself into each and every world that is displayed. Of course, during the course of my life, I have exhibited behaviour like Keron and therefore expressed my displeasure at either the lack of “black” characters in a movie or the fact that they always die off early. Then I realised, if it’s a good movie, what does it matter? If these things bothered me so much then obviously I should be doing something about it instead of just complaining or boycotting movies.

But I digress….My awakening to how stupid I was being came one day in London while watching De-Lovely with my friend Matthew in one of the Odeon Cinemas. The movie was going really well and I was thoroughly enjoying it and then it happened: Nearing the end of the movie, they snuck in Natalie Cole singing “Every time We Say Goodbye”. At what was supposed to be a poignant and heartfelt moment in the movie, I let out a loud “Steups” and said “this is when they bring the black woman in?” Matthew was not pleased at all and afterwards made me realise that instead of enjoying the movie for what it was, I turned it into something about race, instead of what it was meant to be; a moment to have allergies at up.

I wouldn’t say that from that moment on, I was cured of my affliction, but over time I realised that if I made an effort to see someone’s work on the screen (be it Josh Whedon, M. Night Shama-lama-ding-dong, Adam Sandler or gulp Tyler Perry) I deserved to let them tell their story the way they wanted it told. After all it is THEIR story. Afterwards, I would make my usual comments about poor script or plot development or bad acting but I would never bring race into the issue, unless it was blatant like what George Lucas did in the Star Wars Prequels. Then again all those Prequels were bad on so many levels, you realise that all the money he had could not save a big budget disappointment.

Now I can expound on the virtues of loving yourself and understanding your place in the universe or ensuring that people create positive images for young children to look up to but that is not my place.

My place is as a viewer. To drink the “kool aid’ on screen and if it doesn’t agree with me, then so be it!

As I look over World War Z in my mind, for what it was it still isn’t a bad movie. I may not have agreed with some choices made by the director but the movie was entertaining. I loved that they chose to make the zombies fast paced and manic. It set my heart racing and well, my bladder could not hold the 32 oz drink for the entire movie, since my stomach contracted way too many times during certain scenes. I would definitely watch it again.

While Keron sought to highlight every bad decision people made in the movie using black characters, he somehow failed to see the bad other races (Well only Caucasians as he put it) did or even asked himself if he would have made a similar choice if he was in that particular situation.

SPOILER ALERT: I too would’ve made the same choice the Deputy Secretary General of the UN made once I thought Brad Pitt’s character was dead. Why was I keeping them on the ship taking up space? He transported them to a secure facility in Canada and not back to a zombie infested city!

So what if the black police officer decided to get some groceries too in the midst of chaos, is his family supposed to go hungry while the entire world goes crazy? At least he didn’t try to kill anyone like the Caucasian man was doing to Brad Pitt’s wife. Steups, why am I justifying a zombie movie!!

It irks me when people get all black conscious in a movie when those same people would sit through a stinking Tyler Perry movie that does nothing to uplift the image of black people beyond the stereotypes of being people who pray a lot after cussing out everyone for the first half of the movie (Sorry that’s called redemption). Every so-called heroine in a Tyler Perry movie needs a man to save her! Why is that? I just don’t get it!

At some point we need to get over ourselves. If we are not the agent for change in our lives then don’t expect others to do it for us!. If you cannot handle or like the way black characters are handled in movies then DON’T WATCH THEM!!! It is always going to upset you.

I am not saying to be totally blind but at some point your decisions have to be either to avoid these things that offend you or DO something about it or just grin and bear it.

I leave you all with a quote from a character called Melvin Udall from the movie  “As Good As It Gets”! Yes the movie had a low minority presence and the woman he said this line to was Latina (but it didn’t offend me).

“Sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here!”

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Emotions, Entertainment, Humor, Movies, RANT, Uncategorized

 

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Spread your Hands……


And Let gooooooooooo……………Hand in de air everybody!!

Ah music!!

Call it what you want:

  • Mid life crisis
  • Lapse in judgement
  • Backsliding, or
  • Meds wearing off

It doesn’t matter. I decided last year, at the prompting of some friends, to play Carnival (mas) for the first time in *cough*cough*cough* (sorry) years. In case you couldn’t make out how long it was since I last played mas; let’s just put it this way, when I did, there used to be a band called Poison. Nuff Said!

Anyway, for those who have started praying for my soul and gossiping about what I am doing, let’s clear the air:

  • Jesus and I are fine
  • I know what I’m doing
  • I have always been responsible for MY actions
  • I needed a goal.

There!!

Now that those issues are out of the way, let me say “I had a BLAST!!”or as the uneducated masses tout “It was BESS!!” Who knew that being on your feet for over 8 hours a day could be so much fun and contribute to so much weight loss and toning. I recommend anyone trying to lose weight to try this special two day weight loss program. You don’t necessarily have to wine down to the ground like you have no owner, but keep moving for the entire period while remaining hydrated and I assure you that the pounds will fall off.

It is only on Carnival Tuesday mid-day did it dawned on me that this is why most vagrants in Trinidad are “ripped”. They walk all day. Who knew!

I digress. So I played mas with Fantasy in the section called Rio Azul and I had a really good time. The process of deciding to play mas came about as I needed to set goals for myself for my weight loss. From April to August 2012, I was working out with my trainer and I had not lost a single pound and it was frustrating me to no end. When some friends came up with the idea for me to play mas with them, I realised that I found a goal. I found a reason to ensure that I stuck to what I needed to do.

And so it began. Results weren’t as forthcoming as I had hoped but somehow in December, the weight started to drop off. In January, my trainer said: No Carbs, No Sugar!” I obeyed (well as much as I could) and I saw some improvement.  Can you imagine me going to all-inclusive fetes and all I dared to eat was meat and veggies? No curried dumplings, no doubles, no fries, no pasta, no (gulp) roti! It was difficult but for some reason I kept hearing my trainer in my head whenever I would go near to carbs and the thought that he might give me harder exercises for eating carbs made me stay clear. Sigh ..it didn’t matter anyway, the bastard still had me sweating up a storm during each session! There was no let up in sight.

Carnival Friday came and I collected my costume and then the fear set in. I was going to be bareback on the road for all to see. Anyone who knows me, knows that to take off my t-shirt on a beach requires a small ritual involving breathing and me taking off my shirt and running into the water as fast as possible before anyone sees me. (as if they could miss a hippo running on the beach!. Yes, yes, I do possess some measure of body shame.

Normally, while looking in the mirror in my apartment, I approved of how my body looks, however, my eyes seem to get distorted when I looked at it on Carnival Tuesday morning when the costume was donned. BTW -I am still trying to find the root of all these body issues within my mind. I may have to undergo hypnotherapy to find out! 

First pose in Apartment

First pose in Apartment

Internally I started to scream and I grabbed a vest quickly to cover up my perceived “tut tuts” and belly.  I also had issues with the fact that my section was called Rio Azul but the pants for my costume were blu-ish purple with pink rings. It looked as if the band didn’t care about this section at all and just threw together whatever they had left over from last year.  .

Anyway, the vest never made it to the car and I took my “fat” self to meet my friends and head to the band.

The first hour in the road with my body exposed seemed like an eternity. I was panicking internally and smiling outside but overall I was just fidgety. It felt like I was watching “The Hours” all over again but this time the Nicole Kidman’s character took an exceedingly longer time to change her facial expressions and Julianne Moore’s character!Good Lord that movie was long!! ..

Between the THREE HOUR wait on Charlotte Street that the band made me endure coupled with them having being NO BREAKFAST for the masqueraders, I stopped fussing over my body and weight issues and started to concentrate on other stuff.

I can't look at this one!

I can’t look at this one!

It is amazing how much of yourself you have to deal with when you don’t have a camera to distract you. Oh wait! I did have a camera! A small point and shoot Panasonic Lumix with the battery life of an AA Eveready!

So I began snapping pictures and fear subsided and I stopped having the urge to pull in my stomach when I walked. When the damn camera battery died, I resorted to jumping and dancing and making new friends in the band. Some women weren’t as welcoming but the few who were seemed to take to me like white on rice. A good time was had.

In the end, I stopped fussing over a lot of things and just had a good time in the band. I ignored:

  • the long wait on a smelly street,
  • the fact that we did not cross the stage,
  • the lack of breakfast (3 months earlier and I may have staged a protest for this one),
  • the uneducated staff on the “Drinks” trucks that perceived that whenever you asked for a drink you wanted Johnny Walker! (Sigh….we as a people are in a mess when it comes to drinking!)
  • the costume that kept falling apart, and
  • the speed at which some of the music trucks moved – this negro was not running behind anything after being on his feet for the whole day.

I laughed and danced so much on those two days with my friends that whatever troubled me was so not an issue. It made me realise that I fuss over nothing and I do allow too many people and their opinions to rent space in my head for free!

While Carnival may be considered the “devil’s work and playground”, it provided much needed therapy for me in terms of clearing my head and understanding that one can have a good time, sober (reasonably) and just being amongst friends.

There are rumors that I may have been seen dancing on a street sign/ pole or two but since I have no recollection of this, (and the fact that no pictures have surfaced), I believe these things to be lies from observers looking to tarnish my good name and character. Plus they were probably drunk.

Fun Times!!

Fun Times!!

Ash Wednesday met me in work without any pain in my body or tiredness. For this, I must thank my trainer, Stefan Charles, as I really don’t think my body would’ve recovered so well had he not been torturing it for three days in every week leading up to it.

As of today, I weight 218 lbs and I am proud of it. While I think the 20 pounds lost is a lot, I would like a tighter firmer body and so I begin the gym again from today.

My new goal for an improved body is now geared towards Tobago Jazz Festival (April 22-28th), so wish me luck!

Me thinks, turning 40 has either set me into panic mode about my life or it is just forcing me to have a little more fun than I normally do. Whatever is happening, I embrace it!

How was your Carnival period?

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Entertainment, Fitness, RANT, Uncategorized

 

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THIS IS 40!


As I turn to rise and stretch my hand to take off the series of alarms that go off, to herald a new work day, I take a moment to say “Thank you God” for my life and especially for the blessing of being able to see my 40TH Birthday.

This morning I smell of “Absorbine Junior” due to the fact that my right shoulder hurts from exercising on Friday and not necessarily as a result of old joints.  I look in the bathroom mirror and see me: A very low almost bald type haircut, (I started taking it a couple years ago, owing to the receding hairline) and specks of gray hair that started to pop up. My goatee is neatly trimmed and also speckled with gray but this one I can bear. My body is slowly finding a nice form. I have lost 15 pounds and went from a trouser size of 38 to 36 and my clothing fits so much better.  I no longer have a second trimester belly! So good things are happening.

I have not had the desire to buy any hair dying products as yet and I think it has to do with denial of my age.

In the life of a normal person, at the age of 40, I would be married (insert name of person I thought was “The One”), with at least two children (Tallulah and Dylan), a mortgage or two, two dogs, a stray cat and a good job. Instead, I am single, no children (except my sisters, my personal trainer, TSTT/BMobile, and my parents), renting and a great job that affords me the opportunity to delve into other passions without being too upset. Life’s not bad.

I did not try to see the movie “This is 40” as I found it insulting that these people were haivng a crisis at that age when mine is yet to begin!

I am FORTY years old.  It’s so hard to believe that I am this old! I have spent four decades on this planet. Two Score!  Strange though…I don’t feel old! My knees may beg to differ but what do you expect from trying to be limber all during my teenage year when I knew nothing about the word “exercise” or “warm up”!!

I am plain and boring for 40. I don’t smoke. I rarely drink but I do enjoy a sip of an alcoholic beverage every now and then. There are no tattoos, no piercings or any kind on my body. My biggest act of rebellion was my attempt at a ras that didn’t last long as the Trinidad heat was too much for all that hair! There were no jerry (gheri) curls and designs in my head. I was the simple child. No protest or trouble from me. All I wanted was peanut butter and bread with apple juice in the house. Simple stuff!

Hmmmm….

When I thought of writing this blog, many ideas came to mind and the only one that stuck for any length of time is… If I could go back in time what would I tell my younger selves at the turn of each decade? And so, knowing that even if I could go back in time, I should not alter the past but just make myself aware of certain events. Would that still be right? Would my younger selves even acknowledge me on or would they look at me with disdain? Lord knows when I was younger I rolled my eyes or nodded at everything people told me but ignored it. Oh well… here goes.

1983

Dear Ten Year old Stefan,

Life is going to change a lot after you do Common Entrance next year. New School. New People. New Teachers and new forms of torture. Be prepared in Secondary school as the shock of not coming First in end of term exams doesn’t go well for you the first time, but you learn to cope.  You will be popular in school and even jeered at but know that it’s all in good fun. You will fight with a guy named Dale St. Rose a lot and you will lose everytime so try to keep your wisecracks to yourself.

Mommy will change churches and it will result in your tv time schedules being disrupted but you will adapt. Be very weary of “Church people”. They may all love God but they certainly do not love other people.

There will be romantic links but nothing significant and you will lose your cherry but I wont tell you when (It goes by really really fast). The strong romantic links will come when you change schools for 6th Form. I won’t tell you what school you change to but just know, those years will mark the start of some great experiences and a few academic rewards that you never thought possible.

You will get more siblings during this period and your family will increase in size otherwise. I can’t say more but don’t worry, you will pay it no mind.

This may be a shock to you but not everyone you meet will like you and some may even try to kill your spirit.

Ignore them!

Believe in yourself!

Don’t ever give up on the Dream!

P.S You can sing!! So ignore it when a teacher puts you in the “B” Choir. She has no idea what she is doing. Keep on singing in the shower!

1993

Dear Twenty Year old Stefan,

Ok forget your teenage years, life changes here in ways you never expected. You are going to start UWI in September and you need to prepare yourself for this new world. UWI will be fun but it teaches you some really important lessons on friendships and on trusting people.

I can’t tell you when, but you will be hurt deeply during this period. It will change your outlook on most things but you need to understand that it is all for the best. It will be hard to see it then but trust me when I say it gets better.

Grooming takes on different and new meanings in this period. Adjust quickly. You will also take awhile to find the right deodarant. You won’t stink up the place but extreme sweaty arm issues will abound during this period. 

Oh and after you leave school you will balloon into a small whale. This is when your weight issues will kick in and you will struggle with them for awhile. You get a really good job in banking (don’t knock it) and it gives you the opportunity to travel more than you have before and you even live in a couple countries.

In 2002, you will do something way outside your comfort zone and you will be rewarded.

I can’t tell you what it is but it ties into the fact that I told you when you were ten that you could sing!

Don’t ever give up on the dream!

2003

Dear Thirty Year Old Stefan,

Hmmm so you live HamburgGermany eh? Hahahahahahaha who would’ve thought? I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished! You are braver than I thought possible and for that I wish I was you all over again. Oh BTW people are spreading some wild rumors about you becaus  of this move but don’t let it bother you even if you are shocked at the sources.

This decade is going to be one of ups and downs and you won’t always be in Germany but wherever you end up you will have fun.

It is sort of sad to say but there will be no great love for you in this decade but trust me when I say you will meet some people that will change your life for the better! There will however be a woman who will sweep you off your feet when you meet her and all I will say is that her initials are KT.

You will see Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston and a host of other artistes live and up close. Try not to freak or scream out as you are a grown man now.

You are still a bit cynical on love and “Church people” but you are clearer on who God is in your life and what a relationship with him means to you so don’t be too worried. Don’t lose your generous spirit in the wake of all the liars, thieves and other shady types of people you will meet in work and in life. Just be smarter in the way you handle stuff.

There will be many people who claim to be in love with you or express love for you and you will not feel the same or question it. It’s okay to question it but don’t be too harsh. 

Keep your head up! Coming down to the end your resolve will be tested but as you would’ve come to realise by now, God never leaves your side. So don’t lose faith!

Don’t ever give up on the dream!

——–

2013

Dear Stefan,

You are not done. There is still much to do on this road of life despite you feeling over-the-hill. Please ensure that there is at least one Photography Exhibit of your work somewhere beyond your living room or computer. And it wouldn’t kill you to at least try and do a music set in a some little bar all by yourself.

The Dream is still alive!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Emotions, Entertainment, Humor

 

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2012 – My Lists (Entertainment)


Not that my lists matter in the grand scheme of things but here is how my 2012 went in terms of movies, music television and books.

MUSIC – ALBUMS

I bought over 50 albums this year and it is sad to say but i barely listened to music this year. I don’t know what had me so distracted but i felt as if nothing much was moving me and this year’s crop of tunes were no help. There were alot of cool songs but when it came to albums, well let’s say, i will be buying less and less albums as the years go by and just more songs

BEST:

  1. Pink – Truth About Love: Pink ROCKS!! She kicks ASS! And this album is a gem amongst the drivel of bad albums I had this year.  Try, The Great Escape, and Slut Like Me are always on repeat.
  2. Emelie Sande – Our Version of Events : While I still believe this album chronicles a break up in all it stages. It is still a refreshing sound from this artist. “Clown” is my favourite song.
  3. Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio: Recommended by a friend and loved for life by me. This refreshing Jazz infused album just flooded my ears and found a home within. Lalah Hathaway, Meshell and Ledisi sing on it. Need I say more? Listen to “Gonna Be Alright” featuring Ledisi as an introduction, then hear Lalah’s “Cherish the Day” and stay for more.
  4. Lionel Richie – Tuskegee : I bought this on a slow day and found myself loving the country twang on these remakes of his classic songs. What a way to refresh an artist’s catalogue.
  5. Pitch Perfect Original Movie Soundtrack – Such a great movie and such a fun soundtrack. Since You’ve Been Gone and the Bella’s Finale medley are killer.
  6. Maroon 5 – Overexposed : Solid Album
  7. Delta Rae – Carry The Fire: “Bottom of the river” and its video hooked me and “When Tomorrow Comes” made me buy the album and savour it!
  8. Ella Andell – Bring Down the Power.: While stuck in Piarco Airport for 3 hours waiting for a LIAT flight to Curacao to arrive, I heard this album in its entirety and realised that I have been neglecting the awesomeness of this lady of the soil with a killer voice.

MUSIC – IN PURGATORY

  1. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange : Because of  all the hype surrounding him, I haven’t even taken the wrapper off the album.
  2. Brandy – Two Eleven: Despite the auto-tuned voice all over this album, I enjoyed a few tracks after it got stuck in now defunct stereo.
  3. Heather Headley – Only One in the World: I wanted and wished to love this album more than anything else but it felt incomplete for me and just missing her magic. It’s not a bad album just not my favorite from her. “I Wish” still remains a classic song.

 

MUSIC ALBUMS – WORST

  1. Macy Gray – Covered (A voice can grate on your ears for so long without causing it to bleed)
  2. No Doubt – Push and Shove (Right to the back of my music collection! What the hell was this?)
  3. LMFAO – Sorry For Party Rocking (and for buying this waste of time album even if it was on sale)

MOVIES

Best:

  • Pitch Perfect
  • Argo
  • Life of Pi
  • The Avengers
  • Chronicle
  • Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
  • 21 Jump Street – still shocked I liked it
  • Ted – irreverent and hilarious

Worst

  • Prometheus – I fell asleep twice trying to watch it
  • Total Recall – I recall it not being this much Bovine Excreta! Kate Beckinsale rocked though!
  • Rock of Ages –still trying to figure out what went wrong with this movie. Oh Yeah it was a really bad Broadway Show!!
  • Dark Shadows! –Ah want meh money back!
  • Savages – See Dark Shadows
  • Taken 2 – took my money is right
  • Tyler Perry movie and actor!! –
  • All Adam Sandler releases
  • The Expendables 2 – so disappointed in this sequel

SIDE NOTE::Let me just state that I refuse to acknowledge how much I liked Breaking Dawn Part 2 but that was mainly because Bella actually had a personality. Who knew being dead improved her insufferable whorish teenage ways!  The Fight scene in the open field is what made me appreciate suffering through all the other awful ones, but I REFUSE to make mention of it on any list!!

 

TELEVISION

Best

  • Scandal (Guilty Pleasure) – You can ignore the over-acting and some unbelievable scenarios and just fall into this drama that keeps you on your toes and your heart racing.
  • Downton Abbey – brings out the aristocracy in us all. The Dowager Countess Lady Grantham kicks ass!
  • Arrow
  • Homeland
  • Duck Hunters
  • The Voice –USA
  • New Girl
  • Mindy Kaling Project
  • Tosh.0 – I cant help but watch this clip show!

Worst – I have given up on you

  • True Blood – I don’t know what this season was about but I’m glad it’s over.
  • Boardwalk Empire – Errr
  • Once Upon A Time – I am lost!
  • Grey’s Anatomy – Enough with the Meredith suffering crap!!
  • X Factor USA – This show is just awful

BOOKS

This is embarassing but out of the 20 books i purchased over the course of this year, i have only fully read two of them.

  • Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
  • Perks of being a Wall Flower – Stephen Chbosky

Both were really good I am also not ashamed to say that the first book is geared towards young adults/teenagers but the writing is so good and takes me back to my love of Greek/Roman Mythology.

Here are the books that I have started but yet to complete:

  • NW- Zadie Smith (My fear is that this will be as bad as The Autograph Man)
  • The Power of Six- Pittacus Lore (Sequel to I am Number Four)
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • Look Who It Is Alan Carr My Story – Alan Car (Very funny but still don’t know why I never picked it back up)
  • A Storm of Swords – George RR Martin (I am told it gets really good but I find the pages with Kaleesi to be insufferable and so I keep putting it down)

I would honestly blame my fickle personality to not be able to commit to a book but honestly, there are books from last year i am yet to complete. It took 2 years to finish Midnight’s Children and I still wasn’t over the moon in love with it like most other people were.

Here’s to 2013 and may my focus return so that these lists will make more sense in the future.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Books, Entertainment, Humor, Movies, Music, TV

 

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Leaving Las Vegas


To say that my Las Vegas vacation was a planned one would be stretching the truth a bit. November was carded to be my vacation month. I was supposed to have the entire month off to just relax. Plans were afoot to visit my Godson in England, see Heather Headley in The Bodyguard and take a trip over to the continent if a certain host was welcoming.

However, it was seems it was not meant to be. As the end of October drew closer I found my boss unresponsive to my email requests on confirming my vacation dates (I had submitted them in July). Finally, on October 31st, he tells me, in the office corridor that if a particular transaction I am working on is not closed, my vacation will not be possible.

All things were in place for the transaction to close the next day and for me to board a flight on November 2nd. But he obviously knew something that he wasn’t sharing.

I spoke to him around 8pm that October 31st night and he said I would be reimbursed for my purchased ticket as he realised he was at fault for not communicating sooner. He also revealed that two important signatories would not be back in the country until November 9th, so that there was no way the transaction was closing. I closed my eyes at this point and imagined his head exploding as Michael Ironside did in Scanners. When I opened my eyes, he wasn’t even aware that I had closed them as he was still talking. I went home dejected.

Hope was still in my heart for a later flight on Sunday but that proved futile. So my UK vacation was off.

Vegas was mentioned to me by a couple friends planning a birthday lime there but I had committed to England and to be honest, Las Vegas was never even in my top 10 places to visit as I always viewed it as a soul-less city devoid of a real personality other then “Sin”.

All of sudden, Las Vegas became a strong possibility and despite the transaction and two others that were picking up extreme steam beyond November 9th, I got clearance to proceed on one week’s vacation from November 23rd. (Remember: how I was supposed to have the entire month off? Sigh. .apparently nobody else did).

Anyway off to Las Vegas I went starting with an 8am flight in Trinidad on November 23rd and arriving in Vegas at 6:50pm (11:50pm –Trinidad time). I was beat and tired like a whore after a navy vessel had come into harbour. But the group of people I met up with were intent on having as much fun as possible. This meant going out that night around 11pm- Vegas time (3am- Trinidad time). Obviously, no one cared how tired I was as they wanted to maximise the Vegas experience.

Palms Place Hotel Room View

Palms Place Hotel Room View

I will not recount all that occurred in Las Vegas but just give you a list of things I learnt while there.

THINGS I LEARNT WHILE IN LAS VEGAS

    1. Las Vegas is Overrated: I know i said this before and my  opinion hasn’t changed.Having travelled a fair amount of times but not as extensively as some of my friends, I found Vegas not to be a well put together city. It is a city for Americans who are afraid of foreign travel (i.e no passport) and who want to experience it close to home. Seeing a Parisian café or the Eiffel Tower or any random ostentatious hotel, didn’t move me to any great “Wow” or “OMG”. For me, I had seen stuff like this already in cities that actually had a real vibe and arguably a strong rich history of development. It just felt put together randomly. I may be wrong!
    2. The cheap things in Vegas are food, whores and alcohol (not necessarily in that order). Water is really expensive on the Strip unless you walk with your own or go into a casino and start gambling, then every drink is free. I’m not saying I did that but I am just passing on info.
    3. All Taxi Drivers have foreign accents. For the last time, I am not from Senegal nor am I from Nigeria!!
    4. McDonalds only serves Fried Chicken in Trinidad. One late night while the whole group felt for friend chicken, I ventured down to the closest McDonalds and asked if they sell chicken alone. The guy’s response with a perplexed look on his face: “Do you mean the patties?” Popeye’s and KFC close at 10pm. WTH!!
    5. Not all the Cirque Du Soleil Shows make sense. “Zumanity” while seemingly risqué gets boring really quickly. “Ka” on the other hand is worth the price of admission!
    6. You need Abs to work in Las Vegas: At no point was there a performer in any Vegas show that didn’t posses abs of steel. It seems a requirement for work within SinCity. Guess I’ll keep my day job.
    7. Indoor Skydiving is WICKED FUN!: While I wanted to pee myself when we got into the wind tunnel room, the experience turned out to be extremely amazing and I wish I could get to do it more often.
    8. Friends don’t like their pictures taken in Las Vegas: For some reason, people are afraid of cameras in Las Vegas. Unless you are a street performer (they welcome it), people generally run at the sight of a tourist with a camera. Especially if they are stumbling through a courtyard, drunk as a fish, singing trying to sing Bad Romance by Lady Gaga.
    9. Jet Lag is REAL: Going back in time takes longer for your body clock to adjust. Four hours behind Trinidad meant it took FOUR days for my body clock to fix itself and even then I was still getting to bed around 3am (7am- Trinidad time) and waking up at 8am (12noon) feeling refreshed. I missed going to Hoover Dam one morning all because my sleep patterns were off. Confession: Sometimes I would sneak a nap while everyone else was in another room hanging out and drinking.
    10. Peer Pressure is REAL: I have heard about peer pressure since I was a child but it never really bothered me as the fear of God and my mother always surfaced to remind me that these people didn’t matter. As I grow older and well my mother can’t scold me or give me the disappointing look, I find that peer pressure is a real thing that can force someone to end up in clubs and magic shows (Chris Angel or David Copperfield) that they would never ever think of visiting. So was the case when I found myself in a club one night that played only Southern Rap Music. I wasn’t sure if to be more scared of the women or the men in the club but because of my company I had to show no fear and somehow find the coordination to dance to this type of music. The last time I actually danced I think the “butterfly” was popular. So you see my predicament. And what the hell is the “Dougie”?

Las Vegas was an enjoyable trip and I found myself laughing a lot and sometimes scandalously. On Sunday, over the Bellagio Buffet, the entire table burst into laughter so many times that we wondered if we might be escorted out of the area. Of course, based on the laughter and range of accents, I met some other Trinis that were also in Vegas. Of course no plans were made to hang out with any of them as conversation was always kept short.

I do however, now need a vacation where I can actually just sleep. I still have the rest of my 14 vacation days to take as I cannot carry over that large amount into 2013. The problem however, is when do I take it and will I get approval.

STAY TUNED…….

Spent US$10 only

Spent US$10 only

Sunset at 4pm.

Sunset at 4pm.

Water Show at The Bellagio

Water Show at The Bellagio

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Entertainment, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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Our Version of Events


Uptight

Tight like Crapaud Bamcee”,

Set in my ways” –

These would be words that have been used to describe me at various times in my life. However, this weekend in Tobago for its Jazz Festival, I learnt that I am so uptight and rigid at times that if someone had stuck a coal in my ass, by Sunday a diamond would have been formed.

Let me explain.

I had asked a few of my friends if they wanted to go to Jazz with me in April. All had excuses and one even mentioned having to “wash their hair”, so I was going to make this trip alone. Lo and behold, an acquaintance of mine, told me that he would be going and if I wanted to tag along with him and his friends it would be fine. My neurotic side was against this premise but I ventured into the arrangement since I told myself that I needed to be more out-going.

What started off as me and 5 other people in a villa turned out to be three people (initially) in a one bathroom apartment in Sandy Point Village. This wasn’t the time share part of SandyPoint, so accommodations were slightly run down and there we no doors to the rooms containing beds. I was ready to get anal but I was on vacation so I need to chill.

Anyway, here is the series of events.

FRIDAY 27th APRIL

10:00am – Arrived in Tobago, Rented a car. Headed to Sandy Point

11:00am – Apartment has one bathroom (Note to self: Schedule bowel movements to coincide with showers)

12 Noon  – Lunch at Sandy Point– Burger & Fries took forever to arrive.

1:30pm  –  Head to Store Bay. Opted to walk even though I wanted to take the car.

3:45pm  –  Back at Apartment. Showered. Water is not draining properly.

4:00pm  –  Maintenance man comes to apartment and tells me there is nothing he can do about drainage. He leaves. Never to return or fixed drainage problem.

5:15pm 

Picked up LG from airport (acquaintance). Informs me that BM (other person staying with us) missed his flight. He will try to get on a later flight.

5:45pm 

We head to Penny Savers to stock up on stuff. Only alcohol, juice and water purchased. LG says he is on a liquid diet over this weekend. Guess the three bottles of wine he purchased makes that clear.

6:00pm 

LG informs me that we may have an extra person staying with us who will not be sharing in the cost of the apartment. His friend, Rebecca, has no place to stay but she wants to see Janelle Monae so she got on a flight to Tobago and has been on the beach since 10am.  He says he can’t leave her stranded.

6:20pm

We meet Rebecca at Store Bay. She left her luggage by Mike’s Resort (even though she barely knows the people there but they agreed to help her). We collect it and a look at her luggage reveals that her suitcase is large and packed to capacity.

6:30pm

We arrive back at the apartment and I tote her luggage upstairs. Dis damn thing real heavy. Rebecca says that everything in there is important for her process.

6:50pm

One bathroom just became an issue as she has commandeered all the shelves in the bathroom with her products (Pennywise must love her). Rebecca, says she is grateful for the help as she didn’t know that she would be coming until she did someone’s hair the day before. I remained silent at the comment. She also announced that she has a free ticket to the concert tonight.

7:30pmConcert Start Time. We are still home. Other paying flatmate hasn’t gotten a flight as yet and well Rebecca left around 7pm to go to the beach to get her towel that she left there. (Again I am quiet).

7:45pm – Rebecca returns with another girl in tow, Camille. Camille has walked with her stuff to change for the concert. They begin to get ready. Eh?

9:00pm

We pick up paying flatmate who has just arrived. He still needs to bathe and get ready. We left the girls getting ready.

9:30pm

We are still home. I am climbing walls and these people are drinking and smoking.  I haven’t eaten since lunch time and there seems to be no sign of us leaving for the concert that has started TWO HOURS AGO.

9:50pm –

We leave the house

10:05pm –

Arrive at Pigeon Point Heritage Park. I am starving and head straight for the Food Court. Before I can even decide what I am eating, they announce Emelie Sande is about to perform. Sigh….. I guess being hungry for another hour is not bad.

11:10pm – Emelie’s amazing set finishes. Her voice and music is brilliant but she needs to work on stage performance. I rush for food. I had burnt corn soup and the nastiest  tasteless wings EVER from some place called Traditions… Where the hell is the goodTobagofood? I’m pissed.

11:30pm

Barrington Levy comes one and tears up the place!. He is amazing and the crowd doesn’t want him to leave. The producers had to intervene to remind him of his time limit. It was GREAT!!!

SATURDAY APRIL 28th

12:45am:

Janelle Monae enters and makes magic on stage. I am mesmerized at her stature, voice and sheer force on stage. She didn’t sing “Oh Maker” but other than that I will be fine.

2:10am

I am told we are just going home to change to head to the club called Shades. Umm my MA (mudder ass) tired.  Rebecca went back stage and we haven’t heard from her.

3:10am

We are home and they all are smoking and drinking in anticipation of going to the club. Rebecca says that she will meet us at the club.

3:45am

We are at Shades. Rebecca is there with Janelle Monae’s band. WTH!!! Did I tell you that she got a pic with Janelle Monae? She waited an hour for it but she got it!

5:12am

Partying is over. We are in the road buying food when someone tells LG that Plymouth Street Fest is happening now and that there is really good food there. LG gets excited. He turns to me all excited. I think the words, “Nigga you must be mad” came out and he got the hint.

5:47am – BED!!!

9:30am

I am awakened by LG who tells me everyone else is up and they are hungry for pancakes. I am confused as to what this has to do with me and my sleep but I realise the sun is too hot for them to walk.

12 Noon

We are still here. No one has moved since I was awakened. No talk of pancakes happening. They are all drinking beers. Rebecca has returned from the beach and announced that she is going back to Trinidad tomorrow. So she is heading to airport to change her ticket. (is that a smile in my heart happening? Nope it’s hunger)

1:30pm

At Store Bay, having Miss Jeans food with LG’s co-workers.

2:06pm

Arrived at Mount Irvine for Jazz. This sun too damn hot!!! Camille informs me that I will have to take her back to her hotel around 4pm as she has to do someone’s make up for a Gospel Concert later. Camille is cool. I don’t mind at all. Rebecca calls to find out where we are as she is NOW heading to the airport to change her ticket. (Err where was she all the time?)

4:50pm

Mt Irvine Jazz was nice. Good Vibes. Great Music. We are on our way back to the apartment. There is talk of going to a Fete called Fringe at Dillons for around 10:30pm.

5:30pm

Bamboo Grill for Dinner – AMAZING FOOD!.

7:30pm

Rebecca, who has spent the entire day at someone else’s apartment, waltzes in and infomrs me that I need to wake her up at 9:30pm as she has three places to go befor eshe arrives at Shades later.

9:30pm

I wake her up but she doesn’t budge.

10:30pm

They are all awake but no movement to get dressed

11:45pm

Rebecca awakes from her slumber and announces she is only going to Shades. Hmmm

SUNDAY APRIL 29th

1:00am – We arrive at Fringe but don’t go inside. They declare it is boring and just hang around outside for 45 minutes. (I technically was supposed to meet my friend Nicky there for 11pm but Nicky doesn’t seem to be phased. She understands people are operating onTobagotime. I am not familiar with the concept ofTobagotime.

2:15am  

SHADES! Rebecca tried to walk in to the club as if she had been there before but was braced. Surprise, Surprise!! She didn’t walk with any money.

3:30pm – Am I having a stroke or am I actually dancing up in here?

5:45am – BED!!!

9:30am – Why the Hell am I up? Sigh..They have already begun drinking and Rebecca has disappeared for the morning already.

11:15am

We are at Store Bay for lunch with Miss Trim’s. Dumplings Stew Pork and Callaloo. I’ve had much tastier meals in Trinidad.

12 Noon – Everyone declares that they are tired and need to sleep because the concert starts at 4:30pm. LG vows to be ready by 5:30pm. I told him we will all leave by 6:30 given his track record.

4:30pm – Everyone but Rebecca is asleep. She is preparing for the concert.

5:30pm – Everyone else gets readyfor concert. I discover my car keys are missing but the car is still there.

5:40pm – Camille took up the keys and went back to her apartment, but she will be back by 7pm? I smile.

6:15pm – I am walking back from Camille’s apartment withthecar key.

6:28pm – We all leave for the concert. We pass to pick Camille up.

6:34pm – We are back at the aprtment as BM forgot his ticket.

6:45pm.- At concert but rain is falling very heavily. Not amused.

8:15pm – Cecelia Eloizalde comes on and bores me…

9:00pm  – ARTURO!!! Tears it up and brings down the rain again!!!

10:15pm  – David Rudder – My hands are up in the air singing “St Anns, St. Anns, We mad! We Mad! We Mad! We more than mad! St Anns!”

11:30pm – Angie Stone (Was okay but I wasn’t interested in hearing her new album tracks Rich Girl etc)

MONDAY APRIL 30th

1:00am…. We are back at apartment and people are packing. I am trying to fall asleep with all these damn lights on.

6:00am LG and BM head to airport. Rebecca announces she is leaving when I leave. (She has no idea when that is)

9:00am – I tell Rebecca that i check out of the hotel at 10:30am. She tells me that she will be switching rooms at that time. I say nothing because i know this girl has no money.

10:30am At Check out desk. Rebecca appears with her luggage and tells the receptionist that she is storing it here until her flight later on today. (She has no confirmed flight back and says she won’t worry about being on Stand-by). She tells me that we need to hook up in Trinidad and hang out again. (She must be mad!)

11am – Drop Car off. and head to Airport.

11:30am – My flight has been pushed back to 1:15pm. So I head to Store Bay for one last Dumpling and Stew Pork. Rebecca is on the beach there, tanning. (she is as dark as I am).

3pm –  Home Trinidad. Need to rest. Hardly slept in Tobago.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Emotions, Entertainment

 

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Don’t Let Me Get Me (The Singing Edition)


Do you look at Reality shows? Well the competitive ones like American Idol, The Voice, Survivor etc?  Well I do. I like them. I like to look at people vying for attention and the lengths they will go to get it.  It is fun.

I am almost always however, amazed at the dialogue that follows when they need to exit the competition:

I had a great time. I learnt a lot.  I will never forget these memories. Thanks for the opportunity

 To these remarks, I always go…”Eh?” I would NEVER say that. I would be upset. I would be inconsolable.

The second they announce that I am ejected from the competition, my face would turn sour. I would be thinking..”The whole world just watched me fail and now I am going to be ridiculed for it for the rest of my life.”. I would be pissed. If they asked me how I felt, I would honestly give the host a death stare and then suck my teeth and probably say something like : “Steups Hold yuh backside!” (Backside would be used only because it would be on TV..other words describing anatomy come closer to mind for utterance)

 

And this folks brings me to my Second Lenten Revelation (Closeted Cunumunu being the first Revelation) –

I am a SORE loser!!!

I have always known it and for this reason I normally stay far away from any kind of competitive activity. It has been hard over my lifetime but I have managed to worm my way out of activities by claiming injury or lack of interest or genuine disgust for the topic or activity. It has worked. I have for the most part stayed clear of competitions and the resulting angst I know I would feel should I not be victorious.

I can’t even do self study as I need to compare myself to people and if I am not in classroom setting, I have no strong motivation to do well and no measurement  criteria  to determine how hard I need to study. I need to be able to separate the class into the brainiacs, the ones who are my “supposed equals” and the one I can use when I need to revise (the not so bright ones). It is very sad, but it works.

The first time i think it happened was around the age of 6. I went to a children’s party and there was a series of games. First up, a Talent Competition, i came second in the one and didn’t get a big prize like the winner. I felt the tears sprinign from my eyes but they announced musical chairs would be next.  I lost that one too and  before the first wail could be heard my mother grabbed and took me to a corner and shook me. “What is wrong with you? You can’t win everything! Stop the stupid crying! Everyone else is having fun and they didn’t get as much prizes as you did. Why can’t you be content?”

I didn’t know the answers to those questions at the point. All i knew is that I deserved EVERYTHING and I was going to have it!  I didn’t waste my time on activities like running or football etc, nope not me. These activities did not guarantee a present especially since I was neither fast nor skilled in these areas. I prided myself in coming first in class exams and getting the highest marks. If a child beat me in a test, I grabbed their paper to take a look at it and then I gave them the death stare. Garvin Wlacott once beat me in end of second term exams in primary school and I was furious for all of the 3rd term.  He didn’t like me much that term and I think to this day he still hates me. Granted that I had gotten an eye infection that term and missed a good few weeks of class and therefore had to settle for second place; but that to me was irrelevant. I needed to win!

My primary had entered me and another student in a Story Telling competition and we made the finals. Overzealous Stefan, wanting to impress the judges, overexerted himself while telling the story of “Ti-Jean and his Brothers” and therefore was out of breath and his speech could not therefore be clear to those to theback of the room. I got a consolation prize and the other guy own. He didn’t exist to me after that event and this was after I  sobbed bitterly at the back of the room. The teacher who took us told me that overdid it and that is why I lost but otherwise i was really good. That made me feel better but the prize wasn’t mine. I milked my suffering at home until my mother found out why I lost and she said that she didn’t know where I got this attitude from but that it needed to stop!.

The last official competition I remember entering was in 1990. It was the Trinidad & Tobago Music Festival and I had entered the Senior Boys Solo. The Test Piece was “Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind” and it was a little difficult to learn. Imagine my shock when I placed first in the North Zone round of the class. This meant I had to compete for the Championship Cup battling the Senior Boys Solo South Champion and the Senior Girls Solo North and South Champions respectively.

On the day of the competition, I was ready. I was in fine form and had a slight smug look on my face. The girls were up first and after hearing them, I knew I had a shot at the cup.

Before going on, I looked at my competitor from the South Zone and I saw him take a couple puffs of his nebulizer. I smiled to myself and said internally that there was no way Asthma boy was beating me. *Snicker*Snicker*

I was up first and I KILLED it. I felt within my heart that the Cup was MINE!!! Then Asthma boy came up and began to sing. The sound that came out of his mouth was beautiful. My jaw hung open for like a minute and in that moment I saw the cup being wrenched from my hands. It would later be confirmed that he won it and I went home with NOTHING.  It wouldn’t help that  agroup of students (a girls’ choir that doesn’t need to be named) form the North that I travelled with, went home with a Championship Cup. Sigh….

I went home defeated. Beaten. Deflated. I didn’t want to ever sing again. As soon as I walked through the door to my father’s house, my little brother greeted me and said : “Yuh win?” I didn’t answer. I headed straight to my room and sulked for what seemed like weeks (it was three intense days). 

I didn’t like the pain that coursed through my body after that event. It hurt me even more than a broken heart. Since then, I have had my heart broken MANY times and the pain cannot compare. I never entered another festival after that or any type of singing competition.

Cut to March 5, 2012 10pm, where the much older and wiser version of myself decided to try his hand a Baritone Solo for the T&T Music Festival. I started to practise for this song in January and realised how much I had to learn about singing. I was not in a state to sing “Vaga Luna Che Inargenti by Bellini”.

WRITER’s WARNING : There is no Happy or Inspiring Ending Below

I was up first and what flowed through my being during that performance left me in awe. So much so that what normally felt like a very short song felt like it would never end that night. Nerves got the better of me and my breathing and phrasing was all over the place. The song kicked my ass instead of me conquering it. I knew I had issues with the song but I didn’t expect my nerves to get the better of me like that.

Result: I came last! Duh.. That was obvious.

However, the pain returned. Not as sharp as it was the first time but still stinging me to the core. I however can only blame myself this time. I know I wasn’t 100% ready for it and even questioned whether I should have participated or not, but I did. The resulting humiliation has me reeling this morning. 

As of right now, give me heartache any day of the week, I cannot handle the feeling of defeat that is coursing through my veins. Granted I knew I wasn’t going to win but somehow I thought that I would place in the top three and the Adjudicator would commend me for my effort. Alas I am glad he made no mention of the “hot mess” that happened on that stage.

The weird this is, I am not done with the Festival as yet. I entered Broadway Solo- Male and a Mixed Duet Class. I have no idea how I am supposed to pick myself up and prepare for these two other performances as I was concentrating on that performance more than the other two.

Sigh.. When will I learn my lesson?

Some may think that I am just being melodramatic but honestly I am not (well in my mind I am not). I am using this Lenten period to come to terms with my many and varied flaws and hopefully, in the end, i will be a better man for it.  

“Doctor, Doctor won’t you please prescribe me something.
A day in the life of someone else…
Don’t let me get me……”
                                          (Pink)

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Emotions, Entertainment, Music, RANT

 

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