Monday, April 30, 2007

Pieces of yesterday

Look at the photos and write one sentence/caption for each. Put them all together and see what your three-line poem is. When finished, then scroll down and see mine.

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A sunny day.
I planted my feet in the centre of the Universe.
Flowers bloomed.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Arrived Safely

Early morning watercolour silhouette

My first flight on Caribbean Airlines was pleasant. They were actually on time, if not early, and the crew members were natural and friendly. I'm not interested in cricket, but during the flight the purser came on every now and then to give a cricket update on Australia and Sri Lanka. Her final update was to announce: "The captain has said to tell those of you who are interested in knowing who won the World Cup ... (long dramatic pause) ... AUSTRALIA!!!!" There was clapping and some vocal exclamations rippling throughout the aircraft. The husband and wife sitting next to me had obviously made a bet. The wife was squealing and dancing in her seat and punching the husband, telling him to hand over the money ... but he said nothing and just stared straight ahead.

The inflight movie was "Happy Feet", which was ironic, since the last time I was in Toronto I saw "March of the Penguins". Happy Feet is similar to 'March of the Penguins' only 'Happy' is animated and has a different storyline. But I guess it is patterened on it. If you've seen March of the Penguins you may understand certain things in Happy Feet better ... like the penguins meeting their soul companions, the fathers staying with the eggs while the mothers go off to find fish which they then return and vomit into the mouth of the then-hatched babies, etc. ...

The vegetarian meal was somewhat tasteless, but healthy: curried tofu, a tomato stuffed with something green (spinach?), semi-wild rice, corn kernels (as a salad), a small square of cake.

Sailed through customs smoothly. It feels great to be here. Up early as usual and the first thing I noticed is the birds singing outside. Not as many as in T'dad, but enough. And the sun is out.


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Saturday, April 28, 2007


This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt, Wings, is very appropriate.

In a few hours I will be airborne, on my way to Toronto. Our airline, which bears the image of a hummingbird will be taking me there. The hummingbird's wings beat extremely fast. When I was small I used to think my shoulder blades were where my own wings were meant to be, but they jut hadn't grown yet. I think my wings would be large and beat slowly. I would glide and float on wind currrents like Eagles, Vultures and larger birds do.

I often wish travel could be like 'beam me up Scotty' from Star Trek. We would just say the words, dematerialize from one place and materialize in the other almost immediately. Then we wouldn't have to go through the airport rituals (filling out forms, going through customs, waiting, being on the plane, passports, hoisting luggage, etc.). I'm not fond of those pre-arrival aspects. I look forward to the moment I can put the suitcase down at my destination and know that I won't be moving again for a while as that new place becomes 'home'.

I will be blogging as usual.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Review of Greenlight concert in today's Guardian

The Guardian



The Greenlight Network staged an environmental concert featuring a diverse range of artistes on Saturday to coincide with World Earth Day.

Global warming also seemed to be the unplanned theme behind the Nature of Sound Concert held at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, Woodbrook.

The air-conditioning unit broke down once again, producing an actual global warming effect in the jam-packed indoor venue.

The concert, a compilation of environmentally and socially-conscious music, was the launchpad for the long-awaited environmental CD —Greenlight Network Vol 1—featuring an eclectic mix of 16 musicians and original artwork covers by local artists.

Mark Ng Wai, a talented 18-year-old reggae artiste and guitarist opened the show just after 6 pm, with an environmental song he wrote for the CD called Supreme Creator.

He was followed by punk rock band Anti-Everything, who stirred the audience with an exhilarating song from the CD entitled The Way We Live Our Lives, protesting against injustice, corruption and racism.

Don’t Panic also sang a song about racial unity, while a screen behind the stage projected images of people holding placards with Fix T&T, Fix Crime, and Every Creed & Race Find an Equal Place.

Founding member of the Greenlight Foundation Elspeth Duncan noted, “I am hearing a lot of songs about standing up for a cause and not being oppressed by those in power.

“We must allow our creative spirit to emerge, instead of our destructive spirit.

“We all have a heart and we all care or else we would not have been here. Everybody can make a little drop in the bucket,” said Duncan.

She said that the Foundation would be hosting an environmental concert on an annual basis.

Tie Dye Kitty, one of the newest pop/rock bands in T&T consisting of vocalist/keyboards Richard Hall from Orange Sky, guitarist/vocalist Sean Young Wing formerly of Smith Tuttle, bassist Arron Ramkelawan of Opium Mystic and drummer Triston Khan of Anti Everything, used this concert to make its premier appearance.

Coming out with a bang and a bunch of high octane adrenaline rush lyrics, they left a lasting impression on the audience.

Hall, who made jokes about osmosis evaporation as he wiped the sweat from his brow, sang a song he wrote for the environmentally conscious CD called Ask the Dust, which addressed the potential extinction of the plant.

Rahil Babooram came on next with a satirical composition about animal rights, drawing applause and laughter from the audience with such lyrics:

“Why must the animals bleed... don’t they realise one day it will be the other way around... and the animals will take you to town.”

He was followed by rock band 5 o’Clock Shadow which performed another track from the CD called Mother Nature’s Warning.

Mike Ross (of 95.1FM) and his two guitarists roused the audience with impressive vocals and lively, rhythmic tunes such as The Cleansing, awakening people about environmental pollution.

Jointpop, another local rock band, ended off the night with Who Shot Paradise, a catchy tune containing a strong environmental message which could also be heard on the CD, and The Water Supreme, a crowd favourite.

The limited edition CD, which also features Brother Resistence, Elspeth Duncan, Sheldon Manoo, Glenford Bhagat, Malik, John Pollard, Namid Lancaster and Ozymajiq, will be offered for sale at a cost of $100 at venues to be advertised.

For more information, please call

645-0016, 758-7915 or 789-0786.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

The beginning

Today I did something for the first time. Someone guided me on a special journey. My subconscious chose the destination. Funnily enough, despite my fear of heights, I saw myself walking on the narrow winding dirt path of a mountain close to the sky. To my right there was a thick temperate forest of towering pine trees. To my left, a sheer drop and then miles upon miles of towering pine trees in rolling valleys below.

Eventually I got into the heart of the forest, where light streamed down on me in shafts. There I sat on a rock in a clearing, removed my knapsack and took out the things I no longer needed. Before leaving, I packed my knapsack back with the things that I want. They were not much and they were lighter than what I had given up.

I then came upon a silvery body of water which reflected me. When I looked in, I saw my hair a few inches longer than it is now, sticking out like spiraling sun rays. My face was smiling and I looked bright and happy. I marveled at 'me' before removing my clothes and jumping into the water. It was like plunging deep into myself.

Emerging, I put back on my clothes and continued walking, feeling much lighter and glowing even more.

That was only the beginning.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Falling rain and pouis

Poui flowers stuck to my windscreen


My magic map

A portion of the magic map
Last night
I was given
a magic map:
I could want and need
and still,
room for discovery.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The heat is on

The other day around midday I took a veggie pattie out of the freezer and left it to thaw. About 30 minutes later I returned to cook it, only to discover that it was already 'cooked' ... by the heat of the day.

Yesterday there was some minced soya on the stove in a pot. Every time I went and took some during the afternoon, it was warm, as if it had been heated slightly ... by the heat of the day.

What I am about to say below may sound pessimistic to some, so if you don't feel like reading on, don't.

I think the concept of 'hell' has nothing to do with a fiery place under the earth where the devil lives. The earth itself, once it is 'allowed' to heat up more, will be an unbearable, living hell. The 'fires of hell' could be global warming. The discomfort and horror of 'hell' could be the human madness/crime, natural disasters, the droughts, famine ... all of these things which we are seeing in 'small' yet increasing degrees. The inability to escape from 'hell' could be the fact that once the earth gets to such a point, there will be nowhere left to go ... unless man finds a way to live on other planets. If so, is mankind going to go to the Moon or Venus and start destroying them as well by polluting, plundering natural resources and constructing toxic industries and concrete jungles?

It's ironic that man destroys what is already here (nature) ... only to then go and find ways to 'invent' a poor imitation of it.

Perhaps the children of tomorrow will evolve, to be able to live on this planet. They will develop thicker, darker skin packed with melanin to deal with the intense sun. Or would they have no skin at all and just some kind of liquidy protective layer that is immune to heat ... or an internal cooling system ... or a reflective skin surface that deflects intense light rays back into the atmosphere? They may develop gills, enabling them to survive underwater when increasing sea levels swallow low lying islands. Their immune and digestive systems will be different, allowing them to comfortably eat and drink other things ... because 'regular' food may no longer be in existence ... due to extinction of animals traditionally reared for meat and lack of healthy soil and irrigation for growth of vegetable matter.

Having said all of that ... that kind of world may be a long way off, if ever. I prefer to believe that enough people and the 'right' people will wake up now to make the necessary changes to improve our ways of living on (and treating) this planet.


Monday, April 23, 2007

A successful concert

Just a few pics from what turned out to be a sold out and successful concert ...
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Brian from the band Anti Everything ... once of the 9 acts which performed at last night's Nature of Sound concert, staged by Greenlight Network
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The CDs, each with an original work of art as a cover, displayed in the lobby. Most of them were sold by the end of the night, but there are still a few left ... for those who want to invest in a great collector's item. Only $120TT. Contact me via this site or call Glen at 645-0157.
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Tabla player for 5 O'Clock Shadow. They opened their performance with a powerful Eastern-styled rendition of the song they contributed to the CD: "Mother Nature's Warning."

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day

Oh! Happy Earth Day!
What does that really mean now?
Is the Earth smiling?

Aloe Vera, a healing plant

I think it must hurt (especially now) to be the Earth ... to have given so much since time began and to selflessly continue giving all of yourself in the face of increasing abuse from those to whom you have graciously given a free and fully furnished home. What has the Earth asked from us in return? Nothing but respect and greater consciousness of the way we 'walk'. She needs nothing else, because She has everything.

Choosing today as the date for the Greenlight Network concert, Nature of Sound was quite coincidental ... but, given our focus, very fitting.

Together, may our little drops inspire an ocean of Greater Consciousness.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Red Apple

Today Satya looks hot and sexy in her new translucent red 'Speck' Spirited Case, which will protect her. Since my nickname is Spec (minus the 'k'), this is quite fitting.


Friday, April 20, 2007

CDs hot off the press

The above photo is a casual sneak peek at 12 random CDs from the batch of 60 which will be launched and sold at this Sunday's (Sold Out) Greenlight Network Concert, The Nature of Sound (click on that link for info on the concert and a list of artistes on the CD).

Each of the 60 CDs has a unique cover featuring original, hand done (organic) artwork. Many thanks to the various people who designed CD covers for this purpose. The reverse side of each cover has a signed environmental message from the designer of the particular cover. The CD contained within features an eclectic mix of environmentally conscious music from 15 artistes - unknown, emerging and known. The 'Nature of Sound' CD is ideal for your personal collection or as a unique gift for someone special.

Price per CD: $120

In the absence of funding from corporate sponsors, it was necessary to find a creative a way of financing this essential project. All proceeds from the sale of these 60 first edition CDs will go toward duplication of a larger batch of CDs and printed CD jacket, for sale to the general pubic (locally and internationally). These funds will then be injected into Greenlight Network's creative environmental projects.

To the corporate sponsors out there: now is a great time for you to become involved in the funding of creative projects that aim to raise environmental awareness. Your sense of 'social responsibility' will bode well for your corporate image. Not because it is 'trendy' to be green ... but because it is vital.

To join Greenlight Network and become creatively involved in transformational environmental healing, go to the website and send your contact information to the e-mail address provided:

If you are not coming to the concert but would like to purchase one of the 60 special edition CDs (some of which have already been sold), please contact me via the e-mail address on this blog and we'll make the necessary arrangements. Priority will be given to those in attendance on Sunday.


Wireless Wonderland

It has now been about a month since my phone has been dead and my DSL connection incapacitated. I gave up after almost 3 weeks of calling TSTT at least twice daily (and receiving a melange of reasons for my phone being dead), speaking to and writing letters to managers and supervisors, going physically into TSTT Service Centres to make my reports face to face, having friends with 'inside links' following up and doing what they could to help.

The days tick on.

Soon I will be out of the country. I won't even waste time or energy thinking about whether my phone will be fixed by the time I return in June. For now I use my cellular phone or other people's landlines to make calls.

And for now I will no longer have to borrow other people's computers for internet access or go to internet cafes. Last night when I got Satya back (from having her software installed), I turned her on and immediately got swift internet access via a wireless feed in the area.

Get your act together, TSTT. I am not inspired by you.


Thursday, April 19, 2007


I love the name Satya for my new laptop. In addition to liking its phoenetic sound and meaning, I love that it is "a term of power due to its purity and meaning and has become the emblem of many peaceful social movements, particularly those centred on social justice, environmentalism and vegetarianism." (Source)



Last night, my new laptop spent the night at a friend's house. He is a music producer and he was souping her up with some new software. I will get her back today.

On my way into town yesterday to drop off the laptop and meet a friend for dinner, I was thinking of a worthy name for my new unit. I kept thinking of Satya, which is one of my favourite words.

Later, as my friend and I entered the restaurant, we encountered the husband of an old schoolmate of mine, holding their baby. He told us the baby's name - her middle name being "Karishma" which means "Miracle" in Hindi.

I quite liked the sound and meaning of it ... and during dinner I not only chewed on my food, but chewed on the idea of calling the lappie Karishma. (I guess Mac people will say that anything is a Mac is definitely a karishma in comparison to a PC).

Somehow this seems more like a laptop with an 'S' name. So may go with Satya ... but will swirl Karishma around for a while and see if it fits.

While on the topic of karishma, I think we need a karishma where PM Manning is concerned. I did not know whether to laugh, cry or scream when I saw the blaring headlines in today's Newsday: Latest on PM's $148M House: ROAD THROUGH BOTANIC GARDENS


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

First post from my Mac

Hooray! This is my first post using my sparkling new Mac laptop. It's the first laptop I've ever owned as well as the first Mac I've ever owned. I used to use Macs when working in advertising (in the office), but other than that, it's been PC.

So far ... the Mac (yet to be named) was quick and easy to set up. I'll need to explore ... and I'm sure I will have questions as I adjust to the newness.

I was unpacking it at a friend's house and we were oohing and aahing at every stage. Even the packaging is exciting and well designed.

Exciting! Cute, clean,sleek, lightweight!

I can't see myself becoming one of the smug Mac people though ... and I will still use and appreciate Firefly (my PC) for certain things.

The only thing that has me puzzled is the Blogger interface which now is not showing many of the things that it shows on a PC. Hmmm ... I will have to investigate. Does anyone reading this happen to use Blogger on a Mac? If yes, do you know what I mean and can you explain how to display all the controls?

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Dis Respect

My response to the second comment on yesterday's post:

Yes, women should respect themselves and not cheaply sell their bodies ... but men also need to respect women. In 'hip hop' slang a woman is referred to as a 'ho' or a 'bitch' (and who knows what else). This is not respect, it's not 'hip' and it's not 'great songwriting'.

You say you find Akon 'a great singer/songwriter' ... whereas TriniGourmet's opinion is that his lyrics and personal sentiments toward women are 'so sickening'. I wouldn't know(having not heard his music) ... but looking at the way he was treating that woman on stage I wouldn't be surprised that TriniGourmet is right.

In your opinion, he is 'not to be blamed' ... but from my perspective he disrespected that woman ... whether or not she was up there for 'a slice of the cake' (the spotlight) as you suggest ... or whether she was up there because she really felt she would win a trip to Africa ... whether or not she was a 'fool'.

Deceiving the women (whether as a 'joke' or not) by conning them into coming up on stage to win a trip was the first bit of disrespect. Their choosing to go up on stage to wine is their choice ... and, sadly, in a land where wining is proudly considered 'we culture' no matter how sluttish it looks, they most likely thought nothing of going up to 'represent'.

There are people who are saying (and will say) that the girl 'looked for it' by going up. As a friend of mine said, that is like saying a woman 'looked' for rape because of what she was wearing or where she was walking. The same friend also pointed out that Machel and other local soca artistes also invite women to wine on stage but (as vulgar as they may come across at times) we have never seen them fling a woman around the stage like a sack.

Is it that once a male 'superstar' is heterosexual, it's okay, normal and expected (perhaps even encouraged) for him to do whatever he wants on stage, no matter how sexually graphic and disrespectful, and 'get away' with it? Meanwhile, Elton John quietly coming to play his piano and sing his songs is raked over the coals.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Elton vs Akon

The Editor:

Where were all the pastors and their vociferous supporters when 'Prince' Akon conned those women into wining on stage (so they could win a trip to 'Africa') and filmed the entire scenario for the world to see on YouTube? Can we now expect a large paid advertisement from Pastor Cuffie ranting and raving against the fact that this 'international superstar' (not knighted, but 'royal') viciously wiped the stage floor and the speakers with the defenseless body of the young woman who had 'won' the first stage of the wining competition?

My sister sent me the link to that YouTube video. It is disgusting and degrading, to say the least. To think that this 'superstar' is allowed to come here and freely film this piece of 'entertainment' which looks like a violent rape being committed in time to music. He treats the young woman like a lifeless ragdoll, flinging her body around the stage, onto speakers and all over the floor with clearly no regard whatsoever for anything about her as a human being. Meanwhile, the crowd is heard laughing and cheering him on. (After all, wining and laughing at things that are not funny are part of 'we culture'). Perhaps those who were cheering were pleased to have an international superstar 'wining' to a soca beat and promoting 'we culture' over the internet, where it will get millions of hits and draw people to Trinidad, increasing tourist traffic for our new five-star hotels.

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Let it rip

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Yesterday I was clearing out my old wallet which was bursting at the seams and falling apart. In transferring my money to the new wallet I'd bought the day before, I came across three of these passport size photos of myself, taken for an application form some time before I had cut my hair. (That day it was in the 'Pineapple' style, piled on top of my head).

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Along with old paper from some drawers which I was ripping and discarding (mini spring clean), I decided to also discard the passport photos (which I have no use for now). As I 'ripped myself apart', I observed how each piece of 'me' looked so different once it became detached from the whole. Rather than seeming destructive, the act symbolically felt freeing and full of possibilities.
Shedding skin.
No written manual
Tells me how
To re-arrange myself.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007


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Shot of an old truck I discovered once when some friends and I stumbled upon an interesting woman and her house in the country.
Last night I dreamt I was competently driving a large red and black Mack truck along some narrow, unpaved country roads. I'm not sure where I was headed, but I was going there confidently. I drove to a particular point and then turned ... and suddenly there were many forks in the road and I could not remember which road I had been on.

I saw many cars heading in a particular direction and thought that it was 'the way to go', but something about it didn't feel right. I stopped and asked some men at the roadside which route would lead me back to the main road. They pointed to a road that did not look like the one I had been on, but somehow it felt right, so I trusted them and took it.

It was all unfamiliar. At some point I got to a part of the road which overlooked rolling fields. There was a house below road level at the side of the road. I parked the truck across from it (next to a rustic bar which had a few cars parked outside and a few old men sitting around) and went into the house. My recollection of what happened inside is vague now, but it contained many women of different ages - some busy, some relaxing, but all in community.

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At some point I went back out to the truck and it was not there. I looked around, wondering if I had parked it somewhere else and forgotten. It was nowhere to be seen and I was baffled that such a huge vehicle could just 'disappear'. Had it been stolen? I asked around and no-one who had seen me parking it earlier knew anything about it.

I returned to the house and opened the door to a room which, somehow, was now 'my bedroom'. It was filled with long tables - the kind you find in a small lecture hall or classroom. The room was full of women who were discussing film. One of them saw me peeping in and excitedly started going on about me as a great example, a film maker, a this, a that, talking about 'all the things she's doing' ... etc.

I closed the door and can't remember what happened after that.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Our Secret Identities

This week's Sunday Scribblings is Secret Identity.

My only real experience with having a secret identity was during childhood/pre-teenage-hood. My sister Kathryn and I (and also sometimes our cousins and one or two neighbourhood children if they were over at our house) used to play 'telephone tricks' (using randomly dialled numbers or numbers selected at random from the phone book).

The 'tricks' Kathryn and I played were not the joke ones where you quickly say something silly and hang up the phone. We used to pretend we were from other countries, put on accents and interview people at length on various topics for 'magazines'. We generally found that Trinis were interested in our accents and were receptive to us as 'foreigners'. Most, if not all the people we called, were trusting and open to our questions, often speaking at length about Trinidad and how lovely it is.

In our 'phone tricks', Kathryn and I were usually either Swedish (because we loved ABBA), American or English (easy accents to imitate) or Scottish (Scotland being our favourite place to visit).

We did not mean to cause harm. Our 'tricks' were done for fun and we usually felt that both caller an callee seemed to enjoy conversing. I can't remember us having received any rude or unwilling responses.

There is one call in particular that I remember. It was one day around Christmas and I was 'a Swedish girl who was visiting Trinidad with her father who worked for a Swedish magazine'. I called a random number from the telephone directory and an elderly sounding woman answered. I gave her my (fictitiuos) name and the name of my father's (fictitious) magazine and told her we were here in Trinidad interviewing people on xxx (I can't remember the topic now). I interviewed her ... and then I recall us having a long conversation in which she told me about life in Trinidad. Being Christmas, she explained a lot about the different Christmas foods, drinks and customs (sorrel, pastelles, parang, etc.). She eventually got to the point where she told me she had cooked all of these things but that she was alone for Christmas - and invited me to come over and experience a Trinidad Christmas meal.

She sounded very kind. Had I really been 'Frida' (or whatever my name was at the time) from Sweden, I would have taken my father and gone to visit her and sample her cooking. But, for obvious reasons, I had to decline.

The phone trick phase eventually stopped due to phone rates ... and, I suppose, when we got 'older'. It had all been childhood fun at the time.

Nowadays, people are not as trusting or open with strangers. In this day and age, I doubt that kind woman would have so readily invited me, a complete stranger, for lunch after just one lengthy phone conversation. And to do those kinds of lengthy phone interviews in the first place, you'd have to at least have the Smartchoice Gold package (unlimited local calls to landlines) so you don't run up your phone bill ... that is, considering your phone is working in the first place.



3:00 a.m.
My eyes fly open.

Awake in bed.

No birds singing.
Only the fan whirring.
Mind tossing.

I embark:
20 minutes of meditation.
Unstill, uncalm,
I shift
and shuffle
thoughts like cards.

4:00 a.m.
Time is slow
When it wants to be.

Finally the day grabs the sun
Out of the Universe
and puts it where it can be seen.

I get up.


Friday, April 13, 2007


(In internet cafe)

Couldn't think of anything to write ... so I randomly clicked on my list of blog labels and got 'serendipity'. What serendipitous things have happened lately? Maybe many, but I can just think of one right now.

Just when I was thinking I should buy a laptop so that I can have convenience on my journey, my friend and old riding pal Mel called to tell me she's in town. She is a tekkie, always with some gadget. She immediately told me about her latest acquisition - a new 13" Macbook, which she is very happy with and has been advising me to get. (She was Mac, then PC, now Mac again with a PC laptop on its way out). I played around with the Macbook yesterday and found it very simple and light, easy to carry, with long battery life, etc. I ultimately would have gone for/wanted to go for a 'souped up' Pro Macbook, but budgetwise not possible now ... so may go for that one day in the future ... and for now just go for the portability, convenience and light weight of a smaller Macbook.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

3 - 5 working centuries and counting ...

As the days drag on without a landline and DSL, I confirm that I no longer want to be dependent on TSTT ... as difficult as it may be, seeing that they are the monopoly. There are two options: (1) Do without a landline and use wireless for internet (2) Go and live in another country where things actually work work and, even if they don't, they're at least fixed swiftly.

I have given up calling TSTT at least twice a day. Yesterday I was talking to someone who said she once had to go into the TSTT office and use 'the F word' (as she said) and only then did they listen and do something about her phone which had been down for 2 months. I decided to go in as well.

On my way there in my car, I saw a TSTT van on the road. I flagged them down and blew my horn, they stopped and I reversed, telling them my predicament. They told me to go to the office in St. Augustine and lodge my report. When I did, it was just as futile as my twice-daily calls to TSTT.

A technician came on Easter Sunday (of all days) and said the wire had been cut and he didn't have enough wire to reach the house - so he'd be back on Tuesday. Today is Thursday.

It doesn't matter who you know in TSTT either, it seems. Friends of mine who know people in TSTT or who used to work in TSTT and have access to 'inside' have been trying to help ... and still ... nothing.

Today I was told (by one of two friends who has been checking for me) that the problem is 'more serious'. It is a cable problem and they are 'working on it'.

One minute it's cable, then it's not cable, then it's a cut wire, then they don't know what it is ... then it's a cable ...


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nature of Sound

I was going to complain about TSTT again (landline/DSL still not fixed) ...

but instead, I'll direct you to something far more pleasing, enjoyable and beneficial.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Witch fingers

As children we used to make 'witch fingers' with poui flowers. It's something I still do from time to time. Some of you may also remember making the 'witch nose' by removing the small yellow 'thing' from inside the Hibiscus flower and sticking it onto your nose like a wart.

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Silhouette of my hand against the afternoon sky, with poui flowers on each finger creating the witch-fingers effect.
('Witch fingers' photo taken by Kristen Alcantara)
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Pink/Purple Poui Tree on Abercromby Street, POS. Poui blooms are generally bright yellow (golden) or pink (sometimes darker pink, appearing to be purple ... or paler pink, appearing to be whitish). They say, whenever you see pouis in bloom, it means it's exam time for students.
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(In the park near Carlos Street, Woodbrook).
Falling from above and carpeting the ground, poui flowers always remind me of 'tropical snow'.

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Enjoy the crossing
Beyond what was to what is
And find a new place.
This week's One Deep Breath prompt is 'Bridges'

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Maitreya Project Relic Tour (Blessings of the Buddhas)

My bottle of saffron water, most of which I had consumed by the time I took this shot.

Yesterday I went with my friend Rosanna to the Divali Nagar to see the Maitreya Project Relic Tour (Blessings of the Buddhas). It was a special experience. (Below, I’ve included explanatory extracts from the pamphlet we were given upon entering).

Upon entering the room where the Relics were displayed, we joined a short line in front of a golden Baby Buddha and a photograph of the Dalai Lama. Before viewing the Relics, we each ‘watered’ the Baby Buddha with saffron water – as a respectful form of peace and prayer. The guide told us that the Buddha had given the monks some saffron which, until now, has not diminished. It had made the saffron water we were using. This special saffron water is used for cleansing and it was all around the room in little clear bowls, close to the Relics, which were encased in special glass boxes.

The Relics look like small, greyish, crystal-like grains (see below for explanation). Some are the size of rice grains or smaller, some are the size of pigeon peas.

After viewing the Relics, we lined up for blessings from one of the three people who had come with the tour: two men and a woman. I can’t recall where the men are from, but I remember reading in the papers that the woman is from Canada. Her face really reflected ‘loving-kindness’, and when she gave the blessing, that was what I felt.

For the blessing: one by one you go forward and kneel before her as she sits slightly elevated. She places a golden object (I don’t know its name) on the crown of your head, places her other hand slightly to the side-top of the head and mouths the blessing for what feels like a minute or more. Afterwards, both Rosanna and I felt light and at peace, as though our heads had been cleared.

Upon exiting, there was some of the special saffron water being given to those who had viewed the Relics. Luckily I had bought some bottled water earlier, so I had that empty vessel to be filled with the saffron water, which we drank throughout the rest of the evening.

After the feeling of peace we got from being in the room with the Relics and blessings, we didn’t feel like we could go anywhere that would disrupt the light feeling. So we went up to Mount St. Benedict (monastery) and sat on a tree stump, drinking our saffron water and looking out over the plains as the sun set and darkness gradually fell.


(The following extracts are from the pamphlet):
What is the Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour?
A collection of more than 1,000 sacred relics of the Buddha and other Buddhist Masters which is now touring the world. These relics will be permanently enshrined inside the heart of a magnificent Maitreya Buddha statue being built in Kushinagar India, due for completion in 2010. (Their stop in T & T is the end of the tour, the last opportunity for the public anywhere to see the relics before they are enshrined in the 500 foot Maitreya Buddha).

What are Relics?
... When the bodies of spiritual masters are cremated, beautiful pearl-like crystals are found among their ashes. Tibetans call these Ringsel. These Ringsel are special because they hold the essence of the qualities of the spiritual master. His inner purity appears in the form of relics. The relics are physical evidence that the teacher attained qualities of compassion and wisdom before death.

What are the benefits of seeing Relics?
The relics provide a unique opportunity to make a personal spiritual connection with enlightened beings. These Masters deliberately chose to leave Relics behind so that we can create the causes for our own happiness.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

In the News ... 'The lifestyle'

This week's Sunday Scribblings topic is 'In the News'
So ... what else is in the local news these days other than death (murders or motor-related), World Cup cricket, politicians/corruption, things about the oil/gas sector, smelters, public protests ...?

Every day (as of late) in the local papers, someone (article writer or Letter-to-the-Editor writer) offers yet another opinion on the latest and most inane of sagas: the Tobago pastors who are adamant that Elton John should not perform at the Tobago Jazz Festival since he is gay ... and, as there are locals who 'may not be sure of their sexuality', his presence could influence said islanders to adopt his lifestyle.

I haven't heard any of the radio talk shows and call-in responses. The public responses I've seen in the papers vary, but even those that attempt to sound 'accepting' and 'welcoming' of 'Sir Elton' are, in my opinion, still judgmental, with a tone of superiority (subtle, obvious, unwitting or otherwise).

There are:
(i) those who agree with the pastors and who start preaching in their letters-to-the-Editor against 'the lifestyle', sometimes quoting the Bible
(ii) those who say that Elton should by all means come and play as he is a great performer who has been kighted by the Queen ... etc. ... and just when you think they're not judging anyone, they end off with something cliche like 'hate the sin and not the sinner. God will deal with him when it is time."
(iii) those who admit that once upon a time they were homophobic ... until they made friends with a gay person/gay people and realised that 'they are nice people after all!'
(iv) those who ask 'what are the pastors carrying on about Elton for when HIV/AIDs, incest, child molestation and male beach-boy prostitution with tourists are all rampant in Tobago?'
(v) those who say that Jesus would not have been getting on the way the pastors are getting on because he walked with prostitutes and sinners and accepted them
(vi) those who say something to the effect that we need to value our gay people because they are our artists, our musicians, our actors and actresses, etc. ... and 'even' our doctors, lawyers and politicians (even?)

And so on.

So ridiculous.

The issue may die down after the Jazz Festival ... or not. Maybe this is only the beginning. At the end of the day, the real issue has nothing to do with 'Sir Elton'.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mr Elspeth Duncan

I don't think Elspeth (a mere two-syllable name) - is difficult to pronounce or spell. Also, it sounds quite close to Elizabeth, so even if it wasn't my name and I'd never heard of it, I would assume that it was a female name.

Once I got correspondence concerning my BWee Miles (containing my new card). The envelope was addressed to Mr. Elspeth Duncan (in addition to which Elspeth was spelt wrong on the card - Ellsbeth). I contacted BWee to inform them of the right spelling and gender.

Then recently I got correspondence from Caribbean Airlines with a new card (supposedly with the corrections). This time the name on the card was spelled correctly, but it stated 'Mr. Elspeth Duncan'. I called and told them yet again ... and the woman said a new card will be sent in the mail with the correct thing. I wonder what it will say this time.

I have a client based in England. In one e-mail his secretary addressed me as 'Dear Mr Elspeth Duncan'. I wrote her back and told her it's 'Ms' not 'Mr'. The client (not the secretary) wrote back apologising profusely. But obviously he didn't say anything to his secretary because she sent me an e-mail yesterday beginning "Dear Mr. Duncan".

For some strange reason many Trinbagonians seem challenged by 'Elspeth' - spelling, gender, pronunciation - unless they've come across it somewhere before. E.g. A woman I met the other day at the silent retreat excitedly pronounced my name correctly the first time I said it (i.e. when the silent part was all over and we were talking). "Ohhhh! Elllspeth!!! I've read books with that name in it when I was younger!"


Friday, April 06, 2007

One 'Wow' after another

Yesterday I received a wonderful gift in the mail from the blogger Kikipotamus (Kelly). Some time ago she had had a blogwarming party (she was moving her blog address) and sent special invitations to people who read her blog. One 'activity' at the party was a kind of treasure hunt, with the clues (questions) leading to answers which could be found on her blog or on the blogs of other bloggers in her sidebar. There were prizes. I ended up getting many of the questions right and my prize was to be a pair of earrings which she would make.

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One of the pairs of earrings made by Kelly (which I got yesterday).
It is on one of the heart-shaped stones I found at Toco during the silent retreat.

It took ages for the package to arrive (from the time she e-mailed and told me she had sent it). I thought it was either lost or that some postal person had opened it, liked the earrings and kept them. When the envelope arrived yesterday it felt like a lovely surprise from the middle of nowhere.

Upon opening the large envelope, I found myself saying "Wow!' with every discovery. I was amazed to find not only the pair of earrings featured in photo above, but lots of other simple, unexpected treasures:

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This pair of earrings was also included in the gift pack. Ironically or not, my tattoo is etched on them. I wore them last night when I went out and they looked great.
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This book by Lauren Artress - The Sacred Path Companion: A Guide to Walking the Labyrinth to Heal and Transform. Very apt. I immediately opened it and it fell on a page containing a message which I found extremely relevant and helpful.
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This blank card and its envelope were tucked in the labyrinth book. It is a lovely watercolour entitled "Scott Plantation Settlement", painted by Dottie Morissey, Kelly's mother. I like the fact that Kelly wrote nothing in the card, but left it 'blank'. Immediately, its emptiness did not strike me as blank, but containing a full message. (Perhaps because of what I had read when I opened the labyrinth book).
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Last but not least, there was this little box with a rainbow drawn on it with markers. It had a special feel to it. I shook it and there was no sound. The sides were taped and for some reason I decided not to open it until today. (This reminded me of a story I'd written once. Maybe I'll share it tomorrow as a blog post). When I woke up this morning, I opened the little box and there, wrapped/nestled in green kite paper (which is why it wasn't rattling when I shook it), was a pristine white feather (looks as if it is carved from bone?) attached to a long white cord. Again, it spoke volumes. I am wearing it now.
Thank you, Kelly, for those great gifts! Simple, powerful and appreciated.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Resurrection, please!

A short while ago I was upstairs talking to a friend (on my cellular phone, since my landline is still dead) when I heard the heavy drone of a truck pulling into the driveway. I looked out of the window and lo and behold, it was a TSTT repair van! My heart leapt. I hung up and raced downstairs, ran out to them and said to the driver: "I could hug you! You know how long I have been waiting on TSTT to come?!!" He looked surprised at how happy I seemed, but that was honestly my first reaction. Rather than anger and fed-upcy, I was really overjoyed and relieved to see them. At last I could see the light at the end of the tunnel of frustration and inconvenience.

One of the men got out and checked 'the box' outside the house. I kept checking the phone as he did so and it remained dead. As the technician came back to the van and got in, I asked him where he was going.

"To check the line down the road."

I asked him what was wrong with the line.

"We don't know. We'll check the line down the road."

I asked him if he was coming back.

"No. We will call in."

They stayed by the 'line down the road' about five minutes before driving off. I walked down the road in time to see them heading down the road, out of sight.

My phone is still dead.

Maybe for Easter it will resurrect.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Beautiful Mystery

Sometimes standing,
sometimes flying,
The beautiful mystery,
what is
for me


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Power of the Hummingbird on my journey

I will be travelling later this month with the humming bird. I like this new logo of our new Caribbean Airlines better than the inanimate, cliche pan that was on the BWee planes. The hummingbird is a wonderful little power animal whose energies I welcome for my journey (see below).
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The cover of my ticket, which I picked up a few weeks ago.


Hummingbird: messenger, timelessness

Hummingbird - the tiniest of all birds - brings special messages for us. It is the only creature that can stop dead while traveling at full speed. It can hover, or can go forward, backward, up or down. It lives on nectar and searches for the sweetness of life. Its long tongue lets it bypass the often tough and bitter outer layer to find the hidden treasures underneath. Hummingbird is loved by the flowers and plants, for as it sucks the nectar from the flower, the plant reproduces and more of its kind are created. In many traditions, Hummingbird feathers have been prized for their almost magical qualities. It is said that Hummingbird brings love as no other medicine can, and its presence brings joy to the observer.

If you have Hummingbird medicine, you adapt easily to whatever situation you may find yourself in, and make the most of your new circumstances. You don't waste time looking back and wishing for "what was" for you are concerned with making the most of "what is". Also, you could never become addicted to any artificial stimulants, for you find joy in your own heart. You take great pleasure in spreading joy and love and beauty to all around you, and have the gift of taking that inner joy into new and different surroundings. You have a talent for finding the good in people, and are not put off by a gruff or abrupt exterior, for you know that, if you can only get beyond that tough outside layer, you'll find goodness and beauty inside. You may have a gift for working with flowers, maybe growing them to share with others, or using flower essences for healing. Aroma therapy may be your calling. You have high energy and a spirit that must be free. To restrict that wonderful, free, loving energy is to suffer great depressions and feelings of uselessness. Hummingbird must fly free in search of beauty, spreading joy and love to all it touches.


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Monday, April 02, 2007

Spring? Fall?

Dry season is here
Green turns to brown turns to dust
I prefer the rain
(We don't have spring, summer, autumn or winter. We just have two seasons: wet and dry).


What have I been doing?

Since the Soul Window, I feel as though I have not done anything 'creative'. This feels a bit strange when I think of it. Makes me wonder what I have been doing!

Currently, the I SPY project is in its final phase. For those who don't know, it's a series of four (in the first instance) environmental documentaries I have been working on since August last year, with children age 7 - 10 (i.e. environmental video documentaries created by children for children).

So far we've done:
I SPY Wildlife (done with four random children)
I SPY Recycling (done with the 4H Club Members from Cunapo St Francis RC School)
I SPY Things in My Garden (done with 9 children of a Santa Cruz farmer)

The fourth episode is I SPY Trees (4 random children). We should be finished by tomorrow. It's been fun and an interesting learning process for all involved ... but I'll be glad to have the four completed so we can launch and move on.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Customer service in T & T is non-existent

Yesterday a friend talked to me non-stop for over half an hour on her experiences with the horrendous customer service she had been experiencing lately in particular: laziness, apathy, rudeness, not-knowing-anything-about-the-product, etc. I listened knowingly.

On my end ... TSTT better get their act together and come and fix my phone this week. Every day since last week (or late the week before) I called them at least twice a day to be told each time that 'a technician had been assigned since Monday.'

On Thursday (day before the public holiday) I called in the morning from my cellular phone, while stuck in traffic, and was told by the young man who answered that the problem was 'a cable' and no technician had to come to my home to fix it ... that they could fix it externally ... in fact they were working on it ... but he couldn't tell me when it would be fixedd.

I called them again when I got home in the afternoon (upon realising my phone was still dead)and was told by the woman who answered that 'a technician had been assigned since Monday'. I asked her about the cable thing and she had no idea what I was talking about. I asked her to put me through to her manager and the phone 'cut off'.

I called back and asked for the supervisor of the repairs department. When I told her all of the above, she checked my documents and came back to the phone sounding surprised, saying that no technician had ever been assigned to me and the cable story is not true. So are these TSTT people making up things to get their 'valued customers' off the phone?

I told the supervisor that I feel like a hostage of TSTT, with no other choice but to WAIT until they see it fit to come and fix my line! (She said she would follow it up personally for me this coming week).

It is frustrating and highly inconvenient. If TSTT had competition they would be banging on the door to come and fix my line, calling me up immediately afterwards to find out if everything was okay, if there was anything else they can do for me and stumbling over themselves to give me rebates or at least a month off of paying my phonebill.