Saturday, July 30, 2011

Just Where Have you Been This Week? - Hanging Out At Sprocket Ink.

Wait! What do you mean the week's over?! 

I know I've been noticeably absent all this week. I apologize. My brains have felt fried for most of the week (coffee deprivation) and I decided to take the week off. But, while I didn't do anything worth mentioning here, I did manage to do some stuff over at Sprocket Ink.


- On Tuesday we were talking fashion to deal with the extreme summer weather from my favorite place for all things quirky, Japan.

- I did some overtime and posted on Wednesday too with a funny story about DIY surgery... AGAIN! Honestly, people, when is that kind of stuff ever a good idea?

- Then, on Thursday, I put the snark aside for a bit and I got all contemplative on the whole internet anonymity issue that's being kicked around by various social networking sites.

If you missed any of those be sure to check them out.


In other news, I've been working on some toons, including the conclusion to Girls' Day Out but I've had to put it on hold because my mouse is on the fritz. I almost wrote a post about it but all I really had was a title - "Of Mice & Men" - which was cool enough but the story of a glitchy mouse didn't, in the end, seem like something worth sharing.

Anyway, drawing with a touchpad is ridiculously difficult. If I'm ever going to finish it, and the others I've been working on, I may have to bite the bullet and buy a new one.

Also, I forgot to mention this last week but the jury service adventures are over. I the end the magistrate said that we wouldn't be needed any more as the month would come to an end with no new cases that needed jurors.

That's it. You're now officially up-to-date on everything that's been going on here. Monday is public holiday here in T&T. We're celebrating Emancipation Day - commemorating the abolition of slavery here. I'll probably tell you more on that later. Or not. Depends on if I can get my caffeine levels topped-up.

Either way, I'll see you next week.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another Pretend Post To Lead You Somewhere Else.

Well it's another Thursday and time for some more Sprocket Ink goodness...

Wait... Wednesday?! But I have a post at Sprock...

Yeah? Uh-huh. You sure?


Seriously, though, I do have an extra post over at Sprocket Ink today. I'm filling in for one of the crew over there. So head on over and check it out. Ha-ha! Gotcha you thought I actually got my days of the week all mixed up. Like that would ever happen!


Anyway, it's about another DIY project that should never be attempted by anyone! EVER!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Apparently We're All Interested In The Weather.

I'm not really here today. As Tuesdays often go, I'm posting at Sprocket Ink today so you can find me there.

Seeing as the weather or more specifically, the heat, is a matter of concern to so many (that letter to the sun I did last week is still climbing in views and is almost at 1,800 when I last checked), I've dug up one or two solutions that may be helpful. Go over to my story there for the details. They may or may not be helpful. It depends on how desperate you are, really.

See for yourself.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Just Where Have you Been This Week? - I Was Hiding In The Fridge.

Wow, weekend just seem to come up so fast!

Let's begin:

- My first post this week was on Tuesday. It was my take on the Studio 30 Plus weekly prompt "Your Earliest Memory Of Your Own Birthday Party". It was a really weird one.

Of course, you too can join in on the S30P action... As long as you're a member, that is. And I'd expect that, if you are a blogger aged thirty and over, that you're already a member of this great group. Just makes sense.

Also on Tuesday, I also posted on Sprocket Ink about young, attractive Russian women willing to bare it all in the name of supporting their favorite political candidate.

- On Thursday I posted on Sprocket Ink again. This time about the gradually vanishing species known as the German Nudist.

Then I noticed that both my Sprocket stories had similar themes. This made me a bit concerned and I expressed those concerns back here.

- On Friday I wrote a letter of complaint to the sun for the unbearable heat I had to endure.

Interesting side note about this post: This afternoon I noticed this -

I honestly can't tell you why.

Anyway, seems like someone was paying attention because this morning I got a response to that letter:

Along with thunder! Then, as I was out doing errands this happened:

 And I was caught in it the entire time.

I'm wondering if I should build an ark or something.

Of course, I'm not fooling myself into believing that my letter was responsible for the change in weather. That would be ridiculous! I'm sure the weather would have changed whether I wrote it or not.


Dear National Lottery Board,

During my adult life I've purchased lottery tickets no less that eight times with no success. I find this unacceptable as, if anyone is deserving I must say that I am... 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Addressing The Weather.

Dear Sun,

As you well know, here in the country of Trinidad & Tobago, we are scheduled to be in the period known as the "Rainy Season" at this present time. This particular season runs from the 1st of June to the 31st of December. It is during this period in which we recover from the onslaught you would have inflicted upon us for the first six months of the year - the "Dry Season" - which is when you get to do your thing.

So, that being the case, I would appreciate some sort of explanation as to why, for almost every day for the past two weeks, I have been greeted by THIS:

Does that look like rain to you Sun? I think not. No, that's you, muscling in on Rain's allotted time. And it's safe to say that you are overdoing it since I have to have an electric fan on and in close proximity, day and night.

I know that this year you dropped the ball during your time and this dry season was, in fact, not all that dry. I understand if you feel cheated by this. That, however, does not warrant your present action of trying to interfere in Rain's business.

This behavior is unacceptable and I think I speak for everyone here in T&T, as well as those in other countries who are presently putting up with your presence, when I say to you, "YOU ARE NOT WANTED HERE!!!" I would kindly ask that you cease and desist from your present activity and let good sense prevail.

Thank you.

Vinny C.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm Noticing A Theme Here.

Just a quick heads-up to let you know that I've got another post up at Sprocket Ink today. It's about German nudists

Now, here's the thing... My post there on Tuesday was about Russian women taking off their clothes. While there are obvious similarities with these two posts, they are completely coincidental, I assure you. It just happened like that. It does lead me to wonder, though...

Is there some kind of aversion to clothing happening over there in Europe? Should those of us outside of Europe start getting concerned?

While public nudity isn't my thing, I say, to each his own. But I do plan on traveling one day and since Mrs. C has always wanted to see Greece, I'd just like to know exactly how much of Greece we'd be seeing. Let's face it, not all women over there look like Axia Andreadaki:

Something to think about.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's My Party & I'll Be Creeped Out If I Want To.

I'm off to jury service in a minute but before I go I'm tackling the Studio 30 Plus weekly prompt today. This week is based on: "Your Earliest Memory Of Your Own Birthday Party". I'll tell you my tale. But you got to swear you'll never tell anyone about this...

Birthday parties were never a huge deal in our family when I was growing up. In fact, the only one I can ever remember having was back when I attended kindergarten. This kindergarten that was on the grounds of a catholic church and run by nuns. Yeah. Good times!

Actually, to be honest, they were. It was there, in fact, that the party was thrown. The nuns apparently loved parties for the children since, of my few memories from attending that school, most of them involved some type of party of function.

That day there were two other kids, Tia and Ronald who stood on either side. They celebrated their birthdays that week as well so the nuns decided to lump them all up into one event. But that day was actually birthday. "My day! It was more special than theirs" as a child's mind would reason. But still we had to share so whatever. Only the only birthday party I've ever had. You know, whatever.

Anyway, I remember when it was my turn. They had already dealt with Ronald and Tia all now of the children sing the Happy Birthday song for me. I've never liked being the center of attention. Normally it would have been because I was in trouble for something. But not that day. For once, I was the star of the show and I loved it. I looked at the cake. I looked at the other kids. I felt appreciated. Soon the song ends.

Nun: Blow out the candles, Vinny.

And Ronald blows the candles out.

Me: Heeeeeyyy!!!
Nun: No, Ronald. It's Vinny's turn. you already blew out your candles.

She lights the candles again. To recreate the mood she asks the other children to sing me the song again. They're only too happy to oblige. Somehow singing loud and off-key is just endless fun for a young child. Soon they bring it home. And as the song ends...

Ronald blows the candles out. AGAIN!

Son of a bitch!

Nun: Ronald! That's enough. You had your turn!

Her voice was so stern that I was sure Ronald almost wet himself. One last time she lit the candles. She doesn't bother making the other kids sing this time however.

Nun: Okay, Vin- RONALD!!!

Yup, you guessed it! Old Ronnie-boy just couldn't help himself and, once again, blew out every last candle. 

Nun: Never mind. Vinny, Tia... Ronald... (she glared at him) cut the cake.
Other nun (holding the camera): Okay, Tia, give Vinny a kiss for the picture.

She did. A quick peck just long enough for the photo to be taken. But as she did it I noticed something odd. The kiss was in stereo. Either she was a really good kisser or...


Just my luck the nun happened to snap the photo with both Tia and... Ronald both giving me a kiss on either cheek. Thinking back he looked way too into it. Momma C still has that photo. I don't know in what incriminating way she intends to still use it, but whatever her plan is, it can't be good.

I've also got another article on Sprocket Ink this morning at 10AM. I won't be home by that time so I won't be able to link it directly until later.

[UPDATE] The above link now goes directly to my Sprocket Ink post.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Just Where Have you Been This Week? - Finding Things To Complain About.

Another week enters the history books. Me? I'm mostly recovered from my mid-week move and getting used to the new digs. But listen to me go on and on! You're not here for that, are you? It's time for another weekly recap.

- This week I actually got things started off with an article on Sprocket Ink on Tuesday. This is where we learn about goats that only R. Kelly could love.

- On Wednesday, I complained about having to deal with both moving and jury service... But mostly about the jury service. It sucks...

- On Thursday I complained again. This time only about the moving which was finally over. Mrs. C and I spent the rest of the day in recovery.

- Then, of course, there was also my story on Sprocket Ink on Thursday. Here I shared some suggestions on some additional uses for some smart new military hardware.

That's basically it. The good news is that next week I won't be complaining about having to move. However, there is still that whole jury service thing. I'll try my best to keep my rants short.

But I can't make any guarantees.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Moving Sucks

It's over. The move has been made. Moving is a strange feeling. You're in this strange new place, surrounded by all of your stuff but everything else is different.

We did save some money on the move. My wife's uncle, the evangelist I mentioned once before, also drives a van and helped us move for free. Sweet! That, however, had it's own set of drawbacks.

For one, he is an evangelist so he had to finish some commitments in his church before coming to help us move.

At around 9PM!

Added to that is that, even though he brought his son and another guy to lend a hand, he's family. So I had to help with the heavy lifting. Now, I'm not lazy... mostly, but there are guys who can help carry a fridge down a flight of stairs and there's me. Just sayin'.

Another thing is the van wasn't big enough to to take everything in one trip. It actually took three. We didn't make the final trip till well after midnight. And, since Mrs. C and Evie weren't willing to ride in back, I spent the last trip in the van like this:

After that was done Mrs. C and I got some unpacking. We set up Evie's room first so she could go to bed and proceeded to the other rooms to get a few things in order. By about 2:12am we were spent. We could barely move. Every box that needed lifting required deep contemplation and the summing up of all the will that could be mustered. In our bedroom I clambered up a chair to finally screw in the light bulb. Yes, I said "clambered". That's how tired I was. But we were determined to at least have the right bags and boxes in their respective rooms. We could call it a night if we could get that much done at least. We pressed on.

Then at around 4:30am we surveyed our progress. Everything still looked the same. Everything was still a mess. It was at that point we both breathed a collective "F*ck this shit!" and went to bed. The battle was lost. The junk had won.

When I woke up four hours later I moved some of the furniture into place and then I did my post over at Sprocket Ink. Go on and check it out if you haven't yet. After that was done I went back to bed until about 8pm last night.

The place looks like a home now but it's going to take a little getting used to. Especially having to use a different bathroom. I dunno. That's always been a little unsettling to me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What’s More Fun Than Moving?

The correct answer would be:

Having to move and jury service. Both. at. the same. time.


Even better than that is that they both keep dragging out. We were all ready to go yesterday when we found out our new place wasn't ready to receive us. The landlady had some workmen in to install a new kitchen and they left a huge mess. So we move today instead.

As for the jury service, I wasn’t one of the jurors selected for the current case so I have to go back next week. AGAIN! I know! Awesome, right? There’s nothing an unemployed person likes to do more than drag his ass out of bed, get dressed and head into the city to be bored out of his mind all day. This may sound familiar. That's because that is exactly how an actual job is like. Right? But, seeing as I'm not getting paid for this I'm going to go to have to conclude that I am, in fact, still unemployed.

Anyway, as easy as it would be to get into a full-on rant about all of this, I’m going to change the atmosphere a little. Being that this is my first time doing jury service, I’ve decided to share a little what I’ve learned so far:

- The building that houses all of the courtrooms is called the “Hall of Justice”. I've only been in it a few times but I can confirm with a reasonable amount of certainty that the Super Friends do not operate from this building. Very disappointing.
The building doesn't even look the same!
- Our legal system here in Trinidad and Tobago is based on the British legal system. That means the attorneys and even the judges (known as magistrates here) all wear long, flowing, black robes. All they’re missing are hoods and sickles.
I object!
- Jurors don’t get robes. Or hoods, or sickles. What the hell is up with that?! Aren't we all part of the team now? We’re helping you all do your jobs, people! How about letting us show some team spirit here?

- The attorneys who gracefully glide across the floors of the (impostor) “Hall of Justice” are infinitely more intelligent and important that that we are and ever will be. They know that and they want us to know that too.

- In the courtroom, cell phones are supposed to be turned OFF. Not on vibrate. Not even on silent. The magistrate hates when you disobey this rule. She will stop whatever is going on to express, at great length, her displeasure at the buzzing sound caused by a cell phone disrupting the courtroom’s recording equipment. She get’s really pissed if you text during proceedings.

- Finally, the magistrate – at least the one in the courtroom I’ve been sleeping in assigned to, anyway - does not have a gavel. The hell!?! I thought that one of the perks of that job. If I’m going to be judge, I want a freaking tiny hammer I can bang to shut everyone up, dammit!

I picked all of this up and I haven’t been sitting in on an actual case yet. Who knew there was so much I could learn about the judicial process?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just Where Have You Been This Week? - Don't You Mean Last Week?

I know! I know! I'm late with my weekly wrap-up. We spent all weekend looking for another apartment since Evie is not budging from her decision to move so far out of her comfort zone. That and Mrs. C found out that she's getting transferred from her branch back to the capital. So, with two-to-one against moving east, we had to look for a new place.

I mentioned we move on Tuesday, right?

Anyway, we found a place that meets with everyone's approval and the move is on once again.

Now, where was I..? Oh, right! What I was up to last week...

- On Monday Mrs. C informed me that she was only really interested in getting into my genes when she met me. I guess I'm okay with that.

- Tuesday I griped a little about the tactics being employed by our landlord-to-be or - as it presently stands - not to be (Great! Now I'm ripping-off Shakespeare). There is also a link to my story at Sprocket Ink there (Much like there is here). It's about the Japanese sending sex dolls to dental school. Weird, I know, but go see for yourselves if you don't believe me.

- On Wednesday I told a sad story about our encounter with a neglected elderly woman Mrs. C and I met not too long ago.

- I had another eye-opening Conversation With Mrs. C on Thursday where she revealed my newest super power. Then it was over to Sprocket Ink again to talk about some... unconventional school equipment in a school in Uganda. Trust me. You won't believe this one.

And that's it. Those were my whereabouts for this-um-last week.

On a side note, I move tomorrow afternoon (Yay!) (Not really) but it's in the afternoon so I'll still have a post up at Sprocket at 10am. Be sure to tune in then.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Left On Your Own.

No matter who you are today, there will eventually come a point, be it through age or illness or something else, when you have to depend on others. There are times when those seeming to show us kindness are only using us to their own gain. What I feel is even worse is when the ones we expect to be there for us (friends and family) are the ones we can least depend on and a total stranger shows us more kindness than they do. This realization was brought home to Mrs. C and myself during the following encounter:

Note: (I decided to leave the dialogue in local dialect this time. It shouldn't be difficult to follow, though).

It's Friday afternoon. The end of Mrs. C's first week of working day shift. She calls me and tells me she had just finished doing a few errands and was about to head home. I, myself, had just left work (back when I was working, that is) when she called so we arrange to meet downtown and travel home together. She says she'll wait for me in a fast food restaurant that was close to the bus station.

It doesn't take long for me to get there. We greet each other and I help her with some of her load. She gets up and we head to the door. I was tired. This week was extremely stressful and I had a million and one things racing through my mind. I was looking forward to getting home. I didn't, at first notice when my wife stopped.

She was talking to a little old lady – possibly in her eighties – who had called out to her. She was sitting at one of the restaurant tables and I saw that she had her hand out. At first I thought she was begging for change, but then I heard my wife ask her if she wanted her to help her up and took her hand. I moved in closer and, without hesitation the elderly woman reached her other hand toward me. We helped her up out of the chair. She was small and frail and her back was bent from what was obviously osteoporosis. She had a wooden cane in her right hand. Her dress was simple and her gray was short and pinned back.

She'll be called Ms. Gray from here on in.

Ms. Gray asked us to help her to the door. As we were doing so, a man in about his late thirties, offered to assist and, together the three of us guided her to the door. As we reached it I couldn't help but get a little pissed off at the guy who insisted on barging in from off the street and pushing past us. He was tall, heavy-built and looked in his fifties. It seemed apparent that he was in such an urgent need for his fried chicken fix that he couldn't wait for us to get past.

When we were outside. Mrs. C asked her in which direction she was going and she pointed east. The guy who had joined us said he was going that way and he wouldn't mind helping her. Ms. Gray looked at him and then at us. Maybe it was because she she had asked for our assistance in the restaurant and not his. Maybe the years had made her cautious. But, whatever her reason, she reached for my hand again. I took it and Mrs. C held her other arm which held the cane. The other guy, sensing he wasn't needed, continued on his way.

Her destination the cathedral two blocks away. There she would get a ride home from someone who was attending afternoon mass.

Mrs. C: How far are you going? 
Ms. Gray: Mt. Hope.

This was a little past our destination and Mrs. C pointed out that we were headed to the bus station and we could see her home. However, she was insistent on going to the cathedral.

As we walked slowly along the cracked and uneven sidewalks, I could see that her ankles were severely swollen. Whenever we came to a dip in the sidewalk or any of the curbs, she had to stop and sum up her strength to negotiate it.

“You get ah good escort this time!” a street vendor called out to her as we passed by.

This confirmed what I had already guessed. This wasn't the first time she had been in this situation. Ms. Gray stopped to greet a friend, another street vendor.

Vendor Friend: “You need to get somebody to drop you to town, girl.”
Ms. Gray: “Yeah, but who go do it?”

Their exchange lasted a few more seconds and then she tugged my hand indicating she wished to continue onward. I also couldn't help but notice that, as we walked, no one, except for a small child, made even the slightest attempt to give way. Don't get me wrong. I'm not asking that the crowd part for us, or anything. It would be nice, though, if one or two of them would attempt to give us some room. The way people brushed past us, seemingly so caught up in their own lives, I thought they would start climbing over us if we slowed them down too much.

Mrs. C talked with her some more. We learned that she regularly came into city to do errands and get her regular check-up at the general hospital.

Me: You don't have anybody who could bring you to town?
Ms. Gray: My grandson does live with me but is like he don't live there. He hardly ever there and don't want nothing to do with me.
Mrs C: And nobody else could help?
Ms. Gray: I had a nephew who used to live with us. I put him out after he did steal my whole pension after I cash the cheque. And I raise him from since he was two.
Me: How old is he now?
Ms. Gray: Twenty-one.

My wife shook her head in disappointment. I decided not to ask about the boy's parents or anything else after that. I didn't want to seem like I was prying.

We were getting close to the cathedral. We crossed the street where we met some more of her acquaintances. Elderly women, themselves, they talked about their aches and pains. One of the women rifled through her bag and eventually found the name of a good over the counter painkiller that she guaranteed would help. She handed it to Mrs. C to give to Ms. Gray.

We continued and, almost to the cathedral, we met one more acquaintance. She watched Mrs. C and I sternly, “Remember that young girl who help you the other day and take the $3,000.00 from your bag?” She said to Ms. Gray and watched us again.

“And they still ain't catch she yet.” Ms. Gray lamented.

There wasn't much conversation here and we continued. Finally we reached the cathedral courtyard's front gate. As we walked through the courtyard she pointed to a gray sedan.

Ms. Gray: The driver of that car used to drop me home. I used to give him a $20. or whatever I had on me. His mother start complaining and make him stop.”
Mrs. C: Why?

Ms. Gray only shrugged in response.

Afternoon mass had just finished and people were starting to leave. Ms. Gray became worried that she would miss her ride and wanted to stand in the courtyard. We, on the other hand, were worried about the strain this would put on her legs and convinced her to keep going. The priest stood by the door waiting to greet those who exited. We called him and he immediately recognized Ms. Gray. He assured her – and us – that she'd be taken of and asked us to take her to one of the nearby pews, which we did. At first she wanted to kneel so she could pray but the pain in her legs was too much so we helped her sit up. When she was settled in, we said our goodbyes and left.

As we were leaving, my wife realized she still had the paper with the name of the painkiller in her hand. I ran back and gave it to her. On leaving the priest thanked me for helping her. I met Mrs. C outside the cathedral and we continued on our way. The whole thing made us both think about what we could do to not be so totally abandoned by our loved ones when we eventually grew old ourselves.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Maybe We'll Move To Japan Instead.

We're having a tiny snag in our moving plans. Our soon to be new landlord has decided to pressure us for an early payment prior to our moving in so he can do renovations. This was not what we initially agreed but he's decided to play hardball. He's hinting at giving us what we paid him so far to secure the apartment and canceling the entire deal if we don't come up with the extra funds. This is a problem. We've already notified our current landlord of our intention to move out next week when this month's rental period expires.

Then we went to look at some more places and found the most perfect apartment. It's a new building with all the amenities. Plus, it's $500. (TT) cheaper than we pay now. But the best thing is the view. OMIGOSH, the view! I wish I could have taken a picture to show you guys. I could sit in the front porch all day and never go inside. That, unfortunately, presents the only problem. The amazing view is because the apartment is nestled in the hills of an area called St. James which is locally famous for horrendous traffic on the main road (strike one). The apartment building is on the same street Mrs. C used to live on when we were dating but much, MUCH further in and really hard to get in and out of (strike two). Then there are the steps leading from the street to the apartment. We estimate that they are at least twice that of her former home down the road.

It's a lot.

Again, not the actual steps, but close enough.
We were both literally gasping for breath by the time we got up to the top. There's no way Evie, Mrs. C's grandma, could handle that. (strike three).

In the end, we had to pass it up (WHYYYYYYYY!!!).

So, the choices we're faced with is trying to find the additional cash the current landlord-to-be is clamoring for, asking the current landlord to extend our stay another month, or trying to find yet another place by next Tuesday. Not good.

On the brighter side of things I've got another story for you all over at Sprocket Ink.

Yes, it is about Japan again. I know, but that country is a never-ending source of weirdness. But in a good way. Go check out the story if you don't believe me. It's got-um-employees in the sex industry assisting budding dentistry students. How about that?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Just Where Have You Been This Week? - There Was That Trip To Japan...

I wish I actually could have taken a trip to Japan. Nope. Still home, still unemployed. It's all pretty much as you left it.

Let's see...
- I started off my week with a Sunday birthday post to our lovely and talented Mrs. C. She was really touched by you guys sending all the warm birthday wishes. Thanks again.
- Monday's post was a little bit of a rant. It's one where I talked about some disgraceful violence here in a local school.

- On Tuesday things got a little awkward as I declared my undying love for the country of Japan. This, I took a step further by officially declaring my intention to have the country as my bff on my post over at Sprocket Ink. AND, FOR THE LAST TIME, NO, I'M NOT SHARING!!! You know who you are.

- I took Wednesday off. To hang out with Japan.

- Thursday saw me doing double duty again with another Sprocket Ink story, this time about an amazing insect. Amazing and somewhat disturbing, that is. Then I griped a bit more about my crappy internet connection and how it almost brought about the end all of existence made me post at Sprocket late.

- No post on Friday. First day of-UGH!-Jury service. It ended up being postponed until later in the month YAWN! That's it on that issue.

That's it. That's what I've been up to this week. Don't you feel silly for jumping to conclusions now?