Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Celebrating Another Milestone... With Grape Soda & Adult Cartoons.

My limited presence of late is due to internet acting up again. To be honest, we getting pretty tired of it here. While we do appreciate the free access that comes with this apartment, we plan to take out our own, more reliable service from next month and put an end to all this drama.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from getting my regular post up at Sprocket Ink, and today I officially cross 100 posts there. Woohoo!!!

When I first announced I'd be shifting my focus there to stories that were more Japan in nature, I got one or two requests to investigate the Japanese phenomenon called "Tentacle Porn". Well, for my 101st Sprocket post, I look at a Japanese product that takes this weird fetish to the mainstream masses.

By the way, don't let the subject matter worry you. It's totally safe for work so feel free to click on the old SI badge to your right.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Day At The Beach.

I wrote two whole posts today! The first is at Sprocket Ink. You know the drill. SI Badge on the right: Click it to go straight to that post. Next is a post I wrote about a story assignment The Paper sent me on yesterday. To. the. beach! They make it hard to hate them sometimes.


The road to Maracas Bay isn't for the faint of stomach. It's a series of seemingly endless hairpin turns that wind along the mountainous north coast. On one side, the heavily forested Northern Range towers above while on the other, it continues its steep drop to the ocean.

This was my mission yesterday. A trip to Maracas to scope out the scene at what has become a tradition here in T&T. Every Ash Wednesday, the masses flock here the cool down after the two days of Carnival craziness. Sometimes I love this job.

But this wasn't the usual Ash Wednesday post-Carnival beach escape. Noticeably absent were the infamous long lines of vehicles snaking in and out of the beach. My new photographer (lost the other one on the Carnival Tuesday assignment and haven't seen him since) and I got there in no time at all.

As always, I was captivated by the pristine beauty of one of the island's most popular beaches.
How the Northern Range embraces it on both sides.
The powerful waves crashing that just seem to beg you to dive in.


There were a few reasons for the lack of crowds that morning. The weather was overcast that morning so many would have wanted to see if the day was suited for the beach. Others were wary because someone spread a rumor of a police shootout in the area. The weather cleared up very early with no signs of rain from there on in and police patrolling the said the shootout rumor was false, so everyone was expecting a huge influx to appear just after lunchtime.

That gave me and my photographer time to relax talk to who was already out there and, of course, take some pictures.

We came across a group who had built a sand pyramid.

They made other... things too.

What do you think? Too much to drink, or too little?
Needless to say, there are big booties, there are guys trying to get behind it.
Admiring his handiwork

I wasn't going to edit any more faces but I know this guy.
He really got into it.
Still, you just can't get over that view.
The lovely, lovely view.
Yeah, just so you know, the next few are girls in bikinis pics.

Okay! Okay! Ladies, something for you too.

Sorry, America, but we're not giving her back.

It was around this time I considered a career change.
You mean they get paid to look at this all day, EVERY DAY?!
Soon it was time for lunch.

Any Trini will tell you that when you visit Maracas beach, you have the Bake and Shark, so, of course, that's what we were after. "Richard's" is the man to go to. Sure, he has the longest lines, but that because he has the best bake and shark on the beach. Being in the media, he let us skip the line. I love this job.

Actually there are two lines. There's one to get your sandwich which moves pretty fast. After you get it, however, there's a second line to choose from his wide assortment of condiments.
Forget how some of them look. They're ALL awesome!

I was going to snap a picture to show you what it looks like... but I ate it.

So I bought another one! YAY!
Believe me. A lot of sharks died a worthy death to make this happen.

That's around the time Mrs. C texted to see how things were going.
Trini Talk: Stueps (alternate: Steups) - A sound made by sucking one's teeth to express anger, disappointment,  frustration or (in this case) jealousy.
I typed up my article on the car ride back, handed it in and headed home. I finished my day tired and tanned but with a distinct sense of accomplishment after my grueling 5½ hour assignment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Survived Carnival 2012! And All I Got Was Partial Hearing Loss.

As I've said before, Carnival here in T&T isn't my thing. Unfortunately, it's a big deal to mostly everyone else so, in the media, it's "all hands on deck!" whether you like it or not.

Monday at 4 am was the official start to things with J'Ouvert. And, wouldn't you know it? I was lucky enough to get that shift. So, leaving my warm bed and loving wife at 2:30 that morning, I journeyed to St. James to spend the next 5 hours watching the seemingly endless masses of people dance in the streets covered in body paint and/or mud and/or chocolate (new this year). Since my phone doesn't do nighttime pictures well I waited until there was some light in the sky to snap a photo.
Nope, not blood. Just paint.
But that's not all. Carnival's main celebrations last two days. So that means, of course, I was out again yesterday. Yesterday was the BIG show: The "Parade of the Bands"! This is when masqueraders are out on the streets in full costume following the incredibly loud, incredibly large Music Trucks.
Yes, those are a shitload of speakers.
As you can guess those things are really loud. Where I was assignred I had to stand about 20 feet from where they set up and, even with ear plugs, I still haven't gotten my full hearing back yet.

There were some interesting displays, though.
Gaaahh!!! Mantisra's attacking!

But that's not all. Do you believe that through it all I had to put up with being surrounded by sights like this all day:
I know, right? Can you imagine? They're called "revellers" and they were everywhere!
You don't want to meet up with them unprepared. They are quite apt at performing the traditional Carnival dance known as "wining", which I believe translates to "impossibly loose waistlines that can rotate in any direction". The female reveller is especially ravenous and looking for any posterior to throw their own posteriors against to"wine" against.
The guy in the hat is my photographer for this assignment.
The average female reveller will wine on anything: Male revellers (preferably), police officers, street signs, onlookers, other female revellers, nothing and no one is out of bounds. Here's a brief clip of them in action (I suggest keeping the volume low. Plus, all the bass from the truck did a number on the sound quality):
One time during the day, I was getting a quote from a spectator and the next thing I know I was totally surrounded by them. Luckily, I managed to get back to the barrier before any gyrating waistlines got me. I was so scared.

I still don't know if my photographer made it out okay. He never came back to the office. Too bad. I liked him.

Today the paper are sending me to the Maracas beach to cover the after-Carnival cooldown concert. It's the most popular spot for revellers to go to continue wearing bikinis and partying for one more day.

Those bastards!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Going Off The Deep End.

Less than two weeks ago, I wrote on Sprocket Ink about the Japanese spring penis and vagina festivals, Now, today, it's revolutionary porn from Hong Kong. Anyone else see a disturbing trend developing here?

Click on the SI badge to the right and join me on my downward spiral, won't you?

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Adventures Continue.

Wow! I haven't posted all week. Well... here anyway. Hope you guys have been keeping up with me on Sprocket Ink. You know? That place where I post, not once, but twice every week. You do remembered that, right?

We'll discuss this later.

Anyway, moving right along, My absence is due to the fact that I've been really busy. While I have my issues with The Paper, I must admit, I still love the job. Right now, the people of T&T are gearing up for our biggest annual celebration, Carnival. The fact that it's such a huge event here means the media is burning the midnight oil to cover all the events associated with these holidays.

Parties have been going on for the past few weeks but the real deal, the two days of half naked street parades are next Monday and Tuesday, so things are really heating up this weekend.

Now, I said last year around this time that Carnival isn't my thing. Mostly because never really saw the point of it. A lot of people here wouldn't agree with that. They see it as part of local culture. It's one of the most famous events in the world and something we as a nation should be proud of and all that What can I say?  I never was a party person, to be honest.

This is where my being a Christian helps. The whole concept of revelry and drunken debauchery is frowned upon in the Christian faith. Now while I won't jump on my moral high-horse about the evils of this season, I must admit, I kinda see the argument...
Eep! I think it sees me.
So once I say that Carnival doesn't interest me, the first thing I usually hear is, "Oh... Are you a Christian?" I say yes and the discussion usually ends there.

But, my religious beliefs don't save me from having to work covering Carnival events on those two days next week I'd normally be home resting any other year. As well as the events leading up to them. Like today.

Today I covered a children's Carnival parade focusing on the traditional characters that were among the first Carnival characters portrayed in T&T's early history. While I still don't get it, I have to admit, they really are creative. Take the Moko Jumbies, for instance.
These kids walk (and dance) on stilts with no trouble at all. Better than most people walk and dance on their own feet.

Then there's this group of Dame Lorraines.
In case you're wondering, yes they are fake... and children! Shame on you!
They did a choreographed traditional  dance routine (Sorry, couldn't start taping before it ended).

While I was out covering the story, it started to rain so I went into the nearby Woodford Square. There I managed to capture what we call a "Rhythm Section" on video, doing there thing.
We are a creative bunch over here, aren't we? All the same, don't expect me to be crossing over to the dark side as a result of all this. They'll have to try a lot harder.

Did I mention the grown-up version next week will have half-naked women prancing about everywhere? Most of whom have been hitting the gym for months to look right in their skimpy costumes?

Anyway, I'm covering some of the main events on Monday and Tuesday too so you can probably expect more pics and videos.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up: The Changing Focus.

Bet you thought it would be another 3 months before I did this again, huh? Well, I did create a whole new graphic and everything so I just have to try to put it in circulation from time to time.

So what's been going on with me? Glad you asked!
On Tuesday I announced my new role on Sprocket Ink as Japanese Bikini Model correspondent... At least, I think that's my new title...

Then on Wednesday I shared the truth about was really going on at my new place of employment, The Paper. And it's not good! Thing is I really love the journalist gig but sometimes, as they say, love just ain't enough. I'm torn but I feel a decision needs to be made soon.

Then it was Mrs. C's turn to entertain you in her debut appearance in my stick-toon fantasy world on Thursday. As you can see she can even make killing a cockroach entertaining.
On Tuesday I revealed a startling secret that could shift the world's balance of power if it's left unchecked. IRAN HAS NINJAS!!! I'd say not to panic, but the truth is you should panic. Oh, you should.

Thursday's post was-well-even I'm having a hard time explaining this one. Just make sure the kids/parents/bible study group/pets/cops aren't in the room when you go read this one. You may want to close the curtains too.

I know, right? Now you just *have* to go check it out. But remember, I did try to warn you.

One last thing. Mrs. C has finally caved in to the call of the web and set up a twitter account. It's actually part of a bigger project she's working on but I've been sworn to secrecy on most of it. But rest assured, once the gag-order is removed, you'll be the first to know. In the meantime feel obligated free to show her some love on the twitterverse. Now, I'm not saying I may be rewarded in sexual favors for each new follower she gets, but on the off chance that I will be, you'd actually be helping a brother out.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Change-Up.

Things are changing up a bit on Sprocket Ink. I've been re-positioned into the role of "Asian Beauty Correspondent" (we're still working on the titles).

Essentially, what that means is that I'm going into the specialized field of all things Japan and all things women. Not that that'll be all I post on, but that's going to be mine. I own it!

This actually works out pretty well for me. I can focus my searches giving me more time to do other things. Plus, this way when Mrs. C sees me looking up pictures om Megumi Kagurazaka,
I can tell her it's research for my next post.

She'll believe that, right?

I start off today with a post about female ninjas in Iran that I just happened to stumble upon (it's like the interwebz is speaking to me).

So, you know what to do. Just click on my Sprocket Ink badge to the right and go have yourselves some fun.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Case Of Murder Most Fowl.

This is overdue.

Remember back in December when I posted about my little issue with trying to get banana leaves for my wife's pastelle recipe? Probably not. But anyway, to summarize, a dove decided to nest in the banana bunch growing on the tree and I had to figure out how to get them without disturbing the nest.

Well, I did. I got the leaves and was careful enough to not only leave the nest intact, but  the mother, who was somewhat skittish, remained calm enough to just sit on her chicks and eye me cautiously. What can say? I gots mad skillz.

So we got the pastelles made:
I was supposed to take a picture of it whole but I couldn't help myself.
We even managed to get it done pretty early, since we weren't doing any sale orders this year. As I mentioned, we've lost entire nights of sleep making hundreds of these.

About two days later I went to the backyard to check on the new family in the bananas. That when I stumbled upon the scene.

The nest was on the ground and there were down feathers everywhere. You'll thank me for not taking pics this time. But, needless to say I wasn't happy with the situation. Neither was Mrs. C when I told her.

Who could have done this? My first guess was "Holy crap! SOMETHING ATE THEM!!!"

We have a lot of other creatures living in the area like the Zandoli, a lizard that scurries all over the place around here. They can grow as long as two feet, I've heard.
I had to chase this one from my mothers living room the other day.
But I found out they only eat insects so I ruled them out.

My main suspects became one of the neighbors. All the banana trees were mutilated and most of the leaves were hacked off for most likely the same reason I took some. We take our pastelles seriously here in T&T.

I may never find out who is responsible.

I know. This news sucks but I still felt I should share it