About Me

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I am the correct Alwayne. All the others are bootleg :D lol
(This should let you know this is the REAL me)
Anyway, just in case you need more, I love music, love to watch and play basketball and I love to serve God. I'm pretty tall. Think that should be enough for now.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

11 Reasons Why You SHOULD Hate Snow.

If you've never experienced snow before; DON'T!


It's EXACTLY like a barbie doll, it just looks pretty, but it naa nuh use! You don't believe me? Fine. Lemme break it down to you (and even then, I'm pretty sure if you've never experienced it, you're still gonna want to... you know... just because. Yuh too nuff, a dat do yuh >_< )

So what happens when it snows? Well my dear brethren and friends, this is what happens:

Everybody wants to make snow
angels! Even I used to want to...
In the good old days when like
you, I didn't know it was evil yet.
1. Snow is fun... but... Face it. I'm sure you're hoping to one day dive in the snow, ski/sled/snowboard, make snow angels, build snowmen, women & children, and have snowball fights. That's all well and good, and these activities really are fun, but it takes several inches (or even a foot or more) of snow to make these fun activities possible. It would be absolutely great if snow figured out a way to just fall on the grass and open lots, while avoiding the roads, walkways, driveways and parking spots; but the white stuff doesn't have GPS apparently. Bummer. Have fun shoveling to make way to walk! (Btw, depending on how moist that stuff is, it's HEAVY.) You wanted snow? Enjoy your back and arm workout. Oh, speaking of GPS, that leads me to point #2.

2. It makes driving even more difficult. Some people already couldn't drive good from mawnin' and now this just mek it rersara! (Worse-er-er--full ghetto style). The visibility can be pretty poor if snow's coming down real hard, and your poor wipers may not be able to fully fend it off. WORSE if it's the kind with ice that sticks to your windshield. Hope you have plenty anti-freeze wiper fluid! Also, if you hate skidding, a snow covered road is not for you, as the higher the snow, the more likely you are to skid. They will actually close certain roads where the conditions are too bad. They really should make every vehicle have at least a switch to become 4WD during the winter... *le sigh* (yuh know who nuh have 4WD right?)
Snow basically causes a domino effect of things to happen, so I'm just going down the line here. Point #3.

3. If you're skidding all over the place, or you know you will be, yuh cyaa guh no weh! When it snows, if you don't have to go anywhere, kip u 'kin quiet and knit or read a book. The last thing you want to do is skid and fall in a ditch and yuh cyaa come out. Dat naa play.

A classic snow plough.
4. Snow causes potholes! If you thought that 1st world countries don't have potholes, think again. Or better yet, visit only in the summer time. Holes should be fixed by then. Maybe. But during the winter? The roads are a mess! This is all (okay... mostly) due to the evil white stuff from the sky! When the roads are snow covered, the plough trucks have to come and push the snow away, and they erode the road surface, creating huge craters for your driving pleasure.

Smirnoff Black Ice
5. All evil things have evil friends. Snow's evil friend is called Ice. Ice is very dangerous. Skidding on ice is worse than snow. It creates lots of accidents and you have to drive reeeeeally slowly all the time. Unfortunately, sometimes you'll still have accidents, even when you are extremely careful. It happens. Probably should just display all your insurance details on your car during the winter. And how could I forget that ultra special Ninja Ice--called "Black Ice". You don't see it, but it sees you, and when you skid in black ice, just prepare for the worst. Naturally, ice affects walking too. You have to have shoes with very good grip, and yuh shoes coulda good suh til; but the best shoe is still no match for the nature made 'Slip n' Slide'. I wouldn't blame you for wearing track spikes in this kind of weather.
P.S.A: If you do not possess a large tuchus, please have adequate padding to cushion your fall. That is all.

6. This wintery weather will causes States of Emergency all the time. When I was in Jamaica, the only time there was ever a State of Emergency was during a Hurricane, or if Dudus was around hiding from the Babylon man dem while his cronies engaged said Babylon in a shootout. How would you like a State of Emergency everytime 6 or more inches of snow happens? Every week at that! It's no fun, because (and I'll just segue into point #7)
7. Everything is closed and postponed. This can be good and bad I suppose. When it snows, work may close--depending on your field of work (sorry nurses, CNAs, Wal-Mart employees--messed up but it serious--and snow ploughers, but your people need you). However, if your a temp/hourly paid worker; hush. You can make up the pay next week. Maybe. Oh wait, two snow days next week too? Bwoy yuh salt rasta! (I'll pretend I don't know how this feels (._.)
If you're a gym junkie (like me--I admit it now), even though the gym is 5mins away; they're closed too, so you can't take advantage of not having work. Bummer. (Plus your mother will probably cuss yuh and ask weh yuh tink yaa guh and if yuh cyaa miss gym fi one day -__-).

Oh! If you were planning to go to that big concert, you know, the one you spent $200USD on for tickets,
*New York accent* FUGGEDDABOUDIT! You'll probably get a refund, since it's not Jamaica (sorry homeland but a true) or they'll have it another day if you're lucky. Things will get cancelled all the time, thanks to the tiny white pellets of destruction from the sky.

So beautiful right???
And wrapping up: 9. Snow looks NASTY when it's been around for a while. Trust me, you know how yuh couldn't believe how Bredda So and So nice, nice pure (like bulk syrup) daughter bore up di whole of her good up good up bothy, full a bere tattoo and did that awful hairstyle you didn't like? Same suh snow stay. White and pretty when it's fresh, and then brown/black and DUTTY when it stale. Nuhbadi nuh waa si dat.

10. Too much snow (if you're in the mountains) = Avalanche. An avalanche is like a landslide, just that it's snow (and whatever else the snow is taking down with it that you can't see). It can be very dangerous to have all that heavy white stuff fall on you. Several people have lost their lives. Avoid all mountains and hills when it snows.

Also, though surprising; snow tends to happen mostly above freezing temperatures, I'll still point out the obvious, in the final point, number eleven:

11. Time cowl yuh fenneh
(Jamaica's tropical weather anyone? Me miss! Me miss! o/ )

JUST TO BE BALANCED AND FAIR, I guess because of the journalist in me, I actually looked up the Benefits of snow. I was surprised that there actually were any. Courtesy of this site and this one. (My reactions are in bold).

1. One major benefit of a good snow cover is snow functions as an excellent insulator of the soil. Without snow, very cold temperatures can freeze the soil deeper and deeper. This could lead to damage of root systems of trees and shrubs. That's actually pretty good BUT! (my grinch moment) Heavy snow can damage trees and shrubs as the weight accumulates on branches. Aha!

2. Small animals, such as voles (field mice) are now protected from predators. These pests may gnaw on tender bark at the base of young tree trunks and the stems of shrubs. Voles also will tunnel on the surface of lawns under the snow, making very visible winding trails as the snows melt in spring. Rabbits will also be more likely to feed on tender bark when the ground is covered. To this I say, SOOOOO?! Afta wi nuh like rat!

3. One final positive on the snow is the enhanced visibility of some landscape plantings. Trees and shrubs with ornamental bark, such as red twig dogwood or river birches, look more brilliant. Ornamental grasses left standing from last season are much more visible. Evergreens may look much greener, especially when a bright red cardinal is sitting in them. Meh. Mek dem move n gweh wid dat! Bout look brilliant. Brilliance naa help me shovel.

4. Melting snow provides needed moisture to many plants. Even dormant plants continue to lose moisture as water evaporates through their branches. Okay, I suppose that's good...

5. Snow also replenishes the water supply. You may have heard that 10 inches of snow equals 1 inch of rain, but it's actually much more complex than that... Alright, alright. Fine, two good things; three tops!

So anyway... After reading all this, are you still excited for snow? If you are; good for you. All I have to say to that is:

Bah! Humbug!
(Enjoy the scenery).

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Simple Life Lessons Re-Learned In Traffic

One has lots of time to think while driving alone on the open road. Whether or not one chooses to think at this time is another thing. Most of us probably will rather listen to the radio or music, or even talk on the phone; of course with Bluetooth headsets or earphones, because clearly we're all responsible, right? Duh! *crickets chirp*

Yeah... thought so.

It was that kind of morning for me (when I initially started writing this) where the hyperactive gears in my hyperactive head on my hyperactive body (you get the jist) started turning rapidly. It was about 8:50 a.m., and I was late for work, because of course, misery is to company, as lateness is to traffic. During the crawl, it occurred to me: Life is just like traffic! I couldn't wait to get on a p.c. to write this down. Before you try to preempt me, thinking of the ways life can be compared to traffic; RED light! Stop--Lemme tell you first and then you think about it afterwards. Feel free to add more points in the comments. VĂ¡monos!

1. Changing Lanes - Isn't it amazing how the other lanes around you always seem quicker, but as soooon as you switch, they turn out not to be (most times)? I hate it when that happens! Sometimes in life, it's best you stay where you are, instead of trying to get ahead of everybody quickly. In traffic, if you think about it, you only really save a minute or two to get to your destination (if so much), so why rush? In our lives, we are in our respective situations for good reason. Like me, in my current mid-middle-youngish age crisis, you may not see why things are taking so long to happen for you, but you'll find out in time (NOTE TO SELF). For those who believe, we have an all-knowing God, who allows everything to happen for a reason. Just be patient and you'll get to where you need to be before too long. Also--on the flip-side--sometimes things are clearly moving well in the other lane, but because of fear, or being stubborn, we stay in our crawl, watching the world fly by. Don't get laid back and stagnant in this world, and don't let anything stop you from moving ahead!

2. Sloooooooow drivers - We all detest getting behind these people. Some grandma or grandpa who hasn't a care in the world, or some overly cautious person is driving HEXTREMLY (H hadded for hemphasis) slow and holding you back. May not be on purpose, but they're causing a pile up that you don't want to be behind. People and things come into our lives and can become obstacles, holding us back from achieving our goals and dreams and getting where we need to be. You can allow them to if you want; if you have nowhere to go and you're driving aimlessly. However, if you got things to do, places to be, people to see; stress not! As soon as you break the corner--whatever your corner is--there'll be an open stretch of road for you to zip by, leaving them to hold you back no more.

3. Aggressive/Bad drivers - "EEEEEEEDIAT!" "Ole monkey!" "Goat!" (daddy's favourite lol) or "@%#%!!!" are just some of the many endearing terms we use to describe people who bad drive us/are overly aggressive on the road. If you get angry and retaliate or return the aggression, you could end up in trouble (or dead) the way the world runs these days. Most times I have to just opt for being calm, smart and driving safely; as much as I'd rather to run into someone's back for bad-driving me. I'll wait til I get my monster truck anyway. However! My monster truck is not the lesson (but get one if you can, less people will bad drive yuh). The lesson is actually found in the bible, in Proverbs 15:1, where "A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger". When people in this life get to you with their piggish behaviour and nasty attitudes, just avoid the mess if you can, and DO. NOT. RETALIATE. If you have to, don't be like them. Handle things in a dignified and controlled way and doe mek nobody draw yuh out. It's a very hard thing to do, and I'm sure we wish we could punch people in the face and walk away unscathed when they mess with us. I mean, you could try if you want, but key word is "unscathed" here... If you know you're here for a bigger purpose and you have better things to do than to be like these folk, good sense will prevail and you'll brush off the incidents and keep on truckin'.

4. Stoplights - Ah yes; good ole stoplights--keeping people safe since 1942. Okay, I totally made that year up. (I googled and saw, 1912, 1914, and 1920. It's one of them, but idk which :s ) How many times do we get warnings from the amber (yellow), and we just speed up and go through trying to beat the red? If you have my luck, chances are you'll get a ticket after being accused of running a red light 30 seconds from your house, the FIRST DAY AFTER GETTING YOUR LICENCE after driving  ALL day (thanks stupid Jamaican police--I didn't speed up and it was amber when I turned!) OR you'll actually try to beat the amber, but instead break the red and go through and get caught (photo-ticket). Worse case, you could crash into an oncoming vehicle and get injured, be placed in a state of carrot, lettuce and tomato-ness, or die! Ain't nobody got time fo' dat! YET, all the time, everywhere around us, we get warning signs: left, right, centre, up, down, in front, behind and all inna the middle if it can guh suh too. And what do we do? Ignore them and go on with our business until bad happens or we get hurt. Then, we start to bawl and say "if mi did know!" Follow the warning signs in your life. They may not come in 3 colours of red, amber and green, but they come in all shapes and sizes. They could be people like your friends and family, complete strangers even, things that happen, or whatever else you can think of. Open your eyes, ears and mind to the signs and obey them, as they are there to keep you safe and well.

5. People who turn on you suddenly (no indicator) - *Bounty Killa voice* As I were highlight aredi inna wan blog I are were compose long time (<--- read there), di people dem who do dis fi bun up. Straight up and down. Yuh jus does not does dat. 'Cause tell yuh what; if I were to are lick dem, I are have to guh pay money, even doe is dem dat are bad drive me, yuh dig? *Ahem* Nothing annoys me more than when someone switches lanes on you suddenly with no indication, or my favourite--indicate after they've already almost killed you off and have navigated 3/4 of the way into their maneuver! Like, what the hell you have a turn signal fah if yuh naa guh use it?! Grieve me!!! And some will have the audacity to look at you afterwards and be like, "what?" like nothing happened, or some unspoken derivative of the stupid thing kids say these days that goes:

I don't even have to spend time on this. These days, it's hard to trust people. Even those closest to you, the ones you never thought ever would, or ever could; turn on you in an instant. They leave you with your mouth agape and with your situation in tatters, wondering how you never saw it coming. Time too serious now; gotta be sober and vigilant! Watch carefully and trust only a few. Anything can happen at any time. Protect yourself.

6. People who overtake a line of traffic - they may get to the top quickly, but if they keep driving like that all the time they won't be driving for too long. You may see people; living large; fancy clothes; fancy lifestyle; all the latest everything--and you haven't a clue how they even got there. Could be drugs, could be a "link", could be dishonesty, could be who they slept with, or they could have very well gotten there honestly. Whichever way they did, your concern should be about yourself and ensuring that you go about things the right way, so at the end of the day, nobody can successfully accuse you of faking your way to the top, when you get there. It'll all be because of the effort and hard work you put it. Jus watch all the #TeamBadmind people dem in your rear-view mirror *so you can check your back* then cut and guh tru!

7. Breakdowns on the road - It could happen to you. It could happen to me. It can happen anytime, any place, anywhere. You really never know when your car will breakdown. Life throws curve-balls at us when we least expect it. People break down, whether due to death, job situations, depression... etc.
This can happen to any of us. Hopefully though, like in this encounter I had, someone will be there to help us, or we will be the ones to extend help to someone who needs it.

8. Snow, Hail and Inclement weather - As I have come to learn VERY quickly--NOTHING sucks worse than driving in snow! Not a damn thing! I live 3-5mins away from my gym, and it took me just about an hour to get there because of snow. Ain't nobody got time fo' dat! Also, I hate how people drive so slowly when it rains too, causing massive traffic build-ups. I mean, I know we have to be more cautious in bad weather, but I'm pretty sure it's okay to go more than 5mph/15kmph in the rain! Just the same, life brings elements that slow us down all the time. Our job is to be patient (hard as that may be for me), keep in good spirits and smile; knowing that the sun will shine again. May not shine tomorrow, or the next day... or the next day... or the day after that... or even next week. But it will. Just wait for it!

Looks fun right? (This is in a parking lot btw)

9. Kind Drivers - I believe there are VERY FEW kind people on the roads, who will give a "bly" an' ting; especially in traffic! Most times people gwaan like seh if you let one car in front of you, it'll make you 10 minutes later to get to your destination than maybe 20 seconds or so. For me personally, I think I'm nice enough. If you behave yourself on the road, unless I'm going too fast to stop, or I see you too late, I'll let you in the line. But, if yuh gwaan like yuh big an' bad and try to squeeze me out or you try to overtake a line and then cut in front of me; as best as I can--I'm keeping you out. If however my car is in danger of getting scratched or hit; as MUCH as I'd LOOOVE to smash into a few people and go about my business, I will let them in for my own safety. It's always so refreshing though, when some random person sees all the other cars zipping past you while you try to get into the other lane so you don't miss your turn, and they slow down and flash their lights to let you know you can go. These nice people in life seem very few, as opposed to those who don't make this a practice and always seem to speed up when you put on your literal or figurative indicator, forcing you to pull out of your maneuver to save yourself from hurt/injury. It also feels good when you do the same for someone and they acknowledge your kindness. If everybody who reads this can be one of the kind persons, then life will be that much better for those we come across. Obviously, we can't give everybody a "bly", but being kind souls will be appreciated by most (sadly not all) of the people's lives we touch.


I probably never said anything new or earth shattering that you didn't already know, but I hope that as we drive literally on the roads, and journey on the pathways of life we'll bear these things in mind for a better commute and improved quality of life.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

An Important "Tesson" for Brand Jamaica

PREFACE (lol…seriously)

It’s amazing how the time to write blog posts comes around so sporadically these days. Absolutely nothing can be going on for a while and then POW! You get pricked by the pen of inspiration! Not inspiration like the Bible (duuuuh), but a sudden urge to write J. Why do I even mention this? Well, to tell you the truth, this blog post should have been written MONTHS AGO! From as far back as September to be precise, but I just could never find the time, nor the drive to put the words together until now. After what just happened? I have to write about this now**. The power of Tessanne compels me!

**I wrote most of this on Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 between 1:30 to about 3:30p.m. with some editing afterwards at about 1:30am Thursday.

I actually had a few jottings—well—exactly 3 lines (all completely unrelated to each other), of things I was going to highlight in this post. At the time—in September as I told you—the Voice was just kicking off, and Tessanne Chin was just beginning her journey of awesomeness and “Bread n Butta”-ness. She was the last point I had in mind to mention for this post, but with her recent victory on NBC’s “The Voice” mi haffi talk bout Chinita good body [voice] first!

Let me just say first of all, that I am EXCEEDINGLY GLAD that the competition is over now. It’s not because I didn’t want to hear Tess—who still owes me a performance of an Adele song, and a rendition of “O Holy Night” (really only because I think she would nail them)—because I did want to hear her; it’s not because I saved money on car insurance (I actually have Geico for real :D), or because I’m #TeamBadmindMichaelCuffe, I promise is not dat! So “why Alwayne?” you may ask.
Weeeell, the schedulers of my evening job, (which I am glad for because a guy’s got bills and a family—as in my father’s family, you know, due to how I am wifeless and childless still…) they decided to schedule me to work for four (4) consecutive Monday nights, and three (3) consecutive Tuesday nights right up until the final (which I still haven’t seen)! So you know what that meant? NO VOICE FOR ALWAYNE! NOT EVEN THE RESULTS SHOW! And because of the hours I work (8:00a.m.-4:30p.m., then 5pm-12:00am) I had no time to even watch the episodes online! Mi did cussid grieve! Gotta tell my sister thanks for waiting up for me to get home in the nights and showing me the performances, or else I wouldn’t have a clue what was going on. Now that it’s over, and my Jamaican girl has won, I can rest easy and work relatively happily again, knowing I’m no longer missing anything. I still blame adulthood and responsibilities though.


Chapter Only…
(I’ll give you a minute to get that.)

As the curtains on Season 5 of NBC’s “The Voice” closed with our Jamaican diva and Superstar Tessanne Chin being crowned champion, a nation has been filled with extreme pride and jubilation at the success of our own countrywoman. Watching her carry herself humbly and gracefully with her patriotic air, we cannot help but be proud. Whether we were fans before The Voice or we have just made ourselves honorary members of #TeamTessanne, as a country we have the right to be happy for her huge accomplishment. Since most people have posted all the clever stuff relating to her victory over Twitter, Facebook, and even this awesome poem in the Jamaica Observer, I won’t dwell on it anymore, but I’ll just say CONGRATULATIONS TESSANNE! I LOVE YOU! Thanks for replying to my tweet that one time and all the best for the future Miss Superstar! Since you probably will never see this, I’ll just pretend you actually read my blog and you told me thank you ^_^

You’re very welcome Tess-Tess J

Now to the issue at hand: Fixing Brand Jamaica.

Can it ever really be fixed though? Does the Jamaican government want it to be fixed? Does the country on a whole want it to be fixed? What is being done to fix it, outside of individual brilliance that we all piggy back on by the literal and proverbial Tessannes, Usains and Shelly-Anns out there?

There are quite a few countries making money from ‘Brand Jamaica’ to the country’s detriment, and nobody’s doing anything about it. OR, if anything is being done, I just haven’t heard about it yet— blame my work schedule. If you know what’s happening to combat the problem though, feel free to inform me where I’m misinformed. But seriously, I know there’s been a lot of talk, and you could even say I’m just talking too, but it’s my blog, and I’m not getting paid for it (YET!) so I can talk and say what I want; but for the folks who ARE getting paid to fix it, what in Portia’s name is going on? You know what? Don’t even answer that. Mind sharp it guh get tax too.

I know of agencies like JIPO (Jamaica Intellectual Property Office) JAMPRO that deal with branding the country’s goods, but how has their fight been going with regards to protecting the ownership of what is truly Jamaican and ensuring that all benefits of these products and concepts are being meted out to the rightful owners? Imagine my disgust when I saw these in a U.S. Supermarket in Flordia (3 items, front and back):


Are we (Jamaicans) getting paid for them? I highly doubt that.

I remember when I was working in news, Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke made a presentation in parliament on how other countries have been branding some other counterfeit from ‘woi woi’(wherever that is) as the well loved and extremely popular Blue Mountain Coffee. Who’s being punished or held accountable for this? Don’t worry; I’ll be right here when you find out.

You know seh your consumption went up after she said it!
What’s my point in all this? Well, brethren and friends, this little island Jamaica, a little island of 2.7 million people, has become such a global force in anything its citizens put hard work into that it took only one, in the form of a Tessanne Chin to come to America, a land of about 315 million people, and win The Voice. Her involvement probably made this the most watched season ever thus far, as not only Jamaicans in the country and the Diaspora watched, but other Caribbean nationals tuned in to see her. As a Jamaican living in America, it was refreshing to see how a competition which caters mainly to Americans (as evident by limited voting methods and restrictions to those outside America) could be taken over by our small country because of one person. And sure enough, true to the stereotype that Jamaicans will always find a way to circumvent the system, most of the ones outside America found a way to vote anyway. Don’t even let me mention how Tessanne’s innocent use of the term ‘Bread n butta’ became her popular internet tag line used by her supporters. Not to brag or anything—even though she is clearly the BestTess—but it just goes to show how talented our people are. This little dot on the map has the world 100 and 200 metre champions—male and female. A legend like Bob Marley is known and revered in musical circles everywhere! For crying out loud, a packet of Grace Cock Soup was just on The Tonight Show hosted by Jay Leno! That’s HUGE! A little fun fact: If you divide the U.S. population by Jamaica’s population, it would take 116+ Islands of Jamaica to populate the U.S.A. Imagine that!

Look at how one songbird united a nation to watch a programme most of its people would scoff at! Look at how she caused many a person to lose precious sleep, just so they could watch her shine. Look at how many became marketers and promoters for their countrywoman to their friends and family living abroad! Look at how much joy a nation possesses now that she has been decided the winner; as she is now (and always has been), “The Voice”! I hope Captain’s Bakery and all the other bread companies in Jamaica, as well as other corporate sponsors are lining up to create Bread n Butta with her face on it for real, before some other country does while we sit and watch and cuss at how dem tief wi plan. 

The Olympics/World Championships and now the just concluded Season 5 of NBC’s“The Voice” have been unifying for the country of Jamaica. Once we hear seh someone/something is Jamaican, all if we nuh know them, we support them, because really, we are the greatest country of waggonists, like it or not. But, at least we always team up to support our own.

People of Jamaica; the country is yours. The country is mine. It’s Tessanne’s, Usain’s, and Bob Marley’s. It’s ours! The name Jamaica is known everywhere, and it sells everywhere! The food sells, the tourism product sells, the music sells, our athletics sell; EVERYTHING good about Jamaica sells! Maybe they don’t all sell well in Jamaica, but best believe they sell in other parts of the world.

We remember the VW Superbowl Ad, and then the other controversial German Flag Burning Ad. Sure everyone didn’t like them, but because they had elements of Jamaica in them; like it or not, people watched! That’s exactly what the makers wanted. Mi tiyad fi see people a mek money offa wi. Wi need fi start mek money offa wi self! Let’s reclaim our brand and build our land!

P.s. Sir Usain Bolt, you’re Jamaican. Yuh a yawdie!!! Best sprinter the world has seen! Please, with the utmost respect, mi a beg yuh fi do like Tessanne. “Talk di tings!” locally and on International T.V. Lose the accent. Do, wi a beg yuh. Be distinctly Jamaican! If anybody can teach the world patois, it’s you!
Photo credit: Theguardian.com

By the way! Check out this AWESOME post by my NCU batch and blogmate Randy Goldson on what Tessanne's win means to Jamaica and what a very popular Jamaican icon would say!

#TeamTessanne #TeamChinitaGoodaz #TeamAdam #TeamJAMAICA!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

A few (Obvious) SIGNIFICANT things better about Jamaica than America

Before my Jamaican friends back home kill me off for my title, let me just state right now that wherever you live in the world: Paris, France; Brussels, Belgium; Melbourne, Australia or Trench Town, Jamaica; there will always--ALWAYS, be pros and cons; even if you live in paradise. Trust me, go to a hotel for a week, and I PROMISE YOU; you will get tired of it in no time.

However, when you are privileged to live in more than one place, you get to experience different ways of life, in big or small ways. Take for instance: living in Kingston or Portmore, under normal circumstances, you can wash your clothes at anytime and know that there'll be adequate sunshine and heat to dry your clothes in no time. Compare that with moody, disgusting, miserable gyal girl weather in Mandeville. Even if the sun bright like Einstein's IQ at 9am, you try yuh bes' wash before daylight! Cause yuh know seh the weather in that place be so unpredictable that by 9:30am it's raining cats and dogs; and take it from me--ain't nothing worse than being at school with no boxers to wear cause the whole a dem deh pan the line wet up! Wait, that never happened to me! It happened to a friend! *Scout's Honour*... :)

Soooo, as I (kinda) document what's going on with the U.S. Chapter of my life, I know many people look at America, Canada and England as the places to be to make good lives for themselves. Due to how I'm yet to visit or live in Canada or England, let me talk about where I know so far; America.

CLEARLY conventional thinking would say America is a better place to live than Jamaica as it is considered a 1st world country while Jamaica is considered a 3rd world country. However, here are some glaring ways (in my opinion) that Jamaica would get the edge over America.

Ease of access to transportation (in a sense)
See? Dem deeven have a bus stop! LOL
This one applies mostly to those who don't own their own vehicles in Jamaica, because in America, ANYBODY can buy a decent car real easily. People can get solid cars for $500-$1000USD ($50,000+ to $100,000+ JMD) with more ways to pay insurance premiums. But for my "Two Foot Turbo" friends, I have to give JA the edge on this one, because except for big Metropolises like New York City or San Fransisco where you can easily hop on a train or whistle down a taxi to go where you need to go; in most states, if you don't drive, yuh salt! You can't go anywhere without a ride to at least get to the train/bus station, whereas in Jamaica (and this could be partially due to it being a small country) you can get around easier on buses and taxis, although the government trying to kill off people with more fare increase costs (even though they've delayed it for a week). For most who've traveled to the states, y'all know if you don't have friends or family to take you around, you gonna be stuck in the house the whole time, especially with all them highways virtually uhhh, everywhere! JA, you jump in a taxi and go virtually anywhere, at ANYTIME.

Cost of medical care (Medical + Dental)
Courtesy of http://boomersint.org
Lemme just start by saying: I don't plan to get sick up here, and I may just have to come to Jamaica to clean my teeth. REAL talk. I don't know if it's because America has all the fancy equipment why they think medical and dental care must cost so much, but no rasta; unless mi get a job with insurance (or rich enough to buy it on my own--whichever comes 1st) dem place deh naa si mi a baxide. Before I came here, I balked at the opportunity to do an eye test for $2000 JMD. Imagine how I feel now when so far, the cheapest I've seen is $70USD!!! Looks like I'm coming back to JA to test my eyes. I feel like I will look for all the free clinics bout the place and start my own campaign for Obama Care... So, look out for me on CNN zeen? I'm not about this life at all. Clearly this is the place to be for optimum health care, but what good is it to me if I can't afford it? Big up JA and the Free Clinics and Public Crowded Hospitals. Takes whole day, but patience will keep a $2000-$3000 private doctor fee in your pocket per visit.

Hair Care (Barber or Hairdresser)
I swear this will be me shortly.
Let's talk about how I used to pay $500 JMD to trim AND SHAVE in Jamaica, and the cheapest I've seen in America so far is $14 USD to TRIM, and $22 USD to trim and shave. Yuh know who naa trim (again!) Orrrr, I may become a barber (still thinking bout it). I feel it for the ladies up here, 'cause it costs at least $50 to cream or style their hair. Thank God the ones I know could do their thing from in JA and so they link up with each other and sawt out their hair. America is the land of "Do-It-Yourself" or "get-someone-you-know-to-do-it-for-free"and I'm definitely taking that route with my hair. If you see me looking like the Caveman from the Vonage or Geico Ads, you already know why.

Process of Owning things (credit and such)
I REALLY hate this part. In America you have to build credit in order to own things. How does one build credit? By incurring and paying debts on record.


When you get here as an immigrant, this means real big important purchases cannot be made without credit; for example buying or renting a house or car, through an established agent/agency/company, and therefore you have to get someone to do it for you. Just check it out; many people up here have cars, leases and insurance in other people's names just because of this. Imagine if you come and yuh nuh know nobody?! It's annoying. Don't get me started on how you can't get stuff if you have bad credit. First they encourage you to incur debt in varied ways, and then when yuh cyaa pay dem naa sell yuh nuttin. Hypocrisy?
Also, this is in actuality a good thing, but it can be annoying as well: having proof of address when conducting business. When you just get here, this is very tricky, as you may be staying with someone for a short while, and this can harm your ability to get things done, like creating bank accounts, getting your driver's licence (Haha still used the JA spelling, which is also better), among other things.
In Jamaica, once yuh have yuh good up, good up money, yuh can get anything! I guess, admittedly, in a way this isn't ideal, but it sure feels better than all the red tape in this place!


Seasoning. Taste. Looks. Seasoning. Healthier. More diverse. Seasoning. Ummm... oh yeah! Seasoning!
Curry Goat, rice and peas, plantain &

Steak! Medium Rare.


Enough said.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Importance of G.P.S

So today (October 15, 2013) I had an interview (ish) in Princeton, New Jersey. I've been in New Jersey for less than a week now, but I've been driving up and about and checking Google Maps frequently for routes, and I feel like I'm getting to know the place pretty quickly. Frankly, this morning, I felt lke I already knew the place enough to go it alone, sans G.P.S.
For the interview (ish) I was given directions by email, which seemed pretty straightforward... EXCEPT, the directions I got from the person told me to go North, as opposed to South. I was to look for Exit 1B. Imagine my annoyance when I saw Exit 8, turn into Exit 9, then 10. I took the next exit, in the hopes of finding a road leading to the Northbound side of the road I was taking. A who tell mi fi guh try dat? Mi laaaaass, Mi laaaaaas, Mi laaaaaas!
(Translation for non-Jamaicans: I was very lost).

Finally, good sense prevailed after driving around aimlessly for about 10 minutes and I pulled into a parking lot and used the G.P.S on my phone. It was pretty much smooth sailing after that... until I reached my destination. Instead of going straight into the complex, I made a turn I wasn't supposed to and drove aimlessly again for another 10 or so minutes! My interview was for 11:00 a.m., and I didn't park in the complex till about 11:25 a.m., all because I got lost. And to top it off, when I got to the actual building, I still couldn't find the place! (Y'all think I ignored the warning signs? Maybe I did, nuh true?)
Turns out that I shoulda probably just stayed at my yard. I think that kind of job (Insurance Sales) really wasn't for me anyway, and maybe God just really didn't want me to go there.

What's more is that apparently, it wasn't really even an interview, but more of a presentation about the company, after which persons interested in full commission sales could indicate. At this point I can't accept a job like that, because one: I needs me a guaranteed salary! Two: EVERYBODY hates insurance sales people! Three: I've had experience with sales, and it was not my cup of tea at all. I don't like it.


With all the wandering around like a headless chicken, God taught me another lesson. It's amazing how He uses these little things to teach us. Many times we think we know what we should do, where we should go, and how to solve our problems. We think we can do good, all by ourselves. But Paul, in Romans 7 teaches us otherwise, from his own experience. He said (Rom. 7:21-25 NLT):
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
No matter how hard we try; of our own strength, we can do NOTHING good. Every time we try, we will undoubtedly fail. That's why we gotta listen to the still, small, Voice that speaks through the Heavenly G.P.S and follow His lead; because like me, your destination could be directly in front of you and you still make a wrong turn. Don't try to be a hero, don't try to make it on your own. Also of utmost importance; like that email I got that sent me the wrong way, people and other external influences will give you advice and influence that seems right, but they will ultimately lead you on the wrong path, and at times into the windy abyss of destruction. We must follow the map that God gives. Yes, sometimes He will send people to explain the map directions to us, but we must be very careful who we trust and listen to.

So my drivers out there, even if is just a two foot turbo you have; if you always know the way to where you're going, good for you! I hope to be like that one day. But from both an earthly and spiritual plain, knowing the way comes with experience and studying the map (the Bible). Just remember, for your earthly vehicular travels you may not always need one, but you will always, ALWAYS need Heavenly G.P.S to get to heaven :)

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Job Hunt Chronicles - The Comparison

As you may (or may not) have known by now, I'm no longer in Jamaica.

If you didn't know, well... umm... SURPRISE! I'm not there anymore! I meant to tell you, but umm... it was kinda sudden and it slipped me? (Maybe?) Okay, you don't buy it. Well... I suppose I'm gonna have to make it up to you huh... Okay, when I come back; I promise. When will that be you say? Weeeeeell... Lemme get back to you on that. *wink*

I'm sure most of y'all would figure out sooner or later that I'm in America: the "Land of Opportunity".
Like I said in my earlier blog post when I left Jamaica or my article in the Jamaica Observer (which is the edited version of the blog post) I'm here to improve myself and the standard of living for me and my family.

To improve one's self in the sense of which I speak, takes "mucho dinero", "moolah", "green", "dollars"--or simply put; MONEY! As an adult, what is the number one way to acquire said money? Yes, that's right: standing on the street corner with a sign begging getting a job, duh!

Photo from www.fotopedia.com
As up to this point (October 2, 2013 at 4:27 p.m.), I am yet to arrive at my place of settlement in the great United States of America; but, since I'm all about being proactive and "nuff" in this place to get what I want since nothing will be handed out to me, I've electronically been like a hunter with bow and arrow in hand, hunting for that prized 9-5 (or otherwise) to get my dreams started. So far, I've hit a few targets in the foot, but I haven't caught dinner for the village just yet. And in case you're reading now and your face is like "o_O huh?! What is he saying?!" I'm simply using my hunter terms to tell you that I've gotten calls, had interview discussions, and even set a few interview dates; but I'm yet to snag a job. All clear? You're welcome.
This is in part due to me not yet arriving at my place of settlement like I said before, but it's certainly progress. During this process, I have already experienced a stark difference between seeking employment here and in Jamaica.

The Jamaican Job Hunt
In one simple sentence: I'm QUITE DISGUSTED at what I knew as the application process in Jamaica! 
Too many people I know can relate to this all too well. It's like trying to kill a deer with a rubber band and some paper bullets! Okay fine, upgrade that to a slingshot, but still.. Mark you, everyone has not had the same bad experiences, but for the most part, I'm quite sure the treatment received in Jamaica is pretty much standard issue; save for a few blessed hardworking, honest, equal opportunity Human Resource teams.
I don't know of any, but I'm just saying, you know, just in case there actually are some.
In Jamaica, after seeing job postings online or in the newspapers, earnest job seekers send several applications by electronic and physical mail with much anticipation for that one place to 'connect'. After all, you only need to get into one place to get something going, and then the horizon can be broadened. At this point, I really really want to blame the lack of responses on Jamaica being a third world/developing country, but bwoy... almost everyone in Jamaica has a cell phone, and most have internet access, so people can be reached instantaneously to discuss job possibilities, so that's gone through the window straightaway.

What seems to happen normally? Well, there are the sad situations like this. Then there are the ones like these: Applications pile up in H.R. offices, or are placed on 'file', for what reason, I'm not sure; since each time someone is not successful in acquiring a job, IF CONTACTED AT ALL and informed of this, the person is promised to be placed on files that merely take up space for no reason and are never revisited. I applied to one place and got this response twice. Yeah, I'm an expert. At least they responded though, right? It would appear that during the application process, the first 50 or so are considered from the top of the pile, all while knowing full well that John Smith or Mary Brown--friends from church--asked about a work for their son, daughter, brother or sister, and so that position's owner has already been decided. In Jamdung, "links run di werl". That, and I think H.R. people in JA don't care much for humans as they ought.

>>>>>>> Fast forward to America, where people actually respond! And FAAAAST too!
I guess most places in Jamaica haven't heard about auto reply to email applications, but it's all the rage here. Before you even done applying you get an email response! AAAAAANND, though annoying at times, in order to apply for jobs in most companies here, there are talent networks that you have to sign up for before applying. When you sign up, these networks send you postings to other jobs for which you are qualified based on your selected interests and qualifications! Is that awesome or what? Then, to top it all off, if you're qualified, someone (who I imagine looks a lot like this lady)

named either Amanda, Katie or Jennifer calls you in a day or two, sounding really really interested in you and having you work with that company to set up an interview for the next day. I am pleased to announce that my morale has been repaired for all the non-responses to all the applications I ever made in Jamaica, I swear! And yes, I won't say links aren't used or aren't helpful up here too, but it sure feels like equal opportunity for most of these jobs.

Clearly, I know I won't be successful in snagging every single job for which I apply, but the way things seem to be going, I have no doubt that I will not be jobless for much longer. The way things work here, I feel like a lot of people who aren't working, really don''t wanna work. That's not always the case, I'm sure, but I know that a lot of people could've been doing better if they really wanted to. I've been so pleased at the process for getting a job, most times I come onto the computer planning to do one thing, I end up applying for a couple jobs! People have been calling me and sometimes I don't even remember what I applied for. Sure feels good to be contacted though. These H.R. persons even send you directions to get to the buildings for interviews! I'm super excited at the possibilities that await.

Don't worry, I'm well aware that people might be prejudiced because of my skin colour because I'm hotter than them, or because I'm an immigrant (which I find kinda dumb since America was born BECAUSE of immigrants), but I'm going forth with God, the Supreme Owner of everything; a positive outlook and humble approach. I. will. not. be. denied.

As soon as my arrow kills the game (another name for food that is hunted), I'll let the village (y'all) know.
Wish me luck!

Editor's Note: Got my first email of being unsuccessful for a freelance writing gig mere seconds after publishing this post. lol go figure!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Your Ticket to Heaven...

It's been a while since I've waxed religious on this blog (Yes, I said waxed--sue me), and I feel it's my duty to share these little nuggets, every now and then... You know, 'cause Jesus says I should :)
This one came to me from an unexpected source, and my best friend Carl had a similar encounter, but it's always that much more real, when you experience it for yourself. I hope the message will reach home.

God uses some really simple ways sometimes to drive home some big points, and sometimes, if you're not paying attention, you'll miss it.

Now, I'm sure you notice that train ticket to the side. By itself, it's just blah... meaningless. But as of today, Thursday, September 26 2013, it represents a whole lot more to me.

Last week, my family and I took the train to visit a relative of ours. Before getting on the train, we had to buy tickets. Due to how this system is very structured and orderly, unlike a certain disorganized and chamba-chamba country *ahem* Jamaica, the train comes and goes on a schedule, and pretty much waits for no one. We had made it to the station just in the nick of time to get our tickets and get on the train. While on the train, an attendant is supposed to come around and verify everyone's ticket or easy cards to ensure that everyone paid. On the way to visit our relative, this did not happen. Two days later we were heading home, and I said that it made no sense to buy tickets because no one was going to check. Well, my sweet, law abiding parents bought the tickets anyway, and sure enough--NOBODY checked!

Today (26/9/13), I was taking the train on my own, and the saaame thought came to my head. "Why bother buy a ticket if no one is going to check?" But, my parents' law abiding-ness apparently is hereditary so I bought my ticket... What do you think happened this time?

Of COURSE! There he was, dressed in a khaki suit with a black stripe on the pants and the Tri-Rail symbol mounted on his shoulder, looking all police-like with a scanner in his hand. "May I see your ticket please?" asked the gentleman, to which I obliged.

Some hours later after a fun evening, with my lesson learned, I searched desperately for my ticket (it was round trip) while on my way back to the train station. After coming up empty from both pockets I was mightily relieved to find it tucked away safely in my wallet. On the way back, as you would imagine, tickets were checked again; who'd a thunk it? Not me. Good thing I was prepared.

Yup, good thing I was prepared. And you know, a bright smile came upon my face as I sent the following text message to my friend Carl:
"Such is the kingdom of heaven. You can be ready all your life, and then you seh "Chuh! God naa come"; and then you do all kinda fawt--next thing you drop out (die) and you have a one way ticket to hell..."
The message is simple. Life is too uncertain for us not to have our houses in order. We need to make sure our lives are in accordance with the will of God, or else, when the Ultimate Ticket Checker of Life comes, we will be found wanting, and will suffer the eternal consequence. Jesus is your ticket to Heaven.

The gospel train is a'comin'! And you best believe it won't be long. When you get on board, will you have your ticket? I definitely will.