Archives For January 2005

it’s all relative

January 31, 2005 — Leave a comment

i`m early this morning and with enough time to post no less. vic had to go into work at some ridiculous hour; ye olde pot & pannery is doing inventory today.

i have at least half hour before the boychick needs to be officially away and at least an hour before we have to get out of the house. on most days, the alarm hasn`t even gone off by now, much less for the second or third snooze. there are some advantages to where we live. three blocks from the school and a brisk 35 minute walk to the office.

as i sit here thinking about how early it is and watch the slowly lightening sky, i realise that i know people in London that already halfway into their day already, in Trinidad, people are already late for work if they`re still reading this at home. relativity is an interesting concept. i think it`s what`s keeping me sane right now.

i`ve been edgy all weekend, i`m ready for a change, not in my personal life, but i think i want a new job, i`m not entirely thrilled with the one i have now; but by comparison, my current employer isn`t in the top three worse bosses i`ve had and i stuck their shit much longer.

my inability to leave the country is worrying me, i`m worrying about my daughters; there is only so much you can do over the phone, i`m worrying about money; am i making enough? will i ever make enough to not have to worry about it?

i`m not entirely without perspective. people are doing the same and more on what i`m making, they have less of a support system, etc, etc, etc. at the end of the day it is all relative but where you`re inside it`s hard to observe the bigger picture.

spin, spin, sugar

January 28, 2005 — Leave a comment

my mother and grandmother have issues with each other. and the fact that they have been living together for the last 16 years hasn`t actually helped matters.

my mother has never forgiven her mother for abandoning her as a child and my grandmother has never forgiven my mother from dragging her away from everything and everyone she knew to live in Trinidad. and on this basis the two of them are constantly bickering. a fight of epic proportions the first year that my grandmother was in Trinidad effectively ruined Christmas for me as an adult.

there are cycles to the bickering and they tend to behave when i`m around or when my girls are, however since my departure things have gotten worse and worse. i have believed; probably idealistically; that the bickering was keeping them alive. the fact that they had each other to antagonise gave them the will to wake up each morning.

now that is about to change and i`m worried that i may not see one of both of them alive again. my mother is unable to deal with my grandmother anymore is putting her in a home. and before you pass judgement, bear in mind that mother just turned 70 and my grandmother is in her 90s. my grandmother is mostly bedridden; but of her own volition. i don`t disagree with the decision but i worry about how they are going to make out without each other.

one track mind

January 27, 2005 — Leave a comment

i seemed to be stuck on sex these days. it could be my reading material. i mentioned last week that i received a book from a reader. the book is called The Guide to Getting It On! (The Universe`s Coolest and Most Informative Book About Sex) and was sent to me by the author, Paul Joannides. i haven`t gotten very far and i have to say that portion of the title in the parentheses is absolutely correct.

this books is well written and informative and i wouldn`t hesitate giving it to any young; or not so young; adult i know. i can say without shame that my sexual education is pretty through but there are still interesting new facts contained in the book. and unlike a lot of other `manuals` it doesn`t take itself too seriously.

one of the interesting points touched early on was the disparity in the eagerness of the pharmaceutical companies to initially get involved with female contraceptives and the male enhancement market. the book touches on it briefly but provides reference and resource material, which i have already added to my wish list.

i`ve always been puzzled by the disparity in sexual equality and freedoms between men and women. if a man sleeps around he`s a stud, if a woman sleeps around she`s a slut. where is the difference? i read somewhere once that the urge for women to sleep around is actually genetic and more natural. in early human societies women slept with as many men in the tribe as they could to ensure that the got the strongest and fittest babies. that`s been corroborated by recent studies that show a category of sperm that exist only to block other sperm from fertilising an egg. puts a whole new perspective on sexuality doesn`t it.

bus to beelzebub

January 26, 2005 — Leave a comment

i have a couple of thoughts on sex and religion running through my head and i`ve been trying to assemble them into something coherent all morning. i suppose the best place to start would be with my religious background.

my mother was a Methodist, not sure if that`s United or otherwise. at the time of my birth Trinidad was predominately Catholic and the best opportunities for school were at the parochial schools so my mother hedged her bets and had me baptised twice, once as a Methodist and once as a Catholic. Every weekend until i abandoned organised religion as a teen, i would go to mass on a Saturday night and to church with my mother on a Sunday morning.

i was as conscientious in church as i was in school, learned my catechism, learned all the bible stories, even at some point read the entire King James version of the bible for own edification and with everything else i`ve read it stuck. i made my First Communion at nine; which was early in those days; and became an altar boy soon after. i also managed to keep my saucy young ass out of the reach of errant priests until near adulthood and even then, that was my parish priest as opposed to any of those that interacted with on a daily basis. at age 14, i even seriously pondered joining the priesthood.

what`s the point of all this? i grew up in churches, literally and figuratively. i`m not unfamiliar with religion; specifically Christianity. and when i began questioning Christianity, i researched other religions as only a Type A personality can. and there is one fundamental similarity throughout; at some point, the karma; the basic ideals and principles thereof; gets superseded by the dogma. Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, almost any religion you can name, all the fundamental beliefs are good and then somewhere along the line, it becomes politicised and the entire thing become corrupted.

i could go into a short history of the bible here, but it would be anything but short and start too many other tangents, so i`ll soldier on. with all this strong religious grounding i didn`t have any hang ups about sex, i have my mother to thank for that too. she taught me it was natural and tried to provide me with as much factual information as she could.

i`ve said this before and i`ll say it again, what two consenting adults chose to do in the privacy of their own homes is their own damn business. as for the sanctity of marriage, the institution as we know it is only 600 years old, because before that the church refused to sanctify marriages because the act of procreation was sinful. funny how the dogma changes but the basic principle of Christianity hasn`t changed; Love one another, as I have loved you; unconditional love.

Best of Show

January 25, 2005 — Leave a comment

MacWorld SF for the most part was all about the new user experience. For long time or power users, finding personal satisfaction required roaming the vast floor space at the Moscone Center.

There were over 275 exhibitors, with recognisable names in software and hardware like Adobe, Extensis, Filemaker, Microsoft, Nikon, and Quark taking up large amounts of floor space. However with the exception of Griffin Technologies and Roxio, most of the exciting offerings at the show were from the smaller manufacturers.

My runners-up in the Best of Show software category are Ambrosia Software; long time shareware manufacturer of games and utilites; and relative newcomer; Panic. These companies both make practical, stable software cheaply, which some of the bigger names might want to take stock of.

Ambrosia recently released their digital recording application WireTap Pro, as well as an OS X version of their classic game Aperion. WireTap Pro allows users record audio from any running application as well as  any input device on your Mac including the microphone, line-in or headset and save it in a variety of formats including mp3, AAC, Quicktime or AIFF.

Panic is a newer arrival in the Mac shareware market and produce a number of cool utilities including Transmit; an FTP client; Unison; a USENET client; and some smaller fun utilities like Destastic; which allows you to make notes on a computer desktop like a whiteboard; and Stattoo; which gives users widgets for mail, weather and time in a translucent desktop bar.

However my Best of Show goes to a tiny start-up company called Delicious Monster who have produced a brilliant piece of software called Delicious Library. Delicious Library allows users to catalogue their books, CDs and DVDs into an easily accessible database. What makes this different is armed with UPC or ISBN numbers and an internet connection the application will pull in all the appropriate information, the application also allows users with an Apple iSight to scan the UPC codes directly into the database. The programme also allows you to import other catalogues your may have created in another programme or have saved in a number of formats and if you have stuff that isn`t in Amazon database where Delicious Library pulls their information from your can enter it manually. For people who value their collections this is the ideal tool for managing and keeping track of your library.

Next time Delicious Library vs Books.

21 years ago, today Steve Jobs launched the Macintosh and neither his sense of showmanship or the response of the faithful have changed.

i`ve mirrored the file here but be forewarned it`s kind of big. not something you want to attempt looking at on dial-up.

Selkirk Grace


Some hae meat and cannot eat.

Some cannot eat that want it:

But we hae meat and we can eat,

Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Address to a Haggis


Fair fa` your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o the puddin`-race!

Aboon them a` ye tak your place,

Painch, tripe, or thairm:

Weel are ye wordy of a grace

As lang`s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,

Your hurdies like a distant hill,

Your pin wad help to mend a mill

In time o need,

While thro your pores the dews distil

Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,

An cut you up wi ready slight,

Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

Like onie ditch;

And then, O what a glorious sight,

Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:

Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,

Till a` their weel-swall`d kytes belyve

Are bent like drums;

The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,

`Bethankit` hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,

Or olio that wad staw a sow,

Or fricassee wad mak her spew

Wi perfect sconner,

Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view

On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,

As feckless as a wither`d rash,

His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,

His nieve a nit:

Thro bloody flood or field to dash,

O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,

The trembling earth resounds his tread,

Clap in his walie nieve a blade,

He`ll make it whissle;

An legs an arms, an heads will sned,

Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow`rs, wha mak mankind your care,

And dish them out their bill o fare,

Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware

That jaups in luggies:

But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,

Gie her a Haggis!


For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We`ll tak a cup of kindness yet,

For auld lang syne!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne?

And surely ye`ll be your pint-stowp,

And surely I`ll be mine,

And we`ll tak a cup o kindness yet,

For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,

And pou`d the gowans fine,

But we`ve wander`d monie a weary fit,

Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl`d in the burn

Frae morning sun till dine,

But seas between us braid hae roar`d

Sin auld lang syne.

And there`s a hand my trusty fiere,

And gie`s a hand o thine,

And we`ll tak a right guid-willie waught,

For auld lang syne.

The Clan Tartan:

so we`re doing it a little early and we`re serving lamb leg instead of haggis. it`s the closest night we can get everyone together and no one is willing to even attempt the haggis.

how far is this going to go?

i heard about the Spongebob/Focus on the Family debacle yesterday and hoped if i ignored it, it would go away. but it`s been picked up by the news services and being replayed everywhere.

now i`m no longer a regular churchgoer but i doubt two thousand years of basic tenets of Christianity have changed overnight, feel free to correct me if i`m wrong. my next sentence was going to be; Christianity has always been about tolerance; but that`s completely wrong, Jesus` teachings were about tolerance and turning the other cheek and taking care of your fellow man. i guess somewhere along the line the fundamental message got lost.

these people need to get back to fundamentals.

people`s generosity still surprises me. that`s a good thing, i tend to be cynical about people`s motivations but JS has taught me a lesson or three.

since i`ve been here, the outpouring of support has been phenomenal. i`ve made new friends, in the last three months, a kind and generous soul paid for my new laptop drive and another kind and and generous soul gave me an old ipod. it`s not just JS members either, earlier this week i received a book in the mail from a reader who enjoyed what i`d written. i leafed through the book when i got it, but i`m going to read and review it this weekend.

i just wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you. for generosity, for your support, for simply taking the time to read my ramblings.

i wish i could take credit for that line, but i heard it last night on the Daily Show and it got me thinking. i had promised myself i`d stay away from US politics, primarily because my opinion doesn`t actually matter and secondarily in the climate of “if you`re not for us, you`re against us” that pervades; with my current immigration situation; i really shouldn`t raise any flags or be seen as the `enemy`. but i can`t, i said very early on, that if staying in the US meant giving up my opinions, i couldn`t do it, i would be pandering to the fear-mongering.

a couple months ago i posted a comment in someone`s journal that one of the ways to make the US safer was a better foreign policy. i`ve gone over this before, but if you`re new let me reiterate. in terms of being a colonial power, the US is but a babe at this and it shows in the poor judgement and inconsistent foreign policy.

one of the key problems of US foreign policy has been assistance to serve its own ends and then power vacuum that it creates when they withdraw their support; especially when it becomes troublesome at home. trust me there is a pattern which we will see repeated in Iraq, the tide is already start turning. Americans seem to have no perspective; historical or otherwise; on the havoc that is wreaked in the name of intervention. the four biggest dictators in the Caribbean were as a result of US intervention and abandonment.

if you want to know why people hate Americans so much, wake up and pay attention. when people ask for help they don`t want conditions, either you`re giving aid or you`re not. if you want to be world`s police, you have to take all the responsibility, good and bad; you can`t want to be global policemen and not recognise the jurisdiction of the international criminal court. and the “if you`re not for us, you`re against us” isn`t going to engender goodwill either.

ignorance and `might is right` does not good foreign policy make. it`s been going on close to 100 years when is someone going to learn.