Friday, September 29, 2006

Earthquake! Building Shake!(Like is Panorama)

The words were never more true than this morning. I am sure most of you know by now that we here in Trini experienced a pretty strong tremor today x 2!!! (tbc 6.0 on the Richter scale). An earthquake of this size causes at most slight damage to well-designed buildings and can cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions. At my home some glasses jumped out the cabinets and at work a water pipe cracked.

However in the aftermath, I got to thinking....where else have I felt such a sensation???Hmmmm....The North Stand in Panorama Semis maybe??? Lol. Now this has always been a serious concern for me, being in the building industry. I am completely obsessed with how structures and materials fail. It is a very real concern, as some of you will remember the now notorious "Real Unity" Machel Montano Anniversary concert where the VIP stand collapsed and injured several people .

Everytime I go into that North Stand and see the type of system used to erect it , I am a bit uncomfortable. Worse yet, when you see the ridiculous amount of people squeezed in there, I get nervous. People bringing in fully laden coolers , full bars etc. Well when the band start playing, the riddem sections start jamming and 10,000 people start jumping at the same time the sensation is very much like what we experienced here this morning. I mean, I wining same way but......! What I want to know is, does the government/contractors take any steps to determine the max. loads that the North Stand can take? Does anyone seriously monitor how many people are in that stand at any one time? Ok so now and then the Fire Services make noise and stop people from going up, but they are not how they know how much is too much ppl?

Well the plan is that a new Cultural Center is to be built in the Savannah (see pic). Due to political red tape (bobol again) this project has yet to be started. Plan was, that it was supposed to have begun immediately after Carnival 2006 and that the parade of 2007 would have no stage to cross (noooooo!!!). Well so far , it looks like we still have the old stage that we have had for close to 50 years. However the stands will have full seating, not an open plan like the current North Stand. Which means no more riddem sections and no more bars. There is actual a movement of people who are rejoicing this impending change as they feel it takes away from the true purpose of the competition. Who in the North Stand does really go to hear pan in Panorama? I am definitely somewhat guilty in this respect.

In my North Stand Posse's defence, I believe that this tradition has become an inherent part of our culture. It has actually introduced a new generation to the art of Panorama. Yeah so I first went for the lime, but it does not mean I don't appreciate the performances. I actually developed a new respect for the pan as our national instrument. Playing in a band in Panorama is still on my list of things to do. (Big up Carnival Jumbie Dad again who do it all). Nonetheless, I do believe some regulation is needed at this point. People's North Stand Posses are getting a little out of hand. Not just in terms of numbers but with the large drums and bar equipment and musical equipment that they are bringing in.

So I hope the tradition stays on but please let the earthquakes stop!!

N.B please note doorframes and stairways are dangerous places to seek shelter in an earthquake.

  • Real Unity Concert Collapse

  • Earthquake Safety Tips
  • Thursday, September 28, 2006

    Carnival is NOT a holiday! In which country???

    "The two days of Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago are not official public holidays
    - but they might as well be - almost everyone is out on the streets, dancing,
    'jumping up', 'wining down' and basically having a ball."

    This is taken directly from Tidco's website. How many ppl in Trinidad does really study if Carnival is an official holiday or not? Well unfortunately(fortunately?) for me I work for an international company. Early in the game the ceo asked me for a copy of all the Trinidad public holidays to distribute to the other offices. Shortly thereafter while discussing my salary raise he pointed out to me that the U.S and the U.K has more working days than Trinidad. Therefore, I am not really entitled to be paid at the same rate as them (talk about meggie!). What the ass..I am not the government!! That is my fault or wha?? Well then he proceeded to discuss cutting down on the public holidays. He actually asked me what I thought about only having X amount of public holidays for the company. Well he must be felt I was trying to duck the question. But I told him that in such a multicultural society as Trinidad, that is a very touchy subject. You cannot just regularise the holidays because many are religious holidays. You can't tell a Hindu to skip Divali or a Christian to skip Easter. And well you can't tell a person of African descent to come out for Emancipation. He went on to point out that Carnival is not an official holiday according to the government. Well you can't tell a Carnival Jumbie not to play mas!!!

    Well you know I had to sort he out one time. I tell him if he feel Carnival is not a holiday in Trinidad he could come here and see where open. I tell him the only places open is KFC and the gas station. The banks take it as a bank holiday and if the banks closed then no business can go on. FURTHERMORE!!! If HE feel he seeing me Carnival Monday and Tuesday he is will be sorely disappointed.

    But this begs the next question, what do carnival jumbies who have to work do to get the time off to play mas?? I don't play up at all, I taking vacation from Carnival Thursday straight thru Ash Wed. When I was in university, I ALWAYS had exams around Carnival, I used to move real dread. I would go to my professors and tell them "I won't be in the country next week, I need to reschedule". If someone give trouble and ask why, I would tell them "family reunion" or "a personal commitment". Hey I not lying, but I doh feel you should call thing on your family and say someone sick etc. Now faking a sick yourself is not always a good idea, cause between the alcohol, the paprazzi and the maccos ..YOU WILL GET KETCH!( and probably fired). They have ppl who does fire the wuk to play a mas. I know TSTT actually used to make you work a extra 5 hours to make up for the two Carnival days.

    An article in today's Trinidad Express ( ) speaks of cutting back on public holidays. Note that he does not even entertain the prospect of eliminating Carnival. I would love to get feedback on this, what do you do to make sure you have no other commitments to play mas on Carnival Day?

    Gym Ettiquette

    To round off my "Gym Series" of posts, I figured I would offer some tips on Gym Ettiquette for those who seem to forget their manners on a regular.
    • Do not reapply perfume before working out.(PLEASE!) I doh know why ppl feel that spraying perfume (or even body spray!) will do anything but make you smell more stink when you start to sweat. Spare the rest of us from the over powering scents when we already can't catch we breath.

    • Walk with a towel. Not a washrag, not a bandana..a TOWEL.There is a reason the gym does put up signs saying this. When you saucing down the place all over the machines ,wipe up after yourself. Walking with this also protects yourself from those who always "forget". ewwwww

    • Don't hog the machines. The gym always ram Carnival time, so don't be selfish. Let someone get in a set while you resting in between your own. And if you are a Gym H.O try and save the small talk for when you not on the machine.

    • If you don't have a body like JLo or Beyonce, don't dress for the Gym like you do!!Basically its just a little too much information sometimes and its not easy on the eyes. By all means if your body is slamming with it.

    • The trainers in the gym are for ALL paying members. If you want a personal trainer then hire one!

    • If you know you reach late for a class then don't try and squeeze/scam your way in and cramp the other people. It is of no benefit to anyone if they can't move and do the exercise properly. Cool it and take a treadmill.

    • The gym is not the place for PDA (public displays of affection). Why ppl does come gym with they man/woman in the first place is beyond me. But again..too much information!! Get a room!!

    • And finally..don't go to the gym unless you really planning to work out! They have a place call Crobar on the Ave that is open everyday.

    Carnival Legacy Pics

    Well here is the pics I promised of my dad in big mas
    back in the day. This pic was featured in a book called "Trinidad and Tobago" by David Frost (copyright 1975 by Andre Deutsch). I am not sure what year the pic was taken but it was definitely before I was even thought of!

    The next pic is one I dig up out of the picture drawer, shows the same costume but on the Big Stage in the Savannah. Now tell me if the stage doh look exactly the same now as 30 years ago!!

    Gym beasts, Gym H.O.s, Gymbolassies and all in between

    I felt this topic deserved a post all on its own. These comments are based on my observations in the gym and even more so in the same said spin class I endured today......
    • GYM BEASTS : These are the truly dedicated gymers who go to the gym to get in shape and nothing more. They don't care about their make up, or if they have on the latest brands, they just going to work hard. Easy way to spot a gym beast, the one who have the treadmill speed on 10 and incline on 20 for one hour. Or better yet, they inthe frontline of the aerobics or spin class. You tend to find these ppl year round in the gym.

    • GYM H.O.s: I had to adapt this from saucy diva's definition of H.Os (see her blog). The gym H.O. s(High Maintenance Overachievers) are the ones who put on make up and perfume to come to the gym. They have to talk to ALL the man in the gym before they even change their clothes. They spend half and hour changing and come out well kit out in the latest Nike. They push up in front the counter cause 'They only come to SPIN" (refer to previous post). When they reach in the class even if they reach first they taking a spot in the back. They will spend half the class fixing their show laces/adjusting the bike seat and handles /drinking water. Anything to avoid actually particpating or working out.You might even get a cell phone call or two in there. Basically they come to pose and say they "went gym". And in true H.O ism , they probably playing in the lead section.

    • GYMBOLASSIES: Lawd, well it eh to hard to figure out that these are the seasonal gymers who only come between band launch and Carnival. Now you have a wide variety of Gymbolassies...cause you have the gymbolassie beasts who coming to work their ass off to look good for Carnival. On the flip side you have Gymbolassie H.O.s , those who only come during the season and STILL put in little or no effort into their workout. For some reason these are the ppl who always end up in front of me in the classes. They up in the front line but they barely trying to do anything but fix themselves. They throwing yuh off time right thru and they jump out the class half way.

    • All in between.....Well can't hate on the people who just go to do they thing and try to maintain it.

    As amusing as this may seem, one should terms of your fitness routine, key to looking your best for Carnival is to be committed and focused on your fitness goals. Whether your problem area is abs, buns or thighs, its important to get a program that works for you (preferably from a professional). All gyms offer some sort of professional consultation free of charge (one yuh pay yuh dues!).

    In conclusion, It is only fair that I place myself into one of the categories....I would consider myself to be a gymbolassie gym beast. I go to the gym throughout the year but coming closer to Carnival I kick up the frequency and the intensity of my workouts to obtain specific results. In the off season...i'm just in between. So where do you fall??

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    The Spin (Gym) Lottery

    So I dragged my tail into the gym this evening to take in a little spin class. Trinis real jokey yes. The only time they see fit to work out is between band launch and Carnival. After that the gym is deserted until next season. I was rudely reminded of this when I arrived at 6:30 for a 7:30 spin class. I had intentionally arrived early cause I am well aware of what ensues around this time of year.Now I doh know how things work in other Gyms but in Long Circular Gym you have to move real dread to get in that class. At 6:35 the masses started to congregate. This is the time when all the spinners stand up by the front counter and stare at the attendant for half and hour until she gives out the spin cards at 7pm (if you have no card you cyar come in).

    During this period the potential spinners implement a variety of tactics to make themselves visible to the attendant to ensure they get a card. They might give a direct comment "Aye yuh see me here, i here eh,right" or in directly (in a loud voice to no one in particular) " Boy since 5 O'CLOCK I in this place " or "Is only SPIN i come for". Well I had friends up long time with the girl (other than the fact that me and my friend were obviously there first) so I figure I had it lock.

    Boy, when that pen and paper pull out to write down names for the cards, the crowd does push forward like yuh watching Machel on the stage. In case you were wondering, yes , they WRITE the names because ppl WILL try to sneak in the class without a card and bump ppl out the class faster than BWEE. So if that happens and you have a dispute..they check the list and embarrass ppl.

    When you see the first card hand out its like winning the lottery (WHO HOO!). Better yet, its like "Price is Right"....' Ms.Dragon, come on dooown , you are the next contestant on spin to win'. This is of course, followed immediately by the mad sprint to the spin room.Every card that hand out you see ppl rejoicing like they win something and you see the faces of the late comers plunge into despair. When you see the last ball call and she say "No more card' then the scamming start. All who want to "squeeze' in the class. This is where the sprint portion comes in.....When you get your card you haveto run to the room to pick a bike (that working first off) and that in the position you want to be in the room. By staking your claim (putting yuh towel and yuh water on the bike) you ensure that nobody could bowl yuh out. In my next segment , I shall elaborate more on the importance of positioning in the spin room. In summary, here are your (Long Circ Gym) spin class survival tips..
    1. Reach EARLY. At least an hour before. If you going and workout on other machines prior to the class, keep an eye on the number of ppl at the front desk. I don't recommend this as you risk losing your priority even though standing and watching the attendant is a complete waste of time.
    2. Make yourself memorable but not annoying. Small talk a little bit with the attendant but don't hound her or she might just keep you hanging.
    3. As you get your card , RUN don't walk to the spin room to secure your position.
    4. Whatever you do, DON'T leave the card hanging around, someone will take it. If you have no card you can't come een.(And they will argue the list too eh)
    5. It helps to befriend the instructor, that way if you reach late and you look like you won't be in the night's draw he might give you that "squeeze". I have seen them give you their own bike.
    6. If you doing the class, STAY IN THE CLASS. After going through all the trouble to get in I HATE IT when ppl just duck out half way through and don't give others who were waiting the chance to come in. Nothing wrong with pacing yuhself , stick it out!
    7. If you pacing yourself, DOH RUSH UP IN THE FRONT ROW LIKE YUH KNOW WHAT YUH DOING. This just throws off the entire class and worse yet for the more experienced spinners/ aerobicisers. Rule of thumb, experienced ppl go in front so they can help guide the class for all who may not be able to see the instructor and keep the pace up.

    So keep spinning ppl. It is one of the best workouts you can get !

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Slimming down with the South Beach Diet

    First off, check with your doctor before embarking on any new health program. With that said...the South Beach Diet is to me the BEST possible weight loss program out there. Ok ok so they are a million "fad diets" but this one is one that makes SENSE and you don't have to starve yourself or eat things that you hate. Its not a low fat or low carb diet. Its all about eating GOOD carbs as opposed to BAD carbs.This is how it works:

    Following Phase 1 for two weeks kick-starts your weight loss. You'll eat normal-size portions of lean meat, fish, eggs, reduced-fat cheese, nonfat yogurt, nuts, and plenty of vegetables. Snacks and desserts are part of the plan, as well.

    Next, you'll move on to Phase 2, where you'll learn to reintroduce the right carbs, such as whole grains and most fruits. Some indulgences are allowed. You should continue to lose weight on Phase 2 until you reach your goal.

    Once you've reached your goal weight, you'll move to Phase 3 (the maintenance phase), where you'll continue to make good eating choices. The plan will feel less like a diet and more like a lifestyle.

    Ok so it sounds too good to be true..But i shall testify!! I started noticing that I was putting on a lot of weight . I took a try and casually started on the diet. After the first 2 weeks I had lost 7 pounds, I kid you not!! Now it takes some discipline, the second week is the hardest but if i can do it, anyone can. My major temptations were fries (and potatoes in all forms) and pasta which I looooove. Read up at I became the diet guru of my office and had a few ppl on the program with me. They all lost weight in the first two weeks. Great thing about it is ,if you slip you just jump back on the bandwagon to the phase before! The original book is available in stores in Trinidad and internationally ,best book you will ever buy. See online also for the South beach diet cookbook and for the south beach "good carbs,bad carbs" book which lists just about everything you can and cannot eat in a phase by phase basis.

    Registration Strategy

    I was not planning to go back to registration strategy ..I think my sistren saucy diva (see link) covered it very well in its entirety. However, I realise that people still sticking and I feel the need to reinforce a previous comment that I added to her site.

    Rule number one for true Carnival jumbies...DON'T EVER WAIT ON ANYONE ELSE!!! My motto is that you have to play in a section that is right for YOU and what YOU like and what makes you feel comfortable.Yeah ok, its always nice to play in the same section with all your friends..but when push come to shove its YOUR 3grand that spending and I for one don't want to spend it on a costume I hate! There is still room for compromise...

    My crew has a system, we see the costumes as early as possible and take a vote.(This includes ppl in foreign) We vote on the band and then on the section. TRIBE has won hands down past few years even when they were in Poison. Last year we had all came to a common consensus to play in Angel Fish although not everyone liked it but majority ruled. This year was more difficult as everyone's taste was very different. Majority voted Jamette (which i refuse to be caught dead in). I definitely could not take one for the team cause jamette was not even in my top 5. One girl jump ship and went IP and I just decided I was going to play in the section I liked. I guarantee you will ALWAYS find someone you know in the section especially in a band like Tribe.And since TRIBE operates as one big band its not like long time when ppl was always trying to kick you out of the section for wearing a different costume.You can wear the costume you like and still hang with the crew. Waiting on ppl makes no sense cause you will regret it later on. You might find yourself with NO costume at all. I for one always tell my friends from foreign who come to visit, "you better keep up and don't get drunk out of your mind cause I WILL leave your ass on the side of the road". If i have to play by myself I will be on the road in costume!!

    Carnival Legacy

    Before I really get the ball rolling, I just want to pay homage to my parents who got me started in this whole mas thing. When I was younger I hated Carnival Mon & Tues. I used to like the like the little school jump up but that was about the size of it. My parents are long time mas players and played with everyone from Minshall, Wayne Berkley, Young Harts..Poison. My dad in particular used to make and play in big mas costume on occasion(see pic soon when i find my scanner!)

    My resentment for Carnival probably had something to do with the fact that my parents (true carnival jumbies themselves) would always leave me and my siblings by some family friends in Woodbrook while they go down the road with Poison. I HATED ever minute. I never saw these ppl other than these two days of the year and I was always forced to go on the Ave with them.

    When I was old enough to complain but not old enough to stay home with my brothers and sisters, my parents started leaving us at my grandmother's. Now it was a little more fun as all my relatives would be in town and my cousins were also dumped there...but my grandma (Bless her soul) was probably the original carnival jumbie. In her younger days she would tailor for whole sailor bands. All of my aunts and uncles know how to sew a pair of pants for that reason. She was real dread cause once that TV turn onto the parade of bands you were risking certain death by trying to change the channel! WHOLE day is parade of bands, even when they start to show the repeat for the day. And when mom and dad reach back, they not leaving till they see their band crossing the stage.

    So it was not until Carnival '95 I was my mom offered me her costume on Tuesday (true jumbie play one day and work the next). I declined although all my friends had played for the first time in the same section. The next year I thought I would give it a try.So Carnival '96 was the first run. I was so self conscious with my skinny ass self. My costume was the second bikini I ever owned (I sure I still have the costume too eh) . But I can tell you that is when the script flip..I had the time of my life. And that was when I tell myself that I would never have a Carnival pass me and I not in costume.

    So big up mom and dad for introducing me to such an unbelivable experience. And although my mom hang up her gold boots (after 30+ years of playing) I know my dad will be on the road again next year (using the famous excuse that he is a road manager when he damn well know he in costume lolol).

    146 Days and counting!!

    So I figure I would jump on the bandwagon of all the other carnival obsessed crew and start a Carnival Blog of my own. This way I can say contribute to the cause and offer my two cents as well. My two passions in life are Carnival and Shopping (I also consider them to be my two vices). Carnival 2007 will make it 10 years (YES 10! does not include the ONE Carnival I ever miss in my life *sniff*) that I have played in costume. And I have played in the hottest costumes to the worst!! I have come to realise that there are other ppl out there who are just as concerned as I am about how to pull off that super sexy costume and still stand out from all the other masqueraders in the section. Of course survival tips would also of be great help!! I think I have it down to a science from registration to Carnival Day.

    My ultimate goal for Carnival 2007 is to look ridiculously fabulous , hey I'm in Dragon in TRIBE, no less can be acceptable. I am fortunate enough to be in pretty good shape as is but I think as age starts to catch up I actually have to put in some effort (bless you mom and dad for good genes). So for all the others working for the cause, this blog will show what I am doing to get into top shape and to look my best. I am also quite a fashion crtic and will show you what you should and should NOT wear to those lovely all inclusive fetes. Registration is done (sorry I stick) but nonetheless..The journey begins my ppl......