Archive for December 2007

LAST BLOG FOR THE YEAR 2007   Leave a comment

I’m looking up at a canopy of black, coated with little white, off-white and yellow dots.I’m looking at the sky, and I’m standing at an open bar, somewhere in the middle of Kingston Jamaica, talking to someone I haven’t seen in a long time. I ask her a question that can echo in the consciousness of anyone who hears it:What have you learned about yourself this year?

She tells me about relationships, growth and knowing certain things she wants in a mate, how she wants to be treated and all the whys behind it. She mentions several other things, all of which I nod to when I’m listening. Then I respond.

“This year,” I say, “Has been about emotional boundaries, hitting them and then crossing them.” I say to her. “I have understood key things about circumstances, my willpower and my desires that I never realized before.”

This is true. 2007 has effectively been a year that reflects a touch inside my consciousness that feel likes the hand of some unseen God has been guiding me in the dark. I’m a planner, and most of the plans I have made have come to pass.

But inevitably there are things you cannot plan for. You cannot plan for the actions of others, you cannot predict days when unrequited love stirs within you and make you restless, you cannot envision moments that can drastically change your life because you interacted with a certain person, and you can never know what tomorrow holds.

I learned this through a few interesting circumstances. If someone told me in December of 2006 that I would travel to Europe three months later it would be literally impossible for me to believe that, but it happened. If someone was to tell me that I would write two full-length manuscripts in two different genres as well as a full-length screenplay, I wouldn’t believe that either. If someone told me that in 2007 I would enter a brutal mental battle to fight for love, I probably wouldn’t believe it. In fact, there are numerous things that happened that all seemed to have a touch of serendipity. A chance meeting with a girl at a bar who read a certain non-fiction writer, lead me to write my second project for the year. Me choosing a specific class with a certain teacher eventually lead me to some other artistic pursuits, which might change the course of my entire near future in a way that was both inspiring and a little scary.

But the year didn’t hold mere circumstances with interesting outcomes. This was a year that many people I know were going through a crisis about their age. “I’m a quarter of a century now” everyone is chiming. But I never went through that. I like to think I’m in a small Village in a mountainous region in China, where everyone lives to be 120. Twenty-five is a cakewalk. I will never say “I’m two thirds of a century old! My word!”

However, I do realize after this year that many people are effectively changing because or their self-imposed age stamping. It seems this is a positive thing for most people. I’ve noticed with women that even though they are supposedly leagues ahead of men in maturity, the age 25 thing makes them chill out some more, or get extremely antsy. With guys, most of them talk about plans, “Doing what I’m supposed to”, etc.

This is another thing 2007 has brought me, the viewfinder to the picture of my aging demographic.

When all is said an done, I can look back on the year and almost honestly say I have no regrets. Every circumstance good or bad, or things that have been done to me that hurt me, or things that I have done, or otherwise, have all lead me to where I am presently. They have all added to my consciousness, spun around millions of times in the ooze of my brain, and produced an end result that I can quantify.

I don’t really have new years resolutions. I think many NYR’s are too vague and leave people in a strange situation. I think a New Year is merely a continuation of what i’ve already started. Therefore, instead of saying, “This New Year I have to get ripped, make a million dollars and start that venture capital company”, I’d rather just say “This new year, in all the plans I have already made, I will hold myself to 30%-50% improvement in all areas I possibly can. ” This relates to my personality, my responsibilities and my readiness to do things I have been hesitant to do before.

THAT is the main thing I can say about 2007, that I can adequately gauge new aspects of myself I was never able to before and make sweeter decisions because of them.

But obviously, I am human and I cannot simply look at this year in terms of achievements and numbers. Even this morning I woke up with a tingle inside my system, a feeling that clenched my stomach. I was feeling connected to someone I haven’t spoken to or seen in a long time. I felt her presence around me, and I saw her eyes in the early morning. Why did she rouse up from the pits of my mind? I have no idea, but I have learned this tidbit over the last few years:

It is not the why of a memory or desire that is important, rather, it is knowing that once someone touches you living or dead, they will always be a part of you.

That realization makes me feel calm when I’m hit with these odd emotions. I honestly don’t believe getting “tough” is the key to growth, it is more about actively accepting certain realities. Two ex-girlfriends of mine are married and another two are engaged. These things are not things to really worry or puzzle, but to accept.

But this morning, I felt a touch of someone again, as if she was right beside me sleeping blissfully. It is fitting that it is at the very end of the year this happened. I have no idea if it is a signal from the universe spurring me on to act, or if it is just a random memory that decided to resurface at an equally random moment. Like many things in my life, I no longer question the cause, but merely accept the result.

I like the dynamics of life; the passion that comes with biting into a circumstance and not letting go, the lingering feeling in your chest when you want something and you can’t have it, and that emotional release when you are two steps away from getting what you really want. I like the desperation that comes with charging into the unknown, a slight sense of trepidation when you can’t see the outcome of an impossible situation and I like it when your mind forces you to hope.
I like my mind’s mental picture of the faceless woman out there I have not met, the laughter of my friends and family and the quiet moments when I stare at the clouds. I’m also intrigued by that which I cannot see or hear; the laughter of my future child’s voice, the feeling I will experience stepping onto foreign soil in some distant locale and not knowing what is coming next.

I like it all.

2005,6, or 7 and all the years I have been alive have had these things in abundance, and they will not be going away.

To 2008, and beyond.

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Posted December 31, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Equilibriumifragilisticallyespiallywallywally   Leave a comment

Tonight was the first night in history that we didn’t have our after hours chicken.

My cousin and I were returning from Equlibrium, a party where we quite frankly, came through as a set of the hypest and possibly crazy guys in the building. At one point I entertained conversation with two very cute girls who were of indeterminate age ( I guessed 19 , but they were both 18 *phew*), chatting with Mr. Evil about his artistic pursuits and fandangled a bit with an RETV producer.

Jamaica has a staple sort of part at this time of year, called an “all-inclusive”. A couple of years ago, “all-inclusive” really meant all inclusive drinks, but then a few guys got smart and made something called a “super all inclusive” which was food AND drink, and then the prices for those shot through the roof. Then the guys who made the former “all inclusves” caught on to the trend and then there came forth a wave of “super duper all inclusive” (one of them I attended included, food, drink, strippers AND a coconut man). After this bubble spread for another year or so, everything died down a bit, and super inclusives are just referred to as “all inclusives” now. In fact, if a person is attended a party that costs over two thousand JA (20 US) then they exepect some food in the deal.

So three of us ventured out to this party called Equilibrium. It was in the heart of new Kingston, at a venue called “The Pantry”. It was a nice setup, but I noticed that everyone was wearing white. I was wearing a purple Ricky Martin shirt and my entourage were all wearing dark colours. Needless to say, we lived it up, dancing around our white-clad party going patrons.

I started talking to a woman in the line and it turned out she was a producer for RETV. As we spoke, I took the mic from her hand (there was no camera ) and gave her a mock interview. This delighted her somewhat and she told me to interview my cousin. So the lights came on, the camera was in my face and I was in full form.

I had my VJ moment! I interviewed my cousin, asking him about the food, the venue, and thankfully for him, after two shots and some good food he was very talkative.

The camera came off, and the party raged. It was truly a fun affair. I’ve been partying EXTREMELY hard these last three weeks. I go out almost every night, I’ve been to a good number of the major parties, and this weekend looks like another set of back to back events. I’ve been trying to keep an accurate log of pictures for each of my outings, but i’ve failed miserably.

After the party ended, we were headed to destination : Wally. But Wally and his pan were gone (well, it was about 5:30 a.m ) and I saw him hop into a taxi and wave to us as we left. I dropped my cousin home and drove home in a blurry haze, listening to a motivational speaker blast through the car speakers telling me about visualizations.

Then I hopped into bed, and fell asleep.

Posted December 29, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Stuffy Girls + Mavado = Merry Bloodcl**t Christmas   1 comment

I’m looking around, and I don’t know where I am.
.
My friends and I are rolling around the neighbourhood of Norbrook in St. Andrew, Jamaica. We are on a quest, similar to that of Frodo Baggin’s in his quest to deliver the rings to the volcanic mountain in the heart of Mordor. We are looking for a place called Cedar Grove, which could fit any number of LOTR situations. “There ye go,” says a bush that can speak. “When you walk through the green fields of Manor Park, pass by the Norbrook Creek and you’ll find Cedar Grove a few paces through an enclave of trees.” Sadly, there was no talking tree to help us find this place, but a pizza man making a delivery at a housing complex would. Armed with our knowledge, we proceeded to drive the wrong way yet again.
We turn on a road called Park Drive and see many cars parked, but hear no music. I immediatley know this is a “big man” party. (i.e, businessman/doctor/lawyer drinkup). A few individuals confirm this. They don’t know where the mysterious Cedar Grove is either, because they probably live up in Gordon town somewhere…near Mordor.
 .
We eventually find the party and we laugh. Cedar grove is one street away from the house of a friend of mine… if only she had been in the country when we were on our quest to find the house…We reach extremely early and get eyeballed by a few guys as we come in. Its a bottle-party, and for the uninitiated, it works on the BYOB rule. (Bring Your Own Bottle). Our bottles are stashed in the car, but I’m more interested in seeing if this party will be a flop or not. My friend goes to chit-chat with a few guys standing near the pool and I talk to the guy who lives on the premises.
“Its not a problem,” he says. “Have a drink with us. Drink!”. His eyes are a little glassy for 8 p.m, then I realize those guys have been drinking for a while.
This party will become an example of the strangeness of certain aspects of Jamaican society i’ve grown used to. My friend has been telling me for over a week that the guest list is filled with really hot girls and it should be a good event. For me, these parties are 50/50. It is usually an assortment of people from similar backgrounds who all know each other, who stand up, talk and pose. They occassionally use the bathroom, walk back to thier spot, and pose some more. It is a very boring, but extremely common. Just wait until you pay five grand for a party and see everyone do the same thing, THEN it will blow your mind.

I like to talk to people, and I like to interact with people I’ve never met before. But if you say “What’s up?” to a guy standing beside you, then he looks you dead in the face and walks away, then you are in a really tough crowd. Luckily for me, I learned this little tidbit through my friend. “Even the guys are giving attitude?” he lamented. It was funny.

This is a version of the small town effect. If people don’t really know you, they won’t say hello, or otherwise interact in a manner that is past what I call “ATM behaviour”. At an ATM, a person might look at you, give you a vapid nod and then walk away as quickly as possible. This party was similar, but the area was small. The Vapid nods ran abound, but there wasn’t much space to walk briskly away to.

This party was the usual representation of this area of Jamaica; a smattering of ambiguously racial individuals, all of a similar hue, most of whom are well off. The split between the racial groups became quickly apparently. Near the pool where the speakers were, you saw more dark-skinned people in groups standing up, moving to the music. Near to the front by the entrance were all the ambiguously racial kids drinking up and chit-chatting.

Luckily for myself and my cousin, we left the party for about an hour to rendezvous with my sister at the airport. On the way there, we laughed to ourselves as my friend send me a text:
“Boy…tough crowd star.”

I could see why. But this wasn’t the first and last place I’ve seen this type of behaviour. It is a very encapsulated, almost anti-social behaviour i’ve observed for as long as I can remember, but now I’m more like Jane Goodall when I watch these people interact, than an annoyed socialite.

I test my theory about how stuffy these girls are by chatting to a girl standing near to me. She looks at me in the same way a lifeless mannequin would, trying to avert her eyes. I chose her for one reason: She has been standing in a small group of girls at the mid-point of the pool crowd and the entrance crowd for most of the party. As far as I could tell, not ONE guy approached her, tried to dance with, or even speak with her. Her friends all seemed to be content to stand where they were and not talk to anyone. So I said to myself, “Ah, let’s see if these girls REALLY got dressed, left their houses, drove up here, all in an extreme effort to completely isolate themselves and NOT talk to anyone.”

Sadly, I was right. I asked her a cute question about her age and I got about as much response as a mosquito biting the ass of a Rhino. Eventually I ended up telling her something to the effect of” Oh? That’s how you always talk to people? hrm… I ABSOLUTELY CAN’T talk to a girl like you! Ciao.”

Not that the statement really meant anything, but hopefully at least one ice-chip fell of her heart. So the night progressed in the same fashion, with my entourage getting mostly drunk, me chatting to a few of the more social girls in the party and trying not to drink too much myself.

High point of the night : Strolling in, being taller than most company present, sporting bottles of Vanilla Vodka, opening said bottles and doing shots while pointing at girls and telling them “If you want a drink, you’ll have to tip me baby!”
.
The party begins to get dull and we leave and head to our favourite after spot, the infamous Wally’s for some Jerk Chicken. Immediately a battle ensues. Our first statement to wally is, “Yeah man, Wally run the BIGGEST piece of chicken!”
To this statement my friend immeidately protests, saying that I am using my role as the driver to squeeze favourable opinion. I see Wally toss a massive piece of chicken on the chopping block and give it a few decisive whacks with a large meat cleaver. I grab the ends of the foil the chicken lies on.
“You lose.” I say with a chuckle. My friend begins the protest again and then a dark grey SUV pulls up. A man with a shaved head and dark eyes looks directly at me. The car comes to a stop no less than a foot from where i’m standing. My cousin, who was in the background touches me on the shoulder.
“Yo, that’s Mavado in there.”
“Really?” I reply.

Sure enough, I  glance into the car and see the Gangsta for life staring back at me. Contrary to popular belief, his myspace picture doesn’t do him justice, he looks MUCH rougher in person. I felt like saying hello, or even raising a fist to salute him, but I felt an odd fear course through my system. After all this is the guy who talked about murdering infants and doing certain things twice a day.
“Yow, we want some fowl fast!” Mavado barks at Wally.

For the second time that night we are relegated to lower status. First by prissy chicks who like to dress up and not talk to anyone, and then by the Gangsta for Life. We couldn’t help but laugh.
Wally forgets my chicken and immediatley starts to work on Mavado’s order. Our eyes widen as we see Wally pull out two of the largest pieces of chicken we have even seen.

“Damn, ” I say. “Wally, you give the man di “Real McKoy” piece of chicken!” My friend adds,

“Damn Wally, you have the Mavado stash waiting in the back!”
We all start laughing and then I look nervously to my left, hoping Mavado isn’t pointing a gun at me as I say this.
Thankfully he isn’t.
 .
Wally chops up the two large pieces in record time and starts tossing Ketchup and pepper on the chicken. He puts back the pepper bottle and them Mavado speaks for the second time.
“Yow! Put more BLOODCLAT peppa pon di chicken! You tink a gyal you a serve?!”Wally froze for a moment. He is always smiling, and I felt that he himself would erupt into laughter, but feared being shot as well. He put a few more sprinkles of hot sauce on the chicken and handed it to Mavado and his driver. Mavadao gave us a quick glance.
“Yeah, stand up you dun know!”The SUV pulled off with a roar. The three of us pause for second and then start chatting excitedly. “Yeah, stand up, you dun know” is the equivalent of Mavado wishing us a  “Merry Bloodclaat Christmas” or something to that effect.
The night in brief review:We came from an event with some stush chicks, got trumped by Mavado in the chicken line at Wally’s, and it was great. For the next few days, anything myself and my cousins were eating would be predicated by the statement:”Yow! Put more BLOODCLAT peppa pon di chicken! You tink a gyal you a serve?!”Christmas in Jamaica is awesome.

Posted December 24, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

-= Back in the Warmth =-   Leave a comment

There has been a lot happening in my life.

So much in fact, that I haven’t been able to do much for the last few weeks. There has been occasional introspection, the odd moment where I’ve been told Mike’s hard lemonade isn’t a “manly” drink, a few interesting situations at Random parties like being handed a brochure for a one man StarWars performance by a guy dressed like Chewie, among other things.

But now, i’m back home. Lately i’ve been in a strange situation. I sometimes think my landlord sits on top of a futuristic looking throne, figuring out ways to give us particularly cruel and unusual forms of punishment. The latest punishment do with a lack of heat. Thankfully, I am back into the warmth. Driving from the airport, I looked at the Rolling green hills in the distance, scanned the vibrant and verdant atmosphere, and I felt at peace. The last time I was at home I was tense for a few reasons, uneasy for a couple more, but this time I feel quite relaxed. Christmas songs have been annoying me recently, and if I hear “Feliz Navidad!” one more time I just might punch the next old lady I see. But hopefully that won’t happen.

I’ve always tried to describe how Christmas in Jamaica feels, but I can never put it into words. It has something to do with it being a little cooler, seeing everything a shade darker, and knowing another year has come to and end. Maybe I’ll write a long post about the things I’ve learned this year as a person and as a writer, but I could write volumes about what i’ve learnt about women more than anything. But … that’s another story.

I feel like writing something, maybe a short story or two to cap the year out, but I don’t know yet. I’m going to watch another Chan Wook Park movie about vengeance after the actions of some really crappy movie. (By the way, Chan Wook Park is a Korean film director :p).

Either way that’s it for now. No stories of weird situations and angst here. I may write some of those later. I would love to drop a tidbit about meeting a swath of European people, each from a different country who all knew each other while I pretended to be a black Scotsman.

Or maybe I’ll tally the number of girls in the last few weeks who’ve said “Let’s go out!” who dissappeared in a blur of voicemails. I dunno.

I’m in Jamaica and its warm. I don’t feel like the cold is sharing my bed and trying to massage me in my sleep in a very uncomortable way.

till such time..

Posted December 10, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

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