Saturday, 28 April 2012

CYOPro in Barbados

I had the pleasure of spending my recent vacation - into birthday - in Barbados.  One of the friendships that started many moons ago at the University of the West Indies, flourished over the years.  As with many friendships, there were periods of silence, but, when we caught up, we caught up!  I paid her a visit almost fifteen years ago.  Now, a family later, we arranged the vacation and birthday celebration in her country, Barbados.

For some reason, I noticed quite a bit more this time around.  I think one of the main reasons is that, back then, I was getting over a very recent breakup.  Time away, anywhere, away from him and everything that reminded me of him, was good enough.  I had spent quite a lot of time writing, as well - a different sort.  Then, my friend, Debbie, was kind enough to take me around to most of the touristy spots.  We took quite a few pics - those that you had to send out to get developed and wait a week or so before you got them in your hand!  Good times.  Good times.

This time, we still did a few touristy spots.  But, for the most part, I was just happy to reunite, meet the family and get time away from my usual surroundings to write.  I did all of that!  Several hundred pics later (yeah, it's 2012), I gotta say it was a lovely, lovely trip.

One of my most memorable days was the day before my birthday.  We went on a picnic to Barclays Park, only for them to surprise me with a cake.  Not just any cake, but a birthday cake!  That was waaay cool! And so thoughtful.  Another highlight was the birthday itself.  What a fantastic day by the Boardwalk, along Rockley Beach!

I'm sure if we'd tried, we could have got 41 candles to fit!

A few things stood out during this trip.  On my first visit to the Boardwalk, I was eating cane.  Yes, peeled and sliced pieces of sugar cane.  I love cane!  So, there I was walking along and soon realized that I was getting a few glances from other folks going in the same and opposite direction.  It became so noticeable that I asked my friend about it later on.  She let me know that it was an unusual occurrence.  Bajans don't normally have sugar cane like that.  No big reason, either.  I thought back to Jamaica and became even more thankful that there's a "Caney" on almost every corner.  Well, not exactly, but, you catch my drift.

View from a section of The Richard Haynes Boardwalk

The day before I left, I went into a store to buy a few souvenirs.  I asked whether they accepted Canadian currency.  The cashier said they did not.  I used the BBD cash I had.  Perhaps I would've bought more souvenirs if they did.  Actually, scratch the "perhaps". They accepted US dollars, US credit cards or travellers' checks.  I didn't check with any other store re the accepted currency thing.  I figure it was standard, though.

Another thing.  What you see on the price tag is what you pay.  No taxes added at checkout.   Now, eating out may be a bit pricey, say, BBD$24 for a lunch of Rice and Peas and Chicken.  Or, as I noted by looking in, a footlong Subway sandwich is about BBD$25 - a bit more if it's going to be a combo.  The exchange rate is about CAD$1 to BBD$2.

And, this one always makes me smile.  Almost everybody - with a few exceptions - tell you good morning or good evening or hi or whatever!  Yes, exclamation sign.  It was a pleasant difference from what I'd become accustomed to in Canada, actually, in the US, too.  (I had lived in the Rochester, NY for several years.)  Here in Canada, once you get talking with most people, you discover they are nice to talk to.  However, on too many occasions, far too many to count, someone will enter an elevator, for example, see me and/or five others in it, and not say one single solitary word!  So, when I heard people passing by and wishing me a good morning and so on, it was a bit surprising, then, simply delightful.

I enjoyed visiting the St. George Parish Church; visited that lovely beach near Oistins; loved the sight of kites in the sky on Easter Monday and even saw a few monkeys paying unwelcome visits in people's yards!  Codrington College was also a pleasure to behold.

Codrington College

The sand felt goood under my feet.  (Beach near Oistins)

Ahh the majesty of big strong trees! (Beach near Oistins)

Still, nothing came close to the Boardwalk!  I'm glad I "carpe the heck out of the diem!" and shot my first CYOPro destination video right there and then.  Journey of a thousand miles... Well, just visit my channel already :-)

NB: Need to add this further to the previous post - eating humble pie while I type.  I signed in to YouTube a few days ago.  My Gmail tab was also open. There, in the upper RHC, was a whitish arrow pointing downward to the Gmail account I was logged into. How I missed that the last time must have been by divine intervention!  It caused me pain, but, I've come to realize that the current name works out better, given the ideas I have in mind for when my website comes into its own.  More anon :-)


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Getting Back Up

As they say in the movies, let's cut to the chase.  Create Your Own Productions  (CYOPro) now has a channel on YouTube.  I created it today.  I've been wanting to do it for a while, having a very good idea of the kinds of videos I want to make.  Several months ago, I created a gmail account specifically with that in mind. That would be the email address to be associated with the YouTube channel.

I was checking my personal gmail account today when I skipped over to a folder to review a few of the videos I had made while on vacation.  As I did that, it came to mind that I could use today, my last free day before getting back to work tomorrow, to create the channel - and upload the videos!  

Next thing I did was go to YouTube to create the channel. I chose my user name "CYOPro" and proceeded to upload, tag, describe and categorize the video.  I had done it!  A few minutes later, as I browsed my latest creation, I clicked on the user name and checked out details of the account.  Lo and behold, the email address that got associated (not "that I had associated", mind you) with that one special user name was my personal email address!  I had been checking emails in another tab, remember?  There had been no prompt (like, you are currently signed in to your email and will be linking x email address to this account.  Do you wish to proceed?) I hadn't signed out!  Oh, the horror!  The shock.  The disappointment.  "I should have known better; I should have known better," also came to mind.  I became so forlorn.

How did I let this happen?  I had been so careful to reserve the email address and the username and now, the connection I had wanted was not there.  Of course, I absolutely did not want the CYOPro YouTube account to be linked to my personal email account.  I searched their help centre high and low for a solution - switch username to other email address; change email address associated with user name.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  No, actually, they did have something to say about it - just not what I wanted to hear.  In a nutshell, it couldn't be done.  (Sounds like there was something about being able to do it if it were a legacy account - if it had been opened before early 2009.  It didn't apply to me, so, that went in one eye and not the other.)  

Remember Kipling's "If"?  "If you can make one heap of all your winnings/And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss/And lose, and start again at your beginnings/And never breathe a word about your loss..."  (Well, never mind the last verse - 'cause I'm surely breathing more than a word about my loss, here.)  The rest of it,  though, is kinda how I felt.  

So, I did the next best thing - think of a new username; cancel the newly-created channel (at least I could have done that without deleting the email account associated with it); realize that the old username would not be available (even after cancelling the channel, people! Yep. This is the new Google-dom for you!) and link the new user name to the special email account I had set up months ago.

The name of my YouTube channel: CYOProChannel

Thereafter, I uploaded my first three videos.  Using this new Blogger look, so, here I go, inserting one of these vids, glitch-free! Of course, I could have just used a link to the video, but, where's the fun in that?

Know what, though?  After I uploaded the videos and watched them, I felt a swell of gladness.  After all, this is a project I'd wanted to start for a long time (more in the channel description), and, I've done it!  I shared it on FB and Twitter.  I wondered a little about the public's response.  But, having put myself out there (#byebyecomfortzone), I had a moment of reflection.  What do I think about it?  I, I know I feel good about creating this production! 


Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Tablet: In Sacred Memory

Here's something you don't see on this blog very often - an image.  In this case, three.  I've read the bits of advice time and again.  For e.g., make sure blog entries contain at least one image. My take is that I write for reading.  Unless an image is going to be a visual aid and/or add weight to the post I'd rather not include one.

From the moment I laid eyes on this tablet sometime after seven o' clock this morning, I knew I wanted to blog about it. And, I straightway imagined it as an image to be included.  So, I remained after the service - my friend, Debbie, waited patiently - to take a few photos.  Even though most of the congregants had filed out, I tried to be as reverent, discreet and non-touristy as possible.  I felt more and more at ease as I went on to take a few of the sanctuary.  The St. George Parish Church in Barbados is a beautiful building.  It's the oldest ecclesiastical building on the island - architecture less Gothic; more Georgian (via a little Google search).

The line that stood out for me then, and got stuck in my head after, is this one:

"And give her husband just reason to deplore the loss of the greatest of God's blessings; a Christian wife."

For several reasons, I wouldn't, couldn't let it go:

(Took this pic on Resurrection / Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012.)

Unless we indulge in a certain genre of writing, we just don't see the English language being written in such a beautiful and eloquent way these days. True, I don't expect the daily news to sound like an obituary - though, sometimes, it does come close.  However, over time, much eloquence has been lost.  Perhaps it's because of the literature to which I was exposed growing up.  The likes of Milton, Dickens, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wilde, Lawrence accompanied me throughout my high school and University years. The language was more complex, and within its complexity, it carried a certain beauty.  Perhaps it was the challenge of unearthing the meaning of the likes of, "If music be the food of love, play on," and the subsequent reward in being singled out by my third form (Grade 9) teacher to explain to the rest of the class that "he was in need of love."  Whatever the reason I found it enchanting, they had a way with words.  This tablet - and, especially that line - brought me back to that delightful time.

Charles Darling suffered the loss of his wife, Anne, shortly after her twenty-fourth birthday.  Having no knowledge of the story behind all this, and, not wanting to do any deep research for this particular post, I let myself be satisfied with what was provided.  She was such a young woman; perhaps they were a young couple.  There was no info to indicate for how long they had been married.  However, the latter section of the tablet made me wonder...

Charles Darling suffered another loss just about a month after - that of his twenty-one month old son.  I'm thinking that the Darlings' marriage might have been under three years old.  A child would've come soon after marriage, back then.

It's not that I picked a tablet and decided to dote on it.  I think, for the first time, after many instances of reading tombstones and tablets and being fascinated by the dates (they were born how long ago???) I was genuinely interested in how these persons, generations ago, expressed their sorrow.  I think that line - wouldn't it have been penned by Charles Darling? - helped draw me in.

And, in a really warped way, I drew some small comfort in the fact that, no matter the epoch or generation or historical age,  some things have not changed.  Among them, our emotions.  The way we express them? Maybe.  But, sorrow is sorrow and joy is joy, whether it's 1837 or 2012.

Of course, as at other times when faced with the details, or a summary, of death, who can walk away without thinking for a moment of his/her own mortality?  And, if time goes until then, one hundred and seventy-five years from this, who will cast a second glance at the tombstone - or tablet - erected in memory of me?  Will anyone be moved by it?  Will it cause them to engage in a bit of reflection; introspection?  Will it cause them to think, as I did for a second, about their own fleeting mortality, and where they'll spend eternity?   Then again, if it's a tombstone, the thing mightn't be legible by then anyway!

I'm not too hung up on death.  It's more the dying I think about - like many others, I'd rather not suffer in pain while I'm departing this weary sod.  But, it's the dying without Christ that freaks me out.  My Christianity is not just a "fire insurance".  It's a cherished relationship with Jesus Christ.  But, dying with Him does mean that I get to spend eternity with him in heaven.  Just sayin'.

Through His death and resurrection I have hope of my own resurrection and eternal life.  Booyah! *Ahem*  I mean, and that is wonderful!  You gotta believe in something - and I believe in this.

(Inside the St. George Parish Church. Resurrection painting Rise to Power by Benjamin West R.A.  Took this pic on Resurrection / Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012.) 

(View from outside the St. George Parish Church built 1784. Took this pic on Good Friday, April 6, 2012.)