Category Archives: Lifestyle

“Celebgate” Is Just A Photo Opportunity

Image credit: static.tvtropes.org

Image credit: static.tvtropes.org

I bet a lot of people are longing for the good old days when the only person who would see our precious memories was the person in the photo lab who would “wash” the film that contained them. I’d always wondered how much attention this person paid to the photos as they materialized – apart from the quality of course.  

Back then, my greatest fear was that the person developing the film would see how badly my pictures always came out, but because I never knew just how close the person would be looking, I knew that I wouldn’t ever take a picture (or have one knowingly taken of me) that would ever show me in a compromising position – since, you just never know.

The 2002 movie, “One Hour Photo” starring Robin Williams, in which he paid a little too much attention to the pictures, only fed my phobia. After that, I didn’t even want to take a picture in my bathing suit anymore, because I didn’t want to risk the developer laughing as he passed the extra copies around. 

So the introduction of digital cameras made me ecstatic – because not only did it mean that I didn’t have to take my roll of film to the photo shop anymore, but now I could execute all those poses that I hadn’t dared to try before. What made me happiest though was the fact that I got to see my pictures first and I could delete the ones that didn’t pass muster and not have to pay for a set of indistinct images that even I couldn’t recognize.

But improvements in technology always come with a catch. I love my body, sans clothes, as much as the next person, but I don’t feel the need to document it. Some people do however, (maybe to have the proof that they’ll need to provide later on?) but because of this, some of them have been experiencing their very own One Hour Photo moments. 

Because photos taken with iphone smartphones have been backed up by a platform provided by Apple, hackers have infiltrated it and have been able to gain possession of hundreds of photos that were stored there. They probably tossed mine (after a good long laugh) – because it’s clear that the only photos they kept and passed around, were the ones belonging to celebrities.

In the wake of the privacy invasion, ordinary (meaning non-celebrity) people have come forward to say that they know just what it feels like to have pictures of your naked person passed around for everyone to see. So apparently, it’s really nothing new, but the current uproar and subsequent changes prove that it’s all in who you know, or rather, who knows you.

Just another indication of what people do when nobody’s supposed to be looking.

 

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Rihanna Doesn’t Take “Last Lick”

“Last lick”: an end of school game played by West Indian children where no one wanted to be the last one hit before having to leave for home.

Rihanna must be exhausted.

It can’t be easy to have to keep the public guessing about your next move as you try to stay relevant, try to get noticed or try to re-invent yourself if those things don’t work out. For some artists like my girl Rihanna, some of the behavior exhibited leaves me wondering where her good home training went.

Image credit: wordpress.com

Image credit: wordpress.com

I remember one of Rihanna’s early interviews that I read in SHE Caribbean magazine when she was just coming on the scene. She talked about how her burgeoning success engendered some jealousy among some former classmates, but I think there were more of us who were happy to see this island girl make it on the big stage – and in the US no less. It gave hope to the rest of us still chasing our dreams.

But after her second album, she started to take charge of her own image and she shed the whole girl-next-door visage. Re-branding herself as a bad g(y)al means that she constantly has to do and say things that you would expect a naughty girl to do and say. When she and Chris Brown became an item I realized that the transformation was indeed complete.

I’m not exactly sure just when she began to turn me off, but some of her instagram posts and nearly naked poses probably didn’t help. Her unnecessary use of profanity reminds me of those youngsters who think it makes them look like bonafide adults, but one thing that the over-the-top behavior says is that the attention garnered on stage isn’t satisfying enough.

She’s a very attractive girl, but she now constantly pushes the envelope with regards to all forms of self-expression including speech and dress. She is frequently given kudos for taking risks in fashion and never looks the same twice. Down here we would say she’s suffering from a serious case of “overdo”. Up there she even manages to avoid being accused of, as they say euphemistically, “trying too hard”.

"The idea!!!" as my grandmother would say Image credit: tumblr.com

“The idea!!!” as my grandmother would say
Image credit: tumblr.com

Her outfit at the CFDA Fashion awards for example, left most of us wondering why she even bothered to wear any clothes since what she did wear left literally nothing to the imagination. But since she was actually being honoured as a fashion icon that evening, she had to show why she deserved it.

She did have the grace to say that since her mother was back home in Barbados at the time, she saw the outfit at the same time we all did. Had she seen her when she was leaving the house even Rihanna knows that her mother (like most old-school West-Indian mothers) would have asked her where she was “going dressed like that”.

In her acceptance speech, she said that she didn’t have a lot of fashion role models when she was growing up, but she knew that she had a better sense of style than other girls. But her walk to the podium to accept her award while the adoring audience rose to its feet and applauded, somehow reminded me of the children’s story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

When I was younger our grandmothers (and some mothers), would grumble about the bad influence of all things American when they saw us doing things that they know they didn’t teach us. But it’s easy to blame others instead of acknowledging that things that used to be taboo have now become more acceptable, so we no longer have to watch our mouths or mind our manners.

Rihanna’s latest twitter outburst directed at the CBS network over them wanting to use a song on which she featured and then not wanting to use it, and then wanting to use it again, had her livid – and she wasn’t taking the disrespect. So she told them off as she is wont to do and added in a “cuss” word for good measure. ‘Cause she na ‘fraid nobody – and she will always be in demand.

I guess my age is showing, because I really can’t abide people who behave as if they were dragged up rather than brought up and who act as if they don’t know any better. As an adult I’ve come across the types of people who always feel the need to have the last word, and sometimes it’s better to let them have it. In much the same way, when I left the playground I grew to realize that it won’t ever kill me if (sometimes) I have to take “last lick”.

 

Job (In)Security

We may live on a small island but our proximity to the US means that we’re made aware of its many controversies, so in the latest episode of “He said/She said what????”, an American sportscaster is starring as the newest person trying to pull his foot out of his mouth – since speaking freely sometimes ends up costing a lot.

Because some people are so thin-skinned that you expect it to tear at any minute, you really can’t call them names or say that you don’t like them or what they do. Add to them, the people who have suffered at the hands of others or who declare themselves to be minorities in some way, and you will realize that it’s a minefield out there.

There really should be something in there first Image credit: tumblr.com

There really should be something in there first
Image credit: tumblr.com

But as my husband would say, there doesn’t seem to be any learning taking place. Some people continue to only think several days after they’ve already spoken and then end up deepening the ruts they’ve made when they find that they have to back that shstuff up.

So this sportscaster guy decided to blame the victim by saying that when some women are abused it’s because they somehow brought it on themselves and that they really need to stop doing the things that cause it to happen.

Well, (as we say locally) “who tell he say dat”? Didn’t the comedian DL Hughley already put his foot in it a few months ago (on the very same topic) and end up having to prostrate himself on the media altar because people didn’t get the joke? And given that social media is where everything’s happening these days you can’t tell me that this guy didn’t hear anything about it.

So of course, after the twitterverse went crazy on his posterior, he did what everyone else who gets caught in that situation does and proceeds to put things in reverse while declaring, “Well what I really meant to say was…”

Now confidentially, I have to admit that I’m not shaking my fists and thumping my chest in indignation, but any fool can see that his words were poorly chosen. But I am going to get on with my day because I’ve heard this story before and I know how it ends. Either it dies down until the next outrage surfaces and/or his head ends up on a platter.

But the really confounding part for me refers to the reason for the sportscaster’s comments in the first place – a football player’s mistreatment of his fiancée in the worst way.

The only reason that there is any evidence at all of the incident (besides the bruises she would have had), is because an elevator security camera captured it. The video didn’t show this, but I’d bet that it wasn’t an isolated incident. Nonetheless it didn’t seem sufficient reason for her to call the wedding off, but maybe him sitting out a few games is penance enough for her.

I’m not aware of whether she pressed any charges, thought about pressing any charges, or dropped the charges, but it seems that she and a million other people believe that the ones who pay his salary are the ones who should teach him a lesson.

Not the justice system or even the person directly involved. Because a worker’s actions have to be corrected if he or she is to keep the job.

But you can’t please everybody, because even when he is reprimanded and he’s made to feel it where it hurts the most, some people still think the employer didn’t go far enough – since they’ve been keeping score. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t follow sports all that closely, but it seems like once you get to the big leagues these people can be all up in your bed grass.

So maybe it’s because of who he works for – or where he works.

Can you imagine if as an employer I said to my employee, “You know what? I’m aware that you’re using your hands/feet/mouth in ways that aren’t socially acceptable so I have no choice but to suspend you for a few weeks and dock your pay while I’m at it, because you have to be made an example of and besides, everybody’s looking at me”.

But I don’t pay my workers nearly enough to be able to do that. And I don’t make enough money to have that kind of clout. Or maybe we haven’t developed the right sensibilities yet.

However, in those utopias where everybody gets along, where people always play fair and where everybody’s rights are equal and respected, there is also the freedom to punish those who disturb the reflection of perfection. And most will feel secure in the knowledge that it’s the right thing to do.

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Ray Rice and Stephen A. Smith – The Manifestation of the Hypocrisy of Sports – The Shadow League

Stephen A. Smith apologizes for domestic violence remarks – The Root.com

Who Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Image credit: paradoksdanismanlik.com

Image credit: paradoksdanismanlik.com

Whenever I fill out forms that ask for my “sex” in order to determine whether I am a male or a female, I’m always tempted to cross it out and write “gender” instead and then tick the appropriate box. But maybe I should do like one comedian said he would when confronted by the question and write “yes please”.

I can’t admit to seeing it myself, but from what I’m hearing there seems to be a need for more than two boxes because gender and sexual orientation are quite different from when I was growing up. Well not just different, but plentiful.

A couple of weeks ago, a transgendered person was making the rounds on the talk shows because the individual made it on to the cover of Time Magazine. And since everyone was making such a fuss I decided I better educate myself about what the term actually meant.

And I was met with more definitions than I can remember. And more terminology than I expected to find. It seems that lesbian, gay and bi-sexual are so old school now. To truly express the fluidity that gender seems to have become you have to use terms such as genderqueer, pansexual, agender and a host of others.

Much like a number line, the traditional gender continuum on which we exist has spaces for people who don’t exist at either end, but who can fall in-between depending on who they like, who likes them and who they see themselves as. Back in the day, you either liked men exclusively, women exclusively or if you couldn’t make up your mind, both. But the current conversation seems to center around not how you were made, but how you feel – you should have been made.

Now I don’t want to say that people are just making things up as they go along, because apparently the several definitions of sexuality have been studied extensively, but what a way that we like to confuse the issue! And to complicate matters further I was made to understand in my research that you have to be careful not to call “her”, “him” and definitely not “shim”.

I suppose because the persons involved are struggling with their identities is why you have to be careful not to mash their corns and cause them any discomfort. And so, being politically correct is key.

So even if you see that Mike still looks like Mike and sounds like Mike, please don’t call him Mike if you are told that Stephanie is the name that is preferred. If you knew her as Caroline back in grade school but you hear somebody else using the name Carl, he is still the same person that you used to know – he’s just seeing things through different eyes.

It’s a pity when this gender confusion affects children though. Things were much easier when I used to climb the almond tree in the back of my yard. I was called a tomboy but it didn’t bother me in the least, and I was happy to wear pants instead of dresses while beating quite a few boys at school in a race around the track.

Girls like me would tend naturally to playing the games that boys play especially if we were around boys, but we couldn’t play all of them. I mean, if you don’t possess the right equipment there’s no way you’re going to win at the game called “mountain”.

But I don’t think any of us was confused about our identity. We knew we were girls – we just liked the stuff that the boys did, better. I haven’t forgotten that even though I had to wear a dress to church I never got in the habit of taking a bag, so I was well into my twenties before my mother insisted that when I was going out, I take something other than my two long empty hands.

My daughter seemed to be following in my footsteps because having an older brother, she gravitated to the cars and monster trucks and action figures that dominated his life. For the first two or three years of her life I never had to buy a single doll since she was quite happy with what she (or rather her brother), had.

Thanks to TV and her favourite cousin she has since gotten an appreciation for all things girly, even though she still competes in countertop car races. However, some children at or near her age seem incredibly self-aware and are somehow articulating that something went awry when they were being cooked.

Image credit: illinoisphoto.com

Image credit: illinoisphoto.com

Since we are first and foremost our sexuality, maybe it makes sense that before they even know what they want to be when they grow up, they already know who they want to be – or don’t want to be.

I just hope there’s a box for it.

 

“News You Can’t Possibly Use” – It’s Not That Serious

Image credit: static.tumblr.com

Image credit: static.tumblr.com

I think you all know that I love animation, and having children is a good excuse to see almost all of the movies that employ it. But I haven’t seen “Frozen” yet, despite it having been out of the cinemas for months now and actually having the DVD at home.

 

But I’m going to have to see what the fuss is all about, because for two consecutive days it has popped up in things I’ve been reading about.

 

The first report had to do with the fact that the movie is deemed to be the fifth highest grossing film of all time, with box office earnings of US1.2 million dollars. As with most things Disney, the fun for the people making the money doesn’t stop there, because merchandising all the movie-related paraphernalia keeps the cash registers ringing.

 

I was surprised to hear that these items are still in high demand months after the movie came out, but I shouldn’t be surprised because while off-island a few months ago, I went searching for the Elsa doll for a niece of mine.

 

The section for the merchandise, while clearly marked, was also clearly empty, and I had to resort to the God-awful Monster High dolls instead. Chalk to cheese – but that’s another story.

 

While I’m happy not to be one of the parents who gets caught up in the “Frozen” frenzy, like calling multiple stores to inquire about availability, booking themed cruises, or spending hours in line at Disney Parks (like I could do that from where I am anyway), I can understand that children can become fascinated with the characters.

 

What I don’t understand is being so enamored with the story as an adult that you have a falling out with anyone who isn’t similarly captivated by the tale. And by “falling out” I mean kicking that person to the curb.

 

I know that sometimes you are surprised to know how some people really feel about an issue and you may decide to never broach that particular subject again, or you may tuck it into the back of your head for future reference, or just agree to disagree.

 

But a woman from Japan decided that divorce was the only option she could pursue when her husband told her that he thought that “Frozen” was “an OK movie”, but he didn’t care for it personally.

 

He seemed willing to have a conversation about what made the movie good in her opinion, but she apparently didn’t want to entertain any discussion with the failed human being that he had become.

 

People are wondering whether his perfectly acceptable difference of opinion is not being used as an excuse to end a marriage that she wants to get out of. The husband says that prior to this disagreement, it had been relatively smooth sailing.

 

Guess he didn’t know her as well as he thought he did.

 

So he’s been advised to hire a private detective. Others tell him to just sign the papers and run.

 

I don’t really know what I would tell him, but I know that this story is the perfect start for stories that are news that you can’t possibly use.

Privileged Information

One of the first celebrity "tell-all" books Image credit: Wikimedia.org

One of the first celebrity “tell-all” books
Image credit: Wikimedia.org

There’s really no way in heaven that I am going to have you people all up in my bed grass – as we say locally. But we can’t all be so circumspect. There are tons of others out there who have no problem speaking about things that should probably remain private.

Sure I’ve told you before about people who think that I’m a good listener, but those conversations are between me and them, and I’m not calling any names. And besides I realize that sometimes, some people just need to vent.

How does a person feel comfortable though, saying that he or she smoked an illegal substance, or had an abortion or had thoughts of killing himself or somebody else – without obscuring his face or altering her voice? But you can’t really do that if you’re hoping for a book deal or making the rounds on the talk-show circuit.

Most of us like to talk about ourselves and the types of people we are. How many times have you heard a person say, “Well if it had been me, I would have done so-and-so”?, because deep down we like others to know what we think. But some of us should really consider writing a tell-all book, since the details therein would let others know why we think it.

And why we do the things we do. And why we choose the wrong men. And why…

These days, everybody and her pig has written, is planning on writing or is in the process of writing a book. Some people are barely in their twenties and have already recorded for posterity, portions of their life (so far).  Maybe they think that the rest of their years won’t be nearly as interesting as what’s gone already.

But increasingly, the scourge of too much information or TMI is masquerading in memoirs of people’s lives where you get to know every nook and see every cranny of the person’s life – and it goes way beyond the person’s favourite colour and most desired food.

The authors who write personal stories of childhood abuse, molestation, mental illness and other tales of woe, probably do so with the intention of helping other people who may be going through the same thing. But I don’t think the publishing houses would waste all that paper if they didn’t think that somebody’s anguish was going to make them a boatload of money too.

There’s nothing wrong with telling your true story if you want your life to be an “open book”, but as a reader of other people’s blogs, I am sometimes amazed at how deep down some people go into their souls, then open up their hands to show you. It’s cathartic, I guess, but no amount of accolades is going to make me go there.

Sure I’ll tell you some stories, but I think I’ll keep the information about my dysfunctional family entirely to myself.

 

 

That’s Out of the Question

Only the most self-involved person living on this island would be unaware that we are awaiting the culmination of a too-long election season. So I was not surprised that my son had some curiousity about the process.

However, I wasn’t prepared for his bold inquiry regarding who exactly I was going to vote for.

Sweet thing.

But given that I’m not one of the people flying fifteen flags and sporting eleven bumper stickers on every part of my car, it’s not surprising that he doesn’t have a clue.

After getting over the initial shock, I realized that he wouldn’t be aware that there are some questions that you just don’t ask somebody. So I told him that certain topics such as politics and religion, and particular queries such as “how old are you?” (after 40), and “how did he die?” are usually off-limits.

When my husband heard the question, he just about jumped down the boy’s throat, so he had to soften it by explaining that after listening to what the contenders had to say, we would, on Election Day, determine the most suitable candidate. Which for some voters really means choosing between the lesser of two evils.

But on Election Day? I thought to myself that waiting until then might be cutting it a little close, because shouldn’t I already know who I was voting for long before then? But I suppose that’s why there’s a section of the population known as undecided voters.

Well I’m not going to spill the beans and say that I’m one of them, but what exactly could cause a person to take such a long time to make up her mind? In our local situation, both parties have a track record that can help in decision-making, Granted, one is more recent than the other, but frankly, a leopard can only rub out so many of its spots.

It can’t be that the undecided voter is taking stock of the many promises that are the calling cards of all politicians? It can’t be a comparison of whose rallies have the sweeter music or which entertainers seemingly indicate their support by taking on the job? It can’t be whose voices are louder or whose faces loom larger from the innumerable billboards occupying every available square inch of land? Can it?

Well in that case bring it on. Because now, with a little over two weeks left to go, there is probably still a lot more that can be done to convince. I just can’t imagine what that could be.

However, I am planning on having an election night soiree – something akin to a Superbowl party – so if my son stays up late enough, depending on my reaction, he may just be able to find out who I chose.