Adiel Thomas & Ministry’s “College Days” – the Album Review

photoAfter what feels like forever—and by that I mean from inception in 2009, until July 2015—the album is finally here! *throws confetti* And boy am I happy! As somebody who can say I’ve literally been there through all the stages of making this album… well except for the studio part… and post production… and the trips… okay fine, I wasn’t there for a lot of it. But I’ve been there for several points of development, conceptualization, personnel changes, sneak peeks of rough drafts etc; especially in the earlier days, when it was just “Ministry”, before faces changed sort of rapidly and Adiel realized that he and his nose would have to become the “cover boy” as the one constant (besides God of course) in the group, all I can say is:

ADIEL THOMAS! YUH FATHER IS A PASTOR! (inside joke) But for real though; MI PROUD A YUH YUTE!

I remember you saying from day one how you wanted to make an album, something that had international quality, comparable with established gospel artists out there. I don’t know how other people feel enuh, but bredda, YOU DID IT! It definitely does not sound like Jamaican/Caribbean “local” music. And before y’all bring out the lass and big stones, that’s not a knock on local music! However, based on the desired audience, it had to be top class and have an international feel, so kudos to the engineering team for getting that done. Vocals? Shell*. Music? Shell. Album Art? Shell. Length of album… ehhh… maybe I’m just greedy. Message? SHELLLLLL!

*Shell = Jamaican term for very well done.

NOW to the actual CD! *Drumroll*

Intro – I really loved the concept of this. The varied challenges, situations and experiences that came at the members of the group so rapidly during their time spent at Northern Caribbean University, all came through at the same time. I was definitely able to appreciate all of the thoughts being intermingled and said at the same time, as that’s really how things felt sometimes while in college. My favorite was Janielle asking to Karim to “tief een piece a chicken” on NCU’s famous meat free campus and Toyin asking if they’d be balling tonight. The views were all relatable and definitely part of my own College Days experience.

Hallelujah! – That first bass riff though!!!! I was automatically hooked! I remember the first time Adiel teased what this song sounded like. At the time when I heard first it, it was definitely the best musical composition I heard him put together. Still might be in my opinion. As a pseudo bass guitar player, the bass really shines throughout this song for me, and this is definitely that hype gospel song you jump out on the stage and start your concert with. This is exactly how the CD was supposed to start. I knew Adiel was crazy, but incorporating that ‘Sister Sister’ sound in the “Hallelujah”? Stroke of genius! A fun song, one that definitely gets you on your feet and moving. Nice touch with the kids at the end too. Can’t help but have fun giving God the praise He deserves with this one. Oh. By the way. When they break it down?! That’s sooooo Adiel… That shouldn’t even be allowed. But that’s personally my favorite part of the song 🙂

Little Mercies – This song was the one where I think I heard the most musical growth. From Janielle on the vocals, to the changes in the arrangement, it came leaps and bounds from when it was first released. A nice jazzy vibe to it, it’s that song that when you listen to it, you just kinda bop your head, while introspectively looking into your life and thanking God for all the things we take for granted. I love how Janielle kinda plays with it at the end. I love how the bass and the drums are at the forefront of this one, which is somewhat of a role reversal of your atypical musical composition, while the keys kinda just hold it down with the faint jazz chords. The horns compliment everything so well. This would probably get the medal for “Hardest Song on the Album to Sing”, especially the “I thank yous”. Nice touch with a few folks expressing some of the things for which they are thankful.

Adiel Thomas & Ministry OFFICIAL Branding (with words)He’ll Work it Out – If you remember nothing else from this song, by the time it’s done, EVERYBODY will know “He’ll work it out, work it out, work it—OUT!” & “No stress it’s under control, my God is working for me.” This groovy tune gives you a chance to hear everybody a little bit, especially since everyone doesn’t lead a song on the album. No matter what’s going on in your life; if it’s college experiences—the school fees are too high, professor giving you a hard time; or it’s adult life with bills, bills, bills, a tough job, family, (did I say bills?!) etc. you are reminded that God will work everything out. It’s super fun to sing, especially the end. Singing while with friends makes it even better as everybody can just pick a part and jam out.

Jesus in My Heart – I fell in love with Wayneche…’s voice after hearing this song. If Jesus wasn’t already in my heart, she’d definitely make me wish He was there. So soulful and stirring. I didn’t particularly love the instrumentals on this one, particularly the drum kicks. However Che’s voices makes me pay less attention to that. I love how it builds, and it kinda has an old school Kirk Franklin feel to it to be honest, especially with the verses being in unison. Can’t say I’m a big fan of the pre-vamp voice over; and I think the song could’ve gone without it, but it’s always hit or miss with those things—you like it or you don’t. Karim joins Che and adds some nice ad libs on the end while the song rises to its crescendo. The album shows versatility for music lovers with the “Give Me Jesus Outro”. If I wasn’t told, them Pine Forge Folks sure sound like the Aeolians! Nice collab with Adiel and Dr. Andrew Marshall and his pupils.

Real Talk Intermission –Adiel Thomas & Ministry OFFICIAL Branding 2

I actually liked this. I can totally see where if people are listening to this discussion, they’d probably pause and have their own discussion there and then. Definitely could see folks taking a break while still giving a curious ear to what was being discussed more than I could see where folks would just hit next. Being curious though I definitely wanted to hear what it was all about.

*I would just like to point out how much Toyin sounds like a pastor when he articulates his points lol. Stop fighting it TO!* He’s so passionate! Adiel and Janielle sound like they’re there to stir up the pot. Wilton brings that voice of reason/wisdom, and of course, Adiel breaks out in a random beat (as he always does if you really know him). It’s like there are unspoken teams in the discussion. Team Che/Toyin vs Team Adiel/Janielle and Karim is there just looking back and forth between the two sides, and chiming in periodically. I enjoyed it.

Get Thee Hence – This was always going to be my favorite song on this album HANDS DOWN. I’ve been looking forward to this one more than all the others, especially with my girl Nordia coming back and tearing up the vocals! I couldn’t imagine anyone else leading this song. And what a message after that real talk. Tell the devil to ‘tek weh himself’ of course! I remember when I first heard this song, I think I may have been the one who told Adiel it sounded like a war song and he HAD TO bring out the drum rolls for this one. He may remember differently but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Who can forget the first time they performed it? The dramatization! The vocals! The feels! The goosebumps! If you’re going into work expecting a fight with your boss, this is THE SONG you blast right before you step out that car. It’s a very intense song, and whenever you blast it, the devil knows you mean business. The back and forth between Adiel and Toyin at the beginning came across in a somewhat comical manner to me, but I’m not sure what the intent was there. I probably would’ve just gone with the music only. I love the cross genre sounds in this one. Contemporary/NeoSoul-ish, Latin and Reggae influences, expertly blended together. If you don’t listen carefully you’ll miss the “Let’s get it!” before the bridge *watches as you go back to play it and realize you missed it and say “ohhhhh”* Nordia really shows of her range in this one too, with a big finish. Satan definitely will get the message that he’s not welcome. Another little thing; the background vocals sounded a little hollow.

ATM-57God Knows – Okay, so the first part of the intro kinda creeped me out. I went from “what the!” to “jeeez… that sounds terrible”. But it segues perfectly into probably the most well-known and well-loved song on this album. The production of this song came a faaar way from where it was when it was first released, but it doesn’t stray from the original elements. A classic gospel ballad that gives the reminder that no matter what, God Knows. Toyin really ministers throughout the song. He has that soothing voice that really gets the message across. The song comes to a climax after the bridge, then comes down to a hush, with mostly the piano and with Janielle’s soft voice reminding that whenever we think we have it all together, we still falter, but God still knows and understands. It then builds right back up to the sweet promise that whatever you think affects you, GOD KNOWS! Ad libs are aplenty at this climax, but not one ATM-46of them feel out of place. This is probably the most spiritually uplifting song on the album. I will never forget when Shahaye teamed with Ministry on this one. There was hardly a dry eye left after this song… (Except mine 🙂 It was one of the most moving moments I’ve ever experienced at a concert. The spirit surely moved through this song.

Find My Way – Okay! I changed my mind! THIS IS MY NEW HANDS DOWN FAVORITE! Why nobody ain’t tell me that Stevie Wonder and Brian McKnight was on this album? This is Adiel’s solo track on this record. He starts out with “his favorite toy”—the piano—and proceeds to tell his story—one that is relatable to so many young Christians. The first measures of the piano sound like something out of an old black and white movie of a love story. In my imagination you can see a figure on a stage sitting at a dimly lit piano. It definitely grabs your attention and then hushes, leaving you trying to anticipate where it will go from there. With the interest piqued, one spotlight shines, showing Adiel at the piano, and he starts off with introspection, with only his voice and piano guiding the listeners along. He eventually comes to a crossroads, where fittingly the beat comes in, as well as the strings which really add a nice full sound to the music. For as long as I’ve known Adiel, I think this maybe his favorite beat of all time lol. (I may be wrong, but I doubt it). He shows off his impressive range as he tells the story of how he has to decide if he’ll serve God, and questions if the journey is worth it; something all of us can surely understand as we’ve asked ourselves the same thing many times. ‘Stevie’ comes out mostly on the 2nd verse, while ‘Brian’ takes over from the bridge.

I Will Stand – I remember the early days of the composition of this song. Couldn’t wait to hear the finished product, and I was very pleased with the result. Adiel’s favorite (so he says); it definitely has an old school underground gospel? jazz club feel to it. The static in the beginning gives it a radio effect, which was a nice idea. After ‘Finding His Way’, AT&M follow it up with this tune to remind everyone that no matter what we have to stand. And of course, what’s College without some RAP music? Adiel spits some clever rhymes (in an almost Fresh Prince kinda way) about his journey, and all he used to do before deciding that he’d finally do right by God and take a stand, and of course finishes off his ‘4 more bars’ in Jamaican deejay style with Janielle dropping a little scat in there. Duuuh. What’s a jazz tune without scatting? This song is a jazz lover’s delight.

Kingdom – This song, probably holds the most sentimental value for me, as a former group of Adiel’s, *SHOUTOUT SEEDS OF LOVE!!!* (which I happened to also be in) actually first sang this song. I remember the first concert, when the group was still called “Ministry”, Adiel stopped in the middle of the song, stopped the music; stopped everything and asked, “What if the roof was to open right now and God was to come this minute? How many of us could honestly say we’d be ready?” That thought struck me like a brick to the face, and I remember it every single time I hear this song. The perfect end to this album, we are left to contemplate. What really happens after we finish school and get all the achievements we want in life? What purpose do they really serve without being mindful of God’s imminent return? This simple but powerful song is a reminder that we need to be ready, because God’s Kingdom is really at hand. We really do need to get serious today. This song stays simple, not many fancy effects, but a profound message with the voices blending like your favorite juice mix, with a nice back and forth between unison and tight harmonies.

__________________

Recap: College Days tells the journey of a Christian young man and a wonderful group of young people and recreates experiences that the young college student can completely relate to, while still being relevant to those who may not necessarily be enrolled in school anymore, but are still part of the institution of life. It outlines the fact that we are not perfect and we will never be, but once we strive to give God everything, He’ll see us through.

Notable omissions: A Karim led song, a title track, and one or two other well-known songs that should’ve/could’ve been here too. (I know, I know—can’t have them all—*boohoo*—but still).

Rating: Overall, I definitely enjoyed MY College Days experience, and Adiel… don’t take 6yrs with the next one! I’d give it a rough estimate of 8.5/10.

It’s all over online. Hit up Amazon Music, iTunes, CD baby and buy buy buy! Support the Ministry!

ATM-98

Simple Lessons Learned from an Ingrown Hair Bump

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. Okay, actually this is the first, because I just migrated from Blogger! In any case, the thoughts for this post came to my mind like a flood and I had to share. I usually have pictures with these posts, but the relevant images I saw were pretty gross so I’ll pass this time. *shudders*

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Any man who has to shave his beard knows that from time to time, after our facial hair is cut, sometimes an unruly hair or two grows into the skin instead of out in the open like it is supposed to. This usually causes a painful bump, and the longer the hair stays under the skin, the longer you’ll have that bump and all the nice and wonderful painful things that come with it… like discomfort, irritability, pain, disfiguration, pain, and even embarrassment. Did I say pain? Yeah, definitely pain.

I was the privileged–and by that I mean cursed–recipient of one such ingrown hair bump. Usually when I get these I grab a pin and set the hair free. Problem was, I thought I already found the hair that was causing me bother, but apparently there was another in stealth mode that for about two weeks I could not locate. Every time the bump got swollen I’d squeeze it (sorry for the imagery) but it would always restore itself to what it was pre-squeeze, and sometimes it’d get bigger just for the heck of it. Oh joy.

Finally, one Friday evening before church, I decided I had enough, and I was not going to stop looking until I found that ingrown hair. At last, about 3 facial miles north of where I thought it was, I found the sucker and pulled it out. Jubilation! A week later, tonight (April 10, 2015), the application hit me like a brick.

  • Sometimes in our lives we have things in our lives that affect us. They can be sins, they can be problems, or bad habits. They are so deeply rooted in the skin of our lives that sometimes we pick at the surface, pick at the things we think are causing us pain, when the real problems lie hidden beneath. Sometimes it takes us a long time to find the things that affect us, and without real determination and God shining His revealing light upon us, we may never even find them.
  • Like me, every time the bump gets swollen, we squeeze and prod for a quick fix, and return the next day to find things worse than they were before. Until we allow God into our situation and use His word to pierce beneath the surface of our lives, these “ingrowns” will fester and cause us much pain, and while untreated could even lead to public embarrassment when they show their ugly heads.
  • I realize that even though I wanted the issue to be solved, it didn’t get solved until I got frustrated, decided that I had enough and I wouldn’t stop trying until the problem was fixed. We need to get to this place, where we are tired of these issues and cry out to God for deliverance. He’s patiently waiting to help, but it’s on us to recognize that we need Him and His will for our lives. On the flip side, He actually allows these things to occur, but He’ll never allow us to face more than we can handle.
  • I had such release after getting my ingrown hair out. Yes, it was a wound for a little bit and eventually it left a scar, but I knew I didn’t have to worry about it anymore. The pain was gone in an instant. The consequences of our sins and/or the results of our problems leave us scarred at times, but once we’re alive and able to tell the tale of our deliverance we ought to tell everybody we can. We should not be ashamed of our scars but use them to help others learn how to better navigate this maze called life, and even encourage ourselves and give hope when we face similar circumstances.

I never dreamed that something so small could teach so much, but God can use something as minuscule as a grain of sand, or as grand as a mountain to bring much needed lessons to us. Ever the innovator, now He uses our ingrown hairs! A dermatological spiritual lesson 🙂

What Does a Jamaican REEEALLY look like?

The “Jamaican look”
Photo credit: traveladventures.org

A who tell people seh ALL Jamaicans are weed smoking Rastafarians that all say, “yah mon”; “no problem mon” and apparently don’t speak English?
Translation: Who spread the rumor that all Jamaicans are weed smoking Rastafarians that all say, “yah mon”; “no problem mon” and don’t speak English? Smh.

I remember a couple months ago I went to play basketball in a pretty Caucasian area. I think along with a friend of mine, the population of black guys in that gym was a grand total of two. Yes; just me and him (if you didn’t catch that). Anyway, after playing a couple games (and losing :/) I was on the sidelines just kinda chatting to the guys who were waiting to play again. It somehow came to a point where I revealed that I was Jamaican and had just moved to New Jersey a few months prior. After hearing this one of the guys exclaimed, with the most sincerity as that of an innocent 5 year old child,


“And you learned English that fast?!”
*record scratch*

Stick a whole heap a pin.

In my mind I’m like… -_______- a weh da yute yah come from man? Clearly not Jamaica. Probably the part of America that thinks all there is in the whole word is just America, and English is only spoken there. That must be it.
I just kinda shrugged it off, you know, because I’m nice, and I proceeded to inform him that English is the language of my country. I even went on to explain that we also spoke patois, which is just broken English (as most of you know), and I pointed out that depending on where people are from in Jamaica, it could influence how they speak; as you will find that people from rural areas usually don’t speak as well as those from the urban areas. Of course there are exceptions.

Anyway, it seems people in other countries don’t think we speak well… or English… I wonder why?

I’m no researcher, so I just share my thoughts and opinion. I probably should research, but mi cyaa bodda. One day, but not today. My guess regarding where the perception of a Jamaican’s image comes from is that the image people seem to have associated with us (as outlined in the opening remarks) probably came from Bob Marley and other popular Jamaican musicians; then everybody else in the world just ran with it and thought we all looked like that until they visited the country for themselves or saw other Jamaicans that looked different. After all, our music played a big part into the country’s foray into the global stage. Wait, did I just say foray? Do Jamaicans use that word? Let me go ask that guy. Although, truth be told, he probably wouldn’t know that word. But he would know that we live in Banana huts 🙂
For many people worldwide, they’ve dropped the thought that we’re all rastas, but I think many still think most of us smoke weed. They say that’s why we’re so calm and happy all the time. Obviously they never heard of Bounty Killa.

Photo credit: urbanislandz.com

People I talked to here in the states were actually really surprised by the way Tessanne Chin looks. Last year when she was on season 5 of NBC’s “The Voice”, that was probably the first time several Americans saw a Chinese Jamaican. I guess they forget that there are Chinese Americans here too. I think though that every Jamaican who watched would agree that she represented us extremely well with how she spoke and carried herself. Never for a moment did she not own up her ‘Jamaican-ness’ and it came through several times while the whole world watched,

It doesn’t help when our other stars *not calling any names, Usain Bolt* try to sound like Americans whenever the international cameras are in their faces. Although, in the latest Puma Ad on tv, the guy whose name I didn’t mention actually didn’t sound like he added an accent. Maybe he got the message.

In a somewhat unrelated point, I found it interesting to note that Patois really is another language, even if we only think of it as broken English, because when spoken around ‘normal’ English speakers, they are completely clueless as to what we’re saying! When you’re in another country surrounded by people who aren’t Jamaican and you’re in Jamaican company, try it. It’s fun! You can say to anybody who’s not Jamaican “look pan da ugly s’mady deh! eeeh eeeh! Him cyaa do sum’n wid dat deh hair pan him head? No sah! Him fi do betta man!” and they’ll be like: “uuhhhhh… what?”

Priceless.

Not just Jamaica

As was so emotionally and emphatically pointed out by two of my Dominican friends (as in, the Island in the Eastern Caribbean and not the Dominican Republic, i.e. Haiti’s neighbour in the Northern Antilles [another of their pet peeves]), MOST–not all, because of course I’m an exception–Jamaicans are apparently just as ignorant as the young man and other Americans I’ve encountered. They related experiences where people thought they lived in thatch houses and didn’t have running water and that stuff. Like everywhere not named *insert wherever you’re from here* is some poor third world country with nothing but rivers, mountains and forests. However, because I’m Jamaican and this is my blog, I get to talk about it and they don’t, unless they start their own 😛 (it’s probably not that important to them anyway).

Photo credit: http://www.kavionart.com

Jamaica’s motto is: “Out of many; One people!”
The country is made up of people who are/are descendants of Africans, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Europeans and whatever other ethnicity you can think of. The same bodes for other countries in the world. It’s just for us to educate ourselves about other people–how they look, how they dress, their languages and culture, just as much as we’d want others to do the same with us.

Here’s a video just for kicks! Not meant to offend anybody, but it’s pretty funny!

My Punny Musical Story

I initially posted this to my fb timeline, but moooonths later I thought, “hey, for a spur of the moment story, sitting in a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot, it was pretty good and I should probably preserve it!” Could I find it though? Not a baxide! THANKFULLY, my blogmate, soulmate lol and friend Keneice had used it on the Sounds of Colour page and she sent it back to me… *phew*

Now, I shall have it forever. I will love it, cherish and name it Steve, because I have already named everything else George.

I was driving to the music store to Handel some business, when a real crotchet looking girl hit me in my Bach. She stopped and apologized for hitting the bass of my car and begged me not to call the police or her parents, because she would be in treble. She said she was 16 but she never looked a day over 9. In the back of her car were 3 boys. They looked like triplets.
Since the damage was at a minim, I told her I would take care of it, but she insisted on giving me a couple whole notes. She hurriedly drew up on a sheet of paper, and asked me for the time and my signature to agree to say nothing really happened.

Thinking about it now, I should have called her parents and told them what happened. Maybe they would beat her.

–Written by Alwayne Allen

Teehee! Isn’t music fun? Now to go get some rest. (See what I did there?)

Photo credit: raine0211.wordpress.com

Horrible Bosses: The Triumvirate of XYZ

Photo credit: dishmag.com

I’m writing this for a friend.* Seriously. Why? Because that’s what friends do! Duuuuh.

My friend has a problem. Well several to be honest. Okay, let’s put it this way–my friend has one problem that can be mostly divided into three. Lets call it the Triumvirate of XYZ.

Problem X, Problem Y and Problem Z. The X and Y could possibly represent the chromosomes that are found in the divisions of my friend’s problem. Z is just weird.

My friend works in an environment that is very culturally different from what he is accustomed to. My friend works for more than one department. He has a very interesting organizational structure and has to answer to multiple bosses. Sounds fun right?

Beneath the “big bosses” are a couple of sub-bosses if you will. Despite so many people to answer to, my friend gets along pretty well with everybody. He hasn’t had any major issue since being at his place of employment. However, beneath these sub-bosses are people who are like their assistants/understudies. Out of the five understudies emerges the Triumvirate of XYZ.

X tends to email a lot. That in and of itself is not bad, but my friend gets annoyed that X, who sits a grand total of about 17-20ft away, will call almost immediately after hitting send, to give the same instructions that were contained in the email. 10 minutes later X will call to find out if the task was already completed, even though she said he should let her know when he’s done. This greatly frustrates my friend. If he could. He would block her number. and IM… and eventually emails if necessary. He hasn’t figured out how to as yet.

Y is THE WORST of all 3. Y LOOOOVES to email, copy the entire company in the email, then walk over 1 minute later to ask if my friend saw the email. My friend wishes to punch Y in the throat sometimes. Just for the heck of it. Y also believes that everything he has to do is top priority, and behave as if he works harder than everyone else, even attempting to lord his alleged 12 hour shift over my friend. Some nerve. It’s not my friend’s fault that he isn’t allowed to do O.T.. Y would love if my friend dropped all he had to do and do all his bidding at his behest. Sounds like Y needs a minion.
Y likes to bring some impossible tasks to my friend, or things that aren’t part of my friend’s job to do and if my friend tries to wiggle out of it, of course Y sends another email and copies some more important people. My friend sometimes responds “ok” in email in the hope that Y will negate coming to his desk. It doesn’t really work. Sometimes my friend gives Y the death stare. And a slight attitude. He’s not sure if Y is aware when he’s received either of the two. He intends to continue to do this.
My friend believes people should do what they’re supposed to and not try to pawn their stuff on him. I would agree.

Z is very, very, weird. Z talks in a kind of whisper that irritates my friend. He also moves his head a lot while speaking. Z’s boss, who is one of the sub-bosses seems to like to communicate to him and not to my friend. Z then tries to tell my friend what to do, but my friend banishes him and lets him know that his boss ought to communicate whatever is needed directly to him. If what is required entails helping out, then, and only then will my friend listen to Z. Hmm, maybe my friend should redirect his frustration to Z’s boss… Hmm. oh well, Not my problem.
My friend says one time Z tried to get him to do his work. Little did he know that my friend was smarter than that. My friend got all the materials for the task, brought them to Z’s desk and let him know all he needed was there. With that, my friend returned to his desk. Z never knew what hit him. Of course he had to do it. Z also likes to put on this desperate look, like he’ll die if he doesn’t get help from my friend/get my friend to do his work. My friend usually doesn’t care for the look; and Z is still alive when last I asked, sooo… yah.

It amazes my friend that most of the actual bosses hardly require much, while their subordinates seem to be the ones always in his skin. He knows however that it is only for a time, and will continue to do the best he can, and do what he’s supposed to do. If someone gets punched in the throat though, he has asked me to testify that he has been going senile. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Finally out of this blogging slump! Mercy! I can’t tell when last I wrote something! *checks* February 26, 2014. WOOOW! 7 months ago. Maaaan. Guess I really took a Sabbatical from blogging. I suppose that’s how it is when you have work, church, singing, basketball, tennis, bass guitar, gym, occasional outings and whatever other randomosity you wanna put in there. I hardly watch anything on TV except for sports. I really need to do better. Ah well, till next time! Maybe then I’ll write something about me, and let y’all know how things are going. We shall see!

P.S.
*This post may or may not have been for a friend.
  Also N.B. this was not a rant 🙂

11 Reasons Why You SHOULD Hate Snow.

If you’ve never experienced snow before; DON’T!

I’M SOOO SERIOUS!

It’s EXACTLY like a barbie doll, it just looks pretty, but it naa nuh use! You don’t believe me? Fine. Lemme break it down to you (and even then, I’m pretty sure if you’ve never experienced it, you’re still gonna want to… you know… just because. Yuh too nuff, a dat do yuh >_< )

So what happens when it snows? Well my dear brethren and friends, this is what happens:

Everybody wants to make snow
angels! Even I used to want to…
In the good old days when like
you, I didn’t know it was evil yet.

1. Snow is fun… but… Face it. I’m sure you’re hoping to one day dive in the snow, ski/sled/snowboard, make snow angels, build snowmen, women & children, and have snowball fights. That’s all well and good, and these activities really are fun, but it takes several inches (or even a foot or more) of snow to make these fun activities possible. It would be absolutely great if snow figured out a way to just fall on the grass and open lots, while avoiding the roads, walkways, driveways and parking spots; but the white stuff doesn’t have GPS apparently. Bummer. Have fun shoveling to make way to walk! (Btw, depending on how moist that stuff is, it’s HEAVY.) You wanted snow? Enjoy your back and arm workout. Oh, speaking of GPS, that leads me to point #2.

2. It makes driving even more difficult. Some people already couldn’t drive good from mawnin’ and now this just mek it rersara! (Worse-er-er–full ghetto style). The visibility can be pretty poor if snow’s coming down real hard, and your poor wipers may not be able to fully fend it off. WORSE if it’s the kind with ice that sticks to your windshield. Hope you have plenty anti-freeze wiper fluid! Also, if you hate skidding, a snow covered road is not for you, as the higher the snow, the more likely you are to skid. They will actually close certain roads where the conditions are too bad. They really should make every vehicle have at least a switch to become 4WD during the winter… *le sigh* (yuh know who nuh have 4WD right?)
Snow basically causes a domino effect of things to happen, so I’m just going down the line here. Point #3.

3. If you’re skidding all over the place, or you know you will be, yuh cyaa guh no weh! When it snows, if you don’t have to go anywhere, kip u ‘kin quiet and knit or read a book. The last thing you want to do is skid and fall in a ditch and yuh cyaa come out. Dat naa play.

A classic snow plough.

4. Snow causes potholes! If you thought that 1st world countries don’t have potholes, think again. Or better yet, visit only in the summer time. Holes should be fixed by then. Maybe. But during the winter? The roads are a mess! This is all (okay… mostly) due to the evil white stuff from the sky! When the roads are snow covered, the plough trucks have to come and push the snow away, and they erode the road surface, creating huge craters for your driving pleasure.

Smirnoff Black Ice

5. All evil things have evil friends. Snow’s evil friend is called Ice. Ice is very dangerous. Skidding on ice is worse than snow. It creates lots of accidents and you have to drive reeeeeally slowly all the time. Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll still have accidents, even when you are extremely careful. It happens. Probably should just display all your insurance details on your car during the winter. And how could I forget that ultra special Ninja Icecalled “Black Ice”. You don’t see it, but it sees you, and when you skid in black ice, just prepare for the worst. Naturally, ice affects walking too. You have to have shoes with very good grip, and yuh shoes coulda good suh til; but the best shoe is still no match for the nature made ‘Slip n’ Slide’. I wouldn’t blame you for wearing track spikes in this kind of weather.
P.S.A: If you do not possess a large tuchus, please have adequate padding to cushion your fall. That is all.

6. This wintery weather will causes States of Emergency all the time. When I was in Jamaica, the only time there was ever a State of Emergency was during a Hurricane, or if Dudus was around hiding from the Babylon man dem while his cronies engaged said Babylon in a shootout. How would you like a State of Emergency everytime 6 or more inches of snow happens? Every week at that! It’s no fun, because (and I’ll just segue into point #7)
7. Everything is closed and postponed. This can be good and bad I suppose. When it snows, work may close–depending on your field of work (sorry nurses, CNAs, Wal-Mart employees–messed up but it serious–and snow ploughers, but your people need you). However, if you’re a temp/hourly paid worker; hush. You can make up the pay next week. Maybe. Oh wait, two snow days next week too? Bwoy yuh salt rasta! (I’ll pretend I don’t know how this feels (._.)
If you’re a gym junkie (like me–I admit it now), even though the gym is 5mins away; they’re closed too, so you can’t take advantage of not having work. Bummer. (Plus your mother will probably cuss yuh and ask weh yuh tink yaa guh and if yuh cyaa miss gym fi one day -__-).

Oh! If you were planning to go to that big concert, you know, the one you spent $200USD on for tickets,
*New York accent* FUGGEDDABOUDIT! You’ll probably get a refund, since it’s not Jamaica (sorry homeland but a true) or they’ll have it another day if you’re lucky. Things will get cancelled all the time, thanks to the tiny white pellets of destruction from the sky.

So beautiful right???

And wrapping up: 9. Snow looks NASTY when it’s been around for a while. Trust me, you know how yuh couldn’t believe how Bredda So and So nice, nice pure (like bulk syrup) daughter bore up di whole of her good up good up bothy, full a bere tattoo and did that awful hairstyle you didn’t like? Same suh snow stay. White and pretty when it’s fresh, and then brown/black and DUTTY when it stale. Nuhbadi nuh waa si dat.

10. Too much snow (if you’re in the mountains) = Avalanche. An avalanche is like a landslide, just that it’s snow (and whatever else the snow is taking down with it that you can’t see). It can be very dangerous to have all that heavy white stuff fall on you. Several people have lost their lives. Avoid all mountains and hills when it snows.

Also, though surprising; snow tends to happen mostly above freezing temperatures, I’ll still point out the obvious, in the final point, number eleven:

11. Time cowl yuh fenneh
(Jamaica’s tropical weather anyone? Me miss! Me miss! o/ )

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JUST TO BE BALANCED AND FAIR, I guess because of the journalist in me, I actually looked up the Benefits of snow. I was surprised that there actually were any. Courtesy of this site and this one. (My reactions are in bold).

1. One major benefit of a good snow cover is snow functions as an excellent insulator of the soil. Without snow, very cold temperatures can freeze the soil deeper and deeper. This could lead to damage of root systems of trees and shrubs. That’s actually pretty good BUT! (my grinch moment) Heavy snow can damage trees and shrubs as the weight accumulates on branches. Aha!

2. Small animals, such as voles (field mice) are now protected from predators. These pests may gnaw on tender bark at the base of young tree trunks and the stems of shrubs. Voles also will tunnel on the surface of lawns under the snow, making very visible winding trails as the snows melt in spring. Rabbits will also be more likely to feed on tender bark when the ground is covered. To this I say, SOOOOO?! Afta wi nuh like rat!

3. One final positive on the snow is the enhanced visibility of some landscape plantings. Trees and shrubs with ornamental bark, such as red twig dogwood or river birches, look more brilliant. Ornamental grasses left standing from last season are much more visible. Evergreens may look much greener, especially when a bright red cardinal is sitting in them. Meh. Mek dem move n gweh wid dat! Bout look brilliant. Brilliance naa help me shovel.

4. Melting snow provides needed moisture to many plants. Even dormant plants continue to lose moisture as water evaporates through their branches. Okay, I suppose that’s good…

5. Snow also replenishes the water supply. You may have heard that 10 inches of snow equals 1 inch of rain, but it’s actually much more complex than that… Alright, alright. Fine, two good things; three tops!

So anyway… After reading all this, are you still excited for snow? If you are; good for you. All I have to say to that is:

Bah! Humbug!

(Enjoy the scenery).


Simple Life Lessons Re-Learned In Traffic

One has lots of time to think while driving alone on the open road. Whether or not one chooses to think at this time is another thing. Most of us probably will rather listen to the radio or music, or even talk on the phone; of course with Bluetooth headsets or earphones, because clearly we’re all responsible, right? Duh! *crickets chirp*

Yeah… thought so.

It was that kind of morning for me (when I initially started writing this) where the hyperactive gears in my hyperactive head on my hyperactive body (you get the jist) started turning rapidly. It was about 8:50 a.m., and I was late for work, because of course, misery is to company, as lateness is to traffic. During the crawl, it occurred to me: Life is just like traffic! I couldn’t wait to get on a p.c. to write this down. Before you try to preempt me, thinking of the ways life can be compared to traffic; RED light! Stop–Lemme tell you first and then you think about it afterwards. Feel free to add more points in the comments. Vámonos!

1. Changing Lanes – Isn’t it amazing how the other lanes around you always seem quicker, but as soooon as you switch, they turn out not to be (most times)? I hate it when that happens! Sometimes in life, it’s best you stay where you are, instead of trying to get ahead of everybody quickly. In traffic, if you think about it, you only really save a minute or two to get to your destination (if so much), so why rush? In our lives, we are in our respective situations for good reason. Like me, in my current mid-middle-youngish age crisis, you may not see why things are taking so long to happen for you, but you’ll find out in time (NOTE TO SELF). For those who believe, we have an all-knowing God, who allows everything to happen for a reason. Just be patient and you’ll get to where you need to be before too long. Also–on the flip-side–sometimes things are clearly moving well in the other lane, but because of fear, or being stubborn, we stay in our crawl, watching the world fly by. Don’t get laid back and stagnant in this world, and don’t let anything stop you from moving ahead!

2. Sloooooooow drivers – We all detest getting behind these people. Some grandma or grandpa who hasn’t a care in the world, or some overly cautious person is driving HEXTREMLY (H hadded for hemphasis) slow and holding you back. May not be on purpose, but they’re causing a pile up that you don’t want to be behind. People and things come into our lives and can become obstacles, holding us back from achieving our goals and dreams and getting where we need to be. You can allow them to if you want; if you have nowhere to go and you’re driving aimlessly. However, if you got things to do, places to be, people to see; stress not! As soon as you break the corner–whatever your corner is–there’ll be an open stretch of road for you to zip by, leaving them to hold you back no more.

3. Aggressive/Bad drivers – “EEEEEEEDIAT!” “Ole monkey!” “Goat!” (daddy’s favourite lol) or “@%#%!!!” are just some of the many endearing terms we use to describe people who bad drive us/are overly aggressive on the road. If you get angry and retaliate or return the aggression, you could end up in trouble (or dead) the way the world runs these days. Most times I have to just opt for being calm, smart and driving safely; as much as I’d rather to run into someone’s back for bad-driving me. I’ll wait til I get my monster truck anyway. However! My monster truck is not the lesson (but get one if you can, less people will bad drive yuh). The lesson is actually found in the bible, in Proverbs 15:1, where “A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger”. When people in this life get to you with their piggish behaviour and nasty attitudes, just avoid the mess if you can, and DO. NOT. RETALIATE. If you have to, don’t be like them. Handle things in a dignified and controlled way and doe mek nobody draw yuh out. It’s a very hard thing to do, and I’m sure we wish we could punch people in the face and walk away unscathed when they mess with us. I mean, you could try if you want, but key word is “unscathed” here… If you know you’re here for a bigger purpose and you have better things to do than to be like these folk, good sense will prevail and you’ll brush off the incidents and keep on truckin’.

4. Stoplights – Ah yes; good ole stoplights–keeping people safe since 1942. Okay, I totally made that year up. (I googled and saw, 1912, 1914, and 1920. It’s one of them, but idk which :s ) How many times do we get warnings from the amber (yellow), and we just speed up and go through trying to beat the red? If you have my luck, chances are you’ll get a ticket after being accused of running a red light 30 seconds from your house, the FIRST DAY AFTER GETTING YOUR LICENCE after driving  ALL day (thanks stupid Jamaican police–I didn’t speed up and it was amber when I turned!) OR you’ll actually try to beat the amber, but instead break the red and go through and get caught (photo-ticket). Worse case, you could crash into an oncoming vehicle and get injured, be placed in a state of carrot, lettuce and tomato-ness, or die! Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat! YET, all the time, everywhere around us, we get warning signs: left, right, centre, up, down, in front, behind and all inna the middle if it can guh suh too. And what do we do? Ignore them and go on with our business until bad happens or we get hurt. Then, we start to bawl and say “if mi did know!” Follow the warning signs in your life. They may not come in 3 colours of red, amber and green, but they come in all shapes and sizes. They could be people like your friends and family, complete strangers even, things that happen, or whatever else you can think of. Open your eyes, ears and mind to the signs and obey them, as they are there to keep you safe and well.

5. People who turn on you suddenly (no indicator) – *Bounty Killa voice* As I were highlight aredi inna wan blog I are were compose long time (<— read there), di people dem who do dis fi bun up. Straight up and down. Yuh jus does not does dat. 'Cause tell yuh what; if I were to are lick dem, I are have to guh pay money, even doe is dem dat are bad drive me, yuh dig? *Ahem* Nothing annoys me more than when someone switches lanes on you suddenly with no indication, or my favourite–indicate after they've already almost killed you off and have navigated 3/4 of the way into their maneuver! Like, what the hell you have a turn signal fah if yuh naa guh use it?! Grieve me!!! And some will have the audacity to look at you afterwards and be like, "what?" like nothing happened, or some unspoken derivative of the stupid thing kids say these days that goes:

I don’t even have to spend time on this. These days, it’s hard to trust people. Even those closest to you, the ones you never thought ever would, or ever could; turn on you in an instant. They leave you with your mouth agape and with your situation in tatters, wondering how you never saw it coming. Time too serious now; gotta be sober and vigilant! Watch carefully and trust only a few. Anything can happen at any time. Protect yourself.

6. People who overtake a line of traffic – they may get to the top quickly, but if they keep driving like that all the time they won’t be driving for too long. You may see people; living large; fancy clothes; fancy lifestyle; all the latest everything–and you haven’t a clue how they even got there. Could be drugs, could be a “link”, could be dishonesty, could be who they slept with, or they could have very well gotten there honestly. Whichever way they did, your concern should be about yourself and ensuring that you go about things the right way, so at the end of the day, nobody can successfully accuse you of faking your way to the top, when you get there. It’ll all be because of the effort and hard work you put it. Jus watch all the #TeamBadmind people dem in your rear-view mirror *so you can check your back* then cut and guh tru!

7. Breakdowns on the road – It could happen to you. It could happen to me. It can happen anytime, any place, anywhere. You really never know when your car will breakdown. Life throws curve-balls at us when we least expect it. People break down, whether due to death, job situations, depression… etc.
This can happen to any of us. Hopefully though, like in this encounter I had, someone will be there to help us, or we will be the ones to extend help to someone who needs it.

8. Snow, Hail and Inclement weather – As I have come to learn VERY quickly–NOTHING sucks worse than driving in snow! Not a damn thing! I live 3-5mins away from my gym, and it took me just about an hour to get there because of snow. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat! Also, I hate how people drive so slowly when it rains too, causing massive traffic build-ups. I mean, I know we have to be more cautious in bad weather, but I’m pretty sure it’s okay to go more than 5mph/15kmph in the rain! Just the same, life brings elements that slow us down all the time. Our job is to be patient (hard as that may be for me), keep in good spirits and smile; knowing that the sun will shine again. May not shine tomorrow, or the next day… or the next day… or the day after that… or even next week. But it will. Just wait for it!

Looks fun right? (This is in a parking lot btw)

9. Kind Drivers – I believe there are VERY FEW kind people on the roads, who will give a “bly” an’ ting; especially in traffic! Most times people gwaan like seh if you let one car in front of you, it’ll make you 10 minutes later to get to your destination than maybe 20 seconds or so. For me personally, I think I’m nice enough. If you behave yourself on the road, unless I’m going too fast to stop, or I see you too late, I’ll let you in the line. But, if yuh gwaan like yuh big an’ bad and try to squeeze me out or you try to overtake a line and then cut in front of me; as best as I can–I’m keeping you out. If however my car is in danger of getting scratched or hit; as MUCH as I’d LOOOVE to smash into a few people and go about my business, I will let them in for my own safety. It’s always so refreshing though, when some random person sees all the other cars zipping past you while you try to get into the other lane so you don’t miss your turn, and they slow down and flash their lights to let you know you can go. These nice people in life seem very few, as opposed to those who don’t make this a practice and always seem to speed up when you put on your literal or figurative indicator, forcing you to pull out of your maneuver to save yourself from hurt/injury. It also feels good when you do the same for someone and they acknowledge your kindness. If everybody who reads this can be one of the kind persons, then life will be that much better for those we come across. Obviously, we can’t give everybody a “bly”, but being kind souls will be appreciated by most (sadly not all) of the people’s lives we touch.

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I probably never said anything new or earth shattering that you didn’t already know, but I hope that as we drive literally on the roads, and journey on the pathways of life we’ll bear these things in mind for a better commute and improved quality of life.