My profile pic is me in a wifebeater

I'm watching the FreshTV coverage of Cup Match today, and right now the match is interestingly poised with Somerset out cheaply in their first innings and St. George's in a spot of difficulty replying to the score. Game could go in any direction from here.

Of course we still have our so-proud tradition of players questioning umpire decisions and trying to intimidate opponents, making more mockery of the gentlemen's game...

What's quite strange is when FreshTV puts up their player profile charts and so far at least two players photos are of them in freaking wifebeater vests. No cricket uniform, or blazer, anything looking reasonably professional.

Who thought that this was a good idea for the players to be represented in this way? WTF?

Welcome to the iiiiiiiiisland (tm).


Road adventures continue

Sometimes when crazy crap happens on the road I don't even bother to get angry. The powers that be have convinced themselves that their current policy of trusting the driving public to change their bad habits and utilizing the "please slow down and be courteous and wear a seatbelt and don't make a third lane blaaah blaaah" message every weekend is such a success that they'll continue with it for the remainder of the year.

Keeps the auto repair shops in business, as well as the personal insurance companies, of course.

Anyway I'm riding along Middle Road towards town and this woman approaches the exit of Chapel Road. She pauses, looks in my direction!, and then bolts a half a length into Middle Road before realizing that I'm actually not stationary but actually moving.

I was attentive enough to see the whole thing unfold and was prepared to stop quickly if this woman had indeed failed to give way by driving all the way onto Middle Road, but what if I was a little bit closer to the junction? It was a bright day and I'm positive that my bike could be seen from that distance. Would I have been able to avoid this sudden chunk of metal that appeared in my lane?

I rode along, knowing in the back of my mind I just avoided one of those so-called "accidents" they keep talking about.

Next time, I'll probably be closer to an unavoidable situation. Because nothing's going to change, thanks to the great combination of TPTB doing nothing as far as policy and enforcement and drivers knowing the score and continuing to drive carelessly.


more BeachLime problems

Serve me right for procrastinating. My domain name seems to be hijacked although it still shows up as being owned through my current crappy host.

Pissed doesn't begin to describe how I'm feeling right now. I need this thing rectified asap. Damn.


What goes into blogging

I was glancing through the archives earlier just to see what month had turned out to be my busiest in terms of volume of posts. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find out that December 2007 was by far my most prolific time, with 27 posts in that period. January 2008 trailed behind in second place. Of course the main headlines featured the fierce local elections, proving that politics remains a popular discussion topic desipte its capability to frustrate people.

My blog was never intended to dive too deeply into politics; after all there were good Bermudian political blogs out there at the time such as politics.bm. So I could focus on keeping my blog's original purpose - provide commentary about anything or nothing, honing my web design skills and using it as a means to communicate with others without necessarily bombarding people with random e-mails.

But politics has a weird way of staying on the scene. It's not like religion, where one person can declare that Mary for instance never physically died and someone else argue strongly in the opposite fashion, and no physical or mathematical facts can be called upon as evidence. Here, we can look at policies and initiatives and campaign strategies, and analyse how effective they are, and yet still bring in issues of ethics and morality to the debate.

I like to think about how each of the individual blogs formed, evolved and operate today. 21 Square may be the closest to mine in terms of aim and intention although the author is more dedicated to research and providing stats to back up his thoughts. Devil Island may also be a bit of a kissing cousin as it's not geared to be a political blog.

Then you have Vexed, Longtail, Freshie and Catch-a-Fire which I'm pretty sure were intended to focus directly on political issues. I'll also include the on-hiatus New Onion and Imho.bm (which itself forms part of what I term the 4 Horsemen) for this purpose. Built with the initial purpose of presenting opinions and views primarily geared to political issues.

I think I want to include Bermuda Fables into this grouping as well, although it's probably more suited to the former group because there are some discussion items that don't fall into the political realm as much. Where Fables (and Longtail for that matter) differ from the rest of us is that the writing perspective is from a female, a demographic not represented with any significant volume in the online discussion arena. Simply put, local women don't post in the blogs and forums. You may be able to argue that men are more likely to be on a computer because of technical inclinations, but (a) creating a blog is as easy as setting up a hotmail account and (b) lots of local women go online - see Facebook and Myspace.

Prog Minds, which is also distinct in that it was a creation of a political party rather than an individual, is also strictly political. But it can't be considered to be in the same realm. That site had a defined strategy and served the additional purpose of being a promotional tool for the PLP.

Which brings us to the Jewel. The newest issues-oriented blog is aimed squarely at political discussion; with the input of the authors of established bloggers at CaF (male) and Fables (female) it has the capacity to emerge as the most popular of all. There's an additional element of this particular blog in that it aims to foster greater citizen input and involvement outside of the blogosphere. It's taken great care to explain that it's not its own political movement, but is willing to promote the formations of new 'grass-roots' movements that may be seen to have an impact on a new form of government that empowers the everyday person more than the current systems in place.

Can the political blogs, however, keep up their pace and resolve? We've seen quite a few storm on the scene but leave, citing a kind of mental exhaustion where they've put forward their opinions, had people comment on them, but seen the powers that be go in a direction totally opposite from what they believe is the right way to go. Only CaF and Jewel by extension have shown much activity in recent weeks; Vexed recently also taking a break from active posting. That said, politics.bm went on for over 5 years and so did Limey, although I don't think Limey started out as a political blog by any stretch. These two blogs, along with Imho.bm and the defunct BravoZulu.bm, formed my proverbial "Four Horsemen" and pretty much helped to launch the exploding growth of the Bermuda blogging community. Guess that the added publicity in the Gazette helped. But if you look at the blogging community, you'll see the changes. One may have scoffed and said, "oh 4 white fellas - clearly biased, yadda yadda yadda"; but hey now we have a couple black fellas, a few white fellas, a white female, a couple black females;... it's getting there.

Our blogoshpere continues to evolve.


Still with Michael Jackson?

HLN is stilllll yammering about Michael Jackson, apparently. No wonder people complain that there's "nothing on TV" despite having 80+ channels to choose from.

Thanks to the Internet era this is going to easily eclipse Princess Di and Elvis for drawing out somebody's passing away. How many days until the NFL returns?...


Volleyball in the rain? No problem

Got to fill in this evening in the BVA Summer League... braving some heavy showers and potential thunderstorms, yep brings back the ol' Kolij memories huh. Got to update my "Days Since" ticker... now only if I can get back into bowling. Wife despises it so I'm likely waiting either for someone to host an event or the company have a fun night. What can ya do...

As for volleyball itself, maybe more later on my favourite sport and why I don't get to play it as regularly as I used to/want to.

Why don't you wash your hands?

One of the strangest phenomena of living in a 'developed country' appears to be that despite the proliferation of bacteria, germs and other viruses that are easily spread, there are people around who don't wash their hands after being in a public restroom, such as on the job, or in an airport.

I mean, even if you weren't brought up so as to wash your hands after going to the toilet, wouldn't you have at least read the advisories showing how easily those little nasties can get spread in a public place, and adjust your habits accordingly?

I'm kind of afraid to shake anybody's hand now. Going to use the company-provided desktop hand sanitizers from now on, that's for sure.

This too, shall pass (II)

As first reported on the PLP party site, the ruling political party is going to try to keep a united front and retain the current party hierarchy. I don't think that this result should particularly surprise anyone, despite the events of recent days where MPs (including ones with Ministerial control) publicly spoke out against their Premier over a myriad of issues.

I suppose that the party is going to try to back up their statement with a number of declarations aimed at promoting an outward appearance of unity. With the opposition UBP still unable to declare the way forward for them and losing members every House session, it's a ripe opportunity for the PLP to regain trust and confidence by the public, despite many people declaring that they're done with supporting the PLP.

Again, another master stroke by the Premier.

What remains to be seen: with El James and Terry Lister no longer holding Ministerial portfolios, how will the Premier allocate the vacant posts. He doesn't appear to have many loyalists available, and the ones who are do not have much experience in either those fields or as Ministers themselves. Perhaps a reshuffle of the deck is in the cards.


It couldn't be because I'm black, right?

Saturday night my wife and I had a nice dinner at the blu restaurant at Belmont, and then go to check out a friend's wedding reception after party at The Deep night club. As we get there we see a couple of people that we recognised and got to make some small talk with them. We're about to step inside when this staff member walks up to us and asks us "Can I help you?". Instinctively I explain that we're about to go to the night club then the guy immediately brushes us aside to I assume have a chat of some kind with the guys responsible for giving out the wristbands. But as we turn around we realize that the staff member did not ask anybody else if they needed help. We also noticed that we were the only black people in the vicinity.

Now, I'm no icon of fashion, but I'm sure I wasn't dressed like a hoodlum or someone potentially dangerous. We didn't look like we were lost, in fact we had just finished talking to the groom (by the way the groom looked sharp and the bride absolutely stunning).

To the two of us, the conclusion was clear. And we were completely disgusted by it. Unfortunately I didn't get the guy's name (my wife may have), but we weren't in much mood to party afterwards and left fairly quickly after that. Way to ruin a good night with what seemed to be an assumption that because we were black that we could not have any reason to be hanging out at this reception.

I'm sickened even now thinking about those events. Screw them.

Political gamesmanship

Pretty bold, to say the least, was the Premier's calling of a vote on a controversial bill after seemingly telling everybody that it wouldn't be called.

Even if it had passed, how can it have really gotten made into law by a Senate that would have seen the sneaky tactics used to get it to their door anyway?

Some MPs are apparently very upset about the tactics used, and it's hard to blame them. Considering the Premier himself said that he's not going to put forward a bill unless he's sure it would get passed, you'd have expected him to go back to the drawing board, work with his fellow MPs and come up with something more palatable for all MPs in his party.

Was he under pressure to get this settled before the summer recess?

Apparently the PLP is going to have a Central Committee meeting this week where presumably this situation will be discussed. Could there be a call for resignations, or a restructure of some sort? Or even the chance that members could be censured? Or even a situation where Parliament is forced to dissolve? Yikes, but maybe the snowball has begun to roll down the mountain.

Bob your head for three easy payments...

I just love ads, don't you?...

This device is supposed to strengthen the muscles in your neck and tone the skin, and sure it doesn't make one think about other activities that this simulates, no sirree bob,...

Tell you what, though, it's really cool (well, funny, at least) what these inventors come up with and the TV ads that are produced to hawk them.

HLN = National Enquirer TV

When did HLN, formerly CNN Headline News, become less of a news outlet and more of a show business/entertainment online version of TMZ? The only time I actually feel interested in that network is when Robin Meade is on (yeah, got a little crush on her) but the stories seem to be nothing but fluff, and they've been running Michael Jackson "investigative reports" nonstop for the past two weeks.

I get it, the average American viewing audience is probably more interested in Michael Jackson's death, Jon and Kate, 'reality TV' and the latest sex scandal among politicians,... but damn I'm glad the BBC is available to watch in the same cable package.


Return of the LttEs

I'm overseas again but have been able to follow some of the goings-on this week, and not for the first time I'm impressed with some of the content in the Gazette opinion and LttE columns.

First from the LttEs: I'm not "Hope Springs Eternal" from Southampton but the letter posed by him/her was brilliant. Any new political movement cannot thrive if current politicians are involved. That also includes Khalid Wasi, for one, and may also be applied to former politicians. People like Renee Webb or Stuart Hayward may yet to have a voice in local politics, for example, but they still represent something of a 'relic' perspective. If Jamahl Simmons didn't show up at the PLP rally donning a green shirt he *could* have been an option, perhaps. But no, ideas must be seen as fresh and unsullied by the current perception of same ol' politricking.

The very first listed letter asks the Gazette to omit defining race in its articles, and this could be a good idea to trot out. Without defining race, the reader is probably not going to come to snap judgements about what people say. It's unfortunate, but that's modern-day Bermuda for you.

A whole bunch of commentary about the Premier's actions is in today's column and they're all pretty poignant. Almost all are critical, but previous publications do have letters in support of the decision. I think that's fairly representative of what the general population thinks of the situation; many people just don't like the decisions made without discussion with the Governor, and think that the whole "immigration" response is baloney.

It ends with a call to keep a new city park tidy and free from vagabound-types. I have seen the situation that the author mentions about the pedestrian crossing now only being accessible by going into the road - it's really piss-poor and somebody should be slapped for not fixing that issue beforehand.

The Sports Editor has a new piece as well; often his writing comes across as a pointless rant, but sometimes it makes good sense and this is one of those times. The Island Games have served our 'minor' sports quite well and even our established sports like track and field and sailing have seen benefits. With international football currently running backwards, perhaps the bar needs to be lowered and development using the Island Games should be considered by the football PTB.

He mentions that many of the sports facilities in Aland are funded by revenues from a gaming sector; I like that. I've always thought that supporting sport and the arts is a great way to distribute earnings from such ventures, and if Government does elect to go that route it's potentially a good win-win situation. We need small-island solutions for our small-island society, and if we observe what places like Aland, Faroe Islands, our neighbours in the Caribbean and others do, we can learn what to consider implementing and what to avoid like the plague.

He ended up with an assault on the big-game fishing community. Now I don't have a full opinion on sport fishing, except that I think it's a bit of a pointless pursuit. Fishing shouldn't really be a sport, rather an activity with the end result being food on the table, with the entertainment value of finding and reeling in the fish factoring in. It's interesting, I have to admit, and something ordinarily not on Bermudians' radar.


Supporting football

Kyle Lightbourne is absolutely correct. The Bermuda Hogges aren't going to get the local support that a professional team needs to thrive. Local clubs get more fan support by a mile, and while people will flock to get an Arsenal or Liverpool jersey, for instance, you're not going to see many people wearing Bermuda Hogges jerseys.

Despite the best efforts of the guys behind the Hogges outfit as well as the Island Soccer League, it's looking like a futile effort to take the quality of football to a higher level. Best they can hope for is getting the top individual talents noticed to the point where they may be able to sign for a higher-level league squad overseas and make the national programme a more cohesive and promising unit.

That's just how it is. Football may be a national sport, but domestic success is the limit for the island. Government should allocate funding to the BFA accordingly in future.


Smaller portions

One of the signs of the economic crunch in Bermuda seems to be the diminishing size of portions from the takeout places.

I just got a lunch from Chopsticks and not only am I getting less pieces than say 6 months ago, they're smaller as well.

It's only a matter of time before we start seeing conspicuously smaller containers as well...


Welcome the Jewel

As discussed in other media forms, a new Bermuda blog has been created, it's known as Bermuda JEWEL (JEWEL being an acronym for 'Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education and Liberation') and carries instant name-recognition by one of the creators being a former Government senator.

The post at Catch-A-Fire provides greater detail into its creation and development process. I'm impressed by the fact that they have a FAQ page of sorts even before the first set of 'Q's have been posed! Heh.

The aims of this blog are note-worthy and if this leads to the blogosphere picking up a greater quantity of contributors, particularly female ones, that can only be a good thing.

Oh, and I'm going to beat everybody else in the blogosphere and be the first to add it to my blog listings... woohoo...