Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Kill Giants

On Monday, one of my friends lent me a graphical novel entitled "I Kill Giants"by Joe Kelly. The cover seemed innocent enough. Just a picture of a the face a of a cartoonishly drawn little girl. When you turned the cover of the book at a particular angle, you could see the light outline of little fairies scatter all over the cover. The back of the book had no synopsis, just some review comments. When I asked him what it was about, all he could say that it was about a little girl and that anything more than that would be a spoiler. He also said that it would make me cry, which it didn't by the way (well the tears were there but at least they didn't leave my eyes).

Now, to tell you about this, I'll have to tell the story contained within the novel, which is pretty much the spoiler to end all spoilers, so I'm not going to tell you. The book is way way WAY too awesome for you to get a crappy summary on a blog. I'll tell you this much though. The little girl, the protagonist of the story, has a very unique way of dealing with some serious issues affecting her life. It's a book about fighting against something so very hard that you don't even realize that that isn't what you're supposed to be fighting against. Sometimes the enemy isn't out there. Sometimes the enemy is in you. It's in your denial to accept the truth, in you struggle to believe in your self-righteousness. Sometimes the giant is of our own creation.

On the very first page of the book is this little quote from the author. It goes "To those fighting their own giants, you're stronger than you think". It's a theme echoed throughout the book. We always feel that we can defeat outward threats, but inward threats are the most difficult.It's hard to fight yourself, because you are your own limit. But remember, that you are stronger than you think. You can overcome anything, even your own giants. I really do suggest you read that book. It's one of the most wonderful things I've ever read in my entire life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Singles Awareness Day

Everyday on the 14th of February, people all around the globe celebrate Valentine's Day, where they give gifts to their loved ones and the people they consider more than just good friends or hope to one day consider more than just friends. I, personally, have never celebrated Valentine's Day. (Ok, I lied. I celebrated Valentines day in 2007. That was a good year.) I instead celebrate Singles Awareness Day, also known as S.A.D (because it is impossible to come up with a better acronym than that). It's less complicated, a whole lot less expensive and somewhat sadder, depending on how well your Valentines Day goes.

My parents were never really big on the celebration of holidays when I was growing up, so natrually, I never particularly cared that people were giving each other weird cards when I was younger. I guess this disconnect sort of carried over into my teen years, only then, I actually started wanting to give people card and flowers and stuff. The only time I ever felt the need to ask someone to be my Valentine was the day that I mentioned above. It's weird. I want to celebrate Valentines Day. I want to be one of those guys who walks to school with a dozen roses and hands it to a star-struck girl. And at the same time I don't want to be that guy. The guy who believes that his future happiness depends on how much money he can shell out.

I've always been confused on this day, wondering exactly what I should do. The only thing that I'm really sure about is how acutely single I feel on this day, hence the whole S.A.D thing. For some reason this year, either because I was bored or because my inner masochistic tendencies began acting up, I decided to make a S.A.D playlist. It's probably the most emo thing that I've ever done, despite liking all these songs separately. If you wish, you can listen to them on YouTube here. I meant for it to have a particular progression, but I'm not sure I got it right. The thing is, while I was roaming YouTube for songs, I cam across this one:

And I must admit, it's the most comforting all the songs I listened to. To think that there is someone else, maybe celebrating Valentine's Day or S.A.D, who is waiting, even though they themselves don't know it. It may sound like a pipe dream, but I do honestly believe that each one of us has a special someone that's made just for us. That's the way God made us. And maybe next year, I won't be celebrating S.A.D.

Which means I should probably start saving.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


So this Thursday and Friday, I had auditions for the IVCF play. It was the first time I've actually been a part of something like this. All the other times that I've been a part of a play all we did to get the cast was ask,

"Hey, do you want to play the crazy guy that nobody likes? No? You want to be the princess? But how can you be the princess? You're a guy. What's that? You're not a guy? Oh, sorry about that. I just thought you were a guy. But the fact that you're wearing pink dress should have told me that you weren't. Ok, you can be the princess."

These auditions were different. Myself and two of my friends sat at the back of the classroom while the acting populous of our IVCF body improvised the characters we gave them. We graded them according to their varying ability and came out with a final cast. We're supposed to start rehearsals this week.

It was really amazing though, watching people perform. There was this one girl who was so very amazing that she made me feel sad for my own fictional character. I've always imagined out scenarios in my head where my stories take place in real life, and now, for the first time ever, I have people who are willing to step up and fill those shoes. Needless to say, I am unbeliveably excited for this play. I could see that something amazing is going to unfold. Good amazing or bad amazing, well, only time will tell. But there is one thing I do know. That if I weren't surrounded by so many wonderful actors and actresses, it didn't matter how amazing my script was. I might have well used it for toilet paper. I am nothing without those guys.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Little Help From My Friends

Wednesday, I got home really late from school which is why did post anything. You see it all started with doubles. Yes, doubles. And for those of you who have no idea what a doubles is (yes, "a doubles" is considered proper English seeing as how a "doubles" is one unit), it is a delicious snack consiting of curried potato and channa (or chick peas) on fried flour patties called barrah that could be found almost anywhere in Trinidad, much like Chinese food. Now the doubles aren't (yes, the plural of doubles is doubles) actually vital to the story, but I felt the need to explain it before I continue.

So anyway, the design group that I'm in stayed back after class for an hour to finish an assignment that's due next week, because we're studious like that. During that time of one my friends and group members, decided that she wanted to buy doubles. So, we were all like, "Ok, cool!" So we finished our assignment and went to the doubles vendor and stood in the line. It was then that my friend pushed here hand into her pocket and realized that she was walletless. Now this girl happens to be my first and best female friend in all of university. So I did what you'd expect me to do. Myself and one of my other friends decided to help her find it. We scoured the place she had lunch, searched that classrooms we were looking in, asked the store clerks where she last bought stuff if they'd seen a wallet ("a big brown man's wallet" as she described it) and generally went in circles around to campus, making sure that we had exhausted ever possible possibility, and still no wallet. We eventually ended up in to campus police station so that she could make a report.

Time literally flew by while we were searching for it. By the time we left the police station it was dark. My sister called me and told me that I was supposed to be home by now, since no one else was there. I told my friend goodbye, hugged her and wished that everything would work out right. As I walked towards the gate to catch a taxi, it struck me exactly how late it was. I had tons of stuff to do and I had just spent a fruitless afternoon walking around UWI. Now I'd have to put some very important things on hold. Normally, I'd be really mad at myself for wasting time like that. But instead, I felt good. I had helped my friend through something that would have disoriented that crap out of me if I were in her shoes. If I were home, I'd probably be wasting time on Facebook or something. I realized that time spent helping someone is never time wasted. It's time invested in a friendship. And it's the one investment is life with the greatest returns.

By the way, she got her wallet back to following day, money and credit cards intact. Thank God honest people still exist.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Knowledge of the Universe

I have some pretty cool courses this semester, seeing as how the majority of them are non-mathematical and, well, I don't like maths. And with cool courses come cool lecturers. One of the particularly cool ones goes by the name Dr. Ruel Ellis. He was born and grew up in Trinidad, but he's gone on to study all over the world. The course he teaches is called "Database Design" and I must say, the guy makes me want to learn. For example, when most lecturers have a tutorial class, they usually just scrawl some stuff on the white board and walk off. Dr. Ellis, on the other hand walks into the class, sits in the back, and makes us scrawl stuff on the whiteboard, correcting us where we go wrong. This guy doesn't just teach stuff from a book or slides. He makes us learn the stuff ourselves. He's more of a guide than a teacher.

Today, he was explaining the reason behind his teaching methods to us. You see, the word "education" comes from the Latin word educere, which means "to bring out". For some reason, what we consider as education these days only has to do with putting in, and regurgitating it back onto an exam paper. We store and expel, ending up with nothing in the end, no futher from where we started. Real education is supposed to bring out the knowledge that is already inside of you.

But what knowledge would that be? How can we learn something that we never knew before? Well, I love the way Dr. Ellis said it. "At the moment of our conception the knowledge of the universe is written onto our DNA. All I do here is stimulate that knowledge to make sure it rises to the surface." At first it may sound weird and mystical, but think about it for a second. Every single thing we ever learned at school, where did it come from? It came from people who knew it before us, right? And where did they get it from? The people before them, and so on and so forth. With the exception of God's imparting of the scriptures to us, every single thing we have known, do know, and will ever know, would come from within humanity itself. We already have all the answers. We just need to figure out how to reach them.

To think that we have to knowledge of the universe in our hands is quite an amazing thing. For me, personally it makes me what to learn more, research more, do more. There is a world of knowledge waiting for me that is mine for the taking.

And I don't even need to leave my room

Monday, February 7, 2011

Long Lost Friendships

I found it rather annoying that sometimes, when I scroll through my phone book that there are several numbers that are utterly useless to me. I know I don't need them, but I think "Ehhh...maybe someday it'll come in handy", and so I pretty much leave them there. Well today, I finally decided to get rid of them and free up some of the meager memory that there is on my phone.

As I went through the numbers, I came across several familiar names, and remembered several faces. Like the girl who coined me the nickname "Snowflake", despite the fact that I'm probably the blackest guy she knows. Or that guy who I befriended during the numerous lesson classes I attended. The girl who I befriended during CYSF, the one who I think cried way too much for someone who is that beautiful. The twins that I've known ever since I was five, who have been in every single class with me in primary school, and in high school as well. The first girl I befriended on my very first day of Form Six. The dude who I hung out with when I repeated Form Six because all of my other friends had gone off to college. The girl who was my absolutely best female friend in primary school, who has changed so much (for the better) that I barely know her anymore. These and many many others.

I usually smile to myself when I hear people talking about cellphone addiction. I pride myself in the fact that all I need to get me through the month is a bare minimum pre-paid card. I usually only ever use my phone to call me parents, or my friends when I need to find out something from them, or the rare occasion where I text someone to tell them Happy Birthday. I think I'm pretty good to have avoided addiction to a cell phone. But I remember there was I time when I used to use my phone a lot. When I would call my friends and talk for hours, for no reason than just wanting to talk to them. The days when I'd need at least 3 prepaid cards a month, and when I actually paid attention to all the calling plans that the phone company advertised. I don't remember when those days stopped. All I know now is that they're not there anymore.

So I'm going to change all that. I know that everyone is a lot busier now than they were back then, and maybe they too don't like using their phones anymore, but I have way too many friends and way too many memories to turn my back on them. I plan to call every single person in my phone book who I haven't spoken to in a long time, even if it's just for a minute to see what's up. I know some people may find it weird, but I feel that I can't let these bonds go cold. And there is Skype and Facebook and Messenger and a host of all other connecting mediums that I can use.

I'm off on an adventure to rediscover long lost friendships. Care to join me?

I almost forgot. I started the new Christian blog I was talking about. You can see it here!
Christian Engineering
It's pretty bare now, but I'll be putting up some stuff soon.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Life Has Changed

As you would know if you read my post on Friday, you'd know that I was on a retreat (yes, a retreat, not a camp. But in my defense, we use the words interchangeably in local vernacular) over the weekend. It was hosted by the IVCF organization of which I am a member. I've been to several Christian retreats over many years, and I pretty much enjoy them all. It's a pretty wonderful thing when you are surrounded by people who have the same passions as you. I've always come away changed from these retreats. But this on was different. This one really changed me. Not like "Oh-wow-that's-great" changed me, but more like "Grabbed-me-off-of-my-current-path-and-pointed-me-in-a-completely-different-direction" changed me.

It came yesterday afternoon, while were having a session on homosexuality. A group of doctors were field questions from an audience of students, about any and everything that they could think of. Just when they were about to leave, the camp coordinator said there was a girl who wanted to share her testimony. For those of you who don't know what a testimony means in Christian circles, it's basically a story of something God did for you in the past. I've heard more testimonies than I could remember, and some of them were pretty good. I assumed that this was just going to just like any other one of those. I assumed wrong.

The girl, named Anna Lisa, began talking about her life and how she herself was a lesbian for a time, and how she left that life behind her. As her story unfolded, it shocked me. At first I wanted to cover my ears and stop listening. I didn't need to hear this. It was too...too...gosh, I don't even have a word to describe it. The sheer horror and sadness that laced every word was almost too much to bare. And yet she said all of this with a completely straight face, almost as if she were telling us of a dream she had before. I can't even find it in myself to type what she said. to tell you the degree of it. However, since her testimony changed my life, it would be selfish of me to not share it with you. If you wish, you can read it here, as written by her. As you read it, imagine sitting mere inches from her while she talks about it.

By the time she was almost through, I was crying. I kept crying after we were done, and the session was over. I tried to wash up and talk to her afterwards, but about a sentence into the conversation, I started blubbering like a baby again. She was sweet and kind and completely normal, so much so that if someone else had told me that those things happened to her, I probably wouldn't have believed them. She gave me some information on where she went when she was searching for an escape, so that I could share it with others, and then she gave me a hug. And through all this, she was humble enough to remind me that she didn't do anything, that it was all the love of God.

Why did I cry so much, you may ask. Was it because her story was sad? Yes, it was sad, but that's not why. Was is because she's no longer a lesbian? While one may believe that that was the focus of the testimony, it wasn't and it wasn't why I cried either. I cried because of where I saw her today. Even with all the darkness and horror that she passed through, she came out on top. She fought and struggled, and won a battle that I didn't believe was winnable. I've always believed that God could do anything, but listening to her speak, was like watching a miracle unfold. I've always wondered if there was a sign that could prove that there was caring, loving God, and now I've seen it. It wasn't some elaborate miracle, or a beautiful powerful piece of writing. It was a girl brave enough to recite a her life story before a crowd of strangers. God really does work in mysterious ways.

See you tomorrow.

PS: When I started this blog, I made myself a promise, that this would not be a "Christian blog" but a "blog written by a Christian." It has come to the point however, where I need to write some exclusively Christian stuff. So instead of altering this blog, I'm going to start an new one, specifically for Christan stuff. I'll add the link for it soon. This blog will still keep going and I'll still update it everyday (or as soon as I can). I'll update the Christian blog less often, probably bi-monthly. There'll be more info when I'm done making it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Cause To Live For

Hey guys. So this weekend, I'll be going to a weekend camp retreat. Seeing as how it is a retreat and all, I'm not allowed to carry my laptop, cause well, tech kinda defeats the whole purpose of going to camp in the country. As such, I won't be posting anything tomorrow. However, since I have my laptop here at school today, I figure that I could probably post something while I'm here.

I was about to name one of the characters in my play Jacob (which I happen to be re-writing again), when I remembered the faux monopoly that the Twilight series seems to have on the name. So, on a whim, I decided to go look up what Jacob means to see if it would be appropriate to still have it in my play. It turns out that the name means "heel-puller" since apparently, the biblical Jacob came out of the womb holding on to his twin brother's heel. For some reason, it wasn't as awesome as I thought it would be. The thing is, that in my searching, I came across the name of his wife: Rachel. And, as I do anytime I happen to be on Wikipedia, I went along and searched for stuff just because it was there to be searched. Cutting a long search story of the "Rachel" short (which include me reading the biography of the Animorph character) I came across the name "Rachel Aliene Corrie."

Do you know who she is? No? Well, neither did I. Turns out she was a 23 year old American art student, who died after being crushed by a bulldozer in Gaza (the real Gaza, not the dumb dancehall version). She was part of an ISM (International Solidarity Movement) who were protesting the demolition of homes by the Israeli Defense Force. She was using her body as a human shield by kneeling in front of the bulldozer. Whether the machine had rolled over her and crushed her by accident or on purpose, is still left to argument. Her death was treated as a martyrdom by those who supported her cause. The story spread, even spawning a movie.

But, that's it. I don't mean to look down on her sacrifice. Her death brought her cause to the front, but with her gone, it would eventually die away. People would forget, and the world would keep turning. We won't remember her in a few years. We all like the dark romance the accompanies martyrdom, the fame and nobility it wears. But when we're dead, there is nothing we can do. It's like a star bursting into a supernova. All sound and fury and then it's gone. That's how dying for something is.

We should instead aspire to live for something. A star like ours may not be as spectacular in the Universe, but it keeps us alive. A supernova couldn't do that. Living for a something may not get you as popular as dying for something may, and you may not even see the impact. But you can do so much more in your lifetime, reach so many people and grow and become better at what you do. You may not be remembered, but your effects would be felt for years and years to come.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I saw you today. It's not very often that I see you, but I don't really think that that's a big deal. You must admit though, you do tend to stand out in a crowd, though that's no fault of your own. So here I was walking along my merry way, when I saw you. Had everything been normal, I would have just thought "Hey, look, it's her.", and then continued on my way, without even giving a second thought about you for the rest of the day. And it almost happened. Except that you were crying.

I don't why, but tears affect me. The tears of friends, of enemies, of perfect strangers. They stop me cold in my tracks, make me forget about what I was thinking. I didn't care why you were crying. I didn't care that I only met you once and that I never really spoke to you before. To be honest, I didn't even care who you were. You were crying. And for some reason, deep down inside, it hurt. I felt as if I had failed something, though I had no idea what it was. I try to make the world a better place, and here you are crying. Surely I've failed. Surely I've done something wrong. And yet there is a little voice somewhere that no of this wasn't my fault. People cry everyday. Hurt and pain exist around us, and there is no way that we could possibly eradicate it. There will always be someone who is sad, someone who is hurt, someone who is crying. But that didn't make me not want to stop the tears any less.

I walked away thinking about this all afternoon. I spoke to you a while after, for the first time, possibly due to some misguided feeling that I had to. You were normal. You even smiled. And it was then I was reminded of the most important thing. That the most wonderful thing about tears, is that no matter how painful how tears may seem and how much they hurt, they never last forever. And that one day, they will be eliminated altogether.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


With the new semester comes some of the things that I had to bear throughout the duration of the old semester, including the weekly IVCF executive meeting, that now happens to be on a Tuesday. February in Trinidad and Tobago is Carnival month, and no not a carnival with fun rides and clowns. Carnival as in a bunch of people in extremely revealing outfits jumping up and down in the streets, dancing with each other. Yeah, that's what it is. I've personally never been a fan of Carnival. Too much revelry for my tastes. But the one thing that accompanies Carnival that I do like, is the steel drums, or as we call them in Trinidad, the steelpan.

On my way home there is a band camp that practices the steelpan every night up until Carnival Monday and Tuesday (which is in March this year). The steelpan is a pretty loud instrument so it can be heard from some distance away. While waiting in the car for my sister, my attention was drawn to a little girl across the street. She was about six years old, or probably even younger. She was standing at the front an appliance dancing to the sound of the drums. It was probably the happiest dance that you'd ever see, the kind of dance they feature in movies when the characters find themselves in the middle of a field of flowers. It didn't matter what you were feeling the moment before, your heart would have just been filled with joy.

Then something else caught my attention. The fact that she was still in her school uniform. Here was a little girl, who had most likely been sent of to school at probably seven in the morning was here, nine at night, still wearing her uniform, meaning, most likely, that she was yet to get home. Yet to find time to relax from a full day of school and having to wait for her parents, who were probably working at the store to get home. And here she was, dancing with all the joy she could possibly muster, her shoulders not bearing a hint of a burden, displaying carefree innocence. Here I was, supposedly older and wiser than her, and I was stressed and tired. Granted, maybe I had more to do today than she did, but our burdens are always proportional.

Right there and then, I wanted to be a child, just for a second, so that I could remember how to be that happy. That I could remember how to be carefree and just for a couple minutes, dance as if I were the only one in the world, so that I could keep it in my adult life and carry with me, so that I would never have to be sad or angry or stressed again. Maybe as we grow up, we learn more things worth knowing, but it's important that we don't forget the thing we already do know, because one day, we'd wish that we still had them.