Canstruction 2013 Hits New York City

The 21th Annual Canstruction NYC Competition was held in New York City October 21 to November 8, 2013 boasted very creative art pieces made entirely from...

Dining At The Gap Café

Tucked away deep in the Jamaica Blue Mountains is a small cafe called The Gap Café...

Stunner Conquers Sigma 2013

In my last post I wrote about my intentions to run the annual Sigma Corporate Run this year and my hopes to even try to get

Getting Back Fit for Sigma 2013 and Beyond

My Running sneakers It has been many years since I blogged about doing the annual Sigma Corporate Run!

Toscanini - Italian Dining Experience In Jamaica

When you think of Jamaica you think of jerk chicken, jerk pork, oxtail, rice and peas and the many colourful and delicious Jamaican meals guaranteed to tantalize the palate. Fine dining to delicious Italian...


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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bolt Crashes!

The worlds fastest man, Usain Bolt crashed one of the fastest cars on earth, his brand new BMW M3! It has been reported that the sprinter lost control of his BMW M3 just after leaving the Vineyards Toll plaza on Highway 2000 in St. Catherine earlier Wednesday afternoon. Reports are that the car has been extensively damaged, as it flipped and landed on the top, after which it came to a rest in a ditch at the side of the highway. Based on the damage sustained by the car, one can easily speculate that he was speeding on the wet highway at the time he lost control of the vehicle. However, the reports have not divulge any cause for the accident so far.

Fortunately though, Usain and the other passengers of the vehicle fared better then the M3, as they emerged with only minor injuries. He and the female passengers were taken to the nearby Spanish Town hospital for treatment.

I am sure when most Jamaicans heard this news their hearts stopped, but blew a sigh of relief when it was announced that he only sustained a few scratches from the ordeal. It would have been a sad day in Jamaica if the worst had happened, but thankfully he escaped serious injury. According to the report, Bolt is to undergo tests over the next 48 hours to determine if he will be able to stick to his competition schedule. It is now the start of the track and field season and Bolt is scheduled for several meets including the London Street Race and the Jamaican Invitational Meet at the National Stadium, as early as Saturday.

Hopefully he will be given the all clear by the doctors and will go on to deliver great performances for the 2009 season. Hopefully he will also learn a lesson form this ordeal and exercise better care not only on the roads, but with his other personal activities. Get well soon Usain!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vibes, Festival & Lots of Carnival Photos!

On Saturday I found myself at Mello Vibes, a party that fuses the best music of the past for your listening and dancing pleasure. It does not matter which decade is your favorite, Mello vibes covered them all. The music ranged from as far back as the 1950's up to the early 2000's. The vibe was right and the music selection kept the patrons dancing up a storm all night long. I arrived at approximately 12:30am and the music kept people moving until I left at approximately 4:00am. It wasn't only the music and the vibe that was right as this party was easy on my pocket, especially in these challenging economic and tax burdened times. At a pre-sold price of $JM600 (just over US$6.00) pre-sold and JM$800 at the gate, you can't ask for more!

On Sunday I was off to the Liguanea Festival of Fine Arts and Photography to view some of Jamaica's creative works done by some of the countries top artists. The art festival showcased paintings, drawings, sculptures, portraits, ceramics, jewellery and, of most interest to me, photography. There were a lot of creative works on display at the festival, and just reiterates how much talent is here in our little island. I spent most of my time, as expected, in the Photography booths where I as humbled by the many photography exhibitions that were on show. It has shown me how much more I have to learn in this art and has even encouraged me to continue in my hobby and hopefully soon to be additional source of income. I was also fortunate to meet a few members of the Flickr group I recently joined, the Jamaica, West Indies photo group. I am hoping to go on the photo trips that they regularly have, not only to learn from these more experienced photographers, but also to take a lot of photos as well as visit the many beautiful places in Jamaica.

As promised in my recent post, I have mustered up the energy and have uploaded the over 700 photographs I took at last Sunday's Bacchanal Carnival Road March. It took my quite a while to upload all these photographs, but I eventually completed the process on Sunday night... shhh, while at work [whispers softly]. I have also added a small post about the Carnival season on my, very neglected travel blog, Mek A Trod. However, I will be posting about more attractions this week and will make an effort to update the blog more often. Also, I will soon be inviting you guys to guest post on the blog about the local attractions, eateries and events that you have visited. So without further deliberation, click here for the pics.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Tax!!!

Benjamin Franklin once said, "In this world there is nothing that is certain except death and taxes". This saying is so true and especially here in Jamaica. The country has one of the highest murder rate per capita in the world, so if old age or disease don't do the job, then the criminals will send you to your final resting place. As for taxes, the Jamaican working class is burdened by taxes and now since the 2009 Budget presentation yesterday, we are now bracing to feel an unprecedented increase in taxation.

The biggest announcement of the Budget presentation was the increase on the petrol tax. the Government has announced that it will be adding JM$8.75 on each litre of gas purchases at the pump. No doubt motorists will start to feel the pinch similar to last year when oil prices skyrocketed to record breaking levels. Currently I pay a little over JM$57 per litre for gas, which based on my engine size costs me approximately JM$2850 to full my tank. With the increase tax, keeping the ever increasing price of gas constant, I will be paying JM$3287.50 to full my tank, over JM$400 more. No doubt motorists will be feeling the pinch when this new tax comes into effect, but the commuters will also feel the pinch as I am sure the bus and taxi operators will start calling for an increase in fares to offset this increase in their expenditure. I am now beginning to think more about getting myself a bicycle to ride to work. Think about it, won't need to by gas and I will get fitter as I pedal my way to work. But seriously, this is a huge dent in the pocket of motorists, especially since the price of gas is increase every week as our dollar devalues on a daily basis and the gulf oil reference increases. The government has said however, that a potion of the money collected from this tax is to go into road maintenance, but I won't hold my breath on that one!

But the taxes don't end there as the Government has announced other increases to fill the huge JM$18 billion hole in their budget. The government has also zeroed in on the already high 16.5% General Consumption Tax (GCT). They have proposed to place GCT on certain basic consumer items that currently don't attract GCT, such as salt, rolled oats, syrup, fish, cock and noodle soup. As if going to the supermarket and markets aren't expensive and stressful enough, it is to get worse when thise tax exempted items begin to attract GCT. Going to the supermarket has just got harder for everyone.

The Government currently charges 20% GCT on telephone bills and credits, but they have proposed to expand this 20% GCT tax to the phones themselves. Yes, once approved you will be paying not 16.5% on that new Blackberry handset, but 20% on the already expensive handsets. I guess we will now think twice about buying that new bashy cellphone and start appreciating and taking better care of the phone we now have.

I expected an increase in taxes, but these increases are rough, especially the gas tax and the addition of GCT on food items that now don't attract tax. I was hoping that the Government would have increased taxes on cigarettes, alcohol. I was also hoping that the Government would have increased the taxes on all those imported biscuits and cookies and products that we can produce locally. Of course they would have to lower the production costs for the manufacturers, but at least we would be producing and maybe even exporting some of our products, thus earning the well needed foreign eschange. But, the wolrd economy is in a bad state, and the Jamaican economy is in an even worse state. My fellow jamaican's it looks like yet rougher times are ahead, so band your bellies and prepare yourselves.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Bacchanal Carnival Finale

Now after that bit of unfortunate news yesterday, I will turn my focus back to the grand finale of the 2009 Bacchanal Carnival season here in Jamaica. On Saturday night I found myself at the After Party on Oxford Road in New Kingston after leaving work at midnight. I figured, since it was so near why don't I just go up there and chill out for a while. I have never been to one of those Water parties before, but as the name suggests it involved a lot of water. So after going inside and meeting up with some of my friends I secured my phone, wallet and car keys, as I was prepared for some soaking action. The music played and then they ca;;ed for the water and the water did come, jetting from the gigantic hoses used by the water trucks. I certainly got soaked, dancing to a mix of Soca and Dancehall songs. The crowd danced, wined and grind to the music as the water sprayed their gyrating bodies.

On Sunday morning I woke up bright and early... well not really I got up at about 10:00 am, come on, after all that party you didn't expect me to be up by 6:00 am right! I got myself together and after a large breakfast I hooked up with my regular Carnival road march friend and a new addition to the crew who is into photography. Then all three of us headed out to the road and met up with the Carnival massive at Lady Musgrave road. At that time the sun was pelting, but my eagerness to take photos was too strong to be discouraged by the heat, as as such the photography began. By mid afternoon we were on Trafalgar road and the sky had darkened, threatening the revelers and the many photographers who paved the streets. But alas, we only got an extremely light drizzle, so light that I didn't even had to cover my camera. So with the cooler conditions and the softer lighting of the overcast sky the reveling, gyrating, wining, posing, and photography continued. The Road march had quite a few costumed revelers, not as much as in previous years, but still enough to resemble Carnival of years gone by. However, the number of bystanders, followers and even photographers seem to be holding strong in numbers. I managed to get quite a few shots, over 700, yeah mi know that nuff! Not all are great shots, but I managed to get quite a few good ones in the lot. Having a DSLR certainly makes it easier to get those special shots quickly and people to pose for you, hehehe. I must admit it, Jamaica has some of the most beautiful and sexiest women in the world! So without further ado, as I know you all want to see pictures, here are some of the shots I took. As usual I will be posting some on my photoblog and I am thinking of uploading the lot to a gallery. I will let you know about the gallery if I do.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Jamaica Hijack!

I was supposed to post about the fun-filled, photo-filled weekend that I just enjoyed at Bacchanal Carnival, but there is a bit of shocking news! What could be so shocking?

Jamaica Observer Picture

A Jamaica man hijacked a Canadian Airline, full of passengers at the Sangsters International Airport on Sunday! Yes, I was just as shocked as you, when I first heard this news. This is not possible, dem things yah nuh happen a Jamaica. A Jamaican, hijacking a plane, the hijack being done here on Jamaican soil? But, it is certainly true, as the Jamaica Gleaner, as well as CNN confirmed this shocking incident.

According to the reports, the gunman a 20 year old male from a Montego Bay community, allegedly of unsound mind, used fake ID cards to get into the airport terminal building. He then proceeded to the terminal where he threatened airport personnel before boarding the Canjet Airlines flight 918, which was destined to Cuba then on to Canada. It is reported that the gunman proceeded to rob the passengers and demanded that the plane transport him to Cuba. After negotiations, which involved our Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, and the hijacker's father, the hijacker released the 174 passengers and later the crew members. He was then captured and arrested by the police.

No doubt this latest incident with further tarnish Jamaica's reputation as we are already struggling with endless murders and being labeled as a severely homophobic country. Now we will be labeled as one of those countries that have airplane hijackers. A lot of countries have this, even the great USA, but when something like this happens to a country like Jamaica it seems even worse. However, the Jamaican government is reported to have started to do damage control on this situation. Hopefully this incident is as the airport official terms it, an "isolated and was clearly not a terrorist attack" and that everyone else who heard the news thinks so too. The least thing this ailing country needs now it a fallout from this incident.

There is a poll at the bottom of the page related to this post, take some time to cast your vote.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Bits & Pieces

Isn't it just scary how quick the week has gone by? Damn, I know I have said something similar quite a few times before, but it just amazes me... or should I say scare me how time is just jetting by! So what has been going on in the life of Stunner for this week and what are the plans for the weekend?

I woke up on Thursday morning to overcast skies, but I didn't get my hopes up for that thing... uh, what's the name again... oh yes, rain! See, it has been so long since we got a good shower of rain here in Kingston, as it has been sunny, dry and windy. By mid afternoon as I was about to step through the door i heard a vaguely familiar sound, it was rain! It sounded so good as it hit the many surfaces in it's path and that smell of the warm, dry ground being quenched by the rain drops was so refreshing. It didn't fall very hard or for very long, but we got a good shower for a decent few hours. this was just enough to drop the temperature a little and keep down the angry raging dust that masked every conceivable surface as it danced in the wind. It has all gone by now though, but it was good to finally see a shower after such a long time. I am hoping for some more rain...not every day though... and not this Sunday!

I finally got my UV filter for my camera, which I purchased on Amazon and shipped to Jamaica via Global Couriers. Now I can feel a whole lot more comfortable using my camera as I don't have to worry about my lens getting scratched. Also the UV filter is supposed to protect my lens from UV rays as well as enhance the quality of the photos. I also collected my lens pen and micro cleaning cloth which I ordered along with the filter. Damn dutty, teifing customs pissed me off though, as the charged me fees and duties summing up to almost a half of the price of the items I purchased! Danville yuh a gwaan bad star! No wonder why people try to evade customs duties, they are too damn high! On another note, I have splurged... yes I have purchased the zoom lens (55-200mm) as I really need the zoom capability to get the shots I want. I got it on Amazon for just over US$20o. Unfortunately it is being delivered to my sister's place and I will have to wait until someone is coming down from New York to "smuggle" it in for me. No star, mi cyaan pay Danvil;e 47% in custom fees, that's almost US$100! So Next on the list is a bigger camera bag and a speed light! Donations anyone?

This weekend is the culmination of the Carnival season, the grand Finale! Jokers Wild, Jouvert, the great paint-up-paint-up weekend and then finally the road march! Unfortunately due to embarrassing financial constraints and lack of familiar company (my usual paring brethren), Jouvert will not be seeing my face... if it was I wouldn't be typing this post... [pouting]. No doubt I will hear how wonderful it was and I will see all the raunchy pictures... [sigh]. Nevertheless, I am thinking of going to the Water Party after work tomorrow night, so if that works out I should have some fun. Sunday, however, is the big day for me, yes it's the road march. Why am I so looking forward to it? No. I'm not jumping in costume with the bands, behind the big truck! I will be heading to the road march though, yes to test out my new Nikon D60 DSLR with the newly acquired UV filter! I was hoping to have the zoom lens for this occasion, but that will not be. So I will have to make do with what I have, hopefully I will still manage to get some good shots!

Anyway people, I went to gym this evening and as a result the sleep has crept in. So even though I just saw that CSI Miami is on and I could amuse myself with Caruso's over dramatic one liners, my bed seems more enticing at this moment. Further more the sleep will spare me the torture of being home while Jouvert is entertaining countless hot girls... I mean people.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No, Kanye Et Al, That is Not Fashion!

Ok, maybe I'm not that much a fashionable person and I am definitely not a fashion guru. But hell no, Kanye West and your misguided cronies, that is not fashion! To me these guys look more like clowns or homeless people who just grabbed anything in their path and threw them on. And what's up with the weird colour briefcases and man purse. Are they so important that they have to carry a bag on their person? What the hell is in there by the way, clothes, important business papers, top secret documents? My guess, based on their outfits is that they are carrying makeup! Yes makeup! I wonder what FOS has to say about these outfits? As far as I am concerned, they look awful... totally cross dressing, uncoordinated, mind blowing awful! That is not fashion!

Monday, April 13, 2009


I wish I was writing to boast about my fantastic weekend on the north coast, where I spent most of my days in the sun on beautiful white sand beaches, enjoying the view and company of sweet Jamaican women in swim suits, drinking a wide assortment of liquor and steadying my stomach with all the taste morsels of food I could consume. But alas, I am not! Instead I am lamenting about how boring the holiday weekend was.

Lets' see what did I want to do this weekend? Well I wanted to go on a trip with the photography group I recently joined on Flickr. they had plan a trip to Portland on Sunday, my home parish, to take photographs at different locations throughout the parish. This would have been a great trip for me as I would be: getting to know other people with the same interest in photography, learn form these people who are obviously better photographers than me, take great photos of the most beautiful parish in Jamaica (yes I said it, an unnuh know a true!) and enjoy myself. I have never been to the races at the Dover raceway and it would have been a good experience for me, especially now that I have a DSLR, which has a better reaction time and flexibility than the old point and shoot. I had going to Dover on Easter Monday to see what it was all about and to get some great action photos.

Now what did I actually do this weekend? I was scheduled to work the entire holiday weekend! Damn it! Why couldn't I have had an ordinary nine to five that pays good money? Working shift has it's advantage as I get to work a premium rate, which I would starve to death without. But it has it's disadvantages as I hardly get to benefit from weekends and public holidays off. So while people were enjoying themselves at all the activities, from racing, to Beach Jouvert, to Luau, I was here... scratch that, I am still here at work, bored. But I guess the bills have to be paid and I have to eat to keep on living, which means I have to work, blah.

I somehow mustered up the energy and time to give my apartment a much needed cleaning. I swept, I dusted, I wiped, I scrubbed and I straightened. All I needed was a maid's outfit to complete the look. I even got rid of all kind of paper clutter that I had accumulated as well as clothes and shoes that I have not worn in quite a while and have no intentions of ever wearing. Will be stopping off at the Salvation Army to drop them off. Now my place looks and feels lighter and cleaner, so at least there is some good that came out of the holiday weekend.

Now let me torture myself... how was your weekend?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Price of Snapping

So life with my new camera has been great so far, photos are better and it's more fun taking pictures. however, I have experienced a few limitations that I need to overcome to get even more breathtaking shots. The biggest limitation I am facing is the lack of zoom capability with the 18-55 mm lens that came with the camera. This makes it difficult for me to get that spot on closeup shot without having to go up close. This especially hinders me when I want to take photos of wild life, because unlike people, animals and insects are not to keen on stopping to take a pose for the camera.

So I have started my saving once again to get myself a zoom lens for my new DSLR. I have my eyes on the Nikon 55-200 mm vibration reduction lens, but the over US$200 price tag is really a huge setback, but with saving and continued price scouting I hopefully will get the zoom lens soon. It would have been great for me to get the zoom lens for the Carnival road march later this month, but that does not seem like a reality and only a vague dream. So I will have to just settle with what I have and do my best in the road match.

Next on my list, is a speedlight, or in other words, an additional flash for my camera. this external flash will allow me more flexibility to experiment with lighting and get better photos. This will be especially helpful when i am taking portraits and still life photos. But that is still some way in the future as the one I want to get, the Nikon SB-600, is also a US$200 price tag. If anyone says photography is expensive, that is an understatement, it's damn expensive!
In the mean time, I have bought myself a UV filter to protect my lens as I can't afford my very expensive lens from being damaged. I also got myself a lens pen to clean my lens as i have seen one or two spots on it already. I ordered these through Amazon and got them both at a decent price for under US$50.

Photography is an expensive hobby...correction: very expensive, but what's the point of working hard if you can't at least enjoy some on the fruits of ones labour? I am a whole lot happier taking photos with this camera than my original point and shoot Kodak Z650. I have also recently joined Flikr and joined the Jamaica West Indies group along with other accomplished photographers, including Taylor and emerging photographer Jamaipanese. Sir Jdid too has jumped into the DLSR world too and I am anticipating great photos form him too on his blog. My photography is improving so far, and I hope it will get better as time goes on, and maybe I'll even make some money from it, if even to just support my photography. To see my photos you can visit my photoblog as usual or on Flikr.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

One More Year to the Tally

When I was young, much younger, like in my pre-teens and even into my teens, I couldn't wait until I grew up. It always seemed that adults had more fun, made money, didn't have parental rules, had their own place and hence privacy and grew facial hair. I wanted to be a big man, doing my own thing, like as ad adult seemed like it was the shiznik. I had so many dreams, things I wanted to do, what I wanted to be, where I wanted to be, everything seemed so clear-cut.

But now looking back I realized those were the good old days! Things aren't as clear cut as they used to look, I have my freedom but all that freedom came with a lot of responsibilities. There are so many life changing decisions to be made and so many consequences to each action I decide to take. Now, life doesn't seem as long and as full of endless possibilities as it used to. In fact, it seems to be quite the opposite, life feels much shorter and time seems so limited, all the possibilities have become narrowed down by the realities of life. So as I approach my third decade, I realize even more than ever that getting older is definitely not the same as it was when I was when I was in my teens.

On the other hand, even though my life isn't as good as I had envisioned it, I still have a lot to be thankful for. Firstly, I'm still alive, which is a big deal considering how easy it is to loose one's life these days. I am still working, not the dream job, but it pays the bills, I have a car, something my parents never had, a roof over my head even though it's rented, a decent education... BEng nuh too bad, great friends, gf, family and of course there is God to turn to for help.

I still do look back and wish I could go back and correct the past, undo the mistakes I made, capitalized on all the opportunities I missed, had more fun with my younger period of youth. But unlike Microsoft Word, there is no Undo button in life, so I guess all I can do is to try and make the most of the future, however short and uncertain it is, as there is still many possibilities ahead.

The hand of time keeps on turning and life keeps on churning...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

When I Grow Up...

This was submitted as part of a career day homework:

Here's the reply the teacher received the following day:

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot. From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.


Mrs. Smith