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“Sarah Palin, if they are going to be getting rid of useless people, trust me, you’ll be the first to know”

September 28, 2009

Bill Maher, I love you.
To catch him on tonights Jay Leno, google it in about an hour. I’ll post the Youtube video later if I can find it. He’s just so ON. Hilarious.

Also, it was my birthday weekend, so updates on that to come

Love,

Cocoplum

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Back to Smoking in Airplanes

September 25, 2009

Or,

Ryanair Takes One Giant Leap Backwards

Or,

An example of PR/Advertising Genius

Have you heard of the Irish airline, Ryanair?

They fly throughout Europe for ridiculously low prices. When Hubby moved to England for a while after finishing school, and we were thinking of making it home (obviously that didn’t happen – he moved back the the Bahamas and I followed a year later), we had talked about taking weekend trips to Italy and France using Ryanair.

They are known for controversial advertising and PR stunts – At one point they hit the news because of claims they would charge a pound for bathroom visits, but it was just free advertising. I actually think that’s pretty clever. They’re still in business, and still inexpensive. That’s more than a lot of airline carriers can claim.

In keeping with their controversial reputation they have just announced that they will allow smoking onboard.

WHAT?

Ok, so it’s not exactly “smoking”. You have to buy their cigarettes at close to $10 a pack. But they are smokeless and don’t smell. You don’t even light them. Just put them to your lips and suck in the nicotine.

smokeless cigarettes cinnamon

I don’t know what to make of this. On the one hand, a smoker who has gone a few hours too long without a fix can be scarier than those Twilight vampires who need to get them some blood. But… I can’t help but feel like this is a step in the wrong direction.

In Canada smoking is banned in all public places (with a few exceptions), and it has made a huge difference. I can go to a bar without coming home smelling of smoke, and I’m not exposed to second hand toxins on a daily basis. It’s not quite the same in the Bahamas, and I miss the restrictions in Canada.

Making smoking look “cool” has been a problem forever, and banning it from public places as well as media expounding the health benefits of not smoking have had an impact.

If you can hop on a plane and see an elegant Chanel adorned French woman with a smokeless ciggy hanging out of her mouth as she calmly peruses her Vanity Fair, doesn’t that set a little bit of a bad example?

What do you think?


Working Girl

September 25, 2009

I have a job!

Well, I don’t actually have a job, per se. At least not in the traditional sense. ie. one for which you are paid.

No, I don’t have one of those income providing jobs. But I did get a job! Really, I did!

I’m working for a local Bahamian Not for Profit. I’ll be involved with various fundraising initiatives. I won’t say on here what company it is, but I will say it is a fantastic organization that is doing very great things in the Bahamas, and I am so excited and proud to be working with them.

I haven’t been able to work since moving to the Bahamas because I don’t have resident status here yet. Hubby is a Bahamian, so that stuff is in the works, but it’ll be a while. I’ve learned to be more patient while dealing with administrative things here. There is no sense of accountability. No one wants to take responsibility for any job done (or not done) and the process is slow. I don’t really blame them. There is no sense of pride in ones job, but government buildings are typically about as comfortable as a windowless cave. It’s depressing, and I for one wouldn’t want to work in those conditions.

Anyway, not going into the many complexities of Bahamain society and government shortfalls, lets just say, I’ve been bored and jobless.

And now I’m excited. We certainly need for me to bring in an income asap, but for now? I’m thrilled!

The Bahamas has a shockingly poor lower class, and a VERY wealthy upper class made up of mostly foreign bankers, celebrities, and business moguls (many American). Unfortunately there isn’t nearly enough awareness or help to bridge that gap and bring help to those who need it.

It brings to mind something I’ve been thinking a lot lately. What’s more important? A job I love, or a job that will guarantee me financial security?

I think I’ll go with the first and hope it evolves into the second.

For now, that means living a little while longer with the in-laws. Oh boy.

charity cartoon

Dear Cocoplum 2003

September 24, 2009

Group Blog Thursday

I’ve never participated in a group blog before. Never on any blog I’ve had. But, the topic for this weeks Group Blog Thursday over at Steph in the City intrigued me: Post a letter to the graduation-day version of yourself.

As I begin this post I am listening the Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free” and actually fighting back the nostalgia induced tears. I know, lame. Sorry.

The classic song was released, as the first line states, for the “ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’99”. That year I was “graduating” from Junior High and entering the exciting and scary new world of High School. Some of my best friends were moving up to the new school with me, but others left for schools closer to their homes because of zoning restrictions. These people were like family, and we felt, for the first time in our young lives, like we were leaving the past behind and moving on to an unknown future.

Of course, this was just a small sampling of the many bigger moments in our lives when we would move on, experience loss, excitement and possibility. It was a hint of what would come when we finished High School, when this song was once again, and with perhaps a stronger impact, played ad nauseam while we wiped away the melodramatic, but no less real, salty tears and tried to hold on to our youth, even as we felt it slipping away.

Oh, but how naive we were.

It is that naiveté which I miss the most. The feeling that we were now grown-ups, at 17 and 18 years old, seems so sweet it’s heartbreaking.

So this is the letter to myself, if I could write one, upon graduating high school, a lifetime and a mere 6 years ago.

Dear Cocoplum 2003

Six years from now you will still be listening to Baz Luhrmann’s advice. It will only become more relevant, and will choke you up every time. But, in 2009, it will be over nostalgia for the girl who is listening to it while she packs for university with a heart that feels like it might explode.

Your first love is true love… in as much as a first love can be. It will not last, and if you are honest with yourself, you don’t really want it to. Try to cherish these moments, but don’t sacrifice your individuality or confidence for them; there is so much more you will experience!

Be honest with yourself. Listen to your friends. They will still be there years from now. I promise. High School is NOT the best time of your life, nor is it the worst. Remember only the good parts.

It’s true that friends come and go. You will get stronger at accepting this fact, but you will also learn that true friends are the ones who can pick up right where you left off without feeling like a day has gone by. Hold on to them because one day you will be living far from them, and they will still be the ones who are always there for you.

Learn to deal with your stress. It will come back to bite you in the ass, and by then it will be far more overwhelming than a simple high school paper. Put things into perspective. Your perfectionism is often a curse… please try to be patient.

Learn to laugh at your mistakes. You’ll get plenty of practice.

Freshman 15 isn’t a joke. Actually, it’s more like freshman 20. Learn to eat healthy now so that you can save yourself the headache of losing those pounds 4 years from now.

When you discover that men are actually very attracted to you, don’t forget that they DO like what’s inside of you too, not just the outside. And the ones that don’t aren’t worth the effort.

Follow your passions, and don’t hold back because of fear or insecurities. You’re learning this already, but you won’t believe how much the world opens up when you define your place in it. What other people think of you isn’t the most important thing.

Those girls who giggle over wine, travel, dish on the latest fashion, and reminisce over their peak summers of love and seduction? Don’t be jealous of them, one day you will be one, remembering the days when you were 17, naive and a bit insecure. Don’t wish away those years, but don’t be too scared of what’s to come – it’s (mostly) so much better!

Take chances. Get a tattoo.

Don’t feel like you have to know what you want to do when you grow up. You won’t know even when you are married, and you’ll change your mind 100 times. Maybe you’ll never know. It turns out that most adults in your life are less together than they would have you believe.

Tequila is not your friend. Don’t sit down while drinking it. In fact, skip that night altogether. You can do bodyshots another time.

Remember to drink water. Lots of water. Especially when you are drinking.

Your father isn’t always right, as you know. But, cut him some slack. He’s a pretty cool guy, and he loves you. He’s trying, even when it’s hard to see it. Your sister will go through much worse than she has been, and you will experience more pain and worry, but she will get through it, and so will you. Eventually, she will open up to you. Don’t give up on her.

You will always feel the loss of your mum. Not having her at your graduation is as hard as not having her at your wedding, but it does get easier. Remember her everyday. The advice she gave you will help you into adulthood.

Oh, and Baz is right, wear sunscreen. One day you will be telling people this as part of your job as a beauty advisor (yes, you will work one year for one of the cosmetic companies that you are afraid to approach the counter of for fear you are ugly. You are not ugly.)

You’ll be OK.

Love,

Cocoplum 2009


Baz Lurhmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

*Baz did not write this, I know. But he put it to music, and this is how I know it.


the art of unwords

September 23, 2009

Words_can_Hurt_or_HealAfter my previous post, I got to thinkin’. Well, actually, upon reading the comment my friend left I got to thinking. About made up words, that is.

I actually like the made up word. I think it comes in handy when nothing else seems sufficient. “Irregardless” bothers me on a different scale.

People use “irregardless” to mean the same thing as regardless. That’s just stupid. rational = logical, irrational = illogical.

Made up words that combine two similar or contrasting things in order to create one word with a complex, yet obviously contextual meaning, which can be used where another word either doesn’t exist or is insufficient are FABTASTIC. (See what I did there).

One I do like:

ideality – the belief that what is meant to be “reality” is an idilic fiction imposed by presumptions. And probably TV. It is therefore not reality, but not exactly fiction.

So, I’ve decided that as I hear, use or am told GOOD made up words (We’ll call them unwords) I’ll come back to this post and add them in. Just for fun. Yes, to me that’s fun. I don’t get out much.

Irregardless

September 22, 2009

Watching Hell’s Kitchen. I adore Chef Ramsay; just can’t get enough of his horrifying genius. The way his face turns beet red as he cuts into those cooks like he’s slicing a rack of lamb makes my heart sing. Perhaps that says something about the delicate nature of my psyche.

However! One of this season’s cooks drives me insane. She is so obnoxious, and in the “Grew up in the hood” kind of way, not the “I’m a snooty chef” kind of way. But I just hit my limit with her and feel the need to vent on one point: irregardless is NOT a word!

*phew* I feel better now. Thank you for your attention.

“It’s Friday night, and the mood is right. Gonna have some fun, show you how it’s done, TGIF..”

September 21, 2009

5131Friday night is so easily a let down. We set ourselves up for disappointment the minute we begin thinking of Friday as the sweetest day of the week.

I mean, think about it. We gave the awesomeness that is Friday night it’s own acronym! TGIF! It’s THAT awesome. The whole weekend stretches out ahead, full of possibility. The feeling that tonight, this night, is what we’ve waited for for 7 days? It’s like the Christmas of the week. It’s too much pressure.

For me at least, the excitement of Friday nights probably peaked with ABC’s TGIF lineup. Who of my generation didn’t love to curl up on the couch to watch Family Matters, Boy Meets World and before that, Full House?

Ah, the good ‘ol days.

Anyway, last Friday Hubby calls home from work and asks if I’d like to go to an art opening showcasing a friends work. I love events like this. Free wine and an excuse to dress up a little bit and get out of the house? On a Friday? I’m all for it.

The show was good. He’s an incredible artist. If I could afford his pieces I’d probably do more than mill about and drink his wine. All in all, a good Friday night activity. But, you can only hang about an exhibit for so long, and the night was young.

We made the quick decision to go for drinks at a restaurant/bar downtown – a burgeoning hot spot that caters to the young working professionals. We walked in laughing about how old we feel, no longer favoring the loud dance club we once flocked to each Friday for cheap cocktails – after consuming a good quantity at home. It’s cheaper to get drunk at home.

One foot in the doorway we were greeted by a loud shout of excitement and I was swooped up into a massive hug by one of Hubby’s long-time friends.

Since moving to the Bahamas I have become acquainted with a number of Hubby’s friends, and have been welcomed in by all of them as a friend, and not just the wife (or girlfriend at the time). This particular friend is one of my favorites. Always the life of the party, always a riot, and personable beyond belief. He knows EVERYONE. Most love him, and those who don’t probably can’t stand him. He’s too much of a character to warrant any fence-sitting on the issue.

Our quiet Friday night plans were over the minute we saw Mr. Party. He was with another friend of ours, we’ll call her Flirty, and a Fabulously Flamboyant Gay Bahamian. Those last four words don’t often come together here. In a country where church and state are not, and may never be separate, homophobia is rampant. Coupled with the old-fashioned mentality that “it’s not what you know, but who you know”, most gay men choose to never come out, rather than risk their careers, friendships and even lives.


This man, FFGB, has been working for many years in the UK and has been fortunate enough to do well in both career and life, and his self-assuredness was present in every move. He drinks only champagne and strawberries, drives a jaguar (his baby), has “a FABULOUS Doctor” on speed dial – in case one is ever need of a quality plastic surgeon, and can make “anyone sophisticated and classy” (in fact, that’s essentially his job).

The minute he told me that I looked like a “daytime soap star” and had “fabulous breasts”, he had solidified my adoration.

As the night progressed, and the beer flowed (along with the champagne and strawberries), Flirty managed to attract (or perhaps seduce and bewitch is more accurate) a couple of British Expat bankers, already known by Mr. Party despite the fact that they had just arrived in the Bahamas in the last few days. Soon a plan was hatched to go to “another location”. Most of us were pretty drunk and feeling sociable, so we didn’t really bother with the details. New spot? All in!

We pull up to park in a downtown road. A road which should probably be deserted at this time of night – but only if you think about it would you notice that the many parked cars don’t quite look like they belong.

The next steps (spill from car, stumble down road, arrive at random hedge) were uneventful. But then Mr. Party pushes his way through the random hedge and disappears.

At this point my mind snaps into a little more focus. Why are we at a hedge? And is that music behind the hedge?

We push through, one by one, and I’m greeted by something I have never experienced before. Like walking through the door to the Secret Garden, I’ve been transplanted into a hidden space. A stone path, lit with tiki lights, ascends to an elegant set of rooms, dimly lit, expensively appointed, and filled with stylishly dressed people.

It was, it turns out, an underground club. Although it wasn’t explicitly said, it was, in all likelihood, an underground gay club. In a society where the lifestyle is publicly shunned, it is privately thriving. It was like walking into an exclusive club of the 1950’s and knowing that the people there did not know who you were, nor would they acknowledge any association outside those walls (or..um.. hedges).

Hidden in plain view. Not a new concept, but shockingly still necessary. It’s heartbreaking that such a place NEED exist in this day and age, but…

The feeling of exclusivity, being “in the know”…. THAT was delicious. TGIF indeed ;)