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One Small Step

Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong after his historic moonwalk. Credit: NASA

On a warm summer's night in the middle of nowhere, I found out that Neil Armstrong had passed away. A famously reclusive man who inspired generations to go where no one had gone before. In part, he was the reason I wanted to become an engineer. With the steady decline of NASA's budget and mandate since his walk, I'm not sure young kids will have the same dreams to strive for.

Time's Obituary.

The Art of Science and Cooking

Two of my favourite things are food and science.  Not to be mistaken with Food Science. That's a whole other kettle of fish. I'm talking about stripping down food to it's basic components and then reassembling them into something exquisite. The folks over at Modernist Cuisine are trying to do just that. These series of videos Tested produced on their recent visit to Modernist Cuisine's kitchen excite the imagination. 

I tend to lean towards baking whenever I attempt to cook. The precise measurements and times gives me sense of control that I find comforting. If something goes wrong I can usually trace the source of the error. Not so in cooking, where a myriad of things could have affected the outcome. I think that's what appeals to me about their approach to cooking. It's precise. 

Modernist Cuisine has a series of cookbooks detailing their methods, but at $500 it way out of my reach. The good news is they are releasing a home version for about $150 on October 8th. Now that's something I can save my pennies nickels for.

MCA - The Beastie Boys 

The last few years I haven't been really listening to a lot of music. I usually rely on my friends to keep me up to date on what's topping the charts. When asked by dream on rainy days for music to play for my birthday last year, all I could muster was Michael Jackson and The Beastie Boys. 

I was stunned to learn of the recent passing of Adam Yauch(MCA of the Beastie Boys). I knew he had cancer, but I didn't realize how severe it had gotten. Just last year they released a new album, which I quickly devoured, and a few weeks ago they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yauch was admitted to hospital the same day. 

Their music has always been apart of my youth, my life. A constant background noise. Comforting. Permanent. It was like an out of body experience when I found out a Beastie Boys had died. You think they would always be around, and suddenly they aren't. 

This slight brush with death has reminded me to not take for granted the ones who are close to me. To tell them you care and to be there for them when they need you. Because when death is not just a cool breeze, but a knock on the door or a phone call, you will need them more than anything.

I had always found it odd that Fight For Your Right was their best known track. It's not representative of their usual sound. That rhythmic, mic-passing style that they do so well. You can't pick your hits I guess. For my money Intergalactic was where it was at.

My Trini Accent(Or Lack Thereof)


Many people I meet are surprised to find out that I'm Trinidadian. Even colleagues I've worked with for years find it hard to believe. It's probably due to my lack of an accent. That instantly recognizable speech pattern that Trinidadians are known for the world over.

I lost mine after moving to Canada at a very young age. It took a while though. Conversations with my Canadian cousin about the proper way to pronounce the word "bat-a-re" - or "bat-tree" as I argued - are vivid in my memory. In recent years, I've see this type of conversation pop up again as to what's the "correct" way to pronounce certain words.

"Speak to me in your accent." It's a request I've gotten over and over that I can't seem to fulfill. But where did my accent go? Did it gradually faded away as I acclimatized to my new life in Canada or had I taken an active role in its eradication? Honestly, I'm not sure, but it's probably a combination of both. 

I didn't really have many Trini friends growing up in my new surroundings as I mostly hung out with Asian, East Indian, and Caucasian kids. I would try and fit in and a weird accent was not part of the plan. 

Even my parents, who have now lived in Canada longer than they lived back home have mellowed their accent to barely a trace. To me at least. I find it surprising that it only takes a few words for others to place them as Trini, even when they sound like a typical Canadian.

To be fair, I can speak with an accent, but it takes considerable effort. I have to carefully construct how it is supposed to sound and even then, it takes too much effort to sustain it and I tire quickly. When I'm back in T&T, it comes to me more naturally, because there are examples all around and it's just a matter of recalling overheard words and creating the sentence I want. 

That conversation of pronunciation was not by accident. Now that my circle of friends includes a Trinidadian with an accent, it happens regularly. The conversation then turns to me, in which I nod in agreement at my fellow countryman, but do not engage in and I'm ask once again: "Speak to me in your accent." They continue, "Why don't you have an accent? It's a sexy accent."  But of course I cannot oblige. I've lost it somewhere along the way, and I don't know if I can ever find it again. Even if I desperately want to.  

Bejeweled: The Making of a Bracelet

A good friend of mine's birthday is coming up. The kind of friend where it's impossible to find a gift for. Surely, as they are a close friend, I could pick up something I know they'd like? But as a close friend I want to get them something they would love. I decided to take a chance and make some jewellery. I would make them a bracelet. It is a risk because they would either love it or chuck it in a drawer and never wear it.

I got the idea form this blog post. Which was very helpful and I recommend you check out their other DIY projects.

I have never made any kind of jewelry before so this project was very daunting. I first had to determine if it was even feasible. I went to several jewellery/bead shops asking for advice and checking if they had all of the materials. I was finally able to collect all the items. There was one change, however from the instructions. The clasp used in the blog was changed for a more reliable type based on the recommendation of a elderly shop owner.


One minor dilemma that occurred was determining the length of her wrist in order to cut the chain, but that was quickly obtained with the help of a friend(Team Blue!) at a recent boardgame night during the holidays.

Early stagesIt was slow going in the beginning. The black cord, infuratingly, would not stay stright. I got the hang of it eventually but there are still some sections that never quite sit right. The clasps required the rotation of two pliers which was a little tricky.

Finished bracelet

At the top you can see the finished product. It's not bad for a first attempt, but the real test is yet to come. Wish me luck!