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The Nuisance That Is Digicel Jamaica

August 9, 2010

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I’ve been a Digicel customer since the tender age of 10, when my parents bought me my first cell phone for Christmas. I’ve had a vast number of new phones since then, but the network remained the same, even if I changed my number.
These past seven years, I’ve experienced a myriad of problems with the network; including dropped calls, failed SMS messages and credit mysteriously disappearing from my account. Since becoming a BlackBerry user a mere eight months ago, I’ve had to experience a whole new set of problems, even more aggravating and irksome than the old ones.
As you may know, a BlackBerry is useless without BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), because most, if not all, of the features on the phone require BIS. (Sidenote: why do people purchase BlackBerries, then refuse to activate a plan? Why didn’t you just stick with your Nokia 3310?)
Thus, upon receiving my BlackBerry, I dialled *136# to set up my plan and I’ve been using BIS (provided by Digicel) ever since.
My issue with the service is that it’s so expensive, yet so unreliable. View rates below:

7 days – J$499
14 days – J$899
30 days – J$1599

Please note that these prices are NOT inclusive of a 25% General Consumption Tax.

So yes, BlackBerry service is a bit expensive, but it’s a luxury experienced by thousands of Jamaicans. Quite often, the service malfunctions. Sometimes, it seems to happen just to my phone, sometimes to everyone in a wide geographical area. Getting through to Digicel’s BlackBerry helpline is almost impossible during this time and if you do get through, you’ll hear something like “I’m not seeing a problem, have you tried doing a battery pull?”.
When the service goes down, my phone is a brick. I cannot send or receive messages using BlackBerry messenger. I can’t send or receive emails. I can’t browse. I can’t tweet. I can’t do anything but make calls, send texts and play BrickBreaker.
Mind you, customers are not compensated for this inconvenience. Sometimes it’s down for up to three hours, yet we are never reimbursed. If your service is to expire on January 1 at midnight, at 11:59 on December 31, you will receive a text message informing you that your plan has expired, complete with instructions on how to renew it. That’s all very well, Digicel, but what about my three hours? If I pay for 168 hours of something, yet only receive 165 hours, am I not being robbed?
Another irritating habit of theirs is deducting credit from your account for using data services. If I have a prepaid plan for unlimited data services, why am I being charged again? Once again, I am being robbed.
After they have completely drained your credit, they resort to sending out bulk messages from +451.
“Insufficient funds or Unauthorized Service for data session”.

I know I’m not the only one experiencing these problems because I see and hear others complaining about the very same things.
Woe is me, I’m seriously thinking that it’s time to “move up”!

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Rising Stars Recap: Top 7

August 9, 2010

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Last week, I mentioned that it was rumoured on the street that Beres was disqualified from the competition. On Monday, Rising Star producer Sharon Schroeter released a statement confirming he was, in fact, disqualified from the competition. She stated that his behaviour was considered intolerant and abusive; she went on to say that the contestants were intimidated by Beres due to his verbal abuse and threatening behaviour.
On Tuesday, the Star issued a release giving Beres a chance to rebut. Here is what he said:
“Dem nuh like mi, dem fighting me a lot. Anything happen, dem put it on me. Yesterday (Sunday), I am in the audition room and somebody seh something feisty to me and mi just ansa back. Dem start ketch attitude and call mi illiterate. Anything happen, a me dem blame,”
He explained that there was another instance when one of the contestants “belch inna mi face and when mi ask har why she do dat, she seh ‘so what’ and mi tell har fi go ….”
“Dem waan diss people and when yuh diss dem back, dem run go complain.”
He seems rather ignorant and crazy to me. I’m sure you all remembered that moment in the auditions when Anthony told him not to forget to take his medicine, its clear that Beres didn’t listen. We won’t spend any more time on him, he’s done his part, I wish him all the best.
Oh, and a word of advice, try not using any “big” words when speaking to him. He might accuse you of using “intelligent badwords” against him.
Onwards to the episode recap!

The TOP SEVEN

Just like last week the bottom two contestants this week were Phylea and Trevaugn Mills – no surprise there. They were both given one more chance to show us why they deserve to stay. In translation, this gave Trevaugn the opportunity to irritate the nation one last time. However, he was better than last week but not good enough. The fluffy diva again rocked her retro vibe and fought to show us why she deserved to stay in the competition. She won the likes of the judges, and I’m sure the audience, by a large margin as she was chosen by all three judges to stay.

Nadine, without hesitation, chose Phylea. Anthony thanked Trevaugn for being a good sport but his time expired. Clyde (or Clive whatever his name is) said something… but really though, no one cares.
The Rising Star production team decided to try a different theme allowing the contestants to showcase their versatility and professionalism as they were required to perform a medley.
The performances on Sunday night were acceptable, it was the best show since the season and we finally saw signs of the contestants maturing! Whew, thank the lord!
I’Octane was the co-host in the Chill Room this week with Pepita and he advised the contestants to keep it real. With that said, I’m gonna go right into the performances.

Wannabe bad girl Latoya Chambers was first this week and her being the one who kicked off the night was a huge turn off for the television audience. Dressed like a stripper, she performed a Rihanna medley, she might have pulled off the Rihanna fashion but vocally, she sounded like a cat stuck in a functioning washing machine. Annoying, right? She almost made me lose respect for Rihanna. She was horrible and on top of that she made a lame excuse about being under the weather, so can I assume that she has been under the weather from the start of the live shows? At one point it was clear that she forgot the words of So Hard. The judges and this At Home Judge were not amused.
The energetic one, Toni Blair redeemed herself this week as she performed a “medley” (seriously? I hardly call putting two songs together a medley) by Beyonce. She started off with Smash Into You and completely nailed it! She quickly transformed into her alter ego Sasha Blair and rocked Deja Vu. The judges were amazed and so was I.
The real Hot ‘Ed Jermaine took on a medley by Usher and Nsync. I must say that Jermaine is one to watch! He is really talented and he shows us that each week. He started off with Usher’s You Got It Bad and it rode it like a real jock! This guy might not be the best of singers but he knows how to entertain his audience and knows to make the girls go wild. He sang a collaboration of three songs and took the crowd under his wings. The judges were pleased with his performance and urged him to “connect” with his audience more.

Word on the street with Kimone this week focused on finding out if the judges’ comments have any influence on the public voting. The general consensus showed that yes, to some extent what the judges have to say does impact the voting. Some had some issues with one particular judge though, while some can’t stand Anthony, others love him.
Camaley came after Jermaine doing a medley comprising of I’m Yours by Jason Mraz, Owl City’s Fireflies and Bruno Mars’ Billionaire. Aww Camaley is such a little cutey. She started off with I’m Yours, she sounded pretty good until she took on the other two. She went back and forth with FirefLies and Billionaire. A few weeks ago she mentioned that her condition causes her to have struggles when singing and on Sunday night you saw or heard exactly what she was talking about. Anthony said that there was nothing to get excited about with that performance. I think her condition may just be holding her back in the competition.
Phylea came next. This week she “transformed” and was now looking more like Miss Kitty than the dancehall queen. She performed a medley by Lady Gaga. I am still waiting for someone to tell me what Phylea was doing. I mean, if you’re going to do a Gaga skit you have to come with the whole package. Where were the eccentrics? Her fashion failed, I don’t know what she was wearing on her head. Was it a wig or something she borrowed from a mop? She also keeps touching some notes that are protected by law! The judges, however, were blown away by her performance. I am left to wonder if we who are at home are hearing the same thing that the persons in the studio are hearing.

Nekorah. Ohhh I am so proud of this girl and how she redeemed herself from that tired act last week. She gave us a wonderful reggae medley. She had me rocking slowly at first then towards the end she had me doing some real Capleton high knees. Nekorah, I loved it! She convinced us all that she wants this! She seemed to have touched Nadine’s G Spot though. What was that about?

The fashion fanatic was last and was, alas, the worst performer of the night. I’m still in shock at Dalton’s performance. He did a medley by Chris Brown; now before I continue I have to say that I think this dude would have nailed this one because Chris Brown has so many great songs that Dalton could have done. But he chose the worst ones! At the beginning he started with Transform Ya. Oh My God! What was that? I was at ease when I realized that it was just for two seconds but I was soon again grieving when he screwed up Crawl. And really Dalton, that thing you were doing with your feet – what is it called? He then completely crossed the line when he messed up my favorite song, Forever. I almost cried. I hope he comes better next week, I know he won’t be eliminated so he can redeem himself. The judges were disappointed and so was I.

So those were the performances as at the August 8, 2010 show – the top 7. Here are some of the popular tweets made on Twitter on Sunday night.

    What’s Oneness?
    I’Octane gave some really good advice
    Dalton: “I am not single”
    Did Nadine tell Nekorah to hug her pillow and think about her? Oh zeen
    Phylea outfit , di gaga ting fail

That’s the review for this week. Until next week its yah boi Dervin!

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Discover and Download: Uffie

August 8, 2010

Uffie

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When my best friend sent me an audio file transfer request on BlackBerry Messenger about a month ago, I immediately accepted because I trust her taste in music. Once again, she didn’t disappoint. The song was called Steroids and it was by then-unknown Uffie and Mr. Oizo. It was love at first listen and I soon downloaded as many Uffie tracks as I could find.
I don’t want to classify her as techno, because it annoys me when people refer to any song with an electronic beat as techno. Wikipedia lists her genres as Electronica, Synthpop, Nu-disco, Indie dance, Acid house, Electro Hop (a combination of hip hop and electro), Rap and French house. (Sidenote: French house is AWESOME – Yelle, Daft Punk etc.)

Anna-Catherine Hartley is a Miami-born, Hong Kong-raised, Paris-based electro artist, vocalist, rapper, entertainer, producer and songwriter currently signed by French music label Ed Banger Records and Elektra Records. Though her music isn’t popular on this side of the world, she’s huge on the European club scene, especially in France and Ibiza.
I love her unique style; the way she combines a more subtle kind of rap with really sick electro beats. I love her provocative, quotable lyrics and her confident, IDGAF attitude.
Notable tracks include previously mentioned Steroids with Mr. Oizo, ADD SUV with hip hop mogul Pharell Williams, Hot Chick and MCs Can Kiss. Also worth mentioning is her 2007 collaboration Tthhee Ppaarrttyy, with labelmates Justice.
Her debut album, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans was released in Europe through Ed Banger Records on June 11, 2010 and in the US by Elektra Records on June 22, 2010.

Discover and Download Uffie!
Official website | MySpace Music | Facebook


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This Is The Land of My Birth!

August 6, 2010

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August 6, 2010 marks 48 years since Jamaica gained independence from Britain. My grandfather sometimes refers to my mother as an “Independence Baby” because she was born in the year 1962.
If you know me, you’ll know that I”m a patriot 365 days a year. But there’s just something about August 6 that brings out the patriot in all Jamaicans. Maybe it’s the music that’s played on local radio stations or the festivals and events that are being put on this time of year. The JCDC is really doing an excellent job of preserving our culture.
This post is just about me being a Jamaican and being proud, despite the hardships that we face as a country.
I remember being ten years old at St. Theresa Prep and having the opportunity to participate in the JCDC dance and music festivals. It was an awesome experience for me, to be able to learn ‘ole time’ Jamaican dances and songs as well as being able to watch other persons perform these songs and dances. I vividly remember the bright strips of cloth being woven into intricate patterns on the maypole. I remember my quadrille costume; and how I was forced to wear a crenoline petticoat under my skirt, to give the illusion of hips. I remember Mommy combing my hair and fixing my makeup and how nervous I was before going on stage. (Mind you, I can’t actually dance).
I remember going away for a year and being severely homesick. I would miss simple things that I took for granted before. For example, the “Gleaner man” that would ride his bicycle in my community on Sunday mornings, shouting “Gleeeanah! Observah! Sundeh ‘Erald!”. Usually, I would be asleep and his voice would wake me up. I’d jump out of bed, grab some money and go outside (barefoot) to purchase a Gleaner, for the Jamaica Observer was not allowed in my house. But no, in Northamptonshire, your Sunday newspaper was delivered quietly through the mail slot in your front door.
During the weekdays, Daddy would turn the radio on at about 5:00 and I’d wake up hearing Alan Magnus rambling on about God knows what; I would also hear the RJR jingles. It wasn’t the same listening to Jamaican radio stations via the internet, although it helped to alleviate my homesick-ness.
It really pains my heart to see Jamaicans who are unable to appreciate their country. Constantly complaining about how poor we are, about our God-awful politicians and our crime rate. Please remember, hardships there are, but the land is green and the sun shineth.

Jamaica is blessed with many things, including a diverse group of amazing people. I’m not talking about just Bob Marley and Usain Bolt, either. Just this morning, I read an article on Ramone Williams, a 21 year old Jamaican recipient of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship (sponsored by Bill and Melissa Gates), currently well on her way to finding a cure for triple negative breast cancer. There are many more like her.

What makes us so impressive is that we’re able to excel despite the many challenges we face. Usain Bolt didn’t have access to any first world training equipment while he was growing up, yet now he’s the fastest man in the world. Consider also, the inner city youth (whose name I cannot remember) who studied by candlelight with gunshots in the background. He is now pursuing his PhD and is currently a motivational speaker for young men facing similar circumstances that he faced, fifteen years ago. Think about the mother, facing all sorts of adversities, who does her very best to ensure that her child is fed, educated and safe.

This is the attitude that is prevalent among us. Life rough, but we will manage.

Honestly, I cannot imagine permanently living anywhere else. I hear a few of my peers talking about “jumping ship” because our country is a “lost cause” and is going nowhere. Who will change this if not us? A genuine love and passion for your country is necessary to ensure your country’s progress. I feel obligated to help bring about this progress, in my own little way.

I’ve said it many times, I’m not an optimist, nor a pessimist. I’m a realist. I’m not looking at anything through rose-coloured glasses. I genuinely think that a better Jamaica is coming; slowly, but surely.

Happy birthday, Jamaica. I love you!

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Rising Stars Recap: Top 8

August 2, 2010

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First of all I have to give a shout out to Francine for allowing me to voice my thoughts on her website. Let’s get straight to it.

On Sunday, the Rising Stars top 8 took us back, way back, as they performed some good ol’ oldies hits music. For the most part, the performers butchered the songs they chose. After repeated pleas from the judges for the contestants to choose the right song, it’s quite obvious they don’t know what “right” means. Maybe the judges should tell them to choose the “wrong” song and see how well they would do.

No one was sent home this week, but crowd favourite Beres was not present, word on the street is that he was disqualified; I wonder what that is about. Trevaughn and Phylea were in the bottom two this week and Trevaughn soon showed us why he was placed in that position.

Camaley started off the night singing Michael Jackson’s Ben, a tribute he did to his dead rat. I’m a fan of Camaley and I’m happy that she’s going against her condition and still fighting for what she wants but seriously? I’m glad that Ben was just a rat. The judges said it was not her best vocal performance and this At Home Judge has to agree.

Next up was Jermaine Michael singing a song by Cool and Gang called Cherish Your Love, I’m not a big fan of the Rising Star “tug” as I call him but the raspy rendition of that song would make any girl cherish his love. Clyde said he was speechless, I’m not sure If he was all that but he was definitely one of the better performers of the night.

Nikora followed right after singing Dione Warwick’s I Know. She bellowed the lyrics but Nikora, I KNOW I will NEVER love that song again. On to the next contestant.

Trevaughn Mills, dressed in his silky glossy top that was too tight be worn in public, STILL managed to kill and bury a wonderful song. Jamaica I have to ask, why is he still in the competition? Is unu a vote fi him enuh. Anthony said that he was by far the worst contestant in Rising Star’s history and I COMPLETELY agree. WAIT!!! Did Nadine thank him for trying to be sexy? Is that what you call it? Is that what sexy is?

Latoya Chambers tried to convince us that she’s a bad girl, no dear it didn’t work. She belted the lyrics, but unfortunately, I and I’m sure many persons watching, were more focused on that thing she had swinging on the back of her head. Anthony said she was “ok” and I think I’m gonna run with that.

So it’s no secret everyone was clearly happy that Pepita is now defrosting the ice cold Chill Room that the other host Kimone was supposedly to be “warming” up. But where is she though? Well they didn’t want to get rid of her yet, Kimone is now out of the studio and is in the streets hosting the Digicel Rising Stars Vox Pop segment of the show. Sounds big huh? No, that segment only lasts for 5mins. Back to the performers

Up next was the country boy, fashionisto Dalton Harris who performed Who’s Loving You by Michael Jackson. I’m all for teenagers doing their thing big and so personally I’m truly glad that Dalton is in the competition. He owned that song completely, his vocals were off the chain, and the hoarseness in his voice as Nadine said was what made that performance sparkle. Did anyone see the “fierce” attitude he was giving though? What’s up with that? And I’m sorry I can’t keep it in anymore, the slurry thing he does when he’s singing is really starting to annoy me. He must have been pretty shocked when Anthony said that his act was a mess, did you see his jaw drop? No one paid Anthony any attention, we all know how sporadic his moods can be.

Following Dalton was Toni Blair who sang Set My Heart On Fire. This girl used what God gave her and embarrassed herself but It worked for her and I loved it! She hit a few pitches, some of which she clearly couldn’t handle. Clyde said she failed to “set the place on fire”. Dancehall Queen Carlene look-a-like, Phylea was last and she showed us how much of a Diva she can be as she performed “To Be Real”. Yea yea yea, she touched some forbidden notes but she killed it none the less. Nadine and Anthony said that they are still waiting for Phylea to blow them away.

So that’s the recap. Here are some of the common tweets made Sunday night on twitter.

  • What’s up with ZJ Rush, can’t he talk? Is he not allowed to or something?
  • I still don’t know who that man is was sitting beside Pepita
  • What away dem ship weh Kimone
  • Weh Phylea shoes disappear gone?
  • Thank God Pepita is now the chill room host, the brought the vibe that was missing
  • A WEH BERES DEH?

That’s it! Until next week its yah boii Durvii, peace! Follow Durvii on Twitter or add him as a friend on Facebook!
Email him at durviiexclusice@yahoo.com

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Summer Bar-Raage: The 4G Experience

August 1, 2010

Summer Bar-Raage

The third installment of the Bar-Raage series of parties, put on by Lawless Events and Alca Entertainment, was held on Saturday, July 24 on the lawns of Hope Gardens in Kingston. Summer Bar-Raage: The 4G Experience was definitely a big success. It’s the only party this summer to include a performance segment, so it was one of a kind.

This year, the event featured a VIP section; entrance to this section was granted to bearers of an Early Bird ticket, which was available for a very affordable $1000. Sales of the Early Bird tickets begun three weeks prior to the event. Regular admission was $1300 pre-sold, $1500 at the gate. The theme for this year’s party was “Glamorous Girls and Genuine Guys”.

You might be wondering why this party was “the 4G Experience”. The 4G’s is in reference to the theme, glamorous girls and genuine guys. It also refers to the four top DJs that the event featured.

Performances from Aidonia, Timberlee, Chozenn, Mixing Lab and Chedda ended the event. Aidonia and Timberlee rocked the stage, leaving the audience begging for more. The event featured four quality DJs (Tony Matterhorn, Marc Chin, ZJ Liquid and ZJ Wahwa from Darkcide International) who spun brilliant music for the patrons present at Summer Bar-Raage. Tony Matterhorn stole the night by playing his raw version of the World Cup song, to the delight of the crowd. The DJs must be commended for their selection of music from all genres, ensuring that everyone got a chance to enjoy themselves.

Summer Bar-raage was shut off at approximately 3:30 am, due to restrictions given to the promoters by KSAC.

Party Recap:

Patron count: 1500+

Patrons 8/10

Bar 8/10

Music 8/10

Vibe 10/10

Overall event score 8.5/10

Sounds good to you?

Well don’t you dare miss Marco Polo on August 29 at LIME Golf Academy. And stay tuned for Winter Bar-raage, coming in December.

Click here or here to view the Summer Bar-Raage Photo Gallery!

Review done by Lance Craig

Dear Fran

August 1, 2010

Dear Fran,

I read your post “Men are from Mars etc” and I just concluded that you probably know a lot about men and about relationships. So here I am, asking for your input regarding a certain problem that I am having. If you decide to publish my letter as a post, please remove all personal info about me first.
So I’m a 21 year old woman, currently going to school, working part time to help pay tuition. I’m seeing a man, he’s 24 and currently unemployed.
We hang out all the time, he’s always coming by my apartment to sleepover and we watch movies on my couch together and stuff like that. I’ve been seeing him for about six or seven months and I’m ready to fully commit. The problem is, I don’t think he’s ready, because if he was, he would have asked right? Why hasn’t he asked?
What do you think I should do?

Dear Reader,
I was really flattered and surprised when I got your email. I think it’s really cool that you think that I should start doing an advice column on my blog. It’s a great idea, but I’m a seventeen year old girl and I’m very inexperienced in a lot of areas. But I’ll still do the best I can.
A few things in your letter really concerned me:
First of all, if he’s unemployed. Does that mean that you have to be paying for things often? It’s probably hard enough on you, since tuition is so expensive and you’re receiving very little help with that.
Secondly, I noticed that when you guys hang out, it’s always at your apartment, never at a restaurant, movie or party. I don’t really know your situation, so I don’t want to judge. Please ask yourself why you and this man are never seen in public together.
Thirdly, his friends and family don’t know that you exist. This is a big problem to me. Again, ask yourself why he hasn’t introduced you to any of his friends, or even his family.
I honestly think that if he wanted a relationship, he would have brought it up in conversation at least once. If he’s not bringing it up, I think you should.
Hope I helped.

– Fran.