A Word on Copyright

Journalism school has taught me a lot so far, and one point really applies here: The rules of copyright, specifically with photos.

Gone are the days (in my life at least) where copy-and-pasting photos from the Internet was deemed okay. I have now learned that technically, if you use them without permission, it’s copyright infringement.

Here at Elilai Petals, I did my best to always include a photo or two  with each post. The Internet was usually my only resource as it wasn’t feasible to take my own photos all the time. Now I’ve realized I really should have contacted the owners of the websites and asked permission for their photos. Not just the simple, right-click, copy, paste, done.

At least, thank goodness, I made it a bit better by always putting a link to the source of the photo. So I wasn’t entirely infringing on their copyrights… Not entirely at least.

Anyway, as a journalist now (yes, our instructors recommend we call ourselves journalists, even if we’re technically students and aren’t working for anyone), it is my duty to adhere to all the rules and regulations that come with the job. So, I’ll make an effort to take all my own photos, or use other people’s photos with their permission.

The first step? Revamp the blog design and use a photo I have permission for, rather than the really good one I found online. Thanks to Katerina Sieg for her gorgeous chelilai flower photos, one of them now in the header!

Used in new blog header - Courtesy Katerina Sieg


January 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm Leave a comment

International Media, we are disappointed

Collapsed main road in northern St. Lucia

The lack of international coverage of Hurricane Tomas and its effect on the Caribbean has left people (who really know what’s going on) feeling left out and furious.

From making mistakes in reports to simply ignoring the event altogether, North American media in particular has been neglectful in their coverage of Hurricane Tomas.

The BBC on the other hand has written a good piece about it, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11672819 and is following the path of Tomas (now a tropical storm) as it heads toward Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. Although it is focusing solely on Haiti (perhaps because the news of a storm headed to an island already suffering sounds more tragic) at least it gave some in-depth coverage to the islands already hit by it, such as St. Lucia. This may be because a St. Lucian student based in Florida wrote to the BBC (among other media corporations) asking for attention to be drawn to the crisis in her homeland. While this is an inspiring story of patriotism and personal determination, it shouldn’t have had to have taken her efforts to spur international media into action. They should have already been aware of what was going on and should have been giving it ample air time and print space.

I know more about St. Lucia at the moment than other islands, as that is where my family is based. As it stands right now, parts of the island are still without power and the entire island is without running water as the main dam is polluted and blocked. The main road which runs across the island has collapsed in at least two areas, and many other municipal roads have disappeared altogether. People have lost their roofs and some have lost entire homes. 14 deaths have been reported.

The St. Lucia Red Cross is working to help those in need. For people outside of St. Lucia who would like to donate, see the information below (from the St. Lucia Star newspaper’s website).

Persons outside of St Lucia wishing to make donations can remit funds through

Bank of America, New York, N Y, 10048-1191 Swift Code: BOFAUS3N

Chips member ID: 015035

ABA Number 026009593

I am trying to get media coverage happening here in Ontario with articles I’m writing. While this certainly isn’t the world’s biggest disaster, it is still significant and the world needs to know about it. The Caribbean is a region often thought of only as a tropical paradise. Newsflash people, paradise ain’t perfect. Nature is in charge. Wake up and be aware!

See aerial footage of St. Lucia here: http://www.htsstlucia.com/HTS_News_Video5.html

*Photo courtesy of Erik M. Simmons

November 3, 2010 at 7:10 pm 4 comments

The Feeling of Alone

It’s both a strange and wonderful feeling – the feeling of Alone.

At first it’s incredibly appealing – the idea of On My Own.

Nervous excitement precedes it, but you’re ready, you’ll be okay.

Though nothing can really prepare you, for the actual feeling, on the day.

The space is all yours, spread out, “make it mine”, but every now and then you trip.

You trip on the floors, of personal time, and your faith in yourself starts to rip.

All this space for just one (“it’s mine, just me”) can bring such absolute gain.

But the face of Alone, makes “mine” and “me” become words of pure, utter, pain.

You’re sad, but you smile, and there’s just a little fear, but you know it will all be alright.

You’re glad for a while, then darkness comes near, and you worry ’bout things in the night.

Though you forbid it, sleep will succeed, you’ll be dreaming all the way through.

In morning you’ll have made it, Alone will not lead, you are in charge of you.

August 31, 2010 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

A Final Grain of Sand

Caribbean heat dries sea salt onto my sun-bronzed skin. Miniscule crystals climb on top of each pore and cling to every hair. Wind chases its own tail around my limbs and past my ears. Atlantic waves rush up onto ancient sand. A barbecue fire gains strength behind me. My mind struggles to record and save all the data I’m observing. In exactly 1 week I’ll be on my way to the airport, and it will be months before I see, hear, taste, smell, or feel any of this again.


Exactly 1 week later, I was on my way to the airport, on the twisting, turning, tummy-tormenting road that was unavoidable, should one want to travel on “de big airplanes”.  After an hour in the car (in record time, I know my dad would like me to add), we stopped at a restaurant two minutes from the airport. I wobbled out onto my feet and waited for the queasyness to pass.

Then on to lunch and a squished-up, two-minute drive to the airport (someone else would be carsitting and drove us there, so there was an extra person now in the car). After an hour of rigmarole, we finally got to the gate and waited briefly to board.

This is it, this is it, goodbye to the tropics. On to Snow Country. Aboard the plane, “Take your seats, buckle up,”. “Stow any baggage in the overhead compartments.”

I cried over the last in-the-country text messages with the wonderful young man I was leaving behind. That made physically leaving the country the hardest. Saying goodbye to my family was in two weeks, in Snow Country, not now, not here. They were with me for longer. I don’t know if I could’ve handled saying goodbye to all of them at once.


The tropics will be missed, but the snow is a welcome new novelty, though the cold will be hard to get used to. A month after that departure, I have since gotten settled in my new home. I’ve said goodbye to my family, which wasn’t easy. I’m in touch with them and the wonderful young man every day in some technological form. I’m making dinner and washing dishes and putting laundry on to wash. I’m managing. And so here the journey begins. The journey from sand, to snow…

Photo by author.


August 27, 2010 at 6:08 pm 10 comments


“Tomorrow is Confession. Be here on time. Everybody must go. Do you all remember what you have to say? Let’s review.”

My only knowledge of Confession was what I’d seen on TV, and my exposure to TV had been limited. I knew it was a Catholic thing to do, and I knew you did it to come clean of all the bad things you’d done. I knew you went into a wooden box and talked to the priest through a screen so he couldn’t see you, which I thought was a bit strange, and I knew the priest wasn’t allowed to tell anybody what you told him. I guess I knew a fair bit about it, but I had no idea how to actually do it.

Sister Mikaela (pronounced “Mih-guy-lah” in the Palauan accent) was telling us all about it in Grade 6. “Who can tell me why we go to Confession?” And some good Catholic answered, “So we can get forgiveness for our sins”. Sister Mikaela praised the correct student and then went on to go over the exact things to say when you get in the wooden box and when to make the sign of the cross. She made sure everyone did it perfectly. Just about all the kids in the class already understood this process and had only forgotten one or two steps. I was one of maybe five non-Catholic sixth graders, but I was the only non-religious student in the school.

My dad was brought up Catholic and my mum was brought up kind of Anglican, until her parents decided they’d had enough of church and all its accompaniments. I was brought up to appreciate and accept all religions, to be a kind, honest person, and to follow the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you). I was encouraged to choose my own religion one day, if I so desired. I was exposed to the Bible and its stories, but I was never christened nor baptized, anointed nor blessed.

I had no problem with my upbringing or beliefs. I felt no need to conform to the specifications of one creed over another, and I knew that the most important thing was to strive to always be a good person. And bloody hell, I was 10 for goodness’ sake! How was I supposed to know who or what to believe in?!

Well, very few people understood this, and even less accepted it. I don’t know how many times classmates asked me, “What religion are you?” “Do you believe in God?” “Are you Christian?” “Why don’t you go to Church?” “What do you believe in?” I was made to feel very weird for not being strictly Catholic or Protestant or Seventh Day Adventist or something. So you can imagine my trepidation when I had to tell Sister Mikaela (a nun of all people) that I wasn’t Catholic and wasn’t sure if I should go to Confession. I didn’t think I’d be allowed in and thought for sure that if I did go, and the priest found out I wasn’t a member of his faith, that I’d be forever condemned and turned into a pillar of salt or something.

Well, Sister Mikaela took it fine and told me it was okay, I could just stay home. She gave me a toothy, betelnut-red smile and said, “Okay, Elilai.” She was the only teacher who ever called me Elilai. I liked her.

So to my amazement, I got out of Confession and I was still alive. I’d had terrible fears of being forced to go and making an absolute fool of myself. I didn’t know what to say, if I should pray there, sit, stand, or kneel. What if the priest told me to say or do something right then and there, and I had no idea what he meant? But, that didn’t happen. I was okay. I’d made it through (or should I say past) my first Catholic milestone.

Photo Credit: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Cu8pzmbnJlA/TEs6JOMWnfI/AAAAAAAAA_U/M1BblufGjao/s1600/confessional.jpg


August 23, 2010 at 9:58 pm 4 comments

Too Much Touch, Not Enough Play

Is it me, or are way too many players getting a bit too touchy in this year’s World Cup? Lately, I’m seeing just way too much grabbing, pulling, pushing, tripping, and elbowing! I thought these things weren’t allowed! Now, almost every team is doing it at some point. Why can’t they just play football? Stick to the sport! Rather than great footwork, so many players seem to be focused on yanking the shirts off their opponents, and there is more body checking in some of these matches than in a bloody hockey game!

Moreover, so many of these incidents go unnoticed and un-reprimanded by the refs! Then they dish out yellow cards for pure and obvious accidents. I just don’t get it. I think football should be about the sport, the footwork, the talent. Players should rely on their skills, not how well they can push or pull or punch someone else. What do you think? Express your thoughts with the poll below, and feel free to add comments!

Photo Courtesy of:  http://sifranzaypinoy.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/2010-logo.jpg

June 24, 2010 at 11:29 am 5 comments

Close Call at American Idol

Last night’s episode was shocking. Not only was one of the season’s worst contestants safe yet again, but one of the season’s best contestants got the least amount of votes!

How Tim Urban has managed to stay in the competition for so long, I really don’t know. He can sing okay-ish, but he’s got no charisma, no entertainment value. I can’t find anything interesting or captivating about him. But hey, that’s just my opinion. Maybe I just can’t see what so many voting Americans see.

I can deal with Tim sticking around though, not much I can do about it, since I can’t vote (living outside of the U.S.). But what’s really difficult, is seeing the people you love getting sent home. Michael Lynche has incredible talent. He’s one of the best this season, and I think one of the best out of all the seasons. It would have been ridiculous if the judges hadn’t saved him. Come on America! Get it right next time! This show is about singing talent, entertainment value. Just watch Michael perform. He’s got it all.

Personally, I think Michael is a great candidate for winner. He should be in the Final Three for sure. He’s a nice guy with a wife he seems to love dearly and a brand new baby. He loves singing and this show really means something to him. I think he really deserves it. And maybe his latest performance wasn’t his best, but you can bet he’s gonna bring it like never before after this. And I for one can’t wait to see what he can do.

And hey, now that the judges have used their save, two people have to go home next week. Maybe that means it’ll finally be time to say goodbye to Tim. =)

Photo Credits:

American Idol logo: http://www.duetsblog.com/uploads/image/american-idol-logo%281%29.jpg

Michael standing: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/images/news/00031784.jpg

Michael close-up: http://www.billboard.com/photos/stylus/105391-michael_lynche_american_idol_617_409.jpg


April 8, 2010 at 10:49 am 2 comments

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