Wednesday, April 08, 2020

A good interview between two individuals who clearly respect one another:

Sunday, April 05, 2020

I'm starting to feel increasingly paranoid about going outside even with stellar social distancing techniques, a mask and a pair of gloves. That paranoia is keeping me from doing my five-mile run every other day, and that---combined with me being unable to swim--has left me pretty depressed and unmotivated in the workout department. I've adjusted my diet and the portions of food I consume on a daily basis, but sadly, the amount of wine I've consumed over the past several weeks has me breaking even in the weight loss department. But I think I have found a solution.

The lack of sports on the television right now, has forced me to become considerably more resourceful when it comes to fulfilling that sports fix. As a result, I have taking a shine to YouTubing old Floyd Mayweather boxing matches. I get that Floyd has had (and maybe still does) serious problems in the domestic violence department, and I think it goes without saying that I don't at all condone that type of bullshit behavior. Having said that, Floyd is a genius in the boxing ring, and in these sports-less times it gives me great pleasure to re-watch and dissect his old fights. So what does this have to do with me working out? Allow me to share...

My quarantine workouts now consists me of me jumping rope while watching Floyd's fights---most of which are 12 rounds (3 minutes for each round). I jump rope for three minutes straight, and then when the fighters take a one-minute break between rounds for water, I do the same. At first, I had serious concerns about whether or not that workout would be a sufficient replacement for my usual running/swimming combination, and if I'm being realistic, it really isn't. But considering how sore my arms, shoulders, neck and core muscles are, I'd say that this workout is no slouch---especially if it also assuages my paranoia about lingering outside too long. If I were a bit more of an exhibitionist, I'd go on Facebook/IG live while I did this workout...but I'm not quite that confident yet. But after another month or two quarantine? Who knows...

Saturday, April 04, 2020

For years I have had a love-hate relationship with my college (Hampton University) homecoming. Leading up to the homecoming, I always get excited about the flyers, the banter, the prospect of seeing old friends and professors, the parties, and most importantly, walking around campus with my son, showing him all the places where I'd hang out and be anti-social.

And then a couple of days before this bless-ed homecoming event began, I would chicken out and ultimately decide to stay my ass at home. I think if I possessed the ability to overcome my social anxiety via meditation (and alcohol), I'd actually have a pleasant time. But ultimately, I think I'd be annoyed at having to answer questions like "So what's been up?", "Where are you living now?", "Do you still talk to [insert name]?". I'd much prefer to stay at home, look at the vast number of Facebook pages dedicated to post-homecoming pictures, and repeat the whole cycle next year.

However, about 3 hours ago, I found a happy medium.

No it isn't homecoming season and even if it was the C-word has everyone stuck in the house looking, feeling and smelling crazy. But at noon today, my main man DJ Precise, who lived across the hall from my freshman year, did an Instagram DJ set for Hampton University folks. Initially I was going to pass on watching/attending, because I've grown a bit weary of all these DJs throwing 2-3 hours Instagram parties--I don't party that much when I'm "free", and I'm not about to start now. But I shaved my head for the first time this morning, and I was feeling good and rebellious so I decided to listen in on DJ Precise's set. And it was delightful.

He started off with Run DMC's "Here We Go" and from there he took me on a nostalgic musical trip on music made between 1991 and 1996. I laughed, I smiled, I made my son and wife listen at moments, and for a an hour or two I totally forgot about the direct and indirect consequences of the C-word.

But the most important takeaway from that DJ set is that I "interacted" with my fellow Hamptonians. Sometimes we both reminisced and recited lyrics to a good ass song, or maybe that person just said "What's up @rashad2075?" and I'd return the favor by saying hello. I felt connected to everyone and it was good to do some light interaction without having to answer dumb questions or feel trapped in a conversation that was on the road to nowhere. I received all the fulfillment of being social without doing the heavy lifting, and given all that bad news that's been thrown in my face as of late, I'm counting this newfound revelation as a big "W".

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

It was increasingly looking like 2020 would be the year that this 14-year blog finally came to an inauspicious end. I figured no one wanted to hear about my parent/marriage/job woes and I wasn't even writing about the Washington Wizards anymore, so I was fairly certain I was all tapped out. My life was still exciting and fulfilling, I just felt it was no longer blogworthy.

Even three weeks into this coronavirus pandemic (it doesn't deserve to be capitalized right now, despite its ample power), I had little desire to put a series of subjects and predicates together for public or private viewing. My nights have been spent watching old boxing matches on YouTube, some shows on Netflix, drinking and doing lesson plans for my son's second grade class. My days are spent working, listening to my wife work, listening to my son's class via Zoom and trying to intermittently teach him some convoluted lesson. I have not had made time to think about writing let alone try to put some words on paper (or the screen as it were). I'm too busy trying to determine whether a sniffle here, a sneeze there and the onset of allergies is going to lead me down a c-word (not the one with four letters)path.

But today, while the wife naps and my son watches the 564th episode of Ninjago, I decided to say a few words. I have personal projects that involve writing that I really need to get a move on, and usually when I am writing in this blog early and often, it bodes well for my other writing projects.

We'll see how this goes, but it feels good to be back.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

My main man Sabin was in town for a conference this week, and last night we finally got a chance to hang out. Life hasn't been no crystal stair for either one of us over the past couple of years. He was dealt a heavy dose of reality when he lost both of this parents over a span of several weeks, and I had to deal with the much lesser inconvenience of being unemployed for nearly a year. While one is obviously more serious than the other, both things change your perspective on life, death, and how to move going forward in this thing we call life.

So with that as a backdrop, we hung out last night. First we had dinner at a restaurant which was weird for me because a) we didn't sit at the bar and b) there was no tv. I honestly cannot a remember a time when I hung out with a dude (my father, my uncle, my boys, my son) where a bar and sports on multiple big screen televisions was not in play. Sometimes those televisions serve as a distraction, sometimes I genuinely want to watch something, and other times you just need those TVs to offset that inevitable dead-air space between conversation topics.

But there was none of that last night. No TVs, no sitting at the bar, just conversation about life past and present and just navigating life as men in our mid-40s. We've known each other since August of 1992, and although we haven't always been super tight all the time, when we get together it feels like we're back at Hampton in the dorm. Good times.

We kept the good times rolling after dinner by going to see the Miles Davis documentary The Birth of Cool, and man was it good. Obviously Miles is a polarizing figure. He was an innovator, a genius, a brilliant horn player and he showed the remarkable ability to adapt his style to the changing musical times. But he was also a drug addict, he beat up all of his women, and some would argue that he abandoned "real" jazz after his six-year hiatus in the late 70s/early 80s. The documentary did a stellar job of capturing all sides of Miles, while mixing in some humor, some sadness and lots of the beautiful music Miles made. In fact, as I'm typing this blog entry, I'm jamming to the live version of "So What"

I woke up this morning feeling inspired to blog, to write a sports article and to resume writing this magical book I've been discussing the past three years. Part of that inspiration came from Miles and a much bigger chunk came from hanging with my main man Sabin. Sometimes you don't even realize how much you miss someone and need that kick in the ass that only they can provide...

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Please go read the first article I've written in five long months. It is called, "My Hiatus and the Magical Words of Ted Leonsis"

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Even at the age of 44, I still grapple with the concept of feeling comfortable with public interaction. It isn't so much that I am shy, bashful or afraid to speak to people in public, its just that I am mildly selfish and I really don't think I can be as honest as I'd like to be when these public interactions invariably go south.

For example, if I see a friend of mine in public while I'm walking down the street with headphones, I'd rather we just wave or head nod, and follow it up with a text, email or phone call later. That way we aren't totally ignoring each other and killing our respective vibes. But if I have to speak to you, remove an earbud or two, say "What's been up?" 20 times, and then listen to you blabber about some inane topic, it tends to be burdensome. Which brings me to yesterday at work...

I am friendly and affable at work, but I tend not to reveal too much about my life because that leads to nosy behavior, small talk and other things that feel slightly invasive to me. It is quite the delicate line to straddle, but I've done so with great aplomb in my 3 months of employment here. No one knows too much, I haven't been inconvenienced, and no one has been offended by my behavior. But yesterday, I decided to get fancy and compliment this woman on her hair.

She's about 50-55 years old, and up until this point, she opted to wear her hair pinned up or in a pony tail, which of course is well within her right. But this past weekend--maybe for Mother's Day--she went all out and it was quite evident that she was pleased with the results, because when she strolled into work yesterday, she was confident and wearing a fancy outfit. I noticed this, and I reflexively gave her a compliment about her hair. I thought she would say thank you and keep it moving, but I was mistaken.

She sat on my desk, got comfortable, and proceeded to tell me why she wears it up more than she wears it down, how long it took to get done, how it threw off her day, and how she was determined to look good and sexy when she came to work. I appreciated her candor, but her volume was way louder than I'm comfortable with and her five-minutes soliloquy lasted about four minutes too long for my liking. To make matters worse, when she saw me the rest of the day, she kept saying hi, or asking me what was for lunch, blah blah blah.

As I told my wife, this is the dirty underbelly of giving a woman a compliment. 80 percent of the time, she'll say thank you and keep it moving. But man when that 20 percent comes down...