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...

Monday, May 13, 2019

So one of my sister-in-law's co-workers bought my son a soccer foosball game last Christmas, along with an air hockey game. The air hockey game was easier to construct, so that got put together and played early and often, while the soccer game collected dust.

But last Sunday, the weather was rainy as hell, and the wife and I had no intentions of leaving the house, so she put the soccer game together, while I watched basketball. My son, who didn't care that I was watching basketball, immediately ran up to me, and asked if I would play soccer with him. I made him wait until halftime, and then I very reluctantly made my way into his room for some games.

My brother and I had a foosball soccer game when we were younger, and although I hadn't played in years (30 years to be exact), it didn't take long for me to once again reclaim that level of mastery. My son and I played for about 90 minutes straight, and I was taxing his ass. He won one game and I was victorious in approximately 95% of the games. My son got frustrated, but I was impressed by his resilience and his willingness to take "L" after "L" in search of consistent wins against his dad.

In fact, since that rainy Sunday, we have played 20-30 games, and he was starting to win a bit more, but I was still winning 70 percent of the time. That all changed this evening...

Granted, I didn't even want to play that f**king soccer game, because my son got in trouble not, once, twice but three times for failing to be silent when the teacher asked him too. He isn't normally that recalcitrant, but that's no excuse. I took away some toys, banned the iPad, and basically told him to read and do homework drills all night before and after dinner. But when he sheepishly asked if we could play three soccer games before bed, I said yes---mainly because I wanted to tax that ass three times and somehow tie my victories into the overall lesson of being obedient at school. Pretty ambitious of me right?

Well my son defeated me not once, twice but three times in that damn soccer game, and only the last game was close (9-8). The first two he beat me 9-5 and 9-4, and he did so with glee and an innocent joy. He didn't notice how angry I was getting, and he didn't even realize that his confidence was directly related to his success. He taxed my ass, and I cannot even properly describe how angry I was getting. After he won the third game, I angrily told him to pick a book out for bedtime, and he tried to shake my hand to say good game, and reiterated that I wanted him to pick out a book for bed.

Five minutes later, I realized how small and childish I had been acting, and I shook my son's hand, and he smiled and said, "Thank you Daddy", which almost made me cry...but not really, I was and still am angry about taking 3 "L's" to my 7-year old son.....

Saturday, April 06, 2019

I'll admit that I had zero intentions of ever writing an entry in this blessed blog again. I lost my desire to write when I got laid off last July, and even when I finally returned to the workforce in February, I still didn't have the desire to blog or write about sports. But I'm slowly coming around now.

First, I finally got the kind of job I've been craving for years. I'm no longer managing people, but instead of I've decided to dive knee-deep into the IT/technical writing world, which means I'll soon be studying for certifications. Second, as you can imagine, not having a job for an extended period of time, tends to break your spirit and quell your creativity. But conversely, having a job and doing something fun, tends to quickly restore all of that. Now if I could only restore my savings as quickly..

I don't have a lot to say right now, but that'll change in the near future I'm sure. For now, it is nice to be back..

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

So yesterday, I found myself sitting in a Starbucks waiting for my car to be serviced. They told me it would take about 2-3 hours, and I didn't feel like going back home or going anywhere else, so I decided to kill some time on my laptop while I drank some tasty, overpriced coffee.

When I set foot in there, the line was at least 25 people deep, so I decided to secure an open seat by an outlet first, while I waited for the line to die down. I took out my laptop, my phone and my computer charger, and I sat down to begin my job search (yep, still unemployed).

I had been sitting down about 10 minutes, when this lady who could not have been any older than 30 years old came up to me. I could tell she was nervous and a bit tentative, but that didn't stop her from moseying her ass on over to me, so that we could have this inane conversation:

Her: Excuse me sir and good morning. Um, you cannot just sit here in Starbucks without purchasing something first

Me: (while looking at the long line): Well if you allow me to cut to the front of the line, I'd be glad to buy something, do you think you could do that for me?

Her: (laughing): No sir, I definitely cannot do that

Me: (definitely not laughing): Well can you tell me what the difference is between me waiting for that line to die down while I'm on my laptop, and me standing in that long ass line?

Her (stammering): Well I don't know

Me: I didn't think you could, so would you kindly service the 25 customers waiting in line? I promise you I'll join them soon but for now, I need you to leave me alone or find a manager

She turned red, then she walked away. The manager made an appearance and I saw him talking to the woman who harassed me, and he later came over and apologized. I told him I like my apologies in the form of copius amounts of free drinks redeemable at any Starbucks location. He obliged. He also clearly must have asked the young lady to come over to me to apologize because she did so reluctantly. After she apologized, I told her it was ok because she clearly didn't know any better. She gave me a dirty look but she knew better than to provide any type of nasty retort because 1) she might have been fired and 2) I'd have gotten much more profane and personal with my insults. All parties walked away unscathed.

Now, I know I should have lost my temper a little more and maybe I should have made a bit more of a stink about this woman's behavior, but I didn't have it in me. After all, I was already pissed that my car was in the shop (at the dealer shop no less) and I was being overcharged for some simple repairs. Initially I felt like a sell out, but I'm at peace with my actions.

I was in Bethesda, Maryland which is diverse (and affluent) for the most part, but this particular was White and Asian only. I was in that Starbucks for nearly 2 hours and no one who looked like me set foot in that place at all. I grew up not to far from the neighborhood, so I know how to navigate those murky waters, but I was a bit surprised that this young woman would come at me like that.

Just goes to show you that even when you're unemployed, some good, homegrown discrimination can still find its way in your lap.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

I am on day 21 of employment, and I have no problems admitting that it is starting to weigh on me just a bit. Just yesterday, I had what I thought was the perfect job lined up. They saw my resume, a Project Manager was 100% sure that my skillset as a writer was something he was looking for in a technical writer, and the salary was even more than I was making at my previous position. I was pre-screened, we had a bit of a conversation, and last Friday we made plans for me to come in and interview on Tuesday (today) at noon. The recruiter I spoke to said that he'd send me an email with details in terms of who I should report to, the time I should come, the address, etc. That was at 3pm on Friday.

Monday morning came, and I didn't think it was too alarming that I hadn't receive an email, because Mondays are usually full of bullshit office small talk, useless meetings and an abundance of emails. I haven't been unemployed that long that I cannot remember that game. But Monday morning turned into Monday afternoon, and by 4pm I still had to yet to hear from this employer--so I called.

When the dude answered the phone he apologized for not calling me sooner, then he informed me that the job I had visions on claiming, was $20-25k less than what I wanted. In the next breath, he mentioned two or three other jobs that he would consider me for (one of which I'm waiting to hear about now), and I'll admit I was optimistic that he had something else ready for me. But I was sill pissed that I was the one who had to initiate the dialogue, especially I was informed that an email was forthcoming.

So that's where I am. I went on a third interview with an employer yesterday, and it appears that an offer is forthcoming, but that job starts Nov 1st which means I'll have to sell crack and write freelance articles by October 1st (I'm kidding, but not really).

I've also discovered that the question, "So how's the job search going?" annoys the shit out of me, and makes me wildly defensive. I know people mean well and they just want to see if their assistance is needed but I feel like job updates are something I should initiate. They should not be provoked. Of course I could end all this b.s. by simply being employed once again.

I'm working it.

It has been a few days since Aretha died, but I can still post my favorite song right? I love the drum break down in this song, and I also like how effortlessly she rides his beat. She was a once-in-a-generation talent, and thank God her vast music catalog is still around for all to hear/see/digest.