Sunday, December 30, 2007

I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am with the past 28 hours of my life, but I will certainly attempt to do just that, starting with yesterday

3pm: My brother, his wife, and my nephew show up at my place. I had just seen them less than a month ago at Thanksgiving dinner, but it was STILL good seeing everyone. I got a chance to introduce my ladyfriend to my brother, his wife, and of course my nephew, Nazir. Young Nas wasn't really all that friendly with my ladyfriend, but every now and then he would flash a smile or some playfulness. The one time I tried to pick up Nazir and show his some love, he cried like someone had given him a shot. Of course when his mother or father would pick him up, then he'd smile at me from afar. One day he'll warm up to me.

5pm: My mother arrives at my apartment with my son who she picked in Hampton on her way up from North Carolina. My son was sporting an mini afro that reminded of the blowout fro era of 1993, but he still is a light-skinned spitting image of me. My mother was stressed because of the drive, but clearly she was elated at the prospect of her two sons and her two grandsons being together for the very first time. We took pictures, and we laughed and joked a bit, and then we were off to the Miami Heat/Washington Wizards game..

6pm: ..but before we went to the basketball game, we absolutely had to stop off at the barber shop, because there was no way in hell Carlton was rolling with me looking uneven and all that. We looked for three different barbershops, until we found one, and I quickly explained to the barber that the Wizards/Heat started at 7pm, and I needed him to hurry up, but to still give my son a fresh haircut. He did it in 15 minutes and I tipped him handsomely

7pm: My son and I arrived at the basketball game, sitting just 8 seats from the floor. Shaquille O'Neal did not play due to injury, but Dwyane Waaaaaaaaaade was in the house, and my son went crazy every time he touched the basketball. Unfortunately, Wade didn't play most of the second half due to injury, but Carlton and I still had a ball at the game.

10pm: We took the 45 minute trip up to Baltimore, to watch the last bit of the Patriots quest to go undefeated at my dad's house. We all sat there, dead tired, and watched the Pats defeat the Giants to go undefeated, and I told my son that he was looking at sports history, and one day he should tell his kid(s) that he saw this. Of course it went over his head..

Sunday, Dec 30th
7:30am: Carlton wakes up my father and I, in a quest to find water. I wanted to be angry at the little man for being so spry, so early, but considering how little I actually get to see him, I hooked up him up with a tasty beverage. Shortly thereafter, my father whipped up a breakfast of champions that consisted of a bowl of oatmeal with honey and raisins. 20 minutes later, my son went back to sleep, and I was fighting to stay awake.

**By the way, the whole time my son was here he had this damn Rubix cube in his hand, and he was determined to solve that mystery. He even had a cheat sheet in his pocket, but that didn't seem to help him out. I admired his determination, but I was getting pissed that he still hadn't solved it. That Rubix cube has been stumping folks for 30 years plus**

12pm: My brother, sister-in-law and nephew arrive at my dad's house. At one point, I saw my son and nephew "talking" to one another. Carlton was lying on the floor and Nazir was standing up, and they were talking back and forth. I took a million pictures this weekend, and missed that one. Shame on me.

1pm: We all take pictures for the first time. You should have seen the proud Grandpa look my father had..I can't think of more rewarding feeling as my father's son, than to see him play with Carlton and Nazir, and watch him beaming with pride and joy. Yet another photograph I didn't really capture.

1:05pm: My son and I basically ignore everyone else in the room and start watching football

2:30: My brother's hungry ass interrupts my son and I watching television(clearly he hadn't had the breakfast of champions), and says he wants some seafood, so we all go out to eat. (I'll spare you all the details)

5:30: Carlton and I say our goodbyes to the rest of the family, and head to the airport. My son would be taking that 45 minute flight back to Hampton, VA by himself, and I wanted to get to the airport early. When I told him that he would be flying solo earlier in the weekend, his face lit up, and he was absolutely excited. So while we were checking in, his little face was just beaming and smiling, and I was nervous in a parental way, but I got over it

6:15pm: Carlton and I sat down at the bar(yes, a bar) in the Silver Diner in the airport, and we watched his favorite team(the Washington Redskins) clinch a playoff berth. As is the case at every bar in the country, some dudes at the bar were spewing out incorrect info about football, and my son corrected them in every instance, and I was laughing on the inside. We weren't even supposed to be at the bar, but there were no empty seats anywhere else, and I persuaded the bartender to let him there anyway. And here my son was, basically telling all of these grown ass people that they were dead wrong with their facts. I'm sure it was illegal for him to be at the bar, but oh well. My son and I watch football the same..minimal talking until commerical time, and then we talk for 60 seconds, then back to football.

7:45pm: My son and I take that long walk to the gate..we hug, we kiss, I bombard him with emergency numbers and contingency plans in case his stepfather isn't in Hampton to pick him up at the airport, and I watch the flight attendant escort him down the ramp to the plane.

7:47pm: I go to empty gate in the airport and cry like a baby for about 15 minutes. I didn't even feel it coming, I just thought of my son and lost it. I don't care how many times I've dropped my son off after a visit, it is NEVER natural for a son and father to separate. I deal with it every time, but its hard man, but it was a good, necessary cry.

I'm leaving out things I know, but I cant cover everything. The point is, in the past 29 hours or so, I have hugged, kissed, photographed, and spent time with the people who I love and care about most, and I cannot think of a more fitting way for me to end my year. Everyone should be so lucky...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Today will be one of those days that absolutely wears me out, but when I look back on it, I am quite sure I will have nothing but fond memories. My mother is coming up from North Carolina to see me, and on her way up here she will be picking up my son. My brother, his wife, and my nephew will also be making their way up here from Atlanta, and when everyone arrives, we will probably go out to eat and hang out in this relatively nice winter weather we are enjoying. Then, tonight, my son and I will be heading downtown to a basketball game to watch Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat take on the Washington Wizards. This will be highlight of the entire weekend for me, because as of right now, he has no idea we are going. In fact, I'm not even going to tell him until the last minute, just to see his face light up. Although, given that he is MY son, his joy will probably manifest itself an understated fashion. Either way, I am excited as hell about all this. Stay tuned...tomorrow involves pictures and hanging with my dad.

*I would also like to take this time to say that had my parents worked their shit out, and not got divorced, I could go to one place..instead, I have to travel all over the DC metro area to please everyone. They will never live this down*

Family - Roy Hargrove featuring Renee Neufville

Friday, December 28, 2007

I like to use the expression "taking one for the team" a lot and it has versatile meanings. In sports, it means that instead of Kobe Bryant scoring 50 points every night, he'll only score 20 points, while dishing out 11 assists and helping his teammates play better to get a win for the team. In a relationship, it means that the man will go see the movie "Hairspray" despite the fact that the movie is utterly ghey, because it is very important to "her". When you are with your boys, it means talking and hollering at the pretty girl's ugly ass friend, because your boy is actually trying to holler at the pretty girl. But yesterday in Pakistan, we saw two versions of taking one for the team, that involved death and sacrifice.

Benazir Bhutto came out of eight years of exile, and she was in the midst of pre-election rally when she was killed. She was well aware of the risk she was taking by not only coming out of exile, but being highly critical of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. She was on numerous news outlets over the past few months, and she spoke very openly about the risks she took everyday, but she felt it was absolutely necessary for her to continue her mission, and in the end, she paid the ultimate price, and took one of the team. On the flip side, the suicide bomber who killed her, probably felt equally as passionate about his displeasure for Bhutto. I am speculating here, but this person was probably part of a much bigger anti-Bhutto movement, and someone probably convinced this person that they would be doing the world and more specifically Pakistan, a big favor by taking out not just her, but some of her supporters out as well. In the end, this person took his life, killed Bhutto, killed at least 30 other folks and injured countless other..and ultimately this person took one for the team as well. Some would view that act as cowardly and selfish, other would view it as heroic, and honestly I don't know what side I fall on right now, and I am resisting the knee-jerk reaction here, and giving it some real thought. But overall its sad that death had to be on the other end of both sacrifices.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

As an aspiring/established/struggling writer, it is with great fascination that I watch this writer's strike. The television executives feel like the writers are overplaying their hand a bit by asking for more money and a more compensation. The writers feel like they definitely deserve more money, especially given the recent boom in DVD, animation, reality shows and most importantly the work of theirs that is distributed over the Internet. This is an interesting standoff, because I am quite sure the networks feel like they can survive longer with reruns and non-written reality shows, and the writers feel like that during the holidays this is fine, but eventually the viewing public will get restless. Me? I'm a sports fan, and none of the major sports are going to be striking any time soon, so I'll be fine, but still, I feel for the writers. So why do I mention all this?

Starting the first week of January, talk show hosts, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel will all go back on the air. It is my understanding that they cannot use writers, so they will have to basically do impromptu shows similar to the way Regis and Kelly do every morning, except none of the late night shows have the benefit of playing off a co-host. This is quite an interesting standoff to me, because in the case of David Letterman, he actually paid the salaries of some of the striking writers in an effort to show solidarity; as a result, the writers cannot get TOO mad that he and others are going back to work. After all, aside from the writers, there are other workers on the set of these shows(camera people, makeup artists, lighting specialists) who have NOT been getting paid, and they are caught in the middle of this mess. And I am quite sure Letterman, Leno and the gang want their shows to be funny enough to get folks to watch, but not funny enough to alienate the writers. I plan on watching these shows next week, just to see who is REALLY funny, and who has been riding on the coattails of the writers all these years.

By the way, I traded emails with the only writer in Hollywood I know, Ms. Angela Nissel, and she said that the writers aren't at all worried about Letterman and company "selling out" so to speak. She said all one needs to do, is to dig up shows from 1988, when there was a strike, and Letterman did a show solo. I never saw those shows, but apparently they were hot garbage.

I know this entire entry feels like an inside joke that you may not get, but this situation is quite fascinating to me. I have yet to have the "luxury" of being part of a union, so I don't know what it is to strike for a worthy cause. I also haven' been a position of real power, so I don't know what its like to fuck over striking workers either. So I am vicariously living through both sides, but quietly rooting for the writers. .

Chaka Khan - One For All Time
I've had Chaka's new cd on my ipod for almost 2 months now, and I just heard this song for the first time this morning. Now I can't get it out of my head.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I had two interesting moments during my Christmas of 2007 yesterday. One was kind of sad, the other one was pretty funny, to me at least. I'll start with the sad one.

After I left my father's house last night, I unexpectedly decided to take a drive by my old apartment building. I wrestled with the decision a little bit, and then I decided to do it. I pulled up to the parking space behind the building, and I walked through the gate, and looked at the back of the apartment. The back windows were brand new, there was no evidence of any smoke damage, and it looked pretty damn good. Then I walked around to the front of the building, and I noticed that all of those windows had also been replaced, the doors has been painted, and out front I even recognized one of the young girls I used to see around there. She was running her mouth on the phone, completely oblivious to my presence. And then I went back and sat in the car, to drive toward my current home, and I quietly closed that chapter of my life. That's not to say that I won't be vividly thinking about the fire and its effects from time to time, but everyday that goes by I get a bit more closure(and as corny as that may sound its really true). I woke up at 5:54 this morning(its 6:15 now) and forwarded all 15 pictures of my burned apartment to my brother. For legal purposes I am not going to delete them, but I didn't want access to them anymore, because its just not healthy..not to me at least. Ok, on to the good stuff.

About 20 minutes after I arrived at my dad's house yesterday, I expressed my hunger to him, and he said he'd whip us up a salmon salad. I sat down in the living room watching basketball, reading the paper, and talking to him while he cooked. He meticulously cut up the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, etc, and I felt bad and asked if he wanted my help, but he politely told me to sit my ass down(of course he didn't curse, but that's how I took it). He then went downstairs in the basement, where the big screen tv is, and said we would be eating down there, and then he came back up and told me I could make my plate. First I put the salad on my plate, and then as I headed towards the salmon, my father said to me, there are two pieces there, just take the one you want. Now when he said that, I fully expected there to be two EQUALLY sized pieces of salmon in that dish, but of course that would be way too easy. One of the pieces of salmon was clearly bigger than the other, and instantly I knew I had been set up like Marion Barry. I looked back at my father, he wasn't even paying attention to me, he was just preparing his salad. So I looked back at the unevenly yoked pieces of salmon, and I had two choices: I could take the bigger piece of salmon, and basically disrespect this man in his own house, even though it would feel good to take a stand. OR I could play my position as the guest and the son, and take the smaller piece, and possibly eat it slow to make it feel like the bigger piece, thereby keeping the peace in the house.

I took the smaller piece. And on top of that, I finished my salad first, and I looked over at him, and he was still enjoying that big piece.

Sucka Nigga - A Tribe Called Quest
I think this is the first time I typed the "N" word in the blog. If it offends you, get over it, the song was too good of a fit today to pass up.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I think my favorite Christmas present won't officially arrive until Saturday, when my son, my brother, my nephew and my father will go get official pictures taken. I must admit when my father first told me about it, my first thought was man that is corny. But when I heard how excited my father was about the concept, I started thinking about what the picture would represent, and I must admit I got stoked myself. The last time we took pictures like this was back in '99, when Carlton was barely two, my nephew wasn't around, Jamal had no facial hair, my father had more overall hair, and I was clinging to a mustache. It was hot that day, my son was not being cooperative at all, and everyone pretty much wanted out of there. But the pics came out much nicer, than we all expected, and to this day, my father still has them in his living room. This year will be much more special, because everyone is older. Carlton is now 10 years old and turning into a mini-Rashad; Nazir is just over a year old, and discovering all the joys of walking and pulling up; Jamal is married and a father, and although that facial hair still isn't coming together quite yet, he has definitely made leaps and bounds in the maturity department. My father is pushing 60, but he's way more of a friend to both my brother and I, than he was back in '99, and I hope my son and my nephew get to see that side of him..rather than the evil parental side my brother had to endure. And me? I definitely feel like a better Rashad(i can use the third person on Christmas cant I?) now that this beard and my ladyfriend have come into my life. Ideally my mother would be a part of the picture, but that ship sailed 15 years ago. So for now, I will look forward to celebrating Christmas on Sunday. Today? It's all about basketball baby

My Favorite Things(live) - John Coltrane

I think I'm the only person who does NOT know the words to this damn song. I heard John Coltrane's version for the first time when I was like 11, and it wasn't until I was in my early 20s, that I realized that this song was featured in the Sound of Music. Not only will I take Coltrane's version over anyone who has recorded the song, but I'll take this live version over any other version Coltrane himself recorded. Someone asked me the other day what my favorite song was, and I mistakenly said Marvin's I Want You. It is definitely this Coltrane song, which so happens to double as a Christmas song as well. Enjoy.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I realized that at the ripe old age of 32, the only good thing about this Christmas holiday is spending time with family and getting off of work. The allure of the gift aspect of this holiday faded at age 16, although during my 20s, I always expected large sums of money which never came. Once I hit about 26, I realized that the dream was over, and I had to readjust my expectations. So, I hit the streets today, armed with that wonderful sentiment, and I did some Christmas shopping for my father. My father is the easiest man to shop for, because he has extremely low expectations for me, so anything I do is icing on the cake. He told me he wanted a Porsche, but he and I both know that's not happening. I told him that the only thing I would want would be tickets to a sporting event, but I don't expect him to give me that either. That being said, I did his shopping in about an hour and a half. I won't say what I bought him in case he reads, or in case my brother tries to steal my idea.

Other observations on this fine Christmas Eve:

-You know your day is going to be good, when I one-eyed cab driver winks at you with his good eye.

-I am ashamed to admit this, but I watched my first bootleg movie ever via youtube, and I can report that I Am Legend is an average movie. I promise to never do this again, and I also promise to read the book. Will, if you're reading, please forgive me..I'll buy DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince's Greatest Hits if you'd like.

-If I had more money, I would round up all of the homeless people I could find, find a hotel ballroom, and feed them dinner. Then I would interview each one of them, get their story and their contact information, and send them on their way. If I could help them find a job, I would reconnect with them, if not, I would at least give them the proceeds from the book I wrote about them based on their stories. Come to think of it, I could probably do this with just two or three homeless folks..

that's all for now

In A Sentimental Mood - Ledisi

Sunday, December 23, 2007

So this morning I wake up watching sports as usual, and I get to the portion of the telecast when they talk about women's basketball, in particular Tennessee. I have always followed women's college basketball, ever since Cheryl Miller was dominant, not only because I am fanatic, but because women's basketball is every bit as intense of the men's game. I mean sure they cannot dunk and they aren't quite as athletic, but I still enjoy it. Plus every now and then, the women's game will have a player who is attractive and good like Tennessee senior, Candace Parker.

Anyway, when I watch the crowds for both college and professional women's game, I notice that they don't get a lot of support. College women's games are a little different, because students with school spirit will go to any athletic event. But in the WNBA, the audience consists of lesbian women and fathers taking their young daughters to the game. There are a few exceptions of course, but for the most part that's how it is. The non-sports fanatic men I speak to, say they don't watch the women's game because it is boring, the brand of basketball is substandard to the men's game, and of course for the most part, the women don't make the spectacular plays that the men do. Plus they accuse the women of looking too handsome, and at times I can agree. The women I know, don't watch because its more fun looking at men then it is women. But i'm curious as to why women don't support other women in that regard the way the men support and carry the NBA.

So why don't YOU watch women's basketball?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yesterday morning when I woke up, I neglected to put any underwear on my ass. I frequently do this on days when I have to wear jeans, and I usually think nothing of it. I knew I was going to the doctor's office, but I didn't think removal of my pants would be necessary. After all, I had gotten a chest xray a couple of weeks back, and I was able to remain fully clothed. So imagine how incredulous I was when the nurse asked me to remove my pants, put on the hospital gown, and then come to the xray room. I did exactly what she instructed me to do, and then I called her outside the xray room and had the following conversation:

Me: Um, this is kind of awkward, but..
Her: I'm a nurse, nothing is awkward
Me: Well I don't have any underwear on
Her: Well go put it back on
Me: No, I didn't wear anyway, its just jeans for me
Her: Oh..
Me: Is that going to a pose a problem?
Her: No I'll just work around "it"

Let me also add at this point, that the nurse was very unattractive. Anyway, while getting my back xray, she put me in all kinds of wear and awkward positions and I managed to keep my package out of harm's way, and it was all good. I get the results on Monday, and they are LONG overdue. I had a medical scare later on that night, and resulted in me spending 5 hours in an emergency room, only to not be seen. I am fine now, but my back is still jacked, so hopefully this x ray result will find something. I just thought it would be cool to tell that light-hearted story.

Vanessa Marquez/Justin Timberlake - I Want You To Know

Friday, December 21, 2007

On my way to the train this morning, I was walking behind a couple that seemed to be in love. They were walking hella slow, they were holding hands, and they seemed to be swinging their held hands back and forth. A couple times they would stop and kiss each other twice, then they would keep on walking, seemingly oblivious to the fact that I was behind them desperately trying to get by. I can honestly admit I was both jealous and angry at the same time. I admire couples who can totally lose themselves in love and lust while in public, and if I am totally honest with myself, I can say that even I have done this before with my ladyfriend. However, I have NEVER done that with my lady at 7 in the damn morning on the way to work. Who the hell is that much in love so early in the morning, and where is the sense of urgency to get to work?

Speaking of the ladyfriend, today she goes away to see her family for an entire week, leaving me behind. This is a yearly ritual for her, and we mutually decided that this would be the last holiday we spend apart. But, since we've been together, I have not gone longer than 3 days without seeing her face, so this extended separation will be interesting. In preparation for this moment, I have alerted all strip clubs and coffee shops with a free wireless internet connection(wouldn't it be cool if I get all 3 of those things in one place?) that I will be frequenting their establishments on everyday but Christmas. On Christmas day, it will just be my father and I..exchanging gifts, talking shit, and watching basketball. By the way, for you kids at home this is the perfect example of how NOT to construct a paragraph. I started with one idea, and then I totally got away from it without bothering to start an additional paragraph. We English majors can get away with that though.

Smoke - Mary J. Blige
I've listened to Mary J's cd about 3 times, and I'd rate it about a five out of ten. But the song I have linked above seems to be my favorite.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The following conversation happened exactly 5 minutes ago:

lady: merry christmas and happy kwanzaa
me: I don't celebrate kwanzaa
**awkward silence**
lady: I'm sorry if I offended you
me: no offense taken, i barely celebrate christmas so why would i do kwanzaa (this was my attempt at giving her an out, so she could laugh then walk away)
lady: hahaha (but she didn't walk away)
me: happy hanukkah to you! (and i walked away)

Rashad wins!

and no i'm not making this up.
I was reading an article on Tiger Woods last night, when I came across the following quote:

"After my dad passed last year [Earl Woods died at age 74, after a long battle with cancer, on May 3, 2006], I played well, but I was still not really feeling all that great about life in general...I felt like I hadn't really appreciated having Dad around. I didn't talk to him as much as I should have. I didn't call him, didn't see him, wasn't there enough. It was kind of in my mind through the entire last year and even the beginning of this year that I didn't do enough...One thing I regret is that it took the fact of my dad's passing for me to appreciate how good my life was with him. I wish I had been able to realize how good it was when he was there."

As soon as I read that I thought of my own father. I worry more about my mother because she's in her mid 50s, she's in North Carolina by herself basically, and she doesn't have much companionship. I rarely worry about my dad in that way, because in my mind he's invincible, and I know he and his ladyfriend are pretty close. Sometimes I let 2 weeks go by without checking up on him, because I just assume he's ok, and since he's invincible why wouldn't he be? One time I even asked my father point blank, if something was wrong or if you were ill, would you tell me, and he said he would not because he didn't want me to worry. But even after he said that, he came right back with, "but Rashad I'm fine", and I just put the thought of anything bad happening to him right out of my head, and I went back to my every 2 weeks phone call routine. But that Tiger Woods quote made me think of my father's relationship with HIS father who died at age 50 back in 1978. One day my grandfather was there, playing with me and at that time my newborn brother, and the next day he died in his sleep, and even to this day, my father has some regret about not taking full advantage of their relationship. Now I'll admit my father and I are closer than he was with his father, but I also can honestly say that I should see him more, I should call him more, and I should push past the sports talk with him, and really make an effort to get to know him from all angles, because I don't want to be left with any regrets. And if I can do this with my mother, surely I can take that extra step to do with my father.

Jesus Children of American - Stevie Wonder

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Against my wishes, my office decided to throw the 70s-style Christmas party, and it really wasn't as bad as it initially sounded. Yes some of the people did look foolish walking around in outfits tailor made for the pagan Halloween holiday as opposed to Christ's birthday, but I guess that's ok. It was nice to see ordinarily stiff people let their hair down and relax. There was an impressive spread of food, wine, beer and a drink I had never heard of called a Harvey Wallbanger. I got a couple plates of food, a couple of plastic cups of wine, and then I headed back to my desk before they got to the dessert/karaoke portion of the party. For a second, I felt bad that I left the party a full 2 hours before it was scheduled to be finished, but then I snapped to my senses. After all, I did show my face and speak to the people, but I can't be expected to do much more than that. The reality is, at the end of the day(a sports cliche'), these are my co-workers and with a few exceptions, I really don't care for them too much. Not enough to party with them anyway. Plus I'm all filled up in the friends department, so there really isnt' much to gain from an extended stay at the party.

I'm waiting for one of these baseball players who were named in the Mitchell Report to be honest and come clean. So far, all of the athletes who have admitted taking steroids or human growth hormones, all say the same thing: 1)I only took the drugs because I was injured 2)I didn't take them to get a competitive edge 3)I only did it once or twice and 4)sorry if what I did offended anyone. Basically these athletes are hoping that the public and the powers that be in baseball, are impressed that they came forward with half of the truth. The reality is these players took drugs (and more than once or twice I might add) because everyone else was doing it, and they wanted to get an edge. And there's no way in hell that they are sorry, because in some cases, the effect of these drugs played a large part in the salary increases of these players. Now can I prove this? No. But does my explanation make more sense? I think so. And to those people who read my blog and skim the sports stuff, you shouldn't skim this. One day your kid may want to do steroids, and you will look back on the info I shared in this blog, and be glad I gave you this PSA.

Shooting Stars - Kelis
Honestly? This song really sucks. It was on Kelis' Wanderland cd(produced by the Neptunes) that came out in 2001 and was never officially released in the United States. So why am I posting this song? There is an interlude at the 4:48 mark of this song, that should have been an entire song entitled "Rain". But instead of making it an entire song, Kelis basically makes it a hidden track. But to me its worth it, because the 75 seconds or so of "Rain" are really good. I hope that made sense, because I'm too sleepy to re-read or re-type.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So this morning, as I sip my Chai Latte from Starbucks, one of my co-workers comes into my office to talk for a bit. And after she says good morning, the first thing out of her mouth, is that my intern is coming back. You may recall I had an intern helping me out this past summer, and his behavior varied from mildly responsible, to just downright negligent, and I took great joy in besmerching his name on this blog. I tried to give him juicy nuggets of wisdom this past summer by leading by example, and giving him mini pep talks. Apparently I failed, because he ending leaving quite unceremoniously on August 24th. So you can imagine my surprise, when I heard that he would be back for a return tour of duty. I know I'm a contractor and not an official government worker, which means my opinion holds little weight in this matter. But I still think I should have been consulted on this, but I was not.

Now, I have no other choice but to be hard on the young chap when he comes back. No small talk, no pleasant salutations, no stories of his non conquests of women, just do what I ask you to do, have a coke, have a smile, and shut the f**k up. The only way I'll forgo that line of thinking, is if he comes in and apologizes for his shady ways, offers to buy me lunch, and gets me a xmas gift. I think that's fair. In return, I will offer to make that trip to the barber shop that seemed to elude him the entire summer. He had NO shape up at all, and if you need a visual of what no shape up looks like I present you with exhibits a)Larenz Tate from Love Jones and b)NBA player Ron Artest. In this day and age, there's no reason for a grown man, to have a low haircut, and no shape up. Now the two gentlemen I have linked are both rich, so they can get away with it. My intern cannot. I am rambling now, so I shall stop.

One thing I've yet to think about is what if he reads my blog, and comes in here with printouts of everything bad I've ever said to him...

Looking at the Front Door - Main Source

Monday, December 17, 2007

Some weekend observations:

- I am in a football pool with my ladyfriend, and I am getting my ass kicked. In the pool, we have to pick the winner of each game using the point spread, and I just continue to lose. Bill Simmons, a sports columnist over at ESPN, is in the same type of pool with his wife, and he too is getting his ass kicked. His excuse is that people who are sports fanatics, tend to overthink these things, while non football fans just make a decisive pick based on what they know, and don't turn back. I think I'll use that same justification for why I am losing.

- I saw this woman on the train who was full Navy gear. She had the hat, the jacket, the correct posture, and that intense look, which I assume are staples for the Naval Academy. This woman was sitting down reading the paper, but she had her index finger WAY up her nose not once but twice. I think the first finger she put up there was more of an exploratory mission, just to see how much was in her nose. But the second time she went up there, she stayed much longer, and apparently she found what she as looking for, because I saw her take her finger out of her nose, and gently put her findings in her Navy jacket. The Eddie Murphy are-you-just-going-to-leave-the-booger-in-your-jacket scene from the Golden Child came to mind. Clearly she hasn't gotten the memo that a thumb is way more classy than just going up there with a finger.

-I went to a wine and cheese tasting/party this weekend, and now I am obsessed with stealing that idea by having one of my own. The white wine and the cheeses that went with it were on table, and the same went for the red wine. Everything was labeled, neat and I was pretty impressed. I usually don't thrive in social settings like that, but I more than held my own I think. And of course it didnt hurt that the wine flowed freely. Also, during this party someone (my girlfriend) spilled some red wine on the carpet, and I was fully prepared to break out my cleaning technique I explained in this entry Unfortunately, the host of the party had this spray called Wine Off or something like that, and he beat me to it. I was very disappointed that I didn't get to use my remedy in public. I really wanted to spill more wine somewhere else and try it, but I'm sure I would have been kicked out.

Come Along With Me - Joe Sample and Lalah Hathaway

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I hate to lead off this entry, with yet another complaint about my back, but its at the forefront of my mind this afternoon. This medication the doctor gave to me is wreakng some serious havoc on me. Sometimes I feel high, sometimes I feel incredibly sleepy, and then other times I feel nauseous. The instructions on both pill bottles said I would have these symptoms as they do with all pills, but usually I am able to avoid them. With this particular batch? Not as much. I was so sleepy last night, that I was barely able to make it through the movie Juno last night. I was nodding off so bad in the movie theatre, that I had open my soda cup, and manually insert ice into my mouth to stay awake. It was a sad state of affairs. And now tonight, I am supposed to attend a wine and cheese party, but I worry about how that will affect me. It doesn't say I cannot drink on the pill bottles, but it does say that alcohol intensifies the effects of the drug, which actually sounds kind of fun, but I'm not into taking risks right. Plus my back still is aching me, and I guess that will keep happening until I further down in this pill bottle. That's the end of rant.

By the way, from what I saw, Juno is a good movie. Go see it.

Caught up in the Rapture - Anita Baker

Friday, December 14, 2007

I went to the doctor's office yesterday, in an effort to get a correct diagnosis on my achy breaky back. I arrived at the office 15 minutes early, so that I could be seen early, and eventually be released at a decent hour so I could return to work. I gave the lady my insurance card, and my $10 co-pay, and then I sat my ass down in the waiting room. Now given that I have a sore back, I am very particular about where I sit down, so once I entered the examination room I had three seating choices. The "bench" where patients are supposed to sit, the hard folding chair, or the leather chair that is typically reserved for the doctor.

I sat on the bench and the folding chair, but both of those did no justice to my back, so I quickly decided that the leather chair was the only viable option for me. Little did I know that I would waiting in that plush chair for an entire hour. Patients who I had walked in after me were seen, and even the nurses were walking into my office wondering why I had not been seen yet. The doctor walked past my waiting room several times, and he would look at me, but not once did he acknowledge me by saying hi or hello. Why is that you may ask? Well I can't prove this, but I suspect that he purposely disrespected and ignored me, because I was sitting in his chair. That is the only reason that makes sense. As I mentioned yesterday, I have been in his office 4 times before, and it has been WAY busier than it was yesterday, and my doctor has always tended to me in 15 minutes or less. Yesterday it was not busy, and he kept me waiting, and again, I think it was all due to where I was sitting. When he finally did come in the waiting room, he didn't say hello, or good morning, or how are you Rashad, he simply said, "I'm going to need you to sit on the bench, so I can have my seat.

Once I got up and sat on the hard bench, only then did he greet me with the typical doctor salutations. Once he asked me why I was there, I told him that my back was killing me, and only certain seating arrangements(like HIS chair) were able to bring me relief. He completely ignored me, and he went straight into putting me into various positions trying to diagnose what exactly was wrong with my poor back. Based on the fact that I could not bend past a 45 degree angle, and other magical things that I didn't quite understand, he was able to determine that I had a pulled muscle in my back. He wrote a prescription for some fabulous drugs and he sent me on my merry way. By the way, thank god for health insurance, because two bottles of drugs only cost me $10. Who needs Nino Brown or Frank Lucas when you're getting good legal drugs for that cheap price? I got away with highway robbery(whatever that means). But even now, almost 24 hours later, I am STILL salty that he kept me waiting because I was sitting on his vaunted throne. Again, I can't prove that this was the reason, but all signs point to exactly that...don't they?

Something Beautiful Remains - Tina Turner
Now I typically don't like any of Tina Turner's post Private Dancer music, but I made an exception with this song. This song was on her 1996 cd, entitled Wildest Dreams, and I gotta tell you, the original version of this song was hot garbage. But thanks to our favorite begging ass, I-can-do-it-better-than-your-man R&B singer Joe, we have a remixed version of the song, that is WAY better, and that is the song I present to you today.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I cannot believe that the trip I am making to the doctor's office will be my fifth one this year. That's unprecedented for me, but considering that back relief is on the way I cannot complain at all. I'm tired of bending my knees to pick things up, and walking like a mummy, and listening to folks give me their educated opinion on what they THINK is wrong with my back. Hopefully the doctor will actually take me seriously this time, and really do his due dilligence.

I know I have spoken about this before, but the relationship guys have with their friends is a very complex one. My ladyfriend and I contemplated sending out Christmas cards, and we were making a list, and I included some female friends, parents, but I left out my boys, while my ladyfriend included all of her friends. And then I tried to imagine how ghey it would be to send a "Happy Holidays" card to all of my male friends. After they did the money check(which consists of turning the card upside down, then shaking, then looking in the card again), they would probably call me and ask me what the hell was on my mind. MAYBE I could get away with it if I threw a "Happy Holidays Man" in there, but that doesn't even sound legitimate. The list of things you can't do with your boys continues to grow.

Not much to say right now, but i'm sure my visit to the doctor will provide me with much more material.

Just A Friendly Game of Baseball - Main Source

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

There is an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm (season 3 to be exact), when Larry David watches someone clean up a stain out of a couch by using table salt and club soda. He was very impressed by this and he decided he would make a mental note of that in case he had to use that very move at a later date. Well it just so happened that he DID have to use that very move, when he spilled something in his bedroom, and he was thrilled that he knew exactly how to get it up (pissing off his wife who wanted to have sex rather than watch him use this cleaning manuever). Now I really never knew that club soda and table salt could be so damn magical, so I too made a mental note of this, in case I had to save an article of clothing, carpet, sheets, or whatever. It just so happened that last night, was my time to shine.

I was sitting on the bed enjoying a glass of fine Cabernet Sauvignon, while watching an episode of the Office with my lady, when a funny line was uttered, and I started laughing uncontrollably. Apparently I was laughing a bit too hard, because I looked down and half my glass of wine was now on the bedspread. Initially I had a look of defeat on my face, and I was hoping my ladyfriend wouldn't see my clumsy moment, but that would be too good to be true. Of course she saw it, and she was getting ready to tell me about myself, when the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm came to my head. I ran in the kitchen, picked up some kosher salt and some sparkling water(Pellegrino to be exact..and may I add that Pellegrino is some damn good water and its a shame I had to waste it on a cleanup mission) and I ran to the scene of the spot. Of course at this point, I am all excited, but I'm not really effective in my execution of this move, so my lady walks me through the process, and we apply the salt and the water, and it seems to be getting up the red wine stain. Then my friend goes online, looks up Hints from Heloise, and she determined that we also needed to add Peroxide to this wonderful elixir we were concocting. 5 minutes later, we wiped everything up, dried it a bit with a towel, and the bedspread was stain free. I feel like that whole moment should have been youtubed or something man. We were surgical and it was teamwork at its absoulte finest. So if you're scoring at home(or if you're alone), I got the cleanup idea from Curb Your Enthusiasm, the humor on the Office caused the spill, and the Hints from Heloise allowed us to put the finishing touches on the cleanup.

Moments like this are why I have a blog in the first place: To attempt to add beautiful words to otherwise mundane situations.

Cloud 9 - The Temptations
All of the orignal Temptations are dead, except for Otis Williams who just happens to be the founding member of the group. For 43 Years, Otis has been a member of the group, and he sings the best background lyrics you've never heard. He was never given the lead vocal in any song during all that time, but in this 1968 hit, I guess the group decided to take the shackles off of Otis, and they allowed his voice to be heard, and to my knowledge this is the ONLY time Otis' voice is ever clearly heard on record. At the 2:00 mark and again, at the 2:48 point he bellows out an off-key, "Realityyyyyy", and that's it. 43 years, countless shows, plenty of tricky dance steps, numerous women and good times, and all he gets is an off-key, "Realityyyy".

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I really don't think the 23 months of jail time Michael Vick was sentenced was bad at all, although that's probably because I am not the one doing the time. But considering he could have gotten up to 5 years, he tested positive for weed in between court dates, and he was in the Commonwealth of Virginia, he got off relatively easy. I was a bit sad to learn that he and his lady just had a baby daughter back in October, which means that girl really won't know Daddy until she's two. How do you explain to your daughter that you went to jail because you fought dogs for 10% of the profit you made on the football field? I would like to be a fly on the wall when that conversation goes down.

I have watched my brother, my father, my mother, my ladyfriend, and lots of my favorite athletes endure back pain and discomfort, and I always said to myself that I would do any and everything to make sure I never had to feel anything like that. Well after avoiding it for 32 years and 11 months, it has finally caught up to me. I told my doctor about it last week, but I guess he figured that my back stiffness was related to the chest cold I had. Well all my cold symptoms have thankfully disappeared, but this back stiffness has increased exponentially. Now I have to turn around and go back to the very doctor who stiffed me (no pun intended) for a week until last Tuesday. I've thought about seeing a chiropractor, I thought of going to get a massage, and I may even try a heating pad here at work, but first I suppose I should go see the doctor and possibly get a referral, and go from there. I sincerely hope that this is just a fleeting thing, because this stiff back is preventing me from working out and getting svelte for my birthday extravaganza in Miami. This can't be what getting old(er) is about.

All for One - Brand Nubian
I post a lot of songs in this blog, and sometimes they fit my mood, and other times I feel like I have a song that not a lot of people have, and I feel like sharing. Then you have times like today, when I just post a song I want to hear. This song is one of my top 5 favorite rap songs EVER. There's no flash. no bells and whistles, just three MCs flowing effortlessly over a minimal beat. In another blog I read, someone asked the question, "What is hip hop?", and a bunch of folks went into these pseudo-intellectual explanations on what hip hop was, is and will be. I simply put the title of this song, and if you listen, hopefully you can hear why. Otherwise, you can just go back to listening to T-Pain or some shit like that.

Monday, December 10, 2007

One of the more frustrating things about being a long distance parent is that I cannot fully control the environment in which my son is being raised. I can instill values over the phone, and when I see him I can certainly try to do it that way as well, but the reality is the bulk of his information and influence is going to come via his mother, and the people who he sees everyday. I just have to hope that out of the 10 things I say to him, 7 will stick in his brain. And on top of that, I also have to hope and trust that his mother will do a good job, which is always touch and go at best. But last night was one of those instances when the system clearly was not working.

I called my son around 8:30 last night, just to say goodnight, to see how the weekend had been, and to wish him a good week. But much to my surprise, he was nowhere near going to bed, he was up playing some game called Guitar Superstar with his mother. One, I had never heard of this game in my life until she explained it to me. Two, call me crazy, but a 10 year old doesn't need to be playing video games at 8:30 on a school night, he needs to be taking his ass to bed, reading or doing something to academic to prepare him for school. And three, why isn't he playing sports game, what's the with the guitar stuff? That last one is just me nitpicking, or maybe all of my points are, but the point is I don't have control or influence over things like that and it drives me crazy. Plus, when I asked my son what he had learned in school the previous week, he couldn't give me ONE bit of information. He kept saying that he didn't remember, and I suspect it was the video game that had his mind at the time, not me. Ok end of rant.

Speaking of kids, there were these kids in my neighborhood around 9 last night that were clearly up to no good. My lady brought them to my attention, and then I stood by the window and noticed them as well. They were bundled up a little too much considering it wasn't cold, and they were looking more than suspicious as they crept around the alleys and talked on their cell phones. These kids couldn't have been more than 14 or 15 years old, and given the time, they should have been at home. I mean who does crime on a Sunday night during football anyway? Anyway, given that the neighborhood I live in, is full of "privileged" people, I knew it wouldn't be long before someone called or alerted the police, and sure enough it happened about 5 minutes later. Then I heard the police and these kids yelling, dogs were brought out, and then I stopped being nosy, and I went back to watching the Colts whip up on the Ravens. I don't know what went down, or what these kids were up to, but I can pretty much assume it was something ill advised and it made me sad. These kids stuck out like a sore thumb, and I'm sure they thought their mission was a clandestine one. But this was the wrong part of town, and the wrong weekend to be trying to do something like this, seeing how DC police made a concerted effort to step up their presence this past weekend. It just made me sad to see young brothers going out like that, and it also made me think back to the first paragraph I wrote. I wish I had veto power in some of these kids' lives..but I don't.

Sorry to be depressing, but this was on my mind and I just wrote it out.

Nick of Time - Bonnie Raitt

Sunday, December 09, 2007

well, i attended this Spike Lee/Terence Blanchard event yesterday, and I must say it was an absolutely beautiful experience. The first thing I noticed was that my ladyfriend and I were seemingly overdressed, although I would argue that the people around us were severely under-dressed. After all, this was the Kennedy Center for god's sake, it wouldn't have killed everyone to be dressed to the nines. Instead, I saw folks in jeans, tennis shoes and other casual gear, but that's just me and my neurotic mind nitpicking

Bill Cosby kicked off the evening, by telling a few jokes and then speaking a bit about Spike Lee. He then introduced Terence Blanchard, and from there it was all about the music. I know I said yesterday I would blog in detail about the event, but it was TRULY something that you had to see for yourself. Terence and his band played beautifully, and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra did a stellar job as well. The three guests Terence had: Dee Dee Bridgewater, Raul Midon, and Kurt Elling really impressed me with their range, their improvisation, and just their overall talent. I shall definitely be checking out their work. The only thing missing from this night was Spike Lee's presence, but the music, and the accompanying images of his movies that played on the screen above the musicians, more than compensated for that. Some highlights:

The most moving moment(s): 1)The replaying of Ossie Davis' eulogy from Spike's Malcolm X movie. That speech still gives me chills. 2)Terence's playing of the songs "Funeral Dirge" and "Levees" back to back. These songs were composed shortly after Terence's hometown of New Orleans was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Very moving stuff.

The highlight of the night? Bill Cosby walking out to start the evening. As I looked at this man walking out, I realized the magnitude of this guy's body of work. Not too many people can say they have done as much as Bill Cosby both in and out of show business. I truly felt like I was in the presence of greatness, despite the fact that he's been very cranky and ornery in his recent public appearances.

Best performance? Kurt Elling's performance of the Marc Dorsey's "People In Search of a Life". The combo of the band, the way Kurt volleyed with them, was just easy on the ears

Worst performance: Dee Dee Bridgewater's rendition of the song I posted in yesterday's blog, "Be Sure You're Sure by Stevie Wonder. There are certain songs by Stevie that really should not be remade, and that was one of them. I could have done without that.

Overall, it was a really good evening, and it made me want to buy all of Spike's film and accompanying soundtracks.

People in Search of A Life - Marc Dorsey

Friday, December 07, 2007

So tomorrow will be the second time in my life, that I have attended an event at the historic Kennedy Center. The first time I went, it was to see a boring play entitled, "Sheer Madness", and I wouldn't even consider that in the Kennedy Center per se, because it was in a small wing of the building. Tomorrow, I am going to be sitting in a main hall while watching this event. Mr. Bill Cosby will be hosting a musical celebration of some of Spike Lee's greatest films, Mr. Terence Blanchard will be there along with a fine collection of musicians/.

Like most people, I have always had a love-hate relationship with Spike Lee's movies, and I have often felt like I was a little TOO hard on him. In the late 80s, early 90s, Spike was the ONLY black director making movies consistently, and I think lots of black folks unfairly placed all of their wishes and views on Spike's back and expected him to deliver what THEY wanted. Meanwhile, Spike was trying to get his vision in a medium that would allow the masses to see it as well. Now Spike didn't always help his case with his questionable portrayal of women, his occasional heavy-handedness(Michael Moorer wears that crown now), and his constant underdevelopment of main characters. But even now, when I look back on it, I feel like I'm nitpicking(or being a critic), because with directors, it takes a body of work to define them, and I like Spike's body of work, and judging by the movie, Inside Man, he really is improving.

But the one constant in all Spike's movies is the musical score, and its no coincidence that Terence Blanchard has scored most of his movies. Whenever I go see a Spike Lee movie, there is usually one point where you can unmistakably hear note or notes that say, Terence Blanchard was here", and I love that about Spike. It has become as much of a trademark as the characters who mysteriously slide across the sidewalk in his movies. One of my favorite movie scores is the one from Jungle Fever, when Terence Blanchard and Stevie Wonder basically split the music duties and it came out wonderful. So as you can tell, I am definitely pumped and stoked to attend this event tomorrow, and I do my best to write a detailed and thorough report upon my return.

Oh let me tell you a little story about racism. I have had my beard since October 2006, and I must say it looks smashing. Not too many people at my job have said anything about it, which is cool, i'm comfortable with my beardedness. Two days ago, one of my white co-workers began growing a Vincent Gallo type beard, and he's getting comments left and right, which pisses me off. Not only is my beard fuller and more shaped up than his is, but he weighs like 450 lbs..those comments are just out of sympathy man, who are they fooling. Why have they not given me my just due? Racism. Pure and simple. We must overcome.

Be Sure You're Sure - Stevie Wonder(from Jungle Fever)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In the movie Brown Sugar, Syd (played by the lovely Ms. Sanaa Lathan), continually asks Dre (played by the ambiguously ghey Taye Diggs), "when was the first time you fell in love with hip hop". I must admit, that line was corny and by the time the end of the movie came, I was sick of it. But last night, after watching Allen Iverson's 51 point performance against the Los Angeles Lakers, I started thinking about the first time I fell in love with Allen Iverson's game.

It was Allen Iverson's second year and they were playing the Toronto Raptors. Allen had already established himself as one of the top players in the NBA during his rookie year, and he continued to do the same in his second year. At the time, Toronto was led by third year player Damon Stoudamire and second year player Marcus Camby who had been taken 2nd in the NBA draft after Allen Iverson. So this matchup was already billed as yet another showdown between the top two draft pics of that 1996 draft. But at one point in the game, Allen Iverson showed why he was clearly head and shoulders above Camby (literally). His teammate Eric Snow took a shot from the left side of the floor and missed. Once he missed, the 6'11 Marcus Camby was under the basket seemingly poised for the rebound. Out of nowhere, the 6'1 Allen Iverson(he's listed at that height, but anyone who has ever seen Iverson in person knows he's closer to 5'10) jumps up and over Camby's back, dunks the ball with one hand, then hangs on the rim, while his crotch is seemingly all in the face of Camby. At one point after the dunk is over, Camby turns around and looks up at Iverson as if to say, what the f*ck? A man that small isn't supposed to be able to dunk during the game like that, let alone over a man who is a foot taller. I've seen better, more fancy dunks by Iverson, but I had never seen him do one in that context and over someone. I had also seen Iverson play in high school and in college, so I already knew he was a fantastic player, but that year is when I fell in love with his game. You can see the dunk live right here.

So with all that being said, last night, Allen Iverson gave me yet another reason to love him. Ironically, Marcus Camby is now his teammate, and he and the rest of the squad ended up losing to Kobe and the Lakers. Kobe was returning to Denver, Colorado which just so happened to be the scene of his alleged rape a few years back, so there were all kinds of subplots here. But Iverson was the star. He scored from the outside, he scored inside, he went over, around and by people with ease, and for three quarters he was in the proverbial zone. Through 3 quarters of basketball, he had 49 points, and the Denver Nuggets were winning. Of course, Allen had to ruin my lovefest in the fourth quarter by only scoring two points, and then allowing Kobe to just flat out take over and win the game. But I am going to act like I didn't see that part of the game and I am going to focus on Allen's brilliance. He is 32 now, which in basketball years, is the equivalent of being about 45, so I don't know how much longer he'll be able to summon that type of dominance(even if it was only for 3 quarters). But I definitely appreciated it.

And yes every now and then I will write an entry that is entirely about sports, potentially alienating all of my readers. Its worth it though.

The Answer (instrumental) - Foreign Exchange

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Just as an update from yesterday, the visit to the doctor went smoothly, and I was only there for 2 hours, which isn't bad at all. He gave me some anti-biotics for my ailments, and if I am still jacked up after that, I have to make a return visit. The scariest part of the visit for me was waiting for my chest x-ray to return. I've had x-rays on my teeth and broken hand before, but in those instances both the doctor and I knew something was wrong, it was just a matter of pinpointing exactly where it was. Yesterday's chest xray was more of an exploratory thing, and I was nervous, but everything came back just fine.

With the exception of trying to have sex after watching your wife give birth, I can't imagine feeling more inadequate than I do in the doctor's office. The nurse weighed me, took my blood pressure and my temperature, but she never really said much, she just had this smug look on her face. The only time she spoke is after she weighed me with all my clothes on, and I asked her how much less would I weigh without clothes. And she responded by saying I would way 2 lbs less(bullshit). I had on baggy jeans, 3 layers and sneakers, and all that accounts for 2lbs? I later confirmed this with the doctor, and he said that was incorrect, and I snitched on his nurse. But my doctor kept with the making-me-feel-inadequate theme by asking me if I had been working out(not consistently), and if I was still with the woman who caused me to break my hand(no). And then I lived in fear that he wanted to do a year ending prostate exam just for the hell of it. No such thing happened, and I am on my way to a healthy recovery.

Other observations:

-I never give these types of sites much credibility, but this one reports that Queen Latifah does indeed have the ghey. This comes as no surprise to me, as I always thought she was a bit of a handsome woman. And in 2007, the only group of people who could surprise me with a gay admission, are NBA and NFL players. Eveyrone else is fair game

- I think God and his administrative assistants in the sky, need to come up with some new rules regarding snow. It does no one any good to see 1-3 inches of snow. Schools aren't cancelled, work is still open, and after an hour, that snow is knocked completely off the main road. There needs to be a 5 inch minimum on snowfall at the very least. 5 inches is GUARANTEED to shut the city of DC down, plus it makes decision makers thing long and hard about cancelling or at least delaying activities. But this morning's 1 inch snowfall is a joke. I need the kind of snow that will allow me to wake up, look out of the window, get happy, and then get back in bed and have warm sex in the cold weather. And yes there is such a thing as cold sex.

- Yesterday, as I left the doctor's office, it was so windy, that I faced the wind, and attempted to do the Smooth Criminal lean. It didn't quite work out for me though.

-I shall go out on a limb and say that New England Patriots will finally lose this weekend to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and then they will get mad and beat the shit out of every team they play and win the Super Bowl.

Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I have a cough that won't go away, my breathing has been labored at times, and my lower back is killing me, and I suspect all of those things are related. I've done all the home remedies known to man, and I am still not really getting any better, although I do have my voice back. Since Friday I have tried to call the doctor for an appointment, and I keep hearing that they are booked up, but to call back the next day and they could possibly squeeze me into their schedule. This morning they tried to give me that same b.s. line, and I politely asked them to refer me to a different doctor and they did. When I called this new doctor, they asked me who was referring me, and when they heard it was my regular doctor, I was told that they weren't accepting patients, and she put me on hold, and called the receptionist of my regular doctor. 5 minutes later, the referred doctor asked me to call my regular doctor.(stay with me here folks, I know this is confusing). I call my regular doctor's office back, and she says to me, Rashad I wasn't aware you were a regular patient(bullshit), what seems to be your illness. I gave her the exact same line I started this blog entry with, and she went to get Dr. Franklin(the same doctor who stuck a finger in my ass, allegedly checking for prostate cancer), and Dr. Franklin worked his magic, and told me to come in today at 1:15pm. So what I'd like to know is, where was this availability the past 3 days, and how did it magically become available. I suppose I could have gone to the emergency room, but damn I live in DC, and I could be in there 3 days straight. I miss being in my 20s when getting healthy only involved brandy, orange juice and hot tea.

Ignorant Sh*t - Jay-Z

Monday, December 03, 2007

I usually am not one to feel sorry for my coworkers, but I am making an exception today. One of my coworkers is back at work today after 3 months of maternity leave and I can see it on her face that she's struggling. A couple times today I"ve seen her put her head in her hands, and I have seen her get up and walk around outside way more than usual. Her normally stoic facial expressions have been replaced by looks of worry and depression, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. Various members of my office have gone in there to make sure she's alright, but it really isn't helping. Not today at least. I've read articles and watched television programs on women who agonize about leaving their babies and coming to work for the first time since childbirth. Some women just snap out of their depression, and go to work just fine. Other women end up just staying home and never going back to work, but based on what i've seen, most women go back, but they struggle in the beginning. For 3 months or sometimes longer, they have been there with the baby looking after each and every thing that baby wants and needs. And then one day, you have to just up and drop the baby into the hands of someone else, can't possibly understand the nuances of what it take to take care of that baby I just can't imagine that, and before I leave today, I suppose I'll go in there and ask her how her day was.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My work holiday party actually went a lot better than I thought it would. I shall chronicle the entire evening minute by minute:

7:00pm: This is the time I actually wanted to leave my apartment for the party, but my ladyfriend was still in the process of making herself beautiful. I quietly paced around trying to keep my cool

7:12pm: 5 different empty cabs drove by me. I don't like to prematurely cry racism, but I think that's exactly what it was. I was all dressed up, so I didn't look threatening at all. Thankfully my ladyfriend was able to snag a cab. I frequently have this problem here in DC..

7:30pm: We arrive at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

7:35pm: I go the bathroom, and I must say that it is quite possibly the nicest bathroom I have ever entered. It smelled like vanilla, all of the appliances in there were sparkling clean, and the bathroom stalls looked like mini offices. I almost felt like I was disrespecting the bathroom by peeing in it.

7:36pm: My ladyfriend and I head to the bar for the first of what will be many glasses of wine. I saw a few of my fellow coworkers, but I really didn't have to engage in too much small talk. I couldn't decide on the proper title for my ladyfriend. When introducing her to people I called her my friend, my ladyfriend, and one time I just gave her name with no title. I should have worked this out beforehand.

7:40pm: I see the cousin of my ex girlfriend at the party, which is a bit of a shock because she doesn't even work for my company, although I later find out that a good friend of hers does. When I see her, she tries to act like she doesn't remember my name, but I hugged and greeted her anyway. I also made it a point to introduce to my ladyfriend, which made me smirk a bit. I think I bitched about her not remembering my name for about 2 hours, which causes my lady to give me the moniker, The Black Larry David

7:42pm: The CEO of the company came over and spoke to me and my ladyfriend. He also asked me if I wanted to address the entire company at some point during the evening, and thank them for the help they provided me after my fire. I politely declined, and he said he understood.

7:45: I find a nice spot in the lounge area to sip my wine and look at the various outfits of my coworkers. There lots of excessive cleavage violations, lots of people tastefully dressed, and one gentlemen who looks exactly like Leroy from Fame. I felt like I was doing a pre-Oscars red carpet show or something

8:00pm: We finally get a seat in the grand ballroom, and I decided to take the table in the back. It minimizes the small talk factor, and it gives me the opportunity to see everyone as they come in and out of the room.

8:15pm: Two couples sit at our table. One older couple had been married for 2 years, after their respective first marriages failed. They were very friendly, and they didn't bombard us with small talk, and I actually enjoyed them. The other couple had only been married two months, and the man was very friendly, but the woman was a bit frigid. This is also a good time for me to mention, that women are mean to one another. My ladyfriend noticed numerous women looking her up and down, and not in a good way. Guys do no such the most a guy may shake your hand extra hard if he's not feeling you in any way, but that's rare. Women are WAY too hard on one another

8:20pm: The dj at this party is not playing holiday music, smooth jazz, or even regular jazz, but he's playing bedroom grooves. He was playing the Whispers, Luther Vandross, and other songs that made me want to head up to one of the bedrooms, get some bbq, and get busy. At this point, I started telling my ladyfriend that I would LOVE to dj a party like this, because I have a good feel for these things. Considering everyone was eating dinner at this time, the music should have been jazz..Jazz is festive and upbeat, and there are no words that people could possibly sing too with their mouths full of food. It is my dream to DJ an event like this, so perhaps I should lobby to do this next year

8:30-9pm: This was the dinner portion of the xmas party, and I must say I was impressed. The food was incredible, and I was able to help myself to not one, but two full plates. During my travels to the food, I met up with more co-workers and exchanged pleasantries. I am happy to report that no one talked my head off, which is always my biggest fear in these types of environments

9:15pm: The CEO of the company gets up and introduces the senior level staff and he basically talks about the state of the company, and some of the good things that happened during the year. He also mentions that one of our employees passed away, a few months ago, and a foundation has been started in her honor. Then, completely out of the blue, he calls me up to the podium to speak in front of the 300 people in attendance. Now mind you, earlier in the evening, I had specifically said that I didn't want to address the crowd, but he clearly he ignored me. During my walk up the podium, I thought of about 3 or 4 different speeches I could say, but of course when I started talking, I used none of them. I made a joke about him putting me on the spot, and then I thanked everyone for their help after the fire. For a brief second, I felt like I was going to cry, but I quickly wrapped up my speech and got the hell out of there. It was an expected moment, but I survived it. It amazes me that I still get emotional about the fire, and it catches me by surprise sometimes.

9:30 pm: The dancing portion of the evening began, and my ass stayed firmly planted in my seat. I went up and asked the dj to play some Michael Jackson, but he ignored and played a bunch of late 70s and early 80s music. Of course, one of my co-workers later told me that he played Michael Jackson shortly after I left.

9:45pm: I mistakenly thought the wine was still free, so I went and ordered two final glasses, only to hear her say, "That'll be 24 dollars", and I couldn't even react and complain, because all of my coworkers were around, and I didn't want to go out like a cheap bastard. Never in my life have I paid that much for two fact I could probably get three entire bottles of wine for $24.

10pm: We exited the holiday party

10:15pm: I gave the cab driver $20 for a $9 cab ride, and I was expecting some change back, and then my ladyfriend blurted out keep the change thinking I had given him a $10. At that point I couldn't say, no I'm going to need some change homie, because again, I again would come off like a cheap bastard. That cab driver gave me the biggest smile I've ever seen, and little does he know that one day, we will meet again, and his tip will non-existent.

**Addendum* After reading this blog entry, my ladyfriend asked me to mention that although she took a long time getting ready for the xmas party, she also spent five hours and 30 minutes in both the hair and nail salons. This was way longer than usual, and it threw her off the remainder of the day.

..and scene

Deniece Williams - Let's Hear It For The Boy

Friday, November 30, 2007

I had a dream last night that I was training for a fight against Oscar De La Hoya. Oddly enough, we were both training in the kitchen of my late grandmother, which is located in the heart of East Cleveland. De La Hoya had a professional trainer who was putting him through all types of rigorous workouts, and I had a trainer who watched De La Hoya's trainer, and then put me through those same workouts. I wasn't as smooth and fluid as Oscar, but I do believe I held my own. At no point during these workouts, did I stop to think of the magnitude of what I was trying to do. However the next day, when we magically arrived in Las Vegas, and there were thousands of people in the arena, I became petrified to put it mildly. Before I was introduced to the crowd, I pulled my trainer(whose face i can't remember) aside and I told him, "Man I'm about to get my ass kicked", and he said, "Yes I know, but just have fun out there". And I remember looking at him like he was crazy, but shortly thereafter I woke up. I have yet to sit down and think about what that dream means, so hopefully someone will beat me to it, and give me some feedback.

Like 80% of the country, I don't have the NFL Network in my home, so last night the lady and I had to make that short walk to a local sports bar to watch Green Bay and Dallas play. Now normally I make it a point not to watch football in sports bars, because I like to be in control of the remote, and that's just not happening in a sports bar. But since there was only one football, and two basketball games on last night, I knew I could watch both, without having to sweet talk a bartender into changing the channel. Some observations about my experience:

1) There were lots of couples in this particular sports bar, and I found that to be quite peculiar. And on top of that, there were lots of women in there who seemed to be genuinely interested in both the football and basketball games. This really shouldn't surprise me but it did

2) Going to a bar and rolling up on not one, but two free promotional drink giveaways is like going home with a woman, and then finding out she has a female friend that wants to give you the business too. Good times.

3)The DJ at this sports bar, just happened to also be the only Cowboys fan in the entire bar, and he made his presence known early and often. The Cowboys would rush for 3 yards, and he'd be screaming at the top of his lungs and clapping like he had just seen Prince live. I didn't think this behavior would last the entire game, but it definitely did. He was so annoying, that when Green Bay would do something even remotely good, the ENTIRE bar would clap and scream right back at him.

4) I think I broke some type of man law by kissing my lady about 3 or 4 different times. But given the environment(see #1), I think I get a pass. Although after one kiss in particular, I thought I heard the two bouncers snicker. Or maybe it was free drinks kicking in..who knows

5)I think its a pre-requisite that every DJ in a club, coffee shop, bar, etc play that god-awful Superman-that-ho song, and it makes me want to projectile vomit. I told my brother, that he and I need to record a diss record directed towards the ass clown who made that song. We could use the same beat and everything.

My Christmas party(not the 70s one) is on Saturday. I'm sure that will be chock full of blog material.

My Guitar Gently Weeps - Tom Petty, Dhani Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Prince
This isn't the whole song, just the incredible guitar solo by Prince (starting at the 18 second mark), during this tribute to George Harrison. And the way Prince walks off after his solo, is very pimpalicious. Yes, pimpalicious.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I have random thoughts today...

-What is it about being in an elevator alone that makes you want to do a series of hard hip thrusts, as if you're in a Bobby Brown or a R Kelly video. I got in the elevator this morning, I posted myself against the wall away from the buttons in the elevator so that when people ran to catch the door, I couldn't easily hit the "door open" button, and then the doors closed. As soon as they closed, I did about 5 hip thrusts in a row with my jacket open, and then I calmly walked out. I feel a bit naughty, yet liberated.

-My office is having a 70s Holiday party, which quite possibly may be the dumbest shit I have ever heard of in my life. The holiday season has enough pull to stand on its own. You can include mistletoe, ornaments, xmas trees, a menorah, a kinara, and a cd full of holiday music. So to jazz up the holiday by adding a 70's theme to it, is WAY extra and just plain stupid to me. However, since I blew off the holiday planning meeting, I suppose I can't talk. But what I CAN do, is magically get sick or leave early on that day. In fact, I will cook something, put in a disposable dish, bring it to the party, and then slip out early. I want no parts of anything having to do with the 70s at this point, except the music.

-why do people yawn with their mouths open? If you're in your office or if you're home alone I suppose this is acceptable behavior. But if you are in the middle of a crowded train, and you just open your mouth wide with no regard for others, that is a violation of epic proportions. When its early in the morning, your breath smells like one of three things: 1)coffee 2)cigarettes or 3)ass..although there is a fourth option, but that's not suitable for me to type on this here family blog. The point is, it takes minimal effort to take your hand and cover your mouth. When I saw this woman in front of me yawning with reckless abandon, I really wanted to stuff something in her mouth, but my zipper was stuck.

-Trying to get off the phone with my parents sometimes is like Neo trying to find a ringing phone in the matrix. It isn't easy to find an out at all. My dad and I can have about 30 minutes of strong conversation, then we get to what I like to call the "reaching portion" of the conversation. This is when everything has been talked about, but neither one of us wants to be the one to get off of the telephone. So my father proceeds to ask me, "So what else is going on?" about 567 times. And then I proceed to ask him something mundane like, "so what music have you bought lately?", and this bullshit goes on for a good 15-20 minutes, and it is just brutal. Last night, I used dinnertime as an out. Other nights I pretend someone is on the other line, and one time, at band camp, while my father was talking, I called my boy Cliff on the land line and asked him to call my cell phone so I could be free. When I told my dad Cliff was on the other line, he said, oh tell Cliff I said hi, I said, "Will do", and I got the hell off the phone.

Carousel - Michael Jackson

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

During my 3 minute walk from the train station to my job, I heard a song come on my ipod entitled, "You'll Never Find A Better Woman" By Teedra Moses.. In the song, she speaks of the numerous examples of neglect her man has showed during the course of their relationship. And apparently on her way out the door, she humbly tells him that he'll never find anyone better than her. Well guess what Teedra? Yes he will, and so will you.

Anyway, the song got me thinking about the arrogant things people say once they leave or get left in a relationship. I've heard things as tame as, "You are going to miss me" and "I'm the best thing that ever happened to you" to "No one is going to f*ck you like I do" or "who are you going to find to make you come so hard". Now I am quite sure that men do this type of thing too, but since I've never dated or severed ties with one, I can't speak on it. But when women do this to me, I just keep silent because I surely don't want to aggravate an already sensitive situation. But in my mind, I want to mush them and tell them to shut the hell up. Breakups are rough and they are also emotional, but you make things worse by making a jackass of yourself by possibly overplaying just how vital you were to that person. Instead of just saying, this person wasn't for me or this person got the best of me, and I have to leave, other ill-placed emotions come out. Its the equivalent of the Dallas Cowboys getting their ass kicked by the New England Patriots, and then saying to the media, "We lost that game, they didn't win.". Come on man..sometimes you just have to take the fat L, learn your lesson and live to see another day. Of course, I have never been on the receiving end of a breakup, so I can't really say how I would react, so this may render my whole entry void.

My point here is that after a breakup, both parties will eventually bounce back, both parties will be happy if not happier, and it is quite possible their new partners will make them feel way better than the previous ones. Its just how life is..although I will say that every man and woman has that ONE person, who really would devastate their life if they left, and it takes an entire village of friends and family to restore that person's confidence. I am with such a person right now, and sometimes, in those quiet moments that I rarely speak about, I think about how I would feel if she upped and left me, and how sad and broken up I would be if I know longer had her. But that's why kidnapping was invented right?

just kidding. Oh and I LOVE the Patriot Act!!!!

Love's Still Good - Chico Debarge

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I remember how I felt 11 years ago when Tupac Shakur was killed in Las Vegas. I didn't know the man, and I definitely didn't completely agree with how he was carrying himself at the time, but I knew he was talented and smarter than what he was demonstrating. And I remember seeing signs here and there that he was turning the corner, and I hoped that he could survive the young and dumb portion of his life long enough to live a full life. So when I heard that he was shot, and then he was eventually died, I was sad that he never really got a chance to see how good life could truly be. I felt that same level of sadness when I got out of the shower this morning, and saw that Sean Taylor died. Just like a lot of athletes or youngsters in general, he had gotten into some trouble early in his NFL career, and the media and the executives at the Washington Redskins, really got on him because of that. But by all accounts yesterday, he was on that road to turning his life around off the field. On the field, he was injured, but prior to his injury, he was having another stellar year. Now he's gone. He can't be a father to his daughter, a son to his father, a teammate to the Redskins or anything. I heard someone on the radio comment that this type of violence happens everyday and in every city, and that is very true, but whether its right or wrong, I don't feel for everyone who is on the receiving end of this type of violence, because I don't know their faces. I know Sean Taylor's face. I live in DC, I see and hear his name everyday of the week. He was on one of my fantasy football teams, and I remember seeing him play in college, so it its just a little bit closer to home than Johnny getting shot on the mean streets of Compton. Neither life is less valuable though. Not by a longshot. It's just sad man. I'm sure I'll snap out of this funk by lunchtime but right now I have only known the man has been dead for 2 hours, and its still raw.

A Minute To Pray and Second To Die - Scarface

Monday, November 26, 2007

I really did not want to be off from work today, because it just looks bad to take the Monday after a long weekend off. But I have a cough that won't die, my voice is going in and out, and I have been up since 4:30am, so I really had no choice. I have learned that there are two types of sick people. There are the babies who sit in bed all day long, and ask someone to take care of them, and they just act like complete and utter jackasses. Or you have the people like me, who are in severe denial about any sickness, until they are so sick that they absolutely need someone to take care of them. I don't like to be vulnerable at all, and that faux fearlessness has me on my ass today. Although its not so bad to watch football highlights all morning. Speaking of football...

My beloved Philadelphia Eagles almost pulled off the upset of the year against the undefeated, alleged best team ever, the New England Patriots. In fact, that's probably why I am sick now, because instead of taking my ass to the warm bed, I stayed up hopping around and talking trash while wearing my jersey, my shorts and sipping wine. I don't think I've been that into an Eagles game since the playoffs last year. Unfortunately, they lost, and the playoffs are not an option this year, and in all probability, Donovan McNabb will be playing for another team.

I know I sometimes pose rhetorical questions in this blog, but today I really would like an answer. On Saturday night, the ladyfriend and I went to pick up some Thai food we ordered via phone. We walked into the restaurant, and the food wasn't quite ready yet, so we hung at the bar, and one of the servers came and brought us the bill. On this bill, there was a line for a tip, and I found myself wondering what the hell the tip was for. The food was not delivered, I came to pick it up, and the waitress who handed us the bill wasn't even the woman who took the order via phone. So basically I would be tipping the waitress for carrying my food from the kitchen to my hands..that shit ain't tip worthy. So I took all my change and walked out of there. Was I wrong?

Is It Good To You - Tammy Lucas

Friday, November 23, 2007

I think my young nephew is scared of me. Since he and his family arrived yesterday morning, he has not allowed me to hold or play with him without kicking and screaming like a maniac, and I am taking it personally. He let my mother hold and sleep with him last night, but the most I get is about 5 minutes before he goes crazy. Back in April when we met, he was way more affable. We spent about an hour alone together looking at the television, talking about life and all that jazz. I guess now that he's officially 1 year old, and he has gotten his first fresh haircut, he thinks he has gotten too grown for his uncle. This behavior will definitely go in his chart, and the amount of money he will be eligible to receive from me is decreasing like sand from the hourglass. He has all of today to redeem himself.

In all seriousness though, it amazes me how kids can become fixated on things. Young Nazir saw me pulling out the scrabble board from the across the room, and IMMEDIATELY, he began to plot and make his way to me. He used the edge of the couch to walk half of the way, and the he crawled the remainder of the way to me. Once he arrived at the scrabble board, he carefully examined it all while keeping a close eye on what I was doing. I can't even describe the look of determination on his face as he looked at the game piece by piece. Can you imagine your only challenge of the day being whether or not you can navigate your grubby little hands thru fascinating world of Scrabble?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I am here in Greensboro, North Carolina visiting my mother for the Thanksgiving holiday. My brother, my sister-in-law, and my year old nephew(fresh off his FIRST haircut) are coming down here as well. After picking me up from the airport, my mother had to stop by the Bennett College campus to take care of some fact that's where I am blogging from now. Since I have been here in her office, about 67 women(this is an all girls school) have come in here and introduced themselves to me, and somewhere in the conversation they all manage to look at my hand, and then ask why I am not married. Initially I was a little confused, because I know plenty of 32 year old men who are very much single. Then it was brought to my attention, that people in the South tend to get married a little quicker, because Southern hospitality and family values have been beaten in their heads from day one. I'm sure that's not true for all Southern men and women, but that theory has definitely played itself out over the past 2 hours. And its not that I'm even against marriage, because I definitely have marriage on my menu. I just haven't had to deal with folks(who weren't family) asking me what's taking so long.

We Are One - Ledisi and Rahsaan Patterson

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

If I had an infinite amount of time on my hands, I would focus all my efforts into accomplishing things: 1)Stalking the paparazzi and 2)going get a writing job in Hollywood. Stalking the paparazzi might be the more difficult of the two, but I would try my hardest to make it happen. I would pay close attention to the closing credits of all those shows that are so annoying like Access Hollywood, and the like, and if I could I would obtain a list of the camermen, producers, and writers too. At this point, I would gather all of the people I knew who were crazy enough to pursue such an endeavor, and we'd stalk these people. I would get them at the grocery store, in front of their houses, on the way to the gym, and I would be sure to stick the cameras and the mics as close to their faces as I could. And then I would ask important questions like, "Where are you going?", "What are you wearing?", "How does it feel to have such a dumbass job?", and then I would post all of my encounters on the internets for all to see. There's just no way in the world, they could feel comfortable with that type of invasion. Of course no one has this kind of time, so these jackasses continue to get away with stalking the stars. As I told my ladyfriend, if I got famous, and they wanted to follow me around, I would pull my genitals out and play with them each and every time. The rationale? If you're going to follow me around all like that, at least I can get money's worth.

The second idea, and the one that may be a bit more realistic for me, is for me to fly to LA or NY and get a job as a writer. All of these writers are picketing and striking and with good reason, but I could use this as my shot to be famous. I could go to a favorite show of mine (Daily Show with Jon Stewart for example), tell him I would work for free, and I would ask him to let me write two shows for him. He would have nothing to lose, and I would have everything to gain. If the shows sucked, he could kick me out, and I would fade into oblivion (or Bolivian as Mike Tyson says). But if the shows are good, and Jon Stewart and his audience like and support me, then I could definitely parlay that into a full time job as a writer in Hollywood or New York. I'm sure the writers who were striking wouldn't appreciate that, but the consensus seems to be that after the holiday season, they will all be back to work, so I wouldn't be taking money from them. I have actually given this a decent amount of thought, and the grand wheels in my head are turning as to how I could make this happen. The walls of this blog are getting a bit restrictive.

Young, Gifted and Black - Big Daddy Kane