Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I will now do a commercial for my new T-Mobile G1 phone.

This morning I stepped out of my house with my IPOD in my hand, and I was excited to listen to the rest of the podcast I started on my walk home yesterday. I buttoned up my coat, adjusted my scarf, and I dug into my pocket to retrieve the IPOD. I whipped it out(that's what he said), pressed the play button, and my IPOD then froze right before my very eyes. Unlike a computer or any other electronic device, I could not just simply turn it off and turn it back on, at least not initially. I racked my brain trying to figure out what buttons to push to get this machine to reset, but it seemed like whatever I did failed miserably. I still had a 20-30 minute walk ahead of me, and I damn sure did not want to do that in complete silence, so a minor wave of panic came over me. Then I remembered I had my phone.

I whipped out the phone, used the touch feature to pull up google, typed in "My IPOD froze" and numerous websites came up. Then I used the touch screen once again to find the correct website to guide me, and I found out what I had to do to unfreeze my IPOD. I put my phone away, pulled the IPOD back out, reset it, started it back up again, and enjoyed the rest of my 20 minute walk listening to both a podcast and some music. Good times. This is may seem like a superfluous entry to you, but this is a pretty big deal to me, and I will not spend the rest of my mornng genuflecting to my damn phone. As you can see, it does not take much to impress me.

And yeah I thought about typing a sappy year-ending entry, but who has energy for all that bullshit. I wish myself and everyone else health and happiness, and everything else will fall into place. At least that's what I'm counting on...

When the clock strikes midnight tonight, play this song I have linked below. Shoutout to my main man Cliff who hates this song, because in his words, "The beat has too much going on":

Luchini - Camp Lo

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A friend of mine is a little depressed at the prospect of having to spend New Year's Eve alone, so I thought I'd blog about the last time I spent that festive night by my lonesome.

It was December 31st, 2004, and for one of the rare times in my late 20s, I was single, which means I didn't have someone special to bring in the New Year with. But I HAD been invited to a party that was about 25 minutes away from my house, so around 8:30 pm I stopped at the liquor store, bought a bottle of wine, and headed to this house party. When I arrived at the party, there were about 10-15 people there eating, watching year-end video shows and of course drinking. I acted like I cared about everyone introducing themselves to me, I got a plate of food, a glass of wine, and did my best to mingle and be cool.

About 15 minutes after I arrived, the woman who was throwing the party had some kind of family emergency, and she had to abruptly leave with her girlfriend. She told the people in attendance that she was unsure when she'd be back, but we were more than welcome to stay. I had planned on staying, but when the majority of the crowd left, I grabbed my bottle of wine (yes I'm that petty), wrapped up a plate of food, and headed home. When I walked back into my house, it was 11pm.

I remember sitting in front of the tv, with my plate, my drink, my phone and a notepad. I realized at this point that I would spending my New Year's Eve alone, so I thought I'd write down my thoughts and reflections(this was before I had a laptop clearly). Around 11:30pm, while I was trying to write, some exes and other girls I had been involved with in the past, as well as some family members started to call, and I just turned my phone off. I hadn't been too thrilled about bringing in the New Year alone, but now that I had settled into a comfort zone, I didn't want any outside forces messing me up. Once I turned my phone off, I wrote about the past year, what I wanted from the new year, and anything else that was swimming in my brain at the time. As the countdown began, I muted the tv, and began to pray a bit, and then I opened my eyes and it was 2005. Once I was at peace with myself, I returned calls to close friends, my son, my parents, and my brother, drank ALL my wine, and had a merry time. This wasn't the kind of New Year's Eve that I had planned at the start of the day, but by the end of it I was just fine.

And 2005 was a great year because I got a significant raise AND I met my current girlfriend, although we wouldn't actually get together for a couple more years. So to my friend who may be bringing in the year alone, don't feel sad or angry or even pitiful. Surround yourself with things you like (your laptop, a book, a drink, your favorite food) and as Paula Abdul would say, make the day your own.

My dedication to the late Freddie Hubbard continues. This is a video of him from 1998. Freddie is on the trumpet, Sonny Fortune is on the tenor sax, McCoy Tyner is on the piano, and Elvin Jones is on the drums. This concert was in Tokyo and it was a John Coltrane tribute.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Jazz great Freddie Hubbard died early this morning at age 70. He had been gravely ill for a minute so this isn't a total shock, but this does not diminish the sadness of it all. Still, his music lives on below is a video of him playing one of my favorite jazz songs, "Body and Soul"

First off, I would like to send a special shoutout to the fans of both the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. Just a few short weeks ago, you all got great pleasure out of stomping on the feelings and dreams of the millions of Philadelphia Eagles fans out there, and although things looked bleak for us, we never lost our resolve or our composure. Now, a few weeks later, the playoffs are getting ready to start, and your teams will be sitting at home watching my beloved Eagles fly high over your overrated franchises. Let me know how the view is from home won't you? I would especially like to shoutout the Cowboys who were on the receiving end of a serious ass whipping yesterday.

In just a couple of hours or so, I will set foot in my place of employment with the best of intentions. I am well rested from my great weekend, I got plenty of rest last night, and the mild weather has me in a great state of mind. Sadly, this positive mental state does not translate into a lick of productivity. I don't even know why I have to go to work between Christmas and New Year's. I work for the Department of Justice, so most government workers are using their vacation, so it is usually empty around this time of year. Not only am I a contractor who doesn't have the option of using that much leave, but I have used an insane amount of leave this year for various personal issues, so I am stuck at work. I supposed I can write an article for, or write an ad on craigslist so that I can finally get the ball rolling on renting my place out during inauguration. Or I can blog about the top ten songs I'd like to get a strip tease too. The possibilities are endless here.

It is a bit sad that Eartha Kitt passed away, but damn if she didn't live a good life. Matter of fact, I wonder if she wrote an autobiography or some memoirs before she did. I am willing to bet that her and Hugh Hefner are neck and neck for the most orgasms over the age of 70.

Boomerang - Marcus Miller

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What's the best part about spending 4 days in a house in the mountains with all the food and drink you can get your hands on? Coming back, getting on the scale, and realizing that you have overdone it holmes. Despite this bad back of mine, its time to do some serious work in the gym and with my diet. I had a great time and all, but I am ashamed at the damage.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

You know the whole purpose of being in the mountains is to enjoy the cold weather, sit by the fireplace, drink warm beverages and just relax. Instead, as I sit here typing the temperature is about 63 degrees, there is no snow around me, and even the fake snow on the ski slopes is slowly unraveling. I went outside in a long sleeved shirt and shorts and I was extremely comfortable. If I wanted this type of weather in late December, I'd have gone to Miami, not the mountains. This is bullshit.

I am absolutely convinced that this area I am staying in has at least 2 white supremacy groups somewhere. I have seen confederate flags, there's a paper called the Republican, and the white lady in the convenience store would barely give us eye contact yesterday and the day before. I haven't figured out whether its just blatant racism, or if they just aren't used to seeing black people. Either way, every time I leave out of this house, I am mindful of my skin color and its effect on those around me. I am also mindful of bears. I have yet to see one, but there are warnings signs up all over the place, and when I went to the lake yesterday, I saw some bear prints. Part of me wants a bear encounter just so I can blog about it, but the other part (90% of me) is terrified. Can I outrun a bear? Can I confuse the bear by throwing food its way? Will the authorities help me out, or watch me squirm? These are the hard hitting questions I have been asking myself.

Vacation ends tomorrow morning at 10.

Glamorous Life - Sheila E.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I had a most beautiful Christmas Day. I got some cologne and a gift certificate for the Grooming Lounge. I gave my lady a "That's What She Said" t-shirt, a trip to the spa out here in the mountains where we're staying, a trip next week to New York to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Everyone was happy. I'll admit I am a little leery about seeing this Alvin Ailey business, but I am assurances from my dad and another friend of mine that its both girl and guy friendly. We shall see. I digress though.

The highlight of my Christmas had nothing to do with me at all. While here in the mountains, my girlfriend's sister's boyfriend proposed to girlfriend's sister(got all that?) and of course she said yes. The girls cried, the guys just gave each other handshakes and half-hugs, and we celebrated by drinking a ridiculous amount of strong mimosas made by yours truly. I've never been on hand when a proposal has gone down, so I was definitely honored. I told the guy that he has now put even more pressure on me to put a ring on lady's finger..although that's not really true. The wheels are already in motion for that. Anyway, that just made Christmas even better.

Of course the only downer was that my Washington Wizards gave a game away in front of a national audience. They are so sad and pitiful at this point, I can barely defend them.

And now, I have to go back to doing absolutely nothing.

Alexander O'Neal - My Gift To You

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Its raining, the fireplace is going, I am sipping on a Yuengling, watching the Jacksons: An American Dream, and snacking on homemade cookies in a house in the mountains. I miss my brother, my father, my son and my mother dearly. BUT damn if this isn't the way Christmas Eve should be spent.

Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope you get everything you're supposed to get and more.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

If you take a corner of Kleenex, wrap it tightly around a finger, and go exploring in your nose like Matthew Henson on a mission, that is still picking your nose. You don't get a pass because Kleenex is present. Either blow your nose, or use your finger and wipe it on your jacket and let it get hard and cut you later like everyone else.

Also, if I am off the rest of this week, that would make today "Friday" for me which means I can wear jeans today. I don't need to ask anyone if its ok, and there doesn't need to be a jeans committee or a jeans coordinator. And when you see me with jeans on don't give me a funny look, just appreciate that I thought of it and you didn't.

And finally, you can't bring your parents to a Christmas party. It reeks of smugness and kissassedness. My co-worker, who to his credit no longer gets on my nerves the way he did at first, came to last Friday's Christmas party with his parents, and everyone was so smitten by this. His parents were very nice and all, but come on dude. Apparently his wife lives in VA Beach and couldn't make it, but come solo, bring one parent or the other, but coming up with both parents, then smiling all up in the face of my boss, the CEO, the VP? Really? I suppose I should take my own advice and re-read the last 16 words of the previous paragraph but its different for me.

My lady, her sister, her sister's boyfriend and I are going to an undisclosed location starting tomorrow and we shall return on Sunday. There will be skiing(not by me since my back is jacked), there will be tubing, there will be drinking, there will be exotic dancing(by me only), and other things that I am not allowed to discuss on this family blog. So if I don't write, forgive me..besides you should be spending time with your family anyway, not checking for my writings. I'm pretty sure I'll still write anyway. This will be my first Christmas ever with my lady, so its pretty special to me and her...anyway.

'Round Midnight - Bobby McFerrin

Monday, December 22, 2008

Good news? For the second time this year, I got myself a new shiny phone that makes me very happy.

Bad news? I think this cold weather flared my back up something terrible, and I missed the Wizards game last night and I'm laid up in my bed today. I was going to wait until my MRI in January before I pursued acupuncture, I'm making an appointment. I've had quite enough of this. God bless my lady who has been taking good care of me. I need her to clone herself, so when she's goes to work I can still be in good hands.

And for you Washington Redskins fans who want to talk jive to me about my Eagles losing to you all twice this season, at least WE can still make the playoff. You all will be home. So suck on that!

My Favorite Things (live) - John Coltrane
I know I've posted this song before, but this to me is THE best jazz song ever recorded. And yes the song is long, just listen to Coltrane riff all over this song like HE wrote it, not Rodgers and Hammerstein. Oh and this song is my ringtone on my NEW phone. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Christmas party was on Friday night, and I can honestly say I had fun. It was much smaller this year, so there were less people to make fun of, it also made it a bit more intimate. There were still women there with too much back and chest out, and a guy dressed like he was going to a club, not a party, and a few old timers who were staring at young girls a little too hard, but for the most part it was good. Unlike last year, when I got stuck at a table with two other couples, it was just me, my lady and my boss at the table, and I was surprisingly relaxed. My boss came solo (and late I might add, which means I can come in late on Monday) because her date cancelled, but once she got to our table, it took no time at all for her and my lady to gang up on me. I was hoping I'd go to this party and come out with lots of material, funny stories, and all that, but it was just painfully average, except for the food which was damn good.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending time with my father, my mother, my brother, my sister-in-law, and the star of the day: my nephew. The youngster is at that age where he's talking, but you can really only make out every other sentence. For example Elmo appeared on the television, which provoked my nephew to go on a 10 minute rant about him. I heard the word Elmo a few times, but other than that I couldn't determine what the hell he was trying to say. At one point I looked at him and said, "I wish I could understand you little buddy." He just laughed and kept talking. Unfortunately, I also saw the little fella catch a beatdown because of potty training mishap. Very unfortunate. The thought of my younger brother disciplining someone is hilarious.

Oh and I know my mother doesn't read the blog, but I am still going to congratulate her on her new position. She's moving on up. Speaking of my mother, I can't tell you how weird it is to stumble on her face and her bio online. I kept saying to myself, "Hey that's my mother, that's the woman who raised me." It is surreal to say the least.

Jay-Z featuring Santogold - Brooklyn Go Hard

Friday, December 19, 2008

My article on Patrick Ewing Jr.
Well I wish I had lots of fun facts to report on from my lady's Christmas party, but unfortunately I do not. The party was wack, the people were stiff, and we left after an hour, but I was still able to salvage some details.

First of all my lady's boss, who is a lesbian, was there with her lover who looked just like Pat from Saturday Night Live.. They both shook my hand like they had just squeezed 56 oranges for Sunday brunch. But to top things off, my lady's boss had on a man's suit, and she was rocking better than I ever could. Very impressive.

Secondly, there was Greg the close talker. Greg is one of the editor's at my lady's job, and he met me, he got ALL up in my face, and stayed there until I said my name. He talked to us about the history of Bethesda, Maryland, his personal history with the company, and how he hates living in DC and commuting to Maryland. At no point was he more than 10 inches from my face, and it made me uncomfortable, yet my lady kept running her mouth like everything was all good. I later saw him in the bathroom, and I made a beeline for the stall, so he wouldn't see me and chat me up about the size of the urinals or something

Thirdly, there was this little kid at the party who dressed in this Christmas outfit, and he had red pants on. He looked to be about 7 years old, and shame on his parents for committing such an atrocity. Red pants are for strippers and hookers, not young boys in public at a party. I looked at the boy, and wanted to give him a hug and a balloon, but then I'd be the creepy man, so I just shook my head.

I did meet a couple of my lady's coworkers, and all the conversations went pretty much like this:

Them: Hi, I'm ___________
Me: Hey my name is Rashad
Them: What's going on?
Me: Nothing much man
Them: So what do you do?
Me: I work at Dept of Justice(yeah I chickened out with the janitor and writer idea. I was trying to be as quick as possible)
Them: oh that's cool
***awkward silence***

Then I'd sip my wine and slip away, and they'd follow suit. Take that convo and multiply it by 4, and that was my night. I did meet some cool folks, but its no fun if I write about them.

I also had an awkward moment with one of my lady's other black co-workers. My lady introduced us and when I shook his hand, I opted for the traditional firm handshake. But I guess this dude, knowing that we both went THE Hampton University, thought that it was ok to give me a "soul" handshake, so he started giving some complicated hand gestures that threw me off. I tried to adjust mid handshake, but at that point it was too late to salvage anything cool. I don't know if he noticed, but I'm sure he made a mental note of it, and is going to tell his wife, and maybe even my lady, that I'm lame. Next time, I'll just stick to a terrorist fist bump.

That's all for now.

Fortress Around Your Heart - Sting
One of my favorite Sting songs ever. Pay special attention to the Branford Marsalis solo at the 3:50 mark.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I have mentioned the fact that my Christmas party is tomorrow, and I am going because I feel like I have to. But tonight is my girlfriend's Christmas party, and I am attending that partly because she invited me, but mainly because its fun. I don't have to act stiff, drink carefully, or worry about what may be said about me over the next few weeks. I can totally leave out that I work for the Dept. of Justice, and I can solely play up the fact that I am a writer and I cover the Washington Wizards. Then that can segue into some neat stories about what I have seen and covered so far this season. Or if I just want to be a total jackass, I can just tell my lady's co-workers that I am a building technician(aka a janitor) and I can dazzle them with tales of cleaning and fixing just to see them act like that's no big deal. So as you see, the sky is the limit here, and as long as I don't embarass my lady, I shall have fun with it, and write about it tomorrow.

Until then there's not much to say, so I shall post my favorite video of the moment:

Sooner or Later - N.E.R.D.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

You may not have known this because it has not been reported in nearly enough detail as it should have been, but about 11 years ago I coined the phrase, "You don't have to get me anything for Christmas". At the time, I didn't want any fanfare, pomp or circumstance, I was just attempting to help myself, the people, and of course the know me, anything for the kids.

I originated this phrase because I was tired of seeing people I cared about struggle to get me a Christmas gift knowing my birthday was less than a month later on January 20th(you bet your ass that's a plug). I would enthusiastically get asked around late November, early December, what I wanted for Christmas, and my friends and family would break their necks to please me on the the day of birth of big baby Jesus. Then just after the new year, the ebullient gift questions that got asked before Christmas, were repeated in a much much more resentful tone. Most times, the people I cared about had wasted all of their good ideas on Christmas, and my birthday gifts suffered as a result. Something had to be done and that's when I created the phrase

I have ALWAYS been selfish about my birthday, and I do believe I am well within my right. That is the day I was born(I also share that birthday with Questlove) and I think I should be able to be a little...ok VERY self centered and blessed on that day. Christmas is about giving, sharing and recognizing our lord and savior Jesus Christ. Of course, 80% of the people who celebrate Christmas have gotten duped into believing its about gifts and spending copious amounts of the money.

Now, numerous years after I created that phrase, there are individuals who are attempt to besmirch the concept behind it. There are now people who say, "Don't get me anything for Christmas" not because their birthdays are just around the corner or they want to observe the TRUE meaning of Christmas, these people are just plain lazy. They can't think of anything to get their friends, lovers and family, and rather than rack their brains right up until the last minute, they use my phrase as some kind passive aggressive bullshit tactic. They want to downplay the importance of the day, hoping that the other person does the same, thus letting them off the hook. This was NOT what I had in mind when I created this phrase, and I highly perturbed. As a result, I've created a Drop Squad(in case you didn't know, its Eriq LaSalle day) and we will be coming to kidna....I mean temporarily borrow these individuals who can't seem to understand the true spirit behind the name.

Christmas Time Is Here (aka the Charlie Brown Xmas song) - The Vince Guaraldi Trio

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I guess what I was trying to say with my earlier entry is that I am much more comfortable in my own skin now, than I was back in college and high school. I don't have to prove to the rich, white folks that I am indeed one of them, and I don't have to prove to the poorer black folks that I am the downest of the down. And yes I am aware that there are rich black folks and poor white folks, but I curiously enough, they weren't obstacles of mine growing up. I know that I can successfully navigate both worlds, which is why when that guy at the Wizards game says, "You're one of those niggas", and I can hear that, know who I am, and keep it moving. Altough I did dedicate two blog entries to the subject, so maybe it does bother me who knows.

Part of the reason I was happy that Obama got elected is that it proves that success for black men is not such a bad thing. Rich rappers and athletes are celebrated and struggling black men have this inherent respect, but the middle ground people who achieve success are often ridiculed, and Obama kind of bucked that my mind at least. My mother and father blazed that same path, but they are my parents so no matter what they did or did not do, they'd be heroes.

Like my main man Sabin said, this is a subject that deserves much more probing at some point.
Last night during the Wizards game, I struck up a conversation with one of the other journalists writing about the game. There was a lull in the action on the court, so the conversation turned to whether I was from this area or not. He prefaced his question my mentioning that he was from Largo, Maryland, which a nice suburb to live in. I then mentioned that I went to school in Potomac, Maryland which is widely known as one of the richest cities in the country, and he gave me a funny look and said, "Oh you're one of them rich niggas". At that point, I looked at him and said, "No my PARENTS were rich, I wasn't", and he laughed and said whatever.

Now, this conversation bothered me on several levels. One, this reminded me of the conflicts I went through in high school and college about having to prove how "down" I was because I grew up in an affluent neighborhood. You frequently hear about how hard it is for individuals who grow up poor or lower class, but there is another side to that issue, because I have lived it. I don't really want sympathy or pity, but when I get dismissed as a "rich nigga" it bothers me because of...

Reason #2: I was not rich. My parents were. And both of my parents made it painfully obvious that the riches they had accrued were theirs, and I had to get my own. They didn't buy me a car, they didn't spoil my brother and I, and they made us cut the grass, rake the leaves and shovel snow, rather than hire help like the rest of my neighborhood did. So my brother and I knew my parents had money, but we were put to work regardless, because my parents had blue collar values instilled in them when they were young. So I felt "regular", not privileged. In fact the only time I felt rich was when I went to college, and my parents paid for my tuition. No scholarship, no student loans, just mom and dads money.

You know what I'm cutting this entry short, because it feels like I'm bitching for bitching sake, and its taking me too long to get to the point. Hopefully someone got something out of this convoluted mess. Sorry Obama, for my usage of the word nigga. In fairness I was quoting someone else. Please don't let this discourage you from giving me that Poet Laureate position.

If Only For A Moment Girl - Steve Perry

Monday, December 15, 2008

I would like to know the percentage of people who have more trouble sleeping on Sunday night than any other day of the week. Sunday after Sunday, no matter much rest I do or do not get during the course of the weekend or even earlier that Sunday, I find myself tossing and turning when it comes time to go to bed, as does my ladyfriend. Sometimes we go to bed early, thinking that's the cure, and it does not work. Other times, like last night, we try to wait until we are sleepy and go to bed around 1:30 or so, hoping that 6 or 7 hours we get will be enough. Last night, my lady went right to sleep, and I stayed up for a good two hours or so.

During that two hour period I watched football highlights, I dabbled on my laptop a bit, I watched people filter out of the strip club outside my house, I briefly contemplated a little self love, I drank copious amounts of water, and that was only in a 30 minute span. Then when I did fall asleep, I was awakened like 20 minutes later by the very tv I was using to occupy myself when I COULDN'T sleep. So I turned the television off, and found myself tossing and turning again. It's just torture, and I don't want to turn to Ambien or anything like that, because then I'll be addicted.

So my 4 readers, I turn to you. Give me suggestions for a sound Sunday night slumber. I seem to do just fine Monday thru Saturday.

My Dear - Mint Condition

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Christmas party is in just five days, but already I have begun to prepare for the onslaught of foolishness that is almost guaranteed to come my way. Last year, despite my attempts to drown my social ineptitude in wine, I find myself caught up in a series of bullshit conversations that just drove me mad. And since Christmas parties seem to be a necessary evil these days, the solution is not to just blow them off completely. So this year, I have come up with a foolproof plan that will allow me to be more comfortable. Wanna hear it? here it go.

Buy name tags
My company is a pretty large one, and I work on site, not in the main office. Plus, as with most small businesses these days, the turnover rate is pretty high, so there will be a lot of people I don't know, which means questions like, "So what's your name?" or " I don't believe we've met". Instead of having to say my name, then listen to them butcher the pronunciation, then say my name again, I can just point to my name tag.

Put together a "Rashad" packet
At some point during this party, I will be asked to report on what I've been doing both professional and personally. The questions will range from, "So which contract do you work on?" to "I hear you write about the Wizards, how's that going?" to "How are you and your lady doing since you lost the baby?" If I am drinking and socializing at a Christmas party, the last thing I want to do run down a list of fun facts about myself; however, if I had a neat packet to give to these Barbara Walters wannabees, then I could kill two birds with one stone. They could learn about what's been going on with me, and get the hell out of my face too.

Face time with the CEO, the VP and my boss
I did not do a good enough job of this last year, because I was lazy. But in these times of layoffs, panic, bad breaks and setbacks, it wouldn't kill me to make sure that all three of these folks see me, talk to me, laugh at my attempt of humor, and then send me on my way.

Leave before the dancing
Every year, my company has a sizable dance floor and a DJ, and right after dessert, the dancefloor shenanigans begin. The first couple of years I made the mistake of sticking around, and it was a travesty. Clearly alcohol had kicked in, and folks were just acting and looking crazy. This year I will absolutely make sure that me and my lady are gone before the DJ puts the needle on the record of that first song. One, I can't dance at all. I can do a little two step action, but not when co-workers are watching. Two, drinks, dinner and dessert are quite enough. No one likes their co-workers that much, and I'm not exception.

The party is next Friday, I'll be sure to document it.
Here is the rundown from last year's party.

Bilal - All for Love

Saturday, December 13, 2008

So Q-Tip is in the middle of performing his song, "Vivrant Thing" and then Prince walks out, plays the guitar for a few minutes, then walks off stage. And someone caught in on video...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Celtics vs Wizards.

By the time I got home, spoke to my lady and her best friend, got my notes together, wrote the above article, and then edited it myself, it was damn near 2am before I could even THINK about heading towards the bed. Since I was still wound up, not really sleepy, I visited the cabinet looking for some type of snack. I had eaten all of the cookies last week, so I knew whatever I found would have to be chips or perhaps some Ritz crackers. But I was wrong..

I opened up the cabinet, and I saw a fresh new package of cookies just sitting in the cabinet smiling at me saying, "Heyy buddy!". I ripped open the cookies with reckless abandon, put two in my mouth at the same time(that's what HE said), and I sat back down to watch a little television. Now, in your mind, you may be wondering why this seemingly small milestone is even worthy of a blog mention, and I'm going to tell you why. It is nice to live, be with and love someone that actually pays attention to the little things I like and appreciate. The big things like birthdays, holidays, etc are nice, but its the smaller things like cookie package replacement that get you through the day, or in my case the wee hours of the night.

So thank you ladyfriend. I almost slipped up and used your government name.

Oh and last night at the Celtics game, I had at least 5 or 6 people comment on my pocketwatch. You're not really allowed to have cellphones in the players' locker room, so for me, the best way to tell time is via the watch. I pull it out, spread it open, get what I need, and then close it tight. I had a few people make fun of me by saying I was much too young to have such this type of watch, but through the reflection of the watch, I caught them checking it out. I can't convince the masses to get this type of watch, but if I can reach just one, that will be sufficient. When we stand alone we are just fingers on a hand, but when we strengthen and mobilize, we are a powerful fist. That last sentence has nothing to do with anything, I just wanted an excuse to use it, and work wasn't providing me with that platform.

Punch Drunk Love - Common featuring Kanye West(produced by the Neptunes)
One of the few songs on the new cd I actually like. It may not sound very good to you initially, but play it three times, and the music and the background vocals will be stuck in your head in no time.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"I've got this thing and it's (expletive) golden, and I'm just not giving it up for (expletive) nothing. I'm not gonna do it."

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich uttered from his home, and the good people at the FBI were nice enough to tap his phone, and allow the world to see just how corrupt he and i'm sure a host of others were. Apparently this declining economy has driven this particular politician to use his already powerful position to make a little cash on the side, by selling Senate seats. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

By the way, I don't know if Jesse Jackson Jr is guilty of throwing his hat in the Senate seat ring or not. But what he IS guilty of is having a horribly outdated haircut. If he was about 15 years older, I'd let this slide, since we've already established that older men sometimes lose sight of what is and is not cool. But Jesse Jr is 43, and he's had this haircut for quite some time. He and Derek Jeter need to get together and decide on something better.

I guess the thing that blows my mind about all this, is that the above quote is something a prostitute would say to customer who is a little shy about paying. Or its something I will say one day to someone who wants me to write something for free. Or its something I will be saying to anyone who thinks they are staying at my house for free during the Inauguration. So you see its the versatility of this quote that is so [expletive] golden.

I also have to add that anytime someone uses the expression "golden" (except R Kelly who throws showers in there) it makes me laugh. I wasn't even aware that this expression existed until last year when I heard it on television. My main man Ryan uses it a lot when he likes something that I've written, and he's the one who truly helped me incorporate it into my lexicon. In fact it is not unusual for me to call my lady and say, "Dude, you're so golden". This whole paragraph is an inside baseball situation, so feel free to skip it.

The ONLY thing that bothers me about the reporting of the above quote is the "expletives" that are inserted in the place of the actual curse words. Kids and adults can hear cursing on the radio, on television, and on the internets, so it blows my mind when folks all of a sudden get squeamish about a politician cursing. Me personally, I think it just adds to the humor of it all, because every now knows that a "respected" elected official was dropping f bombs like an angry Ice Cube in his prime. How golden is that? If I wasn't on my work computer, I'd surely drop some myself.

Anyway tonight is the biggest game of the season for me, since the world champion Boston Celtics play the Washington Wizards tonight. I missed the Lakers last week because I was out with a back, this will be the highlight of the young season. So in honor of the Celtics, I shall post this postgame interview from June 17th, when the Celtics won.

If you don't like basketball, and this bores you, just go to the 1:39 portion of the video, for the funniest part

Ok, i'm at home, so the hyperlink function is in full effect.
Please read this article on the Detroit Pistons, and comment if you see fit.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I would like to take this time out to say I love my brother, and if any of you people clown him without my permission, I'll beat you down to Chinatown.

The video he sent me is by Avant(the poor man's R Kelly) and it is a remake of the great Christopher Cross song, "Sailing". It is garbage, but he liked it, so naturally, I had to clown him.

I grant you permission to do the same.

I saw two friends of mine on my way into work this morning. One passed the headphones test, the other did not. The infamous headphones test is when you're jamming to a stone cold groove on your ipod with your headphones firmly on your head. You know all the words to the songs, so you sing or rap them passionately, and sometimes, if the song really gets good to you, you use hand gestures and body language along to the beat. Then, while all these wonderful sounds are going on in your head, you'll see someone you know.

Now if this is someone you dislike, you grab your ipod, turn the volume up, and walk towards that person quickly. If its a man, when you get to them, you shake their hand, give them a half hug, say what's up and keep it moving without removing your headphones. They'll know by the speed of your walk towards them, that you are in no mood for a stop and chat. If its a woman, as was the case with me today, you establish eye contact, wave, then lose yourself in the crowd so they can't annoy you with the bullshit that's on their mind or ask you questions like, "So what's been up?". But if you run into a man or a woman you actually like or care about to some degree, you remove the headphones, stop, chat and chop it up with them, and then you keep it moving. I saw my main man Seth in the middle of the street, we both removed our headphones, gave each other dap, asked how the other was, and then we kept walking. Good times were had by all, and as Rasheed Wallace would say, both teams played hard.

My neurologist seems to think my back condition has worsened a bit, and he wants to do another round of MRIs to see what's going on in there. I also went for a series of MRIs in January of this year, so this one will be for comparative purposes. I did not have a pleasant experience the first go round, so this time I will try to negotiate some favorable terms with the good people at the Radiology Department of the George Washington Hospital. I want them to play my ipod over the speakers while I'm in there, so I don't flip out and go crazy from claustrophobia. I have a certain podcast I listen to weekly that lasts about 30 minutes, which is the exact time each of my MRIs lasted before. I can't just be in that tube with no music, no talking and no stimulus. That should work out just fine for me.

Once again, my hyperlink function is broken at work, so please go to the right of this blog, look for the "Hoops Addict" website, and read my notes from last night's game. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My father's favorite group by far is the Temptations. He has all of their music on vinyl and cd from their first release back in 1964, up until their release in 1998. As original members died and left the group, and they were replaced with new members, he began to fall out of favor with the new group. In fact, he barely acknowledges the Temptations from 1998 to now, because as he puts it, "They are the Temptations by name only". So he is perfectly content to play the old cds, which bring a smile to his face no matter how many times he's heard the songs. When my late grandmother was sick, and my father and I had to drive out to Cleveland, we had to listen to the Temptations there and back, and that's it. 5 hours there, 5 hours back, nothing but Temptations. But I respect that.

During that 34 year span that my father was buying their work, there were some releases the Temptations had that my father really was not feeling. He would like one or two songs on there, and the rest he'd just ignore and never play again. I asked him why he still bought the records without knowing how good or bad they were, and he would say, "They are the Temptations, I am a fan, so I bought it". I remember thinking to myself now THAT is dedication holmes. You stick by your group even in the lean years, because they've been good to you in year's past, and you have full and complete confidence that they will emerge from slump they are seemingly stuck in(sorry for ending the sentence in a preposition). Why do I mention this?

My main man Common released a new CD yesterday, and I bought it because I am fan. I've been listening to this man rap for over 16 years, and I buy all of his music without thinking. He's had some cds that I really wasn't feeling, and he's had some cds that I play start to finish over and over again. So last night, I sat down after dinner and listened to all 10 tracks from his new cd, and I only loved one. The rest I found myself saying aloud, "What the hell is going on here". It was as if he made the songs, then put them on the cd without listening to them again, without running them by any type of quality control person. Its the equivalent of someone writing a novel and publishing it without any editor looking it over for errors or making suggestions for improvements. And I can already tell that this is the type of cd, that absolutely will NOT get better with a second listen.

Common is on that short list of artists (Terence Blanchard, Michael Jackson, OutKast, Lalah Hathaway, The Roots) whose music I buy regardless of whether I've heard it or not, and he's the first out of that group to let me down like this. Because of that, he gets a pass for this bullshit I purchased, and since there are rumors that he is reuniting with some of his old producers, I'll keep him on my good list for now. But I can't stress how bad this cd is...

And now here's Common when he was still in my good graces.

Nag Champa (Afrodisiac for the World) - Common

Monday, December 08, 2008

As a man you can...
-cry when you see your son or daughter for the first time
-cry (in private) when you get your heartbroken
-cry when your parent is ill or in pain

But you cannot cry out of frustration for everyone to see like my main man Glen "Big Baby" Davis does in the clip below. Unacceptable.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Congrats to David Gregory, who will finally put the great, but past-his-prime Tom Brokaw out of his misery, by taking over hosting duties on Meet the Press. Gregory has lots of energy, he's been a White House Correspondent, and I expect him to do a great job, although I still miss Mr. Tim Russert. He would be having an absolute balll if he were still alive.

By the way, Oscar De La Hoya got his ass kicked last night, and I could not be happier. I respect his fighting prowess, but he's a pretty boy, and I'm not, so my hate was strong.

I honestly didn't have anything to say today, but I was paranoid about yesterday's entry being out there still. I re-read it and got a little paranoid..As I was telling my lady, I didn't really think it was all the courageous to admit what I did. Now if I had been abused by a man or a priest, then THAT would be a serious, courageous admission. This was just something from my past that I thought I'd share.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The year was 1985, and my parents decided to send my brother and I to Akron, Ohio to stay with my grandmother for the summer. My mother was working on her PhD, and I think my father was overseas somewhere, so it was just easier for us to stay with my grandmother. Staying there meant church EVERY Sunday, bible study on Wednesday, and bedtime by 9pm, even in the summer. I was 10, my brother was 7.

About halfway through the summer, my cousins Nairee(nicknamed ReRe) and Aaronette(both real names) came over to my grandmother's house for the day. They were my grandmother's nieces, and right now I don't feel like figuring out what that made them to me, the point is they were over my house the entire day, and I had a ball. ReRe was 16, and Aaronette was 17, and they just seemed so damn cool. They listened to rap music, they dressed in what seemed to be grown up clothing, and they weren't bound by the rules of my grandmother the way my brother and I were, and I was jealous. I doubt my brother was old enough to realize what was going on, but I knew that socially, my grandmother was holding us back and I didn't appreciate it; however, I was powerless to do anything about it, so I just watched ReRe and Aaronette and i was in awe.

Later that day, Aaronette and my grandfather left out, and it was just me, my brother, ReRe and my grandmother. My grandmother was fixing lunch, and she told all three of us to make sure we washed our hands within the next 20 minutes or so because lunch would be ready by then. My brother, being the kiss-ass that he was, went down to the basement and washed his hands first, then went back upstairs to watch tv. I went down in the basement and sat in the chair to play my football game for a little while, and ReRe came downstairs to wash her hands, but before she left the bathroom she asked me to come in there. I carried my football game in the bathroom, and said, "Yes?"

She asked me to put my football game down, and then she asked if I wanted to see something, and I said sure. Then, she took off ALL her clothes and asked me if I wanted to touch, and I said no. I was 10, and the thought of girls period let alone naked was not yet appealing to me, but she was persistent. She asked me to take off my clothes, and at first I said no and tried to leave but she didn't let me, so I just did it, but I remember I kept saying, "ReRe lunch is about to be ready", and she kept saying "I know, we're about to go back up". In reality only about 10 minutes went by, but it felt like an eternity. She got on top of me, and proceeded to have sex with me while I sat there. I dont remember if I "finished", but I do remember being scared, but I didn't cry, and I didn't get angry at all. It was an odd feeling.

Then my grandmother opened the basement door and yelled out that lunch was ready, and ReRe jumped up, put her clothes on, told me to hurry up and do the same, and then ran upstairs. But before she did, she grabbed my chin gently, said, "If you ever tell anybody about this, Imma beat your ass, and say it was your fault, you hear?". I just nodded and went back upstairs. I was as good at masking my emotions back then as I am now, so no one knew or suspected that she has abused me. In fact it pretty much stayed like that until about 2006-2007, when I was comfortable enough about this to talk about it. I dont know how or if this affected my sexual dealings as a teen or as an adult. I never abused anyone in return. I haven't had an unusual amount of least I think I haven't, and this hasn't turned me into a creepy dude. But I think about it from time to time, and it bothers me that I "let" it happen.

In 1992, I saw ReRe at my high school graduation party, and I stepped to her, and I said, "You know what you did was fucked up", and she acted like she didn't even know what I was talking about. I saw her again around 1995, and reiterated it, and she told me to get over it. By that time, she was 26, had about four kids, and she just looked like she had lived a hard life. I never knew if she abused me because she was just a horny, curious teenager, or if she was abused herself at some point. I suppose I could track her down and ask, but I never really felt like going through that red tape.

Why do I bring this up this morning? I have no clue, it was just on my mind, and rather than think about it for the millionth time, I decided to write about it. I hope I didn't scare anyone away.

Wayman Tisdale - Circumstance

Friday, December 05, 2008

I have decided to listen to my father, my boy Sabin and most importantly my girlfriend, and stay home again today. Not only am I missing work but I will be missing the Wizards/Lakers game tonight, and it is bothering the shit out of me. I could have interviewed Kobe, Phil Jackson, Kareem, and some other people I'm sure. Instead, I continue to lay on my back on the couch, with my laptop in my lap, watching sportscenter highlights for 45th time in a row, and its frustrating. I dont do well with having to sit still for extended periods of time, and this is especially hard because I am missing out on something I love right about now.

I should take a picture on how I look right now. My beard needs trimming, my hair needs cutting, my shorts are comfortable, but porous, I have a bowl of cereal on my left side, and empty water bottles on my left, and everything I need and want(except my girl) is in arm's reach. If I were a good photographer, this would make for a very good photo.

And now, an oldie but goodie..

EPMD - So Whatcha Saying

Thursday, December 04, 2008

So yesterday, about an hour before the Washington Wizards were to play their game against the Portland Trailblazers, my back starting throbbing like crazy, and I felt incredibly dizzy. Because I am a stubborn man, instead of sitting down and getting my bearings, I just started walking a bit slower and leaning against the wall. But it was not getting any better at all, and one of the Verizon Center staff members noticed and said man you don't look good. I told I was fine, and I kept going, but when he noticed how close I was to falling, he grabbed my arm and helped me outside.

Once I was outside, I thought the 30 degree air would shake and wake me up, so I sat down for minute, but even the policeman out there asked me if I was alright, and again I lied and said yes. He told me I couldn't sit where I was sitting, and I went to move to an acceptable area, and again I almost fell, so he said, "Sir, I am calling the ambulance", and he did just that. That was at 6:30pm.

While in the ambulance, they took my blood pressure and it said 151/103, which is extremely high for me, but everything else seemed to be normal. I wanted them to take me to George Washington Hospital, but apparently all the DC area hospitals were busy last night, so they had to take me to the least busy one, which happened to be in Southeast DC. Not good. But hey, beggers can't be choosers right?

While I was in the hospital, they did EKGs, CT scans, blood and urine tests, and they took my blood pressure, and set up an IV with fluids. My blood pressure gradually came down the longer I was there, and it was determined that 1)I was severely dehydrated and 2)I had an unusual amount of wax in my right ear that could have very well caused me to feel dizzy, so they cleaned that out. Unfortunately, they STILL could not tell me what was up with my back, so they told me to see my neurologist as soon as possible, which is next Wednesday. They also told me to stay off my back for 48-72 hours. Tomorrow is the Wizards' biggest game of the year, because Kobe, Phil Jackson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Los Angeles Lakers are coming to town. What kind of timing is this?

But let me not be like that. I'm grateful it wasn't more serious but I'm frustrated that this back issue is still around after a year..and physical therapy did not help at all. And just like that, I got my blog mojo back..

Cameo - Back and Forth

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Who: Me and another lady
Where: The lobby of the doctor's office by the elevators
When: 9:30 am

Lady: How are you?
Me: I'm good
Lady: *presses the down button the elevator*
Me: Thank you
***Three "up" elevators go by**
Me: What the hell man?
Her: You just have to be patient
Me: I guess
**Two more "up" elevators go by**
Me: how's this patient thing working out for you?
Her: *laughs*
Me: I may take the stairs
Her: I may have to do it too, this thing just will not go down
Me(whispering): That's what she said

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Why is it that some men over 40 completely lose the ability to know how to dress casually? Monday thru Thursday, my officemate is good dresser. Nice suits, decent ties, clean shoes and everything. If he wasn't so annoying, I'd have complimented him on his taste, but that would lead to way too much small talk, so I pass. Sometimes at the end of the day, his shirt is untucked and his tie is undone, but that's to be expected after 8 hours. No harm, no foul. But on Fridays, or the day before a holiday, the wheels come off, and it looks like what we in DC call a bamma.

For example, on Friday, this dude had on a Cosby sweater that stopped RIGHT at his belt. It didn't hang even a centimeter off his belt man, so every time he reached up, reached down, or reach sideways, his whole midsection was exposed. To say the sweater was young, would be an understatement of epic proportions..but he didn't stop there. The jeans he had on did not quite make it to shoe level, and he had on what I like to call "Katrina Pants". I won't get into how tight the jeans were, but you can certainly come up with some imagery. And to top it off, he had some sneakers on that looked like they were totally in style in 1992. And then this dude just walks around the office like not a damn thing is wrong. But its not just him, because I have worked with plenty of older men who fall into this category. How does this happen?

Monday, December 01, 2008

The picture of my nephew below deserves a caption, but I can't think of one right now. Feel free to humor me. And I am legally obligated to mention that the woman holding his hand is NOT my sister-in-law. In fact, I don't know who the hell that is, but clearly she's Tito, and Nazir is Michael.

I do believe I have been able to pinpoint that exact reason why I have seemingly lost my blog mojo. When I first starting writing this, and for damn near two years after that, I was ONLY writing here. This was my only outlet. I was single, so my relationship adventures were interesting, but there was also an element of unhappiness there too, which again, makes for an interesting blog. Now? Things are much different in my life, and that's absolutely a good thing. I can still write here when I want to, but I now have a writing JOB that requires me to tap into a different skill set than before. There are times when I am so worn out from writing about basketballl(and believe me this is not a complaint) that I don't have the energy to type out a complete blog entry. And then when I do feel like writing one, it involves an aspect of my relationship which is deeply personal like sex or something, but no one wants to read about that..I think.

But that's the second reason why my blog prowess if you will, has suffered, and its because I'm in a relationship. In bad relationships, my loyalties were with the blog, and did not give a good goddamn if the person I was talking to happened to stumble on what I wrote. I was the midst of a defiant streak. Now, not only am I conscience about what I write, but I don't even want to reveal certain things.

Of course things still happen from time to time that are crying out for me to write about, like me sitting next to a openly gay, black sports journalist at Friday's Wizards game, but those are few and far between...

So yeah at the Wizards game I sat next to this guy name LZ Granderson(my hyperlink function is not working, so google him). At the time, I did not know he was gay, I just recognized him, and struck up a conversation that was strictly about sports. Before he got up and left, he shook my hand, gave me a half hug, and wished me luck. So, when I got home, I typed up an email to him saying thank you and I hoped to interview him sometime in the future. When I searched for his email address, I just happened to roll up on the fact that he is one of the few openly gay journalists, who doesn't primarily write for a gay publication (he writes for ESPN). Now, I must admit, before I hit send on that thank you email, I hesitated just a bit. I didn't want him to think I was trying to be slick about hitting on him..but then I got smart. That was awfully arrogant of me to think he wanted me, plus, this is an opportunity to bond with someone who has a job at a place where I'd love to work. So I hit send..I'm still waiting for a response...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My brief interview with former New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing is here

Friday, November 28, 2008

Two noteworthy moments from physical therapy this morning

One, my instructor had me and my poor back bent in all kinds of positions in an effort to stretch it out. Before she put me in these positions, she would demonstrate how she wanted my body to be. I would watch her, then get into the position my damn self. Now I must tell you that my instructor is a woman in her late 40s, and although she's very much in shape, there just isn't anything attractive on her to me. So when she would hit some of these borderline raunchy positions, my mind would immediately go to how much I would love to put my lady in many of the positions. Well one time I think my mind went a little TOO far, and while I was sitting there thinking we had a bit of an erection situation jump off. I had to strategically position myself away from the instructor for several seconds, so she couldn't see that my nature had risen. She kept asking me what's wrong, and I just blamed it on a back spasm, and I stayed bent over for a bit. She kept coming over to me trying to give me a soothing position to stand in, and I kept shooing her away, until finally things were back to normal. Keep in mind I had on short and tshirt, so it would have been PLAINLY obvious that I was tenting. Crisis averted.

Second, my instructor was talking about how happy she was that Obama was in office, and then she stopped mid-sentence and said to me, "Now I assume you voted for Obama right?", and I asked her why she would assume that, and then she started tap dancing by saying, "Oh I just figured...ok maybe that was wrong..ok who did you vote for?" and I told her that was personal, and then there was an awkward silence. Now keep in my mind, my instructor is a lesbian, so I had already assumed that she was an Obama supporter, but I wouldn't ask out loud. I know that's ignorance more than its racism, but still it was a little annoying. But she was hooking my back so good, I didn't linger on it too long.

My hyperlink function isn't working today, but look to the right, and read my games notes from last night's Wizards game.
Right now it is 1:51 am, and I should be in the bed, considering I have a 8am physical therapy appointment, but I cannot sleep. Two hours ago, I left the Washington Wizards game. One hour ago, I finished writing my article based on the game, and I am still wound up. I will be sleeping alone tonight for the first time since June, and I am not looking forward to it at all. My lady is at her sister's house until tomorrow night, and I was over there my damn self, until I had to leave to cover the Wizards game. They ate dinner at 7pm, which was about 5 hours after I had already left. What did I have for Thanksgiving dinner? Boardwalk Fries and bottled water..but I digress.

When you sleep with someone as much as I sleep with my lady, it is absolutely impossible to sleep without that person. In fact, I think I am going to sleep on the couch tonight, instead of our bed, that's how serious it is. Now, by uttering that statement, I am quite sure I will subject myself to all kinds of scrutiny from my male friends, but you all can kiss my black ass twice. I am speaking from the heart right now, I miss my lady.

Anyway, its now officially Friday, but I will still give thanks. I am thankful for this blog, because this is what got me writing again, and this is what got me my gig for this site. I am thankful that my lady and I are still sane despite losing a baby just two months ago. I am thankful that my son is doing well in school. I am thankful that I have great friends. I am thankful that my family is doing well. I'll stop there, this a bit sappier than I care to be right this second.

If all goes my way, I'll have big ass flat screen, HD television tomorrow. And once I have it, all of my blog readers are invited to watch the Super Bowl at my house. Just bring wine.

This is the song that the Washington Wizards are introduced to, and I can't get the song out of my head. Actually, the Wizards only come out to Jay-Z's verse, so fast forward to the the 1:50 mark, and then when it gets to the 2:22 mark, sing "HOOOOOVAAAA" out loud like I've been doing all night.

And now, i'm going to sleep..on my couch

Oh, but before I go, let me send a big GFY to those people who incorporate rhetorical questions into their sentences. For example: Do I regret spending too much money? Yes. Will I probably do it again? Yes. That shit is annoying, and if you aren't going to let ME answer the question, then doesn't pose it. Just speak in the affirmative.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

There is an interesting dynamic going on between me and my main man Cliff. As I have mentioned before, I have known Cliff for over 21 years, and he and my main man Kevin (sorry I didn't call you back pimpin) are the best two male friends I have outside my brother. I talk to Kevin on the phone every now and then, but I definitely see him more than I see Cliff. Because Cliff is a pilot for FedEx, our conversation primarily goes down over the phone, I'd say once or twice a week. Our conversations consist of a complicated series of jokes and private lingo that it would take years to break down and explain to you mere mortals.

Anyway, Cliff is in Hong Kong for two years, so that means phone conversations are pretty much out of the question. He and I hadn't worked out how we were going to communicate at all, and we didn't see each other before he left, we just went on about our business. That's what male friends do. So imagine my surprise yesterday morning, when I received an email from Cliff. He had copied his closest friends and family about how good his trip was going, and all that jazz, and as much as I appreciated the email, I could not pass up the opportunity to tell playfully rib him. He then gave me the uncensored version of this trip thus far, and then we transitioned into a serious discussion about the economy..the same type of conversation we'd have on the phone.

If this were a female friend of mine or even my mother, she would have called me before she left and the conversation would go like this:

Her: So be sure to email, I'll email you as soon as I get there
Me: Ok
Her: Ok be sure to return my email because I won't be able to call you
Me: Ok
Her: Now you're going to email me right?

With your boys, no such red tape is presented. Good times!

By the way, I am going to call my brother out, for showing up to the Washington Wizards game last night at the start of the 2nd quarter, and then leaving before the 4th quarter started to go drink. How can you be related to me, and just disrespect the sport of basketball like that? Shame on you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Every year around this time my parents lobby for my services during Thanksgiving. My mother uses the direct approach by asking, "Are you coming with me to Cleveland for Thanksgiving?" and my father uses the cool, subtle approach by asking, "So um, what are your Thanksgiving plans?" and then once he hears my answer, he says, "Oh ok that should be fun...I'll just be hanging around". I love both my parents dearly, but they can both kiss my ass this year. I'm going to lady's sister's house during the day, and then at night I have a Wizards game to cover. If my parents question me, I'll say, "This is the year you all's divorce bites you in the ass". Holidays are depressing enough without hearing your parents grovel for your attention. And what's good about me anyway? All I do is eat, watch football, nod on the couch and then leave. That's not exciting.

So it looks like I'll be doing Yoga after this physical therapy for my back is over. I've always heard how good yoga is for posture, for mental health and all that jazz, but I usually blow it off and say its feminine. But I read up on it last night, and it definitely looks like it will be helpful. But here's the quandary I may find myself in while I'm trying to heal my back. Do I want to be in yoga class with mostly men? Do we high five when we hold a particular position successfully or go out for beer and celery afterwards? Do I call him up before class and say, "Man, are you going to yoga today?" Or do I want a class with mostly women who are parading their T&A everywhere, threatening to cause my lady to withhold or withdraw the lovin? Perhaps I'm overthinking here. My health is the key here, so that should be all that matters...but its my job to overthink.

Read my article that I linked to below.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Washington Wizards fire Eddie Jordan
I was telling my lady before she left for work this morning, that I feel guilty for calling off work, particularly on a Monday. So many people are just tired and lazy, and calling off is the easy thing to do, and I usually avoid it like the plague. But the combination of sitting on a bar stool too long on Saturday night, with my already bad back, made yesterday and last night absolutely miserable. I couldn't find a comfortable sleeping position, the drugs I have here aren't strong enough, I have muscle relaxers here at my disposal, but I am scared to take those because of the side effects. The heating pad made my back feel great, but you can go to sleep with one of those on your back, so I got about an hour of sleep. I told myself I'd wake up, see how my back felt, and assess whether I would go in today. I woke up at 8, the back is still jacked up, so here I am with heating pad in tow, chilling on the couch. I have my initial physical therapy session on Wednesday, and my doctor seems to think that is the answer. My father suggested acupuncture, but whenever I think of that I think of that creepy hellraiser guy..

The worst part about this? I was just getting a bit of momentum with my workouts and all that, and now I'm grounded...again. Anyone have some lower back pain remedies?

Incognito - Shade of Blue

Sunday, November 23, 2008

So my lady and I are still going back and forth on whether to rent our place out during Inauguration Week. At first, the money was driving my decision, then the thought of strangers parading around my stuff and my space irritated me, then I thought it would be perfect to go out of town for my birthday, and to let someone stay here. Then I talked to my dad last night, and he attempted to scare me away from this idea by telling me about the numerous scammers and con-artists that would use this occasion to rob folks blind. But this morning on craigslist, I see people who live right near me, charging as much as $2000 for just a few days. There are even people who are sweetening the deal by offering their guests free transportation to and from the airport. This has caused me to re-open negotiations with myself and my lady regarding this temporary rental. I think a list of pros and cons is in order to help me out...this won't be the last time I write about this.

Yesterday, while my lady and I were out enjoying dinner and wine, there was a woman sitting right next to us who works at the Grooming Lounge. One of the bartenders inquired about some of the services they have there, and it was quite impressive. A haircut, beard trim, nail trim and buff, massages, facials and all that. And to top it off, there is a free open bar that is available before, during and after you get served. Now in the past, something like this always seemed to be a bit on on the effeminate side, just because guys don't typically do this. We work hard to find a decent barber in a semi-grimy location, and that barber does cuts our hair ,and trims our beard. Then for the massages and the nail work, we just get our significant other to handle those things for us free of charge. Oddly the massages start at massages, then go to handjobs, then end up in full blown sex..funny how that happens. I digress.. Now, there's a place that will handle all of these chores, and they will get you liquored up to boot. Good times. I'm sure at least one of the 3 men who read this blog have been before, so do share you experience.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just random thoughts:

-When adults look at young kids, and say stuff like, "He/She is going to be a cute one when she gets older or "he's going to break some hearts", isn't that just a borderline creepy way of them sizing up the child?

-Last night, our Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, collapsed during a speech and was rushed to the hospital. The ambulance and the detail assigned to him, zoomed past my apartment last night around 11pm or so, although at the time my lady and I thought it was Dick Cheney being rushed to the hospital, since he frequently goes by my apartment too. I know its a bit morbid to speculate on who is in ambulances that zoom by your house, but hey, we thought it was cool. And the Attorney General's health is improved this morning.

-Tonight's Wizards/Rockets game will be on national televised by ESPN. So if you see me on tv, come back here and let me know. I'll have an orange shirt on.

-Now that I think about it, this entry was a bit too raunchy and I apologize for putting my own personal business out there. No one cares about the good head I get and what agents are used to enhance it. And if you do, then you're a creepy bastard.

-This video I am getting ready to post, is the first time I realized that my crush on Janet Jackson was very real. My favorite part of the video is at the 4:02 mark or so, when she spins and drops her right leg, right on beat. And yes I can do that move upon request on beat as well.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

When I was 24, and I was just getting started in the world of contracting, a boss of mine clued me in as to how the world of government contracts works. She said a company will bid for the government's money, and then attempt to dazzle them with charts, resumes and promises to do everything short of resurrecting Jesus. Then, once this company actually gets the money things change drastically. Assuming this company was awarded $55 million from the government to do something, this is how the money is actually spent:

$1 million - used to set up a call center
$3 million - used to staff the entire call center from manager all the way down to college grad manning the phones
$17 million - used for the salaries phantom jobs of project director, project manager, assistant to project manager, etc
$34 million - goes to the company(aka the CEO, the VP, and the mafia family backing the company)

Yes I have peppered quite a bit of hyperbole in there, but you get the point. Occasionally the government will be vigilant about tracking exactly how their money was spent, but sometimes they simply don't care, and it adds up to plenty of money stolen.

I mention this because for some reason, I think the "Big 3" auto companies, are looking to get paid like this with the bailout they are requesting. Now don't get me wrong, I have friends who live in Detroit, who say things are pretty bleak up there where the auto industry is concerned. But these people also say things had taken a turn for the worse way before the country was ensconced in this recession. Some of these CEOs are crying broke, yet individually, still doing things that would indicate that things are still on the up and up(whatever that means). As Rep. Capuano from Massachusetts said, "My fear is that you're going to take the money, and continue the same stupid decisions you made for 25 years". That pretty much sums up my fear too...I am fearful that so many companies will take the bailout, and then the higher ups within each company will insure that they can get paid, and then bail, which will solve nothing. I know this is highly cynical, but shit, given what's going on around the world, black president or not, how you can not be?

I've solved nothing here, then again, I don't thing I was trying to, I was just attempting to make sense of this in my own little way. If someone smarter than I am is reading this, please feel free to jump in...

Out of Touch - Hall and Oates

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

That's what she said:
So yesterday I sat here and speculated about who I would scream for in a concert setting and the list was relatively small. So who do I see at last night's Washington Wizards game? Serena Effing Williams. Halfway through the second quarter of the game, they flashed her face on the jumbo screen, and every dude(except me) in the arena broke their neck to see where she was sitting. She was about 7 rows away from and I saw her sitting down, and due to my aching back, and the fact that I was typing notes for the game, I was surprisingly subdued. But man, if I was just at the game as a spectator...and to my beautiful lady, who is reading this, you owe me one after you screaming display at the Maxwell show. And yes I am keeping score.

I don't know why I haven't had a whole lot to say recently...perhaps I am losing my blog mojo....

Jamiroquai - Space Cowboy

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So, last night's concert was absolutely great. Jazmine Sullivan kicked things off with her set, and even though I don't really know any of her songs, she convinced me to buy her cd. Her voice is strong and full of emotion, and I forgave her for throwing in the typical man-hating song. At no point during her set did I feel bored or disinterested. Still, I was happy when Maxwell came on the stage.

Unlike Erykah Badu who kept the crowd waiting an hour after the opening act performed during her show, Maxwell was onstage in about 15 minutes. As a straight man, I can say that he looked smooth, and he sounded even better. His voice is even stronger in person than it is on cd, and he didn't overdo it with the theatrics and the dancing. It was just a solid R&B concert, and it was money well spent.

As I watched my lady screaming for Maxwell, I started to think about who the female singer is who could make me stand up and scream...and I couldn't think of one. I may look at Janet or Beyonce with some binoculars or something, but standing up and screaming. I sincerely doubt it. I think I would stand and scream for Michael Jackson though. Yeah I said it.

My back is hurting and I am STILL in vacation mode, so I'm not terribly inspired right now..

Monday, November 17, 2008

Today is the last day of my vacation. I'll be going to the Maxwell concert tonight, so I shall have a more detailed entry tomorrow. Until then..

Bobby McFerrin - Thinkin About Your Body

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I highly recommend this gel. Don't ask me how I know, just trust me. God bless vacations.

So first and foremost, let me say that we now have washcloths. This morning, we went to the owners of the bed and breakfast, and let them know that we were without washcloths, and they graciously corrected the error. Thank God.

This morning, at 8:30am, the people who owned this establishment served breakfast. My lady had to convince me to get up that early and engage the other people who were to be eating breakfast too. Once we got downstairs, there was another couple from Amish town Pennsylvania, and a therapist from New York who was here alone to get away from her life and her boyfriend. All five of us sat down at the kitchen table at 8:30am, and shared a breakfast of egg quiche, cinnamon rolls, bacon, fruit and tea. The conversation ranged from, "How did you meet?" to "What are you all doing today?" to "What do you do?" My lady was right in her element, but I was REACHING big time to come up with conversation. I do not like communal situations AT ALL, and when you combine an early breakfast time with my disdain for people, you have a bad situation. I made the most of it, but damn. Now, we have to do this again tomorrow, or risk being looked at as outcasts.

I also would like to report, that I survived a day of outlet shopping. I bought outfits for work, outfits for the weekend, and tomorrow, I plan on buying some dress shoes and some clothes to work out in. Never in my wildest dreams, did I think I'd be shopping and loving it so much. A couple times, I had to look at myself in the mirror and make sure I did not have a touch of the ghey. So, if you see me in DC next week, compliment me on my outfit, because chances are, I'll have on some new outlet gear. Good times!!!

Whatever It Takes - Anita Baker

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My lady and I decided to go to a Bed and Breakfast this weekend, due to the rough month and a half we've had. I would tell you where we are, but we both have some stalkers out there, who could possibly hunt us down.

In this bed and breakfast, they have a fireplace, a kitchen, a flat screen, a very nice elevated bed, a fridge by the bed, and other things. We met the couple who owns it when we got here, and they are nice as well. They bought this huge house, quit their job in May, and decided to devote all of their time to this bed and breakfast. There is only one problem with this room...there are no washcloths.

There are towels to dry off with, towels to put on the floor post-shower, but no wash cloths. Even hotels give you at least 4 or 5 washcloths, but apparently not this bed and breakfast. Washcloths are vital to my cleaning process..I could explain why, but that's just nasty. The point is, by the time we realize we were operating under a washcloth free environment, it was too late to ask for any. First thing in the morning, we will handle this oversight.

My feelings about this can best be summed up by the fictional character Leonard Washington from the Chappelle Show. Fast forward this video to the 6:50 mark
Blinkx Video: Chappelle's Show: Trading Spouses

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The late Ralph Wiley was one of my favorite writers EVER. If you are unfamiliar with his work, go here to see some of his books, and go here to read a sample article of his. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2004, and so many events have come and gone since then, and for each of them, I wish he was still alive. He'd love to how LeBron James has blossomed, or how Obama was president, or how O.J. Simpson had finally gone to jail. Why do I bring him up now?

I have had the pleasure of befriending his son Cole, who is an up and coming film maker. Cole has a lot of his father in him, and he also unique qualities that his father did not have but probably instilled in him. Cole did some editing for Spike Lee's film, Miracle at St. Anna, and the trailer I am posting below, is from his upcoming movie. So look out for the young brother and read his father's work.

And yes, I have broken my own personal record, by having 3 entries in one day. I'm going on a weekend vacation tomorrow, so i'm getting it all out.

By the Numbers - Cole Wiley