Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Wizards, Barack and me

2pm: The Washington Wizards PR staff sends a email out saying that President Barack Obama will be in attendance at Verizon Center for the game against the Chicago Bulls. Media members were encouraged to arrive early, and bring as few personal belongings as possible, since the screening process would be heavy and intense

2:01: I print out the email, and tell my boss that I need to leave earlier than usual because of the President is going to be in attendance during the Wizards game. I initially did this out of common courtesy, but I think it came off like me bragging..oh well. I kind of was

3pm: I initially bought two tickets for this game so that my lady could bring someone to sit at the game with her. But she was unable to find any takers, so I put the ticket up for sale via craigslist. Around 3pm is when someone showed interest, and we did the transaction via paypal, and it was all good. More on this later.

4:25pm: I leave work, put on my ipod, and walk towards the Verizon Center. Its a 1 minute train ride from my job to the arena, but I enjoy walking much better. It allows me to get my thoughts together, get a bit of exercise, and think about how I am going to approach this game. Plus I can avoid the fanatical crazies who ride the train en route to the game. I don't need that aggravation in my life.

4:40: I arrive at the media entrance of the Verizon Center only to be re-routed to some makeshift media entrance. As soon as I walked in that door, I was greeted by a policeman, two secret service agents, and some other mysterious looking gentlemen. They asked me to place my bags down, and then take the metal objects out of my pocket. First they frisked me, and put their hands on me like I was rockstar who just jumped in a mosh pit. Then they took the metal detector and ran it over my body once again. Then the aforementioned mysterious gentlemen emptied my bag, opened my laptop, and just looked for anything shady. The guy in front of me complained and complained about this security checkpoint, and he kept telling anyone within earshot that he had stories to write and this was holding him up. A Secret Service guy stepped up and calmly said, "Sir you can talk and yell as much as you want, but this is how its going to happen or you can leave." The guy kept running his mouth, but he did everything he was told like a good boy.

5:00 pm: I finally make it the media room, and I sit down and eat a nice dinner, while watching the local news, where they hype up Obama's arrival. I think this is the point when I realized I was about to be a part of history. Its not often that one can come in contact with the leader of the free world, and given his busy schedule, its pretty amazing that he would take time out to attend a basketball game. Hopefully he'll attend more, but that's definitely not a given

5:45: I see Mr. Michael Wilbon outside the Wizards locker room talking to someone. Since he was busy, I was just going to walk by him without speaking, but he interrupted his conversation and said, "What's going on buddy?", and gave me the handshake/half-hug combination. I've met this man many time, but it never gets old. He's still one of my idols.

6:00pm: I get a view of the updated-Barack-is-coming seating arrangements. If you use this seating chart as a point of reference, it will help bring home the point I'm about to make. I normally sit in section 104 to cover the game which is about 10-15 rows away from the court. My new seating arrangement had me in the hockey press room, which is the section ABOVE numbers 415-419, which meant the court, the players, Barack and my lady (who had bought a ticket for in section 104), would be tiny specks. I think I said, "this is bullshit" about 56 times, but then I calmed down.

6:10pm: I went up to my new seat in the heavens, and said "this is bullshit" for the 57th time

6:25pm: My lady arrived at the game, and I came down from the heavens to greet her in her seat. At this point, I regretted selling that ticket on craigslist earlier in the day. I could have kept that ticket, and did my game notes from a decent seat. When I realized this, guess what happened for the 58th time?

6:55pm: The Wizards were introduced to Jay-Z's verse in the song, "Swagga Like Us". Its the perfect song to get pumped up to.

7:05: President Barack Obama coolly strides on the main floor and takes a seat on the left side of the basket. He shakes a few hands, waves to the crowd a few times, and then starts talking to this kid who was sitting next to him. The game was delayed until Obama was seated and comfortable, which also was very cool. About 20 feet from where Obama was sitting, there were about 30 photographers and cameramen fighting with another to get that ultimate photo and/or video. But since they were blocking Obama's view, he politely asked them to move, and that's exactly what they did.

7:06-7:45: Everybody close to Obama all of a sudden decided that had to go to the bathroom, or get some food or drink, which of course involved them walking DIRECTLY in front of Barack. The first father/son combo that tried to do this, got to shake Barack's hand and say hello. The next 100 or so people who tried were politely asked to get the hell out of the way, which made me laugh. People walked toward Barack holding his book, basketballs, programs, tshirts and all that hoping he'd autograph them, and then they got their feelings hurt.

7:45-9:30pm: You'll have to read my article tomorrow to find out what happened here. Visit tomorrow afternoon.

9:35 or so: Obama stands up, shakes hands and leaves out.

So, that's how it went down from my perspective. I REALLY wish I had a better seat and a better view so i could have shook his hand and chatted with him a bit, but it wasn't meant to be. Next time maybe.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Eddie Murphy plays Richard Pryor?
So I am walking into work this morning, feeling good because its Friday, and President Obama may be coming to tonight's Wizards game, when all of a sudden I saw this woman waving at me from across the street. The first thing I did is look behind me to make sure she wasn't possibly waving to someone else, but there was nothing behind me but traffic, so I looked at the woman again, and she was still waving emphatically. My natural route to work required me to cross the street, but instantly, I was looking for some detours, because I didn't want any small talk from a woman who knew me, but not vice versa. But at this point the detour would have looked too obvious, so I crossed the street, removed my headphones at the same time she removed hers, and I said, "Umm, do I know you?"

At this point the woman was like yes, you don't remember me, my name is Sheree, I met you a couple of years back. Instantly a montage of everyone I ever slept with flashed through my mind, and I was QUITE sure I had never been with Sheree. Then the woman went on to say that she was a student of my mother when she taught at George Mason University, and she had met me at a going away party for her. I still didn't remember the woman but I acted like I did, and we talked for a bit. She asked me how my new baby was, how married life was going, and other tidbits that were clearly directed towards my younger brother and not me, so I politely corrected her. At this point, I was just counting down the seconds to when one of us would put this conversation out of its misery, and finally she did, and I THOUGHT we were going our separate ways..not so much though.

It turned out we were both headed in identical directions, and when I realized this, I slowed my gait, acted like I was looking for something in my pockets, and I let her walk in front of me, so I wouldn't have to walk along side her. Unfortunately for me, Sheree walked slow as molasses, so despite me giving her a 15-20 second head start, after like 3 steps, I was right back along side of her. So I basically started speed walking like an absolute jackass, but as I passed her, I threw her a wave and a "take care", and kept it moving without looking back.

Now you may be asking what the big deal is, and I'll tell you. 1)I don't like small talk at all, but I damn sure don't like it at 8am, which why I have headphones on. 2)People say do unto others have you would have them to unto you..if I saw someone that I had briefly met 2 years ago, do you think I would stop and chat? HELLS NO. I would completely ignore them, then send them an email saying I was right next to them on the street, and it was good seeing them. Then they'd ask me why I didn't stop and chat, and I'd blame it on being late for work or something. All via email. Catching up via email is harmless and my preferred mode of communication. So Sheree, if you stumble upon my blog(and you aren't pissed by now), I enjoyed seeing you, but next time just email me or better yet tell my mom you saw me, and let her relay the message. Everyone wins.

My latest article

Fall In - Esperanza Spaulding

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I have no words of my own today, so I'll let Stevie do the honors

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So I am in the midst of trying to play matchmaker for third or fourth time in my life, and I'm pretty excited about it. It takes a certain degree of arrogance to think that you can take two individuals who know nothing about one another except the matchmaker, and then think they can hit it off..but I think I can pull this off(that's what she said).

On one side we have a man who I see around town quite often when I hang out. He is also a member of the same website I frequent, and from what I have been able to gather from my interactions as well as what he writes, he is a cool, funny guy. Then on the other side we have a woman who I have known for about four years now both personally and professionally. For whatever reason, she has not had much luck at all in the relationship department, and its a shame, because she's a very nice lady. This is where I step in and do my Hitch impression.

My plan is to tell both of them to meet me at a happy hour that I know of, where lots of people will be. I'll introduce them to one another, hang around a bit, and then slip out the backdoor, while they get acquainted. My lady suggested that I give them both each other's information, and then let them handle it from there and stay out of it. I suppose that would work too, but they seems too hands off for my taste. So I am now taking me out please.

**disclaimer on** Those of you who know me are probably trying to figure out who these people are, and I'd like to respectfully ask you not to ask me their names. I'm trying to make some magic happen here, and no meddling (except for the kind I'm doing) will be tolerated. Thanks a bunch**disclaimer off**

I would like to thank Obama for dragging last night's Congressional address on for so damn long. When he spoke in hushed tones, no one stood up and applauded they just listened intently. When he pointed his finger, but some bass in his voice and was emphatic, the crowd could not WAIT to stand up and applaud as if an opera singer had just held a note for 3 minutes like the man in this Bugs Bunny skit In fact at one point, I saw Elijah Cummings use the faces of two fellow congressmen to help him stand up quicker. Next time, Obama should do the entire Congressional address in a Steven Wright monotone.

I think this article I wrote will appeal to even non-basketball fans. Please read it. Then after that watch the video to the right of it with my main man Ryan interviewing Kevin McHale. Funny stuff.

She Said(Jay Dee remix) - Pharcyde
This song has the important distinction of being my current ringtone. Great song

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Roughly a month ago, my lady and I were in a mall in a suburban Maryland city, on a quest for some Chick-fil-A. Her doctor's office was about five minutes away from this mall, and prior to even arriving at her appointment, we had made the executive decision to purchase, then devour the finest products Chick-fil-A had to offer. Before we got in line, we walked up to the Chick-fil-A cow, and took some of the samples he/she was holding on his tray.

The line was moving way too slow for my taste, so my mind started to wander as did my eyes, and I looked back over at the Chick-fil-a cow. When you really think about mascots handing out food, its kind of creepy. They don't talk or greet you, they just bop back and forth, hug you, and invite you to eat whatever kind of food they may be holding. So some faux resentment started to build up in me, and I looked over to my lady and asked her how much money she would give me if I just ran up behind the mascot and hit him in the head. I wouldn't knock him down or viciously attack, just "playfully" hit him in the head, then calmly walk out of the mall, so I wouldn't run into this man. Of course at this point, my lady grabbed my arm, held it tight and pulled me away from the cow..but I still thought about it. Five minutes later I ordered my food, and rolled out.

So last night when I got home from work and my lady told me about this story, I broke out into a broad smile. I don't condone violence, especially at a fine dining establishment like Chick-fil-a, but someone had to teach these mascots a lesson. So to the attacker, if you're reading this blog from your jail cell in Virginia, thank you for taking one from the team. And next time, take my idea and just "playfully" tap the mascot next time.

Here is my latest article.

And here is Rebbie Jackson:

Monday, February 23, 2009

My "article" on Kevin McHale.
This morning as I walked to work, I saw this older couple (late 40s/early 50s) sitting in the car in front of an office building. I am going to assume they were married or at least a couple, but I cannot be totally sure. What I am sure of is that they were arguing. I saw him yelling and throwing evil hand gestures in her direction, and then I saw her returning the favor--although somehow she was able to summon a louder voice and more emphatic hand gestures. And then about two minutes later, she stormed out of the car without looking back and he peeled off in the car like he was driving a Ferrari(it was a Buick).

I sat there and thought to myself damn, that is NOT the way to start of a Monday morning. Now they are going to go into work, take out their frustrations on individuals who have nothing to do with the matter, and they may or may not speak to the person who made them mad throughout the course of the day. Then when they get back home, there could possibly be a pride standoff when no one wants to give in and apologize, and that can prevent a resolution from being had. Or, even worse, someone at work will flirt with that man or that woman, and because the one they truly love has messed up their day, they will entertain that flirtation way more than they would on a normal day. If I could freeze frame that argument, and insert myself in that situation(that's what he said), this is what I would do.

I wouldn't take back the argument and the mean gestures, because sometimes, whether you like or not, arguments happen, and it can get heated; however, instead of allowing my lady to get out of the car angry, I would attempt a maneuver. I would sidle up to her hand and hold it gently; I would kiss her on the cheek, and I'd say, "Look let's not let you being wrong spill into our day. I love you and we'll finish this later." She may still stomp out of the car, she may still be mad, and she might even take her anger out on others. But at some point, that kiss and sidling will seep into her brain, and she'll feel bad and possibly come around later.

I have never tried it, but I have always thought about doing this, so I hope it reads as good as it sounds.

Spinning Around(I Think I'm Falling In Love)- The Main Ingredient

Saturday, February 21, 2009

After years of ignoring headache and being vain, I finally had to break down and get glasses. I got my exam done on Friday, and I picked up my frames today. I will NOT get contacts because putting things in my eye is just plain creepy. I will not get laser surgery, because they make me nervous. So I will make these glasses work for me.
The clip below is an excerpt from Questlove's conversation with Peter Rosenberg a little while ago. Questlove talks about his childhood, how the Roots began, and a host of other topics. The whole conversation can be downloaded here..its about 2 hours long, but I guarantee you'll be entertained. In the meantime, here's the clip:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Please read my article
So last night, my lady and I decided to veer away from the usual Thursday night routine of relaxing at home and watching NBC must-see-tv, and we went to two different bar/lounges. The first one we went to, Euphoria, is run by my friend Brent who cooked that marvelous meal for my lady and I on Valentine's Day. The other place we went to is called Indulj (that spelling annoys me to no end) and the event on this night was promoted by my lady's longtime friend.

We had been to Euphoria before, so we knew what to expect. Cheap drinks, big screen television, all kinds of fried foods and a relaxed, quiet atmosphere. There were only about 7 or 8 people in the lounge and we were able to sip wine and talk about solving the world's problems. But this Indulj (pronounced Indulge) place was another story all together. First, save for a few, Indulj seemed to be full of people with an inflated sense of importance. The way they talked, the drinks they were drinking, and just the overall vibe annoyed me(as if that's difficult to do). Secondly, there weren't enough chairs at the bar, and the all the other seats were gone. This is probably our fault for arriving late, but I choose to blame it on the establishment. Then, between my lady and I, we asked the bartender 3 times to change the channel, and she kept saying only the manager had permission to do that. Allow to expand on this.

First of all, the bartenders are on the front lines, not the manager(s), so THEY need to have control of the remote, because tipsy, to drunk patrons want to watch what they want to watch. Secondly, unless there is a major sporting event on television, in no way, shape or form, should you have the same game on two televisions. It is counterproductive and waste of electricity. And thirdly, when the manager did show up, the bartender made zero attempts to relay my message for a channel change.

So here we were standing up, watching a boring game, waiting for my lady's friend to arrive and I was just annoyed, but I did not start acting up by antagonizing people. I sat there patiently until my lady was ready, and told the bartender she was ready for the check. It took the bartender 20 effing minutes to remember my lady's request, and it was just a mess. To top it all off, there was a band there playing smooth jazz and R&B covers, and it was corny and cliched.

In closing, if you live in DC or you plan on visiting, give Euphoria your business and forgo Indulj. If you have relatives that work at Indulj, or you've been there before and had a fantastic time, please feel free to prove my one experience there to be a lie.

Desire - En Vogue
This is yet another song that I want a striptease too

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Have you ever come across a job that on the surface, you simply are not qualified for, but you apply for anyway, thinking that prayers, luck and a healthy dose of confidence may pull you through? A friend of mine sent me a job like this yesterday, and it took me a good 3 hours to really wrap my mind around applying. Initially I saw the job, saw the qualifications and the location, and decided there was no way I would be selected if I applied. Then just a short while later, I started thinking to myself that even an interview for a job like this could go a long way, so maybe I should apply, get to the interview and try to learn. Then last night while my lady and I were talking, I decided I was going to apply, but I still didn't have much confidence about the job, but I just didn't want to be sitting around weeks later saying, "what if?"

During my walk to work this morning, I changed my thought process completely, and decided that not only will I apply for this job, but I'm going to claim it as mine, and hopefully get it. That doesn't mean I'm not nervous and I don't have concerns, but damn I'm 30 fucking four years old, and if I don't wrap my brain around taking significant chances now, when can I do it right? The only part in this process that scares me is the actual interview. I am TERRIBLE at interviewing for jobs, and I wish I could say I was exaggerating. I think the last interview I was on, I stumbled and mumbled like Dennis Green at the beginning of this press conference. Its not that I lack intelligence and its not that I lack eloquence and ability to articulate. I'm just not good at doing it on command you know? If I could write my response during an interview, I'd be so golden. But to have to sit there in front of two, three and sometimes four people and convince them that I'm there guy, just isn't my deal. But I damn sure will make it my deal, because I SO want this job.

Sorry if this blog seems like I'm rambling on and on, but I'm still trying to hype myself as you can probably tell. Speaking of rambling on and on, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Roland Burris.

Oh and let me apologize to my brother and sister-in-law for giving you my old phone without erasing the suggestive pictures. I know how devastating and tramuatizing that probably was.

On and On - Mint Condition

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Because I am coming down with some sort of cold, I didn't walk to work like I usually do, I took the train. I do my best to avoid the subway because of the crazies, the noise, the perverts, and the constant invasion of space; however, this morning I was thoroughly entertained during my five minute ride. Allow me to share.

This kid in a stroller, who couldn't have been more than two years old, had this miniature Spongebob action figure in his hand. Clearly the little fella had an attachment to this thing, because I saw him hold it up, look longingly in the action figure's beady little eyes, and then throw it. The first time this happened, the mother calmly got up and fetched mini Spongebob, and put it RIGHT back in the kid's hands. Then the kid repeated his earlier routine, and stared at the Spongebob, and threw it, although this time he was able to summon adult-like strength, and throw it a bit further. Just like the first time, the mother walked over to the action figure, kind of looked around at the other adult on the train and smiled, and then put the Spongebob back into the hands of the perpetrator. And once again, the kid repeated the whole routine, and threw Mr. Spongebob right at my feet. I gave the mother the action figure back, except this time the mother put Spongebob in her purse, and I don't have to tell you what happened.

The little kid started yelling at the top of his little lungs, and the mother, forced into sudden action and at severe risk of being embarrassed and upstaged by this her monster of a son and his action figure, picked up the kid out of the stroller, and held and rocked the little one until he shut the hell up. Just then my stop came, and began to walk off the train, and the little kid looked at me, winked and then gave me the thumbs up, as if to say, "See how I just played my mom?". Ok that last sentence I just wrote was totally made up, but I thought it would be cool if it did happen.

I would like to thank my lady for penning such a beautiful blog entry, and I'd also like to thank you people who totally ignore my entries, and came out of the woodwork to show her love. First my brother upstages me, now this. I am reduced to making up sentences about infants now. But seriously, that meant a lot to me that she wrote and got responses. I talk about her all the damn time, at least someone besides me knows she exists.

Sweet and Lovely - Thelonious Monk
Mr. Monk died 27 years ago yesterday, and I didn't realize this until they announced it during a black history month tribute during last night's Wizards game. I am on a quest for some of Mr. Monk's work in vinyl, so if you have an album of his you want to ditch, or if you know somewhere in the DC area that has it, please let me know.

Monday, February 16, 2009

So I tried to do this once before. After our trip to the bed and breakfast in Williamsburg, I was to do a guest blog entry. The ladyfriend speaks! HA. Well let me tell you this blogging bit, the way Rashad does it wasn't as easy as it looked. I found myself backspacing and deleting and even though Rashad loved what I'd written I had him delete the whole thing. I totally chickened out. As many of you loyal readers of this blog know, its been a few months of some pretty sad times for Rashad and I. Saturday, February 14th was to be the due date of our baby...and well you know what happened there. Anyhow, a couple months ago, I asked Rashad for just one thing for Valentine's Day and that was to make it a lot of fun. I didn't want THAT day to be sad or reflective or any of that. I just had a pretty invasive abdominal surgery just three weeks ago to this day and we weren't sure of what sort of shape I'd be in. Would I be able to move about, leave the house that sort of thing. Well, I'm recovering very well and I'd like to personally, or at least via this platform, thank all of you who've wished us well and kept us in prayer. P.S. I have a really cool picture of the 15!!! Yes 15 fibroids removed from my uterus. Rashad hates this picture but I am in the process of having it converted to a digital format so that I can gross out as many people as a mass e-mail will allow. Let him know if you want in on the action. Its pretty incredible.

Guess what? Rashad is a very thoughful man. Don't be shocked. He is only a fraction of the asshole many of you have come to love and/or hate. I don't brag too much about all of the fun we have or the thoughtful gestures as it will surely piss some people off or they won't appreciate it. This is where the people who don't wish a happy couple well should take off. Our Valentine's Day was more about sharing our time and enjoying each other than what my drunk friend Lanada best describes it as. A day of massacre and something about some diseased european saint. I didn't get flowers. Rashad gets me flowers all the time. Could be a Friday, could be a Tuesday and for no reason in particular. I got a ridiculously relaxing manicure/pedicure brought right to me and in our living room. I was watching Sex and the City and drinking a glass of white wine and it was divine. For dinner, his friend Brent came over and fixed us a restaurant quality dinner and I didn't have to do a thing. It was so damn tasty. I didn't have to show him where a single thing was because he brought all of his own kichen do-dads and whatnot and all the food. I was not even allowed in the kitchen. Rashad fixes meals sometimes and almost without fail I have to find or show him something he can't seem to find so yeah, that was kinda weird having a man in the there and not showing him where stuff is - Thatswhatshesaid:) Last, as Rashad has this weird thing about gifts in 3s, he had my Alvin Ailey print framed and hung. Simply beautiful.

I fear I've gone on too long - Thatswhathesaid, so I shall stop here in what looks to me as a big ode to Rashad. He truly deserves it. Even if this may seem sappy to some of you, this man has seen and been through a lot of crap over the past few months that most people would surely not be able to handle. Love endures.
Michael Jackson auction

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I woke up about 8am, and I began bitching and moaning to my lady that I no longer wanted to attend my swimming lesson. The fear and nervousness had taken such a firm hold of me, that I had talked myself out of the very thing I had hyped myself to do over the past two weeks. She quickly talked myself off of that cliff, and told me that once I got to the pool, I would be ok and she was correct.

I walked to the pool, stripped down to my trunks, showered in the little pre-pool area, then I walked out to the pool 10 minutes early. There was a woman out there already in the midst of her lesson, with who I thought was going to be my teacher. She was Russian, and she has a thick accent, and immediately I started panicking. How the hell was I going to take instructions from a woman I could barely understand? The woman in the pool kept having to ask the instructor to repeat herself, and it just looked counterproductive. But just when I was starting to work myself into a lather, my real instructor, a woman named Lindsay, came up behind me, asked if I was Rashad(which I thought was funny since there were no other black fellas in the Jewish Community Center), and I said yes and we got started.

The first thing she did is comment on how nervous I looked, and I said, "Hell yeah I'm nervous son", and she started laughing. But once I got in the pool, my ego kicked in, because there were other people swimming around me, and I did not want to go out like Willie Lump Lump (whoever he is). I did laps with a floatation device, I put my head in the water, I used my arms to propel me, and I did a BRIEF amount of work sans the flotation device. I was tired, nervous and in the learning mode all at the same time, but I do believe I made some progress. The next lesson is next Saturday, but I plan on joining the JCC and practicing a bit before then.

I cannot properly convey to you all how huge this is for me, and again, I have to thank my man Sabin. Not only will I conquer a fear of mine, but if all the workouts are like this, I'll be in shape in no time.

Also a big shoutout to the older man, who refused to wear a towel in the locker room and treated me to the kind of nudity only a wife should see. Thanks guy!

Superwoman - The Main Ingredient

Friday, February 13, 2009

When I was seven years old, I attended a pool party given by one of my friends at school. My mother alerted the parents of the child who was giving the party, that I could not swim, and I was to be monitored in the shallowest of shallow waters. These parents assured my mother that they were on the case, and nothing would happen to me, and I overheard all of this, so I felt some degree of comfort. There were two other kids wading in the shallow waters with me, and they looked just as terrified as I was, so I was defintely in my element. My mother saw this, and left the party feeling good about my safety.

About 30 minutes later, in walks this rowdy parent who thought the pool party was for him not the kids. He stripped down to his bathing suit, and immediately started "playfully" terrorizing the kids in the pool. He splashed some kids with water, he threw the volleyball at others, and then some kids he just flat out picked up and threw in the water. I think he threw about 4 kids around before he got to me, and each kid would playfully say, "No don't!!", and then he'd throw them around, and the kid would pop right back up and scream, "Throw me again!". So when this adult got to me, my screams of "No don't!" were not taken seriously, and to make things worse, the parents who had been assigned to look after my safety were asleep at the wheel. So the guy threw me in the pool, and I remember being in the water, sinking deeper, and noticing that the other kids seemed to be getting further and further away.

The next thing I remember is me coughing up water, and waking up with a bunch of people standing over me, and my mother being there near me. I don't remember passing out, or being brought back to consciousness or any of that. In fact that whole day is one big blur, but what I did glean from it, is that I never wanted ANY part of the water, because clearly I could not conquer it.

Over the next 27 years I kind of took lessons, but I never really felt comfortable with who was teaching me. From 1987-1993, I lived in a house with a pool in the backyard, but I only got in there with a life jacket on, and I'd never stay in for more than 20 minutes at a time. Even then, I was monitored by parents, and my time in the pool could best be described as low impact. The past two years, I've been to Miami, and gotten in both the pool and ocean, but as soon as the water gets too deep, or I lose control, I quickly get out of the pool. I did have this one instance back in August, when I got up at like 1am, and had a dip in the pool alone, but again, low impact was the name of the game.

Then a couple of months later Sabin, my roommate from college, mentioned that he had conquered his fear of swimming, and was doing it every morning as a form of staying in shape, and I must admit I was inspired. Plus, I have had back issues, and my doctor, as well as others, told me that swimming more often would definitely soothe my back. So I say all this to say, tomorrow morning at 10am, at the Jewish Community Center (just call me Sammy Davis), I will have a personalized lesson. I am nervous and excited all at the same time.

My goal is to learn how to swim, win 9 gold medals and master a bong.

Let's Go Forward - Terence Trent D'Arby

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I had to go get blood drawn this morning, which meant I had the opportunity to visit the wild, wonderful world of LabCorp. I don't know how this institution is in your town, but in mine it is full of inept workers, who move at a leisurely pace, yet thousands of tax-paying citizens trust them to put needle after needle in their arm. Good times.

I usually like to get to LabCorp a full half hour before they open(7:30), just in case there is an insane line outside. Today, I moved kind of slow, and I arrived in front of the place at 7:50, and there were about 7 people there already. There were two people standing right by the door, and the other five were kind of scattered about. I went to stand directly behind the two folks by the door, and the other people shot me evil looks, and I responded to them by saying good morning and smiling. Once the door opened, those five people attempted to step in front of me, and I employed a little something called the boxout technique. I had no intentions of signing my name on the signup sheet in front of these people, I just wanted them to think I was by going inside the building in front of them. I couldn't exactly make out the expletives and heavy breathing thrown my way, because I had headphones on, but I saw some angry faces. Once I stepped inside the place, I held the door like a gentleman, and signed in last.

I know its petty for me to do that, but I hate when folks form lines outside of establishments, and then expect you to follow suit. I could see if this were ticketmaster and we waiting for Prince tickets. But we are in here giving blood, and it takes 5 minutes, just chill out. By the time I left there at 8:30, it was empty and everyone had given blood. So why should I wait behind a line, when I can get in front and annoy people?

Once I left LabCorp, I started my walk to work, and I saw this guy on skateboard, who seemed to be getting some sort of satisfaction out of whizzing in between pedestrians. I wanted to trip him, but I'm not quite that cruel, but he needed to be stopped. Then, as if some mystery person channeled their inner Patrick Swayze., this skateboarder tripped over nothing but air, fell over a curb, on his hands and face. Several of the pedestrians around him had smirks on their face, but nobody made fun of him and no one helped him up. They just kept walking. I started to help him up, and then start a slow clap for him, but again, I'm not that mean. But inconsiderate skateboarders and bikers need to fall at least once a day, just so they can be humbled.

My inner voice just asked me when the last time I was humbled. I think it was two weeks ago when my lady was in the hospital when with tubes all in her, and I couldn't do a thing. I don't want that kind of humbling anymore.

That's an odd note to end on, so I will end on this rap oldie, but goodie from 1990 I think...

KMD - Peach Fuzz

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

As an Aquarian child, I can readily admit that I love the winter. I love the snow, I loved the cold, I love the great sex that comes with snuggling up under the covers to get away from the cold. So I DEEPLY resent these warm temperatures invading my winter/Aquarian sensibilities. I am supposed to be grabbing my gloves, my hat and my scarf in the morning, without hesitation. I should be able to look out of the window, and see pain and angst on people's faces, because they cannot stand that wind and cold weather beating them down. I should be watching the crawl on the news in the morning, to see that schools and the government are shut down for the day due to inclement weather. Instead, I look out of my window and see confusion.

Because the temperature is in the mid 50s this morning, it is really tough to know how to dress. Some people I saw had their winter coats on, but open which is a look I like and respect. You acknowledge the warmth by keeping the jacket open, but you realize it is February, so keep it on. Then I saw some people who had lighter spring coats zipped all the way up. That too is acceptable. Then you had people like me who wore sweaters, with a long sleeved shirt underneath, but no jacket. I tried to act like I was warm, but there were a couple instances on my walk into work, where I was flat out cold, but I kept stepping with purpose to mask my discomfort. And finally, you have these assclowns who think it is May already, and they wear short skirts and short sleeve shirts, because the temps are going to get up to 70 degrees. These people fail to realize that when the temps actually hit 70, they will be at their desk working. And by the time 5pm comes, it'll be chilly.

This is a dumb blog entry, but I'm not erasing. Oh wait, I did see this woman I used to work with on the street today, and I felt kind of awkward because I've rejected her Facebook request about 4 times since last October. She was like hey Rashad do you even remember me, and I said yes, then I called her by name, then there was a 5 second awkward silence. Then I told her I had to run, I put my headphones back on, and went on my merry way. I wonder if she'll send another request..

I also have a question for the women who read my blog. Are you getting your boyfriends/sex partners/husbands a Valentine's Day gift? And if so why? I'd vehemently argue that you shouldn't get him anything, but I'm curious to hear some rationale.

Bleeding Heart - Jimi Hendrix

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why should athletes have all the fun man? Someone smart (my vote is for Cornel West or Bill Gates) needs to invent a performance-enhancing drug for writers. I'm having an off month in my blogging because of outside writing obligations, and since my blog spawned every writing gig I've ever had, I feel like I need a boost to get me back on my game. I've been giving 100% and I'm not a slacker, I'm doing the work, but I seem to be falling short of the mountaintop. Where is my drug man?

If I had a chance to customize this writing wonder drug, I'd make it come in the form of Chik-fil-A sandwiches. No needles in the ass or arm, no big horse pill that are too big for me to swallow (that's what she said), and no special cocktail for me to drink. Just mix the powerful elixir into a Chik-fil-A sandwich, let me eat it, go to sleep, then BAM! When I wake up I'll be banging out the scintillating sentences and the powerful prose like my name is John Wideman...or David Halberstam. or any of my favorite writers.

Seriously though, I cannot sit here and honestly say that I would never do a performance enhancing drug if I were a world class athlete, especially if there were one that made me a foot taller. Many of these athletes are playing it straight, doing the right thing, and getting contracts far inferior to their pill popping brethren. And athletic careers are so short, and the window of opportunity to make millions is so small, who can blame them for wanting to cut corners. The only caveat is, when you get caught, come ALL the way clean. Don't say you unknowingly took something and don't lie to Katie Couric, and then come clean a year later, just come out and say, "Hell yeah I took steroids, everyone else was doing it, I had to get mine(s)." Sure you may go to jail, lose all your money, and be publicly humiliated. But eventually folks will feel sorry for you, and then you can write a book, go on Oprah, cry her a river, then all is forgiven. Isn't this how these things work?

For the first time since her surgery, my lady will be home alone all day long, without her mother or me to watch after her. So if you're reading this, just know that you'll be fine m'lady, and if you need anything just call me as many times as you need to. I'll answer the phone every 3 times you call.

Get Along With You - Kelis
One of my top 20 songs ever. The video isn't bad either. It has a Tim Burton. vibe to it..

Monday, February 09, 2009

Dear Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap.

When I first met you back in 2002, you belonged to someone else, but I used to sneak time with you when I could. I had heard good things about you, but I was so used to Irish Spring. and I didn't want to completely abandon that. But the few times I did sneak time with you? Man you were good. I could use just a little of you, and it seemed to go such a long way. On top of that, you had this tingling aspect to you that felt incredible in my nether regions, you know..down there where it counts.

Not too long after I met you, my living arrangements changed, and I no longer had free access to you. I mean yeah I would see you out and about, but I didn't have the courage to step to you (plus you cost 14 damn dollars), but in my mind I knew that I would one day find my back to you. And then last week, while I was in the New Jersey Nets locker room. I saw someone who had access to you, and it rekindled the love affair all over. I looked longingly at you, and although you couldn't see, I saw you, gave you a head nod, and vowed to make you mine oh mine.

Yesterday I saw you (spent that 14 damn dollars), and I made you mine. I could have gotten with you last night, but instead I used my last bit of Irish Spring so I could have proper goodbye. This morning, after my morning workout, it was just you and me, and you felt just like I remembered..except harder, better, faster and stronger.


P.S. Are you down for a threesome? My lady may want to get in on the action as well

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Since I've been doing this blog, I always have at least two entries a year discussing my re-entry to the world of outdoor basketball. This whole weekend was beautiful and in the 60s, and since my back is stronger, and I'm on a mission to get in svelte and in shape, I decided to take my 34 year old body on the court.

Yesterday I was on the court for a good hour or so, and I was alone. I did shooting drills, some cardio and I worked on regaining my touch, so that I would not make an absolute fool of myself whenever that magical, mystical day came when I'd actually play with others rather than myself (that's what she said). Little did I know that day would come today.

I went outside about 2:30 with the intent of doing the same type of workout I did yesterday. Then I was asked to play a game of "33", then more people showed up, and I was asked to play 3-on-3. I was tired after that game, but my shot felt good, so I decided to play a FULL court game off 4-on-4, then eventually 5-on-5, and this is where the wheels came off. I had not played a game that intense since last summer, so I was tired, I was a step slow, I was cranky ,and although I played decent, I felt every bit of 34 year old. The younger kids still called me "little man", so I know I at least LOOKED young, but this 40 something man who was on the court too, looked at me and said, "man its tough for guys like us huh?" I wanted to smash his toes. Anyway, it felt good to be out there again, and playing basketball like that will go a long way towards whipping my ass back in shape.

By the way, I am switching back and forth between the Grammys and Dateline, and I noticed that Chris Hansen is actually doing a non-child predator story. Way to not be typecast Chris. Although I must admit, those "To Catch A Predator" shows are a staple with my lady and I. Not that I enjoy laughing at that issue, but damn if it isn't funny to see those people get caught, and then say, "I was just going to talk to the kid"

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Before last night's Washington Wizards/Denver Nuggets game, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mr. Hubie Brown. If you do not know who Hubie Brown is, then read my brief article about him here. The cliff notes version is that Mr. Brown is a legendary coach, basketball announcer and an overall student of the game. No man or woman who claims to be a fan of the NBA, should go too long without hearing Mr. Brown broadcast a game. He sees things that us mere mortals don't see, and he is able to articulate his findings in such a way, that even non-basketball fans/junkies can appreciate it (my lady can vouch for this).

Hubie works for ESPN, and since I've been covering the Wizards, ESPN had broadcasted at least 3 games, and every time I look(borderline stalking) for Hubie so I can interview him, or at the very least interview him. Yesterday, as I was coming a pre-game press conference, I saw Hubie on the court, giving a live interview to ESPN, and I got a huge smile on my face. But I had to patiently wait for him to get free. Finally he finished the interview, stopped by to talk to Wes Unseld, and then he headed to restroom. At this point I made my way to the general area hoping to get an interview or at the very least a brief conversation.

He came out, walked towards me, and instantly I got nervous, but this was way too big of an opporutnity to let go. I went him up to him, called him Mr. Brown, and introduced myself. He kept calling me young fella, which I did not mind at all. I told him I wrote for Hoops Addict, and that this was my first year covering the NBA. He wished me luck and began to walk away, and I asked if I could interview him now or later. He said now was no good, and after the game was iffy, but I should try anyway after the game. I shook his hand again, said thank you, and he went on his way. About 5 minutes after that meeting I texted my lady, and called my father, and I am sure I sounded like a 10 year old girl who had just seen Miley Cyrus, but I didn't even care.

I never did get the interview, because he was whisked away after the game, and I was caught up in the Denver Nuggets locker room, so I was kind of disappointed about that. But I shall definitely cherish that brief meeting, and I efforting to maybe talk to him via phone or email to secure an interview. Moments like this are the exact reason why I wanted to be a sportswriter you know?

By the way, my lady's mother left this morning, and it was a pleasure having her here. Its not because she cooked, washed dishes, cleaned the house or washed and folded my clothes(although that shit was DAMN good). It is mainly because she helped nurse my lady back to full strength, and she kept her company post-surgery. That's what parents are for, and my lady is lucky to have her around. Good times.

If you haven't heard, in a couple of months, Conan O'Brian is replacing Jay Leno on the Tonight Show, and Jimmy Fallon is replacing Conan. The Roots will be backing up Fallon, and as a way of promoting all this change, Fallon and the Roots have been releasing these short videos. I posted the first one yesterday, and here is the second:

Thursday, February 05, 2009

People who can't control their children, along with people who cannot control their pets, need to be beaten savagely with the same thick wooden bat. Failure to control your kids usually ends up in you crying on the Today show, talking about please help me find Katelynn or Tasha. Failure to control your pets, either gets somebody bitten, or your pet mildly assaulted. Allow to explain.

This morning I was vacillating between a tall cup of Caramel Apple Cider from Starbucks, or my regular breakfast of dry cereal and fruit. As I was walking towards Starbucks minding my own business, just mind my own business right, I noticed a woman who was bundled up, and holding a leash with a dog on the end of it. There was a lot of leash in between the lady and the dog, but since it was before 7am in the morning, there was nobody on the road, nobody on the street, . But this woman clearly saw me approaching, and it was plainly obvious that I would not have a clear path passed this dog, unless she tightened that leash a bit. Still, the lady didn't budge.

As I got closer to the mutt, I had self defense on the brain, because this dog looked like a troublemaker, and sure enough I was right. This dog started barking at me, it tried to bite the handle of my briefcase, and then he tried to get at my gloved hand. The owner of the dog kept yelling the dog's name (a tried and true formula of course) and then kept yelling at the dog to stop and sit, but either this dog was deaf, or he really wanted to bother me, because he never stopped his pursuit. But this jackass of an owner, never pulled the leash toward her so that the dog would choke on it and retreat. At this point it was clear I wasn't going to get by without assaulting the dog, and that's exactly what I did.

Because I had gloves on I was feeling bold, and I basically mushed (in case you don't know, mushing is when you place your hand on a person or an animals face, and then push it. I should make a youtube instructional video) the dog twice in the face and walked on by, and glared at the dog and its owner as if to say, "What?!?!". Then I looked reached in my pocket to turn the volume down on my ipod, and I looked at the owner and said thanks a lot ma'am, and she said(in one word I might add), "Ohmygodimsosorryohmygodareyouok?".

Bitch please.

My lady doesn't like for me to use that word, but you know what? Its too fitting here to pass up. And no I didn't say that to the lady, I was thinking it.

Something Special - Patti Austin (produced by Quincy Jones)
yeah the video sucks, but the song is great, Patti's vocals are too, and the bass guitarist doesn't do a bad job either

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A short video by Nelson George

Nelson George: Sundance 2009 from Nelson George on Vimeo.
I am quite sure I have mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating: I am extremely competitive (shout out to my lady and her mother, who I had the pleasure of beating last night in Scrabble). I compete with my co-workers, I compete with other blogs, I am in competition with other sportswriters to a lesser degree, I just look for any reason to make normally uncompetitive things into competitions, ofter unbeknownst to the person I am allegedly competing against. But there is one person on this Earth who brings it out of me (that's what she said) in a special kind of way, and that is my younger brother Jamal.

It is safe to say that we have been competing in some shape or fashion for a good 26-27 years now, since he was 4, and I was 7. We have played basketball (I beat your ass last summer man), soccer, electronic games, Nintendo (he beat me in Double Dribble, and I ripped the game out of the wall), table tennis, real fights, and all of that. I am quite sure that all siblings have some sort of rivalry, but of course I am going to hype mine up a little more because I believe in extreme hyperbole...I digress.

As we've gotten older, this competitiveness had died down substantially. He's gotten married with child, I am on the verge, we weigh a little more and real life has kicked in, which tends to put things and life in general in perspective. Until I beat his ass in basketball this past summer, we really had not been put in the position to go against one another..until the started that goddamn blog a little while ago.

Ever since he started blogging, I have been toeing the line between being happy that he is finally writing, to wanting to throw virtual eggs and toilet paper all over that blog in protest. Don't get me wrong, he is a good writer, he has good stories to tell, and the more comfortable he gets in that blog format, the better he will be. I am 100% sure of that. But still, I find myself wanting to crush his monkey ass like a jellybean. Is this immature? You bet your sweet ass it is. But its how I feel. And to add insult to injury, my brother has no such animosity towards me. He just writes his blog, then reads mine, says nice things, and goes on his merry way.

He's so smug.

Anyway, I know this doesn't fit the rest of what I just wrote, but I saw 3 people this morning with umbrella, and it was only snowing. What the hell is that? You wear a hat, scarf and gloves, and let the snow hit you. But an umbrella? Really?

Summer Soft - Stevie Wonder

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Here's on article on the Wizards

And here's an interview with Darius Miles

Please read, we're in a recession.
From January 31st to February 8th, I have to attend and write about a Wizards game every other day. That's a lot of writing, and to be honest, I don't even mind, because I am definitely in my element and enjoying what it is that I do. However, that means that this blog will suffer from neglect during that time, because I am not a machine goddammit. And if I was, I'd be using my powers for something besides writing if you catch my drift. Anyway, use this opportunity to read my work over at Hoops Addict. won't you please? I'd really appreciate it. Or if you don't like me, read my brother's blog about Eric Holder. today.

Monday, February 02, 2009

How did YOU spend your Super Bowl Sunday? I spent mine watching the game with four women. My lady, her sister, her mother and her best friend, all assembled in my living room with beer, wings, meatballs and water surrounding. There were times when I was the only one watching the game, then there were other times when I was answering questions about the score, who had the ball, why was one player's hand on another player's ass too long, etc. I also spent some time telling stories that I knew a football fan would know and understand and probably turn a deaf her to, but because I was with four relative football neophytes, I knew they would listen. I also must admit that for a second I thought the game was being played in Arizona, not in Tampa, which led to the following brilliant exchange

Me (to no one in particular): It's so dark there, how many hours behind us is Arizona?
My lady: Um, they are playing in Tampa, there are the same time as us
Me (babbling): Oh yeah that's right..I thought they were...oh ok..i bought the beer at...
Everyone in the room: Nowyouknowdonefuckedupright

While all this was going on, my main man Sabin was sending me texts about the game, and making me laugh, which made me feel like he was in the room too. All in all it was a great time. I rooted for Pittsburgh because a)Arizona beat my team two weeks ago and b)Mike Tomlin is black. Is that shallow? Maybe so, but I never claimed to be deep my friends. Although as black as Tomlin is, if they had been playing my beloved Philadelphia Eagles, I'd be rooting against him, while waving my white power flag for Andy Reid. I'm a sellout that way.

Oh yeah, I got chills listening to Jennifer Hudson sing. That 2 and a half minutes of singing alone, pretty much nullified the importance of American Idol. I also now realize that a flatscreen HD TV is not an option, it an absolute MUST. There were so many slow-mo plays shown that I KNOW probably looked way better on a real HD TV, rather than on my measly 32 inch television. By the time the NBA Finals comes on in June, I will rectify this issue, I promise you.

To be honest, I really don't much to say right now. I just got out of a pointless, 90 minute meeting, that had five people standing over my shoulder making me nervous. So I'll try to end this on a high note, by posting a video of the second best version of the National Anthem I've ever seen/heard.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Carl Lewis:

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Bill Simmons, one of my favorite sportswriters, once said something to the effect of, "The older I get, the more of my sports heroes I meet, and the more I am disappointed." Before I started covering sports full time, I had no clue what he was talking about, and I looked at my sports heroes with rose colored glasses for the most part. That is until tonight.

Tonight, after the Wizards game, I met boxer and former heavyweight champion, Riddick Bowe. If you don't know who he is, Riddick was once the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. He was personable, affable, smart(for a boxer), and his talent had no ceiling. Then he let fame go to his head, he spent too much money, couldn't keep his hands off women (he beat them), and landed in jail for a few years, then tried to fight again, but could not because age, brain damage and an erosion of skills had more than kicked into high gear. The rumor for the past couple of years was that Riddick was slurring his words, and sounding like Ali, but I had yet to see any evidence of this, until tonight.

Right before I left the Verizon Center after the Wizards game, I saw Bowe, and I went up to him, shook his hand, and let him know that I was a huge fan of his, and I wished him well with whatever the hell he was doing with his life. At this point, I just wanted to walk away and go home, but no such luck. He attempted to talk me to death about what he was doing with his life, and he wanted me to interview him. He convinced me that he was on the verge of becoming a top notch fighter again, and that he would be on top of the world soon. I actually would have been more than happy to interview him for my own personal gain, but I could not understand a solitary word he was saying. His words were slurred, he mumbled horribly, and even though his face displayed that youth like quality that I had known and loved 17 years earlier, nothing else about this man was the same, and it was sad. The two people with him continued to pump his head up, as if he was still 25 and full of promise, but deep down, even they had to see the sad truth. He was now and overweight, has-been, who had already used up his 15 minutes of fame.

Finally, I just interrupted Bowe, told him I had to get home to my lady who just had surgery, and I walked away feeling sad and dejected. I should have never spoken to him.