Friday, July 31, 2009

To correct or not to correct...

About 10 years ago when I was a temp working at an assignment, one of my supervisors sent out an email that went to everyone on the floor (about 45 people). As soon as I read the email and saw all the grammatical errors, I immediately cringed and shook my head. I thought to myself, has she always written this bad? has anyone ever pulled her aside? And since I worked under her, I wondered if I should even say anything or just hope someone else saw it. I agonized about this for about a good hour or so, and then finally I printed out the email and went over to her office.

I started off with a futile disclaimer about how I wasn't trying to make her feel bad or be a smartass, but being an English Education major, I'm always in teaching mode. I arrogantly told her that I could proofread her emails if she wanted, and if she didn't want me to do that, she should recruit someone to do the job. My point was, when mass emails are being sent out, its important that the message doesn't get lost in translation. From that moment, until 10 minutes later when I walked out of her office, it was hell.

She yelled and cursed at me, she told me that proofreading was not my job, and given that I was a temp, I needed to focus on becoming permanent, not trying to correct her. She also told me that no one had complained about what she wrote, so it must not have been that bad (all lies). From that day, until about a year later when I eventually left that company, she sent out a slew of emails full of subject/verb agreement problems, misspelled and omitted words, and new words that had yet to be invented. I never said a word after that.

So this morning, when one of my co-workers forwarded me an email that had "basis" where the word "bases" should have been, I hesitated to say anything to her. No one likes to be corrected, and given that this woman was already heated about another issue not related to me, I didn't want to get on her bad side. But I'm stubborn, so I went ahead and told her about the correction...and she appreciated my honesty and said thank you. Crisis averted.

Watch out world, I'm correcting EVERYONE now...and I'm sure my main man Ryan will find at least two errors in this entry and correct me. It all balances out.

I'm feeling a little racy today..

N.E.R.D - Lapdance - Music Video

Thursday, July 30, 2009

There were a series of good, Oscar caliber movies that I neglected to go see in theater because of sports, health, and just play lazy-related reasons, and I have felt left out when people discuss them at great length. But thanks to the brilliant invention of Netflix, I am able to bring this fine cinema into my home to watch and get caught up. The movie of choice last night? Revolutionary Road.

Now, I had no clue what this movie was about going into it. I had heard that it was pretty intense, but I'm no stranger to intense movies, so I certainly was not going to let that derail me. In hindsight, perhaps I should have. I won't give away the movie to those of you who haven't seen it, but I can't make any promises, so you may want to turn away. But this movie was the most depressing piece of bullshit I've seen in quite some time, and perhaps that was the intent, but I still hated it. The main characters were miserable at work, miserable parents, and miserable in marriage. It was painful to watch two people who clearly didn't love each other, attempt to navigate through a relationship that barely got off the ground in the first place. They were both having affairs, but neither one of them seemed to be having "good" affairs. The sex they were having both in and out of the marriages was boring, mechanical and brief*, and the problems they were having could not be solved via an extramarital affair. At several points during the movie, I looked at the clock to see how much more of this misery I had to suffer though. And then to top things off, there was a gruesome abortion scene that just put the nail in the coffin (bad analogy I know) for me.

Now, I know not every movie is supposed to have a happy fact my favorite movie of all time, The Empire Strikes Back had a semi-depressing ending where the bad guys won, but the scenes leading up to it were so captivating, I barely minded. In this movie, it was clear from the outset that this was going to get progressively worse. And in what is always the barometer for a bad movie, my lady and I had a discussion about marriage and how to NOT make it depressing..not exactly the stuff foreplay is made of you know?

So, for those of you who saw and liked the movie, please make a case for it, and try to make my review and my opinion look stupid(er).

*If I watch the beginning of a movie, and its rated R for sexual content and nudity, I expect to see an explicit, steamy sex scene that's good enough to make me want to pause it, play it, pause it, stop it, take a break, rewind, watch it etc..That alone could have salvaged the terrible opinion I had of the movie, but no such luck.

Robert Glasper featuring Bilal - All Matter

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I don't know about you, but I'm hearing more and more about break-ins over the past few months. I guess the recession is driving some previous sane folks to resort to guerrilla tactics to get money or things to sell, and breaking and entering is high on the list. Of course you're also hearing about folks getting arrested out of suspicion for breaking in their own homes, but I won't delve into that topic on this here blog.

Anyway, due to this increased talk about break-ins in residences, I now lock all my locks on my door, including the chain. I also want to invest in a chime for my door, so that when all else fails, I can at least hear someone entering my apartment, and I can prepare myself and my lady. Its not a sophisticated security measure, but for now it will have to do.

So last night my lady and I just finished up a hearty dinner, and we were sitting at the table on our respective laptops, when we thought we heard someone playing with the lock on our door. Initially we thought it was the lady in the apartment next door to ours. Our door is so close to hers, that sometimes when she enters her apartment it sounds like she could very well be coming in ours, but this felt much different. The noises were much closer, and they did not subside after a few seconds, so at this point I stood up and starting walking slowly towards the door. It was also this point I thought it maybe could have been the building maintenance people, but given that it was after 9pm, there was no way in the world they'd be trying to gain entrance to my apartment. So I kept creeping towards the door, and I got to the peephole, and I noticed a woman outside my door who I recognized from another floor in my building. I opened the door, she looked at me, I looked at her, she looked at me looking at her, and then she instantly turned red and apologetic.


This went on for a good five minutes, and I kept assuring her that it was ok, and it was really no big deal. She lives on the fifth floor, and she had been absent minded and gotten off on the sixth floor, and then tried to illegally gain entrance into our apartment. When I asked her what apartment she lived in and she told me, I explained to her that my lady and I had tried to accidentally gain entrance into her apartment this past winter, so we totally understood how this can happen. But she still continued to apologize and slowly walk towards the elevator. We assured her that all was well, then I closed the door in her face while she was still apologizing. I mean enough was enough already.

I'll admit my heart was pounding even a few minutes after the situation was over, but I'm glad it all worked out. My biggest regret, besides not going to the door with a knife or a Louisville slugger, was not squeezing in a Skip Gates joke comedic timing is off.

Freddie Freeloader - Miles Davis

Monday, July 27, 2009

I just got off the phone with my mother, and she was filling me in on the events of her Columbia alumni weekend. At one point, she was discussing the wonderful church service that took place yesterday morning, and how refreshing it was to see men and women who had shunned the Lord in college, come around and fully embrace Him. Then she took it a step further by explaining to me that one group of men she had gone to college with had a reputation for running trains on women, and it was good to see them praising and worshipping yesterday.

Trains? Really mommy? (yes I still call her mommy) F**king trains?

I expect my boys to throw that word around freely. If my father mentioned it, it would give me great pause, but I'd get over it. But to hear my mother, who is a minister, use the phrase, "running trains on women" is just too much for my Monday morning ears to bear. It brings to mind all types of questions, that I can't (and won't) get the answers too. In fact, I am willing to write an entire book of phrases, words and sentences that adults can never utter to their children regardless of how old they get. It has to be done. Now more than ever.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

7:30 pm
It was 92 degrees yesterday, and humid as hell, and this poor dog was trapped in the car without a cracked window, with his owner nowhere to be found. These are types of tasks Michael Vick and PETA are faced with fixing..In all seriousness though, I felt bad for the little fella..

Saturday, July 25, 2009

So last night I attended a reception that the Columbia Alumni Association threw in honor of US Attorney General Eric Holder. Here is the hour by hour breakdown..and just so I can ruin some of the suspense in advance, President Obama (Columbia grad class of 1983) did not show up.

6:45: I get in the cab, take the 10 minute ride over to the City Club of Washington DC at Franklin Square, and I get out of the cab..and leave my cellphone in the backseat

6:46: I realize I left my cellphone in the cab, and I look and see the cab two blocks ahead at a red light, and I take off running Usain Bolt style (in a suit and tie) trying to catch it, and I fall way short.

6:47: The secret service agent (there to protect the Attorney General) politely stops me and asks me why I'm running so frantically, and I explain to him that my $400 cellphone was in the cab. He laughs at me, tells me to relax and get a drink, and then says that it will work out. I guess when you're carrying a gun like he was, you really don't sweat the small stuff. Still, I was stressed.

7:00: I look into the reception room, and see a sea of faces that I vaguely recognize from when they used to come over my parents house, but I'm not 100% sure I know them, so I ignore them initially. Everyone (including me) is dressed to the nines(whatever that means), smelling good, and drinking wine. The secret service guy asks me if I had any luck yet, and I said no, and he keeps laughing..great guy.

7:15: My mother arrives looking beautiful, and with her is her best friend from college, and my unofficial aunt, Ms. Sheila Abdus-Salaam. I had not seen Sheila in about 19 years, and she was one of the few people who still looked the same. She told me I looked like a distinguished man, and she was proud of me, but I'm too dark to blush so I didn't.

7:17: I pull my mother aside, explain to her that I left my cell in a cab, and she laughs too (what is it with these people?). I ask if I could use her phone to call my lady, and my phone. My lady says she'll keep calling my phone in hopes that someone will answer. I try to call a few times myself, but nothing happens.

7:20: While I'm on the phone with my lady, New York Governor David Paterson (Columbia Class of 1977) gets out of a secret service van and starts shaking hands with some folks outside. Immediately I think of the Saturday Night Live skit and I start chuckling, but then I saw the guns of the secret service agents, and I straightened up.

7:21: Somehow, Governor Paterson wiggled free of his handlers and the secret service, and he was trying to open the door to get inside, but since he's blind, of course he was clueless. Me being the Johnny-on-the-spot person that I am, I opened the door for him, spoke to him, and let him in the venue. When he heard my voice he asked my name, and I told him, we shook hands, and then I told him that he owed me a $10 tip. He laughed and then his handlers whisked him away so he could take pictures. That man owes me a ten spot.

7:25-7:50: I become my mother's personal slave and I met a series of people who either knew me while my mother was pregnant, or they held me when I was a baby. Everyone dazzled me with stories of how I was as an infant, how they helped pick my name, and how wild my father was in college. This was the best part of the evening, and it provided me with endless bribery material, which is all you want as a child.

7:51: One of my father's fraternity brothers saw my name tag, asked if I was Michael Mobley's son, and when I told him I was, he put me in the headlock of life, and started taking me around like I was his son. I met all of my father's frat brothers, and each of them told they made my father into the man he was. Every one of them smelled like they had been drinking since 4pm, but they made me feel right home..and they got me drinks, which is what your elders are supposed to do.

7:52 It was at this point that I wished my father and brother had come father bailed for reasons I will not discuss in this here blog, and my brother just couldn't come. So I had nowhere to hide all night, and I was out of my comfort zone with all the damn small talk, but you know what? I survived.

7:55: My mother took me to meet Eric Holder. I shook his hand, told him I indirectly worked for him at the Dept of Justice, and he was pleasantly surprised. He told me that my parents were beautiful smart people, and I was very lucky. He also told me that I should come see him in his office some time to talk to him, which made me feel way more important than I am. I wanted to take a picture of him, but there were people mobbing him, and I was just glad to get in a brief conversation. I WILL be going up to his office for some face time..please believe that

8:07: My lady calls my mother's cell phone and she let's me know that the cab driver has located my phone and he is on his way back to where I am to deliver it...Thank god

8:15: While I am waiting for the cab driver to deliver my cellphone, I see my godparents get out of a cab. They are both Columbia grads, and I had not seen them since 1990. I think this is when I was the most giddy. I hugged them both and had a damn good conversation with them. Everyone looked older, but man words can't convey how happy I was to see them.

8:25: The cab driver gave me my phone, then sweet talked his way into $20 out of me. Considering how much I would have had to pay if I lost the phone, I didn't mind giving it to him..until he got this goofy ass smile on his face on I gave him the money...

8:40: The host of the evening made a joke that this area really is the District of Columbia...and I laughed

8:45: I made my last rounds, said goodnight to everyone and left the event...

I really wish my father had been there. I got tired of answering the question, "Where's your dad?". Plus it just would have been nice for to see him interacting with his college buddies, reliving his youth..Still, my mother was there looking happy and radiant, and I was glad she could show me off. I really didn't get to take pictures, but the conversations I had were worth much more. Here's the only pic I got of Eric Holder.

Friday, July 24, 2009

As I left the gym this morning, there were a stack of papers, laying face down on the receptionist's desk, and at first glance I thought they were Washington City Papers. They come out every Thursday, and since I forgot to grab one yesterday, I figured now was as good of a time as any to get one. As I reached to grab a paper, the receptionist slightly moved the papers out my reach, and said, "No you don't want this paper." I looked at her like she was crazy, and said, yes, I do, and she said no you don't, these are Washington Blades.

Now, for those of you who live outside of the DC area, the Washington Blade is a gay and lesbian newspaper that also comes out once a week. Because my neighborhood is so gay friendly, I frequently see this newspaper being read, and one time a few years ago when I was desperate for an apartment, I even scoured the classifieds. Not a big deal at all. But when this woman told me that this was the newspaper I was about to grab, I just said to her, "Oh ok, I thought it was the City Paper", and again she demonstratively said, "No baby you definitely don't want this paper."

As I walked out of the gym, I thought to myself, how does she know I don't have the ghey? I've never walked in the gym with women on my arm Hugh Hefner style, and there has been nothing about my behavior to suggest I'm gay or straight, so why did she just automatically assume I wasn't? I got a little offended that she didn't at least give me the gay benefit of the doubt, because if I WAS gay, she would SOOO be in trouble for making that kind of statement. And yes I'm serious about this. I have been hit on by gay dudes before, and that situation was more than awkward but I handled it. I wouldn't have minded one more situation like that.

My lady told me this morning that it is completely ridiculous for me to be offended about something like that. But I'm an EEOC type of fellow.

And now a video from the best rapper who ever lived..

Thursday, July 23, 2009

If you have followed this blog over the past several months, you have seen me reference the story of Brian, who is one of the PR guys for the Washington Wizards that I've gotten to know over the past year or so. Brian had been battling cancer, and he had yet another breakthrough yesterday. I won't spoil the surprise, but you can read all about it here. Between the story I watched on Black in America last night, and Brian's good news this morning, I feel pretty damn inspired, and I say that sans cynicism.

All that jive I talked yesterday about the Powerball, and I didn't even see what the winning numbers were. I could be sitting on a gold mine, but instead I'm sitting here at work typing an effing blog.

All week I've been inexplicably listening to the Manhattans. My parents used to play their records when I was young,and I always admired their harmony and melodies. So now I'm rediscovering them all over again..Enjoy..

And after the song, check out that handsome 9th grader's picture right below the clueless.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rashad Mobley..9th grade year....1989
Yesterday while I was in line to pay for my wine, I noticed the woman in front of me was a bit too chatty for my taste. It was late, I was eager to get back home and relax for the evening, and here this woman was talking about God knows what. Finally I started to say something, but when I listened closer, I noticed the delay was due to what she was purchasing, not just her incessant small talk. In addition to wine, she was in the process of buying an impressive assortment of lottery tickets. There was the Powerball, the pick 3, and at least 10 scratch off games, which according to the cashier, could win you up to $ money.

Usually when I see people go crazy on lottery tickets and things of the sort, I silently judge them. Why spend money on something that is such a ridiculous long shot? Why even go to sleep at night, fooling yourself by thinking of lavish ways to spend the money you don't have ? It just seems like torture to me, and I looked at this woman, and thought..she's going to drink wine, pass out, dream of hitting the lottery, and wake up with nothing but a hangover and a useless receipt. But then I snapped out of that line of thought, and remembered that we are waist deep in a recession, and for many people, hitting the lottery is dream worth spending money towards. I totally get that.

So after I purchased my lottery ticket, I walked out of the store, went to my house, and quickly though of lavish ways to spend the money I did not yet have (no hangover this morning though). This was the FIRST lottery ticket of any kind that I have purchased in my 34 years on this Earth. I don't know what the current Powerball amount is, I don't even know when the drawing is taking place, I just know that spending one measly dollar has my eyes wide and full of stars and hope. That's harmless right? It's not like I'm going to keep going back everyday, wishing and hoping...But if I DO win, all my readers get a car...You get a get car.

The Manhattans - I'll Never Find Another

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

So yesterday and the day before I was telling folks how moved I was about Walter Cronkite and his life, and that it inspired me to make some minor changes to my life--mainly spending less time on the computer. Some people commended my decision, others told me it was a knee jerk reaction (a GFY award for them)and most people were indifferent and did not say anything which is fine by me. Then we have this one special reaction.

Yesterday, one person read my piece on Cronkite and my reaction to it and said, "Who is this guy and what is the significance?". Now, I can certainly understand someone not knowing who Cronkite was prior the coverage surrounding his death. He's been out of the public eye for sometime, and he hasn't been a staple on television since the early 80s. Yes he's been on tv for various interviews numerous times since then, but that didn't provide him with the exposure that being on network tv every night gives you. But on every damn network since Friday evening when he died, Cronkite tributes, interviews and retrospectives have been online, on tv and in print. Even if you tune in every night to watch Michael Jackson death investigation coverage, you can still accidentally roll up some Cronkite footage. Not this person.

Still, I am living in the era of the high road, and instead of clowning her and making her feel stupid (which I've done with folks before, but that's just immature), I politely explained who he is and what his significance was, and she thanked me. I actually felt pretty good myself for being mature, but of course I'm probably undoing it all by calling attention to this situation again. I was just a bit incredulous that's all. Plus in these slow blogging times, that whole situation was a gold mine. If you're reading this, don't get [completely] offended. Its not like you don't know what I'm about.

I would like to end this entry with a quote I read yesterday. The quote is by Chuck Klosterman, and he was talking about Johnny Carson, but Walter Cronkite's name could easily be inserted. This will be the last day I talk about Cronkite like this I promise.

"I think there could be another person like Johnny Carson, or at least another person who possesses his collection of qualities. What there will never again be is a thing that's like "Johnny Carson". And the reason I put Carson's name in quotes is because the idea of "Johnny Carson" is much different than who he actually was as a person. What this means is that another Carson could exist, but no one would care (or at least as much). And this is not because society changed, and it's not because our values are different; this is because we all possess the ability to stop "Johnny Carson" from happening and that is exactly what we choose to do. And this makes us consciously happier, but unconsciously sadder. Choice makes us depressed. We just don't realize it."

Monday, July 20, 2009

So last night 60 minutes did a special retrospective of the life and career of the late, great Mr. Walter Cronkite, and it COMPLETELY blew me away. So many times you hear adjectives like "great" and "legendary" thrown around and given to individuals who are good for a moment, rather than for long stretches of time. Our generation is especially quick to say someone or something is the greatest ever, until the next month when something seemingly greater happens, and then that praise gets wrongly heaped one someone all over again. In Cronkite's case, to say he was great and legendary is almost disrespectful to the man's true impact to more than one generation.

It just amazed me that virtually ever major event in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s had Cronkite's stamp on it in some way, shape or form. It amazed me that he loved his wife so much, that he would tear up when he talked about her, and this was BEFORE she died. And like NBC's Brian Williams said, Cronkite ALWAYS found that balance between work and play, which in my mind contributed to him living to be 92 years old (although i'm sure drinking the occasional glass of scotch doesn't hurt).

These days, as talented as some of the journalists are, there are just too many channels to go to for news. Some days its a CNN kind of day, other days MSNBC does the trick, or maybe you're a Fox News type of person. Or you may even be that person who shuns the television for news completely, and you rely on twitter, facebook or some other internet site to keep you abreast. This doesn't mean that Cronkite's day was better than the current way, it just means things were much different. And my parents generation, and some in my generation as well, got a chance to see Cronkite's greatness over and over again, and frankly I'm jealous.

It blew my mind as 90 year old Andy Rooney, 91 year old Mike Wallace and a spry 78 year old Morley Safer all spoke with such admiration and love about their fallen, former colleague. That's the kind of love I want both while I'm living and when I'm gone but to be quite honest, I haven't done anything to warrant that type of respect..not yet anyway. Its something to shoot for though..

The other reaction I had to watching Cronkite's life, is that I have to get off the damn computer more. Between work and my home life, I spend way too much time screwing around on my beloved laptop. With basketball a few months away, and with football still two months away, this would be the perfect time to experience real life and all its glory...that sounds corny, but you get catch my drift

Toto - I'll Be Over You

Sunday, July 19, 2009

This is my public service announcement for the day..

I don't care how pretty you are, how nice your outfit is, how big your chest is, how nice your body is, or how important you think your conversation is. There is NO good excuse for you and your wack ass crew to be walking down the sidewalk Reservoir Dogs style making it impossible for me to get by you all. Allow me to explain.

Today I was coming back from the farmer's market with a handful of bags. I had mixed greens, spinach, cucumbers, flowers and some DAMN good spinach pesto. I had not yet eaten breakfast and I was more than eager to get home to do just that. I was about one minute from my house when I noticed four girls ahead of me. Two of them were on their cell phones, the other two were having a conversation, and none of them were paying attention to their surroundings. Here I was walking towards them with my bags in my hand, and all I wanted to do was get by, which is hardly a lot to ask.

At one point before we crossed paths, all four of them looked up, looked right at me, and decided they were too good to get out of my way. So at this point, I could walk on the street where cars were zooming by at 40 mph, I could stop where I was, let them walk by, then get by them, or I could be ass, and keep coming towards them, and let them figure out how to reconfigure themselves. I have been faced with this dilemma many times living and walking in the city, and usually I take the high road and defer to absent minded asses blocking the sidewalk. Today, I didn't have that nice bone in me.

I kept walking straight ahead, and the women having the conversations with one another walked RIGHT into me, and then spent about 2 minutes apologizing and saying they were so sorry, and I said nothing and kept walking. It was actually my fault they walked into me, but it was their fault for even putting me into that position. The rules when walking down a city sidewalk are you can walk in twos..maybe threes, but if you walk in a foursome, no one can get by, and a confrontation will go down. Let this be a lesson to you non-city dwellers. i am happy to report that no groceries were harmed during this manuever.

Gerald Alston - Take Me Where You Want To

Friday, July 17, 2009

Last night my brother and I went out for drinks, jokes, serious discussions about music, and just about any other topic of conversation you can think of. Today is his 31st birthday, and since he's going out of town, we decided to celebrate a night early. At some point during the conversation I looked at him and thought, damn he's not my baby brother anymore. He's married with child, he has something that could be called a goatee, and he's become a fine young man. At another point during our talk, I thought to myself, damn, I've known him for 31 years..longer than I've known anyone else besides my parents. It makes you appreciate all the petty arguments over toiletries, fights over video games, and cruel jokes played on another. I suppose I could go on and on about Jamal, but that's boring, and frankly, I'm still the oldest and I refuse to give him that much shine on my blog. So if you see him on the street, or on facebook, or online, or you have his number, give you him a birthday shoutout.

Happy Birthday baby brother.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Its kind of annoying that in today's climate, you're really not allowed to complain about a job or job-related issues. There are plenty of folks without work who are looking in newspapers, looking online and even asking friends for job leads, and it causes an amazing amount of stress to be in that situation. When someone like me goes around complaining when I basically have two jobs (only one paying), they come off like ungrateful asses, who don't truly take time to appreciate the blessings bestowed upon them. I get all that and while I think its bullshit, I totally undersand that line of thought. This disclaimer of a paragraph has now cleared the way for me to complain.

Right now, in the beautiful, sin-filled city of Las Vegas, there is an NBA summer league taking place. But this isn't just any summer league my friend, this is the league where the Washington Wizards are playing. The usual superstars aren't playing, but the roster is full of young players who are guaranteed a roster spot, and younger players who are trying to make it. Also in attendance in Vegas are coaches, general managers, current and ex players and LOTS of media. There are SO many stories to be had out there right now its ridiculous. Players want to talk about what their doing this summer. Coaches and general managers want to pat themselves on the back. Young, hungry players are just happy a member of the media wants to talk to them. Just yesterday, a gentlemen who works for a website I frequent, was able to snag an interview with the Wizards Team President. During the regular season it is virtually impossible to get this kind of access, but in a relaxed summer, Vegas atmosphere, anything is possible.

Meanwhile I am sitting here at the Department of Justice (my paying job I might add) saving the world one minute at a time. There's no basketball being played in my office, unless you count me shooting countless pieces of paper. No one is waiting for me to interview them, and this damn sure ain't Vegas. Again, I am not complaining per se, I just wish I had one extra week of vacation, so I could be in Vegas. I'd spend time with my lady during the day, do basketball related activities during the afternoon and early evening, then gamble like Pete Rose in his prime by night. I may sprinkle in a night or two of Nicolas Cage like drinking, but probably not. It would be about basketball and good clean fun.

Last night while I was on the computer, there was one writer who in particular (whose work I dig) who was live in Vegas watching the game and twittering at the same time, and I just got jealous and angry. I wanted to be there and I was not. I got a headache, I was pacing around the living room, I asked my girl to turn the tv off, because all of a sudden that annoyed me..I was just one big raging mess. This morning, I am much..ok a little calmer about the situation, and I have some perspective but it still sucks. But at the end of the day, there's nothing I can do. At the beginning and the middle I have a good chance of changing my fate, but at the end I'm helpless.

Thank you for "listening"

Dear Michael - Michael Jackson

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A friend of mine suggested that I go visit my intern (who works on a different floor), from last year and the year before, because my blog needed more beef, more sizzle, and I needed to re-ignite the spark. In other words, my blog sucks ass now. I re-read some of my entries over the past week or so, and does indeed seem less and less interesting, but I can't help it man. I have had thoughts and experiences that I really can't share with anyone for various reasons (too raunchy, to perverted, too personal, too scary), plus for right now my life isn't all that exciting. That will change next week when I meet Obama (hopefully) and a few weeks after that when I go on vacation, but for now, I'm stuck in the doldrums. I hope you forgive me...but my friend is right, I should visit my intern, but I just dont know if its worth that level of annoyance.

Until then, you're stuck with entries like this..or maybe I'll let my guard down and blog about a taboo subject.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

During the past couple of weeks I have had to conduct business with adults who are over 50 years old, and as much as I hate to generalize and discriminate, there are just a few observations that I must vocalize: They are NOT good at following up. It doesn't matter if you call or email, it doesn't matter how urgent you sound on the phone, and it doesn't matter if you use all caps via email to convey just how important it is that they get back to you ASAP. They take their sweet time returning the message(s).

When I deal with people my own age, calls and the emails that go returned often turn into text conversations, because sometimes that the easiest mode with which to communicate. But older folks just don't seem to want to do that. I won't insult their intelligence by saying that they can't, because I've seen my dad send and receive texts, but he doesn't check his phone often enough to rely on that. And THEN when they finally do call or email, the reason you needed them has come and gone, and of course that's when they are super accessible, and want to chit-chat about things that are important to THEM. Again, this isn't me disrespecting my elders, I just want some reciprocity. I vow to not be like this when I get older. My calls, my texts and my emails will be returned in a prompt fashion. That is my promise to you.

On a more serious note, I saw an accident right in front of me this morning, and it was some pretty scary stuff. A jeep was trying to make a sharp right turn from the middle lane, and he ended up cutting off a cab that was in the turning lane. The jeep ran up on the curb, and the cab swerved and hit a parking meter AND a no parking sign, and severely smashed in the front of his car. No one was seriously hurt, and surprisingly, no tempers flared. But what really surprised me was how generous the non-accident individuals were. People (myself included) went up to the driver of the jeep, the cab driver and the passenger in the cab and made sure everyone was alright. One person called the police and asked if anyone needed an ambulance, and it just ran like a well-tuned operation. I even surprised myself by talking to the cab driver about mundane subjects to take his mind off his ruined cab. I know this sounds sappy, but it was just really nice to see random strangers get together, love one another, and help out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

This morning when I arrived at the pool, I noticed that over 100 kids were sleeping on the floor of the gym with sleeping bags. When I asked the woman on duty what was going on, she said that they were campers from another Jewish Community Center, and they'd be leaving later on during the morning. I said to myself as long as they stayed out of my way and didn't clog up the showers, I'd be golden.

When I finished my swim and headed to the shower, the locker room was still completely empty much to my delight. I showered, air dried, and then made a beeline to the bathing-suit-drying machine. So as I am standing there completely naked drying my bathing suit, I suddenly hear commotion, and there are four fully clothed teenagers surrounding me, and the finally conversation works.

Them: Does that really work?
Me (slightly confused by the question): What do you mean?
Them: Is your bathing suit really getting dry?
Me: Absolutely it is
Them (taking steps closer to me): How does that machine work?
Me: You take your bathing suit, you push it in there, close the door, hold it down for however long you need, and then you're all set
Them: You think I could put my towel in there?
Me: Knock yourself out man
Them: That is pretty sweet, thanks dude

Now, at this point my suit was dry, and I just wanted to be free from them, so I turned around and starting walking towards my towel, and these dudes kept looking at me, like I was the Golden Child, and even though I am comfortable with my body and my sexuality, it just felt creepy, and for a minute that Jodie Foster movie came to mind but I turned out ok.

As usual, I don't have a point per se, I just don't understand why people don't respect the same sex nudity boundaries. Unless you're my son (only up to a certain age), or my doctor, there's no need for another man to be close to me while naked. There's just too many things that can go wrong, and not all of them can be easily explained away. Even if you want to look at me for some reason, its a look-at-the-sun glance, the you immediately put your eyes back down, and you high tail it out of there. That is still creepy, and I may still judge you, but at least I'll respect your game plan. Just staring or hanging out is me at least.

Here's my latest article

Resolution - Kurt Elling

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, your favorite crack smoking DC mayor and mine..Mr. Marion Barry. Let me throw in my one time, this man was a brilliant activist and politician, and I am not here to take that away from him. But from not paying taxes, to paying his girlfriend to be on the payroll, to the quote you see below, he has more than worn out his welcome...and now..

Friday, July 10, 2009

Watch this...

Then download this
As I left the pool this morning, the lifeguard stopped and asked if I had any cds I could loan him so he could load up his IPOD with fresh new music. I didn't really want to go into how all my cds burned up in the fire, so I merely told him that I didn't have cds anymore, and all my music was on my computer via itunes. I thought that would be it, but he probed a bit deeper, and asked me what kind of music I liked, and I said I had all kinds on my IPOD. Finally, he asked me if I could make him a cd, like my name was Rob Gordon. He said he wanted something uptempo with some R&B and whatever else I wanted to put on there, and I said I'd see what I can do. A few thoughts on this exchange..

1)Why the hell did he ask me? By my quick count, there were at least 15 people of varying ages who walked by him during the course of the morning, and I did not once see him stop and ask them for some audio gems. I was the only black person to walk by, and while I won't just rush and play the race card, it certainly seems that was a factor..Or maybe its the fact that I'm always walking in and out with headphones, but again, I don't have a monopoly on that action. EVERYONE has headphones on their head...Or maybe I just look like a black Casey Kasem, who knows what's happening on the music scene..

2)I am kind of excited at the prospect of having to make a cd for someone..even if its a hairy, male lifeguard, whose behavior borders on creepy on most days. Back in the day, I used to make 90 minute tapes for the lady I was feeling at the time, or I'd make tapes just to dazzle myself. Sure I was no Ron G or any type of mixtape master, but in my mind I did ok for myself. These days, with IPODS and mp3 players, the opportunity to dazzle someone with your ability to produce a 90 minute, theme driven, perfectly sequenced cd, is as rare as seeing LeBron James get dunked on by a college student. So now that I have the chance to re-live my past so to speak, I'll all over it.

3) Do I put widely known songs on the cd? Or do I take chances and put new stuff on there, in hopes that he'll take a shine to it? Do I throw one song in there with lots of cursing and "n" words in there, just to see how he reacts? So many directions, just one weekend to make it happen...this whole blog may be a tad bit ghey...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

You want a sign that handicapped people are moving on up in the world? Just 20 short minutes ago before I came into work, a homeless man went up to a guy in a motorized wheelchair, who had limited use of his arms and legs, and asked him if he could spare a dollar. The wheel chaired gentleman chose not to acknowledge the homeless fellow and sped by, but still..that's progress in my eyes.

There's an interesting event coming up in my life on July 24th. The Columbia University/Barnard College alumni association is throwing a reception for US Attorney General Eric Holder, who is also a Columbia grad. Since my dad is a Columbia alum and my mother is Barnard grad, I know lots of people in their class, because they were always at my house growing in my youth. This means that I was in position to receive an invitation to this black tie affair. Why is this exciting? Let me count the ways

1) Eric Holder. I work for the Department of Justice, so technically he's my boss. Not only that, he used to work in the same building I currently do God's work in, so hopefully at least 5-10 minutes of schmoozing will go a long way...especially since he knows my parents.

2) I get to wear a tux. I have no shame in admitting that I have only had to wear a tuxedo twice in my life. I know folks who own numerous tuxedos, and whoopty damn doo for them. I'm still at the point where wearing one is a big effing deal, so I plan on relishing each and every minute of it..assuming I can put it on by myself.

3) The awkward factor. I know what I'm about to say is wrong, but if you saw it, you'd laugh at it from afar too. It is quite possible that both my divorced-for-18-years-parents will be at this reception. People they've known for 35-40 years will be in attendance and I doubt they'll both miss an opportunity to re-connect with them. Most of the people in the room remember my parents as a couple in college, so to see them on their own and mingling will be more than a bit awkward. Throw in the fact that my dad is always a threat to bring his new woman, and I am basically my mother's date?? You got yourself a stew baby. I can joke about this because I've seen the awkwardness that is my mother and father being in the same room for years now. Yeah its painful deep down, but I operate in the shallow world my friends, and in that realm is humorous.

4) Obama. Our beloved president is a Columbia alum, and Eric Holder is his main man 50 grand. My sources tell me, that there is a chance he may be in attendance. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but in 34 years of life, I have been to an event where the President's presence is a chance type of deal. Never. Realistically speaking this is my one chance to meet him, so I will bring a list of one to two liners to dazzle him with just in case I get a chance to see him. That is my pledge to you, my 4 readers.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I've never discussed this with other men to see where they stand on this issue, but I'm not one to purchase underwear very often. It's not so much that I hunt and peck for the highest quality that underwear has to offer, I just seem to have an uncanny ability to stretch and get the maximum wear out of them. Often times to an outside, untrained eye, underwear with thinning fabric and inconvenient holes means its time to put them to sleep, but I don't give up so easily. I will basically wear underwear until its clear that my junk will no longer have a safe, secure home, and then I'll reluctantly throw them out.

So this morning I threw away a pair of underwear that had been in heavy rotation for a good five years. When I went to put them on, I noticed that I could see right through them--presumably that last wash cycle it endured caused extreme tearing because there was no way I could comfortably wear those with the dress slacks I was trying to wear today. I took them off, looked at them longingly, and then I threw them away. I then went back and surveyed my underwear collection, and I made a depressing observation.

Not only am I getting low on underwear in general, but I only have two pairs of underwear with the hole in front. The rest of my underwear are of "no fly zone" variety which means when I visit the urinal, I have to create miracles just to free my junk. I don't know why any man would create this type of underwear, and I fail to see the advantages of such an invention. When a man is at a urinal in the bathroom, it is a looking-at-the-sun situation. You get in there, you quickly do your business, and then you look away and leave. There's no lingering, no extra movement, and definitely no fumbling with your no-fly-zone underwear trying to free your junk. Yet today and every other day this week until I go shopping, I will be doing just that. If dress slacks weren't so thin, I'd go commando.

Fast Changes - Seal

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I agree with Peter King, all this Michael Jackson coverage is getting a little ridiculous. The memorial (which takes place today) itself doesn't annoy me, but the coverage and selling of it does. I am sick of the video marathons, sick of the attorneys, the other family members, TMZ, Access Hollywood, "his" kids, all of it. About the only thing that I am not sick of, is the very thing that I know him for, and that is his music..however..

The one lesson I am (re)learning is that I must press my parents (and when I get older I have to do the same) about getting their will finalized right now. All the details that seem mundane, pointless, and minuscule must be laid out, written down and legally recognized, so that their passing doesn't become a huge mess. Michael Jackson left "his" kids to his 80 year old parents and his backup is 65 year old Diana Ross. His debt wasn't even close to being paid off, and now someone will have to tend to that as well. The biological mother of the "his" kids, Debbie Rowe, wasn't left with jack (although i'm sure she got paid after she had the kids) and now she's scrambling to get her case heard, so she can get in on this. All of this drama just cheapens what is supposed to be grieving and celebrating MJ's life and music. It seems like when he did his will, he didn't call ANYONE to even let them know they were in it. So after he died, its like HEY SURPRISE!

Yet another point that has come to mind since this MJ drama, is how I would react if 30 or 40 cameras and camera equipment were shoved in my face while I was minding my own business. I saw it happen to Debbie Rowe yesterday, and I've sent it happen Bernie Madoff prior to his jailing, and both parties totally lost their cool and ended up shoving the cameras. I honestly think I would walk very slowly, start quietly rapping lyrics to the most profane song I could think of, and then I'd walk towards my lawn, start watering it, and I'd do my best to ruin each and every camera one by one with a steady stream of water. There are some other things I'd do as well, but I can't mention them on this family blog. And yes I've given this plenty of thought.

I have slacked on writing the past few days. I was just enjoying and experiencing life with myself and others that I care about. But I missed it so I'm back.

Don't Go - En Vogue

Saturday, July 04, 2009

After watching Serena defeat Venus for the Wimbledon championship, I had an epiphany. If I was playing my brother in any type of televised sport for a championship, I would NOT be a gracious winner or loser. If I was winning, I'd yell out inside jokes to make him laugh, I'd be extra demonstrative in my reactions, and after I won, I'd continue to talk trash. If I lost? I'd be cursing up a storm, I wouldn't shake his hand, and in my post match interview, I'd be totally ungracious. A couple of days later, I'd be nice and responsible and all that. But I'm a sore loser, and losing to Jamal wouldn't change that.

Yeah I said it.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Yet another reason why the possibility of having a daughter makes me nervous..

After I completed my post swim shower, I walked out without a towel on my body. I had already noticed that the locker room was empty, since it was the day before a holiday, so I figured I could air dry for once. As I turned the corner, I noticed a little girl standing right in front of a stall. Apparently her father was in the bathroom doing god's work, and she was standing outside of the closed door. And here I come completely naked, and she looks at me and waves and says "Hi there!". Meanwhile I am scrambling to put on my towel without dropping my bathing suit and after awhile I just starting walking fast towards my locker. A few minutes later the father comes out, and I apologized to him, and he said it was no big deal, but I just felt weird.

Its already traumatizing enough for that little girl that she has to stand outside of the stall while her dad is on the toilet, but then strange men are just gallivanting around naked in the locker room. She looked to be about 3 or 4 years old, which is around the time memories start to stick. Maybe it won't affect her at all, maybe it will, who knows, but it made me squeamish.

And speaking of that, why does the man have to bring his little girl to the men's locker room. Why can't he go in the ladies locker room, where the little girl will feel more comfortable? That way, no one is seeing anything new. The little girl will see bodies that she's probably familiar with, and the father will see bodies that he has seen before as well, plus he may see a little something extra for his trouble. What's wrong with that? The other nude women in the locker room will be mad for a second, but when they see the little girl, they will put at ease. Why can't this happen?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

I am writing this particular entry, because I want my thoughts to be out of my head completely, and the maybe I can refer back to it later for motivation. I just wanted to put that out there in case someone read this, and thought, "What the hell is he talking about?"..although there have been plenty of entries prior to today, where that very question could have been posed, so I guess I shouldn't care now.

I am getting ready to embark on a challenge that both intimidates and thrills me, and my confidence on this is swaying back and forth like a man running commando. Most, if not all of my basketball related articles I've written, are short, mini-features on a specific aspect of the sport. Sometimes its an interview, sometimes its just a brief audio clip, and sometimes I am recapping an event or game. Rarely do any of these types of pieces exceed the 900 word mark. I haven't mastered this, but I have found a comfort zone with which to operate in, and I think I've done alright for myself.

This feature piece I am getting ready to start, is way more involved than just 900 words. I have to spend time with this athlete, I have to get this athlete to trust me enough to veer away from the sports cliches that litter the airwaves, the internet and the newspapers. I will need to do enough research on this person, so that the questions I ask will be so deep and probing, that he may even have to think on it and get back to me another day. I fully expect this process to take a week or two and I welcome that challenge. In fact, this is the part of long process I'm most comfortable with.

The part that makes me nervous is the actual writing. As I told my lady earlier this morning, feature writing requires an element of creativity that I just don't have. I can give you the facts, I can pepper in my opinion, but the creative aspect of writing is one that I've struggled with since college. When I was asked to write poems or tell stories, there was basically a huge chasm between what I wanted to write, and what I had the ability to verbalize eloquently on paper. And now that I'm doing this feature piece, I have to not only face and conquer this phobia, but I have to slay this beast in such a fashion, that other people read this and say, "Wow, this is good!" And that terrifies me. I don't doubt my ability, but the process is intimidating.

Thank you for listening

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Watch CBS Videos Online
My latest, run-on sentence free article.
I had an online run-in with a facebook friend last night(if you read that sentence 4 or 5 times, it sounds absolutely ridiculous), and according to my lady I should have let it go, but I simply can't do it yet. Maybe after I write this blog entry.

Last week, after the NBA draft, I posted a series of audio clips live from the Verizon Center, home of the Washington Wizards. I had audio, I wrote a brief introductory blurb to accompany it, and boom, it was up on the site. It was quick, painless, and the point was to get it online as quickly as possible, so loyal fans of Hoops Addict could be kept abreast of Wizards related activities.

This was one of the articles I posted, and in case you're too lazy to click on the hyperlink, allow me to show you the one and only sentence I typed:

"Fresh off his introductory press conference with the Washington Wizards, guard Randy Foye talked to members of the media about his true position, his initial reaction to being traded, his thoughts on Kevin McHale’s influence on his game, and his memorable duel with Dwyane Wade last season."

Now, is that sentence a run-on? Maybe. Did I think I had a bit of leeway because it was simply introducing an audio clip? Yes. Would I have inserted that sentence in a longer piece? Probably not. Do I usually ask and answer my own questions? No.

Now I wrote this on Thursday. Last night one of my facebook friends finally got around to reading this, and his comment was, "I will nominate you for Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest next year..." In case you don't know what the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest is, its a contest where individuals are invited to deliberately write bad opening sentences to bad novels. Its satirical, its tongue-in-cheek, and its actually pretty funny. But it didn't apply to what I wrote. So this guy and I proceeded to go back and forth with smart ass one-liners that bordered on insults, and then we just stopped, but it annoyed me all night and during my morning run.

I don't mind smart ass comments being directed towards me and my writing. In fact, sometimes I get so few comments, that I secretly hope someone slams what I've written, so I know my reading community has a pulse. I also know that I have a smart mouth that is a bit capricious, which leaves me wide open to any and everything. I get that. But if you're going to insult me, zing me, or take a witty swipe, you better be sure you know what you're talking about, and since I feel like he didn't, I was pissed. Plus when I write something, however small it may be, I brace myself for feedback, for up to two days after its posted. Once we've reached the fifth or sixth day, I have forgotten about it, so I felt blindsided on top of everything else.

Plus, the more I read that sentence, the more I think it is NOT a run-on. Ok I'm letting it go now.

Alien Ant Farm - Smooth Criminal