Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On the street right behind my apartment, there is a steep hill that is about 250 meters or so in length. At the conclusion of my 3 mile runs, I like to sprint up that hill as my "reward" for completing such an arduous task. While I'm sprinting to the finish, I always like to imagine that I'm finishing a marathon, tens of thousands of people are applauding me, and the Chariots of Fire theme is blaring somewhere in the distance. Don't think I don't recognize that level of corniness I've reached at age 35, but you tell me how rational and sane you are after 3 miles of running and 250 meters of sprinting.

So once I reach the top of this hill, I stop, catch my breath, and then I walk back down the hill towards my apartment. Every now and then, at about the halfway point of this street, I see this man getting his paper. He usually opens his door, gets his paper, then quickly scurries back into his house. He gives me a quizzical look, but its completely understandable. Its usually around 6:30am, its dark, and here I am sweaty, out of breath, and looking less than friendly. Given that this city can be pretty damn violent at times, I can understand him being cautious. Does race play a factor? I suppose its possible, but I never really gave it too much thought.

But this morning, the man must have been feeling extra friendly, because he didn't scurry back into his house. Now mind you, I've been running for about 2 years now, this man has never uttered a single, solitary word to me. But I guess the full moon inspired him or something, because this conversation went down:

Him: Good morning sir
Me: How's it going?
Him: Good run?
Me: Good run indeed
Him: I always see you running this hill, its tough huh?
Me: It is, but its a good way to close out a 3 mile run
Him: I'm a biker myself
Me: Oh ok
Him: So do you live around here?
Me: I do I live right around the corner on Connecticut Ave
Him: Where specifically?
Me: Why, are you going to come rob me?
**We both laugh, although my laugh is hearty, while his is nervous**
Him: Oh no no, I was just curious, sorry for being nosy
Me: I'm joking its no I know exactly where you live so its only fair..I live in the _____ apartments
Him: Oh ok
Me (sensing an opening): Well i'm very tired sir, and I need to start getting ready for work, I'm Rashad, what's your name?
Him: I'm Terry
**Terry then extends his hand**
Me: Oh I shouldn't shake your hand, I'm all sweaty, let's just do this
**I extend my fist, thinking he'd take a cue from our president and first lady but instead he tried to go on top of my fist, but I didn't realize what he was doing, so I tried to meet his fist instead of just letting his rest on top of mine, and after awhile we had broken into a full-fledged rock/paper/scissors game. Finally, I just waved the white flag and let him put his fist on top of mine. This sounds way more ghey than it really was by the way**

Him (laughing): Next time bring a towel so you can wipe your hands, and we can do a regular shake
Me (laughing harder): Next time just leave me alone

We both laugh and walk our respective ways, but I win, because I left on a high(er) note. I have no real point here, I just thought the whole thing was completely random and hilarious.

Oh and if you haven't purchased the new Erykah Badu cd, please do. Its excellent.

Day 3 of Ron Carter:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

First and foremost, I'd like for you to read my article.

Someone in my office has what amounts to a lifetime supply of Activia in the shared refrigerator. I don't dare judge, but I really don't need to know that much about my co-workers.

Anyway, lost in my ode to Dr. Leftridge yesterday, was the real story, which was a dream I had on Sunday night. Now, I have mentioned Ron Artest in my blog several times over the years. Diehard Basketball fans know him as the semi-crazy, formerly great,and overrated defensive stopper who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. Casual basketball fans know him as the guy who was the center of the Brawl in the Palace, back in 2004. And people who nothing about basketball, know him as the guy hugged up on Toni Braxton in her latest video.

I know Ron for all those things, but the reason I mention him in my blog so much has to do with his lack of a shape-up. For some reason, when Artest visits the barber, he never has good shape-up, which is puzzling considering his high tax bracket. He is well within his right to do whatever he damn well pleases with HIS hair, but I am also well within my right to clown and make fun of him. Artest has sported haircuts like this, this and that. The drawings are no big deal if you're into that sort of thing, but the lack of a shape up is disturbing. By the way, for those of you who don't know what a quality shape up looks like, I direct you right here.

So in this dream I had, my brother and I were at some outdoor carnival, and we were playing one of those basketball games where they try to convince you that the ball is not bigger than the basket, when it really is. We were laughing and joking with each other, when someone grabbed my shoulder and spun me around. I looked, and I said out loud, "Oh sh*t, you're Ron Artest." Now, I'm 5'9" on a good day and I weigh 195ish, and Artest is 6'7" everyday and he's easily 240-250, so instantly I was a little weak in the knees. Artest was pointing his finger in my face, and asking me why I insisted on making fun of his shape up each and every chance I could (he had no shape up in the dream either). I tried to appeal to his (semi)rational side and tell him it was all tongue-in-cheek(a term I never use in real, non-dream life because it sounds like a move of an experienced fellatio giver) and that he shouldn't take it or me seriously.

Ron was not buying my explanation, and he pulled me closer (pause) and proceeded to tell me how much he was going to, "F**k me up!". At this point, my brother (who on a great, great day is 5'8") jumped in between us and told everyone to be cool and walk away. I don't know why or how he was able to diffuse the argument, but it worked. Ron dapped me up, but said if I talked about him again, he was coming after me, and I promised I wouldn't say anything anymore. And then as my brother and I walked away, we clowned his asymmetrical haircut once again. Then I woke up. End of dream.

My own personal Ron Carter week continues. If you're in DC this Thursday through Saturday, and you have nothing to do, go here and buy a ticket to see this legendary bassist.

A Theme in 3/4 - Ron Carter

Monday, March 29, 2010

During the first semester of my junior year in college, I was in dire financial straits. I was taking 21 credit hours, and it was hindering my ability to hold a steady job. I worked in the English department as a tutor, but that money was not enough for me to purchase all of the books I needed, while trying to maintain a very minor social life. I had exhausted all of my "Mommy and Daddy can I borrow money" calls, so I really did not know where else to turn.

Enter my main man Dr. Leftridge

Dr. Leftridge is the father of my boy Cliff, and I had always considered him to be a second father to me since I was a 13 year old. He and my father had the same sensibilities, same fraternity, and despite their 10 year age difference, they were basically the same person. If I ever needed to borrow money from my dad I had to lay out an extensive plan as to why I needed the money, how much I needed, and what was my plan to pay him back. Things were no different with Dr. Leftridge, but since I was desperate for money, I had no problems following the rules.

So I called Dr. Leftridge up, told him I needed to borrow $200, and then I told him that I was mailing him my plan for repayment. He didn't ask me why I was asking him and not my father, he didn't question me, he just said, he'd take a look at my proposal and get back to me. I proposed to pay him back at the end of my junior year (which was 6 months away), and that I needed money to comfortably get through what was going to be a rough couple of months. When he got my proposal, he called me and laughed at me. He said, "I know if you're asking for $200, you really need about $500, but I'll give you $350. And you can pay me back when you graduate from college in 2 years, not at the end of this year." Now, I was initially ecstatic that I was getting more than I asked for, and miraculously, I didn't even worry about how I'd pay back the extra $150, and how I'd actually remember that I owed money. I signed the agreement he sent back to me, I took the money, and it helped BIG time. Its amazing how far a little money used to go in college..not so much today.

Fast forward to my graduation dinner in May of 1997 (I finished in December of 1996). My parents were there, my grandparents were there, my brother was there, and I also invited Dr. Leftridge. Dinner was over, and I was opening all of the cards, that contained copious amounts of money for all of my hard work at Hampton. But there was one card that was missing, and that was the one from Dr. Leftridge, but I thought nothing of it. I just figured he would give it to me individually. So towards the end of dinner, I had to use the restroom, and as I came out, I saw Dr. Leftridge. I gave him a hug, he congratulated me, and then I said to him, I have something for you, and I pulled $350 in cash to give to him. I also written a note thanking in great detail, and he said no, no you keep it. I said no Dr. Leftridge, a deal is a deal, and I owe you, and he said no you keep it. Finally I gave him the note and the money and said I wasn't taking it back. He said fine and he kept it, and then he reached inside his coat and gave me my graduation card, that had a check for....$350.

I said Dr. Leftridge, you weren't going to give me this card unless I paid you back right? And he said yes. Then I asked him why he acted like he didn't want my note or my money, and he said he wanted to see how much integrity I had, and I passed the test. We went back to the table and that was that..or so I thought.

Right before I got ready to leave the dinner and hang out with my parents, Dr. Leftridge hugged me, shook my hand, and as I took my hand away, there was the $350 I had given him earlier. I said Dr. Leftridge I can't take this, and he said yes you can, you passed the test and you deserve it. And I was smart enough not to argue with him.

Why do I bring this up? Cliff told me Dr. Leftridge is turning 70 next month, and it just made me realize a) how much time flies, b)how much I love him and c)how much I appreciated little lessons like that.

And now, a selection from my main man Ron Carter, who I will be going to see this Saturday. Ron is a legendary jazz bassist, and he's 72 years old, which means that each and every one of his performances have to be cherished. My man Neil told me to see him last year, but I waited too late, so I'm all over it this year. If Ron comes to your town, and you're a jazz fan, go see him. And if you're not a fan, go learn something from a legend. Also, excuse the typos in the clip. They are annoying but the music is good. The song is Round Midnight and the name is Ron Carter.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I asked my writer friend Nichole how she feels when she reads something by someone who can clearly write better than she can. She said the first thing she thinks is, "I wish I could write like that", and then her thought process jumps to, "What was their process, their discipline, etc." When she told me this, I admired her clarity and her ability to genuflect. I possess no such ability.

Yesterday I read this brilliant article on Gilbert Arenas (title not withstanding) and my thought process was in sharp contract to Nichole's. The first thing I did is take issue with the title. Then I tried to be very critical of various things in the article, but I wasn't successful...not even close. Then, I beat myself up for not digging deep in my brief journalism career, and writing an article like this for the world to see. After all, the story was told using the same format I use in my blog. Humor, personal reflection, a splash of sports knowledge, etc. Then, after about 30 minutes, I stopped being antagonistic towards this piece, and I read it in a more appreciative state of mind. And it was at that point, that I realized that this article is nothing to "hate" on, but something to appreciate. I will write something like this or better one day, but I haven't thus far. So this blog entry is part mission statement, part genuflection, part f**k the author, part "I-gotta-step-my-game-up."

And in other news, someone recently asked me if I missed playing the trumpet, and my answer was hell no. But I do miss the ability to play some sort of instrument. I think it would the discipline involved, would only raise my ceiling as a writer. Plus, if I gain full custody of my son, that would something cool for us to do together. Just thinking out loud here forgive me...

And now, a song from 1990 that has been in my head for the past 12 hours

Friday, March 26, 2010

A good class assignment? Write a two page essay on what you just saw. I would do it, but I may have to cover the man next season, and I want full access.
So yesterday, I edited, uploaded and posted my first video on Hoops Addict. Now to you (and maybe everyone else) that is not worthy of even a passing mention, but to me, it is a pretty big f**king deal. I started working at Hoops Addict because I love basketball, almost as much as I love writing. I've written countless articles, but when it came time to post audio, I'd simply record what I wanted, and then leave it to my editor Ryan to bail me out. This year, Ryan has pushed me and urged me to become a bit more well-rounded, and I have begrudgingly agreed, causing him to curse me out (sometimes under his breath, other times through stern, yet carefully worded emails). I "mastered" the audio part earlier this year, and now I have finally learned how to record, edit, upload and then post the video on the site. You see, its the little things that get you through the day..

The MAIN reason I have not written the past two days, is anger. Pure anger. My son's mother moved again, and although she's basically in the same city as before, it caused her to take my son out of school for the THIRD time this YEAR. And yes you read that correctly. I had just establish a tremendous rapport with his teachers and now that's gone. I had just instilled confidence in my son, after his poor progress report, and now THAT is gone (although i'm working on restoring it). I'll spare you the gory details of how this happened and what I'm doing about it, but let's just say that the second half of this year will be drastically different if I can get a favorable ruling. But yesterday and the day before I was just too angry to even mildly articulate what I was feeling.

And now, a public service announcement from the year 1987..this video may very well only be funny to my brother and I, since we used to see this commercial all the damn time when we were younger. But I'm posting it anyway.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I was on another blog this morning, when I saw the video you see above. The person writing the blog seemed to think that Oates was thoroughly pissed that Hall kept going on and on about any and everything. Oates sat there with his arms crossed, and even Hall interrupted him and blatantly cut him off mid-sentence, he kept his cool. It does appear as if Hall was and is a bit full of himself and his talent, but in fairness to him, that has been the formula for Hall and Oates. Hall does the singing, the dancing, and more of the talking, while Oates does the background vocals, ad libs and much less talking.

But when a group has been together for almost 40 years like they have, you can't help but to wonder what has gone on behind the scenes. How is the money split? Who wins the majority of the fights? Do they discuss who will talk in the interviews, or does it mirror the dynamics of the group on stage? Do they both get chances to write songs? I don't just want to know these things because I'm a music fanatic who enjoys documentaries (like this one on the making of Steely Dan's "Peg"), but because I'm in a long term relationship my damn self. And even though Hall and Oates is a group the entertains, there are certain relationship dynamics that are in play, and I want to know how they've survived for so long.

That's why I am looking forward to this documentary on A Tribe Called Quest that's coming out some time this year. Unlike Hall and Oates who hung tough and have apparently stayed together, Tribe broke up, recorded solo projects, tried and failed to reunite, toured briefly, teased fans with faint promises of a reconciliation cd, and now they've apparently given up again. I'm rambling here..but as you can see, I want to take my favorite group (The Roots) and film a documentary on them on and off the stage. Ideally I'd have wanted to record one with Michael Jackson but you know...

By the way, I am REALLY hoping I meet Michael Jordan tonight when his Charlotte Bobcats play the Wizards. I hope I can keep my composure.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I would like to say thank you to my friend Nichole for recommending this spa/hotel for my lady and me. The lady got to relax, I got to relax, and everyone won yesterday.

I would like to apologize to my main man Kyle for not being able to write about the Wizards/Lakers game last night. The hotel/spa I mentioned above had espn, espn2, espnnews, espnclassic, all types of dirty movies, but they did NOT have ComcastSportsNet, so I was unable to see that ass whipping the Lakers put on the team.

I would like say thank you my lady's sister for reminding me how important it is to ask my lady's parents if I can marry their daughter. Whether I propose tomorrow or later this year, its still important in this day and age to ask for permission. So thank you for that. And to my lady if you're reading this, I'm waiting 5 more years to propose so dont get excited.

And I would like to send a special, special shoutout to the lady whose breasts fell out of her flimsy top this morning on the train. You were SO busy trying to text someone, that you didn't hold on when the train came to an abrupt stop. And despite my attempts to catch your clumsy ass, you went down and you went down hard..right on your back. Your failure to wear a bra to work on this fine Monday morning backfired, and your breasts(I'd venture to say D cups) spilled all over the place. I not only enjoyed your face turning red, but I enjoyed watching you trying to put them back in, get up off the floor, and hold on to the railing all at the same time. I suggest you learn the art of using one hand to text next time.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This morning after I finished my swim, I was reminded of something that I never blogged about..and now I will.

As I've mentioned before, I workout at the Jewish Community Center, and I had just finished swimming, and was in the process of drying off after my shower. Just then, one of my sports writing colleagues came into the locker room. We recognized each other instantly, and despite the fact that I was scantily-clad, we still have had the conversation:

Him: Hey, what's going on dude, what do you think about that Wizards game last night?
Me: At this point, they are a lost cause
Him: Yeah but we still have to cover to them
Me: Actually covering them isn't the issue, its watching some of the games
***we both laughed**
Him: So what are you doing here, playing basketball?
Me: Uh no, I just got finished swimming
Him: Oh that's cool dude
**awkward silence
Him (starting to walk towards the door): Alright dude, while I'll see you around
Me: Alright take care

Now, this guy was white, and in case you didn't know all these years, I am definitely black. I respect this guy's articles, I value his opinion, and the few conversations we've had have always been great. I never picked up racist vibes from him, and to be honest, the above conversation isn't necessarily racist in my opinion. I remembered being annoyed that he assumed that I was playing ball, when you can swim, hit the weights, participate in yoga/stretching classes, etc. But I didn't dwell on it, because I like this guy.

But this morning when I thought back to that event, I started thinking that if I came into the locker room and saw him, I'd probably wouldn't speak at all. But if I did speak, I'd ask him, so what kind of workout are you doing up here or what brings you here this morning, but I wouldn't automatically assume he was here to do one particular workout. And then I thought that maybe HE thought that since I cover basketball, that I must play it as well, which is a kind of a weak excuse. Or maybe he just flat out assumed that since I'm a brother, I play ball. Who knows. But what I do know, is that I'm not one to get up-in-arms about borderline racist incidents..I'd rather save that anger for something that really irks me. And to be totally frank (or rashad) I'm not sure if this was ignorance, a legit oversight, a stereotypical moment or just racist.

What I do know is that I've seen this guy many times since then, we have great talks, and I sincerely doubt he even remembers the conversation. But I do, so I'm sharing.

What do you think? Should I retroactively whip his ass? Did I do the right thing? Or is it too late?

And no I won't put this guy's name out least not until basketball season is over.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Last summer, I negotiated a work schedule, that would allow to be off every other Monday. I had my choice of Monday or Friday, and I felt like Monday would be better. Rarely have I been so tired on a Friday, that I cannot make it through the fact often times the adrenaline of the weekend ahead, gets me through work no matter what my day looks like. Conversely, Mondays are hell, I drag, I'm cranky, and I clock watching like nobody's business. So what better reward is there than to have every one of those terrible days off.

But yesterday as I sat at work trying to "watch" the NCAA games by hitting refresh on the scoreboard page over and over, I had a change of heart. I was angry that all these wonderful games were going on without me. I was mad that when I went to lunch, dozens of eager men and women were drinking, watching the games, and just feeling festive, while I had to go back to the office. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. I asked my boss if I could switch my day off just this once, from Monday to Friday, and she said as long as my co-worker agreed (he takes my workload when I'm out) then I was golden. He agreed, then she agreed, and it was done.

So not only do I get to watch all the games from my lovely couch, but if I want to get out there and enjoy this fine spring weather, I can do that as well. So to all of you who have the day off as well, I hope to see around (assuming you live in DC of course) today. To those of you who have to work, give me your phone number, and I'll text you pictures of what I'm seeing, so you can feel even worse. That's what (blog) friends are for you know?

And I would like to spend a special, special shout out to the Department of Social Services in Virginia who decided to raise my monthly child support payments by $200 this morning. Your attempts to ruin my day of basketball almost succeeded.

And now, a song that will always remind me of warm spring weather:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This may be an odd way to start off an entry on this particular site, but I shall do it anyway. I can't stand Rhianna. I won't say hate, because that's a little too strong, but I really do not care for her. She's attractive, but not as pretty as "they" are having me think she is. She cannot sing at all--she just sings one note all the time, but her facial expressions will have you believe that much more vocal excellence is taking place. But its not. I won't delve into the details of her personal life, because that neither helps nor hurts my argument. But...

That damn song she has entitled, "Hard" is all in my head. The chorus is, oddly enough, "I'm so hard!" and she keeps singing it over and over again (by the way, I know i'm old because I'm sure this song has been out since last October, but I'm just now really hearing it). ESPN has taken a shine to the song, and they play it over various sports highlights and montages, and now the song has seeped deep into my brain. As you can imagine this is problematic for two main reasons: One, I think we've already established my dislike for this woman. And two, what does a grown ass man like myself, look like running around singing a chorus entitled, "I'm so hard." I may as well join the creepy man fan club and start calling women sweetheart, rubbing my hands together when I talk, licking my lips 12,000 times a minute, and getting paid visits from Mr. Hansen if I'm going to sing that all the time. So thanks Rhianna for creating these dilemmas

Please read my article

I also would like to take some time to shout out Ron Washington, the manager of the Texas Rangers. You tested positive for cocaine last year, and rather than waiting for that positive test to become public and then admit you were wrong, you went to your bosses ahead of time to let them know what you had done. You entered a drug program, you've been tested numerous times since then and you continue to come up clean. I applaud you for that, because it takes a man to be proactive with that type of admission...but...

Please don't lie to me and say that you decided to do cocaine for the first time at 58 years old. That's horsesh*t, and as my main man Cliff said last night, "Once you try cocaine once, you've tried it ten times." It was not a one time "transgression" as you put it in your public statement yesterday, it was definitely a regression, and you need to just come on out and tell the truth..and more importantly leave that stuff alone. Must I point out what happened to this man.

And now, some words from the man himself..Mr. Ron Washington

And last but not least, I'd like to wish a happy birthday to my lady. I won't give out her age, because that's rude. But may she continue to rob the cradle!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The following conversation happened around 8am at my local Starbucks. The cast of characters are me, the Starbucks employee and the two 35-40 year old women in front of me.

Starbucks: Welcome to Starbucks sweetheart, how may I help you?
First woman: Excuse me?
Starbucks: good morning sweetheart what can I get you?
First woman: Uh ok..I'll get a venti (I can't remember)
Starbucks: I got you sweetie
First woman: (looks back at her friend): Sweetie? Is he f**king kidding me?
Second woman: Apparently so, welcome to 1960s
Starbucks: Next in line
Second woman: Ok I'll also have a Venti ___________
Starbucks: Ok sweetheart I got you
Second woman: What happened to just good morning and hello
Starbucks: (moves closer): Good morning sweetheart I'm sor...
Second woman(interrupts): You know what? Never mind, just go to next person
Starbucks: Ok sweetie, next in line...yeah what's up man what can I get you?
Me: Dude, you may want to chill out on the sweethearts and sweeties, its a little demeaning
Starbucks: What does that mean?
Me: (trying not to do a snobby laugh): It means you're talking down to them and you dont even know it, just say good morning and keep it moving
Starbucks: Man you crazy, the ladies love that
Me: And you know this how?
Starbucks: Man trust me, they like that kind of stuff in the morning, it makes them smile
Me (trying not to do a regular laugh): Ok sweetheart, get me a venti soy green tea latte
Starbucks: That sh*t ain't funny man, I ain't your sweetie
Me: But you're still going to make my drink right?
Starbucks: yeah in line..good morning sweetheart...

First off, I did get my drink. Second, the women who he had offended thanked me for semi-sticking up for them, but they clearly weren't outraged and upset enough to really complain to management. They grabbed their little drinks and rolled out, and I did the same, because it wasn't my battle to continue fighting. I find it hard to believe that no woman, or a man with a woman, has legitimately complained about this type of thing. I cannot lie and say that I've never used sweetie and sweetheart, but its usually when I am intentionally being condescending. If I were working customer service like this gentleman, I would definitely avoid anything of the sort. And me being the helpful brother that I am, I tried to give him a heads up, but as you saw it didn't go over too well. Or maybe I'm the wrong person to be teaching such a lesson. So I'm going to go back tomorrow and Friday to see if he's still doing it. And yes I'm serious.

And again, if you'd like to join yet another NCAA pool, go here

This video you see below has nothing to do with this entry...well not really I just think its a cool song to kick some body's ass too. And Mr. Starbucks deserves such treatment

Jane's Addiction - Been Caught Stealing

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My latest article

Thanks to my main man Kyle for letting me guest blog.

By the way, I'm not doing an NCAA pool this year, but Hoops Addict is, and you can join here.
I walked into my apartment building yesterday, and I thought I smelled smoke in the lobby, but I ignored it. Then I went up the elevator and the smell got stronger, and I panicked a bit, and I wondered why I foolishly got on the elevator. By the time I got to my floor the smell was stronger, but it smelled like a fire that had come and gone already, as opposed to one that was in progress. I put the key in my door, went in my apartment, and the smell was a litle less strong, but it was still there. A lot of my furniture had been moved around, the windows were all the way up, and there were boot footprints all over the floor.

The person who lives below me had a fire start in their bathroom, and it spread to some of the other apartments. My apartment came away unscathed, but the fire department had to get into my unit to put the fire out, which explained the footprints. I try to avoid the melodramatic as much as I can, but I cannot act like I wasn't shaken because of my incident in 2007 Back then, the smell of smoke was in every item that I was able to salvage, including my laptop. This morning, that smell (which is impossible to get rid of right away) is all thru the apartment, and I was paranoid last night while I slept. Every noise had me sitting straight up, and I slept with the door and windows open to get the clean flowing, but again, the noises made for a restless night.

I'd like to think I had done a good job putting that incident behind, but last night and this morning, it felt like it just happened all over again. And again, I promise you I'm not writing this to get your sympathy, but it affects me, and I'm not always good at talking through my feelings, so I write them.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thanks to my main man Sabin for digging up this picture. This is me during my freshman year of college in '92. I was 17 years old.
I will do my best to recap what was a fun, but quick weekend with my son and family..


1pm: My son arrives via Amtrak, and instantly his physical appearance jumps out at me. He has grown at least two inches to about 5'4", and he looks like he's been lifting weights or something, because he's a little thicker and a bit more defined. Also, his mother has once again dropped the ball in the haircut department, because my son showed up looking like a Craig Mack in 1994 (thankfully not in the face though)

2pm: We arrive at the barbershop, and my son pisses of the barber, because he keeps trying to watch the Kentucky/Tennessee game on television, instead of sitting still for the barber. I could have gone over to the chair right away to tell him to ignore the tv, so the barber could cut his hair, but it was pretty funny to watch the barber getting frustrated. It serves him right for messing up my facial hair last Thursday

2:30pm: I inform my son that we are attending a Wizards game, and he says to me, "Daddy, I don't even know who plays for the Wizards anymore." Ladies and gentleman, your 2009-2010 Washington Wizards!

3pm: My dad arrives, and he picks up for lunch at Clydes (my first time time there). My father was shocked to see that my son is a good growth spurt away from passing him in the height department ( my dad is 5'6") When my father and I talk, I notice my son looking at me, and then looking back at my dad, and I wonder what goes through his head. Unfortunately, he won't be able to truly and properly articulate that for another 20 years, but I'll be waiting. I know when I watched my son and my father talking, I was sitting there thinking how happy I was to have both of them in my presence. It needs to happen more than it does

530pm: I ditch both of them to begin preparing for the Wizards game. My son asks me to get Dwight Howard's autograph for him while I'm in locker room, but I tell him that as a journalist, I am legally not allowed to do that. It is at that point that I explain to him what integrity means.

630pm: I emerge from my pregame duties to see my son and father sitting in the stands side by side. My son has a huge smile on his face because a)he can see Howard and Vince Carter warming up just a few feet in front of him and b)he had just met Mark May outside of the arena.

8pm: During the game, there is a T-shirt giveaway, that basically consist of various employees heaving T-shirts into the crowd, and then adults and children scurry around like crazy people and try to claim them. When my son sees that this is about to go down, he jumps up, runs down two rows, then over one aisle, knocks two kids down, gets a shirt, then raises up the shirt he's just forcefully obtained and turns to my dad and yells out, "Yes!". I can't even tell you how funny this moment was, and it happened in about 30 seconds. I don't condone kid-on-kid violence..but damn if it wasn't funny.

9pm: I gave my father some post game instructions on where we should meet up after I do my post game duties. While I am talking to him, I start to notice how aging has changed him. His already gray hair is thinning, his glasses keep sliding off of his nose a bit, and he kept having to push them back in place. As I was explaining where we should meet, I could see that he wasn't getting it as quickly as I would have liked, and I remember thinking how unusual it was for that to be the case. I noticed every wrinkle in his face, specifically around his eyes, and I thought to myself, "Damn, its happening." I never really paid attention that closely before to how he was aging and a rush of sadness came over me. I ended my conversation with him, went back to my seat with the media, and cried for about 30 seconds (thank God nobody saw me). And then I woke the f**k up, realized that he's still alive and well (but aging) and that I needed to get over myself. I will never forget that moment though.

12am: We said our goodbyes, I put my son to my bed, and I watched that bulls**t Pacquiao/Clottey fight. Then, after losing an hour of sleep, I witnessed an all out brawl outside my apartment at 3:30am. All you need to know is that there were lesbians fighting, it was pouring rain, and wet clothes came off.

Ok I'm tired of writing right now. Sunday, we went to brunch with my mother, my brother and my nephew, and we had a ball. The only bad news was that we learned my that my grandmother has had a stroke and is in the hospital, which immediately put my mother in another state of mind. I worry about my dad, but he can take care of himself, and he enjoys the solitude. My mother moved back to Cleveland last year to take care of her mother and if something happens, it will be devastating to everyone, but especially her.

There was one tender moment though, that I will share before I shut this entry down. When my son and I arrived at my brother's house, my nephew refused to speak to him. He spoke to me, but he ignored my son repeatedly. I told my nephew that if he didn't speak I'd take away his toys (he about 6 cars in front of him), and immediately, he tried to pull all his toys closer to him. I took the cars away one by one, and of course my nephew starting crying. I just walked away, but my son decided to sit down next to him and start playing. At first my nephew shunned my son, but after about 15 minutes or so, they were playing (as well as a 12 year old and a 3 year old can play) and my nephew said, "I'm sorry" and my son said, "That's ok.!" I know this sounds pretty high on the ghey meter, but I enjoyed it.

I dropped my son off in Hampton, VA. late last night and got back to DC even later. I am tired, hungry and I got a total of 5 hours of sleep all weekend, but I have no real complaints.

Oh and to make things worse, I got splashed by two cars in a 30 second span this morning, so now I am wet and so are my clothes...and yes, that's what she said.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

This picture was taken August 30th, 1997. I was 22 years old, my son was 17 days old, and to say I was young, confused, happy and scared would be an understatement of epic proportions. I had graduated from college with a degree in English Education just a few months earlier, and I had just gotten a job to teach at a junior high in Maryland, but all I could think about was my son, and how I would provide for him. As I write this email, he is on his way to me via train, and I know one day glorious day, he will get his grubby little hands on my corrupt and immature blog, and I sincerely hope that he lands on this entry first. I can't wait to see him today.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I have basketball stuff to write today, so my blog gets the shaft. Sorry. Plus its raining out today.. I don't know what that has to do with anything, but it sounds like a good excuse.

Here is one of the articles I wrote already. The other one is here. Until then, let the smooth, soulful vocal stylings of Mr. Michael McDonald soothe you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

When I was in high school and totally in love with college basketball, there was a coach named Nolan Richardson. Richardson was the coach of the University of Arkansas, and he named the style of play his team played, "40 Minutes of Hell". He chose that particular term because his team would play up tempo on offense, and with intense pressure on defense. The goal was to get the other team to succumb to this intense pressure.

While I certainly don't want him succumbing, I do plan on executing my own version of this on my son this weekend, except mine will be called 36 Hours of Hell.

My 12 year old son's excuses as to why his grades were poor was a bunch of horsesh*t. And the sad part is, it sounded like he put a tremendous amount of thought behind it, which I commend him for on one hand, but on the other hand, I'd like to have seen that type of effort put to better use. He said he had distractions at home, he said switching schools in late December was tough, and he said the work is more difficult, which sounds great. But when all of his teachers are telling me that his homework never gets done, and he's not turning in assignments, it screams of a lack of effort more than anything else. Plus I can't tell him that his mother is (fill in a unsavory adjective) and this is contributing to his downfall as well. He doesn't need excuses, he needs better results, and I will help him achieve those.

So, from the time he arrives on Saturday morning, to when he leaves late Sunday afternoon, the young fella will be uncomfortable. We will start by having a long talk about what his second semester expectations are. Then, my father will join us for lunch, and my son will have to hear that same bullsh*t speeches my father delivered to me when I was putting out a sub par effort at this same age. Next, we will take a reprieve from the madness, and attend a Wizards game; however, I will be working that game, which means my father and son will be sitting next to each other (aka the lessons will continue).

On Sunday morning, we will head to my brother's house, where my mother is staying for the weekend. My brother, who also had his challenges in school at one point (way worse than me though..sorry Jamal) will talk to and/or lightly assault my son. My sister-in-law, who is a teacher right now, will join in on the fun, and then my mother will bring up the rear. In fact, my mother will do something far worse than anyone else can do, and that is talk him to death. Then after she talks, I'm quite sure she'll unveil a tailor-made, 90 minute rambling prayer for my son, that not even I can save him from...actually I may jump in, that's just cruel.

And finally, before he leaves, I will make my son watch this Magic Johnson/Larry Bird documentary on HBO for three good reasons:
1) I haven't seen it yet and I want to.
2) My son thinks basketball begins and ends with LeBron James, and he needs to be taught otherwise
3) I can make him write me a couple pages on what he saw and learned.

Win Win Win.

I know this won't cure all his current academic woes, but it'll at least put something on his mind until 2 weeks from now when he returns.

Thank you for letting me "talk" this out.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

My friend Nichole had a chance to interview Bilal several months back, Check it out here

My brother's website is now up and running, and you can check that out here.

And I found an old sex tape I recorded a couple years back, and you can see that here.
I will now present to you my flawed theory on the four types of parents there are in this world. Feel free to disagree, agree or say nothing (like you do to all my Hoops Addict the way click here to hear me and my main man Ryan talk about pressing issues in basketball.).

The first type of parent is the person who really never wanted to have kids, yet, through some errant ejaculation or circumstance, they find themselves having one(or some). They try and try to force themselves to care, and be good parents, but they never really get it together. These types of parents are constant flight risks, they never really and truly try, and once the kids get older(or while they are young), they deeply resent the sub par effort their parent gave. These are also the types of parents who kill, abandon, neglect and sell their kids. Sorry to be so graphic, but the news provides me with endless material.

The second type of parent is what I like to call the rabbit. In track and field, the rabbit (or the pace setter) will show up and run extremely fast for part of the race, just to get the rest of the field running at a faster pace, than they may have otherwise done on their own. Once the fast pace is set, the rabbit gracefully bows out and stops running. In parent terms, this is the person who is perfect for the child from birth to about 12 or 13. They can teach the kid to write, read, do homework, dress, potty train, speak and all the good stuff that is reinforced in kindergarten thru the 8th grade years. This type of parent is very important, because it usually gives the child their first bit of confidence. Unfortunately, the abilities of these types of parents tend to peak at age 12 or 13. This parent doesn't really know how to deal with the teenager version of their child, and when and if the kid starts to unravel, they still rely on earlier tactics and strategies which are dated, antiquated and ineffetive in the older years. A single parent who has this flaw, runs the risk of losing their kid for awhile. In a married or long term relationship type atmosphere, this parent is ok as long as they are with the third type of parent which is...

The finisher. The finisher (obviously) is the exact opposite of the rabbit or pacesetter. This parent does not do a bad job at tending to the child from birth to 12, but they don't do a good job either. They will piggyback (I hate that term, but it fit so well here..that's what she said)off what the rabbit parent says and does, and they will do their very best to be a good parent in the formative years, but it simply is not their strength. But once that kid turns 13, and starts dealing with puberty, the opposite sex, college issues, more critical thinking and complex homework, this parent turns into a superhero. All of a sudden they have the right answers for the child, and everything is alright. Unfortunately, if this type of parent doesn't have a rabbit around, the 13 year old version of the kid that falls in their lap is not receptive to them, and their powers are nullified.

And finally we have the Cosby parents. These are the parents that are dynamite from start to finish..except they never really finish. They go from being parents to their child, to friends to their adult children, and although they aren't perfect, they strive to be close to it. This is the gold standard of parenthood everyone should strive to my humble opinion. parents were Cosby parents (despite my glaring flaws and shortcomings). My lady will be a Cosby parent. My brother is a Cosby parent. My son's mother is the rabbit parent, and I highly suspect that I am the closer type of parent, which is why its time for my son to live with me. She's carried him as far as he can go, and although I know it'll hurt her to let go, its time to do just that for his benefit.

Think this will hold up in court?

Jesus Children of America - Stevie Wonder

Monday, March 08, 2010

This weekend I took a break from basketball, the computer, and Washington DC overall, and I took a trip with the lady to NYC. And even though the trip was only Saturday to Sunday, I had an absolute ball.

Saturday night we went to see Cassandra Wilson and Esperanza Spalding in New Jersey. Thanks to the slow ass PATH train that made our trip from NYC to Newark a tedious one, we were 20 minutes late, and we missed more than half of Esperanza's set, but what we saw was still great. And even though Cassandra Wilson kept mysteriously leaving the stage while her band was playing, she took put on a great show. Her band was great, and I never tire of hearing her deep, husky voice.

Sunday, after taking a short detour to hear some jazz in Central Park, we headed to a birthday brunch in honor of my friend Janelle Considering there were about 15 women there, and only 3 guys (one of whom looked a little suspect), I really don't know how I survived. There were inappropriate pictures and conversations all around me, and the only thing that kept me from losing my mind was the Magic/Lakers game going on in the background..oh and of course my high mimosa intake. Great times were had! I still don't know how people live in New York, but I have no problems visiting at all.

Right now as I type, my son's class is en route to DC for their field trip, and the weather finally cooperated. There's only one problem: My son is not on that bus. His mother called me at work on Friday to say that his progress report was terrible, and we made the decision to keep him from attending his class field trip. I really wanted to chaperone and see him, and I struggled with the idea of taking this trip away, but it (along with several other things) needed to be done. Thank God he's coming to stay with me this weekend, because lots of talks need to be had. He really needs to be living with me now, but that's a whole other blog that frankly would take me too long to write.

Friday, March 05, 2010

I wanted to get into work a little earlier than usual this morning, so I took the train instead of taking my usual 15-20 minutes stroll. Of course, this wasn't just any usual train ride, this was the morning-after-a-major-shooting-at-the-Pentagon last night train ride, which meant things were much different. There was no idle chatter. I mean NONE. Everyone was watching everyone else carefully, and if one person was making too many sudden, quick movements, all eyes were fixated in that direction. Eye contact was also at an all-time high, because usually people are reading the paper, a book, or scrolling through their ipods trying to find the ideal song to drown out the usual background noise of the train. On this morning all eyes on alert.

Now you could just say that I was being paranoid and even more observant because of the events last night, but that would be incorrect. I'm always on the look out for creepy people on the train, and I make it a point to always stand up near the door, so I can observe the behavior of others. And this morning there was definitely a change, as there should have been. But its not just the shooting that has Metro riders frazzled. Its the crashes, the numerous delays, the fare hikes out of the blue, people jumping in front of the trains..all of that. And the sad part part is, not everyone can walk to work everyday like I can. There are some people who cannot drive because parking prices are absurd, so the train is the most convenient option, but clearly its not without its share of headaches as well.

I know every city has their commuter horror stories, so I won't go on about this too long, I just noticed it this morning, and I had to get it off my chest somehow. And I didn't even ride the train anywhere near the Pentagon. My lady's commute takes her right by that area, so I can only imagine what's going on for people over there.

Oh and apparently there is a movie/documentary coming out soon on A Tribe Called Quest. Click here for details

Will You Be Mine - Anita Baker
This song doesn't have jack to do with what I've written, I just forgot it was on my ipod, and it came on while I was in the shower.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

So in June of 2008, I wrote about a mini-saga I had with my then new neighbor. My lady and I noticed she had just moved in, and we decided to bless her with a good bottle of white wine (as someone had done for us when we moved in). For whatever reason, that fine bottle of wine sat outside of her apartment a few days, and I wanted to repo it, and drink it for myself, but the lady advised against that. Finally, after a few days, my neighbor came home, rescued the bottle of wine from the hallway, and kept me from raising hell. After a chance meeting in the hallway, she thanked us, promised to invite us over(still hasn't happened), and it was all good.

Since then, I have smelled the sticky green coming out of her apartment, seen her parading around her apartment in the nude with her blinds open, and watched her leave various odd items outside her apartment for weeks at a time. In other words she's the ideal neighbor right and a class act.

So this past Monday, I found myself in the elevator with this woman, and I was faced with 30-45 seconds of bullshit idle chatter, and I really wasn't up for that. So I took the bull by the horns(no clue what that means) and decided to tell her about the homeless man that had found comfort in our lobby earlier in the week. She had NO clue about that, and she was a bit taken aback that our property owner hadn't put up a sign about what had happened, and what precautions they planned on taking. Our conversation continued outside of the elevator as we went into our respective apartment, and she thanked me over and over again for my help. She also mentioned (about 20 times) that she was from New York, so she was used to such things. Why do people from New York always tell you as much? Wesley Snipes was on Jimmy Fallon earlier this week and he mentioned he was from the Bronx like 30 times? Really Wesley? How are those taxes? I was born in Manhattan in 1975, and I lived there for 2 years, but you don't see me peppering my interviews (I have none) and my blog with, "Yeah I'm from Manhattan."..even though if I did, I suspect I would have zero street cred, and ultimately isn't that what life is about? I digress...

So yesterday when I got home, there was a bottle of wine (Beaujolais) and a note that said, "Thank you for being such good neighbors." It was a very sweet gesture, and I appreciate the love, but now the games REALLY begin. Do I go over there and say thank you? Do I get a card or a return bottle of wine? And will she judge our response and then adjust her treatment of us? Or does me being a good neighbor mean that all I have to do is drink the wine, and she'll get satisfaction out of seeing the empty bottle in the trash? There are so many rules, and I'm so ill-prepared for this. She basically took the 2 year upper hand that my lady and I had from initially buying her wine, snatched it away, and now put the onus on us. Who does she think she is?

The Stylistics - Hurry Up This Way Again

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I don't know what is going on here with the weather, but I wish it would stop. Apparently the Hampton area got yet another snowstorm, which forced my son's field trip to be cancelled for the THIRD time. To his credit, he warned me last night that it was snowing, and the weather was bad, so I braced myself. Still, I was hoping that somehow things would change, but they did not. I suspect the level of ineptitude when it comes to snow is even higher down there than it is here in DC. So now I have to come to work. Thank you Hampton, Virginia!

On my way in to work this morning, I read about the demise of Saturday mail, and I realized that much sooner rather than later, the post office will meet the same fate as newspapers. They will eventually both be extinct and it sucks. In high school, I would wake up and get the paper from the bottom of our driveway, steal the sports page out of there en route to school, read it before class, pass it around for my classmates to read, and then get yelled at by my father when I didn't return it in the condition it left. In college, checking the mailbox was a ritual that every student cherished. Was there mail? Did mom or dad send a care package? Did my Playboys finally arrive? Did my girl write me? Did my uncle send me that cash? The mail was a big deal..and now I don't see it being around in 10 years.

And same sex marriage is legal in DC now, and all three major networks had tv crews and reports outside of DC Superior Court, as people lined up to get their licenses. Some of them were crying, some were smiling, and everyone seemed to be having a grand ole time. What does this tell me? Marriages, unlike newspapers and post offices, will never die. Sure more than half of these marriages will end both amicably and badly, and they will want to injure, murder or mildly injure their spouses but all the involved parties will get over it and look to get married again. I don't have a point or a smart ass comment, its just an observation.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

So tomorrow is the rescheduled date for my son's Smithsonian field trip, which means I get to finally do all the diabolical things I've been planning to do to embarrass him. He called me yesterday when he got out of school and reminded me what time to be there, and I told him I was all over it. I asked him how long he and his classmates would be in town, and he did not know, so I told him that was his assignment for Tuesday. So tomorrow's entry will be fantastic, today not so much.

Instead, I will post the interview of Kareem, that I WISH I had the opportunity to do. One-on-one, no distractions, no co-interviewer, just me asking him questions with the ability to follow up when I needed to..I watched this interview last night and I cringed, hated, cursed and eventually paid respect to it. But I'm still salty that I didn't get a chance to do this.

Starting Blocks

Monday, March 01, 2010

Last Friday when I got home from the Wizards game, there was a sign in the building of my lobby. Apparently someone had left the front door open all night, and a homeless person made their way in, and slept in the back of the lobby. Whoever found the homeless person was understandably upset, and wrote a sign that basically told all of us who live there to be more careful in making sure the door was closed.

Now I will readily admit that signs like this annoy me and come off as pompous. I instantly thought of about four or five signs I could write that would successfully mock this sign, but then I thought better of it. Whoever found this homeless person was probably distraught and upset, and the first thing that came to their frazzled mind was to write a sign on a sheet of loose leaf. That's a logical enough progression right? But I was very curious to find out who wrote the sign, just so I could file it in the back of my mind.

Sunday morning as I was headed to the farmer's market, I ran into someone in my building, who did not write the sign, but saw the homeless man sleeping in our lobby. She said she was pretty upset and scared when she initially saw the man, not because he was homeless, but because of who else could possibly get into the lobby. I agreed with her, and then we both shared stories of coming home to the door being propped open, presumably by jackasses in the building. We talked for a bit, and then we separated, and I thought that was the end of that...

But this morning when I left the building, there was a homeless man posted up in the lobby, and I had mixed feelings. Do I let this man sleep in the lobby until 8 or so when the cleaning and maintenance people come into the building, or do I uproot him immediately? I choose to uproot him, although after awhile it was clear getting him up was no easy task, so I just rolled out. I sympathize with the brother for wanting to find a warm place to sleep in these semi-cold March nights, but it doesn't sit well with me that its in my building.

Perhaps while I'm at work I will type (my handwriting is atrocious) a note of my own to both the residents of my building and the homeless man.