Friday, April 30, 2010

I experienced a new level of fear this morning while walking home from the pool. I hate to pepper the blog with TMI this early in the morning, but you'll get over it. Whenever I leave the pool (unless its freezing outside) I go commando, because I enjoy the freedom of it all. Plus its so early in the morning, no one really knows what's going on, so I figure I'm good. But this morning, this lady was walking her dog without an effing leash (which seems to be a trend here lately). Naturally, the dog ran up to me, wagged its tail, and stuck its wet nose DIRECTLY in my crotch and starting sniffing around.

Now I was fearful that a)this dog may go Cujo on me and rip my franks and beans to shreds or b)the dog could skillfully do something with his nose that would cause my nature to rise high. Either way, there was nothing good coming out of this situation. Luckily, I escaped with my genitals intact and the arousal levels were kept within reasons. BUT the dog left a wet spot all in my nether regions, and of course I saw 4 or 5 people looking at me funny before I finally returned home. The lesson here? Keep your f**king dog on the leash.

In terms of tomorrow's fight, I am picking Shane Mosley to win. If you've watched Floyd fight, you know that when he fights good fighters, he struggles in the beginning (Marquez doesn't count because of the size disparity) while he's trying to get a handle on things. Floyd is prone to get hit flush in the early rounds, and as much as he may smile, those blows have some effect. But when you get hit flush by a man who is as strong as Mosley, there could be trouble. And trouble means Floyd will be fighting from behind, and that is not his strong suit. So I'm picking Sugar Shane to win. And yes if you want bet me, bring it on. GAME ON!

Bring It On - Jay-Z (featuring Sauce Money and Big Jaz)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I would like to spend some time discussing the types of male friends I appreciation if you will.

In the first group, we have Kevin and Cliff, who I've referenced many times in this blog. I've know them since I was 13 years old, and we've been through a little bit of everything during that time. We can not hang out for 2 years, and then hang for 3 hours, and its as if nothing ever changed. In fact, I just hung with them last Thursday, and I will not even attempt to document the level of ignorance that was shared, discussed and rationalized during that evening. I need that to keep me balanced.

In the second group we have Sabin, my friend Ian and others who I am too lazy to name (nothing personal fellas). I met these friends in the second phase of my life (age 17-21), and we have also been through a variety of things over the years. I see them a few times a year if that, but we communicate via phone, email and text, and its as if we do not miss a beat. Sabin will be here this weekend to hang out and watch THE fight and maybe some playoff basketball.

The third group (there are at least five groups, but I'm capping it at three right now)of friends are of the internet variety. These are friends that I have seen very few times if any, but we still share pleasantries via email and no one complains. The friend who best represents this is my main man Neil aka sixfive. You've probably seen him comment in my blog before or maybe you've read his blog or come across his flickr page. I've "known" Neil since 2000 or so, because we were members of the same messageboard. Then we interacted in yet another messageboard(shoutout to LOOSIE). And then we became members of the same fantasy sports leagues; then we found each other's get the point. In some way, we've interacted online for more than 10 years, even though we've never seen each other..actually I have seen him walking his dog and with his wife, but I was too far away to speak.

But yesterday, Neil sent me an email inviting me(and the fiancee) to his fight party this weekend. This will be the first time we've officially met, and I'm looking forward to it in a very heterosexual way. Plus my main man Sabin will be with me, so my worlds will collide but not in a bad way. It just makes me appreciate the various avenues by which men become friends. Male friendship is a very delicate thing. Its like the Supreme Court. Once males become friends, they stay there forever, and to bring a new one in is long, arduous process full of hearings, confirmations and background checks. That explains why men don't have too many friends...well at least I don't.

I would also like to recommend you buy Bobby McFerrin's new offering entitled, "VOCAbuLarieS". I got it yesterday, I'm listening to it now, and its excellent.

And now I will link to the song that got me through my run this morning. I challenge you to listen to it and nod your head just a little.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When you are driving your car, and your oil and/or gas levels are getting dangerously low, there is a bright red light that illuminates your dashboard. At that point, you know that in the next few hours or days, you need to rectify that situation, so that you can continue to reach optimal performance with your car.

It is the same type of deal with your ipod. There is a small bar at the top of your ipod that lets you know how much battery life you have before your favorite tunes are no longer blaring through the headphones. If you're like me, you rarely let that little green bar get more than half empty, before you re-charge your ipod. I listen to it at work, while I work out, and sometimes in the shower, so I need it to be charged. The point here is that the levels are always gauged, and decisions and actions are made as a result.

I propose to you that the same thing should be done with a woman's cycle. Allow me to explain.

Yesterday, around noon or so, I was feeling particularly frisky, and in my mind I fast-forwarded to the trim I was going to try to obtain later that evening. I didn't know how or exactly when it was going to happen, I just knew that before I laid my head (the top one) down to sleep, I(the fiancee too) was going to be smiling and fulfilled. I began flirting a bit just to let her know where my head (still the top one) was, and I think she caught on to where I was coming to speak.

I left work, got my haircut (not because I was getting some, but because I was looking like Ricky Williams) and I headed home. I stepped thru the door, got a kiss, and then the lady told me that she was knee deep in the Crimson Tide that had arrived just minutes beforehand and no hanky panky would be going down. This was devastating.

Earlier in the week, I had asked my lady when she thought the Tide would arrive, and by her calculations, we were looking at a Thursday or Friday visit. Clearly Mother Nature was hell bent on denying us our carnal rights. But, if there were clearer indicators in place, the way there are with cars and ipods, I would not have been caught off guard. If there was a red light somewhere on my lady that indicated to us that the red zone was scheduled for arrival within hours, I would be better equipped to cope you know. If there were an email or text message I could receive with updates, I'd be golden. I've heard that there is a phone application that tracks a woman's cycle, but that does not account for irregularites and surprise.

Instead, I am left with three options. Swim the Crimson Tide, self maintenance, or request entry in the place less traveled. I shouldn't be talking about this. Instead, let's focus on getting that Crimson Tide indicator up and running.

Speaking of Ricky Williams, if you haven't seen this, check your local listings, and watch it. It was quite an interesting look at the man's life.

Red Clay - Freddie Hubbard

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

*The words you are about to read are from a man who has not dated in 3 years*

Yesterday, a friend of mine (lets call her Tina) told me about a situation that troubled her deeply. A male friend of her aunt had expressed interest in Tina, and he made it known that he wanted her phone number. Tina is single and open to dating, so she obliged and gave this dude her number. That was a week ago, which is where I came into the picture.

Tina is irritated that this dude seemed to be determined to GET her phone number, but now a week has elapsed and no phone calls had been placed to her. Tina's aunt told her that she was overreacting, because one never knows how busy someone is with work, personal stuff, etc. Tina thinks that is horses**t, so she called me to get a second opinion, and I agree with her that it is indeed horses**t. Tina now feels validated with that situation, a little pissed that the guy didn't call, but its not the end of her world. She will survive.

But that conversation with Tina got me to thinking about how I handled such situations. When I was dating and requesting beautiful babies to give me their phone number, I would call them that night just to establish a line of communication. I wouldn't stay on the phone forever, I would say hello, say something funny, and then get the hell out of there before I said something stupid. Maybe a couple days later I'd call one more time just to see if the momentum I had laid down was still in play (although ideally they would call me before that). And then towards the end of that second phone call, I'd set up a date somewhere. The date would be in a place with LOTS of people around, so that if it sucked, I could get lost in the eye candy. If the date was good, we'd go somewhere quieter for dessert or something. But I would make this happen within a week, not a week after I had the number. I ran an efficient operation, and although I had little to no success in the dating world, it wasn't because I sat on a number for a week.

Now its possible that Tina's potential suitor had to go out of town, he's busy at work, or worst-case scenario, he's injured(i doubt that because the aunt would know). But still, a brief phone call, just to establish contact never hurt anyone. Plus, this guy is 31, so you figure he should be done with trying to run "game" right? Before you slam or praise the wonderful words I've written here today, and before you leave comments that totally refute the flimsy argument I have laid out, I'd ask that you re-read my 18 word mission statement that started this entry...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Well after years and years of making plans to attend, and eventually not following through, I finally made it back to the Penn Relays, and it was fantastic. My father, my brother, my son and I were part of the largest crowd to ever attend the event, and the 5 hours we spent there were well worth it.

I'd say the crowd was 70-75% Jamaican, and although they were there to see the high school and college athletes from their native land, the main attraction was Usain Bolt and he did not disappoint. As I told my family after the race, Bolt is a legitimate superstar who can draw non-track fans into the sport. As soon as he appeared on the track to warm up, the crowd went crazy with cheers of "Ja mai ca", and the faint rebuttal chants of "U S A" could barely be heard. Even when Bolt wasn't running, the Jamaicans around us were singing songs, cheering on their athletes, and providing a fun atmosphere. There was even a mini-fight between two scantily clad women that was entertaining, and two feet away from us.

You see, the best part about track is not just the competition, and the fact that I used to run (Penn Relays class of '91 baby). The best part is when two, three or even four athletes are running those last 30 meters or so. Everyone stands up and starts clapping, and the athletes draw on that energy and start pushing harder, and the atmosphere becomes electric. Now imagine that happening 30-40 times during a five hour period, and you have some serious fun (despite my inability to accurately capture this excitement via the written word). I maintain that track and field is one of the best sports to see live (as is hockey).

Before the event, I was very concerned that my son would not follow the sport and get bored, but I could not be more wrong. Once I explained the different events to him, and what an impressive time for each event was, he was hooked. He cheered at close races, he talked to my brother and my father about things he saw, and he even focused his binoculars on some of the women (which made me so proud). Plus he (just like me, my father and my brother) was completely swept up in the Jamaican movement around us, so that just kicked things up a few notches.

A couple times I watched my father when he was watching me, and he looked absolutely happy. He had his stopwatch, his hot ass jacket (that he wore after my brother and I convinced him to ditch the Cosby sweater), his two sons, his grandson, his favorite sport and Allyson Felix, who he has a crush on, despite her being 35 years younger than he is. My brother, when he wasn't on facebook letting folks know his every move, also had a good time. I get a special satisfaction out of seeing him interact with my son and father, because it doesn't happen as often as I would like. I came very close to putting the videos I shot on Saturday on this blog, but I changed my mind. As revealing as I like to be sometimes, some moments are best kept private.

As we left the event, and made that two hours drive back to DC, we ALL decided that we would make this an annual event, and go back next year. If you have the opportunity, I highly suggest you do the same.

I bought my son a computer this weekend, and I look forward to the emails he wil be sending as a result. But I'm scared to death that his mother won't monitor him closely and he'll roll up on the wonderful world of adult film. I can only keep him from it for so long, but I'd rather him discover it at 16 or 17, not age 12.

I've Got So Much To Give - Barry White

Friday, April 23, 2010

A month or so ago, I sat on this blog, and wrote about how upset and concerned I was about my son's sub par performance in school. His grades were low, his attitude was a bit lax, and he seemed unusually disinterested in school. Part of that was on him, part of that was on his mother, and part of that was on me (more of it was on his mother though).

The weekend after I found out about this, he came to stay with me, and everyone he came in contact with, from me, to my brother, to my father, to my mother, got in his ass about the importance of doing well in school. We all explained that school was his ONLY job, and there was no excuse for him to be putting out a less than stellar product. Then I explained to his mother, that since she refuses to grant me custody, that there are tactics she needs to put in place to help her son improve. Just asking, "Did you do your homework?" is the laziest parental trick in the book. Its like asking an athlete a yes or no get much more out of asking the type of question that generates discussion.

On my end, I annoyed the sh*t out of my son's teachers, I got copies of lessons and homework assignments, and I became THAT parent that teachers talk about in the lounge (I know this because when I taught I did the same). I know at least one of my son's teachers never wants to see my first and last name pop up in her inbox again, but she will and she will get over it. Anyway, all of these tactics must have worked, because my son got his report card the other day and he had all "As" and one "B". As soon as he got home, he gave me a call, read each of his grades to me, and then he asked if I was proud of him. I said hell yes, and then I asked him how HE felt, and he said he felt proud as well. And then I told him that the key for him is to maintain that excellence, because anything less would not be tolerated.

This is probably not a big deal to any of you people reading this, but it is a VERY big deal to me. I tend to skew negative, humorous and borderline angry on here sometimes, so I need to write about stuff like this sometimes to even things out. Plus its very apropos since he's arriving tonight, as we get ready to embark on our Penn Relays extravaganza.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I would like to send a special, special shoutout to those of you who read my blog, but have yet to congratulate me on my engagement. I am a reasonable guy, I pay my taxes, I think about going to church often, and I respect my elders, so I think I'm entitled to have this tiny gripe (along with 4,334 others I've discussed here over the years). I can understand and forgive you if you don't want to read my basketball related articles and interviews. I know most of you aren't basketball fans, and most of what I write is for dedicated, hardcore fans. I get all that, believe me I do.

But have you read some of my earlier blog entries? Do you know how unlikely it was back in '06 and '07 that I was ever going to get married? Do you know how large of a coup it is, that I was able to meet, find and keep a good woman and then convince her that marrying me was not relationship suicide? In the words of Eldrick Woods, that is huge. So how difficult is it to say thank you or congrats? And yes I realize how petty it is for me to be obsessing about such frivolities, but this is what I do.

My second shoutout is to the gay couple (I'm assuming they were gay, they were holding hands, kissing and groping in the middle of the street) who thought it was cool to let their black rottweiler run down the sidewalk with no leash. I can understand how it is when sexual tension gets so high, that you just have to give your partner a sliver of affection as a tease for what will go down later. As J Peterman says, "Who among us hasn't nibbled on a love newton?". BUT, if I'm running down the sidewalk at 6:30am, and you see me coming, but you don't interrupt your love fest, while your big ass rottweiler is running towards me, then we got a problem.

I had to stop running, pet, fondle and damn near molest the damn dog until the owners ran up and apologized profusely. But I was so out of breath after running 3 miles, I didn't have the energy to properly curse their negligent asses out. One of the guys had the nerve to put his hand on my shoulder, and tell me how sorry he was..just a few seconds earlier, that same hand had been firmly planted on another man's ass and other places I chose not to dwell on too long. But you didn't realize your killer dog was roaming free earlier? COME ON!

And finally, I would like to know why no one warned me about the homosexual behavior on The Wire. One minute I'm watching Omar terrorize folks all over the place, the next, I'm seeing him kissing and fondling his young, male lover while strapping guns to his waist. Now the last two paragraphs not withstanding, I'm not homophobic..but STILL, how often do you see that on tv? It caught me way off guard On the flip side, I was VERY happy to see Kima and her lover in passionate scenes. Now THAT I can get used to seeing.

By the way, I'm still in season one of the Wire, and I just watched the episode where Kima was shot, so don't make fun of me.

Players(instrumental)- Slum Village

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

First off, please read My latest article/interview

Prior to 1991, all of the music I had was in cassette form. My father had a few cds, but he was still married to the idea that vinyl was the best way to listen to music, and even to this day I can't say I disagree with him. I had a walkman that had a radio and a cassette player on there, and I would listen to it everywhere I went including in the bed before I went to sleep. I remember a few friends would come over my house with cds, and I played them in my dad's system, and I was amazed at how much clearer the sound seemed to be in that format. Still, when new things came out, I stuck with tapes, because it was all I really knew..and all I could afford.

Then my boy Cliff left a cd over my house one day, and when I told him about it, he just told me I could keep it. I wore that cd out man. I didn't just wear it out because I was still in awe with the concept of skipping from song to song with ease, although that was quite a perk. I wore the cd out because it was just a good, fluid cd. The songs kept me interested, the beats seemed to be different than anything I had ever heard, and the rapper's voice was distinctive (not as distinctive as Chuck Ds, but still). I loved this cd so much, I bought the tape so that I could listen to this even when I wasn't in the house.

I remember there was this one song on that had some serious, serious bass. My brother and I would play that song, just to hear how loud we could make the bass sound, and sometimes my father would tell us to turn it down or adjust the bass immediately and of course we did. In fact, to this day, that's my favorite song from this group..not only because of the bass, but because of the usage of the sample, the laid back nature of the song overall, and of course the voice. And that group remained one of my favorites until they broke for reasons that I STILL don't know.

The cd? Step in the Arena

The group? Gang Starr

The sample: Magdalena by Leo Sayer

The song (seen below) is Precisely the Right Rhymes. If you have headphones, put them on and listen to the song, but pay attention to the bass too. I hate saying R.I.P. because it corny and redundant, but I'll miss the opportunity to hear Guru's voice over Premier's beats. I grew up on them..

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My latest interview
As I have mentioned numerous times over the past year, I like to swim in the mornings. I used to go every morning, but now I run AND swim just to keep things interesting and lively. I usually wake up at 5:30, get dressed, jog to the pool, swim for 30-40 minutes and walk home. Its a great way to start the day, I stay in shape, and it sends my libido through the roof. Win, win and win again.

This morning, after a week hiatus, I went back to the pool, hoping to get that good feeling back again. Usually when I go early in the morning, there are just two people: me and this older gentleman. We speak in the locker room, we speak briefly by the pool, and then we speak on the way out. Its a very efficient, minimal operation we run, and I like it that way. Sometimes the lifeguard interrupts our operation by being a little too chatty, but we pretty much blow him off (pause). But this morning, my tranquil morning swim existence was thrown way the hell off.

Instead of just one other person at the pool, there were EIGHT people. I repeat..EIGHT people at 6:15am. Me and the other guy swam for about 10-15 before the onslaught of people arrived. Now let me set the scene..there are three lanes, and two people can fit in each lane comfortably, as long as you know what you're doing--and usually people do. So even though I was highly annoyed at the crowded nature of the pool, I still was able to do my thing..until IT happened..

The woman (I'd say she was in her early 20s) that was in my lane, seemed to ignore the fact that we could swim side-by-side comfortably, and she decided that she wanted to swim behind me. At first, I was fresh and spry so I was able to speed away from her, so I could maintain a less creepy distance from HER. But as I got tired, she seemed to be getting closer and closer to me, and she wasn't really paying attention, but I just had faith that she would know better than to run into me. But sure enough, just a few minutes later, I was swimming comfortably, when I felt two or three fingers on the back of my balls (and yes I said balls).

**as an aside you may be wondering how my boys are even exposed like that to be touched. I could break it down for you, but that's just TMI. Let's just say, I need to follow my main man Sabin's suggestion, and get a tighter, more form fitting swimsuit**

I cut off my stroke, stood up in the middle of the pool, and yelled, "What the f**k man?". I noticed that everyone in the pool (all 5 people) stopped swimming, and the lifeguard stood up, as if I had just pulled out some heat.--still I pressed on:

Me (repeating myself when I got no answer): What the f**k?
Her: Ohmygod, I am sorry, I didn't see you
Me: I know this..why the hell are you swimming behind me and not alongside me like everyone else
Lifeguard: Sir, please lower your voice
Me: Really man?
Her: I'm so sorry, I just had more room swimming behind you, and not next to you, but you slowed down a bit, and i'm just so sorry
Me: It doesn't matter man you need to be next to me or get the hell out the pool. That's just some creepy sh*t
Lifeguard: Mr. Mobley, please calm down
Me: (to the lifeguard): Look man, the pool is crowded, its 6:30 in the morning and she's fingering my balls, and you're telling me to calm down (I'll admit I almost laughed when I said this)
Her: I'm so sorry Mr. Mobley
Me: Call me Rashad, and its cool, I'm getting out, have a good morning
Lifeguard (as I walked out of the pool area): Rashad, I'm sorry, she's new
Me: Again its cool. But don't tell me to lower my voice when new girl is feeling me up like we're on a date (then I really do start laughing)
Lifeguard: I wish she'd touch mine
Me: Just swim and her lane and spread your legs

I must admit the longer I talked, the less angry I got, but still, that's a violation. What would happen if I abandoned proper swimming protocol, swam behind a woman instead of going side-by-side, and accidentally slid three fingers up in her? I would be Roethlisberger'd right about now, and my apology would mean nothing, because that woman would have a fit and work herself up into a justifable frenzy.

But it all ended well. I cut my swim workout short by 15 minutes, went to play basketball for the remaining time, and I headed home. I'll try again on Thursday.

By the way, as much as I am enjoying The Wire, that is NOT a show to watch before you go to bed. No one warned me about that. Its not so much the violence that keeps you up, its thinking about what's going to happen next, who is doing what, and the subplots..I need to be relaxed at night..

Monday, April 19, 2010

Since today is my day off, I decided to do something relatively productive with my morning and watch Chris Rock's documentary, "Good Hair". I originally was supposed to see it in the theater, but football season derailed those plans. And then I was supposed to see it in my living room with my fiancee, but she foiled those plans by seeing it with her mother and sister (perfectly understandable). So I rented the movie via itunes, and I JUST finished it. Here are my early thoughts:

1)Chris Rock is naturally funny. There are some comics who can construct a brilliant joke, but they really aren't naturally funny. Then you have people who have mastered the art of physical comedy, and it tends to overshadow their other comedic flaws. Rock is just funny all around, and in this movie, just look at how people react around him. That's comedy.

2)There's a section in the movie when Rock asks men if they've ever had to pay for a woman to get a weave. I did this one time with an ex of mine, but when I agreed to do it, I had no clue how much the total cost would be. I remember spending almost $500 total for a weave that I could not touch or pull, and I vowed to never do it again (and I haven't since). That's just ridiculously expensive, and if you can't afford it your damn self, then oh well.

3) One of my biggest fears, is that I am going to have a daughter. Chris Rock has two daughters, and he seems legitimately happy, and I'm sure I would be happy too if that happened to me. But at some point, my fiancee will be out of town, sick, or not around for a few hours. And I will have to take my daughters somewhere important, and their hair will have to be done, and I'm scared that I will a)have them looking jacked up or b)cause permanent damage. I like taking my son to the barbershop. We are in and out in 15 minutes, it costs $20 with tip, and all the shit-talking done in the shop is free. I think if I had a daughter and my wife wasn't around, I'd hire someone to do her hair.

4)As I watched the movie, I was reminded of a story my mother told me. My mother wore her hair in a short natural from 1983 to 1999. Prior to that, she had a jheri curl, and before that, she wore a giant afro. The jheri curl period of her life was so short, that I barely remember, so the afro and natural are what I came to expect from my mother. But around '99, she was sick of that hairstyle, so she decided to do different things. From 1999 to 2005, she got perms, relaxers, braids, and everything else.

One of my mother's students at the time (she taught at George Mason) noticed my mother's change in hair, and stepped to her. She asked my mother why she was "selling out" by not wearing her hair naturally, and she told my mother that she wasn't a role model for young black "sistahs". My mother politely told this girl, that 1)the beauty of being a woman is having a choice and 2)she's worn her hair in many different styles. My mother then told this girl that the issue of "selling out" was b.s. because your body of work, not your hair, determines your worth. I always admired my mother for having class in her dealings with that girl because I'd have slapped her with keys in my hand, and then stood over her like "WHAT? WHAT?". Clearly I have a ways to go in the maturity and class department. Oh, and my mother is back to wearing her hair natural.

That's all I have right now. Overall, I have a larger appreciation for what women go through with their hair. I've never been a man that gave a good goddamn about hair (or legs for that matter). As long you as look neat and groomed to some degree, everything is gravy. But at least now I can appreciate the various processes.

Friday, April 16, 2010

For the longest time I resisted watching the critically acclaimed series, "Mad Men". It wasn't that I doubted whether it was a top notch show with top notch actors and actresses, I just wanted the hype to die down a bit. When anything is hyped up the way that series was, you're bound to be disappointed once you sit down and actually take it in for yourself. So I waited an entire year after Mad Men came out, and then I finally decided to watch season one. And I was hooked.

I was so damn hooked on the show, that each and every time I watched one of the hour long episodes, I started trying to move my schedule around, so that I could watch yet another show without interruptions. The characters were compelling, the plots were complex, and I was glad that I had waited to watch the show on my own terms. I was even disappointed when season 3 started, and I had to watch one episode at a time, and then wait for next week like everyone else. I had gotten spoiled by watching the first two seasons at my own rushed pace, and thought of having to wait a week drove me crazy. Even now, the thought of having to wait four more months for season four is even worse. But now something else has distracted me.

Up until last night, I had not watched a single, solitary episode of The Wire. I would hear how great and gritty it was, but it just did not sound like a show I would be interested in watching. In fact, I would get on my high horse and say that there were enough shows out there about the hood, and why would I want to watch another. I'd watch the Sopranos with no problem, but I had somehow convinced myself that I couldn't quite stomach The Wire. Then when the series finale came around in 2008, I was semi-tempted to watch, but I was so far behind, I thought it was pointless to catch up then.

But after all of my favorite sports personalities kept raving about the writing of the show, the multi-layered plots, the symbolism, etc, I decided to get off my ass, and order it via netflix. Unfortunately, due to basketball season taking up all of my time, that DVD sat on top of my television for a good three months. I would tell my fiancee that we needed to watch, but we'd settle on watching The Office or some other program instead. But last night, there was no basketball on television, so we decided to sit down, and watch the first episode of the first season. The time was 7:30. After the first episode mesmerized us, we watched the second one, and then the third one, and before we looked up, it was almost 11pm, and we had gone thru the first seasons, and if it weren't a work night, we'd have gone thru another three episodes. It is a great great show.

The sad part is, we are about 6 or 7 years behind, so we can't go talking to other people about what we saw, how we felt, etc. We have to just talk to each other, which isn't so bad, but its not the same as the excitement one gets from joining chat rooms and message boards when a show airs. So to everyone who begged and pleaded with me to watch the show while it was still on HBO, I apologize. You were right, I was dead wrong.

Oh and to follow up on this entry about Jonathan Capeheart, as of 8:02am, we are now facebook friends. So now I can have an adult conversation with him, without looking like a crazy man on the street.

Click here, and listen to my main man Ryan and I wax poetic about the upcoming NBA Playoffs.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

After a 15 year drought, I will finally be returning to the Penn Relays next weekend. As you know, I discussed this a couple months ago as something that is frequently discussed in my family, but rarely actually attended. But I got off my ass on Tuesday and bought four tickets, and finally made it official. A decision was made that my 3 year old nephew is too young to watch track and field outdoors for several hours, so sadly he gets left behind. In attendance will be me, my son, my brother and my father..four the hard way. We will drive from DC to Philly, we will undoubtedly be forced to listen to ALL my father's Temptations cds, and it will be a grand time. I plan on videotaping the entire trip as well for the archives that don't exist, but will after this.

I've had above average luck in getting my dreams interpreted on this blog, so I will put last night's dream out there for review. I had a dream that Idris Elba was my boss, and he was trying to get rid of me for no good reason. My work was stellar, no one around me had any complaints, but for some reason he made it a point to tell me he did not like me, and I had to go. I went to my car, and he left notes telling me I was a goner, he followed me home, and the next morning, he left yet another note on my car.

The next morning, I decided to go HIS boss with my complaints, and when I went into the office, I saw Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher. Apparently they had magically become the head bosses at my company and they said not to worry about Idris, because he had been fired, and I would be taken care of in due time. Then my dream fast forwarded, and I was sitting court side with a laptop, and I was the main beat writer for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Does this a promotion is my future? Does this mean Idris Elba is trying to get in my ass (pause)? Or does this mean I need to finally start watching The Wire (season one has been sitting in my living room for 2 months now)? I just don't know.

By the way, the Wizards season is over, and I would like to send a special shout out to Mike from Bullets Forever and Kyle from Truth About It. The season was long, tumultuous and pretty damn drab at times, but hanging with these dudes in press row made it much much better. They let me in on their podcasts and Kyle was nice enough to let me write on his site a few times, and its very much appreciated. I would have said this more eloquently in person at the Wizards game last night, but I had to abruptly leave in the third quarter, when my fiancee informed me that my bathroom was leaking and leaking badly...

Billy Joel - This Is The Time

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I was able to spread the news of my engagement to most people via this blog and facebook; however, I have friends, family and current and past co-workers, who dont have access to such thing. For them, I have to call and/or send emails, and I am still in the process of doing just that. Yesterday afternoon, I sent out my first round of emails to everyone, and most of the response I got back were very genuine and moving.

But apparently, in my rush to cover everyone in my contact list, I accidentally sent an email to an ex co-worker I used to date. Now, I've had exes of mine inform me of their alleged marital bliss, and I find myself getting annoyed, because in every case, I dumped their ass, not vice versa. If I wanted to pursue marriage with your ass, I'd have asked you, so why do you think you're getting me back by informing me of your plans to make someone else miserable for life? So I didn't want to be one of those people by sending out emails like that..I digress.

So when I saw this woman's name in my inbox, I instantly realized that I had mistakenly included her on my list of names (there were like 150 people on the list..and yes I blind copied everyone). I opened up the email from this woman, and it said the following:

Give me the ring stats, I need to know what I would have gotten. LOL!!!

Now, I will break down what is wrong with that sentence.

1) You and I know damn well that this woman didn't "LOL" after she typed that sentence. That LOL was strategically placed so that I could magically forget about all the words that came before that

2) I'm not taking pictures of the ring, and I'm not throwing out ring stats to people. That's my fiancee's job to do. I'm not ashamed about what I bought, how much it was or any of that, don't get me wrong. I just don't feel the need to broadcast that, so you can take it back and analyze it the way I'm analyzing this bullshit sentence she sent to me. When and if you see my fiancee and I in public, you can look at the ring all you want. Until then, no stats for you.

3)The fact that you are even joking around about "what you would have gotten", makes me realize I did not do a good enough job of letting you know how insignificant you were once we ceased dating. In fact, while we were dating, there was NO indication of a commitment on my part, let alone the ultimate commitment. I realize that was a joke attempt, but still, I should have done a better job of squelching even the possibility of jokes like that.

4) She should have responded with a "That's great Rashad, good luck!" or she should have just ignored my email (which is what I would have done).

5)I realize that I could have been blowing her email out of proportion, and that she was maybe just trying to be funny. But it wasn't funny. The days of cutesy jokes and laughs with her are long gone, so that's is not applicable here. Plus, you can't milk a blog entry out of her trying and succeeding to be funny, so I'm sticking with my explanation.

End of rant.

Silly Ho - TLC

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ok so here's how it happened...

I actually bought the ring on Saturday morning, while I was in New York's Diamond District (shout out to Kevin, Andre and Janelle for helping me out). So on my train ride home on Sunday afternoon, my plan was to take the ring to get appraised, sit on it for a week or two, and the propose next week at some point. I knew how I wanted to do it, but I wanted to think about exactly what I wanted to say when I popped that magical question.

But when I got home and saw my lady struggling with allergies, but still managing to look good, I said to myself, there is no way in HELL that you are getting out of this night without saying anything, so get your sh*t together. So, while the lady napped and got her beauty rest, I took out a pen and a post-it note, and I wrote down some key points I wanted to hit in my "will-you-marry-me" speech. That is not the kind of speech you want to be mumbling and fumbling through on one hand, but on the other side, I was way too lazy to write down the speech verbatim. So bullet points were my own personal compromise. From that point, I just kept repeating the speech in my head over and over again. I felt like an actor trying to memorize his lines before the audition...

**sidebar** I met my lady in 2005, we dated for two months and it sucked and we fell out, and then we became good friends who shared everything but never saw each other in person Then I innocently saw her out one day in April of 2007, but we still just remained at the friendly level. Then in 2007, just a few days after the fire where I lost everything but my laptop, we started hanging out, and then it became more and more serious, and then we were together. So she literally came back to me when I had nothing, and now my laptop is allowing me to write, appear on the radio, meet NBA stars and all that, and she is still here. That is very significant to me **sidebar off**

So later on that night, while the lady was in the shower, I took the ring, and hid it in the bag of letters in the game of Scrabble. We had not played in a couple of weeks, and my plan was to convince her to play to kick off my surprise. She got out of the shower, got dressed, poured herself (and me) a glass of wine, and I set up the Scrabble board. We both chose letters to see who would could go first, and she chose the letter "A" and I picked the letter "U", which meant she would get her letters first. At first I was thinking to myself, "Damn she didn't feel that ring box the first time?" but I remained calm.

As she dug her hand back into the bag to get more letters, the lady noticed the box, and she was like, "What the hell?". Then when she took the box out, and saw that it was a ring box, she started screaming, crying and gyrating, which was my cue to begin that short walk around the table. I was shaking, my lip was quivering, and the bullet points I had been practicing all day long, just left my head completely. Still, I somehow mustered up a bit of composure, and I got down on my knee, and gave her a speech that lasted a minute or so, but it felt like 2 hours. At first when I was talking, the lady was crying, holding her head in her hands, and just moving all around the damn place. I explained to her that for this to work, I needed eye contact, and she looked me right in the eyes. I finished my speech, asked her to marry me, and she said yes.

After that the phone calls began, the facebook status changed, I wrote a sentence of a blog entry, and now here we are. Some other wonderful things happened too, but I don't write that kind of blog. I wish I could promise you that there won't be days when I write mushy blogs about this event, but I cannot. I also wish I could promise to start countdown-to-marriage blog like my friend Dana, but I'm too lazy for all that. So I can promise to be the same Rashad I've always been, but every now and then it will get mushy, and you all will just have to suck on it and like it.. Also, I have no clue when the wedding is (late this year, early next year), how big it will be, and all that stuff. But I'll keep you posted.

But what I CAN promise you, is that from this point forward, she is now my fiancee, not my lady. That rolls off the fingers a little better. And now, I will link the song that was playing when I met my fiancee on April 1, 2005. We were at a bar called the Common Share (which is now shut down) and I played this song on the jukebox. I remember noticing that she didn't know any of the words to this song, except the part that said, "I got more than just some good d**k, and some money", and I was like wow, she's a FREAK!!!

Be Here - Raphael Saadiq featuring D'Angelo

Sunday, April 11, 2010

So as of 9:10pm on Sunday night, the lady and I are officially engaged...

Friday, April 09, 2010

No words today. But I WILL link to my appearance on University of Nebraska sports radio last night. You can hear me by clicking this link. Your feedback is appreciated as always and have a beautiful weekend.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

I would like to apologize this morning to Jonathan Capehart. For those of you who don't know who Mr. Capehart is, he sometimes appears on Bill Maher and MSNBC, but his main gig is as a editorial writer for the Washington Post. He is also openly gay..the importance of that will come later.

So while I'm walking to work, I see Mr. Capeheart in front of me. He's close enough that if I slightly raised my voice (which would never happen) he could hear me calling him, but far enough away that I couldn't catch up to him with my normal gait. I dig his work, and I wanted to tell him as much, so I picked up the pace and tried to catch up to him. He was waiting to cross the street, and I had to cross the street to get to him. My plan was to shake his hand, meet him, give off non-gay vibes just in case he thought I was putting a rush on him, and have a brief conversation.

What I did NOT expect at all, was for Mr. Capeheart to be walking so damn fast. This man had the fastest, most efficient walk I have ever seen in my life, and he was able to generate this speed without using his arms at all. He had a copy of the newspaper nestled under his armpit, and his other arm was straight down. For him to be moving this fast was not only baffling, but it was frustrating as hell, because I usually walk slow. So now I was debating on whether to fast walk, jog, or say f**k it and hope to see him another day. I chose something between a fast walk and a jog, and I used my arms. God help me if anyone caught this moment on tape..

So as I was getting closer to Mr. Capeheart, I noticed he looked back at me twice. The first time was just a casual glance, but the second time, I put my hand up to get his attention, and he looked at me like I was selling the Final Call and he picked up even more speed to his walk. At this point I really did want to yell out and say, "Look man, I'm just trying to talk and meet you!", but even typing that sounds a little suspect. So I just let him go. He looked back one more time, but by that point, I had already given up on an introduction.

So Mr. Capeheart, if you google your name everyday like I do, and you find out that I talked about you on my blog this morning, know that I wasn't trying to get in your drawers, or eat your liver with fava beans and nice chianti, I just wanted to say hello, let you know I appreciate your work, and give you my resume so you can get me a paying writing job. That's not so difficult is it?

By the way, I LOVE the new Tiger commercial (I attached it yesterday). I know people think its creepy and it is. I know folks think he's exploiting the memory of his (and he might be), but the important part to me is this: At some point, when Tiger was in the shower, or up alone at night, his father's words played over and over in his head. When you have a father like Tiger did, you can't help it. I know my father is alive, and when I f**k up, I hear my father's voice in question form all the damn time. No one is kicking down my door to make a Nike commercial, but they are for Tiger, and this is the route he and Nike chose. I'm ok with that..

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Last night, at halftime of the Duke/Butler match up, I decided to pick out my work clothes for today. I picked a nice shirt and some slacks (no tie today), and I ironed the sleeves a bit (thanks to the inability of my dry cleaners to keep them smooth). I then hung them up outside of my closet, and went back to watching the game. No big deal right?

This morning I wake up, shower, and start to put on that stellar outfit I had picked out the night before; however, I did not factor in something when picking this out. It is 70 f**king degrees at 7 in the morning. In July or August I fully expect days like this, and I am mentally prepared to be hot and sweaty all day long. Plus, the AC is usually going strong at home, on the train, and at work, so I never really feel the full brunt of the heat. But in April? There's no AC at home, none on the train, and their damn sure isn't any at work yet. In fact, if I'm very still, I can still feel remnants of heat trickling out.

So instead of coming to work with a neatly pressed shirt tucked with some slacks, I neatly put the slacks back on the hanger. And then I grabbed some jeans, decided to wear my shirt untucked, and BAM, here I am at work. I am 100% sure it is totally unacceptable for me to have on jeans during a non-casual day, but I'm sorry, I just chose to go a different direction. 90 degrees on April 6th? COME ON

Despite this and this happening the last couple of days, this is a GREAT month for sports. The Mastersstarts this weekend, the NBA and NHL playoffs start in a couple weeks, the NFL draft is in a couple weeks, baseball has started, and the Penn Relays are at the end of the month. I hope I still have a girlfriend on May 1st...

Monday, April 05, 2010

So Saturday night, my lady and I went to the 10:30 Ron Carter show at Bohemian Caverns in Washington D.C. Mr. Carter had done two shows on Thursday and Friday, and then an 8pm show earlier that Saturday evening, so our show was the last one during his stay in D.C.

This was my first time attending Bohemian Caverns, so when I walked in I was impressed. The place is literally underground, and it is literally a cavern. As my lady and I tried to decide where we going to sit, I noticed Mr. Carter sitting down talking to an older gentleman, but I didn't want to distract him, since this was his time to relax between shows. About 15 minutes later, Mr. Carter made his way through the crowd, greeted people warmly, and then prepared to start his set.

Ron Carter had two other band members with him. Russell Malone who mainly played the acoustic guitar and Mulgrew Miller on the piano. They called themselves the Golden Stryker Trio. This was the first jazz show I had ever attended that didn't have a horn player or a drummer, so I was curious about what kind of sound they would produce.

The first song they did was called "Blind Faith" from a movie by the same name that came out in 1998. Carter composed music for that movie, and this was one of the songs from there. Usually jazz musicians start off with a fast paced song or two, and then they slow it down with a ballad, but not Carter. The first song was a mid-tempo ballad, and Carter played the background while Malone on acoustic guitar took the lead. I noticed that Carter and Miller kept looking at each other during the entire song. A few times it was to laugh at some of the chord changes, and other times it was to get the other back on the same wavelength. Since we were sitting right behind Miller, it was nice to see those cues up close and personal.

The second song was called Candle Light, and this one was definitely fast paced. They played for a good 8 or 9 minutes, and these three gentlemen maintained the pace the entire time. Even their solos were done at an incredible rate. Carter is 73, Miller is 55, and Malone is 47, so these aren't necessarily young men, but they played like they were.

The third song was called, "A Ballad For A Friend" and this was a slow beautiful ballad. It was during this song, that I appreciated the fact that there weren't any drums or any horns. Carter took the lead on this song, but the piano and guitar complimented him perfectly. I did get a little angry during this song, because I saw at least 5 or 6 people nodding, and I saw two people who were just flat out sleep. As an aside, there was also this guy sitting in front who kept making faces and hand gestures like he was playing an instrument. I later learned that he was an aspiring guitar player who attends Duquesne University in Pittsburgh Still, he incredibly creepy, but at least he stayed awake during the ballad.

The fourth song Mr. Carter did was the jazz standard, Autumn Leaves. During this song, Carter shunned the piano and the acoustic guitar, and he just played solo for seven minutes, and he flexed all his skills. He played slow, he played fast, he changed chords, he worked a country-western song in his Marv Albert would say, "he showed the full repertoire".

The fifth song was Bags Groove and this song will always have a special significance to me. Back in 1989, when I saw Wynton Marsalis at Blues Alley, my father took me back stage to meet and talk with Wynton. This was my second or third time meeting him, so it was no big deal, but at that point I was 14 years old, and I was heavy into playing the trumpet and listening to jazz. When I told Mr. Marsalis this he told me that if I was serious about listening and playing jazz, I would find Miles Davis' Bags Groove record and listen to it over and over. It took me like 5 years to find it, but when I did I loved it. So whenever I hear that song played it takes me back to that place.

The sixth and final song was called Soft Winds, and as Mr. Carter told the audience, it was written by a gentleman named Fletcher Henderson who was one of the early African-American jazz bandleaders. The song, as you would guess from the title, started of slow, light and easy. And then about mid song I guess the soft winds picked up a bit, because all three band members revisited that fast pace they had done earlier in the show. And then to end the song, the reverted back to playing slow and easy. I had never heard the song before, but I will now try and find it, so I can hear how other musicians approach it.

After the show I waited until Mr. Carter was alone, and I went up to him. I explained that this was my first show of his I had ever been to and I enjoyed it. He shook my hand, said a few words to me (I'm not sharing those, sorry) and then we left. It was a great time. Sorry if this entry was too inside baseball for you, but I had been looking forward to this all week and I had a ball..and so did my lady. And as you can tell, I don't do well at reviewing shows, but I tried.

And if you came to this f**king blog hoping to get my reaction on beloved Eagles trading Donovan McNabb, then go elsewhere. I can't deal with that right now.

I Got The Blues - Labi Saffre

Saturday, April 03, 2010

An Illinois Reunion in Washington DC
I take back what I said about Corinne Bailey Rae being boring. Damn if this song doesn't remind me on Minne Riperton.

Friday, April 02, 2010

So NBA players are required to meet with the media after every playoff game, whether they like it or not. Presumably, the rule was put in so that journalists wouldn't have to go back to their editors with a great story with no quotes from the star players. If players refuse to talk the media, they get fined, and so does their team. Before I started covering the NBA, I thought this rule was ridiculous, but now that I'm in the proverbial trenches, I see how necessary it is. If there is a well played, hard fought playoff game, and you need a story on how well someone played (whether they won or lost), you need that access to the player to enhance the story. When players play well, they can't wait to run their mouth, so it has to work both ways.

So back in 2003, the Portland Trailblazers had just defeated the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the NBA playoffs, to stave off elimination. One of the key players in Portland's victory was Rasheed Wallace, who at that point in his career, detested meeting with the media. Rasheed didn't want to completely blow off the media because he knew he would get fined, so instead he decided to compromise. He decided that no matter what question he was asked, he would answer every one by saying, "Both teams played hard my man". Allow me to show you...

The NBA was not amused, and they fined Rasheed 30k, and his team was fined 50k. Still, I can readily admit that if I was a member of the press, and Rasheed did this, I would be on the floor laughing. I realize this may not be funny to anyone, but I think its hilarious even 7 years later.

And now, I will post the last Ron Carter clip of the week. Ron is in Washington D.C. performing at Bohemian Caverns. He did two shows last night, he will do two more tonight, and he will do two tomorrow night(which is when I will be there). Now you may ask yourself, why the hell is Rashad making such a big deal about this particular jazz bassist. My reason? Ron Carter is a legend, and he's old, so he has to be appreciated, he needs to be studied, and if possible his brain needs to picked me at least. He played with Miles f**king Davis man, there aren't 10 people alive who can say they played with the pre smooth jazz, late, great Miles Davis. Anyway, let me not get on my jazz soapbox.

Here is the song "Agitation" from 1963. Miles on trumpet was 37 years old, Tony Williams on drums was 18, Herbie Hancock on piano was 23, Ron Carter on the bass was 26, and Wayne Shorter on saxophone was 30.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

So this morning on my way to to work, I was in a Michael Jackson frame of mind, so I decided to listen to Thriller As I listened, it took me back to when I was 7, and my babysitter used to play the record over and over, while my brother and I read, doodled and spilled food on the record sleeve. I know every ad-lib, every background vocal, every bass and lead guitar part, and maybe even some things that the mere mortal wouldn't hear on that Thriller album. And then I had an epiphany of sorts, and I realized that part of what makes this album so great is the sequencing.

An album, like the perfect mixtape is all about what songs are put where, and the mood it puts you in as a result. And to me, Thriller was perfectly sequenced:

1)Wanna Be Startin Something: An excellent song to dance to, an aptly titled song, and he even throws in a little chant at the end to give the song a little culture. MJ is setting the tone, and he does a great job.

2)Baby Be Mine: This doesn't quite have the energy of the previous song, but it is still a good dance song for the 35 and over crew. This song actually sounds like it could have found a home on Off The Wall..

3)The Girl is Mine: This one takes the energy level down just a bit more, and you really can't dance to this song (well maybe you can, but I can't). But this is the type of song, where you sit down, bob your head a bit and listen to Michael Jackson just totally overshadow (intentionally I might add) Paul McCartney. Personally, I like it when Paul McCartney hits that really deep note, as if to say to Michael, "Look here you bastard, you can sing better than I can, but you can you hit this deep note b***h? I didn't think so."

4)Thriller: The title track takes the energy level back to where it was in the first song, and this was very significant at the time, because it represented the last song on the "A" side. Back when vinyl and tapes reigned supreme, you wanted to end the first side on a high note, and Thriller allowed MJ to reach that first half climax. Of course now you can't hear the song without thinking of the video, which is fine too. But the lyrics are "scary", MJ sings his ass off, and then Vincent Price (who curiously looks like new DC mayoral candidate Vincent Gray) does his best to scare the sh*t out of everyone with his voice and his maniacal laugh.

5)Beat It: If side "A" has to finish strong, then side "B" needs that same strength to it, and that's what Beat It does. Eddie Van Halen's guitar riff starts off the song, and its one of the first times we hear MJ tackle the rock genre. Its not a really a dance song (despite the video choreography), but it is a PERFECT song to play air guitar too, and ultimately, isn't that the true litmus test? I almost typed "at the end of the day" instead of the word "ultimately" but I realized I'm not an athlete who relies on corny ass clich├ęs..

6)Billie Jean: I'd be willing to bet that MJ knew this song was the centerpiece of the album. Where Beat It starts with the riveting guitar riff, Billie Jean just starts off with the drums, then the drums and the bass, and it just gets better and better from there. This is indeed a dance song, but if you ever have some time, find the instrumental version, the strictly background vocals version, and appreciate the song from that angle as well. As an aside, this morning when this song came on, I was at 14th and I St in DC and the part of the song where MJ says, "People always told me, be careful what you do" came on, and I kicked my leg up like he does at the 2:36 mark of this video. I'm sure people saw me, but I really didn't care.

7)Human Nature: After building up the energy for three straight songs, MJ brings it down a bit with this song, which seems like its a ballad, but its really a little more upbeat. The song (written by Toto) is beautifully sang and sparsely arranged, and it remains my favorite MJ song to date. Its almost as if MJ wants you to cool down, but not really because the next song is...

8)P.Y.T.: MJ makes you dance for the last time on the album with this song, and he brings some friends and family with him (James Ingram, Janet Jackson and Latoya Jackson in the background). I liked this song a lot better before I heard the demo version, which to me is much better. Also, if you have headphones, listen to the guitar playing of the Brothers Johnson, which is just as good as the singing,

9)Lady in my Life: MJ decided to close the album with a passionate ballad..the kind of ballad that MJ never really sang after this. First he reels you in with the soft singing and the thoughtful lyrics, then he finished the song by showing you he knows how to beg. I told the story on the blog one day (I don't remember which day specifically) about how Quincy Jones wanted MJ to really really beg at the end of the song, and MJ was too shy to do that on record in front of people. So he asked everyone to leave the studio, he turned off all the lights and asked Quincy to keep the tape running, and he belted it out.

This was my long-winded way of saying two things. One, I wish people would pay more attention to putting out well-sequenced albums instead of "hot singles". And two, I wish I could have sat down with MJ for 9 days (one for each song on Thriller), and asked him to break down in great detail, how these songs went from an idea to a classic.

And now I will do a complete 180, and continue my week of Ron Carter. This song is from A Tribe Called Quest's Low End Theory, and Ron Carter (unlike Wynton Marsalis) was nice enough to not only embrace rap music, but he played bass on it too. First here is Ron Carter talking about how he hooked with A Tribe Called Quest:

And now here's the song:
Verses From the Abstract - A Tribe Called Quest (featuring Ron Carter)