Thursday, May 26, 2011

So I'm walking into work this morning, and Public Enemy's "Rebel Without A Pause" comes on my ipod, and I instantly starting smiling and rapping like I wrote the song. Sometimes I forget just how much I was into PE, until one of their songs comes through my headphones, and then I go on an impressive listening spree...No real entry today, just more PE:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

First off, I am happy to report that the woman whose AmEx card I found yesterday, just so happens to live in my building. She gave me a call yesterday morning, told me she dropped the card while moving some items in the building, and expressed her gratitude. I slid her card under her door yesterday when I got home from work, and all is well. She has her card back, and I don't go to jail for identity/credit card theft. Win-Win.

Second, Let me warn my five readers, that this entry will have the stench of something that was read and/or performed at open mic/spoken word/poetry night.

There are times when your are walking, running, or perhaps just sitting somewhere, and a familiar smell will penetrate your nose and stay there for awhile. The smell not only takes you back to a specific year and place, but often times you can recall exactly what you were doing, and even who you were talking to when you first crossed paths with that smell. If this is associated with something positive, you'll smile or laugh to yourself, and if a negative thought has come to mind, you may get temporarily angry.

This morning as I finished my run, I walked by a freshly paved sidewalk, and it smelled like the rubber on a good track. It instantly reminded me of my high school days when I ran the 400 meters, but it didn't remind me of the actual race. The smell reminded me of the 20-30 minutes before the race, when I would sprint in an empty, far lane of the track preparing to tackle my upcoming race. I'd run in a controlled sprint in the far lane for about 100 meters, then I would lengthen my stride a bit, just so I could loosen my muscles. I remembered when I got down in my pre-race stance, I'd be closer to the track, and at that point, the rubber smell that good tracks give off would run past my nose.

Back then I just figured that was a minor inconvenience involved with track and field, now I miss running competitively, and getting nervous before performing on the big athletic stage. But for those 2 minutes or so this morning, when I smelled the pavement, I had a nostalgic attack, and I was loving it. By the way, I also ran the 200 and the 800 meters in high school, but the 400 was my best event--although my track coach always said that if I was about 3-4 inches taller (I'm 5'9") I would be much better, because I lengthen my stride when I got tired..he was right..but f**k him.

I'm rambling..if I kept a personal journal, this entry would be in there, but I don't..

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I spoke yesterday about being raised right, and today yet another scenario has placed itself in my lap and tested my upbringing. Right now, in my hand, I have an American Express card that I found in front of my building this morning. I have no clue if this woman lives in my building, or if she was just walking by the building and dropped it, I just know she's short an AmEx card this morning. I emailed the folks I do know in my building to see if they know her, but so far I've gotten no answer. I called my Landlord, and he didn't recognize the name off-hand, but he said he'd check. I also found this woman via google (I only felt a little creepy), and emailed her work address to inform her about her missing card. I've heard nothing so far, and meanwhile this card is just staring at me and laughing and crying out for help...

Monday, May 23, 2011

My mother raised me not to judge my fellow man and woman, and for the most part I've done a good job following that rule. But I am finding that as I get older, I judge and I judge hard--which is fine because I'm at that age when I can dish it as well as I can take it...I think.

That being said, I have a huge problem with grown ass men who wear suits or nice business attire, and then ruin it by wearing sneakers. I'm assuming if they are wearing sneakers, then that means their dress shoes are either at work or in the satchel they are carrying around. Either way, this is just bad business all the way around. This guy on the train was in a full suit, and he had on some running shoe with white socks, and he looked like a damn fool (although I must admit he looked pretty comfortable..but he was sitting down). Women can do this because they wear heels, and I've seen firsthand (because of my wife, not because I've worn them) how much heels (or just women's shoes in general) can wreak havoc on their feet. This is why women appreciate (and marry) you when offer to rub up on their feet..their shoes kick their asses all day long.

But guys have no excuse. They make all kinds of comfortable shoes for guys, you just have to do a bit of research. Or if you're too lazy to do research, just man up if your feet hurt, because it is NOT aesthetically pleasing (to me at least) to see good work clothes ruined by poor shoe selection. There was only one man who could get away with that look, and that was the late, great Mr. Fred Rogers. Other than that, it shouldn't be happening. And yes I realize I've written about this before, but I don't care.

And finally I'd like to give a shout out one of the women who lives in my building. Our AC went out last night (just like it did several times last summer), and last night the wife and I were copied on the email she sent to the landlord/property manager. I didn't write this, but man I wish I had. It is concise, to the point, and it has a touch of rudeness to it..

Bill -

It is now Summer 2011 and we seem to be right back where we were 1 year ago.

AC is out.

Please find a permanent solution to this mess because (speaking for myself), I will NOT tolerate a summer of no-AC like I did last year.

Thank you,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I think yesterday will go down as one of the worst days I've ever had. I messed up at work two times, and then I had to justify/explain my error over and over again (or maybe it just seemed like that). I had to sit in a meeting with someone who thinks they are much smarter than they really are (or maybe its the way they chose to convey their intelligence that annoyed me), and because this person is above me on the work food chain, I couldn't say jack. Then I wrote a mean-spirited blog entry yesterday about someone I'm doing a favor for, and I ended up having to delete it, but now I wonder if this person read and took offense. And then finally, my son continues to do poorly in school, and I am mad as hell at him even though I know his mother is partly at fault as well. Now I will once again have to convince the Virginia courts to uproot my son from his mother, his brother, and his support system of almost 14 years, and allow him to live with me..a task I have failed at several times before.

And to top it off Starks got ejected...(I really hope this reference makes sense to somebody). The good news is I get to attend the NBA Draft Lottery tonight in New Jersey at 8pm. Maybe the Wizards will win and I'll get a kickass story...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

This picture was taken in 1984, shortly after a performance by Wynton Marsalis in New York City. I was nine and my brother was six, and God bless my dad for doing whatever he had to do to get our family backstage. I played the trumpet, and Wynton was an up and coming star, so it seemed like a perfect match. At the time my family was living in Connecticut, but when we moved to the D.C. area a few years later, we went to see Wynton several times at Blues Alley, and we would always go upstairs, and talk to him after his performance. One time, at my father's request, I brought my trumpet mouthpiece to the show, and Wynton allowed me to play HIS horn, and I was on cloud nine. I was in high school at the time, and I thought I was headed to jazz stardom with Wynton's help.

Just two years later, after I made the basketball team, started writing for the school newspaper, and discovered the joys of girls, I abandoned the trumpet, and I was sure I disappointed my parents and Wynton. I went to see him at Blues Alley in 1992, and I explained to him that I had given up on the trumpet, and he wasn't even mad. He said whether I played or not, the important part was that I was a jazz fan for life, and that would never go away, and he was 100% with that point.

Sadly, Wynton is big time now, so when he comes to D.C., he usually performs at the Kennedy Center (I can't blame him there), but I still miss the intimate feel of his earlier shows. When he was here in 2009, I was scheduled to meet up with him backstage, but I couldn't go to the show, because my lady (now wife) was having surgery around that time, and that was much more important, but I need to attempt to meet up with him again (and tell him to stop talking bad about all rap music).

And that picture that I started this entry with? Wynton used to carry that around in his trumpet case for years, because my brother and I represented his first young fans. So if you ever meet him, you should ask him about that picture of Rashad and Jamal he used to carry around, and he'll tell you his version of the story I'm telling you now.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I have no words today. If you can just click on my "article" from yesterday's blog entry, I'd appreciate that. But today, I just want you to listen to last 18 seconds of the song I'm about to post today. Actually, listen to the entire song, but put headphones on, and focus on the last 18 seconds specifically. Listen to this man sing his heart out over a woman he doesn't want to leave him. Listen to the raw emotion and passion and tell me who the hell is singing like this today..there aren't many....

These are the Manhattans by the way..

Monday, May 09, 2011

I didn't write this article, but I contributed to it.
For the longest time when my immediate and extended family got together on a major holiday like Mother's Day and went out to eat, I really was not much of a factor when it came to have the who-is-going-to-pay-the-bill conversation. I mean sure I would contribute money for myself, my mother and maybe my brother, but I wasn't pulling out enough money to pay for the 6-10 people at the table. Usually my grandfather or one of my uncles would take care of that before I even sniffed the bill. I vowed to get in on that conversation one day, but as of late, I had not been in an extended family outing, so my shot at redemption had been delayed--until yesterday that is..

Yesterday there were seven of us out at breakfast after church, and as we ordered the food, the waitress asked if there would be one bill, and who she should give it to once it came. Immediately my uncle said, there would be one bill, and he would be the one to pay it. When he turned his head, I summoned the waitress and asked her to give ME the bill when it came, and to ignore my uncle. Sure enough when that bill came, the waitress coolly put it right in front of me, and I paid without anyone noticing what the smooth maneuver I had pulled off.

When it was clear that everyone was finished eating, both my uncle and my grandfather (who never really officially put his bid in beforehand) both prepared to take out their money, and I politely told them I had taken care of it. Then they insisted that they get in on the tip, and I again told them that their money was no good here. Then to deflect the possibility of an awkward moment, I told them that this type of initiative on my part would NEVER happen again..everyone laughed and we left. I must admit it made me feel like a grown man..

Of course my grandfather one-upped me right before I left to drive back to D.C. He pulled out a $20 bill, and told me to use it on gas. I tried to tell him he didn't need to give it to me, but he had already turned his attention back to the television, and the remote was firmly in his hand. I suppose there are some things you never grow out of, no matter how old or grown you think you are...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

I'll be on blog hiatus until Monday, since I am driving to Cleveland, Ohio to see my mother, grandmother, etc. So I will leave this song as my ode to Mother's Day:

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Chris Rock has a joke that basically says that when a man (although I'm sure its not sex specific) comes home from work, he needs about 10-15 minutes to get his head together, before he's ready to talk to his wife, his girlfriend, family, etc. This rule does not really apply to me because my walk back and forth to work is about 20 minutes, so by the time I get home, I've worked out any work-related angst that may have lingered beyond my 5:30 dismissal time. And even when I haven't, a stiff shot of Johnnie Walker Black is more than sufficient to knock out the rest. That's just how I rolls...

But when I get to work in the morning, the "Chris Rock rule" is definitely in effect. I need about 10 minutes before I can speak--unless their is an emergency project that needs tending to. I'll say good morning to everyone, and then I need to get to my desk, turn on my computer, look at my emails, put my lunch in the fridge, get my fruit out and sip my Venti Soy Green Tea Latte from Starbucks. After I do that, I'm ready to be friendly and as chatty as Ann Curry in the morning.

Unfortunately, I work with someone who does not respect these unofficial boundaries I've put out there. Less than two minutes after this person sees me walk by, they are at my desk and in my face talking about trivial sh*t (Bin Laden's capture, the government shutdown, a shooting at the National Zoo, etc). It is not as if I don't have an intelligent viewpoint or opinion about these issues, I just don't have them to offer at 8 in the f**king morning, when I'm just getting to work. At first I humored this person and talked a bit, but recently, I've just started executing the neglect method, and I just don't look up. This person still talks to me from time to time, but I don't return the favor, I just keep my head forward and focused on the computer screen. Then after I am sufficiently finished getting my head together, I go to the this person's desk and see if there's any residual conversation to be had, and usually there isn't. Crisis averted.

And yes I realize I'm using phrases like "this person" and "someone", but I have to protect myself here. I've made many enemies because people want to use google my name just to be generally nosy, and then they roll up on this here blog, and start judging me (justifably so I might add). For example, my neighbor STILL doesn't speak to me after she saw my blog (she magically appeared in my gchat list one day a group of my neighbors had a spirited email exchange about our landlord, and saw my blog attached to my name), and saw that I had falsely accused her of being a lesbian (I'm still not convinced I'm wrong, but I'll wave the white flag regardless). She speaks to my wife, but when she sees me, she looks at me like I stole her bike or something. I thought about apologizing, but then I realized that its my f**king blog and I can do what I want..I still may apologize one day though, because I'm trying to keep my enemies to a minimum. But I digress. Sorry for the babbling.

And now I will post a random song that came on my ipod that I absolutely LOVE. The song is called "What Can I Do?", the group is Pieces of a Dream, and both the video and the song have late 80s written all over it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

You know what love is? It's when your favorite aunt who lives in Cleveland, Ohio calls you on a random Sunday during the NBA playoffs. She's completely oblivious to the fact that the Heat/Celtics game is on tv, and you are knee deep in this contest, she just has some things she needs to discuss with you, so she calls. About five minutes into her conversation, she asks if you're still coming to visit her when you come in town on Friday, and you say absolutely I am. Then she asks--and this is the good part--what you want her to cook when you arrive. You hedge a little bit because you really haven't heard a family member (who isnt your wife) ask you to customize a dinner menu, but when you start hesitating too much, your aunt gets mad and tells you to be a man, step up to the plate, and tell her what the hell you want to eat...

So you tell her you want her famous potato salad, greens, chicken, biscuits, and then you stop there, and she says she will have all that and more, and the conversation ends. You forget to request some sort of pie or cake, but you're confident that she'll throw that in for good measure anyway. You really want to immediately go back to the Heat/Celtics game, but now you're flustered, and instead of thinking about LeBron, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, you start fantasizing about that meal on Friday, and just how primal you plan to be while you're eating it (pause). Your wife, who was allegedly knocked out on the couch, perks up when she hears you come back in the room, and asks if that was your aunt talking about food, and you confirm, and even she gets a little excited, before falling back asleep on the couch.

It is only Tuesday, and I'm still excited.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

At one point while I was at the Penn Relays on Saturday, I looked to my left and saw my 13 year old son, and I looked on my right and saw my brother and my father. My brother and father were having a discussion about Usain Bolt (who was not in attendance) and my son had his binoculars up to his face looking at something (I am pretty sure he was looking at a girl's ass, but he denied it both times I asked him). No one saw me looking at them, and no one knew how proud I felt at that moment, but that was fine by me. Its important to have family traditions, and for me, its important that those traditions involve the men closest to me. Plus, I want my son to see me interacting with my father and brother..he needs to see us argue, laugh, discuss adult subjects and all that.

Anyway I know I'm rambling right about now, but Saturday's experience was great. And next year, which is an Olympic year for track, it should be even more fun, and maybe Usain Bolt will make an appearance...

Oh and please read my read my article