Thursday, June 30, 2011

I have reached that age where I am beginning to get a bit concerned about my parents. My mother works too hard on her job, spends her free time taking care of her parents, and she rarely does anything leisurely for herself. My father prefers to keep all of his issues inside, and he never sees fit to telt me what's on his mind until after the face when it is no longer an issue. If he were to have any type of health issue, I doubt he'd tell me, because "he wouldn't want to worry me or my brother".

If my parents were still together, my level of worrying would be significantly less, because I'd trust they'd look after one another (with varying degrees of success I'm sure). But my mother lives on her own in Cleveland, and my dad allegedly has a lady, but ultimately he lives alone too--although he's only a 20 minute drive from me. It's not that I don't believe in God, and it is not like I am anticipating gloom and doom for my parents, but now that they are 60ish, I just get concerned that's all as they get older, and I don't want to wait too long to be concerned. This is a bit depressing, but I can't be the only one who thinks like that..just wanted to get that out.

Also, I hope to God bookstores don't go out of business. I was in Books-A-Million today buying this book for the wife, and I realized that browsing in bookstores never gets old. I looked at the bestsellers, I looked for books for my son, I briefly leafed through some adult magazines with gratuitous nudity, and I even contemplated buying a board game based on The Office. You just can't do these types of things by going on Amazon or itunes (although I have no problems buying books and/or music from there). There has to be a way that Starbucks, Borders and Barnes and Noble can merge into one big ass powerhouse that can give me coffee, books and maybe a secret stash of porn to boot. This has to happen..

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ok so I had to stop my blog for a little bit because I thought my son had gotten a hold of it. Most of what I write is harmless, but some of the archives contain writing that is sexual, ignorant, irresponsibly angry and directed towards people who my son loves quite dearly, and I did not want to jeopardize our relationship. So from here on out, I'm either going to a)have to censor myself b)cancel the blog altogether or c)keep doing what the f**k I want to do and hope he doesn't see. I haven't decided what I'm going to do long term..I just wanted to explain myself.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

There is this man who posts up outside of a Mexican restaurant, which is less than a block away from my house. He walks with a cane, he wears a Santa Claus hat year 'round, and he always has a cup in front of him asking for money. I used to think he was homeless, but then I found out that some guy nearby was allowing Santa Claus to stay in his house--but he definitely does not have a job because he spends all day peddling for money. Santa Claus has a great personality despite his handicap and jobless status, and this is why people always felt moved to give him what they had.

One day I was in the liquor store buying a fine bottle of wine, and the subject of Santa Claus came up with the owner. The owner mentioned that each and every day around 7 or 7:30, Santa Claus would take all of his earnings and buy liquor that was not cheap. He wouldn't buy food, because restaurants in the area would let him eat on the house, so that freed him up to get as drunk as wanted to get every day. Given that I had dropped many-a-dime in Santa Claus' cup, I had mixed feelings about hearing this information. On one hand, I don't know how it feels to be slightly handicapped and unemployed for at least 6 years (which is how long I've been seeing this guy on the street). Maybe I would be drinking heavily every day too. But on the other hand, it can't be good to drink hard liquor everyday and basically do nothing else. I was torn, and eventually I stopped giving him money on a consistent basis. I still stopped and spoke to the brother every day, and we had conversations on money, women, food, etc..

One day the wife and I were coming back from somewhere and we saw Santa Claus and his wife/girlfriend arguing in the middle of the street. He called her all kinds of bitches, hoes, mfs, and it didn't matter who saw or who heard--including my wife and me. In the next few weeks after that incident, Santa Claus didn't really speak to me or look me in the eye, because I guess he felt ashamed. I still gave him money periodically, but the combination of the alcohol and the undressing of this woman, just made me feel uneasy about breaking him off with change. I know this sounds awfully judgemental of me, but hey I never said I wasn't deeply flawed. Plus I still spoke to the brother each and every day..not to mention there were other people who did not know of liquor habit who gave him PLENTY of money daily. And I mean plenty..

This morning I was walking by Santa Claus' area, and I saw a sign that said, "In Memoriam for Travis", and there was a floral arrangement right under it. I never knew his real name, so I called my wife to see if she knew if Santa Claus was Travis, and she said that he was. After we hung up the phone, my heart sank a little bit, and I pulled out my phone to take a picture of the sign and the arrangement, and then I thought better of it and put my phone away. I felt like that was a bit disrespectful, so I just looked at the shrine a bit longer and walked off. I won't romanticize my relationship with this dude, but I kind of got used to seeing Travis every day--whether he was drinking, cursing out women or humoring me in a bit of banter--so seeing that he's dead now is a memory that won't easily go away.

I have no bow to tie on the end of this entry, I'm just typing out feelings..

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday Father's Day Brunch at my Sequoia in Georgetown. My brother and my nephew could not make it, so me, my father and my son held it down nicely. Aside from the aformentioned absences, this was a damn good Father's Day. Well actually I DID want to get my father the new Louis Armstrong book, but as the smart ass guy in Borders told me, "It actually doesn't come out until the 21st of June".

I digress...

Friday, June 17, 2011

So around 6:45 on Wednesday night my son called me and said he needed a shirt, a tie and some nice slacks for his 8th grade graduation the next day. I told him good luck with all that and then he got quiet. Then he said well Dad, I really need to look nice tomorrow, and again I said told him I wanted him to look nice too. Then he asked me to hold on, and he put his mother on the phone. When I heard his mother's voice, I politely asked her to put my son back on the phone and we started over.

I told Carlton that if needed me to buy something for him (or reimburse his mother in this case) he needed to tell me that a)he needed money b)how much everything was going to cost me and c) how soon he needed it. I told him that if he was going to make the Daddy-I-need-something phone call, he needed to do the proper research. I told him a little advance notice wouldn't hurt either, and he reluctantly agreed. I also told his mother to help him out with this research in the future., then I agreed to help her but his graduation outfit, and then I hung up. My dad taught me that lesson when I was 11, so I was more than happy to pass that torch.

Two seconds after I hung up I realized that I had NO clue about this graduation ceremony until my son told me about it five minutes beforehand, and my wife brought that point home even more when she said, "You really need to be there". And she was right. I made calls to my boss, made other arrangements, got directions, and the next morning I drove 3 hours to Newport News, Virginia, and I was at graduation front and center to see my son advance from 8th grade to 9th grade (high school).

Some graduation observations:

1)The age of parents ranged from early 30s to late was amazing. The younger parents had endless energy, the took pic, shot videos and the older parents sat on their ass looking old, slow, relieved and tired. But all the parents were happy, which is what really matters.

2)They don't make 8th graders like they did back in '88. And that's all I'll say about that.

3) My son finished strong academically, but started slow, so he didn't win any awards. The girl who is he in the process of making his girlfriend? She won every academic-related award there was to win, which made me proud of his taste (she was cute too). His mother was focused on her short skirt and cleavage, and quickly discounted her as a girlfriend prospect for my son. I told her that was a parent issue, and she shouldn't take that out on the child. I was quickly and loudly overruled. I mean really..what's wrong a straight A, rising 9th grader who dresses like a strumpet? You can't win them all right?

4) I cried..I won't even sit here and try to sugarcoat it. I saw my son walk across the stage, look every teacher in the eye and shake their hand, and take that diploma. Then he looked his mother's direction and waved, then he looked my direction and nodded his head and smiled..and then I lost it. I wasn't bawling and crying uncontrollably (like his mother), I just had a few tears. My boy has become a young man despite some tough circumstances..that's a beautiful thing.

Now the adventure that is high school begins..

(I'll devote a separate blog post to the wallpaper my son's mother has chosen for her living room. For now, just focus on the vest, the shirt and the tie that my son picked out on his own.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Roots and Mr. Terence Blanchard perform a Gil Scott-Heron tribute:

Monday, June 13, 2011

I can't tell you (although I'll try) how happy I was to see the Dallas Mavericks defeat the Miami Heat last night for the NBA Championship. I don't particularly like owner Mark Cuban, no one on the Mavericks particularly tickles my fancy, and I don't dislike Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh (ok maybe a little) or anyone on the Heat squad--except for LeBron James. And THAT is why I was so damn happy.

You see I don't dislike LeBron because of his decision to move to Miami (although the way he did it it was pompous), because I would love to re-locate down there. I don't care that he didn't win in Cleveland or that he joined Wade and Bosh to win a title, because again that's his choice. I dislike Mr. James for one reason and one reason only, and that's because he knocked my Wizards out of the playoffs two years in a row (2006 and 2007). I really thought the Wizards would win the title those two years, and LeBron flexed his muscles and rained all over my team's chances. In fact my editor wrote about this very issue last week.

So when I saw Mr. James struggling with his shot and his confidence, I was so damn happy. Next year, he'll come back and absolutely destroy the NBA, and he and the Heat will win the title, but until that magical, mystical day, I will enjoy his temporary misery. And if that makes me a "hater", then I'll be that.

By the way, I went to see Mint Condition in concert for the first time this weekend, and they blew me away. You should buy their new cd, and go see them perform if you can.

Friday, June 10, 2011

99% of the time, I'd say the way I dress is age (36) appropriate. Around the house I wear jerseys, shorts with holes in the crotch, and t-shirts that look like they've been on post-sex cleanup duty for years, but in public I know the rules on how a man my age should dress and I follow them accordingly--except for today.

Its 199 degrees outside, and all week I've had to dress up in work appropriate gear, which really infuriated me. Women wear all types of allegedly work safe dresses with body parts hanging out, jiggling and what have you, while men have limited options..unless you consider the Michael Douglas, "Falling Down" look a viable option. I've been in the workplace long enough to know that this is an acceptable double standard, but every now and then it does irk me. So today, also known as casual Friday, I decided to get my sweet revenge. I have a on a t-shirt, some cargo pants and some white Chuck Taylors, and I feel comfortable, relatively work appropriate, and I feel great..or so I thought I did.

While I was on the train, I saw my reflection, and I felt differently. I saw the gray hairs on my head and in my goatee, and it was in stark contrast to the clothes I had on my back. I thought to myself: "I've made a huge mistake". I felt like I should have thrown on a nice button up shirt and some slacks, instead the t-shirt/cargo shorts combo, but it was much too late to go home and change. I almost felt embarassed..then I looked around and saw a bunch of dudes who had their shirts tucked in, their pants pulled up to their mind, and they looked neat, non-stylish and very uncomfortable. Needless to say, I felt vindicated. I may not be dressed the way an ideal 36 year old man should be (whatever that means), but my pants aren't sagging or baggy, my shirt fits and I'm comfortable without looking like a jackass. That's good enough for me.

Now in a couple of hours I'll probably change my mind...

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

So around 9pm this evening, my neighbor knocked at my door and asked to borrow my iron. He explained that his iron had died on him, and he just needed mine. I shot my wife a weird look, and then walked backed to my bedroom, got the iron, and gave it to my neighbor. I should have told him that I needed it back later that same night, but I didn't want to be a jackass so I said nothing at all.

90 agonizing minutes went by and I wondered why he hadn't brought that damn iron back. I wondered if he had decided to just keep the iron just to spite me (I had no valid reason to suspect such an act, I was just getting paranoid). Then I wondered if he thought it was too late to bring the iron back after 10, and his plan was to give it to me the next morning. This approach would have been ok, but I had to iron my own clothes for tomorrow (my dry cleaners does a bang up job, but they always leave the sleeves wrinkled, so I have to go over them with the iron--which is dumb because I end up rolling up my sleeves 30 seconds after I leave the house). Finally I stopped wondering why my iron had been out of my sight, and I got flat out angry. The wife suggested I wait until 11pm to reclaim it, and I agreed with her.

Around 10:31, I marched over to my neighbor's door and knocked not once, not twice, but three times and finally he came to the door with iron in his hand. He explained that he thought it was too late to bring the iron back, and I (un)politely talked over him and explained that it wasn't too late, and I needed to iron my clothes. He thanked me, I walked out, and I started muttering curse words all the way back to my bedroom.

If my iron had broken the way his did, I'd have carried my ass to the Rite Aid across the street and bought another one, I wouldn't have borrowed a neighbor's iron, but that's just because I try to avoid small talk with others at all costs. But if I somehow broke down and HAD to ask someone, I would iron my clothes, and get it back to them within 10-15 minutes..not 90. I think I'm overreacting here a bit..this is like when somebody asks to borrow a cd you don't really play too often, but as soon as they do, you miss every song on that cd, and you get paranoid until it comes back.

Yes I am petty..

Sunday, June 05, 2011

So the wife and I decided to do something different (for us at least), and we went to see Aisha Tyler's standup act at the DC Improv. I highly recommend you go see her if she comes to your town. She has a lot of personality, she talks about grown up things (marriage, drinking, relationships, self-image and handjobs) and there wasn't a lot of over-the-top cursing. Then again, I'm not the greatest expert on live comedy shows because I can count on one hand how many I've attended. Still, funny is funny, and she's in that category.

In other news, my son and I discussed his school-issued summer reading list, and one of the books on there was A Soldier's Play by Charles Fuller. I never read this book (although I will now just to keep up) but I damn sure saw the movie "A Soldier's Story", which was based on that book. That was one of the first movies I ever saw in the theater (back in 1984..I was 9), and every time they showed Adolph Caesar on the screen I got scared. He was a scary-looking dude with a scary voice, and my young ass couldn't take it. I'll show my son this movie, but I won't mention I was scared of it, because he'll have no concept of that considering he's going on 14 years old. I just think its cool that he's reading books that I've read..

Oh and speaking of handjobs...

Thursday, June 02, 2011

When I was an infant my mother used to sing Minnie Riperton's "Lovin You" to me so that I would go to sleep. I have no recollection of this, but my mother and father used to tell me that all the time, so it had to be true. When I was younger (I'd say under 25) I would hear that song and smile, because it reminded me of my mother and the close relationship we had (before I hit puberty, and abandoned her for my father). Granted, not all the lyrics are appropriate for a mother/infant son relationship, but I'm going to give my smart mother the benefit of the doubt there, and assume she switched up or omitted the dicey lyrics.

Then around 25 years old or I couldn't listen to the song anymore. Me and my over analytical mind started thinking about how I'd react if I heard that song after my mother passed away--the song would go from sweet and nostalgic to downright creepy and haunting. I'd hear that song and get emotional in the wrong way, and nobody wants that on their conscience. I have no idea if that would even actually happen, but my mind has convinced the other rational parts of my body that it will, so now I refuse to listen to the song. Just a few short minutes ago as I was sitting at my desk, it came on Pandora, and I couldn't get my hands on the "never play this song again" button fast enough. And right after I did it, I felt like a jackass..but I'm still not listening to that damn song. I'm not superstitious or anything, but I am a little stitious.

The song that will haunt me when my father passes away is "Sittin On the Dock Of The Bay" by Otis Redding. My father told me that song reminds him of his dad who passed away in 1978 at the age of 50. So naturally I internalized that and think of my dad now. These are just irrational lines of thought that I can't seem to shake...hopefully this isn't too morbid for a Thursday morning.

Creepin - Stevie Wonder (with the beautiful Ms. Minnie Riperton on background vocals)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

My 10 seconds of fame on tv
I'm the guy with the blue shirt and the glasses looking completely clueless as usual...