Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I can't get my son to smile on camera or video to save my life, but the wife has the magic touch. Whoopty damn doo for her. In other news, I've started another I-need-to-get-in-shape blog, which will not only spread myself thinner (no pun intended) than I already am, but it be hopelessly boring and basically for me only. If you're into that kind of thing, have at it.

I have listened to this song 13 times in a row and counting. I suggest you put your headphones and do the same--especially once he kicks up the emotion at the 3:30 mark:

One of the best parts about being around family when you're younger, is being able to sit back and watch the older family members interact. You can see you parents talking to people their age, grandparents are holding their grandkids while simultaneously annoying their kids, and aunts and uncles are generally doing things that your parents would rather you didn't see. For me it was eye opener, because I always knew where I stood in my household because it was just me, my brother, my mother and my father. But when the extended family came around, whether that was on my mother or father's side, I realized that I had an entire army of family at my disposal.

Then you have moments like last week at my grandfather's funeral, when you realize that are fewer people making up that buffer between young and old. Grandparents are moving on to glory, the aunts and uncles that come around are moving a little slower, and the ones who don't come around are trying to hide that very same thing. Parents are weighed down by the burden of grieving or looking after their parents. Older family members start heaping a more responsibility on you, and the life lessons they have to offer seem to be more substantive and plentiful. And then, as if magic was involved, there are all these younger cousins around who ask millions of questions, and refer to you Uncle or Cousin Rashad, and you look around wondering if they are really addressing you. The shit is weird.

I don't know.. when your family is on facebook, or in contact with you via text or phone calls, you realize everyone is getting old(er), and younger family members are sprouting up like weeds. But it isn't until you see them face-to-face, and fellowship in a familiar spot, that you realize just how much things are changing. It isn't scary and it certainly doesn't add to my growing grey hair count, it is just sobering.

Enough of that morose talk..if you have a few dollars, go out and buy the new offering by the Robert Glasper Experiment. He usually plays jazz, but for this release he veers off a bit, and it is great. Guest stars include Erykah Badu, Bilal, Mint Condition, Mos Def and Ledisi. Here's Ledisi:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nyles in the stroller..
Some pictures need no introduction

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So young Nyles is officially two months old today, which meant today was his doctor's appointment. The doctor wants him to take a precautionary visit to the Ear Nose and Throat doctor, and he got four vaccinations (three via the needle), but he powered through, and aside from a two-minute stint of insanely loud crying he's fine. I'm not totally comfortable with the idea of vaccinations and needles in my child, but given that he's going to daycare in less than a month, I'd be a damn fool not to acquiesce.

The best part about visiting the pediatrician's office is watching the parents. Some parents look overprotective, others look absolutely bewildered, and then you have the competitive parent(I don't think the wife thinks this way) like me. I was looking at every child, toddler, infant in that damn waiting room, and comparing them (like a fool) to Nyles. Mind you, I have no business comparing a two month old to a one-year old (or older), but I was doing it anyway. I just want to make sure my child measures up, but I should be listening to the doctor (which I did) and not my horribly untrained eye. But I did it anyway.

That's all for now. Happy two months little buddy.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I won't get too melodramatic, but I did have one parting comment regarding my grandfather's funeral on Saturday. First off, the funeral was so damn inspirational. He was a great, great man who loved God, his wife, is church and is job before he retired. I've attended some funerals where there is either a) an elephant in the room surrounding the circumstances of their death or b)a struggle to find positive things to say. There were no such issues with my grandfather's funeral and it made me proud.

But after all the festivities were over and my uncle and I were leaving my grandmother's place, I noticed one last thing. At the nursing home where my grandparents had been the past couple years, every room had a nameplate outside of the door--this was done to promote a community atmosphere among other reasons. I saw the one outside my grandparents door and I smiled, then cried. It is still a little sad now, but that is temporary of course. I'm proud to have known and loved my grandfather.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My grandfather's funeral is going to be Saturday at 2pm, and I did not find this out until yesterday, which meant a plane ticket was out--unless of course I was willing to drop $400. Luckily for me, my uncle (who lives in Northern Virginia) wanted some help driving, so we will take that 5-hour drive tomorrow after work. We haven't really hung out (not for 10 hours anyway) in a long time, so it'll be good to catch up and discuss our families. Not to mention, he's a big Ice Cube fan, so I fully expect for him to play as much Cube as he can:

1)Amerikka's Most Wanted
2)Kill at Will
3)Death Certificate
4)The Predator
5)Lethal Injection

And that's it. Cube has had a good song or two since then, but none of his albums have been worth purchasing. It is difficult (but not impossible) to be an effective gangster when you have a wife and kids. Thank God he can still act..but I digress.

I don't like to say I hate funerals, because I think that's a universal position to have. The wake creeps me out, especially if they leave the casket open throughout the sermon. You see family members for the first time in years, and come to realization that you probably won't see them again unless there's another death or a wedding. And then I'll have to manufacture some outward sadness, so the people who are really sad won't judge me--and yes this has happened before.

I did my grieving in my kitchen last Sunday with my wife, and then I straightened up because my son needed to be fed, and my wife needed a break. I have had fleeting moments of nostalgia-tinged sadness, but for the most part I've kept my wits about me. I need to be strong for my mother and grandmother (and others) and that can't happen if I'm crying and falling all over myself.

**Disclaimer** I know this next part is selfish, but I'm being honest, so suck it.**Disclaimer over**

As strong as I need to be for my family, I REALLY would rather stay home in DC, and take advantage of this relatively mild weather and take two-month old Nyles out. Yes I'll have plenty of time to do that this Spring, but I'm impatient and I wanted to do it this weekend--and perhaps I still can when I return..still..Ok enough of that.

It is going to be a fun and trying weekend, I think I'm just trying to prepare myself by talking it out. Thank you for humoring me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

There's an Allen Iverson article in me that I have yet to find the time to write, but I want to. I used to teach at the high school he attended, I use to live and attend college in the city he's from, and he went to college in the city where I live, and I even interviewed him before..not only that, but I have followed his career for over 20 years, and now the man is in complete shambles. One day soon I'll write an article or maybe a book (with my main man Sabin) on my Iverson experience..it won't be long now but until that magical, mystical, majestical day happens, here are some good and interesting reads on Iverson:

My main man Sabin's take is here.
My main man Bomani Jones's article is here
And the sad article I just read is here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Saturday morning the wife and I woke up, looked over and saw that young Nyles was sleep, and we decided to watch a little mindless television before we started our day. We were flipping channels and came across a picture of Whitney looking a bit disheveled and Ray-J right there with her. The wife and I talked and joked about the both of them briefly, and then we went on about our day.

Later in that day, the conversation drifted towards my mother, and how I wished she still lived in the DC area, as opposed to Cleveland. I mentioned that the only way my mother would move back here is if my grandparents died, because the whole reason she moved back to Ohio was to take care of them. It started off as me wanting my mother to be closer to me, then it sounded selfish, then it drifted to something morbid, and I veered out of that conversation too.

That night Whitney Houston died and Sunday morning my grandfather died. The first death is sad and unfortunate, but I'm not losing any sleep over her. I cried when I got the news of my grandfather, and my heart was intermittently heavy yesterday, but damn, the man was 88 years old, beat prostate cancer and alcoholism, and died on his terms--just a week after he had left the hospital after rehabilitating a broken hip. I worry about my mother and grandmother now, although last night they both seemed to be doing much better. It is just a little strange that two seemingly innocuous conversations took dramatic turns. But life goes on I suppose...

Thursday, February 09, 2012

A little over a month ago, my beloved 14 year old son Carlton ventured into the bathroom of his mother's house armed with what he thought was fresh gear, a comb, and his cellphone. He proceeded to take about 10 pictures of himself at various angles, he picked the one that accentuated his teenage aura, and he plastered it up on facebook. I watch my son's page like a hawk, so within 15 minutes I saw this picture:

I called young Carlton on the cellphone I'm paying for, and I explained to him that cellphone pictures in the bathroom were just plain foolish, especially in that bathroom picture where a hanger and some of kind toiletry were clearly visible. I asked him if a girl told him to take that picture, and he said no. I asked him why his brother, his mother or someone else could not take that picture, and he had no answer, but he said he'd do better.

Yesterday, while I was waiting for him to call me to discuss his sub par Math grade, I saw him put yet another picture up on facebook:

As you can see, it looks like even more thought went into this pose (the facebook caption was, "I'm looking for my mirror") but zero thought went into removing the roll of toilet paper in the bottom left hand corner. After I went on T-Mobile's website and disabled his Web privileges, I texted him to give me a call and he failed to do so, but I was too tired to have that conversation anyway. I had the energy to talk to him tonight though..

I told him that he was a half-step away from losing his phone for good, and then we talked about his Math. Then I clowned him about his picture. He laughed at first, then he got quiet, then he got mad and told me I didn't know what was I talking about when I said the pose was corny and not sanitary. Apparently taking bathroom shots of your afro with a white tee and a whiter roll of Charmin is what the kids are doing to keep it real. I shouldn't be joking, let alone blogging at my son's expense, but I'm not yet ready to write about the condom his mother found..that's a whole other story..

Yesterday I told my editor that I basically have to slow down a bit in the writing department, because as of right now I'm not properly navigating that balance between watching/writing about games and being a father to young Nyles. On one hand, it is frustrating as hell to have to walk away (albeit temporarily) from something I love, but on the other hand I'm all about compromise and Nyles, so I can live with it. I mean even my blogging has taken a hit of late, not because I don't have shit to say, but because I don't have always have the energy or the time to say it. Shout out to my main Kyle and my wife for putting up with me these past few weeks.

But today I have a reason to write. If any of you fine people who read my blog would like volunteer to babysit on Valentine's Day, send me an email (rashad20@gmail.com) The wife and I have not had date night in quite some time, and Valentine's Day (or a few days before or after) is the perfect time for us to do this. Do you know how many movies have come and gone that we haven't seen? Do you know how many jazz concerts we've missed? Don't you want to help facilitate the resumption of these important traditions? I'm quite sure the wife is cringing and saying to herself that I am tacky..and I am, but dammit nothing will happen unless I ask for it.

And now, I present the song I sang to young Nyles while I changed his diaper yesterday evening. I have no idea why it came to my head, it just did..and I'm sure my son thinks I am crazy:

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

I feel guilty for not writing after a week, but life continues to kick my monkey ass. I'm writing about the Wizards,, I'm struggling to deal with my jackass of a boss at work, I'm still trying to be a husband, a father, etc..By the time I get some free time, I damn sure don't feel like writing. I know this is temporary, but man is it tough. But rather than complain all the time, I just keep quiet...for the most part.

Anyway, today is James Yancey's birthday, and this is my favorite beat of his: