Friday, December 29, 2006

Ode to Mom

My mother is an amazing human being. She raised the three of us almost single-handed (save for the first ten years of my life--and even with that she did most of the work herself). She has such a loving spirit and more than anything she loves to help young women out who have lost their way. She says it is something that she picked up from my late grandmother Sally. She passed when I was four so I'll take my mother's word for it.

Last night my mother helped me deal with the over packed laundromat. This meant we had to be crafty and out duel everyone for dryers, washing machines, laundry carts, and folding spaces. I made it to the laundry at 5, giving me a slight head start, but not much. Everyone was trying to make sure they had all the laundry done before the new year begins. I don't know how many times I heard it's going to be progressively worse the next few days.

Well there were two older women doing laundry. One was an older white woman with curly reddish brown hair. She was a tad bit hunchback and had some sort of tick, excuse me for not knowing the appropriate medical label. She was at the laundromat alone and had her clothes in the dryer by the time that I saw her. The second older woman who we (those of us who adopted her for the night) called grandma, was an older black woman (around 80--but still looked amazing) with a very sweet disposition. Her granddaughter basically brought all of the clothes into the laundromat and then left (saying she'd be back in an hour). She didn't even help load the machines.

I watched over the older white matron like a hawk. I was closest to her because I was drying by that time and folding. You see I found it very difficult to just jump in and do everything for her, as you know some older people are very independent. She didn't seem to have any problems. When I noticed the least bit of hesitation I gave her a helping hand, to which she was extremely gracious and thanked me.

The black matron had so much clothes to wash, no doubt some of her granddaughters clothes were in there. My mother helped her secure machines, then dryers, and then stayed to help her fold all of her clothes. She even told the woman to call her granddaughter to tell her to get her but in gear. The Chinese man that attends to the laundromat was very helpful as well. He put the change in the washing machines and the detergent in for the woman. She said she's been washing clothes there for years. He's a very nice guy: always helpful (even when my gold bracelet got stuck in the machine--another story for another time). He usually has to deal with a bunch of grumpy people complaining about dryer heat and everything else under the sun. Though last night was an exception.

It was just amazing to see cooperation amongst all of the people trying to get their clothes cleaned. This laundromat is usually chaotic with people fighting over machines. To see so many people offering dryers to the older women and just looking after them made me smile. There is a lot of good in the world. Sometimes you just have to open your eyes wide enough to see it (that's a shout out to all the pessimists).

Oh I almost forgot the older black woman tried to pay my mother for helping her, which my mother refused. She then issued some nice compliments to my mother and myself telling us that we are wonderful people and that we will be blessed. I was really impressed with my mother, as I generally am. Just seeing her in her element really touched me. I hope that if she's in need as she gets older that there will be people that show acts of kindness instead of irritants. There's so much that elders have to offer (even if they can be obstinate at times), LOL.

Have a happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Much Ado About the Holidays

So much of the Christmas spirit is giving. I guess that's who I am, I'm a giver. I like to receive too, but I don't give in order to receive (wow this kind of sounds dirty).

The best gifts that I gave out was a Tanzanite and diamond white gold eternity necklace and earrings for my girlfriend (not a set) and a diamond and yellow gold necklace for mom (which my brother and I chipped into buy. Both gifts went over very well--and are beautiful (I'm pretty good at picking out pieces that reflects the individuals personality). Al got her gift before Christmas, because I can't wait that long after I buy something nice for someone, LOL. It seriously drives me nuts (I guess you can say I have to give and know the other party likes it).

She was very happy and gave me the look of I can't believe you spent that much money on me (I made her promise before hand that she wouldn't yell at me). She then promised that she wouldn't show anyone until Christmas Eve (though Amy cracked her, LOL). And she was impressed that the gifts were wrapped (professionally of course--as I beg people to wrap gifts for me because I'm a poor man without the skills to do so effectively (winks)). I used my bargaining prowess to get a reasonably good price on the jewelry. You have to see the color of the Tanzanite--it is so beautiful (rich) and the clarity is wonderful as well.

My mother on the other hand. I know she gets up in the middle of the night. So I turned on the Christmas lights and left the necklace in the foyer in all of its glory. She told me she wanted to wake me up at 3 in the morning, because it was so beautiful. The retail value on the necklace is ridiculous, but I did get it for a steal, being the good shopper that I am.

I bought my nieces and nephew a bunch of board games (as they are finally old enough to appreciate and for me to beat them mercilessly until they learn to emulate my strategies and can go forth and conquer kids their own age). None of them have seen them as of yet (sighs), but they will probably get over to the house by this weekend.

Now everyone likes to ask me what I got for Christmas, which tends to make me sad. I don't expect a lot from people. I'm one of those people who loves Christmas Cards. I think a few heart felt words can't be beat.

I did receive some pretty cool gifts:
A knitted grey scarf, a power tie, and an amazing Norelco shaver from my wonderful girlfriend.
I was given some gift cards for Starbucks and Blockbuster.
And Thomas got me the new Game CD, which was completely unexpected. It was a nice gesture.

I gave my office mates the present of holiday cakes from Juniors (which they devoured today). I have their admiration, who can beat that.

The best gift of all was thank you from the office mates and everyone that I bought gifts for! I love it.

And I finally popped that bottle of champagne with Thomas from when my god-daughter was born! It almost dented the wall (been at the office since September 28th). It was wonderful and packed quite the punch.

I'm sure this will be my last post for the year. May God bless you and keep you near and dear to his heart in the new year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Side by Side

Those of you who don't know me well probably don't realize how much of a huge tennis fan/sports fan I am in general.

My two favorite male players over the course of the last twenty years (wow been watching tennis for awhile) are Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.

They are arguably the two best tennis athletes the sport has seen. Something that no one would dispute is both players are two of the classiest men to grace the sports world. Despite being surrounded by pompous athletes that twiddle their thumbs and collect another million or shirk being ambassadors of the sports where they make their living, these two athletes were able to compete at the highest level possible (Sampras being ranked year end number one six consecutive years--Federer nipping on his tails for this record--I believe with four under his belt) and still be model citizens. You can throw big egos out of the window. They are two of very few male athletes that I have seen cry in public, at Wimbledon.

I hope in this generation of inflated egos and inflated salaries that players will start to envelope the spirit of a Roger Federer or of a Pete Sampras. Let your game do the trash talking.

This is a message that I hope coaches will be successful in instilling in the next generation of great athletes. It seems it didn't take much hold on the current crop (Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Ron Artest, Lleyton Hewitt, Bode Miller).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Book Recommendation of the Month

We had the privilege of reading Coelho's simple yet majestic novel for our December book club meeting.

It was a breathtaking experience as you follow a shepard boy in search of his destiny. Paulo's use of symbolism throughout the story is well done, meaning not stuffed down your face like a bad Taco Bell burrito.

Any reader, regardless of religious background should be able to respect the lessons revealed through this journey. I find it difficult to discuss this book without giving away too much (especially since it is a rather short and quick read). You'll just have to take my word on this one. All of the buzz that the story has received is not without merit. It's a clean, straightforward, tale that bristles with self-discovery and teaches readers the necessity of balancing being goal-oriented and taking in all that life has to offer.

Religious buffs can apply knowledge from the Torah/Koran/Bible/Analects to this tale. Fundamentally, this is a story that everyone should read at least once and would make a great gift (should you not quite have finished your holiday shopping).
Baptism By Fire

“Too much pepper…way too much pepper,” I say as I begin my 100 meter dash to the bathroom after consuming stewed chicken gone bad--from the local West Indian restaurant.

My stomach agrees as it purges this homage to crap into the confines of my previously sparkling toilet bowl. Just get it in the toilet.

At moments like these I think how awful it must feel for Godzilla as the flames rise from her belly so she can serve up some roasted Kong. I’m sure her belly is coated properly; mine on the other hand IS NOT! I can feel every seasoning from the toxic stew as it makes its way through my system: PEPPER, salt, thyme, curry, and perhaps Adobo or paprika.

“Honey you know that you can’t eat spicy foods.” I give my wife a mental fuck you as I pant hoping the purge is complete, still too afraid to back away from the bowl.

The inspiration for this story was an incident that happened to me (the last time that I've eaten from said restaurant--LOL)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

If You Talk to Them They Will Stalk You

My girlfriend has gotten me addicted to Alexander McCall Smith's Number One Ladies Detective Agency series. I'm currently blowing through the third installment, "Morality for Beautiful Girls."

The other day I had a goal to almost finish the book so that I could dive into my businesses magazine (two edition). So I read over 60 pages on the way in. I thought if I even come close to this on the way home I'll be finished this in no time.

Now it is Christmas time. I had in my bag at that time a yellow gold and diamond necklace for my mother for Christmas valued at $1000, which I got an amazing deal on (before it shot back up on Tuesday).

So I settle down and I'm about a page into reading and the gentleman next to me says oh I didn't even realize that was in the dictionary. I'm pretty puzzled at that point. I didn't see anything vulgar. I was hoping he wasn't going to give me a speech about the N word. I had the WTF are you talking about look on my face.

He was a pretty thin black man (probably in his sixties) with salt and pepper hair. He had a cane and I think some sort of interesting hat. Well he said "morality." I go oh, yeah. Then I start getting afraid that he's going to start preaching to me about Islam or something, which I was not in the mood for. I smiled at him and tried to keep on reading.

He had none of that. He asked what I was reading. I told him and then said I loved it because of the moral system Botswanan people go by. Well he interrupted me mid-sentence.

He says I know all about it. You don't have to tell me. I was in the war and then I left this country. Those people do have morals. I traveled all over Africa. Tunisia, Morocco, Chad...East Africa...wanted to go Libya but diplomatic relations weren't good...then I went to the Sinai...

Then he says how young people don't have morals. If you misbehaved back in the day and an adult saw you they'd whoop your ass and then tell your mother and you'd get another whoopin...can't tell young folks nothing these days...they'd curse go ahead and try and see what son tried it with me and I picked up a 2x4 and hit him with it...he was 18...he looked at me like I was crazy and I hit him again...they locked me up...I'd do it again...I wish one of my kids would.

The man was very entertaining, despite keeping me from my reading. Well I got up and wished him a good day when I went to transfer to my train. He apologized for disturbing me. The express was there so I jumped on it. I was seated and just before the door closed he ran in. He didn't come and sit next to me. So I kept reading (maybe about 4 pages have been read at this point). The rest of the ride was pretty quick because I was on the express train. I took it to the last stop to catch the local. He looked like he was going to walk upstairs and low and behold he stopped.

He comes right over to me and says we are going in the same direction...if I was going past such and such neighborhood. Now I wasn't afraid. What could this man physically do to me with the exception of hitting me with his cane. I just didn't want to deal with any crazy people or get stuck up (if he was part of a team).

Well he got preoccupied by a man taping a rat eat a French fry with his cell phone. I eased on up and took a dollar van. Now if I didn't have that expensive piece of jewelry I might've waited for the train.

If you talk to them they will stalk you. I never was happier to see a New York City rat! Peace.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Women In Science

Women in Science: The Battle Moves to the Trenches

I was on the New York Times website a few minutes ago. The article above was obviously of interest to me. My girlfriend is taking up a degree in Conservation Biology, I love science (not to the same level she does--but I did receive an award at my high school graduation for my exploits in A.P. Biology and overall science skills), and it provided an opportunity for me to educate myself.

This article sounded vaguely similar to a discussion we had on our email chain about African-American lawyers. Sometimes when people think of Affirmative Action they forget that women have benifited as much from the legislation as traditional minority groups (blacks, hispanics, etc.) This is not a knock on Affirmative Action or a resounding plea for the legislation to stay in place. However, it is the recognization that people generally forget about how women benefited from the legislation despite the fact that most people view it in terms of race.

That aside I found the article informative.

"Since the 1970s, women have surged into science and engineering classes in larger and larger numbers, even at top-tier institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where half the undergraduate science majors and more than a third of the engineering students are women. Half of the nation’s medical students are women, and for decades the numbers have been rising similarly in disciplines like biology and mathematics."

I found this extremely encouraging.

"Yet studies show that women in science still routinely receive less research support than their male colleagues, and they have not reached the top academic ranks in numbers anything like their growing presence would suggest.

For example, at top-tier institutions only about 15 percent of full professors in social, behavioral or life sciences are women, “and these are the only fields in science and engineering where the proportion of women reaches into the double digits,” an expert panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences reported in September. And at each step on the academic ladder, more women than men leave science and engineering."

This is a trend that I hope some day can be reversed. I know that this is a male-dominated society. I found this result extremely troubling with the amount of women in science degree programs. Some of my best science professors have been women. I think they deserve their fair chance. I believe they will get there, because for the most part women are resilient. Each step that they climb is worthy of celebration, but until they get to the top they will not be satisfied. If you know me I say men are sprinters, women are distance athletes. Genetically they are built to outlast (see any figure on male/female death statistics). They play such an important role in our society not only as caretakers but as politicians, lawyers, doctors, academics, etc. I hope like any group that all the hard work and activism pays off, if not for our generation, for the future...

At the end of her talk, Dr. Steitz displayed a chart showing rises in the proportion of women in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty. There were few until the passage of civil rights legislation 40 years ago, when the numbers jumped a bit and then leveled off, she said. The numbers jumped again in the late 1990s after a report criticized the institute’s hiring and promotion practices as they related to women.

“We now have another plateau,” Dr. Steitz said, “and it’s my fervent hope that Larry Summers, God bless him, and the report that’s just come out will have this kind of impact.”

Ms. Imoukhouede hopes so, too. She said she was encouraged by the National Academy study — “that it could be done, and that it was taken seriously, that people would be willing to listen to women bringing up these issues.”

Meanwhile, though, she added, “I try to spend less time thinking about these perceptions and more time on my research.”

I included this last paragraph for encouragement. I am a male, a black male, and I think our country would benefit from women reaching the pinnacle of all fields--science included. While I would hardly call myself a feminist, I am a realist and I believe everyone deserves a fair opportunity to follow their dreams--as a society we must do what we can to make sure that they can. So I guess I'm not a feminist and I'm not 100% in support of Affirmative Action--but if it gets more qualified female applicants in traditionally male-dominated arenas--I'm all for it (at least while its purpose hasn't been outlived).

The future's so bright I have to wear shades!
Cyber Addiction

I know that it has been awhile since I've posted. You should be scared because I will have to make up for my lack of attention to my blog. Perhaps I have lost some of the 84 people that have viewed my blog in its short inception. I promise you bigger and better posts for 2007--(don't I sound political)?

I read this very interesting article on BusinessWeek's website this morning--titled 'Virtually Addicted.' I'll give you a short synopsis of the article:

There was a certain vet of the Vietnam War whom claims he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He'd been employed at IBM for 19 years. He was sacked as a result of a stool-pigeon that noticed his use of sexual language in an explicit chat room during office hours. IBM has basically a strict zero-tolerance policy on Internet usage. As a result, he was fired. The former employee then sued IBM stating that he had an Internet addiction.

The whole case sounded pretty cut and dry, meritless. Well that is until you delve deeper into the article. There are some experts that claim Internet addiction is a valid mental illness comparable to alcohol/narcotics addiction. In China they offer a 2 week rehabilitation for Internet addicts where you are treated for the illness.

The implication of this case stretches further than a pervert getting his rocks off. Instead it could force many insurance companies/business to alter their human resource policies to include dealing with such an issue.

At my company we don't have a zero tolerance policy. You will get a warning, and as some proponents in the article mention there is a progression of steps before you'd be fired. I still think the suit is meritless. Would you forgive a cigarette smoker for taking 20 breaks a day? Of course not. Productivity is the key. Someone that surfs the Internet can not maximize productivity or even come close to it. Manage your addiction during lunch time or during breaks--and be smart enough not to look at graphic content or type it where someone else can see it--or where it can be easily detected. This is coming from an MIS guy who really doesn't care what you do, as long as you don't compromise my network. HR obviously has other issues. And for the love of god don't have sticky keys either!

Virtually Addicted

Monday, December 04, 2006

Share With the Masses

A friend of mine that visited my blog for the first time had some interesting comments. I'm going to refer to her as KB as in Knowledge Base because of her interesting insights and because it's a play on her initials:

1. "What defines you can also destroy you."

So true

What a challenging task, to write every day. I remember in my art program that I was required to sketch every day. Sometimes I just did not feel like sketching! It's hard, I think, to make art "on cue." An artist's ideas usually come like lightning -- you never know when they are going to strike or how intense the effects will be. Like you said, an idea grips you, literally haunts you, until you unleash it. That is the intuitive power of art/artists, but I suppose one must practice to harness that power. Most of an artist's life is exercise -- until those flashes of wisdom and talent come together to make a masterpiece. Writing (painting, drawing, photographing, dancing, singing, what have you) every day is a lot like an athlete's workout or a prize fighter's drills -- you are indeed working those artistic muscles to unleash the best blow possible.

Keep it up -- from what I can tell, you do have a gift.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pay Day

There's something so wonderful yet sinister about pay day. When you first start working and don't have responsibilities it is the best day. You get to go out and shop to you drop or bar hop, or whatever floats your boat. I try to treat myself to a pricey lunch and a bottle of wine these days (perhaps an expensive pair of underwear if a visit to/from Al is on the horizon).

That's all the fun that I can have before I start paying bills, which I now leave until Friday so I can feel a little more optimistic about pay day--though I broke the rule and paid everything early this morning before getting to work. I make a generous salary, but by the time taxes have their way with me I feel more like a pauper than a prince. I see all of these people driving fancy cars with smiles on their faces that I know make less than me. Now some of those smiles are because they don't have real responsibilities, or can make 20K a year and piss off their money while mommy and daddy pay their bills, or maybe they are living it up before the wall of debt comes crashing down on them.

Now I know after I graduate from a business school I'll be able to afford some trinkets, if I get anywhere near the average 2006 starting salary for MBAs 92K (which I'm nowhere close to if you're speculating).

So now the bills are paid, my checking account is looking bloated before I withdraw money for a Metrocard (don't ask), the landlord takes the rent money, I pay for food, etc. By tomorrow my account will have gone on a severe diet (making me wonder if there was really any money in there in the first place). Money needs to be set aside for Christmas gifts and birthdays (which is sad and gratifying at the same time). Tomorrow I'll be consumed about when I get paid next, LOL. It's a vicious cycle of getting paid and then being broke until next time, LOL.

Realize that this isn't a woe is me post. I don't want sympathy. I think I've come along way and Uncle Sam is a lot fatter than he was than when I was making $4.25/hr (and so am I).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Recommendation of the Month

We are drawing close to the end of National Blog Month, and the end of my daily posts (which is somewhat of a relief). It's been difficult for me to come up with something each day that I felt was worthy of being read.

I'm an avid reader. I will read just about any genre of fiction (even sci-fi--which still isn't my favorite). That just made T cringe (he's convinced that I love sci-fi). Of the books that I've read in November one really stood out, the Nature of Blood by Caryl Philips).

It delves into two topics that have been discussed frequently in many books, race and religion. However, these two subjects never get old for me. Especially, if they are discussed from different perspectives. I can jump into a debate about either topic, being a black man and the product of a Christian/Muslim upbringing. I've taken a Philosophy of Religion class. Enough with my qualifications.

The book in its fragmented style deals with several characters spanning from the Middle Ages to the aftermath of the Holocaust. Philips takes you through Othello's shoes, through the shoes of Italian Jews that are persecuted by Christians, through the demise of a Jewish family torn apart by hatred (Holocaust)...

You don't feel like a stranger peering into someone else's life. You are walking alongside each character. You are being beaten and prodded, you share in the characters joy and pain. You become invested in each character. You never grow tired or feel depressed, there's no time too. Philips moves back and forth between different storylines within chapter masterfully. You must always be on your Ps and Qs to know when the storyline has shifted to a new or recurring character. It's like being at a bar with a blindfold on, not knowing what drink is going to be set before you. You take a taste and your brain processes a new taste or something familiar. This style was very effective. I've seen other author's use it and not be so successful, leaving the reader feeling confused and possibly angry about the shifting viewpoints.

Philips handling of the subject matter was phenomenal. He isn't preachy, which is often the case with books about religion and/or race. His points are made subtly by the characters, leaving you to form your own opinions.

I would not have had the opportunity to read such a divine work of art without the recommendation and loaning of said title by a dear friend (phenomenal writer--soon to be graduate of an MFA program). I won't say her name, but she carries quite a bit of freckles and we have known each other since the tale end of high school.

I give this title my highest recommendation (Chicken Wings with Beef Fried Rice, LOL). I'm sure you'll enjoy it too if you give it a chance.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What Defines You Can Also Destroy You

I realize at times I'm infected by a disease. Relax people, I'm talking figuratively not literally. I'm not walking around with the clap or worse yet the monster. My disease is my imagination.

Now that might seem a bit odd to express one's imagination in such a derogatory way. Sometimes allowing your mind to wander can cause problems, like bumping into poles, buildings, or small children (which luckily I haven't experienced). What defines you can also destroy you.

Last night I had a story in my mind that wouldn't die. It consumed me until I took out my laptop and scribbled it down. I felt enslaved to my craft, which hasn't happened before. The worse part of this disease that comes and goes is it impairs my ability to finish longer pieces. Why? Because when I start and get sixty or maybe two-hundred pages into a story I lose interest. Why? Because another story is brewing! Another story that grasps my attention and leaves me with yet another unfinished project.

What defines you can also destroy you.

I have two of my better pieces (consensus amongst those who have read enough of my work to make such a claim) currently sitting on the back burner. One a novella, the other a full fledged novel. I think they're brilliant, but my mind has been preoccupied with getting out my application, reading fiction, and writing shorter pieces (which don't rely on my ability to focus)...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Splattered With Nonsense

This experimental ditty fought to come out tonight. So who was I to deny it?

Splattered With Nonsense
JT 11/27/06

Tangerine, navy blue, jade, cotton, and black. These colors drain before my very eyes from a source unbeknown. Crimson, turquoise, sienna, and indigo dance before me in a perfect tantalizing rhythm.

I wish I had a canvas and an adequate brush so that I could capture their essence correctly. I’d dip my brush in and give the canvas life. I can see myself wildly working at it. Oh how I’d let my hands be free splattering the world with so much color it couldn’t handle.

A stroke should not be confined. No. It has a mind of its own. Yes, stroke thickly and sometimes thin. Don’t allow constraints to limit you my pupil.

Oh how he works at it like a teenager in his first piece of pussy. My boy you will learn not to jab so hard with your erect wrist. Loosen it boy and quit being so frigid. You must learn to control the talent. It will come over time I suppose. Otherwise you will be considered a bad lover.

I feel helpless. You see I am a mute. My words are conveyed through my pen. I too see the wall of colors. My canvas is a pen and a pad. I’m grateful to never have spoken. I see the world in a way that few have and I’m not sure I could articulate it anyway. Otherwise I’d be taken for crazy and overzealous, or perhaps a pompous jackass.

The kid’s no artist right now. He’ll be some day. I’m sure he’ll master his art before he masters control of his dick, lest my nightly prayers go unanswered. Otherwise you’ll never see clearly with your pubescent nostrils consumed with the smell of women.
Why Prostitutes Should Not Be Allowed To Address The Media!

So there seems to be a possible serial killer in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I'm scheduled to visit this seedy part of town on the 15th. I've never been to Atlantic City myself, but I've heard tons about drug addicts, prostitutes, and the normal crime factions that attach themselves to the casino world.

Please click on the link below for more information about the recent events in Atlantic City. Notice there isn't much about forensics, but mostly of the concerns of some streetwalkers that tragically are hilarious in the way that they discuss coping with the current issue. Please bear in mind that I think the whole situation needs to be resolved immediately. However, I couldn't help laughing at the hookers.

Atlantic City Serial Killer
The Monday Aftermath

I just want to give props to my girlfriend's cousin (who we'll call Marie). She asked where I was on Thanksgiving. I think we've bonded the last two times that we've met. I think especially because I'm mindful of Marie's background. She has ADD because of the sins of her parent.

She is so tiny, but she is one of the most athletic children I've ever seen. She throws a baseball harder than most men. The first time that we met I decided against catch, for fear of being layed out by one of her fastballs (and humiliated on my first visit to the fine Deborah establishement). You see I had some work done on my teeth last year to fix a small problem, cosmetic dentistry! So I tend to avoid anything that might compromise my new appealing smile.

That didn't mean we couldn't have fun. I aimed to tire her out in the pool. We raced back and forth and played all kinds of games. I've been swimming since I was six. While I don't have textbook form I can hold my own in a pool (I could have it if I bent my elbows a bit more). Despite such form issues I can handle swimming underwater, can backstroke, and can swim freestyle, and can even flirt with the butterfly and breast strokes. So I did my best to tire out Marie. I think I suceeded too.

That was July 4th 2005. During July 4th 2006 Marie came over. The only problem was there was torrential rain. I didn't think she'd remember me, but she did. She seemed much more mature over the course of the year. I am pretty good with children from dealing with my two nieces and nephews and slew of cousins.

Anyway I was at home in New York having Thanksgiving with my family. Marie asked where is Jam, he said he wanted to watch this movie on July 4th and I brought it for him to watch (on her portable DVD). That really made me smile.

On other news I have offically applied for entrance in the Babson Fast Track MBA Program. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How about those Jets!

Things are finally getting back to normal around my house.

We've gotten rid of most of the Thanksgiving left-overs. There are only two of us in the house (and I've spent Sunday doing a bit of work). Now I'm watching football and hoping that I can win this week's football pool. Hopefully New England will keep me in contention (by upsetting the Bears). Sadly we can't watch the game, because we have to watch the Giants maul the Titans (hopefully). Too bad the game isn't on Sunday Night Football.

Most Overrated players in the NFL this season:
1. Micheal Vick
2. Plaxico Burress
3. John Roethlisberger
4. Jake Plummer
5. Eli Manning
HM Reggie Bush

Most Underrated Players
1. Drew Brees
2. Philip Rivers
3. Chad Pennington
4. Rex Grossman
5. The whole 49ers squad (who would of thought)
HM Seneca Wallace/Tiki Barber/LaDamian Tomlinson (this kid is a freak of nature)

Boy 4 days can really fly!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I'm feeling particulary inspired today. I've written another short. I hope you enjoy.

Tales From the Sixth Grade Lunchroom
BY J.T. 11/25/06

I watched Sybil from the opposite side of the lunch table. She didn’t look so mean to me. I was careful not to make eye contact. Lakisha told me she’d be liable to kick my ass if she thought I was staring her down. I’m not afraid of her, but I’m new here and I don’t want no trouble.

There’s been a lot of talk about this junior high school, ‘specially about all the juvenile delinquents that go here. Momma couldn’t afford Xavier Childs anymore after she got laid off. I told her that I understood. Besides I wasn’t Catholic anyway. I’m Baptist. Mass was kind of boring, though I didn’t let on.

Lakisha nudged me when Sybil got up from the table. “She looking pretty pissed of Valerie…damn girl don’t stare at her. I told you she liable to smack the black of you if she catch you staring…I’m telling you from experience.”

I don’t know what possessed me, but I got up too. I knew she was heading towards the snack line. I wanted to see how she was for myself. Lakisha just sucked her teeth when I got up. “You go right ahead, Val, I’ll notify your next of kin.”

I kind of rushed so I was standing right behind Sybil. She was pretty tall for the 6th grade, taller than most of the boys. She still hadn’t shed all of her baby fat either. Her cheeks proved that. Sybil had some pretty extensions. Must have been human hair too.

I touched my own hair out of habit. Momma couldn’t afford for me to go to the beauty parlor no more so I let my older cousin Lillian do it for me. She permed it too. Momma wasn’t so happy about that, but I was. The relaxer burned, but my hair looked so cute after it was done. I don’t really have to do much with it anymore. I just throw it in a ponytail and keep it moving.

I was standing right behind Sybil when she got her ice cream. Lakisha told me she was liable to steal people’s money to finance her ice cream habit. So standing right behind her made me really nervous. After she bought her toasted almond bar she turned right around and looked me in the face.

Well I was pretty scared. I was hoping she didn’t clock me too hard, but I played it off real cool. She was about three inches taller than me, me being 5’5”. I was used to fighting my male cousins so I figured I could rumble with her if it went that far.

She was prettier than I expected, with the mean wiped off her face. She peeled back the ice cream and ate it, as though she was waiting for a friend.

I asked for strawberry shortcake and put my change in my pocket. Then she stopped staring. I followed behind her. She walked a few feet before turning around. “Catholic Girl watch your back. These bitches in here jealous. If anybody bother you let me know and I’ll fuck ‘em up.”

I was completely caught off guard. So much so that I couldn’t speak. Sybil just laughed and walked back towards the lunch table.
I finished my ice cream in peace, beside Lakisha asking me what Sybil had said to me. I didn’t really know what made me do it, but I got up and went to sit with Sybil.

Lakisha’s jaw dropped. I’m sure everyone elses did too, ‘cept Sybil. She just welcomed her new recruit.

Lakisha mouthed to me from across the table that it was a setup. She didn’t trust Sybil as far as she could throw her. Maybe that or she was jealous that I had found another friend.

I followed behind Sybil like a lost puppy. We were walking up the stairs when Cynthia Nunez dropped her books and her posse came towards me. “Yo Catholic Girl why you skip me in the lunch line. I should fuck you up.”

The crowd oohed and aahed.

I handed my books to Sybil. Sybil handed them towards Lakisha. Lakisha dropped them on the floor and was ready to rumble.

I stepped forward. “I don’t know who you are or what you are talking about, but I didn’t skip nobody in no line.”

Cynthia stepped up, “Act like you want it Catholic Girl.” She threw up her hands.

Sybil said to me, “Whoop that bitches ass Catholic Girl.” And that’s exactly what I did. I whooped her ass in the stairwell and nobody was going to jump in knowing that Sybil had my back.

I grabbed hold of her and started throwing hailmakers. She was getting hit so much and so hard that she just covered her face. I grabbed her by her hair and flung her into the wall. “I skipped you bitch?”

Lakisha and Sybil pulled me off her. Sybil threw her arm around me (as she ushered me upstairs. “You ain’t no joke Catholic Girl…You ain’t no joke.”

We walked off into the sunset leaving Cynthia’s posse to lick her wounds (and no doubt to plot revenge).
Sometimes I feel the need to flex my writing muscles.

I've been concentrating on my application and haven't had much time to write lately, so I'm going to write an impromptu short:

"I prefer Yellow Tail," Agatha whispered into the ear of her would-be lover. She could feel the animal magnetism. Evidently he could too. She could see the bulge in his pants and the hairs on his neck stood on ends.

Jeremy, that's what he called himself. Nothing particularly special about him Agatha thought. She was feeling particularly predatory tonight and this little lamb presented himself towards the slaughter. She licked her lips, knowing she could already taste his sacrifice. She'd fuck him and maybe even let him spend the night if he showed himself worthy.

Jeremy's eyes showed that he was overpowered by her spell. Those slanted eyes, curly eyelashes, and pouty lips were a lethal combination. Her raspy voice added to her allure. That and her tight plump ass and supple breasts.

The suitor gulped and ran his hand along the shelf trying to lock onto Yellow Tail. She grabbed his hand and slid it down two rows. He gulped again, grabbed the bottle, and then her hand.

She let out a smile and allowed him to think that he was the one in control. When she gave her body up, even for a one night stand it was always her choice. Most men thought their game was responsible, or perhaps too much alcohol. When in fact she was a nympho trying to satisfy her urges with the nearest attractive penis that passed her way...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Spread the Knowledge

I personally think there isn't a moment that a child should not be learning. They have the ability to absorb information at rates that adults dream of. This doesn't mean that learning should be devoid of fun. You can learn while playing basketball, a board game, during just about anything (wink, LOL).

I've just played learning games with my two nieces and my nephew. Most of the conversation was dominated by the eight and ten year old.

The gauntlet of subjects included a very interesting discussion of religion (to which they grilled me), the Civil War, the American Revolution, tectonic plates, etc.

More than anything I find that this learning process is mutually beneficial. I have learned things from children that I haven't from adults. I've also been refreshed on topics that I haven't thought about in years.

My greatest goal is to make sure that I can keep the children open-minded, as I try to be myself. They don't need their minds cluttered with misconceptions from adults. I'd prefer if they are close-minded (as they age), perish the thought, that it results from their own experiences and not those of parents, family members, television, or friends.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

All the hard work...

I got home last night a bit tipsy from the powerful frozen Long Island Iced Tea from BBQs. I just didn't feel up to cooking. I talked to Al twice and then I passed out. I was supposed to get up by 2, but I couldn't get myself up. Luckily I had done some prep work before I fell asleep. I made sure the turkey and chicken were defrosted. I put on the potatoes and sweet potatoes.

I bounced up at 4--cleaned the turkey and got it on by 4:30. The chicken was in the oven by 5:00. I went back to sleep for an hour, woke up basted the birds and then fell back asleep for another hour. By that time mom was up. I went to defend my territory, so to speak, LOL. It wasn't necessary. She was amazing--stayed out of the way for the most part.

The turkey was done by 10:30 (17.34 lbs). I put the yams on made the potato salad and then passed back out until 2.

I'm sure I've had a full nights sleep. The food looks great. The family probably won't get here until 6. I've already had spiked egg nog so it isn't as much of a concern.

Hope your thanksgiving was amazing!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ode to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I might bitch and moan as the grocery bills mount up and the alcohol bill, but it is worth it. I'm a pretty good cook. I usually don't cook much during the year. Thanksgiving is the exception, however.

My mother asked my nephew what he was most looking forward to eating this year and he said candied yams and turkey, both of which I make. Mom does the heavy duty cooking, as she feels it is her holiday so I relent so that there is peace under our roof. She started yesterday. She should be finished making lasagna, collard greens, baked macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, and some other tasty treats by the time I get home. Then it's my shift.

I stick to making the aforementioned yams and turkey (which always gets applause), potato salad (which I only make once a year--twice if I do it for Christmas--or if someone requests it for a dinner), and some twin chickens (as some people prefer to chicken to turkey).

I might bake a cake or make some blueberry corn bread, complements of Jiffy.

The ritual will begin tonight with much to do about dicing and slicing and proper "slightly anal retentive" potato and sweet potato measurements. I toss measuring cups out of the window. I've been cooking since I was ten so I can pretty much play it by ear, as I'm pretty good with figuring out what's a cup, half-cup, etc. Come on people--in the olden days everyone played it by ear. And we know the old folks can generally throw down when it comes to cooking. (Though I'm sure they prefer modern inventions like a slicer, bread machines, microwaves, ovens, LOL). Okay now I'm just being silly.

Enjoy your holidays!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I'm not a parent. I hope to be some day.

This morning as I rode in the dollar van towards the Utica Avenue train station--the driver had his radio tuned to Air America. I've noticed most of the Caribbean dollar van drivers seem extremely conscious of the political scope of this country and abroad. I always enjoy listening to the discussions that they have with their fellow passengers or just to hear the topics being discussed on the radio.

This morning's topic was about parenting. Specifically, it was about whether bad parents should be required to attend parenting classes by good parents. When you first hear a topic like this--you get sucked in. It sounds logical. Lets see what others think about it.

One caller said that bad parents would be concerned that if they attended such a class they would risk having their children taken away or having to deal with ACS. I though wow that's a valid concern.

Another caller said bad parents are a result of how restrictive this country is in terms of the ability of a parent to discipline a child without ACS being called. He said that back in the days parents were better parents because they didn't have such limits. I thought to myself well that sounds logical. Well the host tore into him. She said what he is doing is called revisionist history. She said there were bad parents 40 years ago. There are bad parents now. And that proof of this is the current crop of bad parents, that are proof that they were taught their bad ways by their bad parents (cyclical).

Another caller said that he noticed good parents are more involved. Again I thought okay, but what does he mean by involved. Well finally I was exercising a bit of caution before I agreed with what seemed like a logical statement. The two hosts both asked what does involved mean. So he goes on to say how he's involved in his child's academic and social life...well I'm sure he thought he was going to get a pat on the back. He goes on to say that bad parents are not involved. I'm mentally cringing at this point (due to the sweeping generalization). He was taken to task. The female host said to him that a good parent can have bad children (something he clearly hadn't considered). She said you could have a child that was "good" until they were 16 and then get caught up in the neighborhood or date a thug and then everything could go downhill. This I definitely agreed with. Parenting is a function of two environments, internal and external. Then you throw in this thing called the rebelliousness of youth and as the host said it is a crap shoot. Parenting is a crap shoot. I completely agreed.

I'll close this post with the final thought that I heard before I left the van. The female host said she has a sister that has children. The children were all good. They've had children that are now good. So she asked her sister for advice for raising her daughter, Cassie. Her sister says all you can do is show them love.

That's simple. Show them love.

It makes me think of parenting like taking care of a plant. You water it, nourish it, make sure it has light and hope that it thrives in its environment. You show it love and attention. Sometimes it might be lush and green. Other times it might look as though it will wither and die. Just never give up on it. That's what being a parent means to me, you'll never give up!

Monday, November 20, 2006

No Child Left Behind

This double posting is courtesy of the article that I just read:
No Child Left Behind

I found this article particularly disturbing. Especially because I know that people may come to the conclusion that Black students are inferior to Asian and White students based on sheer numbers. That is a misconception that it has taken many years to disprove. There was a time at the turn of the twentieth century where we were thought to have smaller brains. I suppose those who are looking for justifications based on numbers surely have ammunition if they incorrectly analyze the data.

I have many friends that are educators and they will back me up when I say that No Child Left Behind is flawed in it's logic. While the legislation's goal is to decrease the achievement gaps between whites and minorities based on tougher standards it is not taking into account why minorities are doing poorer on standardized exams. This blog isn't about making excuses. I would love it if ten years from now we could put W. on a pedestal (for one thing at least, LOL) and say that he took the first of many steps to address such issues. I'm not sure I'm confident that will be the case.

Instead I would like to ask to see numbers based on socio-economic level instead of on race. I would venture to say that minorities that are at similar socioeconomic levels with their white counterparts do as well in school. It's all about opportunities.

In the past fifty years we've seen Brown vs. Board of Education, Topeka Kansas (1954) strike down separate-but-equal institutions. We are in a country that some experts say is more segregated now than it has ever been. Has the quality of education improved? Not at all. Integration was supposed to bring about opportunities.

Why do you W. think that you can solve problems that we have been unable to resolve in 50 years in ten?

You want to see minorities do better in school? Then pump more money into their school systems. Even in New York we needed lawsuits to see City children get their money's worth. The children from the suburbs upstate were disproportionately rewarded with state funds while those in the city that really needed it weren't privy to it. There was speculation for years, but someone unveiled it. People like Mayor Bloomberg and Eliot Spitzer fought for the money. Now we'll see what that 1 billion dollars can do for us. Why were the children doing better upstate? They had more resources, of course.

If you are amongst the group that think minority students are inferior I'd like to invite you to A. Philip Randolph High School. It's nationally recognized. It's a public school. Over 94% of the students go on to college. It's an engineering/medical high school in Harlem. Students are recruited by every major college in the country. The standards are so high that we were told to apply to schools where our averages might be lower than the recommended guidelines. Because we went to Randolph of course. Because we had went to Randolph.

Show them the money and I'll show you results!
MBA Application Status

I feel extremely productive in that I've completed all four of my essays. I have one recommendation and I'm awaiting the second one by the beginning of next week.

That just leaves me to fill out the application itself, which shouldn't take that long, and to revise my resume. I'm feeling pretty on top of things right now. This is all extremely funny to me considering I'm Captain Procrastinator.

I guess when you want something it shows.

On another note I'm considering registering for a writers workshop before I begin school. I'm not interested in a MFA program. I'd like to fine tune some of my writing. I think I have the raw materials down, which is why it would be funny for me to take a beginners workshop. I hate structure. I'm from the Stephen King school of writing to get it down on paper (your ideas) and then refining. I've tried the structured approach and all it seems to leave me with is writer's block. I've read so many books on writing it's not even funny. Perhaps I'll take a look at an intermediate course. Okay I'm rambling. I'm waiting for the server to finish formatting a drive so I can do a backup to it and then leave for the day.

Thanksgiving is only three days away!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Yesterday we were supposed to see the new James Bond movie Casino Royale. However, the tickets were sold out when we went to the theater. Luckily, there was another movie that Al and I both wanted to see, Borat. I have watched many Ali G episodes. I find the show hilarious, because it is in bad taste. Come on people you can't take life so serious all the time.

That's the same message I have for everyone that was offended by the Borat movie. It was hilarious, from start to finish. In fact, I think the Borat character is funnier in the movie than it is on the television show. I'm thinking it is because there's time to fully develop the character instead of just seeing Borat in a short yet amusing skit. I love that the movie went after just about every ethnic group. There was a lot of cackling in that movie theater, some from me, but a lot from the entire audience. In fact, I didn't see anyone not enjoying the movie.

I'm not going to go into details about the movie, in case you haven't seen it yet. Just know that it is well worth the hype (even though I might be traumatized--as Pam Anderson should also be, LOL).

Highly Recommended!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Bus Rides Gone Bad

I don't know what the hell is going on with Port Authority or South Station lately. Before they were organized. Buses really left on schedule. Lately it's like someone is playing a dart game. Whenever the dart hits the board a bus leaves. It could be an hour later than the "schedule" says it should.

I tend to get very aggravated with the slackness. The ride to New York from Boston, or vice versa, is typically 4.5 hours. I was spoiled when I first started taking the bus. It would take four hours with a break in between. The buses left on schedule.

I've been blessed with an eletrical fire, a driver that didn't know where the hell she was going (I hope she was fired), 7.5 hour trips, and crotchety drivers. Most of the drivers are pretty nice. Even when we had a newby that didn't know how to navigate the mean streets of New York the riders directed her, as the person that was commissioned to teach her the route was clueless. He would've sent us back to the Bronx. Hell no. You get a bunch of New Yorkers that are hungry and tired and you get cooperation. Nobody bitched. They helped. I think that was the last bus ride that was close to schedule that I was on. I should clarify. That means according to time. The bus left almost two hours after the schedule suggested it would.

If they weren't providing such cheap fares I'd probably switch to the train. It lets me have more money to spend on mi novia.

Hasta manana!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Giddy Day

I'm completely exhausted today. I'm going up to visit Al in Mass. The lord held off the rain last night long enough for me to do some laundry and get home before the deluge began.

I was too exhausted to pack last night so I did it this morning, while watching the World ATP Tennis Championships in Shanghai.

I have packing down to a science. If I really put in an effort I can neatly pack my bag in about 15 minutes. If I'm a bit of a disaster it can take two hours.

Luckily today wasn't one of those days.

I'm sleepy and in need of nourishment and I'm now leaving to grab a bite before I tackle the 4.5 hour journey to South Station.

But I'm giddy, LOL, I wonder why?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What a Fall!

I don't know if it is the effects of Global Warming or just some irregular weather pattern, but it is definitely abnormally warm for this time of year (didn't know there were alternative theories on global warming until about a month ago). I'm not complaining, but I think it is throwing my sense of timing out of wack. I noticed that the leaves in New York started changing colors nearly a month after they usually do.

I haven't had to wear a sweater at all this year. The hat, scarf, and gloves have yet to make an appearance. Besides some murky weather there hasn't been anything to complain about weatherwise. Instead I don a baseball cap, which is funny, because I'm not a big hat person. I have noticed more people getting sick than usual. My mother told me not to change with the weather and so I won't rock a spring jacket. I wear my wool black coat, it might be open, LOL, but I wear it nevertheless.

Though it would feel strange for me to be able to walk out of my house on Thanksgiving without it being cold, I'm certainly enjoying the weather.

Ice caps forgive me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thank You Jesus

I said a little prayer and it was answered. If you've been following my blog or know me personally you know that we've been having some problems with the new switches of death. Well I was slightly panicking as our Network Administrator is currently in the process of closing on a lovely new house in Orange County. Which means I knew if this problem wasn't taken care of, the WHOLE NETWORK WAS DOWN FOR #)*_*_ HOURS, that I was going to inherit the headache, as usual. Well we've patched it and it is working (temporarily) until reinforcements are ordered. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the next couple of weeks.

Say a little prayer for me! Forever...forever...say a little prayer for me! Note the ellipsis is because I can't remember the words to the song, LOL.

Peace be with you.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Switch Why Doth Thou Mock Me?

Today hasn't been the best working day of my life. I was on a high from yesterday after I received a glowing recommendation from our CFO (my boss and all around good guy) for the graduate program I'm applying to. I actually sat down and wrote the second of three required essays (to which my body utterly revolted in the form of a tension headache). That aside I had a very productive day.

However, today was quite a different story. Those damn networking switches that we put up on Friday are evil. They've been giving us problems since they were installed, well they were giving Kwesi problems prior to today. He was out today, which meant my backup duties kicked in-without a cape and tights.

If Superman's weakness is Kryptonite, mine is Dell PowerConnect Switches. These darling little switches openly mock me with amber and green lights. "Plug in another port why don't you." "Try a different cable." And then they laugh at me as they broadcast your an idiot to all of the ports.

Luckily, the problem is only affecting three of my coworkers, who have been unable to work all day. Went to the Dell support website, no help.

I was this close to thrashing the switches before I realized that I would probably end up in a mental institution.

I believe we have a spare and that one will be employed tomorrow. Then I will mock you--trifling switch that must be returned to Dell. You'll be decomissioned or refurbished to torment some other sucker!

Can you feel the madness? LOL

Hasta Luego!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Longest (Coolest) Day Ever

I was initially scheduled to head to Mass. on Saturday, but plans changed, and then changed back again on Saturday night. So I proceeded to travel up to Mass. to celebrate with Al and a bunch of her Smithies for Rachel's belated 25th birthday celebration.

My day begun at 8:00. I got ready and traveled to meet Melu at her house. I figured when they said we were all meeting at 10:00 we'd be leaving at 12, because I'm smart like that. I got there early, even though my trains were all screwed up. I went to McDonald's for breakfast, which hasn't happened in awhile. I had my first McGriddle, egg and cheese. I timed myself. I went in at 9:55, inhaled the sandwich, hash brown, orange juice, and waited online and got food and still was out of there by 10:10. Now I know why the strange man was staring at me. I've been known to eat like a savage at times, so says my coworker Kwesi and my brother.

I got to the house and waited around for everyone to show-up. We went and got bagels and rambled around and low and behold pulled out around 12!

We had a great group and we had a blast on the car ride up. I swear we sounded like an improv group.

We got lost on our way to Cambridge but somehow ended up randomly running into Fire and Ice. There was a point where I go the buildings look old--we are close--and I remembered the circle where Al and I have been lost before (I think).

Anyway we have a great time (and I got to see Al and Amy and 2xE and Ash and a bunch of wonderful people--especially Rachel). The food was amazing, the drinks were amazing, the dessert was amazing. Okay I think that I have used up my quota of amazing for the month.

Al and I spent about five minutes with her trying to lift me and me showing off some self-defense skills. And people looked at us like yeah they are a very special couple. This was after drunken talks about the beauty of mixing aka tan babies.

We left around 9. Got lost again after we trailed Al, LOL, and then finally stuck on 95 until we got to NY.

I was in my bed by 1. I'd absolutely do it again!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Life Imitates Art

I know we are accustomed to art imitating life, but the Klitschko brothers, especially Wladamir reinvents the rule.

He reminds me so much of Ivan Drago from Rocky 4.

First of all he is physically imposing at 6'6" and 240 lbs. He's originally from Kiev, Ukraine. He's extremely intelligent.

Actually both he and his brother Vitaly possess advanced degrees. I know offhand that Wladimir possesses a doctorate in Philosophy. He's also one of the heavyweight champions of the world.

I just watched him annihilate Calvin Brock, another of the skilled American boxers that doesn't quite live up to the legacy of great American heavyweights. Regardless, he gave it his all and he was giving his calling card in the 7th round with a brutal combination. Klitschko's nickname "the Sledgehammer" seems to be pretty accurate.

I'm still waiting for the next great American heavyweight, it's been awhile. But, right now and for the last few years I've adopted the Brothers Klitschko. And since only one is actively fighting I will cheer on the Sledgehammer with all of my American pride.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Black Ghost

Trickles of sweat roll down my brow. I looked down at my Fossil, out of habit, and then at the time on the elliptical machine. Seven minutes, typical. This is the moment at the gym that kind of makes me feel like a freak. After about seven minutes of aerobic activity I begin to work up a sweat, which is the point of aerobic activity, isn't it?

Well not when it makes you look like a freak. Because it starts with a trickle, and then the river breaks from the dam and has its way with my body. I could put out a fire. I'm serious. No exaggerating here.

And if I'm lucky and forget to constantly wipe away the perspiration, which impairs my vision and burns when it dries, I take on the complexion of a black ghost. The only bad thing about being a black ghost is you can't disappear. You just have to pay attention to finishing your workout and never, ever, make eye contact.

This is an impromptu story, clearly based on me. I guess I shouldn't complain about looking like a black ghost. I can burn more calories in ten minutes than the average person can working out for an hour. I guess it's a blessing and a curse. With that my double posting Saturday concludes.
Karoake Saturday

You know that you are in a good mood when you begin your day singing a handful of notes which your voice might or might not be able to handle. Now this was remarkable considering I worked until eleven last night and got in at about 12:30. Well that might explain why I woke up at 7 and then turned back over and slept like a baby until a quarter to 11.

Saturday is generally my day to refresh my batteries. If I haven't gone out the night before and I don't have anything on the agenda my typical morning may involve some exercise, watching the Best Week Ever, and VH1's Top Twenty Countdown. I usually wakeup around ten.

Today I continued singing, because bad singing isn't just meant for the shower--it should be shared. The funny thing is if I choose to I can carry a tune, from all the years in chorus, but what fun is that? I want to belt out an expression of my mood. I wonder what my neighbors think, probably something along the lines of "here we go again."

There was a Diva who used to live in the building across the alley from me. I think she was an aspiring singer. Well she would treat us to an impromptu concert, belting like she was auditioning for a gospel choir--screeching and all. She tended to open the window. And her pitch was so wild that it made you want to kill yourself. Now what made that sad was she really took herself seriously. For an hour a day we were "treated" to the concert. Eventually it became comedic.

I don't take myself quite that serious, and thank god neighbors that I don't have that type of range. My singing is for me, not for the public.

All this typing is prime singing time...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Slightly Hungover Friday

Britannica defines hangover as:

Main Entry: hang·over
Pronunciation: 'ha[ng]-"O-v&r
Function: noun
1 : something (as a surviving custom) that remains from what is past
2 a : disagreeable physical effects following heavy consumption of alcohol or the use of drugs b : a letdown following great excitement or excess

I don't drink nearly as much as I used to when I was younger, which makes my liver a happy camper. Yesterday we took out one of my coworkers (and good friends) to reward her for all of her hardwork in the redesign of our science database product. Well I usually only go to have just a drink, but my coworkers love to see me drink. I hear "What are you having?" as soon as I step foot in the bar. Well I had about four beers and two cocktails by the end of the night, thanks to the generosity of these splendid people. I did buy a round, don't think I'm completely opportunistic. I'll probably get them the next time around.

Anyway, I'm in a good mood, but I feel like I'm dragging a bit. I just chugged some water. I need to get something to eat soon. And I have to work late!

At least I have a story concept that came to mind today:
Kind of Mission Impossible type scenario. Imagine a team composed of a programmer and two car enthusiast (one that works at a dealership--the other a casual follower of all the ins and outs of the automotive industry). Their objective is to prank MotoTrend Readers (or in this case website viewers) into believing that one of the contenders for the 2020 Car/SUV/Truck of the Year really won, before Mototrend releases the information. ***Note MotoTrend will be used instead of MotorTrend***

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Tale of the Two Taras

I have two friends that I've known since 1999, both with the name Tara, with two very different personalities. They are affectionately known as T1 and T2. I met T1 first. She is quite the character and I love her for her crazy ways. She has such an interesting perspective on the world. She's quite witty and loves to have a good time (hope your husband isn't reading this, LOL). She was the first person to really extend herself to me when I was hired as an intern. In fact she made me take off my headphones and talk to her. She barraged me with a bunch of questions, as T1 can speak extremely quick when she gets excited, and got to know me very quickly (and we built a very solid friendship)--even though she left the company about a year after we started working together.

I met T2 about four months later. She took a job in the Customer Service department of my company, the two Taras were the best reps, hands down. T2 is extremely artistic. She has the best laugh. She's definitely one of those people that you love to get her take on what's going on around, because she's quite insightful and she'll tell you like it is, if you are close to her. She's moved on to become a wonderful Graphic Designer, because she rocks.

Well we all decided that we were going to the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA.
It was at its temporary location in Long Island City in Queens while the Manhattan location was being renovated. We went to see the Matisse Picasso exhibit. T2 is so knowledgeable about art. I had never been to MoMA before. The Taras would have none of that. They knew I'd always wanted to go, but was a bit hesitant because I'm not the most knowledgeable person about art. I've been to a few galleries and I have a layman's appreciation with a sprinkling of knowledge about Art from history classes.

First of all the line to get into MoMA was way down the block. The Matisse Picasso exhibit was heavily anticipated. I was so excited. Because we had T2's knowledge on both artists we didn't need a tour. She was just brilliant. I think MoMA should hire her to give tours in fact.

Well the three of us have a blast anywhere we go. Especially because the three of us tend to misbehave and have very interesting takes on people and paintings. There is the conventional viewpoint on a painting and then there's my or T1's or T2's unconventional hysterical viewpoint. Let's just say there was plenty of snickering that day. And I'm sure we got our share of looks. I know a security guards was particularly amused by our antics.

Nevertheless, we still had a great opportunity to view the Matisse Picasso paintings. T2 gave us fabulous insights into the time period, the artist, etc. Actually, it was pretty funny because she would tell us something and then you would either see people trying to listen, probably thinking she was conducting a tour, or hear a tour guide basically repeat what she had just told us.

I loved the exhibit. I loved MoMA. I haven't been back since. I always think of the Taras whenever MoMA or Matisse or Picasso are mentioned. And I will only think of T1 when I see splatter paint, LOL.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Off With Their Heads

This will probably be the last political type blog from me for awhile. However, I am very happy that Americans have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a change in the political direction that our glorious nation shall proceed in.

Of course this is my optimism bubbling over. It was nice to even see that W. realized what the implications of the election results, to the downfall of Donald Rumsfeld, whom I feel a tad bit sorry for, in that he is clearly a scapegoat. Everyone has joined the bandwagon that says the problems in Iraq should be blamed on our former Secretary of Defense.

While I believe Rumsfeld deserves some of the blame, I also believe he articulated the policies that were dictated to him by the Bush administration (which was supported by some Republicans--a house very much divided at the moment). Lets see what the new chap, Robert Gates, will bring to the office. I suspect more covert operations and more of the same bullshit that we've been accustomed to.

Alas, I must end this political post wondering what direction will our country truly go in--over the course of the next two years. I predict all the players for Presidency will become extremely vocal, pre-campaigning, making sure the masses know who they are and what they believe in. All they have to do is await public opinion polls and adopt the opinions of the voters. If it sways toward the President...if it sways away from the President...politics doesn't offer room for too much originality. There are established tricks to the trade (though Karl Rove deserves a bit of credit for his campaign trickery).

Get your tickets for the sideshow Ladies and Gentlemen. Come one, come all!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

I woke up early this morning to cast my common sense on what elected officials I "trust" to be the voice of the people for the duration of their term. This is a process that is as familiar to me as walking. I know the procedure. I even remember where the booth for my election booth is, even though I sometimes forget the election district.

I see a bunch of smiling faced older woman who are volunteering to make the election process as painless as possible. For old pros like me all they have to do is have me sign my signature and then tell me when it is my turn to go into the booth. Typically I'm among the first voters in my district, around 7-7:30.

In New York we still have the prehistoric voting machines.

These babies have been around since the dawn of time. You have to pull the lever to the left. You click off who you want to select and under what party. If you know what you're doing you'll see an X next to the person. When your finished you turn the lever to the right so that the next person behind you can follow the same procedure that you have.

Interesting Thoughts

This is the first election that I can remember that I did not receive a booklet of the individuals seeking office and what they stand for.

Nor did I receive the standard pamphlet that reminds you of the upcoming general election and your election district.

Even a weakling could pull that lever.

There weren't any campaign aids passing out last minute flyers before you went into the polling center. Usually you have to beat these people off with a bat. It has gotten so bad that they have a no flyer zone within a certain range of the booth.

Can't wait to see the results and if the politicians will actually keep their words.

Monday, November 06, 2006

So Much for Being Early

My coworker and I had spent a few hours replacing some network switches on Friday, which got my weekend off to a roaring start. I knew that I should be to work early, because typically there are a few minor problems when you mess around with the patch panel and with switches, especially as you're tired and ready to leave work after a long week.

So I woke up early, reluctantly. I heard there was a problem on several subway lines. So I was glad that I was leaving early. The dollar van that I took ran into some traffic. And the driver spent about five minutes insulting a well-dressed man who looked possibly ten years his senior and seemed to possess an IQ 20 to 30 points higher than the driver. The man had asked the driver to let him off at a certain block, near a local train station, especially since the driver took a convoluted route towards the express train station. One of the passengers looked quite upset as she basically jumped out of the van, because she too wanted the local stop.

Well the driver just kept going. So the well dressed man told the driver he too had wanted to get off at that stop. The driver let out a string of insults. This kept going on. The driver continuing to look like an ass with every word that he let fly from his lips. He even started calling the man chi-chi, Jamaican slang for faggot.

This after the driver took the local route on Eastern Parkway behind a garbage truck, which pissed off all of the passengers. Well at least I made it to the train station by 8.

I go down into the train station and basically see utter chaos. The local train is running in the reverse direction. There are no express trains coming. I look at the mounds of people and decide that I'd better go upstairs and take the bus to another station, approximately ten minutes away, on another line.

Of course I missed the bus. I ran into get a Guyanese treat for my coworker and his girlfriend, that they love from a restaurant in the direction I was going. The service was pretty quick, but it cost me two more buses.

So I walked briskly and got to the A train. The Local C train went by, but no express. The first one was too crowded to get on. The second one I was able to get on, but it ran slower than normal. It seems all of the train lines at my disposal were affected by the same train issue in Midtown.

So I strolled into work twenty minutes late, and a tad bit frustrated. I still feel like I'm playing catch up, but I know I will overcome. Well the other major annoyance is their is some construction on the bricks of our office building. Imagine a mosquito combined with a jackhammer. The incessant noise is obviously rather unpleasent, but it makes working very difficult.

Well at least I have book club tonight. I'm sure I won't be late for that.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

How Quickly Time Passes By!

I currently have my ten-year old niece and my eight-year old nephew over my house. My niece just celebrated her "double-digit" birthday. As you can imagine it was the cause of much excitement. I remember being so happy to turn 10, feeling less of a child than I did the day before. Now it is almost twenty years later and the memory lasts, but getting older is no longer anything to look forward to. It isn't necessarily the cause of concern either. Those of that are religious are healthy are grateful for each day that we have to spend with our love ones. However, birthdays don't quite have the same significance as they did when you turned 13, 16, 18, or 21.

My niece and nephew are playing each other for the first time in the classic Monopoly version that I played so much as a child. This is simply amazing to me, since I've always told them to play Monopoly Junior, because the computer does the tabulations for you. Now they are capable of all the mathematics needed to play the game, except for percentages. This is where the adults come in handy. We teach them about when to mortgage properties, what properties to purchase, when to take the risks needed to put an extra hotel or house--hoping to stave off bankruptcy.

These are tools that I learned as a ruthless Monopoly player. Tools that I'm very happy to pass down to the next generation. How can a video game compare to a classic board game? How does the thrill of shooting zombies heads off compare to the reinforcement of math skills and the building of strategy? With one you build concentration skills, with the other you might master the strategy to pass the level or to even beat the game, but lets see your attention span outside of the video game realm.

On that note I will stop before this becomes a full fledge rant posting. Time to get back to teaching the next generation how to force their opponents into bankruptcy.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Invest in Yourself

I have finally written the first of three required essays to gain entry into graduate school. The fourth is optional, however, I intend to write it nevertheless.

I had a conversation with my wonderful aunt about the importance of investing in one's self. Graduate school is obviously a great financial undertaking, unless you are from the world of privilege, which I am not a member of at this time. However, I will be a better person for having undertaken this journey, despite whatever debt I'm forced to take on to get my MBA.

As my aunt said to me this morning, "an investment in yourself is priceless." I truly believe this statement and I've given similar advice to people all my life. An education is an opportunity to open doors that are firmly shut without it. There are the exceptions of the Bill Gates type personalities that have been able to be successful without obtaining a college or post-undergrad degree. However, they are the exceptions. For the rest of us, however, we must make ourselves as marketable as we possibly can. Therefore, I'm going to apply and be accepted to an MBA program. I intend to start in the Fall semester. And two years from that point the world will be my oyster.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dreaming With Eyes Wide Open

This is an impromptu poem dedicated to my lovely lady friend:

Dreaming With Eyes Wide Open

There were years when I walked through life,
eyes wide open, eyes wide shut.
Disillusioned, was I, about the way the world was,
about the way world is,
about the way the world should be.

I was happy, eyes wide open, eyes wide shut.
I said a prayer for happiness,
for one who I could share my dreams with,
for one who would love me,
for one who would not judge me.

When my prayer was realized,
I still dipped my toe into the water slowly,
always cautious, yet at times recklessly,
mischievously plunging head first,
with my whole body immersed in her essence.

As I came to the surface, born again,
a disciple of love and the power of prayer,
I continued to dream,
not so much of fairytale endings,
but of my life now,
where it will be,
eyes wide open,
holding onto my dreams.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Just the Politics Please

I saw a commercial this morning for the standing Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman. I was quite impressed with it because:

1. It was simple (just Joseph in front of a chalkboard with the terms Republican and Democrat separated with a line). He erases the line in the commercial and says something to the effect of in today's day in age issues are not party issues. You have an obligation to cross party lines if the legislation merits it. And then the typical I'm Lieberman and I approve this commercial.

2. It was honest. Anyone who knows of Lieberman knows that he hasn't been afraid to cross party lines, which in this day and age is quite rare. So in a day and age where honest politician is an oxymoron, he is truly one of the exceptions. Or at least, until a scandal breaks out to mock me.

3. It didn't attack his political opponents. I hate smear campaigns. First of all they are biased. It is extremely easy to manipulate statistics or shuffle around a quote to convey a message counter to the person's actual intentions.

And on a side note--how about we have clean campaigns where people discuss their "realistic" plans if they are elected. Let the people have honest information so they can make informed decisions. Don't use attacking ads paid for by your backers (or if your a millionaire or billionaire self-financed).

And last but not least I cackled when I heard the news about Ann Coulter facing a possible felony charge for voting in the wrong election district. Karma, bitch, Karma.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rising to the Challenge

There are times in one's life that obstacles come in your way. Perhaps there is a recent failure, or a string of failures. Perhaps you are the only one that believes in yourself.

If this is the case I implore you to never give up. You define you. Ultimately every successful person has dealt with their share of nay sayers.

Without failures would victory be so sweet?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It's the Little Things that Make Me Happy

There was a day not long past that I sipped Pinot Grigio, Arbor Mist, from a flute glass carefree. Every part of that decision, including choosing the fruity inexpensive Pinot Grigio instead of a brand that would probably be more satisfying but exhaust my already over-tapped pockets, was wrestled over and the decision made was sound to both me and my wallet.

I’d chosen a brand that was relatively light to the taste. It was enjoyable. It wasn’t pretentious. The same went for the choice of the flute over the wineglass. I knew that it wasn’t “proper,” but the revelry brought a type of delight that I hadn’t felt in awhile. So I sat with my $6.99 bottle of wine in my apartment watching television while consuming a chicken breast sandwich to die for. The wine trickled down my throat and the bliss, or slight drunken spirit that possessed my soul, from it made me happy that something as simple as choosing a bottle of discount wine could be so empowering.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Groom Me

For some reason or another a particular memory came to as I rode the subway into work. It was of me riding the bus with my mother when I was a child. I remember always wanting to look out of the window. I wanted to absorb every ounce of the world around me. I asked my mother questions and she egged me on. She'd quiz me on the order of streets in Bedford Stuyvesant as we rode the B48 on the way to my godmother's house. When we transferred she'd wait for me to walk to the proper bus stop. We waited in the same area each time to connect to the B38. And then one day she told me that I'd have to ride the bus by myself. All those years she'd been preparing me for this step. I thought it was just a game that was meant to amuse me. Instead she'd been testing my competency to ride the bus without her.

She was terrified. But this was a part of letting me grow up. And I was very young, maybe nine and very small for my age. But she trusted me. She walked me to the bus stop and waved goodbye. I got off at the correct stop and stood in our usual spot. I waited and then got on the 38 and smiled at the driver and asked him to remind me when we got to Lewis avenue and gave him my transfer. And I played the street game and rang the bell long before the driver needed to remind me. My godmother waited at the stop for me. She too had been nervous. But she told me that she knew I could do it. And I've been traveling on my own ever since.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Little Positive Energy Goes A Long Way

Have you ever been in a situation where someone's negative energy permeates the very depth of your soul? I have a bad habit of attracting "needy" people. These are generally the types of friends that are so much fun to be around when they are in a good mood and when everything is going right in their life, which is about twice a year. Can't you hear them? The sky is falling, the sky is falling...And it is only falling on them.

Well I'm not quite as patient with these types as I have been in the past. I might listen to you, but after awhile I'm liable to either distance myself from you or to really give you a piece of advice that goes something along these lines:

There are a lot of people that have had negative experiences, tough childhoods, etc., but do you want to be the type of person that lets that define you? Or do you want to be the type of person that can become an example, a living testimonial to people that have similar experiences? I have very little patience for people that enjoy having a pity party where I'm always invited, often the only one foolish enough to attend. Honestly I don't know what attracts these types of people to me. Perhaps it is in my pheremones, or perhaps my name is handed out in the needy club, a secret society where you can only be admitted with a convincing sob story.

Now don't take it that I'm not here for people. I'm here and if I have the ways and means to help someone I will do it. But I can't take the "needy" people that can't make a decision without consulting me, or never has anything positive to say. Is life really that bad? Or are you a common denominator in your own misery? Take a second to ask yourself why am I where I am in life? What can I do about it? And got damn it accept responsibility for your own behavior. That's the first step. The next is to come up with a plan to improve your way of thinking. Surround yourself with positive people. Misery loves company, but so does bliss. Good luck on your road to positive thinking.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Real Focus

I guess I still had something on the clipboard. Perhaps I need to focus before I submit. Anyway you get two for the price of one. The preceding poem was Revolving Relationships:


Thoughts scattered across my mind
like grains of desert sand
consume every breath of my being

No time to relax
Never anytime to relax
Definitely not the time to relax

Scattered thoughts consume my being
What to do?
What to say?

No time to relax
Definitely no time to relax today

Such a suffocating feeling
I don't have time to breathe,
just time to make moves
and worry about breathing when I have time to.

JT 2003

I wrote this poem on 12/15/2003. Sometimes it is cool to take a look back at things you wrote awhile back to gauge the difference in your style. I hope that you enjoy.

Revolving Relationships

How could it be that after such a long time,
My thoughts betray my heart,
My thoughts betray my smile,
My thoughts betray all that surround me?

Trust only yourself, I think.
Protect your heart, I think.
Don’t let anyone get too close, I think.

But why?

Am I afraid?
Afraid of someone betraying me?
Afraid of someone knowing me?
Afraid of someone loving me?

Knowing me, I think not.
Loving me, I think not.
Betraying me, I think that’s the answer.

Change is constant.
It is something that I have learned to embrace.
Consistency has yet to make a favorable impression on me.
Everything changes.
It’s a part of nature.
It’s a part of life.

People change like days turn to night.
So I let people come in and out of my life,
Accepting them for the duration they stay,
And hoping they don’t overstay their welcome,
And that they leave behind
An impression more favorable than consistency.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Reality Bites

A week ago I had my world rocked by news that one of my childhood friends and his younger brother had been brutally murdered. It was news that I tried at first to deny, as my brother called me to alert me of a rumor in the old neighborhood. And while he was on the phone the cousin of the two brothers walked by and confirmed that the rumor was indeed true. I was in the house alone and the news slowly festered, boring a hole in my soul.

My mother was away at a wedding. My girlfriend is over 300 miles away. It was late and I didn't know what my best option was. I had already spoken to my brother. He was on the phone with my sister. So, I called my coworker and good friend. She gave me some kind words that helped me in my time at need. I later was able to reach my girlfriend. She stayed on the phone with me for awhile, because she is a sweetheart.

2xE gave me some kind words the next day as well. Almost as if she knew something was odd about my behavior, she sent me a side email just asking how I was doing. That's when I told her. My girlfriend also checked on me throughout the day.

It's funny that over the last few years this type of situation is all too familiar to me. I've had a childhood friend beaten to death by a police officer, I've had a cousin die as a result of a drunk driver, who walked six months later with a clean state--free to drive his BMW and mow down another unsuspecting pedestrian, and I've had these two deaths to deal with.

And the saddest part of all these ordeals is that my heart shields me each time, until I'm face to face with a corpse, or face to face with a headline, that breaks me down and my tough exterior. There are few stories carrying good news from the old neighborhood. I've kept my distance from it, but news travels faster than you can imagine from state to state, from neighborhood to neighborhood. It takes a bite out of my exterior each time, but like the comic book character Wolverine from the X-Men, my body/my mind heals itself each time. I'm not invincible. I'm quite vulnerable, but I posses a resilience, a sort of armor, that I learned to carry in the old neighborhood. I'll be happy if one day I can just stow it away.