Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh Blog Where Art Thou?

It's been awhile since my last post, almost two months. I realize how much I miss it. I have to make time to put up something, even if it is just a few thoughts. I'll have to put a twice a week minimum posting requirement for myself.

Since my last post I bought a Honda Civic EX which I love! It's so fuel efficient. It has good interior space and did I mention I just love it. It's actually my first car. I had people question my decision to buy a new car, but at the end of the day it was my decision. I did what worked best for me, so the doubters can doubt, but when I am getting 38 mpg driving up to Massachusetts I kind of laugh, or when I can drive to the nicer supermarket to get groceries, or when I don't have to worry about my car breaking down on me on that aforementioned 250 mile trip up near Boston.

I received my promotion at work. I am no longer handling any network support. I get to concentrate on the electronic side of the company, which is my love. I have my first direct report and more on the way. It's pretty cool combined with the fact that I started my MBA program last week. I had orientation and it was amazing. Babson is an amazing college, and the program that I'm in, Fast Track, is a wonderful opportunity for me to increase my knowledge base and open up my mind to different ways of thinking. The promotion actually gives me more of a vehicle/voice to start implementing or to try to implement what I'm learning.

My classmates are amazing. The program is really pushing us to be innovative. This is great for me, because I generally have a lot of ideas. I am finding better ways to make suggestions and to find ways to get around organizational obstacles.

I'm back and hopefully you'll never have this much of a break in seeing a post from me. I hope all is well! Now I have to get ready to do some work for school and for my job. TTYL

Monday, August 20, 2007

Just a moment please

I'm sitting in my house right now listening to my Ipod, thank you Allison. The music is soothing me. Things have been a little chaotic in my life lately. I'm studying some concepts I haven't seen in over ten years. I'm actually loving it, though commiting myself to accounting for four hours instead of watching a movie or hanging out with friends is something that I have to get reacquainted with.

Despite everything that's been going on I had a wonderful breakthrough with my father. We had a conversation that I don't think I ever thought we would get around too. It required the two of us to check our egos at the door, and to have a ocnversation, realizing it might hurt both of us, but in the long run it would be better for us, and it was.

And guess what? He apologized. This is pretty much a first. Now if you knew the whole story he really owed it to me. I forgave him a long time ago, but it was nice to hear him actually discuss things that come up in my mind from time to time. He's actually seeing a therapist. He's a counselor at a drug rehabilitation center. So he gets to help people along their journey, and at the same time deal with some of his demons.

For the first time in awhile I will actually tell him I love him, and mean it. So I am taking a moment to say despite all the bad things that can handcuff you--remembering things like this can certainly help you cope. If you can't find one good thing in your life--you're not looking hard enough.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pet Nation

Americans spent more than 40 billion dollars on their pets last year. That's more than the GDP of all but 64 nations combined. The 40 billion dollars is more than what's spent on music, video games, and movies combined. Interesting since this consumption nation is obsessed with instant gratification and the thought that the resources spent on pets surpassed these three heavily targeted mediums really surprised me.

The amount spent per year has doubled in a little over a decade. Why? Empty nesters, singles without children, etc. More than anything I think people embrace pets in a different way than they did even a decade ago. Pets are seen as extensions of a family. They give unconditional love. We open up our wallets. It's an equal exchange.

Now some of the excessive behavior, in my opinion, is seeing people pay for their pets to have plastic surgery. Or spending more money on a pet than you give to charity. I understand these are personal choices, but is it more important for your dog to have esteem (faux testicles after they are neutered, neuticles at $900 a pop) or to give money to one of many charities. Again this is a personal choice. I don't own any pets. I can understand why someone might lavish their pets, which is not a problem in my eyes, as long as you're socially responsible as well.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

30 Isn't So Bad

For those of you that don't know I turned 30 last Thursday. I certainly don't look 30 and I don't feel thirty (physically), but nevertheless I am. I feel blessed to have so many friends and such a wonderful family.

I had the best birthday party I've ever had this past weekend. It was a gathering of so many people from so many different parts of my life, a collage of friends and family if you will.

It made me feel loved and appreciated. I mean I don't normally get gifts for my birthday, which is fine by me. It means more for someone to spend time with me than to lavish me with gifts, I'm a simple guy. I did get so many thoughtgul gifts, that I was so touched. People took such an effort to express what our friendship/relationship meant to them. They picked things out that only meant something special to the two of us, or they just simply surprised me when I wasn't expecting anything at all.

In a way I'm the most humble I've ever been. I do remember taking in the moment, in between the drinking, dancing, and socializing, to say boy I'm blessed to have touched so many great people's lives and vice versa.

Thank you all for helping to make this birthday one that I will never forget.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Little Rage Release

So Allison and I have been dating for over two years now. Things are progressing nicely. One constant annoyance has been people asking me when we are getting married. Now I know people don't mean anything by it, but it's been going on since we were dating three months, actually since before we became a couple.

There's no secret that we are in love and that we will be married. I know people are excited about the prospect of going to our wedding, which is wonderful. I'm just getting a little annoyed with constantly having to repeat myself. It will happen. It will happen at the right time, and I don't plan on telling anyone about it until post-engagement.

I mean the engagement is really the only thing that the guy truly has control over. Now if you want to fork over the thousands of dollars necessary for me to purchase the ring and then want to know all the ends and outs then I'm okay with it, LOL, though we know that's not going to happen. I want to enjoy our relationship, without the constant barrage.

I want to be with this woman for the rest of my life, there's no doubt about it. It will happen when it's meant to. It will be special and my loved ones and friends will hear all about it.

Then we'll be able to rest for five minutes before people try to dictate how our wedding should be. Once that's finished when we are having kids. I think our biggest mistake is not having a booklet printed out where we put down the exact details of every element of our lives and send it to everyone to meet their approval.

Okay I'm actually not in a bad mood, just a bit fed up with all of the questions.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Transformer Drama

Those of that live in the northeast are currently amidst a nasty heat wave. Last night I turned on my air conditioner, for the second night in a row. It's about 12 and hear a big boom in the backyard. It sounded like a transformer blew. The air temperature was still a sizzling 85 and the humidity was drifting ever upwards. Not exactly a good time to have power issues.

Half of my apartment was with power, the other without. The refrigerator was the one without. I tried to pretend like it would be alright. I convinced myself of this even through the fire engine sirens and the commotion outside. Everyone was playing amateur investigator.

My mother knocks on the door. That's when I had to deal with it. I heard her turning the circuit breaker off and on. She said the fridge wasn't working. I saw that the computer was still receiving power, same outlet mind you, but the fridge wasn't. I snapped at her to stop opening up the fridge, as I didn't want her to make all of the food spoil, knowing keeping the fridge insulated would preserve the food during a short power outage.

I unplugged the computer and plugged the fridge in, came right on. So the power was off in the back. My fan was on, cable was off, and my new HDTV weren't working. I just tried to convince myself that it wasn't shot.

Then the power shifted in about half an hour. All of my electronics were out. I got up switched the fridge to the original outlet. I basically didn't get to sleep until 3:30 when all the power was restored.

I kept the fan on. Con Edison makes me wonder how well they are going to handle the city's energy consumption. I rarely use my air conditioner. I don't keep it on high and I turn it down as soon as it cools the room, as I don't need to be in Siberia--just need to escape the Kalahari. Lets hope tonight is better. We won't get relief from the heat until Thursday.

I've probably consumed my weight in liquid. How can I be in a bad mood when I'll be in Costa Rica on Saturday? No way, LOL.

Monday, July 09, 2007

HDTV How Did I Live Without You

Okay so if you can't guess I recently purchased a LCD TV. It wasn't a reckless purchase either. My old television could've collected social security a few years ago. It finally went to that TV Junkyard in the sky.

And if you know me I cannot deal with not having a television for too long. Al was on her way to visit me. I had houseguests. So I let my MasterCard show me the way to a 27 inch Olivia TV. Now you know it had to give me drama. A bunch of the cable boxes died, never worked, or were somewhere in between. My mother traded one in, was here for a tech, I took one to be replaced, and then my mom waited for the other tech to come. I spent 82 bucks on cables, which I returned a few, after Cablevision supplied the audio and component cables.

I have to spring for an HDMI cable eventually. It's just nice to have something new, which I would have never bought if my old tv didn't have the foresight to commit suicide.

You've been replaced and you're not missed, LOL.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My Nephew Timothy Made My Day

My nephew is just about to turn 9. He was over my house for the last few days. He slept in my bed and I accidently woke him up as I tried to sneak off to work. He sleepily says to me uncle J I can't believe they make you go to work in the Summer. It really made me smile. I just said to him enjoy your childhood, LOL.

To see the world through a child's eyes, LOL.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Meal to Die For

So it had been six long weeks since I'd seen Al. We've been trying to save for Costa Rica so it hasn't been economically feasible for us to do both, as the we will have a relaxing weekend usually ends in 200/300 dollar weekends easily. It got to the point where neither of us could take it anymore. Our next best prospect is for Joyce's wedding in a couple of weeks, which would have been two months, yikes.

Now Al had mentioned that she planned on making me dinner. She's a pretty good cook so I was looking forward to it. I'm sitting down watching the US Open routing for Tiger Woods--in vain--even dosed off while she was cooking the mystery meal.

She really pampered me.

Course 1: Toasted Italian Bread w/ Cheddar Cheese and Apple
Course 2: Tossed Salad with homemade raspberry vinaigrette and goat cheese served with a mango martini cocktail.
Course 3: Stuffed Cornish Hen w/ Wild Rice, Maple Glazed Carrots, and Green Beans served with a fantastic white wine.
Course 4: Chocolate Covered Strawberries with yet another wine selection
Course 5: Homemade Sorbet (which I never got around to--as I was quite full at this point and it needed some time in the fridge).

I'm cooking a little dinner my ass, LOL, this was a meal fit for a king. It was very unexpected, delicious, and showed me that she'll pull out all the stops for me.

Thanks again Chef!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Prefontaine Classic

I watched the Prefontaine Classic, the last major meet before the United States Track and Field Championships in the next couple of weeks. Steve Prefontaine was one gutsy middle distance runner that tried to bring the United States back to the forefront of middle distance racing. He had a style where he pushed the pace and hoped to take the sting out of other runner's kicks.

Well the meet in Eugene, Oregon, is one of the finest track and field meets in the world. It will actually be the location for next year's Olympic Trials.

This time of year is so amazing to me. You have the NCAA athletes coming off of the NCAA Championships, usually having some of the fastest times in the world. You have the pros rounding into shape, some just starting their outdoor season, others running different events to either build speed or endurance.

You know what's funny is I didn't think about any of the athletes using performance enhancing drugs. The times weren't out of the ordinary. Some were quick, a few really slow. There were mostly a lot of close races. This included Lui Xang of China, the defending Olympic Champion at the 110 meter hurdles and world record holder (who nipped Anwar Moore at the tape), Xavier Carter nipping Wallace Spearmon at the tape in the 200 meters--both leaving World Record Holder Asafa Powell in their wake. You saw Allison Felix trying to work on her sprint speed after running a blistering 11.01 in New York (finishing third behind Veronica Campbell and this week's winner Tory Edwards).

You had so many people trying to round into form. It makes me once again optimistic that track and field can get clean again, and that the next generation of athletes can have their Olympic glory without being suspected of using performance enhancing drugs instead of training and god given talent.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Prison Issued Jumpsuit

I think the whole country has been caught up in the Paris Hilton drama, even if you didn't want to be. I guess the whole fiasco about her being let out of prison after a few days by a popularly elected sheriff has been quite the fuel for water cooler talk.

The whole situation has been a farce. You had people begging the Governor to give her a pardon. Then you had her getting a reduction in sentence for good behavior, I believe cutting the sentence from 45 days to 23 days--if she was well behaved. She was at the MTV Movie Awards and she was poised to go into prison. She even said let this be a lesson to people to follow the rules, tough inspirational talk.

Then after a few days a sudden health issue and then she's on house arrest. Give me a break. The reality is I don't know if she should even be in a prison. She's not a hardcore criminal. What I would've suggested is to put her in a prison issued jumpsuit and let her pickup trash off of the highway, paint houses in low income neighborhoods, or even help plant a community garden.

Her celebrity punishment should of been to do acts within a community that could benefit from the media displaying the deplorable conditions people live in. Then they could juxtapose that with the trivial things she surrounds herself with. All the jewelry, all of the cars, all of the excess, where some of her money could be going to great causes. I don't care if she threw big parties and donated money to charities or whatever.

Somehow I predict you'll have quite a few celebrities sentenced to prison in the next few years. However, they'll wear it like a badge of courage, after they get out of prison. Real people that have a record can't get jobs. Their consequences live with them for the rest of their lives. Celebrities have more lives than a cat.

So sorry you had a meltdown Paris, maybe you'll think about following the rules next time around.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Nightmare Night

Okay so last night there's pounding on my door at 12:30 in the morning. I can hear all the bells in my private apartment building ringing. I was in a deep sleep so I wasn't very responsive. Ultimately I did find out that there was a gas smell in the hallway. They were checking to make sure our ovens weren't on.

The smell wasn't in any of the apartments. The carbon-monoxide detector wasn't going off either. So I decided everything was okay. I turned to News 12 to get the local Brooklyn news, figuring maybe there was a leak somewhere in the neighborhood. I couldn't find anything. So I start to go back to sleep and then I hear this loud noise outside of my window.

I seriously thought a plane was on the verge of crashing, Rockaway Beach style. I was wondering if there was fuel leak or something along those lines. Then I realize that it was a surveillance helicopter. Well it sounded like more than one, and it sounded (based on the loudness) that the helicopters were really low.

Somehow I fall asleep. I later hear that not too far from me, though on the other side of the mystical tracks that divide my neighborhood from a not so good one, that there had been a shooting. Three teens were murdered as they sat on their stoop. Family members thought it was a case of mistaken identity. I suspect that it might have something to do with drugs.

As I walked to the train station this morning, about 10 minutes into my 15 minute trek, I see the police tape, about a block away. I knew it was close.

Anyway both of these events didn't leave me in the greatest mood, as anyone knows that has their sleep broken.

I'll leave you with something positive, however. It's 2 quote from my calendar, that I just noticed has quotes:

June: Life is a journey: In the end, each of us will be judged by our standard of life, not by our standard of living.

May: (WHICH I MIGHT GET MADE INTO A BOOKMARK) Attitude: A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive outcomes. It is a catalyst...a spark that creates extraordinary results

My attitude is that a positive result will be getting a full night's sleep tonight will make me an easier to deal with tomorrow morning, LOL.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Random Post
Today's post has absolutely no direction. I was trying to think of something clever or silly to say, but nothing has really come to mind as of yet. Perhaps something will come to mind.

For some reason I'm thinking of the Mona Lisa right now. It's reminding me of a conversation that I've had with several people, often who criticize several of their physical features. I tell them about the Mona Lisa, about it being a masterpiece. I tell them if you take each of the feature's apart there's truly nothing special about any of them. However, when you bring them all together you have a masterpiece. You're drawn to the character, as the sum of all the imperfections, truly creates something you can't take your eyes off of.

So many people are caught up in this world of conventional beauty that they forget it's often the unconventional features (traits) that make someone beautiful.

And if you don't believe me watch Angelina's True Life Story on E. She was never considered beautiful. Kids made fun of her, because of her lips.

This is obviously not a post about Angelina or the Mona Lisa. It's a call to realize that your unconventional features, your quirky ways, and your random insights that make you--you are--things to be cherished. Otherwise we'd have a world full of uninteresting or ordinary people. If you've seen American Beauty perhaps that line will remind you of the worse accustation made to Mia Sorvino's character, I think you're ordinary. It was her friend, the "freak," that was beautiful.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Meme Response

Judy tagged me with having to participate in this phenomenon. Although I don't have others to tag (at the moment), I will not be the weak link, by not responding.

So, there you have it - now for the rules:

1: Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2: People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own eight random things, and post these rules.
3: At the end of your post you need to tag eight people and include their names.
4: Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Here are my eight random things:

1. I have been accused of not being black because I don't eat Macaroni and Cheese.
2. I was so tiny that during my first year in college I was asked to give blood, and I was afraid to because I was at the cusp of 110 lbs, LOL.
3. I have more female friends than male friends.
4. My bite is abnormally small. I have difficulties opening my mouth at the dentist office wide enough and biting down on a snorkel mouthpiece.
5. I am a kick-ass Spades player (slightly obsessed).
6. I was forced to take modern dance class in high school (the torture that they imposed on freshman boys). Bonus I had no rhythm until a little before the class.
7. I barbecued for the first time last year in Blue Hills, Maine. It looked good on the outside and required for me to go back outside in the pitch dark with the june bugs keeping me company.
8. I eat half the amount of fast food as I used to at the beginning of the year.

Okay these were about as random as I could get.

Monday, June 04, 2007

On Roller Coaster Days
Today was a good day for me. Emotionally I think I was happy, angry, and then happy again. I thanked my sister and brother for the sacrifices that they made that helped me to get to where I am currently at.

We were on the phone for about three hours today. We obviously have a strong connection, we were brought up in the same household, experiencing the same highs and lows. We carry the same tempers, and love of life. There's communal pain, happiness, and understanding.

Tonight's conversation was very much like a therapy session. We talked about things that we've suppressed for years. It wasn't a pity party. It was the feeling that it was okay to talk about what ever our subconscious decided it was ripe to speak of.

We all talked, probably for an hour each, interrupting each other at times, listening at times, counseling at times. At the very end of it we felt so good, as if some unknown force had been taken from our shoulders.

I realize that I'm a very strong individual at the core, very fragile in some places, but very strong for the most part, as are my siblings. We are a product of our environment. The tough skin is what allowed us to escape our surroundings. It's that edge and the ability to smell bullshit from a mile away that kept us safe.

It was a good conversation. I'm very thankful for my siblings. We may argue at times, what family doesn't, but at the end of the day I know they all have my back, and they'll come out swinging--as would I--if it were necessary.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Terrific Threesome

Ha, ha, that title certainly sounds dirty. If you're looking for a sex laced conversation, you are going to be quite disappointed to what you're about to read. This post is about me and two of my closest female friends. We all went to A. Philip Randolph H.S. Actually me and Maddie went to the same junior high as well, though we barely knew each other.

So basically Maddie and I became really close in the eleventh grade. Femi and Maddie were friends since the 9th grade. I ran across Femi's path quite a few times, but we didn't really get close until after we graduated from high school.

The three of us became such great friends. I actually had to miss Femi's graduation because of something at work. Luckily, I was able to meet her and her family for dinner afterwards, at Frankie and Johnny's in the Bronx.

The three of us are such a force. Femi just finished up her Masters. Maddie started her program this Fall, and I'll start the upcoming Fall semester. I remember us talking on Friday about how proud our teachers would be of the three of us. We are truly a strong support system. One of the most memorable parts of the evening was me telling Femi I was proud of her. She then said, "thank you Jammie." She thanked me yesterday for pushing her hard when she needed a gentle shove towards the end of her program. I told her you'd do the same for me, and I expect that she will.

There are good things ahead for all of us, and we've been able to maintain such close relationships, and catch the most important moments of each other's lives.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reflections on Coming of Age in the 1980s

For those of you that don't know, thirty isn't exactly knocking on the door for me--as it is pounding. I wish I could say I was nervous about leaving my twenties, but I would be lying.

I grew up in a marginally bad area of Brooklyn in the 80s. When I was old enough to realize what was going on around me there was rampant crime, extremely high unemployment in the inner city, a terrible recession (because of Reaganomics--and the lack of the trickle), and the dawn of crack.

It's funny that despite the drugs and the crime there was still a community. There were black owned businesses, which seemed to have faded from existence, there were beat cops (back at the time when the coolest jobs were policemen, firemen, lawyers, doctors, and astronauts), and a very strong sense of community. I think the sense of community, which I believe has been loss, was out of necessity. You shared food, money, babysitting responsibilities. You gave up your last dime. You reprimanded kids on your block for misbehaving, and didn't have to deal with the fury of their parents. Crisis actually strengthened the community.

It makes me wonder if "prosperity" pulls it apart. It separates the middle-class from the working poor, the poor, and the affluent. It creates a since of jealousy, instead of giving others a sense of hope. Misery does love company, the same way that getting through miserable experiences usually takes being around people with similar collective experiences.

I am in a completely different place, from a financial standpoint, than when I grew up. As a kid I dreamed of making 48K and being an engineer or an architect (and sometimes a writer. That or a track star. I hoped that I would live past 25, due to the high percentages of black on black crime. I wanted to attend St. Johns or Syracuse University.

I was the small, talkative, observant child, with big dreams. In that since much hasn't changed.

I hope that if I continue to prosper, especially after getting my MBA, that I don't forget about where I came from. I intend to share my experiences, perhaps start some scholarship opportunities, and mentoring programs. It would be nice to know that we can all pull each other up, rather than seeing just a few escape the barrel.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Open Door Policy

I just read a really inspiring New York Times Article: Elite Colleges Open New Door to Low Income Youth

It chronicled a growing acknowledgment that providing opportunities to low income students to enter "selective" programs--which are typically dominated by more affluent individuals--provides excellent opportunities for social mobility for the working poor and poverty stricken.

This isn't the first article that I've read about traditional academic powerhouses, including Ivy League Schools, opening their doors to talented lower income students. However, it struck a bright chord with me because I've just finished reading Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's compelling non-fiction account of 2 Hispanic families in the Bronx during the rise of the drug epidemic during the late 80s and that continued to plague the 90s (Random Family).

The book realistically portrayed how it is to survive on meager incomes, in the worse neighborhoods in the country, with little support and/or guidance. The book was great yet bleak.

So coming off of reading the book, this article is exactly what I needed to read. I needed to feel that some do escape, that some can aspire to the American dream, instead of a life of frustration and poverty.

So reading this article was just what I needed. It really focused on something that I've said to people many times: socioeconomic factors can often be more powerful influences than age, sex, race, or sexual orientation. Seeing doors opened to give these kids the opportunities to pull themselves, and hopefully their families, from the same environments (breaking the cycle), is all that one can ask for.

I suppose this is the new Affirmative Action. I'm sure it will have it's share of critics as well. I hope that individuals like Mr. Jack will make people open their minds and that such programs become common place in this great country.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Chance Encounter

Some times you look for answers and life has a funny way of revealing them to you. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have mild anxiety about starting my graduate program. It's mostly from uncertainty.

Well on my way from work I ran into a guy that was in my shoes a few years ago. Ironically, I inspired him to open up his own business a few years ago. We all went to my coworker and friends wedding in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico a few years ago. He was unhappy at work, as all of his coworkers were fired and he was the lone man left standing. He was making millions of dollars for his company, so they kept an entire office in New Jersey open just for him.

I knew that he'd gone to get his MBA at NYU and that he wasn't making the type of money that his intelligence should've demanded, and that leaving the company would easy his anxiety about getting fired. So we talked during the wedding vacation and I inspired him to leave his job and to start up his own business.

Today I left work frustrated, because I'd stayed late and still hadn't finished what I wanted to do, thanks to a rogue firewall. I had to leave. Well I ran into Mr. Inspiration. He was in a business suit and looked so happy. I told him that I'd got into graduate school. He shook my hand and asked where. I told him Babson and about the great people that I'd have the chance to learn from (true industry juggernauts).

He stops and goes that's the number one program in the country for entrepreneurship. Then I thought to myself you're in the number one program in the country, relax, and take in all that it has to offer.

I eased his anxiety and in turn he eased mine. Talk about pay it forward.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This is an impromptu poem. It's not as much about me be frustrated today, but about me knowing who I am, and not being afraid to express it. It's about me finding the balance between what decision best fits me and what best fits others around me.

Some Days

Some days lifting my head above it all seems impossible,
I do it out of habit, not necessarily out of choice.
Instinct drives me towards greatness,
Insecurity some times towards mediocrity.

Some days opening my eyes seems pointless,
I do it out of habit, not necessarily out of choice.
My body tells me that I'm tired and need more sleep,
My mind tells me you can't afford to lose your job.

Some days listening is not one of my best assets,
I do it out of habit, not necessarily out of choice.
Closing down will only make me more vulnerable,
while taking it all in might lead to suffocation.

Some days opening my mouth is fruitless,
I do it out of habit, not necessarily out of choice.
Some things should be thought and not expressed,
others demand their place.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Higher Education

Let me start by telling those of you that don't know--I will begin my graduate program in the Fall. I'm equally excited about the program as I'm anxious. The anxiety isn't about academic performance, it's just about being back in school for the first time in 7 years. I think that's pretty normal.

It's not the first time that I will have worked and gone to school. I worked full-time during my last year as an undergrad and carried 15 credits per semester. It was draining, yet fulfilling. I got through by telling myself that what was around the corner was worth the blood, the sweat, and the tears. Thankfully, the classes that I took were either in my major or played up to my analytical abilities. I carried a 3.8 average my last semester, I'm sure the semester before was barely lower. I saw the finish line and I didn't allow myself to stumble.

It's funny that my grades were the highest that they were in college when my back was against the wall, the first semester in college (a lot of family drama) and my final semester. I think that my brain had one thing to concentrate on and used school to filter out everything that was going on around me.

All of this is reminding me of a conversation Al and I had about me being a psychotic runner. I told her that even when we did the President's Physical Fitness Challenge in school I had to be first or second. I beat out people that were bigger, faster, and stronger than I was. I did it by staying out front. I never looked back. You were going to catch me, I wasn't going to fade. What I had more than anything was an unbelievable confidence in myself.

I never lost it. I might have had questions at different points along the way, but I've never lost that mentality. I'm going into an MBA program. I'm going to be competing/learning from industry juggernauts. I can't sit in the back. I need to take advantage of every opportunity that the program affords me.

I'm happy that I have such a strong base. I looked at my acceptance pamphlet and see that I can skip the prerequisites, thank you Baruch.

I say this all to say if I expect to be an executive I have to be used to being out front. I think I'm capable and only time will tell if I reach the pinnacle of my potential. I pledge to you today that I will not disappoint. I have no choice. It's up to you to make your dreams come true, unless nepotism is a viable option or some good connections. So it's all on me, success or failure, and that's alright with me.

Wish me well!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Random Thoughts

I'm currently in a bit of pain, just finished the second half of a root canal procedure. I dipped into my stash of prescribed painkillers for the first time. It's not excruciating so I only took one. I'm off the antibiotics now, which is great, so I can drink again, LOL. Not that I completely stopped. A Long Island Iced Tea found it's way into my system on Mother's Day, post-pills, a Gin and Tonic found it's way into my system at Bozenka's party (compliments of KA--who wouldn't let me not drink--only one I had), and I had a wine cooler yesterday. So I guess I can't say I didn't drink, LOL.

Now what's funny is knowing that I wasn't supposed to, made me want to drink more. I don't crave alcohol. I have wine at home if I really wanted to dive in. It was like once I decided that I shouldn't every liquor in the world started sending me evil vibes, just one drink, oh you're not drinking, pussy, LOL.

I'm glad that I won't have to see the dentist again until November. I have a very good dentist, otherwise I would've never let them convince me to partake in some cosmetic dentistry. Lets just say I had minor complication from said dentistry. So I had to make two additional trips this year. I got my toothbrush, but not my damn floss, LOL. I want my floss.

This post is clearly random. Perhaps the codeine and acetaminophen are kicking in! I'm going to put away my laundry and goto sleep, and try to ignore my throbbing post root canal tooth.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What were you thinking?

Okay so I'm basically poor right now until Thursday, pobre a Jueves. You might see some more of my Spanglish erupt over the course of the next few months as I practice for my long awaited trip to Costa Rica, which is the same in Spanish, since it' guessed it--Spanish.

Okay so I'm tight until pay day. I just got through Mother's day, a lot of lent left-over as a result. You have to go all out for mom. I also went out for my friend Bozenka's birthday, where we saw perhaps the most beautiful view in Manhattan, from a bar on the 20th floor (in the Flat Iron District). It faces the Hudson River from one angle and the Empire State Building from the other. So let's say I roughly had about a $240 weekend, a $240 unbudgeted weekend--well mostly unbudgeted.

So I planned to scrimp and save, by bringing food from home to work. Where is my food from today? It's in the refrigerator. Okay let's bring this insane post together. So the plan, as a result of the aforementioned broke state, was to bring in lunch from home. I bought some lunch meat yesterday from the deli. I also bought detergent and fabric softener for my date with the laundromat today. Where did I leave everything? On my floor. When did I realize it? This morning while in the shower. I run out of the shower, grab the bag throw the meat in the fridge after smelling it and then jumped back into the shower.

So my turkey and pastrami are pretty much done. I thought about keeping it until Al told me that bacteria probably started growing on the meat after two hours and that listeria wasn't something to play with.

So I brought in leftovers from last night. I didn't want it. So I transferred four dollars from savings so that I could take out $20 so that I could eat Cuban food. Who does that? Well the food was great, but between that and the antibiotics that I'm on--I look like I've smoked mucho marijuana.

So about savings for Costa Rica, LOL, I'd better get on that. Only two more months and I'm going to need nearly 1 grand for expenses. I have my coin fund, which is probably pretty close to $200, but that's far short of 1K or un mil dolares. Hasta luego, yo estoy mucho cansado (I'm very sleepy!)

Monday, May 14, 2007

On Comedy

I consider myself to be a somewhat funny person, some times downright hilarious when I get on a roll (when people get my somewhat warped sense of humor)--or I've ingested enough alcohol that I feel very little boundaries. I have such respect for good comedians, because I could never stand on a stage and feel the pressure of being funny. Al is pretty damn funny. She used to do improv at her college so she's pretty damn quick. Her father is funny too. We all have very different senses of humor, but I think what we all have in common is that we are all pretty good (and dramatic) storytellers.

I've been travelling the circuit with a couple of amateur comedians, basically lending my support, and even giving my constructive criticism if they ask. So this journey has probably been for the better part of four years. I've been to so many places where you have a $20 fee plus a two drink minimum, and know that you'll usually get some pretty awful comedy. Now that doesn't mean that there aren't some jewels in the rough or some pretty funny ones either. The guarantee is that you'll have some awkward moments and you'll search for the red light hoping that the comedian will be pulled out of their misery.

Well one of my coworkers recently had a pretty encouraging performance. Al went with me. We both thoroughly enjoyed the small venue. The comedians were all reasonably good, the worse being the one that told me I'd love his act before the show.

Masturbation was actually the theme of the night. Everyone pretty much had a pretty awkward yet funny stab at it. The funniest, a comedian named Shane, from Boston, told a story about her mother catching her pleasuring herself with a naked cabbage patch doll, and wrestle with her mother to keep her from pulling down the sheets. What this woman had was presence. She was a bit awkward, but played up to it. You didn't feel like you were listening to a comedy act. It was more like reading a page from her diary. It was unguarded, pure, and hilarious. She let the audience in. What's funnier than self-deprecating humor?

I'm not an expert on comedy, I'm just someone that has seen so many bad acts that I wanted to give a shout-out to what works, instead of bashing what doesn't. I'm looking forward to seeing my coworker rise to his potential. I know he'll get there one day, and what impressed me so much about him is that he's learning what works for him, and nobody can teach you to be funny (no matter how much of your money they take--telling you otherwise).
The Plight of the Disappearing Tenured Faculty Members

I just read an interesting article from our Careers database. I don't know how many of you are faculty members, or are students, or have family or friends that belong in one or more of these groups. I found the information below a bit disturbing:

There are almost as many nontenured full-time faculty members at Boston University as there are tenured professors. The growing percentage of temporary, adjunct, and part-time faculty on American college campuses is of major concern to many in higher education—but none more than concerned college teachers.

In 1975, 36.5 percent of all college teachers held tenure and 20.3 percent were in tenure-track positions (total: 56.8 percent), but these declined by 2003 to 24.1 and 11.0 percent (total 35.1: percent), according to the American Association of University Professors. Of these figures, the most disturbing may be the decline in numbers on the tenure track, historically the source of future academic leadership.

The drop-off in tenured faculty is not limited to second- or third-tier schools striving to save money. Among the institutions with a higher number of nontenured faculty than the national average of 56.8 percent are New York University (71.9 percent), University of Colorado at Boulder (73.3 percent), University of Missouri (59.7 percent), University of Pittsburgh (58.4 percent), and the University of Southern California (59.5 percent). Just a shade better than the national average are Harvard University (56.6 percent), Yale University (50.3 percent), and Brandeis University (50.7 percent). Almost alone is Stanford, where only 8.5 percent of its faculty is outside the tenure system.

The bad news, according to a story in the Chronicle of Higher Education, is that accrediting associations seem less and less alarmed by this trend.

This article is interesting to me, because with the ever present demand for students to have higher GPAs and higher standardized test scores combined with rising academic costs, is the wool being pulled over our eyes. Are you paying more for less is the question that I'm posing?

This post should not be seen as a slap in the face to adjuncts or visiting professors. It seems odd to me that the whole reward system, you teach, you prove yourself worthy of being tenured over the course of time, has gone completely out of the window. Wouldn't a university want the best professors available--to produce the best students possible? Or is the university system truly for profit? Has the goal of higher education become to cut costs and to maximize profits? Are students receiving less bang for their buck?

I know that a lot of universities and colleges have graduate assistants teaching courses. I know that many professors work as adjuncts at several schools to make ends meet. I just find this whole trend bizarre. Can the students/should students have a voice concerning this trend? If you demand that I get a 1500 on my SAT or 700 on my GMAT can I demand that the percentage of tenured faculty members not fall below a certain threshold? Of course you can always choose another school, but what it sounds like, based on this article, is there aren't a lot of choices out there.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Notes from the Bronx Zoo

So Al was down for the weekend. She's been wanting to go to the zoo for the longest time. She's into Conservation Biology and I love learning about nature, currently watching Animal Planet (Tasmanian Devils earlier today, Leopards now).

It's the first time that I've been in almost 15 years. The last time that I went I was 15. I was chaperoning a group of toddlers, my first time meeting them too, wow that was an experience. Having to run after toddlers at the Zoo, midday, with no training--just instinct! I did tame the children by the end of the trip, putting them on my shoulders, sharing brown bag lunches with them, and laying the foundation for a great summer job experience.

I digress. So we went to the zoo. First of all it's a hell of a lot more expensive. Adults pay $14 for general admission. Entry to a few of the more exotic houses are additional, as is the price of jumping on the monorails (which is truly the only way you could see the Zoo in one day).

I was excited though. It was a chance to see Allison in her element. It was like going to the zoo with an expert from Animal Planet. We saw the wild dogs, giraffes, my favorites (cheetahs), and hers--the birds. I'm sure she's going to post about it. She has all of the wonderful pictures, as she had a brand new high powered camera to capture the experience. She even has a video of the wild dogs yelping.

The most amazing thing about the zoo was seeing so many different cultures. You saw so many families, each doing their own thing, no fighting, just reveling in the experience.

The best thing for me was not just seeing the animals, I've been to my fair share of zoos. It was to see how good of a job they did educating people about conservation, about the animals and the environments that are at risk, about the efforts of the zoo to protect habitats, about what they actually do with the funds from the different houses that you pay for. You even get to decide where and how your money is spent, when you go through the Congo exhibit.

There was an ecotourism bathroom (which eliminated wasting water--and educated you what you could do to save this precious resource), and just so much there. I asked Allison to take a few pictures of some of the signs. I'll try to get them and add them to the post. In essence they were telling people that where our planet's future stands is up to us.

I loved seeing the children so into nature, so knowledgeable, reading, pointing, some a bit overzealous, but it was so interesting to remember myself at their ages. I just hope that they'll remember, as they get older, all the animals that they saw along with their responsibility to make sure that our future and the future of the animals on our planet will be determined by our actions--and they'll be willing to do their part.

Good night, I have more to learn about leopards, LOL.

P.S. Part of the greatest joy from the experience is me projecting Allison in a similar environment. I'm sure she'll back me up that there's nothing else that she can do that will give her that level of joy, well--cough, LOL. Hardly anything.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I'm not going to go into too much details on this post. Lets just say the brilliant idea that I pitched only to have it sabotaged due to office politics is going to bite that person in the royal arse, LOL.

Nothing better to prove someone wrong than to have more evidence to substantiate the fact that the idea that you posed had so much merit, that it practically unified the un-unifiable.

I will probably be gloating for awhile once the shit really hits the fan. The person will deserve it, because that's what happens when you're more interested in politics than furthering the ambitions of your company.

Pumps fist! Hell Yeah!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tales from BusinessWeek

Hello, all. First of all I'm back at my desk, woohoo. Second I can talk about an interesting article I read in last week's BusinessWeek. I find it interesting that Al is posting about something about business and I'm discussing something about the environment, but I digress.

So I'm not going to pretend that I'm an expert on renewable forms of energy. However, I know that global warming is a reality. I read an article yesterday that said Europe and Africa experienced record temperatures over the course of the last few weeks. People all over the world are starting to realize that environmentalists aren't deluded. The earth's temperatures are the highest that they have been in 350 years.

So the article I read talked about alternatives to fossil fuels: biodiesel, animal fat, and ethanol. It talked about the unfair advantage that corn based ethanol has (subsidy-wise) compared to further alternative energy sources.

Now I've been reading a lot about corn-based ethanol. I know that the price of corn is rising, and meat as well, based on the government backing it as a viable alternative to oil. Another huge issue is Ethanol can't be used in high concentrations in existing pumps and pipelines (huge infrastructure concern)--why isn't anyone talking about this?

From an environmental standpoint, ethanol is a deal with the devil.

From what I understand, correction might be warranted, sugar based ethanol is more efficient than corn-based ethanol ($0.51/gallon subsidy). I know that sugar-based ethanol is widely used in Brazil (thank you Amazing Race). Well the article mentions that corn-based ethanol contains less energy than gasoline (30% less in fact). So you would lose gas mileage. It mentioned that biodiesel ($1/gallon freezes easily, kind of a problem in the winter. Can you imagine a frozen tank in a cold winter, bad idea? It also mentioned that biodiesel can smell rank. Also, neither option has really been proven to offer major advantages to the current global warming issues (Al I expect you to comment on this one--I know when we discussed this article you mentioned the problem would be that we'd still be using a combustion engine. However, both biodiesel and corn-based ethanol have been backed by Congress and some other options are not being given a level playing field (subsidy-wise).

Thanks to years of lobbying by ethanol and biodiesel producers, two fuels get the big breaks. A number of states mandate that ethanol or biodiesel be blended with oil based fuels...the laws also narrowly define biodiesel in terms of a specific process, shutting out innovations and improvements.

This seems ridiculous to me. We should be exploring any viable alternative energy source. One such fuel is generated by animal fat. In this scenario you would use a waste product for fuel, quite intelligent if you ask me. The article mentions that it would be beneficial for farmers that are being hit hard with higher corn prices. Other options include butanol, which can be used in existing pipelines and pumps, and hydrogen (which President Bush--the only compliment that you'll ever see me give him)--earmarked over a billion dollars for--or at least he claimed to have done so in the 2004 election and set a firm timetable for us to switch over from our dependence on gasoline.

It's a global issue, people. The United States needs to play ball internationally if we are going to see any real change. It has it's share of the environmental damage to account for, but it also needs to team with other industrialized nations--hello ratify the Kyoto Protocol--if we are going to have any realistic changes.

Forgive us Mother Earth.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Ominous Beginnings

I walked into work today and saw a few keyboards strewn on the floor. I'm like what the hell is going on. I turn the corner and see Kirk and Kwesi. Kwesi had this look of why did you come in today. I went over near my desk and saw leaks everywhere. The ceiling was vomiting rain everywhere. Luckily all the machines were moved, though a few servers got wet and Kwesi was airing out hard drives when I got in.

I was like why did I even come in. At least nothing of mine was damaged. I was all smiles for a little while and then got pretty cranky afterwards. I unplugged the surge protector under my desk, moved the switch box and my monitor and the wet mouse and keyboard.

I later found a spot in the Production department, Coldploy's former locale. I had my calls transferred over, though I'm sure I have a few angry customers that I need to get back to on Monday.

They had to air dry the carpet, a lot of our papers got wet, some of the Editorial departments manuscripts got wet too. It was a total disastrous start to the morning. I did get a lot of work accomplished, despite the two hour delay in the start of my work day.

I can't say it improved much as the meeting from hell completely drained me (not even worth discussing). It also left me feeling that something that I had pushed for, and that was approved by the owner of the company will have to be dealt with again, though it should have been taken care of in the aforementioned meeting. whatever, I didn't have the patience for it. I'm not a very nice person when I'm crossed, and I'm very passionate, and also used to getting what I want (if it is in reason).

So I picked up a bottle of White Merlot tonight and I'm going to relax and forget about all the equipment I have to set back up if my area is deemed inhabitable on Monday. Glad the deluge didn't happen on the weekend. Here's to hoping the building gets off of its lazy ass and actually repairs our roof instead of patching it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Tortoise Crossed the Line

Slow and steady, slow and steady. I'm not the tortoise. One of my friends is. He just crossed the line and I'm proud of him for doing so. I'm happy for his fiancee as well, she certainly deserves it.

This proves that things happen in their own time, sometimes you have to be patient enough to wait out the situation instead of throwing in the towel. There's something to be said about knowing where you stand in your relationship, and discounting outside opinions.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Interesting Instructions

I read an article about a week ago on Sports Illustrated. It was in the 'More Sports' section. It dealt with some instructions that Beijing taxi drivers were given in lieu of the upcoming 2008 Summer Olympics.

Now the caption read: 'taxi drivers warned to brush away garlic, be polite and don't smoke' It was more than enough to pique my curiosity.

Drivers were warned not to try to take advantage of tourists, to brush their teeth to get away the garlic smell from meals that evidently Asian foods use as a key ingredient, not to spit in public, and to just be downright polite.

Other warnings included to form neat lines--no pushing and shoving, not to refuse fares, not to smoke while driving, and to use public transportation to ease congestion.

Now I was actually pretty much in tears when reading this article. There is evidently a reason why the warnings were issued:

"The taxi drivers are a window through which the foreigners will see Beijing, and we need to further regulate their services,'' said Lin Xiaoming, vice director of the Beijing Transport Commission - an arm of Beijing's municipal government.

"Some of our residents complained that the drivers hardly knew the roads and some of the taxis were not clean,'' Lin said. "We are aiming to improve our entire range of transportation services.''

This reminds me of one of the funniest articles I read before the Athens Olympics in 2004. It said that the Greek prostitutes were threatening to go on strike. They wanted to be respected, given that they contributed heavily to the Greek economy. I was in stitches.

I'm going to stop now, LOL. If you'd like to read the article for your own amusement click on the hyperlink below:

A Little Courtesy Please

Sunday, April 22, 2007

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

Since I put up Site Meter, in mid-November, to see if anyone actually reads my posts I've had over 1000 hits. That's actually pretty shocking to me. I try to write about what's going on in the world, give snapshots into my brain, and to talk about issues that mean a lot to me.

I guess it means that this blog is so eclectic that people need to get their fix every once in awhile. Thank you!

It's funny because I never thought I'd have a blog. I didn't think I had anything that anyone really wanted to hear. I suppose the thousand visits suggest otherwise.

My new goal is to get some more people to comment! I won't bite, I promise, LOL.

Enjoy the fleeting moments of your weekend, I'm nice and relaxed having taken a shower after a few hours on the tennis court. I'm waiting for the Sopranos and I'm currently watching my San Antonio Spurs battle it out with the Denver Nuggets. It's playoff time!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Unexpected Phone Call

I have been looking for the weekend since the deluge that was dumped on the East Coast earlier in the week. Who would've thought we'd see 70+ temperatures? Mid-week I saw the forecast for the upcoming days and I was so overjoyed. I'm going to dust off my tennis racquet and hit the courts tomorrow with Kwesi.

Well I went out yesterday with a couple of my coworkers yesterday to celebrate the wonderful weather. We wound up going to this trendy bar called Bar 12. What was supposed to be a big group dwindled down to a couple of us, but that was okay; we wound up having fun anyway. So much so that I didn't leave the place to just before 1 in the morning. I'm going for a drink or two always tends to lead to a late night. So you figure I had 3 Gin and Tonics and one Sam Adams. Thanks to great connections I was able to jump on the bus in Manhattan, to take it crosstown and then to jump on a Brooklyn bound train, wake up in time to transfer and then get home: total trip time about an hour--not bad for the MTA on the weekend.

I was on the phone with Al, while she worked on Grad school project, and probably went to bed a little before three.

I wake up at 10. I get a phone call a few minutes later from my father. It was unexpected, because we've had a very up and down relationship. He can be one of my favorite people or number one on my shit list. Well he decided to give me a call today. I think it's been a couple of months since we last spoke, before that maybe a couple of years.

We had all of these philosophical conservations, discussed Ayaan Hirsi Ali (wanted his opinion on her--he being a Muslim), books, life, memories, regrets, and even talked about my relationship with Al, and a lot about the growth in myself over the course of the last few years. We talked for almost two hours. It's funny, because in our relationship I'm almost the parent and he's more of the child. This doesn't mean that I don't respect him. It's just that he looks up to me, now at least, because I've accomplished a lot in my life, and I've done things my own way. So even people like him that weren't sure of who or what I would have become are able to say that they saw something special in me when I was younger.

I told him that he'd better save up some money, because I'd probably be married in the next few years, which shocked him. He said she must be a special lady to tame your heart. I said she was. I told him that she's a special woman and that she has a lot of strength and conviction and that you need someone that will just tell you shut up every once in awhile, LOL. Not that--that has ever happened, as we don't tend to talk to one another in that type of manner. But, I'm sure if she needed to call me on my shit, or silence me for my own good she'd be able to handle that. He wants to meet her. I expected that. My aunt loves Al, so much so that she said I should take her down to meet my other aunt, Shirley, in Florida.

It's so funny when someone asks you what's going on and you tell them you've gotten into graduate school and everything is going pretty well--and you know that someone is so integral in your life--and you are growing in your ability to forgive and let someone that has caused you pain in the past--another chance. Redemption. That's what it's all about.

It feels good to hear your parent say that they are proud of you. It's not the first time that I've heard it from him. It's the first time that I really felt he meant it, and even said I'm proud of how you and your sister turned out, even though I had little to do with it. He's on the true road to recovery, and today I've actually heard it.

I was looking for good weather, I suppose I've gotten that and so much more.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


Friday, April 20, 2007

On the Lighter Side

After two pretty intense posts about the Virginia Tech murders, I felt the need to post something a little on the lighter side.

I used to watch American Idol the first few seasons it was on the air. I usually waited until it was down to the semi-final round, though I did catch William Hung's performance.

So after a couple of seasons of not watching it at all, one of my coworkers got me sucked back in. I'm glad that she did, just in time for the final 12 selection. Suddenly Sanja mania had taken over.

On one side was a legion of people like me that thought he didn't have a lick of talent, and on the other hand you had a legion of teenie boppers that were completely enthralled with him. Then you throw in the divisive plot by to make a mockery of the whole American Idol phenomenon, by voting for worse singer--which happened to be Sanjaya.

Here you have this 17-year old boy who should be doing Crest commercials instead of singing--seemingly without a shred of talent--as pretty as a woman--just staying around week after week despite horrible performances.

I kept asking my coworker how did he make it to Hollywood. She said he was actually pretty good before.

The one good thing about seeing Sanjaya stay around was seeing a shred of talent with a few of his performances (his best were the rock "pony-hawk" performance and the Marc Anthony song that he sung when J-Lo helped out the Idol contestants), the judges with their dumbfounded looks as they realized the constructive criticism that they would offer meant absolutely nothing--even Simon.

Here's a quote from Simon Cowell about Sanjaya:
"I miss him, probably in the same way as I would miss now my favorite horror movie," he said. "I don't mean that nastily, because I like horror movies. But there's a kind of like, 'I hate it, I love it.' And that's how I felt about Sanjaya."

He was a "very sweet guy, quite entertaining, but a horrible singer,"

I won't forget the little girl that was in tears, reminiscent of 80s Michael Jackson mania--or 50s/60s Beatles mania, all the crazy hairstyles that Sanjaya rocked, the commentary from Best Week Ever "Sanjaya should do what he's destined to, play a teenage girl in a made for TV movie," or the smug looks from Simon after each Sanjaya performance. Lets not forget Simon's one compliment, following the Marc Anthony Spanish song--lost for words on the title: "you're going to be surprised at what I said, but it wasn't that bad."

If you are one of the few people that are wondering what's next for this would be Idol hopeful, this is an excerpt from the CNN article I read earlier today. You'll find a summary of Sanjaya's aspirations:

college, with the Berklee College of Music in Boston his goal, and a wide-ranging career that will probably include performances with his sister, Shyamali, 19, who unsuccessfully auditioned for "Idol."

I'm sure he'll take full advantage of his 15 minutes.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Profiles of a Serial Killer--Virginia Tech Part Deux

There's been so much information that has become available to the public since my last post. I felt the need to fill-in the pieces that were all so foggy before.

So we actually have the identity of the lunatic serial killer, Cho Seung-Hui.

We have news that he'd thoroughly planned out his attack. We know that he killed the first two victims and then brazenly walked into the Blacksbury Post Office to mail some 27 tapes and pictures to NBC.

We've heard of the discussions from one of his former teachers, Giovanni, that requested for him to be removed from her class. We know that he'd stalked two of his female classmates, or that there were allegations that he did. We know that he was declared an imminent danger to himself in 2005 (yet he was able to purchase assault weapons--scary).

His classmates, based on behavior and a few disturbing stories, had him pegged as the prototype for such an event.

We have his Manifesto where he's making some kind of convoluted statement about elitists.

So with all of this information it still doesn't make any sense. His reference to the Columbine shooters in such a familiar manner--first names only, and others of the same cloth--the mindless ranting--the pictures--he has what he wanted a bigger voice now than he ever had alive. He's got the media spinning, the sensationalism is beyond belief, the public is still in shock, families are morning.

The University's security and contingency planning will come under even more scrutiny. Perhaps we'll have tighter gun control, not allowing an imminent danger to themselves or others to purchase weapons would be nice.

An institution known for its heralded football program will now be known for the killings. How do those students go on? How can they go back to the campus? Or is the return to normalcy the best reaction to this case of mindless violence.

I find this whole situation even more disturbing. I just hope that we can learn from this, because it won't be the last time. You can bet that.

The worse thing we can do is to sensationalize this--because it's just breeding another group of killers that don't have a voice--that are maladjusted--ticking time bombs--that are looking for their 15 minutes of fame--or to have their own twisted legacy.

I might sound harsh, but I really hope he burns in HELL for what he did. I'd like to see what you think. Please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre

I remember checking CNN's websites early yesterday and seeing the developing story on the Virginia Tech shooting. I wondered what would make someone fire at a dormitory. I saw the early images of students jumping out of buildings, as two were hurt at that time--and one person was confirmed dead.

Fast forward a few hours. I'm on a technical support call with a woman from New Hampshire. She stops me midstream as she just got word that one of their former students were safe. We had a brief conversation. It was still just a developing story at that time. She said there was some speculation that the gunman lost it after his girlfriend cheated on him.

I then went back to see the updates. That's when I saw the death toll had jumped up to 31 and there were 29 confirmed injured, which possibly included the gunman.

I was previously on a high, being Allison's birthday. I was thinking about all the fun we had that weekend. Then I felt my mood melt as I thought about all of those students that were in class or in their dormitory when they were exterminated!

I became angry. I wished the guy had the courage to just kill himself instead of innocent people. I know that the story is still developing, but I find it quite disturbing. People send their kids to get an education, to broaden their horizons, and some lunatic robs families of their loved ones.

I offer my deepest condolences and hope they catch the additional assailant--if there is one. May god comfort the families who lost loved ones.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


So we are making our final preparations for Allison's birthday party. We'll be partying at Boston's own Mojitoes, a fine Latin establishment--known for its drinks, obviously, and for the heat from it's dance floor. Free dance lessons begin at 9. There's a group of us heading up from New York as well as the Massachusetts contingent. You add salsa dancing and drinks to that mix and Al celebrating her 25th birthday, oh yeah.

Lets just say I'm really looking forward to it. I found this gem on CitySearch about a month ago. Lets hope it lives up to its very high ratings.

Bailamos! I love to dance. Al loves to dance. We will be dancing the night away.

Feliz Cumpleanos mi amor!

Hasta Luego.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Infidel 2

So I'm still reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel, amidst a dozen other books. It's still a magnificent text. I'm currently at the moment in the book where Ayaan is challenging why Islamic women have second-class status, why the Koran dictates such unequalness---yet describes the sexes as equal.

She's at a point where she is enthralled with learning about Islam, not because of her mom's scornful tongue, or the promises of everlasting Hell fire and tormenting, but out of general curiosity.

I never knew that Islam meant submission. It means total submission. Wow that's a very interesting concept, total submission. My first question, as is Ayaan's is why? Even as a Christian I've learned that accepting dogma without understanding what's behind it is a waste of time. Isn't the whole point to understand why, not just to do?

God is knowledge no matter what religion you believe in, if you do believe in religion. Anything or anyone that takes away your ability to speak to your god, is a problem to me. Religion was intended to be a way of life. It wasn't supposed to be packaged up as a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday event. It's supposed to be something that actively governs your actions. It should be embedded in your consciousness. Your faith should be both your shield and your cane.

So reading this particular section of the book reminds me of myself on my constant quest to understand more, to be a better person, to be a better Christian. So many times I've heard man wrote the Bible, the Koran, the Torah...if you believe that can you define yourself as religious?

Or are you the type of person that says man may have made changes to the divine words and therefore I will go back as far as I can to figure it out for myself? What good is religion if only for convenience? What good is religion if you mouth prayers only to stave off Hell's fire? What good is it if it isn't in your heart?

Dogma, beatings, forced prayer won't give you the answers that you are looking for. Religion is a personal journey, no matter what anyone tells you. Yes there is a communal aspect, but no one can save your soul but you. No one can lose your soul but you.

I wish you well on your journey and I hope that you'd wish me the same.
Enough with the Apologies

Okay so I've been holding off on commenting on the Rutgers/Imus situation for awhile now. First, I think both the comments of Imus and his producer were despicable. I remember reading the excerpt from the radio broadcast when they talked about the girls looking rough, about all the tattoos, thinking oh here we go with that age old narrow minded view that every woman that plays basketball is a lesbian.

No, Imus stepped even lower. "Nappy Head Hoes!" What were you thinking? Did you even think, or were you trying to be controversial? The reality is I don't care what your motive was. It was idiotic.

I've heard excuses that rap's misogynistic culture makes these types of statements easier to say. You know what I have to say that, bullshit. If a twenty-year old skater punk said it, perhaps that might be within the realms of reason. When a man looking like certain death says it--it's ingrained.

If I hear another person say I'm not a racist I know black people, or I have black friends I'm going to hit someone. You're just a racist that has a few exceptions.

Anyway, I've seen the Revered Al Sharpton (who I'm not necessarily the greatest supporter of--but that is not even the point) galvanize the black community in such a way that saw Imus not only get suspended for two weeks, but also have his show pulled from MSNBC.

Why take a shot at college women that are striving to better themselves. I'm glad that he was stupid enough to say that in public. Hearing things like that makes me wonder what he says about black people in private.

Enough with the apologies. You should of thought before opening your mouth. All the apologies in the world won't take the sting out of what you said. And unfortunately those women will be remembered as much for this scandal as they were for getting Rutgers to the NCAA championship.

I just ask that people try to be considerate. I'll tackle the rap issue in another email. Let's just hope people realize that their jokes are offensive to other people--we've come a long way since minstrel shows and I hate to think that some people will always see us in such derogatory ways.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Taking it in Stride

Today wasn't one of the best work days I've had. I'm working on a monotonous project that makes me want to gauge my eyes out. Yet I persevere knowing that ultimately I'm the one that will bare the brunt of any further production delays.

So I sat at my desk and churned away all day. I got up a few times to get some water, to talk to some people in my department, and then got back to the grind.

I know that right now I don't feel the powers that be breathing down my neck. I like that feeling. I prefer to be informative than to have anyone doubting my ability to get anything done. I know that there has been time when I just don't feel like doing something. I might put in on the back burner for a bit, but that part of my brain that says hello dumb ass you have a schedule to keep has a nasty way of rearing its head.

What can I say? I love what I do. It drives me crazy at times, but I'll take the good with the bad. I know ultimately that everything from my internship to my current tenure will benefit me in one way or another. So the grunt work that I did years ago gives me insight that others don't have. I guess I'm saying that sometimes you have to take things into perspective. Otherwise wouldn't we all let our moments of futility outshine our moments of success? Perception is reality. That's what I tell myself when I'm having a hard day, month, or maybe even year. Sometimes it's just easier to be thankful for the opportunities that you have, rather than to be pessimistic. I'm sure no one wants to be depressed. So I say that all to say a little positive thinking goes a long way.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Sunday

Hello, everyone. This type of the year represents a very special time for me. I am a Christian. Therefore, I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Similarly, I believe that on Good Friday that he gave his life so that others might have salvation, the Gentiles. Good Friday would therefore be the holiest day on the Christian calendar for me as well as other Christians.

I know that it also intersects the Jewish Passover. The Passover is one of the stories that I know the best from the Bible. I watch the Ten Commandments religiously. I've probably read the Genesis and Exodus more than other book from the bible.

Both holidays, Easter and Passover, obviously are solemn and worthy of celebration. If your God passed over your ancestors houses with lambs blood marked along the doors and windows as he slew man, woman, child and beast to tell the Egyptians to let your people go, or if his earthly form came from heaven to live as a man and sacrifice himself to give life, or you believe in both (as I do)--you already have an idea what I'm talking about.

Both holidays are linked as the Last Supper would have been during Passover.

I woke up this morning and didn't go to church. I watched Joel Osteen and part of Creflo Dollar's sermons. Then I went with my friend Oneal to Yankee Stadium to watch a game that he invited me to yesterday. There was wind and snow. It was cold, but fun.

I say this all to say I hope how ever you define this Sunday, whether you believe in dying Easter Eggs, whether you believe in the rituals of the Pagan Holidays, whether you gather with your family, that you give a little thought to something besides yourself today. I know I did.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Is a Stand Necessary?

I remember reading an article on the Sports Illustrated website about rising Israeli tennis teen Shahar Peer. Peer is currently ranked in the top 20. She's given recent Australian Open Champion Serena Williams scares at both the Sony Ericson Open and at the Australian Open.

Shahar played the Middle Eastern Doha and Dubai tournaments this year. She played under the condition that she could not bring any member of her entourage to the tournament, not a coach, not her family, no other Israeli was allowed. Someone claimed she was a sell-out.

Serena and Venus William refuse to play Indian Wells after Venus was accused of defaulting against Serena for non-injury reasons. The two, who grew up only a few miles away, have not played the event since.

I was conversing with my friend Femi about whether or not Shahar was selling out. She said to me that isn't necessarily the case. Femi mentioned that a lot of talented blacks performed in places where they couldn't use the bathroom. So it made me think. She said that Shahar is on her way up. She's just trying to grind.

I think Femi is right. Perhaps as she becomes a bigger star she can be a bit more vocal about these types of issues, because lets face it nobody is even aware of what she gave up to play in the tournaments, except die hard tennis fanatics.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Commodization of Hip-Hip

I've been meaning to write this post for more than a week. I read an article about Steve Stout, the hip-hop artist Nas' former manager (fist-a-cuffs ruined that situation if I can remember correctly). It was in last week's BusinessWeek magazine.

Well he's gone on to start a very successful consulting business. He's working with top-notch companies including: Reebok, General Motors, and McDonald's to reinvent their mass appeals. He's a provocateur of what I've coined the commodization of hip-hop. He's using the appeal of urban culture to reinvent GMs image, to bring Reebok back onto the map, and to take the king of fast food up a notch.

Case 1: Reebok
I remember when Reebok seriously threatened Nike's position as the most profitable apparel company. It was on the strength of the Reebok Classic, forgot the urban coinage for these sneakers, but that was a long time ago. Reebok is a second-tier company now. Enter Steve Stout. He's convinced Reebok that their biggest marketing flaw is that they are trying to compete with Nike based on performance. Stout says give it up. It's already a lost cause perception-wise. Leave that appeal to Nike. Instead he used his good friend Sean Carter, aka hip-hop superstar and Def Jam CEO Jay-Z, to champion his new campaign to reinvent their image. Their new direction is to appeal to urban gear, which has mass crossover appeal to non-urban marketplaces.

Case 2: GM
GM's under real pressure from Toyota--as its Japanese rival is slicing market share away in leaps and bounds. It won't take long at this pace before Toyota is the number one car manufacturer in the world.

GM has taken out the boxing gloves. It sought Stout and his revolutionary advertising/consulting schema. Stout has made several clever decisions.
  1. Tiger Woods is the spokesperson for Buick. He says Woods is such a big name use him for as many of your brands as possible.

  2. A new Jay-Z blue GM Envoy for cross-over appeal

  3. The new Chevrolet Impala commercials that you've seen featuring R&B juggernaut Mary J. Blige, southern rapper T.I., and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The last option is just brilliant. It has appeals to so many different audiences. I never even thought about the Impala as being cool until I saw these commercials. I guess I'm the audience that Stout is successfully catering to.

Case 3: McDonalds
Have you seen/heard the new slogan "I'm lovin' it?" That coinage is one of Stouts ingenious consulting tips as well. He's also trying to get the workers to have more pride in their uniforms. He's pitched more urban gear, figuring most of McDonalds employees are young. The more pride they have in their appearance the better workers they will be. If they wear their uniforms outside, free advertising.

Keep up the good work! These little nuggets of information have proven extremely successful. I'm not sure if this philosophy will work long-term. So Steve cash in while you can, while urban culture and its exports are still worthy of mass appeal--and don't become oversaturated.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Happy Anniversary

It's been two years since the day that we agreed that were willing to take our relationship to the next level. In that time there has been weddings, meeting one another's families, frequent trips from New York to Boston, and oh so much love.

She is the only woman I've ever loved, the one I opened my heart to--the one who thawed my frozen heart. She is the one that has dealt with me in my highs and in my lows and vice versa.

We've learned to function as a unit while still not losing ourselves. So many differences yet so many similarities. There's such an underlying tension when you've felt love and refuse to let it go. You'd rather battle it out all day over email or over the phone than to carry resentment against the one you love. My mother always says don't go to sleep angry. You never know if that person is going to wake up the next day and you'll never forgive yourself. Those are very wise words. That's what makes a relationship work, surfing the highs and lows. Realizing that when your loved one hurts so do you, no matter who is to blame.

I've learned a lot through the course of these two years and I'm happy that the work that we've put into this so far has made us both better people.

It's no surprise we've made it two years, no surprise at all. There's so much love and the willingness to work through our problems--as rare as they are--what more can you ask for?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I know I'm the king of long posts lately. However, I'm pretty sleepy today. So, the cool business-oriented post that I planned on writing will have to wait until tomorrow.

I've been accepted to the Babson MBA program. I'm extremely excited as it was the only program that I applied to--as it seemed the perfect fit for me. I'll start in the Fall.

Boy in the last two weeks things have really been falling in line for me. Thank you, Jesus!

Now I have to get some wheels.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Impromptu Post

So there's nothing that I particularly want to discuss. I just know that I need to write, and that is what I'm doing.

Just Is

Head held low, brows furrowed, he takes in the world.
No name necessary. He just is.

Nobody gives him an afterthought,
he just looks like a man with time to waste.

He's an anomaly in this big city of dreams--both wasted and realized.
He finds time to meditate, narcotic-free, amidst the hustle and bustle.

Those without this luxury part him like the Red Sea,
letting their scorn and dirty looks hover in the polluted air.

Doesn't matter to him. He's just decided to run for office.
His only platform: Manipulate time, don't let it manipulate you.

He's high on something he wishes he could pass on the left-hand side.
Yet, he knows nobody would give him the time of day.

So he's just a nameless man,
a preacher without a pulpit,
and a man without a place to be.

He just is.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Infidel, Introduction

I like to watch Real Time with Bill Maher every once in awhile. About a month ago I caught a show where a young woman knocked my socks off with her poignant perspective on the United States and its policies. Her views were unfiltered, reasonable, and expressed with a soft yet powerful style. Her name is Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

I hadn't heard of Ayaan before viewing the broadcast. Few people have ever made the impression on me that she had. I went around asking about her. Al knew about her. Some of my coworkers had viewed the broadcast as well and talked about how refreshing it was to hear her perspective.

I picked up her book Infidel yesterday. I'm hooked already. This book is engaging to me, because my father is Muslim. I really would like to know what he thinks about what Ali speaks about. She seems, based on the introduction and the first 40 pages, not to question Islam, but the way that it has been intrepreted to make women submissive.

Anyway, I'm going to update you on whatever I find interesting during my time reading Infidel, which could also be titled Kafir.

I've already come across Ali being taught to fight for herself no matter what, feminism and Islam (modern vs. fundamentalist approaches--through woman's eyes), genital mutilation, and women being ostracized for being raped--the shame that this brings on their family.

Learn More About Ayaan

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Tales from the Land of Terrible Support Services

Lets first start by saying that my aunt purchased a Gateway computer back in 2000. Our house computer also is a Gateway. It was purchased around the same time. Ours is a tower and has never had any problems. It has Windows 98 and functions fine for what we use it for, to surf the web or to type up a Word document.

My aunt's computer came with that horrible operating system, Windows ME--don't even get me started. Anyway it didn't come with a floppy drive--which was strange for computers from that time period, not so strange now--as who really uses floppy drives now anyway--besides those still caught in yester years?

Okay so now that we have covered all of the background info, lets get into the meat and potatoes. Well my aunt's modem is on the fritz. This diagnosis was made by AOL and I believe seconded by Gateway. She called up and spoke with a Gateway tech who ordered the modem for her.

So I go over on Friday to install the modem. This was after she'd told me that she didn't see how the modem would fit. Now mind you this was supposed to be a quick installation of the modem and then I was supposed to go out to dinner with my mom, my aunt, and my cousin Tyanna. Well you can guess that didn't happen.

I look at the PCI modem and then at the mini-tower and say it doesn't fit. There are three grooves to the Modem and 2 in the slot. So my aunt calls Gateway. She was heated. Lets just say that she was a tad bit hostile with the rep, due to her frustration with them sending the wrong part. The rep would put her on hold, talk to tech support, come back and give some ridiculous diagnosis.

So I'm starting to get annoyed. I tell the rep that I'm a network administrator and the part doesn't fit. So guess what, please hold. Did you figure that out? LOL. Well she comes back and says my supervisor said all modem's are the same size. At that point I'd taken over operations as my aunt and this rep were verbal jousting. We knew we were getting the run-around.

We asked to speak to the supervisor. Never happened. I wanted to talk to the man who was speaking out of his ass. Oh I forgot to mention that my aunt said send me the correct part and lets get this over with from the very get go. The rep told her that she would be billed for the new part and she would get a credit 7-10 days later. My aunt lost it. She was like wait--I paid for a part--you sent me the wrong one--and now you want me to pay for a new part and wait for a credit--please check on that. So I'm assuming the supervisor is an idiot anyway. He wouldn't take the call, as he was on a 28 minute call. However, he seemed to have time to give a tech diagnosis about something he had not the foggiest idea about.

So anyway I digress. We are still on hold, it's over an hour at this point. The rep comes back on the phone and says she has the same diagnosis from two other techs. Now I'm irritated. This has gone on far too long. My aunt was really pissed off, so I took over, as she was now shouting--as dinner was backed up severely already.

I tell the rep listen, are they even looking at the model of the computer? This modem would fit in just about any computer. I have installed quite a few modems. It doesn't fit. It's too big for the slot and it has three grooves. I then said my diagnosis is based on the older model of this machine and the fact that she has an internal modem it is more likely that you'd have to replace the entire motherboard to correct the issue.

Boy you could really tell that she was listening at this point. She puts us back on hold. When she comes back she says hold on they are taking a look at the picture for the motherboard now. Guess what, oh yes, the IT person--being me--was correct. We are sorry the particular modem that she would need is no longer available based on the model of the machine...and the fact that a new PCI modem would not fit in her machine...LOL...don't you like the fact that they spit back my diagnosis at me.

My aunt is like miss lets wrap this up. We have plans. So she says we'd need an external modem. I then say to her can you just charge her the difference. The rep says yes. Voila--modem order is processed--after some difficulty with the rep putting in the credit card number correctly.

After the whole deal is over I say to the young lady I feel sorry for you. Your boss let you be the sacrificial lamb. The techs were lazy and should have looked at the model and taken the call instead of leaving you in the line of fire. She said to me you are absolutely right, I'm not technical. She told me based on their procedures and the order she had to take the call. Clearly there is a change in policies needed. She mentioned something about returning the part and I cut her off and say she has 10 business days to return it. She says yes. I tell her that I have to return parts all the time. I thank her and tell her to have a great weekend.

Phew--and then we finally went out for dinner, LOL.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

March Madness

Okay so if you don't know already I'm an insane sports fanatic! I love football, basketball, tennis, swimming, track and field, gymnastics, get the point.

I grew up playing baseball, basketball, and football. I ran track when I was younger. In my dreams I'm the number one tennis player in the world. In reality I'm number 2 in my cubicle, 2 of 2, though I plan to do something about that this year. I've played just about any sport that you can imagine, not necessarily well, but I've played nevertheless.

March Madness is the most incredible sporting event that I've ever seen. It's completely unpredictable, no matter what Bracketology program or expert commentators tell you otherwise. You throw a bunch of big name schools in with some mid-majors. You let the tournament committee give seedings (which usually don't mean much)--and you hope and prey that some no-name school doesn't slay your Goliath--if you back one of the traditional powers.

This year I just knew that I wasn't going to get into it. Syracuse didn't make it, a source of contention amongst many analysts--and more importantly me. Whatever. They are playing in that other post-season tournament, the NIT. Who cares who wins the NIT. Does winning the NIT set you up to be a top ten pick in the NCAA tournament? Not likely.

Anyway I've been watching a lot of games over the course of the last couple of days. There haven't been as much upsets as there normally is. However, there have been a lot of competitive games--including number one Ohio State being taken to overtime by rival Xavier--coming back from being down 10 in regulation.

These kids play for the love of the game. Most of them won't go on to be a pro. What does that matter? If they can hit a three to win the game, block a shot, grab a rebound--anything that can contribute to a victory--including playing to the point of fatigue--they'll do it. Some superstars are using the opportunity to get more exposure--to move up in the draft--but most of them would sacrifice anything to get to the Final Four--or to win a championship. It's all about the team. See young men on the sidelines that normally are incapable of showing emotions crying--or hugging each other. It's a world in of itself.

These kids play for the love of the game, not for a paycheck. Perhaps that's why the NBA Finals can't compare. You have millionaires competing for diamond rings--and bigger contracts. Some sprain pinky toes and refuse to play. Others are cancers that eat away at their teams--and do a disservice to the game.

Pure enthusiasm=NCAA March Madness

If I won the lottery I'd take the opportunity to go to the NCAA Final Four over the NBA Finals any day. I'm sure most basketball enthusiasts would agree.

Back to the Madness. Lets go Big East, lets go!