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.