Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekend Recap - DJ 101

Saturday was a good day. After running errands and watching basketball, the Mrs. and I went to a birthday party for a friend of ours. It was good for the most part. It would have been great if the dj was any good. Below, I will list a eww things I wish I could have told him before the night started:

1. If you were given a list of songs to have played during introductions, have them ready.

2. Don't play all the line dances (Wobble, Cupid Shuffle, Cha-Cha Slide, etc) back to back

3. You don't have to do a "drop" on every song

4. It's a birthday party, EVERY song is dedicated to the birthday girl.

5. NEVER stop the music

6. It's not about you, it's about the music

7. DO NOT promote your next gig at my party

8. No more than 2 people in the DJ booth

9. If you are going to be your own hype man, use a headset mic
9a. Better yet, just play music.

10. If the dancefloor is empty, change the song.

11. Black people like "Moves Like Jagger"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Frankly, "Charlotte", I Don't Give A Damn

Over the last few years I have been fired twice, audited, engaged twice, had my credit ruined because I was trying to be a nice guy, down to my last $100 and married. One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the last few years is that you will learn a lot about the people in your life when you are at your highest of highs and at your lowest of lows. Although a few people have taught me that lessn, none epitomise it more than my "friend" "Charlotte".

Charlotte and I go back to our freshman year at Morgan, although we didn't get close until after we graduated. Our friendship was cool. We even survived a failed attempt to date back in 2002. Sadly, her action (or lack thereof) over the last few years has made me question the sincerity of our friendship and remove her from my inner circle.

I should have noticed when I was engaged to "Guyana". Granted, she (along with a few of you) didn't agree with the engagement, she fell back. When the engagement was called of, when you would think she would have been the first one there to try to console me, I didn't hear from her for 6 months. Then when she found out about Panama she got mad because she thought that we were going to get together (not that the thought hadn't crossed my mind, but during the course of our friendship I realized some things about here that made me realize that we wouldn't work together in a reltionship. Not to mention, I had my eyes set on someone else when I broke up with Guyana). Then, when she found out I got engaged again, she pulled out all the stops.

Last year, when Prince was on tour, she was so eager to see him that she brought tickets to see him in New York. Trying to squeeze in as much as she could, she asked me to meet her for dinner before the show. While at dinner the ladies behind us had a spare ticket to the show which I was talked into buying. After the show I walked her back to her room where she propositioned me. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted, but for some reason I was able to resist. That didn't go over too well with her and the next few times she spoke she would remind me that I was the one who would say "if a woman wants to give you something, let her" then turned around and turned her down.

As the wedding approached she kept saying she was coming only to tell me at the last minute that she wasn't coming and instead spent the weekend of my wedding in Miami. She followed that with the "I will send you a gift" "and I want o get you something for Christmas" lines. Glad I didn't hold my breathe. Now, after another 5 months has passed, she cmes around and asks me if I missed her. I guess she didn't like it when I said no. This year is al about taking care of those who take care of me. Charlotte is just not one of those people anymore.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Truth Shall Set You Free

I have always said that if you want the truth from someone talk to them while they are drunk and/or when they are tired. Under these two conditions, most people don't have the reflexes to lie, and in most cases, they volunteer information that wasn't even asked of them. This was the case this past week.

My mother-in-law turned 75 last week and on Thursday, and to celebrate, her children came over for dinner, which my wife cooked. While waiting for dinner everyone was laughing and sharing stories while popping bottles (vodka and moscato were the drinks of choice). After about an hour, my brother-in-law goes into this monologue ranging from how he doesn't like my wife and thinks our marriage is a farse, how his girfriend is a hoe and how he is going to fight one of his brothers the next time he sees him.

Needless to say, that put a damper on the evening. It even prompted his mother to disinvite him to Saturday nights dinner. I didn't think much of him before and think less of him now.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Restaurant Review: Victor's Cafe

One of the things I vowed to do this year was look out for those who look out for me. So when I was invited to come out and celebrate the birthday of one of my groomsmen I didn't hesitate to say yes. The fact that this celebration took place at a restaurant I have never been to before made me even more excited.

Victor's Cafe is located in midtown Manhattan and offers authentic Cuban cuisine. Our reservations were made for 8pm, but being the on-time person I am, the Mrs. and I arrived at 7:45. Even though our entire party hadn't arrived, we were given the option of sitting at the bar or being shown to our table (which was impressive to me since a lot of restaurants don't seat incomplete parties). We decided to go to our table and was met there by another one of the guests. Small talk began and continued until our entire party had arrived (2 of the guest were 40 minutes late, which didn't sit well with me). You would have thought we were in a heat wave the way the waiters made sure our water glasses were full.

When it finally came time to order, I went with old reliable, salmon, with a glass of champagne sangria. Their salmon comes with green pepper, pineapple and Asian pear salsa over Cuban creamy corn polenta with black beans and rice as the side dishes. With big groups of friends it turns into a community dinner and you get to try a little bit of everyone's dish. Of the other dishes that stood out to me, there was one I wouldn't mind ordering if/when I go back. I had a small piece of a friends Filete de Pargo en Camisa de Platano (red snapper fillet encrusted with green plantains over tomato-sofrito sauce and Afro-Cuban plantain mash). I don't usually go for Red Snapper, but if that little piece I had was any indication, I will definitely have it again.

Overall, the experience was good and the food was good. I wish they had more options in the seafood department (only 2 fish dishes, a shrimp dish and pallea). It was a bit pricey, but that was its only major downfall. It doesn't compare to Cabana's, but I would definitely go back to Victor's Cafe just to mix things up from time to time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Money Mondays: Sallie Mae is My . . . .

The longest relationship I have ever had with a woman has lasted for over 10 years and I HATE IT. She showed up 6 months after I graduated and I haven't been able to shake her yet. This relationship has been completely one sided and I'm fed up. She just takes and takes and takes. No matter how much I give her, she wants more, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Sallie Mae and I are far from friends, but I do owe her my education, to the tune of close to $25,000. With the payment I made over the weekend, that number has now dipped below $9,000. That got me thinking, how soon could I pay it off. I started playing with the numbers. Originally, I went with the idea of paying it off by my 35th birthday, but that would mean monthly payments of $643 between now and May of next year. I went to New Year's Eve 2013, which meant monthly payments of $429. I then went to my 36th birthday. That would mean monthly payments of $346. Pushing it back to New Year's Eve 2014 would mean monthly payments of $272. As long as nothing changes I can handle the last two numbers so that is my goal. My soft goal will be my 36th birthday and my hard goal will be New Year's Eve 2014. Ironically enough, the $272 number is a little more than twice my minimum payment now so if I just pay bi-weekly, I probably won't even notice the difference.

Getting rid of Sallie Mae will be a big accomplishment and I am ready to make it happen. Nothing is going to get in my way now. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Operation H.A.M.: Army Of One

For many people, waking up on a Saturday morning at 6am is out of the question. Add to the fact that it was 27 degrees at the time and getting out of bed is the last thing on their mind. Those are the conditions I found myself dealing with as I headed to the track for Operation H.A.M.'s first Saturday meeting of the year.

Seeing as I live the closest to the park, I figured I would be the first one there. I was just hoping I wouldn't be the only one there, but as I approached the park I saw some people moving around so I knew that at worst, I wouldn't be along. I used my brief walk to the park as my warm up so I could get on with my personal plans for the day as the others strolled in. Lap after lap I kept looking at the parking lot for a familiar car, but there wasn't one in sight. Before I knew it I had covered my intended distance and was ready to return home.

Upon my return home I find out that everyone else bailed because it was too cold. I was tempted to as well, but didn't want to let them down. Little did I know they were going to let me down . . . this week. Too be continued. Hopefully I'll have some company next week.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Operation H.A.M.

Two years ago I created a running/walking team in my neighborhood. It was a small, dedicated crew; most of those who were invited spent more time running their mouths than actual running. I heard every excuse in the book, but was not deterred. I went out with two other people every Saturday morning.

Last year, I turned the team over to someone else because my schedule (and life) wouldn't afford me the tme to dedicate to it. Thankfully the team went on and even got bigger. Today, I received a message that our first run of the year will be Thursday (66 degrees here in NYC) and will continue on Tuesday and Thursday nights as well as Saturday mornings. Ie can't wait.

Its been a while since I ran on aregular basis, so my goal is simple. I was doing a 10 minute mile before, so my goal, by te end our our "season" is to do 6 miles in less than 54 minutes (I.e. a 9 minute miles). I will be sure to keep you posted.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Want To Be My Motivation?

With the Mind & Body Fitness Challenge over, I have already set my next goal. My birthday is in 88 days and I want to lose 10 pounds between now and then. Its a doable goal, but I know I am going to need some motivation along the way. I like a good challenge, but self-discipline is not my strong point, so I am making a plea to the 2 1/2 of you who read this to check on me, encourage me, challenge me and motivate me over the next few months. I would really appreciate it.