Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Musings: End of Year Review

If you know me you know that this is my favorite time of the year. I look forward to Christmas and New Year's even more than I look forward to my birthday. Between the gift giving and the reflection and the anticipation of the upcoming year, there is almost nothing that can bring me down during this part of the year. Now that Christmas is over (I must have been a bad boy since I didn't get what I wanted from Santa) I can look back at my year. This year was definitely a roller coaster ride for me and I would like to say that I have come out of it better than I went into it. Didn't accomplish everything I wanted to do, but at the same time I also did some things I never thought I would do. Below you will see my list of 13 things that have influenced my 2013 (in alphabetical order).

1. The Affordable Care Act
When the Affordable Care Act went into effect a lot of people were impacted, including myself. Unlike most people, the Affordable Care Act's impact on me was professional. When it was first discussed, my job was in jeopardy as the act would eliminate the need for the primary function of my job. Fortunately, my company choose to allow us to get certified as application counselors which will allow us a little cushion and keep us employed at least through April. What happens after that is still up in the air. Stay tuned.

2. Blogger Meet-Up
When I first started blogging, meeting the people behind the blogs was the big thing. Within a few years I had met my share of bloggers in New York, Boston and Baltimore. Most of which I am still cool with now. That being said, there were still 3 bloggers that I still wanted to meet. This year I was fortunate enough to meet one of them. And as fate would have it, we work for the same company, just in different offices approximately 20 miles apart.

3. Friendships
My friends always amaze me. Sometimes for good reasons, other times for bad reasons. This year was no exception. The old Maya Angelo quote comes to mind, "when people show you who they are, believe them.". The lessons I learned this year are ones that will allow me to be a better person in the future whether those people who taught me those lessons continue to be in my life or not.

4. Galaxy 4S
So this year I purchased my first smart phone without a keyboard. I wasn't sure how I felt about a full touch screen phone, but as I type this post on it I can say the transition wasn't so bad. I still miss the keyboard every so often, but will move forward and keep up with the times.

5. Man of the Year
In October, my church awarded me with it's "Man of the Year" award. I very humbling moment for me as I don't do what I do to win awards, I do them from the heart. Being recognized is nice, but the reactions of the people that benefit from what I do are the rewards that I cherish the most.

6. NYC Mayoral Election
Aside from the 2008 Presidential election, this is the political campaign that I have been the most personally involved in and interested in. Even so much so that I attended forums and met several of the candidates personally. In the end, the initial candidate I was interested in did not win, but I do think that the city is in capable hands.

7. Reconnecting With Good Friends
People come and go in your life for various reasons. Sometimes you understand, some times you don't. Some people you miss, some you dont. Some even come back. This year I was fortunate enough to reconnect with 4 people who I can truly say that I missed.

8. Scandal
Say what you want to about the quality of the show, the one-liners and social media interaction makes this must see tv. Thursdays at 10 will never be the same.

9. Spending Time With Family
They say you have two families; the one you are born into and the one you choose. After years of not spending time with the family I was born into, I tried to spend more time with them this year. It lead to some interesting moments, but I don't know if I will repeat that experiment again.

10. Twitter
I was reluctant to join, but once I did, I definitely went in the deep end of the pool. It's an interesting place to say the least. Perfect for a scattered mind like mine.

11. Visiting My Grandmother
I have one living grandparent. Back in April I visited her in North Carolina for the first time in over 10 years. Considering her current medical condition the trip was bittersweet, but it's one that I am glad I made and one I will make every year as long as she is here.

12. Working With A Relative
For the last 3 years my cousin and I have worked for the same company. For the last 19 months we have worked in the same office. It has been an interesting experience. People around us say it seems like we are getting closer. Ask me and the situation is making me resent the sight of her. Either way, it has definitely had an impact on my this year.

13. 52 Week Savings Challenge
This year I participated in the 52 week savings challenge. If you don't know, it works like this. The first week you save 1 dollar. The second week you save 2 dollars. The pattern continues until you the last week in which you save 52 dollars. If you are successful, you will have over $1300 saved up. If it worked for me, it can work for you.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Back To Reality

I usually post early in the morning from the confines of my desk, but for the better part of the last five and a half weeks I haven't been able to do that. For the last five and a half weeks my job reassigned me to Manhattan to work on a special project. I appreciated the opportunity and learned a lot in the process, but it is certainly good to be "home". Especially on a day like this as I watch the snow fall and am very happy I am not dealing with the 2 hour commute to Manhattan today. By the looks of it, it is going to be a slow day today so I will catch up on blogs, do some virtual shopping and see what I have missed around the office.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Musings: Election Eve

I have been with my job for almost two years now and today is the first time I have taken a day for no other reason than to get away from work. I refer to these as mental health days. At my previous job I would take one every six week. The timing of this one is strategic, as I am also off tomorrow off for Election Day. It also coincides with "Panama's" first day at her new job so I have the house to myself.

This weekend was good. Saw "Last Vegas" on Friday nigjt. Just the type of movie I needed after a long stressful week. I was recently certified as an application counselor and was reassigned to a hospital in Manhattan to assist people enroll into into the Health Exchange. My commute has gone from 25 minutes to 2 hours. You do not realize how important that extra 3 hours a day means until you don't habe it. I appreciate the exposure that my job is providing me right now, but i know it would take a nice raise for me to go back to working in Manhattan on a regular basis.

Had a doctor's appointment Saturday. I don't like going to the doctor, but in my attempt to reach a healthier me, it is a necessary evil. Things went well and slowly but surely things are heading in the right direction. I have some obatacles to overcome, but I believe I will get there or die trying.

t Sunday I went to early service at church and heard a good word. It spoke on dealing with your issues and referenced the David vs Goliath story. The line that stood out to me was "stop letting your problems dictate you life. Start dictating your life to your problems." I needed to hear it and even more importantly, i need to apply it. Time will tell.

After church I came home and watched football until football watched me (how about Geno and the Jets?). I also got to chat with a friend of mine who had the pleasure of watching her oldest daughter realize her dream. Even though I didn't see it live in speaking to her I could tell that she was a proud parent. May all of you have the opportunity to allow your children to chase their dreams and one day watch them realize those dreams.

Tomorrow is election day. Wherever you live and whatever is on your ballot, make sure you vote. Even if your candidate doesn't win, voting givea you the right to complain. If you do not vote you have decided that you don't matter and should be ignored. You didn't take the time to vote so dont wonder why nobody takes the time to listen. Just my opinion.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Would You Do Wednesday: Choose Wisely

You are unemployed. As luck would have it, you get 3 offers in the same day. They are as follows:

Job 1: In your field. Close to home. Decent benefits package. Hours are 9-5 with weekends off. Pay is X

Job 2: In your field. Not as close to home as job 1. Decent benefits package. Hours are 6am-2pm and you have to work 1 Saturday a month. It pays $2000 more than job 1.

Job 3: Not in your field. Just as close to home as job 1. Decent benefits package. Hours are flexible including the possibility of working weekends. Pays $10,000 more than job 1.

Which job do you choose?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Question of the Day: October 29, 2013

Would you give your spouse your paycheck and allow them to give you an allowance? How do you handle the finances in your family?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Question Of The Day

Does unconditional love exist? If not, what is your breaking point?

Monday Musings: The Fall

It's funny how some people cannot read the writing on the wall no matter how big it is written.

The weekend was long, had dinner with Panama's cousin and his girlfriend. They have been together for four years and are headed towards marriage so the majority of the conversation had them picking our brains. Hope I didn't discourage them too much . . . I mean, I hope they took what was said to heart and learn from it.

Saturday I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel for a townhall meeting on the Affordable Care Act at the National headquarters of the National Action Network. It was a new opportunity for me at my job and I made the most of it. Hopefully it will lead to something else as I am getting bored in my current position.

Sunday was the annual Men Can Cook event at my church. This year I made sweet and sour chicken. It went over very well if I must say so myself.

By the time I got home on Sunday I was ready to crash. Didn't watch any football or anything, but the 10 hours of sleep I received were very necessary. I have to listen to my body more often. Bif I don't occassionally shut down, it will shut down on its ownm.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Musings: Rush Hour Madness

Let me start by shouting out everyone who drives or takes the train to work on a daily basis. I have had to luxury of living close enough to work that I can either walk or take a 10 minute bus ride, but last week I had to take a training in Hauppauge, New York, which required me to drive 30 miles each way. As we all know, 30 miles does not equal 30 minutes during rush hour. My commutes in the morning averaged an hour and in the evenings an hour and a half. I was drained by the time I got home each night and just wanted to take a nap.

This week, I am in a different training. This one is in Manhattan. For me that means taking a bus to a train. In all, it will be about 2 hours both way. It has been almost 6 years since I have done this on a regular basis and as I type this from the J train I can safely say that I don't miss it. I cannot wait until Wednesday.

I tried to go and see "12 Years A Slave" on Friday night, but to my dismay, it is only showing in 3 theaters in New York City. None which are close to me. Talk about a limited release. "Fruitvale Station" had more screens the first week it was out.

My weekend was long and busy. I was able to honor someone I have known for a long time on Saturday. It meant a lot to me to be able to do it and it meant a lot for him to have it done. The lesson I took from that is not to take the people you care about for granted. Show them how you feel about them often. They cannot hear you when you are speaking at their funeral.

Let me get mentally prepared for this training. Hope you all had a good weekend and a great day.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What Would You Do Wednesday

You are in your late 20's, early 30's. You are single, successful in your career and content with not having any children. One day, you get a call from your mother. She tells you that your 19 year old adopted sister is pregnant and no longer wants to keep the baby. Since it is too late to abort, your mother asks you if you would consider adopting the baby. What would you do?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Musings: Columbus Day

Yes, I have the day off, but I have been up since 5am doing laundry. Fortunately, the rest of my day is clear so I will just be relaxing.

Shout out to my Words With Friends friends who always seem to be up and ready for a game. That and my Marvin Sease station on Pandora made the time go by quick.

This weekend was good. Panama was in Connecticut so Lil' Man and I had a guys day in on Saturday. After is homework was done we went to the park to put his his new remote control car on the road. After that we came home and had burgers while watching football.

. Sunday was Men's Day at my church. Every year among all the other activities, they give out a Man of the Year award. To my surprise, that award went to me. It is an honor to receive and I will do my best to prove myself worthy.

A New Yorker being subjected to Cowboys and Redskins on Sunday night is torture.

Shout out to after school programs that are open on holidays. I am going back to sleep, unless I can find something better to do.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Are You Smarter Than A 6th Grader:

Today's subject: Math

Lola is putting appetizers on plates. She has 63 meatballs and 84 cheese cubes. She wants both kinds of food on each plate, and each plate must contain the same number of meatballs and the same number of cheese cubes. What is the greatest number of plates she can make using all of the appetizers?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What Would You Do Wednesday:

I am no angel and I have made my share of questionable decision in the past, but one thing I have always believed was that domestic violence is not cool. I don't even agree with Chris Rock and his believe that there is always a reason to hit someone. Sadly, I grew up around a lot of women who put up with a lot of shit from men. Fortunately, I have tried to surround myself with people who have similar beliefs . . . Or so I thought.

Sigma and Zeta have been married for 6 years. They make 7 next month. Lately, they have been having issues. So much so that Zeta is ready to leave. I have heard Sigma's side of the story, and Zeta has turned to Panama to vent her frustration. Between the two we have heard some interesting things, but when she told Panama that Sigma has hit her, neither one of us wanted to believe her. Today, Panama and Zeta spent the day together and Panama said she saw the scar from the stitches and the emergency room release form that confirm that something happenee.

With this new found information, how do I proceed with my friendship with Sigma. He's my boy and 39 years of friendship is hard to let go of, but the fact that I now know about this side of him bothers me. Is this my opportunity to help him face his demon. I am so torn right now, I don't know what to do. What What would you do?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Musings:

Today is the last day of September and the seasons has come to an end for the Mets, Yankees and Giants. The Giants are 0-4 but play in a division that sucks so they are only 2 games back. A win over the Eagles and a Cowboy loss to Peyton Manning and they are right back in it.

Alex Rodriguez goes in front of an arbitrator today to appeal his suspension. I cannot wait until this is over. Personally, I hope the suspension is upheld.

I tried to watch that new show "Betrayal" last night. Couldn't really get into it. That was the only onebof the new shows that caught my attention this season. Guess I will stick with "The Voice", "Castle", "Modern Family", "Grry's Anatomy" and "Scandal" for my non-sports television watching.

My supervisor just e-mailed me to tell me shebwas taking the day off. Maybe I am the only one who doesn't think about work on my DAY OFF.

There is a part of me that wants to see an Oakland - Pittsburgh World Series. I think that would be great for baseball. More realistically, I think it will be Boston and Atlanta.

My job is requiring me to take a flu shot today. It will be the first flu shot of my adult life. Hope it goes well.

The 27th Amendment to the Constitution assures that Congress will get paid during a government shutdown. What's up with that?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Musings: Fall Is Upon Us

It was 49 degrees when I left my house this morning, so getting to work and not being able to get into the building was not on my to-do list this morning. Sadly, that is exactly what happened. There are 3 people who can open the main door and turn off the security system. One of them is away at a conference and each of the other two thought the other one was coming to open up. Regardless, they need to get it together tomorrow.

This weekend was an emotional roller coaster highlighted by a day trip to Philly. Philly is one of my favorite cities to visit, but it has been more than 5 years since my last trip. I talked my cousin into a road trip and we hit the road Saturday aftetnoon. Great fun and I have a new favorite cheesrsteak spot(Max's Steaks in North Philly if you are ever invthe area).

If you told me after 3 weeks that the Jets and Giants would combine for 2 wins I would put money on the Giants being 2-1 and the Jets being 0-3. Who knew? I honestly thought the Jets would go 0-16 this year. This is bizarre. Then again the Browns beating the Vikings and Bengals beating the Packers is bizarre as well.

The Emmy's were interesting, but I could not watch the entire show. Tina Fey is real classy when she dresses up and Sophia Sophia Sophia . . . Bless You. Not everone can pull off a formal dress, but those women that can can get my attention all night long. I like a little mystery in my women. Give me just enough to make me want more.

Nice tribute for Mariano Rivera on Sunday. The Yankees are real classy when it comes to stuff like that. And what the Mets did to their rookies yesterday was pure hilarity.

Castle and The Voice are back tonight. Can't wait.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back To School

How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity. Those words from the 133rd Psalm echoed in my head this morning as I headed to Lil' Man's school this morning. For the 3rd year in a row, I was going to participate in the "Dads Take Your Child To School" program. This program started as a means to get fathers and other male role models the opportunity to get involved in the life of the children in their lives.

Each year that I have participated in the program it has been different. Two years ago, it was just a matter of literally taking Lil' Man to school. Upon dropping him off I was given an envelope that included a participant certificate and two tickets to a Mets game. Last year the drop of package included a shopping bag donated by the NFL and some sample size mouthwash. This year was an entirely different situation.

When I arrived to the school I was directed towards a room where there were approximately 30 other fathers. When the program started we were greated by the Principal, parent coordinator and PTA president. They began to introduce presentations by representatives from Child Services and Human Resources, as well as representatives from several non-profit fatherhood initiatives in the city. The topics of discussion ranged from being better fathers to dealing with the child support system and how ACS is your friend. I was hoping for more positive presentations but it ultimately turned into a gripe session on how mothers are bringing them down and "the man" is holding them back. Color me disinterested.

Being a fathet in today's society is difficult, especially when there are so many things taking fathers away, so I am all for programs that have the intention of uplifting and encouraging fathers, fatherhood and brotherhood in general so I am glad I was there. Hopefully this was not a one shot deal and they continue to have programs like this throughout the year.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Musings 6

Can I wake up one day without hearing about a shooting? Charlotte, Newark and now the Navy Yard in DC. Sigh. The one at the Navy Yard hit close to home. I have a friend from college who actually works on the floor that the shootings took place. Fortunately she called out today because her daughter is sick.

The Jets are the best team in New Jersey. Who would have thought. For the first time in a while, I am actually optimistic about my Jets. If we had some quality receivers . . .

Ms. America is an Indian-American (in addition to being from New York). The amount of hate she is getting disgusts me. And someone tell Ms. Texas that song selection is very important. Every song isnt for every body.

Duck Dynasty eliminated the Evil Empire from the divisional race last night. I would enjoy that more if the Yankees didn't have so many injuries this year. Wonder how much money they will spend this off season.

It's going to take some time to get used to Cedric hosting "Millionaire".

I have to get a flu shot this year. It will be the first one of my adult life. Not looking forward to it, but it comes with the job.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Are You Smarter Than A 6th Grader?

It has already been established in my house that I am the math king. So if there are any math homework issues, I am the one that gets called on. Lil' man is pretty good with math himself, so I don't get called on too often, but with him starting 6th grade this year, I figure I will get called on more frequently. Didn't expect the first call to be on the second day of school. Today's problem:

Step 1: Write down all the 3 digit numbers that can be made using the numbers 1, 2 and 3.

Step 2: How many of the numbers from step 1 are divisible by 4?

Just for fun, can you answer this in less than 60 seconds?

Let's Get Busy . . . Again

1994 was a good year for me. Had my first real girlfriend, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup, the Knicks went to the NBA Finals and Arsenio Hall was throwing a late night party five days a week. Things were good in my hood. Sadly, as we all know, the Knicks didn't win the championship and Arsenio didn't return to late night. The thrill was gone for a while.

Fast forward to earlier this year and the announcement that Arsenio is coming back. It was like someone turned on the lights. Christmas came early and someone returned a piece of my childhood to me. Good times were back and I had a reason to stay up late again. The first show last night brought back all kinds of memories. The posse was there. The Dog Pound was there and the signature pose was back. For one hour, everything was right with the world.

To me, it didn't even matter whether it was a good show or not. Last night was about a return (however temporary) to a part of my past that was one of my happiest. We all know his ultimate success will be determined by ratings, which will be determined by the guest list. Regardless, I always root for the underdog and I will root for Arsenio this time the same way I did back in the 90s.

Monday, September 9, 2013

First Impressions

It didn't take long for this week to provide me with a good laugh. My second client of the day came in wearing a shirt that read "Pussy: The Most Expensive Meal You Can Eat". Although I tend to agree with what the shirt said, and the young lady's (she is only 19) First Amendment right to wear it, I also acknowledge that there is a time and place for everything. Then again, I struggle to find an appropriate place for such a shirt. Maybe one of you can help me with that.

Monday Musings: Back to School

After weeks of watching other students going back to school across the country it is finally the first day of school here in New York City. I know one 11 year old who was not ready for it. Lil man is going to Junior High School. He will be ok. He knows at least one person in his class and is good at making friends. I just hope his mouth doesnt get him in trouble.

In a somewhat related story, I had the pleasure of meeting the School Chancellor of NYC. We spoke for about 15 minutes and he is passionate about education and has some great ideas. Hope political red tape doesn't get in his way.

Anyone else want to help me help Mark Sanchez pack? The Geno Smith Era has begun. Sadly, the scheduling gods decided that the Jets only need 3 day to prepare for the big bad Patriots.

Oakland quarterback Tyrell Pryor leads the league in rushing. Marinate on that.

My fantasy team will be 1-0.

I love this weather. High temps in the upper 70s. It doesnt get better than this.

Tennis lesson #1: if you are going to beat Serena Williams, do it in straight sets. That 3rd set was ugly.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Game Done Changed

I have been accused of and pleaded guilty to being an old soul, especially when it comes to music. My tastes in music ranges anywhere from heavy metal to southern soul, but my heart is with R&B, neo-soul and adult contemporary (old soul). There are a few artist out today that I enjoy (Jill Scott, Raheem DeVaughn, Dwele, etc), but their old school influences are obvious in their music. Sadly, most of today's music that I do like would never get radio play (at least not here in NYC where the two R&B stations we had were merged to make room for sports talk radio to come on fm frequencies) so I generally stick with Pandora to get me through the day.

The only time I really listen to the radio is when I am in the bathroom (sorry, I know TMI Tuesday was yesterday). This morning I found myself listening to Miguel's "How Many Drinks?". It wasn't my firstbtime listening to it, but it was my first time paying attention to something other than the hook. As much as the music is good and the hook is catchy, the lyrics just make me just shake my head. One would think that with this age of expanded vocabularies we could find a more flattering way of expressing our desires to a woman. I am all for honesty but really?! If you even have to ask the title question do you really need to be approaching that woman? Worse yet, if you are the woman that responds positively to that kind of approach, what does that say about you? What's next, a song called "I Just Wanna Fuck"? (Wait. That song already exists.)

I haven't felt this way about a song since R. Kelly's "You Remind Me". Song like this make me lojg for the days of Teddy Pendergrass ("Come Go With Me") and Marvin Gaye ("Let's Get It On"). Granted, they wrote about the same thing, but I am almost certain that these songs were written in a different tone and the fact that they are still getting played on Quiet Storm shows 40 years later shows that they have staying power. 40 from now, will anyone remember Miguel? I doubt it, but for now, the game has certainly changed.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Random

My co-workers are back from vacation. I miss the quiet. Guess I need to take a vacation myself. It's September and I have only taken 4 days off so far this year. A Friday and Monday when I went to see my grandmother in April, my birthday in May and a day in July after going to see Monday Night Raw in Brooklyn. I dont really like taking days off without having a good reason. Time has come to find a good reason.

How is it that the top story in Black College Football has nothing to do with a football team? The fact that I saw more news stories about the return of the Florida A&M marching band than I did about the Florida A&M - Mississppi Valley State football game speaks volumes. The line from "Drumline" is so true, "halftime is gametime."

The 1 year old in Brooklyn that took a bullet intended for his father is a sad story. I hope his death wasnt in vain, but I think it is going to lead to more violence. The cycle needs to be broken.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday Musings: Are You Syri-ous?

Happy Labor Day. Hope you are all enjoying your weekend. I'm sitting here trying to enjoy my day off, but all I hear on television is Syria, Syria, Syria. I will be the first to admit that I dont know all of the details, but do we really need to get involved over there? Doesnt the United State have enough internal problems to concern itself with? Unemployment is still higher than it needs to be. The economy isnt where it needs to be. The cost of living keeps rising while salaries stay put, and in some cases go down. Detroit filed for bankruptcy. Our government would rather go help out another country than take care of our own. Someone make that make sense to me. It would ne one thing if they asked us. It would be another if they did something to us. Sadly, neither of those have happened. We cant continue to play Big Brother to the rest of the world. We have already been burned once. I dont want to experience another day like I did 12 years ago. Take care of home. The government tells us to do it to help lower crime rates, drug use, teen pregnancy and any other problem they want to blame on us, but wont do it to take care of problems that they helped to create within the country. GTFOH

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Animal Attraction

One of my Facebook friends posted the following question on her facebook page and it prompted a very lively discussion:

Do you generally approach people you have an immediate physical attraction to or do you prefer to get to know a person first then become attracted to them

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Condom Chronicles

I work in a medical clinic. Right outside of my work area is a bucket of complimentary condoms. At first, nobody really paid attention to it, but lately, it has povided me with some memorable moments that have helped make the work day go by faster. Just a few minutes ago, I was assisting a mother of two out with some forms when her son noticed the bucket and asked his mother what they were. Apparently she was not ready to have that conversation with her children because she became beet red and tried to chage the topic immediately. I found it hard to kee a straight face. Besides her embarrassment, I started thinking, when is the right time to have "the talk". My parents never had that discussion with me and Panma and I just had the discussion with Lil Panama this past weekend (he's 11). Do you remember when you had "the talk"? Do you remember giving "the talk" to your child? Isthere a universal right time? You want to get it before they learn from somewhere else, but you also don't want to do it too soon. What's your take? Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Musings

It's always good to get your ego stroked first thing Monday morning (get your mind out of thegutter . . . for now). Came in this morning and several people commentted that they are noticing my weight loss. Yes, I've been excercising and watching what I eat but I hadn't noticed anything. It's nice when other people notice (whether its honest or not). It mad me smile on a Monday morning.

Took the family to the north end of Central Park on Saturday. It's a shame that most New Yorkers don't take advantage of the park. Between the lakes, zoo, garden, conservatory and walking trails there's so much to do (and that doesn't even include the unexpected surpries that can be filed as "only in New York"). There is a little bit of everything.

Whoever decided to put Ben & Jerry's "Half Baked" on a stick is a genius.

Went out to dinner Saturday. Wasn't too impressed with our waitress, but after seeing the people at the table next to us not tip the waitress, I overtipped her to compensate. I've never worked in food service, but I know enough people who have to know that they live on tips. I won't say everyone provides tip worthy service, but because I plan on returning to the restaurant so I tip regardless. . . just in case they remember me when I return.

I'm not a fan of summer, but this past weekend was right up my alley. Low to mid 80's and not a cloud in the sky.

I didn't watch the VMA's. Based on my facebook and twitter feeds, I didn't miss much. I will be youtubing the Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke performances though.

Ok. Back to work I go now. Make it a great day.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lost Art?

The big talk in clinic this week was the fact that one of my co-workers was celebrating her anniversary. 31 years of wedded bliss (as she says, even though most of us refuse to believe that the last few have been blissful). That topic eventually led to a conversation about the current state of dating. (Before going any further, let me establish that this conversation was held between 5 people who are at various stages of relationships; single, but in a long-term relationship with her live-in boyfriend, single and in a new long-distance relationship, single and dating, engaged, and me.) Generally, because I'm almost always the only man in the conversation, I tend to do more listening than talking and I always find it interesting to hear that thoughts of my female co-workers. In this particular conversation, it seems that we all agree on one thing; dating, and to a greater extent courting, is a lost art.

Personally, I first heard the term courting, when I read Joshua Harris' "I Kissed Dating Goodbye". At the time that I read the book I was dating "Guyana" and it opened my eyes to a few things. The primary thing was that people get so caught up in the title of Boyfriend/Girlfriend, that we don't even take the appropriate amount of time getting to know a person before stating that they are in a relationship. People get so caught up in the outside opinions of others (i.e. "when are you going to change your relationship status?") that they rush into situations before they are even ready or know the person well enough to make the decision of whether or not they even want to pursue a future (dating, sex, friendship) with that person. There dates does not make us a couple, and these days, the fact that we had sex doesn't make us a couple either.

Another thing that the book made me realize was something that I was doing and didn't even know it. I have always prided myself on establishing a friendship with someone before I even thought about pursing anything else. Sadly, it's probably cost me an opportunity to date a few people in my past (Damn Friend Zone). If I had a dollar for every situation in which I heard that I was like a brother to someone or that they didn't want to risk the friendship on a relationship, I'd definitely be able to afford a nice dinner somewhere. Since when has being friends been bad for a relationship? All these years I've always thought it was the best foundation. What do I know?

The third thing the book reminded me of was the fact that physical connection doesn't equate to a mental or emotional connection. Call me old school, or call me naive, but when I was younger I thought the person I lost my virginity was going to be the only person I had sex with (there are so many reasons I'm glad that's not the case). Sadly, as soon as I got to college, I was shown that it was possible to be intimate and not be connected. I even had a 18 month phase where I was very selfish and coldhearted, but I'm glad that didn't last long. All I know is that by the time I graduated, my view on sex and my views on relationships were forever changed; whether that's for the better or worse is for other people to decide. As for me, I just know that most of my regrets are for things I didn't do, versus things I did.

Ultimately, to each his/her own. Whether it's a gender thing, a generation thing or just a sign of the times, nobody can deny that people don't "date" the way they used to. I'm almost scared to see what the next generation is going to do when they "date". Hope I can handle it? Better yet, hope some of the traditional values that our parents and grandparents had can return. Old school is definitely where its at (in this regard).

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Musings: Christmas Comes Early

I'm not big on scheduling Monday morning appointments. I need at least an hour or so to get it together. Unfortunately, I can stop walk-in's from coming in. So when this young lady stepped in my office at 8:45, I was thinking to myself that this could go one of two ways. Ether she had an issue she's been sitting on all weekend and is ready to snap or someone sent her to me and she didn't want to see me just as much as I wasn't ready to see her. Fortunately, this was a cool experience.

After we dealt with the business part of her visit, we just started shooting the breeze. Don't know how the conversation got to Christmas shopping, but it did. She was telling me that she just finished her shopping for the year and is looking forward to Blac Friday in order to shop for herself. I asked how many people she was shopping for and whatshe got them. Her mom is getting a fur (purchased out of season to save money) and the other two adults on her list are getting gift cards. The three children on her list, ages 16, 7 and 2 are getting Beats by Dre headphones, a 63" television and clothes respectively (what 7 year old do you know with a 63" tv?).

When do you begin Christmas shopping? I don't really think about it until the end of September and don't start shopping until October. Obviously, I need to plan better. The thought of being done months in advance is actually appealling to me and might have to look into it for next year. But for now, let me start the first draft of my list. Gotta see who was naughty and who was nice.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

(Re)Living History

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing "Lee Daniel's: The Butler". It's a story based on the life of Eugene Allen, a man who served as a butler in the White House for 7 different United States Presidents. I truly enjoyed the movie and learned a lot about aspects of American history that I didn't know. I also received a first hand account of what it was being black through the Civil Rights Movement. Not so much from the movie itself, although I believe those of us who did not grow up in that time should see it. My first hand account came from my own mother, who also saw the movie yesterday. As we do most Saturday mornings, we have breakfast together and talk about what's going on in life. Usually, those conversations tend to be about sports (she's more of a sports fan than I am) or what's going on at the church, but knowing that she saw the movie yesterday, we talked about it and life in those times. Admittedly, I did more listening than talking and sometimes it's better that way.

My mother grew up in the South of the 1940's and 1950's. Born only 80 years after the Emancipation Proclamation she was only in the 2nd generation of our family members who were born free behind my grandmother who is approaching 100 in the next few years. She picked cotton in North Carolina and went to segregated schools until the idea of her working became more important to the family than going to school. She remembers first hand her encounters with the Klu Klux Klan and worked as a domestic both in North Carolina and after she moved to New York (in addition to her job with the United States Postal Service). As I listened to her, I shed a few tears. I knew some of my mother's story, but not all of it. And realizing that she has more days behind her than in front of her, I definitely appreciated and will cherish the conversation we had today.

I appreciated her struggle more than I did growning up. Listening to her also reminded me of summers in which I would listen to my grandmother's stories and how I appreciate those more than I did then. Sometimes, make that most times, we don't know the wealth of knowledge and history we have right around us. I'm looking forward to more conversations like today's with my mother and grandmother while I still have them. They have taught me more than any text book I ever had to read.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Musings

What's that saying about rainy days and Monday's? Was late to work and left my keys at home, but I am smiling anyway. Despite having a decent weekend and a good night last night, here it is, late Monday morning and I feel like I could use a nap. My Mondays are generally sponsored by Red Bull and/or Mountain Dew, but as I type this I a on day 35 without sodas and day 73 without alcohol (not that I was ever that much of a drinker in the first place). . .

Like I said, this weekend was decent. For the last three months, I have been the chairman of thecookout committee at my church. The cookout was this past Saturday. This as thethird one that I have planned, and the biggest. By the initial reaction, it was a success. I wouldn't know because I was all over the place. From setting up, to doing last minute running around to officiating the basketball tournament I didn't even take time out to at. So much so that I ended up going to iHop with two other committee members after all was said and done. Love their watermelon lemonade. . .

Sunday was truly supposed to be a day of rest. After church I came home, watched "Body of Evidence" (don't judge me) then the last season of Boston Legal (one of the best shows ever if you ask me). . .

I shaved my head last night too. First time in almost a month. Longest I have evr gone without shaving since I started shaving back in 2001. When I looked in the mirror last night I knew I would not intentionally grow my hair back any time soon. Team baldy all day.

My co-worker just came into the breakroom and warmed up 2 slices of Papa John's talking about "this is my breakfast". Wheretheydothatat? Guess i should go and do some work.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Challenge Accepted

People who really know me know that the best way to get to me is to challenge me, tell me I can't do something or throw a very attractive carrot in my face. What can I say, I'm very competitive, love proving people wrong and have my share of weaknesses. Don't judge men. Recently, a close friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) challenged me to do something that I have never ever even phathomed doing in my life. I didn't give an immediate response, although my desire to say "hell no" was there. I took time to analyze the challenge and the more I thought about it, the less my desire to say no became. The more I thought about it, the more I kept saying to myself "if you want something different, you have to do something different". With that being the case, I decided to accept this particular challenge and plan to do something different. Sometime in 2014, at the urging of a good friend, I will run a 5K.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mr. Telephone Man

Panama's son graduated from elementary school this past June. His father made his annual appearance at the graduation, gave him $50 and gave his mother $100 with a request that she buy him a phone. I've never been a believer that he was ready for or deserved a phone at this point, but his mother agreed to get one for him. As luck would have it, he did something shortly before graduation that delayed his receiving the phone for a few weeks. Time has since passed and his phone was purchased today. It's a simple Metro PCS phone with just the basics (phone, text, maybe internet), a far cry from the iPhone he thought he was getting. $25 a month and the phone itself only cost $55. Let's see how this goes.

How old were you when you got your first cell phone?

What age do you think is appropriate for children to get cell phones in this day and age?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Priorities

I grew up poor. My mother worked two jobs just to put food on the table. I didn't have the latest of anything. I know gub'ment cheese makes the best grilled cheese sandwich and gub'ment butter has a bad after taste. Butter sandwiches and syrup sandwiches were after-school snacks and I once paid for a pack of Kool-Aid with 25 quarters. I don't say that to gain empathy or sympathy. I said it to say this, I learned to appreciate the value of a dollar and vowed that to the best of my ability, I would stay clear of that situation once I started working.

Now let's fast forward to the present. I currently have a job in which I work with a low income population. As part of my job they have to show me certain documents in order to receive certain government benefits. Some of these documents include their current bills and ther paystubs. Without fail, there isn't a day that goes by in which I am not puzzled when I do the math on their situations. Case in point, I recently had a client, who is currently unemployed, making around $300 per week. Their rent is $900, their light bill is $50. Their gas bill is $25 dollars and they spend $75 a week on food. That accounts for a majority of they money that they get on a monthly basis. Then the show me a cable bill that is $100 a month and 4 months past due. Maybe I'm wrong, but the first thing that pops in my head is 'why do you still have cable?'.

Michael Jackson once said "if you can't raise a baby, then don't have a baby". In the same way, I think that if you can't afford something, you shouldn't have it. Make sure you can pay your bills and avoid debt at all costs. Take care of the basics and if you have anything left over, save it. Whether you are on unemployment or a multi-millionare, live within your means. You might not like it in the beginning, but it will definitely pay off for you in the long run.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Breaking Character

Last night I did something I haven't done since the summer before my junior year in college. Something that led me into months of therapy last time it happened. Something I vwed would never . . . EVER allow to happen again. Last night, I allowed someone to get me to a point of anger that turned me into another person.

My wife (who was not the cause of my anger) said she had never seen me the way I was last night and was scared of what I might have done. Shaking, with tears rolling down my eyes, I wanted to scream, punch a wall and confron the cause of my anger. Fortunately, I was reminded of a quote that says "speak when you are angry and you will give the best speech you will ever regret". I knew that the individual I allowed to get to me was the last person I needed to speak with. Instead, I just tried to go to sleep.

Unfortunately, the combination of the heat and the anger didn't allow for much sleep. I was up by 4am overthinking the situation. Even now, almost 24 hours later, its still bothering me, but I am getting to a place where I can deal with the situation now. He is not worth my time, energy or anger. I've better things to do with my energy, and I hope you all do as well when people drive you crazy.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Two Cents

I took an offline day Saturday (no contact with anyone I know), so I didn't hear about the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial (some people tend to forget that it was Zimmerman, not Martin, who was on trial) until almost midnight and really didn't have time to process it until Sunday morning on the way to church. I have my own opinions regarding the trial and the verdict, but nothing I can say here will change that. Zimmerman will have to answer to a higher authority eventually. My thoughts Sunday morning went elsewhere.

As I walked the five an a half blocks from my house to the church, one thing stood out at me - I didn't say hello to one single person the entire time. Those who know me know that I am not the most social of people, especially when it comes to people I don't know, but to be able to walk that far in my own neighborhood and not be able to see a familiar face might just be a problem. Growing up in Saint Albans, New York in the 1980's, not only did we know everyone on our end of the block, we actually interacted with them. We had them over, the children all played together, we had block parties. Yes, the 1980's seem like forever ago, but some old school values need to be brought back. Zimmerman was allegedly a one man neighborhood watch, something that would never have been needed back in the day because your block was your village. If you did something wrong, two of three people already had your parents permission to check you until they got home. Nowadays, nobody knows anyone, so we can't tell who belongs in our neighborhood and who is suspiciously out of place. It's time to get back to basics, people.

I am of the opinion that (regardless of whether you thought Zimmerman was profiling or not) if Zimmerman knew that that was Tracy's son from up the block just going to get some Skittles, Travon Martin would still be alive today. Instead, Zimmerman classified Martin as one of "them people" and now, instead of getting ready for his sophomore year in college, we are coming up on the anniversary of the death of Travon Martin. I'm sure there's more to it than just that, but it's a point that I hadn't heard anyone else speak on as of yet. That's my two cents.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Soda Free Summer II

Last summer, at the urging of one friend and with the support of a few others, I participated in Soda Free Summer. Soda Free Summer is a program in its sixth years. It was started by the Alameda County (Ca) Public Health Department as an initiative designed to motivate and educate people to make better beverage choices. The program encourages participants to stop drinking sodas and energy drinks for 10 weeks and substitute their soda consumption with water, low-fat milk, unsweetended teas or fruit juices. I did it last summer, along with 14 of my friends and honestly didn't miss soda after the second week. I'm doing it again this year starting today, and will continue until September 14th (if not longer). Feel free to join me. There's strength in numbers. For more information, visit Soda Free Summer, follow them on twitter and friend them on facebook.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Stepping Out

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine the other day and the topic of dreams, goals and aspirations came up. Ultimately, we started talking about our respective "bucket lists"; or should I say my bucket list. I say that because she told me that she didn't have one and that if she dreams about doing something enough times, that is her queue to go out and do it. Regardless of how big or small it might be, if she dreams it, she does it. In her exact words "if I dream it, it must be done". I ponder that statement long after that conversation was over and realized that she might be on to something. Too often, we (I) spend more time talking about what we want to do than actually doing it. We write lists, make plans and plot how things are going to be done while others are out there enjoying life doing what they want to be. It's like we (I) are doing 54 in a 55 while everyone else is in the fast lane doing 70 (or more). Sometimes, we need to get out of our own way, step out on faith and go for what we want. As they say, nothing beats a fail, but a try. You can't run with the big dogs if you don't get off the porch. Less thinking, more doing from now on.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I Wanna Be Free

Today is the 4th of July and the United States is celebrating its independence from the British. Yes, we are free from the British, but are we really "free"? I'm not speaking about the country itself, because all you have to do is look at the nation's deficit to realize we aren't. But on an individual basis, are we free? You? Me? Anyone? I can't seak for anyone else, but I know i'm not. In general, most of us are restricted by something; job (or more specifically the need of money), moral obligations, committents (relationships, etc) or the opinions of others among other things. There are very few people walking around who can truly say that they can do what they want, when the want, how they want just because they want to. We all want to get close to that point but we are all being held back by something. For me, it starts with the person I look at in the mirror every day. For the next person, it might be something else. What is it for you? What is stopping you from truly being free? What's seperating you from your independence?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Halftime 2013

Today is the 1st of July, which means we are at the halfway point of the year. Looking back on the last six months and the only word that comes to mind is enlightening. I have learned a lot about myself and the people around me in the last six months. Processing what I have learned has brought a lot of clarity, some inspiration, some motvation and most importantly, some direction. I have learned who's for me, who's against me and who has been trying to use me. I have been reminded that nobody will care for me as much as I do and when people sow you who they are, you have only yourself to blame if you don't believe them. Going into the second have of the year I am focusing on getting back to me. To quote shawn Michaels, "I have lost my smile" and I need to find it again, before it kills me. I don't like the person I have allowed myself to become (it hurt to type that) but admiting it is the frst step and fixing the problem. The second have of this year is mine and if I don't make the most of it and get to where I want to be, I only have one person to blame - ME!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 12

If you follow me on Twitter you might have noticed that for the last few weeks I have been starting my day with something inspirational or motivational. Most of these statemnts or quote are meant to be self-motivational, but if anyone else benefits from it all the better. Today's statement was "take care of yourself better than you take care of others." I can't say that I hae always done that, but after my last birthday, I decided to do that more often.
/
I had a doctors appointment this morning. Didn't know what to really expect. I had startedwatching what I eat and exercising, but I could definitely do a better job with both. I was actually anticipating bad news, but was actually pleasantly surprised; apparently, the doctor was too. All of my numbers had improved since my last appointment in December except for one, and that is exactly the same as it was 6 months ago. My progress may not be wha I want it to be but its definitely going in the right direction. For that, I am happy.

For those of us of a certain age group, if you aren't already taking care of yourselfc, consider today a good day to start. You don't have as many tomorrows left as you used to.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

How NOT To Throw A Surprise Party

So, last night, my wife, my cousin and her fiance threw me a (not so) surprise birthday party. I give them an A for effort, but as far as "surprising me", they need to raise their game. It takes a lot to catch me off guard. Many have tried, but only a handful of people have been able to do it successfully. For the benefits of those of you who might have a thought about planning a surprise party for someone in their lives, allow me to point out 6 mistakes, this talented trio made in the plotting and planning:

6. Call, text, e-mail the guest of honor on their actual birthday.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have a list of people who we like to hear from on special days. On my actual birthday, I hard from everyone on that short list save two people. That person immediately became a person of interest.

5. Don't make the person responsible for getting the guest of honor to the venue be someone that the guest of honor doesn't hang out with on a regular basis.
I was brought to the party by my cousin's fiance'. Someone I've never hung out with outside of family functions. When he called and asked me to hang out on what is normally "date night" for the wife and I, it produced another red flag that something was up.

4. Don't have people update their status and/or upload pictures from the venue until after the guest of honor has arrived.
So while I was waiting to be picked up, a friend of mine, who is not known as a social butterfly at all, posted a picture of her all dressed up for the evening. Another red flag

3. Make sure all of your guests act normal leading up to the event.
The fact that my wife, my cousin and most of the people who were at the venue were not on facebook, responding to text or playing Words With Friends with me on a Friday night, when they normally do seemed very suspicious.

2. Make sure that your plan is executed smoothly.
My cousins fiance called me around 8 to tell me that he was on his way. He lives 20 minutes away, but didn't get to me until 9:40. Something is wrong here.

1. Descretion is key. Make sure your guest keep their mouths shut. Also, make sure those who aren't invited, don't find out about it. The might ruin the surprise out of spite.
Don't let the people who think they'd be invited, not be invited. I received an email from one such person who took all of the mystery out of the "surprise". I don't know why you weren't invited. I didn't create the guestlist.

Oh well. Better luck next time.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Doctor Is In . . . Again

When I last wrote about "The Doctor" last year, I really thought that was going to be the last time. Her husband made it very clear that he didn't want me in her life and I decided that the best thing I could do as a friend was to respect his wishes. No phone calls, no text messages, no e-mails, even unfriended her on Facebook. The funny thing about friendships, the good one's are hard to break and stand the test of time . . . or insecure husbands. "The Doctor" texted me on Tuesday to wish me a happy birthday, but in addition to her usual birthday wishes, she also informed me that she was getting a divorce. It was just like old times, her running to me after another failed relationship. Only difference was that it was a marriage that had failed instead of just a regular relationship. The fact that we hadn't spoken in four years didn't matter. It became very apparent to me that I am the Yang to her Grey. I am her "person". Last night, we had the first of what will be many catching up questions. Judge me if you want, but I'm glad to have my friend back. More details to come.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

35 - Phase 2 (Happy Birthday To Me)

When it's said alone, 35 is just a number. It comes after 34 and before 36. It's factors are 1, 5, 7 and 35). When you attach it to a unit of measure, the number 35 takes on different meanings. 35 miles per hour is too slow, 35 degrees, too cold. 35 days, too long. 35 years old, too old? Wait! I turn 35 years old today and I feel like life is just starting. Not in the sense that I'm just being born, but in the sense that I've reached the age where I can start LIVING.

I've always been of the opinion that life comes in three phases. The first phase is the learning phase. You grow up, you learn, you make a few mistakes and learn from those mistakes. The second stage is the application stage. During this stage, you were able to get all of the kinks out and you can utilize those lessons you learned in phase one to benefit you and take you to another level. Not saying that you can't make mistakes in this level, but the consequences of your mistakes in this level are much more severe than in the first phase. The last phase, is the teaching phase. You've either mastered life, or made mistakes that you don't want to see the next generations makes. You pass down your knowledge to those behind you. This phase can start before phase 2 is over, but ultimately, if we are lucky, we all get to experience phase 3. That's my main goal as I enter phase 2.

I've done enough reflecting on my first 35 years to last . . . 35 years. Regardless of what has come from those reflections, I'm going to embrace 35 and make the most of this day and every day that I am fortunate enough to see after it. Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Decisions

Every day, each of us makes hundreds of decisions. Some are good, som are bad. Some we later regret, others we don't. Some benefit us, others teach us a lesson. Then there re those decisions made with no rational thought, like the one made by a young man Saturday night in Jamaica, Queens. This young man, of only 16, thought it was a good idea to randomly shoot at a bus that was carrying a young lady who had just got into a fight with his girlfriend. The consequence of that decision was the death of a different 1young lady; a 14 year old who had nothing to do with the situation. Sadly, the way I see it, the trickle down impact of that one bad decision has the potential to lead more people to make more bad decisions as an attempt to avenge the first bad decision. Two wrongs don't make a right. We have got to do better.we live in a time when teenagers go to just as many funerals as they do parties. We have to get together and teach our children better. The next wrong decision that someone makes could impact you.

I'll Always Bleed Orange And Blue

12 years ago today, I made the transition from current college student to recent alumni. When I reflect on my years at Morgan State University, I acknowledge that the journey wasn't an easy one and I was definitely unprepared for what I encounted that hot August day when I first took the Greyhound bus from New York City to Baltimore. Over the course of my five years in Baltimore I encounters my share of ups and downs, met some great people, made some good friends and had my share of experiences *wink*. Most of which I'd love to relive, even if just for a day.

In my years as an alumnus, my love for my school grew even more. I became the first member of my graduating class to become a Life Member in the alumni association, and joined my local chapter of the alumni association (where I ultimately served 2 terms as President). I have only missed 1 homecoming (and that was only because i got married) and been to more graduations than I can count. For what it's worth, I even dated a former Ms. Morgan State University for a while (another story for another post). I've done college fairs, given out scholarships and mentored my share of students.

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of becoming part of a legacy. One of the high school students I mentored years ago, joined me as a member of the Morgan State University alumni association. It was a proud moment for him, and it was one for me as well. Watching him develop over the years and grow into the young man that he is now has me beaming with joy, and knowing he did it at the same school that made me who I am is just the cherry on top. And by the looks of things, he's going to have even more immediate success than I will. That's the best part of given back, or paying it forward. Investing in someone so they can be even better than you. It doesn't get any better.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What Would You Do Wednesday

Imagine if you will, you're a woman in your early 30's. For the better part of the last decade, you've been having a sexual relationship with a friend. Over the course of this sexual relationship, you've also attempted to have a romantic and committed relationship, but for whatever reason, it doesn't work any time the two of you try. At the same time, the sex continues, even when you are involved with other people. Seven years ago, you decided that you were going to go for broke and see what was going to happen between the two of you. Although you weren't officially a couple, you were only sleeping with him; so much so that you decided to get on birth control so you didn't have to use condoms.

Fast forward back to the present. Nothing has really changed, but for whatever reason, you decide that you were going to go off of birth control. Less than a week later, the two of you go out and one thing leads to another. Because you just came off of birth control, you didn't think anything could happen that quickly, but sure enough, you come up pregnant. You're going to keep the baby, that's a given, but before you can tell this man that you're pregnant, you have to tell him that you stopped using birth control, because you definitely didn't tell him before your last encounter. When you tell him, he tells you that you betrayed him by not telling him you were getting off of birth control and trying to trap him by having this baby.

During the pregnancy, he is everything you could have asked for. Loving, supporting, running out for your cravings, rubbing you feet and catering to you the best way he could. You hope that this treatment carries over after the baby is born. Sadly, not too long after the baby was born, while you were taking a nap, this guy swabs the baby for a DNA test. When you finally find out, you're betrayed because he didn't think the baby was his even though you haven't been with anyone else for the last seven years. Now, not only do you not want anything to do with him, but you might go back on the promise you made to yourself not to seek child support because you didn't tell him that you were off of birth control.

If you were the woman, what would you do in this situation?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

100 Down

Today, April 10th, marks the 100th day of 2013. How is your year going so ar? Honestly, I am not whre I want to be, but I do see the potential for some of the things on my 2013 "to-do" list to be crossed off real soon. My financial goals are definitely going well as I am learning better ways to save and invest my money. Paying off my bills and arranging to break up with Sallie Mae by the end of 2015 (if any of you want to contribute to that cause, please let me know). Also working on myself. Did Dr. Ian's latest diet during Lent andlost 16 pounds. Those two successes overshadow any of the negative things that have happened. The next 100 days includes my 35th birthday. Although I am not looking forward to it (not the getting older part, but the celebrating part), I hope that by the next check in, I can write about some pleasant surprises I received. How is 2013 treating you so far?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Play Ball!

Today was the Opening Day Parade for the Garden City (L.I.) North Little League. I have attended this parade for the last five years. It's always fun to see the bright smiling faces of the first time t-ballers and the kids stepping up to face live pitching for the first time. Little league is easily the purest level of baseball because these kids still play for the love of the game and don't care of the strike out 4 times or drop every fly ball hit to them. All they care about is wearing the uniform and subsequently getting it dirty, because a clean uniform belongs to a player who didn't play; or at least that is what I was taught growing up.

While watching the parade, I'm also reminded of one of many regrets I've had in my life. I never played Little League Baseball. Not because I didn't want to and not because I wasn't good. I was pretty darn good. A power hitting first baseman who studied the like of Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez growing up (was and still am a die-hard Mets fan). I played in school and in every pick up game I could find. I had a chance to play, but didn't take advantage of it. I was too scared and my mother was trying to teach me a lesson. I wanted to play on the church team and as soon as I became old enough to play I told my mother. She said she didn't have any problem with it and would speak to the coach. What I didn't know that all she was going to do was tell the coach that I wanted to ask him something. So when he approached me later on in the day I froze. I was young shy and taught not to talk to strangers. When he approached me I ran. What was even more interesting is the fact that I don't think I've ever seen him since. I guess he was working on the season. By the time the next season rolled around, my mother and I had moved to a new church, one that didn't have a team.

I continued to play pick up games and in school, but the next time I thought about trying out for an organized team was not until high school, and by then, it was way too late. I still play whenever I can get into a pick up game, but they seem to be harder to find in your 30's than they were when you were 10. My ultimate dream is to get into a softball league somewhere. THAT dream WILL come true.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

#Addicted

5 months ago, in spite of my previous decision not to, I joined Twitter. Since I just recorded my 1000th tweet earlier this week I guess you could say I'm hooked. Between the friends and fellow bloggers I follow and the few celebrities and random things I follow (most entertaining of these is @fact which just spits out random facts all day, catering to my love of useless facts) Twitter has proven to be more entertaining than I could have ever imagined. I'm glad I was talked into it, and hope I am still as involved a few months from now as I am today.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pay It Forward - Part II

This has been a good week so far. On 3 different occassions this week, three different people saw fit to make me the beneficiary of either a random act of kindness or a gift. I could not let this week go another moment without paying it forward myself. I invited my mentee to meet me for lunch today. We had some catching up to do.

Since I last wrote about him, he has graduated from high school, finished his first semester at college and got his driver's license. He broke up with his prom date and has decided to pursue English as a major. He has given up his basketball dreams, but is focusing on his poetry. He has performed at several open mics already and is getting a lot of positive feedback.

It was good to catch up with the kid. I am very glad to have had a positive inpact in his life and look forward to watching him grow up the next few years. It was also good to pay it forward. What might have looked like two guys having lunch was much more than that to both of us.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What Would You Do Wednesday: Let It Go

I'll be the first to admit that I've been guilty of holding on to things for too long. Getting comfortable in complacency when you need a challege, or someone to keep up with you. In some cases you might even need both. At the same time, we all have our breaking points . . . wait, let me correct myself. MOST of us have our breaking points. On the other hand, there are some people like this person I know who doesn't know how to recognize the writing on the wall. What would you do if in a span of 96 hours you saw your boss have her car repossessed and had the cable in the office cut off? The answer sounds obvious to me, but other people may be so loyal that they'll stick it out and go down with the ship. What's your breaking point when it comes to knowing when it's time to polish up with resume and start looking for a new job?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pay It Forward

If you ask me what makes me happy, the first thing I generally say is making other people happy. I'm a natural giver, so when I am the person receiving it catches me off guard (ok, that didn't come out right). I am a very humble person. I don't ask for much and expect even less from people (not to say I don't want things), so when I received a certain text message I was certainly taken aback.

"Every day I pick one of my friends to do a random act of kindness fo. Today I pick you. Lunch is on me." Considering the day I was having, the timing of this message was perfect. I even went back and told my friend that I might have to borrow their philosophy. A random act of kindness here or there would make everyone's world better.

If you know me, don't be surprised if you hear from me soon. If you don't know me outside of the blogosphereor twitter, try it for yourself. You'll make someone's day and you never know what might come from your gesture.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Even The Worst People Have Feelings

At one point or another in our lives, we have all made the mistake of taking the opinions of others and making them our own, with no other evidence to support the opinion. I find this especially true when it comes to the people in our lives. When it comes to meeting new people, especially those with some kind of affiliation to people we already know, the people we know force their opinions of the person on you instead of allowing you to interact with the person with a clean slate.

Personally, I pride myself on ignoring the opinions of others and doing the best I can to give any and everyone I meet the benefit of the doubt when I meet them. Case in point, there's a certain individual in my church who has a prominent position. As I have grown up over the years, most of the things I've heard about this person has been negative. Funny thing is the people who are doing the talking are people who, for the most part, don't have a direct interaction with this individual. I purposely make it a point to speak to this individual every Sunday and other times that we see each other. Nothing serious, just a sincere "hi. How are you doing?". In our most recent conversation, I spoke to this person regarding an event that we have coming up and our desire to do a tribute for them. That simple gesture humbled this individual so much that their knees almost buckled and they started crying. This individual, who I have heard nothing but negative feelings about actually has a heart and sadly, nobody would believe me unless they were actually there to see it.

Maybe it's because I don't walk around with a smile on my face all the time and I know what it's like to have people talk negatively about me without really trying to get to know me, but I knew that there's something more to this person than what people have been saying for years. Allowing the opinions of others to influence ours often leads to bad decisions and prevents you from getting to know someone who's actually a good person. Next time someone shares their opinion regarding someone who you just started interacting with, whether it be a co-worker or a new member to an organization you're in, ignore it and take the time to get to know the person for yourself. You never know what you might be missing out on.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fuck Fear

What would you do if you weren't scared? I've heard that question on a few occasions, but never really put serious thought into it. The first thing I always say is be more confident when it came to approaching women. That might have provided a few more enjoyable memories, but would that have made an impact on anything? Thinking deeper about the question (along with being honest with myself), I have come up with a list of things I would have done had I not been scared. That list includes playing little league baseball, joining the track team in high school, taking AP classes my senior year in high school, run for Junior Class President in college, staying in Baltimore after graduation, leaving "Guyana" sooner, moving back to Baltimore on my own terms. I'll post about those individually at a later time, but for now, think about what YOU would do if you weren't scared.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Taboo Post

What is it about the game Taboo? With the right combination of food and beverages Tabo has the makings of a great night. That's exactly what happened last night when a few friends and I got together last night. Four hours of Taboo and plenty of laughs got my weekend off to a great start.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Give Me My Flowers

My former pastor used to designate the 4th Sunday of every month as Living Eulogy Sunday. During that day's service, a member (generally one of the older members, although a younger person would get the honor on occasions) would be given a tribute. People from their past would come and surprise them and say nice things. The pastor always said it made more sense to give someone their flowers while they could smell them. In other words, let them hear all the nice things you have to say about them while they are still alive because they won't hear what is said at their funeral. Year's later, I do my best to continue that tradition in my own life. Whenever possible, I tell people how I feel about them (especially if it's positive), because you never know if there will be a next time. I challenge you to do them same. You never know what impact kind words might have on someone's life

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Drink Up, New York City

Up until about 3 hours ago, this post was going to expound on my thoughbts about the soda band that was supposed to start here in New York City tomorrow. That all changed wen a judge overturned the ban earlier today. In light of that, and for the benifit of those of you who are unaware of the situation, I'll just go over some of the key points in what would have changed.

Last year New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Board of Health passed th soda bn. The ban, which woul have started tomorrow, would have banned the following:

1. Food-service establishments would not be able to sell sugary drinks (defined as any non-alcoholic beverage that is less that 51% milk) in containers larger than 16 ounces.

2. Starbucks lattes and machiattos are exempt, as are milkshakes.

3. Alcoholic beverages are exempt, but since clubs are subject to the regulations, they would no longer be able to provide the carafes of sweet mixers (tonic, cranberry juice, orange juice, etc) with table service.

4. Coffee is exempt, but customers would have to add their own sugar.

5. Pizza establishment would not be able to offer 2 liter sodas

I Bloomberg's intentions were good, but this ban wasn't thought out right. He might have been better off taxing the hell out of it like we do with cigerettes. Either way, I am sure we have not heard the end of this story.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Boys Night In

Every so often, the Mrs. goes out with her girls. When that happens, I'm left home with "mini-me" and we have guys night in. That's exactly what happened last night. A night of college basketball, dinner, Wii U and "Wreck It Ralph". Every so often a night home with "mini-me" is just what the doctor ordered. A night of distractions from real world problems and seeing life through the eyes of an 11 year old. One of the simple joys of parenthood.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Passing Down The Torch

I grew up a wrestling fan. Primarily because my parents were wrestling fans. Back in the day (i.e. early 70's before I was born) when the WWWF (yes, before there was WWE there was WWF and before WWF there was the WWWF) held weekly shows at Madison Square Garden, my parents, aunts and uncles were there every week. My mother's favorites were Bruno Sammartino and Bo Bo Brazil. Not sure who my father rooted for, but any of them could tell you stories about some of the best matches they've seen.

As we moved into the 80's, they stopped going to the shows, but they still watched and because they watched, I watched. My first memory was Wrestlemania III when Hulk Hogan slammed Andre the Giant and my fondest memory was Wrestlemania VI when my family all gathered in my aunts basement (my aunts and uncles would take turns ordering the pay-per views). I was the only one rooting for the Ultimate Warrior and the only one who went home happy that night.

Even as I got older and found out it was scripted, I still watched. It was like a male soap opera. Besides, who could turn away from the exploits of The Rock, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, DX and others? Not to mention WCW with Sting, Ric Flair and the 4 Horsemen. And when I got to college, it was a crew of us who would get together every Monday night and watch wrestling instead of Monday Night Football.

Anyway, lets fast forward a little bit. "Panama" raised her son without sports (i.e. wrestling) in his life. I respected that and didn't bother to try to introduce him to it out of respect for her. Last year, when Superstorm Sandy hit, they were home while I went to work (thanks Mr. Mayor). Apparently, "Panama" took a nap and, boys being boys, he started watching one of my wrestling DVD's. By the time I got home that night, he was hooked and has been watching nothing but wrestling dvd's and learning wrestling history since.

I am happy that lil'man was exposed to and likes wrestling. It gives us a connection and brings us closer. It was one of the few connections I have had with my father and one I am glad I can share with him. It's guys night in tonight so you know what we will be doing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Living For The Weekend

Thank God it's Friday! After the week I have had, I am so glad to see another weekend. These last 7 days have been mentally draining to say the least. Three funerals, a suicide attempt by one of the bridesmaids in my wedding and family drama have definitely taen it tole on me. Don't know what the weekend has in store, but things have got to turn around for the better. One thing I will take from this week is the importance of keeping in touch with faily. You don't have to like them to love them. Anyway, have a good weekend bloggers.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bucket List

Yesterday, I posted on twitter about something that was on my bucket list. Almost instantly, I received a response from Our Bucket List suggesting that I add my bucket list to their site. After a little research, it turns out that the site is set up to connect people with others based on things on their respective bucket lists. I think that is a cool idea and a great way to meet new friends. Might even inspire you to work harder to cross something off of your list. I will look into it more, but it might just be the next thing I cross off of my bucket list.

What was the last thing you crossed off of your bucket list?

What is the next thing you will cross off of your bucet list?

What is at the top of your bucket list?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ain't Nobody F#$^ing With My Clique

I have always prided myself as being a loner. Didn't really hang out with a lot of people. Didn't really ask for a lot of help. Pretty much marched to the beat of my own drummer. Evn still, I realized that the most independent of people will eventually need someone on their team. Over the years, I have been blessed to have a few great friends. Some were in my life for a reason. A few more for a season. Then there are those rare people I couldn't get ride of even if I wanted too (thankfully, I don't want to). Those people mean the world to me and I would do anything for them. I learned a long time ago that money doesn't make you walthy. True wealth can only be found in your true friendships. If you don't have at least one true, non-judgmental, honest friend in your world, you are really missing out. If you do, count your blessings.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Just Smile

"Once I met a happy little bluebird
I was just as blue as I could be
In a little while, I began to smile
When he sang this merry song to me

Just let a smile be your umbrella
On a rainy, rainy day
And if your sweetie cries just tell her
A smile will always pay."

For the most part, I am not a smiler. Because of that, people's first impressions of me are generally negative. I have heard everything from "he's mean" to "he's scary". For me, not smiling has been a defense mechanism for me; a way to keep certain peple away. Ca't say it has always worked, but that is what I thought.

It wasn't until about 7 years ago, when I was sitting in a church service when I heard one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. Bishop Mitchell Hudson, in the midst of his sermon, said "smile, it'll keep your enemies out of your business." That resonated with me so much that I started smiling more that night. As it turns out, smiling has probably been one of the best things I have done. Not only does it keep your enemies away, it attracks more desirable people to you.

Let a smile be your umbrella. It keeps the right people away, brings the right people closer and keeps everyone out of your business. Besides, it's one of the best things you can do with your mouth. ;-)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend Update: March is a bad mother . . .

"March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb". Usually, when people say that, they are talking about the weather. For me, March 2013 came in like a lion in a personal way and four days in, I'm still reeling. I'm praying that the lamb shows up quick, because I don't know how much more I can take.

Friday night was typical. I hit up Target to get a gift for my friend who was having her baby shower on Saturday. I get home, eat, chill go to bed. Sometime while I was sleeping, I must have drawn the short straw in my dream because shit hit the fan after I woke up. I gave myself an extra hour of sleep on Saturday morning since my day (so I thought) wasn't so busy. As I was getting ready to go to the laundry, I went to reach for my glasses only to see that somehow the lens was knocked out. That meant an extra thing added to my to-do list. I went on to do laundry, came home for breakfast and got ready to tackle the rest of my day. Instead of heading to a 9:30 meeting, I was off to the eye doctor to get my frames fixed. I arrived at 9:30 only to find out the office doesn't open until 10 on Saturday's. Needless to say, a few minutes late suddenly became an hour late, but at least my glasses were fixed.

With that out of the way, I still had time to get to the church and catch at least a little bit of the meeting. Unfortunately for me, I arrived at the church the same time as a casket for a funeral that was going on later that day. The small casket indicated that the deceased was a child, and I soon found out that the child was only a year old. I was already having a difficult time getting mentally prepared for a funeral that I was going to on Sunday, and now I had to process the thought of an open casket service for a one year old. Not a pleasant thought in sight. Thankfully, Saturday night proved to be fun (for the most part). The baby shower was for a friend I went to high school with and the shower proved to be a mini-reunion of sorts. It was good seeing old friends instead of just reading their Facebook status'. Only bad thing from the shower was that it ran long, and when your immediate family (i.e. wife and child) get cranky, they aren't the most pleasant people to be around. Just wish my friends hadn't had the opportunity to see that side of them.

Sunday was the most difficult day of the weekend. I mentor high school students at the church and the funeral was for the father of one of those students. He was only 48 and died of terminal cancer after a long battle. I didn't know him too well, but listening to the reflections let me know that he was a good man, and hopefully his children will do him proud. I often say, if you want to know about someone, go to their funeral. This was a prime example. They couldn't say a negative thing about this man if they tried to.

Just when I thought I had made it through a rough weekend, I get a call this afternoon that my godmother's husband was in a serious car accident. At the time of the phone call, his condition was unknown and I can only pray that he's ok. In the mean time, I'm going to go on a search for some good news and start the process of returning to this positive affirmation kick that I was on when I wrote my previous post. How was your weekend?

Friday, March 1, 2013

March 2013 Blog Challenge

If you are reading this, you are truly a loyal reader. Life has taken me from an almost daily blogger to a once in a blue moon blogger. It's not because of lack of desire to write or lack of topics to write about. 2013 has just taken me on a hell of a ride so far. So, again, if you are reading this, thanks for continuing to check on a brother.

Earlier this week, I decided to accept BK's challenge (I'm always up for a challenge). She challenged me to blog every day for the month of March while also being active for at least 30 minutes a day and staying positive the entire month. If you know me offline you know the last part is the most difficult, so let's see how it goes.

If you get around to this post, especially early in the month, I challenge you to do the same. March 1st represents a new month, with new beginnings, new opportunities and a new season on the horizon. A challenge like this might just be good for the soul.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Restaurant Review: Creole

I have said on more than one occassion that all things being equal, I would be living in Manhattan. You aren't too far away from anything and there's always something to do. Case in point, Sunday night, on a whim, I decided to check the website for one of my favorite restaurants in the city to see what was going on. There was a blues singer performing, and that's right up my alley. Off the Harlem I go.

Creole is a Creole themed and Creole based supper club on the corner of 118th Street and 3rd Avenue in East Harlem. According to it's website, it "marries art, jazz, culture, entertainment and food into one location". Personally, I discovered the restaurant four years ago when looking for new locations to try out. After my first time there, I was hooked. During this particular trip, I started my meal with their Voodoo Wings (wings with a spicy cayenne and garlic marinade) and followed that up with a chicken and shirmp dish that I could not get enough of. I was going to end the meal with a sweet potato beignet, but they didn't have anymore. That might have been a good thing since I was already stuffed and satisfied.

All of that and there was still a show, which assures that you will get your money's worth and leave the restuarant with a smile on your face. If it's an intimate situation you want, you won't find it here, but if you want to have a good time with good food and good music, Creole is definitely a place you should check out when you come to NYC.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What Would You Do Wednesday - Thrown A Curve

Ladies: Say you're dating a guy. After 8 months, you decide that he's not giving you what you want and the relationship isn't progressing past it's current point. You start having conversations with a guy in another state who has always been interested in you, and is currently single. The new guy even takes a trip to spend a weekend with you to see if there's a chance that a relationship could develop. A week or so later, you find out that you're about 6 weeks pregnant with your ex's child. You tell your ex and he is excited and says he wants to be active in the child's life regardless of whether the two of you get back together or not. How do you handle the new guy that you've been conversing with?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Music Mondays: OUR National Anthem

I don't care what you do, people are going to find a reason to criticize. Most recent point came at yesterday's Super Bowl. Alicia Keys was scheduled to sang the National Anthem, and in my opinion, she did a good job. Unfortunately, it seems as if I was in the minority. I get to work today and everything I read in regards to the National Anthem was negative. I read everything from it was too slow to it's too jazzy. One person even bashed Alicia for trying to make the song her own. I don't know what people were looking at or listening too. Yes, it was the longest version of the song ever performed at the Super Bowl, but it was only 4 seconds longer than the previous longest version (Natalie Cole). And although it won't rank up there was Whitney's version, in my opinion, it was much better than Marvin Gaye's version from the NBA All-Star game. People need to get over themselves. Alicia Keys did what was asked of her. She sung the song. She got the words right (Christina Aguileria). She didn't overshadow the game. Let the woman be. The controversy should never last longer than the performance. Move on to something more important.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fitness Friday - Numbers Don't Lie

So January has come and gone. By now, I would have already abandoned my new year's resolution, but this year is different. With the help of an app and an accountability team, I have stayed the course for January, and the results are in. Down 3 pounds since January 1. May not seem like much to some, but it means a lot to me. There were only 2 major changes I made last month; first, I drastically cut down on soda (for all of you thinking about leaving a comment saying I should cut it out altogether, Rome wasn't built in a day), and second, I did the best that I could to monitor my portion sizes (3/4 of a cup of any cereal is not enough in my opinion, but if that's the serving size, who am I to argue). As good as I was with my diet, I can't say the same about my exercise routine. I'm working on it though. February, is upon us and if I continue at the pace I'm going, then I'll be down 15 pounds by my birthday. That's exciting. Next weigh in is in 2 weeks. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Music Monday: Everybody's A Critic

BEYONCE LIP SYNCED THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AT THE PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION. So what. I'm not offended by it. Hell, she song the song on tape and did a great job. Sadly, we live in a world where there are too many media outlets and everyone needs something to talk about or write about so they can keep a job. This is not the first time someone has lip synced and it won't be the last. Have you seen any of the Super Bowl halftime performances over the years? Everyone from Madonna to Janet Jackson have lip synced; I guess you were too busy paying attention to other things.

I was done with this story until this morning. While watching Good Morning America, they showed a picture of Beyonce rehearsing for her Super Bowl performance. The picture they showed had a picture of her wearing a shirt that read "Can I Live?", which was the title of a song on her husband's 1996 masterpiece. It probably also described how she feels about this non-controversy. Weatherman Sam Champion, made the implication that the expression on the shirt expressed doubt in whether or not the talented Mrs. Carter could actually perform live; as if.

Anyway, with her performance this coming Sunday, and the release of the long awaited Destiny's Child reunion CD, Mr. Champion and any other doubted will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, know that Mrs. Carter can indeed sing. Maybe, just maybe, after Sunday, she'll also be able to live again..

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Politics As Usual

In the almost 8 years that I've been blogging, there have always been 2 subjects that I have tried to stay away from; religion and politics. Not because I'm not equipped to talk about either one, but out of respect for those of you who read my blog. I have opinions, but when it comes to these two topic, I am of the opinion that you have to form your own uninfluenced by anything or anyone else. With that being said, I think that if the last 4 years have taught us anything, it's that people aren't as involved in politics as much as they should be. The turnout for the Presidential election dwarfs that of the elections in the other three years, and that shouldn't be the case. I can't speak for everyone, but I know that there were too many people who sacrificed too much in order for me to have the right to voted and I don't and won't take it for granted.

I live in New York City. This year, after the 12 year rule of Michael Bloomberg (who, I'm not afraid to say I voted for 2 of the 3 times he ran), we are finally voting for a new mayor, unless Bloomberg decides to challenge term limits again. This past Thursday, I had the privilege of attending the first of three forums that will be held featuring the current crop of candidates. It was a good chance for me to find out who was running (I know 4 of the 6 candidates, heard of another one, and didn't know the last guy at all). The ninety minute forum focused on housing. Going into the forum, there were two candidates who stood out to me. Afterwards, there were three, which means, this campaign season will have my attention until I narrow down my choice. With six different options, every vote will definitely count come November.

Regardless of where you live and what offices are being contested in your area, it is very important that you get involved in the political process. You may think you're vote doesn't count, but it does. Even if your person doesn't win, your voice cannot be ignored if you vote. Just because the name "Obama" won't be on your ballot this year, doesn't make this years elections any less important. Get involved. Exercising your right to vote is the best exercise you can do.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Music Monday: Guess Who's Back?

Don't call it a comeback, but Justin Timberlake is back with his first single in over 6 years. After the success of his first two solo albums, he made to let us know he was serious with the first single of his 3rd album. And what better way to get back into the music scene than to have Jay-Z drop a verse as a bonus. "Suit & Tie Shit" sounds like it brings JT back to his pop roots though it still has just enough R&B in it to keep him on the urban stations. Unfortunately, after the initial buzz over him being back, I don't see this song doing much. Certainly doesn't do it for me, and even Jay-Z can't save it. Hopefully there's a remix out there that can save this song. If nothing else, JT has put another catchphrase into the atmosphere.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fitness Friday - Weigh In #1

This will be a short post. Like I told you last week, I would have a weigh-in this week. I am happy to report that I am down 2 pounds from where I started at the beginning of the year. It's going to be a long road, but it's good to know that I'm off to a good start. Next weigh-in in 2 weeks.

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Music Monday: Fire We Make

I grew up listening to r&b music. Not the Trey Songz, R. Kelly R&B that's out today. What I listened to growing up would be categorized as contemporary R&B or Neo Soul today. Luther, Freddy, Peabo, Shalamar, New Edition, I could go on. You could put the radio on and just chill, knowing you're going to hear good music all day (especially if it was a Saturday). Now, R&B stations are on life support (here in New York, where we once had 2 nationally known R&B stations, we only have one left) and radio is being taken over by pop acts like Beyonce' (yes, she is a pop act people, accept it) and Rhianna as well as Hip Hop (which is nothing like what I listened to back in the 80's and 90's. It's gotten so bad that I don't even bother listening to the radio much anymore. I use Pandora to get my music fix these days.

Unfortunately, limiting myself to Pandora and word of mouth, I don't have too much access to new music. That being the case, I am now going to make it my mission to find a new song each week and spotlight it right here on my blog. Now, when I say new, in some cases, it might just be a song that's been out for a while, but is new to me. Either way, I'm sure after a few weeks, you'll be able to see what I like to listen to and will start sending my suggestions, so this can be a mutually benificial situation.

This week, just to play catch up, I want to bring to your attention the latest single off of Alicia Keys' most recent album, entitled "Fire We Make". This duet with Mr. Bad Habits himself, Maxwell, is the latest addition to what I can "Baby Making Music". With it's subtle electric blues guitar carrying the melody to the softened voice of Alicia Keys to the raspy voiced Maxwell, right down to the lyrics themselves, this song screams "put me on repeat" and should be the soundtrack for the next love scene in a major motion picture.

You don't have to take my word for it though. Go home, dim the lights, grab yourself a nice beverage, hit the couch and press play. As you'll soon see, I will not steer you wrong when it comes to music. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fitness Friday - MyFitnessPall

For the 2 of you who follow this blog on a regular basis, you might remember that I started "Operation 60" a while back. The plan was simple, lose five pounds a month over the course of a year and be a better and, more importantly, healthier person at the end of it. The operation didn't go exactly as planned. There was some weight lost, but nowhere near where I wanted. At the same time, I didn't give up on the quest either. I just came to the realization that I couldn't do it alone. Bring in the reinforcements.

A few months ago, I downloaded an app to my phone called Noom Weight Loss Coach. It was advertized as a calorie counter. At the time I downloaded it, it had just undergone a drastic redesign that was attracting a lot of attention to it. It tracked your meals, telling you whether they were good or bad, and even reminded you to exercise. In the beginning, I was excited using it, but I shortly got bored with it because it was still generic. I still like the GPS tracking of your daily walks and the graphing of your weight loss, but there was just something missing. The food tracking was too generic (if you had a salad from McDonald's, you'd have to log each ingredient seperately) and there was no way to interact with other users (something I didn't find out until I convinced a friend to download the app). Enter MyFitnessPal.

At the urging of someone very close to me, I downloaded MyFitnessPal on January 1st. After logging in the basic information, much like Noom, it gave me a daily calorie limit. The first thing I noticed about this app was that the calorie limit was about 500 calories less than the limit Noom had set for me. I was a little upset, but being focused on the ultimate goal, I accepted the challenge. The next major change I noticed came when I logged my first meal. I didn't have to worry about generic guesstimates, they took numbers off of the actual products. If I had a salad and used organic baby spinach from a company I never heard of before, they had that products information. I was already hooked, my favorite change came after my first workout. Not only did I tell the app exactly what I did, the adjusted my daily calorie counter to account for the calories burned during the day. Why did I wait so long to get this app?

So far, 11 days into 2013, I have not missed a meal or workout in the system. I haven't been on a scale yet, but knowing that I haven't exceed, or even come close to my daily calorie limit (the closest I've come to using my daily allotted calories was 347 and I blame that on a slice of chicken and peppers pizza from a pizza parlor on Nostrand Avenue and Fulton Street). And because I have to log beverages as well, my soda intake has decreased and my green tea and water intake have increased. I'm supposed to be at a pound a week pace, so I hope that when I report to you next week, I'll be three pounds lighter than I was at the beginning of the year.