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.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Year of Me

I know I'm almost a week late, so let me be one of the last to tell you HAPPY NEW YEAR. Regardless of what 2012 was for you, I hope 2013 is even better. Personally, I'm looking forward to big things this year. So big, in fact, that I am calling 2013 the YEAR OF ME. This is the year I am going to put myself first. I'm planning on coming out of 2013 better, and happier, than I went into it. I'm going to improve myself physically, socially, financially and most importantly, mentally. I have to get back to loving me the way I did a few years ago. First step, putting my wants and desires ahead of those of the people around me. This is MY life and I have to live it for me. Stay tuned, it's going to be a fun ride.