Monday, January 30, 2006

Three Dates and a Crab

I've been experiencing some writer's block. Not so much in what I wanted to write but how I wanted to express myself. But I think I'm okay now. Hopefully my writing will be coherent...*LOL*.

I had a pretty eventful weekend (for me). I had a Friday evening date with a guy named Michael. He emailed me the day before on my favorite site A4A (*LOL*...I'm too socially inept to go clubbing). We chatted for about an hour on the state of dating, general life, and other topics. He showed me a picture and he reminded me of a slightly heavier and darker version of Michael Ealy of Barbershop and Halle Berry fame...*LOL*.

So after work on Friday, I drove over to his place to meet for a movie. We had to choose between Brokeback Mountain or Memoirs of a Geisha. We used the old flip coin method and chose Brokeback. It was still another two hours before the movie was scheduled to air. To kill the time, we chatted and watched VH1. We also watched Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child fame fall down a dozen times on 106 & Park. That never gets old...*LOL*. I left for him some dessert treats from my job's International Food day, which he enjoyed.

Aside from some annoying youths that chose to park their dumb asses behind us (I always no matter where I sit, seem to attract rude people), the movie was excellent. I can see why it's gotten so many high marks in the Academy and by the general viewing public. It provided plenty of fodder for Michael(not Ealy..*LOL*) and I to chat about on the trip back to his place.

I dropped him off and then headed home. We promised to hang out again. Overall I got some good vibes from him. We'll see.

Date #2 occured Saturday morning with breakfast at 9:30AM at Wishbone. It was my second date with Starbuck. He actually called me at 7:30AM like he promised, which impressed me. So Hemingway, I arrived at the restaurant fifteen minutes early. The wait staff directed me to a table where I sat and waited. Starbuck finally arrived around 9:40. Breakfast was great. The restaurant was off the chain and I'd definitely come back.

So we finished breakfast and we were walking back towards our cars. We parked on the same street but was on different blocks. The restaurant was two blocks from where we parked on my side of the block.

Starbuck and I were walking and he started crossing towards his side. Since we were conversing, I followed him across. So we finally get to the block in question. There was a bit of an awkward moment and then he just said 'bye' and walked off. I was a bit taken back since I expected like a handshake or something. My adrenalin was pumping overtime, telling me to run across the street. But I had to wait for a couple cars to pass before I could cross to my side, which made it all the more awkward for me.

On my way back home, I decided to stop at a seafood place for some frozen crab and lobster. I love me some seafood and nothing like seafood cheers me up. When I got home, I took care of some things around the house, fooled around online, and then plopped down to watch the first few episodes of North and South on DVD. I'd forgotten how hot Patrick Swayze was back in the day. However, James Read definitely took the cake as hot dude. My favorite performer on the series was Terri Garber, who played Ashton. You could totally tell how snooty she was but it was a character I loved to hate. I later on warmed one of my crabs I bought for supper. It was the bomb.

Date #3 occurred on Sunday. It was with another A4A encounter I'll call Beans. Beans is a 40 year old guy that's in the midst of pursuing a degree for his second career in administration. We chatted on and off for about a week and had some profound conversations. He admitted that he's currently seeing a psychiatrist and therapist for depression. He lost part of his hearing in an accident and I found myself shouting over the phone in order for him to understand. Sounds like a great catch, right...:-) Honestly I knew that I would only be interested in being his friend and he really seemed like a good guy.

So since he was broke, he invited me to hang out at his place and enjoy a meal that he cooked. He lived in a studio apartment in a pricey burb. When I got there, he didn't have the ingredients he needed so we walked to the local Dominick's for the items in question. When we got back, he invited to sit in the kitchen while he cooked. The meal was rice w/ground turkey and kidney beans. The meal was delicious.

Beans was a really great host. I unfortunately during the course of Saturday caught a cold and had a sore throat again. He provided me with peroxide to gargle my throat with. He also provided Tylenol and an orange for Vitamin C. He also had plenty of bottled water. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

We talked about our experiences on A4A, including the games that guys play on there. It was a pretty cool conversation. But then his phone rang and he had a call that he needed to take. He took the phone into the bathroom and closed the door. A few minutes later, I started feeling a bit gassy from the beans I ate and had a feeling that a number higher than one was brewing in my stomach. I decided that I wanted to go home. So I called him from my cell phone while he was in the bathroom. He hung up, flushed the toilet (guess I wasn't the only one feeling a higher number...*LOL*) and after washing his hands, came out. We parted ways and he seemed to think that we probably weren't going to hang out again. I reassured him that wasn't the case, though I wasn't going to sit around while he talked endlessly on the phone. (I've done that before but usually I was stuck there for whatever reason and there was no escape so I grinned and beared it...*LOL*) I think I'll hang with him again. Besides he seems like he'd be a good friend.

Speaking of friends, I came home and received an email from Starbuck. He mentioned something about thinking about me since the restaurant, enjoying the conversation, and wondering where we could go from here. I know in the "normal" dating world, typically the third date is the sex date. I mean, not necessarily all the time, but it's likely when it happens. So he then said, the more he thought about our commonalities and our differences, the more he realized that we were better off as friends.

I sorta laughed a bit after reading it. I was wondering if he was reading too much into my nonverbal signals. I certainly didn't tell him that I wanted to have a relationship with him. But I did wear a little bit of cologne. I also looked at him a lot when we were talking. I mean, he is an attractive guy. I wouldn't mind hitting it...*LOL*. Then there was the awkwardness of our goodbye. Maybe he thought I wanted to kiss him...*LOL*. In a public street, yeah okay...*LOL*. I will admit to maybe wanting to walk to his car to prolong the conversation.

I don't know. I told him I was fine with being friends without really elaborating. I mean, we only saw each other twice in two months. Was his telling me that his way of gently dumping me?

I'm cool. I don't care either way.

Then today came. Blah.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm Coming Out

Diana Ross - I'm Coming Out

I'm coming out
I want the world to know
Got to let it show
I'm coming out
I want the world to know
I got to let it show

There's a new me coming out
And I just had to live
And I wanna give
I'm completely positive
I think this time around
I am gonna do it
Like you never do it
Like you never knew it
Ooh, I'll make it through

The time has come for me
To break out of the shell
I have to shout
That I'm coming out

Coming out is exactly what my friend Eugene did earlier this year. Well technically he revealed his secret to one person. Since I've known Eugene, which is just one month shy of a year, he's been telling me about wanting to tell this person. He has an attraction to this person and at one point told me that he was suspecting this person as being family. They've been friends since Eugene's Ph.D days. The two of them he told me were like brothers. Eugene befriended him, even though others thought his new friend was weird. As Eugene told me, it took time for his friend to open up to people.

Hemingway I'm sure you guys find all this fascinating....*LOL*.

Moving on, Eugene told me he revealed himself to his friend while staying with him over the New Year holiday. They were talking about challenges in their lives and Eugene felt it was time to out himself. He told me that his friend said that he suspected it a while ago but kept his thoughts quiet. Then they went back to their normal horsing around.

Eugene only just told me this last Saturday because it was such a painless process that he forgot that he made that big of a step.

I was so happy that things worked out for Eugene. Of course, it makes me wonder about who I would tell. I have given the thought of coming out a lot of thought, especially when Charles made the discovery about me. Heaven forbid anyone find out secondhand.

Hearing Eugene's friend's reaction made me wonder who already suspects me. I'd be naive to think that noone hasn't thought about my sexual preferences. Hell before Charles saw that webpage, I'm sure he wondered about me. Sally years ago (in 1996 before I even explored my attraction...*LOL*) made some comment that it didn't matter what 'sexual preferences' her friends had, as long as they're happy. Last year too when she invited me to her friend's victory party, she told me that her girlfriend didn't want to go because she wasn't comfortable being around gay people. (Ironic considering she seemed comfortable around me...*LOL*.) Sally said that she didn't like her friend's comment and again alluded to people needing to be happy in life. That day she invited me, she was telling me about her trippy love life and I was so close to telling her about mine. But something held me back.

If I were to come out, she'd be the first one I'd tell. I have a feeling her reaction would be similar to Eugene's friend. I don't know. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to take that risk. I think my ex-co-worker friend Stan may have a similiar reaction as well. Hell, I think my sisters already know and are just waiting for me to pull a Mariah. In other words, say something, say something!

So why the hell am I not talking?

I've already read different bloggers such as No4Real4Real, Cash S., and Marz's (I know it's in there somewhere...*LOL*) views on coming out. The common theme shared (at least how I interpreted it...*LOL*) is that each person should choose to do it in their own time. It's not my time yet.

Oh but it is time to answer the question to quiche or not to quiche. I decided to quiche. However, I'm keeping the quiche all to my selfish self. I'm contributing hummus to the work celebration instead. Ohh...and it'll be store bought. Heh.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I Want Respect

Yaya Johnson was quite the self-righteous diva on Cycle 3 (that word reminds me of women's periods...*LOL*) of UPN's hit series America's Next Top Model. She annoyed a lot of the other ladies in the house with her arrogance. But I'll be damned but she never really was involved in much drama in the house. She demanded and earned her "respeito".

Aretha Franklin wrote a song about it. And despite all the crazy shit Aretha's done over the years, she still earned it.

So why can't I? It always seem like I'm the one that's compromising myself in my relationships (be they friendships or potential mates). You want me to do it this way. Okay, sure. You need this tea to be warmer. Okay, sure. You want to be left alone because you have better things to do. Okay, sure. Oh, you wanna say something to me now because you have nothing better to do. Okay, sure.

It also feels like at times I'm an afterthought to some people. I had a date planned Sunday with Starbuck. (He's the guy I mentioned having a date with at Starbuck's last December while my beeper was going off.) I called him three hours before to confirm our afternoon date. I made the mistake years ago of being stood up at the mall because I went despite not hearing from the idiot in question that day. So I've vowed not to make that mistake again. It was an hour before my date and I heard nothing from Starbuck. It would take me 45 minutes to get to my destination. He finally called right at the 45 minute mark. I wound up cancelling the date because I felt like I was a last minute afterthought. When I called him later in the evening, he was short with me. He said he was busy and that he had to go. The convo was less than two minutes. I figured I wouldn't hear from him again. Surprisingly he called last night and we arranged another date for Saturday morning. Hopefully he'll confirm a lot sooner. We'll see.

I don't know. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive again. But I don't feel like I get much respect from people. I do recognize that respect begets respect and I haven't been asking for it like I should. Why don't I think I deserve it?

I mean it's not like I expect to be treated like royalty. I know people have their lives to live and other pressing things going on. I don't expect people to drop what they're doing to talk to me. But whatever happened to respect and common courtesy? If we're still on for a date, take two seconds out of your busy schedule and let me know it's still on, especially if I have to go out of my way to meet the person. If you're too busy to chat, say hello at least and say that we'll have to talk later. It's called respect. It's called common courtesy.

It's one of the ITs that I want and will give in the 06. I'm aware that I only get treated the way I allow people to treat me. So I need to demand the respect and hopefully I'll receive it. If they don't want to give it to me, I shouldn't give it either. I don't think I'm asking for a lot.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Networking 101

I swear. Sometimes I can just kick myself.

I'm just getting back from this organizational function that I was helping out at. I also attended the actual function itself. I so didn't want to go. But I got conned into volunteering by co-worker friend Charles. I couldn't say no again...*LOL*.

I had to force myself to put on my tuxedo. (I have to admit, I look mighty hot in one. I may be able to share a picture for all to see...for a limited time, of course. You know, I'll pull a GeorgiaPeach.) Hemingway I was supposed to be there at 4:30 in the afternoon. But it wasn't until 5:15 I arrived. It was actually good I arrived later since things still weren't set up yet. It was about thirty minutes before I was put to work handling tickets. To kill the time beforehand, I was chatting it up with Eugene. He revealed something heavy to me earlier. It's worthy of another post.

So you know when you go to these organization functions, you're supposed to be networking. What's the first rule of networking? Well, I don't know if it's the first. But it's an important one. BRING SOME BUSINESS CARDS!!!! Oh my gosh. I can't believe I forgot to bring them again. I do that every freaking time.

I wound up sitting at a different table from my company because one of my co-workers bought a spouse that wasn't accounted for. And since I was volunteering, I was ass out..*LOL*. Charles was actually nice enough to sit with me so I wouldn't be by myself at another table. He also snagged a lady friend to sit with him. But actually I wound up at a cool table. I chatted it up with a couple guys sitting next to me. And this one lady struck a conversation with me, swearing that she met me somewhere before. I couldn't recall. I hoped she didn't see me in Boystown or something and decided to blurt it out to everyone. Luckily that didn't happen.

But Hemingway, towards the end of the ceremony, one of the guys offered me his business card, saying if I was interested in talking to him about opportunities and stuff, to give him a call. Of course I didn't have any to give him so I just smiled and said thanks. I did the patting of my tuxedo pocket to let him know I didn't have any. He wound up being Vice President of his corporation. How embarassing.

That wasn't even the worse of it. I originally wasn't planning on going to the hotel afterparty thing. It's so boring and I wind up being a total wallflower. I'm not the biggest small talker. However, I ran into a co-worker friend (let's call him Alex) who recently lost his wife over the holidays in 2004. I had wanted to contact him before but never knew what to say to him. I was itching to leave but Alex told me that he needed a ride to his car but wanted to stay at the afterparty for awhile. So I put aside my feelings and told him I'd hang with him and drop him by his car whenever he was ready to leave.

So Charles immediately enlists Alex and I to carry party favors to the hotel room. We head up, bring the favors, and then help set up the boombox. Oh yeah, the music has to be jamming.

The party's okay. I'm standing there looking good. Alex and I are chatting here and there while waiting to get a quick drink. Time passes. I have my bored moments. I go and get ice twice.

On my second trip back, which was delayed because someone locked the hallway door that led to the second unlocked room door, I locked eyes with Wade. Or rather, he locked eyes with me. I gave him a quick smile and after putting the ice on the table, started putting my hands in my pockets. Wade immediately extended his hand and introduced himself. Oh my God. He was so handsome. I learned that he was a 23 year old recent college grad working at a big insurance company. We were talking for a couple minutes, only getting interrupted when another of my co-worker friends wanted me to look at the radio. Sigh.

I swear it felt like Wade was flirting with me. But I could be wrong. It's not like he could be that open about it since we're in a predominately hetero environment. What made me think that was when Alex and I were ready to leave, Wade came up to me and said goodbye. But then in a strange twist of fate, Wade decided to leave with us minutes later. An ex-co-worker lady friend Crystal decided to leave with us as well.

So the four of us were heading down the elevator. I made little jokes and Wade was all smiling at me. He chatted it up with Alex and Crystal as well so he was an equal opportunity flirt...*LOL*. Crystal parted ways from us at the main lobby. So Alex, Wade, and I headed to the parking garage.

We got our tickets and chatted some more. Wade started mentioning that the hotel we were at was the largest one in Chicago. I didn't know that. I made some remark about Trump wanting to build a larger one. Little did I know that Wade would talk about reading Trump's autobiography and touting some of his philosophies. It intrigued me.

I so wanted to exchange emails so we could keep in touch but I didn't have any cards and I didn't even have a pen. Also Alex was there and it may have looked weird to him if I tried to get Wade's information. So when my car came, Wade walked up with us. He was chatting with Alex at the time. I went through the revolving door. Alex followed me. I had hoped to at least say goodbye to Wade but he stayed inside.

Sigh. He was too young for me Hemingway.

I guess I need to attend the next function in June for another chance to see him again. I'll be sure to bring business cards this time.

Friday, January 20, 2006

To Quiche or Not to Quiche?

It was a year and a day ago that I drove myself to emergency for my health issues. Since that day, I still have issues with my BP on and off. I start the day off with normal pressure and by the end of it, it'll sometimes rise. It's frustrating. I've shared my issues with Eugene and he argues that I need to have the doctors get to the bottom of what's wrong with me.

I agree with him, of course. But the problem with the doctors I have is that they dismiss a lot of things I say. And yeah, I know I need to be more vocal. But I'm the nonconfrontational type, remember?

I don't really want to be on medication either. My average has been under 140/90 overall but the occurences of the spikes have been increasing. At least I don't remember having this issue prior to January 2005, except for another time I drove myself to emergency New Year's Eve 1996.

I've even gone to a gasroentology doctor, thinking that my blood pressure could be liver related. After looking at my recent bloodwork, he concluded that it's likely nothing wrong with my liver. I also told this doctor about my occasional chest pains that go away after drinking water. He told me to make an appointment to have an endoscopy done to my throat and esophagus. I backed out at the last minute, however, since it didn't seem related to my blood pressure.

I have been managing my BP and notice that taking "power naps" and hot showers tend to lower my BP. I'm working on getting the courage to enter a sauna after my workouts. I figure cooking for a few minutes should do wonders for it as well.

Hemingway on to happier news.

I found my Phyllis Hyman CD this morning. It was inside my Jody Watley Affairs of the Heart cover. Another great CD. Hmmm, I got good taste...*LOL*. As a bonus, I found Pebbles's Self-Titled Debut CD inside my Mariah Carey Self-Titled Debut cover. I was so excited by my finds. I immediately packed up Phyllis and loaded her CD up in my car. I was singing her songs in the car and felt her words. So powerful. So strong.

I'm listening to Pebbles's first single Girlfriend right now. She starts off by saying..."To Believe or not to believe, that is the question." Hearing that inspired me to come up with my own twist to the question. Hence the title of today's entry.

Next Friday, a small group of employees are having an international potluck day. Basically folks are encouraged to bring a dish that's either a speciality of your country or something you like to make. Cooking isn't my forte but I do it once in a while to live...*LOL*.

One dish that I make pretty well is a quiche. They say that real men don't eat quiche. If that's the case, then I resign my man card. I love quiche with a passion. My first introduction to quiche was my Mom. She always had nice varieties that include shrimp, sausage, ham, onions, etc. Whenever I'm in town, my Mom will spontaneously whip up a quiche for us to enjoy.

My first attempt at making my own quiche was a disaster. I made a seafood quiche for a group meeting that I was hosting at my apartment years ago. Hemingway making the quiche itself wasn't the challenge. The mistake was leaving the quiche in the oven overnight instead of refrigerating it. Yeah. I was lucky nobody got food poisoning.

Needless to say I was shy about making the dish again. Until late last year. I had the courage to make one with shrimp, sausage, mushrooms, brocolli, and onions. It was the bomb. And I had it all to myself.

So I'm debating whether I want to make one for the International Day or not. I'm not sure yet. I question if any of my co-workers would eat anything that came from my hands. I'll probably decide one way or the other next week.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Seeing Signs

The Sign - Ace of Base

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes
I saw the sign
Life is demanding without understanding
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes
I saw the sign
No one's gonna drag you up into the light
where you belong
But where do you belong?

I never was a big fan of Ace of Base. But I did like that song. Well that song and the one about a girl only wanting another baby. Then again, that was their only hits. Right?

Hemingway I was tripping yesterday when attending a company townhall gathering (at the Hilton - Heh, not that Hilton). The first sign I got was being whacked in the head by some idiot's coat as he was taking it off. In idiot's defense, he probably didn't intend on whacking me with it. But idiot didn't exactly apologize either. Idiot.

The gathering was for us to hear from the company's CEO about how we've done as a company in 2005. It was boring as hell. The dude sitting next to me was snoring a couple times. That was hilarious and kept me from snoring myself. (Some sources have told me that I snore. *LOL*)

I didn't receive my final sign until an hour and fifteen minutes into the CEO's presentation. In one of the slides, there was a new slogan that the CEO wanted us to adapt in relation to our jobs. The slide had three words. "Make It Happen." I tripped when I read that. What was even more trippy was that the word "IT" was flashing in red. Just like the red ITs on my "I Want IT" entry. I marveled to my co-worker about IT. He smirked that I seemed just a bit too excited about it, especially since I didn't share my inside knowledge of my personal ITs origin. An origin that goes beyond working for the man.

If that wasn't a sign that I need to make things happen for myself in the 06, I don't know what is. It's amazing how signs come to you sometimes. I'd love to hear about some of the signs you've all got.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Remembering Phyllis

I was really in the mood to listen to the posthumously released Phyllis Hyman CD I Refuse To Be Lonely. I had just got done conversing with my parents and they reminded me for the millionth time how I'm all alone in Chicago. Plus my attempts at a decent love life are at best laughable. I got stood up last Friday again. Not that it'd matter anyway. Even if I were to make it past a date with a guy, I'd only wind up ruining the relationship with my clingy ways.

Yes I was really feeling some Phyllis Hyman. Unfortunately I wasn't able to satiate that thirst like I wanted to . I have this bad habit of putting the wrong CDs in the wrong cases whenever the mood to listen to a different artist strikes me. Go through a few shuffles and there's at least two dozen CDs not in their rightful homes. My Phyllis Hyman cover contained my Gary Taylor CD Love Dance. That CD's another winner, by the way. I did enjoy listening to such gems as Erotica and Flirting With An Angel. But then it reminded me that I was about as erotic as a sputtering, oil guzzling hooptie & the last time I flirted with an angel, they wound up being a devil in disguise. Phyllis, I need you.

I need your strong, smoky voice to tell me that I'm not alone in my feelings. I need you to smolderingly belt out the words...

"Yes I am alone. Yes I'm on my own. But for the first time in my life, I'm gonna carry on."

I need you to sing to me...

"This too shall pass away. The longest night becomes the day. Hold up your head and say. This too shall pass away."

I need you to...

"Give me one good reason to stay..." hopeful, positive, and knowing that I shouldn't give up. I need to know not to throw in the towel when the going gets rough.

It's been over ten years since that fateful day Phyllis left the world. It was on June 30, 1995 that Phyllis's personal demons took over and ultimately made her take her own life. I remember waking up Saturday morning to the shocking news. I was six months into my first real job after graduating college. Getting to that point was in itself an ordeal and I was currently hating my job.

I wish I could say that I was an avid fan of Phyllis's. But I have to say that while her voice impressed me when hearing her individual singles such as Don't Want To Change The World, Living All Alone, and Old Friend, it didn't get me to buy any of her LPs. But like everything else I took for granted, I realized what a talent Phyllis had when she was gone.

So as soon as the posthumously released I Refuse To Be Lonely CD came out, I rushed to buy it. I'm sure lots of other folks who didn't realize her talent while she was alive rushed out and bought it too as did her strongest supporters. To say that the album was a perfect compliment to Phyllis's smoky voice would be an understatement. MJB may be the MVP of 2006 and Mimi may have rocked 2005, but neither lady's LPs can compare to Phyllis's.

Considering the circumstances of Phyllis's life, the song selections were very haunting. Her single Give Me One Good Reason To Stay almost in retrospect seems like her suicide letter being sung. The powerful single I Refuse To Be Lonely is an anthem for all of us who don't have a signficant other to let everyone know that they may be alone but they won't be consumed by it. Her LP wasn't all doom and gloom. I'm Truly Yours finds Phyllis happily and simply coming to the conclusion that her partner in life is really hers. She reminds that partner inthe single It Takes Two that it's easier to go through life's trials together than separately. She even tackles the classic it's not you, it's me in the single It's Not About You (it's about me). I can't tell you how many times I heard that line...*LOL*.

Phyllis was the overlooked MVP with the instantly recognizable voice. I took her talent for granted. It's a shame that she isn't with us anymore to make beautiful music. However she left the gift of her voice behind with a very nice catalog of songs. I will look into buying a compilation CD with some of her greatest hits. Rest in PEACE Phyllis.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Boob Tube Sunday

Sunday's become my most busy TV night.

Let's see. First there's the fleeting Charmed on the WB. The show definitely has slipped in quality. I can't even blame it on Shannen Doherty's replacement Rose McGowan since McGowan's first season (Charmed's 4th) actually was one of my favorites. But the last couple years have been crappy to say the least. Adding Kaley Cucoo of 8 Simple Rules fame takes the focus away from the original premise of the show. Yet I still watch. Thankfully this should be Charmed's last season.

Then there's Desperate Housewives. Yeah I'm one of 22 million plus viewers who got sucked into this sleazy fest. Season 2 doesn't seem as exciting to me but I love my girl Edie. Alfre Woodard seems so wasted on this show. A show that has way too many characters. A word to the producer's. Maybe try developing the characters that already exist. But it was nice seeing the network's first gay kiss. Was that hot or what?

After DH, I flip over to Lifetime to catch my girl Vivica Fox (sorry Ms. Holiday...*LOL*) on drama Missing. They've been in rerun season for the longest but this coming month they're showing their last five episodes of the season. Despite the unrealistic plot twists, for example, how the characters are able to fly to another state in a matter of minutes, the show has me hooked. I guess I love seeing Vivica's sassy around the way girl attitude in action.

For the rest of the evening, VH1 grabs me for my newest TV show addiction. You know what time it is. It's Flava Flav time. Not since Being Bobby Brown (I heard there'll be another season of that.) has a train wreck so deliciously bad ever looked so good.

Flav's show, titled Flavor of Love, rips on the fleeting popular ABC show The Bachelor. The premise is Flava Flav is looking for a new love. He has 20 hoochies (literally) competing for the ultimate prize. Flav. Amazing, huh?

I saw the first episode while hanging out at my boy's crib. It had me hooked with all the hoochies screaming and Flav walking in with his legendary clock necklace. Plus Flav instead of calling the hoochies their proper names (okay..and yes hoochie isn't a proper name but that's how a lot of the ladies were acting) has colorful nicknames for each. And with real names like Xocholit (that was the sweet and spicy nicknamed Ms. Latin), the whole nickname concept works. Plus it's funny hearing the other hoochies call each other by their nicknames. The man scares the shit out of me but he is fucking amusing. Then instead of roses, each surviving hoochie gets a clock. I'm loving Goldie. She's so as Flav puts it "cuntry".

The show's a perfect compliment to the new installment of Celebrity Fit Club. Though CFC really needs to refrain from picking psycho nuts for their show for dramatic effect. It's annoying. Plus Temppest Bledsoe and Countess Vaughn actually don't look like they need to lose weight. Maybe tone up a bit, but that's about it. Nonetheless it's a cool show to watch. And Harvey so has a man-crush on Young MC. I can't blame him actually. I think I have a crush on him too.

Sigh. 5 hours of nonstop TV watching. Well except for commercials. I got my snacks ready.

Friday, January 13, 2006

L.A. Bound

I need a change of scenery. Well at least for a couple days.

I am getting my wish. I just booked a trip to L.A. for early next month. I'm meeting my L.A. friend, let's call him Xaler, over there. We're both big fans of the series Half & Half. I'm coinciding my trip with catching a taping of the show with him.

It's not my first time seeing a taping. I flew to L.A. in August 2004 and had my first studio audience experience. It was for Half & Half, of course. It was interesting to say the least. Security to get into the studio is tight as one might expect. You go through two different security checks and you're not allowed to bring cellphones, cameras, weapons, etc. into the studio. The time I went, our M.C. was that black dude that was Ice Cube's road dog in Player's Club. I think he guest starred on a few shows. His name is drawing a blank for me right now.

Part of his job was to keep the captive audience occupied during the downtime. He talked a mile a minute, throwing good jokes and bad jokes (mostly bad jokes) in an effort to keep everyone contained. It was almost, as Xaler described, M.C.'s way of keeping us from thinking about what was going on. If you were really good, he'd toss you some miniature candy, which people would literally go crazy to grab. I suppose I should've been grabbing too since I hadn't eaten prior to the taping. And the stale slice of Dominoes pizza and a bottle water they provide just didn't cut it. Just as a scene is about to start, M.C. reminds the audience to laugh and refrain from conversing.

I enjoyed the experience of seeing what goes on to create an episode. All the behind the scenes stuff. I'm looking forward to seeing it again. I didn't get the opportunity to meet any of the actors but I don't know, maybe I'll try this time. We'll see.

And I'll get to visit West Hollywood and Beverly Hills again. Cool.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Importance Of Being E

Ok yall! I'll leave Star alone. Besides her appearance on Larry King was so boring. I guess mostly because nothing new was learned. At least not in the five whole minutes I actually listened to it. He was so kissing her ass it was disgusting. I spent the rest of my time instead of watching that dreck, power walking around the house. Moving on.

So far 2006 has been a really great year. My bowling team won 1st place for our season's first half, despite my horrible performance. My games were 144, 157, and 148, all below my current 163 average. I sorta made up for it last week, starting the 2nd half strong with a 151, 199, and 190. Our team managed to win all three games for an even stronger start. Who knows? Maybe we'll win 2nd half too. But I won't put the cart before the horse. At least I'll try not to.

Speaking of bowling, one of my teammates was celebrating her 30th lay tonight. Heh...just kidding. She turned 30 tonight. Shelley had a volleyball tournament tonight at North Beach, which also doubles as a pool hall/bar. I got so wasted tonight. Okay, I only had 3 beers. Shelly was toasted. And she had to work tomorrow. But hey, you only turn 30 once. I had a lot of fun tonight. Her friends were working on bringing me out of my shell. By the end of the evening, I was cursing up a storm. Good times!

Being more fun is one of the things I want to change about myself. As I've mentioned time and time again, I tend to be a background person. I try not to bring focus to myself. But you know sometimes I have to kick it loose and act crazy. It was cool stepping outside of my comfort zone and letting my inhibitions go. Within reason, of course. I'm not that crazy. Some would beg to differ. But whatever.

I'd also like to be more confident in the 06. Oh my god, confidence is one of my ITs. This is an ongoing thing for me. I think the key is to be confident without being cocky (Mmm..cock... *LOL*.) I mean, I'm an attractive guy. I can be sexy when I want to be. I need to have that attitude that I am somebody, damn it! You will notice me. You will hear me roar.

For all the things I want to change about me, I have to realize I do have some good qualities. I'm loyal to a fault. If you tell me something in confidence, I won't blab it to every Tom, Dick, and Larry. I guess I'm discreet. I think that's a good thing in this day and age.

But oooh, I have a bit of a headache. I so need to go to bed. Thanks for letting me vent. Again.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Star Wars - Part II

"As I mentioned in my last entry, in order to spare me a fate worse than death, I told Star Jones I would interview her and it would appear in the Chicago Times. So the next morning, she sent Jabari over with a list of demands. I viewed the list after getting busy again with Jabari. It was hot. Real hot. Nice lips. Cool name. I love that name. Ja-bar-ee. Ja-bar-ee.

Ohh...back to, yeah, her. Star's list included the following:

  • Three trays of buffalo wings. One with mild sauce, one with extra spicy sauce, one with bbq sauce.
  • Two cases of Diet Coke. (Because I'm on a diet.)
  • An entire Red Velvet Cake.
  • An entire Boston Creme Pie.
  • A tray of shrimp scampi.
  • 3 orders each of shrimp fried rice, bbq ribs, angel hair pasta, and brown rice.
  • 5 bottles of Courvoisier (chilled).
  • 5 bottles of Cristal (chilled).
  • 10 large silver plates with matching sterling silverware.
  • 10 smaller silver dessert plates with matching sterling silverware.
  • 10 crystal champagne glasses.
  • 2 canisters of Tums.
  • 3 male exotic dancers (for entertainment).
I knew I was going to need some Tums after reading that list. If the food wasn't outrageous enough, she wanted male exotic dancers. Who orders dancers for an interview? Was Al making an appearance?

I immediately called Star. Well after dropping the list and playing around again with Jabari. (Heh.) I said, 'Look Star, there's no humanly possible way that even you could eat all that food on the list."

"Well, E. If those demands aren't met, then the interview is off."

(Once again, I had to think quick on my feet.) "I, ummm, gave your list to the Chicago Tribune, I mean Chicago Times, and you know what they said. They decided to donate all the items you requested, minus the exotic dancers, to a local homeless shelter. They figured it would be good publicity for you to mention it in the paper."

"Hmmm. I like how the Times thinks. That's what I'm talking about. I bet a sista thought about that idea."

"Ummm, yeah. Nothing can get past you Star. (E rolls his eyes before continuing.) So how about since we've donated the items, we just do the interview over the phone? Like now. I have things to do. I'm sure you do to. That way you can enjoy all the fine foods I know you have in the house."

"Yeah, whatever."

The transcript to our phone interview is presented below. Enjoy!

E: "Ok Star. I will begin the interview after I say the words 'biscuits and gravy'. Got that?"

Star: "Mmmm. I love me my Mama's biscuits."

E: "Buscuits and gravy."

Star: "I don't mind if I do."

E: "Too easy. Hemingway. Your book. That one that came out last year. I think, right? Something about needing physical, spiritual, ummm, I think emotional. Something about those being critical to trapping a man. Am I right?"

Star: "Did you even read my book?"

E: "Of course I did."

Star: "What's the title then?"

E: "Hey. I'm the one asking the questions here. And here's the book for our readers so they can go out and get it."

Star: "Are you showing the readers the right book?"

E: "Of course. Don't be silly. Speaking of Joy Behar..."

Star: "Who the fuck's speaking about that old cow?"

E: "So it's true? You and Joy are currently feuding?"

Star (Talking thru her teeth.): "Joy and I get along famously."

"That's not what my sources tell me. There was the time you were being Bridezilla and got into an altercation because Joy had a mini-camera at your wedding. Then there was the time you fought about religion on the show."

Star: "We have different opinions but outside the show, we get along well."

E: "Your wedding? Are you saying that was a show?"

Star: (Something inaudible)

E: "Give me the first word that comes to mind as I name one of your co-hosts."

Star: "Okay."

E: "Meredith." ---- Star: "Intoxicating." ---- E: "Joy." ---- Star: "Laughable."

E: "Elisabeth." ---- Star: "Special." ---- E: "Barbara." ---- Star: "Phenomenal."

E: "How would you describe yourself?"

"I'm a Babe In Total Control of Herself. A true Bitch."

E: "Ummm, cute. Does Al call you that?"

Star: "He better not if he knows what's good for him."

E: "So that AOL gig? You're a love expert now. How did that come about?"

Star: "I'd rather not say. It's just a honor to be able to share my love experiences with the world. Everyone needs that help. They should know if Star can do it, then they can do it too."

E: "So all of us would like to know. Does Al lay it on you down low in the sack?"

Star: "I will not answer that question."

E: "So the sex isn't great?"

Star: "Of course it's great. It completes me. He's my soulmate."

E: "Your anniversary recently passed. Congrats. Many didn't give you six months."

Star: "Shows what those people know. Al and I will be together forever."

E: "As long as Whitney and Bobby?"

Star: "Longer."

E: "Ok. So why did E! choose not renew your contract?"

Star: "I chose not to renew it. I have a national blitz tour planned for my new book Shine: A Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love. My tour would've conflicted with any commitments I would need with E!"

"Wow. That really sounds exciting. (Not!) So you still don't want to fess up to having stomach staples?"

Star: "How I lost over 150 pounds is none of your business. I choose not to endorse any one particular method."

E: "That's odd since you're putting all your other business out in the street. So are you not endorsing your chosen medical intervention because noone's paying you to do so?

Star: "I will not dignify that question with a response."

E: "So let's end this thing. Any last words you want to share with the audience."

"Yes there is. I just want to let everyone out there to know that they can acheive all of their dreams too. Buy my book because it gives you step by step instructions to living a happier life. I am so happy. I am so complete. I am, simply put, a Star. You can too. Buy my book. Buy it now. It'll be the best $25 you ever spent. I promise."

E: "Alrighty then. Thanks Star for sharing that. And ummm, thanks for granting this interview. Bye."


"Star is gonna flip out when she finds out I don't work for the Chicago Times. I hope you all enjoyed the (mock) interview. It's now back to my regular scheduled life. PEACE!"


Friday, January 06, 2006

Star Wars - Part I

"After my encounter with Star Jones months ago, I received a threatening voice gram from the same young flunkie that filled her plates with food at the local China Buffet she almost bankrupted. I remember it like it was yesterday. Oh wait! I think it was yesterday.

Hemingway, he came up to my door and rung my bell repeatedly. When I went to open it, his exact words were...'I'll eat you alive'.

I was a bit stunned. I took a closer look and knew the dude looked familiar but couldn't quite place where I saw him before. I realized that dude was freaking hot. He was about 5'10, for real, unlike myself. He was about 180 lbs of pure muscle and couldn't have been over 20. I told him 'You need to be careful with your choice of words because I could've turned you out right there. I still might.'

I couldn't believe how bold I was being. I'm normally the shy, cautious one that doesn't openly flirt, especially with guys that may not swing my way. But to my surprise, he licked his lips and smiled suggestively at me. He said...'You know. I could fuck you so good.'

So I said...'I got the lube in the tube and the glove for love.' I cringed after saying that. So, so corny. But he didn't seem to care. 'I thought you'd never ask,' he said as he entered inside. My house...*LOL*.

About an hour after our intense freak session, his cellie begins to ring. I roll my eyes when he picks it up because I was ready for round 2. And you know how I want to throttle folks who answer their cell phone in the middle of a date. But I chilled when realizing technically we didn't really have a date. I didn't even know his name. Besides the conversation from his end sounded interesting.

'Yeah I delivered your message.' Silence. 'Umm, I'm on my way back Star.'

'Star Jones?' I said out loud. He nodded in the affirmative. That's when I realized he was that flunkie that filled her plates up. 'Are you that flunkie that was at the China Buffet filling up her plates with food?'

He rolled his eyes. 'I ain't no flunky.' He still had the phone to his ear. He then said on the phone. 'I'm talking to E.'

He hands me the phone. 'Queen Bee wants to speak with you.'

'Star Jones. I should've known the moment, ummm...(He tells me his name is Jabari.)...Jabari said the words "I'll eat you alive." Didn't you do that to big Gay Al?'"

"Fuck you!"

"Ummm. I think we established that you're too disgusting to have sex with."

(Star begins to ramble loudly and in her menacing tone.) "...I will sue the pants off of you. When I get through with you, you'll wish you were never born. I will put you in a vat of barbecue sauce and fry you in my giant, industry size oven. I will..."

('Fearing for my life, I thought quick on my feet.') "Wait. Would you cook someone who's read your most excellent autobiographical book on your, ummm, finding the love of your life? I, ummm, ghost write for the Chicago Times. I could do an interview with you. You know. Folks have seen you on Dr. Shill, I mean Dr. Phil, and on 20/20. They'll be compelled to hear even more about your fascinating life experiences."

"I'm thinking."

"America can't get enough of you. You would be doing the American public a great big favor. What do ya say?"

"You're so right. I am a fascinating person. AOL knew what they were doing when they hired me to be their love expert. I mean, Al is the love of my life. We knew when we saw each other, that it would be forever. Everyone can benefit from the love experiences we had and continue to have."

"I knew there was a reason I hated AOL."

"What? Why you mother fucking, chicken wing looking...mmm, chicken piece of chocolate cake smelling..."

"Star! It was a joke. I love AOL as much as I love, umm, you." (E throws up a few chunks, freaking out Jabari.)

"Hey. At least you didn't have to eat Star's cooch?"

(Jabari and E throw up at the same time.)

"Are you eating something good?"

"Wrong choice of words, Star. Ummm, yeah. Let's schedule this interview for tomorrow. Let's say, 2PM ish? Is that okay with you?"


"So we schedule the interview time. And you know I made Jabari clean up the mess. After I hung up on the bitch, I groaned in disgust realizing I'm gonna have to read her pathetic book. Come back Sunday night or Monday morning for the fascinating interview. It's one you simply can't miss."


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Preach It Papa

Today is my Dad's birthday. This will mark his 76th year.

My Dad has mellowed out considerably over the years. He's like a whole different person from the man I remembered growing up.

I still remember the times when he used to whip Tasha and I. I remember how he threw me out of the car because I forgot to say 'Good Morning' to him. He put the fear of God in my sisters and I. I remember being the first to learn how to drive and having to learn via my Dad. It was like boot camp from hell...*LOL*. It was only after I got my license that my sisters sought me to teach them.

I know these days there's obviously a lot of controversy over how kids should be disciplined. Many folks are against whipping. There are valid reasons for not encouraging whipping.

But I have to say that my Dad putting the fear of God in me kept me from doing a lot of crazy things. It made me the semi-normal (Heh...cause I have issues.) person I am today. I'm not in jail. I have my own house. I pay my own light bill. I get my own toilet paper. I've never been in jail (Though I came close once. I'll have to share that story another time.) You get the drill.

When my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the early 90s, it was my first time seeing my Dad's vulnerable side. He feared that he wouldn't survive. Since beating it, he's had a new outlook on life. He still gets angry from time to time but it's not as frequent.

So Hemingway over the holidays my Dad was talking about some of his experiences growing up in the Caribbean and comparing it to the experiences in the United States. Our conversation started innocent enough as we were cleaning up some excess junk in the house. (I guess that's where I get my hoarding tendencies from...*LOL*.) He lamented in particular about a sofa in the den that was full of clothes. He cracked about not remembering the sofa's color since it's been covered with clothes for over ten years.

He blamed my Mom for all the clutter issues currently going on. He then recalled times growing up with his two brothers in a single family household. How they had practically nothing and could pretty much leave their door unlocked at night. Crime was practically nonexistant. He said if someone wanted to come in the house to use the potty or get a meal, they would come in, do what they had to do, and leave. It was a 'what's yours is mine and what's mine is yours' type of existence.

He mentioned that the island had three families with a radio. If there was some major news, the residents would all crowd around one of those residences to listen to the news. Envy over those with the radios was practically nonexistant.

He contrasted it to life in the U.S. How you can't have nice things without worrying about somebody trying to steal it from you. Sad but true. It'll be a cold day in hell before I sleep with my house unlocked, even though I live in a relatively safe block.

A poignant example he shared was how he inadvertently mentioned how nice a radio that 'we owned' was. It was basically shared by everyone in the plant. The actual owner of the radio went off going 'What do you mean we own?' And then clarified who really owned it.

Conversation then led to some of the hardships my Dad faced when first entering the U.S. I do remember how he said that the only English word he knew was 'coffee'.

He took residence in the quad apartment building that our family currently owns today. It was owned by his older cousin's (my sisters and me...thanks Marlon... affectionately called her Grandma) father, who was known as Uncle.

Uncle was quite the miser. He was one of those folks who'd buy two-ply toilet paper and split a roll into two one-ply rolls. He was very possessive over his items. My Dad recalled how he wanted to borrow an encyclopedia volume from him for some research. His Uncle had the encyclopedias locked in a drawer and had to open the drawer for my Dad to get the volume. Then Uncle wouldn't let my Dad take the volume to even read in his room. He stood there while my Dad did what he needed to and only left once he knew his volume was safely locked back in place.

My Dad then decided to get a job so that he could get his own set of encyclopedias. The job at the paint factory paid 90 cents an hour (Wow) but it was enough for him to get his volumes and to get his first car, which wound up being a lemon unfortunately.

The room my Dad lived in was originally a shack until he fixed up the room. He put up new wallpaper, varnished the floor, and purchased simple furniture, including a stereo with a record player that still works over 40 years later. He mentioned how soon as he finished fixing up his room, Uncle wound up giving his room to another tenant after said tenant decided he liked the room. So then my Dad was moved to another room in the house that he had to fix up over again.

He then mentioned how lazy his co-workers were and how they'd cut corners instead of doing the job right. Stuff like not filling the paint containers properly and mixing the paint wrong and wasting a whole batch. (That's actually pretty common these days.)

He then moved on to the politics involved in getting jobs and how his older brother lucked out on a job because the higher ups wanted to meet a quota of having one minority working in the firm. He also said how earlier in life, his mother declined an offer to turn tricks for a customer to get some money. But she managed to get her own money owning a small business. He also complained once that he hated his Mom's cooking...*LOL*. I guess she was a career woman first.

Then there was the time he was waiting for a bus and some man shared with him his story of how he was wanted by the police for a murder he did somewhere south. Needless to say, my Dad avoided him as much as he could.

When my Dad was telling his tales, he then jumped into the subject of how folks don't listen much to what you say. How folks will ask you the same questions over and over. I admit to being guilty of this at times.

The art of listening is something that I'm working on. It was also what prompted me to listen more closely to my Dad's ramblings. Heaven forbid I don't listen to my own Dad.

There's a lot of wisdom in what he shares. I'm so grateful to have him still in my life.

For his birthday, I bought him the movies Crash and Sin City. I look forward to having a conversation with him about Crash soon. Happy Birthday Dad!


Monday, January 02, 2006

I Want IT

Where have I heard that title before? Oh yeah, I remember where I got IT from.

Well, just like That Dude Right There so nicely put IT (Heh.), I want IT in the 06.

I'm probably going to sound incoherent today, though I can't blame IT on alcohol. IT's just my thoughts are so jumbled up, I can't really organize them.

Hemingway if you've been following me last month, you know that I took part in Ms. Holiday's 30 day challenge. Well the deadline was over days ago. So how did I do?

Well, you guys know I exceeded my goal in cleaning up the house. But IT's hard work to maintain. I found myself starting the ritual of piling shit up again. Why do I do that? I don't need IT. (Heh...had to sneak yet another "IT" in there.) Sigh. I just life is like that. You have to constantly mind your own. Otherwise things get out of whack just like that.

Let's see. I also had that goal of exercising 15 minutes every morning God graces me to wake. Well, that one didn't quite pan out. I did start that food diary but I sorta got a bit lazy after the holidays. I blame IT on the holiday food eating. Ok. Who am I kidding? My ass dropped the ball. Let's just say I ate a lot of bad shit over the know the good stuff like turkey, yams, sweet potatoe pie. I even went to McDonald's as soon as I got back from the train station. IT was after midnight and I was hungry. Confucius would say that psychologically since I knew Eugene was meeting his friend at Mickey D's, I deep down wanted to experience the same thing. Or maybe I would say IT.

Oh my gosh. I told you I was incoherent today. And again, that's without alcohol...*LOL*. I promise I'll start continuing the food diary thing soon. Moving on.

I had another goal of learning two different tools of choosing better investments. I have done pretty good in this arena. I learned about pivot points and resistance and support levels as I alluded to in an earlier post. So that's been done.

My final goal was to complete two chapters of my elusive chapter. I didn't make my goal unfortunately.

But the good news is that just because I didn't make all my goals by Jan 1, it doesn't mean that I can't achieve it by February.

So back to IT. What do I want?

I was sitting in the parking lot recently waiting for a friend to leave Bally's. He had the car keys so I was pretty much stuck. There was this little beetle that was crawling toward my feet. I was a bit bored and in my moment of boredom, I flung the beetle back. The beetle was momentarily stunned but I was amazed when IT decided to crawl back towards me. I flung IT back again. Once again, IT came back towards me. I flung IT back again.

Then I thought. Damn. That beetle just taught me a basic priniciple that I forgot. IT was determined to get to my side of the sidewalk and each time an obstacle (Me, myself, and I.) threw a setback at IT. But each time I did that, the beetle was determined to get there. IT had that determinaton no matter how many times I stood in IT's way. And that's how I need to be in the 06. If I can see IT, I can do IT. If I believe IT, there's nothing to IT. That don't mean I believe I can fly, though (Heh.). But I can do whatever I put my mind to. So I need to keep that in mind, for whatever IT is that I want.

Mariah Carey's early hit Make IT Happen says IT best (for me): "Still I have to keep on going. Never knowing if I could take IT. If I would make IT through the night. I held on to my faith. I struggled and I prayed. And now I finally come my way."

That's how life is. We have to come our way somehow. And I believe whatever IT is I want to change, I'll eventually do so.

Happy 2006 everyone!

P.S. Realizing that the beetle taught me an important lesson, I did the right thing and flung IT back towards where IT was going. I did IT right on time too because my friend would've probably crushed IT...*LOL*.