Saturday, December 30, 2006

Reflections Of

Reflections - Diana Ross & The Supremes

Through the mirror of my mind
Time after time

I see reflections of you and me

Reflections of,

The way life used to be

Reflections of,
The love you took from me

Oh, I'm all alone now
No love to shield me

Try in a world that's...

A distorted reality

Happiness you...took from me

And left me alone

With only memories
Through the mirror of my mind

Through each tear that I've cried

Reflects the hurt I can't control

'Cause although you're gone

I keep holdin' on

To the happy times

Ooh, when you were mine

As I peer through the window

Of lost time

Looking over my yesterdays
And all the love I gave all in vain

Another year is coming to an end. It's that time of year to reflect on the year and all the good and bad that came from it. Dating was the year that started out typically enough. Psycho dates, boring dates, annoying dates, lying dates, dissing dates. But lots of dates. It amazed me how I went from date to date with guy to guy and not be seriously jaded. I did seriously question the gene pool of men out there while taking the time to sample a few of t
hose dates. Hey...gotta get mine, right?

Hemingway my year in dating appears to be ending on a positive note. The Rock (not that Rock...I wish...*LOL*) managed to do something that none of my other dates have. He's stuck around. So far things are going great. He seems (gotta be cautious still) to be keeping it real. We're still chatting daily, even if it's for two minutes. And we've managed to see each other practically every weekend despite his living in Rockford. It does help that I'm living at a midpoint between Rockford and his family on the Southside of Chicago.

We were supposed to hang out the Wednesday before I left for Detroit but he had a difficult account at the job he needed to wrap up on since he planned on taking the rest of 2006 off. It was fine, though. We hung out after the holidays and even exchanged gifts. He got me a zipper sweater jacket (I don't know if I'm describing it right). It was in black, our favorite color. I got him this book on South Park & Philosophy that looks at the philosophical wisdom found from South Park. The show is one of his favorites and I figured he'd get a kick out of it.

Our New Year's Eve plans are still on. So it looks like I'll end 2006 and begin 2007 on a positive dating note. Hopefully it'll continue.

Speaking of holidays, my time in Detroit was okay. The usual family drama prevailed. My folks, particularly my Mom, continue to question the choices of men my sisters Tasha and Trina have latched on to. I question it too but with my dating experiences, who am I to judge? And wait till my parents find out officially about me. That'll be a party. I'm not looking forward to that day but it's coming soon. I can feel it. It's time. That time will likely be sometime in 2007.

One thing I will give to gay dating (and it's not much), men come and go so quickly. I don't have to deal with the bs long and luckily the guys I've dated revealed their inner asshole early enough so I didn't get too (and I say 'too' loosely...*LOL*) attached to them. I may have lamented over them for a brief period but I was always able to move on. None have stuck the way my sisters' guys have.

I won't harp on their guys long since ultimately they'll have to get their own blogs. But from I hear, Tasha's guy has trust and gambling issues (this info was given by Tasha herself). He never takes Tasha out anywhere to my parents' knowledge and only comes by for a nightcap every so often & disappears the next morning. I mean, maybe that's all Tasha wants (we never talk about it since I don't talk about my love life) but it's been over five years. My parents are also concerned that Tasha doesn't have the best money management skills (she did file bankruptcy years back) and probably needs a good guy that can be a partner in that regards, which they don't feel this guy is. My Dad particularly says that since Tasha has this guy in her life that she's blocking herself from meeting her true prince (though Sally would argue Detroit men all suck...*LOL*).

Trina's current guy came into her life when she started her downfall (my Mom would say...*LOL*) taking a job at a popular retail clothier store in the metro Detroit area. The men that she's dated all met her or worked at this place. The current one she's seeing has been some part of her life since she started there. He was married with five kids at the time he became involved with my sister. It's been a tumultuous history. At the worst point my Mom swore that Trina was on drugs and that he was the provider.

If I had any complaints about the situation, I'd say that it seems like they're joined at the hip. Everywhere Trina goes, he goes. When I came in town for Easter, I wanted to confess to my sister privately about my sexuality. She would've been the first family member I officially told (as I think she'd be the most understanding). But unfortunately he was around (I guess I was at their place) and I really didn't want to discuss it with him around.

They came to the family house late on Christmas for the Secret Santa exchange. My Dad was Trina's Secret Santa. Since he doesn't do the gift thing, he gave her cold hard cash. During a private moment I had in the kitchen with my Mom, she told me that it looked like her guy was mentally spending the money. I think I may have saw the look too. Then there was the mention of both having life insurance policies on each other. But I've already said too much.

All I can do is pray for us all.

Eugene and I even had a bit of a minor spat. He and I came together to Detroit via Amtrak. I admit Amtrak has proven to be a nice moneysaver over the airlines. My total cost was $60, with an additional $30 for taxis & Metra.

So back to the spat. While in Detroit, I borrowed my Dad's car and met Eugene at a downtown Starbucks. He spent about fifteen minutes while I was there debating with this white guy the age old "evil corporate America" syndrome. (I don't deny it but I've heard the argument too many times before.) Later on after the guy left, we were chatting about Eugene's various friends in his life and how one particular one (the guy he went to Hawaii with) was like a brother to him. So I asked him if he thought of me that way. Eugene told me he didn't.

One thing I'll say. Yes I was baiting him. I did ask the question so I should've anticipated the answer and accepted whatever that answer would be. Eugene is not one to sugarcoat his feelings. Tact is not his middle name.

Needless to say his answer hurt me, especially considering that I did think of him as a brother. I stayed for a few more minutes and decided to leave. Eugene was trying to get me to stay but I was ready to bolt.

On my route back, Eugene called and of course asked me about my attitude. He wanted to confirm why I was upset and once he confirmed, he did his best to explain his reasoning. In a nutshell, we haven't had enough life experiences together due to our locations. It's through these that he gets his connections with folks. We only at most see each other two or three times a year and even though we chat daily, we don't have enough of those experiences. It's like we're penpals in a way talking about each other's lives and only occasionally are in snippets of it.

I understood. But it took me a bit of time to let it sink in. I was still a little pissy with him but I gradually let it go and now realize his feelings for our friendship doesn't negate my feelings for it. I'm hopeful that we'll eventually have enough life experiences together in that he'll think of me in that regards too.

Getting back on the Secret Santa tip, Tasha wound up being my Secret Santa and she got me an MP3 player. It was cool since I had a refurbished MP3 Rio that I bought from Overstock that's since died. I have an Ipod currently but I like having both types so I'll definitely put the player to good use. Trina was Tasha's Secret Santa and got her a Victoria Secret's gift certificate. My Mom was my Dad's Secret Santa for the second year in a row so she of course opted out of giving a gift. I was my Mom's Secret Santa and I got her the bath set from Macy's.

On the job front, I'm inching closer to hitting my tenth anniversary with my company and my hopeful resignation. So far I'm not where I want to be in terms of savings but I'm keeping the faith that the moves I made in 2006 will pay off sometime in 2007 and give me that freedom, even if I have to stay a little bit longer. We'll see.

Hemingway it's been a real interesting year. As I type my last words for 2006, I've come to the conclusion that I'm still striving for that elusive IT. However life is meant to be a journey. IT wasn't meant to be easy and I suppose IT would be boring if everything went the way I wanted IT to. Hopefully 2007 will be an overall positive year.

Happy New Year to everyone!!!!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Losing Cool

This past weekend was interesting all around. Eugene's original plan was to fly into Chicago around 9AM Saturday and stay until Monday morning where he'd continue his midwest trek and visit another friend of his. However his plans changed when new Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick scheduled an appearance at his campus that morning. He really wanted to be there to show his support. So he cancelled his original flight and rescheduled one for later in the day, his new arrival time being 9:49 PM.

While doing some last minute Christmas shopping, I got a phone call from Eugene. His flight from Philly to Chicago (he arrived at Philly from Boston) on US-Air was cancelled. He told me no explanation was given. He spent his evening bitching out different US-Air staffers in a quest for answers and an alternate flight. The best they were able to do was give him a 9AM flight that would arrive at 11:30 AM. The true explanation for his flight's cancellation remained a mystery.

Eugene was hoping to spend his late Saturday, early Sunday morning cruising a choice gay Chicago nightspot. Instead he spent that time stuck in the airport with hard seats barely giving any comfort. US-Air didn't even offer to cover a hotel room. They instead gave him a voucher but he still had to pay $69 out of pocket, which he chose not to do.

I relayed to FordRock, henceforth he shall be known as Rock, the situation and he immediately offered to go with me to pick Eugene up at the airport. I thought that was really nice.

Rock wanted to bring a friend of his along not only for reinforcement but also to introduce Eugene and I to someone important in his life, just as Eugene's important to mine. As a bonus, his friend is studying for a Phd in pyschology so Eugene and his friend would have that in common.

After firming that up, Eugene relayed that he was able to secure an earlier flight on United that would arrive at 7:20 AM. That killed those plans.

Sunday came and I went to pick him up. His flight arrived ten minutes early. Unfortunately his bags did not make it with him. He was told by the US Air rep that his bags would be transferred to United.

When I found Eugene after parking in O'hare's garage, he was looking disheveled and like a lost puppy. He didn't even see me as I called out to him. We met up and quickly exchanged hugs.

Long story short, Eugene would not be seeing his bags anytime soon. He filed a missing bag claim and in the event his bags are found, they'll be forwarded to him. As we made our way to my car, I told him that all this might not have happened had he not cancelled his other flight for Deval. As it turned out, Deval barely spoke at the rally.

So after some stops to get Eugene some new toiletries, we headed home to get ready for our breakfast/bowling day with Rock and company. That turned out to be real interesting once they arrived. After showing Rock's friend Ned around the place, we all hopped in Rock's SUV and made our way to a nice breakfast spot I took Eugene once before.

Rock and I had our conversation while Ned and Eugene had theirs. Of course since we were going bowling afterwards, Eugene had to tell Ned about our ongoing competition.

Breakfast was really nice. We even cracked up when a pair of thuggish loud brothas were seated opposite our table. Ned told us they reminded him of some of the youth he deals with in his job at a detention center. We commented on how sometimes black folks like to bring attention to themselves whereever they go.

After breakfast we all headed to the local alley. We decided to pair off into teams with Rock and myself vs. Eugene and Ned. Eugene was being his usual crazy self, doing all he could to provoke me. Unfortunately he knew how to push my buttons and despite my best efforts to ignore him, I let him get to me. Again. I won my first game against him but unfortunately lost the last two. Ned also proved to be a slightly better bowler than Rock so we only wound up winning one series out of three.

Eugene was insufferably gloating which drove me up the wall. My reactions unfortunately were making things uncomfortable for Rock and Ned, who both feared for their safety. The more I sulked, the more Eugene gloated. If looks could only kill I thought to myself.

So after bowling Rock drove us back to my place. He actually was able to get back without much help from me, which was cool. The highlight of the trip was Eugene and Rock going back and forth about corporate greed and how the public allows its CEOs to get away with outlandish salaries while allowing layoffs of hundreds of lower paid employees, all in an effort to raise stock price. I've heard the argument before so I stayed quiet as did Ned.

Once at my place, we all decided to play spades and paired up with the same teams. Eugene and I got into it again over some of the rules as I was used to Yahoo Spades rules. It didn't help matters that I was still reeling from earlier. It was a wonder I even agreed to play.

Rock and I actually were doing real well, at one point we were up by over 100 points. Eugene and Ned decided to do some blind 8 crap and unbeknownest to Rock and myself (though I had a suspicion), Eugene was cheating. Among his cheating ways, he held out on a spades card even though spades was led. He also managed to play the Ace of Clubs three times in a single hand.

Eugene's a piece of work sometimes. I went ballistic after Eugene/Ned supposedly "won" that hand and set Rock and myself back seventy points.

I took off and Rock did his best to try and comfort me, though comforting was the last thing I wanted. I just needed some time to blow off some steam. If nothing else, my storming off did buy Rock and I some private time and he managed to take advantage of the situation. You do the math...*LOL*.

So Hemingway Rock and Ned eventually took off and left me alone with Eugene. Eugene of course kept telling me how much I was overreacting and taking things personally. He rationalized that guys trash talk all the time when playing sports and that it wasn't personal. He asked me how I'd like it if everyone was all polite and just going..."your turn, your turn, your turn". I thought about and realized that he was right in that regards. I suppose some kind of b.s. has to go on to keep things somewhat interesting. Another thing I know is that I'm extremely competitive as well but it's more of a quiet competitive over Eugene's bells and whistles. So my tendency is to beat myself up already. The additional needling from Eugene coupled with my own abuse was quite the potent punch. It's a wonder as Eugene said, that I didn't jump off the roof.

Long story made shorter, I eventually got over it. We later went to dinner at Chili's where we were served by a sexy waiter. I even had a brief period of comeuppance when Eugene managed to spill his water all over his shirt and on his booth seat when attempting to remove a piece of ice for his warm Merlot. That had me laughing for a good ten minutes. I could tell Eugene was a bit pissy when I laughed. I couldn't imagine what our sexy waiter and the handsome maitre'd thought as they bought napkins and towels for Eugene to wipe his seat and clothes off.

Later I paid for dinner and Eugene copped a cheap feel of the waiter's "rock solid" (according to Eugene) shoulders. We drove to Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart for Eugene to get some extra clothes.

Sunday was soon over afterwards and on Monday morning I dropped Eugene off at a nearby train station so he could make his way towards Midway airport for a flight to visit another friend of his living in Minneapolis.

Eugene and I will meet again Thursday morning at Union Station as we both make our way to Detroit for the holiday.

Incidentally Rock wants to see me later on Wednesday (that's today if you're reading this on the 20th). He reassured me that Sunday didn't scare him off and Ned even went so far as to tell Rock to not let me go. Hmm. Things are progressing nicely between us. He even wants us to spend New Year's Eve together so we can ring in the New Year.

So Hemingway, this will probably be my last post before Christmas. Hopefully I'll be able to put an entry or two before 2006 comes to an end.

Merry Christmas...Happy Hanukkah....Happy Kwanzaa...Happy Holidays to everyone.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NY State Of Mind

I'm so pysched...New York is back in the motherfucking house. Check out New York and her 20 men. The pink dude sitting to her left I assume is the equivalent to Flav's Big Rick except he's gay. Actually half the dudes competing for New York's love look gay. Then again, New York's personality is so abrasive it naturally does attract gay guys. I mean, that's pretty much my fascination with her...*LOL*. Yeah right...

Let's see...there's a Nick Lachey wanna-be in the left with a banging body actually. There's Sisqo on the far right near the back. Anwar from VH1's Kept in the cap leaning behind Nick Lachey. Then there's the "you don't have to take your clothes off to have a good time" guy (and please let this dude keep his clothes on...ewww) showing off his bling with Suge Knight to his left and the only fine ass dude in the whole bunch in dead center to his right.

He's so fine...I had to crop his picture from the group. Why the hell he would be on a show like this competing for the likes of NY is beyond me? Oh who am I kidding? They're all wannabe famewhores. Whatever it takes to have their fifteen minutes of fame. I have a feeling he makes it pretty far in the fake competition unless the other dudes succeed in getting him kicked out.

And I wonder what symbol of New York would each surviving guy get. Would it be an ashtray in dedication of her binge cigarette habit? How about a piece of her weave?

Either way since I lost so much of my brain cells watching Flavor of Love...I figure I might as well lose some more on this show when it premieres in January.

p.s....I know I've been doing a lot of TV talk lately and actually I might've been spammed by someone that said they wanted me to watch all eight parts of Sleeper Cell: Terror in America to blog about here since I heard nothing further from dude....but whatever. (Sorry for the run-on.)

Hemingway I promise to talk more about my life. Actually Eugene's coming to town this weekend and I'm hoping he'll get to meet FordRock. FordRock also wants Eugene to meet his friend, who he says is his version of Eugene. That should be interesting. I'll be sure to tell all about it if things kick off.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tatum Tantrums

Since UPN and WB merged together last September, the new silly station CW took over the WB spot. I never really paid attention to what would happen to those stations that carried UPN. That changed my last visit to Detroit. My first night there, my Mom was telling me about some soap operas on this new network. Desire was the name of one of the shows. The other one being called Fashion House. The common theme shared by both shows is that they feature in their cast older white women bent on tormenting everyone around them. The network is mynetworkTV and I sat through an episode of each. All I could do was crack up as I tried to make sense of the storylines. Neither show really hooked me, though. The latter did have the sexy underutilized black (aren't they all) actor James Black. Then again it wasn't like I watched more than one episode of that dreck.

While home in Detroit for Thanksgiving, I sat with my Mom enduring another couple episodes of the shows. She really got hooked on both big time. I learned that both shows were coming to an end. (As of this writing, both Desire and Fashion House are no more.) But I was not to fear. Two new soap operas would be taking its place. Of the two, the one that actually had the catchier promo was that one called Wicked Wicked Games. It stars Tatum O'Neal, who they tout as an Academy Award winner (although it happened when she was like that was many moons ago). In reading her bio, apparently she dated Michael Jackson (or as the tabloids call him now...Wacko Jacko) in the 70s and says in her autobiography that his single 'She's Out Of My Life' was loosely based on her. Interesting stuff.

Hemingway her character Blythe is a bitter divorcee who is seeking revenge against her ex. The preview shown on TV was crazy. And Tatum plays the character so over the top that I actually may be interested in following the show. The preview shows her punching some lady and then talking to a confidant all nonchalant about how the lady was just standing there one minute and the next minute 'Pow' while showing Tatum punching the lady's lights out. But I'm trying to resist as I don't want to get caught up in a daily soap opera. Isn't my life enough of one?

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Fetishizing Money

So did anyone watch this past Monday's episode of Deal or No Deal? It was this guy from Arkansas that was apparently dubbed as an entrepeneur? But he was living in the basement of his sister and brother-in-law's house. Anyway he came across as gullible and annoying and by the end of the night walked out with $10 after turning down a high of $218,000. His sister I could tell was livid as all hell as she kept telling dude to take deal after deal and dude kept pushing his luck till it ran out. Worse yet her husband kept telling him to keep going. I know girlfriend was ready to smack both of them after that show ended.

I bet if Eugene had seen that episode, he would've witnessed one of the realest family relationships on the show (at least once dude won $10). When I was in Boston the weekend before, we were watching an episode of the popular NBC gameshow.

Eugene started going into one of his imfamous rants about society. He pointed out how family members that were on the show were probably hating on a given contestant until said contestant made it on the show. He ranted how the husband of a recent contestant probably had countless affairs behind his wife's back yet called her 'the love of his life' when being introduced on the show. How a woman would shout 'she's my bestest friend in the entire world' when just the day before the contestant may have backstabbed her.

His point was that the extended families were only saying things in the hopes that they get a cut of the money in the event a player wins big. In theory, he's probably right. All families do have their own issues so in likelihood there probably were conflicts taking place prior to them being on the show.

He also said that TV shows like Deal or No Deal encourages what he calls the 'fetishizing of money' at no cost. Basically the show puts the idea that money is the answer to everyone's problems. Who cares if Billy Bob was sleeping with the contestant's sister. There's no love lost because they can get some money and is encouraging kids to aspire to be on a game show for some easy money.

His ranted about the lack of interest a lot of his students have in trying to learn about societial issues instead focusing on making a quick buck. He feels shows such as these contribute to this phenomenon.

Eugene was to me being a bit extreme and seemed to rebuff my suggestions that maybe not everybody falls into that same belief. When he gets into his rants, he makes valid points but he tends to not see things from the other side of the coin. It's like he's basically saying it's his way or the highway.

The way I see it (and I may go into a digression...but umm I do that often...*LOL*) is that most folks I know don't want to spend the rest of their lives doing menial tasks with little pay and always having to struggle to make ends meet. Even those like me who are making decent wages don't want to always have the stress and aggravation said jobs give. Of course there are those who thrive on said stress. And of course most folks probably won't think to apply on Deal or No Deal but people will look for ways to try and get ahead.

While money shouldn't be the end all, be all of things, the accumulation of wealth is one way folks can try and better their lot in life. And I believe that unfortunately everybody can't be extremely wealthy and there will be a need for folks that do the menial jobs. If Deal or No Deal provides some sort of escapism for folks, then I don't see the harm (though the show is contributing to the dumbing of America...but that's yet another side rant that can come out of this debate).

Besides most folks I know wouldn't want to air their dirty secrets to all of America so even if family members do hate each other in real life, they'll likely keep the hate on the low until the cameras stop rolling.

But nonetheless he does bring an interesting point to the table. And I like the way the word fetishizing sounds so freaky. But maybe it's just cause I'm a freak.