Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Seeing The Green Light

I really haven't been in the blogging mood but I've been really digging Beyonce's video Green Light. It seems lady B has been going into video overload, making a video for practically every song off her B-Day album, which I still don't own. Assuming it's not all computer generated, I have to give props to lady B for her work in wearing some tall ass stilettos and still being able to perform impressive moves. Of particular interest in the link provided below are minutes (the time counts down in the link below) 2:17 - 2:10, 1:47 (her backup dancers standing on one stilettoed foot...and yeah I know they're holding some pole but still) and 1:35 - 1:33. Plus she gave love to women that aren't typically featured in music videos. Of course some could argue she only included them to make herself look skinny. Hemingway here's a link to her music video.

Ohhh...and En Vogue was the bomb last weekend. I saw Terri, Maxine, Cindy, and Rhona performing at Country Club Hills. They still got it going on in the looks department. If I were playing on their team, I'd so tap their asses, particularly Rhona's. Rhona really blends in well with the rest of the group. I even took a couple pictures of them performing (though I only caught Maxine and Rhona) on my camera phone. Unfortunately I'm not able to transfer them on my PC.

I had no idea V-103 was sponsoring the concert series until I saw Troi (with an I) Tyler coming up on stage. Not to mention all the reserved seats for various V-103 staffers near the front. Toni Tone Tony also performed and while I was there particularly for En Vogue, they did a great job with their set. I never realized how many hit singles they've had over the years. The concert was a real treat.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

All In The Family

Eugene was telling me that recently his younger brother was arrested for disorderly conduct while drunk. He got into an alteraction with someone outside of a bar. He found out about the arrest when his Mom called asking the family to ship in for bail money.

This wasn't AntiGene's first time in the slammer. Eugene mentioned that AntiGene went to jail before due to an alcohol related issue. That time his parents basically posted the bail.

Eugene was a bit miffed about AntiGene's behavior. Worse yet since AntiGene was released from jail for his recent altercation, he hasn't thanked Eugene for helping him.

It's wild to me thinking about how Eugene and AntiGene while brothers are different as night and day. But then I only have to think about how different my sisters and I are from each other.

Alcoholism isn't limited to AntiGene. Eugene mentioned that his father drank a lot as well and their relationship today is strained.

The impact of his father's drinking was fresh in his mind again when talking to his older sis EmmaGene. Eugene delved into the topic of how her grown kids were being rebels (for whatever reason) and EmmaGene got emotional. She mentioned how Eugene wasn't there through a lot of the things (he moved out once he started college out of state) she went through due to their father. She felt like she had to play the role of protector of her siblings and I guess by extension to her kids (that she had while a teenager). Eugene was speechless and wasn't sure what to say. But it sounds like a lot of resentment is still present.

Eugene and I continued our conversation about family dynamics. He mentioned one of his close friends was mad at his sister. His sister it seemed has lots of issues and a tendency to be quite violent. It was so bad that one time she was choking her mother during an argument and only stopped herself when she realized what she was doing. The sister in turn blamed her parents for not being there for her. For example, she cited how their father would go to Eugene's friends football games but not attend her volleyball games. It appeared that their parents favored Eugene's friend over her.

That led to me talking about my family dynamics. I touched on how my parents favored me and the resentment my sisters had against me for it. Thinking about it, I could see how I would get encouragement from my folks a bit more. My older sis Tasha never really did well in school and it was almost like my parents gave up on her after a while. There were times when Tasha acted out in different ways. Thinking about it now, I think it was her way of trying to get attention.

As for me, I always felt a lot of pressure from my folks to succeed in life. There were even times when my folks would tell me don't turn out like Tasha. I have the tendency to want to please folks so that extra push gave me the drive to get through college and eventually make a career.

Tasha didn't have that same push. She did go to community college and got an associates but her focus seemed to change. One minute she'd want to do nursing, the next business. I think her true desire was to go to cosmotology school but my Mom discouraged her from pursuing it. I do remember at one point she did get a dummy w/hair to play with but she didn't go far with it. Today Tasha seems to harbor a lot of anger. It becomes more apparent whenever my parents (especially my Mom) asks her to do something. I wonder if part of her anger stems from the irony that my parents have somewhat become dependent on Tasha yet growing up she felt ignored by them. Tasha at one time told me that she felt like nothing she does is ever right. I think a lot of her experiences growing up shaped her into the person she is today.

On the flip side, my younger sis Trina excelled in school. In fact she was much smarter than I was, even becoming her class valedictorian. Unlike Tasha and I, Trina was more of a social butterfly. She went to dances, hung out w/ friends, etc. etc. I remember my Mom asking why Trina was so different socially from Tasha and I. I told my Mom that all of us are different and is just the nature of siblings.

Trina's need for independence was much stronger than Tasha and I. She got a big taste of it once she got her first job just before graduation. She also interacted with lots of folks from "the wrong side of the tracks". She got a full scholarship to a state university. She studied for about a year or so but couldn't decide on a major. Her grades started slipping and eventually she dropped out.

Despite all that, Trina's desire to leave the nest was strong. She still stayed out late with "friends", which bothered my parents. Trina didn't get whipped as much as Tasha and I used to be. But one incident I remember is when my Dad whipped Tasha while Trina and I were eating. Trina started crying as well. I never did talk to Trina about that but I wonder what effect her seeing Tasha and I getting whipped from time to time had on her. Maybe her need to get out the house stemmed from those earlier experiences.

Then I think about how my Mom laments that she wishes that my sisters were closer to her. You know, that whole mother/daughter thing. Part of the problem is that my Mom sees a lot of things as black and white with little shades of gray. Plus my Mom is pretty traditional in a lot of her thinking, mostly because she pretty much is dependent on my Dad for income. My sisters on the flip side are more worldly and independent thinking. I think a lot of times they don't relate much to each other.

As for my Dad, I don't know. I do love my Dad, especially since he's mellowed quite a bit. But sometimes I think about those early days and the effect it had on my siblings and I. But I know we can't change the past.

I think about folks like AntiGene that act disorderly. Sure a messed up childhood can play a role in those future actions. But on the flipside, all the blame can't be placed on how your parents treat you. There has to be a line where a person knows what they're doing isn't right. Some accountability for one's actions must be acknowledged.

It's a tough call as to where that line is drawn. One can debate all day on that. But either way the cycle of life goes on.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rock E Team

I mentioned recently about my gruesome discovery under my deck and how I was going about alleviating the problem by purchasing rocks to put on the sides of my deck and near the stairway. I had gotten five bags of rocks tht only took care of part of the issue. The most I could load in my Cavalier was 5 bags since each weighed about 20 pounds. I anticipated that I would need to make at least 3 more trips to Home Depot to get more rocks.

So I was pleasantly surprised when Rock called me Saturday afternoon and offered to come by Sunday and help me get the rocksat Home Depot. He drives a truck so it would be able to load a lot more bags than my car. I happily took him up on his offer.

So Sunday comes and we're making our trip(s) to Home Depot to buy the gravel. While he's there, he picks up some patio furniture for his place. We decided initially to get 8 bags.

It was cool shopping with Rock. In fact we both marveled how it felt like we were a couple. Rock even saw a casual acquiantance with his partner that was shopping.

So eventually we get to my place with the rocks and proceed to unload the truck and eventually start filling up around the deck. While doing this, my neighbor Ms. Bliss came outside to water her flowers. She and I made small talk about the recent deck discovery and then she said how nice it was for "my friend" to help me with the rocks. I agreed and we eventually went back to our business.

After finishing laying out the bags, we concluded that we would probably need about 8 more bags. We went inside to wash up. While inside, Rock asked me if I thought that Ms. Bliss knew about us. I told Rock that it very well was possible. I mean, my neighbors have seen Rock's truck numerous times over the months and they're not stupid. As I mentioned before, I've come to accept that my neighbors likely know me as the "gay, black neighbor" (there aren't many blacks where I live). Plus there was one time when Rock and I were making out on the stairs and we heard Ms. Bliss on the other side of the wall shuffling around. That freaked us out at the time. So yeah, she likely knows but thankfully was making polite conversation with me.

So after our second trip to Home Depot, we were laying out the remaining rocks. It wasn't long before Mrs. Catlover approached me. She came over under the guise of wanting to get information on who I used to get rid of my unwanted pests. She then said hi to "my friend" and said I should pay him for helping me out. I cracked up and said I'd take him to lunch. We chatted about the dead animals again and eventually she left.

I had a feeling Ms. Bliss and Mrs. Catlover couldn't wait to meet my boyfriend. I could only imagine what they were saying among themselves.
I have to admit I really felt like Rock and I were truly a team. He told me that he wanted me to know that he had my back. He said he didn't want me to go through my recent ordeal alone. I think I found me a good one.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

En Vogue Lives

En Vogue has been mostly away from the scene over the years. I had always wanted to see them in concert but never got around to doing so. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the group (minus the rebel Dawn, of course) would be performing in the south burb Country Club Hills on the 16th at their newly built ampitheatre. I actually got a decent seat too.

I've been a bit dismayed that rumors of them releasing a new album fizzled. But I recently visited one of the many En Vogue message boards and was pleasantly surprised to come across a You Tube video of a French rap group called K2Rhym featuring the vocals of En Vogue (well mostly Terri Ellis...*LOL*) in their latest single. The guy in the white wife beater was beefy sexy. Just how I like em...*LOL*.

But back to En Vogue...

I'm keeping a cool head, though. I wish this would mean that En Vogue will be releasing a new album soon but as an En Vogue fan I've learned that's not necessarily the case. Case in point...when the original En Vogue members (Dawn included) appeared on Stevie Wonder's new song What's The Fuss, a lot thought En Vogue would be back together again. That fell through, of course. Then there was their performance at the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors in 2005 that led to those same rumors that fell to the wayside.

But I'll enjoy them whereever they make their mark. Who knows? Maybe they'll announce something at the concert about a new album. Till then...enjoy!


Saturday, June 09, 2007

My Pet Cemetery

I first noticed the slightly offensive aroma coming from somewhere near my front door when I finally arrived home Monday evening. It was after 11PM, though, so I thought nothing much of it as I retreated instead. Tuesday morning I go outside to water the flowers my parents and I planted the week before. The odor seems a little stronger. I'm thinking something must've died under my cement steps. But I needed to get ready for work so I don't really have time to investigate. I come home Tuesday evening and notice the smell is still lingering. I head into my basement and notice the smell down there as well. I work to eliminate the odor from my basement.

As Wednesday rolled along, I started noticing maggots crawling along my house walls. It appeared the origin of the maggots were from under my deck. To try and alleviate the problem, I pour some hot water with Pine Sol and headed to work. By Wednesday evening, I started to have a fly problem.

I told Eugene about my problem and he immediately went into psycho mode. He was making all these wild animal noises saying that if I go investigate, I may lose a limb. It was part funny but part creeping me out.

I also told Rock about it and he went into protective mode. He mentioned that putting the Pine Sol over the stench may have been making the problem worse. Plus he was concerned that Thursday was gonna be a scorcher and whatever was dead would be stinking much worse.

He was right.

By Thursday evening, I had enough. I decided I needed to tear up my deck and find out the source of the odor. Taking the nails out of a row proved to be a slow task. I had to deal with the heat, mosquitos, and the lingering odor. I wanted to retch a couple times.

Eugene was continuing to tease me on the line as I prepared for my gruesome task. I was just hoping that I picked the right board to remove.

After about an hour, I finally removed the last of the nails and proceeded to remove the board. Bullseye! I found the source of the bad odor. It was an unidentified badly decomposing animal. I had no clue what it could be. I decided to take a couple pictures of it on my digital camera.

My neighbor's mother came outside and I showed her the pictures. She had no clue what it could be and mentioned that my neighbor Felix would be home shortly and she'd ask him. Felix came about fifteen minutes later and after coming over to take a closer look at it, thought it was a cat.

Another neighborhood couple (Mr. & Mrs. Catlover) across the street from me was missing their cat for well over a month. Felix suggested I contact them to see if it was their cat. I was a bit reluctant since I wasn't 100% that it was a cat but I went to look for a flyer that said neighbors left in my mailbox. I dialed the home number but got a busy tone so I dialed the cell phone number and got Mr. Catlover. I told him what I found and that I wasn't sure if it was their cat or not but needed him to look. Only problem was that Mr. Catlover was in Michigan. He suggested I dial the home number again for Mrs. Catlover. I told him I would but decided I needed a shower after that gruesome discovery.

Immediately afterwards I quickly changed clothes and then dialed the home number. This time the line was free. Mrs. Catlover answered and I told her what I found and she said she would be over shortly. By that time it was pitch dark so I turned on my patio lights. About five minutes later she came over to investigate.

It wound up being quite an emotional scene. She used a stick to move the body around trying to see whether or not the animal was her cat or not. There didn't appear to be any evidence of such but she wound up getting quite emotional over it. I wasn't sure what to do so I went inside to get some paper towels in case she wanted to wipe her eyes. I bought it out and had a bit of an awkward moment since she wasn't exactly receptive to the paper towels. Mrs. Catlover eventually told me to ring Ms. Bliss's doorbell to tell her about it.

After a few minutes, Ms. Bliss came outside and immediately ran to the scene. Ms. Bliss and Mrs. Catlover were both remarking on how they thought they saw the cat running in my yard. Both recounted experiences with other cats they owned. After a while Ms. Bliss was looking at the carcass and was beginning to doubt it was a cat. As Mrs. Catlover and I were looking at it closer, we eventually began having doubts about it ourselves. Later on Mrs. Catlover concluded that it wasn't her cat and thanked me before walking off with Ms. Bliss.

I think I may have had a psychosomatic episode because I immediately began eating everything in sight once I went back in the house. You'd think eating would be the last thing I'd want to do considering what I found. But there I was eating Pringles chips & corn on the cob. Nice combo, huh?

The experience was quite the shocker and I still had the issue of the dead carcass under my deck. By now the smell was getting quite unbearable. I decided that I was going to work from home that Friday and hopefully contact some kind of Animal Service to dispose of the animal.

After a bit of the okie doke from my association, I realized that I would have to pay someone to get rid of it. That suited me fine since I had no desire to touch it myself. I contacted a service and the guy came a little after 12:30 PM Friday.

He identified the dead animal as a possum. When he picked it up, though, he changed the identity of the animal to a raccoon. Then he shocked me by saying there was also a dead skunk under my deck. I didn't even see the skunk but sure enough he pulled it out. Disgusting.

I paid for the cleanup and then after he put some bleach on the area, I added some more hot water and Pine Sol on the deck to clean it out some more. By later in the afternoon, no more evidence of my previous nightmare remained. Thankfully the flies had moved on to other disgusting meals.

I went to Home Depot to buy a bunch of granite rocks. Rock suggested the idea to fill up the area around my deck with the rocks to maybe keep the vermin from making a home under my deck. Apparently the idea of rocks was there before but there weren't many rocks currently in place. I think part of the issue is that some of the neighborhood kids may have over the years removed rocks from there. I'm wondering if I may need some chicken wire for good measure. I certainly don't want to encounter another surprise like that again anytime soon.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Inner Child Living

This post may sound a bit random and possibly nonsensical, so forgive me in advance.

Now that you've been warned...*LOL*.

Things are relatively back to normal now that my parents are back in Detroit. I went back to my place of employment Monday. I held out a faint hope that the project I'm stuck on got cancelled in my absence. No such luck. Damn.

As I mentioned in my last post, my plan was to be pretty incognegro on the blog tip while my folks were in town. It pretty much also extended to my immediate social circle, namely Rock and Eugene. I only made attempts to contact both whenever I wasn't around my parents, which was primarily late at night. Unfortunately for Rock by the time I would reach him, he'd already be in bed and we wouldn't be able to talk long.

Hemingway back to my parents briefly. Overall the visit was cool. I stayed pretty close to home base the entire time they were here, mostly taking them out to shop for various items. Both my parents have slowed down considerably, especially my Mom, so at most they would only have enough energy for a few hours of activities. While home, my parents helped me plant flowers I bought from Home Depot in my patio. My Dad BB-Q'd ribs and chicken on Memorial Day while my Mom did a lot of the cooking throughout the week. My Dad also helped fixed a leaky toilet for me.

I kind of felt bad that my folks were working while on vacation but a part of me knew that they wouldn't mind. In a way I reverted back to being a child in my own house.

Best case of that point was the fact that I didn't answer the phone (though it rarely rang...*LOL*) and didn't make calls around them. My rationale for not doing this was that it would only lead to questions about who's calling and what did they want.

Also I took my folks to a seafood store where my Mom immediately went into sticker shock at the prices of their lobster tails (some ran as high as $90) and despite my wanting to buy some (not necessarily the highest priced ones), she was dead set against me spending my money on any. It was semi-embarassing not to mention borderline annoying because the store clerks kept looking at us. I wound up getting some cheaper calamari instead of the tails.

In both of those cases, I didn't assert myself at all to change the outcome. In the first case, my quest to avoid having to explain who's calling resulted in me cutting off folks that are a big part of my life. That nearly caused Rock and I to come to blows. More on that later.

The second time, instead of insisting on getting the pricey lobster, I caved and bought the cheaper alternative. Of course my frugal ways also played a role there so it wasn't all on my Mom.

In a way, I was being very child-like, instead of showing that I was an equal adult. Of course with my ISFP ways, I do tend to be a people pleaser so no doubt that played a role.

So Hemingway after dropping my parents off at Union Station (and dealing with a particularly annoying staffer there), I eventually dropped my rental back at Budget. Rock offered early on to pick me up from O'hare's Budget. So he went ahead and did just that.

I picked up earlier while my parents were in town that Rock was none too pleased with my neglecting him. I remember calling him real early Thursday morning and he was put off and basically said since we haven't spoken much in the week, that it'd be okay if we didn't speak till Saturday. So I left him alone until Saturday morning.

I immediately felt his aloof vibe when I entered his ride. I thanked him for picking me up and he coolly stated that he had already said that he would. When faced with adversity, my natural reaction is to withdraw from a given situation. So I quietly sat back for a bit and observed Rock, who had a sour looking face the entire time.

Eventually I asked him if anything was wrong and he quickly said he was fine. I could see that he wasn't, though. It wasn't long before he expressed his displeasure at my lack of contacting him and how during the one time I did before that early Thursday morning, how peeved he was when I quickly excused myself from the phone when I heard my parents coming nearby. He said something that he thought our relationship had progressed but felt like we were set back.

When I told him that I wasn't speaking much to anyone (and by's pretty much been either Eugene, Sally, or Rock), he protested that I did mention speaking to Eugene once. Sigh.

All I could tell him was that I was sorry for neglecting him and my intention wasn't to ruin our relationship. He eventually came around and we spent a cool afternoon chilling at my crib. I was imagining when my neighbors saw Rock's car they were thinking....damn, E couldn't wait to dump his parents so his boyfriend could come over. *LOL*. I'm coming to terms with possibly being known as the "gay, black neighbor". My attitude is long as they don't bother me or say anything to my face about it, I'm good.

Speaking more about Rock, I notice one thing about him is that he appears to be a very structured individual. If he has in his mind that he has specific plans, it's hard for him to deviate from such plans.

I paid a surprise visit to him Monday evening and he seemed quite peeved with me for my short notice visit. I basically called him when I was five minutes from his place and told him I was in the neighborhood.

I didn't tell Rock my true motive for the visit, though his first thought was that I was visiting to spy on him. As I mentioned, we spent a nice afternoon Saturday at my place. We had such a good time I didn't want him to leave. Rock however insisted that he needed to get his patio furniture moved out and buy a bunch of flowers and take care of his house in general. When I suggested swinging by his place Sunday, he told me that I would merely be a distraction to him. I even offered to help him out and was shot down.

Eugene suggested I drop by Monday to see if he really did put his patio furniture out and got the flowers like he said he would. I saw that he did have everything together, which was cool. Rock seemed quite peeved with me, basically telling me that I should've called him sooner and that I lucked out since a previous engagement of his was momentarily cancelled just before I called him.

He asked me what I would've done if he wasn't available or if he had co-workers over. I told him if that was the case, I would've driven back big deal. But Rock wasn't liking the idea of me even taking that risk. (Hmmm...maybe he was treating me like a child...*LOL*).

We wound up watching this cartoon movie Over The Hedge, which was actually pretty good. Rock eventually came around and told me that he appreciated seeing me since he wasn't expecting to. He told me that he needs to work on being less rigid about keeping a schedule. But he still wanted me to give him half a day's notice before coming over. He so wants to be in control, which is fine most of the time since I tend to be more laid-back, but I'm more spontaneous than he is and that spontaniety is something that he doesn't like much.

I was reading the Myers Briggs personalities again (yeah yeah yeah...*LOL*) and I concluded based on what I read, that Rock's letters are ISTJ. Reading how they coorespond to my personality type bought it home for me. It'd be nice to get verification of this from Rock but he refuses to take the test. I'm still working on getting him to take it. That's a challenge and a half...*LOL*.

So Hemingway that's all for now on the Rock front. We're going on the 7 month mark by the way, which is definitely an accomplishment.

Ohh...and I couldn't tell my parents that I was gay just yet. It just didn't seem right to tell them while they were visiting me. I figured it's better to do it when I'm visiting them.

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