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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Quote of Note

I saw this in someone's signature on Nappturality.


"Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I am a Writer


Attention, everyone! I need to say this one more time, and never again. To all the well-meaning, amateur job/life coaches out there that think my (relative) unemployment is an unvoiced cry for their ideas and opinions:

NO, I AM NOT A SCHOOL TEACHER.
NO, I AM NOT GOING TO BECOME A SCHOOL TEACHER.
NO, I AM NOT GOING TO "THINK ABOUT IT".

YES, I KNOW I AM GOOD WITH KIDS. I LOVE KIDS.
YES, I KNOW THAT TEACHERS ARE NEEDED.
YES, I BELIEVE THAT TEACHING IS WORTHWHILE.


BUT...

I'VE HATED THE EXPERIENCE IN THE PAST.
I AM UNWILLING TO GO TO SCHOOL AGAIN.
I AM UNWILLING TO PAY FOR A SINGLE CLASS, CERTIFICATION, OR TEST WITH 85,000$ OF STUDENT LOANS TO PAY FOR THE TWO DEGREES I'VE ALREADY EARNED.

BY THE WAY.... I KNOW THERE'S A RECESSION. I DON'T CARE. I'M NOT CHANGING MY MIND ABOUT THIS.

LASTLY...

I AM A WRITER.
ANY TEACHING I DO IS INCIDENTAL, ACCIDENTAL, OR ON A VOLUNTEER BASIS.
I AM A WRITER.
THAT IS WHAT I AM. THAT IS WHAT I CHOOSE.
I AM A WRITER. PERIOD.

...AND AS AN ANONYMOUS, LONG DEAD, COLLEAGUE OF MINE ONCE WROTE:

THE END

Friday, December 19, 2008

Finish @ the starting line

I went to the local World's Gym today with friend to take a class called Turbo Kick. She's 3,000 times more fit than I am, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up...

But I kicked ass at the class, so much so that the instructor asked me to come up and work out beside her, and people in the clas wanted to know where I taught!!! I am proud of myself, and even though right now I have a headache, I feel good.

I am taking this as confirmation that I am meant to do this, to encourage, nourish, and cultivate my athletic side. I pledge to renew my commitment to get certified in Zumba, complete the couch potato-to-5k running training I started this week, and run the Crescent City Classic in 2009. I've walked long enough... it's about time I started running!

PS: I am doing pathetic @ finishing my novel "on time" (I set a goal to be done Dec 31st with a word count of 2k/day, and have written precisely 2k since Dec 1st.) This hair obsession needs to be put away, and I need to dig in to finish my goals so that I can have something to say for myself at New Year's. Wouldn't it just be absolutely pathetic to have the exact same list of resolutions a whole 12 months later?? I refuse.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Open Letter to Amex: What more can I say?


Dear American Express (and other Bill Collectors Worldwide),

So I just got off the phone with you, and after 25 minutes of back and forth, I have one thing to ask: What more can I say to make you understand?

You know, there is something about hitting the rock bottom of powerlessness, a place where you are under no illusions about the fact that you have not the slightest, merest shred of control, that things are completely out of your hands, that you are not capable of complying with a request, no matter how reasonable, not able to make good on a debt that you owe, period. A place where shame and fear give way to boldness and baldness, like digging straight down into the earth, through the darkeness of shame, into the hot, burning, purifying core, and emerging on the other side of the world naked and uncovered, no hiding truth. That's who I am right now. That's where I am right now.

Now, as a corporation and not an individual, I know that I will not be heard. But when you hire people to call me, over and over, trained to coax/warn/threaten me into paying, you offer me a human interface to communicate with the company. Frequently, cyclically, I am telling my story to a new voice over the phone, each one completely unfamiliar with my case but for the brief preparation summary screen that their automated call center ticket system software gives (Oh, I know all about how a call center works, having worked one myself). Over and over, I confront the powerlessness not only of myself, but of the caller. Each and every one tells me that they lack the power to negotiate with me, to work with me. How dare you send them to me so un-empowered, so ill-equipped, so desensitized to humanness? What's the point? I can't be browbeaten into paying you if there is no money, and none on the way. I can't make something from nothing, and if I could force someone to hire me, we wouldn't be talking on the phone. You force me to shame myself over and over with no result, morphing my measured explanations into begging. It's impossible to forgive, and there's no place to direct my anger but an open letter that I'm sure you're not even reading.

I'd love to work together to preserve my good name. You've no right to trash it under these circumstances! Reporting to the credit agencies, selling debt to collections, and suing me are all tantamount to harassment and torture when I am completely incapable of settling even the portion of the debt you originally asked for, let alone the exhorbitant king's ransom produced by the total amount due + fees and penalties. Why single me out among the many that are suffering in today's economic crisis? As a customer in good standing for all those years, why throw away a wonderful, once healthy relationship for circumstances out of my control? Why not negotiate? Take my small, good faith offerings, and give me a responsive interface encouraging me to continue chipping away at the debt until it is all paid. That is what I'm asking for. We both want the same thing, and only you have the power to make it happen for both of us. Help me help you help me! I know with the credit crunch and the wall street instability you're probably just passing the buck, but could you at least have passed it to someone with hands? You're beating a dead horse with me. I have basic math and several physical laws, including the law of conservation of matter, on my side. I can't make 350$/mth total earnings = 450$/mth payment to Amex. If you find a way to make it work, let me know though. Until then, don't call me, I'll call you. What more can I say?

Post Theme: The Recession (Intro) by Young Jeezy

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dying to Shout

What do you do when you can't say the thing that you really want to say because "out loud" is too public a place? When even the internet blog is too public? Inside my head isn't good enough -- nobody's listening in there but me, and I know if I could just say it, there'd be somebody out there who understood. I'm looking for a commiserative conversation here. Fruitless and futile, I know, especially when I can't talk about what I'm talking about...

I hope reading this is pissing you off and confusing you. Because then, you might get annoyed. You might even get a little frustrated. ^%$#!*$#)$%@(@&$^)$^)(@^#%$@%%$(&$^*&#%%(@%%)@&? Was that a little hard to read? Seeing a little red now? Great! Welcome to my motherf*cking world friend! Thanks for understanding.

Woo sah. Goosfrabah. Relax, relate, release. Now that you know where I'm coming from, here's a random list of things pissing me off in no particular order today:
1) Living @ home
2) Having less than a little money
3) Having a menial retail job, no healthcare, and being a part of the working poor with a Stanford education
4)Commercial Christmas decorations and pop music
5)My boss's boss has no education
6)Writer's block is closing in on me with 1/2 my novel left to complete
7)My clothes are old and out of date
8) The list of things I can't afford includes things like groceries
9)I'm having motivation problems with diet and exercise
10)The expensive hair and nail vitamin (55$ a pop) I tried gave me breakouts and set my crotch on fire (not kidding)...I did get it for free if you're wondering...
11)I may be over the weight limit for the horseback riding beach adventure I signed up for next month
12) I lack the willpower to do low carb again
13) I hate my parent's church but can't do anything about it
14) My family is all going different directions for the holidays and after Christmas I will be left alone in this house while everyone else lives their life
15) Lack of employment is forcing me to consider applying for the police department. I will have to submit to extensive background checks, polygraph, multiple interviews... but at least it's a salary + benefits
16) You probably didn't even read this far and I'm probably talking to myself

Grrrrrrr!

Post Theme: Papercut by Linkin Park

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Hair Fotki!

I've become obsessed with my hair and all thing naptural. After three days of hair information gathering, learning, and stalking girls with fierce natural curls, I've set up a fotki to document my long journey to the African tigress mane I was born to wear. Watch me work, hey!
You can visit here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Resilience

Been thinking a lot about this quality lately and what it really means. It's everywhere I look, hiding around every corner, breaking into my thoughts at unexpected times, even woven into the fabric of my manuscript.

Maybe, just maybe, that's what this year has been all about. As anyone that knows me knows, this year has been a train wreck for me, especially on paper. I never managed to find a job, I have less money than perhaps ever and more bills! I am 28, single, unmarried, and about as likely to do anything adult (buy a home, have good credit, date, marry, have sex, kids, etc) as your average 6th grader. Chances of that changing anytime soon? Slim to none. I've managed to finish out the year having re-gained the weight I lost, quit the job I got hired for after a month, attended 3 funerals in another month, traveled to Atlanta 4 times for my grammy, and unwillingly cut off all my hair.

But that's not how I actually feel. And that's the amazing part. Astoundingly there is happiness and joy in my life. Most importantly there is peace. God told me that I would lay aside every weight in 2008 sometime in December of 2007:

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us...
Hebrews 12:1


I thought it was a joke, a word game, and I prayed that if it wasn't He was talking about weight loss. (Yeah, no.) I was short-sighted and simplistic. (Big surprise.) In lieu of pounds, I've lain aside huge portions of:
1) pride
2) false sense of control
3) dependence on anything but God to provide for me
4) apathy about the political process and my ability to affect change in the world
5) blocks and obstacles to my creativity and motivation for writing
6) materialism, consumer culture, and the technical imperative

Those are some pretty big weights! I still have more things to set down before I can run completely unfettered, but I am happy with this, because with each stone I set down, I get lighter and lighter, and can run faster and faster, fly higher and higher. This direction takes me so much closer to God.

The end of the year finds me still @ a crossroads in life-- that's the running with patience part-- and I am possessed of resilience, joy, peace, and a more unshakeable faith than 12 months ago. It occurs to me that these priceless lessons are taught by the experience of living. There is no class, no preparation for these tests. The test just goes on and on until you pass it. That's about as exciting as a lifelong pop bar exam, but it worketh resilience in me. Maybe this really has been the best year ever. And to God I say: "thank you.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hair Coup!

Yesterday was a milestone in my personal hair history. A terrible milestone. A hair coup d'etat. Here is what I posted to the nanowrimo message board:

SUBJECT: I CUT ALL MY HAIR OFF!

Did you see the subject? Yeah. It's true! *headdesk*

As of last Friday, I was rolling right along, nanoing like a champ. Then my great aunt died. And there was the funeral, and the house guests, and a big family Thanksgiving, and everyone making demands on my time, and getting scheduled to work every night until midnight at Blockbuster.

So... I determined that I would be able to work on it this weekend since everyone's gone home today and I have the weekend off. I had planned to get 10K today. I had not planned to CUT ALL MY HAIR OFF!

This is what happened: I spent the morning seeing everyone off. Then I need to take a moment to take care of my hair. Without getting into all the intricacies, I removed a braid style and washed it. Imagine my surprise WHEN MY HAIR FORMED A MASSIVE DREADLOCK! Yes, just one. (Yes, I'm black.)

After I spent two hours calling my hair stylist, drenching my hair in oil, conditioner, and other disgusting and greasy substances, I came to the conclusion that my hair was done for. I panicked at missing the whole day for my nano. I had a big cry. THEN I CUT IT ALL OFF! I went from shoulder length hair to 3 inches of hair in a teeny weeny afro. There are no words... only tears. *cries*

These are the things that I look like:
1) A swan hatchling
2) A refugee
3) A wood-chipper hair accident victim
4) A base-head
5) Don-isha King (Don King's daughter with shorter hair)
6) A puppy
7) GI Jane
8) A dude

Note: none of these things are flattering because I look a hot ass mess. For real. There are no words. *plays taps for dead hair lying in clumps on bathroom floor*

Lastly, as you can see, my nano is late and behind. I am going to give it my all to get across the finish line, but I feel like my plot is stalled. I know what is supposed to happen, but have no idea how to execute. Maybe I should cut all my main character's hair off? Help!

____________________________________________________________________

Okay, I could talk about this all night and day, but that would be soooo obviously procrastinating from my nano, and I have 15K words to write before midnight tomorrow, not to mention 2/3s of my plot to write. I did want to say thanks a bunch to my Sisterhood that stepped in to cry, pray and cut along, and that have helped me recover to see this as a good thing, the threshold to another long period of wonderful natural hair. Portia, Sara, Brittany, Mommy -- don't know what I'd do without you! Your spirit will travel with me when I get to a hairdresser to get it cut all even!

See below: a moment of zen!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Blog Neglect...


If it were a crime, I'd be tried, convicted and under the jail by now. My only excuse: it's for a worthy cause.

First, I'd dedicated it all for the Obama/Biden '08 campaign, and you see how worthy that was -- yes we can! I refuse to apologize.

Second, I'm competing in Nanowrimo this year -- just the immense production (complete with 120K+ participants, websites, forums, prizes, jokes, and cheering support) that I need to get me launched into the massive noveling and screenplay career that I've been dreaming of for a few years now. I mean, what was holding me back? Shit all, to be honest. I was stagnating in ridiculous dead-end, soul-sucking, and under-earning jobs. I have been ever since I started working, with few notable exceptions. The only solution for me? Never working for a boss again, breaking the yoke of stale routines, becoming an independent and self-supported businessperson, selling my word art and living by the pen (which is mightier than the sword, though I probably don't need to remind anyone of this).

My role model: Barack Obama. I've come to realize that the man is many things, one of them a fantastic writer. Most of his income up to this point has come from book sales. He even has a Grammy from one of his books on tape! This revelation has galvanized me. I shouldn't be surprised. The man is a consummate overachiever, an ivy-league egghead and his own worst critic, certain that with enough hard work he can save the world, or as much of the world that will cooperate. In way too many ways, the Obamas are like looking into an enchanted mirror for me. They're self-actualized (and thin!) in a way that I hope and pray to be when I get to that age.

But enough hero worship from a woman old enough to know better. This was about guilt and confessions, and so we come full circle. I've been guilty of blog neglect. But maybe this is the end of the trend (no bailout necessary)?

Before I go, an update on the noveling: I'm about 23K wds in, slightly behind goal, but confident I'll murder the 50K finish line by the end of next week at the current rate I'm writing (about 3500 wds/day). I've been hanging out @ Bankhouse Coffee in downtown Long Beach. I've been taking a page out of Oprah's magazine and doing my best to live my best life, riding my mom's old beach comber bike the 3 miles or so and back everyday. Camping out in the corner, enjoying the perfect weather, the breeze, the sunshine, and the custom playlists on my ipod. I'm poor as a church mouse, but feeling more in control of my life and fulfilled than I've felt in years and years. There's really nowhere else to go but up and nothing to lean on other than God who goes before me as a banner of victory. My faith these days really is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of which is (currently) unseen. My heart is also filled with joy which is His gift of strength to me while I navigate this labyrinth.

Lastly, a prayer for the soul and memory of my friend, the late Nju Njoroge, a classmate of mine from Stanford. His memory is real, and so is the grief, and his presence will surely be missed. He was such a beautiful soul, a vital presence, that for many the sun is obscured today and in the foreseeable future. May God send a massive outpouring of peace, ministering comfort, and love to every single person that needs it, and bless us all to lean on each other, and keep each other lifted and moving forward while the sadness is debilitating, and until we can be reunited on the other side. Amen.

PS: Post Theme: Home by Bilal

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dr. Wicked is Saving My Nano!

1461
63
lab.drwicked.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hail To The Chief: Obama Party Playlist



Friday, October 31, 2008

Feeling the Hand of God

My grammy is amazing.
"Our mother is so happy for having voted. She is proud to know that her vote went in and when the tallys are counted that hers is there. I talked with her today and she talked almost 30 minutes about how happy she was and she just thanked everybody that had any part in making it happen. Thank you for being serious enough to follow through. It is the only way that the elderly can vote and maintain some dignity about their life at that age. Mom is a blessed women at 88 to have seen all the major events of the 20th Century and then to vote for someone of color. She feels as though she has felt the Hand of God!"

When I saw this email that my mother sent to the family to thank them about being so vigilant in fighting to keep my grandmother's name from being purged after being displaced by Katrina, and getting her ballot shipped so that she could vote absentee, I cried. I've read the moving human interest pieces about elderly black people across America getting to the polls for this election, but this brings the story home for me.

My grandmother was born in New Orleans in 1920. She was so poor that she spent time in an orphanage even though her parents were alive, so poor that she wore two left shoes-- mens size 10, orange-- that her family bought at a rummage sale to school. Her story is the story of many, the story of a frontliner to the life I of privilege that I lead today. She didn't finish high school, but she's finishing first in life. After raising 12 kids, some of whom (like my mom) were PRE Brown vs. the Board of the Education grade school de-segregators, and some of whom (my mom's 4 older siblings) fled the Jim Crow South never to return.

What a life! I can't imagine it, and that was precisely her goal. That a granddaughter such as I would have a different life, one protected from such experiences, where such abject poverty and oppression would exist only in my imagination. As I place myself in her shoes -- her two left shoes -- I am moved by the long race she's run with such a handicap. I am moved to feel the full gale force of this revolution in a way that I never could without her example. After such a life as she has lived, the things that she has seen, the things that she has felt, this bone fide wise woman has cast her vote, and feels the very hand of God on it. Who am I to argue with that? Go grammy! I bless God for the gift of you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hurricane Katrina Videogames for Kids?!?!? WTF?!



"Tempest in Crescent City is the second game developed by Global Kids, a not-for-profit that provides after school programs to involve inner city youth in new media. You play a teen in New Orleans during Katrina ut sequelae, trying to find and save your Mom.In each level, the water level rises; in the first, the levees haven't broken yet, in the second you can wade through the water, and by the third you have to swim. Obstacles you must avoid lose you health, and you have a limited number of lives. However, you can gain "hero points" by interacting with characters you encounter -- e.g., by the second level, you have a hammer you can use to break open the roofs of houses where people are trapped. Enough hero points earn you extra lives."

This is so fucked up! At this rate, there'll be an amusement park ride in no time. I don't know what to say, but Richard @ Metroblogging New Orleans says it best.

To quote Rachel Maddow, I'm looking for someone to talk me down on this one. But I'm not you can or should.

Post Theme: Killjoy, by N.E.R.D.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Billo the Clown Raps!



Ya'll know how much I effing hate Fox News, and of course it's stupid ugly face, Bill O'Reilly (Bill oh really?, billo the clown, bill o'LIEly, etc.), hence I found this vlog by my new hero Jay Smooth @ illdoctrine.com to be beyond clever. Watch and learn, people.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Never the Two Shall Meet

After Countdown and The Rachel Maddow Show, I have something to say about the separation of church and state: thank God for it! Both Keith and Rachel covered Palin's church, complete with clips of her taking pulpit time to solicit prayers and support for all of her politics, virtually equating her will with God's. There's nothing more mortifying to me than when the world can rightfully convict the Christian community for bad behavior (In many cases it is more people leveraging Christianity's "brand" than actual bible-led disciples.)!

It's so hard to watch secular critique and criticism of my faith. The fact that their ham-fisted swipes strike home many times is a testament to the imperfection of Christians, no matter how well-intentioned. They are a harsh mirror, exposing our human frailties, even as we worship our deity, God made flesh. Somebody turned in church service videos, and bam! Here's Palin soliciting prayer for all her governmental decisions to succeed, uncontested, without input from anyone else, because it's God's will! What a presumptuous... I have no words! This is a familiar feeling... I am reminded of Reverend Wright, another man whose political pulpit set my teeth on edge. Prayer 101: You're not supposed to pray for things to go your way. Hence, Jesus's not my will but thine prayer.

Why aren't we studying and teaching the bible and the practical application of its guiding lessons? How do we have time to postulate on God's plan for global politics? How dare they pretend that He needs our help to get the job done, or beseech His throne for a rubber stamp to our plans? This idiot seems to think that God has to be on America's side because she lives here! Doesn't she and her congregation realize that there are Christians in every nation on earth, people of different races, nationalities, denominations? Thank God for grace to cover this multitude of sins!

As for the "pray the gay away" deal, I am embarassed at this as well. A feel good party for people to justify their homophobia. Sheesh.

For every crazy policy position Palin holds, for every single action, self-serving prayer request, and her herd of political lemmings church congregation, there is a biblical rebuttal using actual scriptural references, in many cases more than one. Ironically, Palin the super saint doesn't seem to have a fondness for scripture (not surprised, people like this never do, and only are angered by scriptural rebuttal).

Rachel had the best point of the night: does Palin believe in a separation between church and state? It's not immediately clear, but she'd better: that's something about the US that's not going to change. Laws are something we decide for ourselves, for the good of all. The bible governs our behavior. Besides, I'm grateful that God transcends politics. He only ever led one nation: the tribes of Israel in the Old testament, and that was essentially a big family. Then they demanded a king, a secular leader. And that was that. Now God has a kingdom, and it includes all of His people. And there's your world unity!

In the end, though, this is all more white noise drowning out the real concern: the issues. What are we to do about this country? Palin's the white noise, let's turn her off!

Post Theme: Ammunition by Switchfoot

Monday, September 8, 2008

Talisman

Apparently I'm not the only person slogging through angry mob of voices in my head. As a talisman against quitting the struggle and letting them win, this works.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Crazy: Failure to Launch

They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It's true. I can testify to the fact that the road to my personal hell(destination: Cr@zy!)is paved with my mother's good intentions and her efforts to realize them, each and every single little one, in its entirety, without delay. I am daily splayed upon The Grill -- her critical words, probing questions, fussy rants, and laser-beam stares. I roll around like a gas station frankfurter, trapped, writhing in agony and basting in the juice of knowing that she's never 100% wrong (most times far from it in fact) and therefore cannot be 100% ignored. Tepid small-talk conversation is a a dangerous spelunking adventure -- morphing instantaneously, starting out as an exploratory walk and fracturing into a black shrieking cacophony, like startling a cloud of sleeping bats. I emerge a wreck, barely alive, trembling, tussled, scratched....and smelling of guano. Hence my fear of cavernous conversations.

I live with my mother. There is no nearing escape date. Today, after ironically crowing to some woman after church about great it is to live here (based on how much worse it could be), this is Alcatraz, and I am inmate MXB001, a stranger to freedom.

Everyday, using a secret playbook of henpecking strategies, she is trying to whittle me into an image I cannot see inside myself, maybe her image. I sincerely hope not. Doesn't she realize that I'll inevitably become just like her, and sooner rather than later as I am well past adolescent angst and whinging? It's the law of the universe. I'm not even trying to fight it in the cosmic sense -- that's a losing battle with destiny. But all things should come in their due time, right? It's not my time. Just now it all feels like a reverse prism, like some cold faceted crystal smashing my spectrum into a sterile, bland beam of white.

Frankly, I used to be better at dodging these outrageous daily slings and arrows, but I'm getting tired and suffering them instead. With little endurance left, I am being eroded... slowly unmanned. What is the feminine counterpart for emasculation? I'd like to give this terrible phenomenon a name. It already has a face.

Post Theme: Crazy by Gnarls Barkley

Friday, September 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

I'm really only writing this because I should be writing something... I mean it's my birthday and I should have some statement to make. But curiously, I don't.

This is mainly because of the glaring, gaping chasm between what I am feeling versus what I should be feeling or want to be feeling. The day of one's birth is a day of reflection, like New Year's. I don't like what I'm seeing in this annual mirror; I'd rather it be a day of fun instead. Self-reflection these days is nothing more than a curse of voices in my head. Someone cure me!

Instead of Maya Angelou, I am Edgar Allen Poe, dreary, dark, and sad. It's not how I want to be! It's just what is.

I find myself wondering if anything can pull me out of this funk; right now, if someone showed up to my door with a lottery check with my name on the payee line, would it make a difference? Not immediately (but I could buy some smiles within the hour I bet). This emotional problem has become deeper than circumstance. This is a bottomless pool of melancholy and nameless regrets. Not happy with where I am, not knowing who I am anymore. Fighting to hold on to the me that I want to be, trying not to despise the me that I am forced to be right now. Warring to implement biblical lessons of contentment and joy in reprehensible circumstances. Exorcising worry and fear every minute, bailing out buckets of dark emotion while trying to row against the current. Sinking fast.

It's because I feel completely ineffectual and powerless to effect change in my own life. Out of control, moving nowhere, achieving nothing. What have I done in the past year? Nothing worth writing about! Nothing worth remembering.

Strangely, I feel better now. At least I can pour my secret sadness somewhere.

Happy Birthday to me.

Post Theme: Private Party by India.arie

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Live from the Crab Bucket!



RANT ON: I HATE THIS ABOUT THE BLACK COMMUNITY!

Who the FUCK cares about Obama mentioning Martin Luther King in his nomination acceptance speech?! How is he "running from history"? He's running toward history! And calling Hillary's concession speech incandescent?! Her speech was lame, but clearly all Malveaux heard was Harriet Tubman; she clearly spent her entire time watching the democratic convention holding a score card for mentions of accepted black heroes. How long will they expect Obama to be "the Black people's president"? These people are delusional -- if he was going to mention Dr. king, white supremacy, and Jim Crow in every speech, he wouldn't be accepting the Democratic nomination, he'd be accepting funding for his next research paper as a Af-Am studies professor. Or worse: dimes in his cup as just another scraggly, ignored zealot on the street corner !

And where is this damn "baton" that King passed to Jesse Jackson and then to Obama? How is Jackson in the middle, with his Hymie-town and nut-cracker gaffes? He's not even close to Obama as a black leader in my opinion; Jackson is rhetoric, Obama is LEGISLATION. They need to stop trying to make Obama into a mythical black messiah figure, expecting him to feed black multitudes with a free catfish dinner w/ hush puppies complete with water to wine!

These people don't get what it means to be a biracial person either. (Might I also point out that although Barack is, his father was NOT african-american. His father was African .) You can't erase the fact that he is both black and white, and furthermore that his white relatives raised him and were there for him more than his absent father. And why does the fact that people weren't crying on camera mean to them that people weren't moved? The final night of the convention was electric. West and Malveaux are like those two old-ass white geezer muppets sitting in the balcony on the Muppet Show: same crotchety dialogue, same sticks up their asses...except they aren't funny.

I'm glad there are only 2 comments -- I hope this show is unilaterally ignored; it deserves no ratings. As for Tavis, he has had it out for Obama since Obama missed his little forum at the beginning of the primary. He needs to sit back, keep his mouth shut, and let Obama really give his something to smile about when he wins. We certainly can't afford to take this crap seriously!

However, this certainly does give me something to wonder about for when he takes office. What will this self-appointed cabal of black inquisitioners expect from an ideal Obama presidency? An MLK shout-out in the state of the union address? "Lift Every Voice and Sing" instead of "Hail the Chief"? Slave reparations instead of the promised tax cuts for 95% of us? Preposterous!

Post Theme: U Black Maybe by Common

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Notes from the Underground


I'm only posting in this blog right now because I feel like I should, but I have no idea what to write or how to log my thoughts down. It's because I have no idea what my thoughts are. I can't even wrap my mind around what's happening. What is happening?!

Tomorrow by noon, Gustave is supposed to hit. Katrinaville is in the critical path, on the strongest side of the storm. I live with my parents in Long Beach, MS since April. Most of my clothes and things are scattered between my aunt's house in New Orleans, my parent's house, and my storage unit around the corner from there. I am poised to lose my things again, just like last time. I don't have a job or car to lose this time, however.

My feelings of failure and inadequacy, that sense of life having come to standstill since Katrina and being stuck in the mire and unable to rebuild, are personified in this eerie repetition of events. What am I do? How am I to make decisions on where to go, what to do? No one can help me; I am a face among many, with no unique thoughts of my own. Oh, my people!

Bottom line: am I stupid for my decision to move back after Katrina? Will my blocks get knocked down like a Jenga tower? As apt as the example is, my life is not a game! As my sister says, this is a new nightmare that starts the same as an old one; as much as you want to believe that things can end differently, you can't avoid the flashbacks and echoes of old pain.

So here I sit, my face a frozen mask. Waiting, waiting.

Post Theme: Tsunami by Res

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin for VP.... WTF?!


I tried to resist posting a note about this because IT'S TOO DAMN EASY. John McCain picking Sarah Palin as a running mate is the equivalent of abandoning a baby wrapped in bacon and drizzled in honey in a forest filled with wolf-bears. Horrifying, pitiless, and wrong.
WTF, man.

I've spent all day blogging, googling, gossiping, and best of all... giggling. When I found out about McCain's VP pick, it was a giant "WTF?!" moment in my life. After the slack-jawed silence the last night of the DNC pressed on me, I did not expect to be reduced to silence again by this election. Two periods of silence sound alike; however, there was a world of difference in the quiet. Before, I was too full, too impressed. Now I am stupefied! And for good reason...

1) Who is this lady? He's picked a complete nobody. He might as well have picked me! After all, I was almost senior class president (lost by 8 votes), publicity chair of Stanford Gospel Choir, a graduate chapter SGA representative at Tulane, and interned in the New Orleans Office of Emergency Preparedness. I, however, would have declined, as should she, if she were responsible. Making a gimmick dark horse pick worked in Head of State with Chris Rock, but the movie took place in Hollywood, aka Fantasyland. Need proof? Bernie Mac was his VP and Nate Dogg was his official hype man!

2) This is a gimmick hoping to pick off women voters who may be undecided or have supported HRC. Speaking as a woman voter, there is no undecided or disappointed woman out there worth her salt that isn't completely insulted. Hillary was qualified! This pick shows that McCain thinks anyone with a vagina will appease our quest for true equality. For another thing, feminist voters are overwhelmingly pro-choice. Palin is not. How does this make sense?

3) Palin has no experience pertaining to any of our country's fore-runner issues: the economy, foreign policy, etc. For that matter, she has no experience in any of the lesser issues either. Besides passing sweeping state-level ethics reform legislation, she's never passed a law in her life. She did, however, try to move the state capitol of Alaska from Juneau to Anchorage. What a legacy! Her acceptance speech sounded like me trying to get hired as CFO of Microsoft! It was laughable, with her referring to her time as a MAYOR of a Alaskan town with 9,000 people and calling herself "commander-in-chief of Alaska's National Guard". That deserves nothing less than a "bitch please!".

4) She's under investigation. And make no mistake, she did it. She did exactly what they are accusing her of: abusing her power to get her sister's ex fired so that she could swing their messy custody battle towards her sister. Miss ethics will probably get away with it, however, because she is a good baby Republican and got some minions to do all the calling and dirty work. She suspended some people and.... bye bye scapegoats. They won't be able to pin it on her.

5) McCain is 7,000 years old and has battled cancer four times. He, like all humans, will eventually shuffle off his mortal coil. It could happen in the next four years. How will Palin lead this country? How can she, who has never performed any governmental work in DC, be ready to lead as Commander-in-Chief? It's simple; she can't. I'd sooner expect Bin Laden to show up on cable as a Christian televangelist. I'd sooner expect America to be annexed by China. I'd sooner expect a 10th season of Flavor of Love!

How out of touch can one party be? And let me be clear: it is not just McCain that has done this. He has an entire VP selection committee to prevent any "senior moments" that may lead to something like this being decided by him independently. In doing this, they have single-handedly dismantled all of their arguments for why Obama is a bad choice and why Mccain is best, namely experience and being ready to lead. They can never go there again. Gramps and the GOP may have just gift-wrapped the election for Obama. Thanks guys!

Post Theme: We Are the Champions by Queen

Friday, August 29, 2008

DNC Historic Montage

I just had to preserve this for safekeeping. I guess it's the scrapbooker in me!

DNC Historic Montage

I just had to preserve this for safekeeping. I guess it's the scrapbooker in me!

Notes from Katrinaville


As Gustave stares us down, memories from Katrinaville are inevitable. Today is the third year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and here in the Coastal South, you can cut the tension with a knife. The real question is less what's going to happen than is it going to happen again, and so soon. Can we handle being wiped out again, or will we become an American Pompeii after these storms are through?

What a way of life! We sit at the end of nature's natural lane in the sea; we wait like striped pins for God's bowling balls. Every generation of people who has built a life here has had one storm story, but global warming has given us the dark gift of two or three this generation. Older people from New Orleans will tell you about Hurricane Betsy in 1965, Gulf Coast residents will tell you about Hurricane Camille in 1969, but now those same people have more than one catastrophic storm in their lifetime. How are we to adjust?

As New Orleanians our families are already scattered, our recovery in its infancy. There is no end to the depth of emotional and psychosocial damage we've sustained. We are a resilient and strong people, but there is arduous and unexplored territory ahead. It's like hacking your way through a new jungle with an old machete.

Yesterday the displaced portion of my family was interviewed by a local news station in Atlanta. They spoke on memories of Katrina and the oncoming storm, and possible onslaught of evacuee relatives, of which I am one. I couldn't speak as I was seized with emotion. How strange to see relatives you know and love once in awhile, or on television, living in another place, when just three short years ago, they were seen so often we took it for granted, daily even, living around the corner. That is Katrina's greatest, most merciless theft, and Katrinaville's most haunting legacy: ghosts of memories.

Post Theme: Black Rain by Ben Harper

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Open Letter to Fox News: Enough is Enough



Dear Fox News,
On behalf of myself and all the other thinking people in the world that are aware of what you are doing, enough is enough. Your super-biased "news coverage" is an affront to the size of our cerebral cortices. The sting of your condescension and the magnitude of your insults cannot be exaggerated. It is a simple fact, and by constant repetition is made into law: Fox news is not news at all and cannot be counted on to provide a factual account or objective commentary on anything.

Time and time again, you have failed in your solemn charge as a member of the fourth estate. Instead of policing our leaders, you are bought and paid for -- the drooling, mindless minions of rich men with despicable agendas. For the unaware, Fox may just seem a bit cheeky and make a lot of "errors" for which it inevitably fails to apologize, but I am not one of the unaware. Like many, I have had enough of Fox and I'm making it my personal mission to challenge every single one of your patrons and viewers to wake and up and demand better.

How much lower can you sink? I'm not going to tally every single one of your outrageous lies, slipshod reports, or racist statements, but I will talk about the one that pushed me over the edge. For the duration of this election, Fox news has insisted on painting Barack Obama as Osama bin Laden, a despicable, racist mud-slinging tactic. But wait! Crawling around in the muck and mire is not enough, and so you get on your belly and slither. Obama/Biden = Osama bin Laden?! What are you implying? That Osama has a way of possessing certain senators' parents and forcing their hands in the signing of their birth certificates, the choosing of names? That with this time-traveling evil plan he has fixed decades of elections and votes, and will now infiltrate our country and somehow perpetrate his jihad without our notice? In what universe is this supposed to be possible? These wild, astrological conjectures and conspiracy theories are pathetic, and unworthy of any American. Even implanting these ideas, like a faux-Shakespearian Iago, is a crime.

Which brings me to my conclusion. I am fighting you, Fox news, with everything that I have. I am challenging every person I know to do the same. Far from being a mere complaint, this has become another theater for the great battle of right vs. wrong, good vs. evil. What I'm trying to say, what I've said over and over again, is: Enough is Enough!

Post Theme: Sly Fox by Nas

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Talkin Bout a revolution: Proud to be an American


As I was watching the Democratic National Convention tonight, I had a totally sobering and honest thought. A thread of conscious consciousness separated itself from the 90+% of me that was paying attention to Gov. Mark Werner, and I realized: I have been far more inclined to be embarrassed to be an American than proud. How debilitating but true! I would never have made the discovery, as I had not ever made a habit of examining my state of allegiance to America. Frankly, I was too busy wrestling with the mandatory bi-cultural identity I needed to develop to survive. I don't mean to make my life out to be some lost episode of Survivor, because I had it really good -- I didn't struggle with being black or being female as a rule until I got exposed to the way other people think, and that didn't happen for me until high school. I was protected; I had quite the blissful childhood. Nevertheless, I never thought of myself as an American first per se. Sounds weird, but I am sure some of my sisters and brothers out there can concur.

My revelation took place not because I suddenly noticed my embarrassment, but because I suddenly felt its complete and utter lack. That is to say, I was suddenly fiercely and unapologetically proud to be an American. Not from a song, a poem, a speech or a flag either. (In fact, corny displays like those often provoke the embarassment.) Not from learning the white man's history lessons, or the African-American version in college.
It was the sight of so many different people, gathered together under one roof and one cause, engaged in the political process, for the purpose of changing this country. It was hearing my own thoughts and feelings echoed by so many people with different accents and ways of living that made me feel like the patch in the American quilt that I truly am. I understood that it was this and only this that had the power to lock me in willingly. I am unable to feel patriotism looking at images of war and destruction, and feel more proud as a black person than an American when I see or hear Obama speak, so I'm sure you can understand the fact that it took this long to make me feel good about it. When I traveled around the world (literally) I could not escape my nationality, but it was less a proud denomination than an albatross. I had seen our global image, heard horrible tales of previous interactions with Americans from during my travels, and saw war-torn countries unable to recoup or rehabilitate after coming into contact with our "war for peace". At those times I would have traded in my American passport for a Canadian one in a heartbeat.

I realize that I am supposed to feel guilt or shame for my admission, but I can't help but feel that it is what it is; I am a generation late to the culturally confused, label-crazy baby boomers, and there is no draft-dodging, protesting, and flag-burning in my past. And so there is no sense of shame, no pointing fingers, no embarassing pictures. It's simply a cloud of identity confusion out of which I've walked today, whole and proud, American and strong. There are people all across this nation who look and think like me, who've been shaped by the same set of circumstances, of values, of faith. They are not all black people, not all women, but they are all Americans. It is to this nation that I proudly belong. That's right: I am claiming this problem-ridden, bloody historied, effed-up foreign policied, racist, classist, age-ist, discriminatory, materialistic, mindless, God-less nation as my own! (My country is a fixer-upper!) And so, today...

I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the United States of America

and to the Republic
for which it stands
one nation
under God
indivisible
with liberty and justice for all.

Obama/Biden 2008

Post Theme: Talkin Bout a Revolution by Tracy Chapman

Sunday, August 24, 2008

They Got Me Pegged

The Wind Says Soon

Hurricane Fay is just kissing Long Beach, Mississippi today, and I am here. The breeze is blowing every which way, and the rain is so light that the drops swirl into mists like Starry Night. There is no sun, but no angry clouds either. The temperature is just right for a windbreaker, although if I had my druthers I would select a violently patterned, swirling caftan. It's a day for drama; the gulfcoast equivalent of a Cornish moor. It makes me contemplative, and a little sad.

I have opened the all the doors and the windows and the blinds, and I am inviting the weather right in for a chat. It's been whispering secrets all day and night, and I can't help but think that if I were a better listener, a dearer friend, I might learn a powerful secret. It will be a night for spells, I can already tell.

Without a car I must scheme and deal for a ride to the beach. I long to be there today, walking in the sand, my caftan blowing about, the scritchy grains dusting my toes and between. I'll stop to pick up rocks, shells, and other detritus, all while getting the pedicure I can't afford. It's there, at that time, I'll sit and stare and The Story might begin, might take me over. It's become not only a dream of mine to write, but also my salvation, the swift boat rescue after years adrift at sea. When will it come? I must admit, probably not during my fanciful imaginings.

The wind frees the strands of my hair from its queue one at a time, and they blow against my face in time with the breeze, and ghostly fingers skim my cheek. Comfort and hope bloom while patience grows. "Soon", Fay says. "Soon."

Post Theme: Clarity (acoustic) by John Mayer

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Come the Storm

Hurricane Fay, come blow your horn!
the boards on the window, the cows in the barn
where are brave citizens on coastal streets?
"under their blue tarps starting to weep."
Will you help them? "No not I;
I'll wash all away, with none left dry."


What is the nature of a storm? Is there an evil sentience, or only the focused energy of a thoughtless minion of higher principalities, of deities? Is it sent, or allowed? Believing either is your choice, and the only thing you can control.

Bring it on.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sisyphus Speaks


It's been awhile, but I've been busy at my task you see. I have become my namesake, Sisyphus, cursed to a backbreaking, soul-stripping, ubiquitous task... survival. I don't even ask why anymore. Or when this will end. It feels like they've got me right where they want me, impervious to well-meaning exhortation, to pie-in-the-sky notions like "someday your prince will come". It's funny, I've never been defeatist, but I don't know what else to call this.

I'm not unaware that my problems and situation are laughable, and that makes me laughable. It's been great for my self-image. I mean, what am I really complaining about? Joblessness? Quarter-life crisis? Even knowing the meaning or spelling of the words marks my place as pampered and middle class. I'd love to pull myself up, but I sold my boots, and so I have no bootstraps.

Nowhere to turn, nowhere to run, no rescue plot afoot. There exists only this continual uphill battle. What kind of mountains are these, with no peaks, no valleys, no sheltering caves, just inclines?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tonight I feel...

Tonight I feel like the last person standing after a war. The only sane one in the room. And after writing that I can't help but think: how emo! That was the equivalent to a childish whine, "no one understands me!" Crisis averted by my inner wit.

Tonight I feel like there are a lot of stupid people out there, and all of the smart ones are incommunicado, or maybe can only be reached by ham radio, which I don't know how to operate.

Tonight I feel cabin fever crawling up my legs, my back, and through my scalp, like the flesh-eating red ants in the latest Indiana Jones flick.

Tonight I feel frustrated that everyone that I want to talk to, to take comfort in, all the people that I call to get a lift from a funky mood, or a fresh perspective on my dreary circumstances seems to be living a more interesting and fulfilling life and is unable to be reached at this time. I hang up before I can leave a message. I don't want to say something that I will regret, or be unwilling to clarify or discuss tomorrow.

Tonight I feel angry and ashamed of my unwavering penchant for comparing myself to others and envying their accomplishments. However short I may have fallen, or short-sighted I may be to do it, it's like I can't stop. I am certain this isn't why Facebook was created!

Tonight I feel like I am on a giant wheel of fortune, and I keep landing on bankrupt and losing my effing turn. This game is rigged!


Tonight I feel like human nature is a dark thing, and no one does the right thing anymore. An example: I think that HRC is "suspending her campaign" instead of conceding because she plans to wait in the wings in case "something happens" to Barack Obama. It's not too far a stretch for me tonight, especially in light of her bizarre and malevolent statements about Bobby Kennedy's assassination a few short weeks ago. All the evil conspiracies seems totally plausible tonight.

Tonight I wish it were the future. The place where this is a fuzzy memory, chucked into the bucket of melodrama, of bored self-indulgence. The time where my life is so full that there is no room to remember these times as anything other than the desert journey toward an oasis destination. And it would also be cool if Barack Obama were president at that time....

Tonight, I see, will be tomorrow in a matter of minutes. Although not far enough in the future to forget tonight, it is better than nothing.

Post Theme: Sometimes by Bilal

Friday, March 28, 2008

I am transformed!



I am transformed! I got an offer yesterday, and I'm grabbing it with both hands! This blogger is now GAINFULLY EMPLOYED! Ain't God a wonder? Right on time.

This means:
1) I am moving to New Orleans. This once seemed unattainable.

2) I am working in entertainment and publishing. I get to start a magazine! Did I mention this is my dream job??

3)I will receive a regular paycheck. 'Gasp'! This means that I can pay my bills! I can buy a house soon, maybe even this year! It's times like this when one thing changes my entire world that I am convinced that I live in a snow globe, occasionally given a good shake by a Divine Hand. Miraculous!

4) I can help rebuild New Orleans. This has become my passion. I don't have to give it up!

5) I was right. This is my year! It will be the best ever. This is proof.

6) Everyone else was right. All of those who encouraged me, supported me, listened to me whine and cry, gave me advice in my time of need, believed in me and were vocal about it -- each and every one of you is and was an angel sent to me in my time of need. I appreciate you more than I can express. I can only promise to reciprocate and to pay it forward.

That's it for now. I have a major move to execute this weekend, a lot of goodbyes to say, plans to make, and a busy week ahead at my new job!!

Lovely! Will post more later. I'm so excited I can barely type. My brain is doing cartwheels!

Post Theme: Hallelujah! by A Soulful Celebration

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Racing to the Finish

Easter weekend, New Orleans. Besides all the Passion Week activities and the last minute shopping for white gloves, parasols, and anything pastel, you can expect one thing in New Orleans: the Crescent City Classic. HELL YEAH!!!! I finished it this past Saturday, for the second time! The Classic is the best race in the world, I'm convinced. Starting in Jackson square, it goes up St. Peter, across Canal St., down Poydras, right on Rampart St. across Canal again, left on Esplanade all the way to the end, and into and around City Park, where it ends at Tad Gormley stadium. I always have the best time, well worth any sore thigh muscles or minor blisters that I may nurse afterwards. It's a race that literally anyone can and does do every year. Now, I have to apologize, because at the last minute I chucked my heavy camera in the truck, which may well be the worst mistake ever. There was enough stuff for a photo essay there, so many sights to see, and I wish that I could just post a flickr slideshow and be done with it, but I now have to polish off and use my amazing powers of description, even though we know how many words a picture is worth. So here goes: a mile by mile recount of the race, and the rest of what turned out to be a fantastic, quintessential New Orleans experience...

To the starting line
We started out by waking early, piling in the car, and driving to city park, where the race ends. After stopping by the table for late people to pick up their racing number and having a memorable port-o-potty experience (something I haven't done in years and hope NEVER to repeat, please God), we piled on a good ole RTA (pronounced "Rita") municipal bus, and for the nominal fee of 2$ we were taxied to the starting line. Unfortunately our definition and the driver's definition of the start line were somewhat different, as he dropped us some 10 blocks away. We, smart accomplished women that we are, decided to wait right there and not walk the route backwards, and then forwards again, just to start at the actual starting line. One of the main rules about the Classic is that there really are no rules. So we waited. Besides who wants to miss the rushing wind that signifies the group of professional racers (mostly Kenyans) actually taking the whole thing seriously? Boy, they were a sight! My mom got right beside them as they zoomed past while her friend tried to snap a picture. Of course, she missed the pic because her camera was too slow!

The starting shot... mile 1 begins
Once most of the people running the race went past, we began to see some walkers. That was out cue to slide on in. Mile one was mostly jostling for space. My mom and one of her friends pulled ahead quickly, damn them with their long legs and mobile-hipped strides! That's okay, more time to smile at the first well-wishers camped outside the hotels on Poydras to watch the racers pass. We saw lots of funny people: super tall, super short, super old, super young (even in push strollers), super ugly, super cute, super fat, super skinny. And let's not talk about people who moved strangely -- some runners actually caused me pain to watch. There were also lots of disabled people walking along... the spirit of togetherness that marks New Orleans filled the early morning air.

Mile 2
During mile two, things got interesting. I saw my favorite pizza joint (yay!) but it was closed (boo!). A little old Latina lady, who I nicknamed Tia Rosa, was handcuffed and being led away by a 5 foot black female cop. My mom pulled so far ahead that I attempted a cell phone check; this included me calling her phone and watching her ignore it and ultimately dig around in her fanny pack to pull out her phone. She then proceeded to call someone else!! This let me know that she could not be reached, and I made sure not to let her leave our sight from that point on. A group of people ran while dragging red wagons filled with beer in coolers and a giant subwoofer booming 80's tunes. They were wearing afro wigs and carrying beer cozies. They made quite a convoy. A little boy was crawling under a truck while his dad screamed "come out from there! I think you're freaking people out!" Some marines ran past singing drill songs. I saw lots of people wearing bunny ears and some wore tutus as well. A cop got more than he bargained for when he asked a lady sitting on the side of the road "you okay, ma'am?" While I passed she held forth, embarking on a shrill, whining diatribe about her cruel family which signed her up for the race that seemed to have no end. Poor guy. A cowboy man with a giant ten gallon hat stood on the neutral ground and hula-hooped with a giant rubber ring; must have been 4 or 5 feet in diameter!

Mile 3
Down Esplanade. This is a great, historic street with some of the finest homes in the city. I was all agog, especially because lately I have been fixated on purchasing a home in New Orleans for my very own, and I'd love it to be one of these (that being said, I have 25$ to my name as write this). It's impressive that I didn't bust my skull, since I barely looked where I was going. During this leg, my feet began to burn, my socks were too thin, but like I said before, blisters don't matter. People stood their balconies and waved. The smell of breakfast filled the air. Some sat on chairs facing the street and sprayed racers with refreshing water from their garden hoses, a much appreciated impromptu community service project. A bunch of old rockers, including one Steven Tyler lookalike, threw Mardi Gras beads. We also passed the first of the "free beer" stands. There were as many of those as there were water stations. A big brass band played classic New Orleans songs like "When the Saints Come Marchin' In" under the I-10 overpass. There is also a big donut shop on Esplanade and Broad. We didn't stop for donuts (like we've done in years past), but we did use that point to regroup and catch up to one another.

Mile 4
At this point, the end of Esplanade is near... but the sights don't stop. A man set up a huge sound system on his porch, blaring Creedance Clearwater Revival, and shaking his arthritic hips. A group dressed in band uniform tops, hats, and matching boxers gave out free hot dogs. More free beer stands. We passed a huge DJ station playing 70's funk. A group of people wearing crab hats got pissed when people keep calling them crawfish. The colorfully decorated Hare Krishna house is always a favorite sight. Most times they come outside and dance and chant with tambourines. I guess we were too early in the race this year. Lots of hot guys without shirts.

Mile 5
By mile five, you are entering City Park. You may think it's over, but WRONG! There's still 1.2 miles to go. By this time, the banana that I'd had for breakfast had evaporated in my stomach, causing a headache. Also, the blister on my right foot had made my acquaintance. But...City Park is beautiful in the spring, and there was a delightful breeze to stir the air and take down the heat. We passed the playgrounds and oak trees that I played in during my childhood, as well at the New Orleans museum of art.

Mile 6
This mile isn't about anything but finishing. That and reading the funny t-shirts that people wear and chatting with your friends and random acquaintances. Some memorable slogans:
Angola: A Gated Community
In My Heart I'm Kenyan
I Can Rest When I'm Dead
In It to Win It
There's a place where the ground is painted and 3 photographers sit on a giant scaffold and take pictures of everyone. It looks like the finish line. Syke! You have .2 miles to go!

The Finish Line
This is the best part. This is where you pass go and collect 200$!! Into the stadium to get your gift bag, free t-shirt, and all the free food (tasty) you can eat! Drink all the water, gatorade, beer, and smoothie king you can handle! Stuff your guts with fresh fruit, chee wees, jambalaya, red beans, etc! There's also a huge concert in the middle of the stadium with lots of people dancing and eating. Just a great big group of merrymakers. It needs to be seen to be believed, like most parties in New Orleans.

After the race, we don't race home. We go to whole foods and use that healthy momentum to shop for overpriced but sustainable goods. Riding high on that feeling, we cruise down Magazine Street and hit the Lakefront for lunch. Sitting out on the deck at Landry's, we watch the sailboats, seadoos, and jetskis at play while gorging ourselves on seafood etc and laughing until our sides hurt as much as our knees and legs!

Still not done. We go to Metairie and hit Shoenami, then finish up at Morning Call, a beignet house established in 1870. White powdered sugar dusting my body like sand from the sandman, I doze with my mouth open the whole way home to the Coast. Good thing I didn't drive.

Sigh... there's no place like home. Can't wait to reclaim it permanently.


On another note entirely, Christos Anasti (Christ is Risen)! Happy Resurrection Sunday! Remember that IT IS FINISHED. In today's sermon, I learned that when Jesus said this, He was speaking of His suffering, service, and His gift of salvation. We are now equipped with every tool and have been given every gift we need to complete the race that is life because of Jesus's victory over sin and its death sentence. And as I keep reminding myself, this race is not given to the swift... but to he (or she) that endureth. He is risen!
Post Theme: Da Funk by Daft Punk

Friday, March 21, 2008

Blown Away... A week's recap


Boy have I been neglecting the blog... can't believe it's been a whole week! It hasn't been a particularly good week either, so there really is no excuse...

Last weekend: My brothers girlfriend (read: almost fiancee) came to town for a visit. I know that I said that I would be hard and fierce, but I can't help it -- I love her! So it was a lot of fun. Plus, she's become a friend, and I have a real dearth of those around here. I mostly live my life by teleconference these days, and for an extroverted people person like me, this is a travesty. Lots of fellowship and good eatin' ensued, and I needed that, because last Friday I got some horrible news from a place that I was interviewing with. Out of nowhere in particular, the head guy decided to put the position "on hold". This is what I was told, curtly and unapologetically, by the person that I interviewed with when I followed up. Frankly, this devastated me, because I had been certain that I was at least going to have two additional interviews.

Monday: Nothing much happened. I was pretty busy buying time until Wed, when my friend and I were meeting up in New Orleans. She was flying into town for a conference from LA, and I was making the hour plus drive from the Coast. We were planning to have dinner, go out dancing, and then stay up all night! I know, I know, who convinced us we could relive a night during freshman year? All I can say in my defense is that this friend does that to me. She's so high energy, and when I'm around her she takes me right up there with her! I also had a big breakthrough on the aforementioned job. I found someone in my network who could make a call on my behalf, and find out what was going on at this company, and why things got so weird. This was big news!

Tuesday: I made the call in the morning, spoke with my guy, and he promised he could help and that I could expect to hear back by the end of the week. That done, I twiddled my thumbs and did a lot of waiting.

Wednesday: Yay! Fun Day! I heard from my guy, pretty much first thing, and he was able to speak with the hiring manager at the company in question. I found out many surprising things, the most surprising of which is that my candidacy was never brought to his attention! My resume, recommendation letter, and hour and a half of first interview were headed to the Mariana Trench! It was only my sudden and fierce determination to NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER that saved it, and me, from being lost. I am not sure what is going to happen with this, but I do know that I WILL drive this candidacy to completion, whatever that completion may be.

I went to New Orleans. I hung out with my aunt a bit. I met up with my friend. We had a fun dinner, but I didn't stay the night, because her conference turned out to a be a disaster! It was a conference for HIGH SCHOOLERS and she was a COUNSELOR! How could she not tell me that! It was awful, and my summer camp worker days are over, so I high-tailed it out of there. But not before I got a friggin ticket on my car! I can't afford to pay shit like that! I was mad.

Let's see, what else? Oh yeah... a lot happened on Wednesday. Snapshots: someone slammed the phone down in my face. The wind was so high it almost blew my car off the overpass. It also almost blew my aunt's weave off (mine is sewn in, so no worries:). I tried my first banana daquiri. I actually had three daquiris total. I got chased out of a cultural arts center by some Afrocentric granola-type sentries. I saw Brian J. White walking down the street. I danced salsa on the street. I almost talked my way into the Chrisette Michelle concert at the House of Blues for free. I got my intelligence insulted by a gay guy on the phone (not sure anything is more humiliating). I saw a fat girl in high heels trying to walk on the cobblestones (made for laughter). I chatted up the cuties at the concierge desk at the W hotel. A NOPD officer seated me at Mother's, where I almost ate dinner. I actually had a Cafe Maspero's burger at the bar.

Can't you see why I love my New Orleans? All that stuff can only happen in the greatest city ever!!

Thursday: Back to boring. I spent the whole day in bed feeling crappy. What the hell, right? It's not like I have a job to run to. I got my first of many hate mail letters from American Express. I did find out that I've lost weight, which is uplifting. I also renewed my commitment to eat right and follow the rules. Barack Obama rocked my world on Larry King, and I think he is emerging victorious on this Reverend Wright thing. His speech on race let 'em know, and I like how he's gone on the offensive as far as foreign policy and experience is concerned. I know what Obama's doing, but I don't know what Hillary is doing right now. I think she's laying low and hoping that Rev. Wright does her dirty work for him.

Friday: Well, that's today, and it officially hasn't happened yet. I think I'm all caught up!

Post Theme: Champion by Kanye West

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Read this DEEP poem I found in Oprah Magazine!

________________________________________
Prayer

by Marie Howe

Every day I want to speak with you. And every day something more important
calls for my attention--the drugstore, the beauty products, the luggage

I need to buy for the trip.
Even now I can hardly sit here

among the falling piles of paper and clothing, the garbage trucks outside
already screeching and banging.

The mystics say you are as close as my own breath.
Why do I flee from you?

My days and nights pour through me like complaints
and become a story that I forgot to tell.

Help me. Even as I write these words I am planning
to rise from the chair as soon as I finish this sentence.
____________________________________________________________________

Deep, huh?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

March on...


Today I am deeply disappointed. I had the ominous feeling that I had been presumptive in my joy, and loosed-tongued in my overconfidence, and yesterday, I fear, I was proven correct. I would have loved to be wrong in this!

What am I talking about? Well, I had a great interview this week, was positive that I was moving on the last and final round of interviews, was certain that I would receive an offer, allotted less than a week for salary negotiation, and started planning my end of the month move to New updating my financial goals, mapping out a budget, and looking at homes for sale on craigslist! Whether this is a case of healthy success visualization and claiming God's promise, or gun-jumping at its finest, I do not know.

Not to mention all the people I told... people that are going to want to know what happened with the job and when do I start. People who will attempt to encourage me or comfort me when I tell them that I am back to square one. So heaped onto a crushing sense of disappointment and weariness in being disappointed is a sense of shame. No good news to report guys, nothing to see here. Let's all just get some sleep... Isn't that what the police say when they're shooing away the gawkers at the scene of the train wreck? Why yes it is... how apt.

I received an email telling me that the position that I was certain that I would be offered is "on hold for a month or so". I don't even know what that means, and it can mean so many things. What happened to the strong sense of rapport that I built with my interviewer. I thought for sure that I could have depended on her for more of an explanation than that, no matter what the outcome. A terse, two-sentenced brush off what outside of the realm of my expectations.

Of course, not all hope it lost. I have to keep on trucking, keep on looking... I mean, what else is there? It might even turn out that I will eventually be handed what looks right now to be impossible: this job on a silver platter. There's really no excuse for me giving up now, particularly with the amazing support system that I have in family and friends that are behind me, with the number of people offering themselves: money, time, favors. I appreciate you all more than I can say.

I just can't help but wonder how much longer I will have to wait. The bible says be ye not weary in well-doing, but the negative emotions and thoughts, bruised feelings, and tough circumstances weigh down on me like baggage, and it's baggage that I can ill afford. Today, with a sigh and a tired smile, I soldier on.

Post Theme: Bag lady by Erykah Badu

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Celebrity Deathmatch: Racism vs. Feminism



Ferrara can't help herself; she's tangled in the clotheslines of bitter, vintage feminism, baby boomer era deep-seated racial resentment, and the White man's business-as-usual double standard. It's a psychotic cat's cradle that allows one to delude oneself into believing that no matter what a person does, regardless of the outcome, whether soaring achievement or complete failure, the reason is race. It is the existential antithesis: you are nothing but your blackness (smirk, smirk). Embittered by the failures of feminism, and the pressures of being a woman in politics, she is angry that a Black man will snatch away the pinnacle of feminist achievement: the presidency. In her untouchable, bourgeois, whitey arrogance she refuses to recant. Even getting so hysterical (yes, I understand the snub) as to face the challenge by implying that she is a victim of "the race card" too, that she is being attacked because she is white. Sorry to inform that no, she's not being railroaded as a woman, she's being attacked because she is a deluded psycho, implying that being black in America is a cool fad, easy, or lucky, that there is an affirmative action effect. I missed the memo, the transition... here I was thinking that life is hard and even harder as a black person, and the whole time Obama is sliding down an easy shute to the Oval Office like a diseased cow in a meat packing plant! Thanks for the heads up, Geraldine!

I laugh uproariously at the image of white people as bugs mesmerized by Obama's brown-skinned "bug light" effect. There's a lot of stuff white people like, but black people in power is not one of them (so far). You lose... good thing you quit Clinton's campaign before she had to "denounce and reject you"! Too bad, so sad. Now go sit your ass down and think about what you've done!

This is why black women have always struggled as feminists; it all breaks down because there is the tension of competing and conflicting interests. Our feminism is often restricted to within the race or subjugated altogether in many cases, ostensibly for "the good of the race" philosophy with which we are so often socialized. I have mixed feelings about this, but mostly I just have to accept it, and it's work within me. I feel it keenly when I read and see this. I admire HRC and Geraldine Ferrara for representing the fierce competency of women, and the successful and skilled power brokering and politicking that we can do. Yes, they've paved a way. But I cannot accept or allow that respect to deafen my ears to racially charged statements and behavior. The facts say it all. Sad to say, but Callejo and Ferrara have said the most racists things in the campaign to date, not some white guy. Something to think about!

Post Theme: Hate On Me by Jill Scott

I'm So Excited!



Break out the 80's music! I am so excited and full of energy that I hardly slept last night or the night before! I mean I'm really soaring...it's some combination of nervous energy, excitement, and endorphins (since I went walking this morning at 5:45 am). It's the kind of thing where you jump on the bed, or run out into a hard rain yelling Shazam! The feeling of invincibility is a welcome change, believe you me!

I've been laying low because I didn't want to over think it any more than I usually do, and therefore jinx it, but I had my first face to face interview in 6 months yesterday, and it went swimmingly. No details here, but I am moving on in the interview process and think that I just may have found something even better than I job I can tolerate -- I THINK THAT I'VE FOUND MY DREAM JOB, IN MY HOMETOWN!!

Do you know what this means?!?
It means an end to my crisis of faith, an end to placing fear-inspired limitations on God or myself. It also means an end to the unending, foggy valley that was my mid-20's. Talk about your quarter-life crisis! I can live EXACTLY where I want to, how I want to. In other words, I am perilously close to getting my heart's desire. Hosanna!

In other news...I volunteered for the Obama campaign and he won MS last night! Another reason for shouting out (it's moments like this that I miss my giant trampoline)! You da man, B!

Also, I am hysterical with ironic, maniacal laughter at this whole NY governor situation. Methinks it was a case where he doth protest too much against hookers! The guy is the main prosecutor of prostitution rings and then leaves a neon-glowing money trail back to himself! And then the main pimp daddy running the whole biz is an IRS official! So that's why he never thought he'd get caught...it never fails to amaze me. I also can't help noticing that this scandal broke in NY, where HRC is "from".... where there's smoke there's fire. *rude snicker* It's about as much to go on as they have on Obama, and I think turnabout is fair play. I can see the mudslinging posters now: pix of Hillary shaking hands with Gov. Spitzer while Bill Clinton slides his hand up some intern's skirt in the background. The slogan at the bottom reads... "WTF?!?!" Then she can spend lots of valuable campaigning time explaining away the behavior of unfortunate acquaintances in an attempt to dispel the ludicrous and vague aura of guilt and scandal that she finds herself surrounded in. I can see the email chain letters now: don't vote for Hillary, she hangs with philanderers and whore mongers. And she's got a black person somewhere in her family tree; she will have to be sworn in singing Lift Every Voice and Sing instead of The Star Spangled Banner. People would totally believe it, too.

Post Theme: Neutron Dance by the Pointer Sisters

Thursday, March 6, 2008

So Life Ain't No Crystal Stair... Keep Climbing Anyway!

After such a melancholy post yesterday, you might be worried about more whinging today... congratulations! You've been granted a reprieve. I pretty much did nothing all day, and it was everything that I thought it could be!

Taking a break for a day was really what I needed. I can't believe that I'm stressed enough these days to actually need a vacation from the "job" of looking for a job, but that's the case. Now where am I going to get a ticket to somewhere tropical for five dollars or less without winning the lotto? (Forgive me, it's taking awhile to adjust to the rhythm of being poor; it's been so long)

I saw two great movies today: The Jane Austen Book Club and Death at a Funeral. JA book club is one that I will be sure to buy, for the obvious reason of me being a devoted fan of Miss Austen's, and also because I thought the movie was quite smart, smarter than the book actually (which I have actually never said before -- don't know what's got into me). The way the movie displayed the interaction between Austen's characters and novels and the modern day characters was expert and amusing, and the casual discussion of scintillating opinions between Austen aficianados made me hunger for my old book club days. Ah Bluestockings, how I miss thee! Go see it if you can. I know that it will be making my collection as soon as a dvd purchase is not analogous to a home purchase in my checkbook.


Death at a Funeral is one that I have been hungering to see, as the trailer was included on several movies that I've rented from Netflix over the past months. It was absolutely hysterical and there were several times I had to stuff my sleeve into my mouth or risk bringing down the wrath of all the sleeping family members above stairs. Think big fat black funeral as performed by a British cast full of starched accents. Definitely recommended for fine family fun! Go see it soon!

In other news, is anyone else fatigued of the damn election? Hillary please go home! You're ruining everything, can't you see that? The stupid Democrats are also giving Repugnicans (yep, you read it right, it's not a typo, and if you see it anywhere else on the web they stole it from me) a huge advantage with all the squabbling and fighting. It's clear
that the only solution to the Florida-Michigan problem is a complete Do-over, and I wish they would stop stalling on that announcement. Even so, no one is going to get all the delegates that they need to clinch the nomination, so it's going to be an outside decision. I just know that it better be fair! I just can't believe that being silly and non-strategic could lose the election to McCain -- and what a loss! He's unveiled himself as Bush 3.0! It's like updating your crappy 2000 macbook laptop to an original Charles Babbage model T computer. It's not an upgrade obviously! I mean, just take a look to the left -- is that old white guy man love or what? Talk about being in bed together! Is it too much to ask that we leave the old administration behind in its entirety? Let us ask ourselves this question: why is it so hard for America to break up with her exes? First the Bushes and now the Clintons... seems to me like America need to pick up a copy of He's Not That Into You and give it a good read. Bump the chump girl! There's a good man waiting in the wings!!! And once you go Black...

Post Theme: I Gotta Get Thru This by Daniel Bedingfield