I am a firm believer that you are never too old to learn. I am not a traditionalist. I question everything, including myself. I am not a perfect man, nor do I expect perfection from the people I know. However, I do expect people to be real. I love to laugh and to make people laugh. I have come to realize that the truth hurts, but in truth comes freedom. We all know it hurts to be free.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Anxious About Spending?
We are entering the Christmas season and I have no idea what I am going to do. I am finally catching up on those bills and the extra money is making me anxious. It is not that I want to spent it frivolously, it is because there is so much I have not gotten myself, outside of the essentials, over the past year. I am afraid to actually get something for me that I may enjoy.
I am concerned that I will regret getting a Nook or a Wii because what if I may need the money for something else? I would love to get a new Macbook but there is something in the back of my mind that is stopping me from pulling that trigger. Don't get me wrong, I need clothes too and chances are that I will be more comfortable with getting a new suit, or boots, or maybe even a new pair of gloves rather than a flat screen TV. It is horrible to think that the chance of finally upgrading to an iPhone 4 (which will cost me about $200) has arrived and I do is get anxious about it.
Then it gets me wondering, do I really need video games? Most likely not, but I know that I do not have any new consoles. This is something that I am not complaining about but, I know that video games was something that once entertained me immensely. When I was in BestBuy this past Friday, I saw the Wii Black on sale for like $140. I almost died thinking about how easy it would be for me to purchase it right there and then. Either way, I am glad I didn't do that because I do have the desire to get some gifts for people in my life for Christmas.
There is the thought, of course, that perhaps I do deserve to splurge just a little since I have been hard on myself. However, I have purchased books and I go out to drink every so often. Yet, there is this thought that I need to save as much as I can just in case something else goes wrong.
So I have a lot of thinking to do before the year is over on what I should do. I have another trip to NYC to make for another holiday and I will once again be looking to have fun so I may just save the money until then.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Dark and Twisted Fantasy
|Original Art for "My Dark and Twisted Fantasy"|
"have you lost your mind tell me what you think, we've crossed the line..."
It is funny how music can dictate a person's mood and actions. One of the things that really gets me excited about my trips to NYC is the music. I am not saying that I never get to hear new music in Syracuse, but it is just not the same. The radio stations are not up to par. I wont even mention the lack of a Latino Station here. Sure, you can look it up and see that Syracuse does have one, but it is 3 days a week with limited hours. Not to offend those who work hard to keep Nosotros Radio Inc up and running, but that is not enough.
My expectations on how things should be are consistently not met while living here. I think that there is a level of complacency, apathy, and pure mediocrity that fosters the type of thinking that people of color are simply satisfied with the status quo that is Syracuse living. It is sad that Rochester has a better handle on the Latino culture considering that Syracuse is a place you will likely hear more about in the national media.
"...no more drugs for me pussy and religion is all I need..."
So just think about how a person like me can even find any type of comfort when it comes to new music. I am fortunate that these college students usually have their fingers on the pulse of the entertainment industry so when there is a dance party or anything related to that, I will hear the music I may be missing. But, lets be real, I am not going to hear everything and sometimes I need to lose myself in music.
This is where Kanye West comes in. It is rare to hear an album like My Dark and Twisted Fantasy. Too many times there are artists (if you can call them that) that drop albums that are just rushed or the production is lackluster. You can hear 1or 2 songs that are radio worthy and then the rest ends up buried behind the rest of the song on the iTunes playlist. Yeezy's latest gave me that escape that I needed. I feel like he kicked open what this Winter's music will be like.
It just so happened that listening to My Dark and Twisted Fantasy coincided with my Thanksgiving trip. Those hours driving to see family was spent listening to what Kanye has to offer. I feel that this is a more mature artist we are dealing with. I was already a fan of his single "Runaway"; I even considered that to be my anthem actually. Then I loved the short film as well, which pretty much has all the music you will hear on this album....but it still does not prepare you for the sheer artistry of it all.
"...grab my hand, baby we'll live a hell of a life!"
Let us take away songs like, Runaway, Power, and Monster, since they have all been out before this album dropped. In fact, let's just say those three songs may not even be the best songs on this album. I would submit to you that Hell of a Life, Gorgeous, Devil in a New Dress, So Appalled, and Blame Game could all be playing right now as his latest single. I remember thinking that nothing could really compare to Nas: Illamtic or Wu-Tang Clan: Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers), but this may have matched those classics.
Look, I do not write about an album if I really wasn't feeling it. I know that some people view Kanye as the asshole who did something very wrong to Taylor Swift (and if you ask me, I think should thank him for giving her a boost in record sales) or they view him as the man who offended George W. Bush by saying he doesn't like white people. In either case, he is an artist who has taken his craft to another level...again.
This is why I need to continue to do what I do with all the honesty and brash that makes me who I am. I find a certain amount of freedom in this incarnation of his music that I am able to focus on what I want to do...
"cause the same people that tried to black ball me forgot about 2 things, my black balls"
Saturday, November 27, 2010
This week went by way too fast. I feel like such a Gemini in times like these because I have two competing feelings right now. I feel like I have done so much in a short amount of time here in NYC, but at the same time I feel like I have not done nearly enough. It all seems so duplicitous without the negative indication.
I have had to remind myself several times that this is my time off and that I cannot worry about work or anything else that may ultimately stress me out. However, I know that I have come down here to get several things done, as well as, accomplish some goals that I have set. I can say that I have completed most of those goals, but now I am beginning to see that my time in NYC is coming to an end (at least until next month).
Between the music, family, and a few others, I feel like I have a new motivation to get where I need to go while still doing the same things. I have also come to the realization that I have sacrificed many things this year on this path to self redemption (which I am still on, by the way). Things that I thought made me happy or perhaps I felt made me happier, when in reality...somethings I did in my life were just a way to masquerade the fact that I wasn't living up to my full potential. I think we all realize, at some point, that either we are or we are not living up to a potential that was set for us a long time ago. The question is, what do we do with that information once it become apparent to us?
So, in basic terms, I am not happy with myself. I can be doing so much better than I am now. This goes back to what I was saying earlier in the year about self worth. I am worth way more than what I am getting now. The problem is I have allowed this to happen to me. Don't get me wrong, shit happens sometimes and we all have to take our lumps. However, we do not have to become complacent in doing so. Believe it or not, I have had many of conversation with people who have come to the same conclusion that I have: Syracuse has a way of just keeping you.
There is not secret that I feel more alive when I am down here to visit. The vibe is different. The way of life is completely conducive to the way I think, I feel, I dress...the way I want to live! What I find equally funny is how I have been told that I am so mean to people because I never really thought I was. Well, I realize that may I am a bit mean to people and that will not change, however, being in this city has made realize that I am so used to brash people that I tend to be that way without really noticing. So I guess you can take the boy out of the Bronx, but you cannot take the Bronx out of the boy.
I will spend my last full day in New York City tying up some loose ends before I head back tomorrow to a place that I am almost certain has snow in it. I have acquired a few more things to think about in terms of my future that I do need to work on.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I feel like as I grow older I get more sentimental about life. I wonder if that is just the nature of getting older. Is it that, at this point in my life, I have things to look back on and wonder if I could have done things better? Perhaps I should be thankful that things are not as bad as they could be. But, seeing how the holiday season has arrived, my thoughts are always focused toward reflection.
This week has been so very interesting in both breadth and scope. I have often talked about me being on the precipice of something great but I have not been able to take that leap of faith. There always seems to be that one thing that keeps popping up that I need to take care of before I can continue on my journey. That thing is never the same thing, it is always that one thing that blocks my path; another obstacle that stands in the way.
However, it is those obstacles that keep me humble in who I am as a man. I am thankful for all those people in my life that I never seem to say thank you to. The people who constantly check up on me to make sure that I am doing ok or that I am even still alive. I know that there are many people in this world that are not blessed with the amount of people who seem to care.
I am so thankful for being able to get through this particular year with roommates that have been able to pay rent and while that may sound a little funny, I have had to use that money to repair many things around the house that seemed to malfunctioned or just straight broken down. I think someone in heaven is looking out for me because had I not had those people living with me, I am not sure I would have been able to survive last month alone.
As I sit here and type this I can say that right now I am generally scared. I am not sure what to do at this point in my life. Well, that is not entirely true, I do know what to do, I am just afraid that I will fail. Sarah Lawrence College has such a beautiful campus. I was so amazed about how there are so many places within that college that would enable me to get my work done. It just makes think about what will happen if I get in...but then what if I don't. Either way, I have to just be thankful that I even have that opportunity to apply.
Somewhere through this I have been listening to Kanye West's Album all week, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and I have become so addicted to it. The beats, the lyrics, the vibe, has been so trance like for me that, during this time of reflection, it make me think about my goals and more importantly, the fact that the only person who is going to take care of me is me.
|"Lost in the World" - Kanye West|
I also want to be thankful for those people who wish me to fail and not succeed. Those people who think I am worthless and those who have held me back over the years. They have provided endless amounts of motivation for me. I do know my shortcomings, but I also know that I can do anything I put my mind to. It is these people in my life that end up feeding into my fears as well adding fuel to my fire. People who will anonymously comment on a certain blog post to bring up a long dead issue from the past that will ultimately give me more motivation to be a better man. Thank you.
Thanksgiving to me is not just about the food or the family, it is about reflection. It is about all things that I should be thinking about before Christmas. I remember going through this last year, in which it seemed that just about every post I did in December was one of reflection. I have to chuckle because I am not sure I have just limited that reflection to just the winter time.
Most of all, I want to thank all of you for reading this blog. I was never sure where I was going with this sight. I wanted it to be solely about about my soul. I think you have seen me at my highest and at my lowest. While I have been on the straight and narrow with my writings, I know that there is a side of this Gemini heart that you have not seen. Perhaps I am not comfortable in sharing it with the world because quite frankly some of the things that I write scare me. In either case, I am grateful for the comments I get on my Facebook page. It is good to interact. I do not call anyone a fan, I would rather call you a reader. Thank you.
In the end...I want to thank that one person who manages to make me smile everyday.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Reading is the Truth
When things started to go south for me and I started seeking out roommates, I began to cut expenses. I had to stop buying things that were not essential to life. So what that really meant was I needed to stop buying comic books. The funny thing was that I had every intention on continuing with this expensive hobby because it was the only hobby I had. I could enjoy reading whatever story was going on and still feel in many ways, like a little kid. At this point I had already stopped buying video games.
The choice to stop buying comic books was not entirely my own. I had been going faithfully to this shop over in the Carousel Mall. I personally called it CBS (comic book store) because the real name was just way too long. I was a regular customer to the point in which they would pull out weekly comic titles for me every week. I would come in when I can and buy what was saved for me. It was a pretty sweet deal actually. I rarely missed any titles and it worked out well.
As it came closer for me to go to the Dominican Republic, I went less and less to CBS because I had to save money. I rarely bought everything they saved for me all at once. I would buy what I could then put the rest back on reservation. Apparently they started a policy that if customers did not pick up books within a certain time period, the comics would go back on the shelf for anyone to buy. The exception to this rule was that if you informed them that you planned to pick the books by a certain time then they would save them.
I informed the people at the store that I was going away and once I return I will clear the box. So when I returned from the Dominican Republic, I went over to CBS (on my birthday) and asked for my reservations. I was told that they were gone. I was shocked. I told the guy, that I normally speak to, that I did in fact inform the store that I was out of the country. Then he informed me that the store owner made a new policy, that was not known to me, that 30 days was the limit and there were no exceptions. I stood there shocked. He told me that I can start another subscription service, perhaps have them mailed to me (which is unacceptable because sometimes the mail looks like shit on a rainy day).
So, my reaction? I walked out. I simply left. I felt like a huge weight was lifted. Something in the back of my head told me that this was a blessing. I haven't stepped into that store since then...
...but recently, I have missed that feeling of escape that comic books provided me. I have not had the urge nor the desire to buy comics at all. I mean, I have been buying a lot of DVD movies based on comic books, but that is different and cost me much less. I started thinking about reading books more, but I did not know where to start. I did join Goodreads, but that was to catalog what I have already read and see what other people were saying about books they have read.
Then, as if the thought were in the back of my mind but yet verbalized by another person, I was asked if I wanted a part in creating a book club with some friends. The thought of that was so very exciting me. I will admit that I would be the first to make fun of anyone to join a book club by saying that either they are old or have no life, but the thought was appealing because I missed reading so much. I have to admit that being in a book club has been one of the better decisions I have made in a long time. To think that I can shut the TV off and just lose myself in a good book in this day and age is awesome. I will tell you that my twitter account has suffered because of it and I am ok with that.
At this point we are on our second book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and it has been a thrill ride for me. This book is almost 600 pages and I have read so much that I cannot imagine me stopping anytime soon. This book is so much better than the first book we started with, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. However, I think that I will be able to step out of my comfort zone and read things that I never thought I would have before.
I will also say, the best way to really learn is to look up words that appear in novels that you have never heard before. Best way to beat anyone in Scrabble...lol
Friday, November 12, 2010
The Walking Dead
Television is certainly not what it used to be. There was a time when the scariest any show got was when someone died on St. Elsewhere or when the A-Team got caught. Times have changed and we get watch shows that feature spirits, vampires, and now zombies. To be honest, I love it.
AMC launched the Walking Dead on Halloween and it has been a thrill ride so far. What makes this show good is the human element of people trying to survive in the most dire of situations. I am always one to believe that someone's true nature is shown at a time of great peril. While anyone may think that this is just another gore fest genre type of show, know this: in the first 2 episodes, we have not seen anyone devoured yet. As a matter of fact, there seems to be more gore in True Blood.
Like most things that seem to become really popular, zombies seem to appear just about every where these days. Vampires being something a little bit more marketable because at least they are the type of undead that has sex. I would not be surprised if there are movies or shows that try to combine the two, vampires and zombies...not zombies and sex..lol (remember I said this).
I have never been one to be a fan of zombies because as a kid because these were one of the things that scared the shit out of me. Vampires and werewolves never really did. I knew they did not exist. However, when we talk about demons, spirits, or the devil...then we are talking about a different level for me. I consider those to be biblical in nature. Zombies maybe not be biblical in nature, but I almost considered them to demons in human form. This is why sleeping as a kid was so hard (that and watching Dawn of the Dead).
Which brings me to my point of The Walking Dead. The second episode, we are introduced to Merle Dixon who is a big Southern white man that spews racial slurs to another character, T-Dog (an African American) before beating his ass on a roof top. In the the context of this action, the building is surrounded by zombies waiting to eat anyone. Grimes subdues Dixon and tells him..."There are no more niggers. There are no more dumb ignorant white trash either. There's only white meat and dark meat." I consider this to be the highlight of the night and thus proving my point that in times of great peril we may come to realize that we are one one race...and that is the human race.
The Walking Dead comes on Sundays at 10pm on AMC.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Why Don't You Have a Girlfriend?
I wasnt sure that I wanted to write about this but it is something that has just been on my mind. The other day, a student asked me, "Why don't you have a girlfriend?" I did laugh when I heard this question. I havent really thought about it all that much. I know that I am single, but I never thought about posing that question to myself.
The funny thing is that I never answered the question. She just looked at me as I was just laughing. I told her that I did not have an answer and she said..."because you think women are crazy." More hilarity in my opinion because that is something that I had said before. In most cases, the women I tell this to, all agree with me. However, this question did make me think about my solidarity.
I do not toot my own horn because I have made it very clear on this blog that I am not perfect. I have made mistakes that I am still paying for (perhaps this plays into why I do not have a woman). It was pointed out to me that I am a funny guy who is caring and can be sweet, so I guess there is a lack of understanding as to how I remain single. Of course, I can be an asshole too, but so can any guy I suppose. I just know that I am sarcastic when I have to be and yet things I point out can make anyone laugh...plus, I am not bad looking either! :)
Again, thinking about how humorous this conversation was, not because of the question itself - which was a small snippet of a larger conversation, I decided just to tweet this question. Well, it turns out that there are other people wondering the same thing. "Why don't you have a girlfriend?" I can almost hear it coming out of a random person as if it was another way of saying, "What is wrong with you?" haha
Well, only a few people know me well enough to figure out the answer to this question. I can say that right now, I am not sure I am where I want to be in my life. I get some of the best advice in life from my father, who tells me to just sit and observe. So that is what I am doing, watching women and how they react to me and to certain situations. I should not have to feel that I am in a rush to find someone but, I will say that after the havoc I have caused in my own life, I do not need more drama in my existing life.
I love women and I respect them. But, if do go out there and start looking, it has to be on my own terms and I gotta tell you, I have plenty of terms. To be quite honest, I have to really know what I want. Do not get me wrong, I am not looking for wife number 2 either, but I am gun shy and very cautious about things. I wont say it is due to lack of trust, just that uneasiness of not knowing.
However, there are negative things that also pop into my mind when it come to my future. I find myself being very happy for those who find love, especially those who I hold in high regard. I think everyone needs a shot at it. I just cringe when I see those, all too happy, pictures on Facebook with all smiles because it makes me wonder if I will ever get there. Sometimes I am not so sure. Life has a way of throwing curve balls that look really good, but then just drop out of sight without warning.
I think I have also graduated from the point of getting a jumpoff or having a random fling. While I will admit that this has occurred in the past, it is not who I am. My father comments on the amazing amount of restrain and patience that I have, but I think much of it is that I know that meaningless flings are a way of covering up a fear that resides in all single men. The fear of being alone is something that is very real amongst men that only gets worse as we get older. Some of us have it worse than others. Some of us have it bad enough that it will force us to settle.
Bottom line is that I choose to not have a girlfriend. Quite honestly, getting one is not as easy as people make it seem anyway, but that choice is all mine. I wont say that I do not have people in my life that I am not willing to date because I do, but right now fate seems to be against me.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I Love It When I Get Profiled
Last night was a pretty good night. I spent my evening at the Mu Sigma Upsilon R.A.C.E. banquet. I had some pretty decent food. I laughed with some students. Spent time with a few people I haven't seen in quite a while. Saw Bobby Gonzalez speak. He has a great message which was, know your history and understand your culture. That, along with the theme of the banquet, was simply promoting racial harmony. All was going great. I decided to call it a night because I wasn't sure I wanted to really go out.
I drove some of my favorite students to a party and I went home. One of my roommates, was walking out as I pulled up and he started telling me that he is about to get picked by a mutual colleague to have some drinks. Well, I am already dressed and I thought about it for a minute. Sure, I will go since I was asked for the second time that night.
To be quite honest, Syracuse is a very small city. So, the chances of running into my ex-wife with her date this night was highly likely. She was at the same banquet I was at, so I thought her going out for drinks was a good possibility. However, I followed my instinct and decided to hang out with some friends.
We hit Al's Wine & Whiskey Lounge. This place is not bad at all. Drinks are priced correctly and the atmosphere is comfortable. The funny thing is that there are four of us. All professional men of color. We originally wanted to try this new place called Bittersweet Wine Bar & Desserts that just opened up. We joke about that there is no place in Syracuse for people like us. So when we get to Bittersweet, we don't even walk in...all white people when we looked inside. We laughed about it when we get to Al's, but understandably, the atmosphere was not what we were looking for. All of us would stick out like four sore thumbs. At least Al's had other black people in there.
Three rounds later and we decided to just go. The night was not what we expected, although all the jokes we told were hysterical, we headed toward Nick'e Tomato Pie. This place is always the best place to end a night of drinking. Good Pizza and enough space to sit down, talk, and people watch.
This is what we did: People Watch. We joked and watched a group of drunk white women who were there celebrating a bachlorette party ( I assumed that they needed pizza to soak up the liquor). How crazy and funny they were, talking about large penises and all the things they would like to do. The word of the night was "lumberjacking". We just had to look this up on urban dictionary. It seems those women knew what that word was and when they left one of them made sure to tell us they were all very good looking.
I would say we spent a good amount of time there having a great time. Then, it happened, a police officer walked in. Let's keep this fair, there were a good amount of people in this place; mostly white people. We sat at a table. Just the four of us. There is nothing hood or ghetto fabulous about our look. So imagine how annoyed we were when the this officer walks in and just goes to our table. He asks, "Any one of you named, Mike?" After our response, which was "no", he walked away. That was it. He did not ask anyone else....or any white people. So the question of the night was... "How many degrees do we need to have?"
Yes, it was just a question. But clearly he was looking for something to only ask us. We are the best dressed guys in the entire place. We look like we are not paying attention to anyone but ourselves...but I guess we still look like "Mike". I guess whomever he was looking for only has a description of a black male that may or may not have glasses and can be any shade of darkness. It does not matter that we all work for Syracuse University since we must have the genetic make up that allows us to be suspects in whatever way they may be looking for. So, no, it does not matter if we have a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree.
But, I forgot. We have a black president, so that means that we defeated Racism. We are above all of that. The jokes about how we cannot find a place in Syracuse for us to feel comfortable was made all too real when a man with a badge and a gun can make four educated black men seem like they are nothing but suspects.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Votes do count!
I think it is funny. People are angry. They are mad that this government does not work. Many people will say that it has not worked for some time. So we all got to together and elected Obama and after that, many people thought that we would dance in the sunset as the credits roll. But, guess what? The Empire Struck Back.
Why are we upset by this? This is the way we, as Americans, are. We all know that one political party cannot run all the branches of government. When that happens it never works because one political view of this country does not feel right. We need the conflict. We need those people in Washington to hold each other accountable.
Look, in New York, we are looking at so much change because those idiots in Albany cannot get it right. So it is time for a change. If the team is not winning, you get a new General Manager and Coach (Hello NY Mets). People are just tired of not having jobs and those who do are barely surviving. It is crazy and those who are holding those seats need to understand that we do have power.
I do not get why people do not vote or say that our votes do not count because they certainly do. It counted 2 years ago. It counted last year. It counts this year. There are just many angry Americans that are tired of barely making it. It works both ways. We may not like the Tea Party, but they have the passion we had when it came time for Obama to be elected.
I am almost willing to bet that with the new look of this government, things may actually get done.
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