Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm good

I need another vacation. If my life remains as it is for another two months, I will likely visit my friend in expensive-ass (so I've been told) California. Oh, how I want to see the Pacific, stroll down the Walk of Fame, visit the Castro in San Francisco, and take pictures while holding chocolate-covered, penis-shaped macaroons. It's going to be fabulous.

I am making tremendous progress with my manuscript; it will be a complete Word document by the end of the week. If any of you are writers or plan to write anything longer than 10 pages, please take this little piece of advice: Type as you write. Otherwise, you will end up with over 100 pages (front and back) to transcribe. It was not fun. For those of you who do not generate hard copies of your documents, do what you do. BTW: I'm seriously considering self-publishing.

Let's see. I'll be getting my annual physical this week, and I anticipate receiving stellar results. I'm still going to the gym on a regular basis. There's this one dude who I think is a total cutie. He, like a lot of the gusy, ALWAYS wears his I-Pod. Aside from the usual head-nod and occasional "sup," I don't interact with him at all. I have not invested too much emotional energy because I am certain he is heterosexual. He's nice to glance at (from all angles; thank God for mirrors). My little brother tells me that I'll have more luck if I go to L.A. Fitness or hang out at Atlantic Station. I love "the girls," but I hate restricting myself to gay-only areans.

Manuscript, work, gym, physical. I think that's about it. I put some new tunes on the site for you guys. Oh, does anyone know whatever happened to this young dude named Aaron who used to have a blog titled "Industrial Love"? A few months ago, he left a message on Twitter that stated he was going to kill himself. Although I tried to reach out to him, he never responded. I hope he's ok.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

An Evening of NeoSoul

Where do I start? I got to the Tabernacle about an hour before the concert was scheduled to begin. The venue was definitely smaller than I thought it would be. Standing against a pole, I scoped the place out and observed the people in the room. To say that "family" was in the building would be an understatement; we were well represented. The straight folks were in attendance as well. One couple stood right in front of me and just kissed (repeatedly) for no reason. It was cute.

Anthony David did a good job. I had no idea he was from Georgia. Despite not having followed his career, I recognized at least three of the songs he sang, including "Words," "I'm a Good Man," and "Georgia Girl." All of the musicians were on point, including the guitarist, who wore a pair of jeans that had HUGE pieces of material missing; I don't think he was wearing underwear.

Ledisi. That woman is no joke. Dressed in a canary yellow, knee-length, layered, spaghetti-strapped dress (I think I covered everything), she took to the stage and put in work. She is extremely energetic, even while wearing a pair of red high heels. Not believing the crowd was into the performance, she took of her shoes, ventured into the audience, and made folks dance. Of all of the folks in the house, those in the balcony were the least enthused; they just sat there and looked at her. Not one to waste time, she gave the stiff folks the "I ain't got time for you" look and kept it moving.

The woman has a beautiful voice. Additionally, she does not exert a lot of energy or strain to hit the appropriate notes. Unlike some singers, you won't see veins popping out of her neck and forehead. She also does a lot of improvisation and scatting. It was easy for me to see that she was heavily influenced by old-school R&B, gospel, and jazz. Oh, she also did a little preaching. Did y'all know that the song "I Think of You" is about God? I so didn't. However, the lyrics should have been a dead giveaway: Everywhere that I go, every day and every night. I think of you. You're the air that I breathe, you're the love of my life. I think of you."

After two wardrobe changes and a few more songs, it was time to go. I know she's going to be in Dallas next. If you're in the area, GO TO THE SHOW.

Speaking of neosoul, I finally discovered who sings this song I hear on the radio periodically. Enjoy.

"On the Ocean," by K'Jon

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ledisi in Concert

Ledisi will be performing at the Tabernacle (Atlanta, Georgia) on Friday, June 19, 2009 at 8:00 P.M. I personally will be attending. Tickets can be purchased here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

NY Trip: Final Installment

I never visited the World Trade Center. Ever. Perhaps I, as a native New Yorker, always believed that the towers would always be there. Additionally, I never had the confidence to explore the city. In any event, on May 27th, my sister and I rode the E Train all the way to lower Manhattan. Emerging from the subway, we observed that area where the towers once stood was completely fenced off. After following the crowd to an information center, we were directed to the 9-11 Memorial Museum.

For some reason, I was not saddened looking at the artifacts, such as a window from one of the hijacked planes, a steel beam, and the pictures of the missing/lost. The mood was very respectful. The replica of the towers was very nice. Additionally, items -expressing grief/sorrow/solidarity- from all over the world were displayed on the walls. For people who are more sentimental, they have boxes of tissues all over the place. Downstairs, they have an area where people can write messages onto cards. The cards are placed into a box and eventually stored in binders, which are available for review.

When we emerged from the museum, the sun was shinging and the temperature had inceased by about 10 degrees. Hopping back on the E Train, we transferred to the F Train, bought overpriced McDonalds, and ate in Washington Square. From there, we caught the 1 Train and rode to Christopher Street. Having never been to the West Village, I instinctively knew to look for the piers. While I was removing my jacket, this older black man looks at me and said "I know where you're going. Don't worry. They're all down there." As we proceeded down Christopher Street, we stopped at an intersection and saw none other than Mr. Bruce Willis. I kid you not. He was in a black Navigator with tinted windows. The windows were rolled down, of course. All I could say was "Oh, shit, that's Bruce Willis." My sister was as dumbfounded as I was. He just laughed and repeated what I said. The light turned green before I could take a picture.

Aside from me having to check three lesbians for hitting on my sister ("She still got a fat ass"), nothing really interesting happened at the pier. People were jogging, exercising, dancing, and enjoying the day. From what I hear, the area doesn't really start popping until the night. By then, we were on our way to Battery Park.

Determined to catch a close glimpe of Lady Liberty, we rode the 1 Train to its final destination: South Ferry. Hopping on the Staten Island Ferry (which is free), we stood near the open windows and took as many pictures as we could. It was crazy being surrounded by all of that water. After staying in Staten Island for 15 minutes, we returned to Manhattan and rode the trains back to Long Island.

I spent the remaining four days hanging out with my dad and visiting a few family members. I even went back to the fast-food restaurant I worked at when I was in high school. Three of the people who worked with me from 1993-1995 were still there. I even kicked it with the dude who took my best female friend to his prom; he's gay. Before I knew it, it was time for me to head back home. Oh, my favorite cousin, the one I stayed with for two days, had the nerve to call me Saturday morning and say she couldn't get me to the airport. Fortunately, my uncle got me there with plenty of time to spare.

I don't know when I'll return to NY; probably sooner than I expect. My next planned destination is San Francisco. I hope to go in August. Stay tuned.

P.S. I am really feeling this new Raphael Saadiq (sp) song.

"Never Give You Up," by Raphael Saadiq ft. Stevie Wonder and C.J. Hilton

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Y'all already know how I feel about gospel music. In 2004 or 2005, I heard this song while I was on my way to work. I don't remember the station, but this song was the last one they played before going off the air each day. On one particular morning, feeling helpless and certain nothing positive would develop from my existence, I meditated on the song's lyrics and started bawling. Right there on I-285. I didn't care who saw me. By the time I got to work, I was good.

Try as I might, I was never able to determine the song's origin, until today. This, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful gospel songs ever written. Enjoy!

"Closer," by Lamar Campbell ft. Spirit of Praise

Sunday, June 07, 2009

More on my trip to NY

Sunday morning. I take a shower and get dropped off at my grandmother's house. When I walk up the stairs, my dad is standing by the sink washing dishes. The look on his face clearly demonstrates that he did not know I had made the trip. Yes, some black folks know how to keep a secret. Despite not seeing each other in over a decade, our greeting is rather anticlimactic, as my dad is not a touchy-feely guy. No crying or sobbing. Just a quick, powerful hug. After greeting my grandmother, uncle, and aunt, I sat at the kitchen table, ate breakfast, and filled everyone in on what I had been doing during the past seven years.

A few hours later, I asked my dad if he wanted to go for a walk, hoping to divulge my sexual orientation as quicky as possible. Under a perfectly blue sky, we walked up and down blocks and talked about a myriad of issues. I never blamed him for his absence or asked if he wished he had made wiser decisions. Simply listening to how intelligently he spoke proved that he had matured immeasurably. Aside from my propensity to use profanity, there were no major disagreements. It was cool to be able to talk to speak to him as an equal.

The next day, Memorial Day, assumed the family barbeque would be held at my grandmother's house. Wrong. You see, my grandmother does not enjoy cooking out, although she cooks three meals every day. So, I accompanied my cousin to a family friend's house in Uniondale. Eating more pork and processed foods in one day than I had in the past four months, I reveled in the loud music, hollering children, and cursing.

On Tuesday, I decided it was time for me to take my sister into the city. Stopping by Old Navy and a store that sold inexpensive menswear (it was only 52 degrees; he had left our jackets in Georgia), we walked to the bus terminal, bought two fun passes (unlimited bus/train rides for $7.50), and hopped on the N6 bus, headed for Queens. Ten minutes into the ride, a man and woman board the bus and claim to have insufficient funds. Unwilling to leave the bus, the driver threatens to contact the police. Having read about a driver in Brooklyn who was killed under similar circumstances, I remained silent and hoped for a peaceful resolution. In typical New York fashion, people began demanding that the driver permit the non-paying passengers to board. One man requested they get off the bus. As the woman continued to insult the driver, a passenger rushed to the front of the bus and paid the husband's fare. Simultaneously, we took up a collection and paid for the husband.

Aside from a little cutie trying to mack to my child, nothing of significance transpired for the remainder of the ride. Getting off at 179th Street and Hillside Avenue, we entered the subway, got on the train, and rode it until we reached 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. Not seeing any signs directing us to the 6 Train, a man informed us that the train was located three blocks downtown. Leaving the subway, we navigated through the narrow, somewhat crowded streets and arrived at the entry to the 6 Train.

Grand Central Station is huge. While first-time tourists took pictures, we were directed to the restoooms by a cautious, female police officer. As I hesitantly approached her, she signaled me not to come too close too soon. Anyway, the lower level of the station smelled like stale air, piss, and food. Yes, folks ate their food and engaged in conversations with abandon. Stepping onto the street, we were directed to 1st Avenue by two friendly workers. Although we could have taken any of the buses, we walked along the streets and took in the sights. Once we got to the United Nations building, I discovered that I had left the spare batteries at my cousin's house. So, we treked back to Staples and bought new ones. Back at the UN, we took pictures, passed through security, and took a look inside.

I really enjoyed observing my sister's response, especially when we saw a group of people we wrongly assumed were from China. The woman, dressed in her native clothing, agreed to take a picture with my sister. It was priceless.

Despite the cold, windy, and sometimes rainy (light drizzle) conditions, we headed back to GCC. First, however, we stopped by a vending station and bought a container of almonds for $2.00. The prices were so reasonable. You could buy a week's worth of fruits for less than $10.00. Anyway, we caught the 6 (headed uptown), got back on F (headed downtown), and arrived at 42nd Street. Grabbing pizza and Snapple beverages, we ate in Bryant Park, an oasis of tranquility and calmness. Afterwards, I forced my baby to ride on Le Carrousel. After taking picures at the New York Public Library, we headed across the street to an H&M store, where I saw a delicious specimen. It was sheer torture watching him disappear as I rode down the escalator.

Thoroughly exhausted, we hopped back on the F Train and headed back to Long Island.

Monday, June 01, 2009

NY Trip_Volume 1

People often say that going home is a difficult proposition for anyone who has been away from the fold for an extended period of time. Filled with a little bit of anxiety, I parked my car at an off-site park-and-ride place and rode the shuttle -with my mom and sister- to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Checking-in my baggage with the curbsite skycap ($15/bag!) who initially claimed that I was not listed on the flight, we nagivated through security and parted ways on the train, as they were flying out of a different concourse. I made it to the appropriate departure gate with a little under two hours to spare.

Despite the dreary weather, I anticipated what my vacation/family reunion would be like. Ignoring the background noise, I read a little of Marvelyn Brown's book (see homepage). Getting hungry at about 8:15 P.M. (the flight was scheduled to depart at 9:15), I ordered food from a restaurant that sold cheese steaks and chicken fingers. Settling into my seat, I ate and watched the Nuggets-Lakers game.

Before I knew it, it was 8:50. Walking back to the gate, I noticed that nearly everyone had already boarded the plane. Fearful of missing the flight, I handed the attendant my ticket and hauled ass to the plane, chastising myself for forgetting that boarding usually begins 30 minutes BEFORE takeoff. Finding a place to store my carry-on, I sat in an aisle seat and watched the safety video. Buckled in and instructed on how to respond in the event of an emergency, I read more of my book and watched an episode of Seinfeld (without sound, since I refused to pay $2 for a headset).

Arriving at LaGuardia Airport, I got my bag and was accosted by numerous cabbies who wanted to know if I needed a ride. Walking outside and taking in a breath of that good ole' NY air, I called my favorite cousin (Monique), who was already waiting on me. Throwing my bags in the trunk, we hopped on the Grand Central and headed to Long Island. Looking at the buildings that surround the area, I looked at her and said "I haven't seen projects in such a long time."

Before I knew it, we were in Hempstead. Depsite the darkness, I was very aware of my surroundings. Arriving at Monique's apartment, I tossed my bags in my little cousin Eric's room and helped her straighten up. We talked, cleaned, and listened to gospel music until about 2:00 A.M. After ensuring that my uncle had retrieved my sister and mother from JFK, I brushed my teeth, laid across Eric's bunk bed (bottom, of course) and went to sleep.