Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I hope this Christmas day finds you in good health and spirit. I've been spending the day with my family. It's our tradition to get up early, open presents and then take a nap. Well, this year, we changed it a bit. We went to see Dream Girls this morning. In a word, the movie was -- AWESOME. Sitting between my close friends and surrounded by family, I couldn't have been happier.

Everything they've been saying about Jennifer Hudson is true. She was terrific. Some people might be surprised to find out that Beyonce's role is really not that robust. But, that's the nature of the story. She was as good as she could be with such a limited speaking part. And yes, when Jennifer sang THAT SONG she rocked it! The crowd clapped. My best friend had to hand me a tissue, because I got a little misted. :-) Her performance was so passionate and heartbreaking and poignant.

Beyonce's song, Listen was really good too. But, since we didn't get to see as much of the relationship between her and Curtis/Jamie it didn't have the same impact as THAT SONG. Anyway, I would suggest you check out the movie. Oh and did I mention James THUNDER Early? Eddie was soo good in that role. Go see it.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Being A Black Man

If you haven't been following this series in the Washington Post, here's a link.

About the series

The Washington Post has periodically throughout the year featured stories on what
what it means to be a Black Man in America. Alot of the articles are quite interesting.
Some might make you mad. But, that's good, at least you're feeling something.


Stuck in My Mind

It usually takes me a while to process a thing. To that end, a concept or phrase may get stuck in my mind and sometimes it takes me a while to figure out why I can't just swallow it. Usually, it's because the phrase or concept frames something I've encountered or it could be the perfect rejoinder to something I've been told.

Lately, I've been chewing on this...

"You can't con an honest man."

This was spoken by Mickey on one of my favorite shows, Hustle. It comes on AMC. It's a great show about a group of con artists in the UK. They're smart and cunning. Mickey spoke these words when they were about to hustle a man out of a boat load of money. Part of the con was tricking the man into thinking he was participating in a very lucrative but, technically illegal, investment deal. They told the man that the deal was technically illegal, but blinded by the $$ he said that he didn't care and agreed to give them his dough. Of course, he got got. But, 'you can't con an honest man'.

I thought that was so simple, but profound and true. How many times have we tried to get over or beat the system and ended up getting got instead? And how many times have you seen someone try to get over, get got and then have the nerve to get mad about it? You've just got to chalk that up to the game. You just played and lost.

For whatever reason, that's resonating with me lately. Maybe now that I've written about it, I'll figure out why soon.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Monday

How's everybody doing today? I'm chillin. I'm taking next week off, so, you can imagine how much work I'm actually getting done this week. Can you believe the weather. I know it's global warming and that's sooo not a good thing, but, this weather sure is great! Speaking of global warming, have you checked out that Al Gore movie, An Inconvenient Truth. It's very interesting and informative. Check it out when you get a chance.

I have not finished my holiday shopping yet. I still have a few more people to get gifts for. I did exchange gifts with one of my friends already. She took me indoor rockclimbing. You see, I told everyone that instead of presents this year, I wanted activities. So, this was my first Christmas activity. I hadn't been in about a year. It was fun and I felt more fearless this time than I did in the past. I mean, I still looked like a scared cat, stuck to the wall. But, at least I made it high enough up the wall to reach the top. We went to a place called Earth Treks, in Rockville. We used to go to the one in Columbia, but, Rockville is soo much bigger. I'm not even that sore today. You will definately work muscles that don't usually see much action. Just remember that it's all in your legs. Push, don't pull. That'll make sense once you're on the wall.

It's a great activity, even for little people. So, try it one day and let me know how you liked it.

Well, that's all I've got for now. I'll try to touch base again this week.

Have a great day.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Obama Question

I've been sitting here reading all of the press on Barack Obama's recent visit to New Hampshire, a key election state. Many people are suggesting that he might make a run for the Presidency in '08. I can see why there's so much steam behind him. He has alot of the factors that make for a good Presidential candidate. He's handsome, intelligent, articulate, eloquent and half white. He's the type of black candidate to which mainstream america can relate.

I have to admit that I was enamored with him too. I heard about his campaign for ascendency from state office to Congress. I even donated money to that campaign...enough to get me on the Obama Christmas card list, but not enough to actually get invited to dinner. The first time I heard him speak in person, I realized what they were saying about him was true. He's got an aura about him that just draws you in. Plus, I appreciated that his wife was just as accomplished, if not more so by some standards, as he is.

But I don't want him to run for President. Politics has a way of corrupting and bastardizing good people. By it's very nature, the system is not geared for big wins. In fact, politics is a game of compromise.

"What do I have to do for you so that you'll do this thing for me?"
I think Barack has a powerful message of hope and inclusion. I don't want to see that message diluted at all. Pundits say that he's also not experienced enough for the job. To that I say, maybe. But, let's be real, could he really do worse than G-Dub Jr? I doubt it. Then, come the JFK comparisons. Everyone is so eager to have a central voice rise from the masses and Barack could be that. But, isn't it bad luck to compare him to a President that was assassinated shortly after his term began? While the mainstream can relate to his white side now, we all know that the minute he makes a mistake, they'll be talking about how Kenyans are known for being delinquent. LOL
Maybe I'm being selfish. I want to preserve the image that I've come to know and respect. I don't want to lose that. Plus, I know that the mainstream is notoriously fickle. Sure they love him now, but, I don't trust that.
What do you think?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dominican Republic Trip Journal Part 8

Today we leave.

Soundtrack: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

I got up early, to have my one final walk along the beach. It's hot out today. At least upper 80s and it's only 9am. By the time I met the crew for breakfast, they were finishing up. So, I ate solo. It was nice. This was the best breakfast I had all weekend. The omelette guy finally cooked my eggs right. I finished up and headed to the beach to meet up with everyone. We layed out some more, to put the finishing touches on our tans.

I'm sad to go. But, I also feel like for once, I actually vacationed. I usually get caught up in doing alot of activities and I don't get to really veg out. That was not the case this time.

My next post will be from back in the office. Thanks for reading my trip journal. I look forward to my next one. So far, all I have planned is skiing in Colorado. Of course I'll keep you posted.


Dominican Republic Trip Journal Part 7

Soundtrack - Kingdom Come - Jay Z

On Sunday all I did was veg out some more on the beach then by the pool. I got up a little bit later, but, still managed to get in my walk along the beach. The weather was really warm, at least 85 degrees. Today, we went in search of water activities. Unfortunately, the water was too choppy to go out in the little boats, so, we returned to the pool.
The Dominican guy hit on me some more. And I let him. LOL It was a good and relaxing day. Tonight, we're going to the Mexican spot for dinner.
Fast Forward to Dinner Time: The food was good, although what I had was not necessarily Mexican. I had spare ribs. That was the first time this weekend that I cleaned my plate though. There was a guy in the restaurant that looks like he could've been an athlete. Maybe a baseball player. The people that worked there seemed to give him a lot of attention and some took pictures with him. Maybe I should go on over to to see if I see him.
To be continued...

Dominican Republic Trip Journal Part 6

Tonight we decided to hit the club at the resort. It's called the Discotheque Bavaro. It's a nice looking club. There are little VIP booths you can sit in. When we arrived they were playing hip hop music. Then, the DJ mixed in a little Sean Paul, the one from Jamaica, not the Youngbloodz. Then, it was straight latin music for the next half hour or so. Some of the beats were banging, but, I was hoping for something that I'd halfway recognize. In addition, there weren't many people actually on the dance floor. If you've ever been to a mainstream club and seen everyone stand around the dance floor with drinks in hand and no intention of dancing, then, you get the picture.

There was a certain Soul Train element though. The club had dancers that wore these cute little star trek-esque outfits and they danced on podiums at the front of the club. The perception is that Latin Americans value a fuller female figure. That was not evidenced by the club dancers. They were all attractive and varying shades of brown but, the biggest was probably a size 6. I thought they looked great. But, I also thought it was interesting that even here, thin is more desirable.

To be continued...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dominican Republic Trip Journal Part 5

Soundtrack - Rompe - Daddy Yankee

Scene - Chillin at the swim-up bar listening to reggaeton music. I'll chill here for a while then migrate back over to my lounge chair. Today I did water aerobics. It was so much fun. The picture above is of the bartenders that took care of us all weekend.
To be continued...

Dominican Republic Trip Journal Part 4

Soundtrack - Aujuswanaseing - Musiq

Scene - Chillin by the pool. Yesterday I figured out that my favorite drink is Planter's Punch. I was stuck on the Ron Punch, but the Planter's won. I've already gone on my morning walk and I've hit the breakfast buffet. The only thing I'm going to do today is chill out, get a massage and chill some more.
To be continued...

Dominican Republic Trip Journal Part 3

This afternoon we went exploring the grounds. One of the hotels we have access to has a casino. The crowd over there is a bit older and more subdued. The hotel seems nice but not as nice as where we're staying. One of the other featured attractions is a flamingo exhibit. There were about 5 flamingos just chillin in a pond inside the hotel. It was beautiful, I don't remember seeing anything like that ever. Sorry the pictures are so dark. The light was very dim in the flamingo alcove.
To be continued...

Dominican Republic Trip Journal Part 2

Soundtrack: The Evolution of Robin Thicke

Scene: Turquoise water for as far as my eye can see. Palm trees molded by the waves and bent by the wind. I decided to commit to a walk along the beach each day. It's quite windy, but, it's a warm wind. And the sun is turning my penny brown skin a warm bronzey mocha chocolate color. It feels so good.

The water is chilly. I guess because it is December, but because of the heat, you get used to it really quick. I just listen to my music and take in all of the beauty. As I take in a deep breath and then exhale, I realize that in this moment, right here, I'm as happy as I could be.

I walked for about 2 miles, one going and one coming back. I was just singing along to the music, aloud. I didn't care if people heard me or thought I was crazy. But in reality, the beach was kind of mellow. There weren't many people out there.

Then I noticed it, boobs...everywhere. There were lots of women walking around, laying out and chilling sans tops. I had a fleeting thought to whip off my top also. When in Rome, right? Then I remembered that I can only handle one new thing at a time. LOL

To be continued...

Dominican Republic Trip Journal Part 1

This weekend I went to the Dominican Republic. This was my first trip to the island of Hispaniola and I couldn't have been more excited. Since I was without internet access, I wrote in my journal each day. Thanks to my iPod, each day had a specific soundtrack or musical theme that kind of framed the moment. The next few posts will be directly from my journal. I hope you enjoy them.
Song: One is The Magic Number/Jill Scott
Scene: I'm flying miles above the clouds. Below is only turquoise water as far as my eyes can see out of this little airplane window. Coming up, I see the lush green landscape of the island.
On my mind: Food. I'm starving. The airline gave us breakfast sandwiches, but by this time at home I would already be on my second meal.
Arrival: The airport in Punta Cana is basically a large hut. There are no external walls and there is a thatched roof. When you get off the plane, you walk down the portable stairs on the tarmac and across the plane parking lot to the 'building'. There are women in varying shades of brown dressed up in what appears to be Mexican outfits. Maybe it's their Taino roots they're channelling.

The hotel is beautiful. We stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace. They too have a very open floor plan. The rooms are clustered in different pastel colored buildings. It looks like a very nice garden style condo community. There is a sprawling pool and many restaurants to choose from with our all-inclusive plan. And then there's the beach. Just steps away. I stole away from the crew to have a few minutes alone with nature and snap the pic above.

The weather was very warm, about 84 degrees, although the day of our arrival it was slightly overcast.

To be continued...