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02 September 2007 @ 12:30 pm
This apartment is great and all, nice size, small balcony, great location, two pools and a gym, but there is one problem I just can't seem to get around.

I can hear everything my neighbors do. EVERYTHING. At first, I thought I could just ignore it, but last night I woke up to someone screaming. I routinely hear children crying, and of course people having sex. I hear parties, tvs, arguments, phone conversations, and pets. I hear it all. And normally, as a concerned citizen, if I hear a child (or anyone for that matter) screaming, I'll call the police. The one time I did they put me on hold (Oakland's finest) and by the time they got back to me I couldn't hear the screaming and had no idea where it was coming from.

I want to have my own home. I want it so bad I can feel it. The sucky thing is, we can't buy our own home right now.

So I guess I just have to listen to this lady getting it on with someone who manages to be much quieter than her.
15 August 2007 @ 11:39 am
It's no secret to most people that I hate shopping. Typically if I have to buy something (and I must absolutely have to buy something in order to walk into a store or shopping district) I make a very strict list, and I imagine the item I want to buy in the most detailed way possible. Then I find the exact stores that may have that exact thing, walk up to a person who works in the store, and ask them for it. If they don't have it, I walk out. My record for shopping for a pair of jeans? 3.5 minutes. That includes trying them on and staring at my butt for 30 seconds.

I don't know why I hate shopping so much. I'm impatient and as time goes by I want the item that I'm looking for less and less. I hate spending money.  I don't like searching for things that may not be there. But also, I hate the bullshit.

You know the bullshit. Some call it marketing or advertising, some call it consumerism, I call it bullshit. I hate that someone is trying to tell me I need or want something that I don't need or want. I hate being manipulated. I hate being socially constructed. I know I can't avoid it, but there is a difference between sitting on the subway and staring absent-mindedly at a poster for chinos, and walking into the chinos store. It's like hanging out in the neighborhood of your bully. It's like playing darts next to a sleeping tiger. Why would I bring myself, wallet open, to the enemy?

Yesterday, I spent an otherwise delightful afternoon shopping with my good friend Maryam in the Powell shopping center in San Francisco. To give you a mental picture of this place, imagine Bloomingdale's, Nordstroms', and Abercrombie. You already know what I'm talking about right? So here we are, looking for a watch for a friend who has no cell phone and needs to tell what time it is.

It took 3.5 hours. But because it wasn't shopping for myself, I didn't mind it so much. What I did mind was the subliminal bullshit. It seemed to attack me even more ferociously because I wasn't in the market for buying anything at the time. What was worse, the bullshit is of a higher, shittier quality in the expensive stores like those mentioned above.

In expensive stores, the people who patronize and the people who sell believe in the bullshit. They walk around with their noses in the air, certain that they are providing a necessary service, that they are providing people with quality products. Not just quality, upscale. And nothing about me is upscale. It's something I'm proud of. Upscale is bullshit. Upscale is what tricks people into a consumerist coma leaving them incapable of forming an intelligent opinion about the war in Iraq.

So me and the shoppers and the sellers are elitist. We all think we are better and we know better and it's better on our side of the table. At the jewelry counter at Bloomingdale's I laughed internally at the guady make-up of the lady showing Maryam $700 trinkets, while she laughed internally at my payless shoes. Both of us were caught up in bullshit.

I'm not immune to the elitism of the liberal anti-Establishment intellectual non consumer. Because I know it's hypocritical of me to hate on $700 watches while simultaneously desiring one (perhaps my hate stems from the fact that I won't buy one myself). I know it's hypocritical of me to complain about consumerism when even though I'm less of the problem, I'm still a part of it. I don't live on a commune. I indulge in luxuries. Sometimes I feel guilty, (liberal guilt doesn't escape me either) and I indulge in the luxury in an ironic, but still entitled way.

So where do I get off judging this lady for valuing a watch and mascara? That's just another way of getting wrapped up in bullshit and not addressing the real issues. The real issues: I want a new watch, but I can't justify buying it. I feel inadequate in the eyes of the shoppers and the seller of Bloomingdale's. I feel superior to them, because not only am I above all the consumerism, but I'm educated and intelligent and if I really wanted to I could buy that $700 watch. And I do really want to. But I won't. Because I'm better than that.

But am I?

Ok, the bullshit. I have to focus on the bullshit, we all do, because it's so easy to get sidetracked. We get sidetracked judging others for judging us. We get sidetracked feeling superior. We get sidetracked by our social conditioning. And in the end, we never find time to develop an intelligent opinion about the war in Iraq.

In times of crisis, the bullshit falls away pretty easily. Imagine your mom is in a car accident. Do you care what kind of shoes you have on? Do you care about the next episode of Scrubs? Are you still planning your wedding (it's got to be bigger and better than the wedding of anyone else). Are you shopping for a trendy pre-fab condo in a trendy urban neighborhood? No, you are worrying about your dear sweet mommy. Because you love her. Because she, in crisis, is the important thing. Your mother is not bullshit.

What else is not bullshit? The war is not bullshit. The presidential election is not bullshit. A great book is not bullshit and finally finishing your master's is not bullshit. A living wage is not bullshit, justice is not bullshit, compassion is not bullshit, integrity is not bullshit. Yet, in a regular day, we devote probably less than 15% (this is a very accurate statistic*) on things that are not bullshit. In fact, we sigh and roll our eyes when the non-bullshit things come around because they are too serious, too hard. Bullshit is easy, it's automatic, it's something that we can do without even thinking about doing it.

We all love bullshit. I love bullshit. You love bullshit. Say it with me: I love bullshit. The first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem. Do you think there is a problem? Think about it. Is bullshit a problem? Are people too distracted by bullshit to deal with the real shit?

You might not think it is a problem. You might think that people can handle only so much reality before they crack. I empathize, because not long ago reality almost crushed me into a slimy paste. I got so caught up in it, I forgot who I was. No amount of shopping, or tv watching, or drinking or smoking or bullshitting with my co-workers could bring me back. So what's the answer?

Seriously. What's the answer? How do we avoid the bullshit, but not get burned up? How do we keep it real? How do we keep ourselves focused on the important stuff, while being able to enjoy the little guilty pleasures of life?

*there is nothing accurate about this statistic.
10 August 2007 @ 12:37 pm
Guess who is in a good mood? And no it's not just because this is my last full week of work, or because I won that Shearman and Sterling scholarship I wanted so badly.  It's not even that I'm excited about a new school year or because my bestest friend is finally in the same country as me. It's because of love songs and letters.

Last night, I think I finally got Nic to understand just how important writing is to me. I had to make a big stink about it, but he finally gets it. What's more important, I've started writing him letters. And just that simple act, writing letters to my baby, makes me feel so much happier than I have in a long time.

Maybe that's what has been missing. I've been lamenting the fact that lately, I feel like I'm just going through the motions of life, doing great things and having great experiences, but only being able to enjoy them after the fact in memory. I wanted the moment back. You know the moment-- it's strongest when we are kids-- sitting on our porches eating ice cream from the ice cream man, or on Christmas morning opening presents. It's the unadulterated (what an appropriate word) joy we have, free of worry, insecurity, and uncertainty. It's that carpe diem that we lose right when we start to wonder if we look too fat in those jeans, or if we properly invested in that mutual fund, or if John or Johnetta only wants me for my money.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have that back. I don't know that adults can get that back for good. We can have it in fleetingly (and occasionally drug or sex induced), but to just be able to have it for good? I haven't had that since age 10. 11 was a difficult year for me.

But 22 was even more difficult. Here I was in a job that made me miserable, failing at something for the first time in my life and feeling awful about it. I stopped eating, stopped sleeping, started smoking. My outlook was bleak, and even in moments of happiness I couldn't help but think of whatever awful thing might happen next to ruin it. By thinking of the worst and ruining everything before I had a chance to enjoy it, I never had to experience the let down of sadness, but I never got to feel the happiness. I was in a neutral, boring, stuck and staying that way state. And I have been for quite some time.

But I feel a fog lifting. I don't know why. But it's lifting. I'm writing. I'm homesick, but trying to learn what's to love about the west coast. What's more important, I've started to get addicted to love songs.

That's right, love songs. I have tuned my iPod to the R&B station and I haven't changed it for days. I listen to the songs and feel like they are speaking to me. I'm in love, it's a lovely day, love love love love.

Which brings me to something that distresses me, the death of the black R&B group. It has been discussed several times on blackfolks, but I have to bring it up here. I miss Jagged Edge, Dru Hill, En Vogue, SWV, and the like. They were my soundtrack through middle and high school. I imagined myself on the campus of an HBCU, listening to Boyz II Men, meeting my own version of Dwayne Wayne, and falling in love. But the R&B group died, and we got in its wake a bunch of digitally altered pop tarts and tartlets who give new meaning to style over substance. Remember when people in the business didn't have to be gorgeous to be good? Remember when songs were sweet and about love and not just sex sex sex? Remember when R. Kelly wasn't known for molesting little girls?

Am I already this old? Am I already talking about the good old days, remembering how happy and care free I was when I was a kid? Wow, 23 and old. Whoever said this generation is more advanced than any other before it was spot on.
  1. It takes a white man saying ridiculous shit about black women for black people to have a discussion about black men saying ridiculous shit about black women. Huh? I just don't fucking get it. I mean I'm all for criticizing black folks for stupid shit they do, but why does it need to be addressed at  the same time we address the very real racist comments of that particular white man. They aren't the same thing. Stop trying to make them the same thing.
  2. I have a lot of reasons to hate TV news. My reason today: repetitiveness. I know 33 people were killed at Virginia Tech a few days ago. It was all over the news when it happened. Now that I know who did it, how many people died, can the news stop fucking talking about it until new information becomes available? I don't need to hear interviews from students about how many interviews they do, I don't need to hear speculation about what was written on the guy's arm, I only need to hear actual conclusive INFORMATION. Otherwise, there have probably been 33 new murders since the Virginia Tech incident, let's talk about one of those.
And, no, I'm not being insensitive. I actually have very deep sympathy for what happened at Virginia Tech. I have so much sympathy in fact, that I've had nightmares about it since the day it happened. It doesn't help that every time I turn on the news, I get the same fucking information every 20 minutes about it.

Don't people think that this is exactly what the murderer wanted? A man with no friends, who was pretty much ignored and unliked by all, suddenly all of America wants to know the random scribbles he made on his body, they want to examine all of his personal items to get some clue of what was going on in his head. Everyone is just so damn fascinated with a man who no one gave a shit about until he murdered 32 people. What message does that send to the next crazy psycho on the edge?

We should, as a nation, mourn this loss. I was moved by the words of our politicians, the flags at half mast (mass?, no idea). It's not the people I'm pissed at, it's the media. Mourning is not obsession with every detail over and over. That kind of lazy journalism is what causes people to become paranoid, to dwell in the pain and complete insanity of everything that happened. That's the true disrespect.
26 February 2007 @ 09:59 pm
Nic is leaving for Wisconsin for his job. He will be gone for approximately 2 months. He can come home every third weekend.
Current Mood: miserable
Current Music: *Silence*
24 January 2007 @ 03:23 pm
Entertainment News:

'America's Got Talent' judge Brandy was involved in a fatal accident in December and reports reveal it was her fault!

Per TMZ:

'It happened at 10:30 AM on December 30, 2006 on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ Brandy was driving her 2007 Land Rover at 65 mph and did not notice that cars in front of her had slowed considerably. We're told Brandy's vehicle struck a 2005 Toyota. The Toyota then hit a 1989 Toyota. The 2005 Toyota then slid sideways and hit the center divider. As the 2005 Toyota came to a halt, it was struck by a 1988 Acura. We're told the driver of the 2005 Toyota was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in critical condition and she died.'

Poor Brandy. First the death of her career and now this! (Ok, bad joke.)

Stay tuned for more details....


Brandy was involved in a car accident December 30, 2006 in Los Angeles where there was a fatality. She wishes to publicly express her condolences to the family of the deceased. Brandy asks that you respect the privacy of everyone involved at this time.
-- Courtney Barnes (Publicist for Brandy)

Nic sent me a picture of an advertisement for Norbit—Eddie Murphy’s newest attempt to set black folks (specifically women) back about a million years, and it got me to thinking…the person who vandalized that advertisement was astute on a level that I am starting to get a little dull on.

As you can see below, Eddie Murphy is dressed as (what else?) a very large African American woman. Look beyond the racial implications (if you can) and notice something about the woman’s thighs. As the vandal noted, even fat people can’t have cellulite in ads.

Are we to believe that this woman’s thighs and buttocks are this large (and in high definition) and there is nary a sign of a single dimple? Honestly? Are people nowadays even remotely familiar with the female…hell…the human body?
I can’t believe I used to have a crush on this. We’ve come a long way from My So-Called Life haven't we?

And what happened to that bunch? I really liked that show, it was thoughtful, entertaining, and it connected with me on a level that only true fictional teenage angst can. Now, all the members are like, drowning in obscurity. Why do good tv shows have to die?

Here is my list of good tv shows that died either A) due to the fact that they started to suck or B) because the man yanked them off my tv:

1. A Different World, cancelled, and not a moment too soon. The show was so awesome, and I'm not talking about the crappy first season with Denise. But it sucked after Dwayne and Whitley got together and they had to make up a reason for them to hang around the college. There is nothing sadder than someone who still hangs out at their college 3 years after graduation.
2. Radio Free Roscoe, was cancelled unfairly. I loved that show, it was good, clean, corny fun. And a great way to spend a Sunday morning (in your Pjs and with a big bowl of Capn Crunch.) I wonder what's going to happen to the actors?
3. Freaks and Geeks, buried on Friday nights and doomed to failure. I loved that none of the main female characters had to wear tight pants or low cut shirts.
4. Popular, a show with a lot of charm, and surprisingly so. Then it started to lose the charm, went all OC, and got the ax.
5. The aforementioned So-Called Life was ended by the man's lack of vision.
6. Futurama sadly, was cancelled. Though the abomination American Dad still lives on.

As I think of more I’ll be sure to add them. And while I’m at it, shows that should not be on or never have made it to tv:

1. I love NY or Flavor of Love or any other coontastic example of why white people shouldn’t control the media.
2. Any reality show. It’s really old now. Especially we’ve already figured out the formula: Exploitation + Superficial Drama = Success. The only exception I will make is Beauty and the Geek, but only if they stop their deliberate offing of minorities.
3. That show with Eve. I want five minutes of my life back.
4. MTV. The whole thing. It’s all one big commercial anyway.
5. American Idol. It’s stupid and fake and the people who win aren’t really artists anyway. It’s all about who can belt out their cheesy pop ballad the loudest. Yeah, I said it. And I like Jennifer Hudson.
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10 January 2007 @ 06:57 pm
I have this nice new LJ client to type my posts on now. I'll start using the tags feature because it's right there under the subject line on this client. Plus, it's time for me to come back to journaling, as things were meant to be. I love my Mac.

I'm making meat-loaf right now and it smells delicious. There is something great about meat-loaf and potatoes on a cold winter day. And thank beJeebus it's finally cold. Unlike most of Washington DC I'm nervous about global warming. (Don't click that link. It's embarrassing to me and my native Washingtonians. I'm only providing it for posterity.) And after a lovely discussion at my latest book-club meeting, I've come up with some of my own theories and solutions about our environmental problem, to be discussed at a later date.

Until then, fare the well in LJ land until we meet again.
Current Mood: good
Current Music: The Bridge Song - Dishwalla
22 October 2006 @ 07:10 pm
You know what depresses me? Commercials about depression. And Drew Barymore's face. Why does she talk out one side of her mouth?

It depresses me.