Sunday, September 23, 2007

Love Still Good

Yesterday evening, between glasses of red wine and episodes of Don't Forget The Words, I logged on to my laptop to basically surf the net and try to get my mind off of all the things that plague me. Yes, we are at the plague stage here people. My sanity can be found in a cheap liter sized bottle of Sutter Home Cabernet. Classy

Anyway, I was BS-ing and IM-ing a few friends about various topics of discussion, but the prevailing topic was music. Somehow I have managed to convince myself that no one reads my crazy ramblings but me, which apparently is not the case. I was chatting with a new found friend who apparently reads this borderline tabloid/ case study on psychosis, and I we got on the subject of a previous blog. You know, the one about the guy from Color Me Badd? Yeah I am not going to go there again, but somehow we got around to discussing Chico Debarge.

Chico makes good music, and actually that's an understatement. I instantly fell in love with Love Still Good, which I promptly tried to con The Makeup Girl into giving me when I first met her. She wasn't having any of that though. Seriously I don't know where I was or what my life was like when that album dropped (which is strange for me cause I equate everything with music) but I do remember the video for Iggin Me. It made an impression. Okay not just cause he was half naked in the video but seriously it was one of those songs. I did however note that I had JUST seen Chico in the Trick Daddy video Nan, and that he was fresh off a 5 year bid. Criminal is as criminal does, so I couldn't put too much stock into his sticking around the music scene. How does one disassociate themselves from crime hanging out with the Slip N Slide records camp? No matter, on to the song.

So we discuss a little further what about that song in particular was so wonderful. I don't know if we ever made it to that cause I was off that Cab Sav and not exactly on the straightest path to enlightened discussion, so you know I veered off track. See that song makes me think of Maxwell's "Till The Cops Come Knocking" which of course was my jam for the.longest.time.ever. but I digress, the topic at hand became the state of R&B and how far it seems to have fallen. Frankly I cant listen to my R&B station on Yahoo Radio cause that shit is not what I would classify as R&B. Maybe if it stands for Ridiculous Bullshit then yeah, but not so much what I would classify as Rhythm and or Blues.

I think that there are some folks attempting to bring it back. I mean, I love Robin Thicke and Chrissette Michele and Raheem DeVaughn. I think there is still some soul left in R&B provided it isnt turned into a hybrid of hip-hop and some sort of circus. I know they are trying to pass off Trey Songz, Chris Brown and Lloyd as R&B these days but you'll pardon me if I don't get excited. There is talent there I agree, but not one of them is about to become the next Smokey, Marvin, Luther, or Maxwell. Maybe I am just an old soul which I have been accused of before, or maybe they just don't do it like they used to anymore. None of these new songs have a chance in hell of getting me all hot and bothered.

Music, should have the ability to move you. It should conjure up feelings and emotions not just make you sway back and forth. There are songs that I hear that I will have to change the station in order to keep from crying. There are songs that will make take me instantly back to the moment I heard it. The Spinners "Rubberband Man" - 6 years old in my mother's old Chrysler Lebaron with the burgundy seats. The Manhattan's "Let's Just Kiss and Say Goodbye" - 13 at my best friend Trisha's house, sitting on the floor doing each others hair and singing (Steve Miller Band "The Joker" holds the same memory).

Prince's "Diamond's and Pearls" - Banneker Junior High School Friday night dances, wearing Elizabeth Arden's Red Door and my best pair of Reebok Classics. Guy's "Goodbye Love" or Fredrick's "Gentle" - Myrtle Beach with my Godsister singing to our mixtapes way too loud and wrong for some young girls. Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite "Something Somethin", Donnell Jones "You Know What's Up" and Montell Jordan's "Get It On Tonight" always remind me of dancing at Republic Gardens and Club 2K9. The big one's though are Teena Marie's "Dear Lover" and Anita Baker's "No One In The World" who as a love struck teenager I used to send homemade tapes and lyrics to the boys I liked, only to have them go "What the hell is this song".

Some songs have made me feel vulnerable, beautiful, strong, sexy and like I could be anyone or anything I needed to be. The point is that I really feel like for R&B to be good its gotta stir you in some way. It can't just flow past you like water, its got to grab you and suck you in. That's what I want from my R&B, but I understand that most folks just need to be entertained. I guess that's okay for them, but for me as it stands I want to feel my music, and if I don't then I figure it just doesn't count.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Turn Off That Rap Music!

I am beginning to wonder about some of these new artists (and I use that term loosely) that have hit the scene recently. Keeping in mind that I do listen to some wholly inappropriate and highly ignorant shit on a regular basis, its bad when I cant justify some of the stuff.

Let me take you back with me a bit. I have no issues with rap most times and there is a lot to be offended by in rap music these days. I just happen to be a music person. Some stuff, I cant listen to cause I think they are just being ignorant for the sake of ignorance. Other stuff I can sort of tune out the stupid shit and appreciate the beats, and lyrical flow, not so much content. Folks will rap about anything these days so lets not pretend like I have a great selection of intellectual content at my disposal. If I want to learn something I will put in Mos Def or Common or Kweli but I am not going to get much out of Pitbull or Lil John even though the shit is mad catchy.

Case in point, I am over to my homegirl Dia's house the other night and we wind up watching the video channel. Dia has somehow managed to out grow the infectious beats and rhymes of ignorant hip-hop. Me? Not so much. I know most if not all of the songs, artists, and lyrics. Its that useless information gene I have. I cant remember that my car payment is due on the first every month but I know that Marc Ronson's video for Amy Winehouse's rendition of "Valerie" that just this moment dropped, opens with a short performance by Wale, a local (DMV) hip-hop/go-go artist who is now doing BIG shit across the pond. By the way, Nike Boots is my shit!

Sorry I got sidetracked for a moment, but let me continue. We are watching the videos and of course here comes Gucci Mane, who...frankly I have no words for. Do I like his new song....well, I like it in terms of how Luda is on the remix, but clearly he has ripped off Rick James for the title and the song has zero content. That and he is the ASHYEST man I have probably ever seen in life. Being untalented is one thing, being ashy, ugly and untalented is quite another. In fact any combination of the three is just bad. Case in point, T-Pain. I havent figured out if he is really talented or not. I know he is good with the "Roger from Zapp" voice synthesizer, but shit do I know if this clown can sing really? Everyone wants his ass on a remix, but Lil Wayne's ass is on every remix known to man too, and I have always felt like his shit was questionable. Catchy? YES, I still remember that "Block is Hot" bullshit from his Hot Boyz days. I aint forgot Weezy.

T-Pain even has the audacity to nickname himself Teddy P as in (Penderazdoun) and let me tell you, the way that guy looks he would HAVE to sit on my ass to keep me from escaping. Seriously he frightens me and that's tough to do. Plus he hangs out with R. Kelly, and well...we all know where I am going with this one. Don't even get me started on this cat Plies. What the hell kind of name is that anyway? Nevermind, tangent. Seems like today you only need a good beat and a gimmick in order for folks to rush off to buy your bullshit. I mean, I probably contribute to the problem by entertaining shit like "Walk it Out", "Soulja Boy" and "Duffle Bag Boy" but in all honesty I listen to other stuff too, and I dont buy any of that crap so I would like to believe it balances out. All my iTunes money isn't going into Young Jeezy's pocket but its also not in Jibbs pocket either.

I guess it all depends on what you really like. I wouldn't want someone to come and yank my Rick Ross mix tape away from me because they don't like his flow, and I dare someone to touch my go-go. That might get your block knocked off. I guess I can sort of excuse the other shit. Maybe all T-Pain needs is a bath and someone to snatch that damn synthesizer away. Maybe all Gucci Mane needs is a copy of Hip Hop for dummies and a tub of Crisco. Its all in what you will tolerate, and apparently I have a high tolerance for bullshit music. Something tells me though that one day I am going to look back and wonder what the hell I was thinking.

Monday, September 17, 2007


This was going to be an entirely different blog about clothing and my inability to locate an appropriate "anything" at the mall this weekend, but I am not going to go there today. My heart isnt in it and why force it. I will save it for another day.

Last night I was on my computer and I was digging through some of my old files looking for my saved documents for the Mortgage guy. I came across a file full of poems and short stories and all sorts of other unfinished creative persuits. I gotta admit it made me very sad. Sure the blog is good for getting things out, but my real feelings are in those files. I used to write every single day, and I wrote about everything even if it was unpleasent, even if it was crazy. I wrote it all down like a photographer takes photos. They are just tiny captured moments, frozen in time. Every feeling associated with them is as fresh and real as the day I put them on paper.

I miss writing, and really it is how I wound up as busy as I am today. People always ask me how I got interested in my current field, and I tell them that I wasnt, I was interested in a job that would afford me the time I needed to write. Thats how I wound up 10 years in the same industry. I dont know that I actually chose it as much as it chose me.

I used to wait tables in a pool hall down from an office building. Folks would always come down at happy hour and get liquored up after a long day at work. Turns out that while I was working one happy hour shift, I got noticed by a woman and her coworker. They were looking for a receptionist and wanted me to interview. At that point in my life I was sort of tired of the server game. The hours were long and the pay sucked, but I did get a whole lot of free alcohol which I thought balenced things out. One day I will tell you all about the pool hall stories like "3 Convict Night", "The Unstable Samoan" and "Avin Becomes A Bouncer" but thats not where I am going with this today.

So I took the lady's advice and interviewed. It was a disaster actually. I dont know if she was ever acquainted with black people before or what her deal was but she was very nervous about things that employers shouldnt be nervous about. First, I still believe I had a discrimination case against her in regard to my nose ring. She actually told the other woman that they wouldnt hire me because of it, but I didnt learn this until almost a year later. It just so happened that I didnt wear it to the interview. Look, if you pick your potential employees out of the pool hall downstairs at happy hour then you cant be picky about whether or not they have a damn nose ring. Second, the last chick she hired had robbed the petty cash drawer with her lil convict boyfriend and she was super extra pressed about making sure I wasnt a petty thief. Again, its a pool hall, not a job fair. I didnt bother to tell her I was also in the process of divorce, that may have sent her over the edge.

So I was offered the job, and I got it down pretty fast. I started chipping away at my novel again and just when I thought I had hit an everyday groove, I was promoted. Seems I was doing so well in my current position, they wanted me to move up. Move up is good, more pay and experiance meant less time writing. 10 years later I almost never write. I am so busy these days that I dont have time to be creative I just know how to work and go home. After being on the computer all day at the office, the last thing I want to do is go home and spend more time on it trying to create when really all I want my brain to do is rest.

Writing was always my escape. It always made me feel better and it always helped me to get my head together especially when things are bad and right now, thats what they are. A particularly shitty week that carried over into a difficult weekend makes me think that I never should have stopped writing. Maybe I will get back there and finish one of those novels, or start back to writing poetry I thought at the time was so sophmoric and now I realize has so much more meaning than I ever thought. Its my life, and they are like a photos and though they are faded I still remember every moment.

Oh and could someone PLEASE get these fucking rabid ass Redskin fans the fuck away from my door? I understand they are all just chomping at the bit to get into some sort of tangle with me since I am an Eagles fan but really, can I live? I have work to do that doesnt involve discussing the "Eastern Motors" team and their performance on the field this evening. I understand you are all very crunk about it but I would appreciate it if you would go measure your dicks someplace else. Yes, I am an Eagles fan. No, I dont feel like discussing it today, however this type of behavior does make me want to throw batteries. Please ask Joe Gibbs to hold the ruler for you, I am fucking busy.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Money In The Bank

I guess you all have heard about the new Apple iPhone price decrease/new iPod Touch Screen roll out by now. Its been all over the internet and in the paper for the last two days so I am not sure how you would have missed it. Maybe you were working on your drink and your two-step, no matter I will fill you in.

Two days ago Steve Jobs rolled out the new line of iPods with touch screens and new wide screen iPod Nano's. So why should you care about that? Really unless you are a tech geek like me or you never managed to get on board with the iPod thing and have chosen now to do so, it probably wont effect you one way or the other, but thats not the reason I am writing about this really. Its about the whole price drop on the iPhone thing that seems to have caused iNsanity amongst owners. See the iPhone started at a whopping $499 for the 4GB model and $599 for the 8GB. If you read this thing at all, you know I bought one (I mean If I don't do nothin, Imma ball) which I love dearly and think is probably the most fabulous tech gadget I own.

Apparantly, others felt that way too, and shelled out their cash for them too. Fast forward to Wednesday. Folks apparantly are hopping mad that they spent their hard earned cash on an iPhone when they decided to drop the price by $200. The internet is buzzing with salty ass people with their thongs in a twist, losing their damn collective minds over paying extra for the very gadget they waiting in line for. Me? Do I really care about it? Hell no, because I know thats how the world works, and if you want to run a profitable business, sometimes you have to take steps that no one will find cute or popular.

I was reading the Post this morning at o'dark-thirty and there were two seperate articles detailing the anger and hostility that sprang forth from iPhone owners. Some guy was in his feelings so much that he claimed to have sold his stock in Apple. To that I say, you are a fucking fool. Whatever your personal issue with feeling swindled by Jobs and his merry band of iCreators, selling profitable stock is not going to get you your damn money back. Not only that, but why cry about it now? Didnt you get the damn thing long before anyone else had one? Isnt that the price of being first in line? Sometimes you pay for the privelege of owning something before the rest of the population. Steve Jobs would be a jackass and a fool if he didnt continue to create new devices and find new ways to get people to buy them, quit hating on that man and put away the damn pitchforks.

Then I find out that because the iLoones were having a damn coronary episode over their spent money, Apple is going to give early iPhone purchasers a $100 credit. Now, you can say what you want about it, but I am jive happy about that right there. I wont have to come out of pocket for one song, video or movie for quite a while behind that credit so I am quite pleased. All this petitioning and acting upset over spent money is just lunacy, and they can miss me with that for real, I have other things to do with my life.

Speaking of other things, I am in the process of converting my nicely stacked pile of chips into a Condo for me and "the boy". I am finally going to get the hell out of that house with the old folks. I cant tell you when I am moving, or where (yeah, like I would really say) but you can bet your ass one thing. I will not be using a damn moving company again. U-Haul is about to get my paper. We arent going to have another "situation" like we had last October. I dont care what anyone says, that shit will not happen. Perhaps I may have a story or two about the process but I promise it will be nothing like last year.

Other than that, I missed out on taking a trip down to S.C. with the family today. My great aunt is turning 90 and I was invited to attend. I was going to take "the boy" since he doesnt really know that side of the family too well, and make a side trip to see my old pal Tricia who doesnt live too far away from where we were going. That ALL went the hell out the window when I realized that no kids were going, so of course "the boy" didnt want to go. Then dad decided he was staying, which meant there was no need for me to drive. That would put me smack dab in the middle of my mother and her two sisters, in a car for 10 hours.

Yeah you are probably thinking, "how is S.C. 10 hours from D.C.?" I have pondered that too my friends, and since I have actually made it to Atlanta in 10 hours, the logic of this lengthy car ride escapes me. All they will say is that they "take their time" when they go to S.C. Taking your time is one thing, but 10 hours is some real different shit. If you remember this story, then you'll understand why I have no interest in being trapped in a car with those old biddies for half a day, so I hope they take pictures.