.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Halloween Hoodrat Roundup
I remember the days when Halloween was about dressing up in costume and trolling the neighborhood for the best trick or treat candy. As we got older the costumes got more suggestive and we traded trick or treating for parties with our friends and crushes. Ahh, the good old days.

Enter the Hoodrats.

Hoodrat run-in #1-This little no-home training having urchin threw eggs at my car. While I was still in it. I know teenagers like to play pranks, you know like toilet papering trees, egging houses, and all of that. I don't like it, but teenagers will do what they do (especially the boys). But who throws eggs at a car while the driver is still in it? Drive-by egging? Alone? I would have better understood if the boy way with some of his friends, but this fool was alone. He's lucky that I was in good Halloween spirits, otherwise he would have gotten some hellacious wrath. What he got was a good big-sister-variety talking to, and I made him pay to have my car washed.

Hoodrat run-in #2-I got a knock on my door, and expecting it to be another group of trick or treaters I went to get the bowl of candy. By the time I opened the door, they were up the stairs leading out of my building but my door was covered in shaving cream. Blue shaving cream. I didn't get to harangue this group of kids though.

Hoodrat run-in #3-Another knock on the door. I went for the candy bowl once again. I opened the door and in front of me stood three nearly grown-ass boys and one ghetto-ass girl. No costumes, but bags open expecting candy. No "trick or treat, smell my feet...", just blank stares. I asked them how old they were, and almost in unison they responded, "Lady, dat ain't none of yo' bidness". What. the. hell. So I said, "Excuse me, I'm an adult, not one of your friends, don't you know you don't speak to grown people like that? You don't even have costumes on, so how are you gonna come to my door and ask for candy? Matter of fact, you scraggly asses didn't even have the nerve to say 'trick or treat' when I opened the door. Get off my damn doorstep." The ghetto girl said "Well fuck you then, we don't want your candy no way". *SLAM!* Closed the door in their faces and went on with my evening. (By the way, I don't give out cheap candy. I give the good stuff like Snickers and Twix)

I could go on for days about the horrible hoodrat values being passed on to kids today, but I'll spare you for now. However I will say that parents can spend inordinate amounts of money buying their kids whatever the latest 'gotta have it' is, but home-training is free! I don't care if you discipline your children with time out or whoop some ass now and again--whatver it takes--just PLEASE teach them some manners. Or at least have Aretha spell it out for them...
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, what a novel concept.

I was quoted in the print version of Express today (in the "blog log"...have to view the pdf to see it), so I guess I'm internet famous. Nice to see that people actually read what's on my mind.

Identify and Divide
I struggle to figure out why it is so unacceptable amongst many black people to mention your non-negro heritage or even to specify what type of negro-heritage you have. People get mad at celebs like Rosario Dawson, Melyssa Ford, and most notoriously Tiger Woods who are proud of their mixed race heritage. These angry people say things like, "All black people are mixed, so why do you have to itemize what you are?" "Part nigga, all nigga" "When you break down your racial identity then you're denying the fact that you're black" "When you say that you're more than just black, you're trying to get white people to accept you"

Just because I/we can and will break down our racial identity doesn't mean that we deny that we're black. Me especially, my skin color gives that fact away so I could break it down till I'm blue in the face, but at the end of the day most people just see a black woman. But that doesn't mean that I have to be ashamed of what I am racially. Why am I only allowed to be proud of my African heritage? Why is it not okay for me to admit that there are other races that are part of my DNA? And for the record, non-black doesn't automatically equal white. I really can't stand when people say the opposite.

For me, it's not an issue of white is right or trying to gain anybody's acceptance by identifying all the other races that I am. I'm proud to be mixed with a little bit of everything, because who I am is a little bit of everywhere.

In the approximately 143 years since blacks were declared free people in this country, we've been trying to get other people to accept us and treat us equally. Having stated that, why are we not able to accept OURSELVES? Identifying oneself as more than just black is not indicative of an insidious level of self-hate, it is instead indicative of soaring self- and ancestor-respect.

There are some who say, "defining yourself as 'black and...' is disrespectful to your African ancestors". Well, isn't it more disrespectful to my Native American, Jamaican, Portugese, Chinese, and English ancestors to not mention them at all?

When I have to check off a race on some legal form, I check "Black, of African descent" because that's most apparent and has been a major factor shaping my life experience; or if I'm feeling bold I check "other" and in the space provided next to the box I write "HUMAN" because at the end of the day, I'm human. Nothing more, nothing less. Race, class, and gender do not figure in.

I embrace my heritage, I embrace my multi-layered racial makeup, and I embrace my blackness, but most of all I embrace being human and that requires no definition.

Happy Halloween
Yes, it's that time of year again. Time for silly costumes, and candy overload. It's also time to dust off Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. This song comes out once a year to celebrate the dancing zombies amongst us. (Well that's true for most people anyways, yall know how I am about Michael Jackson! Thanks to an 11th hour intervention by my sister, I now own 9 copies of the "Thriller" album. Don't hate!) So here's my contribution to your Halloween Fun:

Monday, October 30, 2006
Easy Like Sunday Morning
When I get in my feelings I listen to music more than usual, which is hard to believe since I rarely am without music of some sort. I listen to any genre that sounds good to me, I'm not prejudiced to any particular style. It's funny how song lyrics can express your emotions better than your own words. I was listening to "Easy" by Lionel Richie/Commodores earlier and some of the lyrics say exactly how I've been feeling:

...You know I've done all I can
You see I begged, stole
And I borrowed....
Why in the world
Would anybody put chains on me?
I've paid my dues to make it
Everbody wants me to be
What they want me to be
I'm not happy when I try to fake it!....
I wanna be free to know
The things I do are right
I wanna be free
Just me, babe!
That's why I'm easy
I'm easy like Sunday morning....

I suppose I could give minute detail as to why I've been all emotional lately, but that would kind of take away from the sanctity of it. I'll go so far as to say my heart's been opened up in potentially the cruelest way possible and I'm searching for that proverbial band-aid.

Also, I'm feeling kind of weary. I find myself more often I'd like to be, the only black (woman) in social and professional settings. People look to me for the so-called black perspective or for the female perspective on things. I get tired of feeling like I have to be a representative for an entire race of people. I've had to explain too many times that my opinions are my own, and while some black people and some females may share my opinions, they should not be taken as the gospel.

I'm tired of having to always watch what I say, what I write, and how I feel for fear of misrepresenting my people. I have to systematically dilute the harshness of my words for fear of being seen as the "crazy black woman" at work and in school, and I can only do that so much before my soul begins to crack.

I've blogged intermittently on one website or another for the last few years to an audience that I may never see in person, and even though I don't mince words in my forum, still in the back of my mind I wonder if someone will see my words and wonder if all black people or all black women or all females think this way. Is my criticism of myself and the world too much for some people to handle? Is my prose not "black" enough? Not "feminist" enough? Not eloquent enough? Does the fact that I'm proud of being a college educated black woman come off as elitist?

At some point, I stop this mental interrogation to remind myself and the world at large that just because I'm black and female I'm not your representative. Do not ask me what it's like to be a black woman, because I have nothing to compare my experiences to. I've been this way since God created me. I continue writing, speaking, and acting however my spirit tells me to, and for that, I make no apologies.

I wanna be free
Just me, babe!
That's why I'm easy
I'm easy like Sunday morning....

Serious Public Service Announcement

The end of October is almost here, so with that comes the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Most everyone who knows me in a non-blog capacity knows that this cause is very close to my heart (along with the fight against AIDS, but you'll read about that another time). I've been fortunate enough to see some of my closest females survive this disease, and I've seen a few lose the fight as well. While I'm grateful that BCA month this year has been bigger and more successful than ever before, I hope the message isn't lost as soon as the last bag of pink ribbon M&Ms or "Awareness Mints" is taken off the shelf.

I'm not normally the type to do PSAs, but in honor of those who haven't survived, those who have, and those who are just beginning the struggle with this disease please make sure you get yourself checked. Do your self-exams monthly, and make sure to get your yearly mammogram.

My black sistas, please know that even though we are less likely to develop breast cancer, we are more likely to die from it. That's built into our genetic makeup. So forgetting or skipping your mammogram is not an option. Early detection equals early treatment, which can mean longer life. While we don't usually start getting mammograms until we're in our 30s and 40s, it's okay to begin doing your monthly self-exams much earlier. It's in so doing that we're able to more quickly and easily recognize any changes that could be potentially cancerous.

To do the self exam you don't have to follow any special chart, etc. I know of one woman who's boyfriend noticed the lump in her breast before she did because he was the one who did the majority of the "examining". That's cute and funny, but it saved her life. So however you're most comfortable doing the exams (whether you or your partner does it), it doesn't matter...just make sure it gets done.

Ok, I'm stepping down off of my soapbox. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The Problem with Pretty
I am decidedly sickened. I'm really wondering what on earth is happening to the state of our young girls today. I grew up in the 80s and 90s with enough 'Girl Power' messages to make it out of adolesence relatively unscathed. Lucky for me I was taught that my worth doesn't rest in the quality of my makeup or my ability to prance around in a glittery midriff top.

My friend, Karen has an 8-year old daughter who will be turning 9 in about a month. Squeak (my nickname for her daughter) told me that she wants to have her party at Club Libby Lu, which prides itself on being "A special secret club where super fabulous girls can have makeover parties, play games, get advice, and find really cool princess paraphernalia..."

I asked the child, "Why do you want to have your party there?". She responded, "Because I can get a makeover and princess stuff with my friends so Arjay(one of her male classmates) will think ask me out". I then asked, "Is that the only way that he will like you? You're a smart cookie, I'm sure he likes that about you too" to which she said, "Well no one really likes girls who know too much, you know, ones who are real smart. And if you don't have good makeup and good clothes or look good, then you can forget it".

Hearing this really shocked me because Karen, quite the feminist, has two older daughters who have managed to avoid the self-esteem minefields and are fairly secure with themselves. These girls are able to appreciate Barbie for her fashion sense, but aren't afraid to get down with some geometry. They know that glitter doesn't always equal good. I was also disappointed to see just how brainwashed a young girl can become, just by watching the women around her.

I asked her about this, and we got into a serious dialogue about the future of young women in this country. It seems as if we're taking steps back from the advances that were made by our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, etc to make everyone see that women are capable of doing most everything that men can do. Was all of their hard work in vain? These women struggled to make sure we understood that we are worth more than whatever what's being bottled and sold at Sephora.

There's a sickening increase in cosmetic surgery, increased incidences of body dysmorphic disorder, more girls with eating disorders, fewer girls challenging academia early on, and from society at large: an overall apathy about it all.

Princess parties are great, secret clubs are great, but to be given a "makeover" at an age when you should be learning long division isn't so great. Our society has become so cosmetic surgery and image crazy, with nearly every cable channel showing it's own version of a "makeover show". We don't realize that our little girls watch our every move, so they take our obsession with looking good and make it their own. I know things have hit rock bottom when I see 12 year olds reaching for the age defying moisturizer.

I have no problem with wanting to look your best, but is it necessary to have beauty and brains be polar opposites? Why to be taken seriously do I have to be nipped, tucked, and made over? Why do my words hold less merit if I don't have perfectly coiffed hair or have on an outfit from the newest designer? How can we save our young ladies from living lives full of self-hate and disdain for all things academic?

Like the 80s club song says, "Don't make me over...."

Sunday, October 29, 2006
Another Tale from the Sketchy Man File
I'm thinking about making this a weekly feature in this part of the blogosphere, simply because I have these run-ins all too often and more often then not they're just plan wrong or just plain hilarious.

This afternoon I decided to take a walk around my neighborhood instead of going to the gym. While I was out, some poor excuse for a hood urchin comes up to me and really tried to run his very best game. When I say poor excuse, I mean he was wearing some fake-ass supermarket vending machine type of bling with some scruffy lookin tims and a humongous white t-shirt. I'm sure there are plenty of decent brothas who dress this way, but sometimes a person's demeanor tells on them. And trust me, dude was not one of those decent brothas.

"Oooh, I wish I was your t-shirt right now so I could be close to you"

"Excuse me? I'm just trying to get some exercise this afternoon, I'm sorry I'm not trying to be rude but I just want to get my walk on"

"Well lemme just walk witcha"

So I entertained him for a while, and let him walk with me. He proceeded to tell me just how he's going to treat me like a lady and take me to nice dinners at places like Applebee's and Chili's. Ummm, Applebee's? Like carside to go Applebee's? My baby back ribs Chili's? Not that there's anything wrong with those places, cuz lord knows me and my people get our hardcore grub on there, but to try and impress me by telling me you'll buy me a $17.99 meal isn't natural. He also told me how he's going to buy me everything I want. Verbatim he said, "I'll let you go up in Finish Line and you can get whatever Air Max's you want. Girl you thought I didn't notice your red & black Air Max 95's?"

I'm really not interested in what you'll buy me or where you'll take me out to eat, at first anyway. I'll leave that to the hood rats and golddiggers. I'm more concerned with things like personality and if you're gainfully employed. I don't care if you work at McDonald's, I just need to know that you're taking some steps at making a life for yourself. I explained this to my suitor and asked him what he does with himself and he proceeded to tell me that he's not employed because he quit the last job--they were getting on his nerves. But he's in the music game, so he's going to blow up soon and make serious paper. Likely story. He also told me that school was not for him and he had no intent on getting his GED because he'd be making serious paper in the music game.

I don't need a man to have an advanced degree, but you can't just give up on your education because of some outside chance that you might make some money. I was nice and told him that I'm not interested because I have a man (I lied, so what) so he came with the tried and true "I'm hung like a mandingo". (Men, STOP the madness, don't say this when trying to get a woman's attention).

Instant dismissal. I had to get kinda stank and tell him where to go because I wasn't having it. To which he said, "Fine, you're an uppity bitch and I only holla'd cuz you looked like you needed it". I guess some people really don't handle rejection well.

Menstrual Ungoodness
I'm female, so I'm allowed to rant about this stuff. So please, just give me my moment mmmmk?

Why oh why is Always' new slogan "Have a happy period"? And why does this message have to be printed on all of their products? Never ever in my life have I had a "happy period". I'm happy when it's over, not while I'm in the grips of its madness. Sure, I suppose I should be grateful to NOT be pregnant, but to be pregnant would require sex--don't get me started on that *shakes head violently*. But sometimes I find myself thinking, "Damn you Eve, why did you have to eat that damn apple? You really messed things up for all of us"

Anyway, with all of this menstrual ungoodness going around I had to stop and think of all the stupid and funny euphemisms we have to let people know that for the next few days you are to stay out of our way and leave us gifts of chocolate. I polled a few of my friends and here's what they call the most unfriendly days of the month (these are the top 5) :

~"I'm rebooting the ovarian operating system"
~"Aunt Flo is here for a visit"
~"Dishonorable discharge from the Uterine Navy"
~"Clean up on aisle one"
~"Game Day for Crimson Tide"

There are infinite euphemisms out there. You can add your own and humor me if you'd like. But while I'm ranting, I really want to know why the feminine product aisle in any store is awash in pink, pastel putrescence. Sure, I'm quite fond of pink, but why must every product in this aisle be the color of Easter eggs? Is this supposed to be a testament to our girliness? Ummm, there is nothing 'girly' about a period. You feel gross, and sometimes have cramps that rival childbirth contractions (I don't have kids, so I can only assume this fact) so the last thing I want to see is some flowery girly garbage. It really irks me that this packaging looks so similar to what's in the baby aisle. Why can't maxi pad and tampon packaging be a muted shade of gray like my cozy sweats that I cherish during this time of the month? I really don't need to be reminded that I'm a girl during this time...trust me, I'm already painfully aware.

Saturday, October 28, 2006
My Heritage Celeb Look-Alike
I was over at GoldenSilence and saw this fun little tool from MyHeritage that shows you what celebrities you supposedly resemble based on pictures. The resemblance is based on facial shape/expression, not who you actually look like. Here's what mine came up as:

I did five different photos, and had some odd matches. Check it out and comment if you'd like.

Too-Strong Black Women
Is it possible for a woman to be too strong? Especially a Black woman?

My mom and I somehow get on this topic pretty frequently. She considers herself of the strong variety, having raised my brother and I as a single parent. She's now happily married to my great stepdaddy but for 14 years she did it alone. Many times I find myself in awe of how she held it down--she kept my brother and myself in private schools for our entire K-12 journey and managed to see us through college with not so much as an "atta girl, good job" or tuition help from my father. From help with science fairs to FAFSA apps, she did it all. She never complained, and always had a smile. We were in countless activities and she shuttled us from football to dance to piano to boy- and girl-scouts to volleyball to track to little league and everything else we did. Let me just tell you, 20 years of tap competitions isn't cheap at all, and while I foot the bills for dance now, she paid for more costumes and pairs of tap shoes than I can count. She never once missed a home game or a recital.

I use my mom as a prime example of strong womanhood because while she knows she's strong, she feels no need to advertise it. Most strong women are "Pushed Back to Strength" meaning they don't want to be Super Women, but because of a divorce or whatever, are pushed into that role. A lot of my mom's friends are Super Women, and handle it with grace.

However, there is a subsection of these Super Women who exploit their strength and have become "over-strong". I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "You can't fuck with me, I'm a Strong Black Woman" or "A man can't do shit for me cuz I'm a Strong Black Woman". It's sad to me to hear that. Sure my mom had her number of "don't fuck with me" moments, but any woman has those.

I see women strong to the point of coldness, and that's really not necessary. Sure, holding it down on your own will make you tougher than most, but being cold doesn't equate to being tough. This is "over strength". Many of these women reject a good man who is willing to step in and help or at least be a cheerleader for her cause because in her eyes a man can't do anything for her. They develop this "untouchable" attitude or just a plain stank attitude that turns people off.

Ladies, a lesson here. True strength comes in being able to admit that it's hard to hold it down all on your own. All women, whether they have to do it all themselves or not, have to be strong to a point. We already have the chips stacked against us because we're women, and having added melanin just makes it that much harder on us. Yes, a strong woman's emotions may be stifled at times, but don't be afraid to cry. Showing that you're human is a testament to your strength. STANK ATTITUDE does NOT EQUAL STRENGTH. Sure you may have to raise hell sometimes to help and protect you and yours, I don't dispute that. If you're really strong, you need not exploit it and tell everyone you run across how strong you are, because it's already evident.

Do you think the strongest women out there like Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelou, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Myrlie Evers, Condi Rice (I include her because she's GOT to have a strong back to be a black republican woman and have no qualms about it) etc earned respect for their strength by telling everyone they run across "I'm a Strong Black Woman, you can't fuck with me"? No, absolutely not. They got up every day and let their strength speak for itself. These women held it down and did so with grace and humility. A truly strong woman knows her strength, yet is humble. Lift your weaker sisters up and help them develop the strength they will need to function in this world. Some of the strongest women in this world are dealing with things that we can't even imagine (think being AIDS infected in Sudan, Africa and not able to feed your child for weeks on end, running from tribal warfare, being a victim of Female Genital Mutilation, being forced to live under a dictator's regime) but they don't advertise it. They just do what they gotta do to survive and their dreams of a better life keep them going. The equation is simple: strength+grace+humility+class=A truly strong Black Woman.

Thursday, October 26, 2006
Sista Big Bone?
Why when a man makes an attempt to holla, does he have to mention your size?? This morning, I was walking from my car into work and I hear some trifling excuse for a pick up line, "OOOHHHH, Sista Big Bone, can a brotha walk you home?? Look like a plate of Neckbones" I know he got this line from Anthony Hamilton's song, so he thought he was stepping up his flirt game. He was probably thinking something to himself along the lines of "I know this girl must think I'm the shit cuz now she knows I be listenin' to that neo-soul stuff that dem sophisticated-type bruhs be jammin to"

Of course he got the quickest "I'm sorry, I'm not interested" that I could muster without sounding rude, but it wasn't just the pick up line...he was just a mess from head to toe and brain to soul so I couldn't even fake it and act interested. But going back to the pick up line, and the song for that matter. There are several things wrong with it. Let me break them down for you, and feel free to add more as you see fit.

1) "Sista Big Bone, can a brotha walk you home": Nothing appears wrong with this on the surface, but you just called me Sis. Big Bone. You really felt the need to make light of the fact that I'm not a size 2. Granted, I'm comfortable with my big-bonedness, I even like it, and a lot of men do too, but you don't know me so you wouldn't know that. Rule of life--don't make light of a woman's weight until you know her fairly well. Calling her "big-boned" when she thinks she's anorexic-tiny or when she's already painfully ashamed of her body may get you hurt, badly.

2) "...Look like a plate of neckbones": What?? OK, you just compared me to food. Am I not human? I know neckbones taste good to some of you, but damn why because I'm big do I have to look like food? You wouldn't say that to a skinny girl even if she were just as attractive would you? And for the record, neckbones look like this:

They are not attractive. Chopped up pieces of pork, and you have the nerve to say that I look like that?? Da hell is wrong wit you? You wouldn't tell a skinny girl, "Look like a plate of Reduced-Fat Potato Chips" would you?

That's really it about the song, but in general, why do people feel the need to holla and let a big girl know that he finds her attractive but also throw in there that he notices her thickness? No, this is not a "fat acceptance" speech or a Monique-type tirade about how skinny women are evil. I'm just asking, damn, don't you see that I'm " regular people" too, just like the skinny girl?

And because I'm sure someone will mention this, I DO know the difference between big boned and just outright fat. I happen to be the former (big boned and proud). Also, please save the "you should go to the gym to make your ass and thighs smaller" speech for your skinny friends who wouldn't know what to do with a treadmill if their life depended on it. I actually go to the gym and workout regularly, so if you see me eating pizza every now and again, I earned it!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Black Churchianity
This is probably going to be unpopular, but oh well...

Before I get into this, let me preface by saying, yes I am a Christian and I have been attending Black Church(es) for the majority of my time on this planet.

There is a level of control exerted by Black Holiness that frightens me. I see so many of my counterparts participating in this type of "Churchianity" that just is beyond my comprehension. I understand that as followers of a religion, some people will take their pastor's (or deacon or bishop or whomever) word as the Gospel, and will essentially follow those tenets rather than listen to that along with what they hear God tell them.

For the past few years, I've been researching other religions and examining my own spirituality. In my eyes, this has made my bond with God that much stronger. God has given us a full gamut of religious beliefs to examine and or adopt, and from what I understand, it's more than okay to adopt a type of spirituality that suits you and your lifestyle. You can be Baptist and have some Buddhist or Muslim sensibilities, and you won't fry in Hell for it. I don't always go to church on Sundays, but my relationship with who I refer to as The Supreme Being is not weaker for that.

I've discussed this at length with many of my friends and elders, and for the most part their consensus has been that I'm wrong for wanting to learn about other beliefs. A lot of them say that because I'm not always sitting in church for an indeterminate amount of time on Sundays, dressed in my "go to meeting best" that I'm something less of a Christian. I do not understand this. I also don't understand the lack of openmindedness that runs rampant with the people I call "Churchians". Basically these people tell me that there is no need to examine other religions or investigate MY OWN spirituality because everything I need to be fulfilled spiritually comes from Church and what the Pastor says in a 20-40 minute sermon. Also, according to them, believing anything other than what's spelled out in Black Holiness Dogma (I use Dogma for lack of a better word) is wrong. But they can't give me a good reason WHY it's wrong. "It just is, and Pastor so-and-so said so, therefore it must be true"

Frankly, I see a whooole lot of wrong going on in Black Churches (I'll post more on that another time), and hypocrisy is just one of those wrongs. I see so many people rearranging their lives to fit in Church and doing what they are told to do in said Church, but they know absolutely nothing about their religion. I haven't run across too many people who know exactly how to act in church and can get around the "stand up, sit down, pass the collection plate" pomp and circumstance like a champ, but can tell me why they are a "New Testament Mission Baptist" and not a member of the Church of God in Christ, or even the difference between the two. Very few can tell me who Martin Luther is, and I don't mean the dream-having Dr. MLK, Jr. Even fewer still know Bible history, but they sure can spit out Bible verse and not necessarily know the context in which the verse was used or even what the verse actually means.

I'm not saying that in order to be a believer you need to know the whole history of your religion and need to be a theocratic scholar, but it does help to be able to know some basic facts other than how the ushers march in at the beginning of Sunday Service. Seriously, without some facts like those on your side, how can you tell me that getting familiar with MY OWN spirituality and faith is wrong? And how can you tell me what is right and wrong for me to believe? I may not always know the proper usher etiquette or which direction to pass the ump-teen collection plates that go around, but I'm a Christian, not a Churchian, and that's good enough for me.

Monday, October 23, 2006
Domestic Security has gone entirely too far!
I work in an office that requires us to wear badges with our names and pictures on them. You know the kind--the ones that have pictures that look as bad, if not worse than your driver's license. These badges also serve as keys. Most of the doors in the office require a key or code entry to get through them. All of this was started after 9/11 in the interest of domestic (or office) security. I understand this, I accept it. Most offices have a similar plan.

However, some things just don't need to be secured. My first day at work, I was told the restrooms were at the end of the hall. When I got to the door, I was faced with a large keypad. This restroom required a code to get in. Now what kind of person is going to try and break into a bathroom? And steal what...some toilet paper and soap? No one had bothered to inform me that the women's room was more secure than Fort Knox! You would think they'd cover this during orientation.

There I was trying every number combination I could think of, cuz yall...I really had to pee. I was thinking "is this some type of fucked up initiation rite--lock new people out of the gotdamned bathroom?". I guess you're only allowed three attempts at getting in the bathroom before a silent alarm goes off, because out of the blue a security guard shows up and says, "I've gotten a report that someone is trying to breach security of the lavatory, please show your ID"

Me: I'm sorry, I've really got to go...
Security Lady: ID Please
Me: Ummm, ok *shows ID* Could you just tell me how to get in here?
Security: Alright, but I'm going to have to escort you in and once you're done I will have to go with you to your supervisor to verify that you are indeed an employee here
Me: Fine, whatever. I just gotta go...

So she lets me in, I do what I gotta do. This big burly broad actually walks me to my supervisor's office and verifies my identity like I'm some kind of criminal. Once it's been established that, yes I'm a new employee, I'm finally given the code to get in. To. the. bathroom. Damn, not even the office supply closet's got this much damned protection, and people steal shit from there all the time (if you think I'm lying, watch the supply of scotch tape dwindle around Christmas time...people got gifts to wrap!).

I really understand the need for tight security, really I do. But this has gone entirely too far. Next time I get a new job, I'll memorize the location of the nearest 7-11 so I know I can get to a damn bathroom if nature calls.

Sunday, October 22, 2006
Is it a crime?
My friends have this habit of seeking me out when they need comic relief or when they want to vent about some male faux-pas. I'm fine with that, because I enjoy their company as much as they enjoy mine. However this weekend, I've just wanted to stay in and be alone. Who cares that I'm on vacation--isn't that the point of vacation, to get away from everything and recharge the proverbial battery? I just didn't want to be bothered at all this weekend. Everything around me was starting to sound like the adults on "Peanuts" (whaa whaa whaaa)

So while I have access to IM and el cell, all are off. Of course I check email and call my mama, cuz mi madre keeps my head on straight. Everyone knows I'm unavailable until tomorrow, but I still have gotten countless emails about "you wouldn't believe so and so did this..." and "why the hell haven't you answered your phone, we want you out with us", etc etc.

But damn, can I get a break? Yes people, I'll be back to being your source of off-handed comedy and industrial strength 'cry here' shoulders tomorrow. But even I need to get in my own head sometimes. I've got issues too and sometimes I need a shoulder to cry on. I'm so sorry for the somber, unfriendly nature of this post, but I need a hug.

My soul is tired yall and it needs to rest sometimes too. Thanks for understanding.

Saturday, October 21, 2006
Stalker what, Stalker who?
Since I moved to the DC area, I've been doing things that I previously would roll my eyes at. I guess it has something to do with my desire to step outside of my proverbial box and experience new things. One of these things I've tried is online dating. I know some of you are saying "So what LBN? People have been doing this forever, it's not new". For me this is all kinds of new, because I used to think that people who resorted to online dating were the kind who talk to little kids in chatrooms. But I haven't really met any so-called quality men (read: employed and do not throw wack-ass pickup lines my way) while out with my girlfriends, and I seem to spend so much time at work or in transit to said job that I don't really get the opportunity to meet new men.

So I made profiles at a few sites and started checking out profiles. I came across a few decent people, and we've established some decent online and/or phone friendship. However, no one that I've gotten the desire to date and get to know on a less visceral level.

Enter crazyman. He decides to message me, and we chat online a few times. His profile picture is attractive--nothing to drool over--but attractive nonetheless. We exchange phone numbers and all is going well. Well, on day three this man comes out with, "I love you, I want you to be my wife, and I want to see you barefoot and pregnant!"

Me: What. The. Fuck.??? Stop playin, that isn't funny at all
Him: Nah, really. You're my soulmate, it's fate that's brought us together
Me: Uhhhhhh, well you know I'm not looking to be tied down right now
Him: No one said tied down, I said be together
Me: *thinking to myself: ohshit ohshit ohshit, I've got a loose cannon on my hands* We're going to have to talk about this another time ok

The next day he sends me an email saying some mess like well you know I looove you my snooglebottom. Hold on, what the hell is a snooglebottom, and more importantly how did I get this title? Last time I checked, talking to someone intermittently for a few days didn't equate to marriage proposals. And I sho nuff didn't say that I'm leasing space in my uterus for his kids. Anyways, I respond as nicely and as eloquently as possible and tell him that I'm really not interested in playing wifey right now (I wouldn't mind, but not with him) and I really am not feeling that kind of connection. As a matter of fact, before his revelation, conversation with him had gotten about as tedious as cutting a 4 acre lawn with scissors.

Well what does he do but email me back saying that he's going to wear me down and make me see just how good of a man he is. This sounds like some shit Steve Urkel would say to Laura. But at the bottom of his message, he writes "I want you to see the REAL me". There's a picture attached to the email. I open it, and... Cough! Hack! Spit! Barf!.... I'm not sure I've ever seen a human being so putrid. Now, I'm no supermodel, and I'm okay with that and I know it's not nice to comment on people's ugliness, but sometimes *shaking my head* a Hell Naw is in order.

I'm about ready to cough up a hairball as I write another email back and more forcefully tell him I'm not interested. No response for a day--no email, no phone call, no nothing. I really thought I was free! Give us freeeeeee! NO. I get another email from him, this time much shorter. "Maybe this will change your mind". Another email attached. It's a dick pic. Ok, I've seen dicks before. They are not good looking, but I appreciate their presence and they are very useful for bumpin uglies (no pun intended). But this, no.

An ashy dick??? Foul on the play! 15 yard penalty! No first down!! This thing looked like it was covered in flour. An ashy vienna sausage? *tilts head to the side and says what. the. holy. hell.*
I already wasn't interested, but this just sealed it for me. I fire off another email, "Please, for the love of God understand that I do not now, nor ever want to be with you. Your voice sounds like rusty nails rubbing together. Coversing with a newborn would be easier than talking to you, and at least most newborns are cute. And the dick pic did not make the kitty moist. The kitty is now drier than roasted kitty litter."

Feeling confident that I'd lost this mofo forever, I went on with my online dating--successfully might I add--met some great brothas. Time lapse: 5 days. I get a phonecall from crazyman and he's asking if I missed him and going on about how sometimes you don't know a good thing until it's gone and that he's the good thing. I end the conversation immediately, but he calls back. I stop answering his calls, and now he's mad. I get an email from him which says that you should never shun your soulmate.

Soulmate? Nigga, the only way my soul will ever ever mate with you is if the sole of my shoe mates with your forehead when I hit you upside the head with it.

Bring on the stalkerliciousness. In six days I got 97 phonecalls, 33 emails, and 24 text messages. I let it go for six days because I knew I would need proof of stalker tendencies to bring to the police. On day six however, I realized that calling the cops would do no good, because he'd probably still find a way to contact me. So I decided to beat him at his game.

My final email to crazyman: I'm sorry, I was wrong. I do believe that we really are meant to be together. I love you and would love to be your wife. However, I want you to see the REAL me as well...
(disclaimer: this is Miss J from America's Next top Model, the most fabulous man on the block)

I haven't heard from him since.

Friday, October 20, 2006
I'm NOT New York from FOL
I watch Flavor of Love, I admit it. That show, as much as I really hate watching all out buffoonery, is such a trainwreck that I can't help but watch it! We all know the story of New York being dissed in the end by Flav. Tuff shit bitch! That's what you get for acting that much of a fool. With this, however come the New York jokes. People feel the need to call me New York. Yes, I'm from NY and I heart NY and will rep NY till I die, but damn why you gotta refer to me as that stank hoe? I didn't mind being called New York before this show came out, but now people just stop!

But anyway, speaking of Tiffany aka New York...Is it just me, or doesn't she look like Janice from the Muppet Show:

Of course I'm not actually shocked to see a website devoted to chicken wings. I've seen much worse and much more absurd in my webtravels. However, when I came across this site I got a sinking feeling in my stomach and got the need to find out who runs this site. Once I found out, I breahed a sigh of relief and actually said aloud..."Thank God they're not black".

Now I'm not saying there is anything wrong with expressing your affection for chicken. And yes, black people eat more chicken per capita than any other race (I made that up, but I'm sure it's true). But the "coon joke" potential is too high here. Even if you leave the preachy racial stereotype stuff out of this, the "coon joke" potential is still too high here.

Imagine Junebug Jenkins running cluckbucket.com? I really could say more, but there is no need, you already know what would be said. All I can do is say, Thank God they're not black!

Thursday, October 19, 2006
Thriller Zombies
I feel like a zombie from the Thriller video right now. I'm so exhausted and I know I'm looking kinda ungood because of it. But I can't seem to get to bed at a halfway decent hour. I can't remember the last time I went to bed the same day I woke up. I have to be up to go to work at 5AM, but I drag my happy ass to bed around 2AM on the regular. Why you ask...I don't know! I find myself doing the most random shit at late hours and acting like it's normal. Last night I decided to do my nails at midnight, then settle down with some Flavor of Love reruns (even though I watched it ALL the first time). Maybe I need some "knock me out cold" sex....

Junque du jour
I've decided to undertake the largest cleaning spree of my life. I woke up Monday morning and looked at my apartment and I'd had enough. It's not like I live like some dirty frat boy (no offense, but you know the stereotype) and have old pizza boxes and such everywhere, but I've amassed so much junque (that means JUNK y'all) that it's time to purge. I have so many gifts from people that I haven't used and never will, and all sorts of random impluse purchases.

I really could pull the lazy move and call one of those "Clean House" type shows on HGTV or something to come do it for me or pay Merry Maids to do the dirty work, but there's something satisying about looking at your newly clean and empty space and knowing that you put in sweat equity of your own. I think this is more psychological than anything else though. I've been having a hell of a time concentrating lately, and my mama always told me that when your space is disorganized you can't focus so well. However, as I've been going through my stuff and deciding what I no longer want or need I see that I could be enterprising and make some money off of my clean-freakishness. So what better to do than go to craigslist and sell it all. Sure I could go the ebay route, but craiglist is so...well, cozy. I'm thinking about placing some ads like this:

"Spring Cleaning Sale. Sure spring was sooo 2 seasons ago, but better late than never. Lots of tchotchkes and junque for the taking"

Perhaps I'll find a more clever way to put it:
"27 inch TV for sale. Remote is MIA.... Good condition, $40" I'm sure that will make the masses come running.

On a serious note though, I've been in personal turmoil as of late and I'm in desperate need of harmony, so I need my home to be harmonious. And right now, the closest I'm getting to harmony is listening to Boyz II Men.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Too Good to Be True
Now, I do my fair share of grumbling about my job. Hell, I even come out and say stuff like "I can't stand this damn place, I'm 'bout ready to open up a can of whoop ass on these people". It's human nature, 90% of us don't like our jobs and want more money. So like normal people, I put my resume out on places like monster, craigslist, etc. I've gotten some great leads from doing so. That's actually how I got my current job.

However...like most people, I want to be my own boss, work for myself, and all of that. I want to sit in my pj's errday and make $$ (well I do get to do that now and then, but I digress). So of course I'm slightly intrigued by the email solicitations which say that I can do just that. But ladies and gentlemen, the shit is too good to be true, and sometimes an insult to our intelligence.
I get these emails that say stuff like "make $800,000,000 per year using our proven system....". So, me being the inquisitive type, I go to the website. Now they want me to PAY to get info about the "system" that's going to make me a rich woman. Hold ON! Flag, Foul on the play dammit. PASS INTERFERENCE! 15 yard penalty, no first down! If I'm looking for a job, doesn't that indicate that I'm lacking funds?? Why in the name of Pete should I pay to get this information? Yall aint special. Any other legit site tells me what they do upfront, and typically requires me to send a resume (novel concept right?!). If they don't, there's some type of interview or info meeting (a la Quixtar or Primerica) so I can decide what to do with myself. With these sites...not so much. So damn people, how dumb and desperate do you think we are?

Words to the wise...the emails you get from "Sandra Banklaw" saying that you qualify to get info about some system that promises to get you rich don't do shat but get them rich. If you look at the email address from which these messages are sent, it's usually something like lovelustvideotapes@hoihnauiwhr.com. DON'T DO IT!!

I guess we'll just stay in our cubicles a little longer. But if you've been bitten by the entrepreneur bug like me, check out legit offerings like the ones I mentioned above. And for the love of everything holy, STAY AWAY from Noni Juice sales! We can get that mess at the healthfood store.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Office Space Rules of Engagement
If you live your 9-5 life in a cubicle like I do, you've come to realize that one must live by a certain set of rules. More often than not, the people in my office break these rules...sometimes egregiously. So let me refresh you on the Office Space Commandments. These may help you enjoy or at least tolerate your 8+ hours a day in cubicle-ville.
-Do NOT and I repeat DO NOT eat tuna or any other pungent smelling food for lunch at your desk. For the love of God, just eat it in the cafeteria
-If you were not invited, do not stop at your co-worker's cubicle and stare at his/her pictures. You don't know those people, so leave it alone
-If your co-worker is obviously hard at work, do not stop by to shoot the breeze. It may be a novel concept, but s/he has WORK to do...and for that matter, so do you
-If no one has showed a keen interest in your children, do not talk excessively about them. No one wants to hear about lil Janiqua's fight on the playground
-If you're going to talk to your ghetto ass, non-job having friends on your work phone...PLEASE be discreet. We really don't wanna hear about Tyrone's triflin ass AGAIN
-If you listen to music, cool...just make sure everyone else can deal with your taste in music first or invest in some headphones.
-Don't be ghetto and come in late and leave early everyday and talk about how much work you have. You WILL GET SHANKED!
-If you think you're fat, and you're not...please don't go around asking people if your outfit makes you look fat or complain that you're soooo hungry (this is a general life rule)
-If you're interested in what I'm eating for lunch, just ask about it and be bold and ask if you can have a taste. Don't hint about "ooooh Tasha always has good food" and sit there drooling over my got-damn food
OK, that's all the ranting I can do right now...if you have more, please feel free to add!

Monday, October 16, 2006
Hair Hell
Ok, so I just came back from the hair salon. I pay these people to do my hair properly, and I trust that they know what the hell they're doing. After all, they went to hair school and I didn't. But noooooooooo! Why do I come out looking like Simba? Yes, my hair is mostly blonde, so does that mean I need Rage-style "Afro-puff puffs"?
Big blonde hair on a black woman is NOT sexy. I repeat, it is NOT sexy! Maybe if you're New York or Like Dat from Flavor of Love, it can work for you. However, I'm Tasha. I am Corporate America Barbie. I love a well done Afro-blowout on some people, and even myself if I'm feeling neo-soul poet -ish. However, during the week, I work in an office. My office doesn't like neo-soul -ishness, and my stylist knows this.
Notes to stylists:
1) If your client requests "blow dry straight", do just that. DO NOT blow out into Angela Davis-quality afro. If you do this, at least give out afro-picks with the black power fists as handles (don't act like you've never seen one)
2) If your client requests a trim, DO NOT chop her hair to holy hell. We already had this run in once
3) If your client says she is growing out her relaxer so she can get braids in a few weeks, DO NOT comment on the nappy texture of her hair and suggest a touch-up. She's already keenly aware.
4) If your client says "no thanks, no color retouch today", DO NOT proceed to mixing up the got-damned hair dye. Dammit, I like my half-blonde mop
5) DO NOT try out a style you saw at "weave wars" on your client without permission
6) If your client says, "I want the uber-drag queen to style my hair for this formal I have to go to", it is not an insult to you. DO NOT fuck her hair up on purpose cuz you're jealous that I want someone else to do my hair just once for a special occasion
7) DO NOT expect a tip if you fucked up my hair on purpose
8) Please, if you know you will not be available for our regularly scheduled appointment, DO NOT hand me over to your neice who's "in hair college, but does good hair"
9) If you know that I have "good hair" DO NOT announce to your staff that you're jealous of how fast my hair grows
10) DO NOT ask me to play with/babysit your kids while I'm waiting for you. You have given birth to the spawn of Satan, and I don' t like them. They are not cute, and you know this. I will pay extra so you can get a babysitter.
11) If you need to take a break to eat lunch, by all means go ahead. DO NOT eat your greasy ass fried chicken over my head. I don't want to go home with my hair smelling like Popeyes.
Thank you for allowing me to share my hair hell with you all. And yes, I'll be fixing it tonight. But I *might* just post some pics of the offending Afro puff for you if you act nice

A Disgusted Online Dater does Dr. Seuss
This was hilarious so I had to provide it for your entertainment (taken from craigslist best of)....

I do not like these hiney pics
I do not like these dick pics
I do not like them here or there
I do not like them anywhere!

I do not like your flat white ass
I do not like you, skanky trash!
I do not like your butt-flossed crack
It only shows your lack of tact

I do not like your saggy tits
or listening to your hissy fits
I do not like your hairy slash
Just go away, I'll give you cash.

I do not like your weenie porn
I do not like your asshole corn
I do not care if you smoke bowls
Or suck big cocks at glory holes
You said "lick my Taco Bell"
Honey, I would but it's the smell...

I would not could not share your kink
I do not want to lose my job
So keep your whorepics, you stupid slob!

I do not care if that's your butt
Or if you're a male with a gut
I do not care about waiter's tips
or even Betka Shiptz' whips

I do not like that you suck cocks
or that you like to smell men's socks
I do not want to see your nuts
To me, you're just another putz

I do not want your pics
I do not want to see your dick
I'm on here so I can find a lifetime mate
Not a one-night or cyber-date
So take your cumshots and be gone
My email inbox is NOT the place for porn