Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Imani

Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.

I actually know someone that is the living example of Imani.

She shines a light in my direction and I learn from her faith and actions.

I see her and how she handles life, family, friends, service, business and me... And knows the she understands how to use her powers.

She believes in the movement.

She wants to participate in making the hood a better place in creating business and providing self for service.

She is a true family member and has the most amazing relationship with her Mother.

She draws from her inner strength and courage to adapt and be successful in her various endeavors in various locales... She is not local or distant. She succeeds all over the place and in various things.

Her faith is strong which gives her powers to do anything, and she has and will continue to grow and become a more powerful asset to family and community.

I would love to tell you all, but I'm sure you can figure it all out... We all have examples of wonderful principles that shine for us.

I just hope to continue to be illuminated.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Kuumba

Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.



I didn't get the days mixed up. I wondered with all that have stopped by if someone would notice. I'm finishing my posts on Saturday and then taking a break afterwards. Right now, Ujamaa is my life. I live, work, plan and study to properly make use of myself and become an asset rather than a liability. I felt no need to expound on Ujamaa at this point, it seems that the tie ins with the other principles are self explanatory. Sorry, but in order to keep structure in my life, one must shuffle other things. So I skipped a day to finish up on Saturday.

It seems with 2006 approaching, everyone has resolutions. I have plans and goals, they continue over time, so they're not resolutions. The one thing I will resolve is this: It will get accomplished. For those that know me or have been stopping by, you might know what it is. One thing, after mending fences and being with family and friends that I haven't seen and been with in a while, I still might go this path alone.

I think it might be time for me to look at other places to set up shop and call home instead of Chicago. I don't know yet. I had my heart on moving back to the Chi and setting up my non profit and sharing time with others, but I might best be served by being somewhere else.

In order to make use of your creative energies to be an asset, one must not be seen as a liability.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Nia

To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.



Nope.


I didn't forget to write, but you've heard so much from me so far. I noticed from my counters that I got a lot of hits and a lot of you have read my words, and I ain't mad that few have commented so far.


I was just wondering what you guys were doing in the spirit of Nia to restore said greatness.

I'll expound later.


By the way, that's my Mother and I hanging out and bonding yesterday. I can't do anything constructive for my people if I can't build with my family first. They are my everything. In order to become instrumental in this movement and become an advocate for change, one has to start somewhere and for me it will start with family.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ujima

Collective Work and Responsibility


If the Negro area, however, is to continue as a district supported wholly from without, the inept dwellers therein will merit and will receive only the contempt of those who may occasionally catch glimpses of them in their plight.

If the Negro in the ghetto must eternally be fed by the hand that pushes him into the ghetto, he will never become strong enough to get out of the ghetto.

If the Negroes are to remain forever removed from the producing atmosphere, and the present discrimination continues, there will be nothing left for them to do.

Carter G. Woodson



I want to own a business. I want my business smack dab in the middle of my old stomping grounds. I want to operate and build in the hood. Period. I want to participate in building and maintaining our community together and making our brother's and sister's problems our problems so we can solve them together.


I have this dream that I'm working on. No, really I am... Got a business plan and everything. Check it: I envision me coming to work every morning, either lifting my security gates or extending my cloth awnings on my little storefront business. I imagine getting coffee and giving the head nod to dude on his way to the bus stop and exchanging hellos and pleasantries about family and friends with the shopkeepers next door. I imagine that there's a barbershop somewhere close, and that I can slide in early and get edged up, urging those cats to come thru and support mine as I have theirs. I'm also seeing in my mind my customers, mostly young folk coming through and exchanging info and enjoying being all up in mine. Music playing, sun shining in a neighborhood where the sun shines mostly on vacant lots and abandoned buildings. This day in my head is a new day. It's not just me, it's others fighting gentrification and reclaiming what was once seen as wasteland to provide the folks with goods and services necessary for both work and play. The hood is not a waste, some may want you to think that so regression can lower property values. I'll be frank, I hate urban drug culture like the next cat, but how can values in the hood be so low when we got the best mathematicians, scientists, athletes and marketing executives living there? Because I used to do a little dirt back in the day, I understand. Trust me, they do to.

You see our majority demographic, right? They come to us to get their "stuff", barter with our pimps, scout and recruit our athletes and follow our marketing schemes because our influence on capitalism in America is the standard.
But our street pharmacists, hustlers, ballers, athletes and branding specialists need influence as well. We need their talent right where it all started for them. Right here in the hood. We need positive influence that will prevent the demeaning street hustle and get us on track in business and trade. To create and maintain businesses keeps us out of suburban malls and downtown shops. The dollar circulates and life becomes better. Property values become stable, businesses and entrepreneurs support programs and schools, jobs are created and life gets better for the community. We already know this but the problem is limited knowledge on how to keep business off the ground. I'm sure we've all had an aunt or family friend with that hair salon or restaurant, or know (or know about) that drug dealer trying to get out of the game by opening a clothing store or barber shop. Thing is, why can't these businesses stay open in 2005? No ujima.

My business model has me working with other shop owners and the community to make sure we don't shut down, but grow and expand to continue to give our people what they need and want. I want my business to be a part of a collective effort between business owners. Now I do understand that competition makes life easier for the consumer, so I plan on going 501c and making this particular business non profit so that the shorties can benefit and the area can get much needed support in another fashion. I do have other things I'm working on businesswise for my growth and development, but my community comes first right now. What can I do to be of service to my people and build business and community as well? Who's willing to help me? How much more successful can we be if we attack the various plights of our area together?

Not everyone will be down, but trust me I have already come into contact with many at the ready to be down with the movement. It's going to take some time, finance and additional planning, but there are a few of us willing to come together for the long haul.
It takes a village to support a business. It takes that business to support said village. Those two things keep my dreams in technicolor. And attainable.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Kujichagulia

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
I Corinthians 13:12

I have always wanted to have my own. Before each member of the Wu were blessed with multiple nomenclatures, I had already given myself 4 names. I learned that back in Mother Africa, in most cultures your name defined who you are, so I studied. A lot. After checking out the origins of names and how they applied depending on each culture, I got offended by my classmates because it seems that they were so caught up in Euro-culture that the didn't even care about their given name or their slave name. They were just happy to be here.

I got the breakdown on how my name became at my birth. Moms named me after pops, Grandma wasn't having that shit, cuffed a brother and renamed me. I was that person until I was about 27. At that time, the void of not having purpose and proper knowledge had eaten away at my soul. I began to detach myself from Eurocentrisms and heard the drum. I needed to re-establish the connection with my elders, the kids on my block and my cousins reaching out from across the water. The beginning stages of becoming who I am now was new and addictive. I never had this feeling in school when I learned all of these unnecessary and expensive things that I don't even use today. I was getting filled with culture, spirit and fufillment, and the urge to learn and get involved hasn't waned since, it has gotten stronger. I became a different person. I was becoming a man of African descent and a sense of duty to my people became more focused.

I needed to let the world know what man I had become. I spent my twenties going to college, working in corporate America and gaining weight because I missed undisciplined eating while in the military. I gained an additional 250 pounds because of this, became arrogant and felt settled that the corporate world would take care of me until I retired. And then I woke up.

Kujichagulia - Self-Determination.


In a sudden flash that I can explain to you only if we sat down and spoke face to face, I heard that voice I mentioned yesterday for the first time:

"Turn around and go back, you don't belong here."

I already knew why that voice was speaking to me. I had no real sense of purpose. I had no discipline. I had no proper knowledge of self or love for those that sacrificed to get me where I was. I had limited self love and limited love for my then longtime girlfriend beacuse of this. I had no identity. I was not motivated to make change. I never gave thought of giving back.

The creator stripped me of all things. My job, my so-called friends, my woman and I almost lost my life slipping in and out of a diabetic coma. I had to find myself. I had all the reference I needed to make this happen, I just needed to act. I won't go into innate details on how I made wholesale changes. Let's just say I got rid of my dead weight, found focus and a sense of purpose immediately after letting my old self and ways die in order to be reborn into the man that I am today.

I am not defined by the things I have, but by faith, determination and duty. I chose a name that defines who and what I am, and what I strive to do. I took time and studied my culture, this is something I do every day. I turned around and took a look at my old stomping grounds and determined that I have to move back in order to help make change. Every day I dedicate my first two waking hours to prayer, meditation and refocus. After praising His name, I say mine a few times to remind myself of my sense of purpose. Every day, I work towards becoming a liaison to those that are looking for one through development of my business plan and the eventual rolling out of a non profit organization I hope to get off the ground in the near future. I know everyone can't or doesn't want to get that deep with it, but all that is needed to catch fire is a spark. To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves one must become the intercessor. There are many and I am just one.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Umoja

"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
- Steven Biko


I might rethink how I celebrate and participate both Christmas and Kwanzaa next year. Just about everything I planned either went terribly wrong or just didn't happen. There were people I wanted to see and spend time with that I didn't end up seeing or spending time with. It's been a minute since I hung out on the south side, and I took a trip to the city for nothing. Funny thing is, my mind played me this message on the way to the city last night to spend time and see a movie:

Stop. Turn around and go home. You don't belong here.
"Huh?"
You heard me. You'll see.
"I don't understand"
Just wait. You'll see.

It seems that the holidays preoccupy some of us with things to do and places to go in completion of duties and responsibilities to said events and people. Sometimes those things get in the way of spending time with those that want to spend time. I think I impeded onto some of my people's time this weekend which pretty much curtailed other activities I had planned to a minumum. I'll be home for Christmas indeed. I turned my thang around and headed for the crib. Should I have listened to that voice? It's weird because I love the city so much, and I don't get a chance to get there and hang like I used to. I'm thinking that my timing was off or something. Folks aren't used to me actually participating in holiday festivities... Nah, I'm fooling myself. Some people just didn't want to either want me around or want to be around me. It's cool. I never want to be someplace where I'm not invited.

I ain't mad that I got stood up (Even though I did take the train and commuted all over the damn place trying to get to you. Let's not get it twisted, I'm still angry, but I will calm down. You'll get forgiven, but I won't forget. Trust.) Y'all still family... I'm still going to reach, even when my arm gets tired.

I actually think my foray into hoiday celebration took some people by surprise. In one instance, a serious attempt to get a simple Christmas gift online ended up so botched that I got charged twice for the same item (maybe I'll get 2), and being told that its on backorder until after the new year. Although I thought giving the gift would be a cool gesture in giving of myself, I got an odd you're pushing me away kinda vibe. It serves me right to try to do something I though was cool (obviously I thought so and no one else) and ended up getting 'that look' in the process. I've always gone above and beyond for my fam and the crew 'just because' and never questioned myself because I secretly hold out thinking that others would do similar things for their inner circle. I thought wrong. Sometimes I should let things be. Someone said that you get only one or two good friends in a lifetime, I'd like to prove that theory wrong by being that friend to many. Dammit, I really want to be. I'm a big man and I got a lot of love to give. Even though I got stood a couple of times today, I have not been moved. I still wanna kick it with y'all and make that plate. I ain't going anywhere.

I still have dreams of me in the future putting together toys and attempting to erect the impossible toy while the kids sleep on Christmas eve. I imagine my queen looking over my shoulder, wrench in hand explaining that part A should attatch to B with those funny looking screws, both of us laughing at the situation because we bought the contraption back in November and chose to put the toy together at the last minute. I also dream of queen and I going over what activities we have set for the kids in celebration of Kwanzaa whitch leads to:

I hope beyond anything else in my life that when I finally come to rest that I have mended all that has created distance between my family, some friends and myself. It hurt a little yesterday that I did not get the opportunity to spend time with my immediate relatives and close friends. I understand that I wasn't the only one running around in an attempt to see as many people I could in this limited time. I also understand that Christmas is the celebration of the birth or the Saivior, and that as long as we have time, we have opportunites other than this one day to come together and be family. I do a lot of things alone, but there is an urge that burns in my heart that tells me that I cannot do or be anything without reuniting with those are a part of me. Today I observe that I must make the necessary step to strive for and maintain unity in my family, community, nation and race. The only way this can be done is through action. I pledge on this day to do everything in my power under the eye of the Creator to become one with family, friends and on the block as well.

The results of some of my actions have caused me to change focus. I gotta complete some of my goals as opposed to planning more and creating obstacles. I also have to work on a better understanding of how to effectively communicate what I want and how to go about maintaining a united front with those I care about. This means I have to be less vocal and more in motion. I'm looking forward in seeking the guidance of an elder brother in the spirit to help me understand what it is to be a successful black man beyond 35. I've also retained a legal team that'll help me get my business off the ground next year. I plan on getting more in tuned with my health and fitness, so I'm looking for a personal trainer and a nutritionist with a sympathetic ear for vegeterians. I realize that some of the karma I've recieved is a direct result of my lack of understanding of myself. I wanna take things to the next level, but first I gotta do me. Relationshipwise, I don't know. I don't have any answers in this category. I'll continue to let the Creator will guide me in the right direction and the vibe will let me know what my next move will be. There is a Light that shines and damn near blinds me and like a moth to a flame, I am drawn to it. Unity is a difficult thing, but I'm willing to learn more and get closer to The Creator so I can get there.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Mom's cooking chicken and collard greens... Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese... And Santa putting gifts under Christmas trees

Things never actually go the way you plan. I wish... I had... More time.

Things didn't go as planned for me this Christmas... but I ain't mad.

I am thankful for what did go right, whatever that was. The Creator knows, we talked about it.

It didn't kill me, it just made me stronger because I'm still here celebrating in the spirit.

For that I rejoice, it is why we designate today as today.

For those 3 people that stop by and read me on the regular, Merry Christmas, enjoy this day and thanks for stopping by. I am humbled, flattered and honored that you point your browser in my direction.

For those that read me because we no longer speak or congregate for whatever reason... I wish you happy in the name of the Most High..

To my family. I pray that we'll come together soon in peace. I love you all, right now from a distance, but you know I'm here. We'll continue to dial numbers and leave all kinds of messages. It means we care about each other, right?

To those that feel pushed away by my actions and speech, continue to tune in and know me more before you decide to walk away.

For those that cooked today... remember that I'm vegeterian (and new at that!) and I'll be over to make a plate anyway. Keep that hog away from from my tupperware!

Thank you to Richard, Millie, CS, Victor, Tam, Jade, Joy, Nate, Wanda, Toya and Quincy for inviting me over, wishing me well, spending time and giving me family and food for a day, y'all know that I'm broke right now but whatever I have you always have. Anything other than $$$ for rent, utilities and groceries is yours. My time and effort is also here for you as usual. We'll never go hungry, homeless and without free nights and weekends as long as I have breath. Some of you I've only known for a short period of time, others I can't get rid of... It takes only a day to know someone, but a lifetime of action and duty to trust someone. I hope to continue to both gain and give it no matter what capacity. I have nothing without you, you are my family and I love you all.

Merry Christmas, dammit.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Where'd the week go?

I'm a little tired. Been having headaches as of late staying up all hours of the night stressing over the business plan. Can't sleep much and it's starting to take toll on me physically, but I'll survive. When I do snooze, it's right in the middle of my living room floor, with the draft.

It's her.

She motivates me to have more than the average cat. She inspires me to have a larger home so the babies can run and have space. And a garden. She makes me want the next vacation warmer and further than the last one. I want her passport to be full and very used. She makes me want Africa to be home and the States as a vacation spot. Her presence makes me want the children to never have to take out a student loan. I want to put in work so she won't have to. I am more aware of myself, my limitations and what I have to contribute to family both related and non.

Yeah, she's that powerful.

The week started out cool, looking at stuff I couldn't afford, checking cats on ebay that had lots of computer parts and thangs for the future office and getting support and virtual hugs from Nicole R. my lawyer. She never calls me back when I want her to, but she's sharp and always has a good word for me. We strategized my January court dates with creditors coming after me trying to claim shit I don't owe. Changing your name can have its pitfalls, so buyer beware.

But it's cool though. We gon' win.

Speaking of that, I never thought how quickly one could go from having a nice nest egg to damn near being broke. I put in a request last week to open the floodgates on my 401k and got hit hard. Uncle Sam will cop 30% if you don't roll it either into another 401k program or an IRA. Since losing my job I've been waiting and had to make a choice. I chose to pay personal bills, legal fees and incorporation fees (as well as other taxes) in order to stay alive. Although I knew what my bank statement would look like after that, I never accepted the fact that things indeed cost money and I would probably be near empty after taking care of thangs and still being unemployed. I'm so far from opening my doors and I thought the loot I saved would be enough to open and operate, I was so wrong. Minus taxes, personal utilities and the occasional 5 spot for toothpaste and toilet paper, I'm damn near back at square one savingswise. Even if I was getting a paycheck, I'd still be kinda broke. But it's all good though, I got all my big bills paid, so all I go to do now is relax, collect plates during my weekend Christmas runs and get an new years kiss and I'll be straight. And full too.

I can't wait for the weekend. I some serious plans to visit my ass off. I have no plans to be home kicking it with the cats and shit so I'm checking out the great ape movie, and not by myself. I also hope to sit and take in some good old fashioned family love, play some spades, bidwhidst and dominoes and make some new friends and contacts. Ain't been to a good family gathering for a minute. Just hoping I can eat the way I like.

I can really get into this Christmas thing... I just need to do one more thing before I break out my Santa outfit...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It's hard work creating work

It's only Tuesday, and I have already proven to myself how hard being self employed is going to be. I mean, I like the fact that I'll be paying myself, but there will be times where money will be on the low low, and if I were still with (Insert Big Ass conglomerate Name Here), we'd have a meeting, but I'd still get a paycheck.

Wherever I worked, I was never able to fly under the radar, but I also never had to worry about not getting paid. When I unleash my establishment on the people first quarter next year, I have to keep the grind on overtime. I have to continue to press the community to come thru and come back. I really have to press the flesh with the alderman, other shop keepers, longtime residents and suppliers that'll keep me afloat, and that doesn't make a profit, but it will keep me alive. I have to make sure I have customers, and make sure that my customers get what they want without difficulty. That means my employees cannot be ignorant.

I had a position for a close friend that would probably benefit both my business and his (pretty much running the joint/using my facility as base operations for his business), but I don't think he'll be accepting my offer. It's cool, that just means that I have to find a suitable candidate that can replace his skillset and his social expertise. That means that I have to interview somebody. Damn, somebodies. Scary shit.

In my mind, I'm about 75% complete with plans to launch my business. I still haven't narrowed down location and what kind of budget I'll be using to get the word out and market the joint. I've been playing the broke victim lately, eating light, not shopping and pretty much staying at the crib in an effort to hold on to the savings I put together working for the man. I invested a little, put some away in the corporate savings thing and when I got fired a month and a half ago, I almost went shopping. That's when things changed. I knew that I could get another job elsewhere, and I knew that I'd get hit 30% if I didn't roll my 401k over as well. Couldn't take that chance. I held on and took severance and just rolled into my idea on being self employed. But that wasn't what changed my mind. I met someone...

Have you ever met someone that just froze you in your tracks? I mean, gorgeous, talented and full of the spirit? I did. Just in her being herself and us sharing our thoughts, dreams and desires made me realize that I had more to give of myself, just as she has done in her life. That meant more than just giving a company my time, that meant giving my community myself. That and a life changing day in Washington DC made me realize that my business had to be more, so we went non-profit.

Now I have to provide healthcare and savings to employees I have to interview. I also have to maintain tight control of my books in order to be right with Uncle Sam. I also have to make a difference everyday in the lives of the kids of the program as well as the folks that support me by stopping by and giving up a couple of bucks for services rendered (can't give up the business concept yet, sorry). I also have to make a secure and safe environment for the business. We in the hood, y'all, not everyone will welcome us with open arms.

Making sure payroll, bank relationships and customer relations are on point as well as overseeing a youth program along with developing other business ventures is hard work. Planning is nothing in comparison to executing, I just wonder sometimes where I'll get all the energy from. I also have to submit grant proposals for the non-profit and keep tweaking the business model in order to survive. I wonder sometimes if I'll have enough for a mortgage and a car payment, or will I be living out the back of my business, driving the company car...

Monday, December 19, 2005

alright with me

After having one of the most enjoyable weekends I've had in quite some time mixed with a little travel I on one hand wish that it didn't have to end and on the other am glad I made it home safely. I haven't been to sleep yet (looking at photos and watching an overdue dvd) and am headed out to the gym. One thing:

I'm glad I got the chance to do what I did.
Happy that I spent it with those that mattered.
Encouraged by dialouge had with certain folks.
Glee in knowing that I made it back to my neck of the woods safely.
And in mid praise right now out the door in knowing that he gave me another day.

I got properties to size up, lawyers to talk to and new locales for my business to peek at today...
Gotta make something happen.
The business plan is done.
As of Monday morning, I have an inverstor (working to make it more than one).
And Christmas week should be fun this year.

I guess it boils down to that one thing:

I'm healthy, in love, have no bills or no other worries for that matter, it feels like the first time I've been in this place, but I've been here before... Just can't remember when. That one thing, I'm blessed...

... and that's more than allright with me.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Holiday 'stuff'

I noticed during the holiday season, we tend to get bogged down with 'stuff'. There's always stuff to do, some stuff to get and some stuff we get into that has holiday bullshit written all over it, because these things don't happen in June.

My question is why.

I haven't been much of a holiday person, and I must say that over the years, I've been scandal, drama and financially free due to not being involved in stuff. Now I do have friends and some family that give me the low down on how much extra work and overtime they have to dedicate in order to get the finances and extra time available to both get stuff and get into stuff, and shortly after getting knee deep in the stuff, I hear the complaints, depressed stories and highlights of a stuff filled holiday season. Once it's all said and done, stuff has taken their spirit, wasted their time and stolen all of their money. Not once do any of them blame themselves for planning, financing and executing their annual holiday stuff extravaganza that goes to hell.

I'm still asking why.

Being that this will be my first foray into the holiday season as an active participant, I got a little advice on how not to get knee deep in the stuff. I survived for years doing some of this stuff and never got bogged down with a case of the 'stuffs' You ready? Here we go:

1. You don't need to work overtime to be able to afford stuff..

Just because there is massive overtime available at the gig, or there is a job at ______ which enables you to get 30% off of... Whatever doesn't mean you work it. Take your time, slow down and enjoy the season. That's what it's here for. There are plenty of celebrations and gatherings to attend. Get some rest and hit the road this end of year. And plus, the best gifts are the ones from the heart. Cordless drills, George Foreman grills, universal remotes and socks come are much more handier than Xbox accessories or Manolo's which can be chewed up by your new puppy. You got a job, live within your means!

2. Take your ass to church/mosque/synagogue, or at least read your holy book...

Remember what this whole holiday thing is about. Try not to get caught up in consumer madness. If crowded malls scare you in July, then stay the hell away in December. There is a reason for all of us that this time has been deemed special. To know why makes this time seem more special for all of us.

3. Try to give time and effort, rather than buying someone off...

Here's a new one... Volunteer. There are many people that once lived a consumer capitalist's life. Some have been battered, some are homeless, some have been affected by drugs, sex or alcohol. Before you drop $399 on the new iPod video, remember that there are some folks that want to be in a warm place and watch a little TV. I'm sure there are shelters, YMCA's and Boys and Girls Clubs as well as hospitals that need an extra hand this year.

4. Go see grandma...

Or an aunt, or an uncle or something. We always tend to forget about our elders this holiday season. Not all of our elders will make it to the family dinner. There are some that have no family and because of age can remember the good times backintheday. Be a smart-ass and go sit with an old schooler this season. Listen, they might learn you something, and you might help take the edge off of what could be a lonely Christmas and New Year.

5. Give more to charity than to your got-a-job ass friends...

You loaned one of em' $500 last April and they ain't paid you back yet. I know they're your friends but... There is a child, or a church, or a movement that needs a few dollars more. A good lunch at a nice spot and a gift certificate is a great gesture for a friend. And plus time well spent is always time well spent. Somebody might buy you a drink.


In other words, take your time, enjoy the season and give of yourself more than your wallet. You can't buy happiness and you can never please people when you haven't pleased yourself first. Get out, party and try to volunteer. I'm telling you, it is so worth it to do the opposite of what corporate America wants you to do.

But that's just me...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

He died for what?

I was watching 'She Hate Me' the other day and came across the Watergate portion where so called celebs in 2005 (in only a way Spike Lee could cinematically elaborate) were bragging on how they going to get away with said crime and shoot to notoriety in the given future. Frank Wills, the gentleman who discovered the Watergate Hotel break in and reported the crime and was one of the arresting officers was arrested himself in this scene. He was told that he actually committed the crime in catching these so called white gentlemen scholars and that he would suffer for the crime and not them. Exaggerated moment, but true. Frank Wills did indeed suffer for doing his duties, and as the movie points out died alone and penniless while the men arrested at the scene stealing information for the Nixon administration did go on to prominence and celebrity.

I was just a shorty when it happened, but I remember dude on the front cover of Ebony and Jet in that infamous picture of him pointing at the rigged door he discovered which led to the biggest scandal in American political history and the resignation of an American president. No book deal, no massive TV blitz and no hero worship for Frank. We saved that for these gentlemen I will refuse to name and their books, radio shows and TV programs. When living overseas I remember a shopowner asking me why my black ass chose to join the 'bass ackwards' American military when support for those that look just like me was damn near null and void. I didn't have an answer then, and I still stumble for words now.

I normally go to bed on or around 3:30 or 4 am. It was difficult to go to sleep knowing that I would, God willing wake up a few hours later to get my day started. You see, at 2:01 central standard time, brother Tookie was executed, all appeals to stay the execution were exhausted. Gov. Schwarzenegger denied a request for clemency, stating:


"Is Williams' redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?" Schwarzenegger also wrote: "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption."


This from a man who never atoned for his past transgressions. His father was a known, notorious Nazi responsible for thousands of deaths. He never atoned for his so-called crimes either. Father and son denied any wrongdoing. Just like Tookie.

It's funny how a white housewife can individually drown her children and end up the darling of CNN. Also funny is how certain people can be received by society. We can accused Saddam of mass murder and right in the middle of his trial our President can make the announcement that our military caused over 30,000 casualties since the occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq. Just like when Rumsfeld beat his chest and yelled "shock and awe" as we watched bombs drop and folks die on CNN and FOX. Now I have always stated that Bush cannot be blamed for starting the war, seeing as he was so slow in getting his plan of action to congress that them and the senate just voted for war without his ass a few days after September 11. He didn't veto that shit either, and since then he's been riding the war wave ever since, causing a ton of folks to actually blame him for starting the current wars when he actually didn't do shit.

Funny, I remember Clinton actually rallying capitol hill to take Afghanistan in his last days when he was granting clemency to all of his friends in jail. I watched a scared bunch of senators and congressmen vowing revenge on September 14th and George Bush was no where in sight. He was going through the terrorist reports he ignored on his golf trip days prior to the terrorist attacks that warned him that someone might just fly a plane in a building or two soon. Yes G Dub has taken full credit for the war like any president should, but who are we to blame him for this, he's outnumbered by over 500 people, most still holding office that actually took out tax dollars and ran our soldiers overseas with it. America. Always blaming the wrong people.

If we focused on the real shit starters and not some figurehead that obviously doesn't run Washington, we could have voted two thirds of congress and senate out already. Hint: damn near all of congress and the senate (the real war starters) are up for election in 2006 and
2007. I dare you... Do something.

Which brings me back to Tookie. Shoddy evidence that never made it to retrial, witnesses that admitted that they either lied or were coerced to bend truths. No real forensic evidence. Hearsay and rumor. There is even an AP report that surfaced an hour after Tookie's death that states that he didn't even found the Crips. What exactly did he die for? How come we couldn't stop all of this? Tookie was indeed a criminal. I know he did some shit that he never got caught up for. For all of the shit he started and caused in his young life, he probably deserved to die. But legally and morally, who are we to exact justice based on unproven bias? Here this figurehead was taken out over hearsay, legend and possible lies, but for some strange reason we still have a ton of folks we have evidence against that's out there still. Steady mobbing. Eating and living on our dime. Nice, huh?

Same as it ever was. Just like Katrina, we'll forget about Tookie, his life and his works in a few weeks. There will be no year end tribute about his life and legacy. This man rehabilitated himself and did some good things while in prison, possibly balancing out all of the bullshit he did in his youth. He has saved a few lives and has made some impact in this world, who thinks the world is better with him gone?

Monday, December 12, 2005

It's Monday Again? Damn.

I'm in quite a quandary. It's been a while since I had a good reason to get in the Christmas spirit. Until recently, I've never had the motivation or the correct inspiration to consider being involved in the gift giving or receiving portion of the holiday schedule. Funny how things change. I met someone recently that has inspired the doors of suppression to be opened and kept that way, I hope to continue to learn how to give and share.

Here's the problem. I've gone from subtle hinting to straight up asking this sister what she wants Santa to put under her tree. I have an idea, well I know what she wants, I just need to coordinate with family and friends so I won't duplicate a gift. Another thing, I was told not to even participate in the Christmas gift giving program. That hurt seeing as the last time I mustered up the energies to shop for gifts I was a teenager, copping trinkets and music for my circle of road dawgs back in high school. That was 1988, and the only reason I remember is because that was the last time I did anything closely related to Christmas.

Thanksgiving didn't go right with her and the family.
I might be paying for my past transgressions.
That stings.
Badly.

I've been working feverishly on my multiple manuscripts, my business plan for the non profit and crafting my lyrics for the music project. This has been my only focus in the past month or so, and I'm tired. I'm taking a vacation from planning and writing in the next week or so and will come back to it after I take holiday. I usually ignore the whole November/December thing until Kwanza hits, but this year my focus needs to change. I have no idea exactly what I'll be getting into on Christmas or New Years Eve, but I do plan on getting into something. When I figure it out, I'll figure it out.

I bounced to the city Thursday, injured foot and all to get my test results. Now I wasn't worried about receiving bad news or anything, but I just couldn't help myself in celebrating when I got the good news. The fact that I was tested for an array of 'other things' was surprising seeing that I didn't expect to be told about my cholesterol and my diabetes. What in the hell else did they test me for other than HIV/STD's, and was my privacy violated? I don't know. But I was glad to know after thorough testing and screening I was clean as the board of health, thank the Creator.

I also caught this in the midst of playing in the snow and celebrating the fact that I don't have the cooties:




I have an idea on how I can raise awareness and raise some funds for Katrina relief as it relates to the Millions More Movement. So far, the folks I confided in to get feedback about it basically told me that my idea is shit, which made me more adimate about putting my body on the line for folks who's bodies are still in danger. My yoga sessions and Qi Gong training have gone into overdrive, and I plan on hooking up with some old friends and getting back to my military basics to prepare my body to make a trek from Chicago to New Orleans. That's right, I wanna trek over 925 miles from Chicago to Nawlins' (method still being debated - okay, I don't want to tell you, a sponsorship hangs in the balance) using my own body's energy to get there. Sounds crazy, right? As I was doing research on sponsorships, training methods and contacting possible resources to assist my silly-ass dream as one referred to it, I found out about Lee QuiƱones. Check out www.tourdelee.com and see this brother's accomplishments. If he can do over a thousand miles cycling for the shorties, why can't I?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Comfy

Y'all saw the other pics on this post...

It went from this:























































To This...
I'm happy, comfy and rent free...
Now, other than me injuring my foot during 'flood week', watch something else happen.







































































Now, who's helping me move the rest of the furniture?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I'm not mad today



Now you can go and get that nap you were talking about a while ago.

Rest my great elder, and I will see you when I take mine.


Thank you.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Results Are In...

So later today I get my HIV test results. I can't believe it's been a week already since world AIDS day. So many of us didn't even know. So many more don't even bother to get tested. Most of us are scared. Like knowing that you aren't HIV positive is better than knowing if you are? I guess sometimes we forget that we affect other people and shit, huh? And what about him or her? Are you concerned that because you don't know you'll fuck up their flow? I get it, you're embarrassed.


You remember that slip up 6 months ago.
You never expected to cheat on him/her.
You didn't have time to put the condom on.
Oh baby you like it raw.
It just doesn't feel right.
I know that he/she's clean, right?
They looked/smelled/tasted/felt clean...
They never tested, so why should I?
I've only had one, maybe two sex partners.
Dude, I've been sex free since 2003 so why should I bother?

Because we need to know.


I went to the city last Thursday to a facility that stays crowded months and days before and after world AIDS day. This place is a popular spot. A lot of testing and counseling goes on here all the time, and plus you can get all of your supplies here free of charge. A lot of classes are given at this place, and it's on the cusp of Boystown, so that's why I chose to go there. I knew it would be crowded and stocked to the tills and they'd have their shit together to test and counsel; and I'd run into some folks I know. I have a few friends in the community and yup I saw dude and his partner. We used to work together and he always bragged about his other. I Finally got a chance to meet him, turns out that he's a smart, successful good looking guy. Sorry sisters, dude plays for the other team is all I could think when we were talking. I've always had
friends that did their own thing, so I don't judge or act like a deer in headlights like some people I know. I saw one couple that I used to hang out with, sad thing is there were few couples, black couples that came out to be tested. I wish there were more chocolate folk in the place seeing as we're affected by HIV/AIDS more than anyone else. I made some phone calls from the center and everyone I spoke to that day didn't even know what December 1 signified. That pisses me off, because I'd get details and exploits and shit if they met someone new and exchanged body fluids.


My friends are ignorant.
I've come to terms with that.


I'm not nervous because I feel like I've been a good kid. I guess by the time the afternoon gets here, I'll feel a little apprehensive in getting my results back, but right now, blah. I have my own slip ups to own up to and I'm not ashamed of making them. I've been cheated on before, but I ended that on the moment I found out. Believe it or not, in my time here I've only had 'X' many partners, so my partner list is low. I still wanna know and feel that I should have reference so that she can know too. Hell, I might just drum up my 3 credit reports and my FD 258 (federal fingerprint report) so that she she can get a background check as well as know the private me. Getting tested should be a pre req to dating anyway, you never know when a slip up can occur.

The plans for the non profit are coming together nicely. Still researching location, but I brought in 2 people on the dream. Nice that their willing to help. I really can't say exactly what I'm doing
right now, but trust it will be good for the hood. And it'll save my ass from going back to corporate America for good. More to come.

Am I the only one obsessed and impressed by 'Sleeper Cell'? Between 'Lost' and this one, TV is good for me. I normally used the tube to watch touchdowns, home runs and 3 pointers. It's been hard for a brother like myself to actually watch TV and enjoy it. I did TiVo 'The Boondocks' and 'Everybody Hates Chris' and I must say that I won't be watching those anymore. Boondocks is straight disappointing. Period. They just replaced Dave Chappelle in using "nigger" more times in a 30 minute timeslot than the KKK in a paid advertisement. For those that don't know, Google Richard Pryor and check his quote on the word "nigger" upon his return from Mother Africa (see you in 2006!) and get back with me. As for Chris Rock, I lived as a poor kid in the big city (Chicago) in the 80's as well, a lot of things are very similar except we had even less money. The show is boring... To me. Seems like he's explaining how our the culture evolved to them other folks. Great look, and great cast, and that's how I came to the realization that this show is not for us. We know that story, they don't. Pass.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The hole has been patched

In the name of the Most High, I greet you...

With a dry living room floor and promises of newly painted walls and new carpeting as well as no rent due in December, I feel good. It seems like when everything goes well, something evil always has to rear its ugly - ass head. I come home last week and I don't notice the wetspot on the living room carpet. My cats are wet. I didn't get it. Seeing as all my doors and windows are closed and locked, I had to investigate.
I called the cats into the dining room area and offered hot chocolate. The lil grey one Ladybug started to meow feverishly, I had to interrupt:

That's right now close your mouth
'Cause you cold busted
Now just sit down here, sit down here

I'm so upset with you I don't know what to do

You know my first impulse was to run up on you

And do a Rambo
I was about to jam you and flat blast both of you
But I didn't wanna mess up this thirty-seven hundred dollar lynx coat
So instead I chilled -- That's right chilled


I knew that there was another reason these mischievous felines were soaking wet in a dry house. I didn't see the puddle, it was small at the time. I had to let em know that I was going to find out where the water came from. I'm not even thinking anymore, I'm yelling at two defenseless cats:

What were you thinking?
You don't mess with the Juice!

I gave you catnip, chew toys and padded pillowbeds.

I gave you things you couldn't even pronounce!

But now I can't give you nothing but advice.

Cause you're still young, yeah, you're young.

And you're gonna find somebody like me one of these days

Until then, you know what you gotta do?

You gotta get on outta here
with that alley-cat-coat-wearing,
punch-bucket-shoe-wearing, wet ass crumbcake I saw you with.
Cause you dismissed!

That's right, Silly rabbit,
tricks are made for kids, don't you know that.
You without me is like corn flakes without the milk!

This is my world.

You're just a squirrel trying to get a nut!

Now get on outta here.
Scat! Don't touch that coat...


So I come home a few days ago and found that what was a small puddle in my carpet was a mini lake in my living room! So this is where the cats got their swim on. I initially had beef with the powers that be when I reported it, but now things are good, cause blessings come to those that need to be blessed. I kept it humble and focused on getting the leak fixed. We're dry now. I'm happy.

Now I get my space back for my yoga and Qi Gong pacings.
Laying on the floor, putting ink to paper... Exactly what I needed.











I ain't trying to see death, disease or the pennitentary

Tuesday, December 06, 2005



And they're replacing the carpet, cleaning the walls and not charging me for December. Merry Christmas!!!







Sorry about posting late. I have a plumber and my landlord in my living room right now.

And a big ass hole in my floor.

And lots of water.

We're fixing it (well, I'm waching) right now

I'm posting later.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Christmas Thing

I got tagged earlier this week by Groove, so I must oblige and return the favor. I have a small problem, I haven't done the Christmas thing since I was a kid. Hell, I can't even remember anything related to it. I never had any emotional attatchment or any interaction regarding that whole December 25 thang as an adult, so don't trip. Until recently, Christmas meant nothing to me. Maybe one day I'll have a reason to get all in it. Maybe one day soon. Positive people have a way of changing you. One thing, I don't do trees, Santa and anything not having to do with the birth of the Messiah... Very unnecessary.

Now Kwanza, that's another thing....


On with the show!


1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Had a little egg nog back in the day.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? I think the tree thing is very pagonistic, never had one. Never participated in gift giving.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Never decorated.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Never did that either.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Never paid attention...

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Dunno.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Having both of my parents home at the same time. They always worked and I guess somebody had to pay for the Christmas stuff. I can't remember what we got though.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Never believed or was told about him. Heard about Santa from the kids at school.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Haven't had a Christmas gift since I was a kid... Can't even remember.

10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? What?

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Neutral... Grew up in the Midwest, there's a lot of it.

12. Can you ice skate? No

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? No. Never had one.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? I don't think I have an important thing... I usually use those days for rest and vacation stuff away from people.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Don't have one.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? That either.

17. What tops your tree? I believe that those trees are idols, in a pagan-ish way.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I'm a giver. I don't like receiving things from people. You don't owe me anything.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol? Nothing there either...

20. Candy Canes! No thank you.



I guess I'm living proof that one can exist on this planet and not be a Christmas person. Somehow, I found a way to just step through that whole holiday madness thing and I'm not apologetic for it. I was raised in the church and was taught that all the mass hysteria and non-Christ activity was straight blasphemous. My beliefs have changed as I've grown older, but I am a believer in Christ and his teachings. I also believe that a lot of the actions done during this time of the year takes all of the principles of Christianity away and replaces them with weird ass things not having to do with the birth of Jesus. Whatever. Not much of a Euro-participater, seeing as our principles and beliefs were taken away upon our ancestors arrival here in the 'new world'. Just my opinion. But I do Kwanza real big.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thursday, December 1, 2005


Sometimes you have a lot to say, today... I have nothing. Yet.


Something will come to me soon.


Oh, and get tested.


I will.


Knowing is okay.


There are a bunch of places offering to suck your blood and test it for free today, take advantage of it.

Not knowing is spreading.


Get aware. Google some shit about HIV and AIDS if you hafta.


Just know.


I love all of y'all, and I ain't going out like that.


You shouldn't have to either.


Take my skeleton- ass, not much of a post serious and use the resources put out today to get aware, or more aware, or to make someone else aware.

We're dying cause we shame to know... or tell.