Turn it around, Big Daddy!!!

This is one of my favorite commercials. It's hilarious... and if you know me, anything funny moves me. Secondly it does a great job of making its point and delivering the message.

I've been doing that cheer/dance all week! All he needed was a pair of pom poms and a wig. Ironically, I'm listening to the Kings of Leon album as I'm writing this, which is actually an INCREDIBLE album. Apparently the group, consisting of 3 brothers and a cousin, grew up in the church. Their father, Leon (get it?), was a pretty big deal as a preacher in the church community. The group used to tour with him, and then he got in trouble for being an alcoholic and was kicked out of the church (or left, I can't remember and am too lazy to click on the other tab to do a search). Long story short, they've only been even listening to secular music for 5 years.

So with the commercial, and the album, I got to thinking about my own relationship with my father and my relationship with my daughter as a father and how much of an affect these relationships have on all of us. I've always had this theory that you either turn out to be exactly like your parents or the exact opposite. I for one, am ultra hands-on, affectionate, and attentive... most likely because my Dad wasn't around as much as one would've liked. Not most likely. Definitely. Ironically again, he too is a church leader, (no his name's not Leon, that would just be weird.) and had troubles here and there. Unfortunately I haven't yet made my millions through song, but I'm well on my way thanks to Autotuner! However, I am thankful for my sense of humor because if you ever met him, you'd see that it's all him. I literally still tell jokes he told me when I was 10 years old. Don't worry, I'll spare you the read.

When people ask me if I'm worried about my kid growing up within a split family, my answer is always and very easily "No." Even with the difficulties I experience as a single parent. At the end of the day (don't you hate when people say that), whether you come from a great family, a horrible childhood, a difficult life, won the lottery, or some strange hybrid therein, we all have greatness within us. To doubt that is easy. To believe in it and live it, despite your circumstances or history is the hard part. Oddly enough, we tend to think the opposite; concentrating more on the difficulties than anything else and seeing our lives overall as "difficult." Turn that around... Big Daddy... Make the uphill battle in your life the fight to find your greatness.. It's a fun journey, and just might surpise you in the end.

Marianne Williamson wrote:

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others

Peace... you know the rest...

YouFace, SpaceBook, and LinkedTube

If I get an invite to be on one more social network, I'm gonna shoot myself in the throat (no offense to anyone who has actually killed themselves). It's like every other week, I get an email telling me that someone I don't know has added me as a friend on a website I've never visited or heard of. "Pepe Jablonksi has added you as a friend on PetPals.com" Then you open it, and it tells you all the great things you can do to share stories and adventures about your pet(s) and upload videos or win free fish food for a year. Sorry, Pepe, I don't have a pet. And if I did, I wouldn't share its life's hilarious outtakes with you. "Reminder: Sarah has sent you an invite to join 1950sMovies.com." Sarah, sweetie, technically I don't need a reminder if I'm actually ignoring you.

I mean, I can facebook and myspace and twitter and linked-in with the best of em, but I've gotta draw the line somewhere! It's bad enough I already spend half my work days on facebook quizzes, gmail, photo uploads, status updates and scrabble, (now known as Lexulous... can somebody please tell me what the hell a Lexulous is?). It's almost like if you don't have ADD, you won't survive the age of social media and technological friendship. You've gotta check your work email, your personal email, your text messages, your AIM, your Gchat, IChat, facebook IM, IM on your phone, check your facebook messages, Myspace messages, check the other email you cheat on your husband with, Skype, view your friend's status on facebook, your friend's status on myspace, then twitter, watch a couple YouTubes (or 20), blog about it all, and then oh, and FINISH THAT G.D. REPORT!

And those are just the ones that are always in your face, don't even get me started on Imeem, Classmates, Digg, Flickr, Going, Black Planet, Tribe, Friendster - Friendster is like the one high school friend you used to hang out with, and you've grown up to be two entirely different people, and every time they call you, it's just awkward... like you kinda have to hang out with them, even though you tell all your other friends how much you don't like them. And even though you've changed your number and email address 20 times, you forget when and why you gave them your new information in the first place. "Ugh! Friendster emailed me again! wtf?! I guess I should go check on him." But you get my point, the list goes on an on. And if you're into video games or dating, forget about it!

If we go back 10 years ago, a lot of people were of the mindset that says: "I don't want people having too much access to me." And some people continue to be that way. These are the people that still "let the machine get it." They have an email address and a cell phone number, and it's "hey, if you can't get me there, then In-Word, you'll just have to wait!" You send them a text message, and they're like "oh, I was wondering why that envelope was on my phone." That same 10 years ago, when surfing the internet was boring if you weren't a federal agent, flirting in a chat room, or just a plain old nerd, the ADD epidemic was in full effect. And we thought, "oh poor kids, they can't even concentrate." "Johnny's failing math, because he gets up and chases birds down the hallway." Now these kids have all grown up and kicked us in the ass with all this social hoo-ha.

Lastly, would somebody tell these corporations they don't all need to have social networks on their websites or be part of one?! I don't need to share stories with other people who use Tide. "Hey, man, I had the exact same stain! Relish, right?" Ajax is not a 26-year-old female from Portland who's interested in men and is here for friendship, networking, and dating. The Cheerios' Bee does not need a fully blown out myspace page built in Flash with a music player and a cereal recipe widget. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for good branding, but it's gotta at least make sense for your product.

At the end, in all honesty (aside from the obsolete corporation presence), I do think there's an advantage and a point to all this. It really is about connection. Being in touch with people. It truly reinforces the human experience of getting to know new people, and getting to know the ones you do know, a little bit better. It makes it easier for us to let someone know that we're thinking about them, or let them know that we're paying attention. It's great for being exposed to new ideas and interests and new things to learn from one another. And life is all about how we experience and relate to one another. Do I really need use every single one of the technological methods available to accomplish this? No. But find whatever speaks to you best, whether it be online, mobile, or in person. However, if you've got a stalker or a crazy ex-girlfriend, you might wanna keep it on the low!

until next time, my In-Words, Peace Fish Grease (reused to fry chicken)


I Gotta Get a Gotta for Christmas!

You know.... It's funny how often people challenge your decision making skills as a parent. And most of the time without even realizing it. All throughout the year, people project their expectations on to you with questions about how you parent, offering up unsolicited advice, telling what their friends have done with their kids or even how they raise their pets. Especially for me, given the fact that my daughter is DEATHLY afraid of animals (I've never seen anyone or anything run faster when confronted by a teacup poodle). My favorite is, "Oh you should let her meet, Buster, he's great with kids!" I'm like "Did you just hear me? I said she's AFRAID of dogs."

But with all that, nothing attacks your psyche or makes you feel more like a parental nincompoop than the Holiday season. Especially me, since I have a daughter. "What did you get your kid this year! I know you spoil her!," people say gleefully while nudging their elbow in to mine. Or even worse, they look right at her, "Is daddy gonna get you everything you want for Christmas?" But screw you people! What am I getting her for Christmas? Really?! Some rent, heat, running water, and food. How about that? Merry bleepin' Christmas.

First of all, I'm Black, so I'm not bound by Christmas law - only Kwanzaa. And there ain't no Kwanzaa tree. On the contrary, however, I am a Christian so I guess in the grand scheme of things, that negates my negrocity. Plus half the time, I can't even spell Kwanzaa, and it's hard to celebrate stuff you can't spell. But here we are in the midst of a recession, and the holiday consumerism is in full effect. I just barely broke even with normal expenses, couldn't go home because of the exorbitant airline fees (I think they now charge for each item of clothing you wear on the plane), and my girlfriend and both of our families are pushing for a "deeper" relationship, if you get my drift. oh boy! And now, this precious gem of a child I bathe and feed everyday... The same kid I read books with every night... the same kid who seems to grow two sizes every other week... the same kid who gets clothes, books, toys, classes, and free room and board... I'm supposed to BUY a pile of EXTRA shit? In-Word, please!

Dont' get me wrong, I love the Christmas spirit. In fact, it's an energy that I advocate we adopt the whole year round... (peep my New Year's Dissolution Blog). But there's certain principles I don't necessarily introduce my kid to. For starters, the "Christmas Gimmies." For a 3-year-old, she's pretty understanding when we're at Target or Walgreens, or KB Toys (notice i didn't say FAO Schwarz, it's out of my tax bracket), or the grocery store, and she walks out of there empty handed. She doesn't own a lot of toys. She's not a brand fanatic like most kids end up becoming. A few dolls here and there, a little excitement over Dora the Explorer and the High School Musical album, but for the most part I don't push the idea of brands and commercial crap to her. Hell, I hardly ever even have the TV on when we're hanging out. Instead, she likes stuff like cooking, cleaning (great, now I sound cheap and sexist), drawing, music, being outside... you know, kid stuff. When asked what she wanted for Christmas, she literally said one thing: "Tinkerbell Movie." Other than that it was what she can take to school for her friends, or drawing a picture for her mom, or just more singing Jingle Bells wrong.

Now I'm sure this will all change in a year or so when she becomes a little more aware of what's going on in the world. When her friends start talking about the latest fads, and Hannah Montana, and Nike, and nail polish. Especially when she sees her pops bling-blingin', pinky ringin', and pockets ching-chingin'. Shout out to the Guess Store at the outlet mall.

On a broader scale and a serious note, in my life, I just try to focus on what's important. Kids don't need a lot. They need love, clean drawls, and food. They learn from practical experience, they have fun doing the simplest things, and their imaginations are bigger than we can imagine. As an adult and as a parent, I've tried to learn to keep it simple. It's when we bombard ourselves with the pressure of "gotta do" and "gotta have" and other expectations that we introduce ourselves to disappointment, doubt, and failure. So keep it simple. Just be. God has already given us what we need to become who we are. And that's the only "gotta" you need.

Stay Classy San Diego.

Until next time, Peace and Catfish Grease(on a napkin after you take it out the pan).


Deep Cleaning My Ass

Sorry. I deliberately left out proper punctuation on the title. ;) But seriously... So this morning I go into the dentist for "deep cleaning." Boy did I have no idea what I was in for.

In "Bill Cosby, Himself" the great Cos' tells this elaborate, 8-minute story about his trips to the dentist. "my moush... my moush es on fiber!" I always thought it was funny, but now I GET it. That was some ol' booolsh**t! And I don't even have major dental problems. Just some Tuna "tar-tar", if you will, here and there. So I'm thinking "Ok, cool. Clean me up, doc!" Then I sit down with the little Korean lady, and out comes this 3" needle. ???? Ok, I'll deal with that. Since I knew it was meant for numbing, I figured there was some sort of reward at the end. After jabbing that into my upper and lower gums, out comes the 2nd needle. Woah. Shorter, darker, more pokes.

As the numbness starts to set in, she fires up her power drills, and puts on a mask, a pair of glasses, and another pair of microscope lenses on TOP of her glasses. Like she's about to break into a vault at the Smithsonian from an underground sewage system. At this point in the story, if you have small children, you might want them to leave the room. What happens next was probably something that they only do at Gitmo.

Although my mouth is numb, my ears and eyes still work, which is probably worse because now you're only left to imagine the pain. What I heard, I can only describe as a combination of an illegal chop shop and a hungry dog chewing a rock with gravy on it. Scrape here, screech there, drill here, machine motor over there, the dentist's seat adjusting, a grown man scream down the hall. And then my eyes... Mis Ojos, Dios mio! I could see that poor Korean woman was rocking back and forth like she was whittling my initials into my molars. (that might be kinda hot, I'm gonna have to patent that!) At one point she began sweating, and grunting, and stopped to drink some Gatorade.

Then there's the "Going-To-Meet-Jesus" light staring you in the face the whole time. And to make matters worse, between the light and my face was the dentist office "Death Mist" - a combination of water, blood, bone, and your spirit leaving your body. This combination is one of life's best reminders of our mortality. So I'm thinking at any minute she's gonna break something and stab me in the thorax and I bleed to death in front of Kung Fu Panda Express, ova here. Either that or I choke horribly on a tooth that accidentally dislodges. I even started wondering whether or not I had on clean underwear. Which honestly, my fear almost answered that for me with a big fat "No."

So finally, as I was giving in to the light, waving to our Lord and Savior... the procedure was over. An hour had passed, and she handed me a small glass filled with antibacterial rinse that was going to cost me $25 for the bottle - whether I liked it or not. I tried my best to swash the liquid around, but somehow it managed to embarassingly escape from my numb lips. I felt like Steve Martin as Ruprect in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

But anyway, to sum it all up, I'm going to do it again in 2 weeks!

that's it for your boy....

Peace and Fish Grease!


That Ninja, Bush!

OMG! That had to be one of the funniest things ever in the history of funniness. My immediate reaction was "Wow, he ducked so flawlessly!" followed by 3 minutes of laughter in my office. I'm actually surprised he didn't put his hand up like Neo in the matrix and calmly say "no;" freezing the shoe in mid air. I mean this video honestly makes me think George Bush went through at least 1/2 of his presidency in intense training for moments like this. I pictured a montage of training exercises with Bush dressed like Rocky 1 in some tight gray sweats, a black fisherman's hat, and a towel wrapped around his neck.

Somewhere deep in the jungle, secret servicemen are throwing shoes at him from hidden locations.

Bush behind a podium as Stacy Adams on pendulums swing at him while he talks.

A series of push ups with a stank-shoe in his face every time he hits the ground. (to reinforce the disdain for Stank-Shoe)

Naked and crying as he's being beaten with wooden sticks with shoes on the end.

And finally him having a flashback of all his training as the shoe is being thrown.

Seriously folks, I took Martial Arts for over 6 years. (Shout out to Tang So Do at Michigan State.) One of the main things they teach you is that when being attacked, you do NOT take your eyes off your opponent and stay calm. The only way Bush coulda got down the way he did was through some real Bloodsport type of training.

Shout out to the Secret Service who came out all late after the dude threw a SECOND shoe. Way to go guys... And another shout out to the Wacky Iraqi crew trained in the ancient secret art of Kung Shoe.

Well, that's it for me...

Peace and Fish Grease


New Year's Dissolutions

Well we are now on the brink of a brand new decade. Just one more year to go after we bring in 2009. I've broken out everything from my Christmas tree to fancy lights, to organic egg nog, my Kwaanza hat, socks with the toes in them and of course my all time favorite - Mariah Carey's Christmas album (yes, I'm extremely gay for Mariah, but i'll save that for another blog). As we move through the holiday season with glee, along the way we find ourselves blurting out promises to ourselves and others all the goals we'd like to achieve and accomplish in the New Year.

So many people rely on the New Year as their season of change. We hear everything from "I can't wait till the New Year to get things straight," to "Next year is going to be my year," to "I'm so glad this year is going to be over..." and of course all of the proverbial weight loss, smoking, cheating, gambling, drinking, resolutions we list on our scrolls on Dec 31st and are forgotten by Jan 31st. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for newness, and there are definitely people who accomplish everything they set out to do as we go out with the old and in with the new. But my thing is this: Why wait? With 11 other months, 51 other weeks, and 364 other days, we can hand pick any moment as our time of change. One of my favorite quotes is "change the way you look at things and the things you look at will begin to change." Our life changes can literally be as simple and quick as a thought (followed by a little persistence). They don't have to be ushered in by Dick Clark, a countdown, cheap champagne and some cougar you met at the party. We can and should learn to celebrate newness in our lives everyday.

I often feel bad or simply tune people out who look back on their year, months or weeks as series of disappointments and unaccomplished tasks. Again, don't get me wrong, I'm one of em too. I constantly tune out my own negative thoughts. In light of that, I think one of the most difficult things to do is to give ourselves credit. Every day we are blessed with the ability to do something that pushes us forward. Got laid off and didn't kill yourself? Good. Enjoy a few days off and use the skills you developed while you had the gig to advance. Paid your rent late every month this year? At least it was paid! Caught the herpes?... um... err uh... can't help you there. But don't wanna mess with that dick of a guy you met any more? Good. Don't. But at least you experienced something great at some point, even if he disappointed at the end. Such is life. We do. We learn. We live. We grow.

With all that said, I urge you to make this your new year's resolution: Choose change everyday. At the end of each day, ask yourself "Was I better person today than I was yesterday?" Each morning ask yourself, "How can I be a better person today?" Even if you just choose one small area to focus on. Take an extra serving of your lunch to work to share... Just once. Somebody in the office likes egg salad (I hate it, so don't bring it for me). Don't cuss out the driver who cut you off... just once. He or she could be bleeding and in a rush to the free clinic. Don't refer to your baby mama as "that triflin' skank." Just once. You'll be amazed at the habits you develop after a while.

Lastly, I know this can come off corny and cliche and is often easier said than done. One thing I recently adapted to stay on track with positive thinking was to set reminders in the calendar on my phone. Whether it was randomly to drop and do 20 push ups in an effort to stay in shape, or reminding myself to being more patient with my child, or to pray for thanks at any moment, or calling someone I haven't talked to in a while, doing a client an additional favor, or even practicing my Kegel exercises ;), I tried to continually remind myself of the purer side of my personal development. You can set several different reminders for every monday, weds, saturday, or once a week or however you see fit.

The point of it all is that you can shape your life whenever and however you want. Try not to focus so much on the outcome, but more on the journey. Be an example to someone in someway. Be thankful and patient, and IMMEDIATELY nip the bud on the negative thoughts that easily pop into our heads. And most importantly, have a happy and successful new year doing so. I'll leave you with quote from Les Brown: "The fascinating thing about life is that you can't get out of it alive, so you may as well have a good time!"

Enjoy your life.

Peace and Fish Grease.


Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself

Welcome to The In Word.

So a little about me... I'm a 32-year-old single dad of a 3-year-old, the lover of a 31-year-old, the baby daddy of a 36-year-old, the child of a 66-year-old and a 68-year-old, the acquaintance of many, a friend of few, and 1 bad son of a gun. I like to consider myself somewhat of a neo-renaissance man. I've been an engineer, a writer, a director, a marketer, a producer, a teacher, a consultant, a real estate agent, an actor, an elected government official, a property manager, a musician, an athlete, an asshole, an inspiration, a student, and any mix you can think of within all of these.

What I plan to do with this blog, who knows. I think it'll be fun that we all watch it grow together. Plus I think I just might have a lot to say. I hope my life and experience sheds a light for all those who read it. But whatever it becomes, I promise it will be interesting. Whether it's outlandishly entertaining and funny, meaningful and insightful, personal and pathetic, or even weirdly complicated. Either way, I hope you get it, and I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time, peace and fish grease (in a crisco can on the stove)...