Friday, January 20, 2017

It Begins...

My favorite commentary on the incoming Administration...

After a long absence, The Twilight Zone returns with one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial productions in broadcast history. Sci-fi writers have dabbled often with alternative history stories - among the most common is the “What If The Nazis Had Won The Second World War” setting - but this huge interactive virtual reality project, which will unfold on TV, in the press, and on Twitter over the next four years, sets out to build an ongoing alternative present.

The story begins in a nightmarish version of 2017 in which huge sections of the US electorate have somehow been duped into voting to make Donald Trump president. It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible. Today’s feature-length opener concentrates on the gaudy inauguration of President Trump, and the stirrings of protest and despair surrounding the ceremony, while pundits speculate gravely on what lies ahead. It’s a flawed piece, but a disturbing glimpse of the horrors we could stumble into, if we’re not careful.

I would like to thank Scotland’s Sunday Herald Sunday TV critic Damien Love for this. I want to get it framed and put on my wall.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Let me hear it one last time..

"We Out. Hey Joe, I know this spot got fish fresh off the grease..."

"My President is black, my Lambo is blue..."

It is a sad day.

As Sporty said, don't forget to set your clock back 350 years tonight.

It's always hard going back after a long vacation. You'd gotten used to silly things, things like a movement towards justice, concern about the environment, healthcare and human rights. Then back comes the UGH. In one fell swoop, it's like the world just went gray after you've gotten used to sunshine and hope and compassion. True it wasn't all great, there was always that undercurrent of problems you'd thought you'd left behind - of bad rhetoric and opposition, but you were on vacation. It didn't seem to matter as much. You even dreamed that the vacation might get extended. That you could potentially move and be on vacation forever.

But alas no. The UGH is back, and it seems like everything you left on your desk is still there, but now with all the stuff you missed while you were away. And it even seems like more stuff since they now realize you take vacations. The UGH. You'd almost thought it was going to be a distant memory.

That just means we need to start planning for our next vacation.

Thank you, President Barack Hussein Obama.

This is the part where somebody screams "TAKE ME WITH YOU"      

Monday, January 16, 2017

Brother Martin

Martin and History in Selma, AL
I started a firebrand piece earlier. But it felt inappropriate. It would been in line with the episode of Black-ish recently did, but more a passionate realization of who I am in these "interesting times" but ultimately they would have been full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. 

Another time. Perhaps.

This place was originally someplace to vent, to howl into the darkness but lately I've been censoring myself. Professionalism and all that. In a quiet sense, a weird way of  honoring Dr. King's legacy. Because what he fought for was my right to be black and be me. A right to be black, educated, and be anything I want to be in a world full of possibilities. A right not always afforded those who came before me, and one I'm terrified that I will waste. A right that right now feels all too temporary. A right that my generation may have to fight for all over again to pass on to our children.

At least Martin blazed a path. And if it comes to it, this time we'll get a little farther.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

What I learned in 2016

This new year is just like any other. Nothing is particularly special about it. It could go good or bad. It will be through our own actions and those actions alone that determine if we move along our chosen path and bask in the admiration of others OR sit in the dark mean mugging and feeling like the world has somehow cheated us. The choice is ours.

Now, at this metaphorical beginning point, let's stop and take stock of ourselves. Are you happy with your personal status quo? Have you taken a look at who you are? And not in the superficial way we always do, that I myself am guilty of as well, we but a real in-depth look at who we are, where we are in our life, and why we do those things we do. One those introspective deep dives where you ask yourself THE WHY. Why are we not chasing our dreams? Or why are we still chasing those dreams? Most of us don't do this for various reasons, partially because we're afraid of the answer. But I think most of us should ask ourselves the hard questions at least once a year.   

We hope and pray that the coming of the new year will bring new opportunities and new direction to our lives. In reality the numbering of the year will make no difference if the circumstances we have placed ourselves in do not change. And I say placed ourselves in because I subscribe to the notion that one is usually responsible for their circumstances - well, at least 95% of the time. Some things we can't control - Earthquakes, hurricanes, corporate merger, illness, etc. But those things we can change that we choose not to we are still responsible for. I am of the belief that those circumstances that hold us back that we can change, we should change.

Change. It's a funny idea. In a world where now everything is instant, change came first. Things change in an instant all the time. And yet that same change can take what seems like forever. And both kinds of change  can be both painful or exhilarating. And both kinds happen all the time. I'm guess what I'm just suggesting that by asking the hard questions, we prepare ourselves for change. And that we can be ready for change to happen to us, AND to change those things we can on our schedule.  

I'm not ashamed to admit that last year I was off and on with the struggle to change my own circumstances. Some were successful, some weren't, and some are still in progress. I'm human. I had some up days and down days. But I kept moving. And I think you should too. Maybe your moving is different than mine, in fact, I'm almost certain it is. But being ready, not just going through the motions of life is key.  Because change is coming. So we need to take stock of ourselves, ask the hard questions and figure out how to put the change we control on our schedule where we can.

As part of my process, I gather up those things I've learned, those lessons that I've learned from my previous year. I hope to internalize them. To make myself better. I put the change on my schedule.

What I learned in 2016

I have spent years wondering the answers to questions that I never even asked.

Only being finished is being finished. There is no almost finished.

Good people to have in your life are harder to find than you think. Not because good people are hard to find, it's because everyone has a life.

Extensive preparation doesn't always make you ready. Sometimes you gotta change what you do to make an impact.

I have a tendency to get comfortable with what I have, and that's bad, because I'm capable of so much more.

The theory of nobility is much harder than the practice. 

I may be too nice and have too much patience, if that's possible.

Falling down isn't the end. Not getting back up is.

Bacon just is.

Plan. Then get started. You may not follow the plan after the first few steps but plan. It gets you started and lets you know where the end lies.

Figure out what gets your day started, what gets you rolling and do that everyday. Even weekends.

I don't like calling people if it's not for business reasons. I feel like I'm bothering them.

Exercise your imagination. Daydream, pretend in the mirror, whatever. Because when we stop dreaming we stop trying.

If you're going to love someone, then love them all you can. People you will really love with your soul aren't easy to find. And they need to know you care.

Baking is God teaching you to take your time.

Learn to cultivate yourself. It's impossible for you not to reap what you have sown.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 Can Get Gone....

On Christmas day, a bit of sadness passed into our lives when George Micheal died. I didn't realize he was that young, so this struck me as a little crazy. George was part of my maturation, the period where I went from awkward kid to, um...awkward man-child? More than a few of his songs I can still sing from heart even though I know it's been five or ten years since I heard them. He resonated, which is something you don't see much of in this instant gratification entertainment culture we live in today. The man could sing.

Careless whisper, of a good friend...

And just as I get ready to properly eulogize him....

Carrie Fisher dies. I knew about the heart attack, but I just knew she'd pull through. Damn, I'm a middle aged black man, but Carrie Fisher was Princess Leia and as a kid that gold bikini talked to me. As much as people decry that women can't be strong on film, we met Princess Leia on a secret mission where she stared down one of the baddest villains ever created, then minutes after the 'heroes' arrived SHE TOOK CHARGE OF HER OWN DAMN RESCUE. As we say now, she could do both.

Now I think that this would make a fantastic obit - so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”
― Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking

2016 has just been hell on my childhood. Prince, Muhammad Ali, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Florence Henderson, Arnold Palmer, Gene Wilder, Doris Roberts, Ron Glass, Merle Haggard, John Saunders, Craig Sager, Morley Safer and and Abe Vigoda. It's an eclectic list to be sure, but then I was raised in age before curated entertainment. I like everything because I liked it, not because it was cool.

Is this what being old feels like? Watching your childhood slowly dissolve.

Because this sucks.

I'll be happy this New Year because this damn year is over. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Just Musings, I guess

Ramblings Post #330
And I wonder in the dark of the night, can you still see the light, can you still be alright, can't you see I don't want to fight, etc and so on. Song lyrics man. That's the lick. That or dog grooming. Or underwater basketweaving, which I understand is big among athletes as a second career. 

I should be working on my album. The working title is 'A Million Years and fifteen minutes in the Making'

I think this is possible because I have the app Garage Band on my pad and I've actually created two or three decent songs. And I'm not talking about using the loops that come with the app and blending them, I mean I've loaded the individual instruments and plucked out the individual notes and added vocals to create actual original music. I'm no Kanye (poor, poor Kanye) but the songs I've done might qualify as jazz fusion eclectic experimental, if of course you have some tequila before you listen. And aren't really paying attention. It could happen.

This comes up because as I keep procrastinating about finishing this book that's almost done, and gearing up for this certification in January (I'm studying more than I'm writing) I keep looking for the right music to listen to while I, write.

Anyway, last night as I flipped through white papers and the study materials I stumbled upon, a website that lets you tune into radio stations around the world. And I tooled about listening to stations in Latvia and Rome, popping into London and then down to Marrakesh where it was bumping. I find it interesting just how much American music is listened to around the world, even in countries where the DJs don't speak English. When I look at it like that, I can see how some are terrified of the cultural influence this little piece of North America. But this isn't a political screed, this is just listening to music from Iran, Beijing and Spain and hearing the same songs.

Back to my album, which I'm now inspired to create and put on soundcloud. I'm going to make that my February project, after this certification. And the book.
Now, I guess, it seems more real, because who knows, maybe I'll even hear it on the radio somewhere. Probably not.

Barkeep. I heard about this drink they make in Norway on the radio. You got any Yak milk? You do? Then you'll need a bull horn, some Svedka vodka, a boiled egg....