Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Long Walk

Let's take a long walk around the park after dark
Find a spot for us to spark
Conversation, verbal elation, stimulation
Share our situations, temptations, education, relaxations
Elevations, maybe we can talk about Revelation 3:17

Or maybe we can see a movie
Or maybe we can see a play on Saturday
Or maybe we can roll a tree and feel the breeze and listen to a symphony
Or maybe chill and just be, or maybe
Maybe we can take a cruise and listen to the Roots or maybe eat some passion fruit
Or maybe cry to the blues
Or maybe we could just be silent

(Jill Scott – A Long Walk, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds, Vol. 1)

Last night, I experienced this song down to every note. I met a young man several days ago and initially perceived it as a B.U.D.D.Y. situation (check out Musiq Soulchild's song). But I think this is going to be much more. I haven't felt this comfortable in a long time. His smile makes me smile and his body makes me ... well, let me keep this G-rated guys!

I came home from work, showered and “change[d] clothes and go.” I took the train back into Boston and Haymarket was the rendezvous. Twists instructed me to call first but I glimpsed him from across the station and after making eye contact, we were both grinning like Cheshire cats. We walked through the North End to Billy Tse, a Chinese restaurant. He had never been to the North End and seemed tremendously fascinated with everything. He was especially quiet at first but once we were seated, we talked about music, art and family. While jazz played in the background amid slightly dimmed lights, I found myself gazing intently at his stunning cocoa skin and reveling in his reserved presence.

We left the restaurant and walked to Government Center and watched a free concert. A jazz/big band was performing songs from the 20's, 30's and 40's. A small dance floor was set up in the front and some golden-age couples were swing dancing to tunes that reminded them of old times. We sat on the plaza steps observing and listening when I noticed he had laid back trying to slide over closer. I did the age old "hand-on-the-thigh-during-convo-to-see-if-he's-feeling-me" and I got no resistance. Before I knew it, we were extremely close, not quite touching, but near enough to occasionally rub legs or lean in for a kiss.

The concert ended and we trekked to the Commons and came upon a Shakespeare play. We didn't have a lawn chair or a blanket so we stood at the back of the crowd to watch. He likes theater so I relinquished my distaste of Shakespeare and allowed him to watch. Not sure what play it was (I only know a handful of the Bard's works) but it had the crowd roaring. We meandered through the Commons and found a bench in front of the Frog Pond, a small man-made splash pool. Customarily, it is filled with children and pets during the day, however, it was quiet and peaceful and the ideal place to sit and converse.

As the water trickled and lapped in the background, Twists and I spoke about education, his plans for the future and his past. I discovered he likes old-school music even though he's young. He's never been to a concert and admitted that he never had a real relationship. Moreover, he claimed he had never been kissed! I found that hard to believe but I had to give him the benefit of the doubt. Additionally, I learned his family originated from the South so we discussed different types of soul food. He's wants to major in psychology but has a passion for poetry. Finally, I learned he has a twin brother which, of course, I found rather intriguing.

As we sat on the bench, couples strolled by on the other side of the pond but no one came past our bench. I guess that made him feel extremely comfortable and soon his hand was on my thigh and my arm was draped across his shoulders. Believe me, I wanted to just get to it right there but I was cool. I've never been exceedingly affectionate in public however, the attraction we shared negated all our fears. At one point, we didn't really have anything to say! We both agreed that sometimes, just being in one’s presence and enjoying the moment is relaxing and peaceful.

We made our way to Downtown Crossing to catch our respective trains and that's when I decided to kiss him. We had intensely flirted on the bench at the Commons and I was mentally berating myself for not kissing when it was more romantic. Man, I have such crummy timing! Nevertheless, the kiss was out of this world! His lips were extremely soft and it turned me on so much. Once I arrived home, we conversed a little before I hit the pillow. The end of a wonderful evening.

There's definitely a second date on Friday and I'm literally counting the hours until I can see him again. I haven't been with anyone romantically or sexually in several years and I had forgotten what it was like. I buried myself in my studies and adopted the attitude:

"I don't need no n***** rollin' over, lookin' after me"
(Erykah Badu - Certainly [Flipped It], Baduizm)

I like Twists a lot and feel confident and animated around him. He's still not out to his family and he's never been to pride so I've got my work cut out for me. And speaking of family, I found out that he's actually the son of a friend of my father's. Talk about six degrees of separation! That blew my mind three ways to Sunday! It's got me a bit nervous because I can't tell my family; the grapevine is a bit too connected. I don't want to be the cause of serious problems.

Originally, this was just supposed to be a booty call, but now I'm too interested and can call it anything but. I'm genuinely feeling him on numerous levels. I'm trying not to get too excited. I'm taking it for what it is and I’m going see what happens, where it goes. In the meantime, I just hope we have more walks around the park, after dark ...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Let's Do The Twist

Over the past few months, I've been wearing a style known as yarn locks. For the past two years, I've had cornrows and worn just about every pattern under the sun. My former friend, Thai Guy, introduced me to the yarn locks and I went to the shop while he was having his put in. They came out great and thus I decided to try out the style. Essentially, yarn locks are long strands of yarn woven into your natural hair; an extension. Over time, your hair locks and grows and when you reach the desired length, you can cut out the yarn, leaving only your natural hair.

I've had them since March and many people have given me great compliments. I've learned how to adjust to life with longer hair and I'm really looking forward to the day when I can cut the yarn out and my hair has finally locked. In the meantime, I've endured the trips to the salon to have the locks retwisted and while it's sometimes painful and a bit more expensive than the cornrows, the result looks fantastic. However, the retwisted hair stays in place for about two weeks and after a good wash, the hair puffs up and looks raggedy at the roots.

I reviewed a few web forums regarding hair care for dreadlocks and I'm considering “do-it-yourself” retwisting to save money. Although I lack a few of the necessities (and skill), I have most everything I need. Nevertheless, I'm not quite sure I can do this. Some individuals stressed leaving the locks alone and occasional washing. Others suggest frequent washing will lock hair faster. Still, other individuals stated that retwisting only damages the hair and doesn't promote locking at all. I'm not sure who or what opinion to believe now.

I want to know if anyone out there knows how to retwist locks themselves and whether or not it is a good idea? Do you know anyone with locks and have they shared any of their personal preferences for maintaining their look?

Take Everything In

During my daily commute, there is a tree I face on the other side of the train tracks. Back in late May, when most trees had blossomed, this tree was virtually bare. Two years prior, I discerned a railroad spike lodged in a branch. Subsequently, I was convinced this iron thorn had poisoned the tree and inhibited any type of growth. The few leaves that did emerge were brown and withered. I assumed this was the end of the road for this tree. However, several weeks ago, the tree began sprouting leaves like crazy. Throughout the week, broad, green leaves budded and covered nearly every visible branch. Without a doubt, this tree was alive and in five years, more exquisite than I had ever imagined.

I'm not a great philosopher or wise man and I'm not proficient with analogies and morals but observing this tree everyday reminds me of the necessity for love. Although I still have issues with religion, trivial events like this inspire me and reaffirm my wavering faith in miracles. To me, this tree symbolizes love, life and faith. While the following line is cliché it is reasonably pertinent: even when you think all hope is lost, there is a miracle. I just wanted to share this small story with everybody.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

K.C.'s Workout Plan (Pt. 5)

Last night, I went to the supermarket and bought my first batch of healthy food. I'm so glad I'm not married with children. I spent nearly $100 just in an hour of being in there! I started picking out items that weren’t on my list. I bought wheat pasta (never tried it before), peaches, apples, pineapple, Honey Nut Cheerios, yogurt, granola bars, salmon and lean boneless chicken breast. There was more but I'm not going to drone on. You get the idea.

Additionally, today was my first early morning cardio workout in several weeks and I managed about 2.5 miles on the treadmill and I didn't have to stop in between runs. You see, I'm lousy at stretching. I end up getting hip or leg cramps during my cardio workout. There are some days I've managed close to 6 miles (I’m on a roll) and still others when I can barely make 2 miles. It basically depends on my mood and physical stamina. But when I’m feeling good, I love to freak people out. I'm short and thick so people think I'm going to run for a minute and quit or slow down. After an hour, they're walking out the door and I'm still cruising at 6 MPH in the zone! I love running!

I recently read a post on Deonte' K's Spot, titled Deonte’s Top 5 Gym Pet Peeves, and he suggested that most gyms should provide a separate area for SGL guys to concentrate on our workout. I agree wholeheartedly! The buffed up tatted guy I see all the time on the train and in the gym, was there this morning (I've got to find him an alias: suggestions?). Not to mention this hot 30-something black guy with a nice tight ass which I ended up intently gazing at while running. Extremely distracting! Why can't there just be old white fat guys there?!?!

To Boldy Go ...

Okay, I'm curious to know if any bloggers out in the blogosphere have something you enjoy (hobby, television show, activity, movie, drug, etc.) that you seldom disclose due to judgment or persecution by friends or family …

:: exhales ::

All right, I'll start. I'm a huge Star Trek fan and almost to the point where it borders on obsession. Initially I was introduced to Star Trek: The Next Generation and then turned to Deep Space Nine and Voyager. I don’t particularly care for the original series or Enterprise. I've watched every movie and even have old starship models and books I read regularly. I'm a walking encyclopedia when it comes to any and everything Trek-related. So there, I admitted it!

I don't typically reveal this to anyone because I get slapped with the label of nerd. I especially don't share that with potential dates until it gets significantly serious. I'm not embarrassed about it because I know everyone has an unusual enjoyment and I'm hardly in a judicial position. I say, "to each his own."

What's your guilty pleasure?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Emotional Rollercoaster

I'm the real thing,
in stereo
I got a little highs,
I got a little lows

(Jill Scott - The Real Thing, The Real Thing: Words & Sounds, Vol. 3)

The above lyrics sum up my weekend perfectly!

I came home Friday and did absolutely nothing. I ended up banging around on the keys (I haven't played in a quick minute) and then watched TV. Total laziness.

The Lows
I was curious about a site I heard about via some bloggers called BGCLive. Several individuals had stated it wasn't a trustworthy site so I didn't go into it with many expectations, maybe a hookup. Yeah, bad boy in me was coming out! I saw a few ex's on there (one hit me up) as well as many fine ass brothas. The dating site I'm on doesn't have many black guys so I was in Nubian heaven! Yes, I like flavor. I'm like the guy in a recent KFC commercial:

(as he bites into a piece of chicken) "Whoa! What's that?"
"I like flavor!"

Subsequently, I became depressed. You see, I have green eyes. I start checking guys who are hot and start comparing myself to them. It's a nasty flaw but it's what makes me human and imperfect. I'm working on it. So after a few hours cruising the site and feeling really down, I decided to turn the computer off and focus on what's blessed in my life. Gradually, I pulled out of it.

I was also in a foul mood because my dad wanted to push my buttons and Rugrat decided he wanted to be an ass toward everyone. He was supposed to perform in a hip-hop show that night and I offered to support him. However, the show was cancelled (much to my relief, not really my scene) and I ended up back on BGC that night.

The Highs
Needless to say, I met someone on BGC and we talked online all night, early into Sunday morning. After my first trip back to the gym (sidebar: I got my monthly membership lowered to $24! woo-hoo!), I spent the day finalizing my resume and then started talking to my new friend. I don't have an alias for him yet. He reminds me a lot of SideKick (ironically he has one too) however, he’s a lot more mature. He's really smart, driven, has a sexy smile and is brutally honest. Major turn-on! So last night, I was up until 1 AM on the phone with him. I was laying in bed, lights dimmed real low, under the covers, just talking about anything we could think of. It was real nice. I haven't had a convo like that in ages. Eventually, we started getting freakier and needless to say, a few pics were traded via his sidekick. I’m not usually a top but after seeing the booty, I’m jumping the fence! I'm definitely sprung on this kat. I don't think I want to talk relationship but in the meantime, I need to cure these celibacy blues and I think he might be the one.

Oh yeah, SideKick called me yesterday and he confirmed he was robbed at gunpoint. He still doesn't have a sidekick but at least he’s okay and alive. I was especially relieved to hear from him. Needless to say, he figured I was feeling someone and if you thought my eyes were green, his are dark green! I ain't sweating him but I still like him ... maybe there could be a threesome ... hmmmm ... "oh behave!"

K.C.'s Workout Plan (Pt. 4)

Many individuals have extended their support regarding my workout plans and I want to say thank you! Due to the deluge of encouragement, I'm shifting into overdrive. I have exactly three weeks (8/16) until I revisit my personal physician.

One blogger said he lost 40 pounds and looks fantastic (and mad sexy!) from the many pics I have observed. In addition, I saw a huge buffed dude at the gym during my early morning workouts and he was always eyeing me every time I came through the door. This past week, I saw him on the subway twice (in a suit which hugged his body deliciously!) I believe the gym is haunting me based on these signs!

I can feel the weight gain (I've gone from 200 to 205) and I'm fed up. So I'm going to set up a better plan. I am not a diet believer and thanks to my nutrition class last semester, I learned a lot about how the body processes food. My professor emphasized avoiding supplements and utilizing natural foods to maintain your health.

Initially, I'm setting my alarm and forcing myself back into the early morning workouts. I am a sleep-lover but that's got to change. I'll probably get used to the early morning workouts again after a few days.

Secondly, I plan to change my eating habits. The cookout is over so I'm going to start buying my own groceries instead of relying on my family's food. My family doesn't really buy healthy stuff. Pops always has potato chips, cakes or other sweets lying around which lead me to "binge" when I come home from work. Essentially, every healthy thing I eat (Cheerios, salads, fruit) throughout the day is irrelevant once I come home. Smaller portions, no seconds, more fruit and veggies and water and I should be on course. Additionally, we love to order out, however, I won’t be able to partake in that for a while.

Finally, I'm going to concentrate on weights and the ab machines. I'm a cardio-fanatic. I love sweating and I'll take a treadmill or stair climber any day over weights. Nevertheless, ::sigh :: I know I need to firm and tone. A month ago, I was starting to feel rock hard abs underneath my gut so I know I was doing something right.

Do you mind if I’m narcissistic for a moment? Good! I was going to anyway! I don't think I'm a bad looking guy in the face and legs (they're in good shape from all the running I've done) however, the foremost problem area is my torso. Therefore, my target weight for the next three weeks is hopefully 195. That's approximately 10 pounds. Once I’m into a routine, it shouldn't be hard to maintain. I'd really like to dial it back to 180 but you have to crawl before you can walk.

Friday, July 25, 2008

*Young, Black and Downlow*

This week’s featured blogger is Young, Black and DL. Similar to Prince Xem, he was never one of the original bloggers that inspired me to join however, he's been a frequent and dependable reader of mine and key contributor to the comment sections and I must acknowledge him. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading his fascinating posts which momentarily extricate me from my reality and/or drama and typically result in me laughing my ass off (generally at work which has produced odd glances from co-workers!) Furthermore, I was quite astonished and thrilled to be included in a recent post of his!

I suggest checking out his blog titled, Young, Black and Down Low: The Low Down On The Double Life Of A Young, Black and Fabolously Downlow Man (yeah, it's lengthy!) And while I may not necessarily agree with being DL, I have much respect for this young brotha and I'm sure you'll quickly realize his uniqueness when you stop by his page!

Amazing Disgrace

I recently left a comment on a muse’s blog in which I expressed my issue with religion. I'm not sure how this all came about but most SGL men I have met appear to have problems with religion. I initially avoided this topic on my blog but recent events have compelled me to open up.

I was raised in a predominately African-American Baptist church. My maternal grandparents and their daughters attended the church for many decades. I was christened and baptized there and accomplished all the usual church activities including serving as an usher, singing in the choir, attending Sunday school and performing in the annual Easter pageant. Many of our childhood babysitters have been church members and I even had my first crush and met my first and only girlfriend in church. My musical talent emerged by observing the musicians and from 2002 through 2007, I served as keyboardist for the men's choir. Essentially, I am no stranger to the black church environment and I think of the church as an extension of my family.

The two significant difficulties I have with religion is 1) the pastor and 2) my doubts. Now, my issue with the pastor is a love/hate relationship and unfortunately it affects my feelings concerning religion. This particular minister is a womanizer and known to frequent the red light district. Some of his "female" problems have even surfaced during service! Furthermore, he's exceedingly shady pertaining to money and has excluded many long-time members who did not subscribe to his "vision." Trust, I'm not the only bitter person in the congregation. He recently received a Benz fully paid for by the church on top of his excessive salary and house (also paid for by the church). The best part? They host an anniversary for him every year rather than 5 year milestones (and of course that means more money in his pockets).

Some members of the congregation blindly follow the minister and if he said jump off a cliff, roll in dog s*** and drink piss, they'd do it. Supposedly his "cronies" are forward thinking and many of the traditions and rituals that existed have been abolished and replaced with newer trends. I understand change but I occasionally yearn for the old ways. The minister, Reverend Lies, has been attempting to recruit me as the principal musician because I possess a modern, contemporary style in comparison to the current organist/pianists. Personally, I’m offended because I regard the older musicians as inspirations and deeply respect them. Never in a million years could I replace them.

Naturally, these issues indirectly affect me but colored my perception of the leadership. Many deacons left in disgust and his "cronies" stepped in to protect his back. While various members do complain, somehow he's still in charge. Unfortunately, my family was stung by his greediness following my maternal grandmother’s passing and he and my late grandfather had a falling out regarding money. My mother has turned her back on the church and though they preach the "Christian" message of "love thy neighbor," they basically turned their backs on us. Welcome to the Holy Black Mafia (H.B.M.).

I left the church in 1999 for college and my sexual orientation transpired. I learned about diverse religions and philosophies and consequently questioned the existence of God. To this day, I still struggle with doubt. The concept of miracles, life after death, and weekly worship of an "invisible" deity all seem a bit backwards and anti-progressive to me. My parents are somewhat religious and especially so on my father's side. My cousin is a minister and my late paternal grandparents were the strict, old school, Southern types who believed in the Bible and church EVERY Sunday no matter what. I seem to be the odd duck in my family.

I left the men's choir last year in preparation for a return to school. I've enjoyed not going to practice, dealing with the drama (yes, men have as much drama as women!), worrying about performing for special occasions, dressing up nearly every Sunday, etc. I've become increasingly dismayed with the church’s direction and want to dissociate myself. Conversely, I feel as though I'm in a gang for life.

Rev. Lies e-mailed me several days ago to "check up" on me. Sure. Ironic that his deacon, a former choir member, also e-mailed me requesting my assistance with the pastor's 20th anniversary in October. I don't really want to but I still enjoy playing gospel music. I'm quite torn. I want to remain separated and concentrate on my education but there's a nagging feeling that I owe them (i.e. scholarships, my upbringing, my foundation). Furthermore, I’m a hypocrite by pretending to pray and acting humble at church when I'm not as devote as the congregation.

There are a handful of genuine people whom I truly love there but am I willing to wade through the shark infested waters to get to the Isle of Righteous People? And how do you feel regarding religion?

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Just a brief note about some updates. I added a "cast" of characters underneath the archives and links listings on the right side of the page. I'm hoping to add more characters or delete others over time. Moreover, I’m planning to add a poll, a slideshow and maybe some other features in the next few months. Thanks to The Divo for the suggestion and let me know what you guys think!

Review: My Man, My Boyz (Update)

I finished reading My Man, My Boyz and aside from a billion editing mistakes, it was an okay read. I'm a quick reader and finished the novel in less than a week (45 minutes a day). There was a major storyline that was intentionally left open and I'm curious to know "who-dun-it." So I guess I'll have to buy the sequel, whenever that will be released. Additionally, I think the main storylines were wrapped up a bit too perfectly. But overall, it was great first effort; I really can't complain, especially since I've never written a novel!


I'm currently reading E. Lynn Harris' new book, Just Too Good To Be True, and it’s a significant departure from his usual style. I like it so far, but then again, I'm biased. In my opinion, anything E. Lynn touches is just too good to be true!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My So-Called Dating Life

I finished my profile on the dating service and unfortunately I received some responses. The reason I said unfortunately was because I forgot to specify the age range and ended up harassed by chicken hawks. Essentially guys old enough to be my father or grandfather. Nothing wrong with older guys who are attractive but these guys were a double-hell-no! So now that I fixed that glitch, I'm getting the hang of the dating thing and I'm being extremely selective about who contacts me and to whom I say hello. Nevertheless, I’m keeping my hopes up. Thus far I've flirted with one guy (he’s kind of cute) and I've taken the first step and said hello so we'll see where this goes.

K.C.'s Workout Plan (Pt. 3)

I think I've gained a few more pounds since this weekend. My goal was to lose some weight before I see this dietician in August but following this cookout, I don't know if that is attainable. I feel like crap so I'm going back to the gym this week. Meanwhile, that big sheet cake, brownies, sodas, ribs and pasta salad are at home calling my name ... K.C. ... K.C. ... K.C. ... K.C. ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


My mother and I are very close. We have television shows that we watch religiously (Desperate Housewives, ER, Girlfriends) and we typically discuss a lot of issues, personal and social. Additionally, she frequently gives me great advice when I’m deciding something crucial. Several friends have commented that I'm lucky to have a good relationship with my mother since many of them are left beneath the judgmental and disapproving glare of their parents. However, I don't exist in a land of roses and bluebirds. And because we are close, our arguments and disagreements tend to be particularly tense and deeply affect me.

Last night, we conversed and my mother challenged my work ethic and decision to leave my job. I'm attending school in September full-time and the plantation company I slave work for now won't permit the hours I require. Subsequently, I've decided it's time to move on, especially after five years. They are downsizing and I fear I may be next to get the pink slip. Furthermore, I think it's time for a change since I'm extremely bored and miserable here.

My mother questioned my plans following graduation. I told her pointedly that I didn’t know what I was going to do with the degree once I got it. That's why I'm considering an internship and trying to make connections. She stated that I've always had things come easy and that “magically obtaining a job within a month is naive.” I kept my cool but started to get slightly defensive. After all, this is my life and these are my decisions; what I do doesn't affect them physically or financially.

Well, we came to an impasse and I showered before bed. A half hour later, I found my mom sitting on the front porch with The General (my lazy ass dog who thinks he runs the house). I joined her and launched into a justification of my reasons and decisions. I told her it was my life and that while I understand her concern about my future, I have to live my own life and figure everything out for myself, mistakes included.

Her main reason for feeling this way? She sees me following in her footsteps. She obtained an art degree from UMass Boston and never did anything to establish a career in that field. Her voice faintly choked as she told me her educational regrets. She never had a career plan after college and sees me going down the same path.

We managed to smooth our conversation over and I went to bed. Admittedly, I'm feeling more anxious after that conversation. I'm freaking out! I was so determined to acquire this degree after years of sitting on my ass. I'm extraordinarily close to finishing but honestly don't know what I want to do after college. Most young boys dream of being in the NBA but reality dictates that most will never succeed. The same in the music industry. Everyone dreams of being a star but reality has set in and I know I have to consider other alternatives within the field (i.e., teaching or A&R). I always hear that as young black men, education is necessary to achieve life goals and I'm doing just that. I'm proud that I've been exceedingly ambitious but what next?

All these changes make me uneasy. I'm scared of what will or won’t be. I am generally content with my life. Nevertheless, departing my job, and ultimately school, will be huge. Moreover, I eventually hope to move out. And while I don't want entertain this thought, my dad has become elderly very quickly within the past few months. He can hardly walk, uses a cane and he sleeps most of the day. His health isn't excellent and I’m worried for him over the next few years (i.e., nursing home). I've always prided myself on being tough and putting up a facade, that everything in my life is under control but I'm deathly terrified because at this point, my future is beyond my control.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Cookout (Pt. 2)

All good things must come to an end! But damn if it wasn't fun! So where to begin ... hmm ... let's start with the backbreaking work I had to endure Friday.

I had the day off from work but spent it doing a combination of yardwork and housecleaning. And of course it was hot as Satan's Ass Crack so thankfully I got to do the house in AC and sweat off 10 pounds outside! After scrubbing about 50 chairs, 13 tables, sweeping, cutting grass, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, weed-whacking and any other type of labor that was officially outlawed by the Thirteenth Amendment. Well, on to the fun ... or so I thought.

Saturday arrived with hot, hazy and humid weather. The yard looked perfect. Perfectly manicured lawn, several tables covered with brightly colored tableclothes. Groups of balloons and beautifully decorated Chinese lanterns ensconsed the tables while a huge green gazebo sat in the middle of the yard, covering two long banquet tables filled with food. Macaroni and cheese, potato salad, rice & beans (jag), collard greens, chicken, ribs, burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, macaroni salad, cakes, cookies, chips, brownies, soda and lots of booze were on the menu.

So you think you everything under control? Well, you don't. Not when you're dealing with "black people" (I'd use the n-word but I'm trying to run a dignified blog here!) The ribs and chicken was cooked off-site and was late in arriving. Subsequently, I had to work overtime to get the burgers and hot dogs out as fast as the orders came in. I thought I was familiar with Satan's Ass Crack (S.A.C.) but I think he farted because it was utter hell standing in front of that grill on the hottest day of the year so far!

And of course black people run on CP time. Most people didn't arrive until nearly 3:30 when the invitation clearly stated 2 PM. Yeah, I know, no one ever wants to be the first one but come on people! My friend 3 Degrees showed up with her man. She brought cakes and kept me company near the grill. The Divo and his boyfriend arrived next and brought cookies. 3 Degrees and her man sat with them. I was busy trying to grill (note: trying) while my dad sat with the other dirty old men in the back and leered at the girls (yeah, you know every family has one! - think Madea's Family Reunion with the soda barrel scene and you'll get the idea!)

(continued in next post)

The Cookout (Pt. 3)

(I decided to break this into two posts since it was so long)

After I finished slaughtering the food, I sat with my friends and chatted a bit. The Divo's boyfriend is a nice guy but doesn't speak much English (he's Chinese). I was told that he would be shy and withdrawn but I'm guessing he felt comfortable because he was asking me about my house, family, and job. It's great to see The Divo happy because as long as we've been friends (6 yrs.), I haven't seen him with a steady boyfriend. He seems very settled and there is buzz that they may be getting a place together in the foreseeable future! I smell housewarming!

My girl, 3 Degrees, was very laid back too. She's Chinese so I'm sure that helped The Divo's man feel a bit more at ease. Her boyfriend is a bit uptight. I've known her since HS so it's a bit awkward having history with her and he's not "in" on certain topics. Plus, she (and her ex) hung out a lot with me and my only girlfriend so it's hard sometimes not to want to bring up those old times. She and her boyfriend left early and then The Divo and his man left not too long afterwards. So with no one to hang out with, I ended up moving stuff inside.

My mom's friend who is diabetic did cause a small scene and nearly collapsed on the patio. After going inside and cussing out her husband, they left and we found out later she was admitted to the hospital. Hopefully she'll be okay. Furthermore, the husband of my mom's best friend (she passed away in December) was in town from New Jersey so it was good to see him. My niece and her tribe (she has four little kids) didn't come through as promised and that has me annoyed with family. A lot of my cousins didn't show, including the newly outed one and that is developing a "screw them all" attitude. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt but sometimes it's hard when people get tacky and don't call or don't respond. But then again, as Dave Chappelle would say ... BLACK PEOPLE!

I took a short nap and hung with my brother's friends. One of the guys he invited used to be a security guard at my office building. Needless to say, I had a thing for him so I was like a little school girl hanging around him.

Overall, this wasn't the greatest cookout. The turnout compared to the last 3 years was very low. Year one we had about 60 people, year two was around 40, year three was over 80 and now this year was barely 40. I blame the economy. No one from out of state came. I really missed Kingston the most. We have tons of food left over and even though people took plates to go, we still have several huge pans of chicken and ribs. I'm glad this is the last year. It's like a movie trilogy. The second movie is the biggest while the third goes out with a bang. If you come back to do a fourth, well, you're just asking for trouble. And we got it. Many people didn't call (like my friend Crazy) and others bailed outright. The most frustrating thing is that so many people constantly ask us throughout the year when the "big cookout" is and then don't even show up. Even our cook was out of state! We should've heeded the signs but we didn't. All in all, I had a good time, I always do, and I did appreciate those that came but as I said in the first post ... all good things must come to an end.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Time For Some Campaigning (from Jib Jab)

I saw this yesterday on the Today show. I love how it doesn't single out just one politician or party but takes "jabs" (no pun) at everyone. And Obama riding on the unicorn was just too funny! I like my "Barry" (aka Barack) but if you can't laugh at who you're supporting, it's time for a Prozac or a Red Bull!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Cookout (Pt. 1)

Every year, my family and I host an annual cookout which has been a enormous success for the past three years. While we appreciate our guest's reception, hosting an event of this magnitude is exceedingly exhausting and financially taxing. On average, we have a guest list of about 50 to 80+ individuals which in turn requires a lot of ribs, burgers, chicken and many other side dishes. The guests range from local neighbors, to church folk, to family members to guests from as far away as Georgia, New Jersey, Florida and New York.

The initial idea for this cookout originated via Rugrat's mind. When my bro and I were younger, our family was known for our summer cookouts which attracted tons of people and the memories of those events have persisted into adulthood. However, we've created and lost friendships and circumstances have allowed for a new group of family and friends who did not experience our past cookouts. Thus, in 2005, we decided to have the biggest cookout possible.

In order to make it better than our "average" past cookouts, we added unique touches such as raffles (50/50, iPods, etc.), pools, volleyball, basketball, and balloons. We created a musical playlist which combined blues, Motown oldies, R&B and my bro's rap. Every year has been a learning experience from the guests, food, activities and music. Consequently, the memories are too numerous to mention in this post and being able to have my aunts, uncles, choir members, co-workers, neighbors, friends, cousins, great-nieces and nephews and even ex's all getting along in one yard is one hell of an amazing experience!

We've had good memories such as celebrating my parents 25th anniversary with a special cake as well as not so good memories, including me getting wasted and proceeding to cuss out my late aunt and parents while being restrained by Kingston (I apologized before she passed and since cut back on alcohol ten fold). Seeing little children run around playing while the adults just relaxed and ate grilled food lifts my spirit and has given me something to look forward to every year. And the most phenomenal part? Sitting at my table and seeing Crazy, D.G., Kingston, The Divo and BJ (one of my X-Men) actually get along!

Nevertheless, the annual cookout will occur this coming weekend (19th) and I really think someone is going to be killed before this is over! My family has a cookout account that we fund continuously throughout the year and after a January meeting, we determine if and when the cookout will transpire. Needless to say, the enthusiasm is minimal and a few curve balls have been thrown our way. Due to President Idiot's economical "slow-down", money is definitely tight. Furthermore, my dad's health isn't all that great so most of the manual labor (yard work) has been left to me and my bro.

Thankfully, we have decided that this will be the last year for a while so I think we're going to really try and enjoy this. While I won't grieve over the work that goes into this, I will miss the excitement and gathering of friends and family. So far, this year is looking promising with the weather possibly cooperating. I'm a bit disappointed that Kingston, D.G. and BJ won't be there but I'm very excited that The Divo and his boyfriend, 3 Degrees and her boyfriend, and Crazy will be attending. Overall, I'm going to endeavor to enjoy it knowing that it will be over soon but I am going to really miss our summertime tradition ...

Monday, July 14, 2008

*Emerald Eye Entertainment*

I am very busy throughout the week (school and work), so I read my favorite blogs on the weekends. As I was browsing around, I came across the blog of *Emerald Eye Entertainment* which is managed by Prince Xem VanAdams-Lumumba. He was never originally one of my inspirations to join Blogger but he has commented frequently on my posts and thus he has become one of My Muses. I guess one good turn deserves another. As I'm scrolling down his page, I notice a link to "Beautifully Human" listed on his page! You talk about the biggest grin on my face! I was straight up like Jack Nicholson all day long!

Therefore, I just want to say thanks to Prince Xem for showing some love for a brotha on his page! And I definitely want to pass the message along to check out his blog. While I haven't been reading him very long, I can tell you that he'll make you laugh and think (maybe not necessarily in that order) and he's quickly become one of my favorite blogs to read! So stop by Prince Xem's page ... you'll definitely be entertained!

A Weekend of Work

Two simple words: sucky weekend.

Friday: So I had a personal day from work! Big whoop! I went to the hair salon to have my locks re-twisted and waited a full f---in' TWO HOURS after my appointment time because they were that busy! Doesn't appointment mean anything these days? Besides the pain (I've always been tender-headed) and the eternity spent underneath Satan's Ass Crack (the hair dryer), that was my fun day! I think I’ll stick to Tuesday morning appointments from now on. Next …

Saturday: Lots and lots of housework. We’re preparing for a huge annual cookout we host every year. Oh, I did e-mail Kingston (click here for more info) and unfortunately, he's battling some very serious health problems which will prevent him from attending the cookout this year. He's definitely not himself lately and it's bugging me out. I hope he gets better and back to his annoying and cynical self soon! I miss him terribly ...

Sunday: My second unofficial job in Boston and then back home to do ... you guessed it ... yard work! Let me say this now, I HATE WEEDS! I don't ever want to see another one in my life again! I must've pulled about two tons of the little bastards in every conceivable size known to exist! At least the yard looks a bit better but there's still a lot more to do! More on the cookout in a subsequent post. Additionally, I got a call from SideKick and he claimed he was robbed and doesn't have his Sidekick or cell anymore. I think I heard "at gunpoint" in the voicemail but I'm not certain. I have no way to contact him so I hope he's okay ... I'm already stressed as it is.

The plus side of this weekend? I joined a dating service and I'm having fun setting up my profile. They offer numerous tests/surveys in the Romance and Sexual categories. Following the exams, I was classified a "Flirt" in the Romance category and an "Intellectual" when it comes to sex. That was too funny because everyone (including my family) says that I am a huge tease and it was too unreal to have it confirmed on this test! Have a good week everyone!

Friday, July 11, 2008

K.C.'s Workout Plan (Pt. 2)

So I haven't lost any weight (still hovering around the same number), however, I've been doing pretty good for the past two or three weeks. I've been forcing myself to get up at 4:30 every morning and get in the gym early. I've tried out the new stair climbers, lifted weights, worked out on the ellipticals and the hybrid ellipticals (yeah, my legs were burning after that!). While my legs are the strongest part of my body (all the running and walking I do), the upper body is still struggling along. I'm still barely squeaking out 65-75 pounds on the machines. Nevertheless, I'm managing about 150-200 crunches on all the ab machines.

The result?

I've been feeling pretty good for these past few weeks. I feel more fit and energetic. I've slacked a bit this week due to the 10 page paper I waited until the last minute to write for class. Hopefully once this semester ends (this week), I can get back on the gym wagon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

If You Don't Have Anything Good To Say ...

... just don't say anything at all! That's a phrase I'm sure all of us have heard from our wise old grandmothers at some time or another. And that's exactly what Jesse needs to do. I used to have respect for this man and I'm not belittling his accomplishments, but after the illegitimate scandal broke, I started wondering. Now after this incident, I can't say I'm too surprised. I've got religious issues to begin with (I'm always questioning stuff; that's why I don't get along well in church) so seeing this supposed man of the cloth saying such a vile and ignorant remark didn't rehabilitate me.

I spoke to my mother about it last night and she came of age during the sixties (JFK, MLK, LSD and all the other initials associated with that decade). She initially never had much respect for Jackson. Now we both agreed he has been an asset to the community and his legacy will be great if not controversial. Aren't all great leaders? Nevertheless, his recent comment just depicted him as an absolute fear-mongering, divisive, unintelligent fool. And to make matters worse, it reinitiates the age old debate about dirty laundry.

I mentioned dirty laundry in a previous post (click here) regarding my Independence Day weekend. The African-American community, as well as other minority communities, are apt to put our business out in the spotlight. When one has to struggle for equality and civility, highlighting the negative aspects of your culture doesn't help your cause. Who are these people to stand up and speak for us? What gives Cosby and Jackson and so many others the right to speak for us and put us in our place? My answer to that would be intelligence plus character. The truth always come out in the end and somebody needs to have the guts to stand up and take charge, present the change and challenge the status quo.

Consequently, the inevitable emerged. This morning on "Today," they mentioned this scandal and then posed the age old question: are there more individuals who feel this way in the black community? Duh!?! No culture or race is perfectly united. You have to be a complete moron to even ponder that question. So you don't like Obama or have an issue with his political philosophy. That's fine. Take it up with him, counter his cause (become a Republican like Condi and Keyes), or else just shut the hell up. Yeah, I'm a bit biased. Oh, and I'm sure this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact Jackson never got this far in his campaign :: roll my eyes :: Put in the vernacular, "don't hate!"

And the gravy on top? His son denouncing his remarks. I think I hear a vacuum cleaner someplace sucking up stuff ...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fireworks & Dirty Laundry Make Strange Bedfellows

Independence Day is a time for family, fun, grilled food and nostalgia all while feeling intense pride in your country. However, what Fourth of July celebration could be considered complete without fireworks? Ah, yes, the hallmark of Independence Day. The fiery reds, the cool blues, the intense yellows, the shouting, the shoving, the name calling, the golden tension. Once again, the true cornerstone of every Fourth of July.

Those of you that are of African-American descent know that there is a rule in our community regarding airing "dirty laundry" out to dry in the public breeze. For those of you that didn't know that, well, now you know. So I'm about to violate that law and tell it like it is.

I awoke looking forward to the Fourth of July with extreme anticipation and excitement as I do every year. I cracked open my Bud Light (with lime) and after a quick trip to my un-official job, I started the grill with my father and brother (aka Rugrat). As the grill heated up, so did the tension in the kitchen. I had just invited The Divo over and came downstairs to find my mother crying. I tried to find out what had happened and after prying a few words from in between the sobs, discovered my brother had "told her off." Well, I wasn't about to let that stand and summoned Rugrat inside. Big mistake.

Instantly the fireworks began. Since there's no need to get into the specifics, needless to say he was frustrated regarding his job situation and my mom had nagged him one too many times over the age old issue of money. He continued on about her failings and he actually made some valid points without actually being disrespectful. But as always, my mom is more stubborn than a mule. Way more stubborn! That's probably where I get it from.

She didn't back down and called him "ungrateful" as well as some other choice words. I sat by in my ringside seat and just watched knowing that anything I said would not help the situation. They needed to handle this without me. Eventually it came to the phrase of "if you don't like it get the f--- outta here!" and of course Rugrat did just that. He stormed upstairs after a quick blow to the dog and packed his bag and stormed out of the house.

I eventually confronted my mom and after a little bit of pleading, identified the source of many of her problems. Her best friend (my aunt) had passed away back in December rather suddenly after a long illness. My mom does not have many female friends that she trusts and a lot of her frustration does not have a release valve. Hence the buildup of tension and stress. She also stated how much she appreciated my brother and I for dealing with her. So with that end somewhat patched, I called Rugrat.

He isn't as easy to calm down once he's pissed. He's a "react first, reflect later" type of guy. And since he's a big guy, it's not a good idea to get him pissed. However, we have a tight brotherly relationship so I prayed that I'd be able to coax him back to the house. He refused, saying he was staying at a friends house for a few days and I told him I was here for him. "If you need a ride back or want to talk, just give me a call."

A few hours passed and I took out my frustration on the lawn (really BAD mowing job!) and then finished grilling with my dad (who had stayed out of it). Eventually The Divo arrived and he was an angel in disguise. By having him there, it eased the tension and my mom calmed down and laughed and sort of forgot her problems. Soon, my brother walked back in the yard, much calmer and everything proceeded as though nothing had happened. By the time the sun went down, my brother, his girlfriend, The Divo, my mom and I were all sitting on the back deck laughing about ghetto baby names and talking about the (real) fireworks. Furthermore, my brother and mother talked later that night after I went to bed and I guess they straightened everything out.

In the end, I was very thankful that the The Divo showed up and salvaged what was left of my holiday. I browsed through his photo album which included pictures from his trips to D.C. and China as well as a cruise to the Bahamas with his boyfriend. He also brought me two gifts: a miniature replica of a terracotta warrior and Nini, one of the good luck dolls and mascots for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Overall, I had a good holiday but I kind of knew that this was going to happen. My family and I have an annual cookout that we host every year and the date is drawing nearer (July 19th). There is a lot of yard work and housework to be done and my father isn't well. Money is tight and I haven't had an opportunity to contribute to the workload because of school and work. It was disappointing that the tension climaxed on that day but in a way, I'm thankful it did. Maybe now with all that off the family's chest, we can move forward and make the 4th Annual "C's & J's" Cookout an event like no other ...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Think Twice

I broke a record in my personal life. I had the shortest relationship ever. SideKick and I amicably parted ways this past weekend. We're very much attracted but realize that a relationship just isn't going to work with where we are at in life. He's starting a new job and I'm going to be finishing up my semester and then beginning a job search of my own by September. He's young while I'm settled in my ways. His idea of fun isn't mine. While opposites can be fun, in this case, I had seen a discord even before we hooked up. That's one of the reasons I had been keeping him at bay for nearly a year. I'm not saying it was step backwards but I'm looking for stability and security (never thought in a million years I'd say that, now I know I'm old! LOL). I want to move out, raise children and since this is Massachusetts, eventually get married. I like SideKick but I'm also an old fashioned guy and he's part of a younger generation that I realize I can't quite connect with. His idea of fun, morals, love, and many other things is so much more different than mine. I hope he'll find happiness since he's a great guy and deserves it.

The friends with benefits came up but I don't think that'll happen. I take sex seriously. I am a huge flirt and have a wild side. But I've matured such that it's got to be with someone I'm dedicated to, no matter how tempting anyone is. That's why I'd never cheat. Besides having had it happen to me, I just can't deal with guilt very well and I'm always thinking long-term. Not just about how it'd ruin my relationship but my mind, my health, my life, my soul.

The greatest benefit from this short relationship is that I was able to open my heart again. I've closed it off for the past three years. I had begun to accept that I'd never find love and just focused on myself and my goals. That's fine and dandy, but everyone needs love. I had grown cold-hearted and bitter. Even seeing couples together (SGL or straight) caused my heart to shut down even more. However, being with SideKick and having someone to call and talk to, to make your day feel better with just a text or a phone call, that has melted the ice and I'm learning to love again as well as forgive myself and others. I'm going to begin dating again and maybe I'll find someone who uniquely compliments me. Who knows? All I know is that right now, I feel spiritually alive again and I'm going to open my heart to new possibilities.

"I keep moving forward, pressing onward, striving further. I keep on laughing, keep on living, keep on loving. I keep on dreaming, keep on achieving, keep on believing (I keep) I keep smiling when I come thru ... and I cry when I need too." - Jill Scott (I Keep - Words & Sounds, Vol. 2: Beautifully Human)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Review: My Man, My Boyz

One thing that I enjoy doing is supporting the community of black SGL fictional and non-fictional authors. My friend, The Divo, introduced me to the novels of E. Lynn Harris about five years ago and thus began my addiction. Over the years I've collected and read many books and while some were really great reads (Hardy, Harris & Ross), others (Poole) shouldn't have been ordered or bought in the first place! Regardless, I enjoy reading and supporting up-and-coming authors and always appreciate their courage and skill. My collection, thus far, is below:

  • Invisible Life Series (E. Lynn Harris)
  • B-Boy Blues Series (James Earl Hardy)
  • Down For Whatever (Frederick Smith)
  • This Place of Men (Doug Cooper-Spencer)
  • I Wrote This Song (Dayne Avery)
  • Details (Dayne Avery)
  • I'm On My Way (Christopher David)
  • Manhood (L.M. Ross)
  • Breathe (Blair Poole)
  • One More River To Cross (Keith Boykin)
  • Beyond The Down Low (Keith Boykin)
  • Their Own Receive Them Not (Horace Griffin)

    The newest book that I've added to my collection is My Man, My Boyz by Dwayne Vernon. While I've just begun the novel, I've already found some great points about it. First up, I like the feel and I can already see the plotline developing and the possible climactic results. However, the author has some other minor hurdles that make it difficult to get into the book. He utilized the same description twice in one chapter (i.e. dark-chocolate brotha/tone). Um, yeah, why does it always come back to chocolate? Additionally, not all brothas are dark-chocolate; I like to think I'm more like a smooth mocha! LOL He also named two hood characters Carlton and Barbara. Okay, I'm not a thug and I don't live in the most ghetto parts of Boston, but last time I checked, I don't know many black Barbaras or Carltons! I keep thinking about the Fresh Prince and the "Carlton-dance" everytime I see that name! LOL

    Anyway, the novel is pulling at my heartstrings because the relationships seem almost too perfect (they usually are in most books) ... I think it's those damn hormones of mine acting up again! I'm going to keep reading and see how it turns out. I spent the first two months of the year reading Barack Obama's books and then followed that up with some sci-fi novels. I just need a change of scenery and hopefully this will live up to my expectations! I'll let you know how it turns out!

    Addendum (July 2, 2008 8:49 AM) ---------------------------------------

    I've read about two-thirds of the book and the story started getting better. Nevertheless, the grammar (verb tense) and vocabulary sophistication is VERY limited. I'm trying not to be too harsh since this is the authors first novel and he doesn't really have a literary background. There are just some parts that are completely unnecessary and other scenes that seem to just fly by. I feel he could have fleshed out the personalities behind the characters and made them more distinct (they all seem to be blending together). Overall, I'm enjoying the plot and the twists and where this all may be headed. I'll let you know my full thoughts once I finish the novel.
  • Wednesday, July 2, 2008

    Celibacy Blues

    This here celibacy thing
    Lawd, just got something over me
    Like an addict, I could really use a thing
    You know what I'm talking about
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    It's been hard to sleep at night
    I'm ying ying ying ying it
    Scratching it right
    I get some new batteries almost every night
    Lawd, this here celibacy thing

    The stresses of this world
    You know how they come down on a girl
    I'm trying to clear my mind
    But all I seem to find
    Is this gangsta, gangsta, type of need

    People say mind over matter
    But, I don't mind what they say
    And it don't matter
    This here celibacy thing
    Is working on me...

    (Jill Scott - Celibacy Blues, The Real Thing: Words & Sounds Vol. 3)

    I'm going to break from my usual enlightened personality and admit that I got the "blues." I usually don't want to put my personal "needs" out there for the world but I am feeling Jill. And after yesterday's train ride ... yeah, I can testify it truly is a gangsta type of need!

    So I hopped on the Red Line (Ashmont line) and headed to school. I actually managed to find a seat and heavily plopped down; complete exhaustion threatened to overwhelm me. I'm a people watcher so I sat there observing everyone, and not just the men. Yes, I "window shop." It helps to pass the time on the slow ass T (MBTA for you out-of-towners). So the train slowly pulled into Downtown Crossing station and the crowd frantically created a competition of who can get off first while pushing the old lady on to the ground.* I began dozing, a habit I do on the train so I don't have to look at crotches and thighs as well as avoiding eye-contact with the pleading ladies who are desperate enough to sell their soul for a seat.
    *Note: The T is the best embodiment of Darwin's Evolutionary Theory and truly is "survival of the fittest."

    The train filled up and I pulled my bag closer to me as I felt a warm body slide into the seat next to me. Nothing unusual about that. As the train moves out of the station, the person pushed further back and I was roused from my sleep. Curiosity compelled me to open my eyes. A young, skinny black teen (18 or 19-ish) was next to me with his backpack strewn over the seat next to him. As the train ride progressed, I found him getting closer to me, practically rubbed up on my leg. Then he leaned back with his shoulders on mine. To illustrate the closeness, he could have laid his head on my shoulder. He then started digging in his right pocket to retrieve his Sidekick and his arm and elbow were all in my side and on my left thigh. Essentially, this continued all the way to my stop (JFK/UMass) and needless to say, I was pushed almost to my breaking point. For a few minutes, I almost thought he was my man! LOL

    No one was next to him but yet he chose to practically grind up on me? I even tested the waters and pushed back. I did notice him do the over the shoulder glance back toward me a few times. Now I wasn't about to try and hook up with anybody but all I know is that I haven't felt a contact like that in a quick minute. Sadly, I've closed myself off so much that I ended up getting turned on by a stranger on a train. Personally, that's quite pathetic. Welcome to my rock bottom.

    Needless to say, that encounter nearly released my ho-ish personality again. My "black book" is filled with a few one time encounters and other dumb things that I did all in the name of sex. I have moved on from my immature ways but apparently the dragon hasn't been completely vanquished. And yesterday proved that I need to continue to keep it locked up and think with my brain. It would have been so easy to go home and find a random hook up but I know that in the end it won't fulfill my desire, which is to have a serious relationship.

    But in the meantime, "this here celibacy thing is working on me ... "

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    Higher Ignorance

    I'm currently taking two classes this summer semester and so far I'm well done (time to come off the grill!) I took two classes last summer and while it was hectic, I survived. Mentally, I'm done but physically, I've got a few more classes so I'm hanging in there. But I have a gripe with my professor. Actually, with almost all professors at this and many schools.

    Last summer, I took my first philosophy class and we focused mostly on Socrates (our visiting prof. was fixated on him). There was mention of some of the Eastern philosophers but she simply stated, "we just don't have time for them." The summer sessions move fast because they're roughly five weeks. I also took a Renaissance art course last summer and we primarily focused on Leonardo, Michelangelo, Bernini, Titian, and many others.

    This summer, I'm taking my intermediate seminar (required of all students) which focuses on great world leaders. Our visiting prof. is actually an art historian so while we've talked about Elizabeth I, Hatshepsut, Marcus Garvey, Cesar Chavez, Hitler, Freud, Pericles, Gertrude Stein and many others, we inevitably came back to leaders in the arts. The two individuals that we focused on that week were Fan Kuan, an ancient Chinese landscape artist, and Titian, a Venetian Renaissance painter. Well, needless to say, we only spent about 10 minutes (barely) on Fan Kuan and then utilized the rest of the 3 hour period looking at a billion works on Titian. Moreover, our prof. was visibly filled with glee and joyfulness as she went through the various slides; it was quite evident in her voice.

    Furthermore, my private lessons professor (I'm a music major with a concentration on piano) is equally obsessed with the great classical composers such as Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Haydn, Debussy and many others. I'm currently working on a sonata from Haydn and I've already got Chopin and Bach under my belt. During my first semester with her, she initially asked if I wanted to do some non-classical pieces and we selected compositions by Coltrane, Ellington, Basie and other great jazz composers. Needless to say, she wasn't feeling it.

    The point I'm driving at is that I feel most professors tend to avoid "non-Western" or contemporary subjects. Subsequently, I'm beginning to believe this is a UMB phenomenon. When I was enrolled at ERAU, DWC and Berklee, we studied the greats but the range of philosophers, writers and composers we studied was extremely diverse. I got a taste of Native American ideals, African concepts, some Middle Eastern morals and other types of world history. However, I'm beginning to think the professors aren't willing to step outside their comfort zones. It's nice to acknowledge the ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian societies and respect the British Empire for it's accomplishments. Even American history is interesting to skim through. Nevertheless, I think they're overly provincial and narrow-minded and need to step into the 21st century.

    I've addressed my concern but the continuous answer(s) I've received is that there simply isn't enough time to cover the "complex intricacies involved in Chinese philosophy" or that "it's not part of the course curriculum." That, in my opinion, is a steaming pile of bull. I like professors who challenge you to think but I'm not finding that at UMB. I guess I shouldn't really care because I just want to get my degree and get out. However, it's eating at me more and more and I feel as though I'm getting financially ripped-off by racist professors. Ironically, when I did take an African studies course at UMB, I found the African-American prof. to be as equally biased and racist towards white, Western society. So if the whole point of going to college is to become a better person and educate ignorant people, why are there still these attitudes and prejudices? Obviously I can't be naive to think that such an insidious ideology such as racism didn't exist in higher education. However, I'm deeply concerned to watch students just sit there and soak it up just because they "need the credits." Perhaps I received a well-rounded and diverse academic background at my previous schools because they were privately funded. Does this mentality only exist there because it's a state school? And does anyone understand my perspective?