Friday, February 29, 2008

EcoRestore 2008 (It's Me Snitches!)

video

The video (for those who didn't click play) is a recording of myself, I asked someone to record it right after my first meeting for the EcoRestore trip. For those who aren't going to click play at all (or just have an oober slow computer), EcoRestore is the name of the community service project I'll be involved in over spring break. A group of 50 students (you had to apply, no random selection) are going to Louisiana and Mississippi to replant trees in areas where the ecosystem got really messed up- as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Much to my suprise, these areas don't look too different than they did right after the hurricane hit. They were showing us recent pictures during the meeting... not too impressive. Seeing the pictures shocked me because I thought it would look completely different now.

I can't begin to explain how excited I am to go on this trip, for so many reasons. Of course, its obviously a great way to meet people I probably wouldn't associate with otherwise. It's the most productive spring break I have ever had, thus far. Furthermore, it's extremely self-satisfying. I don't know about you, but I get a certain tingly feeling on the inside knowing I did something to help someone or something... something of value. It would also make a great story for the school paper once I got back on campus, not to mention a great post or two... or three (depends on how good the week goes). I can just imagine myself now: posting angry blogs from feeling overworked. I went into the meeting thinking it can't be that hard to plant a tree. I walked out feeling a little in over my head, but I'm not easily defeated, and I plan to take this project head on. Lastly, I want to experience the effects of Katrina first hand. It's one thing to hear about it, as reported by other people. It's something else to witness it first hand.

Not to mention, I've never been to Louisiana or Mississippi. And to top all of this off... it started snowing while I was waiting to be interviewed by people documenting the trip. It's not like I haven't seen snow before. I'm quite familiar with snow. Yet, for some reason I was intrigued. I had to step outside. Maybe I was just feeling all this positive energy from leaving the meeting with all these seemingly great people. Whatever the case, it was a good place to be in. I bundled up, went outside, and had fun trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue. This experience is definitely underrated. Get with your inner-child sometime. I'm sure they'd appreciate a snowflake on the tip of your tongue every now and then.

The snow also got me thinking about God and how marvelous he is. It was like, I was looking at the snow come and wondering how people could believe God didn't exist when particles of water and ice are randomly falling from the sky. As you can see, I was having a moment. It was nice though. I wanted to share it with you. Let's hope this trip spring break will result in more of these moments. They're definitely good for the soul.

Feeling Blessed (because I am),
B

Terrance Howard

I'm a bit late posting this, but 'it be like that sometimes' [I think I'm adopting that quote for 2008]. Anyway, Terrance (yeah, I'm on a first name basis) came to speak at the school (Temple pride! lol) on Monday, the 25th. Pay no mind to the date in the bottom of the picture, this crazy girl, who thinks she's Janet Jackson's god daughter, dropped my camera and I haven't fixed the date since the batteries fell out. He put on one hell of a show, to say the least.

He started off by saying that without you the world does not exist because when you die, one part of the world is gone. I liked that. Then he elaborates by saying how he is a narcissist and there is no one more important or more beautiful, in his opinion, than himself. For that matter, he only loves his kids because they look like him. [yes, that's a direct quote said with all sincerity]

Anyway, he goes on to explain how there are 300 to 1/2 a billion sperm released when attempting to fertilize an egg. Of those sperm, the first 10mill. die, and not all try to fertilize the egg. Instead, some become "blockers". They sacrifice themselves for you (the sperm who fertilized the egg) to make it and carry out their purpose. In saying this, his point was that he had an entire army with him, and that you can not command an army you aren't aware of. Then he says, (regardind the sperm and people on Earth) if you don't make it, there is always someone else who will take your place immediately. Self-preservation is most important.

After this (somewhat long, drawn out, and fuzzy metaphor of sorts) he talks about how his father delivered checks to people. His family was low on money, and his father began to cash the checks he was supposed to deliver. His father was arrested for cashing 500 checks. He said that his father did what he had to do to provide for his family because he (the father) was the most important person in his life. The lesson he (Terrance Howard) learned was, "Do what you gotta do, but damn it-don't get caught!"

I'm writing this all from notes I took and some things are random/I don't remember the story behind them, which is my fault for not writing this sooner, but oh well. I'm telling you this because the next thing I had written down was "Jump higher than you think you can make it... give yourself room to fail". However, I couldn't fit that in smoothly. So, there you have it.

Back to the scheduled programming: He starts talking about how he was raised in the ghetto and how the ghetto is a place, not a person, and just because you're raised there doesn't mean you are that. What you are, is beautiful. However, you are only beautiful because you see yourself that way. Someone else might see what you see, but at the time, you are only a reflection of them. Now, when he said this... I was a bit skeptical. Much like his point in the "sperm/egg" story, it seemed a bit hodge podge. Some things just sounded like they were being said because they sounded good. I couldn't quite make them out, and I wasn't all that impressed. It seemed real surface... rehearsed, even. Not to mention, he says how acting is nothing more than manipulating people. I couldn't help but think his entire speech was all an act, and he mentioned the fact that he had green eyes too much for my liking. Just thought I'd throw that out there :)

Next point: Though he is a narcissist, he does not think more of himself then what is necessary for him to have a good opinion of hisself. If you would place someone above you, than you should have been a "blocker" and let someone else go. You know what? I can't make this flow. I'm just gonna put marks by all of his points. You don't need a story line. This way you can read all the things he says, and you can develop your own opinion of him and decide what you believe to be true.

-A diamond is just a piece of coal that did well under pressure.
-Within the instant you meet someone, you know who they are. The second time you know exactly what they want from you. The rest is give and take. However, the one with the least interest dominates because they aren't willing to compromise.
-People will forget you quicker than they got to know you. Stay busy. Picture yourself as a centipede with many legs to get around vs. one or two.
-Never dim your light for someone else. Have you ever seen a bear try to look smaller? Didn't think so.
-No one will always be there for you except you.
-Believe you are right. Except when you're wrong, but find a way to be right. (What? lol)
-If you can't reach someone, don't be mad at them. It's because they're too busy handling their business. (He was referring to him not being able to reach Will Smith. Did I mention he kept name dropping?)
-As strong as we (black people) think we are, there was someone in our family who had to sit back and let someone be molested so we could be here today. [**during this part of his speech: someone outside the building yelled "Shutup, you stupid nigger". Ignorance is bliss and God bless them (cause hopefully someone beat them up as they stood there yelling like hethans). That's all I am going to say about that.] Terrance responded by saying that everything you say affects someone, and when you use you words in a harmful way, you pay for it.
-In regards to racism: God told you, you were his child. He never limited you to a color. Society did. Do not deny yourself every bit of yourself.
-If there's someone in your life disrupting your dream and your future, "get them the hell out of your life"
-A woman is under your control once she questions her own foundation. If you get her to lean on yours and shake your foundation, she will grab onto it and never leave (out of fear) **Whatcha think of that?
-When you want to approach a woman (because he Mr. Pimp Chronicles himself?) get her to stop in her tracks. Then, have her take a couple steps in your direction. She will get used to following your direction. (all of this should be done while holding eye contact) **Isn't this man something else?
-As long as we can see and aren't blind: we will always look after those who look like us, and they will always look after those who look like them. Until we can look at things through God's eyes, achieve in spite of racism and shine through. "I know I had to jump 12ft. and your boy had to jump 6ft., but I DID IT!"
-He had 3 felonies on his record. He was convicted of 25 years to life. While in jail, he searched the boks and learned the law/how it applied to him. He found errors in his sentencing and got his charge reduced to 2yrs. When he got out of jail and had the right resources, he hired a lawyer and paid to have his felonies reduced to misdemeanors. Then he got his misdemeanors expunged, and now his record is clean. Do the proper work, keep your record clean!

That's Enough Terrance for One Day,
B

This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this.

The name of this post was a line used in the movie 300. My first time seeing it was tonight, well- early this morning (to be politically correct). It was a bit brutal for my taste, but it was definitely a good movie. I am no critic. Nonetheless, there were certain lines I really liked, and I just had to write them down. I guess that comes with being a writer and all. Of course I'm going to share them with you.

"This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this. I am not your King." -This was said to the queen when a man in the council she was speaking to the next day offered to vote in her favor (and get other council men to do the same) if she gave him her body. Being that she was speaking with them so they'd send more soldiers to fight with her husband, she did it out of love. However, the council men let her know that she would not find any pleasure in the act and it was not an act of compassion, as it was with her husband (King Leonidas).

Yet, she flips it on him. When she's speaking before the council, he sells her out and calls her a whore. He says she offered his body to him, and someone else, but they are not weak men- so they refused her. In an outrage at his lie, and knowing the state of her husband depends on what the council believes, she kills the man. As she sticks the knife into him she whispers, "This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this. I am not your Queen."

On another occasion, a messenger comes to speak with King Leonidas. She accompanies him and gets smart with the messenger (representing the Persian empire who has come to tell the King to surrender). The messenger gets sick of her remarks and ask what gives her the right to speak amongst men. The queen replied, "Only Spartan women give birth to real men."

Lastly, when King Leonidas was going off for war, the queen had said, "Goodbye, my love." The King did not reply, and the narrator goes on to explain how "there's no room for softness... not in Sparta... no place for weakness... only the hard and strong may call themselves Spartans." The queen (possibly realizing her mistake) beckons him back to her. While tying her necklace around his neck, her final words were, "Come back with your shield or on it."

Gangsta, aint she?
Needless to say, I liked the queen.

Don't get it twisted, her husband (the King) wasn't no slouch either. When Xerxes, whom considered himself a God-king, told King Leonidas he could keep his land, become Greece's warlord, and have all kneel before him- provided he kneel before Xerxes- the King replied, "You are generous as you are divine, oh King of Kings. Such an offer only a madman would refuse. But the idea of kneeling... you see, slaughtering all those men of yours has left a nasty cramp in my leg. So kneeling is going to be hard for me."

When teaching his son the rules of battle, he instills the virtues of "respect and honor" into his lesson. And let's not talk about the King on the battlefield. Some of my favorite lines from him: "Give them nothing, but take from them everything!", "No prisoners, no mercy!", "Immortals? (referring to the name his opponents went by) We'll put their name to the test.", "Persians, come and get them!" (his reply to someone who said "Spartans, lay down your weapons!", and his final words before dying were "My queen, my wife, my love..."

I realize I am going on a "300 rampage", but it's like everything they said was so catchy, so poetic, so passionate. My final example is this: Xerxes (the "God-king") tells King Leonidas to consider the fate of the Spartan women. He went on to say how they will be made slaves once the Spartans were defeated. The king replied by saying, "Clearly you don't know our women! I might as well have marched them up here [the battlefield], judging by what I've seen."

Long story short, I loved the pride in their people that was displayed in this movie. Everything done was done with such an arrogance and assurance about ones capabilities (as well as their neighbors) and with all the Spartan communities welfare in mind. The king even speaks about how Spartan warriors stand together when being attacked and hold their shield to the left, guarding the body of the man standing next to them. If every shield is not held correctly, their safety is compromised and ruined. That's a lot of faith to have in the person beside you. Not to mention, the king took so much pride in his wife. Though the movie was one strictly of guts and glory, this could not go without notice.

Alright, alright, alright- I'm done,
B

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Working on "H.E.R." [pt. 2]

Waaaay back in November, I mentioned that I was working on a poem dedicated to hip-hop. Well, I finally finished it. I was going to treat you all and post my performance of it. However, my camera died while I was recording it, and my other friend who taped it is having problems uploading hers (that devils still at work huh? lol). So this is just a pic from the performance. Sit tight though, I'm working on the video. Definitely didn't forget about you.
(Still a) Hip-Hop Junkie til' They Bury Me,
B

SEPTA is the Devil

If the devil is a liar,
then SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) is the devil.

Now that I've got that off my chest, prepare for a full-blown rant. Today, I just wanted to make it to bible study by 8pm. It makes no difference that bible study starts at 7:30 or that I was running a little late. I was fully aware I wouldn't be on time, but I still wanted to make it.

Whatever the case, I get on the train and get off at Erie. I walk up the steps to the bus stop, and I'm waiting (in the cold-with no bench) for the bus to come. It arrives, I walk on, and I ask the driver, "Can you please tell me when we get to Green and Cheltan." He agrees. The end? Not likely. I notice we're on Cheltan, so I go and ask if we're close. He told me that we were a few stops away. I go sit back down, only to realize (3o minutes later) that I'm still on the bus and we're parking in a rest stop. I walk up to him and he says, "Oh, I didn't know you didn't get off."

WHAT! If I asked you to tell me when we reached my stop, and you never told me- HOW IN THE WORLD DID YOU ASSUME I GOT OFF!? Madness. Then... he gives me another transfer ticket, points to another bus, and tells me to give the driver the same directions (as if they'll understand my instructions better then he did). I get on the bus and walk right into a Prince look-a-like. I ask him to tell me when we make it to my stop, but I leave out the please, because I've become aggravated. What does he do? He stares at me and licks his lip. (Yuck, on so many levels) I throw in a please and force a smile for good measure. He agrees. By the time we reach my stop, it's 9 o'clock. The people who normally bring me back from bible study aren't answering the phone, so I have no way of knowing if they went at all. I don't have money to get back on the bus/train. So, what do I do? I play it safe, ignore my desired stop, and ride the bus back home.

The devil was working overtime tonight. I know this may all sound silly, but I swear he was at work making sure I didn't get any God in me. He succeeded in part, because I wasn't able to fellowship with others and get a better understanding of the word (as told by someone else). However, I surely did read my bible anyway. So, BEAT THAT DEVIL!

"Woosah",
B


WWJD backwards = DJWW = Devil Just Wont Win

He Knows...

**I wouldn't be the "Jigga head" I am if I didn't post this.
A little late, but I'm in college- we do have class ya know?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pro Choice for Women = No Choice for Men

Controversial much? Seriously... I know this is raising a lot of hairs, but work with me here- I'm going to hit on two issues at once. There are two stories that hit me in the heart within the passing week, and they come from two different perspectives (male and female). They aren't quite the same, but they relate. Read on...

A male associate of mine is being denied visitation of his child. Way to drop the bomb right? Long story short, for reasons unknown (to everyone, even him) the mother suddenly began saying it wasn't his and wouldn't allow him to see his son. I guess he had been dealing with this for sometime now, because I walk into the room and he's just short of spazzing. He begans showing me all these pictures of his son, explaining their resemblance, and tells me his story. Than... he began crying. If you're female and reading this, I don't know if you've ever seen a black man cry, but for me- it's moving. It hurts. Even worse, he is crying because he isn't allowed to be a father to his son. The irony in this is that I have two god daughters and the relationships they have with their fathers are both problematic, for different reasons. Yet, here we have a black man... a man, period... ready, willing, and able to step up- and he is being denied of that. For what reason would you opt to be a single mother, and for what reason would you want your child to grow up fatherless? Children are not pawns. They should not be used to settle issues of spite. Adults handle that amongst themselves, on their own time. Keyword: adults. This issue is still at a stand still, but all we can do is pray, and that's exactly what we're doing.

Scenario 2: Someone close to me, and possibly reading this, is pregnant and contemplating an abortion. Forgive me for airing this. No names are involved. But I couldn't say everything I wanted to you when you told me about it because I felt the need to be understanding, but at the same time I don't want you to go through with this. I know this isn't my decision to make, but I also know that we're closer than close and my opinion matters. So, here it is. True, the father was not faithful to you during the entire time of the relationship. True, you have not truly forgiven him for that. Nonetheless- it's also true that he is trying to do right by you, and he wants this child, his child. Though it's carried in your body, it's still partially his. Doesn't that count for anything? Please, let it count for something. I know it won't be easy. I know you've been down this road before, but you're so strong and your future needs you. I need you. Though you are making this seem like a light load, I am sure your conscious will be a constant reminder this time around. If not, I am sure the father will be. Is that burden easier than the one of birth? You haven't regretted your first child since the day it was born, I doubt, whole heartedly, that you will regret this one. Please give him/her a chance. Please. I am begging you, for their sake. Let them live.

Praying yet Pleading,
B

We're Only Human

I would like to believe, though I know this to be false, that I am good at everything. Even worse: when I'm not good at something, I'm easily frustrated, and just as easily compelled to quit. For example, I had my 12th birthday at the bowling alley. I suck at bowling. What compelled me to pick this place? I have no idea. Anywho, long story short: we end up with 3 balls stuck in the gutter, I've lost every game, and someone's dropped a ball on their foot (the same foot) more than once. You see where I'm going with this? If at first you don't succeed... skydiving is not for you.

Seriously though, I had a not-so-easy time in statistics today. You need to know before hand that prior to this thing called Temple University, I was good at math (or so I thought). Things have gotten a little fuzzy since then, but it's all good. Whatever the case, the last few classes- the teacher has been breezing through the work and has just recently started adding numbers. I know this sounds stupid, but let me explain first. We spent the first few weeks reading a chapter and going through the chapter in class, damn near verbatim. There were no numbers involved in this. It is a statistics class, but it's statistics in the news so he went out of his way to point out that this was less number oriented than it was fact oriented. Furthermore, because I had noticed that he was teaching directly out the book, I stopped reading. It was hard to stay awake in class, because I wasn't learning anything I didn't already teach myself the night before.

This was supposed to help me focus. Now, he's suddenly breezing through the reading material, throwing numbers all over the board, and I am completely lost. So... brave ol' Brandi raises her hand to ask a question. I've never been the kid who was too scared to ask. I was more the- 'answered too many questions and had too many to top it off' type. But the teacher begins to answer my question by asking me another question in a condescending tone. BIG NO NO! My father has mastered 'putting me in my place', as a child, I can't deal with a teacher talking at me (and not to me) as well. Not to mention, if I understood what he wrote down, I wouldn't have a question in the first place. So, asking me questions in regards to what he wrote is getting me nowhere.

By now I'm beyond annoyed and have given up on taking notes, which is the dumbest thing b/c striking back at the teacher by refusing to take notes doesn't hurt them, it only hinders you. Then he writes something else on the board that also brings confusion, continues writing (I'm still lost during this time), than goes back to the first thing he wrote saying he messed it up. In my head I started screaming, ripped my paper into a million pieces, threw it in the air, and walked out the class. Imagine that. In the physical, I began calling him all kinds of name underneath my breath. Than, my stat buddy Fredo snapped me back to reality.

He looked at me and said, "He made a mistake. He's human." Just to be a smart ass, I've mastered that-might I add, I replied by saying, "He's a teacher. Mistakes aren't acceptable." And just to shut me up, Fredo says, "BUT he's human first." If only you could hear how calm he was when saying this. It's just one of those scenarios that frustrates you more because you realize how right they are and how ridiculous you're acting. Wait... let me speak for myself... I realized how right he was and how ridiculous I was acting. So, to my professore, Mr. Izenman, (though you won't read this), I apologize for losing my patience with you because I failed to read the material before hand. That was my mistake. Afterall, we're only human. Right?

Working on my Patience,
B

Monday, February 25, 2008

I ♥ People I Shouldn't

A friend of mine wrote the quote:

I tried to help people, some people I couldn't
That's my moms in me, I love people I shouldn't

It describes me to a tee. Well, this weekend I was introduced to a song called Tears Dry on Their Own by Amy Winehouse. This made me look into other lyrics by her and I came across the lyrics to a song called Help Yourself, part of the song went as follows:

When I walk in your shoes, I understand a man confused
They're much too big but I don't care
I feel the weight your shoulders bear
Now I really empathize
Looking through your bloodshot eyes
And I know you you're so frustrated
But we all become what we once hated
Besides nobody can be that wise

I can't help you if you won't help yourself
You can only get so much from someone else
This kind of had me thinknig about the way I handle relationships. More so, my outlook on my partner during our relationship and once it's over. The last two semi-serious relationships, possibly more severe to me than to them (but 'it be like that somtimes'), had me questioning myself and their issues. I felt like they weren't all the things they potrayed themselves to be, but how they made themselves appear had me intrigued. However, I know better than anyone that when things are built on a lie they're bound to fail. Guess intentions weren't sincere. It hurts though, and it's not as hard as I anticipated, but more than I'd like to admit at times.

I mean, I'm doing quite well, but I can't help but wonder- What is it about them or me that glued us together yet couldn't hold? I try not to spend too much time putting question marks where God places periods, but it's human nature to want and feel deserving of an explanation. It always seems that there's some unresolved issue they need to handle within themselves, and they acknowledge this in the midst of what we have. I have the choice to take note of their unfinished business and leave them be, or attempt to aid them in the process and 'ride it out'. Normally, I'm the stick it out type. I'm the first one to leap, and I'm not afraid of heights. It's not a sense of obligation, it's a genuine want to be there for the one I care about. But, I haven't seen the benefit of that lately. It's like I see these big flashing lights that warn me to back away, and I'm drawn to them like a moth to a flame. I'm tripping, right? At the end of the day, we both know we never would have made it. Let's get married, we'll have kids someday... none of that seems realistic. Anywho, the lyrics to Tears Dry on Their Own (that are applicable) went as follows:

I don't know why I got so attached.
It's my responsibility,
And you don't owe nothing to me,
But to walk away I have no capacity....
I don't understand,
Why do I stress a man,
When there's so many bigger things at hand.
We could've never had it all,
We had to hit a wall,
So this is an inevitable withdrawal.

Still Believing in Prince Charming & Fairy Tales,
B

ps- for those who read the blog before this one: with all these thoughts running through my head, can you now see why hearing that song was perfect timing?

Another SO applicable song (that's randomly and repeatedly popped up the past week) reminding me to learn the lesson of detachment:

Brought my Soul Back w/ the Throwback

In a house party on Saturday night, this was the final selection I heard before leaving. [*shout out to Ciara (THE Elegant Independent) for choosing the song- check her blog out, the links on the right side of my page] Needless to say (or is it?)- it brought me back. Not necessarily to the "good ol' days" of "yesteryear", just reminded me of what is and what's not, gender roles, self-worth, etc. Definitely one of those songs I needed to hear at this moment. Hearing this part felt like I was hearing it for the first time:
"Babygirl, respect is just a minimum."

Music is Supposed to Inspire,
B

Pussy Appreciation!

I spent my Friday night in the underground of the SAC (on Temple campus, for unaware readers). What was I doing there? Watching the Vagina Monologues. I had heard of the show before, and I didn't have any preconceived notions about it. So, I was in for a pleasant surprise. Seriously though. Upon telling my roommate where I went, she had already decided it was something disgusting and she would not be interested, just from the use of the term 'vagina'. I guess throwing the word 'pussy' into the title of this blog would have led to her skipping this one (as if she reads this at all).

Anywho, for the more open minded audience who will continue reading: it was an experience to say the least. And of course, I took "notes" to share with you. Just some random things, thoughts, or quotes they said- no topic was too large or small to be hit on... from sexual pleasure to former sex slaves awaiting an apology from the government:

-About 2,000 women in the U.S. are raped annually
-There are 8,000 nerves in the clitoris. That's more nerves grouped in one area than in any other part of the male or female body, and two times more than what's in the penis. "Who needs a screw driver when you've got a power drill?"
-"Don't believe him when he tells you it smells like rose petals when it's supposed to smell like pussy. I don't want my pussy smelling like rain, like a fish after you clean it. I want it to taste like the fish, that's why I ordered it!"
-In the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, and Indiana it is illegal to sell vibrators. You can be given a $5,000 fine and 3yrs. of hard labor if caught with intent to sell. Yet, guns are permitted in all these states. "We're yet to hear of a mass murder committed with a vibrator."
-"My short skirt has nothing to do with you. It's not showing off. This is who I am: before you made me cover it up, tone it down. Get used to it... but mainly- my short skirt and everything under it, is mine.
-When a 6yr. old was questioned on her vaginal knowledge and what was special about hers was, she replied, "Somewhere deep inside, it has a really smart brain."
-In regards to [women's sexual abilities and] male opinion: "Jealous of her power and embarrassed by their awe, they label her a whore."
-"My vagina, my home town" (for a reason unbeknownst to me, I liked this quote)
-Military/Japanese comfort women: women who were abducted from their homes in midst of WW2 and exploited as sex slaves. Women were (obviously) raped, sometimes given 50 sex partners a day, received STD's, were beaten, had miscarriages, etc. What they want in return, before they die (some of them are still living): an apology from the government.
-The different types of moans there are. I won't give details on this one. It sounds better if you hear it, and some things you just have to see for yourself.

Whatever the case, you can see that a lot of topics were touched. Don't be so quick to let one word throw you off. Expand your horizons. Yes, words have powers. I am a firm advocate and believer of that. Nonetheless, the term describing a body part on half of the worlds' population and necessary for pro-creation shouldn't send you running in the other direction. Grow some balls. All puns intended. As a result of seeing this, I am a self-proclaimed:
Vagina Warrior

Feminine & Proud,
B

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ignorant Much?

So... I'm checking my Temple email account, and what wonderful message do I get from school president , Ann Weaver Hart? It began a little something like this:
"I am very sad to be sending you this message. According to reports, early
on the morning of Friday, Feb. 15, a non-Temple student was assaulted on North
Broad St. on Temple University's Main Campus. The assault included anti-Semitic
language and the student was seriously injured. The alleged assailants are all
Temple students."
To say the least, I was disturbed. It's one of those times when you put your hands to your face and scream STOP THE MADNESS! Anti-Semitic? I'm so glad to be an American when people are still walking around thinking the Holocaust was a good international experience. Does it not occur to people that the main advocate of Aryan's (blonde hair, blue eyed people) was a man with dark hair and dark eyes? Stupid leadership for $500, please.

Proud to be an American... or Not,
B

10 Freaky Girls Inside the Chin Tiki!

Was watching TV this morning... wasting the morning away. You know how the routine goes (wake up, think about being productive, waste about 3 hours watching TV and anything else BUT what you need to do). Anywho, 8 Mile was on and I was reminded why Eminem is one of the best rappers alive. Don't argue with me on this issue, you won't win.


Act like that didn't just get you hella amped.

Hip Hop Junkie til' They Bury Me,
B

-and of coure, the throwback "Money Aint a Thing" comes on after I write this... INQ said it best, "how I miss the days when hip-hop was fun"

Monday, February 18, 2008

Shhhh! We're in an Elevator.

Would someone kindly explain to me why the silence (or lack there of) in a library (such as the one I am in now) is more noisy than that which takes place in an elevator?

I got on the elevator today and, unlike the normal nothingness, I hear a bunch of fingers pressing keys in their phone. It's definitely the 21st century. Text messaging has taken over and claimed itself to be the most common resource of communication.

I'd love to make a comparison with those who text and those who "shell-up" upon stepping onto an elevator, but I don't have any proper evidence (besides my observations) to support my theory. Bottom line: people can be so anti-social at times. Who decided that you have to be quiet when riding in an elevator and why in the world did they decide this? Hell, who made their word law? I'm ranting. BUT....

I mean, really. Along with that, I am going to stop apologizing for taking the elevator to the 3rd floor. Granted, it's only two flights of steps, if the elevator wasn't invented to stop at that floor, there wouldn't be a button for it. Maybe I won't stop apologizing for it though, it's an ice breaker which usually leads to laughter... than silence... again. Lucky for me I'm not entertaining this silence all the way to the top floor.

Recommendation: Next time you're riding the elevator just start looking at your hands in amazement. Rotate your wrist and move your fingers as if it's your first time discovering you could move your hands at all. People will start to notice and begin to examine their own hands. It won't break the silence, but it will provide you with your own personal comedy. Tested and proven.

Sick of the Akward Silence,
B

It's My Paper, I'll Procrastinate If I Want To

It's 6 in the morning, I have a 10:40 (as well as a rough draft for a 4-6pg. paper due), and all I have is the thesis. Nonetheless, I'm just browsing online and came across a shirt, mocking the "God billboards" that said ,"Stop putting words in my mouth. -God."Whatever the case, I'm actually a fan of the billboards.


There are two campaigns (an old and a new one) promoting them. As told on GodSpeaks.com (the campaigns website). Here's a brief, compacted version from what's told on the website.

"In 1998, an anonymous donor contacted an advertising agency with an idea for a local billboard campaign that would create a spiritual climate and get people to think about a daily relationship with a loving and relevant God. The agency came up with the idea of creating a series of quotes from God to be placed on billboards. Eighteen sayings were selected to run on billboards in south Florida... The campaign was scheduled to run for three months.

As the original billboards were coming down, following their planned three-month run, the agency got a call from Eller Media, one of the largest billboard companies in the world. Eller wanted to run the campaign nationwide if the client would donate the sayings. Then, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), the trade group made up of all the companies who own and rent billboards, offered to use the sayings as their national public service campaign for 1999. The result was that GodSpeaks sayings appeared on some 10,000 billboards in 200 cities across America—and all free-of-charge! The donated billboard space was valued at $15 million. "

Billboards or not-I believe God has a sense of humor. Why else would he allow people to speak in tongues?
B

ps- On the up and up, my thesis statement is the biz. Take note: Seemingly feministic television shows mask their underlying tone of antifeminism by placing women in "superior" roles, all the while contradicting themselves by exploiting their femininity. [YEAH ME! (no citation lol)]

pps- Just to throw off everything- this billboard is hilarious:

The Grand Ol' City of Brotherly Love

Literally. Is it just me or has being a pedestrian in Philadelphia become more of a hazard as time goes by? Mind you: I've only been here since August.

Scared to cross the street,
B

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Anywhere but Here, Wishful Thinking

I wish I was a bird so I could fly away.
Sometimes, I just need a moment to myself.
To live among the clouds and find peace.
Be above everything.

I wish my life had background music.
These songs would have been playing today.



Wanting to Get Away,
B

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Be The Success Story You've Dreamed About (Happy V-day!)

I've been walking around campus snapping pictures like a mad woman for some reason. Really, it's because the little things I've seen lately have been inspiring. So, as usual, I'm sharing with you. The moral of these pictures is:
"Success is tangible. Don't wait for fame."
(Pharrel Williams)

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Last but not least, my favorite.
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&& on a more shallow tip (this clearly wasn't taken by me):
"Fuck rich. Let's get wealthy."
(Hovito Baby- conveniently in the pic below)

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Successful by my Own Admission,
B

ps- Happy Valentines Day!
pps- I'm no longer signing off "Contentment is Key". It will change depending upon the day, mood, and need for creativity. Nonetheless, Contentment is ALWAYS key.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dear Mama: I Solemnly Swear

To stand tall.
To stay to the course.
Make difficult choices unflinchingly, regardless of what the pressure to do otherwise might be and regardless of the risks involved.
I cannot and will not falter.
I cannot and will not fail.
The stakes are too high.
The cost of failing is unthinkable.
[taken and (slightly) reworded from: A Prayer for the City, Buzz Bissinger]

Furthermore:
-I'ma hold the fam down through 3 generations. I'm talking when spaceships are around and your great, great grands reminiscing over the foundation you gave em'. (Hovito Baby)
-I said mommy I'ma love you til' you don't hurt no more, and when I'm older, you don't have to work no more. (Mr. West)

Contentment is Key,
B

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Heard That

Press play, then pause (for a worthy) minute and allow the video to load.


She asked me how I survived. I said, "By Allah, it was my mother. Otherwise I would have been dead, crazed or institutionalized... And the struggles I saw her endure, I never want to see for my wife. So, I know that being a man is more than being male, and I'm focused on doing it right."


Contentment is Key,
B

YEAH ME! (revised)

So... I (don't know if I listed it in my rules for 2008, but) made the decision that I would get more invovled into the student writing scene on our campus (ie: papers, magazines, etc.). With that being said, I was assigned my first two articles a little over a week ago and they were due last night. With the help of my WONDERFUL journalism teacher (*big ups to Geo, peep his blog- it's in my 'respected blogs'), I wrote and revised my first "college clip". That's right. You guessed it! I will be sharing it with you. Here goes nothing:
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For most people, the term ‘black cloud’ carries a negative connotation. For Temple University freshman, Isaiah Little, it is the name of his proudest achievement. Inspired by the lack of creativity he saw in the fashion industry and his love for entrepreneurship Little decided to create his own clothing line.

“I didn’t see anything of my preference, and I wanted something different,” he declared. Despite the authenticity behind his concept, few people showed support for his ideas. The negativity became ‘a black cloud that he had to rise above’. Therefore, the name was no longer solely representative of the brand. It was a lifestyle.

Little, a big kid at heart, can turn into a business man at the drop of hat. He is a zany person by nature, but he is fully aware that there is a time for everything. Nonetheless, his Jersey roots are undeniable: as they are apparent in his conversation and use of street slang.

Black Cloud is a reflection of its designer and his background. It’s a street brand, which means it’s inspired by the streets. Therefore, most designs include graphics of simple day to day objects. True to the ‘street brand’ concept, it is slowly taking over Temple campus.

You can find Little walking around in clothes that can be bought from places anywhere between Bloomingdales and the thrift store. Nothing is too expensive or too cheap. Fashion is a way of self expression, and the most important factor is confidence and comfort in whatever you are wearing.

For example, Little has a head full of dread locks. Some people grow dreads to further represent their culture and ethnicity, others grow it to be trendy. His reasoning is a lot less complex. He wanted to grow his hair out, but he didn’t want braids because they hurt too much.

Like his hair selection, the process for designing his clothing is just as simple. “Something will pop in my head, and I’ll just have to do something. I do things when I have the time, more or less,” said Little. There is no designated “design time”.

However, there is a design process. He pulls out his iPod, blast the music as loud as his roommates will allow, grabs a pencil and paper, and begins to design different patterns free handedly. If not sketching by hand, he uses the soft ware on the computer to create his designs versus scanning them onto the computer.

As with most great inventions, his first shirt was designed on accident. While internet surfing and listening to Joel Ortiz, the saying “hip hop started out in the park” stuck in his head. As he browsed through different websites, he saw a stereo. Following the stereo, he saw a picture of a man dancing, and decided to combine the two pictures with the quote.

With the shirts unanticipated success, he began to let his designs take on a form of their own. It is Little’s hope that Black Cloud will matures as he matures. “Ask questions. As much as you think you know, you don’t know everything. What better way of receiving information than from the source itself,” he advises.

His latest design, a black crew neck sweater, reads “The Muckers Club: Antidote for your Enemies”. The Muckers Club was a name given to an ambitious group of John F. Kennedy’s close friends who liked to enjoy themselves. This idea seems to be an exact reflection of Temple’s up and coming designer.
[THE END]

*The editor of the section I wrote the article for told me I did a great job. I was souped! So what if I'm corny for it; sue me. It's one thing to rant about topics of my choice and completely disregard grammar/style- it's something else to write for a school publication. This is my first major foot step down my road to success. I had to crawl before walking, but I think I've been a baby long enough. It's about time to step up. Don't be suprised if I'm chief editor of your favorite magazine in 4 years. No, really. Oh yeah, lesson learned in the completion of this article- my weakness is in revising. However, practice makes perfect, and I plan on getting lots of it. Got to go, I was actually supposed to be writing another article that's past due now. Sidetracked? Uh... yeah, a bit.

Contentment is Key, (your fav. aspiring magazine journalist)
B

ps- If you're interested in the clothing line, which I FULLY vouch for (the shirt I'm wearing in my 'Rules for 08' post is one of his)- you can check out his line and/or make a purchase (actually, I insist) at http://www.blackcloudeffect.com/blog.html

Midnight Ranting

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Dear Reader,
I have assumed the political position of Democrat.. by default.. I guess. I mean, this is the first year that I have the chance to vote. Excited much? I am, you don't know how "grown" I felt when being questioned on whether or not I wanted to register to vote while upgrading my license at the DMV. Really. Whatever the case, I never paid too much attention to politics. The hostility I hold towards Bush was a learned behavior, and I couldn't really tell you why I'm a Democrat (beyond the fact that my grandmother is, and I think she knows everything- however, she may not be a declared democrat herself).

Anywho, I don't know which Democratic candidate I will be voting for, and I don't even know who the Republican candidates are. Sad but true. I want to make an informed decision though, and I want to take advantage of my effect (regardless of how minor others may think it is) on the government under which I live. So, yeah, that's about it. I don't know what I'm doing, BUT you bes' believe I'm doing something. What about you?

Contentment is Key, (your uninformed blogger)
B

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Contentment is Key

Rainy days like a war, use wisdom as a weapon
Hold your head up, dry your clothes, and keep stepping...
The road to riches is slippery when wet
Amongst the fog is where you truly find yourself...

Many say the rain they can't stand-
Never let the weather determine the man,
God has a plan, from it I never ran:
Followed my heart through the storms, umbrella in hand.
-The Rain, Will Smith

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Woke up and realized that this world's not so bad after all
Looked at it through a child's eyes and I saw it's beautiful...
It's amazing how we don't appreciate our blessings
There's plenty of people who don't like me,
But there's ten times more who love me-
And I love myself.

Sometimes it gets tough, but you can't give up.
Just take a deep breath, close my eyes,
feel the love, and give a smile.
I woke up this morning, the sunshine was shining-
I put on my happy face.
I'm living, I'm able, I'm breathing,
I'm grateful to put on my happy face.
-Happy Face, Destiny's Child

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Speechless.

I've been introduced to more info. that I had not been exposed to (*Thanks B). FYI- the pics are small, but they're brutal. If you're one of those people who turn their cheek when they notice something wrong, you might want to leave this page... right now.

With that being said-
These are photographs and postcards of lynchings in America that are posted on a (developing) sight. Yeah, post cards. Just in case you missed the great lynching "in a city near you", they'd mail the excitement to your door step. If some of their bodies looked ripped up or their limbs look burnt, it's because they are. Don't take my word for it. Go check it out for yourself, I insist:
http://www.withoutsanctuary.org/



*this one (above, right) deeply disturbed me- they're posing around him as if he's some show pig at a county carnival *the end caption for this one (above, right) read as follow: "The lynchers used a small rope, tying the rope under his arms and throwing the rope over a limb of the tree. They did not even hang him up. He was found this morning with his feet on the ground in an apparently standing position with his head thrown back . . . completely riddled with bullets and his ears severed."

What hurts the most? A good bit of these men went unidentified. Could you imagine someone you love hanging, believed to be not worthy of identification? Yet, they ask what's in a name.

Contentment is Key, ("Happy" Black History Month)
B
I'm proud to be an American- where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
(takes on a different meaning now don't ya think?)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Musical Therapy Anyone?

So, Ms. Be: I know I never provided you with a music list, but this should definitely be on it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

To All the Boys I've Ever Loved Before

I can't lie to myself, I know it's over. I knew that you would break my heart, see boy I told ya. (Tynisha Keli)

That's a line from a song that always seems to be the 'perfect ending' to the majority of my relationships. Ever heard the quote, I just want one guy to prove to me they aren't all the same? Like many females, I'm still a hopeless romantic waiting on some "prince" to rescue me... I still believe in fairy tales. Nonetheless, my alternate reality has been steadily working towards breaking my faith in them. Rather than being secure, listening to Everytime I Close My Eyes by Babyface, and thinking of that special someone who makes me believe every word he sang- I'm listening to Players Prayer by Lloyd, wishing the ones who messed up would see our relationship as something worth holding onto and truly want to reconcile our differences... waiting for them to call, just so I can test my strength as to whether or not I'll take them back "one last time". Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware that in a relationship, I will have to go through it with somebody. However, I also believe that "going through it" shouldn't have to be such a painful experience- just a test of your commitment.

I have a habit of putting my all into every situation, and although I already know it to be fact- I could never fully get with loving somebody whole heartedly and not getting that shit back...
-Scorpio Blues

So as a result, I'm often in it a little too deep, just over my head, and fighting to stay above surface. And of course, this is the time where my 20/20 hind sight starts to kick in. I look back on past mistakes and realize the lesson must have got lost through the airways of all the songs I was listening to, because here I am making those same mistakes I vowed against and wrote New Year's Resolutions for in the beginning of '07. Maybe the lesson was so worth learning that I, like fashion trends, allowed history to repeat itself. Whatever the case, it stops here.

(parts of) Wife, Woman, Friend by Dana Gilmore:

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that my beginning was his end-
Afterall, we were just friends,
Although in my world I was his girl,
So I would pretend to be his wife
Saying shit like,
"It's only so many years in a womans life"...

And though he didn't choose me,
But that doesn't make him right nor wrong.
And just because he was the epitome of my life
Doesn't make me wrong nor right-
Like I said,I was his friend, not his wife.
And I should have acted within that capacity,
And maybe than this breakup would have been
Just "one of those things"- instead of a fuckin tragedy.
And all that time I spent mad at him,
Hell- I should have been mad at me...

Had I knew than what I know now:
I probably would have listened when he said
'It was some shit he had to get up out his system' .
But see, I was too busy bitching-jumping bad like I was goin' hit him,
Cause in the back of my mind-
All I could fathom was how much I was goin' miss him.
But just because I'm crying ya'll don't mean that I'm the victim,
Just means I was scared to let him go cause some other chick might get him.
And that was my fault cause it was my decision,
I should have never put my heart in my minds position.
But I couldn't shake him, he was like a bad habit-
And all of this for a nigga that was just average.
Doing average nigga shit-
Like talking out the side of his neck and thinking with his dick.
But I must admit, he was the one I wanted to commit,
So either I wasn't living up to my potential,
Or I was just an average chick.
But I choose to believe I was a woman-
Caught up in a feeling both physical and emotional,
Who was way too willing to give her all to a man.
And though it may sound stupid, guess what?
I'd do it all again-
Just next time for my husband,
And not that nigga I call my friend.

So... taking my cue from different lyrics, ones of wisdom and truth-not just radio appeal. Let's try this again.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

My Man

And finally... once I get those two "lyrics" embedded in my brain and can really call them lessons learned and consider these things values that I take to the heart, maybe this will be my testimony. (& when you start to miss me, remember it was you who let me go)

Wife, Woman, Friend pt. 2


In the mean time, I'll end with a quote from your favorite rappers favorite rapper:
If through our travels we get seperated, never forget- in order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets. (Jay-z)

Contentment is Key,
B

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Make Black History Everyday, I Don't Need A Month

(It's long, but it's a good read. I promise. Look at that side pic. Does that look like the face of someone who would lie to you? Granted, you can't see the face. For visual learners, sorry- there are no pics in this one)

Being that it's Black History month, I thought it would only be right to shoot out some things we've discussed in two of my classes this semester. The things I learned have made me a bit angry at times, but it has also left me more informed. Therefore, it is in my place to spread the word and shed light on dark areas. Some of these things I had never heard of, and just like the movie, The Great Debaters- I'm sure there are more issues that occurred in the black community that have been buried deep in the books.

1st and foremost: My Intro. to Sociology class-
Ever heard of the Tuskegee experiment? No, I am not referring to the national historical landmark and historically black college, Tuskegee University. The Tuskegee Experiment took place between 1932 and 1972. 399 black men from Alabama were diagnosed with syphilis and went uncured. The doctors told them they had a case of 'bad blood'. In all actuality, the doctors were performing an experiment to test the differences in the effects of syphilis on black people in comparison to whites (only to later admit, that knowing this would not make any difference in regards to curing it). Mind you, syphilis is degenerative-deadly. Furthermore, these men were made to believe they were receiving free, frequent visits with the intended purpose of getting better. Yes, they were given (what was then) "the modern day medicines for syphilis", but they were given these prescripitions in such small doses that only 3% of the men showed any improvement. And when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I learned than penicillin (the cure for syphilis) was discovered in the 40's and these men were purposely declined treatment. The doctors only intended to keep up with their progresss, or the lack there of.

Make no mistakes, there were black nurses/doctors involved with this experiment. However, since learning about this in class and doing online research- it seems that they were either uninformed, only doing what was told to them by the doctors, or had attitudes described as "passively obedient" and "unquestioningly submissive".

I was going to mention the other statistics we've learned in class about the African-American population in America versus those in jail, but I have been led to believe that all these figures are not true; I wouldn't want to misinform you. So..

2nd runner up: My History Recitation-
We were in class talking about the large number of immigrants (over 20million) that moved to America between 1840 and the early 1900's. Our teacher pointed out, that of all the immigrants to move here, the African-American culture was the least embraced. For the most part, every other ethnicity moved here and was accepted after a certain time period. Initially, Asians weren't accepted and the first law about immigration was in regards to them. They did not look like the "average American", and that's why they were shunned from society. However, eventually, even they worked their way in.

We touched on the Native Americans as well. Personally, I think Africans were brought here, so the move wasn't optional, and in a similar fashion, Native Americans were forced to assimilate so their exception into our culture wasn't desired. Long story short, they could have cared less about "the American way". Let's not forget the massacre at Wounded Knee and the Trail of Tears. Personally, if we're "honoring" people- they deserve a month as well ::takes a deep breath:: Before I go off on a tangent... (back to African-Americans) we begin to discuss how slavery has shaped racism and the view of a black persons worth. A (northern) guy in class mentions that some of his closest friends are black and that people make way too big a deal out of racism. I am firm believer that things are what you make of them.

However, I think racism is a large issue by its own admittance, and society does not have to "amp it up" for it to be noticed. North Carolina isn't the deep south, but it's the south nonetheless, and there are many examples of racism all around- proudly boasting themselves, might I add. My first job was at what some described as a "cowboy store", and I can't begin to tell you the feeling I had when a group of white supremacist came in the doors. Not to mention, I'm sure everyone has heard the idea that Obama will be assassinated if elected into presidency. These aren't peoples way of "making a big deal out of things". These are the issues, the truth of the situation at hand. Furthermore, I think claiming friends of another race only proves the ignorance of one's knowledge on racism. Afterall, some slave owners were friends with some of their slaves. Don't be so simple-minded. I think I'm getting myself worked up, so I'm going to cut this off right here. My point: Kanye West said it best, "Racism's still alive, they just be concealing it".

*If any republicans happen to read this, please respond. I promise not to make a dispute out of this. As the saying goes: Never enter into a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

Contentment is Key,
B