Wednesday, March 23, 2011

[Lifestyles] Thank You for Stalking

I was walking home from the Western Beef on Monday, the time of course escaped me and it was earlier than I thought it was. As I was passing the Family Dollar, I thought it was a good idea to finally pick up something that I had been looking for which was Milk of Magnesia. I wanted it for 2 reasons; I’ve been having problems with my stomach for the last few months and I heard that using Milk of Magnesia can help clear up complexion problems like blackheads.

This Family Dollar had gone through a metamorphic change last year when it went from a crappy rundown little hole in the ground to a stylish brand new crappy hole in the ground with a freezer that doesn’t smell like dead rats. I’ve shopped there many times, ever since it was one of the first stores that opened up 10 years ago when the neighborhood started going through an urban renewal that transformed the old abandoned sanitation garages underneath the 3 line train track into ugly furniture and franchise stores. When I entered the store, it was almost a ghost town, with probably 2 or 3 customers wondering around. I scanned the store to see where the healthcare or bath products were located which was in the front of the store, isolated in its own U shaped area. While I was looking through the shelves, I noticed this little African man started buzzing around. I turned my head towards him and he suddenly started to “face” (To “face” is to straighten out the products on the shelves, place them correctly under/above the tags and remove what doesn’t belong) one of the shelves. That’s odd, I thought. With spider sense tingling, I went up to him because I needed to make him useful.
“Do you have any Milk of Magnesia?” I asked.
“Um… um, no… um, we sold out of it” he replied with this deer caught in the headlights expression.
“Okay, do you have anything similar?” I asked not letting up.
“Um… I don’t think so…”

He walked me over to the same area that I just left and pointed to an empty shelf, exclaiming that there was nothing available. However just below that empty shelf were bottles of Milk of Magnesia, so I pointed to products and asked: “What is that?” His facial expression was priceless. I picked up the bottle and walked away from him without another word. As I went around the store, picking up knick knacks here and there I noticed that the he would still wonder around. By the time I finished shopping the little African man was behind the counter with another employee figuring out facebook mobile. As the other employee rang me up, the African man asked me if I found everything I was looking for. I ignored him, thanked the lady for my changed and walked out of the store.

Shopping while black is nothing new to me. When I was a teenager going to school in lower Manhattan, I would shop at some of the stores in the area and I always got the feeling that someone was watching me. At a grocery store on East 14th street (I don’t remember the name since they long went out of business), I went to buy something to snack on and was detained by security. Of course they let me go, but I was so embarrassed that this man pulled me out of line and asked me to remove everything out of my pockets. I swore to myself that I would never go to that store again, no matter what and I kept true to my word on that.

Recently, when I went to Trader Joe’s in the city, looking to see if they might have certain herbs and spices that I can’t seem to find in the stores in my area. I went into my bag to get out my notebook that contained the shopping list when out of the blue one of the workers came up to me and asked me if I needed help. At first I thought that was really nice, I politely told him no and that I was okay and continued looking for stuff. About 2 minutes later another employee proceeded to do the same thing. I was in the middle of a crowded aisle with people gleefully snatching stuff off the shelves at a staggering pace (They have a lot of good healthy stuff there I recommend people check the place out) and this employee seemed to come directly to me and no one else. After the 3rd time, I felt like I was being singled out. I started to notice a security guard walking around me. Now there was a very diverse clientele shopping around there, but every time I moved around there was a security guard standing to the right or left of me or an employee smiling in my face asking me if I needed something.

Was it just paranoia? Probably. Was I being stalked? Who knows. I put everything back where I found them and walked out the store.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

[Lifestyle] The Ides of March.

Have you ever heard of the saying: Beware the Ides of March?

It stems back to when Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C. on the Senate floor by his friend and many enemies. I remember hearing that saying when I was a teenager in my high school Latin class. The teacher explained that the phrase meant you have to be careful with the company you keep because not everyone has good intentions. Today, that should reign true more then ever.

At every given moment some one is betrayed by some one they know and/or love. It could be an affair, revealing personal information to a third party or some kind of action that removes the trust two people have for another. So how do you deal? In the movies, we either see a happy ending or no real ending at all. On television, there is a conflict and within the next 20 minutes there is some kind of resolution and the preview for the next week show comes on where everyone is skipping into the sunset. Rarely do we see the process that goes into repairing the consequence of a betrayal. We see the thought, the action, but never really the detail that goes into repairing the tears created. What do you do? How do you forgive? Can you move on? They’re mindless questions that have a true purpose.

In my life, I always have my guard up when dealing with people. Well… I shouldn’t say always, because there have been times that I allowed someone in. It only takes one time for me to realize that I can’t trust a person or that person is not looking out for anyone but themselves and will not mind selling out others in the drop of a hat. I only put myself out there one time and in that one time, I foolishly did not listen to that part my brain screaming DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! I thought it was going to be much different experience then it was, but in the end I was left broken emotionally. A part of my soul died, because every time I look back and see the events unfolding I want to crawl into a corner and mourn. In my 30 years, I have learned that there is really no instruction manual when it comes to life, we deal with things as they come and hope for the best. But what if the best doesn’t come and you’re left wondering why your heart is on the ground torn into pieces...


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

[My Life] B is for Failure

Last week I was tired and didn’t feel like cooking dinner. I wasn’t in the mood for Chinese or Pizza and the fact that it was a gamble that if I eat either one of those, I would be hovering around the toilet for most of the night, made the choice of not getting them much easier. On my block there is a Subways restaurant. Every once in a while I would get a foot long sandwich, but this day I felt like getting a soup. There was one guy behind the counter helping a customer when I walked in. I took my place at the end of the counter and waited peacefully as the man ordered almost everything in the garnish section into his sandwich. As he was finishing up, a couple walked in talking to each other loudly, not really paying attention to the fact that other people exist. After the man paid for his order and took a seat by a group of chair in front of the store, the couple stepped up to the register and the female asked the Subway employee if they had a certain type of bread. The guy nodded, and she proceeded to ask for a sandwich completely ignoring the fact that I was stand just a few feet away. I looked at them like they were stupid and was about to say something when the Subway employee pointed in my direction and said that I was next. The woman looked at me, rolled her eyes and continued the idiotic conversation with the man she was with. Well fuck you too, heffa! I thought.

I order a chicken noodle soup and some of those hippie potato chips they have in stock. As I was leaving, I noticed the Department of Health rating posted on the door. A “B”. I hesitated for a second and wondered, why did this place get a B rating? I rarely notice those ratings before, but this time it stood out to me. My first thought was to return the soup, get my money back and just make something at home, but since I already left and have never been sick before by the food at that establishment I thought against it. When I got home, I crashed on the couch and tuned into a Blog Talk Radio program that one of my internet friends host every Wednesday and I went in on the soup. After I was done, the thoughts of the B rating were completely out of my mind… Well, that was until the next morning that is, when my stomach started acting funny. I made some peppermint and ginger tea my mother brought me a few weeks back which did the trick.

Before I started the rest of my day, I thought maybe I should look into that Subway B rating since it was from the last place I ate from. I went to the New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene web page and after reading about how they graded resturants, entered the restaurant name and my zip code into the search query. Not only did I see the results for the Subways restaurant on my block, I saw ALL of the results for my zip code.
From the DOHMH’s “How We Score” PDF:
“If a restaurant scores 28 or more points on its graded inspection, the Health Department will continue to inspect it roughly once a month even after it receives a grade card. The inspections will continue until the restaurant scores below 28 or is closed by the department for serious and persistent violations.”
The Subways had 17 violation points and as started to go further down the listing I saw other places I frequent had many more, one place getting 24 violation points. Let’s just say I freaked out a bit and made a mental note to pay attention those signs in the future, because when it comes to my food, a B rating is not good enough.


[Faith] Thanks for the Tsunami GOD, Great Job!

The earthquake and resulting tsunami that destroyed parts of north eastern Japan, threaten a nuclear reactor and ended the lives of thousands is still heavy on the minds of the people in this country and around the world. At every moment we are shown the destructive path the water took, the families ripped apart and the lives of the people forever scarred. To top it off Japan’s economy is rapidly going down the toilet even as that country’s central bank tired to inject billions into the economy to no prevail. It’s a horrible scenario all around and I hope the country can return to a new normal, but with every news report detailing the damaged reactor and radiation leakage, I do not see that happening anytime soon.

In the mean time, there is this going on...

What pisses me off the most are the scum that take advantage of a tragedy to invoke the name of a GOD in glory for what has happen. During this time of reflection is when you see these people get on their soapboxes and preach that this was a good thing because their GOD allowed it to happen so that his chosen people or whatever can wake up the non-believers wherever they may be. The people from the Westboro Baptist church who protest the funerals of fallen soldiers, homosexuals and anyone that had some notoriety when they were alive with signs like “GOD HATES AMERICA” and other slogans are a prime example of what I am talking about but there are people like this woman in the video below who are also out there with less media press.

Here is a woman going by the name Tamtampamela on Youtube. After I watched the video last night, I went through a couple of her other videos where she talks about how the Aryan race would be triumphant in a race war because only Aryans are a race of free thinkers, how President Obama was the Anti-Christ trying to destroy America and the gave a list of the 10 democrats and liberal republicans who will bring his “reign of power” to the world and let’s not forget that the World of Warcraft video game was inciting Satan and his minions to go against GOD. I viewed her channel. There was a lot of girlish color (Pink and Lavender was apparently her theme). She had a little over a dozen friends, a little bit more than two dozen subscribers and thousands of comments… Yes, she had thousands of comments with more coming in at every second with people condemning her about her most recent video that I posted above. This morning when I started to write this blog, I went to her page only to find that her videos were removed and account deleted. Maybe she was a troll like many people stated. Maybe she felt threaten by the comments from enraged youtube viewers. Maybe youtube deleted her account because of the statements in the video. Whatever the reason, I don’t care, I am just glad that this media avenue for her is closed for the moment.

Personally, I want to know why people have this mindset… To think it is cool to vocalize their belief that their GOD did this destruction out of the love in his heart. Over the last few years I noticed that after any natural disaster, like the earthquake in Haiti, there was always a choir of religious nuts preaching that because they are not Christians, this was GOD’s wrath. Where is the compassion from these people? I don’t care if you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Atheist, etc… we are all supposed to be equipped with basic human compassion. Sometime I wonder if it is just too much for some people to bear.


Monday, March 07, 2011

[My Life] Keywords

So apparently you can find my blog if you are looking for a sex party with trannies.

SoYeah… Go Team Venture!…

I’ve been taking my blog seriously for the last few months since I’ve been unemployed. It gives me a chance to develop some kind of income while trying to tune up my writing skills. Plus it is a way for me to return to how I was before 2009, when I would post blogs once or even more a day. Flash forward to this morning. While going through some of the stats of my blog on blogger, there is a section where you can view what keywords that people type into the search engine for your site to come up.

As you can see from the photo the phrase: “3 train sutter and rutland sex group ceo” appears. Now, imagine my surprise when those words came up on that list. I am looking at the screen thinking where the hell they do that at. I know that I never posted anything about a sex party or orgy, but I have posted a few blogs about my area and my train stop Sutter Ave./Rutland Rd., maybe just maybe that was what was being picked up. So I highlighted the words, opened a new tab in Google Chrome and proceeded to do a Google search. The very first link that popped up was the twitter account of a female by the screen name “Mssexibooty19” promoting a sex party. WOW… So, this just got very interesting. It wasn’t like I wanted the information to go, but it was weird learning of one in my area. After clicking the link, the photo of a “hood girl” came up, with a number of troll like tweets on her profile to different people about her parties and sex video tapping. I checked out her AOL Lifestream photos where this “hood girl” was pleasuring someone orally and another one where she is once again giving some one lip service while another man was behind her getting his jollies. I don’t know why people are so eager to put their very private moments on the internet for the entire world to see and something that could come back to haunt their future… but hey more power to them since it’s not me. Sadly, I know a few young girls and grown women who are trying to make their way into the porn business for different reasons and join these bottom of the barrel companies or they proceed to do things for themselves and make home video and upload them to websites like Xtube. At first I was thinking she is just trying to be the next Pinky or something like that, but from beneath the ground up. The last photo I check out was of the “hood girl” posing on what I thought was the same roof the other photos were taken on, but looking at the “hood girl” close up, I realize that she was actually a transsexual. Another surprise… I closed the tabs and went through the “O” in Google search to see where my blog came in to this travesty. After going through 15 of the “O”’s in Google I could not find anything. I scratched my head and checked out the other keywords that came up on the blogger stat tracker list and my website would come up on the first or second page.

So I am sitting here confused and wondering… How did my blog ever get connected to a listing containing this? I guess I will never know and to be honest… a part of me really doesn’t WANT to know.


Saturday, March 05, 2011

[A More Perfect Union] Crash

One of my favorite movies is CRASH. From the writing, the actors that portrayed the diverse characters and how each of those characters interact with each other in such a hostile environment to the symbolism of what each person represents. While we move around crashing into each other’s live, how many times have we take stock in what we are crashing into. The main reason I love the movie is because it is relatable when it comes to the topic of race. The reality is every person has some sort of racial prejudice inside of them. They might not want to admit it, but it’s there. Only when we acknowledge it can it be address and we as a society can move forward.

Late this summer, I linked up with a two of my friends Andre* and Jake* so we could go to this bar called the Iron Horse down by the South Street Seaport in the city. It’s a cool place with a very chilled atmosphere and mixed ethnic crowd. Now my friends were celebrating their last day at our job and I was along for the ride. We were basically getting nice and tight. Drinks were flowing, the mood was right and the bartender, a young curvy Asian woman was on the bar swing giving everyone a show while pouring drinks in some of the patrons mouths. Try to picture a coyote ugly theme… and yeah there was a school yard like swing on the bar. So it’s about midnight or so. I was maybe on my second rum and coke, while Andre and Jake were spinning the shots wheel and shooting down whatever the little peg stopped at. Even though I secretly wanted to do the shots wheel as well, I thought it would be best if I didn’t go over board since I had to be at work later that day. I have to admit, we were an odd trio. Andre is Puerto Rican, three apples high, skinny and unapologetically gay. Jake, also three apples high, African American, straight, very mild mannered and cock diesel. He is the type of guy where you might think he is not going to do nothing in a fight until all of a sudden he body slams 3 dudes at once.

Between midnight and 1am, Andre and I went out outside to smoke a cigarette and get some cool air. While I was sitting on the cement fence next to the front door, Andre was very drunk venting about all the pent-up feelings he had, when his OCD kicked in and plucked a lint ball from on top of my head. Right in front of us was this guy who laughed. By looking at him, he was short about 5’8 and you can say he was maybe in his early - mid 30’s, chubby the nerdy black rimmed glasses. He wasn’t African-American, Caucasian or Latino. My first thought was he could be Middle Eastern, but I didn’t want to jump to any real conclusion. Andre asked him what was so funny in a polite way and he mumbled an answer. An answer that I thought I heard, but no… I thought it had to be a mistake in what he said. So I asked him to repeat himself and he said the said the same thing. “You two look like Gorillas in the mist” That second time he said the remark snapped me out of my good mood. I thought of all the world horrors happening to him and him alone after I snapped his the jaw in half. I stood up, towering over him with my fist clenched. Gave him a dirty look and walked off, because knowing myself I would’ve made things worse if I had stayed. At first Andre didn’t understand what was going on, he followed me down the block asking if I was okay and I told him that I was good and just needed a moment to calm down. Before I could finish my cigarette, the man came towards me apologies asking if we were cool. I told him yeah, but he needed to get away from me. In that moment I was the bigger person… well in maturity that is. He walked off back to the front of the bar where Andre was and moments later I followed suit.

At this point, Andre and this man started to go out it. Trading barbs and insults with each statement escalating the emotions between the two. Andre face was turning red, hell his whole chest was turning red… Did I mention he was shirtless? …because that’s kind of important, but a whole other story which will remain untold on this blog. The man showed that didn’t understand what he said was wrong and instead of thinking before he spoke to us or accepting the fact that what he said was entirely wrong, he wanted to try and prove a point and be a complete ASS! As the man started to defend his comment to us, I really, really wanted to hit the dude, however my main focus was making sure no one (especially my friends) got into trouble, starting a fight or ending up doing something extremely stupid and be thrown in jail, so I grab Andre and dragged him inside.

While the night continued, things cooled down. Andre was for all intensive purposes GONE in drunken joy, Jake was enjoying the view of the female bartenders and I was trying to let the earlier event go, but I could feel the man’s eyes on me every now and then. At the bar, I ordered my 4th rum and coke and I looked around for Andre, wondering where this little Puerto Rican went. You know when you get that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach? I started to get that feeling and headed to the front of the bar where I could see the man and Andre once again getting into a heated argument. I rushed outside and stood in between them. If this dude took a swing I wanted to make sure that I protected Andre since he was smaller than the guy and weighed less, but I didn’t know then like I know now that he could take care of it himself. I tried to maneuver him away, which was difficult because his drunken state made him quite squirrely.

Less than 10 minutes after getting back into the bar for the second time, I was sitting with Jake at a table next to the jukebox telling him what happen outside while Andre was dancing/grinding on some woman at the end of the bar (A whole other story as well), when suddenly the man came up to us extending his hand trying to be friends. Jake gave me this look. “Is that the dude?” He asked. I nodded. The man looked at Jake and kind of froze up. Remember, when I said Jake was diesel? Yeah… I don’t think the man realize how big Jake was until he approached us.

This had become the last straw to me and I really didn’t care at this point about hurting feelings. I told him to: Just fucking leave me alone before I get really upset. He held his hands up as if to give up and walked away. Thankfully that was the last time I had seen him. After that night I became good friends with Andre and Jake and even though we are all leading separate happy lives, we meet up now and then and enjoy the time. While last year taught me a few lessons, the most important one being that even someone I might have the MOST in common with (from career goals to social surroundings) can try and will, stab you in the back or try to sabotage everything you are trying to do, I learned that we are all crashing into each other for a reason. Sometimes that reason is unclear to us at first… Many times people and I am including myself, do not recognize how important the every event is to us, since it defines who we are and what we stand for. Now, I don’t believe the man was a racist all, but maybe his lightly intoxicated state allowed certain thoughts to project from his inner being. I was glad that I used better judgment in dealing with the situation and it taught me that when confronted, even with a clouded mind, I can avoid the urge to strike and go down to there level.

*The names were changed to protect their own individual identity

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