Tuesday, January 31, 2012

[My Life] Thank you for crotch watching…

It is always good to take a trip down memory lane, well in most cases. This morning I was going through some old blogs that I had posted on a social networking website from 2009, talking about when I would travel back and forth from Brooklyn to Staten Island everyday on the ferry to be with grandmother while she was in the Burn Unit ICU in Staten Island University Hospital. I hated the commute in every which way. An hour to get to Staten Island and another hour to get the hospital was draining on my mental state and most days I was deeply depressed or angry.

Before this accident, I’ve never been on the ferry. It was a new and unwelcoming experience. The massive rude crowds of people rushing in trying to trample over you for a damn seat and afterwards engaging in all sorts of loud personal conversations that would make Heather Del Rio blush. Boy, Oh boy… Most of the time I would buy a coffee and zone out with my mp3 player blasting some angry hip hop music.

On one such afternoon, I was in my own little world oblivious to anything around me. As I drifted in and out of a cat nap, I never noticed a man taking a seat right in front of me. I was wearing some fitted jeans, not the tight ass yeast infection stuff these people are walking around in these days, but something that actually fitted my body and wasn’t half way off my ass. I usually sit like most guys do. Feet planted firmly on the floor with my legs open, which is nothing special at all. Midway into the voyage, I suddenly felt there were eyes on me.  Have you ever gotten the feeling that you were being watched? Not a comfortable feeling at all is it? When I looked up, the gentleman that was sitting across from me eyes were fixated on my crotch. Yeah… I wanted to tell him that it doesn’t do tricks, but thought it would be unwise to do so. So I snapped my fingers and he popped out of whatever daze he was in and looked me in the face.

The one thing my friends all tell me is that my facial expressions show my feelings no matter how much I try to hide it. At that moment, I didn’t have a warm expression on my face. He turned bright red with what I assume was embarrassment, and unfolded the newspaper to read. Now I could laugh about it, but at the moment I was heated. I started to wonder if I needed a giant belt buckle that said: No eyes beyond this point! But I guess that would defeat the purpose now wouldn’t it. Since I wrote the blog, I’ve taken great care in covering that part of my body while on mass transit. Nothing is worse than a wondering erection where a woman screams pervert and your face is on the front page of the Daily News or someone watching in between your legs like its Direct TV.

Stuff like this makes me really make me want to get a car, to avoid nonsense like this.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

[Lifestyles] For the sake of employment…

I wanted to share a story from when I was working a few years back… There was this young lady who was a supervisor and there was a major incident that was brought to my attention and needed to be dealt with since I was the senior supervisor in the office. I will let this be known now, that I was a complete asshole to most people in the office at the time because there was a lot of pressure on me to make sense of madness and like they say… Shit rolls downhill. So, most people caught a glimpse of my wrath when I was not pleased for whatever reason. Hell I am surprised how many people talked to me after the job was over. I was in my office space, when she approached me. I asked her to sit and began to talk about what happen. Without giving out details, she had messed up and as I was scolding her about her responsibilities especially since she was a supervisor. Yes, my words were harsh, but if it came from anyone else it would’ve been her job. As I spoke, she began to tear up and I could see she was trying really hard not to cry.

I stopped. I was not happy at all by this. I told her the following:

I know you’re not about to cry. Go into the bathroom and clean yourself up and we will talk more. You can show these weak emotions to those who are your superior because it makes you seem unstable and unable to do your job. You’re not being fired, but don’t put doubt in my mind. Do you want that? ::she shook her head:: Then go…

With that being said, she got up went to the bathroom and came back. Yeah it could’ve been a big argument or she could’ve gone and filed a complaint against me, but I just told her the truth. If you are perceived as an ineffective person at a job, you are replaceable. I kept her from getting fired and even help her move into other positions that was beneficial to her. The truth is that this day and age is tough. Jobs are slowly coming back and there are mobs (me being one of them) trying to make a strong enough impression so that people in power can say “I want him”. When you’re a person of color, there is 10 times the pressure to be stronger, wiser, tougher, smarter than our counterparts. If you’re not, then you have to settle for whatever minimum wage job out there that can’t even pay the rent. Throughout my adult life I’ve held different types of employment (sadly, this is the longest stretch of employment that I have encountered). From retail to office positions and the politics are the same everywhere you go.

The one thing I learned from that job was that sometimes there are asshole out there (me being one of them) that can make your job the living hell. From the customers who complain for the sake of complaining to the dumbass placed in management positions. No one is going to care about you if you can’t produce. What you need to focus on is if you are willing to accept the way things are or risk go on to greener pastures. A risk that could bring you less headache or finical uncertainty… Think about it for a second, what are you willing to put up with for the sake of employment?


Monday, January 23, 2012

[Lifestyles] Grade Pending

Listen close and you will hear a story of great woe. Just like the fairy tales of old, this tale begins with the phrase used so many times before with once upon a time in a little place called Canarise Brooklyn. It was a quiet night in which a BOY traveled to and fro in search of a great meal. With his stomach growling he entered a place called Fortune Cookies Chinese Restaurant. As the BOY entered the tiny little shop, he did not notice the NYC Health Department “Grade Pending” sign in front, because if he did it would have warned him of the troubles to come. The BOY gave the female shop keeper his order of lo mein with fried chicken and started to count the minutes before he can quench his hunger. As he sat and waited, one of the workers came into view. He was very slobbish, covered in dirt, grease and grime. Like clouds in the sky, the BOY could see patterns form on the workers apron. The BOY shuddered a bit. The worker placed a mop in his hand to the side so he could close a trash bag overflowing with rubbish. It was quite a difficult task. He took his bare hands to push everything inside so he could be able to seal the black bag. Once finished, he pulled the bag out and dragged it into the street for the garbage men to come pick it up in the wee hours of the morning. Once he returned, he entered the kitchen, dipped his hands in the container of lo mein noodles and threw it into a wok. The BOY gasped at this sight. The man, who he just seen taking his bare hands pushing down garbage, was now, cooking his meal without washing his hand. Sicken to the core, the BOY fled in hopes to never return, but he had realized one thing too late. He had eaten from this same place several times before…

The moral, if you can call it that is…


Of course there is more to this story. A while back, I wrote a blog called: B is for Failure, in which I talked about a Subways restaurant on my block that had a B-rating from the Health department. After seeing that rating, I went on the health department’s website and did my own little research about other places in my neighborhood. Many places had sever violations and it made me really wonder had these places can get away with this. In this little adventure, I did my research once again on the placed named above and was shocked to what I had discovered and the loop holes used so that the public is not aware of this travesty. On the NYC health department website you can find out how they score and grade plus there latest and previous inspections. It’s quite simple really. The age of technology is just a wonderful beast at times.

When you are on the website, you can either enter in the eatery’s name you want to find or the zip code, which in this case 11236, and it will pull up the place or all the restaurants within that area. After filtering based on cuisine type (American, Bakery, Caribbean, Chinese, etc…), I found Fortune Cookies had a “Not Yet Graded” as their current grade (When I first did the search it was actually a C grade, but it has since changed). While going through the inspections on the left side of the screen of their most recent I disgusted by what I saw. To put things in perspective here is the how the health department score violations…

From the “How we score and Grade” PDF:

The points for a particular violation depend on the health risk it poses to the public. Violations fall into three categories:
 A public health hazard, such as failing to keep food at the right temperature, triggers a minimum of 7 points. If the violation can’t be corrected before the inspection ends, the
Health Department may close the restaurant until it’s fixed.
A critical violation, for example, serving raw food such as a salad without properly washing it first, carries a minimum of 5 points. 
A general violation, such as not properly sanitizing cooking utensils, receives at least 2 points.
In September of last year, Fortune Cookie was graded 3 times. Once on the 10th which added up to 62 violation points, the next on the 13th which added up to 32 points and lastly on the 14th with only 3 points. Lucky for the public you can actually see what they were violated for. This is a screen shot of the September 10th list violations:

Click on image to expand size.

Personal cleanliness… does that creep anyone else out like it did me? I have to assume as a person looking at this, that it only received a 3 in there last inspection because of the city threatening to shut them down and they hired a crew of elves to come in and do there magic… maybe one of those Sookie Stackhouse fairies as well perhaps.

I began to wonder why in the hell did this place have a “Grade Pending” on its store front window when it clearly wasn’t making the grade at all. Everything was kind of confusing until I reread the PDF document. There is a part that I want to make EVERYONE aware of. Towards the bottom of the first page and the top of the second there is this:

“A restaurant has two chances to earn an A in every inspection cycle. If it doesn’t earn an A on the first inspection, it’s scored but ungraded. An inspector goes back to the restaurant unannounced, typically within a month, to inspect it again and the re-inspection is graded. If the grade is a B or C, the restaurant will receive a grade card and a grade pending card. It can post either card until it has an opportunity to be heard at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Health Tribunal. 

Until a restaurant has a graded inspection, it is listed as Not Yet Graded on the Health
Department website”

I underlined the most important part. A place can either post the grade they had received OR a Grade Pending sign. Establishments, unless they are shut down, can hide their score from the public!!! Ain’t that some shit right there… I was ready to let Facebook, Foursquare, Google and anyone that could hear me from my soapbox about this place. That’s another reason to love the technology age. I started to comb the internet for some reviews and frankly there were very few expect for this one Yelps. Here is the screenshot:

Click on image to expand size.

A disclaimer though… While the place reviewed was actual ANOTHER Fortune Cookies restaurant in Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights area, the review mentioned a place called Chopsticks which is right down block and provides a better service than Fortune Cookie, so I knew that she might’ve made a mistake in placing the review there. I also felt that the first review was also talking about the Fortune Cookies restaurant as well, but I am not 100% sure about that.

After being sick for months and unable to stomach even the sight of food. It is disappointing that places like this exist and even shameful that people pack them without doing any research. A few minutes can avoid hours of throwing up or much worse. I suggest that everyone out there takes a moment (especially if you live in the New York area) to review some of the fast food places that you go into everyday. What you might learn may surprise you and save your life.


Friday, January 20, 2012

[My Life] Fitness FAIL

On January 17th, I checked my bank account online and there was a debit from Planet Fitness of 10 dollars. I really, really started to kick myself because of it. You see, the charge wasn’t something that was shocked about getting, since I did have a membership with them. I just hated the fact that I feel like I was wasting money in a time where money is really needed. I’ve only been there once and you might have guessed it… it was t o sign up for that damn sweet membership offer. 20 dollars down, 10 dollars a month… Where can you find something like that in this day and age? Since coming back like Lazarus, where I was on the brink of death and left in an extremely weaken state, I have made great strides to improve my heath situation, but the one thing I have learned is that “the road to recovery is paved with bumps and bruises” so it’s been slow and sometimes painful to deal with. Trust me when I say that I have experienced it all over the last few months.

Since getting my gym membership, I eat all the time either at home or places like IKEA (The food there is off the chain!!!) or Wingstop which is better than any BBQ’s place around even Dallas BBQ’s right down the street in Downtown Brooklyn. I regained all the weight I had lost, go me!!! Especially since the crackish look was SOOO 1980’s. Being 6’3 and 148lbs was not a good look at all. Plus, I used to (and still have) major body issues. I thought I was too big, while others around me thought I was getting way too skinny for comfort. Even my mother told me that she thought I might be anorexic. Yeah, it was that serious…  So now, I have a book bag ready full of the necessaries of the gym, but I can’t seem to drag my ass over there which is only a 15 minute bus ride. It’s been either one thing or the other. The excuses have become: I am waiting for my brother to come with me since I don’t know/remember how to use the equipment; the weather outside is way too cold for me to go out; I am going to go first thing in the morning before the sunrise to avoid the muscle jocks that get off on looking freaks of nature; etc, etc, etc…

I do have other motives to getting in shape. This coming summer I want to go back to Robert Moses beach out in Fire Island which is clothing option. Yup, a nude beach and I want to be in the best physical shape so when I walk around with Mr. Happy flopping about and I don’t want to be self conscience about my increasing gut. Vanity… Such a wonderful sin, isn’t it? Beside the whole eating right and regularly, going to the doctor and taking my medications every day on time, I just really want to be one of those guys that will make jaws drop with a banging body.

It’s not going to happen overnight. I know that. It takes time, patience and all the other hippie crap you hear from the infomercials hocking some overpriced equipment. I just need to get that motivation to actually do it. But I will tell you this… If I don’t go to the gym before February 17th, I am going to cancel my membership and get one of those Tae Bo tapes.

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