MJ - The Man, The Icon, The Legend

I'd be remiss to not say anything on the ol' blog about Michael Jackson. At the same time, what can I say that hasn't been said? The timing of his death is ironic -- Thembi said what I'd been thinking and that's that he died before he could make his true "comeback" whether it would've been during his 50-date tour in London or if it would've been some other time... I think we were all, whether vocal critics, or silent supporters, waiting on him to snap out of it and get back to the MJ we all loved and revered.

Maybe what we all failed to realize was that in being as amazing as he was, he had to give a whole lot of himself including what some of us might call his sanity. In any case, no matter what, Michael Jackson leaves a legacy that deserves respect. As much as it broke my heart to see pictures of him in the last decade, to watch his physical appearance change so drastically as if he hated everything he was, that was his life and those were his demons. They weren't for me or anyone else to comment on, though -- because we all felt we could -- we did anyway.

Now that he's gone, I'm interested in watching the way the mainstream media (MSM), who as Rippa points out, was so much a part of MJ's downfall, will give him respect while taking it away all at the same time. Whether he "got off" for crimes he actually committed or not -- none of that has bearing on the amazing musical genius he was or what sort of everlasting effect his efforts will have on music forevermore. Unfortunately there are some out there who will try their darndest to make sure it does.

Ultimately, I say nevermind to all of them. The truth of the matter is, if we all really do start with the "Man in the Mirror" we'll find that probably in our own sort of way, we weren't all that much better than they were at times.

R.I.P. Michael -- it doesn't matter if they give you your props today or 20 years from now, because your work will forevermore, as it always has, speak volumes for itself.


Say What You Mean

So I was pretty sure I'd found my bloggin' steeze again... I was so wrong. It's the summer, man; I'm hot HOT and hot...

I'm pretty sure I'm the worst stickler ever for this. Please say what you mean and mean what you say. PLEASE.

But at the least, I need you to let what you say and what you do match up. Lord bless it -- I can't DEAL with people who say one thing and do another all the time.

I have a friend who's really bad affinity for saying one thing and doing another has been highlighted in her efforts to get out of a relationship. Quite frankly, the relationship is abusive, but that's another conversation. Anywho, she's saying all the right things. She sounds so emotionally drained, so tired, so disgusted with it all -- so ready to G-O. But when it comes time to put feet to words, she's got nothing. There is no change, there is little action.

And I don't know how many of you have walked through the break-up process with a friend, but while it's not as draining on you as it is on them (obviously) if you're at all emotionally invested in them, it's hard. If you're me, you're probably a little too emotionally invested and so EVERY time we talk about this, she's ready to go and I'm ready tos upport but she backpedals. She won't follow through and now I'M tired and I'M disgusted with it all. Quite frankly this portion of our relationship has gotten a little abusive...

What I really don't understand is how you can be at that point -- the one where you're ready to G-O no matter what it takes -- and then you don't follow through. What's that about?


I Need to Get Out of this Box

This morning, my status says:
Don't put me in a box. Give me a chance to be different than I used to be and make choices I haven't made before (though on occasion they may just be actions and choices you've never seen me do or make).

In high school I had a friend who hated being predictable. She got some sort of joy out of knowing that she led you to think she'd do one thing but ended up doing something completely opposite. It seemed she enjoyed this so much that she would go out of her way to see this happen.

The problem was, in a lot of cases, she was predictable -- perhaps because I had gotten to know her pretty well. I figured out that if I told her I knew what she was going to do, she'd always switch it up; if I left well enough alone and especially if I acted surprised at her doing exactly what I thought she'd do -- my predictions usually came to fruition.

Now, these weren't out of the ordinary things. It wasn't like I was predicting her life; they were simple things like me following up her telling me she had done something with "oh, I knew you'd do that..." or if (for example) she walked into class and I handed her a pen saying "I bet you don't have one..." -- those types of things seemed to really irk her.

I never understood it and found it extremely frustrating feeling like I couldn't express how well I felt like we knew each other. I feel like we're all looking for people who can get to know us very well and know the things that make us tick and make us happy; the things that bring joy to our lives as well as frustrate us.

This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I start thinking back to a conversation I had yesterday. In that conversation a friend made a comment about my future, definitively. This morning it occurred to me that I didn't like how she put me in a box; how she used a few choices I've made in the past to tell me what my future would look like; essentially I didn't like that she wasn't leaving it open for me to change and be different.

As I started thinking about how I might turn this into a blog post (because we all know, I'm looking for my blogging steeze) I remembered how I felt about my friend who didn't like being predictable -- but I still felt like my issue wasn't the same as hers. It doesn't bother me when my mom calls me while I'm packing for a trip and asks "did you remember to pack socks?" because she knows I usually do forget.

I started a new school in the 8th grade. During one of my first weeks there, I walked up on a group of students and joined their conversation by asking them what they were talking about. One of the girls said, "Oh, we're talking about a band you probably wouldn't know about..." From her tone of voice, I could tell she didn't really mean anything by it, but I was still slightly offended. Give me a chance to tell you what I do and don't know, I thought. They band they were talking about was Fleetwood Mac and because I had an unhealthy obsession with all things VH1 at that time, I knew a fair amount about Fleetwood Mac. Years later, after this girl and I had become really close, I reminded her of this story. She denied it, probably having a hard time believing that she would've ever doubted that I had a knowledge of music that crossed stereotypical boundaries.

My issue begins when people don't let me be new. We're all learning, everyday, and sometimes we're lucky enough to realize that what we've been doing, be it for a few days or a few years, just isn't working and we're ready to do something else. I want to feel like no one's got me pegged for anything -- that's how we miss out on opportunities to try something new -- it's bad enough we box ouselves in, but aren't our friends supposed to be the ones trying to open our eyes to new possibilities?


Look What I Found

Still searching for my blog steeze...

Here are some gems I've found on the 'net today. Check back, as I'm sure I'll update this before the day's over with

It's Hammer Time!

Second, we have a story from Politico a Hill newspaper.
If you want to score a meeting with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), know this: His scheduler/office manager, Elizabeth Becton, is to be addressed by her full name — not Liz or any other variant.

An executive assistant at McBee Strategic recently learned this the hard way. A few weeks ago, the assistant e-mailed Becton seeking a meeting with McDermott and a client, JPMorgan Chase. Days later, the assistant checked back in and unfortunately began the e-mail with “Hi Liz.”

Becton curtly replied, “Who is Liz?”

When the assistant wrote back with an apology, Becton turned up the heat. “I do not go by Liz. Where did you get your information?” she asked.

The back-and-forth went on for 19 e-mails, with the assistant apologizing six times if she had “offended” Becton, while Becton lectured about name-calling.
Becton told the assistant that if someone said using “Liz” was acceptable, then “they are not your friend”, and “If I wanted you to call me by any other name, I would have offered that to you.” Plus, it’s “rude when people don’t even ask permission and take all sorts of liberties with your name,” she said, adding: “Please do not ever call me by a nickname again.”

But the tirade didn’t end there. Becton continued her riff — responding that the assistant “got played” by someone who was trying to “tick” Becton off. Becton’s final, searing missive stated: “In the future, you should be VERY careful about such things. People like to brag about their connections in D.C. It’s a pastime for some. It’s also dangerous to eavesdrop, as you have just found out. Quit apologizing and never call me anything but Elizabeth again. Also, make sure you correct anyone who attempts to call me by any other name but Elizabeth. Are we clear on this? Like I said, it’s a hot button for me. And please don’t call the office and not leave a message. My colleague told me you called while I was away. ... I do sometimes leave my desk.”

McDermott spokesman Mike DeCesare told us Tuesday, “An apology is being issued as we speak,” adding, “This isn’t reflective of the way we do business in this office.”
Source Be sure you follow the source link to read the e-mail exchange as well as the comments.


I Can't Tell You Why

I'm losing my blogging steeze. I'm going to blame twitter. I owe you guys about 3 weeks worth of Throwback Tuesdays and I'm late on this week's installment of The Series; we'll hit the reset button on all of that next week.

The Eagles -- great band

I got my inspiration for this post from Damon at This May Concern You; I've linked his blog here before. He and Monica consistently come up with quality letters addressed to a variety of people, all of whom need a word or two to direct them in the right direction. Yesterday's letter was to "People Who Question Why" In the comments, I said:
This is reminiscent of a conversation I just had with a friend a couple of days ago. She kept asking me a question (”why” was ultimately the question) and I kept answering it, but I wasn’t giving her the answer she was expecting so she kept saying “you’re not answering my question…”

If you’re going to ask why, then be prepared for WHATEVER the answer is, don’t go fishing for what you hope it is or want it to be; that’s how mistakes happen.
Years ago, I remember someone telling me that one of the first rules of being a lawyer is never asking a question you don't already known the answer to. This makes sense; lawyers ask questions to make points, not to inform themselves. When I started thinking, today, more about the question "why" and why we ask it, it occurred to me that most often we ask "why" thinking we already know the answer. We're asking "why" to prove a point; sometimes to prove that what the other person has to say isn't true or that they don't know what they're talking about.

I mentioned in an earlier comment on this post that I have a friend who drives me CRAZY asking me "why." One of her pet peeves is comments with no explanation, but in turn she drives me crazy always needing to know the ins and outs of my thought process. One thing I can admit, though, is how she's shown me how often I make statements without thinking them through completely. However, I often feel like her inquisitions aren't simply her way of getting to the bottom of what I think, or understanding my thought processes. Sometimes she asks because she's sure I have nothing to back my statement up and she's ready to pounce.

I want to spend the next week monitoring how often I feel like someone's asking me to explain something, though they think they already know the answer AND monitoring myself to see how often I ask questions thinking I know the answer already.


Whining, Cell phones and alone time

I've been in a funk today. I feel like I'm suffocating in the negativity of my friends and all their issues. It gets to me sometimes. But then I read one of my friend's new blog posts and I had to put it in perspective...

Bottom line: I may be in a funk, but I can't be for long because there are too many things in my life to be excited about.

One of my twitfolk posted a tweet that mentioned they couldn't find their iPhone and they weren't upset about it. Reminded me of...

Story time boys and girls...

I got my first phone in 2003. I've had a new phone every calendar year since then. Fear not, one day I'm sure I'll feel obliged to share what each one of those phones were. But I won't bore you today.

In the summer of 2007 I had a phone that I'd wanted for so long. A Motorola SLVR

I also had a job that involved me spending the workday outside. All day -- riding around in a pickup truck (one day we'll also discuss my LOVE of pickup trucks). I was in and out of the truck, climbing up on it, around it, on trees and poles all day. After one of my escapades, I got back in the truck and realized I didn't have my phone. It had fallen out of it's holster (something that happened a lot -- I'd told myself I needed to go find a better holster for it). I panicked. I drove back to every place I'd stopped searching frantically for it. I couldn't breathe -- I could only imagine all the text messages and pictures and videos and EVERYTHING I'd just lost...

I drove straight home to report the phone stolen. I went back to work, still panicking inside.

It was a Friday afternoon, so the fastest a phone would get to me was Monday. How would I stay in touch between Friday and Monday, I wondered.

When it was all said and done, those were the best 2.5 days of my life. Once I got over the shock of not having a phone, I was able to relax. No phone calls, no text messages.... nothing. I went to bed earlier, I got plenty of rest and I felt liberated...

Recently I repeated this -- I turned my phone off, laid it on my bed and didn't touch it for a week. The first couple of days were odd, but then I got used to going to bed a realistic times and not having the stress of everyone else's life on mine. It was BEAUTIFUL. Maybe another break is what the Dr's ordering right now.

The Series on Monday

This (never ending) story is true. Happened to me between 2002 and 2007.

Refresh Yourself

Part 12

JD and I had planned much of our summer together, ahead of time. Two weekends after his visit, I was supposed to spend a weekend with him and his family. A week went by and I heard nothing from him. It took a lot of will power to not call or e-mail him. I just wanted to know that he was thinking about me and that he would call me back.

The second week was harder than the first. Half way through, I gave up waiting and sent him a text message with a made up story about having to get confirmation on our plans for that weekend so I could tell my mother. He immediately called me back. He sounded irritated. He told me that he knew I knew that our plans were still on and that he would call me that Thursday, as he had been planning to do, to set up times and specifics.

I went down to visit him and our weekend was great. He told me that the 2 weeks we didn’t speak were really hard for him, too. I had a hard time believing that it was anything close to hard, but it made me feel good to hear him say that, so I accepted it. However, I wanted him to know what it really was like to have someone say they didn’t want to speak to you. So as I left him that Sunday, I told him that I needed a break as well. I told him I’d call him when I was ready.

My will to resist him, in almost every way, was non-existent. I made it 2 days and caved. When he picked up, he sounded surprised. I told him that I thought about all I needed to and didn’t see any reason to drag out the inevitable.

It was a rough summer with him. I had all these feelings and had gone through all these emotions that I’d never experienced before. I thought, coming out of it, we were stronger and closer. I loved him and could even see myself with him for a very long time.


I Win. It's What I Do

A few nights ago I said:
what i'm saying, in very simple terms, is that i like to win and if you're going to associate yourself with me, you'll also have to like to win. We always win. Why? Cause it's just what we do. And so, we don't speak in terms of things not working out because they always do Why? Cause we win. Now if this winning concept is foreign to you, let me know. I can explain it.

It all started in college when the BFF and I realized we're winners (<<<---tongue in cheek, guys). Anyway, I share this with you to tell the following, light-hearted and purposeless tale:
On Monday afternoon, while cheering on co-workers at a softball game, my phone:

started up with it's usual b.s., moving slowly, not responding -- being a jerk -- and I got upset... pushed a little too hard... and felt the screen give way under my thumb.... the crack spread out like a spider web and my heart was crushed....

My heart was more crushed because I knew that when I called the insurance company for a new phone, it'd be my second claim in 12 months and I knew that would be a problem.

Now, as an aside, my screen is not as bad as this picture. In fact, it's just the LCD screen on top that's broken, but I still can't deal with the fact that my precious phone is marred. Not to mention, my life runs on this phone (and other gadgets, I'm such a gadget whore) and "I got no patience and I hate waiting..." My spirits were lifted when the fellow behind the counter informs me that they've discontinued making my phone, and the new one is a phone that I vaguely remember seeing blurbs about on various techy boards I frequently lurk. The HTC Fuze:

I go home, disappointed that I must deal with Mr. Cracked Screen another few days, but excited about a new gadget... I've had this one since August and did I mention I'm a tech whore geek? So the thought of having a new toy excited me immensely.

I note my phone call to the insurance company is interesting. There are a few more prompts than last time, and there's also the part where I'm reminded that if I'm filing a false or fraudulent claim I could be prosecuted...

I give all the information to the nice lady who is also breathing funny and clearly reading from a book/screen/manual. She pauses in awkward places and generally sounds odd. I try not to laugh.

Then she informs me she'll transfer me to a customer service rep (wait, is that not who I'm talking to right now?) who will complete my claim. This nice lady deflates and stomps on my spirits. Deflates by telling me that I will in fact recieve yet ANOTHER AT&T Tilt. Stomps on my spirits by telling me I'll need to submit a notarized affadavit, proof of purchase, copy of a photo ID and probably promise of my first born child, but I refused to continue listening to all that.

That evening I began pondering my options. Trying to get an affadavit notarized was not high on my priority list, so I was thinking of ways around it. I was also a bit flustered by needing to submit a proof of purchase. Hell, they sent me this one -- surely they know it's a legit deal over here. Not to mention, I continue thinking to myself, I've paid them $5/mo since November 2007 (I learned the hard way the importance of phone insurance)... the least they could do is accept my claim without all this extra.

I wake up the next morning 30 mins earlier than normal and it hits me (Jesus comes through in the clutch er'time) I had been planning to use my mom's upgrade for my own personal gain, so why not use it now? Sure, I won't get the (new) iPhone I want in June, but I can use this new phone to carry me and my gadget whore needs through till January when I can upgrade my own phone to an iPhone.

I get to work and immediately begin doing some quick research. I know what I need to about the old Blackberry and it was the other smartphone I was deciding between when I upgraded to the Tilt (I always err on the side of "originality" when I upgrade). The Blackberry 8310:

was my cheapest option with an upgrade. I didn't really want the red one, but hey -- what can you do when you're in a bind?

It'll be here tomorrow and I am very inpatiently awaiting it's arrival.


I Believe In You

One thing my weekly installments of this story I'm telling about my experiences with my ex probably won't delve too deeply into is my ex's drug use. He actually had a very serious addiction to a very bad drug. It caused a lot of problems in his life, between us and even in my life. In the end, when the extent and seriousness of his addiction finally became plain for everyone else (because I'd known it for a while) his parents shipped him cross country for drug rehab. At one point he asked me if I still believed in him. I didn't know how to answer, I'd never thought about it. He told me point blank that he didn't feel he had a reason to try if I no longer believed in him. That was the first time I ever considered what it might mean to believe in someone.

Right after she crossed, a friend of mine asked me if I was proud of her... I had trouble answering because I wasn't proud, but I wasn't disappointed. It was a decision she made for herself that I wasn't a part of which was absolutely fine, but with something like that, having no dog in the fight it was hard for me to answer that.

And then today, the BFF reads my status: At 22, I know how to make a person think I do believe them when I don't, but at 9 I thought (and, maybe rightly so) that you had to really believe someone to say you did and asks me does that rationale apply for saying you believe IN someone?

I told him I think that what's important to note is that when people ask if you believe in them, they most likely are doing so because they need reassurance. Like when your significant other asks if you love them, when they know you do. They need to hear you say yes and it's not something you should lie about.

I feel as if I do little things all the time, unintentionally mostly, to reaffirm for my friends that I do believe in them. I've always been taken aback by the question because I've never thought about the answer and I rarely think about the answer because it seems so obvious... of course I believe in you... why wouldn't I?


Don't Ya Know Me

This is part 2 of the episode, but in short, Lena's friends from back home come to visit and so ensues the epic "old friends" vs. "new friends."

What I was most struck by is what happens beginning at 3:59. This is the inevitable "you've changed" conversation that seems to happen when one person in a group takes such a divergent path (and going to college is VERY different from not going).

For me it has been slightly passive. None of my friends have come right out and said they think I've changed. Probably because many of them actually can appreciate, on some levels, my success this far. However, when I'm home and we're all hanging out I can hear it in how they choose the words they use carefully. They don't want to "sound stupid" they want to feel like we're on the same level despite the fact that I seem to intimidate them.

I can't change my educational background. In fact, I feel as if we are on the same level -- I have a degree, yes, but that hasn't changed who I am as a person, the person they decided to be friends with. Their (albeit perceived) intimidation sets me on edge and I go above and beyond attempting to set them at ease. My track record suggests that the only thing that accomplishes this is alcohol (or other substances that may or may not be legal.

My life is different from theirs, but that's to be expected as we get older and our circumstances all change. My friends who have children have life experiences, as of now, that I don't have. This lends them to a view of the world I don't have and I'm so interested in hearing what it is, unfortunately I don't always feel like they are interested in hearing mine...

Any of you experience this?


Series on Monday

This (never ending) story is true. Happened to me between 2002 and 2007.

Refresh yourself

Part 11

When JD and I spoke again he continued to apologize to me for what he had done. I was determined to do a better job of looking out for myself, so I secretly swore that I’d make JD work for it, if I was what he truly wanted.

As the end of my first year of college came near, I began advising JD on what he should do about his schooling situation. His parents had given him until July to decide whether to go back to my alma mater or stay at his new school. He had made a few friends at the new school, including, ironically, another boy who had been put out of our school, thanks to JD ratting him out. I told him that our school could offer him better college prep and more challenging classes than the school he was attending.

Ultimately, he chose to remain at his new school. I didn’t understand why because he told me he had gone to great lengths to avoid making friends in the event that he left. Overnight, he popped up with a new crew, namely two students, Lucy and Isaiah. If JD was out, he was with them. Getting him to answer the phone suddenly became next to impossible. This was in stark contrast to when I couldn’t get him to leave me alone.

As the summer progressed, I found myself once again drawn to the idea of our relationship getting serious. One day, JD drove the 2 hrs to my city to spend the day with me. At first, things were great. We saw a movie and had dinner. I’d met him at a public place and we’d driven in my car to the restaurant. While we ate, the subject of our future once again popped up. Our conversation took an awkward turn and I suggested we go back to my house to talk about things calmly.

Calm never happened. We argued all the way to my house. JD seemed to be upset with me for bringing the topic back up and his attacks put me on the defensive. Once at my house, JD demanded that I take him to his car. He wanted to leave and he didn’t want me to call him. He said he needed some time to think about what was going on.

I pretended like I was just as angry and just as ready for a break, but inside I was breaking. I didn’t want him to stop talking to me, I wanted us to work through it. I wanted us to find our common ground and I wanted us to begin the process of having the relationship I was so sure was in our future.

As soon as he got out of my car, I broke down. I could barely see as I drove home for all the tears.

"Don't just wrap it up, get TESTED"

First, read this post at A Belle in Brooklyn. Honestly, if you don't read my post, make sure you read THAT post.

I can't emphasize the importance getting tested, enough. It just makes good sense. Unfortunately, we get defensive when we're asked to take a test and we're scared to ask our partners to do the same, even though it's our health at stake.

1 in 5 people have herpes. Herpes isn't HIV but it also isn't cureable. As one of Belle's commenters points out, we get so caught up in HIV/AIDS that we forget there are a host of other STI's out there that can have serious effects on our bodies if they go untreated.

I'm reminded of my freshman year in college. It was mid-first semester when there was a chlamydia out-break in my class. A guy happened to be on the phone with a friend of his checking his voicemail (I think he wanted to play a message for the friend). He mistakenly played a voicemail from the on-campus clinic telling him his results were in. The friend inquired and he admitted he had chlamydia, but didn't want to tell anyone.

The friend told his girlfriend, not knowing that SHE had slept with him.

The girlfriend told one of her friends knowing that while that friend hadn't slept with this guy, they had shared partners since she had come in contact with him.

When all was said and done, anywhere from 6 - 10 people may have contracted chlamydia and the guy who had it "first" wasn't going to tell any of them... and let me also add this came out shortly before Thanksgiving break when many of them went home to their significant others...

As I was reading Belle's post, I was simultaneously having a conversation with a friend who was telling me about her weekend. She may or may not have lost a friend or two over some choices she made sexually.

I told said friend to get tested today during her doctor's appointment... this isn't a game...