Sunday, January 21, 2007

Do Black folks eat sushi?

Now, saying this is like asking if white people eat a 2 piece w/biscuit & red, beans and rice from Popeye's I suppose... but anyway. This past Friday I attended a scheduled business lunch with some Directors and VP's from my organization. Now, the location that had been selected prior was a steak restaurant in downtown DC. About 5 minutes before we rolled out I was informed that there had been a change in venue. The primary facilitator of the meeting wanted to go to a sushi restaurant instead. This was a spot in downtown DC that people and critics supposedly ranted and raved about. Now I've had some interesting foods in my life and had only tried sushi once and wasn't too fond of it. But since I was on the list of attendees for the meeting, I went along and hoped for the best. We got there, sat down and looked over the menu's that were there. I swear, I didn't know what the hell I was reading. I looked up to see what everybody else was doing and they were all calm and what not ready to place their order. I looked at the menu again and saw some Teriyaki Chicken and decided to order that. However, the sushi menu was passed to me and like an idiot I tried to play it cool. I saw something that said Crunchy Shrimp Roll and decided to order some sushi like the rest of my crew on top of my previous selection.

So I'm sitting there talking with my colleagues and at the same time observing others in the restaurant and what they're eating. There was no silverware on the tables, just chopsticks. Now, I've used chopsticks before, but I've always had the option of silverware if I wanted it. This felt kinda weird. The waitress brought some salad and a soup and I ate that with no problem. One of the guys at the table joked (or at least I think he was joking) that the salad dressing was made from fish eggs. Oh well... I ate it anyway. I sat back and drank my green tea and responded to a few emails on the Blackberry. Shortly thereafter, the food came.

The chicken was real tasty and I tore that up. The sushi that I ordered was on the other side of the tray and so I figured I'd try my hand at some sushi that was closest to me. I mixed up some soy sauce with the Wasabi into a nice lil' concoction, grabbed the sushi from the tray and dipped it in. My co-worker advised me that I had just picked up some sushi with eel in it. Well, you know the kid had to maintain his composure and act like he had been there before. I put it up to my lips, took a bite and heard a loud crunch follow by what seemed like a huge burst of goo in my mouth. The regurgitation occurred within seconds. I looked around to see that no one was paying attention to me, quickly reached for my napkin and deposited the entire mass into it. Yuck!!!! I grabbed my tea and tried to drink the taste of the sushi out of my mouth.

Now, you'd think I'd give up after that right? Ohhhh noooooooo... I had to keep on with the facade to impress. I decided to eat two more selections of sushi, some tuna and the crunchy shrimp that I had ordered. Now, keep in mind that I'm allergic to shellfish. Yes, I was playing Russian Roulette with my health tryna be like the other executives in there. Luckily I didn't have any reactions or anything. While I was on the Blackberry ,I snapped a few pics of my lunchtime meal. When I got back to the office, I had to laugh at myself. No one else in the place knew what had taken place. As far as they knew, I enjoyed myself. Lord please don't have these folks asking me to go there with them again, I prayed silently. I just don't get how people eat sushi. I mean, it looks so beautiful and tastes so nasty. I know a few of my Black friends who swear by sushi bars and God bless them. This is one brotha who you aint gotta worry about eating sushi again.

That leads me to ask... do you like sushi? Was it something that you liked from the jump or something that you grew to enjoy? I'm just curious about that. I don't see myself eating it again anytime soon, but I suppose you can never say never.


G. Mo

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gadgets, Gizmos & Toys

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Now as techie as I am, most folks would be surprised to know that I'm just now getting with the program so-to-speak. I've been fairly content with my 'regular' cell phones over the years. I never really felt the need to be as connected as I am now. Then again, it's still not that essential to me. With all that being said I have 2 new toys at my disposal. I've got a LG enV VX9900 from Verizon and a Blackberry Pearl 8100 from Cingular. Now folks who are aware that I was a Regional Manager with Cellular One (now Cingular) back in the mid 90's are probably scratching their heads now, cuz they know I've had nothing positive to say about that company, their network and customer service at all. I'll explain in a sec.

The LG enV was a gift for Christmas from my sweetheart. It kinda reminds me of a T-Mobile Sidekick. I had an older LG cell phone that had been through the ringer and I was due for a new one. It's only about a year old, but I'm hard on my stuff so it's kinda jacked up. Anyway, I saw the commercials for the enV and decided to check it out at the Verizon store. After playing with it in the store, I fell in love with it. It has that QWERTY keyboard that makes it so much easier to send text messages and the 2.0 megapixel camera is awesome!!! It's Bluetooth capable, has integrated GPS navigation, voice recognition and can stream music and video over high-speed EV-DO connection. However, since my 'New Every 2' option wasn't available until May I would've ended up paying a lil' bit more for the phone. So my baby took a page from Beyonce's book and said "partner let me upgrade you". Aiiight, aiiiight, that was corny.

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Moving right along. The Blackberry Pearl was provided by the job and is primarily for work purposes. It keeps me in touch with the entire staff and contractors I must remain in contact with 24/7 via email. That sounds like a lot of fun doesn't it? It's even got Push-To-Talk so I'm really accessible. Well, in my new capacity there are times when folks need to reach me and well... now I'm reachable. It still feels sort of odd to be in a position where folks hinge on my word as the final say or before they sign off on something. I've been in 'The Technician' for so long, that part of me still wants to be out there in the mix. Instead I now spend most of my work days in meetings, reviewing proposals, looking over schematics and floor plans, and staying on top of the technicians and contractors working in the building. But hey, with growth comes responsibility and I'm still very thankful for the opportunities afforded me. Even though I spend a good amount of my time using the Blackberry to respond to work emails, I do use it to surf the net and as my own personal Mapquest (courtesy of Blackberry Maps). It is very compact and can pretty much do everything you can imagine and much more. Hell, I've only had it for 2 weeks and each time I grab it, I find something else to use it for. The fact that the all-in-one of phone, email, text messaging (SMS and MMS), browser, instant messaging and organizer applications in a single smartphone is the biggest reason to have the Pearl. The camera does 1.3-megapixels and the media player plays audio and video in a variety of formats as well. I really dig the trackball navigation system though. It makes it easy to scroll through everything.

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Anyway, enough on the tech stuff. A brotha has been mad busy. I don't have as much 'free' time as I did before at the 'other' job. The days of me sitting around waiting for someone to call with a problem, running to fix it and then going back to my desk to chill are pretty much over. From the moment I now walk in my office until the time I leave, I've got something to do. Having the Blackberry also ensures that the work day doesn't end when I leave. I'm not online doing stuff to pass the time anymore and therefore my blogging time has been cut back to the bare minimum. I suppose I'll throw up a new entry once a week or so. I'll just play it by ear and see how it goes.
Hope everybody out there is focused on having a positive and great 2007.


G. Mo

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King

Today we honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the federal holiday. Dr. King was a peacemaker who devoted his life to promoting nonviolence and equal treatment for all races. So today I pulled some music video classics out of the vault in celebration of such a great man. However the first video is of his famous I Have A Dream speech.

The King Dream Chorus and Holiday Crew - King Holiday (1986)

Stevie Wonder - Happy Birthday (1980)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

"It's only a game"

Yes, this is what I have to keep telling myself over and over again. Somehow the joyous celebration that I envisioned myself having last night was interrupted by a series of strange events. Thus I'm left with an empty, sick feeling in my stomach. I'm a true Cowboys fan as most readers of this blog should know by now and I'm a state of disbelief. The last time I felt this bad was the NFC Championship game back on January 10, 1982 when the Cowboys played the 49ers and Joe Montana made a miraculous TD throw to Dwight Clark that has known in football lore as "The Catch".

Joe Montana took the snap and Cowboys DE's Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Larry Bethea, along with LB D.D. Lewis chased a backpedalling Montana to the sideline where it looked as though he was going to get sacked or out of bounds. At the last moment, Montana threw a very high pass to the back of the endzone. 49ers receiver Dwight Clark made a leaping grab from the back of the end zone in front of Cowboys CB Everson Walls for the winning touchdown with 51 seconds left in the game.

Now, things are lil' bit different now. That event was almost 25 years ago and I was 9 years old at the time. That night I locked myself in my bedroom and refused to eat my dinner. I turned the lights out in my bedroom, cried and went to sleep. I've grown a lil' bit (in age) since then but I'm still a very emotional cat. I pounded the floor with my fist, hollered a number of expletives, kicked over my computer chair and threw a few things went flying across the room. I walked outside, got in my car and sat for a while. I figured that I couldn't break anything in there, plus I could holler and no one would hear me with the windows up. Now obviously this is no way for a grown man to act under the circumstances, but I was very upset at that time.

After about 20 minutes I came back into the house and my fiancée was sleeping. I suppose that when I came into the bedroom I was making more noise than necessary and it disturbed her. I was still in my mood from the turn of events of the game and it was apparent. We exchanged words back and forth, but one thing rings in my mind very clearly. She said "I don't understand why you get like this over something you have no control over, it's only a game". Then she said something about me getting like this causing friction and affecting our relationship. Of course I wasn't in the frame of mind to hear that last night, but it was true. Since I can remember, I've allowed my emotions to get the best of me after one of my favorite teams lost a crucial game. From Georgetown losing the NCAA Championship to Michael Jordan and North Carolina 63-62 on March 29, 1982 to the Celtics losing in 6 games to the Lakers in the NBA finals in 1987 to the year 2000 when the Mets lost the World Series to the Yankees in 5 games. I always remember myself feeling like somebody died or losing everything that I owned. However this time being out of control with my emotions took place in the presence of someone I love dearly.

Without warning my sweetheart bolted from the bedroom with a pillow and headed down the stairs to either the living room or the basement. Sadly, I let her go and didn't give chase. I was too caught up in my own self to realize what I had done. I got into the bed and layed there for a few moments before falling asleep. I awoke at various points in the morning to find that I was still by myself. Yet, I did nothing. I still didn't go check on her or leave my bedroom.

*fast forward to about 7:30am*

I awoke as I heard her coming through the door. I figured that she was preparing to go to church as usual, but I didn't feel like going. After showering and getting herself together for about an hour she asked me if I was going. I replied "No". I immediately saw the displeasure in her eyes. I suppose that I hadn't learned enough from sleeping alone with the empty feeling of missing her, I was determined to make things worse. I can't recall a time that we didn't attend church together. She expressed to me in a more than a few words that she was disappointed in me and went on her way. I sat up in the bed and thought for a while. I began to feel really bad. I knew I was wrong with how I carried things last night, but I wasn't man enough to apologize and move forward. Thus I sit here right now at the computer. After sitting here (painfully) looking at football stuff and checking email for about 20 minutes, I've decided to go to church. I feel stupid for letting something this simple put a divide between her and I.

*left house at 9:45am... already late for 9:00am service*

*returned home at 12:30pm*

Okay, I'm back. I feel pretty good after attending an excellent worship service. I walked into the sanctuary around 10:10am or so and sat right next to my sweetheart. She seemed a lil' bit shocked, but not overly surprised. I got the "I'm happy you're here, but you still have issues" look from her though. She may beg to differ, but that's how I received it. Anyway, the reverend was just doing the morning welcome and greeting of visitors, so I wasn't too bad off. As I sat there the praise team sang some very uplifting songs. Shortly thereafter we took part in Communion and the sermon began. One of the first things the reverend said was something to the effect of "If the horse you rode in 2006 is dead, then it's time to dismount for 2007". Basically he was saying that if you've dealt with issues in your life over the past year and things are still not going right, it's time to find a new formula because what you're doing hasn't been working.

I took it in terms of things in my life as well, but also in relation to the Dallas Cowboys. I knew last week (2006) that my squad wasn't playing well. I mean, they lost to the Detroit Lions in the last game of the regular season and have been gettin' their butts whipped the last month of the season (minus the game I went to in ATL). I honestly knew it was a long shot for them to get to the Super Bowl, but yesterday (2007) I allowed their loss to effect me more than it should've. Thinking like that made me get a certain calm while sitting there in church. C'mon now, you didn't think I could totally block it out did you????? Anyway, I listened intently to the sermon that he gave on the anointing of David and how he related the story to how we've got to get rid of the old things in our life and start new. How God has chosen our destiny and that sometimes we're too stubborn to see the good things in our lives. The blessings are already out there, but we tend to block them by not doing what we're supposed to do in life.

With all that being said I do realize that God has blessed me with a special woman in my life. Anyone who knows me and what I've been through in my life know that I can testify all day and night on this one. It's been a major struggle just to find someone as special as she is and I love her with all my heart. She's right with what she said. I do have to find a way to calm myself down when my teams lose important games. I've been this way for so long and it's difficult to even contemplate not being overly emotional. However, I now realize that I'm affecting someone else. It wasn't my desire to upset or hurt her, but I know that I did. For that, I apologize to her. It would be sad for me to destroy something as beautiful as what we have because my inability to control my emotions over a game. It's only a game...


G. Mo