Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day at the new Nationals Stadium

Now it should go without saying that I was gonna be up in the house for this event. The first ever Nats game at the new stadium? No doubt about it baby! I was at the first ever Nats baseball game played at RFK when the team moved from Montreal. In fact, I even blogged about it 3 years ago. Let's make one thing clear for starters, I'll root for the Nats when they play cuz DC hasn't had a team since forever. But my heart is and always will be with my squad... the NY Mets. Blame that one on grandma is NY aiiiight. When you're a kid chillin' in the kitchen and grandma is baking cookies and watching the Mets on TV, you're gonna be a fan of the Mets. Point blank. For some reason she never liked the Yankess, and thus I hate em til this day. Anyway, when the Nats play my squad, I'll don my Mets gear.

I'd say over the course of the past month, I've had a minimum of 20 reasonable offers to sell my 4 tickets. But I'm a sentimental dude and I enjoy being part of historic sporting events. Plus, I really wanted my wife, my mom and her husband (who's a die hard Red Sox fan) to come along and enjoy the game as well. So I rejected the easy payday and went full throttle with my plans to attend the opening game at the new park. I had driven in the area of South Capitol Street where the stadium was a few weeks back and was amazed at just how different the area looked. I mean, if you know anything about that location in DC you know that it wasn't exactly somewhere you wanted to be at late at night by yourself. They had completely revitalized the area and it looked real nice. Gone were all the late night spots me and the crew had frequented for years. No more Club 55, no more Mirage Nightclub, no more Nation. They straight transformed everything over there to a spot where it actually looked and felt comfortable. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what restaurants, hotels and other entertainments venues go up in that area.

Anyway, back to the home opener. We heard a report earlier in the week that good ole George Dubbya was going to be at the stadium to toss out the first pitch around 8:10. Being that I was at the first game at RFK, I knew that mean that Secret Service was gonna be in fulle effect and that lines would be tremendously long. So we got our gameplan together and decided to catch the Metro Green Line to the game. We left the Greenbelt station around 6 and got to the stadium around 6:35 or so. The ride was smooth and although there were a lot of people, everything flowed smoothly. Once we arrived on stadium grounds, the next 90 minutes from that point were pure hell!!!! It wasn't exactly warm outside aiiiight. It was in the low 40's and jive windy. We stood out there in this slow line and waited outside the First Base Gate entrance. There wasn't much to do so I was using my cell phone to check the score of the Kansas-Davidson game and was giving updates about every 5 minutes. After the conclusion of that game, all there was to talk about was the stupid long lines.

I think the majority of us out there vowed to boo George Dubbya the minute he stepped onto the field. That was of course prefaced with an 'if'. That 'if' was based upon us actually getting into the stadium to hear the Star Spangled Banner and to see the first pitch. Folks were getting irritated. The wife was getting annoyed by folks talking loud behind her and stepping on her feet. I was getting angry at the dude in front of us smoking a cigar. Mom walked ahead to scout the end of the line and saw no end in sight. It was crazy. There weren't exactly a lot of 'us' out there ya know? Black folks and baseball don't really go hand in hand. I mean, I love baseball, but a quick glance at the surroundings in DC and you'd a thought we were in Boston. Anwyay, we began to hear player intros and announcements around 7:50. The chorus of us outside began to boo loudly. Finally around 8:03, we got in. What a sigh of relief.
We ran... ooooops, I ran down the concourse and kinda left my wife, mom and her husband in the dust. I didn't mean to, but the adrenaline was kinda pumping through me at that point. We found our seats and were able to catch the last of the player intros for the Nats. Soon thereafter we were graced by the National Anthem sung by Denyce Graves. Let me tell you something right now. That sistah can SING!!!! I saw her in a performance my Junior year at Howard University's Rankin Chapel and I'll never forget it. Her voice is amazing. When she sang last night, it gave me goosebumps fa real. Once she was complete the fireworks went off and what not and it was time for first pitch. I had my hands cupped ready to boo as loud as ever. You think I didn't? The minute they introduced George Dubbya to the crowd, all I heard was boos. Thus, I wasn't the only one slightly irritated by his appearance, the long wait we had outside and all the ridiculous things he's done since being in the big chair. In fact, the moment was captured by ESPN. Tell me those were not boos. The media are cowards. They never even mentioned that they booed the hell out of that man. Don't be surprised if the clip I append below is not on YouTube in a few hours. You might get that "this clip was removed" message.

Edit: April 4 - Well, I was correct. The first clip was removed from YouTube. Let's give Daily Motion a shot.

So after the field cleared from those not playing in the game, it all began. From the first pitch I was locked in. Well, kinda. Of course runs had to be made to the restroom, to Boardwalk Fries, to Slide Down the Line, etc. But I was not about to stand in the line for Ben's Chili Bowl. Good gracious was it long! I mean, not a single brotha in sight either. The wait had to have been at least an hour. Hell, I stood in line for about 20 minutes tryin' to get some fries. Those folks were serious about their chili dawgs and burgers last night. I work not too far from Ben's, I can visit them on my lunch hour if need be. Sat back down for most of the game, but with the Nats up 2-1 in the 8th, the wife and I took a walk around the stadium. That's one real nice ballpark indeed. I can't think of anything they didn't have.... besides more of 'us'.... lol. I'm talkin' a every food place you can imagine, a playground for kids, a Playstation arcade, a Build-A-Bear (or Build-A-Screech for those kids who like the Nats mascot), batting cages, pitching cages and a rack of other stuff I can't remember.

You know I took a 'few' pics along the way. We sat back down at the top of the 9th and figured the game would soon be over. Wrong. Nats pitcher Rouse threw a bad pitch and allowed Braves First Baseman Mark Texeira to score from 3rd. So then we had to go to the bottom of the 9th inning with a tie game. Lord knows we didn't want to stay for extra innings. Well, Ryan Zimmerman took care of that with a two out, walk-off homerun to win the game. Talk about folks in pandemonium up in that place. First game in a new ballpark and it ends with an amazing homerun in the bottom of the 9th inning. It doesn't get any better than that. I even took out the camera and captured a portion of the celebration. I didn't get the homerun itself, but I did get Zimmerman rounding 3rd base and coming home to all his teammates.

Awesome night of baseball and the start of many trip to catch the Nats this season. Of course, most of those will be to see the Mets. But on days when I have nothing to do on the way home, I might as well stop by and catch a few games. That's one good part of working downtown DC.

You can click here to see more of my photos from Opening Day if you like. Includes a few more pics from our day, as well as me being simple as usual... lol.

Also, here's a link to some pics of how the area of SE DC around the stadium used to look and how it looks now.

So as baseball begins, I wanna know who your favorite teams are and if you have any memorable moments from games you've attended.


G. Mo

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pops and his Pecan Twirls

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Back in the days when I spent time with my Dad on the weekends, I had quite a time with his dietary restrictions. This was initially chronicled in this previous post where he took me to Burger King and embarrassed the hell out of me. With him being a vegetarian, I ate some real weird stuff. He would not let me eat the sweets that the other kids ate because most of them had lard in them. For those who don't know what lard is, it's pig fat used in cooking. Thus if he wasn't eating meat or pork, I wasn't either. Thus me never really having the pleasure of eating Hostess Cupcakes and Twinkies til my teenage years.

One thing was certain. With every trip to the store, Pops was gonna get a pack of pecan twirls. I swear to you, I thought that was the only dessert around for many years. Pops also was a big fan of Little Debbie snacks and Entenmann's breakfast pastries, but something about pecan twirls he wouldn't let go. in fact, now that I think of it I believe he was addicted to pecan everything. We had Butter Pecan ice cream on the freezer all the time, Pecan Sandies cookies, Pecan Danish Ring from Entenmann's, bags of shelled pecans and although I would never eat it Pops loved Pecan Pie.

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Back to this Pecan Twirls thing. I used to sit at the table with 2 or 3 of them on a paper plate. I'd hope to have a tall glass of milk too. That of course was whenever Pops was nice enough to spare me the nasty soy milk he was drinking and get me a small carton from the 7Eleven. I wouldn't just eat the pecan twirl by biting into it. I would slowly unravel it and unravel it and unravel it, until I got to the end and it was all spread out. Look, I know I'm not the only one who did this aiiiight. I would then break off the long stretch and eat it little by little. I don't know why I did this. I guess I did it to prolong the eating of it. Regardless, it was good back then. A&P used to sell these things which were similar called Coconut Twirls. I'm tellin' you... they were like that!!! I used to tear them up. I wish I could find them now.

When in school, I was upset that I couldn't eat the 'real' sweets like the rest of my friends. All of them would tease me at lunchtime cuz I had wack desserts. I did... just a few times swipe a Cupcake or Twinkie from a kid or two. Shhhhh... don't say nothing. It was grade school aiiight. Maaaaaan... those things were slammin'!!! They were a sweeter than Pecan Twirls and helluva lot better than Little Debbie Snack Cakes for sure. Of course, I never took a chance on buying any Hostess stuff myself for fear of getting caught. I just went with the flow. Whenever I was with Ma, we'd always have Dunkin' Donuts. So I was at least get essential sugar into my system during the week. I was a fiend for Strawberry Frosted and Blueberry Cake donuts. Hell, I still am today. I just don't eat them as often as I did then.

A while back I was in the store and saw a pack of Pecan Twirls. I was like "Awwwwww maaaaan.... I gotta get em". Thus they ended up in the shopping cart. Note: Pecan Spins and Little Debbie Spinwheels are not originals... thanks.

Back to the story....

My wife was looking at me like I was crazy in the store as I recounted Pops and all his pecan fetishes. I took those bad boys home and they sat on the table for a while. Ya know I had to take some pics of em... just as I used to eat em as a kid. It was a good moment for reminiscing. Yeah.... sometimes I really do have way too much time on my hands.... lol

I KNOW I wasn't the only one who ate these things as a kid. Hell, some of y'all probably eat them now. Anyway, you got anything that your folks used to be obsessed with? Something they made you eat when you wanted something else. Feel free to share.


G. Mo

Monday, March 24, 2008

40 Tips for Better Life

I received this in an email and figured I'd share it....

40 Tips for Better Life - 2008

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'

5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2007.

7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, tai chi and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6. - Appreciate their genuine nature, strength, and innocence. For real!

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan Salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.

18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. GOD heals almost everything.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33. The best is yet to come.

34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

35. Do the right thing!

36. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!) Hey I'm thinking of ya!

37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about.

May your troubles be less, May your blessings be more, May nothing but Happiness come through your door!

The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

Peace & Love

G. Mo

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Shameless Plug: Erykah Badu

I'mma make this real quick. Erykah Badu and The Roots are coming to DC and ya know I got tickets. As with all events, you can attempt to get better seats through Ticketmaster, but I doubt that you'll be able to. I jumped on these joints 2 days before the general public sale. How'd I do that you ask? I'll never tell. Let's just say that folks look out for me... *wink*

Erykah Badu & The Roots
New Amerykah Tour
DAR Constitution Hall, Washington DC
Wednesday May 14 at 7:30pm

DAR Constitution Hall Seating Diagram (click to view)

For this show, I only have seats in box locations. It's a much better view with decent legroom and space. Plus it makes for more of an enjoyable show when you're elevated above the general orchestra seats. I
f you're interested feel free to shoot me an email.


G. Mo

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dave & Buster's aint Chuck E. Cheese

My man Brother Bruce called and reminded me on Friday night that the church was sponsoring the kids out to Dave & Buster's for a few hours. So I decided to scoop up my two youngest nieces for a while to get them out of the house. My oldest niece was gone for the weekend and thus was already out having fun somewhere. Anyway, I drove over to my sisters and got em. The whole ride there all they wanted to talk about was Disney World. We got to the spot and they wanted to be all shy. All these kids running around and they're clinging onto me. I got no less than 100 inquiries from them about when were they gonna get a chance to play in a 15 minute time frame. The organizers gathered the entire group of children and parents in a small room reserved for the church and made a few announcements. They had a catered lunch prepared for everyone and that was the first order of biz before the game cards were given out.

I want spaghetti was call heard from my nieces mouths as they sat at the table. Well, there was no spaghetti, but they did have nachos, small hamburgers, mini pizzas and chicken fingers. Trust me, that was sufficient for them. After about 30 minutes of eating lunch, we were given the game cards. They gave me the "Aiiiight, it's time to play" look and we were off. We got over to the game side and I began to try and find something for them to play. My youngest niece quickly grabbed a gun from one of the games and shouted "Pow Pow". Now, I do not advocate for children to play violent games and thus I did not allow them to play games with shooting of any kind.

Well, if you've ever been to D&B, you'd know that probably more than half of the games there are quite violent. So we were limited to the cars, motorcycles, jet skis, water race, and a lot of random video games. Their legs were too short to reach the pedals on the majority of the rides, so guess who became the designated accelerator? Of course, I did and my body was stretched all over trying to reach those pedals for both of them at the same time. I hope no one took pics of me all spread out like I was. Talk about pressure from young kids to help em out. I think they might've had their most fun on the Dance Dance Revolution thing. It's not like they actually knew what they were doing, but it didn't much matter. All they knew was that a crowd of folks were watching them and smiling.

I saw the skee ball and remembered how much they played at Chuck E. Cheese, but the balls were far too heavy for them to roll up the ramp. So what did they do? They threw them overhand like baseballs.... lol. I think a few folks got scared from the noise of the ball hitting the ramp and quickly disappeared. After about three hours of running around after them we ended up at the photo booth. They absolutely love that. So, I let them play in there and pose for about 15 minutes.

Not too much more occurred after that. We left D&B and went to the park. Talk about a brotha being tired. Those lil' girls had me ready to take a nap. Speaking of nap, my wife and I took all 3 girls to Disney on Ice in mid February and I never did an entry about it. Nothing much to speak of, but the girls really had a good time. However, when we got them in the car they crashed and were knocked out cold in sleep. I took a pic of the moment and so I'll just add that pic and a few others from that day in this entry.

If you haven't been a reader of my blog for a while, you might not be familiar with my entries regarding my nieces. I love being an uncle and I truly enjoy spending quality time with them and seeing their smiling faces. In return, when we have kids they'll be around to babysit. :)

One thing is for certain... Dave & Buster's aint Chuck E. Cheese!!! I'll have plenty of time to make up for subjecting them to more adult like games though as their birthdays come up in the months of April, May & June.

Enjoy the pics...

Dave & Busters and The Park

Disney on Ice


G. Mo

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Last time you drank some Kool-Aid?

So I'm sitting here in the office, kinda reflecting back on Sunday night. The wife and I made a late run to the Safeway to pick up a few items needed for dinner. We went thought a few aisles and scooped up things that we really needed. After about 10 minutes in the store, we came up on the aisle where those powdered Crystal Light packets are. In my mind, I just knew she was about to buy another box of some crazy flavor to stick in those 16oz bottles of spring water. All of a sudden she bellowed out "Hey... let's make some Kool-Aid".

Now, I was kind of startled for a a sec. I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I had some Kool-Aid before that day. In the years that her and I had been together, neither of us ever made any. C'mon now... even I think to myself now that it's literally impossible to go years without drinking some RED Kool-Aid. I mean, how does one go from growing up on this stuff to just abstaining from the sugary sweetness required on a hot summer day. Guess we've been drinking a lot of teas and lemonades I suppose. Anyway, you should've seen us both in the aisle acting like big kids grabbing packets left and right of our favorite flavors. It was a funny moment that if anyone was watching, they would've thought we were seriously crazy.

So fast forward to dinner. I've got the food on the table and ready to eat. She's upstairs doing something with her hair, but has a kettle on the stove with boiling hot water in it. Eventually after a few hollers of "Baby... c'mon now", she came back down to the kitchen. I stood there and watched her pour in the hot water, mix it up with the sugar, the Black Cherry flavored Kool-Aid and a rack of ice in the pitcher. Now folks have advised me in the past that this is something only witnessed in prison, I dunno about that. Wifey says that her mom taught her that trick. I guess it's to dissolve the sugar faster. So, we sat down to eat and said grace. I took a sip of the Kool-Aid and almost choked from sugar shock. I was like "Good lawd... you tryna give me Diabetes!!!???"... I had to walk back into the kitchen and add some more water to it. It was sugary than a mug!!!! Even a sugarholic like myself was having a hard time adjusting to that first glass. After the water was added I was good. I don't think I've ever done that before.

Anyway, it just makes me reflect on days of old when I used to drink Kool-Aid a lot. I mean, I think in my early 20's I was still buying a rack of packets and making pitchers almost daily. I don't really recall when I tailed off though. Anyway, this leads me to ask everyone out there. Do you remember the last time you drank some Kool-Aid? Do you know what flavor it was? If it was cherry, you bet not say it was cherry... it's called RED folks... RED!!! If you're a Kool-Aid aficionado, share some tips with a brotha. I think I'm back on this Kool-Aid kick for a sec. My favorite past time was mixing Kool-Aid with Canada Dry ginger ale. Sounds like a plot and a plan for dinner tonight...


G. Mo

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Down to 'The Wire'

Imagine feeling like Clay Davis right now, hollering out his favorite phrase. I can't believe that The Wire is over. It hasn't even been a full 20 minutes since the wife and I watched the finale of The Wire and I already feel kinda empty. I mean, what am I gonna watch on Sunday nights now? Through a series of underground sources I obtained the final episode on Tuesday night. I took the digitally formatted .avi file, converted it to a DVD using Nero, burned it to a DVD+R and played it on HD joint through the standalone DVD player. Call me pressed. Call me impatient. You'd be right on both counts. The Wire is my show!!!! I've been snagging episodes online since Season 3 and generally have even been ahead of the OnDemand episodes shown. There's no other show on TV that I've looked forward to this much in years. The only one that comes close is 24 and that was before the ridiculous plot from Season 6.

Marlo taking care of Prop Joe

Anyway, back to The Wire. I contemplated watching it last night and decided to try and wait it out until Sunday. I really intended to hold out, but the message boards online are killing me. I go to read up on NFL free agent news and someone on that board has a link to the finale and is giving spoilers. I go to a forum to discuss the new Janet album and there's discussions taking place on why certain things happened in the finale. I couldn't get away from it. I mean, who the hell leaked the final episode so that it's all over the net like this? I was more than content to wait til Sunday, but I was worried that someone might give away the ending and thus the viewing in my household took place tonight. I don't regret it though.

Omar getting done up by Lil' Kenard

The finale was really good. Don't worry, I'm not going to give anything away. I don't wish to ruin the experience for true The Wire fans. Come Sunday night, I'll watch it again. After that, who knows what I'll watch. I've been captivated since the first episode in June of 2002. Everyone has their favorite characters and episodes that really hit home. I'll be here all day talking about mine that's for sure. I honestly don't even wanna talk about it anymore.

Freamon busting Marlo

I'm gonna miss The Wire. I know I'm not alone. Time to go back to the beginning and watch from Season 1, Episode 1.

Here are a few of my most memorable clips that come to mind....

Omar on the stand in Bird trial

Wallace & Bodie learning about chess from D'Angelo

Bodie & Poot kill Wallace

McNulty gets drunk, wrecks car and meets waitress

Kima shot by Weebay & Lil' Man

Bunk & McNulty's scene with one word

Omar & Brother Mouzone confrontation

Bunk & Omar chat on the bench

Stringer tells Avon what really happened to D'Angelo

Stringer and Avon reminisce

Stringer goes down

Bunk tricks kid with 'lie detector'

Aiiight y'all I could post scenes all day.... seems that no one has the clip from Season 4 when Randy was hollering out "You gonna look out for me?" to Sergeant Carver in the hospital after the fire or the scene from this season when Mike has to drop off Bug after killing Snoop... those were real touching scenes

Anyway, I'm out and bouncing in frustration like my man Dukie...

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G. Mo

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Shameless Plug: Jay-Z & Mary J.

On the grind as always. Nothing else really needs to be said. I've got a handful of seats for this sold out show and I'm not letting them go for nothing. The face on them is $150 and that doesn't include the 'convenience' fees that Ticketmaster hit me with. So let's say that they're about $175 face. All the brokers online are making a killing. I mean upwards of $500 per ticket. I figured I might as well throw mine out there as I need to pay some bills also. Hell, this could be good cash for a trip to Costa Rica or somewhere where we can really unwind and chill. Hey, if the offers are good I might even sell my own seats. I can get in the door anyway without a ticket since I know a 'few' folks. The wife might not like that solution cuz All Access passes generally don't admit two. I'm sure however that a few extra $$$$ towards a nice getaway won't make her too sad. Let's see... 3 hr concert vs weekend excursion??? Is there any doubt on what should be done here???

Jay-Z & Mary J. Blige
Heart of the City Tour
Verizon Center, Washington DC
Sunday April 6th at 7:30pm

Verizon Center End Stage Concert Diagram (click to view)

The seats that I have are in:

- Floor 2 - Row K
- Section 111, Row A
- Section 100, Row C

If you're interested feel free to shoot me an email. I'm in the process of acquiring a new 1-877 number, so the number I've had for years is not in effect. But best believe that I can still do business with the tools I have in place at the moment.

As Jay and Mary said back in '99... Can't Knock The Hustle.... (yeah, I know... I'm a cornball)


G. Mo