In My Write Mind
4.29.2005

Until Further Notice...

I am officially on hiatus.

Please check out EJ da DJ's site next Wednesday for the second in a series of three OSW's put together by the IMWM team.

Other than that, I will be scarce, relegated to blog-hopping whilst I prepare for my conference in Miami in June. I see you, Wet Willie's!!! LOL Besides, I haven't given you guys any quality content in forever. It's unfair. And that's the last thing I want to be...

Anyways, thanks for reading my blog over the past few months. I look forward to meeting a lot of you in person in DC and NYC in May and of course, in Chicago in July!

Respect to you all...as you have kept me...In My Write Mind.

Peace...

scribbled by Will at 4/29/2005 12:38:00 PM
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4.27.2005

You Ask, I Write...

Thank you for all of the, ummm, quirky queries...below is my attempt at answering them all.

Loaf's on/off girlfriend Siddocious asked:

1. What is your favorite non-food aroma?

I'd have to say the smell of a freshly-cut lawn. Growing up, that was my main chore: mowing the lawn, and each time I would complete the task, the smell would equate with accomplishment to me, success. To this day, each time I'm in my old neighborhood and the lawns are freshly cut, I love that smell. (Translation: Every other favorite is food-related...LOL)


2. The fate of the world rests on your shoulders! Which world-saving task is more humiliating: naked karaoke of Alvin and the Chipmunks tunes, or karaoke in said tunes in full drag--Ru-Paul style?

I'm gonna have to go with the Ru-Paul getup as more humiliating. Not.gonna.happen. Hellus nous. I'd much rather sing the Chipmunks tunes in da buff. This way I could get a spread in Playgirl and a recording contract with Playskool. Woo hoo!!!

3. Um, what would you put on a personalized license plate?

It would probably say 'WriteMinded' or something to that effect. Maybe 'WetBiscuit'. Who knows? LOL

My new friend Keish from Chicaaaaaagow asked:

1. What are the who/what/when/where of your favorite vacation?

Picture it if you would: A group of young lads venture out on a trip to Virginia Beach in 1992. The food, the alcohol, the practical jokes, the BEACH full of women...Good.damn.times. And the reason it stands out as my favorite is because it was the first time ALL of my boys were able to travel away together and relax, release and umm, for some of us, regurgitate. LOL One of our boys was two years younger than the rest of us but said that he'd secured a fake ID to get into the clubs...Ummm, no. He forgot that crap at home and was stuck driving around VA Beach while the rest of us were inside. That "Am I My Brothers Keeper?" shit goes out the window when you don't hold up your end of the bargain. *shrug* He got over it.

My other friend resembled the pre-crack-soaked Bobby Brown, and he used that alllll weekend to his advantage when meeting girls. It was hilarious, him telling them he couldn't sing for them because it would a breach of contract. AND THEY FELL FOR IT! It didn't last long, though, because lawd knows I didn't look anything like Ralph, Ronnie, Ricky or Mike. Thankfully, my friend stopped the pitiful impersonation and was the first of the crew to settle down and have kids.

Ahhh, that trip was the best of times. I miss the fellas. Thanks for allowing me to reminisce!

2. If you could be invisible for a day, what would be the first thing you would do?

Wow...the first thing, huh? Probably check a mirror to make sure I was really invisible. I'd be pissed if I could see myself. LOL

3. If you cheated on your wife to be, the night before the wedding, would you tell her before or after the wedding if at all?

I really thought about what I would do in that situation. Great question! I truly believe that I would have to tell her before the wedding took place. For two reasons. I was a person born with a conscience and if I were man enough to fuck up that royally THE NIGHT BEFORE MY WEDDING, then I would have to be man enough to come clean about the incident with my intended. I couldn't enter the union with lies or deception on my heart. I know it would hurt her, nee, crush her, but she deserves to be told the truth now so she could make a clear decision as to whether to marry me or not.

It's like they said in the movie Love, Actually, when the husband was buying his assistant gifts and entertaining thoughts of adultery. He said something similar to, "I've been an old fool." His wife responded: "Yes, but even worse is that you've made a fool out of me." That's some deep shit. And I'd never be able to put my wife-to-be through the embarrassment of being the last to know that I'd messed up. My conscience would eat me alive. Which leads me to the other reason I'd have to tell: my facial expressions tell EVERYTHING. I can't be fake. I'd suck at poker. When something is wrong with me, you will know (like a Black Men United song). It's a curse. LOL

My neighbor Mahogany Elle is trippin...lol:

1. Would you rather be stuck in an elevator for 24 hours with Bobby Brown and his crack pipe or Mike Tyson sans a recent meal?

I think I would have to go with Mike Tyson on this one. First of all, Mike with no food would mean that gaseous odors would be kept to a minimum and, plus, my ears are pretty big so if he had to take a few bites to sustain himself...I'm just sayin' there's plenty to go around. LOL

Being stuck with B.Brown AND his crack pipe would be horrible. The twitching, the smells emanating from said pipe, the hallucinations, the constant punching I'd have to do as he lunged at me, insinuating I was trying to take his crack or sleep with his crack-headed spouse...the whole Eddie Cain sequence that he'd inevitably act out, accusing me of wanting to be him, all with pipe firmly inserted in crooked lips...Lawd. No.thanks.

2. Like Erykah sings, you're granted a "next lifetime". Coming back as Millie Jackson or Al Reynolds, white capris and all? i'm just saying, inquiring minds wanna know...

This is just an unfair question. Not because it's difficult, but because it'll make me come off looking like I wanna be a girl. Ummm, no. AND I'm not going to elaborate on this one, but I will say that since, out of the two choices, Millie at least LOOKS like a man and has male mannerisms, so I'd have to ask people to call me M.J. and get past the wack hairstyle. *shrug*

Tracey asked:

What inspires you to write?

War-torn parts of Africa, Sally Struthers commercials, the new Pope, the Flow-bee...LOL

KIDDING!!!!

Truthfully, I've always wanted to be good at something. REALLY good. So until I am the best writer I can be, I will continue to be inspired to write. Also, I feel I have a story to tell and my best form of expression is the written word. And still I haven't mastered it. So, I write.

My sista from anotha motha Grayse wanted to know:

How much do you REALLY adore me?

Words can't describe how much I adore your selflessness, innocence (alleged...lol), and friendliness. I envy it, even. I just don't want people to take advantage of your kind spirit. We have to work on your "street smarts". In fact, no we don't. All of that will come in time. I like you, no, I adore you just the way you are now. Thank you for befriending me.

What is your biggest regret?

Not leaving your ass linked on my page from Day 1. Oy, the grief I had to endure because I failed to do so will haunt me for all eternity. LOL

If you could tell anyone anything right now who and what would it be? (You may use nicknames)

I would tell my birth mother (ummmm, nickname BM...LOL) that I love her and thank her for bringing me into the world.

The Indy-pendent woman ButterflyLocs was curious about:

(1) Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

In three years, I see myself a father to at least one child, married and working on my fourth or fifth book. Residence is really unknown since I'm pretty flexible when it comes to where I live. I just feel that I'll be happy and doing what my life's work will be. Stay tuned. LOL

(2)If you were trying to impress/seduce/whathaveyou a woman with your cooking skills, what would you make? Take-out is not an option!

Hmmmm...I can actually cook. And I would hope that she liked Italian, because that would be my meal of choice for a night of seduction and such. I'd start off with a nice garden salad full of cucumbers and tomatoes and topped with a light dressing. The main course would be my homemade meat lasagna (meat optional) accompanied by a nice red wine. For dessert, I'd make something light like some type of pastry. This way, she would be full...but sooooo full that we'd be too tired for the after-dinner party. LOL

Brown Sugar from the H.O.B. lane, had these questions:

1) What is the most interesting thing you did within the past three days?

It had to be last night, when I went to the New York Mets game. Lawd, people in there were fighting any and everybody as if their names were Mike "Will Fight to Pay Bills" Tyson. I swear, all that were missing were the cut men. Ladies were fighting male Yankees fans. Two dudes almost went to war because *sigh* their knees were touching as they sat side by side in the little car seats that are passed off as box seats. It hurts to sit at field level.

Beers were flying, curses were being delivered with pinpoint accuracy...little kids were getting into the fray, throwing souvenir baseballs all willy-nilly. *shaking head* It took the brightly-uniformed "security" entirely too long to respond. Imagine if we were sitting in the upper deck. Folks would've been flying down steep stairs. Just crazy. And ummm, interesting. Which was the point of this reply. LOL

2) When was the last time you had good hand on booty sex? Eh...hand on booty details should follow. Thank.you.

Ahhh...the last time. Actually, it was a few weeks ago, thankyouverymuch. I'm too much of a gentleman to recount all the freaky details, but I will say that she wore me the fuck out. I mean, snoring-and-sucking-my-thumb-like-a broke-ass-Marcus-Graham-in-Boomerang worn out. What I will also say is that she and I were a perfect fit. In every sense of the word. That's it. That's all I'm gonna say. Sorry, Sugar.

3) Are you seeing anybody special right now? If not, do you have your eye on somebody? Just asking.

Actually, yes and yes. And they ARE the same person. And very special. Like a Debra & Ronnie Laws song.

The ever-lovely Kajuana (who I have to suck up to) says:

1. In a Death Match between Super Man and Bat Man (sans Robin's gay ass) who would win and why?

My dear KK, there is only one answer to that question. Superman, of course. I mean, Batman couldn't even beat the Riddler with that damn utility belt of his. The RIDDLER, whose only weapons were some plastic question marks and party-starting brain teasers!!!! What chance does he have against the Man of Steel? Plus, Superman is a freak from another planet. Batman? Dude wasn't even bitten by a bat, for Bruce Wayne's sake. Well, at least not that we know of. I guess the new prequel this summer will tell the true Gothamwood story of that. LOL Summarily, anybody that has the name Super in his name will continually pummel a dude named after a blind-to-daytime marsupial. You can take that to the bank.

2. Do you prefer black and white photos or colored? Why?

LOL @ colored. Does that mean photos of black people from the '60s? Seriously, I've always loved black and white photos. They seem to bring out more richness anf flavor in the subject. And leaves you with more to imagine as to colors. Imagination is the spice of life. Everything from wedding portraits to graduation photos just come across better in black and white. At least to me.

3. If you wrote your life story and had to break it up in three major sections, what would you title them?

Part 1: The Takeover (which would concentrate on my adoption and the early years)
Part 2: The Geek (one look at my high school yearbook picture will tell you exactly why...lol)
Part 3: The Calling (this will focus on the years I've been paid to do what I love...write)

My literary liaison Yolanda came up with some doozies:

1) What is the first thing you almost always do upon entering your apartment?

Funny you ask that now. Because after last weekend, the first thing I do EVERYDAY is check and see if the T.M.I.C. is O.U.T. and A.B.O.U.T. Yeck.

2) If you were told you could only watch one TV show, which would it be and why?

I'd have to go with the Music Choice channel. Only because it's never ending...LOL

3) What would be the one thing you love most about yourself and why?

I think I love my sense of humor the most. Only because it can be used to put people at ease, and along with biting sarcasm, can keep fools at arms length.

4) Who came up with the word Yeesh first, me or you? And if you say you, please provide documentation.

Lawd. There is no way we can settle this argument without the benefit of The People's Court. So I challenge you to show up there so that we can have a studio audience in MANHATTAN MALL decide once and for all. *thinking it'll be funny when they laugh us out of the courtroom after finding out that Yeesh isn't even a word...LOL*

Livin La Vida Golden came to me with this:

1) What is your favorite childhood memory?

Going fishing with my dad. We would go out on the boats from Freeport, L.I. and be in the middle of the ocean for six hours, eating sandwiches, drinking Yoo-Hoo and just talking. About school, about home...about being a man and what it involved. I used to look forward to those times because it showed another side of my dad. He tried not to curse in front of us kids (using CottonPicker ChickenPlucker instead), but when I first heard him curse, it was on a fishing boat when the captain tried to cheat him out of his winnings for catching the biggest fish. They were just great times.

2) If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

Hmmmm...can't really answer that now. The whole world is pretty fucked up so I'd have to choose carefully. LOL Lemme marinate on that and get back to you.

My Write Hand Xquizzyt1 asked questions she already knows the answers to...LOL:

1. What song do you want played at your wedding? Why? (don't try to count that as two!!!)

Do I only get one song???? I would definitely play At Last by Etta James. I just love that song. And since I'm in my 30s, this song will literally be appropriate, as I will have finally tied the knot and found that lasting happiness that has eluded me like a daytime Emmy for Susan Lucci in the 80s. LOL

2. What is the most romantic thing you've ever done for a woman?

Lawd. I've been told everything--that this isn't romantic at all to this was the greatest thing ever done by a significant other. Sooooo I'm not sure. But here goes. I wanted to surprise my then-girlfriend for Valentine's Day. I was in Los Angeles the week before V-Day for the Grammy's and told her that I was staying there for the NBA All-Star the following weekend. Little did she know that I was plotting with her sister for me to come to Atlanta on Valentine's Day because it realllllly meant alot to her. Valentine's Day was on a Saturday.

So I caught a flight from Los Angeles to New York on Friday night. Got there Saturday morning. Turned around, took a bus down to DC and proceeded to wait once I got there for SIX HOURS until my flight from DC to Atlanta was to depart. I'm seriously jet-lagged. Her sister was all set to come pick me up from the airport (we'd spent the day making her believe I was in LA having the time of my life...LOL). And then...once I landed, after a delay (it was after 10PM), her sister called and told me that her car died. Kaput. And there was no Plan B.

So she had to call her and tell her to come pick me up. LOL She was sooooo surprised that I was there. It made her happy. AND I got there ON Valentine's Day. I thought it was romantic. She thought so, too. But mannnn was I tired. LOL

3. What's something you would love to do... but are afraid to. (oh and throw in why you're afraid)

I would love to quit my job and just concentrate on finishing my book. I'm afraid to do that because my nest egg is NOT what it should be and would NOT carry through the conclusion of the book. I'd be scratchin and survivin' like a broke ass Evans family. Not.a.good.look. But THAT'S what I would love to do. But I'm afraid.

4. Oh and since I don't take direction well in some circumstances, I asked you the last time you did this what your biggest fear was... has this changed???

I'm still in fear of success. But notsomuch anymore. I think as the years go by, I'm starting to realize my potential a bit more and am beginning to take more chances. Seriously, this will be the YEAR OF WILL!!! LOL

My DC home skillet and CEO of We The Voices Panama Muhfuggin took time out to ask:

1) Where were you when you first heard that Biggie got shot and had passed?

I was home visiting my family that March morning. So I was laid out in the guest bedroom when I woke up to silence on the radio. Then I heard Angie Martinez and Mr. Cee just sitting there, crying. I was like WTF? I wrote about that day in The Flow--Renewal.

2) Since the ladies seem to love you so much, what's your secret playboy?? I'm trying to learn here!!

Dude, you're kidding, right? LOL I got nothing like a Whitney Houston song. Remember when I came to DC and met up with you guys? THAT'S the kind of love I get, accept and appreciate. All I'm sayin is that BC went to ATL last week and it was damn near the Blogcademy Awards up in dat piece. HE'S the one you should be taking notes on, because apparently HE'S where the party's at. He's Jagged Edge and Nelly. LOL

3) Who in the hell...left the gate open???

You thought I wouldn't answer this, didn't you? Well, my research shows that it was Marcia Carter, that stuck-up little girl from down the block. And because she left the gate open when I was 6 years old living in St. Albans, my mother's poodle got away and she blamed me. I got an ass whuppin because of that girl. Damn you, Marcia. Damn you to hell for leaving the gate open!!!


Thank you all for participating. That was aiiight for me, yo.

scribbled by Will at 4/27/2005 08:26:00 AM
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4.25.2005

Still Time for the Three Questions...

Heyyyyyy...Happy Monday.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them of me. I've received some goooood ones so far.

*putting this up quickly because I know my write hand is up to something over there...LOL*

scribbled by Will at 4/25/2005 02:49:00 PM
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Of Mice & Men--A IMWM Exclusive!

Throughout the annals of history, time and again, there has been documentation of almost everything under the sun, from the swarm of locusts covered in the Old Testament to crickets having babies in Old Town, New Hampshire.

Included in that history has been the rise and fall of the Harlem "cat", from the days of the village's Renaissance to today's hip hop (see Cam'ron, Diddy, Mase). It seems that every phrase, note and beat put down by those "cats" has reached the ear of America. Well covered, indeed. However, never before has the story of the Harlem mouse been told. They've lived in obscurity, from dumpster to dumpster, behind walls for too long.

Until now, that is.

Yes, IMWM saw the need to bring their story to the mainstream, to tell the story that has yet to be told. Recently, the head of the Harlem Mouse Integration Committee paid us an unexpected visit. Literally. And we took advantage of that time to put our journalistic skills to use, probing the verbose vermin for the background of America's untold population--the Harlem mouse.

The following is a transcript of the conversation:

In My Write Mind: Ummm, welcome Mr. Cleavon Urownterms, head of the Harlem Mouse Integration Committee. So I guess that makes you the HMIC, huh?

HMIC: Dayum right. And I gets much respect from my union, too.

IMWM: I bet you do. I'm guessing there are thousands of mice in your union. How do you keep them all in line?

HMIC: Well, it's not easy. As with all organizations, there are some rebels, trying to be like the stronger, much bigger Rat Squads that are set up in East Harlem. I try to tell them that they're better off here, steadier feedings, less hazzards, easier traps to escape. But some don't listen. We just lost two guys last week. Too much ambition is a four-legged bitch, I say.

IMWM: Interesting. Now, please...tell the audience how we came to meet.

HMIC: I really don't see that as being important.

IMWM: No, really...it is important. And umm...do I hear an accent? Are you from out of town?

HMIC: Nope. Born and raised in NYC...Spanish Harlem.

IMWM: Ahh, that explains it. Please...share the story.

HMIC: OK, OK. We met here in your apartment after I came to check on one of my workers who claimed that someone here was trying to "off" him. I had to come see the scene for myself and gauge whether the conditions were safe.

IMWM: Uh huh. So this was Saturday night we met, correct? For the record...

HMIC: Yes, it was Saturday night. I was content staying behind the radiator, but noooooo...you had to put on the Klitschco fight. I'd taped it at home, but figured since you had it on, I'd watch it with you. So I did. He should be ashamed of himself, fighting that tomato can, by the way.

IMWM: So you admit to coming in uninvited and unfairly surprising me?

HMIC: Sure, but what choice did I have? It was pouring rain outside. What, did you expect me to be out there in all that? If you haven't noticed, I'm pretty close to the ground. I could catch cold. Besides, I was there on a mission. And it turns out my guy was right...someone (not naming any names) WAS trying to "get rid of him." Which, where I come from, is unacceptable. There are rules!

IMWM: Wait. Where I come from there are rules as well. Mice on the outside!!! Two years I've been living here and NOW you wanna sneak up on a brotha? WTF?

HMIC: Oh, so you wanna take it there, huh? Well, put this in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Hu-mannnn. The Harlem mouse has been around much longer than two years. We've been doing what we do for over 300 years. WE HELPED BUILD THIS CITY!!! And we've been horribly undercompensated for it. Literally getting killed! That's why the HMIC is so important; we represent our union and try to ensure their safety and longevity. So the stunt you pulled, getting the exterminators to put down steel wool...? Not good. The sticky traps? Ha! We laugh at those. They're soooo 1970s, where EVERYBODY was on that sticky-icky tip. And the poison? We get high off that. And we don't die...we multiply! Keep it comin.

You gotta know that we adapt to our surroundings. How do you think we've survived this long?!?!? And these old buildings, like the one you live in? Pardon the pun, but they're very cheesy, with more holes than a pierced prostitute. The ceilings may be high, but the walls are hollow, allowing us to maintain the lifestyle to which we've become accustomed.

IMWM: I hear all that yang you're kicking right now, but dammit! Why NOW? Is it the time of year that makes you come out and show yourselves?

HMIC: Nah, man. That's an urban myth, that we hibernate in the winter and run rampant in the spring. Truth be told, in the winter, we're busy doing our community service to the Harlem area.

IMWM: Community service? Like what, pray tell?

HMIC: What? You don't know? We're huge in not-for-profit circles. Our "Cheddar at Home" series has been running since 1974, to coincide with the Tom and Jerry cartoons going into syndication. We saw how they weren't compensated and had to make a way for working mice to take home a pension once their optimum running days were over. Also, our "ProvoLoan" program was launched to let mice borrow assets, thus giving them a chance to own their own properties, whether it be in dumpsters or alleyways. We're still tinkering with the "Say Cheese!" infra-red technology and the "Ricotta Love Us" Mouse Appreciation awards show, still in its planning stages. So we're busy. But our first priority is to our membership, and anyone attempting to eradicate it, has to be dealt with. Yup! This thing is bigger than one brownstone! Am I my brother's squeaker? YES I AM!!!

IMWM: Wow, you guys are doing a lot. That still doesn't explain why you're inside my apartment after not seeing you for almost two years.

HMIC: Please, you know good and well that now is the time. What's October, Mr. Hu-mannnnn?

IMWM: October...What? You mean the end of my lease?

HMIC: Exactly! We know that you've had your fill of Harlem. We ALSO know that you've been looking for property in Brooklyn. We've got our brethren everywhere. So knowing all that, we decided to help you out. You see, we don't really like the dude that owns the building...exterminators coming through every month, the super laying down traps in the basement, forcing us to climb up walls...we're showing up now so that you will complain to the landlord, force his hand to let you break your lease and then he loses money. I guess we COULD'VE discussed this with you first, but then...where would the fun be in that? Seeing you jump has been priceless.

IMWM: Ain't that just about a bitch...So you come in, disrupt my home, and what...now I'm supposed to be GRATEFUL to you?!?!? Do you know how many sleepless nights I've endured because you had your workers "helping" me? Huh?

HMIC: Hey, that sounds like a personal issue to me. But you owe us, because my sources tell me that the landlord would DEFINITELY grant your request to break the lease if you report one of us in there one more time. You need me to dial him for you?

IMWM: *picking up broom* You're gonna be dialing 911 if I get a hold of you. Call yourself helping me out, showing up all willy-nilly. I tell you what...you better be glad the fight was wack, making me jump up while you're peeking your head from behind the radiator. Hell yeah, I'm gonna call my landlord...and we're gonna smoke you out!!!

HMIC: *laughing hysterically* You think it's a game hu-mannnnn? You think this hasn't been tried before?!?!? Listen, we're like Bookeem Woodbine's acting career...we're SURVIVORS, nucca. Recognize. H-M-I-C for LIFE!!!! *does Crip Walk back behind radiator smoking some sticky-icky* Go to Brooklyn, nigga!!!

IMWM: We'll see about that. *dialing ASPCA* Hello? Yes, I wanted to see about getting a cat....what's that? Yes, I live in Harlem...No, no, no. I don't want Mase, dammit. The OTHER type of Harlem cat. Lawd.

*fade to black*

scribbled by Will at 4/25/2005 07:21:00 AM
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4.22.2005

50 Word Fiction Friday--Musical Musings

It's Friday. And I'm attempting to keep with the musical melange that has been in full force this week...and at the same time accepting the challenge from Sid.

Check it out.



In life, you gotta have Faith that things will work out for the best. Believe that she doesn't need any one but you. That your love is wonderful. Make it up in your mind that as soon as she gets home, they will do what they gotta do. For you.

----------------------------------------

Whisper in your ear...tell you that the way you hold me, the way you touch me...don't stop it. Because I like it. Caress my skin, hypnotize me--when I'm with you there is no other. Words can't express all of what I feel. Girl...I'm your Guy.

-----------------------------------------

Hello, are you there? You said, Call Me. Here I am. Tell me what you want. I will shake it, bounce it, hell, I will tweet it for you. Late night calls, trips to ecstacy--a bonafide thrill ride. You and me. Answer the phone. You won't be sorry. Promise.


I'm gonna stop there. My head hurts from counting to 50 so many times. LOL

Anyways, thanks to everyone for the inspiration this week. It was fun looking back on the music that's shaped my life thus far. Special shout once again to EJ for letting me loose in his virtual library. Look for me in a few weeks. I.might.just.be.back.

And regarding the post from earlier this week that was shelved...I did that because the theme this week was music and I wanted to keep it pure. But now is your chance...any questions you have for me, I will answer them. Please limit each individual query to three questions.

I look forward to it, especially now that I've been blogging for a while. I'm curious to see what else people could possibly want to know about my boring ass. LOL

So, in the words of Rick James aka Dave Chappelle, "The tables have turned. Do with me as you will." LOL

And have a great weekend...even those of you meeting up in Atlanta. *kicking rocks*

scribbled by Will at 4/22/2005 11:05:00 AM
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4.21.2005

Karaoke Dokie...

As you all can probably tell, this week is Music Week at IMWM.

Soooooo...in keeping with that theme (I'm a slave to the rhythm, what can I say?), last night was Karaoke Night for some members of the League. We ventured over to Proof (3rd Avenue bet. 19th & 20th Streets in NYC), where the conversation and liquid courage was flowing freely. It was the first time I've gone out with some of these colleagues...and it was memorable to say the least.

Before I reminisce on the warbling, let me first plug the dive next to Proof. It's called Burger Heaven, and if you ever come to NYC, please check this place out. The burgers are small (read: slider-like) yet packed with meat. This ain't no White Castle/Krystal-type mess. Nope. Real burgers. Broken down to three-bite convenience. (As I type this, I feel myself transforming into Sid with her occasional restaurant/food reviews...not that there's anything wrong with that...hehehe)

Anyways, the price is the best part of the whole deal. Hamburgers, $1. Cheeseburgers, $1.25. I only got two so that I could be on even keel once the *ahem* beverages commenced, but I must say they were good.

Now, on to the singing...

My co-worker brought her girls with her...and they signed up for over 5 songs apiece. Lawd. Their discography included the 702 song "Steelo", Salt N Pepa's "Push It", Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know", and Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight."

Um, yeah...Drunk young lady singing alllll ten minutes of "Rapper's Delight", EVEN the part where they refer to antacid due to horrible food consumed at a friend's house? Price-fuggin-less.

My other colleague A.T., who is a bit older, tagged along for the ride as well. And did NOT disappoint. Homeboy turned up the hilarity a notch with his renditions of George Benson's "On Broadway" and the Temptations' "My Girl."

I don't think y'all heard me...Dude sang ON BROADWAY!!! Like George Benson? Notsomuch.

A third co-worker is a Prince disciple. So, of course, on cue, she did "I Will Die 4 U". I thought I would die 4rom laughter. LOL She also did some prom song by Bon Jovi that only the "non-blacks" in Proof seemed to know. Me thinks she missed her prom as a teen and watched one too many Brat Pack films throughout her adolescent years. Yeesh. Just a brutal song...especially when your crew doesn't know it and can't back you up. I swear, it was so depressing, I actually think I shed a tear. Almost ran out into oncoming 3rd Avenue traffic. Noooobody wanted to follow that one. (Next time she sticks to Prince. For real.)

Me? Me, you say? What did WILL sing? Well, if you must know, I only sang once. And unless you count ad libbing, it really wasn't singing. It was rapping. Ya see, I'm new to the karaoke circuit and (as Kajuana and Edwige continue to pound home every.chance.they.can regarding my meetup with them in DC) did more observing and laughing than anything else.

Whaaaat? A brotha gotta observe. It's what I do. *bright smile*

No. I didn't forget to tell you what I performed. Here goes...I did my rendition of LL's "Around the Way Girl." Yup. All I needed was a kangol, a dookie phat gold chain, some abs, muscles, a flat nose (pre-surgery), a lip-licking fetish, and actual RAPPING SKILLS, and I would've been authentic in my interpretation. Alas, I had none of those things. The only thing I had...was a good time.

*Note to self* Bring a bigger posse if you're gonna do that song, though...maybe even some actual around the way girls. Because when the crowd is non-around the way, you're probably not gonna get as much participation as you'd like. The following could be heard during the song: "COME ON, PROOF! I SEE YOU! SING WITH ME! Them: *crickets* Sigh. *end note*

One highlight of the night was when someone actually went up there, loaded the sing-a-long machine with and proceeded to waste everyone's time singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! They KARAOKED Happy Birthday, thus forcing the entire crowd to sing along. Yeesh. And do people really need to see THE WORDS to that song?!?!?

Another highlight was when a guy and girl got up there and sang the Mariah Carey-Trey Lorenz version of "I'll Be There." She? A Mariah-in-training. Smooth. Hit all the notes. Easy on the ear. Him? A pariah-in-Proof. Rough. Hit the bricks. Easy on the beer...dude. LOL

Missed opportunities included my older colleague narrowly escaping singing the NellynKelly mess "Dilemma" (I still can't believe that song won a Grammy, which led to me changing my mind about the standards the music industry adheres to, thus causing a personal "dilemma") AND the *say it like Oprah would* JOHN TRAVOOLLLLTAAAAAA-Olivia Newton-John duet from Grease, "Summer Lovin'." Now THAT would've been some good times.

I will return to Proof. Next payday. I had fun. And next time, I will participate A LOT more. Please believe me. I might even bring a damn Kangol and fake abs along...for authenticity's sake, of course.

scribbled by Will at 4/21/2005 09:59:00 AM
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4.20.2005

It Might Be Time...


My WRITE Side Posted by Hello

FOR SOME OLD SCHOOL!!!

BIG SHOUT to my new friend EJFlavors, who gave me the rare opportunity to program my very own OLD SCHOOL WEDNESDAY (OSW)!!! Talk about blog royalty, this dude is one I checked out since my early days blogging (all of last year...lol), but until I got my new system at work, I couldn't fully enjoy the flavorful mixes he provided on a weekly basis. The cat knows music! So imagine my surprise when he gave the "thumbs up" to my selections. LOL

I hope you will vibe with me this week as I take it back to the late 80s/early 90s with some popular artists.

Yes, I know that spring fever has hit A LOT of us, with love's vapors wafting through the air like a Match.com ad. *retch* Today, I'm here to provide some seasonal serum as I give you the ANTI-LOVE Movement, a collection of songs that tell you that love--while great--can be a sweaty-freckled beyotch at times.

EJ calls it the In My Write Mind Mix. Hopefully, you'll enjoy it, it'll keep your spring fever down...and your mind Write.

Peace.

I see you, EJ! Thanks again, mayne!

scribbled by Will at 4/20/2005 07:17:00 AM
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4.19.2005

U Know...

it might...

scribbled by Will at 4/19/2005 04:38:00 PM
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4.18.2005

Melancholy Melodies

It's Monday. And fast approaching 80 degrees outside. Enough to make me wanna holler for a) having to work; and b) having a window behind me so I can see how beautiful it is outside and STILL having to work. *sigh*

Every time it gets warm out, I start pumping up music like never before. While checking out the Music Choice channel (which, by the way, is the best invention this side of the Foreman Grill...great for parties, for music to sleep to AND music to "sleep" to...) yesterday, I heard the following songs, with each of them eliciting fond memories.

Ahhh, the good ole days...

Always & Forever, Heatwave (1976)

I remember that summer like it was yesterday. Like I will always and forever...Virginia Beach, VA. My sister's best friend moved there from the Bronx the year before. So my sister, my niece and I went down to spend part of the summer with the best friend and her daughters. I was 5 years old. And what I remember more than the games we played, the bikes we rode, the barbecues, the ice cream and the gettting picked on because I was the only guy (which seems to be a recurring theme throughout my life...lol), was that song by Heatwave.

The best friend had the record ("Boogie Nights" was the B-side)...and played it everyday like clockwork. To hear Rod & 'em belt out those notes in full stereo, it sent chills through me. "Take tiiiime to tell me...you-ou-ou really ca-a-re...and we'll share tomorrowwwww togetherrrrrrrrrrr...I'll always love you...*pause*...e-e-e-e-e-e verrrrrrrr." Just a classic song. Sure, it gets a little sickening to hear it at EVERY wedding you attend, but you really can't blame the couples. The declaration of "forever love" that defines this song is not only wedding day-appropriate, it's downright necessary.

And I always laughed when I read the record jacket, saying that they weren't lying when they said heatwave, seeing as it was almost 90 degrees every day down there. *I cracked myself up when I was 5. Ahead of my time, I tell ya.*

I Feel Good All Over, Stephanie Mills (1987)

I was 16 years old and a regular at Laces skating rink over in Hempstead, Long Island. Every Sunday, me and my crew would drive on over (which was a big thing at 16, by the way) for the evening session from 7-9. We were mini-celebrities (which still baffles me to this day). LOL Picture it...a teenager with the gift of gab, cracking jokes at the rate of five-per-minute, adequate at skating and surrounded by his best friends.

*getting misty-eyed from the memories alone*

One week, while sitting with the "cool" people in the middle of the rink, a girl comes up to said teen and says that her friend thinks he's cute. The teen breaks out a wide grin, but suddenly gets stone-faced so as not to seem like he's overly-interested. When it's time for the slow song portion that usually ends the evening, the teen skates up to the young lady and asks for the privilege of skating with her to that song. And yup, that song is "I Feel Good All Over" by Stephanie Mills. Just a great song. And soooo accurate, because that night, I felt sooooo good to be with the young lady. She was "fresh." LOL

Of course, the next week I tried to play it toooo cool and virtually ignored her most of the night, only to ask for a skate at the end of the night, thinking I was entitled even though I hadn't as much as acknowledged her to that point. Needless to say, I didn't get that skate, didn't feel good and it was definitely all over.

The point, as usual...don't ever do what I do. You.will.be.sorry. *sigh*

You Don't Have to Worry, Mary J. Blige (1993)

It was the year before my move. My cousin and me driving out to Hecksher State Park on Long Island for a BBQ of epic proportions--the annual St. Albans Congregation Summer picnic. Lawd, EVERYBODY from the neighborhood would take that one-hour drive on the Southern State Parkway to exit 40-something for a full day of softball, basketball, volleyball, swimming and food. It was the highlight of every year.

And that year, June of 1993, we were driving along at a good clip, listening to a compilation TAPE that I'd made the night before specifically for that trip, and that song by Mary came on. And there was something about that beat, her slightly off-key yet reassuring warbling, that made us rewind it over and over again. We listened to that song allll the way out there. And it was a tape, so you know we were risking "poppage" by rewinding it so much. But we couldn't help it. Besides, we were convinced. Mary told us we didn't have to worry. So we didn't. *shrug*

If I Could, Regina Belle (1993)

This song gets to me each time I hear it. So imagine me, if you can, sitting at home yesterday, doing some work, and actually getting misty when hearing the intro. It has special meaning, as it was the song that my niece and my dad danced to at her wedding reception. I remember that day vividly, me serving double duty as a member of the wedding party AND an escort for my sister, the mother of the bride. A gorgeous June day in 1994, my parents looking absolutely proud and beautiful, my niece making a stunning bride...all of those memories rush back at me before Ms. Belle even sings a note.

What makes the song even more significant is the fact that this was the last month that my dad was healthy. In fact, that July, he started having fainting spells that triggered his heart problems. Continuous shortness of breath followed, along with him having to cease driving and then, for the next decade, be almost exclusively confined to the house. He simply had no energy--to do the things he loved like fishing, singing, visiting folks. But he had that day, dancing with his granddaughter to that song.

The memories of that day, that dance, will walk with me forever. Just like these songs.

What are some songs that you remember like it were yesterday?

scribbled by Will at 4/18/2005 09:08:00 AM
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4.15.2005

X Ed 101

Ladies and Gentlemen...Meet Xquizzyt1.

*Note: I'm not gonna say I was forced to do this, but since her "friends" Rhapsodi and Ms. Thing didn't see fit to do it even though she did glowing posts dedicated to each of them, guess who got drafted for the job? Those of you who said Will...are correct. Add in the fact that she's my blog fiancee and lawd, did I really stand a chance NOT to draw the short straw? LOL So here we go...*

*searching for straight pins to release the air from X's head after this is posted...lol*

"Feggy pell."

Those two words had me. Do you hear me? She had me at friggin FEGGY! Once I saw those two words, I knew that Xquizzyt1 would be one of my most-visited blog sites. Not just because of her comical commentary on her bosses' drug-induced faux pas. Nope, for that and much more. Her writing was different, off the cuff, straight with no chaser. She told stories that everyone could relate to--male and female alike, whether she was pontificating about past pugilistic prowess, pandering about marriage, preaching a progressive path for her people or pondering her place in life, every day was a fresh slice of pink and green.

So I had to read it. Ev-er-ee day. *said like Taye Diggs in Brown Sugar* She was whimsical, thoughtful, cursed like a sailor, loved boxing, drinking and even made fun of herself for loving wack TV shows. (And she wonders why the brothers are hooked on her blog.) She made me realize that I could blog about anything as long as I kept it real. Like she did. Would you expect anything less from a native New Yorker? Not me.

Her love of The Sims, Nip/Tuck and Maker's Mark are just at the tip of her idealic iceberg. We've found out from her blog about her graduation from college, her marriage to a bodybuilder and her obsession over a truck nicknamed Mandingo. We've divulged that she has entirely too many pairs of shoes; been told why we can't rise as a people in separate doses, and have been able to see that even when we leave our suitcases at home, a credit card and a Macy's sale are all you need to get by...like a Marvin Gaye song.

Do her words have impact? Hellus yeah. Go to anyone's site. I dare you. And I promise that on 85% of any blogger's reading list, Xquizzyt1 will be listed. She's blog royalty, for Marilu Henner's sake.

Don't believe me?

Must I continue to prove myself to you people? LOL

OK. Think about it. Over the past six months, self-proclaimed blog lord Ric Landers has left critical comments on three sites (that I'm aware of...hell, this survey is NOT accurate, so beat it if don't wanna believe...lol): Elle, Kajuana and X. DO YOU SEE THOSE THREE NAMES?!?!? Royalty. All of 'em. That's an elite class. And those are the ones he's visited.

The State rests, Your Honor. Your witness, Counselor.

You get the point. The way she writes makes people want to comment, want to read more. When she came up to New York to be with her family and help tend to her ailing grandfather, we got a chance to hang out, first with other bloggers during BowlingGate2005 and then with Siddity in the City. Ask them. They'll tell you. The way she is on her blog is just like she is in person. And no, I'm not just saying that because our webbing cybermony is June 4th, either. She's really lots of fun. Sure, she can't bowl worth a lick and is a lil toooo into the UFC *retch*, but hey...who's perfect?

Her friendships outside of the blog world with Rhapsodi, Ms. Thing and Grayse are genuine. You'd think they were all sisters, the way they've bonded. I got a chance to hang with all of them during a recent trip to Atlanta, and I tell ya, they are some of the best people I've been around in a long time. Shout-outs all around. *I see you, Champ!*

So, if you haven't had the chance yet, go check out your girl X. Hell, she even has friends from when she was a young child running wild checking her out. Who are YOU not to? LOL Seriously, she could be poignant, profane and politically incorrect--all within the same post. Good times all around, I say. And please, whatever you do, search for the post about Feggy. Because at the exact moment she pell, so did I...for a writer named Xquizzyt1.

And I've been ploored ever since.

*sticking pin behind left ear as she starts to float away...lol*

scribbled by Will at 4/15/2005 09:03:00 AM
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4.14.2005

TDS

The dry throat. The deer in the headlights look. The sweaty palms. T.D.S.

Those are all signs. All indicators. Those are all me...whenever people ask me to sing. Don't get me wrong. I love to sing. And I know that I'm more off-key than a pubescent Peter Brady. And I'm fine with that. Really, I am. It's when you're talking to someone, having a great conversation even, and then you ask: Have you heard the new song by [insert artist name here]? And they say, I'm not sure...how does it go?

*throat, deer, sweat*

That right there is some pressure. Not only do you have to sing, you have to sing a song that even YOU don't know that well. All of a sudden, at that moment, when the words have barely left their lips, THAT is when all of the musical machinations within your body fly away, leaving behind a rhythmless corpse. In that instant, you're orally challenged.

*throat, deer, sweat*

But you try. You can't go out like a sucka. I mean, you DO know the song somewhat. And you DID bring it up in the first place. So now you're stuck. Win or go home. So you use your mental tuning fork, try your best to clear your throat (not gonna happen) and let 'er rip. And you think that you've nailed it. It's only when the person who's listening makes the "bitter beer" face that you realize just.how.awful.you.must.sound. I mean, not only do they NOT recognize the song, you may have just earned yourself the title of CEO of your very own company...So So (Tone) Deaf Enterprises. And with that title comes the responsibility of embracing it...and yourself. Because after your wretched attempt at song, yours will be the only company you'll have.

*throat, deer, sweat*

All of a sudden, you're ostracized from any and everything musical. Invitations to Karaoke Tuesdays aren't extended to you...conversations about new CDs that hit the stores cease when you pass by...Name That Tune reruns are blacked out on your cable box...people invite you to birthday parties late so that you miss the group singing portion...colleagues and family members combine their resources and buy you a tambourine, gently suggesting that you stick with that, like you're a broke version of Melody from Josie and the Pussycats.

Yup. Life is never the same again.

Quick story: My friend Lynnette is in charge of the audience for BET's 106 and Park. Well, when the show was in its infancy, she would always call and ask if I would come and bring some friends to fill the bleachers. I only said yes when they were having good guests. Hell, you know I wasn't going to see the wack-ass hosts. LOL Anyways, this one time, a group of us went to the show. We were laughing and joking in the holding area when we saw this beautiful young lady sitting by herself, waiting to go upstairs to the show. My boy and I persuaded the women with us to ask her to join us. She did. Told us about herself. Made us believe that she was the next Monica. We.took.her.word.for.it. Sigh.

So we get upstairs, inside the studio. The warm-up guy wants to get the crowd ummm, warmed up. So he asks if there's anyone in the audience that can sing. Me and my boy look at each other as if to say, Hey, if we hype this girl up and she can actually sing, she will be grateful to at least one of us and then...who knows?!?!?

So we encourage her to do her thang, fine as she was. After getting the crowd into it, clapping it up until she stood up, she was ready. Little did we know that it was US that were unprepared. I can't recall what she sang that day...I DO know that I hate that song now. Monica?!?!? Hell, Monica LE.WINSKY probably sounds better than this girl. Oh, the horror. I still shudder to this day thinking of how tone deaf she was. As a matter of fact, that was our new nickname for her after that. Tone. Just.horrid. You want to know how bad it was? She was associated with us since she was in our group. Because of her performance, Lynnette, who's supposedly MY FRIEND, banned me from the studio for a month. LOL So Tone, you owe me. I missed seeing Erykah Badu because of you. Grrrrr.

Where was I? Oh yes. You are banished from Rhythm Nation. Your a capella is a caHellus Nous. You have become an American Idle. Simon Cowell sends you hate mail and issues a restraining order on your voice. *shaking head* And all because you tried to overcome the *throat, deer, sweat* syndrome. Damn shame.

So, the next time that situation arises, do like I do. Come up with excuses not to sing. Tell them to listen out for it since radio plays the same songs every 20 minutes anyway. Tell them you have a sore throat. (Hell, at that moment, you wouldn't be lying.) Tell them anything. Just DON'T SING! Rattle and hum like a U2 album. But don't sing. LOL

Even if you think you can, think again. In fact, think about this: Is it worth the loss of cool points, friendship, or, in the case of Tone, citizenship? Oh yes. I forgot to mention that Tone wasn't an American citizen and soon after our meeting she had to go back to her native country. Me thinks that during her interview with INS, she told them she could sing and they asked her to prove it. Needless to say how it turned out. Yeah...we get postcards during the holidays. LOL

*throat, deer, sweat*

Remember those three words...like a Stevie Wonder song. And save yourselves from musical purgatory. Trust me on this. Bitches.

scribbled by Will at 4/14/2005 07:25:00 AM
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4.13.2005

Can't Fight This Feeling...

"Falling in love ain't shit...somebody talk to me please about how to stay there."--Savon Garrison, Love Jones

I was reading the lyrics to the REO Speedwagon song, "Can't Fight This Feeling." I've always liked that song. But I always thought it was a song about the loss of self-control, about emotions gone bezerk, about right versus wrong.

Boy, was I wrong.

It's not about that at all. It's about less and more. About being shy, but taking charge. It's about carpe diem. Oh yes, my friends...it's about love. You know what else?

It's my freakin' life story!

I'm telling you, whoever wrote this song not only walked in my shoes, they've had on my pants and ate my porridge, too. THAT'S how much this song fits. What's that? Lyrics, you say? You want 'em, you got 'em.

Ladies and gentlemen...the tale of the tape.

I can’t fight this feeling any longer
And yet I’m still afraid to let it flow
What started out as friendship, has grown stronger
I only wish I had the strength to let it show


THIS is how most of my relationships start out. A bee-yoo-tiful friendship, where conversations flow, laughs are shared, attraction is mutual. But once feelings are caught, once that friendship has grown stronger, there's still something (read: everything) that makes me hold back from showing the other person how I really feel. I start fighting myself. *shaking my head*

Preach, songwriter! Preach!!!

I tell myself that I can’t hold out forever
I said there is no reason for my fear
Cause I feel so secure when we’re together
You give my life direction
You make everything so clear


Yesssss! The rationalization begins hot and heavy once I get to the "caught feelings" stage. I begin to ask myself, "What am I so afraid of?" Me: Getting hurt. "Why can't I just let go and let love?" Me again: I've been hurt. "I mean, I feel like ten million bucks when I'm with this person. And they've done nothing to hurt me. Why can't I leave the past in the past? WTF?!?!?" *Ahem* THIS JUST IN...YOU'VE BEEN HURT, NUCCA! THAT SHIT AIN'T EASY TO SHAKE!!! RECOGNIZE!

Seeee? My self starts yelling at me and I get shook. LOL I start to believe it, EVEN THOUGH my life has direction; EVEN THOUGH everything is soooo clear as to what I should do. It sucks, I tell ya.

It's that fear...bitches.

YOU'RE SOUNDING LIKE A GIRL!!!

*shudder*

*whispering* Anywho, let's move on...shall we?

And even as I wander
I’m keeping you in sight
You’re a candle in the window
On a cold, dark winter’s night
And I’m getting closer than I ever thought I might


I tend to do this. Look for reasons NOT to be with the person instead of embracing the reasons to go for it. Let me put it this way: if there was a list of 29 reasons supporting the relationship and ONE reason for it to fail, I am the muhfugga who will go see how that ONE reason is doing and ask IT out for a bite to eat. Straight up wine and dine it. All the while eyeing the 29, KNOWING that I should be over there playing volleyball with them. *sigh* And that's the part that is the worst. The knowing. If I was ignorant, God bless me and leave me in my bliss. But KNOWING that the best thing that's probably happened to me in life is THISCLOSE and still finding ways to mess it up...ON PURPOSE?!?!? The pits. And the lesson...as always...I suck golf balls.

And I can’t fight this feeling anymore
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for
It’s time to bring this ship into the shore
And throw away the oars, forever


And this, my fellow Americans, is the proverbial rub. Once I start believing in myself enough to take charge of the situation, put all the fear aside, let the cheesy excuse stand alone, start to put on the feelings like a well-fitting suit...it's too damn late. Yup. Once I start forgetting what I started fighting for, once I throw away those oars...I'm shipwrecked. Washed ashore. Like an episode of LOST.

So you see my plight. You see the reason why I'm single now. Me. That's right. I've been the problem. All of this internal fighting has left me punch-drunk, against the ropes and on the verge of spitting out my mouthpiece. Ready to wave the white flag inside of me and resign myself to the reality of remaining single for the rest of my life. Headed straight for a life as part of a wise-cracking muppet tandem sitting atop the theater balcony.

I.can't.let.that.happen. The song says so!!! I can't go out like Rocky in his first fight with Clubber Lang. Am I a fool to be pitied?!?!? It's time I fall in love and find out how to stay in that shit. Time for me to fight off those fears that have been pervading my soul; shake off those hurts of the past and give a new love a, err uhhh, fighting chance. Sure, women in my past have been nuttier than squirrel shit (Humanity Critic, 2005); sure some have lied and cheated and even stole. But really, I have to ask myself...While they were lying and cheating on me, wasn't I lying to and cheating myself since I KNEW that I wasn't ready for them anyway?

The answer to that question will determine my future. It will help me realize whether I'm ready or not like an After 7 song, ready to recover that lost loving feeling like a Righteous Brothers ballad. Answering that question may just get my self to shut.the.fugg.up and allow me to breathe love in (like that scented candle in the window) for a change instead of causing me to suffocate on the thought.

And I just may have to send a "thank-you" note to a friggin Speedwagon for being my smelling salts, my between-round pep talk. Who knew?!

This song is GREAT. Hell, I might even have to go out and buy a guitar. Isn't it funny how, if experienced at the right time, music can be a catalyst for change in your life? Isn't it funny how when you least expect it, and in a way that you'd NEVER expect, the solutions to life-long issues become clear. Maybe now is the time that life will pull a Chante Moore and let love take over. Maybe now is when it was meant for me to get it. Maybe, just maybe, now is the time for me to stop fighting.

I really hope so. I'm getting on in years. I can't fight forever...

scribbled by Will at 4/13/2005 05:46:00 PM
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4.12.2005

Til We 'Meat' Again...

I know. I miss him. And every time I see you, I think about him.

You were always there. Solitary, yet so accommodating. You never asked for much. I respected your strength, your presence. I still do. The way you still stand bravely in the face of the elements after all these years. Never wavering. I look in your face and see stability. You're like a rock.

You were around since before I was born. That gives you a longevity that can't really be measured. You were quiet; some might even say stoic. That was just you. Even with a "grill" as big as all outdoors, you never said much. But when you did blow off steam...everybody knew. There was no hiding it. In fact, you never tried to hide when you were hot. THAT is when you were at your best. It seemingly inspired you to do your best work. I loved that.

You and my dad had the best relationship. It was equal parts skill and science, ebb and flow, mesquite and mosquitoes. Looking back, I realize that it was a partnership, a give and take. Definitely understood each other. "Matched" one another all the way. There was many a day that you guys shined in the sunlight. Drew raves and applause. It can be argued that it was the greatest show on Earth.

I always envied that fire in your eye, that glow, that spark that he gave you...that unforced chemistry; made me want to give you the "coal" shoulder as he loaded them on. His "fluid" requests, your "incendiary" responses--I just couldn't take it. Guess you could say I had a "beef" with you. I was jealous the way a little boy who lived for his father's attention would be. He gave you his soul while seasoning filet of sole; a rare passion while prepping rare burgers; his whole heart while handling hot dogs. His time while turning over tenderloin. Can you blame me?!?!? You have to know that it was a healthy type of jealous.

Still, I will miss the way you worked together. I know you will, too.

Every time I see the way you've held yourself together, I feel that if you can do it, I can, too. Of course, it's not that simple. Sometimes I wish I could be more like you, the epitome of mortar and stones; alas, I'm merely an inferior compilation of skin and bones.

He was who made both of us go, made us feel important. For all accounts and purposes, he was who fanned our flames. Our relationships, while different, were just as lasting. Sometimes I wonder if you and I will ever have that type of repartee, that ability to make people happy, to nourish them. That ability to bring out the best in you like he did. I think about you and I combining our ample talents one bright, summer day. It can happen. Hell, I'll be positive. It WILL happen. It has to.

I look forward to that day. Especially now. This would be around the time you'd start coming around in full force. Around the time you'd make your presence felt. You may feel like that's not the case anymore. Let me let you know something. I know you're there. I see you.

And soon, we will combine and make some history of our own. It won't be the greatest show, but it will definitely be the greatest tribute...to a man that literally touched both of our lives.

And when that day comes, when we "meat" again, we will both definitely feel his presence...let's work on rekindling that fire. This summer, let's climb out of the "pit" together. You and me.

For him.

scribbled by Will at 4/12/2005 08:07:00 AM
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4.11.2005

Curious Crushes...

OK, OK. X called me out.

And since she was brave enough to tell about her curious crushes (although the only one that was truly curious was Ced), I, too, will come clean with some of mine.

So, without further ado, here are some of my questionable crushes from over the years...with explanations, of course. LOL

1. Tonya Pinkins


No. She's not exactly beautiful. I mean, she's cute. Not beautiful. I know this. But I fell for her in the summer of 1994, right after I moved to Los Angeles and was looking for work. That process took about a month, so I was home...with time on my hands. So I, errr uhhh...watched soap operas. Yeah, I said it. All My Children, in particular. And there she was. Ms. Livia Frye. In all her glory. One of the few black women on the show.

She intrigued me with her sassiness. She was a take-charge woman, an attorney who defended her clients with aplomb. I found myself looking forward to noon every weekday to see what Livia would do next, hanging on her storylines in court, watching her talk smack to the white people in Pine Valley.

So I guess I just admire her because of the role she played. And then I found out that she was a Broadway veteran who won goobles of awards for her role in "Jelly's Last Jam". *drool*

On the crush-o-meter, she was hovering near a 9. I can't explain it, but I was seriously hooked on this woman. *shaking my head*

2. Stephanie Mills



It was 1975. I was four years old. My sister took my niece and me to see the Broadway version of The Wiz. Yes, I said I was four, but even back then I had an appreciation for live entertainment. And there she was...all 3 foot 8 of her, singing and dancing up a storm with the loudest, most pure voice this side of Gordon on Sesame Street (what? I was four, for Big Bird's sake!!!) She was Dorothy. My Dorothy. And I was a Stephanie fan forever after. Her version of "Home" still makes me weak in the knees.

Her discography is relentlessly consistent. "Comfort of A Man", "Something in the Way You Make Me Feel", "I Feel Good All Over", "Never Knew Love Like This", "(I've Learned to Respect) The Power of Love"...I could go on and on. I.love.this.woman's.voice. I literally grew up with it. So as I respect her talent gangsta, she too is one I've been crushing on for a minute. Curiously. LOL

3. Phylicia Rashad


Sure, she's old enough to be my mama. AND she played one on TV. LOL But there's something about Claire Huxtable that I just love. Maybe it was the way she dealt with her TV kids that got me hooked. Maybe it was the fact that she could act WELL and sing WELL. A double threat. Good goodness, I loves me some talent. And she's got oodles, I tell ya.

Another Broadway veteran who stands up for good causes. She walks with style and grace and has aged very well. She shouts out New York whenever possible; spending most of her adult life working here in television and theater. Her roles in BLUE, A RAISIN IN THE SUN and GEM OF THE OCEAN were all phenomenal. And THOSE are just her recent successes along the great white way.

What's not to love about this woman? Nothing, I say. And THAT is why she's another crush o' mine. Sigh.

4. Ellen DeGeneres


STOP LAUGHING!!!

*waiting for laughter to subside*

Seriously, you can stop anytime...sigh.

*bathroom break, coming back to same laughter*

OK, OK!!! Knock it off!

I am a sucker for a woman with a sense of humor. And Ellen definitely qualifies in that department. Ever since her early days on the HBO Young Comedian Specials, she always got my attention with her witty jabs. She was the thinking man's comedienne. I got her jokes. And occasionally, they actually made me laugh out loud, for real.

Now...I must admit this...I, Will, the black man's black man...TiVo her talk show everyday. WHATTTT? I can't help it. She makes me laugh. And that goofy dancing thing? It's classic. You should check her out sometime. She's the best talk show host alive. She's as much at ease with John Travolta as she is with John Legend. Farrah Fawcett as Fantasia. Sean Connery as Sean Combs. THAT, my friends, is a gift. Why else do you think people loved Johnny Carson so much? Because he made his guests feel at ease. Ellen does the same.

Last year, I was in L.A. for the Grammy weekend, and that Friday night Stevie Wonder performed at the House of Blues to a standing room only crowd. Nas and Kelis, Jay and Beyonce, Chris Tucker, Latifah, Jill Scott...everybody was in da house that night. And guess who I stood next to for most of the show? Yup...Ellen. And she was dancing more than me, singing the words right along with Stevie with more precision than me...just having a ball.

Her sense of humor is why I have somewhat of a crush on her. But really, I think it's just an appreciation and admiration for how she's handled herself throughout the years...not afraid to publicly declare her preferences, a strong sense of self, all the while doing it with comedic timing and an infectious personality.

Go Ellen.

Ummmm...that's all I got. Please draw from this entry that I love talented women. Period. That's what all of these women have in common. God bless them all.


Seriously...please.stop.laughing.now. You've GOT to have a headache by now. Yeesh.

scribbled by Will at 4/11/2005 07:58:00 AM
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4.09.2005

Mo' 'Tracks For Dat Azz...

Wow. Thanks to everyone for the comments on Part One. Some thought I forgot certain soundtracks, but rest assured, I didn't. I just didn't want that post to be of Titanic-length. I swear, I took a nap during that movie, woke up, and the boat STILL hadn't sunk. Yeesh.

Anyways, here's 5 mo' soundtracks that I've enjoyed over the years--and why. Also, please note that I didn't list any soundtracks past 1997. So THAT'S why The Best Man, Love & Basketball, et al., weren't included.

Respect.

Above the Rim (1994)


Two words: "Afro Puffs." WHATTTT?!?!? Lady of Rage was all the, um, rage that summer, snarling "I rocks ruff and stuff wit my afro puffs..." I had to get the soundtrack after hearing that song alone. Does anybody remember the bland SWV song "Anything"? Yeah, me neither, until they did the remix with Wu-Tang Clan. Straight fire!!! When ODB (R.I.P.) cuts into the monotony with his trademark yell, IT'S ON!!! One of the best remixes ever. I'm still mad they never did a video with da Wu participating. All we get is the corny ass vid with Coko (replete with 93 inch fingernails) pretending to play ball. *Yawn* The CD is topped off with the Sweet Sable classic "Old Times Sake" (hey, any song that blatantly promotes beer is fine with me), the Nate Dogg/Warren G. collabo "Regulate" and the H-Town whiner "Part Time Lover." Overall, a good CD.

And ummm, look out for this on Monday's post. I had a crush on the mother from that movie, Tonya Pinkins. Sigh. Moving.on...

Mo' Money (1992)


This soundtrack had EVERYBODY on it--which was necessary since the movie was pure sheeht (copyright, The Kajuana Show; Brutha: Coded, Zurich Daniel 2005). Sure, it was great being able to stare at Stacey Dash for 90 minutes, but really, is there a worse actress out there? Seriously. She and Halle Berry should get together, start their own company and call it PRETTIHORRIBLE, Inc.

But the soundtrack? Whoa. I just want to know who's bright idea it was to put Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross together...on an UPTEMPO SONG?!?!!! And make it work! "The Best Things in Life Are Free" makes you want to do the running man. I swear. LOL And it takes advantage of Luther's versatility while showing a side of him you'd never expect--singing over a somewhat hip hop track. The track also works to Janet's advantage since it somewhat overpowers her weak voice. WIN WIN!!!

Other songs that stood out on the track, in my opinion, are the Caron Wheeler mid-tempo track "I Adore You", the Ralph Tresvant cautionary tale "Money Can't Buy You Love" and the MC Lyte joint "Ice Cream Dream." It rounds the soundtrack out, giving it balance and a few certified hits. What more can you ask of a compilation disc?

Strictly Business (1991)


OK. I know, I know. The movie was horrible, forcing us to endure Joseph C. Phillips being transformed from geeky nerd to geeky-nerd-with-new-vocabulary. LOL But it also introduced us to Halle Berry's body (remember, she was a crackhead in that same year's Jungle Fever), which is always a great thing. Put the anorexic Anne Marie Johnson and the equally frail Tommy Davidson in the same film, and umm...let's just say that you shouldn't expect any Shakespeare-caliber performances.

So all we were left with is the music. Which, for the most part, was a great thing. Think about it: HERE is where you first heard Yonkers' own Mary J. Blige singing "You Remind Me" (her CD wasn't in stores til 1992). HERE is where you heard Jeff Redd's classic "You Called and Told Me." Sure it got annoying after a while, but it was still da hotness at the time. Where else could you hear Grand Puba re-doing a classic disco song with "Fat Rat"? With songs from Stephanie Mills, Jodeci and Leaders of the New School filling out the disc, it was good times all around.

Waiting to Exhale (1995)


"Everyone falls...in love sometime..." Those are the words that begin what will go down in history as one of the greatest all-female soundtracks of all time. Let's take a roll call, shall we?

Whitney Houston--present *SHOOOOP!*
Aretha Franklin--here
Patti LaBelle--HEERRREEEEEE! *stop yellin', Patti...damn. We hear you!*
Chaka Khan--right here
Mary J. Blige--here with my sec'raterry. *lawd*
Faith Evans--present
TLC--yup yup
Toni Braxton--here
SWV--present
Chante Moore--here I am
Brandy--chillin, sittin in my room

Produced by a chap from Atlanta by the name of...damn, who is it again? BABY-damn-FACE! Straight platinum. Is there really anything else that needs to be said? Classics include Mary's "Not Gon' Cry", Brandy's catchy "Sittin' Up In My Room" and, of course, Whitney's "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)". Just a great collection of talent, adding up to an unforgettable soundtrack. Too bad the same can't be said about the movie, which left loads to be desired.

Jason's Lyric (1994)


Not a great movie by any means. I mean, both Treach AND Bokeem Woodbine were involved, so how could it be? In fact, critics may argue that the sole reason Ray didn't win the Academy Award for Best Picture this past year is solely because Woodbine was in the cast. Just horrible, I tell ya.

However, with that being said, no young woman will ever forget where they were when Allen Payne showed his ass in that field while knockin da back out of Jada Pinkett. LOL Only a few songs from the disc are memorable, but because they still stand out in my mind, I have to add this soundtrack to my list. The K-Ci Hailey re-do "If You Think You're Lonely Now", Brian McKnight's take on the classic "Crazy Love" and the all-male, all-star "U Will Know."

I still play those songs today. Can't say the same about the film. The mangled Texas accents alone make me wanna chuck the DVD.

Love Jones (1997)


Here we go. The one that most everyone agrees is one of the most memorable CDs of the past decade. The movie, while not classic, is definitive because it was the first in a series of movies that showed young black people doing their thing. A black male writer riding a motorcycle in Chicago? Damn right. A young black female photographer? Yessir! A group of upwardly moving black folk who are apt to hang out at poetry night? Deal with that!

It was the first time that was displayed on film--and in the beautiful city of Chicago to boot. Great scenery, good acting from Nia Long, Larenz Tate, Isaiah Washington and Bill Bellamy (THIS is the tape that Bill should show whenever he wants to land a gig...his only good role to date). Solid movie. And the soundtrack? WINNER!

Ingenious move by the producer bookending the soundtrack with the definitive poems by Tate and Long. And inside are gems from Dionne Farris ("Hopeless"), Lauryn Hill ("The Sweetest Thing"), Maxwell ("Sumthin Sumthin") and Cassandra Wilson ("You Move Me"). Throw in a little Kenny Lattimore, Groove Theory, The Brand New Heavies, Xscape and Trina Broussard; the use of classic renderings from John Coltrane, Marcus Miller and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and mix well. Voila!

Damn. That's it. I'm done. I might just go home and watch this movie again. For the poetry, the black people...and the music.

Peace.

scribbled by Will at 4/09/2005 09:52:00 AM
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4.05.2005

The 'Tracks of My Years...

There will always be songs that you remember, that stand out in your mind and make you hum along even when it's not playing, that cause you to flash back to where you were when you first heard it, or tie some event to the song like that's its personal soundtrack.

That's the sole purpose of movie soundtracks--to hopefully capture you in the moment conveyed on screen, to underscore the poignancy of the dialogue being delivered, to wrap up the visual package with a hi fi bow. And more often than not, that's the way I watch a movie, with its soundtrack in mind. Good music doesn't necessarily translate into good film, but recalling certain great songs will make the worst of movie experiences a lot less painful.

Below are some of the soundtracks that I've enjoyed throughout the years, in no particular order. Tell me if you're feeling them and/or which ones are YOUR favorites.

Boomerang (1992)


This is one of the few movies where the songs on the disc actually fit the scenes. I mean, sure there were duds on the CD, including the infamous Damian Dame (nice try, LaFace...lol) and some dude named Keith Vaughn; but check out who ELSE was on the soundtrack: Grace Jones, Keith Washington, PM Dawn, Johnny Gill, A Tribe Called Quest, Aaron Hall and Shanice. All in their primes at the time. (Well, except maybe PM Dawn. Not sure they really had a prime time. LOL) And if you're looking for a reason why the disc did so well...look no further than it's executive producer: Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds. Which meant it was gonna be platinum in no time flat. In the 90s, everything he touched turned platinum.

This is also the soundtrack that introduced the world to Kenny's greatest find since The Deele: Ladies and Gentlemen...Toni Braxton. I still remember where I was when I first saw the video for "Give U My Heart." To see that little woman belting out those strong vocals...I was entranced. And I don't care what anybody says, short-haired Toni will ALWAYS and FOREVER be sexier than the unbeweaveable Toni of today. Her second song on the CD--and the centerpiece song of the movie--is also the one that REALLY launched her into the R&B mainstream, "Love Shoulda Brought You Home." EVERYBODY was a Toni Braxton fan after that one, girls because of the words and dudes because of, well, Toni's fine ass. LOL

Then, of course, there's this little ditty called "End of the Road." It only catapulted BoyzIIMen into the crossover hit stratosphere and saw them surpass Elvis for most weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts. All of the songs mentioned...written by Kenneth. This...is one of the best soundtracks ever. Oh, and featured a non-sucky role by Halle Berry (rare), as well as classic performances by both John "Coordinate" Witherspoon and Jones.

Good times for all.

Juice (1992)


Sure, people were drawn to the movie for the starpower that was Tupac Shakur in his breakout role. But they stayed because of the music. Placing Omar Epps as a fledgling DJ allowed the movie to use music as its literal soundtrack, filling the theaters with classic tunes from both Eric B. & Rakim ("Juice--Know the Ledge") and Naughty By Nature ("Uptown Anthem"). Throw in some joints by Tammy Lucas (the original "Is It Good To You" produced by Teddy Riley before Heavy D. redid it later that year), Cypress Hill ("Shoot Em Up") and Aaron Hall ("Don't Be Afraid"), and you've got a sampling of various artist flavor that will appeal to everyone.

Sidenote: I remember first seeing the soundtrack and also seeing that Cindy Herron from En Vogue was in the film. So I instantly thought that, of course, the group would have a song on the disc. Then I saw her acting performance, and remember thinking that the producers HAD TO say Hellus Nous to the group participating, deeming Cindy lucky not to be left on the cutting room floor...with her wack ass. Just horrible. LOL End sidenote.

Great shots of New York City filled the screens as well. And Pac? Hell, even I was scared of his crazy ass. LOL Loved this soundtrack.

New Jack City (1991)


Another Uptown Anthem for New York City. Here are the four songs that, whenever they are played, will take me back to the summer of 1991 when I first say NJC: "I Wanna Sex You Up" by Color Me Badd; "I'm Dreaming" by Christopher Williams; "I'm Still Waiting" by Johnny Gill; and "There You Go (Telling Me No Again)" by Keith Sweat. Again, artists in their prime (with the exception of Color Me Badd, who were at their apex, soon to be confined to "One Hit Wonder" status) making great music.

This was Christopher's commercial bonanza, recording the summer hit AND starring in the movie alongside Wesley Snipes and Ice-T. *GIRRRRL DON'T WAKE MEEEEE!* You know, looking at the movie now, it's really horrible, save for Chris Rock's performance as Pookie. Just putrid acting by EVERYONE. But I still seem to watch it each time it comes on TV. And I own the DVD. *shrug* Some things--like Bookeem Woodbine still working as an actor--cannot and should not be explained. Period.

Boyz N The Hood (1991)



What New Jack City did for New York, Boyz N The Hood did for South Central. Again, not the best acting performances in the world, but I can still watch this movie from beginning to end without cringing too much. My favorite scene is when Ricky (Morris Chestnut) is laying on the couch, shot and bloody, and his mother starts wailing on Doughboy (Ice Cube) and he screams (with improper inflection, no less), "What you hit me FOR? What you hit me FOR?" LOL Just classic shit, man.

My favorite song from the soundtrack is the Tony! Toni! Tone! hit, "Me and You." But this is the same disc that gave us Cube's "How to Survive in South Central," Tevin Campbell's "Just Ask Me To" collabo with Chubb Rock, and songs from Monie Love, Too Short, Hi Five, 2 Live Crew and Main Source. I mean, how can you go wrong with that lineup? Unless, of course, you actually listen to it and realize that those songs are straight crap. In that case...err uhhh...at least you have the movie to fall back on. It's Cuba Gooding Jr.'s only "black" role, Cube and Morris doing credible jobs and Laurence Fishburne making being a young black father 'the thing to be'.

Soul Food (1994)


OK. In order to do this soundtrack the proper justice (not to be confused with Poetic Justice, whose soundtrack was horrible), let's just run down the songs that WERE NOT good.

*waiting*

*looking again*

*crickets*

Yup! Every song on there was a hit. To me, anyway. Again, another Babyface production (the disc AND the film) and he filled the disc to the gills with hit makers. Look at the lineup: Total, Dru Hill, En Vogue, Cee-Lo, BoyzIIMen, Earth, Wind and Fire, Monica & Usher, Xscape, the Tonies, Lil Kim and BlackStreet. WTH?!?!? Sure, if you put them all on a soundtrack today, it would be the supporting music to a WHERE ARE THEY NOW? documentary on VH1, but back then?!?!?!? Holy crap. IT was the soundtrack that kept on giving.

It featured another hit collabo with 'Face and Boyz ("A Song For Mama"); Dru Hill at the absolute top of their game ("We're Not Making Love No More"); solid contributions from Total ("What About Us"), the faux-group Milestone ("I Care 'Bout You"), made up of K-Ci, JoJo, the dudes from After 7 and 'Face on piano, a young Monica and Usher cruising through their "Slow Jam", and Kim doing what she used to do: making us care about her songs with "Don't Stop What You're Doing." Unfortunately, she did. LOL

I can't say enough about this CD. The ONLY thing that could've made it better was a song by New Edition. LOL...I'm kidding. Only said that to make X gag. LOL

Anyways, those are just five of the soundtracks from the early 90's that made me take notice. When I get back from Dallas on Monday, stay tuned for Part II, which MIGHT feature discs from Waiting To Exhale, Higher Learning, Jason's Lyric, Mo Money and Above the Rim. But then again...it might not. LOL

Seriously, in the meantime...what are some of the soundtracks from the past that would make your list? I'm curious to know. Must be the reporter in me. *shrug*

I SEE YOU DALLAS!!! LOOK FOR ME!!! LOL

scribbled by Will at 4/05/2005 08:41:00 AM
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Mind Droppings

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)



The Write One


Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971.
Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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