Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bloom Where You Are Planted

You're not in a position for promotion if you're not being the very best you can be in your current situation.

I've been battling with the idea of wanting more - something exciting, something new, something "worthwhile." While we all have the right to pursue our ambitions, packing up your seeds and expecting to plant them on the other side of the green is not always the best option.

To be eligible for growth, you need to first bloom where you are planted. You may not like your current situation, but you have to choose to not live your life miserably, regardless of your circumstances. This applies to every part of our lives: You can't expect to meet Mr. Right when you're treating Mr. Wrong terribly. You can't expect to be manager when you can't even be managed. You can't expect a million dollars when you are poorly budgeting ten thousand. BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.

This idea isn't to be confused with settling/mediocrity, because one should not be content in mediocre settings. However, you must learn to cherish what you have before you can appreciate what you will gain.

We all deserve more, but a route of success (in any area of your life) is like a line of credit, you have to prove that you're capable with what you have before more resources will be extended to you.

Ok, I'm tired...
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quick and Easy.

Anything worth having is worth working hard (and waiting patiently) for. The obstacles between you and what you want aren't there to stop you, they are there to test you. They are there to make you prove how badly you really want it.

Sometimes, it's just that simple.
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pascal's Wager

* singing this portion of the classic gospel song "Be Grateful" *

God has not promised sunshine
because that's not the way it's going to be.

Sometimes, we have to get a little rain
mixed with God's sunshine and a little pain.

It makes me appreciate the...good times.
So, be grateful.

So, you've got to be grateful
for it will be alright.


2010 sure has been a roller-coaster ride of a year; I feel the worst of it is over. I questioned a lot of things this year and I think both my family and I have had to deal with a lot, but we proved to be stronger than our circumstances and tragedies. I'm happy now. I'm genuinely happy.

Religion is more about spirituality for me and I believe that a person can only begin to live a healthy, stress-free life once they have realized their life is beyond their physical being, and in effect, connect to their spiritual being. Being spiritually-centered is a journey that many people aren't willing to take unless they have hit rock bottom. Tragedies, job loss, divorce, break ups, terminal illnesses. I, on the other hand, use spirituality to fuel my day-to-day function and stay grounded.

When I think about my year and all the tragedies, pain, stress, etc., I can honestly say that I knew while going through it that it would get better. That type of faith in such unfortunate situations isn't easy, so thank God I had that spiritual foundation and faith that whispered to me, letting me know in times of pain that things were going to be alright.

The thing is, no matter how agnostic or apathetic we are about religion, spirituality or God, in general, the truth is at some point in your life you realize that you, yourself, are not enough. It is then that you look to something else, a higher power, a friend, or an escape. You have to decide for yourself that whatever you believe in is greater than yourself, regardless of what exactly is that you choose.

I have chosen and will continue to choose God, because He hasn't failed me yet. My personal advice is to adopt Pascal's Wager as an approach to your spiritual beliefs.

[Pascal's Wager (or Pascal's Gambit) is a suggestion posed by the French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal that, even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should wager as though God exists, because living life accordingly has everything to gain, and nothing to lose.] - from Wikipedia.

Today is October 31st, a Sunday, and I'm advocating for God. I personally believe my religion suits me and many others best, but find a religion that works for you, because if you don't believe, then there is no point in practicing it. I just want everyone to be able to have faith in something, because without faith, it's hard to navigate life without being bitter and scorned. You have to trust that divinity is working through your life and the ups and downs are building blocks of a healthy spiritual you.

Think about it...



Monday, October 4, 2010

Turning Welch's Into Wine...

BRB, running to the grocery store.

Turning Welch's Into Wine In 48 Hours

Turning Welch's Into Wine In 48 HoursI'm taking the last sip of home-brewed purple liquid. It's sweet yet balanced, fizzy yet quenching, smooth yet these words look a bit blurry. It tastes like a dangerously well-mixed drink. And just 48 short hours ago, it was Welch's.

Yes, good old Welch's Concord Grape Juice. And something about enjoying the beverage in such an adult manner makes my inner child weep.

I haven't touched the stuff since I was 10. Welch's, along with pretty much any processed fruit juice, is just too sugary for me to enjoy. Beyond a stiff margarita, I've found the world of frou frou mixed drinks have been lost on my palate. I don't judge those of you who enjoy all those syrupy, rum-infused rainbows garnished with alcohol, but...I take that back. I do judge you. I'm a booze, juice, food and general topics snob.

But I had to test the claims of Spike Your Juice, a yeast-based kit that ferments any 100% fruit juice, so long as it has 20G of sugar or more per serving, into an alcoholic brew with anywhere from 4-14% ABV. That puts the resulting potency somewhere between beer and wine. With a healthy 30G of sugar per serving, Welch's is a prime candidate for home fermentation.
Turning Welch's Into Wine In 48 Hours
You add a tiny yeast packet—about the same amount you might add to a bread-loaf of dough—to a 64 oz bottle of juice at room temperature. You ditch the normal cap for an included rubber stopper—one that allows gas to escape the bottle while otherwise keeping an airtight seal. And then you wait.

Apparently, this fast fermentation process is borrowed from the production of Federweißer, a German grape-based booze. Indeed, you can even make an authentic Federweißer with the kit.

Yeast munches on both the fructose and sucrose, then it expels alcohol along with CO2. My bottle of Welch's, as it transcended its forefathers through its alcoholic metamorphosis, fizzed after a bit of waiting. Then, after 24 hours, it bubbled like that slime from Ghostbusters 2.
Turning Welch's Into Wine In 48 Hours
The substance spilled out the airlock cap onto my counter, rebelling from its family-friendly roots with a new identity all its own.

What had I done?

"I swear you're making poison," my wife warns. I pretend I'm not afraid.

Another day later, and the juice had calmed down, still bubbling incessantly, but with the micro bubbles of champagne rather than the soapy bubbles of painful sequels.

Just an hour ago, I decided to pour a bit on the rocks since it fermented at room temperature. I tentatively sipped, expecting something that I could barely swallow. Instead, I was brought back to my childhood. Grape freezepops, grape sodas, grape jelly...but with a kick at the end. I wouldn't call it a burn, but a microbrew-like presence of alcohol behind the flavor.

After 2 1/2 glasses, it makes for a quick, harsh buzz—akin to the helmet of weight you get around your brow from vodka. There's no way this is 4% ABV—I'd guess it's closer to 8 or 10%.
Turning Welch's Into Wine In 48 Hours
I don't think I could drink the stuff every day. But I will say this: If Spike Your Juice were around during my childhood, I fear that Welch's concord grape could have had an entirely different connotation. Plus there's no way I'd have ever grown this tall.

Now whoever figures out how to spike peanut butter will be my personal savior. [Spike Your Juice]

Send an email to Mark Wilson, the author of this post, at mark@gizmodo.com.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Decision, Decisions...

This could all be hypothetical, or it could be a reflection of someone's, including mine, reality; however, I will not make a distinction between the two for the sake of this post.

Keep reading...

I have come to the conclusion that really hard decisions aren't the ones where you have a choice between right or wrong, hard or easy, or yes or no. The hardest decisions are those with no substantial gain as a result of the decision - basically, when you're faced with a tough decision and both choices will lead to a consequence, causing you to choose not between entrapment or escape of the consequence but between which of the two evils will present less consequence. I call this the "robbing Peter to pay Paul" situation.

Case in point: You have feelings for someone who doesn't have the slightest clue. There is no right or wrong; you can tell the person and risk the awkwardness or you can not tell them and let a potential opportunity pass.

Case in point: You cheat on your boyfriend/girlfriend. By telling the person you hurt them, by not telling them you hurt them, so you choose the lesser of the two evils, specific to your own relationship.

Case in point: You're in college and you support yourself by working a full-time job. You have a test and need to study but you also have to work just to get by. Ideally, you would be able to juggle everything and study ahead, but life always happens and things don't work that way every time. What do you do?

The point of all this is, adult decisions suck but they are a major part of growing up. So stop complaining!

"Back in the day, when I was young - I'm not a kid anymore - but, some days I say I wish I was a kid again."



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Friday, September 17, 2010

Lady Gaga's Political Message



Lady Gaga speaks out on her plea for the repeal of DADT, urges her fans to call their senators and ask them to block John McCain's filibuster, and makes a powerful statement, "I ask that you be a voice for this generation, not for the generation of the senators."

She may be crazy onstage and in her dress, but she is very intelligent.

Link for those who can't see video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG5VK2lquEc&feature=player_embedded

Thursday, September 16, 2010

RACISM at the bus...



Link for those who can't see embedded video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glOv4MIyNSE

Happy Thursday, all.

also, I'm currently jamming this: Janelle Monae's Dance or Die



Link for those who can't see embedded video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGDkdx2zjK0

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

this is a fashion post.

Recently, I've been trying to revamp my style into a more classic, mature silhouette. As a gentleman in my 20's I feel like this is the time where habits are formed and I want to be in the habit of dressing nicely. Clothes can be superficial, but the reality  of your wardrobe is that it is your first line of defense, especially when it comes to first impressions. Clothing can be a form of expression, but because I consider myself, for the most part, to be a reserved person, I tend to go for clean, tailored lines, usually basic colors (like black, white, gray, etc.) and with this being said,  recently I purchased a small wardrobe from Calvin Klein.

Calvin Klein is a very masculine (even for women), tailored, and elegant fashion house and his clothes are, without a doubt, impeccable. I was lucky enough to purchase one suit from his outlet store, along with a handful of tailored shirts, and another from the sample-sale website, Gilt Groupe. Even though I did not pay an arm and a leg personally for the garments (thanks to my bargain hunting), there is definitely a mature and sexy gratification-type feeling from his clothes due to the quality. I plan to buy more when I can afford to do so in the coming months.

I am trying to style myself into a manner in which I want my life to function, simple, structured, mature, sexy. I included a few pictures in here just so you can get a vibe of Mr. Klein's designs and the elegant appeal of his clothing.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What Does It Take To Follow Your Dreams?

The most interesting thing about the mind is that, in it's highest faculty, it has the ability to process information beyond the practical. In this capacity we are allowed to explore our imaginations and dreams. You can build a robot to solve problems but you can't teach or program artificial intelligence to be creative.

Everyone has their own variation of their dream, some wish to be happily in love with the guy or girl of their dreams; some wish to be rich; some wish for a dream job; some wish for peace, some wish for the freedom to be themselves. The actual dreams may be different, but the way by which the dream is achieved, brought into reality, is the same. In my opinion, it's courage.

Whether you dream of being able to pack your bags and move to a new city in hopes of landing that dream job or gig, or whether you are just trying to live the dream of breaking free from the oppression of hate, or regret, confronting your fear of making the first move is the first step towards achieving your dream.

In a sense, when you mask your dream and continue to live your day-to-day life comfortably, you are essentially torturing yourself. Depriving yourself of what makes you happy is stressful, and whether or not you realize it, it does take a toll on your body. Unhappy, angry folks who are always grumpy at the office or grocery store are likely bitter individuals who let their dreams slip past them. They can't sleep at night because their mind wonders beyond what actually happened that day and the what-if spirit lurks nightly, reminding these people of what could have been or could be.
 
My biggest fear is that I, or someone I know, will likely let their dreams slip past them, unknowingly, and then BAM - it's too late. Telling that special person, "I know this is awkward, but I love you," or  an unprecedented, "Will you marry me?" or even taking a chance and starting a new life in an unfamiliar city may very well be the push you need towards landing you near your dream.

Don't be foolish and take irresponsible risks, but don't be practical either. Nothing really powerful has ever happened by someone being "safe."


Monday, August 2, 2010

find BEAUTY in all things possible.

because sometimes impossible just won't do.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Follow the Contradiction

I'm back after a long hiatus, folks. I had to take some time to clear my mind and rejuvenate myself, theoretically. In this time I discovered that New York is where I need to be. I was blessed to take a trip there and explore the culture, the arts, the demography, without feeling like a tourist. I had the time of my life.

New York is a place where people go to get inspired and after coming back I feel like I need MORE. Have you ever been really dissatisfied with your life, but when you look around and count all your blessing you feel like a selfish bitch because you realize how lucky and fortunate you are? My acknowledgement of how blessed I am, paired with my ambition, creates an edifice of paradoxical labyrinths (taken into consideration that labyrinths aren't necessarily intuitive to begin with), BUT you get the picture, right?

My inconsistencies go a little like this *insert beat box sound/hand motion*: 

I feel like I dish out a lot of love but have to work twice as hard to get it in return [not intuitive]

I feel like I work really hard but I don't see any traction [not intuitive]

I can solve problems in everyone else's life but my own [not intuitive]

I religiously wear black yet I don't consider myself to be a dark person [slightly intuitive]

If I could master the art of mental extraction/mental inception my life would be a whole lot better [intuitive]. 

Ok, that felt good to get off my chest, now I must return to reality. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Good Music Post



(in case you can't see the embedding : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ludxpkyrab0 )

I love Amy Winehouse so much - her music really speaks to me. Ok, goodnight, everyone.

Friday, June 11, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup

South Africa is the place to be! In honor of this amazing fete, I'm going to share the schedule.



http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/matches/index.html ---------




P.S. I love Mr. Ronaldo and Mr. Vela, but I have to be patriotic: see the pic! ------



P.S.S. Mr. Beckham, where are you? --------


If you can't see the pics, visit here: www.heyjeremyah.blogspot.com

Cheers!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

skinny-fat

I've noticed that when I'm stressed or worried I don't eat; I somehow forget to. A few more family and/or personal crises this summer and I will be swimsuit ready. I'm just kidding...

Ok, back to reading I go...
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Don't Tell Me 'Cause It Hurts

I love Chrisette Michele and I love this version of No Doubt's "Don't Speak" even more. Chrisette is such a talented and classy lady.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Laura Bush Loves The Gays?



carry on...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

If You're Black, You're Poor (Unless You're White)?

This is a very interesting article over a subject I've thought about several times before. Read - very, very interesting. Taken from The Guardian (UK).


"A $95,000 question: why are whites five times richer than blacks in the US?"

• Study finds gaping racial divide in household assets
• Economic policies blamed for growing inequality



* Chris McGreal in Washington
* guardian.co.uk, Monday 17 May 2010 19.47 BST


A huge wealth gap has opened up between black and white people in the US over the past quarter of a century – a difference sufficient to put two children through university – because of racial discrimination and economic policies that favour the affluent.

A typical white family is now five times richer than its African-American counterpart of the same class, according to a report released today by Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

White families typically have assets worth $100,000 (£69,000), up from $22,000 in the mid-1980s. African-American families' assets stand at just $5,000, up from around $2,000.

A quarter of black families have no assets at all. The study monitored more than 2,000 families since 1984.

"We walk that through essentially a generation and what we see is that the racial wealth gap has galloped, it's escalated to $95,000," said Tom Shapiro, one of the authors of the report by the university's Institute on Assets and Social Policy.

"That's primarily because the whites in the sample were able to accumulate financial assets from their $22,000 all the way to $100,000 and the African-Americans' wealth essentially flatlined."

The survey does not include housing equity, because it is not readily accessible and is rarely realised as cash. But if property were included it would further widen the wealth divide.

Shapiro says the gap remains wide even between blacks and whites of similar classes and with similar jobs and incomes.

"How do we explain the wealth gap among equally-achieving African-American and white families? The same ratio holds up even among low income groups. Finding ways to accumulate financial resources for all low and moderate income families in the United States has been a huge challenge and that challenge keeps getting steeper and steeper.

"But there are greater opportunities and less challenges for low and moderate income families if they're white in comparison to if they're African-American or Hispanic," he said.

America has long lived with vast inequality, although 40 years ago the disparity was lower than in Britain.

Today, the richest 1% of the US population owns close to 40% of its wealth. The top 25% of US households own 87%.

The rest is divided up among middle and low income Americans. In that competition white people come out far ahead.

Only one in 10 African-Americans owns any shares. A third do not have a pension plan, and among those who do the value is on average a fifth of plans held by whites.

Shapiro says one of the most disturbing aspects of the study is that wealth among the highest-income African-Americans has actually fallen in recent years, dropping from a peak of $25,000 to about $18,000, while among white counterparts of similar class and income it has surged to around $240,000.

In 1984, high-income black Americans had more assets than middle-income whites. That is no longer true.

"I'm a pretty jaded and cynical researcher in some way, but this was shocking, quite frankly, a really important dynamic," said Shapiro. "This represents a broken chain of achievement. In the United States context, when we are thinking about racial equality and the economy we have focused for a long time on equal opportunity.

"Equal opportunity assumes that some people who have that opportunity are going to have pretty high achievements in terms of their jobs, their work, their income, their home ownership.

"The assumption in a democracy is that merit and achievement are going to be rewarded and the rewards here are financial assets. We should see some rough parity and we don't."

The report attributes part of the cause to the "powerful role of persistent discrimination in housing, credit and labour markets. African-Americans and Hispanics were at least twice as likely to receive high-cost home mortgages as whites with similar incomes," the report says.

Although many black families have moved up to better-paying jobs, they begin with fewer assets, such as inheritance, on which to build wealth. They are also more likely to have gone into debt to pay for university loans.

"African-Americans, before the 1960s, first by law and then by custom, were not really allowed to own businesses. They had very little access to credit. There was a very low artificial ceiling on the wealth that could be accumulated. Hence there was very little, if anything, that could be passed along to help their children get to college, to help their children buy their first homes, or as an inheritance when they die," said Shapiro.

Since the 1980s, US administrations have also geared the tax system to the advantage of the better off. Taxes on unearned income, such as shares and inheritance, fell sharply and are much lower than taxes on pay.

"The more income and wealth people had, the less it was taxable," said Shapiro.

There were also social factors, the study found. "In African-American families there is a much larger extended network of kin as well as other obligations. From other work we've done we know that there's more call on the resources of relatively well-off African-American families; that they lend money that's not given back; they help cousins go to school. They help brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, with all kinds of legal and family problems," said Shapiro.


* guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Vintage"

I thought I'd take you guys back to three years. Love this gull.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Emergency Venting Session

So, I think that I have maxed out my stress card - 2010 really hasn't been a great year for me, especially not for my family. I have seen four family members pass away and to many people's surprise, it doesn't get any easier. The last two have been particularly hard because they were two weeks away from each other and one was very unexpected. I will miss my Aunt Cynthia and I will miss my grandmother just the same. I was very close to both of them...very close. As an adult, I can understand that death is inevitable for us all and we musn't dwell on it too much, but the thought of it still stings...

I am thankful that I found the strength to not only get through all of my finals, but do very well because I was already really stressed out this semester with the course load I had. The fact that I did well on them is something to be thankful for in the midst of all that is going on.

I found a way to alleviate some of the stress I was having about graduate schools. I didn't get into the schools I wanted, unfortunately, so instead of going to my safe schools, I've decided to take some time off after I finish undergrad this summer, reevaluate some things, and start back full-throttle and get new applications in for early decision this fall.

I also feel the need to cut my social life in half. I'm not one to spread myself too thin and I feel like I need to invest more energy into recuperating my soul and not wasting energy on routine bar adventures. I feel like my life has become disorganized because I've been stressing too much about that the future that I allowed my present to unravel.

First orders of business include but are not limited to the following: regulating my sleeping schedule, getting back into shape and building up my cariorespiratory endurance, reading at least half of the books I bought from the bookstore but never touched in the last few months, going to a few movies alone, and buying bigger summer clothes because I can't fit into half of the ones from last year.

I'm done venting now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"I'm Dying Back Here"

This is one of the best commercials, ever! The queen of soul and Judy Garland's baby girl on a road trip; what more could you ask for? H-I- LARIOUS.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

you don't care to know that i'm smart.....

New Beyonce Video!!! "Why Don't You Love Me." Nothing else needs to be said. I love it.

"Why Don't You Love Me" - Beyoncé from Beyoncé on Vimeo.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Presumed Consent" to Give the Gift of Life

New laws are pushing for "presumed consent" in regards to the donation of organs with the option to opt out. Efficient? I think so. Just look at Spain.

"Virtually every survey done across the United States shows that 90 percent or more of Americans support organ donation. Considering “presumed consent” as a viable option is a natural extension of that logic." - Elaine Blerg, Prez and CEO of NY's Organ Donation Network.

Here's the NY Time's Article:
http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/should-laws-encourage-organ-donation/?WT.mc_id=OP-SM-E-FB-SM-LIN-SLP-050310-NYT-BLOG&WT.mc_ev=click

Here's an article regarding the introduction of the bill:

http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_14970110

Black People Are Intellectually Inferior?

The legal community has been buzzing after an email emerged from a 3L Harvard Law student stating that she could prove that African Americans are intellectually inferior. It's the biggest non-government debate in a long time - very interesting. Take a look at the article here from Above the Law's blog.

http://abovethelaw.com/2010/05/the-harvard-email-controversy-how-it-all-began/


I would just like to say that the remarks were offensive, but they were also ignorant. This just goes to show that book sense does not transfer into a faculty of common sense.

Good day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

L is for the way you look at me.

Have you ever heard someone say that it is wrong to look for love? I disagree with that - I don't think it is wrong to look for love when you aren't looking for the wrong reasons. A lot of times people look for love or mates because they are insecure, lonely, trying to fill a void, and many other reasons. The rule of thumb is you can't give yourself to someone when you don't have enough to take away from in the first place.

It is very important to make sure you are a whole person before you attempt to give yourself to another. A consequence of ignoring this is several unsuccessful relationships because things "don't work out" or you "just don't click." A lot of these instances could be prevented if each individual took the time to examine his or herself and brought their complete package initially. I have never heard it better than this: "How in the hell can you expect to love someone else when you don't love yourself?"

Introspection is one of those psychological constructs that allows us to exercise the highest faculty of the human intellect, thus being able to separates us from the animalistic behavior exhibited by those species of lower-level intellectual capacity. Simple terms: STOP TREATING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS LIKE PRIMITIVE PRACTICES. Approach your relationships with a confident and intellectual annex and connect it with your emotional capacity and hopefully this fusion will create the "whole" you.

If you've been hurt by someone or something in life, run to the hardware store, buy some Crazy Glue and put your pieces back together. We all deserve to be whole, and the person you are dating or pursuing romantically deserves more than a hefty bag full broken emotions.

After a long time of being guarded and emotionally-enclosed, I think I am ready to look for love. I honestly feel complete as a single man, so now it's time I share myself with someone else. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Lady Marmalade"

Ok, so I usually like Fantasia and I love to support soul sangin' but this was just ratchet. RATCHET!!!

from urban dictionary: Ratchet -
when a person goes crazy or they don't care what they do.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

confidence.is.key.

This is such an inspiring story. Mr. Harding was so confident in his work, he thought the rejection was comical. For all future authors, this piece is golden!


April 19, 2010           

Mr. Cinderella: From Rejection Notes to the Pulitzer

IOWA CITY — Six years ago Paul Harding was just another graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop with a quiet little novel he hoped to publish. He sent copies of the manuscript, in which he had intertwined the deathbed memories of a New England clock repairer with episodes about the dying man's father, to a handful of agents and editors in New York. Soon after, the rejection letters started to roll in.

"They would lecture me about the pace of life today," Mr. Harding said last week over lunch at a diner in this college town, where he is now teaching at the workshop. "It was, 'Where are the car chases?' " he said, recalling the gist of the letters. " 'Nobody wants to read a slow, contemplative, meditative, quiet book.' "

His manuscript languished in a desk drawer for nearly three years. But in perhaps the most dramatic literary Cinderella story of recent memory, Mr. Harding, 42, not only eventually found a publisher — the tiny Bellevue Literary Press — for the novel, "Tinkers," he also went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction last week. Within an hour of the Pulitzer announcement, Random House sent out a news release boasting of the two-book deal it had signed with Mr. Harding late in 2009. A few days later the Guggenheim Foundation announced he had received one of its prestigious fellowships.

The early rejection "was funny at the time," Mr. Harding said. "And even funnier now." Mr. Harding, a onetime drummer for a rock band, is far too discreet to name any of the agents or editors who wouldn't touch his work a few years ago.

But he is quick to praise those who helped "Tinkers" become a darling of the independent bookstore circuit, including Erika Goldman, the editorial director of Bellevue, whom Mr. Harding described as a "deeply empathetic reader"; Lise Solomon, a sales representative in Northern California for Consortium, the book's distributor, who passionately advocated for the novel with booksellers; and the booksellers and critics who embraced the book early on.

Although "Tinkers" sunk under the radar in some quarters (including The New York Times, which did not review it), it made several year-end best lists, including NPR's best debut fiction and The New Yorker magazine's list of reviewers' favorites. According to Nielsen Bookscan, which tracks about 70 percent of retail sales, "Tinkers" sold 7,000 copies before the Pulitzer announcement.

Now many independent booksellers are claiming Mr. Harding's victory as their own. "This shows how indie bookstores truly are the ones that can be movers and shakers when it comes to a book," said Michele Filgate, the events manager at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, N.H., who raved about the book on Bookslut, a literary blog. As it turns out, it was Ms. Filgate who first told Rebecca Pepper Sinkler, a former editor of The New York Times Book Review and chairwoman of this year's Pulitzer fiction jury, about "Tinkers" at a book-reviewing workshop Ms. Sinkler led in Manchester, N.H., last April.

In classes at Iowa Mr. Harding has become an instant celebrity, of course, but also, a reassurance. Marilynne Robinson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Gilead," Mr. Harding's former teacher and now a friend, said last week in her workshop office that she had already repeated Mr. Harding's story several times.

"One of the problems I have is making my students believe that they can write something that satisfies their definition of good, and they don't have to calculate the market," Ms. Robinson said. "Now that I have the Paul anecdote, they will believe me more."

Mr. Harding is an avid reader of 19th-century novels, theological works (Karl Barth is his current favorite) and physics, making it hard to believe his claims that he was a poor student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he majored in English. The university does confirm that he took six years to complete his degree.

Wearing wire-framed glasses and a white button-down shirt tucked into Levi's, he talked effusively, the antithesis of the taciturn father and son portrayed in "Tinkers," a novel with sparse dialogue and large portions set inside the characters' heads.

Framed partly as a deathbed vigil for George Washington Crosby, a clock repairer, the book wanders through time and consciousness, describing in fine-grain detail its rural Maine setting and the epileptic fits of George's father, Howard, an old-time tinker who traveled the countryside by wagon.

The story's genesis came from Mr. Harding's own grandfather, who grew up in rural Maine and whose epileptic father abandoned the family when he learned that his wife, Mr. Harding's great-grandmother, planned to send him to an asylum.

Mr. Harding spent his childhood in Wenham, Mass., a town not far from where he lives with his wife and two sons, and he went fly-fishing in northern Maine during the summers. He apprenticed with his grandfather in clock repair, and after graduating from college he recorded two albums and toured Europe with Cold Water Flat, the band he helped form at UMass.

The band fell apart (the usual: creative differences), and Mr. Harding decided to scratch another itch. He enrolled in a summer writing course at Skidmore College, where he took classes with Ms. Robinson.

With his application for the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he submitted two stories, one of which was his first stab at "Tinkers."

But for most of his time in Iowa Mr. Harding worked on a novel about a 12-year-old girl who disguised herself as a boy in order to work in a Mexican silver mine during the 16th century. As he graduated, he realized the novel didn't work.

Once again the story of his grandfather beckoned. Turning back to it, he said, "was just such a sense of relief to not have to go looking in history books."

After his first son was born and he was teaching expository writing to undergraduates at Harvard and creative writing to night-school students, the novel became an extracurricular project. "It got so it was guerilla writing," Mr. Harding said. "I could flip open the laptop and start writing anywhere." He wrote on bookmarks and the backs of receipts, transcribing the scraps into the computer later.

Finally, one Saturday night, he printed out his mishmashed computer file and laid it out on the living-room floor. Nursing a few fingers of whiskey, he cut up the document, stapling and taping sections into the structure that ultimately made it to publication.

Shortly after Ms. Goldman finally agreed to buy the book — paying a $1,000 advance — things began to go right. Ms. Robinson, who rarely gives blurbs, gave "Tinkers" a stellar one, calling it "truly remarkable." Independent booksellers started to push it.

Meanwhile Ms. Sinkler began to champion "Tinkers" among her fellow Pulitzer jury members, Charles Johnson, the author of the National Book Award-winning "Middle Passage," and Laura Miller, a senior writer at Salon.com. "I think that sentence for sentence, it was the most beautifully written and most gorgeous use of language of any of the books we looked at," Ms. Sinkler said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Harding is working on his next novel, set in Enon, the fictional town where George dies, focusing on one of George's grandsons, Charlie, and Charlie's daughter, Kate.

The Pulitzer may change some worldly things, he said, but not how he works.

"I sort of feel like I know how I got here, every step of the way," Mr. Harding said. "Something like this can befall me, and it won't be catastrophic success."

Monday, April 19, 2010

i want to touch you, but that just hurts...



Just a little somethin'-somethin' on my playlist on this rainy Monday. No one does it like Amy; No one!

"Just Friends"

When will we get the time to be just friends
It's never safe for us not even in the evening
'cos I've been drinking
Not in the morning where your shit works
It's always dangerous when everybody's sleeping
And I've been thinking
Can we be alone?
Can we be alone?

When will we get the time to be just friends
When will we get the time to be just friends

And no I'm not ashamed but the guilt will kill you
If she don't first
I'll never love you like her
Though we need to find the time
To just do this shit together
For it gets worse
I wanna touch you
But that just hurts

When will we get the time to be just just friends
When will we get the time to be just friends, just friends
When will we get the time to be just friends, just friends
When will we get the time to be just friends, just friends
Just friends

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We Don't Have The Power, But We Never Say Never



I love how shy Bey is when she walks out AND I especially love much their love shows. This video almost made me tear up (and I never cry). I think it's because I can literally see how they love each other, just by the way they look and smile at each other. He pays tribute to her at the end and she smiles bashfully. It works so well with the theme of this song, "Forever Young." I want a love like this one day.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chopped & Screwed For You

I am in love with Amerykah Part 2. My favorite song is "Out My Mind, Just In Time."


I’m a recovering undercover over-lover
recovering from a love I can’t get over…
recovering undercover over-lover
And now my common law lover thinks he wants another
And I’d lie for you
I’d cry for you
I’d pop for you
I’d break for you
And hate for you
And I’ll hate you too
If you want me too
Ah, Uuu Uu
I’d pray for you
I’d crochet for you
Make it from scratch for you
Leave out the latch for you
Go to the stove for you
Do it some more for you
Do what you want me to
Yes I’m a fool for you
I’m a recovering undercover over-lover
recovering from a love I can’t get over…
recovering undercover over-lover
And now my common law lover thinks he wants another
And I’d lie for you
I’d cry for you
I’d pop for you
I’d break for you
And hate for you
And I’ll hate you too
If you want me too
I gotta do my love for you
chopped and screwed for you
Pay the rent for you
Its true
Its true
Poor Badu
Thought I was through with you
Guess I’m a fool for you…

Monday, April 5, 2010

Yellow Light.


Is it just me or is time racing these days? Time is one thing that I need more of, but never seem to have.What kind of car does Father Time drive, because he is obviously exceeding the speed limit. If I ever had the chance to have a one-on-one conversation with Father Time, I would punch him in the face and tell him, "SLOW THE F*** DOWN!!!" I don't want him to stop completely, I just want him to yield.

How am I supposed to save the world in only 4 minutes?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Wonderland.

There is a place that I dream of going to, where stress is nonexistent and I'm never tired.

There is a place that I dream of going to, where I can reach the peak of my creativity without being judged.

There is a place that I dream of going to, where love is my friend, not the source of my pain.

There is a place that I dream of going to, where I wake up to the sound of birds instead of synchronized alarm clocks.

There is a place that I dream of going to, where happiness isn't something I dream about and is something I have.

There is a place that I dream of going to, where death has no sting and we live forever in good health.

I hate reality, that's why I'm so good at it.


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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dis/connected

You were the one;
I could tell you why and when you placed your hand over my heart, you knew it was the truth.

Unfortunately, I was not the one;
Touch after touch, cold, steady, nothing...

Presumably, that was my cue, but this was a tough scene and the director was my heart.

My heart couldn't speak AND my brain couldn't feel AND this dis/connect was chaos AND I just wanted it to end AND so...

I pulled out my weapon... and

I killed you with my kindness.

May your misery rest in peace.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The F-Bomb

Forgiveness is, by far, one of the hardest concepts for us to grasp. How and why are we supposed to offer our anger and pain up to God in an effort reconcile the pieces of our hearts, ultimately finding peace?

Hate is a big and hungry, sharp-toothed monster that will eat up one's entire heart unless one chooses to let the pain go. Anger, although easier to hold on to than love, does not feel good, and it sucks the soul dry. When love and hate feud you are forced to pick a side...always choose love.

If you never choose to forgive and move on, you will never reconcile the pieces of your heart and consequently, you will never be able to fully offer yourself to another person. This reminds me of the phrase, "My heart can't possibly break if it wasn't even whole to start with." Don't get caught in that situation.

I hope my friend who needed some encouraging words reads this. If not, it is not in vain; the majority of the time I soap-box blog because I am speaking to myself.

Goodnight.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Moving Forward

I'm not going back, I'm moving ahead...
Nothing else to say...except listen to this song. Israel Houghton is amazing.

Moving Forward

Thursday, March 18, 2010

He Asked, They Told

I am usually a politically-neutral person, but I like this guy's idea and I hope his book creates awareness of how silly DADT really is.

Read here :Gay Military Personnel Photos

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Morning Bird

"Morning Bird" by Sade is my favorite song at the moment. I absolutely love this album, "Soldier of Love."

Morning Bird

How could you
You are the river
Pour out of this life
How could you
You are the morning bird
Who sang me into life every day
Fly away
You are the blood of me
The harvest of my dreams
There's nowhere I can find peace
And the silence won't cease
Nothing's quite how it seems
The ghost of my joy
Won't let me be
If you set me free I will not run
I will not run
I will not run

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Racing Thoughts

My mind is racing right now, so hopefully writing this post will clear some things up and I will be able to sleep.

My grandmother is in the last stage of her illness - ovarian cancer - and I am slowly, but surely, coming to terms that I may have to pull out my mourning veil in the near future.

I feel like just a bit ago I had to go through this with my grandfather. I was very close to my maternal grandfather and I am very close to my paternal grandmother. I went to visit her the other day and while helping scoot her over in bed she said, "I bet you are used to this aren't you?" making an allusion to the fact that I took care of my grandfather in his final days.

I am so over death; I literally am. I have so many people close to me die that I am literally unafraid of death at this point. John Donne, one of my favorite writers, said, "Death, thou too must die," and I think in my mind, I've killed it. Once you are unafraid of death, it loses its power over you.

My grandmother is the reason I am a closet nerd. Ever since I was young, my grandmother would demand to see my grades (she is a very no-nonsense, old-fashioned, conservative woman) and anything below all A's warranted "the look." I never wanted "the look." I know she is proud of me and everything I've accomplished and also the way I've lived my life in a very moral and gentleman-like manner (direct quote).

I don't question fate and I certaintly don't question God, so I will just say that I know no matter what, things will work out for the better. My heart is still heavy, but I feel a little better already.

Now, let me try to sleep. I have Quantitative Methods first thing in the morning...
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Friday, February 5, 2010

H-3-1-1

"Chile," a dialect derivative of the word "child," is often used in African-American culture when speaking to one another in a nurturing manner. It has grown to have a different connotation from the literal meaning of "child" to a way of expressing conversational intimacy - trust or a certain level of shared understanding.

You often hear, "Chile, let me tell you," or "listen, chile" or my favorite, "chile, please..." which (because it is rhetorical) applies to so many different conversations and situations.

In light of this, I would like to make a point that there is often a shared understanding between two people, yet one or both persons neglect that understanding (if it is present) in hopes of a more favorable situation. Chile, let me tell you, the faster you realize how easily we complicate situations -unnecessarily - with our self-interest, the better off you will be. Oprah says, "When someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time." Why do we expect people to change after they show us their true colors? Is this a tragic, human flaw?

I, unfortunately, am an idealist, so, I tend to attempt to look at a person's heart. Recently, I have concluded that with most mature adults there isn't a disconnect between their brain and heart, and that they obviously make conscious decisions to be who they are. Disappointing? It shouldn't be. Why would you blame someone for being who he or she is?

There is virtue in accepting a person for who he or she is without judging; there is pain in realizing a person will never be who or what you want that individual to be; there is good karma and glitter for those who genuinely have good hearts and wish people well; and finally, there is a place called hell for those who, without a doubt, deserve to burn for their evil.

That is about as intimate (allusion here, in case you missed it) as this post is going to get.

Think about it.
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Evangeline: It Opened Up My Eyes, I Saw The Sign

I received big news today - I am one step closer to achieving my life goal. I am not excited for some reason; I think I am afraid of change, and honestly it is making me a little indecisive. Indecisiveness is my tragic flaw - it causes me to make spontaneous decisions that I sometimes regret. Each of us has a fatal flaw, that if not addressed, will drive us into ruins, causing us to miss our destiny.
Fatality is only positive when it ends long-suffering.
Urban developments represent the organized chaos of society. Being able to see a full moon, stars, or any other natural phenomena in urban environments is analogous to finding peace in the midst of a storm. You're reminded that no matter how much you try to build on your own, some things you just cannot control - sometimes that is a good thing. Have you seen a star today, or is that your fatal flaw?
Think about it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review : A Single Man

 
First of all, Tom Ford deserves the highest praise for his adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's novel. The costumes, cinematography, the symbolism, and the ART. Never have I ever seen a film with a gay storyline depicted with such class as this one. This time it wasn't just a gay story, it was the experience of love between two men who just happened to be gay. Kudos, Tom.

Tom Ford's vision for this movie was subtle yet aggressive - it was like being punched in the face with a velvet glove.  There was a lot of symbolism - easily identifiable by the audience - which gave the film substance. This was not your average made-for-entertainment film. Sometimes there is beauty in agony...at least that what I took from this film. On a side note, Julianne Moore = love! I loved her character : think Lynn Wyatt with too much champagne and a gay best friend... 

If you want to see it, you will have to wait a couple of weeks when it returns to Houston. I HIGHLY recommend it. 

Peace and love.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Single Man




If you know me and you know my love for great movies (especially those that are derivatives of novels), you should know that I am going to love this movie.

Directed by the great Tom Ford - which means the cinematography will be amazing - this is already a big award winner. Here is the link for the trailer:

A Single Man - Click Here

Re-post: The Gray Zone

I am posting this again because it is relevant today.

The Gray Zone

I haven't perfected this as a concept yet, but I wanted to blog about it anyways. There is a certain danger about being stuck in a "gray zone." While neutrality is safe and comfortable, it really isn't a positive thing. I tend to view life as an uphill battle, so if you're not moving forward, instead of staying in the same spot, in actuality, you're slowly drifting backwards. I'm quickly learning that the source of many problems in life is the gray zone.

What is the gray zone? It's the middle ground between what you want and don't want (basically the habitat of whatever you're settling for). It's the midpoint between your best and your worse (far enough past your worse to prevent guilt, close enough to your best to feel satisfied). The gray zone is that place in your relationship where you set up camp far away enough from the black (where you're cold and lonely), and close enough to the white (where everything is warm and perfect). It's the place in your career where you are a little bored with your current job, but too comfortable to dive into your ambitions and become your own boss. It can even be present in your friendships (talking bad about a friend behind his or her back versus not doing it at all). The list goes on for days, but at what point do we swim out of the gray?

Hate is a strong word, but it doesn't begin to express my feelings for this gray zone. I think people (including myself) use the gray zone as shield. It's a security blanket because everyone knows they are safe here, and they have the freedom to run out in either direction. Go 100% of the way, or 0% of the way, because anywhere else in the middle is a waste of everyone's time. Love me or hate me, but don't mix the two. Be loyal or be a flake, but don't be a face-saver. Why wake up and go to work everyday and not give it your all? Why go to class and not give the instructor your undivided attention? Why go to your church/temple/mosque/synagogue if you aren't going to leave as a better person or believe in divine power with unwavering faith?

Success has a keen sense of smell, and mediocrity is...well, malodorous. With this being said, get out of the gray zone by pushing yourself past your usual limits. When you convince yourself to settle for anything, you always end up getting less than what you deserve. I say this because when you settle, you not only lower your standards for that particular goal, you lower your expectations for life in general. Think about it...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Death, Thou Shalt Die!

I have been thinking about death a lot lately. Over the course of my lifetime, death has seemed to follow me and for some reason, it has yet to scare me. Some people are terrified of death, but I feel like this: if you live your life to its fullest potential, then death should not be something you worry about. We all have a time to die and I honestly believe it happens when it's time to happen. No questions asked.

One of my absolute favorite poems is by John Donne, and although it doesn't have an official title, many people nickname it "Death." Here is an excerpt of the poem that I find most interesting:

"DEATH, be not proud, though some have callèd thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so:
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst thou kill me."
 
 I think many people fear death so much, that it causes them to live their life in fear. People "play it safe" and do everything they can to prevent it (like being superstitious, for example).  John Donne's poem, towards the end says, "One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!" In a sense, death is just the beginning, not the end. You may be questioning the point of all of this...

If you died today, could you rest eternally knowing that you lived life with no regrets? With this being said, it is not expected for you to achieve every single one of your life goals, but it is rather viewed as "Did I try as hard as I could to make the most of my life?" Have you told everyone you love just how much you love them? Have you made up with your foes? Have you shown appreciation towards your friends? Have you taken time for YOURSELF instead of dedicating your life towards the benefit of others, while yet still keeping others in mind and in heart? Think about it...

Live life to the fullest, because death, too, shall die.
 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Crazy Geese Lady

So, if you have ever watched The Hills, The City, or any show dealing with materialistic, rich teenagers, you probably know who Kelly Cutrone is. She has a new show on Bravo, starting February 1st, called "Kell on Earth."

She is known to be CRAZY and I can only imagine how bizarre this show will be. Here is an excerp I "stole" from wikipedia about how she usually tones down her persona, but will NOT do for Bravo:

"Cutrone is known for her no-nonsense approach to the industry, and her brutal straight-talking. She has said that she and her People's Revolution partners mute their personas somewhat for the cameras: "We kind of have to downplay our real selves. Today for example, we had a meeting at Casio. The assistants don't have the right stuff, so we're yelling at them, I'm securing everything with a paperclip and wondering whether we want a jumbo-clip or a cute little paperclip. We're in this Ford Explorer with a bumper sticker that says "Proud to be a Sioux" (and I'm not a Sioux) and Robin is sitting in the back next to a car-seat and we manage to get to the Casio office in New Jersey five minutes early and there are all these geese out front, and geese are really mean, so I tell everyone to quack at the geese. So we're all quacking really loudly at the geese. And then after the meeting, we go to this diner and I'm wearing Marni, Yohji and Prada and we are like Charlie's Angels with BlackBerrys descending on this diner. And it has like an 80 page menu, and we all have these crazy diets, and I order only hot turkey and they ask if I want stuffing and cranberry sauce and I'm like, "no just hot turkey," and Robin does her thing and Emily has a cheeseburger and we don't talk, we're on our BlackBerrys the whole time. So yeah, on the show, we're less bizarre. If we were our real selves, PETA would be calling us for how we quacked at the geese."

Sounds like a mess right? Ok, I don't even know what time it is anymore, I took 2 quizzes and wrote an essay, I just did video pilates, I'm HUNGRY, and I have to be awake shortly...

Evangeline, help!
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