Wednesday, June 16, 2010

That it's amazing that your love was mine...

I remember
when peace
was a dream or two away.

Dreams to escape the longing
for peace
I screamed, shouted, sighed and sought
each day.

On my knees
passing up to the clouds
my faithful prayer.

Now with this peace in my hands
and the eyes through which to see it's

To hold and have it.
To love and live it.

I would not trade the gray
for the love i feel
in this peace today.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Is it college football season yet?

Also, the NBA is fixed. Tonight's game is a prime example of why I prefer NCAA sports to pro leagues. How is Ray Allen going to go 0-13 in field goals in a National Championship Series Game #3 AT HOME in Boston...

How you may ask??

By getting paid enough to take a series to 7 games. Stop yanking my chains tricks...


I just have to write that I'm blessed and thankful, and I feel it right now, very strong. Life ain't been no crystal stair, but I've been blessed to keep climbing nonetheless. The kinks, nails and bent up boards only served to make me stronger, wiser and more adept in my walk. Ascension in fact. Yes, higher, higher, higher...

Dream it, then live it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

When you're over your self...Overture to your truth

"So you might as well keep dancing if you're not gonna run..."

I keep trying to write and something always seems to stop me. Either some mental block, or some happening in my life that forces me to exert the energy I'd rationed off for writing towards some less than worthy cause. Like heavy drinking and a hard recovery. Or working until 11 pm on a Friday night (what the WHAT!). Yeah, BAH is my new boo. Sexy, confident and always willing to keep me around to put in work. That's the kind of lover I appreciate and my employer has met those requirements fully.

I've been thinking about life a lot more lately. Not just the normal mental melee' of plans for the long-term and immediate future. More so on the nature of it all. Really, the thoughts on life ironically stem from thoughts on death.

My paternal grandfather passed away this past weekend at the age of 82. Who can be mad really? He lived such a full life, and was such a great person that it's hard for me to feel as sad physically as I do mentally. There will always be a gap in our family with his passing, but I think more than anything, he received his reward for a life well lived, a job well done.

So is death a payment or a reward? Furthermore, is life a payment or a reward?

I've always lived with the underlying belief that everything is always worth it. There's always some pay ment, or pay back for that which we're given and for that which we give in this life. Respectively.

This might be my faith speaking. The notion that whatever I may be going through today, whatever heartbreak or disappointment or fear or misunderstood rotations of the earth, are all to shape me into a better man for tomorrow so I can fulfill God's will. But, what if your time is cut short? Does that mean that it's all fulfilled. Or is it a tragic falling short of a promise? A branch cut before it's able to produce flower or fruit...

I've seen more death over the past few years than I'd like to. Each person, regardless of the proximity of their bloodline to mine, represented a hope lost, ripped from the collective hopes of the world, in my eyes. The tears have been for that more than anything. The world as a whole has lost something so precious as one other life.

So if this thing called life is so precious, so precious in fact that we celebrate it as much on its departure as we do on its arrival, then we should all be overwhelmingly thankful for each day the gift is renewed.

We should also all really stop driving cars. BP, and Chevron, and many other companies that financially benefit from the literal raping of the earth, need to be put out of business (or forced by way of the market, as expressed by consumers, to enter into delivering new energy products), and I don't see any other way to do it. We can all sit around and pretend as though some gradual and well thought out change will reverse the detriment we've brought upon the earth from whence we all are derived. However, while change takes time, I know that better can happen overnight. Some births are laborious, but some rebirths can be in the blinking of an eye. It's time for our humanity to be reborn in a way that maintains the connection and collective appreciation we all have for our mother, the earth. Gaia as the Ancient Greeks would know it, and Geb as the Ancient Egyptians would before them. That which God created first, along with heaven. That which we all come from, and shall one day return to...

For Rosalind Caldwell Jones, Courtney Donnell, Darnell Burns Jr., and now James Rutledge too. I should continue to strive to be better tomorrow than I was today, and much better than I was yesterday.

"And in the corners of my mind, I hope that I'll get to see you again, my friend. Just like a candle snuffed at dawn, you're here, you're near, you're there, and then you're gone"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

When you see inside yourself, you're having innervisions...

There's no other artist that holds more significance in my life. He's played in the background of my highest points along with my lowest.

In divine inspiration he's composed the unfolding of my life.

"All is changed with time, the future none can see...The road you leave behind, ahead lies mystery"

Just enough for the city...

“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.”

I've had a lesser degree of writer's block these past few weeks. I almost forgot that i started this blog with a specific purpose in mind, only to stumble upon it tonight. Life is an unpredictable surething, in that you can guarantee that the things you surely need will always show up right in time. If, you allow your mind to welcome and begin the enactment of that guarantee.

So, I'm listening to this KICK ASS album I just copped. I love The Foreign Exchange. I love their music, along with their souls as expressed through said music. By virtue, I will of course love any iteration of those souls that is put into the universe. And to this, the universe blessed me to stumble upon this auditory jewel, Zo! and Tigallo Love The 80's:

Click here to purchase at!
Zo! & Tigallo (aka Phonte of Little Brother) - Zo! & Tigallo Love The 80s

Guess who else loves The 80's?

All I ever want in life is to be surrounded by great music. So, my prayer this evening (among many other things) is that regardless of what absolute auditory waste is available through conventionally accepted media, let the ears of me and mine be privy to that which is soothing, uplifting, recharging, rebuilding, and regenerative to the soul.

Spring of '10 will be remembered for many things.

1) understanding Love in a brand new way
2) sharing that Love in a brand new way
3) Life affirming live music
4) Transformative perspective that yields transformation

Corinne Bailey Rae sparked this. With her open and unguarded concert. Knowing that this chica who makes some great music lost her husband to tragedy and still came out and bared all this raw emotion in her music...and then shared it so openly with strangers. It was moving. And she can sing...saaaaang.

This time of the year, I'm usually burning a textbook and paper or two, getting drunk and hoping the Pistons make it to the championship. There are no Pistons in the playoffs and the textbooks I have left are actual reference materials. ---> WHAT THE WHAAAAAAAAT!

In time...all can change. Spring has sprung. My life has replaced textbooks, study sessions and final exams with concerts, trips and some hard work for Mr. Charlie in between. HAHA real rap, please ask somebody.

Stevie Wonder - Innervisions -- Masterpiece. Let me get back to the task at hand.

Also, what we have to say has meaning. Freedom comes with the price of truth. If you're free, and free in your whole self, tongue and feet included...Let your feet move you to a higher ground, and your tongue lead others to their higher ground.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tat, Tat, Tatted Up

I love getting tattoos. I love the process of going back and forth about whether to get one, what to get, where to get it, who should do it....It's a microcosm of the deliberative process I go through with pretty much everything in my life.

"To be or not to be, that is the question"

In fact, that is always my question. My Libra / air sign qualities dissuade me from making very many concrete decisions without the proper and necessary or unnecessary deliberations to vet every possible outcome, benefit and ramification of an action. Squarely put, I think too damn much.

So this Saturday, I just woke up and did what I knew I wanted to do before my mind could start working (since it can only work overtime). I went to a great tattoo shop in Adams Morgan, Tattoo Paradise, where Tattoo Artist Shawn Brown (check out his portfolio under the Portfolios section of the site) gave me two new symbols of fresh ink and solidified perspective.

The Nyame Nti


The Mmere Dane

One on the inside of my forearm and one on my left ankle taking my tattoo total to a even magic number 4. I love tattoos and can't wait to get another 1 or 2.

The experience is always a good time. In this case, I got to know my artist well and had great conversation (happens easily when you're getting two tats). It's always funny to me that I'm so cool opening up and establishing a bond with someone injecting multiple needles into my skin to inject me with ink. Bring the pain, son!

I love them. They're beautiful.

The Nyame Nti is an Adinkra symbol for God's grace and mercy. This is to remind me to always be extending and receiving that grace and mercy as I interact and communicate with my world around me.

The Mmere Dane is also an Adinkra symbol for time's changes. The only thing constant in the world is change, and as I walk through this life's journey, my prayer and hope is that I am open to the changing nature, the dynamism of life.

Together, they represent the lessons I've learned and lived by in my life thus far. in fact, I've lived by them so much, that they've become my most intimate mantras, my psyche's song, a melody for me to sing in my soul to keep myself going when times get tough, and to remind myself to be thankful when the sun is shining.

End of the Week Excursus: On to the Next One

God is good. All the time. And all the time, God is good. I know that wasn't expected after a Jay-Z opening. Welcome to the church of what's happening now.

Let the church say Amen.

I've always been blessed to have great jobs. Even when I've complained about a current professional station, I've known in my heart that I was blessed to be in that position at that time. For one, it was usually something that I'd desired in my heart at some point. Even if I had held on to the desire with faith for a considerable amount of time, I knew that I was fortunate in what I was able to do for whatever amount of time each day, for whatever amount of money.

I am realizing more and more that I've unfortunately been living the past 10 or so years of my life in survivor mode. Nomadic almost, I've never really gotten comfortable in any place I was in life. While it appears as confident ambition to those around me, it's actually been a lot of residual fear and collecting. After years of dealing with blows and losses, I learned myself to never rest comfortably where I was, looking for something better all the time in order to not lose what I had in my hands. The payoff has been great, yes. I have been very blessed with opportunities that I know some dream of. That I myself once dreamed of. Truly.

So now as I enter into my last day at a job I worked, and waited for, for another job I've been waiting for, even trying for three times (third time was the charm), I'm really scared again. Scared that something will go wrong and I'll feel setback once again. Even more than that I am also really afraid that I'm running away from something good & comfortable, as opposed to walking into something new and fulfilling....

And I suppose that none of that really matters. One thing I've learned in my 25 sun circles is that the voice of fear is always louder than the voice of reason & truth. This is seen in the body politic as well as the body individual. When we act out of fear, we limit ourselves to a life and a perspective that, while comfortable, holds us hostage and separates us from our inherent reach for progression. The voice of fear though often speaks only from the corners of our heart and mind that house our past experiences, mixed with good and bad. Reason & truth, however can speak from our hearts & bones' past & present vantage point. Seeing not only where we've been, but how we arrived from the point to where we are in the present. With that truth, we can reason that the path from this present point to a future destination will not be entirely dissimilar. Everything works itself out.

Tomorrow is my last day at my current job. A year ago this time I was ready to quit graduate school and move to a remote island to sell coconuts and pot at a joint called Mark's Island Vibrations Shack. I had no idea that a year later, I would have made it through that fire storm, and would be moving onward and upward.

Nervous, slightly scare, anxious...All of the above. The next few days will be spent translating the energy my mind is putting towards those thoughts and feelings into anticipation and expectation of my next move, being my move to my best job yet. My career as a Consultant is in full swing (my dream!) and I know in my heart it's all because I've continued to keep my faith in the Divine Mother and Heavenly Father, so they've kept their hands over me, and in that I've been able to receive the best opportunities life has for me. I don't know what tomorrow is, nor what mysteries and secrets it holds. All I know is that it's a blessing, and that it's my day if I shall receive it as so.

"Many things about tomorrow,
I don't seem to understand;
But I know Who holds tomorrow,
And I know Who holds my hand."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Time's just gonna change itself around

"Take some time
Just hang around awhile
Like to sit this silent moment out
I don't want to lose or let you down
Time's just gonna change itself around"
- "In Time" Zero 7

Growing up, growing older is a confusing process. I just had dinner with a friend and we both talked about how awkward we feel. Not the awkward you feel on a first date. Not even the kind where you call your boss's wife by the wrong name. Like, his first wife's name. Or his second mistress' name.

It's the kind of awkward that I remember from around the 11th grade. Where I didn't feel I quite had control over my body, my mind, or my many emotions that were overtaking me. Thoughts of an independent being would come spilling out of my mouth before I could even fully consider what they actually meant, let alone recognize where they would land. From that point on, I was trying to get to this point, where the independent impulses are within my control to some degree. Now that I feel myself arriving at that point, I feel like time has played the ultimate hat trick. I still feel as awkward as I did then. Even more so.

It's nice though to look back over the past few years and see how time has changed me and those around me. As we plan our lives and toss back and forth ideas and fears, hopes and goals, we each place one more brick into something great we've dreamed of. Even though we've made attempts in the past, only to see our progress crumble before our very eyes, we've learned to recognize when we need a new foundation, or we just need to move to a newer ground. We've learned the mistakes of a mason and applied the lessons of a master carpenter. And now, while the days run into themselves, and we run the rigamarole that gets tiresome and somewhat boring on the surface, I know that beneath it all, we're all building. And that's beautiful to me.

Time has somehow changed itself around in so many ways.

"There are years that ask questions and years that answer." -Zora Neale Hurston "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

When I did PPIA a few years ago, I was entranced by this quote in the Kraus Campo at CMU:


Initially intrigued by the sheer fact that it was backwards! (i'm a simple man with a simple mind at the end of the day), I became so enthralled that the content of the quote itself left a significant impact on me.

Translated: "What Eddington says about the direction of time and the law of entropy comes to this: time would change its direction if men should start walking backwards one day. Of course you can call it that if you like: but then you should be clear your mind that you have said no more than that people have changed the direction they walk in."

So when I encountered this quote, my time was beginning to change. I was beginning to see the joy in life, and feel that my faith was truly bringing into manifestation the bricks and mortar for me to build my dreams. Instead of running from what I'd looked at as ruins, castrated visions of a dreamer, I saw the blessing in it all. Like I could change directions and walk through it all again, just tog et right back to the moment I was in at the time.

Perhaps it's all just a side effect of my own entropy, then and now. Time just seemed to change itself around.

Monday, March 8, 2010

February Top Five

Hello World! There was a slight delay in getting my End of the Week Excursus formulated and out for print. I had a great weekend reuniting with some of my closest & most cherished friends by way of Graduate School, and I found myself making new friends that I hope will be around for the long haul as well. Yeeeeeeeeaaaaahhh!

February is the shortest month, but this year proved that big things truly can come in small packages.

1. Snowmageddon: Who knew that 1) a snowstorm would sweep through the Mid-Atlantic region with such force as to shut down the entire Federal Government and it's economic region for a historic 5 BUSINESS DAYS! Though I worked from home most days (aheemmmm!) I thoroughly enjoyed spending times with my friends in Dorms 590. Playing games and drinking is the new snow day ritual. What used to be hot chocolate and Nintendo has now become Farkle and Yuengling power hours. Said, we movin on uuuuup!

2. The New Orleans Saint's Superbowl Victory: 1) I called it. 2) I wanted it. 3) It happened. Over delicious ribs prepared by my homeslice Ben, I watched the underdog team hold back what should have been a much more difficult offense, and power through what was usually a much more calculating defense. I love Manning. He's a great quarterback...but still...Who Dat Say Dey Gon Beat Dem Saints? Certainly not the Colts, cause then they'd be lying.

3. Homemade Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits: I am not a big chain restaurant fan. I have been spoiled by living in small towns like Eureka where Le Chanticleer (my former employer) is more commonplace than any Applebee's or Olive Garden, and in great cities such as San Francisco where you can not find a chain restaurant for close to hours inland away from the bay. Somehow though, I have always been, and will always be, a sucker for Red Lobster. Specifically, I am a sucker for their Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Unfortunately, there is not one in close proximity to me and the DC metro area (by that I mean within the beltway which is where I have to stay for many reasons). This problem was remediated upon finding this great recipe for HOMEMADE CHEDDAR BAY BISCUITS! I added an egg to the recipe for fluffier biscuits, and further escalation of deliciousness. Fat kid status, HOLLA!

4. Lofts 590 Cocktail Hours: During Snowmageddon, a few neighbors started holding cocktail hours in the lobby of my grown & sexy apartment building. Who knew that there were more lushes living right next door to me! One evening I was leaving to grab a couple shirts from the mall and I ran into a gang of well dressed individuals holding drinks. That's a group I belong in obviously, so I stepped up to the apparent ringleader and the rest is social drinking history.

5. New Job Alert: At the end of February, I received an offer for a Senior Consultant position with Booz Allen Hamilton, the original consulting firm, and one of the global leaders in private and public sector tech & management consulting. Badass status. I consider it a blessing to receive such a great opportunity when the economy and job market are in the condition they're in. Also, I am still growing into what I truly consider a post-traumatic self. Building off many setbacks I overcame in my adolescence, throughout high school, and in getting to college...It still boggles my mind that I'm now a multiple degree holding adult climbing my way up the ladder. God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams, and sometimes I still feel as though those dreams are where this all is taking place.

I am anticipating the imminent spring, beginning a new job and a new phase in life, and all the rest of the continued blessings life has to pour into my proverbial cup, and the continuous blessing I can be to others in return.

February was also Black History Month. Without the many African-Americans that survived and grew past their own individual struggles and collective struggles, I would not be alive today, nor yesterday to make it through my own struggles, which, in retrospect, pale in comparison to the everyday struggles of those that lived, to die, for FREEDOM and JUSTICE. This is dedicated to them, and to me, yesterday's me and today's me. To all of my compadres, those of us here today, and to those that will come tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This Week's _____ Please Award Goes To...McNugget Love TOO

Actually, I won't be giving any McNugget love today. Just bewilderment and pure disgust at McDonald's lack of parameters in marketing their food filth to the masses.

McDonald's should not receive all the blame for misguided and shameless promotional activities. Everyone does it, and mostly without any reprimand (my own company for example created a rap to encourage consumers to read nutritional labels as a part of a strategic communication package for FDA, one of our clients...Shameful <--Insert sarcasm font here).

So, R&B and Rap, while both relatively mainstream now due to Viacom owned MTV and BET (MTV's baby cousin with cornrows), still hold a cultural significance to me and many other Black Americans. More than anything, I believe this connection is due to the fact that they represent the sounds we grew up on. I remember my Mother jamming to Stevie upstairs in the living room while my Dad played MC Hammer albums in the basement. For all they both did wrong and right, I know that without a shadow of doubt, my parents both provided me love & support, and nourished my soul with good music as much as they nourished my physical with the Cream of Wheat (Mark Sr.) and morning wheatgrass juice (Lorrie) they provided (or forced down my throat) each morning. To me, R&B and Rap go hand in hand with delicious & nutritious food, and a well supported and well fed body & soul.

The other night, I found myself nostalgically revisiting those times where my parents were my primary sources of growth and development. TV One (God Bless You Cathy Hughes!) now airs "A Different World" and it has spun me into a world of appreciation for the role it played in my childhood, in 30 minute increments. As I once did as a child, I now can not do anything unless I've had my does of Dwayne Wayne, Whitley and the gang at Hillman College. It even occurred to me that I probably dreamed of college with as much fervor and determination as I did because I had this show as a significant part of my formidable years (my lovely maternal Grandmother once recorded all the episodes of the series on VHS tapes for me...Love that lady!)

While on this train of nostalgia, we took a break for a word from our sponsors. Who do we find at the top of that sponsor list. Ol' Mickey D's. RED FLAG #1. TV One, a part of Cathy Hughes' African-American focused media empire should be leveraging it's role and power to sponsor groups working against the over-saturation of McDonald's pushing their saturated fat filled food to a community already riddled with heart disease and diabetes almost to the point of hereditary and habitual demise.

To boot, the commercial was second in a series of McNugget Love R&B themed McDonald's commercials seeming to encourage me and my counterparts to get coital with a McNugget that is made of chicken parts...RED FLAG #2

African-American empowerment and community development goes hand in hand with the recreation of our collective views towards health and our bodies. We can't build wealth if our hearts are gonna give out on us in our late 40's or early 50's. As the descendants of slaves and economically marginalized peoples, we are at risk for many of the residual physical and mental ailments that come from limited resources that have forced the consumption of "parts" covered and coated in saturated fats. One of my personal callings (and that of many friends) has been to strike a more clear balance in what we put into our bodies. Not to say that I don't indulge in practices that are less than healthy at times. I like bacon dammit and don't plan to stop eating it anytime soon. And hold that turkey ish. I'll do that every now and then (when I'm feeling particularly EBP), but game recognizes game, and sometimes there's no replacement for the rich, salty taste of the divine swine.

Not every day though, and never without enough green vegetables throughout the day to counter the heart unhealthy effects of that pork. Herein lies my McDonald's beef (PUN!). There are far too many communities lacking access to resources beyond a McDonald's, a Taco Bell, or a Jack in the Box. With our national economic resources dwindling for an unknown period of time, there is even less incentive to seek out healthy and revitalizing food sources. This is compounded greatly if the nearest non-711 or bodega style grocery outlet is miles from one's neighborhood (no one shopping for a family wants to carry groceries on a bus or a subway train, God forbid if they have to switch lines in the travel process!).

McDonald's is a business though, and will seek out profit margins in the most efficient way possible. It's no surprise then that you will find their outlets in abundance in the neighborhoods that also lack quality grocery stores with safe and fresh produce and foods. Those same neighborhoods are within the fold of Cathy Hughes' media empire targets as well. TV One might have a gap in their sponsors if they booted Mickey D's, or at least countered each McDonald's commercial on their station with PSA's to organize members of the African-American community around food access issues. Someone has got to do something....This problem has persisted for many decades now (see the Good Times episode where Florida has to protest a grocery store that served bad meat and got everyone pregnant)

McDonald's is good for upgrading their menus and business practices based on widespread backlash against the undisputed negative health and environmental effects of over-consumption of their food. What they are not good at doing however, is not engaging in predatory proliferation of their restaurants within vulnerable communities suffering from a dearth of food access. Since they won't do it, TV One should help them out by refusing to allow McDonald's advertisement during their peak viewing hours. In fact, they should replace that advertising with information and education that builds up healthy communities and finally turns the tide in the Black-American community towards what is realistically healthy and what is downright inarguably killing whole sectors of our community.

If you want my McNugget love, you'll have to tell me what the hell is in a McNugget first.

Glossary: EBP = Educated Black Person (aka Uppity Negro)

Y'all better Real Eyes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mid-Week Excursus (cont.)

I'm posting this blog entry from my T-Mobile g1 Google phone. FTW! Boom Boom Payow!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mid-Week Excursus: I remember it like it was yesterday...

Abbigail and I don't disagree on many things. While thinking of potential excursus topics we came up with the idea to do a Pro v. Con entry. What would we write about? Labor unions? That's about all we've disagreed on. As much as I love my labor unions, and as willing as I am to verbally will to power that they exist at all of our benefits, we both did agree that something more interesting was necessary for this week's Excursus. So we are both sharing our views on something close to each of our hearts. Our respective kick-ass mobile devices. (Check out Abbigail's take here at Attempted Domestication)

I had just turned 24, and was extremely happy to be celebrating my 24th sun circle with my friends in the city I'd dreamed of living in. I was moving into a sexy new loft-style apartment with one of my best friends and was months and a thesis away from my Masters degree. I didn't think the world could get any better for Mark. The gods were already smiling upon me and showering me with such favor that I knew I had surely reached an apex of joy and fulfillment in life.

Then, it came.

My T-Mobile g1 (powered by Google), literally changed my life. All the things I had come to appreciate, and even taken for granted, were now significantly amplified by my ability to coordinate it all at my fingertips, while Google chatting my close friends and family.

They say that what your mother doesn't teach you, life will.

I say, what your mother doesn't teach you, Google will let you search for, and then someone will create an Android app to do it for you. FTW!

There are many reasons I am a firm supporter of my g1, and Android as a mobile OS (operating system). I've had a Palm (like, an old school Palm YIKES!), the T-Mobile Dash (with Windows Mobile), and have used many Blackberries at different hardware and OS versions. The g1 offers an interface that is both intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing. The phone itself is outstanding an durable (great for someone like me who is constantly on the go and has to be able to drop it every once in awhile during a mad dash to fulfill one of adulthood's demands).

I will concede that there are drawbacks to not being a Blackberry user. Well, there is A drawback. A lot of my friends use BBM which I unfortunately can not (it's always a letdown when a friend asks for my BBM pin and I have to reply with a "sorry, I only have a Google phone"). Before I attempt to include other drawbacks, I'll just default to the crickets...And not just any cricket...Good Ole Jiminy

I fall in love with my g1 more and more with each passing day. When I lose my phone, I have a friend text my secret code I came up with ('s....) and my phone volume goes straight to high and rings so it can be found (Thank you Where's My Droid app). In addition to my banking, chatting, mapping, finding the car through GPS if I lose it in a parking lot/garage (it happens), I have been reunited with many of my favorite arcade games (i.e.--Pac Man and Galaga...yeaaaaah) while being introduced to new games (i.e.--Coloroid and Jewels). My dreams and desires are at my fingertips with my g1. Android has become more than just an operating system communicative medium, it's now a way of life for me. My dreams for the world include the eradication of hunger, poverty, oppression, and availability of Android powered mobile devices for all.

As a pseudo-techie (I am a technology consultant after all) I think Android's true value, and what will guarantee an increase in Google's share of the smart mobile market, is the fact that the Android market is open source, allowing software developers to spring up new applications and for poorly developed apps to be phased out based on the collective users' preferences. It is a true open market, and I love that.

While iPhone users lose their ability to actually talk on their mobile device (remember when we purchased phones for that reason?!?! whodathunkit!) based on 3G traffic in Downtown DC, I remain calm and know that T-Mobile's 3G network, while not as widespread as AT&T's and Verizon's, has the reliability of a true friend. There when you need them, and there when you don't.

So yes, it changed my life. I'll admit it. I'm in love with my g1. It is the originator. The market introduction of Google's Android OS. Sometimes I feel like a proud parent when I see the many new Android operating phones released by the major carriers. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a person using the Droid, Droid Eris, or the myTouch, or any other Android powered phone, for these reasons:
1) I love seeing the expansion of communications technologies. The more technologies brought to scale within the market, the faster we will get updated technologies available in the market to compete. Everyone, especially consumers, win with that.
2) More people using Android powered devices equates to more useful and market ready Android apps. The thought of newer, better apps everyday makes my baby toe curl up a little bit.
3) Google is the shiznit.

From web browsing, to texting, to synching up with my Gmail, Google Calendar AND Google Reader...

Yeah, I'll stop there. Enough said. For every winner, there's gotta be a loser. Ask the Betamax

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wind out of my sails

I thought of a title. And that's the first step.

No one should be this sentimental. Nor this much of a schmuck with it.

I can't help it though. It took the wind out of my sails.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

End of the Week Excursus: Countdown! AND Reelin In The Years, Stowin Away the Time

I suck at blogging. On some levels. I really need to work harder at integrating blog-time into my everyday rigmarole of life. Basically, I need to make sure my End of the Week Excursuses
(Excursi? Maybe? Eh? Any-takers?)

This week, my blogging PIC Abbigail and I have decided to do a top 5 and top ten. In honor of our President's highly, and inarguably, successful first State of the Union Address (followed by subsequent speaking engagements in which he outlined a high-speed rail funding program and then derailed ***pun*** much of the Congressional GOP political tatics) we are outlining our top 5 Acts of Congress to be legislated, passed and signed into law in 2010.

My five are:
1) A (SOME KIND OF) Health Care Reform Act that:
  • ensures the availability of affordable care to all Americans with no regard to income or pre-existing conditions
  • caps insurance costs through some Government regulated mechanism
  • increases quality of care for all patients
2) An Equal Pay Act that outlaws pay discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. President Obama's first bill signed into law last year was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which expands the statute of limitations for pay discrimination lawsuits. A great first step, it still is not enough. As we rebuild our economy, we need to ensure that pay is established in non-discriminatory ways. Women will account for well over 50% of the US American workforce in a few years.

3) An Act to End (or at least limit) the Filibuster in the Senate would diminish what has now become a counter-productive political tactic of the minority party. In fact, it has been utilized detrimentally by the Republicans since Obama has taken office. What was once a rule to prevent the majority party from ruling the policymaking business of the Senate has now become a deterrent of ANY party completing ANY policymaking business. In the 1950's filibusters were used once or twice, a practice and pattern that continued through the 1960's. In the 110th Congress, filibusters were projected to reach 153!!!

4) An American Energy Independence and Leadership Act because, well, our earth has been beat up enough by arcane energy sources and systems. The scientific evidence has shown that our current energy practices are environmentally unsustainable, and economic experts has asserted for well over a decade now (and mini energy crises, rolling blackouts, etc. have exhibited) that our practices are economically unsustainable. An act is needed that provides the President and agencies within the Federal government the resources and responsibility to increase our energy independence through establishing and bringing renewable energy sources to scale, while also establishing America as the global leader in efforts for climate change and advanced energy technology research. Our future as a global leader in every other capacity depends on this. (Check this article out:

5) An Act to Establish A Consumer Financial Protection Agency (with an incorporation of a Glass-Steagall inspired provision that separates bank holding companies from financial investment driven subsidiaries or companies). The final piece of the overall discussion on how the U.S. American economy wound up in a position where the same politicos and businessmen that built local and national platforms on the dangers of a Leviathan-inspired Federal government had to go to said Leviathan and ask for a quick, payday style loan is a discussion on regulation and the unnecessary and unsafe gaps that have existed over the past 20 or so years. The CFPA would be a step in the right direction by establishing an agency that informs & educates financial consumers on financial planning, financial risks, and what the two together mean for their financial future.

So those are my top 5 Acts of Congress for 2010. I'm wishing and hoping and one hand, and saving my pennies and nickels in the other hand. It's hard out here for a pimp.


In honor of the beginning of the New Year and the New Decade, we're also doing a top 10 for this month past. Look for these at the end of each month as we re-indulge in the things, people, events, cupcakes, and micro-brews that make each month even better than the last.

Top 10 for the first month of '10

1) New Year's spent as a grown up with my friends at a grown-up party in a grown-up restaurant.
2) Brooklyn Chocolate Stout at Eatonville in Washington, DC. I love stouts, usually dry stouts though, like Guinness. Eatonville changed the game for my beer-buds though, and I'm afraid I'll never be the same again.
3) Anniversary of Obama's Inauguration. I've never loved the world on the whole as much as I did last year leading up to the Inaug. One year later and it still looks pretty damn good.
4) Stickfly. A play I went to see last weekend with a friend of mine. Here's some info on it from the Washington Post. It opened my eyes to a lot of my own internal struggles relating to class, race, education and isolation.
5) New Orlean's Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings. Brett Favre is a phenomenal quarterback, no doubt. He had it coming though. Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?
6) Learning that "Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?" originated from a minstrel show during Vaudeville, but was a portion written by Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of my favorite poets. Dilemma? Oh, yeah.
7) Announcement of the Apple iPad. It's just so beautiful. I have a feeling that this is a tipping point for information and communication technology.
8) Ending the month with a great performance review at work, and getting to make a five-year career plan. This came with the realization that I have a career. A f*cking career?! When did that happen? When in the hell did I grow up...
9) DC Restaurant Week. Oya Restaurant. Great food, great date. Great sushi, great wine. Boss.
10) Obama's State of the Union speech, where he put the Republicans out to be seen for the misleading fear mongers they are, and also pledged a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Both of those actions were long overdue.

Honorable Mention:
Corinne Bailey Rae's "The Sea" including this track, a brilliant and beautiful cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing"


Friday, January 22, 2010

End of the Week Excursus: Happy 37th Birthday Roe v. Wade...AND...Are We Really Living?

Let me begin with proverbial trumpets and symbolic confetti. This is the official launch of a joint partnership of soulful and insightful expression between me and one of my dedicated friends, fellow Eureka College alumni, compadres, confidantes, roommates, griots of the people’s stories, partners-in crimes, fellow rabble-rouser, and now tandem rogue journalist, Ms. Abbigail Stuaan-Cawley (Check out her blog, Attempted Domestication). Welcome to the End of the Week Excursus.

I am always exhilarated by the energy of Washington, DC. Every day I wake up and watch/listen to the local morning news for “inside the beltway”, I realize that the halls of power are not held up by the physical marble and granite the city’s ornate buildings are constructed with, but instead by the hearts and energies of the people that warrant its existence as a capital city.

Days like today, the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, are those oft-dreamed shooting stars of civic engagement that speak truth to power. The ability to speak truth to power, in these halls of power, by the citizens that vest said power, is the aim of American democracy, and the hope of this American experiment in such a socio-political concept.

Today, I took the afternoon to run a couple of errands near Capitol Hill. I love to visit the lab of the above mentioned experiment. Where political and policy scientists such as myself
(yeah, I said it, check the credentials homies ;) exercise their licenses to apply social science frameworks and approaches to addressing the problems of our society, and developing the solutions that both solve those problems and establish the foundations for the next stage of the experiment, the very future of our nation-state. Roe v. Wade, the monumental '73 Supreme Court case is one of the finest examples of how that democratic experiment can bring together the proper social elements to create a new compound for application in the legal and political labs we all inhabit.

Oh, but what did I find on this Anniversary of that historic lab session. This:

Now, aside from the KKK members that you can find at about....ummm...0:19 into the video, what I found MOST disturbing was the critical mass of young, high-school aged Americans present in the protests. In fact, I am incorrect in referring to it as a critical mass. It was an overwhelming majority. Young, high-school aged Americans such as these:

I am, and have always been a firm supporter of civic engagement, regardless of age, wealth, race, religion, or any other socially constructed and socio-politically empowered symbol that we use to create parameters. Some of my fondest memories include times my mother involved me and my neighborhood friends in protests for better public education in Detroit. While I may not have known very much about the inner workings and political, or policy, dynamics of the issues themselves, what my mother imparted in me and my friends was that we were not protesting against anything as much as we were protesting for many things that would positively impact our lives, our futures and thus the future of the world she inhabited.

The principle of civic engagement by grassroots protesting has long been the hallmark of modern American social movements and, thankfully, remains so today. It is one of the last vestiges of the foundational elements of democracy that remains untarnished today. At first, I was thrilled to see so many young adults engaging this process, and hoped that they too would be impacted as I once was 10-15 years ago, so much so that they would end up where I am now at 25, here enthralled within the halls of power, speaking truth to it at every opportunity, through every medium available. That thrill made me feel very warm, and even smelt like jasmine, pina-coladas and pacific ocean trade-winds. Until the bricks hit me, and I started to smell the bullshit.

That fecal smell was residual of my critical realization that, like their parents, and many Americans under the novocaine of what is quickly becoming a myth of democracy, and mis-guided civic engagement, these young Americans were fighting for something that:

1) isn't an issue worth fighting for
2) is never going to change
3) would never be affected by the halls of power they are seeking to speak truth within
and, most disheartening
4) serves to distract them, at a very early and formidable age, from the true policy issues they should be protesting for

So the questions began to flood through my mind, like rushing waters of that same ocean breeze I smelled earlier. Who convinced these young adults that abortion should be made illegal? Who convinced them that a dedication to life is dependent on an inflexible stance against a woman's right to choose whether she gives birth to a child or not? Who convinced them that the Federal government has any role in legislating the availability of abortions in America, beyond the Supreme Court's precedent setting ruling that a woman's right to have an abortion up until the "point at which the fetus becomes 'viable?'"

Their parents? Their church? Their school?

Furthermore, who has now potentially tarnished a considerable number of those young and impressionable minds by distracting them from the numerous policy issues of the day that will truly affect their future lives as adults? Who has convinced them that abortion (an issues that, again, has already been decided upon by the US Supreme Court, the supreme Federal policy maker/breaker/re-maker) is worth a visit to the capital for protesting more so than last year's bank bailouts (err, excuse me TARP), by the legislative body, or the potential increasing of the federal debt ceiling (again, by the legislative body), when both of these policies would impact their lives and their life options far more than whether a woman has a right to exercise her natural right to determine what she will and will not allow her physical body to endure (or for that matter what kind of economic and social situation she will allow herself to be in as a result of childbirth)? That was a long one, I know. I apologize. Eat it up and let it digest before swimming.

All of these questions, have led to my final pondering. Where I find myself right now. My mental state as a human and as a civically minded and engaged American.

As Janelle Monae said (I always gotta end on a musical note):

Are we really living or just walking dead now?

Go to 2:31 if you want to get straight to the point.

"Day-Dreamers please WAKE UP! We can't sleep no more." They're getting the children. The seed corn. Once the seed corn is gone, there's no harvest for tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Roe v. Wade.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Resolute in my resolve to resolve my revolutions..OR...You've Changed

I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. Not gonna beat myself up about it though. This is a relatively new approach for me in life. Not beating myself up about things, even those things where I fall short, and there are many. Sometimes I am moody, enigmatic, even downright rude and selfish. I can also be highly supportive, a great listener and strike a balance between that listening and providing sound advise on life on a macro and micro- level. Sometimes I change, how I act, and even what I say. At the end of the day though, what you get with me is honesty as best as I can provide based on who and where I am at that given point.

I chalk it up to my having to be so bold and aggressive in life up until this point in order to survive the many gross abuses I suffered from an early age. I remind myself daily that at any given point within the past ten+ years, I could have given up on trying to make life work for me. I could have given up on my pursuit to become exactly who I wanted to become. I didn’t though. I stuck with life, so life has stuck on me. My reward is being who I am, even when who I am is in a constant state of change. This past year, I lost and let go of many friendships. Some were lost to life and its cyclical and recycling nature, some were lost to the winds of change. I can now count all of it all joy, because I needed to thoroughly examine myself and examine the relationships I’ve formed, the value they bring to my life, and the value I bring to them and those I share them with.

So the past few weeks, really since the new year & new decade began, have carried many external and internal lessons on friendship and companionship for me. I have seen people make major sacrifices for true and fallacious companionship, and witnessed my own weaknesses with regards to managing my own friendships and relationships. I came into this new realm of existence with a focus on myself, not realizing that I have been poorly managing many of the key relationships in my life.

1) I thought it safe to let the lines between romantic and platonic relationships remain blurred in certain instances. This was not healthy for me, for the companion, nor for the dynamics of the relationship as a whole. Taken care of as of December 31, 2009. This principle is now simply in a state of application. For the most part. Lord help me. Actually, I’m cool for now. Always gotta have a glitch in the matrix. As long as the glitch is nice and sexy...HAHA.

2) I also thought it safe to mix my multiple circles of friendships without any hands on management by me. I have been blessed with very rich friendships from the many different phases and places life has taken me. Ironically, I think my enigmatic and constant changing nature has led some of my friends (past and present) to note that it’s difficult to really “know” me, but at the same time I end up with very dedicated and loyal friends, from coast-to-coast, and cities, hamlets and small towns in between. For this, I’m very thankful (both the loyalty AND my enigmatic nature). This past summer, a good friend I made here in DC mentioned at a party that he didn’t know very many people that kept connections dating back as far as I did (we were all at a party with friends of mine from junior high school all the way up to my last job which was where he and I met) and could have them all together at one time. It was a moment that I realized how blessed I’ve been to have the love and support of friends at every junction of my life. I loved having so many cherished friends, and my greatest challenge, until this point, was managing to enjoy them all. So it became easiest, so I thought, to bring them all together as often as possible, allowing them to mingle and mix and for me to indulge the ones I’ve grown to love and appreciate thus far in my life.

Hindsight is 20/20 and I was clearly blind in taking this approach. My circles of friends can’t be mixed. The mixing leads to volatile situations, where hearts wind up broken, and people end up envious of my time and how it is spent. Additionally, it sets the stage for one of my greatest fears in life, having unnecessary and unreasonable expectations placed on me without being clearly communicated (even if they were clearly communicated though, the expectations themselves would send me flying away. I can’t help being a bird. I don’t do cages). All these sentiments translate to situations I refuse to deal with as an adult. There’s a point where you just have to grow up.

3) My relationships are still extensions of myself. I am picky about who I spend my time with, and who I let into my world. Primarily because I have never considered relationships a necessity. I can do fine by myself. In fact, I didn’t have very many friends for a really long time. Even when I did have a solid network of friends, most of what I dealt with in my life was in a realm far beyond what they could help me carry. It’s still even strange to me that people would want to be my friend. There’s still a little isolated and ostracized kid inside me that’s a little too peculiar for all the other kids to be comfortable playing with. As an extension of me, they [my relationships] must change as I change. As I grow, they must grow. If they can’t grow, then they must go.

And that last principle, more than anything in my life, is where I’ve probably changed the most. Some time ago, I probably would not have been so resolute in what I was willing to easily sacrifice for my own sanity, and happiness. That day has passed. No one is more important to me than me. I am selfish, and will continue to be. This is not to say that I’ll walk in selfishness. I will always be a loving, caring person. My heart will always bleed for those suffering, whether that suffering is in front of my face or only accessible through a news camera. However, I want to be the best I can be for myself at this point in my life. This requires a strong will for what I want in life, who I want to be and what I want to give and take in life.

It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.

- Invictus, William Ernest Henley

I read some of my old posts from LiveJournal last night. I was specifically looking for a quote from one of Carnegie Mellon’s rooftop gardens. While searching for that I read some of my writing and realized that I am today exactly, EXACTLY who I wanted to be today. The dude from 5 or 6 years ago was in a wilderness, but had a vision of someone who was simply comfortable in his skin. I own this skin, the physical and proverbial forms. I take care of this body, and I choose not to at times. All in all though, I am happy and confident with who I am and where I am going. I’ve changed, for the better, and this is only the beginning. There’s so much more in store for me, so much more for me to become.

Sia has a new album coming out (WOOT WOOT! We LOVE SIA!!!). One of the first singles is “You’ve Changed”. Her voice frames every concept I deal with in life into a way that just fits. We must be soulmates on some level.

Mark, You’ve Changed…For the better…

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Move Your Money!

One of the most significant experiences I've had thus far in my life was my time as a fellow at The Greenlining Institute. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area (Bay Areaaaaaaaaaaa!), Greenlining has become a well-known force in the community reinvestment movement, what I consider the postlude to the Civil Rights Era of the 1960's. Community reinvestment, or "greenlining" is a public policy, and community/leadership development philosophy, in my opinion, that focuses on ensuring resources are invested in communities and micro-economies that will provide the highest yields to the broadest possible spectrum of those communities, particularly historically disenfranchised or "redlined" communities, that now tend to be our nation's lowest income areas.

Today, with the American economy in a historically lull (literally coming off a decade of zero-neted growth, WTF?!), the idea of redlining has grown and taken many different shapes. While we continue to work, toil even, our monies are transferred by the federal government into the hands of the already irresponsibly wealthy, only to have them not reinvest it back into our lives, our dreams, our communities. There are many issues with the way President Bush, President Obama, and the U.S. Congress have responded to the economic crisis. The saddest, and scariest, has been the inability to leverage their "bail-out" of U.S. American commercial banks into liquid funds reinvested by those commercial banks through small business, residential/commercial development and home mortgage loans at realistically competitive rates. Every American taxpayer is being redlined.

So, I'm moving my money! In protest of the poor and irresponsible practices of the past 20 years on the part of the Federal government (through Reagan-era inciting of deregulation and anti-government policies, incuding the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, particularly Reg Q) and commercial banks (recklessly seeking higher shareholder profits through "selling" banking and financial products, even at the expense of consumer's financial security), I am moving my money to a community bank.

My mom and I have been discussing the need for strengthening community banks over the past year, primarily since Lehman first started dipping low. This website, and my lover and soulmate Arianna Huffington, inspired me to actually take a step and DO IT, as well as further promote the need for consumers to speak with their money, and MOVE IT! The "too big to fail" banks that are left won't be too big to fail if we take all our money away. At least the money we voluntarily let them hold in accounts and through products such as credit cards.

Along with my own personal fiscal responsibility for this new year and new decade, I am also looking forward to knowing my money will be invested into a community bank that re-invests in the community they are serving and receiving monies from. All the while, growing in a fiscally safe and sound manner. The true aims of banks (Hamilton must be spinning in his grave right now seeing how this system he so intricately crafted has turned out).

BTW, I chose this bank: Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust. Conveniently located and renowned for being safe as a financial institution.


Play me out fellas...Pink Floyd - Money

Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash...
Money, get back. I'm all right Jack, keep your hands off my stack.