Wednesday, May 30, 2012

350: O_o

From afar, you'd make the same mistake, too right?
This is blog post #350 for me.  I figured that since it's a milestone blog post, that I should share a story about something that's pretty memorable for me, but not necessarily in a good way...  (deep breath)

Here goes: 10 years ago, I got married.  The Mrs. and I spent our honeymoon in Panama City Beach, FL and despite the many memories we created, this one in particular came up the other day. Ugh. Some stories you wish would never see the light of day, but this one I guess I don't mind sharing.

We go to a restaurant for dinner and for some reason, I cannot remember the name. I want to say Pineapple Willy's, but it may have been Harpoon Harry's.  Whatever.  I'm not much of a drinker, but since it's my honeymoon, I'm looking for something to alcoholic to drink. As I peruse the menu, I look around and soak in the environment of the restaurant. "Seems like a nice place," I thought. "Right on the beach where you can see the ocean."

The server interrupts my thoughts and with a smile asks The Mrs. what she would like to drink. "Diet Coke," she replies. 

The server, writing everything down, repeats under his breath, "Diet Coke... And you sir?"

I tell him that I want to try their signature drink. As he's writing down my request, I look over his shoulder and notice what I think is a souvenir cup. "Hey," I started, "I want to get my drink in that souvenir cup on the wall over there!"

I point across the room towards the item of my choice. If I'm going out of town and enjoying myself, then I want souvenirs galore to document my memories! The server makes a weird look on his face and then walks off towards the bar.  I pay it no mind as The Mrs. and I start talking about our vacation.  It was my first real vacation.  Despite taking numerous trips out of town, it always involved family, school function or some social event.

You can't relax when you take a trip with your parents and stay in some other relative's home.  You definitely can't relax on a school trip because every waking moment of your day is scheduled.  And you can't relax on a social event (sporting, music, Mardi Gras, etc.) because you're only focused on fun and sleep is a last resort.  This was my first trip with absolutely nothing planned!  We were on the beach for eight days by ourselves and getting out of bed before noon was optional.

All of this is floating through my mind when the server returns with The Mrs.' Diet Coke, but not my alcoholic beverage of choice.  "Uh, sir," he started, "I spoke with the manager and we're not allowed to serve alcohol in a 'sippy cup' here."

O_o

I gave the cup on the wall a closer look and realized that it was indeed a kid's cup.  I guess I'd been mesmerized by the bright colors and didn't pay attention to the youthful designs on the cup.  The Mrs. almost spit out her first sip of Diet Coke as she erupted in laughter.  The server leaned over with both of his hands on his knees, as if he were speaking to a child, and said with a grin, "Sir, I can put your alcohol in a big boy cup if you want."

How did I feel after all of this was said and done? Play the video below and hear how I felt...
 


What's an embarrassing moment that you don't mind sharing?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Daredummies

How many times has it happened to you? You're driving down the freeway and all of a sudden... Out of nowhere... Some nut passes you on a motorcycle rolling about 120 mph. You're so distracted by the fact that you think you're about to watch someone die, that you forget that you're driving. I've seen this too many times.

I've never really cared for motorcycles. Maybe because my father got into an accident on one when I was a kid. He was riding down a busy street and some fool drinking a Big Gulp had his head tilted back and veered into my dad's lane. Luckily, despite it being a head-on collision, my father only suffered bruises, cuts and a broken leg. The speed limit on that street at that time was 40 mph. What happens when you wreck and the speed limit is 70 mph? Bad things, man. Bad things.

I was returning from Downtown Jackson recently when this person flew past me on his "crotch rocket." I was doing 75 mph at the time and I'm guessing he (or she) was doing 100 mph. I was passed so quickly that I couldn't even tell you the color of the bike. I never saw it in my mirror, but I heard it just seconds before it passed me. What if I had decided to change lanes?  If you're going to drive fast enough to go back in time, then shouldn't you do it when there's no traffic?  I had a college roommate who worked at the airport.  He and his bike-riding buddies would take their motorcycles and race on the runway after work.  He told me that he once reached 190 mph before his helmet visor flew up and a bug hit him in the face.  The impact of a bug hitting him in the face at 190 mph embedded the bug in his cheek.  But, at least there was no traffic out there and the runways are generally smooth.  I still think he's nuts (and lucky that the bug didn't hit him in the eye).

Some of these daredevils daredummies like doing tricks while traveling 75 mph on the freeway. Nothing says "I'm an idiot" like popping a wheelie with cars moving all around you. You would think that these people would realize that one slip or even one small rock under the tire could throw them into traffic. And even if they're lucky enough to not be thrown in traffic, hitting the ground at 75 mph is not the flesh weight loss plan I want to try.

The most nerve-wrecking of them all is "lane splitting." That's when someone rides their "widow maker" straight down the dotted lines of the street in between stopped/slow moving vehicles. I've only seen this happen in person once or twice, but I was so tempted to open my door just as he passed me.  I know, I know, shame on me.

What makes someone have no disregard for their life like that? I'm not saying that motorcycles can't be fun, but the margin for error is a lot less than for someone in a car. It's one thing to perform a stunt, but to do so with other moving vehicles around you? You may think you know what you're doing, but what if the people around you can't drive?


How do you feel about amateur stunts performed on motorcycles on your streets?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Psycho Dad, Part II

(If you haven't read Part I, then this story will probably not make any sense to you.  So, do yourself a favor and check it out before this one.)

Two years have passed since Part I occurred. I've pretty much lost contact with Mia, but Rachel and I have kept in touch every now and then. I'm sitting at home when the phone rings. "Hello," I answered.

"Hey, Quincy, this is Mia!"

"Wow. Hey, Mia, how have you been?"

"I've been great! Just staying busy in grad school. Speaking of which, I hate to call you out of the blue, but I need something."

"What's up?"

"I'm working on a paper and I need your help." 

Mia used me as a study partner back in the day. Whenever she had a paper to write, I was her critic. I figured it was no big deal to help her out again. However, in the back on my mind, I'm wondering if she's just trying to get back in my good graces after the incident. Is she just trying to lure me back into her life? I continue to ponder this as I get directions to her apartment, hang up the phone and start to get dressed. I give her friend, Rachel, a call just to see if I can pry her for info, but her phone goes to voicemail. I leave her a message that I'm going to Mia's place to help her with homework and hang up. I guess I'm going to give Mia the benefit of the doubt and see if she just wants to explain what happened that night.

I arrive to her complex about 20 minutes later. It's a nice apartment complex and within seconds of getting out of my car, I'm on the 2nd floor and knocking on her door. She answers the door wearing a long t-shirt and I'm unsure at first glance if she has anything underneath them or not. I give her a hug and close the door behind me. Mia walks to the couch and sits with her legs crossed. As her shirt rises up from the way she's sitting, I breathe a sigh of relief as I see that she's wearing short pants underneath. Mia is an attractive girl and I have nothing against making a move on her. However, ever since "the incident," I just don't know how I feel around her. I still feel some pity for her although I'm proud of the fact that she's moved on. She's working on her Masters degree and has a really nice apartment. Then a series of events commenced that changed that very thought within seconds of conceiving it:

 (baby cries)

"You have a kid?" I asked.

"It has been a while since I've spoken to you, hasn't it?" she replied. "Don't worry. His dad will take care of him."

"Mia?" called a man's voice.

My heart dropped as I stood up from the couch. She invited me over to her place and some dude lives there, too? Out of the room he comes and sure enough, it's him. The guy who abused Mia in front of my home just two years prior. He seemed just as shocked to see me as I was to see him. Immediately, I felt uneasy because we both have surprised looks on our faces to see each other again. Mia breaks the tension and speaks up, "Gene, this is Quincy. Quincy, Gene."

(baby cries)

There's about six feet of space separating us, but I choose not to walk over and shake hands. I simply give a head nod and say, "what's up?"

"Not much man," he answered.  "Mia didn't tell me that you were her tutor. I'm not sure how I feel about that."

"Well, she didn't tell me she had a baby by her brother either," I sarcastically replied.

He looked confused for a second and then smiled as an indication that he recognized what I was reminiscing over. "Aw, man, that was like five years ago or something," he started. "We worked through all of that. I overreacted a bit."

"No, it was just a couple of years... 'a bit?'" I said stopping in the middle of my sentence after realizing the absurdity of what he just spewed. "Mia, I'm going to go."

I realize that I'm going to have to get past Gene in order to reach the door. I don't want to agitate him in his own place, but I'm actually the angry one at this point. Not necessarily at him, but at Mia. She married her abuser, had a kid by him (hence the nickname we later gave him as "Psycho Dad") and then invited me over into the same apartment with him? How stupid is that? She had no idea how either one of us would react to seeing each other again. Gene smiled and said, "Dude, you don't have to leave because of me. I ain't going to swing on you or nothing.  You can help her with her paper."

 (baby is still crying) 

At this point, I've sized him up. He weighed about an extra 15-20 lbs. since I saw him last, but he was still a lightweight in my eyes. I walked past him and placed my hand on the door knob, but as I cracked the door, I stopped and turned around. "Gene, man," I started, "I'm not worried about you swinging on me because unlike Mia, I'll swing back. Take care of your crying baby."

The words trailed off of my lips as I closed the door behind. I didn't even stay long enough to see either of their reactions to what I said.  I have a lump in my throat as I hurry to my car not knowing if this nut is coming outside behind me or not. Could I take him? Yes, I honestly think I could have whipped the sleeves off of him. However, I'm not a fighter. It's not anything that I want to do without a legitimate reason. Fights lead to grudges and grudges lead to revenge. I didn't have time to look over my shoulder for the rest of my life. Jackson is way too small of a city to have someone looking for you. However, if he came out of that door and attempted to try me, I was more than ready to jack him up to the highest level of "jackstivity."

As I get to my car, I see Rachel getting out of hers. "I got your voicemail. Is everything okay?," she asked. 

"How come you didn't tell me that fool married that fool?"

"Because she told me not to tell you. She was ashamed. I'm surprised she called you over here with him here without telling you first. She says that he hasn't hit her since that night, but I know he still yells a lot."

"And you believe that he hasn't?"

"No, I don't, but she's my friend, what am I supposed to say? You're lying?"

"Yes, that is exactly what you're supposed to say.  Call me later."

I get into my '91 Geo Prizm and drive out of the complex. My phone starts ringing as I get on the road, but I just let it ring since I know that it's Mia. I never saw her again after that evening. Her and Gene now have two kids and have been married 10+ years.  I ran into Rachel a couple of years ago and from what she told me, Gene is actually a good husband and father now. Not necessarily of his own doing, but nonetheless, that's the case. He was "influenced" to be a better man after an incident at their apartment complex.

A guy accidentally bumped Gene's car with his car in the complex parking lot.  Instead of acting like an adult, Gene flew off the handle on the dude. He got in the man's face and in the process of screaming and cursing, he accidentally spit on the man. The man then threw a right cross that caught Gene just outside of his left eye. The impact of the punch broke Gene's glasses and placed a nice-sized gash right above his left eyebrow. I'm told he still has a scar above that eye to this day.  From what Rachel told me, there were two hits in the fight: the guy hit Gene and Gene hit the ground.

That altercation led to the cops being called and Gene ultimately being ordered to attend anger management classes. Rachel said that those classes really turned him around (or that punch did).  I guess if he had to do it all over again, he never would have gotten in that particular man's face. People with "Semper Fi" bumper stickers on their car tend not to play around when they're threatened.

I only wish he'd been at my crib the night that first incident went down.

Do people deserve a second chance when it comes to domestic abuse?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Social Networks and Idiots

"Stupid is as stupid does." Some times I wonder how some people can be so stupid. Or maybe it's too harsh for me to use the term "stupid." Maybe I should say "naive" instead. Nah, I'll go with "stupid." Any time you have tons of examples of things going wrong and you choose to ignore them, then you're "stupid."

There has to be some sort of cosmic connection to social networks and idiots. Seriously. They go hand-and-hand. I recently read a story about a gang leader in New York who got busted for tweeting about a murder that he had gotten away with years ago. Really, dude? Something as secretive as a murder and you tweet it to all of your followers? It just so happens that one of your followers was a member of NYPD trying to get evidence on your previous crimes. Sucks for you dude. Shouldn't have been so stupid.

I used to have a Twitter follower who would regularly tweets photos of herself with weed. She even has self-portraits of herself with a rolled up blunt in her mouth talking about how "lifted" she is. All in the same photo album with her two year old daughter. If she made anyone in her life mad, do you know how easy it would be to present evidence to Child Protective Services and possibly have her daughter taken away from her? Should I tell her of this possibility? Nope. It's not my place to do so. If she reads my blog, then maybe she'll learn, but if she doesn't...

Stop committing criminal acts on social networks. Stop committing sex acts on social networks (unless you're in "the sex business") because they could come back to haunt you as well. Social networks are forever, just like Keith Richards! Anything you put on the Web stays on the Web (even if you're in Vegas where secrets are said to remain). Every photo, status update or tweet you send has the potential to wind up in the hands of your friends, parents, teachers, employers, reporters or even the police. Think about that the next time you get ready to press "Send."



Do you think people don't know the dangers of social networks or do they just not care?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Scandalous!

"You wanna tweet me, don't you?"
I know that I may upset some of my followers on Facebook and Twitter, but "some things just need to be said."  I use Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis. Twitter more so than Facebook, but I check both of them multiple times per day. However, there is a time that I absolutely despise them both: when a popular television show is on.

(begin rant) 

I absolutely can't stand when people reveal plots from television shows as they air! In the age of DVR's, not everyone watches live TV. If you don't have a friend who will come over and watch the show with you, then don't go running to your 500 friends on Facebook and ruin their chance of enjoying a show!

The other night, the season finale of "Scandal" aired. As you can tell by the title, the show is full of suspense and controversy. The last thing you need before watching a show like this is someone on Facebook or Twitter giving you the play-by-play on what's happening!

Now, I won't embarrass any of my Twitter followers or Facebook friends by printing screenshots of my timelines.  I eventually had to close out of both pages because I could not risk the chance of seeing something that would ruin the suspense for me in the season finale.  I just wish that if they choose to tweet/post about a show that they use discretion and not reveal key components.  No tweets like, "I can't believe (insert character) just got killed" or "I knew (insert character) was the father of her child!"

Memo to people who use social networks as a TV companion: some people are at work, running errands or just like to save shows to watch on the weekends.  It would be appreciated if you DM'd or inboxed your friends rather than blab the entire show plot to the world.  Yes, I could just ignore Twitter and Facebook until I watch the show, but why should I be held hostage by a couch commentator?

I guess I'll be forced to learn more about creating Twitter groups so that I can isolate the tweets that I want to see and ignore the scandalous talk about every prime time show that matters to me.  I'm sorry if this hurts someone's feelings, but try considering someone else's feelings before you send that status update.  No one wants their evening plans to watch a show they love ruined by someone who resist the urge to tweet spoilers.

(end rant)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Flashback to Something Stupid

From the Facebook page of La-A
At least once a month, I'm going to flashback to previous posts for my new followers who may have missed out. A year ago today, I came across something that left me shaking my head. There are plenty of people who want to give their children unique names.

Now, back in my day, "Quincy" was pretty unique. I only met two others up until I reached college. It's nothing compared to the names people have for their kids today. I've heard "ESPN" (pronounced es-spen), twins named "Orangejello" (pronounced oron-jalo) and "Lemonjello" (la-mon-jalo) and even an urban legend about a girl named "La-a" (pronounced la-dash-ah).

Yeah, you read that last one correctly. So, when I came across this particular name last year, I exploded in laughter before starting to sympathize with the child. At some point of her life, I'm sure some of her classmates will pick on her. Here's the post from a year ago with that child's unusual name...

What's the strangest name for a child you've ever heard?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Psycho Dad, Part I

Most of the stories that I tell are humorous in nature. Well, I must unfortunately give the disclaimer that there's nothing humorous about this post other than maybe the title...

Okay, so here's the scenario: I'm mid-20's, living alone in my own home and I'm single. I had two female associates that I'd known since high school who were dying to see my new place. I figured I'd invite both of them over one Friday night and we'd have a belated house warming party. I had no idea that things would take a turn for the worse...

Mia and Rachel (pronounced ra-shell) arrive at my house around 9 PM. They parked near the street despite room in my driveway. I got ready to ask why they didn't park in the driveway, but since a car was passing by unimpeded, I thought nothing of their decision. My cousin, Jay, and I are playing a little music and having a few drinks by the time they'd arrived. Mia and I have a brief history. We never dated, but did share a kiss once when we were back in high school. We had discussions about me being "her first," but neither one of us seriously pursued that happening. I think she wanted me to take the lead on things, but I never did. I was actually interested in her friend, Rachel, who once gave me a chance to get to know her better a few years later, but I turned it down because she'd recently dated a friend of mine. Now that dude and I are no longer friends, I regret not at least trying.

Anyway, I invite them into my den and pass them something to drink. Both girls are now seniors in college and looking to blow off some steam. As they start dancing in the middle of the room, Jay and I are just sitting back and wondering if we're going to hit the club later that night. That's when I get a knock at my door. "You invite someone, Jay?" I ask.

"Nope," he said with a confused look, "I figured it would just be the four of us."

I walk to the door wondering if it's a neighbor or something although I knew my music wasn't that loud. I get to the door and see a 20-something, 5'9", skinny black dude with glasses. "Hey, can I help you?" I ask.

"Yeah, I'm looking for my sister, Mia," he said.

"Okay, hold on," I say as I close the door and make him wait.

I know that Mia doesn't have a brother. Who is this dude? He has to be a boyfriend or something. As I return back to my den with a confused look, Mia and Rachel turn my direction. "Uh, Mia, your 'brother' is outside" I said.

Mia's face turned as white as a sheet. Rachel looked concerned, too. "Are you going out there?" Rachel asked.

Mia didn't say a word and slowly walked towards the door. "Who is it?" Jay asked me.

I paid him no mind as I walked over to the window to see the interaction between the two as she walked outside. They both walked to his car which was parked near the street. I immediately recognized the car as the same one driving slowly past my house when I invited the ladies inside. Rachel and Jay walk over to the window as well and that's when Rachel leaks the fact that Mia's so-called brother was actually her boyfriend.

I take an immediate sigh of relief that he wasn't the crazy type because he could have easily been upset with me thinking I was after his woman. Luckily, he didn't try anything stupid when I opened the door for him initially. So, as we sit there and watch, just as I started to get bored and think nothing of this boyfriend showing up, it happened...

Dude grabbed Mia by the back of the head and put his finger in her face. "Whoa," started Jay, "dude is getting a bit rowdy out there."

They were standing near the street, so we were unable to hear the conversation. Dude then smacked Mia with an open hand and knocked her down to the street. "Oh, snap!" I said with a stunned look on my face.


"Help her!" Rachel pleaded as she looked at me and Jay.

Jay and I looked at each other as if to ask "which one of us is going out there?"

Before I could respond with "call the police," dude walked back to his car and drove off. Mia gets up and comes back inside. "We need to go," she says to Rachel with tears in her eyes.

Rachel grabs their purses and the ladies both leave without saying a word.

Jay and I both have confused looks on our faces as the door closes behind them. Did we see that correctly? A guy assaults his girlfriend in front of my home and she just leaves? Where was she going? To the police?

I asked Jay if he was going to go out there to help her when Rachel asked. "Only if you were going out there, too," he replied. "I'm not trying to get shot over some BS."

"Yeah, I feel you on that," I started, "because I was just going to call the police. He could have had a weapon in his car."

Now, there's more to this story that I will share at a later date. This wasn't my last meeting with Pscyho Dad. I have to explain where he got his name from, right?

Let me just add that no man should ever put his hands on a woman (or a woman put hers on a man). A man hitting a woman is one of the most cowardly acts on the planet that comes to my mind. If you are unsatisfied with her or something that she did, then leave. It's just that simple, guys. You can't physically force a woman to conform to your wishes/demands... ever.

Part II



What would you have done to assist her without knowing if her boyfriend had a weapon or not in his car?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

#PowerOutageRants

This is what happens when I get bored during a power outage...


(Scroll from the bottom and work your way up)







What do you do (or tweet) when you're bored?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Can't I See Michigan?

I'm so sick of websites like Ticketmaster, StubHub and the likes. They keep robbing innocent, hard-working people of their money as they legally scalp tickets at astronomical prices. I've been looking forward to seeing my Michigan Wolverines play the National Champion, Alabama Crimson Tide, since the game was announced in 2010. The game is being played in Cowboys Stadium which is the perfect place for me to finally see the Wolverines play for the first time. I had free tickets to see them play in a bowl game in Jacksonville, Florida a year ago, but I got the offer at the last minute and couldn't secure a flight to Florida for the game. It probably worked out well since Mississippi State beat them 52-14.

I finally go online to look into purchasing tickets and I'm met with ridiculous prices. $299 for Standing Room Only tickets? I can't even sit for $299?


Then I noticed that if I wanted to sit, that I would have to pay $375+ to sit so high from the field that I could change a light bulb in the stadium. Now I know Jerry Jones and the city of Arlington paid a billion dollars for the stadium, but I think it's ridiculous how they allow these ticket sites to jack the prices up even more. I once wanted to see Wanda Sykes perform in Biloxi, MS.  Although the face value of the tickets were around $65, they were being sold online for four times the amount! Not to mention that the hotel I wanted to book had almost tripled their normal rates as well.

At what point are we going to say "enough?" Our government does everything except protect the people. Why is it that I can be arrested for selling a ticket over face value, but it's okay for Ticketmaster to do it legally? Why do hotels reserve the right to raise their prices and price gouge those coming into town to see an event? The Sleep Inn I used to frequent during my Mardi Gras-going days was $60/night every year. In comes the Super Bowl and the price that weekend was $999. I kid you not. I didn't mistype that.

Sure, I have the option to stay at home and watch the Michigan/Alabama game (which is what I will do), but what happened to going places and getting memories? Gone are the days when a person can take their family to certain sporting events without taking out a loan first. If you want to see a pro football, basketball or hockey game, then you'll have to contend with outrageous parking fees, high admission fees and ridiculous concession prices. Baseball is still probably the most affordable of the major sports. Some music concerts are still affordable, too, depending on the act.



Do you think it's criminal for online venues to significantly raise ticket prices on events?

"They want to charge how much to see me!!!!????"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lessons From France

I hate giving disclaimers, but given that some people rarely read these days, I must. We've become so accustomed to 140 characters or less and status updates, that paragraphs are just a haze. Because of that, we sometimes form opinions of something within seconds of reading the intro. That's why I'm giving this disclaimer: I am a black man and I love black women. Simple enough?

Now you're really curious on what I have to say, aren't you? :)

Who would guess that the U.S. could learn a few lessons from France? A country that is the butt of so many U.S. jokes is far more progressive than the U.S. could ever imagine. France seems to have a better grasp on race relations. They even ignore race when it comes to their census only seeing people as "French" instead of white, black, etc.  Does this mean that there is no bigotry in France?  Absolutely not.  But at least there is something that resembles unity with everyone being considered "French."  We still choose to remain White, African-American, Asian-American, Latino, etc.  Ironically, the only places we're really considered "Americans" are outside of the U.S. How sad is that?

Because of France's views on race, they're having a huge problem with the 1st "Miss Black France" pageant that's upcoming. Now, the promoters are arguing that the pageant is a good thing. They say it's going to shine the light on black women who lack media attention. Does having a contest force the media to cover it? If so, then I'm going to start a Common Sense Pageant (if I can find enough people to qualify).

If enough black women don't think they're being represented in the "Miss France" pageant, is joining a "Miss Black France" fixing anything? I have concerns with this. Representation can some times cause separation. If someone started a "Miss White France" pageant, then Al Sharpton would be on the next Concorde flight over to Paris.  Stop it.  Stop separating yourselves and sending subliminal messages that "you're not good enough" because you are good enough.  Anyone of any race can win any beauty pageant as long as the voting is unbiased.  If you feel as if you're not winning because of the voting, then fight to change judges, not pageants.

It’s definitely a “white man’s world,” but having a separate pageant won’t fix anything if you ask me. That’s like starting a new basketball league because the NBA won’t draft you. It’s your prerogative, but it’s still not the NBA. It’s well within the rights of of the black ladies to participate in their own competition, but I think it would be more productive to protest the Miss France competition.

I’d rather fight to desegregate than separate if I’m going to fight at all. 


Does it matter if pageants are separated by race?

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