Thursday, August 31, 2006

eating my words (and actually glad to in this case)....

Go Get Robin Thicke's Album When It Comes Out. It's Worth It (I could tell you how I know but then you may have to come up missing. Just trust me.)-Toya
My Take on the MTV VMA's (which should stand for Videos Mostly Absent. When was the last time you saw a whole video on MTV?)-Toya

1. Your Boy (Note that Justin Timberlake will here on out be referred to as Your Boy because I am still pissed at how he threw janet Jackson under the bus),Cameron Diaz's young tenderoni, brought "SexyBack" for the show's opener. Let me tell the truth and shame the devil and say that I loved both songs he sang. He makes me so mad but I love his music so stinkin' much. "Dirty baaaaaaaaabe"....
2. Lou Reed is STILL alive?
3. KIM IS BACK!!!! I love Lil' Kim. Is it a surprise that she went to jail for perjury? She told yall what she was willing to do in Mary's "I Can Love You":
"Under pressure I'd lie for you/Die for you?/Cougar by the thigh for you/Right hand high for you"
4. How did James Blunt win????!!!!! He sounds like Jimmy Fallon on too much caffeine to me.
5. If Common doesn't win it is a DAMN shame. But then again so is MTV. See "My Humps" won for best Hip Hop video. Come King Jesus and part the sky.
6. Wonder what Janet Jackson is home doing tonight.
7. If Shakira's Hips Don't Lie, they should've told her that doing this song with Wyclef was a WACK idea.
8. They are now advertising MTV3. How much you wanna bet that they won't play any videos either?
9. Kelly Clarkson won for Best Female Video over Christina Aguileira??? Who is VOTING?
10. Lil' Jon-Two things I hate right now: any grown anus man that will name himself Lil' or Young anything and any song telling me what the hell to do: Lean with it, rock with hit, snap my fingers, drop it, touch it. I have some instructions for you:Leave. Me. Alone.
11. Pussycat Dolls came out for Ludacris and at first glance I was secretly hoping they were the Spice Girls. Not that I actually like the Spice Girls but it would've made the show just that more interesting. By the way, and I am not crazy, Pussycat Dolls actually have some good songs on their record.
12. Why did it say PANTS in huge letters behind Jessica Simpson when she presented the award for Best Dance Video? Were they trying to give her a clue? I know they say she is a ditz but does she need clues that obvious? I was hoping that she did indeed accidentally leave them in the dressing room.
13. What is Madonna (not) eating so I can (can't) it it too? She's 60 isn't she?
15. OK GO has truly been the most impressive thing thus far. I can't even close my mouth i am in so much shock.
16. I am no longer into heroin chic. That is so 90's. I prefer more heroin rehab scruffy ie John Frusciante from Red Hot Chili Peppers (sigh) . Therefore the lead singer of All American Rejects scares me.
17. I love Nick Lachey and support him as he continues to "heal out loud" as my friend Pricilla says. Wait did Nicole Ritchie just say Elvis, The Supremes and Dannity Kane in the same sentence? MTV has a deal with the devil that is UNREAL.
18. Screamed myself hoarse when Pink won for "Stupid Girls".
19. Gasp! Britney and Kevin are coming and it's a commercial so allow me to say this:
Kevin Federline reminds me of that hot guy in school that STAYED in In-School Suspension in high school who you never wanted to admit to anyone let alone yourself that you really thought he was hot because he was so triflin'. If you are too embarrassed to admit this, you no longer have to. That is what BGLU is here for.
20. DAMN them for not announcing Beyonce'! I was doing my laundry! This girl is a monster. Ok the dance sequence? All that was missing was the 5-4-3-2-1 Rhythm Nation countdown. Someone had to shout Janet out.
21. Ok, I am mad at the Lean Wit It Rock Wit It Children's Choir. Who let their child be a part of that? Don't parents listen to lyrics anymore? I have a confession to make about my feelings for T.I. See #19.
22. Oh look it's Jordan Catalano.
23. All American Rejects are ALREADY drunk. Uh uh.
24. Aww, Jay-Z is sitting next to Nas. *Missing Biggie and Pac*
25. Oh my gosh I love Panic At the Disco and so does Tia! I wish they wouldn't have dropped the GD bomb in their song though. The lead singer's voice reminds me of Reese Roper's from Five Iron Frenzy.
26. Does anyone know what a London Bridge is yet and is anyone else mad that Fergie's first single does not have her singing on it?
27. *Dead* at Britney and Kevin. Even I don't have anything to comment on that.
29. Busta's on. Do they have a compilation of his videos on DVD yet? Busta's been killin' the award shows lately.
30. AAAAAHHHHHHH this tribute is awesome!!! Big ups for Missi diggin' up the old trash bag costume and rockin' the finger waves. That's love right there.
31. Umm, Hype is a cutie.
32. Stop making fun of Paris Hilton. To her face anyway.
33. Sang Christina, Sang! Oh Linda Perry is on piano. "And I say Heeeeeey yeeaaah yeaaah yeah yeeeeah" (That was for Tia).
34. Is Jack Black telling a bunch of private jokes cause none of his jokes have been funny to me.
35. Tenacious D are performing and they look like they swallowed Simon and Garfunkel. That was mean. It's getting late.
36. Al Gore just made a reference to Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack" thus making it uncool. I am sure Justin is like "Damn, now I gotta push my album back and come out with another single".
37. Is that Axl at the awards again??? Who is braidin' Axl's hair? For real.
38. Is Jack White singin "Internet killed the video star"?
39. WOW! Security at MTV is sooooo tight evidently. How did the BB King is the King of the Blues guy get on stage at yet another award show?
And ...
40. Does anyone else agree that this was the worst VMA's in years? Let's discuss.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Mentality of Poverty - Tia
(Sorry if I come off preachy on this one. It's just this is something that's been bothering me for a while.)

I had a really disturbing conversation with my mother the other day. I think the reason that I was so bothered by it was because her statements reflect the mindset of a lot of people.

As y'all probably know by now I'm planning on moving to the west coast in the fall. (My job is trying to put the breaks on it but it's working out, so no worries.) Anyway, a couple of my dad's old friends from back in the day came by to appraise the house. They're both realtors and agreed to split the commission and cut my dad a break in light of his current condition. Plus they're road dawgs from way back. Omegas (not Q's) and such. After the realtors left my mother called and we talked about the normal stuff before getting around to what my day entailed. I told her that I didn't think I was going to do anything because I was a little tired and I'd just led a guided tour of the house for the realtors. She seemed stunned. She asked, "Your dad is really going to sell the place?"
Tia: Yeah, with his health it's just more stress than it's worth."
Mom: But that's always been your home.
(For those of you who don't know, my mom, my brother and I used to be homeless. And the one stable thing in all of that was my maternal grandparents house and my father's house. When my grandparents died my aunt sold their house so the only place that I've always known I could go to, the place that's always been the same is my dad's house, the place I currently rent.)
T:Yeah. But it's just the best thing for him right now.
M: Well, what will you do if things don't work out in LA?
T: What do you mean?
M: Where will you go if he sells the house? You won't have any where to go if things don't work out in LA. What will you do?
T: I have a job, 2 savings accounts and a 401(k)

And that's when it dawned on me. Because of the poor choices my mother made that left us homeless and later on left her living below the poverty line, she really had no concept of back plans. Or more accurately, back-up funds. In her mind, if my plans don't work out in LA it's game over. There's no other plan, no other place to go, nothing else to do. It's Abject Failure Blvd on Start from Scratch Road. And frankly, it really bothered me.

I'm a hustler. Not the Jay-Z kind of hustla but the kind that never stops. Sometimes it is to my own detriment. I don't like to ask for help even when I know that I should. And then I turn around and bit*h and moan because I don't have anyone to help me. (I know…I know….I'm working on it.) But I think from my dad's work ethic and the struggles I've had with my mom, I resigned myself long ago that I would never go back to having to depend on someone because I didn't work hard and do my own personal best. It's one thing to get laid off. But it's a completely different thing to not have any money because you didn't like your job so you decide to quit and wait for God to "bless you" with another job. So I'm a hustler. I've never been without a job. I worked 2 jobs sometimes just to pay for stuff. The summer after my freshman year I worked two jobs. I worked for 5 hours at McDonald's and then worked 8 hours at Krispy Kreme five days a week. And I walked to work because I didn't have a car. And it was uphill both ways. In the snow. Barefoot. Okay, everything from uphill on was a lie. But the point I'm trying to make isn't that I'm a workaholic, it's that I'm willing to work and plan and SAVE. But I'm starting to realize that a lot of "our people" are not so forward thinking. And it's frightening.

I recently read somewhere that something like 30% of black folks (African Americans for y'all PCers) feel that playing the lottery is a better way to plan for retirement than actually saving and planning for those golden years. I don't know how accurate that is but I know quite a few of my relatives that fall into that category. But most people have a better chance of getting struck by lightening while flying in a airplane than they do of winning the lottery.

Part of me wants to take out an ad in every major publication, billboards in all the major cities, and commercials on BET and the soon to be defunct UPN and shout, "STOP BUYING LOTTO TICKETS, $200 TENNIS SHOES, SEAN JOHN AND THE REST AND SAVE YOUR MONEY!!!!!" We have allowed ourselves to be suckered, bamboozled, led astray, run amuck, led asunder by media and our fellow man. We have to have the most up-to-date Dooney and Burke purse right now. Damn the cost. We have to have a fresh pair of Ones to match every outfit. And that parking space outside of out 450 sq. ft apartment just wouldn't look right without a $20,000 car parked in it. And all the while your bank account is so far in the red the Chexsystem has a picture of you hanging in their foyer as public enemy number 1. There just seems to be a mentality of poverty that is running rampant in our society and it has got to stop.

Now I know some of y'all will probably blast me by saying that a lot of people don't make enough to save. I'm not talking about those people. That's a completely different story for another time. (For all of the money that we've wasted on restoring democracy in Iraq, why can't we help some of our own country's working poor?) I'm talking about the people that make a decent enough living to pay bills and in theory could save if they would stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. I once heard Nelly say that he saves 1/3 of his money, invests 1/3 of his money and spends 1/3 of his money. I was glad to hear it. Although I've been down with Nelly since the days of the St. Lunatics I know he is not a phenomenal enough of a rapper to have any real staying power. And apparently he knows it too. It's good to see a brotha planning ahead.

I guess what I'm saying is we have to do better. Back in the day our grandparents didn't trust banks so they saved their money in mattresses. But we don't even do that any more. And the reality of our situations don't fully hit us until something bad happens. If your car broke down right now, would you have the money to fix it? If you had to fly to see a dying relative would you be able to afford the ticket? The answer for most of us is no. And I hate that. We have to start planning ahead. We have to start thinking long term. We have to start saving for worst case scenarios. I'm no doomsday prophet wishing ill on you the reader. I am, however, something of a realist. And I know that life happens. And you don't want to be caught out there when it does. People, stop spending. Do you really need those Jimmy Choo's right now? Drive that car a little bit longer. So what if it doesn’t have a navigational system. You ain't going nowhere but work and church anyway. And the lotto only works for people in remote areas of West Virginia and the Dakotas. You're probably not going to win that $57 million. Do better. Think about tomorrow, rather than this instance. I'm not saying deprive yourself. I'm sitting right now listening to my very expensive iPod. But I don't have it at the expense of paying my electric bill or my Amex payment. Plan first, play second. Because broke is not hot.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I freakin' LOVE youtube - Tia

I need to go to bed. And I know it ain't NO WHERE near January. But man, Dr. King would want us to sing all year long.

It's a holiday. It's a caberet. (You know I love you, Toy. I'm just playin')

This is without question the funniest thing I have most recently heard. I guess if you're going to go out, go out in a BLAZE of glory.
None of Your Business-Toya
This song is of course from the almighty Salt 'n Peppa. Not one of my favorite songs actually (I actually can't stand it) but I love them nonetheless. Salt was in Nashville not too long ago and even though we were in some of the same places, I never ran into her. I did however get to meet Play from Kid 'n Play though. I am so stuck in the 80's, it's a crying shame.

It has occurred to me in recent weeks that I spend way too much time in other people's business. It's not that I pry. It's just that people expect for me to have solutions and give wisdom. Okay, sometimes I do give unsolicited advice but I can’t help it. I am a natural motivator and problem solver. I’ve given advice and motivational speeches on the playground, in the girl's gym locker room, in my college dorm room after frat parties, etc, etc. However, I internalize other people's problems so much to the point of getting nauseous with worry and compassion. I will listen to sermons and read scriptures with others in mind, rarely thinking about how I need to apply these lessons to myself. This is not healthy. Unfortunately, I have also come to realize that I can sometimes secretly be a little critical and judgmental while giving out advice. There are some things that I have saved up to apply to other people’s problems that need to be applied to the plank in my very own eye.

I have tried my hardest to stay out of people's business and work on my own set of issues to the point of biting my lip until the point of bleeding. Bleeding! I can't believe how hard this is! I almost needed stitches one night while listening to Rachel talk about a guy she's been dating that she is not too sure about :

"Okay, now this is the thing: He's divorced"

*letting out a muffled "mmhmm" trying desperately for it to not sound like an emphatic, unapproving "uuuh uuuuuuh"

"And he already has three children"

*silently wincing in pain from my teeth piercing through the back of my lip"

"And he has had a vasectomy"

Soon after hearing my almost 40 year old childless friend confess this last bit of information, I found that I had chewed off a small part of my lip and was feeling slightly dizzy; not just from the taste of my own blood but also from the urge to shout out my opinion at the top of my lungs. I then vowed not to give my opinion unless asked and even then I was going to choose my words very carefully. When she finally asked, it was like pulling a drowning man out of the ocean within 8 seconds left of his life. Yeah, this is still a work in progress.

So lately, when listening to other people’s problems I have been doing a lot of nodding, "mmhmmming", and spitting back to them what they have told me. Some of my conversations have ended simply with a "I hate that you are going through this." This is UNHEARD of for me. It is my hope that in not volunteering unsolicited advice, that when finally asked I can give wisdom that comes more from "Thus saith the Lord" in a non-preachy kind of way and less from the Gospel of Toya and Her Mama. Sometimes it is just good to listen.
Further proof that my husband is British – (Like you didn’t already know) Tia

I don’t know how it’s going to happen. Frankly, there aren’t a lot of hot British guys just roaming around LA as far as I know. And you practically have to be butt-booty nekkid to fly from London to the states, which in my opinion is something of a deterrent for coming here. And if I can’t take my iPod on the plane I’m not going on the 6-hour flight over there anytime soon. Like I said I don’t know the logistics. But my husband HAS TO BE BRITISH.

I have been an anglophile for a while now. Anyone who knows me knows it. It the accents I think. Plus, how can you not love guys with those accents who look like this:

(Look how happy Becks and Ashley are. Too bad they lost in penalty kicks in the next round)

It’s impossible not to love them.

But the big thing is the music.

I love LOVE LURVE music. The only person I know who loves it more than me is Toya. (While I might not know a title or confuse a face, she is spot on.) And while I do love Toya I don’t love her like that. Thus leaving an open slot for a male music lover to come on in, sweep me off my feet and up my cd collection by a few hundred or so. The problem is I don’t know but one guy in the states that can feel music like Toya and I feel music. And it’s Tag. And well, I don’t feel no kind of way about him. I mean other than occasionally wanting hit him in his chest. HOWEVER, I do know quite a few English guys that have this music thing on lock.

And think about it. When you were younger so much of the best music came out of London: Breathe, Culture Club, Breathe, The Police, Breathe, Seal, Bros (that’s not for everyone), Breathe, Level 42…The list can go on and on. The Brits had that music thing clenched. And apparently they still do.

I almost wrecked my car today. But in the split second between wreck and safety I thought, “God I know you’ve a got a great British guy for me. Because otherwise this will become an unhealthy…umm…unhealthier obsession and I KNOW you don’t want that.”

A friend of mine who is a DJ in London sent me some cds because, well, just because. One of the cds was of his radio show. In the first 20 minutes there were too many “Aw, shoot!!” moments to count. But the thing that made me take my hands off the wheel, cover my mouth and scream and then inadvertently almost pull into the opposite lane of traffic was Luther’s Don’t You Know That segued into Let’s Chill. Now Let’s Chill is one of my favourite songs of all time. So I briefly lost all control of sanity and started screaming. Granted, it was the Charlie Wilson version but I didn’t care. Besides, it’s first name Charlie, last name Wilson. It’s not like he can’t SANG.

But it was one of those things that makes you ask, “Who does that?” Why would you do that to me? Do you not care about my safety at all? If you did you wouldn’t have put that song on the cd with no warning label. It’s like Phil Collins One More Night. The song needs some sort of disclaimer because it just sneaks up on you. No warning. No time to think. Just, “One more night…”

Anyway, I recovered quickly enough to jerk the wheel hard right and get back in my lane. And as I pulled into the parking lot at work I realized, for the umpteenth time, that I HAVE to have one. I turned off the engine and sat silently pleading with God. “PUH-LEEEEEEZE give me an Englishman with nice teeth and a deep appreciation for music like this. You said ask and you will receive whatever you need. I NEED this. PUH-LEEEEEEZE Amen.” (I know that’s not what that scripture meant but you have to realize that I was a little off in that moment.)

I have an illness. It’s like an itch I can’t scratch. But if I had one of my very own I think it would be better. I wonder if there are support groups for people like me? Hmmmm…..

Monday, August 14, 2006

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Into the Great Wide Open- Toya
I remember seeing Tom Petty win a lifetime achievement award and I was like "Really"? Then they started doing a rundown of all his songs like "Refugee", "Mary Jane", "Free Fallin'" and some others and I was like "ooooooooohhhh". I didn't know that I actually liked me some Tom Petty. Favorite: Stop Draggin' My Heart Around with Stevie Nicks. Glad that that hasn't had to be a title of a blog post, thank God.

I remember the first time I showed Tia my new place. It was on a Monday night. I was working late and she called me. "When are you coming home?" she asked. "Not for like an hour. I am working late tonight. Why?" "Cause I am huuuuungryyyyyyyyy. I want us to go to dinner and I am going to pay." "Why?" "Why NOT???" She beat me on that one. Tia admitted that she thought that I was being a bit overly dramatic when I first started to realize that we would no longer be living together. I realized then that she was starting to feel it too.

After we ate, I asked her if she wanted to go see the place where I was moving into because it was rather close. That is one of the benefits of living downtown. I am close to everything I want to be now (except for Tia of course). When she walked in my room she said the first thing that everyone else has:"Oh, yeah. This is you". I knew the room was me too the first time that I walked in it. As I made my first journey down the hallway, I had already thought that no matter what it looked like, I was painting the walls orange. When I opened the door, the walls were already close to perfect orange. The windows are perfectly huge and it almost looks like a loft; Has a walk in closet and I wake up with the most beautiful view of trees and sunshine ever. It's "black hippie" as Tia likes to describe me. It was pretty much a no brainer.

When I gave Tia the tour of my new place, I almost felt like a college student showing off their new apartment to a concerned mother. I felt like I had to let her know that I was in a safe place. She was already asking about the air condition, the locks and such. Talking to my new roommates and asking them questions. It felt good to reassure her that I was in good hands. That sounds so weird, but it's true. She worries and that makes her a good friend. A great friend.

I have never been so in love with my independence ever in my life as I am right now. I feel bad though because I am loving my alone time so much that it seems that I have to force myself to talk to my roommates. They are great people, don't get me wrong. One is an artist, a visual artist and the other is an indie singer. I feel very creatively inspired in that house. I sing more, I am always thinking of things to write, and I even feel like I breathe easier. I realize that being in my old space was so comfortable for me that I could not get anything done. Sure I thought about getting some things done: writing some things, practicing on my turntables, checking out different types of music, getting out and maybe going to the day. But all it took was for me to go downstairs and see that Tia was watching Friday on USA and my plans were shot down by good ol' crippling familiarity.

It is late and I must force myself to go inside. It's a beautiful summer night and even though Tia and I had a huge deck, I never took time to enjoy it. Not once in 5 years. We had two pools, one that I saw for the first time last year. As much as change can be painful, it is most necessary and I am happier for it.