Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gaydar: Myth or Matter - And why do we care so much?

This is one of the funniest scenes from Boomerang.  You can fast forward to 1:32 minutes to get to my point but WHY??  The whole scene is hilarious!

Why do we (and I count myself in this too) care so much about the sexual orientation of other people?

I mean this is not just a "straight" person or a homophobic curiosity either.  I have the same types of conversations with my gays about who's gay, who's not and even though I dabble in speculation (who am I kidding. I sometimes find myself doing full blown research on celebrities), the question really should be "who cares?"

I like how I sometimes feign indifference when asked the question "Is so and so gay?" I'm not so annoyed if it's about a celebrity, BUT I am truly annoyed when being asked about someone I know; even if they are in fact gay. So I answer "I don't know chile!! I don't sleep in their bedroom!"

Again, why do we care so much?  I took great pleasure (thrilled, I might even say) the other day when I heard the news that the actress Ellen Page "came out"; not because I had a "good for her! Now she can be free!" moment.  I wish I were that person. Instead I was like "I KNEW IT!!" And I spent the following two days trying to figure out who I told years ago that she was. UGH! What is wrong with me?

I think the fascination I have with outing someone is because deep down I just wish people can be themselves and be open to love who they want to love without having to hide. It must be incredibly tough regardless of whether you're a public figure or not, to keep that intimate part of one's self buried and hidden from family and friends.


Justifiable Gaydar Exception

NOW if I was to go on a witch hunt for gays, my prey would be the awful men on the down low. Putting the lives of women and other men in danger just because you're a coward is inexcusable and THAT's why people, I will continue to keep my gaydar skills activated.  I can at least try to keep the women in my life safe...right? Or wrong?  I really want to hear back from y'all on this one.

Peace Out!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Resistance is Futile - Apple's close resemblance to The Borg

My sister's HTC blah blah blah ignorant phone (as opposed to smart phone) died on her again today.  My niece had to group text the immediate family group to let us know; just in case we tried phoning her mom.  Funny story about group sister can't participate in any of it with her stupid phone either; even when it's "working".

I tell you all of this because the only reason she refuses to get an iPhone is because she doesn't like the idea of cell phone companies forcing more advance technology on her in the form of the iPhone.  She'd rather deal with a lousy phone out of principle.  She is resisting and fighting against the machine that of which I sometimes lovingly refer to as my pimp daddy; namely Apple Inc.  

There are people out there who swear by their non-iPhone smartphones, but it is my hypothesis that what they're really trying to do is resist Apple. More power to you people!!!  But I'm sorry, you will lose because Apple is the Borg and just like they used to drone on..."Resistance is Futile"...

OK so a quick primer for all of you people that have NO IDEA what I'm blabbering on about (side-eye to all the non-trekkies for 1. mistaking the Borg for the Klingons [like my daughter just did five minutes ago]  2. making me use the term "Trekkies").  I found a pretty decent description of the Borg who in my opinion were the most formidable antagonists in ALL of the Star Trek franchises (with the exception of Khan Nooien Singh who appeared in three if my memory serves me correctly).  Wikipedia, believe it or not has a great description of The Borg.
I've highlighted in red, the eerie similarities:

"Borg is a collective proper noun for a fictional alien race that appears as recurring antagonists in various incarnations of the Star Trek franchise. The Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones of the Collective, or the hive. A pseudo-race, dwelling in the Star Trek universe, the Borg force other species into their collective and connect them to "the hive mind"; the act is called assimilation and entails violence, abductions, and injections of microscopic machines called nanoprobes. The Borg's ultimate goal is "achieving perfection".

The Borg manifest as cybernetically enhanced humanoid drones of multiple species, organized as an interconnected collective, the decisions of which are made by a hive mind, linked by subspace radio. The Borg inhabit a vast region of space in the Delta Quadrant of the galaxy, possessing thousands of vessels. They operate toward the fulfillment of one purpose: to "add the biological and technological distinctiveness of other species to [their] own... [in pursuit of] perfection". The concept of perfection is the unifying idea at the core of the Borg. The pursuit of an unemotional, mechanical perfection is the Borg's only motivation. This is achieved through forced assimilation, a process which takes individuals and technology, enhancing and controlling them.  

In their introduction (TNG's "Q Who"), little information is given about the Borg, their origins or intentions. In nearly all their encounters, they exhibit no desire for negotiation or reason, only assimilation. Exhibiting a rapid adaptability to any situation or threat, the Borg become one of the greatest threats to Starfleet and the Federation. Major characters that have escaped the Collective after having been assimilated include Jean-Luc Picard and Seven of Nine."
Now if this doesn't sound like Apple, then I don't know what does.  My sister and lots of other folks are our current day Jean-Luc Picards (played by one of the sexiest old white bald-headed men out there btw).  GOOD FOR THEM!!  Keep up the good work and Aluta Continua to you all.

And while I'm only partially assimilated (very much like Jean-Luc pictured above), I went shopping for an iPad mini yesterday and as soon as I can learn to work that damn Mac keyboard (apple + shift does what again?), I too will be one with the "hive mind".  And I'll be happy because resistance is hard work and I just want to be perfect...too.

Live long and prosper...

P.S. - Stay tuned for my next techno-conspiratorial entry "Google - Creating a Universe of Dummies"...Just Kidding

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dream Catchers

I take dreams seriously...

A few weeks ago, I had a very uneventful dream that involved me sitting in a room with someone I don't believe I knew.  This person gets up to walk out of the room.  I'm pretty sure they had every intention of returning because they went to answer a phone, or help someone in the kitchen.  Whatever.  I have no idea.  I just knew they were coming back.

But then I woke up.

I immediately felt remorseful.  Not because, I thought the dream was going to get better, but because I believed that when the person returned to the room and found me gone, they would either wonder where I went, or think I vanished into thin air.  Of course neither are true was a dream right?  The characters in dreams don't exist once we're awake...or do they?  My mind is open to the prospect even though (in my mind) there is only one valid (and sane) hole in this hypothesis...

What if the dream characters are actual people you know in "real life"?  How can they live in two places/plains (or potentially a very large number of places depending on how many other people are dreaming about said characters) at the same time?  

I know, I know, what you're thinking...This chick is on to something! Right?

So, I've spent a ton of time (not really) trying to come up with  answers to help me solve this riddle.  How can a dream character exist in real life and in my dream at the same time if said dreams are real too?  The first step is in agreeing that dream characters who are strangers to us are actual people who live somewhere in the world (unless they're dead of course.  Hey, if they were dead, that would make solving this so much easier, but I digress).  So yeah, once we're all in agreement (looks around the room for the non-believers)...

The answer I came up with has less to do with alternate universes and doppelgangers (both terms that are used so frequently now but were frowned upon long ago by the way) than it has to do with the potential expansiveness of our mind and imagination.  This is going to sound crazy (*side eye*), but what if our dreams were actually our mind's way of transporting us to various places along the space time continuum?  Who's to say that our so-called unused portion of our brain, is not being used to shift us from one plain to another to interact with people we've never met, and visit places we've never been.

This is as far as I can allow myself to go.  The fact that this has been gnawing at me for weeks is proof to me that there is probably some validity to my theory (because that's how the overly intoxicated spirits work) but the next stage would involve some sort of research...zzzzz.  I'll stick with my good ole fantasy of how dreams work and leave it to the physicists (or psychotherapists I'm sure some of you are thinking) to figure out the rest.

Love ya.  Don't change.



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Forgive Them Father

A song can change the entire course of how I approach the day.  Happily knitting on the train today and blasting music loudly enough to block the sound of a playful 4yr old (someone else's; not mine), the shuffle brought to me a song I often listen to with deep intensity when I'm prone to anger (see video and lyrics below)...

After a good wallow (5 hours worth), I sat down in my hotel room, to write about my "feelings", but before tackling the keys, I read my New Year's eve post from last year; Best I Can and Viola!  I was cured.
I'm better than that and I had to be reminded of this by none other than myself.  Thanks Self!

The lyrics draw me in...most notably the ones in red below...

[Shelly Thunder]
Forgive us all trespassers as we forgive those that trespass against us
Although them again we will never, never, never trust

Dem noh know weh dem do, dig out yuh yei while dem sticking like glue,
Fling, skin, grin while dem plotting fah you,
True, Ah Who???

[Lauryn Hill]
Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them father for they know not what they do

Beware the false motives of others
Be careful of those who pretend to be brothers
And you never suppose it's those who are closest to you (to you)
They say all the right things to gain their position
Then use your kindness as their ammunition
To shoot you down in the name of ambition, they do

Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them father for they know not what they do

[Lauryn Hill - rapping]
Why every Indian wanna be the chief?
Feed a man 'til he full and he still want beef
Give me grief, try to tief off my piece
Why for you to increase, I must decrease?
If I treat you kindly does it mean that I'm weak?
You hear me speak and think I won't take it to the streets
I know enough cats that don't turn the other cheek
But I try to keep it civilized like Menelik
And other African czars observing stars with war scars
Get yours in this capitalistic system
So many caught or got bought you can't list them
How you gonna idolize the missing?
To survive is to stay alive in the face of opposition
Even when they comin' gunnin'
I stand position
L on the mission since conception
Let's free the people from deception
If you looking for the answers
Then you gotta ask the questions
And when I let go, my voice echoes through the ghetto
Sick of men trying to pull strings like Geppetto
Why black people always be the ones to settle
March through these streets like Soweto

[Lauryn Hill]
Like Cain and Abel, Caesar and Brutus, Jesus and Judas,
Backstabbers do this

Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them father for they know not what they do

It took me a little while to discover
Wolves in sheep coats who pretend to be lovers
Men who lack conscience will even lie to themselves (to themselves)
A friend once said, and I found to be true
That everyday people, they lie to God too
So what makes you think, that they won't lie to you

Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them, forgive them
Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them, forgive them

[Shelly Thunder]
Gwan like dem love while dem rip yuh to shreds,
Trample pon yuh heart and lef yuh fi dead,

Dem a yuh fren who yuh depen pon from way back when,
But if yuh gi dem yuh back den yuh mus meet yuh end
Dem noh know wey dem do,
Dem noh know wey dem do,
Dem no know, dem no know, dem no know,
Dem no know, dem no know wey dem do


Monday, January 9, 2012

I Am My Hair

Sorry India Arie...

A few weeks ago, I awoke, quite dramatically, from what seemed to be a dreamless slumber. In my cakey-eyed stupor, however, one wild and desperate message resonated (very loudly) in my head...

You gotta get rid of that hair!!!

So wait, this may need a bit of a back story; just a bit though because I promised myself that this would be a quick post (yeah right).

About 10 years ago, I made a dramatic decision. I decided to cut off my long and beautiful dreadlocks; my "crown and glory" as the old ladies would say. The main reason? Vanity. They were so ridiculously heavy that my roots started thinning and I couldn't take it anymore. My reasoning? was just hair. I never looked back, but after the haircut, I did do something very deliberately yet, so retrospectively telling and... weird. I took the recently chopped locs from my barber, placed them in a plastic bag, carried them to my home in Brooklyn and tucked them away almost ritualistically in my closet.

OK so maybe some of you won't find this weird and I sure didn't up until that very second I was jolted out of my sleep. In fact, I often bragged about the fact that I still had my locs and not once did I feel weird about admitting it. Obviously I still don't, but it was the immediate thought process after receiving the message to "get rid of that hair", that bothered me; no, shamed me the most.

I wanted to kick myself. How could I be so blind and so stupid in fact to store and mentally hold on to something so absolutely dead as hair? Here's an even crazier level than the already psychotic behavior of storing old hair...I actually brought it with me when my girls and I moved from NYC to NJ. Really people!!! I took the time to pack up that dead hair (like some crazy black widow) and bring it right along with us into our new lives eight years

Back to my immediate thought process. "Gurl!" I said to myself. "Do you know what's in that hair??" Actually, I did know.  And the list went something like this:
  • That tumultuous relationship(s) is in that hair!
  • The times when you didn't have food to feed your babies are in that hair!
  • That awful boss is in that hair!
  • Your tears are in that hair!
  • Pounds upon pounds of fat you successfully worked off are in that hair!
  • Poverty is in that hair!
  • Ailments and pain are in that hair!
  • A era of spiritual loss is in that hair.
It was this thought process which prompted me to immediately jump out of my bed, grab the hair out of its eternally, undisturbed and quiet resting place in my closet, throw on my fleece and Uggs and race outta the house to the garbage bin in the garage and dump that damned bag of mess and stress. And how did it feel? It felt amazing! Freeing! And I suddenly felt much "lighter"; much like I did that day so long ago when those heavy tresses hit the ground.

And so for all you non-believers: Yes, maybe it all my mind, and even so...hunny...isn't it the mind that makes everything...a reality?

Thanks for reading and receiving.  Peace Y’all!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best I Can - 2011 One of the Toughest Years in my Life

Blitz the Ambassador • Best I Can ft. Corneille from MVMT on Vimeo.

In order to write this very personal yet cleansing blog post, I enlisted the help of two aids; a bottle of prosecco and my favorite track from Blitz the Ambassador’s Native Son project called Best I Can; the former served as liquid courage while the latter served as my inspiration.

Some of the lessons I’ve learned from 2011:
  • Don’t give away my gifts.  They were given to me by God and are therefore, incredibly valuable.
  • My heart is actually wiser than my mind.
  • My words impact those who love me and yet have no significant impact on those who don’t.
  • Pay more attention to myself and those dear to me…in that order.  “Selfish” is not a bad word, and if it is I’ll be cussing like a mofo!
  • I agree with the adage that women don’t know what they want.  But I know what I need and that’s good enough for me…and God.
  • I’m a flake.  I will not commit to helping anyone with their “projects” because quite frankly, these projects will not keep me engaged or interested if there’s nothing “in it” for me altruistically or intrinsically (see “Don’t give away my gifts” above).
  • I will try to never judge others for not knowing how to make difficult decisions.  Life ain’t easy.
  • The truth shall indeed set you free.
  • I will honor those that came before me with all of my heart and soul because their DNA and spirits live within and with me.  They are owed my life-long gratitude and love for their guidance.
  • I MUST be the best I can.  It is essential.

2011… by far one of the toughest years of my life…

2010 ended extremely well.  The horizon was clear and I felt characteristically optimistic about what I had in store for me in 2011. I was eating well as some of my readers and friends know.  I found the most successful formula (for me anyway) for well-being – beans, greens, and whole grains…no meat.  I looked and felt amazing! Earlier in June of 2010, I was fired from a job I absolutely hated and only a few people congratulated me (thanks Kemba and Alex!).  I couldn’t understand why no one else felt happy for me and I spent a year being the most un-productive person in America, wasting the remainder of 2010 with a cocky attitude claiming that the Universe was on my side.  In the meantime, I was on unemployment netting $400 a week with a crazy huge mortgage and a kid headed to college in the summer.  I lived a fearless yet stupid life in ignorant bliss. 

My true friends were always looking out for me though.  In November of 2010, I was finally referred to a job where I had previously worked for many years (Thanks Tatia!).  You couldn’t tell me the Gods weren’t on my side!  I was making some serious loot!  Just like the olden days of my early 30s when I was rolling in the dough, I was a productive human being again.  Then, what my Godmother (hey Iya Koko!) described as a “Bonfire of the Vanities” moment (read the book…don’t see the movie), I was ousted out of that gig faster than I could say “you fuckin’ bastards!”

I entered 2011 like a queen but before I could really get going, I became the pauper again.  Did I start looking for work?? Nah!  Instead, I started sniffing around for distractions of the male persuasion; anything to keep me from focusing on my money problems.  I was back to holding my hand out for the $400 a week “entitlement”, and pretending that I could keep that going indefinitely. 

April approached and all/more hell broke loose.  I was cruelly dismissed by possibly the most evil self-insufficient man on earth (is this the prosecco talking?), BUT what was so remarkable about my reaction to how he treated me was that I felt grateful to him.  I mean this was a dude I was obsessed with for years and with all the varied type of dirt he dished out to me over those years, to think all he had to do was tell me how he really felt, and POOF! I was cured.  The truth can surely set you free. THANKS TRUTH!

And once I was lost, I was suddenly found.  Later on in this same month, renowned and attributed for the blooming of nature's bounty, I fell in love.

The full color, full blown account of this specific chapter of my life deserves more than a blog entry and so I won’t…I can’t elaborate here.  What I will say is that the summer of 2011 was the most loving yet heartbreaking time in my life and this is coming from a woman who lost both her beautiful and loving parents before the age of 25 so I hope you can all understand the significance of that statement.  So to keep it short yet poignant, and because he will most certainly read this post, here’s the respectably quick re-cap…

A man who I had known for over 30 years was diagnosed with terminal cancer in April.  In a nutshell, he was a mess and rightly so.  Somewhere along the way, in between trips to see him (in another state) and our long daily phone calls, we fell in love.  And somewhere along the way, he broke my heart.  

It may have taken you, what 10 seconds tops to read this segment?  Believe me when I tell you, it took me an hour to write it.  It’s that “truth will set you free” thing again along with the “words impacting those who love me” thing.  This point in particular warrants repeating…

He broke my fuckin’ heart!

I took care of him to the detriment of my health and wealth and although he was grateful for my care and although he used the word love, he couldn’t…or wouldn’t acknowledge this “love” to anyone outside the two of us, and because of this (plus a shitload of other deep stuff), I had to save myself and walk away.  As it turns out, it was shortly after I made this move, that he recovered.  So how does one interpret this?  He thinks I saved his life…while I sit here thinking it’s probably best that I stay away…for good. 

As time passes and he and I continue to chat here and there via telephone, the bad memories start to wane, but my heart won’t let me forget. That’s huge!  My heart is usually the one that gets me into trouble, but apparently there are still fissures present; unwilling to heal.  THANK YOU HEART!

And while my heart continues to protect and guide me, so do God and my spirit guides.  Even before the big change in my spiritual path, I was led and saved from what could have been the most disastrous and dangerous circumstances ever imagined.  I have had close calls with death and danger all throughout my life.  Some call it “God’s grace”…OK. But I also attribute it to the “voices in my head” (as the lyrics of Best I Can convey); the whisper that said “ok that’s enough gurl.  Put that down.  You’ve had enough.  Time to get some fresh air” or “He may seem cool and everything, but don’t leave with him just yet” or “Don’t say what you’re thinking of saying to this person.  They’re not stable”.

As I begin to develop, I have become more cognizant of one significant message that stands out more than all others: “Know, Love, and Be Yourself”.  This year more than any has helped me to figure out exactly that…who I am. 

  • I am that woman who listens closely to the whispers for their message.
  • I am that woman who says “that’s just not going to work for me” (thanks Oprah!) instead of saying “No”
  • I am that woman who isn’t going to put “you” and your projects ahead of me and my shit.
  • I am that woman who’s not afraid of the divine path and outcome.
  • I am that woman who is not out to please.
  • I am that woman who hasn’t given up on love.
I’ve often spoken and written about intention.  Thankfully, the power of intention has removed most of the negative energy (and people) from my life and what remains are the people I like and love, and the choices that aren’t easy BUT are easier to make.    

Although 2011 was a tough one, in the end, I have received much; new insights, new job (thanks George!), new family dynamics (Thanks Nyla and Jamila!), and once again a new and refreshed positive outlook for the upcoming year.

Thanks for reading and receiving.  Peace Y’all!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

NKOTBSB - How masterful musicology and orchestration converted me

Monday night I went to see the New Kids on The Block & Backstreet Boys concert at the Izod Center and I LOVED IT!!
That's not a typo...
Let me repeat (and bold) for the hard of reading: MONDAY,  I went to see a NKOTBSB concert and I LOVED IT!!

Full disclosure... I did have the luxury of a full blown VIP experience (see my "special" VIP pass?) ala band tour bus, backstage dressing room access (ah ah ah stop right there - take your mind outta the gutter), primo seats and official after-party perks to enhance my night, BUT I am able to separate those extras from the pure musical experience without bias.

So I'm wondering where should I start. Would it be more entertaining to captivate you first with vignettes of the sophomoric tour bus and backstage dressing room antics and hijinx (I wouldn't dare!!) or the secret joy I felt in watching the glares we got from "uber fan" onlookers as we walked backstage.

Perhaps anecdotely you'd prefer to read about the great new snack I created on the fly from two basic concession stand staples, or about our time sitting adjacent to the surprise musical guest Naughty by Nature in the VIP section of the after party. Maybe you'd be more interested in the awkward moment when I accused Donny Wahlberg (the mastermind, visionary and "musicologist" behind this tour) of stealing the idea for my tasty snack creation (now under secret development).

In all honesty, I had no intention of blogging about my time at this concert until sometime halfway through the first song when I realized what the hell was goin' on...

All of a sudden the light bulb came on in my head and I said to myself "Wait a fuckin' minute!!! Did we just finish yelling whoa-ooooa ohhhhhh from Coldplay's Viva la Vida as the guys mashed "Single"(by NKs), and "The One" (by Backstreet)??" Was I buggin'?? "OK pay attention Kateria...maybe you've had too much to drink. Maybe you should have listened to your friend Sasha (Allen) when she told you to bring earplugs to guard against the screaming fans". Yall know that incredible sound of the truly dedicated and enthralled which in turn results in the buzzing of the ears that still continues to hum even 4 days later.
But as it turns out, I wasn't buggin'...
Alas (yes another word I happen to use), I think it's best to cut to the chase (she says after typing 300+ words just to get to this point) and start by trying to convey to my readers, what I was really reacting to; that being the genius of Rob Lewis' orchestration. 
When Rob Lewis, Musical Director for this highly anticipated tour, offered me the chance to check out the concert, I was delighted. Hey, I knew if Rob was running the music, it was gonna be a good show even if I couldn't remember, at the time, a single song put out by either group. He didn't let us/me down. Although subtle and sometimes subliminal in most cases, I was dumbfounded by the mixing and layering of classic songs* with fan favs from both bands.
You didn't hear it from me, but I am pretty sure this was in no way an easy undertaking. Without knowing much about the inter-workings of the music world behind the scenes, I can only imagine the amount of diplomacy and creativity it would take to figure out for instance:
  • How much of one song to do before switching to another.
  • How to make sure the audience doesn't get confused.
  • Who should sing first, etc.
I gotta give it to these guys...if any of that kind of stuff was goin on (highly unlikely), you sure couldn't tell from my vantage point.
I'm completely convinced that this special blend of the familiar and unfamiliar is both engaging for existing fans while captivating for those like me who would have never believed they would be telling their friends about the superior level of entertainment I witnessed.
I won't even tell yall about the choreography!!! Ain't I the same age as these dudes??? How are they able to move like they do?? I'm mad at them! Lol
Lastly, I'd like to thank Sasha and Rob  for their thoughtfulness and generosity. I feel fortunate to have talented and gifted people like them in my life. Keep building yall!
*Classic Songs I could identify during the show (in no particular order)
Queen - We Will Rock You
Prince - Raspberry Beret
Bell, Biv, Devoe - Poison
The Delphonics - Didn't I blow your mind
Montel Jordan - This is How We Do It
C&C Music Factory - Everybody Dance Now
BeeGees - Stayin Alive
The Spinners - I'll Be Around
PM Dawn - If You Stay
AC/DC - Back In Black
Mona Lisa or Children's Story (I think?!) by Slick Rick