Lessons Learned in 2006

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. “ – Anne Bradstreet

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller

“The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.” – John Ruskin

These daily affirmations and prayer have been the only things getting me through 2006. I came into 2006 on quite a high. A good job that afforded me national travel; other than my car note and student loans relatively no debt; good friends to enjoy travel, shopping trips, and just hanging out with; and the possibility of a romance that seemed to be on the right track.

Life is nothing but a string of decisions. Some decisions can make it better, some can keep it from growing, and others can change things for the worse. I made one decision in 2006 that seemed to take what was to be such a great year, to being the absolute worse of my adult life. However as I try to take something positive from this disastrous year, I have learned so much about myself and people around me. And these are my lessons from 2006:

The grass in Atlanta is no greener than the grass in DC. My job in DC was going just fine, but I saw an opportunity to work for the number 3 (if that) association management firm in Atlanta and jumped on it. After working for the firm less than two weeks, I was fired for what they said “wasn’t a good fit”. And that was the only explanation they gave and even had to give under the “work at will” law. So after leaving a job I was comfortable with in DC and relocating to what I thought was going to be a better life in Atlanta… left me unemployed for three months and once again back in debt. My lesson learned: Still trying to figure this one out!!

Friends come into your life for a reason, a season, and rarely a lifetime. Me and Harold had been friends for almost ten years, but me moving to Atlanta would be the first time we actually lived in the same city. He introduced me to his friends and I attempted to make my own. My first three months in Atlanta were quite difficult and depressing, and when I landed my current job it seemed as if there was finally a ray of hope. I called him to tell him things were finally turning around… to get a mild response. The weeks that followed had me feeling left out and alone. Only to get an email on his birthday saying that he can’t sustain this friendship any longer, with out any explanation. My lesson learned: The only thing in life you can count on is taxes and death. Nothing in life is forever… and don’t expect an explanation on why.

Dating is difficult and Relationships aren’t easy. One of the first people I befriended after moving to Atlanta was Kool. Kool brought two other people into my life one was Dominican and the Bee (more on him later). I actually met Scorpio before moving to Atlanta and what started off as a friendship led to dating and then… well nothing back to an awkward friendship. Dating Dominican and Scorpio was an interesting experience, of which prompted a few blog entries this year but most notably Must I Date Your Friend Too . My lesson learned: Dating is a process of weeding through people to find the right one to develop a relationship with. Patience for that right one is a virtue that I must work on.

If you are driving an X5 with no job… you are a crafty faggot. Like I mentioned above Kool brought two people into my life… the other was Bee. After numerous weeks and months of hanging out, hanging out every weekend kind of took a back seat to dates, kids, and jobs. And then my house got broken into and weeks later Kool’s house got broken into again. Long story short… the short bastard standing between us took advantage of two genuine friendships invaded our homes stole material things and left his dignity. I was always raised to do whatever you can to help friends out and if Bee ever needed anything, all he had to do was ask but instead he decided to play spades at my table, eat food I prepared, watch movies on my TV… all the while eyeing what he would be stealing later. My lesson learned: You never truly know who a person is, but always trust your gut feeling.

Lack of communication will be the death of any friendship. He is attractive, intelligent, and funny. And he was to be mine. Because of all the stress I was going through when I first moved to Atlanta… I pushed him to the side and got sidetracked. I looked for things to justify what I did but I was wrong. I fucked up something that could have been great. Looking back on it now, I don’t think either of us really worked that hard on making it the way it should have been. But I am a man and I admit my mistakes and wrongdoings. And today I sincerely apologize for my fault in this all and hope we can work on the friendship. My lesson learned: Just like a plant, friendships need nurturing as well.

2006 was one hell of a year… and I am claiming that 2007 as my rebuilding year. By the end of 2007 I want to be where I was before moving to Atlanta and back on the path to making my 10 year plan a reality. So I am leaving all of this strife, bad memories, and experiences of 2006 right here… because tomorrow as I embark on a new year and a new start.

I am hoping that each of you make your 2007 better than your 2006.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progess.” – Frederick Douglas

Dreamgirls... my take

Many bloggers have already or will be posting many reviews of the Dreamgirls movie and most of them will focus on the great performances of Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Fox and Beyonce. However after finally seeing the movie for myself after months and months of hype this post gives much do praise to Eddie Murphey and Anika Noni Rose.

Murphey as James "Thunder" Early is electrifying in his portrayl of a star's rise and fall from the top. This comedic side of him probably hasn't been this sharp since his many years on SNL. And his singing makes me wonder if his late 80s albums were all that bad. But it's the fear eating at Jimmy that brings out the best in Murphy. Jimmy is a star who has abused too many drugs and used too many women from his wife who Dawn Lewis effectively played sans any lines and Lorrell, his current mistress played by Anika. However Murphy effectively illuminates these character flaws without dimming the wicked charm. I dont think Murphey has ever reached this far emotionally or dug this deep to bring a character so real.

In 2004, Anika Noni Rose was awarded the Theatre World Award, Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress and the Tony Ward for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, for Caroline, or Change. In 2006, she brought this award winning talent to big screen as she effectively portrays Lorrell Robinson's growth from a giggly naive girl to a grown woman. My favorite scene is when she has finally had enough of Jimmy Early and pulls the strength and courage to walk away from the man that made her a woman. While the character Lorrell, is relegated mostly to the background in most of the film, her few moments to shine display a young performer whose power is far beyond her years. Anika Noni Rose more than holds her own vocally and in acting as the third Dreamgirl.

On the others... For me Jennifer Hudson didn't steal the show at all. I expected her to deliver a flawless performance and she did. I am quite thankful however that Beyonce actually stepped up her usual lack of acting talent and gave a pretty decent performance herself. She amazingly and effectively channels the diva herself, Diana Ross throughout the movie. She pulls this off through several dazzling fashion ensembles and the photo shoot scene. However I don't think her performance should have been compared to that of Meryl Streep and Annette Benning this past year with a Golden Globe nomination. However I will say the scene of her getting photographed, as Ross did, in an infinite number of extravagant costumes and hairdos was utterly beautiful.

Often when Broadway goes Hollywood, the director and screenplay writer try to do too much and it often comes off seeming more patchwork than a constant flow... and Dreamgirls can seem quite patchy at times. And umm what happened to the Jamie Foxx/Jennifer Hudson sex scene???

Oh yeah... Congrats to Jaleel "Urkel" White and Dawn "Different World" Lewis for scoring cameos... I guess their careers aren't totally dead yet.

My Secret is Out...

Yep it is true… for a long time I kept this a secret but like most secrets it has seeped out. I say this with much trepidation…

“Hi I am C. and I have an underwear fetish.”

Men's underwear has come out of the closet and into the public eye and it's about time. The variety of styles you can get now is unlimited, from the god-awful white briefs to the even worse loose boxers. From sexy mesh underwear to “you got one thing on your mind” jock straps. You can now even get skimpy g-strings at your local Bloomingdale”s or Macy’s department stores. Oh and let us not get on those Calvin Klein micro fiber boy shorts. Erotic thongs, athletic one-piece suits and styles that I can’t even give a name to are all over Undergear and the many underwear sites now dedicated to men.

Now let me clarify when I say I have this fetish I am not by any means talking about any type of underwear that looks like it might hurt the person wearing it. And I am by no means talking about men in panties… because you know that is just gross. And I am definitely not talking about stealing underwear… which in the UK can now land you on their Sex Offender List.

I am talking about enjoying the site of a man or woman in a nice pair of undergarments that accentuate their best ASSets. (Tighty Whiteys are an instant invitation out the door.)

The basic idea of sexual fetishism is sexual arousal and satisfaction through an inanimate object. Everyone has a fetish. In some cases, "fetish” has been used to name aspects of a nation's predominant ideal of beauty, e. g. the preference for small feet in old China or the modern western preference for big breasts. More recently it is used to name any sexual preference which is perceived as unusual: overweight, race, body parts and hair color are examples for physical features that popularly are considered fetishes. But for me it is underwear… appealing underwear.

So I am curious what is your fetish??

Stomp The Yard trailer

Let's see Columbus Short, Laz Alonzo, Brian White and a familiar story line... we know where I will be January 12th.

Weekend Wrapup

What an interesting weekend... First let me start off by saying, I think we work too much. There should be a 4 day work weeks with 3 day weekends. If anyone is hiring on that schedule let me know and I will forward the resume over ASAP!!

There were a number of friends, acquaintances, and even a quasi boyfriend in town. So since my bestfriend, Rey, from DC was in town and hadn't partied much with the kids in Atlanta, we planned to hit up a couple parties and clubs.

Friday was real chill for the most. After lounging all day, Rey and me went over to Neimans, when Chopsticks (me and my roommate call him that because at the gym he wears these lil shorts showing off his very petite legs as he always works on his upper body... too funny) appears out of nowhere... repeating his email address to someone on the phone over and over loud enough for all of us to hear. So of course my bestfriend being the fool that he is... was like now I am gonna stalk your email. To which Chopsticks replies at least I will know who it is. (Insert vomitting noise and eye rolls here).

So then me, Rey, my roommate and his house guest hit the gym. After a good "club" workout we all went home to eat and drink before hitting the club. I must say the club was quite festive and the mix of cuties and the uncutes was just right. Having a friend working the bar is always helpful in making the nights turn into an alcoholic bliss.

Now Saturday is where the weekend turned interesting... so we spent most of the day lounging and all on our own schedules till the evening when it was time to go to the first house party. My roommate had 2 more friends come in town so as we waited on them to arrive Rey decides he wants to go visit one of his military friends. So I am already ready to go but waiting patiently (patience is not a virtue I have) so when we are finally ready to go of course Rey is not where he needs to be which sets off an hour long argument and me deciding that I wasn't going anywhere and to hell with the whole evening (yeah I am spoiled so what). After changing my mind once again and getting directions from my now long gone roommate, I venture out to a part of SW Atlanta that was so far that I could have sworn I was half way to Alabama. (I don't understand why people have the desire to live so far from civilization in houses that aren't even all that big) The party was so packed that if you wanted to move around the house there was one circular path going in one direction. The organizers of the party asked that you bring one can good or a donation and by the time we arrived there was a huge tub filled with food outside... (don't you love partying with a purpose) After being there about an hour and meeting one boy... the police came and shut it down and it was off to the Atlanta Live.

Now I can't stand Atlanta Live but we had planned to meet another friend, Bell, there and all party together. (a little background... I met Bell back in early October , after weeks of hanging out we decided not to date and just be friends because we weren't on the same page.... Bell and my friend Mo were also cool and according to Mo they were "just friends" but more on that later). So once getting there me and my bestfriend, Rey, run into Bell, so we just stood around and talked and drank until the others arrived from the party. As soon as Mo and the rest of the crew arrive and get drinks... Mo pulls Bell away and they all head to the dance floor leaving me and Rey just standing there. So after we get round 2 we move to the dance floor where they are. So we are all back together dancing and acting fool but everytime I talk to Bell.. Mo is right there and quickly pulls him to the side. I thought I was the only one noticing this until my bestfriend gives me the eye of what is that about and starts laughing... once again they eventually leave us once again. So me and Rey go off on our own and start dancing and partying with 2 cute Jamaican lesbos and talking to other folks we knew. Then I get a text from Bell asking me where we were. Once we all met up again he asked what is going on I thought we were all supposed to be hanging out... I simply told him that it was apparent Mo didn't want us hanging together so I will let yall be so everyone can have a drama free good time. (a little more background... Bell told me that he has told Mo a number of times that they can just be friends because they sexually incompatible and too fem. But since Mo kept telling me that they were just friends and no more I never put much value in this. but I guess the truth came out that night) Me and my bestfriend called it a night not long after that seeing that the club was too young and too ghetto and full of uncuteness. It is sad the best looking person that was there was an old date...

Sunday was really chill, I hung out with my bestfriend and quasi boyfriend most of the day and got to go to bed relatively early, only to be back at work today......

T-Shirt Couture

When I first heard of this... I was like what the hell?? Is this another attempt to sell those $65 designer t-shirts, so the late kids can claim they are wearing a label. But after touring To A T: T-Shirt Culture... Cute or Couture, I got it.

Like a good pair of jeans or the little black dress... T-Shirts are a staple in fashion. The popularity of the t-shirt is a direct result of its ease of accessibility and for the endless outlet of individualism it allows. Over the years t-shirts have evolved. The t-shirt has been transformed from ordinary underwear worn by James Dean to today’s form of self-expression worn under blazers by some and with a pair of flip-flops by others. Now there are more different styles of t-shirts than ever before, often influenced by the many different elements of today's culture. Whether it is the tattoo inspired Ed Hardy Ts.. or the retro sexually implied slogan Ts.. or the Inspi(red) shirts on sale at GAP.... there is a style of tshirt for pretty much everyone. When it comes to style of t-shirts or even fashion in general it is a combination of many elements of culture such as musical taste, speech or other entertainment influences.

Museum of Design Atlanta’s new exhibit puts t-shirts from well established fashion icons like Christian Dior, Marc Jacobs, and Dolce & Gabbana side-by side with up and coming local Atlanta designers including Project Runway favorite, Michael Knight and Clint Zeagler of Pecan Pie Couture. The exhibit explores this trend displaying t-shirts accented with rhinestones, beading, embroidery, cutting and sewing, and silk screen prints. If you are in the ATL, you should definitely come downtown and take a look at the free exhibit before it goes on tour.

And if you haven’t seen Michael Knight’s website do check it out http://www.mychaelknight.com/ .

Random Newstories...

Just some random new stories that have caught my eye. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 6 via AOL.com

An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence, authorities said. Nasty bastard!!

Wednesday, December 6 via Washingtonpost.com

"Keeping us up here eats away at families," said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. "Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families -- that's what this says." Kingston says in response to the new Democratic leadership inacting a work week that starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday and will end their business about 2 p.m on Friday. But my question is weren't these politicians elected to WORK!! If I have to work a 9 to 5... why shouldn't they.

Wednesday, December 6 via AJC.com

Federal immigration agents arrested six illegal immigrants Wednesday who had security badges that gave them access to restricted areas of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, including the tarmac. Have you not seen the security lines at Atlanta's airport... and these damn illegals get all access badges... ain't that about a b!%$h !!

Cherokee County (GA) commissioners Tuesday night approved ordinances declaring English the county's official language, and going after landlords who rent to illegal immigrants. Cherokee commissioners have maintained that illegal immigrants drain local resources. And because the federal government hasn't tackled the issue, commissioners said it was up to them to send a message to those living in the county illegally. I am all for anyone coming to America... just come legally and learn the language.

Wednesday, November 29 via CNN.com

"We have reason to believe, and we have some forensic evidence that is consistent with our belief, that a microwave oven was used in this death," said Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County coroner's office.... If China Arnold microwaved her baby... they should boil her ass in alcohol.... of course IF she did it.

Robin, John, and him....

Last night Robin Thicke and John Legend put on a show... and a damn good one at that. The Tabernacle was packed to the rafters and hot as a 5 fat girls in a Ford Focus in Arizona. Even Usher came out to take in the show.

Robin Thicke opened the show 30 minutes late giving an energetic performance, with relatively strong vocals on R&B--tinged pop tunes from his album The Evolution of Robin Thicke and his first album that I can't recall the name of. But after his strong performance I will be picking them both up.

In true diva like fashion.... what had to be at the very least an hour after Robin left the stage, Legend's band and backup singers took the stage. To think just two years ago a then-unknown John Legend was setting up a keyboard on the sidewalk outside of Philips Arena 2 blocks away, ready to croon "Ordinary People" for pretty much anyone that asked.

So when the now three-time Grammy winner finally took stage backed by a band that included three flawless backup singers, two keyboardists, a guitarist and a drummer, Legend slid behind his own baby grand piano and banged out hits from both albums including my favorites Heaven, PDA, and Stereo. Just like the album, he alternates between '60s-era Motown soul and lounge music throughout the concert. I think every single is so retro that even my mother would enjoy nearly every track.

Attending the concert with not only a fan of Legend... but a fan of music made the night even better. The surprising highlight of the evening was while John was singing P.D.A., him was staring at me singing along and leaned over to kiss me. At first I was shocked... like did this dude just kiss me in the middle of this concert. And then the row of ladies behind us hit me with an, 'awww i wish i had a date to kiss me too', which led to my embarrassment. But I must say it felt good.

A late night dinner with great conversation just topped off a memorable evening.