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Friday, 5 November 2004
31 blessings
Now Playing: The Push Bin w/Lou (wfmu.org)
Topic: the Christian walk

I just got out of my job review. I don?t have it in me to tell it all, so I?ll just say that I got a glowing review by my supervisor, but it?s clear to her that I?m frustrated right now. At least she knows. At least somebody knows now and I don?t feel like there?s this secret I have to hide from everyone. I let my frustration be known and did it in a professional manner. It?s done. It?s out there.

I?d been preparing myself for today since this weekend. I turn 31 at approximately 4:02 p.m. today. I see the date, but it doesn?t register. It just feels like another day. I don?t feel special, I don?t feel celebratory, but at least I can feel something?even if it?s a void. Throughout the week, I?ve been counting the blessings to remind myself why today is important. Here are a few of them:

  1. God took the time to create me. The heavens and the earth were more than enough. The fact that He didn?t deem it a waste of time to form me from the dust of the earth and breathe the breath of life into my lungs is amazing to me. I meant enough to Him that He created me. (That goes for you, too, you know?) I believe that God is a God of purpose, meaning that He didn?t create us just because. There?s a reason why the Creator placed us all on the planet. If I stay in His company long enough and follow His instructions, my purpose will be revealed to me in time, at the right time?His own time. Remind me that I shouldn?t put a time limit on success.
  2. Even when I wasn?t concerned with God, God was concerned with me. I can?t fathom unconditional love, no matter how hard I try. And the idea that God pours out that type of love daily on a horrendously flawed creature like me is just mind-boggling.
  3. Jesus gave me a second chance. He also gave me third, fourth, 15th, 16th, 27th, 28th, and 32nd chances. Anybody else would?ve given up on me by now.
  4. The Lord has kept me from dangers seen and unseen. It?s the ones that I don?t even know about that I?m really thankful for.
  5. Health. In Westchester County, it costs $1.75 to ride the bus. I cut down on cost by buying a book of bus tickets, but my income isn?t like it once was. I stretch the duration of the ticket books by taking the bus to the subway station in the morning and walking home from the subway at night. Sometimes I?ll miss the bus in the morning and have to walk both ways. If it wasn?t for the Lord sustaining my health, my commute would be the death of me. And speaking of being near death?
  6. I lived through having the measles, mumps, and chicken pox at age two. SIMULTANEOUSLY. Both the doctor and my mom really thought I was going to die. Obviously, I don?t remember any of this. Anything before age five is a complete and total blur.
  7. All five senses are intact. A left-handed brother woke up in his right mind this morning. I can see, taste, touch, hear, and smell. I know how it feels to hold my wife?s hand, to have her look at me and smile and how it makes me melt every time. What if I couldn?t hear music? What if I couldn?t experience it on all the levels that I do now? I wouldn?t be able to hear my wife sing (she?s my songbird). And life would be vastly different if I couldn?t taste peanut butter, apple pie, and vanilla ice cream (no, not all at once).
  8. Food. I have a choice of what I want to eat in my fridge and cupboards. I?m not in a position to have to resort to cannibalism or eat what others throw away. At my lowest point, I ate nothing but rice for a week. Still, you can stretch starch-based foods, so that rice was a blessing.
  9. Clothing. In the immortal words of Mr. T from his Be Somebody Or Be Somebody?s Fool video, ?Everybody gotta wear clothes. If you don?t, you?ll get arrested.? I?m not worried about name brands ? does it fit me and can I afford it? I have more than one shirt, more than one pair of jeans or sneakers, and at least one suit in my closet. I BETTA act like I know some don?t have that luxury, as well as get off my butt and give my older threads to those that need them.
  10. Shelter. During marriage counseling, Rev. Dr. Edward L. Hunt (the pastor that would officiate our wedding ceremony) mentioned what was, in his opinion, the eleventh commandment: ?Thou shalt own property.? Beth and I want to own a house someday, but right now I?m happy with our apartment. It feels like home and a place of solace, which is critical when the work day beats you down.
  11. God sent me someone to share life with. Beth?s had my heart since the fall of 1992 and she will long after the Lord calls me home. Our wedding day and honeymoon are some of the happiest times I?ve ever experienced. Five years married, twelve years together, and we?ve only just begun. I thank God for her daily: she makes this life bearable and I hope I do the same for her.
  12. My mother. She has been the nurturer, the sustainer, the disciplinarian, and the strand of support and guidance for more than a quarter of a century and has lived to tell the tale. Still giving, still caring, still concerned, she is my mom, my friend, and my sister-in-Christ. She left me the sweetest message this morning while I had my review:
    ?Good morning, my darling. I?m just arriving at the hospital. My labor pains are not too bad. I will call you when you?re born. I love you. Have a blessed day.?
    I?ll always love my mama ? she?s my favorite girl?
  13. My father. Reconciliation is important, especially when it?s your parent on the other side of your scorn. Forgiving my father for past behavior is easily one of the best decisions I?ve ever made. I can remember him arguing with my mother and raising his hand to my sister. I can remember sitting on the back seat of his green Cadillac Eldorado and watching him and his friends freebase in the front. He?s made a number of wrong turns in his life and, thankfully, none of them have taken him out. The fact that he?s still here for me to hug wipes the slate clean. I love my dad more than he can imagine.
  14. My extended family. Between grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews, we are four generations deep on both sides of the family. Add to that my wife?s nuclear and extended family and you have a lot of people on all sides with a lot of quirks, idiosyncrasies, and general personality crap that drives you nuts. Even so, there?s a lot of love flowing whenever we do get together, and for that I?m thankful. There are some families that can?t say the same.
  15. I get along surprisingly well with my in-laws. Beth reminded me of that just yesterday. That?s a blessing: few things are worse than gaining family members through a sacred union that can?t stand you.
  16. My church family. In addition to my nuclear and extended family, God has blessed me with brothers and sisters in the faith I can go to for encouragement, accountability, and spiritual uplift. The secular world shouts ?clones,? but God desires unity (not uniformity) amongst His people. I don?t know how they?ve put up with me as long as they have. Must be grace and mercy extended in my direction.
  17. Morpheus. I?m adding this one at Beth?s suggestion, but it?s true: I love our little neurotic. I never used to like cats until Beth got him while we were dating. That silly thing stole my heart. He races around the house chasing things from other dimensions, he licks plastic bags, and he bats around his water dish so that it falls on the tray underneath it and then drinks it from the tray. In addition, he?d probably rather have peanut butter and tortilla chips than his cat food. AND HE?S LACTOSE INTOLERANT. This is what Beth gets for insisting on choosing a kitty that was hiding under a dresser. The apartment wouldn?t be the same without him, though.
  18. Financial aid mishaps didn?t stop me from graduating college. I?ve had to work for one semester three years in a row to pay my tuition bills, thereby turning a four-year degree into a seven-year bid. But I didn?t quit and I didn?t forget what the money was for. I graduated SUNY Albany with a BA in English. (A lot of good it?ll do me now: didn?t The Princeton Review rank my alma mater the #1 party school?)
  19. Brubacher Hall (Fall 1991-Spring 1993) Before this dorm was the property of The College of Saint Rose, it belonged to SUNY Albany. This is where I spent by freshman and sophomore years of college. This is where Beth and I first met and fell in love. It is also where I met the most insane bunch of people I have ever known in life. There was a whole crew of us that became friends rather quickly. Most of us have fallen out of touch with each other, but it doesn?t change the way that I feel about them. They were the most amazing group of people I?ve ever met and I know that I?ll never have friends quite like the ones I had in that dorm. That was a very unique time in my life, one that I?ll always remember with fondness and fits of giggles.
  20. I have childhood friends that still ask about me. Mom told me that yesterday. Cats that I haven?t seen in forever (at least since elementary school) run into my mom, actually remember me and ask how I?m doing. That?s gotta count for something.
  21. Music. I obsess over it enough to treat it like I know it's a gift from God.
  22. I?ve hosted a radio show. Several of them, actually, and I created some radio promos, too. I even had my own news article broadcast on a public access station (it was about the growing popularity of techno). Some of them have been recorded and are currently waiting to be converted to MP3 files. And as much as I think all my old shows suck now, as much as I want to distance myself from the person I was then and the radio station as a whole, I have to admit that I had a lot of fun while I was there. I really miss being an on-air DJ. It?s the one component of college life that I wish I could continue.
  23. I was a rotating resident DJ at a bar. From January to October last year, I was a part of a really great party on the Lower East Side called Recess, which was held at the Orchard Bar on Wednesday nights. I miss tag team sets with my man Jordan; we learned so much from each other. I miss hearing Goldenchild and Moises rock rare groove sets and talking music with them. It had its annoying moments, but the high points outweigh them in my memory now. There was one night in April of 2003 that the back room almost exploded, there was so much energy. It was 3AM on a Wednesday and no one wanted to go home. The party?s still going, but I hear from some that it?s not the same as it used to be. That?s a shame; for a while, it was THE place to go midweek.
  24. I had a poem published as part of a former professor?s book. Dr. Mark Anthony Neal?s class at SUNY Albany was the highlight of my last semester there. We?ve kept in touch since then and he?s currently considered one of the greatest cultural critics of his generation. He has written several books, one of which is entitled Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic. He asked for one of my poems to appear within the book?s introduction. It?s an honor that still humbles me. I have so much respect for Dr. Neal?s work and I make it a point to see him whenever he?s in town.
  25. Will and Khari. My brothers-in-Christ, my partners in Cut-Up City (urban-based audio collage), random silliness, and way too many in-jokes. Those two are always gonna be my heads. Cut-Up City runs things. ?We will be here for-EVER?Do you understand? For-EVER. FOREVER AND EVER?AND EVER AND EVER.?
  26. Mikal. MC, writer, raver, dancer, and all-around brilliant mind, he is a pea from the same brown-shaded pod. We met at a party in Albany back in 1999. I thought I was the only head at a rave that got into the music as intensely and outwardly visible as I did until I met him. That?s how we bonded. We?re both older and wiser, but still share similar struggles and we talk each other through them. Truth be told, he?s the younger brother I?ve always wanted. I?m very thankful that God allowed us to cross paths.
  27. Dawn and Baba. Whenever two people find each other that you know are just meant to be together, that?s a major blessing. These two souls are powerful as individuals; united in matrimony, they will move mountains. I am so glad that I was able to witness their wedding ceremony this summer. Plus Beth likes having more friends around us that are married and in their 30s ? makes her feel less like the oldest person in the room.
  28. Constant inspirations in concert. I?ve been fortunate enough to see a number of my greatest musical inspirations perform live: Prince, Fishbone, De La Soul, The Legendary Pink Dots, Basehead, Squarepusher, Carl Craig, and Mouse On Mars. Alas, I never did get to see Frank Zappa on stage. He came through my area on his last tour a few months before I got into his music. That was 1988 ? he died in December of 1993. I guess it?s no surprise that I?ve been listening a lot of his live recordings lately?
  29. I?ve never been to jail. I can hear the Chris Rock response on this one: ?You?re not supposed to go to jail. What you want, a cookie?!?? But when prison populations are overwhelmingly black (even in towns where there are no black people), you can?t tell me that someone somewhere doesn?t already have a cell with my name on it. I?ve managed to avoid becoming a cog in the machine known as the prison industrial complex for this long, and I intend to keep it that way.
  30. I?ve never been shot or stabbed. I?ve heard from those that have traveled overseas (especially if they?re from New York City) that others constantly ask if they?ve been shot, as if we all live in the wild wild West. I suppose we do, in a way. However, being in front of or behind a knife or a gun is not a black man?s rite of passage, contrary to popular belief. Neither fate has befallen me so far and I thank God for it. (?If you never been shot or stabbed [Mount Vernon], go ?OOOH, OOOH, OOOH, OOOH???)
  31. I?ve seen a body of water that just goes on forever. It was November of 1999 and Beth and I had arrived at the Sun Palace in Cancun. As we checked into our room and got settled, I looked out our window. All we saw was water. I?ve never seen that before. Usually, there?s always some land mass or bridge in the midst of it all. But not here?just water. I?ve never been as relaxed as I was in Cancun. Beth and I have been trying to get back ever since.
I was hoping the list of blessings would make it to 31. There?s lots more that I know I?m missing, but two days ago I didn?t even think I?d get this far. That was the goal for this week: to write down one blessing for each year that God has spared my life. It?s not like He had to.

Posted by macedonia at 12:19 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 5 November 2004 12:28 PM EST
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Thursday, 28 October 2004
ruminations on a hollow eve
Now Playing: Giant Step audio player [www.giantstep.net]

I?m not down with Halloween. At all. I don?t think I?ve ever seen the point of such a holiday, if you can call it that. Even growing up as a child, after I had gone trick-or-treating all dressed up, I would be sitting with a half-eaten sack of candy and a bellyache thinking to myself, just exactly what was the point of all that?

Back during my SUNY Albany days, I was sitting in one of my English classes when the professor walks in. Before she starts the lesson for the day, she reads a quick news blurb from the ?Net regarding Halloween?s growth in popularity. At that point (and probably still true today), Halloween is second only to Christmas in terms of spending on decorations and adornments. If I remember correctly, the professor ended this news flash by saying: ?While Satan isn?t [equal] with the baby Jesus, he?s getting real close.? Everybody in the classroom cracked up except for me. It?s moments like those that remind me how much being a Christian is equal to being a foreigner or an alien. Just one of those ?you?re not home, it?s only Earth? moments with many more to come in my future.

I find that I can only remember the bad stuff about October 31st. For instance, one time I spun the closing set at a party on Halloween night back in?good Lord, that was seven years ago. It was at the Launch Pad (RIP) in Troy, NY. Beth and I were still dating then. The set started off well: I was playing primarily drum and bass cuts then, largely on the jazz tip but some of it dark and noisy. Kids were having fun and I was having fun watching them get down from the DJ booth, which was elevated above the dance floor. Considering how high up you are, you could see everything that was happening with the crowd.

Shortly after mixing in a wicked remix of Tricky?s ?Pumpkin,? I looked down and saw some drunk brother all up in Beth?s face. He gave her the finger, she responded in kind, then he pushed her back by pressing his hand against her forehead. I flew down the stairs towards the dance floor in a fit of rage. I charged out the stairwell towards him and threw two wild punches, but he dodged out of the way before they could land. Beth?s trying to hold me back and I?m pretty much dragging her trying to get him (a man considerably larger than me, by the way). About three of my friends try to help Beth in holding me back and for a while I was dragging all of them. I don?t remember what I said to him, but the enraged me is never pretty. Combine the thug mug shots of any member from rap crew Onyx with Linda Blair from The Exorcist and you pretty much have an idea of the state I was in that night. Had I remembered to pick up the two empty Sobe bottles I saw on the stairwell, things would?ve gone far worse.

After that, I made a vow never to spin on Halloween again. I also include Christmas, New Year?s, and the night before Easter Sunday. One of the cats from Complacent tried to get me to spin for Halloween last year, but I wouldn?t do it. He probably thought I was blowing him off and I never heard from him again. If it were any other night in October but the 31st, I would?ve done it. I have great respect for Complacent; I just didn?t want to go into the reasons why?even though I should?ve.

I am of the opinion that anyone who says that Halloween is their favorite time of year seriously needs to think about what they?re saying. After hearing my views on the holiday, a former co-worker actually told me to ?get into the spirit.? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Get into the spirit of what? Evil? Darkness? Isn?t there enough of that on the planet already?

Oh, don?t look so shocked. As I?ve already stated in an earlier entry, I?m a prude.

There are few things related to Halloween that make me smile, but here are a couple:

  • My annual viewing of It?s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It NEVER gets old. All I have to hear is Charlie Brown say ?I got a rock? and I?m on the floor.
  • Ministry?s ?Everyday Is Halloween.? And just for the record, NO, IT?S NOT. THANK GOD.
  • Frank Zappa?s ?Goblin Girl.?
  • Whodini?s ?The Haunted House of Rock.? A good friend of mine actually owns the glow-in-the-dark 12-inch vinyl single of that.
  • The occasional leftover candy at the job. I?m very partial to Snickers, myself.
Wow, I almost forgot about this: It was late October of 2002 and I was at my old job in Greenwich, CT. Every year just prior to Halloween, the co-workers brought their kids all decked out in costumes. One of the workers (dressed up as Superman, I might add) led the kids around the cubicles while we all filled their goody bags with candy. This particular year someone brought in a candy bowl in the shape of a witch?s cauldron. It had a shriveled hand emerging from it that came down whenever someone reached their hand in the bowl and said, in a spooky voice, ?Happy Halloween.?

Only problem was that the thing was ultra sensitive, so all you had to do was walk by and that would trigger the hand and the voice. The candy bowl was placed along a ledge of the main walkway into our team area. The walkway was directly in front of my cubicle. Needless to say, I had WAY too much fun watching grown people get freaked out by this candy bowl. The third time was the kicker, though: a custodian came around the corner and jumped at least three feet in the air when the bowl spoke. And it was pretty loud, too. Brother landed on his feet, but he had his dukes up. I was no good for the rest of the day.

Last but not least, there?s the seasonal aisle of your local CVS. If you haven?t been there during this time of year, you simply MUST GO. The featured novelty item this time around is a statue of a hissing cat that sings the old paranoid pop classic ?Somebody?s Watching Me? by Rockwell. Pretty good, but not nearly as funny as the main attraction from two years ago. CVS was selling a modeled head of Frankenstein with the bolts in his neck. When you pressed a button on his forehead, it sung a horrible rendition of Men At Work?s ?Who Can It Be Now?? in an over-exaggerated monster voice. It was classic: the jaw moved to the words and everything. Just try and picture that in front of somebody?s door when kids are out trick-or-treating?


What made it worse was that kids kept pressing the button on this thing while I was waiting on line. Third time around, I said, ?NOOO?don?t press the button!!? Too late.


By the time the woman at the cash register was ready to ring up my items, I was laughing so hard that I had tears streaming down my face. If you see that somewhere this year, buy it on general principle.

Posted by macedonia at 5:55 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 26 October 2004
the elusiveness of better things
Now Playing: Nickel & Dime Radio w/DJ Small Change (wfmu.org)

Changes are in the air and on the horizon. Blessings are in my neighborhood. I know because they visited my mom recently. She?s been looking for steady employment for quite some time. Her ends rarely met and over the past couple of weeks, things got really thick of terms of her economics. She had an interview set up after a job fair that she went to a few weeks ago. Yesterday, it was made official ? she got the job. She starts on Monday. I was happy for her like I had gotten the job.

She?s been telling me that I?m next. It would be nice. After a year of customer service work, you get tired of slumming. And I only say that because I was doing more than this prior to me being here. There are other people out there with considerably more pleasant personalities than mine that would be more than satisfied with this type of job. God bless them?I?ve only found frustration and a significant amount of boredom. If a chance for growth were possible here, maybe this detour would be justifiable. As it stands at the moment, I would only be expected to keep doing exactly what I?m doing. And that?s a pigeonhole I can?t accept.

That?s the terrible thing about this job: it really doesn?t take much effort. As a result, I feel lazy. And that?s spilled over into my job search strategy. It all feels very lethargic, lackluster, and halfhearted. Plus the commute on the subways can be very draining, so I?m always exhausted by the time I get home. It?s not so much the trip as the crowding and the attitudes that get to me. Clearly I need to kick myself in the ass and rethink my approach while in the job hunt: I?m not trying to be here for another year.

Posted by macedonia at 2:15 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 1 November 2004 10:54 PM EST
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Monday, 25 October 2004
Junior Boys in-store appearance @ Other Music
Now Playing: Dangermouse vs. Jay-Z - The Gray Album
Topic: event reports

You knew what type of crowd you were hanging out with just by the dialogue exchanged with a taxi driver waiting at a traffic light:

Cabbie: Excuse me?just out of curiosity, what?s the line for?
Patron: It?s an in-store performance for a band?a small band?Junior Boys?
Patron: They?re a small band?tiny band?
(more silence)
Patron: You?d have to shop here.

Probably the thing that made me laugh the most was listening to this guy behind me fishing for ways to tell the cabbie that he couldn?t possibly know who Junior Boys were. Quite frankly, heads that are all about the underground don?t know who they are. They?re currently on a North American tour with Mouse on Mars (an absolute favorite of mine), so hopefully that will change soon. Their new album called Last Exit was released earlier this year on the Kin label in the UK and was just released domestically on Domino. It?s extremely engaging pop music tying in a number of different influences, on some New Order meets Timbaland kinda steez ? very cool. And seeing as how I?m poor, a free in-store at Other Music was the only way I was gonna be able to see these guys play.

Junior Boys is made up of two men: Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus. Jeremy?s the singer and songwriter while Matt keeps himself busy on the keyboards. Occasionally they trade places on basses and guitars rigged up through a various assortment of pedals and effects. I was already smiling because once inside the store, I saw my friend Ezekiel?s album stocked on the shelf. Even stranger, Jeremy is what Ezekiel might look like with longer hair, about 15-20 extra pounds, and a scruffy beard. Junior Boys are unassuming blokes, though, and after inviting us to come closer to their setup, they performed several songs from their album and engaged in some witty banter in between selections.

?We played to about 600 people last night, yet this is so much more nerve-racking,? Jeremy uttered to light laughter from the audience. He then motioned to his partner behind the synths and said, ?Poor Matt ? he looks positively bored back there. Supposedly, the more bored you look, the more intense your performance.? He also admitted to window shopping while he was performing because it was such a great store. I don?t blame him ? I?ve dropped enough dollars that I didn?t have in that place on many an occasion. ?Anybody here buy the new Mouse On Mars album ? show of applause?? A scant few of us applauded and cheered. ?Well, we?re on tour with them, unfortunately, but the album?s pretty good, so you should definitely pick that one up?even though we don?t really like them as people.? Of course, everybody cracked up after that, to which Jeremy added, ?They?re all here tonight, by the way.?

After four songs, they definitely left us wanting. Some heads went to talk to them after their set, others headed towards the register to pick up a copy of the album. After seeing them perform a few tracks from it, Last Exit has definitely been placed on the must have list. If you do nothing else, stop by their website and listen to a few tunes.

Posted by macedonia at 5:04 PM EDT
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Friday, 22 October 2004
escape from Sodom, USA
Now Playing: Citizen Cope - The Clarence Greenwood Recordings
Topic: the Christian walk

I suppose it was only a matter of time before a blog entry of this nature appeared on the site. Been wanting to write something like this for months, actually.

There?s a gentleman?s club about three doors down from where I work. I?ve been trying to figure out why they?re called gentleman?s clubs. What?s gentlemanly about watching a woman dance on a pole or sticking dollar bills into her G-string?

Further down the street, construction workers bulldoze, jackhammer, block traffic, and make way too much damn noise all day long. During their breaks, they do background checks on every woman that passes by. You know the one: she walks by or they walk by, then they crane their necks to check out her butt. Sometimes they turn around completely so they can get a good stare in. One day, it was like an epidemic: every fourth or fifth guy on the street was doing that to some woman that passed. It didn?t matter if I was just arriving to work, leaving work, or on my lunch break ? it was always the same. Then there are the cave dwellers who feel the need to add some sort of comment afterwards. The fact that the caveman has a severe case of craning neck syndrome is bad enough; then they go and say some stupid ish, too? It?s enough to make you want to run down the street with a spiked ball on a chain and play nutcracker.

I love the summer, but I?m happy it?s getting colder. People are finally putting some clothes back on. This past summer was almost too much for my heart to take. There are some women out here (and young girls, I might add) that make me nervous. Just because GOD made you beautiful doesn?t mean you have to leave little to the imagination. And if I?m not supposed to notice the junk in your trunk, why did you go and buy a pair of jeans with ?hot thing? or ?bootylicious? written across the back side? I was doing pretty well until that phenomenon took place.

Somewhere along the way, the right to exploit one?s self crept into the definition of present-day feminism. That drives my wife absolutely nuts. I can remember walking through Union Square Park during the week of the Republican National Convention and seeing a woman wearing a tank top that read ?weapon of mass seduction.? I couldn?t help but recall a line that Lyrics Born sings in that song ?I Changed My Mind?: ??why the hell you wanna go and advertise?? (Besides that, if you really are such a weapon, you wouldn?t even have to say it: I would be able to sense it.) Later I found out it was one of the slogans emblazoned on undergarments by the Axis of Eve, a female activist group that staged a ?panty raid? protest in another part of the city. The slogans only got more provocative; the one I seem to remember most is ?my cherry for Kerry.? While it certainly looked like an interesting way to address women?s issues, it?s a damn good thing I wasn?t there. It?s the same reason why I?m glad I don?t have Showtime: I?d be watching The L Word for all the wrong reasons.

Human nature is best described by a bumper sticker I once saw: ?Lead me not into temptation ? I can find it by myself.? Internet pornography may as well be kryptonite to the average male, and I include myself when I say that. I?ve probably seen enough flesh in my lifetime to keep a 24-hour adult channel on-air for at least three months straight. Once the visuals enter through your eyes, they attach themselves to a brain cell. They?re stocked away in the A/V section of your mind, ready to be recalled at a moment?s notice. Hundreds upon thousands of positions, poses, moans, and tangled body parts?in your head?on demand.

I?ve only been on this earth for three decades, but I?ve screwed up plenty. The major mistakes have always revolved around trying to be something other than what I am. A hopeless romantic has no business trying to be a stud. But the magazines, videos, and mpegs suggest otherwise. Sooner or later, you begin to project those fantasies onto the females in your life: best friends, co-workers, classmates, church members? That?s when the real trouble starts, especially if you happen to have friends that can project sexual energy from a single hair follicle. All they have to do is walk into a room and the tension?s so thick you could cut it with a carving knife. I?ve had friends and acquaintances like that. It?s the classic moth and flame scenario: even when you know you?ll be consumed by fire, you do something stupid anyway. A thought becomes a word and/or deed that you can?t take back. It?s what you do when God?s love isn?t good enough, when you feel like something?s wrong with you because several others don?t find you desirable.

After a while (and usually a demeaning experience leaving the real you exposed to the very ones you lied to), you have to refocus and recognize who you are. I?m no stud, no player, no porn star?I?m a PRUDE. Regardless of the Victoria?s Secret ads that invite me to see curves, no matter how many men?s magazine covers with various women and different interpretations of the ?come hither? stare, I must walk the walk that stresses the spirit over the skin, how beautiful it is to give yourself to one person for life and making a house a home instead of building a harem. It?s not impossible, but it is extremely difficult to do in this life when all of these external factors are telling you to get primal.

So I do what I can to push the carnal thoughts out, sometimes with the Bible, sometimes with music, sometimes with writing. But two decades plus of pornographic scenarios don?t die easy. You don?t just wake up one day speaking in tongues, cured of carnality forever. It doesn?t make you suddenly forget the name of the website you kept coming back to or the porn star you did random searches for. In a world where adult stars are gaining more access to mainstream channels, you have to step up your game. Any talk of American family values and how this country is a God-fearing nation doesn?t mean jack when pornography is a multi-billion dollar business. Let?s be real.

And while we?re talking about saints and sinners, I?m still trippin? over this Wired News article from a few months back. This pair of pastors are definitely on some subversive stuff and I understand what they?re trying to do, but I don?t know. Back in the day, Jesus hung out with the sinners and showed compassion on them, but these guys show up at adult entertainment expos with bumper stickers that read ?Jesus loves porn stars.? You know you?re in for quite an article when the first sentence talks about a Krispy Kreme employee that masturbates.

(Puts the glazed doughnuts in a whole new perspective, doesn?t it? Just read the damn thing.)

Posted by macedonia at 5:57 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 October 2004 5:29 PM EDT
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Monday, 18 October 2004
a necessary change of scenery
Now Playing: Yunx - Snake In The Grass EP [Ai]
Topic: playlists

Even though it was raining cats and dogs on Friday afternoon, it was good to get out of the city. Just the ride up to Tarrytown on the Metro-North was relaxing in and of itself. Upon arrival, I was picked up by my man Tom and whisked to the cafe. Tom had invited me to spin alongside him for a few hours and play some chilled out jazzy stuff. Thankfully, our schedules actually allowed for it to happen. I can?t begin to explain how much I needed the change of scenery. Sitting with some tea and a slice of coffee cake, I was able to fully relax for what seemed like the first time in months.

The tag team DJ set kicked off around 7pm. Tom brought with him a lot of Ninja Tune stuff (as is always the case with him, that being his favorite record label), along with some afro-beat and Brazilian flavored uptempo jazz, and some deep house, too. I went with largely old soul, jazz, and funk, with a few fairly new tunes in the disco and house vein. We balanced each other out in terms of selection. It was nice to just spin without stress, to get into a zone and just go with it or feel free to bounce around as the mood strikes. It reminded me of spinning at Halcyon on Sunday evenings with him and Mercy Killah (hopefully they?ll fully reopen in the ?05), just being able to get free with the selection and having the owners and customers be excited about your contribution to the mix and what it brought to the atmosphere.

Beth met up with me at the cafe and hung out. She even got some reading done. She was so happy to get out and stop living the life of a hermit for a few hours. I chatted with a few heads that came in and out about music and gave away a few mix CDs to those in attendance. This marked the first time I had spun out anywhere since March of this year. I?ve been rather on edge lately and this was good for the soul. I hadn?t felt as good as I did on Friday in a while.

a necessary change of scenery ? Friday, October 15, 2004
Coffee Labs Roasters (Tarrytown, NY)
While tag teaming with Tommy Church, I contributed these songs to the mix:

hilton felton*be bop boogie*luv ?n? height
sly & the family stone*you can make it if you try*epic
aretha franklin*rock steady (danny krivit re-edit)*ibadan
yesterday?s new quintet*deja vu*ubiquity

nina simone*see-line woman*verve
stevie wonder*manhattan at six*tamla
jimmy mcgriff*the worm*solid state
curtis mayfield*superfly*curtom

spymusic*cloak*2000 black (uk)
metro area*dance reaction*environ
gil scott-heron and brian jackson*the bottle*rumal-gia/tvt
ronny jordan*on the record*blue note
cloud one*atmosphere strut*p&p

thievery corporation*shadows of ourselves*esl
reuben wilson*inner city blues*harmless (uk)
courtney pine*the in-sense song (raw deal remix)*talkin? loud (uk)
lou donaldson*one cylinder*blue note
jackson sisters*i believe in miracles*tiger lily
sharpshooters*sweet talkin?*conception (uk)
willie hutch*brothers gonna work it out*motown

Posted by macedonia at 12:14 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 26 October 2004 2:27 PM EDT
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Monday, 27 September 2004
metamorphosis (the late bloomer prepares his cocoon)
Now Playing: Tommy Church - Expeditions (CD 1)

Hung out with my man Mikal on Saturday. Since mid-June, he?s had some ideas brewing for a solo album. A brilliant MC with a lot to say, he?s been cranking out lyrics over the summer and even drafted two skits for the album, which were pretty hysterical. He wants me involved in both skit writing and production. Mikal?s been trying to tap into my inner Prince Paul for years now, but I wouldn?t budge. I think I?m finally comfortable with the idea?rather excited about it, actually. There?s only so long that the beats in your head will allow you to leave them unborn. The labor pains are getting stronger and the kick drums have been pounding against the walls of a low-key producer?s placenta. Seeing as I?m kind of in retirement mode from DJ gigs (haven?t spun out since March), this is as good a time as any to put on the producer?s hat.

Time and money will always continue to be archenemies ? that?s a given. I?m a man who knows how to work with what I have; I can work around factors like time and money. It could be argued that my own excuses have held me back more than the elusive natures of time and money, and I can?t allow that to happen any longer. Like my people say, JUST DO THE DAMN THING. Whether it works out or not, at least I tried. I love music too much not to attempt creating my own works. It?ll take some time, but so does anything worth working towards.

So for everyone that?s poked and prodded me over the years wondering when I would finally do this, thank you. And the answer is?soon.

P.S. I was recycling some magazines and came across a torn page from Time Out New York, February 19-26, 2004. This was among the Monday listings in their Clubs section:

Soundscraper Sanctuary Sound Tracks
Big Sur. 7pm. FREE
Soundscraper and Macedonia spin house, techno, breaks and a host of other groove styles at this Upper East Side drinking spot. It also doubles as a gallery and a lounge, which is nice.

I have to admit: I REALLY miss spinning with Enrique. (I miss Enrique, period.) But that?s all I miss. I don?t miss the manager that barely acknowledged my presence unless I was playing something he didn?t like. And I damn sure don?t miss Madame X or the woman who ran things there. Water under the bridge, folks: grudges are pointless. Mother always said that if you don?t have anything nice to say, don?t say anything at all. And for once, I?m going to take her advice.

Posted by macedonia at 11:29 AM EDT
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Thursday, 23 September 2004
in hopes of a great fall...
Now Playing: Plug and Play w/OCDJ (wfmu.org)

There are only two times at work when this place is actually quiet: before we officially open and an hour before we close. Other than that, there?s constant hustle and bustle. More often than not, the noise that?s being made is completely unnecessary. Just a whole bunch of people talkin? loud and not saying a damn thing worth listening to. I tire of the infantile and a good number of my co-workers seem to be obsessed with it, from practical jokes to insults to toilet humor (literally ? every other week one of our toilets are defective and at least once a week someone complains about the stench emanating from one of them?usually sometime after lunch).

The revenge fantasy plays in my head like an A-B loop on a DVD player, carried out Mickey and Mallory Knox style: mowing down everyone in my path except for one who?s left alive to tell the tale. I?m not so sure I?d even be that courteous. Have I ever told you about my aversion to armored cars? When you have very little money, the last thing you need to be near is a Brinks truck. It?s tempting the hand of fate, seriously. Just the other day, I got a very vivid image of myself armed with two ?80s pop singles that I didn?t much care for. I did an ambush on the security guys in an armored car, throwing the vinyl like Chinese stars at their heads. (Damn that Shawn of the Dead movie trailer.) Now don?t ask me how I got out of it alive, but by the time it was all done, the aftereffects included the truck with doors wide open and a pair of security guards lying on the ground, foreheads embedded with jagged edges of George Michael?s ?Monkey? and ?Girlfriend? by Pebbles.

But if it came down to it for real, I don?t think I would have the heart for the fight. As much as I tell myself that a neoconservative killing spree would be for a worthy cause, do I really want to join the ranks of self-made vigilantes beating down hecklers at these presidential campaign rallies? And lest you think that this is strictly a sport played by the members of Chez Dubya, Kerry supporters have joined the fight club as well. Perhaps they figure if Johnny boy won?t take off the gloves, they?ll do him a solid and represent in the pit should a right-wing voice of dissent dare to get too boisterous. Later for that - there?s more than enough violence in the world.

My wife is convinced that it?s only a matter of time before Americans start beheading Arabs in retaliation of recent acts of terrorism against our own. Ah, my wife?always thinking ahead.

Last Saturday marked our five-year wedding anniversary as well as twelve years as a couple. Money?s beyond funny at this point, so we spent a quiet evening in. I don?t ever remember leftovers tasting so good or watching High Fidelity for the umpteenth time being so enjoyable. Our lives are mad hectic at the moment, so any time we can spend together is precious indeed.

We are currently one day into autumn. Seasons bring change and life in general is no different. I must remain confident that my season of change will come. More than that, I shouldn?t hold any preconceived notions about what form the blessing will come in. I emailed one of my mentors recently, telling my usual tale of woe (?I can?t believe I?m doing this job at this stage in my life, blah blah blah??). He reminded me that I?m still rather young and to be prepared for the change when it comes. It made me wonder why I?m putting a time frame on success. Why do I feel as if I was supposed to have it all together by now? Although tomorrow?s not promised to any of us, I?m only 30. God willing, I?ll live a long and productive life. But it?s best to live one day at a time and deal with what the day brings me. With the economy being shaky at best and a host of other uncertainties, I ought to leave the concept of success open to interpretation. I?m starting to get the feeling that when success comes, it will look vastly different from how I pictured it.

Posted by macedonia at 3:49 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 23 September 2004 3:58 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 21 September 2004
there is always a way out...
Now Playing: simmering rage underneath skin getting thicker by the day...

sometimes you just have to keep telling that to yourself.

Posted by macedonia at 3:55 PM EDT
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Friday, 17 September 2004
Now Playing: The Push Bin with Lou (wfmu.org)

?How does a middle-aged black woman turn a room full of housewives into a group of screaming teenagers? There hasn?t been this much screaming since the Beatles invasion.?

That?s my wife Beth talking about The Oprah Winfrey Show. Ever since Oprah gave away all those cars on her season opener, an ad pitch line I made up has been stuck in my head: ?Buying the love of housewives everywhere.? That?s probably unfair of me to say, since apparently everybody that got a car that day really needed one. Sister woman?s rich and she doesn?t wanna horde her wealth; more power to her. That?s rather beautiful, actually. Still, you have to wonder who?s coming to the show with their hands out, just to see what they?ll walk away with that day. And every now and then, the show will get on a spirituality tip. ?Discovering Your Spirit?Of Materialism.?

Yeah, I know: Don?t hate, congratulate. Perhaps if the band of banshees in the audience were able to maintain an excited yet calmer demeanor I wouldn?t be writing this. So I dig sister Winfrey?s generosity, but it doesn?t make me want to stray from the idea of starting up a punk band called The Screaming Housewives.

?I loves Harpo. God knows I do. But I KILL ?IM DEAD ?for I let him beat me.?
-Sophia (Oprah) to Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) in The Color Purple.

Posted by macedonia at 12:24 PM EDT
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