Life, love, hip hop, humor AND instructions on how to cook a bangin'-ass meal... all in one place. I put the words here, make what you want of them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lowered expectations

I have been made to spend more time than I might fancy listening to things that I just can’t make myself like, damning any attempts to or against it as of late… For the past 5ish weeks, I been back at one of my old places of employment, this time on a part-time/seasonal basis, slinging negro clothing goods in varying levels of bad taste and egregious cost.
That is not what this post is about…

Anyway, I am working with, save for the manager of the store, people who are 5-12 years younger than me, so suffice it to say that our tastes in music greatly vary. Three times over the course of these weeks have I heard something played from the stack of CDs in the store that I would listen to at home with one being a J. Cole mixtape that I downloaded when I did get home. With that in mind, I brought in another one I’d found and brought it into the store and would never hear it again except for in my home or my car.

What, then, are we made to listen to?

Never mind, now, that 10 years ago, the mall officials themselves would not allow such things to be played out loud in the mall due to objectionable content, but apparently rules are relaxed now.
When the local radio station is not playing their normal 7 songs on repeat, they play a lineup of Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Waka Flocka Flame, Gucci Mane and whatever other ig’nant short bus rap they can come up with.
Being that this is not my number one vessel to the paying of my mortgage, I do not have it in me to complain about the nonsense that oozes from the speakers in the store in a customer-repelling volume. I do not behave as if I enjoy it either, mainly because I do not possess an internal mechanism that allows me to lie to myself.

What this does, though, is drive me to thoughts of back when in order to be ALLOWED to rap, you had to be ABLE to rap. That was up to and including being able to speak the motherfucking language. That time apparently ended sometime during the last decade – when precisely has somehow escaped me in my deluge of big boy bills.
Where this leaves us is in the presence of what the homie Tony Grands (I think) has dubbed “handi-rap” cats, those who, on the surface, are not very bright or articulate. There is no onus to exercise the need to be such, when considering their target demographic and understanding that they’re not supposed to last long anyway. That said, these songs need to be nothing more than loud, simple, profane and offensive. This works for an “urban” clothing store it seems, based solely on the overlap of the target market and it works in spades somehow.

I swear, though, that this whole thing is making me kind of stupid though. So much so that I have taken back the habit of typing my blogs in MS word instead of trusting my natural ability to do this myself. I get back in the car, then I go home, listening to music of people who should be allowed to actually make music, as opposed to those who are simply lucky enough to have gotten in on the rush exacerbated by the collective lowering of expectations. On my lunch break Monday, I spent the hour with Skillz’ album that releases today (don’t judge me, it has since earned my $10.00 or less on single-disc albums at FYE) and a line that stuck out, driving me to have written 5ish paragraphs and counting here.

“Yeah, I’m bad to the bone/I couldn’t write ‘pretty boy swag’ if I had Down’s Syndrome”

[Phlip note – no less than 15 of the two of you reading this now received a text containing that or saw it on Twitter the INSTANT I heard that line]

Wanna know the sad part about that?
I will – probably Saturday since Katie will be at work and I probably will not need to do anything to the yard – go and buy that album because it is one of an artist who seems to care just as much about the quality of his music as he does about his bottom line. Not to mention that his Twitter is often damned hilarious and sometimes includes links to free music and such.

But that ain’t the sad part.

The sad part is that I will be one of maybe 5-10k people (generous estimate, probably less honestly) who lay out the hard-earned $10.74 with sales tax for an album that deserves it, whereas some chicken eater named Juaquin Malphurs will have sold 55k in 3 weeks of an album that I wouldn’t piss on to put out a fire.

Wait, let me guess, this post makes me a “hater,” huh?


Back to the history lesson… Even southern rappers had to have a bit of a grasp on the language and an understanding of lyricism in ordered to be considered for a position as a successful hip hop act.
And please miss me with the bullshit “that ain’t hip hop, that’s rap” discussion, I put that argument to rest in April.
“But, but… what about Biz Markie?”
I will contend that rappers that were to be taken as comic relief will be given a pass of sorts, and Biz DEFINITELY falls under that distinction. Don’t forget that Big Daddy Kane wrote his rhymes anyway
I would ask, in rebuttal, what do we do when the whole of that 7 songs on the radio are rappers who would have been SIMILAR comic relief, right up to and including the silly ad-libs and Nikki Minaj’s allegedly surgically-enhanced ass and ‘tard mannerisms?

From there, we will take the Genesis of “Southern” hip hop as the introduction of Outkast and those who came on with them into the popular lexicon. While they definitely sounded different from what we’d been hearing, they could rap their asses off. Somewhere along the line, though, it seem that the accepted standard was that “Southern” rap, with regional differences in rates and style of speech blurred the lines. So much that people from other regions seem to assume that even normal people who live down here can’t even fucking read, based solely on what is heard on the radio and BET Hip Hop awards.


It used to be that the money spent by the market drove what was hot. Good shit sold and that, in the name of the classic vicious cycle, got us MORE good shit. These days, the market seems to be interested in the most dumbed-down product available, and then challenges the notion that one should even THINK of suggesting that people actually want something even decent.

Fuck it, I am off this soap box… This shit will never change. Suffice it to say that when I have come to hate a representative 90% of hip hop, I am dangerously close to simply having to concede that I am beginning to hate hip hop.
Damn this whole being old and crotchety thing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Photo Phun -- Why Phlip dislikes brown folks

Subtitle to this blog should be "just because you CAN doesn't mean that you SHOULD"

When I leave my house, I have a camera with me. Even if that camera is attached to the phone. If I am photographing you, it is not always a good thing. Hell, it is RARELY a good thing to be totally honest.













































Yes, someone is SLEEPING in that mattress in the mall parking lot.





















What's funny is that these beyond-means-living fuckers more often than not drive these automotive abominations home to their apartments (or their mama's house in some cases) and somehow this is OKAY to them.
Phlip hates brown people, neverminding that he happens to be black himself.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

First 2010-11 NBA Season post

Let’s talk basketball, peoples.
The season begins this coming Tuesday and I couldn't be a bit happier.

I do not claim to be some clairvoyant individual able to predict the future, but I do lay claims to being several things.
Among them…

  1. An asshole
  2. A Laker fan
  3. A connoisseur of all fine things related to titties and professional basketball, one of these things will be expounded upon in this post.
  4. Articulate enough to talk/write about it.

That said, what happens here are not necessarily predictions, rather just my opinion of how things will play out.

You know what? I am getting my boldest statement out of the way right at the outset…

The Los Angeles Clippers will make the playoffs this season.
There, I said it… Card-carrying lifelong Lakers fan just told the both of you that the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs will NOT leave the Staples Center this year. It felt weird typing it, but I really mean it. With a presumed-to-be-healthy Blake Griffin, no Elton Brand on board, Eric Gordon further finding his jump shot this summer and an already (though low-level) All-Star center in place, Baron Davis will not hoist as many stupid shots as he might have without other options installed – lest he have his leash cut.

That being said, I will get on with the next, strikingly less-controversial opinions…

Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin.
Why, you ask? (based on his college numbers, of course)
  • Field goal percentage? Got it!
  • Uncanny-for-his-size shooting range? Check!
  • Rebounding? Damn straight!
  • Post moves? Sheeeit, he may even steal some time at center.
  • looks kinda white, even if he is mixed-race Fresh non-thuggish face? Steve Nash was gifted an MVP that Kobe should have won once.
[Phlip note - you damn right I said it!]

6th man of the year…
wake me up when something matters!

Most improved player…
see above!

Defensive player of the year…
Dwight Howard, so long as he continues to make what happens to be questionable defensive habits highlight-worthy.
[Phlip note – I am STILL waiting on an “elite” big man defender who can PROPERLY mind the pick and roll. This is where I miss old-school basketball]

Scoring Champ…
Kevin Durant will repeat.

League MVP…
Kevin Durant
  • In the wake of their own maximum effectiveness, the Miami guys will cancel one another out of MVP-level performance, thusly making so that no one of them will be MVP-able in my opinion, even though they will win a ton of games. Split that bitch 2 ways and it will go to Wade and LeBaron The Megalomaniac.
  • Kobe Bryant, while effective enough to drive something we will discuss later, will not be league MVP this year.
  • No one else has done anything to warrant inclusion in the conversation yet.

“Hustlin’ Backwards” award…
Denver Nuggets

[Phlip note – this is one I will give to a team that used to be a contender, but due to their own buffoonery, be it self-created or otherwise, are not to be any more. For example, this would have gone to the New Orleans Hornets last year at the end of the season]


Why? 2 years ago, Denver was a 2-seed and a legitimate threat to LA in the west. This past year, they digressed to a 4-seed and lost in a barely-an-upset series to The Jazz. After an offseason of turmoil surrounding the extension/non-extension trade/non-trade of Carmelo Anthony, continued health concerns of their head coach and the “bully who can’t fight” aesthetic of their style in general, I see the Nuggets NOT getting any better. Everyone else worked on getting better, while they have added NOTHING. That said, this ends one of two ways for them…
  1. They KEEP Carmelo, but the lack of ANY other moves, combined with the circus that has commenced, will leave them distracted, they will be a 5 or 6 seed.
  2. They TRADE ‘Melo, getting not much more than draft picks and expiring contracts to begin their rebuild and miss the playoffs altogether.

Either way, this situation will NOT end pretty for Denver, compared to what they WERE 2 seasons ago and COULD have been last year.


Playoffs:
East
  1. Miami
  2. Orlando
  3. Boston
  4. Chicago
  5. Milwaukee
  6. Atlanta
  7. Charlotte
  8. New York

I really do believe that this will be how it will be. The top 4 will be the top 4, but shuffle 2-4 as you please… The bottom 4 will likely be shuffled as well.

West
  1. LA Lakers
    [Phlip note – notice how you now NEED to differentiate which LA team you speak of when it is time to say who will make the playoffs?]
  2. Dallas
  3. Oklahoma City
  4. San Antonio
  5. Denver (see above “Hustlin’ Backwards for more on this)
  6. Portland
  7. Utah
  8. LA Clippers


To my knowledge, this will present the first time in the history of ever that one playoff series has been played entirely in a manner where the involved players will not be able to attend to their jumpoffs in another city.
As stated as well, the Nuggets are only in if Melo plays for them for the whole of the season. Without him, toss a coin with the Hornets, Rockets (if Yao doesn’t break) and move Portland to 5 with Utah at 6.

To not complicate things too much, both of those lists are barring catastrophic injuries or player arrests/suspensions.

Eastern Conference Finals will see the Celtics giving it one last go against the newly-minted champions-on-paper Heat. The combination of the Celtics’ swarming and VERY cohesive team defense combined with the exposing of Chris Bosh as NOT a max-contract player and the lack of a great center will be too much for the Heat. Boston in 7.
Western Conference Finals will be a shocker; San Antonio will play the “I ain’t dead yet, motherfucker” card. They will meet The Lakers, but Tiago Splitter will still be an NBA Rookie, even at like 37 years of age (<--joke) and Pau Gasol will show the changing of the guard as it relates to the “best Power Forward in the league (based on current play)” tag. Too mobile, too versatile and not soft anymore... Tim Duncan will have a great series, but not like the ones that made him a first-ballot hall of fame player.

NBA Finals will play out JUST like last years’ Lakers/Celtics. Shaq will be the non-issue he has been since leaving Miami. Hell, he was largely a non issue IN Miami, otherwise he might have been invited back! Coaching will be the deciding factor in this one, as it has been in past years. The Lakers should again be able to handle the Boston defense with shooting and their 14-foot frontline.
Again, this assumes health and clear arrest records.

Finals MVP?
Pau Gasol… Kobe will be too pissed over that fact to give a properly candid and funny post-game conference over this fact.
[Phlip note – and I am a Kobe FAN, I know he is a dick. He just happens to be a talented and successful enough dick to justify said dicketry]


It is easy for the legions of new fans the Heat now have to write my opinion off as that of a smug Laker fan, but I find their own newfound smugness to be based on nothing tangible until a game has been played.
As with anything of this nature, I am more than willing to eat my share of crow when/if I am proven wrong in my opinions. I happen to be more than pleased in the position that when you season crow properly then it tastes just like chicken.
And black people love us some chicken and basketball.

Game on!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Album Review -- Chaundon: "No Excuses"

I’d be lying through my teeth keyboard if I told you that this review was fair, unbiased and without preloaded fanship of the reviewed… No, this is not to become a glowing review of a close personal friend, moreso one that I enter with the HOPE that it will be a glowing review of someone whose work I have come to love. No, don’t know the dude personally, though we have met a couple or 3 times at shows around the state, and have exchanged messages through various social networking mediums (MySpace/FaceBook/Twitter, yeah all of them, lol) down through it all.
That said, this is EASILY my most anticipated album of 2010 so far of any genre, and WILL be only the 3rd album I put down my hard-earned $10 or less for single-disc albums at FYE when it releases next Tuesday – the same day that my Lakers commence their title defense – no matter the outcome of my review.
Individual mileage may vary.

If entertainment derived from his first album Carnage – which was released before I started this blog – is any indication of what we’re about to go through, I stand to be pleased with what I will get out of my $10 purchase.

[Phlip note – with the mentions that FYE and that little diddy about their prices, they should have BEEN cut a check]

Anyway…
Let’s get down to business, shall we?


01. Watch Out -
I like how this begins, no real intro... A couple of lines, then a VERY large Illmind beat starts. Our host spends no time feeling the beat out and gets right to work. Looks like we're off to a strong start, and LORD knows I am thankful for the lack of the bullshit rap album intro.

02. Wake Up -
Again, one intro bar and bang, we have a song... Looks like this one comes in with the hook to start the song. This one sees Chaundon employing a slightly slower flow than normal. We're reminded that he is an MC, and a master/workaholic at that. Illmind's beat is as big on this one as it was on the first track, but I am left with the feeling that the beat was a LITTLE too loud compared to the vocals.
I don't dislike this song, but I surely don't LOVE it.


03. Role Player -
Directly to work on this one, from DK The Punisher (who I have NEVER heard of) the beat is kinda futuristic sounding. I like it.
Chaundon takes the role of a dope man, it seems. Something between New Jack City and mid-90s rap.
Oh wait, I think that was the point of this.
Now he is a gun runner on the next verse.
Suffice it to say, I think this is my favorite track on the album so far, based on the story and the concept, basically the exposure of rappers with such tales as full-of-shit authors playing cops and robbers.
Yeah, I like this one.

04. No Excuses Ft. Carlitta Durand -
Title track time... I am not sure I like how this song begins... Oh wait, that thing quieted down.
We have a story of triumph in the face of critics. What critics he speaks of, though, I cannot imagine. Not a SOUL I played the first album for had a bad thought for it, even those who "don't listen to that kinda rap," whatever that means.
This is the kind of rapping I am used to hearing from Chaundon and I have a soft spot for Carlitta Durand, so I like this song, just not as much as I did the prior track.

05. Strangers -
This one begins with ZERO intro bars over a huge beat again. Rap topic #1,359,146,.236874 - "fake friends," and I am not a fan of the interpolation of the Goodie Mob's Cell Therapy in the hook. This song isn't bad, but is not as good as it kinda pretends to be.

06. Motion Picture Ft. Erica Thompson -
Long lead-in on this one... The beat is describable as "epic" in my mind. The idea here is that Chaundon's life has seen its share of drama. I am not a fan of the hook, though I do like the beat. The rhymes do a good job of conveying the point of the song, and that is a good thing. You tend to believe that he has been through the shit he describes, a fact made a little easier by the fact that it is not shit that you would lie about, especially as a rapper.
I almost didn't like this song, but my opinion of it changed as I typed this review of it.

07. Nice Girl Ft. Bishop -
Crap, a rap love song?
What album am I listening to right now?
I will let this one ride out, perhaps something will come of it to redeem…
… maybe.
PLEASE?!!?

Well damn, I spent enough time hoping for it, but I just didn’t think I would ever see Chaundon do this to us…
next

08. The Blacker The Berry Ft. Erica Thompson -
Intro bars from everyone's favorite colored-people movie, Friday... This better be good.
Wait, what the hell? This is 2 love songs in a row? I'm inclined to like this beat, but not so much the hook. Comfortable with our host's ability to carry a song, I will say, again, that I cannot hate this song, but this is one I am not able to say I even like.
Wait, was this a metaphor for cell phones? I will listen again.

09. Looking Glass Ft. Big Dho -
I want to be able to say that this beat reminds me of something I have heard before, I would consult the Googles for--... oh shit, we're rapping.
C'mon, son... Is this another love song? I am convinced, listening to this album now, that Chaundon will be announcing a wedding or something in the near future if we are to allow the sequence of things to drive our opinions.

10. Crazy -
No longer in love on this one, this time we’re greeted to a “crazy groupies” tale, over a beat that makes me think of Halloween and not in a good way. I am impressed with the host’s ability to paint the picture with the story told in the song, the problem is that this is a story that we’ve heard before.
I am not terribly fond of this song, and I think it has just as much to do with the beat as it does with the topic at hand. The story was cool, but the application did not do it for me.

11. Open Your Eyes Ft. Carlitta Durand -
After a short break in the proceedings, we're back into the Quiet Storm section of the album... Of all of them, though, if a gun was at my head and I had to choose one, this is my favorite of the "love" songs, and no that is not only because of Carlitta Durand's involvement. This song is legitimately good, especially compared against the ones ahead of it.
HOLY SHIT!!!
This was not a love song... It pretended to be one for 2.5 verses, then it became a cautionary tale about proper investment in the preservation of your most prized organ.

12. Yall Don't Want It Ft. Carlitta Durand -
This sample makes me like the song already...
As much talking as he does at the beginning, he better be rhyming his ASS off on this.
Yep, he is. It is not missed on me that I have not seen Khrysis or 9th wonder beats on this whole album to this point.
This beat feels like that point we've all been through where you're talking about someone -- be it good or bad -- just before you realize they're in the room.
[Phlip note - get it?]
Prior favorite has fallen back a step, this is now my favorite song on this album, but I am a little salty that I have had to listen to 86% of the album before making that decision.

13. Home Sick Ft. Darien Brockington -
Hmm...
Not sure what to expect from this, given the intro bars, as they pick up new elements.
This song is the 'damn, fuck rapping' kinda thing we've come to see on albums of late. That said, the title of the song should make it obvious as to what it is about. The redeeming quality is the voice used to emote the message. As ever, it is believable, you really believe that the person telling you that the life he has chosen and continues to lead is as bothersome as those of us human beings.
Wait a minute... As I typed that sentence, my opinion of this song -- which was mediocre at best -- changed for the better. It has as much to do with the revelation I just made in that sentence as it did with the coincidence of the story changing for the better in the last half of the last verse...
That said, this song was pretty good.

14. Farewell Ft. Darien Brockington -
Given how we came off of the last song, which would have been a fitting end to the album, I was not expecting much more than a standard rap album outro...
Luckily, this ain't that.
Chaundon is rapping his ASS off on this song too. "Cocksure" is a word I would employ for the style used on this song, and that is what I have come to like hearing from him. You actually believe that he is as great as he tells you he is. The song is titled "Farewell," and it is presented as a goodbye to the album, and to a list of things that bug our host (and your author here, for the record) about rap music these days.
He seems to be saying he is done with hip hop on this song, but I will not invest in believing that until I see it.
I actually like this song as well, we'll place this as my 3rd favorite on the album.



Gonna be honest here...
I am going to buy this album, but not because I found it terribly enjoyable.
The "who" of this album will supersede the "what" of this album with me. To draw a parallel, Common's One Day It'll All Make Sense is among my top 10 albums all time in any genre for what it was to me at the time of release, and was my favorite album for many years. THAT fact sold me Like Water For Chocolate (didn't regret that fact) and then Electric Circus (okay, now we need to think about this thing). From there -- and thanks to the ready availability of high speed internets, I have made a point of test driving EVERY album he put out since then before buying. Of the three since, I own ONE of them.

[Phlip note - and his movies are painful to watch too, but that is not a tangent I will go on in this post]

I say all that to say that I will buy this album out of respect for the artist in spite of my finding it only marginally enjoyable -- especially compared to prior output -- but only this time. It's not the issue of parting with $10, as what with working 2 jobs and not having had a beer in almost a month, I HAVE that to spare.
HOWEVER
Any subsequent product will be test driven and a decision such as this will be met without a purchase. Out of 14 tracks, I am not expecting to tell the album art on my iPod -- as if the artist can somehow hear me saying it -- "YOU'RE BETTER THAN THIS" 9 times.

[Phlip note - confession, I took one of those back, so we'll call it 8]


I say that to say that I will HAVE to listen to Carnage on the way to work in the morning to make myself feel better. If it sounds like I am disappointed, it is because I am. While I was not coming into this expecting Carnage 2.0, I was NOT expecting someone who had been consistent to this point to release something so... well... flat. With someone who has had features on other peoples' work as well as his own that made you stop and rewind, I find it hard to swallow that there are just none of those moments on this album, not even on my favorite of the tracks.
Sad, though, I just don't know WHAT I expected on this presentation.

Bear in mind, now, that this version of the album came from my downloaded screener’s copy, of course -- found on the other side of some exhaustive Google Work -- and the review of course will be duly updated next week, when I can make it to FYE between the FT and PT and provide them the requisite $10.74 to be allowed to remove an item from their retail establishment if the album is any different.
Looking over the track listing, I noticed that this album would surely be different from previous offerings – albums and mixtapes and such – from the artist, which on the surface I thought would be a good thing, suggesting some growth as an artist. I would be lying, though, if I said that I was not a little disappointed upon first-read of the tracklisting with the omission of names such as Sean Price, Median and L.E.G.A.C.Y., as well as the missing names of Khrysis and 9th wonder as far as the beats go.
I guess that is how one keeps from being pigeonholed or otherwise placed in a little box, but what do I know?

Checklist...
  • Rappers are fake?
    check!
  • Love songs (perhaps involving a potentially confusing metaphor)?
    yep!
  • I can rap better than you?
    naturally, and luckily history has shown this to be a plausible claim for the artist in question.
  • Wild groupie/crazy broad tales
    got it!
  • "the rap game is some ol bullshit'
    your wish is my command!
  • Fake friends?
    present and accounted for!
This album, more than anything I might expect of the artist in question here, was a bit paint-by-the-numbers, and that is the major source of my disappointment. Also, the album was a bit short as well, and for the short length, I was left only able to name 3 songs that I LOVED.

Held against a debut album that is a classic in my mind, one might say I am a little salty about the wind being knocked out of my anticipation.

Oh well, Sophomore slumps do happen, and I am surely calling this just that until the next one.
3/5 stars

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"How ya like me now"... a conversation

This is another one that The Katie came into the house with after work last night… Sometimes she does that and I spend a whole day thinking of reasons NOT to do it, only to see that it is actually an entertaining idea.
So here we go…


Question of the day… You’re doing a whole lot better SINCE your ex(es) than you ever were when actually with them. Do you rub their faces in it or keep quiet?


First response came from the homie Jamal, with…
“Quiet”

Next came friend since late 1991 Brice, with…
“You add them as a friend on facebook! LOL”

Next was former coworker, Toi, with…
“Rub it in their face especially if they kept telling you that wouldn’t do better without them”

Next was former coworker Portia, adding onto Toi's response, with…
“Or tell that blabber mouth ‘mutual’ friend! lol”

After her was friend of a friend Joi, with…
“if you're truly better without them then your happiness shines through and you don't have to brag... it comes across as trying to show them you're doing well in an attempt to entice them back... it also blows up in your face if something goes wrong and they laugh harder at ya... just focus on you and leave the mess of the past in the past...”

Next was the homie Fatty with…
“Make it known to the wold, that you doing better”

Then came the homie Derek with…
"Well Phil, since we are both considered a genius, I say that you don't even have to brag now. I quite sure one of her friends has already seen you doing better."

Then best friend Roger, with…
"If a person is doing that well and the ex was that bad/boring/etc., they shouldnt be thinking about it or give a damn. Wish them the best, even if your doing better. Karma is a bitch..."

Next was friend Chad B, with...
"Be the bigger man and don’t say anything. If you have mutual freinds she knows"

Then my cousin Byron, with...
"Aint no point in rubbing their face in it cuz if you do that I feel way back in ya head you still giva damn. So I think its best to do you and let by gones be by gones. You know the streets talk anyway."

As for me?
Fuck, I hate to have people in my business in general. And I have always said that living better is the best vindication. That said, everytime I find an ex or one pops up on the “people you may know” on facebook, I not only NOT add that person, but I block them.

[Phlip note – I have only had to do this one time to date]

Not a bragger, fuck me and the stuff I got! I can understand things from others' point of view…
Sure, I have had a couple of VERY ugly situations to end proceedings in my numerically few past relationships, but something about being a bigger and ultimately better man lies in my ability to leave those things and people behind me. That said, only one of my exes’ numbers is still in my phone while I have had the same phone number for 10+ years now. Even we haven’t spoken in almost 4 years now and she is now married and I will be in about 345 days.
Yes, I am sure that there are, as named above, that collection of loud-mouth mutual acquaintances who will make it known that my life is in an all-around better place than it was or likely would have been with them, while they collect children and fathers for said children. I am more than willing to let those folks do the talking for me if anyone must say anything, though I would rather let my accomplishments (ACCOMPLISHMENTS, not just actions) do the talking.
Besides, my life now is in no way a competition with the life I used to lead, so no need in dragging shit I might otherwise regret had I not learned from it back up to relive, now is there?

Friday, October 15, 2010

On "Fantasy" sports...



You know what I don’t get?
“Fantasy” sports…

Growing up in the 80’s, nerd kids did nerd things that sometimes required the extraneous use of math and statistics, along with a deluge of confusing shit that I never allowed myself to get close enough to them to allow myself to get sucked in. One could draw the parallel to the fact that I never got into hard drugs like some of my peers as well.

Anyway…

The corollary to said “nerd kids,” who played dungeons and dragons and whatever the hell else they did before World of Warcraft was invented would be the “jocks,” for lack of a better term. During the same lunch period at my high school, these guys were on the FRONT lawn throwing a football on the end opposite the hippie kids who had Frisbees and hackey sacks.
I witnessed this from the vantage point of the ones throwing the football, though I was nowhere NEAR enough to being one of the ‘cool kids’ to have gone up to full-on ‘jock’ status, but that was more than fine with me.

[Phlip note – my high school was just like an 80’s movie except for the presence of black people, I shit you not... I guess we had black people because it was the mid-90s by the time I got there]

My life in high school is not the topic of this post though…
The point of it all is how oddly and quickly, ironically even, things change.

The nerds moved on to jobs where all the practice in statistics, mathematics and prognostication was surely not for nothing, and are making good money doing it, while the ‘jocks’ are, well… not.
What are they doing?
FANTASY leagues!
They, instead of enjoying their sport du jour, add the allure of extraneous use of math and statistics, along with a deluge of confusing shit that I never allowed myself to get close enough to them to allow myself to get sucked in.
[Phlip note – see what I did there?]
At/near the beginning of the real-life, as-depicted-on-television season, there are these ‘fantasy drafts’ in which players on real teams are selected by the players of these games to be on their fantasy teams, on which their individual statistics in the games that actually take place are assigned points values, thus upping the rank of the person who has them on their team.
Sound confusing?
BECAUSE IT IS!!!

Now, instead of watching and enjoying that game that was on television last night, you waited for the box score to see how many fantasy points you scored. You totally missed that it was a damn fucking good game, which ruined the experience of even watching sport in the first place. Now all you can think about is how much a bum [player] is because he only scored 7 points, never minding the fact that the last of those points was the shot that won the game.

Further complicating the situation is that not all fantasy leagues – even those for the same damned sport/league – play by the same rules (at least as I understand this).

So now we have it where someone comes into the office on Monday morning pissed at the universe because of the outcome of last night’s game, even though his team won the game. Grown-ass men behaving like 13 year-old girls bitching back and forth on Twitter and whatever other forms of douchebaggery that I cannot think of to beef up this sentence any further, and for what?
Exactly, I won’t hold you up waiting on an answer to that one.

Where I come from, companies such as Sega, EA and formerly 989 Studios release ‘fantasy’ sports to be played on gaming consoles, computers and handheld devices. We used these moments of ‘fantasy’ to create ourselves as players in the game in question at the position we always wanted to occupy and there was the fantasy. As it related to the games on television, the only value placed into them was their entertainment value. Never was it necessary to live 100% [sport of choice] all the time unless there was some real money to be made from it, and I am no gambler.
[Phlip note – sheeit, I got enough problems with an addictive personality as it were… see ‘hard drugs’ comment from paragraph #1]
So here we are, in a world turned on its ear… The nerds did the seemingly useless shit in school and were ridiculed, bullied and beaten up for it, but are better off for it in the end.
The (now former – if they still were, they might still be playing or reaping the benefits of playing) jocks, who did the ridiculing/bullying, are deciphering confusing fucking math equations instead of enjoying the very thing that SHOULD bring them some joy to their lives.
It is as if fantasy sports is the Dungeons and Dragons for the jocks who picked on the nerds who played Dungeons and Dragons.


What is fucked up, though is that NOW – since video games no longer count as fantasy – I will have to return to a life that includes…
  1. Driving 6-figure cars on surface streets at speeds nearing 200 miles per hour.
  2. Stealing cars, sometimes even from police/rescue.
  3. Beating up and robbing hookers.
  4. Civil warfare in the streets of a non-war zone just because I was bored
  5. Possession of surface-to-air missiles
  6. Hiring and/or becoming a mercenary for hire
  7. A large number of things that might have me otherwise classified as a ‘terrorist’ under the US PATRIOT Act.
And apart from being entirely too good-looking to be going to jail, I can't comfortably return to a life of crime.

Funny how these things work out sometimes, no?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BET Hip Hop Awards

BET's Hip Hop Awards…
Hell, even that TITLE feels like a joke, not terribly dissimilar to "Churches presents The Chicken's connoisseur banquet"

Didn’t watch a single SECOND of them… I watched Operation Repo for the most of it, then whatever came on Tru TV after that.
Why?
Well, two reasons actually…

  1. I swore BET to be against my religion sometime around 2004-2005ish, and there is no going back on that now… Sure, as with EVERY religion, everyone slips up here and there and watches an entire season or 3 of American Gangster, but I have pretty much held onto that.
    They can syndicate all the bad black UPN sitcoms and whatever Tyler Perry of the moment they want to, but I would be damned if I am watching BET programming in general unless Free’s ass is involved anytime in the foreseeable future.
  2. I am SO SICK AND FUCKING TIRED of current-age hip hop music and especially artists… I was at the computer with The Tweeter and The Book of Face both awake while I worked on various other things. That said, I know through the rampant mention of Southern “acts” that I do not give a mad assfuck about, washed up formers resurfacing and the description of what they were wearing and the collective all-at-once mention of Dipset and how they needed Cam’Ron on stage with them – as if they ever ACTUALLY mattered as a collective even with him – that I was missing nothing in my choice to be entertained by what I chose to be entertained by. That said, I love cooking, so the salmon filets with buttery Brussels Sprouts and brown rice, combined with the presence of The Katie and Bruiser were more than enough for me when combined with the television I did choose to take in.

I am to understand that the most entertaining element of the show were the so-called “cyphers” that apparently didn’t get NEAR the shine they should have, with one blog even going as far as to say that this should become a show to itself. BET being BET, however, needed you to see Rick Ross’ chain and Nicki Minaj’s ass and chosen ‘tard face of the moment, so the thing that actual lovers of hip hop and not the circus that it has become are left watching Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel because he has left the remote on the coffee table 15 feet away.
The colored among us – being those who can NEVER call a black comedian unfunny so long as he is loud – will go on about how great Mike Epps was as host, but I am not too sure that sells me. I don't give passes for coonin', and if everyone had such facilities, then perhaps BET would have been put out of our collective miseries YEARS ago.
DJ Premier as host DJ intrigued me, but not enough to make me go get my remote.

All that said, I cannot pretend to have an opinion that is not conveyable through my preconceived notions, since I did not allow myself even a MINUTE of the programming, not even links to performances posted on FaceBook immediately following the broadcast… And I am not going to watch ANY of the rebroadcasts either. Iwill allow myself to remain purely in the dark on this one.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go yell at the damned neighborhood kids for walking on my lawn.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day... but why?

For Columbus Day, my plans WERE to “discover” my neighbors’ house, at which point I would teach them the nuances of proper canine care and how good civilized folks live… Once I had educated them, I would swiftly deem them as ‘savages’ or perhaps simply lacking in civil abilities. With that established, I would share with them some debilitating disease and get them the fuck off of my newly discovered land – hell they aren’t doing anything with it!
Luckily for them, and very much to the benefit of my property value, they were asked to leave a couple weeks ago and the house is empty for the time being. No more dead dogs and disabled cars, I love it.

No, in all seriousness… Why in the blue hell DO we celebrate Columbus Day? It kind of strikes me as a celebration of some guy’s failure. Seriously, he didn’t discover anything, as it is impossible to “discover” already-inhabited land for one. Also, one must consider that others are known to have come across a long time ahead of him. This goes not even to mention that he was convinced up until his death that he had been to the eastern coasts of Asia and not to The Americas.
Seriously, we’re expected to celebrate someone who was so detested that they were pretty much left for dead and had to trick locals into thinking they were some kind of clairvoyants by predicting an eclipse just to get fed while they couldn’t get help from home? An individual who – along with his brothers – were so hated for their actions that they were returned to Spain in shackles as criminals?


Here we are, we celebrate tyranny, ignorance and general idiocy… I look forward to G.W. Bush day in my childrens’ schools in the future.

It's that time of the year again...

...
(yes, I know that "mammarial" is not a word, or was not until now)
I'd originally posted this blog in October 2007, and as the date draws near again my mind has not changed one little bit, nor has the importance of the subject at hand, so here goes...



Do you know what this week is?
According to NYC Cancer Prevention, the 3rd Friday in every October is "National Mammography Day."
I know what you're thinking, "But Phillip, you don't have titties," and the jokes of my man-boobs are damn near moot, as they are just about gone now. I DO have a sense of humor about myself and I know that I am still not a small person by any stretch of the imagination, but I digress...
I have taken on the vigil, as a member of the Straight Male Pride Foundation (AKA the "anti-zesty coalition," PKA the "take off them fuckin' skinny jeans frontline"), proudly led by our own Simon Stone, to make sure that no woman misses out on their mammogram this coming Friday. I work for a company in the healthcare industry, so I am 100% sure and clear of the shortcomings in availability and affordability of healthcare -- damn that Obamacare farce...
What I am willing to do to help out and "do something" for those who are lacking in coverage is to have all women, local or not, so long as transportation can be provided (and the city bus has stops one block either direction from my house), come over to the house and I will perform the mammogram myself.
One may stop to think for a moment, and may then ask "well what the fuck are your credentials?" And I will answer:

1) I am a man, a flaming heterosexual man at that.
2) I loves me some boobies, so much to the point that I would hate to see ANY lost due to any level of lack of preventive diagnosis.
3) I have the internet in my home, my job, both have high-speed connections with access to both Google and Wikipedia, both of which can, have and will become the rabbit hole from which ANYTHING in the world can be learned and properly applied, be they useful and/or legal or not.
4) Did I mention that I am a heterosexual man who loves boobies and would hate to see anyone ever lose theirs?


Yes, I know this seems like the plight of a man who is simply looking to feel up a whole lot of titties for some cheap personal thrill, but I assure that to be furthest from the God's honest truth. I mean, I could put up pictures of all that I love about them and I would make you want to join in the vigil and make sure that everyone gets their mammogram, but that would border crass and unnecessary, since we ALL know what breasts look like and, in such, what we love about them.
Everyone who is insured, please go out on Friday and get checked out. Everyone who is not (and is not related to me or close friend of family, because that would be WEIRD) please give me a ring, I will be waking up at 6:45am and preparing for work, but will be back home at about 5:25pm... Most of you already have the phone number, and those of you who do not know how to get it.

In all seriousness; ladies, take care of yourselves, preserve two of the most gorgeous of God's creations.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/2010

As of the time this post goes live, it is now 10/10/2010, and the time is 10:10...

... that is all!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"You've got a friend in me"... a conversation



This one should be decently simple… I even thought of this one on my own sitting here at my desk as well. Some things that have fallen into my lap over the past few weeks, combined with some peoples’ reaction to them and the shifting of positions of people in my life caused me to query The Book of Face with…

“Question of the day… How do YOU define what a ‘friend’ is?”

I would, as usual, sit back and wait on the responses, hoping for some good ones.

First was the homie Joe, with…
"FIRST!
[Phlip note – dick]

Hmm...well obviously there's a bit of time that goes into it, if I've known you for a day, cool or not, you're an acquaintence. But for me its someone that's there for you when they don't need to be, who understands you, and isn't afraid to tell you how it is. Also actually meeting the person, for me, isn't that important as I have many friends I've known for years (*cough* one from NC) that I talk to all the time but I've never physically met in person, but I know they'd be there for me if I ever needed anything."

Next would be Brent, with...
"That cat you might not see for a year or two but when u do link up its like cuttin class in HS all over again"

Then came Sybil, with...
"A Friend: always there for the good moments, the bad moments, the ugly moments, the in between "ima let you be an a$$, go ahead and figure out how wonderful I am for dealing with you even though you don't deserve it" moments, the after when the cray-cray is over with you're still willing to deal with them moments.....all situations being handled with grace & mercy of course (and an occassional slap to the back of the head if behaviorial modification warrants such an act for the idiot friend). Yes, that is a Friend. LoL :)"

Next would be my cousin Desmond, with...
"A friend is a person who got your back in any weather. They will also let you know when you are in the wrong. A friends is always blessed to see others doing well and is saddened by when they are not living well."

As for me?
I am EXTRA tight with who I will call a "friend," I traipse about the world with a large network of people I will gladly call "acquaintances," but it will take some serious work on the part of anyone aiming to be in my circle. No worries, as I understand the ins and outs of the situation to know that said work is to be matched…

So, then, who are my “friends”?
  • The people who I can depend on to come and get me off the side of the highway with a flat, with knowledge that I would do the same for them.
  • The people that I exchange random text messages – and now tweets – with on a semi-regular basis.
  • The people I feel I can tell things to without the feeling that they’re using the information to judge me or catalog for use at a later date.

and quite simply…
The people I am comfortable inviting into my home, and not in that Hollywood “sure, yeah, come on over!” kinda passive-aggressive know-you-weren’t-coming anyway kinda way.

Know that becoming an individual who is an as-described friend is not a permanent position. Aversion to being the same in return is the number one way to find your way OUT of the circle. No, it is all about what you can do for me, and DAMN sure will not be allowed to be when you have found the time to tell me what I can do for you. Rampant disrespect over differences of opinion, random acts of selfishness and refusal to hear anything that is not general concession to your own perfection are the bricks to that wall I build around myself.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In the kitchen with Phlip -- the "I'm bringing breakfast back" edition

The Katie made a request last night that I do breakfast burritos this morning before I set off to the the plantation, so here we go...

This time I used turkey sausage but you can use swine if you choose, broken up into crumbles and browned:

Spinach wraps:

Triple-cheddar cheese:

And, of course, scrambled eggs:

After browning the sausage, add the eggs and cheese:

and now you scramble EVERYTHING together, mixing it together really good.

Now we can wrap this sumbitch up, step-by-step:









And now, it is time to eat!

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