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.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

1,361 Days

100 Days into this nightmare

Saturday, April 29, 2017

1,362 Days

Friday, April 28, 2017

1,363 Days

Short Shelf Lives for Short Attention Spans

The year is 1989, I am ten…
It’s September, and school has been back in for roughly 4-5 weeks.  It is still technically summer, so my brother and I are making good on having learned to cut grass and my granny soliciting our services.  In late-80s money, this is still only $10 a yard to split between us and cover supplies, but it is money.  To 5th graders, a few yards on a Saturday is AMAZING money, plenty enough for candy and soda until the following weekend.

     Established here is that we were kind of getting our own money and as word spread about the neighborhood, we had plenty of clientele.  More than candy and sodas from the store without being beholden to my mom’s “we’ll see” (<-- 2="" a="" about="" and="" be="" before="" could="" i="" it="" later="" learn="" left="" ll="" maybe="" more="" nbsp="" nice="" no="" not="" of="" pops="" saying="" see="" several="" that="" understand="" until="" way="" we="" were="" why="" would="" years="">, we could basically use our own money to buy whatever we wanted when the chance came up.
Then I fell in love with hip hop.

It’s a Big Daddy Thing came out on 09/19/1989, I remember being in Carolina Circle Mall and going into the record store and buying the album about two weeks later and listening to it CONSTANTLY from that moment on for months on end.  The next album I wanted enough to buy was Digital Underground’s Sex Packets and that didn’t come out until the following spring.

(these weren't a problem that record stores worried about until way later)

     My issue here is that when I was young, albums had longevity.  An album would heat the streets for months – sometimes YEARS – before people just stopped listening.  How many summers did you hear everyone and their mother drive past you playing The Chronic?  What about The Purple Tape?  Snoop’s first album?
Singles would trickle out.  One would release just before the album (and would be available for sale by itself), then the album would come out.  Then you would see two or three more release from the album to continue promotion for at least a year.  Then the album would be allowed to go stale for the tour for a year and THAT wrap up just in time for the first single from the next album.

     2017, though?  “Mixtapes,” the internet and short attention spans have fucked the whole show up.  An album is fully available on iTunes before the official street date.
[Note: I won’t even MENTION being giddy about street dates]
Once the wrong shady individual downloads, it is leaked back to the internet free of charge so quickly that the artist has no reason to want to release conventional singles so much as praying enough people buy their music to recoup.
This has effectively lessened the amount of time allowed to be hot.  Gone are the days where you had the hot album of the spring, summer AND fall.  Ushered in are the days where releases are called “leaks” and take place on Friday and really only matter for two weeks, three if you’re lucky.
No need to name names, but think of the progression of “hot” releases since the beginning of March alone.  Is anyone really riding around listening to, talking/posting about and making think pieces on them six WEEKS later, let alone six months?  Exactly.

     I am beginning to feel like a curmudgeon.  My first real full time job was a retail job on which my manager granted me Tuesdays off knowing I would do the rounds of record stores and my barber.  None of my four preferred brick-and-mortar stores exist now, and I am so disinterested in MOST of the music that most consider “hot” now that I tend to avoid conversation to not come off as a hipster dick about everything.
I am fully in the try-before-you-buy mold now.  I will take the free download and pay for it when I like it.
Except for The Roots and Skyzoo, they can ALWAYS have my money.

     I guess my issue is that we really DON’T have attention spans anymore.  I WANT great music that lasts a long time instead of being disposable to the point of being discarded and replaced every couple of weeks.

I hold out hope.  I share dope music with those in my circle, and inundate whomever gets in my car with whatever I am into at any given moment.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

1,364 Days

True Story© The Roller Coaster

My life is a weird set of ups and downs…
For the sake of that sentence, by “my life,” I mean “my weight.”  I seem to be on this odd cycle where I will decide to get to it and lose several pounds, then something catastrophic will happen and I stop even bothering for a couple of years and gain the whole 50 back.

My last “gain” phase almost took me to the upper room.  Apparently putting on this time sent my blood pressure to a level that my then-current medication regimen wasn’t on board with and, then a bout of bronchitis made it all worst and next thing you know I am speaking to a cardiologist trying to convince me to spend a weekend in the hospital due to congestive heart failure.
I was 306 pounds that morning, 35ish more than expected walking in and a full 55 more than my “norm.”
I was mobile enough to get to and from my car, care for my kid and not miss a minute of work, so the man couldn’t FORCE me to the ER.  He did change up my meds aggressively to get the fluid off of me and down to a comfortable weight and allow me to work it down from there.  6 months later, he was pleased with my heart function and left me to my own devices in losing – or at least maintaining – my weight.



     Well…  I rode it out for quite a while, about 7 months.  Over this past summer, my lady looked into different ways of eating and recipes that would allow us to eat as we tend to like to do, but more healthily since substitutions all but eliminated carbs and sugar from what we take in.  It was very effective, seeing me lose about 15 pounds in a couple of months, but unfortunately hovering around that number for the remainder of the year because we would phase in and out of it.

     End of the year comes, we decided that there would be no extended breaks (sure… a day here, a weekend there, vacation away from it all for a few days).  With that ALSO came me finally having the time on my hands to get out and exercise.  Needless to say, I am drastically shrinking pretty noticeably quickly and sticking to the plan of ramping it up when my weight loss stalls.
With visible weight loss in a world of people who want to lose weight but would rather get in on the next fad than to actually eat right and get a reasonable amount of exercise comes the questions from said people.

“Well what are you doing?”
“Is the diet online somewhere?”
“Is it expensive?”
“All that walking and running, you don’t hurt?”

The first little while, I explained what was happening and that walking for 30-45 minutes a day is low impact and goes right by with the right music.  We spend LESS on groceries like this than we did when we could eat anything we wanted.  Simple explanations, no?

“I just don’t know, eating healthy is so hard”
“I don’t really have time to cook like that”
“I just couldn’t imagine giving up [….]”
“Isn’t there just like some kind of shake I could drink?”

I don’t fancy having my time wasted, so sometime mid-March I stopped answering questions honestly and started just making shit up.

One Monday, I am heating up my breakfast and a lady notices I have shed a few ounces and asks what I am having.  I described it and how it came to be, how easy it was to make and such.  After I get the normal shtick about how unimaginable it is that such a diet could work, I continued without missing a beat.

“Well, I had a bit of a head start.  See, I went on this ‘food vacation’ with my girlfriend where we basically travelled and ate food from the locales where we landed.  We ate street tacos in Mexico, empenadas all over the Caribbean and like 5 other things I can’t pronounce in Asia.  The mistake was that we drank the local water and I had amoebic dysentery for a week and a half, I was puking my guts out from both ends and lost 20 pounds before I ever left the hospital and another 10 when I came home because I couldn’t stomach anything.”

The look on her face was such mortified horror that I didn’t even get a chance to continue “I’m kidding” after I chuckled a bit while and just after saying it.  She has not spoken to, or even looked at me, in the 6 weeks since.

A couple of weeks later, this woman notices I had been walking on my lunch breaks, even if it was BRUTALLY cold out and could see the weight coming off.  She asked if walking was the only thing I was doing or if I was on some kind of supplement (magic pills, again).
For this one, I paraphrased an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force…

“Yeah, you oughta hop on my diet. Started it eight days ago and I'm already halfway to my target weight.”

She looked at me interested and asked for more information, which I HAPPILY obliged.

"South Bronx Paradise Diet, baby! Yeeeeah! The twist is you eat MORE than you want, then you supplement that with this special candy bar.”

[Note: it is IMPORTANT when you’re putting someone on to keep a straight face the whole time]

Now completely sold, she asks for more information or a picture so she could find it on her own. I told her I would take a pic when I was back at my desk and send it to her later, and took her number.
20 minutes later, I sent her this picture:

I walk past this woman every time I walk on a lunch break now and she will always look the other way (like head and shoulders turned) if she doesn’t cross the street as I approach. I really wish I would have remembered in the moment to tell her my name was Moe Phillips though.

I am always out for new and more innovative ways to fuck with people who have committed nothing more than the cardinal sin of being annoying to me. The best thing is using the world as my unwitting test subjects.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

1,371 Days

Smoke up (while the law allows)!

True Story© Sweet Beautiful Silence

     Silence is golden.
Duct tape is silver, and therefore the only known way to turn silver into gold, but that is another story for another time.

     I don’t argue, I don’t yell or get hostile or my ass all on my shoulders in needless stupid confrontation.  Not that I lack either the words or necessary hand skills to handle such things, they’re just not my thing.  I will act in defense of self or anyone I have tasked myself with defending, but I am otherwise quiet and as unassuming as anyone with my sneakers, wristwatch and tattoos can expect to be seen as.  That said, people expect more noise out of me than they ever actually get.  Well to be honest, more than they ever actually really want.

Unrelated to the above is a little story that I have never even told anyone I have dated since it happened.
Pack a lunch, this one is going long.
The year is 2005 (2006 maybe?).  I met this girl who will not be named on this page.  She approached me, later telling me that it was because she thought I was funny and articulate with the added bonus that I smelled good.  I was receptive because she was pretty and had tig ol bitties (stop judging me, I like what I like).
Anyway, we exchanged numbers and frequent text messages and the occasional phonecall and that eventually led to us beginning to hang out, like in person.  Usually in public spaces or at her place because at the time my mother and I were splitting a house (which, by the way is not the same thing as “living with your mother”) and she was wary about actually meeting my mother.
[Phlip note: red flags, sometimes I still need to learn to read them]

We hung out, we went out on dates when our work/family schedules allowed it, we generally enjoyed each other’s companies.

Or so I thought…
A few years older than me (26-27ish at the time), her biological clock was a ticking timebomb and she was not only entertaining me, but damn near anyone who showed or returned interest in her at the time.  Despite being a mid-sized city by US standards, this town ain’t but so big and accounts began to get compared.

Person A:  “I hear Phlip been hanging out with […]”
Person B: “yeah, I heard that too, seen them together at [location]”
Person C: “Sheeit, she told [friend] that he been to her place before!”
A: “uh oh”
C: “what?”
B: “that means he probably cooked”
C: “what?  SO?!”
Person D: “Phlip ain’t waiting around for long”
B: “Huh--…  oooooooooohhhhhh…”

Man, I swear these grown ass men gossip like women in a fucking sewing circle.
The conversation above and whatever the circumstances of the interaction between she and I at the time were as similar as they were VASTLY different…

Yes, we had been out a few times after dark.
Yes, I had been to her place.
Yes, at least two of those times I cooked.
Yes, those two times and a couple others, I wound up not leaving until LONG after hours where the only things open are legs and hospitals (and maybe Waffle House).

… but NONE of that shit was any of their business!

     Back to the task at hand.  She was entertaining other male suitors and behaving like a bachelorette and for that I couldn’t judge her, since I had made no moves to stake a personal claim on exclusivity at the time.
Her other suitors, on the other hand, were not so mature about being pawns in her little game and I'll discuss that soon enough.
OH, HER GAME!!!  Basically, she would hang out with and date a few guys, some from her past trying to make right with her present and make it to future, some from her present trying to make it to her future and ALL making their best play to get into her bed ASAPpedly.  The plan was basically, I guess, an interview process of sorts to decide which of her suitors would be the one most worth marrying and then let the others fall aside.

One time while in her place, I saw a couple of bills on the kitchen table in a man’s – one of her exes that had been mentioned before, but had never lived in this apartment.
None of my business, maybe they lived together before and he was sucker enough to just transfer it here in his name so she wouldn’t have to pay a deposit to move the service.  As the sewing circle above continued to yap their lips about EVERYTHING and I continued to say nothing to anyone but my brother and my best friend, word comes back me that dude is not only paying those bills, but also carrying a car payment or two from time to time as well.
I don’t exactly TRUST the grapevine, but I believe evidence ahead of me and this seems to make sense, knowing that she mentions speaking with him and him still being cool with her family or some such shit.

Oh, back to the other suitors.  One of them decides that I am the threat due to reputation in common circles and is throwing my name around to HER and various other places.  I tell her I ain’t worried, she tells me I shouldn’t worry because she is growing weary with his aggressive courting nature and “homies over hoes” approach to dating (he literally insisted one of his homeboys be third wheel one time, apparently).
Whatever, I know enough about her ways that I would NEVER marry her and that I should make sure not to leave any mistakes that might tie me to her longer than I might need to be.  I chilled on conversation more than casual and left her to her other dudes to eventually get herself a ring and a kid.
He wasn’t giving up so easily though.
Weeks, probably MONTHS after I had even seen her in person, my name is still in his mouth.  So much so that she basically told him that she’d had enough of his shit and cut him off.

I get blamed.
Now he wants to fight.
FIGHT, y’all!
Over a woman whose time I had since decided to stop wasting.

Fuck that, I don’t have time for this shit…
He takes to hanging out at her apartment to confront me, following her to see if she is meeting with me, querying people who know me for where I hang.
Basically running around in the streets like Omar Little throwing shit on my name to anyone who might bring it back to me for me to respond.
But I know my truths, and will let the world think what they will.

Then one day an uninvolved (and erstwhile unknowingly) mutual friend closes on her house and has a housewarming.
I pull up, he’s on the porch.  I speak to everyone cordially including him.

No, he wants to talk about it.  I was eleven different kinds each of motherfuckers, faggots and n-words all out in this woman’s yard this afternoon right in front of her new white neighbors.
“If you don’t wanna start fighting, don’t stop talking,” but umm…  I didn’t have shit to say!  He stopped yelling, I walked off.  He’s to leave and gets MORE mad, to the point a couple of her family members got involved.  He pushes past them and gets right up on me.

I still won’t respond.
I notice the less I respond, the madder he gets.  Apparently not giving someone in this position what they want is akin to throwing kerosene on a fire.  I am letting this idiot melt down and I don't need to speak a word.  I don't need to, I have no reason to be mad at him and my silence actually turns his misplaced anger into his own worst enemy.
But I ain’t stupid, I am watching his hands.  He balls up his left and telegraphs what would have been a first punch.
… would have been.

I slapped him in his unprotected face with my left, buying me just the time needed to punch with my right, just the way my granddaddy taught me.  Right on the forehead, he went right down.  In a proper fight, I might have stomped him out to finish it, but I was not about to be the one to ruin this woman’s shindig.

Neighbors had already called the cops, who arrived just as he was being dragged to his car to GTFO.  Partygoers gave statements, I answered a couple questions and was allowed to go about my business.
Asked later on what had even CAUSED the situation, I explained and finished with “the shit he was talking, I could have shot him.”
[Note: adding insult to injury, she wound up moving in with and marrying the bills dude from up there]

     Never spoke another word of it.  My support network would have been looking for it, but what for?  I handled it.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

1,378 Days

True Story© Life at the Drawing Board

I write…

     I know, if you’re reading this now, you have likely been here for a great many of the past 7 and one half months of Thursdays and already knew this fact.  I am apparently pretty decent at this “fictional creativity” thing.  It is a nerve I have been actively scratching for over 10 years, verifiable from the blog attached to a MySpace account I have not logged into in years and continued right here on this one.  It has manifest one unpublished novel and dozens upon dozens of short stories.  One could go as far as to say that it is a dream job of mine that I have never managed to bring to fruition.

     I am also an asshole…
I will have an idea for something and my sense of humor will send the whole thing on a hard fast left and I find myself in a spot that I might not have INTENDED to be in, but have to deal with culpability for creating for myself.
I was once contacted in response to one of my stories about possibly writing commercials for various brands…  “Shit!  This is the lick I been waiting for!” was my first thought.  The agency would bring me ideas that companies wanted to shill, but they would not tell me who the company was.  I had to come up with humorous commercials to sell the product and if the company picked up my ad, they would pay the advertising agency and I would get a check.

(Phlip note: I find things HILARIOUS that most people who are not close friends of mine are afraid to get caught laughing at)

First idea comes…
It is a car commercial for an apparently long-term reliable car that a family who will pass said car down to their newborn son when he is of legal driving age.
Fuck, I can do this and make it SUPER funny!

5ish year-old boy is loading things for college into the back of a hatchback and grows a year or so at every blink of the camera.

Husband (narrating): “we always knew our trusty [car] would be there for him some day…  We just didn’t know it would come so fast.”

Wife: “Oh, I knew it would come fast!”

Husband: “What?!”

Wife: “I am quite sure you heard me.”

Husband: “You really think this is a joke, don’t you?”

Wife: “Actually, what I think is funny is--…”

Husband: “Oh, YOU FUCKIN’ BI--..” *door slams*

It was with the HIGHEST level of confidence in my comedic ability that I turned over this idea to the agency.  I was so confident and actually serious about it that I didn’t even bother signing off on it as Moe Phillips this time.  I just knew it was golden.  You have to know what I mean, I look on my work like “man, this is some funny shit…  If you don’t find it funny, it says more about your sense of humor than it does my own."


The response I got to this was SO incredibly angry and pointed in their rebuke of my brand of humor…  They basically told me to save my brand of sophomoric humor for a FaceBook page or tweeting for Donald Trump or something because things like I had presented had NO place expecting to ever be placed on national television in any prime advertising slot.
My feelings were so hurt by this response that I drank a whole 5th of Scotch the night I received the letter.

But I am determined...  I am sure that some combination of words and ideas on these pages (or somewhere else I contribute) will earn me my escape from the daily grind.
I am not quitting, I promise.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

1,385 Days

True Story© Punitive Misinformation

     Being that I work in Tech Support, I am in position to answer WILDLY dumb questions.  Wait, let me pull back a second.  I won’t call them dumb, but the fact remains that from time to time the questions and problems presented come out in a manner where even the person who asked it has to back up like “damn, I shouldn’t have asked that.”
But they don’t…  The fact of the matter is that they’re fully justified in their not knowing of shit that they SHOULD know to do the simplest tasks of their job and need it to be someone else’s problem often.

     But it pays the bills, so I sit at my desk with my music and do this shit.
When I leave, though?  I have no patience for stupid or poorly-thought-out questions, and because no one is paying me to answer them, I often present enough snark and on-purpose misinformation to properly punish the insolent for the misgivings.
This is especially fun on the first of every month ever since I decided to declare the first “[Month] fools day,” not leaving it only in the month of April.  Shit, sometimes the best April fools prank can be played on someone on September first, since they’re not conditioned not to trusty anyone and their bullshit in the late summer as they are in early spring.


Outside of work, I tend to know a lot about a lot as well so sometimes I get phone calls (which I fucking HATE) requesting information that could have been located with a perfunctory Google search and since I generally have no fiduciary responsibility or personal reason to give a good answer to someone who couldn’t be bothered to go get one, I generally tend to lay it on super thick.

     So one day a few years ago – fall 2014 to be exact, I remember it because I had just gotten back from a weekend in Atlanta where I had stayed within walking distance of the CDC – I was joking the shit out of people panicking because they KNEW that Ebola was coming for them since someone got off a plane with it in the United States and one person even died.  I tried once to explain that the only person who had died was someone not born in the US who caught it from someone who had treated someone with it, which is the EXACT same way that everyone else who brought it into America had gotten it.  This came with the “this is nothing new, Ebola has been around for 40 years or more” explanation and THAT is when she perked up…

Her: “Really?”

Me: “Yeah, that is the funniest part about all of this.”

Her: “Well how come it is getting so much press now?”

Me: “Because of the changing times…  They’re using it!”

Her: “'They' hho?  Using it how?”

Me: “The same ‘they’ that the world always talks about.  ‘They’ in charge.”

Her: “So what about it.”

Me: “All I’m saying is that it has been around and contained enough to a region for 40 years, no international outbreaks, and--…”

Her: “And what?  Why do you think that is?”

Me: “Because they’re in Africa, where people tend to be less healthy and therefore won’t have the immune system to survive it.”

Now I had her attention but she still doesn’t understand.  I’m going into exploitation mode.

Her: “Hmm?  Why do you think THAT is, then?”

Me: “Because they’re damned heathens.”

Her: “Huh?”

Me: “’Ebola’ has some long confusing name scientifically that I ain't about to try to pronounce right now.  The name we’ve been calling it is slang, an acronym.”

Her: “Really?  For what?”

Me: Eating Booty Or Licking Ass.  See, that is one of the ways to get it from someone who has it, and people who do those things as a sexual act are at risk.”

Her: “Eww…  Really?  How do you know this stuff?”

Me: “I read a lot!”

And she ACCEPTED this shit, didn’t bother to question me or Google it, or attempt to verify it herself before spreading it like it was the God’s honest gospel.  I guess that speaks to me confidence and poker face when telling a story such as the one I had just made up on the spot.  I have done this shit dozens of times with dozens of topics, but this is the one that almost blew my cover.  For six more months or so, I had to have heard “eating booty or licking ass” at least once every other day or so and had to FORCE myself not to laugh every time I heard it.

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