Sunday, April 24, 2011

You Had To Be There

A few jokes and one liners that I have heard over the years that really made me laugh. My apologies if you do not get the joke or even smile...I liked them: I guess you had to be there.

1) My mother was talking to my aunt Yvonne one time about her three son's sleeping habits. Once she started discussing my younger brother Lee's sleeping routine she declares: "That boy sleeps like a log! He can sleep through anything. The house could be burning down and he would sleep right through it!"

Yvonne: "Well.... then he would burn like a log"

2) My mother,whom suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, was doing some heavy complaining one day around her family members about how bad she felt on this particular day. She looks at my aunt Yvonne and says: "I'm hurting today boy, I hope you never have to go through this Yvonne because its no fun. I wouldn't wish this on anyone"
Now Yvonne,although very sympathetic to my mom,attempted to break the ice and lighten the mood by saying "Well...If I had to pick a disease..... <<<she leans back in her chair....tilts her head back and puts a fist on her forehead>>>....give meeeeeee : DANDRUFF!!"

3) On a very busy Friday night in the post office years ago my immediate coworkers and I were drowning in mail. There was no way we were going to clear the volume before our critical dispatch times. As we started our final breakdown of the work area to meet dispatch a coworker of mine noticed a container of mail with medicine packets therein. He quickly asked our immediate supervisor (JB) if we should delay breakdown to clear this medicine. There was no time for this...trucks were waiting to depart.....
Coworker: "JB,what about this medicine...should we throw off this medicine?"
JB: [shakes head] Oh well! I guess they'll just be some sick mutha fuckas this weekend!"
  (Rest in peace JB....we miss you )

4) Last week I played my first "Words with Friends" game on my newest iPhone app. It's a version of Scrabble. I invited my friend Reggie to a challenge. I was selected to go first. Sweet. I had letters that allowed me to spell "boner". Bonus: it landed on double word score. I thought, take that Reggie...your work is cut out for you. Well...he plays off the letter B and creates "morbidly" 60+ points and declares: "I should warn you,I am a former 1988 contestant in the National Spelling Bee"
I'm thinking...Ugh! Sandbagger! Jokes on me.
Reggie trounced me 413-277 spelling words "bijoux","ostia","devs","qi" in the process. I learned a lot about Reggie last week. Scientist,bilingual,great speller,and fun friend....what's worse about this beat down was knowing...Reggie isn't even  remotely impressed by my "boner" either :(
Bottom's up Reggie...well played!

5) As a teenager I attended a volleyball tournament in Jamestown,VA. Twelve of us attending a dinner that night in a local restaurant and the service was so bad my teammate,after paying his check,announces to the entire talk in a loud voice "Let's blow this puke hole!"
The table erupted...had to be there.

6) French class....9th grade...a classmate had a very unique looking ink pen. It was two inches long and looked exactly like a drug capsule. Half blue,half yellow and oval shaped. He raises his hand to grab Mrs. Watkins attention. "Yes Jeff" she says.
Jeff lifts his hand up holding that pen with his index finger and thumb and says: "May I please be excused to take a drink of water....I need to take my medicine"
The look on Mrs. Watkins face....priceless

7) Growing up, My mother would do our family's grocery shopping every Saturday afternoon. It was very common for her to buy her kids two or three boxes of Little Debbie cakes for us to enjoy during the week. Problem is: these cakes never lasted past Sunday evening...we kids were addicted to these oatmeal creme pies and fudge rounds or nutty bars. One type cake, choc-o-gels were not as popular with my two other brothers. So they lasted awhile...I loved them! Which made me quip the following on Sunday afternoon as we all piled in the car after church services. <speaking to mom and dad>:
"You know why I love choc-o-gels!? (pause) They're around on Tuesday!" My dad burst into laughter all the way home. It was a proud moment in my life ;)

8) My boyfriend (at the time) once discovered an accident from my dog Oliver lying on my bedroom carpet near my computer desk. As a courtesy to me he decided to clean it up. Walking in the bathroom he grabs some toilet paper and scoops up the dog poop. Sadly he doesn't take the poop to the bathroom to flush it down....He simply discarded the waste in my trash can....Under my desk! Later that evening,when I look down in my trash and see these dogs turds staring right back at me I started steaming! I calmly reclaimed these wrapped them...and stuffed them inside my boyfriends jacket pocket.
He didn't discover them until the following Fall. Life is good.

9) A coworker of mine and I were gossiping about another coworker one evening and we were talking about the unfortunate luck of his house recently burning to the ground. Knowing the kind of guy I was gossiping about I speculated to my coworker: "You don't think X would have burned it down on purpose just to claim the insurance money do you!?"
Coworker: "Michael...just what are you incinerate----insinuating!?" 

10) From 1995 through early 1997 I was working as an rural carrier relief in Henry,VA. My assigned day to work was Saturday along with the postmaster relief. We were the only two employees in the post office on any given Saturday. A customer walks and needs help filling out a new change of address form. At this time in Henry's history, everyone was converting over to the new 911 house addresses. Gone are the days of route 1 box 224 ...It was now 1956 Henry Road and so on....The postmaster handed our elderly customer the form and headed to the back of the building but within an earshot of the customer. I was casing mail in the back preparing for my route when I heard the elderly lady say: "Hmmmm Let's see...19..56 ...." The postmaster interrupts from the back...." No,No its 1996!" I couldn't stop laughing.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Tattoo Evolution

Finished product

On July 3,2010,after years of interest and debate I finally broke down and tattooed my body. 35 years old and finally starting to live with a little adventure as I sometimes refer.Of course I have always been a late bloomer in everything I do so it's no surprise that I waited this late in life to add a little color to my Casper looking skin tone. I often get asked the meaning behind the tattoo and the story behind it so it's time to blog about it.

A coworker recommended I check out the website: and explore the portfolio of her artist Shaun Carroll. It doesn't take long after reviewing his work to decide this is the man in charge of permanently inking your body. Wow! If you ever consider a tattoo I would highly recommend this being the first place you consider for the work. If you think the artist is too pricey...Consider this: You are investing into art work that you WILL be wearing for the rest of your life. Isn't worth every penny to make sure it's done right. As my dermatologist put it to me as I asked him his opinion on tattoos; "As long as you know there is no cure for them"

My tattoo concept was simple. I wanted an evolutionary tree of life with a double DNA helix as the trunk of the tree and a snake intertwined. It's a concept to clash both science and religion. Shaun submitted 7 different drawings before I declared a winner. Many concepts were approved and some discarded. The end result tells a story of the evolutionary process. From the origins of life represented in the roots to the DNA which links all living things great and small and from the tips of the tree branches which represent all modern species including you and I. The purple snake represents the talking serpent in the biblical creation story that so many people continuously believe in; Even in  the 21st century. The "skull" placed in the roots is an actual preserved fossil labelled AL 444-2. Part of the Australopitecus afarensis family of fossils that were discovered and still being discovered in Ethiopia. 444-2 was discovered in 1992 and has been dated at approx.3 million years old.  I wanted a fossil in the roots to symbolize the beginnings and origins of our species that realistically clashes with young Earth creationists that insist that the world we live in is only six to ten thousand years old. And last but not least I added some clouds that represent the mystery of it all. Mankind does not and perhaps may never have all the answers to the "big questions" in life. But imagine where we would be in today's modern society if we still played the tune of "Well, I can't explain it or understand God did it" 
The first sketch received. My aunt Yvonne sees this and says "I'm thiking: the Meadows of Dan"

One idea presented for DNA snake. Considered having this weaving through the roots

Two snakes: Loved it,but wasn't the right representation

No Roots! Would have saved time and money but I wanted them there. The roots was the hardest part for me to approve i was picky 

The final sketch: As soon as I saw this I knew we had a winner! The artist signed this for me and I had it framed :)

The outline...July 3, 2010

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Love Story (I Think)

First,A love story....well, maybe.

Let me tell you about my friend Jerry.
Jerry and his partner Tom ( I will refrain from referring to them as Tom &Jerry ) have been in a solid, loving relationship for the last ten years. They have a very wide range of interests and a great circle of friends so it's very easy to see a well established,caring relationship. It really could be considered the envy to the aspiring single person's eye. Jerry and I are pretty close and he recently confessed to me that he thinks he is falling  in love. The problem is,It's not with Tom. What's more surprising during this confession is Jerry's admittance that he has never been in love. Three major relationships in his life all averaging 6 years and Jerry has never been in love? This was shocking to hear. I guess we should realize that there is a major difference in loving someone,which we all do,than to be completely in love(which some never achieve).
I am not 100% certain how Jerry and Tom treat their relationship. Is it monogamous? Open or closed?

I'm not trying to turn this blog entry into a gossip column or a tabloid scene but its made me reflect on my own life hearing these issues Jerry is experiencing. I find myself wondering how I feel about life's major complications and how to handle them. The story continues:

Jerry has trusted me enough to confide in me that he has been having a full blown affair for the last five months.He met KD a little over a year ago and they would see each other from time to time,but recently it has snow balled into a very frequent occurrence. At first,according to Jerry,it was a very ideal situation for both parties.Jerry was wanting to experience something new on the side with no strings attached and with no potential future emotional feelings.And KD was apparently the perfect guy for this seeing how KD was/is not long term relationship oriented or has had at least a couple bad experiences with attempting a substantial relationship. So while KD is extremely guarded and has many barriers to break,Jerry has let his guard down and done only what comes natural to him and now he  thinks he may be in love with KD. He confesses new emotions that he is experiencing for the first time in his life. Emotions(which shall remain nameless) that has set KD above all the rest. The fact that Jerry can cry to me while admitting this speaks volumes to its validity. I've never known Jerry to get emotional over anything involving relationships. So there is no doubt he is sincere. Its kinda scary and I do not know what to say. Or how to respond.

Jerry has reached a crossroad in his life. And the way I see it he has two options:

A) Continue to see KD and explore these new emotions and feelings and try to conquer this concept of being in love. I think Jerry deserves to experience being in love once in his life. But it could come at a great cost. He doesn't even know how KD feels about him. Can KD mutually give to Jerry everything in return?Are the feelings mutual? Or at least will be at some point? or...

B) Run away. Deny and suppress the feelings for KD. Let them pass and continue onward in his very secure well established relationship with Tom. Jerry and Tom have a huge security blanket wrapped around them....Dear Jerry, This is a huge gamble to risk that. Do you want to end up with nothing at all? KD is not a guarantee. That said: To avoid feelings of being in really are denying something you may never get to experience again.

What a sad situation.I've never seen Jerry act this way in the years that I've known him but this decision is Jerry's and Jerry's alone. I can only listen and offer advice. It really is a Catch22 or a red herring. To allow yourself to fall in love with someone is always a gamble...I can only imagine what my friend Jerry must be going through.

When it comes to relationships I consider myself a very liberal person. I do not pass judgements on anyone so easily. From committed relationships to being in an open one,same sex and straight couples should always strive to communicate and make every effort to come to an understanding and see to it that no one will get hurt.
I've always been amazed  how quickly people are to end relationships once they have been cheated on. Years in an established relationship full of love and commitment are flushed away because one partner has a "weak" moment. There are worse things my partner could confess to me than having  hear him declare he cheated on me. He is after all,only human. I am not going to fool myself into thinking that my partner is never going to experience sex outside our relationship. But if it ever happens;It's 100% fact its a non issue. There's no doubt in my mind that men and women alike are not wired for monogamy. We just happen to live by social contracts in a society that's not willing to admit this. So we will just have to live and love the best way we can.

The anthropologist Helen Fisher wrote a book "Why We Love" in which she defines the term polyamory. Polyamory is a belief that one can love several members of the opposite sex simultaneously. Just as one can love more than one beer,movie,sport,or artist. Professor Richard Dawkins pointed out in one of his books:
"We happily accept that we can love more than one child,parent,sibling,teacher,friend or pet.When you think of it like that,isn't the total exclusiveness that we expect of spousal love positively weird? Yet it is what we expect,and it is what we set out to achieve"

Life is cheap,
and cruel,
and unfair.
We live it the best we can,as happily as humanly possible.

Good Luck Jerry....

Note: I changed the names of friends and time sequences to not give away any information that was secretly confided to me. Thanks for trusting in me Jerry.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Orange Blossom Tennis Championships,Orlando FL

Greetings from Orlando! Site of the 2011 Orange Blossom Tennis Championships on the GLTA tour. This is my first tournament on the tour this year and the first time I have ever travelled on tour in the first half  of the year. Should be a lot of fun. I was asked earlier this year by a friend of mine to compete in doubles together sometime this year and we decided on Orlando to make our debut. Shawn Stingel is actually an arch-nemesis of mine. He has beaten me in the B singles draw the past 2 of 3 years in Raleigh,NC at the CMTC. So of course I gladly accepted his invitation with a "If you can't beat em...join em" attitude! Very excited to have the opportunity to compete with Shawn and I hope we play well together.

This is my fourth year on the tour. I average about 2 events a year. To date I have played New York,Raleigh,Washington DC,Atlanta, and of course now here in Orlando. My best results so far was at "The Peach" in Atlanta in 2009 where I made the semifinals in both singles and doubles. My goal of course is to win an event in the future and I think I have the game to produce a win,but as with all GLTA events you can lose in the first round and still have a great time. All the events Ive attended treat the players very well with all types of travel perks including feeding its players and tons of travel discounts on local restaurants and hotels. The GLTA is very ideal for me because it incorporates two of my biggest and favorite hobbies. Tennis and travel!

Considering my two quarterfinal appearances in last years events as the #6 seed in Raleigh and the #7 seed in Washington DC,I was unable to grab a seeding in the main draw of this years OBTC in Orlando. The field must be stacked with very good competition to lets prepare to battle.....

Day 1: Friday April 1st::
Day one of the tourney started with a 6 hour delay due to violent storms sweeping through Florida on Wednesday and Thursday. The first two rounds were abbreviated to 8 game pro sets(One set; first player to 8). As usual I started slow out of the gates but managed to pull off a first round win (8-7) A tiebreaker to decide it and a nail biter all the day. Round 2 was scheduled an hour after I completed my first match but lucky me....The guy never bothered to show up and I won by default....a walkover. You'd think a man willing to pay 120.00 for this event would arrive on time. On to the third round!

Day 2, Saturday April 2nd::
Playing on the GLTA requires starting your day at 6:30am to meet your 8:00am start times. This takes away from the cities night life and drinking the night away as long as you remain in the draw. Sorry Orlando...will have to tour you next time. My opening match was against the #4 seed Grant H from Greenville,SC. A very quick lead of 3-0 was completely erased and suddenly I'm down 4-3. Nerves took over and lost the first set 4-6. After rolling through the second set with an easy 6-2 effort, I decided to sleep through the first half of the third set and found myself down 2-5. I clawed my way back to a 7-6 victory in the third round! Sweet!
My quarterfinal was against a personal friend of mine;Bryan Gesinski. I started the match at noon and it did not end til a little after 3:00pm. I was blitzed in the first set 1-6. Got down 2-4 in the second set...woke up and found myself sweating out a 7-5 victory in the second set. The third set was a complete nail biter. We both could not hold on to leads and by the end of the set we were drained physically. Crawling to the finish line Bryan took me out 6-7(5).

My third straight quarterfinal appearance on the GLTA. Orlando is overall a great tournament with the perfect tourney director. The venue is beautiful and serene. I hope to add it again in the future. Next stop on tour: The Pinkster,June10-13,Amsterdam,The Netherlands.....see y'all there :)