Saturday, March 29, 2008

what's in a name?...

When I first titled this space "Rough Draft" it was because I felt like none of my writing was ever really finished - especially the poems. OMG! The poems! I would start one and decide to perform it before it was done and have to improvise the ending on stage. Or I would be commissioned (and by "commissioned", for the most part, I mean "asked very nicely") to write and perform a piece by a certain date and would not get around to the writing of it until...oh...the day of. And then there was this possessed scribbling that took place all the way until I was being introduced and called to the stage (at which point I'd try to pull a poignant ending from heaven knows where, or I would be improvising the ending...again). The good thing about this? It kept me on my toes. The bad thing? At later instances, folks would ask me to "do that poem", and I'd have to 1) break the news that parts of it were freestyle, so this may be a little different, sorry 2) start the poem and hope that i could end it the same way 3) try to convince them to listen to a different poem I've been working on - one with a middle and end. Another bad thing was that, despite the good bits I'd actually created and the typically positive response from the listeners, I always felt I was short-changing my audience. That is a sucky feeling.

What? Huh? What was I saying? Oh yes, the title...

The problem with calling this space "Rough Draft" is that life, unlike art, cannot be revised or done over. (Thankfully, like my poems, it can be improvised from time to time. Yes!) Yes, we can learn from the past as we go forward, but "Rough Draft" became misleading and mocking to me. This. Is. Life. I'm not going to get even one day back by being timid - by living in pencil. Every action is permanent, and I'd better make it count. So I've landed, for the time being on "Words, Words, Words" because, no matter what, that will always be an accurate description. *And I like Shakespeare. Whaddaya gonna do?

change is in the air...or is that pollen?...


Don't go!

You're in the right place. I just needed a new look, so things may change a few times over here before I get it the way I like it.

Every time I log on to post, Blogger's all, "customize! update! new and improved!" Today I finally took the bait. No one told me that there were choices involved! I have a love-hate relationship with choices; I love to have them, but I hate to make them. I previewed each and every template option at least twice. Tried it on; took it off. It was a lot like shopping except it's free, and I don't have to worry about a growing line outside the door because other bloggers are waiting to try on their new layouts.

So if the appearance of this here space changes more frequently, take it with a grain of salt because I may be indecisive, but at least I'm saving money! Also, I lost some things, so I'm working on getting those links back *with some cool new additions.*

Confound you, Blogger! You and your options!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

erase. replace. embrace. new face.

A dear friend asked me recently if I thought hip hop was dead. I told him I didn't know because hip hop and I have been estranged for some time now. I remember a time when I couldn't even fathom those words. There was a period from late high school to early/mid undergrad when my headphones would have had to be surgically removed. (Common's Like Water For Chocolate and Mos Def's Black on Both Sides? Soundtracks for the best year of my high school life!) Sure, there was some jazz and alternative for good measure, but hip hop was my meat and potatoes. It was soul's food and I was always trying to fix somebody a plate --

"Let's go hit up that Roots concert."

"Got that new Talib Kweli?"

"You don't know who Jean Grae is? Here, listen to this..."

I can't pinpoint exactly when the change happened, but it must have been somewhere between: the declining skill level of most emcees, the change from crunk to snap, relocating to the midwest and the white rapper show. Suddenly, rap and radio was a thing of the past and I wasn't very interested in it's future. Even the sun goes down, heroes eventually die...

I fell into a femme phase: Corinne Bailey Rae (my condolences), Regina Spektor, Amy Winehouse, Lizz Wright, Chrisette Michelle, the new MJB (damn, it's like we grew up together), and the list goes on. There was a range from sultry and soulful to comedic and quirky. Nowadays, I seem to be leaning, evermore, towards the quirky. And it's like I told my sister, either my taste in music is truly lacking internal compass, or the sitcoms and TV commercials are getting wise. Par exemple:

Ingrid Michaels

Sara Bareilles

Yael Naim

I think I'm drawn to the lightness of it -- and the story telling. It feels free and unassuming, not bogged down by meta-messages and social implications. Maybe I just like that the treble outweighs the base, but these days I want music that puts a smile on my face - music that sounds like spring or a day out with girlfriends. Spare me the intensity of "what's real in the streets" or something that might give me an STD through the speakers. I am tentative so this may change, but for today, I choose love over sex, fantasy over "real", a little bit corny with a smile over mean-muggin and preserving my sexy.

There's room for everybody at the table, of course, but it's healthy to eat lighter every once in awhile.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

signs of life...

Small berries on branch (sometimes blue on evergreen)

Very early morning (don't miss fajr)

Cartoon grass pushing through (nature finds a way)

Today was the first official day of spring, and it didn't disappoint. Kind of made me feel like a new soul. Yeah, don't really have a handle on that embedding video thing yet. Enjoy!

Love you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

call me the negotiator...

HomeBoy and I are finally going to get the floors refinished. We've discussed it since we closed on the house last August. We've done recon since about last November. There was one referral we were holding out for - waiting on that last estimate because it could CHANGE OUR LIVES. so after our last free estimate, we'd narrowed it down to The First Guy and The Last Guy. The Guys in between were too good to be true *questionable*, so skip them. When I received an email regarding the estimated cost from The Last Guy, I decided it was time to play the game. It went like this:

Scene 1

(on computer at work)


Newbie Homeowner,

Hope this finds you having a great Monday.
I was able to corner Woodworker in the office
yesterday, and get his estimates completed.
I have attached your proposal to this email.
If you would please let me know that you were
able to download without a problem, I would
greatly appreciate it. After looking the
estimate over, please email or call the office w
ith ANY questions or concerns.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide you
with this estimate, and we are so sorry it took
so long to connect!
Have a wonderful week!

Woodworker & Wife


Woodworker & Wife,

Thank you for getting that estimate to us so quickly;
I was able to download the proposal with no problems.
Unfortunately, the cost is too high. I understand that
quality work is not cheap, but this is the most expensive
estimate we have received. So, we will have to go
in another direction.

I do truly appreciate your diligence and professionalism
in working with us. Though we cannot use your services
for this project, I will consider Last Guy Flooring for potential
future projects. After all, we have two stories
of hardwood floors that need attention.

Newbie Homeowner


Please keep in mind that we are highly competitive.
If you would like me to speak with Woodworker, and we
can see if there is movement in the cost. Would this be
of interest to you? Let me know- Thanks for getting back so quickly!



Greetings Wife,

If there is room to reduce cost, that would be great.
Our other offer was about four hundred dollars less,
but I'd prefer to work with Last Guy Flooring since
you came as a referral. Please let me know if there's
anything you can do.

Newbie (who ain't so green, by the way)


Miss Newbie,

I just spoke with Woodworker, and he said the lowest he could go
would be $300.00 below the original estimate. We would also
throw in a cleaning kit with the complete job. Let me know your
thoughts on the revision. If you decide that this will work for you,
I can email you a revised proposal. Hope to hear back from you soon-


Scene 2
(on the phone with First Guy Flooring)

Hello, First Guy? Yes, this is Newbie; you came to our house some months ago to give a free estimate on refinishing our floors?

Yes, was your address 123 Blah Blah Blah? At Yadda Yadda?

That's right. I was calling to find out if you were still avilable to do the job and if the estimates have changed (looking at original figures in appointment book).

Now we talked about redoing your entryway for $(a few fingers), and your living and dining room for $(a couple of toes)...

That's correct. We have one other very strong offer, so I was wondering if there was any wiggle room in your etsimate.

Well, our estimates are usually dead-on, and I don't know who's giving you a lower price, but I strive to be accurate so that halfway through the project you don't find yourself with additional [read "bs"] charges.

I see, so the cost definitely won't be higher than what you've told me?

That's right.

(knowing his offer is still hundreds of dollars less that Last Guy's first offer, but cool as a cucumber) Thank you. We'll be in touch.

Scene 3
(at work on computer)


Thank you so much for inquiring about this. I really appreciate
how understanding and flexible you and Woodworker have been,
but as a young couple starting out and as first time homeowners
every little bit counts. We have to go with the lother offer.
However, we've got a lot more wood floors to tend to in this old house.
So this won't be the last time you hear from me.
Thanks again.

All the Best,


So, the moral of the story is - you might want to take me with you the next time you go to buy a car.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Love Triangle...

Dear Spring,

Just wanted to thank you for stopping by last weekend.
It was great to see you. I just wish I knew you were
coming; I would have cleaned up a little! But we spent
so much time outside, I bet you didn't even notice the
slight messiness. That's why I love having you over.
You're such a pleasant house guest -- your warm
personality and sunny disposition make you a joy to have
around. I hope you'll visit us again soon, and please
plan to stay longer next time! Don't worry about
wearing out your welcome -- it's impossible!

Until next time... (which will be some time soon, right?)

Your Friend,
Frost Bitten

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Winter,

WTF!? I told you it was over between us. You really need
to stop hanging around like I'm going to change my mind. I
will admit, you were very interesting at first - always playing
it cool made me want to get to know you better. And our
first snow together absolutely took my breath away. But what
then, and what now? Our relationship has grown quiet and cold.
That may be your cup of tea, but I've had enough of this -- of you.

Good Riddance...

Sidewalk Salty