Apr 30, 2009

Lessons Learned

Recent events in m life have me thinking deeply about the things I value most and how I interact with people. I’m also questioning whether or not my personality best reflects who I am, or even who I want to be. My concern is that people, who should or even need to, don’t know me.

This issue stems from my personality. I am a private person. I rarely share how I’m feeling or how I feel about things I see or that happen to me. This is not so much because I don’t like to share, to some extent, I do. It’s more born out of a feeling that telling how I feel all the time leaves me emotionally raw and on edge. Because of this, I tend not to share anything. However, if you ask me, I’m more than willing to tell you what’s on my mind.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine recently in which I commented that his personality and first impression read like a jerk. I made sure to explain to him that this was merely an observation, not an accusation. He was nonplussed. Upon further discussion, he explained that he was aware of how he could come off. He seemed to express some disappointment for the way people viewed him but was also quick to say that he did not feel it necessary to change.

I asked him about his friend and whether or not his attitude had an effect on those relationships. He said that they sometimes do, but since he was unwilling to change, it reflected poorly on those who called him friend if they were offended by his demeanor. I wish I could be so confident and comfortable in my personality and attitude. Moreover, he commented that diagnosis was a two –way street. As much as I was able to point how his flaws, he was able to do the same to me. I don’t doubt it, but it’s interesting how, often, we are quick to see flaws in others but not ourselves.

Like my friend, I am aware of my flaws. I don’t share my feelings or much of anything about me unless you ask. I’d rather learn about others than talk about myself, I can be messy, insensitive and sometimes non understanding. However, my friend and I differ in the fact that I don’t like the specific flaws I have and actively seek to ride myself of them. I don’t think I’ll ever be as open and sharing about my life as my sister, but the fact that my parents see me more as a user and abuser of privileges than a contributor to the house because I don’t talk to them can’t be good.

That needs to change.

I often drive my mother’s car to school. Three days ago it was vandalized. The driver’s side rear window was smashed and my school bag, containing my laptop and backup hard drive, was stolen. The computer contained everything I was working on, both school work and Banner stories. It’s difficult to explain how I feel about this beyond saying that it sucks. That doesn’t do justice to the shame I and guilt I feel for allowing my mother’s car to be damaged. Or the regret and second guessing I’ve been doing of my actions that night. Why didn’t I put my bag in the trunk? Why did I think the floor of the back seat would be okay? Why didn’t I just take my bag with me? These are questions I’ll turn over for the foreseeable future. I’ve learned a hard lesson, and while I’m grateful for the lesson, I wish I could have learned it in a less detrimental way.

The ensuing conversation with my parents was appropriately uncomfortable, the outcome of which is that I need to change my attitude moving forward. There appears to be no way I can make this up to them because what little credibility I had was destroyed by this incident. The irony is that the first call I made when I found the car was to my father to ask him how to handle the situation.

Too little, too late.

All I can do is apologize and say “I’m sorry.” I don’t know if my parents believe me, but I’ll keep doing it and working at being more open. I hope for forgiveness and understanding, but I also recognize that this change will be an uphill struggle that will be painful. The support I’m looking for, waiting for at the top, to be given again once I prove I’m worthy of it.

Apr 27, 2009

New Blog!

Hey, I've been working on a new blog, Boston's Cool Spots. Check it out at wwww.bostonscoolspots.blogspot.com. If you know of any cool spots in Boston let me know, I'll add them to the blog.

Apr 22, 2009

New Banner story

Covered a story this past weekend about Somali Muslims. It'll be in the Bay State Banner tomorrow, but you can check out a link to it under Bay State Banner Stories link tab. The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center is beautiful, even if you're not a Muslim you should check it out.

Apr 20, 2009

Marathon Monday pt. 6

Goucher couldn't hold off Kosgei or Tune and takes third place. Kosgei outpaces Tune for the crown in a time of 2:32:16

Marathon Monday pt. 5

Lead woman are on Beacon St. Stay tuned for Qik video.

Marathon Monday pt. 4

Just took picture with multiple Col. Sanders.

(Photo courtesy of Marc Lanza)

Marathon Monday pt. 3

Top wheelchairs just rolled by Mile 25.5. These guys are great. A wheelchair up "Heartbreak Hill?" Amazing! Check the video

Marathon Monday pt. 2

A crush of people at Park St. Bosox and marathon day!

Marathon Monday pt. 1

Stay tuned for Boston Marathon updates! I'll be updating throughout the day with pics and posts.

Apr 16, 2009


So, I currently find myself at the end of an oak wood bar, hunkered over sliders and a Guinness stout. "When Doves Cry," by Prince is pumped in via some hidden radio and sound system and the Bruins playoff game is about to start on a flatscreen TV hanging in the corner on my left.

Craig, a tall gentleman with a neatly trimmed brown-hair beard works a draft pump to coax the last bit of Samuel Adams seasonal beer out of its keg. I watch with a sense of awe. I'm in the BU Pub working on my knighthood.

Knighthood is a challenge born out of the fact that the BU Pub is located in basement of a building affectionately known at the "Castle" around campus. The challenge, or quest as it's called by Craig and his fellow bartenders, tasks a person to drink 50 beers. You have as long as you require to complete the quest.

The beers run the gamut from bar standards like Coors Light to the exotic such as the Belgian Chimay Blue. Prices also vary from $3 to $10.

I've sampled seven so far. I did some calculations: If I want to complete the quest by the end if the semester I need to drink 3.5 beers a day, not including Sundays. I'm up to the challenge.

A White Snake song is playing now, the one that starts "Here I go again on my own..." The Bruins and the Habs have 15 minutes left in the first period. My Guinness stout is empty.

Craig nods in my direction. I ask him for a Wachusett Blueberry, the next beer on my quest. It's gonna be an interesting end of the semester.

Apr 14, 2009

My technologies are merging. With one text I can simultaneously post to my blog and let you know that I did!

Apr 6, 2009

Riding the Train

I love the MBTA. There is something about public transportation that I find fascinating. Despite the fact that standard operating procedure for a train ride is to rudely ignore everyone and everything around until you reach your stop, I still enjoy riding because there is so much to see. As the 5th largest mass transit system it averages 1.1 million riders daily. I see that as 1.1 million potential stories. Like this one:

I was riding the T this past Friday, on my way to the Banner. I got on the train at Park Street. At Downtown Crossing, two women squeezed into the train car next to me. One of the women was white with straight brown hair that fell to her shoulders. She looked to be in her mid to late 30s or early 40s, with a stud on her upper left lip, the same place as Cindy Crawford's mole.

She struck me as a working mother. The type of women that did no more than a year or two at a community college, married her high school sweetheart and lives in Quincey or South Boston. A blue collar woman, working as a secretary or receptionist, married to a construction worker, with two kids no older than 13.

Not wealthy by any standard, but making a living nonetheless, the lip stud a relic from a wild youth spent drinking and partying.

The other woman was black, slightly heavyset, with a shaved head. She had a tattoo of an ankh on the left side of her head. The black women, head tattoo notwithstanding, struck me immediately as gay, the white woman not so much.

The white women spoke about work, and the black woman spoke about getting off the train at South Station to catch the commuter rail to a south shore, working class neighborhood, perhaps Abington.

The two women chuckled to each other, seemingly enjoying each other's company. As the train pulled into South Station, I heard the unique noise made when people kiss quickly on the lips, my visions of a blue collar wife and mother vanished in that sound.

As the black woman exited the train, the white woman spoke up. "Tell them I say what up nigga! Say it just like that. What up nigga!"

The expletive hit me like a person bumping me on a crowded bus. The black woman turned her head and nodded, the tattoo shinning in the fluorescent lighting of the train car.

The white woman's use of the n-word was jarring but I guess when you date a black person you get a pass on using that word. Still, it struck me as odd that she would use the term in public. I can only imagine that in the privacy of their home the word is bandied about with regularity but in public? A little inappropriate.

The point of this story, besides the fact that it is a story, an incident that I happened to witness, is that the MBTA is a place where millions of people from a thousand different walks of life converge.

The beauty of the MBTA is that it is a microcosm of life in Boston, from suburban travelers on the commuter rail, to city dwellers using the red and orange lines. I love the "T" because you can see all types of people and experience all types of situations.

At the time, I felt like there should have been more of a reaction from other black people on the train with me. But, like any good mass transit rider, we ignore those around us and focus on our music or book until we arrive at our destination.

Apr 5, 2009

Spring break '09

I was in Chicago for spring break, March 6th – March 16th. The last time I was in Chicago was last November for Thanksgiving. I always forget how much I love Chicago until I’m there. Chicago holds many friends and memories for me and each time I travel to the city I’m reminded of my time spent there and how much I enjoyed it.

This past visit in March was one part business, one part pleasure. I was in the city to interview for summer jobs. Specifically, I interviewed with WGN, the radio company that broadcasts Cubs games. The internship is comprehensive. They expect you to work 40 hours a week which includes production duties, live remotes from Cubs games, and even some on-air time.

Honestly, it sounds like the perfect summer internship. I would get to hang out in Chicago, working in the field that I want to go into as a career, and watching Cubs games for free. I have yet to find any place that is better than Chicago in the summer.

The rest of my time in Chicago was spent catching up with friends and family. Much thanks to Catie, who put up with me hanging out with Jonathan all day and night playing video games. I almost beat Lego Star Wars: The complete saga. Save my profile Jo-Nate! I’m gonna get it done!
I pretty much ran around with my boy Shak trying to find trouble. We did well the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day.

That Friday, I woke up at 11 a.m. and grabbed breakfast at Valois, an old school cafeteria style eatery in Hyde Park. Rolled over to Jonathan’s apartment around 1 p.m. to play Lego Star Wars. Shak and I left Jonathan’s around 4 p.m. and headed over to Jimmy’s to commence with the consumption of alcohol.
I forgot how much fun Jimmy’s can be. Cheap pitchers and a camera that can also record audio allows for choice moments to be captured. Like this one:

Shak freestyle final.01.mp3 -

We left Jimmy’s around 6 p.m. and headed downtown to Dave & Busters. The plan was to meet up with a bunch of friends from college and work, drink “Tall Boys” of beer and play video games. It worked out pretty well.
Thanks to all my people who came and hung out with me that night. Greg, I never expected you to show and you came through so much love. Rich B.! You came out despite your cold and bought me a Tall Boy! Mimi and Apple, thanks so much. It was awesome to see you both. It’s been too long.

Dave & Busters kicked us out at 1 a.m. It appeared that the night was over, but Blaine, stepped up and told us about a party in Hyde Park. It had already started but we rolled through around 1:30 in the morning and hung out playing card games and drinking Brazilian alcoholic drinks. I got to meet some of Blaine’s co-workers from his restaurant job and get yelled at by a loud drunk black chick, who later gave me a hug and a kiss, then slapped me.

We left the Brazilian party around 3:30 a.m. and went to Blaine’s place to watch ESPN, talk sports and life. During college I hung out with these guys all the time. Since I graduated, moved out of Hyde Park, lived my life, and subsequently moved to Boston, I’ve lost touch with them and what they are doing.
These guys have left an indelible mark on my life and it’s so interesting how quickly I forget how much they mean to me. I think it’s a fair to say that my last two years of college wouldn’t not have been as much fun or memorable had I not met them.

Around 6:30 a.m. I think I may have passed out. Shak woke me at 7.

After a brief stop at my grandmother’s house to brush my teeth and change clothes we went back to Valois for more breakfast. Later that day I had lunch plans with some ex co-workers from my CareerBuilder.com days. So after breakfast we headed downtown to meet up with Diane and Venetta.

Downtown was packed because it was the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. At noon, there were lines outside many of the bars in the downtown area. Lunch was good, Thai food at a place called Dao. Ran into Justin Hill randomly, he was at the restaurant waiting for a friend.

It had been that type of trip. I saw Juliana Garcia-Uribe on a bus going to Hyde Park, and I saw this black guy, who’s name I have forgotten, that lived on my floor in Shoreland my last quarter. I’m sorry dude, but you did lend me an Xbox game, Knights of the Old Republic, so I thank you for that.

All in all it was a good trip. I might end up in Chicago for the summer, which would be nice. I miss Chicago and three months there would do me well.

Apr 4, 2009

K'Loni Sky Interview

I got a chance to sit down with K'Loni Sky, a local aspiring singer and song writer. Check out the clip!