Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Love Is Blind

Back from my pseudo hiatus, I had to come back hard for Throwback Tuesdays! I have been closely following the attacks being made against women's rights, specifically the "personhood" movement. Philly rapper Eve's 1999 hit, "Love Is Blind" seemed fitting for the climate of the times.

Songstress Faith Evans sings the hook beautifully, making 'Love Is Blind' sound beautiful, despite its somber message. The video is tragic and the song is poignant, being one of the few hip hop songs to highlight domestic violence. And for that, it is this week's Throwback of the week.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Web Junk of the Week 2

Hey folks, Happy Friday.

This is my second installment of web junk of the week and I'm here to deliver both humor and slightly revolting material. No worries, safe for work folks, well maybe a little. But make sure you won't disturb your coworkers by laughing, because you might find some of these laugh out of your seat funny.

1. The first one was a video my friend Eun sent me. I was sliding down in my seat from laughing so hard and my coworkers had to ask me if I was okay. The following clip is from a Japanese Prank Show and it is HILARIOUS.

2. Now I hope you aren't eating anything, because you have probably already dropped it from laughing so hard  and now you've probably spat it out after seeing this picture.

This particular lady has the Guinness World Record for living woman with tiniest waist (15 inches). The tiniest waste is actually 13 inches and I am totally grossed out and stumped as to how these women where/are still alive.

3. Okay, back to humor. I have found this site The Meta Picture, thanks to my friend Alex, and have been addicted ever since. The memes are hilarious and I find myself constantly sharing and resharing with my friends. So I just had to get you all in on the action. I couldn't post all the pictures since there seems to be a glitch/or I'm not allowed to link to the picture. But here is an example of the pure awesomeness:


Okay, you get the picture. I could go on and on with some of the most fantastic and hilarious memes on the internet. But I suggest you spend a good hour or so going through the site yourself. Especially if your in finals mode. Thank me later.

Got any good web junk you've seen lately? Feel free to shoot it my way at sisterescape@gmail.com. I love finding new things to keep me laughing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why I Am Grateful for Obama's Health Care Plan

I've gotten into many online arguments with people, have seen posts and comments that have made me want to flip over tables, and have learned a great deal about the good and the bad about our current American society. I feel that President Obama's election to one of the most powerful seats of power in America and the passing of his Health Care Plan has brought out the best, worst, and downright evil in many people.

I have not always agreed with Obama's policies, and I am often annoyed and disappointed by our current government, however this is one policy I have supported since the beginning. This, admittedly, is primarily because I am one of those in-betweeners who found herself with healthcare after graduating college. I had been under my father's insurance as a minor and as a student, and I knew that as my graduation loomed, that if I didn't find a job with benefits, that I would be shit out of luck.

After graduating from college and being unable to find a job, I was tossed off of my father's insurance. On the one hand it motivated me to take extra care of myself so that I wouldn't break a bone (as my accident prone self tends to do at the worst times) or end up in the emergency room for whatever reason. On the other hand, I also couldn't visit my doctor when I got sick and I had to stop taking certain medications because my prescription ran out. I was only able to find a seasonal part time retail job for the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays, which does not offer benefits. And even when they did offer me a permanent part time position, the cost of paying for medical insurance in comparison to what my biweekly net pay was, was nonsensical. And it was sobering talking to coworkers who (along with their families) didn't have healthcare because they just couldn't afford the expense. I had had an elitist view coming from college, and it was nice having my rose-tinted glasses knocked off.  

However, under President Obama's Health Care Plan, specifically the Affordable Care Act, I am covered until I am 26 if I choose to remain on my father's plan. Luckily beginning in January of 2011, I was added back onto my father's insurance. This was especially auspicious since just the end of that month I found myself in the emergency room with a broken foot. Talk about good timing.

Of course the hospital made a mistake and never billed my insurance, instead billing me (and twice) for my treatment. Because of that I was able to see just how much I would have had to pay if I didn't have insurance. It was about $4000+ just for a broken foot. And for someone making only $7.25/hr at around 20 hrs a week (you do the math), paying that myself would have left me so far in the whole it's laughable.

But thankfully, because of the healthcare plan I was covered under my father. Sure he has to pay a higher premium, but it is so worth it in the long run. And I do my part to pay other expenses for my family, so it's not as if I'm a complete moocher- which is something many people seem to see us inbetweeners as. I've gotten into many debates with people over the internet who just don't understand why they have to pay for other's children to remain on healthcare. Often they blame us for higher premiums when they need to be blaming big business, the insurance companies. And a parent is not forced to add their child back onto insurance. It's optional, and those that do more than likely have no problem paying that premium.

I'm saying all this as the White House released the latest data regarding coverage of young adults like me. 2.5 million once uninsured young adults were able to hop back onto their family's plan, many of whom (like me) would love to be able to afford our own benefits, but can't for one reason or another. Even with my current part time job where I make a significant more amount of money than the minimum wage, I can barely afford the insurance costs per month (over $100) and my job is thinking of increasing the costs. I'm extremely grateful, especially with my up and down health, that I am covered. I think of it this way. I have being paying for social security since I turned 16. I will never see any of that money. Maybe they'll have another government program for me when I reach retirement age. Probably won't. With nearly 50% of Amers living in poverty or considered poor, I don't think it's unreasonable to offer some form of safety net for those of us transitioning into a tepid economic climate. It's not like many, if not most of us, don't want full time paying jobs with fantastic benefits. For many of us, it's just taken a much longer time than the baby boomers had to, to get such jobs. So I for one appreciate President Obama and am extremely grateful for the Affordable Care Act.I may not agree with all he does, but this one policy gets my vote.

AN: Please read this fantastic op-ed regarding one person's own experience with the new healthcare plan and having a pre-existing condition.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Almost 1 out of 5 Women in America are Sexually Assaulted

I'm not sure if I can provide much commentary about something so obviously tragic. Instead, I'll just cite a few more statistics from today's New York Times' article highlighting the magnitude of sexual assault in the best nation in the world:
  • Nearly one in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point
  • One in four reported having been beaten by an intimate partner 
  • One in six women have been stalked
  • 1 percent of women surveyed reported being raped in the previous year, a figure that suggests that 1.3 million American women annually may be victims of rape or attempted rape
  • One in seven men have experienced severe violence at the hands of an intimate partner, the survey found
  • More than half of female rape victims had been raped by an intimate partner and 40 percent had been raped by an acquaintance 
There are two words I typically don't appreciate in political discourse, crisis and and war. However, I feel they are appropriate to use here. People love to describe unfortunate issues as crises, especially those related to social justice. But if everything is a crisis, then nothing is really a crisis. In my opinion, the prevalence of sexual assault accurately fits the definition of a crisis as defined by Merriam-Webster. 
"an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially : one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome."
Sexual assault is more a crisis, than lets stay our sorry educational system, for example. It is part of a larger problem which is our country's current war against women. Again, I generally dislike fabricated wars (e.g.- War on Drugs, War on Terror) because they are little more than propaganda bullshakkle and usually involves some money making scheme. The attack against women's bodies is nothing. I just can't help but think sexual assault is linked to recent, radical attacks against women's rights including the nascent "personhood movement" and the administration's decision to require girls under the age of 18 to obtain a prescription for morning-after pill.

The war against women has created a nation that is apathetic to the well-being of women and girls, the tolerance of sexual assault is a byproduct. Because sex crimes are escalating at a time when the attack against women is also escalating  politically, (i.e.-
state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending) we have created a crisis.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Back to My Escape

Guess who's back in the muva effin house! (cyber shots if you get the song reference)

I'm back y'all and it feels fantastic. Ya miss me? Cause I've missed you all.

While I've been slaving over the computer finishing up my first grad school quarter, I've also been keeping track of posts that I plan on  putting up here as soon as I stop partying. Expect some humor and some internet goodies. So here goes:

  1. Web Junk of the Week- This I will hopefully have done by tomorrow actually. (I blame the antibiotics I'm on for not allowing my to drink. Stupid sinus infection.
  2. Throwback Tuesday- Since Le Chele has been dropping the ball lately, I have a few throwback posts waiting in the basement to make ya groove, reminisce, and learn a few things.
  3. My response to the Safe Sex Commandments - I agree with most of them, but I have to speak my piece on one or two.
  4. The promised Fiore Scott Files: When You Touch My Hair Part 2
  5. Fiore Scott Files: Retro Video Games (Part 2)
  6. Why I Give- This topic has been on my mind for a while now and I want to post about it and see how others feel. 
  7. Introducing: Drink of the Week- I like to drink. Sue me.

I'm back for now. I might have to take another hiatus when my finals hit for my next quarter, but I'll be around for a minute and hopefully regularly providing you all with entertaining and informative posts. And please, if you have any questions, comments, or have post suggestions feel free to get at us at sisterescape@gmail.com. And for those of you who have already contacted us, we'll be hitting you up soon if we haven't already. And thanks to all the commenters! Keep em' coming folks.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

On the Verge of a Breakdown?

Do you ever feel that you're about to breakdown?

Like, fall into a ball on the floor and just sob for an unknown amount of time?

Or, just turn to the random, disinterested person next to you on the subway platform and let them know that you're 'fucked up right now.'

Ever want to just press the 'Emergency STOP' button in the elevator and alert all the passengers to how shitty how life is at this very moment?

I've been there. For reals. And you know what? Just go ahead and cry! Thrash around in your bed! Spill your peas damnit! Because life is unfair, and hard and sometimes...it just sucks!

I'm a big believer in breakdowns. Every time I have one it is followed by clarity and necessary decision making on things that I've been putting off. My only advice would be to stay away from the bottle or pipe.... yea, I know that might be even harder...

We need breakdowns because:
We need reminders to trust in our life process. My breakdowns are caused by my anxiety and my need to be in control. When a bunch of shit happens that I can't control I freak out and get really negative... I assume that I know everything, that I have all the answers and when I come up short get really anxious....because I have lost faith in the process of life that I never had control over.

OK. Remember playing with the BARS at the jungle gym. In all of our recess excitement, running as fast as we could (without throwing up) to jump & reach for a bar and simply miss. The moment when your face falls, your stomach drops and your tallest finger barely grazes the bar... yeah. that feeling. The 'oh shet!' feeling. You didn't know what to do, what would happen next...you were simply midair.

You know what happened next??

You fucking landed and were fine. You landed on YOUR own two feet. Everything you needed to rely on was already with you. Sometimes, in our harshest and most isolating moments, we need to remind ourselves that we will ALWAYS be there for ourselves and ALWAYS have our own backs. You have to be your own best friend. I really believe that. And when we are breaking down because we didn't reach the bar we thought we would--- we must remember that it is all momentary. That moment, just like all other moments, will pass. And so will your breakdown.

Have a Wonderful Night!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Safe Sex Commandments

 Well, Sista Zipporah and I were at her place last night, just chillin and shit. You know how we do. In addition to eating, drankin (of course), we talked about a whole heap of black issues. Of the many black issues that we have, we talked extensively about the continued practice of unsafe sex among our people. I would imagine that this is common among all demographics but considering the prevalence of teen pregnancy and high STD infection rates in our community, it's a problem that disproportionately hurts us more.

So it begs the question, why aren't people using condoms?? They're cheap, ubiquitous and well, important goddammit! Despite the PSA's and the many conversations about dire statistics, people are still not wearing condoms. Why? Clearly the HIV/ AIDS awareness messages are not getting through to black folk, especially young ones. Zippy and I decided to channel our inner fifteen year old, and create reasons to stay protected in a manner that would hopefully resonate with them crazy keeds.

10 Safe Sex Commandments

1. Ladies, if he doesn't want to do it with a condom....then he probably can't do it that good.
2. Would you trust him with you car??? Exactly.
3. Sure, that baby would be cute… but working 40 hrs a week for $7.25 to buy diapers and crappy baby food ain’t!
4. Sex with a condom is better than sex with a 2 year old around.
5. In Genesis it says be fruitful and multiply… but Adam and Eve ain’t have bills to pay!
6. In 2009, African Americans comprised 14% of the US population but accounted for 44% of all new HIV infections. We fuckin up!
7. Compare the price of a condom, with the price of a baby or with the price of lifelong HIV Treatment… WRAP IT UP.
8.   Don’t like to swallow… try swallowing a fistful of pills a day to stay alive.
9. Fellas, how many of y'all grew up without a dad? Be a real man and end the cycle with you.
10. It is OKAY to have sex, it’s even better when you know you’re safe.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Occupy Wall Street- My Story

It was 10:30 at night when I got home last Thursday. After getting off the train, I decided to try to numb the pain of an additional thirty minute bus ride by catching up with a friend from high school. Expecting the late night conversation to be little more than fluff, it surprisingly turned into a fierce exchange of ideas as I shared with her my experience at Occupy Wall Street. I was just returning from the second anniversary of march's existence so I was still beaming from excitement.

I told her of the various people I knew who were also in attendance. My former high school English teacher was helping me out with a play I am writing and suggested that we head down to Foley Square after my interview with him. Although I am an avid supporter of OWS, I have been lazy and never made it to any of the protests, even the one they had in Jamaica, Queens. It was about five o'c lock when we arrived, and I realized it wasn't just laziness keeping me from attending OWS. After arriving to the area, one the first things we saw were cops equipped with riot gear. I thought to myself, where is our protection? There has been some speculation as to why ethnic minorities have been largely absent at OWS protests. I can't offer much insight into why that may be but this ethnic minority was scared out of her ass. I mentioned to my mom that I wanted to go to the protests and she, another ethnic minority, explicitly told me, "Don't come to me for bail money."

The friend I was on the phone with had the same fears. Luckily the night ended without any conflict. In fact, I found many of the officers to be kind and helpful with directions. I did find it obnoxious when few protesters antagonized the cops without any clear reason in doing so. I was giving mad shade to the silly, little white girl next to me while she was yelling at the cops. I again thought to myself, You best believe that if things get out of hand, I'll be quick to point in your direction and scream 'Cuff her' because my broke, black ass ain't finnah go to jail!

Laughing, my friend inquired about the aims of OWS. She put her boyfriend on three way and he began to challenge me about the validity of their targeting of Wall Street. Though he shared their frustrations with the little oversight placed on our financial industry, he seemed frustrated by Occupys's opaqueness, an aspect that I appreciated. He and I debated about the need for OWS to specify their wants. At that time, I was stepping through the door of my house and saw that my parents were still up. I got off the phone but ended up continuing the conversation with my parents.

They were in bed, watching the coverage from the day's protests in New York City, specifically the hundreds of arrests that were made that day. She stated her disgust with the abuse of law enforcement. While I certainly agreed, I also argued that white liberals' trouble with police brutality is a troubling in itself considering my anecdotal evidence of their tendency for provocation. A police pepper spraying old people and hippies is awful and stupid but it is much different from unarmed black men getting shot. Maybe I was being trivial but she understood my point.

My father, old, jaded and cynical echoed my friend's boyfriend's concerns. He wanted to know what was going to come of this, noting the increased coverage of what was previously largely ignored. I explained that the self-proclaimed movement is centered on the absolute power given to the financial industry and how it contributes to the socio-inequality that plagues our society. Likely speaking to the ubiquity young, white faces on TV he asked me exactly who was watching. But there were unions, students, hippies, immigrant groups, the green party, a few people in work clothes, teachers, aspiring rappers and everyone else in between. Repeating my appreciation of its vagueness, I told him I saw a wide array of people represented which is appropriate because economic affects almost all of us, 99% of us, if you will.

Marching across the bridge with honoree Sister Miss All Ass was somehow empowering for me and the other occupiers. In today's economy it is easy to feel as if you are alone in your struggles. While our struggles vary, particularly in regards to severity and experience, it can all be linked to economic injustice. I may not have fully won them all over, but I was convinced that Occupy Wall Street was working.  Some are inspired by it, but everybody is talking about it. The guy holding that sign with a well-know Gandhi quote got it right, "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win."

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's Official, I'm Out

Alright people. I'm basically at my wits end here.

Eventhough I said clearly that I would be M.I.A. a few weeks a go, I have been pretty active on this blog. I've also found myself on twitter, fb, and my other multitude of internet sites that I have spent way too much time on in comparison to what I really need to be getting done. My homework.

I have 18 assignment that are due in 4 weeks. This is no joke. I'm only taking two classes but grad school is wrecking my life. And I've been dropping the ball. I mean, I was able to get 3 of those assignments done yesterday, clapforem, but then today I fucked around all day in wonderful wonderful leisure up until...well now. WOMP WOMP WOMP. I mean, maybe I deserved a nice little break after working so hard yesterday. But it's almost 8:30 and I have 3 assignments due by Tuesday. I've dropped the ball folks. And with the difficulty there is even trying to do any homework while I'm at work, I've got to use all the extra time I've got to get this work done.

That being said. It's official. I'm out.

I will be deactivating both my twitter and facebook as of now. I will also be signing out of gchat. And, sorry folks, I won't be blogging until my semester is over. I'll just keep track of the posts I want to write, and there are many, and unleash them when I get back from my academic death. Friends, if you want to get at me and you have my number, make it work.

All that being said, I'm officially signing off.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Le Chele: I'm sorry


Oprah's Life Class

Well, thank you Ms. Scott for letting people know that I have been slackin'...

Anyway, I have been productive in my absence! I have 'discovered' the beauty of Oprah's Life Classes. Basically, Lady O highlights some of the lessons that she has learned and tried to teach in her 25 years on the Oprah Show. For example, one show is about 'Living In the Moment' (something I try really hard to do) and another focuses on how 'the truth will set you free'.
I've never been a die hard Oprah fan and what not, but this is her at her best!

Anyway see for yourself and watch her show on OWN!

What are some life lessons that Oprah has helped you come to realize?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cooking for One: Top Sirloin

What's going on ladies and gents?! I'm going to premise this post by saying, for some reason, even with all the grad school work I have to do, I've been finding time to actually blog. It's surprising. Because I seriously thought (and even said) that I would be M.I.A. Maybe my time management skills have gotten better. More than likely, this is just another way for me to procrastinate.

That being said. I've been sitting on this post for a while since my girl Zipporah said she would be starting some Cooking For One posts. I've been waiting for her to deliver but as of yet...nada. Yeah I'm calling you out girl. Throwing mad shade your way.

Just playing. She's been busy so I'm going to hop onto her train and get this thing moving. That being said, my cooking for one segment focuses on preparing and cooking that perfect piece of top sirloin. 

Now I'm a cooker. I will readily admit and boast that I can throw down in the kitchen, any day of the week. I learned from my grandmother and father mostly, and have used my teachings well. I experiment and create fantastic recipes from scratch. And since I'm a huge fan of meat, specifically a good ass rare steak, I take very good care to make sure I don't mess up when it comes to cooking one. 

Step One: Wash that sucka. Now this should go without saying. But I've met some people who don't understand this concept and will slap the meat straight from the package right onto the pan. False boss. I won't be touching your food [1]. Also, depending on how much time you have or are willing to spend, you can also brine the steak. Just set the steak in a salt/water combination for a good hour or 2 before cooking, and the tenderness will definitely be a pleasant surprise. 

Step Two: Ingredients ingredients ingredients! It's all about the seasonings. 

This time I chose to use of combination of sea salt (remember not to add as much as you would regular salt, probably a 1/3 will do), onion powder, Weber Chicago Style Steak Seasoning, and some savory. Umm Umm good. For this particular steak I put each ingredient on one side and on the other I only put the Weber. 

Step Three: Have the right pan! So I've learned the secrets of grilling from my father. We are a big grilling family. He has a huge barrel grill in the back and has even grilled and smoked meats many times during the winter. It's fantastic. That being said, I chose to use our grill pan in order to make sure my piece of top sirloin has grill marks. 

Beautiful ain't it.

However, you can use a regular fry pan as well. Just make sure to add enough oil (I prefer either olive oil or canola) so that it won't stick!

Step Four: Cook that sucka! Now as I mentioned above, I fucks with the rarer side of steaks. I like my steaks bloody and the cow still mooing when it's on my plate. I find it to be oh so delicious when I can dip my steak in the juices, like a sauce. So I chose to cook it for about 3 minutes on each side at medium-high temperature. It is a thick cut steak so I allowed for a bit extra time. However, most prefer their steaks a bit dryer, so allow for a longer cook time. And if you can't gauge the temp of the steak/if it's cooked to your preference, just cut into it while its on the pan. We're not gourmet chefs folks; do what you gotta do. 

Step Five: Plate it and enjoy. 

Yeah, I realized that the steaks are not one in the same. I made two steaks that night but they both came out with the same taste and look, just a lil different in size. And you can choose how fancy you want to plate your food. That night I was ravenous, so I slapped my steak onto the plate and then commenced dying over how yummy it was. It was definitely the best homemade steak (that was not grilled/bbq'd) I've ever had. Sorry dad, I win. 

And there you have it peoples. Simple top sirloin. It took me about 10 mins total with preparation (as I chose not to brine it) and cooking. It was so tender, perfectly rare, and perfectly seasoned. I was in heaven after each bite. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Get to nomming!

[1] Same goes for not washing vegetables. I know this one woman who just takes the mushrooms, dirt and all, chops them up and goes with it. HELL TO THE NAW. Wash my shit. If I wanted dirty food, I'd eat out of a damn dumpster. That is not the business. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Favorite Web Junk of the Week

So I've decided to introduce a new featured post: Favorite Web Junk of the Week. Now by "Junk" I don't necessarily mean that it is anything bad. On the contrary, I'm usually highly entertained by it and think you will be too. It's just a general term. Thus, I intend to share with you the various blogs, tumblers, memes, viral videos, and pics that have made it into my inbox, convos with friends, and my web browsing while I'm at work.

1. First up this week is a fantastically entertaining picture my bestie Eun sent me:


Take a look. Keep looking. Figure it out yet? 

Yeah, it's hilarious.

2. Dear Big Sean, I really can't stand most of your music, but you sure know how to make some damn catchy songs. Tell em Le Chele: I DO IT! 

I actually mostly like this song because of Nicki Minaj. #Pause

In all seriousness, I never thought I would actually say that. I mean, since mixtape Minaj was basically swallowed up by her own ass, I haven't really rode with her music like that, nahmean? I mean I played the fuck out of Itty Bitty Piggy but I haven't really liked any of her other stuff except for Super Bass. But I finally recognized that she just isn't really hip hop. She's pop, so I allowed myself to somewhat enjoy her stuff. That being said, I really don't understand why I enjoy this song like I do. When it would come on the radio I would turn it off, but after watching the video, I have replayed it at least 10 times in the past 2 weeks. That's not normal. #ASS 

3. Next up is this fantastic site called Yo, Is this Racist?, which I immediately had to start following. It is very simple in its deliver and makes for some solid laughs. Shout out to Eun once again! Here is an example of some of its content:

billowy asked: Japanese afro cookie packaging “Black Melon Pan”

Yo, obviously. And that cookie looks wack as fuck, too.
billowy asked: Japanese afro cookie packaging “Black Melon Pan”

Yo, obviously. And that cookie looks wack as fuck, too.

Seriously, take some time out at work and allow yourself some laugh therapy. This guy is spot on with his commentary.

4. Rounding out my list is definitely one of the funnest websites found on the internet. Now, don't be one of those who confuses this genius with the actually Ghostface Killah (who is his own genius). Mr. Cocaine Biceps and the legendary Wu rapper are not one in the same. But that's the point. Take a look at dude's review of Drake's new album Take Care.

His delivery will have you rolling on the floor with laugher, literally. My favorite posts are definitely his lists of Softest Niggas in the Game. And the way BigGhost goes in on Drake is just too phenomenal. He even said: "This niggas heart got a ponytail". DEAD ON ARRIVAL.

Dude has a gift.

So definitely check that site out for some good old hip hop infused humor. Be warned it is definitely some straight #niggashit

Aiight. That's it ladies and gents. These are my 4 favorite web junks of the week. All (except number 2- I'm still trying to wrap my head around why I like this video) have had me at work dying. On some my coworkers looking at my cubicle and asking if I'm alright, type of stuff. I hope you enjoy as much as I have. And definitely fell free to email the ladies me any good web junk you come across. Humorous, sad, thought-provoking, anger inducing, or even a lil frightening will work. Hit us up at sisterescape@gmail.com. Hey, you might even get a shout out. Word to your mother.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Fiore Scott Files: Oh Snap, I Want A Man

Guys and gals. This feeling just literally smacked me in the face. My gut clenched and I felt a twinge in my neck.

It's official. Ladies and gentlemen. I want a boyfriend.

Cue world ending.

Now people who know me know I'm not being melodramatic. I'm not the type of girl who needs a man or usually even wants one. I may go out "man-hunting" every once in a while, but my feelings can go either way. If I meet a guy and we dance all night, that's cool. If we exchange numbers I may gush over it with my friends for a bit. But then I usually just let it go. I'm usually in a period of hibernation. Sure sure, I'm not totally turned off. I'll flirt with a guy in a second if necessary. But at the same time, I haven't really cared one way or another if I started dating a guy or not. I definitely appreciated the fineness that were the multitude of male specimens that happen to pass my view. But now I don't want to just look. I want one. I want a man.

I haven't had this feeling in almost two years. Yes you read that right, two years. It's been that long since I've been involved with someone. Long time ain't it. Well, not really. Before that it had been 3 years. I mean, I just don't really crave relationships. I don't search for them and if it happens it happens. But I usually don't care one way or the other. Even one of my guy friends brought it up two days ago, asking if I had any prospects. I responded that I didn't and that I wasn't really interested because of work and graduate school. But then I have my periods, like now, where chillin' and focusing on other things just isn't good enough. And I won't just settle for flirting and moving on. It's go time. I want a man.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mississippi Goddam!!!

Miss Nina Simone was one of the most profound musicians of her time. Whether she was singing jazz, blues, gospel or rhythm and blues, she often incorporated social and political themes from the Civil Rights movement into many of her songs. 'Mississippi Goddam' was written in 1963 in  response to two events that symbolized the escalating violence occurring across the country- the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama which left four little girls killed.

Well the country has changed significantly since this song was written, with extreme racial violence being considerably less common. And while Mississippi is included in that progress, the state is currently engaging in politics that could endanger the lives of many of its citizens, albeit way different from the days of race riots and lynchings. These citizens are women and the attack is against their (our) bodies, ostensibly their privacy. This is attack is being carried out by "Yes on 26," a campaign that to amend the state's constitution, defining life at the start of conception.

Mississippi Goddam!!!

Getting in the Mood: Holiday Music

So I'm definitely that person who starts listening to Christmas/Holiday music as soon as it gets cold or in the case for this year, as soon as the first snow falls. With our October "Nor'easter", snow coated the ground, and especially in my area it basically looked like a winter wonderland [1]. A large part of my was appalled, since it was not even November yet and because this more than likely means that this is going to be a cold ass winter[2]. The other smaller part of me welcomed it only because that means my favorite two holidays (other than my birthday of course) are approaching, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And so Christmas music is officially on deck.

As I watched the snow fall outside, I thought about my favorite holiday jams. The kind that make you all warm and toasty even when it's bitter cold outside and the kind that make you think of all the holiday memories you have with family and friends. Here are my top 10 Holiday Jams because it's never too early to enjoy some good music.

1. The Temptations- Silent Night

I believe that this is one of the greatest Christmas songs ever written/done. And what a group to do it. The soul that just comes through the speakers leaves me breathless every-time. This song always plays on Christmas eve at our house, filtering throughout the downstairs and I often catch myself just staring at our Christmas tree and swaying to the music. It's a beautiful beautiful song, and I love how they also focus on the Jesus aspect.

2. Vince Guaraldi- Peanuts- Oh Christmas Tree

I am one of the biggest fans of the Peanuts Gang (especially Snoopy and Woodstock) and their holiday movies are classics, and I fully believe the music definitely makes each movie even better. The Peanuts holiday soundtrack is ridiculously amazing and this one here is my favorite.

3. Donny Hathaway- This Christmas

Donny Hathaway has one of the most amazingly soulful voices. Unfortunately his life was too short but he managed to leave us with many gems, this being one of my favorites. That man can belt a tune and make you all warm and fuzzy inside. This is the song my siblings and I would come down the stairs to as my father taped us. Every year without fail (even now).

4. Thurl Ravenscroft- Mr. Grinch

What's a Christmas without some holiday cheer and the occasional grinch. Whether I'm feeling super happy or moody as hell, this song always reminds me of the wonderful childhood holidays. And sometimes I'm feeling extra grinchy and I'll have this song on blast so everyone knows how I'm feeling.

5. Nat King Cole- The Christmas Song

If you don't have this man's Christmas CD- GO BUY IT NOW. There I said it. I mean, this man had the voice. There is no Christmas without this song. (Sidenote: I also suggest listening to his other music. It. Is. Stellar. A favorite mine is Stardust.)

6. The Nightmare Before Christmas- What's This

I'm a huge fan of Tim Burton and this movie was the beginning. One of my favorite animated films. And the song is just so darn catchy.

7. Dean Martin- Baby It's Cold Outside

I have a love affair with Dean Martin. If I could go back in time...I would buy front row tickets to see him (and the Rat Pack) perform.This song is also perfect whenever I'm cold or it's snowing, like this past Saturday, and I'm feeling in a chilly silly mood.

8.The Drifters- White Christmas

I first heard this song when I watched Home Alone way back in the day as a youngin'. I only just realized found out that this group was black and it blew me away. It's actually quite interesting what popular 50s musicians/groups where actually black. Anyway, this song has always stuck with me and my father and I always end up singing this together, me taking the falsetto and him the bass. It's lovely.

9. The Temptations- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

You can never have too much Temptations. And this song is another favorite of mine. Soulful and fun, this song always leaves me full of Holiday cheer. There have been many versions, but none have done it better. 

10. Kurtis Blow- Christmas Rappin'

I know every lyric to this song and am ready to start a soul train line whenever this comes on. This is my jam.

Honorable Mention: Adam Sandler- Chanukah Song

After hearing this song for the first time on Saturday Night Live, it has always stuck with me. It's witty and totally makes fun of how serious people take holidays. It never gets old.

So there you have it folks. I'm sure some of you *cough* Zipporah *cough* are complaining about it being too early for Christmas music. Whateva you bunch of Grinches. But to all of you out there who get it, this is for you. I may not be one of those people with Christmas decorations outside on November 1st (no shade) but you can bet that my speakers will be having some Christmas tunes blasting in between all my other music.

[1] I always thought this was a dumb name. 
[2] And you know how black folks feel about the cold. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Kind of Friend Am I?

Ayo dawlins! It's been a minute. I've been hiding behind stacks of books, trying to be productive for class. I have managed to succeed and am very happy with my current standings. Just gotta push it out.

That being said, with grad school, work, and just being plain ol' lazy- I've found myself being a lousy friend. Now I was never really good with communication in the first place. If it's face to face, I can often be the life of the party and keep my friends rolling on the floor with laughter. Or I can sit there and listen to all their problems for hours and then try to give advice. I love my friends. Sure there are those that I count within my inner circle and I often base my inner girl circle on who would be my bridesmaids when I get married. Let's just say I plan on having a big wedding. But that's a good thing right?

These wonderful ladies and gents (you know who you all are) know embarrassing things about me, have known me for a ridiculous amount of years, have giving me a bed or couch to crash on, have seen me at my worst, and have seen me at my best. I've taking care of them when we've had too much to drink, I've cock-blocked, I've given and gotten advice, have had ridiculous random dance parties with, have had road trips with, and have driven/flown miles to see. We've studies together, got trashed together, cried over troubles, laughed over joys, been totally inappropriate, and have created some fantastic memories together.

These wonderful people are the types that I can not have spoken to for weeks, even months, and as soon as we get on the phone it's like we had talked just the day before. And I feel truly blessed that I have so many people that I can call my friends, my true friends, my best friends, my loves, my babes. You get the point.

But at the same time, I know I need to stop being such a bum, get off my butt, and make time to call my friends. There's one particular gent whose been waiting for my call, since it's my turn to call, and you're first on my list. And I've got a couple of people that I missed their birthdays since I usually rely on facebook (I know I know I'm one of those lousy people and you are too), and with the change in layout I barely go on anymore, so I'm always missing birthdays. So to all of you that I've neglected, HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY. You know I've got nothing but love for y'all. Sorry for being a lousy friend.

Honestly, I just want to say this as a public service announcement. Treasure your friends. I'm pretty sucky at doing so, and luckily that hasn't usually adversely affected my relationships. I'm blessed. And with friends like these, I'm a pretty happy camper. I love you guys and gals and thank you for putting up with me for so long.  Nothing but love.

Damn I love this song. Don't hate.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

La Vida de La Lupe

It was in high school when the Spanish language first sparked my interest. Outside of class, I would listen to the radio station La Mega while trying to pick up the language through song. I enjoy merengue and bachata, the two most popular styles of music in the Dominican Republic but I prefer salsa, especially the good, Fania shit. Fania Records was essentially the Motown of Latin music that housed salsa pioneers like Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe, and Ray Barretto. Salsa music was instrumental in introducing the larger world to the sounds of Caribbean oriented music, musica tropical. 

But before there was salsa, there was Puerto Rican bomba. There was cha-cha and mambo. Though salsa music is huge, it still is a fairly new genre of music, originating in the 1960's and 1970's. The aforementioned styles of music, as well as many others, were the components of musica tropical and La Lupe was the champion of them all. I can't pinpoint when I first discovered her music, but I promise that I have not listened to music the same way since.

Brash, flamboyant, witty and fiery, the Cuban-born singer was dubbed the Queen of Latin Soul but has been largely forgotten over the years. La Lupe's music was just as much sexy as it was political. Exiled from Cuba, she kicked off her shoes after each performance as a form of protest against Castro's regime.

She started her career singing traditional Cuban music with an orchestra led by Latin jazz great Mongo Santamaria. Impressed with her rich voice, she caught the attention of Tito Puente and together they had a string of hits including her most famous song, "Que Te Pedi." Her mastery of tropical rhythms along with her over-the-top persona, gave her performance an edge never seen before by Latin audiences. She would erratically hit her face, clap irregularly to the beat or at times, even slap her breasts while shouting "Ahi Nama!" With an act like none other, she was on top of the world in the sixties. But it wouldn't last for much longer.

La Lupe's life soon became consumed by alcoholism and drug addiction. Her drug-addict husband, who was later diagnosed as a schizophrenic, became abusive towards her. Between his hospital bills and her endless donations to Santeros, she went broke. The despair that now defined her life began to taint her professional life as she became more and more of a burden to her associates. According to Tito Puente, she her refusal to convert to salsa music and sticking with traditional musica tropical would soon make her a hasbeen. He decided to part ways with her.

In "Oriente," she beautifully emotes her falling out with Tito Puente as she shouts "Ay ay ay, Tito Puente me botó!"- a loose translation of 'he kicked me out.' She died from a heart attack at the young age of 52. How did this happen? She was the first Latin singer to sell out of Madison Square Garden, but some how once ended up homeless and destitute. She traveled around the world, wowing audiences with her musical genius but is relatively unknown to many fans of Latin music. La Lupe was as much passionate and talented as she was troubled. Once loved, but now forgotten, she lived a life free of apologies or restrictions. It may have worked to her detriment but that's what makes her legacy so incredible.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Going Back to Our Roots

Word dropped a few days ago announcing The Roots' new concept album slated to come out December of this year. Entitled Undun, the album is going to be a “existential retelling” of the life of Redford Stephens, a man who was murdered at the young age of 25 in 1999. I was unable to find more information about Stephens but I am speculating that his story is one of symbolism, one that challenges common narratives of young black men while exploring the intricacies of "ghetto life." The band's drummer ?uestlove (Questlove) explains more:

"undun is the story of this kid who becomes criminal, but he wasn’t born criminal. He’s not the nouveau exotic primitive bug-eyed gunrunner like Tupac’s character Bishop in “Juice”… he’s actually thoughtful and is neither victim nor hero. Just some kid who begins to order his world in a way that makes the most sense to him at a given moment… At the end of the day… isn’t that what we all do?”
I think the concept, like the band itself, is brilliant. It took some time for The Roots to gain success in the mainstream, with their fourth album Things Fall Apart being the first to go gold. And although they have made it big, they have been able to stay true to their uniqueness. Hip hop fans respected the insightful content and complexity found in Black Thought's lyrics, giving the group street cred. Critics appreciated their artistry which blended traditional hip hop beats with jazzy, live instrumentation.

The Roots have continued to grow throughout their career with many of their music tackling a variety of social issues. Undun may not sell a mil in its first week like a certain, lesser talented, squeaky voiced rapper but I am expecting nothing short of greatness. I remember back when rap songs used to tell a story. Well, not really considering I'm only 22 but that is besides the point. Many great hip hop songs featured storytelling but to my knowledge, the concept has never been expanded to an entire album. So this December I'll be at the record store, coppin this album. Until then, I'll be rockin' to their throwbacks.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sister Escape... Now Live in Living Color

Or at least, now on Facebook.

That's right. You heard us. We have given in to the man and have expanded to Facebook. We are 105 members strong in only 3 days and constantly growing. We wanted to open up our escape concept to a place where dialogue with others can be open about anything.  The idea of our Facebook group is for members to feel free to use this space to post inspiring or funny stories, the latest gossip, political fodder, general thoughts, questions, or ideas, music, or anything that comes to mind!

So I hope you will join us. We've already had some fun, creative, informative, and interesting posts. And don't plan to stop!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why I Hate Chris Brown

This post may seem passé but I was inspired by his appearance on last night's BET Hip Hop Awards. He joined Busta Rhymes, Wale, Eminem and other underground rappers on the show's cypher, when artists freestyle in a loosely structured format. It made sense for every other person to be there. But no, the self-centered twat had to participate and ruin what was otherwise a group of artists with a considerable amount of talent.

I hate Chris Brown. For the last two years, I cringe every time that fool appears on my TV screen or in a blog I'm reading. When I hear that god awful song "Look At Me Now" I get the sudden urge to punch a baby. And here is why.

Mr. Magic Himself

I can't tell you how much I've been missing New York City's smooth jazz station. In addition to the classic rhythm and blues station, it played music that all generations in my house could enjoy. It brings back memories of the family either playing bid whist or lively chatting with each other about politics in the living room. Smooth jazz was easy to listen to in the background and its creation is largely due to the music of one of its pioneers, the late Grover Washington Jr.

His rendition of this Bill Withers' classic is one of his most well-known songs, mostly because of its crossover appeal. The jazzier version allows Grover to showcase his mastery of the saxophone, blending perfectly with the composition of the song. Much ado is made about the validity of smooth jazz, with some not even considering it to be a legitimate sub-genre of jazz. However, critics cannot doubt the talents of Grover Washington Jr. His improvisation was sophisticated, edgy and one some songs, down right funky.

This is coming from my favorite album from him and one of the greatest jazz-funk/ soul jazz albums of all time, appropriately entitled Feels So Good. What I admire mostly was his approach to jazz in general. Some jazz musicians like Miles Davis and Charles Mingus want to get you to think, and they were geniuses at doing so. Washington, on the other hand, wanted you to feel. His sax work was very advanced, but still melodic and smooth. I find myself "singing" along to Hydra or Knucklehead because he gets the saxophone to sound like the voice of a Motown soul singer.

Now this is my favorite song by him. Grover's recordings are always so relaxed, so it surprises me to see him perform so energetically. Everybody looks as if they are having the time of their life. This performance almost looks like a jam session. Mister Magic was so funky that its beat later influenced DC-based go-go music. But his contributions to contemporary jazz are why we honor Grover Washington Jr. in this week's Throwback Tuesdays.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The [Other] C-Word

Greetings Homie,

Well, I'm gonna keep it real and let you all know that I am currently on a boy-break/celibate. That means I am putting my dating life on hold! Not to say that it was poppin' off the charts, but I did have some options. Nevertheless, I'm taking myself off the 'market.'
Why... am I choosing to go dry(er).

It's simple. I need a fucking hobby. That's right, a hobby. You remember what that is, right? It's what we made up/embellished on our college applications to look well-rounded. Well back then I didn't really appreciate what the hobby could do for a person's soul etc.

Let me school you on the importance of having a hobby (and yes, I'm going to use that word as much as possible to drill it into your brain!).

What your hobby can do for you:

1. Meet like-minded people.
For some reason I find that a lot of folk meet their friends at work, through people they are or have dated OR they simply grew up with them. All good reasons and what not, but I like to branch out. And as you grow older your interest etc. change and sometimes it's nice to embrace change with a new set of people. For example, I'm into homemaking + so I plan to attend homemaking events in my city i.e. sewing/embroidery classes and what not.

2. New Dick.
Sometimes when you are just enjoying life and going with spur of the moment interests you meet someone who can really knock your socks off. Has anyone had this experience?

3. Self-Discovery.
I have a type-A personality and so I try to be a little more type-B. I try to go with the flow more, just let things be and generally not be so damn uptight. Starting a new hobby is a great way for me to experience personal growth because I have to kind of let go and adapt to a new method of doing something. For example, I LOVE to make Indian food and Chinese food. Now here's the thing: even though it's technically just cooking both of these cuisines require different methods.

In essence, I"m taking a boy-break to learn more about myself and give myself more time to just BE ME. To be my authentic self and not, I want to look cute so that some dude will take me out to eat etc... Is anyone else just doing them right now, and playing it easy?

Grad School & Motivation

Hello all! Whether you're in front of one of the city halls staging an #occupycithall protest, at work trying not to fall asleep, or in a library finishing an assignment- I appreciate the time you took out to escape to our page.

Source: http://pfiesterpfit.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/fitness-the-need-for-more-than-motivation/
First I'm going to let it be known that I might be M.I.A. from the blog more often than not. I love this blog like I would my child-that I don't have. However, I'm a graduate student (Clap for em) and have a job (payday baby!) and find myself more and more strapped for time. I remember those days (only a few months ago) where I wished I was back in school taking classes. Now those days are long gone and in only my third week of classes, I'm ready for a break.Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), I won't have a break until Thanksgiving. So my posts will be few and far between. I hope my fellow ladies can keep trucking without me. We're all professional ladies, so please bear with us when our postings become sporadic.

I find the work extremely interesting and even find myself reading state budgets with pleasure. I really didn't know when I stepped into the world of social science and policy that I would be hooked, but so far so good. I was worried that I wouldn't enjoy my degree (M.S. in Professional Studies with a Concentration of Education Policy) but have found the various assignments to be extremely informative and have found myself becoming a much more engaged citizen with regards to education. As an education student with minimal experience tutoring or teaching, I live vicariously through Le Chele. I readily admit that I will probably end up being one of those policy makers with limited experience in education, but with a whole lot of heart regarding making the suffering education system work. I want to help create standards of equality in education, because the students always being left behind are the poor, minority, esl, and disabled. It has been this way since the start of education in America and it remains a struggling system of inequality.

Source: http://lifesabusiness.wordpress.com/introduction/ok-im-needing-motivation/ 
That being said. During my second week of classes I hit a road block of sorts. I found every possible way to procrastinate and made every possible excuse to hold off doing my assigned readings and writings. And then on Sunday at 3pm I found myself with 2 discussion posts due that day, with no research done and no idea what I was going to write about. I was reminded of college, where I would party or laze around until Sunday then find myself doing an allnighter. Luckily I was able to push it out and finished everything by 11pm. I don't know if it was as good as it could have been if I hadn't rushed, but I stick by my belief that I work better under pressure. Then again, that might just be another excuse.

As the end of my third week approaches I find myself in a better place: with one assignment already under my belt, some of my books needed for research already on my desk, and a mindset ready to work. I'm definitely under some pressure with all the assignment still due: another discussion, 1 quiz, and 2 papers. But I think I can handle it, if I don't fall back into my lazy ways. I just need to stay motivated. And when I lack that motivation, I just need to do what I need to do to get it back.

But my question for you all is: What things do you do to remain motivated? What gets you out of that lazy funk and back to business? Any suggestions for a habitually lazy student?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

PSA for Black Mothers

On my way home from work, a younger Black woman on the train was struggling with her two little girls. The subways car was slightly crowded and because the able-bodied people around her were assholes, only the older child was able to sit. The mother had to stand and carry the toddler in her arms, while trying her best to maintain her balance. I was appalled. Me and the gentleman sitting next to me offered the lady and her children seats.

The train ride happened fifteen minutes after I found myself in a little bit of a tiff with a parent. The confrontation went as follows:

Mother: Andrew's not with you?
Me: No, along with the other kids who weren't listening are being escorted with the dance teacher.
Mother: He cant be doing no extra time. I'm on a schedule. It's bad enough I have to wait from 5 o' clock.
Me: It's only for a couple of more minutes. And dismissal isn't really until 6.

The exchange happened at 5:48. Visibly annoyed, the mother avoided contact with me until her son was dismissed. It did not bother me much but I was frustrated that she cared more about getting home early than she did about her kid's poor behavior.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Because I am a Queen!

This is dedicated to black women all over the world who are comfortable with their true essence. You got ninjas from Old Spice commercials and certain hairstylists dissing nappy hair. Even pseudo-pyschologists come up with bullshit science to prove our ugliness. Whatever! We stay fly!

India Arie is a phenomenal artist who's career should have flourished more. I enjoy much of her music, but decided to focus my attention on her breakthrough single for political and personal reasons. Most people appreciate "Video" for its uplifting message, one that says that we should embrace all characteristics of our beauty, including the quirks. Plenty of songs have been dedicated to our beauty but few have come from the perspective of a sister herself. This is worth noting because it allows us to define exactly what about ourselves is beautiful.

I've shared my past struggles with how I looked. Too often do young sisters like myself rely on others (re: men) for sense of self. This song was recorded over ten years ago but is just as relevant today as it was then especially inn a time where lacefronts are running a muck and Nicki Minaj is emblematic of what is desirable for many engaged in pop culture.India Arie did something amazing when she said to us, I will dictate what is beautiful about me. Of course she should! She's a Queen, after all.

*The numerous links are a celebration of the milestone we made with this blog and the incredible growth my fellow sisters and I have made over time.
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