tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-84184851011718635632016-12-05T09:21:59.201-05:00!i$@ bee!i$@ beehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/14042309936847637400[email protected]Blogger637125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-21690246906952614642012-10-15T08:59:00.000-04:002012-10-15T08:59:00.386-04:00Money, Power & Respect<br />"That must have been a great loss for you," The Benefactor said, "losing your cousin."<br /><br />"Actually, I don't feel one way or the other about losing Cuzzo," I told her, because of something he said to me on his deathbed. The Benefactor said it was a blessing I got to speak with him before he passed; many others don't have that opportunity. She encouraged me to proceed.<br /><br />When I was 11 years old, that whole side of my family was summoned to the hospital by The Elders. Cuzzo was sick with what they told me was A Big Heart. Having too big of a heart seemed like a small thing to take Cuzzo down. I thought nothing could take him down.<br /><br /><span id="fullpost">Cuzzo had one of The Elders contact my grandma with a specific request to see me. The day my mom and I stopped by, he spoke with both of us briefly, then asked to speak to me alone.<br /><br />I stood near the door wanting to escape, but Cuzzo gestured for me to come closer. He was so thin and fragile-looking with tubes and wires poking out everywhere, the complete opposite of how I remembered him.<br /><br />"Don't be scared, now," he said. "You're never scared." He gave a dry laugh that sounded more like a cough.<br /><br />"Come closer so I can see that pretty face of yours."<br /><br />As I sat bedside, Cuzzo told me he was going to die soon. I asked of what, since it seemed to be a lot more than just A Big Heart.<br /><br />"<a href="/2010/12/world-aids-day-20x.html" target="_blank">AIDS</a>," Cuzzo said faintly. I didn't know what AIDS was but assumed it was pretty serious to lay Cuzzo out like that.<br /><br />"I don't have much time left, baby girl," he said, "but I want you to know that even though I won't be here physically, I'll always be with you. Remember <a href="/2012/07/blood-is-thicker-than-kool-aid.css" target="_blank">what I taught you</a> as a little girl. Don't miss me when I'm gone."<br /><br />“Huh?” I said, perplexed. I didn't know how not to miss him.<br /><br />"In our family somebody's always dying or being born. There's always somebody to take somebody else's place."<br /><br />I wondered who would take his.<br /><br />"What I'm about to tell you don't ever forget," Cuzzo said, his voice barely above a whisper. "Keep beating the other side, just like me and your grandma taught you."<br /><br />He paused, inhaling deeply.<br /><br />"Your cousins, teach them what you know. They might not say much but they do look up to you."<br /><br />"I'm only 11, though," I said. "I don't think people will listen to me."<br /><br />"F*ck other people, listen to your grandma, me, and yourself," Cuzzo said. "Remember, I've always been part of you, ever since that other game. Listen to <i>us</i>.”<br /><br />Cuzzo followed up by saying that if he had his way, he would have never had me in that other game.&nbsp;</span><br /><span id="fullpost"><br />“It is what it is, though,” and I knew exactly what he meant: since Cuzzo received those orders from someone who outranked him, his hands were tied in the situation.<br /><br />“Your grandma took over for me after that other game, and that's alright. Us three, we're a lot alike. Listen to your grandma and me and soon you’ll take over yourself."<br /><br />"Take over what?" I asked.<br /><br />"Take over The Game. You got their <a href="/2012/08/alls-fair-in-love-and-war.css" target="_blank">Money</a> as a little girl. I gave you <a href="/2012/07/taking-psycho-path.css" target="_blank">Power</a>. Now get their Respect. All of it."<br /><br />"How?" I asked him, as usual.<br /><br />"By any means necessary," Cuzzo said.<br /><br />A few minutes passed and Cuzzo fell silent. I picked up his arm by the wrist; it fell limply by his side. I buzzed the nurses, who came rushing into the room. They ushered me out of the room and down the hallway where my mom was waiting.<br /><br />The next day I got a call from The Elder who put me in that other game, asking what my cousin told me on his deathbed. With Granny listening in on a separate line, I told her Cuzzo told me to come for the other side’s Money, Power &amp; Respect by any means necessary.<br /><br />The Elder laughed.<br /><br />“Your cousin’s gay,” she said. “It’s why you were able to spend so much time with him growing up.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It’s also how he died of AIDS. Since he tells you so much, did he tell you that?”<br /><br />The AIDS part, yes. But Cuzzo, gay? Considering the source, I was skeptical.<br /><br /><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>“He had new girlfriends every week, though… how can he be gay?” I asked.<br /><br />The Elder laughed again and said those women weren’t his girlfriends, they were his employees. Granny took over the conversation at that point, rushing me off the phone.<br /><br />“This Elder added another piece to the puzzle, eh?” said The Benefactor. “And Cuzzo’s a gay pimp, look at that.”<br /><br />We chuckled.<br /><br />“Bit by bit we’re finding out how that closet of stacks was built,” she continued. “Gambling, extortion, prostitution… sounds like a true gangster story to me,” she said.<br /><br />“Now, when gangsters die, it’s usually quite the spectacle: an all-out affair. Tell me about his funeral.”</span><br /><br />Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-4982840174398880902012-09-25T08:59:00.000-04:002012-09-25T08:59:00.430-04:00The Study First semester of my eighth grade year, I entered The Study. Teacher found someone outside the school and familiar with kids like me who offered to help. A benefactor, if you will. <br /><br />First I had to take a series of tests, including an IQ test. When the results came back, my new benefactor was in a cheerful mood. Half-jokingly, I asked if I broke the tests. <br /><br />"No, but you did score higher than most kids. Most adults, even. It's not everyday I come across a certified genius," she said. <br /><br />Like my English teacher, The Benefactor wanted to know why my reaction was so subdued. <br /><br />I told her bits and pieces of my story, how tough it is trying to find yourself in a family full of God-like egos, and how I missed just being a kid. <br /><br />"You're not a child anymore," The Benefactor said. "In fact, it sounds like you haven't been a child for quite some time. Who wants to return back to childhood anyways?" The Benefactor shuddered dramatically at the very thought. <br /><br />She told me stories like mine weren't uncommon in cities, and that gang initiations can start very young. <br /><br />"The good news is there's a way out."<br /><span id="fullpost"><br />She told me gangs are only able to survive through group mentality and that I, being a genius, can beat the other side by breaking the mental chains associated with them. <br /><br />"Ok… duh. My grandma and uncle told me that," I said, ever the know-it-all.<br /><br />The Benefactor said she was glad they did and asked if they told me how. <br /><br />"Various ways," I said cryptically. It takes me a while to warm up to strangers. <br /><br />The Benefactor said she could supplement their advice by offering help in the form of a five year plan: get out of The Life and that other game and into The Game. <br /><br />The primary objective of The Game was to use my intelligence and unique skill sets to become part of a different gang: The Ivy League. Once there I could continue pursuing my goals of learning a lot and getting big money while in the company of like-minded people. The one caveat in receiving this help is that I had to tell my full story. How I rose through the ranks, so to speak. <br /><br />I started out telling The Benefactor about Cuzzo and how he was an almighty presence from our very first interaction. The Benefactor asked where he was now and I told her Cuzzo had died two years earlier. </span>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-26193213703322770902012-08-22T17:01:00.000-04:002012-08-22T17:01:00.356-04:00Grandma's GirlAfter getting out of that other game and coming back inside, my mom and I visited The Elders and The VIPs far less often. She wasn’t aware this other game had taken place, so it was difficult explaining the crowds of people greeting us and pressing dollar bills into my hands as we made our way to the apartment. <br /><br />That’s when Granny, the second oldest Elder, took over.<br /><span id="fullpost"><br />At the time, Granny lived on the opposite side of the city, worlds away from the block where that other game took place. She and her six siblings—The Elders, collectively—grew up in a neighborhood similar to the one where that other game was played, a former slum where restaurants, coffee store chains, office buildings, and a Catholic high school for boys now stand. Growing up, she and her four sisters used to play the same game I did. Their two brothers and an endless supply of male cousins were the VIPs. <br /><br />The Elders made tons of money over the years and split it up amongst themselves. When they started having kids and their kids starting having kids, some of them were taught that other game, too. A few made it out, but not with their minds intact. Most others didn’t make it out at all. <br /><br />“I can’t believe she played that game with you, you’re just a kid!” Granny said after I came to her with all the money I’d made. Up to that point I’d just been holding the cash, unsure of what to do with it all. Spending it freely would have raised a lot of questions and brought some serious attention to that other game. <br /><br />She plotted vengeance as we figured out how to get rid of the money. We consulted one of my five uncles for guidance. Unk has much experience with the other side, cleaning up the aftermath of their messes in court. He told me I’d avoided a big one playing that other game, but the good thing is I made at least 50 times my weekly allowance, if not more. <br /><br />“Everything from here on out is small money, but never forget that you, as a person, are priceless,” he told me. <br /><br />Ultimately, we gave the money away to a nearby church where our family has a dedicated pew. <br /><br />After we got rid of the money, Granny asked me to give up the deets. If we’re going to beat them at their game, she said, I have to spill their secrets. <br /><br />I thought I was already out of that other game, but Granny said that other game had just begun. I told her there weren’t many secrets to spill; nobody dared touch me in that other game, unless it was to hand me their money afterward. The biggest secret was one of my own: I’d won the game through reading Cuzzo’s mind. <br /><br />Granny didn’t seem shocked and wasn’t in awe like the others were when I told them I could read minds. When I told her they thought I was an angel because of it, she guffawed, slapping the table to balance herself. <br /><br />“You’re no angel, you’re a very lucky and smart little girl.” <br /><br />Playing that other game, I had forgotten I was only seven. <br /><br />“If you spend enough time with someone, after a while it is like you’re reading their mind,” Granny said. <br /><br />“I can do it, too, you know. In fact, I taught The Elder who got you into this other game how to do it. That b*tch.”<br /><br />Granny convinced me to disconnect from Cuzzo’s mind and suggested I start reading hers instead. <br /><br />I was skeptical at first. Then again, I was skeptical of most adults after playing that other game. <br /><br />The way Granny spit it, through observing, learning, and implementing her ways, I could win the game this Elder started with me. <br /><br />“I don’t know why they chose you,” Granny said, “but they chose wisely, ‘cause I’m on your side. They won’t always listen to a little girl like you, but they’ll for damn sure listen to me.” <br /><br />Once I accepted her offer, I was all Granny’s responsibility. <br /><br />We connected immediately. <br /><br />We stay out of the streets, inside is safer. Hoodrats disgust us, but their antics are amusing. We don’t listen to rap music, just the Top 50 charts and Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole if we’re feeling frisky—and only at a reasonable volume. We watch Matlock at 9 am, our block of soaps operas at noon, Oprah at 4 pm, and Golden Girls at 8 pm, and the news between shows. We go to bed early and wake up before dawn. We stock up on prunes and milk of magnesia to stay regular. We’re not big on flashy gifts or wads of cash, we prefer compliments on our cooking instead. Oh, and we take sh*t from no one, especially that b*tch next door that keeps letting her dog use our front lawn as a toilet.<br /><br />Reading Granny was the anti-hood. As often as I could, I’d let her know how boring I found the new rules of the game. <br /><br />“It’s more exciting than being dead in the streets,” she’d say. Point taken. <br /><br />One day, Granny surprised me with an announcement: we were finally gonna get back into this gangsta sh*t I kept talking about—and getting hit with a fly swatter for for saying “gangsta sh*t.” <br /><br />Unbeknownst to me, Granny was regularly calling shots over the phone, dispatching orders to her siblings and nieces and nephews. This day, she decided to let me back in on the operation. <br /><br />Granny would offer up a tough scenario and ask my opinion on what I’d do if I had a limitless supply of money to fix it. At first, I thought she was taking scenes out of the soap operas she devours. Over time, I realized the scenarios she’d offer up were nothing like what was on TV at the time. <br /><br />Most often, the two of us would figure out how to divvy up that <a href="/2012/07/blood-is-thicker-than-kool-aid.css">closet of stacks</a> Cuzzo showed me. We put our vote on which families in The Elders’ and VIPs’ hood would get their light bills paid that month. Whatever was left over at the end of the month, we saved a portion of for ourselves and funneled the rest into that church with the family pew. <br /><br />One of the toughest scenarios we encountered was that of the junkie mom.<br /><br />Junkie Mom was one of the many people from that hood who bet for me in that other game. Granny told me The VIPs were ready to wipe her out because she owed them a lot of money and hadn’t paid up. <br /><br />“What would you do?” Granny asked me. <br /><br />I told her I would spare the junkie, not only because I personally got a lot of money from her, but also because I knew she had five small kids living in a one-bedroom apartment there. If The VIPs wiped her out, who would take care of her kids?<br /><br />Granny was pleased. “You might be an angel after all,” she said, and delivered our verdict in a call to The Elders. <br /><br />Junkie Mom was spared, but wound up dying anyway a few years later from a drug overdose. Her five kids grew up and joined The VIPs. <br /><br />Soon after Granny let me in on the higher level aspects of that other game, she moved in with my immediate family. I was fed more rules of the game daily: introductions are everything, so make sure they’re good ones; fear no one; be clever—but not a smart a$$, nobody likes a smart a$$—and hungrier than the rest to get ahead; getting A’s and winning awards is the way out of difficult situations; if somebody feels some type of way about that, 1. F*ck ‘em and 2. Give ‘em more reasons to talk and be jealous; every time you leave the house, remember you’re representing more than yourself: you’re representing me, my kids, and your cousins, too; carry yourself well and always be prepared; as often as you can, show people we’re not part of that other game’s team. <br /><br />Et cetera, et cetera.<br /><br />I took vigorous mental notes over the years, but the downside to receiving all that wisdom so young and so often is that one gets jaded quickly. <br /><br />Hearing about everyone else’s issues and trying to solve them while also keeping grown folks from coming at each other’s necks got very messy and exhausting, even with Granny on my side. By the time I was thirteen, I felt like I’d sacrificed my childhood so ungrateful people could live better. I was all the way over it and wanted out of The Life, but couldn’t see a way out. The Life was all I knew. <br /><br />Around this time, my middle school received the results of a standardized test taken a few months earlier. Even though my grades had started to slip from the stress of playing that other game, my English teacher came up to me excitedly, saying I scored the highest of all the students in the school. <br /><br />My unenthused demeanor concerned her. She wanted to know why scoring yet another win wasn’t cause for excitement. <br /><br />I told her some of what I got into after school hours with Granny and how I was feeling the burnout from it. She asked why I was put in that other game, and I told her my history and the battles of my youth. My middle school English teacher was the first non-family member to label what I was part of: a gang. <br /><br />I burst out laughing, not seeing the connection between TV and movie gangsters and Granny and myself. I saw none of our family in shows or movies like that. <br /><br />Very seriously, Teacher asked if I wanted out. <br /><br />“It’ll be tough since you live with one of the major players,” she said. “Tough, but not impossible.”<br /><br />After consulting with outside resources (“No cops,” she promised), she came back the following day and asked if I wanted to participate in a study. <br /><br /><br /></span>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-27613351366178379062012-08-20T17:01:00.000-04:002012-08-20T17:01:00.571-04:00All's fair in love and war<br />When Cuzzo and I got back to the apartment, one of The Elders had a new game for us to play.<br /><br />I didn’t see any boards or game pieces anywhere, though.<br /><br />“This is a different type of game, baby girl,” Cuzzo said. “One where we always get the bad guy. Remember <a href="/2012/07/moe-betta-blues.css">your preschool friend</a>? In this game we go after the bad guys that did that to him.”<br /><br />I was intrigued.<br /><br />The way Cuzzo put it, all I’d have to do in this game was stand outside, do nothing, and get the bad guys close enough for the VIPs to handle the rest.<br /><br /><span id="fullpost">We played this game once a week after church, while I was still dressed in my Sunday Best. Like Cuzzo said, all I did was stand outside while the creepers approached, one by one. The Elder who started this game and Cuzzo kept watch from windows overlooking the block while an ever-changing handful of our other “cousins” waited in a van around the corner.<br /><br />When the creepers got within arm’s reach, it was on: the van full of fam sped around the corner, snatched the creeper up, duct-taped a bag over his head, dragged him into the van and sped off again down the block.<br /><br />For months this happened, every Sunday after church. It was astonishing seeing those guys snatched up over and over again, like <a href="http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/lemmings.asp">lemmings</a>. Or a live-action movie. In fact, this other game was so much like watching a movie that, after a couple weeks of playing, I started directing it.<br /><br />First, I took it upon myself to inform an approaching creeper what was about to go down.<br /><br />“You’re about to die,” I said to him.<br /><br />The creeper laughed and asked who taught me words like that.<br /><br />I didn’t get a chance to answer before the van sped around the corner like clockwork and the creeper met his fate.<br /><br />Within a week of starting this other game—maybe even a little before this new game had begun—Cuzzo and I established such a connection that we were speaking to each other without using words. He’d think something and I’d feel it, and vice versa.<br /><br />One Sunday I was standing there catching creepers when, out of nowhere, this feeling of extreme boredom washed over me. It wasn’t a feeling I immediately recognized, especially while playing a game. I looked up at Cuzzo peering through the blinds. Our eyes met and he nodded.<br /><br />I told a standby VIP sitting on the front stoop that if they really want to make this game fun, they should try switching up the kinds and colors of cars they use. As an added bonus, the cops can’t trace the activity (something everyone involved seemed especially concerned about) since a different car is used every week.<br /><br />The VIP perked up and spread word to the others.<br /><br />Next time I came over, The VIPs sped around the corner in a blue van instead of their usual black. Some weeks they rolled through in a full body pickup truck. My fave was when they used stolen luxury cars: Benzs, BMWs, Jags speeding down the block overflowing with saviors and foes.<br /><br />After that, grown folks in the neighborhood started coming up to me, giving me a dollar or two “for my service.” My mom always taught me not to accept gifts from strangers. But Cuzzo always taught me to Get Money, so I channeled him for a second opinion.<br /><br />After playing that other game the following Sunday, I asked one guy who came up to me how much he was willing to bet I’d catch this one creeper we kept hearing about on the block… and it was a hell of a lot more than a dollar. The next person who came up, a very sweet old lady The Elders told me was heavily involved in the church there, bet her rent money I’d catch him. Others bet $20 here, $50 there. By the time I turned seven, I was making $100 a week just standing there and doing nothing.<br /><br />Cuzzo always told me what I great job I was doing, helping the kids in the community. By keeping these bad guys off the streets and making money, we were doing A Good Thing, he said.<br /><br />I told him this game was too easy.<br /><br />“I tell them to their face they’re gonna die and they still fall for it. Weird people give me their money to see creepers killed every week.”<br /><br />Cuzzo nodded knowingly. “It’s their nature,” he said.<br /><br />He paused for a moment, sensing something was amiss.<br /><br />“If you want out, you know what to do.”<br /><br />I walked up to The Elder who started this other game and told her I could stand outside and catch all the creepers they wanted, but I’m still not catching the ones into boys.<br /><br />She paused for a moment. Then she called the other Elders over, excitement in her voice.<br /><br />She told the others that I was an angel. She used my age at the time and the fact that Cuzzo and I could talk without words as proof. The fact that I could play such a dangerous game and emerge unscathed—plus the amount of money I brought in—was further proof, according to this Elder.<br /><br />The others formed a circle around me, staring in awe and talking among themselves in whispers. I felt indifferent about the matter and didn’t understanding all the fuss surrounding it. All I knew was I made it out of this other game a winner with big bank.<br /><br />From then on, any business I had was conducted indoors, just like Cuzzo and The Elders.<br /><br /></span> Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-4886621911781859102012-08-15T17:01:00.000-04:002012-08-15T17:01:00.826-04:00Everything has a costAfter Cuzzo crowned me queen of the kids on his block, we visited the VIPs much more regularly. During one such visit, Cuzzo took me on a walk around the 'hood. This was A Big Deal since Cuzzo rarely ventured outside. The first thing I noticed was that the block was empty. No people, no birds… no nothing. Even stray animals crossed the street at the sight of us walking down the block. “Is it about to rain?” I asked Cuzzo. “Nobody’s outside.” “That’s because they know better,” he said. “They’re watching though.” He pointed toward the windows overlooking the street. We walked to the corner store. “Get whatever you want, baby girl. On the house.” I grabbed an armful of candy and other snacks while Cuzzo looked on in silence. On our way out, Cuzzo nodded to the cashier and we left without paying. As we headed back to the apartment, the eerie quiet of the streets swallowed us whole. Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-54771772826757522592012-07-30T17:01:00.000-04:002012-07-30T17:01:00.088-04:00Taking the psycho path<br />Since kindergarten, <a href="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/psychopath?s=t&ld=1089">the enemy</a> (PPs) has been drawn to me. It's the classic battle of Good vs. Evil; they can’t resist the temptation. PPs are predatory by nature and constantly seek out potential victims, preying on the weak-minded and people who seem like they’ll stay silent. Sometimes that potential victim appears to them as a pensive young girl with her nose in a book, just minding her business. Here’s some news for you if you didn’t already know:<br />It’s a trap, b*tch!<br /><br />A lot of people don't like to think of children as PPs; it makes them uncomfortable. But they have to start somewhere.<br /><br />PP#1 made himself known immediately.<br /><br /> <span id="fullpost">Everyday it was something new: loud and frequent tantrums; an incredible level of violence: the cops were called once for threats PP#1 made toward our teacher and teacher’s aid—in kindergarten, mind you; an extreme lack of respect for authority figures: our teacher’s skirt ripped during one tantrum of his; later on, PP#1 revealed he ripped it on purpose to humiliate her in front of the class.<br /><br />Our teacher’s attention was constantly redirected toward PP#1 and his antics. It was literally never-ending with this kid.<br /><br />While PP#1 terrorized our classroom, I stayed above the madness, doing my work and minding my business. I guess PP#1 wasn’t used to not receiving huge amounts of attention. Everyone else fell for it, but not me. This confused and angered him.<br /> <br />One day while perfecting my tumbling routine during free play, PP#1 ran up behind me, grabbed my butt, and flipped me to the ground head first. I sat up dizzy, head pounding, nose bleeding—and furious. Luckily, the kindergarten aid saw all this go down and promptly informed the teacher, who sent PP#1 to the principal’s office while I went to the school nurse.<br /> <br />That's the thing about PPs: they might seem like normal people up to a certain point, but you'll always find serious flaws in their logic… major oversights. PP#1’s major oversight was spilling all his secrets to me. Even though he flipped me that day and bloodied my nose, I was one of the few other kids he talked to in class, precisely because I was quiet. He had the balls to say to me one day that he didn’t know I could speak until he made my nose bleed. I thought back to my older cousin and how we love us some curious, stupid motherf*ckers. After PP#1 said that, I decided to show this kid just how big my voice actually is.<br /> <br />In first grade, I had the pleasure of having PP#1 in my class again. One day, he made the incredibly unwise decision to try me again, this time with another boy as his partner-in-crime. PP#1 told me that they were going to rape every girl in the classroom, including the teacher. He said he’d start with me because I was the smartest… like that makes any sense.<br /> <br />Before he could even finish his sentence and approach, I stabbed PP#1 in the eye with a No. 2 pencil. (They never see the left hook coming.) The other boy ran away while PP#1 writhed in agony on the ground.<br /> <br />The teacher ran over and escorted him to the nurse’s office. She came back sometime later that afternoon without him, and resumed teaching as if nothing had happened. It was the first time in two years that our classroom was silent and us kids could learn in peace.<br /> <br />After school that day, the teacher asked me what happened earlier with PP#1. She said I had “Got him good,” and since I was typically about mine and not a violent person, she wanted all the deets. So I gave up everything, starting with the flipping incident in kindergarten. The color left her face after I told her what PP#1 said prior to his stabbing. I asked her how bad the damage was to his eye, but she wouldn’t (or couldn’t) say.<br /><br />I found out just how bad it was when PP#1 came back to school the following week. He had an eye patch and looked an awful lot like a pirate. I told him to tell the other kids why he looks like that now, and surprise! He couldn’t speak. Every time somebody said something—anything—to him, especially if they were female, his one good eye would tear up. Since PP#1 rarely said anything after his stabbing, I got to say all I wanted, all the time. And our classroom continued to be peaceful.<br /><br />Until the parent-teacher conference, that is.<br /> <br />The teacher had summoned all of our parents together to discuss the stabbing. PP#1 was there, the boy who ran away, me, and all of our moms. I relished the opportunity to tell everyone The Full Story.<br /><br />As the teacher introduced everyone, and before I even got around to telling them what PP#1 said right before I stabbed him, PP#1’s mom had an outburst:<br /><br /><center><font color="FF0000"><font size="4">“YOU LET A GIRL DO THIS TO YOU?!”</font></font></center><br />She backhanded him in front of all of us. The eye patch had come off by this point, having been replaced by some really thick-lensed glasses that flew across the room. Again, PP#1 said nothing. What can you say to… that?<br /> <br />After reminding PP#1’s mom that the cops were right outside the school building, our teacher instructed me to begin telling The Full Story. I looked over at PP#1’s mom, but the teacher told me to look directly at her and tell it, just as I had a week or so earlier.<br /> <br />After that, we never heard from PP#1 again. His mother immediately withdrew him from the school, and freedom was ours. I told my teacher I was concerned about PP#1’s mom; she was REALLY mad about the whole situation. Teacher told me that she concerned everyone present that day, but with my kind of family and an entire school district on my side, I didn’t have to worry about a thing.<br /><br />“They’re the ones who should be worried, if not outright terrified of you.” She winked at me.<br /> <br />With PP#1 gone, I continued my reign of the school. Teachers came up off their A+s with ease, and I won quite a few local and national awards for both academics and art in elementary school, all starting in first grade.<br /> <br />Cuzzo was so proud of me. After the parent-teacher conference, my mom and I visited the VIPs again. When we arrived, it was to great fanfare. Little kids were running alongside our car as we parked, trying to get a glimpse. One of my cousins came out, scooped me up, and handed me to Cuzzo, who was standing on the front stoop. As I hung there awkwardly in the crook of his arm, Cuzzo told all the little kids to gather ‘round and observe their queen.<br /> <br />My mom and I both looked up at him like, “Really, Cuz?” and he pointed our gaze toward the block full of kids popping up around us like, “Yeah, really.”<br /> <br />Even though I was mortified at the time, I gotta give it to him: Cuzzo has quite the sense of humor.<br /> <br />And so it was throughout elementary and middle school. Cuzzo taught me much about The Game during those formative years, things that I continue to use today. That one PP I met in kindergarten and destroyed in first grade, Cuzzo told me there’s thousands more out there, waitin’ and underestimatin’. He told me I was related to some of the best PPs out there—or worst, depending on how you look at it. He told me that I already know all their secrets—PP#1 gave up a lot of them voluntarily—and that those secrets can be used against them if they decide to step out of line.<br /> <br />In other words, Cuzzo helped me take my gangsta to a whole new level.<br /> <br />At six years old.<br /> <br /></span>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-67925021866865977482012-07-23T08:59:00.000-04:002012-07-23T08:59:00.402-04:00Blood is thicker than Kool-Aid<br />The summer before kindergarten, my mother took me to visit some Very Important People we’re related to. She had told them how, as a preschooler, I transformed my friend Moe’s life in less than a year’s time. These VIPs wanted to see me personally to tell me what a great job I did. At the time, I was still unsure of what made the simple act of being a friend so remarkable. These VIPs were going to shed some light on the situation for me.<br /><br />These VIPs of ours live in the kind of neighborhood where, to this day, needles and dope bags are found on the ground; gunshots are heard often and mattresses are kept close by to press against windows in case there’s any stray bullets; regular cops won’t do, the US Guard roam the streets with AK-47s, M16s, and other assault rifles (really); and you’re lucky to make it out alive—and without kids or a drug addiction—past age 18. It is literally the worst neighborhood in the most crime-infested part of the city.<br /> <br />And these VIPs of ours run it.<br /> <br /><span id="fullpost">The day my mom took me to visit them, I noticed a long, dark trail of something starting from just in front of our parking spot, down the block to our VIPs’ building, up the front stairs of the building, and up three more flights of stairs to the spot right outside of our VIPs’ door. The trail stopped there; an even larger pool of whatever it was had accumulated on the landing.<br /><br />I looked up wide-eyed at my mother.<br /> <br />“What is that?”<br /><br />“Kool-Aid,” she said.<br /> <br />The only problems were: 1) Who wastes that much sweet, delicious Kool-Aid? and 2) Kool-Aid doesn’t dry brown.<br /> <br />Once we got inside the apartment and greeted everyone, my mother chatted it up with The Elders while my older cousin took me aside. I asked him about the trail leading up to the door. He asked me if I was afraid of it.<br /> <br />“No. I don’t know what it is.”<br /><br />“It’s blood. It’s been there a week. The other kids and grownups here are scared to look at it.”<br /> <br />“Oh. I’m not like the other kids.”<br /><br />He laughed.<br /> <br />“That’s right. You saved a little boy’s life, didn’t you? All the kids around here think you’re a hero.”<br /><br />I blushed and looked down, embarrassed that others knew what had happened before I had the chance to fully process it myself. I failed to understand then what would happen many more times in the future: my reputation had preceded me.<br /> <br />Cuzzo put his finger under my chin and lifted my head up.<br /><br />“Don’t be ashamed of that, baby girl. You did a good thing. If you keep it up, you can do many more good things.”<br /> <br />“How?” I asked.<br /> <br />Cuzzo led me to his bedroom and walked toward his closet door. As he opened it, stacks on stacks of dollar bills taller than I was were revealed.<br /> <br />In front of this closet full of stacks, my cousin taught me some basic rules of The Game.<br /><br />Cuzzo said, “Just like you’re not scared to save somebody’s life or scared to see that blood trail, don’t be scared to get physical. There’s some crazy people out here who will try and step to you because you’re a girl and a kid, but you’re smarter than that. Make ‘em regret it.”<br /><br />Cuzzo said, “I hear you like to read. Keep that up, baby girl. Knowledge is power.”<br /><br />Cuzzo said, “This ‘hood here, never be a part of it, even though you, your mom and her brothers, your grandmama and her siblings, and my grandmama and her siblings all come from it. You only visit and do business here, never live here.”<br /><br />Cuzzo said, “If you keep doing good things, not everyone is gonna like it. In fact, some people will hate it. F*ck what these other b*tches & n*ggas have to say about what you do or don’t do. Get money.”<br /> <br />I laughed at the cussing. Adults never kept it real with me like that, especially at that age. I laughed again some years later when Biggie Smalls & Junior M.A.F.I.A. came out with the song <a href="http://youtu.be/etMpCz8eql8">“Get Money,”</a> whose refrain goes: “F*ck b*tches, get money. F*ck n*ggas, get money.” Because of what my cousin taught me that day, I automatically knew Biggie was the truth when it came to rapping.<br /> <br />Finally, Cuzzo said, “If you ever have a problem, baby girl, you let me know. I’ll handle it.”<br /><br />Before we joined The Elders and my mom again, I asked my cousin what happened to cause that blood trail leading up to the door.<br /><br />He paused and looked me straight in the eyes.<br /> <br />“Somebody didn’t mind their business,” he said, the laughter of The Elders and my mother rising faintly in the background.<br /> <br /></span>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-17862047466777155282012-07-13T13:13:00.000-04:002012-07-22T11:47:18.434-04:00Moe Betta BluesBefore I jump into my elementary school years, allow me to flesh out my preschool ones a bit more. Looking back, there are a number of things apparent in my self today that originated in my earliest school days.<br /><br />The kid in the last post I mentioned, the one whose mom asked my mom to get me to teach him how to tie his shoes (whew), that kid’s name was Brian. In addition to not knowing how to tie his shoes, he was also my very first bf ever in life. We were together all the time: we sat next to each other during reading time, ate across from each other at lunch<a href="#lunch">*</a><a name="top"></a>, played with each other at recess, we even laid our mats near each other for nap times. So presh.<br /><br />Since Brian was a year older than me, he aged out of preschool before I did. The year Brian left, the homie Moe enrolled.<br /><br />When Moe first showed up, all the little kids were intrigued. He never said a word, but had the most fabulous, luxurious hair: a massive, jet black, curly explosion. Love! It wasn’t until a few weeks after his arrival that he started to stand out in a different, more unsettling way.<br /><br />For one, he never spoke. At first we all thought it was because he was new, but even after knowing him for most of that year, I don’t recall Moe ever saying a word to anyone. He wasn’t deaf; the teacher and teacher’s aid would ask him if he could hear them and he’d always nod yes. He wasn’t mute either; after befriending him (ok, I made him my unofficial 2nd bf after the void Brian left behind), he’d whisper things to me, but only me.<br /><br />Another thing, he was scared of almost everyone outside of his mom, especially men. During his first few weeks at our preschool, he’d burst into tears whenever we went to the nearby kiddie gym (male instructor) or the male janitor came by our classroom. Before he started whispering to me, whenever somebody asked him something he’d just sit or stand there with tears welling up in his eyes. I felt so bad for Moe, I asked the teacher what I could do to help him. She said that was very nice of me, and the best thing I could do for Moe was to be his friend. So I was.<br /><br /><a name="top2"></a>From then on, Moe took Brian’s former spot in my little four-year-old life, minus the <a href="#lunch2">mock misogyny</a>. Since Moe rarely said anything, I got to say all I wanted, all the time. It was pretty awesome. Fun fact: before Moe arrived, I was the quietest kid in the classroom. At first, people thought I was deaf and mute, too. In reality, I found most of the other children stupid and not worth speaking to, lol.<br /><br />But Moe was worth my words. I’d help him out during our writing/penmanship time, and read books to him from our classroom kiddie library. Brian would never sit still long enough for me read to him, ugh. Eventually, Moe and I were having our own Top Secret Very Important Convos in the sandbox during recess. The adults around us could hardly believe it.<br /><br />By the end of that school year, not only was Moe speaking actual words (only to specific people though, and so quietly you had to lean in to hear him), he wasn’t as scared of the gym teacher or janitor anymore. He was even smiling, and often. When he first came to school, all he did was cry.<br /><br />Progress!<br /><br />Our teacher and teacher’s aid were so impressed they told my mom and Moe’s mom about our friendship and his transformation. Moe’s mom thanked me personally one day, with tears in her own eyes. She said Moe really needed a friend like me.<br /><br />There are more preschool stories I can recall, memories of me laying down the foundation of my gangsta. The ones I’ve already told you stand out the most, though.<br /><br />In any case, those preschool years were the perfect training ground for what came next: elementary school.<br /><br /><font size=2><a name="lunch"><a name="lunch2">*</a></a> Brian would tell any and everybody how much he hated girls and how gross we were, yet he always gave me—and only me—half of his snacks at lunchtime, unprompted. His mom also gave me a stuffed animal, plastic jewelry and some other trinkets on my birthday for teaching him how to tie his shoes. Respect. Thanks Brian's mom! [back to <a href="#top">para. 1</a>/<a href="#top2">para.2</a>] </font>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-52592626192794731702012-07-04T10:20:00.000-04:002012-07-22T11:47:40.611-04:00Allow me to re-introduce myselfMy last few posts here have all been a means of setting you, my readers, up for the epic story of how I entered The Game. Some knew all along, but it remains a mystery to many others. <br /><br />First, The Game itself. The Game is difficult to describe, but once you're playing it, you know it. I could provide infinite quotes from various people discussing the ins and outs of The Game, but I think this wikiHow article on entering the rap game (lol) does a good job of covering the basics: <br /><br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;[Your hustle] strengthens your mind. The longer you keep at it, the better you will be. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Get ideas from books on your particular hustle. If there isn't one, write it.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Be real. Rapping about your own life gives the song credibility.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;As long as your song makes the point you're trying to convey, length doesn't really matter.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Be inspired by those whose hustle you respect.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Rap does not have to be written; many rappers also freestyle. Be creative.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Keep your rap original. Never copy someone else's style.<br /><br />There's a lot more to The Game, of course, but those points sum it up nicely. <br /><br />Now for the re-introduction.<br /><br />I was literally born into The Game, having come from a long history of game players. The rules have been passed down from generation to generation in my family, and they haven't changed much over the centuries. My first and most important teachers of The Game were my parents and my grandparents. Of course, my entire family--and there's many of us--has had a hand in my ability to play this game. We do it very well individually, but together, we are quite the force to be reckoned with.<br /><br />From the very beginning, it was a fight. I was born a few weeks earlier than I was supposed to have been. According to my mom, I was one of the tiniest babies on the floor: all of me, from head to toe, fit entirely in her hand. Luckily, I gained enough weight to be released from the hospital in less than a week's time. The Game was already in full effect by this point.<br /><br />Fast forward two and a half, three years and I'm in preschool: reading books, writing my name on stuff, tying my own shoes. The tying-my-own-shoes bit even got my fellow preschoolers' moms noticing. One lady asked my mom to get me to help teach her son how to tie his shoes; he was a year older and still wearing those Velcro strap-on shoes.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VD6rJI_xFI8/T_RJcGZwRZI/AAAAAAAADXM/q9sGmIU8NZ8/s1600/yellow-shoes1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="200" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VD6rJI_xFI8/T_RJcGZwRZI/AAAAAAAADXM/q9sGmIU8NZ8/s200/yellow-shoes1.jpg" width="200" /></a></div> <center><font size="2">I learned how to tie my own shoes just to avoid having to wear<br>these monstrosities. Baby swag.</font></center><br />I didn't think shoe tying was remarkable at all--the reading or writing, either--but it sure made me popular with all the preschool moms. <br /><br />It was around this time that I realized I was different from the other kids. The teacher gave us an exercise one day: cut out paper shapes with kid-friendly scissors. Simple enough. But for the life of me, I couldn't get any of the scissors to work. It was incredibly frustrating for a three-year-old. After calling the teacher and teacher's aid over for help, they finally came to the conclusion that it wasn't the scissors fault: <a href="/2009/08/left-handers-day.html" target="_blank">I was left-handed</a>. <br /><br />Left-handers' brains are wired differently. A 2006 study from the journal <a href="http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/neu/index.aspx" target="_blank">Neuropsychology</a> suggests that left-handed people's brains are faster at processing multiple stimuli than right-handers. What that means is: left-handers typically have the upper hand in sports, gaming and other activities where players are forced to juggle large volumes of stimuli coming at them quickly. Left-handers more easily use both hemispheres of their brains to manage th­at stimuli, resulting in faster overall processing and response time. Like a computer! <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0KzY-YzYgDo/T_RLvqIVKDI/AAAAAAAADXc/7KGc5TtnnsQ/s1600/leftrightbrain" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="280" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0KzY-YzYgDo/T_RLvqIVKDI/AAAAAAAADXc/7KGc5TtnnsQ/s400/leftrightbrain" width="400" /></a></div><br />Fascinating stuff. But anyways, that incident with the scissors in preschool was the first time I realized something was up.<br /><br />Next: The School Years <br /><br />Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-14337901488307784972012-06-22T17:01:00.000-04:002012-06-22T17:01:00.454-04:00“There’s a difference between recognition and fame”In light of my recent posts, a few people from my past have stepped forth wondering if I’m referring to them. HA! Ironically, these are people I wasn’t even thinking about while writing, much less targeting my slow-simmering rage at. It still works for me, though: by thinking I’m even remotely referring to them and their actions, they expose themselves as just the kinds of people I am talking about. Smh.<br /><br />All I have to say on that is this: Watch how you approach a G, y’all. <br /><br />In these online rants—directed toward no one specific in most cases but everyone in general who’s ever said or thought such nonsense—I’m just telling my story. ALL of my story, and that includes the ugly parts. Those ugly parts helped me get to this point just as much as the fantastically great ones. I value my readers enough to keep it 200% real with them, and the reality is: not everything is perfect. None of this happened overnight or without extreme sacrifice and focused effort on my part and those of many other people, too.<br /><br />You don't have to like the truth I'm spitting—everything isn't for everybody. But one thing you will do is respect it.<br /><br />These are powerful thoughts not everyone is ready for. But that’s not my problem in the least. So Imma continue to vent here on my blog. I know you feel me: in the past week alone, 3K+ page hits confirm that. That is validation to me that these things NEED to be said. If my words are helping another person out there feel a little less alone or crazy, then Mission Accomplished.<br /><br />So anyways, I was having a convo recently with the bf about the trappings of fame. I frequently say that I never want to be famous, just <strike>rich</strike> wealthy. Especially after being recognized by the butcher in the grocery store, I just wasn’t feeling the inevitable, which is some sort of recognition. But I misinterpreted all of that as something else: fame blossoming.<br /><br />I wanted no parts of it. This is what fame does to you:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/381652/thumbs/r-LINDSAY-LOHAN-MUGSHOT-2011-large570.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="166" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/381652/thumbs/r-LINDSAY-LOHAN-MUGSHOT-2011-large570.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">LiLo... </span></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div>This is what fame does to you:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.rightcelebrity.com/wp-content/photos/Rihanna_Beat_Face.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://www.rightcelebrity.com/wp-content/photos/Rihanna_Beat_Face.png" width="240" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">RiRi...</span></div>This is what fame does to you:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/7/2011/11/ea698540e136d4f4176ed68ed7ae8f8c.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/7/2011/11/ea698540e136d4f4176ed68ed7ae8f8c.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<span style="font-size: x-small;"><a href="/2009/02/flow-so-retard.html" target="_blank">Gucci time</a>...</span></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div>Insert any other embarrassing a$$ picture of a celebrity and it's the same thing… and I am not about THAT life at all. <br /><br />Admittedly, I tune in to it on TV or via celebrity gossip sites, but in real life, fame is a nightmare to me. I want zero parts of that mess!<br /><br />While we’re having this convo—with Kanye West’s <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9mwuYBljUA" target="_blank">Last Call</a> playing in the background… how appropriate, lol. I can relate a lot to ‘Ye’s story—bf says something most profound: “There’s a difference between recognition and fame. A big one. Being recognized is a good thing.” <br /><br />And he’s very right: <br /><br /><b>recognition</b> – <i>noun;</i> the action or process of recognizing or being recognized, in particular:<br />• identification of a thing or person from previous encounters or knowledge<br />• acknowledgment of something's existence, validity, or legality<br />• appreciation or acclaim for an achievement, service, or ability<br /><br /><b>fame</b> – <i>noun;</i> the condition of being known or talked about by many people<br /><br />Recognition is defined more robustly, having a much deeper and varied meaning than simply fame. <br /><br />I can dig that. <br /><br />Also, recognition is the most applicable word for my situation. Not everyone reading this is the enemy; in fact, the vast majority are family, friends, and supporters. In the three years I’ve been running this blog, I’ve received one, promptly deleted angry comment a year: always from Anonymous, and always about some real-life celebrity I insulted. You guys should see the comments I got when I spoke on <a href="/2011/03/this-made-me-lol-janet-jacksons-cutlery.html" target="_blank">Janet Jackson’s cutlery cheeks</a>, lmao. Girlfriend has some SERIOUS stans! <br /><br />Talking to the former dean I referred to in <a href="/2012/06/motivation-for-me-was-them-telling-me.html" target="_blank">my comeback post</a> about the popularity of my blog and some of my concerns surrounding that, she also had some profound things to say. One of them was that all those page hits show that others out there can relate to my story. She reminded me that I’m very well-equipped to tell it. And what a wonderful position to be in, reaching so many people at once with two of my most powerful tools: words and the internet. <br /><br />My mind was blown all over again.<br /><br />Something else the dean noticed is that my face and personality is all OVA this blog. She said she doesn’t think that’s unintentional, and she’s right. Especially in IT, women like me need a voice. Some people out there don’t even know that we exist, much less what we look like or think about or the obstacles we have to overcome. Very few, if any, others in a position similar to mine seem to be speaking to and for us, leaving me to claim what is rightfully mine. Woop woop.<br /><br />The dean said my story is very inspirational, and that more than a few girls and women—and boys and men, too—need to hear it. All of it. <br /><br />So long story short: I’m gonna keep venting and trash-talking all over this internet, and those who feel me are gonna keep reading and relating. <br /><br />Seems like a fair enough deal, no?<br /><br />Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-58816583242723198242012-06-19T17:01:00.000-04:002012-07-22T11:48:23.637-04:00Like Crabs In a Barrel<a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-rbyOleOjUoc/T-DBrY4wAnI/AAAAAAAADW0/wkQ_toUli94/s1600/crabs.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left:1em; margin-right:1em"><img border="0" height="300" width="400" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-rbyOleOjUoc/T-DBrY4wAnI/AAAAAAAADW0/wkQ_toUli94/s400/crabs.jpg" /></a><center><span style="font-size: small;">I eat crabs like you for breakfast... and sh*t you out sometime later that afternoon.</span></center><br />Since childhood I’ve heard the same refrain: “You’re different/weird/trying to act white/bougie.” Certain family members and peers were first; the rest of the world soon followed. As I’ve said in a previous post, I’m blind and deaf to the BS. But this sort of talk in particular annoys the hell out of me.<br /><br />Who says being different is bad? They always say it like it’s a bad thing. And maybe it is, for them: being different and breaking out of somebody else’s mold for you is a threat to the mundane.&nbsp; Being different is also a threat to more than a few people’s egos—especially if you succeed at it. If being different means I don’t have to turn out like them or have their life, then yes, I am <b><u><i>all</i></u></b> about being different!<br /><br />A former co-worker around my mom’s age said to me, unprompted: “You’re so weird and wild.” She was looking at the wall stickers with which I’d decorated my small, bland, awkwardly-shaped office space. I don’t see how that’s weird or wild—even she was unable to explain herself when I asked what exactly she meant by that—but again: threat to the mundane-slash-breaking out of others perceptions of what can be and definitely is possible.&nbsp; It also helps that I trust the opinion of very, very few people over 50.<br /><br /><a name="whitegirl1"></a>The “trying to act white” bit is a killer: it slays me every time <img alt=":lol:" class="wp-smiley" src="http://spiritcompanion.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif" /> I even heard this from a white girl<a href="#whitegirl">*</a> once… sad. And confusing. Anyways, who says wanting something better for yourself is evidence of wanting to be white? No race in particular has a monopoly on success. The very thought is <a href="/2010/04/light-skinwavy-hair-do-not-hottie-make.html" target="_blank">self-hating</a> for those who espouse it.&nbsp; I made a decision very early on to not let the barriers other people put up for themselves—and subsequently try to create for others: misery LOVES company—keep <b><u><i>me</b></u></i> down.<br /><br />What I think such people are saying when, according to them, someone is “acting white”— that is, when I actually hear them—is that they have never observed someone that looks like them doing big and varied things… legally <img alt=":wink:" class="wp-smiley" src="http://spiritcompanion.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif" /> That’s sad in and of itself—read a book or something—but if they need somebody to show them how it’s done, I’ve already stepped up to the plate and made my home here.&nbsp; Come visit sometime, but minus that nonsense you be talkin’.<br /><br />Being a young, different, weird, white-acting-to-some-ignoramuses kinda gal, OF COURSE people are gonna think you’re a member of the elite, the bourgeois, the bougie. I actually don’t see much wrong or incorrect about this statement. What is wrong, though, is the implication behind the word: that me—and others like me—think we’re better than others. In my world, there is a distinct difference between those who unapologetically can vs. those who willingly don’t. Whether they realize or not (probably not), there is a choice which camp you belong to. I refuse to be restricted by those in the Willingly Don’t camp projecting their views of themselves and their self-imposed limits onto me. They know good and damn well they wouldn’t tolerate that from somebody else, why should I? <br /><br />Mind over matter, my sweets.<br /><br />I never really understood—well, cared to understand—the whole crabs in a barrel mentality. But I totally get it now. If you’re in a bushel of crabs, about to hit the boiling pot, and you see some other, infinitely more fabulous crab near the top on the verge of escaping, hells to the no you’re not going to fester and die alone! I get it.<br /><br />But I’m not a part of it. I’m too busy getting out.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><a name="whitegirl"></a>*Said white girl was also <a href="/2009/07/hoes-are-your-friends-hoes-are-your.html" target="_blank">a real, live, in the flesh prostitute</a> (not exaggerating, she was rather proud of it), making her comment even more comical and strange. This is real life, yo! Hoes be losing... hardcore. <a href="#whitegirl1">[back to paragraph]</a></span>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-8160034394476551792012-06-15T11:45:00.000-04:002012-06-15T11:45:24.975-04:00Who Runs the World… Girls! (and Women)<style><!-- @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --></style> <div class="MsoNormal">Some people find it strange that, as a woman, I’m somehow able to thrive in a virtually all-male environment. Au contraire, mon amie, I’ve been groomed for this life. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Between both sides of my family, I have 11 biological uncles and many, many cousins. I grew up a tomboy, not in the traditional sense of being into sports, but in the sense that a lot of my interests were typically geared toward boys: He-Man, Transformers, and Thundercats cartoons; playing with robots, puzzles (including <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/15/lego-friends-girls-gender-toy-marketing_n_1206293.html" target="_blank">Legos</a>), kiddie computers, and trucks that my dad would buy me; I was even, ever so briefly, drawn to bugs before watching a National Geographic special on them and seeing a close-up of an ant’s face… ick. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">I hated wearing dresses and sitting still to get my hair done, especially since all that time and effort was wasted after playing outside with my cousins. I also hated all the attention I got from being dolled up like that; I would have much rather been dressed in my He-Man shirt, sweats, and baby Chucks.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">In middle school, I convinced my mom to send me to computer camp for the summer. It was there, as an eighth-grader, that I built my first website from scratch along with this other girl, Mary. From what I remember, it had a lot of <a href="http://tomgreen.com/" target="_blank">Tom Green</a> references and toilet humor, lol. Of course, that site will never see the light of day, but building it that summer really was a catalyst of sorts. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">In high school my interests expanded into cars and DJing. Fast cars + good music = heaven. Making mixtapes for family, friends, and myself was my idea of fun. I didn’t get an actual car until I was in college, but I did obsess over owning a <a href="http://www.jaguar.com/us/en/" target="_blank">Jaguar</a> someday, and I learned everything I could about the cars: the different body shapes depending on model year, the engine specifications… I even researched the top speeds each of the model years I was interested in could reach. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">By the time I graduated high school, most of my friends were boys who shared my interests. I maintain a small, close-knit circle of girl friends, but during this era, they were far outnumbered by my bro friends. I didn’t think much of that until college.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">In college, especially at a school like Brown, there is a distinct boy’s club atmosphere that is so subtle—especially given the school’s liberal attitude—that even as a woman you might not immediately detect it. I had guys I thought were friends here, too. But I quickly learned who I could trust vs. whom I could not. It was survival of the fittest, regardless of gender, to me. To some others, it was survival of men only—especially once they found out a woman could do it bigger and better than they could ever imagine for themselves. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Even today I can see the sour looks on their faces when they find out I’m more than just a pretty face, and that my interest in “boy stuff” is genuine.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Apparently, <a href="http://bit.ly/LRF9tC" target="_blank">that’s that sh*t they don’t like</a>, lol.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Outside of Brown and in the world at large—especially in male-dominated fields like Information Technology—this kind of extremely sexist attitude is pervasive in both men and women and is very difficult to overcome. So instead of fighting back in the traditional sense, I decided to show by example and succeed at everything these ignorant MFers tried to tell a sista she couldn’t. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">And I did. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">If I had to tell one thing to any other person out there reading this and embarking on a similar path, it’s this: Willful ignorance to the obviously stupid &amp; uninformed people who spew their—emphasis on “their”—idea of reality or whatever they think is possible in this world, is necessary to reach great heights. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">As soon as these wannabe dream killers make themselves known to me, they disappear. I literally cannot see them. Of course, I can’t hear them either: They no longer exist.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><span style="font-family: Cambria; font-size: 12.0pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;MS 明朝&quot;; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-fareast; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;">And then I go on about my business.</span>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-59565484482793683662012-06-06T17:01:00.000-04:002012-06-19T14:27:35.431-04:00The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be... oh well::Peeps out from behind the drop curtains bashfully::<br /><br />How ya been dudes &amp; dudettes? I know I've left you hanging since January (omg longest blog break evarrrr), but only for fantastic, magical, and fabulous, fabulous reasons.<br /><br />This past April/May was a very transformative time for me: I got a new job, complete with title and pay upgrade (woop woop!), left some dusty b*tches in the dirt where they belong, hit up my five-year class reunion (a former dean asked me if I was famous after hearing about my blog taking off... lol. More on that below), moved into my very own, no roommate apartment in <a href="http://washington.org/" target="_blank">the city that birthed me</a>... and much, much more. The changes have been magnificent and wonderfully overwhelming. <br /><br />Throughout all of this change &amp; excitement, one of the things keeping me going was all the people that told me it wasn't possible--a former college classmate had the balls to tell me to my face that because he doesn't read blogs, what is the point of creating and maintaining one and <a href="" name="whocares">who reads blogs, anyway.</a><a href="http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8418485101171863563#nobody">*</a><br /><br />The ones who questioned what I was doing and why, especially with a degree in Literatures &amp; Cultures in English (with a focus on Expository Writing, heyyy).<br /><br />The ones who did everything in their limited power to try &amp; discourage me from this success.<br /><br />Hi haters! <img alt=":lol:" class="wp-smiley" src="http://spiritcompanion.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif" /><br /><br />My own father didn't even see it for me; as a techie himself, he didn't see the point in concentrating in English at an Ivy League school when, according to him, "You could study that anywhere and for much cheaper." Perhaps. But is IT something other than languages and codes and communication? Because last time I checked, it wasn't. Going to a school like <a href="http://www.brown.edu/" target="_blank">Brown</a> helped me see that, and an infinite number of other valuable things. Having graduated and proving even--no, especially--my Daddy wrong helped him see that, too. <br /><br />Anyways, for those naysayers I have only a phrase and a song.<br /><br />Phrase: "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb7v8EjQ6Yk" target="_blank">Getcha hustle up hoe, look like you doing bad.</a>"<br /><br />Song:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><object class="BLOGGER-youtube-video" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0" data-thumbnail-src="http://2.gvt0.com/vi/Tc3DPvbmJTo/0.jpg" height="266" width="320"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Tc3DPvbmJTo&fs=1&source=uds" /> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <embed width="320" height="266" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Tc3DPvbmJTo&fs=1&source=uds" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object></div><br /><br />To the lovers &amp; friends, the supporters who saw it for me &amp; this blog, the ones all over the world who buy &amp; rock my Lego heart pins, the ones who helped prep and guide me along the way, I have a song, too:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><object class="BLOGGER-youtube-video" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0" data-thumbnail-src="http://2.gvt0.com/vi/7gJ6HDiA0Oo/0.jpg" height="266" width="320"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/7gJ6HDiA0Oo&fs=1&source=uds" /> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <embed width="320" height="266" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/7gJ6HDiA0Oo&fs=1&source=uds" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object></div><br />I may not have as much time to update the blog as I'd like these days, but the payoff and recognition continues to astound me. Recently, the butcher at the grocery store recognized me. He called out from behind the counter, saying I looked familiar and asking if I had a blog. When I confirmed I do have a blog but haven't updated in a while--no name-giving, cuz I'm not tryna be stalked in these skreets--he yelled out "Lisa Bee!"<br /><br />Though I have this very public blog--whose page hits are in the six figures now, after months of no updates... thank you, readers and curious haters!--in real life I'm an immensely private person and it kinda concerned me that some random at the grocery store identified me. Especially since I never hit up the meat counter, I buy my meat pre-packaged and -processed like a healthy person <img src="http://www.mazeguy.net/basic/wink.gif" /><br /><br />My own family members check this site regularly looking for some insight into my personal life--I can't really blame them: hey, I'm an interesting person (so I hear). But what a strange dichotomy that I feel more comfortable sharing with complete strangers than my own fam, especially via the internetz. It is what it is I guess, but know that if you want the actual realness, face-to-face and not stalker-to-personal blog is <u><b><i>it</i></b></u>, baby. This blog offers but a small and carefully curated glimpse into the awesomeness &amp; complexity that is the Real Lisa. Bet that.<br /><br /><a href="" name="landow2"></a>In addition to the off-the-street recognition, every time <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Landow_%28professor%29" target="_blank">a former professor of mine</a><a href="http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8418485101171863563#landow">**</a> travels around the world--France, the Netherlands, LA, NYC--I always, always get another heart pin order from some mystical, faraway place on the globe. This, too, in addition to the naysayers, lets me know I'm doing something right. It motivates me to keep going.<br /><br />The response has been and continues to be overwhelming. I wish I could promise you a set date on which to expect my next post, but between being a bawse and stepping my money game all THE way up, it's tough to say. There's many exciting new developments on the horizon, and so very much to learn and share with you guys &amp; gals. <br /><br />It's going to be one hell of an experience and I want to take all of you along for the ride. <br /><br />Be patient, my dears. I'm coming back for you.<br /><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><a href="" name="nobody">*</a> This from a guy who also works in IT. Cute, right? But just like "dude"--notice that's in quotation marks--had the cajones to tell me that to my face, I have bigger &amp; heavier balls that drag when I walk. Slain people--"The pen is mightier than the sword"--&amp; small ideas can't rise from the dead. Nice try, though. <a href="http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8418485101171863563#whocares">[back to paragraph]</a></span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><a href="" name="landow">**</a> The one whose "Electronic Media" course--in which we had to basically build our own website through which to tell a creative non-fiction story by the end of the semester...yes, it was an English class--sparked my interest in doing all this web stuff as a career. <a href="http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8418485101171863563#landow2">[back to paragraph]</a></span>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-28859733005595420102012-01-01T17:40:00.003-05:002012-06-20T10:27:56.654-04:00Fun EmployedFirst and foremost dear readers: HAPPY 2012! We made it y'all, and the world hasn't ended yet. Woop!<br /><br /><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Onp9aRkQFWs/TwDdlRiY5UI/AAAAAAAADEk/r0SGfMnKGkM/s1600/2012-sparklers-fireworks.jpg"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5692793561428845890" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Onp9aRkQFWs/TwDdlRiY5UI/AAAAAAAADEk/r0SGfMnKGkM/s400/2012-sparklers-fireworks.jpg" style="display: block; height: 400px; margin: 0px auto 10px; text-align: center; width: 307px;" /></a>Now for some explanation: quite obviously (and somewhat regretfully I might add), I've been MIA here on the interwebz. But only because a wonderful stroke of luck hit me around the time of my last post here and I've been super, super busy ever since: I GOT A JOB!!! <img alt="biggrin" class="emoticon" height="15" src="http://wolverinex02.googlepages.com/icon_biggrin.gif" title="biggrin" width="15" /><br /><br />And a most wonderful job it is...<br /><span id="fullpost"><br />Almost exactly six months after I made <a href="/2011/04/there-but-for-grace-of-god-go-i.html">these</a> <a href="/2011/06/gettin-it-write-tight.html">declarations</a>, I got a random phone call from the Deputy Executive Director of a non-profit here in DC. The organization wanted me to come in and interview for a Web Developer position that would be responsible for maintaining the international presence of said organization on the web. I knew this was a great opportunity as soon as I got the phone call, and I prepared for my interview accordingly. Long story short, after wowing the staff with my web knowledge and prowess during three rounds of interviews--including a ~fabulous~ PowerPoint presentation--I got the position!<br /><br />Last Halloween was my first day on the job; I went as a Successful Black Woman, fyi.<br /><br /><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-kg4vWYooeyI/TwDetCl6WiI/AAAAAAAADEw/h45NxR7QyZk/s1600/educated-black-woman.jpg"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5692794794367670818" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-kg4vWYooeyI/TwDetCl6WiI/AAAAAAAADEw/h45NxR7QyZk/s400/educated-black-woman.jpg" style="cursor: hand; cursor: pointer; display: block; height: 260px; margin: 0px auto 10px; text-align: center; width: 300px;" /></a>My job duties are quite similar to the ones I have maintaining <a href="/">www.lisa-bee.com</a>--but on a much larger scale, of course. Some of my responsibilities include: managing the day-to-day operation and maintenance of all websites; designing &amp; developing new webpages and implementing web content updates, graphic design, banner ads, social network management, and multimedia development; developing site concepts, interface design, and architecture of websites; and using strong navigation and site-design instincts, as well as researching new technologies available and recommending technical and architectural improvements.&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span id="fullpost">All things I've been doing--for free--for the almost three years (wow, time flies when you're having fun!) I've had this blog. Now, I'm getting paid more than I've made in any other job I've held in my life, doing something I love and am passionate about.<br /><br />MIND BLOWN.<br /><br />Three months in and I'm still in awe that I took something that was basically a hobby for me and turned it into my full-fledged career.<br /><br />A mentor from my days at Sports Illustrated told me that if I find a job I enjoy, I'll never work a day in my life. I've kept that adage in mind since beginning this journey, and it's still very relevant today. Every day I get up to go to work, I am so grateful--and, dare I say it, even thrilled--to be there. Not only am I and the rest of the staff working toward a mission we all believe in--that of furthering the resources and support available to engineers worldwide--for myself, at least, I'm also literally working my dream job.<br /><br />What makes this all the more sweet for me is that I worked incredibly hard to get to this point. Aside from the support and guidance of my dearest friends and family, no one else can say they put !i$@ bee in the position she's in now besides myself. And that's a great MFing feeling, lemme tell ya.<br /><br />The year 2011 was a bust for <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/dave-barrys-year-in-review-the-2011-festival-of-sleaze/2011/12/08/gIQAyK5QTP_story.html">many reasons</a>, and for many folks. But I'm glad to say mine ended on a high note, and my 2012 begins on one, too <img alt="smile" class="emoticon" height="15" src="http://wolverinex02.googlepages.com/icon_smile.gif" title="smile" width="15" /></span><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><span id="fullpost"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-UmJKUnZMd80/TwDgIHUc3RI/AAAAAAAADE8/2Qgo992b76s/s1600/LuckyCat1.jpg"><img alt="" border="0" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5692796359004708114" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-UmJKUnZMd80/TwDgIHUc3RI/AAAAAAAADE8/2Qgo992b76s/s400/LuckyCat1.jpg" style="cursor: hand; cursor: pointer; display: block; height: 320px; margin: 0px auto 10px; text-align: center; width: 240px;" /></a><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maneki_Neko">Maneki Neko</a>, or Lucky Cat </span></div>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-29125208713851518602011-09-21T16:30:00.006-04:002011-09-21T16:42:34.432-04:00This made me LOL: Her Mama Told Her They Were Going To The Mall To Meet Beyoncé But This Happened Instead...<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_XmoO5_SqxY/TnpJoKptcSI/AAAAAAAADD4/dJmVkoZNWEI/s1600/kelendria%2Browland.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 400px; height: 265px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_XmoO5_SqxY/TnpJoKptcSI/AAAAAAAADD4/dJmVkoZNWEI/s400/kelendria%2Browland.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5654913236519973154" border="0" /></a>Oh <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/26/kelly-rowland-new-album_n_908996.html">Kelendria</a>. Get those dollas, girl!<br /><br />From <a href="http://www.crunktastical.net/">C&amp;D</a>:<br /><p></p><blockquote><p>Somebody call Child Protective Services, this sh*t ain’t right.</p> <p>Life wasn’t fair for one of destiny’s children living in the Lakewood, California area on Thursday at the fragrance launch for Empress By Sean John. Additional pictures of Kizzy and Mouf Breeva attending the event <a href="http://www.crunktastical.net/2011/09/17/mama-told-mall-meet-beyonce-happening/#more-48608">after jump</a>.</p></blockquote><p></p>Ridiculousness. On a sidenote, maybe this girl needs a cheeseburger and not a $112 meet &amp; greet plus perfume to motivate her to smile. Just sayin'.Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-7084002199188039582011-09-19T17:27:00.006-04:002011-09-19T17:50:07.482-04:00Suckers, Punching: Mayweather vs. OrtizThose of you who caught the Mayweather vs. Ortiz fight on Saturday HAVE to be in an uproar over that mess. I'm not the biggest boxing fan in the world (personally, I find it a <span style="font-style:italic;">little</span> barbaric), but I really expected more sportsmanliness--from both sides!--for <strike>my</strike> my friend's $60.<br /><br />The post-fight commentary was entertaining though:<br /><br /><img style="visibility:hidden;width:0px;height:0px;" src="http://c.gigcount.com/wildfire/IMP/CXNID=2000002.11NXC/bT*xJmx*PTEzMTY*Njc5MzMwMDAmcHQ9MTMxNjQ2NzkzNzc5MCZwPSZkPSZnPTImbz*4MDk2ZDUxOTczMTM*M2UxYjA1ODNiNTAy/MjY*YjAxNCZvZj*w.gif" border="0" height="0" width="0" /><object name="kaltura_player_1316467932" id="kaltura_player_1316467932" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allownetworking="all" allowfullscreen="true" data="http://www.kaltura.com/index.php/kwidget/wid/1_2pr4o73t/uiconf_id/48502" height="330" width="400"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><param name="allowNetworking" value="all"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="bgcolor" value="#000000"><param name="movie" value="http://www.kaltura.com/index.php/kwidget/wid/1_2pr4o73t/uiconf_id/48502"><param name="flashVars" value=""><a href="http://corp.kaltura.com/">video platform</a><a href="http://corp.kaltura.com/video_platform/video_management">video management</a><a href="http://corp.kaltura.com/solutions/video_solution">video solutions</a><a href="http://corp.kaltura.com/video_platform/video_publishing">video player</a></object><br /><br />You tell him, Larry Merchant!<br /><br />Yeah, Ortiz headbutting Mayweather was definitely NOT a good look. And while hilarious and unexpected, you gotta admit that Mayweather 1. Looking directly at the ref before swinging and 2. Actually knocking ol' boy the hell out during what appeared to be a timeout* was really... uh... not how I expected this fight to go down. Not for my friend's $60! I sincerely hope they do a rematch on this one <img class="emoticon" src="http://wolverinex02.googlepages.com/icon_mad.gif" alt="mad" title="mad" height="15" width="15" /><br /><br />Read more on the controversy surrounding the fight in this <a href="http://www.latimes.com/sports/boxing/la-sp-dwyre-mayweather-ortiz-20110918,0,6906751.column?obref=obnetwork">LA Times</a> article.<br /><br />In other news, watching the fights leading up to the game, I found myself a new favorite boxer! His name is Canelo (aka "Cinnamon"... awww) Alvarez and he has ~red hair~ <span style="color: rgb(204, 0, 0);">♥</span> You know how much I love <a href="http://http//www.lisa-bee.com/2009/06/carmen-solomons.html">natural red heads</a>. He's so much fun to watch:<br /><br /><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IvLcTgIAJqY/Tne4ORCS1pI/AAAAAAAADDs/0_hB51lRzcU/s1600/alvarez%2Bvs.%2Bgomez.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 400px; height: 297px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IvLcTgIAJqY/Tne4ORCS1pI/AAAAAAAADDs/0_hB51lRzcU/s400/alvarez%2Bvs.%2Bgomez.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5654190412417652370" border="0" /></a>Get 'em Red! Read more about his fight vs. Alfonso Gomez <a href="http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-boxing-canelo-alvarez-20110918,0,6914748.story">here</a>.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size:85%;">* Yeah yeah yeah, watch your back at all times, yadda yadda yadda. Still a dirty move Floyd!</span>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-86764201393645713142011-09-15T16:07:00.005-04:002011-09-15T17:00:34.014-04:00My scores from the Missoni for Target Collection :-)<div style="text-align: center;"><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VRahTbaDngs/TnJfQ0OfIrI/AAAAAAAADDc/BmnvjD2h3Mc/s1600/missoni.JPG"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 397px; height: 400px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VRahTbaDngs/TnJfQ0OfIrI/AAAAAAAADDc/BmnvjD2h3Mc/s400/missoni.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5652685224805343922" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">Can you smell the ~couture~?</span><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div>As all you fashionistas out there may have realized, the Missoni for Target collection was released this past Tuesday to <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/13/living/missoni-for-target-line-creates-black-friday-like-demand/index.html">much fanfare</a>. By the time I got to my local Target around noon that day, most of the merchandise was completely gone; what was left looked like a tsunami hit it. Luckily, two of the three items I came up there looking for were still in stock and in my size, too (yay!):<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-KVljhPftIRg/TnJbvFBsFeI/AAAAAAAADDU/VFVZG87UTY4/s1600/missoni4target.JPG"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 400px; height: 332px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-KVljhPftIRg/TnJbvFBsFeI/AAAAAAAADDU/VFVZG87UTY4/s400/missoni4target.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5652681346664633826" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">Missoni for Target silk floral scarf and suede pumps</span></div><br />What I didn't find--at least not in my size--were these cute and comfy-looking flats:<br /><br /><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-YwlmtLWkiqg/TnJh3Pe9SDI/AAAAAAAADDk/3D1OHa93W34/s1600/missonishoes.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 379px; height: 400px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-YwlmtLWkiqg/TnJh3Pe9SDI/AAAAAAAADDk/3D1OHa93W34/s400/missonishoes.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5652688083980470322" border="0" /></a>I hit up the Target website once I got back home, only to find that Target's servers had crashed from the sheer demand. It's that serious, yo! I know Target has had other prominent names in fashion on its racks--Isaac Mizrahi, Alexander McQueen, even lesser-known but still costly and chic brand <a href="/2011/04/tuckered-out-in.html">Tucker</a>--but nothing of the magnitude that Missoni brought to the table.<br /><br />For the uninformed, Missoni is an Italian knitwear label best known for its colorful zigzag patterns. They also specialize in striped, geometric, and abstract floral prints. These prints come in a variety of fabric choices, primarily wool but also cotton, linen, rayon and silk.<br /><br />The Missoni for Target collection has women's clothing and accessories (of course), but also chic and unique items for kids, men, and the home. The campaign runs from September 13 to October 22, though I've heard that the collection is so popular, Targets everywhere have been wiped out of the collection and are unsure if and when they'll get more items in stock.<br /><br />If you haven't already, get thee to a Tar-jhay <span style="font-style: italic;">tout suite</span>!Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-44992810417095385252011-09-13T10:00:00.001-04:002011-09-13T10:00:05.498-04:00Hottest Couple of All Time*: Lisa Bonet & Jason Momoa<div style="text-align: center;"><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-sEZyxM8TSeY/Tm6rnBbOCxI/AAAAAAAADCM/jZBjCwIjVjg/s1600/jm-lb2.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 269px; height: 400px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-sEZyxM8TSeY/Tm6rnBbOCxI/AAAAAAAADCM/jZBjCwIjVjg/s400/jm-lb2.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5651643269282401042" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">At the Conan the Barbarian premiere last month</span><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div>UNFH. So much sexiness here. I really look up to Lisa Bonet, not only as a fellow Lisa B. but THOSE LOCS. So luscious. She also has a track record of pulling only the most hottest of dudes:<br /><br /><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-9zXMjj8sisc/Tm6uKnNVbDI/AAAAAAAADCk/TP51NQ0ySaY/s1600/lenny-kravitz-and-lisa-bonet-picture.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 400px; height: 259px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-9zXMjj8sisc/Tm6uKnNVbDI/AAAAAAAADCk/TP51NQ0ySaY/s400/lenny-kravitz-and-lisa-bonet-picture.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5651646079743388722" border="0" /></a>What is there not to admire?<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0EY9bNk4-V8/Tm6sng1KLlI/AAAAAAAADCc/vSB0qUHq0JU/s1600/lb%253Ajm.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 397px; height: 400px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0EY9bNk4-V8/Tm6sng1KLlI/AAAAAAAADCc/vSB0qUHq0JU/s400/lb%253Ajm.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5651644377224326738" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">At the beach this month. Sun &amp; fun with your <a href="http://bun.urbanup.com/980987">bun</a> = <span style="color: rgb(204, 0, 0);">♥</span></span><br /></div><br />Lisa seems to be aging well; she's 43 and Jason is 32. Just for comparison, here's a contemporary of Lisa's, Jasmine Guy, who's 49--and looks it:<br /><br /><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dq89Gb3vT5I/Tm6wuHM9hsI/AAAAAAAADCs/nr8Fs6mfYFU/s1600/fashion6.png"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 268px; height: 400px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dq89Gb3vT5I/Tm6wuHM9hsI/AAAAAAAADCs/nr8Fs6mfYFU/s400/fashion6.png" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5651648888650434242" border="0" /></a>Oof <img class="emoticon" src="http://wolverinex02.googlepages.com/icon_eek.gif" alt="eek" title="eek" height="15" width="15" /> What happened Whitley Gilbert?! Yeesh. Anyways, back to positivity and sexiness:<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-O376ObxXQqI/Tm6x9UBifJI/AAAAAAAADC0/Kc825G5SW_o/s1600/jason-momoa-lisa-bonet.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 300px; height: 300px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-O376ObxXQqI/Tm6x9UBifJI/AAAAAAAADC0/Kc825G5SW_o/s400/jason-momoa-lisa-bonet.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5651650249301851282" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">Looking sexy at the airport</span><br /><br /><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Hq1GMhNmJjQ/Tm6x9rvqWxI/AAAAAAAADC8/AEdVVMuWrmU/s1600/jason_momoa_lisa_bonet.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 350px; height: 270px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Hq1GMhNmJjQ/Tm6x9rvqWxI/AAAAAAAADC8/AEdVVMuWrmU/s400/jason_momoa_lisa_bonet.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5651650255669320466" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">Looking sexy while walking with child (I think this is their son together, Nakoa-Wolf Momoa)</span><br /></div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PsersqjZxGU/Tm6y9UvwElI/AAAAAAAADDE/dmZlFVWwhSQ/s1600/Lisa_Bonet_Zoe_Kravitz_Jason_Momoa.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 272px; height: 400px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PsersqjZxGU/Tm6y9UvwElI/AAAAAAAADDE/dmZlFVWwhSQ/s400/Lisa_Bonet_Zoe_Kravitz_Jason_Momoa.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5651651349007307346" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">Looking sexy chilling carside with Zoe Kravitz</span><br /><br /><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TIUb0JdHHhU/Tm60R3t0odI/AAAAAAAADDM/MtnrOD9CkRw/s1600/lenny-kravitz-lisa-bonet-jason-momoa-zoe.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 300px; height: 300px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TIUb0JdHHhU/Tm60R3t0odI/AAAAAAAADDM/MtnrOD9CkRw/s400/lenny-kravitz-lisa-bonet-jason-momoa-zoe.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5651652801503470034" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">One big sexy family</span><br /></div><span style="font-size:85%;"><br /><br />*Besides me &amp; <span style="font-style: italic;">my</span> man. Duh.</span>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-59456429950113880772011-09-12T17:22:00.009-04:002011-09-15T19:32:55.877-04:00My September 11th StoryAt 9:43 a.m. on September 11, 2001, I was in 11th grade History class preparing to get my learn on. This really annoying and overly dramatic girl--let's call her V--runs into class saying a plane has just crashed into the Pentagon. Our initial reactions were ones of disbelief (thanks to the source) and confusion: how does such a thing even happen? The fact that the crash occurred at the Pentagon immediately raised red flags... these things just don't happen in the US. Yes, DC is a huge target for political extremists; on the other hand, our guard is ALWAYS up to prevent such nonsense from happening. Right?<br /><br />Oh, but it was true.<br /><span id="fullpost"><br />From the panel of windows in our classroom facing the street, a large plume of smoke was visible in the very far distance. The entire class congregated at the windows, stupefied. Our teacher told us to get away from the windows, closed the blinds, and turned on the TV, which verified our worst nightmare. The Pentagon had been attacked.<br /><br /><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-yhDtaH0CXy8/Tm6Go_W6hYI/AAAAAAAADCE/NfwIyQxvy4A/s1600/images.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 271px; height: 186px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-yhDtaH0CXy8/Tm6Go_W6hYI/AAAAAAAADCE/NfwIyQxvy4A/s400/images.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5651602621156984194" border="0" /></a>I remember feeling incredibly vulnerable at the time. There were so many unknowns then: who did this? Why? Are more attacks coming? Students and faculty were in a frenzy; the faculty less so, but anyone could see the fear in their eyes.<br /><br />I called my parents from the girls bathroom. With their offices right off of Pennsylvania Avenue, I was seriously worried for my parents and desperate for them to have escaped the aftermath of the attack. Thankfully, my parents were fine. We discussed transportation; to avoid the other nightmare that was going to be taking the Metro home, my mother picked up my father and me.<br /><br />In what seemed like a few short minutes--or maybe it was an hour? Time seemed to stop for a while--more parents swarmed into my school's tiny parking lot and wraparound driveway to pick up their students. At that point, no one knew if a similar attack was planned for <a href="http://www.wmata.com/">WMATA</a>; no one wants to be trapped underground* during a terrorist attack, that's for sure. Once we arrived home, all of us watched the news--perturbed, shaken, mournful--well into the night and the entire week thereafter.<br /><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-GoyvL7jzWF0/Tm6GoogGbfI/AAAAAAAADB8/zEsMUYN1rWI/s1600/Halllpe.jpg"><br /></a>Of all those who perished in the attack on the Pentagon, one in particular was close to my family: my father's childhood friend, C.G. The destruction to the wing of the Pentagon where C.G. worked was so severe that his remains could only be identified through dental records and hair samples.<br /><br /><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-GoyvL7jzWF0/Tm6GoogGbfI/AAAAAAAADB8/zEsMUYN1rWI/s1600/Halllpe.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 400px; height: 261px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-GoyvL7jzWF0/Tm6GoogGbfI/AAAAAAAADB8/zEsMUYN1rWI/s400/Halllpe.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5651602615021497842" border="0" /></a>It was a closed casket funeral, of course. Immediately afterward, C.G.'s wife moved away, never to return. Too many memories, she said. Before she left though, to thank my father for what amounted to decades of friendship with C.G., she invited him to accompany her to a memorial service held for those who lost their loved ones in the attack. My dad got front row seats and even shook former President Bill Clinton's hand. That made him pretty happy.<br /><br />What I learned on September 11, 2001 was that, despite our efforts, very few things are fully within our control. People can either accept and embrace that fact, or live out their lives in fear. Living in fear isn't living at all, and part of me refuses to "let the terrorists win" (omg how many times did people say that in the months following 9/11?!) by doing that. I always try to be aware of my surroundings though, and don't trust easily--never did. "Cautiously fearless" is a good motto for how I felt post-9/11. I try to keep that feeling up today.<br /><br /><span style="font-size:85%;">*From <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361748/">Inglourious Basterds</a>:<br /><br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">Lt. Aldo Raine:</span> You didn't say the g*ddamn rendezvous was in a<br />f*cking basement!<br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">Lt. Archie Hicox:</span> I didn't know.<br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">Lt. Aldo Raine: </span>You said it was in a tavern!<br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">Lt. Archie Hicox:</span> It is a tavern.<br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">Lt. Aldo Raine:</span> Yeah, in a basement. You know, fightin' in a basement offers a lot of difficulties. Number one being, you're fightin' in a basement!<br /></span><br /></span>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-14651941527886993632011-09-08T15:53:00.004-04:002011-09-08T16:00:29.946-04:00This made me LOL: Ali Lohan's new face<div style="text-align: center;"><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-I093i2fPqRc/TmkdaxpfhTI/AAAAAAAADB0/QWL-O2-bZqg/s1600/425.alilo.lc.090711.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 400px; height: 296px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-I093i2fPqRc/TmkdaxpfhTI/AAAAAAAADB0/QWL-O2-bZqg/s400/425.alilo.lc.090711.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5650079553354171698" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">Before &amp; After</span> <img class="emoticon" src="http://wolverinex02.googlepages.com/icon_sad.gif" alt="sad" title="sad" height="15" width="15" /><br /><br /></div>Actually this made me o_O more than LOL... <a href="/2011/03/this-made-me-lol-janet-jacksons-cutlery.html">bad plastic surgery</a> is an unfortunate thing. The work done on Ali's face has done nothing to reverse the seeming curse of the Lohan women: looking 30+ years older than you actually are (Ali Lohan is currently 17-years-old).Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-9066517296318336742011-09-06T10:00:00.001-04:002011-09-06T10:00:02.374-04:00Catholic School Stories: Runner-Up<div style="text-align: center;"><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-65m4iZDooys/TmURgvSVvxI/AAAAAAAADA4/3RX4Qe7vU9Q/s1600/01.Usain-Bolt.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 400px; height: 264px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-65m4iZDooys/TmURgvSVvxI/AAAAAAAADA4/3RX4Qe7vU9Q/s400/01.Usain-Bolt.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5648940561753030418" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">What can I say, I'm no Usain Bolt</span> <img class="emoticon" src="http://wolverinex02.googlepages.com/icon_neutral.gif" alt="neutral" title="neutral" height="15" width="15" /> <br /> <br /></div>Happy post-Labor Day! Hope everyone enjoyed their long weekends. To ease you back into the work week, Imma bless you with another Catholic School Stories post. This one is about that time I was (briefly) on the long distance track team. <br /> <br />Let me start off by saying I hate running long distance. I thought I could run it out of me during off-season--I also played lacrosse in the spring--but nope. Hated it. Like a trooper I stuck with it though, until this one meet we had. <br /> <br />Our scrimmage that day was at Georgetown Prep, an all-boys school located all the way across town and over the state line in Maryland. They have a very large campus there (90 acres!), lots of woods and lush green expanse. <br /> <br />My school's long distance team huddled together before the race getting instruction and encouragement from our coaches. An average runner at best, I tried to pump myself up by focusing on the one thing I did perfectly while running: maintain excellent form. Too bad speed and agility couldn't have been part of that, but beggars can't be choosers. <br /> <br />Anyways, the race starts and despite my pleas that this was my first real long distance race and "Please don't leave me behind!" those hoes on my school's track team (I say that lovingly) did just that. Luckily, the distance between me and the other hundred or so runners wasn't too apparent just starting off... with all the moms and coaches at the starting point, I would have been hella embarrassed to START OFF already behind. The distance didn't grow too significant until I got the bubble guts <img class="emoticon" src="http://wolverinex02.googlepages.com/icon_sad.gif" alt="sad" title="sad" height="15" width="15" /> <br /><span id="fullpost"> <br />For my runners out there, I'm sure you're already familiar with what the up-down motion of running can do to your digestive system. I'll spare you the details--I'm a lady, after all--but I did make a serious detour from the trail to use one of the bathroom facilities. I didn't even know if the race allowed for bathroom breaks but screw it, I wasn't gonna dig a ditch and go in nature, that's for sure. Now my problem was finding a girls' bathroom on an all-boys campus... <br /> <br />I aimlessly followed the running trail for a few minutes until--finally!--a glint of light caught my eye in the distance. It was one of the school's remodeled buildings, its shiny glass doors illuminated by the setting sun. I ran over to that beesh with <a href="/2009/04/lisa-isms-quickness.html">the quickness</a>, making a mental note to keep that same energy up for when I cross the finish line. There was no ladies room, naturally, but at that point I didn't care. Luckily the building was empty and no boys were around to witness me commit this ultimate foul. <br /> <br />Anyways, relieved and ready to resume the race (not really), I headed back to the running trail. I saw the group of runners heading towards me a few meters away... had I been gone that long that they're already on the second lap? Guess I had. I made moves like I was trying to run and keep up with them--really, I was at that point--but eventually they passed me yet again. All 100 of them <img class="emoticon" src="http://wolverinex02.googlepages.com/icon_confused.gif" alt="confused" title="confused" height="15" width="15" /> I resigned myself to my long distance running fate and just started walking the trail nonchalantly. <br /> <br />After a few more minutes aimlessly wandering the running trail, I ran into some supporters. There were a couple moms and a handful of Georgetown Prep students on the sidelines, cheering the runners on and handing out water bottles. I moseyed on up to them and grabbed a bottle. <br /> <br />"You can do it #6!" they told me. <br /> <br />"Wow, you must be pretty far ahead to just be walking already!" said one of the moms. <br /> <br />Yeah, whatever lady. I didn't have the heart to tell her I was really dead last. So I just continued my walk, water bottle in hand. <br /> <br />Eventually I made it back to the starting point. The runners were coming up again from behind; to not look like a total lazy person I started jogging lightly. Moms and coaches galore were shouting encouragement from the sidelines. Even though I was dead last, I absorbed it all and pretended I wasn't <img class="emoticon" src="http://wolverinex02.googlepages.com/icon_cool.gif" alt="cool" title="cool" height="15" width="15" /> Denial is a powerful thing, I tell ya. <br /> <br />After what seemed like a marathon of loops running around this campus, we hit the last lap of the day. I saw the finish line on the horizon and could almost taste the sweet juicy goodness of finally being done with this mess. Before I even hit the finish line, a bunch of moms descended on me from all sides. <br /> <br />"You did it!" they screamed. <br /> <br />"You're a great runner!" said some more. <br /> <br />I tried to explain the situation to them--really, I did--but in spite of my breathless head shakes and explanations that, "No, moms! I'm actually dead last!" they went on and on. I think they thought my protests were ones of disbelief, maybe even humility. But nope, they were protests of admitted failure. Gotcha suckers! <br /> <br />Just kidding. But really, I was so out of breath and busy guzzling water PLUS trying to explain myself that all of it just got jumbled up in the post-race chaos. One of the moms got my name from my coach so it could be published in the local newspaper. Oh lord, this is getting out of hand already, I thought. I didn't catch my breath again 'til the very next day at school... <br /> <br />Sheepishly, I walked into my coach's office and explained the whole scrimmage situation. I thought he would be mad or disappointed in me. After giving me a quizzical look over the top of his glasses, he burst out laughing. I stood there awkwardly, hoping this was a good sign. He called the other coach in his office and we all had a nice hearty laugh about the situation. Wiping tears from his eyes, my coach said he'd call Georgetown Prep and have everything straightened out. <br /> <br />Whew! <br /> <br />Long story short, I still hate long distance running. But I must say, I was definitely in shape come lacrosse season <img class="emoticon" src="http://wolverinex02.googlepages.com/icon_smile.gif" alt="smile" title="smile" height="15" width="15" /></span>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-34436268452846153422011-09-01T23:04:00.014-04:002011-09-03T13:49:00.785-04:00F*ck it, I'm on 1 (...hundred, thousand, trillion)<div style="text-align: center;"><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-j342GN1eXwU/TmBYvJcsUfI/AAAAAAAADAY/jcVapU5enNs/s1600/quentin-tarantino-presents-death-proof-20070323053724645-000.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 400px; height: 400px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-j342GN1eXwU/TmBYvJcsUfI/AAAAAAAADAY/jcVapU5enNs/s400/quentin-tarantino-presents-death-proof-20070323053724645-000.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5647611499735962098" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">That accident left me feeling a little... dare I say it?</span> <img class="emoticon" src="http://wolverinex02.googlepages.com/icon_wink.gif" alt="wink" title="wink" height="15" width="15" /> <br /> <br /></div>As of today, it's been exactly one year since <a href="/2010/09/wake-me-up-when-september-ends.html" target="_newtab">that car accident</a> I was in. It's a bittersweet occasion for me... out of all that trauma, worry, and confusion came exponential growth. If it weren't for that accident, I honestly believe I'd be a completely different person today. <br /> <br />Prior to the accident, I was so focused on my job and my life that--knowing my drive--I would never have voluntarily taken a break. Being in that accident forced me to reevaluate a lot of things in my life <a href="/2010/10/chakra-khan_25.html" target="_newtab">spiritually</a>, <a href="/2010/11/seeing-forest-and-trees.html" target="_newtab">emotionally</a>, and most definitely <a href="/2011/04/how-i-lost-10-pounds-squee.html" target="_newtab">physically</a>. <br /> <br />I never thought I'd be saying this, but that accident turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Had it not been for the car I was in sailing through a red light that night, I would probably still never know just how much I could endure without breaking. <br /> <br />Recovery was difficult, sure. But instead of spending my days grieving for the life I once had (which was all too easy to do), I refocused my energies on creating the life I truly desire. I had a job position at the time of the accident, certain aspects of which I enjoyed. Overall though, that position wasn't relevant to my career interests; it was simply a job I did to make money. The months of recovery post-accident allowed me to figure out exactly what it is I'm best at and <a href="/2011/04/there-but-for-grace-of-god-go-i.html" target="_newtab">develop a plan</a> to make <a href="/2011/06/gettin-it-write-tight.html" target="_newtab">a career</a> out of those talents. <br /> <br />In addition to getting things moving again on the job front, I did a lot of intense self-evaluation and improvement. I watched a video series recently where women in positions of leadership in DC were asked to advise aspiring female leaders. I was most inspired by <span class="st">former U.S. Representative</span><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-leadership-jane-harmans-advice-for-female-leaders/2011/08/18/gIQA2QX5NJ_video.html" target="_newtab"> Jane Harman</a>, who said, <span style="font-style: italic;">"If you can navigate a failure gracefully, you're stronger for it."</span> She also lauded the principles of <span style="font-weight: bold;">discipline, focus,</span> and <span style="font-weight: bold;">inner strength,</span> all of which I <a href="/2011/01/powertuff-girl.html" target="_newtab">gained in abundance</a> from having been in that car accident. <br /> <br />I wouldn't say that being in the accident was a failure of any sort on my part. But I am certainly stronger for navigating its aftermath to the very best of my abilities. Having taken what I now see was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of my former life, I have a renewed drive and focus much more keen than that I had prior to the accident--and I thought I was operating at a pretty high level then. All of the pain and turmoil I endured--and eventually conquered--combined with the self-discipline I carried over from my school days contributed greatly to the continued development of my inner strength. <br /> <br />I'm going to stop <span style="font-style: italic;">very</span> short of thanking my friend for flying through the intersection that fateful night. But I will say that, thanks to the accident, I found multiple strengths within myself (tenacity, increased drive and ambition, wisdom, and many, many others) that I was never fully aware I possessed. <br /> <br />It's an unusual route I took to get to this point of... enlightenment, I guess you could say. Knowing what I know now though, I don't think I'd have it any other way. <br /> <br /><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3M0Vac6eCPI/TmBbj-9fP3I/AAAAAAAADAg/tT8QmiFBEl8/s1600/light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 280px; height: 386px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3M0Vac6eCPI/TmBbj-9fP3I/AAAAAAAADAg/tT8QmiFBEl8/s400/light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5647614606477049714" border="0" /></a>Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-62746853239448427612011-08-25T21:43:00.002-04:002011-08-25T21:51:13.286-04:00Jobs' Loss: Steve Jobs steps down from the helm of Apple<div style="text-align: center;"><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uSknGwSIgMo/Tlb5wdLk1gI/AAAAAAAAC_Q/XlA5TmXkm7Q/s1600/stevejobs.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 298px; height: 347px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uSknGwSIgMo/Tlb5wdLk1gI/AAAAAAAAC_Q/XlA5TmXkm7Q/s400/stevejobs.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5644973793817712130" border="0" /></a><span style="font-size:85%;">Steve Jobs holding one of his creations, the ever-popular iPhone</span> <br /> <br /></div>As an avid Apple user (peep the alliteration yo), I was most saddened to hear that Steve Jobs has stepped down from his position as CEO of the company. As my uncle Joe frequently reminds me, "<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-has-more-cash-on-hand-than-the-us-government-2011-7">Apple has more money than the US government!</a>" No small feat, indeed. To commemorate this grim occasion, I've decided to post this little snippet of quote Mr. Jobs gave on his definitions of design and creativity: <br /><p></p><blockquote><p><span style="font-style: italic;">“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn’t what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. </span><span style="font-weight: bold;">To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really get what it’s all about. </span><span style="font-style: italic;">It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it.</span> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Most people don’t take the time to do that.</span></p> <p style="font-style: italic;">“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.</p> <span style="font-style: italic;">“Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. </span><span style="font-weight: bold;">The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.</span> <br /> <br />~ Steve Jobs, <a href="http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.02/jobs_pr.html">Wired, Feb. 1996</a> <br /></blockquote>Find more quotes from Mr. Jobs at the <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/08/24/steve-jobss-best-quotes/">source</a>. Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-79822959632662007492011-08-16T14:00:00.000-04:002011-08-16T14:00:09.151-04:00John Wooden's Pyramid of Success: #15 - Competitive GreatnessFrom the homie <a href="http://www.chazzwoodson.com/">Chazz</a>'s daily Words of Wisdom email: <br /> <br /><div style="text-align: center; font-weight: bold;">Pyramid of Success <br /> <br />#15 - Competitive Greatness <br /> <br /><a href="http://woodencourse.com/images/Wooden-Pyramid-for-Web.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 400px; height: 300px;" src="http://woodencourse.com/images/Wooden-Pyramid-for-Web.jpg" alt="" border="0" /></a> <br /></div>"<span style="font-style: italic;">Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day."</span> <br /> <br />For more than half a century I have defined Competitive Greatness as follows: <span style="font-style: italic;">"A real love for the hard battle, knowing it offers the opportunity to be at your best when your best is required."</span> <br /> <br />The great competitors that I have played for, coached, and admired all shared a joy derived from the struggle itself - the journey, the contest. They have done so because only in that supreme effort is there an opportunity to summon your best, a personal greatness that cannot be diminished, dismissed, or derided because of a final score or bottom line. <br /> <br />In my view, there is nothing tiresome or trite in the old adage, <span style="font-style: italic;">"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."</span> I have tried hard to meet that criterion and teach it to others throughout my life. At the exact moment when the going gets tough, the thrill of competition gets going for a leader who has acquired Competitive Greatness. <br /> <br />I believe this is one of the crucial concepts that you can convey to those under your supervision when you're in a position of leadership; namely, a true love for the hard battle and the test it provides against a worthy opponent. <br /> <br /><span style="font-weight: bold;">The hard struggle is to be welcomed, never feared. </span> In fact, when you define success this way, the only thing to fear is your own unwillingness to make the full 100 percent effort to prepare and perform at the highest level of your ability. <br /> <br />If you are a leader, you must teach your team to love the struggle because only in hard competition will you, and they, find Competitive Greatness. <br /> <br />I took nearly fifteen years to choose and define the blocks of my Pyramid of Success because I recognized that ultimately they would be used to help me and those under my supervision achieve Competitive Greatness. For me, this was, and is, something of the highest significance. <br /> <br />Of course, my sincere hope is that you may derive the same benefit I did from the values found in the Pyramid of Success. In a real way, it has been my own personal road map to pursuing and, at times, achieving Competitive Greatness. <br /> <br />~ <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wooden">John Wooden</a> <br />Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8418485101171863563.post-44798653947199609402011-08-16T11:03:00.001-04:002011-08-16T11:03:00.605-04:00Amy Winehouse Painkiller Portrait: Too Soon?<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NMvxmSa43Bc/TkmcE9iEvNI/AAAAAAAAC-8/x6N1znyPT9w/s1600/amyw.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 323px; height: 400px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NMvxmSa43Bc/TkmcE9iEvNI/AAAAAAAAC-8/x6N1znyPT9w/s400/amyw.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5641211617309146322" border="0" /></a><blockquote style="font-style: italic;"><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NMvxmSa43Bc/TkmcE9iEvNI/AAAAAAAAC-8/x6N1znyPT9w/s1600/amyw.jpg"></a>L.A. based artist <a href="http://www.jasonmecier.com/" target="_hplink">Jason Mecier</a> has captured Amy Winehouse in this incredible portrait made out of 5,000 multi-colored painkillers. <p>The soul singer died last month, bringing to an end her battle with drugs and alcohol. Since 2006, she earned a reputation for her struggle with eating disorders and addiction. </p> The Winehouse pill popping portrait is part of Jason Mecier's series of celebrity mosaics using everything from aspirin to candy and newspaper. Celebrities such as Amy Sedaris and Florence Henderson even send him their own junk.<span style="font-size:78%;"> [<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/13/jason-mecier-amy-winehouse_n_925770.html">Source</a>]</span> <br /></blockquote>I think that if an art piece is found to be controversial, then it's a success. All great art should not only be aesthetically pleasing (keeping in mind the adage that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"), but also force observers to think. This painkiller portrait of Amy Winehouse certainly does that to me. <br /> <br />What are your thoughts? <br /> <br />Lisa B.https://plus.google.com/103424889520001681012[email protected]2