Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rest in Peace, Pimp C

I often had issues with his name (and subject matter), but when someone was this funny, refreshing, hilariously ridiculous, you tend to overlook moral objections.

Bun B, Texas, Butler family, you have my condolences.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Shoes Glorious Shoes Pt. 1

So I've told you which coats to buy (me), now it's time for the shoes. Shoes are muy importante. They can turn an alright outfit into gold. They can make the most boring person slightly interesting. Yes, the shoes say it all (well ... they do say a lot). Below is a list that explains why I shall be eating curds and whey for the next six months. They're worth it.

First up is a shoe by my favorite new shoe designer, Chie Mihara. These are the very first that I decided to covet for the fall season. I'm sure you can see why. I mean, it's a mary jane (check), suede (check), and in that heavenly color. Best of all, they are guaranteed to be comfortable since Ms. Mihara's shoes always are.

Next up is a hideously expensive Prada heel that, paradoxically, is much cheaper than I thought it would be. This means, of course, that I will have them. I ... love ... them. The ombre coloring from black to orange is very Samhain but very necessary. The heel is fantastic. And can't you just imagine these with a thick winter tight and a layered sweater dress/turtleneck look?

Yet another entry from ole Chie. Their name is Oliver. They will be intimately acquainted with my feet soon. (That sounds so nasty and that's bad nasty not good nasty.) See how they shine?

Just cute for no reason. That ankle cuff? That asymmetrical strap? That's right, magic. I've always wanted a pair of Sigerson Morrisons. They look so comfy and precious. I'm thinking something more teacherly with these. Perhaps a check-patterned straight skirt and cardigan with exaggerated buttons.

Okay, so these are mad hobo, but I love them. These could easily carry my streamlined Oxford professor look. You know, turtleneck, sweater vest, cords, and blazer or tartan plaid trousers and argyle v-neck. God! I love thinking of outfits. U Roads makes these, and I've never heard of them, but they sure do have a winner on their hands.

And finally yet another pair of Chie Miharas. (I'm telling you, people, she's the truth.) Not much to say except that these are cute and my bright tights will love them.

These, ladies and gents, are my shoes picks for fall 07 ... so far. There will be more, so stay tuned. My consumerism knows no bounds.

Friday, September 07, 2007

My Authors Keep Dying

Rest in Peace, Madeleine L'Engle. Your Murry children books were some of my favorites when I was an itty bitty.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fall's a Comin' ...

and I say that will all kinds of excitement in my voice. Of course, I hate cold temperatures and being uncomfortable, but I love love love shopping, being cute and all things purchaseable. I especially love coat shopping, so when I discovered that my two favorite coat purveyors had already rolled out the merchandise and were sold out, I got scared. I mean, who are these chicks, coming out the woodworks to purchase Mackage and Soia & Kyo coats anyway? I've been there out the gate, and I have to scramble and sign my name to waiting lists cuz some undoubtedly unfashionable chicas with money have the good fortune to read about them on some blog (oh, the irony). Oh well. This doesn't stop me from sharing.

Choice number one, the flyest impractical but stunning cape-like thing in life (I am a sucker for houndstooth.) There's still a chance; it's in stock.

Why is this already sold out? It was ninety degrees in Chicago today. Coats shouldn't be selling out yet. Either way, I must have this coat. It's beautiful, ridiculously cheap, and probably mad warm (all my Mackage coats are).

Another impractical stunner. The problem is that I'd always have to wear long, cozy sleeves or ridiculously long leather gloves. Wait ... how is that a problem?

I think the close up is enough. More houndstooth, big buttons, nuff said.

So those are my dream coats. If someone out there loves me, he or she will get me one. *wink, wink*

Friday, August 24, 2007

People I Love (Fierceness)

Fall is a-coming, and while I dread going back to work, I love the impending need for coats and sweaters and boots and oxfords, not to mention the coming of fashion week. Hurray for fall fashion! In the spirit of fashion and the general need to up my fierceness, I thought I'd pay homage to a few folks I think are fly.

Let us start with a long deceased, but still beloved ambassador of fly. S/he sang, s/he danced, s/he was, in a word, fabulous. Give it up for Sylvester, Miss Ruby Blue, who gave us perhaps the world's greatest disco cuts such as "Do You Wanna Funk?", "Body Strong," "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," and "Dance (Disco Heat)." I remember when I showed my friend, Solomon, the video for "Mighty Real"; he was horrified. I was amused. It was great.

I am often befuddled by people's inability to see the absolute all-out fierceness of this woman. For real, I think she is it. In Boomerang, her character was a joke, but let's be real, she is hotter than all these half-assed, faux-sexy broads clogging my airwaves. If you can't see it, you have bad taste.

This one, I catch a lot of flack for. Cicely Tyson? Are you kidding me? No, no I'm not. Miles Davis saw it, and he had great taste in women (see: Betty Davis). Unfortunately, he wasn't so great at appreciating if you know what I mean. The woman's in her seventies and still looks great.

Please ignore James Earl Jones.

So I've been watching a lot of TLC lately. On this station airs a show called "Ten Years Younger" in which the "Glam Squad" attempts to knock ten years off some woefully downtrodden individual. They are usually successful. On this show is where I discovered the "Eyebrow King," Damone Roberts (check out his website). I don't know why, but he so reminds me of Sylvester. His skin is flawless, his hair stays moisturized, and he's all about keeping the ladies (and the men) groomed and gorgeous. I just love him. If your eyebrow situation is shady or your face is in overall struggle mode, get to know him; he can help.

People love Pam Grier. I get it; her rack was quite phenomenal and she's aged well. However, I was always partial to the woman who played Cleopatra Jones, Miss Tamara Dobson. She seemed tougher, smarter and less like a pin-up (not that there's anything wrong with pin-ups). Plus she wore much cuter outfits in her Cleo Jones series. She recently passed (last year I think), but I still love her. I wish I had a picture of me trying to emulate her on old school day in high school. Oh well, it's probably much better that I don't.

You've all seen her in some questionable movie or other, and some damn good ones. She made appearances on "A Different World," "Girlfriends," and "That's So Raven" (RIP). She's always spicy, feisty, and generally too much. You just can't quite remember her name. Well you are sleeping ... hoard. her name is Jenifer Lewis and she is fiercer than your favorite actress.

Friday, August 10, 2007

New Knit Deez

Yay for me. I finish stuff.

New knit deez post here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Music Week!

Recently, I've lived a very full life. I've gone places, seen people, eaten things. Not bad for a agoraphobe. However, I can't just keep running on empty (oh yes, I meant that). I've got to relax, sit back, listen to some tunes, and knit up a few sweaters. The other day (Monday, I think), I took to "acquiring" some tunes that got me goin' in the late-80's, early-90's. One of the artists whose tunes I acquired is Karyn White. I figured I'd pay some sort of bootlegged homage to her in this post. For years I've been insisting that she's Barry White's daughter. Yeah, I was so wrong about that. Oops! Anyway, enjoy the brief journey through Mrs. White's career. (Don't sleep on the tunes at the end.)

This is the album we all know and love (even if we don't know it). Arguably her biggest hit, "Superwoman," was spawned from this album. It also included other fantastic ditties, such as "Love Saw It" (duet with Babyface; I love this song), "Secret Rendezvous" ("It won't stop, it don't stop ..."), and "The Way You Love Me" (perhaps my favoritest song by Ms. White). (Damn! This was '88? God, I'm old.)

This second album was no slouch either. Ms. Karyn (or Mrs. Karyn, for she had married producer Terry Lewis by now) was still coming with the hits. "Romantic" was the song offa this one, but she also had "Walkin the Dog" (nice video) and "The Way I Feel About You," which I always regarded as a Janet Jackson knock off (it sounds like "Alright" merged with something; shame on you Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis!). No matter, she looks hot on the cover and sounds great on the songs.

This last album (that I know of) wasn't huge, but it was good. By this time (1994), my beloved genre of adult contemporary was starting to wane and crappier, more risque and unsubtle R&B was becoming huge (I can't be too mad; I love Jodeci). She still came with some hits here with "Can I Stay With You" and "I'd Rather Be Alone." Still good stuff.

Special treat for the people. My favorite Karyn White song, "The Way You Love Me," live (woo hoo!; thanks YouTube).

And Just Hits:


"Love Saw It" f/ Babyface

"Super Woman"

"Secret Rendezvous"

Stay tuned. I'll be featuring Chuckii Booker next time. *wave*

Monday, July 23, 2007

Good Reading

© 1998-2007 Penny Arcade, Inc.

I do not read nearly as much as I used to. I think this is the major reason for my significant decline in intelligence over the years. When I was a kid/teen, I never went anywhere without a book, and because I had no adult responsibilities to contend with, I could read as much and as often as I wished. Now, I have a job and shit to worry about that sucks up my time and leaves me catatonic, unable to to anything but sleep and drool.

Luckily, I've found some time in the last few months to start a book, and I just finished it yesterday as Little Brother performed at the free Zune concert in Union Park. (Sorry y'all, I was listening.) Orson Scott Card, you've joined my pantheon of beloved authors simply on the strength Ender's Game. This book; oh, this book. Earlier this year I had decided to up my science fiction game, as I usually find myself rereading my old favorites (I, Robot, The Martian Chronicles, Cat's Cradle, Frankenstein) over and over again, so I made a list of SF classics that I simply had to read. This book fell somewhere near the top. As ComEd's shitty customer service would have it, our electricity was shot for an entire day, and instead of having a nervous breakdown over my inability to watch cable and eat food, I picked up Ender's Game and could not put it down.

I have no intention of reviewing it here, but I will recommend it. If you are the least bit interested in intergalactic scuffles with insect-like creatures, you'll love it. If you are the least bit interested in disturbingly bright adult-children with extraordinary abilities, you'll love it. Conflicted individuals with the weight of the world on their shoulders? Yep. Power and its sickly consequences? Uh-huh. For those of you who are a bit wary of the scifi identifier, first off, you're assholes. Secondly, don't be afraid. I tend to like scifi because it deals with the big ideas and is just cloaked in space travel and futuristic technology. Like all my favorites, this book takes a damn good look at our nature and creates an arresting story that forces you to keep reading. Pick it up, even if you think you'll hate it. You'll be mush by the second chapter.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Free Stuff Rocks

The Silver Room's block party was nice. Pevin put it down, people were out and about, I saw people I know ... good stuff all around. Today, I go to a free concert in Union Park. I'm all about seeing Bilal. Free stuff rocks.

New Knit Deez blog entry.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I Got Them!

After searching high and low, and suffering the disappointment of not having small enough feet, I finally got them. Yes, like the shop-crazy lunatic I am, I did, in fact, buy them one full size smaller than I needed, but that is not the point. The point is that these pretty babies will be constricting my feet in no time. Yay me!

In other news I finally finished a project (a knitting project). Go to my other site, Knit Deez, and check out my finished Ballet Tee.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fat N' Lazy/Summer Songs

I've officially been on summer vacation for three weeks and I've done 3.5 things, four things tops. As I suspected would be the case, my days are spent sitting in the house, watching television, and eating. Yesterday, I felt picnic-y, so I made barbecue chicken, baked beans, and limeade. I followed the meal up with a blueberry cobbler and ice cream. That's the fat part, on to the lazy.

So far this summer, I've:

1. gone to get my hair done;

2. gone to my ex-job's gala; and

3. gone to day one of a friend of a friend's three-day party (completely disgusting and horrifying pictures to follow).

Actually, that's it. I've done three things in three weeks of vacation. That's pretty good, as I usually don't do shit.


I've had VH1 Soul on all day and have seen Common's summer top ten video countdown twice. I love him; he has matured and still makes good music and has fantastic skin and seems genuinely nice, but I wasn't too fond of his selection, so I decided to do a list of my own.

Atrackbrown's Favorite Summer Jams

1. It's Spring Again - Biz Markie

It's the Biz; he's hilarious, and he rocks a mean wig in the video. To signal the beginning of hot weather in Chicago, I always play this song.

2. Shorty Swing My Way - K.P. and Envyi

Admit it, people, you like this song. So what it's uber-clubby and features a rapping/singing duo that spastically dances throughout the video like there's something seriously wrong, this shit bangs! When the ambiguously black girl (?) gets to the bridge, it's all over.

3. My Boo - Ghost Town DJs

This shit just screams summer. During the summer of '96, the summer after I graduated from high school, this song was everywhere. There was this particular Chinese spot I'd go to downtown, on Wabash and Washington, and every single time, I kid you not, this song would be playing (on B96, of course). So yeah, banger status. You just wanna wash a car or catch a venereal disease from some cute, buff stranger after hearing this.

4. MVP (Summer Smooth Remix) - Big L

BIG L, REST IN PEACE!!! (screamed obnoxiously loudly) Yeah, him being dead sucks, but the song lives on. This is his least offensive song by far, not his best, but definitely very summery.

5. Stakes is High - De La Soul

At the best party I've ever been to in my life, this song was played just as my friends and I had decided that we simply could not dance any more and had decided to leave. But, just as we had almost reached the door, on comes this song, and we run back and work it out for about five more minutes. I'm also reminded of the frenzy surrounding what was De La's first album in a number of years (i'm bad with exact numbers and years and stuff), and the Native Tongues "officially [being] reinstated." There were articles in all of the major magazines: Vibe, RapPages, The Source. (I recall being in a car accident as I read the article in RapPages. Damn good article.)

6. Bucktown - Smif N' Wessun

I can't quite recall the year, but one of Chicago's stations transitioned to 106.3 one year, and, for a while, it looked like they were going to be a decent hip-hop station. Unfortunately, music starting sucking and they couldn't keep it up. While the possibility was still a possibility, this particular station played the hell out of this song, this and the next song on my list (oh, and "Regulate" by Warren G). I didn't mind at all. I was dead in the middle of my all BCC, all the time phase. Good times.

7. The World is Yours - Nas

I can still feel being a young, dumb (and in my particular case, bitter and evil) teenager, the Chicago wind whipping through my probably braided hair, my aspirations of being the greatest black, feminist MC ever still in my veins. Oh, the ridiculousness. Yeah, this song reminds me of that.

8. Can You feel It - The Fat Boys

Again, just plain summer. One year, we went to visit my aunt in Niagara Falls. My cousin, Ray, her son, took me to the city (in this case, I think this means Buffalo), fat Boys all day. I still love their songs; they're so whimsical, and fun, and descriptive of my own love of excess. Fat Boys forever! (RIP Buffy)

9. Baby, Baby, Baby - TLC

Back before I could make my own decisions and before I had a driver's license, I was beholden to the parents and their plans. Part of my dad's yearly summer plans was to go to the Ellis Annual Family Reunion in Fayetteville, NC. We'd drive down in the minivan and my brother and I would bitch and moan about having to go as if we had other, more important shit to do. Of course, when we got there we were bored as hell, that is until our wonderfully unsavory cousins would show up and agree to wreak havoc with us. We were the gang. Driving around in my cousin Jeannie's old Caddy, eating at the Waffle House, and singing the popular ditties of the time. This song was a favorite, and I can still transport myself to the exact moment that my brother, cousins and I all sang the entire tune in unison like we were auditioning for Puttin on the Hits or some shit. It was fantastic. We shortly pulled up to the Waffle House wrecked more shop on some double waffles, omelets, egg sandwiches, enhanced grits, and flavored cokes. I miss those days.

10. Let The Beat Hit 'Em - Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam

This is an Alabama memory. Very simple, really. This was the jam. My cousins and I were aspiring starlets. You do the math. Hopefully, your calculations come to country and barefoot little girls on hot Alabama nights belting their precious little hearts out.

Friday, June 22, 2007

WEAVE BRAIDS!!!! b/w Blowuptuation

that's right. part two of operation regrow afro puff has been fulfilled (with part one being grow a ridiculous florida evans afro, but i digress) ... i have a WEAVE!

it's hilarious and annoying, but i can deal with it.

check me out.

side view:

so yeah, that's that. i have a weave; deal with it.


in other news, it's summer (yeah, no duh asshole). this is significant; just bear with me. see summer means, since i'm a teacher and have the summer off, a loss of routine, spare time, idleness. all these mean more time to eat. see, when teaching, i had limited time so i had gorgeously healthy eating habits: oatmeal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat and lots and lots of water. now? well i can go to brunch everyday or wake up to homemade biscuits and grits and sausage every morning (thus far, i've undoubtedly filled my biscuit quota. see picture above. that pan was full before i demolished it). just the other day, i returned to my hot doug's routine of eating two large sausages smothered in foreign cheeses, creams, and caramelized onions (sounds gross, but it is heaven).

to really illustrate the danger i'm in here, let me take you on a guided tour of my kitchen and bedroom (bedroom? but why? you, dear reader, shall see.)

let's start small and build.

the kitchen is full of wonderful junk to make and eat:

the fridge

the freezer


this is my collection of necessary condiments, all lined up in my bedroom. i must have barbecue sauce near me at all times. this is sad, pathetic, and really unhealthy.

what's the point here? well, the point is that i shall be three hundred pounds by the end of the summer. the point is "i can't control my fooood!" help me. i need an intervention.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Aaaaand Scene

So that's it. I'm done. My first semester as a teacher is done. Today, I disseminated report cards, said goodbye to my classroom, and came home to eat left over shrimp and cheese grits (recipe below) and an inordinate amount of brownies. Now, I'm sitting denuded at my computer typing to my sparse public (that would be you, dear reader).

Now that I have all this free time, three months to be more exact, I haven't the slightest clue of what to do with it. No more fretting over being prepared for the coming week or having nightmares about my students or busily mulling over the time needed to grade papers. Nope, I'm free. Freedom does not become me; I may very well sit in this house and eat myself fat and depressed until September comes. I need friends.

Anyway, I'm photo logging my hair growth cuz I'm lame. While taking updated pictures of my "Good Times" fro this morning (yes, a student told me that I look like a character from "Good Times," and not a cool, foxy one like Willona or Thelma but Florida Evans or, worse, James. She didn't say Florida or James, but I know what she was thinking), I took this really cool picture. Isn't it bitchin'?

That's all I got.

I'm so proud of myself! I made shrimp n' grits and homemade biscuits for the first time yesterday. Everything was delicious.

homemade biscuits (about a dozen)

2 cups flour (good flour, like Gold Medal)
1 tbsp baking power (a little less if using buttermilk or sour cream)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter, which is about 5 1/3 tbsp (cut into cubes and chilled) - i always use unsalted butter; it's fresher
about 1 c milk, buttermilk or sour cream (chilled) - i always prefer buttermilk because it gives a country twang, but I had none so I used sour cream

preheat oven to 425 degrees

grease a pan (i use butter cuz i'm fat)

whisk together flour, powder, salt and sugar thoroughly (very thoroughly. otherwise, you will taste the soda). cut in butter (i just use my hands to squeeze everything together) until the mixture resembles cornmeal (having some larger globs of butter is okay. just don't over agitate until the fat melts. the butter must remain relatively cold). slowly pour in milk, buttermilk or sour cream until the mixture pulls away from the bowl (if using sour cream, add just a little water or milk to thin it). depending on how dry or humid the weather is, you may or may not need the entire cup of liquid.

dust hands with flour. with a hand, scoop up a piece of dough, gently form into ball and place in greased pan. i do this while the dough is still sticky. this way, i get light and fluffy (not tough) biscuits. repeat until all dough has been used.

bake in preheated oven for 11-15 minutes.

again, i'm fat, so i rub the tops of the biscuits with butter before and after baking.


Cheese Grits (very easy)

Old Fashioned grits, made to the box's specifications
sharp cheddar cheese
garlic salt (dash)
lots of pepper

I made enough for four people, used 1/2 cup of cheese and seasoned to taste. this part was easy.


1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small tomato (chopped)
fresh basil (about a teaspoon)
garlic (the amount is totally up to you. i love garlic, so i use a lot.)
about 9 large shrimp (trader joe's precooked, frozen variety works for me)

melt butter, add olive oil. saute tomato and garlic til tomatoes soften. toss in basil and shrimp. cook very briefly until shrimp is heated. any longer and the shrimp will be tough.

pour the shrimp mixture over some hot cheese grits, grab some biscuits, and eat like a pig.

Friday, June 08, 2007

I'm Broke

Right now, I am the brokest I have been in years. My "daddy money" has run out, I had to pay rent last week, and I have a shopping problem. These things combined makes for a bank account that is dangerously close to being in the red. Luckily (and because of my shopping habit), I had hella shit to sell to the good people on Ebay. Not so luckily, I have to wait three to four days before my PayPal funds will transfer to my bank account. Fiddlesticks!


As some sort of pick me up, I guess I'll regress to eleventh grade and post about smokin' hot members of the opposite sex.

Raheem DeVaughn (or Raheem Dervaughn as Schmoses calls him) looks like a sea creature, but that's not meant to be an insult. Well ... it kinda is. There's no way around a sea creature comment, but that's not the point. The point is that despite the whole sea creature thing, he's hot. Enjoy his chick-friendly falsetto.

If you know me and have not heard my diatribe on how hot Pharoahe Monch is, you don't know me very well. It all happened around 1997 when Organized Konfusion dropped their third (and my least favorite) album. Up til then he was just the really ill one in the group (though Prince Po was certainly no slouch) and out of nowhere comes this slim and toned Monch in the "Somehow, Someway" video. Let me tell ya, I was floored ... and smitten. Since then, OK has broken up, both Po and Monch have released solo efforts, and I have wished, over and over, that these two would find their ways back to each other. This wish may never be fulfilled, but the pure hotness of Troy Jamerson (and his skill, of course) will have me at the local Best Buy for his latest release Desire on June 26, 2007. (Dontcha just love his neosoul fro?)

I love Stephen Marley. For some reason, chicks sleep on him as the cute Marley son. Monica prefers (or preferred) Damian. Ziggy got props back in the day. I hear some give it up for Kymani. And Lauren went for Rohan. Stephen man, Stephen. Plus, he's got those production skills.

Now this is a big one. I have a full-fledged, school girl/stalker crush on this man. Meet Isaac de Bankole, an actor who hails from the Ivory Coast and loves to star in difficult-to-watch films--you know, about racial injustice and stuff. Lucky for him, I'm a diligent fan and will watch him be emasculated, murdered, and generally disrespected by every manner of white folk just to get a glimpse of his sweet ass. He's also lucky that I'm too prideful and lazy to be a stalker; otherwise, he'd have to file some serious restraining orders. He was once married to Cassandra Wilson, which means they both have mutually fantastic taste, but I hear they're no longer together. Too bad; I really liked the idea of them. I've watched many a depressing movie just to stare at him. Take for example Chocolat, not the light-hearted French film starring Juliette Binoche, but the older (1988 I believe) film about racial objectification and emasculation in 1960s (or something) Cameroon. Total anger fest, but Isaac was nekkid in this film, so I'd watch it again and again. (His cheekbones could cut glass.)

Well that's it. I've exhausted my pervert reserves for the day. For those of you who like slightly off-kilter looks and huge lips, enjoy.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

RIP Tony Thompson

I just learned that Tony Thompson, the fresh-faced lead singer of group Hi-Five, was found dead outside a Texas apartment complex. I don't have the details, but this is clearly shady business. And strange. All our childhood crushes (at least mine) are dying too soon. They're supposed to get old and embarrassing before they "pass." But no, they're dropping like flies in their 20s and 30s. First Dino of H-Town. Then Kenny from Intro. Now Tony.

I'm really upset. We saw him at the Plaza when I was in high school. (Okay, so I didn't see him, but he was there while I was there.) I loved "The Kissing Game, " and crushed hard on this random dude (not so random, but this isn't about my hurt adolescent feelings) when that song was out. Monica and I used to make fun of Treston's part in "Can't Wait Another Minute." Tony and Hi-Five were a big part of my formative years, and now he's dead. Well, in memorandum ...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Twelve more days of school, most of them ceremonial. As glad as I am about that, I'm pretty sure a depression is coming.

Hot dog Fridays are now steak taco Fridays.

Monica had some seven tag thingie on her blog. I'm taking up her challenge. What follows is seven random songs from my iPod shuffle.

1. Everything But The Girl - Single (Drum N Bass Remix)

Love them, love this, love the album. That Tracy Thorn sure has a voice, and Ben Watt gave her the musical backdrop she needed to make it happen. It what? It who? Her solo album was a bit (a lot) disappointing, but there's always the Walking Wounded album.

2. Bill Withers - I Want to Spend the Night

I love Bill Withers. His "Best Of ... " liner notes reveal that he's the best person ever, and he makes (made) good songs.

3. Foreigner - I Want to Know What Love Is

Okay, this is a little embarrassing but fuck it. IT WAS THE EIGHTIES!!!

4. MC Hammer - You Can't Touch This

Fine, I have some seriously questionable taste sometimes. I assure you that my entire iPod is not filled with fluff and culturally-acceptable dance tunes. I will say that Hammer and friends made some cuts though. Last Sunday, Monica, Schmoses and I
were barrelling down 290 doing dances to Oaktown 357's "Juicy Got Em Crazy." Good times.

5. Toni Terry - Head Over Heels

Oh, the days of yore. Crushes on stupid boys who would grow to be date rapists and fat assholes. Cutting class. Hanging out with friends. This particular tune, from seventh grade, reminds me of the typing class I barely passed. My teacher was Mr. Leibensorger (named spelled so wrong). I can't remember who exactly I was crushing on, but he was probably a nimrod.

6. ZZ Hill - A Message to the Ladies

I love the blues, particularly the early to late-80's, R&B hybrid variety. ZZ Hill was a master of this style. In this song he's letting the ladies know that keeping their men is a "full-time job." Things included in doing a good job? Keeping the hair and nails done, not becoming fat, and serving "it" on the regular. As he says "Coca Cola made it, but they still advertise." Take heed, ladies.

7. AZ f/ Nas - Mo Money, Mo Murda, Mo Homicide

Actually, I say less murda and homicide, but I'll take a luscious helping of this wonderful little ditty (and money). I do love AZ and Nas together and would not be opposed to a full scale collaboration between the two. So yeah, this entire album was it for me. I remember buying it from Coconuts (or was it Sam Goody) in Ford City, and being so anxious to get home to hear it. I haven't liked AZ as much since then, but it's nice to remember the old times.

That's it. I'm off to crash a co-worker's barbecue.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

It's Summer! (Sorta)

Hence, the new color palette.

Mosey on over to my other blog. It's about knitting. Sounds fantastic, doesn't it?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Not So Much Creepy As ... Different

This is clearly my theme for the week. I thought I was done, but I couldn't let this one juicy nugget go unnoticed and unblogged about.

One of my sixth period students remarked on my appearance today:

Student: Ms. Weirdo*, you look different today. I've never seen you dress like that.

Me: What do you mean?

Student: You look so normal today. Well, I don't mean ... not to say that you never .... You just dress ... different.

Me: Oh.

Hilarious. And here I was thinking I had toned it down for teaching. Apparently, I still dress like a freak. Through the slacks and teacher sweaters, I still exude a certain je ne sais quoi.

*Not my name, though it should be

Well, at least I'm not as bad as Kool Keith

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Creepy Update

Remember this post. Yeah, well I was leaving my classroom the other day and got a nice reminder of my creep factor. My department, the English department, was down the hall commiserating and generally debriefing after a day of dealing with unruly students. (Everyone--all the teachers, administrators, support staff, and students-- is so done with this school year. Let it end already.) So, I walk out of my classroom and I look down the hall, as I am prone to do whenever I exit a room. They all looked up and got silent.

My creepiness strikes again, my pretties.

Also, I've realized that I attract the "strange" kids. Each teacher attracts a core group of youngsters who gravitate toward them for some reason or other. Well, for the past couple of weeks, my classroom has been hosting the "strange" kids, the ones who read manga, learn Japanese, write poems about vampires, darkness or any other morbid topic, and wear all black. I love it. One kid is filming the prelude to The Evil Dead with his friends. Awesome! We all know The Evil Dead is like my favorite movie! Long live weirdos, man. It's so good to know that there's a new crop of awesomely weird awesomes just waiting to take over when my friends and I are done.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

That's It, That's All

No more classes
No more books
No more teachers' dirty looks

That's right, dear reader (otherwise known as Monica); I'm done with school. I stayed up late last night typing/writing (yes, at once; i'm quite the procrastinator) my last paper. It's over and done. I am officially done with school. I may never go back. No more degrees.

Graduation is Friday, but of course I won't be attending. I'll be torturing other students who are all too ready for summer break.

If you stumble across my page, PayPal some money to me. Negroes are super broke.

I'm feeling good people. Can you feel it?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I was intentionally in Hyde Park yesterday. I try like hell to not be in Hyde Park, intentionally or unintentionally. True, I do have to drop my Aunt Rebekah off after our monthly shopping trips to River Oaks, but those are usually quick in and out jobs. Get in, get out.

The other day, though, the day that I finally came to terms with being creepy, I went with some co-workers to the Pancake House on 51st, the one across from Kenwood. Dude! I didn't realize that my job was so close to the Park. So, yesterday, to commemorate my last day of class (I'm graduating, bitches!), I went to The Snail, formerly my favorite Thai restaurant, to celebrate. Unlike those drives with Aunt Rebekah from the Manor, I was forced to take locals. My god, the emotion. Turning off Lake Park onto 55th, I noticed that University National Bank is no longer on the corner. I had my first banking account there. No problem, I'm a fricking rock, so I took note and kept driving. While passing the viaduct that leads to that strip of Thai restaurants on the south side of 55th, I noticed that the Kikuya is still there. I smiled and remembered the time my little brother came to visit me at my dorm and I had taken him to get sushi and then had taken the rest of the money daddy had given me to spend on him to Dr. Wax (when it was still in that basement) to buy vinyl. My how the young lad had mastered chopsticks in no time. I pulled up right in front of The Snail and walked inside, placed my order, and sat as they prepared my Pad Siew (and Pad Thai and chicken eggrolls, but this is not about my tendency to find comfort in food). The dining room was empty and looked pretty much the same it had the last time I had been there. I thought about the time I went on a date with some dude from my school and didn't eat cuz I had just eaten at BJ, so he ordered noodles and I just sat there and watched him eat. (I have this strange fascination with watching dudes eat; I'm weird.) I also remembered that time Flomas* and I had eaten that place dry as we ordered everything on the menu, yukked it up, and acted fools. I looked out the window, remembering what an unhappy, undriven excuse for an undergrad I had been, and how I'd been a constant fixture on that stretch of 55th, often walking from campus to my room at the Shoreland, hating every minute of it. I thought about my life now--unfortunately grown, with responsibilities, a fricking high school teacher for god sakes--and wished like hell I could get that four years of bullshit responsibility and free time for drinking and drugs back. Mickyfrickies just don't know how good they have it.

I guess that's why I hate Hyde Park; there are way too many memories there. My mom and I lived above the Morry's when I was born. I went to grammar school there and still remember the first book I bought from the 57th street book store. I labored through undergrad there and met too many people who I kinda miss and have subsequently lost there. Boo hoo and shit. I fricking hate that place, but I will be back for some Nicky's.

* Clearly not a real name.

Let me leave you with a song

A friend and I, one who I'd met in the good ole Park, were in my dorm room one night watching a VHS of old videos I'd taped, and this one came on. We automatically dropped everything and rhymed this entire song word for word, bobbing our heads in unison, until it went off. he was dead a few weeks later. good times i tell ya.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm Creepy

I guess I've known this for a long time. Or maybe I've been wrestling with having to adopt such a moniker. I mean, who wants to be creepy? Creepy connotes child molesters and masturbating homeless men on public transportation, the eerily quiet girl with the bad hair and church clothes. I am none of the above. I only like to teach (not touch) the children; I do not masturbate in public; and my fashion sense is marvelous! (I must admit to having bad hair for the moment, but I'm working on that.) I am, however, extremely antisocial. What's worse is my seeming inability to change it. I've been at my school for three months and only recently realized that most of my coworkers have possibly formed an unfavorable opinion of me. I was, as I may have mentioned before, a mid-season replacement; I did not start teaching at Creature High* until the second semester. My colleague (don't you just love the fastidiousness of that word?) also started at the semester. We came from the same school. However, she can often be seen in the hallways yukking it up with other teachers or administrators, while I scuttle to and fro, efficient and dependable for sure, but not the most ebullient person. I never go to visit other teachers or stop to chat in the hallways.

Yesterday, after administering the ACT/PSAE to our junior class, some unsuspecting teacher invited me to lunch. I went, and enjoyed the hell out of my Georgia peach and pecan pancakes, but I probably said a total of ten words the entire time, including "please pass the syrup" and "anymore sausage?" I started to notice sideways glances and slightly too easy smiles directed my way; you know, the kind of smiles people give the mentally handicapped and physically impaired. I thought to myself, "Hey, why are they looking at me like that?" Then, "Oh no, they think I'm creepy!" There was nothing to be done folks. I wasn't particularly interested in who I was with nor did I have any pressing questions for my companions. I also felt no need, unlike some annoying blabbermouth at the table, to share my entire life, or even a sliver of it, with complete strangers. So, I shovelled back my food and stared off into space until every one was finished. Needless to say, no one invited me to any lunches today.

Look, I grew up an only child. Despite having three brothers, I spent the majority of my childhood in the house by myself. I'm used to silence and only talking when necessary. I've never really had the chance to practice talking to make people feel more comfortable. A few years back, I had started talking to folks, just talking, to combat the constant indictments of being "cold" or "robot-like" (yes, someone once called me a robot, and they were not trying to be cute or funny). I really thought I had made progress, but alas, I have not. In fact, I think I'm worse now. Old age and a generally disagreeable demeanor plus the added stress of having adult responsibilities has given me a devil-may-care-attitude about pleasing others or making them comfortable. Their comfort is their business, not mine. So, if you see me on the street, I may not speak; and if you sidle up to me hoping to strike up an impromptu conversation, I'll listen, but I won't say much in return. I'm sorry, I'm creepy.

*What the hell

Thursday, April 12, 2007

[He's] Gone c) Hall & Oates

Well, dear readers. I've been lazily avoiding my blog because I've had much better things to do. I mean, 10-week grade reporting is tomorrow, and in true English teacher style, I have a stack of papers to rip through. However, this morning, while slathering that good virgin coconut oil on my legs, I heard the unimaginable, the unthinkable, the annoyingly inevitable ... Kurt Vonnegut is dead.

Yeah, there may be a thin veneer of humor here, of wryness. The trademark atrackbrown witticisms are present, but let me tell you people, I cried. As soon as Ellee Pai Hong or Dick Johnson (I can't remember which) announced the news, I automatically started a snotty, indecently unattractive crying fit that would rival any five year old's.

For years, Monica and I have been rhapsodizing about "it," the eventual death of Kurt Vonnegut. I mean, he was getting old, and had been bucking the odds with his continued cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption for decades. "How does one make it well into their seventies without any sort of psorosising of the liver or cancering of the lung?" we wondered. Plus, he was born in the twenties, and had been at the bombing of Dresden for god sakes. Yeah, he was truly an enigma for still being with us. So we joked, and shook our heads wonderingly at his immortality while knowing all along that Kurt Vonnegut would never die because, well ... because he was Kurt Vonnegut, dammit! The author of such ridiculously side-splitting wonders as Cat's Cradle (perhaps my favorite), Breakfast of Champions (a close second), Welcome to the Monkey House (a delightful collection of brilliant, quirky little tales), and the creator of Kilgore Trout, perhaps the most cantankerous, preposterous figure of all literary time, could not die. No, just like that annoying Bob Hope or George whatever (the dude with the cigar and glasses), Kurt would outlive us all (though, of course, the first two did in fact die, but didn't it seem like they never would?). So yeah, we allayed our fears by knowing that Kurt would continue writing his special brand of crazy and making disturbingly funny speeches at colleges across the US forever.

Yet, somehow, this was not to be. Somehow, someone failed to report that he had suffered a head injury at home and had been hospitalized for some time now. (Though that someone still had time to report on the father of Anna Nicole's baby. Give me a fucking break.) Somehow, Kurt proved to be human.

I guess I shouldn't be a sniffling pansy and should just suck it up. I mean, I've never even met the guy (and I totally had a chance to, but just like the time I passed on a Nina Simone concert, my stupidity saw fit to dissuade me from doing so), and he lived for 84 freaking years. That's a pretty long time. But it doesn't matter, I'm still sad and kind of scared. Kurt stands for so many things. I'm not talking about all his political causes, though I was usually in total agreement with him. No, I'm talking about those personal things that he stands for. I'm reminded of the days when Monica and I were best friends, and she introduced me to the Vonnegut. (Hell, sometimes, I even refer to her as Kurt Monnicut.) I'm reminded of the good ole days with Jason in A.P English when we'd laugh and act like asses and eat peanut M&Ms, for Jason too loved the Vonnegut. I'm reminded of those rare moments freshmen year of undergrad when I didn't quite hate being at the most boring and black peopleless school on earth, and my roommate Anisa borrowed my special edition of Cat's Cradle. And most recently, I'm reminded of my first week as a real adult as I taught "Harrison Bergeron" to a bunch of high school freshmen and smiled inside (yes, assholes, I'm allowed to smile on the inside) as a bunch of snot-nosed know-nothings actually displayed some good taste and ate it up. Yep, Kurt's been here for a long time. It's hard to imagine that he'll be here no more.

Rest in peace there Kurt