Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's My Motherphukin Birthday

Now usually I would write a reflective post about how I'm looking back on how I've grown over the past year and what I can do to better myself in the next year before I turn 30 but that's not gonna happen.

I praise God I was able to see another year.

My fam is here (2 brothers), I have great friends and I'm gonna party like a fucking rock-star this weekend. Now if you happen to run across me today through Sunday my behavior might be a little erratic. This is my pre-apology. lolol

Also, shout-out to my people who are also celebrating this momentous holiday. Max, Ricky (She's looking at my balls Rickaaay [inside joke]) and Aketa.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Game Show Wednesday-Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

*****Sorry about the missing post last week. You know I had to deal with life and I just didn't get around to writing a post. I'll make it up to you. Post today, tomorrow (national holiday) and Friday.*****

With that out the way, this week's post is Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

This is how the game works if you've been under a rock and never seen the show. A contestant is asked increasingly difficult general knowledge questions by Regis Feldman. Questions are multiple choice: four possible answers are given (labeled A, B, C and D), and the contestant must choose the correct one. There is no time limit to answer a question; a contestant may (and often does) take as long as they need to answer. By the way I hate when the contestant takes a long time. After the first few questions, the host will ask the contestant if that is their "final answer." Upon making the answer the final answer, it cannot be changed. On the first few questions, some choices often have joke answers. The complete sequence of prizes of the show is as follows:
  • $100
  • $200
  • $300
  • $500
  • $1,000
  • $2,000
  • $4,000
  • $8,000
  • $16,000
  • $32,000
  • $64,000
  • $125,000
  • $250,000
  • $500,000
  • $1,000,000

After viewing a question, the contestant can quit with the money he/she has already won rather than attempting an answer. If the contestant answers a question incorrectly, then they lose all the money they have won, except that the $1,000 and $32,000 prizes are guaranteed: if a player gets a question wrong above these levels, then he drops down only to the previous guaranteed prize. The game ends when the contestant answers a question incorrectly, decides not to answer a question, or answers all questions correctly.

I actually like this show because during the first couple of questions I feel like a genius. Like me taking 5th grade arithmetic right now. Then around the $32,000 questions I start to feel less and less intelligent. I always said that if I went on the show I would stop at $32,000. That's all I need right now. I'm a low risk kind of guy. Why leave with anything less than that? But then I know what would happen if I actually made it on the show. I would think to myself: "Self, think of all the things you could do with a million dollars.

Here's what I would do with a million dollars:

Pay 40% to the IRS (eff Uncle Sam)
Buy my mom a house
Put $100,000 into a Roth IRA
Invest in my future business

What would you do if you won a million dollars? Is a million what it used to be in today's economy? How would winning a large sum of money change your life?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Man of the House

Hey fellas. Yeah you right there. Let me let you in on a little secret. Well it’s not really a secret but some of you have chose to ignore this fact or you’re just plain ignorant to the obvious. Women like men who take the lead. You don’t believe me? Find the nearest [straight] woman and ask her if she would rather follow a man that is worthy of leading or would she rather make all the decisions. I guarantee you at least 9 times out of 10 her answer is going to be the former.

Now social media, entertainers and even credible news sources will have you believe that this is the age of the independent woman. It’s not hard to hear a song that idealizes the idea that women don’t need us to get what they want and get to where they want in life. The number one anthem is the Destiny’s Child track, Independent Woman. It seems like since this song was released the popular ideology is that women could do without men. This may seem daunting because who wants to be with a woman who thinks she doesn’t need you. The problem with this way of thinking is it’s entirely ass backwards. Regardless of what anyone says or feels men were made to lead and women were made to follow. Based on that last statement I guarantee there are some women that are going to read this and think to themselves; “I’m not following anyone, I’m my own woman (or some variation of that).” Well those women are ass backwards too. They’ve been conditioned to think the role of a man is diminished in their lives. I could get into the reasons for this but that would be another blog post (or 6) in itself, so instead let’s discuss why we should be trying to get back our status as head of the household.

Being a leader is not an easy job. It takes a lot of work. People depend on you. Often times you don’t get enough credit (look at how many restaurants are packed on Mother’s Day versus Father’s Day) and when things go array everyone always looks to the person in charge. To lead is to take on great responsibility. Perhaps that is why so many of us shy away from the task. A lot of us want a lot of the benefits (big piece of the chicken) of being the head of the household but little of the work and accountability. A lot of trust has to be conveyed in order for a woman to submit to a man and follow his lead. In the end she has to know that you can handle your business in times of distress just as well as in times of prosperity. If you haven’t proved that you can handle the small things why would she trust you to handle the big things?

I don’t know how many of you are Christians but I am. If you don’t want to hear or read bible verses then you can skip to the next section. I believe that the bible is a blueprint to our lives. You follow it; maybe not a T but you use it as a guide in your everyday life on your spiritual walk with God. With that being said God intended man to lead. In Ephesians 5: 22-23 the word says:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word...

This right here is the truth. Not only does it say that a woman must submit to her husband but the husband in turn should love his wife in the same way that Christ loved the church. Imagine how much Christ loved the church. A lot right? Almost incomprehensible. In order for a man to expect a woman to submit to him he must first submit to God. In this way when a woman submits to her husband, she is indeed submitting to God. If a man does not have God first in his life then how can he honestly expect anyone to follow him? The chain of command is broken and unordered. Growing up I remember every Sunday morning my father was the first one up getting the family ready for Sunday morning service. It didn’t matter if he was only working off of a couple of hours of sleep because he worked nights. We were in church; rain or shine almost every Sunday.

I know what a lot of you are thinking, “What does he know about anything? He’s not even married or engaged.” If that’s what you were thinking then you are absolutely correct. I’ve never been married or anything close to it. Now here’s my rebuttal. Let’s say you wanted to go to medical school. Would you show up to take the MCAT the day of the test with no preparation or would you take prep courses, study the materials and prepare yourself the best way you can so you can get the scores you want the first time around? The latter is my mind frame towards marriage. I look at the relationship my grandparents had and I take things from that. I also look at the relationship my parents had and know what I don’t want in a marriage. I’m working on becoming the best individual possible so that I can be the best leader that I can be. I’m trying to get it right the first time around.

Believe it or not, Fantasia is the inspiration behind this post. Not what’s happening on in her personal life because I could really care less about that. Her music is my inspiration. There is a track on her new album entitled, Man of the House, which really got me thinking. This line was the one that suck out to me the most because I just couldn’t imagine taking a backseat and letting a woman lead me.

“I’m sick and tired of being the boss for us; this ain’t the kind of love it’s supposed to be. You wanna king of the castle, you wanna be captain; you’re gonna have to work a little bit harder for that to happen.”

Monday, September 13, 2010

Game Show Wednesday-Family Feud

This week I'm going to discuss a show that I loved watching growing up. Actually I still love watching this show. Family Feud was the first computer game that I owned. This was before Window'95, back when I was still running MS-DOS. If you don't remember MS-DOS then you might be too young to be reading my blog. I had a book of command prompts. That shit was more complicated than memorizing HTML command prompts.

Getting back on tangent, I always wanted my family to go on Family Feud. The only problem was I didn't grow up in the type of household that would EVER be invited on that type of show. Sure I grew up in a two parent household with 5 children but I think we would have been more suited competing against each other than we were competing against other families. As a tribute to my family, this post will be dedicated to functioning dysfunctional families.

What is a functional dysfunctional family? Glad you asked.

Functional dysfunctional family- a family which maintains status quo and existing conditions despite conflict, misbehavior and often abuse on the part of individual members of the family leading other members of the family to accommodate such actions.

First let me give you a little background on my family. My parents have 5 children between the two of them. I am the second to oldest child. I have an older sister who is 8 1/2 years my senior. I have two younger brothers (twins) who are 20 months my junior and my youngest brother is 9 years my junior.

One of my favorite sayings growing up was "you can pick your friends but you can't pick your family". I found it a lot better than my dad's favorite saying was to me and my brothers, "blood is thicker than water". I'm a first generation American. Both of my parents were born and raised in Nigeria. We were raised with Nigerian values and cultures. That being said my father believed that since I had 3 brothers that's all the friends that I needed.

Looking back at my childhood I really don't regret anything about it but what are some signs of a functional dysfunctional family.

Family Secrets & Problems

Like most Black and African households keeping family business within the family was always stressed. No matter how bad things got at home it was understood that we were to never talk to anyone outside of the family about our issues. It was looked upon as betrayal. What happens when you keep so many secrets and you can't find anyone to talk to about it? Depression and resentment that's what.

Petty Behaviors by Parents

Parents are humans too. Humans can be petty. A lot of times the adult doesn't always act like an adult. Often times children can take on the role of the adult. My mom and my sister haven't spoken to or seen each other in close to 5 years. You would think as the only two women in my immediate family they would put whatever differences they have/had aside but they are too much alike. Both of them are extremely stubborn and prideful. I learned early on that the concept "Do as I say, not as I do" is a load of sh*t.

Questionable Behavior Outside of Marriage

"My parents have 5 children between the two of them."

I wrote this earlier in this post. The reason is because I'm about 98.6% that I have a another sister that's maybe a couple months older than me. My mom pointed her out to me at PG Plaza when I was about 5 or 6 years old. Children are like sponges. They remember so much more than we give them credit for. At this point in my life I have enough siblings that I'm not that interested in getting to know more. I often times do wonder what it would be like to grow up in a household with a sister around my age.

Growing up in any of the aforementioned enviornments can be emotional destructive if not dealt with. It is especially hard for a child to know if they should love or hate their parents. They still love their parents but they hate the pain their parent's issues have caused them. Some children will develop the attitude that their parent's issues have nothing to do with them so they will love their parents regardless (this is my case). However, that attitude is another symptom of a dysfunctional environment. This does not mean that you won't be able to live a healthy life nor does it mean that you or any family members are dysfunctional. What it does mean is the elements that make up the family unit are dysfunctional.

So the question becomes how can one overcome growing up in functional dysfunctional household?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Game Show Wednesday-Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?

The next game show that I wanted delve further into is “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader”.

Each game is played by a single contestant (an adult) who earns money incrementally based on a payout ladder by answering simple trivia questions, with the game themed as a school quiz. Each question is associated with a grade level; there are two questions per grade, from first to fifth. The game relies on the premise that an adult would not know the information generally taught in elementary grade school, because it is rarely used in adult life by the type of person chosen to be a contestant. Therefore, the show is essentially a test to see how much an adult has retained since graduating elementary school.

Based on this show I think there are not only facts but life lessons that you acquired in elementary school that a lot of people have lost over their transition into adulthood. Let's examine some of these life lessons.

Sharing is Caring

If you look at a group of elementary school children it's amazing how simple things can go if scissors and crayons are shared. If your friend doesn't have enough glue why not use let them have some of yours? Sharing is indeed caring. Some people either never learned to share or completely forgot the concept as they got older. We have adults who don't know how to share anything. Some people wouldn't share a morsel of their food with a starving toddler from Ethiopia. My parents had 5 children (4 of them boys) so sharing was essential in my house hold. This is something that I still have not forgotten.

Don't take things that aren't yours

This is a kind way of saying "don't steal". Stealing is wrong on so many levels. I remember that one time I was in grade school and I got caught trying to steal a pack of Fruit Stripe gum. I got in so much trouble. Looking back on the situation, it wasn’t even worth it. I should have stolen a pack of Wrigley’s. Fruit Stripe gum loses it’s flavor in like 12 seconds.

A couple month’s ago I was in the mall and I had to use the bathroom. These two Latino teenagers were in the bathroom talking. As I was relieving myself I noticed one teenager putting an earring in his ear. The reason I knew this was because the other teenager complimented him on the size of the cubic zirconium. o_0 Not 15 seconds after the mall cop came in the bathroom and apprehended the teenager with the earring for stealing it from Macy’s. Crime pays until you get caught. Nothing is cool about being walked through a mall in handcuffs over some $15 earrings.

With that said I daydream often about being a caper like the Italian Job, Oceans 11-13 or The Inside Man Takers and knocking over a bank or casino. Now that is cool. Not realistic but cool nonetheless.

Don’t be a bully

I really despise bullies. No matter what age, they just bother me. Perhaps it was because I was bullied in grade school until I picked the biggest one out the bunch and knocked him out. They stopped picking on me after that day, which is what I expected. Bullies are really cowards.

As children it’s hard to decipher if you are being a bully or not. Often, actions start out just being fun, but may at some point actually turn into bullying. I was taught that if you are not sure whether something can be classified bullying, stop and think and ask yourself these questions:

~Are my actions or words hurting someone else's feelings?

~Are my actions or words hurting someone else physically or making that person feel afraid?

~Would I want someone else to do this to me?

~Am I unfairly taking my anger out on someone?

~Am I trying to control someone against his or her will?

Based on these questions I know quite a few bullies that are adults. This is a shame. There are bullies in the workplace, in college, hell there are twitter bullies. I still feel the same way about these types of people. Cowards. All of them. You worry you are inferior in some sort of way so you try to draw attention away from you and place it on you so your shortcomings won’t come to light.

Do you know any selfish people? Thieves? Bullies? Are there anymore life skills/lessons that you think people have forgotten or never learned?