Category Archives: Lists

Amazing Blogger Tag!

I’m alive! I am getting over a head cold precipitated no doubt by burning the candle at both ends AND in the middle. Back to back weekends in New York (weekend update coming soon) and a hellacious pace at both clients. I don’t get sick often and pride myself on fighting illness off pretty well, but this one laid me out flat. But, I’m alive!

First order of business, everyone go and order your Ubuntu shirt now, then come back and let’s jibber jabber. My Semester At Sea colleagues John Paul and Shannon are serious about this thing. Plus there’s a cute pic of Archbishop Tutu aka “Toots” so…Go. Seriously!

Okay, now that you’re looking good in your new socially-concious duds, let’s get on with the gettin’ on.

I was tagged by fellow blogger, former Gadling colleague and LA hangout buddy Adrienne as an Amazing Blogger! This honor apparently comes with the dubious duty to “confess” seven “weird” or random facts about myself. As if yall didn’t already know enough? First, I’m going to tag…Liz, a funny girl from Canada (or America North as I like to call it) as an Amazing Blogger too!

1. I have two middle names. The first is the one that you know me by, the second only 10 people in the world know. I only recently found out at my mother’s mother’s funeral, that that second name comes from my great-grandmother.

2. No, I will not tell you what it is. And yes, thanks to the Homeland Security Act it is now on my Driver’s License.

3. I always travel with small candles when I am staying at hotels. I like the calming ambiance, the fragrance, and even if you’re alone it’s kind of sexy! But I also travel with febreeze and house-slippers, so maybe I’m just a nut.

4. The middle name that you know me by means something positive in several languages:

Yoruban: Champion or “First”

Spanish: Day

Hindi: Candle or “Light”

So I like to champion the first light of day, which makes sense, seeing as how I’m an early bird.

5. I do not like the texture of apples or pears, and am in fact, allergic to uncooked apples. However, I do, on occassion, enjoy a slice of apple pie with Vanilla ice cream.

6. I pretend to be competitive, but really I couldn’t give a $h1t most of the time. Except, when it comes to Uno and Dominoes, then I’m insufferably competitive.

7. I made my entreprenuerial debut when I was 9, selling hamsters/gerbils to neighborhood kids for .50 cents each. That is, until my parents found out when one got loose in the house, and all hell broke loose. My second venture was selling colored paper for .05 cents each during the paper-airplane, four corners/truth box craze of ’83. I was 10. At 11 my parents had to shut down my marble re-sale ring because kids were pilfering their parent’s rent money to buy a pringle’s can worth of rare marbles for $20-$50/can. So, I think I’ve always had the entreprenuerial bug.

Yall tell me some weird facts about YOU! Come on now, this is a Community, with a capital “C”!

Evidence of a Life Well Lived, or Debauchery..

Things that Actually Came Out of People’s Mouths:

  1. The first time I went to jail…
  2. Did anyone’s underwear come off?
  3. Work is like school without the chocolate milk, the playground and the nap. School pretty much rocked.
  4. New love is like a Slimfast shake, it’s probably healthier than what you had before, but you’ll probably be looking around for something that’s no good for you in a couple of hours.
  5. I love you, and I would bail you out of jail, but we can’t be discussing why we have to throw away your bloodstained shirt.
  6. All Black people receive Mary J. Blige’s cd’s as soon as a new one comes out…it’s one of the perks.
  7. I don’t want to marry her, but she doesn’t need to know that!
  8. Yeah, if you ever want to get lucky, don’t say that. In fact, silence is sexy.
  9. My idea of a perfect relationship is from 6-10. No, not people, 6-10pm. Dinner, wine, listen to a little NPR, then s/he has to go home. No rolling around in my 400 threadcount sheets.
  10. She’s crazy, and I mean crazy crazy, not the good kind of crazy!

Things that Actually Came Out of My Mouth:

What I said: It’s good to hear your voice

What I meant: I miss you

What I said: I miss you

What I meant: I wish you were here

What I said: I wish you were here

What I meant: I wish you were here right now

What I said: That sounds interesting

What I meant: That sounds terrible

What I said: I think we can make that happen

What I meant: Call me when you figure that out

What I said: You owe me $79.00

What I meant: Where’s my moolah punk?


Crazy Stew

Life is kind of chill these days, lots going on, but no one thing is out of control, I feel dare I say…balanced…sort of? I LOVED the response to the last blog entry. I’m always fascinated by what people like to read and how they came to love the habit. I think Erica said somewhere that book recommendations are like wine, totally dependent upon personal taste. I LOVE Shiraz for example, but you can keep your bottle of Beaujolaise! But I digress. I leave you with a “stew” of things that are amusing, disturbing, and hopefully interesting. At the worst, you’ll kill 10 minutes of your workday!

[1] My friend and Semester at Sea Colleague Michael Maniates has an article in the Washington Post (WaPo) about how our need for ‘easy’ ways to go green, isn’t actually getting anything done. He’s smart + funny, so you’ll enjoy him as much as I do!

[2] Speaking of articles, yall know I love Malcolm Gladwell, who do I love MORE than Malcolm? David Sedaris of course, who has a hilarious piece in Esquire titled: “Six to Eight Black Men” and it is as ridonkulous (as SpinChick would say) as it sounds.

[3] I’m a badass/dumbass (take your pick).

Example number one: I was out until almost 2am on Friday night/Sat a.m. and my friend/colleague SpinChick still managed to drag me to an 8am Spin Class. I wasn’t particularly conversant at that time but I do remember mumbling something about “I hate your guts” but I’m not sure. At one point I looked over and she had rolled up her right t-shirt sleeve and she had a fake tattoo of a diesel truck on her bicep and I almost fell off the bike laughing.

Example number two: I went to bed considerably earlier on Saturday night but with more wine in my system (what?! you’ve never heard of the wine diet? it’s kind of like south beach with less food and more tannins) and managed to make it to the 9am Spin Class with KJ in tow. There were no fighting words or fake tattoos that time. But lots and lots of 80’s classic rock music.

Example number three: I am doing an Introductory Karate course in the Shorin Ryu style and I’m enjoying it. But every now and then I get the feeling that I’m a little too old to be messing around with this. My 23 year old private tutor has been studying this style for….16 years and after a workout with him on Friday night I finally understood the reasoning behind hip replacement surgery. So if you see me hobbling down the street with an uneven gait…don’t even stop to say Hi, just keep it moving and let me live my teenaged dreams in my (near) middle-aged body.

[4] I finished Kickboxing Geishas and I It was a fun, fast read and having been to a couple of the cities in Japan that the author visits made it more accessible. Definitely a recommended read for any Japanophiles. I am hoping to keep my eyes open long enough to start Stumbling on Happiness.

[5] I have a good friend who has returned to the often baffling, sometimes seedy and always entertaining world of dating. I have decided that observing a close friend date and experiencing their ups and downs is WAYYYYY better than actually doing it myself. All the fun, none of the expense and no STDs!

Speaking of dating, here’s two quotes that will be not at all applicable to my dear readers:

1. “You don’t pay prostitutes to sleep with you, you pay prostitutes to LEAVE.” (from the film Four Brothers which I watched saturday night w/ KJ).

2. “You’ll always lose money chasing women, but you’ll never lose women chasing money.”

There you have it folks! Words to live by! Aren’t you glad you checked in? Don’t worry about that slimy, nauseous feeling, it’ll pass!

Hey, can someone buy this for me? I heard this record out at a martini bar recently, and I must make it mine!


Get Your Bookworm On

The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays

Erica and her boo were talking about their reading habits, how it developed, what they’re reading now and the obstacles to a more robust bibliophilic life. They’ve also taken up a reading challenge which I think is a cool way to push yourself.

I developed the reading habit early on, praised for my abilities in first grade, that compliment fueled an above average vocabulary and a voracious appetite for books. My room as a teenager would be pretty spotless, but if you looked under my bed…dozens of books. My favorites were Judy Blume, Madeline L’Engle and then Stephen King. But I read almost anything, trashy romances, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, whatever.

I never developed much of a TV habit, even now I haven’t seen my favorite shows (Grey’s Anatomy or 30 Rock) in weeks but I almost always have a book going. I just finished Tourist Season: Stories by Enid Shomer, which I’d recommend if you are into short, character driven stories. I liked it but probably won’t read it again. Prior to that I was reading The Between Boyfriends Book (hilarious!) and Female Chauvanist Pigs (hilarious but smart!) at the same time, which I tend to do, read a “light” tome and something “heavier” at the same time. Sometimes I’ll have 3 books going at once.

Like most readers I have both a physical pile of “To Be Read” and an Amazon Wishlist full of dream books. I’m starting Kickboxing Geishas tonight which I’m looking forward to and I owe a copy of FCP to a friend who is in grad school, but I might have to buy her her own copy because I CAN see reading this one again.

Some of my favorite books of all time:

The World According To Garp, A Prayer For Owen Meany, IT, The Secret History, The Vintner’s Luck, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Honeymoon With My Brother, PUSH, Holidays On Ice, A Memory of Running, Children of Ham, The Alchemist, Vagabonding, The Power of One, The Bible (seriously) and The Way Forward is With a Broken Heart.

One book I’ve tried to read twice and just give up on: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt.

Book Bandwagon that I haven’t jumped on: Harry Potter.

Let’s hear some of yours…

Oh and also, if you are a reader have you ever seriously dated a non-reader or someone with lopsided reading habits from your own? For example, one of my exes didn’t read alot of books but was a ravenous newspaper nerd, another ex doesn’t read alot of fiction but is into finance, real estate and personal development stuff. I was joking with a friend recently and we both agreed that we have fallen a little bit in lurve with someone based solely on their bookshelf. I know, I’m so shallow!


Amen to That


add more wine, originally uploaded by funchilde.

[1] Thanks to everyone for the well wishes and support for my Mom and My Grams. Things are still kind of ??? but, holding steady for the moment and sometimes that’s like the best thing in the world isn’t it?

[2] Happy Belated Birthday to my most loyal Blog Reader and favorite Ex-Mother-in-Law: Ms. Darleen! In the midst of the madness I totally forgot her special day which I haven’t done in…what 10 years? I’m not going to worry about early-heimers just yet.

[3] Thanks to one of my best buds The Entreprenuer (TE) who called me on Friday afternoon and said:

TE: What are you doing?
Me: I’m at work fool! What are YOU doing?
TE: I’m gonna hop the 8pm flight up to New England, pick me up at the airport.

Fortunately, TE and I are very similar in temperament and expectations and whenever I started to plan out the day(s) she would yell “Quit Planning!” and well, everything worked out. It was just what I needed after the emotional upheaval of the previous week, all the travel of the previous weeks and the fact that there are 4 black folks up here and a familiar caramel brown face was much appreciated and needed more than I knew.

[4] FYI, Heineken Light is awesome. sort of. You can drink 3 in a row, not blow your calorie budget, your cash budget or your “cookies” –whatever that means to you–however you will also not: a) look at all cool b) get any kind of buzz and c) you WILL have to pee seventy-eleven times that night. Just thought you might want to know. 99 calories of goodness. Oh…I just found out Rolling Rock Light only has 86 calories!

[5] The Entreprenuer & I met up with Papaya (1 of the 4 other brown people in town) and her colleague McNutts for drinks and dinner, wherein we discussed: a) Best Dates b) Worst Dates c) Gay Male Identifying paraphenelia (sp?) d) My firmly held belief that anyone who doesn’t own Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” album is not “dateable” e) the clarification of “Back Room Racoon” –I can’t even get into that right now f) How I am determined to set Papaya up with one of my best friends aka “The Attorney” because “The Doctor” is currently in lurve with a woman he met at the Burning Man festival and g) Papaya’s firmly held belief that anyone who attends or wants to attend the Burning Man Festival is not “dateable”…, I may not have learned anything, but at least I only consumed 297 beer related calories. Amen to That!

Wish You Were Here


hard rock hotel pool, originally uploaded by funchilde.

[1] Dear Hard Rock Hotel, I am enamored of your pool area. However, all of your waitstaff look like extras from a bad teen Disney movie. I am impressed with your level of open-mindedness. I’m not sure I would’ve hired the guy with the tattoos on his neck, arms and knuckles. I was however, mildly amused that his right-hand knuckles sported to word “lost” and those on his left hand “soul.” Truth in advertising never ceases to amaze me, tell “Dru” I said hi. You all do however, brew the best iced-tea ever.

[2] Dear Ford & Volvo motor company(ies), Thank you for throwing the best “Grown and Sexy” party I’ve been to ever. I thoroughly enjoyed the indoor/outdoor fabulousness of the Blue Martini lounge. Your choice of DJ was superb, a mix of old school hip hop and R&B including a “Tupac retrospective” and an “ode to Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” album”-brilliant.

Also, your signature martini with the flashing blue “ice-cube”…lovely, in form and function. Thanks for the free drink tickets. We tipped Tiffany VERY well, considering we ate our weight in meatballs, german chocolate cake and had a “never ending” dirty martini (damn you Nate, Tammy & B!).

[3] Dear Shaquille O’Neal & Penny Hardaway, Thank you for gracing the Blue Martini lounge with your very tall presence. I’m just as glad as you are that everyone kept their cool, noone bothered you and that VIP was stocked with food to fill your ginormous bodies. I hope that you both avoid unwanted stalkers, paternity suits, STD’s and late night phone calls from all of the ladies throwing themselves at you. But you’re probably used to that by now.
[4] Corey Bayne Wowers (name changed to protect the guilty), Thank YOU for the most hilarious quotes of the week. You easily topped last year’s gems by being both endearingly ghetto-country fabulous and street-smart. My favorites (I swear this was from an actual conversation):

“I shoot good with a shotgun!”
“I swear, dude was fishin’ out the car window while we was ridin’ down the highway.”
“My wife is country, she can cook ANYTHING.”
“I don’t do violence against women, but a man…..he fair game.”
“I had to take off my clothes, so the cops couldn’t see me. It was night time.”
”With the right seasonings, alligator taste pretty much like chicken.”

[5] Stella, I don’t even know what to say. Pure foolishness and comedy. Thanks for dinner. You owed me after sticking me with that lunch check. Who orders a “triple” cocktail? You.

[6] Dear bed, I love you. I want to take you out behind a middle school and get you pregnant*.
*30 Rock Reference

[7] Denny’s we do not love you. Fortunately your more attractive cousin, IHOP, came to our rescue. Along with Tammy’s pleading and the driver.ever. I’m not sure that there’s anything better than french toast at 3am.

[8] Akil & Siddiq, how did you manage to escape my camera lens? And Siddiq, how many martinis did you have before you took this photo?

[9] Dear Reader, yes, yes in fact I DID get some work done!

PS: Happy Birthday DAD!!

To Whom It May Concern


Cabs, originally uploaded by shinya.

[1] Dear NY Taxi Cab Drivers, thanks for going on strike during Fashion Week. My 11pm ride on the 6 Train has scarred me for life. I am somewhat ashamed that I pretended to be asleep when the beggar came through the subway car asking for “anything…even a quarter.”

[1a] Dear Philly Taxi Cab Drivers, thank YOU for not going on strike until I left.

[2] Dear Douchebag in front of me on flight 1913, thanks for reclining your seat as far as you could so that I had the best view of your male pattern baldness, couldn’t reach my drink, or open my laptop. Charming.

[3] Dear Miami, please make every one of your residents re-take Driver’s Ed. I’m particularly concerned about their ability to “merge.”

[4] Dear Hampton Inn Manhattan. I love you. Thanks for the USA Today AND the Wall Street Journal. And Breakfast. I want to take you out behind a middle school and get you pregnant*.

[5] Dear Devil Toddler, aside from being the most unpleasant two year old I’ve ever met, I want to thank you for going after my glass of red wine, and flinging most of my delicious, delicious nectar on your grandmother during our flight. She was amused, I am not. You owe me $5.00.

*30 Rock reference

It looks like I’ll be adding Washington DC to that list of places I’ll be visiting this month too!

On The Road Again (4 Work)

New York

And that’s just THIS month! Fortunately I love what I do, so that makes it easy and I’ve been traveling my entire career except for the very first year, so now I know someone or someplace I love in almost every city I have to visit. Cool.

[2] On the up side I found out that Stella will be in Orlando so we’ll get to cut up in yet another state together. So much for sleep, credit limits, and a healthy diet. I don’t think we could possibly top last year’s shenanigans (sp?) in Atlanta and I’m too old to want to try.

[3] I actually used the phrase “I’m old enough to be your mama.” this past weekend. And it was true. I got carded buying some wine for an event and a 16 year old asked me if I was still in College or Grad School.

[4] Does anybody else love Hampton Inn hotels as much as I do? Probably not, but you should.

[5] Five things I can’t travel (4 work) without:

1. Delsey hardcase rolling suitcase in electric blue.
2. Mentha Lip Shine Lip Gloss
3. Sleep mask for trains/planes
4. iPod
5. A Book

What Five things must you have when you travel? Keep it clean folks!

#2: Sailing Around the World w/ Archbishop Tutu

I have better pictures of him than this one. But this one totally captures the spirit and energy that Archbishop brought to the ship. Some of the students and staff lovingly nicknamed him “Toots” which I thought was funny, but out of deference (sp?) I could never bring myself to say.

It was phenomenal to have him on board for a number of reasons, both personal and professional.

1. His spirit and energy are one of the reasons that the executive team believes that we had such a phenomenal voyage. We had very few major issues/disasters to deal with and didn’t dismiss anyone for academics or behavior which is unheard of.

2. Spiritual advisor. Archbishop hosted “church” on Sundays for small groups of people. A wonderful sunrise fellowship and nice way to start the day. He also performed a ship-wide Easter Sunday service which was beautiful, funny and ended with a moment of reflection and tossing carnations into the sea off the back deck.

3. Celebrity. Actually this was a non-issue. Everyone treated him like he was just…another voyager, of course people wanted to share meals, etc. but I was proud of the fact that as a community we didn’t overreact to having Archbishop on board. People were respectful and he was so visible and always about that we spent plenty of time with him. Even when we found out he had won the Gandhi Peace Prize, we were cool. When we found out he was doing a Vanity Fair spread w/ Brad Pitt photographed by Annie Leibowitz…we were a little less cool, but still cool.

4. One to one. I still can’t believe that I had dinner at his home, with his wife and friends. I can’t believe I got to attend his Church in Capetown, I had breakfast or dinner with him several times on board, he and I always put our hands together when we passed each other in the hallway, we didn’t even have to stop, we just pressed our knuckles together, smiled and kept on going. He touched my face one day and told me I had a nice smile and beautiful complexion. He autographed a book for my mom. He prayed over us all and led our shipboard tribute for Virginia Tech.

5. He inspired the students to create a plan of action to protest the situation in Burma. That is still developing, the students are still going full steam using technology such as Facebook and conference calls to get the leadership together. It has been inspiring to watch them grow with his tuttelage.

Educator, Mentor, Pastor, Friend, Shipmate. Toots.

#3: Kids Around the World

Now, as a self-admitted “own child-a-phobe” I am actually quite enamored of children. Especially other people’s children. I was raised to respect little people as just that…deserving respect and to be heard as much as any adult.

Some people pointed out that I did not blog about some places. Vietnam was one of those. For a few reasons I just didn’t get the chance to share my love of Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon with the world. The main one being that I did my service visits in this port. I spent one day at a School for the Disabled (I’m not sure how I feel about that term, is it right? I mean they taught ME how to tell them my name using American Sign Language (ASL)) and another at a Day School which had kids from all socio-economic brackets.

Those kids and we loved every minute of it. Kids everywhere are the same, unbiased, affectionate, curious, kind-hearted, hard headed, desiring to give and receive love. I still don’t want any of my own, but I had a great time playing with kids from Brazil to China. Peek-a-boo, the Hokey Pokey…magic, no matter what language barriers separate you. And little boys….all of them, I spent literally about an hour “playing” karate with these two. Thank God for my very own 10 year old nephew. I knew exactly what to do.

We loaded them up with stickers, pens, pencils, bubble gum, toothbrushes and one professor did magic tricks! the funny thing was that most of these kids have NOTHING, school isn’t free so their families are scraping together the $35 US/year it takes to send these guys and girls to school. Makes you appreciate our (admittedly) flawed but free and compulsory system here in the US huh? Anyway, I think that cheesey Whitney Houston song has it right…”I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way….”  Plus, they’re just so darn cute, it makes you feel like your heart will burst out of your chest.