Saturday, May 31, 2008


i think NOT! i saw the good negro instead, and i'll let you know that my ten dollars were much better spent.

i am a little drunk, so i won't say much now, but you should check out tracey scott wilson. and when the good negro is produced again (though, admittedly, tickets probably won't be 10 dollars then) you should see it. and you should hope the talent is as amazing as it was today (two words- anthony mackie). if it's not, though, that's okay because the writing was just amazing. A-MA-ZING. 2 hours and 45 minutes and i would have stayed for another hour if she would have answered my questions. straight up.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

as soon as i decide i have nothing to say

i have too much to say.

anyway, just a funny coincidence- today, after writing that totally gushy post about ta-nehisi coates' book a few days ago, i realized that dude is my neighbor! we work out at the gym at the same time every morning. :) today i saw him at the check-out desk, and everything clicked.

harlem is so very small sometimes.

the other thing i found myself doing today at the gym is wondering whether or not people can tell what my gym jam is just by reading my lips. because ta-nehisi demonstrated his formidable grasp on hip-hop during the reading, i figure whatever he calmly bops his head to as he jogs is impressive. i started to wonder if he can tell that i, 9 times out of 10, am "ellipting" (that's my word for what i do on the elliptical machine, btw) to "what have you done for me lately" by janet jackson. and i wonder if he thinks i'm less cool as a result.

i guess i'll just have to keep wondering on that one :).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

a quickie

i have to have children so i can read ta-nehisi coates' the beautiful struggle to them as a bedtime story.

tnc is kind of amazing. i saw him read at mcnally robinson in soho tonight. tears flow to my eyes easily, especially in the presence of beautiful words, and the author's eloquence moved me tonight as only beautiful prose can.

get a copy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

and i still haven't found what i'm looking for

i am losing interest in blogging, my friends. i am determined to enjoy this spring/summer/fall because last year's were so miserable, and that means spending lots of time outside and very little in. it means walking the streets of central harlem that i love, finding new community gardens, meeting new people, and greeting dogs and babies and toddlers and stray cats. it means drinking wine out of a water bottle with my friend in marcus garvey park. it means drinking tea at the harlem tea room. it means spending time at the gym and then walking down to the harlem meer to work out some more. it means wearing a bikini under my clothes because i look GOOD and i feel GOOD and i'm floridian, which means i can wear a bikini WHENEVER i want with no shame :).

we will see what i have to offer later on. maybe i'll start to pay more attention. but i may not. i may just comb my afro out and walk around happy as a lark because it's almost summer in the city.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

never making it

i've copied and pasted a great article on students not reaching 4 year colleges below. the article is from educationweek's "teacher magazine," and is written by renee moore. check it out- some of the facts about the history of public education in mississippi and the many very real barriers to students making it to college. (i'm obviously back to doing not a whole lot of anything at work this week...)

The Maze to the College Doorstep

class="byline"> By Renee Moore

My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. – Hosea 4:6

A report from Chicago, cited in a March 19 article in the Christian Science Monitor ("Why Good Students Don't Make It to College"), describes a big problem in our secondary schools, and uses big numbers.

In a three-year study, University of Chicago researchers found that 83 percent of Chicago Public School students aspired to a four-year degree, but about 40 percent of those don't even apply to any four-year college. In many instances, these students were the first in their families with college aspirations and lacked the home or school support necessary to face down the daunting college admissions process, including what the Monitor described as "the often-overwhelming Free Application for Federal Student Aid" or FAFSA.

These problems and numbers have names and faces. As a senior English teacher in rural Mississippi Delta high schools for many years, I have seen too many young people who had the potential (and the skills) to be successful in college, but never made it to the college campus. The reasons are as varied as they are troubling.

In every high school I've worked, there was one guidance counselor for 400-600 students. Since the counselor was also the designated building test coordinator, whenever any type of state assessment occurred, the counselor's office became a test-security zone. This took the counselor out of his or her guidance function for huge blocks of time each school year. Add in the required meetings, scheduling hassles, and paperwork demanded of the counselor, and there was precious little time left to actually counsel students.

As part of a partnership, publishes this regular column by members of the Teacher Leaders Network, a professional community of accomplished educators dedicated to sharing ideas and expanding the influence of teachers.

What time was available mostly went to serious counseling needs among our high-needs student body. Consequently, getting college planning information out in a timely manner was challenging. Sometimes, all seniors got was a last-minute call during the morning announcements, or a round-up of five or six of the top students just before a scholarship deadline.

Many of my senior students, including some high achievers, never took the college entrance test (the ACT in Mississippi). Most who did take it waited until the second semester of their senior year. Some did not understand why the test mattered; others had not decided whether they would attempt college. Some could not afford the test fee, and the school had run out of fee waivers. One group that we always seemed to have to push to take the ACT were the athletes. I've had so many players argue with me that they really didn't need to take the ACT—'that the colleges really wanted them to play, so the test score didn't matter. They believed their prowess trumped the need to prove academic ability (despite knowing NCAA rules required them to take the exam).

Many students qualified for admission to the nearby historically black college or either of the community colleges that served our county. Unfortunately, they were told by numerous uninformed sources (friends, relatives, even teachers) that these were inferior schools for those who couldn't handle "real" college.

We did have annual College and Career Days with representatives from several colleges in the state. But there was usually more activity around the booths of the military recruiters, especially for Reserves and National Guard. The big lures here were the promises of either training in an employable skill or money for college—promises that were not always kept. More than one of these students would come back later, sometimes in tears, when they learned they were being deployed to a war zone in a foreign country. All they had wanted was a way to afford more education.

One of the best students in my journalism class got accepted at one of the state's private black colleges with a full scholarship into the choral music program. His mother refused to sign any papers and put incredible pressure on him not to go. She had dropped out of school to marry young, only to have her husband leave her with five small boys. This college-bound son was the most dependable and hard-working of all her children. Her great fear was that he would earn a degree and begin to look down on her. She eventually won the battle, and he is now working in a lumber yard.

The Delta has one of the highest adult illiteracy rates in the country (40 percent). It has only been since the early 1970s that black students in the Delta were allowed to attend school for a full year. Prior to that, black schools were mandatorily shut down twice a year for several months, so the students could work the cotton fields with their families. Parents, many of whom have not attended college, are befuddled by the college admission process. One of the most daunting tasks is the completion of the FAFSA, required of all students before financial aid of any type is awarded.

I remember sitting in the school office with the counselor, trying desperately to convince several mothers that their government welfare payments would not be cut off (a common belief) if they completed the financial aid form. Many refused to give the information or sign these forms, effectively keeping their children out of college. It was also common among athletes who were thinking about college to hold off doing any of the admissions or financial aid paperwork because they believed (and with good reason) that the recruiting coach (who had expressed so much interest in them during the playoffs) was going to take care of everything.

Many good ideas have been suggested—and attempts made—to solve these problems of timing, information, and perception. The addition of technology (and part-time clerical help) to counselors' offices has freed them up to do more one-on-one work with students. Giving teachers more up-to-date information about college admissions and required coursework enables them to advise students earlier in their high school careers. Using college students who have effectively navigated the process to come back and mentor aspiring college-goers has also proven to be an effective intervention. One grant program, Jobs for Mississippi Graduates, is attempting to provide high-needs schools with a full-time person whose job is to teach, urge, and assist students as they work through the considerable barriers along the road to higher education. With such a person in place who deeply cares about their futures and has the time to turn that caring into action, we could really improve the numbers. But what happens when the grant ends?

Even with these improvements, the tremendous need for support among students and families with no college-going tradition can easily overwhelm the available resources. Too many of our students never make it through the maze to the college doorstep. Too many will be stacking lumber or going off to war because they made life-altering decisions based on poor information or wrong perceptions.

Everyone may not want or need to attend college, but those who do should be given the opportunity. What are we going to do about it?

the to-see list

i'm finally starting to get my love of movies back. it's one of the things i lost in the ex-aftermath, and the loss itself has kinda baffled me. i used to love seeing movies, alone or otherwise, and something about always having to go alone to slightly weird indie movies just never really put a smile on my single face. anyway. i'm back! and have a desire to see one (or five) movies that are out right now-->
  1. the visitor's trailer is REALLY CHEESY, but somehow i still think it's worth going to see. i just hope i won't come out with a weird need to play a djembe with an old white man.
  2. the edge of heaven just got a great review in new york magazine. so shoot me.
  3. indiana jones features one of my many boyfriends, shia labeouf. and yes, we have been together since even stevens ;).
  4. iron man. because i have to see it, right?
  5. and a jihad for love because my job deals quite a bit with islam, and i find myself wanting to learn more and more to counteract my previously deep ignorance of the religion and the culture that comes with it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

where the hell have i been?

to tell you the truth, i've been a lot of places.

for one, i've been at the gym a WHOLE lot. the cutest boy is there when i am now. and at the laundromat when i go on sundays. and suspiciously walking his (VERY CUTE) dog on my corner when i'm on my way to work. go figure :p.

for two, i've actually been doing my work? i've realized that the fact that i'm quitting in two months means that if i don't want to fuck the over whoever comes after me, i should wrap up all of my loose ends.

for three, i've actually been cooking. like breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7 days a week (and even dessert sometimes. michelle's blondie recipe, halved, makes perfect dessert for two with some left over for snacks for a few days, if you're interested). it has been a minute since i went out to eat, and my bank account has quite a bit to show for it :).

for four, my extracurricular life has gotten busier, with a new project on deck for the summer. again, social justice related, but this time with a focus on mainstream media. fun, but SO MUCH WORK.

for five, my brother graduated from grad school this weekend and will be attending georgetown law this fall! i went home to vegas to celebrate with him and the fam. jon is a nice boy, or an "IBM" as sanaa lathan might say :) (yes, i finally watched something new and i have yet to rinse the bad taste out of my mouth).

and don't worry, my google reader hasn't been getting any more love than flying solo has, so i'm behind all over the place. i will be back...

Friday, May 9, 2008

reasons to/not to watch cnn's american morning

1 reason to watch-

t.j. holmes. dude is fine. period.

1 reason not to watch-

they consider this news. now, i do agree it's entertaining, but it got almost as much air time in the 20 minutes i spent watching as did the storms last night in north carolina.

there seems to be something wrong with that.

on an unrelated note, my current gym music is the latest fader mag podcast. check it out.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


my friend jlp is a playwright. a playwright! i saw two actors perform a one-act by her, "laundry night," tonight at the hb playwrights foundation.

the show was great, and i am SO PROUD. my beautiful friend. i'm like a proud mama. :)

final cake shot

just because glazing a bundt cake makes me feel like a "proper" southern lady. though the stereotype for my demographic might be more of a "mammy" thing. either way, don't get any ideas, reader. i bake because i like to eat.

yes, you wish you were here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

late night food post

as i wait for my double chocolate peppermint chip cake to cool, i thought i'd share some of the food pics i've taken over the last week. check 'em out-

homemade tortilla chips frying. yum.

more delectable food photos after the jump...

mmm. chips is done.

hennepin bubbles. pretty, pretty beer.

nachos and eggs for brunch.

yummy yummy cake batter before white- and bittersweet-chocofying...

yummy yummy baked cake

i'm eating quite well, though happiness hasn't really come to visit in awhile. chocolate cake always helps, though, so after the office party tomorrow i'll be darned if i don't get the spirits up...

definitely challenging

a 9 year old's parents approached school officials in haverford, pa to ask for the school's help in their child's transition from dressing as a boy to dressing as a girl. i'm not sure how i would deal with the issue. (or how i could see any school i've ever worked in dealing with it!). this school chose to have an assembly for all the students, explaining the situation and asking the children to refrain from using unkind words. apparently (and unsurprisingly) the kids are doing a better job of this than their parents are. kudos to the child's parents for taking a stand for their baby.

the article is definitely worth a read.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


lupe and matthew santos doing "superstar." h/t to dork magazine.

smile on my face

leave it to colbert to produce the first smile on my face in a few days.

colbert vs. rain. dance-off. i just have to say, rain is not that good-- he's kind of like michael jackson with a ponytail. weird. his feet seem too big, or something.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

still mourning

and struggling with nervous energy. hardly made it out of the apartment this weekend. made it to the laundromat, to the grocery store. that's about it. i have eaten fairly well, though, and i'm thinking i'll share those pictures with y'all sometime soon.

things i'm excited about-

Saturday, May 3, 2008

i was going to write a post about tortilla chips

but when i called my mom to tell her how good my homemade tortilla chips are, she told me that she just got a call telling her that my 13 year old cousin william passed away this morning. he'd been struggling with leukemia for about a year.

somehow my formerly delicious chips have lost their flavor.

goodbye william. i miss you.

Friday, May 2, 2008

friday fun fact: don't try these at home

my coworker kevin brought some of these nasty things into the office today. because of our proximity to 34th street, people are always bringing nasty free samples into the office- once i brought salt-and-vinegar flavored crickets. yesterday was kevin's turn. i tried one of the "lemon lift" engobi, and not only was it one of the nastiest things i've ever tasted, it actually gave me a headache. also, the fine print notes that children and pregnant/nursing women shouldn't eat engobi. i, of course, missed that until after i ate the nasty thing. note to the entrepreneurial-minded out there: "infusing" drugs into food seems like a really bad idea.