Where can I get a cut?

Posted: September 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

Down to the waves, even all the way around, no side-burns and square fade the back…The Dark Caesar.

Do you have any idea what that is?  If the answer is yes, you’re probably a black male and you’ve spent your fair share of time in a black barbershop. If the answer is no, pay close attention. You’re about to get schooled on the in’s and out’s of one of the most (if not THE) sacred places in a black man’s world. Now, I’ll be very honest and say that I struggled mightily with this narrative.  I’ve been going to the barbershop for over 20 years and that makes it very tough to be objective without allowing my personal experiences and feelings skew my interpretation of what a black barbershop is and isn’t.  Then again, any black man would feel the same way so I enlisted the help of an outside consultant to take you on this fantastic voyage into the heart of black culture.

I’d like to introduce Dr. J. Dr. J. is a dear friend and Ph.D. in political science. His expertise is in Racial and Ethnic Politics, Women and Politics and Urban Politics.  He’s an avid Philadelphia sports fan and pulls for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame almost as hard as anyone I know.  You can find him at spitting hot fire to underclassmen at a university near you where he is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science department.  Trust me, he can hold his own against anyone on an episode of I Know Black People.

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Preview to the Barbershop

Posted: September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

Adding the finishing touches to tomorrow’s blog post but here’s a little snippet of what’s to come..

My first experience with a black barber shop was out of necessity.  After having the bright idea of wanting to sport a Mohawk I quickly realized that this wasn’t something I could pull off on my own.  I shared my plan with Alvin who recommended I go visit his barber, he gave me the number and I called.  So one Friday afternoon I rolled over to the shop on Cobb Parkway, I pulled up and all seemed normal.  I walk around and this uneasy feeling set in, I thought nothing of it and whipped open the door.  This is when I realized that I wasn’t in my run of the mill Super Cuts or Sports Clips, this was in fact a full on black barber shop.  My heart immediately started racing and I realized that every single person (10-15 black men) in that barber shop was starring directly at me.  Not only was everyone staring at me, but I distinctly remember hearing at least 2 pairs of clippers turn off when I walked in.  One of the most uncomfortable situations I’ve ever been in.  Standing in the door one of the older guys says to me “umm can we help you?” My response was but a whisper and went something along the lines of “um, well, can I have a Mohawk please.”  I stood waiting for a response, any response.  Finally one guy said take a seat and we’ll be right with you.  I was in!

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Dance Dance (R)evolution

Posted: September 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

If you’re from Atlanta then you remember, love and miss the rap group Goodie Mob.  Even though this is totally unrelated to this post, allow me to school you on this 4-man group. Goodie Mob stands for “the GOOD DIE Mostly Over Bullshit” and is comprised of Khujo, T-Mo, Big Gipp and Cee-Lo Green before he was 1/2 Gnarls Barkley.  They pumped out bangers such as Soul Food, Cell Therapy, Dirty South, Black Ice and Beautiful Skin between 1994 and 1998-ish.  Goodie Mob along with Outkast (Dungeon Family!) paved the way for the south to takeover hip-hop.

***I, along with my two buddies Zach and Kyle, have had shot with Cee-Lo and Khujo.  Kyle may or may not have recited Goodie Mob lyrics to them but this definitely happened at Atkins Park: the best bar ever.***

But back to my original point, when did we stop dancing?

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Strawberry Swingin’

Posted: August 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

4:23am CST on August 12, 2011.  This was the time when I arrived at my new abode in my new city, Austin, TX.  It has been exactly 2 weeks since my arrival and I feel that enough time has passed for me to objectively reflect on beginning of the newest chapter in my life story.

***Note: I am writing this post from the Red McCombs College of Business on the campus of the University of Texas. Never. Graduate.***

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Stand Up For Your Writes

Posted: July 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s been about a week short of a month since my last post…get over it.

Ok, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ve decided that there has to be a more efficient way to keep up with posts than the systematic status quo.  I get these awesome ideas about cool things to write about on the daily.  But, instead of actually WRITING something, I keep a list of topics/blog starters.  The list has gotten into the double digits yet nothing is getting written.  That’s the problem with lists; they give us something easy to do instead of actually getting something done but, I digress. I’ve decided that the best way to get these thoughts out to you beautiful people is to just write when the spirit moves or grooves me.

So, here we go…

I met a little chica tonight.  Now, in a city like ATL, meeting a chica isn’t much to write about.  They come a dime a dozen as the female to male ratio is something like 4:1 and, for the most part, the women here take good care of themselves.  First look hot is quite prevalent in this town.  But, back to my point, I met my Spottieottiedopaliscious angel at the bar while I was out for a buddy’s “welcome back to civilization after being bed-ridden post surgery for a month” outing.  A bit of a stretch? Yeah, I think so, but I wasn’t going to NOT go out so out I went.  I spent the majority of the night just laying low, enjoying my Crown on the rocks (all thriller, no filler) and engaging in some serious people watching.  Then, an hour after I told myself I was going home, I found myself sitting at the bar and here she comes plopping herself down right next to me.  Cutie and I start talking and, low and behold, we have a situation on our hands!

So the chica and I are talking about this that and the third and a few thoughts cross my mind.  1. She’s cute. 2. We have a lot in common. 3. Holy hell, I’m moving in approximately a month. 4. Where do I know this girl from?  Let’s pay attention to both points 3 & 4.  Yes, I’m moving to Austin, Te-has in a month.  Great life choice but it makes these conversations a bit, well…awkward.  Point numero quatro, it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to get some repeats in a small town like ATL.  There are a shit-ton of people here but I find that, moreover, you see the same people out and about on a fairly regular basis.  Outside of this notion, I felt as if I hadn’t just seen this girl before but we had actually had some interaction on some level at some time before tonight (pardon my vagueness). We chat, we laugh, we exchange numbers agree that I am to call her at the end of the weekend so we can get together next week–all of which is A-O-K in my book (we’ll let her know that I’m skipping town when it becomes absolutely necessary).  Now here’s where the tricky part comes in…

I get home and type her first name into the ol’ Facebook machine.  Granted, all I know is the first name, where she went to school and what region of the U.S.A. she is from. But, low and behold, as I type in her first name and first name only, a profile pops up with 8 F.I.Cs. (friends in common). Sink. My. Battleship. She’s friends with some friends on mine and it clicks where I’ve (briefly) met her before.  So, naturally, I text my buddy and request that he calls me in the morning as I want/need background information.  But a few minutes later, I decide that, “you know what, Alvin, what does it matter?  All you’re going to get is what he thinks/knows about her and that’s not fair.  Everyone should have a chance to make a first impression and she made a great one tonight.”  So that’s where we stand.  Tomorrow morning, my buddy is going to call me inquiring about who the chica was and I’m not going to tell him.  I like playing a little get to know you–it doesn’t happen nearly enough because of situations just like this.  It might come up in a conversation between her and he someday but right now it doesn’t matter.  I don’t need to friend her, stalk her, and ultimately judge her by what’s on the interweb.  Nor do I need to crucify or praise her for what my buddy says about her. I will allow this to mature organically and just see what happens.

Until then, I’ll write it on my own time…

Hello again friends.  Today we will break away from the “what’s going on with me” vibe and go a little more…topical.

Spring has officially sprung (hell, it was summer hot last week) and that means festivals, pools, and the ever so popular trips to Turner Field to cheer on the Atlanta Braves.  It is a well known fact that while I am a fan of all things sports related, I do not particularly fancy baseball.  Do I understand the game?  Yes.  Do I know generally what’s going on in the MLB from week to week?  Yes. But I don’t derive much enjoyment from sitting out in the sun for 3-3.5 hours to watch roughly 14 minutes of action. I will say it’s a great way to kill a few hours and trading barbs about trivial nonsense is sometimes very entertaining…but not if the game is a 1:05pm start in the middle of June.  Thanks but no thanks; I’ll pass. All of this has no bearing on my main point which is uniforms and jerseys and when I feel they should be worn.

***Disclaimer: I might offend a few of you who like to rock a uni from time to time.  Please note that this isn’t a personal attack, it’s just how I feel.  We can still be friends.***

Now this isn’t just a baseball issue.  This goes for football, basketball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, etc…If the sport has a uniform then this rule can be applied: if you are a MALE and old enough to carry a learners permit in your wallet, then you are too old to be wearing another mans name across your back.  Period. I feel that at that age (roughly 15 years old) it’s time to start making a name for yourself and becoming your “own man.” Also, it perpetuates the issue of players putting themselves before their teams.  As an (ex) athlete, I always played for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. I support schools that choose not to put the names of their players on the uniforms and I also applauded when Randy Shannon (ex coach of the University of Miami football team) took the names off of the uniforms to emphasize the commitment to team (I’m sure Phil Knight did not).  But, much like any other rule, there are exceptions.

1. Women can wear whatever they want.  I personally feel that a woman in one of those kids or women’s size jerseys is pretty damn cute.

2. Throwback jerseys are acceptable.  Let’s say once a player is eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot, their uniform can be considered and “throwback” and is then wearable.  This is usually 5 years after they have officially retired. ANNNNNNND it has to be a re-released OFFICIAL throwback.  I’m talking legit Mitchell & Ness and not one you’ve been saving for 17 years.

3. I support all team paraphernalia just as long as there is no name on the back.  Uniform that’s blank on the back (you see that in soccer), uniform with number and no name (college) or even a t-shirt of some sort all works for me.

4. The rule is lifted for any and all pranks or theme days/parties.

5. Personalized uniforms with your name and favorite number on the back don’t violate the rule but it’s just stupid so stay away from it.

I can honestly say, for a fact, that I have NEVER owned a jersey with a players name on the back.  Soccer jersey with a blank backside–yep.  College hoops jersey with just a number on the back–uh huh. But never, not a once, have I, will I, or let my unborn son wear one.

Man up!

Let’s catch up, shall we…

The past few weeks have been filled with a fair amount of joy and excitement.  Basically, a lot of WINNING.  My kickball team won our park championship 2 weekends ago and will compete in city tournament next weekend.  My ALTA (tennis) team has advanced to the city finals this weekend (9am @ Blackburn Tennis Center in Brookhaven, if you’re interested).


And to top it all off, I graduated and “got my letters” last night.  I’m a “master” of business administration, or whatever that means.  I’m not sure what it is but lately I’ve been feeling rather jaded about accomplishments.  In regards to the graduation thing, I’ve received a fair amount of congratulatory support over the past 2 weeks.  It has all been greatly appreciated but for some reason I just can’t get jazzed up about it. But let me back up and tackle this in some sort of systematic order.

How about a weekend review first? I went out with some childhood friends on Friday night.  When I say childhood I mean “we grew up in the same neighborhood and went to elementary and middle school together” childhood.  That was fun…too much fun, actually.  I woke up on Saturday morning with a vicious hangover/still partially inebriated and had to play a quarterfinal  tennis match at 10:30.  I didn’t play my best tennis and almost put my team in jeopardy of losing and failing to advance to the semifinal round. Luckily, my teammates bailed me out and we were able to get the overall team victory.  I can’t even explain how ashamed I was of myself.  Going out hard the night before a match, in particular a playoff match, is something that I just don’t do.  We all depend on each other to put forth our best effort each Saturday and I let my partner (Mike D) and my team down.  So, on Saturday night, I promised them I would stay in and be ready to roll on Sunday.  While I was home by 10:30 on Saturday night, I was able to check out the Kickboard Kouture trunk-show at Aurum Lounge.  My buddy does marketing for them so anytime I can show some support I try to do so.

So that brings us to Sunday, which was also mother’s day.  The whole family came to the city to watch us play the semifinal match at Ansley Park and we dropped the hammer on those dudes.  Complete redemption for myself and Mike D as we went straight wax-on, wax-off on some crafty old guys. And that brings me to my first point of dissonance: tennis. This isn’t the first time our team has been successful.  We won the city championship last summer and are competing in the state tournament in 2 weeks down in Macon.  But I will say of all the good fortune that has come my way over the past few weeks, I take the most pride in the tennis.  It has been a part of my life for a very long time so I relate to being a tennis player more than almost anything I can think of.

Ok, kickball.  Team Baby Nate ran through the Saturday Lynwood league like Freddie Krueger in the rainforest.  I use this comparison as a player on the team we destroyed in the finals described playing us as “running into a buzz-saw.”  Yep, that’s what happened. With an undefeated record and a run differential of 85-12 over 10 games, I’d say everyone got a piece of the buzz-saw known as Baby Nate. We will be taking our show to the city tournament on May 21st and looking to serve any and everyone who gets in our way.  But, again, a tad bit melancholy as EVERY TEAM WE PLAYED WAS AWFUL.  Not 1 or 2 of them but all of them.  I’ve played on some good kickball teams before and against some pretty good competition, but I can’t gauge how good this squad really is because of how poor our opponents have been.  I guess we’ll find out in a few weeks but I will say I love playing and hanging out with this crew.  This has by far been the most fun I’ve had playing kickball in a very long time.  NATE’S RISE UP!

Last but not least: graduation.  I heard a statistic yesterday that less than 10% of the US population has earned  masters degree.  So, from that standpoint, I have done something special and should be proud of myself.  The downside is that my friends/colleagues/referent group is full of people who have masters degrees.  That less than 10% is closer to 40% in  my world so I’m having a tough time figuring out if or how special the accomplishment really is.  I’m sure in time it will all figure itself out and I’ll be really glad that I did it so check back with me in a few months. And in my head, I’ll just remember graduation looking like this:

With that being said, the next few weeks jam packed with exciting events.  ALTA city finals this weekend, USTA State tournament next weekend and Mike and Angela’s wedding on Memorial Day weekend. Then the summer starts and next thing you know we’ve gone from 90 days down to 60.  I’m like Leonardo, catch me if can!

90 Days of Summer

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Helloooo world, it’s your boy Alvin! (in Sway’s voice)

This is my first attempt at a personal blog and I’d like to personally thank my new friend Alexandra (follow her blog: established in 1984) for the motivation. Although I’ve written for Walk It Out as well as One Fish Bowl, this one (I think) will be all about me, my travels and my experiences.  Tweets and Facebook status updates are like snacks.  Consider this the full meal. I hope you follow along and enjoy the ride.

So today is Friday, May 5 and I’m in unchartered territory.  I turned in my last grad school paper yesterday and will be receiving my Masters in Business Administration from Kennesaw State University on Tuesday, May 10.  I’ve been told this is a big accomplishment but it almost feels anti-climatic.  I mean, I’ve graduated before–twice by my best account.  Moreover, it seems like graduation is much-to-do about nothing, really.  Don’t get me wrong, I do feel that the symbolization of accomplishing something is great and meaningful but I don’t feel that a ceremony is necessary this go ’round.  Quite honestly, if it weren’t for my mother vehemently insisting that she wants to see it,  there’s no way you’d get me to drive up I-75 in rush hour traffic on a Tuesday afternoon but I digress.  I will say that it does feel good to finish something that I started roughly 18 months ago.  Way to go, me.

***I’ve got 6 extra tickets if anyone wants to come sit through this with me***

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