Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Thanks for a great 2008 folks. We made it another year, and we're alive! Let's hear it for 2009 and the theme many of us will be using as a mantra: 2009 Is Mine!

My parents got married on New Year's Eve. If my dad were still alive, they'd be celebrating their 38th anniversary. I always remember the day was significant for my parents.

I'll be on an airplane heading West. I will be at a party Wednesday night, where a new crush of mine will be in attendance. What's that SWV song, I Get So Weak... I hope I don't make a fool of myself, but I will say something. I'm always so shy, thinking I'm not worthy or cute enough, but I need to and will work on that in 2009... starting NYE night :-)

Whatever you do -- whether it's a loud party, loud church, or loud snoring in your bed at the midnight hour -- enjoy. Have fun.

Let's all get a little romantic and sentimental with Nancy Wilson's What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? It's a favorite of mine, my parents, and hopefully will become one of your favorites.

All the best!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Everyone's Getting Ready For 2009

Since I've been at home for winter break, I've managed to get about 25 pages of writing done in between family gatherings, gym, and shopping malls. Don't ask. I'm never this productive in L.A. it seems. Also got a program script done for a Grand Opening event I'm working on in L.A. in January.

So that got me to thinking about New Year's resolutions for writers, and before I could come up with anything prolific, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing came up with some cool resolutions to piggy back off of. Take a look.

Some writer no-no's for 2009 from Paperback Writer.

Young & The Restless is showing how daytime drama should be written, and laying a foundation for a great 2009... preview here from Daytime Confidential.

Sometimes it takes going back to move forward. I have a crush I want to be mine in 2009. I started out kinda downer-ish playing Janet Jackson's He Doesn't Know I'm Alive (from Control). Ended my workout with Janet's When I Think Of You.

We're all getting ready. You got your new year (eve) or year plans ready?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2009... Is Mine

I come from a church-going family. In fact, some of my family are the lead or next-in-line to lead their respective churches.

Went to my cousin's church this morning. He's the lead pastor. Loved his message and had to spread it.

2009 is Mine!

No more being broke. No more fighting, arguing, drama-ing. No more decisions that don't enhance life. No more being the negative one of the group. No more sitting and waiting -- the whole faith without work thing. No more...

What I've enjoyed about our family churches is that they're more inspirational than preachy, as in preaching down to people for whatever their circumstances, life choices, or spiritual knowledge. And what I liked is that my cousin said it's OK if your "no more's" don't happen overnight, or you don't meet it right away -- just be aware, reflect, and do it less.

One "no more" I need to work on... and I've heard Michael Baisden talk about this... not giving in to peer pressure and going out every Friday, Saturday night. That those who are focused on goals work don't spend all their time and money going out all the time, and they stay home to focus on goals. For me, I feel like I'm going to miss something... or someone if I'm not out and about.

Anyway, nothing major. Just had to share. Especially in light of my Vision Board entry the other day, and knowing that many of YOU are embarking on new goals and visions for yourself in 2009. I just love the phrase "2009 Is Mine."

What are some of the motivational moments you've picked up on recently?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Food In The Midwest

So I have big plans to get into a little bitty shirt on New Year's Eve next Wednesday. But I realize, that coming home to the Midwest just before an "in-my-mind" sexy holiday is not the business.

Tonight, we had a Friday fish fry. More family came over. We got the outdoor deep fryer going on the patio (the same one that fried the turkey the day before), and had more catfish and perch the law would allow. Well, I ate even more than the law would allow. At least what the L.A. fashion law would allow.

Before coming home, I'd been on a good 22+ day run at the gym and eating well daily. I was motivated by Obama's daily cardio workout sesions, and figured what the heck. Let's get skinny like Obama. I'd planned to hit the gym in Detroit on Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday -- early in the mornings, and just enough to keep some tightness, yet not seem like an elite gym bunny who'd rather hit the gym than spend time with family. (I never realized that going to the gym was considered "elite" until reading about the fascination everyone has with Obama's daily fitness habits.) And yes, I know about old-school at-home exercises -- pushups, situps, etc... But nothing beats an elliptical, stairmaster, and weights (and eye candy) like the gym.

I realize REAL winter weather makes you not want to leave home for a gym. I realize that all the food my mom keeps at home is a temptation, and WAY more options than I keep in my own place. I realize that the world won't stop turning because I skipped today, Friday. I realize, though, how comfort skipping one day leads to another and another.

Food and family in the Midwest. It's what makes this part of the country so family and values driven. It also makes for a spongy waistline... something I don't necessarily want for myself on New Year's Eve. After all, I gotta be ready for that hot young Manny from Montebello I've been crushing on from my gym and who I know will be at the party I'm going to next Wednesday.


In the end it's all worth it -- enjoying holiday time and food gatherings. Family comes first. Boys come and go. You've been to one NYE party, you've been to them all. Everyone should love, like, or want you just the way you are.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Farewell Santa Baby!

First, Merry Christmas to all of you! I've been enjoying a fun-filled day with lots of family... more than I ever knew existed here in Detroit. Up since 5 am helping my mom with Christmas brunch. Everyone here by 10 am.

After everyone left, laid down for a long nap.

Woke up to the news that Eartha Kitt had passed away. So sad.

Like most diva-loving men, I have a few Eartha Kitt CDs in my collection. Of course, an old favorite of mine by her is Where Is My Man? (pefect for those of you making "what I want in a man list" for 2009!) And when I'm feeling particularly drama queen and tired of being "good," I listen to I Want To Be Evil.

For today, it's quite fitting for all of us to listen to and blast Santa Baby!

Farewell Santa Baby! You made Christmas sexy for all of us... and will continue to do so!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Wish: Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper

That's the theme for 2009. Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper. Our lives are blank pages ready to be written daily. How much we write, and how good we make it is up to us.

Hard to believe in a week we'll be at 2009. I always forget the New Year part in the days before Christmas. Whether you celebrate any, all, or none of the holidays at this time, I hope at minimum you have some great days of rest, relaxation, and reflection.

I've been reflecting a lot lately. My life is out of wack, and it got so in 2008, clearly of my own doing. I take responsibility.

I let a lot of friend and family relationships just kinda drift, in the sense I didn't do any work on my part to maintain and grow them. I let a lot of professional projects overtake my life, and I reveled in being a workaholic and perfectionist in that part of my life. I let my writing life drift, and didn't put the same passion into my third novel that I did the first two. Dating... hmmm, I met a few people that went nowhere fast, because I didn't do any work to sustain those possibilities. Money... I'd love to apply for a government bailout like the rest of the country.

But this isn't a blah entry. It's more of a wake-up call for me, and maybe you, to notice when you're sinking and to NOT bottom out.

I've started thinking about Vision Boards and Journaling again. Maybe it's something we can do together. Reading this blog, Tranquility du Jour, is a motivating start.

2009 Visions
Get that child-like play/happiness back... or at least that college freshman year happiness, where everything and everyone was a new/happy/carefree adventure. Kinda like my friend Ch@z. Or like Tayari J. wants to do this year too. Putting them and Little Boy Joy on the vision board.

Think fitness. Thank God I didn't gain any weight this year, I maintained. But my used-to-be, and I hope will be again bff Eric B has really got the fitness/style thing going on. He's going on the vision board under Fitness.

My spiritual core I've put on the backburner, and I realize that is central to any kind of life focus. I used to meet up with my friend Yamonte at a really nice church in West L.A. (Living In The Light, 6000 W. Pico) that was so enlightening. Gotta get that back and on the vision board.

The quirky, creative side of me is what makes me. SARK makes such cool products that inspire me. Someone I once dated made fun, so I put that part on the backburner... no more. My morning pages and writing, which I picked up from The Artist's Way, kept me focused on writing daily each morning in the peace and quiet. You know where these are going.

Haven't touched finances, dating, and simplifying spaces yet. More to be visioned in those areas later. When I'm really awake, I'll start cutting out pictures and images and phrases for my board.

What are some of your holiday wishes and 2009 visions?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same

When I saw this book in my boss' office the other day, I just cracked up laughing. He's a cool and positive-minded guy, and I wondered what would make him buy a book called Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same by Sloane Tanen.

He said it was a gift from someone who noticed he was going through a moment. We all have our moments. But I checked out the book, and to my surprise it was more motivational than anything really bitter.

So if you (or someone you know) need a moment to put the bitter-with-baggage attitude aside, I'd suggest picking up Sloane Tanen's book or any of her other books.

I have my bitter-with-baggage moments myself. Sometimes try to play the martyr, saying to myself, "Must I do EVERYthing?" or "Who told them they could leave at 5?"

Then I get over it. Sometimes it takes some Beyonce. Sometimes it takes vodka. Sometimes it takes watching the news and seeing how others suffer WAY more than me. Sometimes it's just taking stock at the end of the day and realizing that days when NOTHING happens are actually the days we should be thankful for.

Happy wknd!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chocolate Chips and Drag Queens

Was listening to NPR on the way to the gym. Heard the most fun interview: How To Bake A Better Chocolate Chip Cookie. Featured a food scientist, Shirley Corrihor, giving some very easy advice on making all your baked goods turn out great this holiday season. Might want to pick up her books, CookWise or BakeWise.

On a totally separate book note, drag names can be outrageously fun... and for those of you in the market, here's a good resource: Drag Queen Baby Name Book. I've heard some fun drag names through my going-out history. One of the best I've heard -- Tooleeta Pepsi. I can't remember the city or the club, but I think it might have been on a trip to Louisville or Cincinnatti. Who knows?

As long as there are still people on your gift list... or you've got baking to do, either of these books can be good giving for the holidays.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Little Skin For Everyone

Two of my friends have recently published books that I want you to know about... and they would both make great holiday gifts. Cool covers, huh?

For those into photography, Skin Diaries by Victory is perfect. Professional and emerging models are featured in various locations, and they share their personal thoughts on their skin.

For those into fiction, Three The Hard Way by Brian Banks is perfect. Set in Little Rock, Ark, the novel follows three friends who happen to be gay and have their respective love and family dramas.

What better way to celebrate holidays than with books by two new authors.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Do Over

Everything old is new again, the cliche goes. But...

Love this do over of Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody. (original by Whitney here)

For Bold and Beautiful fans, Stephanie vs Brooke rivalry is back in full effect. (root of the conflict here)

Some short stories or story collections I could read over and over... Dana Johnson's Break Any Woman Down; all of J. California Cooper's; The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Talk about old is new. We used to watch a dance show called The Scene in Detroit as kids. Bits of the style are creeping into my students' style today.

Saw my gym crush rejection boy last night out dancing. Me thinks he might want a do over. My friends and I saw him checking me out... reject ya, want ya... there are no new club games and the story's been done over a ba-zillion times ;-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What Up Saturday Links

OK. Feeling just a little like that picture. But I'm gonna get over it.

So doesn't matter how old it is, I still love the "Hey Ya Charlie Brown" video.

On the writer tip, loving The Newbie's Guide post on Where Are They Now Syndrome when it comes to authors and writers. All about long-term and multiple projects... advice I should take :-)

Um, so I talked to my gym crush last night at a party... the gym crush I shared about in yesterday's post. I went in feeling like this (Zhane's Crush) but left feeling like this (Aretha's Drinking Again). Straight up rejection, yes he did.

But like the kids say at my school... It's A Hairflip... and move on.

Anyway, about to go to the gym. If I see him, cool. When I come home, I'm making a Rum Cake for a holiday party. Gonna try to make it like my mom and grandma used to, and not from a kit.

We shall see. What's up for your Saturday?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Night Shy

Um, so I'm stressed out with a huge project at my day job, a writing project that's in editing (and publishing industry) limbo, and a gym crush who I'm too shy to step to when I see him out at the club.

Yeah, I know there are worse things in life right now.

So here's a song that cheers me up. I'm In Miami, by LMFAO, though this clip is by some boys who aren't LMFAO. I'm probably a day late and dollar short on this song, but whatever :-) When I asked my students who it was, they were like it's so summer 2008.

Happy weekend to you!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Win a Kindle... And Other Links

So if you're interested in winning a Kindle (kinda like an iPod for books), check out the fabulous contest they're running over at Nice Mommy, Evil Editor. They're giving away two Kindles and you'll learn about some fabulous books and authors along the jouney.

Think you're tired and can't go on? Well, Clay Cane gives us some great perspective and inspiration with his entry on 69-year-old Tina Turner who performed in NYC recently a day after battling the flu.

How did I let this happen? It's a question we all ask, when we get a little out of whack. Oprah is asking herself the same question about her weight in the latest issue of O Magazine.

Discovered a pretty cool radio show about books -- The Story. What caught my ear the other day was a story featuring writer Andrew Porter (scroll to bottom of page), who talked about how a break-in and theft of ALL his posessions -- including ALL his writings, disks, computer, etc... affected his writing life.

Ok. Back in a few...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Prop 8. The Musical.

I'm usually the last to find out about these things.

Prop 8. The Musical.

Clip features a lot of our favorites... Jenifer Lewis, Maya Rudolph, Margaret Cho, and others. Just a cool mid-day funny!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

For The Drama Queen Or King In You

Try as we might to deny, there's a teeny bit of drama queen or king in all of us.

You know, loving that idea of being a victim or rescurer (even if you're not)... or deliberately making a choice you know isn't the best one (heart over head all the time)... or making a situation WAY bigger than what it is. (A wise person once told me... it's not what happens to you that's drama, it's how you choose to react that makes it drama.)

Ever since a little gossip situation got me in big trouble in high school, I've tried to keep my life drama free. I try to do my best to be proactive about potential problems. And I try not to make decisions that I know will deliberately hurt others or myself. So I turn to imaginary dramatic situations like:

Picture that your grandma's new young trophy husband starts hitting on you... and you're a guy? That's the latest melodrama on As The World Turns.

Imagine that you have to hide away in the attic some illegitemate kids you've had by your long-lost-sibling-you-never-knew-you-had... That's the old school drama of the novels of V.C. Andrews.

Ok. So you dig someone else, but you're already in a situation? You could... oh... write and sing a song called "In Love With Another Man" by Jazmine Sullivan. And if you dig the clip, get the CD, Fearless.

Finally back to books. Eric Jerome Dickey had me at hello (and a fan for life) when I read his The Other Woman back in the day. Twists and turns that you never see coming.

Or maybe you're a closet Drama Queen or King and you don't know it?

So enough of my Drama Queen moments. What about you? What, who, or where do you turn for the melodrama of your life (real or fictional)?

Monday, December 01, 2008

World AIDS Day. Fiction Spin.

December 1 is World AIDS Day.

And by now most everyone has gotten the message about getting regular testing if they're sexually active, or about how to avoid risks or protect partners related to HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections. Prevention info here. Find a testing site here.

Since fiction often reflects the lives of the society around us, many authors have featured HIV, AIDS, and other STD-related storylines in their novels. In my first novel, Down For Whatever, I featured a "popular with the boys" character Rafael who faces his own health crisis after a number of fun, yet unprotected, encounters in L.A.

Some others that I've read and enjoyed include:

What Seems Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage. Features a main character who discovers she is HIV-positive, and decides how she is going to live her life and future in victory and not defeat.

Just As I Am by E. Lynn Harris. Features a very moving (I remember crying when I first read it) HIV storyline as friends who recently graduated from college learn a member of their clique has become infected.

Lil Mama's Rules by Sheneska Jackson. A 30-year-old woman in L.A. has set very stringent dating and relationship rules. When she finally lets someone in, the results are life-threatening and eye-opening. Absolutely LOVED this book.

The Day Eazy-E Died by James Earl Hardy. When news of Eazy-E's death due to HIV hits the news, it causes the main characters of this novel to reflect on their sexual and relationship choices.

What I most like about these novels and their approach to health education is that the messages aren't preachy or beating people up for their choices. They reflect daily lives of likeable characters who face and deal with challenges head on.

What are other novels you've read that feature AIDS, HIV, or other STD related storylines?