Be like Blockbuster

Recently, I have had a few social setbacks. I attempted to become a hermit, only to be drawn out into the public eye once again. However, reality has shown me that be social can have its consequences on focus. Thus, I have been forced back into hiding once again.

To further put salt in the wound,
it seems like I may have been stood up this evening by ASE. My feelings are VERY hurt. Specifically, because I spent most of last evening telling my sister how excited I was about the whole week. I guess tonight is down the tubes, but hopefully this weekend (the last weekend out) will prove to be nice.

On the other hand,
Yesterday, I spent time with Giovanni, in quite the spur of spontaneity. We saw Seven Pounds at Northpark, then ate at Kona Grill and caught up on each other's lives. Hopefully, I have regained a friend.

As an avid movie watcher, I make very frequent visits to my local Blockbuster video. I must say, I wish more people were like Blockbuster employees. Awhile back, I made my first friend at Blockbuster, Vanessa. Though I think she is just a naturally friendly person, she always seems to make me feel welcome in her day- one obviously filled with numerous people coming and going. A very recent visit proved just how nice she can be because she showed concern about my recent injury and was delighted that my condition was improving.

I was taken aback during a previous visit to my local store. As I stood ready to check out, the cashier (not Vanessa) felt it imperative to share with me the changes in renting policy. Apparently, "No more late fees" has slightly been modified. Though she may have shared this with many people, I felt a bit more special because it seemed as though she was trying to ensure that I was not unknowingly taken advantage of.

Finally, I have found that the employees have been open and honest about the reviews of movies. As I pushed a copy of "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2" across the counter, the cashier (who shall remain nameless) commented that the movie was good, but a bit disappointing compared to the book. She may have been right. I didn't read the book, but the second installment of this movie was not as good as the first.

So why do I bring this up now. The way things have been going for me socially, I wish that some were more like the employees of Blockbuster:
  • Be a bit courteous when someone goes out of their way to include you in their plans (however slight the inclusion my be.)
  • Be honest about the way things are.
  • Show a bit of concern regarding others' enjoyment.
"I hope that you realize that any foolish passion for you on my part is entirely over. I am looking to the future."- North & South


The Family Unit

I spent a great deal of time with family during this holiday season. This is a rarity for me because I typically don't like to be around these people for much of an extended period. I suppose this is because as a kid, being around extended family means more people with the right to tell you what to do. Now that I am older, it seems that the roles have change.

In the years after my grandmother's death, my aunt Wacy has been the Holiday Season Host. We all gather at her home to exchange gifts, eat, talk and try to have a good time. Though we rarely have a horrible time, it is like pulling teeth for me to go.

This years event was oddly fulfilling. I was pleased to see family that I hadn't seen in quite some time. I even became reacquainted with family members that I had forgotten about. There were members that I could have done without. There were people there that I least expected to see.

What I found most interesting was the family dynamic. Sociologist dedicate their lives to understanding how groups react to one another. This weekend, I found myself being an amateur sociologist. I spent a great deal of time looking at the relationships each of us have toward one another. This helped me to rationalize issues of 'how we got to where we are today.'

I started this entry writing about my niece, but it ended differently. I suppose I will have to save that entry for another day. In the meantime, here is her photo.

"Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people who miss the same imaginary place."- Zach Braff (Garden State)


Things just got real...

Sometimes, you will find things will get heavy in this blog. However, I never thought they would ever get this heavy. As a courteous blogger, I feel it is proper to warn you that the following is quite serious.

We constantly talk about what we can do for ourselves and what the government should help us with. Some want government intervention in one area, but not in another. When is it really proper to depend on your government and when should we "pull ourselves up by our boot straps." Unfortunately, we can leave ourselves to hang with those very same boot straps.

Some may question what I am referring to. In a rare instance, names have been changed to protect those I love. I know a young lady who had a near perfect childhood. Aside from the inheritance of a slight psychological disorder, she should have been able to live on her own as an adult. However, when that time came she was clearly not prepared.

She had no clear plans and no true direction with what her life should be after the age of eighteen. Now, she is 21 with three children (3 months - 2 years). Furthermore, she has been forced out the home of her parents. This also forced her to live with her 'baby daddy' (though they are not together.) I failed to mention that this is an abusive situation (plagued with unreported incidences). She works two jobs to make ends meet, with zero support from her 'roommate'.

Part of me wants to tell her to file reports on her deadbeat roommate. Then, she should move out (or have him move out) taking the kids with her. She would be a prime candidate for section eight housing. After that, she can file for child support and a raise the three children on her own.

The problem with this solution is her slight disorder. It ordinarily can cause heightened stress and confusion. This combined with raising three kids is a deadly cocktail. While trying to attain assistance, it is quite possible that the government would take her children away. Family wants to step in and help, but three children will not fit into their current lifestyles. So, what does she do? What can they do?

"One finger won't make an impact, but you ball all those fingers into a fist, and you can strike a mighty blow. Now, this family has got to be that fist."- Irma P. Hall (Soul Food)


Things we can't have?

I was talking with an old friend on the phone last week and we began sharing things we were good at cooking. As I told her that I make a good chili, she asked me to share the recipe. I kindly replied that I would rather not.

A few days later, I checked a message on MySpace from a friend that had previously asked for the chili recipe. She said she really wanted the recipe and jokingly promised "I'll get it out of you one way or another." I am afraid not my friend.

Tonight, K Kid asked me for the recipe over the phone. She too was perplexed as to why I was not sharing.

I am NOT going to reveal the recipe. Why does everyone keep asking for it? Is it really that tasty? I think I have had better. I am honestly flattered, but you are not going to get it from me.

Lately, all I can think about it the next time I will see ASE. I know there are a lot of important dates and events coming up and I can't think of anything I would enjoy more than to share them with ASE. In my mind, I have mad plans to take Khen to see Christmast lights. But this is all in my mind.

I know now isn't the time for this at all. With my on-going project, I can't give the time and attention to things like this as they are needed. Am I am ready for ASE. Is ASE ready for me. Maybe it is time we met up again. Maybe the time isn't right (as it never really is).

I suppose some people want a good chili... Others just want it to be the right time...
Whatever it is, we only want that which we can not have.

"You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"- Stephen Wright


Straight from the Bible- Part 2

A few weeks ago, I asked my Sunday school class for God to give me patience and endurance. Who knew that that would be tested in more ways than one.

Being immobile and dependent on other has given me a new outlook on being able bodied. I had to depend on Pepe to take me to and from work. I had to depend on Devashree and Wiggs to help me prepare my lunch... prepare my lunch! I felt ridiculous. During this, I made up my mind that I was going to be walking on my own by Monday.

All weekend I worked hard in hopes that I could give Pepe a call and tell him that I would be driving myself to work (or even better, riding the train again). I spent all Friday night nursing my leg with warmth and massages. I spent Saturday testing my 'walking'. The big test came about 4pm when I had to test my driving skills. I passed that test (though not with flying colors). There was minimal pain so, I felt comfortable telling Pepe that I could take it from here.

I was so proud of myself as I drove in to work at my normal (early) time. I set up and got started on my tasks for the day. I was feeling great. That is, until about lunch time. I began to feel fatigue and pain in my leg. This time, the pain shot from my knee all the way to my heal. I tried to muster a smile as co-workers made comments like, "We still think you are faking", "Walk it off" and "Its just shin splints." I just told myself that there is no way they could know how much pain I was truly in.

Things got worse at about 2pm when the doctor's office called me to schedule more tests. I wanted to be able to tell them that I was healing nicely and there was no need. However my hope was clouded by reality. Then reality hit when I was told the cost and time it would take to perform the tests. I start freaking out. I don't like hospitals and I didn't want to have to pay for the tests. I scheduled them for Wednesday after work and sat sulking at my desk for the remainder of the day.

That evening, I was supposed to go to Margarita Ranch (right, me out... on a weekday) but chose to go home and wallow in self pity. I wouldn't say I threw a party, but my place was pretty miserable. Even watching Heroes did not bring me joy. I went to bed early in hopes that rest would turn my mood around.

I wake each morning with the same thing in mind. "Today is the day I walk." I am usually let down. This morning, however, was not complete disappointment. Basically, I was at a level at which I could get around if I had cane. Hope began to rear its head once more. I went to work feeling a bit more upbeat then the previous day. I still had the fear of more tests, but I tried to look past that.

It was not until I got home that my I truly felt major improvement. Walking to the kitchen from your bedroom with a small limp may not be much to the average person. However, to someone that yearns to run again, it means the world. At 7:30pm tonight, my hope was restored!

Though I am afraid, I will still have the tests performed tomorrow. But now, I hope that they show nothing but me healing properly. I don't care if it was shin splints, muscle strain or even a splinter. I just hope to be told that I am recovering properly and this will never be a problem again as long as I don't try the same thing again.

"... there has never been anything false about hope."- Barack Obama


Straight from the Bible- Part 1

The events of the past week can only be described as 'straight from the bible.' As I share these events, know that I am not exaggerating and no parts of the story are fabricated. I speak the truth my friends.

"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:30
As it happened, I could not believe what was happening. Furthermore, I could not believe the pain. I was in around mile 6.5 of the 8 mile
Turkey Trot when I began to have a bit of trouble. As my MP3 player blasted in my ears, I could not get the rhythm back into my stride. The race was at a loss. I limped to the side in pain as I tried to stretch my aching left leg.

Suddenly, the voice of P-Diddy rang out amongst the lyrics of Hate Me Now and I gained a bit more confidence. "You think I'ma come this far and let you stop me now?" I may have been in pain, but I have to finish this race. As I began running again, fellow runners [Aggies and Longhorns] shouted encouragement as they passed me approaching the races end. With this encouragement, there was no way I was going to walk across the finish line. With all of the sinew within me I finished the race! But, at what cost?

As I waited patiently for Greg and Dani at our meeting point, I found that I was quickly losing use of my left foot. I could no longer walk. When Greg and Dani finally found me, the three of us were astonished at my sudden immobility. With the roads blocked and us fatigued from the race, how were we going to get me to my vehicle and home to rest.

As we put our heads together a man in a burnt orange fleece appeared in the distance. He was about 6 feet tall around 50-60 years old and had an average/athletic build.
"Can I help you with anything?", he said.
"He can't walk and we are simply trying to see if we can move our car closer. Maybe we can get a policeman or paramedic to move one of these road blocks for us," was Dani's reply.
"Oh, I don't know if they will do that, but I will help you." He began to come closer as though he was sizing my weight.
"Oh sir, that's okay I think we can figure something out, but thank you."
"It's no trouble. Hop on." As I looked, the man got on his hands and knees to allow me to get on his back.
"You're kidding, right?" was the only response I could give as I looked on in disbelief.
"No, come on. How far is it?" he asked.
"I think I am not sure how far it is, but it is was a nice walk on the way here." Greg replied.
"Well, I will take you as far as I can."
As far as he could turned out to be about 5 blocks on his back, with no breaks. As we walked (or as I rode), it dawned on me that I did not know this man from Adam. I politely introduced myself, but he never told us his name. As we walked, we were greeted by people that seemed to know him, as he stopped at time (without putting me down) to exchange pleasantries. As we passed one young lady, he shouted a few things to her as she looked peculiarly at him as though she was verifying his identity. Afterwards he said, "Oh, that was my daughter. I bet you thought she was going to say, 'Dad did you know there is a black man on your back?'

As we reached the last block, he kindly leaned me against a street sign and wished us a Happy Thanksgiving. I thanked him and tried to find words to say to this anonymous man that performed such a random act of kindness. As I did not have my wallet, I was brainstorming something to give him. I bowed my head in humility as Dani and I tried to express how grateful we were. Finding the right words was becoming very difficult. As I looked up, he was already walking away.


Back by popular demand...

I thought I would start this blog with a quote so that everyone can get back to the nature of my writings. Its still me. I still have lots on my mind. I am still striving to find the good in all things. I am blogging again, but for the time being the language will remain in English. That is until I get to 'go back home.'

As many of you can see, quite a bit of time has passed since I maintained a blog. Much has happened in this time. Some of you wondered why I suddenly 'stopped writing.' Many of you guessed correctly, so I will leave it at that. In the meantime, you are blessed to have a VERY brief summary of what I have been up to. Hear goes another stream of conscience entry...

Returned to the states
Whirlwind semester of hard work and fun times
Made some really good friendships
Enjoyed being the 'sole resident' in a great apartment
Eldest sister marries in February (not a pretty occasion)
Gained a second residence at Langford
Spring break in Houston with Aisha and Galveston with Princess Olivia
Ended the semester with a bang
Took my last walks on TAMU campus
Took a trip to Belize
Moved to North Dallas
Kiah passes on June 8, 2007 (a secret kept from me until the funeral)
Sister and I begin reconciliation
Started at Corgan June 11, 2007
Discovered the Duck and preferred to keep my distance
I don't drunk dial, I drunk text (Hey ASE!)
Camilla begins having a hard time
Miaya Eloise is born September 6, 2007
Mother has knee surgery (I really hate hospitals)
Where did ASE go?
Camilla moves to Austin
No Spring break for Hep
Work keeps me adequately busy
Princess Miaya has a great Easter
Hey K Kid
Brandon Hepburn, LEED AP
Congrats Kofi and T
Oh, there's ASE
Congrats Eric and Courtney
Happy Birthday?
Ouch, ASE (quit breaking my heart)
Happy 21st KK
Ft. Worth rendezvous. (Nice to meet you CalS)
Dark Knight is the best Batman, yet
Start on personal projects
No time for anything (thanks G and Dani)
Work, read, run, work read, run
Happy 1st Miaya
Happy 10th Micah (That boy is popular)
Wow, I am getting healthy again
Personal projects get hard (I'm going back to Cali... nah, I don't think so)
Welcome, President Barack Obama
Great, the Duck is back and he has brought his friend Eagle (good one Wiggz)
Turkey Trot and crutches (more info coming soon)

This brings me to now... welcome back to my life.

"Who else could take five years off, Cold turkey, come back, and fly lids off?"
- Mase (Lean Back, Terror Squad)