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I, Fearless

I didn't mean to only post one blog last week. But an unexpected incident erupted in my face upon my return to New York. It angered me so that I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to put a fancy spin on it or make it inspirational. Even thinking about not discussing it here is making me angry. All I will say is that it involved my former landlord (the one who didn't provide heat in the winter), my wife, small claims court, and a judge who thought he was funny.

I intended to post this on Friday, but the hurri-blizzard that hit New York prompted me to spend most of the day snapping pictures of snow covered landscapes and playing around with the kids and the wife. By days end I remained triumphant even after an ambush that left me without a hat, a coat or gloves. My wife tried to trip me and fell backwards, my son attempted to tackle me (after spending almost an hour trying to hit me with a snowball as I stood motionless in front of him) but landed on my back while I was still on my feet so all I did was flip him like a flapjack and pounce on him and my daughter was screaming for me to leave her mother alone, go figure. The Dad got the W, the Husband got the W and the Man definitely got the W.

Fearless, by Max Lucado is a book that I predict will carry my far in 2010. I first heard about it during a church service in January and I've been absorbing the chapters slowly. It's all about living a life without fear, in essence fearing less instead of being fearful. There's so much to be fearful these days, disease, unemployment, global catastrophes, politics, your children's lives, losing your shirt in this economy, death, taxes, or even going into a dilapidated courthouse to argue your right to receive your security desposit while having to face a person you detest. Fear can lead to so many other things, anger, depression, deranged thinking, etc. And it can drive you so far off track from living richly (I'm not talking about cash, folks).

Max Lucado is an author my mother has been trying to get me to read for years. But I've been resistant as I am not a fan of Christian books. Sometimes they're too preachy, sometimes they're just right and then you find out later the author owns a private jet and gold toilet and then sometimes they are just right, as Fearless is. It's written for our times, with our times in mind and it makes you think about yourself, mostly and how to fear less in order to live more.

In 2010, I, Fearless. I was fearless when I hopped on a plane down to Atlanta, and I promised myself at the beginning of the year to acknowledge and face my fears head on when they pop up, typically when I have an opportunity to advance myself or my family. This book only confirms this personal initiative.

Won't those of you reading this do the same (if you aren't already)?

Disclosure: This was not a solicited book review. I like the above mentioned book and wanted to briefly share my experience with it. I paid for it and have had no interaction with nor direction from Max Lucado or any parties associated with him or the book, Fearless.

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Touching Robes

I've been offline for several days now and I can't say I missed it given what I've been up to.

Men have egos and our egos prevent us from considering we might not know it all or better put in not knowing it all, we would prefer not to show our hand to this reality and struggle on in darkness...

Many of you know I've been taking photos for the past several months. But my first real photo was one I shot through a decimated gold smelting factory window in Aruba. The image was of a cloud, perfectly framed by this old, stone opening. I believe this picture was destroyed when my storage unit flooded a few years back. I remember getting the film from wherever I got it developed and thinking to myself, Wow, this is amazing. I wish I could do more with this...

The year was 1996 and my passing fancy passed.

I began to write and piled that photo onto the heap of talents genetically passed on to me by long gone relatives and my father. In this pile is acting, singing, piano, poetry, even directing. But none of that was real. A job was real. In order to survive I needed a job.

I've been limping through one job after the other since I first thought this ridiculous thought, dying slowly from 9 to 5.

And here we are in 2010 and I'm known in these blogging circles as E.Payne. After dispensing with my dream of being a published author I've been writing about family and man stuff and I snap some photos here and there. I get a lot of positive feedback on my blogs.

"You have a gift."

"You should write a book." (This one hurts the most. If you had any idea how hard I've tried).

"I love it. Your family is beautiful. You take great pictures."

The last one is the one I hear most often. Great is a word I don't like because I know and cross paths with people so much greater than me. Unbeknowst to most, I've struggled with the photos I take. I take forever to set up the shots. They never come out looking right to me. And the classes I've considered are either outrageously expensive, too in-depth for my needs, or because I'm self taught and am able absorb information like a sponge, I've been ahead of the curriculum and bored easily.

In short: I needed a challenge. Something like a KNIGHT Workshop.

For those of you who don't know, Ross Oscar Knight is the gentleman who photographed my wedding in Barbados. And if you've ever visited his site or blog, you'd know he's the real deal. I liken him to Neo from the Matrix because some of shots he has set up don't appear to follow the laws of physics, lighting or anything else tangible. From our first meeting he exuded an energy I recognized --- an energy I felt being sucked out of me --- maybe it was family life, maybe it was too many failed expectations, maybe it was just me. Recognizing the dearth of positive people in my life (thanks to my wedding) before the event was over I insisted that we become friends, something that as a man was a very weird exercise for me considering neither one of us are second graders and there was no alcohol involved when I approached him. It was business and I was prepared for him to dismiss me with a "Yeah," only to never hear from him again. But he didn't and we've hung out here and there between NYC and Atlanta for the past two years.

So you can imagine the hard gulp I had to swallow when I approached him about taking his workshop --- an intense two day experience that has the potential of exposing whether photography is something you should be doing or something you should be appreciating --- from afar.

Ross was more than happy to welcome me as his student. Last Thursday I flew down to Atlanta and on Friday and Saturday I was treated to a master at work. I was in the presence of hard work, discipline, talent and skill. Something most would quickly call genius and attribute directly to him. But I felt something else. I felt like I was in the presence of someone who God has chosen to do something --- in this case take photographs of people entering one of the most supposed sacred rites of passage known to man --- marriage. I heard His presence in many of the words Ross spoke, many he may not have been aware he was speaking. It was in his conviction to share his talents with others rather than be miserly with them.

Initially I was overwhelmed and slightly intimidated. I also felt like a slob as a guy with no job burning through my savings like an arsonist. There I was sitting in front of a dude who is successfully running his own business and seeing the world on his terms. But my time there wasn't about my present state, or the devil's whispers in my ears, it was about the place where I need to be. I got over myself quickly. And spent the rest of my time focused on the destination.

Ross is not Jesus, but I did go to the place where I knew he was going to be and I touched his robes. Now, I have a road map and an eye for things that I didn't have just a few days ago. Now I'm beginning to catch things with a camera that previously I was only able to paint with my words.

After my time in Atlanta I took a surprise trip home to my native Chicago and spent a couple days with my folks. Before Ross' workshop I can't say I would've been able to so quickly and accurately snap a pic of my father sitting in one of his favorite chairs in his favorite spot by the living room picture window, casually surveying the street outside. I'm not sure I would've captured a moment that happens so often no one in that house even notices anymore. It's not the best picture in the world (I desperately need a new camera). But I noticed the serenity and the power of it and I captured it. Now the moment is forever. Now it is timeless.

Stay tuned.

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The Winners - The Soldier of Love CD Giveaway

Many thanks to those of you who participated. I am glad I was able to give a little something in honor of my 2md full year blogging at Makes Me Wanna Holler. Next year I hope to be able to give back even more.

The Winners of the Soldier of Love CD Giveaway are:

  1. Candice
  2. Cafe7202..., and last, but definitely not least,
  3. Mocha Dad

Winners have until 11:59pm, Monday, March 1, 2010 to submit your correct U.S. mailing information to MakesMeWannaHoller.com via the CONTACT tab beneath the header at the top of this page. After the above mentioned date a new winner will be drawn to replace those who do not redeem this prize.

Thanks for participating!

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I (Didn't) Invented Sex

WollustPlease forgive the bad grammar of this post title, but my son inspired it and right now he's the only person who can get me so twisted up that I abandon the grammar my momma ingrained in me.

I passed my old iPod Touch down to my son because he pulled his grades up for the 2nd quarter of high school. And he has it as long as he continues to pull his grades up. He has moved quickly to customize it to his tastes --- deleting my jazz and my daughter's sing-a-long music while asking to upload a few current cuts that he likes (and we don't).

I'm pretty open about the music as long as it's not outrageously obscene or disrespectful. I only allow for radio edits when available and I do my best to filter everything else. This is what happened when my son asked me to download, I Invented Sex by current R&B pop (and I mean pop) star Trey Songz:

Mom: No way.

Son: Huh, why not?

Mom: Are you kidding me? I can't control what you listen to at school or wherever but I'm not promoting a 14 year old boy listening to a song called I Invented Sex.

Son: But what did you do when you were young and listening to songs about sex.

Me: They didn't make that kind of music (I choked on the word) when we were coming up. They didn't even make it ten years ago. And it definitely didn't get airplay because of the FCC regulations. But you know these days people are desperate to do anything that will keep their record sales up.

Son: Oh.

Me: You know he's---

Son: (cutting me off) ...bisexual. I just like the beat.

Me: (Sigh) I was going to say he's being clowned on the Internet by real women. There's a blogger, named Denene Millner, who spoke out strongly against Trey Songz in a post called Boy Please. His ridiculousness in suggesting to the little girls that their only value was between their legs and little boys that they are porn stars which, by most accounts, most women will say most men (no matter the age) are not.

My son nodded his head and said he understood this.

Me: Besides if some little girl doesn't know enough to respect herself ---

Son: (cutting me off again) --- hey if she doesn't that's not my problem.

You could hear a pin drop in my living room except for my daughter usual evening ramblings. I can't say I haven't thought or even uttered the same words myself in my early and maybe late twenties. But I was grown and dealing with irresponsible adults.

Me (sternly, now glowering at my son): Don't be a jerk.

His mother lit into him about being the product of a family made up predominantly of women (on her side) and the fact that he wasn't raised that way, and that he had a mother and a sister under the same roof.

Mom: If a girl throws herself at you, you walk away. You can set an example. Everyone looks up to you, you can set the bar wherever you want it.

Me: Where is all this stupidness coming from, the football team? Because that can be remedied real quick.

Son: Hey, blame it on high school (that suburban oasis he attends where everyone is doing their best to be a tough guy or a playboy - although this happens at most high schools).

The wife and I both took turns educating and tearing into him for the next several minutes. He disappeared into his room and didn't emerge for a couple of hours.

The conversation with the boy who will be man continues...

Unlike Trey (Wack) Songz and the rest of his contemporaries competing for the most irresponsible and unhealthy lyrics ever, there are some men left who are clear on the fact that they didn't invent sex. Clear on the idea that it's best not to kiss and tell and certain that the best lovemaking takes two --- not one little boy singing about being a jackhammer on some inexperienced girl in a bed made of cheap materials. Some men actually like women who know what they're doing, who are comfortable in their skin, who are their match and then some. Some of us (yeah, I'm including myself in this group) know that true lovemaking is about giving love and being humble enough to let your guard to truly let the love flow, with little to no concern as to whether the love flows back. It might hurt if it doesn't but that doesn't stop this category of men from try, try, trying again. They're every color of the rainbow and they lurk quietly in plain sight, unnoticed by most.

In direct contrast to Trey (Wack) Songz, the singer below doesn't need to sing about headboard-breaking or how skilled he is in the sack. All he does is pour his heart out (like warm honey) all over the woman he's singing to or fantasizing about. This is a dude who gives and asks for forgiveness when he's wrong (just like this uber-wrong video I've posted below). Humility is at the core of his game and his cup is filled and overflowing with love. I've never been mad at this dude for being who he is. I'm actually willing to admit I've taken notes, for better or worse.

It's a travel day for me, folks. I won't be back online until late today (maybe). So if you post and I don't respond, don't take it personal.


Photo Credit: Chris_n87

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Make It Wearable

If you’re looking to expand your brand, whatever your business might be --- from blogs to pasta sauce, make it wearable. Check out Bender Shirts for some great deals on custom t-shirts. After visiting their site and selecting one of their custom screen printing packages, your brand can be available in everything from doggie tees to long sleeve, cotton XXL anvil shirts in no time.

Disclosure: This has been a paid post.

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Will You Be Yours?

Happy Valentine's (Love) Day!

If music plays as much of a role in your life as it does mine then please enjoy the playlist below as a token of my appreciation to you. Enjoy your day with the one you love or if that's not the case in your life then please enjoy the day enjoying all the fruits and treasures in your life.

For all you lovers out there please read this, then add the playlist below.

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Not My Human

My wife and I have an occasional debate as to whether or not my daughter has asthma. Her doctor's say she has most of the symptoms of an asthmatic (as do I) and it can be triggered easily triggered by allergies or colds. This bit of info is enough for me to deny calling her an asthmatic.

The debate between my wife and I only arises when my daughter's symptoms arise as they did this week. A cough that came out of nowhere overtook her quickly the night of the Superbowl and by Monday evening she was beginning to wheeze.

I'm typically very cool under pressure. However the one thing I cannot endure is my child not being able to get a full breath of air. I get angry quickly and begin to bark. Why? Because I've had bronchitis more than once as an adult and unless you've actually felt what's it's like to not be able to bring air into your lungs, you can't relate. I can call 911, I can tell someone or write out (to conserve air) what's wrong. My daughter, nor any child for that matter cannot. And for this reason I hate cigarette smoke, cat dander and anything else that can trigger such a thing as if they were the Devil themselves. What made matters worse, is we were out of medicine and I had overlooked refilling the prescription because it's almost been a year since her last episode.

Tuesday night I didn't sleep. I sat in her room on my iPod Touch, surfing the Net and watching the rise and fall of her chest, regulating the heat and the humidifier in her room, sitting her upright if she coughed, patting her back and rocking her (as my dad did me) back to sleep when she awakened from the discomfort of it all. At sunrise I picked up her prescription, her symptoms subsided and somehow I made it through the day with no sleep, a bit of personally disappointing news and the threat of the snowstorm of life being flashed on every channel on television.

Yesterday afternoon I took her to a park in my neighborhood where, armored from head to toe looking like a pink Stormtrooper (or pink mercenary), she pelted me with little snowballs, chased her grandfather at 1 mile per hour and made snow angels, laughing through all of it the whole time. I had to literally pick her up off the ground to get her to leave.

When I dropped my daughter off at pre-school this morning, my heart swelled as it does every morning. I lose a piece of me every time I part ways with her. But I don't own her. Despite all of what I described above she is NOT my human. She is my child and what I own is the responsibility of raising her and her brother, who currently believes he is God's gift to women and football, (Update: he managed to pull up all of his grades to a modestly respectable level for his 2nd quarter of high school. Now his challenge to to continue to pull them up even higher), protecting them and teaching them as much as I can until they leave the nest.

She kissed me and walked off. I watched her dive into her classroom to play with her little friends before school officially started. Despite my heart-swell, I did as I always do, I suck it up and walk away. This is the beginning of her path, whether she remembers it or not. I have to let her walk it and discover it on her own because after all, she's here to serve her purpose, just like we are all here to serve ours.

This has been your Friday Fatherhood Inspiration from MakesMeWannaHoller.com. I hope you were inspired.

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If I Could Turn Back...

Quarter_ToEver heard the R. Kelly song, If I Could Turn Back The Hands of Time?

If you haven't you can read the lyrics here.

I wrote a book of poetry and short stories way back when. Contained on many of its pages are one lamentation after the other, forlorn, unrequited blah blah. Over the years people have told me how profound it is and how it speaks to them, or to a relationship they once had.

I was having a conversation with someone the other day about the book and it's contents. How it was compiled based on poems and short stories I wrote between the ages of 18 to 23. How if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't. Not the book, but the experiences that served as motivation for many of the stories.

Even more, if I could travel through time now as grown-man E.Payne I'd be waiting for fresh faced E.Payne at every turn...

  • When he opened the closet door in his dorm room, I'd be there to jump out to smack some sense into him.
  • When he went to turn on his car to go driving off into the night to stalk a former lover, to plead at her window that she was the only one for him, the car wouldn't start because I'd arrive five minutes earlier to cut every single wire and tube under the hood.
  • When he hatched some cockamamie scheme such as writing a script to read on the phone to that special someone who was no longer speaking to him. I'd turn the desk over and rip up the paper.
  • When he got dressed in his best Willi Wear rayon ridiculousness to go to a party so he could maybe create a chance moment with the one who used to be his, I'd pop out of the underwear drawer, choke fresh-faced E.Payne out, dump a pile of VHS tapes all over him and make him stay home, keep him company and we'd watch some good movies. And then I'd go back further.
  • In high school when fresh faced E.Payne opened his locker, I'd explode out of it and kick him up and down the hallways, throw him down a few of the iron staircases and beat him with his backpack until he begged me to stop. And when he would ask me why I was doing what I was doing I'd simply say, "You're too good to suffer the disrespect that is waiting for you in Algebra and Social Studies. You don't need to stay up nights listening to Sade, wondering why girls would rather have a bad guy who can't put a sentence together and only wants them for their bodies, to a decent fellow like you. There's nothing wrong with you. You wear glasses, that's all. Your parents are a little on the strict side but only because they love you. Don't do what I did. Don't change your outward appearance thinking people will accept you because they won't and when you realize this it's going to hurt like fire. And then you'll embrace what you knew all along, it's what's inside that counts. Don't hate yourself because you don't think anyone loves you. Love your God and love yourself and don't worry about what you can't control. Live everyday to the fullest, enjoy the little things, but stay mindful of the big picture." Then fresh-faced E.Payne, bloodied and broken, would say to me, "But aren't you me? How am I supposed to know what you know if I don't live as you did?" I would stare into my younger eyes, sigh, click my heels and disappear.

Here's the book in question:

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The Soldier of Love CD Giveaway

Before Halle,
before Salli,
before Paula (Patton),
before Alicia (Keys),
before Jill (Scott),
before Erykah (Badu),
before anyone that I could list here,

...there was Sade Adu...

and boy did I love her music and lust after her beauty. Many a teen and college age night was spent sitting in the dark listening to her music, either lamenting alone over some stupid and immature love lost or with company doing my best to make it last forever (even though I can't say I can remember any of those moments now).

If you haven't heard her very radio-compliant track and title of the album, Soldier of Love, please listen and look below.

The first time I heard this I was driving and I swerved in my car. "Was that Sade?!" I screamed to myself, gasping as all the ridiculous lust I once had for her bubbled back to the surface. Several people I know don't like the cut or haven't made up their mind about it yet. In truth, it's a bit light for those of us who hold Sade and company to a higher standard. But the music business is just that, a business, she had to get the attention of the mainstream and get into the rotation on stations such as New York City's Hot97. This is the perfect song to do it.

If the loyalists aren't ruled by unrealistic expectations, few will be disappointed with Soldier of Love, barring it's title track and interesting video.

The group, best known for their mellow, melodic hits like "By Your Side" and "No Ordinary Love," will release their first album of new material since 2000, Soldier of Love, on Feb. 9.

Among the new tunes is "Babyfather," "about how great it is to be a parent, what a great honor and privilege that is, and what a terrible thing that is to waste," frontwoman Sade Adu recently told PEOPLE. "As long as you feel good about yourself, you can be a good parent, and then it becomes an endless fruitful cycle," she says.

The somber tracks of love, unrequited, unwanted and survived featured in The Moon And The SKy, Morning Bird and Skin will quickly assure you that time has taken nothing from SADE. Like R&B crooner Maxwell, the time off should only make her return that much sweeter.

But I'd rather let you find this out for yourselves...for free!

Presenting my first giveaway for 2010 -

The Sade Soldier of Love CD Giveaway!

I'll be giving away three (3) copies of Sade's Soldier of Love CD just in time to celebrate the afterglow of a wonderful Valentine's Day.

Contest Rules:

The contest will run from Monday, February 8th to Sunday, February 21st, 2010 at 11:59pm PST. Only 3 winners will be randomly selected.

How to Enter:

  • You can either tweet, blog about, or mention this contest on Facebook. Each will serve as a valid entry that you MUST mention here in the Comments Section of this post with the representative links back to your mention. There is no limit to the number of tweets, blogs or Facebook mentions you can make. Winners will be selected using Random.org. And,
  • Leave any comment love here about Sade. That way no matter what, you have at the very least two (2) eligible entries.

Who Is Eligible:

You MUST be either a verified subscriber, a MakesMeWannaHoller Facebook Fan, MakesMeWannaHoller Networked Blogs Follower or a Google Friend of this blog to be eligible for this contest. No other entries will be taken into consideration. If you currently are not and want to play, then sign up and enjoy the blog, why don't you?

You must be a resident of the United States or have a valid U.S. mailing address.

Winners will be announced by the end of the week beginning Sunday, February, 21st, 2010.

Good luck!

This is not a sponsored post nor is E.Payne or MakesMeWannaHoller.com being compensated in any way for the above review. Though I received an advance copy of the Soldier of Love CD free of charge, there was no request for the above review nor any persuasion to make the above comments as they have been stated.

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Shopping With The Wife

My wife thinks it's so unromantic that I don't go shopping with her. But when I have, this is what happens...every time, multiplied by 1000.


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Gotta Get A Real Car

If you missed the Superbowl last night you missed the New Orleans Saint's historic win over the Indianapolis Colts.

You also missed this:

I'm so due a car with some real horses under the hood...

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February 9th, Two-Thousand-Again

On February 9th, 2008 I wrote the inaugural post for this blog which at the time was entitled Manchild In The Promised Land. What was I thinking? The post was entitled Here I Go Again... I wrote about new beginnings and what to expect from me based on my previous illustrious bad luck with blogs. I smacked this ship with a bottle of cheap champagne (the bottle didn’t break) and sent it off into the sea otherwise known as the Internet. Back then I was writing for one --- myself. Back then I didn’t know if anyone was going to read, let alone care, about anything I had to say.

On Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, I will have written or produced 414 posts that have given insight to my soul and definitely my family, cracked a few jokes at my expense and hopefully created something meaningful so that anyone can visiting can say, “That’s cool,” after reading a post or two. Honestly, I never imagined it would last this long. By the grace of God it has.

Since I'll probably be getting my car serviced most of tomorrow I'd like to take the time now to declare, Happy Happy MakesMeWannaHoller.com! You done turned out good...so far.

But that’s not all.

In celebration of these 2 years, I’ve got a little contest that I hope most of you will like. Check back at 2:09 pm today for the juicy details.

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Unitard Fights For Us All

Besides the lights, camera, and action, Superbowl commercials rank right up there as on the main highlights of the big game. From cars to jobs to Internet domain companies there's nothing that can't be promoted on one of television's most watched nights. And most of them thrive on one major component: they're funny.

Presenting UNITARD, the superhero spokesman for VacationRental.org. UNITARD tirelessly fights for the happiness of travelers, and he will not rest until people learn the benefits of the affordable, quality vacation rental. He fights for us all.

Check out their vacation rental commercial premiering before Superbowl XLIV:

And while you're at it look at all their packages and offers that span the U.S., the Caribbean and Europe.

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Go The Distance

Yesterday, I had to travel a considerable distance to visit my orthodontist for my last ever appointment for my year-old straightened teeth. I debated making the trip since I've moved so far away from where I used to live, but it was a mile or so from my old neighborhood in Queens --- where I settled when I first came to NYC. That alone was enough to motivate me to make and keep the appointment.

I was there for all of fifteen minutes. Dr. Mizrahi, a wise master of teeth-straightening, shook my hand, told me my teeth and I look great and sent me on my way with instructions to wear my retainer at nights, a couple of times a week, for the next several years.


Rather than just turn around and go home, I headed out to my old stomping grounds, stopped by the Toyota dealership on Hillside Avenue and Queens Boulevard and picked up some parts that I know how to install myself, which I did on the street. I looked at my little truck, plastered white with salt and exploding with used tissues from my daughter and candy wrappers from my son and decided it was time for a wash.

I took it to the spot I used to go every week. It's the car wash with the animals painted on the side that was featured in the Eddie Murphy movie Coming To America. The one that is down the street from the McDonald's that they dubbed McDowell's in the film.

My car came out spit-shined clean, glowing a radiant red, that I forgot actually existed. It hasn't looked that good in years. It definitely hasn't looked that good coming out of the affordable car washes in the Bronx and Westchester.

After visiting a friend I drove home thinking how happy I was I made that brief stop at the car wash. How I went the distance and got a result better than what I expected.

Go the distance in all things, work, physical fitness, experiences, even love. This can mean both the lengths you're willing to push yourself or even the actual physical distance you need to travel for a quality experience --- be it life, an adventure, an experience, a product, love and or happiness. It's worth it.

Have a great weekend.

Photo Credit: rse75

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Three Words...

As I breathe in the aroma of my cologne (Comme De Garcons) I pause and think back on the month of quasi silence I imposed on myself via this blog.

In September I will be 39...

When I was 23 I wrote in a journal what and who I'd be at 39.

I'd be...

  • wealthy.
  • wise.
  • established.
  • a brand new family man.
  • an owner of at least two homes (nothing fancy, just economically sound).
  • a frequent renter of yachts.
  • world traveled.
  • newly married to an exotic brown beauty who spoke English with an accent and didn't get American culture.
  • filled with peace, happiness and a simple, basic relationship with my God, regardless of the challenges hurled my way.
  • happily focused on the years ahead of me having dispensed with all the ones behind me (most important of them all).

Almost everything I've ever written in this one particular journal has come to pass whether I actually remember writing it or not.

Almost none of the above came to pass, and that that has didn't in the fashion I imagined.

The only coincidence (in my thinking) seems to be that my father had me at the ripe old age of 39. Never wanting to have children at such an old age, I completely understand now the logic behind being an established man before an established father....

The 2nd Sunday in January, I went to church with a friend and her mother and cried through the entire service, especially the sermon. My heart was in pieces and my soul didn't understand why, my mind was sorting out logical answers and my emotions were all over the place --- sad, encouraged, furious, fearful. The only thing my spirit could do was cry and with my tears, poison dripped out of me.

What poison? You might be asking yourself. What in the hamfat is he talking about? Maybe he needs another month off?

I spent most of the last decade hearing from the people closest to me about how I was too...
  • too sensitive...
  • too emotional...
  • too irritable...
  • too immature...
  • too selfish..
  • too cranky...
  • too moody...
  • too detached...
  • too cold...
  • too dramatic...
  • too sensitive...(I know I already wrote this)...
  • too self-centered...
I won't debate the truth in the above. I am not the recipient of my actions, so I can't speak on how I'm received by others. But I didn't hear much else in the opposite direction. And a weird thing happened. I began to search for compliments, hunger for my ego to be stroked, get desperate for kind words, want accolades for the most basic of activities, such as doing what I'm supposed to do around the house and doing what I'm supposed to be doing with my kids. I even wonder if this blog evolved into a slight cry for approval from all of you, my loyal readers. Worst of all I began going over and above the call of duty seeking approval and getting upset when that didn't happen.

But if I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, even if I think it's to a superior degree, isn't it simply what I'm supposed to be doing? And why get a cookie for that?

I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. What a pickle.

As 2009, the worst year of the worst decade of my life, ended, I looked in the mirror and didn't know who I was and I hated what I had become. I hated talking about it on this blog (or not talking about it). I hated living it in my skin. I needed to step off, to find me, to rediscover me, to be at peace with me, even if that means being at war (or not at ease) with everyone else in the process...

So I stepped off, prayed for peace, sought quietude and began to reteach myself how to be me, and be a Man, Dad & Husband at the same time. It required and will continue to require the precision of a surgeon, the tactical savvy of a sergeant and the knowledge of an archeologist.

Interestingly enough, people in these positions typically utter three words to their teams when things get critical and it's time to get serious and roll up their sleeves.

I'm going in...
And that's what I'm doing and will continue to do, God willing. So that by the time I hit 39 in September, you and I can all celebrate the beauty of life, the power of marriage, the strength of family, the prosperity that life has to offer despite it's bumps and bruises.

I'm going in because as I approach 40 I don't want to sit around patting my belly reminiscing about long gone days, never to be lived again. I want to be able to be all that I can for my family, my community and my country. And I'm dead serious. Because if I'm not living life to the fullest then I might as well be...dead. Better that than miserable.

Come along for the ride and I promise you'll have some fun along the way. Thanks for being patient in January. I only lost a few of you and I gained several more somehow with only 4 posts.

That's it for now. Tune in for more in the coming days.

Don't forget to contribute to the efforts in Haiti.

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