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Wednesday

The Best of Makes Me Wanna Holler

I've been thinking lately that at 20 posts shy of 500, many of you who visit my blog are just taking it in on a daily basis. You don't see where or who I was 2 years ago when my baby was 2, my boy was 12 and I was a freshly minted married man. Now as I'm up for 2010 Black Weblog Nominations in the following categories: Best Writing In A Blog & Best Personal Blog (please visit and nominate me if you haven't done so already), and now that potential is brewing for me to create a real live book from the content of all these posts I wanted to reintroduce you to all that made and sometimes still makes me holler.

It is debatable whether the following list is the best of this blog but the metrics do not lie as far as what you the reader, reads. So to thank you for reading, rather than butter you up with giveaways (which isn't the worst thing in the world), I present the "Best" of me.

Thank you!

  1. I Hate Cats

  2. About Me (The Original)

  3. Photos, Photos & More Photos

  4. Married Life

  5. The Worst Sex Talk EVER!

  6. 7 Things You Should NOT Say To Your Wife...

  7. When A Dad Attacks

  8. Family

  9. I Didn't Invented Sex

  10. My Piano Keys

  11. How To Love A Black Woman

  12. Bullet Proof

To my more recent readers, please dig in.

To my oldheads who've been with me as I spit all this out, I hope you enjoy the walk down memory lane.

Thanks again for the support, and allowing me to share a little of me with you.

Tuesday

In Pursuit Of Purpose...

The more things come together...

The older I get...

The more predictable life becomes...

The less sense it makes...

I shake my head almost able to reach out and touch my memories...

As if they were yesterday and not yesteryear...

And I wonder...

What if all my dreams were just dreams?

What if the only love that's real is love for kids?

...and kids' love for parents?

What if money really didn't matter?

Why does money matter?

Why does fashion matter to the masses?

Why does fashion matter to me?

What sense does it make to stay in shape?

If dying begins the day you start living, why live?

If there's plenty to live for, what is there to die for?

Or is that just something people ask not expecting an answer?

What is good?

What is bad?

Is there good?

Is there bad?

Does it matter?

I believe with all my heart and soul that God is real,

But after turning on the news for a few minutes or an argument with the wife...

I often wonder where He is...

Why did I work so hard as a child only to ensure an adulthood of internal and external doubt?

Why didn't I marry the first girl I thought I loved?

Better question, why did she have a boyfriend?

Even better, why did I have to find out on my own?

Why is sex the best thing ever and worst thing too depending on who you do?

Who is this woman who calls me Husband?

Who are these copies of me calling me Daddy?

Why in the world would anyone rely on me when I so many days when I can't rely on myself?

How can there be too much of a good thing when lately there isn't enough of anything to go around?

Why does love wreak havoc on the soul until you don't want it anymore?

Why do people fall in love with you when love is the last thing you want or are even ready for?

Why does turmoil bubble inside the soul with no positive place for it to go?

What if when the lights go out on my life forever, no lights come back on at the other end of the tunnel?

What if there is no tomorrow and all of this has just been one very LONG day?

What if I die tomorrow?

Can I honestly say I did it my way?

Life is a strange thing that stays inevitably the same...

I know this and still I question it, some days driving myself insane,

with sleepless nights and worries about woe of which I have no control?

But if the birds of the trees don't worry about a thing

then why do I wonder at all???

I wonder...

How about you?

Thursday

Bye Bye, Backfat - Hello Boxing Gloves!: Halfway There, Almost There

K.O.Last week Thursday I stepped on the scale after being worked over by a trainer who goes by the handle, Gato.

I was pleasantly satisfied. The number, "187" materialized on the digital screen between my big toes and I smiled.
187 pounds represents a 15 pound loss from 202.

The Good News:
My backfat is gone. My six pack has begun to reemerge. My facial features appear to be sleeker. My arms are defined but the veins that used to plot routes up and down my biceps are conspicuously absent. My pectorals are no longer "mitties" (figure it out) and are cleanly separated along my sternum.

The Bad News:
There are pockets of pudge that are trying to maintain strongholds on me and I have a nice solid layer of subcutaneous fat that needs to go. Unfortunately this layer of fat just beneath the skin, casually referred to as body fat or belly fat is usually the last, if not the hardest to get rid of --- at least for non-professional and semi-pro athletes and other individuals like myself who don't have the time to commit to two-a-days.

The Worst News: I want to reach my goal of 170 pounds yesterday/last week and the more gains I make, the more disappointed I become with the ones I achieve --- the maniac health nut has returned.

The reality is that from 2006 - 2010 I gained 29 pounds. I'm not so sure I should be killing myself to lose in 90 days what it took 5 years to gain.

But knowing this hasn't stopped me from trying. My goal for the beginning of July is to weigh in at 182. From there I will have to decide what steps I need to take to shave off the next 10 pounds.

But none of the above would've been possible without the good folks over at LA Boxing (Mamaroneck). I can't believe that a mere couple months back I was filled with fear as I crossed the threshold of the gym for the first time. Nowadays I come in and say hello to everyone on staff for the day. I have my own LA Boxing t-shirt and I jump rope in plain sight of all, not the dark corner of the gym I started in.

The philosophy there is simple: If you don't do the exercises the only one you're cheating is yourself. What LA Boxing has done for me in the short time that I've been a member is let me know I can withstand the test, take it and give it right back. When I'm getting ready to give up during a workout, the voice I hear before any trainer's is my own, demanding that I not fall down on myself, that I not cheat ... myself. The trainer's have an excellent eye for your strengths and weakness and they work very hard to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

I can't say where I'd be with this regimen. I know for a fact that I'd still be 202, my knees would still, it would be difficult for me to move up and down stairs and a lot of my pants would still look like pipe cleaners.

  • I've learned a lot about the craft of boxing. It isn't something I intend to employ the next time someone makes me upset, but it is definitely an outlet for my daily frustrations and occasional woe.

  • The mind numbing 800-1,000 cardio workout has tested me so much in these few short weeks that I'm not sure what I CAN'T do, anymore.

  • I feel confident in myself and no longer ignore the man in the mirror.

  • My LA Boxing experience has reinvigorated the warrior in me. The program has once again reminded me that nothing or no one but me is stopping me from achieving certain goals in this life. And I've been able to successfully and positively apply the same aggression, creativity and being light on my feet that is required of when I'm wearing the gloves to a variety of other areas in my life that needed "jumpstarting".

On the morning of Father's Day I went to the gym. Gato worked me over once again. When class was over he asked me if I was still dying.

"I'm never dying. The day I die is the day all this stops."

It hasn't stopped yet.

I don't intend for it to stop ever.


Photo Credit: Photofreaks on Flickr

Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: i see through eyes

Nothing to see here, literally.

Without too many words I'd like to introduce you to a new member of the Makes Me Wanna Holler Family. Presenting his sister site: i see through eyes - The Photos & Thoughts Of Eric Payne.

A blog of a completely different set of stripes, it is a photoblog in it's infancy. It is both amazing and daunting to look at a brand new blog considering how many hours I've logged here. But after many months of deliberation it is here, hopefully to stay.

Take a moment to see through my eyes as you've done with such loyalty here.

Please visit and subscribe to i see through eyes.

Tuesday

I Need A Dollar --- A Dollar Is What I Need

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a former colleague of mine from a job prior to my last one. She was let go approximately a year ago. It was eerie listening to what she had to say as her views --- the crumbling optimism, the sharp sarcasm, her embracing the beauty of the simplicity of life, her extreme distaste for the roller coaster ride of anticipation that comes with applying, interviewing and then being rejected again and again, or not even receiving a response at all. Word for word, she sound almost exactly like me. The only difference between she and I is that she is a middle aged Irish woman with kids in college. And I am not.

I stumbled across a song that resonated with me a little while back and is definitely resonating with me now. It's the theme music for the HBO series, How To Make It In America. I Need A Dollar, by Aloe Blacc. He sounds like he's spent a lot of time listening to Bill Withers. Or maybe he's just blessed that way.

Although things aren't as dire as Mr. Blacc paints in his song (Please note: I prefer the clip below to the official video that cuts the song off before it actually finishes), it definitely rings familiar.

To all the unemployed out there doing your best to maintain your spiritual, emotional, financial and physical well being...keep your head up. Don't give up.



To add this song to your personal collection check out the right hand column of this blog.

Peace.

Friday

Happy Father's Day From Despicable Me!



You can also visit www.minionmail.com to send a HAPPY FATHER’S DAY greeting to your friends & family.

Father’s Day cards can be created and sent via Facebook, twitter and email to friends.

Victories - Both Large And Small...and Retreats

How 'bout those Lakers?

How 'bout those Celtics?

How 'bout Team USA (soccer/football/futbol)?

This week was a rollercoaster of emotions for everyone but my daughter who's emotional tumult has been the usual for her age. It was a good week for her. She had her first Picture Day at school, came home with a goody bag full of candy from one of her classmates birthday parties, and is looking forward to her end of the year field trip.

A day passed by quietly after my talk with my son. A scheduled photoshoot I had with a client, that I rented equipment for, went up in smoke. Conventional wisdom would suggest: "Get out there and use the equipment! Shoot everything under the sun!" But it's still sitting in my bag untouched, untested, unused.

We had a meeting with the Committee for Special Education, regarding my son's academic career. I went into the meeting armed and ready to advocate on his behalf. The meeting wasn't going well and before I could open my mouth to advocate the Committee Chair ruled that he have an Independent Education Plan not because he was Learning Disabled but because his attention issues have wreaked havoc on his classroom performance. Every argument I had written down on my pad of notes (given to me by a friend who is a former principal) she rattled off, word for word. I sat back in my chair and relaxed, shocked that the fight I was prepared to bring never materialized. Score!

That evening my son held a meeting for all the old people in the house in the living room. I had to be called to the front because I'm not old. Once I was seated on the couch he stood before my wife and I and apologized for his actions earlier in the week and stated his willingness to be accountable for them and he offered that he'd work harder to fulfill his obligations around the house. There was plenty of stuttering and all, but he's a teenager so he's allowed some slack. I was impressed. Score!

Quite a few seasoned step-fathers have offered to take me out for drinks over the next few days to share war stories. Truth is I have no real desire to talk about the events of this week. It is what it is. It happened. It's over until the next time, if and whenever that is. My wife is making plans for Father's Day, my son asked me just yesterday what I would like, my daughter is telling me all the things she intends to make for me that sound more like gifts for her. But quietly I don't want any of it. I want to shrink away from Father's Day this year. In my mind everyday is Father's Day, the waking hours that I spend doing my job as a parent, loving it or not and doing it anyway. Although I drool at the prospect of some new piece of tech, a MAN-icure or a professional shave with a straight razor, I'd rather pass through this coming Sunday anonymously and begin again on Monday. Maybe it's a retreat, maybe it's not wanting to be bothered, maybe I'm just tired. Losing weight and feeling good about myself is present enough for me these days. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be Dad and I'm not sure if I could do it all over again I'd do too much that much differently.

All in all I'm thankful and I hope the rest of the dads out there are too.

Happy Father's Day

E.Payne

Thursday

4 Things A Real Man Does And Doesn't Do

The smoke has cleared from my son's meltdown on Monday night. I've caught up on the rest I lost by staying out until nearly 2 am and then not being able to sleep once I returned home. All the punitive measures were put in place before I wrote that post: his phone only works when he calls his parents or grandparents, all the Wi-Fi in the house is disabled, all the keys (including the one at the front desk) were in my care and he was yanked off his basketball team (they only had two games left anyway). When my wife came home that evening she said, "What'd you do put him under house arrest?"

I chuckled the way you do when something isn't funny and poured myself a glass of Mount Gay on the rocks and took a huge swig. Her eyes widened with concern.

"I'm good," I assured her. "I'm not going to get drunk at 7 in the evening." Truth is, I drink so infrequently now, I can barely hold my liquor. I'm too old to be getting plastered anyhow.

"You should talk to him," she said, pleadingly looking towards the back of our home. "He needs to hear from you."

A few hours later I did talk to him, but not as his mother did, stern but nurturing. I simply spoke my mind as a man should when the air needs to be cleared.

I told him that I was sorry the man who should be his father isn't around and I can only imagine his pain (he was gone before he was born). And that he was correct in labeling me a step-dad, as I am the dad who stepped up. As one commenter put it, most folk don't get to chose their family. I chose him. I also told him if he should ever want to pursue that man I'd support him.

I told him that the day I "put my hands on him" (something he accused me of doing) is the day he wakes up in the hospital and I get carted off to jail. There was some grappling that night, all from me, but never once did I raise a hand.

I told him he was wanted (something he screamed to the contrary that night). What I told him was that it wasn't that we thought he didn't do anything right, but rather we don't understand why he opts not to do anything right.

Speaking of rights I told him he had too much going on for him, too many people in his corner, too many people loving him to piss away his own opportunities and be ambivalent about it.

I told him he was first, the first one I knew, the first one I loved. I've never once made a distinction between he and his sister.

And then I went in...

  1. I told him the show he put on made him look like a fool and all that drama is best saved for the soap operas. And the next time he gets angry he needs to figure out a better way to express himself. As his parents we have to see through all that. I doubt a stranger will show him the same discretion.

  2. I told him what makes a man a real man is his standing by his responsibilities, such as getting a woman pregnant and being responsible for the child he makes, or taking on a child as his own and never once balking at it.

  3. I told him a real man makes mistakes, owns up to them and does his best to correct them.

  4. I told him, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that a real man NEVER EVER EVER NEVER EVER curses at, or in the presence of his mother --- no matter the circumstances. A real man does not disrespect his mother, EVER! And that he HAD TO apologize to the one who gave him life --- the one who has him at the forefront of all her thoughts and actions.

  5. I advised him that his punishment had yet to be handed down but it was going to big and it was coming swiftly.

And he said, "Okay."

Wednesday

And The Winner of the Jawbone ICON Hero Giveaway Is...



...Is...

Contestant Tafari!

Please use the Contact link at the top of the page and provide me with your mailing address. You've got seven (7) days from today's date to do so before the next winner is selected.

Congratulations and Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday

'Twas A Few Days Before Father's Day

'Twas a few days before Father's Day and all through the house,

Everyone was a sleep except this lively mouse.

I stared at the ceiling, wide awake as could be,

Getting up several times with the urgent need to pee.

But that's not what had me wide-eyed in the night,

It was what transpired a few hours earlier, a very caustic fight

Between a teen at the end of his rope, the victim of course...

Enough with the rhyming. Before the clock struck midnight my son very clearly informed me (who at the time was boiling over with frustration) that I wasn't his dad. I was just his step dad.


Here's a little secret: I've been dreading those words for years.

But I laughed. Can you believe it? Maybe it was a defense mechanism, maybe it was because I had many more words to say than him. Maybe my bottle was corked just a bit tighter than his in my effort to always embrace reason and seek the positive.

But that doesn't mean I didn't react.

The Man caught an adrenaline rush, pushed the Dad and Husband out of the room and stared down flesh not even half my age. The flimsy knife the boy had brought to the Man's gunfight broke against the man's older, wrought-iron skin.

The boy...ahh, the boy...a boy I've known for a very, very long time....the boy in the big body...he's still just a boy...he proved that more than ever before...

Then it was the Man's turn...

But the Wife was there to keep the The Man from pulling his trigger, neutralizing and reminding him where he was and who he also is. She went to find the Dad even though it took her nearly four hours to do so. I assume she probably suffered the most in the midst of the chaos. I apologized, but she insisted I did nothing wrong.

The Wife convinced the Husband to come to bed. But the Man couldn't sleep and the Dad all but disappeared until the sun rose. He washed his face, shaved and emerged to face the day at peace and filled with the awareness of the teachable moment he now stands in and the structure that must now and forevermore be employed. Eerily, I'm at peace. I kinda figured the day would come. You just know as an outsider trying to become an insider (even once you're inside) that the day will come --- whether it's sooner or later. God bless those who've remained unscathed.

I am the stepdad: The dad who STEPPED-UP to do what another man never had the courage to pursue. Although meant as a slight. I actually take it as a compliment. Go figure?

Stepdads STAND UP! Happy Father's Day to you! You have to contend with so much more than those who come by it naturally.

My hat is off to you.

Be blessed.

Monday

Father's Day Fitness Jumpstart Contest With LA Boxing

Remember this? I wouldn't be surprised if you don't. It lived and died on the Makes Me Wanna Holler Facebook Page. You can check it out below:



This contest didn't go so well, in fact, it made about as much of a splash as a pebble does in the Atlantic Ocean.

Oh well, things don't always go as planned. You move on and try, try, again.

  • Do you need to get in shape?

  • Does the Dad in your life need to get in shape?

  • Do you need a kick in that place just beneath your beltline, directly opposite your front side to get you jump started?

  • Can you even see your beltline anymore?

  • Or, would you simply like to try something different other than the usual humdrum of lifting weights or running on a treadmill at your local gym?

Then, please, have a week on me (LA Boxing, actually):


THE FATHER'S DAY 1-WEEK WORKOUT JUMPSTART GIVEAWAY


The good folks over at LA BOXING are offering one (1) One-Week Trial Membership at one of their gyms in YOUR neighborhood. It's a great opportunity for you to get it together and take the first step to getting, or staying in shape. Take it from me. I'm a believer. If this is your first time here, you can follow my weight-loss/get in shape travels at To The Test: Real Words, Real People, Real Results.

The winner will be chosen via Random.org.


This is a little taste of what you'll face, if you win:



This giveaway IS NOT the Fresno gym (unless you win and you live in Fresno). It's actually for the LA Boxing Gym in your hood. So before you decide to enter you have to find out if LA Boxing is actually in your neighborhood or the neighborhood of the Dad in your life. The easiest way to find out is to visit www.LABOXING.com, click on the GYM LOCATOR link near the top of the page and enter your Zip Code. If you're there's one nearby then you're in luck! Keep reading, enter to win and do something besides coming up with some last-minute As Seen On TV $10 gift for Dear old Dad, the man who has let himself go to keep everyone else's wheels greased and running properly.


CONTEST RULES:

MANDATORY ENTRY:

  • You MUST leave a comment here as to why you would like to win this 1-week trial membership. If you're a Dad then speak for yourself. If you want it for the Dad in your life then state why you would like the membership for him.

Additional Entries (You can do any or all of the following, BUT each are invalid without the Mandatory Entry above):

  • Comment on any post on this blog (1 additional entry per post) - please state in the comments section of this post which additional post(s) you commented on.

  • Create a video/webcast stating why you want this prize or who you want it for. Once you've created your video please Contact Me with the link for the video. (10 additional entries)

  • Join the Makes Me Wanna Holler Facebook Page (2 additional entries) - let me know here in the comments section that you've joined.

  • Become a friend on Google Friend Connect (see the right column of this page) - let me know here in the comments section of this post, that you've joined (2 additional entries).

  • Tweet (the red text): Enter @MakesMeHoller to win a 1-week membership at LA Boxing in your neighborhood for the father you love. http://bit.ly/chMtIK #giveaway (1 entry per tweet)

Contest Duration:

The contest will run from 9:30am (PST), Monday, June 14, 2010 to 8:00 am (PST), Friday, June 18, 2010.


Eligibility:

All entrants in this contest must be a resident of the United States and have a working email address.


Official Product Info:

Please visit the LA BOXING website.


Disclosure:
This is not a sponsored post. Neither E.Payne nor MakesMeWannaHoller.com has been compensated in any way for this post or contest prize.

Friday

Bye Bye, Backfat - Hello Boxing Gloves! Part X: Attaining Mini-Milestones

The official weigh-in was today and the scale registered the above number. I haven't seen 180-anything in at least two years on any scale I've stood on and today I am very satisfied. I set a goal for myself last week to lose 3-4 pounds a week. I lost 3 this week and I'm driven to lose 3 or more next week.

I am officially down 13 pounds from my original 202. My gut is gone, my backfat is still here, but in a greatly reduced amount. Other than my shoulders and knees feeling like they need a serious squirt of WD-40, I am limber and light on my feet.

I'm not sure why it's taken so long to get to this point after spending nearly two months at the same weight, but why ask, "Why?" I now have the momentum, better eating habits and LA Boxing - Mamaroneck behind me to forge ahead toward my goal of getting down to 170 pounds, which is 3 pounds less than the lightest I've ever been. I may get there, I may not. For now in the short term I've got 9 more pounds to go before I'm the hell up out of the 180s and I'm shooting for 179-180 for the July 4th Holiday. This is my new mini-milestone to chase down.

There was a little saying I coined when I was pledging my fraternity way back when in college. It kept me sane when I was certain (and not so certain) everything around me had gone nuts. It was my mantra that kept me going when tremors were ripping through my body while I held myself in push-up position (one of the more tame feats of strength I can mention here) at the kind and oh so pleasant behests of my big brothers for ungodly amounts of time above pools of my own sweat as they attempted to "distract" me. For whatever reason I remembered it last week and I've added it to my routine.


"I CANNOT submit. I WILL NOT submit. I REFUSE!"

Stay tuned...and stay motivated, whatever your goals may be!

Thursday

Father's Day DVD Giveaway: A Black Man’s Worth! Conqueror and Head of Household

It's no secret that there is a dearth of active and committed African American fathers in the African American families. One out of every two children in the United States will live in a single-parent family at some time before they reach age 18. According the United States Census Bureau, in 2002 about 20 million children lived in a household with only their mother or their father. 16.5 million or 23 percent of all children were living with their single mother. This group included 48 percent of all African-American children, 16 percent of all non-Hispanic white children, 13 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander children, and 25 percent of children of Hispanic origin.

Wow!

Of course these figures can be broken down further to explain that some of these households are homes that contain two unmarried adults, but this is only a some. On it's face, 48% of all African-American children were living with their single mom's in 2002. We won't know what the final tally is for the coming census numbers, but if the negative is trending as positively as it has been for the past several years, things don't look good.

Or do they? In the midst of miserable statistics there are always champions fighting to reverse the tide.

One such person is author, activist, psychotherapist and film producer, Dwayne L. Buckingham. He has released a new film, "A Black Man’s Worth! Conqueror and Head of Household.”

In his film, Buckingham captures the most thought-provoking and heart-felt stories ever told by Black males who have experienced the negative and disheartening consequences of growing up in fatherless households. As a Black male who grew up in a fatherless household, Buckingham personally experienced the psychological, social and economic hardships most commonly experienced by Black males who are forced to cope with this harsh phenomenon and has dedicated his life to preventing the vicious fatherless cycle from reoccurring. Buckingham strives to provide Black males with the knowledge and skills essential to establishing and maintaining a positive and productive household.



This movie promises to be an eye-opener and something that can be discussed for days and weeks to come long after Father's Day 2010 has been forgotten.


ENTER TO WIN YOUR VERY OWN COPY OF A BLACK MAN'S WORTH!

Just in time for Father's Day, I'm pleased to be able to give away one (1) A Black Man’s Worth! Conqueror and Head of Household package which includes one (1) DVD, (1) accompanying book and one (1) A Black Man's Worth t-shirt. The Winner will be selected using Random.org.



CONTEST RULES:

MANDATORY ENTRY:

  • You MUST leave a comment here as to why you want this DVD package or to whom you'd like to give it to as a gift.

Additional Entries (each count as an individual entry):

  • You can "LIKE" the A Black Man's Worth Facebook Page. (You MUST let me know here in the comments section of THIS post in order for this additional entry to be counted.)
  • You can leave a comment (of your choosing) on the A Black Man's Worth Facebook Page. (You MUST let me know here in the comments section of THIS post in order for this additional entry to be counted.)
  • You can follow Subscbribe via RSS or Email to this log. Make sure you let me know in the comments section below.
  • Join the Makes Me Wanna Holler Facebook Fan Page (there is an additional perk for the 250th fan of my Facebook Fan Page) Make sure you let me know in the comments section below.
  • Become a Follower of this blog on Google Friend Connect (see the right hand column of this page). Make sure you let me know in the comments section below.


Contest Duration:

The contest will run from 1:00pm (PST), Thursday, June 10, 2010 to 11:59 am, Tuesday, June 15, 2010 (PST).


Eligibility:

All entrants in this contest must be a resident of the United States or have a valid United States mailing address.

Official Product Info:

Please visit R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Services, LLC

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Neither E.Payne nor MakesMeWannaHoller.com has been compensated in any way for this post or giveaway.

The Man And Dad That I Am Versus The Husband I Am Not

THE MAN

It was just this past December when I wrote here on this blog that I couldn't stand the sight of me in the mirror. I believe my phraseology was something like when looking in the mirror I didn't know what (not who) I was looking at.

These days, I'm enjoying my reflection quite a bit, short of becoming narcissistic. The pudge that was in my cheeks is noticeably reduced, revealing sharper lines. The backfat from the small of my back is gone, although there's still more to be removed from the rest of my midsection. I'm standing erect, moving around easily. Intensity flares in my eyes. I go to bed dead tired and wake up not wanting to wake up, but I hit the ground running and don't stop until I'm dead tired again. I'm take charge and fight the doubt that swirls in my head every time I'm poised to do something that will benefit me. The soundtrack of my life right now is a mix of Rock, R&B, House Music with some touches of Hip Hop. It's my warrior's soundtrack. I've written extensively about "Getting Back To Me". And I feel me clawing my way out of the fat blob of discontent I've been for the past 3-4 years. If I were to be completely honest with myself it probably began before then all the way back to when I found out I was going to be a dad for real.

I feel in control, though I know I control nothing. I feel power, though as a man I only have direction over me. I feel I am standing at the threshold of something great. This can mean one of two things or be a combination of both: I am moments or mere steps away from peace of mind, or I'm about to hit paydirt. Either way I feel it and I'm encouraged by the substance of what I can't see (a.k.a. Faith).


THE DAD

Anyone who would ever question my dedication and actions as a father (not that it's ever happened) would seriously get their feelings hurt. By no means am I a perfect dad. Sometimes I'm quick to anger. Sometimes I growl, yell and bark. Sometimes I'm not interested in being patient. Sometimes I get fed up with these little people (even the one who is taller than me now) telling me what to do. I deal with their youthful rudeness as I would a man of my maturity and understanding. And then I realize what I've done when I see them cowering before the Man that I am. Sometimes I enjoy the reaction. It's wrong, but it happens sometimes. Otherwise, they are the number one priorities in my life. I am up before the sun making sure my son has a hot breakfast before he has to face his demons (and there are many) at the high school. I tell him to have a great day whether he responds to me or not. I let his occasional teenage ingratitude roll off me like the water does in the shower. I fight for him at the school. I fight to keep him busy. I fight to instill in him as many tenets of manhood as I can before he flies the coop. My daughter plain and simple is my power source. Like the Arc Reactor embedded in Tony Stark's a.k.a Iron Man's chest, she powers me, even as she drains me. I listen to her as if she were a Ph.D. I empower her not to become entitled and helpless because of her staggering beauty which is currently disguised as unbelievable cuteness. I pray with her. I read to her. I keep her centered. I do tea parties and playdough parties. I get dressed in suits and make my hats and caps look silly to fit the scenarios of whatever adventure she's cooked up in her head and chosen to include me in. I do what any parent should do. I love them --- in word, in emotion and in action. And I'm thankful to have been put in charge of them.


THE HUSBAND

The husband I am, I'm not so sure about as of late. Many who have been with me through these past couple of years know that my wife was a major subject matter in my blogging. Since the beginning of this year it'd be hard to not notice that I've barely mentioned her at all. Those commenters who always had something to say about my musing on married life have become mute, my traffic has dipped, but my subscribers keep increasing. I've given up trying to figure it out.

This morning I had an argument with my wife. In my outrage, the real me, that me that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, confessed that I'm not the loving husband I thought I'd be, need to be or even want to be. I am my mother's child: sensitive, thoughtful, fashion conscious, obedient to the law and very concerned about the well being of others. But as I chase down 40 I'm discovering that I am just as much my father's son: brooding, methodical, distant, cold, academic instead of emotional, as a matter of fact and sometime downright stoic. The distinction I can make is that I am my mother's child. I become my father's son when on the defense. I love my father with all my heart for everything that he is and is not, but in the bag of traits that was handed down to me I made a point not to pick the ones I listed here. I seem to have grabbed them anyway. Why this has happened, whose fault this is, is somewhat irrelevant for the purpose of this post. I guess I just am stating all this to state to the universe that by no means am I a perfect man. I don't profess to know it all and in most circles I'd prefer to keep my knowledge to myself lest it be challenged. I let my spirit guide me, but in a world ruled by the self I am constantly at odds because I am not in sync with most.

Marriage is something many enter into lightly, not understanding that it is a contract written in blood and DNA. Many men who find themselves overwhelmed or disillusioned have a simple solution: they cheat. But I believe (as a married man) I should have all my eggs in only one basket. And they are in plain sight for everyone to see under the roof of my home and nowhere else.

I'm a Man, I'm a Dad, And I'm a Husband. And I'm doing the best I can.

I just felt like sharing.

To be continued (or added to) at some point in the future...

How's that for transparent?

Wednesday

Jawbone Review & Father's Day Giveaway

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED...THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!!!



Jawbone?

"What the [expletive] is a Jawbone?" was what I said aloud to myself when the good folks at OutCast Communications reached out to me. Then I clicked on the supplied links and I thought to myself, That [expletive] is ugly!

At the time I didn't know the Jawbone ICON was CNET's highest rated headset. Ever. Personally, I'm not that much of a Bluetooth guy although I completely understand and admire the technology. But most folks walking down the street looking like Trekkies with their communicators in their ears look, in a word, ridiculous. What's even more ridiculous is how this same set of people think they look so on point with their earpiece. I could see if they were FBI or CIA but usually they're talking to someone they saw a few minutes ago. I'm a fan of understated tech. That is technology you can't see, is wireless, and/or is super-thin and has battery life. Battery life is and always will be critical to me. I'm not a fan of skinny with 1 hour's worth of battery-life.

I've had various earpieces for my cellphones over the years and can't say I truly felt hands-free until I discovered Bluetooth connectivity. Once I experienced in-dash Bluetooth connectivity in a vehicle I was 100% hooked and 100% hands-free, but I was only test-driving that car, so the euphoria was fleeting.

I say all this to say that my last headset, made by Jabbra disappeared somewhere in my daughter's room and I haven't seen it in months. Knowing that I needed something to use while driving (sadly, I am a cellphone-driving and occasional email-reading offender), I responded to the good folks at OutCast and in a matter of days my Jawbone Icon, Hero model was delivered to my door.

I opened the box and was...AMAZED. By far it has to be the sexiest headset I've ever seen. I has a couple of different configurations that allow you to wear either looped over your ear or in it like in-ear headphones. If you have hair (unlike me) you can completely conceal it if necessary. It is affordable-understated, meaning it's about as small as it can get without reaching an absurd price-point. The sound is crystal clear and with their patented Noise-Assassin (military grade noise canceling technology) I can drive with the windows down and the person on the other end of the call is none the wiser.




And it doesn't end there. They have apps! Yeah, just like everyone else these days. Instead of a random computerized voice that provides you with battery-life stats, incoming call info and so on you can pick and choose the voice you want in your ear. I opted for The Ace, a British woman that reminds me of Tony Stark's Jarvis. She's quite snarky too. If I choose to ignore a call she let's me know "We don't have time for that." Cools...

Additional capabilities include being able to dial 411, receiving turn-by-turn directions, voice activated dialing, and listening to music (which includes any videos you have on your phone) all through your headset. It even has the capability for you to voice update social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. However keep in mind, you are limited by the services your actual carrier provides. So if you don't have voice activated on your phone don't expect any miracles from the Jawbone.

I still won't be outside walking the streets wearing this neat little Bluetooth headset because that's not who I am, but anywhere where I need it --- in my home cooking, writing or whatever, behind the wheel or even as a passenger, outside watering my plants --- I'll definitely have my Jawbone ICON Hero stuck in my ear.



GET DAD THE HOTTEST TECH-CESSORY FOR FATHER'S DAY!

I'm giving away one (1) Jawbone ICON Hero Bluetooth Headset to one (1) individual just in time for Father's Day. The Winner will be selected using Random.org.


CONTEST RULES:

MANDATORY ENTRY:

Leave a comment on this post stating why you want this for Father's Day, or why you want it for the Father in your life.

Additional Entries (each count as an individual entry):

  • Subscbribe via RSS or Email to this log. Make sure you let me know in the comments section below.
  • Join the Makes Me Wanna Holler Facebook Fan Page (there is an additional perk for the 250th fan of my Facebook Fan Page) Make sure you let me know in the comments section below.
  • Become a Follower on Google Friend Connect. Make sure you let me know in the comments section below.
  • Tweet the following (red text and included link only): Win A Jawbone Icon for Father's Day! RT @MakesMeHoller & Enter to win! http://tinyurl.com/2553c36 #giveaway Make sure you let me know here in the comments of this post that you tweeted so your entry can be counted. 3 tweets per day max during contest duration. (1 additional entry per day of tweeting).
  • Update Your Facebook Status (red text and included link only): Win A Jawbone Icon for Father's Day! @Makes Me Wanna Holler - Man, Dad, Husband Enter to win! http://tinyurl.com/2553c36 #giveaway Make sure you let me know here in the comments of this post that you updated your status so your entry can be counted. 3 updates per day max during contest duration. (1 additional entry per day of updating).

Contest Duration:

The contest will run from 1:00pm (PST), Wednesday, June 9, 2010 to 11:59 am (PST), Tuesday, June 15, 2010.


Eligibility:

All entrants in this contest must be a resident of the United States or have a valid United States mailing address.


Official Product Info:

As a parent, there are never enough hours in the day but Jawbone ICON, the world's most intelligent and stylish hands-free device, brings new meaning to productivity. This Bluetooth headset helps busy dads multi-task by letting them talk hands-free wherever they are: driving kids to sports practice, talking to a client or packing for a vacation or business trip.

The award winning Jawbone ICON also lets dad listen to music, podcasts or audio books wire-free, along with turn-by-turn GPS driving directions whispered into his ear, all while keeping his hands on the wheel.

Jawbone ICON comes in six striking designs - each with unique names that reflect the personas they embody. So, you can tell Dad he's your HERO!



Disclosure: I did receive a Jawbone Icon Hero strictly for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post. Neither E.Payne nor MakesMeWannaHoller.com is being compensated in any way for this review or giveaway.

Site Updates

I've made a couple of improvements to this site and I wanted to make you, my lovely readers aware of them:

  1. A brand new ABOUT ME page featuring up-to-date information and matching pictures.

  2. After numerous complaints from readers about not being able to contact me I've changed embedded email forms and I now have a brand new CONTACT page for you use.

Just keeping you in the loop.

E.Payne

Tuesday

Water Fountain Fun


Water Fountain Fun, originally uploaded by E.Payne.

For the life of me I don't understand the fascination with water fountains, but then again parks were disgusting when I was coming up in Chi-Town. My eyes were rolling back in my head when I snapped my little one and one of her classmates happily taking turns (sort of) at the fountain.

Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers - The Winners

And now for the winners of the Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers Game by Atari for the Wii...



Not so surprisingly the two winners are also the two contestants who entered the contest (Applause & Cheers)! And they are:

  1. Ms. Understood
  2. bison61


Please provide me with your mailing information ASAP (by Friday of this week) via the CONTACT tab at the top of this page just beneath the header. Should you have any problems with the contact page (it's been acting up, I hear), please let me know in the comments section below.

Congratulations! Stay tuned for more Month of the Dad giveaways, tomorrow, or maybe later today.

Peace,

E.Payne

Saturday

Bye Bye, Backfat - Hello Boxing Gloves!: Post-Vacation Update - Down For the Count

On Thursday of last week I was all set to fly with my family out to Barbados, W.I. for the Memorial Day Weekend. The plan was to catch up with family down there and regroup on the island where we were married. But due to the travel nightmare that erupted thanks to my son's expired passport (who knew kids' passports were only good for 5 years?) I stayed back for a day with him and paid through the nose to get his passport renewed.

On Friday we were good to go. And then my sinuses went crazy on the plane ride. By the time I landed I couldn't hear out of my left ear at all and I could barely breathe through my nose. The wife told me I snored so bad my first night there it sounded like I was gargling water.

I spent most of Saturday swimming in the ocean. The day was about as blissful as bliss can get.

By Sunday night I was experiencing aches and pains similar to the flu.

On Monday we headed back to New York, got caught up in a mid air traffic jam and were ultimately diverted to Atlantic City to refuel, take off again and head to New York. Instead of landing at 8pm we landed at 11:30pm. By the time I hit the front door of my house it was 1:30 in the morning.

On Tuesday, I called my doctor and am now on a two-week supply of antibiotics to get rid of my sinus infection. My system cleaned itself out for two days straight (I'll spare the details) and I've been catching up on work that should've been done two weeks ago.

To make a long story short, I'm down for the count and haven't worked out at LA Boxing since last Tuesday. But I'm never one to stop cold turkey once I've started. While on vacation I still managed to watch what I eat (to a degree) and I determined that I needed to reduce my salt intake. Over the past 3 weeks my weight has yo-yoed all over the place to the point that I thought my scale was broken. But the real culprit was water retention. Because of my trip and since my trip I've been doing the following daily:

  1. Drinking 10 cups of water.
  2. Eating at least 2 servings of fruits.
  3. Eating 2 servings of vegetables per day.
Also thanks to my time in the Caribbean I've re-added fish to my diet, eating it at least twice a week. The results have been immediate. My weight dropped and has remained at approximately 191, down from my original 202. I anticipate it being very easy to break back into the 180s by next week when I head back to my LA Boxing Gym out in Mamaroneck, NY to workout with the crew, Pasquale, Dennis and the indomitable Gato.

Here I am on the beach during my vacation. I wouldn't have even considered taking a pic like this a couple months ago.

On my way, but not there yet.

BTW - I've upped the ante with myself. Instead of 175 I want to get down to 170. My wife told me I was only allowed to go down to 180 and I smiled...dismissively.

Tuesday

Bajan Bliss At Sunset

I was here...



And now I am not.