Sunday, November 28, 2010

My journey with my finger

This has been the weekend that we have designated for giving thanks for friends, family, blessings in our life, etc. This hasn't been the best year of my life in many aspects, but it has been far from my worst. One of the things that I've been giving thanks for the past two months has been the speedy recovery of my dislocated right pinkie finger that I suffered over Labor Day weekend.

Many of you know by now that I pretty much live in the gym, doing a wide variety of activities from weight lifting, cardio, basketball, aerobics and most recently ZUMBA. On the Friday before Labor Day of this year, I was playing a 2 on 2 pickup basketball game at the gym. It was getting pretty rough and intense. I couldn't hit water from a boat, shotwise, but my defense was on that day. I was going against one of the best outside shooters that comes to our gym and I was shutting him down. I was making him drive to the basket. We both went up for a rebound and our hands collided. When I came down, I felt a little pain in my right pinkie. I figured it was a little bump until I looked at my finger. It was disfigured and bent the other direction. I held it up and asked the other guys what they thought and they were all like "WHOAA!!!!" I immediately left and went to the emergency room. That's when the pain started subsiding. They put my finger in a splint, prescribed some pain meds, and left me with a lot of concern as to what I was going to do next.

I didn't know how long I was going to have to be out of work, the gym, and if I was going to be able to play in the upcoming alumni football game I was helping organize. I really was doing a lot of praying during this time, especially that Labor Day weekend. I never really realize how valuable my pinkies were until that moment right there.

Since it was Labor Day weekend, I went to the doctor on Tuesday after I went to work and informed my employers of the situation. The doctor performed another X-ray, and took my finger out of the splint. I still couldn't move it much without any pain so the doctor recommend that I take it light on my finger until I could move it and see him again in a week. If I couldn't move the finger any better, I would have to undergo therapy. I stayed out of work for a week, dissolving the rest of my vacation and sick time (that's the policy at my job if you take leave and it's not their fault). It turns out I had just enough time to cover just that time fortunately. I only worked out three days before I saw the doctor again, only cardio and abs. By Saturday, I could move my finger much better, but I still couldn't make a fist. Nevertheless, that next Tuesday, the doctor was pleased that I could move my finger without any pain, and cleared me to work and do more activity.

During my personal research and diagnosis, I was told that my injury could take 3-6 weeks or longer to heal. Well, inside of 4 weeks, I could make a fist. By 6 weeks, I had very minimal pain and was basically healed. I still experience a little pain, but nothing serious nor substantial. I had to baby my finger for so long and I do get cautious about it, especially when I bump it accidently. However, I'm more confident in what I can do with my finger, and grateful about my recovery.

It could have been much, much worse. I could have broken my arm or leg, or have had required surgery that would have kept me out of work for weeks and lost myself money, even with my company's short-term disability plan. I look back now at what happened and smile. I'm glad things turned out the way that they did. I now practice even more safety measures, especially with my style of play on the basketball court. I plan on using my vacation and sick time more carefully (which I usually do anyways) when I receive it again in January. Moreover, I'm doing my best not to take ANY of my limbs for granted.

Once again, this hasn't been the best year for me but I know things could be far, far worse. Now I'm grateful for the little things, like being able to type this blog with ALL ten of my fingers, give someone a firm handshake without pain (which took almost all 6 weeks to be able to do), and for a newer perspective on life.

Someone reminded me on Facebook that there are 33 days left of 2010. I will do what I can to make these 33 the best I can, and to make the most out of 2011. I've had worse setbacks than the one I suffered almost three months ago now, I'm a strong-willed, determined person. I'm not gonna let anything keep me down for long. I will enjoy life and what it has given and taken from me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Black (or Whack Friday): is it REALLY worth it?

Thanksgiving is almost here, which means the morning after (or in some cases, the night of) is Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. I commonly refer to it as "Whack" Friday because it's a huge, violent, crazy, adrenaline-rushed mess.

Black Friday has gotten way out of hand over the years. Stores release their catalogs a month or two in advance so folks can see all of the specials available on that day. People will leave their families full from turkey, dressing, gravy, collards, and rolls, and often even camp out in front of shopping malls, Wal-Mart, and other stores, ready to shop as soon as the doors open. And it often gets so insane and cut-throat. People fighting over $10 Blu-Ray players, $50 laptops, and other brand-new items marked considerably down. I hope this isn't what our society has come to? Willing to risk jail time, sleep, and your life just for significant discounts? It doesn't seem worth it to me.

I've actually been out on a couple of Black Fridays, although I've usually come as late as 7 or 8am once the crowds have cleared some. The crowds usually peak around 4-5am. By 6:30am all of the heavily-discounted items are typically gone and it's like a regularly crowded Friday at the stores. You would have to guarantee that I would save a bundle, plus pay my gas money and an extra fee to get me out of my warm bed on Black Friday. You can take that to the bank.

There are many other ways to save money and get huge discounts around the holidays. First off, there are discounts throughout the year, especially online. Shopping online will save you tons of money in the long run and you don't even have to leave the house. Plus the Monday after Thanksgiving is a good alternative to Black Friday, commonly called Cyber Monday. Many stores will post specials online that you can purchase. Best thing besides not leaving the house and wait in the cold November weather? No lines or fighting! Now that's cool with me. And then of course there's eBay, Craigslist, etc. Hey don't feel like you're too good to utilize these outlets. There are many quality, almost brand-new items at unbelievable prices.

I believe many people just love to shop, period, it's almost a sport and recreation to them. And Black (Whack) Friday is like the Super Bowl to them. I know folks that are prepping their outfits and agenda for that day. Really, are you kidding me? Well, I'll be laughing at you from my bed and couch while I hear of you going through all the unnecessary stress, heartache, and freezing just to save a few bucks.

So don't expect to see me at a Black Friday sale in the near future. I just don't see how it is worth it, literally resorting to violence and danger just to save money.

Feel free to shop away, complete your holiday shopping. Just don't expect me to accompany you, or even support the fact that you're going out on this cold, crowded, dark day.


BONS BLOG: 2010 American Music Awards

-Is that a bathrobe that Rihanna is wearing?
- What is that she's sitting on, a tree?
- Rihanna isn't the best singer but she sure is fiiine!
- Man that was a loong performance
- Waddup with Heidi Klum's hair?
- Usher, smh
- OK get off the stage already Usher, you thanked everyone but your maid and driver
- Is Lady Gaga not present tonight?
- Dang Jenny!
- Of course the Black-Eyed Peas (i.e, Fergie, Will, and those "other" two guys) won!
- Will I.A.M., is that hat made of Leggos?
- There's one of the gays from Modern Family
- Lasers are getting sooo played out
- Was that John Mayer in the audience?
- OK Miley Cyrus are you yourself or Hannah Montana?
- Are they trying to summon the ghosts of music past with all of these candles?
- And Miley, Grandma Moses wants her wardrobe back
- OK so now Diddy is called Diddy Dirty Money?
- Who was that gal singing b4 Diddy came on?
- Diddy's son looks just like him
- I'm Coming Home, I'm Coming Home!
- Oh snap, Jessica Alba's gonna be on Little Fockers!
- Taylor Swift wins an AMA. Protect the stage! #Kanyeshrug
- Taylor looks anorexic
- Samuel L. Jackson, you MFers!
- Kid Rock can actually sing! #WOW
- He's not as scruffy anymore either
- Christian Milian, my homie's crush! What a short, sexy skirt!
- Can't wait for that new Black-Eyes Peas album, even with all of the autotune!
- This performance makes me wanna see Tron now
- Why has Katy Perry got a Children's Choir behind her?
- Katy sounds a little off-key right now
- WHOA Katy!! Look at that red catsuit!
- Does Nicki Minaj thinks she's Lady Gaga, Lil Kim or both?
- OK Nicki that was an EXTREMELY inappropriate promo for your new album #epicfail
- Wait, Rihanna doesn't have soul!
- Time to change the channel, it's Justin Bieber, complete with his golden mic
- Mandy Moore, where have you been?
- I thought country singers wore black cowboy hats, not white
- Bon Jovi, still at it!
- Loving those lightning bolts!
- The crowd is REALLY feeling Bon Jovi's performance, especially Jenny McCarthy!
- It's My Life!
- Justin Bieber, award #1
- There's the much slimmer Kelly Osbourne!
- Pink always brings her A game at awards shows
- I'll bet Pink's baby daddy Carey Hart helped design that performance set
- Now we have Ne-Yo trying to bite off of MJ's dance moves
- OK Ne-Yo are you gonna do that gal on stage?
- Taylor Swift's on, time to be bored
- Keri Hilson is sooo beautiful!
- Justin Bieber, ANOTHER award!
- Now I believe I wanna see Burlesque
- Some of this material is NOT even appropriate for adults, let alone children
- Lady Antebellum has broken through!
- Swedish House Mafia? *blank stare and face*
- I haven't heard of any of these alternative groups
- Train is sooo old!
- And Train actually has soul sisters hopping on stage
- And there's Michael Buble', haven't heard of him since the Grammys
- Now the awards show is starting to go in the can. Ke$ha? WTH?
- They're putting a lot of old, classic artists on this year's show. Looks like halftime of a Super Bowl. Mostly coonery and foolery free though
- Santana is a beast on that guitar!
- And NO awards show is complete without Ryan Secreast!
- NOOOOO Bieber!!! This show should be renamed the Justin Bieber awards
- Good gesture Usher!
- Been waiting on this performance. Backstreet Boys are still better!

Monday, November 15, 2010

WU Homecoming: different from your average college homecoming but not necesarily a bad thing.

I felt I needed to address and blog on this subject after a few folks had low expectations about Winthrop University's (WU) Homecoming festivities due to how lackluster they have been in the past. There's typically not enough activities to do outside of the game, stepshow, and tailgate, and most of the parties are for the younger crowd (25 and older). When you get into my age group, we want to see some more variety, some grown and sexy affairs, and preferly some things off-campus. This year, ALL of that took place. Some WU alums took matters into their own hands and planned a bevy of parties. Plus the recent opening of the brand new DiGiorgio Campus Center, complete with a Popeyes Chicken in the food court and a stadium-seating movie theater drew more alums to come see what the current students are enjoying. I believe all together, between Friday and Saturday, there were at least 6 different parties going on. I'm still looking at FB status updates, Twitter feeds and talking to friends that attended these parties. But so far, I've found they have been a success.

In the past, Winthrop has always had their Homecoming activities in February, and often on the final weekend of February, when the CIAA basketball tournament was taking place in Charlotte. For those that are unfamiliar, CIAA is a four-day event of nothing but basketball, night and day parties, excitement everywhere. Stuff for the younger crowd and for those in their 30s and 40s. It is the type of event that has brought even more exposure and notoriety to Charlotte, NC, and it is the place to be the last weekend of February. Many WU alums were choosing to go to CIAA events instead of WU's Homecoming due to the greater appeal. The administration has never directly stated this, but it appears that Homecoming was moved to the Fall to try and not interfere with CIAA in any way. No one outside of the WU administrative circle knows the true reason though.

Now although WU's Homecoming was one of the most successful in recent history, it still is NOT an HBCU Homecoming, a CIAA, or even a homecoming like they have at larger schools with football teams (Clemson, Carolina, UNC, UGA, etc). And it's not meant to be this way. Winthrop is a smaller, liberal arts university that does not have a football team, is not a traditional party school, and therefore structures their festivities differently. It is in the form of USC-Upstate, Lander, and Francis-Marion, schools similar to Winthrop. They just started having the pre-game tailgate a few years ago, which has become a huge success and a staple for WU alums to attend. Before, the two major events to attend were the game and the stepshow, and that's honestly about it. The University used to organize parties at the Shack, and other social gatherings, but those were more conservative, mixer-type events. These are good for professional settings, but not what normal Homecoming activities typically entail.

HBCUs such as SC State, Howard and NC AT&T focus on partying, the football games, concerts, after-parties, stepshows and just a whole three-day slate full of events to attend at your choosing. Many folks that didn't even attend these universities still go to their homecomings. Larger schools such as Clemson and Carolina have a variety of events as well, with folks also wanting to catch tailgating and football games. People already come out to college football games in the South in droves, often just to tailgate. College homecomings brings on an entirely new light. I went to Duke University's homecoming with some friends a couple of years ago when they played the University of Miami. Now Duke is hardly a football school, but that was a huge crowd at that game, at least for them.

CIAA is the answer/alternative to the HBCU atmosphere. It compromises many HBCUs, plus the Charlotte and surrounding areas have been on the forefront for years. There are hotels that are already sold out, and people have put in vacation time at work and are planning their CIAA parties and wardrobes, It's crucial around these parts.

Now when I made the tweet about the hype that WU's homecoming was receiving was similar to CIAA, that's what I meant: similar. WU's Homecoming, again, is a different type of affair than CIAA. However, with the variety of activities, parties, and the hype and enthusiasm from WU alums to ACTUALLY attend, it is a happy medium between the more relaxed activities normally held by schools such as Winthrop and the HBCUs and CIAA. I hope I have made my point clear.

I thoroughly enjoyed the WU Homecoming activities I attended this year. Morever, I enjoyed seeing folks I haven't seen ever, in years, or since last year. I also enjoyed seeing folks I see every couple of months. It was like a huge family reunion, which is what Homecomings are supposed to be. I had lots of fun, and I'm hoping that the WU alums will continue to step in and make sure that other WU alums will be able to enjoy coming to Homecoming and want to come.

It is doubtful that Winthrop will EVER be a party school, it's not in its nature and tradition. It's not the reason I chose to attend there anyways. But it does seem the younger generation sees that some changes needed to be made and did just that. With all of the nice new buildings, changes on campus, and the improved Homeecoming, now the WU just needs a football team. The alumni wants it, and hopefully within the next two decades, it will become a reality. I believe that will really help out in everyway possible. Winthrop University already strives in excellence in many areas, sports included. A football team is the next logical step.

Either way, I still love Winthrop, I cherished my time there, and I'm glad I can enjoy going back even more now. Even if its activities aren't the caliber of Howard, Clemson, or anything during CIAA.