Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Super Bowl Time Once Again

Super Bowl Sunday has become an unofficial holiday in America. Regardless of which two teams are playing, over 80% of Americans will have their eyes glued to a TV somewhere. This could be in their homes, a bar, or at a house party. Whether be the game, the commercials, or the halftime show, the Super Bowl is the most watched event of the year.

This “Super Sunday” has even become just as commercialized as any other holiday. Beer, pizza, potato chips, and chicken wing places are looking for a big payday, not to mention grocery stores and  local bars and lounges. Thousands of folks already have the day after scheduled off from work.

I have a love/hate relationship not with the Super Bowl, but Super Bowl parties and gatherings. I love, love football, and watching the Super Bowl is the pinnacle for me. However, certain parties annoy me at times. I don't drink, so there is often too much alcohol available and not enough regular drinks. Also, they might not have the type of food you want at a party, or charge a ridiculous price for a small portion of food. Also, this is the ONLY football game that many fans watch all year. When the party is held at a club, it can be even rougher. It's impossible to hear the game and commercials, let alone watch it. All of these people are asking dumb questions and saying obnoxious things during the game, and cheering loudly. I just want to watch the game, minus the interruptions. 

Furthermore, ladies, this is not the time for a fashion show. Leave the stilettos, leather pants, and thongs at home. Wear a T-shirt, a football jersey and some blue jeans. It's not that we don't appreciate the effort you put into looking sexy; it’s that our focus as men (and often hardcore football fans) is the game itself. Don't worry ladies, the game usually ends by 11pm.

Personally, I prefer being either by myself or with a small number of people, eating pizza, wings, cheese dip and chips and enjoying the game in peace. I will attend a Super Bowl party if it’s absolutely astounding. However, it’s hard to keep my attention off the game itself.


Perhaps I will simply throw a Super Bowl cookout in the near future with two viewing areas: one for everyone, another for the hardcore fans. Seems like a happy medium.


Have fun this Super Bowl Sunday and be safe!

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Monday, January 30, 2012

BONUS: CIAA: Tips for surviving, having fun, and being economically sound

CIAA festivities are just about a month away. Many of you are making party and hotel reservations, preparing your upscale wardrobes, etc. You and your crew want to hit downtown Charlotte the first weekend of March and paint the town red. It's going to be hot as always. For the first time in 4 years, I will not be participating in the festivities. However, being a CIAA veteran, I have some pointers to make this weekend fun, enjoyable, safe, and memorable

- Plan, plan, plan ahead

I cannot stress this enough. Right now you and your entourage should be making hotel reservations. And yes I know anything uptown, such as the Ritz or the Blake, is pretty much out of the question. However, I guarantee that if you act within the next week or so, there are plenty of nice hotels and suites available within driving distance of the various parties.  There are a plethora of these on University, Tyvola, Carowinds Blvd, and in Pineville, NC. If all else fails, there are nice, affordable rooms in Rock Hill, SC, just 20 minutes south of downtown Charlotte

- Get about 3-4 /room to save

People often think my friends and I are big ballers because whenever events such as a wedding or CIAA arrives, we stay in some nice rooms. This is a result of careful planning, and having about 3-5 of us/room. Doing this is still comfortable, usually within many hotel policies, and saves you more money for partying and drinking

- Reserve your party tickets NOW, and set a budget for them

It is my humble opinion that you will have just as much fun at a $100 V.I.P. party as you will a $25 party. It's CIAA, most every party will be packed out. Therefore, look on sites such as www.mingleberry.com and even www.ciaa.org for various parties around uptown. I would say attend no more than 2 parties/day you're in town. However, this depends upon your budget, energy level, and alcohol tolerance.  Act now if you don't plan on spending more than $30/party. If you wait until the end of February, general admission to parties will be $60 on the low end.

-  Do not drive on Tryon and College during this time.

This is the heart of uptown, where much of the CIAA action is. Therefore, traffic will be jammed up NY/LA style. Take side streets such as Davidson and 9th street, and park near Tryon and College to avoid an extremely long walk

- Dress to impress, but stay warm

Fellas, at least wear a dress shirt, tie, sweater or jacket, slacks, all clean and pressed, and some sharp dress shoes. Leave the Jordans and the Air Force Ones at home. Ladies, show your skin off, but wear a jacket and stockings. Half the reason us fellas come to CIAA is the eye candy but its still wintertime, and you want to be healthy after the partying is done

- Get at least one designated driver/nite, get plenty of rest in between and after parties, and have fun!!!

Please feel free to add more advice or even add experiences in the comments section

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BONUS BLOG: Natural Highs (getting high on life's pleasures)

- A New Hobby

- Swimming The Last Lap

- Christmas songs

- A long distance call from a friend you haven't heard from in a while

- Good grades

- Hugs

- Your team winning

- Listening to your child giggle

- Watching a sunset

- Your heartbeat when you see someone you like

- A long, hot shower

- A great book or movie

- International travel

- Reading before and after ads about overweight people

- Intimacy

- A good talk with a friend

- A great idea

- God's power and grace

- Relaxing to Saturday morning cartoons

- Making someone laugh

- Walking on the beach

- Decorating a Christmas Tree

- Sailing

- Fixing something that's been broken

- A Job Well Done

- vity

- Blogging

- Football

- Meditation

- True friends and family

- Singing

- Cooking someone their favorite meal

- A letter or email from a friend

- Being appreciated

- Losing weight

- Being noticed by someone you'be had your eye on

- Success stories

- Dancing

- Finishing a term paper

- The last week of school

- The day the yearbook comes out

- Hearing someone tell you "I Love You"

- The first spring flower

- Grilling out

- Loving yourself

- Breakfast in bed

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Legal Side Hustles: Ways to Curb The Recession through odd jobs

Yes we are a month into 2012, and the war in Iraq is over. However, we are still in a recession, many folks are either out of work, working reduced hours, or haven't seen a pay raise since George W. Bush was in office. Plus it is a presidential election year, making things more iffy financially. 

Being that I always have to find ways to earn extra money and stay above water, I have been looking into side hustles.  This means additional but legal and amazingly practical sources of income.  What will follow will be a list of what would be considered odd but practical legal side jobs.  They don't include gambling, selling drugs, pipe dreams, or cheating the IRS. They have been proven to put extra cash in your pocket without often having to punch a time clock.

1. Sitting (children, houses, and even pets)

All of these can be extremely lucrative, even pet sitting and pampering. I have a friend in St Louis, MO that started with just pet sitting and now runs her own pet pampering business full time. Plus I know someone personally that house and pet sat for the last week of December and pocketed $600.  Not bad, eh?  Now opening a daycare is one thing.  I'm talking about simple, routine, sitting and caretaking

2. Sports referee.

Many guys I know referee and umpire sporting events year round. Like some of the jobs on this list, a test is required. But once that test is passed and you build your reputation, you can have some change in your life. It's an added bonus if you love sports and can handle hostile crowds.

3. Test proctor

A former employer put me onto this. Many standardized tests (SAT, ACT, LSAT, GRE, etc) are administered every weekend. These tests need folks to proctor them, i.e., monitor them, and get paid for it. 

4. Blogger

Yes you can get paid for what I currently do, mostly from ads and/or TV shows and entertainment sites. Believe me, I don't plan on writing for free my entire life!

5. Personal trainer

These are especially popular during this time of the year. Certification, and obviously being in superb physical shape, is a must. But if you regularly work out, this is also a good way to bank some dollars while doing something you already do on the regular

6. Network marketing

Now many of these companies have been called "pyramid schemes" and overall the name makes most screech. However, there are many reputable ones, such as Mary Kay, Avon, Tupperware, and even Pure Romance. Even if you fail to turn a profit from a business such as this, it makes an awesome tax write off

7. Repair services (TV, home, car, computer)

If you possess natural and trained skills on how to fix and repair various items, you can almost name your own price, provided you are skilled and reputable enough. 

8. Lawn/yard care

Landscaping companies have long been known as "prison schemes" as a way for parolees to make money when society doesn't roll out the welcome wagon for them. Hey, don't knock the hustle. With a riding lawn mower, weed eater, pressure washer, and a few other garden tools, you can be spending your spare time making spare change.

9. Tutor

Now many services offer free tutoring in many subjects. However, for advanced academic subjects such as law, computer skills, accounting, creative writing, art and music, it pays to know how to help others.

10. Bounty Hunter

This is for the thrill seekers out there who aren't afraid to bring in bail and border jumpers. You can collect the reward and go. Dog and Beth don't have to be the only ones getting paid from this dirty job.

11.  Event Planner

This has become really popular among women, especially the super organized that love weddings and other extravagant events.  Hundreds of dollars can be made on a single weekend for planning a great event or party

12.  Car detailing

Different from repairing and beyond washing cars, someone whom details cars vacuums, cleans, waxes, and basically cleans parts of the vehicle you may not know to clean. The pay is small/vehicle but enough clientele can add up.

13.  Chauffeur

This is mostly driving folks around that don't have their own transportation, and competing with and even overcompensating for lack of public transit. There are instances where you must have a chauffeur's license so check into this. 

14. Boarders

If you have an extra room in your home (assuming you own your home), rent that room out for a few hundred dollars to someone you trust. They get a place to stay, and you can apply the money directly towards the mortgage or other bills.

15. Photographer

Buy yourself a nice camera, start small, and you would be surprised how much you can make working certain contracts and events. Weddings, parties, even setting up at a nightclub a couple of nights/week is where its at far as the photography game. It is competitive so if you're good with the glass eye and have good connections, use them!

There are many others, but most fall in the same category of having to be certified, licensed, and otherwise qualified. Notice that some of these jobs can be worked on a part time basis, on a contract, typically legal. 

So get to researching these and other side jobs. Your tax refund won't last forever, and you may be able to make your own full time job or business from something as small as one of these "hustles"

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Monday, January 16, 2012

How I honor Dr. Martin Luther King and make sure his dream is fulfilled

Monday, January 20 is officially Dr. Martin Luther King Day. It took years for it to get recognized as a national holiday, and then even longer as a state holiday. It did not even become a holiday in South Carolina until 2001. Now many folks have the day off from work, and schools, banks, and government related offices are closed.

Some will be going to prayer breakfasts, parades, candlelight vigils, and other such programs in honor of MLK day. Others will simply watch documentaries about civil rights and such. Many, many others will simply enjoy the day off and not do much of anything.

Most people tend to forget the true meaning of most holidays. MLK day is almost no different. Moreover, they forget the history of Dr. King and what he stood and marched and protested for. He fought for civil, equal rights for ALL Americans: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, male, female, etc. His dream was that ALL of us could live, work, play, and mingle together without any segregation. He spearheaded a movement that prompted President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act, removing desegregation in public establishments and institutions.

The best way I feel I can honor Dr. King's dream and keep it alive is simple: go to work. Some of you may think I'm talking crazy. But read my previous paragraph and think very hard. My job does not include the holiday in their allotted paid holidays. Since they do not and although I could request the day off with pay, I choose to work. I feel Dr. King would like that, as I have the opportunity and right to work with and go to the gym alongside folks of all walks of life, something that would not have happened over 40 years ago. I'm not saying taking the day off and doing the other tributes are wrong. What I am saying is he fought so hard so I could have a job opportunity as a minority and I don't want that to be in vain.

Looking back at his character, he was all about sacrifice and helping others. What better way to do that then to show his example and do what we often do and should do everyday: fulfill his dream? Many folks thought his dream was complete when President Obama was elected. But we still have a ways to go yet. I say we go to work being around others, even if you do have the day off. Help those less fortunate than yourself. Mingle around other cultures. Show the younger generation what Dr. King specifically fought for, and that it was much deeper than a three day holiday weekend.

I won't even go into how many party promoters and organizations will throw MLK parties on Saturday and Sunday night on that weekend.

My suggesroom is for many of you ask yourselves that question on MLK day while you're out and about. Meanwhile, I will be honoring and reflecting on his legacy in a more unorthodox but still sincere matter.


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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cuffing: Boo Season in full swing

Ok this is my first post of 2012. I actually shelfed it from last month/last year.  It involves something you see all the time during the winter, but called by a named so unorthodox its not even in the Urban Dictionary.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is cuffing.

Ok for those of you that don't know the term, here it is. It is where women start around October just as the fall weather is setting in, trying to get a significant other.  Many women do not want to be alone during the winter holidays.  Plus, it ensures they get Christmas gifts, someone to kiss on New Year's night, and that they get flowers, candy, etc, on Valentine's Day.

The sad part about all of this is that many women during this time aren't cuffing the man of their dreams or a potential hubby. They are simply getting a familiar face, an old friend, fallback guy, or all the above. Sometime between February 15 and the start of Spring, this relationship has a high failure rate.  It doesn't seem to be a coincidence that Spring is referred to as breakup season. 

Ladies, its cool if all you want is genuine love or even to have a cut buddy, that's fine. But to use someone at ANY time just so you won't be alone is not the business. It makes all women look like opportunistic gold diggers.  Please chill with the cuffing. 

I honestly feel like I'm currently being cuffed. I feel like I'm finally free from this one chick who ended up being fast, wild, and drama filled. The other one I've known for a while. A future is uncertain but since I'm single I'm chilling, guarding my heart and wallet,  and letting the chips fall as they may.

To me, cuffing is crafty, grimey, and borders on thirstiness. Many of you remember my thirst blog from last year.  I just pray that anyone who is in a new relationship can beat the odds and make it last past the cold winter months. If its for real, it should stand the changing of seasons.

Meanwhile, being that this is a holiday weekend, go out and look around at all of the couples cuddled together at the movies, basketball games, MLK events, etc. Almost 50% of these relationships will be ended by April on average, similar to the divorce rate.

Scary, eh, fellas? Don't be gullible, make sure you know what's real, before you end up cold and lonely when its warm and friendly out. 

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