Monday, November 26, 2012

Zombies: The Dead Has Risen Into The Mainstream

It appears we have another craze that is not just a trend or novelty. Zombies have been around since the 70s and have evolved through television, movies and video games.

Basically many folks cannot get enough of these dead,brain carnivores. The Walking Dead is currently one of the most popular dramas on TV in its third season. Resident Evil has become quite a franchise with four movies and several video games. Even Call of Duty:  Black Ops has a zombie killing option. The dead are metaphorically living.

I personally do not see the appeal as I do not like zombies in any form. I feel they are overexposed. It gets me how Walking Dead fans will justify and defend it, saying it's "different and deeper than zombies". I previewed an episode one night. The writing and storylines are strong, but I can't get past the zombie element.

I'm more into vampires and slasher type monsters. I actually like Twilight for the same reasons that zombie fans love Walking Dead and Resident Evil. I guess the hundreds of appearances of zombies and their bland appeal to me turns me off.

Nevertheless, they continue to be popular. My guess is they are realistic, graphic, and surrounded by strong graphics, sound effects, and storylines.

Television writers should actually take advantage before this craze saturates. Currently zombies are ironically alive and are ratings gold. No one worth their brains wants to be left behind.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Seven Bars and Grills With Tasty Vittles

Yeah I realize we just came off of Thanksgiving and not eating healthy. That trend will not get easier with the Christmas season and holiday parties in full swing. 

Speaking of that, many of you know I don't drink or smoke. However, I go to lots of bars and grills. There are two main reasons: to watch sports and eat tasty food.  There are many good places to do this such as Hooters, Wild Wings, and even Applebees and Outback.  However, here are seven spots that you may have not heard of, or don't frequent regularly.

1.  Sticks

This dive is located in Gaffney and has a wide variety of tasty vittles. The locals tend to pack the place mostly on Wednesdays nights, as they serve 40¢ wings of various flavors, and have homemade handcut fries. It's also an awesome place to hang out, watch sports, and unwind from the work day since its Hump Day and gear up for the weekend. It is definitely an enjoyable place to go just to hang out and get a good snack or meal.

2. Patti-Os Grill

My cousin Heath put me onto this place and I love it. It is located in nearby Clover, SC and was voted Best Burger in York County a few years ago. Their burgers are some of the tastiest and unique you will find as they have stuffed burgers. Meaning they stuff the patty with pizza stuff, jalapenos, philly cheese steak, or other stuff. They also make their fries and even their potato chips homemade. The homemade ranch is to die for as well.  The prices are also reasonably low, often not exceeding $10-15. This is definitely a place to check out at least once.

3. Huckleberry's Cuisine and Spirits

This spot is owned and operated by my cousin Michael "Dawg" Dover and JR Johnson. Their specialities are burgers and ribeyes. JR will even fix you a giant double cheeseburger with chili upon request.  Their signature dish is a ribeye dinner with baked potato for $11. Now you can look around and you will see not many restaurants or steakhouses charge this low for a mouthwatering 10 oz steak. They have an awesome atmosphere also, with a live band twice/month, DJ three times per week, a pool table and even a mechanicial bull. It is located off of I-85 in Gaffney near the giant peach in the Homestead Lodge. Stop in sometime!

4. Rock Bottoms Brewery

This tasty spot is located in downtown Charlotte near Discovery Place on South Tryon. They offer free parking to their patrons.  The prices are steep, but you are guaranteed not to leave hungry. Get there early, as they are crowded often. They are an excellent jump off point on a night out in the Queen City.

5. Daddy Joes Beach House BBQ

Located in Gaffney and featured in Southern Living Magazine, this place has become a favorite of mine, especially on Thursday nights. There is either live music, cornhole, or trivia. Shag Stepp, the owner, and his staff have really went above and beyond to provide a great dining and fun experience.  Their BBQ pork gets the headlines but dishes such as the loaded Shack chips, the ribs, and those irresistable hushpuppies will keep you coming back. The bar is also separate from the rest of the restaurant, providing a nice crossover element for families and groups.

6. Jack Beagles

My friend Rashad loves to go here and I know why. Located in the North Davidson (NoDa) arts district of Charlotte, this is a best kept secret. The food is tasty and of a wide variety, and the crowds are not often very large. Therefore you can enjoy your food, drink, and the game in peace. 

7. Gaffney Entertainment

This spot alone encompasses what a party center should be. Not only do they have the bar and grill aptly named Gaffney Grill, they have a bowling alley, pool tables, an arcade, and even a full stadium seating movie theater. The food and bar scenery are both top notch. Near the Prime Factory Outlets (the Yellow Mall), one could conceivably spend an entire afternoon and evening in this area shopping, bowling, eating, and even watching a movie or two.

So what are some of the unknown/local spots that you like to hit up for a drink, good food, and to let loose?

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Domestic Violence: Time To Stop The Bleeding

Regardless of how hot or cold it may be outdoors, tempers always seem to flare. That's when angry people feel the need to beat on someone physically, in a variety of ways.

Child abuse is not as common anymore thanks to a stricter Department of Social Services. However, you still have knucklehead parents who hand out the kind of corporal punishments that make Joe Jackson, Ike Turner, and Penny's mom from Good Times all look like choir saints.

When people cannot beat on their children, they beat on their significant others. Women in this day and age still take beatings and physical abuse from boyfriends, lovers and husbands. It seems that's what some women like. They are naive and believe that when they are beaten on, it is out of love and that is the type of person that will protect them. However, on the contrary, these types of people are usually the biggest cowards and bullies: only putting their hands on defenseless people. They are quickly exposed when someone strikes back, and hard.

The point is we have too much violence and hate in our country and world. Children feeling the need to hustle and gang bang in middle school. Handgun sales are at an all time high, and these aren't just for hunting or protection. Nowadays, people will quickly shoot or "murk" you before getting into a fight. They aren't trying to get their tail beat. Rather permanent damage is on their agenda.

One should never feel threatened by domestic violence. It is unlawful and immoral, except for self defense purposes. Contact your local law enforcement, CRIME stoppers, or a violence hotline so you can feel safe. Especially if you're a woman, there are battered women's shelters out there for you and your children. You are not alone in this battle.

The world is not safe, but that doesn't mean you have to live in fear. Stand up against violence with your strongest weapon and muscle: your head. Think logically and rationally before getting into an altercation, and try to avoid it by all means. 

This is something that can be stopped, but like bullying, drugs , and other serious issues I have written of, it takes numbers and and a strong force of people to be able to stop it. We may not currently be at war, but we have wars on the homelands.

History is a good indicator that we can win this battle of domestic violence. We have to raise our standards and lower our tolerance.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Seven Effective Decision Making Tips

Making life changing decisions is rarely easy. Often one needs to extensive thinking, research, and praying before coming to a sound and often difficult decision. Here are seven tips to help make this process easier.

1. Pray on it.

Prayer changes and enhances things. Even if you do not submit to a higher power such as God, it does not hurt to pray. We could all use spritual guidance at some point in our lives. Pray without ceasing, do not worry, and trust your Lord that your judgment will be good.

2. Poll people from your trusted circle and/or experts.

Anyone who knows me well and has my phone number knows I'm big on this. I will send a bevy of different people mass texts polling them on a  variety of topics: sports, music, careers, lifestyles, relationships, etc. You want to have the opinions of those that know, love you, and have your best interest at heart. Allow them to guide in your footsteps. It also wouldn't hurt to contact some of your mentor figures in your life. Remember you do not have to be in this thing alone.

3. Evaluate the strengths and benefits.

This is especially effective and important for a decision based on your career or financial future. This is one half of the classic pro/con analysis. See what all is good about what you're considering, how it can better you, and what you will gain from it in several aspects. There shouldn't be just one single reason or strength.

3. Weigh in the weaknesses

This would be the con part of things. You want to ensure the grass really is greener on the other side. One must see what all is involved in this life change. When LeBron James made the controversial decision to go to the Miami Heat and win his first NBA title, Bron had obvious weaknesses. He wouldn't be the star each and every night, he left behind loyal fans in Cleveland and his home state of Ohio. Often that is difficult: leaving loved ones or having to travel further. Also, you may have to work harder than you're used to doing. There's an old quote "to whom much is given, much is required." I believe in that wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, not everyone else does.

4. See the opportunities

Going back to LeBron's decision, he saw a better chance of winning an NBA title to add to his legacy. Also, when picking out a college, you must see which one will ultimately prepare you the best to use your degree and experiences. Skill plus opportunity= success.  You need to seize and answer when a proper opportunity is knocking at your door. It definitely must be one that will improve and enhance your all around well being.

6. Watch out for potential threats

I'm not talking about bomb threats of course. These are deeper than weaknesses; moreso like starting over in a smaller or larger town/company, harder workload (as previously mentioned) and even dating someone better looking. You may be proud at first, but you may cannot stand the fact that everyone is after your mate. Your jealously and insecurity may win over a good thing. Pressure can indeed build diamonds, but it also reveals character, for better or for worse.

7. Trust yourself

Moreover, trust your own judgment, instincts, and be mature enough with the results. You can only deliberate so much for so long. After that, you must decide what is best, short and long term. It won't be perfect for everyone involved, but it needs to be a good fit for you.

Hopefully these tips will keep you living a happy, healthy life and not have you stressed over decisions and choices.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

More Money, More Problems,...

Perhaps Diddy was right in his song from years ago. The more money you have, the more problems arise.

Let's face it, we all need money, and strive to make and have more. It appears to make our lives easier. The bills are paid, and you tend to have more friends, especially if you're male. You get this sense of peace and pride. I've been there, its nice.

Greater earnings and a healthy bank account also tends to changes your spending habits. You wear nicer clothes, you go out to dinner, movies, and concerts more often. You vacation in Vegas and Hawaii rather than Myrtle Beach, the mountains or your uncle's cabin in Boone, NC.

However, one should be smart with their money, and never stop being thrifty. Regardless of how much you have, there are always pitfalls. You should always have a legal side hustle or two. You have to keep your financial self in shape as well as your physical and emotional.

Many musicians and profession al athletes from the NFL and NBA end up broke really fast. They aren't spending or managing their monies correctly, and are trusting the wrong people. Why are you giving so called experts you barely know the power of attorney, and letting them have all this access to your finances? One needs to learn how to handle your earnings yourself without the help of a third party.

The financially smart always have additional investments and are making their money work for them. Think Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, and Oprah Winfrey. These billionaires are just that for a reason. They spend wisely, are economically sound, and are seeking to increase their dollar through sound transactions. I'm talking stocks, bonds, stuff that draws interest and has long term value. People get themselves into dire straits by spending on 100 inch flat screen televisions, fancy cars, suits and such. These things depreciate fast in value.

Now of course one should enjoy the fruits of their labor. However, you must be aware of pitfalls such as taxes, unexpected expenses, upkeep, maintenance, and people with their hands out. Saying no is a powerful word especially when it comes to your wallet. You can't help everybody and save the whole world so do not try. Have a 40 year plan with your money, and also have a good short term plan. Learn to budget, and spend within your means.

It is easy to manage your own finances, but its also easy to get caught up. More are spending, less are investing.

Money certainly isn't everything, but no one wants financial burdens. You can create more for yourself by not taking care of your bank account. This includes being a millionaire, or making minimum wage. The principles are the same.

Therefore, continue to save, invest, be thrifty, and appreciate the simple things in life. Spoiling yourself and others are fine as long as you do it in moderation.

Here's another thought: have you ever tried drinking a gallon of whole milk in one sitting? I wouldn't advise it, and I also wouldn't recommend blowing all your money in one place. Reduce the problems, and spend your earnings wisely and humbly, especially when it involves others.

You will thank yourself later when you're retired and have a lot to show for it, and you're not depending on simply social security to get by. Recent history indicates that will not be the way to go in the next few decades. You have been warned so prepare now.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Seven Types Of Gossipers

Gossip is everywhere. The workplace, social media, school, amongst family and friends and even church. You always have those folks that know more than they should probably know. Also, what they do not know, they make up, embellish and fabricate.

I have decided to compare gossipers to different news and media outlets.

1. TMZ

This person always has something to say about everyone. Whether it is true, false or otherwise, they are going to spread it. Often their facts aren't in order, and the rumors are blown up huge. Similar to a secret spread around a high school, it changes and the more people that talk about it, the more ridiculous it sounds.

2. Local News/Seven On Your Side

The information from this person is more factual. However, they tend to stem towards the negative and even the gory details. A common phrase used in the media is "If It Bleeds, It Leads". That is definitely the mentality of a Local News type of gossiper. They're trying to find out who is cheating, beating, and committing unholy acts. They know information about virtually everything and everybody, but they focus on the negative and depressing stuff.

3. Social media

They are very interpersonal, and bring you news in the form of blurbs, repeat what others have said (he said/she said), have photo and text evidence, and overall try to cause drama. Social media is their source for everything, and they are thus like it. They may be the philosopher, the social butterfly, or even the local pervert. But they are well in tune with the latest information, including events and birthdays and such.

4. National Enquirer

These gossipers go to the extreme, even more so than the TMZ type. They are spreading stories that are totally untrue. Every blue moon, they may actually tell the truth. They love attention and exposing folks. They do both at every cost. The Enquirer loves to see people fall, especially those highly regarded. They ensure these folks are put on Front Street for everyone to see.

5. CNN

This is a person whose information is more reliable and typically truthful since they always confirm their sources. However, they spend all their time spreading news on people. To their families, at the gym, at their job, that's what they do is report on what's going on with people. It is hard to converse with a CNN person because they may report that convo to the next person. And it won't be off the record either.

6. FOX News

Not only is the information this person spreads is fabricated at best, it’s often aimed at a certain group of folks. FOX news loves to aim propaganda at liberals. Therefore, a gossiper of this caliber will slander folks they hate the most. It could be liberals, a race of folks, or even a group of people that enjoy zombies. Often these types of gossipers can be called haters. Their words are definitely intended for a specific set of folks, and rarely are pleasant.


These people simply keep their ear to the streets about all types of stuff going on, and usually spread mostly positive and harmless stuff. Their intent isn't to expose or tear down anyone, but inform and give others the heads up. I believe in some sense, most of these types strive to do just that. However, the BBCA person makes it their priority.

Gossiping is not good in any way and often we can know too much about someone. I have been guilty of this myself. I stay informed, do not forget easily, and therefore know stuff that is going on. I don't always spread it around like mayonnaise though. However, I have come to the conclusion that if we did more listening and less talking and stay within our own lives, we could minimize gossip. Also, recognize gossip and ridiculous facts and avoid them whenever possible.