Sunday, November 30, 2014

30 Things I'm Thankful For

This is the month and the season that many of us list what we are most thankful for. I have been doing this via social media the past two years. Below are 30 of these such things which makes me most grateful.

1. My Lord and Savior God, and His son Jesus

2. Having a wonderful mother who is always there for me and loves me unconditionally

3. Faithful and loyal friends and family

4. Being able to write every week and have a blog

5. Advancements in technology such as HDTV, computers, tablets, and smart phones

6. A warm home to live in and a roof over my head

7. A reliable car to drive.

8. Gainful and steady employment for over a decade

9. Always having a good meal to eat

10. Knowledge and the ability and privilege to gain more

11. My positive transformations this year: physical, mental and emotional

12. Being able to work out and attend the gym regularly

13. Finding a good gym (Anytime Fitness) that meets my financial, physical and personal needs

14. Awesome mentors in my life that still guide and encourage me to this day

15. The service organizations I am involved in, which allow me to give back and encourage others.

16. Being able to rest and relax. Both of these are very underrated.

17. Having a strong and diverse network of various people.

18. Various sports which are competitive and entertaining.

19. The people that have left my life and presence. They were around for a reason and a season.

20. Regularly having a party or a gathering to attend. I am always flattered and honored when someone invites me out.

21. My animals, and showing me another way to love, especially my new cat, Little Kitty.

22. YouTube, and the ability to view and post videos.

23. Music, for it is truly the universal language

24. Having a more kinder and gentler nature

25. My ambition and desire for life.

26. Good entertainment on television and radio

27. Awesome pastors such as Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer

28. Seasons such as Fall and the changing and transitioning of the things around me

29. That I am improving daily and am not the same person I was yesterday

30. For being able to love myself and have few regrets

What are some of the things you are most thankful for?

Monday, November 17, 2014

WU Homecoming: How It Has Evolved Over The Past Two Decades

Another homecoming just wrapped up at Winthrop University this past weekend. It appeared to again be a successful one. I know I had loads of fun, and was much more tired than I originally thought I would be.

20 years ago, this may have not been the case at all.

I wrote a piece four years ago as Winthrop's Homecoming was just starting to change and mature, mostly because of the student body and alums stepping in. Now it has become arguably the most unsung college homecoming in the Carolinas. Back in the mid 90s, I didn't think I would be saying this.

During that era, it was literally all about the game and the NPHC step show and that was it. Most of the parties were catered for the students only. Also, festivities took place in February, not uncommon for a medium size, liberal arts college without a football team.

In 2009, the university decided to move festivities to the Fall. Slowly mixers and socials became less frequent and there were more activities to cross over for students and alums alike.

This year alone, 2014, could be the year that Homecoming has turned the corner and taken that next step. Over the years, the pre game tailgate has become the most popular event and grows yearly, attracting more and more student organizations and alums. Even the unusually cold weather didn't thin the crowd as people still came in droves.

A pre Homecoming talent show was added a few years ago. The on campus Homecoming party on Friday night has become a staple. This year, it was a Mardi Gras celebration preceded by a stand up comedy performance by comedian/actor Brandon T. Jackson. At least seven off campus parties were held between Thursday and Saturday. It appears the game and the step show are no longer the main attractions. Nevertheless, homecoming is finally fun for all ages and demographics. It's all about recapturing the social experience and showing the alums how welcome they are.

It feels great to return every year. The energy level is high wherever a group of WU alums are gathering and for those few days, everyone is back at school again. The worries of the everyday world are put on hold until Sunday. And as with most events, social media and smart phones have enhanced the experience. One can keep up with classmates year round and view pictures and updates from the festivities. Indeed the WU has come a long long way since 1996.

Now let's just see what happens when Winthrop finally gets a football team.

Do you normally attend Winthrop's homecoming events? Did you attend this year? What do you most enjoy about Homecoming?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Why I Would Make A Good Husband

I've been told many times by different people that I'm perfect marriage material and would make a great husband. Now I'm very humbled and flattered to know this. I would also like to know why this is the case. It may also explain some reasons why I have been single for so long.

Therefore are some reasons I conjured up as I made a case for myself as to why I would make a good husband.

1. I know how to treat others well, especially a woman

I speak and write often about how I was raised by two women who taught me manners and to treat others well and like human beings. I feel being good to others only yields positive reinforcement and I love positive, residual action.

2. I am healthy and in shape.

This extends more than my physique and even how much I work out or how well I eat. I also want my health and vitals to be in order and to beat generational diseases and curses. Therefore, I stay healthy in mind, body and spirit.

3. I am extremely hard working

I have been working since age 16, have held several jobs, and have been with the same company for 11 years. Additionally, I do other legal things for additional income which allows me to live a comfortable lifestyle, keep my bills paid and have a good credit score. Money isn't everything but it is important. I try to make my relentless work ethic an equalizer.

4. I am well educated and intelligent.

Education is very important to me. I always want to learn something new everyday. I stay well read and keep my mind sharp. I like to be interesting and interested in what's going on.

5. Good sense of humor

I absolutely love comedy, from watching stand up and improv comedy, to sitcoms on TV and joking and kidding around. I like to live life to the fullest and be happy and have others around me feel the same. If you aren't laughing, you aren't living.

6. Attractive

I am not being conceited here, but confident. I feel I am an attractive man, inside and out. I don't make it a point to flaunt it either. I am very down home about it all, and I want my inner beauty to shine more. The exterior fades but the interior can last forever.

7. Female friends, etc

This may seem like a negative but keep reading before you judge. I have a good network of ladies (my mom, aunts, cousins, friends) with whom I trust and confide in regarding female issues. I know I can go to them with most problems. I like to stay in touch with what the opposite sex needs and wants.

8. I don't take any crap and I am a tough person.

I realize I don't fit the profile. But trust and believe I am not one to be crossed. I know how to defend myself properly as well as my lady. I feel I am a man's man with an old soul. I am mentally and physically tough and often use my biggest muscle: my brain when faced with controversy and adversity.

9. I never want to stop dating

Too often when the vows are said, the dating stops. I don't ever want that to be the case with the person I'm with. I want us to always be boyfriend and girlfriend. The couples and marriages I have seen endure the longest practice this behavior.

10. I am very spiritual

This is more important than being religious to me. I definitely subscribe to a higher power, God and Jesus, and try to live in line with the Bible's teachings. I feel God is love and I want to continually practice God's love and grace towards others.

Well ladies here it is. If you have any further questions or additions, comment or hit me up personally.

How To Complain About A Company Or A Service

'Tis the season where we are out in the public much more through shopping, eating out and just being exposed to good and bad customer service. Those that know me well, know I will not hesitate to go above an employee's head and as high as the corporate office if necessary. I have done this a few times and have gotten various results, even have corporate reps and executives call and personally apologize to me, then rectify the problem.

There are right and wrong ways to get your way and let your voice and thoughts be heard. Here are some of the right ways.

1. Be proactive not reactive.

Don't lose your cool instantly but don't waste a lot of time in reporting the incident. If you're out and about, report it immediately, then go up the ladder until you get satisfaction. Prompt and quick, polite action can get you far.

2. Make your complaints at appropriate time periods and methods.

Emails and voicemails only go so far. Make sure you speak to a live person and or manager. Try not to call first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, or near a weekend. Your complaints will be best heard when the other party is most alert and focused on the task at hand.

3. Remember all pertinent information, and if out in public, record a video of the incident.

YouTube and WorldStar HipHol have been putting companies and people on blast for quite some time now. In addition to video evidence, gather employee and manager's names, descriptions, exactly what the problem is and how it was mishandled.

4. Diffuse the blame and make it interpersonal.

I realize this can be difficult. However, be sure to let customer service reps or anyone not directly involved that you are complaining against their company and NOT necessarily them. Often they are doing as they are told. This is when you need to do #5.

5. Climb the ladder as far up as necessary.

Know the basic hierarchy and try to stick to it when making complaints. Keep it in house if possible. If not, continue to make your voice heard and be relentless until this happens, even if you have to reach owners, CEOS, and the like.

6. Know your rights, regulations and use them.

You can do a lot of good for yourself when you understand the code of conduct and decorum. For example, restaurants have to comply to health and labor regulations, and phone services have to comply by the FCC. If it goes to the point of using legal council and law enforcement, by all means use your judgment and do it! You don't want to be the enemy, but places of businesses need to know you're no pushover.

OK well go get them and good luck!

Have you ever complained publicly about a company or a service? What useful tips do you have to add?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Some Necessary Cell Phone Accessories

Many of you are in the process of a cell phone upgrade as the holiday and tax seasons rapidly approach, along with a nice selection of new phones. I recently upgraded my own phone from the Samsung Galaxy GS4 to the GS5. My carrier handles upgrades in a way of allowing you to bundle extra bells and whistles in the form of accessories. I was given the option of picking out so many accessories for a discounted fee. Some were easy, others took some quick thinking into my needs and wants. These vary from person to person. Nevertheless, being on my fifth different smartphone in almost as many years has me in touch with these needs and wants. Here are some accessories I believe one must or should have with their mobile device.

1. A nice case.

This can range from a simple $10 case from a mall kiosk, or a fancier one such as an OtterBox or a BodyGlove. I have had each and can say both are good and will protect your phone well.

2. Extra charger for work, travel, etc

Smartphones use more data and battery power than ever. Therefore, one may need to charge it midday, and particularly at night. Therefore, an additional charger (or two) may be necessary. Get yourself a good, quality one that can also hook into a car charger or a USB cable. Wal-Mart is a retailer that sells these sorts of chargers for around $5 or less for Android and iPhones. They tend to last a little while also.

3. Sims card

Yeah this seems pretty obvious and many phones come with one already. However do not confuse the SD card (required for many phones to function) with the SIMS card, which gives you additional memory, allows you to backup and carry your information with you. The amount of memory you desire is completely up to you and how much you use your phone for pictures, videos, apps and such.

4. Bluetooth device.

Yes those new Bluetooth devices that are headsets are quite fancy and not as funny looking as the ones that stick out of your ear. They also come in handy and are required in many states. Many of you may have automobiles with this feature already built in. However, it still doesn't hurt to have one while you're out and about.

5. Earphones

Your phone usually comes with these also, and the aforementioned Bluetooth can serve as an additional set. However, you may want some bigger, fancier headphones for outside activity or for viewing videos in private. Beats By Dre are popular and pricey. However, one can find plenty of good headsets and earbuds that will not break the bank.

6. Screen Covers.

You want your screen protected from grease and scratches. All of that swiping and touching puts quite the wear and tear on a screen. Choose to protect your device, and at a typically cheap price.

7. Car Charger

Especially if you ever get stranded or if you like to listen to a lot of music from your phone, this is pretty much necessary. They are usually no more than around $5 , and fit in most any vehicle's cigarette lighter.

Other goodies of note: auxiliary cord/connector to car stereo, speakers/hub for the phone, extra cell phone battery, portable charger (these are neat) and even a backup phone.

Which accessories are the most necessary for your cell phone?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Preparing For A High School Or A College Reunion

We are still in reunion and Homecoming season for high schools and colleges. You are seeing people that you might not normally see, haven't seen in years, or do not care to see. It's an interesting variety to deal with. Old memories are rekindled. New ones are formed. Nostalgia is in the air.

Here are a few tips that I have found it helpful when preparing for these such occasions.

1. Speak to as many of your classmates as possible weeks and months prior.

Social media makes this easy to do. They can see pictures of you, your family, children, where you live, and what you're up to. This builds the anticipation further.

2. Reminiscence, but try to let bygones be bygones.

If you and someone you regularly speak to have a bad memory or two between y'all, try to let it rest for that time period. Focus on the good times, and moving past that negativity. Enjoy the moment and each other.

3. Don't act bourgie and brand new.

Life may be good at the moment for you. New marriage, successful professional and personal life, and perhaps even a new body as a result of a revamped lifestyle. You have definitely come a long ways since your school days. However be humble and true to who you really are. Don't live your life or act above or below anyone else.

4. Enjoy the company of those who are positive and continue to be this way.

We all remember who has treated us well and has had our backs through thick and then. One should most definitely enjoy hanging around these people. They uplifted you then and now. It's all a unity and loyalty thing and even those that you don't associate with much can be part of this. This is part of what makes Homecomings and reunions special.

5. Avoid confrontations or people that may make you out of character

In short, check the drama at the door. All of that isn't necessary. Many people are different than they were years ago. Evaluate them based on the here and now and if you feel there will be hard feelings, it's best to simply be polite , walk and wave and keep it moving.

6. Stay in touch year round with some of the positive folks.

Many of us already have that circle of friends from social organizations, or from even taking the same classes. However, it never hurts to extend that circles. Make a more concerted effort to get together more often than once/year. Get all of their information and make plans shortly thereafter.

7. Go to as many parties and functions as your energy and wallet allow.

You definitely want to have good clean fun. However don't exert yourself too much physically, emotionally or financially. Many save up for this occasion and take time off from work, which is cool. Just manage it all well and reconnect as much as possible.

Most of all, have fun!

How many class reunions have you attended? Do you regularly attend Homecoming festivities at your school?

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Save Our Children Movement Inc: Impacting Children's Lives One Event At A Time

Service organizations, especially those involving our youth, have always been important to me. I am currently involved in three such groups. One of the most active is The Save Our Children Movement Inc, or SOCM ("sock em") for short.

SOCM is a non-profit organization which was founded by my cousin Rodney McGill, whom is also the president and CEO.Rodney, along with our other cousin, Greg "G-Baby" Gaines (vice-president) have grown up and have witnessed firsthand the despair regarding the youth situation in Gastonia, NC. These two, along with others, have taken action and wanted to make matters better.

In 2014, SOCM has taken off full blast. To date, there have been a total of 15 different events that this organization has sponsored or headlined over four cities in North and South Carolina. SOCM has been in Gastonia, Kings Mountain, NC, Clover, SC and Charlotte, NC. These events have included cookouts, school supply giveways, free haircuts for the children, a movie night, a health fair, and a weekend of Halloween parties. Free stuff such as food, beverages, clothes, candy and school supplies have been available at each and every SOCM event. One of the next events is slated to be a day trip for 30 children and 10 adult chaperones to the aquarium in Atlanta, GA, depending upon funding. SOCM has definitely been on the move. They have been all about positive action.  They also received an award at event #15 in Charlotte for outstanding community service. Word is definitely getting around not only on social media and the streets but to major movers and shakers.

There have been many people, donors and sponsors that have assisted throughout this year. Some include Sean Boyd (Rodney's youngest brother) , Lewis Tate (another cousin of ours) , Hope Boyd, Ananasa Wright, Chris Wallace (our DJ) , Rodney Barber (appropriately named since his business provides the free haircuts for children), Sonji Williams, Cynthia P. Stitt at the Highland Health Center, and Martha Bratton, who is our SOCM liaison in Clover. Other sponsors include Primary Care Solutions, Cardinal Medical, American Gold Label, Absolute Steam and Star Faith Ministries.

SOCM is truly taking the Carolinas by storm and making a positive mark. For further information or to make a donation towards one of our events, email or call (704)937-1617 or visit They are there to help and uplift youth of all cultural, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Simply come to an event and witness the positive action in motion!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why I Like Fall So Much

I have written and spoken on why I like Fall so much. It is hands down my favorite season. There are many reasons why and I will give a few.

1. The leaves of course.

It's always beautiful to see the leaves changing, especially where I live. There are all sorts of colors and it simply looks festive and refreshing.

2. Football is back

I wrote an entire piece simply dedicated to football a couple of years ago. It is America's sport, an awesome one, and best watched and played during this season. Like Fall, football never seems to last long enough.

3. The county fair.

This is another separate topic that I recently wrote about. The fair always comes to my area just as Fall begins and I associate one with the other. The weather is just getting cooler as the fair rolls through. And speaking of weather,...

4. The weather.

During the Fall, it's a nice balance of weather. There is usually not too much rain or snow, and is simply comfortable outside and in. Summer is often too hot, winter is often too cold, and spring is too sporadic. Fall is the weather equalizer.

5. Fall holidays.

Some of my favorite holidays occur in the Fall, especially Halloween and Thanksgiving. Halloween is great simply for the candy, parties and dressing up. Thanksgiving is the ultimate cheat day from any clean eating regimen and it is great for socializing with family and friends. All of this embodies the Fall spirit.

6. College homecomings

They seem to be exciting, even if you didn't attend that college. The HBCU homecomings are especially fun and have set the standard over the years for Homecoming. It is also another good time for reuniting.

7. Christmas is around the corner

Love or hate the winter holiday season, one must admit this is when people are often in the happiest of moods. They are leaving all other worries behind, and are focusing on humankind, as we should do year round.

What are some of the things you enjoy about Fall? Is it one of your favorite seasons?