Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Lord's Kitchen: Helping and Serving The Community Through Food

Some don't have much to call their own. Not much money, they rent or stay with someone instead of owning a home.  They don't go on vacation or have fancy luxuries. They can't even afford a decent meal due to limited resources.

The Lord's Kitchen was founded for reasons such as this: to ensure that anyone in need of a hot meal can at least get that.

This new volunteer service was founded in May of 2016 primarily through Connie Adams and Cathy Lipsey. Cathy and her sister Judy decided to do something charitable and prepare 17 meals for some people in need in the Cherokee/Western York County area. Present day, this service, once started out of these ladies homes and at Smyrna Baptist Church, has now moved to the cafeteria behind the old Hickory Grove High School in nearby Hickory Grove, 1025 Wilkerson Street. They now average 12 volunteers every Monday and Thursday, and delivered a record number of 188 meals one Thursday. They average well over 200 meals prepared and delivered per week.

The Lord's Kitchen cooks out of this cafeteria in Hickory Grove, delivers meals to people in need from Clover and on into Gaffney and in between. So far no request has been denied. They are simply trying to help those in need, and often a good hot meal makes a world of difference.

These folks do several fundraisers to raise money to buy the food. Their biggest fundraiser is their monthly dinner on the second Sunday of the month at Smyrna Baptist Church. It is a full buffet meal. $7 for take out or eat in. Other fundraisers, such as hot dog sales in Hickory Grove on Wednesdays have also helped. This Saturday, December 3rd, in Hickory Grove during the Christmas parade is a huge fundraiser. It will be in the cafeteria from 10am-5pm. Jewelry, jellies, country cooking and other goodies will be available to help raise money and awareness about the program.

The Lord's Kitchen is on Facebook, and they are always in need of volunteers and money, or whatever you can do to help. This can be letting them know anyone in the area in need of a meal. No questions are asked, except for an address and phone number.  See the FB page for further information or to become a part. They can be also reached at (803) 627-9910.  It will be very rewarding, for both parties involved!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Five Reasons Why Trump Is Now President-Elect

Now let me start by staying I'm very unbiased. I didn't vote nor support now President-elect Donald Trump in his campaign. Now, however, I will stand behind the good choices he will potentially make. Here's hoping.

Many people were shocked and upset early Wednesday when Hillary Clinton fell short of the presidency. I was shocked but not upset as I was not in favor of either one.

OK now I have broken down how Trump pulled off this dramatic win.

1. He won the key swing states he needed. If you get Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, and carry your usual states in the Electoral College, you win the required 270 votes to nab the presidency. Although we nearly had another recount, Trump swept the swing states and was only in danger of losing Penn.

2. America seemed ready for a change. This election showed not only how much hated Hillary is, but also Obama. They looked at the flaws of both and wanted something different. Hillary's political resume is deep, Trump's is bare. People have been wanting a business mind in the Oval and now they have it.

3. There is an urban game called "playing the dozens" basically being able to talk shop and trash with your opponent and connect with the people. Trump may not be political, was rude during debates, and openly harrassed women. However, he has a connection with people, even those  he was thought to hate. Hillary seems to talk over people's heads, isn't trustworthy,and simply talks at folks and not too them. You have to connect to the people, and Trump managed to do that.

4. The country still isn't quite ready for a female president. We just had a black president. I believe eventually we will have a woman president. Hillary set the table for that female to come to the forefront.

5. Voter turnout was at an all time low. Due to the fact that both candidates were deemed unworthy, Gary Johnston and other minor candidates and write ins got votes that may have helped Hillary. Point blank, if you don't come together for the candidate you want, you may be disappointed.

OK there's my piece. No need to be disappointed if you don't like Trump. Just live and learn and remember things do work out. Continue to vote and become better students of history, especially government and past presidents.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016 Road Race Summary

The NYC Marathon was today, and several other unsung races. Many are continuing their running season, while mine has ended for 2016. It was an awesome one with four half marathons and my first full. The connections, memories and fun and I had was indescribable. I ran seven races this year and plan to run around the same number next year as I plan to run an ultramarathon in 2018 and attempt to state chase (run a half or full in all 50 states). Here's my race rundown.

1. BB&T Corporate Cup

I chose this half in preparation for my first full marathon. It was a very cold race but very well conducted. The route went through the heart of downtown Charlotte, even through Queens College. There was a good balance of flat and inclines to keep one challenged. Layer well as the race is in early March and it's still winter. Also, register early if you plan to run. The price climbs to nearly $100 close to race day. The medal was traditional but heavy and nice.

2. Kings Mountain Marathon

Yes it's the marathon your mother warned you about! Very challenging, hilly (approximately 44 in all), and hot towards the end. It's in the Kings Mountain National Military Park, so you're technically running in both North and South Carolina in this course. I wouldn't recommend the full for just any runner. I chose it because of the proximity from my home, and I run hills and trails, which KM has both. It's a rural course as well, with awesome scenery and great participation every year. I didn't leave my home for two days, was sore for five and lost three toenails. The medal is like a hologram, showcasing the elevation of the course  The price is $80 for the full but you get your money's worth!

3. South Carolina Peach Festival 10K.

I have found that after a while, everyone has their favorite race, and/or that race they run yearly. For me, it's this race. It was my very first race, and it's like a summer tradition for me. It begins on the campus of Limestone College in Gaffney, SC,  and you loop through the eastern side of Gaffney back to the college. The first mile is pretty much uphill, and there are other hills and inclines, including a sneaky one at around mile 4.6. It's a good challenge but it's a very hot and humid race. I PRed in 2015 but was 3 minutes below that mostly on heat. There is no medal, only a pink ribbon. Their race package bag may be one of the best I've seen though.

4. Ride and Run Half at Paramount's Carowinds

Another fun but humid race held on 9/11. The medal was awesome, with an image of Charlie Brown riding The Fury. The course loops you through the park twice, and is good to PR on. The perks are nice as it's a Sunday race, but you receive access to the showers post race and access to the park all weekend!

5. Hustle For The Muscle 5K: Race for Dawk

This 5K was in Blacksburg, SC, basically near the schools. The purpose was to raise money for ALS victim Shon Dawkins, who incidentally passed away the weekend following. It was held on Homecoming weekend in Blacksburg. The course was decent for a 5K, only one major hill and an incline. It was the first race that I won my gender group in. I received a free month to 9 Rounds, which I am currently using.

6. Volition America Half.

The following weekend, I ran this half in the midst of Hurricane Matthew in Lake Norman, NC. Ironically, this race was canceled from 2015 due to Hurricane Jocquin, so all of the 2015 registrants got to participate in 2016. Now in my defense, the hurricane wasn't supposed to heavily affect that area. But tornadoes from this storm caused a great, flat, scenic course to be muggy and rainy near the last 6 miles. Under good conditions, it's normally a good race to PR and prepare for Fall marathons. The medal was nice also with the Volition emblem. The post race refreshments were awesome with several juices and even Marco's Pizza!

7. Charlotte Runway 5K.

This 5K was on the airport of Charlotte Douglas International Airport and another fun, flat course that's good for a PR, which I received. The price was unbeatable also, $10 for early registration. It  was on Halloween weekend and was unusually hot by the end. Nevertheless, awesome race to end an awesome racing season.

Now I'm prepping for 2017 as I hope to get two different states in!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Characters That Have Nearly Ruined Sitcoms Near The End

Many sitcoms that are nearing the end of their shelf life pull out the stops to stay relevant and keep their ratings steady. The latest travesty I have witnessed Greer Grammer (April) on my fave sitcom The Middle. She is playing Axl's new girlfriend. Fans of this show would agree she falls in that line. Here are some others you may have known and/or forgotten.

1. Howard Sprague and Ken Berry on The Andy Griffith Show

Ken Berry of course went on to have an outstanding career as Vint on Mama's Family. Before that, he was a lackluster replacement for Andy and Barney. And Howard was just plain lackluster.

2. Cousin Pam

Many fans of The Cosby Show remember Cousin Pam (Erika Alexander) and even her annoying friend (Karen Malina White). Thank God people don't judge Alexander's career based on Cousin Pam.

3. 3J

Family Matters ran through characters, networks and Harriets. The show stayed focused around Steve Urkel but bringing on 3J full time did nothing to make the show sizzle and pop. It simply fizzed.

4. Youngest siblings

This was tried quite a few times. Andrew in Family Times, Seven on Married With Children, and Nicky on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. These kids aren't as cute when people have basically stopped tuning in.

5. Danny

Giving Mr.Drummond a red headed stepchild and someone smaller than the now smaller Arnold was also pointless and forgettable.

6. Oliver from The Brady Bunch

7. Randy from That 70s Show

8. D-Money (Ray J ) on Moesha

9. Keith on Good Times

10. Jefferson on Happy Days

Please if you're producing a sitcom, go peacefully into the night. Stop adding these characters out of desperation. It rarely works.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Can't Hardly Wait, For Much Anymore

We're in a society of instant gratification. Many wait all year for Christmas and shop and decorate as soon as possible. We will say we don't have spare time but will spend an entire day binge watching Luke Cage. Also, we will vote as early as possible to ensure Trump or Hillary won't win.

We also have DVRs and advanced technology so how did we get here?

I believe many folks are in competition with each other and want to be the first to do or see something. They hate getting left behind.

This mentality has effected both Apple and Samsung folks. The iPhone 7 appears to be the phone of the year in sales, but many are adjusting to having to buy cordless earphones and speakers. Meanwhile, the Note 7 has had more problems, the latest being explosive batteries. I tell folks often to wait when it comes to technology but they won't.

Patience is still a virtue but many won't embrace it. They prefer short term gratification over long term happiness. Also, they need to realize what they want, not others.

Use wisdom and patience in your life and be your own person. The Joneses will be fine, trust me!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Black Or White: Caught In The Middle!

OK it seems racial tensions are at an all time high as we enter yet another presidential election. It seems overall, neither blacks nor whites as a whole understand each other. Some, however, would like to. You can tell by remarks on either end that many actually wanna get along and not return this country to the 60s, which is where it's headed.

Here are some basics to understand about both races. Being half black, half white, I had to learn more. But I will help both sides where I can.

Black people , especially black women, are targets everyday and not just by the police and media. They feel hurt and betrayed just as their ancestors did when they feel slighted or profiled based on their skin color. They don't agree with everything the Democratic party says and does, but feels like they look out for minorities more than the GOP does. Being black is a blessing and a curse but not many ethnicities would swap places. They will do "black" things and have black friends but aren't about living the life 24/7.

White people are blind to many obvious truths out there. This is called white privilege. I don't blame them fully for this, they simply haven't been in a position where they had to learn or understand other races. Whites are killed in higher numbers than blacks and get persecuted as well. However, history and privilege restrain them from being as aggressive about it as black people. They see the #blacklivesmatter movement as racist and offensive because they don't fully understand the overall significance. It's ok to like and believe what you do. However lack of understanding and communication can be dangerous for both races. Again you have to feel this pain, and not assume that everyone is a racist. Whites have to show others they want to understand and help and that wrong is wrong.

We are all humans at day's end with lots of cultural differences. Again speak your mind all day but do so with understanding and reason.

Until next time, ...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Saving Paid and Unpaid Time At Your Job

Many of you know I have worked for 21 years of  my adult life, around 17 of those with paid and unpaid time available.  I have become adept at managing both , especially in emergencies and such. The basic available types of time are vacation time, personal time, (or PTO), and unpaid time (also known as chargeable time or comp time).

Proper management of this time can lead to greater peace of mind.  For example, many doctors recommend at least one week/year off from working. If you accumulate this time (40 hours for many folks), you have your week easily. 

Here are some tips to maximize your time as we end one year and begin the next.

1. Always know your available balance of time

Check your time at least twice/week.  Failure to do so could result in you using time you thought you had, and having to fight to keep your job.

2. Plan out the year the best you can.

At the beginning of the year, plan which dates you will need off , and the necessary time. Many companies go by first come, first come, then tenure.

3. Save extra for the unforseen.

Time from work is like money in the bank. Regardless of how it's spent, it shouldn't be in one place. Use your time that doesn't roll over but spread it out.

4. Know which time rolls over and what time you can take with you.

Save more of the time that expires, and especially what you have in larger balances. This can be a game changer, and then you can also plan more efficiently.

5 . Go home, if you can afford it. 

Many companies allow unpaid days and furloughs where your regular time isn't affected at all. Use these wisely also and remember you still must eat and pay bills.

Saving time really isn't advanced physics, just takes simple budgeting and planning. Also, communicate with management and HR regularly about when you want to take off and your available balance. Trust me, you don't want the clock running out

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Why I'm Not Currently Married Or Even Dating

I'm sitting back, fresh off of my 20 year class reunion. It was a very good time but given where you come from (and for me, these choice questions tend to arise at times).

Why aren't you married?
Why don't you have any kids?
You're too good of a guy to not have someone?
Where's your woman?

Sometimes I can tolerate this, except when folks become relentless. Then I have to check them and inform them of my quick reasoning. After that, I believe their curiosity turns into disrespect for what I want and my core values.

I read my friend and relationship/life coach's Troy Spry's book earlier this year "Teach Me How To Love 2". One of the biggest takeaways I got was that people aren't in touch with their core values and thus will settle quickly. I don't want that to be me, even I'm still single at my 30th high school reunion.

OK for all those that like to pry into my personal life (which is personal for a reason) at gatherings, seeing me out, social media, etc, here's something for you to read: some reasons why I am not married nor attached right now.

1. I simply haven't found the woman I can see spending the rest of my life with. I do hang out and go on dates and such, but at my age, I know what I want and will not settle. It's not being picky, it's knowing what I want and will tolerate.

2. Relationships nor marriages, especially marriages, are NOT to be rushed into. The divorce rate is high for good reason. Regardless of your age, one should take their time and chill when it comes to romantic affairs. It will happen if and when it's supposed to.

3. I would like for my own mother to see me married and have children. However, since I am a male, I am afforded the luxury of not having a biological clock. This means I can reproduce well on into my elderly years if I choose.  Look at Abraham from the Bible, Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman, the list goes on. I'm a late bloomer at a lot of traditional things. It's not when but how well you do something.

4. I say this often, everyone is not meant to be married or even attached. I do respect the sanctity of marriages, love and relationships. However you must remember, everything is not for everyone and this includes love. Let us not forget Paul in the Bible.

5. I really, truly enjoy being single. I wrote a piece on it last year, and even participated in a non marital challenge on Facebook last month. One must love, enjoy and value themselves before they can give their heart to another person. Relationships are great with the right person, but single life has a lot of upsides as well. Therefore to those that wish they were single, please stop trying to drag me down.

6. Marriage and children are way more expensive than years ago. The wedding, home, taxes, cost of just one child from six weeks old to 18 years old (that's not including post secondary education.).  Even with a nice two income couple, all of this does cost. People can say you shouldn't worry about all of that and in a way I do agree. However, it's all about timing and I don't need too many bills rushing on me like an avalanche.

7. Lastly, why is it because I am a certain race, look a certain way, have a certain education, etc, etc mean I have to be with someone? Did someone rewrite the rules of society without telling me? Ok how about allowing me to be happy and great, okay? We are in a society where we are too judgmental and are trying to force feed beliefs on this culture and that culture. Let's think for ourselves and live the best lives we can live.

Ok here it is. Now are there any further questions? I really want to put this subject to bed or I will become even more selective about which folks I entertain.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

We Can All Do Better

We are at a definite crossroads as a country. Black people are mad at the police for continued brutality. White people want the good police to be respected. Me, I'm just like "can't we all admit our faults and come to some common ground."

The thing is folks, we can blame several things: the media, our lackluster presidential candidates, the police, etc for these woes. But as Michael Jackson sang in "Man In the Mirror" we have to look within ourselves if we want true change. We cannot wait around nor be violent and militant to achieve this goal.

Here are some ways in which we can all improve, including myself, and make this world a better place. America isn't know for having the greatest history so we can make it a better future.

1. Hold law enforcement more accountable for their actions and not allow them to be so reactive.
2. Ensure that victims still respect the laws, approach police properly, and handle altercations in court.
3. Register to VOTE and actually VOTE!
4. Don't be blind to any obvious truths. I, like many others, am tired of this mess. However I am still conscious of the major issue here.
5. Research your thoughts and opinions carefully before spouting off on social media. Google and Snopes <insert topic> are great for this.
6. If we're gonna boycott anything, boycott ALL media. They are the ones making this whole ordeal into a sideshow. The media loves its ratings and like a scripted reality show, many are playing right into the main plot.
7. As I said before, violence begats violence. In this matters, fight with your head and NOT your weapons.
8. Try hard to see the other side's point of view. We cannot reach a common ground and that is one of the main problems here. Misunderstanding and miscommunication can be deadly, literally.
9. Don't be just a passive social media activist for either side. Take proactive action in the movement you support the most.
10. Don't judge others or force your beliefs on them. Try and respect them and again, come to some understanding.

Please let's get our country back. China and Russia do not need another leg up on the USA. We have let the media turn a major battle into a sixth grade playground scuffle. Yeah you're drawing a crowd and attention. But how effective is it really?

We ALL need to do better, period

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Some benefits of going to the chiropractor

Yes ladies and gentlemen! In a word where racism is still strong and the government and media have too much control over us all (I know they're reading), there are still those that defy the power of the chiropractor as a legitimate healing doctor.

Despite awesome customer reviews, results and overall good reputations from chiro offices, many are still seen as quacks and glorified massage therapists. Even during my research, I had to really dig for facts to support my claim because folks are writing and posting about most of the negative press from chiropractors.

Well as a loyal customer of chiropractors, myself and my mother, I'm gonna offer some well researched and tested benefits for seeing a chiro.

1. Yes many already get weekly to bi-weekly massages.  Why not take it a step further and get a spinal adjustment? Do the knowledge, it's basically a massage times five.

2. I have watched the health benefits over the years: less headaches, straighter spines, and avoiding expensive and risky surgeries and medications. Yes I am aware of the risks and malpractice lawsuits out there against the discipline. But how is addiction to painkillers and surgery that could possibly ruin your life even better?

3. Remember this is holistic healing. Chiropractors are trained to do a lot of things, but they are specialists. Do not confuse them for your family doctor or even healing in places other than the neck and back. Holistic healing is some of the best, and has been practiced for centuries.

4. Many insurance companies now work with chiropractors. Doesn't sound too risky if some of the big names such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna are cosigning for chiros.

5. Benjamin Franklin once said everything in moderation. This includes the chiropractor. People love the feeling afterwards, and want to continue going back. Don't overdo it, and continue to practice safe measures to keep yourself out of any doctor's office.

6. Finally, chiropractors overall have some of the highest customer ratings out of any medical specialists.

So before you slam an entire profession because certain ones that can pop backs claim to be chiros, do your research please. I did, the good and the bad. Based on what I've seen, you're much better off going then relying on pills and surgery in many cases.

Or you could end up like Quasimodo

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fun With Flags, Or Not?

OK today is the 15th anniversary of 9/11. On this day, we honor the flag, and those who fight to protect it.

This has been very controversial since San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the National Anthem for the first three games and kneeled during the 4th. He claimed he was not disrespecting the military or even the country, he was making a stand against a country that allows blatant police brutality to run rampant.

Now here are my thoughts. I have said in the past there needs to be a celebrity or someone with star power to stand up for this cause. Kaep definitely got the attention of the nation and he didn't physically hurt anyone in the process. He fully exercised his First Amendment rights. Personally, I wouldn't have been brave enough to stand against the flag like that but Colin is at the point in his career where he can do this without major consequence. Now many people, celebrities and non, have researched the history of the American Flag and the National Anthem and are refusing to stand.

Also, perhaps it's good the 49ers don't play their season opener until tomorrow.

Now we have the Confederate Flag, which has a deep history, but has caused a greater deal of harm.  It reappeared in the national media summer of 2015 when a young Caucasian man from Charleston shot up a black church, killing nine innocent people. Governor Nikki Haley then decided to finally remove the flag from atop the state house, a move she had previously refuted.

Now here are my views regarding the Confederate Flag. I honestly don't believe it was created as a hate flag, although it has become that. It was the South's Civil War flag of course, and they ended up losing the battle on slavery and the war. It seems our country are still stuck on both topics of this war. The Confederate Flag isn't the American Flag, it has too much negative connotation and symbolism behind it, and it is bad for overall business in the South. Not everyone that flies it is racist, but seemingly all racists and white power groups have it. There are other ways for proud Southerners to show their heritage. That being said, I don't judge everyone for flying this flag, just the ones that keep fighting a 150 year old war.

Well this is my edition of Fun With Flags. I don't get into political or racial stuff often but I feel it was warranted this time.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Whisky Train: Back and Ready to Rock!

Whisky Train are a Southern country rock n roll  band located in Grover, NC. Think Lynyrd Skynyrd, Big and Rich, or even Florida/Georgia Line. These fellas are very talented and passionate about their music. They have been together for six years, but certain barriers have kept them from getting to the next level as a group.

Late last year, the band's leader and lead singer, Bill Moore, made plans to construct an all new band room from the ground up. Prior, the band simply practiced in Bill's utility building. Bill enlisted the help of his band mates and other friends and family and got to work to build a top notch facility for them to practice and perform in .

They started back in January with a lot of passion and very little supplies. As the year progressed, the band room started coming together more and more. This past Labor Day weekend (Sept 3), it was finally ready to rock in! They have a lot more room, full acoustics, a combination heating/air window unit, a mini stage for the drummer, a bar area, and even a lounge area for folks to watch. Nearly 50 people came to help Bill and Whisky Train christen the new band room! They rocked until the sun came up.

Other members of the band include many of Bill's family members: his brother Roger Moore, nephew Roger Moore Jr. and son JR Moore. Guys such as Jamey Ledbetter and Dwayne Tompkins from Relentless, and Ernie Spearman Jr. and Jeff Blackwell also show up to rock with WT. It was quite a time and could be a positive turn for the group.

Find these Southern fellows on Facebook, Whisky Train. You will see broadcasts of their practices , performances, pictures and many more. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Anyone That Knows Me Knows That,...

This title is often something I find myself saying a lot. Many don't know me as well as they think they do. It's either because they aren't around me that much, don't care, or aren't paying attention. I am an open book on some aspects of my life though. This post is dedicated to some of those.

Those that know me in the least know these things about me:

I love smiling, laughing, joking and simply being happy.
I love health, fitness (lifting, running, training)
Food is a big vice of mine, and I can still eat heavily
I am a very smart, intelligent, educated person
I am loving and respectful
I am hardworking
I love and am very close to my mother, even when we are at odds
I love sports, especially football
Despite my outgoing nature, I can be a quiet introvert, spawning my entire #imjustdrew movement
I am a very frugal, economically sound person. You will not see me spending money on trivial things 
I love going to functions and gatherings. When not at work or the gym, I stay on the go
I love movies, whether on the big or small screen 

More later!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The So Gone Challenge: So Right and So Wrong

You would almost have to be living under a rock to not know about the #sogonechallenge going on currently on social media.. This is the latest in social media challenges over the past few years and like the others, has its ups and downs.

It started when Monica (yep that Monica from the 90s) recorded her newest single "So Gone." She then did a freestyle over this infectious beat. Many people, including celebrities, have been doing the same, and have been utilizing FB Live, Instagram, Periscope, and even Vine to post their freestyles and even R&B melodies to this beat.

Now why I'm glad that certain lyricists are coming out of the woodwork to display their skills and show that hip hop is not trap music, it's the ones that have no business doing it that I have a problem with. There has to come a point where you're being funny and you realize that everything isn't for everyone. Dwayne Wade is one of many that showed he should stick to basketball . Folks, like every social media challenge, are starting to ruin it. It's becoming more like American Idol or The Voice. Sounds harsh, but it's the tactful truth.

Please don't let social media dictate your life anymore than it already has. The #sogonechallenge is meant to be fun, but it's no fun seeing people fumble through their own raps and they can only do 10 bars instead of a full 16. 

Football can't return soon enough!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Home Improvement Problems? Planning For The Unplanned

OK being that it is August, it is without question the one appliance in your home you don't want breaking down is your A/C. It can be the zombie apocalypse. However, there are several appliances and repairs you may have to make.

But first let's talk about obscessed people have  become with being a homeowner. It's part of the American Dream. When people can't find that perfect person nor have children, they can still buy and own their own homes. Problem is, many don't realize the maintenance and upkeep required. It's like my old analogy, playing a game without first knowing the rules. 

This year, which still has four months remaining, has drained my pockets, savings, and such in home improvement costs. I have had to repair or replace two lawnmowers, a hot water heater and now my clothes dryer. The AC may be salvageable but I'm looking into space coolers and window units in the meantime. My mom recently suffered a heat stroke and I can't risk that again.

Ok here are some tips I have picked up while buying and replacing items for your home, and while unrigging all the raggedy work my step dad did on this home.

1. Save an allowance of money for home improvement projects.

You have an idea of what's coming (#2) so budget for that and then some. I expected some of the things so I set aside funds for those. Others I had to use other measures. Either way, try and get an idea of what you need, the best prices and such.

2. Do and keep a home inventory.

This perhaps should be #1. Keep track of your appliances and watch out if something isn't working or sounding properly. Staying ahead of the problem can help in keeping it down later.

3. Know the major appliances that need attention and their warranties/shelf lives.

These include but aren't limited to: your sinks, toilets, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer, hot water heater, oven. lawnmower, and heating/AC unit. Replacing them all at once can break you. Doing it for a deal or maybe once in  while isn't as bad.

4. Don't cheap out or go all that.

A $1000 dryer or hot water heater isn't necessary. However do your research, don't buy used unless you trust the source, and find the best fit for your home.

5 . Get a Lowes or a Home Depot card.

Now first of all I'm not in favor of credit cards, unless your credit is already established and you're responsible. If you're gonna get a store card, pay the monthly balance down as much as possible, not just the minimum. Also know your limit and stay within it, especially on a six month basis. Just like your home, it's all about the interest rate.

6. Keep handy people and fix it folks on standby.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not Tim the Tool man nor Bob Villa. However, I stay connected with folks that can help me in tight situations. This could be from installing stuff, to carrying out things, or even using their truck to haul equipment. Keep a steady network of these things.

7. Prepare for the temporary inconvenience and have backup plans.

If your shower is broken or your water goes out, make plans for laundry, baths in the short term. Keep box fans and space heaters for your heating and AC. Also, if you have a grill, keep meat in your freezer and charcoal or gas handy just in case you may need to cook outdoors for a few days. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Happy home improving!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hustle For The Muscle: Helping A Good Person, Friend, and Native Son

Blacksburg, SC is my hometown, and I have found myself writing and talking about it more over the years. The best thing I can say about my small town is its sense of community, especially when someone is in need.

This was in display in full force on Saturday, July 30th as my service organization, Smokin Rita and Friends, helped organize a benefit at the First Baptist Church for Shon Dawkins, who is fighting ALS. The event was a complete success with a hot dog meal, several desserts and sports memorabilia were raffled, and there was even face painting and bouncy houses for the children.

I love seeing when a community can come together and put aside their differences. These are the stories that should be reported first nightly on the news.

Some of you probably want to know more about Shon Dawkins and why anyone would make a big deal out of one person, albeit one deeply affected by ALS.

Well first and foremost, this is how Blacksburg does for its own, when one of its own is sick and in need. The community spirit is strong and they have your back in your hour of need. Even folks from nearby Gaffney and classmates of his from Gardner-Webb University came and showed love.

Second, Shon was not only an awesome athlete during his years at Blacksburg High, he was (and still is) and awesome person that could get along with anyone and make anybody smile and laugh. Shon and his family grew up near me in rural Kings Creek. His family is well known for being good people, good athletes, and hard workers.

Also, it is a tragedy to see ALS take down anyone, especially someone physically and mentally strong as Shon. It has affected his body, but it cannot touch his mind and heart. He is very inspirational despite his pain, and will have you laughing and crying. I always loved being around him, and there was no way I was missing this benefit.

#thehustleforthemuscle movement continues as Shon's condition does worsen and the bills don't stop. There is a 5K run planned soon in Blacksburg, plus other benefits. There is already a GoFundMe in place. Shon is one of the last folks I know that would ask for any help. Therefore, help him since he would help you, and help in this fight against ALS! Continue to check my blogs, vlogs, and social media accounts for more info!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pokemon GO! Playing it safely, literally

The Pokemon craze from the mid 90s has swept the world again, now in smartphone form. And yours truly is into it.

Many of us have been going to firestations, churches and other landmarks for powerups and rare Pokemons. People of all ages are trying to catch them, and some are getting injured and causing injuries. It is an interactive game, but one that should be played with some common sense and awareness.

Here are some tips I have picked up in my short time playing this game.

1. Play in open spaces, like a downtown area or a park. You want to have a few feet (5 or more) open around you for playing so you don't run into anything whilst trying to catch a Pokemon.

2. Look both ways before crossing streets, and keep your eyes up around cars and pedestrians.

3. Don't play after the sun goes down.

4. Drive to destinations when possible, and obey traffic and parking laws.

5. Make a plan to play, and have a couple of folks with you, especially if you're in team mode.

6. Watch your battery and data usage.

7. Have fun and be safe!

There are more I could name, but basically use common sense and good judgment. Don't lose yourself in any game.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Random Ramblings.

We've had a lot going on in our world lately. Cops killing black men, cops being killed in retaliation. The Pokemon GO craze is out, and people are playing this game in droves. And the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio are right around the corner. Either way, everyone has thoughts about all of this.

And here are mine.

1. It is against my code of ethics to take someone's life, period, unless yours is threatened. You look at almost every instance over the past few years and murder could have been avoided. I have an uncle that is a skilled shooter, was the top markman in his platoon in the Army during the 70s. Police, you are trained to subdue the person, not kill them. My brothers and sisters, killing innocent cops isn't the answer.

2. I have written and spoken on this subject many times and I'm gonna say this again once more. We need more legislation and effective action to end this unjust killing. Rogue killing and passive protests isn't getting the job done. Look at what Dr. King and other historic characters and people in power positions have accomplished. Let's use some of that to end this madness and fix this broken system. I need to feel safe again when I drive at night, and I don't need my mother up at night (or any other parent) worrying if I will make it home alive.

3. Many of you know how seriously I take my birthday. The main reason is that we preach that this live matters and that life matters. Okay well if we're that cool, how hard it is to wish me Happy Birthday? You remember celebrity's birthdays that you won't meet but you can't remember mine. Hmmm is all I gotta say.

4. My black friends, you don't need to feel uncomfortable discussing these topics with me. Yes I'm biracial and I see both sides. But people are people to me. We can talk, as long as you are respectful and realize that all white folks and cops aren't out to eliminate an entire race of people. I certainly wasn't raised like that, I was raised to love and have an open mind. Therefore , if you're my friend , we should be able to have an open, respectful dialogue. Shoot both races make me mad also so chances are we may be on the same side!

5. Also, if the worst happens and I end up a statistic, PLEASE do not hashtag #AndrewLanier or #imjustdrew if we aren't cool like that. You don't know me, we aren't even related. You didn't even wish me Happy Birthday. Therefore, don't treat me like a martyr when I'm gone if you treated me like garbage when I was alive and well. #thatisall.

6. I like the Pokemon GO game, it's addictive. However I play it in safe environments. I have my own thoughts far as this game goes (potential future blog subject).

So here are my ramblings. Expect more in the future.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

2016 Mid-Yead Wrap Up and Awards

OK it's the dog days of summer, which means it's time for my mid year award list of stupidity in sports, pop culture, and entertainment. Beyonce' is back and Kanye and Kobe both managed to stay off this list.


Big business award: Beyonce'. First of all, Bey is one of the best marketing geniuses of our time. Her techniques should be taught in business schools and boardrooms everywhere. That being said, why in the world would you charge that much for anyone to attend one of your concerts? Even during tax season, that's a lot to ask. Maybe it's because she knows the fans will pay that price, and doesn't care if it's a six figure bank executive, or a single welfare mom.

Troubled athlete: Johnny Manziel. I mean, who didn't see this coming. Overprivileged, overhyped QB who was bound to spontaneously combust. He's like Doug Flutie merged with Stephen Garcia and Tommy Chong.

Unnecessary sporting event: The Pro Bowl. Who watches or even cares anymore, besides Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders?

Sore loser: Cam Newton. He still may be the best QB in the NFL talentwise, but he can't handle losing. C'mon Cam, you must be more classy than that after a huge loss.

Racist award: The SAEs (I have another award for police and activists so wait). You guys are awful far as your treatment towards anyone of color. Why haven't y'all been shut down yet?

Unjust award (see?): The police, U.S. Justice system, the media and our government. America is becoming an embarrassment thanks to all of you determined to keep us divided as citizens and distracted from other issues.

Social media faux pas: Status update games. They are getting wilder and more ridiculous. They seem to only end when something tragic occurs or it's a major holiday.

Crooked sport: The NBA. You guys are so desperate for ratings and to topple the NFL, you make a circus yearly out of the playoffs, the draft lottery and the draft.

Disloyalty award: bandwagoner fans. Once upon a time, you picked a team and stuck with them.  Now folks go with whomever is winning. I honestly saw this start in the 90s with the Bulls and Cowboys and is getting much worse.

Crybaby athlete: Lebron James. Well I guess now ole Bron Bron not only controls the Cavaliers, he controls the NBA. One phone call and he decides the series and brings a championship back to Cleveland for the first time in 52 years.

Can't Get Right Award: Jon Jones. Personally I think you are overrated as a fighter and Cormier would have finally beat you in 200. Don't worry, Bellator awaits in two years or less.


Crooked politician: Hillary Clinton. When everyone thought it was Bill or Trump, it is also you Hill. It's getting harder to trust anyone in public office.

Coon award: Stacey Dash. You have embarrassed yourself. You simply cannot go again an entire race of people like that, especially your own.

Fashion faux pas: the man bun. Why, why?

Blatant disrespect award: The Oscars. You bring back Chris Rock to host, which is good. But no minority nominees at all? Really?

Violent athlete: Lesean McCoy. C'mon dude, I thought you were trying to get paid and establish your career. You have proven that one must conquer their inner demons and watch who they hang with.

Unreliable teammate: D'Angelo Russell. Dude don't you know that what goes on in the locker room, stays in the locker room? Swaggy P, you were almost as bad as you don't blab your business. But Russell was awful.

Questionable athlete: Laranby Tunsil. It just goes to show you in this era of technology nothing you do is hidden and eventually what is done in the dark comes to light.

Dirty program (could be Ole Miss next): Baylor and Art Briles. You guys got good fast, and now your coach is gone. Who's next?

Retail rant: Lowes. The way in which you treat customers is deplorable. I hope Home Depot crushes you guys. 

Moron rapper: Joe Budden. Hip hop artists will learn one day to stop going after Drake. 

Athlete with aggression: Draymond Green. Now Dray I admire your style of play. However, you must control it, and your anger, before you cost your team multiple championships and yourself freedom as a citizen.

OK that's it for now. Moral of this post: people do not learn from the past.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Ways To Survive The Dog Days Of Summer

July and even early August are the toughest parts of summer oftentimes. They are referred to as the "dog days of summer." Many of your favorite TV shows are on summer hiatus, there aren't as many big summer blockbuster movies, and sports are simply monotonous at best. Many have already taken their summer vacations. Baseball is not nearly as interesting and NASCAR has possibly two or three exciting races before Bristol in mid August. It can often be a good and a bad time.

One good thing is the 4th of July of course. You seemingly have parties and celebrations everywhere.

Here are some ways to fight off the dog days of summer. Many of these are similar to my post from 2012 regarding top date ideas for the Spring and Summer months.

1. Go swimming and/or to a water park/lake.

This rarely gets old and is often inexpensive. You and your family are hot and want to take a dip and be around cool water. Many water activities remind you of how great summer is.

2. Don't wait for an invite, have your own cookouts!

I feel grateful to be invited to summer parties and cookouts. However I realize all do not have this luxury. Therefore, buy some meats and charcoal, invite some friends over and have your own BBQ. No grill, no worries. Walmart has cheap but effective kettle grills for around $30, and they are easy to assemble and use. Many of you know I love grilling, it's relieving and an awesome way to get folks together.

3. Do some early morning/late afternoon workouts outdoors.

This is a prime season for this. It is usually no lower than 65 degrees during the dog days in the morning, and cools down as the sun sets. Working out outside, whether be running, walking, hiking, cycling is hard to beat. Summer flies by so take advantage while you can.

4. Stream plenty of movies and TV shows from the source of your choice (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Kodi).

All of these streaming services allow you to catch up on TV and movies, and even view new ones. Season 4 of Orange is the New Black is currently available and many (myself included) are watching this.

5. Go to amusement parks, drive in theaters and even local festivals.

There is usually something happening within close driving distance. Get out and experience and enjoy what is going on, and see other people as well. It is fun and healthy.

Ok now that you've read this piece, get out and enjoy the dog days!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Why I Love Running So Much

I've been so blessed to be able to run, and run actively. It has become a lifestyle, a hobby, and many other things.

We have just had a controversial NBA Finals where the favorites (Golden State) couldn't close out Lebron and Cleveland. Many factors intervened that wouldn't happen in competitive running.

That being said, here are some of the reasons why I love to run so much: 

1. It's cheap, quick exercise that can be done almost anywhere you have a road or treadmill. You may pay extra for accessories such as nicer running shoes, Fitbit/Garmin watches, and utility belts and packs. Overall, running is very inexpensive.

2. When you're out on a run or especially in a race, it's you versus time. YOU are the ultimate one that controls your pace, training regimen, and such. There are no refs, no one picking favorites or playing bets. Either you can run or you can't, you can or cannot finish. Running is one of few sports/activities that is contingent upon the individual's true prowess.

3. It is awesome for networking. Over the years, I have connected with many folks through my gym, running club and various races I run. It's like a huge society or family. You begin to recognize folks and running groups in your area that run the same races as you. The faces and their times become familiar. It's almost expected to see them at a certain race.

4. Running really disciplines you, from your eating regimen, to getting up early for training runs and races. You haven't felt dedication until you see runners that are willing to get up on a frigid February morning at 5am because they know they have a big race in March or April. Also, those that run at 7pm in the middle of the summer to avoid the heat. Running is a huge sacrifice, and takes careful time and even money management once you start racing. It's all worth it though.

5. There are sponsors and such, but outside of the big races such as Boston and NYC, the sport doesn't receive a lot of media attention. Therefore those that do it can do so without being in the limelight or politics that have wrecked other sports.

Running has been a blessing to me. I would advise anyone with a healthy body and a decent pair of shoes to try it. Be careful, it is addictive, especially after running a race!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Jared Earley: Winning The Race Of Life

It is often said the decisions we make five years ago are the result of how we are living now. Local runner Jared Earley can certainly attest to this.

In 2011, Earley was at work at The Robert Allen Group, where I met and worked with him. He had suffered a minor heart episode that kept him out a few days and could have killed him.

He decided at that time he was too young to be a statistic and needed to make some life changes. The 30 something fun loving, Gaffney Indian, South Carolina Gamecock and New York Jets fan had to get more active. He won a bet with some friends and began running. Now not only is he running, he is sprinting. Earley went from hardly exercising to winning and placing in road races across the Carolinas, including winning the 2014 Peach Festival 10K with a time of 45 minutes.

The bet was actually for $20 to see who could lose the first 20 pounds. The feeling Jared got after he began running was indescribable, and he wanted to kept getting that feeling.

Fast forward to June 2016. Jared has ran over 20 half marathons (his fastest time being 1 hour, 30 minutes), 1 full marathon and he's far from done. He would like to qualify for Boston and run an ultramarathon before the end of the year.

Jared's love for speed, health and running has definitely grown. He said he plans to continue running until he can only crawl.

Earley has got fitted to a neutral shoe. He likes all brands but specifically for 5ks, Jared goes with the lightest shoe possible with little cushion. For halfs and up he goes with more cushion. Nike peg and the Vomero really fits his foot right and compliment his running style.

Jared has gotten faster by doing intervals and a lot of hills. He likes hills better than flat surfaces because they give different muscles rest, while flat surfaces use the same muscles and it gets more tiring. Also, in Cherokee County, there isn't a lot of flat ground. Most of the time it's either you run hills, or you travel somewhere with flatter grounds.

Jared not only does intervals to stay fit, he has become involved with mixed martial arts. It's hard to balance MMA with running.  Therefore, on the days he trains MMA, he has a short running day of no more than four miles at a easy pace.

Earley's most difficult race to date was the Assault on Black Rock, it really took a lot for him to finish. The race is only a seven mile run but it hurts the body more than a full marathon as it is three and a half miles uphill and three and a half miles down, not to mention an elevation of 3500 feet. Wow, just a couple of thousand shy of a mile!

Jared runs alone most of the time, and has never been apart of a running. group. His musical playlist consist a lot of Atmosphere, Kid Cudi, Macklemore and Lil Wayne. Earley's advice to someone who is just starting out is don't get down on yourself when you can't run as far as someone else or as fast  He states that will come with time. Also, brace yourself as the pain is only temporary so start off slow and you will get better.

It's been a pleasure knowing this person and watching his journey. This is only the beginning for Jared Earley. He continues to run, and will scorch any finish line there is.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Karina Chery: Making Small Steps and Giant Leaps Towards Hollywood

Most people think of a few things when they think of Gaffney, SC. The giant Peach off of I-85, high school football, and of restaurants such as Daddy Joe's and Harold's. Acting wise, the medium size town has produced Andie Macdowell, as well as been the site for filming The Abyss and parts of House Of Cards.

Young lady Karina Chery is a proud Gaffney native who is working to become the next great acting talent out of Cherokee County.

Karina recently appeared on an episode of Snapped: Killer Couples, after years of doing theater and drama.

She started acting in 7th grade where her teacher Mrs. Ivey signed her up for WINGS drama. Ivey said she thought Chery would do great and she was right. Karina absolutely fell in love with it and wanted to do more acting.  She did theater and drama throughout junior high, high school and even some during her time at Limestone College. Karina then started doing background work two and a half years ago where she met some really amazing people such as Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfretly, and Ice Cube.  Her biggest role model is her amazing older brother, who continues to follow his own dreams and has become very successful.. This has aspired Karina to keep pushing and make her acting dream come true. To date, Chery's most notable was her role on Snapped as Terri Jackson. This was a great way to introduce herself to everyone as an actress on television. Karina has also been cast for two supporting roles in two independent horror films.

Karina may have started out with theatre but film and television is what makes her happiest and that is the route that I'm going to continue going in.

Karina Chery is a very talented, lovely, determined and driven young lady. Check her out as she continues to take the acting world by storm, one show and movie at a time!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Donielle "The DON" Spears: Running And Inspiring In The USA

Charlotte, NC runner Donielle Polk Spears (bka: "The Don") has made quite a name for herself and a brand. She has turned a regular workout into a lifestyle, running races almost weekly. At press time, she just completed her 18th full marathon in Vermont. She balances all of this while teaching at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, coaching other runners, and being a wife and mother of two sons.

I have been following the petite, positive runner for a few months on social media and got to meet her when I ran my first full marathon back in April. She graciously agreed to a sit-down to answer a few questions regarding her passion.

Don began running in May 2013. She had lost a significant amount of weight and needed to find an exercise to help her maintain this healthy lifestyle. She became burned out of going to gym and doing cardio classes and wanted something new.

In additions to the 18 full marathons and 28 half marathons she's completed, Don has also finished one ultra marathon (50K)

Currently, Spears have no plans to qualify for Boston or New York (the big time marathons). With children and her daily schedule, the time needed to spend on qualification guidelines would be an overload. However, Don does plan to run in Boston through a charity and she will continue to lottery to run NYC.

Mrs. Spears is still young, and therefore has no plans to stop running. She may slow down during the summer months but will kick it back up in the fall. However, even in the summer, she'll still run and train (just shorter distances due to heat).

Spears's shoe of choice are Brooks only. She purchased them about a year after running and loved them. The Don hasn' t tried any other brand. She had a Gait analysis done finally (recommended for any runner) and they recommended Brooks as well.

Don's basic weekly running consists of three days of training (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and a race day. She runs a race almost every week. On weeks where she doesn't have a race, The Don is still in training on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, vital since she does so many races. She focuses on fatigue legs to help with the back to back races. One main thing Spears does are recovery runs normally on Mondays after the race.

Don can be spotted during races looking stylish with her monogrammed sports bras, lipstick and small hoop earrings. It is definitely a ritual for her that she wears lipstick and earrings during a race, her personal MO.  Spears even carries her tube of lipstick in her sports bra and reapplies during the race close to the end. On Facebook, she has taken full advantage of FB live by giving her followers a post-race recap. Running isn't easy and neither are marathons. However, the Don never looks like what she goes through.

Spears has currently ran in 23 states and in DC and Canada as well. That number will increase before the end of the year.

Don mostly runs marathons now and even has a "twentysixpointtwo" tattoo on the inside of her right bicep that she often flexs in photos.  Spears used to run a lot of half marathons but has now gained a love for marathons over the past six months.

Currently, Don's overall health is great. At a recent visit with her doctor, her numbers are great and she feels greater.  She gained some muscle from running longer distances. People find it hard to believe that she ONLY runs, her only form of fitness.

Despite her success and noterioty as a runner with Black Girls Run in Charlotte and her reputation as a strong finisher and coach, Don is a very approachable person and her personality has never changed. She has always been very sweet, genuine, helpful and humble.  Spears enjoys meeting and talking with people, even being known to snap a picture with friends/fans/others. What has helped her stay grounded is knowing where she has come from and never forgetting that, realizing that this place is a place that God set forth for her. It was a path He created and she is walking and running in His path. Don knows that God uses her to bless others, and she knows that her blessings are rendered to bless others. People are so appreciative and love for all that she does, and her support system is phenomenal.

Balance is key regarding her busy lifestyle. There are a few factors to are important far as when balancing her personal, professional, and family life. First, planning ahead must be done. Most of the races for 2016 were planned out last year. Even Don's weekly run schedules are planned out a week or two in advance. Here and there, things may be altered but for the most part, planning ahead has worked. Don also have to budget. Because of her children, they have needs and a budget must be set. She sets this budget far in advance and tries to stick to it as best as possible. Spears also prioritizes, realizing that family comes first. Their needs are met first and then hers.  Working part time as an ESL (English as a Second Language) instructor definitely helps with her flexibility.

So there's the lowdown on Mrs. Donielle Spears. Phenomenal runner with phenomenal support, but an even better person. She loves running and to see others excel. The Don's impact on the sport of running will be felt for years.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Claire Blanton: New Ultramarathoner, Long Time Runner

Claire Blanton is definitely a quiet force on the local running scene. She not only has competed or is training for every race in the sport, she crushes them, often placing high in her age group. Claire possesses speed, endurance, experience and determination. She completed her very first ultra marathon (50K) over the weekend of May 19-20th, placing 5th in her age group.

Blanton began running her freshman year in high school. She ran cross country and track all four years. Claire had a spinal fusion at 15 years old but continued to run three months later for track her junior year. She has completed three marathons to date (including Asheville and Kings Mountain, two of the toughest around)  and has two more scheduled this year. In July she will run the Jack and Jill marathon in Washington State in hopes of a 3:40 PR to qualify for Boston. Then in October, Claire is running the Chicago marathon.  She hopes to qualify or win the lottery into New York in 2017.

Blanton would love to continue running forever but it will depend on how her back holds up. Her shoe of choice are Hokas for the past three and a half years. Claire usually purchases her shoes at REI because she's a member and receive wonderful discounts and money back every year.

Claire is a solo runner, running whenever she can. She improve speed and endurance by simply running. Nothing special,  just pounding pavement. She would love to coach others but being a single mother with an active child makes it a no go.  However, she did coach her daughter for cross country this year as she was the only runner from her school. Claire has also have run races with her patients at Greenville Memorial Hospital to assist them with goals or safety. She also attends a boot camp group most mornings at 5am before work. Claire started cycling last year and rode 252 miles over 3 days for the Alzheimers association.

Runners often have a prerace schedule/ritual. Blanton's is different depending on location. If she's away from home,  she gets everything ready the evening before. She used to get prerace jitters but that seems to not be an issue lately with longer distances.

Her advice for a new runner is to never give up. Always set new goals whether it's a distance to complete or a new PR.

Claire is very phenomenal and humble. She doesn't run a lot of races but she is in the front of most that she does run. I'm pleased and blessed to know her. I predict she will be at Boston and/or New York within two years so look out.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

I'm Too Old For This Crap!

This has become my latest saying.

Also, this isn't because I'm turning 38 in less than two months. There are some things I am growing way too old for and out of. Here are some of the following things.

1. Unnecessary drama.
2. Ratchet behavior
3. Ignorance
4. Ignorant rap
5. Pettiness
6. People ignoring me
7. Being talked down to or at
8. Too many late nights
9. Letting little things get to me
10. Hanging around folks that treat me as a priority and don't enrich my growth
11. Eating whatever I want all the time
12. Hating and constant negativity
13. Boring, repetitive nonsense
14. Lying and dishonesty
15. Showboating
16. Bad grammar

There are plenty more but these are few of the main ones.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

10 Reasons Why I Am So Competitive

I have been a competitive person for so long, pretty much my whole life. It even got to the point where I became a sore loser and my mother had to correct me. My career and even becoming a runner, writer, and former competitive eater have helped to fuel that competitive fire.

So what makes a person competitive? Where are ten reasons why I'm this way.

1. I really hate the feeling of losing more than I do winning. It's an awful feeling that I never want to feel. It's only second or third to losing a loved one.

2. Many of you are aware of my journey to manhood and social growth I am highlighting weekly on In short, I had to overcome a lot of obstacles growing up that make me tougher and lit a fire inside.

3. It's fun to compete, and gives me a feeling of accomplishment everytime I go out for something. I feel like Sue Heck from The Middle since I try so hard at everything.

4. I started in trivia and high school football in my adolescent years. Being around so many folks better than me allowed me to look at myself and see where I needed to improve.

5. My motto is similar to the Army "be all that you can be." I feel if I'm not giving 100%, my heart isn't fully into it and perhaps I shouldn't be doing it.

6. I like to inspire and motivate others and I feel there are few better ways than being a living example.

7. Not along do I hate losing, I hate feeling inadequate. That is honestly my biggest fear.

8. I love sports and watch athletes and teams compete regularly. I get really invested in games, races and matches.

9. I love a good challenge, and I welcome all challengers. You have to beat me before you can legitimately say you're better than me at something.

10. There's a great thrill to being a champion and being on top. People rarely remember 2nd place and 3rd, well,...

And a bonus one:

We all like being associated with winners, and those that possess a winning attitude. No one likes being in the armpit or bottom of anything. Mediocrity is also rarely good, if ever.

So there it is. I will continue to find ways to fuel my competitive fire.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rolling Thunder: Beware On Those Roads

Most everyone knows that police are out heavier during holidays and at the first of the month. Well many don't realize they are also out heavy in mid-Spring in an operation called "Rolling Thunder."

During this time, for about 10-18 days, police and highway patrol from all surrounding areas (even in areas outside of their jurisdiction), swarm highways and popular roads, mostly in search of drugs. However, if you're breaking the laws of the road, they can still get you. They realize that warmer weather is back and people like to cruise and drive leisurely.

It's not always a bad concept, as long as it's not crooked. I mean, once again, you expect the law to be out during certain times but not all over. Rolling Thunder is a good way to corral the roads and make them safer, albeit for only a couple of weeks.

Therefore, have your papers ready, your tag current, and drive safely, especially during this period. The dates may vary depending upon your areas so don't assume it's over in one state or city.

Did you know about Rolling Thunder? Does it change the way you drive?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

I Love Nicki Minaj! 😍

I'm going somewhere with this title, so continue reading.

Many men may not necessarily love hip hop artist/actress/model Nicki Minaj. However, they love the stereotypical woman she betrays. Gorgeous face, body, insatiable sex appeal, perfect smile, and even that weird alien voice. Finally, she is viewed as a slutty, immoral freak. Do all men want this type of woman? Of course not. But there are men that like this, or at least find this type of woman very appealing.

Women like Nicki Minaj are rarely long term, wife material. They are often teases, whores and are often good for one night. They do possess traits that we like to see in our girlfriends and even wives. We like a female that is comfortable with her sexuality, is very confident, fashion conscious, and knows how to please a man and what they want.

Now now ladies how is this different than your fantasies? You like the men with the bald heads (thank you by the way), long beards, dreads, Timbs, washboard abs, and street cred. Many of you seem to want the same type of man and then have the audacity to bash a man for wanting a type of promiscuous girl.

I do realize most of this is a phase and fantasy. However when fantasy crosses into reality, there can be problems. You have to be compatible with a person all the way: body, mind and spirit. When reading Proverbs 31 referring to the virtrous woman, there is no mention of her outer appearance. Being older has made me realize this matters more than many will admit. Having the total package is much better. You don't want a woman long term that a Nicki Minaj represents. These come a dime a dozen. You want that rare person that comes into your life that you can't stop thinking about that changes the game for you. These dimes are pure and hold more value.

So yes love what Nicki Minaj has to offer and how she arouses you. But don't forget what she represents.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sheila Falls: More Than A Cafeteria Lady

On Thursday, April 7, 2016, myself and the community of Blacksburg, SC lost a great woman, spirit and friend. Sheila Falls left us in the physical at age 67 following a short bout with cancer.

Mrs.Sheila was long the cafeteria manager at Blacksburg High. Now not many cafeterias in high school have your mouth watering. But Mrs. Sheila, especially during an era where allergies weren't a huge issue, used her own recipes, heart and soul to whip up tasty breakfasts and lunches. She also catered on the side. Her signature dish was perhaps her Peanut Butter Bars. She got the recipe from the late Home Economics teacher Mrs. Georgia Satterfield, but recreated into her own. I have learned how to make these delicious bars, and even recreate them into cake form.

Mrs. Sheila was more than a lunch lady. She was a smiling face on a long, bad day. She was friendly to everyone who came across her, regardless of gender, race or class. You were a person to Sheila Falls and she treated you as such. I don't recall her ever having an enemy, and the only time I would see her get mad is when some students would abuse the tea policy and throw tea cups all over the outside of the cafeteria.

My condolences especially go out to her husband Donald, her son Scott and her daughter Tamara. Sheila and Donald were long time neighbors of mine, but it felt like she was everyone's neighbor. She was truly a gem of a person that cannot be replaced.

People like Sheila need to be cherished. When you think of how someone has treated you, passed you over, or tried to destroy you, think of Mrs. Sheila Falls and her loving spirit. If only the world had more like her.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

What Can Be Learned From Taking Away Social Media

Many of you know I chose to gave up social media for Lent this year. That's right, no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + , Snapchat or LinkedIn for 40 days. Facebook was honestly the toughest because that is my major vehicle for connecting with folks, and posting my writings and life happenings.

I always have a spiritual journey and learn a lot during Lent. Here is what one can learn from the presence and the absence of social media.

1. The absence of it typically gives a person more free time. My mom once said after trying it for a year that it is a "time thief". Staying on any network for too long can do just that.. I was able to focus my attention in other avenues and areas during my fast.

2. The Internet, even with Google and Wikipedia, have waned in popularity due to social media. Smartphones are awesome also. However, without social media, the overall experience is diminished. Think of HDTV versus regular television.

3. It is too easy to keep in touch via a social network versus interacting with a person via phone, text, letter or even visiting them. Making social calls to people's houses has also become obsolete, unless you're hanging out or there's a social function.

4. You miss out on important updates and tidbits. It used to be sad and taboo to make certain announcements on FB or Twitter. Now it's commonplace. Many artists are not only discovered via social media, they release their music through this medium.

5. Times have changed, period. Yes the hackers, fake people and spammers will continue to exist. But social media has so many more usages and purposes now overall.

Consequently, if you're gonna be off social media for an extended period of time, ensure those closest to you have a way of reaching you. It is paramount of course to stay on some type of grid.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

GLUTEN!!! The Real Great White Dope

The weight loss and get in shape phases pushes on as the summer months are right around the corner. People want to be poolside and beach ready.

Many already know the dangers of simple carbs such as white bread, white rice, shoot most any type of food that is white and full of carbs and sugar. Some in the fitness world refer to it as the white devil. The main ingredient that causes certain problems and stunts weight loss and toning is gluten.

Gluten is an ingredient found in many foods, rice, cakes, many bread products, noodles, pastas and pizza. It can be dangerous and even deadly as some folks are gluten intolerant. Not much different from those that are lactose intolerant, gluten takes a toll on their bodies and energies.

It has been commonly known for years that anything white must be "positive and pure". This is part of Webster's Dictionary of white. Milk, angels, sheep, even the clouds are white. However, consuming certain foods of this pure color can contain lots of gluten.

So what can and does gluten do to a person. Well it adds unwanted fat, especially in the midsection. It is very filling, and doesn't digest well. It mostly turns to pure sugar in the body (another white nuisance.).  In short, gluten and simple carbs work in tandem for good and bad. Oftentimes one may need to consume these. Strict moderation is advised.

I tell people often when asked how to remove belly fat and tone easier: cut back on your gluten intake. You will burn more fat and feel more energetic. Consume fruits, vegetables, water, lean proteins and complex carbs such as brown rice and quinoa. These lack all of the sugars that gluten is made of and may take away the flavor. However, they make for an overall healthy regimen and allow you to be more regular as these foods digest easier.

Do further research on the effects of gluten and you'll think twice before eating that extra basket of rolls or bread at the restaurant.

Have you seen how bad gluten can be for you? What measures, if any, have you performed to reduce your gluten intake?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Double Trouble: Leaving Double Standards Alone

Double standards have been a barrier in our society long enough. I say it's long overdue for us to end these.

Phrases such as "do as I say, not as I do" are complete hogwash as well. One should set the example and image of how they wish to be perceived. We should all strive to become that living, breathing beacon of hope.

Why do double standards even still exist? I believe one reason is due to how many gender roles have remained the same. We're in a more progressive era, so we need to change not only gender roles, but interpersonal ones as well. Let's be more fair across the board.

Tonight's UFC match, for instance, features two females on the main event. UFC has been progressing for years, and the rise and fall of recently defeated champion Ronda Rousey have shown that a female can get down in the octagon just as a male can, and draw in equal or greater viewers.

Equal or greater is the key here. There are exceptions of course, but for the norm, let's evaluate human beings as human beings and leave all of this classification aside. We are also in both an election year and a Summer Olympics year. These principles will be important to keep in mind as we push forward towards these events.

One of the biggest double standards I can think of is in the National Hockey League (NHL). There are many brawls that occur nightly during a match, but rarely is anyone suspended or punished. Let this happen in America's two biggest pro sports, the NFL or NBA, and there will be lots of suspensions and fines. I have never liked this concept, regardless of the cultural differences.

Think twice before you do or say anything that you don't think anyone should do, and your reasoning.

What are some common double standards that you see daily? How can these be prevented?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friends and the Workplace

Many often hear "you're not at work to make friends, you're there to work."  I find this to be the opposite.

I have worked at many places, many jobs over the past two decades. One thing I will tell you is this: making and having good friends and connections on the job often made it more fun and enjoyable. This was even the cases for jobs and companies I didn't care for. The support and comaderie of the people made my experiences much better.

I still keep in touch with not only many former coworkers but also former managers and employers. It's a good and balanced professional and personal relationship.

Think about this when you're at work, some of the best times are hanging around the break area or water cooler, going to lunch with your coworkers, and simply working hard together to achieve a common goal. Also, you're around them more than your own family. Many folks take a job and/or stay on one based on their connections.

This has fueled our economic recovery the past few years. There were those trying to keep their jobs, and other trying to find ones. Either way, having good friends in their corner helped in achieving both ends. It has also been the case for me. I have mentioned before about networking. Well, that extends inside the workplace as well. Get along with as many people as possible, from the CEO, to the custodial staff. They can make your job Heaven or Hell. Just as with the actual places, the choice is yours.

I have felt blessed to get along with most of the folks I have worked alongside. You watch each other laugh, complain and cry. You see their children grow up. You attend their weddings. All of you are sociable outside of the company grounds.

Now this isn't always the case for everyone or every company. However, having people around you that you genuinely like and enjoy can make any job better and more fulfilling.

How important do you think it is to get along with your colleagues? Do you get along with past and current coworkers?

Cleanses vs Fasts: Which is Better?

The New Year's weight loss craze continues as Lent is in its second week. I have written previously about both topics.

Many do other fasts during the year that aren't Lent. The Daniel Fast is growing popular: I did that one earlier this year. It's a good way to clean your system out following the December holidays.

And this brings me to cleanses. People love these for their quick results and convenience.

Anyone who knows me knows I don't believe in quick fixes, especially when it comes to weight loss. Clean eating and even the occasional fast are more much effective long term and here's why.

1. When you are fasting, you are typically giving up something that you can easily do without, or replace. You often still get your popular nutrients. Cleanses often do not give you the proper nutrients and vitamins you need.

2. Cleanses became popular in 2006 when singer/actress Beyonce' announced how she dropped weight when she played Effie in "Dreamgirls". She did a lemon juice fast, one that many have duplicated. Bey probably did this one longer than one should, for over 10 days. Cleansing the body can be healthy and effective. However, one should not go more than 3 days without proper nutrition, proteins, and the like. Cleanses can damage the body long term as many do them often too much. Fasts have the opposite effect. They are a healthier, more balanced sacrifice.

3. Cleanses are often used out of desperation and even as a crutch. Fasts and clean eating take longer, but they promote a more healthy lifestyle. This should be the aim of fitness anyways: a healthy, consistent lifestyle. Most everyone falls off a bit. Having an effective plan can keep you from resorting to anything that's not built to last long term.

4. There are many other simpler, healthier methods for cleaning out your body and removing unhealthy toxins. You can simply concentrate on fruits, vegetables, water, lots of greens and no meats for example, simply lean proteins. Fruits and veggies rarely have a limit so load up. Keep the complex carbs and proteins in your regimen and you will get clean even better than any cleanse on the market.

Try one of my favorite sites,,and do your own research. I would discourage anyone from depending upon cleanses heavily. Building a lifestyle always yields better and longer results.

Do you prefer cleanses over fasts? If so, have you researched the pros and cons of both?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Food, Friends and Fun

McDonald's had a slogan in the 90s: food, folks, and fun. I thought I would put a spin on this with the title.

We often bond with friends, family and our significant others well over a hot cooked meal. Mainly because we all have to eat and especially in the South where most of us enjoy a good meal, it is a good way to relax and unwind from any busy work and such.

The family meal used to be a staple for years. Families would gather in front of the dining room table at dinnertime and talk about their day. Amazing, isn't it? You have some families (and even groups of friends) that go to lunch and/or dinner together at least once/week. Heck in my area, there are certain spots that are perfect for this. You have Chuck E Cheese for the younger folks, and places such as Broncos Mexican Restaurant for the adults.

I remember as a boy, my mom would take us to dinner at least a couple of times per week. During the week it was mostly fast food (unless we were going to Pizza Hut to cash in rewards from the Book It program) and on weekends it was the local fish camp or steakhouse. We loved to eat and it was a perfect bonding experience.

This weekend, restaurants have been jam packed due to tax season and Valentine's Day. Many friends and family have more disposable cash to go out for drinks and food. Also, this weekend is the perfect time for lovers to express themselves and this amour towards one another. It's a simple but effective way of spending time together.

I have found out that if you want people to show up anywhere, have food available. Once again, we all have to eat. I have met friends numerous times over meals, big and small. It is an awesome way to stay in touch.

How often do you and your friends/family go out to eat together? Where are some of your favorite meeting spots?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

1996: From Boy To Man

1996 was the year that I continued my progression from boy to man.  I got my driver's license that year, graduated high school, turned 18, went on two big trips, and began college.

It's hard to believe all of this has been 20 years. Time truly does fly by. I had a good hairline then and a clean face.

I showed my independence as a freshman at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. Not only was I the first in my grandma's immediate family to graduate high school, I had earned the right to attend a university. And it was an adjustment. Many do not know, but there were days and nights that I didn't know if I would make it. I was away from home for a long period of time, no supervision, didn't know many people , and the classes were so hard (especially those 8am classes). I actually not only missed my family, I missed my high school and hometown. Strange if you hear me now. I was in a different world for sure, one that I would grow to love.

This was also the year I lost my great grandpa, Bill Dover, long the patriarch of the Dover clan. He passed away shortly after my high school graduation at age 82.  I also gained a new family, finally connecting with my dad's side of the family, the McGills. Circumstances had kept me from them but I was determined to get to know them now.

I still loved my R&B, but my guilty pleasure was actually Alanis Morrisette. She had some moving ballads that got me through this transitional period. Movie wise, Independence Day with Will Smith and Vivica A. Fox ruled the box office. The South was all a buzz about the Carolina Panthers beginning their first season in then-Ericcson stadium, and with the Summer Olympics being held in nearby Atlanta, GA. Who would have thought the Panthers would be playing in their second Super Bowl since that time? 

1996 was quite a year for me, one of growth and happiness.

What were your favorite memories of 1996? Was it a good year for you?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Adam Lanier: 10 Years Later, Still Making An Impact

This is without question the toughest blog I have had to write in my six years of blogging.

Many of you know my only brother, Justin Adam Lanier, passed away of an accidental drug overdose after fighting substance abuse for six years prior. This Thursday, January 28 will mark 10 years since he left us in the physical.

Imagine your worst day ever. Well this day was 100 times as worst. And often it feels as it just happened.

Here are some tidbits/facts for those that didn't get the chance to know my brother, and for those that did.

1. He was born March 2, 1983 in Divine Savior Hospital in York, SC. (now closed). He arrived into the world feet first (breech birthed).

2. He was always very active and hyper, walking and running at only six months. To my recollection, he never had to learn, he just did it.

3. His baby names were "Lovey" and "Fatwad". If you saw his early pics, you would see why.

4. Adam was always popular, having many friends around. That continued throughout his life.

5. My brother had a natural gift with the ladies and young children. Both gravitated towards him. He was quite the entertainer. I'm confident he would have been an awesome father and possibly husband.

6. Adam was actually pretty smart in school, he just didn't apply himself. He was all about friends, girls, and fitting in.

7. His favorite holiday was Halloween and he made a huge deal out of it yearly.

8. He lived life to the fullest, possibly because he knew he didn't have a lot of time on Earth.

9. We didn't have a lot in common at all,  but one thing we shared was a deep and loyal love for our mother. No one messed with our mama!

10. Adam was in the high school marching and jazz band for six years, playing the drums. He won many awards and was simply skilled.

11. His resemblance to rapper Eminem was uncanny, especially once he dyed his own hair.

12. My mom's house was the local teenage hangout for a number of years. Many parties were thrown weekly.

13 He, like our grandpa Frosty, was extremely superstitious.

14. His death has inspired others in his circle and age group to do many great things. Many of them didn't want to be a statistic. I would give anything to get him back, but I take solace in the fact that others loved him so much and he made such an impact on their lives.

This day is never easy for me or my mother. We have learned to celebrate the man he was becoming, and to tell the positive stories of his life. He can be a cautionary tale and an inspiration.

R.I.P. Justin Adam Lanier #forever22

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Being The Unwelcome House Guest: Who Wants That?

I figured I would add a little shock value with this title. This is how many of us feel like we are treated: like an unwanted presence or different, like the oddity that many minorites have felt for decades and centuries.

This is Dr. Martin Luther King Day weekend, and Black History Month is around the corner. America is honoring a man that gave his life so that ALL could have equal rights and treatment. Dr. King's dream extended to social, political and professional circles as well. It may have been motivated by how blacks were treated in the 50s, but it was much broader.

Present day, many still practice this unfair, unjust treatment of others simply because they look, talk or act differently than yourself. We need unity and tolerance if we are ever going to move forward as a country and society. This is the HUMAN race, and Dr. King's dream for equality will continue to move at a slower pace consequently.

Think about it: when it is the last time you treated less than or inferior? How did it make you feel? Often you must place yourself into the shoes of others. Also, see this person as your best friend, parent or even child. You would be angry if they were treated in an unjust manner so why go and do it to someone else for no good reason?

Hate and racism are definitely taught and fueled by negative influences and exposures. One much open their hearts, eyes, minds and treat everyone better. Say hi to that coworker who is completely different than you. Thank the custodial and maintenance staffs of wherever you may be. Strike up a conversation with someone of a different background. These small gestures can assure that no one is being treated in an ugly matter.

Being and acting fair is a choice. Can you do it now, and going forward?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Five Writers To Watch In 2016 And Beyond

Many of us continue to read, write and support others in this endeavor. I always am supportive of those entering the writing world through blogging, books, spoken word and such. Now here are five such people to look out for in this year 2016.

1. Larry Parks

He also goes by "Larry P" as he has an online radio show called The Larry P Show hosted by Dok featuring N-Murda on The Good Ole Boys Network. He is actually the only male being featured and that is not intentional. His book "Fumble" is based on his failed attempts at intimacy. It takes courage and a sense of humor to put this in print. Larry does all of that well. I keep his book next to my nightstand as it a good, addictive read. A copy can be yours from Amazon for only $5. Support this young man now and in his future endeavors. Don't fumble your chance away!

2. Author R. Newson

I have featured Rayn Newson before when she first penned "When A Woman Loves". Now she is two books in and is developing her writing prowess and her brand. She has merchandise, a social media presence and relates to young adult women well. Her tales are of love, dreams, and entrepreneurship. Look out for her next book, and pick up her other two if you do not already own them. The place to go is

3. Being Kindra

I have known Kindra for 20 years now. One of the things that has been a constant about her is the impeccable sense of fashion she possesses. One may see her as simply a shoe and heel fiend, but she actually is an expert on accessoring and showcasing all forms of fashion. Kindra is literally showing her passion for fashion through written word. Her stories are real, detailed and entertaining. Check her out at and become one of her many followers.

4.  Inner Beauty Artistry.

The creator of this blog, Monet Brown, is a licensed esthetician. She specializes in skin care and treatment and wants to share her tips with the world. She is more than just a clean face or skin specialist. Monet wants us to get the most out of our skin and is not shy about showing her knowledge of products, proper care and dos/do nots. Visit and follow this young lady at

5. She Is Bonita

Bonita Davis seemingly has it all. Brains, charm, an angelic singing voice, inner and outer beauty, and a stable, growing career.  The one thing she currently doesn't have is a significant other. As she exits her 20s, she openly shares with her readers her journey through love over the past few years and where it has lead her. Bonita's hope is to help someone who is going through similar experiences, and to grow into a better person herself. Check out this captivating lady at She Is Writing. She Is Brave. She Is Uncompromising. She Is Bonita!

Ok well there you have it. Follow these five young writers as they grow and advance in their journey!

Are there other young , beginning authors that you know of? Do you know, and are already following one or all of these individuals?