Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Friends With Benefits

Monday, a friend of mine, Tuesday, we played a game, Wednesday, you went away, Thursday, things weren't the same, On Friday, you came back, I wanted to kiss you On Saturday, On Sunday we made love Now what are we gonna do - "Seven Days" - Mary J. Blige

I have had innumerable conversations with both men and women alike on the subject of whether or not they believe men and women can be friends. I have received different replies, many of which are resounding "YES!". And for those who do say "NO" - equally as resounding, they always do list exceptions to the rule, such as a childhood friend and/or a good friend of the family.

Now, we are not talking co-workers here, or my sister's BFF, or my brothers best friend cousin. We are talking about ongoing, lasting, and fulfilling relationships, non sexual, between a man and a woman.

There are those that take the stance that men and women, for the most part, cannot be platonic friends. They argue that, even though there are onesie and twosie examples of the exception to the rule, exceptions prove the rule. There is the belief system that for the most part, an opposite sex relationship comes from: An initial attraction that dissipated quickly (from one side) and the people continued to remain friends, OR, a situation where one pines (secretly) over another person, and continues to be that great BFF until they either think a lightbulb is going to shine in the head of the other person, or that they will have an opportunity to, for lack of a better word, penetrate the best friend from a romantic standpoint. That, male/female relationships are just one person seeing the other one as 'just a friend' and the other person, knowing that they are seen in the eyes of the their BFF as someone that is strictly a confidant, takes the relationship for what it is, and continues to develop the relationship, and enjoy the person, for how they can have them. But BOTTOM LINE, if the opportunity presents itself because, the underlying attraction is there, at least for one. . .

For the argument that takes the stance that men and women CAN be friends, they cite that communication, connectivity, confidance, and comfort break gender barriers, and you cannot help who you feel most comfortable with, sharing your deepest, (and sometimes darkest secrets). THIS IS YOUR BEST FRIEND, MAKE NO BONES ABOUT IT. This is the person that understands you, and can even provide you advice from the gender perspective that you are looking for, particularly if you are looking for relationship advice. They are the people that know about that someone special first, and are equally the ones that hear about the drama, and the pain as well about anything and everything in your life. Yes, even their arms you feel secure in, and so what if there is some underlying attraction there; the platonic relationship is valued so much more, you would never want to cross that line. And that there are truly Will and Grace's of the world.

Can Men and Women Just Be Friends?
Or Do You Believe This is A Pretense?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What's in a Name?

There are many things that happen when a couple becomes lawfully wedded. They move in together (if in fact, they have not put the cart before the horse already), decided who is going to take the lead in certain areas (finances, etc), and they start the conversion process of becoming one unit.

The initial purposes of a blended family name came from initially the woman adopting the customs of the home that she has been welcomed into. It was a show of solidarity and uniformity. Don't quote me, but I also know that it was also (at least with tribes) a way to idenfity certain tribes/groups of people.

With that said, with an ever-evolving change in (Western) culture and civilization we are seeing a number of different things evolving behind surnames. Here are the options. For the purposes of neutrality, I will reserve my opinion about how I feel about this until all people have commented.

Traditional - Female Surname Change: This is the most common practice of most people for many reasons - religious, historic, tradition, fairy tale-esq. Also utilized for purposes of as to not 'confuse' things, to keep in solidarity with children, and to fulfill, what is often times, a lifelong wish of many women to 'change their last name'.

Modern - Female Blend and/or hyphenation. Often times, linguistic things are lost (ethnic, only child last name) become lost in the shuffle when a woman transitions over to the husband. In a show of solidarity to the marriage, as well as recognizing keeping her heritage intact, she will elect to substitute her middle name for her maiden name, or hyphenate her last name for that reason.

Post-Modern - Keeping the Surname. Most people who do this is for innumerable reasons, many of which I could never support here. It seems prevalent in the workplace with women who work outside the home who have longstanding histories with their employer/line of work, or those that don't align their philophies with a patriach - type structure. Or, they just never got around to it.

Metrosexual - Husband changing their last name. It's becoming more and more popular, either by name change, or blending of the last names. Our very own mayor is one of those people who did this. A girlfriend of mines also indicated that her dude's brother opted to hyphenate his name because the children's names were hyphenated, and he didn't want to be 'left out'.

I have a few male readers - I would like for you to openly express how you feel about this and your reasons (if any) behind the feelings that you do have.

Females - please also feel free to express yourself. I will post my opinions after most have commented.

So you tell me, What's In A Name?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Songs in the Key of Life

Like most people, I love music. I think in particular, certain songs and/or albums paint a portrait of a particular time span in your life, imprinted in your hearts and minds forever.

But there are SOME albums, that speak for an entire generation; an entire culture. Transitional, breakthrough albums that either put people on the map at that TIME, or created indeliable impressions that, even if you put that album on TO THIS DAY, bring back memories, both good and bad, and words that you thought you had forgotten over time.

I could never, within the scope of a reasonable sized posts, go into all of my favorite albums. Truly, I had a TON of them from the 70's and 80's, but I had to really scale them down. I had to actually struggle to take some of them off, that to which I hope you include in some of your favorites.

So, without further adieu, here are some of all time favorite 'Classic' Albums.

Abraxas - Santana. I love Carlos Santana. His music, his style, and his deference to not only his culture, but to mines. You don't have to know espanol to appreciate the sounds of his music, and to enjoy what blends our cultures together - a love of music. Oye Como Va, Se a Cabo, and the Haunting Black Magic Woman are my favorites on here. VIVA Santana!

Off the Wall - Michael Jackson. BY FAR A SUPERIOR ALBUM TO THRILLER, this is one of those releases that you know EVERY word to EVERY song and enjoy them equally so. Before a commercialized, vitiligo-ized, Michael Jackson came to fruition, this fluid, rhythmic release captures and enraptures the essence of what good music is all about. And, of course, who can forget MJ bawling at the end of "She's Out of My Life?" - or sniffling, whatever you may want to call it. :P

Rumours - Fleetwood Mac. With the powerful leading lady Stevie Nicks (who has one of the most distinguishing, powerful voices of any woman) coupled with a band that, despite personal/professional drama, did nothing but deliver the goods on a release that was spirited, (Go your Own Way) Inspirational (Don't Stop Believing), and Caressing (Dreams), this is more than classic rock. This is just classic.

What's Going On? - Marvin Gaye. I remember seeing this in my home as a child. I enjoyed the music, yes, but I cannot say that I appreciated it until much later. Nor did I realize the social/political climate that this was written/produced/released in. This dynamic release is only eclipsed by the man himself, delivering us songs that are embedded in us, ring true to life even now, and allow us a snapshot into the genius that is Marvin.

Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette. The first thing I heard about her was probably the first thing that EVERYONE HAD HEARD ABOUT - that she was talking about a particular sex act on one of her songs (You oughta know). Me, being me, wanted to hear the song for that very reason. And I decided to listen to all the tracks. This girl has some madd octaves. She can go from screaming like a white banshee to raspy, to sweet. I like her!

The Chronic - Dr. Dre. I don't think I have to get into much detail for this. I remember when this came out. It was smack in the middle of Gangsta Rap Meets MC Hammer Meets C. Delores Tucker Meets Commercialism, meets all things Hip Hop. With samples coming every which way from every music genre imaginable, all that is left to say is "Deez Nuts!"

BloodSugarSexMagik - Red Hot Chili Peppers. My first official foray into what I thought was hard rock, I was hypnotized by their sounds, which to me sounded like rock with an urban flair. I also think I just liked the way the moved around on Give It Away.

My Life -Mary J. Blige. The reason why I chose this one instead of "What's the 411?" (WHICH I LOVE) was for several reasons: One, I think that this was the release that took Mary J. from star to superstar. Two, I remember, I was driving home from work when I heard her on the radio promoting a CD. I promptly went into the nearst record store and purchased it and never regretted it. Three, I think that both her and I was going through many of the same feelings that she is expressing on their at the very same time. Great LP.

Illmatic - Nas. East Coast Rap at it's finest. Pure sounds. Rhythmic. He keeps it gangsta in a philosophicizin kind of way. And he hasn't lost his touch. I was working in a music store at the time this came out and my first thought was "What's up with the lil boy on the cover?" :P But this superior album works because it the subject matters blend, and come from an urban perspective. Nas.Is.The.Man.

Best of Sade - Sade. Okay. I know this is a compilation CD and I am cheat-en, but hell, I just couldn't leave Sade off. You know what she sings, and you know most of her favorites are on here. Had to be said, enough said. Bssides a had a VERY memorable valentines day with this CD playing in the background (or foreground, depending on what position you want to put me in). :P

The Songstress - Anita Baker. The first time I saw Anita Baker was on Soul Train and I was around ten years old. She had on a peach dress and she was swaying back and forth singing "No More Tears". I remember my friend's mother having this album and we played it over and over, swaying back and forth like we were here. Although I love all of Anita Baker's music, I think this one, and the limited songs that are on there, (but powerful, nonetheless), are packed full of pain, love, joy, and redemption. Furthermore, I don't know the skinny behind these songs, but I know you will NEVER hear her perform them in person, and for that reason, I appreciate them on this release more than ever.

Love Jones Soundtrack - Various Artists. See, I wasn't going to put this on here, because I know this post is already long in the tooth. . .But there are so many different artists on here (Coltrane, Maxewll, Xscape, Trina Broussard, Amel Larrieux, etc.) that I just couldn't pass by. I truly love this CD, from start to finish, not to mention the first 'song' is the spoken word that Darius drops on Nina, and the last one is what Nina drops on Darius. It's almost ten years old, but if you can find it it's worth your money.

There are so many more: The Mothership Connection, New Moon Daughter, All Eyez on Me, Appetite for Destruction, That's the Way of the World, At Last, Bitches Brew - Ooh on the TLC Tip. I could go on and on. But now it's your turn.

What are some of your favorite releases of all time?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

It's Been A Long Time, I Shouldn't Have Left You. . .

What's crackalackin? I've had a long and difficult past two weeks both personally and professionally, but I'm pulling out of it.

I'll be back to you in a few. . . And that's real talk!

To give you a room with a view of what I'm going through in the wireless world from an HR perspective, click here for additional information.