Thursday, March 31, 2011

Funny People

Challenge #9: Who are the three funniest people in the world? Who are the three funniest people you know personally?

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When I was little, I thought that Bill Cosby was the funniest man on the planet. Maybe it's because I grew up in the era when The Cosby Show ruled the television. **shrugs** Just thinking of those innocent years makes me smile and long for my childhood. I also watched Bill Cosby Himself over and over. I used to sing, "Dad is great. He give us a chocolate cake." Only a person that has seen that knows the significance of that song and the skit that goes with it. He has this way of telling a story that is so smooth and funny without being vulgar or focusing on the base and negative things in the world. He is my favorite funny guy that I actually get to enjoy with kids around.

My next favorite funny guy -- BERNIE MAC. His style is not funny one-liners. Rather, his funny-ness comes in the form of story-telling. The way he tells a story and the things he focuses on is just hilarious. Sad that he left us so soon. I remember seeing him on Def Comedy Jam on HBO then on Kings of Comedy. His Milk & Cookies skit is so hilarious. Some of us have that way of telling a story that makes it funnier than it really is.

Ellen Degeneres is my next funny person. She is such a crack-up on her talk show. I absolutely loved her as the voice of Dory in Finding Nemo.

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The funniest people I know in real life.... simple but I'm not sure if it will make much sense to the readers of this blog. (Last names omitted for their privacy)

HAILAMA -- ok... he is such a crack up. I think he needs to be, considering his profession. He is a tech/care-giver in a section of the hospital that is considered hospice (they're going to die soon) and doubles as a funeral director. With such morbidness around him, I don't know how he can have such an awesome sense of humor. It has toned down considerably but he is still cracking jokes every time I see him. We grew up together so I've known him all my life. When we were little, at camp, he was the "entertainment coordinator" for our little crew.

UNCLE K -- Uncle K is Hailama's uncle. He always seems to call me out whenever he is emcee'ing an event. I remember once going to a party and as soon as I cleared the reception table, I hear my name over the loud speaker. Then we have this back and forth cut-down conversation and the crowd goes nuts, laughing.

FUSILOA -- dear friend of mine. It's the wit. [She] has the quickest mind and remembers things from way-back-when. As we age, the jokes have become less cruel. I'm grateful for that. [She] is the reason why I have a 'most embarrassing moment'. Most people who were there will never forget it and I've told the story a million times also. The story is funnier if its told in person because there are just some things that can't be conveyed with the written word. We're on The City Bus. [She] pushes me as we're stopping at [her] stop. I go sliding to the front of the bus like I'm sliding into home base. [She] jumps off the bus, runs to the front and yells out, "Safe," while making the motion for it. The whole crowd laughs hysterically. I stand up and take a bow... still totally embarrassed but taking it in stride. The killer is that I have to ride the bus another three miles.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Music and Me

Challenge #9: If stranded on a deserted island, and could only bring one music album with you, which would it be? What is it about this music that never gets old for you?

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My favorite music album changes as I age. Every time I think I have found the definitive album that matches me so perfectly, I hear something else that blows my mind away.

When I was young and single and fresh out of high school, the ABOVE THE RIM Soundtrack would have been the album for me. Why would anyone pass up SWV, H-Town, 2Pac, and Tha Dogg Pound? Now, I still enjoy that particular album but my taste in music continues to evolve. Back in 1998/1999 era, I would have said that KIRK FRANKLIN and any kind of gospel music was "it" for me. But as I stated before, my taste in music continues to change. Probably the best thing I could do is make a play list of some of my absolute MUST HAVE songs because just one album would not do it for me.

Song #1: I remember when I was five years old my cousin Nani (God rest her soul) used to play The Manhattan's Shining Star over and over again. Back then, we didn't have the convenience of a cd where all you do is go back to the beginning of a song. We had cassettes and you either had to press rewind to get back to the beginning of the song (it took a minute or two, literally!) or record the song over and over on the cassette until it ran out of space. Either way, it took some effort. That song is definitely imprinted in my mind and would be considered a song that I would want on a CD because of the memories associated with the song. Song #1 SHINING STAR

Song #2: My parents are fans of Country-Western music. As a little girl, my father would put in his Glen Campbell 8-Track and we'd cruise down Kamehameha Highway, aboard our white impala (sixth generation) with red vinyl top and red interior. I can still remember singing, "..There's been a load of compromisin'/ On the road to my horizon/ But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me/ Like a rhinestone cowboy/ Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo..." Any Glen Campbell song will remind me of my father. But the one that makes me miss him even when he's right next to me is Wichita Lineman. I have to give it to country-music, the lyrics often tell a story that is not based solely on lascivious desire as is the case with some rap, some hip-hop, and some R&B. So song #2 is definitely WICHITA LINEMAN.

Song #3... comes from one of my favorite movies of all time. The Mirror Has Two Faces starring Barbra Streisand has the title song "I Finally Found Someone". That is a definite favorite. And if I'm imagining that I'm on a deserted island then I would want this song handy to remind me of this movie and what my life was like when I first seen it. The movie came out in 1996. I didn't see it until probably 2001 or 2002... the ex and I were separated. I was feeling very, very low -- doubting my reflection. Why didn't he love me? Am I unloveable? I went through a myriad of emotions mostly pointing to me feeling sorry for myself. The movie portrays Barbra as a frumpy single lady who marries the handsomest professor for all the wrong reasons... just for the sake of being married. HMMMM... sounded so much like my life at the time. To find out what happens... well... you have to watch the movie! SONG #3: I FINALLY FOUND SOMEONE.

Song #4 is an unlikely choice that ties into Song #3. It was another song that was featured on The Mirror Has Two Faces in a roundabout way. The song -- Nessun Dorma as performed by Pavarotti. As a child, I did not have access to things like ballet or opera so hearing this song was such an experience. I don't even know what the song is talking about but it comes from the opera Turandot. It is magnificent!

Song #5 ... this song OFTEN makes me feel homesick for somewhere beyond this earth. I don't know if folks can connect with that. I wrote about it before on here. It stimulates weird emotions... not weird meaning bad but like weird meaning new emotions and experiences. The song is by Christopher Cross, SAILING. The vibrations of this song is at the right level to reduce me to tears -- homesick.

Song #6 ... going in a totally different direction, one of the greatest rock songs for me comes from the classic late 80's rock band Guns-and-Roses. WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE. I love that song. I love Axel Rose. Not only is it a pumping, up beat song but it appears on the movie Lean On Me.... great memories.

Song #7 ...a rap classic PAID IN FULL by Eric B. and Rakim. The bass line and sound bytes are representative of the era of Yo! MTV Raps (at least for me, it is). I remember first hearing that song and seeing that video. I was/ am hooked. Current "pop hip hop" artists can't even touch the lyrical skills of old school rap masters like Rakim. His distinct voice coupled with his delivery and poetry -- no one can duplicate it. The quality of his voice is probably my favorite even to this day. (I like Dr Dre's voice also.) East Coast style rap was king before NWA hit the scene and when they did -- it was up in the air who ruled the rap waves.

Song #8 ...I NEED LOVE. L.L. Cool J was, in my opinion, the finest man I had ever seen when I was 12. I always imagined that he was rapping right to me when he did this song. I used to write down the lyrics over and over in my journal. Til this day, I can still rap the entire song. Goodness, it's been over 20 years. I amaze myself.

Song #9 ... SEPTEMBER by Earth Wind and Fire. That song makes me feel happy. I can just see myself waking up to this song if I were deserted on an island. It wakes me up and makes me feel a little nostalgic.... wishing for the carefree innocence of childhood.

Song #10 ...CLAIR DE LUNE composed by Claude Debussy and performed by 101 Strings Orchestra. This is my  most favorite classical piece of all time. It appears in a couple of Hollywood movies. Think of the end scene of Oceans 11, outside of The Bellagio, the water dances to this tune. It's used in Twilight. I've heard it was cut from a crane scene in the 1940 Disney Classic, Fantasia. I just love the good vibes I get from this song. The thought of being on a deserted island makes me think of the piano or the stringed instruments I will not hear for awhile.

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I think that's a pretty good playlist for now. I have eclectic taste in music. What can I say?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I heart you, You haunt me

Jackson sits with me.
He plays with the TV
from time to time,
making the channels turn.
At first it makes me smile.
Then it gets on my nerves.
Big time.

Because he can't talk 
like a normal guy.
He can't hold hands
like a normal guy.
He can't kiss
like a normal guy.
Unless it's in my dreams,
and then we do those last two things.
But dreaming about them 
isn't the same 
as actually
doing them
and experiencing them.

All he can really do
are the strange ghostly things
that let me know
he's here.

(Excerpt from the book by Lisa Scrhoeder,
I heart you, You haunt me)

I Heart You, You Haunt Me

The other day I asked for some advice on how to deal with a young woman whose boyfriend just passed. In the comment section someone suggested this book. Praises to the smart people who thought up Public Libraries. I requested the book online and was able to pick it up within a few days. Spectacular!

So I read this book hoping to understand the myriad of feelings that a young woman I associate with may be going through. What I came away with is a feeling of triumph for the central character, Ava, who overcomes her grief for having lost her boyfriend, Jackson.

The book is an easy read. It took me all of 45-minutes to get through. The format: Verse Novel. I have never read a verse novel so this was an interesting treat.

Ava loses Jackson to a diving accident which she dared him to do. She carries the guilt with her. Immediately following his funeral services she begins to feel his presence in the hope indicated by a cold impression. He signals her with songs on the radio and the opening and closing of cabinets. He appears in the mirror and in her dreams.

In dialogues with friends and specifically with an ex-boyfriend, Ava gets a push in the right direction. The ex tells her how he 'got over her'.

"I just decided, Ava.
That's all.
I just decided."

She tosses the idea around and finally musters the courage to let go of her guilt, a switch in the mind that happens so quick.

The beauty of it all is evidenced in a letter she writes to her parents. If I could, I would tell the girl I associate with the same.

When I look out at the stars now, I wish with everything I have that Jackson was still here. Every day, I've wished.

But today, I'm wondering something. What is Jackson's wish for me?

I think his wish for me is this:

Joy, not sorrow.

Laughter, not tears.

Life, not death.

Love, not blame.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Personal Mastery

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned what I am majoring in at the American Public University.... I am into my junior year there and am nearly complete with a BA in Philosophy. I love it! Especially now that my courses have left behind Western Philosophy and we are heading into Asian Philosophy.

Today in my course readings I came upon the following passage:

How can I be certain of victory? 
I can only be without fear.

This is such a profound statement. To think, it was penned in the 4th Century BCE (before the common era) by Mengzi or as Westerners know him -- Mencius. Perhaps some are pondering why this is such a profound statement. In the passages that preceded this statement, they are discussing courage. Courage is the opposite of fear. Would you agree? If courage is the exact opposite of fear then we should all be able to think up a time when we have overcome fear. We pushed right through the fear and did whatever it was that was unbelievably fearful.

A couple of years ago, I attended a seminar called Personal Mastery put on by the team at Klemmer & Associates. I can honestly say that it was the hardest thing I have ever done. There were several outcomes from that workshop that have probably changed the direction of my life most of which had to do with communication. I can't even begin to explain each and every gem that I picked up at the seminar. The gems didn't come all it once. In fact, as the years roll by I make more and more epiphanies from the experience I gained at the Klemmer workshop.

So what was so hard about the seminar?

It pushed me in a different direction than the one that my parents placed me on. We are all a product of our environment. The skills I learned in Personal Mastery helped me see my life for what it is, to see each and every person on life's journey as they are, to see that no circumstance is fixed. I can choose what I do with the circumstances. The hard part came in the purging portions of the seminar. I carried a whole lotta junk on my shoulders and I learned how to deal with the different circumstances in my life. I can't go into detail only because I can't narrow it down to one thing. It was just well worth the time and money I invested in it.

They'll be here in Hawai'i soon. The Klemmer series of workshops begin with a Champion's Workshop. It's basically a sales pitch for the next seminar. And all the seminars are well worth the money. The next one is happening on March 28th. If you're in the Honolulu area, you should check it out. Conquer the fear!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Live Forever? Here?

Challenge #8: If you could live forever, would you? Why or why not?

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This question instantly makes me reflect on my own personal philosophical beliefs. Everyone has a different way of looking at things. Even if people subscribe to the same "religious" philosophy, ultimately we each choose what it is that actually speaks to our core.

Many people struggle with death. For me, the sadness comes from the loss of contact and not from a belief that I WILL NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN. Death, for me, is a birth into another existence. There's nothing far-reaching about believing in that. With that being said, if I could live forever in this existence I WOULDN'T! Remaining in the earth dimension means I'm stuck... no progression... and I want to move on to the next stage. Living forever on the earth without a way off of it is like playing a game of baseball and never ending it. At some point, the game must end.

Many eastern religions/ philosophies believe in reincarnation -- that our souls are immortal and we are birthed into many different existences. I tend toward the belief that it is possible. One finite existence seems to be the enemy of infinity and abundance. Our universe is ever expanding, infinite, and if God is the Creator -- why would he limit us to one mortal existence? Why would I only get one opportunity to learn whatever it is I need to learn here upon the earthly plane?

Wow... that was a mouthful. Me live forever? Here? Nahh... Not me!

Monday, March 21, 2011

March Madness: Prom

My High School Alma Mater held their annual Junior/ Senior Prom this past weekend. I had a blast helping my baby boy get through it all. He was a nervous wreck throughout the entire week. This was his first and only formal event. When I was in high school I went to EVERYTHING. Every single banquet. Every single prom. Every single winter ball. I attended every single event with a different date so I had a lot of practice interacting with persons of the opposite sex. Anyway, here are some of the pics that I snapped.

Classic Looks

I love her dress. Classic. Elegant!

One of my favorite pictures of the day.

Flower. Flowers... my favorite ones too... Red and White Roses!

I didn't really like the LADY GAGA-esque look but to each his own. She rocked it.

Very nice.

Both of these boys... my babies! They grew up so fast. **sigh**

My baby boy and his date... very nice pic!

My other baby boy and his date.

Loved this dress. Very classy!

One of my favorite dresses of the evening!

Another favorite dress. All the beading and sequins was very nice!

The yellow dress was OUTSTANDING!

Another favorite dress!

I love their style!

Puanani blew me away with this dress. It is a hit!

This was the MOST original color dress of the evening. Very nice!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Need Advice, Will Listen

There's this girl. A teenage girl.

She lost her boyfriend through a terrible tragedy.

She wrote on her boyfriend's Facebook page that she misses him and that she can't wait to see him again and that maybe, it will be sooner than later.

What is she trying to say?

What should I say to her?
Should I say anything?

I wish I could help her through her pain.

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I don't know what it's like to lose someone you love "like that" to a tragic event. Especially as a teenager... when emotions are running high and everything is a dramatic production... think Romeo and Juliet. But I do know that wallowing in the sadness of it is not a way to live.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Here Kitty

The other night a cat showed up at our house. He/She (I haven't checked the sex of the cat yet. I think she looks pregnant.) walked right up to me and weaved between my legs. You know the way cats do. "Ziggy", my name for this cat, rubbed up against my right leg then between my legs to rub up against my left leg.

I love cats. I have always loved cats. They have these soulful eyes that seem to see beyond what our human eyes see. They are very different from dogs whose eyes reflect innocence... at least in my opinion.

I am standing there, outside on our back lanai that is doubling as our kitchen for now since we are renovating, and I stared into Ziggy's eyes.

I asked him/her, "Do I know you?"

He/she stared back at me, "Meow."

I've been talking about getting a cat for a couple of months now. Not only does it help with the "pest" control but I just love the low-maintenance of a cat. Just for your information... this is NOT a house cat. This cat is an outdoor cat so no "potty training" or anything like that. I fed her... I finally went and checked and Ziggy is a "her" and I think she's pregnant. For whatever reason she showed up at my house and made herself comfortable -- she's still here and I'm glad that she is.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Driven Nuts

Challenge #7: What’s going on in your life right now that’s driving you nuts?

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Something that is making me crazy right now is.... that my little brother got suspended from school for taking pop-pops and a smoke bomb and igniting it on school property.

I was naughty but not thatttttt naughty. I caused trouble but it was all so very harmless.

I have nothing really exciting to say about the subject. I will just leave it at that. This is the ONE ISSUE that is driving me nuts!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Simple Tech

Challenge #6:What’s one piece of technology you can’t live without?

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One of the definitions of TECHNOLOGY is:
the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization.
With that definition, almost anything in my life would be considered technology; from the bed I sleep in to the computer through which I communicate. My most favorite piece of technology, as simple as this may sound, is pen and paper. I cannot separate them from each other. They are the dynamic duet and I can't have one without the other.

I pick the pen and paper because, as I look back on my life, the constants are my journals. I have carried them with me everywhere. All the times I have moved, it's taken the journey with me. Many of them are tattered and falling apart and I'm thinking of scanning them to preserve whatever messages are on its pages. Actually, I cringe when I read the stuff that I wrote as a teenager. My mindset was so childish and I know that is part of human development but my thoughts were so narrow. So strange. I will definitely post some samples from my pre-teen years. If anything, it is quite humorous.

Coming a close second to the pen and paper is the camera. Back in the day we had film. I have saved so much money not having to process and print pictures. I'm so grateful for the mind that thought up the digital camera. I have a serious love for photos. That is my most favorite (and expensive) hobby.

My tastes are fairly simple. Even though I love gadgets (especially the ones from Apple), what I truly love are the simple tech stuff.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Imagine an Occupied America

One of the reasons I love Ron Paul so much is his aversion to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. I have reposted an article that he wrote... scroll down for it. I've said it so many times before -- there is no valid reason for the U.S. to be in Iraq. No matter what "story" they tell us through the media, none of them are sufficient for the occupation and murder of Iraqi and Afghan people. None!

I am not a supporter of the war in Iraq. I believe that 9/11 was an "allowed" tragedy that forced America into a war, similar to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I think that the government colluded with the international bankers to orchestrate everything. Most say HOGWASH but I have studied the evidence on both sides of the spectrum. If you follow the money trail, it leads directly to the collusion I just mentioned. Under those pretenses, the undeclared war being waged in the Middle East is not at all for the "freedoms" and "liberties" of Americans. THAT is HOGWASH!

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Imagine an Occupied America
By Ron Paul

Imagine for a moment that somewhere in the middle of Texas there was a large foreign military base, say Chinese or Russian. Imagine that thousands of armed foreign troops were constantly patrolling American streets in military vehicles. Imagine they were here under the auspices of "keeping us safe" or "promoting democracy" or "protecting their strategic interests."

Imagine that they operated outside of U.S. law, and that the Constitution did not apply to them. Imagine that every now and then they made mistakes or acted on bad information and accidentally killed or terrorized innocent Americans, including women and children, most of the time with little to no repercussions or consequences. Imagine that they set up checkpoints on our soil and routinely searched and ransacked entire neighborhoods of homes. Imagine if Americans were fearful of these foreign troops and overwhelmingly thought America would be better off without their presence.

Imagine if some Americans were so angry about them being in Texas that they actually joined together to fight them off, in defense of our soil and sovereignty, because leadership in government refused or were unable to do so. Imagine that those Americans were labeled terrorists or insurgents for their defensive actions, and routinely killed or captured and tortured by the foreign troops on our land. Imagine that the occupiers' attitude was that if they just killed enough Americans, the resistance would stop, but instead, for every American killed, 10 more would take up arms against them, resulting in perpetual bloodshed. Imagine if most of the citizens of the foreign land also wanted these troops to return home. Imagine if they elected a leader who promised to bring them home and put an end to this horror.

Imagine if that leader changed his mind once he took office.

The reality is that our military presence on foreign soil is as offensive to the people that live there as armed Chinese troops would be if they were stationed in Texas. We would not stand for it here, but we have had a globe-straddling empire and a very intrusive foreign policy for decades that incites a lot of hatred and resentment toward us.

According to our own CIA, our meddling in the Middle East was the prime motivation for the horrific attacks on 9/11. But instead of reevaluating our foreign policy, we have simply escalated it. We had a right to go after those responsible for 9/11, to be sure, but why do so many Americans feel as if we have a right to a military presence in some 160 countries when we wouldn't stand for even one foreign base on our soil, for any reason? These are not embassies, mind you, these are military installations. The new administration is not materially changing anything about this. Shuffling troops around and playing with semantics does not accomplish the goals of the American people, who simply want our men and women to come home. Fifty thousand troops left behind in Iraq is not conducive to peace any more than 50,000 Russian soldiers would be in the United States.

Shutting down military bases and ceasing to deal with other nations with threats and violence is not isolationism. It is the opposite. Opening ourselves up to friendship, honest trade, and diplomacy is the foreign policy of peace and prosperity. It is the only foreign policy that will not bankrupt us in short order, as our current actions most definitely will. I share the disappointment of the American people in the foreign policy rhetoric coming from the administration. The sad thing is, our foreign policy will change eventually, as Rome's did, when all budgetary and monetary tricks to fund it are exhausted.