Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thursday Thirteen #36 . . . Thirteen Places/Ways To Meet People . . .

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine and her husband went their separate ways after 17 years of marriage. Recently, my friend went out with a guy she met through an online dating service. On last report, all went well. While I admire my friend's sense of adventure and willingness to try something new, were I in the same situation, I'm not sure I could go the online route.

Ever since hearing about my friend's choice, I've been wondering about the alternatives and options. If you're single and not particularly into the whole club scene, how do you go about meeting other single people? More to the point, were I to suddenly find myself single again, what type of places might I visit, activities might I engage in or routes might I explore in my quest for companionship?

I doubt if online dating is something I'd ever consider. On the surface, it just doesn't appeal to me, even though I've joined groups and met a number of decent folks offline via my online contacts and connections. But to be clear, I wasn't looking to date or get romantically involved with any of those folks.

As odd as it may sound, I'd probably also automatically rule out grocery stores and religious institutions. First of all, I just don't see a lot of young, single-looking guys (I'm willing to admit, 'single-looking" is an assumption) in the grocery store. I know they've gotta eat sometime, but I'm guessing after a quick run to the beer, chip and possibly the frozen food aisles, most of them are in the store and out. Now, if one is in the market for somebody else's husband, the grocery store is probably just the place to find him. He'll be the one with the lost look on his face and the honey-do list in his hand.

The religious "rule-out" is a bit more complicated and admittedly a bit more biased. Even though I've been a member of and regularly attended many a fine religious insitution in my lifetime, to be frank, "church men" just don't appeal to me. Back in the day, when I was single, I had more than my share of unsavory experiences with men, who though they quoted scripture and went to church on a regular basis, were certified nut-cases and/or straight-up buck wild hypocrites and super freaks. LOL.

And I know that works both ways. I knew this guy who joined a church and a Sunday School class for the sole purpose of hooking up with and getting over on some humble, unsuspecting church girl, only to end up getting a whole lot more than he bargained for . . . I'm talking crabs, people . . . yeah, the little crawly, itchy, all up in the pu&!c hair kind? Can the church say, "Glory! Have mercy! That sho'll is nasty!" LOL

Of course, you can luck-up (or out) and find a creep anywhere. But the following list includes some of the places I'd consider frequenting and activities I'd consider getting involved, were I single and looking to meet somebody

1) A Friend's Family Gathering--My own extended family celebrates a lot of the holidays together and there are always plenty of single men present. Were I single, I'd definitely try to snag an invite to someone's Fourth of July or Memorial Day backyard barbecue. Unfortunately, in my case, I don't think introducing any of my single friends to any of my single relatives would be such a great idea (LOL).

2) Art Exhibits--I happen to have a genuine interest in art, so this would be a natural choice for me.

3) Book Stores--Again, I'm a booklover and I've noticed a lot of folks do hangout in book stores these days, particularly on the weekends. Striking up a conversation with a fellow booklover wouldn't be that hard.

4) College Courses/Adult Education Courses-- Why not look for love or companionship in an environment where others are striving to stimulate their minds, pick up a new skill set and/or better themselves?

5) Coffee Shops--Just about every city or suburb is full of these and they're open at all hours of the day and night. Were I single, I just might choose a different one to vist every weekend. Why settle for sitting at home alone with a book and/or your laptop when you could do both at a coffee shop and possibly meet someone interesting in the process?

6) Dog Parks--Guys who own dogs, generally walk them. If I owned a dog, I would think this might be a good place to meet someone who at least shared my interest in healthy, well-adjusted canine.

7) Group/Association/Club--This seems like a no-brainer. Join something, a professional organization, a neighborhood association, a writing group, Weight-Watchers (smile), the possibilites are endless.

8) Gym/YMCA--Who doesn't need to exercise more? Were I single and looking to mingle, I'd stay away from the areobics class and hang out with the fellas using the machines and the weights or walking/jogging along the track.

9) Library-- I used to work in a library, so I know single guys do frequent and work in such places. Of course, the guy who hangs out in the library everyday in order to sleep, gawk at online porn or actively research the number of Martians and Leprechauns living among us, is probably not the guy with whom you want to strike up a conversation.

10) Outdoor Music and/or Art Festivals-- In addition to people, typically, there's plenty of food and fresh air at events like these. So even if you don't meet anyone, you're bound to have a good time.

11) Restaurant Bar--When eating out, why not try sitting at the bar sometimes rather than a table? I would think a single guy is more apt to approach a woman who's seated at the bar as apposed to the chick who's getting her grub on alone at some table.

12) Sporting Events-- The great thing about sports is that typically the fans out number the participants. If you can't afford to go to an actual game, there's always the sports bar.

13) Volunteer Activities-- Were I single, this would probably be the first place I'd start looking in hopes of finding someone with a generous spirit and who values helping others.

What about you? Care to share any ideas or suggest a few things you've actually done or perhaps, you've avoided doing? (smile)

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday Thirteen #35 . . . 13 Film Favorites Featuring Kids . . .

The recent buzz surrounding Slumdog Millionaire has me thinking about some of the other movies featuring child actors that I've enjoyed over the years. The following are some of my favorites.

1) A Bronx Tale-- I truly adore this movie. One of my favorite scenes is when the little kid, who's been hanging out with the neighborhood gangsters tearfully tells his dad, "Sonny is right, the working man is a sucker. . . " The Dad, a hard-working bus driver, played by Robert De Niro responds, "He's wrong, it don't take much strength to pull a trigger. But try getting up every morning, day after day and work for a living. Let's see him try that. Then we'll see who's the real tough guy."

2) Akeelah and The Bee-- In this movie, KeKe Palmer steals the spotlight from veterans like, Lawrence Fishburne and Angela Bassett.

3) The Bad News Bears--The first two originals films were pretty funny.

4) Claudine--Yes, this is an oldie, but goodie starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones. The kids in this movie do an excellent job of just being kids and I'm always moved by the little guy who when asked what he wants to be when he grows up says, "Invisible."

5) Crooklyn--One of Spike's Lee best, in my opinion. I do wonder if any of the kids featured in this movie are still working.

6) The Harry Potter Movies--Even though I typically wait until the movies make it to cable or come out on DVD, I still enjoy them and I kinda hate that the kids who star in them are growing up (smile).

7) J.T.-- This movie came out WAY back in the day (smile), 1969. But it used to air on television around Christmas time in the '70s. The movie starred a young Kevin Hooks, who played a shy kid from Harlem who finds and nurses an old, injured, one-eyed alleycat back to health. I'd love to get this on dvd for my own kid to watch and enjoy.

8) Poltergeist--The first one.

9) The Pursuit of Happyness--No disrespect intended, but Actually, I think Will Smith's son (Jaden) is a much better actor than his dad (LOL).

10) Ray-- I thought the little boy who played Ray Charles as a youth, C.J. Sanders, did an exceptional job.

11) The Sandlot -- I know there are two, but I've only seen the first one. This is one of those movies, I accidentally stumbled upon one lazy afternoon and found myself enjoying. It's one of my own kid's favorites as well.

12) Slumdog Millionaire -- The performances of the children in this movie are what really made it an outstanding film for me.

13) Stand By Me -- I'd been meaning to watch this movie for years, but just recently got around to it. All I can say is, "Wow." These kids really did a great job. Although, it is kind of sad knowing the twists and turns some of their careers and lives went on to take.

Well, do you agree with any of my choices? If there are others on your own list, feel free to mention them in the comments.

If you'd like to visit some of the other Thursday Thirteen participants, the link is HERE.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Latest Entertainment Nonsense . . . In The News . . .

Chris Brown vs. Rihanna

Last night it was reported that Chris Brown was being pursued for questioning about an alleged assault against an unidentified woman. Rumor has it that the woman in question is his girlfriend, Rihanna.

My first thought when I heard this was, Dag, Ole Boy obviously skipped the chapter in the Thug Handbook that advises against striking Light-Skinned women (ditto White women) upside the head. Sheesh, y'all know we bruise easily! Being a member of the Light-Skinned tribe himself, you'd think Mr. Brown would already know this.

All joking aside, hopefully this will serve as a lesson to young Chris that striking a woman, any woman isn't a route he wants to take, unless he's looking to emulate the careers of folks Ike Turner or OJ, both of whom could have readily advised him about the Thug Handbook's Light-Skinned/White woman beat-down rules . . .

Michael Phelps vs. The Richland County South Carolina Sheriff

Okay, so a picture materalizes of Mr. Phelps taking a hit off a bong and now the sheriff in Richland County, South Carolina where the incident allegedly took place wants to press charges. Yeah, right. I mean seriously, I could see if the boy got caught sucking on a crack pipe or snorting something up his nose, shooting something into his veins or standing on a corner dealing. But this just seems pretty doggone trivial to me.

If South Carolina is anything like North Carolina (where I currently reside), then drunk driving is pretty much a daily local news item. I don't know if it's that whole Dukes of Hazard NASCAR mentality or what. But every other day it seems, some drunk fool is driving down the wrong side of the road, crashing into trees, rolling down embankments or worse yet, causing accidents that result in serious injury or death to other drivers, passengers and or pedestrians.

If law enforcement officials in the Carolinas are looking to crack down on drug use and abuse, why not start with all of these speeding drunk a$$ drivers who get these laughably light sentences? In any case, I'm pretty sure the good citizens of Richland County have bigger issues in need of addressing, say like Umemployment. Poverty. Racism. Real Crime.

It's also rather interesting how your average citizen or celebrity can be charged with a crime on the basis of a photo, but you can have twenty minutes worth of video footage of a cop beating the hell out of somebody and somehow, that's not enough proof for conviction. Anyway . . .

The Octuplets Mom (Nadya Sulema) vs Anybody With A Sound Mind

Okay, from the looks of things, homegirl has some serious issues. When I heard that she'd received disability compensation after being injured in a riot that took place in psychiatric facility, my first thought was Well, that explains everything. During the riot she obviously hit her head on something . . .

As I watched an excerpt from the interview she did with Ann Curry, I said to my husband, "In addition to being coo-coo for Coco Puffs, I think homegirl has had a wee bit too much plastic surgery." Really, something about her nose and her lips just didn't seem right. She looked like a mangled cross between Lil Kim, Michael Jackson and some sort of feral feline, the latter of which might account for her incomprehensible desire to give birth to a litter. Sure enough, since my first sighting of Ms. Suleman others have suggested she's gone under the knife a time or two and may possibly be suffering from some sort of Angelia Jolie complex.

Etta James vs Beyonce

You know, I really can't blame Ms. James for being upset about not receiving an invitation to sing "her song" at the inauguration. I'm sure she felt like she'd been overlooked, yet again. But her rant against Beyonce was a bit much.

No disrespect intended, but while listening to Ms. James' spiel, I couldn't help but think about those women I'd sometimes see in those dark, smoky cafes one of my grandmothers used to work in. I'm talking about those women who'd be sitting and nodding at a table by themselves, with a crooked wig on their heads, a cigarette in their mouths and a half-empy forty on the table in front of them. Some of the stuff that came out of their mouths would bring tears to your eyes (smile).

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Remember the bookstore (Brentano's) signings I had back in December, while I was home (Memphis) for the holidays? Well, a couple of weeks ago, the bookstore CLOSED! I was beyond shocked when I heard the news. A steady flow of customers is all I saw on the Tuesday and Saturday that I sat near the front of the store and signed copies of After The Dance. But obviously, that wasn't always the case. I'm particularly saddened by the closing because of its location in a mall (Oak Court) that I used to frequent. I've never known there not to be a bookstore in that particular spot in the mall and its hard for me to imagine anything besides a book vendor being there.

Not too long ago, I experienced a similar shock here in Charlotte, when a nearby restaurant (Good Old Days) that my family and I used to enjoy patronizing went out of business. I remember driving past there one Sunday and thinking it odd that there weren't more cars in their parking lot. While watching the news later that same evening, I discovered why the lot had been so barren--earlier in the day, the restaurant had closed their doors for good. Wow! Had I know it was coming, I would have made a point of eating there that Sunday. They had great service and some of the best hamburgers (smile).

Perhaps even more telling was what I heard with regards to a couple of friends who had the misfortune of having their homes broken into. To be clear, crime has long been off the chain in Memphis--robberies, car-jackings, break-ins and assaults of all kinds happen so often, if a series of such isn't being reported on the local news or discussed around the water cooler, folks tend to think something is wrong.

But I was truly shocked to learn that several folks in Memphis who've had their homes broken into recently have had their freezers and refrigerators emptied in the process. Yup, folks are stealing FOOD y'all. My first reaction was dag--up in somebody's house stealing their dagum tater tots and neckbones out the freezer?! How trifling can you get?! But then my next thought was, you know, you've got to be awfully doggone desperate and/or hungry to break into somebody's houes and bypass the tv and dvd player in order to steal their chicken wings and porkchops.

Yeah, I can only hope and pray that "the new day" gets here sooner rather than later.