Monday, January 09, 2012

They're trying to tell me something

Recently, my crutty but charming gym got bought out by a larger franchise. My spinning buddies and I mourned, until we realized nothing would change with our 6 a.m. workouts, they're still on the schedule under M, W and F. There were some benefits too. Our new memberships allowed us to visit larger, nicer gyms. I'm talking about stationary bikes that are equipped with fans. A room with boxing gloves and punching bags. A locker room that came with dressing rooms, vanities and suitable showers. It was heaven.

And then there was the downside this week. As we returned to the crutty gym, things were cruttier than we'd imagined. There are no paper towels in the ladies room, and barely any toilet paper. Our regular instructor is traveling for his job, and they can't find anyone to sub his classes. "No one wants to come out here," I heard an instructor say. So when I complained about the lack of paper towels, I also learned that the entire crutty gym was lacking supplies. The front desk attendant told me this, but what I heard was "they're going to be closing this gym soon. So be prepared." Bummer.

At work, the building is so cold, we never take our coats off. My method of warmth has been to bundle up in my American Red Cross blanket and warm my hands on a mug of hot water. I also have a space heater beside my desk, which has succeeded in keeping the right half of my body warm. But my space heater trend has caught on, and others are following suit, causing us to blow a fuse at the worse possible time. But I can't work when I'm locked in a meat locker, so something is going to have to change. The big boss told us that the system is antiquated and they've been having heat problems, plus it wasn't built to accommodate space heaters. What I really heard was "the company is broke as hell and heat is the last thing on our mind. furloughs are coming again, and we're struggling to stay afloat. Best be sending out those resumes, cause we're not going to be around much longer either." Double bummer, but point taken.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Going digital

I didn't want to do it, but the decision was kind of made for me.

I'm a bit of a mimimalist, but I have a friend who is a gadget fiend.(I won't mention her name, so I'll just call her Mom) She laughed at my desire to turn pages, while she quickly jumped on the eBook bandwagon. She tried to move me into the digital world, but I couldn't be swayed. My home library is a source of pride for me and doing any electronic reading just seemed like infidelitely.

Well, you know how gadget junkies are. They constantly have to upgrade. So when Mom upgraded hers and asked me if I wanted her old nook, I got custody of the darn thing. It can be good for people like myself, who read 89374387538 books at once and can lighten the vacation load of suitcases filled with 45748797 books and 975485795903 magazines. But it is not the same. I can't underline or put stars on my favorite quotes in an eReader. When I meet Toni Morrison, she won't want to sign my Nook. I don't have wifi at home, so I my only entertainment is the crossword puzzle and the one book I've purchased.

And don't get me started on the return policy. I'm a big fan of David Anthony Durham, so I tried to download his first book Gabriel's Story. However, I got the titles confused in my mind and I bought A Walk through Darkness (which I read some time ago) instead. When I realized my mistake, I quickly downloaded Gabriel's Story. I expected that just like a real book, Barnes & Noble wouldn't mind refunding my purchase of Walk Through Darkness. Right? Nah, guess again. Digital books can't be refunded for any reason at all. Bah humbug.

That being said . . . I REALLY LIKE MY NOOK!!! Sure I'm not going to buy every book this way, but for the ones I do get I'm happy that they'll be cheaper, I won't lose my page and I can take them with me anywhere I go without being weighed down. I only have one Nook friend at the moment (Mom again) but I'm hoping to build up my contact list. Who knows, maybe one day I'll actually live in the 21st century!

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Problem with Being a Bra

Recently, I confessed to friends that there is a tv show that I simply endure. Like my other shows, I set the dvr up to record it and I watch it whenever time permits. But unlike my other shows, I don’t laugh, grin or even chuckle my way through the episode. They asked why I continue to watch. I told them it’s because I am a bra.

There was a time when the release of a black movie was such a rare feat that it called for celebration. Coming to America. Boomerang. Waiting to Exhale. The Inkwell. Boyz in the Hood. When I could help it, I raced to the movie opening weekend. My dad often laughed at my insistence of being black movies, almost immediately. But I explained to him that it was my goal to be the black film industry’s biggest bra -- I had to support what was out there. And that I did.

Lately, it has become hard to support, especially on television. I long for the Thursdays I spent with Dr. Huxtable and Freddie Brooks, the Sundays I spent with Maxine Shaw and Martin & Gina, as well as other nights I could spend with the Fresh Prince, my Girlfriends or The Game (the pre-BET run), etc. I don’t have many choices now, so when a new show with a black cast debuts, I immediately return to bra duty.

So when this show -- I’ll call it Feed Between the Fines -- debuted, I set the dvr and waited for my life to change. I tweeted the hell outta that bad boy’s premiere date and encouraged my friends to watch.I watched the first episode and noticed a few things -- my childhood crush on Theo remains, I have an outfit crush on almost everything Tracee Ellis Ross wears, and what is up with Tracee’s left eye?

I watched later episodes and did not react.I deadpanned my way through the episodes. And it’s not that I think the show is bad. I do NOT think the show is bad. I just think it is, well, not good. I get that this a story of POSITIVE BLACK MAN marrying a POSITIVE BLACK WOMAN and their POSITIVE DRAMA-FREE LIFE IN THE SUBURBS, FREE OF EVERY BLACK STEREOTYPE THAT HAS EVER EXISTED. And as exciting as that sounds, I’m going to need to laugh every once in a while. And clearly, I’m not the only person who feels this way.

But I survived this season, who knows how I will feel when it returns. The new season of The Game is starting soon. I was a big fan of that in its original version. Now that the show is at a different network and in different hands, I feel like it is missing . . . SOMETHING. Nevertheless, it is making somebody money. For now, I’ll keep looking around and find new ways to use my bra powers for good. I did recently watch this and enjoyed it. Perhaps things are looking up.