Category Archives: Smack talking

Watch Fuji learn. Pimping my child for 15 minutes of fame.

Fuji on the iPhone

This clip of my son will make me famous.

There.

I’ve said it.

I am shamelessly and intentionally pimping my 3 year old son Fuji.

For the sole objective of fame.

I have four kids.

And none of them have yet provided me with the fodder I need to strike it rich on social media.

Sure they’re smart.

They test off the charts.

They are Chukumbas after all.

My daughter, the first born, is artistic.

Sh gets busy with pencil and paper, on the flute, chimes, and in choir.

My first son is naturally athletic.

And dominates his mates in virtually every sport he plays.

The baby girl is a thespian.

She is the source of endless hours of entertainment singing, dancing, pantomiming and telling (bad) jokes.

And the baby is an all-around piece of work.

He’s handsome and charming with a smile that melts hearts.

He’ll probably be a gigolo.

But for all this talent, I have yet to capture a single viral moment.

I’ve yet to record a tricked out Vivaldi.

Or an incredible bicycle kick goal.

Or even some Shakespeare.

Oh sure, I’ve gotten them on film.

But all I’ve captured to date are cute light moments.

Nothing viral-worthy.

In this day of selfless aggrandizement of digital social status, YouTube is the litmus test of legitimacy.

But how one attains such status is elusive.

While countless videos have gone viral.

Few of them intended to do it.

Not Charlie.

Not trick shot baby.

Not 2 year old dances the jive.

And I’m not talking about ad agencies.

With beaucoup bucks to throw at creating a viral sensation.

I’m talking regular folk.

I am always talking smack about what I think about this and that.

For some reason, I think that my opinion counts.

I write a blog for Chrissakes!

Vanity aside, I do know a thing or two.

And if my calculation is right, my video of Nokosi “Little Bear” will do what viral videos do.

When they’re just the right thing.

Properly captured.

Of a certain length.

And shared through a properly engaged network.

Who can deny a child’s enthusiasm for learning?

Now here’s the plan.

My family, friends and colleagues will get this first.

It will amaze, amuse and warm the cockles of their hearts.

Then, they’ll share it with their wider network of friends.

Who will be similarly impressed and compelled to do the same.

And so on.

And so on.

Before some local news affiliate picks it up.

Broadcasts it.

And the world will see how Chukumba kids get down for their learning.

Then it’s network television.

Speaking engagements.

Endorsement deals.

And then world domination.

Mwahhhhaahahaha!

I’m sorry.

Got a little ahead of myself.

But I think I’m on to something.

Something about this video strikes me as the stuff of YouTube sensation.

I could be full of shit.

But you decide.

If you think this video of little Fuji getting his learn on is awesome, like and share.

If not, you suck.

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Filed under Smack talking, social media

Get money the 419 way!

419 my money went to nigeria and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

Every so often, I get an email that genuinely makes me laugh.

Sometimes, they’re the “I just saw an embarrassing picture of you on Twitter! You should check it out” type.

Or the “Easy opportunity! Work from home and earn lots of money!” kind.

Maybe even the “The secret to get any woman to love you!” style.

You know to never open them up.

If you do, you run the risk of infecting your computer with some virus.

That steals all your contacts and republishes the foolishness to your network.

Generally, my spam filters catch them.

But every once in a while one of these wretched emails bypass my spam folder and find their way into gen pop.

Today, one such evader was in my inbox.

It was sent by a “David Ellis”.

I know a “Danny Ellis” and countless Davids.

But no David Ellis.

Still, nothing about the email initially threw me off.

Then, I noted the subject of the email.

“OPEN ATTACH FILE AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOUR PAYMENT”

In all caps, just like that.

Open attach file, huh?

And then, this most impassioned and persuasive letter:

OPEN ATTACH FILE AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOUR PAYMENT$4 million?

Just waiting in a trunk for me?

Well hop to it!

If the Head of Inspections Unit United Nations Inspection Agency tells me that, in his estimation, a box with the dimensions W61xH156xD73 (cm) and an effective capacity of 680L contains $4 million, who am I to quibble?

So what if there’s no actual salutation.

I’m often referred to as “Dear”.

Who cares if the email is rife with improper capitalization, punctuation and misspellings.

We can’t all be Rhodes scholars.

It’s immaterial that the Head of Inspections is seeking a bribe in the performance of his duties.

Who couldn’t use a little help in these trying times?

Needless to say, I’ve sent the information he’s requested.

I can’t keep my package waiting in unclaimed consignments at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, now can I?

The reason emails like this make me laugh, is that they are patently unbelievable.

But somehow (lots of greedy) folks have been duped into parting with their cash.

I first heard about scams like this on a flight back from Nigeria in 1997.

I was reading an in-flight mag about folks falling victim to 419 scams.

419 is the police code for confidence scams in Nigeria.

Apparently, some (rich) dude fell victim to a 419-er (one who practices 419ing), who convinced him that if he helped him to clean and transfer a large sum of money from Nigeria to Texas, he would pay a handsome commission.

The money (about $3 million USD) was covered in black oil and needed to be cleaned in order to be released.

All he had to do was to wire $150,000 to an escrow account, which would be held temporarily as collateral.

Another sum, approximately $20,000 would be used to clean the oil from the stash o’ cash.

Once cleaned, $300,000 would be wired into the Texan’s account, along with his $150,000 deposit, and $20,000 cleaning fee.

He sent the money as requested.

And dude ended up losing that $170,000.

Can you believe there was never any dirty money?

Needless to say, a fool and his money are soon parted.

The story went on to describe the countless gullible fools who had been taken in by similar shenanigans.

And I laugh out loud (literally), thinking about that poor ole Texan, whenever I see one of these emails.

What gets me is that it’s 2013, and these emails are still circulating.

Are folks still falling for the okey-doke?

I really hope not.

But if they are, I’ve got a stash of cash which needs cleaning…

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Ode to a Gateway TV. Fare thee well, old friend.

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A few weeks ago, I realized I was going to have to shoot my television.

You see, recently, old girl had begun to show signs of age.

I’d been trying to ignore them (the signs).

Seizure inducing flashes whenever the image on screen had a white background.

Remote control constantly out of synch.

Faint shadows burned into the screen.

She was lame, but she worked.

I didn’t want to admit the truth.

But the other day, when I turned her on, and it took several minutes for the volume to be audible, I knew it was the end.

She just needed to warm up.

Warm up?

What is this? A vintage car?

And what used to be a few minute lapse between hitting power and hearing sound, has become an hour ordeal.

Minimum.

I understand how people lived before ‘speakies’.

Now, I must shoot my poor Gateway and get a new set.

And I’m sad.

I’ve had this ole biddy since 1998.

98!

Back then, she was a beautiful 42″ plasma.

When cats were still rocking the fat-back TVs, I had stepped up to a wall mounted flat screen.

Well my girl had actually done the stepping up.

I stepped alongside.

Or perhaps, more accurately, behind since it was she who dropped coin.

2,500 smackaroonies to be exact.

And that was a steal!

Joints ran $5k easy.

But she saw a sale at Gateway and was sold.

To be honest, initially, I had my reservations.

Gateway?

What the fuck does Gateway know about televisions?

Sure, they made cute computers and shipped them in cow print boxes.

But those were computers.

And we’re talking TVs here.

Mind you, homegirl was a TV junkie, so who was I to stand in the way?

If she wanted a Gateway, we were going to have a Gateway.

So one day we jumped in the whip and headed to the Gateway store on Route 10.

And my life changes.

All I saw were football games, soccer, boxing, The X Files – all larger than life.

And crisper than I had ever seen before.

Super hi-def (way before they even offered hi-def programs).

Booming stereo sound.

Ports as far as the eye could see.

I was in heaven.

I was transported to cloud nine the day it was delivered and installed.

They mounted it on the wall above the fireplace and we achieved TV nirvana.

Fifteen years later, she’s giving up the ghost.

Compared to flat screens today, the Gateway is a dinosaur.

She’s thick and heavy.

Like Governor Christie.

No HDMI ports.

No Bluetooth.

I couldn’t even hook up an Apple TV to that bitch.

But as I look at new 42″ plasmas going for less than 400 bucks on Amazon, I realize how far ahead of the times I – I mean my girl – was.

I’m probably going to cop a new Samsung – them joints are banging!

But there will always be a place in my heart for miss thing.

Fare thee well old friend.

Fare thee well.

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Filed under Smack talking, technology

AAA Roadside Assistance? There’s an app for that!

Ever since I’ve had a license, I’ve had AAA (or Triple A, as it’s more commonly known).

Growing up, every car we ever owned had the silver lame (that’s lame as in a thin plate of metal) Triple A stickers in the window.

Although I don’t recall even one instance when we actually broke down, and had to avail ourselves of it’s protection, my dad kept his membership up to date.

So when I became a car owner myself, I made a point of copping my Triple A membership.

Over the years, there have been a few occasions when I made that call.

A few winters ago, my Jeep just stopped working.

I was in NY and when I got back into old girl to head home, she simply wouldn’t turn over.

I whipped out my phone, called Triple A, and then had to run the gauntlet to actually get a live operator on the phone.

First there was the automated attendant who wanted my member number, eye color and middle name of the nun who taught me in first grade.

Then, when I finally got a warm body, I was told that I needed to be transferred to another Triple A office, that handled the borough I was stranded in.

And then I was transferred to another operator who told me that I had been transferred to the wrong location.

After about 30 minutes of musical chairs, I was finally told that someone would be there within “30 to 45 minutes”.

I thought that was an inordinately long time (considering how long it took just to get the initial request put in), but was prepared to wait.

Two and a half hours (several irate phone calls and lots of hold time) later, someone actually showed up.

Two and a half friggin hours!

Grateful to have been rescued from my predicament, I didn’t bend dude’s ear or put Triple A on full blast.

But I was hot.

On another occasion, my rental conked out at the mall.

Whipped out the phone.

Placed the call for roadside assistance.

Got the same run around as the last time.

“Oh you’re not with the right office, let me transfer you. Please hold.”

Next operator takes my info.

Gives me the standard “30-45 minutes” spiel.

A deuce later, a Triple A truck shows up.

Two hours? For a jump?

Really?

A month ago, I had a flat tire.

Easy.

As in, “you be easy.”

I can change a flat tire.

But in the process of removing my lug nuts, I stripped it and it would not come off.

Placed a call to Triple A.

You know the drill.

Two hours later, someone showed up.

In each instance, Triple A got me right.

So I definitely think that it’s worth having a membership.

But that wait….

You can imagine my chagrin this morning, when I was driving to work, and old girl started to sputter.

I was driving my lil’ brother’s 1991 Mercedes Benz 300E.

I’ve been driving it for a minute (he parked it at my house in Montclair when he got a spot in Manhattan).

So I thought I knew her pretty well.

The gas light had been on for a couple of days.

But that only means that the gas is low, not empty.

I knew, from experience, that whenever I saw that light, I had a good twenty more miles before I actually had to get gas.

So I was completely thrown when she just stopped.

I was not looking forward to another two hour wait.

I whipped out my phone and started to dial.

But then it hit me, maybe Triple A had an app!

So I switched up and opened up the App Store instead of dialing.

Lo and behold!

Not only did they have an app (they had four), but there was a Roadside Assistance App!

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I quickly downloaded that joint, fired it up and plugged in my info.

20130124-131001.jpg

15 minutes later, I spied a Triple A truck pulling up behind me.

I shit you not.

15 minutes later.

Dude popped out of his truck, grabbed a 3 gallon gas can and funnel, and poured life-giving petrol into my disabled ride.

And just like that, I was off!

Now I can’t say that it was the app that got them there so quickly this morning.

If Triple A hasn’t received a slew of complaints, or if it wasn’t a light day, or if it wasn’t my (new) premium membership, then (aside from my using the app today) I can’t account for the speed with which they responded to my call for aid.

But I can say that if you ever find yourself stranded on the side of the road, don’t bother calling Triple A.

Whip out your smartphone.

Dial up the Triple A app.

Request assistance.

And watch the magic happen.

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Filed under apps, Smack talking

Spin class sucks (and forty five reasons why I hate Rodney Cummins)

Violence must be my theme this week.

While I’ve only been in one real fight in my life – with Darrell Cabbel when I was sixteen – I’ve had to suppress these urges.

I kicked his ass.

But that’s another story for another time.

Right now, we’re talking about why I’m plotting on taking out one of my colleagues.

Several months ago, when I started working at Usablenet, one of my team members, Rodney Cummins and I, started going to the gym down the block from the office.

Two or three times a week, we made it our business to get money.

For my urban vernacular challenged, get money = work out vigorously.

And get money we did.

Religiously, each week we’d get money.

We got so much money together, that our co-workers nicknamed us Chukummins.

Chukumba + Cummins.

I know, they’re juvenile.

Anywho…

The Red Barron, another one of our colleagues invited Rodney to spin class, also at the gym, and he went.

The Red Barron = a red-headed Irishman.

I mocked them mercilessly for going to an obviously sad excuse for money getting.

He came back from that class, bitching and moaning about how hard it was.

But remarking about what a great workout he got that day.

Spin class?

Hard?

Great workout?

The Red Barron?

I found the whole thing ludicrous.

The next time we went to get money, I had Rodney take me to the spin class.

So I could get my spin on.

And debunk the myth that spin class was in any way comparable to the money we were getting on the man side of the gym.

That day, there was no class being offered, but I decided to just jump on a bike and see what it was like.

I had Rodney play instructor and simulate a few minutes of the class.

He ran through a short warm-up of pedaling with slight resistance, before ratcheting it up.

“Pedal seated for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

“Now up for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

“Back down for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

“And up again for a four count.”

“3-2-1.”

This is spin?

This ain’t shit!

Spin is for sissies, I thought.

Until he said, “now hold it for another four count.”

By this point, I was quite used to the simple rhythm we had going.

And I was totally ready for my “now sit 3-2-1.”

I needed to sit.

But when he told me I had that four count to go, I felt the burn in my thighs.

I started to sweat.

Mind you, we had been spinning for less than a minute.

My mind raced frantically.

WTF Rodney!

Hold it for another four count.

Really?

Right then, I decided that spin was the devil and promptly dismounted from the bike.

Nearly pitching myself over the handle bars in the process.

Spin bikes don’t coast and have no brakes.

The only way to stop is by gradually decreasing your rate of pedaling.

No one told me.

So not only were my thighs burning, but I nearly died too.

Curses flowed from my mouth like I was possessed by Beezlebub.

I cursed him like he stole from me.

Like he violated my mother.

Like the soulless bastard he was.

Eventually, as feeling returned to my thighs, and the burning subsided, I felt less hatred towards him.

And as time passed, so did my memory of that unfortunate 60 seconds of spin.

Until today, that is.

You see, for months, he and the Red Barron have been attending spin.

The running joke is the invitation they extend to me each time they go.

Knowing I’ll decline.

Rodney is cursed afresh with each invitation.

But today, another one of my coworkers was going with them.

And – against my better judgment – I was compelled to attend.

Pride is a motherfucker!

Despite the single digit temperatures in NY today, I was sweating on the (not long enough) walk from our office down the block to the gym.

Fear gripped me as I entered the spin class and took my assigned bike.

No. 20 mocked me as I sat upon it, strapping my feet into its toe harnesses.

As the class started, my hatred of Rodney renewed.

The whole time, mind you, he was clapping and uttering ‘motivational’ catch-phrases at me.

If I had a machete handy, a headless torso would have been pedaling astride me, instead of this bloody happy fool.

But no machete was handy.

All I had was Rihanna to get me through.

And my unwavering desire to save face in front of my colleagues.

So I pedaled.

Thighs burning.

Sweating like a slave.

Angry.

Cursing Rodney with each new hill – or sprint – or eight count.

45 minutes later (and only having almost pitched myself over the handle bars of my bike twice) I emerged.

Ass sore.

Broken, but unbowed.

I will never attend spin class again.

And if they ever find the headless torso of a Black man in gym clothes near the New York Health & Racquetball club…

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Why I never attend CES. Confessions of a gadget addict.

How Inspector Gadget must have suffered!

How Inspector Gadget must have suffered!

Gadgetaholic (noun) one who suffers from an addiction to gadgets.

I am an admitted gadgetaholic.

Ok, ok. There’s no such word as gadgetaholic.

But there should be.

I’m addicted to gadgets.

If it beeps, buzzes, chirps or tweets, I’ve got to have it.

I can’t even help myself.

On any given occasion, I’ve got a gagillion different gadgets in rotation.

Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, mp3 players, remotes, wireless keyboards, clickers, battery packs, you name it.

If it’s got a modicum of utility, I’ve owned it – or coveted it.

I’ve been hooked on gadgets for so long, I can’t even tell you when it first started.

With my obsession for gadgets, one would think that the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was Shangri-La for someone like me.

But it’s quite the opposite.

I can’t stand CES.

All those companies, congregating, with all their unreleased wares for show.

It’s all too much.

It’s so bad that during the CES week, I just go radio silent.

I ignore all CES related updates.

I pay attention to none of the information that streams out of TechCrunch, cNet, AdAge, Engadget, et als during the week.

I want none of it.

And do you know why?

BECAUSE I CAN’T HAVE ANY OF IT!!

At times, I’ve gone a bit…overboard…with my….

Obsession.

There, I’ve siad it.

My closet (several of my closets) are stuffed with gadgets past.

Dust laden boxes of this portable satellite radio…

Or that digital recorder…

Or some unused thingamajig or doohickey.

But do you know what it’s like to be a gearhead, but not be able to cop the latest technological wares?

Or see bright shiny object, and have to walk away from it?

It’s torture! That’s what!

And they’re not just any old shiny objects, mind you.

They’re shiny objects created by cats who are more tech obsessed than I.

Which means they’re reaallllyyyy cool!

I mean, have you seen some of this stuff?

CES Samsung Flexible screen 660

Flexible touch screens.

burg-neon-smartphone-watch

Smartphone watches.

Onyx-E-Ink-Smartphone

E-ink smartphone displays.

Yum. Yum. Yum!

But what good is all this scrumptious technology if I can’t have any of it?

99% of the items at CES are concept items=not for sale.

The stuff that is for sale is too expensive to buy (or shit I dont want).

My urge to possess said stuff would drive me to straight thuggery.

And how would I look robbing these good white folk for their goodies?

I don’t think a stick-up at CES would go unnoticed.

So every year, I resign myself to keeping my addicted ass in Jersey, while CES goes on without me.

And that’s a good thing.

No one wants to see a grown-ass man, drooling like a rabid dog.

Flitting from thing to thing like a hopped up kid with ADD.

One day, I might get my addiction under control.

But for the time being, I’ll treat CES like a watering hole to be avoided at all costs.

And take my recovery one day at a time.

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They call me the Sperm Whisperer. Tips for making Boys.

pick a gender

Many of my male friends have multiple girl children, and no boys.

As men are prone to do, they seek solace from other males, collectively lamenting the conspicuous absence of he-who-shall-carry-thy-name.

On the outside, these men love their ‘lil mamas, daddy’s girls, the apples of their eyes.

But on the inside, their stomachs are in knots over the fact that one day, some boy/man will come and take them away, and do things to/with them.

And they’ll be powerless to stop them.

More disturbing than the fear of future violation though, is the fear that their line may come to an end.

Because they bore no heirs to carry their name.

We can speak of these horrors no more.

My male-child-less male friends, seek my counsel, as I have sired two (count ‘em up – TWO) male heirs.

I am a repository and wealth of information on child rearing and the like.

And while I also have two girl children, frequently, my sage advice is sought for the elusive prize – how to sire a male child.

Now outside of expensive artificial insemination, through which one can virtually guarantee the sex of their child, few know of any real non-clinical methods for obtaining the desired sex.

All too often, men find themselves sweating bullets (and praying) as the ultrasound technician looks for the telltale protrusion that says B-O-Y.

All too often, they mask their inner sorrow, when the telltale sign is not there.

If our spouse (or baby mama) wants to be ‘surprised’, we wait with bated breath in the delivery room (or at the bar) for word of the sex of the child.

Armed with a box of Cohibas, we wait to hear “it’s a boy”.

Only to hand them out, half-heartedly, when “it’s a girl” is delivered instead.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Hear me now men!

It doesn’t have to be this way!

If you want a boy, gather round, and let me learn ya.

The wisdom I pass to you, has been passed down for generations.

The tips I outline here, are tried and true.

While some may be skeptical, know ye this…

I have used them myself and have the gonads to prove it.

If you’re one, two or three girls deep, and you want that next crumb snatcher to be a boy, follow these simple tips.

Tip No. 1: Have sex with your girl in the morning.

It is a known fact that Y sperm thrive in a base environment. The woman’s vaginal canal area is pretty acidic and generally inhospitable to Y sperm. However, in the morning, before your girl is active, and her body temperature rises (from activity) the conditions of her vaginal canal area are ripe for planting your Y seed. So take her before she’s had a chance to rouse!

Tip No. 2: Drink a cup of caffeinated coffee before having sex.

Y sperm are a particularly slow and pathetic lot. They’re not particularly active, as sperm go. Coffee stimulates the Y sperm, giving them a much needed boost. Having a strong cup of black coffee, before you do the deed, gets your boys ready for the task at hand. I’d suggest placing a Keurig on the night stand so that your sperm
juice is on the ready.

Tip No. 3: Have sex doggy-style.

If you’re like me, you’re particularly fond of backshots. However, when it comes to making boys, it’s crucial that you take your woman exclusively from the back. And here’s why. Unlike the X sperm, which have long flagella (or tails), Y sperm have short stubby ones. Thus, they’re not the best swimmers and they tire quickly. So to increase the likelihood that they’ll be first to the egg, you’ve got to shorten the distance your boys have to travel. By doing it doggy-style, you’re placing the end of your penis junk manhood as close as possible to the opening of the cervix, increasing the likelihood that your caffeine-wired Ys reach the prize.

To recap: sex in the morning, after a cup of black coffee, doggy-style.

Got it?

By now, I’m sure that many of you are thinking “that Stephen Chukumba has finally lost it.”

Indeed, as I shared my tips with several of my colleagues yesterday, there was skepticism and chuckles all around.

Sure, it sounds/sounded ludicrous.

But these are scientific truths I’m spitting.

Hey, don’t take my word for it.

how_to_choose_the_sex_of_your_baby

Check out How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby, by Dr. Landrum B. Shettles.

The tips I’ve share with you, are part of the Shettles Method of gender selection.

So Rodney, Anthony and any other male within the sound of my blog, if you want to get that boy (or that girl), heed my words.

They don’t call me the Sperm Whisperer for nuthin.

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Is it possible to love a phone? Yes (if it’s an iPhone 5)

The author and his betrothed.

The author and his betrothed.

I’m totally useless.

Why?

Because I’m in love with my iPhone 5.

Sure, I’m an Apple Fan.

And Apple fans are freaks.

But I have true, deep, heartfelt affection for an inanimate object.

I’ll admit I’ve always checked for Apple products.

I beheld my first iPhone with wonder.

I held it up in the sky, Simba-like, examining it from all sides as the screen glint in the sunlight.

I recall the glee I first felt starting my iPhone for the first time.

I could barely contain my excitement as the apple logo illuminated the screen, and then cede to the landing page with all those wonderful icons.

The thought of it still makes my heart flutter.

But that was a time long ago.

Subsequent iPhone releases have failed to generate any similar reaction in me.

In fact, I’ve been downright hostile towards them.

I’ve resisted the old bait-and-switch Apple is famous for, and passed upgrades to the 3G and 3GS.

When the 4 dropped, I felt that enough had changed over the course of the three years I’d owned my phone.

To be honest, I felt a little embarrassed to still be rocking a first gen.

And while the 4 was a serious device, it didn’t move me the way my first iPhone had.

So it was with much consternation that I copped the 5.

I was still jaded by the Apple bait-and-switch.

I mean really, six phones in less than five years?

But it was love at first sight.

iPhone 5

It She was tall, slim and elegant.

I felt my heart palpitate as the AT&T associate handed it her to me.

As much as I tried, I couldn’t resist it her.

I just knew these feelings were fleeting.

It’s just a phone.

Sure, Apple came up with another sleek design and raised the bat.

But it’s just a phone.

Three months later, I can’t believe that I still have the same amorous feelings for my phone.

When I first got it her, I stuck it her in an Otter.

There was no way I was going to let anything happen to it her.

Not on my watch.

My Secret Santa got me an i-Blason Power Glider external battery case (because of course, the iPhone battery life is for shit).

iBlason_PowerGlider_External_Battery_CaseAnd for the first time since I’ve owned the phone, I gazed upon it her naked, unsheathed…

I slipped it her into it’s her new case…

It’s Her shiny white face exposed…

I’m verklempt…

Talk among yourselves…

I can’t believe I’ve kept this thing of beauty hidden for so long.

Nobody put’s Baby in a corner!

I love my iPhone 5.

Is my love so wrong?

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Get more traffic to your blog. The Stephen Chukumba way.

Drive traffic to your blog

If you’ve arrived here, you were probably doing a search for tips for driving traffic to your blog.

Perhaps you typed “how do I get more traffic” or “increasing traffic to my blog” or “tips for improving your blog’s ranking in search engines”.

Invariably, you came across a number of different results, and settled upon this site to hopefully find the information you were looking for.

You may have even passed up a number of higher ranked results, when you determined that it was just some joker spewing some non-specific set of tips.

Or worse, using jargon that you could neither understand or apply.

Dejected, you navigated away from that page, back to your search results and happened upon my blog.

Well, friend, you’re in luck.

Years ago when I started blogging, I performed just such a search.

I got back loads of articles, written by folks who, while well intended, gave crap advice for building traffic or publishing a better blog.

Not one of them was truly helpful.

And I spent the next few years, engaged in trial-and-error.

But now I think I’ve arrived at the secret sauce of blogging.

Keywords.

Keywords AND tagging, to be a bit more specific.

What are keywords?

In their purest sense, keywords are how content is organized online.

They are descriptive words that serve as reference points for finding information on the internet.

When used singly or in combination, they help someone performing an online search locate the information they are looking for.

When I started blogging, I would write and post frequently.

One of the ‘tip’ sites I visited said that posting frequently helped to drive traffic to your blog.

So I blogged voraciously.

I paid no attention to tagging my posts with keywords.

Regardless of whether my post was timely, insightful, clever or well written, search engine bots simply did not crawl to it.

And as a result, my little blog saw very little traffic.

Then, I read a blog about the importance of metadata, and started tagging my blogs with keywords and descriptive text.

I just knew that I had found the keys to my blogging salvation.

If I was writing about President Obama, my keywords would be “Obama”, “President”, “Democrat”.

I write, tag, post and wait.

Nada.

I didn’t realize that there were about a zillion other blogs and online articles using the exact same keywords.

My blog was simply one in an undifferentiated mass.

If the New York Times and I both wrote an article that day, about the POTUS, which article was going to come up in a search?

Hint: NOT mine.

Even if I was keyword stuffing (loading a web page with keywords in the meta tags or content), I wasn’t getting more traffic.

All these so-called tips for driving traffic were crap!

But then, my younger brother, Celestine, a friggin PhD, gave me the most valuable tip I ever received about keywords and tagging.

Descriptive phrases.

It’s one thing to add keywords to your blog posts and meta data.

It’s another thing entirely to utilize full descriptive phrases.

Think about it.

Who ever just types one word into Google?

Typically, you type out the full query and hit enter.

The results you get back are those whose meta tags most closely match yours.

If there are only one or two words that match, they are lower ranked.

If several words match, or if whole phrases match, those results are ranked higher.

For example, if you type: “get more traffic to your blog” this post will probably be returned on the first page.

And that’s for two reasons.

1. Because that’s the title of this blog post.

2. The phrase is in the body of the blog post and the meta tags.

Over the years, my blog has seen a significant increase in traffic.

I’ve become much more adept at tagging my articles with relevant keywords and keyword phrases, and that has greatly improved the trafic to my site.

When I first started blogging, I’d get 10-20 views per day.

Today, it’s about 100-200.

Now, I don’t claim to be a blogging expert, but I do know a lil’ sumthin’ sumthin’.

But don’t take my word for it.

Try tagging your blog post with descriptive text, and see if your traffic doesn’t improve.

And when it does, tell ‘em Stephen Chukumba showed you how.

But if it doesn’t…keep it to yourself!

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Filed under Smack talking

Don’t Eat At Joes. John Wynne, for shame.

You never want to find this in your Sunset Salmon.

I just left Joe’s Crab Shack on Route 1 in Lawrenceville.

My wife found a black object in her Sunset Salmon, which we initially believed to be a piece of black plastic.

After summoning the waiter, who in turn, brought the manager, we learned that what we thought was plastic was (in his opinion) actually the charred remains of a bun.

Apparently, a piece of a bun became dislodged when it was cooked on the grill.

Buns are grilled on the same surface they use to grill the fish.

Cross-contamination anyone?

This dislodged piece went undiscovered for a period and achieved it’s blackness and hardness over repeated cooking.

Undiscovered? Was it hiding out?

The burnt piece lodged into the salmon must have been swept up onto the plate when it was being cooked.

Should you be telling me this?

Sounds…how do you say…unhygienic.

So it wasn’t a piece of plastic, he concluded, it was just a reeallly burnt piece of bun.

I was genuinely relieved for the manager’s forensic analysis of the foriegn object.

But I was more interested to learn how he intended to resolve the solution.

As he prattled on about why, if it were a piece of plastic, it would have burned immediately upon contact with the grill…

I realized that he was not intent on doing the right thing.

As if reading my mind, he began to fumble about, attempting to reach his rear left pocket.

He explained, digging furtively in his pocket, that he was the manager of the establishment.

John Wynne, Assistant General Manager, Joes Crab Shack. Boooooo!!!!

Placing his card on the table in front of us, he said (and I quote) “My card’s not worth anything, but this one is.”

After fumbling through the stack of cards pulled from his pocket, he placed another yellow business-sized card on the table atop the previous one.

Joe’s Crab Shack. Free Appetizer. And why would I eat here again?

“You can use it the next time you dine with us.”

What makes you think I’m going to dine here again?

I was stunned.

Not only can’t I used this voucher for my CURRENT appetizer, you’re not even going to spot me an ENTREE?!

The afflicted dish was an ENTREE!

I was twisted.

Mind you, when our waiter left to retrieve the manager, he clearly knew the severity of the black charred discovery.

I told him to be glad he wasn’t bringing his manager back to see Gordon Ramsey.

Cause we know how Gordon gets down!

I was clearly not pleased with that my wife’s meal was ruined.

But ol’ Wynne didn’t skip a beat.

With a “enjoy the rest of your meal,” he was off.

When my check arrived, I was was thermonuclear.

The salmon was on the check.

I had held out hope, that despite the manager’s flacid response he would have still shown me the courtesy of removing the offending dish from our bill.

Alas, twas not the case.

I’ve NEVER complained about finding something in my meal that didn’t IMMEDIATELY result in that item being removed from my check.

Or an offer to replace it.

Typically the waiter just handles it.

The escalation to mister manager immediately signified that someone was coming to HANDLE the situation and make it right.

Wynne did neither of these.

Even though I was ready to read both my waiter and Mr. Wynne the riot act…

I chilled and paid the bill.

Was with wifey.

Didn’t want to cause a scene.

But I couldn’t let the situation lie.

So I signed the receipt and left Mr. Wynne, this little note:

Tip for John Wynne. Notice the shameless plug.

I’m posting my crappy dining experience for posterity.

I doubt anyone from Joe’s Crab shack will find this post.

And if they do, they’ll probably offer me more Wynne-ian flaccidity.

I’ve given up on contacting brands directly, because I’ve found that they NEVER do the right thing when you do.

Dominos Pizza failed the test.

So did Louis Vuitton.

Now Joe’s Crab Shack is on the list.

BTW Joe’s…

You should have Mr. Wynne take some additional managerial courses.

His current customer relation skills suck salmon balls…

….or burnt bun pieces.

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