Tag Archives: New York

Don’t f*#k!ng text and drive!!

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Anyone who knows me knows that people who can’t drive is one of my biggest pet peeves.

If you’re just a bad driver, by no fault of your own, I despise you still, but I tolerate you on the road.

But if you’re actively engaged in behavior that diminishes your driving capacity, I struggle with my road rage to restrain myself from forcing you off the road and pummeling you with my size thirteens.

Why all this hostility, you ask?

I was heading into the city from Jersey on Route 280, when I happened upon this Zipcar, a grey, weaving Toyota Corolla.

Dude was in the left lane, the fast lane, intermittently stepping on his brakes, when no braking hazard existed.

Despite the fact that there were no cars ahead of him, he was driving like an absolute ninny, and refused to either speed up or cede the lane (to the growing line of cars behind him).

It wouldn’t have been so bad if I could have gotten around him, but the traffic in the right lane was equally anemic, so I was trapped.

Mind you, for like 3 or 4 miles, this dude was weaving, braking, and generally causing me to curse his very existence.

When the opportunity to pass this fool (on the right) presented itself, I floored it, pulling astride him to deliver my fiercest what-the-f*ck-is-up-with-you glare.

Imagine how much angrier I was, when I realized that dude was TEXTING on his phone!

His head was down, and he was furiously typing with his right hand, while steering with his left.

As his head was down, my fierce what-the-f*ck-is-up-with-you glare was totally wasted on him, and I sped off angrily, wondering how many other drivers this dude was going to frustrate before getting to his destination.

From the amount of time I spent behind this jerk, he must have been carrying on a complete conversation via text.

If dude really had to send off a text that badly, he could have simply pulled over, tapped out his little message, and saved us (or at least me) unneeded aggravation.

But noooo, he had to get me all riled up!

Now look at what he made me go do!

I already ranted about bad drivers before!

Anyway, I feel much better now, and that moron lives to text and drive another day.

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President Obama channels Al Green at the Apollo

I was going to give you an elaborate post about mobile engagement tools, but I saw this last night, and had to share:

Only President Obama could pull off (a few lines) of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together.

Apparently on a dare!

It’s this sense of spontaneity that makes Obama the President that he is.

And why he raised $3.6 million yesterday on his latest jaunt through New York city.

Haven’t heard back from team Obama (remember I sent a resume online?), but I’ll still rep for the Big 0.

Especially when he’s coming with all that swagger!

With the heavy news coverage on his little song, I wouldn’t be surprised if this video is viral by this weekend.

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It’s Friday night and I should be partying like a rock star. But I’m blogging.

I got all dandified for my night out in NY last night.

But it’s 12:56 a.m. Saturday, and I’m sitting on this computer.

Something is not right here.

Let’s run it back, shall we?

I threw on my new Gap corduroy blazer I got on sale for $34.99, with a vest (fast becoming my signature) and Brooks Brothers silk chocolate tie, atop a white French cuff shirt. I completed my look with a pair of Levis and a pair of brown suede Kenneth Cole loafers.

Note: My brother strongly recommends Levis for their cut, comfort and timeless fashion. He was so enamored with them he gave me the very pair I’m wearing.

Stephen is stylin'! Ain't I!

Accessorized with silver cuff links from Harlem Thread, a distressed silver buckle black leather belt and my Movado, I was quite the dandy.

Tight. Aren't they.

I wore my hair up, to complete the look of a curiously handsome, and well dressed cosmopolitan man about town.

Ladies, simmer down now.

Plans were to liaise with friends on the lower East side, attend a Magazine launch in Chelsea, and link with some Hollywood types from LA to wind out the evening.

I put in QT with the kids, and felt I had earned my hall pass. That’s right! I said it! I EARNED my night out.

With a preggo in the house, I can’t just be stepping out, I’ve got to put in my time, to wit:

I got up at 7:00 am, got the kids dressed. Asha and Chima generally dress themselves, so I really only had to get Banana (that’s Duran) dressed. But I’ll take credit for all three. Someone had to tell them to get dressed. Hello?

7:00 – 7:20 made breakfast and packed lunches

7:20-7:35 fed breakfast and took out garbage

7:35-7:45 got dressed and retrieved Banana from having hair done

7:45-7:55 got kids in car

7:55-8:35 drop offs and D&D run for preggo’s daily decaf-caffeine fix

8:35-9:00 shower and shave, call William Sonoma in the Short Hills mall to confirm that Zoku is in stock (it’s not)

9:00-9:30 Google and call various WS within 25 mile radius to find Zoku-stocked store (locate one in Paramus)

9:30-9:50 drive preggo with shopping list (where’d she get a shopping list?) in tow to Garden State Mall (exit 161 Garden State Parkway) in which aforementioned WS in located

9:50-12:00 acquire Zoku, Coach 2010 planner refill, Hello Kitty pen, Green Tea Frappuccino, and filet-0-fish meal

12:00-12:20 return to Montclair

12:20-1:25 click click clack on my MacBook, make a few calls and Skype chat

1:25-1:35 retrieve kids from bus stop (half day, ordinarily they would have been home at 3:00)

1:35-2:20 set the kids up with snacks, Kumon and homework

2:20-2:35 pick up Banana from Montclair Pre-K and bring her home

2:35-3:15 review assignments and get kids ready for weekly Kumon lesson

3:15-3:30 pile kids in car from 5 minute ride to Kumon

3:30-4:35 Kumon with the kids (Banana and I sit in car. Me click click clack. Her making Jim Henson with her bunnies)

4:35-5:45 Detour to Wendy’s for impromptu surprise dinner (Kumon instructor’s report was full of praise)

5:45-6:15 Back home, switch kids into pjs, lay out sleeping bags laid in living-room-converted-to-indoor-campground and set plasma to On-Demand Hotel for Dogs.

6:15-6:55 order Chinese for preggo, dressed and wait…and wait…and wait (Me: Helllo. Where is my food? Them: Very busy. Coming. He be there soon)

6:55-7:10 feed preggo, check on kids

As I said, I EARNED my night out.

7:10-8:30 drive to NY (ordinarily takes 20 minutes)

When I finally broke on through to the other side of the Hudson, I had missed my first rendezvous. The friends on the Lower East Side? Also running late.

Make more phone calls in the lobby of their apartment building…and wait…and wait…

He arrives. It’s 9:12. We shoot the breeze. Jay Z and Frank Sinatra at MSG are in hi-def on a 42″ LCD on Fuse. Next thing I know, it’s 11:44. Concert was banging (Jay Z is quite the showman), but I’ve totally forgotten about the launch party.

I call my man, and of course, it goes straight to voicemail (because he’s in the function, you see, and probably can’t hear his phone). Did I say that the function went from 9:00-1:00? When he finally calls back, it’s 12:11.

The launch party is clearly not in my future, and I convince myself I’m not really trying to hang out. Gracefully bow out from the Hollywood types, and head back home.

Hit a little traffic on 280 coming back to Jersey, and here I sit.

It’s now 2:45. I’ve been writing and editing.

I’m having an ephipany.

Love the kids. Taking care of them is a pleasure. It’s still work, but fun work.

Probably accomplished more NOT liaising with folks tonight than if I had.

Answered emails. Sent texts. Made calls. Worked on site with my developer. Closed a deal. Scheduled a few meetings.

Got a lot done today.

I like working from home.

It’s 3:23. Just had to tell someone.

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Stephen Chukumba says (or asks): “Cheating vs. Murder, Do Women Prefer Killers?”

Do women really prefer murderers to cheaters?

Do women really prefer murderers to cheaters?

I was listening to Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg on Hot 97.1, and they were talking about suicide of the suspect, in the murder of the 20 year old outside of MSG, who was found in his girlfriend’s apartment. They went on to discuss a Woody Harrelson article that appeared in Playboy, in which Harrelson claims that women are crazy (which we all know).

As evidence of the loco-ness of women, he claims that women would accept a man murdering another, before they would the same man cheating on them. It sounds ludicrous, and I thought Woody had finally flown the coop.

Rosenberg was appalled at the claim that women were so shallow as to prefer a murderer to a cheater, and Cipha offered to put it to an instant survey.

He asked female listeners to call in and resolve the conflict in the studios, “who do women prefer, murderers or cheaters,’ with the opinions of the first five women to call serving as the representative opinion of all women.

The first caller: murderer. Geesh, she’s got issues.

Second caller: murderer. What the hell? Did she say murdered too?

Third caller: cheater. Finally, a chic with sense. Can you talk to these other two chickens?

Fourth caller: murderer. Uh oh. Is there something in the water?

Fifth caller: murderer. Dayammmm! These b*tches are hardcore!

4 to 1 in favor of murderers! I was shocked, but then again, we are in New York, and chics in NY are definitely harder than in other parts of the country.

But I’d like to conduct a survey of my own. For the four or five women reading this post, would you take a murderer or a cheater (and you’ve got to pick one)?

FYI.  My wife is with the murderous crew. Good to know I’ve got safe harbor should I ever decide on a life of crime.

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UniverSOOOOOUUUULLLLLL Circus!

Why am I sweating like a slave? A fleeting moment of reflection hit me, as I stood there screaming at the top of my lungs, hooting and hollering with my kids (football style) under each arm. Whatever! I was sweating, but having a blast!

UniverSoul Circus

What was I doing? Guest blogging (actually twittering) at the UniverSoul Circus in Brooklyn last night, at their show in Prospect Park. My friend Denene posted the opportunity on her blog, mybrownbaby.blogspot.com, weeks ago, and I jumped at the chance to blog backstage. Kristin Parker, with Elemental Interactive (creative corporate storytellers) reached out to me a few days ago and set it all up.

Anyway, last night, I packed the kids and wife into the Jeep, and we headed to Brooklyn, the second stop of USoul’s New York leg of the tour. We were treated (celebrity-like) to a behind-the-scenes look at USoul’s operations, and a pre-show meeting with the acrobats, jugglers, performers and contortionists we would later see onstage.

These kids toss each other around with their feet.

These kids toss each other around with their feet.

The performers, from all around the world, were a moving community, touring ten months out of the year. I was struck by the complexity of the circus culture. Despite the different languages they spoke, their various cultures and backgrounds, they worked as a cohesive unit, supporting one-another. I was also struck by the number of children in the circus. The death-defying stunts (I was later to see) were being performed by children as young as 12!

'Zanti' means 'show-offs' - I wonder why.

'Zanti' means 'show-offs' - I wonder why.

My kids were especially excited to see the horses, elephants and tigers backstage, and I couldn’t wait for them to actually see the show. Our tour of the tiger cages was cut short by some guy (read: me) who wanted to get a photo with his kids and a baby tiger nearly swiped his dreds! After a 30 minute meet-and-greet, we were led to our seats under the big-top. 

The show started with a skit by Maggie Shirley Lillie Mae Francis Upshaw Jenkins and Nephew Lucky, the night’s hosts, who introduced James Brown and his Go-Go Dancers. They were followed by the Rough Riders, Shandong Foot Jugglers (troop juggles people), Ethopian Foot Juggler (girl juggles things) and the Wheel of Death. Each act was as electrifying as the last, and the energy of the night built to a dizzying crescendo.

After intermission, Maggie Jenkins and Nephew Lucky introduced the China Soul Flyers, the Caribbean Zanti Dancers, Stilt Walkers, Twisted Soul, Magic Cats and the Elephants. There were skits a-plenty and the DJ kept the house rocking all night.

While the whole night was awesome, the most exciting part of the night was for me unceremoniously un-circus-like. It was an old-school/new school battle, in which two couples went head-to-head, center ring, acting out the lyrics to old and new school songs.  

The new school songs were ‘Kiss Me Through The Phone,’ by Soulja Boy and ‘Shoulda Let You Go,’ by Keyshia Cole. The old school songs were ‘Cause I Love You’ by Lenny Williams and ‘I’m Telling You’by  Jennifer Holliday. Needless to say, old school rocked the house – literally. People (including your sweaty children-toting blogger) were up out of their seats screaming.

If you haven’t been to the UniverSoul Circus, I strongly urge you to go. Unlike Cirque Du Soleil, which is very refined, or Ringling Bros., which is your traditional circus-going experience, USoul is pure energy, start to finish (um…did I tell you I was sweating). But don’t take my word for it. See if for yourself.

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Denene and Nick

A Love Story

A Love Story

In Lesson One, I put forth the premise that ‘you are the brand.’ That lesson may seem a little amorphous, so I feel its appropriate to provide context and give ‘concrete examples of people being the brand.’ Interestingly, after I penned that entry, I was chatting online in Facebook with a friend of mine, who I thought would make a perfect case study for this first principle.

The person I was chatting with was Denene Millner, who I’ve known for about 10 years. I met Denene and her husband Nick Chiles, through my wife, Chanel, who’s best friend, Angelou, is Nick’s younger sister. Denene and Nick are both award-winning authors, who have written at least ten books between them. Originally New York City reporters who met in Room 9, the legendary press room at City Hall, Denene and Nick are both Atlanta -based full-time writers, and the embodiment of being the brand.

Denene and Nick are constantly writing and promoting their published works. Each book-signing or announcement is done in a signature fashion. One of their book signings, for The Vow: A Novel (written with co-authors Mitzi Miller and Angela Burt-Murray) was at Harry Winston in their Fifth Avenue designer showroom. It was the most glamorous book signing I had ever attended. Despite the fact that Denene is barely taller than 5 feet, she commanded the room with a presence that rivaled the numerous diamonds and gemstones on display.

Denene and Nick are keenly aware of the need to promote themselves, as well as their books, in whatever they do. I recently received an email blast from Denene, upon the release of her latest book, Hotlanta, in which she implored all of her friends to not only ‘support a sistah’ but also to tell our friends to do the same. She was shameless in her appeal, reminding us that she had helped all of us out at various points in time and that she was cashing in her chips.

For anyone who has ever shopped at a Barnes and Noble or visited the Strand, there are countless titles from countless authors competing for our attention (and our dollars). Very few of those books ever see the ‘best seller’ list or get any of the ‘prime retail’ space reserved for hot authors or Oprah’s “book of the month’ selection. Needless to say, competition among authors is fierce (albeit passive).

What makes Denene and Nick remarkable (and why I chose to use them as my example for Lesson One) is their approach to writing. First, they are collaborative writers. Almost all of their books were written together or with other co-authors. Their ‘What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know” series of books, offer gender-based opinion on issues ranging from sex and relationships to money and politics. Their novels explore the depths and complexities of male/female relationships, covering topics including fidelity and earning and income disparities.

Second, they know that a large part of the appeal of their books is them. The subject matter they write about, while always interesting and presented in a fresh (and Afro-centric) way, is still rather pedestrian and can be found in any number of books. But the fact that Denene and Nick are the authors imbues their work with something special that makes their books ‘must haves.’ More accurately, the fact that Denene and Nick announce themselves as the authors of their books, makes it clear that you’re not just buying a book, you’re buying into their celebrity.

Denene and Nick know that they are the brand, and they make it a point to keep that message at the forefront of everything they do. They started a marketing and communications firm called Odyssey Media, which publishes Odyssey Couleur and offers a full range of boutique leisure services to a discerning clientèle. Once again, the value of their personal brand has allowed them to expand into other areas.

‘You are the brand’ means that when it comes to promoting anything, the value that people attach to whatever it is you’re pitching, starts with the value they attach to you. Therefore, the more you cultivate your personal appeal, the greater an impact you will have when pitching yourself or any extension of yourself.

Until next time, class dismissed.

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