Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Turkey, et al

My sister is a sellout. I just wanted to get that out of the way before I begin this tale of Thanksgiving, a week late I know, but still...

My sister, Denise, told me she wasn't coming to Tampa last week. Denise, the sellout that she is, blamed it on her husband, which all married people do. I call "bullshit". She didn't want the hassle of driving from AL to FL during the holidays. But every fucking year I'm at an airport flying during the holiday season under the worst travel conditions imaginable. Do you know Spirit Airlines not only charges for checked baggage, but for WATER? A cup, not a bottle, of water costs $2. You don't get food, drink, or semi-hospitable flight attendants on these planes. It does nothing to temper my fear of flying.

Anyway, me and young TAD hit the scene on Wednesday morning. We were greeted by my parents at baggage claim and warm weather, both of which were welcome sights.

Later that night we saw of bunch of my paternal aunts and one of my uncles, with only my aunts being the welcome sight. My uncle Peter is a jackass and a drunkard. He never shuts up and he harassed me and TAD to the point where we were clearly irritated. While my father was telling stories about the bad old days, with me and TAD straining to hear him, my uncle was in our faces talking about nothing interesting and clogging up the good time. Fuckin' Peter.

The Thanksgiving meal was really the cornerstone of my visit. My parents are the biggest non-traditionalists I know when it comes to this. There is no big Thanksgiving "thing" at the table. It's like a buffet. You wanna eat? Go get some food, it's ready. I tried to warn TAD about this before we came. If she was off-put by it, she played it off well, because we ate up some shit.

I swear, the more distance I get from my mother's cooking, the more I appreciate it when I eat it. I've underrated her as a cook for a long time. I'll be damned if I don't miss everything she cooks. But she pulled some bullshit by NOT MAKING SWEET POTATO PIE. That, my friends, is the direct result of my sister not showing to help her. TAD offered to help, but I don't think it was the same as having an indentured servant who you can boss around without impunity (i.e. Denise) to help you cook. Once again, thanks Denise. Anyway to keep my mind off the awful Lions, and to avoid more goofy family, me and TAD dipped out to the IMAX theater to see "Beowulf" and Angelina Jolie's animated titties.

On Friday, my mother spared us by not getting up at 4 am to shop. I believe that was the only thing that my sister not showing up made better. She and TAD ended going to the movies to see "This Christmas". Thanks for catching that bullet for me, Mom. Your check is in the mail. When they came back, me and TAD tried to complete our modest "to do" list for this visit. Go to the beach, go to the Florida Aquarium, and get me some of these.

My love for Devil Crab is unsurpassed. Unfortunately for TAD, this is the only part of our plan that worked out. On Friday, the temperature was 75. On Clearwater Beach, the temperature had to 15 degrees colder. Still, there they were...ahem..."northerners" swimming, wearing bathing suits, and putting their kids in the water. I tried to maintain without a sweatshirt or a skully, but it was not to be. We jetted and went to the aquarium. We arrived at 4:57. It closed at 5:00. So we pretty much jacked up Friday. We didn't have an opportunity to see any of my maternal relatives because they were all out of town, so Friday evening was the requisite wind-down repack while my parents were out at the casino with some of my aunts. The perfect opportunity to play "The Counting Game". If you have to ask, you ain't old enough to play.

And that's how my shit went.

Be Cool,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Irreplaceable You?

Once upon a time I had a job. It was a fulfilling gig, even though it didn't pay much. I loved the work. I loved being a part of something bigger than myself. I was responsible for how the city I worked in looked prior to the Super Bowl, responsible for riverfront development on an international border, responsible for neighborhood growth and aesthetics.

My co-workers became my good friends. I was active most of the time. And when I wasn't active, I at least thought about what I could be doing better. I had 2 people who directly reported to me and 18 indirect reports. As much as I did or thought I did, when I left they replaced me within the month and moved on.

Why does my assistant, who does one-eighth of the shit I did at that gig, making $10,000 more than I did, with one-twentieth of the responsibility in a city one-tenth the size of the one I worked in believe so adamantly he deserves a raise?

Every time I tell him "no", he comes at me from another angle. I hope at some point he says "fuck it" and quits. When he does, he'll be smug about it. He'll laugh to himself at what a barrel he has us over, how we'll never be able to find someone as good as he is at his job. He'll speculate that we wish we'd done him right, that we'd paid him what he was worth. He'll be pretty confident that he "got us".

And then we'll replace him and keep going.

I hope one day everybody gets that thunderbolt from the blue, that "moment of clarity", that lets them realize it's REALLY not personal. You're not as important as you think you are. It's the way business and government is set up.

So the next time you're in the office sulking about some slight or some time you were passed over and how much you contribute to your department's success, think about the entire picture. Then go sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Grounded For Life

This shit will sound highly elitist to anyone reading this, but fuck it, in for a penny, in for a pound.

Everyday I'm reminded that I'm not like everyone else. When I read box office reports or the top ten records, I have a sense of not belonging. People enjoy...thoroughly enjoy...the worst shit imaginable. That's entertainment. The shit they put on TV is astounding. It's ridiculous how much utter bullshit is worked on lovingly by a cast and crew of talented people who never thought that their life's work would come down to this.

I'm convinced that the police procedurals currently being aired on the "Big Four" networks are amongst the worst, most fascist propaganda ever condensed into a one hour teleplay. And we eat this shit up.

"Two and a Half Men" is a hit show. Think about that shit. "According to Jim" has been on for seven seasons. The DaVinci Code was a major bestselling book. So was Tuesdays With Morrie.

I know a bunch of people who literally choose a book by it's cover.

I feel like I'm being prodded with a gotdamn stick all the time. I'm isolated. In general, people like shitty things. I don't comment on anyone's taste unless I'm explicitly asked. Trust me, I've learned my lesson the hard way. I even go out of my way to be diplomatic. "I've heard good things about that movie." That's usually the truth. I have heard good things about it. I've also learned my lesson about taking people's advice about shit. People have genuinely bad taste and they don't know it.

I can't talk to anybody about anything in an intelligent way. "Fuck you, African! I liked it!" I really give up. I maintain that I can't be a part of the "pop culture experience" anymore. This shit has really gotten to the tipping point of complete awfulness.

Be Safe,

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Search For Actual Meaning Amongst Symbols

Everytime we want to express our feelings we grasp for the correct symbol to do so. If you love someone, you send flowers. If you hate someone, you send an article of their clothing in a tampon box to their job (it happened to my big cousin Juan). If you're a patriot, you put a flag up and gaze at it adoringly. If you are an asshole, you wear monogrammed shirts bearing the initials ZXZ. All of these things are symbols, things we do almost without thinking. The biggest part of the problem is not thinking. It's reflexive symbolism.

The greatest symbols in the world are words. Words stand in for feelings. We all agree that a word "means" something, and that's that. But do we ever stand back and think about that shared feeling. If someone says to you "I'm angry", you get an ideal of what that means and what it feels like, but does it really convey the rawness and the immediacy of that emotion?

When someone sees a cross on a building, do they instantly think of the suffering of Jesus at his crucifixion or do they think "That must be a church"? When you see a church these days, you don't think much of sacrifice, at least not at the mega ones. Overused symbols lose all meaning.

The basis of me writing this is to describe a struggle I've been having for awhile. I've wanted to expunge all bullshit symbolism from my life. I'm searching for the ultimate "me".

I eschew all clothing that identifies me as a "part" of some organization or legacy. I minimize what I say. And I try to be efficient in what I write. It's part of my backlash against movies and a gang of books. "That dark alley way symbolizes the journey that he takes on the way to salvation." You know what? Fuck that dark alley way. Just show me the journey, well lit and shit.

In America, we tend to put too much weight into what certain words or actions symbolize in a person. The over-reliance on symbols to tell us what we seek to understand lead us to ignore the real, the palpable, the ACTUAL. I want us to participate in the world around us, it's telling us so much, instead of relying on symbols to do the grunt work for us.

Feel me?

Be Cool,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Gold Standard

It's a mix. I can't strictly call it snow, 'cuz it's too heavy. It's falling in sheets and it's making the road icy. Fuck that. I walk out and see the ground covered and I immediately wanna go back in and head for the bed.

Next Thursday I'll be in Tampa eating turkey and watching the Lions lose. High 70s, low 80s. Likely dodging Black Friday sales that my mother will be trying to drag TAD to. And I'll be trying to smuggle as many deviled crabs as I can back north when I return.

I think it's the high water mark of my current incarnation when the only thing I have to complain about is the weather.

And my staff. Oh yeah. I forgot them.

At 4:58 yesterday, a mere two minutes before I was leaving to go tend to a splitting headache, my secretary dashes in. "You have a minute?"

I looked at her with what must have been an incredulous expression. "What?!? What is it?"

"I'm sorry. I just wanted to let you know that I think Wispy would do a great job in the secretarial spot we're about to have vacant. We work well together and..."

"Wispy works well where she is. We make personnel decisions based on our needs. We need her where she is."

They come in one after another day after day, taking turns propping each other up and tearing each other down. If you're either too stupid to realize the core reason for my headache or too selfish to give a fuck, I'm not paying for it with my mental health either way.

The next day, today, before my coat was off, before I'd tasted coffee or turned on my computer, a broad came in to complain about a co-worker. Talking about how she's incompetent and she's lazy, then making sure I didn't think she was a bigot because the lady she was tearing down was Black. All in all, it wasn't worth it to bring my headache back first thing in the morning.

This'll probably be the last time I blog about work for awhile. I need to maintain my sanity.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gossipy Whores

Speculative queries, abject conjecture, and outright dissembling all play a major part in my daily life. In my job, either you know something or you make up some shit that's an approximation of the truth as you might see it just to appease muthafuckas at large, i.e. the public.

But there is a private face to this whole venture. One which makes people here spend too much time guessing what makes people click. I'm not so conceited that I think it's just me they do this with, but I'm the one they know the least about. It's by design. They tell each other all of their business and I decline to share. Then they outright ask me a question and depending on my mood, I give 'em whatever answer I want to. It doesn't have to be true.

The reason, which is not just because I hate them all, which I do, is that once you tell one of 'em anything you've told all of 'em. In a 47 person operation, every single one of 'em will know whatever scrap of information that you've let slip out. It's amazing in it's efficiency. I wonder why it doesn't translate into shit I need communicated on a professional level.

Him: So, what did you do this weekend?
KZ: Went to Detroit.
Him: Visit family?
KZ: Nope. My girlfriend.

Three minutes later in another part of the office:

Her: Did you and your girlfriend do anything special?
KZ: Hunh?
Her: You went to see your girlfriend in Detroit this weekend, right? Did you do anything special?

It's like the time when I mentioned doing Sudoku one day in passing to one person with no one else around and I literally got stuck in no less than 6 conversations about the types of puzzles they like to do. I guess if you're desperate for small talk material, any port in a storm will do.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I wrote this memo to my boss assailing his weak-kneed stance on policy issues. I asked that he establish a policy that we can use every time in this very specific circumstance. I'm sure he won't use it or even acknowledge. But it makes me not feel like a complete house African by not sitting by and letting him fuck up.

I had this meeting today with my boss and other staff to discuss another very specific circumstance. I spent a lot of time shooting down his arguments and supplying plenty of my own shit. I'm generally pretty quiet in these meetings. I try to stay under the radar as much as my big ass can. Because I spend a lot of time dodging shit, today felt much different.

I think it's because I had a good assed weekend. It's always good to come back after a suitable break. I can finally focus. It's a different workplace when you pay attention.


Friday, November 09, 2007

The Worst For You

I know you can't tell but I hate you as much as you hate me. You hate me because I represent authority, because I have "power" over you and your livelihood. I'm controlling your career advancement and your money. I get it, I fully understand why you hate me.

Do you know why I hate you? Because you believe you're irreplaceable. You are 12 for ten cents, yet you believe your contribution to success supersedes mine. "I do all the work, why should he get all the credit." I hate you because you always ask the wrong questions, which in turn lets me know that you lack vision. The shit you think about is so low level, I haven't thought about it in 12 years. That's how long I've been somebody's boss. I hate you because everything is personal. No, I'm not going to the "5:01" with y'all. No, I'm not coming to your party or cookout. No, I'm not going to lunch with you. No, I think I'll pass on the wedding. Where's the fucking TPS report?

I hate your intricate bundles of neuroses that spill out at inappropriate times. I hate your amazing attention to detail when it comes to what I'm wearing or who I'm speaking to but doesn't come into play when you're trying to distinguish between "their" and "there" in written documents. I hate your speculation into what my future looks like. I've never, not once, thought about yours.

You'd never guess that beneath this calm exterior lies a hate-filled seething cauldron of white hot lava ready to be tipped over and scorch everything in it's path. You represent everything I hate about this city and it's people.

And I wish nothing but the very worst for you.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Musings From The Grinch That Stole Pussy

What you have is a case of is cognitive dissonance. You do not threaten or beat the shit out of the person fucking your mate. They don't know you (most of the time), so their intent to cause you harm is negligible. They just wanted to get theirs. Your mate is the liar and cheater. That's where your anger goes, silly. You see how that works?

Opinions are like assholes. They get fucked in jail.

My favorite "dub" pejorative internet expressions (in no particular order) : asshat, hipster, motherfuckery, "I call 'bullshit'", Wentz (meaning an asshole or a jerk, so named after the lead singer of "Fall-Out Boy"), rockist, celebutard, and fuckwad

If I blocked all the "news" channels from my cable, I'd never have to hear another word about a fucking celebrity again.

In ancient times, the men would gather around an open fire and roast the animals that they killed earlier in the day. It was a way for them to bond after the hunt without partaking in any of the extremely necessary work that women did. These "meatings", later modified to "meetings", have continued to this day as a both gender inclusive phenomenon in the workplace.

I just made that shit up on the spot.

Hip hop began in 1978 on the corner of Jane Street and Park Drive on the Eastside of Detroit, Michigan. At least that's how I remember it.

I believe deep in my heart that my cleaners is running a scam. I have no real proof that they have cleaned anything, except for the fucking tags they put on my shit after the fact. I'm in the middle of a beef with my cleaners right now for shrinking the sleeves on a new shirt. Just the fucking sleeves. When an African was ass out back in the day, we'd call him "short sleeve Steve". I never got it before. Now I get it. The dry cleaner just told me there's nothing he can do about it. There's something I can do, though. See ya, asshole.

I joined a new gym and it's just as strange as my old one. In the locker room, dudes are standing around butt-assed nekkid combing their hair and clipping their toenails and shit, like it's the most natural shit in the world. I gives a fuck what you say, that shit is at the precipice of ass-banditry. If you stand in a crowd locker room with no drawers on slowly combing your hair in front of a mirror, you deserve every fuckin' name I call you. There are a group of cats there that work out together and I swear it looks like a continuation of a prison friendship. Weightlifting, bad tattoos and excessive grunting and "congratulating" and shit.

So ends the lesson.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It Just Gets Better

Snow again this morning. What they call a "light dusting". I call it "fucking hell".

It was Election night in the ol' town last night and boy was it a doozy. To make a long story as short as feasibly possible, the dick-touching hugging Vice-Mayor is now the dick-touching hugging Mayor. Joy. Give more juice to this dude so he can wield it from the dais and make me do more hoop-jumping. That's just the thing I need as I become more demoralized by this gig and this town.

To top it off, you know the loud mouth chick in your office that you hate to see coming? The one who makes every molehill into a mountain? The drama queen? If you don't know her, it's probably you. Anyway, these savants just elected THAT chick to the city commission. That'll lengthen my meeting times by about 2 hours.

I got resumes everywhere. I know the process will slow down as the holidays approach. Most cities work slowly anyway, but during the holidays, that shit pretty much stops. People are like "Fuck this, we can't get him hired before January anyway, let's not interview until then". And there lies my fate.

In the meantime I have two positions I have to fill BEFORE January and it doesn't look good. HR is running on autopilot right now and I'm not motivated.

Two days until the weekend.

Stay Focused,

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bitch Go Away!!!

I walked outside this morning and was greeted with snow. Hello West Mi.chigan. Another beautiful day in paradise.

It's gloomy as shit. Miserable outside. I think I gotta fire my dry cleaner. And I have yet another "reporting out" meeting this morning.

My boss loves meetings where we give verbal status reports. This will be my 3rd one this week. Yes, it is only Tuesday.

Staff keeps coming in, my boss keeps coming in. And all I can think is "Bitch, go away". To everybody. To everything.

The snow, the work, the work week, the blueprints, the proposals, the grants, the reports, the bills, the bullshit. Bitch, go away.

Three days away from a three day weekend. And it can't come soon enough.

Be Easy,

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lesbians With Dildos

So, I went to see A.merican Gan.gster on Friday, trying to help ensure box office success, and I wasn't alone. I was in a full house, cross culturally represented. Even in Satan's Anus the movie was on two screens, so I'm sure in a Black city like Detroit, it was likely on four.

My critique? Utter bullshit. I've been waiting for this movie since August, when the trailer played before The Bourne Supremacy, and I was sadly disappointed. I was telling my boy Three this when I called him after I left the theater. If there is a bloodthirsty, gun-waving, evil genius running around the streets of Ha.rlem, why the fuck spend half the movie showing me the boring muthafucka who's trying to catch him? Two hours and 30 minutes, split between Mr. Charisma and some asshole who's going through a rough patch in his life? The filmmakers made a bad choice on this one.

I get it. It's Hollywood. You gotta sell tickets. And how else do you sell tickets to the masses if you don't include white starpower. So making Ru.ssell Cro.we an equal partner to Den.zel is a smart business move. But story-wise, it fucked everything up. It ruined what had the potential to be great. Chiw.etel Eji.ofor is an excellent actor. Don't you think his role could've been enhanced as Fr.ank Lu.cas' right hand? He was WASTED in that part. Completely wasted. They even wasted a RARE good performance by Jr. Who would have thunk it?

Ru.ssell Cro.we's a good man with a bad home life. Den.zel is a bad man with a good home life. Big fuckin' deal. The dichotomy is not interesting. Move on. Nothing to see here.

The whole endeavor is as useless as...well, you read the title.


Friday, November 02, 2007

No Liquor, Just TV

Why are there three days between Monday and Friday? Those days are pure torture. Last night I had a meeting. From 7 pm to 10 pm. Outraged citizens. Their point was made within 30 minutes. Yet, they continued to speak. Each one arrogantly saying shit the person in front of them said, believing that THEY would be the ones to articulate the exactly same shit in a much better way. Public discourse is over-fucking-rated. I hate people, and outraged citizens are mean people who lie to garner sympathy for their cause.

I'm saying all this to say those muthafuckas made me miss my favorite shows on Thursday night. That ain't cool!!!

Now I have to wait for the shits to get posted online.

I love this show. I love The Office, too, but I couldn't find a good visual representation of it.

I've always thought Tracy Morgan was underrated. Always been a fan. Still no word on what's up with Tina Fey's face. On Thursdays, NBC is runnin' shit again. Except for fuckin' ER. Seriously, what's up with that?

I got to see one of the most unloved shows on TV last night, a show I'm absolutely addicted to.

You really have to have a pretty goofy sense of humor to appreciate it. They just don't give a fuck.

I really didn't have shit to say today. Just that I'm about to watch The Boondocks on line and veg out on somebody's dime. They owe me 3 hours.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Blue

I was sitting at my desk, fuming about answer citizens phone calls about shit they don't understand when the phone rang. I saw it was my secretary, so I picked up.

"Let me see if I get this right. There's a Najma on the phone for you."

Najma. Fuckin' Najma. I hadn't talked to Najma in 4 good years. Her husband called me at work once. Threatened to kill me. I believed him too. He was a sheriff's deputy for Ke.nt Cou.nty. Complete asshole. Huge Pe.nn S.tate fan, even though he was just there for the ride when she was getting her PhD. I asked that cat "Is it worth going to jail for life for an unfaithful wife?"

And here she was on the phone. Fuckin' Najma.

"OK. Put her through."

" are you?" "I'm great. Never been better. What's up?" "Nothing...."

I'm waiting for her to tell me why she's called. I don't wanna be rude. I really don't. Even though she was messing around with me and left hints so that her "neglectful" husband would find out and show some emotion where she was involved.

I was giving her the courtesy only because I've known her since we were in 10th grade. I didn't know if she was calling me to tell me if her mother died or one of her 14 siblings. I didn't wanna bite her head off right away. So I waited.

"Najma, why are you calling me?" "Intuition. Women's intuition. Something told me to call you. To see if you were OK."

"You got the answer. I'm fine. Everything's good with me."


"Well, I guess I'll talk to you later." I had no intention of talking to her later, but I've never ended a phone conversation properly any other way.

Be Up,