Thursday, August 28, 2014

What I Did For Summer Vacation - Urban Dare

Have you ever had one of those days that made you want to throw up your hands, crawl into bed and read until midnight... Yeah, well for me that day was yesterday. Yesterday, I would have come home and watched paint dry to escape the ridiculousness of the day. Y'all I would have volunteered to watch a Maury marathon on TV. I would have volunteered to weed the garden... or wash the dishes. It was just awful. It was made even MORE awful by the fact that it was only Wednesday, which meant that I still had (have) to deal with two MORE days of this craziness before a long weekend. Sometimes, friends, it just isn't worth it.

As I sat in my bedroom, eating my stress away and contemplating getting a new job (again), I decided to write about something that makes me happy. So I picked up my iPhone and looked at some photos from this summer. Summer was (is) a super busy time around here. We always end up traveling more than anticipated. Sometimes we get roped into street fairs, spontaneous celebrations, family outings or outdoor workout sessions. Because of the hectic schedule, we also have more "rest" days than anticipated. Lefty and I wake up with lofty dreams of Do It Yourself projects around the house and we end up sleeping late, procrastinating and saying we will do it "next" weekend. Things like that happen during our summer. We are ok with it- because things (mostly) get done on an acceptable timeline.

One of the events we have made time for the last two summers is a race called the Urban Dare. Think Amazing Race meets your city. We had a groupon in 2013 and decided that it would be fun to run walk quickly though some neighborhoods of Columbus, seeing some things that are often overlooked when you live in a city. And we had an absolute BLAST. We didn't come in last (I mean, it IS a 'race') and we didn't come in first (I'm going to emphasize the fact that there was NO running) but we did show some amazing teamwork and the attitude issues were few and far between. This summer we did the race again-- we ranked a bit higher in the standings (woot, woot) and still had a fabulous time. I recommend that when the Urban Dare comes to your town, you put together a team! You learn a few things about the city you live in, learn about your partnership, the obstacles are do-able... and you don't have to eat gross stuff :) Check out their website: Depending on where you live, they have races into the fall- we will be doing the race again in 2015!!

Here are some pics from our 2014 adventure... a Throwback Thursday photo array in the hopes that today will be a brighter day than yesterday! Happy almost long HOLIDAY weekend y'all.

Beginning of the day...

Before we took off in the heat. I had a fresh haircut and no sunscreen, what was I thinking?

One of our stops- on the statehouse lawn. WWII letters on a monument, made these history nerds happy campers, indeed! 

Extra points, identifying and finding this sculpture, while on the run! :) 

Getting towards the end. That is the face of a Hot, Black and Bitter, tired mess, y'all!

One of our obstacles- Lefty had to "propose" to a stranger. She was in the park... with her husband. We saw them again, after this stunt... She told Lefty they were over, since he was cheating on her after he proposed! LOL 

Good times- summer in the city. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Straight into the Fire

*Stretches, cracks knuckles, deep breaths*
What's happening, people? One month and 17 days ago, I abandoned this lovely outlet to go and have a fantastic summer as a newlywed. It has been great, but I have missed sounding off on the happenings of the world. So, I decided last week that I would not wait until Labor Day to get back at it. So here I am, pissing people off, in writing, again. Ah, it feels good!! So my first topic? I'm bypassing the "What I did For Summer Vacation" essays (they are coming later) and I am going to go right into the fire, my friends and write about what I know... Growing up Black in the United States of America.

Ferguson, Missouri. A town you didn't know about three weeks ago has people divided these days. Michael Brown, a teenager two days from the beginning of his college career, was gunned down by a police officer in the street... broad daylight, in front of witnesses. Since then, people have easily taken sides, accusations have been thrown and the denial of race being part of the equation has been exponential. I have more than one opinion, which I will share, but I have a few KEY points that have to be front and center. So-- read these points and consider them AS you read my opinions. In other words, don't be dense- read everything before you comment... Don't make me cuss your dumb ass out. You know, the norm!

Key Points:
1. I support police officers. They have a VERY hard job. A job that I would NEVER want to have. With that hard job comes a ton of responsibility and far too often, officers are not responsible.
2. I do not condone breaking the law. I try not to and expect the same from fellow citizens. If a large group of citizens insist on breaking the law-- I have no issue with the National Guard being called out to restore order and enforce a curfew.
3. Race plays a part in every day life in America. When people deny that race is an issue in America, I automatically think they are idiots. Not just ignorant, but willfully so. And it makes me want to vomit.
4. I love, love, LOVE that this Facebook, online protesting generation has taking to the streets to try to exact some change in their neighborhoods. I fucking love it, and it should happen more often. Groups absolutely should stand up and shout that their children are not to be hunted in the streets like animals... LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.
5. I am VERY quick to correct bad behavior, on any one's part. I don't care if you look like me, if you are tall, short, Black, White, Asian, foreign or domestic, relative or total stranger-- if you are participating in some bullshit, I will call your ass out... you should know/do/be better. Looting is unnecessary and counter-productive. Destroying your own neighborhood is idiotic.

OK- with those key points in mind, here are my opinions. Police Officer Wilson is an overreacting jackass and now the City of Ferguson Police Department is trying to make this incident something that it was not... so that they can save face. In that process they are, in fact, making the situation worse and coming off as backwoods racist people who are stupid. As this situation wears on, I feel as though there will a tragic injustice done to Michael Brown, his family and his memory... which will try to be rectified by a correction of his character assassination on page 18 of the local paper- no national news coverage and that is.a.tragedy.

The way I see it (from the credible information I have found): Mike Brown and his little buddy were being assholes, walking in the middle of the street (which I hate, I mean my tax dollars purchased a very happenin' sidewalk... to walk on-- it is in the name, dude). Assassin Wilson, I mean Officer Wilson took exception and asked them to get their asses on the sidewalk (you know, a place for them to walk). They were smart asses back. Wilson decided to be sensitive sally and be super butt hurt that someone was ignoring his authority. So, officer bad ass decided that he was going to make these Black boys do what he said. And it all spiraled out of control from there.

Let me be clear: teenagers are dumb asses. They are, generally, rude. But nothing that Michael Brown did in the streets of Ferguson, MO that day was worth his life. He was unarmed and was assassinated in the streets of Ferguson-- hands in the air, surrendering to this sensitive police officer. I do not believe that Mike Brown tried to bum rush his assassin. I do not believe that he was involved in a strong arm robbery... and, while conveniently thrown in after the firestorm began, I do not believe that the sensitive cop knew that there was a robbery or that he was chasing a suspect. There are ways to stop an unarmed suspect that are not fatal. None of which include shooting said suspect 6 times, including twice in the head. No one will be able to convince me that officer sensitive HAD to shoot that boy 6 times.

So, how is race important in this situation, you ask? Let me tell you! I believe that officer sensitive pants would have been less likely to follow those boys if they were white. And when was the last time you heard of a white guy being shot down in the street at the hands of the police, unarmed, with hands raised? How often does that happen? Also, let's be frank... when white boys, some the age of Mike Brown, shoot up movie theaters and elementary schools, they are labeled as mentally unstable. They have psychologists on the television saying that so-and-so had a mental illness since they were children; for Mike Brown, the scenario is that he is a thug and a possible armed robber. Now, I am not saying that he wasn't- because, unlike all the other social media kings and queens with fake law degrees, I didn't know him personally, didn't know his activities, etc. I just find it peculiar that the first pictures that make the rounds on media outlets are those where a man purported to be Mike Brown (but it is NOT him, but you know, us dark skins all look alike) is smoking weed, throwing up gang signs and looking menacing. Why is the thug image so easy to believe? Could it possibly be because that is how most people think of Black people as a whole? I mean, let's be honest-- why are you so quick to say "Jesus, they should just get over it," or "THEY just want to have something to complain about," or "He deserved it," or "He should have done what the officer said," or "That is what happens when you rob people..." etc. Why is shooting an unarmed child in the street OK? It isn't. That is all that needs to be said. No matter what Officer Sensitive has to say the only response should be -- it is NOT OK to shoot our unarmed children in the streets of our cities.

Far too often, we give officers a pass. Too often, we offer up our children to the streets- seeing their ultimate sacrifice as a toll that certain neighborhoods just have to pay. Too often we allow the media to portray the Black community as ignorant, rowdy, and burdensome on the country. All too often we buy into the stereotypes that are circulating about us. We need a catalyst to take back our streets, our cities, the lives of our children. Quite possibly that is the ultimate goal that Michael Brown's death will serve-- a tide turning revolution to get our babies back, our reputations back, our communities... back. Get out there and take part in our revolution.

Welcome back, readers ;)

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