[Update] Hopping out the Matrix pt. 2

It’s been almost three months since the last post, and looking back I am encouraged with the progress that’s been made.  I finished bartending school and got a job at Lucky Strike Lanes downtown. Finding a bartending gig was a bigger challenge than I anticipated.  No one wanted to hire me because I had no bartending or waiting experience, but I was persistent and kept applying everywhere.  Thankfully, I landed a job at a pretty cool venue, so things worked out.  We’ve established the store name and formerly filed the LLC for our company.  I don’t want to put the store name out there just yet, but you’ll soon find out (probably as soon as we get the logo designed).

We’re currently looking at real estate listings for the store location and there are some pretty exciting prospects available.  We’re also in the process of finding/hiring an architect.  All this will be determined in a month’s time.  Soon as that’s done, all there’s that’s really left to do is build the store, order the product, launch the website, and……..open our doors for business.

We’re getting closer.  Much has been accomplished in three months, but there is still much to do in the next three months in order to get this popping by the scheduled start date.  But we doing it…..yeah, we doing it.

Hopping out the Matrix

Really this blog post is for myself more than anybody.  Things are always more official in writing, and documenting these thoughts will give me something to look back and hold myself accountable against.  Accountable for what, you may ask?  Doing what I need to do to get out [of] the Matrix.

“The Matrix” is a term we use to refer to the corporate world or a “normal” job, and I credit my friend Will Brannon  for coining it in this sense.  The Matrix provides a steady paycheck and security.  Often it provides health benefits and a retirement plan.  As long as you’re not an idiot with your money you don’t have to worry about anything.  The Matrix also sucks big, hairy monkey balls.  All of my friends who work a corporate job complain about it, even if they like what they do.  We’re all tired after we get off of work, even though all we do is sit on our asses all day.  The Matrix sucks the life out of you.

The sad truth is the overwhelming majority of people do NOT like their job.  Most tolerate it, many even hate it.  Why do we CHOOSE to live like this?  Why do we CHOOSE to spend the majority of our lives doing something we don’t really care about?

I can’t accept this way of life any longer.  Truth be told I was getting comfortable in the Matrix.  I have decent hours and don’t work much overtime, good pay (especially considering how much effort I actually put in), and I can pretty much afford to do most of the things I want to right now.  But for 8-10 hours each day I am sitting in a place I don’t want to be at, doing something I don’t really want to do, when I could be doing so much more with my life.  It’s time to hop up out the Matrix.

Last Monday I got the wake up call (i.e. email).  Investor relations at the company I work for sent out a notice that we are being bought out in a merger.  Although the deal won’t be done for several months, I am fairly certain I will lose my job.  So a decision had to be made.  I could choose the Blue Pill, get my resume ready, look for another IT audit job, and stay in the Matrix.  Or I could pick the Red Pill and open up my own business like I’ve been wanting to for the past 3 years.  I choose the Red Pill.

Hopping out the Matrix isn’t easy, and that’s probably a big reason why most people don’t do it.  Even Neyo got his ass kicked during training when he first stepped out.  Starting a business takes planning and money, but more importantly it takes discipline and commitment to stick to the plan that’ll make the business possible.  Setting goals are easy – doing the dirty work to achieve goals isn’t.  I am, however, ready to put in work.  The initial cost estimate and business plan has been drafted.  I cut off my cable to save money.  I’ll be taking bartending classes next month because I’ll need a night gig while the store gets off the ground, and if I start bartending while I’m still working the corporate J.O. the extra cash will be helpful.  I ain’t just bloggin’ about it, I’m bein’ about it.

I know being a store owner does not necessarily translate into a lucrative profession.  Best case scenario the shop pops off and we open stores in Austin, LA, Chicago, NY, etc.  Worst case scenario I work the shop everyday, but at least I’m working for myself.  If the shop fails, at least I’ve developed the experience and know-how to be self-employed so that I don’t have to resort to the Matrix ever again.

Like I said, this blog is really going to serve as a reminder to myself of what I’m working for.  The work is already underway, I just have to stay committed.  However, if you’ve read this far, I hope this post also inspires and encourages you to do whatever it is you fucking want with your life.  This is your life.  LIVE IT.

Style over swag

Thanks in large part to Soulja Boy and the hip hop community in general, everything is about swag. Pretty boy swag. Swag surfing. D-Town swag. California Swag District. My swag. Your swag. Here a swag, there a swag, everywhere a swag swag.

I suppose to a certain extent the Swag Revolution is a positive thing. It’s good that people are feeling good about themselves. But just cuz you’re sagging in your skinnies doesn’t mean your swag has automatically been turned on. (And to further this point, some people should realize the amount of sag does not automatically translate to an increase in swag. Yes, I have slim jeans and yes I sag myself, but there are limits to how low your pants should go. But I digress.)  Suffice it to say, swag does not equal style.

Style is more than just dressing well. It is the ability to take relevant fashion trends and flip them in such a way that is truly personal and distinct from the crowd, and yet it still “works”.  To dress well all you need to do is have money and copy what you see in magazines and advertisements.  Style is more personal.  Dressing well is a reflection of how well one keeps up with fashion. Style is a reflection of one’s self.

Add Class to this idea of Style and the result of this equation is how I define Grown Man Steez.  Swaggin and stuntin is all good and fun, but that’s done to show off to other people.  Cats on their Grown Man Steez already know who they are, so they do it for themselves.

Do I think I have Style?  No.  But in 2011 and moving forward that will be what I’m working towards.

Pic via donclothing.com

Pic via askmen.com

Pic via sartoriallyinclined.blogspot.com

Pic via thesartorialist.blogspot.com

Pic via streetetiquette.com

A Basket of Eggs

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything on my personal blog, and though I’ve honestly wanted to create a few posts recently, the truth is much of my thoughts have been dominated by a single subject. Sharing these thoughts in a public forum would likely make my life awkward (at least in certain situations), so instead I’ve kept things relatively private and discussed with a few that are close to me.

I was having another one of these conversations with a good friend this evening, when he gave me an anecdote that kind of put things in perspective. He’s actually told me parts of this story before, but we never discussed details. Without putting all of his business out on the world wide web, suffice it to say he hit a rough patch with someone he cared about, so rough this person wanted him to die. For months he would try to contact this person, only to be ignored. On the rare occasion he was able to make contact, it would end up in arguments so heated they would nearly come to blows. Nevertheless, my friend persevered, and despite the obstacles things eventually returned to normal.

Why would anyone go through all that stress, all that trouble, for months on end? There are some things in life that can’t be achieved until you abandon all other prospects and fully invest in that one thing. At some point when you really know what you want, you have to put all your eggs in one basket. This is exactly what my friend did. At the time he and I were not that close, but I’m sure he had homies telling him to let it go. I know I would have. But when it comes to certain matters of the heart there is no compromise and no giving up.

So, now that things are in perspective, I know how to proceed…and I only have one basket.

“How come…???”

This comes from a post on my friend Tawn’s blog ChickenAndKetchup.  Having several friends of different cultural backgrounds, Tawn couldn’t help but notice commonalities among people of the same ethnicity.  Her observations are meant to be humorous and though many of these questions are based on stereotypes, they are in no way intended to offend anyone.  Anyways, I had answers to many of the questions she asked, so here we go…

  1. How come the average size of a man’s wang differs across different races? A: Genetics
  2. How come the average breast and hip size of a woman differs across different races?  A: Again, genetics.
  3. How come Vietnamese girls are the ones who are more likely to get breast implants?  A: They’re more superficial and more willing to spend money on fake boobs.  Also, Viet guys tend to spoil their gf’s, so they may buy the boobs for their girl.
  4. How come Koreans girls are more likely to get surgery on their face? i.e. double eyelids? A: It’s part of Korean culture.  It’s basically expected that you get your eyes done by the time you graduate college.  Kinda like how we’re expected to get a license at age 16 (shout out to Minh).
  5. How come a lot of White people often walk  without shoes? A: Cuz they grew up in suburban America where it’s clean and safe to walk around barefoot.  Fuck around and walk barefoot in the hood and you’ll probably step on glass.
  6. How come a lot of Korean guys and Mexican guys like to be super douchey and overprotective of their significant others? A: They’re insecure, and all their fathers are assholes like that.
  7. How come Asians like their karaoke?  A: Because it’s fucking fun.
  8. How come a lot of Latinos hang out in the front of their house? A: It’s not Latinos that hang outside their house, it’s people from lower-income households, regardless of race.  For an example of non-Latinos hanging outside, watch the movie Friday.
  9. How come a lot of White people say, “WOOOOOO!” when they’re drunk? A: Specifically, drunk white girls.  It’s a signal to the hunters that the prey is ready for the taking.
  10. How come Filipinos seem to always roll deep? A: Because we do.
  11. How come Filipinos spell certain things with a Ph or a F or P.  I’m always confused as to which one to use.  A: http://tagaloglang.com/The-Philippines/Language/filipino-tagalog-pilipino.html
  12. How come we (Asians) always seem to place Chinese and Koreans at a higher social status in the Asian ladder of coolness.  Ok, using Yao Ming as a reason isn’t legit. Haha. A: Filipinos are the coolest Asians.  It’s scientifically proven.
  13. Why do us jungle Asians have the most issues with the law? A: We like doing hood rat stuff with our friends.
  14. How come Filipinos and Blacks are naturally better dancers? A: Referring to my earlier point, we’re naturally cooler.  I also want to point out that Filipino and African-American cultures have a lot of similarities.  I may have to blog about this later.
  15. How come White people love getting darker (tan), while everyone else is trying to maintain the lightest color as possible…but not too light or we look sickly.  A: Because in most other cultures the working class is dark.
  16. How come Vietnamese and Mexicans both like cilantro, green onions, and lime? A: Teenage pregnancy.

Make sure you check out Tawn’s blog for the full list of questions.

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AIM Game – The dying art of Instant Message holleration


When I was in school one of the most convenient and effective ways to holler at a girl was AOL Instant Messenger.  Even before the days of Facebook stalking, there was AIM.  The beauty of AIM was that you didn’t have to see a girl often in order to have actual conversations with her.  Even if you saw her once a week, you could still chat with her everyday and establish a genuine bond.

There were two fundamental rules to AIM Game.  First and foremost, you had to MAKE SURE how you learned her screename didn’t make you look like a creeper.  You couldn’t just randomly IM a chick cuz then she’d think you were stalking her.  There had to be a [seemingly] legitmate reason for the opening IM.  My senior year at UT there was this gorgeous girl in one of my classes, but I never got a real opportunity to talk to her before/during/after class.  After we became friends on Facebook I noticed she posted her screename on her profile.  One day I purposely skipped class, and the next day I IM’ed her asking, “Hey were you in class the other day?  Mind if I get your notes?”  I mean, she was the only person I knew in that class – who else would I have asked?

The second rule of AIM Game (and dating in general, for that matter) was to never be a Bugaboo.  You couldn’t be the one to always IM first.  I know EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US has stared at our Buddy List waiting for that one person to IM us.  And if they didn’t we’d be like, “What the hell???”

Now that we’re out of school I don’t really see instant messaging as being a viable option to initiate communication with the intent to holler. Nowadays people just chat with people they already know well.   Also, most of us are at work during the day, so even if you “kind of” know somebody you don’t want to bother them at work by IM’ing them cuz then you’d be weird.

Dang…RIP AIM.

Dumb Broad Syndrome

Dumb Broad Syndrome, or DBS, is a mental illness I first documented in 2004. Since then, I’ve noticed the disease is far more widespread than originally perceived.  It is estimated that 85% of young women between the ages of 15 and 28 suffer from some form of DBS.  The disease is extremely contagious, and if one female in a group suffers from DBS it is highly likely to spread to other females in her social circle.  I even started noticing some men displaying symptoms of DBS. Like schizophrenia, Dumb Broad Syndrome can affect a patient’s behavior in a number of different ways.  The two most common manifestations of DBS in my research have been Trifilin’ Ass Hoe and Still Stuck on Him.

I am astounded at the number of Trifilin’ Ass Hoes out there.  These girls are known to play (devious) mind games and take advantage of the men they are dating.  Even in long term relationships, these girls never seem satisfied and will run around with other men on the down low regardless of how well their mate treats them.  Trifilin’ Ass Hoe-itis can be seen in single women as well.  You will see this broad caked up with one dude at a bar one night, and in less than a week you’ll see her with another man.  Most of the time a Trifilin’ Ass Hoe is a chick you can stroke with little to no effort, but be weary of the Next Level Triflin’ Ass Hoe.  These girls don’t let men hit unless they’re in a relationship, leading the man to think he found a “good” girl.  But a Next Level Trifilin’ Ass Hoe will still flirt and run around with other cats behind your back, even if she made you wait before you cut.  Don’t get tricked into taking it to the Next Level.  I made that mistake once…never will I make it again.

On the other end of the DBS spectrum are the girls that are Still Stuck on Him.  “Him” usually refers to an ex-boyfriend, but it can apply to any man she’s had romantic involvement with.  The girls that are Still Stuck on Him will always take Him back, no matter how many times he does her wrong.  One symptom of Still Stuck on Him DBS is when a girl blindly ignores warnings that her man is cheating.  No matter how compelling the evidence or trusted the source, she stubbornly refuses to believe her man is capable of such a thing.  Another symptom is seen when a man goes back and forth in his mind trying to decide if he wants to be with a girl.  Despite how many times he drops her, as soon as he feels like he wants her again the girl that’s Still Stuck on Him will always run back (quickly).

Unfortunately there is no cure or treatment for DBS.  In most instances patients will simply outgrow DBS with time, but this is not always the case.  Preliminary research indicates strong values instilled by a female’s parents during childhood may play an important factor in avoiding DBS.  Preventing young girls from running around with hood rats may also be a strong DBS deterrent.

Motivation

Up until a few years ago I actually enjoyed working out.  While many people find lifting weights a chore, I used to always think it was fun.  And to be honest I can admit I’m rather vain, so after I developed a little bit of muscle I couldn’t imagine losing it.  A couple of years ago, however, I started losing motivation to hit the gym. Nowadays everybody is trying to be swoll, and there are hella meatheads and douchebags running around in their Affliction shirts thinking they’re hot shit.  I hate going to the gym and seeing those guys.  Also, as I’ve grown older, I’ve become more fond of beer and eating well (not healthy), whereas earlier in life I found it easy to refrain from poor nutritional decisions. Furthermore, I’ve learned it’s still possible to attract women without looking like a superhero as long as you know how to talk to them.  So for over the past 2 years it’s been more and more of a struggle for me to find the motivation to hit the gym consistently.

Then a couple of weeks ago I went to Lake Conroe to spend time with my family for my sister’s 20th birthday.  Three of her friends made it out to the lake as well, one of which being a rather tall, athletic looking fellow.  Now, I know for a fact my sister’s not formerly dating anyone right now, but she told me she’s talking, chilling, and just “having fun” with some guy.  (I’m old enough to know what that means, but as her older brother I try not to think about it.)  Anyways, I put 2 and 2 together and figured this is the cat she’s talking to.

So we’re on the boat, and I have to admit homeboy’s kinda ripped (pause).  Then I get to thinking, “I’ll be damned if these lil mother f*****s tryin to holler at my LITTLE SISTER be swoller than me.”  These fools need to recognize if they cross the line I am both willing and ABLE to break their face.  Don’t get me wrong, when I meet these guys I’m “nice” enough, to a certain extent.  But I don’t have to be friendly.  Why we gotta be friends?  I already have my friends…to me the clique is full.

So now my motivation for working out is less about attracting hoes, and more about ensuring my sister isn’t treated like a hoe. For the most part I think she’ll make wise decisions in regards to dating because she doesn’t suffer from DBS (Dumb Broad Syndrome, which I will discuss in an upcoming blog post), but guys in general can’t be trusted.  When my sister brings a dude to meet me, I gotta be sure I intimidate him enough so that he knows if he slips up, that’s his ass.

Bonus: As a young’un this movie was motivational for me.

No shots, no slugs…but c’mon son

My take on two fashion trends I just don’t understand – the summer beanie and non-prescription nerdy glasses with no lenses.

Of course, I have to pay homage to the original.