Monday, June 26, 2006

What's On Your Agenda?

This year marks the 25th year that HIV/AIDS has ravaged our nation and stripped us of a number of our nation's best and brightest. Unless you are in the medical field, most do not know that AIDS has taken and HIV has infected an unproportionate amount of African American lives. So much so, there has been a number of theories that names the United States government as
the entity that unleashed this deadly virus into our society. The following was taken from the Center for Disease Control's website:

(Please Read)

Among diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans,
HIV/AIDS has had a particularly devastating effect. At every stage―from HIV
diagnosis through the death of persons with AIDS―the hardest-hit racial or
ethnic group is African Americans. Overall, even though African
Americans make up only approximately
13% of the US population, one half of the estimated new numbers of HIV/AIDS
diagnoses in the United States in 2004 were for African Americans [1].*

Race/ethnicity of adults and adolescents with HIV/AIDS diagnosed in
2004 Note. Based on data from 35 areas with long-term, confidential,
name-based HIV reporting. AIDS has become a leading
cause of death for African Americans
. In 2002 (the most
recent year for which data are available), HIV/AIDS was the second leading
cause of death for all African Americans aged 35–44 [2]. In the same
year, HIV/AIDS was the number 1 cause of death for African American women
aged 25–34 [2].

The cumulative toll (from the beginning of the epidemic through 2004)
of AIDS is sobering.
Of the almost 1 million cases of AIDS diagnosed in the
United States and its dependencies, possessions, and associated nations, 40%
were in African Americans [1].
Of the more than half a million people with AIDS who have died, 38% were African
Americans [1].

In 2002, HIV/AIDS was the number 1 cause of death
for African American
women aged 25-34. It is not an
exaggeration to say that HIV/AIDS is an epidemic in the African American

Quick Facts:
African Americans have accounted for 40%
of AIDS diagnoses since the beginning of the epidemic [1].

African Americans do not live as long as people in other racial or
ethnic groups who have AIDS [1].

In 2004,more African American children (under the age of 13) were
living with AIDS than were children of all other races and ethnicities living
with AIDS combined [1].

Tomorrow, June 27 is National HIV Testing Day. What's on your agenda?

AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati
Street Address
220 Findlay St. Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-7712
Phone Number
513-421-2437 (main)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Workout Log #2

Today I decided to be a cheap skate and workout at the recreation center where I am employed. The bad thing is that I am employed at a local university so after work is when all of the students AND employees head to the gym. Always a bad decision if you are trying to get through a quick workout, which is what I was trying to do. The good thing is that there are people to talk with and give/get advice to/from about weight lifting strategies and workout plans.

I was trying to rush through today's workout because I had the opportunity to shadow a personal trainer (more about this to come). Even though I have some experience with training while I was in the Army, it is great to see a person trying to get in shape because they want to and not because they are getting barked at.

One great thing is that even though I have not increased the number of reps or weigh, it is much easier to get through the workouts. I will do one more session at the present weight/rep schedule then I think I will kick it up a notch for next week.

Dichotomy Of A Mutant

Movies have long been a major pastime in our culture. Movie studios spend millions of dollars to make a film in hopes that their monetary return will be exponentially larger than their initial payment. Over the years, the formula for making a feature film that will automatically be a box office hit has not been discovered, but many directors like Ron Howard, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have come very close to perfecting the recipe. The common thread that binds all of these director’s works is that their movies imitate life. In the true since of art imitating life (or is that the other way around) the third instillation of X-Men does an outstanding job by bringing visual effects and a poignant storyline together to tell the story. Ironically, this story of persecution that is intertwined through out this film very much parallels the plight of gays and lesbians who will go to see this story unfold on the big screen.

X III is overcast with the ominous situation of the government distributing a vaccine that could “cure” mutants, stripping away the power that makes them unique. Those who despise their power unarguably will jump at the opportunity to become normal and those who cherish their powers and want to keep them (to be used for good or for evil) are afraid that the government will eventually forcibly use this “cure” as a weapon against them. This is very similar to why the American Psychiatric Association thought about homosexuality in the early days of its diagnostics. They thought that they could “cure” homosexuality with treatment. The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its diagnostic list of mental disorders in 1973.

But the character Storm, the weather wheedling witch, has a stronger role than ever before. With her sudden thrust into the commander’s seat, she commendably defies the notion that being a mutant is an illness. Many thought the early days of homosexuality heralded the same sentiment.

Growing up as a teenager, many who were questioning their sexuality were so confused by their feelings for the same sex that the shielded away from the famed heterosexually contact and were all but terrified from engaging in their longed for homosexual contact. This parallels the character of Rouge, whose mutant power is that she absorbs the life force any person she physically touches. So much that she kills them. This presents a major problem as she is a teenager with a steady boyfriend.

One of the most stereotypical examples of teenage homosexual angst is that of the young boy who has come to the realization that he is different, but he does not want his secret to be known by his father. This is portrayed in the movie early when we see the father of the young winged avenger finds him trying to scissor his wings off as a child. Later in the movie, we find that the father is the one who created the “cure” and wants to use his own son as a guinea pig. Just before the son, now strapping young man, is injected with the “cure”, he changes his mind and breaks free of the situation by leaping through the glass window to soar freely over the San Francisco Bay. Very telling of a number of feeling of a handful of gay and lesbian young adults who have broken away from the shackles of their family and “came out” the live freely in society.

In fact, the only way that this movie’s perils parallel the struggles of gays and lesbians is that it never touches upon the issue of marriage.

IF you think hard about it, the mutant’s story can be associated with set of people who have been persecutes and defamed throughout the years. Jews during the holocaust, African Americans during slavery both can associate with the mutant’s story just as homosexuals. And you wonder what my fascination is with this story.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Novel Is As A Novel Does...

As most of you can tell, writing is a pastime of mine. In 1996, most likely due to a month long struggle with what seemed like depression, I started to write song lyrics and poetry. This past time took me away from the reality of being dissatisfied with my life and gave me a break from new experience of college life. Revisiting this habit only a few times through out the next couple of years, it was not until the winter of 2002, whilst the midst of a troubling relationship, that I again called on the art of the written word in the form of short stories to save me from my every-day world. Several short stories were written while I battled my own self-doubt during the aforementioned relationship and during the end of that horrid union, the idea of a novel sprouted.

That is were I am today. Currently the novel is still untitled but has a plot with a defined storyline to include twenty planned chapters. Slowly but surly I have added to this work, and periodically have been trying to polish my writing skills by going to the local writing group at InkTank, but over the past few months, it has been a bit harder for me to attend the sessions.

I am not sure how much I want to talk about the specific plot of the novel through this forum but I will divulge that it is a mystery, set in Cincinnati, Ohio (big surprise) with young, African American man as the lead character.

I have just completed the first eight chapters and it is 2006. I hope it does not take another 5 years to finish.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I Know What I Did Last Summer

In recent post I have mentioned that I will be taking an extended vacation for the summer. As noted in most of my runner and workout logs, I have been long anticipationg for this vacation and have planned extensively for it. I just realized that in none of these mentionings of the summer romp have I told you guys where I am going, what I will be doing or for how long I will be on hiatis.

Some friends and I will be caravanning to the Upper Penninsula (U.P.) and staying in a cabin on Lake Manilak for the wedding of a mutual friend of ours. The UP trip will last one week and the day after I return, I will be driving with another frined of mine to Chicago for the Gay Games. No I am not participating (I wish).

This will be the first trip that I have taken in a year, and I am so ready for it. While at the lake I plan to get some major work on my novel (I'll tell you more about that later) completed, spend hours on the beach catching up on my current book (in the shade of course) and simply relaxing.

I can not wait!

Workout Log #2

Today has turned out to be better than I had expected. I did my regular upper body workout (bi's, tri's, chest, back and abs) but is was much easier then my Sunday's workout. Since I used the same amount of reps and weight for each exercise, I am presumably getting abit bit stronger as the days go by. That is a good thing (I just hope that it's showing as well...). As I stated in my last workout entry, my workout, itself does not change very drastically, so I am trying to spice it up my trying out different workout facilities. Sunday, I ventured to the University of Cincinnati's brand spanking new Campus Recreation Center and it was great. I started my college career some up-teen years ago at this university and the workout facility was ok but thenew one is 15times larger and better. I am so jealous. The weight room, (which is where I spend most of my time) is situated on the 3rd level of the facility and it opens to the basketball courts on the ground level. It feels as if you are suspended in air as you pump the weights. Great idea!

Today, I ventured to the Gold's Gym in Hyde Park. I have been to this gym once before, but it was a few years ago. On principle, I try to stay away from corporate gyms because they are more about the bottom dollar than about helping their fellow man. I know because I used to work at FitWorks as a sales rep. Gold's was ok. The great thing about this gym is that it is over looking Interstate 71 so atleast you had a different car and mini van to look at every once in awhile . Also, all of the television monitors have headphones so the incessant babble of Maury Povich is not straining on your ears while you are trying to get that last bicep curl in. Another great idea!

One thing that I am going to add to these workout logs is a countdown to my summer vacation.

16 days and counting!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Workout Log #1

For several years, I have been interested in physical fitness. While I was in the Army, I worked extra hard to get a perfect score on every physical fitness test that I took and achieved a perfect score of 300 several times. While I was in the Ohio National Guard, I was the training NCO (non-commissioned officer) for our unit. Currently, I am studying to take the A.C.E. exam to become certified as a Personal Trainer.

I have read a number of blogs who have created a log of their progress leading up to a particular event so I fell into that way of blogging with my Runners log. Now that is over, I am going to periodically update you guys on my workouts leading up to my summer vacation. It will be interesting to read what I write about.

Today I am heading to the University of Cincinnati's new Campus Recreation Center. I attended UC my freshman and sophomore years of college, but that was almost 10 years ago. I am eager to check yotheirer new facilities.

Thursday Night's Romp

I first want to apologige to those who have been following Cincinnati NAMjA. Due to a rash of internet difficulties, I have not been able to post as often as i would have liked to. So the next few posts are dedicated to "catch you up" for the past weekend.

Last Thursday, the weather was very calm. So I decided to head to Friendship Park and really break in my new rollerblades. The last time that I had visited this park, it was very empty but this time, the several different gardens were lightly populated with painters, walkers, bikers and two other rollerbladers. I was very happy to see the park being used. After the 30 min jaunt around the park I came home and had a light dinner. Still bored, I decided felt the curse of song arise in me so I thought I would head out to Universal Grill for Karaoke. Low and behold there was a karaoke contest (which I did not win), but it was fun to see some familiar faces out on a Thursday night. Even though I lost, a woman told me that the Carnegie was hosting several productions this summer, one of the being Dreamgirls. I am so excited! She even suggested that I audition for one of the productions. I’ll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Odd Man Out

I usually am usually not this lazy, but I thought the Keith Boykin did a good job so I am re-printing his post.

Yesterday we talked about a French magazine. Today let's talk about an up and coming French athlete. That would be Gael Monfils, of course.

Monfils, a 19-year-old French teenager with corn rows, stunned the crowds at Roland Garros this week by beating James Blake in the third round of the French Open, only to lose in the fourth round to Serbian teenager Novak Djokovic.
The photo at top here shows Monfils with corn rows while the older photo at bottom shows him without them. (Click on either photo to see a larger image.) Monfils is
scheduled to play at Wimbledon later this month, with or without the corn rows.

Purple: The World's Most Perfect Color

I'm not sure what my mother was playing at when she shoved Alice Walker's The Color Purple, into my hands as a child, but I thank her for doing so. Published in 1982, The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, a Black woman in the South. Celie writes letters to God in which she tells about her life, her roles as daughter, wife, sister, and mother. In the course of her story, Celie meets a series of other Black women who shape her life. Nettie, Celie's sister, who becomes a missionary teacher in Africa; Shug Avery, the Blues singer her husband Mr. ______ is in love with, and who becomes Celie's salvation; Sofia, the strong-willed daughter-in-law whose strength and courage inspire Celie; and Squeak, who goes through awakenings of her own. Throughout the story, though, Celie is the center of this community of women, the one who knows how to survive.

There are so many aspectss of this novels that forces a person to reach deep in their soul and expunge the hatred that resides in them. Just the reason why Mr.______ is never called by his last name is a dissertation all in itself.

This incredible story was immortalized on the silver screen with the talents of Whoopi Goldberg (Celie), Danny Glover (Mr. ______) and Oprah Winfrey (Sofia) in 1984. All the emotions and feelings that poured out of me as a young boyafter I finished this short novel were expounded upon when I saw the story through the eyes of its director, Steven Spielberg (a native of Cincinnati).

Hands down, that has become one of my favorite movies of all time.

Needless to say, my heart broke and, at the same time, skipped a beat when I found out a few months ago that Ms. Winfrey had taken The Color Purple to Broadway. My heart broke because I know that it will not be easy for the show to come to Cincinnati, so chances are, I will not be able to witness the show in person. My wanting to see this show tripled when it was nominated for 11 2006 Tony awards (LaChanze winning for best Actress).

Well, maybe I'll be happy with the soundtrack.

Out In Left Field

Last night’s softball game was a doosey. Our famed pitcher was absent due to who knows what, but Jim stepped in and was later relieved by Julie. By the bottom of the 3rd inning, we were up 9 to 4 and then it went downhill from there. We ended the night 9 to 15. We gave the Blue Balls their first win of the season.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Runner's Log #4

Today was the day. As I walked out of the door to head to the race, the thought to just stay at home due to the dark sky and chilly weather, crossed my mind but only a split second.

Once at the race I see that there are many more people than I had expected. Later, after the race, I found out that registration for this race had almost doubled since the year before.

The race promptly started 9am by John Lomax from WKRC Channel 12 and I was off. I tried not to run as fast in the beginning, as I do on the treadmill, but it did not work. About 2 1/2 miles into the race, I walked for about 10min. The good thing about this course is that the last mile or so is somewhat down hill so that helped a bit.

Bottom line is, I achieved my goal! I ran the race in 29min and 31 sec.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pride Is Alive!

This June 27 marks the 37th anniversary of the day when a group of homosexuals threw up their hands to "the man" and told the world that that they chose to lay with did not describe who they were. Of course, I am talking about the events that happened at the Stonewall Inn in New York. Not known to many during the years that immediately followed the event, this altercation would be the catalyst for making June Pride Month, with celebrations in most every major city in the United States and the world (excluding Moscow).

Cincinnati’s gay community has not been thwarted by this city’s attitude towards race and sexual preferance because it will use this month to proudly celebrate Pride with a bevy a events that exploit freedom of speech and sexual expression.

The first of many of these events were the "Drag Races" that were held on Court Street between Vine and Race streets. This series of different races included a race called Dykes on Trikes, and The Pancake Races. The Drag Race was the highlight of the afternoon. You have never seen a foot race until you have seen man who is 6foot plus sprint town blocks clad in a sequnse gown and sporting 3in heels.

Amazed at the turnout for being a Sunday afternoon, I came across the most extraordinary people (not too extraordinary considering the event that I was at). I started a conversation with the drag queen named Viagra, or I should say, that it was started for me. As I sat outside and watched the races, Viagra regailed about how the the during the earlier Races in past years, there were a multitude of vendors and displays with booths lined up and down Court Street from Plum to Vine. She also remenised about the drag shows that went on in between the races. When she told me that she first performed here in Cincinnati in June of 1978, I shied away from telling her that I was just about to pop out of my mother's stomach. A few mintues later, Viagra caught the eye of another wonderer and was off.

There are a number of Pride events that are schududled here in Cincinnati this month, but the all rotate around Cincinnati's Pride weekend, which is June 10 and 11. There will be a festival in Hoffner Park in Northside both days and parade on Sunday.

It should be fun!

Out In Left Field

Last night was another gloriously hilarious time at the softball field. Surprisingly, I had a pretty good game (though we still lost, but that's beside the point).

Getting three times at bat I got a base hit twice but the third one was snagged out of the air.

On defense, Team Adonis was awesome. We actually looked like we knew what we were doing. The infield has definitely stepped up and improved their game.

Out in left field, I fielded everything that came my way, but there was one that got behind me and the center fielder, but he did a great job getting it back into the infield to stop the hitter from getting an in the park homer.

Can't wait until next week!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

4th Annual Spring Fling

For the past few weeks I have been working to organize Pendleton Neighborhodd Council's 4th Annual Spring Fling Celebration scheduled for today. The goal of the Spring Fling is to display, promote and generate awareness regarding summer activities within the Pendleton neighborhood for the children who reside there. At this event, organizations are able to showcase their programs while providing an activity/game for the children and adults who visit their booths.

Over the years, many children and adults have learned of valuable community resources and activities through this event. The following is a list of businesses and community organizations that have participated in that past:

12th St. Diamonds
Bible Activities Center
BookMark Entertainment
Cincinnati Fire Department
Cincinnati Recreation Center
Civic Garden Center
Homeless Coalition
Kick Ball Club
Memorial Inc.
Mr. Bubbles Car Wash/Detailing
Patchwork Kids
Pendleton Neighborhood Council
Procter and Gamble
Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
St. Mary's Baptist Church
Time Out For Mom's
Women Helping Women

This year, PNC’s Spring Fling was held in conjunction with St. Mary’s Baptist Church’s Annual “Block Party” . The weather was perfect!

Friday, June 02, 2006

U Can B an Ubersexual 2

Over the past few years the term metrosexual has been seen on television, heard on the radio and read about in magazines and nespapers. Though this term has become a staple in popular culture, common use of the term has been grossly mis appropiated. I have heard many people mistakenly use the term as a synanm for male homosexuality. According to British journalist Mark Simpson, who copined the term in 1994, the true definition of a metrosexual is an urban male of ANY sexual orientation who has a strong aesthetic sense and spends a great amount of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle.

It wasnt until June 22, 2003 when a New York Times article titled "Metrosexuals Come Out"that the fashionable usage of the word popped on to the radar in the media. Thought not specific to gay men, this term's popularity was correlated with increasing integration of gay men into mainstream society and a correspondingly decreased taboo towards homosexuality and changing masculinity.

Enter the year 2006, three years after the term metrosexual became popular, yet another commercialized term has prolifereated the skin of society and infected our social consiousness. That term would be ubersexual. From reading varying definitions of this new term, it seems to me that an ubersexual is very similar to a metrosexual. According to the word "übersexual" (from German über = above, superior and Latin sexus = gender) is a neologism for a patriarchal conception of masculinity. It is a variant of metrosexual, in that the male is "refined", but contains more of an implication of confidence and traditional notions of manhood than the former term.

Examples of those who could be defined as übersexuals include George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jon Stewart, Diddy, Jay-Z and Bono of the rock band U2.

I thought it would be intersting to take some popular Cincinnatians and use thier personas to exemplify the difference between a metro and an uber.

Charlie luken, Former Mayor of Cincinnati, ubersexual

Nick Lachey, Former Mr. Jessica Simpson and Cincinnati native, metrosexual

Spencer Crew, Director of the National Undergraund Railroad Freedom Center, metrosexual

Anthony Munoz, Former Cincinanti Bengal and TV personality, metrosexual

Chad Johnson, Cincinnati Bengal, ubersexual

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Runner's Log #3

Today I did not seem to run as hard as I have been the past couple of time that I have jumped on to the treadmill. But today at lunch, I ran my normal 30min on the ‘mill but this time I traveled the equivalent of 2.94 mile.

Still not as fast as I want to be, but I guess it will do.