Monday, July 31, 2006

Birthday Wishes And Caviar Dreams

As I have grown older, I have become founder and founder of birthdays and birthday parties (or should I say, the anniversary of my birth). Growing up, my family did not put that much emphasis on this special day, so my knowledge of birthday celebrating has been slightly stunted. My brother's birthday was last month, and when I asked my mother if she was going to have a party, her response indicated that it was the last thing on her mind.

I have been fortunate enough to have my life's path run along side those of friends who appreciate the celebration of life and show thier feelings by way of attention, affection, concern and love.

Saturday, some friends threw a party for me and another of our friends to celebrate our births, for our dates are less than a week apart.

I do have to say that this party was a perfect end to a month of traveling and new experiences. I was surrounded by people whom I loved and, according to the entires left in the journal that I received that night, those who love me. The specially chosen songs that were played on the karoake machine (a gift from the couple to who's wedding I attendined in Michigan during the beginning of July) were a tesitment to the feelings that were abundant that evening.

I have to say, the 2nd row tickets to the up coming Cirque du Soleil show was the gift that was most unexpected (thanks Joy, Dave, Chelsea and Dan).

Thanks again for making this one of the best celebrated birthday I have had in awhile!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Just Makes You Think

Just when I thought that romantic antics were too far gone from our society to place any significant weight on a person's heart, I find something like the following prose, written by a fellow Cincinnatian speaking about his missed connection with a soul as fragile as his.

I should have stayed. I wanted to but was afraid of the ramifications -
even after clarifying them in a matter of fact manner that probably seemed mean
but wasn't. You were a perfect host and eager with an innocence in stark
contrast to the situation's lack of it. The the breeze relaxing, the city
beautiful, and my excuse for not leaving sooner was worse than any Our Decider
could give. It was the type of electric night most romanticize but few bother to
live. I should have stayed. 3:55 am and I should have stayed. The fear ate a
hole in my gut and I fled. But what value is a great romantic moment without a
bittersweet tinge of regret?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

How To Finish Rich

I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.
Oprah Winfrey (1954-)

Let’s talk about something that everyone wants but no one has enough of. No, I am not talking about the number of sexual encounters with Mr. Right. I am talking about the ever-elusive dollar. As the number of Americans in debt continues to increase each year, the need for debt recovery and debt management resources becomes more apparent. This fact makes the beginning of the new fiscal year a perfect time to look at your finances and make changes that will help you get that summer vacation debt off your back.

The first step, make sure you find out what every loan officer, bank, creditor, or potential landlord already knows about you. Take advantage of your free annual credit report. Many of those who have acquired debt assume that since they stop getting past-due credit card statements in the mail that those credit card companies have simply forgotten that you owe money to them. I recently took advantage of this and found out a few things that I have forgotten about.

The next step is to get all of your paper work in one place. Many times, I have tried to organize all of my financial paperwork in hopes that it would prompt me to start making my way out of debt. Of course, this did not happen, because I had no idea what I needed to find and put together. Here is a great place to find a comprehensive list of papers that you should have in one place.

Last but not least, the only way that you are ever going to save money is by making a plan. As Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." Depending on the level of debt that you are in and your financial situation, many different savings and budgeting plans will expedite your travels to financial freedom. I have focused paying off the debt that is costing me the most ( i.e. interest bearing debts) Once those are paid off, then I plan to focus on the debt that I can pay off the fastest.

The longer you delay, the longer it is going to take for you to finish rich!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Don't Feel Any Different

Someone told me that your 28th birthday is not that important, but it's your 29th that you need to celebrate because Venus is in the same place as it was when you were born. I think he was correct because today, on my 28th birthday, and I do not feel any diffrerent.

I wonder if this young one will feel the same when she hits my age...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Isn't This Where Dave Chappelle is From?

Living in Downtown Cincinnati has its benefits. Culture, close proximity to public transit, breath taking river views and amazing restaurants all contribute to the allure of Cincinnati urban living. Despite all the wonders of the city, sometimes taking in a slower pace of life and experiencing nature can be quite refreshing.

Last week, a friend of mine who works as an architect (The Architect) turned 40 years old. To celebrate, he booked every room at The Springs Motel in Yellow Springs, OH and invited a few of his friends to join him so thats just what I did.

Yellow Springs is 65 miles north of Cincinnati and serves as a weekend get-away for a number of Cincinnatians. Yellow Springs is home to Antioch College and is a small town with a population of about 4,000. The city is named for the curative spring water that are found through out Glen Helen Nature Reserve which you can experience through several different nature hikes.

While visiting the small, but busy downtown, make sure that you start your day with brunch at the Sunrise Cafe. The wait for a table is not the best (about an hour for us on Sunday morning) but the pesto-tomato omelet, home-style potatoes and wheat bread (made fresh daily in house) are all worth the wait.

After brunch, meander your way through the downtown areas where you may have to dodge a few shoe-less teenage skate boarders and middle aged bikers while you travel from shop to shop. Antiques, hand crafts, nature inspired furniture are all store choices and, on a warm summer Sunday afternoon, have no problem in finding patrons to partake in their wares.

DarkStar Books & Comics is a definite stop if you are an avid book collector/reader (so you know that was one of the first stops for me). Eventhough the store is filled from floor to ceiling with shelves of books (arranged both by subject and author) it's specialty, by far, are comic books.

If clothes are what you are looking for, I suggest a stop in at Basho, a custom apparel boutique. If you give them about 24 hours, they will design an article for you.

In between shops, if you feel the need for a mid afternoon snack, Crepes, a small tented crepe stand smack dab in the middle of downtown, will ease your cravings. I would suggest the veggie crepe with egg, but they also have more traditional crepes like Nutella and bananas.

After you have had your fill of shopping, head to Peaches, where you can get a plethora of fried appetizer.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I Stand Corrected

Far be it for this Cincinnati NAMjA to mis represent one of Cincinnait's oldest establishments (not to mention the nation's first baseball team). Daedalus was gracious enough to point out the error of my speech when I stated the following my Opening Day post:

Even though the Cincinnati's baseball team has failed to produce a winning National League baseball team since 1990...

In fact, Daedalus pointed out that the Reds had winning records in 1992 (90-72), 1994 (66-48, best record in baseball in strike shortened season with no WS), 1995 (85-59 in short season due to strike, NL Central Division champs, went to National League Championship Series), 1999 (96-67, lost one game playoff to Mets to miss Wild Card berth), and 2000 (85-77).

To add to this, last night the Reds beat the Brewers in Cincinnati 6 to 5.

Maybe I should do more research before I speak of something I do not follow. Thanks Deadalus!

Friday, July 21, 2006

I Never Thought This Day Would Come

There are not going to be many occations where George W. will be featured on this blog, so when you see his picture, it is because he has done something BIG!

The current president has been in office for about 62 months now and until yesterday had NEVER given a formal address the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.), despite it being one of the largest African American organizations in this nation.

The Prez is picturered here greeting Julian Bond, Chairman of the N.A.A.C.P., as he prepares to give his address.

I have got to say one thing for the guy, he has some very talented speech writers. It is really difficult to stand up infornt of the N.A.A.C.P. and speak about a trip to the Lorraine Motel WITHOUT ever mentioning the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

You can read his entire speech here.

Another One Down.... God Knows How Many More To Go

I mentioned in a few of my other posts that I have been enrolled in a personal training course at the university that I work for. The degree that I am gunning for this time is a Bachelors of Science (B.S.) in Economics (I obtained my Associates in Korean Studies from Monterey Peninsula Collage in 1999). This summer semester's course load included a co-op and the personal trainer class.

Yesterday, I sat for my final exam in the personal trainer class ( the co-op class will not end until mid August). I felt pretty comfortable with the material on the exam, but let us see what the final grade is.

Some of you may be trying to conjure up the connection between personal training and an Economics degree. Well there is not one, meaning this class is not a requirement.

While I was in the Army I became very interested in physical training scored perfect on a few of my Physical Fitness Tests (PFT's). Soon I was leading workout sessions and physically training those who were unable to pass the PFT.

In the civilian world, this interest continued, but you need to be a certified personal trainer for anyone to hire you.

Anyone need a personal trainer?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

People Can Say The Stupidest Things...

On the website you can find the following story:

Gay, lesbian groups dismiss apology

Two gay and lesbian advocacy groups in Kentucky are dismissing an apology from state Sen. Richard "Dick" Roeding for referring last week to one of
the organizations as "a bunch of queers."

The Fairness Alliance and the Log Cabin Republicans both say that Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, has not directly issued an apology, instead opting to
have Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, speak for him.

"We do not accept this lukewarm, second-hand apology," said Fairness Alliance Executive Director Christina Gilgor. "Dick Roeding owes fair-minded
Kentuckians an authentic, direct and sincere apology."

Roeding came under fire last week for calling homosexuals the "wrong kind of people" after the University of Louisville Board of Trustees
voted 14-1 to allow non-married straight and gay partners of employees to participate in the school's health insurance plan. Trustees said the move would
make the school competitive with other universities in attracting and retaining top-notch faculty and staff.

In a later conversation with The Kentucky Post, Roeding referred to the Log Cabin Republicans as "a bunch of queers" after the gay and lesbian advocacy
group called for his resignation. Williams said Friday that he called the Northern Kentucky legislator and told him the use of the word "queers" was inappropriate. Williams reiterated that statement Tuesday.

"Upon reflection, Senator Roeding agreed and stated, 'The language used is inappropriate and if I offended anyone, I apologize,'" Williams said in his statement.
When asked Tuesday whether he had apologized to the Log Cabin Republicans, Roeding said, "I haven't met one."

Roeding said he had apologized to Williams but that he had not issued a formal apology himself .
"The second-hand apology to David Williams doesn't
count," Kentucky Log Cabin President Jimmy LaSalvia said. "Senator Roeding owes an apology to the people of Kentucky."

LaSalvia said he is less concerned about the name-calling than he is about the Senate Republican leadership's silence on Roeding's overall stance on
domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples.

"The important issue is: Is the Republican leadership going to allow Dick Roeding to speak for them when it comes to issues that affect gay and
lesbian Kentuckians,?" he said.

While Williams conceded the 2007 General Assembly might take up the issue, he said he considered it "bad public policy" and thought it would be strongly opposed by state lawmakers. Legislators could not adopt a bill that specifically targeted U of L, but could develop a policy dealing with all state schools. The conservative Family Foundation of Kentucky also has weighed in on
the controversy, calling on the Fairness Alliance to apologize for disparaging religious conservatives now that Roeding has issued his apology.

Eventhough I am proud to be born and raised in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, sometimes I forget how many insensative people there are who reside there. More interestingly is that just after the story, there was an online poll that asked the question if Sen. Roeding should have apologized for his dirogatory statments, and 34% answered no.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Why I went To Chicago

When I first read that Keith Boykin would be participating in the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago, the wheels in my head started churning, trying to figure out ways that I could make it there just on the chance that I would be able to see him at a venue in person.

Because I was already going on vacation to Michigan the week before the Games, I decided to take an extra few days of vacation days and try to spend them in Chicago. It just so happened that a Cincinnati friend of mine had already rented a three bedroom apartment in Chicago because he was participating in the Games and was driving to Chicago the day after I returned to Cincy from Michigan.


Running into my hometown buddies and hanging out in the VIP lounge of the House of Blues was not on my agenda during my stay in the Windy City, but since it happened, I did not complain too much. Not with the great food that I experienced at Red Light and amazingly cool evening with friends at Crew.

Yesterday was the last day of my Chicago vacation. My bus for Cincinnati was scheduled to leave at 3pm so I did not have that much time to explore the city more before I had to get ready and head out of town. I did meander to Evanston, IL where the Keith Boykin and the Gay Games' Wrestling event were.

I guess I thought it would be cool if I could just see Keith in person.

According to the website, the wrestling event was to begin at 9am, so when I arrived at 10am my hopes to see Mr. Boykin had left me as fast as the L-train leaving Belmont Station.

On arrival I see that there are many wrestlers on the large, tri-serviced mat, but it seemed as though they were taking a break, so I walked half way up the stands where there was a walking row that went around the entire gymnasium. Standing there alone and taking in the sites, I turned my right and less than 5 feet away from me is Keith Boykin walking towards me!

I had a split second to think and the only thing that came to my mind was to say his name. We shook hands and after a couple of seconds of stuttered speech (done by me of course) he resumed on to his seat.


Time was running short and I was not sure if I would be able to wait until Keith wrestled, but a few moments later the competition started and Keith was the first match. He lost the first match, and I had to leave, but his other matches he won and went on to win the Gold in his division.

So if you read this Keith, great job, but I wish I could have watched you win a match.

Today, I spent my first full day back to work and it was definilty sobering. It's ok though.

PS-I promise that the subsequant post will be abit more informative...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Yesterday did not turn out as I had planned. The deviation in the plan occurred when I walked past the gym on Halstead St. to look at a vintage clothing store just a few blocks further north. The money I had planned to spend went right out the door and into the hands of the retailer. In the process I found a 1988 Cincinnati Bengals AFC Championship T-shirt.

After my unplanned shopping spree, I was able to find a quiet spot in Coldstone Creamery to do a bit of studying. I then jumped on the train and headed to Oak Park where the preliminary soccer games for the Gay Games will be held. The teams were practicing there and I was to meet my traveling companion there and watch him practice with the rest of his team.

Not being a normal spectator of soccer, after two hours of watching a soccer practice and scrimmage, I was reading to head back downtown.

For dinner, I accompanied my traveling companion to the Red Light Restaurant, located in Chicago's former Market District. There we met another Cincinnati native who was tending bar. I usually do not remember anything particular about the meals that I have at restaurants but this one I am not soon to forget.

After dinner, we met up with another player from my traveling companion's soccer team and headed to Boystown for an after dinner cocktail and later headed to Crew, a bar/pub in Uptown where the bartender from the Red Light joined us.

I regretfully leave this fine city this afternoon, but first will head north to Evanston to watch the wrestling event.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Chicago Is My Kind Of Town

I am still in Chicago, winding down from the last few days of eye opening experiences.

Today, I plan to hang below the radar, check in a few sites in the city and catch up on somethings that I wanted to get accomplished while on vacation (it officially ends Monday evening when I return to Cincinnati).

My traveling companion and I drove from Cincinnati to Chicago on Friday and arrived about 9pm. We are staying in an apartment in the Wicker Park district of the city. Once settled in we decided to check out the infamous Boystown district of the city. After dinner we checked out a few of the popular dance clubs/bars (Hydrate and Roscoes) and then proceeded downtown to the House of Blues where two friends that I grew up with work as bartender/barback in the V.I.P. area (Foundation Lounge). Frankie-Knucles was the DJ that evening for a benefit and towards the end of the night, I was escorted into the DJ booth to meet him. Too cool!

Needless to say, a good time was had by all that first night that I was in Chi-Town.

Saturday was abit more of the same. One of the two friends that work the House of Blues V.I.P. lounge had a day off from work and was able to show me a few places to buy clothes (my goal was to find a good pair of jeans and a pair of boats and the were both accomplished). For showing me around the city, I treated him to lunch at this amazing restaurant called Forno (for some reason I think that it may be a chain).

Today will be more of a low key day. I have been slacking on my workout routine so I may visit a local gym and do a modified workout. Brunch is definitely in order as well. My traveling companion is playing soccer in the Gay Games and has practice in Oak Park this evening, so after my workout and few hours of studying for my Personal Trainer's Certification exam (Aug 4), I plan to meet up with him at his soccer practice and after an early dinner, call it a night. Well that's the plan anyway...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Just Taking A Breather

Just getting back into town and resting up for the second leg of my summer vacation. I just got back from spending a week in the Upper peninsula of the state of Michigan for a friend's wedding. The wedding was held on Sat, July 8 on Manistique Lake's south shore. The setting was surreal, complete with a gazebo. The wedding was short and sweet. After the bridal procession, I gave my acappella rendition of "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" and another friend of ours recited a very piece of literature. The night went on to include music, dinner and dancing and capped off with all hundred or so guests of the wedding lighting several sparklers to light the dark lake shore.

For the rest of the week, some friends whom I traveled with from Cincinnati and I rented a cabin on the north shore of Manistique Lake. It was amazing! The first few nights were a bit windy, but the rest of the week's weather was perfect. The week was filled with good food, good friends speckled with some mornings of yoga, a few swims in the lake and kayaking on the river.

I only have one night here in Cincinnati and then I am traveling to Chicago for the Gay Games. I have never been to Chicago so I am excited to see it.

Some of the major sights were the Bear Refuge, Mackinac Bridge and Tahquamenon Falls.

More to come...