Coffee Rhetoric: These and Those
Showing posts with label These and Those. Show all posts
Showing posts with label These and Those. Show all posts

December 22, 2012

These and Those: Holiday Update


It has been a spell since I've logged a proper blog post. I know, I know. I was (and am still) hoping to make some vanity changes to the blog, to ring in this New Year, once I figure out the logistics. I've also been on somewhat of a mini-break from blogging.

(Very valid) excuses: I was sans a laptop for a minute because my old, crotchety one finally sputtered and died on me. It had literally been hanging on by a proverbial thread... wires would be a more apt description. Duct taping the screen to its keyboard simply wasn't passing muster anymore. It was a slow moving, perpetually freezing, memory waning piece of junk. I cringed at having to take it out in public to work on. Needless to say, in its final act of defiance it declared, "F*ck yo' couch!" and went bye-bye for good. It took some maneuvering to transfer my work off of it, but my (very necessary and relevant) files were saved and re-loaded onto the newer laptop... thank goodness. 
I've also been trying to work through a massive writer's block. A lot is going on in the world, most recently the tragedy that took place in Newtown, CT. Honestly, there are no words I could have written to sum up my thoughts on the tragedy, so I've opted not to publicly share them via social media. I will say that local (Connecticut) media, for the most part, has been respectful and protective of the victims' loved ones, and I think that it's definitely warranted and needed, to enable them to grieve and make sense of it in peace... especially since it's so close to the holidays.

That people have been making it a habit of using these sorts of tragedies to spew vitriol, make racist comments, peddle religious and political propaganda, or make it about themselves, on social media and other public platforms, is vile. Awareness, recognition of others' humanity, and courtesy seem to be disintegrating and I'm not here for devolution and ignoramus behavior... at all. I don't write things or engage others in discourse with an expectation that they need to agree with me; but people will rant (often on my social media platforms) about "Free Speech!" and say something particularly inflammatory, unfounded, and trollish, then scoff at others for being "too politically-correct" when they're called out because they think that will somehow insulate them from being critiqued, challenged, or from accountability when they spew nonsense. Not here for it. I'm old and have officially run out of patience for people who display off-the-chart levels of ignorance and who have a propensity for public stunts-and-shows or histrionics.

In short, my thoughts are running cyclical like a Mobius strip and filtering them into a cohesive blog post has proved to be a bit challenging. I'm also working on a few other writing projects (while drinking copious amounts of coffee of course) that have been usurping some of that creative-thought energy, psyching myself up so I can work towards meeting some personal goals, and have been surely and vehemently trying to steer the conversation away from that topic that shall not be mentioned again, since that is not the crux of what Coffee Rhetoric is about (but has suddenly become synonymous with). 

I'll be returning to my regularly scheduled blogging program after the holidays, and am looking forward to spilling open once again. 

In the meantime, here's wishing a safe, productive, fun, and reflective holiday this season to you and yours. 

May 28, 2012

These and Those: My Petition or In Which Coffee Rhetoric Vents


I’ve been blocked for the past two weeks or so and have been dying to spill open. I’ve stopped-and-started several different blog posts but couldn’t quite streamline my thoughts enough to compose them separately.  I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone and vent them all in one post via a series of mini-posts.

On Fat:  Very rarely do I feel the need to explain why I do what I do and am what I am, about me and mine, because folks who have no direct impact on me or who know nothing about me don’t deserve an explanation or to have their foolery placated however, allow me to wax poetic about the thunder in my thighs.  I’ve noticed whenever the topic of Black women’s bodies and/or images (especially when weight is the topic of discussion) come up, folks… men and women…  seem to get particularly up-in-arms about Black and their personal struggles with weight.  When Alice Randall wrote her controversial article in the New York Times’ op-ed  section, suggesting that most Black women were fat because they wanted to be so, there were a fair number of blog posts challenging her sweeping generalizations about Black women and weight (most of which she framed using her own, random experiences).  There were also the ubiquitous comments from the concern-troll chorus who opined “Black women are fat, because they eat too much and don’t exercise! You’re in denial about your fat, fatty!!” Cut-and-dry, because anybody can be a pretend licensed physician when rage-typing about fat, non?  

Full disclosure about yours truly (and this is the last time I’ll broach the topic of weight); First and foremost, I am a full-figured Black woman.  

My weight has always fluctuated and I’m prone to bloat, some of which I hold in water, apparently, and can pee right on out if I drink enough fluids or eat enough produce.  I’ve been smaller than I am and I’ve been much bigger (which I don't wish to be again). Contrary to popular anti-fat belief; I am active, I’m not diabetic, and I’ve dated actively… and no not as a “jump-off” for fat fetishists or chubby chasers.  I’m not a fucking “Mammy” or the "Sassy Black chubby friend" to anybody, so those of you who like to toss those ridiculous phrases around freely when describing women with my body type, can stop... especially when it doesn’t always apply.

Up until about four years ago, I was a vegetarian for more than a decade. I’ve walked two marathons so far, in my adult life; one for Breast Cancer, another for Obesity. I’ve also grappled with an eating disorder and put my health at risk trying to force myself thinner.  I subsisted off a diet of Saltine Crackers and Extra-strength Dexatrim.  Sometimes I’d chew my food and discretely spit it out in a napkin… never swallowing.  I put my health at risk; my nail-beds turned an odd orange color and my skin, an took on an odd grey pallor… but, but my face was so angular! And while I wasn't necessarily skinny, I was a lot thinner than I was.  Then I made (what I considered to be) the "mistake" of masticating and swallowing my food... and I gained back all of my weight and then some.  I eventually lost it having spent an entire summer exercising along with a plus-size aerobics instructor named Idrea on a VHS tape I'd found and maintaining a mostly vegetarian diet.  

Once I started eating meat again and I gained back a few pounds. Would I mind being thinner? No. Do I loathe myself because I’m not thin? Nope (and folks are apparently upset about it, because they think I should be wallowing in a sea of shame and self-loathing). Do I sit around stuffing my face with cake, pie, and ice cream? No. Sounds delectable, but no.  Do I believe that Black people need to take their health and overall well-being (both physical and mental) seriously? Yes.  While I’m not a gym rat, I am active and try my best to stay as such.  I am not diabetic, but I do have a fat rear, big thighs, and wide hips.  This doesn’t bode well for the fat police and quite frankly, I don't care.  I’m not a pro-fat advocate, but hearing the word “fat” stopped making me wince ages ago. Because while I realize there's room for improvement (as far as my body goes), I've grown comfortable in my skin. And most people will read that as me being "in denial". Fortunately I'm not here to placate most people, so feel no need to try and convince or prove anything. 

What I do endorse, is Black women maintaining their best selves.  And to people who are prone to fat-shaming or accusing Black women of being proud fatties who’re in denial, I implore you not to worry or get so incited to wrath about it, because fat isn’t contagious… it won’t rub-off on you like the plague… you can’t get fat via osmosis, so you can stop taking the struggles of someone else and their road towards body acceptance, so personally; as if it’s impacting your lives.  Those of you who don’t struggle with weight, get incited to wrath on social media forums and it makes me… well… chuckle.  If someone is grappling with weight, chances are they’ve already discussed it with their physician (and, um you’re not him or her) and are probably working towards being healthier; so keep that in mind when some of you whine, “Why can’t we be open about discussing how fat Black women are?” Having a frank discussion about the health of our community versus waging an all-out attack on a group of women, using nasty rhetoric isn’t having an “open discussion.”  And spare me the argument about semantics... "fat" vs "thick". That's a futile disagreement and it doesn't interest me.


Black women in my sphere are taking their health seriously… they’re full-figured, in-between, and/or thin and/or have lost a great deal of weight (and still fight the good fight to keep it off). None of them are in any state of denial. If someone is fat, they know it and don't need to be clubbed over the head by angry masses about it. As someone pointed out in the comments section of my Alice Randall post, there’s a distinct difference between wanting to be fat and accepting being fat... and body acceptance isn't about denial or advocating for fat, as much as it's about not wallowing in self-loathing and doing the absolute best to work with and maintain the body and health you have now... which sometimes results in lost poundage, inches, and good overall well-being.

And If it still bothers you to see fat bodies (even when fat bodies are at the gym, walking around your local track, in the produce section of your local Whole Foods, or hyuking it up enjoying herself at your favorite wine bar)… then I’m sure there’s a nice cave you can sequester yourselves in. Cheers. In the meantime, for fatties who like to stay healthy and active, For Harriet (a blog that legitimately aims to help elevate the state of Black women and our health and wellness), compiled a helpful list of online communities to aid Black women in staying healthy and fit. Additionally, fashion blogger and size-acceptance advocate, Gabi Fresh also encourages active and healthy full-figured women to head to the beach and enjoy themselves, as she did on a recent trip to Las Vegas with her boyfriend. Gabi showed off pics of herself clad in a striped bikini on her blog, titling her post, Fatkini 2012


On Having My Very Own Pinterest Troll:  I recently contended with a prolific Internet bully and Pinterest troll named Kelli Romero, who wrote “EWW YUKK!” among other obnoxious comments, when I pinned my op-ed post about Alice Randall’s article to my “Women’s Issues” board. She also wrote, “Sorry, but you look gross” mistaking a nude photo of Anansa Sims for me… and much to my delight actually… after I told her to keep her negative, trollish comments (which I likened to defacing private property) to herself and to stay off my boards.
Upon checking her activity, I discovered she made trolling various body acceptance boards and many others featuring plus-size models or bodies, a full-time job.  She also made sure to spew a bunch of racist and homophobic rhetoric in the comments section underneath other people’s boards and seemed to delight in going out of her way to look for those with pornographic material, just so she could type “Gross, I’m reporting this page!” in the comments section.  Needless to say, Kelli (who appears to be the mother of two adult women and a grandmother and therefore, too old to be a bullish, racist, homophobic internet troll) lost the battle when she was challenged head-on, by a fed up Pinterest user, who beat her at her own game, or at least shut her up. When confronted, she deleted her comments, some were flagged (since Pinterest has yet to employ a "block" option), Kelli seemingly cleaned up her hateful activity, changed her Pinterest avi (from a picture of herself) and name, and she hasn’t done any trolling since… at least for now. But like most online (or real life) bullies tend to do; she insinuated herself into the role of victim, but not before cleaning up her own filth, so her Pinterest defender(s) couldn’t see the trail that led to someone creating a Pinterest board in her dark-sided honor, emblazoned with some of her favorite troll-rhetoric. 


On Intra-racial Stereotyping:  Improving the quality of one’s life is something Black women… and anyone really… should aspire to do.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Often, Black women are relegated to the bottom of the totem pole. We’re told that we’re too fat, not attractive enough, to angry to be considered as marriage material, unattractive, too dark, too light, too awkward, too... well you get the hint. And often, a lot of those hurtful tropes are perpetuated by Black men. So imagine my disappointment upon noticing a pattern of intra-racial stereotyping on different New Media platforms, being perpetuated by a subgroup of so-called Black Women Empowerment collectives (or at least they attach themselves to the movement), targeting other Black women.  The rhetoric is a nasty and divisive way of thinking and it does absolutely nothing to “uplift” Black women, as alleged. 

So far I’ve read comments accusing darker-skinned actresses who don’t play sexpot roles described as Mammies, Black women who pursue intra-racial dating preferences labeled as “Black male identified” or as not being feminine enough, Single Black mothers brushed off as “Ghetto Queens”, a call for Black women to divest from Black communities entirely, so on and so forth.  When did we start extolling the tenets of White Supremacy to denigrate one another?   

Perhaps I’m confused or was hopeful, but how can we honestly build as Black women, when some of us seem intent on condescending to those we perceive to be lesser-than or spiteful towards those who hold opinions that are contrary to the rhetoric that's being put down?  
To say you’re building a movement to help empower Black women, while seemingly putting your foot on and mocking those who’re poor, uneducated, or already downtrodden seems counterproductive. Moreover, why can’t we accept people’s dating choices without resorting to petty name-calling? Haven’t we already realized by now, that none of us are a monolith? Shouldn't we be past that tired interracial vs intra-racial dating argument at this juncture? Who cares? We are probably the only group of women who put so much painstaking emphasis on it.
Being empowered, is being free to make choices that suit your lifestyle... without fear of being chastised for it. If a young Black woman is making destructive lifestyle choices... then let's either figure out why and offer solutions to help her as opposed to calling her a "ghetto queen"... or simply, shut up and be happy you aren't unfortunate enough to have to navigate those particular trials and tribulations.

As was pointed out to me during an email discussion with another hyper-aware Black woman I love building with online, it seems Black women are so desperate to be loved and accepted, we’ve resorted to turning on one another and breaking off into factions. And if that works for you, then fine... godspeed. We won’t always thrust our hips in accordance with the djembe beat. Perhaps Zora Neale Hurston was onto something when she opined, “All my skinfolk ain’t kinfolk.”  


On being an Angry Black Woman:  I am a Black woman. And I reserve the right to express anger when and where it’s warranted. I take issue with the term "Angry Black Woman", because it robs me of the right to be human. Often, Black women are considered to be nothing more than mules … unemotional Super Women, unfairly saddled with carrying heavy loads without the capacity or right to become exasperated. I've always wondered why I have to be an "Angry Black Woman" and guilt-tripped about expressing a very real and human emotion. I rarely hear White women described as "Angry White Women" or Asian women described as "Angry Asian Women", etc. when they express their dismay over an indignity. 

In many instances, a Black woman's displeasure about certain situations is justified. To rob me of the right to emote as any other woman does, then stereotype me by comparing me to folks on TV, who're getting a check to act over-the-top foolish (aka Nene Leakes, Tami Roman, and the rest of the Basketball Wives) is ridiculous. And I'm tired of the comparisons, especially since no Black women I interact with in actual life, act out in that way. 

Black women have the right to emote and express righteous indignation when and where it's warranted and should exercise that right without having to worry over trying to placate the self-righteousness, ego, or ignorance of someone else.

I'm over seeing us at war with one another. Just... live and relish your lives in the ways in which it works for you, and allow other people to do the same with theirs. We don't have to agree and you don't even have to like how other people go about choose to live. In fact, we don't have to build or be bothered with one another in order to live and let live. Seems simple enough. 


On Race and Oppression: If you're a non-Black person or not a person of color who doesn't believe that racism still exists or who rolls your eyes whenever you come across conversations that deconstruct White privilege and supremacy, homophobia, or patriarchy that is definitely your right however, bum-rushing online communities where people of color or marginalized groups build with one another, deconstruct racism, and do anti-racism/anti-oppression work to derail conversations to suit your own interests, is not the way. You may not want to believe or even hear that marginalized groups still experience discrimination, but it's not your place to dictate to people how you think they should navigate being discriminated against or even how to address these issues. You don't get to demand that people "just get over it", and grow defensive and try to paint yourself as a victim when you're taken to task for your ignorance. If you're truly an ally of anti-oppression work and are interested in participating in the discourse, the first rule of thumb is to listen... LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN and read carefully. 

Trivializing people's experiences and suggesting that they're exaggerating or that it's all in their head is not listening. Moreover, it's obnoxious. If you're a racist, misogynist, or bigot, then I suppose it's par for the course; in which case, perhaps you shouldn't try to participate in the discussion and steer clear of those forums, lest you just paint yourself as an internet troll. 

Unless you can morph into a person of color, a woman, a woman of color, a gay person, a gay person of color, a Transgender person, a sex worker, a person who has been sexually assaulted and/or harassed, a person who has been denied basic human and civil rights, etc... you don't have even an inkling of what it's like to navigate their world. These stories are bitter pills to swallow, because they aren't meant to soothe your ego, make you feel better about yourself, placate your privilege, or comfort your sensibilities.

March 14, 2012

These and Those: Spring Has Sprung an Early Leak

This winter seemed to fly by with relative ease (save for the Halloween Nor'easter and subsequent CT Light & Power clusterfuck that ensued). It's been relatively mild and there were virtually no blizzards or ice storms to speak of. None of this bothered me. Spring seemed to hover in the air, never really departing, but merely looking over our shoulders, lightly breathing on our necks. And so now it's March, we've lost an hour and today was the temperature reached 70 degrees.
Something about spring or the mere idea of it looming in the air, improves my mood... even when I'm in the throes of brooding and feeling especially anti-social.

Needless to say, this song by Flying Lotus feat. Andreya Triana-- (who I'm a huge fan of), is definitely a nice complement to the weather...

February 03, 2012

Coffee Girl

If you're a coffee addict connoisseur, like me; this is definitely how you should order your cup of joe the next time you go to your nearest coffee spot. Any other way just shouldn't suffice.




November 13, 2011

These and Those: Thanksgiving Offerings In Hartford...


Thanksgiving will be upon the Hartford masses in 10 short days (and fortunately most of us have had our power restored to be able to plan for it). It's the one-day each year people can gorge themselves to capacity while raucously laughing, imbibing, arguing, and side eying one another as they keep tabs on that one aunt’s alcohol intake or listen to the one unfiltered uncle’s bawdy stories of common STDs and lost loves during his younger days over a painstakingly prepared meal.
As annoying delightful as eating, drinking, fighting, and merriment are, prepping for Thanksgiving can be rife with stress and frustration.  Fortunately, The HartBeat has a list of interesting events taking place this holiday to help take some of the edge off (and if booze isn’t enough of an option)... 

Rustle together some last minute Thanksgiving fixings at the Farmers' Market in the Studio at Billings Forge! Thursday, November 24 2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. at 563 Broad Street, Hartford, CT check out an awesome selection of seasonal foods which include produce, jams, jellies, honey, and cheeses. Not to mention "The Tasting Table" by the Kitchen at Billings Forge- a healthy food/recipe participation and sampling table. Visit http://billingsforgeworks.org/farmers-market for more information.

Take in a performance of Peter Pan at The Bushnell. Tony Award nominee Cathy Rigby takes to the air in an all-new production of Peter Pan at The Bushnell's William H. Mortensen Hall! This is definitely a show the entire family can enjoy. Tickets are $17.00 -$68.00 with a show time of 7:30 p.m. For more information call 888.824.2874 or visit http://www.bushnell.org/.

Feel like some post-dinner trivia? Head on over to The Tavern Downtown for a Super Trivia Extravaganza 9:00 p.m. - 11 p.m., it's free to play with the added benefit of $2 Bud and Bud Light bottles during the game. Prizes are at stake and sign-up starts at 8:30 p.m. The Tavern Downtown is located at 100 Allyn Street, downtown Hartford Visit http://www.thetaverndowntown.com/home.html for more info!

The play, THE MOTHER#@*R WITH THE HAT has been described as "Exciting, incisive, cruel, and very, very funny... a hip, harsh romance about people grasping for confirmation of their existence." And it's playing at Theater Works in Hartford, 233 Pearl Street. See it November 24; 7:30 p.m. General admission is $50 with a discounted price of $17 for students with valid college ID. Center reserved seats are $13 extra. Call 860.527.7838 or visit http://www.theaterworkshartford.org/.  Cheap parking is available via Trumbull Centre Garage at 100 Trumbull Street or Q Lot Parking Lot at 207-209 Asylum Street.

Take a break from cooking (or if you hate doing so and have never prepped a Thanksgiving meal, like yours truly), head over to Lyme, CT to the Bee & Thistle Inn, 10 Lyme Street (if you don’t mind taking the drive and need a bit of a break from Hartford) and reunite with family and friends. Dinner seating is at noon and 3 p.m. For reservations, call: 860.434.1667 or visit www.beeandthistle.com.

Also, there ain't nothing wrong with keeping it gangsta' and staying home, prompted by this knowledge: http://www.genealogyforum.com/gfaol/Thanksgiving/NAPerspective.htm


 

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October 25, 2011

These and Those: Coffee Rhetoric Makes DIY Eye-makeup Remover

Sometimes when I get home from doing whatever... I get easily distracted. I immediately delve into the  the drama free (not really) lives of the Basketball Real Housewives of Anyplace I'd Rather Not Be, U.S.A. and then will start texting, browsing my Twitter timeline, or b.s.ing on Google+ (Facebook is slowly becoming a moot point to me, so I don't invest much time over there). Before you know it, my eyelids start getting heavy and I've only managed to change into my ratty, not-really pajamas clothes I sleep in. My mind tells me to get up and wash the makeup and day's elements from my face, but my body doesn't really register that command. I take a pre-sleep nap, telling myself I'll wash off my eye makeup and drag when I go to bed FOR REAL! Before you know it, it's morning... And I've woken up with my eyelashes clumped with day-old mascara and eyeliner smudged around my eyes. Wiping it off presents more of a challenge as there still tends to be residual eye makeup... even AFTER I've thoroughly cleansed my face.

Alas I've come across an easy and brilliant recipe via a YouTuber who goes by the name, SheSingsLovely, for a gentle eye makeup remover (that can also double as a toner for your face)...

In a plastic squeeze bottle (which can be purchased at any beauty supply store for about 99 cents), mix about 3 parts Witch Hazel (can be found at CVS or some other drugstore), and 2 parts olive, grapeseed, almond, or Jojoba oil. I used olive oil. Cap the bottle, shake the mixture, and use! It worked great and it's very gentle on the eyes... it didn't sting at all! My day old eye makeup came right off sans incident or residual leftover. And have I mentioned how absolutely EASY it is to make?

October 24, 2011

These and Those: In Which My Hair Uncovers Dirty Truths


In these uncertain times where 9-to-5 jobs are difficult to come by due to asshole companies' discriminatory behavior and folks pushing forward to eke out an income working for themselves, money is tight and happy hour prices don't always put a smile on one's face once the bill comes. Fortunately Zula, located at 901 Main Street in downtown Hartford manages to keep it classy and sassy while providing a diverse crowd, good food, great music, and an outstanding happy hour from 4pm-7pm, so that folks don't side-eye their bill while angrily digging their wallet out of their purse or back pockets. $3 wines and drafts, $5 cocktails, and $4 plates. Why not? I was having a particularly good hair day this past Friday and ventured inside where I chatted up a personable and accommodating bartender named Jessica. 
Jessica kept me company and divulged interesting details about her life as a bartender before rapper, Keith Murray's sister found her way inside... apparently seduced by the halo of awesomeness that was my hair that day. She said she spied it through the plate glass window. My hair is touch and go whenever I wear un-bunned; some days it's just OK and other days it's particularly eye-catching. 

Now I'm familiar with this obviously cool woman (whose name always eludes me, unfortunately)- as I've run into her on numerous occasions downtown, where she resides. I had no idea until this past Friday that she was related to the Def Squad member, however. Keith's sister and I chatted about this and that... mostly regarding what her brother was currently up to and we pontificated a little about dating. Lately, I just choose not to do it. I'm really working on focusing getting to where I'd like to be professionally. Also, running into an unwanted nuisance I can't seem to escape a few days prior and then receiving a rambling voice mail this evening from another one, who once divulged an unfortunate story to me (on a FIRST quasi-DATE) about why his penis was virtually non-existent, has prompted me (an atheist type) to want to spend the remainder of my adult life in a convent for wayward dating souls. But I do enjoy hearing about what other people are up to in their love/sex lives. Keith Murray's sister spoke about a man she'd been dating for about a month, whose company she seemed to enjoy. He bought her gifts and he took her out to dine at fine restaurants. I happened to ask if they'd ever been to Zula. "This is too open for him. He likes more restrained, sort of fancier places. He probably wouldn't like this atmosphere." She suggested. We continued to make interesting conversation and shortly after, she excused herself to the bathroom. Suddenly a man and a young Black woman walked in. He pulled out Keith's sister's chair and  I alerted him, "Oh... someone's sitting there." He slid it back up to the bar sans incident... 
Keith's sister returned from the bathroom and surprised, hugged the man with familiarity. He and the young woman retreated to the opposite end of the bar. Considering our conversation just moments ago, Keith's sister alerted me that the man she hugged was the so-called charming fellow she'd been seeing, who bought her gifts, and who quite possibly would not take her out to dine at Zula... and it was obvious why. 

It gave me no pleasure whatsoever to see her obvious discomfort and dismay, especially when she said, "He told me he's here with someone else." I suggested that she "be cool" and finish enjoying her drink. A friend I spied and then a cool Hartfordite I recognized from and communicated with on Twitter, as well as an inebriated Afro-latina woman who mistakenly took and opened my purse to retrieve money to pay for her drinks would later distract me. So I never saw Keith's sister leave... The cad and his date were gone from the bar and slipped out into the cool, autumn night as well, and I wouldn't see how the awkward situation panned out in the end. My hope is that Keith's sister didn't go home too upset and put out. My hope is that I randomly run into her again. I'm not sure why this man felt compelled to try to put the wool over Keith Murray's sister's eyes and I won't speculate, as I've stopped trying to decipher the complicated adagio dance women and men, when courting one another. It's best to piss into the wind and just tread as steadily as one can in these matters. 

I'd like to think that if my hair hadn't been so awesome that day, Keith's sister would not have felt inspired to join me and stay long enough to see her paramour's dark-sided ways. And this is why I'll never bid my natural hair adieu. 

June 14, 2011

Coffee Buzz: Nu Style Cut Creators


“In many traditional cultures communal grooming was a social event where a woman could socialize and strengthen bonds between herself, other women and their families. An individual's hair groomer was usually someone whom they knew closely. Sessions included shampooing, oiling, combing, braiding, twisting adding accessories. Hair grooming of afro-textured hair was considered a very important, intimate, spiritual part of one's overall wellness, and would last hours and, sometimes, days depending on the hair style and skill required.” –Wikipedia, entry on Afro-textured hair

… And so explains the importance and camaraderie surrounding many Barbershops and Hair Salons. I’ve always been more fascinated by the fraternal aspect of most Barbershops however. They seem like places where men not only congregate to get themselves freshly groomed and have their fades lined up, but a space where they open up to one another and share their inner-most feelings about the myriad of topics from relationships (especially) to racial issues to current events. I’ve always wanted to walk into a barbershop and sit amongst men as they poured their hearts out, laughed and guffawed about the trials and tribulations of interacting with women and dating, notwithstanding my very female presence in their midst. Not to mention the men (most of them very attractive) from all walks of life, spanning all ages and income levels that frequent barbershops; their own little slice of heaven… and a sliver of celestialness for single women. Every now and again, while traipsing around downtown, I’d slow down a spell in front of a barbershop operated on Ann Street in downtown Hartford and peer inside through the window (pretending to see if the post office was open). This very same barbershop has now re-opened on 255 Main Street, 1 South and Downtown Hartford, CT and is owned and operated by Cedric Roberson.
Armed with some vitals this one particularly hot afternoon, I decided to walk inside rather than leer at the patrons, barbers, and stylists through the window and ask for one Mr. Cedric Roberson. I introduced myself, and found a very warm, low-key, and friendly gentleman who was glad to walk me to the back for a brief chat and offered me a cold bottle of water to help cool down.
I would learn that Cedric, a quiet spoken but seemingly driven Hartford business owner, has been in the business for the past 18 years and is a skilled Loctitian who oversees a few other comparable dreadlock experts, barbers, stylists, and braiders. Community and being at the helm of a positive work space seems to be of the utmost importance to Cedric. Upon walking in, I noted how quiet, clean, and cheery the space and people were.

“When we moved to Main Street, we scaled back and are just keeping the basics. We went from renting on Ann Street, to actually owning this space. We’re more visible on Main Street and there’s more foot traffic.” Cedric explained. This creates an opportunity for new comers to check them out! Nu Style Cut Creators specializes in the cultivation and maintenance of natural hair (and you all know how I laud natural hair!)… This includes braids and especially the process and maintenance of dreadlocks.
Upon browsing around the neat shop, I took in its shiny hardwood floors, a mounted flat-screen TV (turned to a sport of course), the easy flow of conversation and more importantly the display case filled with products… including PERFUME OILS AND INCENSE! I hastily made my way over. Cedric unlocked the case and allowed me to peruse and woman-handle the various scents. There were so many to choose from… so I chose about nine of them including; Amber, Frankincense, Lick Me All Over, and the aptly named and scented Michelle Obama. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Cedric Roberson is a noted spiritual and community leader, who oversees his own ministry and encourages people toward their path to enlightenment and spirituality, prompting his shop’s patrons to appreciate his presence even more!
Cedric said that appointments are gladly accepted and walk-ins welcome! Nu Style Cut Creators’ Hours of operation are Tuesday – Friday 8am – 6pm and Saturday 7am – 5pm. Credit cards are accepted!

More importantly, there is free parking!! For more information call 860.560.3600

I genuinely love discovering noted, local business owners and interesting people in the Hartford community! Makes navigating my city that much more exciting!

April 12, 2011

These and Those: Let Them Eat Cake


In addition to days spent watching play rehearsals take shape right before my eyes and writing about the experience; they've been seemingly filled with me stuffing my gob with fancily decorated, themed birthday cakes and pizza, watching macabre true-crime documentaries on Investigation Discovery (these keep my female-intuition keen), RuPaul's Drag Race, hunting for the perfect pair of jeans to help flatter my ample-ness, warding off unwanted advances from unwanted men, and nights spent guffawing over full glasses of wine. Whatever it takes to dull the edge a little bit, because at times I feel as if my brain is going to short circuit. Moments spent staring off into space in the absence of wine, definitely help. But I definitely dig this feeling. 
Spring has sprung and the weather is finally starting to reflect the season... It has also signaled the awakening of the riff-raff from their long, harsh winter hibernation. They've slithered out of dark caves and from underneath moist rocks... stumbling all over city, squinting in the sun and testing their sea legs. They've left their marks on the worn city sidewalks in the form of hocked, phlegmy loogies splattered on the cement... competing with guano for domination. I shudder at the the bottom of my shoes and so don't ever bother looking. 
On an exciting note, I've had great hair days and have resolved to wear it out... free and curly... as often as possible... taking a break from my signature (and uncomfortably tight and pinned) bun. My scalp has exhaled and my edges are thankful... for as beautiful as she is... they've no desire to be afflicted with the same fate as Naomi Campbell's
Yes, my days are harried, but thus far they've been steady. I like steady ... I'm hoping they become filled with more writing referrals and freelance gigs because the more I work a non-traditional job doing what I love and the further I veer away from a regular 9-to-5 "day job" the more piercing my hunger pangs become ... To be continued...

March 07, 2011

These and Those: Winning

It's Monday.  I've got my second wind and refuse to acknowledge the prospects who've messaged me on the dating site I haven't(?) re-activated.
In the meantime, I remain dateless but too busy to care, as I'm still hard at work trying to make a proper name for myself as a writer for hire (and yes I wrote "proper"... forget what you've heard on the street).
Ideally, I'd love my week to chug, chug, chug along without having to hear or read about the self-inflicted disintegration of a self-entitled, overpaid, haggard looking White man actor in need of a long nap, but alas, the media storm continues to rain down on the masses like an unexpected and unwanted golden shower shortly after a sexual interlude... and no that has never happened to me, nor am I anticipating it to anytime soon...
In the meantime, I'm still perfecting the art of schmoozing... even if it means pretending to care while some middle-aged, drunk but rich wine bar regular complains how badly his whole entire body hurts, as this bodes poorly for me and my endeavors. On the flipside of the coin, it does mean interacting and fostering partnerships with other local artsy types.
Check out man about town, filmmaker and video producer, Helder Mira's (of Rabbit Ears Media) interview with artist Rashaad Newsome, whose featured work is currently on display at the Wadsworth Atheneum as part of their Matrix series, and offer your feedback. I've been working a little with Helder, helping document the process of play-in-the-making, Flipside, and he is extremely talented (and single, ladies ... and did I mention his name is Helder?) But I digress...
I have yet to find the time to go see Rashaad's work, but I simply MUST! I've been hearing a great deal about this exhibit and would hate to let the opportunity slip through my fingers. I'm definitely trying to win (sans this elusive tiger blood), and take advantage of all the awesome event unfolding in the city of Hartford without spreading myself too thin...  Anyway, see Helder's vid.









March 01, 2011

See You On The Flipside

I feel like I haven't posted here in forever! These "I've been neglecting my blog" posts are starting to bore me. But I swear it's for a good reason. I've still be busy with the theater group HartBeat Ensemble, writing for their blog and learning the in's, out's, and frustrations of PR & Marketing. But thus far it has been so rewarding. I popped my press release "cherry" and did a relatively decent job of not effing it up even though I sent out an initial press release with the wrong time and even was able to get a mention on Frank Rizzo's Hartford Courant blog
This gig is a lot of work and causes me to take deep inhalations and exhalations of breath... because it challenges me as a writer. I'm developing a more disciplined routine, which I lacked before (there're still a few kinks to iron out) and I'm learning consistency... produce, produce, produce. I'm becoming even more of an insomniac, which is a price I'm willing to pay to expand my portfolio and raise my profile as a freelance writer for hire. It also gives me the opportunity to sit in wine bars (I do my best writing there) and observe folks and all their scandalous ways... more fodder for Coffee Rhetoric, and boy do I have fodder. In the meantime, if you're a Hartford resident and are in the area this Thursday evening, please stop by The Hollander on Asylum Street, downtown Hartford for HartBeat Ensemble's fundraiser: The 2nd Annual Improv Idol. Read the details here. And while you're at it, read my hard work dammit. All proceeds go towards funding the on-going production of their play (the one I'm currently blogging about), Flipside. It's only $10 and I figure if folks can pay that much for one of those disgustingly sweet and tangy Appletini's (a drink that's the bane of my bar existence), then they can fork it over for a good cause and get a good laughing watching some of Connecticut's best improv troupes perform against one another for the title of CT's Improv Idol. 
I'm also stoked that massive, dirty, and depressing looking snow banks are slowly melting away and spring is slowly caressing my cheek with soft, gentle kisses. It's also effing disgusting to see the final reveal after the snow has completely melted in various spots in the city.  Anyway, I'll be back... 

February 14, 2011

These and Those: Onward March

I haven't abandoned Coffee Rhetoric in the least.  My new gig blogging for a local professional theater group, as well as trying to juggle and acclimate myself to newly elected PR and marketing responsibilities has kept me busy. Not complaining as these are things I've been steadily working towards! I'm enjoying interacting with this band of professional actors and definitely feel like I'm in my element, although trying to break myself of "day job" type protocol has been a bit challenging, so I still tread with caution and make sure to ask... but I do dig these fellow creative minds. It has also allowed me to meet and network with even more people as I try to follow-through with being a fabulously broke socialite, as the theater posts have been well received. Speaking of which, the more I navigate the trials and tribulations of socializing on my own, the more I realize that I'm simply getting too old to entertain specific personalities and people. I'm becoming more solitary... more... leery... more... observant... because it amazes me how people will sit back and expect someone to expend energy trying to placate their egos, yet won't put forth any effort trying to nurture any type of rapport or camaraderie and will go on a tirade about what someone did to slight or inconvenience them.
Over the course of the past two years or so, I've gotten to know and develop friendships with some pretty genuine and amazing people... but I've also come across a few recently who unfortunately proved to be high maintenance, self-entitled, and self-important. I'm just not willing to yield to someone particularly if it's not a mutual or beneficial effort. My derring-do allows me to dance a tango around someone who doesn't seem certain about how they want to present themselves to me. I went through a trying summer this past year and this current one... I deserve to exhale for once and relax my sphincter ... even if for a moment in this particular space and time. 
I'm just too old(er) and far too exasperated for theatrics...and am only interested in the stage work I'm currently being paid to cover. This whole culture of people who can't seem to move forward unless prompted by pretend so-called "haters" just doesn't bode well for me or my sanity, because I don't need a band of merry hecklers to catapult me to where I need to be. The whole concept of "hateration" is just distracting  and it's easy for one to feed into their own hype as they get swept up in the rapture of addressing the people they perceive to be jealous booers and hissers. I simply practice the art known as IGNORING. If maintaining a relatively as low-key as possible cipher is not for you... then I'm not ... for you, because I loathe grown-up bullies and people who do and say cruel things for no reason other than to try to conquer their own insecurities and issues. Otherwise, at this point and time...always and seemingly forever... I'm still fumbling towards ecstasy, wishing my bestest friend was closer, building up my battered resilience as well as even more character, and am in somewhat of a decent place right now and hope to see it through to fruition. 
This pretty much sums up where I am... 

October 04, 2010

Coffee Buzz

 Local Happs ...

Connecticut Historical Society's Exhibit Opening- Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art & Family 1740 - 1840 Oct. 4 -follow-up One-day conference on Oct. 30
www.Hartford.com
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art presents- Silk City Film Fest, Oct. 7-10
-Read more about the SCFF here
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art info 
Greater Hartford Marathon, downtown Hartford, Saturday Oct. 
Hartford celebrates its annual Hooker Day Parade, Saturday, Oct. 23
Spirits at Stowe: An Otherworldly Tour, Fri's and Sat's this October only, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Happy Hour (downtown Hartford)
(c) Coffee Rhetoric


Salute Mon. 3:30 - close, Tues. - Fri. 3:30-6:30
Bin 2281/2 Priced on wine bottles every Monday

Bocca Rossa  (Mon, Wed, & Fri) 4:30 - 6:30  
  • $5 wines
  • $3 drafts
  • $4 house martinis
  • $3 appetizers
  • $10 flights of 3 wines of your choosing

For Your Own Good ...
www.lesnubians.com
Look out for Les Nubians' new album, Nu Revolution 
Watch: Gaspar Noe's, Enter The Void
 Guilty Pleasure read: Charlotte Carter's dark and twisted love story  'Walking Bones.' I re-read this about every other month.




(c) Coffee Rhetoric

Boutique De Bandeaux- Couture Hair Accessories  

September 21, 2005

Quadri-Boobs

I have a staring problem of epic proportions. This is one of the primary reasons why I wear over-sized, dark shades. I feel they give me license to stare until my heart's content. Generally speaking, I guess it would be referred to as 'people watching'… whatever. 

In my head, I critique people's fashion do's and don’ts or I try to read their faces to determine what type of day they've had. I'll use what I see in my literary art if it's interesting enough. No man, woman, or child is exempt from my vigilant (yet shrouded) gaze. On occasion I may rubber neck (within reason) at attractive men, in appreciation of a woman's well put-together ensemble, or at a horrible fashion doozy. Needless to say, this past Tuesday late- afternoon while I was en-route to my mother's house after work, I was waiting at one of the designated stops, to transfer to another bus.
While waiting, I indulged my staring problem for the 10 or 15 minutes it took for my connecting bus to arrive. I watched people stomping up and down the street, looking relieved that their workday was finally over and done with. I spied various types of women (and men) taking long awaited drags off of their cigs. I saw women of all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages... some chic in their workday threads... some looking like they got dressed in the dark confines of their closets. I spied muffin-tops bubbling over the waists of ill-fitting trousers, protruding through equally ill-fitted knit tops. I also saw men wearing too large shirts, crammed into wrinkled khakis creating an unflattering blouson… like deflated parachutes. Regardless of fashion sense, lack thereof, size, race, etc. I noted one problem in particular… 

Too many women wearing horribly fitted bras. I'm about to share a nasty, nasty figure... 80% of women wear the wrong bra (and panty) size. This petite young woman of ample chest (very ample) who trounced by me illustrated this alarming fact. She had on a stretchy white cotton cap-sleeved fitted tee and I could clearly see through the fabric of her shirt. She had a bad, bad case of what I call the four-boob syndrome. Her cup size, seemingly, began just below the nipplage mark. The whole top half of her rack spilled over the cups of the bra. (Unless you're wearing the proper-size balconet or a demi bra, this should not be the case)- She was pushing Double-D turf. Her DD puppies looked like they were crammed into a C-cup... she was killing me... and not softly. I shook my head, irritated... wishing I'd had a tape measure and the moxie to intercept her path, measure her rack, and to tell her to immediately go and buy whatever cup size she actually was

Teenaged girls and women within my age bracket tend to be the primary offenders of this horrible trend. They see a cute bra and they buy it anyway, notwithstanding the fact that it doesn't fit. Some women have gouges in their skin, because their bras are just way too tight... prompting their back-bacon (regardless of body type) to spill out from the sides. Undergarments are supposed to feel comfortable. If fitted properly, they make or break an entire outfit or the appearance of one's rack. During my college years, I was walking around wearing the wrong bra size, and hadn't even realized it, until someone waged an intervention. I was walking around wearing a DD (which was actually too large). Ofttimes, I found myself tugging the back of my bra relentlessly and my tops just didn't seem to fit properly... but still, I was ignorant to the fact that my bra wasn't the proper size. One summer, several years ago, while shopping in a popular store at the mall, my intervention played out. This store had bras on sale. I decided to buy a couple. Upon walking up to the feisty, petite, Latina cashier to pay for my wares, I got schooled in Brassiere 101. Feisty happened to note the bra size I was about to purchase right before she rang it up. She took one look at my bust (which is ample and full, but not huge) and turned up the corners of her mouth in disapproval; as one would do to an insolent child.
"Honey, this is not the right size." she said. "But I've been wearing this size for a long time" I argued, so sure I was correct. She looked at my rack, one more time, before driving her point home... "Trust me, you are not a DD. I know what I'm talking about. I am used to women coming in here buying the wrong bra size." I started to protest once more, but Feisty shushed me, draped a tape measure around her neck, and stepped from behind the counter. "Come here" she ordered. I obliged, lifting up my arms, to let her wrap the tape around my back and just under my bust. "40D" she said with an 'I told you so' smirk on her face. 

Silent, I returned the bras I was about to purchase back to sale rack, and got their replicas in a 40D. That was about 4 or 5 years ago, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. My tops fit a lot better, my boobs aren't squished uncomfortably in their cups, and the bra tugging is at a minimum. Wearing the proper-size in bra compliment my rack if I do say so myself. Most department and fine lingerie stores offer bra fittings for free, yet women don't take advantage, because they don't feel comfortable getting their sweater puppets sized up. I advise all women, young, middle-aged, and old, to suck it up and do it! It makes a huge difference as to how you fit into your clothes. Knowing your proper undergarment size also makes it easier to shop for bras sans the guessing games.... and failing miserably. Bra fittings should take place at least once a year, as a gynecological or dental exam does; and if you’re still not comfortable asking a salesgirl to measure your tats, then I implore you to give your best friend (paramour or husband) a tape measure and ask her (or him) to do it. Your breasts will be so grateful, that they'll breathe a sigh of relief.