Friday, January 30, 2009

OSF: Original vs. Remake

I almost never like the remake versions of original songs. But, I picked a couple of remakes that I thought took a good stab at the original. I still like the originals better on all of these except my Luther Vandross pick (I mean, did you really think I was gonna pick the Carpenters? Seriously):

1) The Jackson 5 vs. Mariah Carey's "I'll Be There"

2) The Carpenters vs. Luther Vandross vs: "Superstar"; "Superstar/Until You Come Back to Me"

3) Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force vs. Allure: "All Cried Out"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No, Not Girl Scout Cookies Too!

This is an absolute shame. Because of the economy, the Girl Scouts of America are putting 2-4 less cookies in boxes. These include thin mints, short breads, peanut butters, and other cookies. And, they're making those lemon sandwich cookies smaller. The organization says, "Our bakers cannot continue to absorb these rising costs." Had I known that this was going to happen, I would have ordered extra boxes to make up for the fewer cookies. This is so not right. President Obama needs to hold a press conference over this. Seriously.

Friday, January 23, 2009

OSF: Too Hot for Radio

OK, this one was hard considering we weren't aloud to listen to nasty music growing up--my dad is a preacher (although I'm now beginning to question my lack of access since Regina's Family Seasons chose Adina Howard's "Freak Like Me", and me and my sister had the single!) So I included Madonna's "Justify My Love" because the media made a big deal over it when I was a child and MTV wouldn't show it during the day. (I wanted to use Janet Jackson's "Would You Mind" off her All for You album but that was released after 1999.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dating Again

No, Mr. C and I are not getting a divorce so don't even come at me with no tabloid rumors. What had happened was we decided to go out on a date and try a restaurant we hadn't tried before because, well let me put it bluntly: Grad students don't date once becoming grad students, especially married ones. Plus, I thought I deserved a treat for coding dissertation data, so we went on a date. I kinda felt guilty at first considering that we still had leftovers from last night's dinner in the fridge, but who says we can't still have them for lunch tomorrow?

Anyway, back to this restaurant. We tried P.F. Chang's China Bistro and if I were to write a review for it, I'd definitely recommend it. The food is quite good. It's a little more upscale than your average Chinese restaurant, but there's really not that much of a difference in price (unless you order a New York strip steak). I ordered sweet and sour chicken for about 12 bucks.

The restaurant's strengths lie in their sauce options. They give you a well-seasoned soy sauce that if too sweet you can add white vinegar too, and if too tart, a reddish sauce (don't know what it's called). That's a big step up from the soy sauce packets.

The fried crab wontons were perfectly crispy too--not too soggy. They came with a sweet and sour spicey sauce, but if you don't like sweet and sour (like Mr. C.), you can always use the seasoned soy sauce. They also came with this cucumber and carrot garnish tossed in a red wine vinegar-like dressing. Quite good too. The only downside with this dish was that I couldn't tell you if there was crab in it--let alone, imitation crab. The stuffing was filled mostly with cheese. Still good though.

We took our desserts home to go. Mr. C. had New York Cheesecake (which if he doesn't hurry up and eat it, I might sneak a piece; see my reason in the next sentence), and I had the mini smores treat. Delicious, but I honestly could have had a larger serving. They do have bigger desserts there as well; I just figured that I'd be too stuffed for anything large.

While this place has your fried rices, wonton soups, sweet and sour chickens, etc., again, like I said earlier, it ain't your typical Chinese joint. If you're looking for super duper sized portions, you're best going where you've been going for Chinese. The portions are just right IMO though. You won't necessarily have leftovers, but you'll be satisfied. But if you're looking for quality over quantity, then this is the place to go.

Friday, January 16, 2009

OSF: Favorite TV Show Theme Songs

Okay, I was a silly kid and actually thought that Steven and Elyse Keaton sang the theme song (written by Jeff Barry and Tom Scott) to Family Ties' "Without Us". It wasn't until I was nearly a teenager when I found out that Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams sang the song. Nonetheless, this has always been one of my favorites because the melody and harmonies are so soothing. Enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2009

About that Dinner this Weekend

The dinner date I had this weekend was yummy btw. I plan on swapping that chicken recipe!

The Fruits of My Labor May Not be In Vain (Yet)

I just taught my first day for the spring 2009 semester, and have quite engaged and fascinating students. They're already asking questions about "code-switching" and even know what the term means! Well, when I walked into the classroom an African American female student nearly cheered and fell out of her chair with excitment and I hadn't even opened my mouth yet. After class she explained that this was the first time she'd had a black teacher and was really excited about the course and content (Ebonics, I assume). Go figure, considering that there ain't many of us in the academy, let alone, the humanities (rhet/comp).

This makes me feel like the fruits of my labor may not be in vain after all. And I feel this lady's excitement: I didn't have my first African American teacher until my senior year in college at the University of Michigan (probably because I was creative writing and literature major?), and had to take courses in the social sciences just to get one. And since then, I've only had 2 African American teachers in grad school, one being Dr. G (aka Geneva Smitherman). Considering that I study Ebonics, go figure again.

Sometimes it takes moments like this to reflect more critically on the work that we as academics are responsible for doing, the power we hold (professionally, authoritatively, affectively, etc.), and the ways in which we represent both our home communities and the academy at large. What exactly does it mean to be a Black professor/instructor and not just a writing teacher? What does it mean to be a Black professor teaching about African American cultural and communicative practices? Whose responsibility is it to introduce students to Other cultural practices? Is it mine alone as an African American women, or can someone else teach/include such practices too? Whose authority does it become? Mine alone? Someone else's?

Upon reflecting both critically and intellectually on the implications surround Black teachers, I must also reflect soberly and pragmatically. Doing so makes things seem even more and more bleak; however, I have to be realistic. The academy knows that there are few and fewer (bl)academics represented, despite superficial calls for, and statements on diversity. And of the (bl)academics in the academy, even fewer are represented in the humanities (don't have hard stats, but nonetheless find this so, considering the fact that most of my (bl)academic friends come from other disciplines). Consider the Computers of Writing Conference (a smaller conferences associated with rhetoric and composition) I attended in May 2007 (held in Detroit of all places!). Of the hundreds of computer geeks represented, there were 3 AAs present, I being one of them!

As I continue to represent the small number of Blacks in rhet/comp/English Studies (although some would argue that the Black Caucus is actually one of the largest special interest groups in the National Council for Teachers of English), I have to believe that my work as a (bl)academic will be of value at least to my students.

Friday, January 9, 2009

OSF: Songs from the Year I Graduated High School (2000)

Yeah I know I'm young, but don't hate because some of y'all graduate way back when in the 60's and 70's. My pick is Destiny's Child's "Jumpin', Jumpin'". This used to be my anthem even though I wasn't old enough or allowed to go to any clubs (not that I wanted to go and smell like beer and cigarette smoke anyway). Enjoy

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hang-ups and Particularity

This weekend I was invited to dinner by a newfound friend, a dinner that this person would be cooking (don't worry MSU friends and colleagues: I am NOT talking about you. In fact, I love your food!). The problem is, that I'm quite picky and am afraid that I will not like the food that is prepared. Plus, I'm afraid to tell this person about my dietary habits. For example, I don't drink sugar beverages, and I don't eat red meat or pork. Because this person is Caucasian, I'm hoping for some type of vegetarian option (the last few white people dinners and functions that I have been to have had vegetarian choices). Too bad I can't say the same thing for my fellow brothas and sistas though. Perhaps we can meet common ground with chicken? LMAO!

I think that if this person does choose to serve beef or pork, I can bite the bullet and eat either one time, but that's not what I'm most worried about. I'm most worried about whether or not what they prepare will be nasty. I'm really particular about flavors and textures, and if the flavor or texture is slightly off, I have a hard time swallowing. Like when I was roughly six months old and had convulsions when my mom tried to feed me jello. I still can't stand jello till this very day!

I think I might have inherited my mom's particularity; actually, hers is quite worse than mine! In fact, me and Mr. C often joke when we have takeout food and she wants to try it. We preface everything with, "you're not gonna like it". One time (years ago), I went with her to a friend's house, where the person prepared dinner. She didn't like it and went to the bathroom to spit it out, only to find that the item got stuck in the toilet! After a couple of flushes, it went down. Phew.

This weekend, I'll try not to do what she did. It's just that I have hang-ups with food, cleanliness, etc., and this event poses much anxiety for me. And close friends who invite me over usually order take-out because they know how I am. Eating prepared dinners by people I don't know that well is something I usually don't do.

Until this weekend, my fingers are crossed...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Out with the Old, In with the New

Monday has gotten off to a pretty good start, nothing like the cranky weekend. First, I got a journal article accepted for publication (it'll be in print sometime in mid 2009--quite soon considering the fact that many academic journals lag far behind schedule for printing accepted pubs). Then, I tackled cleaning out my closet! Although I keep an extremely neat home, when it comes to my closet, I've been quite a pack rat, keeping articles of clothing dated from 2002/2003/2004, stuff I haven't worn in ages, and most of which, is at least 2 sizes too small. And even with the stuff I can technically squeeze into (not that I really want to), it's not in style. Can you say gaucho pants anyone? And who really needs 40 blazers? Seriously.

My sister would always say how she was gonna come visit and help me get rid of all that clutter, thinking that somehow I needed a life coach. Well, if you're reading T, don't bother. The proof is in the pudding on the right.

I did it! And I even have space for the clothes I've been storing at my parents' and T's places.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cranky Stuff Part 2

I was too exhausted to blog about this yesterday, so I'll share some events while I have a moment. Yeah, I was quite cranky yesterday, and here's a bit why:

First, I went to Subway looking for that Chicken Florentine flat bread sandwich (a sandwich I'd just had six days ago BTW), and found that they'd discontinued it. WHY?! That was the best thing that Subway had going for them.

Then, I went to get my naps busted and found that my hair appointment had been rescheduled for the next day. It was all my fault because I'd received the text from my stylist concerning the appointment, thought it was an old text, and deleted it accidentally. So I had to walk around with both a crappy lunch and a bad hair day.

Finally, on my way home, I had a craving for sushi, and since they're really aren't any good sushi bars that are up to par in Toledo, OH (my hometown where I'm visiting over Christmas Break), I decided to go to a Kroger. A few weeks ago, I'd had the sushi from the Kroger near my parents' home and it was pretty good. Well, while staying at my sister's condo, I decided to go to a Kroger closer to her place, but in a predominantly African American area. That was kinda dumb. I looked all over that Kroger and no sushi. And very little-to-no fish either quite frankly; they didn't even have cat fish! But they did have a lot of chicken fried up for purchase. And they also had their own liquor store inside--quite an extensive store I'd add. If you want lots of cheap booze, that Kroger is the best place to go. Just don't try looking for sushi. Duh.

On my way to my sister's I settled on Chipotle, which was quite tasty. Since I couldn't get any avocados in a California shrimp roll, I settled for guacamole instead. Enough said.

Friday, January 2, 2009

OSF: Blogger's Choice

If you read my previous post, you saw how cranky I am, so I picked "Don't Take it Personal (Just One of Dem Days)" by Monica.

Cranky Stuff

I'm blogging about this because I'm sick of it. I watch the Today Show daily and every day they seem to talk about the same stale stuff: weight loss/calorie saving and/or money/saving money. I know it's a new year and all, and that it's typical to make a new year's resolution about losing weight and/or saving money. But I'm quite frankly sick and tired of hearing about how to lose weight, make money, save money, or some combination of the three. What makes it so bad is the fact that they recycle the same types of tips around, especially with weight loss. It ain't rocket science people. You have to burn more calories than you consume, portion control what the heck you eat, get your butt moving, etc. to lose weight. The other tips are common sense.

And as for $$$ isn't it kinda hard to spend and/or save dough if you ain't got none? Lots of us are suffering from the poor economy; you don't need to remind us of it every friggin' day. There's more to life besides weight loss and money. You CAN be happy without being a size 4 and having lots of $$$. Despite my crankiness, I AM quite happy without money and weight loss.

Okay, I know I'm grouchy today, but c'est la vie. I leave you with a couple of Today Show clips:

On Weight Loss:

On $$$$$