Friday, August 29, 2008

back on the school grind

The past few weeks have been fairly hectic as I readjust to the life of a collegiate student which is surprisingly a HUGE adjustment. I'm so much more appreciative of my campus now, having done a prolonged stint in Corporate America. I love getting my grown and sexy business casual thing going but there's nothing like throwing on a new fit for the first day of school! For all those involved the month long annual celebration that commemorate the date of my birth has begun so keep an eye for events coming your way. Additionally, I was blessed enough to be hired on spot for yet another a-maz-ing internship opportunity for Fall '08 in addition to my regular gigs, so it should be a super challenging and exciting semester.


....McCain's choice of Paulin has me completely bamboozled. Elaine Benes Sarah Palin is clearly a choice made to sweep in the votes those craaaazy women who just want to see women in power until our society is completely matriarchal. As far as I've read Palin is "unqualified" and if Sen. McCain, who is 72 and has had 4 bouts with cancer, has any sort of medical issues, Lord forbid, this woman would have to step up. Some say Palin is just as qualified as Obama but if McCain's principle argument is that Obama isn't qualified, why choose someone with the same amount of experience? I do appreciate him not "leaking" the news last night when everyone was riding high off of Obama's speech. Today I listened to the Monique show on 102.1 as I drove in to the H and people were calling in tears saying this was the most amazing thing they'd seen in their liftime, they can't believe what's going on. What a thrilling time to be alive and tapped into the political landscape! One listener emphasized Obama's call to be accountable. He won't pull out his superman cape all of a sudden, it's important we have realistic expectations and hold ourselves accountable for the state of America and its people. Monique's show also played a great version of "Never Would Have Made It" interspersed with pieces of speeches from Obama and MLK Jr. I'll get that posted as soon as I find it.

....Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev made major headlines this week for recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two territories that broke away from Georgia. Word is Russia might absorb these. Condoleezza Rice and other officials from the US and EU spoke out strongly against Russia's actions as of late as the decision to recognize the regions goes against several UN Security Council resolutions that Russia voted for and exacerbates tensions in the area. Looks like Russia is going to be in the doghouse at the next G8 meeting. Seriously though US officials said in this Financial Times article that they wouldn't push Russia on this and Russia said basically "we don't want another Cold War....but wherever this goes..." Man, wouldn't be nice if we had substantial reserves with our military power and budget in case we needed it? :-|

President Medvedev, in the same edition of FT, wrote what I thought was a great editorial explaining Russia's actions. (Read it here) He says that Russia knew the severity of its decisions before it announced them but due to recent injustices (and atrocities) against these people because of their ethnic background and historical circumstances, Russia felt it was the right thing to do.
"Meanwhile, ignoring Russia’s warnings, western countries rushed to recognise Kosovo’s illegal declaration of independence from Serbia. We argued consistently that it would be impossible, after that, to tell the Abkhazians and Ossetians (and dozens of other groups around the world) that what was good for the Kosovo Albanians was not good for them. In international relations, you cannot have one rule for some and another rule for others."
His editorial is much more specific, and I'll let you read it as I'm no expert in Russian history and relations. In researching Georgia I saw that it became the Kingdom of Georgia in 1008. A millenium?! Is there a celebration going on for that? There should be. 2776 it's going DOWN in America!

.... I got my new computer. My dance company friends, who are all Apple stans, tried to say any PC was a bad choice, but my new Sony Vaio SR came in the mail today and is a dream. The ads said "Supermodel meets Supercomputer." Hell-o love. The Sony Style store has great promotions going on right now as Sony just released several new lines of computer and are trying to be a bit more aggressive in their price points to compete with the HP's and Dell's of the world. I did an insane amount of research and I'm so geeked up this new machine.

....The Olympics concluded. There's a lot of talk about how to determine who "won." Is it the country who got the most gold medals (China -which is how most of the world reports medals) or the country with the most medals overall (US - which is how the US reports, not surprisingly)? Freakonomics reported that Jamaica had the most gold medals with 2.2 gold medals per million people.
"By this metric, the U.S. came in 33rd, and the host nation, China, came 47th. Indeed, the real puzzle from the 2008 Olympics is why the United States is so terrible at transforming raw talent — the millions of Americans born every year — into world champion material. Moreover, the puzzle deepens once one accounts for the fact that, living in one of the world’s richest nations, U.S. athletes have unparalleled access to the latest training technology."
.... MGNT - "Kids" (Soulwax Nite Version) : So fresh. (source)

Friday, August 22, 2008

the thirteenth floor

A lot of people ask me, "What's the 13th floor? Where'd that come from?" Let me break down my love of 13 for you:
  • 13 is my favorite number. In a close 2nd is 7 which is biblical perfection so I wouldn't even say that it's really 2nd. Just another first.
  • I used to live on the 13th floor when I was in the school dorms and met some of the greatest individuals you'll ever meet. Many of whom, in light of recent events, were willing to take it to the square with me and hold me down like a paperweight.
  • 13 has always been lucky for me and my family. It pops up all the time, from making dance teams as dancer 13 to most recently getting a hole-in-one on hole 13 during putt putt the other night. It was about as gangster as it gets.
  • Friday the 13ths are always good days for me. If they're not, I make 'em that way.
  • Many greats have worn 13: Wilt Chamberlain, Shaq (for a while) and Yao in Beijing. Incidentally in Italy 13 is a lucky number and if you're close enough to know my last name you know I identify with that.
All of that supports 13 but this blog is really the namesake of an Outkast song that you need to slap on your iPod if it's not there already: "The 13th Floor/Growing Old" from ATLiens

Conceive true deception multiplied a million fold
Visualize the yin and yang in a battle so intense
that we get 'em confused
The resident evil specialize in misconstruing
We wanna be at a presidential level -- what are we doing?
Fooling ourselves, clowning ourselves, playing ourselves
By not being ourselves
We can't babble no more than we can bob our head offbeat
Nimrod by the time we forty cause we can't get off meat
While we ask no reason for the misplacement of the season
look at the picture that's painted
Tainted as the mind who's blinded to the point
where Sodomites get all the rights
We fall for fights with fisticuffs
Get pissed enough to miss the bus
It disgusts me to see my folks run up on
I say stand up on deception of time all of Revelations
And recognize this mind on the reality of horror
known as mankind
Jesus and his twelve disciples make thirteen
A righteous number of righteous men
Even Judas the Betrayer came true in the end....

I really be love it we are gathered to life
So pissed to lather we come clean
Some issues need to be addressed like envelopes I mean
Oh like Liberty Bells yes them bullets keep on rangin
On fire like the Georgia mass choir we keep on sangin
Bringing our folks closer together cause they severed us from the get green
Light and we ain't gon' stop until we hit the big screen
Psych because no one is free when others are oppressed
So, we hit the stage and then we fly back to our nest
Growing old

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

this is real and not for play

“Let me tell you the story of “Right Hand, Left Hand.” It’s a tale of good and evil. Hate: It was with this hand that Cane iced his brother. Love: These five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand: the hand of love. The story of life is this: Static. One hand is always fighting the other hand; and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand, Love, is finished. But, hold on, stop the presses, the right hand is coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes, now, that’s right. Ooh, it’s the devastating right and Hate is hurt, he’s down. Left-Hand Hate K.O.ed by Love.” - Radio Raheem

Quote from (Taz Arnold of Sa-Ra of "Hollywood") : "a petticoat once spoke of a beautiful astro projectionist who desired opulence and erogenous pleasures.. im still in search of earth knowledge.. share your munificent pearl and wondrous splendor with me lady.."

I love when people are on that other biz.

I love Vans. If you know me you should know this. Haters go home. I love custom everything also. Shauna Liedtke has combined these passions and is the mastermind behind Slip-Offs where you can order custom vans. Genius. Go to the site for more amazing examples of her work and Sneaker Freaker for her latest interview. Slip-ons are $180 including the shoes...ya'll know my bday is coming up and the month long celebration is about to commence.... These are bonkers:
hey love.

by request:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

play tough as nails with my heart on my sleeve

Usain Bolt lived up to his name (can't wait for the headlines on that one.) and became the fastest man on Earth running the 100 with a 9.69 in the 100M dash today. All I want to know is: what happened to Tyson Gay? I was the main one telling people he was gonna show the world America is the greatest...recession or not. He didn't even qualify for the finals and finished 5th in his heat I believe. Whatever, I watched the Ginger and Fred marathon on TCM anyway... whatchu know about "Top Hat?" Cross your fingers that Manifest Destiny prevails and America dominates the world
( know that's how people are acting with these Olympics!) when Michael Phelps wins his 8th medal tomorrow and breaks the record for most medals in any Olympics. Please, please don't let him be on steroids, the kids need something to believe in.

Anybody else catch that little spanking move he did at the end? Guess that's how you get down when you're the fastest man on Earth. No erotico.

Solange dropped another fantasmal video, this time for her single "Sandcastle Disco." Every shot, every outfit, every graphic is vivid, uplifting, and forward. The message is a little unbalanced but I can get with it. Chick is 22, has a (
precious) child, is divorced and grew up behind Beyonce (our leader for all things independent)... she earned a little dramatics/crazy (which starts to show through about 3:10 into the last set) but haven't we all? I'm really feeling the puff sleeves/skirts and there isn't a scene where her shoes aren't shut-the-store-down-fierce. Her leg placement throughout the video (see as she's in the air with the balloon and laying down on the guitar) would make Tyra proud. Thank heaven for new beginnings - otherwise we might just remember her for "Feelin' You."

(Seen first @ CL)

Santogold vs. Justice - L.E.S.D.A.N.C.E. (Immuzikation Mashup)
MGMT - Kids (Afterschool Dance Megamix)

Friday, August 15, 2008

how come blessings only come in disguise?

I love when people pay attention to detail. I saw these Giuseppe Zanotti ankle boots over at High Snobette and instantly was infatuated. I'm not really on the whole ankle boot train yet, but for a pair like these I might just suck it up. Thankfully, until I have a grand ($995 + tax to be exact) to drop on some boots, I have a while to worry about that.

Two of the latest, greatest music videos that you've (probably) never seen:

Little Jackie - The Whole World Should
Revolve Around Me

From their MySpace:
Blend the old-school R&B sound with a quirky hybrid of hip-hop and pop and you get Little Jackie, the creation of genre-defying singer-songwriter Imani Coppola and programmer Adam Pallin. With a nod to the soulful Motown rhythms of the past and a sneer to many of the social and cultural issues that consume the public today, Coppola has crafted an album of musical sugar and spice, filled with sweet, saccharine-tinged melodies and spicy, bold commentaries.
This was one of those song-of-the-day-hit-the-repeat-and-let-it-fly-for-hours songs. This is my kind of women's empowerment ish. "There's only one me in the galaxy/ I. am. an. endangered species/ This kind of flower don't grow on Earth / Just lettin' you know for what it's worth." Yesiree. Check out their other songs, especially "The Stoop." This is the kind of music you want to play over the speakers while at the pool with your people. It seems like the vocalist - producer/DJ combo a la Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse is a combo that leads to success.

Adele - Chasing Pavement

Y'all know I love me some British sangers (p.s. please tell me you've heard Warwick Avenue on the radio from Duffy: <3) but this video was strikingly personal, imaginative and detail oriented. This is the kind of music that inspires and keeps me in love with a dance outside of hip-hop.

(top 4 from Producto Di-gestivo visit there if you want more
old Snoop, Eazy-E, Scarface + more)
By request:

"The critical bridge between vision and execution is patience."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"wiped out, they could see me...

....that's what I want,
a casualty, but I am upfront
and I know what it's about."
-- Santi White

We gonna just jump right back in this. Internship finished last week and I've been transitioning back to life as a young twenty-something student. It seems like everybody in the firm and on the client site told me something to the effect of, "What I wouldn't do to go back to school for one more better appreciate that chance!" Life in the real world is cool and living lavishly on the client's dime in the city of no pity is a Godsend...but I can't wait to get back to school to grind it out with some 4.0 finesse. Yafeelmedoeyadig... but yeah, my bad for slipping. All ya'll saying "look at her with her lazy self" know y'all are wrong and that sometimes you gotta log off and live life. Yeah, Big Jess I'm talking to you. Culture Tour report coming soon. In the meantime I'm shopping for a new laptop, holla at me if you love your XPS Dell or your Sony Vaio.

Santogold just dropped a video for one of my favorite songs from her, "Lights Out." I couldn't have asked for a better visual to represent such a chill, mystifying song. The play on patterns is fresh and that lipstick game is on point. Why do I still not have gold bamboo earrings?

Notable Passings:

  • RIP Bernard Jeffrey McCullough aka Bernie Mac. What a terrible struggle for such an amazing comedian and his family.
  • RIP Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. Never Can Say Goodbye
  • RIP Morgan Freeman's marriage. Hmph. Pray tell what you were doing, you millionaire actor you, in a 1997 Nissan Maxima driving around close to midnight? I wish the man a speedy recovery...from the breakup of his 24 year marriage.
  • RIP John Edward's dignity. Even the opening ceremonies couldn't save your self worth from being thrown out the window. Let me get this straight: we're supposed to give you a pass because (1) your wife's cancer was in remission, (2) you didn't love the ho, (3) the baby isn't yours? This man, who was extremely outspoken about Clinton's affair, had the nerve to run for president knowing he had dirty laundry nastier than Leslie's. This uber-crucial election could have been thrown. People need to upgrade their moral compasses ASAP. Don't even get me started on the state of females these days and the lengths they're willing to go to.
Who else can't freaking wait for the Blueprint 3?
Jay_Z (prod. by Ye) - Jockin Jay_Z

The Chanel Mobile Art exhibit is supposedly starting up in NYC in Central Park around October 20th....when I'll be in the Big Apple. Fate?
Speaking of Chanel, how much do you love the new Signet Rings that just ooze class and tradition? I just read Esther last night where King Xerxes was talking about using his signet ring to seal letters. Who's with me? Let's take it back old school to biblical times:

Amazing video of the day: Meet Ben, who "had his eyes surgically removed when very young, and has learned to see using echolocation. By clicking his tongue he is able to navigate around objects, identify objects, play games and more." Seen @ The Beez Wax

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

the beautiful struggle

"One of the things I am always trying to reject is a false choice between blind optimism and despair and cynicism. What I at least am always after is a hardheaded realism that does not extinguish hope."
--Obama (HAPPY 47th BIRTHDAY)

Isn't that a real quote? In church sometimes the benediction basically prays that we be crazy enough to believe that we can make a difference. The world is insane. My problems? Ha. At the end of the day I get to lay my head down and say, "I've been blessed." I can't even fathom what other people go through. There's no reason I should be where I am, why it's me and not the next person. How can you not look at something like that and not have infinite hope? But at the same time, when you face pure evil, in it's sickest, most wretched form how do you not have infinite disappointment? All in the same day. I pray to not be desensitized, to not allow myself to belief the word's standards are acceptable, normal, or fathomable. It's not easy. My coworker jokes about my company "brainwashing" the interns by letting us live lavishly for a summer. But aren't we brainwashed everyday? Aren't we forced to face disappointment, rejection, sadness, and deception day in and day out like that's what this life is about? How do you keep your eyes to the skies? I'm doing that all questions no answers thing again. But, really, there is a fine line between reality and despair. Is it better to hold onto a false hope or to numb yourself to the pain of the world? Where would the Lost Boys be if they just gave up hope? If they saw the worst atrocities imaginable and said, "oh, well, that must be it?" I could give a million examples but it's just going to take away from my conclusion: "Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway." Mother Theresa.

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." --MLK Jr.

Courtney, "Court-nay D-Sha," "Juice," "King James'" death remains unsolved. His gravestone was recently put in place and still we grieve like it just happened with a sadness that may never subside. If you know anything, hear anything, I don't care if you have a premonition in the night: call 713-222-TIPS. Shouts to Cori Lemonhead for the linkage on the 'book.

"I try to pick the right words to say to the sky
Some days i would try but wasn't able to cry
I never been good at saying goodbye
I take a deep breath when the times is hard....
When I reminisce over you, my God...."

Monday, August 4, 2008

never would have paid it

It's been a while, I know. But when Corporate America is paying you overtime for every hour on the grind and you're trying to crank it out until vaca next week, blogging takes a back seat. That being said this will be brief. Edouard (doesn't that look like a typo?) is coming, we gotta hunker down and watch the weather all night apparently. As a few of you all know, (fellow finance majors stand UP) there is more than one way to value a stock. The appropriate method to determine a stock price depends on the time span in which you're interested, your personal belief as to what constitutes a stock prick, and a little bit of sheer luck. There is no proven way to consistently beat the market (well, buy and hold - especially in a solid index fund - seems to work well if you have tens of years to reap your investment) and even if you can vehemently scream the benefits of technical analysis, fundamental analysis, random walk theory, etc. you're likely to find someone next to you (in class, perhaps?) that feels just as strongly about another theory. You can borrow my Investment Management textbook if you want to read about the theories. I bring this up because a few weeks back I read an interesting article on the Freakonomics blog talking about a working paper from some Michigan economists about predicting the price of oil. We constantly hear snippets on the news about crude oil going up to $130...$140....$150 a barrel and, for the most part, you know you have to take that with a grain of salt. It's safe to say oil is going to go generally up (although thank goodness for the recent respite, whatever it indicates, because I'm back to hovering around $40/tank for the Civic!) but all that bologna with specific prices -- how do you know? There are so many factors that are unpredictable -- but I'm just being pessimistic about the models. The researchers have found that the greatest predictor of the oil prices is the current oil price. It makes you think twice before diving into the commodities market, eh? The more recent inexplicable spikes in erratic investor behavior has me pausing for all equities and commodities in general. I might skip straight to options?
"Amazingly, this simple rule did better than the average of dozens of professional forecasters! In fact, the no-change forecast was 34 percent more accurate at predicting oil prices in 3 months time, and 18 percent more accurate at predicting prices in a year’s time. While professional prognosticators might argue that this difference isn’t statistically significant, it sure is embarrassing."
Also, here's a graph of oil prices over the last 40 or so years. Click here to see prices as adjusted for inflation juxtaposed with the real prices. We've covered the conflicts and what affects oil prices a lot in my macro theory classes (fellow economics majors stand UP!) but recently I'm kind of at a loss when it comes to hope for our energy sources. Thank goodness people like T. Boone Pickens (whose NYT editorial I posted a couple weeks ago) have a lot more money and a lot more knowledge on the subject and are pushing for change. Of course it's not enough to just sit and wait for others to incite the change and carry it on their backs. Where do I sign up for a windmill in my backyard?

Speaking of gas prices, combine Marvin Sapp + the Tom Joyner Morning Show + one of the biggest election year issues and what do you get? Sheer hilarity: