FACEBOOK BACK: To Facebook or not to Facebook?

FACEBOOK BACK: To Facebook or not to Facebook?

Why I left … and why I’m coming back. Kinda.

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[Full D: I think it’s necessary that I come clean and properly qualify my “leaving Facebook” as, in fact, a tricknologically imposed hiatus. I never intended to be gone from The Virtual World That Zucker Crafted (and Jamiroquai predicted almost a decade before) for four months. But I gotta admit: I found a certain level of comfort and even serenity not thinking about or logging on to Facebook.]

See, what happened was …. I powered up the ancient Macbook Pro I use on or around the 6th of June. I had a slew of posts planned for Black Music Month and was readying both a biz plan and a short film for presentation and meetings when I got one of those downloadable update notifications. I usually ignore them: I know from past experiences that when you download an update it pretty much shuts you down, no matter if it says “You can continue to work” or “Update will run in the background” yadda, yadda, yadda. Bullschnizzle. But for some stupid reason, knowing all that I had to do, on this day I clicked on it … and it killed the Mac.

See, what happened was …. I powered up the ancient Macbook Pro I use on or around the 6th of June. I had a slew of posts planned for Black Music Month and was readying both a biz plan and a short film for presentation and meetings when I got one of those downloadable update notifications. I usually ignore them: I know from past experiences that when you download an update it pretty much shuts you down, no matter if it says “You can continue to work” or “Update will run in the background” yadda, yadda, yadda. Bullschnizzle. But for some stupid reason, knowing all that I had to do, on this day I clicked on it … and it killed the Mac.

At least I thought it did.

The sucka blinked and froze up.

It responded to no commands, prompts, pounding of keys  or pleading.

I remained calm, outwardly – frontin’ really – repeatedly telling myself “This. Is. Not. Good.” and “This. Is. Not. Happening. Not. Right. Now.” So I waited. And. Waited. And waited some mo’. A few hours went by … nada. So, I relented and rebooted. When I got the gray, ghoulish glow and saw the Apple logo I thought, “Hey, this might be ok.” As long as you see that logo it means the OS is still on the machine and there’s a good chance you can retrieve your files. But then it blinked again and Poof! The Apple was gone!  Instead a file illo took its place with an arrow: it was looking for the OS.  It didn’t find it. I did everything I could to restore and retrieve my files but nothing worked. The OS was gone. So was all my stuff that I hadn’t backed up for a few days; some of it was on Google Drive and in The Cloud, but there was a lot of stuff lost, gone for good. Damn, damn, damn! Cue up Pete & CL. I was prepared to bury the artifact, but I took it to Best Buy/Geek Squad to see if there was any hope. They couldn’t get it to even boot up. “Sorry.” Yeah. But when I got it home it did, so I took it back. They found that the HD had been killed: pay a couple hunnid to get all my info back AND buy a new hard drive.

WTF!!!

All told it took me about a month and a great tech – shouts to Cynthia @ Best Buy, Pentagon City. She’s. Tha. Biz. Niz. – from Geek Squad to actually diagnose my problem – the download killed my hard drive, which was just over a year old – and fix it. She returned the year old drive (Seagate. Sucks) and swapped it for a new, less expensive and better one (Western Digital all day!). So though I now had a computer I needed to get crackin’ on rebuilding the stuff I had lost. That would require lots of time, so, checkin’ for Facebook was not even on my list of priorities. Like an addict who had no idea how much his habit had affected everything until he kicks and looks back at the wreckage, I realized how much I really didn’t NEED Facebook to live. My girls, good craft and imported beer, basketball, good food and intellectual and sexual stimuli, yeah. Zucker’s Thing? Not. So. Much. It didn’t help that this was right around the time we found out that all us FB folk were guinea pigs for some crazy psychological study. Didn’t sign up for that. Timing. Is. Everything.

Right on cue my phone got taken out by an update too. My shit was on somebody’s hit list. It pretty much killed any motivation to even monitor activity on FB. I got a new phone but I didn’t install the FB app. Other than a couple driveby’s and B’Earthday wishes about three months back I’ve been ghost. I’ll be installing it soon, maybe today.

So now, I approach my return with clarity but also a bit of trepidation: I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would. I’m not an addictive personality: I’m able to quit pretty much anything and anybody cold turkey, right on the spot (just ask some former flames, friends and fools). Right now I got a lot of shit on the table so I don’t have time to fully immerse myself in FB but I do need the network I’ve built  to move certain things along: hope that doesn’t seem mercenary or duplicitous (I’m a Scorpio, so never that) but it’s the truth. But the lure and the desire to catch up is still there. Just keepin’ it 100.

I’ve come to the realization that a lot of other people also have: Facebook is cool for kinda sorta keeping in touch with friends and feeling like you’re connected. But that shit’s a facsimile of the real thing: you feel like you’re connected, but how many of us have had a real conversation with four or five of your friends – not family, cause God knows you can’t avoid them even if you wanted to – you don’t work with or live in close proximity to in the last few months based off of something you saw on their timeline or have even picked up the phone to check in instead of hovering like an apparition over the screen and clicking “Like” or inserting some emoticon/emoji to “express” whatever that stimuli caused you to feel? How many of us have sat down with friends recently in this hyper kinetic always connected existence? Is this limited interaction what is now accepted as living, as caring?

Yes. Yes it is.

I’m a hypocrite here: I have had conversations with people based off some FB posting(s), and I’ve truly cherished them, but I haven’t had as many as I should’ve. Some folks have called and inquired about me during my semi-self-imposed exile. I appreciated it. Thank you. That’s no shade thrown towards anybody who didn’t [I don’t get down like that; I’ve never been accused of being passive-aggressive about ANYTHING]. I understand that folks are busy and invested in their lives and I may or may not be anywhere near the top of their list of Shit That’s Truly Important. It’s cool. I don’t need or expect it to be ok. I’m not nearly as Narcissistic or self-absorbed as some would believe … but I know that I’m far too passionate, too caring and invested in the things and people that do matter to me to feel completely real about it. In that sense I’m definitely a throwback: I like and crave human interaction. I need that shit to live. We all do. But a lot of y’all are simply better at disengaging or extracting meaning from these exchanges than I. You’re more evolved and adaptable to this age we “live” in.

More. Power. To. you.

I also realized that F’Book is good for learning historical stuff that I didn’t know, not really breaking news/trending stuff and discovering newness: that’s Twitter. Follow me n’ I’ll follow back.

So, I’m back, MuthaZuckers. It’ll never be the same but it’s not supposed to be. Change is the only thing that’s consistent: really that’s life. Holla if you feel me.

Love and Light to my brother Reggie Ray. We kept saying we were gonna get up … Damn.

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RESPECT DUE: R.I.P. Dr. Maya Angelou

Word are my tools, my instruments, my friends, even.

I find comfort and joy, wonder even in the God-given ability to employ them to express my feelings, thoughts and desires, sometimes with clarion clarity and others to work my way through whatever is happening or going on in my life and the world we live in that I sometimes can’t quite decipher.

But sometimes, nothing I say, nothing that could or can be said will ever quite capture the ephemeral essence of the moment, the event.

This is one of those times.

So, instead of reaching, trying, grasping and wrestling in an attempt to convey our collective loss, I’m going to put them away now.

Instead, I will let the words of others and most importantly, more significantly the words of Dr. Maya Angelou herself speak in this time of great and immeasurable loss.

R.I.P. Dr. Maya Angelou.

For the example and the gifts that will keep on giving, living maybe, perhaps even when this world is windswept cosmic dust and displaced energy seeking some new place, planet or plane to be, I humbly Thank You.

Love.

Eternally.

Master Class: Show ‘Em How To Do This, Sons! Music-Loving Dad Creates Classic LP Cover Remixes Starring His Sons

Classic Album Cover Remixes Created By a Music-Loving Dad, Starring His Adorable Sons

 Lance Underwood, father of two sons uses his tumblr page to share his remixed photoshopped versions of classic lp covers from across musical genres – Rock, Soul, R&B, Country, Jazz, Spoken Word, Comedy, Hip Hop – to amazing results.

Check the technique below:

 tumblr_myipqlQCAj1sv1bfuo1_500-1tumblr_myg1v5u97N1sv1bfuo1_500tumblr_myg1snb80T1sv1bfuo1_500tumblr_myg1qa7ZkC1sv1bfuo1_500

1397725373-2Image credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance Underwood

His kids also have a few of their own offerings – original music coupled with original visuals  – and there’s also examples of dad’s work for some other folks and the coffee table book he did compiling the work he and his little men have done together.

I don’t know if I’ve seen a better way to actively teach your kids about culture and the proper utilization of tech tools. He’s teaching history, technology and respect for icons and their creations while inspiring them to create their own art and showing them how.

If that’s not providing a living example tell me what is.

Please.

A lot of dads get a bad rap – sometimes deserved, sometimes not.  Nice to see one of the club getting recognized for providing knowledge, culture and Love as his son’s foundation for the future.

Salute, Lance Underwood & sons!

Master Class: Show ‘Em How To Do This, Sons! Music-Loving Dad Creates Classic LP Cover Remixes Starring His Sons

Classic Album Cover Remixes Created By a Music-Loving Dad, Starring His Adorable Sons

 Lance Underwood, father of two sons uses his tumblr page to share his remixed photoshopped versions of classic lp covers from across musical genres – Rock, Soul, R&B, Country, Jazz, Spoken Word, Comedy, Hip Hop – to amazing results.

Check the technique below:

 tumblr_myipqlQCAj1sv1bfuo1_500-1 tumblr_myg1v5u97N1sv1bfuo1_500 tumblr_myg1snb80T1sv1bfuo1_500 tumblr_myg1qa7ZkC1sv1bfuo1_500

 

1397725373-2Image credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance Underwood

His kids also have a few of their own offerings – original music coupled with original visuals  – and there’s also examples of dad’s work for some other folks and the coffee table book he did compiling the work he and his little men have done together.

I don’t know if I’ve seen a better way to actively teach your kids about culture and the proper utilization of tech tools. He’s teaching history, technology and respect for icons and their creations while inspiring them to create their own art and showing them how.

If that’s not providing a living example tell me what is.

Please.

A lot of dads get a bad rap – sometimes deserved, sometimes not.  Nice to see one of the club getting recognized for providing knowledge, culture and Love as his son’s foundation for the future.

Salute, Lance Underwood & sons!

Flavorwire

Take heed Lunchbox dads and fathers of cute Internet dogs: classic album cover remixes starring your two adorable sons are the new thing. Dad Lance Underwood recreates famous album covers and casts his sons Taj and Amar in the roles of musicians such as Bob Dylan, Nat King Cole, Marvin Gaye, and more. Judging by the amount of old-school hip hop, jazz, funk, and soul on his Tumblr, we’d say that Underwood’s sons are getting a fine education in music history. See more of Underwood’s fun album cover remakes, starring his extremely photogenic kids, below.

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Master Class: Black Milk – Rhythm Roulette, Mass Appeal

Video

The Mass Appeal crew take us through the beat crafting process with               Detroit’s Black Milk.

I like the Rhythm Roulette series because it shows  – in an encapsulated, condensed, time-lapsed format – how painstaking the path to a hot beat can be. It also shows how crafting something from nothing – warped, scratched-up records for source material  – is a beautiful thing.

It’s like explaining how shit begets fertilizer to a kid, which I did recently.

For my beatmaking brethren. I respect your grind … and your dedication.

Enjoy!

SOULcial Studies: The Real Rap on (so-called) Reality Show Stardom

I’m not the biggest fan of Dr. Boyce Watkins, but I have to admit, more often than not, he’s on point.

Opining on a recent interview Kandi Burruss gave Madame Noire.com, he says he’s “proud of Burruss”. For those of you who wannabe reality tv stars – and there’s an alarmingly high number of you – it’s worth the read.

Kandi Burruss of Real Housewives of Atlanta

Kandi Burruss of                               Real Housewives of Atlanta

Kandi Burruss explained that being a reality TV star is not as financially rewarding as some might think … [and] why she works to live below her means. “On a new reality show they’re not making anything,” she said. “If they are getting anything, it may be like $2,500 per episode to $5,000, at the most. Most times, like say for instance the women who started out on our show, in the beginning they didn’t get anything for that first year. They got like $5,000 for the whole season just for the use of their house. When I first came on they didn’t really hardly pay me anything either. A lot of those shows do not pay a lot of money.”

Lessons for those who think they wannabe a star:

“1) The words “rich” and “famous” don’t always go hand-in-hand. The worst thing in the world is to be famous and have everyone think you have more money than you actually have. This happens a lot for entertainers who have no understanding of business models.

2) Conservatism is the key to financial survival: Unfortunately, materialistic culture promoted through music and movies promotes the opposite, leaving us looking really stupid later on down the line.

3) You must be your own business and brand in this ever-changing economic landscape: Even if someone gives you a job, always find a way to create your own job.”

Here’s the link for the entire piece:

http://financialjuneteenth.com/rhoas-kandi-burruss-describes-the-stupidity-of-living-the-glamorous-life/

Master Class – Gil Scott-Heron “Pieces of A Man”

Gil-Scott-Heron-Pieces-of-a-ManThis song was another one that haunted me when I was a kid.

I knew it meant something.

Something deep, something real and resounding.

I knew it was powerful. I just didn’t know why.

The melody is beautiful. Musically it’s just a simple series of piano chords but when coupled with the lyrics it becomes an amazing piece of work.

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You can’t simply call Gil Scott-Heron a poet, or a singer or even the forefather of Rap: he’s all those things but his ability to capture and reflect the pain, the plight and inner turmoil of a people, of a time and to present it in a voice plainfully and not maliciously is the kind of artistic gift that still amazes more than 40 years after first emerging.

The anger and contempt are there but it doesn’t drip, it doesn’t burn; it doesn’t even singe. It pricks, it prods … it begs introspection and reflection

When I was a kid I knew I was listening to something heavy, but I didn’t know why.

But even then I saw the men in my life in the song, felt their struggles were being depicted in the words and played out before me … but I just didn’t know why.

I couldn’t put it into words because I didn’t have them yet. I hadn’t experienced “it” yet.

Life was young and so was I.

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Now that I’m grown and have children of my own, have experienced and continue to experience the rising and falling of life and what it means to be a man, a Black man in this world I more than understand.

Though inevitable, this living, this seeing, this understanding, it still saddens me.

The third verse, “I saw the thunder and heard the lightning!/And felt the burden of his shame/And for some unknown reason/He never turned my way”, so powerfully conveys the powerless feeling of letting your Loved ones, your family, your children down it makes me tear up.

I know that feeling.

I didn’t when I was a child, but as a man, knowing how hard you’re trying and how you can’t seem to get a good grip on life, that the things you want, that your family need are just beyond your grasp … that they seem to slip through your fingers like sand or water, leaving granules in their wake or wetness, their residue confirming that you actually held them – had them! – for a moment however long, however fleeting, is the kind of pain that confirms that you are alive.

I hate that feeling.

Not a lot has changed since Gil Scott made this song.

It makes me sad. But at least I understand the men that were and are in my world, now that I am one.

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I met him once – twice, really. The first time in the living room of one of the men of my life, chilling, smoking, talking with Kwame Toure’. After saying hello and nonchalantly walking through the living room I came back in – awestruck – to greet two men who weren’t yet really my heroes, but magnificent, majestic monoliths all the same.

He was as cool as the shade on a hot southern summer day. With an easy smile, easygoing manner and his gravelly voice he made me feel more at home in the place that I was staying – just passing through, really – than I had my entire freshman year, there in a place I felt anything but at home.

Years later I’d see him in passing, but I don’t really think he remembered me or the time we’d met and he gave an young aspiring artist some encouraging words.

It didn’t matter.

I remembered him. His words. His smile. His warmth.

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I’ve been listening to GIl Scott, to this album and this song in particular a lot lately. I guess I’m just trying to put the pieces (back?) together again.

“I saw him go to pieces …
He was always such a good man
… always such a strong man
Yeah, I saw him go to pieces
I saw him go to pieces

Thanks, Gil.

“Pieces Of A Man”

“Pieces Of A Man”

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Jagged jigsaw pieces
Tossed about the room
I saw my grandma sweeping
With her old straw broom
She didn’t know what she was doing
She could hardly understand
That she was really sweeping up..
Pieces of a man

I saw my daddy greet the mailman
And I heard the mailman say
“Now don’t you take this letter to heart now Jimmy
Cause they’ve laid off nine others today”
He didn’t know what he was saying
He could hardly understand
That he was only talking to
Pieces of a man

I saw the thunder and heard the lightning!
And felt the burden of his shame
And for some unknown reason
He never turned my way

Pieces of that letter
Were tossed about that room
And now I hear the sound of sirens
Come knifing through the gloom
They don’t know what they are doing
They could hardly understand
That they’re only arresting
Pieces of a man

I saw him go to pieces
I saw him go to pieces
He was always such a good man
He was always such a strong man
Yeah, I saw him go to pieces
I saw him go to pieces