I have seen some novel restaurant promotions before but I think Five Star's Chinese Takeout, at Germantown Avenue & Springer Street, is probably my favorite.
If you spend over $20, you are automatically entered into a drawing to win one of the nine fantastic - and probably bootlegged - prizes, pictured to the right.
It's been my experience that corner Chinese take out joints don't do much advertising, let alone sweepstake promotions. As one of only a dedicated few food establishments serving mostly marginalized communities, they don't need to. Plus they keep long hours, which is definitely a plus for all those night owls, jonesing for three fried chicken wings, small fried rice, a Lotta Colada Mystic drank (you can't even call that shit "juice"), a bag skittles, two cigars (sure you do that's why you eating all this bullshit late at night), a pair of socks and the new Meek Mills mixtape.
But this particular Chinese American take out has the geographical misfortune of being sandwiched between two identical themed Chinese American take outs, which are located within two blocks of each other on Germantown Avenue. I guess with those odds, you have to do what you can to stand out from the pack?
Then again, I regularly see similar clusters of identical businesses, particularly the corners grocer stores, day care facilities and take-outs, and everyone is still in business. So maybe this is just this owners way of giving back and showing respect to his customer base?
Jati Lindsay’s “Billy Colbert” from Baltimore City Paper
What: "SHOW UP TO SHOW OUT: THE RISE OF GLOBAL BLACK DANDYISM" featuring: Shantrelle P. Lewis (panel chair), Dr. Monica Miller, Allison Janae Hamilton, Dr. Michael McMillan, Dr. Ylva Habel, moderated by Dr. Michelle Joan Wilkinson.
When: January 17 - 23, 2013
Where: Paris, France
A friend of mines saw my post on the Swenkas and Saupers and hipped me The Dandy Lion Project
, which is a traveling photography exhibit about Black dandyism in the African Diaspora. The exhibit is/was curated by Shantrelle P. Lewis, whos is also chairing the panel in Paris.
The panel is a part of Black Portraiture[s]: The Black Body in the West
, which has a number of other interesting discussions happening over the four day symposium. Other notable panels includes: THE IMAGINARY AND THE BLACK BODY (SC)Kalia Brooks, Anne Lafont, Tuliza Fleming, Michelle Stephens, AdrienneL. Childs, Alissandra Cummins, Allison Thompson, Gunja Sen GuptaROUNDTABLE – BLACK BODIES: LIVE AND UNCENSOREDIsolde Brielmaier, Carrie Mae Weems, Mickalene Thomas, ElizabethColomba, Kader Attia, Jean-Ulrick Désert, Artist, Lyle Ashton Harris,Daniele Tamagni, SWEET SWAGGER: EXPLORING REPRESENTATIONS OF BLACK STYLE,BEAUTY AND GRACESandra Jackson-Dumont, Mimi Plange, Ekua Abudu, Michaela Angela Davis,Catherine McKinley, Robert O’Meally, Katell Pouliquen, AnnaArabindan-Kesson(IL)LEGIBILITIES: WHAT MAKES THE BLACK BODY READABLE?Awam Amkpa, J. D. Ojeikere, Renée Cox, Heike Behrend, James Barnor,Angele Etoundi Essamba, Kiluanji Kia Henda,
I almost purchased a chair today....
...but then I remembered I am unemployed.
However I am happy with my new find - an unnamed furniture store, specializing in "vintage" pieces, located near the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Penn Street.
I said that my goal for today was to go some place interesting. I ended up at the supermarket.
To my credit, I did actually drive to a supermarket somewhat outside of the neighborhood. IN fact, I went to the Fresh Grocers on Chew Avenue in Germantown and got a sweet and sour chicken platter and a shrimp roll. At least shrimp roll is what I asked for.
I'm sitting in the car, listening to the local black talk radio, tearing into this shrimp roll. Something about this is different. It doesn't taste bad but I know how a shrimp roll is suppose to taste and this just taste different. At first I'm like, well that's what you get for getting Chinese food from the supermarket. But then I was like, still. So I cut on the car interior light and...is that what I think it is?
Then done put collard greens in the shrimp rolls. Who should be more offended: Black people or Chinese people?
All I know is that this supermarket sweet and sour chicken is nasty and I'm regretting not just getting TWO of those collard green shrimp rolls.
Last Saturday, I joined nearly (or possible over) 300 women from the great city of Philadelphia for the second attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Record for the Largest Zumba Class. The attempt, which was held at the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum along the Parkway, was part of the week-long events honoring the official Odunde Festival
, the largest and longest running African American street festival on the East Coast. The actual Odunde Festival was held the next day. Sorry guys, no pictures from that as prior commitments made it impossible for me to go. I know, bummer. But for those who know me, know that I am serious about Zumba,
which is a dance fitness program created by dancer and choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez in Colombia during the 1990s. I go about three times a week. Not only is it great cardio but it is a lot of fun too. The latter is especially important for me considering how much I hate working out. Also my Zumba instructor Jena Renee Rogers was leading the attempt, so I would not miss this for the world. Currently the Guinness World Record title is held by a group in Australia, where about 1400 folks helped to get them in the book. So I doubt that we made it. However that didn't stop our flow.
Also, there may have been some journalists out there, probably from print media, but I didn't see any news trucks, which is unfortunate considering that the national conversation right now revolves so much around Black women and their weight. It would have been good to see so many of us - many of whom came from Zumba programs across the city - actually working out. However, I guess that image does not jive with the narrative of Black women being fat and lazy.Anyway, enough of me talking: check out some of the pictures from the event
after the jump.
I know that is a hardcore, and most likely a blasphemous title. But this is exactly how I feel right now. Perhaps I'll feel better later but right now, God and I are going to have it out:
I had this great post all lined up for you guys this morning about my experience at the Blogging While Brown conference. I got home yesterday, feeling inspired and ready to embrace my destiny. I stayed up all night drafting a post about all the awesome folks I'd met and my take away from the conference, mainly how I recommitted myself to blogging. I have been in a funk for a while, battling between the desire to write but also my feelings that I have been wasting time on a pipe dream. Like I should be dedicating myself more to my full-time gig because it pays the bills and has benefits and all. But at the conference, something - or should I say a bunch of things - really clicked for me; I really love writing. Not just because I have a journalism degree. And not because I write several columns a week for Madame Noire. But rather writing, more specially being able to communicate my thoughts more fluently (something I often have a hard time doing verbally), is a my true passion.
And it has always been since as long as I could remember. In fact, I recall spending a great amount of time as a child, in my bedroom, writing stories and making magazines covers out of old magazines and coloring paper. And if given a choice between losing my full time gig or writing, which right now pays very little, I would choose to starve and continue writing. I feel strongly that writing is not only my gift but it is my purpose in life. The Universe put me at this conference for a reason. Heck, up until I received an invite in my inbox, I had no intention of going. But I went, felt inspired and more importantly motivated.
So this morning I got up extra early, ready to embrace and fulfill what I thought was my destiny. I turned on my computer and waited for it to boot. And waited. And waited. And nothing. The "on" light on the keypad was blue, which meant it was on, and I could hear certain indicators like the computer's fan and the Window's theme music, but the screen was completely black. I powered down the computer and restarted it yet the same thing happened. I did it again, and again, had the same results. So I did what most folks would do: I started to cry. Seriously God, why have you forsaken me?
I know that this may seem over dramatic but this exact same circumstance happened to before. Several ago, I was working as a part-time journalist for two weeklies here in Philly and part-time community organizing. I had been with these two weeklies for well over five years as a staff writer covering all sorts of local happenings in the Germantown and Mt. Airy sections of the city. I loved what what I was doing, however what I was doing wasn't exactly paying the bills. Hence having to part-time as a community organizer. In theory, community organizing is a great profession. However I never could jive with the internal politics and competing agendas, which often accompanies the work you do to help empower the community.
Anyway, while working two jobs, I had also started writing a book. It was to be a fantasy novel with a 'hood theme - sort of like urban mythology. I thought the concept was revolutionary in that, while there are fantasy stories and there are urban lit stories, no one has ever combined the two. And I was going to be the first. After giving up two years of partying and hanging out with friends, I finally finished my story. Around the same time that the book was finished, I had also been offered a full time position with the two weeklies papers. I was over joyed. Finally the years that I had put in struggling, hustling and suffering for my "art" was all about to pay off. I put in my notice with the organizing I was community organizing for and accepted the position.
And then the tide turned. Two days before I was to officially start writing full time, the managing editor called me and very apologetically rescinded his offer. Apparently he just got word from the higher-ups that there was a budgeting freeze and all new hiring had to stop. This included my position. So not only was I demoted back to part-time but I was out of my second job too. I was disappointed but not totally defeated. On the bright side of things, I still had a job. And I had a book. An awesome book that was going to take the world by storm. No way was I going to let a minor setback deter me and knock me off my stride. I remember hanging up the telephone and sitting at my computer desk, being giddy to the point of arrogance that this was going to work out in my favor. I booted up my computer, put in the flash drive and smiled and snarked about how this was all in God's plan, "I'm just going to spend all this free time I have now editing my novel an--fuck..."
On the computer screen was this message: "The disk drive E is not formatted. Would you like to format this drive. Yes. No." Wait, what? What do you mean the disk drive is not formatted? How is it not formatted when I've been using the damn thing for the past two years now to save my book. Oh My God, my Book! Where is my book? The book I missed birthday parties and weddings and family events for? The book shake up the world and save me from having to struggle anymore? It was gone. All 234 pages were completely erased. And nothing would bring it back - not the geek squad, not the file extracting company in Virginia, who had a reputation of working with the FBI, and not even hoping and prayer.
I was devastated. And I spent the next two years in a funk. Too defeated to rewrite my great novel and too sadden to start a new one. I had practically given up. So much so that I had basically given up writing all together and got a full-time job. That was until a year and a half ago when I began to miss writing. I'm just in a good position now. A prime position to really make a go at it.
So what does this all have to do with God? Well, maybe nothing. Maybe these are just minor hurdles or maybe it's the Devil, you know he is tricky. Or maybe this is all just some sort of an shibboleth to test my commitment to what I say I want. I mean, I can always get another computer right? But as someone, who looks to HIM for signs and has lived by the motto of "putting it all in HIS hands," I have to say that at times, God can seem to be an indecisive dick about things. What is HE trying to tell me when every time I get to a crucial part of my journey, where I really feel like I have it all figured out, something happens, which seems like a sign that I'm doing it all in vain?
Well, I decided that I'm not going to listen to or even wait for HIS signs anymore. Clearly HE thinks I'm giving up now, he has me mistaken. I don't care if I have to spend every last dime I have in my savings getting this computer fixed or buying a new one, I'm going to do just that. And if HE tries to pull some ole' divine invention to break the next one, well I will find ways beg, borrow and steal computer time if I have too.
Whatever beef you have with the Devil for my eternal soul, keep me out of it. I have stuff, right here and now, that I want to get done. This time I think I'm just going to follow my own heart. And my heart is telling me that I want to be a writer. No, that I am a writer. And HE wants to come along for this ride as my co-pilot, than cool. You are more than welcome. But if not, step aside because I got this.
God, suddenly I feel much better.
Compared with the regular storms we been having over the last month, Hurricane Irene turned out to be a big bust. I went out earlier to survey the Hurricane damage, aka walking the dog, and the only causalities in my neighborhood appears to be a couple of broken tree limbs, an overturned trashcan and the half a roll of Scott's tissue paper, which was blown off the toilet cover into my toilet bowl. I'm already on the phone with FEMA ;)
Honestly, I gave up Hurricane Irene watch around 2 a.m., which wasn't much of a watch considering I was actually watching movies and reading blogs online and normally go to bed around 2 anyways. But I am happy to report that the cool breeze blowing in from the air conditioner unit (it was off) did help me sleep like a baby.
Despite the hype and overall lackluster appearance, Irene did manage to provide some entertainment; mostly in the form of my dog Coltrane in a raincoat. Check out how adorable he looked below (I swear he is a natural model):
According to this site:"Colour block fashion is one of the hottest new trends for the season. It combines the use of two or more blocks of colour in an ensemble. This could be for a top, bottom, tunic, a dress and even a handbag or shoes. Simply it means – creating an outfit by putting areas or blocks of solid color next to each other. It can include monotone, bright colours, muted colors, contrasting and complimentary colors. Clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories can all feature color block designs or can make up different blocks of color to be put together for a color block outfit."Um, back in the day, we used to call this mis-matching. And it wasn't a trend. It was more like: either you got dressed in the dark or might be suffering from vision problems because that hot pink/fuchsia shirt doesn't exactly "go with" those orange pants. And then my mother would send me back upstairs to change.
Nevertheless, this is fashion. And as fashion goes, so do we. And quite honestly, I kind of like it. Although, I don't know if I am daring enough to pull it off intentionally. At the very least, this new trend will provide me with the perfect excuse on laundry day to combine random colors and still appear to be "put together."
So, I was at my neighborhood Aldi's supermarket (which I like to call Trader Joes cheap) when I saw a new display for Greek Yogurt. I had heard of it before from friends and even seen it listed on a couple of menus at restaurants. But I never had the desire to experiment with it. Feeling ambitious, I decided to purchase a cup and hope for the best.Two days later, I'm sitting at my desk, reading emails and eating the yogurt.
Let's just say that it was different. Kind of a chalky and definitely sour. I wasn't quite sure if I liked it or not. So the next time I was at Aldi's, I got four more cups. That was two weeks ago and now I am addicted to the stuff. From The Atlantic: American tastes are too complex to diagnose conclusively, but analysts think the ascendance of Greek yogurt is a case of conspicuous consumption (literally) led by women in the workplace. One theory holds that rich old women in affluent coastal cities are leading the trend that's making Greek yogurt an aspirational product -- So foreign! So classy! -- even if the health benefits are dubious:The rise of Greek yogurt in the U.S. reflects a larger change in the American culinary consciousness: a desire for foods that are considered purer, simpler, and more natural--in other words, not yogurts purporting to taste like key lime pie or strawberry cheesecake.I want to suggest another idea. The opposite idea. Perhaps people are buying Greek yogurt, not despite the fact that it's expensive compared to yogurts, but because it's cheap compared to similarly filling foods. The taste of Greek yogurt is thick, like scooping avocado out of its skin. Sometimes I eat it for breakfast. I couldn't eat fruit-on-the-bottom Dannon yogurt for breakfast, because that stuff can have the consistency of melted ice cream and after I eat a cup, I feel like I've had a big glass of water, not a snack.So here's a corollary to the conspicuous consumption theory. I don't doubt that many people eat Greek yogurt to feel, and project, a sense of cosmopolitanism. But I wonder if other middle-to-upper-middle class people fell for Greek yogurt as a cheaper solution for breakfast or a big snack, rather than an expensive solution for yogurt.
"I tend to agree with the author. While hearing about the yogurt definitely sparked my curiosity, it wasn't necessarily the reason for trying it.
After weeks of eating the traditional fruit-on-the-bottom cups, I really wanted something new and different than what I had already been accustomed to. Likewise, if it wasn't on sale at Aldi's, I probably wouldn't have taken the risk, no matter how many bougie folks sang its' praises. Now, if someone could just explain the sudden rise in the popularity of avocados.
Today, I survived the Great East Coast Earthquake of 2011. Plus I got a chance to go home from work early. So overall, not a bad day.
However, after the trembling had stopped and my nerves relaxed a bit, I wanted to check around to family and friends to see how everyone else had fared. Only problem was, I couldn't get a damn signal on my cellphone.
Luckily (and ironically), Facebook and Twitter were both working. So I asked folks online if they too were experiencing trouble dialing out or receiving incoming calls. Just about everyone, who commented, said that they were.
Great, the wireless phone lines are either down or experiencing heavy call volume, which means if this had been something more catastrophic, you would probably be shit out of luck. Sure they work good for individual emergencies like car accidents or bear attacks but for a major event like another 911 or the great East Coast earthquake of 2011, it is best to have a land line somewhere nearby. Or at least Facebook.
Below is a pictorial of how the four major cellphone carriers fared.