Alright, I’m back to it.

The procrastination has ended and I’m blogging again. Here’s the latest update in my journey to become an ESL teacher. I’m still at home. I’m still in the States having dreams of getting on a flight to Asia. I’m still a few steps away and the frustration is beginning to set in. I submitted fingerprints for an FBI background investigation several months ago. About two weeks ago, I contacted my local FBI field office to inquire about my case and was given a number to a CJIS customer service hub. A representative told me that my fingerprints were rejected because they were not readable. She told me to resubmit another set of fingerprints and that I wouldn’t have to pay a fee for resubmittal. She also told me a rejection letter would be sent in the next two weeks. Well, two weeks later, I didn’t receive a letter. I called today and was told I could resubmit if I included a letter stating my original case number and it would be processed. So I waited two weeks for a letter that never came and am just now finding out I could have resubmitted fingerprints two weeks ago. Great. So now I start the process again. Glad I called. Lesson learned. I’m going to stay on top of this thing better next time. While that part of the process slowed and stymied, other pieces of the puzzle have been successful. The splash of good news is that I received my TESOL certification in the mail on Saturday. I highly recommend International TESOL and TEFL Corporation (ITT) 100 hour online certification course. It was very thorough and I feel I know a lot more as far as what’s required of me as an ESL professional. I also had two copies of my bachelor’s degree notarized and submitted to the State Department for apostille last week. Hopefully, these documents will come back fairly quickly. My goal is to never become stagnant in this process. I want documents coming in while documents are going out. Keeping to this line of thinking, I contacted a source from my education reporting days to write a letter of recommendation. He came through with several signed copies of a letter I prefabricated for his signature. So now I have four quality letters of recommendation from education professionals  to add to the arsenal. My source is a former superintendent and current school board president of the county. Just to keep tally, my status in this journey stands at 1) completion of 100 hour TESOL certification course 2) four letters of recommendation 3) and a renewed passport. So, I’ve made some progress. I’ve been calling around to find a way to avoid using a fingerprinting agency to get prints. It is proving to be an expense I want to avoid. Twenty to thirty bucks per page is not breaking the bank, but free is always better. I talked to a  local sheriff’s department and the campus police at the University of Alabama who said they wouldn’t charge a dime if I brought my own print sheets. Excellent and will do. So that’s my goal for the week. Get prints, submit prints and wait for the State Department and FBI to process my documents. AND get updates every week during the process this time. I’m going to make it to Korea, China, Thailand or some parts in between before the end of the year. God willing.

How can a multiplatinum world renowned lyrical Hip Hop genius fly under the radar?

I laugh whenever youngsters tell me that Waka Flocka is a ‘good rapper’. I try to closet my bitterness about the state of Hip Hop, but it seeps out whenever I discuss today’s artists. I know I’m not young and I’m not supposed to relate to the music of seventeen year old rappers. I like some of Waka’s music. I like Meek Mill and that MMG movement, especially right now. Young Money has a few megabytes reserved in my iPod. But let’s be honest, Nas is an icon. If there was a monument erected on the side of a mountain depicting relevent New York rappers, it would have Jay-Z, Biggie, 50 and Nas. Surprisingly, the 40 year old MC turned businessman, is still relevent in the culture today. 50 Cent recently released a classic DJ Drama hosted mixtape called the Lost Tapes. Jay-Z teamed up with Kanye West for Watch The Throne to worlwide sales and acclaim as well. Until his latest release Life Is Good, Nas featured on a few tracks here and there, but not enough to gain new fans or get any major attention. TMZ and all the New York gossip mongers focused on his recent divorce from wife Kelis and published reports of how much he paid in alimony and child support. I’m going to talk about the music. Life Is Good is all about the breakup. Life Is Good is about living the single life, models, actresses, trips to Europe, exotic islands, Brazillian dimes, alcohol and plenty of blunts to take the edge off that LIFE. With Nas, the lyricism is always there. The albums he put out to poor sales was only because of his choice of production. This album is a perfect match of beats from some of the best (Large Professor, Swizz Beats, NO I.D., J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Salaam Remi and even the late Heavy D). Nas reminds us why he got to where he got and how to do it. Again.

REVIEW

1. No Introduction: Starts off with piano keys and an orchestral feel. Nas describing growing up in the projects of Queensbridge and “Brazillian bitches on zanies.” I was beginning to regret the download after hearing the first track, but I was wrong. So wrong.

2. Loco-Motive(feat. Large Professor): has a New York State of Mind feel to it. Sinister keys and a thumping baseline highlight the track. But Nas paints word pictures and even dedicates it to “his trapped in the 90s niggas”.

3. A Queens Story: Classic tale of the neighborhood. “Dope sold in laundromats.” Nas celebrating getting out of the hood. Memorable, but not too memorable.

4. Accident Murderers (feat. Rick Ross): Classic. This is for the new generation and it delivers. Organs, church ladies singing and Rozay’s hurry-up Tupac flow with plenty of grunting makes it all work. Just gangster music. Or Maybach Music, if you under 30 years old.

5. Daughters: Nas with a little upliftment for his seeds. These tracks are kinda formulaic for him now. It’s slow and deliberate. If you are a fan, you know it’s similar to “I Can”. Inspirational and honest account of being a father and having a daughter coming of age. Funny placement for a track like this. Fucking A&R’s trying some iTunes math here.

6. Reach Out (feat. Mary J. Blige): This one is for the ladies. Plenty of Mary doing it big on the vocals and Nas cutting the track with serious lyricism. I can see ass in short skirts with long legs and cosmopolitans spilling when this come on in the club.

7. World’s An Addiction (feat. Anthony Hamilton): Another track with an R&B star filling space between Nas cutting the track with serious lyricism. Hamilton is a good crooner, so it’s bearable.

8. Summer On Smash (feat. Miguel, Swizz Beats): Swizz can do no wrong nowadays. “Bad Bitches, Champagne Wishes… Cirroc on Splash” It’s a club hit. Nas with some designer label, model smashing and Yacht talk. All while Miguel is singing “Life Is Good”.

9. You Wouldn’t Understand (feat. Victoria Monet): Another mellow track. A radio track. I can ride to this one. Nas sticks to the formula of appealing to the ladies first and the rest will follow.

10. Back When: A reflection of life in Queensbridge. Nas depicting life as a fan of Hip Hop. A little jab at today’s rappers “realness.”

11. The Don: This is the one. The track given by Heavy D and mixed by Salaam Remi. Just real hip hop spitting. I put this one on repeat. You are not a Nas fan if you don’t like this one. “Army jacket swag, Army jacket green and black…”

12. Stay (feat. Large Professor): another throwback to the 90s. The sample is ill. Nice sax, smooth vocals and Nas spitting that real Hip Hop picture painting everday life story shit. Reminds me of my best old lady. That love hate feel to it. Unexplainable, but dope.

13. Cherry Wine (feat. Amy Winehouse): RIP Amy Winehouse. She was talented and this track did her justice. Nas and Amy just doing what they do. This will be a hit when they release it. Amy fans will laud it as a hit and maybe this album will get the justice it deserves from the critics.

14. Bye Baby: One of my favorite tracks. Nas detailing the breakup with wifey. The Guy sample is dope. This is real. Classic material.

15. Nasty: This single circulated on the Internets for several months before this release, so no surprise it would be included. Still a dope track. Nas came with it in that 90s flow.

16. Trust: Slow introspective tale of backstabbing snakes and trifling bitches. The track whistles and the hook is long, but simple “I want a bitch I can trust. Some niggas I can trust. Accountants looking over my figures I can trust…” Knowledge track for the streets.

17. The Black Bond: This one has a Black James Bond feel to it. Travel brochure, wine, jet-setting, dinner with water and tea glasses and lipsticked European designer dresses, model smashing track.

18. Roses: Alternative track with a sad bitch singing about roses and thorns. Nas just talking smashing the latest one and the money. Relationships and what that means to independent women.

19. Where’s The Love (feat. Cocaine 80s): Should have left this one on the cutting room floor. Not even worth a B-side. I know I’m showing my age. Google B-side.

Another great DeathSquad podcast. If you aren’t familiar with Sam Tripoli and the Naughty Show, you are not into podcasts. Or you aren’t into porn chicks, comedians and general debauchery. I laugh out loud to this show at some point every time I watch it. The guests are always slightly crazy or ridiculously hot, but usually both. This particular episode was hilarious. Gareth Reynolds and Dave Anthony join the show and had me crying laughing. Dave Anthony also has a podcast of his own with Greg Behrendt called Walking the Room. In this episode, Tripoli discovers a new catch phrase “Bringing the Wood” and for a good twenty minutes it is discussed at length. Well, sorta, Tripoli said it first on Joe Rogan’s Joe Rogan Experience podcast a few hours before this podcast began. I’m guessing T-shirts are in the works. Oh, and Geno of LASpeedWeed, the podcast’s most visible sponsor gets too high off his own product. He just laughs and stares blankly for most of the hour or so. Green Crack is a helluva drug, I’m guessing. I posted this because I enjoy this style of humor. If you are easily offended, don’t watch these guys. If you are easily offended, you probably need to watch these guys. Past guests have included a Who’s Who of pornstars, Too Short and a lot of LA based comedians. If you want more after watching this episode, check out past episodes at http://thenaughtyshow.tumblr.com

I graduated with a degree in Journalism in 2000. And I don’t recognize it anymore.

The 24 hour news cycle has devastated the profession in ways that have yet to be detected. Part of the problem is the Hell-spawned Beast we call a news cycle. The second head of that dreaded demon is the growth of reality television. There are reputable news men and women out there, but few and far between. I’ve worked in a newsroom and have seen newbie reporters crack under pressure. Cracks can show themselves in the form of error, hyperbole and fluff or filibuster. As a reporter, the deadline is akin to the waning 24 second shot clock or the fourth quarter buzzer for athletes. It’s ‘give me your best effort and let’s see how you shake out’. The best journalists, in all their capacities to include broadcast, print and radio, are consistently Kobe Bryant in the fourth. When these cream of the crop professionals meet up with DEADLINE, they create accurate, timely and relevant products. These professionals, most of the time, have graduated from some of the best journalism schools in the country, have double/triple/quadruple checked facts and present that information in the most palatable way for mass consumption. Then there are the fly-by-night pros. These journalists opine without source, speak contrarily to boost ratings and value their Twitter feed like crack/methamphetamine addicts. The drug of information used to be pure, but is now mixed with half-truths, opinions and flat out lies. And I have to admit, I have formulated my opinion about certain topics based on particular reporters/analysts/bloggers views. Lately, I’ve had to take a step back and recognize that journalism is not what it used to be. Many people say anybody can be a reporter, cameraman or news person with a cell phone, now. I disagree. Anyone can report, but only a reporter can give the news. I say that to say this. I learned media law, ethics, story structure and how it all meshes. The problem with ESPN, FOX and CNN is that they have to feed the BEAST-24hr-cycle EVERYDAY. I watched this clip from one of my favorite shows, ESPN’s First Take and it got my juices flowing.

Several valid points were made by NBA Analyst Jalen Rose, former columnist and reporter Skip Bayless and my personal favorite columnist and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith. Rose pointed out name calling players, judging elite athletes and resented that his professional basketball credentials were questioned after spending 20-plus years in the sport. Journalism of 2012 has become a profession of entertainment over substance, much like reality television has gained a strangle hold on mainstream television audiences. Controversy sells. Conflict sells. Personalities sell. If you can gain a following, you are elevated to your own show, endorsements and merchandise. There is room for that, but the key is recognizing entertainment and recognizing real news. Day after day, I watch (because I like to be entertained mostly) First Take and the heavily opinionated diatribes of Skip and Stephen A. These guys are in the business of selling a product, First Take. They get paid for their opinion, but being journalists they have to have source material. That line is very gray, though. I can call a player GaSoft (Paul Gasol), a “Team Obliterator”(Terrell Owens) and LeBrick (LeBron James) based off of performance. Amare Stoudemire, formerly of the Phoenix Suns, now with the New York Knicks, called Gasol, soft in a television interview = source. Terrell Owens had several well publicized conflicts with coaches and teammates and moved from team to team = source. Lebron James missed a buzzer beater hard off the backboard = LeBrick James. Or does it? It depends on what you’re selling. In all these cases, source material can be substantiated, but should it be said? Absolutely, is the answer the world has accepted. They wouldn’t want it any other way, now. I want my twitter feed, rss feed, television broadcast and website to have as many eyes on it as possible. Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Bill O’Reilly and the aforementioned members of First Take do one thing really well: FEED THAT BEAST.

Seriously, Non-religiously

 

 

I’m not sure what week it is. I have been sending out applications to schools in Asia for a few, definitely more than a few weeks. Since my last blog, I have completed a 100 hour Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) course. It was comprehensive and hopefully, will give me a leg up in the hiring process. A lot of memories of sitting in public school came flooding back to me while I pored over notes about past and present tense conjugation. I also remembered classes I took in Journalism school that particularly annoyed me. All in all it is means to an end. I want to be a professional teacher and world traveler. Everything else is gravy in the rice. Rice is good, but rice with gravy is something else. I got my newly minted and renewed passport in the mail last week. So now I can check that off the list. I am waiting for a FBI background investigation that I submitted around the same time. Hopefully, I will get that back in the next week or so. Some say it takes as long as twelve weeks, but I’m thinking positively. Another thing that is in a holding pattern is my application to Graduate School at Arizona State University (for TESOL). I have all but one of three professionals that promised a letter of recommendation who has submitted them to the college. The deadline is Oct. 1, so I’m debating on whether to find a new pro and keep it moving or not. In the meantime, I am starting a physical training routine after years of inactivity. I want to be in good health when I finally get to Asia, after all. I, originally, thought Korea would be my first stop, but lately have given teaching in China serious consideration. I’m back in the mix. I like the anticipation of the unknown. I like the idea of preparing for the action, but knowing I will have to make adjustments and adapt. I’m only 35 years old and I do this well. Everything is coming together, despite my perceptions of inactivity. I will get everything done and will make this life change. It’s do or die. Not only is this a departure from my previous avenues of employment, it is a way to shock the system and not feel burned out by life. I’m doing this to become a better person and to become a better professional. I’ve always been a professional, but I feel I only coasted along. I’m all in with this career move. I want this more than I have any job. Ironically, it might not be ANYTHING like I imagine it. And I welcome that.

Hurrying Up to Wait

Well, I’m about three weeks into this journey. I am working hard to satisfy all of the prerequisites to become a teacher in Asia. I have completed numerous applications and posted my resume on several reputable ESL websites. I’ve received a mixed bag of responses, but most said the same thing: do you have TEFL/TESOL certification? Background check? Passport?  I, recently, purchased an online TESOL course for $190 from International TEFL and TESOL Corporation. The course is 100 hours and most forums give it a decent rating for securing a job. I began the course modules on Thursday and am already about halfway through the entire thing. It is not light work by any means. I’ve never created a lesson plan or taught in a classroom. My only saving grace is I can eyeball errors and can dissect a sentence fairly easily. Proofreading is almost a gift and a curse. I’m that dude who notices your and you’re. And the use of s’s when they should be the American z’s. I am moving through this coursework fairly quickly and hope to complete it by week’s end. Two weeks ago, I submitted for a FBI background investigation and passport renewal. The process for both is in the four to six week range, so hopefully, I will get them back withing the coming week or three. I’m in a holding pattern, but my goal is to continue to put everything together while the various agencies peruse my sh*t. I’ve updated my resume and CV to reflect the course and plan on making further updates as I acquire more qualifications. The latest being my application to Arizona State University online graduate program. I have educational benefits remaining on my GI Bill and plan to use it to get a Masters in ESL. I have already contacted the Veteran representative and am going to begin in October. I want to do this regardless of whether, I’m hired by then or not. First, a Master’s degree makes me more attractive as a potential hire and I can occupy my time while I “hurry up and wait” for my documents to arrive. I’m really surprised with how quickly this has come together. I have started a HUGE life change in less than a month and it feels really good. It is totally one thought to the next thought to fruition for this. Like I’ve repeated, I don’t believe in preordained movement, but this is getting eerie. I’ve narrowed my choices of places I want to go to Korea, China and Spain. Korea is my main choice. I’ve found a wealth of information on teaching jobs there. Korea is also one of the countries with a lower cost of living and above the economy means teacher pay. It seems a long way away right now, but soon…soon.

THINGS HAPPEN FOR A REASON

I don’t believe in “things happen for a reason” or any of that mystical bullsh*t anymore. Truthfully, I look to be gainfully employed and doing something that I find rewarding in some way. Recently while job hunting/deciding on a program of study for a graduate degree, I stumbled across a website called Dave’s ESL Cafe. ESL, or English as a Secondary Language is my latest roll of life’s dice to see where I land. I majored in journalism and quite frankly burned out fairly quick after over five years of broil and toil. I tried the small daily newspaper and the large metro New York Times affiliate. I enjoy writing, but the smaller dailies don’t pay enough and the larger metros pay decent, but don’t allow for any rocking of the boat creatively. So after assessing two things I enjoy most, traveling and manipulating the English language, I decided to try teaching English. First, I thought to get a Master’s Degree in English from my Alma Mater, the University of Alabama. But what do you do with an English degree, except teach? So I looked at Education and thought, no way do I want to be saddled raising children in underfunded public schools in my hometown. I did a search for english jobs on the university website and discovered the aforementioned, basically an ESL blog. And I was amazed to see, hundreds of teach in China, teach in Pakistan, teach in Spain, teach in Korea ads. I had been approached several years ago to become a teacher, but had been set on becoming a journalist at a major newspaper. I didn’t realize that these types of positions exist. After browsing some of the forums located on the site, I found Korea to be one of the countries with a reputable influx of foreigners looking to see the world and teach young people. When I began, I had no idea this would become a viable option for my future. I found this website about seventeen days ago and have sent out over twenty applications, registered on several Teaching English as a Foreign Language job sites and spoken with teachers, recruiters and school administrators. So I guess, this may be something I want to pursue.

Posted: June 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

Just wow. Really? Wow.

NBA.com | Hang Time Blog



[nba-video vid=/channels/nba_tv/2012/05/28/20120528_big_ticket_fundamental.nba]

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — Talk about an odd couple.

Stoic Spurs superstar Tim Duncan and live-wire Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett have lived at opposite ends of basketball’s emotional spectrum for their entire careers.

But could they be on the verge of joining forces in silver and black?

If we are to believe the rumblings coming from San Antonio, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. The two veteran, free agents to be are both on the Spurs’ radar, per the great Buck Harvey of the Express News:

Now they are unrestricted free agents, and, as always, contrasts. While Duncan is expected to quietly re-sign this summer with the Spurs, no one is sure what happens next in Boston. Garnett added to the uncertainty Saturday night, leaving the locker room without talking to reporters.

Garnett could retire. He could sign another contract with the Celtics. Or the…

View original post 349 more words

I like Scott Brooks’ use of his bench this series. He has limited Parker and Ginobli’s points in the paint and guarded the perimeter well. The superstar that is Kevin Durant has done what superstars do: raised his level of play and inspired his teammates to do the same. Westbrook tried to give it away, but Durant took control late in the fourth quarter for the second straight game. I don’t know what happened to the Spurs. Wait, I do. Adversity showed up.

NBA.com | Hang Time Blog



[nba-video vid=/channels/playoffs/2012/06/04/0041100315_okc_sas_play4.nba]

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — It’s easy to focus on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Big 3 Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden when they’re playing as well as they have in the past three games of the Western Conference finals.

But to focus solely on the stars would overlook perhaps the most startling development in this series. The Thunder’s role players, commonly referred to as the “others,” are outplaying their Spurs counterparts considerably in the past 12 quarters of this series.

Praised by many as the deepest and most balanced team in the league, the Spurs haven’t been able to lean on the likes of Matt Bonner, Gary Neal, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter or any of the extras who helped them roll to 20 straight wins since April 11, and that includes those two wins over the Thunder in Games 1 and 2…

View original post 440 more words

One of the craziest Naughty Show episodes I’ve seen. Live BDSM with a dominatrix and her slave.