Know What
I'm Sayin'??
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Damn Kids
One year ago today, my wife (then fiancee) and I were cooking dinner when, unexpectedly, the doorbell rang.

I was slightly irritated, because I really hate delays in my dinner experience.

"Who is it?" "Trick or Treat!"

My eyes go wide. I forgot it was Halloween! I open the door, and there are 3 or 4 kids standing there, costumes and all. I honestly don't have much one-on-one experience with children, so imagine the resentment I felt when I had to apologize to a bunch of kids! I PROMISED the kids that I would have candy for them next year, which now is this year. I then promptly turned off the porch light.

So, here I sit. The porch light burns brightly and invitingly. The doorbell remains silent. Mocking me. I've got a $7 bag of assorted Jolly Ranchers, and NO KIDS.

Tomorrow, I'm taking this damn bag of candy right back to Publix and getting my 7 bucks back. I might even take it back tonight.

Damn Kids. Their damn parents, too.

Know What I'm Sayin'??
Monday, October 30, 2006
Congratulations to the Mean Ole Lion and The Butterfly
My brother is my oldest and best friend. Some of the more "memorable" times we've had:
  • When we tried out for the show Double Dare. Our team name was "Benton's Boys". (Shout out to Dr. Benton)
  • The time his truck got a flat tire on the side of I-20. He didn't have the tools to change it, so what did he do? He sat right there and waited. He figured that between the friends that were waiting on him, and the fact that I had "gas on the chest", somebody that knew him (probably me) would ride up I-20 before too long. He couldn't miss me in the yellow Karmann Ghia.
  • The time he came to the New Years Eve party that my friends and I threw. The picture of him with that plastic hat on his head is hilarious.
  • When I spent a few tenuous minutes trying to teach him how to drive a stick.
  • When the bus full of middle-school kids picked him up off the side of the road in Orlando, looking like a homeless man, after driving from Atlanta for the Disney trip we were chaperoning.
Those are just a few, of course.

One of my personal proudest "brother moments" was on October 15th, when he married his lovely wife. If you notice, I don't use many people's names here, so I'll call them The Mean Ole Lion, and The Butterfly.

Beautiful ceremony. Just right. So very...them.

The reception. The best part was just after they came in, and everyone started eating. I walked up to them on their raised table and asked them if they needed anything. Their answer: "We're fine. Do we we have to stay here at this table? Can we walk around? We want to go see people." My answer: "It's your wedding. Do what you want to do!"

I'd like to share two things from that weekend: The poem that I said as my toast at the rehearsal dinner, and lastly, a photo. The poem was a little anticlimactic because after I announced the author and the title, The Butterfly and her best friend both clapped their hands and said that they had studied his poetry in college, and knew the poem well. That bursted my bubble, because I thought I was exposing them to some new stuff, KnowhatImean?

Anyway. The poem, and a photo:

“The Union of Two” by Haki R. Madhubuti

What matters is the renewing and long running kinship

seeking common mission, willing work, memory, melody, song.

marriage is an art,

created by the serious, enjoyed by the mature,

watered with morning and evening promises.

those who grow into love

remain anchored

like egyptian architecture and seasonal flowers.

it is afrikan that woman and man join in smile, tears, future.

it is traditional that men and women share expectations, celebrations, struggles.

it is legend that the nations start in the family.

it is afrikan that our circle expands.

it is wise that we believe in tomorrows, children, quality.

it is written that our vision will equal the promise.

so that your nation will live and tell your stories accurately,

you must be endless in your loving touch of each other,

your unification is the message.

continuance is the answer.

So...raise your glass to my brother and my Sister-in-Law. I love you both!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Umami: The Fifth Taste Sensation
Good evening, peeps.

I've been feeling slightly guilty that I haven't had anything to share lately, so consider this somewhat of an apology. However, I refuse to write a post that says "I don't have anything to post about." That's just silly.

Instead I will share, and teach. This past Sunday my In-Laws, my Wife, My cousin/Brother-in-Law and I had dinner at my parents' house. Great time. As we were leaving, my father gave my wife a copy of a magazine called The Wine Report. His having TWR was in itself unremarkable. I think he gets them from his office or something, and he gives them to me quite often. The odd thing this week was that he gave it to my wife instead of me. There was a sticky note marking one page. I haven't figured out exactly what on that page he wanted her to see, but the opposing page caught my eye. It was an article on Umami.

The f0llowing quotes are directly from the October/November 2006 issue of The Wine Report. The articled is entitled "Delicious Ubiquitous, Mysterious. Umami." The author is Randy Caparoso. I'll TRY not to type out the entire article. I have removed some of his words/sentences/phrases that I think won't take away from the general meaning, but I have not added ANY of my own words, and this is not how it was originally published. Ready? Okay. Heeerrreee we go.

I've enjoyed lots of perfect food-and-beverage combinations in my time. I used to think these combinations worked because the four taste sensations of sweetness, saltiness sourness and bitterness were coming together in perfect harmony and balance. Lately I've learned that the success of my favorite parings might owe nothing to these four tastes at all. Rather, there might be another culprit: umami, the little-known but indubitable real fifth taste sensation.

If you've never heard of umami - or if you've heard of it, but you have no idea what it's supposed to taste like - you're not alone. Umami typically manifests as a "savory," "delicious" or somewhat "meaty" sensation on the palate, usually in reaction to foods and beverages rich in amino acids. According to the Japanese food scientist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda, who made the first formal identification of umami in the 19th century, umami is one of the two tastes (along with sweetness) that the palate perceives as pleasant. Sensations of salt, sour, and bitter are not perceived as pleasant in themselves, but only in correct combination with other sensations.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavoring additive originally manufactured from seaweed, contains glutamic acid, one of the several amino acids that stimulate umami sensations. For an easy demonstration of umami's pleasing taste, mix a inch of MSG into lukewarm water, and drink the mixture. The taste experience will literally be mouth-watering, spurring saliva production and boosting aroma-related sensations of flavor. If MSG can make warm water taste "delicious," then no wonder it's a key ingredient in many of our packaged foods!
Wily chefs bind sauces, broths and vinaigrettes with umami-intense ingredients like shiitake mushrooms, truffles and vine-ripened tomatoes, while the time-pressed home cook reaches for cubes of bouillon laden with umami-stimulating MSG.
Not surprisingly, umami naturally plays a significant role in Asian cuiisnes, wherein simple, understated ingredients and cooking techniques are often combines for a strong overall effect. Seaweeds, dried fish and fish stocks are high in umami, as are seasonings such as Japanese shichimi and Chinese five spice.
You may be wondering why this article on "food tastes" is doing in a magazine about wine. The articles then looks both traditional, and trend-bucking food-and-wine pairings.

The last paragraph:
As you experiment with different combinations of umami-rich foods - and remember, wine should definitely be considered a "food" - don't be afraid to try something new or fly in the face of culinary orthodoxy. After all, when the time comes to take up a fork, or fill a glass, you're the only one you have to please.
That's it. That's all I got. Just something interesting that I learned about this weekend. As a confessed foodie, this article stuck with me. Having this stuff in my head is no fun if there's no one to share it with, folkz.

Know What I'm Sayin'??
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Do as I say, not as I do.
Good Morning, Good People!

I am always trying to find a "better way" to carry on my life. Hence, I'm always looking for the perfect tool, or a new method of doing...something...that will save me time. (I hereby confess that I do not always manage to put these things into practice.)

I found this posted at Lifehacker, via 43 Folders. Both Lifehacker and 43 Folders are chock-full of ideas for streamlining your life. Reposted here, in full.

Merlin’s top 5 super-obvious, “no-duh” ways to immediately improve your life
by Merlin Mann

How to get organized and stay that way

When I was up in Toronto last week, I was interviewed by Samantha Grice from the National Post about 43 Folders, productivity stuff, and the sad sorry state of my own day-to-day productivity. Very “Brady’s Bits.”

As a sidebar to the little profile she wrote, Samantha also asked me to draft a few words on my favorite fast tips for getting it together.

Although these will each be painfully old news for you who’ve been with 43F for a while, I wanted to share the original draft of what I came up with, because it’s sufficient as a cocktail-napkin version of what I think 43 Folders has to say to people. You may share it with the disorganized and confused in your own life, if you like.

I also loved the limitations of this particular exercise: 300 or so words in five bullets that represent my best day-one tricks. Due in minutes. My kind of challenge. Although I did go over on word count, and I’ll own that.

Herewith: Merlin’s top 5 super-obvious, “no-duh” ways to immediately improve your life.

  1. Reduce noise - We all have innumerable inboxes, interruptions, and distractions that are part of work and life — you can’t change that. What you can do is get more hard-nosed about the elective diversions that you invite into your world. Cancel a subscription for a magazine you never read or sign off an annoying mailing list. Needles get easier to find when you aren’t constantly adding new hay to the stack.
  2. Write things down - Ever find a piece of paper in your office with seven digits on it? You know it’s a phone number, but whose? Get ruthless about jotting down ephemeral information if you’ll need to recall it later. Remember that your brain is a creative organ with limitless creative possibilities — but it makes a really crummy whiteboard.
  3. Focus on action - My favorite productivity book, “Getting Things Done” highlights how anything you want to do in life eventually comes down to intentional physical activity — even if it’s something as mundane as “take out trash” and “call Mom.” Learn the habit of planning your world around action verbs rather than fuzzy nouns. “Implement Strategy” is not a task; it’s a project. “Call Jim about strategy” is a very do-able “next action” that keeps the ball in motion.
  4. Get out of your inbox - Many of us are habituated to living out of our email inbox, voicemail, and the other “in baskets” of our lives. Instead, try to set aside regular, periodic times when you trawl for the new content in your life — then get back to work! Inboxes are delivery systems, not workspaces. The real work is happening in your brain and practically every other place that’s not an inbox. Stop allowing yourself to be brow-beaten by the latest, loudest, or most dramatic item that’s landed in your world.
  5. Get pickier - You are the sole person in your life who gets to decide where your time and attention can go. Take that responsibility seriously by not wasting time on junk. You know in your heart what’s really important to you — does the current direction of your time and attention reflect that? Is “kid hugging” time where it should be in proportion to “Blackberry checking” time? Be mindful at the highest level about where you focus your energy, and always strive not to squander it on undeserving activities.

Put that in your pipe, and smoke on it for a lil' while. Know What I'm Sayin'??
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Fantasy Football is serious stuff, people...
...and I'm leading my money league!

(Hopefully gloating a little won't hex the rest of the season.)
Know What I'm Sayin'??
It don't matter that you got, not a lot. So what? They'll have theirs, you'll have yours, and I'll have mine. And together we'll be fine...
I saw this article yesterday.

Let me summarize.

15th Largest Diamond in the world was found in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, which is surrounded on all sides by South Africa. Called the Lesotho Promise, the raw diamond is 603 carats, and is Class D, which means it is of the clearest quality, with no blemishes!

The...Lesothans?(actually it's Basotho)...are selling the diamond to a British company for $12.4 million dollars. The British company will cut the raw diamond into a single large stone and many smaller stones. The cut diamonds will have a value in excess of $20 million.

This is where it gets interesting: The article says that Lesotho's 1.8 million residents are among the world's poorest. My research tells me that extreme inequality in the distribution of income is a major issue. It's so bad that Lesotho has signed an "Interim Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility" with the International Monetary Fund, an organization working to secure financial stability, promote sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty, among other things. Lesotho also has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world. 2003 numbers show that almost 1 in 3 adults is living with HIV/AIDS, and average life expectancy is 35 years old.

Hopefully they'll manage to spread that $12 mil around a little bit.

Know What I'm Sayin'??
Monday, October 09, 2006
I thought about writing a book, but this is faster.
I just ran across this article about the success of blogs being turned into books. Or rather, the success of books made out of blogs.

Pretty interesting stuff. I mean, I say that I'd like to write a book, but that's only half of the equation, right? In order to make a book work, you need someone (many someones (many MANY someones)) to think that what you write is worth reading. Now, I have no delusions about my rantings. They may be relatively intelligently written. Sometimes witty, even insightful. I make liberal use of literary license. BUT, does that make it book-worthy? Doubtful.

How many loyal readers do I have? Well, according to Feedburner, there are 3 people subscribed to my RSS Feed. One of those is me! (Of course I subscribe to my own feed. It's perfectly normal.) How many people on top of that are there? Well, let's wife, my brother, Marcy. Del, I think Ron drops in periodically. My mom...but she's been kinda busy lately. Jessie was pretty consistent for a while, but he's probably got his hands full with his daughter. I think the Southern_Man comes around sometimes. Rusty.

How many is that? Ten or Eleven? Most of those people would probably get free copies, anyway. So how can I expect to sell THOUSANDS of books right now?

On top of that, how can I write both at the same time? One would have to suffer. Either I'd write the book, or I'd have the instant gratification of getting stuff off of my chest as soon as it gets there.

PLUS, what good is a blog-based book? It's blog-based! It's on the internet! It's free! Come on, people!

Know What I'm Sayin'??
Friday, October 06, 2006
A New Respect for Terrell Owens
I vowed two years ago that Terrell Owens would never grace a Fantasy Football team of mine.

I waf forced to renig on that statement when there were simply no other "top tier" Wide Receivers left, and I had too many empty spots on my roster. The football season is young, and I already regret my decision.

Today, I have a new respect for T.O. Terrell Owens has - get this - co-written a children's book.

Little T Learns to Share is a about a little boy who gets a new football. He is reluctant to share his ball until he realizes that it's not much fun playing football by yourself. On his mother's advice, he makes up with his friends, and in the process learns a lesson about sharing. According to, this is the first in a series of books called "T.O.'s Timeout Series".

I must say I'm impressed. I would have NEVER guessed it.

Now, on another note, coincidentally, T.O. has already co-written two autobiographies. Quite a feat for a still-young man still securely in his early thirties.

TWO Autobiographies? Come on, Playa. Get over yourself.

Know What I'm Sayin'??
Thursday, October 05, 2006
A pet peeve of mine...
Call me crazy, but I HATE the word "personable".

The suffix -able means "able to be", as in controllable, or regrettable.

What the hell, then, does "personable" mean? "Able to be a person?" You're damned right, I'm personable! What person isn't? Maybe in a few years, when we live with robots, it'll be a good thing for a robot to be "personable". If I worked on an assembly line, then perhaps it'd be great if I were "robotable". But "personable"?

I cringe when I hear that word. Even worse when it's directed towards me.

Know What I'm Sayin'??
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
The "Next Blog" Button... another victim.

So, my brother calls me this morning.

Bro: Can you e-mail somebody from their Blog?
Mau: If they set it up that way. Why?
Bro: I want to tell them that this shit is fascinating.
Mau: (laughs out loud) Whose blog are you on? How'd you get to it?
Bro: That...that button. You just click it, and it takes you somewhere.