Thursday, March 31, 2011

Song of the Day - Low - Flo Rida

To me, hip hop or rap music is thought of too narrowly. As with any other genre of music there are plenty of sub-genres of hip hop. Now I used to love rap music way back when it first started out with acts like Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, LL Cool J and so many others. Since then rap has evolved in a big way and I can say with certainty that there's a lot of rap I don't like.

My favorite kind of hip hop music is what I like to call rap/dance. You know, the kind of rap you hear in the club and that's great to dance to. One of my best hitting articles of all time on Y!CN is Top Ten Rap/Dance Songs of All Time. It's full of great stuff like Montell Jordan's "This is How We Do It," "It Takes Two" by Rob Base, "Baby Got Back" by Sir-Mix-a-Lot and more. These are great songs that are nothing but fun!

"Apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur,
the whole club was lookin at her..."

One of the more recent stars to make music in this genre is an artist called Flo Rida. Flo makes songs that are heavy on the dance beat, with raps as the vocals. His recent hit "Club Can't Even Handle Me" was a smash last summer and this one was his debut single back in 2008. I used the lyrics in a Johnny Driver piece once (Kona and Johnny shared a love of dance/rap!) and it's always a fun listen. So check out today's "Song of the Day," "Low" by Flo Rida:

March 31, 2011 - Rejected; Photo Shoot Fun; You gotta have friends; Splash company

Happy Thursday everybody! Well, I’m a rested up and in a better frame of mind today, so I’m going to jump right into things:


On Tuesday I received an email from Yahoo saying that I was essentially rejected for their new program. I actually didn’t/don’t feel so bad because their reasons were technical and not creative. I was a little dumbfounded at first because that would have been the last thing I would have expected. They gave as their reasons my incorrect use of numbers and some missing commas, and the fact that I capitalized the second ‘G’ in Lady Gaga’s name. Okay, that was a stupid mistake, but when I finally got around to scrutinizing the article today, I saw that I only made one mistake with numerals and I missed six commas. Frustrating!

In hindsight, I’m taking it as a good thing. Many writers are being turned down, and for creative reasons, too! So I don’t feel so bad. I posted the situation on the very wonderful Y!CN page on Facebook and received some nice feedback from people who I didn’t even know read me. I realize that this was my first professional shot at writing and this experience will help me going into the next try. I just need to wait a bit and try again, and be more wary of the technical stuff next time.

Ya Gotta Have Friends

One of my “Keys to Life” pieces, #3, is all about cultivating friendships. (Check it out here). I mentioned in that piece that friends are the family you choose and that true friends are the ones who support you when you need it. Well, last night I spent some time with my good friend Laura Kim and she was just what the doctor ordered for me.

Laura Kim and I go back a long way. We both started at the same time in our school districts (she teaches English) and we hit it off right from the start. LK’s one of those friends that I just connect with on a certain level and she and I talk about things we both can’t really talk about with anyone else. Ever since we started working together, we’ve made it a habit of sharing a meal every once in awhile followed by who knows what.

Yesterday we had a date and what usually is a two or three hour visit turned out to be almost seven! We started off slow and subdued, probably just weary from the work day we had both just finished, but by the end of the night it was actually hard for me to leave. We had an awesome evening all around. She’s become quite the bird lady, with now five feathered creatures in her collection, and they provided an unusual backdrop to the evening, for sure. The newest bird is Dobie, a huge white parrot that kinda spooked me a bit by its sheer size. We were thrown into fits of hysterical laughter a couple of times due to my, um, let’s say startled fear at many of Dobie’s sudden movements.

Laura Kim and I shared some personal stuff, a lot of which I would have normally put up here in the past, but have been trying to stay away from. It felt good to let it out after so long. I did my share of listening and comforting too as we shared first a wonderful dinner in Westhampton and then an equally delicious dessert at a great bake shop down the street. After our meals and mutual commiserating, we headed back to her place for a good old fashioned photo shoot.

Warning – I’m posting a couple of the photos here because I wouldn’t dare put them on Facebook, lol. They’re just a little too risqué for me to put there and I hope no one gets offended by an R rating.

Leave it to a straight man to have a booby pillow!

...and a gay one to try it on for size!

Sexy Italian Man

Anyway, it was there at her place that we had the most fun. We were both in better moods than we had been and laughed for practically two hours straight as we worked out poses and get-ups for the pictures. Her boyfriend was away and he’s got a big collection of hats, many of which I tried on to both of our amusement. Being the typical straight male, there were lots of nudie things all around, too, which gave me so much fodder for laughs, hehe.

All in all, it was a great evening with my good buddy LK. Getting the opportunity to release some of our innermost troubles together and then to have such a great time afterwards was just what I needed to get myself back together, at least for a little while…

Photo Shoot Fun

Splash Company

Well, I finally found someone to go to Splash with and I’m a little apprehensive about it. I almost feel like I have a date tomorrow, and don’t know what to expect. There’s this guy I had been sort of seeing before I met Sunday and whom I cut it off with when I did. Not long after that he had found someone, too, so it was all good. When my relationship ended, I never gave him a second thought until I heard from his a few weeks ago. His relationship had ended also and I’ve seen him a couple of times since.

For the sake of privacy and to keep things short, I’m going to give an abridged version of the story. This guy’s younger than me and one of the things I like about him is that he reminds me of me when I was his age. We share a lot of the same values: dancing and clubbing, fashion and music and we never have trouble finding things to talk about.

Lately he’s spoken a lot about going to Splash and finally the other day I finally told him that if he wanted he could come with me. He seemed excited about it and as it turns out, he’s got a party to go to in the city tomorrow night. We’re going to meet there.

I’ve never been to a club with him and I’m not sure what to expect. I do know that at the moment I’m not looking for anyone to date, and as far as I know neither is he, which is good. I’m not sure how to approach the evening…I’m thinking and hoping that we’re just going as friends and I think we could definitely have a great time together. Only time will tell how it goes tomorrow and like I said, I’m a little apprehensive, but I have a feeling it could be fun. We’ll see…

Yeah 3X

As you’ve seen a lot lately, I’ve been posting additional videos in my daily posts in addition to the “Song of the Day” segment. There’s a song by Chris Brown which has already received the honors, but during my workout earlier, I listened to it and I can’t get it out of my head. Regardless of whether or not you like the dude, the song is happy and fun and great to dance to. So enjoy “Yeah 3X” (Yeah, yeah, yeah!)

The Animals

A jackelope right here on Long Island!


Za Zoo

Song of the Day - Clumsy - Fergie

"Ya got me trippin, stumblin, flippin, bumbling,
Clumsy cause I'm fallin in love"

For about a year after this was popular, this was what I heard whenever my phone rang. You can imagine how annoying that might get even after a couple of days...It's the last time I ever downloaded a ringtone to my cell phone!

It took me a long time to get to like Fergie's "The Dutchess" when it came out, but eventually I found quite a few songs on it that I really, really liked, and this is one of them. I've always been a Black Eyed Peas fan, but I'm always a little cautious when someone from a band goes off on their own so soon )a la Beyonce!). "Fergalicious" was the first of the singles that I found to really rock (and I'm saving that one for a special occassion!), but "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Glamorous" were also nice songs off the set.

So enjoy today's "Song of the Day", Fergie's "Clumsy." It's a really cute song with a really unique sound.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Song of the Day - On The Floor - J-Lo ft. Pitbull

Welcome to a brand new day! Today's "Song of the Day" is my new favorite song. It took me a long time to get to like this one, but by now it just makes me wanna dance every time I hear it! "On the Floor" is J-Lo's biggest hit in a long time and one of the reasons it's so good and so popular is its sample of "Lambada", which was also a great song (but a bad movie!). So without further adieu, enjoy today's song of the day. Oh, and have a great hump day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 29th, 2011: Exhausted

What a long day! At the moment it’s almost 10:30 and I have absolutely no mental energy. Well, I kind of do because I can’t stop thinking, but at the same time my mind is completely exhausted. Not that there was anything in particular that put me in this state…maybe it was just from getting so little sleep last night and also some troubling stuff on my mind that started creeping in as the day wore on.

I came home from work all fired up about something and slowly it all just slipped from my hands seemingly out of nowhere within a couple of hours. I had several things I wanted to share tonight, but I just don’t have the energy to do so right now. At this moment, I’m feeling frustrated and a little closed in, like I’m stuck in a corner and I’m having trouble breathing. I think I need to go to sleep so it will go away, though my thoughts keep me awake.

I’m starting to think I need to take a break from writing, though I know I really don’t want to. Lately it’s become too much of a distraction for me, which at times can be good, but at others not so much. Sometimes I feel as if I’m on the cusp of something big one minute and falling into obscurity the next. I ask myself the question whether or not to push on or if the whole writing thing is just fruitless. It’s all so frustrating!

I’m forced into a break tomorrow because I have a dinner date with one of my peeps. Maybe it’s just what I need to get myself back together again, I dunno. After all, this just got to me today and again it's probably just because I'm tired. I may not be back here tomorrow, though I will try my best to get my “song of the day” in, at least. There are things I want to talk about, and I will get to them eventually, so stay tuned...

In the meantime, here’s a song that means a lot to me (even though it’s a little bit o’ country! hehe)! I first heard it at a Stevie Nicks concert at Jones Beach, not long before Joe and I broke up. I remember listening to the words, and hearing her talk about the circumstances in her life that brought her to write that sad, yet hopeful song. I lived the words in my head that night as she sung it, and I've loved it ever since. So enjoy the wonderful Dixie Chick’s performing Fleetwood Mac’s poetic “Landslide,” and until next time, ciao!

Song of the Day - A Salt with a Deadly Pepa - Expression

"You know life, is all about expression.
You only live once and you're not coming back,
so express yourself, yeah!"

Salt N Pepa, along with their deejay Spindarella, were "da bomb" back in the day. Ever since their first underground hit, "Push It", way back in 1987, I became a bona fide fan, following them through hit after hit and loving it all the way. Though their career was way too short for my taste, they really rocked it when they were around, with funky, hard-driving beats, unique harmonies and in your face lyrics.

The trio had several hits during their time at the top, including such classics as "Do You Want Me", "Let's Talk About Sex", and "Shoop." The girls even teamed up with the Funky Diva's for their smash hit, "Whatta Man," in 1994. Unfortunately, the girls experienced personal issues in the 90's and their star kind of fizzled after their last big album, "Very Necessary" in 1993. Though another trio of female rappers soon came along to reach even higher heights(I'm talking about TLC!), Salt-n-Pepa remain as pioneers of their trade and have left us with a nice collection of highly enjoyable tunes to enjoy for along, long time to come.

"Expression", today's "Song of the Day," is one of my favorite Salt-n-Pepa tunes. With the funkiest of beats and the most noble of messages, this one still gets regular plays on my iPod and always induces me to shake my thing!

Salt N Pepa - Expression by jpdc11

*Note - Today's selection was inspired by a friend and fellow writer of mine, Ana Maria Alvarez who, through her FB page shouted out that she has been listening to old 90's stuff today including Salt-n-Pepa. When I saw her post, it was over to the hio hop list on my iPod and I'm still grooving to them right now! Thanks Ana!

Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011 - Is GaGa the heir to Madonna's throne?

Happy Monday evening all! I say happy because as you already know, I think that once Monday’s over at least the week is one more day towards the weekend and that always brings just a little bit o happiness to my attitude. Today was a good Monday…it went by fast, thank goodness and now the rest of the week’ll be a piece of cake. Riiiiggghhhhtttt!!!!??? LOL! Anyhoo, on with the day’s topic…

GaGa and Madonna

As I told you in this morning’s post, I finally wrote my piece yesterday on Lady GaGa and Madonna and I’m still waiting for word back on it. I really worked hard on the piece and I have a good feeling about it, so we shall see!

In the meantime, I posed the question to Facebook and Twitter friends yesterday about whether or not Lady GaGa had the potential to be the next Madonna and I got answers from both sides of the fence. Here’s a sampling:

On the no side:

Kayla: Absolutely not! Madonna came and shocked the music scene with controversy but she pulled it off by appearing to not give a damn. It didnt seem intentional, it was a this is who i am and i just dont care thing. For gaga the shock value doesnt apply. Not only are we all pretty jaded, but theres no conviction behind gaga. Shes simply doing it for the attention and that kindof thing just doesnt last. I like her music at times but she will never be a madonna.

Karen: Personally I think she's a freak. To put her name in the same sentence as Madonna is almost sacrilegious. I don't think she'll ever have the charisma, longevity or reach she had and still has. In 20 years people will ask, "Who?" upon hearing her name if they hear it at all. I just realized I never typed her name either. Lol

Rose: I agree with the others. Madonna was being Madonna. Gaga is doing what she does strictly for the attention. Madonna was not acting or seeking attention. She was simply being who she is. Gaga is trying to be Madonna. I believe that within the next 5 years, Gaga will simply be gone from the spotlight with another Madonna wannabe in her place. Madonna will live on forever, but Gaga will fall out of stardom.

Reet: No. I think L G is a trendy fad that will fade out like bell bottoms did in the 70's. She's a Madonna- wanna- be.

On the positive side:

Chrissy: i think she has the capability of being the next madonna. she is an intelligent, and witty business woman. i think if she has the longevity to be around in say 20 years, she will graciously name madonna as one of the musicians that paved the way for her. i think right now in 2011, we cant compare the two. madonna is a legend. (in my book:-]) i hope gaga will have her staying power.

Sherri: Lady Gaga has something Madonna never had, a legitimate singing voice. Yes, I think she will continue to reinvent herself (ala Madonna) and stay relevant for years to come. She may be a strane bird, but she is super talented and here to stay!

And then there’s the politically correct:

Jordan: a quick thought... in this fast day and age of music with new one hit wonders daily and the lack of dollars flowing to the artists... I highly doubt that anyone can financially become iconic to continue to put out hits after hits... The music industry is evolving and until it gets a foothold on making money she is highly unlikely to make it...But in this great county anything is possible

First of all, I want to say that I appreciate all of your comments. They’re across the board just like I would’ve expected. In the piece, I played it objectively and concluded pretty much the same thing that Jordan says.

It’s funny, but there are two people in my life, my mom and my good friend Rich, who both actually guessed my topic before I could even tell them. There’s probably a couple more out there who would’ve done the same. I guess the people in my life know me pretty well, huh? LOL.

Seriously, my mom reminded me of the time way back in 1983 when I raved about this new singer who was the absolute bomb. The whole family took a day trip to Action Park in my dad’s van and I played the CD over and over again. Ever since those days, I can associate so many memories from my life with Madonna. I remember all of the controversies of her time:

-Rolling around on the floor in a wedding dress at the MTV Music Awards
-The “Like a Prayer” / Pepsi commercial ruckus
-The “Sex” book
-Flashing her boobies on “Truth or Dare”
-Faux masturbation to “Like a Virgin” on the “Blond Ambition” tour
-The steamy “Justify My Love” video

The list goes on and on. Some of the things my friends have said here about GaGa people were saying about Madonna back in the day. Madonna persevered, though, and she did it through her bread and butter: her music. GaGa’s music is the bottom line with her, too, and with that she’s on the right track, for sure.

I am a music aficionado of the biggest kind, and I try my best to keep up with the ever-changing music landscape. Lady GaGa is awesome! I’ve got her double set “Fame/Fame Monster” and I absolutely love the music! Her hits “Bad Romance”, “Poker Face” and “Just Dance”, to name a few are genuinely good, and so are some of the songs that weren’t hits. “Boys, Boys, Boys” and “Summer Boys” absolutely rock and “Teeth” is simply da’ bomb!

I do believe that of anyone out there who’s come after Mo, she’s the one with the most potential to go far, much further than Britney or Christina or any of those other Madonna wannabes. No, in all honesty I don’t think she’ll ever quite match the sphere of influence that Madonna’s had in her time, but she’ll definitely be around for a long, long time to come.

Hmm, can you spot any similarities here?

A final birthday wish for GaGa

As I also mentioned this morning, today is Lady GaGa’s 25th birthday, and so I’d like to present another video from her catalog. This is one of my favorites, and ironically it was also compared to Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” at the time it came out. Eh, who cares, right? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it’s not so bad to be a fan of both singers.. Enjoy “Alejandro” and for one last time, Happy Birthday GaGa!

PS – Check out a piece I did last year on GaGa. It was just after I’d downloaded her album and it’s a pretty good review of the songs if I say so myself! Here’s the link:

Goo Goo Over GaGa

Happy Birthday Lady GaGa - Song of the Day - Bad Romance

I'm celebrating the completion of my Yahoo Music article by honoring Lady GaGa with "Song of the Day" today. Since I've been putting up a lot of Madonna videos here and on FB, I figured I'd give her some props. The piece I wrote yesterday is entitled, "Is Lady GaGa the Next Madonna?" and hopefully it'll be approved for publication. Fingers crossed! We'll see...

Anyway, this is definitely my most favorite of GaGa's songs to dance to in the club. It always kind of reminded me of Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" for some reason. I think it's the singalong quality of the chorus. Whenever it's played, the dance floor is packed, and for good reason.

Anywho, my good friend Rich LOVES the first line in the song:

"I want your ugly, I want your disease..."

For some reason it gives him chuckles and because of him I get them too when I hear it.

I just learned from looking through my Twitter account that today just happens to be GaGa's 25th birthday, a pleasant coincidence. So, Happy Birthday GaGa!!!! Enjoy "Bad Romance."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Song of the Day - Bedtime Story - Madonna

The video to today's "Song of the Day" is the most expensive ever made. Though the song itself never really burned up the charts (probably because it was a little too house) the video is absolutely exquisite. There are so many things going on that you've got to watch it a couple of times to catch it all. Enjoy Madonna's "Bedtime Story":

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26, 2011 - Da Bunk Fridays; I feel like a celebrity; Ke$ha n Craig

"Deejay turn it up, up, up, up..."

It’s a beautiful, albeit chilly Saturday and I’m here at my pc working, as usual. I just completed an arduous assignment for Textbroker about grants and scholarships in New York State…yawn! Of course it’s taken me longer than I expected it to and now I must decide whether to get going with the things I have to do or continue writing. That was the second of three big pieces I had to do and the next one is the really big one! Oh well, one more cup of java and then…

Da Bunk Fridays

Last night I went to the Bunkhouse for the first time since September. The Bunkhouse is the one of the oldest gay bars on Long Island and it’s gone through several incarnations and owners over the years. These days it’s pretty much the only place to go dancing in Suffolk County, but I stopped going there back then because Saturday was my night and it was rarely ever had a real crowd. You can see a couple of unflattering mentions of the Bunkhouse on my LI Gay Issues Examiner page right here and here.

Lately, through friends at Facebook and word of mouth, I’ve seen that Fridays at the Bunkhouse, called “Da Bunk Fridays”, were pretty good. Though the majority of the crowd is young, it is crowded every week and the deejay plays a decent set. As it was Friday and I didn’t feel like going into the city, I decided to give it a try and I have to say it was pretty good.

It was strange walking into the place. It had been my so called ‘stomping ground” in the first three years after Joe and I broke up and I suddenly felt like a stranger in a place that I had spent so much time in once. It was amazing to see all of the faces of people I had forgotten about, including this one dude who tried really hard last summer to take me out. He looked a lot like Kevin James from that sitcom “King of Queens” and I just wasn’t interested. He passed by me a few times, but I was able to avoid him thank goodness.

All in all, I had fun at the good ole Bunk. Who knows, I may just have to make it a regular Friday night stop again!

Da Bunk Fridays...can you spot me in the pic?

Feelin’ like a celebrity

As I was leaving the Bunkhouse last night, a gentleman who had curiously thanked me for stopping by earlier called out my name. Though he looked familiar, I had no idea who he was and I wondered how he knew my name. He ran over to me as I was about to cross the street to get to my car and told me that he knew me from my writing links on Facebook. He gave me props for my postings.

His name was Eddie, I believe (forgive me if you’re reading this and I’m wrong…it was late and I was tired!), and he said that he ran the “Gation Saturdays” profile on Facebook. That’s why he looked familiar to me. “Gation” is the Saturday night version of “Da Bunk Fridays” held at Industry nightclub (otherwise known as Luxe) in Levittown. The same group promotes both evenings with apparently great success. I was truly amazed that anyone would recognize me in public for my writing…it was the first time ever and it made me feel really good! Thanks buddy!

Ke$ha n Craig

Lately I’ve been posting videos to my daily posts and today is no exception. Sometimes just one song for a day is not enough for the music lover in me, and today a FB friend of mine who calls himself Craig Vanity inspired this one. I don’t really know Craig personally, but we’ve been connected on FB for awhile now and I enjoy a lot of his posts.

Craig is an aspiring disc jockey and he maintains a site called The site is full of mash ups and remixes of songs this talented young man has put together. Some of my favorites include his mix-ups of Adele’s “I’ll Be Waiting” and A-ha’s “Take on Me” and Britney Spears’ “Up and Down” mixed with Inner City’s classic “Good Life.” Check it out!

I’ve been thinking of doing a piece on Craig as I think he’s super talented and I have a soft spot for deejays anyway, since I was one once upon a time. I can see he works hard at being successful and I can't help but think that I once might've pursued the same dream. I have yet to contact him about it as I need to plan it a little first. Could be an interview or jus a straight up profile, I’m not sure yet. Stay tuned…

In the meantime, the video I’m posting is “We R Who We R” and I say that Craig inspired it because he posted a line from the song earlier this morning that I’ve always found to be idiotic but appealing at the same time. The line goes, “got Jesus on my necklace, ez, ezzz” and ever since I saw his posting, I just can’t get it out of my head. So without further adieu, here’s Ke$ha:

Song of the Day - Green Day's "Holiday"

Today's "Song of the Day" is one of my favorite Green Day tunes. It's called "Holiday" and it's from their classic "American Idiot" album in 2005. The song speaks my language, as it is very critical of the Iraq War, corporate greed and the average American indifference to pretty much anything important. It's a shame that since those days I've become impervious to it all, simply out of disgust and it's nice to get to bring it out again once in awhile, which I can do when I hear this song. Enjoy "Holiday":

Say, hey!

Hear the sound of the falling rain
Coming down like an Armageddon flame (Hey!)
The shame
The ones who died without a name

Hear the dogs howling out of key
To a hymn called "Faith and Misery" (Hey!)
And bleed, the company lost the war today

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
On holiday

Hear the drum pounding out of time
Another protester has crossed the line (Hey!)
To find, the money's on the other side

Can I get another Amen? (Amen!)
There's a flag wrapped around a score of men (Hey!)
A gag, a plastic bag on a monument

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
On holiday

(Say, hey!)


"The representative from California has the floor"

Sieg Heil to the president Gasman
Bombs away is your punishment
Pulverize the Eiffel towers
Who criticize your government
Bang bang goes the broken glass and
Kill all the fags that don't agree
Trials by fire, setting fire
Is not a way that's meant for me
Just cause, just cause, because we're outlaws yeah!

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives

This is our lives on holiday

Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25, 2011 - Japan relief album; writing stuff; Odds & Ends

Happy Friday everyone! Well, I’ve just written a piece that I hope is newsworthy, at least in the music world. “Songs for Japan” Digital Album Released on ITunes Today spreads the word on a new album put together for Japan earthquake relief and I hope that being early on in the reporting of it will score me some good page views. The project is definitely worthy of attention and surprisingly there are a lot of songs on it that I don’t already own, so I may just pick myself up a copy and help out in my own way. You can, too, right here.

More writing stuff

I also published my monthly piece on new music coming in April today. Y!CN published it quickly after I submitted it and for that I’m thankful. For this one, I used a variety of sources that helped me get the most complete monthly listing I’ve published so far. Check it out right here.

I finally hit 300,000 page views on Thursday! As of this morning, I’m at 300,770 hits. I’m pretty proud of that!

I’ve still got that test article to write for the Y!CN Featured Music Contributor position. I’m still toying with the idea of comparing GaGa and Madonna at the same stages of their respective careers. A good friend of mine suggested also the changes in how we listen to music over the years, which is another worthy topic. Any other suggestions? I’d love to hear em’. The piece is due by Sunday and I’ve got to make this one good! I have a feeling I’ll be in my sleepwear most of the day tomorrow. I hope it’s not too nice out there!

All is quiet on the stalker front

Thankfully, I haven’t had any more incidences with the stalker since Monday. I hope that the phone call from the police officer finally gave him the message to leave me alone.

Odds and Ends

I’m really starting to love Twitter. After being on it for months and months I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. I’ve now got 130 followers and I can see from at least my stats here that I’m getting hits from it, and making friends, too. If you have a Twitter account, you can follow me right here. I will reciprocate!

I’m actually toying with the idea of going to the Bunkhouse tonight. I stopped going there way back in September, when I began frequenting Splash. I used to go on Saturday nights, and it was always a crapshoot whether or not there was any type of a crowd, but their “DaBunk Fridays” is always crowded, albeit with a mostly younger crowd. Money’s a little tight this week and I’m gonna just save Splash for tomorrow.

This morning I put an En Vogue song as today’s “Song of the Day.” I LOVED this group back when they were together in the early 1990’s and I was saddened when they first went down to 3 members and then disappeared altogether. I always felt that they had super talent…their harmonies were awesome! To me, they were a much better girl group than the more successful Destiny’s Child,, but what do I know?

After posting “Free Your Mind” this morning, I decided to play my En Vogue folder on my iPod on the way to work and it was a real waker upper for my ride to work. They had so many great songs back then. Of course, “My Lovin’ (Never Gonna Get It) was the bomb, and so was their joint effort with Salt N’ Pepa (another favorite!), “Whatta Man.” I wanted to share another song or two here, and I had trouble choosing, so I’m putting two of them here. The first is one of my favorites, though it was never a single or a video. This first clip is just an audio of the group’s song, “It Ain’t Over (Till the Fat Lady Sings)”. Check it out:

The next one was the girls' first single, "Hold On." Of course it was the song that got me to like them in the first place and the intro is taken from the classic tune "Who's Lovin You." Perfect harmonies, sultry and sexy. Enjoy!

Well, that's all for today. I'm sure I'll be back on here before the weekend is out, so until them, have a good one and thanks for reading!

Song of the Day - "Free Your Mind" - En Vogue

"Prejudice, wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it go..."

"Free Your Mind" was a hard-driving, Grammy nominated song from the "Funky Divas" in 1992. It's fast and furious, and of course, like all other En Vogue songs, full of great harmonies! The message carries some good advice we all should take, which is yet another reason to love it.

So check out the video for En Vogue's "Free Your Mind" below and take a look at the lyrics below. Great song!

Free Your Mind

I wear tight clothing, high heeled shoes
It doesn't mean that I'm a prostitute, no no
I like rap music, wear hip hop clothes
That doesn't mean that I'm out sellin' dope no no
Oh my forgive me for having straight hair, no
It doesn't mean there's another blood in my heir yeah yeah
I might date another race or color
It doesn't mean I don't like my strong black brothers.

Why oh why must it be this way
Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me, I said
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don't be so shallow.
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don't be so shallow

So I'm a sistah
Buy things with cash
That really doesn't mean that all my credit's bad, oooh
So why dispute me and waste my time
Because you really think the price is high for me
I can't look without being watched, and oh
You rang my buy before I made up my mind, OW!
Oh now attitude, why even bother
I can't change your mind, you can't change my color

Why oh why must it be this way?
Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me, I said
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don't be so shallow…

Why oh why must it be this way?
Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me, I said
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don't be so shallow... FREE YOUR MIND

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Song of the Day - Acapella - Kelis

Today's song is from last summer. It's a clubby song by singer Kelis, who's best known for her previous hits "Milkshake" and "Trick Me." I love the back beats to this one and the message, as well. The video is pretty cool, too! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 23, 2011 - Happy Hump Day!

Happy Hump Day! We’re now back on the downward trajectory towards the weekend, thank goodness. It’s funny, but early on in the week I always say to myself that I’m only going to go out one night the following weekend, but once I’ve worked a couple of days I can’t wait to go out and I usually end up going out both nights. Oh well, we’ll just have to see. Here's what's going on in my head today:

Yahoo Featured Contributor – On to the next step!

Great news! I received an email today from Yahoo Contributor Network saying that they liked what they saw in my application to be a Featured Music Contributor and I’ve moved on to the next step in the process. Already I can see that this program will be much more stringent than the earlier one, but the prospect of getting it means more exposure and exciting opportunities ahead.

I was asked to do a test feature story comparing two aspects of music. The subject can be bands, genres, time periods, etc. I have until Sunday the 27th to write it and if it gets accepted I will be thereby accepted into the program, so the pressure is on! My first thoughts are to do a piece comparing Lady GaGa with Madonna at this stage of her career. Since today’s generation seems to think that GaGa’s the next best thing, I’d like to actually look for myself and see where the two compare at respective stages of their career. What do you think? I’d love to hear feedback on whether or not you think this would generate readers.


I thought it was going to happen today, but I just fell short of hitting the 300K mark on Y!CN. As of this morning I hit 299,987 page views. I’m sure by this moment I’ve already hit that mark and considering how long it took me to get from 200 to 250K, this is amazing. Much of it is due to my Top Ten Valentine’s Day Songs, which was featured for about two weeks in early February. It just goes to show you what exposure can do for your page views and your earnings.

For those of you not in the know, Google has recently changed their algorithm concerning its searches. The purpose was to weed out the dime a dozen crap stories that are out there, and unfortunately the move has hit many of us who freelance online. The change happened just a few short weeks ago and many of us at Y!CN have seen our page views taking big hits as a result, myself included.

I haven’t been publishing too much on either Examiner or Y!CN lately because I’ve been taking assignments at another site that I work for. The site is called “Textbroker” and what they doo is put out calls for articles from their clients. When I use that site, I look through dozens of calls from website owners looking for content for their pages on any of various topics. The assignments are one shot deals and I don’t usually ever get to see what I’ve written there online. It’s a quick and easy way (sometimes) to make quick cash which is what I need to do for the upcoming summer.

Here are some of the pieces I’ve written in the past week.

On Y!CN:

Pop Music News Weekly, March 22nd

This week’s stories include the death of singer Loleatta Holloway; Chris Brown’s outburst on the set of GMA and news on an upcoming all star relief album for Japan.

Keys to Life#4 – Make a Difference

The latest in the series, and so far my favorite. Please check it out if you haven’t already.

On Examiner:

Food and drink at Smithtown’s Restaurant Week and the Spring Beer Fest

Splash Bar, NYC

An objective and informative piece about the famous gay club.

Stalker Update

Well, after my newest visit on Monday by Fuzzy, some friends convinced me to finally call the police. I really didn’t want it to go this far, but since he came back after I warned him I realized that my friends were right. A really nice officer came by and I told him my story and he took a report. He advised me that though there is no set number of times you have to be bothered to file a complaint, I should probably do so if he comes around again.

The officer called him from the patrol car and told him to leave me alone. At first he told the cop that he had no idea who I was, but when the cop told him he got his number off of my cell phone he clammed up. What a creep!

I felt better afterwards, but knowing what happened after the last time I’m going to be feeling guarded at best for at least a little while. I’ve gone back to staggering the times that I get home from work and keeping an eye out for his car in the area of my house. My worst fear is that he’ll pull up when I’m getting out of my car. I just hope that it’s over.

Well that’s all I have for right now. As always, thanks for reading. Here’s another video from Kylie off of her “X” CD. It was the biggest hit off of the album and its typical dancy Kylie style. I’m hoping to go see her again this May at Hammerstein Ballroom and I can’t wait! Enjoy!

Kylie Minogue - WOW by Elo_pitchounne56

Song of the Day - Kylie Minogue - 2 Hearts

Today's "Song of the Day" is a relatively unknown song from Kylie Minogue's previous album, "X." The record wasn't fully released here in the US, and it's a shame because to me it was one of her best. This is the first track off the album and it's very good. Check it out...

Kylie Minogue - 2 Hearts [HQ] by wonderful-life1989

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Song of the Day - Peacock - Katy Perry

Today's "Song of the Day" is another one of those videos made not by the singer, but by ordinary people like you and me. Well, these guys are not really ordinary, as you will soon see. The song is a non-single off of Katy Perry's latest CD and it's full of catchy beats and chorus and laughably fun innuendo. The video is such that you can't keep your eyes peeled to the screen from start to finish. It's how I learned the song and whenever I come across it, I can't not watch it. So enjoy the silly, sexy and funny video by Ryan James Yezak of YouTube. The song is called "Peacock."

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011 - Public speaking...again; I can commiserate; Am I too shallow?; Fuzzy's back!

Happy spring everybody! It’s Monday afternoon and the first big hump of the work week is over, so I’m in a good way for a change even though I was just awakened from an after-work nap by Fuzzy. Yes, he’s back, but more about that in a minute. I’ve got a lot on my mind today and I want to get it all out…

Public Speaking...Not again!

Today was a teacher’s conference day at school, which meant the students were off so that we staff members could learn something ourselves. We usually have about three of these a year and most of the time they can be pretty arduous for teachers, with hours-long seminars on this or that tedious educational topic. I think I speak for my fellow teachers when I say I’d rather have the free time to plan for future classes.

Last week I got an email from upstairs telling me that I had been named to be a facilitator for a post-presentation discussion about “Teaching in the 21st Century.” Today’s conference day was scheduled to be a joint one with two neighboring districts and a morning presentation by a guest speaker was to be followed by an hour and a half ‘forum’ on the topic at hand. I was one of only a few people chosen for the job. I have no idea why I was chosen, but I take it as a complement.

Ever since I was a youngster, I’ve always been terrified of public speaking, and that hasn’t changed even today. People ask me how I can feel that way since I’m a teacher, and my answer is that it’s different with children for some reason. I don’t know, but whenever I’m asked to make any kind of presentation to my fellow teachers, I’m always nervous about it, to the point where it consumes my mind in the hours leading up to it. Yet once I get up there in front of everybody, I do okay. Today was no exception.

As we sat through the morning speaker, I diligently took notes so that I could be better prepared to lead the discussion, and when it was over we all had to report to our assigned classrooms for our forum. My stomach was in knots and my hands were sweaty as people poured into the room. I can’t say for sure, but I think I had one of the larger groups, about 20-25 people. Just before I needed to start, I went out into the hallway and typed “Why me?” on to my Facebook page.

I then returned to the room and like magic I was on. I had three questions to pose to the group in an hour and a half’s time, and in the end I think I handled it pretty well. It just goes to show you that the more you do it, the better you get at it. As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect” and I just need to remember that the next time I’m asked to speak in public. Those pre-speaking jitters can be terrible!

I can commiserate

After the morning sessions it was time for lunch and I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with several of my coworkers. We were all given the afternoon to catch up on some work and four of us decided to do it together, which was nice. A teacher’s job can be lonely sometimes, with students all day and nary a moment to spend with adult conversation. The four of us had a nice afternoon together until right before it was time to leave.

One of my coworkers, a special ed teacher who’s in her mid-twenties, suddenly burst into tears at the table in the back of my room. Though it hadn’t been talked about, we all knew that the guy she’d been seeing since October ended their relationship last night. She’d been texting on and off all day, presumably with him, and I guess the last one was the one that caused her to burst out in tears.

I don’t know all of the details. It was none of my business and even knowing only reminded me of my own situation from recent months. From what I gather, the dude had nothing against her, but he just didn’t want to be in a relationship. Sound familiar?

On the way home this friend sent me a text apologizing for her outburst. She didn’t have to. I know exactly what she’s going through. My car pool buddy said that she hoped that she’ll learn from this relationship when she goes into the next one and when she said that, a feeling of dread came over me. I thought about the phrase ‘next relationship’ with dismay. I don’t even want to think about ‘next relationships.’

Who am I kidding? I really, really hate to admit it, but my relationship/breakup really knocked me for a loop. I don’t like what I’ve become in the weeks since it ended for good and I can’t help but still miss the bastard. Though I hadn’t been looking for a relationship before I met him, I realized from my time with him that a relationship is something I ultimately seek. Unfortunately, this experience has caused me to retreat backwards to a point where I think to myself whether it’ll ever be worth the price that I’ve paid here to ever try again. Who knows?

I just came across an article by a good writer friend of mine, Michele Starkey. She just had to put her beloved dog, Brownie, to sleep and she constructed her piece around a quote by Queen Elizabeth. The quote went: “Grief is the price we pay for love.” As I read the piece, I hearkened back to when I had to do the same with our cat Spike back in 2007, and all of the grief that came with it. I also related it to my current state and realize that I am still grieving because I loved, and so now is my friend.

I left a comment for Michele that I agreed with the quote, and I told her that in most cases going through the grief is worth the love. I’m still struggling with that one!

Hang in there Michele and my friend “K,” and so will I.

Here’s Michele’s piece:

The Price We Pay for Love

Hmmm, I just don’t know…Am I too shallow?

A few weeks back I posted here that a friend of mine wanted to set me up on a date with a Spanish teacher from a neighboring district. About midway through the morning, I realized that his district was one of the ones we shared with today and that he was probably in the building. I immediately became nervous and when I mentioned it to another friend, she knew who he was and pointed him out to me. I wasn’t attracted to him at all. During the presentation, my friend texted me to say that she should have introduced us. I’m glad she hadn’t remembered to.

A little over two years ago, I started a series on Y!CN called “Gay Man’s Single Files.” In the first installment (check it out here), I spoke about how physical attraction is one of the first important aspects of a relationship. Without it, there usually can be no beginning. I lamented that many guys my age just don’t take care of themselves and the ones that do don’t want me. They want younger!

I work hard to keep in shape and maintain a healthy looking appearance and so I only expect the same from someone I’d consider dating. I have few objections to dating guys of any age, as long as I’m attracted to them. As things would have it, to date I’ve dated mostly younger guys, too, for that very reason since I’ve been single. I guess I’ve become one of those guys I complained about in my piece.

If this notion makes me a shallow person, then so be it. It may make me perennially single, but why should I settle for someone I’m not attracted to? My friends say I’m too picky, but at least when I’m with someone, it’s always someone who I’m interested in, so I see nothing wrong with that. This may turn out to be a sticky situation with my friend, but I will tell her directly when I get the chance. Hopefully she won’t read this before then, but in case she does, I want to say thanks for trying…


Now that's more like it!

Uh oh, Fuzzy's back!

As I mentioned earlier, I was taking a power nap after work when I was suddenly awakened by my cell phone ringing. I picked it up to see who was calling and it was him! Needless to say, I was jolted into awareness. I ran to my front window to see if he was outside. Nothing! Then for some reason I decided to peer out further, checking the sides of my property and there he was sitting in his red car to the right of my driveway.

He hadn’t gotten out of his car this time, otherwise I would’ve called the police. A couple of minutes after the phone stopped ringing, he pulled away. I thought it was over with, but obviously there’s definitely something wrong with this dude. I don’t get it and now suddenly I’m a little frightened again. Just what I needed!

Thanks again for reading! Here’s a video to capture how I’m feeling at the moment. Some of you may remember this one by Michael Jackson protégé Rockwell…Enjoy, and I’ll catch you next time!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Song of the Day - The One - Mary J Blige, ft. Drake

I haven't put up an MJB song in awhile and this is one of my favorites of hers from recent years. It's a typical, Mary song, with well-crafted verse and of course her blazing voice. Great to sing a long to! Enjoy "The One":

Song of the Day - When Love Takes Over - David Guetta, featuring Kelly Rowland

Today's "Song of the Day" was one of superstar producer David Guetta's first big hits. The singer on "When Love Takes Over" is Kelly Rowland, formerly of Destiny's Child. Kelly looks great in this video and I'm so happy that she's made her own mark on the music world after the group's disbanding, considering how popular Beyonce has become as a solo act. The song is pleasant and melodic, and perfect for listening to during a relaxing afternoon or dancing to in the club. Enjoy "When Love Takes Over":

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 19 - thanks! - photos and music videos

Hello everyone! It’s Saturday night and almost time to get ready to hop in the shower so this’ll be a short one. I just wanted to say thank you to all who have been following this blog. The daily hits have been exceeding my expectations by plenty, and judging from the stats, my “Songs of the Day” are faring pretty well (some of my other stuff, too, haha!).


I spent a few hours this morning changing up the look of the blog a little. It’s harder than you might think! Obviously the main change is the header picture. Since we’re changing seasons finally, I wanted to change the photo and I tried looking for a photo of Cherry Grove to replace it. I found a few that I liked, but the one above was the only one that fit across most of the top, though. What do you think of it? Nice,huh? I also played around with the colors a little…not sure about it yet. Well, we’ll see what I come up with next…

Here are some of the other pictures I considered:


Today was another beautiful day, though a bit on the chilly side. I got a lot of things done around the house and I also ran some important errands. Hurrah for me! Saturdays aren’t usually this productive for me. Yes, I’m on my way to Splash tonight for the second night in a row. Last night was pretty good…the music was, anyway. I bought a new shirt today and I’m looking forward to wearing it later. Saturday is always better than Friday and so I’m hoping for a fun night. We’ll see…


Of course, like any other day I spent mine with music. I have a folder in my iPod called “Dance Club Faves” and I’m still listening to the continuous mix of music that I’ve had on since around 2PM. There was a lot of music on there which I haven’t heard in a long time and so I think I’ll share a couple of them here:

Take Me to the Clouds Above

I love this mix of U2 and Whitney Houston! Check it out:

Put Em High

Another fun one!

Turn Me On

A little reggae flavor!

I hope you enjoy! Have a great night!

Song of the Day - It came from the 90's - N-Trance's "Set You Free" and "Stayin Alive"

I'm putting up two songs for taday's entry. They're both by a 90's British electronic group called N-Trance. Though the never went big time mainstream, their 1995 album "Electronic Pleasure" did score a couple of dance/club hits and the CD was so good it became very worn out on my CD player.

Two of my favorite songs on this CD are presented here. First up is a song called "Set You Free." It features the vocals of singer Kelly Llorenna and it's very melodic and very sweet. My ex loved this song as much as I and neither one of us would ever change the station if it ever came on. Take a listen to "Set You Free." You just might like it!

"When I hold you baby...
Feel your heartbeat close to me.
Wanna stay in your arms forever.
Only love can set you free."

N-Trance by PinGUY

You may not know this second song, but it'll definitely feel familiar to you. It was a favorite of mine when I was a deejay and it never failed to get people up and dancing. It shares the same name of the song it heavily samples musically, but the lyrics and the singing are much different. In fact, I used to play them in tandemm with one another back in the day and even though the people didn't know the song, they followed along with the rappers pleas:

"Everybody in the house, c'mon, let me hear ya say "Oh-oh."


Check out and enjoy N-Trance's "Stayin Alive":

Friday, March 18, 2011

March 18th, 2011 - Don't Be a Hater!

Happy Weekend everyone! It’s around 6:30 and I just got up for a nap that I took to prepare myself for going out later. It’s been a long week, as always, and I’m definitely looking forward to dancing tonight! The weather has been holding up and it feels like we’re almost to the point of summer already. It’s still March and I think we’d all better be wary that it could still turn cold. It’s nice anyway and it’s supposed to stay that way through the weekend so I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts, though it’s giving the kids some serious spring fever and making my life difficult in the process.


Something happened towards the end of the day at school today that really got to me. You see, I have a break during 9th period, the last of the day and I normally take a walk outside my room either to grab a cup of coffee or get some adult interaction after five straight periods of being with kids. It was at that time today that I ventured outside of my classroom when I immediately ran into a substitute teacher that I know pretty well.

She told me something that had happened in her previous class that disturbed her, and it disturbed me after I heard it. Two of my students, Jonathan and Jose, were in their math class and a couple of kids were apparently saying things to them about being Hispanic, and they were not very nice things. The teacher looked up to see Jonathan with his face buried in his folded hands on his desk. He was crying. That’s what told me this was serious.

I’ve had Jonathan in my ESL class since he was in 3rd grade. Now he’s in 9th. Jonathan’s always been a little tough guy. I remember when he was 8 years old he was bullying some kids in the playground and I had to get a local Puerto Rican woman to come help me explain to him in Spanish the do’s and don’ts of playground etiquette. As he got older and learned to speak English, Jonathan kept on being brazen, never afraid to stand up to someone bigger or older than himself.

This is all not to say that Jonathan is a bad kid. Quite the contrary, even though he’s 15 years of age now, he’s still got a babyish side to him and he can be very sweet at times. But in 8 years of teaching him I’ve never seen him cry.

I found out what class Jonathan was in and I went to fetch him to find out what happened. As soon as he saw my face in the window he got up to come meet me. He knew why I was there. We took a walk down to my classroom and he had his head down the whole time. He told me what had happened in class and that what really made him cry was the fact that the boy was teasing Jose and Jose didn’t even know it because of his lack of English.

“Is this the first time?,” I asked him.

“No, it happens every day, all the time. They’re always calling us ‘Mexicans.’” Apparently, ‘Mexican’ is the newest derogatory word for Hispanics.

As we got to my room, he kept going, detailing all of the things he hears on a daily basis. He was crying and after a little while he even made me start to tear up. (He even grabbed me a tissue when he noticed.) I made sure that he knew to come to me when stuff like this happens so I can do something about it. He said he would, but our relationship is like that of a father and son and we all know that kids don’t always like to share things like this with their parents.

I was fuming. I could never understand hatred of any kind, especially because someone’s skin is a different color than one’s own. I work in a school district that’s 95% mid to upper class white, and I’ve had to deal with this sort of thing before. For the first two years I worked there, there were a lot of people who wouldn’t give me the time of day. They’d turn their heads away from me as I walked past them in the hallways or ignore me completely when I had something to say. I was once told that this was because I taught the “dark children.”

I’m now almost at the end of my 8th year there and before today I thought I’d changed things a lot around there. I’ve published a yearly ESL Magazine that always elicits empathy from readers for my students and things have gotten so much better over the years because of it. I wrote an article about the publication, which you can read here:

Breaking Down Barriers in Prejudice

Hearing what I heard today was upsetting, to say the least. What makes matters even worse is that I know where these kids get it from…their parents. One of my favorite sayings is “don’t be a hater.” I could never understand what makes people hate so much, especially for such innocuous stuff like this. What makes me sad is that I don’t see how things are ever going to change if it’s the children that are perpetrating the hate, whether they can realize it or not. So please, if you have any influence over any child, do your part to see that hate words hurt and there should be no place for them in anyone’s language.

Can you guess which two of these students get picked on for being different? I bet you can!

Stay tuned for more…