Monday, 27 December 2010

2011 – Year of implementing Nike policy

JUST DO IT – world renowned slogan of sporting giants Nike (or /'naiki:'/ as our friends over the lake think it's pronounced). Three simple words that have the potential to pack a powerful punch; a call to action that applies to the whole spectrum of aspirations, be it resisting those new Loubotin's to finally invest in those driving lessons you've been putting off or eventually implementing the workings of that innovative idea – the get up and 'DO IT' message resonates regardless.

No Lip service

It seems 2010 barely took her coat off before being signalled by time she had to make way for 2011. How many of us can look back at the last 365 and say we employed Nike's motto? Yes! OK good on you, but I can put money on my fertility that that yes wasn't met in unison.

I've decided (if not vehemently) that 2011 will be a year of shutting my mouth and putting those syllables into action. Often times you're asked (especially by people you haven't seen for a while) 'what you doing now?' and you feel inclined to open up primarily because you don't want to look like you've been a bum for the last five years (when in truth you probably have!). You drop a few conceptual endeavours that you know have been no more than apparitions to sound like you've made progressive strides in life. The problem of doing this is when you see them again and they make reference to your eccentric pursuits, more often than not, you're liable to provide a tangible explanation as to why you haven’t (if indeed you haven't) achieved or gotten closer to the goals you set yourself.
I've reiterated this message to people whose over zealous nature obliges them to share their exploits with every mammal bearing hair and reproductive organs, only to be left red-faced when enquired of - having done little to make it happen! Here's how I see it; postpone the lip service and you're not accountable to anyone! If your exploits flop, no one knows and personally they really don't need to. Only after making considerable progress does it make sense to divulge – no one likes a 'talker' like one of my littlens would say.
Take me for example; I wanted to embark on a particular programme in a particular part of the world which I happened to disclose to a few people (which becomes considerably more after you take into account 'word of mouth' promotion). Come the time of starting the programme, a few hiccups along the way made it impossible to go. I'm then left with a group of people who were expecting me to be elsewhere, looking bewildered as to why I wasn't – cue the generic response when asked "It's a long story…" *Sigh*. Needless to say I've learnt!

So as 2011 gets ever nearer, one can only point out the obvious and say time indeed is ticking, and fast! Those I want to's need to become I'am's (without paying a penny of lip service of course) and so what other better time to fuel the drive to make that change than the prospect of a new year.

Energy allowance

I believe at the start of every year we're given a fresh Energy Allowance (EA). EA? You look baffed. OK. Think of it as the 'pumped' feeling of effervescence you get as a new year looms. I'm sure you've come across this type of guy: "Yeah, Yeah, next year I'm only on big man tings - clothing label, music album, makings millz" know the kind I'm referring to - hype talk personified. Anyway, the new year symbolises (for most) the start of a new beginning, a chance to do things differently and channel that EA more on what you what to achieve.

Sadly, like T-Mobile credit, your EA starts dwindling as the year passes and it becomes increasingly difficult to sustain the same enthusiasm throughout the year. A few will be able to disperse their EA sparingly, by engaging with people that support and encourage them through processes like networking, training and experience to boost their skills; prospects that ultimately adds to the energy, drive and determination needed to succeed. However many of us won't; not because we lack ability but because we dissipate our energy on worthless exercises and by this I don't mean Fitness First. Exercise in terms of 'sideshow distractions' towards our goals, be it pointless conflicts (rifts, argument, beef etc), prolonging stagnating relationships/friendships or entertaining people, places or procedures that are not replenishing our energy supply but rather sapping it. By the end of the year our enthusiasm is little more than a grain of rice in a soup pot – then you check your balance only to hear 'I'm sorry, but you have run out of credit'.

But alas, here comes your £10 top-up voucher in the form of a new year with the promise of new challenges, good and bad with a fully topped up EA. If you know you didn't use yours effectively in 2010, reassess and ask yourself why! Like the government, see where you can make 'efficiency savings' by cutting out the waste. I started by doing some phonebook contact cleansing – I swear it's therapeutic! Straight fact though, if the person isn't adding to your life, are they worth holding on to? Focus your EA on your aspirations over your arguments, your dreams over your dramas. And remember, this isn't a race for 2011, sheeeit, 2011 is merely a lap. It's a lifelong commitment that doesn't end til you draw your last breath. Spit in the face of procrastination (don't worry you have my permission) and get moving - besides, you said tomorrow yesterday. Tomorrow is now today and will soon become yesterday.
So if you've been strolling and moaning about how you're not getting any closer to your goals, slip off those boats and flats, get your Air Max 90's on, stop the chatting and JUST DO IT!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Have you seen my white chick?

"I'm looking for my white chick, have you seen her?" – Words of Youngs Teflon. Whether this pays reference to crack cocaine personified as his white chick or indeed a fine ivory specimen is of little importance – I've got a sty in my eye that I need to get out and I'm making it everyone’s business.

White chick prophecy

Speaking recently to a female friend of mine, we got talking about our futures and amongst the euphoria; the topic void of an expiry date - marriage. My girl took exception to my prospective wifey and in no uncertain terms she exclaimed bluntly: "You're gonna settle down with a white chick". At this point I'm 'Doh-ing!' in my mind like a certain Mr Simpson. She continued with her prophecy: "It's the way you come across…you won't be able to handle a black girl". And with that I was left pondering - is it because I'm too nice? (personally not facially). True say this isn't the first time I've heard those collection of words strung together in a malicious sentence of verbal punch and kicks, intended to wound my self-esteem and fracture my ego.
Side thought: My preference for blackberry pie is too strong to see myself revert to the apple variant especially since I've long been a member of the anti-apple association as Mr Legz denotes. Don't get me wrong white and asian chicks are leng as well, I just prefer mi chocolate. I slyly think it's because I'm a lighty – prejudicial?
Now my friend (bless her dry hands) perceives me to be a walkover and completely incapable of handling a 'FOBO' (Female Of Black Origin). Why? Well the modern day deterrent of being "too much of a nice guy" was highlighted when we got into a heated debate about how to approach arguments. Me, being the nonchalant character I am, said I'll simply give my girl air if she try argue any nonsense. Make her feel stupid and hopefully she realises the error of her ways and cooks me a make-up meal (preferably jollof).
On the contrary, my famette (female version of fam) retaliated and made it quite clear a man should argue back, show whose boss and the one in control.

Side thought: And they wonder why domestic violence is on the rise.
She essentially deemed my approach to be that of a pussy'ole and that a black girl would 'finish me' if I tried play the silent treatment strategy hence why she believes a white girl would suit me more (perhaps because they're 'easier', more tolerant and in her eyes, pose a lesser threat to my safety!).
True say I felt like giving her a headbutt – a friendly one (no Chris Breezy), but is this portrayal of the 'FOBO' she refers to, a cliched stereotype or a true reflection? Surely the days of the loud and obnoxious Waverley girls on Bus 63 are long gone – or maybe not.

Black man scorned

I remember the outcry back in 2006 after a Vanessa Feltz radio phone in on 'Black men who hate black women'. Some black breddah (hold tight a certain someones cousin) came on to air his views on why he didn't like black girls. Not gonna lie, he dished the insults differently - if you haven't you need to listen (disclaimer: I am not responsible for this dudes views!). Amongst deeming them 'bitter' and 'repulsive', he went on to say that they were obese, had stinking attitudes and 'weren't as attractive' as white girls. Even in discussion with one black breddah at uni as to why he didn't go for black chicks and he said something similar but added the element of stooshness and being 'too hard to handle' – maybe my girl had a point!

She's stoosh, and what!

Black women have long conveyed an image of strength with little or no tolerance for nonsense (refer to mumzie) and are usually branded 'stoosh' (that's "stuck up" for any white, asian or black folk raised in a NUEES - Non-Urban Environment of Ethnic Scarcity) in comparison to their Caucasian counterparts. I presume in her eyes, to keep a FOBO's exuberance in check, a man needs to exert an equal and opposite approach if he doesn't want to get overpowered. That's street for: If the bitch mouth keeps going, the belt will start showing!

Side thought: Some any Newton's law analogy there – might as well put it to good use as I haven't had use for it since Dr Roshan's classes all them years ago (wonder where she is these days...).
Obviously this blanket doesn't cover every girl with a rich dose of melanin in her skin but I see where my outspoken acquaintance is coming from. If anything, it's exactly what makes FOBO's so appealing (to me anyway). I like a challenge – it's like winning (if I succeed that is). It feels good either way but you obtain greater satisfaction from winning something you've really had to work hard for, than a victory that's been 'given to you on a plate'. I always remember thinking – if a girl is willing to give it up so easy for me, she's probably willing to do the same for another dude - and no guy wants to wifey that kind of girl regardless of skin colour.
You tend to find (but not always) that girls that are harder to crack, acknowledge their worth (cue A Woman's worth by Miss Keys or Mrs Swiss Beatz for those with an eye for detail) in a sense if one is to approach them, what is usually deemed 'stooshness' is simply their way of saying "if you want this, you're gonna have to work for it" (either that or "you ain't on my level Nigga!" – or a man of any other race for that matter). And even after working for it, you're required to maintain it - cue the term 'high maintenance'. A strong woman needs an equally or even stronger man to match her robust characteristics if the man is to keep hold of the 'trouser rights' in the household. However, the assurance you get from knowing your girl is now loyal to you and the likelihood of infidelity is zilch, is a welcomed feeling.

Not so different

Where my girl made it clear that a breddah has to know how to control a black girl by not having it may hold substance to some degree, it's not the be all and end all – after all, any sane female looking for a long term relationship and eventually a husband, is looking for a lover not a master. It's funny because another friend made it quite clear that if she hits her man, she fully expects him to backhand her with interest. I listened with raised eyebrows as she eloquently explained how girls try to hide behind the 'can't hit a woman' fa├žade, regurgitating reckless insults and abuse and basically provoking men to a stage where it becomes embarrassing to tolerate anymore! I digress.
In truth FOBOs are not all that different to white or asian girls in the sense they still demand the fundamentals of a good relationship. I don't believe any guy should need to rule with an iron fist to garner respect from his woman. Simply exhibit the fundamentals; love, care and understanding, add a hint of personality and sprinkle a little ruggedness to show you can handle your own and any self-respecting female let alone FOBO, will respond favourably. A dose of affection melts even the hardest hearts, so if you're a FOBO or any female for that matter still thinking "Nah, you need to show more than love to handle all this", I've got Chris Brown's number for you if Tyson or Ike Turner aren't available.
So in essence, have you seen my white chick? No, well me neither because I weren't really looking for her but I've had hints from individuals suggesting I really should be. To be honest, I've only got chocolate and caramel skin-christened sisters on my radar but such is fate, it wouldn't surprise me if I jinxed myself and Cathy Commons came knocking: "you asked for me?" Hmmm...

Snow shoe season

So we all knew we were hitting winter season but damn, the madness struck early! Passengers having to sleep on trains, school closures and chaos on the motorway all bi-products of the "Big man's" soapy shower! Why we can't learn from our Russian neighbours who are probably creasing at us struggling amongst other things "2018" *cough cough* is beyond me. Whilst there's nothing we can do to stop it, we can prepare ourselves so we're less vulnerable when the snow tries to victimise us!

Don't know about you, but my toes start acting like 10 lil bitches as soon as the slightest cold hits em, so I've gone out and put my health, safety and self-esteem on the line to assess my humble collection of footwear and find out which one is on showing face proudest in these perilous times.

I'll judge each on three criteria:

TRACTION (Number rated) this rates the grip. Critical when negotiating treacherous snow and could determine whether you come home dry or with a snow-soaked arse.

RESISTANCE (low, medium, high) snow melts and becomes water for those that didn't do year six SATs in Science. Footwear with a low resistance rating is bad news if you don't want wet feet.

RETENTION (Number rated) determines how well the shoe/trainer retains warmth.

Traction: 2/10
Retention: 3/10
The Mannibago Dagger is the classy contender so at least you'll look suarve. Sadly it's hard to look good when you don't feel good as the Mannibago offers little protection against the elements which usually results in cold and wet feet almost instantly. To be fair though, they weren't designed for this purpose. Poor traxion on the slippery surface increases the likelihood of one kissing the snow. Utilise at your peril. If you have to wear them to work, it's advisable to bring a change of footwear for the commute in.
Overall: 2.5/10

Traction: 4/10
I should have known I was gonna be a victim putting these on. The Ox low variant encourages moisture to seep in and for a rubberised sole it didn't do much to keep me from slipping much. The leather did its utmost to compensate for its shortcomings but to no avail. Needless to say I expected more - disappointing.
Overall: 4.5/10

Resistance: High
Retention: 9/10
The AF1 dubbed the 'space boot' because of its clunky feel, showed good resilience against the slip. Grip weren't the best as I had a few desperate moments but the sheer weight manages to keep you grounded. The leverage ensured even deep ice puddles didn't pose a threat of infiltrating and the imaginery central heating (or that's what it felt like anyway) keep the toes mad warm. Uplifting performance.
Overall: 7.5/10

Resistance: High
Retention: 7/10
Despite having a larger perspiration mesh at the front, the resistance was exceptional. I
remember accidently treading into a gaping mud hole and waiting to feel the dirty moisture seep through…nothing! For a running trainer, tread was better than the AF1 but didn't hold up as well as you'd expect. Not as snug either but still comfortable and sturdy and not a symptom of cold feet.
Overall: 7/10

So all in all, the Air force 1 came up trumps with the Air Max 95 in a close second. Both had good grip and resisted the cold well, but the AF1 just nicked it with a superior showing in the retention assessment. Shoes were always going to come last but boy it's the taking part that counts right!