And we’re back!

I have decided to dust off the blog after a long hiatus… OK, I forgot I still had it.

Either way, here we go…


Read A.J. Reboot

Because I can.

After a long break readaj.com is being resurrected.  A few months ago WordPress sent a renewal email and the choice was renewing a project neglected for a myriad of reasons or just walking away.   Mulling it over, I decided on the latter.

I also decided to keep my old posts.  While I consider this a fresh start I have to acknowledge what came before and I enjoy reading my past thoughts.  It’s like a time machine!   And some were fairly coherent, too.

Above all this blog is about two things, the first being my enjoyment.  Specifically about writing.  More specifically writing about those things I (repeat: I) feel matter.  From the trivial to the serious (mostly in middle).  There will be no rants.  I’m an adult and not mad as hell about anything in particular.  That and I know how to use paragraph breaks.  And don’t expect me to share my life here, that’s what Facebook for.

This blog is about practice too.  Like most things practice, practice, and more practice make perfect.  Or least better, so they say.

With the obligatory “hello world” out-of-the-way, I hereby consider readaj.com rebooted.

HUZZAH!

Play this song: K-OS, “Rise like the Sun”

For more of A.J.’s writing go here: Austinist

//A.J.


Running Man With No Music

My friend, the things that do attain
The happy life be these, I find:
The riches left, not got with pain;
The fruitful ground; the quiet mind…
-Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Last week tragedy struck my iPod shuffle.  What started out as a low battery issue morphed into a complete FUBAR of my trusted gym and running buddy.

In the past when I got the blinking red dot letting me know it was time for a recharge, such an event brought my run or workout to a stop (more so with the latter, and didn’t matter if I was in the middle of the run).

I thought the matter would be easily resolved.  Plug it in for a few hours, done and done.  Nope.  Red blinking light turned into yellow-yellow-green blinking light.

I thought for a second about just using my iPhone music playlists, but I try to get my technology separate for Murphy’s law reasons.  And as a long-term solution, of course, I could just buy a new one.  But no.

The day my shuffle died I bit the bullet and just worked out, and ran the next day–without music.  And then the next, and on.

The experience (and it was because for at least the past six years, physical exercise was accompanied by music) was very interesting from an introspective standpoint.

Running outside, of course I heard cars passing by, the wind, bird, insects, and so on; but what I found most enjoyable was hearing the even rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement, and my breathing as I pushed forward.  Sounds that are hard to hear over 50 Cent or the Black Keys.

I’m a big fan of active mediation, taking an activity like shining your shoes, sweeping the floor, or running in my case, and tuning out everything but the present situation, the task at hand.  The practice relaxes me, and gives my mind “quiet time” to process the information and thoughts that accumulate over the day.

Sometimes it’s good to sit still, but for if I can get the same benefits while accomplishing another task, why not.

Don’t get me wrong, I will definitely get another iPod shuffle (if I can’t deduce the issue with my current one)… Just decreasing my use a bit.

//A.J.


Currently playing in my head…

Three of my favorite U.K. artists: rapper Kano and the Dub-step duo, Chase & Status. Dig the 70’s vibe.//A.J.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Chase & Status ft Kano- Against All O…", posted with vodpod


Twitterpated?

Yes. Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime. For example: You’re walking along, minding your own business. You’re looking neither to the left, nor to the right, when all of a sudden you run smack into a pretty face. Woo-woo! You begin to get weak in the knees. Your head’s in a whirl. And then you feel light as a feather, and before you know it, you’re walking on air. And then you know what? You’re knocked for a loop, and you completely lose your head!- Friend Owl, Bambi

I love this word!

//A.J.

 


This Is Not A Valentine’s Day Post…

SIKE!

Consider this an early April Fools post.

Happy Valentine's Day - May your heart not be pierced by warheads attached to former tree bits. by mélomane.
Love, Dynamically

Of the many types of loves in this world, i.e. loving your work, loving your life, loving your family; romantic love is probably one of the hardest to achieve.

So, if you’ve got that loving feeling for someone, let her (or him) know it everyday.  And if you don’t (this includes me) it’s nothing to dwell on.  Enjoy single life.  Date, figure out who you are (what you value, your goals, etc.) seek out new experiences, have an open mind and heart, and things will work themselves out.  Oh, don’t forget to smile.

Here’s some of my favorite love inspired songs:

Michael Buble “Haven’t Met You Yet

Kano Ft. Craig David “This Is The Girl

Chase and Status ft. Plan B “Pieces

Wayne Wonder “No Letting Go

Tanto & Devonte “Everyone Falls In Love Sometimes

Lenny Kravitz “Again

She and Him “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here

The Pharcyde “Passin’ Me By

P.M. Dawn “Die Without You

//A.J.

Photo Credit


Black History: Kings and Commoners

2008-08-23 - St. Joseph Museum [FlickrSet] - 0307 by smiteme.

Photo Credit

Digging my head out of the BarBri book on my desk, I realized it was Black History Month (Ahh, my favorite time of the year!).

This being the designated month of reflection on Black history and culture, I’d be remise not to share one of my favorite poems embodying African-American experience, Dudley Randall‘s Ancestors (see below).

History, individual, family, and societal, are fundamental pillars to advancement in life.  We draw strength and inspiration from those who have come before us.  However, as is the case for many, if not most, Black Americans descended from slaves, that history is cut off from us.

Growing up, during this month, I’d hear about the great African kings, and queens, of vast kingdoms and trading empires, but never about the commoners.  By and large the majority of those brought on the Middle Passage were of that latter group (there being more commoners).  And it makes sense that we wouldn’t regard them in the same capacity as royalty.  They were commoners, of course.

However, while unnamed, at least one of them (though I could be descended from royalty, as well) shared my blood; and in some way, I view my existence today as testament (however small) to her or him.

Randall’s poem speaks to that:

Ancestors

Why are our ancestors
always kings and princes
and never the common people?

Was the Old Country a democracy
where every man was a king?
Or did the slave-catchers
steal only the aristocrats
and leave the field hands
laborers
street cleaners
garbage collectors
dish washers
cooks
and maids
behind?

My own ancestor
(research reveals)
was a swineherd
who tended the pigs
in the royal pig-stye
and slept in the mud among the hogs.

Yet I’m as proud of him
as of any king or prince
dreamed up in fantasies
of bygone glory.

-Dudley Randall

(Note: He also wrote “Ballad Birmingham” his most famous work.)

//A.J.

Why are our ancestors
always kings and princes
and never the common people?