Quarterlife Mocha Girl

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NEW BLOG HOME---->Moving to Wordpress: Because I Said

Ladies and Gents, I officially have a new blog home. I'm leaving Blogger (tear)! It's been great, but now I need something more, something to help me grow. A new look. A new feel. You get the idea. So here it is:

Alisha Tillery: Because I Said So (www.alishawritinglife.wordpress.com)

Stop by and link me!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Standing On My Soapbox: The Downside of Technology

Unless you've been living under a rock (or you're my friend, E, who refuses to succumb to social media and she's in the IT field. She's had Gmail since 2004!), you're probably on Facebook or Twitter. Maybe both (like me). I love social media and what it's done for our world. Even better, I love what it's done for me. Without blogs, Facebook and Twitter, I wouldn't have connected with such great writers, editors and bloggers. These blogs and articles make me think in a different way and they also help pass time at work on a boring day.

Now, on to the bad stuff.

For every intelligent, rational, understanding, respectful person who has a blog, FB or Twitter profile, there are atleast 100 dumb, irrational, disrespectful people who have them, too. In other words, social media has only made it even clearer than before that the country is running rampant with idiots. I meant that in the most loving way possible.

I won't talk about how some "celebrities" are passing their ignorance and foolishness on to their young and impressionalbe followers. That's a post for another day. Let's start at the bottom and work our way up. This is going to sound harsh and maybe intellectually snobbish. Well, dammit, it is. The misspellings are out of control. The incorrect grammar is out of control. The incorrect use of words is out of control. It's killing me softly.

By your profile, you're a successful attorney or business tycoon, but your posts make it obvious that you skipped out on the weekly spelling tests in second and third grade. Yeah, I hear you--spelling is not and never was one of your strong suits. Math isn't mine (I hate it), so I make sure I don't have to do anything before a large audience that requires a quadratic equation. And I KEEP a calculator with me.

Here's another excuse I hear often: Why do I need to spellcheck? Don't call me out. It's only Facebook/Twitter. It's not that serious.

That may be true, but suppose a prospective client, mentor or suitor read your profile? It could be a major turn-off for them. Unfortunately, the only things that get us through the door are our appearance, speech and writing abilities (for the most part). If you write the way you speak, Houston, we have a problem.

These are some common mistakes I see:

Using "there", instead of "their"
Using "where", instead of "we're" (this is a contraction for we are)
Using "tooken", instead of "taken"
Using "you're", instead of "your"
Using text language in anything other than a text message.

While I'm thinking about it, somebody, please tell me what the hell this is!

Miss XYZ feels like im n dis all along.

This status update is from a 19-year-old. This is not a text message, nor a Tweet where the characters are limited. Can you believe that kids really don't know that "what" is spelled with an "h"? When I read status update from some 21 and unders, I feel like I'm reading a chapter from Push. Why don't they know better?

Check out some tweets from the other day:

Abelleinbk: reading some of the responses to my Bey post makes me scared for the youth. the education system in this country really is a joke

Don't even get me started! I'm convinced that our youth are just plain dumb. Harsh, but real. I blame tech, parents & schools

That's the way I feel. What's even worse is adults have fallen into the trap, too. Here's a link posted on Facebook by a friend: Shouldn't Have Given You Twitter: Mary J. Blige

So sad...My girl is getting clowned. Okay, okay, her job is to sing, not write, right? Yes, but when we do things in a public setting, we're open to any and all criticisms. This further proves my point that we must learn to stick to our gifts and talents. I know Twitter has given artists more authority to handle their own PR, but these practitioners and consultants need to step in immediately.

Yet another classic example: As if we didn't already know, R. Kelly is illiterate. Taken from NBCChicago.com . Try not to laugh at the title--just wrong!

"When I was trying to make it out here, I already knew, and I was stubborn about it,” he said. “I don’t even read really and I’m not afraid to say that. My cousins and brothers used to tease me ‘you can’t even read right. How you think you’re going to come up?’ The only reason I graduated from grammar school is because I had a great jump shot. I went to high school and [my teacher] told me ‘you will one of the greatest writers of all time.’ I believed. You [have to] believe it. You can’t believe [anything] if you’re hating. You can’t achieve [anything] if you’re hating.”

The issue is not him being illiterate. There are millions of functioning illiterates walking around. It's not even him admitting it without shame. It is what is is. However, it doesn't have to be. Dude is settling for being illiterate based on the fact that he's a talented (gifted) writer and producer. I guarantee if he was reduced to flipping burgers and dropping fries, he'd be in somebody's school then. Regardless of the money and fame, he needs to get a GED. Learn how to read and spell because his lyrics are a dead giveaway that something ain't right. It's equivalent to a star athlete skipping school and tests because his jumpshot will carry him. With one injury, he's back in the real world with regular folks and dumb as hell. There's nothing worse than an old fool.

The moral of the story is this: Read, don't settle for mediocrity and get help if you think (know) you need it.

***Stepping off my soapbox, but I will return

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Taking Care of Me

I need to get it together. Yesterday, it hit that I'm so living so subpar and mediocre. Well, not living. I am blessed, have a great relationship with God, employed, in decent health and have real family and friends. Those things are in order.

My existence, however, is another story. I look and feel like a bum. I need to take better care of myself. After watching "Heart of the City: Dying to Eat in Jackson," I was inspired. If those women made changes in their lives--exercising and eating right--to lose hundreds of pounds collectively, surely I can take my ass somewhere and walk a few days out of the week. It's not that hard.

My daddy has heart disease and my mama has hypertension. They're both hereditary. Yay me. So clearly a full physical in is order. I don't want to be the skinny girl who died of a heart attack at 35. I'm ready (I think) to take the plunge and get braces (again). I thought I was pretty cute with braces, but I was 14, not 28. I want my old smile back. How about getting these eyes checked out? Sitting at this computer and staring at the Blackberry can wreak havoc on the eyes.

Okay, enough of the venting. My biggest goal and resolution for 2010 is to take better care of myself. Period. Physically, mentally and emotionally.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Writing Chronicles: Happiness & Disappointment

The Happiness

Last week, I accepted a writing assignment to interview an actor. He's quite possibly the sexiest, hottest man on the planet to me. Wait, let me scratch that. I didn't accept the assignment. I volunteered and the magazine accepted. Either way I was ecstatic because of the writing slump. The editor even showed interest in a pitch I sent. I felt like God had immediately answered my prayer. And he did, but I do know that I need to write for GP (general purposes), not just because I have an assignment. I've been doing that (eventually, I'll post the stories here).

Anyway, I finally stepped into the new millennium and bought this:

It's the Olympus Mini Tele-Recording Device from Radio Shack. I used it record my phone interview. I used my cell and even though the reviews suggest that it can be used for landlines, I don't buy it. I had to put my cell on speaker.

The interview went well until I realized 20 minutes into it that the mic was on the floor. I had the cell next to the mic on the voice recorder, but the mini-was plugged in. Oh God, the horror! I'd been taking notes, but I'd missed a large chunk of the dialogue.

After I came down from my high from the interview (are any other writers star struck even over the phone??), I immediately played the tape back, praying that it was audible. It was! I listed to about one minute and turned it off.

The Disappointment

I sat down this evening to transcribe the interview (about 40 minutes). It was a great interview because he did most of the talking. In general conversation, he answered a lot of my questions before I asked them. BUT, I turned the recorder on and was mortified. (Disclaimer: I was extremely close the mic so my voice was a bit altered.)

I sound terrible!!

Ugh. Just ugh. Have you heard my rant about my "accent"? When I visited DC and New York, I was constantly in mini-arguments about my "accent". I walked into a Subway on 29th street in NYC. I spoke (because that's what Southerners do). I belted out a big, "Hey, how you doing?" Before I could ask if they had any double chocolate chip cookies, the only guy in there asked me if I was from Alabama. WTF? I have since learned that Alabama is New Yorker's "go-to" state in reference to the South.

In DC for the Inauguration, sitting in the back of the police car with my girls (don't ask--read this), the male officer clowned my accent for atleast an hour. The guy we rode around Club Love with got a kick out of anything that came out of my mouth. Again, don't ask.

I have a twang. I know this. Check the blog profile and you will see that I'm from Memphis. I can't get away from it. I'm an oral communications instructor and from the sounds of that tape, I should be a student. I talk. That's what I do for a living. Why in the hell do I sound like I need to be in Harpo's Juke Joint?

I will say that I didn't totally have my "speaking" voice on. I was a little comfortable during that interview. I'm trying to find my interviewer style. I want to walk the fine line between formal (out of respect for the interviewee and the publication) and downright right real. The subject is more likely to talk openly if they think the journalist is genuine and makes them feel comfortable.

The bottom line is I'm definitely looking for voice coaches. I think I'm going to have nightmares about this.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Problem With "Regret"

Clutch posted the the new video for LeToya's Luckett's single, "Regret." I've already seen the video. That's not the issue. The lyrics are what strike a cord with me.

About two months ago, a local deejay premiered the song, saying it was a "banger" and the "ladies are already feeling this one." I listened and simply wasn't impressed...with the words. Here are a few:

I made you cool
You wasn't that dude
Until i started fuckin with you
Gave you swag, and a duffel bag
You left the best you had now you gotta act like that
I got you right
I changed your life
Suicide doors I cosigned
Gucci rags, Louis travel bags
You left the best you had, baby don't look so mad

You must regret the day that you left me
You still tryin to get back
Still tryin to get back

VIP was all on me
Now you're at the bar with 1 or 2 drinks
Poppin game, you look so lame
Without me your pimpin aint the same
First class flights
Dipped in ice
I had your neck and wrist oh so bright
Poppin tags, is a thing of the past
You lost the things you had chasin those scallywags

You get the point. In layman's terms, how dare you drop me for that chick after everything I've given you and done for you? She's a "scallywag." She doesn't keep you in the hottest clothes and rides like I do. Now, you're back to scrub status. Don't even try to come back.

I know its' "just a song," but in the words of Savannah on Waiting to Exhale, "Somebody had to go through this stuff, ya know?"

First, the materialism in the lyrics is mind-blowing, but that's another post for another time. Besides, nothing gets airplay like spouting off designer names who don't want to see us in their shit anyway. But I digress. On to my question.

In terms of giving in a relationship, are we putting value in the right things?
There was a post on A Belle In Brooklyn a while back (No link; I refuse to look for it) where a young professional woman wanted to know why her boyfriend left her for a woman who had a mediocre job and no education. Belle made a point that's stuck with me since reading: Men don't require degrees, baller-status jobs and flashy cars. Women do. At the very least, a man requires respect, love and the need to feel needed.

With that being said, keep the LV totes and Gucci rags (although I'm not against nice gifts for those love). Who cares if you drip him in ice? Hell, why are you doing that in the first place? Is there any reciprocity?

What else do you have to offer besides material things? *This is a question for men and women.

Disclaimer: The writer's thoughts and opinions on LeToya Luckett's "Regret" is not a reflection of the writer's views on the actual artist. The writer is a fan of Luckett's work and has been since the days of Beyonce & 'Nem.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"And it came to me like an epiphany."

-Chrisette Michelle

I know what you're thinking. I'm always having a damn epiphany. Stay with me. If you've been reading long enough, you know that this blog is hella boring now. I'd like to get back to telling stories rather than regurgitating my feelings about how my day's been going and what I don't like. It's starting to cross over from a blog to a negativity fest. Me no likey that!

Every day, as a morning ritual, I read all of my favorite blogs. In no particular order. Some thought-provoking, some hilarious, some completely pointless. But I like each and every one of them because the writers all have something to say. They even took the time to write it down, post it on the World Wide Web and go so far as to include pics and videos (gasp!). With every entry I read the same question runs across my mind: Why didn't I think of that?

The simplest things from who should pay for a date to issues in race and skin color (think: Sammy Sosa's "skin rejuvenation") are written about every second. Every second I'm feeling inspired by these folks. When I sit down, laptop in lap, reading (typing) glasses on, ready to bless the Word document with some deep ish, NOTHING comes out.

I've finally figured out why (because I'm so smart).

I'll start writing when I stop reading everyone else's blogs. Atleast temporarily. Yes, I know a good writer is also an avid reader (read Aliya S. King's latest blog for must-have books for writers), but by the time I read two million blogs and comment on a million, I'm drained. I know that's a terrible excuse, but I swear it makes perfect sense to me.

So for the next few days, I'm going to find a quiet space (my sofa) and write...whatever. This is the catch though. I'm going to write without the Internet. It's a huge damn distraction if I've ever seen one. Nevermind that I needed the Internet to even get into Blogger. I'm going old school this time around. Just Word 2007 and me.

Wish me luck!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

I was reading Belle today, as I often do. Her latest post is in reference to a story in Essence, "Dating Like A White Girl." I totally agree with going out on dates with all kinds of men---even those who aren't in your "circle". The valet guy, the one who works a regular 9-5, the guy who didn't attend college to get into the habit of dating (because it is an art). It's a date, a few hours (if you're lucky, several hours) of your time to get to know a person in a public setting. A date--not an instant relationship. I've looked at dates as the latter for a long time. Foolish, indeed. How ironic that recently I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try to get something going with two different guys. Both showed interest.

Here's the issue: Both guys showed interest, but interest in what exactly? I finally get past critiquing every little thing about a man, from misspellings in text messages to his speech and then he hits me with the non-date date: Let's kick it at the house. My answer: Hell no.

I have principles and while I know principles will sometimes leave you alone and miserable, I can't let this one go. First dates will never be at my or his house. This is not college, so the freshmen approach is over. Let's do better. If I've only had one brief conversation with you and a few midday texts, what makes you think I want to be alone with you? Why do you want to be alone with me? I've got an answer! Maybe to see how far you can go?

That's it. The male BFF told me (as if it were a shock to me) that men will only take as far it as they want to go with a woman. If he wants to get to know you, he'll propose a real date (which doesn't have to be a ritzy, expensive outing, btw). If he wants sex, he'll propose kicking it at the house.

So that leaves me back at Square 1--nowhere. Maybe I'm just jaded. It could be that some guys really do have intentions to hang out and just chill. BUT, I know what my gut tells me and I've finally become mature enough to listen. So, as it stands the score is Men: 2 Me: 0. It just has to get better than this.