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25 Things About Me: The Holdout Post

February 3, 2009 7 comments

For those of you who are part of the ginormous Fbook family, you have more likely than not recently been caught in an insidious web. No, not penis enlargement ads. This isn’t AOL people. There are actually standards now.

No the web of addition I speak of is much more sinister for the fact that it is spread by your friends. Like a bad high school outbreak of the syph, I am talking about the ’25 Things About Me’ note-meme. I had been doing well in holding out, protecting myself from about 11 tags so far and taking refuge in the blogosphere where no one had asked me to do it.

Then Mindy has the go and ruin my happy place. -pout- So here for your reading pleasure are 25 random facts about me that you may or may not know.

  1. I hate cereal of ALL kinds. When I was a kid, I couldn’t even smell people eating the stuff without feeling my stomach protest this injustice. Sadly, this doesn’t stop me from craving a bowl of dry Cheerios every other blue moon. Usually to the amusement of whoever may be around.
  2. I also hate most rap today, 50 Cent and Lil Wayne especially. However, if you give me Run DMC, Notorious B. I. G., Public Enemy, NWA, or pretty much any Tupac then I will be very much pleased.
  3. Despite the fact that I teach Sunday School (something I did under protest), to most conservative Catholics I am not a very good one. This fact has lead me to strongly consider not working with the little kids any more because of the stink their parents are raising over it.
  4. It makes me sad when I hear people think the only reason I voted for Obama is because I am black or that the only reason someone voted for McCain is because he’s white.
  5. Growing up, one of my favourite shows was Boy Meets World. Hearing Mr. Feeny saying goodbye after the gang left is what originally made me really think about teaching and showed me exactly what kind of teacher I wanted to be. “Do good.” “Don’t you mean do well?” “No, I mean do good.”
  6. I have a very long fuse (some would say too long) however when it burns out, there’s no angry yelling. My eyes darken and my tone is very clipped.
  7. When I went to Italy at 16 and visited the local beach with my friends, they were shocked at how brazen the people were by laying out nude. They were even more shocked when I joined the beachgoers. Bodily modesty is kind of a foreign concept to me.
  8. When people hear me speak for the first time, they are often surprised. One, I am fairly soft-spoken and two, they seem shocked by a black guy with a southern accent. This leads to hilarity if people hear me try to say the word “breaths” as it sounds like something entirely different.
  9. If you look at my ratio of close friends, it’s seriously about 7:1 as I can count on one hand the number of close guy friends I have. That’s how a friend either forgot I have a penis or was in the room when she started talking about her period. When this was brought to her attention she looks at me and says, “it’s just Kendall.”
  10. Apple juice is my favourite drink in the world. Period.
  11. I have recently discovered an addiction to Grey’s Anatomy thanks to watching part of the first season with Eva. I recognized my addiction when after not being able to remember Mark Wahlberg’s name as I tried to talk about who was in the movie Freedom Writers to Scarlett, I resorted to calling him “McDreamy”. Words cannot express how wrong that felt.
  12. I am a very affectionate person normally. Alcohol just makes me more so.
  13. I have played Dungeons & Dragons on several occasions. If only because I have far too much fun acting like a drunken lecherous dwarf.
  14. I was involved in musical theatre all through high school, first as just spotlighting and then tech manager. My senior year, the lead male broke his leg the night of the second show. As I was the only one who knew the part I had to fill in. The play? Beauty and the Beast.
  15. I was practically raised in my Nana’s garden and I became very good at tending to flowers, vegetables not so much. I admit without shame that when the garden flooded a few months after she died, I cried.
  16. I am a big fan of country music, a fact that shocks many people. I tell them it’s because I actually sound good singing most of the songs. To illustrate this point, I’ve won 3 talent shows and placed in 5 others singing country songs. One of which was one I had written myself for Daybreak.
  17. Speaking of Daybreak, I am hardpressed to find a moment I was more proud of someone that when she told me it didn’t matter that she was a different colour than me. This was after I had to explain to her what the term ‘nigger lover’ meant after someone said it to refer to Eva.
  18. I do not like The Office or Friends. Pretty much indifferent to Seinfeld. I do however love Scrubs and Will & Grace.
  19. I can play Linus & Lucy on the piano. The best part about this is that pretty much anyone who hears and recognizes it will break out into the Peanuts dance style.
  20. I have  given up on having a relationship with my father and maternal grandmother. It’s not worth the stress anymore.
  21. I’ll do pretty much anything for my friends. A few months before the end of our senior year, one of my friends M asked if I would drive her to the nearest abortion clinic. While I disagreed with her decision, I did it because she was good as family. We got there and before I could even open my door she’s curled up against me crying and saying she couldn’t do it. Nine months later, I have my first godchild.
  22. I can snowboard, ski, surf, rollerblade, skateboard, dance to anything from reggaeton to meringue, and play guitar. Despite all this, whistling has me stumped.
  23. I have been told I am a very nonjudgemental person. Who told me this? A relatively new female friend. Said friend works as a stripper 5 nights a week to pay her tuition. After I found this out, she asked why I was still friends with her. I ask her if she cared that I was a cook/waiter. She asked why should she. Then two seconds later, she gets where I’m going and cue hug.
  24. I have read comic books most of my life, pretty much ever since I picked up an issue of Spider-Man years ago. When Captain America died,  I remember just staring at the page and thinking this couldn’t be real. Now on my walls is a  poster I drew of one of his quotes, that pretty much defines my view of patriotism: “Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world – ‘No, you move.'”
  25. Most guys first get the sex talk from their dads, teacher, or older brother. Me, I had the two lesbians I see as my mothers describing techniques, tips, and safety. To this day, Mami will give me helpful hints. I just shake my head.
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The Odd Duck’s 100…Greatest Movies (Part II)

December 4, 2008 2 comments

Recap: Part I

Y’all still with me? Good good. So here we are with films 90 through 81.

90. Barbershop (2002)
Featuring a star studded cast of comedians Barbershop is the story of a man who after selling the shop he inherited for his father learns that some things in life are more important than easy money. When this came up, my uncle’s barber shop played it almost nonstop for a month so I can now quote it by heart.

89. Independence Day (1996)
The movie that fully launched Will Smith’s acting career. Another movie that I can easily quote line-for-line. Two unlikely heroes emerge after an alien invasion wipes out the major cities of Earth and humanity must race against time or face extinction.

88. The Green Mile (1999)
Whereas most Stephen King adaptations make people scream or cringe in fright, this is the one that comes to mind that I have seen viewers cry over. This heartbreaking story follows a correction officer working on Death Row and the various inmates, including one who seems to be Divinely touched. This movie also introduced me to Michael Clarke Duncan and my first thought was…”this man is huge.”

87. Mean Girls (2004)
As someone who had mostly female friends, some of whom would have been considered the populars, I watched this movie kind of hit home. This story of a formerly homeschooled student taking on the deliciously evil Queen Bee of the school was hilarious. This is one of Eva’s favourite teen movies as she can impersonate the antagonist’s mannerisms and voice near perfectly. Side note, I didn’t realize until the election that this had Tina Fey in it.

86. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
The last of the life-action Star Wars films to be produced and the only one I went to the midnight showing for. This is the one we had all been waiting for as Darth Vader was born. The best part of this movie? I’ll give you some clues: he’s green, he’s short, and he’s the epitome of badass old man.

85. Fried Green Tomatoes
This is the touching and hilarious story of two women in love (best friends in the film) in Alabama as they help each other through each trial to face them. I know it’s a chick flick but I’ll just chalk this up as one of my guilty pleasures. If you’ve seen the movie and have been paying attention to my blog, you’ll recognize two of the names.

84. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
Great action, quality dialogue, and some of the most catchy music ever, this is the movie that cemented me as a Tarantino fan. This is the story of one woman’s revenge as she tracks down the assassins who killed her, her soon-to-be husband, her baby, and her wedding party.

83. Frankenstein (1931)
Billed as a horror movie, I always saw this as more of a tragedy. Frankenstein’s monster strikes me as the hero of the film with the mob and Dr. Frankenstein as the villains. Also I will admit that I cannot watch the drowning scene without wanting to cry. Sniff.

82. Spaceballs (1987)
An utterly hilarious parody of sci-fi films such as Star Wars, this movie was a staple of my film education. I can’t accurately describe this one without giving things away. Hehe, Lord Dark Helmet.

81. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
A Disneyfication of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Quasimodo is a disfigured and greatly sheltered bell ringer who must save his new friend from the man who “raised” him. After watching this movie, ask yourself: “What makes a monster and what makes a man?”

Part III will be up soon folks as we continue counting down towards Number 1.

Happy trails!

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The Odd Duck’s 100…Greatest Movies

December 1, 2008 4 comments

Over the holiday, I was tasked by Eva’s older sister to name my top 10 favourite films of all time. I won’t lie, I struggled like hell and still wasn’t satisfied with the list I came up with. Like always, my perfectionism has reared its ugly head and for your viewing pleasure I will list my 100 most enjoyed films…along with commentary. So sit back. Relax. And enjoy.

A word of warning, this list is HIGHLY subjective and you’re more than likely going to disagree. Remember this is all in fun.

100. Hellraiser (1987)
I first saw this film when I was about 7 or 8 during a Thanksgiving trip to New Jersey to see my grandparents. Within the first few minutes of his appearance, Pinhead was one of my favourite movie monsters plus the idea of killer sentient chains was freaky. Even now, I will pull out my VHS copy if I want a good horror movie to watch. Side note, since watching this movie Clive Barker has become one of my favourite authors. Next time you pick up an innocent toy, ask yourself, is it really innocent?

99. The Secret of NIMH (1982)
Another favourite from my childhood, this movie follows the journey of the widowed Mrs. Brisby as she discovers her husband’s past as a lab experiement. Easily some of the best storytelling I have seen in an animated film, this movie is one for the ages. Although I must admit that seeing Nicodemus and his glowing eyes gave me nightmares. If you enjoy Don Bleuth’s works, then I urge you to give this film a look-see.

98. Princess Diaries (2001)
The movie that introduced me to Anne Hathaway and featuring the fabulous Julie Andrews (Sound of Music, Mary Poppins). Mia is a high school girl who is a fellow “odd duck” until she discovers that she is actually the heir to the throne of Genovia. A rather lighthearted comedy, it is a great teen film. Don’t think so? “Shut. Up.”

97. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The debut film of Quentin Tarantino, it was what first got me into the gangster genre in the first place. Filled with pop culture references, quotable dialogue, excessive profanity, and Tarantino’s trademark nonlinear storytelling. Highly recommended for any fan of action movies.

96. Big Momma’s House (2000)
Growing up as a fan of Martin’s eponymous show, this movie was a must-see for my family. We laughed until we cried. Between the basketball and baby delivery scene, the laughs never really stopped. I remember during the church scene at the end, the theater was on their feet clapping along. Good times indeed.

95. Jerry Maguire (1996)
The dramedy from Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger and Cuba Gooding Jr. about a sports agent and his pro football client. Featuring a very young Jonathan Lipnicki. This movie, even if it was crappy, would have made it to the list for this one scene:

94. Lucas (1986)
The tale of an extremely intelligent and equally nerdy high school freshman, Lucas remains to this day one of the few movies that can make me cry. When I first watched this I was scared it was going to end like Carrie (sans telekinesis) or a suicide, instead I watched as the same teenagers who tormented our hero throughout accepted him after one of the most daring stunts I’ve ever seen. He wants so badly to be accepted and when it happens…manly tears. Side note, scope out the young Charlie Sheen and Winona Ryder.

93. Big Fish (2003)
Hailed as Tim Burton’s masterpiece, this easily made my list. Told from the prespective of a dying father as his son tries to uncover his dad’s life (filled with fantastic events) and comes to realize that storytelling was indeed his finest achievement. A truly brilliant and inspiring film.

92. Boondock Saints (1999)
This one I actually learned about from Mass, as it was criticized for its potrayal of Catholicism. Curious, I rented it and loved it from the get-go. Fraternal twins go on a Divinely inspired killing spree as they (along with a mob-connected friend) clean up the streets of Boston. And of course, we can’t forget the cat.

91. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
The first musical I ever saw and it remains one of my favourites to this day. As someone who grew up gardening, that isn’t all that surprising. I think this is also the first time I saw Steve Martin (not sure if I had seen Father of the Bride yet) and he scared the hell out of me. Because of this movie, I was terrified of any dentist with black hair until I was about 9.

Well folks, that’s it for today. I’ll be back with movies 90-81 as we continue counting down toward number one.

Stay tuned.

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Talking With Strangers = Kids Don’t Try This At Home

November 21, 2008 3 comments

Know how your parents always told you not to talk to strangers? Well apparently I never really listened to that lesson. I think it’s my conditioning from years of journalism.

I’m sitting on a bench during my lunch break, reading A Lion Among Men, when an elderly man sits down beside me. He leans forward on his cane and looks at me from the corner of his eye.

Man: Is that a good book?

Me: Yes sir, I actually like them better than the original Oz books.

The man nods with an odd smile and then makes a rather random comment.

Man: It’s always nice to see young men reading and not wasting time on their XStations.

I almost correct him when I notice the smirk.

Man: You know my wife, God rest her soul, was a bookworm herself. Rainy days she would sit in the kitchen with whatever book she found laying around.

Me: That’s how I am. I’m sorry for your loss.

Man: I won’t lie, I didn’t know how I would go on for a while. Plus we had two girls, one about your age and one who had just turned 12.

Me: What happened?

Man: It was breast cancer. When she found out it was terminal, she never really quit living and even died with a smile.

Me: Your wife sounds like an amazing person.

Man: Oh that she was. She lived every day to her fullest and I can only try and do the same. I’ve fought in Korea and ‘Nam, and one thing that hell taught me is that all we can hope for is that when we go we leave something that will last beyond our lifetimes. That we did something good.

Me: I think if I can look God in the eye and say honestly that I had no talent left because I used everything He gave me, I would have made full use of my time here.

He rubs his chin and nods before looking up the road at the bus one stop away.

Man: That’s a good way of looking at it. Well young man, I must be going. I wish you well in life. Oh and be sure to work with your lady. Humans aren’t meant to be alone.

As the man was getting on the bus, something clicks in my head. I never told this man I was in a relationship so how could he say that with such assurance?

Now while y’all try and ponder that one, I’m going to eat some dinner and change clothes. Why? Well, I may be going to a certain movie premiere tonight. I can neither confirm nor deny whether it involves vampires or not.

Happy trails!

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Mmm Brains…

October 5, 2008 2 comments

63%

Created by OnePlusYou – Free Dating Site

So according to this, I have a 63% chance of surviving a zombie apocalypse. For once, the black guy may not die. Before anyone says it; no, Night of the Living Dead doesn’t count. He still dies, just not from zombies.

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Just Call Me Black

September 30, 2008 1 comment

Why am I called African-American?

Does that not imply that I was born in Africa?

As far as I know, the last member of my family to come to this country came in the spring of 1937. She came from Spain to escape the war and I would go on to call her Nana.

Beyond her, I know my family had been here since the 1850’s so where does the African part come in?

Why not just call me black?

Is there some anger about it somewhere that I don’t know about?

Nigger, I understand. Negro, I understand. Coloured, I understand.

But black? I don’t get it.

I honestly don’t.

I was eating dinner with Eva, Imogen, and Ruth at Imogen’s apartment when this topic came up. Eva and Imogen are white. Ruth is Indian. And you know what colour I am.

They just call themselves white or simply American.

She can honestly be called Indian American as she was born in New Delhi and lived there until she was 15.

So why do other black people get angry when I say I’m black, not African-American?

Someone please explain it to me.

Marching to the beat of my own drum,

The Odd Duckling

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