Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rules for survival

Watching horror movies is all well and good – until it becomes real. It seemed like I was a character straight out of Scream for a split second. I’m glad it wasn’t a scene from a movie because I would probably have died. Some friends and I went to see Scream 4 Saturday evening. It was thoroughly entertaining and kept me guessing about the killer. We parted ways after the movie and dinner, but that’s where the trouble began. Horror movie rule no. 1: Never split up.

The bathroom was my first stop during a detour to Walmart. It was in a secluded area of the store, but I didn’t think too much about it. Horror movie rule no. 2: Never go to a secluded area, especially if its dark and you’re alone. No one was in the restroom, but a store associate came in later. While washing my hands she completely bypassed the sinks and left. “Ewww, she didn’t wash her hands,” I thought. I scrubbed mine an extra 30 seconds to atone for her uncouth habit.

Before leaving the bathroom, I grabbed a paper towel to open the door (because the associate didn’t wash her hands). Strangely the door wouldn’t open. That couldn’t be right, so I tried opening it again. Nothing! A closer look revealed the door was locked. The panic began. “Oh no! Ghostface is going to get me,” I said. Horror movie rule no. 3: Don’t panic because it will impact your thinking in a negative way.

There had to be a place to hide safely or a window to escape through. No such luck. Walmart wanted me to die. I panicked again and started pulling on the door with a passion. Dying was not on the agenda for the night. Finally the door started to open, but I froze. What if Ghostface was on the other side of the door waiting to slice open my neck and cut my guts out? I almost scampered away before noticing it was a manager at the door. The associate told her no one else was in the bathroom. Apparently the sinks and I were invisible. I was saved. Or was I? Horror movie rule no. 4: Don’t relax because that’s when you’re in the most danger.

Actually nothing else happened after that. I survived! Granted, I am still a little traumatized. I will never look at a Walmart bathroom the same again. Hopefully there isn’t a sequel to “Supermarket Lock-in.” But I’m ready just in case. Horror movie rule no. 5: Make sure you know the rules to survive a horror movie.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An introduction to Hambone

Coming soon to a bookstore near you is the one and only Hambone Fisher, age 5. Hambone is my child-like alter ego. He emerged at McAlister’s Deli during its Christmas coloring contest last year. I wanted to enter, but the store discriminated against adults. Thus Hambone Fisher was born. He’s sort of taken a life of his own.

Hambone colored a beautiful picture but unfortunately did not win the contest. However, he didn’t let that get him down. Instead he colored an assortment of pictures for random people to hone his skills. That led to him entering a coloring contest this week sponsored by the Lake City Reporter. He was actually a contender for that one (until someone revealed his origins). That’s OK. He’ll just find another contest to enter. Eventually Hambone is going to win.

I plan on keeping Hambone around for awhile, mainly to turn him into a children’s book series: “The Misadventures of Hambone Fisher, Age 5.” Easier said than done. Clearly some character development is required for Hambone to make this a legitimate project. So far I know Hambone is a precocious, talkative 5-year-old. He likes to color, is very imaginative (sometimes he exaggerates) and can be strong-willed at times.

No his real name isn’t Hambone. It’s Henry James Fisher, but he is southern bred and born. Everyone goes by a nickname in these parts. His family consists of his older brother, Pork Chop Fisher, and his parents, Mommie and Daddy (real names coming for them later). His misadventures will include everything from coloring contests capers to dealing with a crush on an older woman (the babysitter). Each misadventure will have an important lesson to learn. But I have to finish crafting the character before I start writing story plots.

Working on Hambone made me realize it requires a lot of thought to create a fictional character. I can write a news article with no problems. Fiction writing, on the other hand, is quite challenging. It’s all from my imagination instead of just the facts. No matter what, I will make Hambone happen. Right now his series is a work in process, but he’s always available to supply anyone with a picture.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A new battle raging

Not too long ago Ma Dukes and I began an epic battle. We were at war – a cook war. There have been many discrepancies over the years about my culinary skills. She thinks I lack skill. Just because I don’t like to cook, doesn’t mean I can’t cook. Mother Dear said she is quite the mistress of the kitchen. She hardly ever cooks. I wanted to know what evidence she based that idea on.
Clearly, I am the better chef (or so I’d like to think). Mommy Dearest seemed to think otherwise (sometimes she’s a bit delusional). A cook war was proposed to settle our disagreements. We would vie for the title of top chef in the family. At least for the women. My father and brother are really good cooks. Really. Really. Good. At any rate this shouldn’t have been much of a contest. The food would determine the truth.

It was on like Donkey Kong from that point on. Each week we crafted one culinary masterpiece after the other. We talked smack, took photos and even occasionally had taste testers. Both sides boasted of making the best dish for a week. However, it was all quite arbitrary. I had my camp, and Ma Dukes had hers. The only way to really determine a winner was to have unbiased judging. We would cook a dish for a big family event. The best dish would win the cook war.

Unfortunately, that didn’t quite ever happen. We just never really planned a date and time. There was talk of submitting a dish for a few family events, but nothing was set in stone. Eventually the fight and the fury over the cook war died down. Until now.

That’s right Mother. I am calling you out – again. The cook war is back on! The previous battles were just warm-ups. I am ready to finish this war once and for all. Name the time, the date and the place and I will smoke you like a turkey leg with a side of sweet potato soufflĂ©, spinach berry salad and rum cake, topped off with my mock champagne. Now it’s time to bring it, because it has been brought.

Monday, April 11, 2011

a friend like me

You know how some guys are a man’s man? Women want him. Men want to be like or him and be his friend. I’d like to think I’m a woman’s woman. Ambitious much? Perhaps, but people seem to genuinely like me. I’m fairly charming and down-to-earth. For the most part I can get along with anyone, especially if they look like me. To me it’s not that hard to be friendly with people. It always confuses me when I hear someone say they aren’t friends with a certain group.

Recently I came across an article on Clutch Magazine and the author wrote she doesn’t have any black female friends. Some of it stems from instances of childhood bullies. Her statement is nothing new. Essence Magazine had a feature story a year or so ago about black women and how we can't get along with each other. While in college I often heard other women say. “Oh I can’t get along with other women,” or “I just click better with men. Women are too this, that and the other.” Aren’t you a woman too? So does that mean you can’t get along with yourself?

Many of my friendships just started with me randomly talking to a person, black or otherwise. I tend to like everyone unless they give me a reason to feel otherwise. Sure, I’ve had my share of not-so-friendly black girls during my childhood. That simply turned me off to those particular people, not black women as a whole. Every black woman is not catty, rude or untrustworthy. The writer of the Clutch article mentioned she felt threatened and overwhelmed around other black women. She does have friends, just not black ones.

It’s funny how I never really hear men saying they can’t get along with each other or feel threatened by another man. I’d like to think I’m a hot commodity in the friendship arena. Who wouldn’t want to be my friend? I have a lot to bring to the table, mainly my quirky personality. Maybe it’s me. I just attract people easily. Being a woman’s woman is not for everyone. However if you choose to avoid possible friendships due to insecurity, then maybe it’s you.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A time to assert

Sometimes I can be passive in addressing a situation. I’m not a doormat that allows people to walk all over me. Yet I often let people get away with saying or doing certain things that thoroughly irk me such as touching my hair, getting in my personal space or mispronouncing my name.

One of my biggest pet peeves is people insulting my job. It amazes me how people will insult where I work to my face while shaking my hand and smiling. Usually I let it slide, much like I do with everything else. Now I’m starting to see the power in asserting myself. I blame the heat. My irritable personality syndrome starts flaring up when it gets warm. Saturday was just too hot to put up with an insult, even if it was a joke.

A regular smack talker about my job saw me and said the usually jab. This time I called him out on it.

“Sir, I don’t insult where you work and would appreciate if you showed the same courtesy to me,” I said.

“Oh I’m just joking Miss Reporter lady,” he replied. “I’m not talking about you personally.”

“Yeah, well when you say things like that I take it personal, and it doesn’t help motivate me in my work.”

Apparently he felt really bad after our little exchange and thought I was upset (more like annoyed from the heat). He apologized for past insults and vowed to not say them to me anymore. I should have thrown a few tears in for good measures to make him feel even worse (just kidding).

It felt good to finally stand up for myself. Why is it so hard to do that all the time? Perhaps it’s because I think the issues might seem minor to most people. Why bother getting into a tizzy over something small? But what might seem minor to someone else could be major to you. Besides a person might not genuinely know they’re doing something wrong much. Ignorance is bliss but knowledge is power. It is my duty to speak up when things bother me. If I don’t stand up and assert myself for me, neither can anyone else.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I scream

Do you like scary movies? I’m not normally a fan of them, but there is something about the upcoming “Scream 4” that is calling to me. Sure I didn’t see all of 2 and skipped 3 completely. I’ll play catch-up with the Cliff notes version (thank you Wikipedia).

I saw the trailer for “Scream 4” and immediately decided to see it. It’s been a while since I viewed a good old-fashion scary film. They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore. Just give me a deranged psychopath with a giant butcher knife. All my excitement for “Scream 4” made me think about some of my favorite scary movies.

My daddy likes to occasionally imitate the crazy mother in Carrie and say, “They’re going to laugh at you.” I saw the movie and loved it. Read the book and loved it. Saw the movie again and screamed when the arm popped out of the grave.

Some crazy man is going around and making people solve impossibly hard puzzles. Not cool. I HATE puzzles. I would just die. Sort of like everyone else. My nerves are too bad to watch the sequels.

Tales From The Hood
The movie features several segments with strange happenings. There are killer dolls in one segment. KILLER. DOLLS! I didn’t trust any of my dolls for a while.

From Dusk ‘Til Dawn
It’s not as scary as the rest but still made me scream (not a hard task). It did have vampires. Also, I fell in love with George Clooney watching this movie.

The Ring
My first viewing was in broad daylight with my little brother. I still screamed during most of it. Children are already scary. Evil ones are 10 times scarier.

Snoop Dog. Pam Grier. A vengeful pimped out ghost. What’s not to love? I screamed more than once watching Bones.

Any of the Final Destinations
Every time I see one of these movies, I end up afraid to breathe. It’s not safe anywhere. I can only watch a Final Destination film with a group of people. And we all have to stay close.

Now who’s coming to see “Scream 4” with me? I don’t scream alone.