Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zombies

I started the day needing to write 4 different posts for the A to Z Challenge for bloggers in the month of April. Well, here I am at Z. I made it. This is it. The last post. I promise I'll be brief.

What else is there better to write about at the end than 'the end'?

None of us want to die, right? Are we all in agreement there? If not I always say... but I digress. The end is nigh. Inevitable. We dread it. Yet, we're obsessed with it, can't get enough of it. You hear somebody died a horrible death, the first thing you do is ask for details.

It may also explains why zombies are so popular all of a sudden. I just don't believe that's the only reason.

It's not like they're new. George Romero become one of horror movie's most famous directs basically by introducing us to the creatures we know as zombies today. Now we got 'The Walking Dead', the Black Ops series of Call of Duty games, (whose zombie killing mode, complete with classic, actual terrifying zombies, make this series one of the best in the whole CoD line), and we even got zombies in romantic situations.

'i Zombie', any one? Have yall seen 'Warm Bodies'?

But why are they so popular all of a sudden really? I mean death has been around 'ever. We've been curious about it just as long. So why now?

I can't answer this question but that doesn't bug me. I'm more concerned about the zombies becoming the new vampires. As a life long fan of all things horror, seeing vampires frolicking through the woods in Twilight really irks the shit outta me. Vampires are the most romanticized monsters of our imagination these days. I blame Sookie's boyfriends and #TeamEdward for this but at least Charlaine Harris made her vampires revert back to their classic forms from time to time.
Give me a kiss, baby!

If zombies go the way of vampires, I'm gonna start #TeamCthulhu. I wanna see this monster get romanticized.       

. Later WORLD!!

Smokkee Singleton

Y is for Yin Yang (#AtoZChallenge)

Before I begin this post I'd like to scream one thing:


Sorry. Every time I used to hear somebody mention "Ying Yang", that song by them twins would pop up in my head. Now, it's more than just a song to me. It's a way of life.

I've spent most of these A to Z blog posts explaining what I don't believe in. Let me see if I can explain something I DO believe in. Problem here is I don't believe in much of anything, really, as far as theories about life go, but 2 things: karma and balance.

I'm a good man, now, in my opinion. If I met another me, I'd be cool with having that me as a mean I'm not out here trying to hurt nobody... now. Not out here robbing people, or setting other people back because I'm trying to get ahead. Of course I'm talking about right now. See, I haven't always been able to say that but I've been able to say it since my late 20's. I'm 40 now. According to what I call my karma calculator, I got a few more years to go of having all the bad stuff I've done or the stuff I've done that wasn't quite nice boomeranging back to me. I ain't mad. Hell, I did the crimes...

That's just my theory though so I could be wrong here. But my other theory on balance, even if I'm completely wrong about it, still leaves me in a better place. The way I figure it is every time I feel life isn't going the right way for me, or maybe karma is just giving me what I deserve, do something right. Any photographer who worked with a real camera before will tell you that for every pretty picture you see, there's a negative for it. I think life is like that too. For every negative action you cause, life will boomerang it back to you eventually. Might not be that same day or the same year, maybe even another lifetime perhaps, but it'll catch up with you eventually. Don't laugh. I'm sure I'm not the only person who believes that.

But think about this. What if positive actions work the same way? And even if they don't, doing good for other people usually makes you feel good as a person. Who doesn't want to feel good? Even if my theory is off, I still wind up feeling better about the person I am now. At least that's just how I think life works. It works for my life at least.

Later, World. Actually, I got one more post to right and I'm done so I guess I mena to say I'll be right back.

X is for Xenophobia (#AtoZChallenge)

On a few of these A to Z posts, maybe B, definitely V, I've talked about what's going on around us and how it's affecting us. I tried to explain why it's happening. There's no way to explain it with out mention xenophobia.

Xenophoia is defined as the fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners. Just taking the literal definition for what it's worth, xenophobia refers to fear of 50-80% of everybody else on the planet. Literally.

Now give the definition further thought.

Fear of foreigners is pretty straight forward. You know your own race or what your nationality is,  right? You'd be surprised how many people don't. I'd imagine there would be a lot less racist people if they really knew how many pureblood, one nationality people still existed today. Any of them still being alive would surprise me.

Think of the term 'strangers' now. How many people have you known for a while whom you've lost contact with for a brief period of time and after reconnecting realize you no longer really know that person? There's people you see everyday of your lives that you absolute know nothing about except that you see them everyday or, if you're xenophobic, the even scary fact that they probably see you everyday too?

Hell, even think about your own family. As highly unlikely as it seems, some people you can be around your entire life and you still wouldn't actually know that person. You've seen examples of it before, I'm sure. Somebody is arrested for something and the first thing some of the parents of the detained say is "No. My baby didn't do that. I know my baby wouldn't do something like that." and then they turn out to be guilty af.

I know, I know, extreme circumstance in this case but I'm just trying to prove a point. That point is unless you're two people at once, there's no way to really know, well, anybody. That would make a xenopobic person scared of not 50-80% of the people in the world but 100%.  And you already know one thing about cowards is they become dangerous when threatened and they damn near always feel threatened. Ask George Zimmerman.

It all goes back to what I was saying a few post back. The more you know, the less things will bother you. I was just speaking about people and things in general but this goes especially for xenophobic people. Educate yourselves, xenophobes, for all our sakes.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

V is for Violence (#AtoZChallenge)

If I know one thing about you, whoever you are, I know this:

I know you're tired of violence.

I mean you might love action flicks or you may love all things horror like I do but if you feel like me, even with my infinite love for the horror genre, you're surely tired of it.  Especially if you grew up seeing it everywhere, like I did. Especially if you live in Chicago, like I do, where violence seems to never end. Especially if you've lost some loved ones to violence, as I have. 

Especially when the violence is being perpetrated by the whose job it is to prevent said violence. And now there's a new spokesperson for this: Freddie Gray

Nah. You can't tell me you're OK with violence. You're far from OK with violence unless you're far from violence but I doubt you are. Last time I checked, Antarctica was unpopulated. That's about as far from violence as humanly possible these days and even then, wouldn't you still be fighting weather conditions?

It's some things I don't understand about violence and how we talk about it. The terminology we use in terms of violence confuse me. "Senseless violence." for instance. When is violence not senseless?

Try and answer that if you want to. Go ahead. I'll wait but I'm tired of it.

Meanwhile, in Baltimore.
And apparently at this very moment, Baltimore, with good reason, is even more tired of it than I am and letting the world know they are tired or it.

But I hope it doesn't add more violence to an already ultraviolent world.

Later, yall.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Q is for Quit (#AtoZChallenge)

Smokkee here. Yes, I'm still playing catch up in this A to Z blogging challenge but the key is I'm still playing. The key is I haven't given up. I almost did. A few times. Which brings me to the purpose of this post. My message is so simple, this may be the briefest post I've ever wrote. Even briefer than the post I made about politics.

Don't be a quitter. Nobody likes a quitter, WORLD. Never give up. EVER!

Told ya I would be brief.

Later, WORLD!
Smokkee Singleton

P is for Politcs (#AtoZChallenge)

Hello, WORLD!! A few post back I touched a little bit on politics and religion, the two topics that may have caused more arguments any other two topics ever or maybe all of the other topics together. I said I don't care for politics. I think I need to clarify myself a little. Seriously, just a little. Don't worry. I'll be very brief.

I don't care for politicians to the point that I promise will NEVER vote for any politician ever. The reasoning behind this is everybody is out for self. Aren't you? Even if you say something like "Not me. I'm all about my kids/family/spouse/etc.", you're out for self;  those other people are just extensions of yourself.

I don't even like talking about politics in general. The reason being is they damn near always lead to conflict. No 2 people will have the same views on every subject ever which is were the conflict arises. For example, some people say abortion is bad and are all for the death penalty, some people would say the opposite, and within both of those groups, I promise we can find another topic that would cause another unnecessary argument. Hell, they'll even argue over which of these actions is murder and which is not even though you know... Nope. won't cause an unnecessary argument here. The US's 2016 presidential candidates will do enough of that without needing any my help.
Which brings me to another point. There will never be a right candidate. Nobody will come along and do everything for everybody because, as I pointed out in the above paragraph, that would be impossible.

There's more, tons more, reasons I'm not into politics but I'm done. Nuff said. I'm giving myself a headache just thinking about politics.

Later WORLD.. wait, I mean BRB.    

O is for Ozymandias (#AtoZChallenge)

Hello, WORLD. I'm usually known as Smokkee but just for today only, feel free to call me Stupid. I promise I'll respond to it. On a lesser note, I feel Stupid because like I Tweeted yesterday:

Like I say, that's the lesser note. The real reason I feel Stupid with a capitol S is I'm already behind a few posts in this A to Z blogging challenge as is and here I am submitting another O post when I should be my T post right now.

Why another O post anyway? Based on the subject matter, I could easily make this post P for Poem, right? Or R for Regret would probably work for this post as well but since Ozymandias is the poem's real name, since I want to address politics (fairly quickly, I promise!) with my P post and since I already have my R post done, why not just submit another O post, make playing catch up even harder by tying my hands up unnecessarily?

So, call me Stupid.

Anyway, I'm sure you're familiar with Ozymandias on some level. According to it's Wikipedia page, it was a poem written by Percy Bysshe Shelley about the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II. Wait, it wasn't A poem; there was actually two. Shelley engaged in a poetry contest with his friend and fellow port Horace Smith. You can read Smith's Ozymandias poem here. While they both address the decaying remnants of Ramesses' empire, which had been gone for about 500-600 years before they were even born, it's Shelley version that is the one that struck a cord with me.

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Walter White, realizing how true this poem is, on Breaking Bad
Even if one is not familiar with the poem itself, one may still be familiar with it's use in pop culture and what it represents. If you're familiar with the hit TV show Breaking Bad, you're familiar with this poem. Bryan Cranston, the actor who won a few Emmys for his portrayal of the show's lead character, high school chemistry teacher turned crystal meth cook Walter White, famously recites this poem in a promo for the fifth and final season, aptly setting the tone for a dark ending. The pivotal episode of season 5, the one where this scene with Walter White crying in anguish takes place, is also named after the poem.

Matthew Goode as Ozymandias in 'Watchmen'
 Then again, maybe if you've read the critically acclaimed Alan Moore graphic novel called 'Watchmen' or seen the critically panned (unnecessarily, in my opinion) 2009 film adaptation of the comic, you're at least familiar with the name Ozymandias. Adrian Veidt (played by Matthew Goode just the way I imagined him) was a former superhero named Ozymandias who used revealing his identity to the public to become a rich businessman until they were disbanded by a government law. He later rejoins his fellow heroes to find out who has killed another superhero named the Comedian since it appears all the former heroes where being attacked.

Now, I'm sorry if you want to hear more about the plot at this point but there's no way to go further into it without spoiling it. I'll eventually go into more details about this, but not here. Very shortly, I promise. My W post, perhaps.

Anyway, those are some of the modern day influences of this poem but it's biggest influence to me is on me myself. I'm working how I'm working, multitasking like crazy, for what? To further explain, take this A to Z challenge I'm working on. I'm working on it, once again, like crazy. I've done more blogging these past 2 weeks than any other writing, including on my own short stories. When I pass, I believe my legacy will be defined by what I leave behind. Do I wanna be known as a great author or a tenacious blogger? Based on my work output this week, I'd say the latter. Regardless, since I won't be here, isn't it all for naught anyway? Thinking about this should give me this really nihilistic view of things and of life in general but yet, in spite of that, I push forward anyway. Why? Well that's a question that I can't answer. I don't even have a best guess but I know I can't stop. I don't ever give up. I simply can't do it. Speaking of which, I gotta finish these catch up posts ASAP.

Later, WORLD!

Monday, April 20, 2015

M is for More (#AtoZChallenge)

Hello, WORLD! Smokkee here, excited because the playoffs are here! Like I tweeted last Tuesday, it's kinda fitting that my BULLS beat the Atlanta Hawks, the team who ended the season with the best record in the Eastern Conference, on the last game of the season since we started this season with a loss to the Cleveland, team most people had stated would be the best team in the East. And Derrick Rose started the season playing and ended the season playing, something that Chicago hadn't seen in two years or so as well as Derrick looking fantastic in Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks this past Saturday. Game 2 comes on today but I don't expect us to have too many problems with these Bucks. Hell, I'm already looking forward to the next round against Cleveland, since Boston doesn't look like they're

Consider me happy.

Well, I shouldn't even have to say that. Yall already know I stay happy if you know me. If you don't, you surely may see a scowl on my face and think otherwise. Truth is, I'm truly happy. About 10-15 years back, I would have still said the exact same thing although I would have had no idea WHY I was still able to say it. I didn't know what I wanted to do in life, I had no real ambition besides making money, well, unless you count me really wanting to be a rapper a real ambition but back then, being good just wasn't enough and there was nothing like YouTube or Fb to help me out. OAN: I'm still pretty good lyrically too, but I digress... 

Anyway, I had no real sense of purpose, etc. Has any of that changed? Yes and no. I'll say yeah because I have tons of things I want to accomplish before I die and I know exactly how I want to be remembered afterwards but some things haven't changed. I definitely still want to make money (who doesn't?) and while I have a better sense of purpose, I have no idea which projects to start work on first. 

The one constant is I've stayed happy through all kinds of highs and the lowest of lows. I used to ask people "Are you happy?" and chuckle at any response other than a yes or no. If you can't say yes or no, you are not happy. A flat out response of 'no' may seem like it's no better than any other response besides yes but a no answer suggests that person is well aware of what's making him or her unhappy. I'm not sure who said it but I read somewhere that the secret to happiness is knowing what makes you unhappy.

I got another theory about happiness that doesn't have anything to do with knowing what makes you unhappy.  I call it just be happy. Just be it.  

Not that simple, huh? It really is. Let me explain. If you ask anybody what will make you happy right now, you'll get tons of different answers, right? I'd be willing to bet that most of those answers contain the word 'more'. People always think 'more'. More money, more friends, more time, more opportunities, etc.

The problem is 'more' itself. Sean Combs had a song called "More money, More problems". More friends come with more baggage. More opportunities often lead to more anxieties.

Think about it.

No, don't think about it. Think "less".

For instance, instead of wanting more money, think of how you can better invest the money you have, make that money work for you better. Instead of more friends, think less about new friends and focus on the friends you currently have that deserve that title and how you can preserve that friendship. More time is rarely a real issue if you use the time you do have better. No matter what troubles life throws at you, you can handle it. Just don't settle for it.

In fact, the more you appreciate all of the little nuisances that make your life yours, the better off you are and the better you're able to deal with them in the future. Stop getting angry at people who do something inconsiderate to you. Just strive not to be that person toward anybody else. Stop letting jobs that don't appreciate you have you feeling down about yourself: find a job that will appreciate you or even better, make the job you do have realize how valuable you are. The key is taking all of the things that would usually get you down and simply don't let them get you down. It's harder than it sounds, I know, but it's doable. Trust me.

That's it for this post, WORLD. Well, except for this Tweet that I tweak and Tweet every few months or so. It's essentially my blueprint to happiness and it's insanely easy to follow.

Later, WORLD.

Smokkee Singleton

L is for Lists (#AtoZChallenge)

Hello, WORLD!!! Smokkee here, running behind as usual. Of course you knew that already. My motto is I wouldn't be running at all if I wasn't running behind. Six days of post behind, specifically, in this A to Z blogging challenge. This post was supposed to be posted last Tuesday.

Oh, well. Cest la vie.

Anyway, this post is about something that most of us are preoccupied with: lists. And please don't say we're not preoccupied with lists. Ask anybody "What is your favorite movie?" or "What's your favorite book?", "What's your favorite place to go on vacation?" or any kind of question along this lines.  Any of these questions should get you a singular answer but watch how many come back with at least 5 or 10 answers total.

Besides, who doesn't like a good list? Who doesn't have a list of their own of some sorts? Isn't that the reason why sites like Short List, Listverse, Ranker, What Coulture, etc, are so popular now? You've heard of Craigslist. You've probably been on Craigslist at least once today already. One of my own most popular blogs is my Smokkee's WORLD 101 blog, a blog that I started a few years back that lists 101 goals I set for myself (and it's long overdue for an update which I'll be working on in the next few months or so). Also, one of my Pinterest boards is "Dig This List" which is nothing but links to some of my personal favorite lists that I've ran across on the Internet.  
Hell, most of my blog posts for this A to Z Challenge are comprised of lists.

Speaking of which, here go five lists that got me preoccupied right now:

Top 100 Personal Deverlopment Blogs for 2015:

One of my favorite blogs,, made this list.
Why am I preoccupied with this list? Because none of my blogs are on it, lbvs. Who wouldn't like to be listed with the best people in their fields? Besides that reason, another equally obvious reason is to see exactly how my blogs differ from the ones listed here so that maybe, just maybe, I'll make enough improvemnts to my own blogs and one of mine is eventually (fingers crossed) listed on here. 

I never heard nor tried Frito Pie but it's now on my to-do lists.
100 Food to Try Before You Die  (on List Challenges):

I got to thank my friend Cyndi for this one and for introducing me to List Challenges' website in the first place. What I like about this site is that it doesn't just offer a regular list but it's a checklist as  well. I checked off all the items I've tried already on this list and I found it ironic that at 40, I've only tried 40 of these items.While some entries on this list, like eel and crickets, I'm more than sure I'll never try, some of these entries sound so good I'm sure they will be sampled sometime in the near future.


Best Movies of All Time:

For movies, I usually stick to iMDB's top 250 list but Ranker has a pretty good list themselves right here. Then there's the Granddaddy of all movie lists, American Film Intitute's 100 Greatest American Movies Of All Time. In fact, AFI has ton's of great list related to movies. My current favorite movie list right now isn't one of AFIs. I'm currently hung up on this list of the best horror movies of the aughts from Slant. Some of my favorites are on here but I'm 10 movies behind this list.

Best Books:

OK, almost every reader has come across a list like 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die  (there's also a checklist for this list here on List Challenges) or probably has at least heard of it. I'm also always checking for books whose endings I'd never see coming (so that I can read them and try my best to see the ending coming) so I check pages like this one on Reddit (another site full of lists) or this list from Publisher's Weekly pretty often.

And lastly...

#14 is best represented with a handful of rice shaped like a heart. 
Self improvement is something that I'm always interested in since I always want to improve myself. Currently, I'm loving this list posted by titled 14 Totally Free Things On The Internet Everyone Should Be Taking Advantage Of. Of everything on this list, I really like #s 1, 4, 8 (of course), and 9 (of course) and an extra special shout out for #14, which is pure genius if you ask me and IF it does exactly what it says it does.What is it? Check it out for yourself.

That's it for now, WORLD! Actually, no it's not. I still got another 5 posts to go before I'm offically caught up. I guess I got more lists to make.

Later, WORLD.
Smokkee Singleton

Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for "i" (#AtoZBlogging Challenge)

A couple of post back, I talked about change somewhat. I didn't get to go too deep into it because I kept touching on other things. Well, after rereading this post today, I realized there was one more thing that I had neglected to mention about change. Us.

We must change.

You see, the world isn't right the way it is now. Want proof the world ain't right? Here in Chicago alone last week 11 people were killed and 18 others were shot and wounded. We got rappers and other people who made it into the music biz, like Jerome 'Lil Boo' Anderson and Uchenna Agina, who may have been on the cusp of stardom or, at the very least by most of our standards, seemingly were in position to make it out of this war zone city we call home, only to get gunned down before they can even fully enjoy the fruits of their labor.

I'm not just thinking about African Americans killing each other. Have you heard about Terrence Rankins and Eric Glover? No? Well, read this and tell me that our problem is JUST black on black crime. And I'm not just thinking about Chicago either here. Think Trayvon Martin. You've heard of him, right?

OK, now tell me how you think more officers maybe the answer. Then think about Ferguson. Think Oscar Grant. Think Eric Garner. Think John Crawford. Think about this ongoing trial regarding this couple in Cleveland who was killed by an officer. Yes, even women aren't safe these days. Remember there's this trial going on right now here in Chicago with an officer being charged for the 2012 murder of Rekia Boyd, the first time in 15 years a cop has been on trial for murder here even though it hasn't been 15 years since any officers have killed any people, yet none of those officers have been charged with murder.

I know I done went back a bit. You don't want to think back that far? Then think about this man

This was this week.

Once again, it's not just a Chicago thing. This is going on all throughout the United States. But it's not just the USA I'm referring to either. In fact, as bad as it is here, it's worse in some areas of the world. Think Baga, where an estimated 2000 people were believed to have been murdered back in January. 2000. At the pace people in Chicago are being murdered, which has one of the highest murder counts in the USA, it would take us 5 years to reach that total. Based on what I read, those 2000 people were murdered in a span of three to four days.

Think about that.

Now if you're a religious person, you probably think that maybe the problem is that more people need God in there lives. Now think about how many people died because of the Crusades, the Thirty Years' war, etc. Hell, think about 9/11 and after you think about that, think about how long the Israelis and the Palestinians been going at it?  There are people out here killing other people not because they don't believe in a god but because they DO. I don't know any religious people personally here in the USA who'll die for a cause they believe their God wants them to die for. I'm not saying their faith is less stronger than the faiths of non-Americans but none of them would actually kill themselves and other people over their faith. Not one person.

I'm digressing. It's not just violence that's a problem these days. Think about Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act for example. Or the attitude of some Americans towards Muslims, which has worsened since 9/11. The vice versa is also true; if this isn't the case, 9/11 probably would've never happened.

The problem to me is intolerance in general. The less you know, the more you're inclined to defend what you know since it's all you know. Also, how one views other people is a deep reflection of how one really views themselves. The happier you are with yourself, the more tolerant of others you become. In some cases the more one learns about other people, the easier it'll become for that person to be more tolerant of people who differ in some manner from themselves. I think prejudice people are prejudice partially because he or she has no clue how not to be. I feel if one was forced to have friends of other races or of other whatever, that person would more than likely not be as prejudice after their interactions and if they chose to remain prejudice, they didn't learn much or they're unwilling to open their minds. The more closed minded a person is, the more likely they are to not take anybody else's opinions, life, whatever, into any type of consideration.

Now think about that. Or don't think about that. That's just my opinion.
Just THINK. That's all I ask.

That's all for now world. Just remember, change doesn't start with c. It starts with an "i".

Smokkee Singleton

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Google (#AtoZChallenge)

Hello, WORLD!! Smokkee here and today's post is on most ambitious company around these days, maybe the most ambitious company that ever existed.
We could talk about the fact that Google is one of the most visited websites in the world these days. Or the fact that they are also owners of other insanely popular websites such as YouTube, Picasa, GMail, Google Maps and this very site Blogger (and thank's to Google's AdSense program, I collect a little bit of income through this blog).  I could even touch on the fact that if you don't have an iPhone or an iPad, you're probably viewing this page on an Android operating system and you're not alone. Andriod OS is now the most used OS in the world. And while the number one most visited site in the world is Facebook, Google's own social network Google+ is just as good, if not better, than Fb. G+ just doesn't get the same love as Fb does. While that's all old news, one bit of new news has me kind of divided this morning. I just heard a rumor that Google is trying to purchase my personal favorite website now too.

 All of that is impressive but that's not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about the company's next few moves which to me are inspiring. Just what exactly is Google trying to be now? They have a lot going on but there is four points I want to address right now.

 4)  Telecommunications.

They're already known for having the most used OS these days, then they offer started to offer Google Voice, which works well for me as my back up phone line. So what's next? The next logical step would be for Google to start offering wireless service themselves. They are now in the process of becoming a mobile service provider and although they say they're not trying to compete with existing Verizon and other already established couriers, I wouldn't put them doing just exactly that past them. Wait, what's the next logical step after that? Oh yeah....

3) Internet and Cable

If you don't know what Google Fiber is yet, you may find out soon enough. Google is no longer content with just being your OS provider and your hardware provider. They're expanding so they can be your broadband internet AND cable TV provider too. While they may face tough competition from Comcast and others, they may wind up getting the last laugh.

2) The new Amazon.

I'm not sure what Google has against Amazon but it seems that every move Amazon makes now is being matched by Google. We all know how great shopping on Amazon is so Google's own shopping service Froogle has yet to dent Amazon's profits but people are aware of it and while it isn't as great as Amazon, it's pretty decent. Google's Chromecast is a cheaper alternative to Amazon's Fire TV. The next area where the two internet giants will be going head to head at will be your home: Google plans on launching a service to connect users with various home service providers such as contractors, repairmen, painters, etc.

1) Home computing

The biggest news Google has announced lately not related to Google Maps and Pac-Man is the fact that they've invented what may tear down the one remaining wall that separates home entertainment here. The Chromebit turns any TV with a USB port into a home computer! Listed as only $100, it's one of the cheapest means of web browsing besides phones and tablets. The most attractive thing about it is since it's Android based, you already know how it works. 

I got a feeling Google isn't anywhere near done surprising us yet. I can not wait to see what they do next.

Later, WORLD.

Smokkee Singleton

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F Is for Falling Behind

Hello, WORLD! Smokkee here again. When I first started this A to Z challenge, I thought it would be easy. No problemo, I thought. Should be a cinch, I thought. Piece of cake, I thought.

Now I know better.

The freedom to post whatever I wanted to in the first place is why I love blog. Being assigned something to post restricts me somewhat like how a story idea I have sometimes sticks me when I can't figure out how I want to end it. In this manner, blogging is exactly like writing fiction; while I still have all kinds of writing freedom I still feel weighed down by it.

I guess this is my excuse for falling behind in this challenge. This F post puts me back on pace and my G post is almost writing itself since my G post is still the one that I knew I'd write when I first heard about this challenge. But don't get it twisted: I can almost guarantee that I'm going to follow behind again.

How do I know this? Because it's what I do. I'm still working on my first book which I wanted to release in 2013. What year is it now? I'm also pacing myself to read 50 books in the year 2015. According to my Good Reads  feed, I'm currently 9 books behind schedule with that.

There's other examples to but why go on with those. Yall get the point. I'm not lazy but I got far too mean interest and I get distracted far too easy to not mention this to yall. I'm gone finish, no doubt there. It's just gonna take me little longer . They say slow and steady wins the race anyway. Just look at it like how I look at it: I might not be where I'm supposed to be yet but I'm still on my way; I'm just taking the scenic route and enjoying the view.

Later WORLD.

Smokkee Singleton

Monday, April 6, 2015

D Is For Disclaimer (#AToZChallenge)

Hello, WORLD!


I know I shoulda posted the D post for the A to Z blogging Challenge this past Saturday. Forgive me. And to give you a heads up, I'll probably forget about next Saturday's post too. And / or the Saturday after that.

Forgive me in advance.

To make up for it, here's a GIF of 90% of USA's sports fans reacting to the University of Kentucky's first loss of the 2014-2015 season, which came at one of the worst times possible, during the NCAA's Final Four.

Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for Change (#AtoZChallenge)

Hello WORLD!!

The truth about connections.
Smokkee here. As a blogger trying to make reach an audience, you try to make as many connections as you can. Some will be more meaningful than others, for sure, but all are important especially in the age of social media. For example, you may have a Twitter follower who may have 10x fewer followers than you yet if he reTweets your link to his followers, even if only one of those followers reTweets it, you've already reached a person who most likely would have never even seen your post if it wasn't for the follower of yours who reTweeted the post.

 That's why I felt connections was a perfect post for the A to Z Challenge.

Then I changed my mind.

A Bizzee Pick, for sure!

 I thought I'd write about one of my favorite movies instead: 2003's Confidence starring Edward Burns, Rachel Weisz, and Dustin Hoffman about a couple of con artists led by Burns who get in hot water with a guy nicknamed The King (Hoffman) after they con one of his flunkies out of some money, money which just happened to belong to The King. Intriguing story, a romantic side-plot that doesn't hurt nor hinder the movie (a rarity these days), and a pretty good twist ending, there's a lot to like about this movie.

And, as you may have already guessed, I changed mind.

Not about the film itself but about writing about it right now. There's a few other movies, including the equally good but often overlooked Lucky Number Slevin and the great til it's implausibly stupid ending Smoking Aces, I wanted to address in that post as well and since those films don't all start with C, it didn't make sense to post it. It's coming though. 

So what did I decide to write on then? I had decided on writing about Chicago. Why not? Not only is it my kinda town, Chicago is, it's also my home, probably for the rest of my life even though I've made several attempts at leaving it only to be inexplicably drawn back to my birth city. Then I gave it further thought.. what could I write about Chicago that I haven't already? Next week's mayoral runoff election between the incumbent mayor Rahm Emanuel and the underdog who forced this surprising turn of events Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia?

On second thought... Nah.

Politics bore me.

Seriously. Of all the services that's meant to be for the greater good of mankind, politics are the weakest and they often do more harm than good. Chicago is a prime example of seeing some or the most seemingly noblest people wind up not at all as noble as they appear to be. How many of the half dozen or so last governors of the state of Illinois wound up doing prison time after serving in the office? And do any of yall remember Jesse Jackson Jr, who as it stands just got released from prision for his own misdeeds that occured when he was in office? All the king's men, indeed. Well, not all. Governor Jim Edgar was ok, I suppose, and of course Obama is Obama, but did I want to dedicate a whole post to this?

Again, nah.

The only thing I can think of to say about Chicago at that point was about it being the known as the Second City. Why is Chicago known as the Second City? Because if you ask any other city in the USA, they'll tell you Chicago is the 2nd best city and the only city that's better is their own.
Sorta true story. But could I turn this into a whole post?

Again, nah. 

That's when I realized Chicago gave me too many options as far as posting. That was my whole problem to begin with in the first place, not being able to choose a great C topic. Chicago being the topic just amplified the problem.

Then I thought about cannabis...
At least I thought I thought about cannabis.
I must have done a little bit more than that though.
It seems like that idea went up in flames cause I had completely forgot what I was gonna say about it.....

It was at this point that I had chose to stop ignoring the fact that change was just BEGGING for me to write about. I mean it couldn't all just be a coincidence, could it? Plus not to mention that during this A to Z Challenge, I've rediscovered why, as important to me as finishing my first book is, these blogs I write (especially this one in particular) are more for my benefit then for any other purpose. It's a huge change of pace for me to go from inventing people, inventing their worlds, inventing their daily routines, inventing their secrets, inventing their heroics or their misdeeds, etc, to go to just freestyle writing my perpetually entangled thoughts into some kind of clear, cohesive blog post. I forgot how much I missed it and even more than missing it, how much I needed to do this. It's almost therapeutic how much better it is to finish a blog post as opposed to finishing a story which, after I reread, I'm almost certain to go back and do some editing to.

This is somewhat of a mini vacation for me.

Anyway, what about change? Not much, actually. I kinda used up this post talking about other things. But this one pic sums up change for me. Thinking about who I was before versus who I am now, I've come to realize this quote as the absolute truth. It is for me at least.

Later, WORLD.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

B is for Belief (#AtoZChallenge)

Hello, WORLD! Smokkee here again. Posting twice in two days! Well, technically, three times if we're including the post I made to my SmokkeeScreenings blog explaining why I'm writing these posts. Either way it goes, I think maybe that's a record for me, one that won't even stand the next 24 hours.

Incidentally, this post wasn't what I intended to write about. I've touched on my spirituality a few times but never in depth like I can here and since I hadn't had a plan for my B post and still for the life of me can't think of something that starts with B that I'd want to write about. I'm sure there's plenty; I just can't think of any. I definitely know where I'm going with my G, my H, and my R posts already. It was deciding on my R post where I met my problem. I had two in mind and one was definitely going to be wrote, and you'll find out what that's about when we get to the R posts itself.

The other topic I had in mind was Religion.

Yeah. I know. Touchy subject for too many people and, oddly enough, not enough people at the same time. Odder still is the fact that I said it.

I, myself, haven't been what you call religious in a long time.

I'm still a work in progress.
Now, if I was forced to claim a religion, I'd probably say Buddhism is the one I'd be associated with these days but I'm not actually following any of the protocols. I haven't committed to practice, nor do I intend to. I don't study the basic literature nor any of Gautama Buddha's teachings on a regular basis but I do have a few books and I agree with most of what I've read from him.

So why Buddhism? The answer is because it makes sense mostly. It's all about bettering yourself, embracing your situations, your surroundings, etc. If you know the history of Buddha himself, you'd know that at the age of 29, he stopped praying to any gods (he had believed in polytheism or the theory that there was multiple gods) and left his home which, as the son of a king and queen, just happened to be a palace, decided to spend six years in the wilderness as a way of reaching Nirvana which I believe is a state of mind that allows a person to have inner peace.

 The popular belief is the reason behind all this spiritual journey he embarked on is he prayed not for himself since, as a prince, he didn't want for nothing, but he was tired of people suffering and of seeing the suffering of others. So he went to the forest to mediate on this and finally reached Nirvana and it apparently only took him six years to reach it.    

Me? I'm there already too but it took me 10 years and I didn't mediate once. All I did was a little spring cleansing of the mind, stopped releasing all the negativity energy I let my mind produce and refocus that energy into some type of positive output. 

So if I'm not a Buddhist, which I'm not, not technically, what am I then? Well, I'd tell anybody that'll listen that I'm an Agnostic, just like themselves. It's not that I don't believe in God or gods or "higher powers". Do they exists? Maybe, maybe not but my official answer is as honest as they come: I don't know.

Furthermore, nobody does. Only difference between me and most people is they actually care if there is one or not. I care about a few things in life these days and what happens to me after I die isn't one of them. The way I live my life, if there is a heaven, I should gain entry but if not, I'm sure I won't wind up in the place most people call hell. And if there's neither, so be that too. Bottom line, I don't care. I don't have any reason to care.

Which brings me to other religions. What other people believe is what other people believe but belief is a strong thing. Some people believe so much in what they believe in that if your beliefs aren't the same as their own, your beliefs, maybe you too, are invalid to them.

Which is why my truth angers a lot of people. My truth, as I've pointed out, isn't just my own truth. It's everybody's truth, regardless if they admit it or not. Nobody knows what comes next. As far as what came first, who the fuck cares? Seriously. I mean, why would that even matter?

Better question: Anybody got a time machine? No? Well, that was the one way we could find out the truth but if not that, how will we ever know with any certainty what happened? The answer is even simpler: we won't. Why it even matters is beyond me. I mean, do you need to know who invented painting on canvas or who invented the internet to enjoy looking at a painting or to enjoy a website?
Probably not, not unless you're anal.

If you are religious and you try to down somebody else's religion, you're a huge hypocrite in my book. And I'll do my best each and every time to insult that person's religion at every turn just because of that. Usually though not only do I not make fun of other people's beliefs, I don't mind being around religious people, no matter what their religion is, because most of them are trying to live what they think is a righteous life. Some, not all, mind you. Some people are just as phony as the people that started, say, *cough, cough* Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons, and Scientology *cough*.
I'm not knocking none of those religions themselves but the forces behind these religions weren't looking out for the greater good of mankind. They were looking out for themselves. They may have true followers now but their whole system was founded on the idea of becoming gods on earth themselves *cough cough* just like Christianity *cough*, which was started 300 years after the birth of Christ. Don't believe me? Look it up. 

 Now with all that said, I do wanna add that I think religion is a must for some people. Most of us don't need a bible to know our right from our wrong but some of us.. Hey, if everybody's moral
compass was right, we'd all be saints but it's not and yet all of us aren't living versions of Grand Theft Auto either. Most of us aren't, but we do have some people who have no compassion for the next person, no regard for the next person's possessions, etc. People like THAT need Bibles or Qurans or whatever. That's why I feel religion is still a necessity. Just not one for me at least.

Later WORLD,



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A is for Alcoholism

Hello WORLD!!

Smokkee here, back again, after being away far too long. Writing on this blog is usually therapeutic for me since I'm not writing for attention or for other people's approval. And now's a great time as any to address my biggest personal issue right now. So here goes, right on this post.

I have an alcohol problem. 

No, I don't think I'm an alcoholic. In fact I know I ain't. I can go days, weeks, maybe a month or two without touching the stuff. Usually.

I need to stop smoking cigarettes; hence, my problem with alcohol.

Unlike cigarettes, drinking isn't something I'm actively trying to quit doing. I just feel like I've been overdoing it lately. If I had to choose one or the other, cigarettes or beer and liquor, I'd certainly choose the latter over the former. While my problem is most certainly with the latter, the former is almost certainly a necessity while I drink, more-so than usual. I've damn near went out of my mind for a cigarette when I've had none . I can't say that I've ever had beer-withdrawal before.

Doesn't mean I don't need to stop drinking, even though I may have to in order to stop smoking Newports. If I can have a few drinks without feeling the need to spark a cancer stick, I'm sure I can quit squares. I might go back to my old trick of a few glasses of wine a day or try to limit myself to 1 or 2 cans of beer a day. Hard liquor has never really been my thing like that but with the amount of beer I can put away, that's neither here nor there.

They say admittance is the first step to recovery. So that's what I've done.

Now, does anybody know what step 2 is?
Later, WORLD.