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A Letter to My Best Friend

To my best friend:

Welcome back. It’s been a while. Four months as a matter of fact. A lot has happened since you’ve been gone. The crates have expanded. Ideas have been circulating. You-know-who came to visit. Your presence was missed.

It was all to make things better, to get you back to full strength. During that time, things have changed. You’ll be staying at a new place, the circle around me has changed, and I’ve met some new people. Even the state of mind has turned around.

Now the time for talking is over. You’re back. I’m ready. It’s time to do some damage.

Sincerely,

The Human Spider

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Can’t Spell Slaughterhouse Without “Laughter”… OR is Our House Firm?

Slaughterhouse should have never gotten this far; supergroups usually don’t fare well for all parties involved.  It’s difficult enough trying to record and tour starting out as a group.  There are too many factors involved in trying to keep a group together; you’re constantly having to keep your ego in check, money (whether it’s getting too much or not enough) will play a factor, someone in the group is going to stand out and someone will be the weak link.

When a group of extremely talented individuals who have seen some type of success individually come together, it becomes a more powerful beast.  The expectations magnify, the egos are bigger, someone stands out more, someone will leave fans scratching their heads as to why they were included, someone won’t fit, and money always plays a factor.

Sometimes supergroups might make it as far as one song; schedules and/or contracts play a big factor in a supergroup being more than just an idea.  The Commission, concocted by The Notorious B.I.G., would have included Jay-Z and Charli Baltimore, but it was only a mere idea put forth by Biggie that never came to fruition as he passed before he could get the idea off the ground.  The original Murder Inc. was a supergroup thought up by Irv Gotti to have a (then up-and-coming) Ja Rule link up with Jay-Z and DMX.  Also, is it me or does Jay-Z seem to be a focal point of these often conjured up supergroups?

For the rare supergroup that make it past the song phase, then comes the album making process.  With the monstrous factors added into the anticipation for the album to be released, it mostly becomes a case of Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

There are supergroups that do pretty good under the pressures.  Underground favorite Sean Price, former Dilla protégé Guilty Simpson and producer Black Milk teamed up to create  (and release) the fairly good Random Axe album.  Roc Marciano joined Cali producers Oh No and The Alchemist, another supergroup going under the moniker Gangrene (go figure), to make an EP under the name Greneberg (“Gangrene” and “Marcberg”…get it?).  In the only supergroup involving Jay-Z that came to fruition, The Throne (a joint effort between Jay and Kanye West) did pretty good, even if the album was mediocre.

When Slaughterhouse dropped their debut album in 2009, they actually fell into the “pretty good” category.  Their album was above average, although there were some missteps and qualms, specifically the fact that all they did was spit.

Gaining over 30,000 copies after the first two months, and gaining a significant buzz, Slaughterhouse decided to do the right thing and release their second album on a major label to a more mainstream audience.  Of course, all four members were signed to major labels (Joe Budden on Def Jam, Royce da 5’9″ on Tommy Boy and Columbia, Joell Ortiz on So So Def, and Crooked I on Virgin and Death Row) and were dissatisfied with the results, or lack thereof.

Unfortunately, major labels have not been kind to supergroups not involving Jay-Z, as evidenced by The Firm, a project that saw it’s humble beginnings as a track called “Affirmative Action” on Nas’ second album It Was Written.  The Firm, originally consisting of Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown and Cormega, was created during the peak of “mafioso rap”, where moving cocaine, wearing suits and alligator-skinned shoes and name-dropping name brands were welcome.

“Affirmative Action” was met with positive reception, and that was all that was needed to get a full album by The Firm into the works with backing by Dr. Dre and The Trackmasters, and Interscope/Aftermath being the label that would release it.  There were initial setbacks, as Cormega stepped down due to creative differences with the group, as well as disputes with Steve Stoute (who was Nas’s manager during their time recording the album).  He was replaced with Nature, and recording kept going.

When the album was released it was panned for going for a more pop-oriented sound.  Expectations had not been met, and fans introduced to The Firm by “Affirmative Action” were left disappointed.  The group was immediately disbanded, going back to their respective solo careers.

After hearing negative reviews, people who liked the album (but not loved it) and hushed whispers about the direction of Slaughterhouse, I decided to take a listen for myself.  I say all of that to say this: Slaughterhouse may be suffering the same fate that once plagued The Firm.

Coincidentally enough, Slaughterhouse’s decided to release their newest album Welcome to: Our House on the very same label that released The Firm’s only album: Shady Records, which is an subsidiary of Interscope/Aftermath.  Of course, Interscope & Aftermath would put their fingerprints all over the album, as was expected.

Because of the similarities between The Firm (The Album) and Welcome to: Our House, I decided to take a listen to both albums.  Once I took a listen to both albums, I managed to notice a tiny flaw: there is no comparison between both albums.

Where The Firm had a purpose and a direction, the direction to Welcome to: Our House leads me to believe Marshall Mathers and Ryan Montgomery (as well as the A&Rs and executive producers) chose their songs by throwing darts at pieces of paper or blindly choosing them out of a hat.  The Firm went with an approach of a Mafioso crime family whose empire was crumbling down slowly but surely, making it reminiscent of an actual crime movie.  Slaughterhouse’s direction was reminiscent of a frat party movie; you might get a few good lines, some sappy background story and some hot ladies, but ultimately, it’s not something that will stand the test of time.

It’s saddening, because Slaughterhouse is a team of dope lyricists.  I still play their “Death of Autotune” freestyle in which they decided to (unreasonably) slay the beat without question.  I like Royce, especially when he and DJ Premier get together, I’ve always liked Joey since the day I heard “Pump It Up”, I fell in love with Joell Ortiz when he spit on “Mean Business” “I’m so not regular; I’m young, I’m smart, I’m nice, I’m handsome, I’m cool, etc., etc.”  Admittedly, I hadn’t been a huge from Crooked, but he took a huge leap starting with the Shady 2.0 cypher at the BET Hip-Hop Awards.

Welcome to: Our House is the album you expect them to make: an album full of shit-talking interspersed with a few introspective songs that make you wonder why they underachieve as much as they do.  It’s the “we-are-the-best-lyricists-on-the-planet” sixteen bars that should only be reserved for radio promo freestyles and BET Hip-Hop Awards cyphers, mixed with the songs of introspect and regret that have you remember why you liked them in the first place.

The production is what you’d expect from a mainstream album.  The club bangers are pandering at best, and laughable at worst.  The song titles do even less to inspire excitement.

There’s a song called “Flip A Bird”, produced by Black Key Beats and Zukhan.  I’m not one for spoiling movies, but there’s no point in beating around the bush: the samples contain the lyrics “flip a bird”, “on the scale” and “in the kitchen”.  It doesn’t take a genius to know that references of cocaine, as well as the middle finger salute, litter the song.  There’s a song titled “Park It Sideways”.  There’s a song.  Titled.  “Park It Sideways”.  THERE’S A SONG TITLED “PARK IT SIDEWAYS”!  Enough said.

Of course, the album’s saving graces are “Our House”, “Goodbye”, “Rescue Me” and (if you have the bonus version) “Asylum” and “The Other Side”.  Unfortunately, it’s not enough to save the album from itself.

Making matters worse is that certain members have been dissatisfied with the album, and rumors that Slaughterhouse may be dissolving after this album, as The Firm did after releasing their only album 15 years ago, are not helping their cause.  They may move 100,000 units by the time it’s all said and done.  Either way, there’s going to be a need for a sit down, and discuss the group’s future and their next album.  Another album like this one will just push the group into Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer status, if I may use my final movie analogy.  And no one wants to be grouped with Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer.

Channel Orange Review

I wasn’t a Frank Ocean fan.  Not enough to want him dead like one of my friends did, but I didn’t like him enough to go apeshit about his music.

On February 8, 2011, Frank Ocean released his mixtape nostalgia, Ultra.  On the day I downloaded the mixtape, (August 4th) I also purchased an album by Wayne Brady (A Long Time Coming).  nostalgia, Ultra turned out to not become my cup of tea, as a few of the cuts on A Long Time Coming got more spins than any cut on nostalgia, Ultra.  Hell, Cocaine 80s last two mixtapes got more burn than nostalgia, Ultra ever did.

Then Pyramids came out.  A few people on Twitter were talking about it, but I kinda shrugged my shoulders.  Usually when you hear people (especially stans) hyping up an album, you tend to think of the worst when you hear it.

I played “Pyramids”, and I kinda shrugged it off.  Then a few days later, I played it again.  And again.  And again.  And again.  Finally, I downloaded it and stored it into my phone, where I was free to play it whenever I felt like playing it.  Which was damn near every night.

Around that time, I got wind that Frank would be releasing Channel Orange on July 17, 2012.  At the time of this review, the album was made available through the iTunes Digital Store on July 10, 2012.  Being curious (and liking “Pyramids”), I decided to listen to the album once I had gotten off of work.

I stated out liking it after one song.  Then another.  Then another.  By the time I had finally listened to the entire album (front to back), the stream repeated itself.  I had an R&B album on repeat.  Not a cut, but an entire album was on repeat.

Yet, nothing else mattered.  I was even tempted to listen to The UN cuts on PeteStrumentals (“Nothin’ Lesser” & “Cake”), but I sat transfixed through this album.  It wasn’t until the second go around that I finally cut it off.  I still don’t know exactly how many times I would have listened to that album.

It starts with a Playstation (the PSOne) being turned off, before Frank starts selecting a character from Street Fighter 2.  Once the intro (known as “Start”) passes, strings drop to open up “Thinkin Bout You.”  The filtered synths and the low pass drums keep you hypnotized, as he croons about how he’s thinking about that certain someone (as well as forever).  He may not have the most amazing vocal range, but he makes his voice fit, especially on the song’s chorus.

“Fertilizer” is up next, a brief skit that goes through some audio collages before a collection of piano chords leads you to believe that Frank Ocean is taking you back to the doo-wop that dominated the 1950s.  Then the rinky-tink drum patterns that often come inside keyboards and keyboard horns start playing turning it into a lounge song as he talks about “taking bullshit.”  This all happens in less than the time it takes to finish this paragraph.

“Sierra Leone” is almost a reverse “Thinkin Bout You”, in which it opens with filtered synths and low pass drums before going into a symphony of strings, guitars and chimes.  Slide into “Sweet Life”, where the Rhodes take you onto an area of paradise, whether you’re sipping a strawberry banana smoothie (with the umbrella next to the straw, don’t judge me) or a lounge chair inside a restaurant.  A wave of piano chords and strings gently crash into the chorus, as Frank asks “Why see the world when we’ve got the beach.”  The last wave comes in as a guitar solo at the end as “Not Just Money” transitions in.  “Not Just Money” is another audio collage featuring a woman who “doesn’t have money,” but simply “bills to pay.”

Then it’s on to “Super Rich Kids” which talks about rich kids (obviously) over with simple piano chords.  The song features Earl Sweatshirt, one of my favorites out of the Odd Future camp, who provides a 16 as well as the chorus.  My only gripe is that he should’ve stuck to spitting the 16 and let Frank handle the chorus, but it’s only a minor gripe that is slowly subsiding.

“Pilot Jones” goes into filtered strings (the ones that give you the reverse feeling) which is open for translation, as it could describe the feeling of wanting a high or wanting a woman who wants to get high.  Whatever the case may be, the landing takes you into “Crack Rock” which reminds me of a lite-rock song.  It sounds eerily similar to something that would open up a romantic comedy, and I’ll admit that Frank singing the “Crack Rock” chorus makes me chuckle a little.  Don’t take that the wrong way; there’s nothing funny about the story itself which talks about someone addicted to crack and how it’s affecting the people around them.

Of course, it’s on to “Pyramids”, where the first half starts out with chords that may or may not come from a sample before clearer synths and the drums turn it into an all out grinding/dance fest.  Then the second half is slowed down, becoming a strip club/sex song.  It’s a club banger that doesn’t sound like any club banger that has been released for the past 2 years.  I will do a full on review of the song on another post, but I will end by saying the Frank shows his writing skills off, as the second half could’ve easily been found on a Rihanna album.  I may be the only one who feels that way, but there are so many traces of Rihanna (right down to the vocals) that I can’t help but imagine (and subsequently hear) her singing the second half.

Then it goes into “Lost,” which I don’t have too many words for.  It’s not filler, but it’s pretty good.  Reminds me of something I’ll hear on a random commercial for car insurance or something.  Then it’s onto “White”, featuring John Mayer on the guitar (something I didn’t realize until my third listen, as I thought he provided vocals).  It’s only an interlude, and not very long, but it’s very jazzy and I like it a lot.  I may or may not keep it on repeat once I have it ready to play.

Afterward is “Monks”, which gives off a hard rock feeling in a slow dance track, thanks to the drums.  The bridge in the middle gives an air of house, which is a good thing.  Probably one of my favorite songs off of the album.

“Bad Religion” follows up, and it’s one of the only ballads in the album.  The song, dressed with strings, a piano and an organ, where Frank has a talk with a taxi driver, as he is in disguise to visit a forbidden love.  The forbidden love?  If you’ve been paying attention to the Internet in any way, shape or form, you may know what forbidden love it is.  If not, the link’s in there, thank you very much.  Doesn’t take anything away from the song (nor the album, as if it should).

“Pink Matter” is after, which features Andre 3000 not only dropping a verse, but actually being involved in the song singing with Frank, before going back to his sabbatical.  A notable quotable 3 Stacks drops is “if models were made for modeling/thick girls were made for cuddling,” while I won’t dispute it, I won’t disagree neither, so…what’s the next song?

Ah, yes, “Forrest Gump”, named after the character from the eponymous movie.  What I like about the song is that it uses the drums from the same song that Marley Marl sampled for Kool G Rap to make “Truly Yours.”  The Gump in this song is much more bigger, although according to Frank, he wouldn’t hurt a fly.  He talks about how he runs on his mind, how he saw his game and “ran past the endzone” and out of his life.  At the end, he said he won’t forget him.  You can say that it all comes full circle as it could be going right back to “Thinkin Bout You.”  However you interpret it is left up to you, dear listener.

At the “End” is another interlude, where Frank goes into stream of consciousness singing over a guitar beat while random voices phase in and out.  The album closes out with the closing of a car, footsteps, jingling keys and the opening of a house door.  Perhaps it really does come full circle?

Overall, this is one of the better albums released (as far as the mainstream goes).  It’s a great R&B album, and it’s certainly a far cry from the  techno/Europop that has been dominating R&B for over the past two years.  It’s an album that has to be heard to be believed and it’s a lot better than the mixtape that preceded it.  This is an album that definitely needs the support, and it definitely shows the growth of where R&B could be heading, as well as the growth of Frank Ocean.  Here’s a toast to you, duke, you definitely deserve it.

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way Back to Texas…

When I was younger, one of my least favorite days was the day my mother and I would part ways. I was living with my grandmother in Somerset, while she worked in Atlantic City at the Atlantic County building. I would see her every weekend that she got paid, before that vicious cycle would rear its ugly head. She would go back to work, I would go back to school.

I’ll admit, it hurt a little. Sometimes, I would tear up, despite knowing that we would eventually meet up again. Eventually, I was able to mature from the experience and come back a better man.

Or so I thought…

Fast forward to June 10, 2012, preferably mid-afternoon. 23 years of age, 6’3″, clutching a stuffed Spider-Man and bawling my eyes out at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airpot. Everything I thought I had gotten rid of once I stepped foot in Atlantic City, came rushing back in random intervals. Once again, I was bawling my eyes out like I was a kid because it was the end of a special week that wouldn’t have been that special without the help of Jane.

I truly do care for and love this girl. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be bawling my eyes out for someone that I will see again (barring unforseen incident, God forbid). Nor would I have been swelling up with tears while reminiscing about small, trivial things that have happened during our week together. I’ve had some good times with the #LeagueEG that were just as dope, but never to the point where I’ve had to collect myself because I went back to shedding tears again.
It took me a while (about a couple of days), but I’m back at home continuing to reminisce about the memories shared in the town of Converse, settled in the city of San Antonio “deep in the heart of Texas.” That was real. Genuine. Natural. Nothing forced out of the pages in the Book of Game (no offense to the PUAs) or a “Top 10 Things” list from a magazine. Just her and me, with life surrounding us.

It may sound like I’m being a simp. Fuck it. That’s my Queen, because she demanded that respect without the force often seen behind it. If you hear her tell it, she’s beginning to feel like a woman (so “girl” is completely out of the picture). She’s not a “bad bitch” or a “bitch” of any kind…to me. She’s my Queen, because she earned that title, without even knowing what the qualifications were in the first place.

And I know that in Podunk, Texas (which I recently learned was not an actual city) she will be reading this piece that I’ve written in Egg Harbor Township (10 miles away from Atlantic City) and crying her eyes out. Because she misses me as much as I miss her physically, if not more than me. Yet I realize that for the first time in a long time, I just may be in love…

Now I’m going to sleep.

“Get Down” – Nas

All I really gotta say is…if that’s how people gonna get down, how are we ever gonna get up?  How we ever gonna get up, if that’s how we get down?  You see when you ain’t look at it, my folk against y’all folk…but we all kinfolk…somebody’s gotta make a change…

Salaam Remi

I remember during 2002 when I had my CD player and few albums came into my mom’s music collection, which would also be a part of my music collection.  One of those albums was Nas’s God’s Son, which housed my favorite single at the time in “Made You Look.”  However, “Made You Look” was only the third cut on the 14-track album, but I would never have expected the first cut to make the biggest impression on my then 13-year-old ears.

Read more…

“The Good Fight” – Phonte

When you wake up in the morning, I want you to go the mirror and say, “Fuck you.  Fuck your hopes.  Fuck your dreams.  Fuck all the good you thought this life would bring you.  Now let’s go out here and make this bitch happy.

– Phonte

When word spread that Phonte had rekindled past differences with friend/beatmaker/Little Brother bandmate 9th Wonder, I was happy that the two squashed their differences and got back to being friends.  When talks of the two working together again came to light, I was a bit skeptical.  Then the second track of Phonte’s solo debut Charity Starts At Home became “The Good Fight”, which was the perfect second track. Read more…

The Hardest Word to Say… AKA Not Another Love Essay

Love.  There are a thousand blogs, essays, poems, stories, songs, etc. all trying to define the word.  This is not one of those posts.  If you want to find someone who you agree with on the definition of love, Google is your friend…

In short, I don’t know what love is.  I love my family and friends, I care about them, and I think about them whenever I have time to, but I’m just as well off being by myself (and not seeing them).

I thought I was in love with many different females that I was attracted to.  Maybe I was in love with the thought of being in love.  Maybe I mistook love for lust.

I don’t know.  I just know that my definition of love is different from yours.  I may love you, I may like you.  I may care, I might not.  I might acknowledge you, I might not.

So it’s difficult for me to say “I love you”, when I don’t even know what love is.  I know that there is an initial feeling that both men and women start with, kinda like the “new car smell”.  It’s once that “new car smell” starts to fade is where the true test begins. 

Can you always compromise with someone while retaining your happiness? 

Can you always communicate without having to declare war on one another?

Can you always stand to see the sight of each other?

If you answered “No” to all of those questions, CONGRATULATIONS!  You’re a human being.  Now go be human.

Truth is, I don’t always see eye-to-eye with everyone.  At some point, an arguement will result in the 6th World War.  Also, as much as I would like to look at you all day, sooner or later, someone better looking is going to walk past.  It’s just how it is.

I don’t like to leave (anything) in a worse shape than I found them.  It’s not in my nature.  Of course, life passes, comfortability settles in, and everything goes out the window.  Just as long as I don’t leave whatever I had in a bad condition, I’m okay.

Which is why I find it difficult to say “I love you.”  I don’t know what it is, and I refuse to lie to anyone else about it.  I’m an “actions speak louder than words” kind of person, and if I’m not showing it, then I have no clue what to tell you.

Of course, I’m still learning how to maneuver my way through life.  I’m a perfectionist, and if everything isn’t perfect, I get frustrated (or restless) and move on.  Anyone who’s ever had anyone (that they had feelings for) disappear (without warning) on them knows that that is not always a good trait to possess.  That’s what I fear the most: Telling someone I love them, then disappearing without a trace.

That scares me, being that negative mark on someone’s record.  It worries the hell out of me, and it doesn’t get any better during a long period of time during the single life.  I know this feeling will pass, and will be a major recurrence throughout my life.  It doesn’t make me cringe any less when the words “I love you” are involved in anything.

I guess the best way to know that there was love involved is to ask yourself one question: What would you do if you just found out they were no longer around?

A Message From The Harshest Critic I Know…

My right (your left) shoulder has a darker pigmentation than the rest of my body.  I’ve had it for as long as I can remember.  My mom calls it my birthmark (but I have another one…somewhere else), I refer to it as a mark of destiny.

Yet now I refer to it as something else.  Maybe it’s because of my (increasing) crankiness, maybe it’s because of the (mediocre) music that regulates the airwaves, or the fact that I feel like the one person who recognizes it’s mediocre, but I’ve recently felt like I’ve had a chip on my shoulder.  Maybe it was when I logged on to Twitter for the first time that something in me snapped.

I’m always at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to debates and arguments, because I’ve learned in Philosophy that you always want to argue what you feel most passionate about/what you’re against, as it’s much easier to argue what you’re against than what you’re for.  Sounds like a sound philosophy to me, but you still want to do your research on BOTH SIDES before arguing any case.  Those who jump into battles blindly tend to be the most scarred, while those who are well prepared receive the least damage.

Whatever it was, it was through the Tumblr of one Mr. Dart Adams, a dope follow on Twitter (if you care), where I was compelled to type this post.

Read more…

Return of the Loner

I’m an only child.  At least on my mom’s side.

I have two sisters, but they fall on my dad’s side, and both if them are twice as old as me.  They’ve had their own houses for as long as I can remember, and I was rarely with my pops.

I spent the majority of my school years in Somerset, about 10 minutes away from New Brunswick, and I spent my summer vacations in Atlantic City.  Every summer was something different, whether it was hanging out with the crew in Back Maryland (until the majority of them moved) or being watched by various family members.  Not helping was my mom moving from place to place during the later years.  By high school, I was now officially living in Atlantic City.

Over that time, I learned that people come and go.  I’ve met so many people, and lost contact with a majority of those people.  Of course, I get called out for not keeping in contact, because I did not think to ask for a number, because I’m too busy to talk or because I simply don’t feel like talking.  Too bad they can’t call you.  Oh wait…

Of course, I’ve got people backing me up.  I’ve always had family (those that are aware that a phone works two ways) and I’ve got a select few people.  I have that special person.  I appreciate them, I really do.

Ask anyone of those people: I have a tendency to drop completely from the face of the Earth.  Of course, these may or may not be the same people whose phones may be broken.  I wouldn’t know.

I just know that I tend to want to be alone at times.  It’s not a slight to anyone, it’s just what I know.  When you’ve been in one routine/situation for so long, that’s all you know.  Anything foreign, you’re still working out the kinks.

So when I pulled off my disappearing act, it worried one person to the point they sent a few texts.  I was trying to avoid Tweeting something (although I did check on Twitted) for the weekend, and just kinda wanted to dig into myself a little bit.  Even smartphones have to recharge their batteries.

Not that it doesn’t excuse avoiding the texts; I could’ve said something along the lines of “I’m cool, just need some down time”, but sometimes you gotta go cold turkey.  I wound up talking to people I hadn’t talked to (that realize a phone does work two ways).

Of course, I’m going to get the “You’re not alone, and I always got you” response.  I know this for a fact.  Even during my hiatus, she was present, despite not being near me or having a conversation.

I’m so used to being alone, that something like that is considered normal for me.  Plus, I don’t like being ill prepared for the worst.  So yeah, I’m trying to get used to everything, but old habits die hard.

But I’m cool though…

I Believe I Have Scheduled An Interview…

“Excuse me, do you work here?” a lady asks me.

I get that.  Not too often, but when it does, it throws me for a loop. 

When it comes to getting help, I’m the number one guy.  It doesn’t matter if I’m in my Sunday best or trying to pass for one of the local bums.  Maybe there’s a way that I carry myself that most people don’t…

I’m reminded of a drill instructor in Parris Island, who was looking for someone (else) to pass out Gatorades and boxed lunches to all the recruits ready to die for Basic Training.  He looked through the line and spotted me.

“You look like you know what you’re doing,” he told me.  I wasn’t sure if he was being sarcastic, but I knew that the work would keep me from nodding off.

It doesn’t stop me from being surprised.  It also doesn’t stop people from asking.  Even if I haven’t worked there in years.  Or at all.

Yet I found myself in the most awkward of situations when a customer at a sneaker store asked if I was working there, while I was waiting to be interviewed.  I didn’t know what to say.  I couldn’t find anyone else (as years of customer service had taught me).  Hell, I still hadn’t even been interviewed yet.

It eased some of the tension that I was feeling.  To plan a trip to Texas one week to getting canned the next was nowhere even remotely close to what I had in mind.  I was out looking for (another) job, despite starting the New Year off with two of them, now having to explain why I got canned from both of those jobs.

All while having to deal with a disappointed grandmother (that I live with), who doesn’t know that my last employer and I weren’t even on the same book (let alone, the same page).  She just sees her grandson losing yet another job, because I clocked out for break late.  If you live outside the state of California, you read that last sentence right.  You’re required to clock out for break 4 hours and 45 minutes after you punch in, and I’ve been late by 5 minutes (at most).

Adding to my issue is the cost of bus fare and food.  It’s $5 to go back and forth from the area I live in.  It ain’t bad, but when you don’t have any money, that $5 turns into $50.  It’s money I can’t afford to waste.

So it’s imperative that I can grab myself an occupation, if you count out the trip to Texas.  I’m not the type that can afford to waste time and/or money.

I was apprehensive.  I wasn’t trying to lose money/time, I wanted to be done with the past and I wanted these guys to like me enough to welcome me into their company.  Tough shoes to fit in, no pun intended.

I calmed down, despite ready to have a heart attack and I answered as calmly and carefully as I could.  I believed I aced it, mainly because I didn’t find me nitpicking myself.  I was in the driver’s seat, looked people in the eye, and answered questions as best as I could.

Once the interview was done, I was told that I would get a call about the job no later than Friday.  I hadn’t even left the store for 5 minutes when I got a call back saying that the hiring manager wanted to have a phone interview with me tomorrow.  Not sure if that’s a good thing, but with the pressure backing off and momentum picking up, I look to make one more good impression…