Saturday, December 29, 2012

For Discussion

The thought popped into my mind to start a conversation because sometimes there's nothing better than a healthy discussion on a good topic. In this case, it is based on a statement from an overheard commercial for the Michael Baisden show in which he touts the joys of being accepted the way you are.  That begged the question, in my mind, wouldn't one want people in their life that not only accepted them the way they were, but challenged them to become better?  What are your thoughts?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Holiday season and additional musings on human connections

It's holiday time!!! That this can among the most (if not THE most) hectic times of year can pretty much be left unsaid. On top of that, the focus can easily become more on the gifts given than the moments spent with loved ones.  Here's some food for thought to keep in mind while hunting for gifts and visiting family over the next few days:

"The real basis for connection comes from the parts of us that we cannot measure or define".
-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The dollars spent on the gifts that you'll give and receive are nothing in comparison to the worth of the people behind them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

So, Um, Yeah...

Ok-yours truly usually tries her absolute best to post as much original content here as possible.  This month, it has been a bit of a struggle.  However, in attempts to figure out what to post for this month, I came across this gem to share with you all-

P.S. Do get familiar with George 2.0, the man behind  "Two's Days". Thank me later.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Vitamin H"

Recently, my hometown's zoo launched a PR campain called "Vitamin Z", extolling the benifits of bringing children to the zoo. This past month had me musing on a similar concept I'd like to dub "Vitamin H"-the human connection.

The fast-paced, "gotta-have-it-now" nature of contemporary life has been discussed ad infinitum.  It's importance, though, cannot be overstated in terms of highlighting the need to get back to a one-on-one connection with other people.  Two recent examples exemplified this:

1) One Snday, I noticed an older couple I know at my church come in for Mass. The lady is blind and can't get around well.  Her husband dutifully carries her oxygen tank, takes her around in her wheelchair, and guides her by the hand when needed.  Though I've seen them do this every Sunday they come to church, it wasn't until that particular day that the connection between them stood out to me.  It seemed as if it wasn't about what one could get from the other, but the genuine bond between them as humans.

 2) The day before my birthday, my sorority sister I was inducted with called me and told me to make sure I had the next afternoon free.  The next day, I was picked up by another sorority sister to go to her house.  There, they had pizza, cake, and ice cream and sang happy birthday to me.  I originally didn't have much planned in terms of celebrating.  It was quite the unexpected surprise, though.  What really mattered, though, was being with my sorors, present in the moment. 

How many times do we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our lives, doing most of our communicating with our loved ones via text, e-mail, or social media? When was the last time you actually enjoyed the physical presence of a friend, family member, or mate? That's the human connection, the "Vitamin H". Enjoy it once in a while.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2 Years and Counting...

Ok, ok. It's been established that yours truly a F.A.N.D.R.O.I.D. The story of how it began, however, goes back to this very date 2 years ago.

     It was my first Janelle Monae show, which was at the Royal Oak Music Theatre in my hometown of Detroit, MI.  Let's flash back, though, to a few weeks earlier.  A co-worker of mine offered a set of Royal Oak Music Theatre season tickets she won.  The only acts I was vaguely familiar with was Janelle Monae and Of Montreal, so I chose those tickets.

*Cue September 20, 2010*
     Given I was tired from work, I was close to not even going to the show. Something in me, though, really wanted to tough it out and go. With that, I hastily change clothes and hop the bus.  Luckily, I walked through the door just in time.

     I arrive unaware of what to expect. I hadn't been in to a show that wasn't electronic music in years.  On top of that, though I new the names of both acts, I hadn't heard their music in full before.  Shortly before the show started, a woman in front of me gave me, shall I say, a warning of how good Janelle's show was going to be. Lo and behold, she was right-and then some.  Being the observant person I am, I decide to stay towards the middle of the room to get a full view.

The house lights drop, and the magic begins.

From start to finish, Janelle's entire set had me in awe. I was in disbelief in what I saw. Every song and movement coming from this woman was literally like nothing I've ever heard or seen in my life.  Here's a taste of what my eyes and ears had been witness to:
(This is a clip from the show I luckily found on YouTube.  THANK YOU to whoever posted this)
Imagine seeing that for the first time. EVER. My mind did a veritable jaw drop.  By the end I wanted to know who this woman was.

I stayed for a few songs of Of Montreal's performance. Less excited about that perfomance than Janelle's, I decide to go to the lobby and wrap up the night by calling a cab.  That wasn't before asking the vendor more information about Janelle, though-and fulfilling the overwhelming need to buy her music.  After a short mental deliberation on which of her albums to buy, I decided to buy the ArchAndroid. Upon arriving home, I immediately gave it a listen.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Some Sounds to Look Forward To

Well, well, well-

It looks like some fantastic music will be gracing the ears of the masses soon in the form of  new works by Roman GianArthur, ACEG, and Flying Lotus.  Here's the deal:

Flying Lotus-
Even if you haven't heard of him, you've probably heard his music in the Adult Swim bumpers.  His new album Until the Quiet Comes comes out October 2. (Oh, and yeah-Don't leave the site before watching the album's short film. Make sure to listen to his 2010 masterpiece Cosmogramma as well)

The geniuses behind the M.I.L.K. and Be Kool EPs are at it again with the Kool as Hell EP.  From the looks of the tweets and Facebook the it's almost ready for release.Who is ACEG, you ask? Go to While you're at it, do yourself a favor and listen to the aforementioned EPs. You'll thank me later.

Roman GianArthur
You already know I'm a huge supporter of Janelle Monae and her Wondaland Arts Society. Well, here comes one of the masterminds behind her album, The ArchAndroid, with "High and Dry-Send It On"- a mashup of the songs from Radiohead and D'Angelo, respictively.  It's from his upcoming suite "You Should Be Paranoid", which is said to be a whole album of D'Angelo/Radiohead song mixes. is the place to go.

Until next time!

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Little Something Something for Your Day

Your humble blogger's intended post for this month unfortunately fell through.  However, I'd like to share a nugget of inspiration:

"If you are who you are called to be, you would set the world on fire"
-St. Catherine of Siena

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thoughts on New Orleans

(A view of the Superdome from my hotel taken from my camera phone)
A couple of weeks ago, your humble blogger went to The Big Easy for a conference.  Nearing the hotel, my eyes came across this structure: The Superdome.  Upon seeing this up-close and personal, it was hard to imagine what happened in there 7 years ago post-Katrina. May this and the entire New Orleans story serve as a testament to bouncing back after adversity.  Also, let us never forget so the past cannot be repeated.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Global Call For Peace (Poem)

How about
making peace
instead of blowing each other to pieces
with guns and bombs
I have a problem
with having to fear
that violence will come near
to me, my family, my friends, my people
We've dug ourselves into deep holes
Too many souls
have been lost at the end of a
The strife
has got to end
Instead, let's send
from Detroit to Damascus
It's all I ask
of us
Like Fela I want to bring a coffin to a state official
and say
"Let's make it official
that love
will be our driving force
instead of brute force
ruling our lives"
Like Janelle said
"This is a cold war"
Let's shout "NO MORE"
and create
a state
of well being
for all

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Tale of Rita Barbour, Pt. 2.

     The elevator door opened. "What are you doing here?" a voice barked. Rita didn't even step through the door before the voice startled her. "I live here", she said. "Room 4322". The aforementioned voice shouting the gruff interrogatory belonged to a member of Droid Control.  "Credentials", he barked again.  Rita pulled up her sleeve. The officer scanned the barcode on her arm. "Ok, but you shouldn't have been allowed up here". The officer was a burly human. Under his breath, he muttered "Incompetent oafs", referring to the office at the front door of the apartment. He then looked sternly at Rita. "We're conducting an investigation.  You said your room is 4322, correct?" Rita replied in the affirmative.  She happened to glance over the officer's shoulder when she noticed two officers come out of the apartment.  "What are they doing there?" The officer turned his heads towards the officers, then back at Rita. He scowled. "You'll have to come with me.". "What? To where?" Rita asked. "Come this way. We have some questions to ask.". The two went to an alcove off the hallway. Again, the officer continued with his stern tone.  "The name is Officer Black. a fugitive android was tracked down hiding in your quarters.  Any idea why she would be there?".  "Obiously it was a break-in, sir.  I've been at work all day.".  "It would be in your best interest not to play games with me.", continued Black.  "Can this by verified?".  "Well, there are cameras at my employer. It's the Star Commission Tribunal.", Rita replied.  " We'll look into it right now. Stay here.".  Black motioned to a nearby guard to watch the android while he confirmed her story.  "So much for the relaxing I planned.", Rita mumbled.  Black returned after a few minutes with an annoyed look on this face.  "Apparently, your story checks out.  You won't be able to return to the apartment until tomorrow.  Our search has to be through.".  "Looks like I'll need to look for lodging for the night, sighed Rita.  She insta-chatted with her co-worker droid, Felicity Rue, about staying with her.  It was a go.
     Next morning, Rita returned to a less than pristine abode.  While re-organizing her e-books, she found a mini holograph player hidden under a shelf.  She turned it on.

 Whoever this is receiving this message, this is Cindi... 

"Oh, Maker!", Rita squeaked.  She continued the holograph.

...I'm sorry if any trouble was caused with my hiding in your apartment.  It was the first out I saw in getting away from Droid control.  Many thanks, though.  From the looks of the place I'm assuming you are a droid, so I'll end by asking you to help the cause.  Supporters have a special telewave for recognition. Details will be paged on that signal at 1700 sharp tomorrow .  Cindi, out.

Friday, May 11, 2012

In The Merry Merry Month of May

One year ago today, I attended the Hooligans in Wondaland show in Miami.  It was the first time I met my favorite artist, Janelle Monae.  It was also the culmination of a two day bus ride from Detroit, which created memories of their own as well as some enlightening insights. In reminiscing on this trip, my hart was moved to share the journal entry I wrote on the my first day on the road. Enjoy!

The Road to Miami  
My first thought when getting on the bus was "What was I thinking ? I'm going to be on a bus for 2 DAYS".  There's no turning back now.  The tickets aren't refundable.  Then again, this is a journey and I have to treat it as scuh.  This is quite a life lesson on patience.  It's also a time for deep thought.  Three things have come to my mind thus far- 1) It's interesting how in two to three hundred years this HUGE country became "America".  This road trip had me thinking about how big geographically this country is and how man was able to traverse it over a short period of time and make the beginnings of what it is today 3) In the wake of the 50 year anniversary of the Freedom Riders I'm able to make this trip down south as a black woman without having to go through separate entrances, drink from separate fountains, and going to see a black woman and white man performing on the same bill.  That's amazing when I think about it.  Only 50 short years ago, that would have been a different story. Wow. 3) How ironic my dad left the South to avoid the problems of those days and I'm goingdown South for va vacation.  This is a learning experience. Only a day and a half or so to go. Let's DO IT!

Monday, April 2, 2012

On the "small" things

It's highly likely that this topic has been addressed before by people much wiser than I. However, it behooved yours truly to post on the subject of the "small" things. And yes, there is a reason for the quotes around the word small. What may seem insignificant can sometimes have the most impact.

Let's take good deeds, for example. It's easy to think that the smile given to a stranger or giving to someone in need may was a simple act.  For the recipient, though, it could have meant the world. Case in point (true story): A person overheard three people speaking a foreign language at an event and they decided to to say hello in that language.  The face of the people in the group lit up like Christmas trees in pleasant surprise.

Not everyone can be a Mother Theresa, but a person can make another's day through what may appear to be a small act of generosity.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Elusive "Aha Moment"

Let's talk about a not-so easy thing to do-not wait for an "aha moment".  When it comes to finding solutions to problems, dealing with particular issues or even finding oneself, there's sometimes an expectation that the aformentioned will come in the blink of an eye. Call it the "aha moment". In the instance when it doesen't happen (or at least happen when you want it to), the canvas is primed for disappointment to set in. Understandable. However, it seems that it is in the realization that the "aha" may be more gradual or may not come in the form of the proverbial lightbulb turning on where peace lies.

Think back to an occasion when the answer to a life dilemma came in the form of a decision or action resulting in a feeling of calm. That's not to say that "aha moments" never happen-just that the expectation of them can lead to frustration. On top of that, it could result in wasting energy that could be used to find the solution to the problem. Ask youself: "How much time have I spent frustrated about not immediately realizing what my vocation is or how to deal with xyz issue?"

That being said, don't wait for the answer to life's questions to come to you. Of course it won't be a walk in the park. Find ways to get to the solution.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sometimes Words Fail

Ironic title, right? Be honest, though-there is a lot of truth to it. Sometimes words do fail us.  There are moods, moments, and feelings that cannot in any way, shape or form, be communicated in a coherent manner through spoken or written word. The prime example is during moments of loss. In such times, nothing can fully convey the myriad of thoughts, emotions, and feelings that the person experiencing the loss is going through. Everyone's been there-that instance where nothing but a good scream session or crying spell to a favorite emotional song will do. Contemporary society seems to privilege "talking it out" or journaling. They do have their place. However, sometimes it's ok to express emotion not through writing or speaking, but just being. Wether releasing through that "good cry", dance, song or scream (preferably not AT someone), allow yourself-and others the space to express themselves if such methods are the best suited for the occaision.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"...Sudanese and Congolese who put the roll in the rock..."

(Photo from

Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita. Enslaved as a young girl in late 1800's Sudan, she went on to gain her freedom in Italy and become a nun devoted to faith and service. That faith and service lead to Pope John Paul II cannonizing her in 2000.

The best article about her life can be found  at the link below:

There is a line in a song that goes as follows:
"...frozen, they were stolen,all the kings and the queens- Sudanese and Congolese who put the roll in the rock...".
 Such words couldn't ring truer in Bakhita's life. The "rock" was her faith and her Maker. The "roll" was her steadfastness. Hers is a true freedom fighting story.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Trailblaizer: Mother Mary Lange

Photo: Courtesy of the Mother Lange Guild Website

To celebrate Black History Month, your humble blogger would like to introduce to you Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first religious congregation of women of color in the Universal Church. Why Mother Lange, you ask? Hers is a little known story within Black, Catholic, and American history as a whole. Here is her story:

For more information on the Oblate Sisters of Providence, go to

Investigation into cause for Mother Lange's beatification and cannonization has been opened. Information is available at

Thursday, January 26, 2012

To Michigan on it's 175th Birthday

Dear Michigan,

Given your name comes from a Native American word meaning "turtle", it's probably no coincidence my first pet was a turtle. Maybe it was your way of instilling a sense of place within me during my formative years. You raised me and the majority of my family. You welcomed my father and grandparents, who came from the South. I was blessed to walk through the hallowed halls of your University in Ann Arbor for four years. You put the world on wheels. You have birthed a plethora of figures who have impacted the country and the world. Recent years have been rough for you, however. Many have left you and others negatively comment about you. Despite this, you are always home to those who have resided within your borders. From Ann Arbor to Zeeland, there is no other place quite like you. May you be blessed this and many years to come

With love,
Rana Dianne Irby
A Michigander born and raised.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On Traveling

So it looks like your humble blogger has been initiated into the world of the traveler. It began this past September with my first stay at a B&B. Today's adventure includes a stay at the Chicago Parthenon Hostel (310 S. Halsted) in the Windy City. So far, so good. Clean, fancy, no frills-good bang for the buck at $40 a night for a private room. There are some common-sense rules that have to be abided by here, but it goes to show the extent to which the hostel goes to keep the place nice, spiffy, and safe. On a related note: the staff-quite friendly and down-to-earth! It seems like one can truly call themselves a traveler until they've experienced stays at hostels and B&Bs. Until next time!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

"...and we PAINT!" cont'd

It wasn't my intention for this to be my first blog post of the year, but the paintings said it was time. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting "The Metropolis Series"

The Metropolitan


Lead Us All Back to One

Each of these have very layered meanings. Hope they bless you, everyone!