For my English Composition class, I had to write a reflective essay. I must say, I had fun looking back in my life, deciding on what I should reflect about. Below is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy it.

I was pretty fortunate to evade racial encounters throughout my life- either for reasons of being purely naïve or just pure godsend. I lived in a world where people were from different countries, had different backgrounds, and they had different color skin. There was no rhyme or reason for it. My father being black, from the south, and a descendent from slaves and my mother, a descendent of Czechoslovakian immigrants, coming from Germany to America knowing barely a lick of English- it still hadn’t occurred to me their feelings of anguish describing to one another their cultural confrontation with a stranger. I would overhear how angry, disappointed, and offended they were- but over what? I didn’t understand. I didn’t comprehend why someone would have to explain or answer to anyone the color of their skin or the country of their birth. Or why they would even feel compelled to answer to such ignorance. It was because of their protection that I lived blissfully without having a brush with racism, bigotry, or discrimination for so long. But their protection couldn’t last forever.

The sharp sound of the lunch bell interrupted the teacher. I quietly put my things away and followed the herd of students down to the “café.” It was a middle school without hallways- the classrooms were grouped together by 4 or 5 trailers scattered on the middle school campus. It was a time of day that every new student dreads. Being a newbie in a classroom isn’t so much as difficult as being a newbie in a crowded lunchroom. Standing in line like every other student, trying not to draw attention to myself, I looked above at the menu deciding what I should have on my first day. Suddenly, I felt a poke at my shoulder; I turned to face a chubby, short stature black boy; Xavier. As I turned to him, I noticed not only his eyes on mine, but so are a few other dozen eyes. I smile as I waited for his response. “Why do you act white?”
Out of all the things that I expected or even didn’t expect him to say, that was surely a surprise. Why do I act white? How am I acting white? If I am acting white, how would I know that I am? Is white a new California slang term I haven’t heard before? Not sure how to counter and considering his tone of voice and the very meaning of his question, I took this acting white business as an insult; perhaps a characteristic a student here shouldn’t posses. With the shrug of my shoulders and shake of my head I replied, “I don’t act white,” with a bit of question and hesitation in my voice. Not only did I not fully understand his question, I didn’t quite understand my answer either. As quickly as he asked, the conversation, for now at least, was over. The line started to move a bit quicker, I gathered my items, paid the lunch lady, and sat down as I tried even more so to blend in.

Those next couple of weeks I kept a safe distance between Xavier and myself. I avoided conversation with him like the plague. Unfortunately, my dodging skills needed much improvement. The next run in I had with Xavier was during our health class. He, along with his friend DJ approached my desk. The next words that escaped their mouths were ones that shadowed me for quite some time. Again, asking the very same question that perplexed me the first time, he asked again why I acted white. This time around, I considered my last retort, and I asked what he meant by that. Perhaps I read too much into it when he first asked me in the lunchroom. He went on to say that I talked white, I walked white, and I’m not as dark as he and his family is. Still, not completely grasping this concept or even why it mattered to him, I simply told him that I’m not fully black. I’m black and German. He responded, “Oh, so you’re an Oreo.” Afraid to even ask what the term Oreo meant, I did so anyway, intrigued at what his answer would be.

I learned something new that day. I actually learned quite a few new things on that day; an Oreo is someone who is black on the outside and white on the inside; thus, someone that is acting white. As his friend DJ so kindly pointed out as well, I also fit the term Albino. Of course I wasn’t a true albino in terms of medicine, but I fit Albino in this slang and demeaning sort of way because I wasn’t as dark as the other little black boys and girls. I was also a Mulatto- someone who is mixed of both black and white ancestry. I was only called Oreo to my face; Albino and Mulatto were terms that both DJ and Xavier wanted me to know- for the sake of my own knowledge and experience, I suppose.
Some years had passed since my Oreo incident. Though at the time I hadn’t realized how much it affected me, it did have an impact on my perception and my protective little bubble my parents tried so heartedly to keep intact. A few years following my minor, yet significant brush with animosity, was my freshman term of high school. We had just moved from California to Colorado the summer before my first year at Widefield High School. Completely different from Ft. Irwin, Widefield was a civilian (non-military) school and was completely diverse in cultures and background. My expectation of attending a diverse school was simply that I wouldn’t be asked why I acted white. I assumed they would already know being surrounded by so many different cultures, acting white, wasn’t acting white or acting like anything. Just being.
A friend and I had decided to go to the mall to do a little shopping; relieve some much adolescent stress. Cindy, like myself, is also of mixed heritage. She’s black and Korean. The mall was growing scarce being that it was late in the evening on a school night. On the way out, we stopped in a store so that Cindy could pick up a few last minute items. There were two other girls just a long stride behind us. They were white. The clerk, also white, was at her station as she smiled and said hello to the girls behind us, but not to Cindy and I. I thought nothing of it at the time. As Cindy, myself, and the two other girls looked around the store, the clerk walked off to arrange some items next to the cash register. The girls walked up to the register, items in hand. The clerk took no time to come back to her station to do business with the two. My watch read 8:17. Not many moments later, Cindy and I were ready to pay for our things and be on our way. Though, this time the clerk was not as quick to come back to her station. In plain sight, the clerk, Cindy and I were in full view of one another. No one else was in the store.  Of course, I am not taking much thought into this. Still after my Oreo incident, my naïve world has yet to crumble. What seemed like forever, we stood there in silence, patiently waiting for this clerk to help us. My watch read 8:21. Four minutes had passed since we’ve been waiting for the clerk. Being the passive-aggressive person I am, I probably would have waited ten or even fifteen minutes for the clerk. But Cindy’s not so much. A loud clearing of her throat, Cindy hoped to catch the attention of the clerk without exchanging words. To no avail, Cindy then threw her items on the counter and hollered, “Ex-cu-se me. We’re ready to pay for our items now…” Amazed at not only Cindy’s bellow, but at realizing what just happened by putting two and two together. Did this clerk really have a problem with us from our first steps into the store?

I lived for many years, more than most, without facing a disappointing situation of biasness. In hindsight I can see that perhaps I was too blind to see the mistreatment I have endured. I see now my mother and father’s feelings of anguish- I have experienced it first hand. I am aware of the ignorance in the world as well as the intolerance that many still hold. I may not see it everyday, but I am aware. I am aware, and I’ll continue to not let it taint me. I choose to take my past, present, and future experiences that relate with such unfairness as opportunities- opportunities to be the bigger person, to educate, and to learn from them.

Laid Off? Vent Your Anger

If you’ve been laid off recently from your job, which is highly likely considering this complete shithole of an economy, you might want to get your frustrations off your chest.

telonu (tell on you, get it?) wants you to review your latest employers, anonymously of course, and let the world know how big of jerks they were. Or how nice they were too, if you’d like 😉

Head over to the Layoff Talk section and spread the good word.

Home Buying Guide: Buying Your First Home

Home Buying Guide - Buying First Home

After just buying my first home (no, not the one above), I thought I’d provide some tips to anyone else out there looking for a home right now. This is the story of my experience of buying a home, but I tried to make this a helpful home buying guide for first time home owners.

First of all, Michelle and I just started randomly searching websites such as HudForeclosed.com. For us, I think it was a great place to start, because we weren’t ready to have the pressure of a real estate agent yet and didn’t want to feel like we were wasting the agents time either.

Searching for homes first also gave us a lot of time to prepare before meeting with an agent.

We were able to find homes we liked, in neighborhoods we liked and a much better idea of what kind of homes we could get in our price range.

So once we had all of this information together, we decided to find an agent. This can be tough, but from my experience it’s not a great idea to go with a friend of a friend, unless of course you know that he’s a good agent. Do a little research before you choose.

We couldn’t get our guy to show us any houses at all. Michelle actually bumped into Scott and Amber or “The Meadows Team,” who do real estate in northern Colorado, while she was out looking at houses by herself.

They started a conversation and Michelle knew that these were the two who were gonna find our new house.

So we fired the other guy which also caused a bit of drama because like I said earlier, he was a friend of a friend, but we realized that something as important as buying a new home had to be done right. We hated to waste the guy’s time, the little of it he gave us, but we had to think of ourselves in this case.

So now we had some good real estate agents, who also hooked us up with a lender they preferred to work with and things finally felt like they were moving forward.

From talking with Scott and Amber, we realized that buying foreclosured homes and HUD homes aren’t really different from “For Sale By Owner” homes, which is definitely something you need to know. Michelle and I both had a misguided perception of both of these types of homes.

Here’s the difference:

For Sale By Owner: Exactly as it sounds and can often be very time consuming depending on the owners accepting the offers and getting things in order

Foreclosures: These are bank seized homes that the previous owners couldn’t make payments on. These homes can be very nice, but sometimes the previous owners neglect or even purposely destroy the house knowing they won’t be living there anymore.

HUD homes: HUD homes are exactly the same as Foreclosures except that they are homes that were foreclosed on while the owner had an FHA loan. Not sure on the details of the loan, other than that’s the kind of loan I got. Oh yeah, and you can get a HUD home with only a $100 down payment.

Short Sale: Short sale homes are homes that are usually up for sale, but can take forever to get. We were told by our real estate agent that these are usually best avoided. What happens is, that the owners put it up for sale at a great price, get people to come in and then wait for the best offer. This can take months and sometimes even longer than a year. Whatever price you see on these homes, you can expect to pay a lot more. Just avoid them unless it’s a house you absolutely love and have to have.

So once we knew what the differences were, we decided to stick with only HUD and foreclosed homes because they were the cheapest and we could get a much bigger house in our price range.

We only had to search the internet for these homes for a short while. We would gather up the homes we liked and take recommendations from our agents and then check them all out each day after work.

There were some foreclosures that we’re really bad. I guess when someone finds out they’re losing their home, they aren’t usually very happy about it and oftentimes take it out on the house.

We would find huge holes in the walls, completely destroyed carpet, and two homes we looked at smelled like urine so bad we couldn’t even go in.

But then we found a great place in Thornton. We loved it.

We visited it twice and then put down the contract for it, the $1,000 earnest check and waited for the inspection, which I think is required by the lenders. We also decided to hire a sewer inspection as well.

The inspections came up bad.

The house looked great at first, but closer inspection showed a ton of things wrong. The roof needed repair, there was a leak in the bathroom that destroyed the inner walls and even damaged part of the garage. Because of these and many other little issues, we decided to cancel the contract, get our earnest check back and search some more.

This is why I’ll always recommend to everyone that they get a complete inspection of a house before buying it. You never know what might be wrong and the inspectors search every little square inch of the home.

About a week later, we found another great house. It was a 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, partial basement, huge yard and built in 2004 so it was relatively new. We put the contract down immediately.

Again, we awaited the inspection…

And much to our relief, everything came back great!

We signed the large stack of papers from the lending company and the paperwork for the title and we got our keys.

We got a home at a 4.85% interest rate (lowest in 30 years) and a 30 year fixed loan. This is definitely affordable.

One word of note also; If you receive money from someone to help pay for the house, you better document everything.

I borrowed some money from my brother for the down payment, which we had to call a “gift” and I guess receiving money as a gift isn’t something the loan companies like. They want to make sure that the money you got isn’t another loan from somewhere or someone else. You have to show every possible document you could ever imagine to prove who gave you the money, where they got it from, when they gave it to you, bank receipts, etc. so you better save any paperwork you have.

So anyway, once you get a new home, there’s a few things you’ll need to do immediately

– Change the locks
– Get the water turned on
– Get the electricity turned on
– Get the gas turned on
– Set up mail forwarding
– Set up trash service
– Call the cable and internet company

Everything except cable and internet will usually go through the next day. You might have to wait a couple weeks for the cable guy to come out so you might even want to consider making an appointment before you even get the house and cancel if the deal falls through for some reason.

I hope this long, long story can help you in some way during your own house search, and if you have any tips of your own, post ’em in the comments below.

Feel free to ask any questions also, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Happy Home Hunting!

freecreditreport.com Spoof

You’ve know those cheesy freecreditreport.com commercials? The ones where the songs try to be funny and the guy can’t even lip sync right?

Well they had a contest in which people could either cover one of the songs from the commercials or create their own and Dan Louisell decided to create his own.

One that’s actually funny.

What Dan did was instead spoof the service, talking about how freecreditreport.com made his money woes even worse.

One of my favorite quotes from the song; “I can’t afford expensive drinks so cheap ones will suffice, but now I’m all hung over after drinking Natty Ice, ” reason being, that I know how true it is…

I’m betting this song isn’t chosen as the winner, despite how much it deserves to be.

The Word “Fuck”

The one word in the English language that can describe pain, pleasure, hate and love. If you want to learn all different ways to use the “F” word properly, watch this video.

Zander Bleck Makes the Cheesiest Video Ever

I came across this video recently and just had to post it due to how horrible it is. The video is so bad that it’s funny. Watch how Zander tries to mesmorize you with his boyish good looks puts you right into a trance.

LOL, as I was writing this, I came across a comment on YouTube that made me laugh. wearefreindsmovie says “this dudes face is WAY too intense. its almost comical…”

Anyway, check it out…

Find Out Who’s Behind Blocked Calls


Don’t you hate it when you get a blocked call on your phone? I don’t even answer those calls anymore, because I’m afraid of a telemarketer, but sometimes it can be a legitimate business trying to get ahold of you.

This is why I love the idea of this new service called TrapCall. TrapCall reveals the caller ID info from blocked calls so you can decide wether or not you really want to answer your phone.

Ok, so the way this works is that when you get a blocked call, you forward the number to TrapCall, which the re-route back to you with the number in plain view. The caller won’t have any idea what you’ve just done while they’re waiting for you to answer.

What’s so horrible about something like this is that we even need a service like this to exist. I freakin’ hate telemarketers!

Throwaway Chatrooms at TinyChat


You’ve heard of disposable emails, right? You know, the sites that give you a temporary email so you can sign up for some service somewhere so that you don’t have to get spam in your real email account? Well, here’s a new disposable service that is actually nothing much similar.

Disposable chat rooms. TinyChat is a new service, with not a whole lot of extras, that allows you to quickly create a chat room with an easily shareable URL.

Have some friends on Twitter that you’d like to have a more easy-to-follow conversation with? Set up a chat room and discuss away.

You can save the logs as text too so you have a backup to send through email or whatever you want to do with it. Probably a really easy way to do an internet interview too.

Pinch, Poken, You Owe Me a Coke

Poken - Connect to Friends

Poken is a new social media service with a really cool idea. Whether or not the idea takes off or not is the question, but I really hope it does.

What Poken is, is a USB device you carry around with you at all times. You can insert it into a computer to easily upload any of your new contacts to the Poken database.

Now, here is the what makes this so cool. The USB Poken you carry around with you has a Poken hand attached to it. When you meet someone else with a Poken device, you give them a “high-four” with your device and your data is transferred.

When you go to DoYouPoken.com, you choose which social networks you’d like to share with people you meet in the real world.

I think this is a really neat idea, but I think they need some serious advertising to ever get something like this to take off. It could be damn near impossible to find someone else with a Poken to exchange info with.