Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


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Monday, June 08, 2015

The Criminalization Of Black Youth And Behavior

This won't be a long post.

Can you now see how America, along with the help of mainstream media has criminalized Black youth as well as what can be considered 'Black behavior'?

From non-violent demonstrations to attending a graduation pool party, it seems that certain folk see the gathering of Black youth as a criminal element participating in criminal behavior, so it has to be policed accordingly.

My sister works in McKinney, TX and lives a stone's throw from where this incident took place. My nieces are 5 and 8 and my nephew is 12. This shit just got personal.

All those Black folk LIVE in that neighborhood, so no one 'didn't belong'.

I play chess, not checkers...

You fucks with mine... Anticipate what the next move will be.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why Am I Still Here?

My name is Hassan and I am barely here.

I mean that.

I'm trying to currently understand WHY I am still here, because for about a year and a half now I have literally and figuratively had one foot in the grave.

In my lifetime, I  have (in no particular order)

Broken my left foot and a few bones in my hands

Ruptured my left Achilles tendon

Had my right knee rebuilt

Had 2 lumbar procedures

Slipped into a diabetic coma

Had 2 hernia repairs w/plastic surgery supported by pelvic mesh

More than 5 service-related and sports concussions

Been in a major car wreck with internal injuries/head trauma

Had 36 stitches to close  a head wound (my Mom threw an unwashed Pyrex bowl at me when I was a kid - she connected)

Had my nose broken in a fight

Cracked a front tooth down the middle in another fight

Fractured my skull and suffered a subdural hemotoma (brain swelling) and detached retina - workplace injury

My eyes imploded Dec 27, 2011 on I-65 driving thru Louisville

Have had 24 surgical procedures to have both eyes rebuilt, losing more than 75% of my vision, also losing the ability to distinguish day from night as well as eye alignment. Subsequent surgeries and implants have caused me to have cataract surgery in both eyes, glaucoma and diplopia (double vision)

Suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack)

The past 18 months suffering from End Stage Renal Failure, I desperately need a kidney transplant to live.


All of these things... There have been times, especially in the last year or so where I knew I was out of here. Plenty of touch an go moments in the last 4 years where I wasn't expected to recover and last summer had to have the "death talk' with first my doctors, and then my Mom and Ex as to my final wishes and body disposal and care.

Expectations of life expectancy and the real and unreal possibilities of a transplant had been explained to me. I then researched it, accepted it and planned accordingly. I set things up financially leaving my Mother as the sole beneficiary, took a final traveling vacation to various cities and then started an independent, turnkey business as to contribute to a family trust so my parents, nieces and nephews could be cared for.

My siblings, God love then never completed setting up the family trust. I had to stop working at my new company last summer because my symptoms worsened, causing me to be hospitalized various times making me unable to go back to work.

Contact with my family began to wane. When I made the announcement of my kidney fagilure at the beginning of 2014, my family rallied around me and we had all of these grandiose plans to make sure I had support throughout my ordeal and that my death if it happened, would not be in vain. Hell, I wanted to take out a million dollar policy out on myself but only ended up taking $250k to give to my Mom because that's all I could afford. Not that I wanted to suffer or was looking to die, I just wanted to pay off their mortgage.

When I stopped working, I lost the additional income I needed to pay for new medication I still desperately need to survive.  I asked for help and initially got it, but then...

**crickets**

I won't go into detail, but I got faked out so bad that I almost died waiting for help that was said to be on the way.

I didn't bother to contact anyone because no one reached out to me and explained or apologized... This went on for weeks until

This past Tuesday morning, my voicemail is loaded with calls from my siblings and best friend.

My Mother had suddenly died.


All of that planning and action/inaction

All of the death scares I've encountered

Why is she gone and not I?


What is the reason that I'm still here?

Someone please explain this shit.








Wednesday, August 27, 2014

1,825 Days... Plus Leap Year

It was five years ago today that we last spoke.

The two things that have stuck with me since that conversation was that you had to take your oxygen mask off to properly articulate and enunciate the fact that you needed a transplant in order to live beyond beyond the 72 or so hours you had left on this plane of existence.

The other thing was that you were surely going to die, and you simply wanted to have a regular, normal phone call, and you just wanted me to tell you about my day.

I had gone to this shopping mall near Red Rock and also drove down The Strip and had taken and was sending you pictures of the activity to show you that living in Las Vegas was about as regular as it was in Atlanta, which I had left months before. Seeing as you put me out of Atlanta and instructed me to both work on my marriage and gave me the option to tell Terry whatever I wanted at this point about your condition pointed out the fact that this was indeed the point of no return.

Hell, I was already telling Terry about every conversation, every instant message... Every report that Alesia was giving me from her hospital and home visits, seeing as you banned my ass from entering Emory because you didn't want me to see you after all of the extreme weight loss.

Whatever, Chica... I still loved you anyway and we spoke every damn day until this last conversation August 27th.

So much had happened from the time I left Atlanta until this particular conversation. Although there were times that you didn't have enough strength to speak, we spoke anyway. It hurt me as much as it made me feel important. You wanted to have conversations about everything and nothing at all... As long as it had nothing to do with medication, treatment, odd diagnoses and disease.

I understood that you wanted to be treated like a regular, normal human being. You underscored to me that although the picture mail was cool as hell, texting and instant messaging could never get the job done when it came to just being human. Those mostly short, sometime long and awkwardly paused silence, gotta make an adjustment and breathe infused conversations were my everything.

And now that I need a transplant in order to live beyond a date that I can clearly see on my calender... And am suffering through a somewhat painful, but moderately slow decline



i remember speaking with you and you having to calm me down when it was you suffering through the pain, the lack of oxygen, the poking and prodding or medical personnel, the medication adjustments and the difficulty of being back in your room at home.

You assured me that everything was going to be fine even though you knew...

and in these moments. I don't have a single solitary soul to speak with on a human level as I can clearly see for myself both my fate and mortality just as you saw for yourself

!

Seems like it was just yesterday. I wish that it was... I'd cherish the time more than I did then.



Wednesday, March 05, 2014

This Ain't Goodbye... But I'm Waiving Anyway

Hassan Ntimbanjayo
Chicago, IL


January 14, 2014


Dear Friends and Family,

If you're reading this, that means that I have checked into a local hospice program and am near the time that The Creator calls us home to the essence.

For the record, I'm cool and have come to terms with my health/life situation.

I am writing this open letter, this appeal to you, Dear Reader because I may not have many chances to speak to you if my associate has posted this. I have chronicled some of what has been going on with me health wise, but of course, I am more introvert than extrovert, so there are a lot of things I am still not willing to share, even in this moment.

Normally, I would appeal to what I believe is your common sense, but I know most of you,, and the few that I haven't gotten a chance to meet, I know that most are stuck in their opinionated ways, so I will spare you any appeal to prevent what is happening to me and just give you this advice:

Enjoy the ride!

Don't let anger, angst, opinion and false hop and so-called religion hold you to the point where you miss out on living life. So many of you are so embedded and entrenched in falsehoods that it prevents you from enjoying everything life has to offer. I see so many of you living in pain and wasting your time with and around folk who don't give a very clear fuck about what happens to you, your happiness and your soul that it had done nothing but hurt me to the point where I don't want to even communicate with you anymore.

There are some, and they know who they are whom I admire and still communicate with between all of the doctor's visits and rest periods I need to conserve my energies. I love you guys and I wish you nothing but heaven for coming to my bedside in this, my most trying moments.

For those of you who I've spoke with recently, I will do what I can to get to spend time with you before I get shipped off to the May Clinic. Because I have waived all my 'rights' for medicinal assistance, I hope that I get the time and energy to see you.

To the rest of you, I love you and hope the nest for you. For those whom I haven't reserved any issue with (Mora S,. Kristine T., Tammie S., Sheletha M and Herchell W.), I'm sure 'te flames of hell' will tickle my trifling ass. I hope that will bring you the satisfaction you need to put a close to having to deal with me in the flesh. I am sorry if I caused you any pain and I also wish you heaven as well.

I don't have anything else to leave you with but a 'So long'...

I don't do good-byes. If by some chance holistic treatment and various transplant procedures come into play and afford me an extension of time in this, my twisted and diseased meat-sack, then we will pick up where we left off sometime in the distant future.

And for those that care to know, Anika's spirit speaks to me every day. I'm using her handbook from 2009 and doing kind of the opposite, where April, Aswad, Candice, Alesia and myself were the only ones to know.

Looks like I'm going to best you there, Terry, lol!

I close with the immortal words of Fred G. Sanford, period: "Love Somebody!!!"



Best Regards,


Hassan Olumoroti Ntimbanjayo

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Disconnect

You are not your job.

Specifically, you are not your job title.

You are not your degree or certificate.

You are not defined by a series of letters behind your name.

You damn sure ain't the funky little nickname they gave you on the playground


So why is it that you rise and attempt so hard on the daily to be something, achieve somethings that you are not?

And don't answer "To pay the bills" either. Stop that foolishness.


The disconnect has happened between me and a lot of people because I see that a lot of energy has gone wasted on the unnecessary by folk that I once were close to. I am not one to judge, but I do know to step aside to let certain things play out where at times I will say something in a warning or concern a few times, but if I am never heeded then okay. I just choose not to be around that. That's all.

I learned a long time ago that misery indeed loves company, and I just don't have the wherewithal anymore to stand by and support such things so many of my kinfolk intentionally self destruct. You stand too close to a bomb and you will blow the fuck up, so I back away.

I'm no better than anyone else round here', but I'll be damned if I simply stand around and waste my time. Life itself is too precious and has way more meaning that most folk will ever know. Too many of us are spinning our wheels involving ourselves in matters that have nothing to do with us:

our body composition and makeup

our true sense of spirituality

who we really are as a people

political matters both foreign and domestic

and so on that we suffer because of these unhealthy choices.

Being unhealthy, mired in a poverty mentality and living dysfunctional among each other with a broken spirit when all we do about it is question why, make no true attempt to be happy and die miserable and broke when we know with absolute certainty that whenever you DON'T change the variable, the solution can never change, regardless how many ways you either write the question or attempt to figure out a new route in solving them.

For example, if by proven fact we know that simple consumption of animal products increases the chance of sickness, cellular anomalies (like cancer) and early onset death, then why do you still eat hamburgers without question?

It's funny how when you go out to buy a car, or look for an apartment or a home, or even go clothes shopping how much research one does. Everything has to be ON POINT in order for you to feel confident to buy that car, or move into that house or apartment. You have to have the absolute best price, interest rate and offer on that car AND it better be the color with the features you want or...

But you don't choose your friends that way.

Or your religion

Or your mate

Or even what foods you use to fuel and add nutrition to your body

Scientific study and just plain natural fact is that breast milk fed to a child helps in that human's development (both mother and child) exponentially... So why would you dare go to the market to buy and consume another specie's milk again? Cow's milk contains all of the proper nutrients, DNA and micro-cellular building blocks to be passed on from mother to calf to turn a 400 pound baby calf to a 1200 adult pound cow.

And negro you KNOW that consumption of animal, especially in THIS genetically ravaged society will cause the cancer cells to morph in your system like microwave popcorn around the 3 minute mark...

That's just steak, butter, sour cream, milk and cheese I'm talking bout there. I don't even want to get on religion morality or politics...


But because someone told you some shit and you just ran with it calling it 'tradition', you are miserable as a result of this. So why would I want to hang with you knowing what the outcomes will be if you have done nothing to change the variable and witnessing a lineage... a history of bad results?

It's hard, I know because it's environmental and the people, the products of it is what makes one sick.

That, and a scared negro... One too afraid to change the variable... Will get you killed. And I ain't trying to die for none of y'all.

Hence for some, the disconnect.

Friday, January 10, 2014

You Cannot Trip On What's Behind You

It's funny how people assume things about you, even when you tell them...

I've been very direct and forward, honest and truthful about the events that have happened in my life most recently both physical and emotional. Even though these posts come far and few between, if you read this with regularity then you know somewhat what's going on with me.

I thought it would be refreshing to share even the good and bad with you, the reader. I'm not afraid to say that I was wrong.

Just because I kind of, sort of look like you, speak with the dialectic you familiar with, and probably came up in the same neighborhoods with the same family values that you're probably used to does not mean that I believe, practice or even tolerate some of the things that you do. This goes for education, spiritual/non-spiritual beliefs, morality, where I place my value systems and how I see the world.

The funny thing is, in the 10 years that I have been blogging as well as the many conversations that I have had with some and maybe even most of you over the past decade, there should be certain things that stand out in one's mind to differentiate me from everyone or everything else.

I am not a believer of the God concept.
That means I'm not Christian.
That also means that I see religion as man-made and abstract.
Which means the tenants of Judeo Christian/Islam do not resonate.
I do not follow modern day tradition.
I don't observe so-called holidays and birthdays.
I am also not a pagan.
I do not place value in material objects.
I also don't place value in what someone else says.
I do not seek validation based on groupthink or societal values.
I prefer human contact rather than virtual.
I believe technology is a tool and should be used as such.
I believe that my peer group has substituted in person for virtual...

Friendship that is.

To see a couple hugged up on a park bench, or a group of friends at the dinner table, or a family gathering where all of the uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews are all bantering about and to have that one person staring at a 4 inch screen, distracted and detached, soaking in such a limited view of the world from the average 4 to 6 apps that they exclusively use sickens me.

Coming from a network engineer I know it seems odd. But also coming from the old-school it seems appropriate. Reminds me of what happened when I ran into this beautiful young sister applying for entry to the network engineering program at this networking Academy. She was very curious and she asked tons of questions, and I answered everyone I could to the best of my ability. Hell, I was excited and I told her that there isn't anyone that looks like you in this industry right now.

I ran into the sister again last week, this time she was securing the funds and grabbing test scores to make sure that she secured her space in the program. She brought me up to date about the research that I asked her to do from the time that I saw last and also indicated that she bought a few books to help her so that she knows the basics of networking so she wouldn't jump in the program cold. If you haven't guessed, she has no technical background and doesn't have a clue about programming and networks, but she is willing to try.

I noticed something different about her body language whereas she was more open and receptive to the things that I was saying more than the last encounter we share. She then told me that she took up most of the things that I said to heart and knew that she had research to do, but when I told her that no one in this industry looks the way she does, she thought that I was flirting with her. I addressed all of her questions or concerns with jumping into networking and being black as well as being a woman, but I avoided addressing the flirt comment. What I noticed upon our first encounter a month or so back was that she had a tablet, a cell phone and a Bluetooth device, and she seemed very well-versed in using these devices and accessing information and data.

I can say the same for most of my people, but it irks me when I walk into the workplace or even these training academies as well as universities for that matter and not see any brown scanned people that are native of this land. I do notice that a lot of people that I know that look like me spend an inordinate amount of time on social media sites. What I also noticed is that the information and data mostly pertains to celebrity, and that is passed off as information that one needs to know. A majority of my people think that information regarding the rich and famous, reality TV and nonpolitical high-profile figures is the information that keeps them in the know.

And on the way home on the train, even though I only have about 34% vision in one eye I see the disparaging differences in how we live, what we do to live and how it foretells what the future will probably be for us, and it doesn't depress me, it disappoints.

This past so-called holiday season, I watched most of my people struggle to put food on the table for their loved ones and families. I also watch them struggle to put together family gatherings, holiday parties, purchase gifts and favors and decorate their homes to celebrate something that has absolutely nothing to do with them.

A handful of my friends had their unemployment benefits cut off. Some of them took furlough days from. Others took extended vacations because their jobs just couldn't pay them during the holiday season. A lot of people struggle to make ends meet and picked up extra jobs if they could just so they can keep up with the Joneses and be seen as viable during this holiday season. And when they weren't working they were on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites wasting time.

We live in a day and age where we don't have to ask for anything. We live in a time will we don't need permission to do anything. Most of our parents and grandparents fought the battle for us, so I am at a loss as I watch my people struggle.

A couple of days ago was the three-year anniversary of my slip and fall accident that led me to be in this particular state. From that time to now I've relocated three times in different places in the United States, when from married to single, had more than 20 surgeries, went through various rehab programs and also suffered organ failure and had an episode of cardiac arrest. The only thing I lost in that time was human contact. Thanks to all my friends busy on Facebook and twitter, I was forced to go it alone. Doing things by yourself allows you to see everything!

I am thankful that I had to go alone. Even though I've gone through all the things that I have these past three years, I was able to build more than what my body was destroyed. Does that make any sense to you? How discouraging is that to see the people that you once loved and trusted disintegrate right in front of your eyes? In this era of information and data, it is hard for me to watch my generation become stagnant and irrelevant when they don't have to become this.

At one point in our history as a people, we had to ask for permission to do anything and everything. As a child of that movement it staggers me to know that in me making the moves that I have to make in order to move forward that I have to leave almost my entire generation behind.

It's time for me to move on, move forward. What I do next will be perplexing to some and possibly empowering to others, I don't know.

I don't even know if I'm willing to share that with you, dear reader because for most of you, you have the instant inkling to want to tear me down.

Some of you will probably hate me. Not because you actually hate me, but because no one likes the feeling of being left alone and left behind. But in doing what I need to do for myself, leaving this place will probably be the best thing I can possibly do with the limited time that I have left on this earth to be productive.

Tradition be damned.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Just Buy The Damn Ticket Already!!!

So I eff around and test out of my classes, seeing as I couldn't withdraw that late in the program/semester for medical reasons and I end up scoring a 76, 79 and an 87 om three of the final exams and passed the two certification exams I planned on pushing back to February.

I'm have a job manifesto to email and take my final final later on tonight. I'll probably pass that one too. Not bad for a cat that only attended a half a semester.

But get this:

I can add the titles  (Cisco) CCNA Security as well as CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) to the end of my name along with a few other accomplishments.

That leads to the next thing:

A job offer in Nassau

And nope, not New York state either. There is a Information Security Associate/Engineer position at a financial firm (banking systems infrastructure) in the gawd damn Bahamas...

*crickets*

Yeah, and a 2 bedroom/2 bath condo is around $386k in that market too. That's a 4 bedroom house here in Chicago. And no, the Bahamas ain't calling me like that... Common sense is.

It'd be my luck to go over there to interview and it to get got by another candidate that's been in the workforce for a minute and not rehabbing surgeries and going to school for the last few years.

I'm not coming down on myself.

Shit, I'm trying to start over, What happens if I take the interview, get over there and actually LIKE shit? I know that I must cut ties with damn near everybody, but damn, so soon? No goodbye sex?

And why are condos so damn much over there?