Tag Archive: tiger woods


I’m not here to argue with any of you about the company he keeps, or if he’s truly ‘redeemed’ from past indiscretions.

I’m acknowledging the athletic accomplishment and the man’s kids being old enough now to appreciate in person how good their dad is at what he does.

I knew Nike wasn’t go waste any time.

Enjoy.

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If you’re a regular reader of mine, you know I look at (my) life through three prisms: spiritual happiness, professional growth, and personal relationships.  As I look at where I am now, compared even to 12 months ago, I’m incredibly humbled.

At 33, I’ve written and directed a professional short.  I still can’t say enough about the professionalism and overall comfort I felt working with the guys from Through a Glass.  The end result of course was national exposure.  I lost track of the number of times I was teased about Sanaa Lathan ‘saying my name’ on television.  I plan to direct again at some point.  I haven’t determined when yet.  Last week I was in this acting workshop, and I did a cold read of this comedic scene that played very well.  The casting director gave me a note that was like an epiphany: do more comedy.  I was trained in drama, and I was (at least) technically proficient enough in ‘Lady’ to prove I could act.  But my individual charm, my personality, my ‘shine’ is much more obvious when I’m being silly or a smartass.  I’ve had comic relief in every project I’ve ever done, but I’ve never led with it as my primary focus.  I’m inspired to write again, for the first time in almost a year.  I’m taking on more schooling, focusing more on the comedy training I already have.  I’m enjoying myself.  We’ll see where I’m at 12 months from now (God willing).

At 33, I’m starting my second decade as a West Coast resident.  And I still feel like I just moved here. There’s so much I still haven’t seen or done in this city.  And that doesn’t include San Fran, Hearst Castle, Torrey Pines, and a lot of other parts of the Golden State.  USC, the Lakers, the Dodgers, these are my teams now (can’t imagine cheering for anyone but the Chiefs).  I’m loving the return of sunny days, and I got pissy as all hell when it wouldn’t stop raining. I’m beyond spoiled!  This city, its energy, its diversity, its liberalism (and quiet conservatism); I feel like I’ve lived here my whole life already.  And you notice I haven’t talked the Biz when I talk about the city?  In retrospect, it seems amazing I never really planned to come this way.  Everything truly happens for a reason, and God truly has a plan.

If normal at this moment in time is defined as not being as tight lipped as Tiger Woods, but not being as open as John Mayer, there’s no harm in me admitting at 33, there is a She.  Our relationship is very young, but She is amazing.  Silly, sexy, sensitive,sarcastic, political, charming, affectionate, giving.  I’m looking at Her birthday gifts to me as I write this, in awe of it all. I’m Michael Jackson, I’m John Lennon, I’m Bruce Wayne: I’m this black, Muslim, ‘Hollywood’, noncomformist geek, and she ‘gets it’.  I guess we’ll see if He and She become a We now that I’m 33.  (I’m sorry, I’m sorry, that wasn’t me being smitten, that was me needing to get my behind into bed.)

At this moment, as I move past my last professional milestone, I see the next one coming up quickly.  (Not jinxing it.)  At this moment, I’m waking up in a city I love to live in, enjoying another sunny day.  At this moment, I have a Pretty Young Thang saying those three words to me every morning when I wake up, and every night before I go to sleep (and several times in between).

On my 33rd birthday, I’m essentially living the life I dreamed of having.  My spiritual, professional and personal happiness are all good and looking to become great.  I’ve never been more aware I’m in the 1% of people on this planet who can say that.  I’m having my (birthday) cake and eating it too.  I’m beyond blessed and incredibly humbled.  God is good.

Limitless – II. Year One

 My affection for the colors black and gold started earlier than most people think.  My parents met at Grambling State University in the late 60s/early 70s.  As any black child would, I have vivid memories of going to a Grambling homecoming when I was 9 or 10.  There is NOTHING like seeing an HBCU marching band; I still feel like that today.  Even though I didn’t make it to my first Bayou Classic unitl my early 20s, I will always have a soft spot for HBCUs.  My father did a stint in the Army after college, which turned into a career working for a federal agency.  His older brother, my uncle, was living up North, so Kansas City was as good a spot as any to start off in.

I was born at 10:08 P.M. at Bethany Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas.  Yes I was a night baby, big surprise.  Even though KCK is my hometown, my earliest memories of growing up are actually in a few other Midwestern cities.  A big part of my father’s early career meant moving around alot.  At a certain point, me and my mother couldn’t get up and go all the time so he would just leave for months at a time.  My mother still teases me about this; she says I used to always cry when he left; as if I believed he was never coming back.  They say the person you become can be all be traced to your first 5 years; I’ve had more than one ex tell me with conviction that my own well documented aversion to commitment can be traced to the constant moving and separation I went through at this stage of my life.  Of course these girls are exes for a reason, so my counterargument is they’re all crazy (just kidding).

The first city I recall staying in was Oklahoma City.  We had a little basement apartment; my mother stayed with me during the day while I watched Sesame Street and the Electric Company.  You may question how I remember this, and the answer is easy for me: I learned how to spell Mississippi watching the Electric Company.  It’s true; there was a little skit where they turned into a musical jingle I still use today: M-I-S, S-I-S, S-I-P-P-I!  Thank God for Public Broadcasting.

After that we spent time in the city my sister was born in, Springfield, Missouri.  I attended preschool there while my father took classes at Southwest Missouri State.  Still never been to the campus, but I remember the parking permit sticker in the first car I remember my family owning, an Oldsmoblie Eighty-Eight.  Eighty percent of the pictures of myself I hope never see the light of the day came from this period of my life.  Cordoroy pants, jellies, cowboy hats…yeah.  But there was ‘Pooh’.  My first ‘security blanket’ if you will was a Winnie the Pooh plush toy that I evidently took with me nearly everywhere.  I must have been over that thing by the time we made our next move, to Salina, Kansas.

Salina was similar to Springfield in that, as far as I could tell, we were the only black family in town.  Actually let me correct that: at that stage of the game, I had no concept of race.  My family looked one way, everyone else looked different.  It never came up back then, ever.  Me and my neighborhood buddies all went to the same school, we rode bikes together, we played in Little League together, we went to each other’s birthday and skating parties.  When the earliest elements of my sexuality surfaced, I played house with the cutest girl from my Little League team without a second thought.  If Michael Jackson could take Brooke Shields to the Grammys, why couldn’t I do what I was doing?  I was a ‘special kind of guy’ too.

Ironically, the first time I became aware of any kind of difference was spending time with my extended family in Louisiana.  They used to laugh at the way I talked (and in fairness, I probably did sound like an 8 year old version of Tiger Woods in those days).  But hell, THEY sounded just as ridiculous to me: ‘y’all’, and ‘mein’ and those crazy Southern accents.  But I loved them to death and vice versa.  Myself, my younger sister, and four of my younger cousins were all born six years apart.  We bonded pretty quickly and always hung out together when the opportunity came.  My first forays into artistry were the product of cutting ‘albums’ singing with my cousins on our old school boom boxes. 

What I remember next, I remember not as any single moment, but as flashes: My parents arguing.  The cops coming to the house.  One day I was at my father’s house in Kansas; the next I was living in a trailer out in the country in Louisiana with my mother and sister.   You don’t understand what exactly is going on, but you understand enough.  The carefree, outgoing kid who accepted whatever he was told is replaced by someone who, for better and worse, questions EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.   Paradise lost.

 

What I’ll Take From 2008…

 

tigerwoods

In no particular order, 10 things that will stick out in my mind from the past 12 months…

10. Getting Netflix

So I’ve had Netflix for a little less than a month and I’ve watched…28 movies.  Seriously, who was holding out on turning me onto this?!?  (I like movies by the way.)

9. Tiger Woods doing it again at Torrey Pines

Yes, I finally get around to talking about sports!  I’m one of those who takes a greater interest in the tournaments when I know Tiger is in contention going into the weekend.  So when he charged up the leaderboard heading into the weekend, I took notice.  When it was clear he was playing through pain, I really started keeping my eye on each hole.  And when he started hitting those birdies that we can all agree only Tiger Woods can make, I started getting excited.  When Rocco refused to back down and kept the pressure on Tiger all the way through Monday, I was one of the many men (in my office and around the country), who was logged on to ESPN.com or USOpen.com and watching the playoff from my work computer.  And after it was over and Tiger had to cancel the rest of his season because his leg was jacked up so bad, I wondered what else this cat could do to impress me as a sports fan.  I’ve really got to get serious about picking up the clubs in 09…

8. Facebook

Malik Aziz never has to attend another high school or college reunion for the rest of his life.

Malik Aziz can promote whatever he’s working on without ever having to pick up a phone.

Malik Aziz likes the digital revolution but hopes people remember a Facebook ‘hug/kiss/relationship’ is nothing compared to the real thing.

7. University of Kansas, 2008 National Champions

I’m (in)famously not as emotionally attached to KU as most of the people I went to school with, but unless you’re a complete Jayhawk hater (I do know a few), you had to love the Final Four this past year, where KU saved their best two games for last.  The giant comeback against North Carolina (exorcising the ghost of Roy Williams in the process), and Mario Chalmers’ miracle three to key the Jayhawks pulling away from Memphis in the final game.  One of my Jayhawk friends out here had to work and missed the title game; he asked me if the game was as good as he heard it was, and I had to take pity and tell him, “Honestly, it was.”

6. The last season of ‘the Wire’

My friend Nae-Mon is finally working his way through season 1, so I won’t go into who lives and dies in the last season.  I didn’t have HBO, but I must have made my way to friend’s houses at least five different times this year so I wouldn’t be left out of the loop Monday mornings.  David Simon came down to USC as a guest speaker during the season, and there I was sitting in the front row (literally) listening to him take questions about one of the best TV series of all time (yeah add me to the chorus, and I wasn’t even the biggest fanboy on the front row, but I’m not going to put my friend on blast like that).  The fifth season wasn’t the best season, the series finale wasn’t the best series finale ever, but you know what?  It had closure to every major storyline and character that the audience had invested their Sunday nights into.  After watching this (and a couple weeks later the series finale to the British version of the Office and Extras), I have even more contempt as a fan and as a storyteller when we get to the end of an otherwise great series and

(cut to black)

5. Family

As fate would have it, I saw my family twice this year.  Once during my annual trip to Kansas, and once over Christmas.  And I hear from my cousins every once in a while (again the magic of the internet).  Family is what it is; you only get one.

4. President-Elect Barack Obama

I wasn’t as passionate as most about this past election, but Lord knows I was aware of the historical significance of it.  Nothing to repeat here; the next four years are going to be a pain for all of us I think.  Really, if Obama can get us out of that ‘most hated country in the world’ image (and don’t be fooled, we are), then I’ll consider the next four years a success.

3. Health

I had to make five visits to the doctor this year, which is five more than I remember making the past ten years.  And I still feel terrible!  But I can still walk, run, go to the gym, everything I’ve always done, just a little bit slower. 

2. The Dark Knight

 Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Sometimes, truth isn’t good enough, sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.

You have nothing, nothing to threaten me with. Nothing to do with all your strength.

You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

Don’t talk like one of them. You’re not! Even if you’d like to be. To them, you’re just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these… these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. See, I’m not a monster. I’m just ahead of the curve.

Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice.

Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.

(nodding to myself as I wipe the tears out of my cowl and the cops chase me up Sunset Boulevard…)

1. Friends

This year I definitely hit a lot more rough patches than smooth ones.  Without fail though, whenever I got real down on myself, I’d get a text message or a phone call or an email, and within five minutes I’d be laughing so hard I forgot what I was down about in the first place.  I’ve been in the game long enough now to appreciate how life constantly throws out curveballs and changes the best-laid plans, so it’s ironic for someone as ‘Hollywood’ as myself that my most valued possession is my friends.  I definitely haven’t always valued people first, and some of those friends delight in reminding me of that (there’s one cat in particular whose laughing through his nose right now).  Hopefully I’m not ruining anything for anyone, but I mentioned Extras earlier.  In the finale, there’s a fantastic monologue about the main character, who’s the star of his own sitcom and eats at the nicest restaurants, etc., and he’s insanely jealous of one of his peers who’s become a movie star (a bigger star than him).  And his friend tries to tell him, if he’s still jealous now, then he’ll always be that way.  There’s always going to be some job, or some award, or something that he’ll want that he doesn’t have.  And he’ll have spent his life being jealous of someone else’s life instead of taking pride in his own work and being happy inside his own.  And of course he blows her off, but eventually he understands the lesson.  Another good friend of mine (the smuggest person I know) has gotten on me for years about not forgetting where I came from.  There’s truth in that too, and I don’t think I have forgotten where I came from.  I’m starting to ramble so here’s my point: years from now, when they found my dead body sitting in my favorite office chair, surrounded by mounds of coke a la Tony Montana, overdosed after my wife, Natalie Portman-Aziz, finds out I have a love child with Minka Kelly, then, I won’t have forgotten who my friends were.  Does that make sense?  No?  Well, I don’t care, I’m selling out in 2009, deal with it!

Have a Happy New Year!