Daily Prompt: Parallel

Back in college I was in this band called Chocolate Milk. At one point we thought we were about to be famous so we had to change our name. Turns out Chocolate Milk was a funk band from the 70s:


We couldn’t compete with that so started the arduous process of a name change. We finally settled on Halfro but we came up with many possibilities. One of those was Parallel Parks. I voted for this because I really liked the double meaning. One being the vehicular maneuver to place one’s car near a curb and the other of just having two public spaces adjacent to each other.

In the end I’m glad we didn’t go with it. So many letters.

If you care, this is what we sounded like:



via Daily Prompt: Parallel



I guess this was meant to be. 

A Wrinkle In Time was G A R B A G E.

Let me clarify, I mean the movie. The book holds a very important place in my heart. Seventh grade was one of the turning points in my life and I remember this book making a significant impact. So when the movie was announced and I saw the cast, I was appropriately excited. I liked the casting of the Misses, Gugu, and the best Chris. They also had a chunky budget, it should have worked.

But it didn’t.

It sucked.

My biggest gripe was that it was straight up boring. I don’t know how much of this is nostalgia but there was a sense of wonder, adventure, and tension in the book. None of that translated to the screen. Interesting things were taken out or changed for whatever reason. There were continuity issues that got annoying to me. Giant flying cabbage. OD bullying. Being LAUNCHED onto a mountain in a tree and SURVIVING?!? Sure, I’m nitpicking at this point but seriously this was not good. So I’m thinking, is this a worse adaption that The Last Airbender? Surely it can’t be but…


-It was pretty
-Reese Witherspoon was fun
– Kid who played CW was good at being creepy and evil but that’s probably because he’s child. Every other time he was horrifically annoying.
-Zach Galifianakis had the funniest line in the movie but I can’t remember it because it was surrounded by doo doo.


Pro-tip for every single person that dates: Don’t go to the movies on the first date. It’s dumb. We believe this was happening right next to us and it’s just doesn’t make any sense.


via Daily Prompt: Wrinkle

Daily Prompt: Noise


What a word. Is there a negative connotation associated with the word noise? Noisy, noise complaint. Probably but what about music and the sound of someone’s voice you like. The gentle underlying roar of a rain storm or the applause after a performance. Some noise is definitely annoying to the point of using other noise to drown it out. Other noise is wonderful where you want to eliminate other sounds just to hear a noise better. The absence of noise is jarring, funny how that works. They give awards to people for making noise. People have been immortalized and made wealthy because their noise spoke to the masses. I would argue that hearing is our most important sense.

Rhyming a one syllable word is too easy but lets make rain #BadBars:

Listen when I talk, it is not just noise

Crack his top, he’ll really get a cold one with the boys

Open the box, your girl will get fucked when I play with the toys

I’m calm under pressure, you’ve never seen this poise

Stay scheming all day, listen carefully to hear these ploys

I got a row full of happy women, call them a room full of Joys

Get me that bougie water. The Pellegrinos? No, La Croix’s

My dog kills everything in site. What he see, he destroys.


OK FINE THIS WAS HARDER THAN I THOUGHT. Three to four syllables are the best for this.

This is a great version of this song. Bye.


via Daily Prompt: Noise

Ronald Bruner Jr-Triumph

So I’ve recently entered the “Domesticity of Justin” chapter. The other day I was
“cooking” dinner with my girlfriend and I decided we’re going to listen to some jazz. This is because obviously I’m 58 years old. Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue kicked this night off. Then I transition to some of my old favorites that I used to listen to when I was heavy into jazz. This morning at work, I wanted to create a playlist of a bunch of this music and just have a nostalgia boner while I worked. Melody Gardot, Jamie Cullum, Avishai Cohen, Kneebody and more fill up this playlist. I wanted to add some tunes from the Grammy winning album Stanley Clarke Band. Ronald Bruner Jr anchors this album but I remember that he released an album of his own. Ignoring the extensive playlist I just created, I dive into Triumph. Image result for triumph ronald bruner

Ronald has been a mainstay in the jazz world for years. His brother, acclaimed musician and documented weirdo, Thundercat has also been killing it as well. Ronald Bruner Jr. is better than your favorite drummer. He can LITERALLY play any style but is known for his immense speed and power. He’s so good that when listing favorites he is oft forgotten about until mentioned and then the “Oh, well duh” and “Yeah, of course” phrases come out. He’s so good, it’s unfair and it makes me want to practice and retire at the same time. Now, history denotes that drummers usually can’t/don’t make good albums. It’s a fact, sorry. Many times the music is just a basic foundation for the drummer to just go crazy. Elementary musical ideas with drumming brilliance. It gets old.

Triumph ain’t that.

This is a well made project with engaging ideas and masterful musicianship. Ronald sets the tone early though; displaying sheer skill and command of his instrument in the first ten seconds of the album. He’s here to show off. The first track, “True Story,” is a driving, inspirational number that is interlaced with ridiculous drum fills. I’m impressed because I’m just such a fan but a seed of doubt is sewn because if he just loses his mind on each track it will get indulgent real fast and that would be disappointing. “Take The Time” features his brother Thundercat and begins with a groovy riff with busy drums behind them. It reminds me of Mark Guiliana’s work on David Bowie’s Blackstar. Bruner’s skill is once again on display while the guitars just calmly sit over top as a welcome juxtaposition. “She’ll Be Back” and “One Night” are more in line with a good chunk of the album. Neo-soul, R&B, jazz, and hip-hop elements all fuse together for several mid tempo offerings that fill out the track listing.

Most of the instrumentation is live because Ronald definitely has access to incredible players. There are some absolutely absurd solos sprinkled throughout Triumph. In another review I mentioned how nobody was going for blood in the moments they have…not the case here. There are lengthy fusion instrumentals that allow musicians to stretch out and they take full advantage. This include solos from Bruner himself that are just confounding. Like…what do you even do? How is that even fair?

There are some moments that dip into a more electric pool. “Doesn’t Matter” has electric drums and its hypnotizing synth makes for a very cool track. “To You/For You” is two completely different songs with the last two minutes being this hard-hitting, super produced rap song. It’s weird but whatever, if he wants to make beats and rap on his own album he can. Unfortunately, it is by far the weakest moment on the entire album.

That one instance of rapping is a good segue into the vocals on Triumph. There are not a ton of features on this project which means with the exception of Mac Miller, Danielle Withers and what I would assume some vocals from lil bro, Ronald is doing all the singing. Bruner has a really nice voice. At some points it sounds A LOT like Usher and his rhythms and melodies are cool enough to keep you invested. He uses layers and background vocals quite well to create full sounding singing parts. He stays in his bag and times he seems to push his voice it feels like it is on purpose to convey emotion.

I enjoyed Triumph but I could say that maybe it’s two albums in one. One is this R&B, soul  sometimes poppy project while this other is a modern jazz/fusion masterclass. They fuse together into an album that I enjoy thoroughly with my admittedly rose colored glasses.

Peep the album here:



Daily Prompt: Restart

I love the concept of restarting.

“Man, I love this song.” Start the song again.

“Updates have been installed.” Restart the computer.

“My device is acting up.” Did you turn it off and turn it on again?

Messed up my password…delete the whole thing, start from the top.

Broke your girl’s trust. Try to rebuild it.

Problem is unsolvable. Start over.

Giving something or someone a second chance to be great is a dope part of life. I would be a mess if I hadn’t given people another opportunity at redemption or extended the same to me. I’ve restarted songs halfway through the run time just because I’ve loved it so much.

Anyway, enough of this seriousness. I thought of this song when I saw the prompt:




via Daily Prompt: Restart

Sweater Struggle

5:57 A.M.

My eyes open to the dark room with a sliver of light cutting through the opening of the blackout curtains.  I don’t even look at my phone knowing that at any moment my first alarm will go off. An odd metered chime erupts from my phone and I roll my eyes as I swipe away the noise. Well, thank God I live to see another day but curses that I once again woke up before my alarm. Systems check. All my limbs work. I did charge my phone. I don’t have to pee. My naked body is warm under the covers but I can sense the chill morning air my less-than-stellarly insulated studio.  My arms are sore from yesterdays work out and I smile to myself in vanity. I have a strange premonition as I quickly think about what I’m going to wear to work before catching another quick 55 minutes of sleep.

6:53 A.M.

“Motherfucker,” I whisper to myself. I roll over to finish off these last seven minutes and hopefully pop back into that dream. I let the darkness come for me in that warm, hug-like nook. A softer, yet more piercing alarm rudely interrupts my chances at chasing a few more snores. I get out of bed unphased by the smell of the man that I am. Lights, teeth, deodorant, hair (lol), and clothes. I desperately need to do laundry. Haven’t worn this sweater in awhile. Where is my other shoe? Where did the time go? Outside, I see the bus rumble by blissfully unaware that it was supposed to wait for me. Whatever. I finally check the temperature. Yup, I wore the wrong shoes and choosing these pants with a hole in them was a choice I made. I readjust my sweater and the annoyance of the day slowly forms at this street corner.

8:00 A.M.

My fucking sweater is too small. I realize today will be one of constant adjustment. Have to make sure my crack isn’t out in the streets like the war on drugs. Doesn’t help I’m wearing the ugliest brown beater known to man…which is also too small. It would be fine if this sweater was only tight but the sleeves are too short and it is just not long enough. Obviously it’s freezing in the office and I’m pretty much wearing a skin suit. Ugh. That’s what that premonition was earlier in bed. Clothes will piss you off today. Should have looked at the weather and pivoted. Black Vans, “Black” pants with crotch hole, TIGHT black sweater. Looking like a out of shape thief. Looking like I’m going to a hipster funeral.

11:25 A.M.

Write all this out on WordPress to rave reviews and tons of fanfare. Thank the fans, God, and my parents. Bow gracefully and wave as applause pours in.


Listen to this song because it is what I immediately think of when I hear the word “premonition.” Stevie Wonder is brilliant.




via Daily Prompt: Premonition

Thoughts on Black Panther

Just hopping right in.

So on the surface level, I enjoyed the movie fine. I’m glad that the film was made and excited it’s breaking all sorts of records. It’s good that a new generation is getting to see a black superhero be great. People dressing up for the premier, seeing it multiple times, and writing pieces about it are all awesome. Even myself after viewing the movie had an emotional response:

When this movie was announced, my initial worry was that there would be all this hype (there was) but then the movie would be not so good. The director, cast, and initial reactions somewhat quelled my fear but I still felt as though emotion would cloud technical judgement. People were just excited that this movie existed. Complaints I’ve seen from a few blogs and reviewers mention that an actual plot was delayed, unnecessary moments, sloppy CGI work, no real threat (it’s Marvel), kinda boring, etc…

Image result for black panther poster hd

The problem is that I hyped it up too much for myself even though I knew it would end up being a safe Marvel blockbuster. I wanted this movie to be great, I NEEDED it to be great but it was just…it was just cool. I liked the world building, I liked Killmonger as a villain even though his importance kicked in too late, I liked the supporting characters. The tech was cool and remember myself audibly saying “Wow” at certain points. I just didn’t get that awe or emotional exhaustion like when I saw films like La La Land or Arrival. I want to feel something when I leave films.

That being said, the larger potential social impact of Black Panther could be important. Major studios realizing that black people can make them money. Black kids having a hero that looks like them. Showing STRONG black women. Showing successful black people. We’ll see.

This piece is all over the place but whatever. The movie was cool and I’ll probably catch it again when I can watch it at home. Didn’t blow my pants off but yeah.


This song is stuck in my head: