Keeping Up with the Jonzee still at the right spot.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Whuuut??? Oh-kaaaaaay!!

Who said a redneck and a dope boy turned rapper can't get it crunk together??????

We now return to the regularly scheduled where's my my M.A.C. Sinamon lipgloss??

Friday, October 27, 2006

All dressed up and I'm kinda not sure I want to go

Man. I was THE halloween queen from 5 to 16. Then 16 came and I stopped. All the sudden I couldn't stand the idea of dressing up--perhaps hormonal imbalance combined with teenage angst kept me from the whole dress up thing. And it seems that many of my friends felt the same as we got older. Costumes? Hell no. I think I have been to one Halloween party since I have been grown (one I threw) and for the most part only my most over the top friends dressed up.

I think I am starting to feel the Halloween spirit again. In New York, Halloween might as well be Christmas and it is definetely affecting my desire to dress up. To that affect, tomorrow a bunch of my classmates are having a good old fashioned Halloween party. Costumes are a must. Originally, I was just going to wear a t-shirt that said "This is my "f-ing" costume", but as the bug continues to take hold I am becoming more enamored with the whole dressing up.

I have decided to be L'il John. Stay tuned for pics.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Boxed Out

I live, breath, and eat all things affordable housing. It was a somewhat circuitous path to my profession. Lets just say the future OB-GYN begat budding city planner begat affordable housing developer. I have done the do-gooder, always-in-crisis non-profit developer thing, the government thing, and the private sector. Housing is it for me. It's particularly peculiar to my family. Some of them think it's a hobby and that one day I will get a real job. Uh...I think this is, like, my real job. (My aunt recently asked me when I was going to settle on a career--and I have been doing housing stuff for more than 7 years. )

I love the finance, the project management, the combination of real estate business with social-responsibility. The fortitude these "bleeding heart" non-profits garnered by partnering with government agencies and philanthropic groups amazes me. They managed to figure out how to piece incredibly complicated financial structures together to make these developments feasible--and demonstrated to the private market that there is, indeed, a market for affordable housing. I love that many have been extremely innovative and have created products that serve the most hard to serve populations--e.g. homeless with mental illness, prisoners reentering society, etc.

But for all there wonderous foresight, lately they piss me off with there current state of inability to compete and innovate in an increasingly competitve marketplace. They seem to be facing the same issues that other non-profits face. They started off fullfilling a need in the market place but now fail to grow. They run after any stream of funding--whether it directly relates to mission or not and often end up losing money because they don't have the capacity to meet the requirements. They build assets but no cash flow. Non-profit developers add to this idiocy by continuing to build affordable housing boxes that add fuel to the fire of NIMBY'ism.(and might as well be building public housing) And in the increasingly competitive environment of real estate, they are stuck in the mud when it comes to figuring out how to compete--listening to so called private sector experts who cynically recycle the same old projects over and over.

What fueled this diatribe was the dismissive nature an extremely successful and out of the box real estate proposal received from a so-called affordable housing expert consultant. This proposal won the JP Morgan Chase Community Development Competition, is being presented at the Global Social Business Conference held by the UN and sponsored by Citibank, and is being entered into the Good Ventures competition as well. In summary, the project created a $12,000,000 endowment and cash flow for a relatively innovative nonprofit that serves prisoners reentering society. The proposal we created was within mission, it met community needs(head start day care), created some financial independence, and it was environmentally sustainable. Our financial structure was vetted by bond experts, tax-credit syndicators , and was ultimately accepted by a panel of high-level bankers who judged our final proposal. And yet this consultant's proposal dismissed our analysis, took an idea about building affordable Cooperative units (NYC's for sale apartments), and proposed some simple-ass elementary tax credit/ bond deal with uber-small units. To top it all off, the only money the non-profit would get is the savings from moving some of their offices uptown . Like for the rest of the world, cash is king--especially in cash flow slow or non-existent non-profits who seem to always have way more restricted funds than unrestricted. As a matter of fact, this so-called best-practice expert designed a proposal that looked much like one of the ones an ivy-league competitor placed in the competition--and lost with.

The funny thing is, that the non-profit developers who are most successful are the guys who are constantly looking for new ways to serve the "market. They are creating housing for extended families (grandparent housing), recycling the old flop house idea to serve the most resistant homeless folks, developing supportive housing models for kids aging out of foster care, etc. Theu get more funding and they have more cash in the bank. They innovate and use the market efficiently.They are not robbing Peter to pay Paul.

They get that all non-profit developers need to gear up to compete with each other and the greater market place for affordable housing. Even social-good organizations have to deal with the rules of capitalism in a capitalist society. Functioning with a double bottom line--social good and money making is imperative to survival in an increasing competitive market where for-profits are getting in on the non-profit game. To me, it's irresponsible for non-profits to not function in the most efficient and fiscally responsible way possible if they are to truly work at achieving their missions'.

I'm starting to think that I have got more guts to be an entreprenuer than I ever thought. Especially, if the market for affordable housing continues to be stuck in its ways. Lydon B. Johnson is dead already.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Date Night

Lots of folk I know consider Saturday night date night. Not me. Not ever. As a matter of fact, I don't think I have ever even planned a date for Saturday night. Or been asked on a date on Saturday night---if I have been, shows you how memorable it is. Saturday isn't even "going to kick it with my love ones" night either--unless I am out of town (yo, A-town put it down the last two saturdays for me--so I prolly need lay low any how) Saturday has become blog night for me--unexplicably.

I want to be able to post a few times a week. But as I have mentioned--school is kicking my butt. 4 classes, 1 workshop, 2 projects, and trying to find post grad employment. Oh, and there is the little thing that I have finally slowed down enough to learn how to date too. Well, all of that just doesn't lead to dilligent bloggery.

But every Saturday, life seems to slow down just enough for me to post something.

If this was one of the many pretty journal-like notebooks I have been given over the years by my mom's or purchased through my own volition---this would be a wrap. If this was the one of the three other blogs I had attempted to start in the last 2 years --the last post would have been 2 years old.

But starting this thing to cure what I believe would be total, absolute flagilating bordem turned out to be the best thing for me. Its free therapy. It clears the clutter. And makes my fast behind sit still long enough to try to string some cohesive sentences together about something random floating around in my mind that does not have anything to do with tax incidence, marginal burden, or two-sample hypothesis testing. Excuse me...

So, I'd like to thank me blog for:

1) Making me be honest with myself about things I need to change
2) Helping me take stock of where I am in my life and who I have surrounded myself with
3) Clearing my ADHD mind of some of the stuff that keeps me from focusing

and most of all

4) Forcing me to get back in the habit of writing. I enterain the mess out of myself everytime I re-read one of my posts. Especially, the early ones--some one call the editing police.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A House is not a Home

Its time to clean house. It is time to get rid of all the dead weight. Its time for Captain friggin retire from the game. This weekend I went to ATL for the National Black MBA Conference and some stuff went down that made it clear, some of these muufucca's in my life gots to go.

Wanna hear 'bout it? Here it go. I have this friend--lets call her Rita. She and I met a few years ago when both of us started to seriously pursue business school. If you met both of us and asked us to tell you our individual stories they would be eerily similar. Both of us had crazy abusive boyfriends in college, both of us have younger brothers who seemed to lack the sense God gave them (I got another brother and crazy chick story for y'all--but not today), we kicked it a bit longer than alot of our friends.

And the similarities go on. But the differences are also stark. I enjoy adventure. I am willing to try most things--provided it is within the law--at least once. I shop--but with a list and a time frame. I feel very comfortable in diverse environments. Rita--doesn't like change, needs structure to feel comfortable, and if it aint a black spot on the black side of the block--she is going to flip the hell out. Oh, and she shops like the world is going to end.

But the biggest difference is the man factor--and that factor might have been the deal sealer on the end of a friendship. I have had a number of boyfriends over the years. Some of them I had absolutely no business with--kept them around because it was something to do. (Not that kind of do---get your mind out the gutter) But, I haven't had a boyfriend in awhile, because after the last guy I dated I realized I needed to do some self-evaluation. Rita on the other hand needs male attention--pronto. If we go out on the town, she judges whether she had fun or not by whether some dude tries to get with her. No male attention? No fun. And then the late night eating conversation starts about how she can't get a man. "Im too dark...too fat...brothers in ATL don't date dark girls" (Wrong!) "Now that I have an MBA--the dudes that I would date aren't on my level...the MBA's want light, skinny girls."(Now that might be a little true) and then tears.

So, now that she has a man you would think all is right with the world. But with this one, she knows she is wasting her time and has said so. He lives in GA. She lives in NY. His schedule as an engineer is not as flexible as hers so she has to do the traveling. He's depressed. So is she. The timing is always messed up when they do make arrangements to see each other. You think she would end it. Naw such a thing Ms. Millie.

So thats the backgroung. Here is where it gets good. Homegirl was so looking forward to seeing the boy and getting some. Since he couldn't come up until the weekend and she and I were both in attendance at the conference, I was going to stay with her in her free hotel room until Friday night. Because the boy's schedule got messed up she suggested I stay till Saturday and then go to my friend's house. Cool. Plans to kick it are made. Then homegirl gets sad about the boy not coming so I go out with my other girls.

I get back at 3 AM. Brrrriiinnng! Her phone rings. I say to myself, "Aw! Some bullshit bout to go down." Sho nuff. Its the boy. He has driven up from 2 hours south of ATL to surprise her. Now remember, I told she is desperate for male attention (and only feels most validated up under 'neath somebody.) So, as she is talking to him, I'm thinking she is about to ask me some ridiculous shit. In the dark, I sit waiting. She hangs up and starts to tell me what's going on. So I ask her what she is going to do. I say, thinking she would not have the balls to ask, "Do you want me to call so-and-so and see if she can come back?" She says, "Would you mind?" Cooler heads prevail. I was going to be like have you lost your mind---but after 3 days of little sleep, I was not about to have another sleepless night pissed off that the child would even ask me that. When she calls the boy back, I hear him say to her over and over, that he will find a place to crash until the morning, she says no.

After 20 minutes of me trying to get my friend, I tell her I can't reach her. Rita promptly gets up and gives me my friend's roommate's cell phone number. Pissed to the highest level of pisstivity. Roommate answers. I get to packing.

Rita promptly calls the boy back to reassures him that I am "cool with it" and that he better come on because if he falls asleep then all of the drama won't be worth it. Woo! I just kept my head down and kept packing.

She is benevolent enough to drive me. As we are riding in the car, she says to me "Are we going to talk about this?" I say simply, "No we are not. We can talk about it tomorrow but right now. Lets just say this is not cool." When she pulls up to my girl's house--who is also semi-one of her girls, my friend won't even come out the doorway. (She is a cusser so, one could assume that she wanted to let homegirl have it.)

Ain't enough penis in the world to make me do this kind of crap to one of my girls.

It's forgiven, but not forgotten. And the gravedigger is digging.