Quiz: Do You Need a Social Life Upgrade?

this is the start of a new blog series I’ll be posting called “upgrade your social life.” a couple of years ago, I realized my social life was at an all time low. I had established a tightly wound routine, kicking it with the same people and doing the same things week in and week out. since then, I have become an ambassador for fresh socializing if you will, a champion of “get up, get out, and do something.” your social life is like a well-made automobile, it can take you places but it’s your job to make sure it gets the necessary tune-ups and fuel it needs to keep moving.

so for the next few weeks I’ll be embarking on giving my own social life a recharge and writing the tips, suggestions, and ignorant stories I encounter along the way. I invite you, dear reader, to join me in upgrading your social life. but first a pop quiz. ☺

Do you dread Friday night? Has blockbuster become your best friend? Can’t remember the last time you went out and had a good time? Sounds like you need a social life upgrade! Take the following quiz to see if your social life is in need of an extreme makeover.

1. Your typical Friday night consists of:

a) out on the town of course! what else is friday for?
b) sweatpants, blockbuster, and a snack.
c) working on your laptop.

2. In the past two weeks you met ___ new people.
a) 4 or more
b) 1-3
c) 0

3. The last book you read was:
a) by one of your favorite authors.
b) for a class.
c) had more pictures than words.

4. In a room full of strangers you:
a) introduce yourself to the person next to you with a smile and a firm handshake.
b) keep it low key until you see someone you know.
c) hold up the wall most of the night.

5. The last time you did something that stretched you out of your comfort zone was:
a) today!
b) not too long ago.
c) ....you can't recall.

6. When asked what you like to do for fun you:
a) could talk for hours.
b) after "watch movies and listen to music," you run out of things to say.
c) can't really think of anything.

7. You typically go out on the town:
a) once a week.
b) once a month.
c) a few times a year.

8. When you and your friends go out you:
a) typically suggest a place.
b) go with the flow, whatever they suggest.
c) decline the invitation.

9. The idea of going out alone makes you:
a) excited! You enjoy hanging out by yourself.
b) invite other people to go with you. You don’t roll solo.
c) scared. Who wants to go out alone?

10. In a conversation, you typically:
a) talk the other person’s ear off.
b) a little bit of both.
c) listen quietly.

Mostly As...Social butterfly
You enjoy going out, experiencing new things, and meeting new people. You thrive in a crowd and see a room full of strangers as an opportunity rather than a daunting moment. You don’t let anything stop you from doing the things you like to do and you love to be the life of the party.
Upgrade Challenge: Since you thrive in group environments, spend some time alone. Get to know yourself and the things you like to do separate from friends, dates, and crowds.

Mostly Bs...Social-lite
You enjoy being social, but don’t mind spending time alone or at home. You are a great listener and your friends like to be around you because of your cool and fun personality. You go with the flow, but don’t take a lot of initiative when it comes to being social.
Upgrade Challenge: Strike up conversation with someone you don’t know next time you are out and about. Offer up an interesting fact you read recently, playing an active role in the conversation by not just assuming the part of the listener.

Mostly Cs...In need of an upgrade

You haven’t gone out in weeks and the thought of going out is not an encouraging one. You like to have fun, but mostly find yourself spending time at home. You may be in a rut, and in need of something to charge you and get you back into enjoying life.
Upgrade Challenge: Pick one new thing to do or place to go each month and do it! No excuses! Whether it’s going out with friends, checking out an event that interests you, or signing up for a class you’ve always wanted to take, you may find that switching up your typically routine will help you to embrace life even more.

Blog Sneak Peek: Next up…10 Ways to Upgrade Your Social Life and Upgrade Adventures: Learn How to Dance.

Upgrade Your Social Life is available on Myspace, Facebook, and in e-newsletter ATL Lowdown.

Creative Loafing: Show Preview - Harmony in Life

Harmony in Life: Atlanta's soul haven launches new label
Published 07.16.08, Atlanta Creative Loafing
By Amena Brown
Photo By Raymond Hagans
Caption: PJ Morton and his band move the crowd.


In Atlanta, the term "harmony in life" is more than hippie talk. It represents a collective of musicians who first came together at the Hard Rock Café's Velvet Underground room and is now anchored at the Sugarhill club in Underground.
What began as a jam session for local artists has grown into a multimedia brand – known as Harmony in Life – that hosts monthly live music. Backed by sick-with-it house band Vibe-Raiders, the show features such homegrown artists as PJ Morton, Algebra and Rahbi, as well as national artists India.Arie, Dionne Farris and Raheem DeVaughn.
With a roster that consists of mostly unsigned soul, R&B and hip-hop acts, Harmony In Life founder Ron Smith has cultivated a network that helps artists get their music to the right audiences.

"We are striving to get good music to the people who want to hear it," Smith says. "We want to create a revolving door of fans, so one artist's crowd can be turned on to another artist's crowd. We're stronger together than we are apart. That's something artists need to know."

Smith and business partner Mike Dawson launched Harmony in Life Records last year to offer independent artists distribution and promotion. The label's first project, the double CD For the Moment/A Soul Acoustic, was released May 7 and features singer/songwriter Dain Harris and guitarist/producer Brandon A. Thomas, both Harmony in Life regulars.

"From the artists' perspective there's a camaraderie [at the show] that's hard to find," Thomas says. "You get to know everybody and there is networking beyond belief. From an administrative standpoint, the label has been my saving grace. It was good to have a team of people to help with that."

In celebration of classic soul, the four-year anniversary show will be a Stevie Wonder tribute and jam session, featuring past Harmony in Life performers Anthony David, Heston, Rahbi, Chimere and more.

Harmony in Life Anniversary show. $10-$15. Sat., July 19. 9 p.m. Sugarhill, 50 Upper Alabama St. 404-658-0068. Purchase tickets at www.ticketalternative.com, Moods Music, Marco's Pita, Soul of Sisa or Cafe Circa.

Southeast Performer: A3C Hip Hop Festival

A3C Hip Hop Festival
CW Midtown Music Complex
Atlanta, GA, March 20-22, 2008
Published May 2008 in Southeast Performer Magazine

This year’s fourth annual A3C Hip Hop Festival, held at Atlanta’s CW Music Midtown Complex, delivered three days of record-scratching, beat-breaking, neck-rocking, slick-spinning hip-hop. Each night featured a line-up of hip-hop acts ranging from local artists to consistent national headliners.

Playing to an audience that has never heard your music can be a tough feat to overcome, but Atlanta MC Mojo Swagger rocked the mic during Thursday night’s show at Vinyl as if he were performing at Madison Square. Wearing a boxing glove on his left hand, Swagger described his love for hip-hop to the crowd saying, “Hip-hop makes me feel open. Like smoking my first blunt, kissing my first girl, buying my first car, having my first drink.” MC Dillon Maurer showcased the fun side of hip-hop during his set, while duo Contra Verse dedicated a song to the downside of the mainstream music industry.

On Friday night, Gripplyaz opened the show at Center Stage, followed by eclectic crew Hollyweerds. DJ Klever held the whole night together, kicking tunes from the turntables in-between acts. B.o.B. brought an electric energy to the stage during songs “Haterz” and “Addicted to the Nightlife,” even doing jumping jacks as a part of his performance. Los Angeles MC Blu spit his well-constructed lyrics sans hype man with merely a mic and a Heineken, rhyming, “Heard you was looking for a weapon. My tongue’s right here.”

The evening closed with the much-anticipated reunion of one of hip-hop’s pioneer groups The Juice Crew. Big Daddy Kane was unable to attend due to problems with his blood pressure, but Marley Marl, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shante, Craig G, and MC Shan, performed their old hits and debuted a couple of new ones. MC Shan, a recent Atlanta transplant, rhymed some of his old lyrics over new school beats, while Biz Markie reminded the audience of the power of the beatbox. Biz Markie sang one of his landmark hits, “Just a Friend,” giving the audience permission to sing, whether they could hold a note or not.

Hip-hop has always been about ego, the sheer ability to showcase your skill, prove yourself, or at the very least make your audience believe in what you can do, even if they haven’t seen it yet. A3C celebrates hip-hop by providing a stage for pioneers to exemplify the culture’s history and newcomers to carry on its legacy.


challenge 08: my first video blog!

hey everybody!

just got back from being a part of the challenge 08 youth conference in salt lake city last week. carried the camera along and tried to get a behind the scenes view. prepare yourself for some shaky camera angles. lol shout out to all the cool students i met at challenge 08! check it out.


Eric Roberson: a retro blog

this is what I have termed retro blogging. it’s what happens when you don’t blog about stuff right after it happens which forces you to post the event and lean on your reader to act like the post is current. so please dear reader, use your imagination and make believe you are reading this blog on june 13. ☺

I’m into live shows and there are a few artists I will lay down good money to see (i.e. the roots, India.arie, algebra, earth, wind & fire, Stevie wonder, prince) and erro is in my top 5. thanks to a birthday gift from a special gentlemen I was able to attend the eric Roberson show at sugar hill with kimpossible. she and I arrived early, mainly because we wanted to wear heels and were not looking forward to standing on them all night. while we were waiting in line for the doors to open, eric came out and greeted the already lengthening line, stopping to say hello and to take pictures. the guy in front of us was a true erro fan, he had an old erro LP with a cover pic that had eric looking like he was 16 or something, clean fade with the curved part. kim p and I took a picture with erro before our twenty minutes of standing on our heels was up.

about an hour later the venue opened and we found a little cushiony couch to sit on until the show started. algebra opened the show, singing a couple of my favorite algebra joints: “you do it for me,” “my name is algebra,” and “at this time” (which is my favorite song on her new album purpose). I have a thing about being close to the stage when I’m at a show. I like to do this for two reasons. one: it keeps me closer to the music and further away from the people who come to shows and get their talk on all night. two: I’m standing where the music is loud so I can sing or rap the lyrics to my heart’s content. it really recreates the scene I set up in my car almost every day! so kim p and I venture to the front and realize a couple of things. it’s hot. blazing hot. need a church fan with dr, king or the funeral home advertisement on it hot. and secondly we realize if we are going to enjoy ourselves these heels have got to go!

so there we are standing barefoot by the time eric hits the stage. would have been a great time to have packed flip flops in the too big purse I’m always carrying. and I was also thinking if somebody sold flip flops in venues like this, they would probably get a buyer out of me. especially if the flip flops were cute and not too cheap looking. because although wearing heels completes many an outfit, for the most part they’re not comfortable and I’m gonna end up coming out of them at some point.

so eric hits the stage and puts on a SHOW. singing hits from his new album, “…left” and running back over some old ones. he also sang my absolute favorite erro song “pretty girl.” I love that song so much it probably deserves a blog of its own! of course an eric Roberson show wouldn’t be complete without eric kicking a freestyle. this time he had to create a new song using the words: equilibrium, algebra, child support…and dang, I can’t remember the fourth one. if you attended the show help me out. all in all it was a great time, worth the long line, standing in heels, singing barefoot.

side note: before the show i downloaded an eric roberson greatest hits of sorts called the collection. I wanted to know more songs of his so I could sing them at the show. the collection includes a smattering of eric’s hits from previous albums and a new tune “head to toe.” I have been listening to the collection nonstop ever since. favorite songs: “def ears” and “just a dream”