Friday, February 29, 2008


Urban Safari Design is the name of the interior design business that I own along with my business partner Peggy. Peggy and I have known each for a very long time and we've always had a passion for anything related to design and decor. The fact that just the thought of a trip to Pottery Barn or Z Gallery makes me excited should tell you how much I enjoy what I do.

We've only officially been in business for our second year now and we've done several jobs. You can click on this link to see a portion of the work we've done. We have been meaning to update the website with some of our more recent projects but we just haven't gotten around to doing that quite yet. Suffice to say, we have two projects currently ongoing right now and the last one we completed took somewhere around 8 months to complete. That lady was, how shall I say this nicely.....a challenge.

She would like something for about a month or two and then decide after much wear and tear and cat abuse, that she no longer liked the item. That made for MANY return trips and alternative ideas and suggestions. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and this project definitely put our skill, our patience, our time and our focus to the test. It was a major job in that she was completely redesigning the interior of her house, complete with moving of walls, new flooring, new countertops, lighting, color schemes, remodeled bathrooms and last but not least decor.

We really had to exhale once that job was complete but it did help us to realise that we really do love what we do in spite of everything. Unfortunately, none of those photos have yet made it to the website but once they do, I will be sure to let you know.

All of this prefacing is to say that about a month ago, I met a gentleman on a flight to London. We had just exited the plane and we had some brief idle chatter and ended up exchanging business cards. He was a doctor and I told him of my athletic endeavours since I was on my way to a track meet at the time. The only business card I had at the time however, was my Urban Safari Design card and so I gave this to him.

Upon doing so, he asked, "So you do interior design too?" I told him yes and he mentioned that he lived in Malibu and that he a rather large project that he was about to embark on, a commercial project and that he was in need of an interior design company - would I be interested?? Of course I said yes but we both had to head in our separate directions to catch our connections. He said he would be in touch.

Fast forward to about 2 days ago and my cell phone rings and it's the doctor, asking if I'm still interested in the job and can my business partner and I come for a meeting that night. We make plans and we meet him at his house. So get this, this man offers us the job of designing the interior of the 100,000 sq. ft. "warehouse" that he has purchased and that he wants to turn into a spa resort of sorts. He asks many questions and we answer the best we can. We are somewhat overwhelmed at the scale and size of the job but we don't let him see us sweat:) We are both Stanford grads and he is currently a Stanford Dr. and works very closely with the university. I think he likes the common ground we share.

Additionally, he wants to hire us as in house designers for future projects and pay us a regular salary, while allowing us to do other projects that we care to that do not conflict timewise. DEAR LORD!!! Is he for real? Can this be happening? Why us? We're such a small company! These are the questions we quietly ask ourselves but we maintain our air of confidence and competence! He wants the job done by June no less and wants us to let him know as soon as possible.

Two days have now passed and we've had some time to think it over. The Lord must be shining brightly on us is all we can think because the kind of income this type of job would provide is beyond our WILDEST dreams!! Now nothing is written in stone as of yet and our most major problem is time but with some fervent prayers, diligent work, thorough execution and some guidance from above, this could very well be the opportunity of a lifetime. Keep your fingers crossed!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


First of all, let me say congrats to all of my friends who competed at the US indoor champs this weekend. It was just as nervewracking watching you guys on TV as it would have been had I been competing myself. Glad it's over....

Now, one of my readers, Don, pointed me towards another blog today and I read the posting over there on Mes Deux Cents ( and it spoke about the upcoming Olympics this year in Beijing and how she felt that there is a need for countries to boycott the Olympics to protest China's involvement in the genocide in Darfur, amongst other things. Quite a lot of people responded and many of them agreed with her.

While I can completely and respectfully appreciate her point of view, I felt compelled to respond from the point of view of an athlete. I have cut and pasted the response I wrote over there.

MDC: Thanks to Don for directing me to your blog. As far as boycotting the Olympics goes, I am one of those Olympic athletes who will actually be going to Beijing to compete in the long jump. I am not an American. I am from the Bahamas and I am pretty certain that we will not be boycotting The Games.

I think it's a very tempting and very easy idea to suggest that athletes and countries boycott in protest against whatever the world at large views politically as unfair, wrong and unjust. And when the injustice is like that which we see in Darfur, it makes the reasoning seem all the more compelling.

However, at the core of the Olympic Games is the sentiment, at least amongst those of us who have competed in the Games before and who intend to dare to dream to compete there this time around is the fact that there remains this one true and pure endeavour in sport. One where the entire world can put aside its differences, its discrepancies, the horrors that plague many nations - all for the glory of fair competition, self-sacrifice and achievement. In and of itself, it is a noble cause and the ability to represent one's country and have that pride truly is unparalleled, if I do say so myself.

It would be such a shame to take what should just be sport plain and simple and contaminate it with all that ails the world. The Olympics are not politics, at least they shouldn't be anyway and for those of us who have worked tirelessly our entire lives to fulfill our athletic dreams, it would be life-changing, heart-breaking, soul-wrecking, to have that opportunity taken away to compete with the rest and the best in the world based on the fact that government policy so dictates it.

For many, this chance only comes around once in a lifetime and we do not take it for granted or lightly that the we are a part of the world and so what matters to the world matters to us too. But some things should be kept separate, I think and the Olympics is one of those things.

In addition to the fact, unless a majority of nations chose to boycott, I am not sure the effect would be significant enought to China herself but would rather more so do damage to the individuals whose dreams were shattered. I know many people won't agree with me, but this comes from my heart.

Feel free to give your opinion on whether or not you feel that countries should boycott the Olympics.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


This posting is for all the track people out there and all others who can empathize with running yourself into the ground to the point that you lose all shame. So today I had a relatively basic workout, in comparison to some of the other workouts I've done this year, or so I thought. I had two 200 meter runs and two 150 meter runs, with about 6-7 mins between.

OK - not so tough considering I've been only having 4 mins rest between my intervals up until a couple weeks ago. But as we all know, when the rest time lengthens, the run times have to drop. Fair enough! I had a certain time in mind to run the 200s in and when I crossed the finish line after the first one and realised that I ran more than a second too fast, I knew I was in for trouble. This is something we are all familiar with. If you don't pace yourself properly on the first run, you WILL PAY for it at the end!! Yes I know to the average person, the difference between running 27.3 or 4 seconds and running 25.9 secs seems minute. Trust me when I say it's not.

Then to add insult to injury, I ran the second one too fast also, by more than half a second . On the one hand that implies that I am in pretty decent shape, but on the other hand, after the second 200m my head started to spin already. Oh dear, trouble was coming...

So I gather myself and wander back towards the start of the 150m already not seeing too clearly. But once my rest time is up, I step up to the line and take off running. With about 50meters to go, I start feeling that unpleasant feeling in my legs that you can only truly understand if you have ever had this unfortunate experience for yourself. Lord have mercy....cause I still have one more 150m to go. This guy that has been helping me time my runs starts telling me how my arms weren't in perfect form for the last 50m and I want to tell him where to go, but I am too tired.

After bending over with my hands on my knees, for about a minute... you know, the position, I make myself move back towards the start line, telling myself that in less than 19 secs I will be done, that I will treat myself to a Robek's fruit smoothie when this is all over with, that I will treat myself to a new pair of shoes if I make the time - hey man, whatever it takes - I step up to the line again, say a prayer and just go.

I leave the line with a surprising burst of speed and somehow manage to hold myself together throughout the run. OK so maybe that arm technique stuff actually makes a difference and I actually run the same time that I did on the first 150m. I immediately run off the track and onto the infield turf and fall prostrate on my back. This is not something that I usually do but for some reason today, I do and I don't care. Thankfully there were very few people at the track to witness this display! I always wonder if when a "normal" person sees someone like myself run themself into the ground, do they wonder if I am crazy or if I'm into self torture or something.

Suffice to say, I think the feeling of a lack of oxygen combined with lactic acid renders a person into a state that must be similar to giving birth when you DON'T CARE what anyone thinks about how you look! I lay there for about 2 or 3 minutes and then force myself to make another deal that if I can just get to my clothes, I will get a prize of some sort. I'm too tired to figure out what that prize is actually going to be. I make it to my clothes, but my head is still dizzy, my breath is still somewhat labored and my legs are taking their sweet time to release the lactic.

And then, just as it does every time out, the side effects finally go away. I walk a lap and jog a lap, stretch and jump in my new car:) and head home. So it goes in another day in the life of an Olympic track and field athlete. No pain, no gain!!! No guts, no glory!! Yeah, yeah...Makes sense now...just don't tell me that when I'm in the middle of the workout because I might fight you to the death. Actually no, I'd be too tired to do that.....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


So, I finally got it!!! As it turns out, the Lord does work in mysterious ways!! Just 3 days ago, I was feeling so sad because the car that I was so sure I wanted was sold 10 minutes before I got to the dealership. Well wouldn't you know it, I found one that I think I like even more! After another EXTENSIVE online search for a different Chevy Equinox, I was starting to think that perhaps I was just gonna get something different and be done with it, but my best girlfriend convinced me that I shouldn't give in so easily and to get what I wanted. So I kept looking and I finally found what I was looking for.

In the end, it's a better deal. I bought it from a private seller and it cost me a little more, but I got a car with less miles and a colour that I prefer. The other Equinox was green and I was actually a little hesitant about that one thing. This one is grey and I definitely prefer that. So here's to having patience, perseverance, prayers being answered and joy in the morning!! YEAH!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


If I were being honest, I would have to say that I haven't felt this low in quite some time. My day started out on a high note - a couple of fun texts with my good friend and then I went out to run some morning errands. Today was supposed to be a good day. In fact, I barely slept last night because I was excited and so looking forward to today.

For close to a year now, I have talking about buying a new car. I have had my 1999 Pontiac Grand Am since 1999 and it was finally time for a change. It was still running well, it still looked good and I had very few problems with it if any at all, but after taking a long time to figure out exactly what car I wanted, I finally made my choice - Chevrolet Equinox, Chevy's smallest SUV. When it comes to these kinds of decisions, I don't make them easily. I did all the background work. I read all the reviews, checked out the reliability, comfort, gas mileage, weighed the pros and cons of all-wheel as opposed to front wheel drive, warranties...everything I could think of, not to mention I paid for a Carfax history check.

There were many to choose from but again, after months of looking online, I finally went out on Thursday to go to test drive my final choice, the one I REALLY wanted. It met all the criteria I had for cost, mileage, colour, drivetrain, etc. I drove the almost 50 miles to the dealership and everything turned just as I had hoped. I loved it. The only problem was that they did not accept trade-ins at that dealership so it was for only that reason that I did not buy the car on the spot. I told the guys that I would be back today and that if for any reason they needed to call me, if anyone else came in to try to buy it they should call me because I had first dibs. I would come in right away if I had to. AGREED! I even called yesterday to ensure that the car was still there and to tell them I was coming today.

So this morning I go and sell my car to a dealership that I had found yesterday. I then head to the bank to get my cashier's check made out and my roommate and I head out again, 50 miles to buy MY car. Wouldn't you know, we pull up to the dealership and I say to my roommate, "I don't see the car!" but really I'm just joking, because I KNOW it has to be there. I get out and immediately go up to the guy and ask him where the car is and he says, "Oh we sold it 10 minutes ago."

Picture every look of shock, misunderstanding, amazement, disbelief and disappointment that you can imagine and that would pale in comparison to the look that was on my face. I thought for sure he must be playing with me. But after him confirming it to me for a second and third time, it starts to sink in that he is speaking the truth!! The car is GONE!!! I think it wouldn't be so bad, had I not sold my car this morning. I say my piece in a not so calm voice and then I retreat to some cars parked on the side and just sit indian style on the pavement with my head in my hands and I feel a couple tears drop. I must be dreaming!!!

Sadly, I am not. I finally get up after some urging from my roommate and after hearing some lame apology from one of the guys, I drag myself back to my roommate's car and we head back to Culver City in traffic, another 50 miles. That was at around 2pm. It is now almost 10pm and I have still not fully regrouped. The fact is, I have no car now. Tomorrow I have to go to rent a car until I can find something satisfactory, hopefully sooner than later.

My mother told me it could be worse but she didn't really tell me how so. They say everything happens for a reason and as I am typing, I am hoping that the Lord can give me a little clarity here so that perhaps I can have a restful night of sleep.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Since this is the 25th Anniversary of Michael Jackson's Thriller, I thought it would be appropriate to post this video. I think it is one of the MOST HILARIOUS videos I have ever seen. Even if you have seen it already, I think it's worth watching again. For some reason, these inmates at The Cebu Detention Center in Cebu, Phillipines were made to perform the entire dance routine part of the Thriller video! All 1500+ of them in their orange inmate attire. They even dressed one of the inmates up as a girl for the female role - he doesn't make a very pretty girl, unfortunately. Anyway, they do a pretty good job but the thought of them having to practice the routine over and over to perfection is enough to make me laugh out loud for real!! Watch and enjoy!

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Hey everyone - just wanted to let you all know that I am in Las Vegas at a convention as of Thursday. I haven't had a chance to update my blog because it's been kinda hectic here and I've barely had a chance to come online to check e-mail. I go back tomorrow and I will let you know all about it....

Monday, February 4, 2008


First of all, let me say congrats to the Giants on winning the Super Bowl yesterday. Just goes to show, there's a reason why the game has to actually be played. Winning is NEVER a gimme!!

OK, so yesterday morning before I watched the Super Bowl, I went to church as I always do whenever I'm in town. I go to First AME of Los Angeles and the Senior Pastor is Rev. John Hunter, a Morehouse man. He is a great orator and I love to listen to him and learn. The topic of his sermon was "Talent is not Enough" - how appropriate right? He even made references to track and field and I was sitting there thinking, is he talking to me? Can he read my mind? Anyway, at some point in the sermon he started talking about relationships and he listed 5 things that he thought were essential to a great, healthy and lasting relationship. I wrote them down and here they are. Seems like he was on to something....

1) RESPECT - He said that no matter what, there has to be a mutual respect for one another. Even if there is a difference in opinion or understanding, you have to be able to respect the other person's point of view and accept and acknowledge it as valid. It is not OK to just disregard how they feel just because it doesn't coincide with your feelings. There should also be a respect for their talent, their job, their likes, dislikes, their flaws - basically in all things - you don't have to like or agree with them, but you have to have respect.

2) SHARED EXPERIENCE - He said that the chances of a relationship being more lasting highly correlates to whether or not you have shared experiences. Do you have common interests? Do you like to do things together? Do you have some friends in common? Do you have similar values and beliefs? Do you often like to talk about the same things? Do you laugh about the same things?

3) TRUST - Of course, this one was high on his list of most important criteria . Is there trust in your relationship? Do you KNOW without a doubt that regardless of the situation, your partner can be relied upon to act in a way that shows they are of the utmost in character? Does their behavior make you feel safe? Do they have your back? Would you bet the house that you can you count on them to be there for you in all circumstances? Do you believe that they speak the truth to you, no matter if it hurts?

4) FIDELITY - Can your partner be relied upon to be faithful to you? How do they behave when you're not around? Are they inapppriately flirtatious with others? According to Pastor John, this too is unacceptable. If you would not be willing to behave in the same way in front of your partner, then the behavior is deemed inappropriate. Does their history tell a good story in this regard?

5) MUTUAL APPRECIATION - Do you really appreciate that other person? You might love them but do you like them? Do you like being around them? Do they put a smile on your face? Do your eyes light up when they walk into the room? Do you care about them? Do you have fun together? Do they make you feel good? Can you just sit in a room with them for hours and do nothing but just be? Do you like talking to them? Pastor John said that when beauty begins to fade and that overt lust and passion dims a little, you have to enjoy having conversation - meaningful conversation that covers a wide range of topics, that surpasses the superficial.

So these were the 5 areas that he listed as important when it comes to choosing a partner - at least one that you foresee any kind of future with. If it's just a fly-by-night kinda relationship, then I guess it doesn't really matter. It's not easy to find everything that you want in one person but if you are looking for someone to have something of substance with, a relationship that could possibly stand the test of time, and you are looking for the right qualities in that person, then I would have to agree with Pastor John and say that these 5 criteria are as good a place to start as any.

Friday, February 1, 2008


So I finally made it back to LA this afternoon. I left Linz, Austria this morning at 3am headed for Munich by car. Since my driver felt it necessary to drive in excess of 120mph, the drive only took about 2hrs. I was pretty tired but I kept my eyes wide open just in case there was any chance of me missing my last moments here on earth:)!

My flight to London was supposed to leave at 7am. Of course it was cancelled and so my immediate concern was that I would miss my connection. Thankfully, before I allowed myself to panic, I went over to the British Airways counter and they were able to rebook me on Lufthansa and I was able to make my London -LA flight. The whole trip took about 17hrs but I took two Excedrin PMs on my second flight and I'm pretty sure I slept for about 9 and half hours of that 11 hour flight. If any of you have ever take sleeping pills, you know what I'm talking about. It felt like someone drugged me and that I had very little control of my limbs when I did manage to open my eyes to eat and go to the bathroom. The good thing though is that the flight seems as if it passed in the blink of an eye.

My trip to Europe was not very successful in many ways. Yes I am notoriously a slow starter and I don't usually jump all that well indoors, but I still didn't jump anywhere near what I was hoping for. I have no excuses, I just didn't. I did manage to improve slightly in my last competition , but still the result was unacceptable. Now I could just walk around with my head hung low, and my shoulders slumped and have a huge pity party, but that is also not in my nature.

Some of my friends did really well and the last thing I would want to do is to drown them in my sorrows. There is an excerpt from one of my favorite sayings which I think I quoted on New Years' Day on my blog which says, "Be just as happy for the success of others as you are about your own." I truly believe in this. I would never take away from their shine. I deal with my own issues and if anyone has input and they want to give me advice, then by all means I will surely be appreciative and listen but I do not choose to burden others with my problems.

There are a few positives that came from my trip. The first is that I am far more clear about what it is that's ailing me technically in my jumping. Sometimes the most basic things escape us and we get too bogged down in minutia. In many of the years when I have jumped my best, it has been because I have kept it really simple and I KNOW what I'm doing. I think recently I have strayed from that path and that I have just been trying to do too much and thankfully, my old coach and mentor has been able to begin to bring me back on course.

Track is a matter of physics in so many ways. If I try to defy it, it will not work and that is essentially what I've been doing, even if unconsciously. Long jumping requires speed at takeoff, force created at takeoff, the right takeoff angle and an effective and unrushed landing. Not that complicated really. I knew that all along but my mind has been a jumble of too many things while not being clear on any one thing in particular - you know...jack of all trades, master of none. Well I'm about to master a couple old tricks once again. Hang in there with me!

PS. Thank you all for the words of support. It means a lot.