Sunday, August 9, 2009

Twitspiration: Vision

Sunday, August 9, 2009

So, today is all about VISION: Twitspiration-style!

Earlier this week @necolebitchie tweeted about having a vision board; many didn't know what it was and many shared theirs with all of Twitterville. And after speaking with @XIKhai about this, my interest about vision boards was sparked...

Some of you may not know exactly what it is or you may have one but just didn't known the name of it. So, I'll clue you in...A vision board is a collage of images, pictures and affirmations of your dreams and desires. It can also be called a dream board, treasure map or vision map. Vision boards are essentially another tool to help keep you on track with what's important you. Most people create vision boards yearly to map out their goals/affirmations for the upcoming year. And no two vision boards are the same. Yours will be different from mine, and your own vision boards may change from year to year.


Get inspired! Here are a few quotes to aid you in thinking about your own vision:

"Imagination gives you the picture. Vision gives you the impulse to make the picture your own." -Robert Collier

"Visualization is the key to creating Prosperity, Health, and Happiness." -Anonymous

"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare." -Japanese proverb

"Visualize this thing you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin." -Robert Collier

"Make sure you visualize what you really want, not what someone else wants for you." -Jerry Gillies


"Where there is no vision, there is no hope." -George Washington Carver

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight…but no vision.” -Helen Keller

"Your subconscious mind interprets your visualizations as to what you wish to receive." -Anonymous

"

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." -Albert Einstein


Inspired yet?!

Vision boards are for those who are achievers and know the secret to success. Achievers seek resources that help inform, inspire, and enlighten them to accomplish their goals. But, what's a vision without action? "Action without planning is the cause of all failure. Action with planning is the cause of all success. Make great plans and follow through!" -@Director_Cherry

@XIKhai's vision board

Here are a few steps of how to create and personalize your own vision board:

1. Decide the main theme of your board. It may be based on something specific you wish to accomplish or obtain, or it may be a general idea of everything that makes you happy.
2. Find pictures that correspond with your theme, either from old magazines, photographs, or from the Internet.
3. Print (if necessary) and cut out your pictures.
4. Type or write some affirmations that correspond with your theme.
5. Glue your pictures and affirmations to your poster board and pin them to your cork board.
6. Hang your vision board in a place you will see every day.
7. View your board at least once a day, and focus on the objects, sayings and theme of your board.

A few more tips that may also help you:
-You may wish to place a picture of yourself in the center as it shows you being surrounded by the things you desire.
-Don't be afraid to change your board to reflect more specific thoughts or a new theme.
-Create your board whenever you deem it necessary.
I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me. My birthday is right around the corner and I think I'm going to do one for the following year. What better way to see your growth and goals accomplished as you get older each year. And I'll come back and share my vision board with my XI fam in October!


Share your vision with us! Tell us about your future goals and aspirations and how you plan to achieve them.

Here's one of mine: Take XI Worldwide side by side with my PIC, XIKhai, with the help of all our contributors (they were first in line for this thing and we truly love them). It won't be easy but through my hard work, sweat, tears and faith, this thing is definitely possible!

Follow XIKhai and IAMXI on Twitter: @XIKhai & @iamxi

xixi, Love ya!

Source: www.wikihow.com

Saturday, August 8, 2009

INTERCEPTED: PRO FOOTBALL' HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009


If you're lucky enough to be a football fan for 5 or more years, you know the excitement of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony every year. The immortalizing of a player into football's most distinguished society is a big deal. These players are hand selected by a team of experts, as having been the best during their time in the league and made such an impact on the league that they will be remembered in football history forever.

So with that HOF's Class of 2009


Wide Receiver Bob Hayes: Selected in 1964 by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round. Career stats include 7,414 receiving yards and 71 TDs. Born December 20, 1942 in Jacksonville, Florida. Died September 18, 2002, at age of 59.


Guard Randall McDaniel: Selected in 1988 by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round, 19th overall, 1988. Earned all-rookie honors. Started 202 consecutive games and 13 straight playoff games for Vikings. Blocked for six 1,000-yard rushers and five 3,000-yard passers during career. Named All-Pro nine consecutive times (1990-98) Selected to play in a record 12 consecutive AFC-NFC Pro Bowls (1990-2001) Born December 19, 1964 in Phoenix, Arizona. *Also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers"


Defensive End Bruce Smith: Selected in 1985 by the Buffalo Bills’ as the #1 draft pick overall. Considered one of the most dominant defensive players in NFL history with 200 career sacks is NFL all-time record. NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 1990 and 1996. Named to NFL’s All Decade Teams of the 1980s and 1990s . Selected to 11 Pro Bowls. Born June 18, 1963 in Norfolk, Virginia. *Also played for the Washington Redskins*


Linebacker Derrick Thomas: Selected in 1989 by the Kansas City Chiefs, 4th overall pick. Defensive Rookie of the Year. Led NFL with team record 20 sacks; including NFL record seven sacks in one game, 1990. Named to nine Pro Bowls. Accumulated most sacks in NFL during 1990s with a recorded 126.5 career sacks overall. Born January 1, 1967 in Miami, Florida. Died February 8, 2000, at age of 33.


Ralph Wilson, Jr: One of original founders of American Football League. During his tenure as the Buffalo Bills owner, they won two AFL Championships and an unprecedented 4 straight AFC championships. The Bills 103 regular season wins was the 2nd most in NFL during 1990s. Wilson helped lead the AFL through early years making tough decisions that were necessary for the league’s survival. In January 1965 he began talks with Carroll Rosenbloom, then owner of NFL’s Colts, that eventually resulted in AFL-NFL merger. Born October 17, 1918 in Columbus, Ohio.

AND finally my favorite of this years class, the man who's still a star among men...


Rod Woodson: Selected in 1987 by the Pittsburgh Steelers 10 overall first-round pick. 1993 NFL Defensive Player with a career 71 Intercepted passes. He is the NFL’s all-time leader in interception return yardage with 1,483. Earning All-Pro honors as cornerback, kick returner & safety he was named to 11 Pro Bowls. Born March 10, 1965, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. *He also played for the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49er's & won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens*

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF THESE DISTINGUISHED MEN!

The 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is LIVE on NFL Network.

details about each player provided by ProFootballHOF.com

INTERCEPTED: What's a Franchise QB Worth EXACTLY?

So my inbox has been FLOODED with emails from people asking me to weigh-in on the Eli Manning contract. Most of course want to get under my skin about the entire situation as if I'm seeing any of that 106 million, but I do LOVE it because people respect my opinion and want to hear from me. I however, decided in the end to let the contract stand on it's own and refrain from jumping into the fray, because I'm a better defender than one who rationalizes, and most people want some sort of explanation as if Manning's career thus far doesn't speak for itself. So why bother? I can't change anyones mind who doesn't agree with it anyway...

No sooner than I made that decision though late last night while on twitter, I ran across this article (below) written by Mike Garafolo of NJ.com and NY Giants Beat Writer. Where it's clear he reached the end of his rationalization rope, as he sounded off in this piece of journalism genius.

The beauty of this article is that it explains the football intangibles (assets that come natural and can't be taught) Eli Manning possesses that separates the average QB's from the good/great QB's.

He's also quite annoyed and there's nothing more I love better in life, than a good ole fashion RANT...it confirms that I'm not the only one fed up with the BS!

It also lets me know I need to stop holding back and let my journalistic creativity for sports news flow...so consider this the last time I hold my tongue on an issue I'm passionate about.

So for those who still have questions, comments, or concerns...you know I love to hear them, ESPECIALLY the bad ones. A good 80% of sports journalism is about disagreement and healthy debate so don't hold back. This articles answers a lot but if you still disagree, as I'm sure 95% of you will in the end, I RESPECT THAT TOO and still LOVE YA!

"A more complete equation to calculate the value of NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning's new contract"

Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger Friday August 07, 2009, 11:05 AM

After seeing this and this, I can't take it anymore. I just can't. I have to add a few more questions to these equations in order to help everyone get a true picture of the value of Eli Manning's forthcoming contract.

But I'm going to need help calculating these questions, such as:

How much does Manning make per time he calms everyone else around him by being the "same old Eli" in a pressure situation?

How much for each time he's responsible for half of the greatest play in Super Bowl history?

How much for the big shiny ring - the generally accepted ultimate sign of a quarterback's worth? (That figure for the contracts for quarterbacks such as Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb and Drew Brees can't be calculated because you can't divide by zero.)

How much for every audible at the line that results in a long run?

How much for setting the proper protections, thus helping the offensive line prepare itself to pick up blitzes?

How much does he make per fourth-quarter comeback? (Actually, this one I can calculate. It's $5.7 million so far based on 17 comeback drives in the final period. An 18th comeback was courtesy of a defensive touchdown, so I'll leave that one out.)

How much for every dodged question from the media that could easily draw negative headlines if not answered with care?

How much for each receiver or tight end he's refused to show up after said players threw up their hands in disgust when he didn't throw their way?

How much per charitable appearance in the New York area during the off-season?

How much for every time he's bankrolled a dog-fighting ring?

How much for each time he earned his teammates' respect by telling Tiki Barber to zip it after criticizing him?

And finally, how many millions per million generated for the state of New Jersey through sold-out home games?

Let me know what you come up with.
Yeah...um this needs to be said twice:
How much for the big shiny ring - the generally accepted ultimate sign of a quarterback's worth? (That figure for the contracts for quarterbacks such as Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb and Drew Brees can't be calculated because you can't divide by zero.)
POW!

Friday, August 7, 2009

INTERCEPTED: NYG TRAINING CAMP PICTURES & UPDATES

Friday, August 7, 2009



What's going on in training camp around the league. Check it out here, LOL! Can't say I don't help point you in the right direction. For now I'll tell you what's going on at NYG camp.



















New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs(notes) (27) is covered by linebacker Bryan Kehl(notes) during NFL football training camp in Albany, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009.



















New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning(notes) (10) talks to wide receiver Hakeem Nicks(notes) during NFL football training camp in Albany, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009.



















New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning(notes) takes a break during NFL football training camp in Albany, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009.

















New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning(notes) signs autographs after practice during NFL football training camp in Albany, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009.



















New York Giants wide receiver David Tyree(notes) (85) blocks teammate DeAndre Wright(notes) during NFL football training camp in Albany, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009.


I am starting to feel the effects of true journalism...and I am exhausted.




DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) is beginning to show signs of just how hard this injury is to recover from. He didn't practice today.

DE Justin Tuck (foot) & DT Barry Cofield (knee) practiced today. G Rich Seubert (shoulder) was out as well.

WR Hakeem Nicks must have been waiting for autograph day and the biggest crowd of camp to make his biggest play of camp. He shined like the star he's destined to be today for the first time.

The 97.5 million dollar man QB Eli Manning has some good series today connecting long with both WR Steve Smith & WR Domenik Hixon on deep routes.

S Kenny Phillips continues to impress at camp. He picked off a pass from QB Rhett Bomar to TE Michael Matthews on a 15-yd out. I love this guy!

RB Brandon Jacobs still requires at least 3 or more people to take him down. Pierce, Tuck, Alford & of course Phillips combined to stop Jacobs at the goal line. Loves it!

S Michael Johnson & CB Aaron Ross played great coverage when they forced Manning to look away from a play to Steve Smith. And 2plays later Ross knocked away a pass intended to TE Kevin Boss.

Side note: Michael Johnson forgot that Eli was off limits as he made a sack on him during a play. Coughlin nearly ripped his head off.

The rest is from Mike Garafolo from NJ.com

THE BACK UPS

QB David Carr threw a deep post to Smith that hung up and was intercepted by S C.C. Brown. Carr's next deep ball was a beauty, though. And it was Nicks' first deep catch of camp. Gorgeous pass and a great catch past Brown. But BrowB David Carr had his first deep ball of team drills picked off. It was a dn came back later to knock away a pass from Carr to Nicks.


My crush on Nicks is ridiculous. Watching him play is unreal...so much natural football ability for a rookie. Can't wait for the season the begin.

Carr later had a pair of TDs in red-zone drills: one to WR Derek Hagan in the back of the end zone and one to Boss at the 5-yard line. Boss trotted in untouched.

LB Chase Blackburn dropped RB Ahmad Bradshaw in a wide run during goal-line drills.
Good job by LB Zak DeOssie to fight off a blocker and make a stop. He made another stop on a run off the edge later.

Alford penetrated and got to Jacobs on a shotgun draw sweep.
In 1-on-1s, CB Terrell Thomas had a nice pass defensed on a fade from Bomar to WR Ramses Barden. Barden is another favorite to watch...somebody get me to Albany STAT!

Bomar delivered a nice ball deep to WR David Tyree, who had it go right off his hands, leading a couple of fans to yell, "Use your helmet." Tyree did use his helmet -- sort of -- when he picked the ball up and slapped it against his head in frustration.

DT Jeremy Clark came flying through for a sack of Bomar.

THE YOUNG GUYS

Okay, it's pretty clear LB Clint Sintim can lay the wood. He sized up Matthews during 9-on-7 drills and got in there to whack him and plug the hole. I think Matthews did a good job of simply holding his ground because Sintim had a head of steam coming in there.

LB Kenny Ingram has some pop, too. He jumped down there and plugged the hole on a few plays.

LB Jonathan Goff picked off a poor pass by Bomar in 7-on-7s and returned it for what would have been a TD.

Great ball by QB Andre' Woodson to Hagan up the left sideline. Hagan got on top of CB Stoney Woodson, who got no deep help, and never broke stride. Woodson was shaky in the red zone, though, as he fired well wide of his receiver on one play and turned the wrong way for a handoff on the next. At least he bounced back to lob a TD to TE Darcy Johnson.

RB Allen Patrick has to know ball security is high on coach Tom Coughlin's list. Patrick was running through the pack and maybe thought the play was over when DE Tommie Hill stripped him. Gotta hold that ball.

WR Shaun Bodiford made a nice catch on a comeback with Ross all over him during 1-on-1s.

Play of the day: WR Mario Manningham gave a little shimmy at the line to scoot right around CB DeAndre Wright and then ran a sideline route. He juggled the ball once and twice before grabbing it while falling out of bounds.

* * *

One quick note: The Giants message board BBI handed out their 2008 MVP trophy to Jacobs after practice. Jacobs thanked the die-hards for the award. That's all I saw, as I had to cut out early to get to Coughlin's press conference. But if you head over to their site later, they'll have plenty of pics, vids and info, including shots of the gorgeous trophy.

* * *

And finally, here's my new favorite drill: the QBs drop back and hold the ball with both hands while QB coach Chris Palmer slaps at it. Something tells me Julius Peppers slaps harder. (Palmer's been known to read these reports, so this is a test to see if he's still checking in regularly.)

Tomorrow's practice starts at 8:35 and I'm getting up just to blog about it. Ow!

Fall 2009 Men's Fashion: The XI Way

Fellas, this one is for you!

It’s the beginning of August... The end of the summer is nearing and the autumn temperatures will be here before we know it. And so goes the fashion… It’s almost time to put up the whites and lighter fabrics and trade them in for darker colors and warmer, heavier textures. So, let’s switch gears and focus on men’s fashions for Fall 2009 season. "It's easy to beat the summer heat when you know fall is around the corner. And this fall is particularly exciting, due to all the fun product coming out. Color, fabrication, and unexpected nuances will bring the store to life this season" says Tommy Fazio, men's fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman in New York.

The main theme for this fall from designers and store buyers: Although we’re in a recession, quality, value, and especially personal style will not be sacrificed. In other words, you won’t see cheap, crappy-looking clothing in stores this fall just because the economy is bad; this year it’s all about classic, timeless investment pieces. Co-owner of Odin in New York, Eddy Chai, states "many people have reverted to a more conservative and practical approach to fashion, due to the economy. But you shouldn't have to sacrifice style to get value and timelessness." And that is the recurring theme that I’ve seen for Men’s Fashions this fall and well into the winter. Classic American design laced with the traditional style of the Brits and Frenchmen brings about tailored silhouettes and timeless structured staples. Whether you are a dapper businessman, an edgy motorcycle guy, or a rugged outdoorsman, there is something for every man this fall. "Fall 2009 is the season when men will turn to iconic items to convey their personal style. Men take comfort in the confidence that comes along with wearing strong pieces that define who we are to the outside world" says Tom Kalenderian, executive vice president for menswear at Barneys New York.

Let's go! I AM XI's suggestions for Fall 2009 Men's Fashion... (click images for bigger picture)

Outerwear:
Opt for a relax-fitting, classic trench coat and/or a slim-fit, sturdy peacoat in black, charcoal gray, or tan. These two staples are definitely worth the money you would spend on them.


Left: BBlessing; Right: Rag & Bone; Bottom: Burberry


Left: Spurr; Right: Richard Chai

If you are a man who likes that edgier look, go for a subtle, structured fatigue jacket. The fatigue jackets in brown leather and gray suede pictured below will look very sharp when paired with jeans and a Henley tee for a weekend look.

Left: Gap; Right: Versace

Stay away from distressed motorcycle jackets especially with studs and puffer coats/vests in plaid and Fair Isle prints. These looks are extremely trendy and you just may get the side-eye from people if you showed up anywhere that’s not a motorcycle club or ski slope in these coats.

Top left: Moncler; Top right: Elizabeth & James; Bottom left: Bess NYC; Bottom right: Helmut Lang

Suits:
There is nothing like seeing a man in a NICE suit! It just exudes confidence. Double-breasted suits are being shown for fall this year, which is a great alternative to the single-breasted suit. Keep the cut of the jacket fitted but not boxy, and keep the pant leg tailored and not overly tapered. Aside from your solid colors, black, charcoal gray and navy pinstripe are being revived this year as well. Also, try pairing your suit with a matching vest for added grandeur style. And remember: no cost should be spared when purchasing a classic suit, and seeking out a good tailor is a smart idea too!

Top left: Tommy Hilfiger; Top right: Versace; Bottom left: D&G; Bottom right: Aquascutum

Stay away from plaid and corduroy suits! One name comes to mind: Mr. Brown… Need I say more?!

Left: Kolar; Right: Our Legacy

Dark on Dark on Dark:
This is the season for dark colors. Gone are the days when you pair everything with white. How blah… Dark suit, dark dress shirt, and dark tie make this look oh so clean! The trick to making this look work: mix textures and fabrics, such as wool, flannel, brushed-cotton, and cashmere. And don’t just think blacks and grays, combine blacks with brown and blacks with navy. Once thought to be a fashion faux-pas, it is no more! These colors go very well with one another if done correctly.

Left: Ralph Lauren Black Label; Right: Ralph Lauren

Blazers:
Guys, this year’s blazers are multi-functional with added detailing for a crisper look. The blazers are sporting elbow patches, gold buttons, smaller flap pockets, and no lapels. Interesting, I know…but if you are a bit daring and want to try something different this fall’s blazer is for you. Some blazers also come with heavier, quilted linings for those very cold November nights, and some are reversible for 'more bang for your buck.' Herringbone gray flannel, corduroy (the jacket alone is fine), cashmere, and jersey-like wool are great fabrics to try these blazers on for size.


Top left: Michael Bastian; Top right: Moncler Gamme Bleu; Bottom left: Engineered Garments; Bottom right: Devoa

Plaid Dress Shirts:
Now, let me put my disclaimer on this first: I am not a fan of plaid shirts on anyone; dressy or otherwise. Gone are the days of the '90s and the red & black lumberjack, unless of course you are a lumberjack. HOWEVER, if you choose to wear plaid this season as a variation to the white, blue, and striped shirts: keep it very simple, sharply tailored, and subtle. These plaid shirts can be dressed up or down and when paired with a solid or downplayed tie, blazer or suit with the same color scheme, this look works.


Top left: Tommy Hilfiger; Top right: Michael Bastian; Bottom left: Tom Ford; Bottom right: Woolrich

But, DEFINITELY do so with caution. PLEASE do not go overboard; the plaid speaks for itself and it will become your main focal point.


Left: Paul Smith; Right: H&M/Urban Outfitters

Sweaters & Tees:
Now, you can never go wrong with a classic cashmere sweater. They come in a variety of colors and can be worn layered with a dress shirt or tee underneath. But, Henley tees are becoming an alternative to the V-Neck sweater. They are cooler, in a James Dean kind of way, and can be worn layered as well or alone.


Top: Bergdorf Goodman; Bottom left: Gilded Age; Bottom right: Dolce & Gabbana

Fair Isle sweaters..(*blank stare*)… Unless you want to look like Leave it to Beaver, be my guest. But, this granddaddy-print sweater can stay in cedar closet forever.


Left: Burberry Prorsum; Right: Benjamin Bixby

Jeans:
Your jeans should be straight-leg, relaxed-fitting, and comfortable. Jeans come in various shades and colors. Opt for the colors in dark black (never let the become faded), navy blue, gray, and khaki (everything you get from a Docker-style pant but in denim), in addition to your usual shades of blue. Also hot this season, laid-back distressed jeans that already look worn in.



Top left: Robert Geller; Top right: GUESS by Marciano; Bottom from left to right: Polo by Ralph Lauren, Levi's, Dsquared

Ok, MEN…Please, I repeat, PLEASE DO NOT WEAR SKINNY JEANS! AVOID skinny jeans at all cost! They are not the bizness nor will they help you get the bizness…well, unless you’re – XI doesn’t discriminate, we love everyone, but you get my point – I digress… this is not a good look…end of story, PERIOD. This is not up for debate, just don’t do it! And, really, what’s the purpose of saggin’ them?! It’s so corny! Stop it! It’s played. Jeans should FIT and should not be TOO baggy!


Top left: Marc by Marc Jacobs; Top right: Balmain; Bottom left: Oak (w leather insets); Bottom right: Givenchy


Overall, fellas, keep it classic with a slight edge but remember to stay true to your personal style.

**Each of these looks can be remixed with high & low-end pieces. As you can see, I pulled from 'very high-end' to 'middle of the road' to 'on a strict budget' stores and brands.**


Sources: GQ, Details, men.style.com

Thursday, August 6, 2009

INTERCEPTED: NFL News & Updates

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Jason Campbell is on the cover of Sports Illustrated, for their August 10th issue. Ok am I the only one confused about this? No disrespect to Jason, but he's done as a player, and not because he isn't a good player. But the Redskins organization is the WORST!


BREAKING NEWS Donte Stallworth is SORRY! The end! I really can't say anything about this situation because I hate it, and how it has turned out, and I'm not changing my mind. He sucks and I feel sorry for the fans, players and Browns organization. Just disgusting!


The Tennessee Titans will honor former QB Steve McNair this season with No. 9 (his number) decal. I just want to cry for him again. Still so so sad!


If you haven't heard yesterday, Eli Manning was awarded a 97 million dollar contract (guaranteed money 97.5 million, however the total amount of the contract is for $106 million. POW! What's 15% of that Tom Condon? My agent senses are tingling...) with the New York Giants making him the current highest paid player in the NFL.

Have something to say about it please do so, I love a good verbal smackdown. So bring it!


Speaking of QB's being rewarded for their success in the league. Philip Rivers now wants a new deal...and I guess that's cool, but he shouldn't be looking for the same money as either Big Ben or Manning because...oops he has no SB rings and only 2 playoff wins. I'm not a Steelers fan nor a fan of Ben but the man is a great QB who deserved his deal as did Eli Manning. Rivers however, not so much...so good luck with that...



Don't you just love BS Power Rankings...based off of ZERO information by so-called "expert" opinions.


BREAKING: New England Patriots Acquire Derrick Burgess

INTERCEPTED: Michael Crabtree Threatens to Sit Out Entire 2009 Season




How can this face contain such a ridiculous mind?

Rookie WR Michael Crabtree has taken his hold out to a whole other level today. The USA Todat, ESPN and other news organization are reporting that Micheal Crabtree is prepared to sit out the entire 2009 season and re-enter the 2010 draft if the San Francisco 49er's are unable to fulfill is contractual requests.
Crabtree fell to #10 in the NFL draft when the Oakland Raiders surprised everyone by drafting University of Maryland WR Darrius Heyward-Bey at #7 over Crabtree.

As a result Crabtree is not commanding the money that he was expected to, and has up the ante in his demands.


From the USA Today:

A representative for 49ers draft pick Michael Crabtree told ESPN that the wide receiver is prepared to sit out the entire NFL season and re-enter the draft if he can't reach a contract with the team

"We are prepared to do it," David Wells, a cousin to Crabtree, told ESPN. "Michael just wants fair market value."

PFT reported earlier that a Crabtree insider said his agent, Eugene Parker, told the 49ers the 10th overall draft pick wanted more than the team is prepared to offer right now.

Wells told ESPN the 49ers' current position on signing Crabtree is "unacceptable."

"Michael is one of the best players in the draft," Wells told the network, "and he just wants to be paid like one of the best players."

Crabtree's slide to the 10th overall pick was a bit of a surprise. The Raiders have already signed the first receiver chosen, Darrius Heyward-Bey, to a five-year deal with $23.5 million guaranteed.



However in an update on the situation, Crabtree's agent is now distancing himself and his client from those statements in an effort to clear things up amist this bizarre and ridiculous situation.

Michael Crabtree's agent is distancing himself and his client from comments made by a Crabtree advisor to ESPN today.

Eugene Parker told AOL FanHouse that he has not told the 49ers that the 10th overall pick is prepared to sit out the season if he doesn't get a satisfactory contract.

"No comments have been made to ESPN or anyone else," Parker told FanHouse in a text message.


This young man needs to clean house and surround himself with people who have better self control than this. His reputation is on the line and will surely suffer if in faact he decides not to play after having been drafted in 2009.
Ask Jamarcus Russell what holding out does to a player...that dude still isn't right!

INTERCEPTED: NBA SUSPENDS RASHARD LEWIS FOR STEROID VIOLATION



From the NBA.com:

NEW YORK, Aug. 6, 2009 – Rashard Lewis of the Orlando Magic has been suspended without pay for ten games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program by testing positive for an elevated testosterone level, it was announced today by the NBA. Lewis’ suspension will begin with the first game of the 2009-10 NBA regular season for which he is eligible and physically able to play.

Rashard Lewis Statement:

“First and foremost I take full responsibility for the situation and accept the corresponding penalty.

Toward the end of the season I took an over-the-counter supplement which at the time I did not realize included a substance banned by the NBA.

I apologize to Magic fans, my teammates and this organization for not doing the research that should come with good judgment.

I hope this unintentional mistake will not reflect poorly on our team and its great character.

I hope every athlete can learn from my mistake that supplements, no matter how innocent they seem, should only be taken after consulting an expert in the field.”


When will these dudes learn? Cute smile though. Smh!

Macchiato's and Afternoon Papers

I AM XI's late afternoon edition...Let's get to it!

It's official! Justice Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate this afternoon shortly after the scheduled 3pm ET vote. She is the 1st Hispanic and only the 3rd woman to sit on the Supreme Court. What an honor...Congratulations, Justice Sotomayor!


Straight out of a Lifetime movie…Newlywed’s successful hit on husband is a hoax.


Bank teller foils heist, catches the robber, and then gets fired? But, this guy is in the wrong profession anyway, because banking is clearly not his forte.


TWITTER ATTACK! Oh no! This morning users were surprised to learn while logging onto the micro-blogging website that the site had been hit by hackers in a ‘denial-of-service attack’ and wasn’t working properly.


I heart Jon Stewart too, XIKhai! How could anyone not?! Well, maybe CNN and FOX News don't...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
William Jefferson Airplane
http://www.thedailyshow.com/
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

Who’s Got Next - Featuring Krys Ivory

Krys Ivory is a new and upcoming recording artist who is creating much buzz on radio stations in her hometown of Los Angeles with her 1st single, “Next to Ya.” The 21-year-old pop/R&B singer-songwriter-producer is beginning to wow audiences with her soothing tone, calming vibrata, and melismatic style. Her big break came when she capture the attention of singer Ryan Leslie who signed her to his label, Next Selection, last year. Ms. Ivory is talented, beautiful, intelligent, and humble; a combination XI loves and could not deny...

Coming soon! I AM XI interviews Krys Ivory as she shares with us her compelling story and how she is living her dream and doing what she loves.



But, for now, I'll leave you with this video of Krys Ivory's official introduction by her mentor, Ryan Leslie.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Macchiato's and Afternoon Papers

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I AM XI edition...Let's go!

Ok, so let me get this straight: (*counting on my fingers*) There have been shooting sprees in schools, at a church, an Amish Village, a mall, a Holocaust museum, and NOW a shooting spree at a fitness club! I mean, really, we can’t go anywhere these days without fear we’ll lose our lives because of the actions of some crazy person! (Be thankful that you live to see each day…)

And the gunman documented and plotted the attack in an online diary, stating he was lonely and lacked love in his life. *Blank blinking stare* I’m not even going there…On second thought, I think I will! Just because dude is whack and couldn’t get the bizness from any of the ladies in the club, he decides to rage against them and take these women out?! He took the lives of someone’s daughter/wife/mother/relative & friend just because of some inadequacies and failures he had in his own life! Wow, OK… (SMDH)


Mother, who killed 7 and herself in a car crash last week in NY, had "high levels" of marijuana and alcohol equally about 10 drinks in her system when it was initially believed that she was just disoriented and didn’t “feel good.” Lady, for real?! You're blitzed with 4 children in the car?! (still SMDH)


X-factors, we have to be careful on these roads driving out here and buckle up, it's the law!
A distant cousin of mine was also involved in a terrible accident where two of her young children were killed. It is suspected that she may have fallen asleep at the wheel… People, please just pull over, rest and/or call for help.


Freed journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, arrived home this morning and reunited with their families.

Um...Stephon Marbury Dude Where's Ya Sponsor...



This is what happens when live streaming goes TERRIBLY wrong. What in the name of all that is HOLY is wrong with this dude?


Yeah it's a epidemic alright!


No your eyes are NOT deceiving you. He's performing some highly questionable dancing to Barbie Girl.



BUT WAIT....THERE'S MORE!!!!!!!!








Who's dude in the background for real...





I can't get enough of the lunacy...I truly CANNOT!




At some point I think I stopped breathing...so I can't mess with this dude. He's gonna kill me. You can pay for this level of hilarity.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

XI Chat: Male Accessories

Tuesday, August 4, 2009
XI is an interactive site. We rant and go off on tangents but it's all about creating a dialog with our readers. With that said, I've been pondering a question and would love to hear your opinion. Let the dialog begin!

Question: How do you feel about men wearing accessories?

Now I'm not talking about gloves, hats, scarfs or bling bling neckwear. I'm talking about cuff bracelets, bangles, beaded wrist and neck ware, brooches, non-metal rings, and man bags or what I lovely refer to as a "murse". Let me clarify. A murse is not a gym, messenger, or laptop bag. It's a purse. It can come in a variety of shapes, sizes and brands but at the end of the day it's a male purse.

So what's your thoughts? Do you like male accessories or do you think they are a tad feminine? Don't be shy. Voice your opinion!

Hit me up @ GStone@xiximag.com

44 TURNS 48! HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT OBAMA!


Today is President Obama's 48th birthday. Of course he spent his day running the country in part, but Robert Gibbs told the press:

...that Obama celebrated his birthday (it's Tuesday) at Camp David over the weekend in part by playing a little basketball and, yes, bowling. He threw three strikes and a 9 on his last four tries, Gibbs said.

He then went on to say:

"I'm just saying," Gibbs joked. "I told the President, look, if you had done this in Pennsylvania, my life would have been a little easier last spring."

We're waiting for the movement demanding to see the President's long-form scoring sheet.


And over at the White House Press Room Obama sang Happy Birthday to his birthday mate and long time White House journalist Helen Thomas.



How cute is this man! Loves him!

Macchiato's & Afternoon Papers


Bill Clinton Meets Kim Amid Talks on 2 Journalist


Breaking: Kim Jong II Pardons both journalist

Oh say it ain't so Richard Wolfe...

Jon Stewart's "Master Rebaters" piece from last night's Daily Show.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Master Rebators
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance




Please make it stop! Jon & Kate returns...With a Separation. I'm officially disgusted and want them removed from the air. WTF?! *Remember my reference to train wrecks earlier...well this is another one*

Pioneering Cover Girl Naomi Sims Dies at 61.

INTERCEPTED: How Robert Littal Said What I Haven't Been Able Too!


This article has been 8 months in the making so bear with me on this one.

On November 26, 2008, my world as a football fan changed forever. When I got up and turned on the NFL Network I read the "Breaking News alert" that crawled at the bottom of my screen ,which stated that NY Giants WR Plaxico Burress had been shot in what appeared to be a self-inflicted wound and was in the hospital. For almost one full hour I sat there in stunned silence as I read the words over and over again while hundreds of thoughts rushed through my mind. Weeks before the “shooting” incident Plaxico had been suspended for one game and was in and out of trouble with the Giants front office in what appeared to be his clear spiraling in the wrong direction. Months before that Plaxico stunned Patriots fans and the NFL world when he made the game-winning TD catch that would go on to lead the Giants to their SB victory. (“Manning lobs it…Burress alone…touch down New York!” will replay in my mind for as along as I live.) In the months that followed his stellar playoff and Super Bowl performance, Burress was awarded a contract extension from the Giants, guaranteeing his career would end with in NY and that I would be a happy Giants fan for years to come. However, in those moments as I sat in silence, I knew that all of that would never come true and that his future in football would never be the same.

A year before Plaxico was to become a Super Bowl champion, I had the pleasure of meeting him & Jeremy Shockey at the 40/40 club in NY on a random Wednesday night out with my then boyfriend. As a fan I was in awe...that I was able to talk to him like a regular person and that he was the epitome of cool. Plaxico was laid back, chill and lots of fun. I didn’t ask for his autograph nor did I care about what the score from the previous weeks game was;I had the unique opportunity to talk to my favorite player as a regular person and I loved every minute of it. In those moments I knew I wanted to represent players as both an agent and writer because I was shown the layers they possessed and it was infectious.

For the past 8 months since this entire ordeal has unfolded, I have remained in this same state of stunned silence, not being able to formulate a coherent sentence on the situation. For those who know me you know how difficult something must be for me to be unable to translate it into words. Writing and offering commentary is my gift and not many topics are exempt from my opinion. I give my opinion even when it's not requested, without much concern either way as long as it's out there. But for this I just couldn’t and I still really can’t because of how deep this one cut me. I’ve watched Burress' character being mutilated by Giants fans and football commentators, who a few short months before had nothing but praise for his performance. Stating the obvious that this was a stupid situation he allowed himself to get wrapped up in doesn’t begin to touch exactly what this loss means. The NFL has a lost a competitor, a superior athlete with impeccable skill and tremendous talent. A warrior who played the entire 2007 season with severe ligament damage in his ankle and barely practiced all season, but came out every week and fought through it and made sure he did all he could to win games for his teammates. The Giants lost the pulse of their offense and a veteran leader on April 4, 2009, and it still sends tears steaming down my face. I hate watching people fail...some people enjoy watching train wrecks, I'm not one of those people, especially when it happens to good people, whose hard work gets tossed aside once they make a mistake. Not a lot of people have truly considered what Plaxico has lost as a result of this mistake, he may never play football again and is it his fault of course it is...but there's so much more to it. And it's that, which keeps me up at night.

See I’m a different kind of sports writer and fan of the game. I stand up for players because it’s not the convenient thing to do. It’s unpopular to defend extremely rich and often reckless individuals. But someone has to do it so I figured why not be that person. I revel in being the loudest voice in the room arguing my point that’s a hard sell on the most basic of logic and reason. Being unpopular clears the path of exposure…I’ve built my writing career on supporting players and I will continue to do so.

Until this morning however, I decided to retire this entire situation from my mind and just let it play out while continuing to deal with my feelings on it in silence. This WAS the plan until I read this article (below) by Robert Littal, CEO of Black Sports Online and Sports Journalist for the Washington Post. Mr. Littal is a brilliant journalist with enough fire and grit to keep him well established in the sports world for years to come. His successful career has served as a blueprint for any current and all future sports writers. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Littal but I’m sure I will soon enough. I have however had conversations with him and appreciate his mind and depth according to the world of sports.

His article written on Burress for the Washington Post strikes the perfect balance and suited the entire situation well. No other journalist had yet to find the balance Littal found and I've read every article on the situation, trust me. He manages to address the legal ramifications and the complex personal ones being thrown onto Burress for his costly mistake, while addressing the impact on his football career and personal life.

So I'm sharing it with you here and I hope you enjoy it as I did.


Stupidity Not Criminal

Not surprisingly, a New York grand jury indicted Plaxico Burress on weapons charges Monday.

Mr. Burress will most certainly be sent to jail. It's just a matter of how long he'll have to stay. Clearly, there is no need to debate the New York State laws; they are what they are and Plaxico broke them. This is an open and shut case for the prosecution.

Looking ahead and considering his infraction, should he be able to play in the NFL again? I ask you, "How do you punish stupidity?"

Plaxico Burress is not a criminal, he was deficient in his decision-making. It was not smart to carry a loaded weapon without proper registration. It seems dumb to shoot yourself in the leg and even more so to attempt a cover up. In an ill-advised move, Plaxico turned down a plea agreement early on which might have served less time, instead he faces a possible two years in prison.

The fact that someone can be sent to jail for shooting themselves is asinine enough, but once he was in that situation he proved once again that athletes sometimes think they are above the law. He should ask Michael Vick how that thought process worked out for him.

Just as Michael Vick was conditionally reinstated after an offense far greater, in my opinion, than that of Plaxico Burress, I don't see any reason why Plax, after he is finished making license plates, should not be allowed to play.

Burress is being punished by our backward legal system for being stupid, arrogant and naïve; not for being a criminal.

Almost every team in the NFL has questionable characters on their team. Some are even convicted felons. No matter how badly Roger Goodell wishes it to be, this simply isn't a league of angels and saints.

Plaxico made a mistake. A mistake that he will no doubt be overly punished for and I think that should be punishment enough. There is no need for the NFL to shoot a man in his leg while he is down (pun intended.)

This was an extremely difficult article for me to write and I hope you were able to see the different perspective and the place it came from. I literally cried through the entire thing, which may sound silly to some but I really do take this stuff personal. The goal of every writer is to remain objective while staying true to who we are and I pray I accomplished that in some way. I learned a lot about myself writing this and I feel my purpose for writing is much clearer as a result.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Macchiato's & Afternoon Papers

Monday, August 3, 2009

CNN.com: Auto sales get life from cash for clunkers program. Hmmmm

NY Times: A Bronx Woman has been arrested in the killing of a Holocaust Survivor. Her a$$ is grass if this is true.

CNN.com: 6 Tips on Being Happier at Work *rolls eyes* Forced servitude never felt so FAKE!

CNN.com Katherine Jackson awarded full custody of MJ's kids.

If you watch WETV's hit reality 'Bridezillas' you know that there's something not quite right about the women featured on the show. I mean a little wedding jitters and lunacy is one thing, but some of them are just down right rude, violent and disgusting in their behavior towards their family and friends. Call it real or not but Racine from Bridezillas could be facing charges for parole violation based on her role on the show. And I can't help but laugh because I saw the episodes where she was featured and she was extremely mean and nasty to her fiance's mother.

Story here and check out the video below:



Super special thanks as always to JProbe, our Content Contributor, for providing such wonderful and useful content for XI.

INTERCEPTED: Antonio Pierce Will Not Be Indicted...Burress Will


In not so surprising news...Sal Paolantonio of ESPN is reporting that the grand jury has voted against formally indicting New York Giants LB Antonio Pierce.

My assumption is that they have nothing to go on but the decision has been dragged out to create more of a distraction for the Giants and everyone involved.

His attorney, Michael Bachner, spoke directly with ESPN regarding the outcome.

I'm going to refrain from offering my true feelings on this one. But I'm happy that this will no longer be an issue for any ACTIVE Giants players.

ProFootball.com however is reporting that Plaxico Burress has been indicated on felony gun charges.


ESPN reports that receiver Plaxico Burress will be indicted on felony weapons charges arising from the November 2008 incident in a Manhattan nightclub, during which Burress accidentally shot himself with a gun he was toting in the waistband of his sweatpants.
The move means that Burress will, absent a plea bargain, face a trial.

No date has been set; his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, previously has indicated that his calendar prevents him from being available until March 2010.

The next question is whether Commissioner Roger Goodell will suspend Burress indefinitely until the case is resolved and any jail term is served.

Two years ago, Goodell did just that with quarterback Mike Vick.

Words cannot describe how many times over I am THROUGH with this entire ordeal. SMH

INTERCEPTED: NYG TRAINING CAMP MORNING PRACTICE


The New York Giant's have begun training camp and a wrap up of this mornings practice can be found below.

For the full article from NJ.com click here

Here's my summary:

First team

DE Osi Umenyiora fresh off of knee surgery and missing an entire season appears to be picking up right where he left off. Along with the entire defense.

This morning...it was all about defense. S Kenny Phillips came away with two INT's from the offense & QB Eli Manning. LB Antonio Pierce stopped RB Danny Ware behind a lead blocker. LB Brandon Kehl almost had an sack on Manning. And CB Aaron Ross made the defensive play of the game when he stepped in front of WR Steve Smith for another easy INT.

3 INT's for the defense in a 2 hour time period and while I'm happy for the defense I'm annoyed with the offensive performance.

Eli had a rough start to say the least. With WR's Hixon, Moss & Smith on first team he's going to have to figure out how to get these guys the ball. They're short WR's (average height) is 6'0" and he no longer has the luxury of the 6'5 guy out there to go up and grab the ball...so work it out please.

The back-ups

QB Rhett Bomar connected with WR David Tyree on a back should throw.

QB David Carr came through with some nice completions early.

WR Mario Manningham possesses a lot of natural football instinct, making a nice play after he and Ross slipped coming out of a break.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw showed his speed against Umenyiora who is also pretty quick on a flip play to the left side.

And it looks like C Adam Koets can't seem to shake his fumbled snaps problem. He tallied up 5 in the morning practice alone. SMH

The rookies

So far no mention of WR Hakeem Nicks. Which I'm a little confused about but oh well.

WR Ramses Barden won the test of wills when he held onto a ball between he and CB Aaron Ross.

CB Stoney Woodson broke up a pass intended for WR Shaun Bodiford.

LB Clint Sintim looked good in pass coverage as he broke up a quick out from QB Andre Woodson to TE Lee Vickers (whom I forgot the Giants signed, lol)

Afternoon practice begins at 3:15. Stay tuned....

XI's Technology Report: Best Buy + Twitter = Twelpforce!


As a self-proclaimed nerd, I often try to keep up with what’s going on in the world of technology. So, from time to time, I will be featuring XI’s Technology Report from various news sources and blogs, and of course my thoughts on the topic will be featured as well.

First up…

Best Buy + Twitter = Twelpforce!

Best Buy and Twitter have united! Twitter has become the fastest way to update and connect with people, and Best Buy has become one of the first specialty retailers to capitalize on Twitter’s social appeal. “The goal of Twelpforce is to share our knowledge and give people the information they need to make a decision,” Best Buys states on its website. How it works: if you have a tech-related question, add @Twelpforce to your tweet when asking your question and a Best Buy employee on Twitter will reply to you. It’s a first in online customer service communication using the free networking service, especially in a world where much of our research and purchases are done via the worldwide web.

Launched July 19th, Twelpforce has reportedly been in test with more than 700 registered employees, with more of them signing up daily. Best Buy is urging all of their employees to handle online customer service through Twitter. Best Buy states:



The promise we’re making starting in July is that you’ll know all that we know as fast as we know it. That’s an enormous promise. That means that customers will be able to ask us about the decisions they’re trying to make, the products they’re using, and look for the customer support that only we can give. And with Twitter, we can do that fast, with lots of opinions so they can make a decision after weighing all the input. It also lets others learn from it as they see our conversations unfold.

When you start, remember that the tone is important. Above all, the tone of the conversation has to be authentic and honest. Be conversational. Be yourself. Show respect. Expect respect. The goal is to help. If you don’t know the answer tell them you’ll find out. Then find out and let them know.



Best Buy’s practical tips to employees also include identifying oneself as a Best Buy employee, not asking for personal customer information (even in direct messages), don’t be pushy in trying to convince someone to buy consumer electronics from Best Buy, apologize for any delays and misunderstandings, etc.


Now, I AM XI is pro-Twitter and everything that’s affiliated with it because I’m on it constantly and I get it! However, there isn’t much information on bestbuy.com for customers who aren’t familiar with Twitter and who may want a clearer understanding of how Twelpforce really works; all the help on Best Buy’s website is geared toward assisting the employees on signing up. Perhaps that’s why they haven’t generated much buzz about Twelpforce yet, because Best Buy can have thousands of employees signed up but if no customers are using this service then it's a *fail*. The strategy seems well thought out if Best Buy wants to connect with Twitter users only and not all Best Buy customers and/or potential customers. So, I'm assuming that Twelpforce is just another customer service method for Best Buy that could potentially improve their customer service ratings. But, customers need to know that there are Best Buy employees on Twitter awaiting their questions. Best Buy cannot use Twelpforce as the only means of connecting with Best Buy customers, as stated above, because it won't work. I suppose this is why Best Buy began airing these two television commercials in order to connect Twelpforce with the masses:














What are you thoughts on it? Would you utilize this service?


Also, just an FYI, I tweeted a question about finding a good iron at a reasonable price over an hour ago @Twelpforce, and I have yet to get a tweet response back which is unheard of on Twitter because usually people reply within seconds of being tweeted. The point is to get a quick response back in 140 characters or less from 1 of over 700 employees across operations at Best Buy, or so I thought. So, I’ll keep you updated on whether or not my question was answered and how Twelpforce was able to assist me, because only time will tell whether this new way of communicating online with customers will work out for Best Buy.


Check out www.bestbuy.com/twelpforce for more information (or lack thereof) as well as www.twitter.com/twelpforce.


You can also find me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/iamxi
 
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