Sunday, November 22, 2015

Viva la Paris

It's been a week since the terrorist attacks in Paris (by an evil terrorist group whose name shall never be typed by me), and I just want to take this time to send my love and thoughts to the citizens of Paris. As I have written in the past year, I am in the planning stages of a big European summer trip with my mom and niece next June. We'll be spending 4 days in London and 4 days in Paris. My niece is particularly interested in Paris and this once in a lifetime trip for all of us is going full speed ahead.

I lived in New York City when 9/11 occurred. My apartment was a mere 6 miles away from ground zero. Although it took a few weeks for us New Yorkers to wake up from the shock of the horrific terrorist attack, we did eventually moved on and became stronger and more united. That is what is going to happen in Paris, and any other unfortunate city that meets the same attack by these barbaric subhuman scum in the future. I know good prevails over evil, but there will be times when evil hurts us, but we always get back up, reassess things, and defeat them. This will happen. But meanwhile, I refuse to change my vacation plans. We're going to Paris and we're going to have an excellent visit.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Ancestry.com Results!


To my great surprise, it only took two weeks for Ancestry.com to send me my DNA results, saving me up to an additional four weeks of waiting. I'm excited to share the findings and for the most part, I'm not too surprised, but it was fun seeing the results of what I suspected. To summarize, my African roots are primarily from West Africa, and the map from Ancestry.com representing my DNA ancestry reminds me of just how large and diverse the continent of Africa is. The largest portion of my African ancestry is from Cameroon/Congo (25%), and the remaining 46% is from other parts, including 14% from "Trace regions". According to Ancestry.com, trace regions are: These are regions where you seem to have just a trace amount of genetic ethnicity — there is only a small amount of evidence supporting the regions as part of your genetic ethnicity. Because both the estimated amount and the range of the estimate are small, it is possible that these regions appear by chance and are not actually part of your genetic ethnicity.

And Europe is 26% of my DNA Ancestry with 13% of that from Great Britain, and 13% from trace regions in Europe. In the European DNA ancestry break down, the second largest region at 7% is from Spain/Portugal. I had no idea that I have Iberian Peninsula ancestry, so that was the really cool find.

Overall, I find my DNA results to be enlightening and fun. There are so many other DNA tests out there and they are continuously developing these tests to have even better estimations. Perhaps I'll do another test in 10 years to see if the science of the testing can confirm these trace regions or merge my DNA definitively into the currently dominate ancestry regions.

Here is the complete breakdown of my DNA ancestry results:

25%    Cameroon/Congo
23%    Benin/Togo
9%      Mali
14%   Trace African regions (tiny percentages from five other African countries)
13%   Great Britain
7%     Spain/Portugal
3%     Scandinavia
2%      Ireland
1%      Europe East
3%      Native American/Asian
100% = ME

Friday, November 13, 2015

Love & Vodka is a Fish Out of Water

I got my book signed y'all!
This past Wednesday evening (Nov. 11th) reminded me of why I love living in Ann Arbor so much. My long time dear friends, Laurie and Jon Wilson, invited me to the book launch and reading of R. J. Fox's new book, Love & Vodka - My Surreal Adventures in the Ukraine, which is the first book published under their new publishing company, Fish Out of Water (www.fowbooks.com). The reading was appropriately held at the downtown Ann Arbor bookstore, Literati. A brilliant corner bookstore that reminds me of my days in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City circa 2000. Nothing beats buying a book and then shoving a fancy $5 cupcake into your mouth as you walk home to read your new find.

RJ reading from 'Love & Vodka'
R.J.'s new book is about his ambitious endeavor to travel from the States to the Ukraine to ask a girl he just met on the street, to marry him. It's a funny story about how a young American experiences life so bizarre and completely different from his Michigan and California life, all in the pursuit of happiness. R.J. read for a bit and answered about a dozen questions. I knew going into the reading that this was a book I wanted to buy, and after R.J. shared some key bits from the book, I was sold, this is going to be a great, funny, and educational read.


Jon and R. J. toasting the book launch with a shot of honey vodka.
Jon and Laurie worked with R.J. for seven years to make that evening come to fruition. And if there ever was an example of synchronicity, Nov 11th was the night because it was that very evening, seven years earlier, when the Wilsons and R.J. friended each other on Facebook and began sharing dreams about book writing and creating a publishing company. Yup, the universe works in mysterious ways, but you have to put the action into motion to get what you want.

Please check out Jon and Laurie's Fish Out of Water publishing website (read about the book or short story submission guidelines), and order RJ's book! Cheers to Jon, Laurie, and R.J!

This was a deliciously smooth vodka.