All you can drink Karoke is NEVER a good idea

Japas 38, on 38th and Madison is an all you can eat, all you can drink Karaoke bar. For just $35 per person you and your closest friends can sing, drink, eat and dance for 2-3 hours. While this sounds like a great deal, I highly suggest you stay away, not because it’s not fun but rather because it’s too much fun.

For some reason despite being able to afford my rent, groceries and my own metro card I cannot control myself when it comes to an open bar + food. Whenever the opportunity presents itself I will eat and drink like I’m about to cross the Sahara Desert. My friend recently turned 25 and decided she wanted to hit up Japas for her birthday. We had a lot of college friends coming from out of town and thought this would be the best way to save money and have a guaranteed fun night out.

Japas is a great meeting spot for large parties of people; they have private rooms, appetizer platters, beer, wine, sake and are even kind of enough to provide jugs of water for the drunk patrons. Party packages start at $35 per person for 2 hours and extensions can be added for an additional $15-$25 depending on how much longer you’d like to stay.

Our party package began at 7 and by 7:05 we were balls deep in sake bombs, sushi and French fries. We started off the evening with a sultry rendition of Birthday Sex to break the ice and celebrate the occasion. After several rounds of sake bombs a few California rolls, some spring rolls and white wine to keep it classy we were belting out Celine Dion, Backstreet Boys, Eminem and Vanessa Carlton.

The thing about this place is that while it’s a great deal and a lot of fun, singing karaoke while drinking is kind of like playing a soccer game and hydrating yourself with mixed drinks, and instead of eating power bars to refuel your body you have sushi and French fries. It’s not cute. Beer + wine + chicken fingers and a hot room = a drunk group of people with no hope.

Logically we decided that we needed to continue drinking at a bar across the street and another one down the street and one more just for good measure, because a 3-hour open bar wasn’t enough for us.

I ended up on the ground after my friends decided to carry me out the bar on his back, I later regained my composure and tried to re enter the bar when the bartender kindly told me “I don’t think it’s a good idea if you come back in” – truer words have never been spoken and that’s when we knew the night was over.

Review: Purpose

Purpose: the reason for which something exists or is done, made or used, an intended or desired results; end; aim or goal.

I remember years ago when I was in high school I would rush home after the final bell so I could be home to watch Oprah at 4 p.m. It was literally the highlight of my day. There was one show in particular she did talking about purpose and your life’s purpose and how until she found her purpose she was just living life, instead of living life. There’s a difference.

When you do not have a purpose you’re lost, mentally, emotionally all of the above. I don’t want to say you begin acting out, but you do. There are stages; since you have not found yourself or who you are, you go looking in different places. Whether it’s a bar for a drink, a Bloomingdales, solace in your room with a TV remote or home with a stranger. The aimless wandering through life is much different than the enjoyment of life. The person who doesn’t have their purpose is selfish, they are trying to find themselves so they do not have time for anybody else. How was your day? What new stuff are you working on? Any plans this weekend? These are not things you will hear from this person. The person who doesn’t have their purpose is reckless; they don’t have a bigger picture for their life so all that matters is the now. What will bring me the most pleasure now? What will make for the best story tomorrow? What will make me feel good now, look the best now. They want what they want, when they want it with no regards on how it will affect the future. The person who doesn’t have their purpose has no compassion; this might have come off as a little harsh, what I mean is that they have trouble empathizing with others. When someone makes sacrifice in their life to fulfill their purpose, pinching pennies to travel abroad and teach underprivileged children, moving to a small town because they want to break into the news scene, or quitting your job to pursue a career in writing some people might not understand. Some people won’t get it.

People will ask “Why are you leaving your great career?”, “How are you going to accomplish all of this?”, “What if you meet someone?”, “How are you ever going to save enough money to buy a house?”. Sometimes your purpose doesn’t fall within the ‘norm’, you might not have a 9-5, or a nuclear family with 2.5 children, a dog and a husband, you probably won’t float along the path of life that everybody else does, you might break out and be a little different but that’s ok because at least you’re working towards a goal, a goal that makes you happy, fulfilled and gives you a reason to get up in the morning. Makes you excited about life, about meeting new people, doing new things, taking risks and living.

Review: Religious Parents

The City of Alachua Florida has a population of 9,378 and is located northwest of the city of Gainesville Florida, home to the Florida Gators. This is where my parents grew up and like the majority of African – American families in the area they were Southern Baptist. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular denomination think, large church hats, super long church services, Sunday school and lively choirs.

Another very distinct aspect of Baptist religion is the nonexistence of separation between home life and church life. Religion is life and life is religion, prayers are said before bed, before meals, first thing in the morning and often throughout the day, not in the open but rather just a check in between you and God. While is church on Sunday is doesn’t just end there, Sunday school is after church, Bible Study is during the week, rehearsals for church plays are after school and prayer groups meet every day.

This is the environment that my parents were born and raised in, and this is the environment they tried to recreate for my brother and I growing up in D.C., a place where progressive ideas live.

For this particular sect of Christianity, modesty is everything and not always in the traditional sense like Hasidic Judaism or Islam, but it is still present through all aspects of life. Whether it is by your dress, your language, or your interactions with the opposite sex (especially for girls), the teachings of the Bible and beliefs of the church snake their way into every part of your life.

I distinctly remember asking my mother why I couldn’t curse and she said to me “You cannot curse and say vile things out of the same mouth that you use to praise the Lord with” that was the end of that and I didn’t say my first curse word until 5 years later, and well over 3,000 miles away from my parents and God.

With the expectation of going to 8 a.m. church every Sunday having any sort of social life in High School especially on a Saturday night is pretty much impossible unless you are willing and able to be awake at 7 a.m. in order to be on time to church, and NOT fall asleep during the almost 2 hour service. Sitting in hot stuffy church listening to the preacher ramble on about how basically everything you’re doing is was wrong? Not exactly a relaxing Sunday afternoon. Instead of going out with friends Christians should be gathering disciples for the church, reality TV? Don’t fill your mind with people acting out and against God’s will. Alcohol? Or the Devils juice? Boys? Yes, that’s fine, as long as you’re holding hands and growing in Christ together. You guys can definitely have sex after you’ve completed pre- marriage counseling and been married, in the church.

Abortion, gay rights, sex before marriage, drinking, drugs, kids outside of marriage, partying, cursing, everything that people my age had no problems with was condemned and frowned upon. Week after week I would listen to the preacher talk about how Christians were the saved ones, we had God’s favor, and we would live eternally in Heaven with the Lord. Looking back on it I’m not sure if I am the introverted person I am today because I was too scared to go out and live my life because of the Church or if that’s just the way I am.

Being terrified to disappoint God and not get to join your family in heaven can do a lot of things to a person. Not wanting to go out and have God see you sinning, thinking that every bad thing that happened in your life as God punishing you for doing wrong, maybe you didn’t pray hard enough that night, or pay enough attention in church last Sunday. Everything becomes a checks and balance system and life becomes not about doing things that you enjoy or that make you happy but rather following a set of rules (or so you think) that will please God and therefore get you into Heaven. However, everyone has a breaking point, even Christians, when they realize that you will not be struck down if you decide to take a sip of alcohol and you won’t be burdened by guilt if you drop an f bomb every now and then. God is not supposed to be a scary rule keeper who slams down a hand of judgment and condemns people to hell and church shouldn’t be something you have to dread or force yourself to stay awake for. After many years, a few of which I totally abandoned organized religion all together, I’ve come around to be a less intense version of my parents, but in the end I’m thankful for all the things they taught me and all the rules the imposed on me today, and I often wonder. When it comes to raising my own children, how will I be?