31 March 2006

Na wa for all these adjectives - 2

I had a very interesting discussion with PC the other day (whose company I never tire of by the way) about this whole arrogant/unfriendly thing. We came to the conclusion that the underlying issues are A. a clear understanding of the relationship shared by all parties involved; and B. Your conceit of yourself. Let’s take issue A. We have two people ‘U’ and ‘I’ who know each other. After a while, each person defines their relationship with the other person as follows: ‘I’ considers ‘U’ a friend and believes the feeling is mutual, while ‘U’ considers ‘I’ an acquaintance end of story. If ‘U’ doesn’t upgrade his relationship with ‘I’ to friend status, while ‘U’ continues to consider ‘I’ a friend, you can see how quickly ‘I’ can begin to consider ‘U’ arrogant' (unrequited emotions are a bad thing). If he has ‘difficulty’ coming to this conclusion, someone will soon help him reach it. Having a good conceit of yourself will also qualify you to wear the title of arrogance around these parts. The other day I was waiting in line at the cafeteria when a collegue (who is definitely just an acquaintance) comes in. She spies me just as she is joining the line and she sidles over to say hello. After the hello’s she just stands there and I am looking at her with my eye brows raised like ‘so we have said our hellos what else are you waiting for?’ Then she breaks into song about how hungry she is, how she had to sneak out of the office to come here, how her boss mustn’t know she has left the office and how she has got to be served right now. For me it’s very simple, you are entitled to an hour of work everyday. It’s right there in your employment letter. I don’t understand how people will allow one boss let them develop ulcer when it’s clear that a dead person cannot do the work you are doing. if you are hungry you should get off your butt and tell your boss you are off to eat. If you are quick about your meal, your boss will hardly have an issue to pick with you. I am suspecting there is no boss anxiously awaiting this girls return though, ‘I am telling a big fat lie’ is stamped all over this girl. She actually then says ‘please let me shunt this queue jo’ I am mortified. ‘And all these people in line came here to sell groundnuts?’ I ask. But she has made eye contact with the serving boy and is speaking directly to him. The guy goes about trance-like (I imagine this is how cobras do it) and serves up her meal. PC is behind me and is about to pop a blood vessel. This girl then proceeds to go seat herself and wolf down her food probably by pushing the stuff down every orifice of her body! For someone who was in such a hurry a little while back, she takes her sweet time settling down to her meal. PC and I actually get served and are seated before she finally settles down in the booth next to us. She then takes her time luxuriating over her meal; I had to wonder what had changed between her being served and now. The next time I see her she could hardly say hello, I am not upset (good riddance to bad rubbish) but as she turned away I see it in her eyes, due to the cafeteria incident this girl has classed me as arrogant. Well if I would not stoop as low as jumping a 6 man long cafeteria queue then this cap fits me! One of my biggest fears is getting engaged in a brawl you know the kind where someone just jerks you by your shirt front causing all my buttons to pop open and starts pummeling you. Although I grew up listening to Princess stress the importance of wearing good, clean underwear, I don’t think I would like to find myself in a position, where all my undergarments (never mind that I am wearing Victoria Secrets) will be on show except maybe if I was unconscious!

Now, I think I am a lot more comfortable in my skin. By nature, I don’t suffer fools gladly, and even though I have known this since like forever, I have suffered all these years trying to make everyone happy. And I haven’t succeeded (little wonder). As a friend used to say, ‘a problem identified is half solved’ therefore I have resolved to just be myself, the way I see it, people will always misunderstand me. I owe it to others though to show respect (even if they are not respecting themselves) and I owe it to myself to speak up (I am so not confrontational). With this strategy I hope I will be able to survive till I am 60 and then I can really let it rip!

Na wa for all these adjectives - 1

Arrogant, unfriendly, rude, nasty.

Nope this is not an english lesson, these are the nicer adjectives that have been used to describe me. Quite frankly I am flattered that anyone would take the pains to describe me out all! Rude and nasty I can live with, but arrogant and unfriendly? Hmm … Over time I have come to understand why I could be described as such, i.e. arrogant or unfriendly, (I had wised up about the rude and nasty adjectives since) I have the strangest social manners, i.e. I am a loner … with a twist. Reading a post by Pilgrimage to Self the other day, it was like she was describing me, well a part of me.

Yes I think people should call ahead instead of arriving at your door step unannounced on an extended visit (yes I am a black white woman), and I think its sad that you have to wait till you are at least 60 to be able to give people a piece of your mind. Also I am not much for going out for social events, weddings, owambe’s, funerals etc truth be told I really don’t like crowds. Let me rephrase that, I don’t like crowds where I can’t have ‘me’ time. What’s ‘me’ time? Time spent with me. Since all I require is basically myself to have ‘me’ time, ‘me’ time can occur anywhere at any time; while I am reading, watching tv/movies, doing laundry, shopping for groceries, grinding pepper in the market, waiting on my car at the mechanics, driving to see Princess, driving back from seeing Princess, driving to work, driving back from work, at my desk in the office, taking a shower, etc. I could be at a party for example and the urge to have ‘me’ time could just come over me so I begin to (unconsciously mind) start ‘me’ time engagement procedure (dim out external noise, dim out external noise and begin to dwell on whatever subject has caught my fancy). Although I am physically present in the room, I am a hundred miles away with myself. (Please feel free to add crazy to the list of adjectives) Hence I avoid social gatherings simply because people around wouldn’t be able to understand/appreciate what’s happening. All they see is a young woman (fine as hell), who was participating in the general jaw-jaw a minute ago gradually pulling away from the crowd and all of a sudden there is a large ‘F*&^ Off!’ stamped on her forehead. WTF?! Ergo! Arrogant/unfriendly. Of course I am Yoruba (a fun loving people on the coast of West Africa remember?), so it’s impossible for me to totally avoid them (parties). The good thing though is that for those events that I cannot but attend, I usually have long notice at least 6 months and since they don’t occur more than twice a year its okay I guess. My Girl once complained to Princess about my strange habits vis-à-vis finding a husband. Princess really didn’t have much to say, you see this apple didn’t fall far from the tree at all. I thoroughly enjoy my own company, and although I look forward to being a wife and mother someday, I have often wondered how I will handle the ‘me’ time issue. Its okay when I am dating, we both still have our flats, and even if we are playing house for extended periods of time I can still go to my place on some trumped up excuse where I can ‘od’ on ‘me’ time. Although thinking about it now, it has never really been an issue. I guess the wise thing to do now will be to enjoy to the max my single … (hood/ness?). The twist to my being a loner is the fact that I can flow with anybody. I can spend hours on end in the company of anybody from my meat seller to Wole Soyinka and we would have loads of stuff to talk about. PC says this is because I am a ‘hedgehogy fox’ (WTF?!) I am required to read Isaiah Berlin’s essay ‘The Hedgehog and the Fox’ to understand why. I have searched without success for a copy of the essay on the Internet, (I happened upon this very interesting quiz though) and would appreciate it if anyone can tell me where I can get a copy of this essay.

As with every rule though there are exceptions. While I can flow with practically anyone, I am not always ready to do that. I however have a group of people whose company I never tire off (all my ex’s fall into this category), and for them I do the unthinkable - I actually seek them out (I call ahead of course). To the casual observer, it would appear that I am picking and choosing my company. I mean these people are not drug dealers, liars, thieves etc, so why am I not as friendly with them as I am with other people? Because (bad bad grammar) my dear I am a loner with a twist!

29 March 2006

Johnson-Sirleaf leads change in Africa

I am going through the latest edition of Newsweek ( International Edition) and I came across an article titled 'Healing Powers' written by Joshua Hammer. The article is introduced with the following question

"African women are starting to take charge - making new laws, changing old attitudes, inspiring others to follow their lead. Who will help them mend a broken continent?"

Me myself I am wondering, so off I go a-reading. It was interesting to read that women in Liberia are upset with Johnson- Sirleaf because they feel that there aren't enough women in her cabinet. I am wondering is this really the issue? Is it so important, the gender of those in power? Please do not get me wrong, I have nothing against women in government, and I believe every society should not deny itself the opportunity to benefit fully from all its human resources, regardless of their gender. Are these feminist groups clamoring for more female involvement in Johnson- Sirleaf’s cabinet because they believe/know that there are better qualified women for the positions occupied by the men (I assume) who where appointed? I believe we should learn to draw the line between sentiment and good sense.

It’s just like all this quota system/acute tribalism crap that has seized this country by the throat and is slowly but surely snuffing the life out of it. The other day I was in Benin and I saw a billboard showing Nigeria divided along its geo-political zones, with a tally of how leadership has been rotated among the various zones. It showed that the east as a whole had been ‘marginalized’, and was calling sons (and daughters) of the east to help stop the marginalization. Please. The issue to my mind is not the tribe of the person whose turn it is to live in Aso rock, indeed we could hire some out of work CEO from the US or Europe and we would not be worse of for it! I think its more his/her competences and the availability of an enabling environment to carry out the chores with which he/she has been tasked by the electorate. Simple. If we ‘the people’ allow a level playing field, and all contenders contest and a Koma man/woman say is shown to be the most competent, by all means let him/her get on with it. After an agreed period, we ‘the people’ examine his/her accomplishments. If we are satisfied we elect him/her to a second term, or a third term (whatever our legally drawn up constitution allows) else we open the door to sweep him/her out as we welcome his/her successor. Ah, but I forget, will we ‘the people’ get out of our own way to allow this to happen? Will we ever learn to cure the leprosy that’s causing our digits to rot and fall off instead of fretting over the ringworm on our head which will dry off in a week? Will we ever be able to look beyond what we perceive will profit us now and think of the good of the collective? I wonder.

Johnson- Sirleaf’s has a tough job ahead, and really this is not the time for women in particular to be up in arms. Her failure now will retard the progress of the indigenous African female while her success can only leap frog the forward movement of the African female on all levels, not just politics. Who knows women might just be what is required to weld back together this shattered fractal called Africa and I daresay we are all the help we need.

By the way, I am loving Johnson- Sirleaf’s shades of blue outfit! I cannot but marvel out how very like the ‘traditional’ Yoruba bridal outfit it is. Perhaps she picked it up from TisBee say on her recent trip to Nigeria?

Lets take a long walk ...

I believe that our dear Charles must have been listening to this song and found Jill Scott's urging so so strong such that He just got up from his villa in Calabar (or escaped from the convoy taking him to Port-Harcourt) jumped in a jeep, but not before he had a chance to grab some dollars and just started driving. I am sure he was as suprised to see the police at the border station as they were doubtless glad to see him.

Charles Taylor caught in Nigeria BBC

Charles Taylor arrested China China Daily

28 March 2006

Arsenal 2 0 Juventus

The old lady is on life support!

I didn't get to watch the match, I was stuck in some infernal traffic on third mainland and by the time I got home, PHCN had struck. Power came back on just as the post match analysis was on tv. PC rang me with the great news though and I spent a better part of the evening getting the gist from my Arsenal peeps.

A total of 7 cards were given (2 red and 4 yellow), Arsenal ever the gracious host allowed Juventus to go home with the lot! 3 of the cards were awarded to Camoranesi ( 2 yellow, 1 red) for exemplary conduct on the field of play! This means they will be missing two defenders (Camoranesi and Zebina) as well as Viera for the return leg in Turin.

The Arsenal youngsters are really doing well, their form has been good of late, Fabregas gave a very good account of himself against our former captain in particular and as mid-fielder in general. I am looking forward to our historic semi-final qualification come 5th of April at the Stadio del Alpi

Vieira eclipsed by Fabregas class

Henry full of praise for Arsenal but urges caution

The Vanishing, or should I say Vanished!

So Charles Taylor and his posse of over 50 people just went poof! in Calabar ehn? Interesting

Charles Taylor goes missing in Nigeria International Herald Tribune

War crimes suspect Taylor missing CNN

Heston Blumenthal, he aight!

So I am reading GQ, (Eva Longoria is on the cover and they have a LOT of pictures of Jon Bon Jovi whom I really like by the way) and come across an interview with Heston Blumenthal (restauranteur and chef, owner of 'The Fat Duck' which I can bet doesn't serve 'Ogbonna' or 'Egusi' soup!), apparently he drives the BMW M5 (correct) and had been test driving the M6 (I am as yet undecided about that car). In closing he was asked to name his other cars and he gives this answer -

'I don't have one. The M5 is all I need. My wife does have a Renault Scenic ... Does that count?'

After this gem of a response I must say I gotta love this cook (oops, chef!), even if he doesn't serve Nigerian dishes at the 'Fat Duck'!

27 March 2006

So Spike Lee is an arsenal fan ...

I am reading today's Guardian (tuesday is the issue to read if you are job hunting in Nigeria) and in the sports section there is this article on Spike Lee and his hopes for the Old Lady's dissapperance (or expiration!) Unfortunately this particular article isn't in the online edition of the paper, (spent some time searching for it).

Interesting the concept of the American soccer fan of a british football club. So off I go to google to investigate. I come upon this article claiming that Thierry Henry was set to star in Spike's new movie The Inside Man. Since I had watched the trailer and checked out the cast list for the movie only this morning, I knew that was not the case. I carry on on this fact finding mission of mine, and found this post which put the whole thing in some kind of perspective for me. So Spike likes soccer (this is evidenced by his willingness to watch good football, irrespective of who is playing). He also received as a gift season tickets for AC Milian matches. Although he does say that Arsenal is his team, I am not sure if he is reffering to the team that resides in Highbury and will soon be moving to Ashburton Groove, or the the team he coaches on which his son plays which resides at Chelsea Piers in lower Manhattan. He said last year they were called the Boca Juniors due to the fact that he had been in Buenos Aries shooting a BMW commercial (didn't know that, must be getting rusty) and had picked up that particular kit. This would mean that last year he must have been a Boca 'fan' and would imply that next year would probably become the 'fan' of a brazillian team (Santos FC say) as his 'little leagers' change names and kit!

25 March 2006

Monday is a holiday!

I know how this looks but I really don't care! 'Agba Agbe' (Elder Farmer) announced a two day extension to the ungoing census exercise. Princess had actually woken me with the news which I celebrated by staying in bed an extra hour!

24 March 2006

Love is in the air

Oh it’s not me, its Mohammed my gateman!

The other day I want to go out and after calling for him several times I had to resort to a good healthy blast from the horn of my car. He comes rushing in to the compound looking a little flustered/disheveled, he is also covered in what looks like palm oil. I couldn't help myself, I had to ask 'wetin do u?' 'Na my friend dey play with me rub me palm oil' he replied. Hmm ... this play wey u grown man dey play with the teenage daughter of the guard of the house two houses away, me I don't understand. I made a note to discuss Mohammed’s new playmate with my neighbor, I am thrilled for him that he seems to have found love, and such good fortune, just two doors away. However I am not sure I want a married gateman! Of course I forgot to discuss anything with my neighbor, and this afternoon I find myself once again yelling for Mohammed. I know he likes to hang out with the mallam across the road who sells soap, bread etc so I go look for him there. Its not like I can't open the gate myself, but the padlock which usually hangs open is locked! Just as I am about to ask for Mohammed I see he coming out of the uncompleted building on the plot this particular mallam is guarding, with the teenage daughter of the mallam two houses away in tow! 'Abeg come open gate' I say as I turn to go wait in the car for him.

The ATM is refusing to release money to me, well actually it seems that my Bank host is down so I return home. I am coming out of the car as Mohammed says 'see wetin my wife do me'. Wife!? 'You get wife?' I ask. 'You see that girl wey dey dat house, na me go marry am' he declares smiling like an idiot. 'I go carry am go village' I like this fellow. 'Na she rub palm oil for my dress that time, she come tear my shirt today say I dey talk to another woman' O! I am at a loss as to what to say so I say sorry! 'Na small girl dey do am' he states as he wonders off to his room, and 'na hormones dey worry you' I say to myself as I lock my door. I really need to discuss this young man's marital status with my neighbors before he puts the poor girl in the family way moves in and we all look stupid.

23 March 2006

Census Update

I was really suprised when my neighbor knocked on my door heralding the arrival of the enumerators. It was some minutes past 6 (pm) on the second day of the census exercise and my first question was 'what if I had gone out at 4?' They were thankful I hadn't, and assured me that they would have returned at a later date to count me (Princess says according to the training manual, enumerators are expected to make atleast 5 return visits to any house in the event that on their first visit the inhabitants are not home). So what’s my name, how old am I, where do I work, what state am I from, where was I born, etc etc. I leave them two prints of my right thumb and they in turn mark the base of my left thumb with some purple ink which today is looking a lot like an iodine stain. So have been counted!

I heard the robbery in Ikoyi story and I must say I am not too impressed. I was watching LTV earlier in the day, and one of the presenters pointed out that although this story is making all the rounds, the police have not yet received a complaint of any robbery in the Ikoyi area, we don't know which house, on what street, what time this robbery took place, etc. All we know is that some people allegedly masquerading as census enumerators robbed a house. I was chatting with a friend on MSN a short while back and we both were discussing this 'robbery' while I am not saying its impossible, ( I had actually warned Princess to be extra vigilant this period) I am thinking Ikoyi really is the most unlikely place for this type of robbery to have occurred, what with the 200 hundred gates, visitors forms, well fed/trained guard dogs, metal detectors, cavity searches, gun carrying guards, dagger totting mallams you have to traverse at each house before you can even get to see the color of the paint of the first perimeter wall of the house (the house has 5 of these!) Please! Don't be suprised when the population of Lagos state is declared and it is such a ridiculous number there is a nationwide perhaps planet-wide outcry and the census board tells us that the number is so due to the fact that the high and mighty in Ikoyi refused to be counted when one of their number was robbed on day 1 of the census exercise!

16 March 2006

Chris Anyanwu Uncensored

Ms Anyanmu is on the cover of Genevieve this month, and I must say she is looking very good for a woman her age (I am harzarding a guess of early 40's). A word of advice to the graphics people/portrait photographer, please take it easy on the photo enhancement, Ms Anyanwu looked a lot better (to me), more real when we could see her pores, etc. Click here for the full interview with Genevieve.

On a related note, I think its very hypocritical of Baba Iyabo to deny Ms Anyanwu and all the other journalists jailed on the trumped up coup charge by Abacha pardon, seeing that Bros Sege himself would not be here pulling all strings temporal and spiritual in order to serve a 3rd term if he hadn't himself received such a pardon. Watching the whole 3rd term drama unfold, it is becoming increasingly obvious that really in the next elections, the vote of the common man really will not count.

14 March 2006

Blogging (perhaps) in my mother tongue

In case you haven’t noticed I am a real native chick, and I love it! After observing me for a period of time, MMY came to the conclusion that I must dream in Yoruba, my other friends who had been having problems reconciling my ‘grammer speaking’ ‘ajebota’ (One used to butter; rich spoilt kid) side with my ‘owe’ (proverb) speaking ‘paki/ajepako’ (Literally means -one used to eating wood i.e. uses a wooden chewing stick as toothbrush) side, readily propagated his findings. It’s funny although MMY ‘published’ his paper some 4 years ago, I haven’t really paid much attention to what language my dreams are in! I know for sure that I don’t think in Yoruba. Princess says it’s a good thing I don’t, it makes learning in English difficult (she should know, she started out formal schooling thinking in Yoruba). What brings about this post anyway? Looking around today on Jeremy’s blog I came across the link to Omo Obokun,a blog all in Yoruba!

I haven’t has this much activity in my chest since I discovered
Yoruba Google!

I remember the first time I used Yoruba Google, I saw the link in the bottom of an email I got from a friend and rushed right over in my browser. Of course I immediately IM’ed PC (my 'Partner' in 'Criminal') and we had a lengthy discussion about the site and its usefulness. Once the initial wow effect wore off, it became obvious that Yoruba Google for now would be a bit limited in the help it could render to anyone wishing to do more than search for common Yoruba words on the Internet. For one there really isn’t a body of wholly Yoruba works in electronic format or any format for that matter. I have searched for Fagunwa's novel 'Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irunmale', but can't seem to find any to buy. Princess has a copy but after playing 'who can sneeze the most' in our very very dusty store, I think I will pass on finding Princesses copy and hope I can find one with the used books people on the Marina. I do have a Yoruba copy of the Bible which I read (slowly) along side my English one. I am not sure local languages are being taught in schools these days. I recall while in secondary school, Nigerian Languages were compulsory ( I read Efunsetan Aniwura then). I missed not offering Yoruba in my SSCE exams because I moved from a Unity school to a private school. Even if there were tomes of Yoruba literature on the Internet, those people who can read it have no access to the Internet and those who have can hardly speak it not to talk of reading or writing it!

I hope 'Omo Obokun' gets updated regularly, I look forward to reading it.

Definitions from Babawilly's Dictionary of Pidgin English Words and Phrases

Census Jams

Reading the post about the census on Ore's blog, I remembered this song done by Alhaji Kollington Ayinla. It was a track on the 'Ijo Yoyo' album released in 1990. Enjoy :-)


Mo ri bobo kan (census) x2
Ise lon pe me (census) x2
Mo ni ki lo ti je (census)
O lowun fe ka mi (census)
Gbogbo ile ti ji (census)
Broda e wa ka wa (census) x6

Je ki won ka e tako tabo
Je ki won ka e tako tabo
Je ki won ka e tako tabo
Je ki won ka e tako tabo

Ki won le se to fun gbogbo ilu bi a ba fe
je ki won ka e tako tabo

Ti e ba ko ti e ba kami
Ma fe jo sun Babangida
Ma fe jo sun Babangidaaaaaaa (serious waist shaking goes here!)

Women are like apples, Men like fine wine

A friend IM'ed this to me this morning ...

Women are like apples on trees. The best ones are at the top of the tree. Most men don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they just take the rotten apples from the ground that aren't as good, but easy to pick up.
The apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality, THEY'RE AMAZING. They just have to WAIT for the right man to come along, the one who's brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.

Men are like a fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it's up to women to stomp the crap out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with!

Mr and Mrs Smith - Made in Mexico

I think the fight scene in the movie 'Mr and Mrs Smith' should have been preceeded by a warning 'Do not try this at home'! This couple took their little spat (over who knows what) a little too far!

Till death do us part - how about now!

13 March 2006

To tip or not to tip?

I am driving into my estate and saying a short prayer – ‘Lord let the power situation on my street be sorted’. Although I know God answers prayers, the all too familiar din of generators on my street led me to believe He hadn’t answered this particular one. Chei! 3 days in a row! I am not really particular about power, no need fretting about a situation you can do nothing about, however I was dying to see the Seal concert again (borrowed it from MMY, can’t get enough of the guy!) I said another quick one ‘Lord let this (absence of power) be as a result of load shedding’. I drive into my block and inquire of Mohammed (my guard) the power situation, ‘Na now now the light blink’ he replied. The power blinking on then off could be an indication of all sorts of things, all of them not good, hmmm ... As I lock up my car I look up and see a young man saunter towards me it’s the PHCN guy who connected me the other day (see previous article). ‘Hello’ I say, ‘Oh no’ I groan under my breath. I am going to have to tip this guy and I just spent all I had putting gas in my car!!! Wait a minute; I have some mint N 50 notes in my bag phew! ‘How now, how u dey’? I ask. He is well, just finished sorting out our power issues, apparently as he switched us over, power for our area was shut off due to the load shedding schedule (God does answer prayers!) Not to worry though, we will have power before midnight. His partner shows up and we chit-chat for awhile, to give them time to state their ‘business’ here, I asked about the pre-paid meters being installed in the estate. They said they would find out about it and get back to me. Finally, I had been waiting for it and I wasn’t disappointed ‘Aunty Funke you go find us something o’! I smile as I dip my hand into my bag and pull out some of the N 50 bills. ‘Thank you Aunty’ they both chorus as they say their good nights and leave for their office on the other side of the estate. Power does come back on sometime during the night, I don’t know when exactly, I love my sleep I got up long enough to shut my windows and put my ac on, I’ll be enjoying my dvd later today.

Weekend Update

So much for a quiet weekend spent doing all of my favorite things! Power was out at my place the whole of Saturday and Sunday, plus I had to be at work on Sunday. Fixed my car, surprisingly the indicator lights were sorted out in 2 mins, the reverse lights however required changing something under the gear box, yada, yada, yada! I will fix that next time I have 3 hours to spare. Renewed my love affair with Seal at MMY’s place. I had never watched any of his live performances, this one was just awesome!!! Or maybe I am biased. The sound production I think was very good for something recorded live or maybe they took it back to the studio to re-mix it and all that. Anyways it was 120 mins well spent.

12 March 2006

Arsenal 2 1 Liverpool

Go Gunners!

Match Report

PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens)

Saw my boy E at the mecho yesterday, and he is wearing a bracelet with PUSH on it. I know he is wearing it for his lil sister who is in the UK, it appears she has lung cancer and I know how devastating that news has been for him and his family. Please remember Onyema in your prayers.

10 March 2006

Arsenal/Juventus Quarterfinal

For those who haven't heard, we face Juventus and Viera on the 5th of April at Delle Alpi

UEFA Champions League Fixtures

Weekend Plans

I am looking forward to a really quiet weekend, staying at home and doing all my favorite things – sleeping and reading. I might drop by at MMY’s place he has a documentary on Salif Keita I would like to see and also a live Seal performance (Oprah, my wildest dream would be to sing with Seal!). Alas, I will have to go out on Saturday, my car needs attention!

I have always had a thing for BMW’s for as long as I can remember, and I finally got to own one in 2003. Contrary to what a lot of people (who have never owned a BMW) say, its not such a problematic car. I will be the first to admit that it’s a bit expensive to maintain (the fuel pump costs between 14 and 17k, while that for a Toyota is like 8k!) but I have found that the trick is in the parts and the mechanic (how profound!) According to my mecho, the parts dealers don’t stock ‘original original’ BMW parts cos no one will buy them!!! Before I go on, let me point out that there are 4 types of parts available in the market today in Nigeria – ‘Fake Fake’, ‘Original Fake’, ‘Fake Original’, and ‘Original Original’! My boy E found out the hard way; oil filter nearly knocked his engine! Needless to say Type 4 is the way to go. When I can I go the ‘get the parts from the UK’ route, the local parts dealers atimes can be too clever for their own good, make my moto no go knock!

It’s a minor thing really that ails my car, the reverse lights are out, and the indicator lights only work at night. I called my mecho last week and he is suspecting the indicator light stalk assembly. I should actually be able to sort it out the reverse light thing myself (bulbs!), but the indicator lights stump me. I am really praying those will be a minor issue. The other day, the ac guy spent 8 hours un-coupling/re-coupling the dashboard to swap the evaporator. The swap took all of 10 mins! Imagine that!

09 March 2006

Breakfast, Oscar Wilde and the local bookstore

Just got back from breakfast with PC. Actually its breakfast for me and lunch for him (he eats breakfast while the rest of us are getting ready for dinner!). We are both currently reading The Importance of Being Earnest and its had us in stitches! Imagine my joy at discovering that I had this gem of a play tucked away in my pile of books to read. I am at the point in the play where it is apparent that Earnest is the suitable mate for both Gwendolyn and Cecily, however he doesn't exist! (Gwendolyn loves Jack, but wishes he were called Earnest, likewise Cecily loves Earnest who is actually named Aglgernon). I think Wilde has passed across vital information here; the perfect man doesn't exist, and even if he did, he cannot be had because he is unrecognisable! Although this is my first complete work of Oscar Wilde it seems quite familiar, almost like I had read it before maybe in bits and pieces (like I am currently reading the Count of Monte Cristo). I realise the play seems so familiar because Wilde is widely quoted from it, imagie my joy to find one of my favorite quotes in the play:

"To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness"

My copy of the play was published by Wordsworth Editions Limited, and at the back there is a long list of other classics published by them. PC looks through and as he reads out the various authors and their works, we both 'travel down' memory lane. I have never read The Pickwick Papers and he told me that 'Earnest' was child's play in the comic department. We both eagerly trot of to the nearby bookstore only to get there and start to wonder why we had come! Imagine we both couldn't remember the title that had brought us rushing down! Well it was good exercise and great company so I guess the trip wasn't such a waste.

08 March 2006

Arsenal 0 0 Real Madrid

With Lehmans head 'at home' yesterday, many missed chances by Henry and Reyes and an aging Real side, Arsenal qualifies for the quarter finals! Good football, well done lads.

Check out this
post match interview by Wenger, PC showed it to me and I think Wenger's opening remarks are golden.

Match Report

Celebrating the African Woman

For many reasons a woman is special and should be celebrated. Loving crafted by her maker, she was built to last; the Creator gifted her with an extra dose of depth and strength in preparation for the role she would play on earth. In my short life I have come across several women who in going about their daily ‘ordinary’ business have touched me and others and should be celebrated I have chosen to celebrate one in particular who to me represents all these women, Princess.

Princess is my mother, the first born of many children and mother of two. Princess has had it rough like most people on earth, but she didn’t just roll over and die; she took her portion of lime and made lemonade! Widowed twice, she has managed to do a good job of raising two children, me and my 20 year old sister who has cerebral palsy. I learned the meaning of forgiveness as I watched her struggle with the hand fate dealt her. I learned the meaning of beauty as I watched her touch people with her kindness. I learned the meaning of perseverance as I watched her lovingly not give up on my sister. We have had our ups and downs and will continue to butt heads I am sure. You see Princess is Ijesha ( a tribe among the Yoruba’s who hail from Osun state) and they are notoriously stubborn. For some reason my sister and I inherited that from her (plus her skinny legs) so you can see how butting heads is a full time job at my house! As I have grown older, our battles are not as ‘bloody’ though just as intense. Now we are less Mother and Daughter, more friends so even though she might not agree with me on issues or vice versa, we both know that we have got each others back. My beautiful brown Princess, looking at her you wouldn’t know she was a day over 40. I am grateful for the honor of having half of her genes, and the privilege to have her as my guardian on earth. My strong African Princess I love you.

Today is International Womens Day and this post is written to celebrate all women, particularly the African Woman. It was Sokari and Mshairi's idea to post today to honor/celebrate the African Woman, I am thankful to have been a part of it.

Adieu Ali

I can't believe Ali Farka Toure is gone! Such a shame, great music. Rest in peace, son of Africa.

05 March 2006

Thank Allah its Friday!

That’s the title of the photograph MMY gave me on Sunday. It a smaller print of the photo He has over the exotic table in his room. It’s such a beautiful photograph! It’s a panoramic view of hundreds of Muslim men, all performing the 'Sujud' and the solemnity, reverence, uniformity and unity of purpose the picture captures is just so … the word to describe it eludes me, I am actually getting goose bumps writing this! Looking at this photo, I am reminded of what God’s reasons were for creating Man; to keep his company, and to worship Him. Man’s worship would be different and priceless to God, because He (Man) has the right to choose whether or not to worship The Creator. Seeing all these men in this position, worshiping God by their actions just blows me away, I think it’s the kind of scene I would like to wake up to every day, and in our ever busy world, its good to remember why we are on earth. Have a great week.

Worked all through the weekend (well almost!)

Friday was not a good day, and I suspect it only got worse with the thought of spending the weekend camped up with my colleagues at our bi-annual departmental retreat. I don’t know why we bother, my boss knows exactly what he wants to do, how he wants to do it, the time-frame in which he wants to do it, etc He really doesn’t need to steal my precious weekend under the guise of deciding these things. Anyways I show up late, and keep my mouth shut, and apart from the fact that the training school was rationing diesel (don’t as me why because I really don’t know) and I had to spend a most uncomfortable night (I chose not to open the windows, I didn’t want any flying, slithering or scampering visitors) it wasn’t all bad.

02 March 2006

Nigeria and Avian Flu - Another Update

Bird Flu: FG Links Source to Illegal Importation of Chicks

Yippee tomorrow is saturday! - An Update

Alas, its not a flyover going up at Alapere, its a pedestrian bridge! (See my earlier post ) In theory, this is supposed to help ease the congestion of vehicular traffic by removing the steady stream of human traffic crossing the expressway. In practice however, the government are in the process of creating a new overhead market and as with all markets, people will come to buy, sell and window shop. All this activity will further increase human traffic which will further impede vehicular traffic, and at the end of the day we are worse off than when we started!

I recall the first 'overhead bridge' market/mall I encountered. Prim and proper secondary school student, I needed to cross Ikorodu road at Obanikoro and instead of making a quick dash across a major express way like my fellow Nigerians, I decided to use the pedestrian bridge. What was the hurry really, I could see a long line of empty buses across the road, I wasn’t in any danger of not getting a bus. This particular bridge was of the metal variety and as I approached the stairs, I began to question the need to cross the expressway at all! The very first five steps were so badly bent/broken, it just made sense to not attempt to test them so I reached out for the banister to steady myself as I attempted to start climbing from the 6th step. Recalling the vivid description of the banister by Ayi Kwei Armah in his book ‘The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born’ (recommended reading in secondary school), my hand recoiled. I looked in the direction of the banister and it wasn’t there! Propelled only by the desire to walk the talk, I ascend the remains of the original (staircase).

The view upon completing my ascent was impressive; thinking about it, it brings to mind an article I had read by Olatunji Dare when he wrote a column for the Guardian. I do not recall the title, but it was about street hawking and the notorious Lagos traffic. He narrated the possibility of actually renting and furnishing a house, from chairs to crockery to clothing to food stuff for the pantry to getting a generator while stuck in one of Lagos' famous traffic jams assuming word got to you that your house and all your posessions had burned to the ground. Of course the Fire Brigade could not get to your house on time to save your property because they are stuck like 100 cars behind you in the very same traffic. The hero of his narrative also managed to buy a car which he drove to his new house after his old one went kaput in traffic (I am guessing its a Mercedes Benz, probably a 190)! Reconciling my experience with the article I had read, I realized that Mr Dare didn’t have to rely on his imagination when he wrote his article. It was possible to start my journey across this particular bridge a pedestrian and end it the proud owner of a BMW. In the process I would also have done all the things Mr Dare’s hero accomplished and more, without paying a premium no doubt. Afterall this is not Leventis or Kingsway, I would only need to put my bargaining skills to good use! Keeping a firm grip on my money stuffed in my pinafore pocket, I proceeded to window shop. I could have easily cooked a pot of soup with local or agric chicken, or perhaps ‘awo’ (guinea fowl), fresh fish, beef or goat meat. Of course I would have bought the pot, stove etc right there. If for some reason the new pot sprung a leak, the trusty pot mender was but a step away (precariously perched next to a gapping hole on the bridge right above the fast moving traffic). While my stew cooked I could get my hair loosened, and plaited, braided or even permed and set. After completing the purchase of my BMW, mechanic shop was nearby so I could just carry out the requisite oil change ('toks' baby, not 'tear rubber'). Whatever ailment might befall me, the trusty pharmacy was open, selling their wonder cure-all drug. Is it ‘warapa’ (epilepsy), ‘iba’ (fever/malaria), ‘aito ato’ (low sperm count)? Perhaps the ‘village people’ were on my case, all I need do was produce the token fee and use the drug as per instruction my ailments/afflictions would be a thing of the past. Did I forget my textbooks in school? No problem, the bookstore was open and I could just pick up second hand copies of my books. What is a market without the ‘alabaru’ (porter) and the ‘alajo’ (Credit Cooperative Collector)? I came upon the dress store and if it weren’t that I was already far enough from school (I bailed out after exams) I could just buy a whole new outfit and stuff my incriminating school uniform in my bag which I would have also color coordinated and bought at the dress shop!

Sadly I have reach the end of the market and saying a quick prayer began my descent. Of course I was accosted on my way up and down by beggars thankfully not area boys. Finally I am once again on firm ground; I had to pause for a minute to get used to walking on a surface which was not visibly vibrating/moving. I can’t believe it, there is not an empty bus in sight, maybe I should have made the dash like the other ‘sensible’ Nigerians, and get splattered by a car and then have my family be obliged to pay my killer N5,000 (the fine imposed by the Marwa administration for those whose ‘jay-walking’ ended on a fatal note). I think not besides I enjoyed my window shopping!

01 March 2006

My 'Chikungunya' Scare

I didn’t sleep well last night, first of PHCN were hogging the power as usual although I learned that I have my brothers and sisters in the Niger Delta to thank for that. Apparently the pipelines carrying gas to Egbin and other gas powered power plants were destroyed so the whole country not forgetting our dependents in Benin and Togo (apparently we export electric power!) are dependent on Kanji. With water levels dangerously low (it’s the dry season) to say they are generating power way below projected capacity is a real understatement. Second I don’t know how, but at least one mosquito managed to get into my room and proceeded to race as close to my ears as possible! They it/they even managed to bite me on my back and stomach! I sprayed my room with Baygon before leaving this morning so I am assured that all flying creatures will be dead by the time I get home this evening

Imagine my horror to read the following story this morning. ‘PC’ called my attention to it after listening to me narrate my ordeal! According to the report, Chikungunya has been reported on the African French islands, and those islands are some way from Nigeria, but that is how they were reporting bird flu in turkey meanwhile it was already in Kaduna!!!

MMY and my old friend the white witch

Met up with two old friends yesterday, one meeting was planned, the other was quite accidental.

MMY recently moved to Mini Dolphin and I had been invited to come 'know' the new place. Dolphin Estates is made up of two sections; Main Dolphin (comprising of duplexes) and what I call Mini Dolphin made up of blocks of flats. I have never been a big fan of Dolphin Estates, way too cramped. Growing up in Ibadan, I guess I have been spoiled for space. Prior to my visit yesterday, I had only been to Mini Dolphin once before and that was some four years ago, even then I was unimpressed with the whole environment, however nothing could prepare me for what I saw yesterday. Blocks badly in need of paint threatening to collapse under the weight of DSTV dishes, TV antennas, ac units, etc garbage everywhere you looked, well fed rats with luxuriant pelts strolling majestically across the roads, every other block boasting a kiosk selling everything from soap to kerosene. It looked like isale eko (interior Lagos Island) only there where nicer cars parked in front of the buildings.

MMY promptly apologized for the state of the estate (like it was his fault), I feel for him sha, I know he was forced to take this place when the other house deal he was working on fell through. I am betting he will be moving again in another 6 months. The place was still upside down although MMY and his flat mate had managed to do up their rooms. He had this really lovely not quite coffee table not quite side board in his room, he said it came from Algeria, it was exquisite. He also had a black and white print of one of his works just above the exotic table, I am not an expert on the subject but I must say that I think he takes wicked pictures. We hung out for awhile, he entertained me with Angie Stone (I love her!) and we talked about work (he is into IT too). I left with a promise to hook up today for a meal.

On my way into Dolphin it occurred to me that an old friend of mine lived there and that I had never visited and that she had a baby who was almost a year old whom I had never seen, I didn't even know his name! As I drive out of MMY's street, my phone rings and guess who it is, my old friend! I did a 360, was she nearby? Yes she was in her house and no she hadn't seen me, she just had this urge to talk with me (this girl na witch I swear!) I now confess I am in the area and of course she insists I drop by her place after abusing me very well (as only an old friend can do properly). She greets me in her pj's and she looks like she was ready to go to bed as she had mentioned on the phone. She has grown a little pouch courtesy of her son and she assures me that its actually reducing thanks to a vigorous regimen she follows at the gym. Unfortunately her son is asleep, we gist a bit and I have to admit I was a bit distracted by this wonderful smell of stew! My treacherous stomach starts making growling noises (I haven't eaten a home cooked meal in like 3 weeks). I tell her my stomach is complaining so off we go to the kitchen to raid the pot (it was goat meat and not chicken). Look at the time, its past 10 pm! Hugs and kisses and a promise to make a date for lunch (I smell hanky-panky here) I hop in my trusty 14 year old car and head off home. It was a real pleasure seeing her, and the fact that she called just as I was thinking about her gave me this warm feeling (she must be a white witch!)

I'm It!

I have observed the tag cycle and I had actually hoped that I would have been left out, not because I can’t answer the questions, but because I don’t have 4 people to tag in return who have not already been tagged! You will all forgive me, I have only just ‘moved’ in and I am trying to acquaint myself with the population.

1. Black and White or Color; how do you prefer your movies?
ANS: Let me borrow a line from a Miki Howard song ‘When I dream, I dream in color’!

2. What is the one single subject that bores you to near-death?
ANS: Maybe I am not normal, but I find that with the right delivery, any topic can engage me. If the question was ‘Who bores you to death’ that’s a different story!

3. MP3s, CDs, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium for prerecorded music?
ANS: It’s got to be MP3’s. I try and buy cd’s from my favorite artists, but at the end of the day, I rip ‘em onto my hard drive.

4. You are handed one first class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world and ten million dollars cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and not tell anyone where you are going … Ever. This includes family, friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run?
ANS: No, a life without Princess and my lil sis? Unimaginable!

5. Seriously, what do you consider the world’s most pressing issue now?
ANS: Poverty.

6. How would you rectify the world’s most pressing issue?
ANS: I think Bono and the Gates have the skinny on that, me I am just trying to keep my head above water!

7. You are given the chance to go back and change one thing in your life; what would that be?
ANS: Nothing really, I believe all things have and will continue to work out for good for me.

8. You are given the chance to go back and change one event in world history, what would that be?
ANS: This a real tough one, Michael Jackson would have never heard of plastic surgery.

9. A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole’ Opry – Which do you choose?
ANS: Opera and I would see ‘Phantom of the Opera’ by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber even though I have the audio recording. I have never seen/listened to an Italian Opera and I am told it’s an experience worth having.

10. What is the one great unsolved crime of all time you’d like to solve?
ANS: Who framed Roger Rabbit

11. One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal?
ANS: I must have spent the whole of yesterday pondering this one and I really don’t know who I would invite and for that matter I don’t know who I wouldn’t.

12. You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below us, and above us there is only sky — what’s the first immoral thing you might do to celebrate this fact?
ANS: No need ‘celebrating’ this fiction over fact.