Monday, July 31, 2006

Chinua Achebe on BBC's World Book Club

I don't really get much time to listen to online shows like I used to, but I will make time for this: Chinua Achebe reads and talks about his book Things Fall Apart on BBC Online's World Book Club. It's usually a good program with smart questions from the audience and the moderator.

I notice that one of the recent books featured was The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Never read any of his books, but people tell me all the time that they are extremely funny. I'm curious to find out more.

Another Anniversary

It occured to me that my last day at my job in Boston was Friday, July 29th. I left Boston on the 4th of August. I'm always so amazed by how rapidly time moves, but this past year has been a really exciting one in many ways. Moving is always slightly nerve-racking; moving countries or continents even more so. I think I crammed quite a bit in the year and I've learnt a lot about myself, what I like, what I can handle (quite a lot, as it turns out). I've learnt to be more patient (I think, though others might disagree). I've discovered talents and strengths that I had only a slight suspicion that I might possess.

So what have been the down-sides, you might ask. Nigeria can be a very frustrating place to live and work, but all in all, it's been a fairly small price for all the things I've gained in return.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

One Year of Blogging

Tomorrow, the 31st of July, will mark one year that I have been actively blogging. And they said it wouldn't last. Okay, no one said that. But even I wasn't quite sure if I would find enough to write about, or that people would find my blog worth reading. I also wasn't sure if I could maintain my interest in it for so long. Well, somehow it seems to have worked out okay. Let's see how my blog evolves over the next year....

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Wire is Back!!!!!!!

The Wire Season 3
I'm dog-tired and had promised that this would be an early night for me. But first, I had to go online and check my email, and then my blog aggregator, and before you know it, one thing had led to the other. But it's all good. Infact, it's bloody fantastic!!!!

If you have been reading my blog for a long time (okay, okay, yes I know I have only been blogging for a year but still that's long enough), then you will know that I love The Wire. No, seriously! This show is one of the great loves of my life. You might remember how crazy I went over getting the first 2 seasons on DVD. Now, the news I got this evening via the HBO mailing list I belong to, made me scream. SEASON 3 WILL BE RELEASED ON DVD ON AUGUST 8. Scream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please, no one should dare tell me that this is only a TV show. I do not want to hear that. I am so excited about this and cannot wait. Anyone who is thinking about what to get me for an early (or very belated) birthday present, or a Happy Summer gift, or a Congratulations on Passing out of NYSC surprise now knows what I would absolutely love.

There are already reviews on, which goes to show that there are lots of other hard-core fans like me. What a happy ending to what has been a stressful week.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Diana Evans Book Reading

A friend just sent me information about this. Cassava Republic will be bringing the writer Diana Evans to Nigeria on a book tour (three Nigerian cities including Aug 5th at Jazzhole and Aug 12th at Silverbird's Media Store).

I read her haunting book 26a a few months ago. The characters (especially Georgia) stayed with me for weeks afterwards.

There is a Nigerian connection, because Diana Evans is partly Nigerian. The protagonists of 26a (Georgia and Bessie) had a Nigerian mother and spent part of their childhood years living in Nigeria. I haven't read many books about mental illnesses, but this book deals with it in a very sensitive and engaging way.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

From MA to AL

Finished A Song Flung Up to Heaven in a few hours. It was an easy read, though profound. I'm starting Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy. Hope I like it a lot more than I did Small Island. If I don't like it, I will move on to something else. I no longer believe in trucking through an unenjoyable read.

Meanwhile, I've watched a lot of films since yesterday, courtesy of MNET Movies: Alexander; Princess Diaries 2; One Fine Day; The Recruit; and Pieces of April (on at the moment). I've seen bits of Pieces of April before and it's quite hilarious. Pity, I've got to go to bed NOW because I have work to go to tomorrow.

End of the Vacay

Well, it turned out not to be such a restful week afterall. For some reason, my monthly NYSC clearance was scheduled for Corpers' Week. With my local government being large, the clearance overshadowed the real focus of the week. On Tuesday and Thursday, I tried to get my clearance done eventually suceeding on Friday morning. What a week it was! Now, I can go back to work and get some rest.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Moving on to Maya

Whooooo! I finally finished Bebebebebebebe Moore's Sweet Summer (you need to read it to know). It was such a well-written and poignant book. Very funny too! The very first time I saw it, I passed over it. I can't remember why. I guess I just wasn't in the mood for a memoir at the time.

Bebe Campbell Moore (at least her younger self) just seemed so spunky and full of fun. I will definitely hunt for more of her work.

Now, I'm starting on A Song Flung Up to Heaven by Maya Angelou. This will be the last in her autobiography series for me to read. I stumbled upon her books in the university library about 10 years ago. It's funny, for at least the first year I only associated the library with academic books. One day it occured to me that the same library had to be catering to the Literature students too (duh!) and so I explored. I discovered a veritable treasure of books that had me bucking with excitement. There were books from Commonwealth countries and I discovered "Post-Colonial Literature." For a while, these were the only books I checked out. I especially enjoyed books by Caribbean authors, because until then, I had not read much from that part of the world.

And then one day, I found I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I tore through the library's Maya Angelou collection after that. My favourite was (and still is) All God's Children Need Travelling Shoes. Let's see if this one beats that.

Oh, I just checked and realised that I haven't read The Heart of a Woman, so I still have one more in the series to go after Song.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Jude Law - What's the Fuss?

Like Stevie Wonder asked "What the fuss?" or something.... Alfie is on MNET at the moment. I've seen it before, so I'm not really watching it. But what I am doing is trying to figure out why Jude Law is considered such a sex symbol. It's kind of beyond me. He looks short on screen, though I guess in real life he's probably taller than he appears. He's waifish looking. I could go on. I don't get it.

Meanwhile, Nia Long is positively incandescent. Omar Epps looks good too, though he always seems to get the slightly-clueless-or-not-quite-living-up-to-potential-hot-looking-guy roles.

NB: How was Alfie able to survive the artic temperatures of a Northeast winter going about the streets of NYC in little more than a blazer and a scarf? Doesn't even look like he owns a pair of gloves!

A Week of Rest

This week is Corpers' Week. It should be a week of actvities for youth corpers. I know that being NYSC, things will not go as planned. Today, for instance, was supposed to be the official kick-off with corpers from my LGA (as well as some other LGAs) to meet at City Hall. After signing in, it was pretty much ado about nothing.

So, I'm taking this week as a mini-vacay. After taking care of NYSC stuff in the morning, I plan on getting important errands done and resting. Maybe I can FINALLY finish the Bebe Moore Campbell book. I recently started buying newspapers (This Day and Guardian) everyday and this week I will be able to do more reading and less skimming.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Bebe Moore Campbell

Like you know, I love to write about what I'm reading (currently Sweet Summer: Growing Up With and Without My Dad by Bebe Moore Campbell). Today though, I don't really want to write about the book, as I'm still reading it. I do want to say how much I really enjoy Bebe Moore Campbell's writing. The first book of hers I read was many years ago, a book called Brothers and Sisters. I loved it and would actually like to re-read it to see if I still enjoy it as much as I did back then. Then I read Singing in the Comeback Choir, which was okay but not great. Next came What You Owe Me, courtesy of my sister. This was enjoyable in a very bestseller-ish type of way.

Now, I'm reading Sweet Summer: Growing Up With and Without My Dad, which I'm really enjoying (Nevermind the fact that I've been on it like forever - it's just no time.... you know how that goes). Next, (or rather, when I'm allowing myself to start buying books again), I would like to get Your Blues Ain't Like Mine.

My Love Affair with the Internet

Just realized that I have had my blog up for almost a year (it will be 1 year exactly on the 31st). Who knew it would last so long? It was meant primarily to be a way of keeping in touch with my friends in the US after I left, but it has evolved into so much more. Or so I’d like to think (ha!).

The rise in the popularity of blogging reminds me of a period around the late 1990s to early 2000s when it felt like everyone had a website. The availability of free web hosts and easy-to-use tools like those on Tripod and Geocities meant that everyone and their grandmother could have a web presence. Many people did, though not a lot of the websites (IMHO) were much good. Still it was a lot of fun to read peoples’ stories and see photos of their friends and families. I linked-up with a few long-lost friends through these personal sites. I got my own personal home internet connection for the first time in 2000 when I moved to Boston and I went totally crazy. Most of my time (outside of school and work) was spent physically in my bedroom, but in reality miles away somewhere in cyberspace.

I devoured all the personal websites I found, eagerly scoured their favourite links and gobbled those up too. I start frequenting discussion boards (perhaps my social downfall?). My favourite was on a website called ChickClick and it was really my home away from home. It was a sad day when they closed down. I stayed up late so many nights, not because I couldn't sleep but because I could not tear myself away from my computer. I kept saying "I'll check just one more page." Before I knew it, I had been up almost all night with just a few hours before I had to get to work. When my friend Y told me that her sister was going through the same thing, I TOTALLY understood.

Over time though, after the initial excitement had long died down, many of these sites fell into a gradual state of stasis and eventually disappeared altogether. I suspect the same thing will happen with many of the blogs around. Blogging is also, of course, evolving. I know many people think of it as a frivolous waste of time, but they perhaps aren’t thinking about how it can be adapted for use in a myriad of collaborative learning experiences. In some Western countries, teachers use blogs to discuss homework or classroom teachings with students. Blogs are also used by teachers to keep parents updated on what is being taught in the class. I’m pretty excited about the possibilities that the future will bring, not just for blogging but also for online collaborative learning.

Busy, busy

Feels like a long time since I last blogged from work. Our internet connection has been very patchy. Infact, you can’t really call it a service. It could be off for most of the day and come on about an hour before the close of business. 'It' (like it has a mind of its own) also has a wily habit of being off from the moment we start work, but comes back on just about the same time that my boss is getting into the office (it’s very strange that .....). So when we are constantly saying that we have not been able to do this, that or the other because the connection has been down, it starts to look a mite suspicious.

NYSC is almost over – thank God!!!!!! I enjoyed it in many ways, but it has also been quite stressful and I’m looking forward to that phase of my life being over. I’m sure in a few years time, I’ll hardly remember it, so much so that I will wonder if I actually did it. Work has also been fairly busy too. Sometimes it feels like I’m juggling so many things and am in an almost constant harried state of mind. This is very different from the public face I put on things, which is a mostly calm demeanor. Inside, however, I’m going crazy with all the things I have to do.

So, as you can see there’s a lot happening, but not that much that I want to blog about. Just felt like writing.