Monday, June 30, 2008

As 2008 Marches On

Tomorrow (almost today now) is July 1st. Where did the first half of the year fly to? Well, hopefully for most of us, it was a good start to the year.

For me, it was a year of changes and new beginnings. I left my old job to set-up an NGO. So far, so good. It's been an amazing journey so far and I pray for better times ahead. It's like I've heard said; if you take a leap of faith, somehow the road rises up to meet you. LOL! Well, it better, otherwise that would not be a pretty sight at all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Firefox 3

Who's using this? I love Firefox and am in the process of downloading it, but I needed to make sure that my favourite add-on - Foxmarks, which allows you synchronise your bookmarks across multiple computers - was available in the new version.

Meanwhile, here's an article shared by Frances, 'Geek girl' helps keep Mozilla safe in scary times, about Mozilla's chief security something-or-other (yes, that's her official title), Window Snyder.

Seeking Kenyan Women Bloggers

Fahamu is organising a project - Blogs for African Women (BAWo) - with Nigerian NGO, the Women's Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) to mentor young Kenyan women. If you are or know of a Kenyan woman blogger, who is interested in mentoring other young women, please contact or

Friday, June 13, 2008

What a Day!

Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press, a US TV program that I used to watch died. He was incredibly knowledgeable and a tough interviewer. It's saying a lot that for someone not interested in politics, I routinely watched Meet the Press. You will be missed, Mr. Russert.

Then, R. Kelly was aquitted on ALL charges in his recently ended child pornography trial. Unbelievable! But, then not really given how often the trial was pushed back (from six years ago) and the relaxed way Kelly was still able to continue about his business.

Yesterday, I learnt that M.K.O. Abiola had really won the June 12 1993 presidential elections. Thank you, Mr. Nwosu for clearing that up. Shifting more units of your new book wouldn't happen to have anything with that declaration, now would it?

Yesterday, I received my latest issue of True Love magazine and whose name jumped out at me from the cover? None other than Frances Uku, actress-on the-rise, blogger
and friend. Ms. Uku has a 4-page spread with some incredible looking photographs. It's not everyday you see such a natural beauty rocking her twists with total confidence on the pages of True Love. So, everybody grab ya copy NOW!!!! Or at least, whenever it hits the streets.

Then, out of the blue, someone sent me credit today. That was such an unexpected and touching gesture.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Story of Sex and the City

So, the weekend wasn't a total bust afterall. I discovered in the last few weeks that a friend of mine is a published author. And no, he's not just a one-time author, but had 3 books to his credit, with the first published when he was still in university. We met during our NYSC year and served on the editorial board together. I mistakenly thought at the time that he was merely a good writer. The error was all mine. He turned out to be pretty damn good. He launched his fourth book on Sunday and I attended the book launch, which was a celebration of the book and the author. It's so good to see people living out their passions.

After the book launch, I went to see the much heralded Sex and the City. And much like I imagined it would be, going to see the movie was as much of an event as seeing the movie.

My friend planned on getting there early just to secure the tickets. When I arrived at the Galleria, I could see why. The cinema floor, ordinarily wall-to-wall with people, was even more so. I could also perceive an excited buzz in the air emanating mostly from the women (or maybe that was just me).

We posed for photographs by a Sex and the City poster, with the photographer taking additional shots just to make sure that he got my shoes (any SATC fan knows the import of the shoes).

Getting to watch the film was perhaps almost as much drama as the film promised. I went out of the cinema hall to get popcorn during a lull caused by an unceremonious halting of the previews. After I waited in that long line, I got back to the hall only to be asked to wait outside while some 'issue' was being sorted out. In the true nature of most things Naija, you are never really told directly what the issue is. Rather you are forced to piece it together bit-by-bit from hearsay and plain gossip. While we waited, a few people who declared that they were friends of the people at the heart of 'the issue' bogarded their way into the hall. On getting back into the hall, it seemed that seats had been reserved and cordoned off with ropes. Of-course, in typical fashion, with no one to watch over these reserved seats, they had been quickly filled up with people other than the intended. And, to cut a very tiresome story short (Believe me! I was there!), we were finally able to start watching the film about an hour after the scheduled time. This was African time to the nth degree!!! It also demonstrates the power of a few to throw a spanner in the works of many.

Maybe I was restless by this time, but the start of the film felt slightly anti-climaxic. The film was obviously intended for devotees of the show firstly, and then everybody else. So, I was left feeling that if I wasn't such a big fan of the show, I would not be overly impressed by it. In true rom-com style, everyone gets a nice, happy ending tied-up in a huge bow. I felt this way at the end of the TV series, particularly with the Carrie and Mr. Big storyline. With the film, I was even more like "Yeah, yeah! Whateva!". While I love a happy ending as much as the next person, I think I might be a little too cynical to really buy it, even when it's presented in the safe world of movies.

I was inclined to think that many among the audience instinctively felt the same way too. As the end credits started to roll, I just knew that if this was a cinema in some other part of the world, the hall would erupt in spontaneous and deafening applause. This was not to be in the Lagos hall in which I saw the film. I think we, as a people, might be inured against that kind of fairy-tale thinking (now, I don't know if that's a crying shame or perhaps the way things should be given the frequent harshness of life in Nigeria).

The clothes and shoes were fun of course, but even the way those were rolled out mercilessly, felt like they were pandering to an already love-struck audience. In fact the entire film appeared to be one long - much too long - loveletter to itself.

More balanced reviews of the film?
- Boston Times
- New York Times
- Guardian

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Failed Night Out

It's been a really long time since I've been out at night and by that I don't mean dinner; I mean out to a bar or lounge. Returning home with hair extensions infused with cigarette smoke is just not the kick it was at 24 (and even then, come to think of it, it wasn't). Now, I tend to do movies and maybe dinner and be back home by 11 WHEN I go out.

Determined not to settle into early retirement before I even hit my forties, I try to shake things up a little and get out every now and again. Tonight was one such night. The first problem upon deciding that I wanted to go out was where to go to. The first option to go to a karaoke bar was suggested by my sister.

I was very doubtful.

She maintained that it would be fun.

- But I can't sing, I countered (a very important and lucid argument for not going, in my mind).

- Well, neither can I!

So, that kind of settled it. Karaoking singing we would go.

That is until she and her friend got there and called me to saying that the place "Was not happening."

Okay, so where was then?

She promised to call me back after a quick consultation with her friends. She called back 4 minutes later with no clearer suggestion than to see where the mood would take them.

That really didn't work for me, so I decided to meet up with my friend at Newscafe. I hadn't been there in a while, but figured that it was a safe enough bet.

Ahem. Was I wrong! The place was a far cry from the hot spot I remembered. Then I realised that I hadn't been there at night in about a year! OMG! Well, in Lagos a place that was the place to be a year ago is not guaranteed to maintain that record a year later (unless, of course, it's Bacchus).

The Newscafe I remember was abuzz with people, cars, music and energy; all of which were glaringly lacking tonight. Within minutes we decided to leave for Posh Cafe.

On getting there, my sister stopped and pronounced that the place "Looked dead."

The sign outside the Mega Plaza car park had declared a fee of "N200 per park." Determined that "my park" would be optimised as much as possible, I firmly marched in ignoring the virtually empty space. Comfortably ensconced in the chairs, we ordered our drinks and waited for the enjoyment to begin. And we waited. And waited...

My sister and her friend decided to throw in the towel and go home. I decided to stay and enjoy my, ahem, hot chocolate. As more patrons left and others stood outside, survey the joint and decide against coming in, my friend D and I confessed how out of the loop we felt.

Where WAS everyone? There was some memo that I obviously didn't get.

Determined that the next evening out would be much more fun, we vowed that next time we would "do our homework, ask around, know the place du jour, etc.

We ended up in the open-air food court on the ground level for a late-night meal of suya, which was probably the most fun part of the evening. There's nothing like the night that never was to make you feel like you just need to give it all up now. But perhaps, I also need to realise that my ideas about fun have really changed over time and embrace this realisation with wild abandon.