Friday, September 23, 2005


The City of Brotherly Love

So I went to Philly for my friend Lyndah's wedding. Had a fun filled weekend hooking up with my old classmates from ISL and meeting new friends too. I have to say 'we' did a good job picking out the bridesmaids dresses, and I was afraid we would not find anything hot at that nonsense place called David's Bridal. In fact someone needs to come up with another birdal chain store and put those people out of business, because they have a monopoly on the whole wedding outfit business and they ae just lousy sometimes. Anyways here are some pictures that we took in Phila. Hope it can compensate for the boringness that this place has been for a while. Don't worry, that was an interlude of some sort, a technical hiccup. Trust me a lot of water has passed under the bridge, and I am living up to my dramatic heritage as there's always something going on in my life that I need to bitch, vent or just talk about. You'll be getting an ear, or shall I say and eyeful, of stuffthat's appropriate to share soon. For you who must be wondering if I am talking about you, don't fret I am not vindictive.

Another beautiful Igbo product; Lyndah taking her first bridal pose

Oluchi, Me and Bayode

Oluchi, Me, Deola and Bayode

Me and My princ Charming: I caught the bouquet for the first time in my life (ominous feeeling)and he caught the garter. Doubt he knew what that was, and why he was excite, I really don't know.

Who said Nigerian Girls aren't HOT.... and I hear the beautiful ones are not yet born? WHATEVER HATER!!

Me in one of my gracious moments... that was probably the only bite i took of that juicy drumstick (watching my height before the fan cuts off my That's Jumoke, Bode and Lola.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


But I'm connected

Finally, I can begin to live again. My computer's been fixed despite being very old and problematic. I guess the technician got a bit carried away installing wireless onto my computer; it crashed when I turned it off and it refused to start up. It is like telling a 90 year old woman to climb Kilimanjaro, you are asking her to dig her grave and bungy jump into it. I can't believe it has been a month with out.... ok that's a bit strange that I've not christianed my computer yet. I wonder what it shall be called. As I was saying, however, 'commy', yes that's a good name, ironically, that's my mother's nickname, boy would she have a good laugh if she hears I name my computer after her. But they are a bit alike, cranky, menopausal and always meditating on something, in the case of my computer it's more like being comatose. Anyways I am so excited that I finally am back online, it's not as though i'll have time to blog, but at least I can have a social life. Yes, it is pathetic but when your friends are dispersed across the country and globe, it is the only way you can stay on top of the latest gossip.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I HATE Charlotte!!!

Many of my friends already know how much I hate Charlotte North Carolina and how much I dread going there. It is like every trip I take to Charlotte, I get more reasons added to the list of why I hate the damned place, but family obligations force me back most, if not all that time. It is a very long story that goes back to the 1966, when the first man from Ekwe (my village) decided to attend college in this town. That was Uncle Obinna, who gets a lot of heat from his age-mates for not having fought in the Biafran War. It is so funny sometimes when he and his brothers, my other uncles get into an argument, the other party always throws in more punch when they say something in igbo like, "e gbala egbe" (have you shot a gun before) or "I gara agha/ I luru ogu" ( did you go to war?). They always say he ran away to college to avoid fighting and this would get him a bit upset and only escalate the ensuing drama, especially because it is usually his junior brothers, Uncle Mark and my dad who use it as ammunition.

The war came, millions killed and many villages in the east destroyed, but as nature would have it, my well situated village, in the middle of nowhere was safe. The only sign of war, as I was told during our regular 'Biafra Briefings' was when villagers would go to collect their children's' soldier pay from Uncle George, who was like a pay-officer, and when my dad, a lieutenant or colonel or something to that effect would bring a military truck with food for the starving folks.
Meanwhile, Uncle Obinna was concoting other plans. He decided to enroll my dad in college, so in 1970, my father came. From that point on my destiny was sealed and Charlotte would become my village away from my village as every person who made the journey to America decided to put up tent here, with the exception of some very smart individuals (my cousins in Texas)
There are almost 100 relatives of mine who live in Charlotte now and boy do they know how to be dramatic. In fact, I think when they talk about Greek drama and Shakespeare without talking about Adaure's Family, they are doing the world a disservice. Right from the day I was born, I was enrolled in drama school with my relatives being the teachers. That's probably how I learnt how to be a drama queen. There are so many stories that if I decided to move to Nigeria and get into Nollywood, I'll beat the record by churning 'high quality' home videos once everyday. There would be titles like Wicked Aunty, Lost Brother, Evil Brother, Nene and the masquerade Part 1, Nene and the Masquerade Part 2-The revenge of the Masquerade, Nene and the Masquerade part 3: Wrong Clothes, Black Python, Green Mamba, Oso Abiola: June 12 Migration, 7 Year Silence, The War of the Red Cap Chiefs, 2 Kings, The Proposal, Forbidden River, Forbidden Mango, Forbidden Love, Landed Property, Not in My House, The Bazaar, the Mourning, The Curse, Night Vigil, Ichuafo (or New Year's Eve), August Break, Village Meeting, The Palmwine Tapper, Women's Dance, Socialite, Electric Pole, Razor Blade, I.M(Ima Mmadu/Connections),The Born Agains, just to name a few. And if we ever had a deal with the Soap Channel it would be called St. Andrews (after the church in the Mission)

We never lack entertainment in my family, be it in Charlotte or Nigeria. From people beefing over one thing or the other, to towing the lines of tradition and not to forget land issues and marriages. Yes this is normal in many igbo families, but we take it to another level, worthy of Oscars and Emmys.

But it's become a hectic chore for me as a young person in the midst of archaic attitudes. Sometimes I just feel like getting into a tirade of obscenities at some of them, but I just have to drink some cold water and keep on trucking. I have now found myself putting in to practice the things I learnt watching some adults, most of which is diplomacy. You can't survive in this family without diplomacy because you'ld become frustrated into getting diabetes or high-blood pressure. Diplomacy, coupled with vigilance, is the very core of survival where I come from, otherwise the '1st Biafran Civil War' would have started in my village before MASSOB (Movement of the Actualization of a sovereign State of Biafra) actualizes this imaginary country they call "the land where the sun sets.'

Having lived in Charlotte for two years surrounded and guarded by these relatives, the city for me has come to mean so much misery and anguish. This place holds so many bad memories and experiences(and they only keep growing) that those two years have been blocked out entirely, it would take a shrink to get it revived. Sometimes it is unexplainable,and people can't understand, how much I loathe this place and why I never ever forever ever want to move to or live in Charlotte in my whole life. Even if they are picking gold on the streets in Uptown, i'ld rather gather moss in the bushes of Orange and Chatham county. Charlotte unfortunately represents every thing bad, horrible and miserable in my life. Every bad decision, starting with that of coming here in the first place, knowing what I might face, was made or has to do with Charlotte. In fact Hurricane Katrina should have hit Charlotte, not New Orleans ( The people i'ld save know themselves, others not on the list can drink water and drown for all I care.) I should have followed my gut instincts and gotten back on a plane to Nigeria, when on my first day I hit my big toe against the door post, and later that same day tumbled from the top of the stairs holding a 2 weeks old baby. Every normal Nigerian would agree with me that those were some vital signs that I missed...not so?

Anyways, that's history, but sometimes certain things just trigger reactionary emotions, reinforcing what I already know as fact, that I just have to vent. I'll be coming to Charlotte for family business for the next two weeks, and then a few other weekends in October for some other runs, (perhaps getting my last few glimpses of the Queen City for now because, and depending on how God tips the scale of destiny, I'ld either be too busy to care or millions of miles away in Africa, back packing from Cape to Cairo with a 'mobile technology notebook' and a Sony xl-1, to be bothered) Unfortunately that would mean losing my sanity momentarily and missing church; now that's when the jobless demons of mischief and up to no damn good creep up, like right now, at 11am, when I should be in church worshipping my God on a beautiful Sunday morning, instead I am typing some arrant raging nonsense and wishing evil on people instead of speaking blessings. That's cool though, the Big Dawg upstairs understand my frustrations and the need to let it all out...It's therapeutic.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Hmh... I was going to start to say that our dear president of the US cannot be faulted for the mishaps that he is making. I was also going to say that reading from the article below and as we Nigerians say, you can tell who raised him, and I was going to add that he is truly the son of his mother, because a child can only reflect what he was taught at home. But I didn't say any of what I was going to say because these people are in the nooks and crannies of all faucets of life. I was just reflecting on what I was about to say, you know, what I was thinking but didn't say.

Barbara Bush: It's Good Enough for the Poor
John Nichols
Tue Sep 6, 1:08 PM ET The Nation --
Finally, we have discovered the roots of George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism."
On the heels of the president's "What, me worry?" response to the death, destruction and dislocation that followed upon Hurricane Katrina comes the news of his mother's Labor Day visit with hurricane evacuees at the Astrodome in Houston.
Commenting on the facilities that have been set up for the evacuees -- cots crammed side-by-side in a huge stadium where the lights never go out and the sound of sobbing children never completely ceases -- former First Lady Barbara Bush concluded that the poor people of New Orleans had lucked out.
"Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them," Mrs. Bush told American Public Media's "Marketplace" program, before returning to her multi-million dollar Houston home.
On the tape of the interview, Mrs. Bush chuckles audibly as she observes just how great things are going for families that are separated from loved ones, people who have been forced to abandon their homes and the only community where they have ever lived, and parents who are explaining to children that their pets, their toys and in some cases their friends may be lost forever. Perhaps the former first lady was amusing herself with the notion that evacuees without bread could eat cake.
At the very least, she was expressing a measure of empathy commensurate with that evidenced by her son during his fly-ins for disaster-zone photo opportunities. On Friday, when even Republican lawmakers were giving the federal government an "F" for its response to the crisis, Top of Form 1
Bottom of Form 1 President Bush heaped praise on embattled Top of Form 2
Bottom of Form 2
Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown. As thousands of victims of the hurricane continued to plead for food, water, shelter, medical care and a way out of the nightmare to which federal neglect had consigned them, Brown cheerily announced that "people are getting the help they need."
Barbara Bush's son put his arm around the addled FEMA functionary and declared, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
Like mother, like son. Even when a hurricane hits, the apple does not fall far from the tree

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


This Hurricane is causing some major issues that are just too much to deal with. Heres one, though insignificant was a rather poignant moment on television. It happened during the Hurricane Telethon on NBC

Mike Myers: The landscape of the city has changed dramatically, tragically and perhaps irreversibly. There is now over 25 feet of water where there was once city streets and thriving neighborhoods.
(toss to Kanye West)
West: I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, "They're looting." You see a white family, it says, "They're looking for food." And, you know, it's been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite because I've tried to turn away from the TV because it's too hard to watch. I've even been shopping before even giving a donation, so now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help -- with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. I mean, the Red Cross is doing everything they can. We already realize a lot of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way -- and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us!
(West tossback to Myers...who has a blank look on his face like, 'that's not on the prompter'.)
Myers: And subtle, but in many ways even more profoundly devastating, is the lasting damage to the survivors' will to rebuild and remain in the area. The destruction of the spirit of the people of southern Louisiana and Mississippi may end up being the most tragic loss of all.
(Myers tossback to West.)
West: George Bush doesn't care about black people!
(Flabbergasted Myers has another 'huh?' look on his face, obviously uncomfortable..he scratches his eye and continues)

Myers: Please call . . .
(NBC clips the mic and cuts to a perspiring Chris Tucker; beady eyes like "i know that negro didn't just call out the president." He stumbles on a few lines and the show continues)
Fast forward to last night....Bill O'rielly calls Kanye West a"dopey little rapper"... a caller to the station calls him 'Kanny Wu or whatever he calls himself'.
The tv talking heads give us great sound bites to run, but when it comes from least expected folks, they are absolutely flabbergasting. For this reason, I'm liking Kanye a lot more now.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Superstitions That Make You Go 'Huh?'

For the past two weeks, my left eye brow had been twitching. The muscles behind my eyes seemed like they were high on some cheap drugs and going hay wire. It's a very uncomfortable feeling that made me highly irritable. I bet I looked crazy at work tapping my eyebrow and stretching the skin around my eyes hoping that would help. I had heard of an old wives' tale, a superstitious belief, that says if your left eyes twitching it means there will be a death in the family. This got me very worried so I prayed and cast every evil spirit or forces that may be present, covered myself with the Blood of Jesus. In addition, I beckoned on the four guardian archangels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael. Ok so that's a stretch, I really didn't do that, just added that for effect, but people do call on them. Don't ask me where I know that from, it's a long story.
As sad as it sounds, I am very superstitious, not because I believe in them, but because I am fascinated by the coincidental occurrences that are predicted, the metaphors and ironies that are laced behind incidents and mostly how imaginative and colorful they are. Growing up in Nigeria, and Africa in general, being superstitious or reacting to them is practically a way of life. There are days when folks would return from the marketplace with 'touch and go' or 'touch and follow' stories. The first is when a person 'allegedly' disappears, turns into a tortoise or has missing private parts after being touched by a charmed person, and the latter is when one is hypnotised into leading charmed scamers to jewelry, money and prized documents. Then there was that story about the Guru Mharaji, who supposedly used his red 'Best Biro' ink pens that he manufactured to suck the blood of school children. Oh my lord, what a frezy that created when someone performed an experiment to prove the superstition was true. He poured out ink from the red American 'Bic Biro' pen and the 'Best Biro' pen into a puddle of water. Apparently if the ink was really ink, it would not sink and if it was blood it would float, or something like that. Well, the puddle with the 'Best' ink has all sorts of shapes of creatures, cats, rats, and frogs floating. That was the last day I used that brand of pen.
There are so many other laughable stories, including ones about changlings, the ghost in the high-heels and mer-humans. I am sure someone's grandmother saw the movie Splash that just validated her beliefs.

Anyways, I digressed from my story. So my eye was twitching, and I decided to google it up to find out what was wrong and if there was a remedy. (Google is a God send, I don't know what I would do without it. It even comes in Yoruba language, may be there'll be an Igbo one out soon.) Turns out there's a name for the symptom, Myokomia, which is Latin for 'twitching eye'. It's caused by various things such as stress, fatigue. I read up different medical explanations and remedies, cold compress, hot compress, more rest and all sorts of things that did not involve taking actual medications. Then I read somewhere that it could be caused by a potassium deficiency. Hmh, wasn't that what caused Terry Schiavo's initial stroke? I continued to read and low and behold, there was a remedy. Apparently, It is also an old wives tale, that eating bananas will stop the twitching. The crazy old ladies must have been on to something because on my way home I bought some bananas. I ate three of them with my late night dinner and went to bed. I don't kow if it's science or a miracle, but i'm now cured. No more of that annoying twitch all because of some old superstitious belief. I wonder what other remedies out there are discredited as silly old kitchen gibberish. I hope there's something that eating Vanilla Ice-cream can cure. It beats drinking a concoction of Vermonia Amygdalina (bitter-leaf) to cure Malaria or a bowl of palm-oil after eating raw cashew nut. Yuck!!

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Fuels scarcity comes to America

I knew it was coming, I was afraid it will come. Gas shortage, or as we call it in Nigeria, Fuel Scarcity. Prices have skyrocketed and there seems to be no end in sight. Hurricane Katrina only accelerated and aggravated what was already a bad situation headed for the worst. I cannot believe I willingly paid $2.99 for gas on Wednesday. Usually I would drive past several and bitch about the prices before I settle on one to pump gas from. Just this morning, I saw a report about one station in Georgia selling its regular gas for $6.00. The owner must be a criminal to do something like that. Here at home in NC, there were lines at gas stations, a sight so reminiscent to the ones in Nigeria. Long lines filled with rickety yellow Volks Wagen 'gombi' buses, also know as 'danfo', mammy-wagons, molues (yellow school buses, converted to public transit buses) and 504 Pea-jotes (Peugeots). Days like those called for mandatory exercise, walking from Lagos Marina to the Mainland, because all vehicles, both public and personal, are standing in line for fuel. My brothers, when they got older, didn't know that the luxury of being able to drive also came with the suffering of going to hustle to fill up the tanks and jerry cans with fuel. Some times we’d be lucky to get a free jerry can or two, courtesy of some students who felt the gesture and show of goodwill would translate into extra-credit from my dad. Now, whether the latter happened or not I really do know, but I am sure it is a gesture that many people can use in America today, because pockets are beginning to pinch.
The sad thing for us in the United States is that next to water, gasoline is an essential fluid. If you don't have it you can't eat, go to work or pay bills. In many places like NC the transit system is very poor and inefficient. Facilities, grocery stores, schools and work places are so far spread out that one cannot even attempt or even fathom walking. In Nigeria, come rain or shine, no gas in the car or no electricity to iron your school shirt, we always find a way to IMPROVISE, and that is why I give mad props to Africans. Even I myself, with all my 'siddity-argh-a-spider-fronting', have walked several miles to get to school, the market, church and back because there was no gas. So don't be fooled, by that personality, there are five others, and one of them happens to be a gangster-mango-tree-climbing-hoe-weilding-cement-mixing-village-dancing-carpenter all in one.
The saddest thing is that regardless of how outraged we get, we remain helpless. It goes to show that democracy is very subjective. Imagine if this rubbish price hiking and gouging was happening in Nigeria. First of all, before Festus Keyamo, Adams Oshiomhole, the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Teacher's Union and the now defunct University lecturers union can gather for a press conference to announce their various strikes, the markets, bus drivers would have already shut down operation. The President, governors and the cabinet will be put to the real test. People would stop going to work because they cannot afford to get to work. They would not be afraid of being fired, which is the case for many here in the states. The much people can do is carry placards that read 'Honk if Gas is too high' at street corners while hoping and praying that corporate America and capitalists cohorts alike will have mercy. It's sad, true and I am drawn to conclude that it is shameful, but really what can the poor masses do.