Day 5: Abodes

Considering the fact that I’ve been in only four countries (including my birth country) this shouldn’t be a hard sell. There are lots and lots of countries I would live, though I haven’t ever visited them. However, the place that immediately jumps to mind at this moment is Austria.

See link to previous challenge post here

I have never visited Austria, and I’ll love to.

Austria, the home of music, of elegant waltzes and operatic concerts. What’s not to love? I want to visit Austria for the music. I want to see the opera in Vienna. To sit in a booth, elegant in my black tie, spying through my glass and oohing and aahing, at the twirls of the dancers and the oh-so-earth-shattering vocals of the singer.

I want to stroll along the streets of her cities, over thin bridges made of stone, crossing placid water. I want to hear the cries of gulls and other birds, to throw bread in the water, and then duck behind a hedge to dodge the Bundepolizei.

I want to eat at a streetside cafe near the Danube. To order fifteen different types of schnitzel and wash down with beer seasoned with gruit and thick with so much yeast. I want to eat icecream while watching a street artist strum a zither down the street.

I want to visit a convent near the Austrian Alps, to stare over the mountains and pretend I can hear the sound of music. I want to run up and down a meadow, searching for edelweiss, and throw my hands all around and scream “I have confidence!”.

I want to ski. Not in an indoor rink, but over the mountain slopes, to be dressed all in white, dark goggles on my eyes, and pretend I am James Bond, on the run from abominable snowmen sent by SMERSH.

I haven’t visited Austria, except in my dreams, but I intend to.

Disclaimer

  • I often pretend I’m Bond while zipping in a Camry around the hairpin bends of Milliken hill.

Day 4: 10 simple facts about you

So, here I am, sitting pretty, Darjeeling and someone decides why not prop up my narcissism just a little bit with this challenge? Exce-what? Excellent.

But simply because I am too narcissistic to believe myself anything else but humble, here’s me modifying the title to 10 simple facts about myself.

For a link to the previous post on this challenge, see here

10 simple facts.

• I like food.

Sure, I’ve got favourites, everybody does (pounded yam and ogbolo, etc. etc.) but, food generally, general food, I go wack am. Your boy dey finish pot, go ask dem.

• I can cook.

It’s not even a brag. I, this man, whips up a mean anything. See, guy, knowing how to cook different from say you sabi cook one particular thing.

Me, sabi cook. Give me the recipe, I go run am.

Using pidgin English obviously because the emphasis must be made.

• I love driving.

Driving is one of my favourite things. Give me a fast car with a great engine and (take out the Nigerian police and) I’ll tour the world. I love the wide spaces and scenery, the sight of life flashing past at top speed, adrenaline pumping in my veins and a tingling in my feet. I love driving.

• I like to dance.

Hehe.
If you’ve ever seen me dance, thunder fire you for the image you’re laughing at. You’re mad. But really, I love dancing. Can barely dance past moving my waist in all the gyro-directions but, damn, I love to dance.

• I hate injections.

This here is the major reason why it’s impossible for me to do cocaine. It’s so major, it comes after my very excellent upbringing and family training. Give me all the tablets of this world, and I’ll swallow them. I’ll push them up my butt if I have to, but by Jove’s Casablanca Casino, I would not take a needle up any part of my body if I can help it.

• I don’t like doing fun alone.

This here is probably why I haven’t visited more countries than I have. Also why I haven’t had as much adventure as I constantly dream. I don’t have fun when I do it alone. I want to travel with others, to run up cliffs, to swim oceans and skydive. The fun is always in the companionship, all that communalism, than in the activity.

• I love minimalist design.

Or at least, what I think minimalism is. My house is themed in two tones, and that perhaps defines everything. It’s probably a gift, my ability to put little together to define much more.

• I value comfort over wealth.

In the diamond-water paradox, I will choose water every day of the bloody week. In my books, there is less honour, less value, in winning it all, with nothing to show; no peace, no joy, no time to enjoy it. Not the current rave but, give me enjoyment everytime.

• I Iove rock music.

Got addicted it after reading a christian book about the dangers of rock music. Actually. Book about rock music groupies losing their souls after being swayed by the music of a demon-slave rocker, and all I picked from it was, “Can I listen to some of this stuff?”. Hehe. I don’t know but the stirring vocals and oft-clashing instruments express me more than most else.

• I prefer no-name brands to fakes.

I hate wearing or using fakes. Give me a no-name brand anyday, or at worst, a barely known brand, than a fake. Maybe it’s because I have a pretty strong sense of originality, or maybe it’s just secondary school and all those days watching people teased for wearing Seun John from P-Diddy. I prefer people getting their due, for what they did, let them receive. Don’t steal ideas, don’t plagiarise.

Phew. Okay, so there they are. 10 simple facts about me. What do you think?

Disclaimer

• I wrote (have been writing) this with my phone. Where the typos appear, forgive and notify.

• I really am a humble person.

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Day 3: First love, first kiss

Writing this was interesting. I smiled more than once. It’s really satisfying to see how deepening this challenge is making me. Dredging up memories I thought lost. Writing this every morning before I set out, has put colour into my day.

That said, we move.

Find links to previous challenge here

Day 3: Your first love, your first kiss

Love is so inspirational. When you’re fifteen, a swelling bag of hormones and semen and emotions, falling in love is probably the most inspirational thing to happen to you. Poems fly off your hands, as fast as you can write them, lyrics to all the best romantic songs form your regular conversation; a rose becomes redder, the sunset more gold. Falling in love is so inspirational, especially when it’s your first love. You’re certain it would never end, you’re picking baby names and planning destination honeymoons.

Easy to do when your pocket money barely funds the bus fare to the next town.

My first love was nothing like the girls I had crushed on before her and physically different too, from the women after. Perhaps that was because I had been unintentional about falling there, and it was my first experience with growing into fondness.

She was kind. So kind. She had one of the quirkiest smiles ever, her cheeks squeeze into these dimples and her huge upper teeth poke just above her lips. She was, is, beautiful, not in that sharp prettiness that is the product of several treatments and dangerous concotions. Hers is a gentle beauty, soft and unobtrusive, but it pulls your eye and holds it there. She was trilingual, I remember nights learning the Yoruba bits to Styl Plus songs, to sing back to her. Days, poring over German to English dictionaries so I could flawlessly say; “Ich lieben dich”.

Still the only german phrase I know after, “Guten morgen” and “Achtung!”.

She gave me nightmares and happy dreams. Waking in a jolt, heart heavy because I feared she had replaced me in dream, waking soaked and sated because she chose me.
Fifteen year old me, was a rollercoaster.

I told my mother about her, so certain I was of our eventual communalism, why not start now to make preparations?

She is married now, to a kind and handsome man, and has a beautiful baby I hope to see one day. To smile into his eyes, wondering all the time how those eyes would have looked riddled with astigmatism and short sightedness. Hehe.

We never did work out, as most of such relationships go, though we’ve remained friends.

My first kiss on the other hand. Ha. This was a rushed, giggly, mess of saliva that doesn’t deserve prose. Fascinating, strange, I didn’t have another until years after. Learning how to kiss was more about intention than practice. The willingness to exchange saliva with someone else, starts from the intensity of your intent. That’s what pushes you past their breath space, takes your eyes off the zit on their forehead and closes it, and then lets your lips brush and then push against theirs.

Kissing is delightful when you know how. A sense of headiness and belonging overwhelms you, especially when it’s your first kiss with that person. Acceptance. Every kiss wouldn’t feel like the first kiss; kisses begin to take on the role of sexual precursors, and bribes as the relationship deepens. Ha. But every once a while would come a passionate kiss, a welcoming, an acceptance, a binding. Those are the kisses worth anything.

Disclaimer

  • Details required in this challenge are enough ammunition for a proper social engineer, it’s scary.
  • Please don’t do this at home. Cheating is bad.

Day 2: Your earliest memory

Focus, focusifies.

Started this yesterday, mostly in attempt to test my focus, and so far, it’s working.

Find link to Day 1 here.

Your earliest memory

The older I get, the more I regret not maintaining a diary. Not like it would have helped me remember my earliest memory but, considering the cobweby fog that I see staring into the past, in a decade I probably would be hard pressed to remember today. That said, my earliest memories all revolve around growing up in a little town just off the Owerri-Port Harcourt-Aba road.

Sifting through those memories, like clawing though smoke, I’m awash with feelings of laughter and discovery. Learning that water is cool, that fire was hot, and that while sand can be fun to play with, and make into many shapes, it stings when it gets in your eyes.

One memory stands out in that very dim image, motivated perhaps by the fact that the picture exists somewhere, though I cannot recall now. I am perhaps 2 years, sitting on my legs, Japanese style, a feat I can barely attempt today, while my picture is being taken. My hair is combed out in an afro, cheeks plumpy like only a lot of akamu, sprinked through with soya bean powder and the occasional spoon of milk, can do. I am wearing a tiny blue singlet with brown stripes and shorts that match, staring into the camera defiantly.

I cannot remember much else of this memory, except that I was happy. Completely happy. I was at peace with the world, at ease and encouraged to learn, expected to laugh. It’s a sharp contrast with this day in 2019, where the expectations I face are that one be sombre and learning is restricted to the belief of the herd mind.

That 2 year old kid, stares back at me now, meaty arms planted on the sandy floor of my grandfather’s compound, and dares me not to be happy, not to be at ease.

Ha. Do I have a choice?

Disclaimer

  • I regularly listen to advice from my younger selves. It’s a genuine sign of humility. Yes.
  • Also, the wisdom of your more naive self cannot be overestimated

Day 1: 5 problems with Social Media

It’s been an age, and some, posting here. But this is me again, trying my hand at this again and testing my focus with a challenge.

So here we go, with Day 1.

5 problems with Social Media

Without reservations, social media is probably the single, most significant technology since the development of the internet. Every phase and facet of modern life involves utilisation of a particular social media tool. With increasing dependence on social media for information, entertainment and even self awareness, it’s not altogether surprising that the problems associated with the tool have amplified. This is a list of five of those problems, today.

Hermitism

If you knew at first glance, the meaning of that word, you’re probably a living practitioner. I mean, no one having an active social life bandies around words like hermitism. Social media, while drawing closer the edges of the world, has delineated further the units in between. More and more loners have developed since the advent of the first ‘connected network’. While social media, as implied, is a tool for connections, it has taken to replacing face to face conversation and personal interactions, isolating communities and straining friendships.

Catfishing

Another problem that arises when personal interactions no longer exist is, people can assume identities that are either false, or worse, stolen. Simply because you can’t see them, someone could pretend to be anyone. This can be seen as freedom of expression in one verse, but victims arise in this scenarios when someone is played for a fool after believing in a false identity of another.

Self contempt

Likes, dislikes, and the fact that anyone, from anywhere, with or without prior conceptualisation, knowledge or experience, can offer opinions on anything about anyone is recipe for self loathing. Artists, and other individuals who rely on public adulation of their craft, risk much when exposed to the criticisms of social media.

Catfishes, purveying themselves as more than they are, more than anyone likely has the ability to be, in terms of wealth, beauty or some other sophistication, further diminish the self confidence of people already battling with insecurity.

False information

At the start of the internet, in 1951, it was touted as a repository for information (read:Google). Want to learn about anything, read the internet. Want to get an unbiased view on happenings around the world, read the internet. That belief hasn’t disappeared, though it should.

With social media, anyone has the ability to say anything they want and share it as verified information. This is a problem, both in cases where the broadcaster is innocent of the falsehood of their claim, and in cases where it’s completely deliberate.

PS. I am not certain when the internet started, and I didn’t bother to check. That’s a completely bogus figure up there.

Propaganda

Similar to false information, but infinitely more dangerous, is the ability that social media gives for political bodies to promote any version of the truth for the sole reason of swaying a section of the electorate. Tiny, verifiable, pieces of information are overly amplified and spiced up with dashes of complete untruth to either discredit any otherwise credible person/thing, or grossly exalt an otherwise undeserving person/thing.

So there you have it, five problems with social media, as I see it. There are definitely lots more and they aren’t going away.

#30DaysWritingChallenge

Disclaimer

  • It’s been ages since I had to do this, and if it reads a bit dry, it’s the Harmattan.
  • Yikes.

The Goat of Christmas Past

E get this wise man wey talk something, e say, “things dey work out pass for those people wey dey make the best of how things work out”. The guy sabi die. Different ways dey wey things fit sup for this life, but na how and wetin you use am do, na him go make the different between whether you succeed to live another day, or you no succeed. Na person wey no plan well dey end up inside stew.

Definitely not a Dickens kind story.

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E get this wise man wey talk something, e say, “things dey work out pass for those people wey dey make the best of how things work out”. The guy sabi die. Different ways dey wey things fit sup for this life, but na how and wetin you use am do, na him go make the different between whether you succeed to live another day, or you no succeed. Na person wey no plan well dey end up inside stew. If you play your cards right, na you go tanda in the near future with better lems, dey give people advice.

Make I clear you my story, maybe by the time wey I don finish, you go understand wetin I dey talk.

Okay, make I introduce myself. My name na Goat. Look me, yes you, look me. No dey look that fat woman wey stand there for road. No be nyash be that, that na person wey fat true true Continue reading “The Goat of Christmas Past”

Nwin-Nwin: The Legend Begins

Dedicated to the most self-less man I ever knew and the few stories he could tell me

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In Africa, the sun rises and sets without warning, and the winds blow through the old forests with the songs of legends, the marks of their passing staining the blood-red sands.

And some of those legends are true.

******

In the old Edo, the first true black civilization, the empire was home to many tribes and cultures. Bound together by the Obas who ruled after the era of the Ogisos, the sky kings, it stretched almost five thousand miles in either direction; from the steppes of the Dahomey to the swamps of the Niger Delta. Within were the Itshekiri, the Etsako, the proud Ijaws and Urhobos, the noble Esan, the big and powerful Binis and the Igbos both west and east of the Niger River. All paid homage to the Oba and in turn were blessed by him, for the Oba was more than just a man, the Oba was king, the Oba was god on Earth.

Oba ghato kpe e!

The Bini empire was called Edo and it was powerful, the envy of the neighboring kingdoms to the west and the north. Their trade guilds employed the most skilled of artisans; blacksmiths and hunters, their warriors, soldiers from birth, trained in the knife, spear and hand-to-hand combat, and also in the finer arts of war and strategy and juju. It was strategy that led to the building of the Bini moats and high wall which surround the capital of the Edo Empire at Benin City, till this day. Moats that were built with the aid of giants enslaved and brought from across the deserts. Strategy and wisdom, both physical and spiritual.

The warriors who came from all over the kingdom, all swore allegiance to the throne of the Oba, and whether Esan or Ijaw, all spoke the lingua franca, a bastardization of the Bini language, known as the Edo language. Within this military were special cadres, the strategists, the juju priests and the elite warriors. This is a story of one of those elite warriors, and as with such tales, it began at night… Continue reading “Nwin-Nwin: The Legend Begins”