Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fairy Tales That Fade Into The Night

Everyone dreams of fairy tales I know I once did. Of a little sky blue and gray house with a cashew tree at the backyard, a white picket fence, a big netted veranda to sit out on hot days, a big tall husband and three kids.

When I was 13 I fell in love, at first sight too. I had spent hours upon hours of days and nights between 11 and 17 years reading hundreds of Mills&Boon and other such romance stories. I had always been an avid reader and read books even when I could not fathom what they were talking about. I read 'The Canterbury Tales' for the first time when I was 9 or 10 years, couldn't understand the language or the jokes but read it to the end.

But when I was 13 Mills&Boon were still about virgins falling in love and getting all giddy and excited about tall dark handsome men for no reason they could fathom. And so I fell in love with this tall handsome dark man a bit older than me just like it happened in my books and for the first time books became my secondary focus. He had taken the number one spot. I dreamt him, thought him and saw him even when my eyes were closed. I dreamt of the sky blue and gray house, of our kids who would be tall like him and the cashew tree behind the house, of the good wife I would be and how all that was needed was for me to turn 18.

18 was the magic age, the year all heroines in Mills&Boon became women but it was a disturbingly very distant age then for me. I always dreamt I woke up and I was 18 and he was proposing but I woke up 14 and after a year of dreaming I was only just 15. While I dreamt, my Dad however wasn't dreaming, he had noticed the foolish look I got on my face everytime prince charming walked by and I later found out he had been 'verily' warned that I might be young and foolish but he most certainly wasn't and would be held accountable.

By the time I turned 16 Mills&Boon had completely changed and the stories had turned half porn where strangers had sex before they knew each other's names - the era of the Temptation series - and I too had moved on to Pacesetters, Chase, Sidney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer and a host of others and my reading list was no longer stream lined towards romance and I seemed to have fallen out of love too. It was sad. I was actually genuinely happy when I loved him even though everyone said it was infatuation. It had been 3 happy years of following him around like a shadow, dreaming happy dreams of kisses that made your knees weak, of love making that showed you a whole new world of unbelievable sights sounds and sensations. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had actually been 18 then.

The anguish of lives not lived.

As I changed reading lists I think my outlook on life too changed and my ability to see only the very best in people slowly eroded. My fantasies  took on a darker hue and the fairy tales blended with the night to become a picture almost not there.

When I was 13 I fell in love at first sight for the first time....I am beginning to believe it happens only once in a life time.

Butterflies and a Life Lesson

Where have all the butterflies gone? I haven't seen one in ages in fact I had almost forgotten about butterflies until I was watching 'the butterfly effect' and it dawned on me that I have almost forgotten what butterflies look like even.

When I was much younger butterflies were everywhere especially those large green and yellow ones. Enough for everyone to chase and catch and imprison for a while too. Butterflies taught me about helplessness and being small enough to be at the mercy of other beings, long long ago, way before candy stopped curing every pain, way before Bruce Willis lost all his hair and stopped Moonlighting.

I once caught a butterfly and put it in a glass jar and screwed on the lid and sat there watching it flap around in the jar, I didn't think about the lack of air or the enclosed feeling I just loved the fact that for a while I owned the butterfly and its wings against the glass jar looked nice. Eventually I let it go, it was something I did, most kids did, now and then.

But one day I was in the bathroom and all of a sudden I got the feeling that the walls had moved closer and the place was smaller, tighter, I looked around in fear and would have sworn apart from the walls moving in everywhere seemed darker. I ran out of the bathroom in fear and panic. It was after hours of wondering how to explain what happened to someone without being labeled possessed that I told my aunty and she explained Claustrophobic to me.

I had neither caught nor imprisoned any butterflies that day but I spent a very sober evening wondering if butterflies suffer this same affliction and how those countless butterflies had felt locked up in my jar. What if they had felt that same panic I felt, that almost senseless fear that I would choke or even die if I remained in there? I tried to make myself feel less evil, telling myself that the jar was glass and see-through and they could still look out. However, that was the very last day I ever imprisoned a butterfly or any other insect or animal for that matter (not counting the lock-ins my late cat got for bad behavior).

I grew up a little that day. I understood better how it must feel not only to feel but to be completely helpless and at the mercy of forces bigger than you. I might have discovered I was claustrophobic but the butterfly taught me about the responsibility that comes with power.

So where have butterflies gone anyway? When was the last time you saw a butterfly?

Thursday, 21 November 2013

I Don't Want To Die

I fear death a whole lot, I dont think there will ever be an occasion or circumstances under which I would not fear death. I fear death and its all for the simple fact that I dont know what comes after.

Nobody wants to die, I am no exception and I think this borders more on the fact that I am not sure about all the stories of life after death anymore. So I feel very unwilling to give up the life I have for one I am not sure of and cannot vouch for its existence.

The life I have, I know, I believe in and I will strive to keep, as futile as that may turn out to be. Yes it is comforting to believe in one form of religion or the other, be it the life of reward, paradise, purgatory and hell after here or that of reincarnation. It is surely nice to believe your life has purpose, that you are here for a reason and that after your purpose is done you return from whence ye came to stay there or return again perhaps in another form to fulfill another purpose. That is the comfort of religion. Life cannot be random, good and evil cannot share the same fate.

But I have had time to think, there are too many different religions and beliefs and not enough differences between human beings no matter their colour or location to justify the different stories of the here-after. It is simple, from Africa to Australia, China to Chile that to create new life males and females are involved and the females are the ones who carry the young until they are big enough and strong enough to be entities of their own. That humans will normally have two legs, two hands and one nose with two nostrils irrespective of the colour or the sizes of this items. How then can we look same, breath same air, all live under the influence of gravity and other natural laws, destined to be born and to die and yet somehow manage to get different things happen to us after death?

I believe in the duality of humanity dont get me wrong, its hard not to believe in spirits and consciousness when you suffer from a severe case of sleep paralysis. I believe we have a physical and spiritual part to us. Yes we die and the physical turns to dust or soil if allowed and ash if fire plays a part and yes i do wonder what happens to the spirit part, where it goes, what it does and if it is still essentially you but i cant seem to agree or believe religious doctrines of where it goes and what it gets up to. In fact to believe some doctrines will mean to accept we still get to keep the physical since it seems to be involved in a lot of activities it got up to before death.

I dont want to die because i dont know what comes after. I dont believe good and evil will get just rewards after here, i already think natural law has its own way of taking care of that. Also i believe the lines between good and evil get blurred everyday. How will evil be judged when our conscience gets schooled to a new way of thought? Will the children raised in that brave new world be judged the same?

I dont want to die because i dont believe in the heaven or hell or purgatory or reincarnation I am being told about. There might be something after death, most likely even, since i dont believe in the evolution theory of creation or that of religion but firmly believe there is something, someone out there bigger than us. Did we come from there? Will we return there? Where is there? I don't know but I will not randomly believe for my lack of knowledge.

I dont want to die, short and simple.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Nigerian Outrage Trends

Agitation and protests are fashion trends for Nigerians. I think Nigerians are a people very easy to manage and control even by the least among the crafty. Our attention span lasts all of one week or a little more  before we are off to new fights, new anger, another agitation another protest. And with the type of leaders we have we never lack for new material.

During the subsidy protests people were just about ready to lay down their lives in their anger and disbelief that government would try such a stunt. The subsidy was removed and everyone returned to their normal lives and after all these time no one has come out to say what effects the subsidy removal has had on Nigerians. This was something that had protests and rallies from one end the country to the other now a tale of events. That fashion trend had faded.

Ettehgate and the Dimeji Bank-ole scandals came and went. Past, forgotten.  Wasn't that Bankole's scandal the case of a disappearing 9 billion naira? Money disappears in Nigeria like 'Indian film', didn't the Senate president recently say some billions of SURE-P money got bored sitting around idle and just walked into the night and disappeared?

Farouk Lawan became so popular one time he even had his own money with his face on it. The bribery scandal that was caught on tape. Nigerians screamed and ranted, we would not stand for this we would fight this yadayada yaa. Does anyone still remember Farouk? He is actually right now still in the House of Assembly having been cleared by his peers of all wrong doing.  Nobody, not even Otedola the bribe giver and whistle blower protested. That fashion had faded.

Is it just me or has the story of the 2 armoured BMWs stopped making headlines? Everyone seemed to have sacked Stella Oduah on social media. In a time of ASUU strike when money was needed was the cry and also why go to such lengths to protect just you when no one is protecting us against Boko Haram, never mind the millions it cost over known models. Funny thing is everyone has gotten bored with the ASUU strike too it lasted longer than people were willing to put up with a particular trend. Apart from those directly concerned - students and lecturers, I haven't heard anyone scream ASUU in a while.

Do we all remember the Taraba state Governor who was involved in a plane crash and taken to the US for treatment? Didn't he return looking almost unaware of his surroundings and was practically carried down from the plane? The hue and cry about him not fit to remain leader of that state. Anyone following events in that state of recent? Nah we moved on :-D

Our leaders have learnt very well, to fade into the background when their s..t hits the fan and give us time to run mad, take a breather, cool down and move unto newer scandals. And until we follow a outrage to a logical conclusion our leaders will continue to plunder and use us. After all its only one week or two of name calling and abuse they will have to endure when their shady dealings get into the open, they still get to keep their loot maybe give up an itsy bit of it to the Judiciary to give the most outrageous of judgments in their favour. Politicians and their ranks have studied the outrage trends too, if a PDP scandal drops today, look forward to an APC scandal tomorrow each group hoping their smear was more outrageous, implicating and far reaching than the other's.

Till we refuse to be excited for excitement sake, scandals will trend every other week.........what's trending this week by the way? :-p

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Tips: House keeping For all

I put on my air conditioner today and it wasn't cooling very well, without thought to it I climbed my sofa ( we midgets :-D ) and pulled off the grill cover and then I remembered I didn't always know this was a first step in checking AC cooling until a friend told me. So I am telling you now in addition to a few other tips, hope they help.

Air Conditioner
Before you go calling a technician about your AC not cooling properly here is a 'first aid' tip to try. Please note that this tip is not for split units. Pull the grill cover (mostly placed on the side away from where the control buttons are placed. You will find it's so full of dust and sooth, air has no way to pass through and get to the grill. Remove the netted frame behind it - it slides out - soak both pieces in a bowl of soapy water and wash thoroughly then air them or just flip to remove water drops. Replace the netted frame back then replace the grill cover back on your AC. Note that it has clips where it will seat exactly, use writings on the frame to tell you which side is up. Put on your AC again and immediately you should feel the difference, if after 2 minutes you don't notice a difference in the cooling from what it was then it might be time to invite a technician

If you didn't know the difference between rugs and carpets, carpets are those wall to wall coverings on your floor while rugs are those smaller pieces just by the center table or beside your bed which can easily be lifted and taken outside for a good cleaning. This tip is for carpets, especially the kind glued to the floor.
Think about all the dust you clean off your furniture everyday and then you can begin to imagine the amount of dust resting in your carpet. You probably know how dusty it is but moving out all the furniture in order to remove it and send it to the cleaners is the last 'labour' you want to be involved in right now and you don't own a vacuum cleaner. Get a bucket of water add a bit of detergent (remember just a bit) then dip your broom in it, flick it to remove excess drops of water and sweep your carpet. Dip broom as often as needed (when it completely dries up), sweep carpet at least twice. Sweeping it a few more times helps, the water will tell you just how dirty your carpet was.

It can be quite annoying when you open your fridge and some foul smell assaults you. To eliminate smells from your fridge make sure all the stuff you put in there is packed in airtight packages. Cooked food especially should be put in airtight plastics, yoghurt smells all good until it stays open in a close fridge and the nice goes out of it. Also when you store meat in the freezer remember that just polythene wont do, you should also place it in a plastic bowl (not necessarily one with a lid). When NEPA strikes the meat will start to defrost and the last thing you want is meat water leaking unto your freezer then passing through the drain to be collected in the drain bowl. Also remember to check and empty and clean the drain bowl behind your refrigerator.

The last thing you want to find on your clothes is dust, lint and those little balls that seem to grow on certain materials, sweaters especially. If its a severe case of those balls, get a razor blade put the cloth down flat and smooth and carefully shave them off, its a bit time consuming but you will remember why you bought that particular dress when you are done I promise :-).  On suits and jackets  you can use a lint remover (looks like a big roll of masking tape). Rolling over the cloth neatly, effectively and quickly removes dust, pieces of thread, cloth, lint, whatever is sticking to your clothes. Note that using this on some black suede jackets can give them a whitish look, its rare but happens, try using the lint remover on the edge of the jacket and see. After a while you will notice the lint remover isn't so effective, you then tear off that sheet to expose a fresh sheet and continue as needed.Everyone should have a lint remover, its cheap (about 2000naira) lasts ages and does wonders to clothes. Come thank me later :-D

Throw Pillows
You wash your pillow cases at least once a week. Can you remember when last you washed the pillows on your chairs? Never? Lucky you if they are coffee brown in colour, if they were white they do be a nasty shade of brown now. This is the right weather to wash those filthy throw pillows, there is enough sunlight now to fry an egg n the sidewalk so soak them over night and wash then nice and early so that by sundown they are dry and crisp. But you don't need to wait for November to wash your throw pillows, go buy pillow cases for them  and spice up the look of your room. They will change the way your sofas look  and you can easily wash them every other week.

Hope this helps someone :-)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Dino Melaye: Crusader or Tura Soap?

Once upon a time not too long ago, a miracle soap by the name 'Tura' came to town. Every state, city, town and the 'interiorest' of villages knew and were using this particular soap. It was praised by all young and old, dry skin and oily skin, fair skinned and 'wanna be fairer' skinned. It cured everything from pimples to blackness and most importantly it was at an affordable price so everyone who needed it could access it. Sometimes its was scraped, dissolved and used as body cream, such was the beauty of Tura.

Then the never see good in anything government started with their propaganda that dear beloved Tura contained dangerous chemicals, mercury precisely and was harmful to skin and general health. I mean can you imagine? A soap that was helping us not only be clean and germ free but making us fairer skinned - never mind the multicoloured patches on elbows, knuckles, ankles and cheek bones, never mind the stretch marks, never mind those silly enemies of progress that seemed not to recognise us in our new skin tone or that strong antiseptic smell that followed us around - here was government clamping down on its availability around the country and making it expensive and scarce.

And so gradually but surely Tura bowed out. But before we all could count our 'gains' Crusader soap which looked very like Tura came to town, perhaps it had always been in town we really cant tell because we were too busy 'Turaing' to know or be concerned even. But now Tura was gone and here was Crusader, same blue colour, same strong antiseptic smell, same bleaching properties in fact but for the pack and name it seemed the same thing to what we had always known as Tura

But its name was Crusader.

Not only that, Tura was marketed as a germicidal medicated soap but Crusader came as a safety soap. Two soaps that look very much alike in colour, smell, properties but here was one as a safety soap and the other a mouthful of germicidal and medicated. Their essential difference was in packaging and name. That alone was supposed to make us not only believe but accept they were two different soaps.

Crusader soap even had a shield to show us it was here to shield and protect our skin, if the safety soap label didnt already get us to believing its intentions. Crusader, a soap on a mission to protect us all. Never mind it had only appeared to fill the void created by change it had no control over.

The main difference between Tura and Crusader is the fact that Tura came as it was, while Crusader pretended to be a better, nicer, safer approach.

Otunba Dino Melaye the house of Rep member and Dino Melaye the Anti-corruption network group leader.

Dino Melaye was once a member of the house of representatives. A place where laws are made, bills are presented, accepted and passed to law. Now he is an ex-honourable (excuse me, if the honourable title is a life one) and the great crusader for the masses. He was one of they whom he fights against now, but right now he is purportedly one of the downtrodden masses. A man who has pledged to fight every, endure all (wasn't his bullet proof car allegedly shot by the police in an assassination attempt.....lucky him it wasn't a BMW) until his beloved masses are treated right by corrupt politicians in high places.

Nigerian politics is a complete phenomenon even to the best of political minds so forgive me if i dont understand how Dino who was only yesterday buying exotic Australian horses and posh cars is now fighting government on corruption. What allowance allowed for such a lavish lifestyle? Is it a case of not talking when you are eating but now your mouth is empty you can comfortably say it as it is?

I cannot find evidence of  Dino like Tura doing much for us when he was where he could actually affect the change he seeks now and like Tura being stamped on and thrown out by government. Evidence of that would make me more inclined to accept the Crusader safety soap he has become now. Sometimes I watch Dino Melaye speak and I wonder if its a case of 'right message, wrong messenger'.

Is Dino more Tura than Crusader?

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Solar Eclipse Phenomenon

Have you ever had the opportunity to witness an Eclipse?  Too young? Too busy? Not interested? Don't know what an Eclipse is?

Basically, within our visible aspect of the solar system, three bodies are involved (Sun, Moon and Earth). The elementary explanation of an Eclipse is the result of interference of one of these bodies at a certain point in time within the visible paths of the others due to relative speeds in their individual motions as they revolve along their various orbits.

Scientifically, an Eclipse is the astronomical alignment in which a planetary object (for example, the moon) comes between the Sun and another planetary object (for example, the Earth) resulting in a shadow being cast by the middle object onto the other object - Online dictionary OR An eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured, either by passing into the shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer - Wikipedia

Here comes an eclipse, a sign. How times have changed. Everyone seems to know better but there was a time when such occurrences were a time for tall tales.....and short ones even. Of gods in high places showing their anger and reminding us of the quality of their wrath if we didn't change our wicked ways. Of the wise fooling the ignorant and the ignorant fooling both themselves and fellow ignoramuses. How times have have changed.

Solar eclipses occur at the new moon and new moons occur at the beginning of the month, since most calendars are based on lunar activities.

As you may have observed if you have been around long enough, this occurrence shows up at irregular intervals but scientists have found a way of calculating when they will happen to an exact time.

Get ready everyone, Tommorow, 3rd November 2013 is the D day, Between 12:37 and 13:30 GMT. A total Solar Eclipse isn't expected in most places but there should be enough shadows to make for some nice pictures. Get your cameras and telescopes out and ready to mark this Solar Eclipse in style ;). Please note that looking directly at the sun during an eclipse or any other time for that matter is dangerous to the eyes and using cameras without a solar filter can fry your lens. Experts say a safe way to view an eclipse is by making a pinhole camera (a 3 millimetre hole in one piece of paper) then turning your back to the sun and using the pierced page to project the image of the sun on another sheet of paper.

I hear somewhere in Uganda a Total Eclipse will be observed, if you are an Eclipse Chaser you better be on the next flight to Uganda if you haven't arrived yet :-)

Basically, we must understand that we are part of a solar system where everything and everyone is in constant motion within their individual paths and destiny. At certain times and moments, there may be some form of interference, sometimes full and at other times partial. Shadows may cast, rays may intensify, but just like the bodies represented in the Eclipse, keep moving within the bounds of your orbit and before your know it, such interference will be known for what it is.... A basic PHENOMENON...