Monday, 30 August 2010

Nwoke'm e jighi beke awa oji

Kilamanjaro! Just got back from an outing with mumsy. A friend of hers had a christening and party for her grandchild. I haven't been in a room with that many Nigerians in a long long time!

My mum's friend is an interesting lady. She's from a place in Nigeria called Arochukwu very close to my mother's own hometown, and the former capital of an old political alliance called the Aro Confederacy. My mother's people, my people, were part of this alliance and fought the British at the turn of the twentieth century.

My feelings on the British expedition into Igboland are captured beautifully by Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart if you haven't read it yet, do so. It really is a wonderful piece of work. I was sympathetic to the protagonists' way of life, but Achebe would point out the ways in which change, at least from a contemporary perspective, improved the lot of the society's most vulnerable.

The Aro Confederacy achieved economic hegemony mainly via its control of the regional slave trade. So while I feel some kind of way about the British colonisation of Nigeria, I can't really say I'm sorry that the alliance is no more.

Friday, 27 August 2010


I woke up with a nasty headache this morning. I dreamed that I got shot in the head, right above my right eyebrow. It was quite funny not quite being able to comprehend why I still lived, blood, fluids and brain matter running down my face while I dialed 911 for the ambulance and worried about how I was going to cover the ridiculous cost of treating my injury.

The person who shot me was a young lady I knew from secondary school called Emily. My peers judged her because they considered it a bad thing for a girl to enjoy frequent sex, especially frequent sex with guys other than themselves. I went right ahead and judged her too.

I have no idea what she was doing in my head. This is the first time I've thought about her in ages. I remember very little of her. In fact the only memory I have of her is when she was being teased about having sex with me. We hadn't. Back then being linked to me in any way was just the worst thing that could happen to a girl. And they would do whatever it took to avoid the merest hint that they viewed me as anything but repulsive. 

I remember one time when one of my classmates, Khalil, was calling me ugly amongst other things, which I vociferously denied. In frustration he appealed to Angie, a relatively popular girl, to adjudicate: "which one of us is better looking, me or him?"

It was obvious that she found me more attractive, she looked into my eyes pleading for me to understand what she was about to do. The dictates of classroom hierarchy meant that her status was forfeit if she challenged the orthodoxy. She said Khalil was more attractive as if she were apologising for stealing from her mother's purse.

Poor Emily had the misfortune of arriving a little late at our home room at the same time as yours truly. Obviously we had been going at it hammer and tongs, because everybody knew that Emily likes to have sex. "How was his dick?", Ram asked her.

"Very. Very. Small."

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

It was only a matter of time...

I'm sure by now you've heard of Chatroulette. It's basically a site where you randomly video chat with strangers. If, like me, you are aware of all internet traditions, you'd know it goes without saying that that kind  of site just has to have plenty of men looking for some action. Not that there's anything wrong with that. However, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to mess with them.


Gotta say, I laughed. Is it harmless, or is does it reflect some kind of sexual shaming of young men?

How pathetic? This pathetic

Lately I've been playing a pretty old video game called Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic. Now I'm sure by now some of your alarm bells are going off. The words video game and Star Wars are in the same sentence, and not being used negatively. Stick around, it gets worse.

The plot is a classic fish out of water story. You are thrust into the game as a crew member of a ship under attack and end up having the fate of the galaxy on your shoulders. One of the main plot arcs is the development of the relationship between the main protagonist, you, and a Jedi called Bastila. Depending on how you play the game you can end up with a whole confession of love after the penultimate battle. At one point Bastila says something like, "I can't think of anything better than to be loved by you". And dephlogisticate a man if I wasn't all touched, and identifying with the characters*, and suddenly desiring to hold my ex in my arms and wanting to hear those words.

But I won't hear those words, and I'm finding it really hard to be ok with that. At least 100 percent of the time. The times that I'm not ok with it can be so damned unbearable I wish to tear my heart out, that I may not feel.

* The development of Jolee's character was very well done. All in all it's a pretty good game.

A New Beginning...

Or "Do Not Trust to Hope, It Has Forsaken These Lands."

Goodness gracious me! It's been hard to believe that I've been away from this place for a good five months. As I mentioned a little while ago, I've been struggling with thoughts that I really haven't anything to write that anyone would want to read, or would not be expressed with much more skill elsewhere. I also got it into my head that writing would distract me from the essential task of looking for a job. This blog was originally conceived of as a way of keeping people in the know about the interesting work I was doing in Japan, and it sort of evolved into a spot for some amateur political commentary, mixed in with some posts that revealed my nerd status.

I've been thinking lately that I need an outlet for my thoughts, forget worrying if they're serious enough. So I think that I'm going to excise the poor attempts at applying my professional training and get more personal. I have a new spot for the more politically oriented stuff, but I'm sure the two will occasionally overlap.

Now maybe I'm all energised and ready to post again because I'm in a kind of manic stage, where the loss and mourning and crisis feel distant and I am once again confident in my abilities to elicit woos and yays from the people I interact with. 

I'll hedge and say that my posting will be intermittent. I'm on a motivation rollercoaster these days.

For the longest time I just been way unmotivated to put my fingers to the keyboard to hammer out anything but a cover letter. And believe me, some days I don't feel very much like typing those either. So it is slightly amusing that I'm coming back to my spot now, because it could be argued that I'm actually in a worse place than I was in March.

In March I had a gig, a modest evaluation of some peacebuilding training, and I was in a relationship. I now have neither. The loss of the latter has been pretty hard to take. I wasn't able to find a long(er)-term job in the States and had to leave. Not knowing when we'd ever be able to be in proximity again, a break-up was pretty much inevitable. Trés くやしい.

Yep. Since my return to mumsy's place I've been pretty miserable and pathetic some days.

Anyway, whichever of my vanity projects you peruse (both would be nice), I hope you'll find the content interesting and meaningful.