Thursday, January 10, 2019

Articles of interest to moi (2019)

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Articles of interest to moi (2018)

God bless you Zeal
Poop
Gamification of your 5 star ride
Why diversity matters in media
Go Uganda!
What is Brian Kemp afraid of?
Affirmative Action test
History of the downfall of retailing
The courage of Chiune Sugihara
How to get rid of targeted ads
How to delete Facebook
Brave Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
Why some choose to stay silent
Why reporting is hard
Decent men don't do these things
The Kavanaugh Case II
The Kavanaugh Case I
Plastic roads
There's Something About Nicole
She Can STEM
Adieu Arsene
McCain legacy
RIP Kehinde Shote
L&G, say hello to Somaliland
Reducing recidivism
Giving independent news a Chance
Righteous anger
What to the slave is the 4th of July?
Fixing that Wi-Fi password
The void a father leaves
Great fathers do exist
Marquez on US blacklist
Feeling Collins
China's social credit system
Borders and barriers
Trump right about NAFTA?
Separated at birth
Trade Deficits 101
Nature vs Nurture
Grief
Naija-China currency swap deal
A different perspective on Israel-Hamas conflict
The Home Office still can't get it right
I went to school there! First place I fell in love...and got my heart broken
A lynching memorial
Drenched in blackness
Mitt flip-flopping as ever
The ballad of Iniesta
Inside HR McMaster
Inside Gaza
Dodgy Facebook II
Dodgy Facebook I
Windrushed
Junot Diaz's truth
Honesty is the best policy?
Turns out he is not related to Michael Bolton after all
From the horse's mouth
Turkey hunting
Pray for the Yazidis
Trumponomics 101
White Like Me
Encryption
Stephen Hawking in his own words
The real US-China trade deficit
Color pervades everything it seems
Blockchain applications
Equal Justice Initiative
Africa First!
Changing Nigerian kids' lives
Emma Gonzalez!
Immigration war on California
Life after plastic
Energy disruption technologies
Death by a thousand millenials
Best ever TV show
House of pain
Never get high on your own social media
Rwanda leading the blind
No #MeToo for Polanksi?
Bitcoin 101
Bitcoin silver lining
Satirizing Nigeria's democracy
Is whistleblowing worth it?
Zimbabwe horrors
Rohingya crisis relief

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Monday, November 26, 2018

If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down

Hola peeps.

Good week? Mine was packed with a 2-day conference at which I was a panelist on first day and tried not to fall asleep on second day. Did the latter by standing at back of the auditorium a few times and even skipped out towards the end to go change (read: drop off jacket, touch up on deodorant and roll sleeves up to elbow) at home for the post conference cocktails. Dunno if it was the presence of another Nigerian at the party but danced like I haven’t done in yonks. Usually I am shy about these things and only dance when I have a dance partner, but I didn’t give a hoot this time. I could tell it was a strange sight ‘cos folk who only see me at work settings couldn’t help but offer comments. Some even pulled out their phones to record this executive of a company in a foreign country - that's the mantra I repeat in the mirror every morning to convince myself to stop acting childish - dancing like he just won the lotto.

Quite surprised I was able to move feet ‘cos last week I played 3 footie games in 2 days and ended up with a sprained right index finger, aching right big toe and messed up ankles. They still hurt and now I am starting to believe I am in my 40s ‘cos these ailments woulda been gone within 2 days earlier in life. I went running today just to test out ankles and did kickboxing afterwards. Had to do this ‘cos I intend to take part in an 8km race on Friday. Oh yeah, forgot to tell y’all I am now addicted to running. Tend to do 5km 3-4 times a week and did an 8km race last month in 39 minutes. Why the sudden interest in running? Dunno, maybe I am running away from my past. I chose that line ‘cos my brother Loye said it to me while running one night back in Beachland and I found it hilarious. It was just before Chief’s 70th birthday if I recall.

Mate thinks the sudden zest for running is down to a midlife crisis. She suggested that after discovering I dipped outta another conference earlier this month in Cape Town to go paragliding and skydiving. Was primed to go bungee jumping in Soweto as well but that didn’t pan out. Could rectify that in Nairobi next month though. Midlife crisis, huh? Well, I cannot afford a muscle bike/car and Juba is too hot for a leather jacket so yeah, maybe she’s right that I am living my best action hero fantasy as an alternative. As if. The paragliding/skydiving thang was ‘cos I had colleagues also interested in same. Not sure I’da done that on my own if there were no takers…..I probably woulda to be honest. Re running, the first time gym instructor suggested we run from apartment to the Juba airport and back, just over 5km, I was so glad not to be stuck on a treadmill I didn’t wanna stop. It was so freeing that I emulated Forrest Gump and started running everywhere. I used to run outside only on weekends with a group of friends, but since I started running on my own it was like a switch in me was turned on. On Saturdays, I normally would drive to meet-up spot, run with the pack, then drive home. Now, I run to designated spot, do the run with the team, then run back home. You know that 8km marathon I mentioned earlier? I ran 4km from crib to starting spot, did the 8km marathon, took a dump in an unkempt loo, ran 4km back home, showered, drove to church, did an hour of kickboxing and drove back home to pack for trip to Uganda the next day. Yup, I am a bad man. The Nigerian Panther is officially back.

In the past month I have also taken up intermittent fasting - on weekdays only - where I go 16hrs between last meal of the day and first meal of the following day; I drink water all through though. Why am I doing this since I do not need to lose weight as I have pretty much weighed between 73kg and 77kg for as long as I can remember? Well, heard a mate’s husband talk about intermittent fasting and said it might curb my appetite for chocolate, so I decided to try it for the same reason I hold breath from time to time (during jumping jacks) while executing HIIT, for the challenge. Not sure it has achieved its aim re chocolate consumption, but now I no loner pop a chocolate bar in mouth every morning before leaving for the office. Don’t shake your collective heads, it’s been scientifically proven by my UK dentist - who just bought a Harley Davidson bike with matching leather riding gear - that chocolate is the breakfast of champions.

Bad side effect of intermittent fasting are the weird dreams I have been having. The other day I woke up in sweats after a nightmare about a talking dog chasing me and asking, nah pleading, to take a bite off left leg. I recall it Whistling Dixie and referring to me as Mr. Good Leg. Woah, I think my dog-given nom de plume would work as a great title for both Nollywood and Hollywood movies as well as a Country-Western song. Go intermittent fasting!

I best tell y’all of South African trip before Harriet summons me again. Oh by the way, we have broken up again. She keeps cooking only sweet potatoes and fish! Yeah, I did tell her I love sweet potatoes and am trying to get less meat in my diet, but to feed me same thang day in day out? Maka why? Okay, where was I? Yup, South Africa. Man, Cape Town is the most beautiful city I have visited. Utterly stunning, great weather and loads to do. If you ignore the pell-mell nature of my outbound flight from Juba to Cape Town - 6-hour layover at the Kigali International airport with a sparse lounge and zero sleeping facilities and 4-hour layover at the O.R. Tambo International airport in Johannesburg with nonexistent WiFi – everything about time in South Africa was amazing. Well, apart from the Botswanan lady who came unannounced to me while waiting in lobby of Johannesburg hotel. This was no gamine, more like a gadfly. She wouldn’t shut up. Went on and on about herself, her pastor TB Joshua, how she was just checking out of same hotel and hoped they would give me her room, how she lives in Joburg and only checked into hotel to get away from what’s happening at home, how……end of the day she went from offering to buy me a beer to requesting I get her a bottle of wine, and finally asked if I wanted “company” during my 2 night stay in Joburg. I politely declined.

I already mentioned my Ethan Hunt escapades in Cape Town, but conference was worthwhile too. Tried warthog – sorry Pumbaa – and ostrich, and these were huge slabs of meat – if only Harriet would take note - unlike Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi where one is promised exotic meat but ends up with only teeny pieces. Towards end of my week-long stay I noticed I developed a slight South African accent, but only when ordering sparkling water. Strange.

On first night in Cape Town we went to Cubana Lounge and walked down Long Street. The latter was redolent of pub crawls back in uni. Seeing a woman puke by a bar was an added reminder of days when all I had to do was study and not worry about expenses. Good times. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention time spent at Joe’s Pub on Long Street. Wouldn’t call it time well spent or even time I intended to spend, but mate of colleague based in Cape Town suggested we go in. We walked in and all I could think about was, “who is watching Cape Town’s teenagers while these folks are in here?” My colleague summed it accurately by calling Joe’s the largest collection of unserious parents per capita in the world. You know how there’s always that one guy or lady who’s a little too old for the club? Now imagine there’s a club filled with just those people, that’s Joe’s.  How can ALL women in a club have protruding stomachs?! The guys weren’t much better. You know how during my initial trips to East Africa I mentioned how their women had hips? South African woman have those and more. “We have ass for days” should be the official motto of the South African tourist board.

Hotel in Cape Town was filled with signs advising water-saving measures, hence the blog title. No such signs were observed in Johannesburg, but I imbibed (pun intended) the water-saving measures and brought them back with me to Juba. Now, I wear same underwear on consecutive days to save water and reduce Harriet’s laundry load. I fear she may have caught on ‘cos I came back last night to a pile of newly-sewn red boxer shorts. It appears they were sewn from same fabric she made the red bedsheet out of. Awww, just when I thought we were done she pulls me back in with such loving, arse-chaffing – I was being generous with the whole “boxer shorts” tag, they are more like thongs - gestures.

Tot ziens and God bless.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

1, 2, 3…...Cancun!

Hola peeps.

As seems to be the norm these days I am writing this on a plane from South Africa to Juba. The last time I tried to type a blog on a plane was back in May when I was on way from Nairobi to Lagos to get a new passport. Hey, I never told you about that trip, did I? Strange. Musta been effaced from memory due to hectic travel schedule that month. Okay lemme try recall before I tell y’all about my epic South African adventure……

Arrived Juba from Moscow on a Sunday May 13th then flew to Kampala for a conference the next day. Returned to Juba two days afterwards then left for Nairobi on Friday May 18th. Yup, like I stated travel in May was insane! Flight from Juba to Moscow (via Dubai) was my first experience on FlyDubai and boy, was I unprepared. You know something is iffy when airline pilot hitching ride to Dubai is typing a cover letter for his application to another airline. I was able to view this ‘cos I was seated on first row of seats immediately behind business class. Oh yes, I was forced to fly coach as that was what was booked by organizers of the trip and I didn’t want them to feel I was bougie by upgrading. Had planned to upgrade on the return leg to Juba but after a week of Russian flights I was conditioned to cope flying coach.

For those of you not in the know FlyDubai is the no-frills sister airline of Emirates and everything about it is no frills. Even the access terminal at Dubai, Terminal 2, sucks.  Unfortunately, FlyDubai is the only direct flight from Juba to Dubai. Why we had to go through Dubai and not say Cairo (and the way better EgyptAir) is what I still don’t understand, but I know I am never using that airline again. You know how I always complain about Kenya Airways (KQ)? Put FlyDubai just a teeny-weeny pedestal above KQ and that’s only ‘cos I am a sucker for good inflight entertainment. Good? Well, they had a current selection of movies for $11. Yup, FlyDubai is so no-frills on a 5hr flight one must pay for movies, food, and even seats with extra legroom. Surprised access to the loo was free but I’m sure that’s next on their list of cost saving measures. FlyDubai is so no-frills I initially thought the male flight attendants were passengers who accidentally wore same outfit. No jackets, no waist costs, no ties. Just a checkered shirt, brown belt, blue pants and brown shoes.

You never realize how many announcements there are on a flight (and how much of a nuisance they are) until you pay for inflight entertainment. For every unnecessary instruction from the flight deck to “fasten your seat belts ‘cos the turbulence is so bad it’d flip the plane upside down...” I was thinking that’s another 3 mins of expensive movie viewing time lost. To make matters worse the touch screens were so crap one requires a hammer to adjust settings on the head rest monitor. Got to see The Florida Project and Phantom Thread though. The former was a gem, especially the kids. So natural, did not seem like acting. The scene at the end was heartbreaking but like 2018’s crappiest movie, Annihilation, the director did not quite know how to wrap it up. The acting in Phantom Thread was joyous. Now I get why Daniel Day-Lewis is held in such high esteem. Brilliant, brilliant acting.

On the outbound trip I never knew we had that many Russians in South Sudan. Apart from my delegation consisting of five black persons other passengers were either Russian or Chinese. FlyDubai is so ghetto nearly everyone on board was drunk before they boarded. It appears if you’ve flown them before the only way to survive the 5-hr trip from Juba to Dubai is get plastered prior to boarding. At some point the guy seated behind me was shirtless. Yup, that crazy. The guy in my delegation responsible for booking the flights was also drunk. He was so wasted that while sleeping he moved his hands around like a windmill the poor dude beside him had to be relocated to another row. The dude did not help himself by drinking further during the 5-hr layover in Dubai, so we had to ensure one of the team sat beside him to prevent an international incident from erupting. As expected, he did his windmill routine again, so our colleague had to punch him in the ribs a few times to startle him awake.

Of the seven nights I spent out of Juba I slept in an actual bed on only 3 of those nights. Cannot tell you much about any Russian city as I was busy hopping from one city to another for meetings. Arrived in Moscow about 7am on Monday May 7th, left Moscow for Tomsk at 11pm same day, 4 hr flight (and 4 hr time difference) clocked arrival time at Tomsk at 7am on Tuesday the 8th, napped for a few hours then went for a meeting and then dinner. On Wednesday the 9th took an hour-long flight to some place beginning with an S, had a 6hr layover, then another 4hr flight (and a further 2hr time difference) to arrive at Blagoveschensk at 7am on Thursday May 10th. Drove 3.5hrs from Blagoveschensk airport to a facility in Novoburejskiy, held 2 hr meeting, stopped for lunch, then drove 4.5hrs back to hotel at Blagoveschensk. Left the next day on a 7.5hr flight back to Moscow, did some souvenir shopping and got myself a bright pink travel pillow. Why pink? ‘Cos that was only travel pillow left, and besides real men wear pink, no? Departed for Dubai at 2pm on Saturday May 12th after a brief meeting earlier that day. The Russian airports and flights were pretty much okay except for flight from that S place to Blagoveschensk. That was some rickety plane, so much so midway into flight I was shocked outta slumber by heat wave. Perhaps the airline staff assumed ‘cos there were Africans on board we’d enjoy the heat. Had to request they turn it down. Attempted to get a massage in Moscow but guy at hotel reception warned that only pervy massage places were close to hotel so I declined. Even worse, as soon as I checked into room at Hotel Asia in Blagoveschensk there was a leaflet advertising a strip club and a there was a pack of condoms on bedside table for purchase. I have heard of mini bars in hotel rooms, but condoms as well?!

Dunno what the travel agent was thinking with 13-hr layover on return trip but had to book a room at Dubai International Hotel and by the time I navigated the labyrinth that is Dubai airport and got to my room it was almost midnight. Even crap Kenya Airways would provide one accommodation for that long a layover! Or so I thought. Arrived in Nairobi on way to Lagos only to be informed I did not qualify for the usual overnight accommodation ‘cos I purchased my biz class ticket with a combination of reward miles and cash. What the?! Recall a couple of years ago they also prevented me from using the lounge at the Lagos airport ‘cos I purchased those tickets with miles as well. What’s the point of the miles in the first place? Next time I do not have any business in Nairobi I plan to become a habitué of Rwandair. Punks. Got some McDs and slept fitfully for 4hrs before catching flight from Dubai to Juba. Got to my apartment, packed for next day’s trip to Kampala and knocked off. Phew!

The Russia trip in May was first time I’ve flown into Dubai airport and it suckssss, well Terminal 2 anyway. On day we arrived from Juba El Clasico was to be played but there was no sports bar anywhere in sight. Paid to use the Marhaba lounge and even they weren’t showing footie so used their WiFi to stream the game. At a cost of $55 for 2 hours that was an expensive football viewing experience.

Need to return to Russia to properly experience the country. Still shocked that in 2018 random folk would see a set of black people and ask to take pics. Stopped by a shop on way to Blagoveschensk to buy some snacks and this dude stared at us so much he nearly ran into a door. On first day in Moscow some dude asked for a photo while we were leaving for the airport. “Are you American?”, he asked. “No, Nigerian”, I answered. Dude had no idea what that meant. Hope the presence of the Nigerian football team at the last World Cup made things easier so next time I am in Russia folk know basic facts about my country of birth. Good thang about the trip is I got to rock my fancy winter jacket at Tomsk. Arrived in 1C and snow….in May!

Russia is such a complex country: 6hr time differences with the same country…..8hr flights within the same country…business meeting where host had a calendar with nude women in his office….got to see China from Blagoveschensk – it’s only a 15 minute ferry ride. Incredible! Mostly stuffed myself with treats I would not get in Juba so had Shake Shack, Burger King, McDs – which the Russians cheekily call the US Embassy – and KFC. Returned to Juba 2kgs over weight. Did try local dishes like borscht soup and sour cream too.

All in all, it was a pleasant trip and had a few laughs as well. Due to postponement of trip a few times I arrived Moscow with a week to go before visa expired. I reckon that’s why I was asked to step aside at immigration control for about an hour before I was let through. Later discovered the immigration officers made a copy of passport biopage and showed it to any black person they could find in the arrival area until my colleague, who thankfully speaks Russian, identified me and confirmed I would be departing before visa expires. What a world.

Shall tell y’all about South African trip next time. Harriet’s beckoning me for dinner. Yup, she’s moved in now.

Tot ziens and God bless.

Comments-[ comments.]

Saturday, September 08, 2018

We catch flights not feelings

Hola peeps.

First weekend back in Juba since whirlwind month-long vacation and recovering from jetlag. Good thing Coach is away in Ethiopia, so I don’t have to get out of bed for kickboxing classes. It’s over 2 years since I started and still loving every minute of it. Should really get off my arse and compete in an exhibition fight even if I’d get beat.

Arrived on Wednesday morning and headed to the office after dropping bags at home. Took all I had not to empty contents on top of office table on the floor and splay out on table for a long, overdue nap. Struggled to stay awake until end of that work day, unpacked bags and picked out clothes for the next day – all these were in an effort not to fall asleep early. It sorta worked ‘cos woke up at 8am the next day and felt refreshed enough to arrange two hour-long meetings. Returned home and it all came crashing down: slept at 8pm, woke up at 1030pm, and didn’t get to sleep until 330am Friday morning. Same thing happened last night as couldn’t sleep until 3am this morning, thus plans to go running and work out were swapped for a lie-in until 11am. Dreamt Serena Williams flirted with me in the US Open Ladies changing room. Erm, what was I doing there in the first place? Anyhoo, it’s 4pm now and I’m choosing to skip a bbq to quickly type down thoughts to y’all before it’s 2019 and I kick myself for not informing y’all of goings-on in my life.

Was supposed to be on a relaxing vacation but flagellated self by booking a ridiculously tight, even more than is my wont, travel schedule. This is perfectly illustrated by return trip to Lagos from the UK, where I drove to Loye’s crib after arriving at airport at 6am, showered, changed clothes, grabbed a quick bite, then went back to airport to catch a 10am flight to Dakar (via Abidjan). Now you see the advantage of having many siblings that live across a wide swath? God bless Chief.

Speaking of Chief, my stay in the UK intersecting with his, pre- and post-US trips. I made him breakfast and did other stuff a responsible son should do. As usual, my sisters trooped to the family crib with provisions when Chief arrived, but never seem to bother when I am the sole occupant of the house. On the second day of his arrival I had some errands to run and dude called intermittently to discover when I would be returning home. Did he miss me? Nah, dude needed someone to make him dinner as he had subsisted on a banana, croissants and orange juice while I was away. But sisters had brought over food the day before, surely he coulda just placed them in the microwave anddddd oh yes, Chief mightn’t be able to work a microwave! Come to think of it, why would he? His wives cook his meals in Nigeria and if he’s ever in the UK at least one of them is around at same time, or his daughters are available. Dude’s spoilt man.

I recall over a decade ago before I finally moved back to Nigeria Chief returned to the house incredibly famished for some reason. He screamed at Ayo and I – for we were the ones residing there then – to make him something. I checked the fridge and informed him there was vegetable sauce, so he requested for amala. Told him neither Ayo nor I could make what he desired and suggested he settle for eba as that was in my culinary wheelhouse. Dude waited until his hunger was satiated before he went off on an invective about how he could cook up a storm from when he was a teenager – Ayo and I were in our 20s then – and how spoilt we were – we were both unemployed at that time – and he just kept lashing out. If I knew then what I know now I coulda countered with, “sure…sure…bet you cannot work the microwave, can you?”

I love the dude though. He has accomplished a lot in his life and as much as he rants my siblings and I know he loves us. In fact, I think he may love us a bit too much. I jokingly refer to the dude as my girlfriend – behind his back of course – ‘cos he stresses almost as much as a jealous gf would.  He complains if 2 weeks go by and he hasn’t heard from me. And like a true needy gf he won’t call to check up on me, but would instead complain to my mom, sisters, drivers, anyone who’d listen, until they call and prod me to call him.

Just like some gfs I have had, Chief is a hoarder. My goodness! I never realized how much until I had to use his bathroom when I visited the family in Lagos last month. I had arrived the day before from Juba and missed Naija food so much I went directly to an eatery from the airport and overdid it on the pepper. By the time I got to the family house and gobbled down some more food I had to go, so requested to use his loo. On the way in I noticed his study was packed with old newspapers – Chief reads at least 3 newspapers a day – and 75% of his massive bed was the same, newspapers and books. Dude sleeps on only a third of his bed ‘cos of all the junk on it! What is he doing with all those newspapers anyway? I do not recall any of my siblings aspiring to be a suya merchant as a kid, so he obviously cannot bequeath them to us.

I tell you what, it would be fascinating to watch the help (attempt to) clean his room. Does she take off all the junk on his bed, change the bedsheets and put them back on, or does she place them in the study with the rest of the junk and he accumulates new junk before it’s time to replace bedsheets again? Now if he had a help like MY Harriet he wouldn’t be able to acquire much junk on the bed due to her perverfid interest in ensuring one’s bedsheets get swapped at least thrice weekly. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen her since I arrived 3 days ago. Is she avoiding me? Has she decided to stop playing our own version of ‘how soon before they get together’ that hit TV shows tend to stretch out for as long as possible before they run outta plotlines and then force a coupling up to drive up ratings? But I digress…

On the floor a few feet from Chief’s bed was a veritable mountain of hats most likely acquired from aso-ebi for the gazillions of events he has attended over the years. When I got to the bathroom I discovered the sink and the bidet had the original faucet fittings from when we moved into the house back in June of 1980! Unbelievable.
From when we were kids Chief would receive gifts and never use them, so much so that Kinzo never bought colognes but just nicked them off Chief. Dude had no clue they were missing.  A couple of years ago I discovered an unopened first edition Kindle amongst his junk and gave it out to a friend after Chief confirmed he didn’t know what it was, let alone who had gifted it to him. But I digress….
As I investigated some more I discovered a dusty, unpacked shower curtain hung on his existing shower curtain railing…. two unopened bottles of Listerine mouthwash – probably long expired – by the bathtub, I could go on and on. Wait, are these hoarding traits hereditary? Is that why I still retain chargers for phones I long since disposed of? Or why I still return 2TB portable hard disk into original packaging once done with it, even though I utilize the disk every day at work? Am I gonna be sleeping on a quarter of my bed in my 70s ‘cos rest of it is occupied by photos of Harriet? Yikes.

As expected, during our time together in London after enquiring about progress of work in Juba he delved into my private life.  Seems he and mom jointly agreed to end their moratorium on prodding into my private life sometime last month ‘cos mom raised same subject when I saw her in California 2 weeks later. Jokingly told Chief to hook me up with a diabetic sugar mommy, i.e. a sugar mommy not interested in, ahem, “sugar”. Geddit? He didn’t find that funny. My “serious” responses to them involved so much weaving and bobbing Mohammed Ali musta been cheering from the grave. Even Kinzo’s at it! Dude called 3 weeks ago to say he gave my number to a classmate of mine from primary school. He had bumped into her at a wedding in Lagos and while catching up she asked him about me and mentioned she had a huge crush on me back when we were kids. That was all Kinzo needed to hand over my details to a girl I don’t have any recollection of? At this point if I brought a Martian home I am sure my parents would cheer and ask how long before they expect their half-Martian grandkid.

As usual, highlight of trip was time with my daughter. She’s such a blessing man. I know I’ve done loadsa crap in my life, but God really rewarded me with her. She’s pleasant and doing great in school. For whatever issues the ex-wife and I have I must say she’s done an incredible job in raising our daughter. Couldn’t FaceTime with her on Sunday due to wonky internet connection in Lagos. I hope I can get through tomorrow ‘cos when we spoke two Sundays ago, she was on holiday in Greece and while updating me on her adventures she mentioned a boy called Dino whom she met while there and said he had returned to Cyprus. Okayyyy? Her next statement stuck ‘cos she mentioned how much she missed him and was planning to send him some present she’d made from Lego bricks. U what?! She’s never made me anything from paper let alone durable as heck Lego bricks!  Wish I had this Dino’s last name to investigate further. What sorta name is Dino anyway? The only Dino I know is some corrupt joker of a Nigerian senator who wishes he could aspire to a Trump manqué. Yup, he is that pathetic. A mate from uni, Dean Shorter, nicknamed Deano, was a womanizer extraordinaire. I hear he’s married with kids now, but still…my point is you cannot trust guys either named Dino or with nicknames that sound similar.

This is where y’all females may wonder why I’m getting my panties in a twist. Well, maybe ‘cos my panties were literally in a twist during that FaceTime call with my daughter. You see, I pride myself on being a meticulous packer and so was shocked when I discovered during the eve of my departure from the US that I hadn’t packed enough underwear. Thus, was forced to wear underwear inside out as there wasn’t sufficient time to wash and air out dirty underwear or go grab some from a store. Plus, there must be some research as to why guys are so attached to underwear. Instead of replacing boxer shorts with frayed elastic waist bands I find myself actively setting them aside, saving them for weekends when I plan to be indoors, so I’d rock them while lounging. Makes no sense.

Oh yeah, just remembered Dean Martin, another renowned ladies’ man, was also called Dino. My point’s made.

Tot ziens and God bless.

Comments-[ comments.]

Monday, July 23, 2018

Beating the 8 o’clock deadline

Hola peeps.

It’s 0821hrs on July 23rd, 2018 and been in the office for 10 minutes now. First time in yonks I have left crib before 8am. Nada special about it I know but been having a longing for a while now to beat an 8am deadline for some reason. That’s ‘cos I set alarm to go off at 5am and though I go back to bed and sometimes sleep in for another hour, if I do start up at 5am I try to see if I can get out of the house before 8am. Why the magic witching hour? Dunno. It’s become my personal white whale. Usually I do not bother ‘cos I get to pick colleagues up on way to office and they are never ready at 8am ‘cos official start time is 9am. But for past 3 weeks colleagues I normally pick up have been away and yet I still have not been able to hack it. I always delay for some reason or find a way to push past 8am, even when I am wide awake at 5am.

Regular schedule should be wake up, turn on lights in bedroom and living room, turn off alarm, twist open first lock on door, turn on lights in bathroom, brush teeth, observe self in mirror and admire shape of abs, turn off lights in bathroom, do push-ups in bedroom, read Bible, change from PJs to underwear I wore yesterday or slept in, stretch for ____ (need to time this), take mothballs outta sneakers, put on socks and sneakers, turn on TV, do cardio for 20 plus minutes…while taking off sneakers for last 1 minute of cardio....still dunno why I do this, stretch for 1-2 mins, put moth balls in sneakers, place socks and soaked underwear in laundry basket, observe self in mirror and wonder why abs aren’t as defined as when I just woke up, pop in mouthwash, gargle and keep in mouth while showering, spit out mouthwash while towelling down, sprinkle talcum power in underwear and under armpit, apply beard oil, apply body lotion, comb/brush beard, put on fresh underwear…right leg first for some reason…need to switch to left sometime like I do with watch on wrists, spray deodorant, spray cologne, put on work clothes with right leg inside pants first for some reason, put on socks, then shoes, check self in mirror, blow self a kiss, pick up rucksack, turn off air-conditioner, turn off TV, turn off lights, twist open second lock on door, open door, walk out, lock door, place keys in bag, walk down the stairs and jump in car.

Easy enough, right? Shouldn’t take 3 hrs, i.e. 5am – 8am, right? Well, for some reason it surpasses that. Take this record-breaking morning for instance. Musta finally gotten outta bed at 515am yet I didn’t leave the crib until 750am. Woke up, turned off alarm, brushed teeth, read Bible, did 110 pushups, skipped admiring abs in mirror, stretched, did HIIT while HardTalk was on BBC, read and responded to WhatsApp messages, thought about skipping post-cardio stretches ‘cos body had already cooled down, did measly stretches, dropped soaked socks and underwear in laundry basket, took a long dump while writing in journal, extended dump by reading news articles on phone ranging from Lewis Hamilton’s win at Hockenheim to reason for volatility in oil price to Equalizer 2 topping the US box office and pipping Mama Mia 2 to 2nd place; discovered it’s also first time where top 8 in US box office have been sequels. Skipped out on an ESPN.com article of how a boxing trainer faked his own death to avoid a murder-for-hire perpetrated by his own wife. Walked to bedroom to drop off phone and journal, returned to bathroom to wipe butt and flush loo, popped mouthwash, showered, spat out mouthwash, followed through with beauty regimen and by this time it was 735am. Was excited I would finally break 8am record so took time to buff shoes, decided on a tie even though yesterday when I picked out work clothes I didn’t choose a tie. It’s almost as if internal clock’s ensuring I waste enough time not to break record. Took extra long blowing self kisses that I was lucky to get outta the crib by 757am. Weird this pas de deux with my mind over a senseless 8am mark, no? Could it be another case of the 41.5 year itch/syndrome? Now I wanna try to get to the office before 8am. Wish me luck.

Tot ziens and God bless.

PS
Tuesday 24th July 2018: For second day in a row I left the crib before 8am. Seems by keeping this arbitrary target in my head I get to work towards overcoming it. Noticed a weird thing though. Why do I unlock first of two locks as soon as I wake up? Why not unlock door twice when ready to leave the house? Am I saving time by this, same way I reckon I am saving time by unbuttoning work shirt the night before?

Wednesday 25th July 2018: Woke up earlier after a particularly startling nightmare, and yet I stayed in bed much longer than usual. Woke up t-i-r-e-d. Skipped out on stretching and did HIIT after push-ups. Ended up not leaving the crib until 825am as took time to listen to last night’s monologues of US Late Night shows. Tired of keeping track, man.

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Monday, July 09, 2018

This time I am saying no

Hola peeps.

It’s Independence Day in Juba and spending most of it indoors just ‘cos. Surprised myself by doing HIIT exercise even though I slept in. Vacations or public holidays are usually an excuse to skip working out. Lately, everything’s an excuse to avoid working out. You know how I told y’all about mate who said his eye sight seemed to go the minute he clocked 40, well, my eyesight’s still perfect but for the past few months I have noticed otherwise subtle changes in various aspects of my life. Appears my own changes are occurring at 41.5 years.

Take peeing for instance. I am now forced to wear two pairs of underwear whenever I have a work lunch. This measure was enacted after I noticed a mythical strain of pee would always wait until I am done using the bathroom and only drop out after I have put on underwear, tucked shirt into pants and step out into a public space. After first few times of this occurring I attempted to incent pee to fully drop by doing five (5) extra wiggles after peeing; sometimes I would try to trick it by turning on the faucet, so it would think I was washing hands, and slamming the restroom door. But no siree, this pee would rather I wear double drawers so here we are.

Even my dreams have changed. This morning, I woke up in sweats from a nightmare where I was at a public event in an ill-fitting, multi-colored, double-breasted suit. Yup, this is what counts as nightmares these days.

My taste in women’s changed too. Hung with a mate in Nairobi at the end of May and didn’t find his girlfriend attractive one bit. Now, this ain’t like what I expressed to y’all a while back about no longer finding Habesh women attractive; this girl’s fully Kenyan and at various times I had seriously considered poisoning this dude for her. Spent a weekend binge-watching all twelve seasons of Columbo just so I could hide my tracks, and even planned what to say at dude’s funeral to make his girlfriend sob on my shoulders and end up dating me. It was a major surprise when I then saw her and couldn’t be bothered. Couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I found attractive about her in the first place. The only positive from this is my Peter Falk impression that’s been carefully honed from consuming all those Columbo episodes.

Lately, we talking this past week, I have developed a liking for sparkling water. Sparkling water and searching for any excuse to avoid gym workout? I don’t recognise myself anymore! I still work out, don’t get me wrong, but the number of trips away from home in first 6 months of the year really put a damper on enthusiasm for the gym. When work would become monotonous I used to distract myself by pacing around office while feeling abs over my shirt. Others squeeze stress balls, I stroke my abs. Anyways, few months ago I attempted to do same and felt nada. My abs had disappeared! Sob sob. Blame it on all the junk food consumed during trips. I am now actively devoting morning work outs twice a week exclusively to abs. Also researching intermittent fasting to see if that helps.

Yeah, that reminds me. YouTube suggestions are a clear indication the p0wers-that-be are monitoring all we do. Some guy spoke to me about intermittent fasting in Nairobi 3 weeks ago and sent a WhatsApp message about same to a friend a week afterwards, not mentioned it since. Well, what do you think was on YouTube video suggestions last Saturday? Intermittent fasting! A month ago, took up doing 100 pushups every morning and after I took a break from it for a couple of days YouTube suggestion was a video on “what doing a 100 pushups a day does to your body”. Waiting to see if “they” would suggest “importance of red bedsheets to one’s sleeping pattern” if I get cleaning lady to dispose of her favourite sheets. Yup, I am still struggling with that. If only these new changes that have occurred since I clocked 41.5 years could eliminate the “relationship” with Harriett the cleaning lady.

Due to travel schedule I spent all of 3 days in apartment during the month of May and as a friend was visiting Juba I encouraged her to house-sit for me. For an entire month mate informed me Harriett would interchange striped multi-colored to the plain pink bedsheets, but never laid out the red ones. I kid you not. I would call mate from the far corners of Russia just to confound my suspicions, and she’d crack up each time and tease me with, “this cleaning lady only reserves the red bedsheets, she bought as a Valentine’s Day gift, for you”. First week I settled back in Juba the red bedsheets reappeared. A veritable red-letter day…for Harriett. Now I am scared.

Before my last trip outta Juba I received a knock on the door and assumed it was driver coming to take bags to the car. Was still getting dressed so opened door bare-chested and there was Harriett standing there trying her best to keep her gaze on my face. She shoulda been the one embarrassed but I mumbled something about my thinking she was the driver and dashed back into room to put on a vest. I now peek through the peep hole on door before I open it, even if there’s no knock and I am only heading out. Just to reiterate y’all, I am scared I am gonna get so used to her I’ll end up asking for her other hand – since she got married late last year – in marriage.

Oh yeah, my too-complicated-for-its-own-good HP Elite x3 phone crashed for good 3 weeks ago. Woke up late and checked phone to see why alarm did not go off. Found it off and assumed I may have mistakenly turn it off before bed. Turned it on and after booting it displayed a sad face emoji . I kid you not. Multiple efforts to restart it yielded same emoji. Took it to two different phone “specialists” in Juba and none could fix it after a combined 13 days of effort. Before them I attempted to get it resolved myself through the HP online help forum. They requested phone serial number and ‘cos the plastic phone protector had been on for so long it had sorta melded into back of phone and obscured the serial number. As was in the office, I ended up CSI-ing back of phone with oil from head – yup, finally found a use for excess oil secreted by glands on head - and baby powder – don’t ask me what that’s doing in office drawer - trying to get serial number off back of phone. Gave up after an hour of limited success. Thank goodness I found the manual and other relevant papers when I got home. Shall attempt to get it resolved when in the UK next month. If I cannot get it fixed then I’ll finally move on from Windows-OS phones. It started with Nokia Lumia and chose to stick with Windows phones ‘cos of easy synchronisation with work tools. Well, not anymore.

Also noticed I have tended to be less regimented lately. Maybe this 41.5-year thang ain’t so bad after all. Previously, if I woke up late and didn’t have enough time to stretch properly before morning workout I would skip entire workout. Now I go ahead with workout and not fuss about not completing three back stretches. Developed patience for applying post-shave balm on head and facial mask as well.
I have even stopped going for yoga classes on Saturday mornings and sleep-in instead. Same with sticking with Uber as opposed to other ride sharing apps.
Yoga thang wasn’t helped when at the end of last session attended the instructor invited the class to hum, repeat “Krishna”, and said something about opening the third eye. Thought we were just here for stretching, lady. 
The Uber thang was more of a “get them to miss me so much they want me back”. Had used Uber everywhere from Philadelphia to Cairo and never bothered to try an alternative ride sharing apps no matter how many friends and family convinced me otherwise. Recently tried out Taxify in Lagos, Kampala and Nairobi and must say it is cheaper, plus the drivers earn more than on the Uber platform. Reason for the shift mostly had to do with poor service received from an Uber driver in Kampala and the fact I checked my Uber rating and discovered I was a 3.8. You what?! I tip Uber drivers and am polite. How could I not be above a 4.5? Do the drivers know how incredible my abs used to be? Once I discovered my ranking I kept racking head as to why anyone would rank me so low. Even the crap Uber diver from Kampala who dropped me off at an eatery, and in the strangest bit of coincidence was same driver who picked me up after I was done, was given 4 stars. Or maybe it was the entertaining Uber driver from Cairo who complained about his wife’s weight. I’d not have laughed but it was uber – geddit? - funny. Maybe he ranked me poorly ‘cos I laughed so hard?

This being a long weekend in Juba I decided to spend it here instead of travelling somewhere as the pre-41.5-year old Tunde was wont to do. Main reason’s to see if I can spend a month without passing through the airport. Not looking likely as was informed there could be a trip to Kampala in the next two weeks. Haven’t been there since May as other trips have had me transiting through Nairobi. During last two trips to Nairobi I tried out mate’s spa and after the mani+pedi I got a gel nail hardener applied to finger nails. Oh, how they gleamed so! With a gel finish the shine tends to last at least 3 weeks, and until abs return I have taken to doing “jazz hands” in the office when boredom sets in. Others squeeze stress balls, I do jazz hands. During both spa visits I did a body scrub and a massage. So different from Juba where previous experiences at a body scrub have involved a lady using what felt like a scouring sponge on skin. The Nairobi lady used a coffee-based scrub while the one in Juba was probably VIM. There is a new 5-star hotel that recently opened and gonna give their spa treatment a try before I pooh-pooh all Juba’s spa treatments.

Since I turned 41.5 I have become more assertive. Went for a meh massage on Saturday after kickboxing class was cancelled, due to Coach’s illness, then tried out a new mani+pedi place yesterday. After dude was done I ensured he painted over fingernails with clear nail hardener ‘cos I had reminded him earlier I wanted it done. In the past I woulda just assumed dude forgot and not gone back to the place or, if I did, woulda requested someone else. In previous place in Juba I used to get mani+pedi done there was a lady who would always insist they had run outta nail hardener anytime I requested it. Coulda been coincidence, but other ladies always had nail hardener when they worked on me. I reckon she was one of those that deemed it non-masculine to apply nail hardener, but her stance was never strong enough as not to take tips offered by a dude who had requested his nails be painted.

Come to think of it I was hypocritical for judging a dude (who came to my office last week to drop off a job application) for having two fingernails painted bright red. Maybe this 41.5-year itch, or whatever it is, ain’t so bad after all if it teaches me to be more assertive and less judgmental. If only it could help with my Harriett problem.

Tot ziens and God bless.

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