To Whom It May Concern

Dear Beautiful One,

The next time that wanderlust/frustration hits you and you feel like giving up/leaving/packing up shop (which I’m sure will be pretty soon), decide to stay on for a bit longer. It will make a huge difference.

Bonnie

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The Wishlist: 25 things I want for my 25th Birthday

It’s my birthday on the 20th of January, 2013 and I’ll be a quarter of a century old. Eeek!

I’ve never been big on birthdays, but  for the first time, I’m really really super duper excited about this one. So, for my ‘silver jubilee’, I have made a list of things I want that, hopefully, I’ll get. I’m not sure I have up to 25 items on this list as the title implies, but it seemed catchier than 17 things…

Here goes:

1. A new phone!!!
I’ve been using the same old Bold 2 for almost 3 years now and it has gone flaky on me. So for my birthday I want the BlackBerry 9360 (aka curve 4) and either the Nokia Lumia 920 or the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

2. Perfumes
I’ll like any type of perfume, but I love any of these three: Givenchy Play Intense for him or her, Paris Hilton Can Can and CK One Shock for him.

3. Wristwatch(es)
Masculine. Chain. Leather.

4. Cocktail rings
Plenty and plenty of ’em. Polyvore has an idea of what I’m talking about.

5. Blazers and Dresses
I’m a size 8/10 😉

6. Earrings
I’m partial to studs cos I have 4 ear piercings, but any type of earrings will work nicely too.

7. Stephen King
If you can’t get me the man for a day, I’ll settle for his books that I don’t currently own:
– The complete Dark Tower Series
On Writing
11.22.63
Under The Dome
Just After Sunset
The Talisman
The Eyes of the Dragon

8. Bags
I’m fashion retarded. Whatever you think will look nice on me. The tomboy in me loves slings and skulls but my friend says to grow up already 😦

9. Shoes
Flats o. Sneakers o. Heels o. As long as I can wear them on my feet. I’m a size 40 btw (biko, help me convert where necessary).

10. Underwear
The people permitted to get me this already know my size and preference.

11. PS3/PSP
Cos I need to get my gaming game back on yo.

12. External Harddrive
No less than 250gb. Thank you 😀

13. All expense paid weekend in Zanzibar or Kenya (or Ghana)
Cos a king recently told me these places are awesome.

14. A birthday breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner/supper
Somewhere nice. For two (or more). I promise to dress pretty.

15. An office swivel chair for my work station

16. Towels

17. Cakes and cocacola alcohol

So, if you’re thinking of what to get me, any of these or the cash equivalent will do. If you have better ideas though, feel free to surprise me. I love purple and green and black. Pay no mind to the order the list was written in. You can get me more than one item as the ‘spirit’ or your church mind directs.

*p.s. Asos is on sales

GUTS by Chuck Palahniuk

“Inhale.

Take in as much air as you can.”

Those are the opening words for a short story that I hear caused no less than 60 people to black out while the author read to the audience.

The topic of this story is quite, well for lack of better words, unconventional. It tells of general masturbation mishaps, the result of people looking for weird more intense ways to beat off, and focuses on three young boys, the narrator being one of them.

It is a disturbingly graphic, and some will even say disgusting story. You find yourself simultaneously clenching your butt cheeks and covering your eyes with your hands but you’ll still continue reading through the slits in your fingers.

You can see what I’m up against.
You let go for a second, and you’re gutted.
You swim for the surface, for a breath, and you’re gutted.
You don’t swim, and you drown.
It’s a choice between being dead right now or a minute from right now.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and even found it funny in a twisted kind of way. I reread it twice in one sitting and I proceeded to disgust my friend with all the gory details. I could not suffer alone – after all, misery does love company.

I’ve watched fight club, the film adaptation of a book of the same title, written by Chuck, but GUTS is what has endeared him to me. I just want to read everything he has ever written. So help me God.

“Now you can take a good, deep breath.” I just did. 😉

Click here to read GUTS

First Love and Other Sorrows by Harold Brodkey

The fluid and descriptive nature of this story makes you feel like it were you telling it, like it was from your memory – one can almost see every event, hear every sound, feel every emotion.

It tells a story from the point of view of a 16 year old St. Louis  ‘goldbrick’ (as Mackyz, the coach, calls our narrator), and how he began the dreadful process that is growing up in spring of that year – of his being born into affluence but losing that shortly after his father dies, of first true love and of first kisses, of being sixteen and all the insecurities that come with that time, and of family.

“…more than anything else in the world I wanted to be a success when I grew up. I did not know there was any other way of being lovable.”

You can relate to at least one character in the book – be it the mother and how she never did get over the ‘downgrading’ of her status, although it does not seem like they were poor even after; or the beautiful but restless 22-year old sister and the slew of boys all trooping to win her favour; or Preston, the ‘jaded’ yet vain best friend; or Joel, the douchey pretty boy; or Eleanor, who seems to be the narrator’s first true love; or even the narrator himself.

We never find out his name, but this does not matter because he could be any one of us, he could even be you.

*Picture by Lolo

A Cure For Lovesickness

I met a man two months ago in a bookstore on sales. I did not meet this man in person, although Lord knows I wish I did, I met him by way of a book he edited whose quirky title caught my fancy. Buying My Mistress’s Sparrow: Great love stories from Chekhov to Munro was closer to a fluke than an informed purchase. You see, I am not a fan of love stories and the mushiness that come with such but the title caught my attention – I love quirky things and this qualified as one in my opinion.

I only started reading this 600+ page collection of short stories yesterday and the enchanting way this man weaves words into sentences in the introduction alone is one of the reasons why I am in love with him. In his words:

“When it comes to love, there are a million theories to explain it. But when it comes to love stories, things are simpler. A love story can never be about full possession. The happy marriage, the requited love, the desire that never dims – those are lucky eventualities but they aren’t love stories. Love stories depend on disappointment, on unequal births and feuding families, on matrimonial boredom and at least one cold heart. Love stories, nearly without exception, give love a bad name”

In the introduction, he talks about the poet, Catullus’s love for someone forbidden, he explains what informed the selection of short stories contained in this book, he speaks of the wonder and inexplicable emotion that is love and the heartbreaks that almost assuredly follow, and he hints at why, despite all its obvious downsides, people still love. For the first time, I see love mentioned so many times in one place and I don’t feel nausea or the need to gorge out my eyeballs with anything available.

He says:

“We value love not because it is stronger than death but because it is weaker.

…The perishable nature of love is what gives love its profound importance in our lives.

…It is perhaps only in reading a love story (or in writing one) that we can simultaneously partake of the ecstasy and agony of being in love without paying a crippling emotional price.”

I’m reading this book expecting to get my heart broken with every story I read and yet I’ll love every single second of it. After all, passer pipiabat. Loosely translated – “Better a sparrow, living or dead, than no birdsong at all.”

I met a man on a warm July afternoon and I fell in love with him today. His name is Jeffrey Eugenides and through him, I found “a cure for lovesickness and an antidote to adultery”, it lies in falling in love. Get the book if you can, you might just find love too.

p.s. Also worthy of note: All proceeds from My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead will go directly to fund the free youth writing programs offered by 826 Chicago. 826 Chicago is part of the network of seven writing centers across the United States affiliated with 826 National, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.

p.p.s. I’ll be doing a review of most (if not all) of the stories in Jeffrey Eugenides’ My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, from Chekhov to Munro. I hope you enjoy this reviews as much as I am enjoying reading this book.

A Dumber Generation?

Today, the NECO Nov/Dec SSCE results went public and I can’t help but feel sad about it.

With news headlines like  NECO records another mass failure and Another mass failure as NECO releases results greeting me as I opened my newsfeed, one begins to wonder wonder: what is up with the Nigerian education system.

While some people want to attribute this new trend on the younger generation being unserious and less focused, what with distractions from technology and the media, I can’t help but ask: what are the teachers and parents doing? A child cannot have been a straight A student in his continuous assessment and just flunk woefully when final exams come.

Students should be monitored on a regular basis and helped where it seems they are lacking to prevent such appalling results which disgrace not just them and their families, but the nation too. Our education system really needs a reassessment.

Mini rant done.

Fuck chasing your dreams

Since I can remember, I’ve dreamed of being some sort of IT guru, or at least of being somehow connected to technology. So at first, because I absolutely love gaming, I wanted to be a video game tester (not developer o. Just one of those who test the games for user experience, fun, functionality and what not). Then I wanted to be a programmer, then a software engineer, then …you get my drift.

When I was in JS3, I told my father this. He said a professional course will work better in Nigeria and suggested I study medicine. if I went down that path, I would have been a serial killer collecting hearts. So, I enrolled in science class and there, I discovered my love for mathematics. I adore simultaneous equations and differential calculus, I love the thrill I get when I turn to the back of the textbook and not only did I get the answer correct, but the workings too. You should have seen the huge smile on my face when I got A1s in maths but maths only mind you. I also liked physics; I remember giving a presentation on x-rays and making my kaleidoscope, periscope and wooden torchlight. *bliss*

Then came JAMB and picking a course for university. I knew medicine wasn’t for me but my daddy dearest wasn’t going to let this middle child study computer science. An ‘unprofessional’ course?! God forbid it. So I settled for accounting. In my misconception, I thought accounting was synonymous with mathematics. Could I have been more wrong? I hated it. Till date, I haven’t completed my professional certifications (although you can like to give me props for trying and spending a load of money I didn’t have).

Fast forward to present day, years of accidental discoveries, wanderlust and wrong decisions later. Now I’m reading lots of books and taking online classes from code academy and coursera to mention a few. By the end of this year, I won’t have anybody, not even daddy dearest, to blame for not being closer to my tech samurai dream.

So, I say fuck chasing your dreams; catch up already.