Thursday, January 24, 2008

Carls Report.

Yesterday I played football.

You know?
Football: Silly game where a bunch of guys forget the world’s important details —The name of the ten sexiest women in the world— in exchange for half an hour during which your soul mission is to chase a round object and kick it hard.
Yes that game.
The chasing part wasn’t too difficult.
I’ve had a lot of experience in chasing curves. The kicking part? Now that’s where the challenge lay. You not only had to kick it, you had to do it with precision.
Rhythm was an important note.
You didn’t want to look like Captain Hook trying to save the day with a wooden leg
Some girls hung on the sideline yelling encouragements to their guys. I stared at the guys in annoyance. They obviously had better control and handling in chasing curves.

On and off the field.

The girls hung on the line dressed in jeans that hugged their frames.Distractions hanging on the periphery of my vision. One of them was dressed in summer dress that moved with the slightest of breezes. Simply running by her triggered a vision of lust.
I stared at the referee for help.
Wasn’t that a red card offense?
Eventually I got the hang of it.
Aim for the curved object. Avoid the shin. Breathe. Run like hell.
Check. Check. Check. Pant…Check!

In the end I didn’t do so badly. Just when I thought I was going to pass out on the field from exhaustion and pain from a dislocated and then broken ankle (I’m auctioning said ankle on Ebay. It’s still got blood on it. Starting bid $800. Can be used as book marker, self-defense weapon or replacement ankle Visit The referee blew his whistle, yelled out time and saved my life.
No one understood why I ran to the referee and gave him a hug midst sobbing babbles.
As if.

I returned home, without the limp that would surface once the endorphins where done swimming in my blood, grabbed a consolatory bottle of coke, sat in front of my system and hopped into the internet.
As I browsed I noticed an alarming fact.
A quick survey of my favorite sites showed that not many people had made reference to football. While this probably would have been acceptable behavior in weeks past. Recent events have forced a change in priorities of views and soon to be effected blog posts. If you’ve still got raised eyebrows, shame on you, by recent events I’m talking about the nation’s cup.
After pondering the dilemma I decided to do something about it.

Given my obvious experience in football; a life time of observing and playing football squeezed into yesterday’s eternal 20 minute game,and my position in Blog as a member, have decided to put my experience as both a semi professional footballer and writer to good use.
I have decided to appoint myself the official unofficial nations cup reporter.
Hopefully, years from now, my country will look back on my actions and posts in the weeks to come and award me some prestigious award.
It is something to look forward too.

Another thing to look forward to, I suppose, is a sudden decreases in traffic and hits on my site. I comfort myself with the dream that the award will happen one day.
Besides, which is more important? To be loyal to a country as corrupt and rich in clichés as Nigeria or to write interesting blogs for fans (majority of which happen to be female) to read.
Don’t answer the question.

Ignoring the advice on the contrary by some annoying chap on my shoulder, who is wearing a T-shirt with the words “Jiminy cricket rocks”. Some bloke who keep insisting that he is my conscience anytime I want to do anything remotely fun, I’ll dive straight into the nations cup update.

Nigeria thus far sucks,
We played against Cote d’ivoire.
Does anyone know where that is? No. I didn’t think so. Its somewhere in Africa. West Africa. You do all know where west is right. No. Not that far west.
Oh brother.
Does anyone know who Drogba is? Or Solomon Kaloue? DO the names Kolo Toure and Eboue ring a bell?
Well we played against those guys and lost.

Given the caliber pf players we played against, some would theorize that we were bound to fail in the end. Perhaps. Well there’s failing and there’s failing.
There’s the defeat of Poland by Germany that not even the Germans talk off because of the embarrassing ease at which it occurred.
And there’s the adrenalin and awe inspiring defeat of 300 Spartans by an ad infinitum force of Persian. True they where defeated and swept away in the end. But they put up a fight so fierce, so true that they have become the stuff of legends. At least that’s what Frank Miller would have you believe. That 300 Greek men, half clad in linen, did what the members of Gandalfs (and Tolkein’s) middle earth, replete with thousands of seasoned warriors , dwarves and socerers could not do.
They withstood and slayed a herd of charging Battle Elephants.

Well our eagles chose the approach of the Poles. They simply stood, made the obligatory sign of the cross, and where run over by the elephants of Cote de ivoire.

I can go into the torment that ensued as I watched the match. How I winced every time the elephants took a shot at our goal. It seemed to happen every minute. Very soon I was shivering like some epileptic patient. How my friend John who had bet 3000 thousand that the eagles would murder the elephants (He obviously hadn’t watched Discovery Channel or National Geographic) sat in a corner murmuring
"Say it isn’t so.”
How PHCN also known as NEPA also known as BLOODYTWATS denied me freedom and relief and absolutely refused to take power when I needed them too.
I could say all this, but I am reminded that this is an article and as such, should be concise and simple as possible.
With the obligatory witty/funny remark at the end.

And so..
After a depressing 90 minutes the match ended with the scores at 1-0.
Nigerians all over the world groaned with dismay as the players walked off the field.
heir dreams of Nation cup glory had developed its first crack.

Beneath it was the second desperate thought.
Where are our native doctors when you need them?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Carl fights back.

It started out with a poll.

There I was seating in front of the computer screen.
One half of my face was lit with the light, the other half was hidden in the shadows.
The room was buried in the dark, Darker patches of inkiness announcing where furniture might be. The night had come with its predictable cocktail of darkness and fatigue and, just as predictably, I was bored out of my mind.
My blog page gazed back at me with a smirk. I had just finished reading comments left on my blog and for some inexplicable reasons the network wasn’t allowing me post a reply.
For want of something else to do I started the poll.

A little tiny box in the corner of the page.
If you weren’t looking you’d probably miss it. Most of you, in all likelihood did.
But it was there.
A little box on the corner of my page. In the box was a question.
Do you think Afrobabe is really secretly Jennifer Lopez?
The answers to the question, multiple-choiced where used in a poll that I had set up.

I chuckled to myself as I clicked the post button.
Even my blogpage stopped its act of rebellion long enough for the poll to be posted. It seemed to agree with me. The synchronism of man and machine, unified in goal. It appeared my blog thought putting up the poll was a good idea.
Delighted with the successful completion of setting up my poll I again tried to post a comment.
No dice. I got an all familar message.
Internet explorer cannot will not locate page. So there!!
It still wasn’t working.
Frustrated I turned of the system and made my way through the dark to the fridge. The ethereal light from the heaven of coke bottles bathed the room as i opened it.
I gave the computer a retaliatory smirk in return.
I can drink coke and you can’t.
The monitor gave a beep and powered off.
Show off.

Seven days later, after going through the staples of weekly life, I stopped by to check the results of my poll. Whilst it hadn’t exactly suffered an avalanche of contributors, there had been enough poll voters for me to discern the obvious overwhelming reply to my inquiry.
80% where convinced that I had lost my mind.

In other words. The sad answer was, No… Afrobabe wasn’t secretly really J-lo.
I sat with shock in front of the monitor, Feeling the patronizing arm of depression on my shoulder. For a second the words on the screen blurred as I let its import sink in. My spirit took a jump of the board of conjecture and dived into the well of despair, sinking miserably, shackled with grief, to stunned to fight it's plunge to the bottom.
And then, just when I felt there was no hope. I felt the flutter of it begin in my stomach. The faint flashs of lightning announcing the coming of a storm.
My vision cleared and I saw.
It continued here.

You see, dear Blogville, we have come to an interesting turn in our relationship. For the first time in 2008 a startling thing has occurred. We have come to a junction in beliefs and i'm taking a left.
Simpy put. I don’t agree with you all.
No... I’m not talking about the poll voiced opinion that I’ve lost my mind.
I completely agree on that count. In fact I think I voted for that cause. Twice.
No. That isn’t where my insurrection stems from.

Fact I’ve lost my mind.
I completely agree.
Fact: Afrobabe is not secretly Jennifer Lopez.
I completely disagree!!!
My faithful dear Blogsville you’re all wrong.
Afro babe is Jennifer Lopez.

And now the insurrection begins.

It is Plato who started the idea of idealism. The issue of form vs idea.The man lived over a thousand years ago, didn’t have a toothbrush. Was forced to wear a dress in the name of fashion and still managed to come up with a pretty neat philosophy. Here it is as I understand it.

Nothing in life is as it is. When we see an object and we call it a chair. We’re not referring to the object( or form). We’re referring to the idea of the object. What we define as a chair is something we can seat on. To that end a table can be substituted as a chair. If I had never seen a chair before and I stumbled across someone seating on a table. I would be well in my rights to call the table a chair. Because the table fills the idea of the chair.

When I suggested that Afrobabe was in reality Jennifer Lopez what did I mean?
(For god sakes would someone please tell Afrobabe to stop spluttering obscenities at the screen?)
I’ll tell you what I meant. I meant the idea that was Jennifer Lopez.
Fact Jennifer Lopez isn’t Jennifer Lopez!
COnfused? I should hope so . I got a headache when i tried grasping the logic behind the philosophy. If you're all tired you can stop reading.

Wait.. come back.....I'm joking!

The Jennifer Lopez we have an idea about, the successful media star with the body to die for, the drive to succeed and that marvelously fantastic derriere(Sigh) is really an illusion.
Thing is... it we did see her in person (Hello Naapali. This is MTV and you have just won a week with Jennifer Lopez for answering the question 1 + 1 =? Correctly!) She wouldn’t live up to our expectations. Her face wouldn’t be as perfectly made, the lovely derriere whilst still as lovely wouldn’t be that fantastic ( Why. it’s just the same size as Sade Adu's!!) and every once in a while , if we hung around long enough she just might break wind, bad enough for you to consider cutting your vacation short.
She just wouldn’t leave up to the idea that is Jennifer Lopez.
With camera work, media hype and the overworked imagination of fans it’s hard to leave up to the image.

And here’s where it comes in. My simple logical mind at work.
Jennifer Lopez is an attractive, successful and funny female.
Afrobabe is an attractive, successful and funny female.
Jennifer Lopez isn’t Jennifer Lopez.
Jennifer Lopez is Afro babe.
Afro babe is Jennifer Lopez. (The real one behind the idea.)
If we're going by Naapali's brilliant deduction that 1+1=2 (Congrats by the way!) then my philosophy really isnt that difficult to see.
Jennifer Lopez is Afrobabe!

Because. The idea I have of the real Jennifer Lopez fits that which I have of Afro babe I think I have every right to call this table a chair.
Afro babe is Jennifer Lopez.
Naapali is Ernest Hemingway.
Queenofmycastle is Vanessa Williams.
Undercovasista is Audrey Hepburn,
Fantasy queen is Cameron Diaz.
And Carlang is…….Carlang!

I suppose another way to state all this would be to say that i was being metaphorical. You know... Unnaked is a Stallion. Princessa is a Princess. Lighty is an Angel. . .That kind of thing?
But where's the fun in that?
Why say i was speaking metaphorical when i can spin some yarn about my ostensible knowledge of Plato's theory of idealism?
Not only do i get to sound like i know what i'm talking about but i also get to play the part of a lecturer. However pathetic the attempt might be.
Phew. It's been hard work though ,this lecturing thing.
No matter it has it's advantages.
Afrobabe carry my books and see me in my office.
There you go spluttering again.

It started with a poll.
It triggered an insurrection.
And now it comes to an end.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year with Stolich.

The 29th of December was ending with a warm evening.
I was sitting outside staring at the darkening sky with a cup of palm wine, my fifth, in my hand. I watched the sun set behind the hills. Nature’s timer was ticking. Another three sunset and this New Year madness would come to an end.
People would return to their jobs.
Families would go back to their homes.
And lovely vistas like the one I was watching would go by unnoticed. Hidden by the shroud of life’s busy toll.
Till then though it was a lovely evening for sitting down, staring at the sky and sipping palm wine.
The evening was beautiful.
And then my phone rang.

I had fallen to the habit of setting different ring tones for people who called often. I listened to the opening score of the horror movie Omen.
Only one person had that ring tone.
“Hello Stolich!”
“Hello. Carl! Happy New year.”
“We’re not yet there. We’ve still got a couple more sunsets.” I said wearily.
“That’s just a technicality. I’ve already got my new year resolution ready.”
I sighed inwards. I hated resolutions so much. Somehow I always managed to break them before the next year came around.
“Seriously?” I asked with a half smile.
“Absolutely. The cool thing about it is I’m starting it right now. I’m not going to wait till the New Year before I begin.” Stolich announced proudly.
“Oh really?”
“And what’s your New Year resolution going to be?”
There was a pause over the line as she debated how best to tell me. Finally she settled with a simple.
“I’m going celibate!”
I couldn’t help it. I laughed.
Understandably she hung up.

Going celibate and giving up sex.
Just thinking about it gave me goose bumps. I had had a partially sucessful experience with that bit of resolution some months ago. I had celebrated going six months without sex.
I had been all set for making it an even seven months off the wagon until one day I met a girl. We had a moment. She gave me a kiss. Did something incredibly with her tongue. Roved her hand over my body. Knocked me on the bed. Slipped her hand beneath my shorts, did something more incredible with her hand and next thing I was all over the place.
Record time 2 minutes.

True I hadn’t exactly had sex. But seeing as having orgasms was against my resolution I had to conclude that my resolute spell was at a delightful end and get on with my life.
The point though was, the seven months (almost) that I had spent celibate hadn’t been easy. I didn’t expect it to be any different for her.

The 30th of December came without the warmth of 29th.
There had been a light drizzle and with it had come the comfortable biting cold of the harmattan. Staying outside wasn’t an option and so I hobbled into the parlor.
I sat with members of my extended family and watched in horror my first Nigerian movie of the year. It was a disaster.
Has anyone watched “The Last Billionaire”?
Word of advise. Dont.
I was watching a scene unfold with concern.
Some Members of the Nigerian Secret service were about to kidnap a known felon from the United Kingdom. He had murdered a relation of the Nigerian president a year before and had since fled to the UK for safety.
Ignoring the obvious process of extradition thy decided they would just go and kidnap him a la Umaru Dikko.
The head of the SSS was announcing his grand plan of getting to the United Kingdom.
“We’ll fly to China. From there we’ll go to Japan. Take a boat to Indonesia, head to India. Go to Russia. Cross over to Vienna. Then we’ll fly to Argentina. We’ll drive through Brazil. Mexico. United States finally ending up in Canada. Fly to Greenland and then, then gentlemen, we get to the United Kingdom.”
I closed my eyes in frustration. Who wrote theses scripts? Save me lord I prayed.
My phone rang.
The Omen ring tone.

Her voice was cheerful as she yelled into the phone.
“I’ve gone one day!”
“Huh?” I asked. My mind was still in numb shock from the movie I was watching.
“I’ve stayed celibate for one day. I’m unto a roaring start with my resolution.”
“Yeah the first day is always the hardest. You’re so silly” I laughed. “What does your boyfriend/fiancĂ© think about your decision?”
‘Er…he doesn’t know yet. He is not around. He is flying in today.”
“You haven’t seen him in over 3 month’s right?” I remembered.
“Yes so?”
“Nothing. So he flies in after three months horny as hell and finds out his nymph of a girlfriend has decided to go celibate. I can’t wait to hear how this goes!”
“He won’t mind.” She said confidently.
“I’ll bet.”
I heard her inhale sharply.
“Look Carlang. Stop being a Schadenfreude. If you can’t be for me. Then don’t be against me.” She snapped and then hung up.
She was doing that a lot.

I returned to the television screen. The movie was unreeling with unbelievable stupidity. The SS agents had found the targeted individual. I watched as thy raided his London home and stunned him with some kind of gas. Nerve gas or something. What the chemical constituents was was not the issue. The gas worked fine because he passed out.
What was absurd was the fact that the terribly overweight SS guys stood next to him in the potently lethal gas without gas masks and none of them was affected.
Must be one of those selective nerve gases.
I couldn’t take anymore. If I kept watching I wouldn’t make it till 2008.
I went to bed.

The 31st of December brought with it the familiar feeling of excitement and hope. People chatted expectantly as they waited for the big transition into 2008. I had given up trying to figure out what New Year fuss was all about. I mean, Apart from a number, nothing else really changed.
Stolich called me early in the morning.
“He is coming in another 4 hour.”
Coming?” I asked with a smile.
I heard her sigh loudly over the phone. “You know what I mean Carl. Not that kind of coming. I mean he arrives in 4 hours.”
“And I’m going to welcome him.”
“Is that all you can say.”
“If I can’t be for you I shall not be against you.” I said in my best imitation of a robot.
Predictably, She did the hang up thing.

I lazed the entire morning away.
I started doing my laundry and changed my mind.Then I picked a novel, one by James Patterson and read for a bit.
After watching them murder a couple of goats that was destined to be used as pepper soup I returned to the parlor. Fortunately no one was watching a Nigerian movie.
My aunt had dug up and old VHS tape and an even older video tape player.
VHS? What would I see next? A T-rex? It was almost like I was back in the Jurassic period. Anyways it turned out to be everyone’s ostensibly favorite movie.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
With nothing else to do I sat down next to my aunt and watched the coolest man in the world strut his stuff.

In the midst of a powerful speech from Jesus my phone rang with the demonic ring tone from Omen.
My aunt shot me a cold look. I had just ruined her concentration. I worsened my plight by answering the phone. I knew I was in trouble. What kind of idiot answers the phone when Jesus is giving a lecture?
“Hello? Who is this” I asked even though I knew damn well who it was.
“I’m too young. “She said.
“You’re too young or he looks really sexy.” I said. My aunt actually paused to look at me. Children of nowadays. Back in the days I would be stoned.
“Both. He looks really sexy. I’m not sure I can pull this celibate thing off. I mean .Do I really need to be celibate? Is there any point to it? What do I stand to gain by denying myself sex?”
“Right.” I muttered in reply.
“Seriously. He is in the next room looking so sexy. It would be a sin I didn’t do anything about it. He is my boy friend for crissakes. HE bought me a Christmas gift. I haven’t opened it but it looks promising.”
“ I’m a hedonist. Plain and simple. I’m too young to give up pleasure. That’s insane isn’t it?”
“Right.” I replied again.
I looked at the screen. Jesus was still giving the lecture. I felt really uncomfortable. I was talking about unbridled and unsanctioned sex right in front of him. He paused and looked at the screen. I felt my hair go white. I tried to listen to what he was saying.
What are you doing? You’re not helping me.”Stolich’s voice barked into my ear.
“Sorry. I was trying to hear something.”
Her voice was irritated.
“Whatever you’re doing stop doing it and focus on me. You’re supposed to be my best friend.”
2000 years after Adam and the Garden of Eden, we still were suckers for women.
Same scenario and we were still making the same mistakes.
I stopped listening to Jesus and focused on her conversation.

“Don’t do it then. I thought you said you were going celibate.” I said.
My aunt had stopped looking at the screen. Her entire focus was now on me. She was glaring at me like I had a bra tied around my head.
I considered my options and left the room.
“You’re a terrible friend. If you can’t be for me then don’t be against me” Stolich retorted.
I felt confused.
“I thought the for option meant I supported your celibate bid. I’m supporting you.”
“But I want to break my vow. You need to support me on that now. There’s been a change in agenda. Haven’t you been listening?I want to make out with my boyfriend.” Stolich groaned into my ear.
“Oh? Now you want to quit celibacy?” I asked wearily.
“Yes. Didn’t you get the memo?”
I thought about it. What would Jesus do?
I hung up.

After the build up and excitement to the New Year the transition was surprisingly uneventful. Someone yelled happy New Year and the entire town went wild with the bang of fireworks and crackers.
I waited 3 minutes but no Alien ship appeared.
I guess the world was going to survive for another year.
My phone ran at 20 minutes past 12.
“Happy New year Carl.” It was Stolich and she sounded exhausted.
“You did it?” I asked sagely.
It was funny how our conversations had degenerated to the point where it could only mean one thing.
Sex. The Mc Nasty. Transitional Cotius.
‘Yes. It was great. We did…”
“Save me the details. I don’t want to hear the skinny on your sexcapades.” I said wearily.
She laughed at me. There was a voice in the background, his, and then she said.
“He says Merry Christmas. “
I returned the greeting.
“Any plans for the new year. Do you have any resolutions that you’re making.” She asked me. Her voice sounded strained. Was he trying for an encore already? I was in a different state 30 miles from her and he still felt the need to mark his territory.
Men.We were such beasts.
“Yes. I’m giving up coke.”
“Nice. I’m sure you’ll do well. You're a lot stronger than I am.” She observed “ I couldn’t even stay celibate for a year.”
“Well technically you did. You last had sex last year in 2007. Its 2008 now. Officially you haven’t had sex for a year.”
She burst out laughing.
“Thanks Carl. You’re good for my ego.” She gave a loud gasp " Happy New Year darling. “And then she hung up still laughing.

Ten minutes later I walked into the house and met my aunt. She still had the look on her face. If the rapture had happened at midnight, and she had her way, I would probably be in hell right now.
“Happy New year Aunt.”
“You too. “She said quietly. “Do you have a resolution?”
I nodded that I did.
I left her and walked to the kitchen. There was still some pepper soup left in the pot. I filled a bowl for myself , grabbed a bottle of water and walked to what had been designated my room. Half way there I stopped and thought about it.
What’s the point?
I walked back to the kitchen. Opened the fridge replaced the bottle of water and pulled out a bottle of coke.

Happy New Year.