Sunday, October 3, 2010

Picture Weekend - Yesterday

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So the weekend is almost all done and dusted. It was lovely spending time with the ladies of the Seattle Romance Writers Association but the Independence party trumped it, I confess. I had previously not seen as many Nigerians in our area in the same place before. And loads of them were dressed in the green and white colors. Feeling all patriotic and all, I was also rocking a green dress and a white shrug, lol.

At the RWA, I met some of the authors I had read their Mills&Boon, MIRA and Harlequin titles decades ago. And a new author - Brenda Novak - I had discovered more recently allowed me to take a picture. I also got a Regency Romance Anthology for those cold nights of winter or maybe when I'm in nigeria missing Atala. A lovely lady opened the show for me and my books when she requested an autographed copy. I had a great time chatting with the author I shared a table with too. She writes paranormal romance, and her novel she said is like Waterworld meets Book of Eli. we left around six cos we had some errands and also had to get ready for the later party.

At the Nigerian event, there was fantastic music playing which was mostly a mix of Naija hip hop. I didn't even realize I knew one of the DJs, one of the best in the area, lol. I met these two lovely twins, who as it happened had also went to my old school, Queens School Enugu. We exchanged nostalgic anecdotes and of course I had to tell them about Kevwe and Ofure :). I sold almost 10 books through them and a few of our friends also turned up too. I almost didn't feel like going when we left around half 12 midnight.

Great day all told, enjoy the few pics below.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two Events Today

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Today will be a very busy day for me. I will be meeting with local fans and signing my book, A Heart to Mend, at the Greater Seattle RWA Book fair along with other local authors in the afternoon. Later in the evening, I'll be going for a book reading at the Nigerian Independence event in Seattle. I'm quite nervous and excited at the same time. Wish me luck.


Local Book Fair Offers Opportunity to Chat with Best Selling Authors

The Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America is sponsoring a Book Fair on October 2, 2010 at the Bellevue Hilton. The event runs from 4:30-6:00 pm in the Skyview Ballroom and includes signing opportunities with the more than fifty best selling and award winning authors listed below. This is a free event and open to the public. The Bellevue Hilton is located at 300 112th Avenue SE in Bellevue, Washington. Their phone number is 425-455-1300.

A portion of the proceeds from this event are donated to a local charity; this year we have selected D.A.W.N. (Domestic Abuse Women's Network).


The Nigerian community in Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond will be celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Nigeria’s independence from Britain on Saturday. The event will take place at the Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Avenue S, Seattle.

There is a significant Nigerian community on the Eastside.

At the event, Myne Whitman, Nigerian author and Bellevue resident, will sign copies of her book, A Heart to Mend.

The party will also feature a mix of Nigerian Music with several DJs in attendance and a special Conga performance by Christian Pepin. Everyone is expected to wear green and white outfits to represent the country’s flag and honor the independence anniversary.

The doors open at 10 p.m. and the fun continues until 1 a.m. Ticket to the event is $10 and there will be free Nigeria snacks and drinks before 11 p.m.
Nigeria has the largest population of any country in Africa - about 140 million.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nigeria: The Golden Age - On Blogsville through October

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Happy Independence everyone.

It has been 50 years and the road has been quite long. Several bloggers have come together to mark this golden anniversary through our blogs and write-ups. The common theme is "Nigeria at 50" written from different perspectives through the eyes of the individual bloggers. The idea is to generate an interesting discourse, sharing of ideas and opinions based on the articles that will be written. Join us as we celebrate Nigeria's Independence starting today at A piece of Simeone.


photo credits;

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Debate Tuesday - One thing to improve Nigeria

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Another Tuesday, another topic to talk about. Don't be surprised the last couple of them have been about Nigeria, it's the independence anniversary in a few days. So today I ask, what will be ONE thing that you think that if tackled will dramatically improve the standard of life in Nigeria. I know a lot of people will say #lightupNigeria but really? I know it will make life easier but have there been any measurable outcomes? These are some that have been determined to have a direct impact on lives and people. They're the MDG Goals;

GOAL 1 - Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
GOAL 2 - Achieve Universal Primary Education
GOAL 3 - Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
GOAL 4 - Reduce Child Mortality
GOAL 5 - Improve Maternal Health
GOAL 6 - Combat HIV-AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
GOAL 7 - Ensure Environmental Sustainability
GOAL 8 - Develop a Global Partnership for Development

How far are we on these I wonder. Power is not spelt out in there but of course I know it's important.

Another thing I think is crucial too is a way to checkmate corruption in all aspects of the polity. The INEC chairman was complaining of this the other day and Mrs. Anenih, the Minister of women affairs rebutted that it is the citizens (friends and relatives) that push the government officials into stealing. There is a point in both arguments.

Another big thing is quality infrastructure and a good maintenance culture. The telecoms sector is booming now but how long before our penchance to neglect stuff begins to hit and affect services?

Anyways, the floor is open. Tell me your choice and the reason for it.

Here are a couple of people doing stuff to remind us that we have aways to go before UHURU

Give me 50 Nigeria
Enough is Enough
Cool to Vote

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Picture Weekend - The Puyallup Fair

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Hi everyone, hope you're all doing fine? How's the weekend and what plans for the coming week? You may want to gover to Naija Stories to vote for your favorite writers and stories for the Independence day contest. The polls will continue unto Friday next week.

Now to today's post. The Puyallup fair is supposed to be the 8th largest fair in the world and the greatest in the North-West. After seeing so many ads on the TV, we decided to give it a try. As it's just about an hour from us, I put my freeway driving to the practice to and from the fair. The fair itself was lots of fun, and the slogan "FREE YOUR GLEE" was very apt. I got the Dizzy pass ticket for all the theme park rides and did as much as I could was crazy. There was so much going on, a trade fair, giant pumpkins, we also caught a concert by Vocal Trash. The show lasts for about a couple of weeks and I think you need to go everyday to cover it all. We crammed as much as we can into one day. Enjoy the pics below.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Machete

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The titles above are the pictures you'll see on the right hand side of this blog under What I'm reading and what I saw last.

I said I'll be reviewing these once in a while. Let me start with the book.

The girl with the dragon tattoo. From the Publishers Weekly;

Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family's remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller by muckraking Swedish journalist Larsson. At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden's dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable superhacker. Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson skillfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman. Larsson died in 2004, shortly after handing in the manuscripts for what will be his legacy. 

The book is a 600 page thriller and it took me roughly a week to read at about an hour daily for the first three days. By the second half of the book, it was more difficult to put down. Last night, I stayed up till almost 1am to finish it. It was quite gripping. I look forward to reading the other books of the trilogy and it's a big pity the author is dead. He achieved a great feat in story telling in the book.

The title character is Lisbeth Salander and has several tattoos including a dragon and a butterfly. Contradictory it seems but not so much. She is a well-rounded character. She is small (4"11) and so comes across as a victim but has a strong core that helps her withstand a society she does not understand. She has a bit of Aspergers with a photographic memory thrown in and is a gifted computer hacker. Funny, I wanted to be a hacker at one point too, but my detective skills as a teenager stopped at snooping through my siblings love letters, lol.

Anyway, I have so much in common with Lisbeth that I'll soon be getting my tattoo too. I've been talking about it for too long. Time for action.

Finally Machete. I give it a 3 stars out of five. Lots of action, blood and some gore. Guess the length of the human intestine? You'll find out in the movie. If you're a fan of Quentin Tarantino, which I am, you'll definitely love this one. It was done by Rodriguez who is a sidekick of Tarantino and usually has most of his stories set in Mexico or starring Mexican characters. Remember El Mariachi, Desperado, Once upon a time in Mexico, Spy Kids? According to Rodriguez on wikipedia,

the origins of the film go back to Desperado. He says, "When I met Danny, I said, 'This guy should be like the Mexican Jean-Claude Van Damme or Charles Bronson, putting out a movie every year and his name should be Machete.' So I decided to do that way back when, never got around to it until finally now. So now, of course, I want to keep going and do a feature."[13] In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Rodriguez said that he wrote the screenplay back in 1993 when he cast Trejo in Desperado. "So I wrote him this idea of a federale from Mexico who gets hired to do hatchet jobs in the U.S. I had heard sometimes FBI or DEA have a really tough job that they don't want to get their own agents killed on, they'll hire an agent from Mexico to come do the job for $25,000. I thought, "That's Machete.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Treachery in the Yard

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This story is set in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Detective Tamunoemi Peterside investigates a bombing at the residence of Pius Okpara, who is contesting for governor in the state primaries. No one was killed in the bombing but there is an attempt on the life of the only witness, a judge's wife, that same night. Another attempt is successful and so starts a murder investigation.

Tammy suspects Okpara’s aide who he assumes is in cahoots with their political opponent, Dr. Puene, but the state chief of police orders him to drop the case because he’s wrong. Along the line, the reason to lay off Puene is that he is part of a bigger investigation into the mafia and drugs in the city. Tammy doesn’t drop the case, and the body count quickly rises after the first witness as Puene’s associates, and even Tammy's partner are killed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Debate Tuesday - Can there ever be an end to poverty in Nigeria?

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With just five years remaining until the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today sounded the alarm that the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) continued to be mired in poverty.
Although school enrolment has improved and strides have been made in reducing child mortality and expanding access to clean water in the LDCs, they remain the group facing the most severe challenging in realizing the eight MDGs, Mr. Ban underlined today.

Scores of world leaders are gathering in New York for a three-day General Assembly gathering, which started yesterday, to assess progress made so far in reaching the Goals.

“The LDCs represent the poorest and most vulnerable segment of humanity,” the Secretary-General said at a side event this morning focusing on the MDGs in these countries.

“They remain at the epicentre of the developmental emergency,” he added.

Countries are classified as LDCs if they meet three criteria: a low income; human capital status based on education, nutrition, health and literacy indicators; and economic vulnerability.

Currently, more than half of the 800 million in the 49 LDCs live below the poverty line, while only six of them have poverty rates under 30 per cent.

The LDCs are also made less competitive by their inadequate transport infrastructure and uneven power supplies.

The above is news from the UN website.

It cannot be more obvious from the descriptions given that Nigeria is among the LDCs.

What concerns me today as the UN leaders continue their review is the progress in Nigeria towards eradicating poverty and hunger. The other day I read that a governor employed some graduates as assistants so they could be paid an allowance. I think such unstructured gimmicks are unsustainable.

This is from the UNDP in Nigeria: MDGs in Nigeria: Current Progress

Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
People living in relative poverty declined from 65.6 in 1996 to 54.4% in 204 while 35 out of 100 people live in extreme poverty and 30 out of 100 children are under-weight. Poverty incidence has been consistently higher in rural areas than urban areas while wide disparity occurs in poverty trend in the zones. The prospect of reducing poverty in Nigeria is bright in view of the macroeconomics stability and progressive economic growth in the last six years. Government polices at the third tiers should be focused on increased productivity in the agricultural sector. Investment in infrastructure, especially in rural areas, should be scaled up. This should be complemented with accountability and transparent governance.

Sounds all good written like that. Do you think it can be done?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Picture Weekend - Edinburgh Reminiscing

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So today was my sister's birthday and I woke up early so I could call and wish her the best of days. After we spoke, I couldn't go back to sleep so I went on Facebook to see what was happening about Goodluck's declaration for president. Turns out that my sister had uploaded some pictures which took me right back to Edinburgh.

She had visited me back in Edinburgh from Nigeria in 2007 and that was when these pics were taken. Just before she left, I dropped her camera and it was spoilt. She never bothered to get out the SD card until today. The ones I took with my camera all got lost with the rest of my documents when my last computer crashed just before I left the UK. I never bothered to recover them. Now I wish I had. At least I can see how much I've changed. And I have, lol.


ps; I think I have become lighter in America.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Debate Tuesday - Who is a Feminist

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So I come across this debate a lot of the time. What is the meaning of Feminism? Who is a Feminist. I am one of the people who identify as the later. And while people tiptoe about the issue or the word, I say it plainly. I am a feminist. I am not confused by the noise, I know where I stand. I think the more we quibble, the more we allow ourselves - and dare I say men - to draw lines between us, the less chances the less lucky women may have.

Yeah I live within an economic and social status where I am educated, I have a voice and so on. What of the poor girl in the less developed parts of Nigeria, the rest of Africa, India, China, even in some parts of the Western World. No I cannot become relaxed. It is working for me so let me keep my head down and not rock the boat. No way Jose! Whatever it means, who ever else bears the name, let me join the ranks. If some of those women did not talk or take action in the past, we wouldn't be here. Margaret Ekpo, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, The Aba Market women, you name them. I sure want to be counted among them.

The latest episode started when a discussion cropped up on Sefi Atta's Everything Good will Come. Those who've read the book will know that there are some gender issues raised in the book. Actually, I also explored male chauvinist domination in A Heart to Mend. Maybe I did not push it as much as in EGWC because the focus of my story was the relationship between Edward and Gladys but it is still a topic very close to my heart. Aunt Isioma in AHTM had gone through a very disturbed marriage but remained due to being subjugated almost to the point of abuse. She only became free to live a full life after her husband died.

I think it's a man's world. At this stage of my life, I have come to accept it. However, I believe that women should have a choice to carve out a portion of that world for themselves. If they want to be bad, it's their choice, there are bad men too. If they want to be workaholics, good on them. Do they want to remain single, sure. Travel the world? Of course. Men have been doing these things for centuries so why not women?

The person I actually got into the debate with was another blogger. It was on chat sha. She thought that the extreme feminists have taken over the name and giving others a bad rep? Really? Have the Neanderthals among men given them all a bad name? Along the line, I cooled down and allowed her to make her points. Some I actually see the point of, others not so much.

1. Some Feminists actually go ahead to degrade men,
2. Some Feminists mistreat people generally, and make bad primary earners
3. Some Feminists are workaholics and do not pull weight in the household
4. Some Feminists go into clubbing and all that
5. Some Feminists will blink twice before going for divorce, etc.

More talk that came up involved Gender roles (boy, how I loathe that phrase). How women are supposed to take care of the home, how women are weaker, how only women can have children (the only point I agree with BTW, and it is not a ROLE!), how only women can be satisfied by staying at home, and all the other stereotypes and generalizations that go alone this line of thought.

OK, I have vented. Talk your own. Convince me.

Thank you.