Sunday, September 20, 2009

Back in Tsafe

So I'm back in Tsafe, Zamfara state. Evenings are boring, considering
there's been no power. It's not yet 8pm, and everyone's indoors.
I'm living in a sorry building called 'Party House', as there's no
accomodation in my place of primary assignment. Quite a number of
corpers are here, some temporarily, some until the service year ends.
I have to confess I don't have a whole lot of enthusiasm for this
place. Since I don't have a matress, I had to get a mat from a kind
soul who let me have his.
I got here just as the fast ended, so I had no luck today getting some
things I'll be needing for the service year.
I'm not sure why I'm not complaining that much. I really thought I'd
be more miserable than this. Or maybe I've not really grasped the
enormity of my situation. Either way, some guys just started asking my
advice about what laptop to buy (something I *really* hate being
asked, because newbies don't easily get that it's not an exact
science). Well, it's past 8, and since there's nothing doing, I'll be
going to sleep. Later

Sent from my mobile device

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New blogging option

Since Opera Mini was shut down by my mobile service provider, I've
needed to look out options for doing my 'internetting' (mostly Twitter
& blogging - i'm mostly ok as far as email goes). I've found out how
to make Twitter work with my builtin mobile browser, and enabled
blogging via email. I wish the email source had more options, but
whatever works, right? Later.

Sent from my mobile device

Monday, September 14, 2009

A trip down to the South-South

We (that is to say my family) just got back from a trip to the South-South, specifically Delta State. We went there to attend a traditional wedding ceremony — my dad's.

We left Friday morning, a few minutes past 6am. I was late as usual, trying to complete my previous post, add appropriate music to my MP3 player and phone, and generally get stuff ready to create my kind of atmosphere in a strange land. One consequence of my leaving the house late was that I was left to lock the flat, but someone had taken the key away, so I was basically wasting my time in there. Anyhow, we managed to get to my uncle's less than 10 minutes late, said hello, hi and whatnots to my cousins, and then left for the 'real' convergence point, where some staff from my dad's office were already waiting.

Nobody had had breakfast, and I was just recovered from a bout with malaria, so I was pretty hungry. I then realized I'd left my medication at home. Fortunately, I'd completed my dosage of shots the evening before, and since I was basically on painkillers, I decided it wasn't too much of a problem (of course, I still have a sneaking suspicion that the shots were responsible for some itching attacks I got about my hands and feet). I would have cause to feel some regret about that later. After waiting around for some people to show up, we finally took off from Ojota almost two hours later than we agreed to meet. I promptly fell asleep within 30 minutes of our departure, considering that I'd been up most of the night before, and I've shown very little tolerance for staying awake on long journeys till date.

Anyhow, the journey was pretty uneventful until sometime about 11am, when we got to Ore. Let it suffice to say that quite a number of the rumors I heard turned out to be true, as we spent about 5 hours in senseless traffic there, and might have spent longer had not our driver taken a turn off the main highway and somehow linked to the end of the snarl. At this point, I must: thank God we weren't longer in the traffic & congratulate the Federal Government of Nigeria for keeping to the Zero Point Agenda with such tenacity. The road was in a woeful state of disrepair — it was common for drivers to leave their rightful lane and face oncoming traffic. I can't say I completely blame the leadership of the country, though — attempting to start the necessary repair on that road would probably paralyze traffic. Still, while they vote themselves pay raises and feed fat on the nation, ordinary people have to make do with such sub-human circumstances. Casting blame won't solve the problems facing the country, so I'll get on with my story.

Sometime close to 10pm we wandered into the Ibru Center, Ughelli, Delta State after a long journey. While it's showing age, it's a lovely place, well laid-out. It was built and donated by Alex Ibru to the Anglican Communion. It's usually used for retreats and the like. It's even got a swimming pool. Would have uploaded pics, but the camera I used is actually a camcorder and records better movies than it takes stills (crappy 640x480 stills). The upshot is that we turned in late, really late.

Saturday began at a rather more sane pace. The traditional wedding was to start at midday, so we basically had free time till it was about 11, then proceeded to get stuck again in traffic. We finally got to the venue some minutes to 1, and soon after I began recording the proceedings. Then I had to deal with people walking just any old way and getting in the way of my recording. After some preliminaries, the real action moved into the house while most people started on the food. I was constantly on my feet, pushed around by photographers and cameramen, as well as trying to avoid stepping on people's feet, and soon my patience had gone where dead crabs go (it also didn't help that I'd wanted to take a leak since we got out of the bus). After the customary gift-giving and payment of the bride price, some fake brides were presented :), before the real bride was brought forward. Soon it was over, and then the couple presented themselves to everyone before going to their 'thrones'. Loads of pictures were taken at the point, and after about three-quarters of an hour more, we left. I don't think I have to say what I first went to do ;) I later heard that someone fired a gun into the air. I had seen some guys walking around with arms, but I decided to pay them no mind. These Niger Delta people, dem fit kill person o!

The trip back yesterday was mostly uneventful, except that an idiot mobile policeman threw a block of wood at our driver when he didn't turn as quickly as he wanted to. I wanted to toss the wood outside the bus, but when I saw he wanted to pick it up for another go, I help on to it tight. I guess he was pissed off that he couldn't get something from a younger man, so he punched me in the head. I spent quite some time after that wishing I had super powers, like an ability to stop time or something. Of course, I didn't get any by wishing :P. When we got to Lagos, someone wanted to get off at Alapere bus stop, since we were en route to Ojota via Ogudu. We parked into the bus stop proper, only to be told by waiting LASTMA and mobile policemen (ostensibly overjoyed that some mugus had fallen into their trap) that that spot was a BRT-only parking space and we'd have to shell out 25k. For crying out loud, there's a pedestrian bridge at that spot! Of course law-abiding drivers would want to drop passengers off at the bus stop and not just stop off the highway. Besides, the sign that the space was only for BRT buses was located inside the parking area! You wouldn't be able to read it until it was too late! Anyhow, it was settled in proper Naija fashion — which I'm not proud of.

Well, I'm back and will soon be leaving for Zamfara again, as my leave's just about over.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Some things I just don't get

Word of faith guys may hack me for this title, but there are things that I won't understand this side of eternity. One thing I definitely know is I never wanna get ill EVER again. My rump has been exposed to four different women in the last 3 days, and while I joked to the nurses about it — even going as far as being asked "don't you have a girlfriend?" — I have to say that it's embarrassing. It doesn't do anything for my pride (I can't tell about other guys) to discuss my health while an attractive lady (at least one of the four was — and married too :P) sticks it to me with a hypodermic needle.

and that's why I don't understand why seemingly smart women (and dumb ones too) act like the one I sat behind in the bus I took to get my last shot yesterday evening did — her bare rump was quite exposed when she sat down, and stayed that way the whole trip . I wanted to gag. That's nigga behaviour — if the top shows too much or the bottoms sag, CHANGE IT!. I feel so strongly about this that I actually wanted to make a decision on dating someone because she consistently avoided exposing herself. She is fashionable, but not crude

And on nigga behaviour, some cheapskate niggas who use hacked versions of Opera Mini have now made some other niggas working in MTN to block Opera Mini. I've always paid for my browsing using Opera Mini. Now I can't use it. It's like Chris Rock said: Black people enjoying something, niggas come and f*ck it up. later

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back...for a while, anyway

feels good to be home. and i have been home for two weeks today. unfortunately, i was too lazy, too busy, too tired and too ill (not all at the same time, mind) to log in here and update my own blog. geh. anyhow, i'm breaking that cycle now. i also hope to blog at least once a week when i get back to Zamfara, since my local government of posting is a nice little place that has no internet whatsoever.

Camp had its good sides. i wasn't the only person from school posted to Zamfara — a buddy of mine was posted there too (not that it did much good; we did see quite a number of times, happens, you know. and in case you didn't already know it, i kinda get prickly when i think people get too close. defense mechanism. what can i say?). i got stuck in the most unserious platoon, managed to escape most of the hard stuff, and even got to play a couple of Scrabble™ games with a pretty good player. met some chicks, didn't get into any relationships, didn't get redeployed, and got posted to a nursery and primary school.

before i left home i started developing an application for a friend, and due to time constraints, i was forced to use an ORM for the project. since getting back i've worked more on the project and what i really want to say is: how in the world did i live before NHibernate and Castle ActiveRecord? it's going to be very hard doing any development and still using SQL queries and data connection calls. if you're never used an ORM before and you're a developer, you should invest some time in learning one. i recommend NHibernate for .NET developers, but since i think the XML mappings are a pain (turned me off NHibernate immediately), you can use a framework that leverages NHibernate without the mappings. Examples include Castle ActiveRecord and Fluent NHibernate(please be familiar with C# 3.0 syntax - it'll help. greatly)

in developing the application i mentioned above, i have become even more convinced that UI development is for idiots. it feels so much like cruel and unusual punishment. must be why my pay was that low — i hardly did any UI development while i was working. simply focused on logic. mostly daemons and console apps in my kitty.

apparently i pissed off some demonic mosquitoes for being far too heavy to carry away to roast over their campfire in Zamfara, so they retaliated by injecting me chock full of malaria parasites. slow-acting ones. for more than a week after i got home, i never realized anything was wrong. and the flies must have had something to do with it too. that place is full of flies. apparently they overheard me asking several times if there wasn't any commercial gain to be had from houseflies, and acted as informant to the mosquitoes. ah well.

my leave's almost up, and i haven't done anything i wanted to do for myself, and i have so much to do for other people *sob*. well, i'll be off now. i'm glad Jeff Lew finally made his dream of creating his own movie come true (bu he lived on his savings for 4 years to make it happen!). since the first time i watched Killer Bean 2: The Party, i was impressed by his work. Jeff's an inspiration to us all, so get off your butt! gotta run now — i still need to bare my butt to a lady to get a shot twice today. see y'all.