Thursday, September 09, 2010

Even without those Spectacles ..

.. the geek in me is screaming out loud "Shed the wannabe cool. Let me out!!!" Finally, I have obliged lol. ok here it is .. The link here (http://www.littlelite.net/crypto/cryptojava2.html - created by Little Lite) will help you solve the puzzle below.

The task is simple: "Turn into English, the following jiberish". What does it say?


9uWJ;RR{RTpuWCPZ9Gu:+9LG-1:@M+TSOq,G+{A-kuTCTXS{9:+uW5-1,mNEd9NTAVSmO]+uR9PJWlFKT;CO;GZjXJTEOMVK,{S{.S0qq1,fH)buYJ;1OpDEkGEqUXSqGXjSv6)KOrGXTNFqPO({aE@9V9ANObu}euTCT1ZmMZ+RTq.O{cuTeCv-AG{{R,TFL5S1,f9+TavF U:{X,l0v( J9dN:TSH5.1p{9(TROqUU(rT).SEwAxSquafT9



* There is a prize

**Hint - use the slider! (How many sides has a dodecahedron? - I am so kind!!)


Happy Friday ;)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

BE THE BEST AT WHO YOU ARE!

"Though it may cost you your life, live every second with conviction. Don't just join the band wagon for the sake of it. If you have to, be different. Make a difference. matter!"

I wrote this as my status message on facebook (Bless Zuckerberg!) and left it there for all of 20 minutes before realising that it might not be the best thing to do. So I scratched it. Why?

As individuals, I believe that its important for us to allow our own unique paths in life and backgrounds to define who we are without necessarily feeling any sense of superiority or inferiority (in relation to others) as result of these experiences. They are, if you like, our blueprint. And therefore, in my opinion, I would describe it a travesty to throw all that away merely because we are trying to 'fit in'. Each one of us has unique abilities placed in us to be effective at whatever we do (and hopefully better than anyone else ever) and the only way to discover these abilities is by exploring ourselves. Jumping on the band wagon will not do this for us! Therefore, our unique view points, really should be celebrated and not surpressed in any way.

I am not a biologist but we can draw an example from genetics. The gene pool is sometimes strengthened from having mutations occur. These changes can sometimes be detrimental, however, on the whole, it makes for continued survival of the species mainly because by diversifying the possible expressions of the organism, unforeseen adverse physical conditions are taken care of in advance (I warned you already. Not a biologist!). Overall, this is a positive thing because it means that a given organism, or an entire race of animals can outlast some catastrophe. For similar reasons, it's a bad idea to marry your cousin.

Bringing it back to the original discussion, it becomes easy to see why differences really and truly should be celebrated because we stand to gain a lot more as a society by retaining and holding on to our different senses of identity and being comfortable within it without necessarily trying to be anyone else. Our combined differences hold a plethora of skills, strengths and abilities that can and should be taken advantage of; advantages that the underprivileged, particularly, can benefit from. Now, this is what I meant when I put the message status up yesterday. However, I took it down almost immediately because it occured to me that this also can be misconstrued in quite a number of ways.

To put this in perspective; I write because I enjoy writing and expressing my thoughts. To me this is valid. Events upto this point in my life have led to me taking pleasure in this activity. Some other person might justify joyriding because they see it as the only way for Insurance companies to pay up for the service they have promised. Yet another's experiences might have taught them it's alright to rob banks because the public gets stolen from everyday. Three 'valid' points of view, but there are flaws in some of them. All three view points are associated with a strong sense of conviction and to each proponent, their's is valid, but not all are necessarily without consequence.

Bottom line is, I don't believe having convictions about our actions alone is necessarily universally valid enough as reason to actually carry them out. If everyone ran around acting out their convictions, there might be anarchy! Hence, the strong need for individualism is correct, however, it must remain within the confines of an established collective domain. No one can dictate here, rather I'd just say "be the best you can be being who you are, without leaving behind any trail of negative consequences for yourself or others". But hey, that's just what I'd say ..

Thursday, February 18, 2010

HELP, THEY NICKED CINDERELLA!

Literally, bawled my eyes out. I did. The very first time I watched The Champ. Story was just spot on. Champion trying to gain back his title after a lay-off from the ring several years earlier so he could give his son, TJ, a better life and keep him from the stinking rich claws of his ex-wife and her husband. Burning train had a similar effect on me and another film (for the life of me, I cannot remember its name). I was just lost in those stories. Completely. Some people call it - suspension of disbelief. I choose to call it the ‘Cinderella element’. Problem is, I think mine’s been nicked.

I was at the cinema on Sunday. It was St. Valentine’s Day. No, the name of the movie was. It just happened to be the 14th of February. 2 girls; 2 boys. No strings attached. Just 4 friends sat next to each other ready to watch a movie. I assumed my film watching 'candour', which is: ‘Hollywood: the machinery’, “what do they have to say this time?” The film screened. We watched. It ended. The credits were rolling now. It was ok. Okay, almost ok. I mean, at least the producers had done a good job keeping me on my seat through to its very end. So it was alright. At least so I thought until I realised one of us was in tears. “Sweet Lord!” First question that ran through my head, subconsciously, was “did we just see the same movie?” I had felt absolutely nothing! If anything at all, I found some bits hilarious – ‘ribs intact’ hilarious. What made it even more puzzling for me was that everyone else felt the same way. Touched, that is; at least somewhat. Gosh! Is there something wrong somewhere? How come I saw things from a different perspective? Is it that I am warped? Cynical? Desensitized? Am I that emotionally detached that I no longer have the ability to feel like others do? Or is it just because I am male? (Ooh! Where is google when you need it?)

I wasn’t really worried about this. I just pondered. In fact, it amused me a little. After much thought, I concluded that ‘Life’ happened in between when I saw The Champ as an 8 year-old and last week’s St. Valentine’s (No pun intended). I would say I have probably lost my Cinderella element. The ability to get caught up in another world, made up to suspend a big chunk of your logical reasoning ability. A world in which a love sick 7 year-old can hop on a bike, cycle for miles in morbid traffic, to hold a rose up to his teacher, earnestly asking her to be his valentine, and a normal conversation ensues; one in which love messages get sent in a bottle and the sea becomes the US postal service. It really is amazing. It always has been. The thing is, I think I have stopped believing.

On the way home, I had a chat with my friend about it. The discussion was about emotions and the different ways men and women dealt with theirs. I mentioned I couldn’t cry at movies or in certain other situations. She said its probably pride, I thought Not, It went on and on. Now that was a long conversation and I don’t think I was able to make head or tail of it. Anyway, the truth is that I would really love to be as emotionally connected as they were, but I think that just like Father Christmas, the tooth fairy and goblins got erased from my reality, so did Hollywood and all its emotional accessories. So much so, that these days, whenever at the movies, I just happen to always have my Paramount Pictures proof vest on. Now, it has become almost impossible to take off.

Help!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In the mood to share again, I guess. A lot of the times, in our relationships, we make assumptions about what is acceptable and what isn't. This is why sometimes, there are conflicts. It is 'unfortunate' that we do not have a written contract stating explicitly the terms involved in these associations. But here comes the twist, the beauty of these same relationships, friendships and the like is that we can say, "I find you worthy enough, so much so that I am willing to take the risk with you of getting misunderstood. (yeah yeah and all the rest of it) ..". A while back (a good while back), I thought about this and penned this poem from one party's perspective. One of these days, hopefully I get the words, I will write the balanced 'other' view. enjoy!

FRIEND, ANSWER

Did you, or was it just me?
Did we both mean the same things,
when we assumed our friendship,
to join forces against our enemies?
Will you come with me to battle?
Will you fight on my side?
Or will I confuse you for the foe
because you stand on his line?
Can you look me in the eye?
Can you not tell another lie?
Can you not kiss me on the cheek,
With your heart so full of deceit?

No, your pockets are bulging with 29 pieces,
deal is done,
I am, comparatively, a silver chunk cheap.

I hear noises,
silver coins jingling.
Is it you lurking?
Do I need to lock my kids in?
Or should I just tell them stories of you?
'Tonight, my sons,
it's the scary tale of what fake friends do'

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

QUEEN OF THE CASTLE

She looked at him in a way she had never done with me. Kind of like when a missile launcher is trying to lock down on a target to pinpoint accuracy, she so desperately wanted to lock him in her gaze. He just looked away. What I wouldn’t have done to be in his shoes. Her name was Bernadette, an Austrian blonde that I worked with. Him, a total stranger and I made sure it stayed that way.

It was a good few years ago and I was working in a theatre house, serving drinks and food. The best place to be, if you wanted to learn the London culture and lingo and meet women of all walks of life. The very 3 things I so badly wanted, under one roof. It was clear to me, the job had my name written all over it and was ecstatic for the whole £3.30/hr it paid, when told I'd got it. yeah over the moon, right until Bernadette walked in. She was 5ft 10, had silky smooth skin and just the right hint of German in her accent when she spoke. To be honest, I doubt I ever listened to anything she ever said. Her gaze had a similar effect on me to when you look too long at a swinging pendulum. I was literally lost whenever I was around her. She brought a new dimension to the word stunning and for at least 2 weeks, I must have thought about her every 5 minutes, even when I was asleep. Work, no longer, was just work. It was the meeting ground, a place to admire her. I would watch as she served customers, the grace with which she moved, her poise. Everything about her was just perfect. So in my mind, I had 4 kids with her and a big house. I can’t remember properly, but I may have thrown in horses and a barn to the mix, just for added measure. Life was beautiful.

There was a little glitch though. At times, whilst indulging myself in these illusions of grandeur, I would remember that she still didn’t have a clue about what was going on. I mean, we hadn’t yet spoken about the reciprocity of our feelings towards each other (don’t be silly, how could she not be in love too!). We already had kids and spent too much time feeding the horses. Remember? So I had to address this little imbalance. I decided we had to formalise things, it was only the right thing to do. So after days of practising in front the mirror, rearranging words in sentences, only to end up with the original lines, and getting my Barry White voice to a Tee, I finally stepped up to her.

"Bernadette", I said, "Do you wanna go to the cinema?" (Barry White would not have been too pleased at my best impression of him. He would have understood though if he saw my knees knocking). "Cinema?” she queried enthusiastically, "to see what?” Darn, I hadn't done my homework. I didn’t have a clue what films were showing and neither had I prepared for her asking that. I needed to take my time here and think up something really cool to say, "Umm, there are quite a few things on at the moment, but we can check it out when we get there". "Oh, ok sure", she replied. It took a second for that to sink in, but it finally did. Woohoo! Cloud 9 please. I was on a roll. It was working just according to plan, the exact picture. I would name our kids now, however that may have posed some problems with herself being Austrian and yours truly, not. Besides, it was way too early in the relationship for arguments, so I decided to let that rest. A tad optimistic? Do you think? Well, leave me be, it's my castle and I am building.

It was the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square and in retrospect, my film choice was excellent. Trainspotting. We got the popcorn and walked to our seats and the movie began. I remember Ewan McGregor’s character and the other funny looking dude running very hard and fast and another bit where someone's head got stuck down a loo, but otherwise, I saw very little of the film. I had a better moving picture to watch. It was called 'Bernadette next to me'. As you correctly guessed, I just couldn’t get her out of my head! She was too adorable and so physically close, that I wasn't sure which was the right action to take; watching the film or getting cosy with her. Both actions seemed inapplicable. The first was impossible and the other, premature, so i just thought of our kids instead. She was genuinely enjoying herself and would occasionally smack me in delight when exceptional bits came on. I would smile back in return and momentarily resume watching before I relapsed back to thoughts of her. Anyway, the movie ended. My reputation was intact and you could still refer to me as a gentleman, if only barely. It was a great night out. She had had a good time, and so had I. But then again, I would have anyway, even if we had gone to the cemetery, so long as she was by my side.

We strolled through Leicester Square as I entertained her. She constantly laughed. At barely 20, I had already met 'the one'. I was walking with the woman of my dreams. She could have worn a crown befitting of royalty because I was king and the world, my castle. I was floating on air. At that moment, a crane could have hit me and I wouldn’t have felt it. She was all that was on my mind even as I serenaded her. She thought I had a great voice (either she'd been locked in a cellar till she got to London, else it was a desperate attempt to spare my feelings). She never sang, but I thought she made sweet music all the same, even when she laughed. Especially when she laughed.

It was getting late. Mother is still Nigerian and curfews are real. I had to head home really quickly, and even ignored the part-time florist/hustler trying to capitalise on my obvious besotted demeanour with Bernadette by attempting to flog me an overly-priced Rose. It was an awkward moment. Thankfully, she didn’t want one, so we walked on and headed for the station. We got on a train just in time not to miss the last one. She tried to have a discussion about the film, but I quickly changed the topic. I had hardly paid any attention to it and there are only so many times you can talk about a man getting his head stuck down the toilet. Right then, all I could think about was how perfect she was and how light I felt. Nothing else mattered. Not even the envious stares I received from every male that night or the cold weather that seemed to embody every enemy I had ever made, in the way that it turned every pore into a goose bump. Although, thinking about it, the credit for the bumps may not have been totally the weather's. Quite frankly, I didn’t care.

A week later, I watched as she stared at this stranger she had never seen before. It was clear she wanted to know more than just his name, even though he had not spoken a word. I had stood in the gangway many times before to appreciate her gracefulness and had even memorised the sequence of movements her face took as dimples impressed themselves beautifully on her cheeks, whenever she smiled at expectant customers. There is no way he can have noticed the lisp she had so successfully disguised or the way her left eyebrow lifted just before she got confused in a discussion. I had. And now I was left to watch from this same gangway as she flustered around him; this despicable longhaired handsome stranger. How could he deserve so much already?

Right after the movie the previous week, when we got to her doorstep, I told her we should have babies and a big house. Ok, not in those words exactly, but she got my message. Unflinchingly, She had told me that she didn't see me in the same light. She liked me as just a friend and was even fond of me. My heart sank. At this point, I might as well have started singing, "swing lo, swing chariot, coming for to carry me home" because that's exactly where I wanted to be. I mean, this was a little more serious than 'Houston we got a problem'. It was a plane crash of unprecedented proportions. Never in one day had I experienced ultimate highs and lows in the space of a few minutes. I had to head home. There was the curfew to beat. Thank goodness for cereals and TV. I just ate myself to sleep. I mean, Boys don’t cry now. Or do they?

Now, I watched as this stranger did the same thing to her, week in, week out as he came for the shows. It was almost a repertoire. He would walk through the foyer and up the stairs. She would spot him and then dash for the service area. "I will serve, I will serve, go take a break, you work too hard!" she would say to whoever was currently there as she simultaneously adjusted her hair in the silver panel of the microwave. His order was always the same. A cappuccino along with a Danish pastry as well as not ever looking at her, not even once. He always grabbed his order, sat down for a few minutes and walked straight into the theatre. The same, always.

The same, that is, until St. Patrick's Day that year. What a turn of events.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

PLAYERS’ FIELD

The dialogue between 2 friends went like like this:

Friend A: So how long you been with your bird (girlfriend) for?

Friend B: It will be 7 years in April.

Friend A: Wow! There’s no getting out of that one now.

The drop of the last line and even more so, its delivery, got Friend B and I in stitches. We laughed uncontrollably for about 10 minutes with the occasional grin for the next hour whenever our eyes met.

I find this so hilarious mainly because Friend B’s mindset reflects how a lot of us think. His response made marriage sound like an archaic term that was last used by cave men. It was totally out the question. For some of us, getting into a relationship is like a game of tennis. 3 straight sets and its over. We’ve been there done it, why would we want to play the same game with the same person incessantly? Especially, when there are loads of other contenders who will undoubtedly offer variety, the very spice of life or in this case, the game.

This got me asking questions. What happened in between reading and buying into the idea of Cinderella living happily ever after, and now? Is it just guys who are commitment-phobic or does it go both ways? Survey time (too much time on my hands .. i know :).

Yesterday, I posed 4 questions to 12 young professionals (6 female, 6 male) in the heart of London city.

Are you seeing anyone?
Is it serious?
How long for?
Do you see yourself with this person for the long term?

The data I got back was not very shocking. Girls were more likely to say that they were in relationships in which they were very happy and saw going for the long haul, however, the guys were almost never in any and one of the only two guys seeing someone was sure it was going nowhere. The girls came across much more optimistic. Did I tell you anything you didn’t already know? I didn’t think so.

I am going to let the jury get this this one. What do I know? Lol.

Have a great month.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

WHERE IS THE LOVE?

The days have long gone when appreciation for one’s skills, as well as being happy, was the benchmark for deciding whether a profession is worthwhile or not. These days many career decisions are based mainly on how much money is involved whether it be sports, business or music. A valid criterion, but is it enough? Where are the days when we did things purely because we enjoyed it and felt good because we made a difference?

An ex-work colleague of mine used to say something that I find very remarkable and within the context of the present day, unusual. “I would work in IT doing what I do now even if I wasn’t ever paid for it”. Initially, I assumed he was repeating one of those lovely clichés that makes for excellent spin in the work environment, in the hope the boss catches wind of it, and you know the rest - a possible easy promotion. However, on close observation, I realised that he had a kind of enthusiasm towards problem-solving that was pretty much impossible to fake. It was ego-free, boundless and almost child-like. His attitude to his work was not at all a routine. He had, probably unwittingly, crafted his work to such a fine art to which I slowly became an aficionado, who would gladly have paid for his handiwork were there a way to put it on to canvas. It was simply beautiful.

Going off the cuff a little. Today, I made a decision to support Arsenal mainly because it dawned on me, whilst watching them play Portsmouth, that Thierry Henry was no longer with the team. Now, I have never previously supported any football teams because I arrived onto the English 'footie' scene a little late. I believed I had missed out on so much that my contemporaries, most probably, would have gone through and been able to relate with, that I didn’t think it was worth it. To me, supporting a winning club would have made me a glory hunter; a losing team and I would probably forever have been, at best, a hopeful. So I never bothered. Anyway, Thierry has drawn me to Arsenal mainly because of his love of the game and his dedication to his team, particularly during the Champions’ League of 2006, when Arsenal lost to Barcelona in the finals. I was struck by his doggedness to stick with the club in spite of other lucrative offers he could very well have gone for at the time [the tabloids do speak the truth sometimes]. His heart was involved in what he did and I believe his attitude towards his work speaks volumes of his character. This is one reason why I have so much respect for him. I love his love of the game. It too, is simply beautiful.

Due to their passions, both my ex-work colleague and Thierry have been able to draw fans, albeit, to varying degrees, but the point is that they certainly made a difference to me. By loving and enjoying their crafts, they have essentially become the very best in their fields. Now, whether this is a coincidence is a topic for another day. History says, however, that there is a very high correlation between enjoying what one does and excelling at it.

I am certainly not advocating jumping on the next bus that leads to Pro Bono land or getting involved in a scrap to sing for Simon Cowell at X-Factor because Music is our passion. Let’s not get silly. I am, however, strongly of the opinion that it is of vital importance that we have and develop a sense of gratification in whatever we lay our hands on to do and that this feeling should play just as much (if not more) a role as any other factor, including money, in determining where we spend a third of our lives.