Friday, November 26, 2010

Comparing then and now

 I promised that i would show you the radical new hairdo which i have never done till now. Change, they say is a constant thing in life so a little bit of me (probably my new alter ego) would say YIPPIE! This new me is adventurous...

Here, i was wearing a Hausa traditional

outfit (2004)
Anyway, before i delve into self -praiseworthiness, here are photos of me during the years:

Drinking a cocktail after a work-organised event (2008)
Also in 2008

2010 bushy hairdo influenced by a special person

So, there you have it. My bushy hairdo inspired by my fiance. For more info on this, check my blog archive on Crazy Weekend!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Erica's Thanksgiving Blogfeast

Yeah, i am promoting Erica's Thanksgiving blogfeast and i must admit, i am excited to be a part of it. For more details on this competition, check here.

The competition has rules so here's mine.

The dish i am bringing to the blogfeast is Jollof Rice and Spicy Chicken. 

                                                                                                       Jollof Rice 

To create this, you need the following for 2 people:

* 2 cups of white rice (whichever specie, either long or short)
* 5 Chilli pepper or 5 red bell pepper
* 2 Medium sized onions
* 2 Tomatoes
* 3 carrots for garnishing
* Half a tin can of green peas
* A kilogram of chicken or 2 chicken laps
* A teacup full vegetable oil
* 2 tablespoons of sweet corn
* Shrimps
* A clove of garlic
* A knife spread of butter
* Salt
* Curry
* Thyme
* Seasoning     cubes                                                                                               Spicy Fried Chicken
* A small bowl of water


1) Wash the chicken laps and put in a medium sized pot. Dice a whole onion and sprinkle on the chicken. Add a teaspoon of salt and 2 seasoning cubes. Add a dash of curry and thyme. Add no water and leave to boil. The water that emits from the chicken will cook it. Cook for 20 minutes until tender. Don't throw the chicken liquid away.

2) Blend the washed pepper, tomaotoes and a whole (second) onion mid-speed, depending on your blender. The mixture should not be too smooth or too rough.

3) Slice the third onion onto a plate. Get a medium sized pot and pour the vegetable oil into it. Leave on the fire until its hot (like 3 minutes. You'll see the smoke build up). Pour the sliced onions and stir fry. When its fried halfway (you should smell the fragrance of fried onions), pour almost all the blended pepper into it and stir fry.

4) Stir fry the blended pepper for 5 minutes and add water to it. The water must be enough to cover and cook the rice. Let's say, 2 fuzzy drink cups for the rice.

5) Wash the rice and add to the liquid. Add the shrimps to cook with it. Leave the rice to cook. Check from time to see if the water is getting dry. Do not stir.

6) Cut the garlic onto a plate. Keep it aside.

7) Get a frying pan and put some oil into it. When its hot, put the remaining pepper into it and stir fry for 5 minutes. Add the boiled chicken and stir. Sprinkle some garlic on it when its almost golden brown. Fry for 3 extra minutes. Remove and leave in pan or dish on a plate and cover it.

8) Don't forget about your rice!!! Taste it to see if its almost soft. If its still hard, pour small quantities of water and check from time to time. Don't overpour or the rice will be soggy and we don't want that. When its sooo close to getting soft, pour the chicken liquid into it, the sweet corn, green peas, one seasoning cube, 2 tablespoons of curry, 1 tablespoon of thyme, garlic and a pinch of salt and the butter. Leave for a minute.

9) Carefully stir the contents thoroughly. Taste to see if the seasoning is okay. If its not, add a little pinch of the seasoning cube. Refrain from the salt at this point as it will be salty because of the chicken liquid added to it. It should have this smoky aroma. Usually, the underneath is burnt. If yours is, don't panic, its normal.

10) Serve on a flat plate with the fried chicken by the side. Drink a cold glass of water/cocktail with it.

You can prepare this recipe and give me your feedback. Please note, that if you are not a pepper-driven person, reduce the quantity of the pepper from 5 to say, 3 and increase the quantity of the tomatoes but the pepper should not be less than 3.

Monday, November 22, 2010

If wishes were real, i would fly like an eagle

On my way to work today, i recollected on various professions i had wished to be, when i reach adulthood. Can you remember wishing to be something and ended up not doing/being?  These are the wishes i had while growing up, thinking they'll one day become true:

1) I think when i was about 9 years of age, i wanted to be a model like Naomi Campbell.

2) At 12 years, i wanted to be a Newscaster, having fell in 'love' with a local newscaster.

3) At 14 years, i wanted to be a pharmacist because i had liked the white outfits they wore and the simple elegance of handing out prescriptions...(i don't know why i liked this because i later became bored with it).

4) At 15/16 years, i wanted to be an architect because of my drawing talent and i thought it wouldn't be boring mathematical calculations, geometry and the like.

5) At 17 years, i wanted to be an agent. I had watched a Will Smith movie Men in Black and the idea of wearing black apparels with sunglasses on, appealed tremendously to me.

6) At 19 years, when adulthood was slowly creeping up, i decided to be an advertising practitioner. I guess, secretly, i desired to be an agent which is obtainable in the industry as the advertising firms are called agencies.

7) At 25 years, i thought of becoming either a Veterinary doctor or a Psychologist because i love animals for the former and the latter was also appealing because i love to research on the complexity of the human behaviour. I still think of these two professions till now and succumbed to the idea that probably in another life, i would conclude on either one.

Somewhere in between, i imagined being a singer and an actress. Unfortunately, my voice got the better of me and acting comment! Medicine was a one-off thought that i quickly shelved because it would take forever to finish and the thought of severing dead bodies for experiments brought a distaste to my mouth.

So, if wishes were real, i would indeed fly like an eagle. But be careful what you wish for. Even the eagle is not at the top of the food chain especially when other hungry carnivorous mammals like the hyena are concerned.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Remebering Nick Drake: Phenomenon Exemplified

I was watching a series entitled FlashForward: Season 1 and during an anti-climax scene, a sombre music that was being played in the background, got my other half's attention. As he pondered on the song, i was wondering about the plot. In no time, he was able to download the song from the net and send me a sample to listen to. As i listened, i had forgotten the origin of the song as i was drawn to its sombreness. The music was unlike anything i had ever heard before. It could not be placed in any convenient genre, be it Alternative or Indie. The question that came to my mind was, who is this superb musician? The piece was not long at all (probably a minute long) but it truly captivated me.

The song is named Place to be by Nick Drake. This handsome, talented guy is anything unlike the current breed of musicians today. I leave you with an excerpt from wikipedia. I skipped the long story and picked the stuff i need you to read.

Nicholas Rodney "Nick" Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician. Best known for the sombre pieces composed on his primary instrument, the guitar, Drake was also proficient at piano, clarinet and saxophone. Although he failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, Drake's work has gradually achieved wider notice and recognition; he now ranks among the most influential English singer-songwriters of the last 50 years.

Drake signed to Island Records when he was 20 years old and released his debut album, Five Leaves Left, in 1969. By 1972, he had recorded two more albums—Bryter Layter and Pink Moon. None of the albums sold more than 5,000 copies on their initial release.[5] His reluctance to perform live or be interviewed further contributed to his lack of commercial success. Despite this, he was able to gather a loyal group of fans who would champion his music. One such person was his manager, Joe Boyd, who had a clause put into his own contract with Island Records that ensured Drake's records would never go out of print. Drake suffered from depression and insomnia throughout his life, and these topics were often reflected in his lyrics. Upon completion of his third album, 1972's Pink Moon, he withdrew from both live performance and recording, retreating to his parents' home in rural Warwickshire. On 25 November 1974, Drake died from an overdoseamitriptyline, a prescribed antidepressant; he was 26 years old. of

Drake's music remained available through the mid-1970s but the 1979 release of the retrospective album Fruit Tree caused his back catalogue to be reassessed. By the mid-1980s Drake was being credited as an influence by such artists as Robert Smith and Peter Buck. In 1985, The Dream Academy reached the UK and US charts with "Life in a Northern Town", a song written for and dedicated to Drake.[6] By the early 1990s, he had come to represent a certain type of 'doomed romantic' musician in the UK music press, and was frequently cited by artists including Kate Bush, Paul Weller and The Black Crowes.[7] Drake's first biography was written in 1997, and was followed in 1998 by the documentary film A Stranger Among Us. In 2000, Volkswagen featured the title track from Pink Moon in a television advertisement, and within a month Drake had sold more records than he had in the previous 30 years....................................

Bryter Layter

Drake ended his studies at Cambridge nine months before graduation, and in autumn 1969 moved to London to concentrate on a career in music.[38] His father remembered "writing him long letters, pointing out the disadvantages of going away from Cambridge...a degree was a safety net, if you manage to get a degree, at least you have something to fall back on; his reply to that was that a safety net was the one thing he did not want."[11] Drake spent his first few months in the capital drifting from place to place, occasionally staying at his sister's Kensington flat, but usually sleeping on friends’ sofas and floors.[39] Eventually, in an attempt to bring some stability and a telephone into Drake's life, Boyd organised and paid for a ground floor bedsit in Belsize Park, Camden.[40]
In August, Drake recorded three songs for the BBC's John Peel show. Two months later, he opened for Fairport Convention at the Royal Festival Hall in London, followed by appearances at folk clubs in Birmingham and Hull. Remembering the performance in Hull, folk singer Michael Chapman commented:
The folkies did not take to him; [they] wanted songs with choruses. They completely missed the point. He didn't say a word the entire evening. It was actually quite painful to watch. I don't know what the audience expected, I mean, they must have known they weren't going to get sea–shanties and sing-alongs at a Nick Drake gig![25]
The experience reinforced Drake's decision to retreat from live appearances; the few concerts he did play around this time were usually brief, awkward, and poorly attended. Drake seemed unwilling to perform and rarely addressed his audience. As many of his songs were played in different tunings, he frequently paused to retune between numbers.........................................................

Pink Moon

Island Records was keen that Drake promote Bryter Layter through press interviews, radio sessions and live appearances. Drake, who was by this time smoking what Kirby has described as "unbelievable amounts" of marijuana[53] and exhibiting "the first signs of psychosis", refused. By the winter of 1970, he had isolated himself in London.[38] Disappointed by the reaction to Bryter Layter, he turned his thoughts inwards, and withdrew from family and friends. He rarely left his flat, and then only to play an occasional concert or to buy drugs. "This was a very bad time", his sister Gabrielle Drake recalled, "He once said to me that everything started to go wrong from [this] time on, and I think that was when things started to go wrong."[54]

Final years

In the months following Pink Moon's release, Drake became increasingly asocial and distant from those close to him.[65] He returned to live at his parents' home in Far Leys, and while he resented the regression, he accepted that his illness made it necessary. "I don't like it at home", he told his mother, "but I can't bear it anywhere else."[11] His return was often difficult for his family; as his sister Gabrielle explained, "good days in my parents' home were good days for Nick, and bad days were bad days for Nick. And that was what their life revolved around, really."[15]

He lived a frugal existence, his only source of income being a £20-a-week retainer he received from Island Records. At one point he could not afford a new pair of shoes.[67] He would often disappear for days, sometimes turning up unannounced at friends' houses, uncommunicative and withdrawn. Robert Kirby described a typical visit: "He would arrive and not talk, sit down, listen to music, have a smoke, have a drink, sleep there the night, and two or three days later he wasn't there, he'd be gone. And three months later he'd be back."[68]
He would borrow his mother's car and drive for hours without purpose on occasion, until he ran out of petrol and had to ring his parents to ask to be collected. Friends have recalled the extent to which his appearance had changed.[70] During particularly bleak periods of his illness, he refused to wash his hair or cut his nails.[64]nervous breakdown, and was hospitalized for five weeks.[47] Early in 1972, Drake suffered a


By autumn 1974, Drake's weekly retainer from Island had ceased, and his illness meant he remained in contact with only a few close friends. He had tried to stay in touch with Sophia Ryde, whom he had first met in London in 1968.[73] Ryde has been described by Drake's biographers as "the nearest thing" to a girlfriend in his life, but she now prefers the description 'best (girl) friend'.[74] In a 2005 interview, Ryde revealed that a week before he died, she had sought to end the relationship: "I couldn’t cope with it. I asked him for some time. And I never saw him again." Similar to the relationship Drake had earlier shared with fellow folk musician Linda Thompson, Drake's relationship with Ryde was never consummated.[75]

At some time during the night of 24/25 November 1974, Nick Drake died at home in Far Leys from an overdose of amitriptyline, a type of antidepressant. He had gone to bed early the night before, after spending the afternoon visiting a friend. His mother claimed that, around dawn, he left his room for the kitchen. His family was used to hearing him do this many times before but, during this instance, he did not make a sound. They presumed that he was eating a bowl of cereal. He returned to his room a short while later, and took some pills "to help him sleep".[76] Drake was accustomed to keeping his own hours; he frequently had difficulty sleeping, and would often stay up through the night playing and listening to music, then sleeping late into the following morning. Recalling the events of that night, his mother later stated: "I never used to disturb him at all. But it was about 12 o’clock, and I went in, because really it seemed it was time he got up. And he was lying across the bed. The first thing I saw was his long, long legs."[77] There was no suicide note, although a letter addressed to Ryde was found close to his bed.[78]

Drake's gravestone is inscribed with the epitaph 'Now we rise/And we are everywhere', taken from the final song on his final album.[79]

At the inquest that December, Drake's coroner stated that the cause of death was as a result of "Acute amitriptyline poisoning — self-administered when suffering from a depressive illness", and concluded a verdict of suicide. Though this has been disputed by some members of his family,[2] there is a general view that accidental or not, Drake had by then given up on life.[

Posthumous popularity 

There were no documentaries or compilation albums in the wake of Drake's death.[84] His public profile remained low throughout the mid and late 1970s although occasional mentions of his name appeared in the music press. By this time, his parents were receiving an increasing number of fans and admirers as visitors to the family home in Far Leys.

By the mid 1980s Drake was being cited as an influence by musicians such as R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Robert Smith of The Cure. Smith credited the origin of his band's name to a lyric from Drake's song "Time Has Told Me" ("a troubled cure for a troubled mind").[86] Drake gained further exposure in 1985 with the release of The Dream Academy's hit single "Life in a Northern Town", which included an on-sleeve dedication to Drake.[87] His reputation continued to grow, and by the end of the 1980s, Nick Drake's name was appearing regularly in newspapers and music magazines in the United Kingdom:[88] he had come to represent a kind of mythical doomed romantic hero in the eyes of many,[89] an "enigma wrapped inside a mystery".[38]

In early 1999, BBC2 aired a 40-minute documentary, A Stranger Among Us — In Search of Nick Drake, as part of its Picture This strand. The following year, Dutch director Jeroen Berkvens released a documentary titled A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake, featuring interviews with Boyd, Gabrielle Drake, Wood and Kirby. Later that year, The Guardian placed Bryter Layter at number 1 in its "Alternative top 100 albums ever" list.[69]
In recent years, several musicians, including Lucinda Williams, Badly Drawn Boy, Lou Barlow and Mikael Åkerfeldt have cited Drake as an influence. In 2004, nearly 30 years after his death, Drake gained his first chart placing when two singles ("Magic" and "River Man"), released to coincide with the compilation album Made to Love Magic, made the middle reaches of the U.K. charts. Later that year, the BBC aired a radio documentary about Drake, narrated by Brad Pitt.

Nick Drake's songs have begun to appear prominently in popular movie soundtracks. In 2001, "Black Eyed Dog" and "Northern Sky" featured on the soundtrack to Serendipity starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, and the song "Fly" appeared in the film The Royal Tenenbaums.[41] In 2004, Drake's song "One of These Things First" appeared in the film Garden State. A cover of "'Cello Song" by The Books and José González also appears in the film The Blind Side (2009).
In 1999, Pink Moon was used in "Milky Way", a Volkswagen Cabriolet commercial directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and lensed by Lance Acord, leading to a large increase in record sales.[90]
In 2010, the song Cello Song was used in a commercial for the Australian coffee brand Vittoria. The advertisement featured actor Al Pacino and was directed by Barry Levinson.
On November 11, 2010 -- just weeks before the anniversary of Drake's passing -- James Rotondi (or, "Roto", the former guitarist for the French Band AIR,) played an evening of NIck Drake's songs, narrating and praising Drake's life story, at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn, New York.

I could go on and on about his history but i am sure you got the big picture. He was criticised for not including choruses in his songs and not marketing himself enough. It's a classic case of what is obtainable in the publishing industry where specific genres are dictated because of its commercial viability and not for its true essence. It's so sad that such a gem had to be lost. Nowadays that singers or musicians can get away with anything was not the case back then in a highly critical society. What a pity, this handsome, talented man wasted his life! I wish someone had made him wait or hold his hand and assure him. Who knows what could have happened? For aspiring writers who are talented, if you do get rejected, PLEASE don't see it as a passport to a retreating hell (kinda has a nice ring to it; good as a novel title), instead see it as an avenue to make you stronger. Remeber, Rome was not built in a day. Peace.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Crazy Weekend!!!

My weekend was nothing but tranquil. I had to rush and make a hairstyle on saturday that would satisfy the artistic side of my fiance who doesn't get easily impressed, hair-wise. He likes my hair to be free of any parting. Unfortunately, the creator made me have a large forehead which i always try to hide under bangs/fringes, sideswept or full. I did my usual sideswept wavy hair extension and he couldn't hide his exasperation. For the sake of peace, i had to rush again the next day, to have my hair re-done into a mix of long wavy natural looking afro (think of Seal's little boy) which is quite radical for me. My hair took a total of 4 hours to get done as i have long hair.

This weekend was his because the previous weekend was mine. Last weekend, he cooked for me, took me shopping and cooed romantic endearments in my ear and via sms. For the picture of my new radical look, stay glued to this blog.

Frustrations with NanoWriMo

Hello all,

I am positive that many aspiring writers are participants in the NanoWriMo contest. I also observed that many are having issues with this contest, in particular, the word count. The word count should be carefully inputed in the update button. What you need to do is have a mini list of the various words you put in everyday or every other day and keep adding them up. For instance, if you write 500 words today, copy and paste and write 500 in your mini list (like a notepad for instance). Tomorrow, if you add, say 350, in your mini list, write 350 and do same in the update path. That way, if you make a mistake, you can always refer to your mini list and add up the numbers. That way, you can never go wrong. Don't forget to also write the dates in which you want to refer back to.

Don't trust your computer. Always back up your files and have a notepad of the numbers mentioned above. Can you imagine losing all your WIPs in a few seconds to a virus or a computer crash!!! ***gapes in horror***

My frustration with NanoWriMo is that when i copy and paste my words from MS word to the site, the word count stays the same but the novel excerpt reduces in word content. So, i always have to re-copy and paste every now and then before submitting. Am i the only one with this issue? It's my first writing contest and i'll be really disappointed if the site's techies got in the way to my participation.

Have a lovely time writing. Remember, it's not what you do but how you do that counts. Peace.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What makes writers so versatile?

Today, i'll be ''talking'' on what makes writers so versatile. Some people were born with the gift to write due to a hyperactive imagination while others took it as a vocation/hobby. I have seen some pretty plain, very ordinary looking geek writers that anyone would just overlook them and boy do they know how to write!

What makes writers versatile is not just having a vivid imagination and putting it in either bogous english or plain words but in not restricting oneself, genre-wise.Wouldn't it stretch your imagination to write in different genres thus expanding your horizon. I admire writers that write different genres especially one man in particular. His name is Stephen King, quite a horror household name. He, not only, writes horror, but writes drama, suspense, fantasy etc. The ability to think outside the box is truly what makes writers versatile; which unfortunately, not many people are gifted with.

Another point on what makes writers versatile is the ability to juggle other aspects of one's life with this writing passion. Most writers have regular job schedules, some demanding and others are not. But despite through the craziness of it all, you still have time for that beloved...that love which you instill so much energy and passion into even if it does not materialise into financial gain. Mine is particularly funny. I live and work in a country notorious for its power fluctuations as majority of companies and businesses both small and large depend on generators. To beat this nightmare, i have to first write my ideas and thought processes in a notepad and then (if there's no power), switch on the generator to have it typed on my laptop. And i only have this kind of typing time during weekends or when i have to sacrifice a part of my break time, typing on my work desktop. To add to more intrigues, i have to spend quality time during weekends with my fiance so when i get back to my system, i type a few sentences and start feeling sleepy. I respect the writer i met online who is married with three toddlers and still creates time for her writing. Now, if that doesn't make writers versatile, nothing does!

Writing is like a lover. He takes so much of your time and energy. All he does is take, take, take. You shield him from thieves that want to snatch him away from you directly or indirectly. You burn the midnight oil for him, constantly checking if all his clothes are properly laid out and done neatly. Sometimes he gives back to you if he catches the eye of a third party who want to share your world with him.

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