30.3.07

Did you hear that?

I said that to myself as I was giving Baby O water to drink. There was a sound as if something solid had hit the cup. Mmmmmmm...

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a tooth. You can just see the top of it, nice and white.

Baby O is doing really well, she's eating solids now, mainly vegetables, and we haven't found anything she doesn't like, peas, banana, potato and even BROCOLLI. (Yuck!)

This week has been so busy at work, I worked US hours till Wednesday (2-10pm UK time), and today was MAD busy. Hopefully, things will calm down tomorrow.

27.3.07

Secrets to a happy marriage

Please Note: This is just a joke !! 

A couple was celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. Their domestic tranquility had long been the talk of the town. A local newspaper reporter was inquiring as to the secret of their long and happy marriage.

"Well, it dates back to our honeymoon," explained the lady. "We visited the Grand Canyon and took a trip down to the bottom of the canyon by pack mule. We hadn't gone too far when my husband's mule stumbled. My husband quietly said 'That's once.' We proceeded a little farther when the mule stumbled again. Once more my husband quietly said, 'That's twice.' We hadn't gone a half-mile when the mule stumbled a third time. My husband took a pistol from his pocket and shot him.

I started to protest over his treatment of the mule when he looked at me and quietly said 'That's once................'"

22.3.07

UK Visa price hike

Sadly, from the 1st of April, the Home Office is hiking the price of visas to the UK, to reflect the 'cost' in processing the applications.

An application for Indefinite leave to remain will now cost £750 (from £335), and £950 (from £500) if you want a same day service. Naturalization is going to £575 from £200. See all the new fees here.

This may not affect everyone in the UK directly, however, as a foreigner who has decided to make his home here, I find it very annoying that the UK government chooses to milk foreigners for every penny they're worth. Even the old fees were seen as extortionate, but now, they are raised the fees so high, that most people will have to save for months, or borrow money to make these applications. The excuse is that this is how much it costs for processing these applications. RUBBISH. When I applied for my resident's permit in 2005, it took all of 5 minutes, and cost me £500. So let's pretend the visa cost £350, the office space is costing £100 to rent for 5 minutes, and the person who took the application is getting paid the remaining £50 for her work. That equates to £600 an hour. I want that job.

Anyway, there is a petition on the Prime Minister's website about this. If you have a heart, please sign.

Nostalgia….

If you grew up watching TV in Nigeria, then check out this blog post.

Check out my blog post about the PS3 UK launch here.

21.3.07

Tony Blair does funny

While I was away, I was unfortunate enough to miss Comic Relief's Red Nose day. So imagine my surprise when I was told that Lauren, who I have lavished praise on in the past, made an appearance, with none other than Tony Blair !!

If you're not familiar with Lauren, or Catherine Tate (where have you been?) then you may want to watch the videos in my previous post. Anyway, check out the Prime Minister in action !!!

 



I happen to think My Blair can take up acting when he steps down as PM !! Very well done !

Thanks to Chxta for finding this brilliant video !!

Crumbling Nigeria ???

When I saw a headline for a news story with the above words on BBC News, I just had to click it.

Reading the article however, I cannot but agree with it's content. When my good friend Gbenga Sesan insinuated that to solve the problems of Nigerians wanting to travel out of the country, all you had to do was provide broadband Internet, I was quick to disagree. My thoughts were simple, what was the point of giving acess to the Internet when one of the basics of life, electric power, is not widely available? There was some debate on his blog post, but I think the point was made.

While I was in the US, I was asked about life in Nigeria. When I mentioned that power cuts were normal, they all seemed surprised. I had to explain to them how you could be watching Nigeria at the World Cup, and then............darkness, TV off....and that's it. "Can't you sue them?". yeah right.

Everyday, businesses in Nigeria are dying or struggling to survive because of the incessant power cuts. And what happens when power is restored? "Up NEPA!!" we all cry (or is it up PHCN now?), as if they've done something extraordinary !! I remember once, we had our transformer blow up, and we didn't have power for MONTHS. The fridge became a cupboard, ironing clothes meant a trip to my mum's clinic, sleeping in the extreme heat was unbearable. My dad had to go out and spend a substantial amount of money on a generator, and even more money on the diesel to power it. When you go into the hospital for an operation, apart from buying several instruments, you have to provide a generator to power all the equipment, and fuel it up. A friend of mine went under the knife, and as soon as they closed him up, the generator we rented blew up. Such is life in Africa's most populus country. It's sad that some of the richest people in Nigeria today either sell generators, or supply diesel.

Right now, we have politicians jumping up and down ahead of the April Elections, promising to eradicate poverty, solve all our problems and make Nigeria a better place.

The same politicians that have ruined our health care systems, power systems, education, you name it, they've wrecked it. All their children study abroad, because the universities back home aren't good enough. And recently, the leading contender for the presidency flew to Germany for a treatment after fainting from exhaustion, which quite frankly shows what he thinks of Nigeria's hospitals. Not to be outdone, Atiku Abubukar, the Vice President (who has picked a fight with his boss and gone and pitched his tent with the opposition AC political party) fell off his treadmill in his official residence, and was quickly flown to London for treatment. Pictures of him on cructhes on his return were on the cover of every major newspaper.

So if our leaders are going abroad for minor bumps and scratches, what is the common man, who can hardly afford to feed his family, to do when he falls seriously ill?

Crumbling Nigeria? Some might say no. But I'd like to ask you to look at the situation objectively, and see if this is not true.

In closing, I think the quote from the business man featured in the BBC article sums it all up:

"Sometimes I think the only thing to do is go into politics myself: at least there would be a chance of making some money."

God help our nation.

20.3.07

Back now…

I'm back now, and back at work.

I'm suffering from jetlag big time, I only slept for 3 hours on Friday night (on the flight back), and I have been sleeping at odd times. Last night, after dinner, I feel asleep while trying to watch the Chelski match and talk to my wife at the same time. It is rumoured that I feel asleep mid sentence !! This was about 8pm, and then I woke up at midnight, and couldn't sleep again for another 3 hours !! Hopefully, that should correct my body clock, let's see how today goes.

There were some serious snowstorms in the Washington DC area on Friday, and we were lucky to take off, even though we were delayed for about 2 hours. All flights in and out of New York (where our Global HQ is) where cancelled, and several of my colleagues were stuck there for the weekend.

Anyway, back to work...........

14.3.07

It’s been a while…..

so I thought I'd do an update on Baby O. Right now, I'm 3000 miles away from here, and I miss my little angel so much. I've got a few pictures of her on the digital camera, and a video, which I've been looking at all the time, wondering if she'll change before I get back. It's such a shame that after spending a week in Milan, I had to leave her for another week and a half. What if she doesn't recognise me when I get back? Anyway, I digress........

 Anyway, she started day care last week. Well, she started a 3 day phase in on wednesday, and started on Monday to be precise. Before I left, we went into the montesorri center together, and she started to play with the toys there, and looked content. The teachers were all excited to see her, and it was refreshing to see people who had worked with kids for so long, and yet were excited to see a new one. Anyway, she's been going back, and according to my wife, she's settled in quite well (apart from throwing up on the person who fed her yesterday).

She's also managed to sit up now, every now and then. While in Milan, my wife noticed that she was sitting up inside the pushchair. She will sit steady for a few seconds, then gets bored, and decides to move, falling over in the process. She can't roll over yet, well, that's not really true, she can, but she doesn't feel inclined to.

Anyway, my little girl is 5 and a half months old now, I can't believe she's grown up so fast !! When I get back, we'll be going to 'work' together, the day care is in my office building. I guess it will be a chance for us to bond, and I'm really looking forward to it.

13.3.07

How you doin’ ????

My time in New Jersey/New York has come to an end. It was busy, but it was great.

Thursday started with meetings from 7am (over breakfast of course!). Then another meeting till about 10am. Then I had one-on-0ne meetings with members of the team, which took me to lunchtime. After lunch, managed to check my email, speak to my wife, and do some work remotely. Also, one of our team members is an Italian American who LOVES football, and supports Roma, so we had a good chat about football, or soccer as it's called here. Then my manager took me out to dinner, then it was back to the hotel pretty late. It was great to meet my manager for the first time, until Thursday, he was just a voice at the other end of the phone, and an email address !

Friday: Friday was a bit more laid back. Although, the 5 minute drive to work took one hour, first of all, the satellite navigation didn't have the address of the office, so I tried to use what I could remember from the map I had seen earlier, but got hopelessy lost. Anyway, I drove around till I saw something familiar, and eventually got into work just before 10. The main aim of Friday was to collect as much information, data to take back to the UK, and double check that I had all needed, which did take a while. After work, I went to see an old classmate of mine from high school, who I hadn't seen in almost 10 years. I had dinner with her and her husband, and we chatted till about 9pm, not even realising time had gone so quickly !! Then back to the hotel.......

Saturday was all about one thing, shopping, shopping and more shopping. There was a shopping plaza about 10 minutes from the hotel, so it was off there for shopping. I had no idea how long it would take, but when I got home eventually at 4pm, I was EXHAUSTED, and I think my jet lag finally caught up with me. I called my wife, and then nodded off to sleep. I woke up at 10pm, I'd missed dinner, and still had to pack !! I had mountains of shopping to unpack, unwrap, and pack into my suitcases. Eventually finished up at midnight, changed my clock, and went to bed.

Sunday: took my suitcases to the car, then went for breakfast. I wanted to try something different, so I found a local Ihop, where I proceeded to try and finish the breakfast I choose. American meals are so enormous !! Anyway, after that, back to the hotel, and then I went into New York (finally) to see my brother in law. We went into the city for a bus tour of the city. From Times Square (apparently, the center of the universe), to the Fashion district, to Chinatown, to the World Trade Center, where sadly, the batteries in my camera died. We went to Wall Street, caught a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, and finally stopped at the United Nations. By now, I was running late, so we got out, and got a cab back to where I had parked. Then I raced out of the city, only to get into some CRAZY traffic. By the time I got out of New York, my flight was in one hour. I drove like crazy, and managed to check into the flight just in time. However, as I was the last person to check in, I was told that I might not be able to get on, as the plane was too full. Thankfully, I eventually got on, and the whole mad rush was over, and I calmed down during the 45 minute flight to Dulles Airport. Well, it took a while to get off the ground, we were in a queue to take off for 45 minutes !! When we took off, I counted the number of planes behind us, 22 !!!

Anyway, I'm in Virginia now. Staying in a hotel in Stirling, and my course is in Herndon, which is about 10 minutes drive away. If I thought New Jersey was desolate, then Virginia is even worse !! The hotel doesn't have a resturant, so I drove for ages to find somewhere to eat dinner !! Anyway, this week is going to be super intense, by the time I get back to the UK, my head might explode with all I've taken in over the last 2 weeks !!!

8.3.07

New York, New York….

Well, not strictly true, but it had a better ring to it than New Jersey, New Jersey.

My long awaited trip finally happened, and I landed in Newark Airport last night. I had a mini adventure getting to my hotel in my rental car, let's just say I got lost a few times, even with the assistance of the Satellite Navigation system in the car. I finally got into the hotel at 9pm, and let's not forget that my body clock was telling me it was 2am UK time !! Had a sandwich for dinner, and crashed.

Woke up this morning at 5.30 am (damn jetlag) and did some work, before jetting off for a 7am breakfast meeting with my manager. It's amazing how technology has made this world so different, until this morning, he was just a voice on the phone, and an email address, but today after working for him for a year, I've finally met my manager face to face !! After that, another meeting which went on for about an hour and a half, and it's only 10 am !!

 I'll try and post some pics today or tomorrow, there was snow everywhere when I got in, and it's bitterly cold. My wife just sent me an email about how hot it is at home, she's enjoying 16 degrees Celsius, while I'm dealing with sub zero temperatures.

Oh, and I should also do an overdue update on Baby O, who started daycare yesterday. Back to work, hope everyone is doing well.

7.3.07

All done

I've finally managed to import all my posts from 20six.co.uk to here. It was not an easy task I tell you. The RSS feed from 20six is not RSS 2.0, so I had to create a feed at feedburner.com, convert the feed to 2.0, and then extract the posts, 10 at a time. I didn't realise how long I blogged at 20six, from January 2004 till late April 2006 !! Anyway, it's all done now, and my entire blogging history is now here, all 1031 posts since 2003.

6.3.07

Nigeria makes BBC news

I remember remarking that whenever Nigeria makes BBC news, it can never be good news.

So imagine my surprise when I saw a story about Nigeria in the 'most read' stories of the day.

It's about our friends from the Calabar area, and their fondness for 'dog meat' or '404' as they like to call it.

Read the story here. And to imagine that this story is sitting side by side with all the wonderful pictures of the street parties to celebrate Ghana's 50th independence celebrations.

And oh, if you're a dog lover, PLEASE don't click that link. I beg you.

5.3.07

Liverpool 0 The Scum 1

It hurts every time. Since 2001, Liverpool haven't managed to beat the scum at home. I've been importing my old blog posts from 20Six, and found even though they beat us at home, it's just as painful each time. This time however, was especially painful. We outplayed them, deserved to win, and at the death, they came out of nowhere and stole the match.

I know I was wishing that they won the league instead of ¢h£l$¥, but Saturday has made me remember how much I hate them. Moan-inho and his boys might be a bunch of arrogant prima donnas, but I will forever hate Manchester United The Scum becuase of their arrongant Scouser hating fans.

3.3.07

The voice over guy…

Do you know Don La Fontaine? Are you sure?

 



When my brother was over from the states, he introduced me to these Geico ads, and I have to say they are really good.

Check out these ones :

 



 



Don La Fointaine remarked that after working on voiceovers for movie trailers for YEARS, the Geico ad means that he is now finally recognised on the street.

These ads all have one thing in common, the voiceover guy who does the introductions. And just like Don La Fontaine, you would be forgiven if you didn't recognise him.

D.C. Douglas not only does voice over work, he also acts, and has appeared in The Bold and the Beautiful, 24, Star Trek: Enterprise, NYPD Blue, ER and Charmed.

In 24, he was in the first episode of the current season as Blake Nelson, check out the video here. He's the smart looking guy trying to justify tearing the American Constitution to pieces.....lol

If like my wife, you're a fan of chramed, check him out here as an unfortunate wedding planner.

Apparently, he's also a director. Jack of all trades? I don't know, but the GEICO ads have surely put him on the voiceover map.

LoudLaunch - Compensating bloggers for their unbiased opinions, reviews, and analysis. View the LoudLaunch campaign release this post was based on.

2.3.07

Calling all Liverpool fans….

And if you're a genuine lover of the beautiful game, please listen up.

It doens't add up.

Alex Ferguson was given a knighthood in 1999 after winning the Champions League with Manchester United.

However, Liverpool Manager Bob Paisley won the same competition 3 TIMES, and was only ever given an OBE. It doesn't add up, does it?

There is an argument that Ferguson won the treble that year, which was a remarkable achievement in itself. But I don't think any other manager has won the European cup more than Bob Paisley. Plus, in the 9 years he was in charge at Liverpool, he won the league 6 times, and the UEFA cup once.

So, if you're a UK citizen, or living in the UK, please sign this petition for Bob Paisley to be posthumously awarded a knighthood.

We've only got until March the 13th to sign, so do it as soon as possible.

1.3.07

No way, Jose

Mr Mourinho,

 For God's sake. When you started your infantile taunting of Arsene Wenger before the Carling Cup final, we all dismissed it as 'mind games' which you managers seem to enjoy playing with each other. So you spoke, he responded, and you spoke again. You told him how you were better than him because you managed to win the Champions League with Porto. You told us all how you were the special one, and one of the top managers in the world. All of which can be reduced to a childish "ner-ner-ner-ner-ner-ner".

So, at the end of the match, in which Arsenal's kids played better, but you only just managed to win, you should do the Honourable thing, shake hands, and let it all be over. Especially after the brawl that happened at the end of the match. But no. You decided to rub salt in Mr. Wenger's wounds.

'Since I arrived at Chelsea, they [Arsenal] lost Premierships, they lost the Charity Shield to us, they lost the Carling Cup to us. I don't think they are winning a lot.


'Absolutely brilliant young boys, manager top, team with a great future. But they didn't win.'


Oh come on !! They played very well, and you were lucky to beat them. But isn't this going to far? Hasn't anyone ever told you not to kick a man when he's down? You won the game, fair play to you, can we please move on to the next game?


But you didn't stop there. Oh  no. Your verbal diarrhoea was in full flow. You decided to turn your attention to the master of mind games, Mr. Alex Ferguson. Apparently, they were 'lucky' to beat Fulham last week. Wow. Just like you were lucky to beat Arsenal on Sunday. So what's the difference? But no, you had more to say, didn't you :


"But this is a season in which United have had no injuries and every player has been fine to play"


Mmm, just like your two seasons when you won the league then. You went on to talk about their Lille match, and how a goal was disallowed, and how Giggs scored 'that goal'. How Ronaldo 'went down' against Tottenham (Drogba anyone?).


I can't believe all this is coming out of your mouth, you, who accused Wenger of being a 'voyeur' not too long ago. Who's the voyeur now?


I think Boavista coach Jaime Pacheco has summed it up in the best possible way. He thinks you're sick. No, really. He says you have a mental problem.


I prayed two prayers today. First of all, I asked God to let Manchester United win the league this season. Trust me, as a Liverpool fan, it's one of the hardest things I've ever done. Then, I asked him to make sure Roman Abramovic sacks you at the end of this season. Maybe then, you will learn a little bit about humility.


Tosser.