Thursday, August 30, 2007

Connecting Vista to a wireless network

Jeremy this is for you...

My feelings about Window$ Vista are well documented, but hey the world is moving towards an almost universal adoption of the software in homes and offices so we have to learn how to connect to another thing that is becoming almost ubiquitous: the wireless network. This little guide is an attempt to explain this brave new world, which is quite different from connecting in Windows XP...

1) Right click on the Network Icon at the bottom right hand corner of your screen and select Connect to a Network.
2) Then click on Set up a network as shown below if you are not entitled to connect to any of the networks that the scan brings up. Notice that in the figure, all the networks are security enabled, so we have to set up our own network...
Next up, we are given a dialogue with options:
  • Connect to the Internet
  • Set up a wireless router or access point
  • Manually connect to a wireless network
  • Set up a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network
  • Set up a dial-up connection
  • Connect to a workplace
For the purpose of this guide, we are setting up a manual connection. The assumption here is that you already know the parameters of the network you are connecting to, such as its SSID...

A page is then displayed to enter information for the wireless network you want to add. On that page, you can configure the following:
  • Network name (Type the name of the wireless network)
  • Security type (Select the method used to authenticate a connection to the wireless network).

    The choices are as follows:

  • No authentication (Open) Open system authentication with no encryption.
  • WEP Open system authentication with Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP).
  • WPA2-Personal Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) with a preshared key.
  • WPA-Personal Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) with a preshared key (also known as a passphrase).
  • WPA2-Enterprise WPA2 with IEEE 802.1X authentication.
  • WPA-Enterprise WPA with IEEE 802.1X authentication.
  • 802.1x IEEE 802.1X authentication with WEP (also known as dynamic WEP).
The choices are listed depending on the capability of your wireless card.

And after that, well, I think you're done.

If you have more questions, beep me. I'll try my best to answer them. Right now, na my bed get me...


I need a rest

Edit: there's so much to write, but my lunch break is over...

Okay so I officially need a holiday. The stress is just too much, and I have been assured that the autumn sales season is even worse as people begin to prepare for the cold, hard, winter. What have I let myself in for?

Substance abuse

Did you know that one adult in three in the UK has (at least) experimented with hard drugs? And when I say hard drugs, I don't mean igbo, I mean class A stuff. The statistics that were being reeled off on the BBC's Breakfast programme this morning was rather scary stuff. Even in a controlled society like this one, it is almost impossible to put a lid on things. God help us in Naija if drugs become a culture there (since we are so keen on importing all things Western)...

If The Law is to be believed, then substance abuse in Naija permeates to the highest levels. One gist that never went away during my UNIBEN days was that Lucky Igbinedion was involved in the practise...

NNPC winds down

So the government has decided that the days of the NNPC are over. Good move on the face of it, but let us hope that two things:
1) it won't become like the NEPA to PHCN transition which has failed woefully up until this point;
2) it won't be an opportunity for a lot of 'displaced' people to make a killing from the public treasury...

The Cross Over

This one was written by Ade Adene (he who refuses to blog):
Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time at crimelibrary.com . The website is mostly dedicated to unraveling gruesome murder mysteries, and unmasking the perpetrators of some of the most grisly and violent homicides in human history.

An off-shoot of this new pastime is a fascination with the hereafter and what I call “the changeover”. The changeover is the moment in time that begins after you take your last breath.
The exact moment you crossover from the land of the living to that of the dead.

Reading graphic accounts of people being bludgeoned to death, severally raped and savagely mutilated makes me wonder……What exactly is it like after that last breath?

Is it a seamless transition into another existence, or does your soul/spirit just slip into a non-existence until judgment day?

Is it like they say in Greek mythology, where you suddenly find yourself at the shore of a serene lake in a mist and fog -filled environment with zero-visibility. Does Hades/Apollo (?) actually wait by the shore in a canoe and in a hooded cloak to ferry you across to your eternal resting place in numbing silence and without even a curt “welcome to the other side”?

Or is it like that movie we watched when we were younger where a pilot crashed his plane and found himself in the” great beyond” (sister can you remember the title of the movie?)
There was a lengthy and rather disorderly queue in this great big cloudy sphere of white which I imagine was heaven-though it did’nt seem anything like the picture they painted for us in Sunday school!

For those who are bludgeoned to death or suffer an otherwise gruesomely finale, do they appear on the other side in a horrible state of disrepair, or is there some sort of changing room where they can just go change clothes and go?
I guess that for such people, since we usually have their battered bodies to interr on this side of the great divide, they will appear over there in another form.

Furthermore, since we are often told that our bodies are mere casings for the true essence of us which is our soul and spirit, what do our spirits look like? Do we become invisible when we die albeit with a consciousness of our presence/form?

At the exact moment of death, do you slip into a vortex(like they used to do in those sci-fi flicks!) and find yourself in a great big room of blinding white light in white clothes with an avuncular looking Caucasian angel casually looking through his “guest list” to see if your name is in it?

It’s not that I want to die or anything, it’s just a thought sequence that I have not been too scared to allow/explore.

Your thoughts?.........


Juve watch

We bashed Parma last night.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What's going on?

The National Economic Council shall comprise the following members-
a) the Vice-President who shall be the Chairman;
b) the Governor of each State of the Federation; and
c) the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria established under the Central Bank of Nigeria Decree 1991 or any enactment replacing that Decree.
The National Economic Council shall have power to advise the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the co-ordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of the various Governments of the Federation.


There are a few disquieting signs from Abuja, things are happening which I do not like, do not understand, but most importantly, appear to be ill intentioned. First it was the restructuring of the economic team. Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, was not included in the new team, neither was Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, Head, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Personally, I feel that we have to learn in Naija to make our appointments with policy continuity in mind, not just individuals. I would once again like to quote Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, erstwhile Finance Minister, and arguably the best one thus far: "No, I was moved to the foreign affairs ministry as is the president's prerogative. Yes, there's a lot to be accomplished, but this is not about the individual. I have moved on. I resigned. It was not a humiliation. I felt that there are other ways of going about things which didn't agree with what was on the ground, so I left. Yes, it would have been nice to know before the redeployment. But the important thing is that we have created something that can be carried on. Systems have been established that would go on." (You can still watch that interview here, and let me shamelessly advertise my analysis of it which is here.)

With that in mind, I don't really care if the person of Prof. Soludo is a member. Neither do I care if the person of Mr. Ribadu is on the team. But that is just on the one hand. On the other hand however, it doesn't make sense to me to have an economic team minus the Governor of the Central Bank, the person who is in charge of the country's monetary policy. Again, I think it is a sensible thing to have the person in charge of the anti-corruption drive as a member of that team.

As if that wasn't enough, news just came in that the government has frozen the redenomination plan.

Permit me to make it clear at this point that while I was not in support of the plan (and my reasons weren't what trained economists would agree with), I think that withdrawing the change after it has been announced is going a step too far, especially for the given reasons. In any event why I am so concerned is this: there appears to be a concerted effort to undermine Soludo's authority, and thus cause him to resign. Afterall, the President can't sack the CBN Governor.

Unless I have it totally wrong, and the National Economic Council, and the National Economic Team are two very different bodies, as far as I am concerned the 1999 constitution makes it crystal clear: The governor of the CBN has to be on the National Economic Team.

Tribal loyalties

The Law made a rather interesting comment on one of my earlier articles (one which is still drawing heated debate). I'll quote him:

Ok, Chxta believes in Nigeria, and points out that we, as a people, seem to suffer from chronic ignorance.

It has been my experience that Nigerians prefer to profess tribal loyalty over national loyalty. Indeed, anyone has ever read the book The Complete Nigerian will find within its pages, that Nigerians refer to people from other tribes as being from other "countries". And while the author may have taken certain liberties with his work,there can be no denying the basic truth: Nigerians are not a united people.

Some have chose to attack Chxta, call him ignorant, accuse him of "slaving for the white man", but I know the guy, and he absolutely loves his country. And, while we don't always agree, I know that his frustration with the situation stems from his patriotism. And all you McCarthys out there, take note.

I, however, will continue to hold that, short of a revolution, nothing will change this country. And as long as Nigerians continue to fall for the divide-and-rule tactics of the ruling class, that will never happen.

And before anyone seizes on my words, I am not asking for a break-up of this country. Alone, not one of the "major" ethnic groups would be able to survive for very long. Indeed, any break up will almost certainly precipitate an all-out war in the Niger-Delta for control of the oil wealth, and that war wont merely be between the Ijaws, Urhobos et al. It'll suck in Cameroon, Niger, Benin, Togo, and anyone else who happens to fancy their chances of securing the region.

For me, that is an excellent piece (I told you he writes too well), and I agree with it for the most part. My one disagreement though stems from the second paragraph where he says that Nigerians tend to profess tribe before country. I dealt with this months back, and I still maintain what I have seen in my own experience:

In all my travels around Naija, I am yet to see the one person who on having something to gain from me, discriminated against me simply based on the fact that I am Igbo.

Even in the core North people don't sit down all day and do nothing else but plan to kill Southerners. Usually something triggers it, and the pattern is always the same: political leaders spew out some rhetoric, people listen, then go berserk. It is always the same, and the killing is always in the 'poorer' areas of the land.

Divide and rule is such a brutally effective strategy.

The problem in Naija is ignorance, and that is what the elite exploit. The average Nigerian really doesn't care where you are from.


Juve watch

Ranieri says we are ready. I believe him, and I am so excited. Our period in the wilderness is half done, and by this time next year, we should be getting ready for Champions League football.

For now, I guess after work I'll head off to see if I can get my grubby hands on the new jersey.

FORZA JUVE!!!

On the importance of friends

This one is dedicated to Kulutempa. Wishing her a happy birthday and all that she wishes herself...

Don't do what I wouldn't do... :)


Juve watch

The season starts tomorrow. I can't wait. FORZA JUVE!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Food for thought

Life can sometimes get in the way of writing, and so it has been for me since my last one. Work has been killing, my dissertation is on hold, my flatmate has been scaring me, British kids broke A-level records, someone like me was arrested for taping into another person's wi-fi connection (note to self: that is the end), and the weather seems to have taken a turn for the worse. Despite it all, life isn't just doom and gloom, and an anonymous comment on one of the more recent articles set me thinking...

Chxta,
You are wrong, everybody is an economist. You are one also. Maybe you are not quoting or referring to any economic jargon, but are talking common sense ( which is very uncommon really.)
I told you before that this Soludo man thinks this country is one big financial institution. He believes that once the financial institutions are strengthened everything else will follow. Like lets have a strong Naira, and we suddenly become one of the world's stongest economies. What is the exchange rate of the Yen to the Dollar? around 115, I believe. Does that make the Japanese economy less strong?
We have just changed our currency, and people are grappling with it. Despite all the campaigns, the coins have again disappeared. Where you find them, people refuse to accept them. With the new decimalisation, how much will pure water now be? Where will the coins come from?
I believe the real solution is facing the real sector - manufacturing, smes, education, infrastructure, health and export. We cannot run away from these. As long as we remain a speculative economy and produce nothing, make the Naira as strong as you want, shit will still happen to the economy.
Examine these scenerios that I know of and give me your best guess.
Assume you have N20m to invest in the year 2000.
1. You decide to build a bakery. Employ 15 staff and pay them roughly N200,000 a month.
What profit would the bakery have made now?
2. You buy 8 plots of land in Magodo at N2.5m each. How much will you be worth now.
3. You invest in Guinness shares at N8.00 per share. How much are you worth now?
Which of the scenerios is adding more value to the Nigerian economy? And which one will you rather place your N20m in?

So people, what answer would you give?

Personally, I would go with option 2. Land always appreciates, and taking into account the mentality of our people (i.e the love of congregating in 'posh' areas even if they are glorified slums a la Ikoyi), then I would definitely make a killing selling the land in due course. The shares are too volatile, and may either appreciate of depreciate, so I don't think it is worth the risk if I'm looking to make money with all certainty.

Starting a bakery and employing people is a non-issue as the overheads associated with starting a business in Naija are too well documented, so there really may be no point starting one except the type that brings instant rewards...


Juve watch

So the EPL, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga are in full swing, Champions League qualifying is drawing to its final stages, La Liga and of course SERIE A are about to get under way...

La vecchia Signora had a busy week just past, and we lost both the Trofeo TIM and Trofeo Burlesconi, but who cares? Ranieri’s men had a good showing and continue to improve, the usual Del Piero was impressive and continues to make it known he is a presence to be reckoned with even as he is ageing. Talk about wine...

In the Trofeo TIM we tied 0-0 with that team from Milan who claimed to have won the scudetto last season, then we lost on penalties. Iaquinta played well and created chances but could not seal the deal. In the following match we were beaten by a Gilardino goal and lost to Milan 1-0. Palladino’s goal was disallowed, and thats all she wrote. Next up was the Trofeo Burlesconi, in which we fell 2-0 to Milan. No big deal, the team continues to improve and overall it has been pleasing. I'm also happy for Zalayeta. He's moved to Napoli, and since he's been a faithful servant, he at least deserves some first team football.

One more thing, Roma beat those people from Milan in the Super Coppa and Mancini called for more players, a request which led Moratti to explode. Nitwits. I hope their season explodes in more disarray...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Watch matches live on the Internet

I gather that more than enough boys back home are groaning under the weight of the limitation handed to DSTv as concerns Premiership games. Personally, I think it is a good thing that something is being done to break the exploitative tendencies of Multichoice, but nevertheless, I understand that boys just have to watch ball. Or else person go die.

Andrew, Ayo, Hamza, Ike, Julum, Oria and Seun this is for you...

Great, so Juve's next match of will not be shown on freeview TV. Actually it will not even be shown at all on Sky as far as I know. If you encounter situations like this one and always thought there would be no other solution than to follow 'boring' live commentaries on internet sites, then there's an answer for you.

I will describe two free programs that let you connect to channels that stream TV, but more importantly, live football. This includes all major European football leagues, Champions league, UEFA cup, etc...



All you need is a computer with any version of Windows Media Player after version 10, or Real Player (so Linux heads there is something for us too). A fast connection is desired for the best results. Sadly, the programs we are talking about are Chinese, so it is kinda hard to read the websites. Those websites offer channel lists among other information.

First, let us take a look at some options in WMP and Real Player:

Start WMP, right click and select Options from the menu. Click on Performance and Change the Buffer Size of Content to 30 seconds.

In Real player you select Tools -> Preferences and click on the General -> Playback Settings. The setting Buffer up to 30 seconds is at the bottom of this window.

Stream formats:
mms:// and *.asx open with Windows Media Player
rtsp:// and *.rm or *.ram open with Real Player

Starting Streams manually:

Most times you may need to start streams manually. Use the stream formats information to figure out the program to use.

On Windows Media Player choose File -> Open Url
On real player choose File -> Open

Let us look at the programs:

Sopcast (Windows$ and Linux)



Download from here, there are options for different operating systems, as well as installation instructions, then start. A channel list will be displayed. Double-click a channel and for those of you with Windows, Media Player should start and begin buffering and displaying.

Pplive (Window$ only)



Just download and double click the damned thing. Its all in English, so no need to worry. You may need the pplive channel list for it, since unlike Sopcast, it does not come with a loaded list.

Football Streams Schedule

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Software review: CrossOver

Stumbled on this story on Ijebuman's blog. Interesting to note that Poles, Jamaicans, Irish, Somalians and Romanians don't go beating themselves up like they are the worst people on the planet...

In any event, I think the article is downright xenophobia. It emphasises that 20% of the crime in London is committed by immigrants, but doesn't mention that immigrants constitute about 33% of London's population. This means that 80% of the crime in London is committed by 67% of the population. But then again, what concerns me? I have long since concluded that these people love burying their heads in the sand. I guess that is where my people inherited it from.

Revaluing the Naira


So they want to knock of two zeros from the Naira in order to bring the value closer to that of the dollar.

Good, sorry, great news on the face of it, but permit me to join the voices of doubt here: In my view (speaking strictly as an engineer, not an economist) this move isn't for the best just yet. We have to put on ground the real factors that would shore up our economy: manufacturing. If we leave things as they are and just 'revalue' our currency, the country will simply become a dumping ground for 'cheap' imported goods (like it isn't already), then a few years down the line, we'll be back where we are. Why can't we take a leaf from the Japs, Chinks and Koreans..?

As to the people who are already crowing about how they would be earning 'big money' (two malicious emails in my box, and one comment on the previous post), I think it is pertinent to point out that someone who is earning N200k/month for example would simply have two zeroes slashed from his 'bumper' pay and would be earning N2k/month. You have to take into consideration that the official minimum wage in the environment I work in is £5.35/hour ($10.70/hour), while back home (and no matter what you say, Naija is still my home) the minimum wage is N7500/month, or if the two zeros are removed, N75/month (based on the 'new value', and a 160 hour working month, $0.47/hour!).

It saddens me to have to descend to this kind of pissing contest, but people have to learn to put things in context.

Let me paraphrase Ijebuman here and ask: How will Iya Sikira understand that the ogi she sold for N200 the day before is now N2 or how will Baba Morufu, understand that the bokoto he is selling for N2000 is now N20?

Recommended reading: Grandiose Parlor, and Ijebuman.

India

Congratulations to the Indians as they celebrate their 60th.

Recommended reading: Vittal and the comments that follow...

CrossOver

Despite my Linux leanings, I still missed the ability to use Photoshop and Swish on Windows. Let's face it, the GIMP doesn't hold a light to Photoshop, and Open Office Presentation is a poor substitute for Swish, F4l is even worse, and strangely for a Linux program, the support simply doesn't exist. I kept thinking that Wine may be the answer but it proved only useful for 'smaller' software. I was never quite able to use it to run 'heavy' software such as Photoshop. My solution as a result was to install VMware. That took up quite some space on my hard drive which to be honest I wasn't really willing to give up, but had to.

As per the regular everyday tasks such as writing documents and the occasional spreadsheet, I had no qualms at all with Open Office's Writer and Calc. They are both excellent software, and that ability to export direct to PDF is something that Microsoft is probably still aeons from implementing. There was however one small problem that made me install Microsoft's Office Basic (Word and Excel) in my emulation: Open Office's native formats are not popular (compatibility issues with the rest of the world is still Linux's main problem), so I had to save my documents in the native Microsoft formats. However this brings an issue with formatting and file sizes as I soon discovered when I began applying for jobs. My CV, done in Microsoft Word and saved in the *.doc format comes in at 56kB. The same CV done in Oo Writer, and then saved to the *.doc format is 113kB. This wasn't good as far as recruitment agencies were concerned, most of them required a CV that came in at less than 100kB, and it had to be in the *.doc format, not Oo's *.odt format (which to be fair has same CV come in at 43kB). Another problem with Oo which I discovered when I began my programming module a few months ago is that it chokes when a document is full of macros. Luckily, along came CrossOver, and my prayers have been answered. Not only could I run the Photoshop and Swish, but Microsoft Office on Linux as well. It is the best of both worlds.

Fig: Running Photoshop and Swish under Linux


Testing CrossOver Linux 6

I have installed CrossOver Linux which can be downloaded here, and I have been able to install it and run it and then install quite a lot of Windows software as if I was on a Windows host. My computer is an Acer Aspire 1640z with a Centrino processor (1.7GHz), 2GB of RAM, running Ubuntu Linux. Those specifications are fair, so I can try out almost any software that is perambulating out there. I downloaded the full version of the CrossOver 6, the *.deb package (since Ubuntu uses the deb package manager). It installed with great ease. This being my first exposure to the product, I selected the general defaults. Everything went smooth and without a single problem.

Now it was time to install Adobe Photoshop 7. After selecting the CrossOver setup, the associations were checked and installation of Photoshop was selected. I inserted the Photoshop CD (you wish! CrossOver gives you a chance to point to the *.exe file on your hard drive) and immediately the installer asked me what 'bottle' I wanted to use. I chose Windows XP.

Word 2003 and Excel 2003 worked well, and I was able to open documents full of macros which Oo tends to fumble through. The apps even seem to work a little faster on Linux than on Windows, on the same hardware. This is probably because Windows tends to accumulate all sorts of junk, while the Crossover Office bottle has nothing but the essentials required to run Microsoft Office. Still, it was rather surprising to see Microsoft software working better under Linux!

Office 2003 installed and worked quite well, with the exception of Outlook 2003. Outlook support in CrossOver apparently lags a version or two behind the latest version of Microsoft Office. Outlook 2000 and XP work to some extent, if not perfectly. That is one thing I really don't give a toss about though as I only use Outlook on my office desktop which is running Windows anyway.

Dreamweaver MX and Flash MX worked perfectly, but the more recent versions did not even install. Adobe Photoshop 7 works flawlessly (I didn't try the CS parade as I think they are all glorified versions of 7, just use up more memory), so does SwishMax. Sadly though, the best music player in the world, Jet Audio refused to install. It asked me to install DirectX before it can install, and that is something I would have to look into later on, meanwhile I wonder why COWON has simply refused to put out a Linux version. I am yet to try out Microsoft's Reader though, and somehow playing Football Manager doesn't motivate me anymore, so I'll more than likely pass on that.

The separate bottles approach leads to some interesting situations. For instance, if you are using a version of Internet Explorer in one bottle, and have Microsoft Office loaded in another bottle, you can't copy and paste text between them. It seems like it should work, but it doesn't. It was a bewildering few minutes before I figured out what was going on. As long as you remember that different bottles are essentially independent Windows machines, everything is fine. I think that web developers will appreciate the ability to have different versions of Internet Explorer installed independently, for testing purposes. The system then went out and and automatically loaded the requisite software from Microsoft's website! Once the process was complete, true to form, the system requested to be rebooted (Jeez Window$!). In Linux though, only CrossOver was reset. This was so much easier than a full system reboot, and far less of a nuisance.

Conclusion

Prior to installing CrossOver, I was forced to labour with VMware. Now don't get me wrong, VMware is an excellent product, but it has one major drawback: VGA issues. For example playing Football Manager under VMware meant that I was restricted to just the text mode, and that made me loose some of my passion for the game. In any event, everything I have tried (except Jet Audio) has worked seamlessly, as promised. Access to the Photoshop files is easy, access to the Linux file system is easy. Everything a user will need is here. CodeWeavers' CrossOver has most certainly become one of the tools in my arsenal for every day use.


Juve watch

So we lost to both Inter (on penalties), and Milan (by a lone goal) in yesterday's Tropheo TIM. Not a bad result when you take into context that first both matches were 45 minutes, then that we did indeed play well.

Good things are coming this season, so I'm not phased at all. Like I said earlier, I'd be happy with a Champions League place, and happier with a finish above Inter.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wallowing in ignorance

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.

---Maya Angelou

It may be bliss, but I wonder whether the promotion of ignorance in the world might not be going just a little far at the moment.

In his regular Times column, Rod Liddle argues that people who understand "gibberish" about "the present world credit crunch" should be shunned as "tiresome acquaintances, dangerous dinner party guests, unsuitable sexual partners, etc." I'm so with Elliott in his take on that article, and the new and dangerous habit humanity seems to be developing, shunning knowledge and enlightenment in favour of insert word here (personally I'm inserting Paris Hilton)...

The problem with far too many people in Nigeria is ignorance. There are so many Nigerians that have chosen, by accident or design, to remain within their little shells. So many of our people have no clue as to how the rest of the country is, and even worse, do not want to know. This problem is endemic particularly in the far North, and the West of the country. One of the great things I can say about people from the East, and to a large extent the South is that they are more mobile than the others. But then again, even with that mobility, how many of them actually open their minds to the conditions of others?

I was once called a liar when fresh from my first ever trip to Minna, I told some friends that neither IBB nor Abdulsalami Abubakar did much for the place. The guys chose to stick to their (rumoured) stories of eight lane super highways and solar powered street lights all built with oil money from the South. Thankfully, a quick peek through Nilla's blog should just about set that impression right. As long as we don't know anything about one another, we would continue to be suspicious of one another.

Personally, I like to think that I am a realistic fellow. While I would not go so far as to call myself blindly optimistic, I prefer to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty. You see, I believe that a healthy dose of optimism is extremely necessary for the attitude to exist such that things can get done. Simple example: back in my Itex days, I was told to go to Northern Nigeria to set up a payment scheme for VMobile as it was then known. On arriving, I found that their link to Lagos in Kano, Jos and Abuja, was basically messed up, nevertheless, I still tried my best to make the thing work until it became evident that their IT department needed to sort themselves out. In much the same way, I complained on this 'ere blog that I hate programming, still do. Nevertheless, I didn't sit down and despair (which would have meant failing my exams), but got my head down, did the best that I could, and managed to finish with a C in the blasted module. A third example from my own life again was just a few days ago, when the lift at my place broke down. My neighbours were willing to let sleeping dogs lie, but I took the initiative, spent my time and money to get the people responsible to come and do their jobs. That is adopting a 'can do' attitude to things, and that is the only way things get to work. Sadly, a lot of my country men aren't made of that cloth. No, a lot of Nigerians are overly pessimistic, and the anonymous army that has been visiting this blog in recent times is a good example of that pessimism. As someone pointed out, pessimism is a very dangerous animal. The effects of which include despair. I don't know which is worse, the despair in itself, or the fact that many Nigerians are involved in painting the country with all sorts of lurid colours to foreigners. While there is a strong need for criticism if Nigeria is to move forward, some of this so called criticism is borderline disgraceful. People seem to forget that at the end of the day they are still Nigerians, and when they make comments such as, 'I can't do business with Nigerians,' the listener would involuntarily add you to that list of Nigerians that he can't do business with.

When a person gives in to despair, there is absolutely no way back for that person whatsoever. Things are done, finished, ended. That is what a lot of Nigerians seem to be giving in to in recent times, and it baffles me because there is no reason for Nigerians to despair of Nigeria yet. Why do I say there is no reason for us to despair? My response is one word, India.

India is currently building up to the celebrations of 60 years as an independent nation, and is widely looked upon, along with Brazil, China and Russia as one of the next set of super powers on the planet. Yet, having spoken at length with Indians in my class over the last year, I realised that this country has more problems than the problems that seem to be weighing Nigeria and Nigerians down. I have said before, and I would say it again that whatever problems we think we have in Nigeria, they have them on an even larger scale in India. Population growth rate is a problem; Corruption is a problem; Lack of infrastructure is a problem; Power (NEPA in Naija speak) is a major problem; Cost of doing business is about the highest in their region; Rich versus poor divide is a problem; Ethnic tensions are a problem...

Recommended viewing: BBC Hard Talk interviews with an Indian politician and a businessman. While the politician is more negative, the businessman is positive, and we are seeing signs of that in Naija as well. Like in India, I believe that it is the world of business, not the world of politics, that will pull Nigeria forward.

The Nigeria must break up people

One of the fondest claims of the 'break Nigeria up' brigade is that having ethnically homogeneous nations would hasten development. Such a claim is terribly erroneous. The most successful country on the planet at the moment is undoubtedly the United States of America, and that country is in no way ethnically homogeneous. If you look at the five biggest economies in the world right now (after the US), Germany, Japan, China and the UK, only Japan can lay claim to being an ethnically homogeneous country. At the same time, these people forget that probably the best example of a failed state on God's green earth at the moment, Somalia, is largely ethnically (and religiously) homogeneous. Breaking Nigeria into nations with single tribes or ethnic groups will not make the current problems disappear. People like Adedibu, Uba and Yerima would still have their mortgages to pay in the West, and would continue as is usual.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, I would say that most of the advocates of break up are either semi-literate, or have simply failed to think things through. To be honest, aside from the cry 'break up', I have never heard any one of them ever put forward a plan as to how he would make his new country successful if such a break up should occur...

Nigeria may well be a "contraption", an amalgam of various ethnicities but so is the US - a colonial contraption that was acquired through genocide against Native Americans, conquest and theft of land from Mexico, etc. Germany is a "contraption" that was brought together by Otto von Bismarck's hand of iron in various wars during the mid nineteenth century. Italy is also a "contraption" of city states brought together by Garibaldi, and sacrificing their sovereignty to become part of a bigger entity. So is Spain with Andalucians, Basques, Castilians and Catalans. Spain still has its own separatist groups, part of the legacy of Franco's regime. The UK is a country whose constituent countries were all conquered by the English. India has at least 25 active separatist groups, some of them with governments in exile!

Our people should stop trying to rewrite history by suggesting the existence of nations of antiquity to which Igbos, Ijaws, Yoruba, etc can return to. Yes, the Soviet Union failed and broke up, but that was a case of the constituent republics returning to their pre-Soviet existence. As the Soviet Union was breaking up, "contraptions" like Italy, Spain, the UK, etc, were subsuming their sovereignty into an even bigger "contraption" - a European super-state. We are still waiting for the "contraption" of the US to return California, Nevada and Arizona to Mexico. While all these peoples are consolidating their strength, a lot of our people in their myopia and selfishness are calling for division.

What to do?

We talk about the lack of infrastructure in Nigeria, but then we all sit down and wait for the government to provide it. True, it is the government's responsibility, but when government continuously fails, a little bit of self help would go a long way. We hardly see that in Nigeria. Compare a mindset like that of the Malawian kid, William - who went out to build a windmill from scrap plastic and wood to power his family home in rural Malawi - to the typical Lagos residents whose homes and streets always get flooded every year but will choose to grunt and grumble and live life as it is.

At this juncture, I'd like to point you towards the fine article on this issue in Grandiose Parlor.

What to do? Change our attitude. As Gandhi so eloquently put it, 'You must be the change that you wish to see in the world.'


Computer speak

Just a thought: The “save file” icon in almost all programs is still an image of a floppy. How many people still remember what a floppy looks like?

Should the save icon be replaced by something else (a picture of a CD/flash drive)? Or should floppy discs be “icon”ized forever? Somehow, all these days, the above thought never occurred to me. That icon with a floppy drive in it meant “Save” and to be honest, I have failed to think “floppy” when I have seen the icon before.

I ran into an excellent program called CrossOver, and since I've had it, I've been playing with Photoshop in my Linux! Bye bye Gimp, not so sad to see you go. I guess I'll write a review of it when next I have the time, besides it's been a while since I did any computer stuff out here...


Juve watch

...a newly designed and promoted la Vecchia Signora came back from 2 goals to score 5 GOALS against a Champions League side!!! It was a massacre!

So what if Roma were without Pizarro, De Rossi, Mancini, Perrotta, and Juan but still conceding 5 goals to a club still trying to gel together as a team is brutal. Compliments to the Bianconeri who wore the Juve jersey with pride in Cesena Saturday night, only a friendly but still that Juve spirit, pride and honour came out after 25 minutes. Don't get me wrong I know as well as anyone a friendly can be over analysed or vice versa. In this case, for us Juventino we can't over analyse this and think this is what we well get week in and week out, but it is a HUGE morale boost. In the first 25 minutes, the backline was as useful as a Lindsay Lohan rehab stint, but the moment Birindelli was moved, damn!

nocerino.jpgOne name that y'all must note is ANTONIO NOCERINO! This kid continues to impress and is really making a name for himself. Marco Tardelli even said while commenting after the game, as of right now Antonio Nocerino is the only definite in the midfield wether the combination is Nocerino-Almiron, or Nocerino-Tiago, at the level the youngster is playing at right now he must continue to start.

HIGHLIGHTS

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Why it may take eternity for Nigeria to move forward

This is not a prophesy. It is not a statement from someone that has lost hope in Nigeria, rather it is coming from a die hard optimist about the greatness of this country Nigeria. But in being optimistic one must not forget to be realistic.

Nigeria is indeed blessed with abundant natural and human resources even though it is sad to note that we have not been able to use these resources to transform Nigeria into a country where every Nigerian will be proud to associate with.

From power supply to the state of our roads the story is the same, so much decay even in the midst of plenty.

It is easy and more convenient to blame the government but in reality is the government the building or structure we see everyday or is the government made up of people?

The issue of blaming the government for everything is becoming rather too convenient and in my opinion overrated.

How many Nigerians have the courage to accept their mistakes when they make them? Even with hard evidence and proof you will need a miracle to see the average Nigerian agree that indeed he has goofed. Rather, energies will be expended on diverting the issue (as owning up to the mistake is certainly out of the question) and when he is not getting his way with the diversion he/she goes personal and begins to attack your person.

Now I ask, is it wrong or criminal for one to make a mistake? If it is not, then why do we prefer to go through the very difficult task of justifying our mistakes rather than acknowledging them even if we do not want to correct them?

Now, the people in government are Nigerians, friends, sons, daughters, fathers, husbands etc but they are still Nigerians.

How do they take decisions concerning Nigeria? How do they arrive at conclusions on what ought to be and what ought not to be?

Would it be possible that a simple task of agreeing to a mistake could be responsible for the state of that road that is decaying by the day?

Could it be that the person truly believes that everything is fine with Nigerians when in reality things are not?

Could it be that these people in power simply surround themselves with people that will tell them what they want to hear as against what they should hear?

I refuse to believe that someone will see white and call it black for no reason. Is there a good reason why as a people we will rather dwell on falsehood, lies, misinformation than dwell on facts and truth?

While I will remain a die hard optimist for the future of this great nation I cannot but go to bed everyday wondering why our people find it hard to accept responsibilities of their actions especially when they make mistakes.

The irony of it all is that those who are guilty will always be the ones accusing others of the very mistakes they are denying.

As for the led, what do we do? Criticize our leaders based on wrong actions while appreciating their good works or praise them when they do the wrong things and abuse or dismiss anyone that points out mistakes or issues just because the people in question are our friends, colleagues, relations etc?

Even though the later is the norm today I will rather die an unrepentant optimist than join this bandwagon that is headed nowhere…

Credit for this write-up goes to Afam Nnaji

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thank God it's Friday!

I have just survived what can only be described as the most hectic week I've undergone since I came to this land. I had a terrible weekend just past as far as sleep is concerned, and yes, I know that I have myself to blame, so please don't point it out.

It is summer, and as a result it is the sales season. That means that the Birkenstock websites need to be updated at a rate of insert expletive here. I only really had some respite from all that work today, so I was able to spend time doing other things such as maintaining the server. Speaking of servers, there was a minor scare on Wednesday afternoon as the Windows server appeared to shut itself down. I powered it and after doing some checks I found that it had been set (not by me) to automatically download and install updates at 1500 hours every Wednesday. This time around, Microsoft sent an update that made the yeye thing to shut down. Rather interesting the looks I got when people's Outlook inboxes all stopped working. To cap it all up, I had moved house the day before, so I was dog tired.

Speaking of my new place, I am sharing a flat with a fellow from Sierra Leone, and his chic and child. Nice couple and the baby is so cute. He still can't stand yet, but is extremely active, crawling into any and everything. My flat is located in the Tulse Hill area of South London, not too far from Brixton (shivers). Maybe I owe black people an apology for implying that they are complacent when it comes to reporting issues to the appropriate authorities for fixing. This is because of what happened this week.

The day after I moved, I returned from work and discovered that the lift had stopped working. When I got up (after climbing enough stairs, I am so unfit), I asked M (flat mate) what the problem was. His response was that they had only installed a new lift recently, so he was surprised as well. The next day, lift still wasn't working, so when I got to work I called Lambeth to lodge a complaint. The engineer on duty was in shock. According to her, this was the first time since she started working there that someone had ever called to complain about a fault from that estate. In any event, the lift has been fixed (after two more calls). Now this estate is mixed race, so I can not say it is a problem with just black people. However, I must point out that this kind of complacency is what makes things go bad in so many places, Nigeria included. For crying out loud, there is a phone number just outside the lift indicating where to call in case of a fault. M says that the last time there was a fault with the lift, it was left untouched for over three months until inspectors came around! This mentality of 'public property is no man's property' is terrible. Maybe I should get a lock and key to that lift, since it was my money that was spent listening to that horrible Bach while they put me on hold before I got through to the engineer. After all, according to the area boy mentality, I am now the odionwere of the lift. Sadly though, if I get a lock and key for that lift, I may end up with a knife in my back. Too many children on this estate, and in Britain, that is scary...The above picture I think is an apt description of what the British government is doing. I really don't understand this story about black kids needing role models. What is a role model really? Simply put, a role model is a person who serves as a model in a particular behavioural or social role for another person to emulate. For me all that gibberish simply means that every child should have quite a number of role models, however the most important role models for a child should be his parents, no questions asked. The real problem, and it is not just restricted to the black community, is that the parental structure in this country especially amongst the lower strata of society is no longer existent. It all started back in the early 1980s when Meg Thatcher pushed through legislation that effectively took parenting out of the hands of parents, and placed it in the hands of the government. Since then things have gone from bad to worse, as a parent can't properly discipline his kids, and to make matters worse, young girls are actively rewarded for getting pregnant early. The implication of this is that you now have three generations of children who have raised children, with the resultant loss of parental discipline. Vicious cycle really. Blaming everything on rap music just doesn't fly.

Recommended watching: Children's Fight Club.

Naija

The week just ending was a very interesting one in Naija...

There was that excellent move by Yar'Adua in 'curtailing' the EFCC. The overall effect of that move and other such moves would be a reduction of the powers of the presidency, which as we saw under Uncle Sege is easily turned into a dictatorship.

I am happy that Kupolpkun has been axed. I wonder what Makonju is still doing hanging around though...

I hear that Christian fundamentalists have joined in the ban the trousers craze.

Port Harcourt is on fire. Texazz who would have probably furnished me with details is on training somewhere, so I have to wait. Unfortunately, I don't think peace will return to that place any time soon. It can only get worse. Think of how other places where there have been a proliferation of weapons in the hands of drugged up thugs, then compromised politicians, and you will see where Port Harcourt is going to. Lagos for example has simply gone from bad to worse as more criminals lay their hands on better weapons. Remember Ajah? Such a sad story...


Juve watch

Inter beat us in a pre season friendly.

I'm off to bed to make up for lost sleep.

Ijtihad - The Key to Islamic Faith

Kulutempa just got an article published and we must pop the champagne. It is a damned good write-up, pity that the publishers altered her original slightly (for whatever reasons are known to them). You can read the 'raw' article on her blog. The following is my reaction to it, please note that I will disable commenting on this one because like I've always said, religion is one issue that makes people lose their senses...

Well written article I must say, but please you don't have to play on the sentimentalities of the Western public. I can name quite a lot of crimes off the top of my head that would top 9/11 but didn't get the media attention because...

In any event, Irshad Manji is a brave woman. She has to face off with that most unforgiving of beasts, complacency. It is easy for a lot of people to attack her because she is a 'soft' target, and avoid attacking people like Al-Zarkawi because they would definitely come back at you.

What a lot of Muslims actually need to do, and as a matter of urgency, is to take a critical look at the people who are bringing a bad name to their religion, and bring them to heel.

There is also a need for Muslims to try and emulate Christians in the aspect of (using the media to) highlight(ing) the more positive aspects of their religion, and Islam has so many positives that I begin to wonder why the bad press.

Why do Muslims let Christian fanatics (Islam isn't the only religion that has fanatics) dwell on verses such as Sura 9:5 when same Christians have Deuteronomy 13:13-19 to contend with?

However, most importantly, there is a need for Muslims the world over to stop being defensive about their religion. God doesn't need humans to fight his battles for him.

For me, religion should be a personal thing between a man, and the Almighty. There is no need to force other people to toe your line, none at all.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Some excellent articles


Due to popular demand, pictures of my Sunderland waka can be found here. If you want the pictures I took at Jay-Dee's, you would have to pay. Send me a mail, and I would send you my account details...

I've been a little too busy for my own liking. Remember that only a few weeks ago I was complaining about being bored? Now I want a holiday. Talk about the seaweed being greener in someone else's lake...

There've been some good articles floating around that I want y'all to see and read.

There is an article in today's Daily Independent on a Nigerian's view of the British way of life. Thanks to Caboose for the link. I haven't read it thoroughly yet, only skimmed through. A thorough read can't happen until I'm done with work in the evening. I guess I'll get to my uncle's place for that as I'm yet to get an internet connection at my new place.

Funmi Iyanda talks about her experience with some policemen only last week in Lagos. My humble opinion is that this dress code thing, as has sadly become a regular occurence in Nigerian society, is just another exercise in shadow chasing. I'm not even going to go down that well beaten path of complaining that there are more important things for the NPF to be doing. Even they know that...


Taurean Minx
writes on fear. We all have fears, and it is my opinion that the definition of courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to overcome fear. If you do not have fear at all, then you are not human.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward, it is not a compliment to say it is brave; it is merely a loose misapplication of the word. Consider the flea!--incomparably the bravest of all the creatures of God, if ignorance of fear were courage. Whether you are asleep or awake he will attack you, caring nothing for the fact that in bulk and strength you are to him as are the massed armies of the earth to a sucking child; he lives both day and night and all days and nights in the very lap of peril and the immediate presence of death, and yet is no more afraid than is the man who walks the streets of a city that was threatened by an earthquake ten centuries before. When we speak of Clive, Nelson, and Putnam as men who "didn't know what fear was," we ought always to add the flea--and put him at the head of the procession.
-from Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain.


I just love Monef's Ten Things That Irritate the Shit Out of Me. Wickedly hilarious. I might just get around to doing one of my own sometime in the future...


I was chuffed to learn that Cesar loved my comment on his article about the best African player ever. He reviewed the best comments here, but the main gist is about his article, which is excellent. So people who do you think is the best ever African footballer?


Check out Adaure's flood pictures.


The Law appears to have completely lost hope in Naija. I guess my next article (when I can find the time) would be a response to his Dear Chxta write-up which I believe was inspired by this effort. In the meantime, I wonder why Texazzpete has taken to vilifying everything that appears 'anti-American' to him...


Juve watch

This evening the annual Trofeo Birra Moretti will be played. Look forward to bringing good news tomorrow. Meanwhile Ranieri has said that he won't sign any new players this summer. Personally I wouldn't mind Cassano since Madrid have made it clear that the boy is surplus to requirements...

Monday, August 06, 2007

A trip to the North East

Edit: Gani we are waiting

According to this report in today's Daily Independent, a Nigerian Minister earns N31,915,800 per year, comprising salary (N2,026,400) , and benefits plus allowances (N29,889,400).

Pardon the expletive, but aren't our ministers supposed to be on some bullshit salary of about N790,000 per year? That law to all my knowledge hasn't been changed. Where is Gani Fawehinmi to sue the government now? Cheap popularity seeking geezer!

I'd like to see what all the people who rained abuse on me when I complained about Gani's actions have to say for themselves now. I'd have written more but I have better things to do.

My journey


If I ever complain about the obsession with celebrity that the Brits have again, can someone please remind me of the day I met Alessandro Del Piero? O my God, I'm still feeling all dreamy and shit, and it is not as if I spent up to a minute with Alex. I didn't even have the presence of mind to whip out my camera and take a photograph, and that scrawl that you see pictured above is likely going to be enshrined somewhere in my house for all eternity!

Enough of the hero worship.

Take this from me, there are no football fans in London. If you want to see fans, go to the North East of England. Damn! The game is much more than a religion out there! Let's see if I can whip out a coherent enough account of my trip...

Friday 03/08 (2100): Leave Uncle's house headed for Victoria. Stop at Westminster and decide to walk the rest of the way. Met a Naija woman just in front of the Abbey. She was looking for Emmanuel Church (I'd never heard of it). We finally managed to trace it at Great Smith Street not too far from the Abbey. So many Naija people (mainly women) coming in for a night vigil. We are too religious, but it doesn't seem to make a real impact in our lives. The woman I was with invited me for the vigil. I told her (as politely as I could) that I had more important matters to attend to. Her response was to ask what could be more important than God? In my mind I answered, 'Juventus'. She gave me a strange look that still makes me think if I had voiced out my response.

Friday 03/08 (2300): Finally trudge to platform 19 at the Victoria Coach Station. There is a very handsome boy there, and his eyes light up as I approach. He is also wearing a bianconeri jersey, and being that bus services to Sunderland aren't the most regular thing, it is evident that he is on he same mission as I am. We strike small talk with an old man who is headed to Newcastle. We board at 2325. There is a slight scare as my e-ticket didn't seem to be on the conductor's list.

Friday 03/08 (2330): Great journey. Myself and four other people on the same mission are seated right behind the drivers. It occurs to me that night travelling in Naija could borrow a leaf from this system of having two drivers alternate at various points in the journey. Both drivers are Scotsmen, one is a Rangers fan, the other is Celtic. Makes for excellent discussion throughout the entire journey. One of them is all for Scottish independence, the other feels that it is a waste of everyone's time. Nicely different to see two Brits who for once are politically aware, most of the people I've met here are damned apathetic. There was a minor stir in the coach as we passed the Lord's Cricket Ground on the way out of London. A car had crashed and the emergency services were milling around, so there was a minor hold up. The guy who was at the wheel at that point in time announced over the PAS that he could bet that the driver of the vehicle had been a woman. When we passed it, we saw that indeed it was. Caused a man versus woman debate amongst the males and females in our coach, and as is usual with such debates, no side could convince the other about who the better drivers are. I was tripped by the colourful language that was used though...

Saturday 04/08 (0617): The coach dropped myself and two of the other Juventino in Sunderland. Both guys are Italian, and their English is just as bad as my Italian is. Hits me (once again) that it is one thing to read a language, it is quite another to speak it. But then I've been getting that lesson at the hands of my German bosses in the last few weeks. The match was still 9 hours away, and here I was in a town I'd never been to, with two non English speakers for company. The other two Juventino in the coach had gone ahead to Newcastle. They said they'd be back in time for the game. One is Aussie, the other is Greek, but speaks fluent English and Italian. He is the uncommonly handsome boy I met at the station earlier. I manage to ditch my Italian companions (or was it the other way around?), and decide to look for a place to lay my head. Didn't sleep a wink during the journey.

Saturday 04/08 (0730): I've been walking around the city centre for close to an hour now. Sunderland is a very clean place, quite unlike London. However I will not contemplate living here. I had an encounter with blatant racism. A man was standing outside his store and smoking. Being that he was the first human I saw (there's a large population of resident seagulls), I approached him to ask for directions to the nearest Guest House. As soon as he noticed me, he ran into his store and bolted the door. I could clearly hear the sound of the lock as he ran to get away from this potential robber. The twit was still holding his cigarette inside, so I brought out my camera and took a photograph of him with the cigarette. Then he came out. I promised him that I would email the picture to the Metropolitan Police. That was when he asked me for what I wanted, but I was already walking away. 'I don't speak with racists,' I shouted back. Let him think about that. Actually, the shenanigans with the camera was just that. I didn't take his photograph.

Saturday 04/08 (0900): The city centre's coming to life now. I failed to find a Guest House that had space (my earlier encounter with the racist geezer makes me think that they did have space). I have to content myself with walking round the city centre and taking in the sights until match time. Sunderland Football Club is the pride of this town. Every other person and their mother was wearing a jersey. I was attacked by some yobs who saw me wearing a black and white jersey. They felt I was a Newcastle United supporter. They came from behind me with the intention of taking my head off or something, but to God be the glory, I turned around just in time for them to see the 'Juventus' logo proudly displayed on my jersey. After that they became very friendly and took me round town, with those strange accents of theirs. I can swear that their language is not English, but we communicated well enough though.

Saturday 04/08 (1400): Kick off is an hour away, and my ticket had clearly stated that I should be seated at least 30 minutes before. I try to get up from my seat in the Jay-Dee's club which is just within view of the Stadium of Light. My legs at first refuse to obey the command. I mutter a prayer that these people won't do their worst. You see, the yobs with whom I spent the day have a rather interesting pre-match ritual. They spend the hours prior to kick off at Jay-Dees which is a strip club located on the funny named Crowtree Road. I had spent virtually all of my morning and early afternoon watching the girls doing their stuff to the catcalls of the so many yobs that seem to be the entire population of Sunderland. Aside from watching the strippers, they also spend what is probably their lives's savings on beer. I made the initial mistake of accepting a beer, and after that each time my bottle emptied, I was furnished with more on the house. A special guest you see... Funny that speaking to these yobs I learned that they are what in some other place and some other time would be considered potentially responsible men. One has been married 31 years, another 22, a third for four. Then there were the kids, who are being trained to become hardcore Sunderland FC fans, spending all of their savings on tickets and travelling with the club. Note to self: Being a football supporter is not a bad thing, being a fan is another kettle of fish entirely. These guys have no lives outside of SAFC.

Saturday 04/08 (1420): I finally stagger into the stadium after taking a long leak at the McDonald's some way opposite. A few of the yobs were taking leaks from the Wearmouth Bridge, and I felt so tempted, but not confident, so I bore my bursting bladder till I saw the McDonald's. Who said miracles don't happen? After that leak, my head began to clear. When I got to my seat, I gulped. Here I was the only Juventino amongst a hoard of Sunderland goons! What if we began to hand them a football lesson? A vigilant policeman came to my aid however, and escorted me to the seats reserved for Juventino. We were about 300 in number. Nice turn out for an inconsequential friendly, but then again we don't always get to see our guys do we? A loud cheer erupted as first the Sunderland team came out to warm up, then an even louder cheer as Juve came out. Just a few of us but we managed to silence the crowd! Gigi and Alex came in our direction and there was pandemonium. I am still star struck. I wish Neddy had also come to us. Some of the ultras made their way from Italy, and they gave us balloons to release when the game started. It was fun oppressing the Sunderland fans in their own backyard.

The game
Juve played well. There is still work to be done though as Andrande and Grygera aren't communicating well yet. It was exciting to watch a Juve team play exciting football for the first time since the days of Don Lippi, a decade ago! We tore the Sunderland defence to shreds over and over again. One thing was missing though, we didn't stick the ball into the net. We've become like Arsenal, exciting, entertaining footie, and an inability to score. Sunderland had 3 chances in the entire game, and scored one. Had we utilised half our chances, we'd have netted six! Sergio Almiron is a god, andhis partnership with Tiago is a combination that will terrorise Italy if they stay fit. Noccerino is excellent. I'll murder someone if we sell Chiellini. Zebina has to go one way or the other. His attitude is poor. Trez has forgotten how to shoot. Neddy's age is beginning to show, but he is still an excellent player. Gigi showed why he is still the world's best especially on that one on one which led to the corner from which they scored. Molinaro is a great player and his goal was straight out of a text book. Iaquinta needs to find his range a bit more. Then there was Alex...

I got back to London the next day having not slept a wink since I left. I am still feeling the effects and have been quite lethargic at work today. But it was worth it. A (the Greek boy) has already purchased his tickets for the grudge game with Inter in November. For me, it is no thank you. After hanging out with those yobs before the game, I realised that my days as a fan are firmly behind me. I am just a supporter now.

But is is still forza Juve per sempre.