Friday, August 23, 2013

Ben is Batman

I'm sad...

So I have to keep saying to myself: Dogma.  Ben was great in Dogma.  As I understand it, he was also great in Argo.  Then I remember Daredevil, which was not a bad movie; it just wasn't a good movie.  Was that Ben's fault?  Hell if I know.  All I do know is that Ben wasn't the greatest Matt Murdock.
The real Daredevil

In a statement, one of the executives at Warner Bros. said this:
“Ben provides an interesting counterbalance to Henry’s Superman.  He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”

And this:
“We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular superheroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some."

I don't know what he means by 'layered portrayal', but it sounds as though he is trying to say those of you who think the movie representation of Bruce should be the same as he is in the comic books had better not get your hopes up.  At Comic-Con, they quoted a line from Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns".  That version of Bruce Wayne is the quintessential Batman, for crying out loud!  He doesn't need any additional layers. 

As for the 'older and wiser' nonsense.  Bats and Supes are about the same age.  Do these movie-makers even read the comic books?  Apparently not.  And of course Batman is wiser--he's the goddamn Batman!  But he isn't Superman's mentor, nor does he ever try to be. 

Then comes the part where he says, "we needed an extraordinary actor..."  I suppose Warner Bros. definition of 'extraordinary' is quite different from mine.  Ben is good, but I'd hardly call him extraordinary.  That's like calling Halle Berry and extraordinary actress.  Let's not get carried away to the point of ridiculousness.

Ben Affleck is a good actor, as his many successes can attest.  I just happen to be a hardcore Batman fan.  Not the movie character(s), but the comic book version.  I can see Ben as a pre-Frank Miller Batman.  But as the more commonly known, post-Dark-Knight-Returns Batman...?  

In the comic books, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are (deliberately) similar looking.  They have the same build and most of the same features.  Superman is taller--which is not the case with Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck--but, essentially, the two could be brothers.  Ben Affleck is the right height for Bruce, and, since he can pass for a man in his low to mid thirties, I'd say he is the right age as well.  Since he's Ben Affleck, there is probably little chance that he'll keep the cape and cowl on through most of the movie, so, unfortunately, there will be no hiding those soft features of his. 

In a perfect world, where I am queen of everything and have control over the casting of this film, I probably would have cast this guy: 

Same guy: 

Or even, this guy (Matt Bomer):

Another one of Matt Bomer:

I can only hope that Ben will bulk up (and harden up).  He can't play Bruce Wayne to Henry Cavill's Clark Kent without matching the latter's physique.

So, here's hoping...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Child Dies

On Saturday, July 13th, justice was not served.  All of the blame should go to the Florida State prosecutor, who failed prove beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman was not acting in self-defense.  Of course, any sensible person would say that it was Trayvon Martin who had the right to defend himself, but the jury based its decisions on the facts as they were presented. 

While one of the jurors has made it clear (judging from the garbage that spewed from her mouth on Anderson Cooper) that she is an idiot, we cannot blame the jury for its decision.  They followed Florida law as it is written.  Now we, as a people, have to find a way to release the anger, the bitterness, and the hatred, and to get past this.  Rioting in Crenshaw cannot bring Trayvon back, nor can it change the 'not guilty' verdict to 'guilty'.  Behaving like rabid dogs over an issue that has so thoroughly polarized the races does nothing to further the cause for justice.  Instead, it tells all the George Zimmermans out there that we are, in fact, the animals they believe us to be. 

We can't "all just get along", because we are people, and people suck.  But we can treat each other with civility and respect, or we can walk away.  George Zimmerman should have walked away.

No background check could have prevented George Zimmerman from carrying a gun that night, but just because one can carry a gun does not mean one should use it to take an innocent life.  Trayvon Martin was innocent.  He was minding his own business and making his way home when he was stalked and murdered by a gun-weilding imbecile, who should have heeded police directives.  George Zimmerman's actions on February 26th, 2012, and his alone, caused the death of child that night.  Let's not invalidate Trayvon Martin's life with continued hatred.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Going Home

I recently (last month) returned back from a ten-day stint in Nigeria.  Provided no one is trying to kill you and there are no countrywide uprisings, going home is a wonderful thing.  I have to say, I am rural by nature and don't mind forgoing certain modern amenities (like a working shower--buckets are just fine).  I like the simple life, though, from what I see, Nigeria isn't all that simple anymore.  There are so many, many people.  With a population of 163 million, it is the most populous country in Africa.  The second most populous country, Egypt, has half as many people.

Perhaps it was the heat and the lack of infrastructure, but I spent three days in Lagos and could not understand why anyone would want to live there.  The traffic is murder!  If I had to deal with that all the time, I'd probably opt to stay home and make babies.  That would be infinitely more fun than sitting in traffic.

But on a more solemn note.  Things in Nigeria are tough.  Sure, there are the select elite that have stuff in great abundance, but a lot of the population is struggling to make ends meet.  According to the World Bank, in 2011, Nigeria's per capita GDP was virtually identical to Ghana's, yet times are hard.  Everywhere you go, someone is expecting a handout or tip or bribe of some sort.  It's absolutely exhausting and, at the same time, disheartening.

The country is so rich in resources and culture and beauty, but these resources have been and are being neglected.  Nigeria could be a paradise; its people should be financially stable.  My mother should not have to track my every move while I'm there because she is worried that someone will kidnap me.  But how do we, as a people, make Nigeria a better place?  The government (all governments, in general) has proven time and again that it will  never be the solution the Nigeria's woes, so the people have to help themselves.  The people have to empower themselves.

There was a time--not too long ago--when Nigeria was the top exporter of Cocoa to the United States.  Nigeria's exports far exceeded its imports.  In fact, it was difficult to get foreign foods and other foreign products in Nigeria.  Now, Nigeria imports far more products than it exports.  In point of fact, the agricultural industry has suffered so much in recent years that domestic food production is not enough to satisfy the country's needs.

So again, how do we make Nigeria a better place?

Being that I am an American citizen, married to an American man, and have four American children, it is easy for me to toss out suggestions, reprimands, and even judgements.  But believe me when I say that the state of affairs in Nigeria breaks my heart.  I would like to go home for good some day, but I can't uproot my children from a life of stability and near-certainty to a life of utter uncertainty and near anarchy.  We need structure.  And I need a means of supporting them.

I really want to help usher in changes in Nigeria, but I don't know what to do.  I don't know what I could do, while in the U.S. and supporting my family here.  I am open to suggestions.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Negative Stress

I brought up negative stress in my last post and several posts ago.  I suppose it's about time that I got back to it.

To reiterate, negative stress is exactly that.  It's not a good thing.  Enough of it could lead to physical ailments, like headaches, body aches, and insomnia, which in turn lead to more negative stress and more ailments.  For most of us it is impossible to avoid many of the things that lead to negative stress in our lives, so it behooves us to learn to cope with it.

There really are a lot of ways to cope with negative stress.  Ignoring it is always an option.  Sometimes that works, but often, it will not.  Hence, we must all learn to cope.  Coping could be either coping with the stressful situation, so that it becomes less stressful, or coping with the stress itself, so that it feels less stressful.

No matter what, coping always begins with breathing.  So, stop and take a deep breath.  Take several deep breaths, each as slow and steady as possible.  Just a few deep breaths are usually enough to get the relaxation started.  That's what my exercise guy always says, and he's right.

A relaxed mind is a clear mind, and a clear mind is better suited to take whatever is causing you stress and compress it down to something easier to control.  Once we get our stressors under control, well... they sky's the limit, isn't it?

So let's breathe.

He's yummy.

Additional Resources:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Writer's Block

I suppose it really is inaccurate for a writer to say that he or she is 'blocked'.  As a writer, one can always come up with something to write.  However, one may not always be able to come up with something to write on the topic about which he or she desires to write.  Currently, that is me.

My brain is fully charged and engines are revving.  But when I put fingers to keyboard, very little of creative value comes out.  Over the past six weeks, I have probably only written about 10K words of creative fiction.  Don't get me wrong, those 10K words were very good--in fact, I posted some of it in the Blue Room.  However, there was a time that I was writing 10K words in five days!  Where has my motivation gone?

I'll tell you where.  Life.  Life has kept me incredibly busy.  A full time job that is generally more than 40 hours a week, four children (three small ones), and my hour and a half, twice weekly workout.  Just think, I should be working out at least three times a week, but... 'ain't nobody got time for that!"

I have a lot of distractions in my life, which keep me from streamlining my thoughts and focusing on the creative process.  Do they cause me stress?  Abso-freaking-lutely.  And it ain't the good kind of stress.

So what am I going to do about it?  I don't know yet.  I have several options:

1) Get out of the stressful environment
2) Meditate to clear my head
3) Pray to God Almightly to make me invulnerable to stress
4) Exercise even more
5) Ignore the stress and push on
6) Succumb to the stress and become a quivering mass of insanity.  Like this guy:

Maybe, I'll skip Option 6 and just try the others.

Wish me luck!

Natural Hair Movement Revisited

Hair is work.  Short hair is damned hard work!  And I'm not even natural... yet.  Oh yeah...  Here's my new (not so new) hair.  I meant to post a picture when the hair actually was new, but I forget things so quickly.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Will the Real Uncle Tom Please Stand Up?

I first heard about Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, when I was a child.  Until now, I had neither read the book nor seen a theatrical rendition of it.  Until now, when I heard the term "Uncle Tom" used in a derogatory manner, I knew precisely what it meant.  At least, I thought I knew exactly what it meant.

This was my utterly erroneous image of Uncle Tom:

An aged, stooped, weakling of an emasculated black slave, who would betray other slaves just to prove his loyalty to his master.  A slave who favored his master's praise over the welfare of his fellow enslaved blacks.

Boy, was I wrong.  So wrong, in fact, that I have to fight the urge to apologize repeatedly to Uncle Tom.

So why do people think so poorly of this title character?  Because of the minstrel shows that rose from Mrs. Stowe's Magnum Opus.  The minstrel shows (and other theatrical works from that era) portray Uncle Tom as the simpering weakling that is our current image of the character.  These versions of Uncle Tom are impostors.  In actuality, the character described in the novel is a tall, muscular, Christlike man of around 40 years old.  A man who gives his own life to protect those of his fellow slaves.  Uncle Tom was strong and principled.  He is the sort of person that we should all strive to be.  As a matter of fact, the New York Times did a story on him.

Rather than continue in our ignorance, we should all read Uncle Tom's Cabin.  There are at least two abridged versions available and the original is available for free, courtesy of the Gutenberg Project and Librivox, as an ebook and an audiobook, respectively.

Uncle Tom's Cabin is a difficult book to readmostly because the author did not sugar-coat very much.  As a black woman reading the novel, I experienced simultaneous feelings of indignation, fury, sadness, pride, and pain.  But this story is part of the history of the United States and all people living in the U.S. should endeavor to know the country's past.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I have learned that there are at least two sorts of stress.  The kind that makes you want to curl up in a fetal position (after you've yanked all your hair out in a fit of rage) and the kind that makes you want to go out and get shit done!  Today, I am suffering from the former.  I shan't dwell on that, though.  I'd much rather talk about the latter.

The latter, we shall term 'creative stress'.  I was thinking about copyrighting the term when I found out that someone else had already coined it!  C'est la vie.  Anyway, I took a look at the guy's website and learned that our ideas of creative stress are similar, though hardly identical.  From what I could surmise (he wrote a book about it), he thinks of creative stress as the conversion of negative stress into something that can help to build a person into a better version of him/herself.  I agree that creative stress can and will, in fact, make a person better, but I do not necessarily believe that negative stress can be transmuted in this way.

Negative stress is, by definition, negative.  How one responds and grows in the face of negativity is the key to one's self-improvement.  Creative stress, on the other hand, is any stress which, in and of itself, boosts one's creativity.  Creative stress spurs us into action, it makes us think of things as we never have before, it gives us so many ideas that we don't know what do with them.  It makes us bigger, faster, stronger.  Better.  I've done my best work under a great deal of stress and am certain that I wouldn't have done as well without the stress.

So how does one harness the power of creative stress?  First, you have to recognize it as such.  Unlike its negative counterpart, creative stress is an infusion of energy.  You may feel restless, hyperactive, excitable, and you need an outlet.  At least, you feel as though you do.  Don't let that energy go to waste.  Use it as the Lord intended!  And there is no wrong way to use it.

Some people write (I can't say I'm one of themmine is far more systematic).  They write in journals or diaries.  They write poetry, prose, and who-knows-what-else.  Others paint or draw or make music.  I think some people make love.  I do busy work.  Work-related busy work and finances and spreadsheets and study reports.  And I do them well.

Creative stress = creative energy.  If we are receptive to it, we open up myriad possibilities where there may have been very few before.  And creativity, as noted from my examples above, isn't necessarily artistic.  As adults, some of us have allowed our creativity to stagnate under the burden of negative stress (or mere hubris).  We need to take back the creativity, own that creative stress, and make it our bitch!

And then do the same for negative stress.  But that is a post for another day.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


I found a few wonderful sites, chock full of Vintage photos from Africa.  I've been perusing all morning and must say that the photos give me a surge of pride!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

And Speaking of Hair... and Erotica

I got a hair cut.

Much, much shorter than I had anticipated, but nice.  I'd post a picture, but it's been a long day and I look like hell.  No point in immortalizing that on the web.  My hair, in its current form, is easy to handle.  It won't be so easy in three weeks, when my new growth starts kicking in with a vengeance.  Oh well.

My cousin, F. C. Cole, said I should try whipping my hair back and forth.  I tried and have nothing to show for it but a raging headache.  Thanks a lot, Mr. Cole!  Along the lines of hair advice from family members, I've been strong-armed by my daughter to go natural, so I'll try it for a few months and see how it looks.  My hair is short enough that I should be able to work through it for the time being.  Wish me luck!

As for the Erotica.  Say it with me: erotica, erotica, erotica.  I have a new post.  Here.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Natural Hair Movement

It sounds cool. 

This is a blog by an author about author-type issues and books and stuff.  But I really want to talk about my hair today.  It’s a hot mess.  I need to get a touch-up and a haircut. 

Truth is, my hair does not like the relaxer.  I get about two years of great hair, then it just dies.  One day, it’s lovely, shiny, and vibrant, then the next day, it’s, dull, brittle, and dry.  It doesn’t shed or anything quite so drastic, it just starts to feel like barbed wire and it begins to break.

To this, most people say: “Go natural.  My hair has been sooooo healthy since I went natural.”

Well, kudos to you, natural ladies.  I can’t go natural just yet.  No, it is not because I have poor hair image or because I am succumbing to the white man’s version of what is beautiful, or because I like to run my fingers through my silky tresses.  None of that.  My reason for having a relaxer is that maintaining natural hair is work.  Hard work.

“Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

I am a science professional, in a predominantly male field.  The last thing I need is for my colleagues to start associating me with their ideas of a mad scientist.  And yes, if I go natural, I will look like a mad scientist, because I simply do not have the time or the inclination to spend 30 minutes a day on my hair, just so I can look presentable.

So, one may ask, why not go with locks or braids twists or weaves or wigs to keep my hair looking nice with minimal daily effort on my part?  Because my hair doesn’t like them, either.  I have not tried dreadlocks, but braids and twists thin my hair, as does weave, which also breaks it.  Wigs break my hair at temples and crown. 

What my hair likes is to be continuously pampered.  It likes to be washed every day, lightly oiled, combed out, and scalp-massaged.  I’m not going to work with an afro, big or small.

So, as I cogitate on the conundrum of my hair, I often wonder: To have or not to have?  How much makeup will I need to soften my angular face if I go bald?  Do I even want to wear makeup?  Ever?  Perhaps I could do braids for a year and deal with the thinning after my new hair has grown out to a more manageable length.  Or perhaps, I should just stick with my status quo.

I’m sticking with the status quo.  I’m getting a touch-up and a haircut.  My finicky hair is relaxed and I’m not afraid to admit it.  So there!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Despite what many people think, it really isn't a dirty word.

Erotica.  According to Etymology Online, the word is derived from the Greek erotikos, which means  "caused by passionate love" or "referring to love".

Clearly, it's not a dirty word.  So let's say it again.  Erotica.

Having said it, I am forced to admit that I've never been fully comfortable broadcasting the fact that I am a writer of erotic fiction. I'd like to blame that discomfort on my upbringing, but maybe I'm just uptight.  I've been in the United States for most of my life, where attitudes about sex are not all that restrictive, but I spent my formative years in Nigeria, where having sex was grounds for expulsion from school.  I don't know if things are still so drastic in Nigeriaif I have any Nigerian readers, please feel free to commentbut you see what I'm getting at. 

Perhaps because of my upbringing (or my uptightness), my erotic writing is very tame.  Some people have called my writing Romantica.  Not that there is much romance in what I write; my characters just like having sex.  Often.  And all of my characters are different, so my writing goes from mild to raunchy, depending on whose head we're in.

When, you ask, is she going to give us an example of this Romantica and let us judge for ourselves?  

My answer:  right now.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King Day, a celebration of his birthday and his legacy.  The man was, indeed, a prophet and a visionary.  While we, throughout the world, have continued to move forward in making his dream a reality, we still have a long way to go.

As I am in no way the orator that Dr. King was, I leave you with his speech.  Let us reflect and remember.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Today I did a web search for “Interracial Historical Romance”.  Of late, I think I have been a bit preoccupied with historical romance between couples of differing races.  Why?  Because, having listened to a few dozen historical romance novels, it occurred to me that the authors never include any characters of color.  Their characters include Europeans from various countries—including the Euro-Mediterranean countries—but no people of color.

So I began to wonder, where were all the people of color in Victorian England?  Were there not even servants of color?  Was it beyond the pale (pun absolutely intended) for the gentry to employ servants who were not as white as themselves? 
I did some research on the subject.  What I found was not particularly promising nor was it unpromising.  Some mention of a queen who may have been the descendant of Moors, a Dahomeyan princess who became Queen Victoria’s ward, models, actors, and such.  In recent years, there was even an exhibition that included images of Victorian people of color—I wish I could have seen that.

I once read an article, which noted that there was a thriving community of Black Londoners in Victorian England.  It was a community of blue collar workers and poor laborers, but thriving nonetheless.  I can’t remember where I found that article.

It seems there is incomplete information on the history of blacks in Victorian England (and the rest of Europe, for that matter).  It leaves the imagination wide open to create history in works of fiction.  I, for one, am open to a plethora of possibilities, though it would be wonderful to know the truth in its entirety.

additional links:,9171,1118305,00.html


Black Victorians, Black Victoriana

Dark Victorians

At Her Majesty's Request: An African Princess in Victorian England

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Since this is a blog about me as an author, I thought it might be a good idea to post some samples of my writing... in case anyone wanted to see for themselves whether my stories are any good.  For tidbits, you can look over here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Alright, I suppose I should talk about what I write.  But let's start with what I read.

For the better part of my life, I read nothing but SFF and classic literature, unless forced to do otherwise by teachers who would then force me to write a paper on what I had read.  Until about three years ago, I had a rather narrow field of vision where literature was concerned.  In my defense, I have always been rather busy and thought I should spend my free time reading only the books that I am sure to enjoy.  My library at home is filled with books by CS Lewis (my favorite), Octavia Butler, Piers Anthony (I am not ashamed to say it!), Alan dean Foster, Robert Asprin, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Larry Niven, Shelley, Dickens, Hugo, Flaubert, Wilde, Steinbeck... the list goes on. 

Then, I discovered the joy of audio books!  So, while more and more Middle Grade books make their way onto my bookshelves, my preferred genres are expanding to include true Historicals (sans fantasy), Romance (historical in particular), Crime, and Mainstream Contemporary.  And, of course, I read stories written by my fellow Africans. 

My non-fiction writing is mostly scientific.  I will not bore you with it.  My fiction is mostly SciFi/Fantasy, heavy on the Fantasy.  My Fantasy is best described as Mythical/Magical Realism, whichto dateis set in West Africa.  I think Africans (people of color, in general) are underrepresented in Western literature.  I hope to remedy this issue... at least a little bit.  All of my main characters (by nature, rather than design) are people of African descent.  And it doesn't matter whether the story is SciFi, Fantasy, or Erotica.  Yes, I also write Erotica.

Truthfully, my Erotica is very tame.  I don't like "blue" words, so I tend not to use them.  Some of my characters have potty-mouths and I can't always control what they say, but for the most part, my erotic descriptions, while graphically detailed, are softly worded.

I have an early morning tomorrow (and every day), so I'll end here tonight.  More later.

I logged on today with every intention of being more interesting, but nothing really comes to mind.  So, once again, I'll tell you more about myself.  I am of West African descent.  Actually, born and raised there, now living in the U.S.  So, I guess, my children are actually of West African descent, while I am simply West African. 

No worries.  I am neither the widowed wife of a deposed king nor do I need you to send me five thousand dollars for a nonexistent puppy.

We—my family and I—moved here when I was sixteen days shy of sixteen years old.  I am told that I have no accent, which means that my accent is, in fact, American Midwest.  I now reside in North Carolina, though my heart is in Michigan and my soul remains in Africa.

As soon as I figure out how to post a picture, I will.  See?  I am thinking.  Right?  :-/

Friday, January 11, 2013

So, I've had this site for months now (probably closer to a year).  I still don't know what to write.  Hence, the whole "still thinking" theme.  I suppose I could just start by introducing myself.

I am a married mother of four wonderful children, who make me prouder with each passing day.  I have a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and am foolishly seriously considering a PhD in Molecular Oncology (it will actually be out of the Pathology Department).  I am a bonafide nerd.  I'm Geek and I'm Proud!  I love SciFi and Fantasy, comics books (Batman is my absolute favorite comic book character), and off-center humor.  This year, I may even join the cosplay crowd!

On top of all the characteristics I've described above, I am an author.  I actually have some published works, though they are mostly of the scientific variety (I'm in the process of writing another paper).  When I use the term 'author' I much prefer to use it in reference to my works of fiction, which I have not published.  Well, not entirely.  I'll post a link when my four sold short-stories are published.  That said, I've also written a a full-length novel, which is rather good.  Sure... don't take my word for it.  But finding a publisher for a Historical Fantasy set in 16th century West Africa and written in a style that is neither strictly historical nor strictly SFF is damned difficult.

More about that another time.

Well, there's my first post!  Hopefully, I'll sound more interesting as I get the hang of this.