U. Ogbuji on the 1s & 2sies

Entrepreneur, software engineer & writer living in Boulder, Colorado with my wife, three sons & daughter. Co-founder of Zepheira, a company specializing in advanced Web solutions. Open source, XML, RDF, Python & much more.

I also read & write poetry, with a collection, Ndewo, Colorado forthcoming in 2013 from Kelsay Press. serving as poetry editor at The Nervous Breakdown and Kin Poetry Journal. Arsenal fan, snowboarder, hip-hopper, traveller, polyglot polymath and much, much more.

Kickstarter: Support The Language of the Fantastic

Western Colorado Writers’ Forum conference, The Language of the Fantastic, October 11-13, Grand Junction

It’s once again the year for the Western Colorado Writers’ Forum conference, styled The Language of the Fantastic for 2013, a “Literary Festival of Writers and Readers”. The conference will run October 11-13 in Grand Junction, Colorado.

I’ll be there, busy on Friday on a panel (“Building an Audience, Blogging, Standing on Your Head & Getting Published”) Friday from 4:50-5:50 p.m. and then I’ll be reading Friday night, selecting mostly poems from my forthcoming chapbook Ndewo Colorado (Kelsay Books).  Please do join us. I was at the inaugural event, in 2011, and it was an inestimable delight, Just a wonderful time.

See my notes and pictures from 2011 as well as video, with annotated poetry readings.

Updated: Please back the conference on Kickstarter.

Recipe: Leg of lamb in cast iron dutch oven

I just recently acquired a cast iron dutch oven, and of course one of the first things to try out with it is ze classique gigot de sept heures. But I never cook anything straight, so here is my variation.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5kg cut from leg of lamb
  • 50mL ghee or olive oil
  • 375mL white wine
  • 20g kosher salt
  • 5g ground black pepper
  • 5g turmeric
  • 5g rosemary
  • 10g sesame seeds
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 10g minced garlic
  • 8-12 garlic cloves
  • 4 large potatoes (or try a combination of potato and sweet potato varieties), cubed

Directions:

  • Preheat the main oven to 165 °C
  • Meanwhile heat the dutch oven on the range
  • Coat all sides of the lamb with salt, pepper, sesame seeds and minced garlic.
  • Sear the lamb on all sides after coating
  • Remove the lamb and pour ghee/oil and wine into the dutch oven
  • Add in turmeric, rosemary, cloves and onion
  • Put down enough of the potato to make a bed for the lamb, place the lamb on the bed, and then put the remaining potato in space remaining along the sides
  • Cover and place in preheated oven
  • Leave for 5 hours (Ouais. Pas tout à fait sept!).  Don’t open up to turn or baste anything or you lose the consistent envelope of heat.

And you can dance to some French music while waiting.  If Édith Piaf isn’t your thing don’t hesitate to frottez, frottez along with some classic Facteur X.  After all you’ll be needing to work up an appetite because the resulting meal is quite délicieuse.

Warning: musical selection pas tout à fait politically correct, but hey, that’s what I got down to while waiting…

Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival 2013 Round-up

The buzz from actually being at KCPF was phenomenal, which I’m prolonging with all the residual buzz as #NaPoWriMo comes on.

I’ll be performing at The Third Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival in Carbondale, Colorado this Saturday (March 30). I’ll also be leading a poetry workshop during the day entitled, “Poetry from the Heart’s Far-Flung Places.”  Get your tickets and join me.
I’ll be performing at The Third Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival in Carbondale, Colorado this Saturday (March 30). I’ll also be leading a poetry workshop during the day entitled, “Poetry from the Heart’s Far-Flung Places.”  Get your tickets and join me.


Since Posterous is pulling the rug out from under us I guess I’d better warm this Tumblr back up.  I’ve reserved my Posthaven account and I hope that works out, so we’ll see where I end up settling down by habit.

Since Posterous is pulling the rug out from under us I guess I’d better warm this Tumblr back up.  I’ve reserved my Posthaven account and I hope that works out, so we’ll see where I end up settling down by habit.

The Lay of Analytics

I couldn’t get this thing decently formatted on Tumblr (not the most poetry friendly Web editor…) so I moved it to Copia.

“More on the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which I mentioned here a few weeks ago.”

Video from Western Colorado Writers’ Forum (WCWF) conference "The Language of This Land," October, 2011 (by Richard Ott).

It gives a sense of how enjoyable the conference was; it’s well worth watching, with cameos by Leslie Marmon Silko, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Laura Hendrie, Ute Indian Elder Clifford Duncan and other writers and elders from the area.  I did however want to call special attention to the readings of poetry in the video. These occur at the following points in the timeline:

  • Danny Rosen (00:41)
  • Art Goodtimes (14:40)
  • Wendy Videlock (15:10)
  • María Meléndez (16:58)
  • Sandra Dorr (18:50)
  • Uche Ogbuji (19:43)
  • Janice Gould (20:35)
  • Luis Lopez (21:08)

My own poem is “Poet under Oath.”

Late discovery of the Carolina Chocolate Drops

Anyone who knows me knows I hold my ear to the most eclectic places for music, and so it’s passing strange that I’ve not heard of this band until now. All my friends seem to have been hip before I was. They even have a Grammy, FFS! Well better late than never. My introduction to them was through their cover of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘em up Style.”

The backstory behind this song is that Dallas Austin wrote it after attending a show by southern songstress Lina, and that he wrote it but decided that it should be the vehicle for Cantrell, who offered more conventional bombshell looks and voice. The song has always been a guilty pleasure for me, especially with its wicked fiddle stylings, and it’s great to hear a virtuoso band give it the sort of treatment that removes all guilt. Rhiannon Giddens gives it a singing performance more along the lines of Lina, and it all feels right as rain.

But CCD’s versatility goes well beyond old-time mountain music re-interpretations of R&B hits. Here they are playing a mountain standard.

I’m hooked. My biggest disappointment is that they don’t seem to be coming to Colorado any time soon. I hope I don’t have to wait too long before a chance to catch them live.

Okayafrica TV: Nigerian Superstar D’Banj Goes Global with Kanye

I’m only a moderate fan of D’Banj’s music, but he is a proper Nigerian entertainer, so it’s good to see him get some love abroad.

Wande Coal’s music, on the other hand, I can’t resist, though I ‘m really, really dislike the Yahoozee stylings of his music videos. The very last thing we need in Nigeria is more bling culture.

Blitz the Ambassador ‘The Voice of the Native Son’ Interview (video)

Blitz discusses how he first discovered hip-hop as a Ghanaian kid, and ruminates on hip-hop in the continuum of African music. Part 2 below.

Blitz the Ambassador (Live in Chicago) from Jamaar J on Vimeo.

And now for a little Kwaito. “Siyabenzela” by Ruffest. Dude in the wheelchair’s rockin’ it right!

(Source: vimeo.com)

Nneka, Nneka, Nneka! I di kwa egwu! Gorgeous song, brilliant video. And did anyone else catch the cameo shot of Dr. Herbert Macaulay near the end? This lady has it all together, kankpe! Gon!  ”My Home” official Video.

(Source: vimeo.com)

Ah! A little jigaboo-pickaninny vid for the Sunday. Seriously, though, I’ve grown up with a lot of those images and their capacity to shock has always rather surprised me, just as the shock capacity of a few half-considered ESPN headlines about a certain basketball player of Asian descent. To be fair, I’m of a generation that directly benefitted from the all-to-real suffering of black people in that era, but our parent’s suffering should leave us the legacy of getting on with things and recognizing nonsense for what it is.

We’re people. We huddle in our groups while creating ridiculous categories out-group. The topic of Art Melody’s hard-hitting lyrics in “L’ébène est dans le noir” are of far more concern to me than the content of a video clearly designed to be provocative.

As quoted in the video, Sarkozy says “le drame de l’Afrique c’est que l’homme africain n’est pas assez entré dans l’Histoire; and he got thoroughly pilloried for his apparently outdated and racist viewpoint of the continent. But again I think it’s a case of people focusing on an innocuous manifestation. We Africans know our place in history, and we know that despite the difficulties of the 20th century we’re on our way to making sure no one can mistake that historical import. Let’s not get distracted by the misperceptions of non-Africans. “Merde! Arrêtez-le!”

Bottom line though: a strong, head-nodding track by this Burkinabé M.C.

(Source: youtube.com)